There’s A Bug On The Ceiling

A Scene

by Kelson Vibber

Lounge in the student center of a college. One couch and one chair, forming an L, with the couch facing the audience and the chair stage right. ROB is lying on the couch staring at the ceiling, and MARIE is sitting in the chair reviewing her notes from a class. Occasionally she jots something down. The lounge is quiet and empty.
ROB: There’s a bug on the ceiling.
MARIE: What?
ROB: I said there’s a bug on the ceiling. Up there. (Points.)
MARIE: Oh, I see. Spider, it looks like. (Returns to her notes. Long pause. Turns to Rob.) Are you sure you’re okay?
ROB: Oh, sure, fine. No problem.
MARIE: You look tired.
ROB: You try staying up till five and not looking tired.
MARIE: I will when you try finishing a paper before midnight.
ROB: I need to be up late — the creative juices flow best after one-thirty a.m.
MARIE: You’re just lazy. You don’t want to do the paper, so you put it off.
ROB: (Propping himself up on an elbow) Hey, that’s not laziness! That’s procrastination!
MARIE: Same thing.
ROB: It is not! Laziness is when you just don’t want to do anything. Procrastination is when you have something specific that you put off until later for a reason!
MARIE: In other words, laziness is when you lie on your back in the student center and procrastination is when you play Tetris for three hours with your girlfriend.
ROB: Right— Hey! How do you know about that!
MARIE: I ran into Stacy today. I thought it best not to mention your essay.
ROB: Oh, man, if she’d known I was supposed to do an essay...
MARIE: Probably nothing would’ve changed. You two are alike in that respect.
ROB: In what respect?
MARIE: Procrastinators. You should form a club.
ROB: We’d never get around to it.
MARIE: Ha ha.
ROB: Don’t you ever just relax?
MARIE: Sure. Just after I do my essay, not before.
ROB: I hate you.
MARIE: It doesn’t show much.
ROB: You know what I mean. Jeez...
MARIE: So have you started the next book yet?
ROB: Are you kidding? I haven’t finished the last book yet, and I wrote an essay on it!
MARIE: Figures. How do you keep afloat?
ROB: (Pause) I don’t know. Look, what is this, the Inquisition?
MARIE: No one expects the Spanish Inquisition! No, it’s just the third degree.
ROB: Whatever that means— Wait! Don’t tell me! I don’t want to know!
MARIE: Don’t worry, I don’t know either. Maybe it’s like cross-examining a witness taken a step further.
ROB: You mean double-cross-examining them?
Marie gives a sarcastic smile and no other answer, then returns to her notepad.
ROB: Have you ever considered law?
MARIE: Well, I thought the speed limit was unfair one time I got a ticket...
ROB: No, no, I mean—
MARIE: I know, have I considered it as a field. No, I haven’t. I have the utmost contempt for lawyers, particularly at the moment. I’m not particularly thrilled with the legal system right now, either.
ROB: Isn’t it time for you to go to French?
MARIE: Not for another (looks at watch) six minutes.
ROB: If I could reach you I’d hit you.
MARIE: I’ll get you a soda, if you—
ROB: I don’t want a soda. I want to sleep. You do understand sleep don’t you?
MARIE: Better than you, it would seem.
ROB: That was low. Have you been practicing?
MARIE: Every day.
ROB: Can I ask you something?
MARIE: Sure.
ROB: When did you finish your paper?
MARIE: Six in the evening.
ROB: Oh.
Long pause.
ROB: There’s a bug on the ceiling.

September 1995