The Clearfront Balcony Club, Scene 3

Scene 3: Jessica comes outside with a stack of papers that have penciled lines on it, scissors, and a glue stick. She sits on the floor of her balcony and sets everything down in front of her. She then starts cutting along the lines she’s created on the papers. Drew emerges from his apartment, and Jessica glances up but quickly goes back to her task. Drew tentatively goes to the edge of his balcony to talk to her.

DREW: Got bored of being inside all day?

JESSICA: (still miffed at him) Actually, I thought I should work where Brisa and Owen can come coordinate with me if they need to.

DREW: Oh, makes sense.

Jessica continues working without making eye contact with him.

DREW: Listen, I’m really sorry for the way I behaved earlier! I’ve just had a hard time dealing with this whole stay at home thing! I loved going to work and being surrounded by interesting people all day! Then, on my time off, I liked hanging out with friends and watching sports, and now I can do either of those things! All I do is sit around and watch TV, and everything is either repeats or depressing news. I keep seeing the death toll go up, and then I hear all these sirens go by, and it all makes me wonder if I’ll be next! I worked at the airport, and I keep thinking- What if I came in contact with one of those people who have it? Or what if I caught it and don’t even know it yet? I’m constantly taking my temperature, and every little ache and pain makes me paranoid! I’ve never had much luck in life, so I keep worrying I’ll get it! I feel like I’m an animal just waiting to get slaughtered here! I get so jealous of the people who just have everything work out for them, they don’t have to worry about catching this thing! I thought you were one of those people; I didn’t know how much you struggled, and you must be looking for some way to escape all the negativity too! So, I’m sorry for trying to take that away from you!

Jessica takes a moment before she responds to him.

JESSICA: You don’t have much luck? You have a job that you love, some great friends, fulfilling hobbies… Sounds pretty lucky to me! So, some bad things have happened to you! That happens to all of us! That’s life! If you just focus on the bad things, of course you’ll feel unlucky! You’ll feel a lot better about your life if you stop feeling sorry for yourself all the time! Instead of pining over things you can’t do, focus on what you can do! That’s why I volunteered to help Brisa and Owen. I can’t work or visit my friends either, but I can do a favor for a couple of nice people!

Drew takes a moment to soak in what she just said, and he looks at her in an impressed expression.

DREW: Can I help?

Jessica finally looks up at him.

JESSICA: You wanna help?

DREW: Yeah! It beats sitting around the house feeling sorry for myself! I’d like to learn to be more positive… if you’ll give me a chance!

Jessica studies him as if she’s trying to gauge his sincerity, and when she concludes his authenticity, she holds up her glue stick.


Drew can’t reach it, so she gets up to hand it to him.

JESSICA: Oh, right! We’re supposed to be six feet apart!

DREW: I’ll step back, and you can toss it to me.

JESSICA: Okay, but I’m not a very good shot!

DREW: (jokes) Aw, be positive!

Jessica gives him a playfully reproachful look. He grins and then takes a few steps backwards. She tosses it, but it goes past him and onto Juniper’s balcony. Before Drew can reach over and knock on her door, Juniper gracefully saunters outside.

JUNIPER: What is the universe calling my attention to? (finds the glue stick) Ah, a bonding agent! It is surely a sign of my role in putting together two elements together! I must become the glue and keep everything together! But how?

DREW: You could pass the glue stick over to me.

Juniper looks at Drew and Jessica in surprise.

JUNIPER: Oh, I’m getting strong vibes from the two of you! You’re missing something, and I can help you get it back!

JESSICA: Well, we’re missing the glue, and you could help give it back.

JUNIPER: Ah, yes! Bonded together for a single purpose! How can I play a role in this endeavor?

DREW: You could hand us the glue.

JUNIPER: Ah, I could, but this object came to me for a reason!

JESSICA: Yeah, I accidentally threw it too far.

JESSICA: Oh, my dear, nothing ever happens by chance! As I meditated, my aura became entwined with the energy of the universe, and then this sign came to me! And I simply knew that-!

Nedra stomps out of her apartment and agitatedly focuses on Juniper.

NEDRA: Oh, for crying out loud! Will you just give the kids their damn glue?

JUNIPER: And just skip the spiritual lesson that’s presenting itself?



Juniper holds out the glue stick for Drew to receive, but he hesitates.

NEDRA: What’s the problem?

DREW: Well, we’re supposed to stay six feet apart, you know, so the germs don’t hop onto each other…

NEDRA: Don’t talk to me about how to avoid spreading communicable disease! I was a nurse for forty years! You can grab the glue stick! Just don’t stand too close and wash your hands after you’re done using it!

THEO: (from inside the house) Are you done out there? Will you keep it down?

MENDEL: (pokes out of his apartment) Are you done out there? Will you keep it down?

THEO: (pokes out of his apartment) Hey, no one talks to my wife like that!

Mendel exasperatedly shakes his head and goes back inside.

THEO: The nerve of some people!

Drew quickly grabs the glue stick, and Juniper, Theo, and Nedra all go back inside. Jessica bursts out laughing, and eventually Drew does too.

JESSICA: So, I’m making a giant chain out of paper. I was thinking I could create the links, and you can glue them together.

DREW: Sounds good to me!

She takes the links that she’s already cut out and reaches them out to him. Drew gladly takes them and moves one of his chairs over so he could face her as he works.

DREW: I’m Drew, by the way. Drew Callan.

JESSICA: I’m Jessica, Jessica Robbins.

They almost reach out their hands to shake it out of habit, but instead they give each other a polite smile and then start working.

DREW: So, Jessica, what did you do before the quarantine hit?

JESSICA: I’m an actress!

DREW: Oh, really?

JESSICA: Yeah! I’ve mostly survived on being a movie extra and playing small parts in plays, but last month, I finally got a leading role in a huge theater, but then, well, you know…

DREW: That sucks!

JESSICA: Yeah! Oh well! It’ll be there waiting for me when everything opens up again. What about you? What did you do at the airport?

DREW: I was a bartender.

JESSICA: Not was, you are a bartender! Things’ll open up again one day!

DREW: (doesn’t totally believe it but tries) Yeah!

They chitchat until the lights fade. Image: Day five of Italy's nationwide coronavirus lockdown, in Rome

2 thoughts on “The Clearfront Balcony Club, Scene 3

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