Overheard at the Singles Table

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THE SCENE: Wedding reception hall, 7 p.m. A table filled with singles who are about to get to know each other very well. 
 
THE PLAYERS, IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE
REBECCA: The Bridesmaid/Single Girl Next Door
ALFRED: The Guy You Got Stuck Next To
ERIC: The Token Cute Guy
ANGELA: The Bride
GORHAM: The Groom
CHARLENE: The Easy Girl
RHONDA: The Girl Prone To Fistfights When She Drinks Too Much
DAN: The Recently Divorced Guy Who Really Needs To Button Up His Shirt
VIOLET: Angela’s Questionable Friend
SPIKE: Violet’s Questionable Plus One
 
 
REBECCA: I guess this is my seat. Hi, everyone, I’m Rebecca. 
She waves nervously and sits down, careful not to wrinkle her pink and purple bridesmaid dress.
 
ALFRED: Why, hello! I’m Alfred Robbins the Fifth. 
Alfred takes Rebecca’s hand and kisses it, leaving a puddle of saliva that she’s too polite to wipe until he isn’t looking.
 
ERIC: Hi Rebecca, I’m Eric. How do you know the bride and groom?
He shakes her hand, holding it for a moment past business-only, or is that her imagination? 
 
REBECCA: Angela and I went to college together. And you, Eric?
 
ERIC: Gorham was at the grocery once when I was there.
 
ALFRED: Gorham and I competed in the National Geographic Bee as eighth-graders. Quick, who can name the capital of North Dakota?
 
CHARLENE: Hi, I’m Charlene! Oh, goodie, the singles table. Damn that cheapskate Angela for not allowing singles a ‘plus one’ on the invitations. You must be the Eric—mind if I sit beside you? I’m Angela’s hot yoga instructor, by the way.
Charlene switches place cards with the absent guest between her and Eric. 
 
RHONDA: Hi, everyone, I’m Rhonda, Gorham’s third cousin twice removed on his father-in-law’s side. 
Rhonda glares at Charlene.
 
RHONDA: I believe you took my seat. Gorham promised me the seat next to the hottie.
 
CHARLENE: Look, honey, I don’t make the rules. The place cards are set in stone. Everyone knows that.
Rhonda continues to glare at Charlene and takes a swig of her beer.
 
ALFRED: So, Rebecca, I understand from Gorham that you graduated from the University of New Hampshire and make your living as an architect and paint pottery in your spare time and like cheeseburgers with a slice of tomato, hold the lettuce, and have a Siamese cat named Cleo, and that your bank password is also Cleo. 
Rebecca desperately gulps from her cash-bar Miller Lite, wondering how much more cash she has in her purse.
 
DAN: Evening, all, I’m Dan. Hey, is anyone else staying at the Holiday Inn down the road? It has a hot tub.”
 
VIOLET: Hi, y’all, I’m Violet, and this is my ‘plus one,’ Spike. I met him last night playing pool at some bar. 
Announcement from the D.J. Booth: “And now let’s raise a toast to Mr. and Mrs. Gorham and Angela Luckycouple!” 
The group clinks empty glasses. Awkward silence follows as the group collectively tears into gristly steak with mystery gravy.
 
ALFRED: I see you’ve finished your drink, Miss Rebecca, not that I’m studying you intently. Would you like a Fuzzy Navel? I happen to know it’s one of your favorites.
 
REBECCA: Scotch on the rocks, please, Alfred. 
Announcement from the D.J. Booth: “And now it’s time to make the singles in the room feel even more excluded with a series of slow dances meant for two.”
 
ERIC: So, Rebecca, the truth is I kind of dig successful women. So, you’re an architect, right?
Charlene suddenly yanks Eric toward the dance floor. 
 
CHARLENE: Eric! They’re playing our song—“How Deep Is Your Love.”
Rhonda and Dan, who recently started making out without warning, suddenly disappear.
 
ANGELA: Hi, everyone, thanks for coming to our wedding! We’re making the obligatory bride-and-groom rounds instead of getting a chance to sample the expensive food we ordered. How was the steak?
Enthusiastic nods all around as the singles take turns covertly spitting the steak into their napkins.
 
ANGELA: So tell me, which of you have hit it off? I want the whole world to find love the way I have with Gorham! I’m in love with love! Um, wait a minute, Violet, who’s your friend?
 
VIOLET: Er, this is Spike. My “plus one.”
 
ANGELA: I don’t recall inviting any “plus ones.”
 
VIOLET: Oh, he didn’t eat.
Spike stops chewing. Angela turns her attention to Rebecca, who is trying her best to be invisible. 
 
ANGELA: Rebecca, sweetie, here’s the plan. Write it down. Wait, not on the napkin, you’ll want to save that for your scrapbook. So I’ll be standing on the stage, right over there, where I’ve marked the spot with my initials. I’ll toss the bouquet two feet back and three inches to the right, where I’ve marked the spot with your initials. I’ve made it impossible for you to miss this time. Now, can you do your bridesmaid duty and help me use the little girl’s room?
Rebecca leaves with Angela. Charlene and Eric return, Eric’s necktie askew. Rhonda and Dan also return, Dan’s shirt misbuttoned but at least covering more of his silver chest hairs than before.
 
RHONDA: Eric, they’re playing our song, “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)!”
Rhonda drags Eric to the dance floor. Charlene starts after them. Rhonda holds up a fist, and Charlene retreats back to the table.
 
CHARLENE: All right, Dan, want to show me that hot tub now?
Charlene looks around for Dan, but he’s disappeared with Violet. Charlene then turns to Spike. 
 
CHARLENE: Did you say your name was Spike? Are you single?
Charlene and Spike disappear. Alfred returns with Rebecca’s drink.
 
ALFRED: Here’s your Scotch on the rocks, Miss Rebecca. Say, how about a swing around the dance floor? They’re playing the “Big Butt” song! I love this song! 
Rebecca checks the time on her iPhone. 
 
REBECCA: I’m sorry, but please excuse me for a moment. And if anyone comes looking for me, I had to … get something from my car.
Rebecca disappears. 
 
Announcement from the D.J. Booth: “The bouquet toss will start in five minutes. The bride has requested that a search team be dispatched for Rebecca Connelly, who is likely to be located in the last stall of the ladies’ room with her feet tucked up so you can’t see her.”
Charlene and Spike return, Spike’s hair mussed.
Rhonda and Eric return, Eric’s cheeks smudged with lipstick stains.
Violet and Dan return; Dan is missing a shoe.
Rebecca returns with the caught bouquet.
Announcement from the D.J. Booth: “And now we need everyone out on the dance floor—that means you, young children high on cupcakes, and you, drunken singles!—for a string of hits from the ’70s and ’80s that will deceptively make you think you can dance as well as Michael Jackson.”
Every table empties onto the dance floor, leaving just Rebecca and Alfred.
 
ALFRED: I can’t stop my toes from a-tapping. Shall we, Miss Rebecca?
Eric suddenly reappears as Alfred and Rebecca get up.
 
ERIC: Excuse me, but may I cut in?
Rebecca looks over at Eric, with his perfect smile … and cheeks smudged with another girl’s kisses. Then she looks over at Alfred, with his imperfect Michael Jackson imitation … and eyes just for her.
 
REBECCA: I’m with Alfred. And did you know that the capital of North Dakota is Bismarck?”
 

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