Monthly Archives: December 2013

The License Number

The License Number

by Scott Ross

Written for, and finalist in, Slam It!, North Carolina Playwrights Association 3-minute play competition. Carrboro Art School, Carrboro NC, September 2003. First performed by Christopher Salazar.

CODY. Young male, early 20s

He speaks frankly, openly, without shame or self-consciousness.  He talks quickly, like many young people, especially when telling a story.



I used to sell a little crystal meth. You know — to get by. So this one night, I’m standin’ at my usual corner, y’know?  Waitin’ to score a sale.  And this guy comes up and he looks me over and he says, “What are you selling?”  And I’m like, “Sellin’?  I’m not sellin’ anything, man, I’m waitin’ for a bus.”  Y’know?  ‘Cause he’s dressed pretty nice.  Could be a narc.  And he says, “This isn’t a bus stop.”  So I’m thinkin’, What’s this guy want?  And he smiles and says, “How old are you?” and I get it.  Now I hadn’t ever done that before — not for money, I mean.  But it’s been a slow night, and it’s cold.  So I say, “Seventeen.”  And he says, “You want to make a hundred dollars?” and I look around and I think, No way I’m doin’ this in some alley — y’know?  So I’m like, “Where?”  And he says, “I got a room,” y’know, and he tells me the name of the hotel, and I’m like, “Yeah, I guess that’s okay.”  So we get in his car, and it’s nice, y’know?  A rental.  That’s what he tells me, anyway.  Like it would make a difference to me, y’know?   It’s my first time doin’ this for money.

See, now, I would get the license number.

(Taps his forehead)

Memorize it, you know?  Just in case.  Anyway.  We get to his hotel and he gives me the room number and tells me to wait three minutes and then come up.  So he goes into the elevator, and I’m, like, lookin’ at the magazines in the little shop they got off the lobby.  And all the time I’m watchin’ the front desk, y’know, to see whether they notice me standin’ there at all.  But, like, I guess they don’t, so after three minutes I go up in the elevator and I get to his room, and he lets me in.  He’s wearin’ this blue robe, and I can see he’s got nothin’ on under it.  The lights are dim — the way they are in hotel rooms, y’know? — but I can see him better than I could outside, and he’s really good lookin’.  About 35, I guess, but really trim.  Built, like he must work out.  And even though I should be nervous about all this — and, like, I am — I start gettin’ turned on.  He reminds me a little of this guy I knew when I was fifteen.  College kid.  They were really nothin’ alike, now that I think about it, but there was somethin’ …  This college kid, he — see, my dad walked in on us, and I thought he was still at work and we had the house to ourselves but we didn’t and he like — caught us — y’know?  Doin’ it.  And even though I was just a kid, I knew, man — I knew.  Like you do, y’know?  I never said “gay” or anything, but — So anyway.  Dad blows a gasket and he, like — he throws me out of the house.  And I got nowhere to go, so I do what I do, y’know?  What I can.  To get by.  So anyway.  The guy in the hotel room, he drops the robe, and I’m standin’ in front of him, just starin’, y’know?  Not knowin’ what I’m supposed to do, except, damn, he’s hot!  And he comes over to me and, like … embraces me.  And he says, “You’re so beautiful,” and, like … kisses me.  And it felt so nice, you know?  Like he really liked me.  And no one had ever — I mean, it had been so long, you know?  So long.  So he gets into bed, and I take off my stuff, and he turns off the light and we’re — y’know? — and it’s nice.  It’s so nice.  And then, like, right in the middle of it he says, “You want to make it a hundred and fifty?”  And I’m like, “Yeah, sure, man!”  And he says, “No condom.”  And I know it’s not a good idea, but, like, where am I gonna sleep tonight without money?  What am I gonna eat?  You know how much meth I can get with that?  So I say, “Okay,” and, like —

He fucks me.

And so now I got the HIV.

It may not have been him.  There were others.  Later. I don’t know.

So anyway, now — y’know— now I always get the license number.

Copyright 2003 by Scott Ross



Filed under Monologue, Plays

Playwright’s Progress

By Scott Ross

Production photos from The Collected Works of Yr. Humble and Obed’n’t

Butler Did It Garner News enhanced Dec 2013

A play I wrote in high school — a sketch, really — called The Butler Did It was performed for the students, and taped for local access cable. The Garner News interviewed me about it. January 1979.

Past Caring IMG_0001

My first “serious” play, Past Caring, was performed in 1986, in conjunction with Richard L. Spencer’s Western melodrama burlesque The Plight of the Nelly Queen, or: A Girl’s Got to Live. Out of necessity, I acted in Richard’s play, he in mine. That’s him, on the left. I’m in the center, but I wasn’t in Past Caring; we were still looking for a third actor when the promotional photos were taken. Hence, my hand in front of my face.  (As good an excuse as any for the camera-shy.) Richard instantly became, and has remained, one of my very best friends.

O, the stories were could both tell about this production… and have.

Living Room playbill Dec 2013The playbill for my first full-length play, at Hampshire College. The plot concerned a gay man and his adopted son. I was directly inspired by a playwriting class exercise, a story in the Sunday New York Times and, subliminally, by the third act of Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy.

Witness Dec 2013

Nancy Watkins, the star of my monodrama Unreliable Witness, confers with the playwright… at least as far as the Cary News photographer is concerned. Produced by Raleigh Ensemble Players in February 1991, in a double-bill with Harvey Fierstein’s On Tidy Endings. It was the lowest-attended production in REP’s history at that time, by record. That both were un-pre-digested work, one of them a new play, was a hazard. An especially nasty, homophobic review by a local critic with a revolving closet-door was probably the final kiss of death. The direction, by Roy C. Dicks, was lovely, and Nancy was everything I could have asked for, and more.

Scottmarquee resized

The playwright beneath the marquee announcing his play The Dogs of Foo. Thompson Theatre, NC State University, May 1995. (Photo: Patrick Watters.)

Foo Dog

One of the eponymous Foo Dogs in front of the former Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in L.A. Photo taken by my pal (and fellow Roddy McDowall fanatic) Roxanne Mills.

Mic and Mike in Foo Dec 2013

Micah Cover, with the late and deeply lamented Mike Roark as the aged and retired George Cukor-like movie director in the early 1970s, in The Dogs of Foo.

Martin and Lihn in Foo Dec 2013

Martin Thompson as the younger version of the director, with Linh Schladweiler as his assistant and lover in the late 1930s, in The Dogs of Foo.

Dogs of Foo playbill IMG

Playbill from the Thompson Theatre production.

Lib Ed Larry and Scott

Larry Evans as the journalist Nick, with Scott Cherryholmes as the Terry Dolanesque GOP fund-raiser Micheal Kelly, deep into their dark, obsessive sexual relationship in A Liberal Education. Produced at Thompson Theatre in 1999. Larry lacked experience but would have stood on his head had we asked him, and ended up giving a very effective performance. Scotty was astonishingly good.

Lib Ed Larry and David

Larry Evans in A Liberal Education, with David Klionsky, who played his friend and verbal sparring-partner.

Lib Ed Deborah and Jan

The luminous Deborah Lederer and the great Jan Doub Morgan, as the Lesbian partners in A Liberal Education.

A Liberal Education playbill IMG_0007

The Liberal Education playbill.

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Filed under Personal Hisotry

Marquee value?

Marquee value?

The playwright as a young(er) man, in front of the Thompson Theatre marquee at NC State University, where my play “The Dogs of Foo” premiered in 1995. (Photo: Patrick Watters)

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December 21, 2013 · 7:48 pm