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