Literary Yard

Search for meaning

By Domonique

Cocoa Butter Kiss: A Play


SCENE: A caucasian wife (MARY) and husband, fully clothed, hop into bed, telling one another unaffectionately “sweet dreams”. The alarm clock reads 9:30 PM. MARY falls asleep instantly. BLACKOUT.


SCENE: MARY, as her younger self, sitting on a lounge chair (thinking chair) in an apartment, smoking a cigar – stage spotlight illuminating her.

MARY: (talking to herself aloud.) What exactly counts as knowledge if bereft of experience? Is being anything but a choice? Is it possible to define free will on a planet harboring government and society? Is there such a thing as an entirely objective experience? If I live by a moral system not of my own, am I not a slave? What defines reality? How do I know I am awake and not dreaming? How do I know what I say I know? If all humans are individuals and therefore individually connected to the world, wouldn’t then each individual be individually connected to God? Will there ever be a physical battle between the mushrooming isms and ists, and, if so, who would win? (phone vibrates in her pocket.) When Nietzsche said, “Man is something that shall be overcome”, is it irrational to think he was referring to technology? (takes the phone from her pocket and throws it across the room.) Is there any other logical way to perceive one’s initial attitude toward religion other than a predetermined system in obedience to the geographical location one is born, coupled with the family one is born into? Are non-religious people who suffer from shame just plain dumb? Are non-religious people who suffer from chastity just plain wacky? (smokes cigar mutely, appearing to be in deep thought.) Tomorrow will be the day – but tomorrow doesn’t exist until it becomes today. Does the concept of tomorrow grant meaning to something that is nothing? Why do we think about something that is nothing? Then the concept of death also grants meaning to something that is nothing – and when it is something, to the deceased, it is still nothing due to the departed’s inability to become aware that it has transmuted from nothing to something. Why are people afraid of something that is nothing? (smokes cigar mutely in deep thought, blowing clouds into the air as stage lights dim.)


SCENE: “Tomorrow” – The sun is shining upon the beach. MARY and BOOKER (African-American male) are seated on beach towels beside one another. Gulls are chirruping.

MARY: (coquettishly.) Can I have another kiss? (they kiss.) Thanks. I am so happy to have met you this morning. I typically don’t do such things.

BOOKER: Such things?

MARY: Approach men.

BOOKER: Well, I am glad you did.

MARY: Were you here long before I met you?

BOOKER: Nope. But I’m guessing you already knew that.

MARY: (laughs.) I’m going for a swim.


(MARY exits with a grand strut, hips swerving as if to the beat of drums. Returns damp, hips once more swerving as if to the beat of drums.)

MARY: (tripping upon return, lands on the warmth of BOOKER’s back muscles.) Whoopsies!

BOOKER: You’re something.

MARY: Of course I am. Will you take me somewhere today?

BOOKER: Where do you want to go?

MARY: Anywhere.

BOOKER: I may know a place.


SCENE: Outdoor courtyard of a jazz bar with tables and chairs occupied by persons enjoying themselves. MARY and BOOKER start toward the only vacant table. Most of the persons at the bar know BOOKER: he receives affections from musicians, playful cat-calls are sent his way, and he audibly shakes the hands of men wearing suave suits accompanied by ladies wearing nothing but black. Then a call comes from inside the bar (off-stage). BOOKER exits. Stage spotlight illuminates MARY. MARY lights a cigarette with a match.

MARY: (speaking to herself aloud.) There is no reality other than the present. There is no tomorrow. There is no day after that. There is no reality in the beyond. When our last breath closes our eyes and the sun is no longer there, a sleek repose of nothingness awaits. The song of laughter will no longer please our ears, our skin will never again meet an unexpected current of air from a window, the ecstasy of whiffing the escaping smells from a neighbor’s kitchen will cease, the taste of wine will be forgotten, the fantasies after the fleeting bliss of looking into the eyes of a stranger will never again be realized. These are the ripples that elucidate. The flesh of nature, the fruit of our world. The knowing in the unknown. The flickers of sunlight revealing the silver in the shadows. Life is but a story . . . The best stories have been rewritten and reread, then rewritten and reread again and again. We don’t own that luxury. Nor do we own the luxury of writing our story’s end. Our story is but a draft, filled with errors, brilliance, passion, and beauty – with the most mysterious conclusion. And what is romance without mystery? And what would life be without romance? At the end, the pages of our draft are all that will define us.

BOOKER: (returning, spotlight illuminating the pair of them.) Would you like to dance?

(MARY offers her hand; the stage spotlight follows the pair as they perform a ballet to jazz music. Once the pair sit the stage alights to the original scene: tables and chairs occupied by persons enjoying themselves.)

J.: (from the aloft balcony, leaned over the rail, beckoning with his hands.) Come up, man! (BOOKER looks to the balcony.) Come up! (women thrust themselves into the balcony frame.) Come on, man. We’re having a party!

BOOKER: (to MARY.) Would you like to head up to my man’s apartment?

MARY: (coquettishly.) I’ll go anywhere with you.

(Both exit.)


SCENE: Apartment with cool interior. A mahogany piano in the corner of the room with an ashtray on top of it. Several persons (all African American men and women) are present; three men are by the window (background) and two women are seated at a table (foreground.) All are enjoying themselves, smoking, drinking, laughing. MARY and BOOKER enter.

J.: (to BOOKER, excitedly.) Yo, man. You still slick on the keys?

BOOKER: (indignantly, though charmingly.) Man . . . You know I am.

J.: Well, will you play something for us or what?

BOOKER: What you wanna hear?

J.: Whatever Slick Rick wants to play.

(BOOKER and J walk with a sturdy tenderness over to the piano. J postures himself by the piano, lighting a cigarette with a match. BOOKER settles himself behind the piano, then experiments with the keys. MARY sits at the table of women.)

LELA: (offering MARY a beer.) Would you like a drink?

MARY: Sure. (takes the beer.) Thank you.

LELA: You’re welcome. Have you heard him play before?

MARY: No. I only met him this morning.

LELA: Well, you’re in for a treat.

(Stage spotlight illuminates BOOKER and J. J. is smoking. BOOKER plays magnificently a stylish jazz piece. BOOKER, with his right hand never leaving his pocket, and J step away from the piano, joining other gentlemen at the window. BOOKER lights cigarette.)

LELA: (to MARY.) So, how’d you meet Book?

MARY: On the beach this morning.

RENE: I wish I met a man like Book on the beach. My man’s probably off with another woman as we speak.

LELA: That’s your damn fault. I told you . . . Never trust a man who avoids collision. Collision with another man, conflict, a thought, or collision with himself.

RENE: And what if that man makes a girl’s honey pot rejoice ten times a night?

LELA: In that case, shooooot, there ain’t no harm in sharing him around to the sisters.

(RENE and LELA laugh with a bounding vitality, making MARY laugh.)

RENE: (to LELA.) Have you read the latest from Baldwin?

LELA: Girrrl, that boy can write!

RENE: A brave ass man right there. (using her hand as a fan.) Makes me wet just thinking about it.

LELA: (animatedly.) Girl, damn!

RENE: Just saying. Baldwin’s little ass be so cool with them words he could have a priest thinking about a lil sin with a boy of the night.

(Laughter again spawns at the table: this time an acute fluctuation of both volume and pitch seems to give the laughter its own momentary consciousness. BOOKER shakes hands with all the gentlemen present at the window, then starts for the table of ladies.)

BOOKER: (arriving.) May I have her back, ladies?

RENE: (enigmatically.) You can have whatever you want, Book.

BOOKER: (smiles.) You’re always wildin’, Rene. Y’all enjoy the rest of your evening.

(MARY rises, helped by BOOKER.)

LELA: You too, Book.

(BOOKER and MARY start for the door.)

MARY: (whispering, curling tendril.) How about my place for a drink?

(BOOKER nods. BOOKER and MARY exit.)


SCENE: Fashionable apartment. Enter MARY and BOOKER. MARY watches BOOKER walk around her apartment, observing the interior as if it were a room in a museum.

BOOKER: Nice place.

MARY: Thanks. Drink?

BOOKER: Please.

(BOOKER sits on lounge chair (thinking chair). MARY retrieves a bottle of whiskey and pours two glasses. MARY hands BOOKER a glass. MARY sits on BOOKER’s lap. They cheers. They both light a cigarette and smoke in silence, sipping.)

MARY: (abruptly.) Wanna do something fun?


(MARY ashes cigarette and mounts BOOKER. BOOKER feels MARY’s body with his hands. MARY pulls away swiftly. BOOKER looks as if he sees his own ghost.)

MARY: (sensuously.) You can do anything you want to me.

(BOOKER’S fear dissolves. BOOKER takes MARY. Afterward BOOKER offers MARY a cigarette.)

MARY: I think we’ve each earned ourselves a cigar.

(MARY exits to retrieve two cigars. While alone BOOKER remarks a certain photograph. MARY returns, lights both cigars in her mouth with a match, then hands a cigar to BOOKER.)

BOOKER: (pointing at the picture.) Are you and your brother close?

MARY: (calmly.) Oh, no, that is my fiancé.

BOOKER: (confusedly.) Fiancé?

MARY: We are to be married rather soon, yes.

BOOKER: (takes a healthy draw from his cigar.) Damn.

MARY: (after a few moments of silence, smiling.) I had to know.


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