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  • Can I Get You Anything?
  • Raymond Carver and Tess Gallagher

Characters

BARBARA, Thirty, a little overweight, wearing slacks and a sweater.

JANICE, Twenty-five, tailored clothes, self-assured air.

SALESWOMAN, Early sixties, blue-white hair.

WOMAN, Mid-fifties, matronly and well dressed. But her hairdo gives her away as a little brassy. Bangs and a red rinse.

Scene

Three dressing rooms open dollhouse fashion to the audience. A cash register on the counter stage right. Racks of clothes—women’s dresses, hats, negligees, etc. A large full-length mirror near the dressing rooms. As the curtain rises the Saleswoman is writing EVERYTHING GOES on a huge placard. A smaller sidewalk placard is displayed outside the entrance to the store. It says GOING OUT OF BUSINESS SALE.

[Janice and Barbara enter from the right.]

JANICE

Spinach crepes. [End Page 417]

BARBARA

I don’t know if I’m in the mood for crepes. You have to be in the right mood for crepes.

JANICE

Well, we could go to the place next door for ribs.

BARBARA

They always give you more than you can eat at that place. I don’t want to stuff myself.

[Janice sees the dress shop sign sitting on the sidewalk.]

JANICE

[Reading out loud.]

GOING OUT OF BUSINESS SALE. Oh, let’s go in, Barbara! It’ll only take a minute.

BARBARA

[Hesitates.]

We won’t get carried away, will we?

JANICE

They’ll have a lot of two-for-one buys. They’re getting rid of things. Let’s go in. Just for a minute. Then we’ll go eat.

BARBARA

Okay, but stick by me. I don’t trust myself.

[They enter the store. The Saleswoman comes over to them.]

SALESWOMAN

May I help you girls?

BARBARA

We just want to look, don’t we, Janice?

JANICE

[To the Saleswoman.]

Yes, we’re just looking.

BARBARA

[To the Saleswoman.]

I bet you hear that a lot, don’t you? [End Page 418]

SALESWOMAN

Yes, I do. I leave them alone when they say that. I help them when they want help. But I’m right here, girls, if you need me.

[She goes on with her work, folding some clothes.]

BARBARA

[To Janice, out of the Saleswoman’s hearing.]

Watch her. She’ll be right down on us if we act the least bit interested in anything.

JANICE

Look at this!

[She takes a blouse from a rack and holds it out.]

Luscious! Melon. Wouldn’t you say this color is melon?

BARBARA

[Looks blankly at the blouse.]

Melon? Yes, I suppose so.

[Janice folds the blouse over her arm and continues looking at the clothes. Barbara tentatively parts the clothes on a nearby rack. Janice notices what Barbara is looking at.]

JANICE

That collar’s too wide for you, Barbara. Something with the neck open, maybe. Slims the cheeks.

[Barbara picks out another blouse and holds it up.]

That’s more like it. Apricot. That’ll give you a little color. Why don’t you try it on?

SALESWOMAN

[Approaching.]

That’s the last one of those, dear. The dressing rooms are right over there.

BARBARA

I’m big through the shoulders. I don’t know if it’ll fit.

JANICE

If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. [End Page 419]

[Janice keeps looking at the clothes on the rack. Barbara moves slowly toward the dressing rooms, still looking dubious. Before she goes into the dressing room she turns to Janice.]

BARBARA

Are you going to try something on, Janice?

JANICE

I might. If something catches my eye, I just might. You go ahead.

[Barbara pulls open the curtain to the dressing room and steps inside. The Saleswoman is close behind her. Barbara closes the curtain.]

SALESWOMAN

[Through the curtain.]

There’s a big mirror out here and a smaller one in there, dear. It’s a darling blouse. I think you’re going to like it.

[Barbara takes off her blouse. She starts to put on the new blouse, but at that moment the Saleswoman pulls the curtain back. Barbara gasps and holds up the blouse to cover herself.]

If you need anything, dear, I’m right here.

BARBARA

Thank you.

[Barbara...

Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 417-427
Launched on MUSE
1998-10-01
Open Access
No
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