Operation Sweet Dream


At Rise: VERNON sits on a bench on his back porch, methodically cleans his hunting rifle with a kitchen towel.

JOAN: (From off stage.) Vernon I’m home. Where are you?

VERNON: Out back.

JOAN (enters, places lunch sack next to VERNON.) Half an egg salad sandwich with a dill pickle. I ate the olives.

VERNON: Perfect.  Chips? 

JOAN: LuAnne ate those. (Motions to rifle.) Haven’t seen that old thing in years.

VERNON: I’ll eat any damn thing I want including chips.

JOAN: She’s watching your cholesterol in her own passive way.

VERNON: I’m sticking a, wide load sign, on her derriere next time I see her.

JOAN: Oh stop.

VERNON: I proved my love for you with this.

JOAN: Nothing says true love like elk steak in my parent’s freezer for a year.

VERNON: Damn right. A real man is a good provider.

JOAN: Why you fussing with it?

VERNON:  Well, I may need it.

JOAN: Well?


Ladies first.

JOAN: How about a cup of green tea?

VERNON: I’d rather have coffee.

JOAN: I read use of green tea significantly reduces (Beat.) why not, I like coffee you like coffee, we’re drinking coffee. 

(JOAN Exits. Off stage.)

JOAN: Anything new with Russell?

(Returns with coffee pot, pours coffee into cups.)

VERNON: He was passed over for the promotion. (Pulls Brandy bottle out from under bench.) He’s

convinced its age discrimination.

JOAN: Wait till he’s 82. Age discrimination, ridiculous, he’s 52 still a pup.

VERNON: He can be a pain in the ass, probably got that from one of us.

JOAN: Probably.

VERNON: Melanie painted the kitchen yellow now energy flows around the room. Feng Shoe.

JOAN: Feng Shui, that’s good.

VERNON: We were able to swing by and get the oil changed in the car.

JOAN: You going to tell me or do I have to call the doctor?

VERNON: I didn’t sign the line authorizing them to share information with you, dear heart.

JOAN: That wouldn’t stop me.

VERNON: Good sandwich; you go to that Jewish deli down on 5th? Be better with chips.

JOAN: So, (baby talk.) did the doctor stick his finger up your butt?

VERNON: We had a bonding experience. (Pours liquor in his cup.)

JOAN: It’s barely afternoon. (Raises cup for liquor to be poured in.) Better give me something to bite the bullet with.

VERNON: She wants to run some more tests.

JOAN: She? I thought you were seeing Doctor German.

VERNON: He suggested I’d see this new one, specializes in old men with  hair growing out of -

JOAN: (Frustrated with Vernon’s avoidance and looks at towel he has been using on gun.) Vernon Joseph stop it! You know how tired I get of this? This is ridiculous. You know I hate it when you use good kitchen towels as rags. Don’t you ever think before you do things!

VERNON: What’s gotten into you woman?

JOAN: I am fighting the urge to slap you alongside your pie hole.

VERNON: They’re just kitchen towels, not your good panties.

JOAN; I’ve lived with you for almost sixty years.  What is this? (Grabs rifle tosses it across porch.) You don’t get to do this!

VERNON; Christ! Be careful that could have been loaded. (Starts to retrieve rifle but sits back down without it.) Some consideration please it’s an antique, probably valuable. (Pause.) It doesn’t look good.

JOAN: You don’t get to leave, not like that. (Beat.) We’re the antiques Vernon, we’re valuable.

VERNON: You notice how old things smell different than new things?

JOAN:  Talk to me!

VERNON: Do we have to talk about every dang thing all the dang time!

JOAN : Yes! Yes we talk. We talk and figure out how to handle things.

VERNON: Talking is for women. I don’t know the words.  It’s (Pause.) I need time to, you know, process.

JOAN: You can’t leave me, not like that. We’re a team, we’re us, not that other.

VERNON: I’m scared. (Beat.) Will you still have me?

JOAN: You’re my one and only. (Hugs VERNON.)

VERNON: And you’re my tootsie roll. Sorry I used your kitchen towel.


JOAN: Remember Operation Sweet Dreams?

VERNON: That plan could have taken care of both of us.

JOAN:  Eloquent in its simplicity.  I still have the pills.

VERNON: do narcotics expire?

JOAN: To us. (Pours more liquor into cups, they toast.)

VERNON: To you, my lovely bride.

JOAN: We’re not dead, it takes a long time for old people to die you know.

VERNON: I’d like to try that marijuana they suggested you use during chemo.

JOAN: Really? It’s still in the cupboard behind the pickled beets.

VERNON: What do you say?

JOAN: It’s a shame, days and years sucked away without savoring them.

VERNON: I’ll give you something to suck.

JOAN: Vernon! You’ll give me something to suck? I can’t believe you said that.

VERNON: I love hearing you laugh.

JOAN: Well then let’s laugh more.

VERNON: There are a number of things we should do more of...

JOAN:  Are you trying to get into my granny panties?

VERNON: Always, and anything that is questionable, unhealthy, and immoral. Want to join me?

JOAN: With only one breast who would have me?

VERNON: Maybe a one-armed sailor.

JOAN: Or a one-eyed pirate. (Beat.) You sure?

VERNON: Humbly existing is for pantywaists, we are living.

JOAN: Doctors wouldn’t recommend this.

VERNON: They’re idiots. What do they know about living?

JOAN: The Hippocratic Oath is so limiting.

VERNON: First, we loosen up, remember?  Eat fried food, listen to loud music, and dance. We dance in our underwear or better yet nothing. Swear and laugh even if I forget to put my teeth in.

JOAN: I’ll say “shit” while eating, not wear panties to church and have ice cream for dinner.

VERNON: Sip expensive rum and pee off the back porch.

JOAN: Maybe I’ll try that.

VERNON: Now that’s something I’d like to see. We no longer talk about our pains or our medications –

JOAN: Our procedures or bowel movements -

VERNON: I’m going to start taking those little blue pills.

JOAN: Vernon what about your high blood, fine, little blue pills it is.

VERNON: At night you’ll read poetry as I rub cocoa butter on your dainty feet, up your calves and onto those silky thighs.

JOAN: I’d better shave.

VERNON: If you’re going to shave let’s go to Mexico.

JOAN: ahhh Mexico, sunshine, cold sangrias and warm sand.

VERNON: Siestas, we’ll make love in the afternoon.

JOAN: Sounds divine. Where did we put our passports?

VERNON: They’re in the locked cabinet off the hallway

JOAN: What about the children.


JOAN: I’d like them to be there.

VERNON: They won’t appreciate it.

JOAN: But we’ll appreciate them.

VERNON: Good lord woman. Didn’t you hear me? Siestas, sex in the afternoon, moonlit walks.

JOAN: It will be fine mister grumpy. Think of the great memories they’ll have.

VERNON: Next you’ll say it’s our treat.

JOAN: That’s a lovely idea. Spring break is next week so the grand kids can be there too.

VERNON: No use dying with a nickel in your pocket.

JOAN: Imagine we’ll never deal with Medicare again.

VERNON: I’ll find the passports.

JOAN: Remember the place on the beach; it had bird in its name.

 VERNON: Playa Del Pelican. How about the honeymoon suite?

JOAN: Are you making assumptions about my desire to do the hot tamale with you?

VERNON: (Latin accent.) You have not yet met Julio the dark and swarthy lover.

JOAN: Oh my.

VERNON: (Latin accent.) Women swoon and glisten when he casts his eyes upon them. I pounce, with no notice.

JOAN: Sounds intriguing, now where’d I put that funeral home address?


Your tall dark and handsome will return. (Exits to house.)

JOAN: (To off stage.) Vernie while you have that cabinet unlocked look for the power of attorney papers.

VERNON: (From off stage.) Why didn’t we do this before?

JOAN: (To off stage.) We kept doing the next best thing the doctors presented. We gave ourselves up to the all powerful OZ.  Remember Operation Sweet Dreams emerged when we were informed I might not make it.

VERNON: (From off stage.) We’ve had some great years.

JOAN: (Reflective.) We sure have. You sat at my bedside gripping my hand, you were there, putting lotion on my cracked skin, Vaseline on my lips, ice chips on my tongue.  Your love made me strong.

VERNON: Speak up I don’t have my hearing aids in.

JOAN: I said your love helped me. Let’s book that flight as a round trip.

VERNON: (Walks out of house.) 

Found ‘em. Getting our bodies out of Mexico would be easier if LuAnne and Russell spoke Spanish. I told them to take Spanish in college.

JOAN: I can’t do it.

VERNON: Mexico or ? (VERNON makes slitting throat motion.)

JOAN: You pulled me through and I’m going to do that for you.

VERNON: Siestas and hot tamale sessions?

JOAN: Even if death waves at us across the street I want to experience every last nano-second of our time together.

VERNON: I’m hot stuff now but in a few months…

JOAN: Operation Sweet Dreams is brilliant, but let’s enjoy the living part, a bit longer.

VERNON: Still get to pee off the back porch?

JOAN: I won’t be wearing panties to church anymore.

VERNON: Dance with me you saucy wench.

(Music starts to play as VERNON and JOAN slowly dance together.)

End of Play


This is your Service description. Use this space to describe what the service entails, benefits for users and any other important information. Have a lot to say? Easily turn any item into a full page by clicking ‘Create a page from this item’ in the edit panel.


This is your Service description. Use this space to describe what the service entails, benefits for users and any other important information. Have a lot to say? Easily turn any item into a full page by clicking ‘Create a page from this item’ in the edit panel.