Mask of Lust – A Play

Location: Shared apartment
Set/Props: Table, briefcase, towel, flowers. Two exits to the stage.

Sharath: Paleontologist, studious looking(glasses?), 27 years.
Madhu: Lazy roommate(pretty much a bum)
Dhivya: Sharath’s Girl Friend
Mrs. Shah: Apartment owner
Mr. Jayadev:Sharath’s Boss

(Sharath walks in with a briefcase and places it on the table, Madhu walks in from the other side with a lays packet in hand and is shocked to see him)
Madhu: Dude you are back!
Sharath: Ya man great to be back here (stretches) Missed this place a lot.
Madhu: You have been away for like 6 months now… how could you leave like that.
Sharath(opening his briefcase): Sorry about that. It all happened so fast and Jayadev was in such a hurry I could not inform you. Anyway what has been happening here?
Madhu: Nothing much dude… you know me staying a home taking care of your stuff, making sure they are all working, (takes a chip and eats it) and making sure your food tastes good.
Sharath: Well ok, Dhivya is coming over. She sounded upset over the phone…. She is probably upset coz we have not met in 6 months. These flowers are for her.
Madhu: Talking about coming over… Mrs. Shah will be here too… you have got to pay her the last 6 month’s rent.
Sharath(enraged): What? Did you not get the monthly cheques I sent you?
Madhu: Ya but that was for the food right?
Sharath: You spent it all on food.
Madhu: Well ya…. oh Thanks for that by the way.
Sharath(curses): Remind me why I still put up with you?
Madhu(casually): Coz , we have always been together… besides, I helped you pass Math… in first standard.
(Sharath closes his eyes like trying to forget everything, Takes out a mask from the briefcase and carefully places it on the table and takes out the towel)
Madhu(notices the mask): What is that?
Sharath: A mask?
Madhu: Is that what you dug up?
Sharath(sarcastically): No, that is what we wear and dance naked at night.
Madhu: Wow cool(walks up to it) But if you wear it you are not totally naked, now are you? (picks it up)
Sharath: Don’t touch it! (Grabs it back and places it back on the table) Look what you have done, this piece broke off. We worked for 6 months searching for this.
Madhu: A mask to dance naked with? Wow, so that’s what you do?
Sharath(putting the piece into the briefcase): I was joking, man you are stupid… Its called the mask of Lust.
Madhu: The mask of what?
Sharath: Lust…(thinks) HORNY! the mask makes you horny.
Madhu: What? If you put it on?
Sharath: No its smell causes that effect. Just like Musk.
Madhu: You mean AXE?
S: Something like that, but its 3000 years old…
M: Wow! I did not know that… cool so the smell in the mask makes people hot.
S: No, but I don’t think it works. (Makes a sad face) We had 20 men at the dig site and nobody got horny.
M(steps back): What! You wanted 20 men to get horny? (Looks at him in a weird way) I knew it; all you palento… something are gay.
S: What, Oh I didn’t meant that way and no Paleontologists are not gay… well except Arvind at the museum, maybe.
M: No man, you guys are always using words like homo-sape… something, homo this thing and you are bending over most of the time during the digs… Don’t think I did not notice.
S: Dude chill man nothing like that.
M: Oh man what are people saying about us. Dude we have been living together for 2 years now, that’s probably why they look weirdly at me when I go out.
S: No, that’s because you have no sense of fashion
M: Is this why I don’t get dates? Do they think I am gay?
S: No you don’t get dates coz you have no job, no social security, no money and one more thing… ahh, no character.
M: Ya you are right. (looks at S) you know what you look very dirty
S: What?
M: Not in that way dude. Dhivya is coming over and you look like you just stepped out of the sand box. Go atleast change your clothes
S: Oh ya totally forgot. You know what I think I will have a shower.
M: Why you telling me? I am not going to join you…
S: No, no I have not had a shower in a long time
M(to himself): Maybe that’s why it didn’t work and (laughs) nobody got horny…
S: Did you say something?
M: No, just…(thinking for words) hurry, you will keep her waiting.
S: Yeah you are right. Here do me a favor don’t touch anything on the table and if Dhivya comes don’t let her know I was here. I want to give her a surprise.

(S walks out. M slowly walks up and smells the mask)

M: Damn that smells bad… well at least better than Sharath.
Dhivya(walks in): Hi Madhu, Is Sharath here?
M: Oh Dhivya, (adjusts himself as if trying to impress her) no he is not here yet but should be here soon.
D: Ya right. That what I thought when I was waiting for him 6 months ago… he never came and all of a sudden he calls me today.
M: Well… Sharath is very hard working.
D: Ya atleast some people work (rolls eyes)
M(extends the packet of chips to divert attention): Want a chip?
D: No thanks, I don’t eat chips
M: Ya right, cholesterol right. I was planning to quit as well
D: But why? Its the only thing you do… you want to stop that too.
M(giggles): Very funny, (looks at the side where S left, no sign of him) Have you looked at this mask.
D(walks up to it): What is it? it looks ugly.(picks it up)
M: I think it is made from Animal gentiles.
D(drops the mask): How gross? how could you make me touch it.
M: Careful its very valuable.
D: Who would pay money for that?(smells her hand) What is that smell?
M: Its nothing. Don’t worry?
D: Well its making me dizzy… I got to wash it off.(walks to exit 2)
M(Blocks her): Where are you going?
D: To the hand wash
M: Well you cant?
D: Takes a step back… Do you treat all guests this way or just me?
M: Well no… I’m sorry but you just cant
(Dhivya meanwhile shakes her head and opens her eyes and sees Madhu… She gives an erotic smile)
M: Are you alright?
D(looks up romantically): You know Madhu I always wanted to tell you something.
M: What?
D: I have always had a little crush on you?
M(shocked): What?
D(coming closer): I actually came here to dump Sharath… I don’t need men anymore, just you Madhu (almost on him)
M(confused): what?
D: You know what I love about you?
M: What?
D(thinks hard): you are one of a kind…
M: Oh.
D: You know what, Madhu?
M: What?
D: I think its time you meet my parents?
M: What?
D: Ya, come-on they will be so happy to see you. (drags him out exit 1)

(S walks in wearing just a towel)
S: Madhu, Madhu… where is this guy? (looks at the table) OMG! Half finished packet of chips and Madhu is not here! Madhu is dead! Nothing else can explain.
Mrs Shah(walks in exit 1): He is not dead… just saw him walk out with a girl.
S(Walks to the exit): What with Dhivya?
MS: Don’t know the girls name but her hands were all over him. I don’t like this sort of public display. You want to do it – go get a room. If you get a room (turns to Sharath) pay the rent or get out.
S: Mrs Shah I’m so sorry. I got to run and catch them. How bout if I give you the cheque after I am back.
MS: Don’t try to fool me boy. That guy Madhu is also a slippery eel. He always manages to escape whenever I catch him.
S: Well ok, (heads to exit 2)
MS: Where are you going?
S: To put on my clothes.
MS: And escape thru the backdoor, sorry, Madhu used that already.
S: What? But I am naked under this.
MS: Then hold on tight…
(S grabs his towel)
MS: Not like I have not seen anything you might be hiding in there… (S is wide eyed) The one thing for sure I have not seen in the last 6 months is a cheque from you?
S: Oh ok! (Walks upto the table and pulls out the cheque book.)
MS: That’s for (loudly) 6 months.(looks at the mask)
(S signs it and hands it over)
MS: Thanks. (Picks up the mask) What is this?
S: Don’t touch it…. (Snatches it) Its very delicate.
MS: Ok (smells her hand) It smells weird
S: That’s coz its 3000 years old
MS: Oh My God! What if it has some ancient virus(or a curse)… I am doomed…
S: Its does not have a virus… or a curse
MS: Well did you test it?
S: No, but lot of people have handled it.
MS: Are they still alive?
S(irritated): Yes they are?
(Phone rings)
S: Hello! Yes, Mr. Johnson, I am at home. The mask is with me. I’m sorry I had to hurry back home…. It will take me a while to get to office… you don’t need to come here… ok if you must.
(Hangs up, MS on the side is feeling giddy)
S: Damn I can’t even go out now… Mrs. Shah… what are you still doing here?(looks at MS) OMG are you alright
(Holds her hand)
S: Are you alright?
MS(stops shaking her head): I am fine… You are so concerned about me.
S: Well ya…
MS: Whatever any one says… you young boys are much well built than the guys of those days (runs here finger on his chest)
S: What are you doing?
MS: You know Sharath, Mr. Shah is a very busy man…
S: Yeah
MS: He goes to office at 8 am and is back only at 11 pm. He is not very interested in satisfying me.
S: What? Why are you telling me this?
MS: I have seen the way you look at me. Undressing me with your eyes.
S: Trust me of all the people in the world I would not want to undress you
MS: Stop playing with me.(grabs him by the waist) and play with me.
S: What? Let me go
MS: Trust me, I can teach you stuff… these young girls have no idea about.

(Madhu and Dhivya walk in exit 0)
Dhivya: You must have drugged me or something. (S and MS let go of each other act innocent)
Madhu: No, You suggested it.
D: Yeah right. Not even if you were the last man on the planet
M(to himself): Damn it wears off.
D: What?
M(disappointed): Nothing.
D(looks at Sharath): What are you doing in that towel.
S: Hi Dhivya how are you? I missed you so much.(goes to hug her)
D: Wait right there… Today has been a long day so let me tell this and finish it. I don’t want to see you anymore…(S is shocked) I’m dating someone else… I have actually got to see him later in the evening so sorry. bye (turns and walks out… Madhu runs behind her)
(S is frozen)
MS: Well good ridden to bad rubbish… If you want get over her, you can come and ravish me any time you want. (goes to the exit and turns back) Come in the towel (acts as if clawing at him) grrr

M(returns): What is wrong with the girl. Dude, snap out of it. (talking about himself) She has no idea who the good guys are.
S: Damn, Jaydev is coming and if he sees that the mask is broken I am screwed… Quick, we can just repackage it before he comes.
M: Ok lets do that…
(go to the table and put the mask back in the package… S takes out another package)
M: What is that?
S: Another mask.
M: Wow cool. What does this one do?
S: Its dangerous… its the Mask of Hate. We left it open for 2 min and there were about 5 fights. It must not be opened.
M: Oh cool. But why are you keep it aside
S: I was supposed to destroy it after all the trouble it caused. I thought I can keep it as a memento
M: But wont Jaydev know about it.
S: He doesn’t, he was here the whole time, that bastard basically is making me do all his work.

(J steps in)
J: Sharath you nincompoop,
S: Yes Mr Jaydev,
J: where is it?
S: here… sorry for the delay
J: I can get you fired for this you know… Anyway, trust Dhivya has told you
S: She was here but…
J: She likes guys with real jobs Sharath don’t take it personally… (S is clearly pissed) I got to run back and go on a date with her tonight… See you in office.
S: Wait a sec J, (gets the other package) I bought this for Dhivya but cant give it to her… I lost her but she might as well get this its for her…
J: What is it?
S: Its a replica of the Mask of Lust… Bought it in the market near the dig… The locals say it has very similar properties (raises his eyebrows)
J: Wow Sharath you are a very good loser… thanks a lot, I will try and get you a raise
S: Thanks
(J walks out)

M(laughing ): He wont know what hit him… Dhivya is a handful when she is angry…
(S stares at M, Walks up to the briefcase and picks up the broken piece of the mask)
M: Hey we can pick up a lot of girls with that.
S: I need to solve something more important with it. Someone else requires it more, I am giving it away
M: To whom
S: Mr. Shah!

(Curtain falls)