Colleen Mason - Freshness Guaranteed

Freshness Guaranteed

Colleen Mason


 (Train and station noises. Three or more people are sitting on a bench at a train station. ONE is reading a newspaper; a good-looking young man, HE, is listening to an iPod nodding and occasionally moving with the music; the third, a young woman, SHE, is texting. SHE puts her phone away and stands up and addresses the audience).

SHE:   There is nothing so perfectly ordinary as a toothbrush.  Or the act of brushing your teeth.

I spend a lot of time waiting to get from A to B. I like taking the bus and the train and, if I can afford it, the plane. But I hate taxis. Those drivers get pushy. So I find myself in a lot of different terminals and in a lot of different company.

And for someone like me, in the spring of youth, and totally juiced up on all of those hormones, I get to have a lot of those encounters. The kind where I see someone or I talk to someone and suddenly my heart starts pounding and sweat is everywhere.

I know, totally gross, and (an abrupt, interrupting pause to look at the audience sternly). Not like that kind of encounter. Really, come on. I’ve got class.  

And, I’m only human. These things happen to everyone. And if you say it doesn’t, I’m, like, going to like, punch you so hard.

                (Angry/flirtatious wink/gesture/wave/eye roll).

So one sunny day I had one of those moments with one of those people and it was like Hans Zimmerman was directing the orchestra of my life. I’m hearing harps and flutes and violins (cue flirty, romantic music) and there were butterflies (ONE throws confetti in the air)

  (Trail off a bit, then come back to reality. Music stops).

What? You don’t know who Hans Zimmerman is? Work with me guys. I was having a moment.

It was so magical. The scene was set. We were in that wonderful zone in the in-between, courtesy of the station: that place where everyone is waiting for something of someone. And we had the right number of people – (pause) two (simultaneously gesture with two fingers). And it felt like, if not the right time, then a good time.

And this part of me was just trying to think of something to say. “Be cool,” I said to myself. But it’s hard to focus when my primal visceral parts are (loudly) FREAKING OUT.

 (Quickly) And then BAM.

I didn’t brush my teeth this morning.

 (Long and) And I had garlic breath.

And I became this cringey and embarrassed mass of jell-o.

 (Sigh, pause).

Talk about hitting a brick wall.

If I breathed anywhere near this guy I knew that I was going to knock him out. And not in a good way.


You know, that morning, when I realized my toothbrush wasn't in its spot I just put on the “fuck it who needs it” attitude. I didn't think that maybe I might run into my future on the train. This morning wasn’t going to be a big deal, you know? I was just going to sit for five hours. No one was going to care about my dental hygiene, I mean, I didn't.

Jeez do I regret that now. And that everything bagel, that too. Especially that.

So, me, and this guy, we had some (very sarcastically) really great conversation.  

(Train sounds get louder, the young man stands up).

HE:  (Hesitates) Is that the train to Boston?

SHE: (Turning partially away from HE awkwardly, shaking her head.)   No.

(Young man sits down. Train sounds quiet down.)

SHE:  And that was it.  That’s my story.

Here we have two people; one normal (points to HE), the other one, me (gesture to self), hunched over being awkward and pretty much talking to myself because, oh man, if this guy falls over and dies because of my killer breath, I won’t be able to live with myself for the next five hours on that train. And here I am right now freaking out about what could have been.

Why didn’t I just bring gum? (ONE throws confetti at SHE) Why? (Turns to look at ONE).