Jackie's a control freak who's out of control.
Mark has single-minded focus, but wants more moderation in his life.
Part 1 - A Café
JACKIE and MARK (both 30s-50s) are on a first date, after exchanging many e-mails but never meeting in person.
As they sit in a café and get to know each other better, Mark reveals that he collects handcuffs.
As a matter of fact, he was supposed to meet a collector named John that morning and negotiate for a rare set of Davis double-loops.
But John wasn’t home.
Swinging into action, Jackie suggests they go over to John’s house and wait for him.
Mark: “That’d be kind of weird first date, wouldn’t it?”
Jackie: “You’ve never had a weird first date? Sometimes I think that’s what first dates are for.”
After Jackie shares her weirdest first date (on which she pretended she was her best friend), she tells Mark they’re going to John’s house. “You want those Davis double-loops. How far are you willing to go to get them?
Part 2 - The street outside John’s house
Jackie said they’d sit in the car, but now decides John might be home and unable to come to the door.
Jackie: “What if he slipped in the shower? Or stroked out? Maybe he was testing the double loops and handcuffed himself to a radiator. Maybe I can find an open window or an unlocked door.”
Mark: “This is not a good idea.”
Jackie: “Maybe it’s the idea that’ll save a life. Or the difference between you getting the double loops, and not. Suppose you had a chance to save someone’s life, and didn’t do it? What if you had a chance to get the Davises, and you let it slip through your fingers. Would you
Part 3 - Inside John’s house
Entering through an open window, they find John’s house tricked out like something out of the Spanish Inquisition. There’s a rack...
an iron maiden...pillory and stocks...a pike...manacles, tongs, forceps...And of course, handcuffs.
Mark wants to leave immediately. Jackie decides to look around. But there’s no John.
And something dawns on Mark... “Why are you so calm? You’ve just broken into someone’s house, and you seem to think
you’re not taking any risk... And how’d you find that open window so easily? I think you live here. This is one of your first-date tests.”
Jackie denies it. Mark refuses to believe her.
In the midst of their rapidly-escalating argument, JOHN walks in on them. He’s enormous, and looks like a biker. You can’t see the tattoos, but there’s no doubt they’re there. One of them is “MOM” inside a heart. With a knife through it. Use your imagination about the others.
Accusing Mark of being a “naughty boy” (and clearly mistaking him for someone named Marvin, who called earlier and said he’d be late), John handcuffs Mark.
Mark tries to explain that he’s here to see the David double loops. John replies, “You don’t tell me what cuffs to use.”
Jackie catches John by surprise and handcuffs him. Anyone else might now uncuff Mark, but Jackie gets caught up interviewing John
about his lifestyle. When she hears he’s got a dungeon in the basement, she gets really curious, and decides to go down and see it.
“When am I gonna get another chance to see a dungeon?”
While Jackie’s down there, John and Mark get free.
When she returns, John handcuffs her to the wall and chains Mark to the rack.
John: “You came here for a reason. To be punished for being naughty.”
Mark tries to convince John that he’s not Marvin. To no avail. “Remember our agreement? That no matter what you said,
I was not to believe you.”
As John approaches Mark, whip in hand, Mark threatens to have him prosecuted, stopping John in his tracks.
Turns out, prosecuted is the safe word John set up with Marvin.
John leaves Mark handcuffed (“In case you change your mind”), throws him into a closet (“I’m giving you your money’s worth.”),
then turns to Jackie, wielding a paddle.
It takes a little while, and a lot of effort, but Jackie finally manages to convince John that neither of them is Marvin,
and Mark is indeed here for the Davis double-loops.
Maybe they’re about to work things out. Or not... Because the three of them wind up handcuffed to one another. (Don’t ask...)
John gets free, leaving Mark and Jackie handcuffed together, and Mark and John finally begin to negotiate for the Davises.
But both veteran collectors, they alternate between getting caught up in “talking handcuffs” and haggling over every detail.
Finally, Jackie finally manages to strike a deal.
And just when everything is going smoothly... Marvin shows up.
Semi-Finalist - 2013 HotCity Greenhouse New Play Festival.
Semifinalist - 2014 Ashland New Plays Festival.
A monologue from Cufflinked has been published by JAC Publishing in interJACtions: Monologues at the Heart of Human Nature, Volume III.
(It’s not important)
(Not important, but should be about the same age as Jackie.)
(Unimportant, but should not be younger than Jackie and Mark.)