Ordinary Sympathy / by Jeffrey Lo

May 28 2018 - Ordinary Sympathy.jpg


PHOEBE, a homeless woman sits calmly on the sidewalk.

A person draws near.

PHOEBE: Spare some change? Anything helps get lunch.

The person doesn’t make eye contact and just keeps walking.

PHOEBE: God bless.


PHOEBE coughs.

Another person draws near.

PHOEBE: Spare some change? Anything helps get lunch.

The person looks at PHOEBE briefly and shakes their head.

PHOEBE: God bless.

The person keeps walking and murmurs under their breath, “Thanks.”


PHOEBE adjusts how she sits. Her back hurts.

Another person draws near.

PHOEBE: Spare some change? Anything helps get lunch.

The person stops and digs in their pocket.

The person takes two pennies out.

The person makes eye contact with PHOEBE as they hand her the two pennies.

PHOEBE: Thank you. God bless.

The person exits.

PHOEBE smiles.

PHOEBE: Seems like a sweetheart.


PHOEBE counts her money.

PHOEBE: 79… 80… 81 cents.

PHOEBE coughs.

Two more people begin to draw near PHOEBE.

DEZI, a woman on a date and MIKEY, a man heading to work.

PHOEBE gets ready to speak but before they get close enough –

DEZI drops her phone.

DEZI: Shit!

MIKEY: Oh no…

DEZI lets out a huge sigh.

She bends over to pick it up.

As she bends over, MIKEY checks DEZI out.

DEZI looks at her screen. 

DEZI: Oh, no! I can’t deal with this right now…

MIKEY: How bad is it?

DEZI shows MIKEY the screen.

MIKEY: Damn…

DEZI: I know.

MIKEY: I am so sorry that happened to you, that’s like, super terrible.

DEZI: I can’t afford to fix this.

MIKEY: Really?


MIKEY: Um. Hey. I want to help you.

DEZI: Thanks but what can you do? Get me a new phone.

MIKEY: Hah, no. But actually I do think I can help.

DEZI: How would you do that?

MIKEY: Well – I have a friend who works at Apple.

DEZI: I don’t think just anyone at Apple could –

MIKEY: He works in repairs.


MIKEY: You know what, he owes me a favor, I can link you two up.

DEZI: Why are you doing this?

MIKEY: I don’t know, I saw what happened to you. No one should have to deal with that. That sucks… (Pause) So why don’t you just give me your number and I’ll get you two in touch.

DEZI: Um. Ok.

DEZI puts her phone number in MIKEY’s phone.

DEZI: You sure you’re –

MIKEY: Yeah. Totally. I’ll be in touch.


MIKEY: See ya.

DEZI: See ya.

MIKEY starts typing something in his phone.

DEZI starts to exit.

PHOEBE thinks about asking DEZI for help.

PHOEBE thinks about what just happened to DEZI and decides not to.

She has her own problems to deal with – PHOEBE thinks.

MIKEY finishes on his phone and starts to exit.

PHOEBE looks at MIKEY.

PHOEBE: Spare some chan –

MIKEY: No! I have no money, ok? Not for you. Stop bothering me. Jesus.

MIKEY storms off.


PHOEBE: God bless.


Lights fade.