JENNIE. Early 40s, recently divorced and living on her own for the first time in a long while.
AGATHA. Early 80s, widowed but sprightly, has been living on her own for some time.
The stage is set to look like an urban area at night. We can see the alley behind a large, brick apartment building. JENNIE, wearing a set of silk PJs, is carefully climbing out of her window on the top floor onto a rusty fire escape attached the building as AGATHA watches her from a window below.
AGATHA: You're going to kill yourself. You realize that, don't you?
JENNIE: Not now, Agatha.
AGATHA: I don't know what you think you're looking for.
JENNIE: There's something up here, I just know it.
JENNIE wriggles herself onto the fire escape and steadies her body as it shakes beneath her weight.
AGATHA: You're nuts.
JENNIE: I am not nuts. All night long I hear this awful noise, this screeching and scratching sound. It's dreadful. I haven't had a proper night's sleep in days.
AGATHA: Ever hear of a cat, nutso?
JENNIE: This is not a cat. It's something... ungodly.
JENNIE pulls the ladder on the fire escape down. It shoots down to the stage below with a large CLANG. Sirens go off on the street and lights from the apartments below flicker on as the tenants inside them yell curse words.
AGATHA: Brilliant move.
JENNIE: Would you shut up and go back to bed?
AGATHA: It's only midnight, honey. It's nowhere near my bedtime.
JENNIE locks the fire escape ladder into place and begins to slowly climb up it.
JENNIE: Ok, here goes nothing...
AGATHA: You're gonna be disappointed when you get up there.
JENNIE: I just need some peace of mind.
JENNIE ascends the ladder up into the darkness and the stage goes black.
JENNIE carefully swings her legs over the rooftop, breathing heavily. At the far corner of the roof lies a shadowy figure--cat-like in its resting position.
JENNIE: What is...
JENNIE moves slowly toward the figure, bending down to examine it more closely, yet still from a distance. The figure turns its head.
JENNIE: Ugh. A cat. That old hag was right.
JENNIE turns to make her way back down the fire escape but then pauses, and thinks.
JENNIE: But if it's crying like that up here, maybe it needs help.
JENNIE turns back around to face the figure in the shadows.
JENNIE: ...and I'm up on the roof at midnight, talking to myself. Maybe I'm the one that needs help.
JENNIE inches closer to it.
JENNIE: Here, kitty kitty...
The figure remains motionless.
JENNIE: Are you scared?
JENNIE: I didn't mean to upset you.
JENNIE inches slightly closer, still unable to make out the figure in the darkness.
JENNIE: You're awfully quiet, now. Usually it's around this time you start with those... noises.
JENNIE: They're quite unnerving...
JENNIE: But I suppose you can't be faulted for that. I'm sure you didn't want to be up here all alone by yourself, unsure of how to leave.
JENNIE sits cross-legged on the floor.
JENNIE: I know this is going to sound bizarre, but I kind of know how that feels...
JENNIE pauses for a moment and takes a deep breath before continuing.
JENNIE: I've never been alone in my entire life. There's always been someone there. Be it family or partner. I've always made a conscious choice to NOT be alone. It happened when I lost my dad as a child. I saw that train coming and couldn't stop it--I walked myself home the four miles just to tell my mom the horrible news. I NEVER, ever wanted to relive that experience. And so keeping myself occupied with someone always seemed like a good way to combat that. Was it flawed? Of course, it wasn't the walking alone that was scary, it was the losing someone who was right by my side that shook me to my core. That can happen no matter how many people I'm with--
JENNIE looks up at the shadow.
JENNIE: I guess I never really did understand what my problem was. It's just, moving to this new town, this new city, living all by myself. It's been... hard. It's taken a long time to realize that my problem is me. Surrounding myself with people whom I barely even like won't make the inevitable go away. Hiding in my apartment all the time because I imagine death is at every corner won't let me live forever. But keeping to myself will make me lose the people I do care about, or never find new ones to love.
JENNIE stretches her legs out and stands.
JENNIE: Well, kitty, looks like you're not too interested in me. I think you would have come out from the shadows by now. But you've given me something far more than I could have ever asked for.
JENNIE: I guess what I'm trying to say is... thank you?
JENNIE walks over to the fire escape, but turns around one last time to face the cat.
JENNIE: I do hope you'll find your way down soon.
JENNIE climbs onto the fire escape and descends the latter into darkness.
From the shadows, the CAT walks out onto the middle of the roof, center stage. We can finally see its full form--it is not a cat, but instead a full-sized panther. It turns and faces the audience, letting out a ferocious roar.
The stage goes black. The curtain falls.