After staring at each other and saying nothing for a long moment, Linda slowly lifts her hand, draws back, then slaps Winston across the face. Her hand makes contact with his cheek and follows all the way through its arc, causing his head to snap sharply to the side in response. They remain frozen in this finished position for a moment. Then, as if they are both controlled by the same puppetry mechanism, they move as one back into their original positions and sit quietly once again, staring into each other’s eyes.
The other coffee shop patrons take little notice of this event. The only response of any kind comes from a man in glasses and a hooded sweatshirt who is sitting nearby, working away at his laptop with headphones in his ears. He peers over his glasses at them for just a moment, then takes a quick break from his work to tweet “Sitting in a coffeeshop, and this chick just totally smacked a dude. Nobody seemed to notice. Kinda hot.” His tweets appear overhead.
Linda and Winston are again staring each other in the face. Winston slowly lifts his hand from the table and draws it back. He holds it there for a moment. Then, as if it’s on a spring release, his arm swings his hand around, slapping Linda in the cheek, knocking her head to the side. They freeze in this finished position for a moment.
The man sitting nearby pulls his headphones off and looks around to see if anyone else saw what just happened, but he appears to have been the only one to notice. He tweets, “Whoa! Dude just smacked her back! HARD! And nobody esle noticed!”
As they did before, Linda and Winston slowly return to their starting position, moving as one. They each take a sip of their drink.
Linda lifts her hand once again. The man sitting nearby is now watching them intently. Winston reaches across the table and gently brings Linda’s raised hand back down to the table, shaking his head at her. She’s confused for a moment, then realizes, and lifts her other hand. Winston resumes his position.
Linda slaps him with the same fluid motions as before, once again knocking his head to the side.
Again, they freeze for a moment in their post-slap positions, and they once again slip together back into their starting positions.
The nearby man tweets “And she slapped him again. Total PDSMA: Public Display of Sado-Masochistic Affection #pdsma”
Then he tweets, “My ex slapped me like that once. Right before the best sex we ever had. Which was right before we broke up.”
Then he tweets, “I can still feel the sting of her palm striking my cheek. Except not really since I cant remember which side it was.”
Then he tweets, “Now that I think about it, she might have just punched me. Can’t quite remember. God, I wonder what she’s doing right now.”
He rests his face in his hands like he’s going to cry.
Winston raises his hand, the opposite one from what he used before, and readies to slap Linda again. Just as he’s about to swing, Tyler approaches their table. Winston drops his hand quickly.
LINDANothing at all.
WINSTONNot a damn thing.
LINDAJust hanging out. Coffee.
LINDAYou should get some.
Tyler notices something on Winston’s face. At some point in the next few lines, he grabs his face to look at it closer.
On your face.
WINSTONNothing. Stop it.
Is that a rash?
What is that?
It looks like...
He realizes what it is, realizes what is going on, then grabs Linda’s face and examines it. He now has both of their heads in his hands. He looks back and forth at each of them in shock.
TYLERI can’t believe this.
Both of you?
TYLERHow could you?
WINSTONIt’s not like that.
TYLEROh no? The two of you aren’t here? With handprints on your faces?
The man nearby has been watching. He tweets, “I am witness to a bizarre love triangle.”
WINSTONWe were just--
LINDASweetie, don’t be mad.
Wouldn’t you be?
LINDAWell, sure, but--
WINSTONWe should’ve told you.
WINSTONWe were just scared.
LINDAWe didn’t know how you’d react.
So you kept it secret.
LINDAWe didn’t mean to, really
WINSTONWe just came here for coffee. This--
LINDAJust sorta happened.
TYLERI’m sorry, this is too much.
He turns to go.
LINDAWould you? We could...
All three of us?
He hesitates, then sits with them. The man nearby is watching intently. He is heavily invested in the outcome. Tyler slowly raises a hand, but then hesitates, looking back and forth from Linda to Winston.
I don’t know which--
WINSTONI don’t think there’s an established protocol.
Tyler faces Winston and slaps him. They all laugh happily. The man sitting nearby is very touched.
So now whose?
Tyler turns and slaps Linda. They laugh again.
LINDAOkay, my turn.
Linda slaps Tyler. Again, they all laugh, very happy. The man nearby chokes up. He starts to tweet, “I just witnessed the most incredible” then deletes it. He tries several more times to compose a tweet, but deletes each one.
“I just watched love manifest”
“I’m so choked up, I can’t”
“You would not believe what I just”
“My faith in love was just resto”
Finally he gives up on his tweeting and slams his computer shut. He gathers up his things, and with tears in his eyes, approaches the slap-happy trio.
NEARBY MANI just wanted....
He breaks into full-fledged crying and flees the scene. They all watch him go.
Blackout, except for the tweet screen, upon which appears, “I just saw something beautiful.”