The Zoo Story Epilogue
It is Central Park; a Sunday afternoon in summer; the present. As PETER runs away from the horrific scene, he runs into his wife, LINDA, who went to her husband’s favorite spot in the park, looking for him. When she sees her husband, PETER, she knows something is instantly wrong. She runs up to him and sees that he is very distraught and shaking.
LINDA: [Running up to Peter.] Peter? Oh my gosh! Are you okay? What happened?
PETER: [Hugs his wife intensely.] Linda! What are you doing here?!
LINDA: You are really late for dinner and I wanted to come check on you. What is wrong?!
PETER: Oh my God, Linda! I can’t believe what I have done!
LINDA: What are you talking about, Peter? What did you do? What has happened? You are scaring me!
PETER: [Convulsively shaking.] Linda, I can’t tell you what happened. We need to go home!
[They walk home in silence. Linda knows something horrible has happened, but she wants to wait until they get home to ask more about it. They arrive at their home on Seventy-fourth street.]
[PETER’s daughters, SARAH and ROSE are playing in the living room when PETER and LINDA walk in.]
SARAH AND ROSE [in unison]: Daddy!!
SARAH: [Thirteen] Where were you, Daddy? You are late!
[On the way home, Peter had forced himself to calm down so that he could face his daughters]
PETER: I am sorry, Princess. My book was just too good to put down, today.
ROSE: [Five] I missed you, Daddy!
PETER: I missed you, too, pumpkin. Why don’t you girls wash up for dinner and get your toys picked up? Mommy and I need to talk in our room.
[Peter and Linda go into their room and close the door. Peter sits on their bed.]
PETER: [Instantly frantic again.] Oh my God, Linda! What am I going to do?!
LINDA: You know I can’t help you through this, unless you tell me what it is that you can’t get through. We are a family. Whatever it is, we will get through it together. Now, what happened?
PETER: I just can’t bring myself to tell you, Linda. It is too horrible!
LINDA: Peter, please, you really are starting to worry me. Now, what is it?
PETER: Okay, Linda, I will tell you. But please just don’t love me any less!
LINDA: Peter, no matter what, I will never love you any less!
[One of the cats jumps on the bed into Peter’s lap. Peter looks at the cat, pets it, then sets it gently back down on the floor, all the while thinking about what he is going to say to his wife.]
PETER: Linda, something terrible happened while I was at the park. There was a guy that came and talked to me. He talked and talked and talked about nothing! It was the most irritating thing because all I wanted to do was read my book like I have done almost every Sunday for years!
[Peter says all of this very fast. So fast, his wife can almost not keep up. But then suddenly, he stops.]
LINDA: Okay, Peter, so this man was talking to you.
PETER: Yes, so much talking! His name was Jerry, and I just let him talk. It was annoying because what he was saying made no sense. And some of it was actually really disturbing. Talking about his landlady’s dog and how he wanted the dog to love him, but then tried to kill the dog, and I just didn’t understand any of it!
LINDA: Okay, so what happened that has you so upset?
PETER: I am trying to tell you, Linda! I just don’t know how!
LINDA: Just tell me, Peter!
PETER: Linda, I killed him!
LINDA: [Clearly shocked] You... Oh my God, Peter. You… You killed him? Why?
PETER: It was with a knife. His knife. He pulled it out and threw it on the ground.
LINDA: [In tears] Why, though?! What did he do? Did he try to hurt you?
PETER: He told me I couldn’t have my bench anymore. That he wanted it and wanted to take it away from me. He told me to fight for my bench and my dignity. I told him to just go and he wouldn’t. He provoked me to fight him! You have to believe me, Linda! I didn’t even want to kill him! That was not my intent!
LINDA: [Trying to understand and be calm] Okay, Peter. Calm down. Let’s figure this out. You need to tell me everything that happ…
PETER: [Interrupting her] No one will know it was me. I could get away with it. But I don’t know, should I turn myself in?
LINDA: No! Do not turn yourself in! We have to figure this out! Can you tell me the whole story?
PETER: I did, Linda! That’s the whole story! I can never go back to my bench again!
LINDA: [Very upset.] But Peter, you love that bench! You have been going to that bench to read and unwind for years!
PETER: I know, Linda. But I can’t go there anywhere. It will only give me bad memories of what happened there. How I killed a man who never hurt me or tried to hurt me. I actually killed someone, Linda! Someone who did me no wrong! I can never go back there!
LINDA: [Trying very hard to calm down.] Okay, this is what is going to happen. You and I are both going to forget this ever happened. We are never going to tell anyone about what happened. Sarah and Rose can never find out what you did, because I don’t know if they will be able to handle it. Do you understand?
PETER: [Through tears] Yes, Linda, I understand. Thank you so much for still loving me. I love you so much!
LINDA: I love you too, Peter.
[Peter gets up and goes to the bathroom to wash his face. He spends a few minutes looking in the mirror trying to get his face to return to its normal color. His wife comes into the bathroom and hugs him very tightly.]
LINDA: [In Peter’s ear.] It’s going to be okay, Peter. We will get through this. I love you.
[Peter kisses his wife deeply as his heart feels like it will explode.]
[Linda then lets go of her husband and proceeds to wash her face and wait for her face to return to its normal color.]
[They both walk out of the room as if nothing has ever happened].