Study Guide

Fool for Love Story

By Sam Shepard

Story

  • Two people named Eddie and May are sitting and talking in May's motel room, May on a bed and Eddie in a chair. There seems to be some tension between the two. Eddie is promising not to leave her.
  • May is convinced that he's been off frolicking with other women. He denies it. She threatens violence to the woman he's been canoodling with (in her mind). We soon find out this woman is called the Countess.
  • They discuss whether May will go with him to Wyoming. She refuses, saying she's got a job as a cook. Also, she's angry with him for abandoning her in the past.
  • They go back and forth, with her toggling between wanting him to go and begging him to stay.
  • At one point, she pretends she wants him to stay. They have a pretty extended kiss. Then she knees him in the groin and goes into the bathroom.
  • While she's out of the room this time, the lights come up on a character identified only as "the Old Man," whom only Eddie and May can hear/talk to. He addresses Eddie, chit-chatting about the difference between reality and fantasy (why he wants to talk about that right at this very moment is unclear, but he's an imaginary old man—he can do what he wants, we suppose).
  • May reenters, equipped with what she needs to change, groom, and go out.
  • They then return to the discussion of whether Eddie should stay or go.
  • Then May drops a bombshell: she's been seeing someone—someone who's on his way over. And Eddie is suddenly crazy jealous. He leaves in a huff. Suddenly (surprise, surprise), May wants him to come back.
  • She starts packing a suitcase, ostensibly to go after him. But when she hears him approaching again, she hides the suitcase so he won't know. She sits and brushes her hair like she hasn't been bothering much with anything since he left.
  • He comes back in with a shotgun and wants to know where May's glasses are so he can get a drink.
  • May reminds him that she has someone coming over, but he ignores her. They discuss this dude some more and then they go back to chatting about their own past relationship… and where that is or isn't going now.
  • Eddie eventually storms out, calling her a traitor. Even though May had just demanded that he leave, she is devastated. She walks along the walls of the room, hugging them and crying.
  • The lights come up on the Old Man again, and he's remembering some story about May, her mother, and him. Apparently he's May's father? The story is pretty funny—it's about when they ran into some menacing cows on vacation.
  • Then May hears Eddie outside, and the light on the Old Man cuts to black. She goes and takes a drink from the bottle of tequila on the table. Eddie reenters with two steer ropes. He starts practicing roping the bedposts.
  • As he ropes, he tells May that he changed his mind about leaving because he had decided out in the parking lot that she was lying about the man coming over. He thinks she told him that to "get even"—for what, he doesn't say (he's been denying any wrongdoing so far).
  • They then start talking about May's date again, and Eddie starts getting offensive and threatens violence against the new boy toy. So May leaves.
  • However, Eddie goes and physically carries her back inside the room. He promises to be nice to the guy when he arrives—and he definitely still wants to meet him. He tells May to say Eddie's her brother… or, on second thought, cousin.
  • May isn't thrilled about this idea, and she says she's going to the pay phone across the street to call the dude and cancel the date. Just then, they see headlights outside. Eddie starts putting on his spurs to meet the guy and once again is threatening him with violence. He's pretty amused with the whole situation. May is not.
  • Uh oh—even more trouble afoot: When May opens the door to greet her visitor, she finds that it's not actually him. Instead, it's some strange woman in a Mercedes. Staring at May.
  • Eddie orders May back inside. When May doesn't immediately obey, he rushes to close the door. As he does, they hear the sounds of a gunshot, glass shattering, and a car horn.
  • May is furious when she realizes that Eddie's countess friend has followed him to her motel and is now shooting at them.
  • They hear the Mercedes leave, and they get back to discussing their relationship and what's next.
  • At one point during their discussion, the lights come up on the Old Man, and he talks about how Eddie and May look like their mothers, but they aren't "familiar" to him. He also says that his "whole side a' the issue is absent." Wait: is he father to both Eddie and May?
  • Then, headlights appear again, and they assume the Countess is back. Eddie orders May into the bathroom, and she refuses. She apparently wants to go out there and physically confront the woman in the 'Benz. Eddie tries to stop her, and they tussle. She starts yelling out to the woman to bring her gun in there.
  • Then someone named Martin comes barreling in. Thinking that Eddie is an attacker, he tackles him.
  • May calls him off, explaining that she knows Eddie and they were just having an argument. She introduces Eddie as her cousin. Eddie then flat out says she's lying.
  • May offers Martin a drink, and he accepts.
  • Eddie confides in Martin that they were arguing about him and discussing whether he was a "man" or a "guy." May eventually gets annoyed with the bantering and goes into the bathroom.
  • While she's in there, Eddie and Martin talk about what movie Martin and May are going to see. Eddie advises Martin (because clearly he is an expert on love and relationships).
  • Martin eventually gets around to trying to get the scoop on what May and Eddie's relationship is. Eventually, Eddie admits that they are half-siblings. However, they didn't meet until they were in high school… and they only found out they were related after they had "fooled around."
  • Meanwhile, the Old Man (whose spotlight came back on right before Eddie started telling his story) starts inserting his commentary as Eddie goes into the details of how he found out his dad was leading a double life with two different wives.
  • Naturally, the Old Man's comments are directed at Eddie, since Martin can't hear him.
  • May comes back from the bathroom and gets mad at Eddie for sharing that story. She tells Martin it's not true. Martin tries to leave, but she won't let him. Eventually, she decides to tell the rest of the story. She's seemingly admitting that what Eddie had said was true.
  • May talks about her mother's reaction to figuring out that her husband was leading a double life. Apparently, she'd done some sleuthing and tracked him down—you know, during the loooong absences the Old Man would take to be with the other family—and found his other home.
  • Then, the father disappeared entirely, and May's mother was destroyed.
  • Meanwhile, the Old Man isn't liking this story, telling Eddie that May is "gettin' way outa' line."
  • At the same time, she describes being in love with Eddie—so in love that she and Eddie were both sick when they were apart. Her mother figured out what was going on and begged May to stay away from Eddie. When that wouldn't work, she begged Eddie. And when that didn't work, she went to Eddie's mother, who then committed suicide.
  • At this point, the Old Man is super pissed off, since he'd never heard this story before (and because it, uh, kind of makes him look bad). He wants Eddie to intervene, to tell the "truth"—which, in his world, apparently means anything other than what happened. He says that he and Eddie have some kind of "pact" that means Eddie should be standing up for him somehow.
  • However, Eddie confirms that his mother shot herself with the Old Man's shotgun. The Old Man then tries to defends himself/his behavior.
  • Meanwhile, Eddie and May have been gazing intensely at each other as the Old Man has gone on, and they start moving toward each other. The Old Man gets even more upset, telling them they can't be together. However, they come together and kiss.
  • Suddenly, headlights beam through the windows, and there's the sound of glass shattering and an explosion. There is a fire outside. However, no one moves.
  • Martin goes to the window and sees that Eddie's horse trailer is now on fire.
  • Eddie then goes outside to check on the damage. May doesn't want him to go, but he says he'll be just a second.
  • May goes and packs her suitcase (for real this time). When Martin asks what's up, she explains that Eddie's gone.
  • Yup, even though he said he was coming back, she thinks he's left. Then she leaves as well. The Old Man stares at an invisible painting on the wall—of Barbara Mandrell—saying she's the woman of his dreams.
  • Meanwhile, Martin is left staring at the door. Worst. Date. Ever.