January 31, 2007

A Play A Day #293

Obsolescence


Cast:
Marvin - about twenty
Huck - about sixty

Setting: Old cabin, very run down.


(Lights up, we hear mumbled ad libs, then the door bursts open, loud howling winter wind, Marvin pulls Huck into the center of the cabin, rushes back and slams the door, collapses against it, then crawls over to Huck, utterly exhausted)

Marvin: We're safe, Huck. We made it to a cabin... there's a fireplace... I don't know where we are... I'll try to call for help. (pulls cellphone from a jacket pocket) Shit! It's broken... cellphone's broken, Huck... the crash...

Huck: (he is near death, nearly frozen, legs broken from the plane crash, croaks out words slowly) Room?

M: What?

H: Room... what's in... the... room?

M: You mean this room?

H: Yes...

M: Ohh... ahhh... let's see... (walks around)... couple boxes in the corner, fireplace, a little machine on a table, a chair.

H: Mittens... boots...

M: Mittens...

H: Take... my... mittens... off.

M: Sure, sure, Huck... okay.

(starts taking Huck's mittens off)

H: (groaning) Slow...

(Huck's hands are brutally frostbitten, discolored and distended)

M: Ohh... Huck... your hands... frozen...

H: Boots.

(very carefully Marvin starts to remove the boots)

H: (loud groans) Legs! Legs!

M: Sorry... I think your legs are broken, Huck.

H: I know.

M: It's amazing we survived though... you managed to pull up a little at the end, or we would have...

H: I know.

(boots are off)

M: Socks too, Huck?

H: No.

M: What should we do now?

H: Boxes. Check the... boxes.

M: (does so) Nothing. There's nothing in them.

H: Machine?

M: Machine?

H: The table.

M: Yeah, that machine.

(pause)

H: What is... it?

M: The machine?

H: Yes!

M: (checking the machine) I don't... I have no idea what it is...

H: Describe it.

M: (holding it up, inspecting it all around, it is a 1960s vintage rotary phone) It has a stretchy rope hanging on one side... and there are numbers on it...

H: What numbers?

M: One through nine, then a zero. And (turns it upside down, receiver falls off, of course) Oh crap... the top broke off. I guess it's pretty old.

H: Show me.

M: (tries carrying phone to Huck, but it is plugged into the wall, notices this) Ahh, Huck, it's connected to the wall.

H: Plugged in?

M: Oh yeah, plugs... I remember those.

(M goes to wall, "unplugs" the phone)

M: There, that worked.

(M carries phone to Huck)

H: This... is the machine?

M: Yeah, it was on the table, but the top broke off.

H: (coming to life some more) Idiot... it's a phone.

M: A ... a phone?

H: Yes!

M: This wouldn't even fit in my pocket.

H: It's not... it's an old phone...

M: There are no buttons.

H: It's... rotary... you turn the dial...

M: You mean, like "dial" a phone?

H: Yes... it's a phone dial.

M: Weird.

H: My grandma had one... when I was little... in the 1970s.

M: Why did they use those old plugs, Huck? Was it recharging?

H: No... connects to the phone lines...

M: Lines?

H: Like a network.

M: Oh...

H: Try to call... 9-1-1.

M: With this?

H: Yes.

M: But it broke. (holds up receiver)

H: No... it... put that on top...

(M attempts this in ways that don't work, H keeps trying to correct him, M gets it eventually)

M: Okay.

H: Now, plug it in.

M: (picking up the phone line) This thing?

H: Put it in the wall again... same place...

M: (does so) Okay.

H: Now, listen to it.

M: (puts phone down and moves his ear close) I... I don't hear anything.

H: Crap.

(M picks it up, turns it over to listen to the bottom of the phone, receiver falls off again)

M: Ahh... the top broke off again.

H: It isn't attached, Marvin. It didn't break off.

M: (hearing something) Uh, Huck, I think it did break; because it's making this weird humming noise now.

H: What? The phone? The top part? It's humming?

M: Yeah, the top part. How'd you know that?

H: Dial tone... it's a dial...

M: A what?

H: It means it's connected... somehow, out here, this phone is still connected to a very old phone line.

M: To outer space?

H: No... no... in the old days they were connected by actual wires... signals weren't all transmitted by orbiting satellites... phones had wires on the ground...

M: Seriously? Didn't people trip on them?

H: Marvin... just dial 9-1-1, and we might get out of here.

M: (tries touching the numbers) It doesn't work.

H: What do you mean?

M: The numbers aren't working. I push them, but they...

H: You dial this phone, Marvin... you dial it.

M: I'm trying... the buttons must be frozen.

H: No, no, no, no... put your finger in the circle where the nine is...

M: Uhh... okay... done.

H: Now, leaving your finger in the circle, pull the dial all the way to the little metal hook...

M: It... it doesn't move...

H: Clockwise... move the dial clockwise.

M: Clockwise?

H: Yes. Not counter.

M: Counter what?

H: Clockwise! Not counterclockwise!

M: Counterclockwise?

H: Like the hands on a clock!

M: Hands? Whose hands?

H: Marvin... listen, just turn the dial... put your finger in the dial in the number nine hole, and pull it the long way around the circle until you hit the little metal thing.

M: Alright... uhhh... there...

H: I didn't hear you let it go.

M: What?

H: The dial! Pull your finger out!

M: Does so... (watching the dial spin back) Weeee! Neat.

H: Now, do the same for the number one... do it twice.

M: (doing so) Ahh... one isn't as much fun as nine.

H: Now, is it ringing?

M: I don't know.

H: Listen to the top part... the part you think you broke... hold it to your ear...

(tries a couple configurations of listening, first to the mouthpiece)

M: I hear something...

H: Good!

(then the earpiece)

M: Ohhh, hey, louder on this end.

H: A ringing sound?

M: Yes... again... again... again...

H: Crap.

M: Again... again... again... again...

H: Okay...

M: Again... again... again...

H: Hang it up!

M: What?

H: Put the top back on where it was.

M: Okay. (does so)

H: I figured the government got rid of 9-1-1 in North Dakota Area after the war. I was hoping that maybe...

M: (panicked) We're in North Dakota Area!? Jesus, Huck, you didn't tell me we were going to be flying over North Dakota Area!

H: We weren't supposed to be... the storm, and our instruments got knocked out... I saw a bunch of Prairie Pirate flags as we were coming in low.

M: Ohh... man... the North Dakota Assembly of Prairie Pirates... oh... we're so dead...

H: Why do you think I didn't try to land when we were over that small town about ten miles back?

M: Ohh... this isn't good, Huck...

H: I know... listen, you gotta get the fire going...

M: Right...

H: We're going to freeze to death if we don't at least get that.

(M goes directly to a switch on the wall near the fireplace, flicks it up and waits, looking at the fireplace)

M: It's broken.

H: What? The fireplace?

M: Yeah, I hit the switch and nothing started.

H: Marvin! You have to start the fire... it's probably an old fireplace that burns real wood!

M: Are you serious? Real wood?

H: Yes!

M: Inside a house?

H: Yes!

M: How stupid were people back then? Geez!

H: Tear up the boxes, break the chair into small pieces, put it all in the fire place and light them on fire!

M: How?

H: In my top coat pocket... I have some matches...

M: Matches?

(lights out)

(end)

January 30, 2007

A Play A Day #292

The Catch


Cast:
Lola
Greg

Setting: Apartment, floor covered by thousands of eggs.


(We hear a key in the lock, door opens offstage, all lines are delivered from offstage getting progressively closer to the stage)

Lola: Here we are. (laughter)

Greg: Nice place.

Lola: I think so.

Greg: You lived here long?

Lola: Just a couple months, since December.

Greg: No roommates?

Lola: Ohh... I don't need roommates.

Greg: I bet. Just you then?

Lola: Uhh-huh. Just me, a long hallway, nice kitchen, living room, closets.

Greg: Bedroom?

Lola: Plenty. For the right person.

Greg: Really?

Lola: Ohhh yeaah... plenty for the right man.

Greg: Beautiful... seductive... lives alone... there's got to be a catch.

Lola: You're the catch.

Greg: Ahhh...

Lola: Now... catch me...

(more laughter, Lola bursts onto stage crossing upstage of the eggs to a door on the opposite side of the stage, Greg follows, laughing, slams door behind him)

Lola: (from inside bedroom, making seductive sounds) Oooohhhh... welcome to my bed... room... Greg?

(door opens quickly, Greg walks out slowly, slack-jawed, staring at the eggs in disbelief)

Greg: Uhhhh.... ummmmm....

(we see Lola leaning against bedroom doorframe, she has taken off a layer or two)

Lola: Ohhhh... don't pay them any mind, Greg... they're only doing it for the attention. (to the eggs) I can't see you, can't see you... you can yell all you want...

Greg: But... uhhhh...

Lola: (rubbing against Greg's back, moving her hands over his body) Come on, Greg. Time to give you a big tour of a small bedroom.

(she retreats into the bedroom sensuously)

Greg: (shifting attention from the eggs to the bedroom, back and forth several times as the lights fade) Uhhh...

(lights out)

(end)

January 29, 2007

A Play A Day #291

Ten Dollars


Cast:
Nola
Carver

Setting: Any room in a house, a sofa, or two chairs, or all three if you can handle it.


(Lights up, Carver sitting, Nola enters)

Nola: Hey dear, why the big smile?

Carver: I just had the most amazing experience, Nola.

N: Really? What?

C: A man called me, he knew my name already, said he was from the American Cancer something something, and asked me if I'd give ten dollars to wipe out cancer.

N: Okay...

C: I thought: Holy crap, cancer totally sucks! You know? So...

N: Yes?

C: Ten bucks, right? So I said, yeah! Yeah! I'll give you ten bucks for that!

N: Great... it's a good cause.

C: No kidding, it's a good cause! More like it's a fucking great cause!!

N: Okay.

C: So, the amazing thing is... they called me, Nola! Don't you see? They... called... me!

N: Well, sure... I... uhh...

C: And all they needed was ten dollars... my ten dollars!

N: Right... that's...

C: So, what do you think? Isn't that amazing?

N: Ummm.... Carver, I don't... well, I'm glad that you're throwing your heart into such a worthy cause... I mean, maybe next year, we'll set aside thirty or fifty dollars or more for them.

C: What do you mean?

N: When they call next year, we could tell them to increase our donation. I mean, since this obviously means a lot to you, we could give them more money then.

C: Weren't you listening?

N: Yes.

C: There won't be a next year.

N: Well... what?

C: I cured cancer! Me! I did it! Just a few minutes ago! Ten bucks to wipe it out, that's what the phone cancer guy said! And they called me! I gave the money that cured cancer! It was me! Me! Me!

N: Carver... you didn't...

C: (not listening) Just think! Think, Nola! I'm going to be famous! Nobel prize in curing things or something!

N: Honey, I don't think the phone guy...

C: You know what? We should start calling other disease businesses and see what else we can cure!

N: Carver, you're completely misunder...

C: Let's see... like that old people brain rot thingy...

N: Alzheimer's?

C: Then the AIDS dudes, and, ohh... the heart attack club or whatever...

N: Listen, sweetheart, please don't...

C: I mean think of it, Nola! Wow!

N: No! Carver! This isn't what happens... you're helping, but...

C: (walking offstage) I gotta find some other ones... ohh, yeah... there's that Jerry Lee Lewis diseaseathon... I'll check into that too... (he's off)

N: (pause) I better give ten dollars to the American Stupidity Society.

(hangs her head and sighs and exits as lights fade out)

(end)

January 28, 2007

A Play A Day #290

Taking Direction


Cast:
Director
Actor1
Actor2
Crew (non-speaking)
Buster (non-speaking)

Setting: A movie set, boom mic held by one person, camera mounted on a jib and operated by another, filming lights positioned around, Actor1 is on the ground moving slightly, blood spurting from his neck. Director watches in a streotypical, pretentious directorial manner - framing the scene with his fingers, stroking chin with fingers, etc... - he is dressed in a pretentious fashion as well. Watches for a while.


Director: Alright, stop! Stop!

(crew relaxes, Actor1 stays in position, no change)

D: (crouching down to look in Actor1's face) What's going on here, buddy? Huh? You were so eager for this project just a few minutes ago... don't want to do the hard work of being an actor? Is that it?

Actor1: (groans, gurgles out, reaches) Help...

D: (starts pacing) Hey! That's it! That's what I want: desperation, panic, terror! I need to be convinced that you're going to die! Remember your character's spine: He's been tricked! He's on the ground, throat slit by a giant homicidal brute, he has no idea what's happening. He was an excited young college actor looking for his first big break, so he takes an offer for fifty thou for a few minutes of work. He wants it to work, wants that money, but, more importantly, he wants the experience and the exposure. Got it?

Actor1: (reaching out) Sleepy... cold...

D: There you go, there you go! Can you keep giving that to me when we're rolling? Please? You've got your motivation; now show it to us. Alright?

(D slaps Actor1 on the cheek affectionately)

D: Ahh, you're gold, kid! You can do this!

Actor1: Help....

(D back behind camera operator)

D: On my mark... 3, 2, 1... rolling.

(D is really pulling for Actor1, exhorting a performance out of him, Actor1 emits a long, quiet, slow groan, stops moving)

D: Stop! Stop!

(stomping forward)

D: Shit! Shit! What was that, kid? I needed terror, desperation, you gave me pissing your pants. Damnit! This film is good stuff, kid, expensive to make, big audiences, we don't mess around here.

(paces pensively, trying to calm himself)

D: Alright, alright... this just isn't going to work... sorry, guy, but we're going to have to let you go.

(Actor1 doesn't move)

D: Oh, yeah, right... alright boys, get the body out of here, clean up the blood, bring in the other guy.

(crew abandon their posts, one drags body of Actor1 offstage, other towels up the large blood spill, Actor2 is escorted onstage after blood is gone, Actor2 is spry and cheerful)

D: (to Actor2) There you are! Look at you, kid! Looking good! (to crew) I told you this was the guy for us, huh? (crew nods) Alright, kid, here we go. I want to see that terror, the surprise, the desperation of a man who realizes he's just been tricked, and that his life is now draining from him. Alright?

Actor2: (with great excitement) Hey! I'm your guy! Bring it on!

D: You're our guy! This'll be great exposure, kid, fifty thousand for you if you pull it off!

Actor2: Will do! Will do!

D: (retreating behind camera operator) Excellent! That's the stuff, keep that motivation there... remember your character... Let it all out, make it come alive for us!

Actor2: I'm your guy!

D: Yes, you are! (to boom mic operator) Is Buster ready?

(Boom operator checks offstage, gives Director a thumbs up)

D: Alright... on my mark... 3, 2, 1... Cut!

(Buster, an enormous and horrific-looking man emerges from offstage, marches directly behind Actor2, grabs his hair, snaps his head back, and viciously slits his throat, Buster throws Actor2 to the floor, and stomps offstage, Actor2 convulses involuntarily, gasping for breath, blood spurting everywhere, Director coaches from the sidelines with exaggerated movements.)

(Lights fading over last line)

D: Perfect! Perfect! Keep going, man! That's it! That's what we need! Wow! You really could've had a future, kid. Beautiful...

(lights out)

(end)

January 27, 2007

A Play A Day #289

Size Matters


Cast:
5 (actor should be about five feet tall)
6 (actor should be well over six feet tall)
7 (actor should be about five feet tall)
10 (voice)

Setting: Bare stage


(Enter 5 and 6)

5: Big night tonight, huh, 6?

6: Should be pretty crazy, 5!

5: Oh yeah!

(enter 7)

6: There you are!

7: Hey, guys, ready to roll?

5: We gotta wait for 10.

7: Shit, that blowhard?!

6: Come on, play nice tonight.

7: Ahh, it's just that's he's always shooting his mouth off.

5: Yeah, like we can't all do that, like we're nothing?!

7: He's mostly useless anyway, usually can only do the job half-way.

6: Listen 7, I know he's hard to take all at once, but remember he's just compensating.

5: He's a dick!

6: True, but he's compensating... he has strength in a number, but we have strength in numbers. Don't forget that.

7: Yeah, I suppose, and we probably won't even see him anyway.

6: The odds of bumping into him are very slim.

5: Where is he?

10: (voice only) You shrimpdicks ready?

7: (under his breath) Shit.

6: Where are you, 10?

10: Over here, little twig!

5: (pointing) Sounded like over there.

(7, 6 and 5 walk that way)

10: Not there, shorties, this way!

(7, 6 and 5 walk opposite direction)

6: (bending down to the floor) Ahh! There you are.

10: Let's go, you snub noses, I've got cunt to hunt!

(they all start off)

5: (quietly to 7 and 6) This should be another blast.

7: (quietly to 6 and 5) Idiot didn't even bring his coat.

6: (quietly to 7 and 5) Hey, be happy we don't have to deal with him, you know, intrapersonally.

(they are off, lights out)

(end)

January 26, 2007

A Play A Day #288

Wednesday At The Children's Museum


Cast:
Lia
Reed

Setting: The Children's Museum


(Lights up, enter Lia and Reed, stage left, walking slowly)

Lia: Oh, Reed, this is so exciting!

Reed: It's been a while, but it's worth it.

L: They needed a lot of time.

R: Don't want to screw up something like this.

L: And to open the show on a Wednesday too!

R: That was a very noble touch.

L: They've been so kind to us this whole year.

R: I know, it's like we paid them for this special treatment instead of the other way around.

L: Remind me to write them a huge thank-you card when we get home.

R: I'll write one too.

L: Ohh, that'll be nice; do that.

R: I just think that they've done so much to honor our family with this display.

L: Think of how many people will see it!

R: I mean, we've always been supporters.

L: It's a fabulous organization; they give so much to the community.

R: It was about time that we gave them enough to better serve their mission.

L: And the large brass plaque honoring our donation doesn't hurt our position in town.

R: Well, yes... but that was not the purpose.

L: I know; I know. It was to honor Wednesday's memory.

(they stop in front of a large encased diorama, it needn't be visible to the audience, but if you want it to be, then put in the appropriate "prop")

R: And... wow... there she is.

L: Oh my! She's beautiful.

R: So serene, peaceful. In her natural environment.

L: She looks so life-like, so... happy.

R: (hugging L close) Much happier than when we told her about the sale.

L: Oh, Wednesday...

R: It was the right thing, Lia. It was the right amount. It was the right time.

L: Yes, I know... it's just that she's here... forever.

R: (quieting her) It's for the children, dear, for the children.

(lights fade)

(end)

January 25, 2007

A Play A Day #287

What Grammar Attacks At

Cast:
Hop
Luke

Setting: Stable


(Lights up, Hop and Luke, young cowboys, are forking hay into an empty stable)

Hop: Luke, what're you scared of?

Luke: Uhhh... nothing... there's nothing I'm scared of.

Hop: C'mon, this is me you're talking to.

Luke: And I'm telling you there ain't nothing I'm afraid of.

Hop: Not even with all the world problems we're dealing with?

Luke: Nahh... what's there to worry about?

Hop: Not worry, just be afraid of.

Luke: Worry or afraid have no difference between.

Hop: So, war, crime, pollution, climate change; these are all things you're happy with?

Luke: Maybe not happy, just things I don't worry about.

Hop: So, there's nothing you're afraid of?

Luke: Well.... to be honest I guess there's one thing I'm afraid of.

Hop: Yeah? What are you afraid of?

Luke: Well, you remember our fifth grade teacher telling us grammar and how important it was to learn about?

Hop: Ohh yeah, Mrs. Miltby you're thinking of!

Luke: One day, she said that a preposition is never something to end a sentence with.

Hop: Yeah, yeah, that's something I have a very clear memory of.

Luke: She usually was a teacher you could joke around with. But, when she said that, she got all serious, like it was the most dangerous thing in the world you could ever mess with!

Hop: I know; my heart through the roof shot on up.

Luke: That moment, prepositions became the thing I worried most about.

Hop: Yeah, I wondered if the world would end if we started ending our sentences with prepositions all over.

Luke: We should thank Mrs. Miltby though, since she got me fearing prepositions being around; now there's nothing else I'm afraid of.

Hop: Nothing else to compare it to.

Luke: Yep, everything else just seems really easy to come down on up from under.

(pause)

Hop: Luke?

Luke: Yeah?

Hop: What's a preposition look like?

Luke: That's something I haven't the slightest idea of, but I know they're bad and dangerous, and we can never let our sentences end with them.

Hop: Them? That sentence had something that it didn't sound right about.

Luke: Shit! Shit! Do you think that was a preposition that everywhere I just unleashed on over?

Hop: Maybe, Luke, we should stop talking for a while to see if anything bad starts happening around.

Luke: That's a good idea you came up with. I won't say another word.

Hop: Shit, Luke, stop messing things up!

Luke: Sorry.

Hop: Shut up! Shut up!

(They cower deep in the stable, pitchforks bared)

Hop: We'll wait here, see where the attack comes from.

Luke: Sorry, Hop, I didn't mean to. I really didn't mean to.

Hop: It's too late to apologize for; get ready, to the death we might have to fight until.

(lights start fading as ominous screeches and howls start sounding from all around them, loud pounding sounds and splintering wood, Luke and Hop scream, lights out)

(the end of)

January 24, 2007

A Play A Day #286

Play Affair


Cast:
Mom
Turner

Setting: Suggestion of a kitchen.


(Lights up, Mom on phone, Turner, a boy of 16, enters during her conversation, looks for food)

Mom: (laconic) Uh huh... uh huh... no... no, yes, yes, right... no, I won't, yeah, right... bye-bye, Jimmy.

Turner: Who was that?

(Mom stares at phone)

Turner: Mom? Who was that on the phone?

Mom: (snaps to with a start) Ohh, Turner, my gosh, you scared me, dear. Please don't sneak up on me like that!

Turner: Uhh... Mom? I was right here for about ten seconds... I asked you who was on the phone.

Mom: You did?

Turner: Twice.

Mom: Ohh, I missed that.

Turner: Right, so what's for supper?

Mom: Hmmmm?

Turner: Supper? Mom? What's going on?

Mom: Supper?

Turner: Mom? What's wrong with you?

Mom: Nothing. Nothing.

Turner: Except you always have supper ready by seven... it's like your mantra or something.

Mom: Yes.... well, I ...

Turner: Mom? Who's Jimmy?

Mom: Jimmy?

Turner: Jimmy... on the phone... you were just on the phone with "Jimmy".

Mom: No. No. No. That was your father.

Turner: On the phone? You said "bye-bye Jimmy" to Dad? Is that like some new nickname you have for Dad now?

Mom: No... no, I never said "bye-bye Jimmy".

Turner: Just now, you said that to Dad, on the phone... Dad's name is Paul... why'd you call him Jimmy?

Mom: I wouldn't... did I?

Turner: Yeah.

Mom: Really? Jimmy? (growing apprehension)

Turner: Jimmy. You just... yeah.

Mom: I'm sorry.

Turner: I think Dad might be the curious one.

Mom: Just a little mistake, I guess.

Turner: Do you know someone named Jimmy?

Mom: (too quickly) Nonononono... no... why... ha... why, uhhh... no.

Turner: Pretty common guys name.

Mom: Is it?

Turner: Yes! Mom, what the hell's going on here? You're in some sort of waking dream or something? Hello? Heeelllll-lllooooo?

Mom: Stop it, stop it. I'm just tired I guess.

Turner: Fine, but you're looking a little lost. No supper, calling Dad "Jimmy", you're in a fog. Are you drunk or something?

Mom: No, I'm not drunk, Ji... sweetie.

(beat)

Turner: Mom, who's Jimmy?

Mom: He's no one. (turns away)

(pause)

Turner: Are you cheating on Dad?

Mom: Honey, no! No, I... no.... it's not... well...

Turner: You are, aren't you?

Mom: Sweetheart, sweetheart... (tries to hug Turner, Turner backs up)

Turner: What's going on, Mom?

(pause, she hangs her head, starts to cry a little)

Mom: Turner. I'm going to tell you something, and you're not going to like it. You have to promise to listen and keep an open mind... hear my side of the story before you judge the situation.

Turner: Ummmm... what is it?

Mom: Promise me you'll listen.

Turner: I... yeah... okay, I promise.

Mom: You know how your father can be sort of mean, that he neglects me from time to time, fails to provide me with... certain things that a... that a woman needs to feel connected in a relationship.

Turner: Jesus, Mom!

Mom: Listen! You need to hear this, because the problem is that you can be that way too. I see so much of your father's behavior in you.

Turner: Okay, Mom, I'm sorta freaked right now. This is...

Mom: Well, not the "certain things" behavior... just neglectful, taking me for granted, ignoring me. I never wanted you to learn those behaviors, but you have.

Turner: So, you're cheating on Dad with this Jimmy guy? What? To teach Dad and me a lesson about respectful behavior?

Mom: I am seeing someone else, yes.

Turner: How could you, Mom?! Sure Dad's a jerk sometimes, but usually he's nice, and he always...

Mom: I'm seeing an eight-year old.

Turner: What?!! Oh my God, Mom!! You're going to get arrested! They'll never let you out! What are you thinking!?

Mom: Relax! Relax... I'm not cheating on your father.

Turner: Wait... what? So this was all some sick joke?! Mess-Up-Your-Son day in your world? What the hell, Mom?!

Mom: I'm cheating on you.

Turner: Excuse me?

Mom: Jimmy. Jimmy Papaloukis from across the street, second grader.

Turner: Wha... what?

Mom: Well, Turner, you've learned these behaviors from your father, and so that, coupled with the fact that I can't really snuggle and cuddle you any more, has left me feeling unfilfilled as a mother.

Turner: (still quite confused) Across the street? Jimmy?

Mom: It started simply, just a yearning to give him a hug when I saw him outside, but, before I knew it, I was making clandestine lunches for him to take to school. I befriended his mother, and soon I was taking him to the park, and museums, and sledding, and even buying him cute clothes to wear.

Turner: Mom...

Mom: He never complained. Always said "thank you". Loved being hugged, would sing silly songs, draw pictures with me, play Chutes and Ladders, we'd just play and play...

Turner: Mom...

Mom: It was like I was a.... (dramatically) Mother... again.

Turner: You ARE a mother! You'll always be a mother, Mom. You're my mother!

Mom: Well, at least in name...

Turner: In reality! In reality, damnit!

Mom: That will depend on what the judge says.

Turner: What? Judge?

Mom: I need to inform you that I've retained a divorce lawyer.

Turner: For... what? For Dad, right?

Mom: (shakes her head slowly) No.

Turner: What?!! You can't! This isn't... I ...

Mom: I wish I could tell you more, dear; but I've been advised to stop there.

Turner: It's not even a possibility! I mean, Mom, this is ridiculous!

Mom: I'm so glad we had this talk. I feel so much better getting it out there.

Turner: I... you can't do this... it's not...

Mom: (looking at her watch) Whoopsie! Open house at the fire station tonight. Jimmy loves big red fire trucks! (heading offstage, shouting back cheerfully) Make your own damn supper! Gotta run!

(lights fade on Turner)

(end)

January 23, 2007

A Play A Day #285

Freedom From Choice


Cast:
Ianda
Justin
Vern

Setting: Three open-faced cubes in a cube-farm office. The crops don't look healthy: the office is poorly-lit, the hum of flourescent lighting is quite obvious, the cubes and desks are not decorated at all. Ianda sits in the stage right cube, Vern sits in the stage left cube, middle cube is empty. Ianda and Vern are in neutral colors.


(Lights up, enter Justin, stage right)

Ianda: (turning as he passes) Oh, hey, you must be Mike's replacement.

Justin: Umm, yeah, yeah. I'm Justin.

I: Ianda. (they shake hands)

J: Ianda?

I: That's right.

Vern: (turning toward them) I call her "I".

I: Yes, he does. Justin, this is Vern.

J: Hi, Vern.

V: Hey.

J: (beat) So, this is my desk then?

I: Yours for the taking.

V: Grab hold, Justin, she's a wild desk!

J: Really?

V: Uhh... no, just a ... a, a metaphor.

J: Oh. Yeah, right.

I: Watch out for Vern; he's a writer.

V: I! Don't! You promised.

I: Sorry. I just thought, with the use of the metaphor, you might...

V: No. Don't.

I: Fine... fine... sorry. I won't.

(awkward pause)

J: So, this is mine, because I wasn't sure if they said Department 16, Sector 9, Subsector G... or Department 9, Sector 16... I knew it was G, but then I got confused.

V: Ohhh... good thing you didn't go to Department 9, Sector 16.

I: Yeah, you're lucky you don't have to work there.

J: Why? What's wrong with them?

I: No idea. Never met anyone from that sector, none that I know of anyway.

V: Me either.

J: Oh... ahhh...

I: It's just that Department 9, and Department 10 for that matter, are nearly three and a half miles from the front door.

J: What? Really?

V: About that far, yeah.

J: 'Cuz I was going to say that it seemed really far to get to this department.

I: No... it's only one mile to get to these desks.

V: Almost perfectly one mile.

J: Really, that's... amazing... three and a half miles.

I: It's a huge building, Justin. I mean, really, really, really huge.

V: Those unlucky bums have to walk for an hour or more just to get to their desks each day.

J: Wow!

I: So, what that means is, they start work at eight a.m., they have to get to the door at 6:30 a.m. or earlier.

J: An hour and a half?

I: Well, with more than one thousand people in Departments 9 and 10, all arriving at 6:30 - 7 a.m., hall traffic gets very heavy, adds twenty minutes or more to their door-to-desk commute each way.

V: At night, same thing. They work 'til 5 p.m. and don't leave the building until 6:30 or so.

I: Plus the half an hour to get to their cars and get out of the parking lot. Morning and night. It's a long day for Departments 9 and 10.

J: Yeah, good thing I'm here then.

V: I don't have to get to the front door until 7:40. I walk fast, and the hall traffic is only bad for a few minutes.

I: Same here.

J: Great, I guess I'm supposed to get going on the job right away. They said it would be self-explanatory, when I got to my desk.

V: Yeah, it's very easy.

I: I was up to speed within a minute of starting here.

J: So... I open this folder... and follow the instructions in this envelope. (opens envelope and reads)

V: Make sure we don't see it.

I: Very bad, don't let us see.

J: (still reading) Uhhh... wait, this says that...

V: No! No! Don't tell us!

I: Really! Please don't.

J: Why... why not?

V: We can't know.

I: It may be too much for us.

J: But... I...

I: Justin. You cannot tell us. It's the rule.

V: Everyone minds their own business.

J: It says: "Hit 'enter'."

(Ianda and Vern raise their voices to protest, but it's too late, there is a long paroxysm of enormous shock from V and I, then quiet)

I: I wish... I wish... (she breaks down and cries)

V: This is... it, we have known of...

I: You should never have told us.

J: Why do I just hit 'enter'?

(long pause)

J: Do you know?

(long pause)

I: Yes. We know.

V: We know too much... now.

J: What? Tell me.

V: In ancient times, a band of brave capitalists foretold the coming of a Master Desk Jockey who would, by his powers, free all the desk jockeys everywhere. All the paperwork, at every desk, in every city, in every land will be completed for now and for eternity hereafter.

I: So it was written. So it has come to pass.

J: Ohhh... no! So you guys would be, like, out of a job then?

V: Yes.

J: If I hit 'enter'?

I: Yes.

J: And I'm the Master Desk... uhh... whatever guy?

V: Master Desk Jockey. You are he.

I: He are you.

J: I... I don't know what to say... I ... I didn't have anything to do with this... I just graduated in May, my Dad knew a guy who knew a guy and so I applied basically... and...

I: It is of no matter your path. It is of no consequence your inexperience.

V: You. Are. He.

I: That is all.

V: You have received the end message. The ultimate and final action step.

J: Listen, I don't want you guys to have to find new jobs and everything... I know how much that...

I: Master Desk Jockey. We do not fear the loss of our jobs. The prophecy tells of a land where basic human needs are sated and people are left free to determine their own lives.

V: When you press 'enter', you will end work.

J: I just started.

I: Everywhere. For all time. Work will be done.

J: But, what will people do?

V: They will want for nothing. No schedule will be imposed upon their days. They are free to do... as they please!

I: (breaks down again) Don't you see how horrible it will be?!

J: No work? Ever? And all your basic needs will be met?

V: As if by magic.

I: The invisible hands of peace and love and caring will envelop the world.

J: That sounds great!

V: (exchanging a long, meaningful glance with I) You are the Master, but you must understand what will happen when you hit that key.

J: Yeah?

I: We will be gone.

J: Dead?

I: No, have you not been listening? You know, all basic needs met, free to do what we want, the peace, love, etc...? All that?

J: Oh... yeah... you said 'gone'; so I thought...

V: I was a writer before working here. Ianda was a modern dancer.

J: Great, so you'll be able to go back to that.

I: Exactly. Then we are in charge. We lead, and we follow. We are in control.

V: Here, we had none of that.

J: Yeah, exactly! And a mile to walk to your desks? Come on! Plus, it's so grimey and soulless in here; totally feel like just a number.

V: (sniffling back tears) 1-3-8-2-2-3.

I: 2-4-2-7-9-9.

(V and I bow their heads)

V: No more.

I: Gone.

(pause)

J: (trying to cheer them up) Hey, hey! But you'll be number 1 out there now! Yaaayy!!

I: We will have to be responsible for ourselves now.

V: No comfort of the permanent same.

I: We will have to be artists! (shivers in disgust)

V: It is our true nature.

I: What we chose to not do. What we have hidden from in fear.

V: The terrible truth about us both.

I: And about almost all others in the caverns of commerce.

V: We will have to face the scourge of freedom of choice where before we had obtained bliss in the freedom from.

I: How will we go on?

J: Ahh... come on guys.. it won't be that bad, see... (he hits 'enter')

(lights change, the side two cubes roll and spin offstage, the walls of Justin's cube fall outward, his desk spins around, superhero "Master Desk Jockey" logo emblazoned on the front)

V: It is done.

I: We must go.

(V and I start to leave)

J: Listen, I... let me walk you to your cars, at least... we could go out for a beer?

V: Justin. You must stay here.

J: No, work's done. You said...

I: For everyone, except you.

V: Someone has to watch the store.

I: Forever.

(V and I morosely shuffle offstage)

(spotlight on his desk and chair, Justin is pushed by unseen forces into the chair, hands latch to the chair arms, snaps bolt upright, stares straight ahead, he swallows hard as spotlight turns off quickly)

(end)

January 22, 2007

A Play A Day #284

Deliver Us


Cast:
Brian
Colin
Delivery Guy
Woman
Men

Setting: Front lawn and face of a suburban house, two bushes extreme down right of stage behind which crouch Brian and Colin, two teenagers, they are on the downstage edge of the stage, visible to the audience, but the view from the house is blocked by the bushes. A solid bench sits to the immediate left of the door, a large window to the right.


Brian: Five pizzas, oh man, this is hilarious.

Colin: That's like sixty bucks worth!

B: No, I ordered jumbo supremes, they said it came to eighty-five something.

C: Shh... get down, here he comes... yes, yes...

B: Shut up, shut up.

(We hear a car approach, door open and close, then from downstage left, Delivery Guy appears carrying five very large boxes of pizza, he proceeds to door and rings the doorbell.)

C: Yes... oh man... this is fuckin' excellent.

B: Keep it down, dickface.

C: Check it out...

(Woman answers door, she wears an apron over her regular clothes, we see, but don't hear, a conversation between Delivery Guy and Woman that proceeds normally, confusion, suspicion, but then escalates. B and C react with glee.

(We hear louder ad libs from both, appropriate to the situation, then threats from Woman, followed by counterthreats from Delivery Guy, this continues to grow in volume, eventually Woman draws a handgun from her apron and points it at Delivery Guy.

(More ad libbing, Delivery Guy starts backing away, and puts the pizzas down on the bench, giving him time to withdraw a large pistol from his jacket, they stand with guns drawn, shouting at each other, Woman makes a loud shout back inside the house, Delivery Guy shoots her dead before she can finish. B and C are freaking out now, swearing and ad libbing in hushed voices. B stands up, C pulls him down hard.

(As soon as Woman drops, three Men charge on stage, brandishing guns and firing, one from upstage left, one from upstage right, one jumping head first through the window, and somersualting onto the stage. B and C freak out further, ad libbing loudly in the constant barrage of gun fire.

(Delivery Guy, already hit by one shot, ducks behind the bench, he quickly takes out two of the Men, then a long battle between him and the third Man results in both getting shot, repeatedly, play this out for comic effect: Man gets hit, struggles, but gets off a perfect shot and hits Delivery Guy, who then struggles, but manages to hit third Man again, let these hits and "last, dying" shots continue for at least six or so full rounds. Eventually, both actually do die.)

B: (hands over ears, squirming on the ground) Holy Shit!!

C: (similar) Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!

B: Holy Shit!!

C: What the hell!

B: Holy Shit!!

C: Fuck!!

(they slowly come around, sitting up, and muttering, look at each other, look at the scene in front of the house)

B: Shit! Shit! Shit!

C: I told you, you shoulda brought the fucking video camera!

B: I know, fuck! What was I thinking!

C: You were thinking: (in a high-pitched voice) "No, I don't want to get it out from the closet!"

B: Fuck you, man; you coulda grabbed it if you wanted to.

C: Whatever! But, hey, we got five free jumbo supremes. Let's go.

(they bounce around to the front door, punching each other on the shoulder and being rowdy, they grab the pizzas, lights fading)

B: Shit, the delivery dude took like eight or nine shots.

C: Fuckin' ahhh-mazing! Way better than the last time we did this.

(they exit, lights out)

(end)

January 21, 2007

A Play A Day #283

I Q U


Cast:
Max
Nika

Setting: A bare stage.


(Lights up, Max and Nika, in shorts and t-shirts, are walking all across the stage throughout the whole show, ocassionally stopping and changing direction entirely, play would work best on a very large stage. Max usually walks ahead of Nika.)

Max: So, I was thinking about how smart I am, like, how mind-bogglingly brilliant.

Nika: Hmm.

M: You do realize this?

N: That you're smart?

M: Way beyond smart, Nika. Way, way beyond.

N: I mean, yeah, I guess I know that you're smart, Max.

M: When I was 10, I tested as having the IQ of an adult.

N: Great.

M: Meaning, my IQ was, and remains, around 200.

N: That's... yeah, that's high?

M: You better believe it, Nika. A 200 IQ means that you are nearing seven deviations from the mean.

N: Seven.

M: Average IQ is 100, one standard deviation is accepted as fifteen points, so 190 is six standard deviations, 205 would be seven from the mean.

N: Meaning?

M: That, of the human population, I am smarter than nearly everyone else.

N: Yeah?

M: There are maybe ten people in the world, statistically, who could have a higher IQ.

N: Out of that many people?

M: Yes, out of everyone.

N: Not really fair though, is it?

M: There isn't a need for fair or unfair, it just is.

N: I mean, what's the big deal being smarter than babies and old senile people?

M: It's a percentage.

N: Not to mention the mentally handicapped and the clinically insane or otherwise-incapacitated people.

M: It's fair, really.

N: Would you go around bragging that you just beat some guy on an intelligence test, oh, and, by the way, he was in a coma at the time?

M: That's not what the numbers mean.

N: What do they mean, Max?

M: They're a sign of how smart I am. If you take out the babies and the comas then I'm probably smarter than all but nine people in the world.

N: But, Max, aren't there other ways to measure someone's intelligence than the test you took?

M: I'm still taking tests.

N: And these tests you take, they are the sole interpreters of how smart someone is?

M: I... well, no.

N: So how do you know that you are really as smart as you claim?

M: I take the test once a month, and my psychologist scores it for me.

N: And?

M: And I still score around two hundred every time.

N: Maybe you're just good at taking these tests; you've obviously had a lot of practice.

M: No. The test is different each time.

N: But what it measures is the same.

M: Yeah, it measures IQ. It seems that would be the rational thing to do: take an IQ test to measure IQ.

N: Right, but what is IQ?

M: It is your mental age divided by your chronological, your actual, age, then multiplied by one hundred.

N: So, you're twenty-nine, that means that you're as smart as a fifty-eight year old?

M: I...

N: Congratulations.

M: That's the standard definition, but there are tests and formulas for adults.

N: Max, why do you keep taking the tests?

M: I like to keep track.

N: Like on a chart?

M: No.... well...

N: You have a chart of your IQ over time?

M: Sort of.

N: Max, why do you keep taking the tests?

M: It helps me feel better about my place in the world... like a contest.

N: Okay, so you win, Max. You win, and no one is paying attention.

M: Well, no... but...

N: (stops him) Max. I came here today to drive to the state park with you, not listen to your claims on the title of smartest person in the world...

M: I'm not the smartest, there are...

N: I don't care where you rank, Max, but I wanted to go to the park, walk the trails, sit down, have a little picnic, relax... with you. I was hoping to get you out of the house, hoping you would get some exercise, hoping you would stop talking about your brain.

M: I don't talk about my brain.

(Nika just stares him down)

M: I don't... not all the time.

N: Max, you're smart, yes, you're a genius, maybe a super-genius of some sort. You are also socially awkward, can't hold a job for more than a year, lack in physical grace, and still live above your parents' garage...

M: Well, I...

N: You have the mental abilities, sure... but you're also kind and gentle and completely lost inside your own head. (Pause) I wanted to go to the park and pull you out of your head, maybe help you into your heart. You're in mine. I love you, Max. I'm in love with you.

M: I thought...

N: That I was just your friend. I know, but I stopped being your friend a year ago. It's hard to be your friend, Max. But I couldn't stop visiting, couldn't stop thinking about you, and then one day, I knew I wasn't your friend anymore.

M: Ohhh...

N: I needed something more, way beyond friendship, Max.

M: You love me?

N: For no known reason, I love you.

M: Oh... I... ummm... I wasn't expecting this.

N: Expecting it would have changed nothing.

(Max just stares)

N: Max, maybe, in the whole world, there are nine others ahead of you, but half of them are women, and I've given up searching for the other four and a half men.

M: Yeah, four and a half... like four or five...

N: Max, I want to go to the park. You want to drive. Can we finish finding your keys now?

M: (pause) Oh! Yeah... the butter.

N: Butter?

M: I put them in the butter dish, so I never forget them.

(Max exits)

N: Of course.

(Max returns)

M: Nika, I have to clean the keys, there was actual butter in the dish this time.

N: Max? Use hot water, okay?

M: Why?

N: Just trust me.

(He exits, Nika chuckles, sighs, and slowly exits as the lights fade)

(end)

January 20, 2007

A Play A Day #282

Perhaps By Discussing Meteorological Phenomena, We Will Reveal Some Universal Truths Upon Which To Build A Fulfilling Intimate Relationship

- or -

What's The Weather For?

- or -

Hot Front



Cast:
Sabine
Malachi

Setting: Table at a restaurant.


(Lights up on Malachi sitting alone, looking at a menu, enter Sabine, bundled in warm winter clothes - a fashionable trench coat, warm hat, gloves)

Sabine: Hi... you must be Malachi.

Malachi: Yes, yes... Sabine?

S: That's me. (removing hat and mittens)

M: So cold out there.

S: Oh my God! I thought I was going to freeze.

M: Me too.

S: I'm just going to go hang this in the lobby.

M: Yeah, yeah... there's a coat room...

S: Right. Be right back.

M: Great, great.

(Sabine exits, Malachi watches after her, squirts breath freshener in his mouth, Sabine returns, she is in a very nice evening gown)

S: Here I am.

M: That's a ... very nice dress.

S: Thanks, it's not good in this weather though.

M: I bet not.

S: Yeah... very drafty... and in that wind!

M: Yikes! I know! That's the worst, isn't it?

S: No kidding! I mean when it's below zero, that's bad enough.

M: But the wind!

S: Yeah, twenty miles an hour!

M: With gusts to thirty!

S: And from the northwest too, it's awful.

M: Horrible!

S: The old Alberta Clipper.

M: The Yukon Howler.

S: Just blowing right through everyone.

M: It actually makes your bones cold.

S: At least, the snow has stopped.

M: I never thought it would end.

S: Snowing and snowing and snowing.

M: Thought it'd just keep going forever.

S: So glad they cleared the roads. I thought I wouldn't be able to make it tonight because of the snow.

M: You made it through though.

S: I did, and I didn't have to wear my winter boots.

M: No. No... you didn't?

S: Right, I don't care how cute the boot, no winter footwear goes well with an evening gown.

M: Yeah, never thought of that.

S: So I wore these instead. (holding out her long leg)

M: (looking, getting a thrill) Ahhh... yes.... those are... very, very nice... shoes.

S: I just love these shoes. They really show off my legs.

M: Uh... huh... yes, yes, they do.

S: But the weather... in these shoes, I can't be outside in them for more than twenty seconds.

M: No, no. Not... not when it's this cold.

S: I know, I practically ran to get in here... I had to park around the corner, thought my toes were going to fall off.

M: And that wind!

S: I know, I should have brought my scarf.

M: But it could be worse.

S: Yes, yes... I know, could be much worse.

M: Could be... could be... uhhh, worse. Yep.

S: Sure. Much worse.

(uncomfortable pause)

M: (forcing it out, quickly) Tomorrow's supposed to be better though.

S: Really?

M: Yeah, it might hit five... above!

S: Really?

M: I just saw it on the news.

S: Oh, I just heard that tomorrow we won't get above zero again.

M: Really? Oh. That's weird.

S: Yeah. It's like you know the weather forecasters are wrong, because they can't even agree on one temperature for the next day.

M: Right! And it can only be one temperature.

S: Exactly, so at least one of them is wrong.

M: What a bizarre job, being a weather forecaster. I mean, I bet people just want you to talk about the weather all the time.

S: Yeah... that would get really boring really fast.

M: How lame would that be?

S: Extremely.

M: Yeah.

S: It might start snowing again on Monday.

M: I heard that too.

S: About eight more inches.

M: Eight inches?

S: Yeah.

M: Wow, I'm so sick of the snow.

S: Ahh, but it's only eight inches.

M: I know, but...

S: I can handle eight inches.

M: You can?

S: Yeah, I'm an old pro. Eight inches is nothing for me.

M: I'm just so sore, my back from all the bending and pushing those eight inches around.

S: Oh, I get sore with eight inches too, but a good kind of sore. Fulfilling, a job well done.

M: You'd have to take off those shoes for that job.

S: Of course, the whole dress comes off for eight inches.

M: That makes sense.

S: But you know what's worse than eight inches?

M: Ten inches?

S: No, it's when they are promising eight inches... and so, you go to bed, and you wake up and check it out, and you realize that was not eight inches that you got last night. Maybe four or five... but that's a world of difference.

M: I thought you hated snow?

S: I do, but there's still that girlish sense of wonder when you see a fresh eight inches, I guess.

M: Yeah, I guess I feel the same way.

S: You do?

M: Well... uhh... not the girlish part.

S: In many ways, winter is wonderful.

M: Like how?

S: Cold weather clears the air, clears your head, and it makes you appreciate warmth so much more... reminds us that we are forever subject to the atmosphere. I think it keeps people from becoming too arrogant. It's...

M: Humbling?

S: Yeah, humbling... it's also punishing.

M: Punishing?

S: Yeah, but, here's the thing, punishment can be so rewarding.

M: Rewarding?

S: (starts slow, gets more and more passionate and fevered as she goes on) Yes... you step outside and get slapped in the face by cold air... you feel the frozen fingers race up your coat, your dress... the sting of freezing rain reminding you that you are weak, you amount to nothing... the weather is the master... we are all subjects, and, like all subjects, we feel we deserve the punishment, and when you grow up with it, you believe you should be punished and controlled by the weather.

It tells you where to go, when to go, what to wear, what you can do and what you can't, and if you don't listen, or if you're unlucky, then the master will snuff you out. That's the danger, and danger is what keeps us alive, what keeps us vibrant... the sense that we could be killed by the master at any moment, that we need to be subservient, that we need to be pushed around, and we need to pay attention.

Does it have it's fingers aound my neck? Have I been a good girl? Did I do something wrong? How will it bend me today? Will it strip me naked and penetrate me with killing kindness? Will it tease me with a consequence and then pull it back?

I never know, but I want to, I need to, I have to know. Treat me badly, weather, abuse me, toss me around, tell me again how much you hate me... tie me up... beat me down... lash me, hit me, blow me, fuck me over, fuck me around... do it now! Do it now! Do it harder! Colder! Hotter! Slower! Faster! But just do it! Do it!!

M: Oh... I... I... I never... I never... uhhh... thought of it... like... that.

S: And, what do you think?

M: (pause, deep breath) I think you're terrible.

S: And?

M: I think I'm not hungry anymore.

S: And?

M: (he gets up) I'm leaving, and you're coming with me.

S: (sensuously) Yeeeessss!

M: (walking past her) Take your shoes off, grab your coat, we're driving to Alberta.

(Malachi exits, Sabine slips off her shoes, sits up straight and shivers involuntarily with excitement, then runs to the exit)

(end)

January 19, 2007

A Play A Day #281

Nolita


Cast:
Leighton - mid 20s
Maris - same
Nolita - late teens

Setting: A run-down urban alley, dumpster, cans everywhere, trash, filth, etc... Night.

(Caution: This play contains very adult subject matter.)


(enter Leighton, holding Maris's hand, they are well-dressed)

Leighton: It's not that bad... I've cut through here before.

Maris: Not for you, this is disgusting... Leighton, no. (she stops)

L: C'mon, Maris. It's the only way to get to the back door... awesome seats virtually guaranteed... Lewis is watching out for us; he's got the door.

M: No... it's really long.

L: Yeah, it's a three block alley, like a little canyon in the city. Three blocks.

M: Yeah, great, I want to go around, Leighton. This place...

L: No, no, c'mon! It's nothing. I go this way...

M: You are a large male; I am a small female, you do...

L: Fine, then I will protect you.

M: I don't think it's smart even if...

L: Really, don't worry, don't worry, don't...

M: I'm not, I... no.

L: It's six blocks to go all the way around to the front.

M: No... we can...

L: The line will be two blocks long.

M: So?

L: Lewis lets us in... general admission...

M: No, we can't...

L: Sure we can, we wait backstage...

M: It's not safe.

L: We walk into the house as soon as we see the crowds coming in from the lobby...

M: It's not worth it.

L: Plop! There we are! Front row! It's easy.

M: It's not worth it!

L: C'mon, Maris! Lewis can't wait there forever; we have to get in or we don't get to see the show at all.

M: Leighton...

L: You might see Donna backstage.

M: No...

L: The actress you idolize? In the flesh, right there. Autograph, a few words with her?

M: Leighton, I...

L: Shake her hand, give her a hug.

M: We can't... I mean... I'm not ready to...

L: Why'd you bring your autograph book then?

M: I thought... after the show, Lewis could let us backstage.

L: The doors to backstage are locked and guarded during and after the show.

M: But, he could... you know, after the show?

L: We have no tickets. Lewis is giving us front row seats, we have to walk about three blocks down an alley.

M: I just... I mean... I don't... uhhh...

L: We don't do this soon, there is no show for us... last show of the tour, bonus performance, rare general admission for the plebes... no understudies, it's our only chance.

M: (tense with the dilemma, gritting teeth) Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnhhhhhhh....

L: (goes into a little act) "Hello, Mrs. Marion! So nice to finally meet you! Tell me about your last film? Your last husband? Your heart-wrenching, but ultimately victorious struggle to defeat breast cancer? I'd like you to meet my girlfriend..."

M: Stop!

L: (pause) Donna Marion, in the flesh?

M: (she struggles mentally) Okay! Okay! But let's go fast!

L: No problem for me; you're the one in heels.

M: Just go.

(they turn and run upstage, as soon as they pass the dumpster, Nolita pops up, she is unkempt, dressed poorly, dirty, but pretty, she holds a gun)

N: Hey!

(Leighton and Maris turn around, see the gun leveled at them, Leighton throws his hands into the air, Maris starts crying after the shock sets in)

N: Put yer fuckin' hands down! Think I need people seeing this? Put them down, dumbshit!

(Leighton does so)

M: (mumbling and crying) I knew this, I knew this, I knew this...

N: Shut up, bitch!

L: Please, we don't have any money.

N: Lewis was right.

L: Lewis?

N: Said you guys would be comin' by, sneaking in the back... so I let him go. He said I should ask you about getting in with one of you. The gun was my idea... forcing the question.

L: You can join us, sure! Sure! Sure! Sure! Sure! (keeps going)

N: Stop sayin' that! (Lewis stops)

L: We could... ahhh... all three of us... general admission, and...

N: Lewis said only two.

L: Nahhh, I'm sure... I bet he'd let all three of us...

N: Nope.

L: No, Lewis is an old friend, he...

N: Not a very good friend.

L: He's good... a good friend.

N: He's a better lay.

L: What?

N: He was happy to sell you out for a little pussy.

L: Now... I... Lewis? Works backstage? (pointing toward the theater)

N: Oh, yeah... What about you?

L: I... don't know what... you mean?

N: You dump Maris here for the evening, I make it really worth your while.

M: How did you know my name?

N: Are you not paying attention? Lewis? Gun? (points at her own groin) Pussy? Two front row seats?

L: I can't do that. I don't...

N: You can't? Or you don't want to?

L: Both.

N: Doesn't work that way, Captain Honorable.

L: Yes... it does...

N: Way it worked with Lewis was, on the ground, behind the dumpster, gun digging deep into his ribs, me on top. He didn't say much at first, then I couldn't shut him up.

L: No... I won't.

N: Not a problem. (she moves upstage) Get behind the dumpster and take off your clothes.

L: No! I said...

N: Relax! I'm not going to fuck you. (to Maris) You, get over there too. You can keep your clothes on.

(Maris moves to be next to Leighton behind the dumpster)

N: C'mon, clothes off, boyfriend.

L: Well... uhhh...

N: What? She's your damn girlfriend, and I've got a gun. Now!

L: (starts) It's just that I... we...

N: You two haven't fucked yet?! Shit! What world do you two live in?

M: It's just that... well, I just came off a very bad relationship where my former boyfriend treated me very disrespectfully during sex, and I... we...

N: Do I look like fuckin' Oprah?! Shut up. (to Leighton) Underwear too, lover... (to Maris) So you haven't fucked yet... ohhh, too bad, looks like he's got plenty of love to give you.

(Maris somewhat involutarily sneaks a peek)

N: (laughing at this) Turn around, slowly, pretty boy.

(Leighton slowly turns, Nolita approaches)

N: Stop!

(Leighton stops, he faces the audience from behind the dumpster, Nolita puts gun to his temple, bites the top of his shoulder)

N: Last chance, lover... dump this thing and we have a special evening at the show tonight... (Leighton is too terrified to react) Come on, sweet thing... never had a hand job in the front row? (Nolita has reached around Leighton and is stroking him) Ohhhh... you like that? Yeah? Maris, which of these two guns is going to fire first? Huh? (pause) No answer? You like the danger, lover? Hmmm? You feel so nice... big... Maris, he's huge. You want to try? No? Alright, go stand against the other wall... (Maris moves to the opposite side of the alley) Lean against the wall like a hooker. Do it, or Mr. Meat here gets no satisfaction from either weapon. Do it! (Maris does, Nolita laughs) Ohh, you'd be a lousy whore. Whoops! Hey! (pulling hand away and backing up from Leighton) Guess Leighton fired first. (Nolita licks her fingers)

M: (with concern, but also a hint of reproach) Leighton?

L: Don't, Maris... don't.

N: Okay. Into the dumpster, boyfriend.

L: Pleae, don't do this.

N: That's funny, you didn't say anything when you were raping my hand.

L: No, please... I'm begging...

N: And I'm not listening. Now! In!

(Leighton slowly crawls into the dumpster)

N: Well, Maris, looks like you're my date! (she is pulling on Leighton's pants and suitcoat) There... I think now I look positively respectable. Nice suit coat. I like it. (picks up underwear from alleyway, stuffs it in a suit coat pocket) Oops! Can't leave him something to wear, can we? (completely changes tone) Now, I've heard so much about this show! Held over for six weeks! That's amazing.

M: Yes.

N: Who's in it again?

M: The... the star is Donna Marion.

N: Donna Marion!? Oh my God, she is so beautiful!

M: Yeah... yeah, she is.

N: Yeah, with that (Nolita describes Donna's features to match her own).

M: She's just so graceful and... you know, you look a bit like her.

N: I've been told that.

M: Yeah... you even have that (another feature that Nolita has).

N: And she just recovered from breast cancer?

M: Yeah, I thought she was going to die. I was so relieved.

N: Me too! Now, I might finally get a chance to meet her again.

M: You've met her before?

N: Yeah, in Nebraska.

M: That's where she's from... Lovestrand, Nebraska... even her hometown sounds so... graceful and romantic.

N: It sounds like it, but it's really not.

M: You've been there?

N: I lived there.

M: Wow. You're so lucky.

N: Yeah. That's what I keep telling myself.

M: Uhh... what do we do now?

N: We go to the show! Trust me, it will be like no other show you've ever been to before.

M: What about...?

N: (bangs on the dumpster once) Honey, we'll be back with your clothes after the show, just sit tight... C'mon, Maris! Girls' night out! (She motions her down the alley with the gun)

(lights fade out as they exit upstage)

(end)

January 18, 2007

A Play A Day #280

Detente


Cast:
Bip
Flip

Setting: A................. bare stage.


(Lights up, Bip and Flip facing each about two feet apart, they stand, impassive for quite a while)

Bip: Go.

(motionless some more, Flip is clearly thinking what to say, finally)

Flip: What?

(more standing, long, long pause)

Bip: Now.

(repeat)

Flip: Wait.

(repeat)

Bip: Flip?

Flip: (nodding) Bip?

Bip: (nopping) Yes?

(beat)

Flip: What's this game called again?

Bip: Peace.

Flip: Right.

(long pause)

Bip: I'm winning.

Flip: Are you?

Bip: Oh, yeah.

Flip: Crap.

(long pause)

Bip: Way ahead.

Flip: Damn.

(long pause)

Bip: It's your turn.

Flip: Oh.

(long pause)

Bip: Good move.

Flip: Ummm... Bip?

Bip: Yeah?

Flip: When does the game end?

Bip: As soon as one of us wins.

Flip: Right.

(long pause)

Flip: Ummm... Bip?

Bip: Yeah?

Flip: How will we know when one of us has won?

Bip: Hard to say.

(long pause)

Flip: Bip?

Bip: Yeah?

Flip: I don't like this game.

Bip: You sure?

Flip: Yeah.

Bip: That's weird.

Flip: Why?

(beat)

(Bip quickly decks Flip with a crushing right hook to the jaw, Flip collapses to the ground)

Bip: Because you just won.

(Flip slowly struggles to his feet shaking his jaw, back into position)

Flip: I won?

Bip: Yep.

Flip: Awesome! Let's play again!

(beat)

Bip: You kidding? I'm exhausted.

(Bip walks off, Flip stands there rubbing his jaw as lights fade)

(end)

January 17, 2007

A Play A Day #279

The Ill-Advised Theater Company Presents


Cast:
Soldiers 1-4

Setting: The field of battle.


SCENE 1

(Loud sounds of explosions and machine gun fire, four soldier stumble on stage, one is being pulled by the other three, he moans and groans throughout the play)

Soldier 1: Get'em in, behind those rocks, now! Now!

(lots of adlib and shouting, they pull make it to the rocks and sit down on the upstage side of the wall, the audience cannot see them)

Soldier 2: What do we do now?

1: We wait. Chopper will be here in five.

Soldier 3: Bean's hurt pretty bad, guys...

2: We know, man, we know... talk to him.

3: You talk; I'm checking the advance.

2: Shit, we're fuckin' dead. Alone, out here... how many of 'em?

3: (who has just peeked over the wall) at least fifty, maybe more.

1: Guys, stay with Bean... we wait for...

2: Fuck! Fifty? Shit! Shit!

1: Hey! Stay with Bean... we've got a chance. We've got enough shit to throw at 'em to cover our asses for...

2: No fuckin' way! We...

1: Shut up, Jones! Shut it!

2: We ain't got a chance... them fuckers are...

1: Shut the fuck up, Jones! We have a chance... it's called the fuck and run...

3: Jones, we gotta do it... we gotta...

1: What other option do we have, Jones?

2: Fuck...

3: The fuck and run.

1: Soon as the chopper's in their range, the grenades go, then the flashbangs... the smoke, then Jones, you drag Bean and we follow in retreat, unloading...

3: The fuck and run.

1: The chopper'll strafe too.

(Chopper sound, coming in)

2: I hear it, guys...

1: Loaded?

3: Set.

2: Close enough?

1: Wait... wait...

3: Fuck and run, boys! Fuck and...

1: Now!

(They stand up, toss grenades into the audience, they explode, killing most of the audience, then flash grenades, then smoke screens, then firing their machine guns blindly into the audince as they back off the stage, killing many more.)


SCENE 2

(There is no second scene.)

(end)

January 16, 2007

A Play A Day #278

Tropical Depression


Cast:
Donna
Nina

Setting: A hospital room.


(Lights up, Donna talking to Nina, both sitting on a hospital bed.)

Donna: You didn't need to, really.

Nina: Donna, I'm your friend; this is what friends do.

D: I know.

N: I had to be here.

D: Thank you.

N: I couldn't miss this.

D: It means a lot to me, after everything and...

N: I know.

D: I wasn't...

N: I know.

D: I didn't expect anyone to visit.

N: Why not?

D: Well, I've been a complete recluse for the past four months, Nina...

N: Ohh... don't worry...

D: I didn't even answer my phone for the last three weeks...

N: You were in a dark place; what could you do?

D: I could have reached out... to people, to my friends... that might have worked.

N: (hugging her close) It might have helped, but you don't know.

D: It would have helped, such great friends. I didn't talk to you or Trish or Kat.

N: Shhhhh... don't worry about that now.

D: I probably wouldn't be here if I had...

N: You need to be here.

D: I don't know how it happened, that's the scary thing. Four months ago, I was fine, a little glum, Bobby had left, but, you know, I was there... I was okay.

N: Yeah, you were, we went to Dorinda's Palace for that show.

D: (laughs) Ohh God, I had blocked that from my mind.

N: Mmmmm... not me... (laughs) Some of those men... grrrr...

D: Yeah, I suppose, but then I just dropped off the...

N: Almost as cute as the two spa boys I saw coming in here.

D: Yeah?

N: Ohhhh, Donna, I was a little weak for a while.

D: Where'd you see these guys?

N: Out by the pool, just as I was parking the car.

D: Where'd you park?

N: Right outside the front doors.

D: But... did you... pool?

N: That was some very fine flesh, looked like fun for us, if we play our cards right.

D: Play what? Nina, what pool?

N: The one right near the entrance. Huge thing.

D: I... I never saw a pool.

N: Oh, it's there...this is one amazing place they bring you.

D: Yeah... uhhh... it's nice... but...

N: Almost makes me wish I tried to kill myself! (laughs, then realizes she shouldn't have said that) Oops, sorry, Sweetie, that was a stupid thing to say, I'm sorry.

D: It's okay... I just...

N: I'm just so impressed that they sent you here... (motions toward the window) I mean you have the ocean right outside, the palm trees swaying, smell that warm salt air...

D: Uhhh... Nina?

N: So nice of them to let me stay with you even if it's only for a few days, but I figured, hey, she's my best friend, I'll take the time off work, buy the plane ticket and see the sites. So, here we are!

D: Nina?

N: It's just fabulous. I've never been to Florida before, especially not a place like the Keys. So warm.

D: Nina! It's Muncie! It's February! What are you...

N: So, you've got, what, therapy in the morning? And then... shopping!!

D: Nina! Stop!

N: We are going to have so much fun! A little retail therapy, margaritas in the sand, with the spa boys!

D: I'm here until they release me! It's a state facility. I'm a danger to myself!

N: Don't worry, Donna. I'll talk to some people, we'll cure this thing, girlfriend-to-girlfriend...

(lights start fading)

D: No, Nina... This isn't funny!

N: Ice cream, massages, new lingerie, some Sex-on-the-Beaches and sex, on the beaches...

(lights out)

(end)

January 15, 2007

A Play A Day #277

Trolling


Cast:
Mike
Ed

Setting: Underwater.


(Murky light, Mike and Edward come on in fins, masks and snorkels, they are on wires, swimming ten feet above the stage, they swim for a while, then Mike points to a corner of the stage which has been decorated to look like a coral reef, they dive down and swim behind it, and lift a beautiful mermaid to the surface, she swims very lethargically between the two men, they break the surface, spitting the snorkels from their mouths, treading water)

Mike: (shouting) Ha!!! I told you! I knew you didn't believe me, but it was true!! I told you I saw her here last night! I told you, man!!

Ed: This is fucking unbelievable!! She's hot! I can't believe this, man!

M: Come on. Let's get her to the boat.

E: Doesn't she need water to breath, Mike?

M: Yeah. (give her his snorkel, but turns it so that it is pointing down into the water) There, that'll work for now, I've got a long hose on the boat for her to use.

E: Heh, heh! So do I!

M: Give it a rest, Ed. Save it for the boat.

E: How much of that shit did we use?

M: Dumped almost a ton and a half over that section of the reef.

E: And you're sure that stuff works?

M: Works in the land bar, should work on the sand bar.

E: She won't remember a thing?

M: Nothing. We just wait for the blood sample to test negative, and then she's ours.

E: How long for that?

M: Guy told me it takes about an hour for the readout.

E: Man! That's too long; do we have to do that?

M: Hey, hot chick like this, she's gotta be a slut. You wanna take that chance?

E: Alright, alright, let's go... let's go... let's go!

M: Yeah, we're wasting time here.

(they start swimming on the surface toward the exit, Edward stops, treads water, Mike and mermaid continue offstage)

E: (calling after Mike) Hey, Mike? How do we get her pants off?

M: (from offstage, after a beat, he clearly has not thought of this issue) Ahhh... fuck! (muttering as lights fade out) Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck...

(end)

January 14, 2007

A Play A Day #276

Humanities League


Cast:
Man
Woman 1
Woman 2
Woman 3

Setting: Cheesy 1980s dance club.



(Lights up flashing on the pulsating but, like the '80s, dull scene. All is pastels, leg warmers, spandex and popped collars, three women lean on a neon wall, in walks Man, the song "Don't You Want Me" by Human League starts. Man goes into an elaborate dance, way over the top, trying to draw attention to himself and his general genital area. When the first chorus hits, he is addressing Woman 1 by singing along)

Man: Don't you want me, baby?

Woman 1: (quickly) No!

(Man lets this roll off, seemingly unpreturbed, the second time the chorus hits, he propositions Woman 2 with the same line, singing along)

Man: Don't you want me, baby?

Woman 2: (quickly) No!

(Man goes back to dancing through the second verse, even more overblown, when the second chorus hits, he is at Woman 3's feet, singing in full rock star pose)

Man: Don't you want me, baby?

Woman 3: Yes!

(Music stops abruptly. Man stands.)

Man: What?

Woman 3: I said "yes".

Man: Oh... (shocked for little bit, then realizing that's not how he should be reacting) I mean, cool... great! Uhhh, well, let's go.

Woman 3: Where?

Man: (playing the the other women as well) Well, there's a quiet spot in the back seat of...

Woman 3: Ummm, why would I want to go there?

Man: (too quickly) Or we could stay here, that's fine, fine... fine.

Woman 3: If you're staying here, then I'm leaving. (starts to exit)

Man: Wait... I thought... oh, you want me to follow, I get it. Some chicks are like that.

Woman 3: (stopped, facing him again) No! I don't want you to follow! Go away!

Man: But, hey, you said "yes"... the little song there... Human League...

Woman 3: Oh, that!

Man: Yeah, great band by the way, I have all of their album. It's great.

Woman 3: Listen, jerk, you asked if I didn't want you, correct?

Man: Well, no... it's "Don't you want me, baby?"

Woman 3: (overlapping) ...me, baby? Right, exactly. Same thing.

Man: Huh?

Woman 3: So I told you that, yes; yes I don't want you.... baby. So stay away from me! (she exits)

Man: What? (does the mental parsing of what she just said, then figures something out, he gets a big grin on his face, turns to Woman 1 and Woman 2, stands between them for a little bit, then says) Ladies?

(Woman 1 and Woman 2 come to each side of him, he puts his arms around them, they start walking off together)

Man: Why didn't you tell me the English teachers' convention was here in town?

Woman 1: You didn't ask... correctly.

Woman 2: "Here in town" is redundant, by the way.

(Man and women laugh as "Don't You Want Me" swells over the speakers again)

(lights fade)

(end)

January 13, 2007

A Play A Day #275

A Couple Days After Tomorrow


Cast:
Dad
Mom
Kids

Setting: A post-apocalyptic wasteland.


(Lights rise very slowly, swelling in time with depressing dirge music, gray ash covers the stage which itself is covered in rubble and any type of debris, after lights reach full intensity, a man peaks his head in from offstage, looks around, slowly walks toward center stage, looking very tentative at first, picking things up, smelling them, even tasting some of the ash, he moves about taking everything in, then he retreats off from where he came, a short pause then, back on to stage marches the man)

Dad: C'mon, no, check it out, it's pretty cool...

Mom: Look at all the mess.

(Kids are picking things up, murmuring and generally are impressed by the new look of everything)

Dad: Well, yeah, but look out there, dear... it's fine, a lot of things are still where they always were... and look over there, the gas station is still open.

Mom: Good ol' Sam, nothing closes that place down!

Dad: Hey, kids, why don't you run off and find some friends!

(They do, excitedly)

Mom: Look dear! (reaching behind some debris) Fresh daisies!

Dad: Beautiful... see, I told you it wouldn't be that bad.

Mom: Well, I mean, how would we have ever know, we've always been told these horror stories about nuclear war, but... it's really, you know... nice.

Dad: And it's only been, what, three days?

Mom: Three days... hard to believe.

Dad: A little plastic, a little duct tape, and the den made a perfectly serviceable bomb shelter.

Mom: It was fun, lots of candles and board games... like camping with the kids.

Dad: I've missed that with the kids.

Mom: Well, nuclear war really helps you appreciate the true treasures in life, doesn't it?

Dad: Yes it does dear. (they hug and stare heroically toward the audience)

(kids run back on with some new friends, adlibbing excitedly)

Kid 1: Dad, Dad, we found the Applebaums and the Greenbergs, but the Mumfords and the Lindens are gone!

Kid 2: Yeah, we couldn't find'em anywhere!

Kid 3: Did they die, Dad?

Dad: (kneeling down to talk to his kids) I was afraid of this, kids.

Kid 4: What is it?

Dad: (head down) We've been ...... left behind!

Mom: What your father is trying to say, kids, is that the Mumfords and Lindens and all fundamentalist Christians have been taken up... raptured to Heaven at the time of the Apocalypse.

Dad: (starting low, then exploding upward) Hiiiigghhhh Five!!!

(high fives all around, much rejoicing, and excited adlibs)

Dad: (hugging his wife) Oh dear, isn't it wonderful! They're gone! They're finally gone!

Mom: (pointing upward) Thank you, Jesus!

(Lights blink once or twice as Jesus acknowledges his props)

Dad: Alright, kids! Let's go house hunting!

(loud cheers as they march off, overjoyed)

Mom: Who wants a pool?

Dad: Who wants three pools?

(more cheering as lights fade with cheery music swelling)

(end)

January 12, 2007

A Play A Day #274

Conflag Resolution


Cast:
Walter
Receptionist
Security Guards

Setting: Front desk and waiting room, emergency room.


(Lights up on front desk, receptionist sits, reading a romance novel, no one else is there, enter Walter, approaches receptionist)

Walter: Hello.

Receptionist: Yes, hello sir. How may I help you?

W: I think I need to see a doctor.

R: Certainly, sir, what is the problem?

W: I... I'm on fire. (he actually should be on fire, good luck with this one)

R: Great, great... (turns to her computer) Well, it looks like Doctor Hallace is not working on anything at the moment.

W: Oh, great.

R: Have we ever treated you at Westview General before?

W: No, no... this is my first time here.

R:(handing him a clipboard thick with papers) Great, welcome! Please fill out these forms to the best of your ability, and then the doctor will see you.

W: (turns away with clipboard, stops, beat, turns back around) Miss, I... well, I hate to be a nuisance, but do you think I could borrow a pen?

R: Certainly, certainly... here you go.

W: Yeah, it's just that mine is all melted (pulls melted pen out of pocket)

R: I understand.

(W sits down in waiting room, which, of course, puts out the fire, his clothes now begin smoking a great deal since the fire is out; W realizes this after a few seconds of filling out the top form, gets up, hands over clipboard to R)

W: I'm not on fire now.

R: Oh! Great!

W: So, I don't need...

R: (reading top form) Well, we have your address, phone and social security numbers, that should work.

W: Hmmm?

R: You should get the bill in one to two weeks.

W: Bill?

R: If you give us your insurance information, I could have it sent to your insurance company.

W: But...

R: Do you have a deductible payment now?

W: Deductible... no... I mean...

R: We would just mail it to your insurance company then, but if you don't have a deductible with you, then...

W: I mean. I don't need the doctor any more. The fire is out.

R: But there's still the deductible.

W: Why?

R: Because you're cured.

W: Yes, but the hospital didn't do that, I cured myself.

R: By sitting in our chair?

W: Uhhh... yeah, I guess, but...

R: Exactly.

W: Any chair would have done the same thing.

R: We'll never know that.

W: It's obvious... I just...

R: We only have hospital chairs around to test your premise on; so...

W: Come on. You're joking, right?

R: Sir, I don't write the rules. You came to us in need of help. You were "on fire". We put the fire out. You owe us your plan's deductible for services rendered. We will happily bill your insurance company for the remaining amount, plus the cost of a replacement chair, if you will provide us with that information.

W: But I cured myself!

R: We've discussed this.

W: (beat, fumbles in a pocket for a little bit, withdraws a lighter) Alright, look, here's what I'm going to do, I'm going to set myself on fire again (begins lighting his suit coat or coat again) then I'm going to go outside, lay down in the grass and put myself out. I will come back and show you that I didn't need your chair. See? (shows her that he is on fire again, then exits)

(several seconds pass, she goes back to her romance novel, W returns, smoldering, giving off a great deal of smoke)

W: See? Out! I'm cured again! I did it myself.

(W tears top sheet off the clipboard, and starts walking out, R pushes a button, lights start flashing red, a loud alarm sounds, four security guards hurry onstage, R points at W nonchalantly)

Security Guards: (attack W and begin beating him mercilessly) No smoking! No smoking! Do you understand that? Can't you read? (other angry adlibs, like "This is for your own good!" and "Harder helps better!" They stop after a little while. Stand there.)

Security Guard 1: He don't look so good.

Security Guard 2: We better get him to the emergency room.

Security Guard 3: Pick'em up.

(they do, haul him to R's desk)

Security Guard 4: Ma'am, we found this man smoking in the hospital. He collapsed during questioning?

R: Thank you gentlemen. Have him fill out these forms, and Dr. Hallace will see him when she's done with her other patients.

(security guards lay W down across several waiting room seats, place clipboard on top of his chest, force a pen into his hand, and leave, R goes back to her romance novel, W is not moving)

(lights out on this scene)

(end)

January 11, 2007

A Play A Day #273

The Rememberings Of Stabbings Past


Cast:
Cynthia
Fiver

Setting: Living room. Cynthia sits on the floor, going through photos. Fiver reads a magazine on the sofa.


Cynthia: Ohh, look at this Fiver. (holds out a picture to him) Remember this?

Fiver: Yes.

C: Wow. Unbelievable.

F: That was fun.

C: Huh?

F: Thank you.

C: What?

F: For remembering that picture.

C: What?

F: The one you showed me.

C: Yeah?

F: It was fun to remember that picture.

C: I don't get it.

F: That picture. So many memories.

C: Did you look at it?

F: Yeah.

C: Fun?

F: Yeah, so much fun.

C: It's when you were in the hospital after you got mugged and stabbed in the liver.

F: What?

C: Two guys, stabbed you in the liver, you weren't found until the morning.

F: Hmmm?

C: Intensive care for a week, that time?

F: Really?

C: What?

F: Stabbed?

C: Yeah! Pierced your liver?

F: Ouch, bet that hurts.

C: You nearly died!

F: Odd. I feel fine.

C: Now, yes. That was two years ago.

F: Sounds pretty bad.

C: It was! I cried for weeks, Fiver.

F: Sad.

C: Yes, of cou... what's wrong with you?

F: Nothing. Feel alright.

C: I mean, you don't remember the stabbing, the hospital.

F: No.

C: But we talked about it last week, at the Murrays; you told everyone about the whole thing.

F: Yes, I did. That's right.

C: But, now...

F: The picture. Thank you... for the picture.

C: The picture?

F: I remember now.

C: I don't know when you've ever forgot about it.

F: Well, actually, I've only seen that picture once before.

C: Right, but... what?

F: Now, you showed it to me, now I remember that picture.

C: Yeah, it was the day they took you out of intensive care.

F: Nice rectangular shape.

C: Wha...? Intensive care?

F: The picture.

C: Ummm... yeah, I... What... Are you telling me that you remember that picture?

F: Very well.

C: Okay.

F: Some guy in a hospital bed, looks in pretty bad shape.

(lights out)

(end)

January 10, 2007

A Play A Day #272

For Cute


Cast:
Lincoln
Barabara

Set: Work, dull office space, two dull white office workers, two desks, two chairs, and a lot of "cute" stuff for Barabara's desk: A stapler cozy, only starts to cover the cute her desk contains. Lincoln enters with a small box with his desk gear in it.


Barabara: (standing up) Oh hi!!! You must be Lincoln!! What a cute name! My name's Barabara! I'm your new office mate! So exciting!!

Lincoln: Uhh... hi... Bara-bara?

B: Yep, that's me! This is your desk! (it's obvious, of course)

L: Yes. I thought it might be.

B: When I first came into this office, they told me to take that desk, but, just between you and me, Lincoln: I thought this desk (points to his) was way cuter! (they are identical)

L: Yes... it seems... nice.

B: So that's your chair, lucky boy! What a cute chair!

L: I think yours is, you know, just great too.

B: Ohhh! You flatterer! That's so cute!

L: Hmmm?

B: My chair hurts my butt!

L: Well, I'm sure mine will hurt my... uhh... when I sit down... sit for a long time to do work too.

B: That's was just the cutest thing evar! You are so cute!! Not saying "butt"! That was just too cute!!

L: I... uhhh... it's...

B: (in confidential tone) You can say butt around me, Lincoln. I don't mind!

L: Well, I'd like to, but I just want to be appropriate... it's my first day and...

B: (waving her finger, then putting her fingers in her ears, in mock horror) But, you just said "butt", but, oh no, Lincoln!! Oh no!!

L: Ohh... yeah, the conjunction, that but, yeah, I guess, I have...

B: (mock fainting in a glamorous but helpless damsel-in-distress manner) Oh save me from this rude attack of butts, Prince Lincoln! (falls into his arms)

L: (struggles to catch her) Uhh... yeah... (tries to laugh, she stays in that position for just one second too long, laughing)

B: Ohh... Lincoln! My hero! That was just so cute!! Ahhh!!! You're so strong!

L: I... thanks... uhhh... I should be getting my dress... desk, my desk... straightened away...

B: Are you saying my dress is crooked, Lincoln? (fusses with her dress)

L: No, I... I mispeak sometimes... it's a hard habit to get around... your dress is fine! It's fine! I... it...

B: Thanks! I love this dress! I saw it at Gagabouts in the Daledale Mall!! And I was with my girlfriends, Chrissy and Melissy, and we saw it, and I had to race them into the store to buy it!! Isn't it just about the cutest thing evar?!

L: It's... yeah... I've been in that Mall before...

B: It's the cutest mall in the history of malls! Cutest mall evar!

L: Yeah.. I... I liked it?

B: I got these shoes there too! They are so, ohmigod! They are like ohmigod-cute! Cutest ohmigod-cute in for-evar!

L: They... they do look nice with the thing and the... the ... uh... shoe part.

B: Oh... listen to me, going on about shoes. You're so cute to humor me! That is just about the cutest thing a co-worker can do for another co-worker... it's just so tender-cute.

L: Ohh... I... don't know much about...

B: You are just so cute to me, and I know we only just started working together, but I can tell that we are going to be the cutest working couple in the history of people working in this office!

L: I... I'm... uhh... well I sort of have a girlfriend and...

B: I bet you do, Lincoln, cute thing like you! Lucky girl! Is she cute?

L: Yeah... I think.. I think so... I mean...

B: I'll bet she is, Lincoln, cute thing like you! I'll bet she's just the cutest sort of girlfriend evar!

L: Well. I... uhh... hey... Barbara?

B: Bara-bara.

L: Right... Bara... bara... uhh, is that Japanese?

B: What?

L: Your name? Is Barabara a Japanese name?

B: Ahh... so cute! That was just... wow! That was just the cutest, adorablest thing that a guy has ever asked me evar!

L: I was just curious... you don't... ummm... you don't have to answer.

B: Ohhh... I want to answer! It's not Japanese! I changed my name from Barbara to Barabara... the extra "a" just makes all the difference, so my name's like a cute little song... (sings her name in an annoying-cute manner a few times too many) So now before, when my name was just Barbara, I was in this cute high school, and it was cute, but, you know, just cute, and then I graduated and added that fourth "a", and now look at me! I work here in the cutest office evar!

L: Ohh.. yes, yes... you do.

B: I'm thinking about adding a fifth "a", since the fourth one was just so cute!

L: (tries valiantly) Cutest letter "a" evahhhhr! (fails miserably)

B: (not understanding his over-exaggeration) Well, at least evar. (pause) Oh you... definitely going to be great working buddies here!

L: Sure... sure...

B: But I've always had good luck with all my office buddies here!

L: Really?

B: Each cuter than the last!

L: Yeah?

B: Yep, you're going to be the cutest co-worker evar! Cuter than the other four put togethar!

L: Wow! Four other people, before, before... me? You look so young.

B: Ohh for cute! That flattery again! I know I look young, but don't let that deceive you; I'm almost 21!!

L: Wow! Okay... I... I... I... guess... I never would have guessed that!

B: Yes, silly, don't act so surprised, I've been slaving away here for almost three months!

L: Oh! Ahhh... yes, well, those other people just... uhhh... people just come and go quickly when they're starting out in a new company I guess... probably got assigned to... to other offices?

B: Oh heavens no! Ohhh nooo, they all quit, well, three of them quit, one of them killed himself.

L: Killed! Really? Killed?

B: I guess that's, like, extreme quitting.

L: That's horrible, how did he die?

B: Lots of gravity. Found him fourteen floors below that window. (points straight behind her)

L: He jumped?

B: Well, he sort of hurled himself into the window, and then he fell. Not so much of a jump.

L: That's... horrible... I mean.

B: I know, this was one girl who took a third coffee break that day!

L: I... I can't believe that they still make you...

B: Oh, you care so much, and that's so cute! Truth is, I wanted to stay in this office, especially after they put a nicer window in... you know to replace the one Theo broke with his body and bones and stuff.

L: Theo was his name?

B: Ohh, you are such a carer! Oh for cute! Theo was great, real cute guy, just say the cutest things... like "I suppose today really is the first day of the rest of my life" and "Make sure someone feeds my gerbils" and... oops, forgot about that... how long do gerbils live with no food?

L: I... I don't...

B: He was so cute... real funny guy... sort of sad-cute at times, but we got along so well... We were just a cute little working team for a week and a half, Theo and me!

L: Well... I hope...

B: Although I liked Brant even more! What a cutey! (in deep voice) He was all big and muscular and scary! He was real cute, angry-cute... he'd say the cutest things... like "Please stop faxing me pictures of puppies" and "Do you have any friends who's names don't end in "y"" Note to Lincoln: I have two: Tessie and Leslie. And, one time he said the angriest-cutest thing evar... he said "It's pronounced Ev-urrrr!" Then he ran down the hall and I haven't seem him since. So cute though.

L: I really should...

B: But the real cutest one was Derek! For cute!?? Oh yeah! Real cute... like a PhD in Cutieography, with a Cuteology degree on the side... he was always showing up for work at odd times, sneaking in like a cute little mousey-wousey... just too cute... I'd find him hiding under his desk, kinda shivering, so I'd grab my shawl and crawl under there with him... pretend we were on a campout, he never spoke much, but I know he liked it. His head was always shaking up and down real fast; one of the most positive people I ever met... too cute... just didn't show up for work one day...

L: That's too bad, I should get going to the...

B: But the last guy, he was here the longest, almost four weeks! He was just the small wittle guy! I just wanted to pick him up and cuddle him... SOOO CUTE!!! His name was Todd... but I called him Toddles... Hey, I couldd make up a pet name for you... uhhh... I got it... Linkles? Ohh, that's too cute! Definitely using that one! So, Toddles and me, we worked really, really, really great together! We were like the cutest working couple in the history of history for-evar! One day, he said he wanted to try something new in the office, and what do you think he proposed? What? Huhh...

L: I...

B: Right, honesty!! How cute is that? If you looked up "cute" in the cutest dictionary in the cutest dictionary library on cutest street in the cutest city in the cutest state in the cutest country on the cutest planet in the cutest universe EV-AR! that's where you'd find what Toddles said to me! "Barabara," he said, "I think we need to try some brutal honesty around here", he said. Sooo amazingestly the cutest thing ever said by anybody in anywhere for-evar!

L: Yeah... I...

B: So after that, Toddles was just so brutally-cute at work... he'd kinda rummble-rumble all the time, like a cute little train making it up that cute little hill. And when he wasn't doing his cute rumbling sounds, sometimes he'd say something like "Would you just shut the hell up for once!?" or "You're driving me insane, you horrible monster!" or "I'm going to stab you in the fucking eye with my pen!"... and he did!

L: WHAT?!

B: I know... it did hurt, I had to take almost a whole day off work too! But now, I have this cute little fake eye (pops it out, shows it to him, which makes him queasy and uneasy, she pops the eye back in) It's really cute, I can get a whole assortment of fake eyes, different ones for different ocassions! It's the cutest fake body part evar!

L: I have the..

B: So what's in the box? (goes for it)

L: (moves to shield the box) No... I have the orientation...

B: (grabbing photo) Ahh... this is the cutest picture of a sorta girlfriend I have seen evar!

L: Please... (taking photo from her).. the new employees have to...

B: (grabbing his stapler from the box) Guess what... you are so lucky, cuz my friend, Sissy, makes thee cutest little stapler cozies evar! No more touching cold plastic staplers! So cute...

L: Reall, I'll just take care of my stuff later...

B: I could take care of it for you while you're at your meeting thingy! Yeah, it'll be fun! I'll set up you desk in a really cute...

L: BARABARA!! NO! (quieting quickly) I... I'm sorry.. I didn't mean to...

B: Hey! You barked at me! Like a cute widdle puppy-wuppy doggie... ahhh! For cute! That just settles it, we are going to be the cutest working couple evar!! Now don't miss your meeting!

L: (beat) Yeah... I... (turns and exits quickly, looking back over his shoulder once or twice)

B: (calling after him, while removing items from the his box) Don't you fret, you cute widdle barking puppy dog! I'll take care of all this! It'll be real cute, Linkles!

(she claps her hands excitedly and rapidly, and then starts going through the stuff, as lights fade)

(end)