January 12, 2007

A Play A Day #274

Conflag Resolution

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)


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