January 31, 2007

A Play A Day #293


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.


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)


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of when they had a rotary phone at the theatre and a little girl had no idea how to work it. Quite funny. Of course MCMDs kids will know how to work one- theirs is the only functioning one I've seem in the past 8 years or so.