May 16, 2006

A Play A Day #33


Lauren Whittier
Hack Smashjaw

Setting: Outer office of the human resource director's suite for a very large corporation. Lights up on Lauren, looking through her personal files in her briefcase. In walks Hack. Lauren is dressed for success, upwardly-mobile, qualified, confident and good-looking, but she is no match for Hack. He is impossibly handsome, talored, chiseled, coifed; with the grace, manners and confidence to match. He carries nothing. Lauren is immediately intimidated, but Hack's seeming perfection supplants some of her anxiety with attraction. Hack gives her a very friendly nod and broad smile as he sits dowwn opposite her. His posture is relaxed, but also impeccable. Lauren decides that she can't pass on this guy.

Lauren: Hi. Here for the new position?

Hack: Yes. And you?

L: Yes, me too?

H: Well, it's good to know that I'll be competing against other very qualified applicants.

L: Oh...thanks. But, you don't even know me.

H: I can tell.

L: I mean, I could be just out of college with no experience, taking a shot in the dark at a position I'm not remotely qualified for.

H: True, you could be.

L: (pause) Ummm... I'm not, though (uneasy laugh) What I said? I'm not. I graduated from B school, Wharton, five years, over five years ago. I've been working in positions of increasing responsibility ever since. I mean, ha!, my resume' is three pages long already! (defending her qualifications too stridently here) In fact, they called me (little laugh) to apply for this position.

H: I knew I was right. I had it in my nose; I could sense it.

L: (modestly all of a sudden) Thank you. You're too kind.

H: Am I? (disarming laugh) I'm sorry.

L: No, please, be kind. It's...uh...really nice talking to you.

H: Nice talking to you too... (reaches forward to shake her hand, raising a questioning eyebrow)

L: Ohh... sorry... Lauren, Lauren Whittier (takes his hand)

H: Very nice to meet you, Lauren. My name is Hack, Hack Smashjaw. (they finish shaking hands)

L: (long pause, did she hear that name correctly?) Nice you too...Hack?

H: (not smarmy in any way) I can assure you the pleasure is all mine.

L: (pause, too curious) Ummm... where... where does your name come from? I don't think I've ever heard it before.

H: Hack? Ohh... old family name, goes back almost fifty generations.

L: Fifty?! Wow! You must really know your geneology. Fifty generations!

H: Yes. I guess I do, but it's really not much when you consider my family have lived in the same area for over fifteen thousand generations.

L: (pause) What?

H: We can trace our ancestry back over twenty thousand years before the first human even set foot in the area.

L: Really? Wait... before...ummm...the first human?

H: Oh, yes. Of course, I don't want to seem like we were big pioneers or anything; some of the others families were there thousands of years before my family showed up.

L: (increasingly confused and skeptical) Right...

H: Yes. My family are actually Socky-Come-Latelys to that stretch of coastline.

L: Yes... (long pause) ummm... Hack?

H: Yes?

L: How were you there before people?

H: Just migrated there, probably from up the coast a little ways.

L: Right, but then... you were there...

H: Yes, yes, way before people showed up.

L: But... you said that other families were there long before you.

H: Oh yes, the place was actually rather crowded when we hit the scene.

L: With all these other families?

H: Yep.

L: O.K. (long pause) Ummm.. Hack?

H: Yes, Lauren?

L: I still don't get it.

H: Oh, what's to get, really? Pretty dull stuff. Most of time, it's the ocean place for most of us. Every year some go further inland, to the lake place, blah, blah, blah... same ol' thing, every year. You know what; enough about me, huh? What about the very qualified and, if you don't mind me saying so, charming Ms. Whittier?

L: What? Oh... me?

H: Yes. Tell me why you're applying at Norton Forestry and Fishing today.

L: Well... it's a world leader in forest and fish products. They have chosen to also become the world leader in sustainable harvesting of old growth forests and salmon farming. I know I'm the right person to lead that initiative for them.

H: (bristling slightly, but maintaining most of his charm and tact) Right. Sounds like you'd fit right in here.

L: Thanks.

H: Yes, you've got the impressive resume'.

L: Yes. (pause) I suppose you already sent yours ahead of you, in the mail.

H: No.

L: Oh... they asked me to bring a copy along. You just did like an e-mail attachment or something? That's really convenient.

H: No.

L: Oh. You're getting it to them later then?

H: No. I don't have one.

L: No... resume'?

H: No, don't need one.

L: Huh?

H: Nope.

L: Ummm... why not?

H: Family connection.

L: (worried now) Oh... seriously?

H: Oh, yes.

L: Your family knows someone who has power around here?

H: No.

L: What?

H: No. Let's just say, my family is very connected to Norton's (air quotes) "products", but, in truth, my family hates Norton.

L: But...

H: I'm applying for a big position here? Yes, I know, and, I hate to say it, but I'll get it.

L: Don't be so sure!

H: You don't understand. There is no question in the matter. You see, I am the "demon spawn" - the end result of over one hundred years of work by my family to birth and groom an insider, a leader that they could unhatch unto the world to take this company down. This company which has done so much to destroy my home and way of life. I've endured years of teasing in my homeland, everyone in school laughing at my hideous appearance. It was my burden, and I carried it bravely; because I knew this day would come.

L: (fairly horrified at the change) What are you saying?

H: Only this: I know everything about Norton. I have a perfect memory. I'm trained to fit in perfectly with their sick culture. I am the Smashjaw who will bury this company.

(Interior office door opens, receptionist steps out, looking at a clipboard)

L: (stage whisper, leaning toward Hack) But, this job is mine! I have all the skills!

Receptionist: Mr Hack Smashjaw? The committee will see you now.

H: (politely nods and smiles at receptionist, rises and leans closer to Lauren, stage whisper) Yes. Maybe so. But, I have the skills... and the gills.

(Goes into interior office, receptionist follows, door closes. Lauren stares out at audience in shock as lights fade)


1 comment:

Brendon Etter said...

Yes, I named a character "Hack Smashjaw". Proud of it. It's half homage to MST3K's "Space Mutiny" episode, and half a play on words about Hack's true "self". Plus, he will be using his skills to "hack" the company. Double meaning there, since it's a logging company.

Don't even ask me his middle name. It's far worse.