June 12, 2006

A Play A Day #60



Setting: Typical meeting room, large table, three nice chairs on one side where sit Ida, Al and Kai in business attire with thick folders in front of them, a fourth chair sits empty on the opposite side. Let me stress that I want no obvious plays to racial or ethnic expectations. Everyone could be white in the play, or any race, it doesn't matter, and, in fact, it may be more enjoyable to play against type.

Ida: I think we just have to keep trying.

Al: Sure, eventually we're going to find the right man.

Ida: Or woman!

Al: Sorry, yes, sure, could be female too. No point in being hard-line when you're hard-up, I guess.

Kai: Good one, Al! Should I get the next candidate?

Ida: Yeah, I'm set.

Al: This is Bob Yallen, right?

Kai: Yeah, that's what I got.

Ida: Yep, Maple Springs, Alabama, that's the one.

Kai: (exits, comes back immediately with Bob, in bad shirt and tie, not in good shape) Have a seat right there, Mr. Yallen. (Bob sits in fourth chair)

Al: Al. (stands up, offers his hand, Bob shakes it)

Bob: Al.

Al: You've already met Kai? (affirmative nod from Bob) And this is Ida.

Bob (Shaking Ida's hand) Ida.

Ida: Nice to meet you, Bob.

(They all sit again)

Kai: So, Bob, you came highly recommended. (looking through Bob's materials) Looks like you've got some... 12... 13... 14....15! years of school age bullying to your credit.

Bob: That's true, sir. Woulda been longer, but the state says a kid can only repeat 4th grade six times before they gotta move on. I got some of my victims' names at the bottom there if ya need to call anyone.

Al: Tell us about the bullying, Bob; 'cause we have been very intrigued by what you wrote here... you know, how you "like seeing the others shake with fear right before you brought the pain"... Good words, but could you tell us more about that?

Bob: Yes, sir, I could. See, ever since I was little, far back as I can remember, I liked punching other kids. Dad always said "stick with what ya know"; so I did. Shoot, I been punching people, and then I moved on to kickin', then a little stranglin' and stabbin' thrown in there... oh... and clubbin' too! Never enough to kill, ya know, just enough to let'em know I was in charge. Boy, I loved watching 'em cry and beg for mercy right before I'd slam their head into a table or something like that!

Ida: That seems to be many years ago, Bob; we are a little concerned that you might have lost that edge, that controlling spirit. There was that stint in the Army; didn't that balance you out too much?

Bob: No, ma'am, not at all... Army taught me lots of good ways to pick on others; why I spent four years building up nothing but hate toward them bastards. They pushed me around, jus' 'cus they had stupid rank! I swore when I got out, I'd go back to being even a bigger jerk.

Ida: Well, we do like to hear that, Bob; but the story seems a little different now: two kids, happily married, good job, home...

Bob: "Happily" married would be a bit of an overstatement. I got this bitch of a woman I live with; she ain't going nowhere because the state's looking for her ass, and she changed her name, married me, so she could hide out better. The two kids just showed up one day on the trailer steps. She says they're hers, sure enough. I ain't never seen any proof. Them little shits sit there all day, eating up my food, smoking my pot, shit, I told her I didn't like that one bit, the wife says, they're 9 and 7, and we gotta let'em make independent choices like that. I tell her, I don't care if they're old enough, it's MY pot they're smoking! Shit, I work long and hard at the pig renderers for that money.

Al: Sound pretty bitter, Bob.

Bob: Damn right, I'm bitter; that's why I'm applying for this job.

Kai: Now, Bob, there does seem to be some drinking issues present.

Bob: Ha! It's only an issue if I don't get enough to drink! Course I drink; I'm an American, damnit!

Kai: No, we like that, don't worry. If you're self-medicating then we don't have to take care of that for you. Saves on overhead.

Al: Now, Bob, let's move on. Fanatical beliefs, you checked "yes", but you didn't list any in the space provided. Why is that, exactly?

Bob: Tell ya the truth; I don't quite got a handle on that word.

Al: "Fanatical"?

Bob: Yeah. That one.

Ida: It means, you know, only believing one way and reacting violently to anyone who disagrees with the way that you believe.

Bob: (with pride) Well reactin' violently sounds like me!

Al: Good! Good! Sounds great! But, what would make you react violently, Bob?

Bob: Like, the Cowboys losin' or almost losin'... uhhh... fags, of course...

Kai: Certainly.

Bob: ... and, uh... Dodge pickups... puss-ups, I mean (laughs)... people bossin' me around...

Al: Interesting...

Bob: ... oh, and, people not likin' Jesus enough...

Ida: Well, we certainly have a lot in common, Bob!

Al: Yes we do! That's about it for today, Bob; before you head back to the lobby, we'd like to give you a couple pamphlets about Jesus and his good friend, Mohammed.

Bob: Mowhated?

Kai: (jumping forward violently) Mo-HA-Med!! Mo-HA-Med!! You cannot say such...

Al: (pulling him down, calming him) Alright, alright, sorry about that Bob. Like all of us here, we really like Mohammed... a lot... and well... just read these pamphlets about Jesus and Mohammed's secret plan for an Earthly Paradise, and how those plans have been fouled up by certain people.

Bob: Alright. Not to fond of reading.

Ida: Lots of pictures for you too, Bob! Look here's Jesus talking to a grey blob that represents the image of Mohammed.

Bob: Where's a picture of this Mohammed guy?

Ida: Sorry, we don't make pictures of Mohammed.

Bob: Why?

Kai: (with restrained fury) We just don't, o.k?!

Bob: Alright. (pause) So I'm all done here?

Al: Right, yes, yes, all done. (handshakes all around) We have a couple more interviews, then we'll chat for a while and come up with our choice. If you could just wait in the lobby. (Bob exits)

Ida: Well, he's stupid, violent, perpetually drunk, fanatical and bitter...

Kai: Sounds perfect, but is he trainable? He can't stand orders, remember?

Al: I think he's got the fundamentalist mindset, that's all we need. We'll get him believing that he's doing it for himself.

Kai: Well, I think he's more of a fear-orist or scare-orist...

Ida: He's got the potential to be a great terrorist, Kai.

Al: Well, let's put his file aside for later consideration. I think, if nothing else, he's a top candidate.

Kai: Let's keep moving. We have a couple left here. (exits)

Al: Alright... Kipper St. George... Boston, Massachusetts.

Kai: (returning with handsome, recent college graduate, dressed perfectly for a business interview, he carries a brief case and a confident enthusiasm.) Right this way, Mr. St. George.

(Introdcutions all around, standing and shaking hands)

Al: Al.

Kipper: Al! Nice to meet you!

Kai: Kai.

Kipper: Kai! Pleasure!

Ida: I'm Ida.

Kipper: Ida! What a beautiful name! (Ida is liking the attention)

Al: Please sit down, sit down...

Kai: Now, Kipper, we have to level with you right from the start, you are not our typical candidate for this position.

Kipper: Sure. I understand that, but I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by my abilities.

Ida: I'm sure we will; sure we will. What my colleague is saying is that we generally don't attract candidates of such high potential as yourself.

Al: (laughing) No! We don't!

Kipper: Well, I really couldn't pass up this opportunity to join a fast-growing company with potential for explosive future growth! I knew when I saw the posting in my adviser's office that this would be a great company to start out with.

Al: Well, let's make ourselves clear, we like you Kipper, but we are concerned about your... morality.

Kipper: How so, sir?

Al: We believe in forming a passionate community around here; our employees are fervently devoted to our mission, and that requires a certain ... malleability of conscience.

Ida: Yes, Kipper, we need to be able to work with the gifts of your mind, but we also need to be able to, ummm... gift your mind, so to speak with our vision.

Kipper: Certainly, I would expect nothing less.

Kai: The concern here is that your extensive education might have already indoctrinated you with certain beliefs that may be hard to extract.

Kipper: Sure, I can understand your concern.

Ida: Yes. B.A. in Political Science from Yale, Master's Degreee in Government from Harvard, MBA from The Wharton School. How do we know you can take all those lessons learned and apply them, well, fanactically, to our great cause?

Al: We are concerned that many of the tasks with which you may be entrusted may run counter to the ethical foundations of your education.

Kipper: Sure, but I can assure you that I understand the idiosyncratic nature of small organizations like yours. When I was getting my MBA, I joined and was elected president of a small fraternity. We had many challenges...

Kai: Ohhh... you're a frat boy?

Ida: Never mind. No worries here then!

Al: Yep, that settles the ethical concerns.

Kipper: Yes, we at Kappa Alpha Damna were devoted to public relations and securing venture capital funds to extensivise the fraternity. We achieved a 300% growth in membership in a little over one year.

Al: Hey, you don't have to go any further, you had us with "fraternity"!

Kai: 300%? So your morals are fairly... commodified then?

Kipper: Well, I would say that they are available on the open market, certainly! Only for the right price! I mean, I do have an MBA! (laughs along with the interviewers) You know, just scan each one through at the register! (more laughter)

Ida: Well, I think we're done here for now. Did you have anything else you wanted to add?

Kipper: I wish you all the best in your endeavours, and I hope I can be a big part of your plans for optimizing this company's potential!

Al: I want you to read a couple of these pamphlets. They tell a little more about us and our leader, Mohammed, and his top-secret fraternity. (showing him) See, it's so secret Mohammed has been blurred out of all the pictures, and his followers wear these great masks!

Kipper: (taking some) Looks very cool!

Ida: Thanks a lot, Kipper! (handshakes all around) We have another interview, then we'll be conferring and selecting the right person for the job. So, if you could just wait in the lobby. (Kipper sees himself out)

Kai: Now there's a can-do spirit!

Ida: I like him, maybe too much.

Kai: How do you mean?

Ida: Well, he's so immediately likeable that I'm concerned he won't be able effectively terrorize people, you know?

Kai: Killing with kindness would be an option to explore with him.

Ida: I just don't want him to be so disarming to people before he's disarming people.

Al: Good point, Ida. Well noted. He is more of of a flair-orist, but, again, former frat boy with an MBA... he's got the moral lassitude to be a top candidate. Let's keep going; next up is Gus... uh... I don't have a last name...

Kai: Me either, just says "Gus" on mine too.

Ida: Yep, just "Gus". (Kai has walked off)

Al: Well, let's see this Gus then.

Kai: (coming back in with Gus. Gus is freaking huge and very scary looking, dark eyes, dark scraggly beard, hair everywhere, wears lots of leather, smoking through his nostrils. Has knives, shotgun shells and various bits of metal coming out of him. He is blood-stained and vicious. He doesn't talk much.) Come right on in, Mr.... Gus. Have a seat, please.

(Gus kicks chair aside with great force, stand with hands at his sides)

Al: Afternoon, Gus... uh... my name's Al. (extends hand forward, Gus makes no acknowledgement or attempt to shake Al's hand)

Ida: And I'm Ida... (same thing)

Al: (quickly and quietly) You probably already met Kai in the lobby; so moving along... uhhh....

(Gus has removed a machete from his clothing and is picking his fingernails with it, then moves on to his teeth)

Kai: So, Gus, tells us a little bit about yourself...

(Gus stands, looking ready to kill; he slowly pulls cigarette from his nose, puts it out on his tongue and eats it.)

Ida: And, moving along here, Gus. Your application form doesn't give us a lot of... well... actually... ummm... it's blank... it just says Gus in big letters. Can you give us a little bit on your background, where you're from, anything like that?

(Gus stands, he spits on the table.)

Al: Alright, Gus, well as you may have heard, this job can be demanding; you might have a lot to do one day, and very little the next, one day you could be filing papers, the next filing people, if you know what I mean. Do you think you could handle such a variable schedule like that?

(Gus stands, unzips his vest, reveals a small cluster of bombs on his chest.

Kai: Well, I see you come prepared, Gus! A real self-starter! We like that in our employees. Let's say you last a week in our organization, Gus, how do you see yourself fitting in then?

Gus: Gus kill.

Kai: Hey! We like that!

Ida: Right up our alley, Gus!

Al: Anything else you'd like to add before we wrap up here, Gus?

Gus: Gus kill.

Kai: Nice.

Ida: Yes.

Gus: Gus kill.

Al: Alright, Gus, we'll be in touch. (starts a handshake again, but realizes there's no point) Thanks for coming in today.

(Gus stands, no movement)

Kai: (getting up) Let me just walk you back to the lobby. (Gus leaves before Kai gets anywhere near him.)

Ida: Wellll... there's a piece of work, huh?

Al: Yeah, I don't really enjoy feeling terror around our terrorists. I know that seems hypocritical of me, but, man, give me a break. That man is terror. I'm still shaking over here. (mimicing) "Gus kill"? What the hell was that?

Kai: He's got the right motivation, but I don't think anyone could really lead him.

Ida: Yeah, I think we have to take him off the list; there's no reason our bombers can't have a little tenderness.

Kai: And maybe the new healthy workplace interactions seminar we have scheduled for next week would help someone like Bob or Tipper, but Gus?

(Horrible explosion and brief screams from lobby, Al, Kai, and Ida all run to look into lobby, turn around and come back quickly)

Al: Shit. Gus.

Kai: He kept his word.

Ida: Took out Bob and Kipper too.

Al: Well, that just cuts it, hey?!

Kai: Back to the drawing board.

Ida: Third time this week.

Al: Why do we attract such freaks?

Kai: Hard to say; good retirement package?

Ida: Yeah, we never have to pay it though! (laughter all around)

(lights fading)

Al: Well, no use crying over spilled blood, huh?

Kai: Nope, let's just pick ourselves up.

Ida: Brush ourselves off.

Al, Kai & Ida: (singing) And start all over again. (resigned laughter, but they're enjoying themselves, they straighten files, engage in small chat, lights out)


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