Play Scripts

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Night Cab (A Short Play)

(Turns and yells to cab) Can you wait just a little longer?
(To relief) Look if I miss this cab I’m going to have to walk four miles
home in the dark.
Relief:
(As he looks everywhere but at her) The exercise will do you good. You
have been getting a little chunky. (Giggles)
Counterperson:
Shit! There goes my cab. (Toward line) Have a nice day. Just get the hell out
of here.
Relief:
(Still chuckling as he turns around) OKI, I’m ready to take over now.
Counterperson:
(Turning real sweetly sarcastic) Oh, why the hurry? Here, relax and have
some hot coffee. (She pours a cup, grabs the front of his pants and dumps the
coffee in)
Relief:
(Screams and jumps up and down)
(In cab) Jake:
(Into radio)
Unit Six to Control, I’m clear. Bernie:
Copy Unit Six. You have a call on Easy St. (Center Stage)
(Couple sitting on stuffed garbage bags) Baglady:
(To bagman) I told you throwing a party for your parole friends wasn’t a good idea. Now we’re on the street again with everything we own.
Bagman:
(To baglady) My brother will take us in for a while. He said he wouldn’t ever again but he’ll soften up when we show up in a cab with everything we own and… Ah here it is. I was hoping it would show up before the cops spotted us. (In cab)
Jake:
(To bagpeople) You call a cab?
Bagman:
That’s us. We have some… .urn, ahnh luggage. (Waving to bags)
Jake:
Jesus, are you sure you don’t want a dumpster instead? No wait, that’s probably where you got it. Alright, but I’m not helping you load it, The trunk is popped.
(Bagman and Baglady pick up bags loose balance, can’t get grip sigh, heave, spin the bags around. Center Stage and cab both lit)
Jake: J
(Shakes his head and looks at audience. Motions with both hands at the two wrestling bags.) The frenzied dance of the dumpster divers. (Fade light)
(Dispatch) Bernie:
Unit Six, I have a delivery to Rocky Road. 30 pack of Blotto Brewskis.
Jake:
Copy Control.
(Center Stage)
(Jake gets out of cab with beer. Books at two young people walking to cab with fake mustaches up and down) You two don’t look twenty one to me. And why does she have a mustache?
Surfer Dude:
All, hormone problem from steroid use.
Blondes Away:
Please, please don’t turn me in to the Olympic Committee.
Jake:
Never mind. I’m not delivering beer to underage kids so they can have
drunken sex on a school night. Try again Friday, (gets back in cab) (fade)
(Dispatch)
Bernie)
Unit Six, I have a prego going to the ER.
(Center Stage)
(Prego swooning as boyfriend steadies her)
Boyfriend:
Why did you wait so long to sneak out? We could have called an ambulance down the street.
Prego:
Oh yeah, that would have blown om” cover. Remember, mom doesn’t even know I’m pregnant. She bought the story of me adopting a shy Pomeranian who likes to be carried around under my dress.
Boyfriend:
(Sadly) A Pomeranian. So that’s how our love child is coming into the
world. How will you explain the baby? Will you finally insist I become part
of the family? A child needs a father too. (Embarrassed) And a father needs
a home since I’m getting kicked out of my house.
Prego:
I think I’ll hold off any big announcements about you until you get the hang
of that job thing and working for a living. Until then my explanation for the baby will be “it followed my Pomeranian home.” (Starts moaning and
breathing heavy as cab pulls up and honks.)
(Boyfriend hands in pockets and pouts) (fade)
(They get in cab)
Jake:
Looks like you’re in a hurry, (with a sneer) But I guess it wasn’t the first
time. Hold on. This won’t be the first time I outflew a stork.
(everyone leans back as if from acceleration and yells) (fade)(center stage) Wheeler:
(Guy in motorized wheelchair slowly comes to stop. He messes with a remote control), rocks back and forth as if to get it started, gets irritated and starts yelling about it being a piece of junk. The gag is he finally gets up, starts kicking the thing, slams it up and down on the ground, and throws it across the room after spinning around in a windup. He doesn’t really need it.) (We could use a taped up box and fake wheels for the “chair”) As he calms himself down he gets out his cell phone and makes a call.) Hello, Last Chance Cab, my scooter broke down on 3rd St could you send a cab as soon as possible. By the way, can I get a disabled person discount? (fade)
(Cab pulls up to unknown address and honks)
(Someone offstage yells to quit honking)
(Honks again and someone yells louder to quit honking we’re trying to
sleep)
Jake:
I wonder where they are. Just one more little toot.
(Leans on the horn and someone runs out in a rage to the cab window)
Cabrager:
You inconsiderate bastard. We have to get up early to go to work. We hear you leaning on your dam horns all the time, roaring up and down our sheet, scaring our animals, we’ve all had enough of it, How would you like us to smash the windows out of this piece of junk the next time you… (the exact wording of rant is not important.)
Jake:
(Rolls up the window nonchalantly catching the ranter on the neck as he starts choking. Jake pats him on the head and sings a lullaby)
Rock-a-by baby in the treetop. When the wind blows the cradle will rock. If the bough breaks the cradle will fall. Down will come baby cradle and all. (fade out anytime as ranter continues to choke)
(Dispatcher) Bernie:
Control to Unit Six. Call at the Get Lucky Bar. (fade)
(cab)
Jake:
Copy control. (driving, stops, honks, couple walks across room. She’s
hanging all over him. They get in cab, she’s all over him since the deal is not
quite closed.)
John Boy:
Driver, take us to the NotelMotel please.
Skankv:
Oh baby, can we take care of the silly money thing now so we can
concenhate on fun later. I just need $200 for my LCRT season tickets.
John Boy:
$200!? That’s cuhing into the motel money.
Skankv:
Then skip the motel and flip the driver another 20 for a cruise, (louder) Is
that OK driver?
Jake:
Whatever, Skanky. Just don’t kick out the side window like last time.
(they’re making noise, “Oh baby”, cloth tearing)
(Jake looks at audience, leans forward, winks) I’ll just turn on my video
camera for security purposes. You can’t be too careful. (Turns back toward
back seat) Hey you’re not getting anything on the seat are you? (No answer,
Jake turns back around and tosses a roll of paper towels over the seat and
goes back to driving with the couple still screaming) (Fade out.)
(Dispatch) Bernie:
Control to Unit Six. Go to the Shop and Drop Mall and pick up a lady and child at the main entrance.
Jake:
Copy control. What are they doing out so late?
Bernie:
It’s the annual Moonlight Madness Sale. (Fade)
(Center Stage)
Auntie Paine:
(Srniling but finger scolding to boy shuffling feet) Now Waldo you were
very bad in the stores. Your Auntie Paine was looking forward to this sale
and she had to leave early because of you.
Waldo:
I don’t care. I’m bored.
Auntie Paine:
What a rude child. Auntie is going to have to punish you so you understand the importance of being considerate of others, (out of nowhere pulls out a stun gun and zaps him. He screams.) (Sarcastically) You don’t seem to be bored now. (zap. Scream) In fact, you seem totally energized, (zap. Scream) (sadistically) Are we having fun yet? (She pulls out a roll of duct tape and wraps him up while Waldo limply moans. Looks at audience.) Don’t be shocked. It’s a new government approved child disipline technique called “Zap and Wrap.” (stay lit) (cab)
Jake:
(leans out window) Did you call the cab? Auntie Paine:
Yes, but you’ll just be taking Waldo to this address (hands paper to Jake)
and prop him up on the porch. This should cover it. (hands money and puts Waldo in cab)
Jake:
Is he OK? (looks at him up and down)
Auntie Paine:
(Feigns surprise) Why would you ask? There’s not a mark on him. (she
walks away singing to herself “Shopping till you’re dropping bargains are a popping”)
Jake:
(to a still gorked out Waldo) Next time, as soon as she reaches into her purse (puts a tube into his pocket) Pepper spray the bitch. (Fade)
(cab)
(flash red light somewhere, maybe fake a “awhoo” sound with voice)
Jake:
Not again, (makes like pulling over)
Officer Bernice:
(swaggers, struts, and swivels over to window) What’s the hurry bigboy?
I’m going to have to ask you to step out and … .spread em.
Jake:
Bernice, you’ve got to end this infatuation. Writing bogus tickets that just get thrown out is not the way to a man’s heart.
Officer Bernice:
I can’t help it. (starting to lose it) I don’t know any other way. Its lonely at
the top or being a top. All of my men have been just wimpering blobs of jelly that go crawling off to the emergency room at the first taste of (smiling) excitement. But you’re like me, (points to self) cruelly indifferent to the suffering of others while gloating over their misfortunes. We could be such a team. Wherever we went, (looking skyward) no one would be happy.
Jake:
Forget it Bernice. Today’s my last day on the job.
(Bernice tears off a ticket, throws it at him and stalks off. He wads it up and throws it out the window.) (Fade)
(Dispatcher)
Bernie:
Control to Unit Six, I’ve got one more but I’ve got a bad feeling about it. He said he broke down at the bend in the old toll road.
Jake:
I’ll take it. What have I got to loose?
Bernie:
Keep your radio on Jake. I’ll be checking on you. (fade)
(to person on side waving him down)
Where’s your car?
Trouble:
It ah, slid off the side of the road, (gets in)
Jake:
Then why didn’t you call for a tow truck?
Trouble:
I have my reasons. Jake:
(Accelerating) You know we don’t get many pick-ups out here.
Trouble:
(lunges forward and puts knife to Jakes throat) Yeah, and you won’t get any more if you don’t give me all your money now.
Jake:
(sarcastically) I’m certain the joke doesn’t go that way.
Trouble:
I’m not joking.
Jake:
I know. The joke is on you. This is my last day as a functioning person. I’ve got no reason to live but I would like some company thru the off ramp of life.
Trouble:
(getting nervous) Slow down.
Jake:
No can do. This game is called “put the engine in the trunk” and it requires speed as well as a close encounter with the Hang em High Heritage Tree up ahead.
Trouble:
You’re bluffing. No one wants to die by being ripped apart or burned to a crisp in a car crash.
Jake:
Except for someone who spent most of their life in a car. You probably
would have preferred the thrill of dying with a full diaper in a nursing home.
Trouble:
Please I don’t want to die. I’m only doing this because they’re foreclosing
on my house next month. But I want to live! Here (Pulls knife away and
throws bundle of money on front seat) That’s everything I took in from
jobs. Just stop the car so I can see my family again (blubbering)
Jake:
(mock concern) You’re doing this for your family?
Trouble:
(stops blubbering. Looks hopeful) Yes.
Jake:
Well you’re in luck.
Trouble:
(more hopeful) I am?
Jake:
Yes. Because… I… am… insured.
Trouble:
(screams)
(lights off at cab, simulated crash, lights on center stage as hub cap rolls on and stops somewhere in center)
(Dispatcher)
Bernie:
Control to Unit Six. Control to Unit Six. (fade out voice with lights) Control to Unit Six. Control to Unit Six. Control to Unit Six. (try to keep sole light on hubcap)

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Route One to
Paradise
2007 W.A.D. Fest Lakeport Community Players Script by: Dante DeAmicis
Route One to Paradise
Lakeport Community Players
Script by Dante DeAmicis Directed by Norman “Wink” Winkler
Cast
Booster Bert Hutt
Cornelius Rod Rehe
Sam Laura Fishal
Tweak. Laura Foote
Route 1 To Paradise
Booster – a furtive shabby man in an old overcoat and fedora, carrying a Satchel with appliances and candlesticks sticking out of it)
Cornelius – an uptight, somewhat agitated Yuppie man
Sam – crude, aggressive biker chick, tattoos on every part of her body
Tweak – voice hearing, babbling, rocking, homeless woman
(spot on Booster standing at a “Bus Stop” sign.)
(Cornelius looking around confused, walks up to Booster.)
Cornelius – Excuse me. Is this where the Bus 1 to Paradise stops.
Booster – (looks Cornelius up and down) Why do you want to go there? Are you a social worker? There’s nothing there but 17 rehabs, 26 half way houses, AODS, 3 impound yards, and more pawn shops, check cash joints, and bail bondsmen than I can count, (clears throat, then under breadth) They’ve got a Wal-Mart too but we kind of want to keep quiet about that.
Cornelius – Actually I’d rather not go there but I was on a business trip between two somewheres and my Porsche broke down in this nowhere. I had to pay Grease Job Auto Repair an extra 200 dollars to fix my vehicle by tomorrow. The nearest motel with a room is at the Red Tag Resort in Paradise.
Booster – (puts arm around Cornelius, jovially) Well friend, your luck is going to change. Not only is this the right stop but (pointing) Bus 1 is pulling up now.
(sound of bus slowing down and brakes)
(Booster and Cornelius step up and in bus. There are four seats. Tweak is in the front window seat rocking hack and forth softly singing to herself. Sam is in the rear window seat. Booster sits in the rear aisle seat. Drops bag noisily with a lot of hardware in it. Cornelius sits in the front aisle seat.)
Booster – By the way, my name is Booster, (tongue in cheek) as in civic booster.
Sam – (loudly) Ha! More like as in “I’ll boost your stereo before you can change the channel.”
Booster – This is Sam. She’s a regular, (moves arm to take in all of bus) We all spend a lot of time on Bus 1.
Cornelius – (nervously trying to make conversation) Sam? Is that short for Samantha?
Sam – No it’s short for (makes “up yours” gesture with hand on arm) “Sam” to you buddy (laughs at own joke)
Cornelius – (reluctantly) I suppose I should tell you my name is Cornelius.
Sam – No shit? We’re going to have fun with that one.
Cornelius -1 wish you wouldn’t.
Booster- So, “Corn” is an alias. “Corn” alias. Get it? (laughs)
Tweak – (stops rocking and singing. Slowly turns to Cornelius eyes wide) Cornelius is a demon’s name, (turns back to window, softly rocking, singing, babbling.)
Booster – Say Com, (Cornelius winces each time someone chops his name) it’s going to be a long trip (pulls up sleeve revealing an arm full of wristwatches) maybe you’d be interested in one of these quality wristwatches I’ve be wholesaling.
Cornelius – (irritated) No thanks (hold up wrist) My Rolex works just fine.
Booster – (eyes wide) So it is. (pulls out deck of cards) Ya know I’m a sportin kind of guy. I’d be willing to “high card” these 8 watches against that Rolex.
Sam (intermpting) Hey Booster, checkout my new tattoo (displays an area) It’s the 1948 Limited Edition Indian Chief running a Hyundai into a bridge piling. (Turns toward Cornelius.) Do you like it Corny?
Cornelius – (disgusted) Lovely.
Booster – That reminds me, why aren’t you on your bike? You just got it out of hock last week?
Sam – Rotten luck. I was split laneing Peterbuilts at 90 on my hog when the Spam-on-a-can real thing has the nerve to pull me over for, get this, going too fast. So I says “Duh, if I was going too fast you wouldn’t
have caught me.” And then he starts with this attitude so I says “Is this the only job you could get after the Village People broke up?” The next thing I know my bike’s impounded.
Booster – (jumps up) Why those dirty….(before he finishes his gun drops out of his jacket to the floor) Hey hey. (nervously squats down and scoops it back under his jacket as Cornelius and Sam watch wide eyed)
Tweak -(turns from window) I had a bicycle once but some bad boys took it away so now I ride the bus. They can’t take the bus away. If they try, the bus will flatten them like little dogs and kittens, (makes squishy splat sounds then turns back to window, rocking and humming to self)
Booster – That reminds me Corn, you says you need a car to get out of town. I got a friend I think I can help you as long as you aren’t fussy about paperwork and the side window being busted out.
Cornelius – Noooo thanks. If you have such an interest in cars why are you riding this homeless shelter on wheels.
Booster -1 have a driving phobia ever since the accident. A light rain
started during the “Butts Up Bicycle Century” race. I was corning off the mountain and started hychoplaning into a clump of 50 or 60 cyclists. I remember all these globs of day-glo Spandex flying in the air, landing in a big pile of screaming, squmrhng Spandex. It was
terrible. I can’t touch a steering wheel again or Spandex and
Italian movies make me real nervous.
Cornelius – So you fence hot cars but don’t drive them?
Booster – (Shrugs) You know I made a lot of useful connections while I was in the joint. I picked up a lot a valuable skills and learned a college worth of important life lessons.
Cornelius (backing away) You were in prison and… .and you’re bragging about it?
Booster -1 was a victim of circumstances. After I was sent up for pulling the tags off mattresses the only way I could support myself was by operating what I call a “mobile flea market” and a lost and found service. I redistribute wealth and people don’t even have to vote for me.
Cornelius – (dubious) You make money with a lost and found service?
Booster – Sure. The trick is to find things BEFORE people lose them, not after. And you always return things to other people who lost other things. That’s the key to my success.
Tweak – (turning slowly back from the window) I’m always losing things and forgetting things. Sometimes I lose my pink pills and that makes me forget to take my brown pills with the green stripe or I mix them
up with the black pills with the white dot. When that happens the voices in the ceiling fan tell me to go take more of the half yellow/half purple pills and those make me see what I don’t want to see or do what I don’t want to do. (turns hack to window, rocking, singing, babbling. Everyone ignores her but Cornelius who is uneasy)
Booster – You see Com, we’re a very social group on Bus 1. But if it wasn’t for our rap sheets, drug use history, medications, diseases, scams, and trying to get our kids back from CPS, we wouldn’t have anything to talk about. We’ve become very non judgmental.
Sam – Good. Then check out this tat. It’s the Last Supper with midgets crawling under the table. (Booster looks politely, Cornelius is aghast)
Booster – (pulls out cigarette then puts it back) I forgot. No smoking on the bus. It’s so unfair. The bus smokes more than these Camels. That reminds me of a joke. How do you get Camels to stop spitting? Give up? You pay them 5 dollars extra to swallow. (Sam shrieks hysterically, Cornelius looks ill)
Cornelius – (changing the subject) Is there any place to eat in Paradise?
Booster – (thinks a minute) Well… there’s the soup kitchen at the “Hoher Than Thou Church”. Wait, that’s on Tuesday. Say, you’re dressed pretty good. You could probably crash any of the Main St. “schmooze and booze” receptions.
Tweak – (turning from the window) If you pray to God He will feed you but he must contract out the work because it’s usually cold pizza out of dumpsters. (turns back to window, rocking and humming)
Cornelius – (offended) I’d rather go hungry.
Booster -1 understand. You have your pride, (opens inside coat) That’s why I have these almost new EBT cards. Give me 20 bucks and I’ll give you one with at least twice that on the card.
Cornelius – (pulls himself upright and wags finger) Have you people no shame? There are people who work for a living you know.
Booster – (getting angry) Watch your language. “Work” is a four letter word around here. You won’t catch us shirking our social and civic obligations for a mere job. Besides, our court ordered community service is a public benefit without all that wasteful middleman stuff.
Sam – Yeah Cornball, and my tattoos are public art… like this one of Dick Cheney shooting down Flight 400 with his shotgun.
(Tweak starts scratcfrfng hair violently. Everyone looks at her. Makes point of grabbing something in hair with two fingers. Stares at it closely for a long time, then pops it in her mouth.)
Booster and Sam in unison – Yuck, gross, oooooo, did you see that (Cornelius is gagging in the aisle)
Booster -1 think Tweak just solved Corn’s dinner reservation problems, (laughs)
Cornelius – (looking at floor) This isn’t the bus to Paradise. It’s the bus to Hell.
Sam – Lighten up Como. If it was Hell would you see ink like this (displays another tattoo location) of the Supreme Court bicycling through the Vatican?
Booster -(getting competitive) Nice nice, but check out these extensive burn scars from ameth lab explosion.
Sam – (gathering speed) Not had, but not as rad as this doozy of every Miss America winner in a daisy chain reaction touching off a giant mushroom cloud.
Booster – (starts to unbutton shirt) I guess I’m just going to have to show
you my old boob job that went bad
Tweak – (starts to shake violently, stands up, looks at ceihng) What’s that
Jesus? What’s that? Kill them all and you’ll sort them out after the
Super bowl? (pulls out large knife and holds it up above her head and
starts chanting) I’ll do it. I’ll do it. I’ll do it. I’ll do it
Booster – (nonchalantly) Well I guess this is where I get off (reaches over and rings buzzer)
Buzzer rings
Sound of bus coming to stop as it brakes.
(Cornelius jumps up and runs off in a mad dash as the first one off. Booster and Sam walk briskly. Tweak takes a swipe at the ah then runs after them. Everyone runs off the stage.)
Lakeport Community Players Property List (1) large toy pistol
(1) stage booster big enough for 4 chairs, spaced out (4) chairs
(1) 2’x4′ sign reading “Route 1 to Paradise” (1) freestanding pole with sign reading “Bus Stop”
Sound Effects
Buzzer
Buss engine noise
Braking sound

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Professor Skit – Scene 2 (someone else wrote Scene 1)

(Background – several years back a local producer came up with an idea for a variety show called Comedy On Tilt. One of the writing teams was a group of high school students. One of their skits was a classroom situation where the kids drove the teacher crazy. The producer was offended and tried to change the skit without censoring it. She asked me to write a second scene to the skit that would continue the skit in another direction but the two scenes are really stand alone skits.)

Student 1- (students standing around as if waiting for class)
Have you heard? Professor Sowzier is back. While we were getting down during
Spring Break he recovered from his Spring Break Down.

Student 2 – That’s messed up. Just when we had the long term sub tamed and trained.

Student 3 – (holds up handful of papers)
Now what are we going to do with our get out of town free cards? We need letters of
recommendation for college admission, grants, scholarships, and internships from
our professor. And get this: He doesn’t have to write them. (other students gasp)

S1 – That’s off the hook. But what if he writes them and says (stammers) the the TRUTH?
(all three shut their eyes, hold up their hands facing out and scream)

S2 – I’m doomed. Doomed to junior college, vocational programs, and classes filled with
oooooold people.

S3 – It gets worse. What if he stalls till grades come out and he gives us what we (gulp)
deserve? Our borderline GPAs will be DOA.

S1 – No way! that’s cruel and inane punishment. Plus it violates my constipational rights.

S2 – Do you think Professor Sowzier cares if he ruins our life…not to mention our
Summer Vacation?

S3 – (worried silence) So what’s the plan Stan?

S1 – (grimaces and looks disgusted) We’re just going to have to kiss up to him. Kiss up to
him like he was some big rock star.
(other 2 students make same expression)

S2 – (whining) School was supposed to protect us from that real world stuff.

(school bell rings)

S3 – Now or never crew. Its suck up, fake up, and make up. (three walk off together
with head down and shoulders slumped)

Professor-(talking with with new confidence and growing sarcasm) Greetings class. I hope
you had a nice vacation. I personally found my high voltage electrical treatments
rather stimulating. (pretends to be shuffling through some papers for the first
time) I see some requests for letters of recommendation were dropped off with
Mrs. Silkperse. You can be assured I will give them my full attention….(presses
finger tips together and nods)….after a few inadvertent deficiencies are made up
of course.

S1 – (stammering) Wha what do you mean…deficiencies…um, er…sir?

P – My grade book has more blank spaces for due assignments than a virgin cross
word puzzle. The only thing you demon seeds have turned in is each other.

S2 – So how much do we have to turn in, uh…sir?

P – All of it.

S3 – What?! That’s so wrong. What about our personal life (clears throat and swallows
hard)…sir?

P – (mock surprise) Oh, It appears you do not plan to earn a living testing video games
and giving endorsements for hair and beauty products after all.

P – (mock sympathy) I’m soooo sorry. But take heart. There’s still a chance your
considerable social and mental disabilities will earn you a government check and a
slot in a housing project. (sadistically) Oh, and don’t overlook opportunities as long
term residents of our prison system. (laughs at own joke as students squirm) If this
future doesn’t sound attractive then your personal life will be spent cracking the
books, burning the midnight oil, and what’s the expression, wonking out totally.

S1 – Our friends will think we’re dissing them.

P – You will be incommunicado as far as your fellow vacuum headed, sullen youth are
concerned. Your NEW friends will be purveyors of hot coffee, Visine, and
tutoring services.

S2 – (fist in air) We’ll go on strike.

P – You’ve been on strike. Now its time to go to work.

S3 – We’ll write a book about this oppression. Yeah, that’s what we’ll do.

P – If you could write a book, any book, you wouldn’t be in this mess.

S1 – We’ll join the army of slacker drop outs.

P – Then you better practice saying, “Would you like fries with that?” as your
occupational mantra.

S2 – We’ll sue the school for damaging our self esteem.

S3 – And I demand a “gentleman C” like the rich guys.

P – Rich guys aren’t destined to pursue careers in recycling. You may be beyond
redemption but cans and bottles aren’t. This means your parents won’t be able
to rent out your rooms for some time. Let’s see how cool you are as 37 year olds
with curfews. (snickers)

S1 – I’m having a stress. Call 9-1-1.

P – Keep your pants on you little biological excretions (does macho strut) cuz you don’t
want to be flashing butt while Professor in the Hood is kicking butt. (makes hammer
down gesture) Yes!

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Well Seasoned (A 15 minute play)

by Dante DeAmicis

Characters:
Clarissa: Aging high society matron, fastidious and overly proper
Thaddeus: Seventyish cranky blue blood used to getting his own way
Francisco: Late 20’s, pierced and tattooed, spontaneous, energetic
but also earnest and focused

Time: Present
Setting: A meeting room with a single table. There is a corpse sitting at one end of the
table.

(At the end of the table, opposite the corpse, CLARISSA is shuffling through papers, making notes, while fussing with her glasses. THADDEUS appears and slowly makes his way toward the table on a four pronged cane. He drops down heavily at the middle of the table.)

THADDEUS
Good day everyone.
(looks from Clarissa to corpse several times then points to corpse)
Say, I believe Beaumont was sitting in that chair, wearing those very clothes, at the last quarterly meeting. And I’m almost certain he was alive and mostly conscious throughout the proceedings.

CLARISSA
Yes, yes, that’s Beaumont.
(thoughtfully)
I remember him making some alarming gurgling noises during the last agenda item but I attributed it to a general dissatisfaction with your motion to install oxygen tank holders on all the aisle seats.

THADDEUS
(indignant)
I recall he voted against the proposal. Apparently he became deceased shortly after and is no longer eligible to be on the board of the Regency Repertory Theater.

CLARISSA
(looks up exasperated)
Thaddeus you know very well that neither of us is qualified to pronounce Beaumont legally dead and I have already officially listed him as present for this meeting. May I remind you that the Commodore is undergoing a triple bypass and our newly elected board member has not shown up. So unless we count Beaumont as present we do not have a quorum to approve our next season’s schedule.

THADDEUS
Oh, very well then. Let’s get on with it and call this damn meeting to order.

CLARISSA
I will dispense with Robert’s Rules and proceed directly with the treasurer’s report. As you know, one of our charter members passed recently and bequeathed $40,000 to our venerable institution. After subtracting our outstanding debt of $38,000, we have a net balance of $2,000, enough to satisfy the infernal utility people for about three months. After that we can expect the river of red ink to return to our account books.

THADDEUS
I’ve always hated having to grovel for postmortem windfalls but with our subscribers dying off like finalists in a Russian roulette tournament what choice do we have? I just don’t understand what’s become of our young people, especially the ones under fifty. They just don’t appreciate fine literature or the theater experience like our kind of people do
(looks at Beaumont)
or did.

CLARISSA
Now, now Thaddeus. Don’t get yourself all worked up. If I have to call the paramedics we won’t have a quorum to rubber stamp my selections for next year’s season.

THADDEUS
Oh, I’m alright. What have you come up with? No surprises I hope.
(wagging finger)
Our longtime subscribers don’t like surprises.

CLARISSA
Heavens no. Only tried and true romantic comedies, murder mysteries, big name melodramas, and their faithful clones for our loyal subscribers.

THADDEUS
(glumly)
Loyal…till death do us part. I just wish their estates would stop putting funeral notices in our season subscription envelopes. But enough of that. Did you ask for nominations for the season’s offerings?

CLARISSA
Officially yes, but I ignored all of them as usual. You have never seen such new and questionable material from who knows who or who knows where. After all, our mission is to endlessly recreate our subscribers’ early theater experience during their personal season of youth and accomplishment.

THADDEUS
(slams hand on table)
Here here. Well let’s not drag this process out. I make a motion to approve your list of plays, whatever they are, to be produced for next year’s season. I assume Beaumont will be abstaining. All in favor say “aye.”
(raises hand as CLARISSA starts to raise hers)

FRANCISCO
(from off stage)
Wait, wait. I have something to say.
( walking on and up to table, sideways with back to BEAUMONT)

CLARISSA
What is the meaning of this intrusion? Just who are you young man?

FRANCISCO
I am Francisco, the newly elected board member.

(gasp from CLARISSA and THADDEUS)

Sorry I’m late (leaning on table with one hand) but I had a last minute walk in at the piercing parlor.

THADDEUS
This is outrageous. Our new board member is the Chamber of Commerce Vice President and a commercially successful graphic artist. Show me some I.D. this instant.

FRANCISCO
(opening up wallet as THADDEUS looks and drops jaw)
That’s me. I’ve owned the “Here’s the Point” piercing parlor for two years. I’m also a tattoo artist but fewer people can afford original work these days. Every ex con with a stack of templates and an ink gun is cranking out tats. So I’ve branched out to survive.
(voice raising)
And that’s what I think this fossilized repertory dinosaur needs to do.

CLARISSA
(jumping up)
How dare you. Do you realize you are denigrating the time honored repertory model, the flagship of art establishment traditions, serving generations of bon vivants and the upwardly mobile.

FRANCISCO
(talking into “phone fingers”)
Mr. “Rep”asaurus, Mr. “Rep”asaurus. Your tar pit is waiting.

THADDEUS
(jumps up)
That’s quite enough sirrr.

You’ve insulted the Regency Repertory’s Chairwoman of the Board.
(CLARISSA pulls him down by the waistband. He jumps back up.)
And she’s held that position longer than anyone.
(CLARISSA pulls him down. He jumps back up.)
She’s been providing leadership here since before you were born.
(CLARISSA pulls him down more forcefully)

CLARISSA
Thaddeus, you have made your point.

THADDEUS
(jumping back up)
Clarissa’s been rolling out the seasons since before there was television.

CLARISSA
(CLARISSA jumps up, pushes THADDEUS down by the shoulders and pushes down a couple more times for emphasis)
Thaddeus, will you shut up.

FRANCISCO
(hands out as he sits on table sideways looking at CLARISSA and THADDEUS)
Look, I didn’t run for the board to insult people. I came here as a young artist and businessman to offer alternatives to paying a mortgage on this aircraft hanger and making the gas company rich.
(looks out fourth wall, steps away from table, and waves hand slowly)
I see a new market for ever changing forms of performance art, innovative venues that create more excitement than road rage on traffic jammed wheel chair ramps. I see…out of season subscribers replaced by ADD live-in-the-now-online-everything patrons who will outlive Social Security and dead tree newspapers.

THADDEUS
We perform important works of theater. What would you have us do? Perform in pizza parlors? We need serious environments to be taken seriously by serious people.

FRANCISCO
Only ideas should be serious. The ride should be fun and fast moving.

CLARISSA
I couldn’t possibly pander to fun seekers. We have our reputation. We have our dignity. We have our class distinction. We have…

FRANCISCO
(finishes sentence)
….probably never stayed awake through any of your literary waterboarding sessions. Many writers would just love to effectively have their say without having to enter a marathon word pie eating contest. They want to give their audience something to chew on in smaller bites, spicier bites. So it gets tasted, swallowed, and digested without constipation.

CLARISSA/THADDEUS
(shout in horror and unison)
Constipation!!!

FRANCISCO
Ah, sorry. It was just a figure of speech.

THADDEUS
I don’t believe we have ever made staying awake from “will call” to curtain call a requirement for participation. As long as a reasonable segment of proper society occasionally attend our productions we feel recognized as authorities in the art’s nobility. Our performances are like church services. You don’t have to absorb everything that’s going on. You don’t even really have to believe. Just show up and be awed by the spectacle unfolding on our respective alters.

FRANCISCO
I knew there was a reason I don’t chew the cracker anymore. Have you guys ever thought of putting on joint shows together to merge your declining customer bases?

THADDEUS
(leans forward, hands on table)
Young man, let me explain what we do here. Our season is like a railroad. Each of our productions is like a stop on the line, everyone at the stops is excited to see the train arrive. We are the trains crew. Actors get on and off at various stations. In between, no one knows what goes on, and they don’t want to know what goes on, in the train to make it all happen. It’s part of the ritual and mystery of …theater.

FRANCISCO
(looks out fourth wall)
What’s wrong with “this” picture?
(back to meeting)
Look Thaddeus, trains are great for sticking on calendars but no one waits around to take them anymore. Unless you’re a cargo container
(looks at THADEUS up and down. THADDEUS chin out, sucks in stomach)
lose the trains. Why don’t we take a different ride, a wild ride…
(runs around behind THADDEUS quickly surprising him, looking over his shoulder close)
…in a taxi.

CLARISSA
(fingers to side of jaw)
Oh my word.

FRANCISCO
Pretend we’re going downtown for a night out.

THADDEUS
(somewhat flustered)
I would probably be in the Bentley.

FRANCISCO
Not tonight. Put your hands on the wheel
(Thaddeus does so reluctantly)
because being in charge, you’re in the driver’s seat. You don’t know me but you’ve got to know my type and other types and what we want. After twelve hours “online” I’m ready for “face time.” There’s a cashed Pell Grant in my pocket and you want some of it. But it’s going to be a long night so find that java joint around here, the one with open mic stand-up and synth boards.

THADDEUS
(confused but still pretending to drive)
I don’t know which one you’re talking about.

FRANCISCO
Doesn’t surprise me. It’s got a bone jarring PA system and coffee so strong it brings dead roaches back to life. But …(shouts) here it is. Pull over.
(THADDEUS turns wheel awkwardly)
I got your card. I’ll call.
(FRANCISCO does quick head jerk to side and back)
I’m back.

(CLARISSA walking up to THADDEUS’s other shoulder tentatively)

CLARISSA
Can I come too?

FRANCISCO
Sure, hop in.
(CLARISSA smiles and looks over THADDEUS’s other shoulder)
Next, we’re off to catch an hours worth of 10 minute plays at the Community Service Festival

THADDEUS
And where would that be?

FRANCISCO
You should know where. Even better, you should have co produced it. They’re four-walling it at the multiplex with the science project carpets. We’re here. We’re out.
(FRANCISCO and CLARISSA quickly turn heads to opposite sides and then back)
We’re back. Driver, turn left. Turn right. Now punch it.
(everyone leans back and screams)
Stop. Look at that “Slam Tonight” banner.
I didn’t know a new “slam” was in town.
(looking at THADDEUS close over his shoulder)
Why didn’t you tell me?

THADDEUS
I…. I don’t even know what a slam is. It sounds like that ghastly professional wrestling.

FRANCISCO
Even better. It’s the professional wrestling of poetry. It’s rip-your-ears-off-and -shove-them-up-your-nostrils poetry. OK, we’re out.
(FRANCISCO and CLARISSA do side to front head turns)
We’re back. It’s late but we’re not done. Go to the warehouse.

THADDEUS
Which warehouse? There must be a hundred of them.

FRANCISCO
“The” warehouse is where all the secret “raves” are held. But tonight there is a multimedia show put together by a couple of defrocked art professors. It’s publicized on certain sites and feeds. Its cutting edge, important, and unapproved. You should be in the loop on these things. Just drop us off. We’ll take the morning bus home.
(steps back as CLARISSA returns to seat)
And that is a taste of what art leadership should be.

CLARISSA
But…but what about our loyal subscribers? They will feel abandoned.

FRANCISCO
Many will adapt and find they like changes in venue and genre. Some will be energized by art as action instead of nostalgia.
(walks over to CLARISSA and puts his arm around her comfortingly)
Others will still be able to enjoy our work on DVDs and TV in the comfort of their own home, within easy reach of a cold Ensure and a fresh Depends.
(CLARISSA wrinkles up face and looks at FRANCISCO sideways)

THADDEUS
So how is all this innovation supposed to happen? Do we just flip a switch and the Regency Repertory becomes some monstrous Vaudeville for slackers and yuppies? Out with the old, in with the new? Don’t let the door hit you on the way out?

FRANCISCO
Just chill out. No, you just let our type of productions and events tag your non profit number and umbrella insurance policy for the rest of the community. Then, gradually, blend them together until the chiropractor stimulus package you call a full length play becomes the weird exception.

CLARISSA
(assertively)
Well I for one don’t see any problem in mentoring a little experimentation in addition to our regular season. What do we have to lose?

THADDEUS
(looking up)
Only our country club memberships.

CLARISSA
(ignoring him)
All in favor of lending our good name and part of our aircraft hanger to these young upstarts, raise their hand.

(THADDEUS slowly raises his hand after CLARISSA. Then as an after thought, reaches sideways and raises BEAUMONT’s hand also)

CLARISSA
(triumphantly)
It passes.

THADDEUS
(grumbling a little)
Better “it” than us.

CLARISSA
Meeting adjourned.
(softening, leaning toward Francisco)
Now Francisco, I hope you don’t mind if an old lady drops by your shop.
(pats one of her nostrils)
I’ve always wanted a nose ring.

(End)

—————————————————————————————————————————-

Boardgame
by Dante DeAmicis

Characters
Bernie the Banker: Financier, old money
Wally Wallstreet: Wheeler dealer, new money
Card Girl: Reads and displays placards in a wrestling diva style
Pensioner: Recently retired worker in wheel chair. Trusts her fund managers
Flipper: Average person looking for easy money like the big boys
Last Chance: Honest worker who made bad choices and can’t catch up
NINJA: Stand in for loans with a life of their own

Open
(Two men sitting at a table, frozen, then they animate)

Bernie the Banker: That was a good game. Too bad it can’t be played again. What was the name of it again?

Wally Wallstreet: Vapor Dot Com. But, I have another game here. Its actually the next level of the previous game with many of the same players. And many more who don’t even realize they are playing a game.

Bernie the Banker: What’s it about? I hope its not yet another “betting on nothing” gambit.

Wally Wallstreet: No, its far more complicated. Its about betting on things that are really something else. People bet on other people’s bets. And when people try to take the safe path it becomes the most treacherous course of all. The experts at the last game become stupid at this one. Everything can be bought and sold. In fact, everything must be bought and sold. Once the game starts the price of not playing the game is high. The game is called “Trouble in the Bubble.”

Bernie the Banker: It sounds like the total game, where reality is confounded, the clueless confused, and the desperate are trapped and doomed. But who wins?

Wally Wallstreet: We do, because we not only write the rules but we can change them in the middle of the game or even after the game retroactively. Even if we lose we win. The real losers are the naïve players who think the rules are the same for everyone.

Bernie the Banker: I can hardly wait to start. Call out the first group of pathetic losers..I mean (nudge nudge) players.

Card Girl: (Woman struts to center stack of placards, grabs top placard and holds up card as she walks, smiling, around stack. Repeat for each player.) Our first player is a single mom cruising thru a long bumpy stretch of the “American Dream Highway.” But she sees a sign, “Last Chance to Gas Up on Home Ownership. Pull in Now…. or Never.”

Last Chance: (Walks in outer circle near board, talking before stopping on a space) All I wanted was a home of my own. But my husband lost his job then I lost him. Then I got big-time sick which came with a complimentary bankruptcy. But I’ve been working for two years now at a less than good paying, dead end job. The promised era of big bucks computer jobs for everyone was all pillow talk and my peace dividend was lost in the mail. I have to pull together a future with whatever I can squeeze out of a shrinking paycheck and trash benefits.

Card Girl: Our next piece on the board is a retired cast off from some mega-corp. But at least they rewarded her for her 41 years of back breaking, mind numbing, soul sucking toil with a good pension, powered by rock solid fund investing in only the safest securities…. or so she was told.

Pensioner: I put off the things I really wanted to do because they weren’t “serious.” Working to raise a family and then to get a pension, was serious. Now is supposed to be my time, my quality time. (Looks down at wheelchair) But I don’t seem to have as many options as I thought I would have. At least I have my pension. It’s all I have now.

Card Girl: Player Number 3 doesn’t think he should have to work hard because… well, he’s a player. He likes to spend money and feel important though. Our high roller wants to be inside the board, making the rules to get rich quick. But first he has to buy a ticket and that means playing the insider’s game while still on the outside. Flipping real estate is riding a wave that will lift him over the class barriers effortlessly. Too bad the water bill is due and someone is going to pull the plug.

Flipper: Hard work doesn’t pay. Maybe it never did. Lots of people get money for nothing. Why can’t I be one of them? Real estate seems easy if you play the flip-it game with no money down, then sit back as others make me rich. It’s the American way.

Card Girl: Our final player has status. Actually he is a status and no longer a person at all. He is invisible and has no existence outside his name on a loan application. In fact, his person information is mostly invisible. Normally, this is a deal killer but since this deal is a fabrication created just for loans without substance this person attains the status of the loan type called- N-I-N-J-A. What does NINJA mean? Lets refer to the person before he became a loan.

NINJA: (Runs to performance space, shouts, and poses)

Card Girl: The N-I in NINJA means “No income.”

NINJA: (Shouts and gestures)

Card Girl: The N-J in NINJA stands for “No job.”

NINJA: (More exaggerated shouts and movements)

Card Girl: The A? Or…. assets.

NINJA: (Twirls into his space and freezes)

Bernie the Banker: Which player moves first?

Wally Wallstreet: It doesn’t matter since we determine where they will move and when. When the players had some illusion that hard work or luck moved them about we created pretenses to accommodate them. Now we just give a shove to whoever is closest. (walks to Last Chance and pushes. She stumbles forward three spaces)

Last Chance: (looks around) I want to find out if there’s a first time homeowner program I might qualify for. Maybe a fixer upper? Say is this a bank or a real estate office?

Bernie the Banker: A little of both actually. We don’t quibble about labels anymore. I hate to pry but do you have your FICO score?

Last Chance: What’s that?

Bernie the Banker: It’s a kind of equation that determines how much of a loan you are supposed to qualify for. Ideally we plug numbers about your income, bills, and past into it.

Last Chance: Ideally?

Bernie the Banker: Some people think that since the equation was something thought up by someone they should be able to think up numbers to go into it. Or you can pay someone to come up with a nice set of numbers for you.

Last Chance: Is that legal?

Bernie the Banker: Legal? Technically no. But it’s one of those archaic laws that run counter to the current spirit of deregulation.

Last Chance: I don’t want to lie about making more money than I do.

Bernie the Banker: Think of it as estimating your income potential. We’re not in the finance stone age anymore. No one checks and no one cares about these formalities.

Last Chance: But…but I could be a deadbeat or have an emergency. Aren’t you worried about losing money?

Bernie the Banker: (yawn) Good loans, bad loans, they’re all the same to me. I get my money off the top in commissions, my firm collects fees, then we sell your piece of paper to someone who tries to sell it to someone else. Mostly we’re betting not if but when you will default. It’s like a high stakes football pool.

Last Chance: I don’t want to go to jail. Why isn’t selling a loan you know won’t be paid back fraud?

Bernie the Banker: Because lots of people in respected firms are involved. That makes it a civil matter. Besides, my commission is bigger if I sell your poker chip as a high risk wager. Enjoy your new home while you can. No one is in this game to pay off a house. (walks back to Wally Wallstreet) You didn’t say how we keep the game moving.

Wally Wallstreet: (holds up spotlight) By shining a light where we want the pieces to move. No need to roll dice. People are like moths. They are attracted to light, whatever the source. Whereas players like us are like cockroaches that try to stay out of the light of close scrutiny. (shines light at square in front of Pensioner)

Pensioner: (steps into lighted space labeled “receive pension fund statement” then holds up papers) I’m too old for games. I just want to hold on to what I have. My pension fund says it invests in only the safest investments – Triple A all the way. These are my golden years. Leave chasing rainbows to younger people.

Wally Wallstreet: Silly worker bee. We already got the rainbows up front. She’s going to get the rain on her parade.

Bernie the Banker: I thought pension funds were outside the hustle and bustle of serious investment.

Wally Wallstreet: They were, until we spiced up the pot with a little toxic waste to make the speculation stew more exciting.

Bernie the Banker: Toxic waste loans! How do you get pension funds to buy that junk? Aren’t they smart guys?

Wally Wallstreet: Through the magic of “CDO squared” we transform toxic waste into Triple A securities, approved for widows and orphans.

Bernie the Banker: Sounds diabolical….in a good way. Does it involve forgery?

Wally Wallstreet: (feigns shock) Heavens no. Just… a little innocent math. But it gets us to the same place. (picks up waste basket) Say this garbage can represents our lowest category of loans – the toxic waste. Just as we divided up the whole pool of loans into three categories, we take the lowest category (holds up waste basket), call it a separate pool, and divide it up into categories. The worst (throws out banana peel and tin can) is still toxic waste in this pool but the rest, grading on the new curve, (writes 3 A’s on side of basket) has been divinely heeled into Triple A quality, suitable for courting by fussy pension fund managers.

Bernie the Banker: But wouldn’t the rating agencies alert the fund managers?

Wally Wallstreet: (holds open pocket) Just look in here.

Bernie the Banker: I don’t believe it. You have every rating agency on Wall Street in your pocket. And they all have their hands out, begging for your business.

Wally Wallstreet: And I have the SEC in the other pocket.

Pensioner: I figured the safe and secure pension I’ve been paying into all these years would let me visit all the National Parks I never got a chance to see while I was working. (pause) At least I can still travel.

Bernie the Banker: I don’t see how paying out money to game “has beens” is buttering our bread.

Wally Wallstreet: (pointing to Pensioner) I hope she kept her hiking shoes. They will come in handy two years from now when they prop her up as a Walmart greeter. But, that’s in the future. Give our “wanna be” over there a little il-lumination.

Bernie the Banker: (shines light at square in front of Flipper)

Flipper: (moves into space reading) “ Fly – By – Night – Reality, our motto: duck fast or get goosed.”

Bernie the Banker: (Walks over) What can I do for you?

Flipper: I want to make tons of money in a short period of time without knowing anything or doing anything productive and I was thinking real estate is just the ticket for that ride. Can you help me put something together?

Bernie the Banker: Of course. What you want to do is “flip” residential property.

Flipper: What’s that?

Bernie the Banker: That’s where you buy as many properties as possible, put as little down and make as small payments as possible, then when real buyers and other gamblers, I mean “investors”, push the value up you sell before the serious bills come due. Um…do you have any money for down payments?

Flipper: No.

Bernie the Banker: Do you have a regular income to make mortgage payments?

Flipper: No.

Bernie the Banker: Do you have significant equity in other property to use as collateral?

Flipper: No.

Bernie the Banker: Hmmm. Normally this would be a problem. Fortunately, many lenders would rather “securitize” loans than sit on them till Jesus comes. The lender gets cash up front from someone who gets the stream of payments. Loans are also being used to meet collateral requirements, that is, they’re being treated like cash or T-bills instead of liabilities. Things are a lot looser. Just as you want to flip the property, other people are flipping the loans without any real connection to the original property or the borrowers that spawned them.

Flipper: Just tell me what I have to do to get the gravy train flowing in my direction.

Bernie the Banker: Mostly you have to sign some papers and agree to get caught up with the interest and principle in one or two years. That’s how long you have to flip the property and become an entry level parasite.

Flipper: Hey!

Bernie the Banker: Just kidding. Sort of. You don’t need a down payment but to maintain the appearance of a functioning loan you need to pay at least half of the interest on the loan. Can you do that for a year or two before the balloon payments and variable interest rates start getting ugly?

Flipper: Sure, I’ll slap it on my charge card till I find some suckers to flip to. I really don’t feel like the loans are connected to me personally, to tell the truth.

Bernie the Banker: In truth they aren’t. But they have taken on some of your characteristics in assuming a life of their own. They are the mysterious, free living NINJA loans.

NINJA: (does a 10 second routine and freezes in a pose)

Bernie the Banker: (light for Last Chance to step into “card” space)

Last Chance: (reads space) Small Enough to Lose, take a card.

Card Girl: (takes top card saying “Small Enough to Lose” on one side and reads other side) Loan broker rigs appraisal so you’re paying off five hundred thousand dollars for a rusty double wide sinking in the mud. (struts around room so audience can read it too)

Last Chance: (screaming) I thought I was buying a “metallic bungalow close to nature, just needs a woman’s touch.” That’s what the real estate guy said.

Wally Wallstreet: (to Bernie the Banker) She, got more than touched. I’d say you gave her the full treatment.

Bernie the Banker: (nodding, shines light to Pensioner)

Pensioner: (walks to space and reads) “Life goes in Yard Sale”

Card Girl: (repeats routine) Big Al at the Fed cuts Federal Funds Rate from 9 to 3 percent so buddies can go to the cassino. Nest egg investments of CDs and Money Markets take full hit. Sell RV and buy a tent.

Pensioner: (bewildered) But I was counting on that money.

Wally Wallstreet: (to Bernie the Banker) And we were counting on Greenspun to make us “well fed.”

Bernie the Banker: Oh, I get it, fe-ed. (guffawing) The joke is on the geezers. (shines light to Flipper)

Flipper: (walks to space and reads) The Party’s Over

Card Girl: (repeats routine) Cranked open credit spigot running dry. Real estate flippers are turning into floppers, on way to becoming floaters.

Flipper: Just a little temporary sluggishness. I’m staying in for the whole enchilada baby. Easy street here I come, yeah. (makes hammer down with elbow)

Bernie the Banker: (to Wally Wallstreet) I was wondering what the NINJAs are doing. I seem to have lost track of them.

NINJA: (starts warming up)

Wally Wallstreet: Oh, they’re having the time of their life. They got into these kinky “credit default swaps” when you guys bought insurance against them defaulting. It made them look robust and liquid. Of course the insuring companies had no real money to cover these bets.

Bernie the Banker: Saying you have money is just as good. Perception is reality.

Wally Wallstreet: Then they moved into cozy “no documentation” or “low doc” Hedge Funds. Which gave them respectability (NINJA cry) and substance (NINJA cry) even though they were just a poker chip for the Hedge Fund to use in the derivatives game.

Bernie the Banker: What is the basis of that game?

Wally Wallstreet: The hot potato. You know whoever is holding these loans are going to get burned when some monster payment is due at the end of the year or some other specified date. You need to unload them before that date. The game is they could default before that date.

Bernie the Banker: Where else has NINJA been going?

Wally Wallstreet: They got a beauty treatment by some of the most prestigious firms on Wall Street by being packaged with thousands of other bad loans in a trust, plastered with some Triple A make up and sold to pension funds and other institutions. (NINJA strutting sexy) These babies were bombshells in more ways than one.

Bernie the Banker: (Shines light to Last Chance)

Last Chance: (reads space) “Ain’t Love Grand”

Card Girl: (routine) Mortgage payment goes up three hundred dollars because (Surprise!) your fixed rate loan is really an adjustable rate loan. Of course your broker will respect you in the morning.

Last Chance: (shrieks) I don’t have it. If I did I’d put it toward basic repairs in case I have to sell.

Bernie the Banker: (to Wally Wallstreet) She shouldn’t worry about selling. As soon as she defaults I’ll have my stooges in city hall red tag the place for code violations and let one of my cronies pick it up for a song. (shines light to Pensioner)

Pensioner: (reads space) “Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out.”

Card Girl: (routine) “Ten year T Bills go from 6 percent to 2 percent in retirement portfolio. Triple A part of fund looks like residue from a trip to Vegas. Practice saying ‘Would you like fries with that?’”

Wally Wallstreet: I wonder how many pension fund managers will be working with her at the drive through window.

Bernie the Banker: (shines light to Flipper)

Flipper: (reads space) “Your Flight’s Been Canceled.”

Card Girl: (routine) “Big honking option-arm and balloon payments are due. The live grenade in your hand has exploded. You are not too big too fail. Move back in with your parents.”

Bernie the Banker: He better hurry. One of his would be suckers might be renting his old room.

Wally Wallstreet: I have a few thoughts on this. (steps away and does slam poem)
(Note: Slam can be cut and replaced with suitable line)

I smelled him before I saw him
A personal hygiene war zone
Recently bathed two weeks ago
Recently shaved two months ago
Sores and rashes- a 3-D Triple-A road map
Clothes slept in again and again… and again
Encased within a winter program overcoat
He got two, for being a veteran
It hurts to move, but moved on he gets again and again
If only dumpster diving were an Olympic sport
Everybody gets what they deserve

Step right up, all you suckers
Double your money, double it bubble it, double it bubble it
Real estate banners scream “Our best year ever.”
Wheelin’ and dealin’- Go! Go! Go!
This is the lever-aaaage
You don’t have to work, you don’t have to slave
Fast and easy, magic words, presto-chango
No money down, fixer upper, super duper pooper scooper
Just flip it, flip it, flip it while the music’s playing
Flip it while it’s hot, so you can laugh when it’s not.
Every body gets what they deserve

So, you, blew it, waited too long and blew it
But don’t be blue, don’t get the blues
Don’t look down when you’re out
Stay movin’, you don’t look blue when you’re movin’
Stay movin’, eyes straight, goin’ someplace…. some how
Stay sharp, hide pain, don’t space
Always beware, the other blue
Hunters of the abyss, of no brain no pain people
Words like glue in their mouth, drool of the fool
A diabetic? A foreign language?
A certified misfiring whack job?
No excuses. Zap goes the tazer
Hide your blues from the blue
Your doctors won’t protect you
Ha, ha, ha from the laughing tazer tyrant
You’re all tweekers, freakers, and drunks
Zap, crackle, pop, till you piss you your pants
Who knew, the blues where half of black and blue
Everybody gets what they deserve

Sick all the time, everything hurts
Something’s very very wrong inside
Take a number, take a chair, gather ’round the ER camp-out
Drive by doctors, shooting pens behind clipboard shields
A 3 minute egg gets more time
No insurance? Then it’s a virus. No, you’re a virus
Rx sacrament anointed, you are blessed
Take this $5 script to Wal-Mart and sin no more
Everybody gets what they deserve

Listened to the Man- dummy
Listened to your parents- dummy
Got processed in college
An entry level ticket to a corporate job
Visit your job, when you’re in China
Ignored other voices, voices inside, voices outside
Politicians and bosses called them losers
Television said not ready for prime-time
Did the kid thing. They hate you. You hate them.
Gave them stuff. Gave yourself stuff.
Bankruptcy! Foreclosure! Eviction!
Three generations, living off grandpa’s twice cut pension
Everybody gets what they deserve

Listen and obey when the favored ones speak
Members of the club, leaders of their class
Schooled in connections and gentleman’s C’s
Fast tracked fortunes, work optional
Entitled to a title, positioned for position
Always a seat, close to the fire
Smooth talkin, dirty dealin, desk job dandy
Fast tracked, slicked back “leader of the pack”
So says the media, so says god
Kiss my ring, kiss my ass
Kiss your useless eater, peasant life good-bye
Everybody gets what they deserve

NINJA: (screams as he falls back behind curtain)

Wally Wallstreet: (reaches behind curtain and picks up empty NINJA costume) He’s evaporated.

Bernie the Banker: I never thought he was wrapped too tight.

Card Girl: Hey, I still have more cards.

Wally Wallstreet: Give them to us. We’ll add them to the ones up our sleeve.

Bernie the Banker: (guffaws)

Card Girl: (hands over cards to Wally Wallstreet and walks off stage)

Wally Wallstreet: (reads first one) Congress passes law requiring defaulters to give up their first born to the military ninety days after foreclosure.

Last Chance: (in panic) But I only have one child.

Bernie the Banker: Oh quit your liberal whining.

Wally Wallstreet: (2nd card) In response to pension fund collapse, a Chamber of Commerce bipartisan committee recommended that Social Security retirement age be increased to eighty-five…

Pensioner: (indignant) I can’t work till I’m eighty-five. Are you crazy?

Bernie the Banker: (reading over Wally Wallstreet’s shoulder) Slackers will be turned over to the new Bureau for Medical Experiments.

Wally Wallstreet: (3rd card) The Supreme Court releases two new decisions. Expanding on previous rulings, cars are now people and can drive down sidewalks with their screaming equals. In a clarification of their “money is speech” position the justices wrote, it naturally follows that “money is votes”, requiring one dollar/one vote for true universal suffrage.

Flipper: But I don’t have any money now. I lost it in your poker game.

Bernie the Banker: No money, no voting chips. That’s free market democracy. You’re lucky we let you freeloaders breath our air.

Wally Wallstreet: The President announced that Guantanamo will no longer be used to confine uncharged terrorists to make room for the base being turned into a defaulters prison run by and for Wall Street.

Bernie the Banker: Humph, I wish he didn’t cave in about including writers critical of our creative finance devices.

Wally Wallstreet: Reluctantly, the Speculator in Chief allowed a loan modification provision to be added to the economic expulsion action. Borrowers will be allowed to make up the difference between what they owe and the real market value of their homes by surrendering three major body organs and either an arm or a leg.

Bernie the Banker: (emphatic) Socialist! We’re entitled to an arm and a leg not one or the other.

Flipper: What about you guys at the top who designed and ran all these scams? Isn’t anything going to be done about you?

Wally Wallstreet: (smugly) They have done something about us. They gave us billion dollar bonuses as we tanked the economy, enough Toxic Asset Relief Program money to buy a dozen third-world countries and new tax credits, paid for by you naive muppets.

Last Chance: This country doesn’t have that kind of money. Our standard of living is in the dumps and the safety net has more holes than the roads of Clearlake.

Wally Wallstreet: Oh, there’s still a few basic social programs we can slash to the bone. We deserve it. After all, we are the ruling class or we wouldn’t be ruling. And remember, just because you and your pathetic entitlements may not be enough to cover our class setbacks that doesn’t mean we won’t be able to get it from your children…and your children’s children.

Pensioner: (shaking fist) We won’t be fooled again. What gives you the right. What gives you the power to take what little average people have to pay for your rich boys games?

Wally Wallstreet: (calmly) Its all part of our philosophy, no really its the religion, of Hooverism.

Pensioner: Hooverism? You mean as in President Herbert Hoover?

Wally Wallstreet: No, Hoover as in Hoovers. (to Bernie the Banker) Send in the Hoovers.

Bernie the Banker: (shouts) Send in the Hoovers!

(Card Girl and NINJA come in wearing similar clothes with vacuum cleaners and start sucking valuables from bodies of board pieces.)

Pensioner: My wallet.

Last Chance: My car keys.

Flipper: My loose change.

(lights down, characters leave except two men at table, lights back up)

Bernie the Banker: Well, that was fun. What game shall we play next?

Wally Wallstreet: We can play the same game over with new board pieces. Or we can wait awhile and use the same pieces. Trust me, they will not remember a thing.

—————————————————————————————————————————-

SOUP SISTERS (political skit)

By Dante DeAmicis

CHARACTERS:

GERTRUDE: Assertive older woman
WILLOW: Reserved older woman
TIMOTHY: Man, 40ish
INSPECTOR COLIN: Sadistic older man

SETTING: A vendor cart with a large cooking pot and spice rack on top. Sign “Soup Sisters – Spiced to Order” sign on cart. Large cardboard tube with “TRASH” written on it.

(GERTRUDE taking inventory of spice rack.)

GERTRUDE
Willow, where’s the cats claw? I thought you already filled the spice rack.

WILLOW
I did. I can’t get any more cats claw till Tuesday.

GERTRUDE
Oh wormwood. So what are we supposed to do if Mrs Eelsbreath with the diverticulitis comes by? Or, how about arthritic Mr. Stubblewart? What can we suggest he add to his soup?

WILLOW
Don’t have a spell Gertrude. We have plenty of nettles, calendula leaves, and ginger root That should do for most of the week’s culinary situations for cats claw.

GERTRUDE
If we must, we must. But I hate not having a full selection of herbs, I mean,
spices. Are we ready to consecrate the new stock batch?

WILLOW
The pot is stirred and the soup is hot.

(sisters hold hands, heads bowed with kettle between them)

GERTRUDE/WILLOW
(in unison) Oh blessed be pot of soup. Bring these leaves, roots, and grains together at the marriage of fire and water, to release the power of the Sun, the energy of the earth, and the forces of living water, to heal the flesh and sooth the minds of those travelers seeking solace and sustenance at your sisters’ humble alter.

GERTRUDE
Soup’s on.

(sisters high five, bump knuckles, elbows, hips, “woo woo woo”)
GERTRUDE
Oh, good day Timothy. How are you today?

TIMOTHY
(Slowly walks up.) I’m OK, I guess. I’ll have a to-go order for my mom. She has um…. the same tastes.

(WILLOW serves up soup and measure spices in it.)

WILLOW
She’s had the same tastes for some time. Maybe she should taste some more. (Sprinkling in more flakes.)

TIMOTHY
Thanks a lot, both of you. (Takes bag and walks away.)

(INSPECTOR COLIN stands up quickly out of phoney trashcan. GERTRUDE and WILLOW scream.)

INSPECTOR COLIN
Excuse me ladies, but I couldn’t help overhear you use the word (checks clipboard) cats claw a while ago. Now, as I recall, cats claw is a so called medicinal herb. You wouldn’t be back in the unauthorized practice of medicine business, would you? I would truly regret having to report to my superiors at the FDA that you have just blown your last chance to stay out of prison.

GERTRUDE
(Flustered.) Oh no, no. Silly me. It was just a slip of the tongue. The old words are still in my head even though I meant to say something entirely different.

WILLOW
Inspector Colin, I thought you retired after making a career of harassing us and shutting down our herb business.

INSPECTOR COLIN
Not quite. I’m still working part time on old files and you ladies are a very old file. My last professional accomplishment will be to correct the misplaced leniency shown you two in past actions. Good day…. for now. (Walks off with trash tube.)

GERTRUDE
Well that was unpleasant. I hope he didn’t scare anyone off.

WILLOW
I wonder how many years he’s been impacted. He must be full of toxins.

GERTRUDE
Willow, we’re just going to have to tighten up our script around the soup. Turn our “curbside manner” about health problems into idle chit-chat and small talk, while we pretend to be occupied with something else. Then, when we take a soup order we don’t mention anything about what it is good for.

TIMOTHY
(Walking up briskly.) I’m sorry, I need …. I need to talk about something else.

(WILLOW points to soup, points to mouth, then wags finger while pantomiming “No, no.”)

TIMOTHY
(Nods) You know my partner James has been sick? Well, he’s real sick. And he has no insurance and the money’s gone.

GERTRUDE
(Cautiously) I remember you talking about James’ …. problem. I’m sure one of the promised political solutions will bare fruit before it’s too late. Do you have any plans to make James more comfortable during the wait?

TIMOTHY
(pauses) I was thinking he might like to curl up with a good book and a bowl of soup.

WILLOW
(Working with soup and herbs.) I have just the soup … for a good book. (Hands bag over to Timothy.)

(TIMOTHY walks off stage. GERTRUDE and WILLOW look after him in silence for about 15 seconds.)

(INSPECTOR COLIN staggers onto stage clutching his chest, wearing a Groucho Marx disguise.)

INSPECTOR COLIN
My heart, my heart. It’s the irregular rhythms again and I forgot my nitro. (Steadies himself against soup cart.) Please, good women, is there something you can give me for my temporary emergency?

GERTRUDE
(Holds up cell phone.) I can call 9-1-1 for you. That’s it.

INSPECTOR COLIN
Never mind. I just found a loose pill in my pocket. (Walks off.)

WILLOW
Sometimes I wish we were farmers again. Back when we only had to obey the seasons of the year and the cycles of the Moon.

GERTRUDE
We had problems with the locals even then. Remember how our late night garden club had the churches and newspaper foaming at the mouth?

WILLOW
Not a big deal. A few paranoid letters to the editor and a couple Hellfire and Brimstone sermons. We were the featured scapegoat of the month for the corruption of children and leading women astray.

GERTRUDE
What about the spy they sent to our full Moon meeting and the fuss he made about us opening with our hand holding circle? He called your poem about the wind playing music in the trees and the falling rain massaging the soil demonic.

WILLOW
So I got a bad review. I noticed Mr. Secret Agent didn’t stick around when the shovels were passed out for the compost turning lesson.

(INSPECTOR COLIN walks on with cane wearing large, obviously fake beard with elastic band.)

INSPECTOR COLIN
Oh, oh, oh my lumbago, oh my gout, oh my bleeding ulcers, oh my gall stones, oh my bronchitis, oh my migraine, oh my dizzy spells. Oh won’t someone do something for a poor old man’s ailments and infirmities? (Looks up at Gertrude imploringly.)

GERTRUDE
(Pulling INSPECTOR COLIN’S beard down a few inches as she looks him close in the face.) No. (Let’s go of beard.)

(INSPECTOR COLIN storms off in a huff.)

WILLOW
(Working over soup pot.) We’ve still got half of this batch left. That should last the rest of the day.

TIMOTHY
(Walking by.) See you Tuesday, sisters. I’m off to the Medical Bud Barn on my way out of town. (Holds up paper) Stress from those other problems, you know. Say, why don’t you carry any baked goods? An Alice B. Toklas brownie would go great with your soup.
WILLOW
Yeah sure. Then we’d end up with two federales jumping out of garbage cans.

GERTRUDE
(Looks all around) I’m shocked! Shocked! Do you hear me? We would never for an instant consider doing anything that would violate the prohibitions of our wise and lawful regulators.

(WILLOW pantomimes hand to ear then sweeps arm all around)

GERTRUDE
Don’t you realize the chaos that would result if people took their health and well being into their own hands? Say no more. Say no more.

TIMOTHY
Suit yourself. But things don’t seem too chaotic over at the Bud Barn. Down right mellow in fact. Keep your soup hot. Bye. (Walks off)

WILLOW
Speaking of “baked goods.”…I remember when we included Cannabis before it was singled out. Now it’s sort of OK and we’re singled out.

GERTRUDE
I know it’s a good thing but it still bugs me. Every squid in town with an ingrown nose hair can get a legal ticket to the Reefer Madness show while we …. are still treated like some terrorist threat for our knowledge of plants people walk by every day on their way to the pill pushers.

(INSPECTOR COLIN sneaking up in trash can, one step at a time.)

WILLOW
Got your script? Take two doobies and call me in the morning…late in the morning. A suit would never say this but we could. You don’t need no stinkin badges to do this green business. Just fill out a few forms, rent a dumpy storefront for the club and – praise the Goddess – we’re legit. And we could keep doing soup on the side with a lot fewer hassles.

GERTRUDE
Done deal. Enough of this cat and mouse game. We’re off the street as of right now.

(Grabs pot of soup and walks over to trashcan, that has now made it to the cart, and dumps the soup in the can.)

INSPECTOR COLIN
(Screams.) Ahhhhh.

END

—————————————————————————————————————————–

Yellow Grease, A Play in Two Acts

by Dante DeAmicis
CHARACTERS
SUV MAN – a symbol of consumer attachment. Does not interact with characters as part
of the story. Age: Late 20’s to early 30’s with insecure, having-just-made-it look.
“SUV ON BOARD NEWS” ANCHOR JUSTINE THYME– symbol of the partnership between corporate media and consumerism. Authoritative but animated woman. The symbol interacts with other characters only on its own terms – the broadcast set.
BIO FUEL DEPARTMENT (BFD) ADMINISTRATOR ROSY FUTURA– middle aged technocrat woman with objective but guarded manner. One news interview. Same actor could also play MISS BIRKENSTOCKER.
METHYL and ETHYL – clever high school seniors who enjoy manipulating the system to do “kid stuff.” METHYL is a jovial nerd. ETHYL is more dramatic with a “Goth Lite” look.
BIOFOOL – self described, operator of “Right Livelihood” independent bio fuel station. Thin, constantly in motion verbally and physically, man or woman who responds as the wise fool to detach from folly and suffering.
MISS BIRKENSTOCKER – woman environmental studies teacher near retirement. Swallowed her idealism on the outside and conformed. It made her stern and bitter to all outward appearances.
DR. STINE – middle aged professional opportunist preying on insecurities and moral weaknesses of the public. Brazenly assumes everyone holds egoism as the ideal.
IGO SNATCH – unskilled, slow witted blue collar worker. Enjoys doing dirty work as way to gain limited acceptance in spite of employer abuse.
BARON BURGERMEISTER – founder of “Build A Burger” chain. Late middle age, big and heavy man. Takes a grand view of himself and his long range agendas. Society is just a means for his ends.
CONGRESSMAN REMO VASELINO – Blow dried, smarmy, amoral, expedient, always smiling. Probably any age man over 30 of the right type.
TENDER MERCY – administrator for Consolidated Social Rejects Agency (“A NIMBY friendly non profit”), small stature woman over 30. She is conflicted and it shows, drawn to those in need and wants to be their advocate but intensely hates them at the same time. Real feelings sometimes explode through her caring veneer.
Mr. POST – associate of Backwater Cleaning Service. Trim expressionless man with composite assassin, black ops, dictator liaison, “men in black” persona.
TIME: The near future, possibly the present.
PLACE: The wavering boundary between the suburbs and the inner city.
A Note on Yellow Grease Sets
Most of the sets are intended to remain on the stage as part of the side and back walls in a “court” arrangement. Several sets are meant to occupy their own section of one of the walls as a “window”, painted cues, a banner backdrop, or a pull out panel from the wall. Cut outs can serve as two dimensional props/sets such as for cars.
The center stage sets are simple different things added to the top of a table with chairs to create an interview stage, shop, office desk, or as the support structure for the “sauna.” The only major prop that serves as part of sets is the two red barrels that get trucked around a lot.
To help focus on a particular set section of a wall I recommend strings of LED lights that can be turned on for a particular section when needed.
Yellow Grease Act One Scene 1
(SUV Man intently polishing, inspecting, and fussing with cut out panel of a SUV. He becomes more and more aroused by such close contact with his “baby” and goes from a cheerful attitude to a whispered lover’s tone: “Do you like that? How about this? Where would you like the soap?”, etc. LED lights on console come on and he looks in at “On Board SUV News” and freezes for duration of broadcast. The “broadcast” takes place on the stage to side of SUV MAN and more forward with the “SUV ON Board News Anchor” and her guest. Lighting indicates which part of stage is active.)
SUV ON BOARD NEWS ANCHOR JUSTINE THYME: This is JUSTINE THYME for SUV On Board News. Today I am talking with ROSY FUTURA director of the Bio Fuels Department in Washington. First, could you tell us just what is the BFD?
BFD DIRECTOR ROSY FUTURA: Of course. The Bio Fuels Department is the new federal organization created to change our energy policy from pulling things out of the earth to burn to squeezing stuff out of living things to burn.
JUSTINE: Give us some examples of these new fuels?
ROSY: They aren’t new Justine. These are all fuels desperate people have used and still are using….methane, alcohol, and of course bio diesel.
JUSTINE: So what is the purpose of doing that?
ROSY: Energy conservation Justine. We believe that if fuel either smells like something died or reminds them of the time they got the dry heaves from cheap rotgut they will use less fuel.
JUSTINE: Wouldn’t people just keep filling up with gasoline and regular diesel? ROSY: They would if they could. But we are going to shortly start rationing the Earth
juice to the amount a resident of Belgium uses in their moped per week. (Rosy and Justine freeze long enough for SUV MAN to unfreeze and react)
SUV MAN: (unfreezes and reacts with horror) No….no…..noooooo. This can’t be happening.
I gotta drive. I gotta drive and drive and drive with my big hungry baby. (puts arm through window as if consoling his SUV. Continues to sob quietly)
JUSTINE: I think Americans would vote Jesus Christ out of office if he tried to limit their driving.
ROSY: We’re not limiting driving Justine. We’re just limiting gasoline. There is no limit to the amount and type of bio fuel Americans can buy on the free market. In fact, there
are several enterprising entrepreneurs that are launching bio diesel businesses as we speak.
(ROSY and JUSTINE freezes as SUV MAN stops sobbing when he hears this, turns around looking up, hands outstretched, begins a broad smile as he takes a couple steps toward audience)
SUV MAN: Yes…yes….I can still drive like a real man. Life….is still worth living. (SUV MAN runs back to polish SUV with renewed vigor as ROSY and JUSTINE
unfreeze)
JUSTINE: Thank you ROSY for joining us on “SUV ON BOARD NEWS.”
ROSY: My pleasure.
(fade out end of scene. News anchor’s table moved to center stage. Distillation props added to top of table.)
Scene 2
(METHYL and ETHYL are slouched in chairs at opposite ends of their workshop table.
They are holding something in beakers. They seem pleased with themselves.)
METHYL: Here “test” this. See if you think it’s a senior project winner. (hands beaker to ETHYL. She takes it and drinks, gasps, and coughs)
ETHYL: (recovers) That’s the best yet. It goes down like red hot ball bearings with nuances of paint thinner. What’s this batch from?
METHYL: Beet juice. I kept all the notes for our report.
ETHYL: Mom always said to eat my beets. But when she cooked them they didn’t make
my face feel numb.
METHYL: We won’t be using the immersion heater and bucket still much longer. I finished the column for the mash tank out back. (reaches down under table and lifts up a clear tubular device. Holds it in his lap smiling.)
ETHYL: (mock surprise) Oooo It’s so big. What will it do?
METHYL: This bronze wool packed baby has a 13 to 1 height to diameter ratio to give
us 160 proof.
ETHYL: That’s what I call….hard.
METHYL: (ignores double-entendre) I could have kept it out of sight with a 9 to 1, still knocking out 140 proof
ETHYL: Nahh. If you got it flaunt it.
METHYL: Column size only makes sense as far as 160. If you want to go up further…. (ETHYL starts jumping up and down in chair)
ETHYL: Yes, yes go up farther.
METHYL: ….then we will have to use molecular sieves filled with synthetic Zeolite or
vacuum distillation that will take us all the way up to (emphasis) 194 proof! ETHYL: (feigns a swoon) I…I don’t know if I can take all that.
METHYL: (straight faced) It will probably dissolve the mercury in your fillings. But that’s for another class. Right now, (acts mock serious) we’re making alcohol bio fuel for Miss Birkenstocker’s Environmental Studies Class. (they both give each other exaggerated wink nod, wink nod)
(ETHYL takes another gulp and coughs)
METHYL: Don’t drink it all. I have to save some to pour in dad’s minivan as part of our cover. Remember, the best way to hide something is right out in the open.
ETHYL: (looks thoughtful) I wonder how many other people are hiding stuff right out in the open.
(METHYL looks worried for a moment, takes a big gulp from his beaker, starts coughing as scene fades out)
Scene 3
(in front of the Bio Fool Multi-fuel Station, the Bio Fool is doing some weird interpretive stretching as he holds a fuel nozzle. With gas can in hand, a tired, desperate looking SUV MAN approaches the Bio Fool.)
SUV MAN: (slams down can in front of BIO FOOL. Indignant) They won’t let me have any more of the good stuff this week. My Ruder Intruder is not a moped. What do you got that won’t blow up my engine?
BIO FOOL: (scratches his head with nozzle as if thinking, then gestures with nozzle as he talks) Well….we just got a load of E-85 in – 15% gasoline and 85% alcohol made from this year’s wine grape glut. Just think, you can be driving on the same grapes that went into expensive hangovers. If you spill some on a rag and get a good huff going you can detect nuances of old money. (holds out rag from back pocket as SUV MAN waves it away)
SUV MAN: I have a diesel, you fool.
BIO FOOL: (feigns indignant) That’s BIO FOOL to you.
SUV MAN: I traded in gas for diesel thinking I would escape all this non sense. BIO FOOL: In that case, I have good news and bad news for you.
SUV MAN: (getting impatient) Look! All I care about is getting some of that phony diesel to get by with for a couple days.
BIO FOOL: We carry two choices of bio diesel. The first one is made from plants that people eat. But since there’s a famine going on in some places not under the benevolent control of U.S. supported dictators, some of the crop has been diverted for food. (mock outrage) Can you believe it? Go figure. So we’re temporarily out of plan A. That’s the bad news.
SUV MAN: (getting annoyed) Why should I care about their problems, I have my own. Plan B! What’s plan B?
BIO FOOL: ( looks around furtively before leaning toward SUV MAN) I get it from a company called MoGo. They take recycled fryer oil, fats from slaughterhouses, and other animal sources they say is proprietary information to create this stuff called yellow grease. That’s what is processed into their bio diesel. The end product is just as good but the company is creepier than a Catholic Priest in a toy store. (shudders)
SUV MAN: (slams wall behind BIO FOOL and says earnest and emphatic) Whatever they have to do to keep my tires rolling is fine with me. Fill em up.
( BIO FOOL dips nozzle for a couple seconds in each can. Collects a green bill as SUV MAN grabs the cans)
BIO FOOL: (lurches forward and throws up hands) Wait! I think I was just goosed by my muse. (SUV MAN ignores him and walks off stage with his cans as BIO FOOL begins Limerick)
A man with continuing need To find fuel for his SUV steed It was never enough
When the going got rough
It gobbled him up for the feed.
(strikes a “ta-da” pose as lights dim)
Scene 4
(women working at desk with “Environmental Studies Department” sign on it. METHYL and ETHYL walk in a little sheepishly)
METHYL: (nervously) Did you want to see us Miss Birkenstocker?
MISS BIRKENSTOCKER: (stops working and looks up at METHYL and ETHYL)
(ominously) Yessss. Have a seat you two.
(METHYL and ETHYL sit down as BIRKENSTOCKER gets up and paces behind them as she talks)
MISS BIRKENSTOCKER: (talking slowly and evenly at first. gradually faster and more emotional) I was a little concerned about your progress on your …..ah, Bio Fuel Project. I’ve been hearing the most amazing rumors…rumors about some highly unorthodox testing you and other students have been doing with your finished products. I was so worried in fact that I decided to make an unannounced visit to your shop during my prep period. I must say I was verrrry impressed. (METHYL and ETHYL begin to squirm painfully) In addition to lip prints on lab apparatus that reeked of moonshine and a bucket where someone had gotten very sick in, I found these (quickly grabs several books off her desk and slams them down as she reads their titles) “Grandpa McCoy’s Backyard Still Making” (slam) “Wine from Fruits and Vegetables – 101 Recipes” (slam) “The White Lightning Guru” (slam) and this one is my favorite, “How to Conceal Alcoholic Beverage Production from Clueless Authorities.” I guess that would be me. (slam)
ETHYL: (quickly)(points to books) Those were just for inspiration. What’s wrong with letting our imaginations run a little wild to keep from getting bored with this (waves arm dismissively) Bi O Foo El stuff?
MISS BIRKENSTOCKER: (getting angry) I’ll tell you what’s wrong with (sarcastically) “letting your imagination run wild.” Someone has been injecting cafeteria oranges with high proof goof juice and selling them for two bucks a shot. They are dangerously flammable. Students have been getting sick from eating oranges between all their classes.
METHYL: (to ETHYL) “Two – Buck – Up – Chuck”…Kind of has a ring to it, don’t you think? (ETHYL shrugs)
MISS BIRKENSTOCKER: (leaps behind METHYL and ETHYL and grabs them both by the collar and shakes them. They scream, startled)
(loudly) You two “haven’t” been thinking. The alcohol has been traced to your school project. I stuck my neck way out and said someone was siphoning your alcohol fuel. You weren’t guilty of anything but poor security. (lets go of them and she walks back to desk)
METHYL: (aside to ETHYL) Sounds a little like the “my dog got hammered on my homework.” excuse.
ETHYL: (sushes him up)
MISS BIRKENSTOCKER: (evenly) It’s over for you two. I’m shutting your little
speak-easy down. Box up everything ….(looks them right in the eye) or else. ETHYL: (whiny) But…but that was going to be half our grade. You set us up.
MISS BIRKENSTOCKER: The only “set ups” were the limes, soda, and ice trays I saw at your shop.(pads fingers together)But I have another project I’ve put together on short notice as a substitute. (holds out hands in “stop” gesture) No, no don’t thank me. Of course it won’t be as glamorous as rum running but grade-beggars can’t be choosers.
ETHYL: (suspiciously) What kind of substitute?
METHYL: (defensively) It’s not one of those lame cooking with cardboard solar oven jokes is it?
MISS BIRKENSTOCKER: (smiles evilly) No, I think we’ll keep you in the bio fuel field. But in a way that’s more, shall we say “embedded” in the community.
ETHYL: (to METHYL) I don’t like the sound of that.
MISS BIRKENSTOCKER: The bio diesel process has expanded restaurant grease trap collections to make yellow grease from more and more (looks distasteful) unconventional sources. (picking up tempo) I’ve arranged internships for you at Dr. Stine’s liposuction clinic.
METHYL and ETHYL: (shout in unison) What!? METHYL: He’s the mad fat sucker.
MISS BIRKENSTOCKER: Which brings me to what you as a team will be doing. Twice a week you will assemble and package all Dr. Stine’s extracted fat for pick up by MoGo Bio Diesel.
ETHYL: (shocked) Yuck gross, yuck gross gross gross. Why are you doing this to us?
MISS BIRKENSTOCKER: Both of you need grounding in the brave new real world of bio diesel. You’ll make contacts and get leads to follow the whole process. Mostly you’ll crack the books for the technical stuff…the way you did with alcohol.
METHYL: (defiant) I won’t do it. And you can’t make us.
MISS BIRKENSTOCKER: (calmly) Nooo. But I can send you to Continuation School
with the rest of the substance abusers. And you won’t get to graduate with your friends. METHYL and ETHYL: (look at each other. don’t say anything)
(End of scene.)
Scene 5
(The back room of Dr. Stine’s liposuction clinic. METHYL and ETHYL are standing around waiting. They don’t look too happy. Dr. Stine strides in, greets them with a quick handshake, and gets down to business. There is a wheelbarrow, a large red barrel, and two small shovels behind them. The wheelbarrow is filled with some kind of yellow glop.)
DR. STINE: (smiling formally, holds out hand) You must be METHYL and ETHYL. METHYL: I’m afraid so.
DR. STINE: Your job will be pretty straightforward. But first let me tell you a little about how important closing the cycle with my practice has been for the environment. The new shift toward operating a green business is a stupendous boon for marketing. Especially in my profession which is maliciously accused of catering to people’s
insecurities and lack of self-control. “Just another fixation of the me me me culture”, they say. (putting his hand up for an aside) Just between you and me I’m in favor the “me” culture…Unless the “me” is you. Then the “me” wouldn’t be “me” so I would have to pretend I’m for “you” because your pursuit of “me” would support my “me” focus even though your “me” is a “you” as far as my “me” is concerned. See?
(METHYL and ETHYL shake their head or put their hand up to it confused)
DR. STINE: Oh, never mind. Here let me show you where getting people lean becomes green. And you will start the process here as my “bio diesel interns.” I’ve already gotten positive publicity for this mentoring outreach. (makes a quick move to grab a shovel in each hand and holds them out to METHYL and ETHYL who take them, looking at them as if they are some kind of alien artifact) You will move this medical waste (points to wheelbarrow) to this Biofuel Resource Collection Container, (becoming more dramatic) transforming it from a hazardous material which has to be either incinerated or piled on a rusty barge and sunk in the ocean in the dead of night (emphasis) to…. a “socially responsibly resource.”
(METHYL and ETHYL look between DR. STINE, the wheelbarrow, and each other with disgust and disbelief as DR STINE talks)
DR. STINE: (cheerily) Carry on interns. (begins walking to other side of stage) I’m going to be recording my new clinic video over here. Don’t mind me.
(METHYL and ETHYL begin reluctantly shoveling fat into barrel and keep shoveling as DR STINE performs video spot, showing disgusted body language and making muffled “ugh” sounds.)
(off camera voice) “Just start any time DR STINE.”
DR. STINE: (smile gets broader) Hi, I’m DR. STINE, founder and spiritual inspiration for the Hippo Lippo Clinic. Many people have low self esteem and feel guilty about their excess baggage, especially the steamer trunks. But I’ve helped thousands of people to realize that the “real” person is “inside” those unwanted layers of all-you-can-eat-buffets, crying to get out.
People are superficially judged by what they look like. So why not superficially become a new, vibrant person. That sucking sound you hear is not the last trickles of our economy going down the drain but the banishing of gallons of lifestyle limiting Triglycerides at Dr. Stine’s Hippo Lipo Clinic.
Ladies: Become the bodacious mail order bride of hubby’s dreams.
Guys: If you “look” prosperous before you “are” prosperous you can go from “Flabio” to Fabio in no time.
Rekindle the romantic magic before the days of broken furniture.
And, for the next month I have a Valentine’s Day Special. Show that special someone standing in front of the refrigerator that less… is… more. For less than the cost of buying
an extra seat on an airliner you get a massage, aroma therapy spa, and a pedicure for those beautiful feet that she will soon be able to see again. All while highly qualified….and background checked, liposuction technicians are painlessly transporting the old her to a greener future in the MoGo BioDiesel Program. And if you act now, I’ll throw in a month’s supply of designer compression bandages to collapse those now evacuated “fat hotel” rooms into the slinky form of an imperious over paid supermodel. Remember, at Dr. Stine’s Hippo Lippo Clinic we don’t care if the glass is half empty or half full of yellow grease. I say, “Suck it all out.” You WILL be “looking FINE” at Dr. Stine’s. (Freezes smile for a moment then breaks) OK, that’s a wrap. (exits stage quickly)
(METHYL and ETHYL throw down shovels after DR STINE leaves and collapse into chairs)
ETHYL: I feel sick. Maybe Continuation School isn’t so bad after all.
METHYL: (feigning concern) Maybe you just need a little liposuction. You know, you
have been putting on a little weight lately?
(ETHYL grabs one of the shovels and chases him off the stage with it.)
(End of scene)
Scene 6
(METHYL and ETHYL driving in their car cut out after shift at DR STINES)
ETHYL: That was awful. I can’t believe we’re going back there. All I learned so far is what phonies important people are.
METHYL: We did learn it was a good idea not to eat before smelling all that human fat. I would have hurled. But I really am hungry now. You?
ETHYL: Yeah, a little. Pull into the Build A Burger. I’ll get something off the Snack Attack Menu.
(METHYL makes turning motion and stops under Build A Burger drive up window.)
(off camera voice: “Can I take your order. I’ll just sit here and work on my Sudoku until you’re ready.”)
METHYL: Yeah, I’m ready wise guy. It’s not like anything ever changes around here.
ETHYL: (to METHYL) Watch it! You know what these places do to people’s food who piss them off. I once “complained complained complained” about all the carbon monoxide I was breathing in their “crawl up” line and I found three curly black hairs, a green booger, and something slimy I’m sure wasn’t mayonnaise in my Gag-In-The Bag meal.
METHYL: That wasn’t here. This place has cameras everywhere. (mock stuffy) The help wouldn’t dare compromise Build A Burger’s solid reputation…unless, (conspiratorially) the management itself was part of a conspiracy to tamper with our food.
(they both mock scream then start laughing)
ETHYL: (recovering) All right, hurry up and order before you get me thinking.
METHYL: Hello? You there? I’ll have…. a Thrombo Combo….
(off camera voice) Would you like to “hella size” that?
METHYL: Nahhh… and make the drink a cherry Big Suck. And ahhh… from the Wide Load Menu I’ll have a Triple Gutbuster..
(off camera voice) Would you like cheese with that? METHYL: Yeah, sure.
(voice) Would you like extra cheese with that? METHYL: Well…OK.
(voice) Would you like extra extra cheese with that?
METHYL: Nahhh. I’m on a diet. I also want a pork out size of Belly Skin Crusties with about 10 packets of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” Sauce. (remembering) Oh! And a cherry Bloat Float for dessert. I like cherry. (turns to ETHYL) What do you want?
ETHYL: (leaning over toward window) I’m not very hungry. I’ll just get the Bubble Butt Bacon Bomb, a bag of Mystery Meat Treats, and um…something to drink…a Chugga Chugga size of KooKoo Kola…um, What’s that special drink offer?
(voice) That’s the free Build A Burger shoulder strap that goes with every 500 ounce Tanker Size drink. It’s supposed to reduce the chance of getting a hernia lifting it.
ETHYL: Nahh, I’m not very thirsty. I’ll just take the hundred ounce Chugga Chugga. METHYL: (interrupts) Hey, what’s that “Winner of the BFD Green Award” about?
(voice) We just got that. Build A Burger was named the number one contributor of yellow grease in the nation.
(METHYL and ETHYL look at each other open mouthed for a moment, then scream for real, throwing back like they’re flooring it to get away, acceleration, wheel screech)
(End of scene.)
Scene 7
(Sauna room of the Armenian Cove Resort. background sign says “The Armenian Cove – The Resort for the Better Sort. Welcome All Ruthless Men and Vicious Women”. The “sauna” is a roll of mobile home skirting around four chairs with a fog machine below eye level. Four of “the better sort” are in the sauna – Baron Burgermeister. with his ever
present over sized cigar, Mr. Post. always looking straight ahead, expressionless, wears black fedora, black sunglasses, and paint ball gun locked in a straight up-by-head position, Tender Mercy, maybe a nude leotard would work for her sauna scenes. wearing a Carrie Nation type bonnet. Sonoma Beach Congressman Remo Vaselino. always smiling with overdone hair.)
BARON: (in mid conversation)… So what is the new name for your company Mr. Post?
MR. POST: (not looking at the Baron) We are now the Backwater Cleaning Service. Our official mission statement says: To perform discrete contract cleaning services for corporate and government clients without regard for complicated legal issues.
BARON: Personally, I’ve never gone in for mission statements. A good slogan like I have says it all. (straightens himself up for its delivery) I care not who makes a nation’s laws so long as I get to build their burgers. See? The mission is there but it can be used in advertising.
TENDER MERCY: That works if your activity is focused on doing one thing but I’m all over the map. My Consolidated Social Rejects Agency has ended up with animal shelters, homeless shelters, battered women shelters, teen run away shelters, the physically disabled, the learning disabled, the morally disabled, disaster victims, child abuse victims, recently unemployed, hard core unemployed, food programs, youth programs, job counseling, family counseling, PTSD counseling, soup kitchens, public health clinics, half way houses, three quarter way houses, all the way houses, alcoholics anonymous,
narcotics anonymous, gamblers anonymous, rehabs, and the big slab. The last one at least solves problems. The only thing all this has in common is everyone else wants it to just go away or at least kept out of sight on the cheap or just go away (fading out) or just go away or just go away…..
VASELINO: (not noticing her unraveling at the end) (smiling, jovial) I understand about having problems that are so big you just want them to go away. I have a few myself. What I can’t understand is people who are problems. They are problems because they don’t have enough money to solve their problems so they become the problem. Every so often they work their way into my office or a poorly screened public event asking me to solve their problem for them without paying me in various ways to solve it. (incredulous) How can I solve a problem for a person when they have become a problem instead of a person. A person is someone who can pay to solve problems. And I am a representative of the people, not of problems.(holds chin up proudly)
(everyone else in sauna applauds with “here, here’s” added)
MR. POST: (evenly without looking at her) Mercy, exactly what did you mean by the big slab solving problems. What is this….slaaab?
TENDER MERCY: (indifferent) It’s an old ice skating ring we picked up cheap to service our morgue contract with the hospitals and the coroner. It’s easier for agencies who find themselves with unidentified stiffs, such as homeless shelters, to just bring them to the slab. Since we control those agencies too we can…ah streamline the paperwork.
BARON: (clears throat) My MoGo Bio Diesel subsidiary has also helped to streamline the paperwork. We’ve been rendering the animal shelter rejects for some time and have agreed to pick up the slack where the county has fallen behind paying for unclaimed indigent cremations. Their body fats become bio diesel made, on paper, with inputs from my Build A Burger chain. (laughs heartily) People are so gullible. How much fryer grease do they think there is?
TENDER MERCY: (almost bored) Then there’s the accidents.
MR. POST: (so interested he actually looks briefly at Mercy) Accidents? BARON: (taken a little aback) I didn’t think you wanted to go there.
TENDER MERCY: Why not? We’re among friends. Probably lots of people have figured it out anyway. It’s just such a mess they don’t want to have to deal with it. Look, people make mistakes all the time – hospitals, doctors, police, important people at the wheel who have had too much to drink. Why should they take a hit? ….good people…better people….(adamantly)…the best people! It won’t bring anyone back to life.
So paperwork disappears or is altered or never exits in the first place and the bodies end up here to become part of the Build A Burger paper yellow grease stream. You can be sure the agency charges hospitals, police departments, and others a substantial handling fee to help them with their risk management issues. Plus, it’s good for the environment. (shrugs)
VASELINO: (wistfully) If only problems at the national level could be handled this easily.
MR. POST: (evenly) I’m sure somebody with imagination, fortitude, and focus could find a way, Congressman.
(Baron’s cell phone rings. He picks it up and answers it)
BARON: Baron here….yes…yes…Are you sure?….Who told you?…Alright, see if you can trace it. Later. (hangs up and turns to Mercy) Mercy, we may have a problem. Someone is conducting a low key investigation of our little arrangement.
VASELINO: (indignant) Investigation? Impossible. Baron, your check was received at a certain island bank without any problem. Your name is blocked from all government investigations.
BARON: It’s not a government investigation, Congressman. It’s someone from the outside using soft methods. We’ll have to monitor and wait till they get closer.
(scene ends)
Scene 8
(The “yuck truck”, the MoGo collection truck driven by Igo Snatch, has pulled up behind Dr. Stine’s clinic. Igo gets out and starts ringing the bell with greater and greater enthusiasm outside clinic, suggestive of Quasimodo)
DR. STINE: (runs out angry with hand to head) Will you please knock off that infernal racket you stupid moron. You’re ringing a doorbell not collecting for the Salvation Army. And don’t walk into the hallway to use the John this time. You’ll scare my customers. Hell, you even scare me.
(Igo looks hurt and cowers)
Put the empty against the wall out of the walkway. (pointing) That’s not too complicated is it. I hope you brought me a clean one this time. You do know what a clean one is don’t you?
(Igo nods but continues to cower as he hand trucks empty against wall where Stine points)
(sarcastically) That’s one that has seen hot water more recently than you have and smells (makes sniffing sound and makes face) a whole lot better.
IGO: (gravelly voice) Sorry doctor, I’ve been working with yellow grease all day. (a little more bravely) It’s hard stinking work (proudly) but it’s work that needs to be done and I Igo….(pointing to his own chest) Igo will do it. Even though…. (gravely) sometimes a can smells like death and it makes Igo very sad. (hangs head)
DR. STINE: (conciliatory) Alright alright. I suppose you are more of man with a can than a man with a plan (laughs at own joke, Igo tilts head and squints like he doesn’t get it) Oh, that’s a good one. I’ll have to work it in my next video somehow.
IGO: (holds out clipboard) Please sign Doctor Stine.
DR. STINE: (grabs board and signs quickly) I think I “will” sign “Dr. Stine.” I’m
certainly not going to sign “Igo Snatch.” (hands back board and walks off stage) (Igo tilts back full barrel and wheels it off)
(end of scene)
Scene 9
(Transition scene: Igo at wheel of “Yuck Truck” laughing maniacally, throwing himself from side to side like he’s taking turns fast, lights flashing on top of truck cut out, sound: tires squealing, two tone siren. Let this go on for about 20 seconds.) (end of scene)
Scene 10
(Yuck Truck has pulled up to Night Drop delivery wall of MoGo Co. Two chutes labeled as “rendered”, “pre-rendered”, and a hose connection labeled as “yellow grease.”)
(Igo unloads red barrel and two, five gallon buckets. Carefully puts out two red cones in work area. Opens one bucket and dumps it in the “rendered” slot. Pulls away as he opens it as if it smells bad. Opens second bucket, looks in it, makes a face and takes a deep breadth then reaches in, fishing around a little as he grimaces . Starts pulling out organs and putting them in the “pre-rendered” bin. Finally, he takes out part of a leg and foot and, holding it with two fingers, drops it in the bin. Hits a button or lever and a loud “chipper” sound is heard with a lot of grinding. He does a double take at the sound. Puts buckets back behind “truck.”)
(Igo comes back and pulls off barrel lid, after a couple of good tugs. Grabs hose nozzle in wall and pulls it out, hits “on” button or lever, sticks nozzle in barrel and starts sucking out grease with exaggerated arm movements. “Sucking” sound is very loud and sloppy. Finally, leans way over barrel to get every last drop. Comes up and sticks hose back in wall, wipes sweat off forehead. As he wheels barrel toward back of truck, light fades out.)
(end of scene)
Scene 11
(SUV ON Board News set, SUV MAN polishing SUV cut out as program comes on, indicated by LED lights on “dash” and corresponding lights on full size broadcast set
with JUSTINE THYME and guest. As program starts, SUV MAN stops polishing to watch on the dashboard.)
JUSTINE THYME: Good afternoon. I’m Justine Thyme with SUV On Board News. With me today is the Sonoma Beach Congressman Remo Vaselino to talk about the new Patriarch Act he has introduced into Congress that offers a comprehensive green solution to a whole train load of domestic problems as well as extend the popular Plan “B” Bio Diesel Program to many “one time only” producers. Congressman can you tell us how the Patriarch Act will turn Americans into the ultimate human resource?
CONGRESSMAN REMO VASELINO: (smiling broadly) I’d be glad to Justine. I’ve been saying for years that Americans are the final solution to energy independence. I looked around to see what was working and scaled it up. The military is able supply 20% of their foreign occupation energy needs with their “special rendering program.”
JUSTINE: I was wondering why the military favored diesel engines.
VASELINO: And Texas has increased the number of death penalty crimes. Many people are surprised to learn that just being a “JFK Lone Assassin Denier” or driving with a Blue State license plate will get you a 15 minute express trial followed by a one way trip to the local MoGo bio diesel plant, with a cruise by the Build A Burger drive thru for their last meal.
JUSTINE: (thoughtfully) Isn’t that bad for tourism?
VASELINO: People only have so much money, Justine. They figure they will get it all anyway from bio diesel exports.
JUSTINE: But doesn’t the rest of the country value civil rights more than Texas and the military?
VASELINO: To some extent, but Americans value freedom of choice and entertainment even more. It may be a bad hair day for you when you’re turned into yellow grease but when it happens to someone else it can be pay-for-view hilarious.
JUSTINE: How does this relate to your promises to solve the problems of gangs, drugs, spiraling bankruptcies, exploding prison populations, the high cost of medical care, urban blight, unemployment….
VASELINO: (holds up hands) Whoa, whoa, not so fast.
JUSTINE: Sorry. Talk about the freedom of choice aspect of the act. Doesn’t that mean a
voluntary approach?
VASELINO: Absolutely. And there is nothing more voluntary in America than the right of contract. Credit card contracts, rental and loan contracts, parole agreements – all have provisions for…”collections” when someone has fallen down on their obligations. And all those people have voluntarily signed those contracts. Now, the term “collections” is usually not defined and is open to….interpretation. Exactly what is to be collected is not clear but since we are already “collecting” parolees and sending them where we want for
the most trivial violations of an agreement, we should be able to (opens arms) expand collecting people for other contract defaults.
JUSTINE: (confused: hand to face, head tilt) What justification could they be collected for?
VASELINO: (lightly sarcastic) Justification? The public good of course. We can already eminent domain anyone’s property and give it to corporations for any reason we choose. So it should pass all legal tests to use consumer scofflaws for the bio diesel public good. After all, we aren’t trying to be cruel or inhumane. We’re just making a few bucks off people – a constitutionally valid use of absolute power.
JUSTINE: Thank you Congressman. (looking toward audience) We’re going to break for a commercial but we will be back to hear more from Congressman Vaselino on the Patriarch Act and what it means to you. (they freeze, lights down on just them if possible)
(spot on front, center stage. Dr. Stine strides quickly to that spot, turns to audience and starts talking)
DR. STINE: (using over the top video voice) Hi I’m Dr. Stine, owner of the Hippo Lippo Clinic, here to announce the unveiling of an exciting new program in appearance health. Have you ever thought (makes swing with arm in front of him) (shift voice a little) “Darn, I’ve been meaning to loose that last hundred and eighty pounds for years and now here I am dying. Friends and family I haven’t seen for decades are coming to pay their
last respects and here I will be filling up excess space like a traffic calmer in a redevelopment project. I’m so embarrassed.”
Well, Dr. Stine says you don’t have to be …. yet. Because you still have one more chance to have the kind of body boys used to sneak thru windows for. Dr. Stine’s revolutionary… “Exit Stage Light” …procedure will remove every once of excess fat in one appointment and send it to a worthy green cause. After this, probably fatal, session you will be seamlessly rearranged into the body style of your choice, then whisked away to a participating mortician.
Don’t be discouraged that you didn’t loose as much weight during your terminal illness that you thought you would. Turn back the clock while it’s still ticking. Once you looked great in a swimsuit. Now look great in the box. Call now. Ambulances are standing by.
(smiles frozen for a moment, then turns and walks as sprightly off stage as he came on) (interview unfreezes)
JUSTINE: We’re back talking with Sonoma Beach Congressman Remo Vaselino on why using various provisions in his Patriarch Act to turn people into bio diesel is really a progressive move. (turns to Congressman) You mentioned that entertainment would play a welcomed part in humanizing our fuel options. Elaborate please.
VASELINO: Certainly. For years prison guards have pitted prisoners against each other in deadly brawls for the guards’ entertainment and no one has much minded. This
indicates that Americans are ready to take reality TV to the next level. We would bring in cameras and let violent prisoners voluntarily sign up to become famous TV stars while vying for prizes. They could develop colorful characters like professional wrestlers do and be allowed to use scary knives and clubs to increase the body count. Cost of running prisons goes down, supply of bio diesel goes up, and Americans are entertained.
JUSTINE: (nodding) It sounds almost too good to be true.
VASELINO: It just gets better Justine. The proactive version of this plan calls for blocking off disputed gang neighborhoods in slums, evacuate bystanders, and letting them legally pile up the yellow grease for middle class diesels – kind of like a block party gone wild. The entire gun battle would be videoed by a helicopter camera crew until only the survivors of one side were standing – (sarcastically) “The Victorious Champions.”
JUSTINE: (finally breaks composure) How exciting. Could we run the footage on SUV News?
VASELINO: (proudly) Absolutely Justine. Congress is committed to alternative fuels…and… the entertainment of Americans.
JUSTINE: (still beaming) Thank you for joining us Congressman. (turns to audience) This is Justine Thyme for SUV On Board News.
(end of scene)
Scene 12
(at the Bio Fool window, the BIO FOOL seems to be leaning up against the wall asleep while still holding the gas nozzle. SUV MAN stomps up, looking desperate, this time carrying two gas cans.)
SUV MAN: (slams down cans) I’m out of fuel. I didn’t even make it through half the week.
BIO FOOL: (feigns sympathy) I’m sorry. Have you ever considered living in your SUV and driving your house? It would probably get better mileage. (makes “fool” face)
(SUV MAN makes fists at side, clenches teeth, and shakes with rage but doesn’t say anything)
BIO FOOL: (helpfully) Say, I have good news. We’re at war with the starving countries we were sending all the soybeans to. Now we don’t have to send them the food we were making vegetable bio diesel from. (cheerfully nonchalant) We’re sending them fire instead. Weeee’re bombing the snot out of both of them.
SUV MAN: I don’t care about any of that. I still want that MoGo I was using. There’s something…something (uneasy, searching for word) unmanly about putting “veggi gas” in a Humdinger.
BIO FOOL: Well then I’m sorry, but we’re out of MoGo for the rest of the week.
SUV MAN: (shocked) What!? How did that happen?
BIO FOOL: They had a raging grease fire at the plant. The homeless shelter served up some donated greasy meat that the homeless and bacteria fought over. The bacteria won…but not before the street people toasted to the little guys’ health with gallons of cheap vodka. The extra lighter fluid created quite a BBQ in the MoGo rendering equipment.
SUV MAN: So no MoGo?
BIO FOOL: (begin of snapper patter) Bro, be-low low is our Mo Go show.
SUV MAN: (looking inspired out to audience, does muscle flex strut) Who’s this loco mofo so-so honcho? Telling me to blow from the MoGo Logo. I’m P.O. I got dough and mojo. I’m numero uno supremo. My pro M.O. is toe to toe woe from go go go to HMO K.O.
BIO FOOL: Ho ho ho, yo yo …still….no…Mo…Go. (points to nozzle) Gro Flo? SUV MAN: (head down, dejected) (quietly) Gro Flo.
(BIO FOOL fills cans as they snap back to normal speech)
BIOFOOL: (small talk) You know, speaking of soybeans, there’s a new, tofu substitute meat dive in town. It’s called… “Meatbeaters” (hands him a paper from behind window) You can get half off with this.
SUV MAN: (hands paper back, turns to audience with hands out, confused) Why would anyone want to get just…half…off? ( shakes head, turns back, grabs cans and leaves)
(end of scene)
Scene 13
(METHYL and ETHYL sitting at shop table with beakers in hand looking dejected) (Voice from off stage: “Methyl? Ethyl? Are you out there?”
METHYL: (shouts back) We’re testing.
ETHYL: I have such a bad feeling about this bio diesel stuff. Maybe we should beg Miss Birkenstocker to let us go back to running the alcohol still. Maybe we could send her a half gallon a week as… progress reports.
METHYL: A bribe?
ETHYL: (annoyed) Bribe, payoff, morbita, piece of the action…, whatever. If that’s what it takes to be able to make good things again. We couldn’t make bio diesel if we wanted to.
METHYL: We could. But we would have to deal with methanol, lye, and the glycerol at the end of it all.
ETHYL: (superior) I didn’t take Environmental Studies to create a HazMat site. METHYL: You took the class because you heard it was an easy walk through with a lot
of bone head jocks in it to skew the grade curve.
ETHYL: Well I sure didn’t take it to feel bad all the time. After recycled fryer grease this thing is all downhill. You can either destroy food to make fuel or use animal sources that could have come from anywhere. We’re supposed to write an environmental paper on this about how “wonderful” it is, but everyone seems to have a dirty little secret. I always feel like I need a shower. (shudders)
METHYL: (drinks from beaker, coughs) Trade secrets. Everyone’s hiding trade secrets. ETHYL: None of the bootleggers we talked to hid anything about how they do things…
Just where their stills are.
METHYL: Maybe this really isn’t even a bio fuel issue at all and Miss Birkenstocker doesn’t know we’re wasting our time when we can’t even see the production process.
ETHYL: (dawning) Or maybe… it’s a political issue and “we” could become bio fuel. METHYL: (forced brightens) I know, we’ll switch to another bio fuel with easy
equipment and no nasty chemicals. Methane.
ETHYL: (critically) What do we use for a tank and how do we generate it?
METHYL: (unfazed) We don’t need a tank. I just need to eat more Build A Burgers and have you pull my finger (holds out finger, grinning)
(ETHYL throws contents of her beaker on METHYL) METHYL: (screams) I’m meltinggg.
(end of scene)
Scene 14
(meanwhile, back at the Armenian Cove sauna room, Mr. Post is giving a power point presentation on domestic cleaning hints, standing up wearing hat, dark glasses, and towel. His paint ball is locked into position in one hand and a laser pointer is in the other where he points to an imaginary screen during the presentation.)
MR. POST: (unfreezes in mid thought, pointing to screen) …As you can see in the first slide, there are three major areas of domestic cleaning (upper lip and teeth tic) in the…. (enunciate) “What Color is Your Junta” system. First, there are the (contemptuously) “Democracy Issues.” As much as possible, these cleaning areas should be in secure locations – computer and voting machine programming offices where votes are counted and rolls purged. As for public demonstration control operations, we would direct these out of sight also, giving uniformed policemen the tactics to destabilize marches, such as
sending the marches down blind alleys or quarantining all protesters over a mile away in… “free speech zones.”
VASELINO: (philosophically) When you don’t pay, you get the…”cheap seats.”
MR. POST: (continuing) When the resulting confusion develops, all uniformed personnel responds, on cue, with crushing efficiency. Our friends in the media will make sure only the correct images are presented to the masses. The theme will once again be “the thin blue line protects our hollowed institutions from chaos.”(tic)
VASELINO; (impatient) It seems we are already doing these things. So what is different? I thought you said you had something different in mind.
MR. POST: Democracy management is now performed in an ad hoc way, organized by field operatives so senior officials can always claim plausible denial Congressman. What my firm does is take a systematic approach to …cleaning. We respond to messes. We also respond to preventing messes. If we know who leaders and organizers are why not pick them up on some pretext the day of their planned disturbance when they will be hard to replace. If we can only use visible force in response to provocation then we proactively use invisible force.
VASELINO: I’m afraid you lost me. (uncertain) Are you talking about using some kind of nerve gas on malcontents? If you are, (chuckles) I foresee a serious public relations problem.
MR. POST: (matter-of-factly) The Backwater Cleaning Service does not believe in creating a mess to clean a mess. No, I was referring to our new electronic tools. (points with laser pointer) If you’ll study the units in the next slide. We’ve taken the old devices that have been used to create mental confusion, extreme nausea, and migraine headaches and improved their range and focus so we can deactivate and embarrass targets with no effect on fra fra (has trouble saying the word “friends”. Finally blurts it out) friends.
TENDER MERCY: (annoyed) It sounds like a way to create a mess for “me.” The last thing I need is a bunch of uninsured mental and physical basket cases dumped on my agencies’ doorsteps after being mowed down with your Buck Rogers ray guns.
MR. POST: The effects are temporary, although I can’t rule out an increased frequency of brain cancers over time. The vomiting, soiling, and incoherence will be judged by bystanders and the media as consistent with food poisoning, intestinal flus, and recent recreational drug use.
(motions with pointer) Now we come to the second cleaning category. This is “spot cleaning.” Sometimes a demographic or geographic is (draw out) pristine except for one investigative journalist, one whistle blower, one crusader, or one honest politician. For these lone wolves the old methods are sometimes best. A quick rub out should do the trick.
BARON: (thoughtfully) I have a question. Do you include inconvenient inventors and experimenters in this category. I’ve been having some trouble lately with people offering
alternatives to my alternative fuel. (indignant) As the first alternative I shouldn’t have to contend with alternatives to my alternative. Who do these upstarts think they are?
MR. POST: Baron, “anyone” who threatens to upset the status quo of the better sort is eligible for a spot clean. (motions with pointer)
Now we come to the last and most involved type of task – deep cleaning the herd. You’re probably saying yourself “Why would we want to reduce the herd? Aren’t they the ones who made us rich and powerful?” Of course. This is not a black mark on the herd. They are just a victim of their own success. Their only failing is their numbers and needs have become unmanageable and have outgrown the pasture we put them into. Here is where we truly hide what we do right out in the open. We cull the damaged and the useless to us by setting up programs professing to help them.
TENDER MERCY: I hope they’re fully funded.
MR. POST: The irony is that, the herd….will thank us (lip and teeth) (others applaud, POST bows slightly)
(end of scene)
Scene 15
(SUV MAN is pouring a can of bio diesel into his tank as SUV On Board News comes on. He freezes and watches, his can is still in SUV)
JUSTINE: This is Justine Thyme for SUV On Board News with late breaking report. There was a mass demonstration today at the Humdinger dealership by the members of the radical…”Sustainability Flagellates” who marched around in circles chanting “What Was I Thinking?” as they rhythmically hit themselves in the head with their SUV owners manuals. The guilt wracked cultists have all changed their last name to “Green” in misplaced solidarity.
(flips over paper) And now as a public interest time filler we have Tender Mercy with the Death Row Animal Shelter “Tear Jerker Adoption of the Week.”
TENDER MERCY: (on SUV NEWS set, holding a small furry stuffed animal) (earnestly)
This (slightly holds up stuffed animal for a moment) is little Tinkle. Like many abandoned dogs and cats and exotic pets that got boring, she is as unwanted as a third child to a tweaker mom….and destined to be added to the yellow grease stockpile…. (with exaggerated emotion) by being boiled alive in a rendering vat with other screaming, howling creatures (starts becoming angry and talking faster) because we don’t have the money to fix our decompression chamber. It’s too late for them. (makes thumbs down sign) In fact, you’ll probably be pumping their body fluids into your land yachts by the end of the week. (leaning forward, eyes bugging out) But…you can save little Tinkle
here….But do it fast (clenching teeth) because she has just lived up to her namesake and I’m about ready to ring…her…furry…little…neck.
(end of scene)
Scene 16
(In Dr. Stine’s back room Methyl and Ethyl are slowly shoveling fat from the wheel barrow to the red barrel. Dr. Stine strides in quickly)
DR. STINE: Ah good, you’re here. I was hoping to catch you so I could fill you in on your new duties. You will soon be servicing my new clinic next door. It’s still a little sensitive (flat hand waver) but I want to get in on the ground floor.
(METHYL and ETHYL look at each other nervously)
DR. STINE: Our new business friendly Supreme Court has just ruled that “people” are subsidiaries of corporate America, collectively, making minor children of these “mom and pop” subsidiaries major assets of those subsidiaries – assets which can be liquidated for any reason at any time. (off handedly) Corporations wanted a perk to attract employees that they didn’t have to pay for. (somewhat defensively) Face it, many kids are under performing investments for parents. Whiny brats…surly teens…sticky, smelly toddlers….Many corporate thinking moms and dads are open to declaring “breeding bankruptcy” and moving on to new opportunities.
(METHYL and ETHYL’s mouths drop open and look back and forth at each other quickly)
DR. STINE: We’re still fine tuning the paperwork and procedures but (proudly visualizing words with his hand) “Dr. Stine’s Post Natal Abortion Clinic” …is ready to give family planners a new tool for a fresh start. (does the “ain’t I something” gesture with arm swing and head twist) (turns smiling and quickly walks off stage)
(METHYL and ETHYL look at each other shocked for a long moment then both scream loud at the same time, throw down their shovels and run off stage in the other direction)
(end of scene)
Scene 17
(Bio FOOL is doing Tai Chi in front of Bio Fool Station with nozzle in hand. SUV MAN staggers up carrying four gas cans, drops them all over the place, out of breath so waits a moment before talking)
SUV MAN: (looks up at BIO FOOL accusingly) You better not tell me you don’t have any MoGo.
BIO FOOL: Have it? We’re swimming in it. The price is even coming down. I don’t know where it’s all coming from but the glut happened around the time that the tornado
whipped through the Super Bowl and turned everyone into “airmail.” It made a hell of a Half Time Show on TV though.
SUV MAN: Just fill em…all of them.(sweeps with arm)
BIO FOOL: You got it. (filling cans) (calmly) We now have a premium we’re giving out to all MoGo customers. Wintertime Glycerin Soap – two bars for every gallon you buy. (does an aside) To tell you the truth you can have as many as you want. It’s crudely made from the glycerol bi-product from making the bio diesel. It’s practically a waste product so you’re doing them a favor by taking it.
SUV MAN: (uninterested) No thanks. Just the diesel.
BIO FOOL: (finishes filling cans) I don’t blame you. (reminiscing) I used it once. It gave me a slimy, crawly, unclean feeling like the essence of it’s past was locked in it…. waiting to be released at some health spa for undead Yuppie zombies (does an in place, arms out zombie walk) “Towels…towels…we want…fresh towels” (snaps back) I wouldn’t wash my dog with it.
(SUV MAN makes paying motion and tries to grab all the now full cans at once, fails a couple times before succeeding, starts to walk haltingly away)
BIO FOOL: (puts hand on SUV MAN, unsteadys him a little) (mock excited) Wait a minute. (exaggerated hand to hand gesture) I think I’m picking up something from the
“Muddership” on my alien implant. (shakes all over for a moment then snaps back, recites first stanza of three stanza limerick)
A man from primordial ooze
Said life is a good place to snooze. When told of his error
Said I really don’t care
‘Cus I started out yesterday’s news.
(SUV MAN ignores him and tries to shake free. BIO FOOL slaps own knees at his own wit. Grabs SUV MAN by one arm, almost causing him to fall over sideways with load before continuing with second stanza)
BIO FOOL: Wait there’s more. Informed by the ruling elite
That tires are much better than feet
His four-wheel fling
Taking his last ka-ching
When done had him pounding the street.
(BIO FOOL does one arm out “ta-da” while still holding on to SUV MAN)
SUV MAN: (getting angry) Let go of me you fool. (struggles mostly to keep a grip on his four cans of fuel)
BIO FOOL: (Lets go but immediately strikes a hands outreached, eyes looking skyward pose)
(in low bold voice) Behold! The Bio Gods Speak. (SUV MAN startled so he doesn’t leave right away) BIO FOOL: (recites limerick in his fool voice)
This man who was dumb as they come. In fact, couldn’t walk and chew gum. When he asked for a piece
Of MoGo’s yellow grease
Was shocked to get pumped in the bum.
BIO FOOL: (does elbow spike) Hoo raaaa (freezes as SUV MAN reacts)
SUV MAN: (shakes fist at BIO FOOL and makes growling noise, grabs cans with difficulty since he’s so upset and stocks off, cursing inaudibly)
(end of scene)
Scene 18
(Tender Mercy is at back of Yuck Truck chewing out Igo Snatch for being late for pick up, one red can is behind her at edge of stage)
TENDER MERCY: (Irritated, poking finger at Igo Snatch) Listen you drooling Troglodyte, I don’t appreciate having to come down here after hours to meet the pick up just because you’re too stupid to plan your route right.
IGO SNATCH: (cowering under onslaught) But…but Miss Mercy I’ve been driving for 12 hours trying to service all the new stops. (counts off on fingers) I got the “Big Sleep Nursing Home”, I got the “Euthanasia Express Line” at the hospital, Evictions with Conviction, Extreme Prejudice Repo…plus I got more cans at Dr. (pronounce as “dock- torr”) Stine’s Clinic….(still counting on hand)
TENDER MERCY: (cuts him off) I don’t care about your problems. Tell MoGo to get another driver. (dramatically with wave of arm) I got my own problems. I got the biggest homeless shelter in three counties. I get all the Medicon rejects the hospital won’t take anymore dumped on our sidewalk. Our Mister Greasinator is broke down like everything else around here and we’re piling up way too much fresh and bulky material in the “convulsion and bleed out” room. (points to self) You got to make me first from now on.
(can starts shaking as someone starts yelling: “Where am I? Let me out of here. Let me out of here. Let me out of here…”)
TENDER MERCY: (quickly turns around, takes off lid in one hand as she pulls out a large gun in the other. Fires several times in can as lights flash out of can from strobe or flashbulbs to gunfire sound effect. She slams lid down and spins around speaking slowly and pointedly to IGO SNATCH) Waaay…too…fresh.
(Igo looks back and forth between TENDER MERCY and the now quiet can with eyes bugged out)
(end of scene)
Scene 19
(IGO SNATCH is getting out of Yuck Truck as Mr. POST walks up to him and stops abruptly, always standing overly straight)
(removable sign says: “The Farm – Senior Nutrition Center”)
MR POST: (dead pans) I appreciate you making a special trip to the Center, especially this late at night. You will be paid from the dwindling Social Security Trust Funds for your extra attention to this matter. Pull around to the loading dock. Some “liabilities” have had an unfortunate bad reaction to the …grape punch. Every one else thinks
they’re…resting. (smiles thinly) And I suppose they are. The Backwater Cleaning Service will take care of all the paperwork. You just drive straight to the MoGo Company. They’re working late too.
( Igo starts to get into truck nervously as Mr. POST speaks up)
MR. POST: Oh…And don’t use the siren. People expect this place to be (smiles broadly)… peaceful. (Igo nods slowly)
(sound effect of truck driving off)
(end of scene)
Scene 20
(two red cans on center stage, “MoGo Receiving” sign behind the cans, after some time with nothing happening, the cans start shaking and two hands push up the lids from inside. METHYL and ETHYL slowly stick up their heads and their eyes get wide and their mouths drop open)
METHYL: (breathlessly) I don’t believe it….I just don’t believe it. ETHYL: (stuttering) This…this is horrible.
(end of scene, end of act one)
ACT TWO Scene 1
(SUV On Board News set. LED lights are lit on dash and interview area. SUV MAN not on set yet when interview begins)
JUSTINE: (begins talking as soon as lights go up) This is Justine Thyme for SUV On Board News. Today we will be bringing you an exclusive interview with the Sonoma Beach Congressman Remo Vaselino to unveil new BFD technology as well as recent power consolidations made possible under the Patriarch Act. (turns to Vaselino) Congressman let’s cut to the chase. What kind of exciting new consumer toys are the people at BFD going to amuse Americans with.
(just before Justine finishes talking SUV MAN begins first “thump” on stage with his two gallon gas can in one hand. He is dragging himself on hands and knees across stage toward his SUV with the last of his strength. Rests with each lurch forward with gas can. Interview goes on in foreground at opposite side of stage)
VASELINO: (ever smiling, hale and hearty) I’d be glad to Justine. But the BFD’s research isn’t just for amusements, as important as that is. We’ve formed a partnership with the cutting edge MoGo Company to develop the “On Board Yellow Grease Extractor”, which they insisted on naming (modest gesture) “The Vaselator”, after myself. It can be installed in any of the larger vehicles, such as the Compensator and the Mucho Macho and give their owners the option of picking up unprocessed animal bio
diesel sources, sometimes without even slowing down, and turning them into bio fuel gold within minutes. (beams)
JUSTINE: (impressed) Incredible. Does this signal a change from “drive thru’s” to “drive over’s”?
VASELINO: (hands out gesture) Who can tell. The future is wide open. But the Vaselator is designed for use on the wide open range and rugged frontier of our highways. Which brings me to the public service aspect of this unit. Our highways will become beautified with the quick and cheap removed of tons of roadkill, broadly defined as any soft tissue moving less than freeway speeds. Pedestrian and bicyclist accident victims will be able to be kept “in” green transportation without even seeing a paramedic. The traffic lanes are cleared faster so (makes fist swing) America can be kept rolling.
JUSTINE: (intrigued) So how does it work exactly. And do they come in different colors?
VASELINO: (apologetically) Unfortunately, some of the details are proprietary but in general, bio solids are sucked up from the bottom or dropped in at the top where it is chipped and blended. Then (dramatically) on board tanks of lye and methanol automatically flood the slurry, (makes tearing motion) ripping it apart into glycerol which goes into a removable waste collector and precious bio diesel that ends up in your fuel tank…(afterthought)…And yes, it comes in several Earth tone pastels.
JUSTINE: (squeals) Wonderful. Could I get one for my kid friendly “Mom-zilla” ?
VASELINO: Absolutely. The Vaselator loves kids, especially in W.C. Fields mode. JUSTINE: I can hardly wait for them to come on the market. Will they be affordable?
VASELINO: (dismissive) Justine, when these babies start prowling the streets you won’t be able to afford “not” to have one.
(by this time SUV MAN has reached his SUV, struggled up its side with his can and is pouring it in. After shaking in the last drop, collapses against SUV breathing hard for rest of interview)
JUSTINE: Congressman, since I have you on the set, could we hear about how you are using the Patriarch Act’s powers to spearhead green mandates into educational standards?
VASELINO: I would be happy to. As you know, kids’ test scores are falling, their waist lines are expanding, and the environment is packing up for an early adjournment. (leaning forward) I propose a bold new initiative that will tackle all three problems at once.
JUSTINE: (skeptical) This isn’t one of those computer gimmicks where they just switch the numbers for the test scores and waist lines is it?
VASELINO: (good natured laugh) Not at all Justine. This is the real deal, more real than anyone ever imagined. (wistfully) You know, we don’t see as many kids walking or riding bikes to school as we used to and it takes its toll on their pink, lumpy bodies. What
we “do” see are hundreds of cars jamming school parking lots. And for what? They aren’t engaged in job commuting or serial shopping…useful ways to destroy our biosphere.
JUSTINE: (bewildered) What could anyone possibly do about that?
VASELINO: (self righteous, holding up one finger) We must remember that “driving” is a privilege not a right. And it is even more of a privilege for those who don’t have any rights.
We propose to give our 16 year old students just one school exit exam..It will be a “final” exit exam.
Those who pass at top levels will be awarded one of the reduced number of student parking spaces. Those who fail miserably will be “taken to the dance” and come home as bio diesel in those high scorer fuel tanks.
JUSTINE: (thumb and finger on face thoughtfully) What an innovative and creative use for people with no power or rights.
VASELINO: (indifferent) Remember, even without the Patriarch Act this measure is consistent with our “No Child Behind Left Standing” policy. We’ve just tailored it to be good for the environment.
JUSTINE: (dead pans) Thank you for joining us Congressman. (turning to audience) And now for a studio paid movie review of the epic biblical knock off… “Four Blonds of the Apocalypse.”
(end of scene)
Scene 2
(METHYL and ETHYL sitting at opposite ends of shop table like zombies until finally METHYL breaks the silence )
METHYL: (thickly) I’m never eating another Build A Burger in my life. I can’t even stand to look at the place driving by.
ETHYL: (nervously) Maybe it isn’t as bad as you think. We only saw the Build A Burger Bagel boxes by the sausage machine. Hey, it’s sausage. Who knows what “anyone” puts in sausage. People don’t care what’s in sausage. But they will hate “you” if you tell them. Because they really “want”… to “like” sausage.
METHYL: (spitting out words) Those bastards….making breakfast patties with “real” Pattys…and…and Franks with “real” Franks. (swooning)
ETHYL: Do you think people will believe us?…Believe that people “are” the order now on the “New World” menu?…not to mention that stuff we saw in the other rooms.
METHYL: (clearing) You mean…the “blood bank” with the “substantial withdrawal penalty” or…or the body organs with price tags on them (faster) or the “real hair” being made into country western singer wigs? (pause) I’ll tell you what they won’t believe. They
won’t believe we saw it all by using my slacker dad’s trick of flipping pages on a clip board as you walked fast without making eye contact.
ETHYL: Life is “really” ugly. It’s like living here is punishment for something we did in another life or (reaching)…another dimension. Maybe we blew up a planet or something.
METHYL:…or ruined one. We’re entering a world we’re not supposed to see. We’re supposed to keep looking backward as we “back” into the future. And when we say “show us here and now” they wave postcards at us from the 50’s.
ETHYL: (still reaching) I feel like we’re in one of those movie remakes of the last people on Earth where everyone else are zombies, except they don’t know they’re zombies. They think they just have bad hair and a skin problem and someone on the internet told them that if they ate the non zombie brains everything would clear up.
METHYL: (philosophical) Maybe they feel threatened because we can see farther than they can….not having our eye sockets filled with maggots and all.
ETHYL: (indignant) Zombies have no business controlling the future. The future is our future. They had their future and they totally screwed it up. Now they want to hold us back with them in the dead past….And it’s starting to smell bad.
METHYL: (agitated) They’re parasites on the future…No…(gets up and looks down on mash bucket on table) they’re like these yeasts. (getting contemplative) In their world they think they’re hot stuff because everyone’s lining up for what’s coming out of their
butt. But we’re doing all the work…all the thinking. The suits are like these yeasts – they think they should run things because we have a use for their personal HazMat site. The difference is, “the yeast” don’t have choices…we do.
ETHYL: There has to be many people like us who see this. We just have to find them…. (brightening) and work with them.
METHYL: I think so, but I have (shakes head) no idea how to find them. I do know how to find equipment (holds up something), read books, and use tools. This (holds out column) is reeeeal….taking temperatures…measuring concentrations…collecting a useful product – useful to us…useful to our neighbors. Whether it’s for white lightning or for fuel to move it round or downtown. (triumphantly) Just being able to do this gives you a feeling of power. I suspect everything I can’t see now. I assume “everyone” I can’t work with, will be working against me.
ETHYL: (gets up with her drinking beaker and faces METHYL sternly) I’ve changed too.
(forcefully throws beaker off stage to sound of breaking glass, but this one’s plastic) (METHYL shocked speechless)
ETHYL: From now on, this stuff is for special occasions. No more “maintenance” buzz. No more pain killer to make the unbearable bearable or the intolerable tolerable or the completely unacceptable not only acceptable but the greatest idea since zippers. If people
like us are going to change things we are going to have to be sharp and focused for a long long time, even if it hurts. No more yellow smiley faces pasted on silent screaming heads.
METHYL: (somewhat rattled by the uncharacteristic outburst) (clears throat) We may never figure out who’s running things but we can attract other people like us by (waves across table) working on the equipment and the processes. If you build it they will come. (unsure) well, that’s what they say.
ETHYL: (worried) But the wrong people might be looking already. They might see what we build and come too. (nod at each other solemnly)
(end of scene)
Scene 3
(sauna room of The Armenian Cove Resort, BARON BURGERMEISTER standing up wearing towel at a small laptop pedestal with cigar in hand as he gives his informal cabal progress report to regulars: Mr POST, TENDER MERCY, and CONGRESSMAN REMO VASELINO who are sitting in the sauna area)
BARON: (unfreezes in mid stride)…So next we come to the exciting subject of “demographics.” As you know, maintaining a vast population of deluded peasants has always been profitable for us but not without cost. Up until a decade ago this cost was less than the various ways we assumed our rightful place at the head of the trough.
However, the methods we used to make the workforce stupid, docile, and apathetic also made them less productive. In fact, the percentage of “useless eaters” has skyrocketed. (pointed hand up) We cannot delay downsizing our human inventory any longer. We of the golden million only need the most competent and productive 20 percent to support our position and lifestyles. The rest will be eased out of the food chain in the least disruptive ways possible.
(nods, murmured ascent, polite applause from the other three)
TENDER MERCY: (piping up) Which reminds me. When am I getting the high speed conveyor belt you promised me? I can’t have (repetitive hands out gesture) piles and piles clogging my hall ways. It’s a safety issue you know. I could get cited by the fire department. And all this lifting is causing employee back injuries. (“duh” gesture) I’m trying to keep my Workman’s Comp claims down here.
BARON: (reassuring) Mercy, yours are coming in with the ones I ordered for MoGo. Be patient. It’s a big order. (turns back to group) Now then, our “new economy” should keep the transition moving smoothly. As our financial casinos complete their shakedowns, domestic production is focused on fast food and movies, the recent hordes of unemployed should have their attention diverted….(chuckles) until it is too late.
Mr. POST: (mechanically) Baron, those “unemployed” included thousands of programmers who would do “anything” to be in a good high tech job again. I believe my
organization hired a few for our…”management projects”…on their way to flip burgers at your Build A Burgers. (smiles thinly)
BARON: I’m sure they’ll be back…one way or the other. (back to group) With the burger taking on the responsibility for providing a tangible reason for existence, it needs to take on new functions. To accomplish this, Build A Burger is financing the (fanfare gesture) “GMO Burger”, made from legless steers that only produce meat, saturated with tranquilizers secreted by their body organs.
TENDER MERCY: None of those for me. As it is, I can’t function without my intravenous espresso fix from “Five Bucks.”
Mr POST: Will they have pickles? I… “hate”…pickles.
BARON: (quickly) No pickles. (continuing) Now these uber burgers will become the basis of the interim monetary system, especially since everyone is catching on to the one based on Dead President Trading Cards. We had a good run though. We will expand the role of our gift certificates until “Burger Notes” are used to buy everything. (animated) Congressman VASELINO will be introducing legislation to denote “all” government obligations and payments to be payable through the “Burger Reserve”, which Build A Burger…will control. (pause with chin up)
VASELINO: I don’t foresee any “barking” from our lapdog media. I last campaigned on the theme: “Let Them Eat Burgers.” Besides, everyone will be paying more attention to my leadership in “Short Sheeting” the Budget process.
BARON: (helpfully) You better explain what you mean. It’s still working its way through the “Play Ball” Committee.
VASELINO: Right. The Congress has decided to quit deceiving the public about the hundreds of ways we obscure and hide our misappropriations and diversions of funds to the worthy. If we assume everything in the pot belongs to “our” class and “serious” contributors, why should “we” have to answer to anyone about what’s in (points to self forcefully) “our” budget. The “Black Box Budget Bill”, backed by my “Buy Me Now” Congressional Caucus, has an unstoppable 400 sponsors. I’ve convinced both parties to think “outside the box” by putting everything “in” the box. Everything will be in there. But since it’s all ours, during the budget process, no one needs to see it, except the people we’re giving it to. After “the better sort” are satiated we will put what’s left over (sneering) in a “discretionary petty cash” fund for “non” campaign contributors. It will be honest government’s finest hour. If “we” own everything, how can we “steal” anything?
(louder applause than before)
BARON: Thank you Congressman. (back to group) This brings us to my progress report on the bio diesel fuel projects. Generally, things have been going well. Volume has increased 800 per cent. Filtering the wires, plates, implants, and teeth fillings is still a problem. As these social perks disappear so will the filtering problem. But increased chaos should increase the presence of lead bullets.
Mr POST: Not from my people. We only use “jacketed” bullets. (hand blade gesture) They sail right on through.
BARON: Our other problem is competition to our alternate fuels dominance. Everyone thought that solar would be the “uncontrollable option”, remember? (laughs heartily) That was before our bright but unscrupulous lawyers wrote up that mumbo jumbo, giving us the right to own sun light, since we filled papers first. And those Supreme Court Judges were worth every penny we paid.
No, the persistent thorn in our side is those “damn” alcohol stills. In the hills it’s those country bumpkins who’ve made moonshine for a dozen inbred generations, out of “anything”. But here (finger jab at floor) right here in the city, where ideas can spread like the plague, we have a small number of rebel teachers, giving “unsound” project advice. We keep tabs on likely experimenters. Mr POST do you have any thoughts on this matter?
Mr POST: (thinks a moment) Yeees, it’s always unfortunate when kids get ideas not approved by “our” education authorities. But what’s most tragic of all, these dangerous backyard stills sometimes just (hands out motion) “blow up” for no obvious reason, engulfing their operators and everything in the vicinity in a “huge”… ball… of flame. On the other hand, it does teach a good “safety” lesson to those with similar… ideas.
BARON: Thank you for your input Mr. POST. It is “most” appreciated. (turning to TENDER MERCY with wave of hand) In conclusion, I just want to thank MERCY for
being instrumental in expediting record keeping and developing policies to handle our increased….um…contributions to the yellow grease supplies.
TENDER MERCY: (snaps) Policies? Policies?… I only have “one” policy – “Extra Strength Triage 24/7, for everyone who has dropped off the radar, sent to me by “folding” programs and “tanking” agencies. “We” are the other administrators’ last chance, so no one is going to question paperwork or look at signatures too closely. Everyone wants their case load of screaming, crying, babbling,… “leaking”… menacing basket cases lightened. They don’t have the time. They don’t have the money. They don’t have a clue. The numbers aren’t there and no one wants to see them anyway. “No one” wants their problems back. “Things” are sent to a “lost and found” but “people” are sent to the “found and lost.”…(points to self) That’s us….for people not hitting on all cylinders, (voice rising) most cylinders, or “any” cylinders…And “no one” who sends “us” downstream care packages wants details on how we “make…it…happen.”
I’m not “expected” to fix anybody who’s broke and can’t be fixed since no one has the money to “pretend” they can either.
I’m only a short order cook at the “Last Stop Cafe” with “tons” of burnt, fried, toasted, baked, and scrambled leftovers. Or maybe we’re one big “waiting room” where, in all ways, “the sick get sicker.” And everyone who’s hurting soon gets “sick” from the stressss. Our staff “Dr. Feelgood” will give them what they “want” because it’s what “we” need. Would you believe there are still doe eyed liberals that expect us to “rehabilitate” and “job train” all these damaged goods? (rising) Train for what? They
can’t all be drug and alcohol counselors. They’re “DOA”…but they’re still…breathing. It’s a big problem for everybody.
There’s no switch to flip to make them “different.” There’s only a switch to make them “disappear.”
(brief silence but no one looks shocked)
BARON: I’ve always said you have a subtle touch, Mercy.
(end of scene)
Scene 4
(MoGo Receiving. Tender Mercy is intently looking over things with a clipboard which she is jotting things down on, her back is mostly to audience, truck arrival sounds, Igo Snatch begins backing a barrel out of his truck with a hand truck, Tender Mercy is absorbed in her work with her back to Igo Snatch and doesn’t see him. He backs into her and sends her stumbling forward, Igo Snatch recovers first and tries to steady her.)
TENDER MERCY: (as soon as she regains her balance she turns around in a rage)(icy) Get your filthy hands off me you clumsy reject. Its bad enough you’re too “stupid” to live but you should be able to at least push a hand truck.
IGO SNATCH: (rattled, apologetic) I..I’m sorry, sorry Miss Mercy I didn’t see you, but…this is the main aisle. (motions with hand)
TENDER MERCY: (puffs herself up aghast) How…dare “you” criticize “me.” (menacing) Do you know what I have been doing here?
(IGO shakes heads)
TENDER MERCY: I have been planning the location and entrance points for the Social Rejects Agency’s new direct pipeline from the ice arena slab, down the street, and into the MoGo facility. Soon, we won’t be needing your (looks him up and down contemptuously) services. (sarcastically) Except…maybe as fuel to run MoGo’s greasinators. I think you might be amply qualified for “that” job. (laughs maniacally as a very disturbed Igo quickly turns and walks away, holding hands to ears)
(end of scene)
Scene 5
(Dr Stine’s clinic back room. He is in an animated phone conversation and doesn’t see Igo Snatch wheeling in a barrel with a large bell alarm clock taped to it. Loud ticking sound that Dr Stine is oblivious to. Igo turns around quickly and leaves without saying anything)
Dr STINE: (on phone) …look I told you, all you have to do is draw up the franchise paperwork for me and I’ll market them. What…no…no, there’s plenty of demand. Wherever there’s people there are deep psychological needs connected to their bodies…Yes, that’s a good idea. Leave the actual services in the franchises open ended. We will be adding more as we discover new opportunities in human desperation….fine….fine…. and when you finish that…
(freezes as smiling BIO FOOL carries large “Ka Boom” sign across stage and out other side to explosion sound as clock stops ticking, kill lights quick)
(end of scene)
Scene 6
(front of Bio Fool Station with a “closed” sign running diagonal across it, the BIO FOOL is standing out front with exaggerated hitch hiking stance and two cans of fuel. Sound of truck slowing down as Igo pops thru in “yuck truck.”)
BIO FOOL: (opening invisible door, gets in with cans) (cheerfully) Igo, you look like a man with a plan. You wouldn’t happen to be headed out of town would you? I’m talking waaaay out of town.
IGO SNATCH: (sounding tired) Igo not contracting with MoGo anymore. They are bad people. They do bad things and make the city a bad place. They think they can do what
they want because they’re better than people like Igo. I think just because they do these things with other people like them that does not make it right.
BIO FOOL: (always the chipper facade) I don’t think so either. I think if enough people woke up and practiced a little “home cookin’”, if you get my drift, the better sort might have to start making MoGo out of each other. Right now, the city’s too mean to be green. Where were you taking this beast?
IGO SNATCH: (points) North
BIO FOOL: Well that’s a start. Maybe we can narrow it down a little. I’ve made a lot of contacts in this business and not all of them want to give you the business. Tell you what, let’s write off civilization as a jeans commercial gone bad, get some goats, and learn to play the banjo.
IGO SNATCH: (nodding) We have to make stop first. I told an old friend I would take some people out of town. They are in trouble. Maybe they will come with us.
BIO FOOL: (shrugs) The more the merrier (thinking a moment) except in a dentist’s office. Oh, here’s one for the road. (reciting)
A crew left their city abode
To lighten their bad karmic load For extracting the fats
Of stray people and cats Escaped to live some other code
(Igo nods, turns to wheel, truck sound) (end of scene)
Scene 7
(center of stage is open, spot front and center for Mr. Post’s slam address, he walks crisply to center stage makes a sharp turn to front center spot and comes to abrupt stop. He turns to one side of audience, does a sweep of head to opposite side, then turns head back to look straight out at audience for duration of slam. Between each stanza seven even beats of a snare drum suggest gun fire)
(Mr. Post’s Slam)
Attention all peasant people!
The Backwater Cleaning Service would like to review their comprehensive management contract
with you…over you
You can call me…Mr. Post
And here is my post Henceforth… you don’t want to get mail
From Mr Post’s Office
We reserve the right, to…go…postal
Effective now, these Bill of Goods, replace your Bill of Rights We’ve repealed the citizen nation
You’re just tenants on our global plantation
Laws are made for only you to obey
The rule of the few, over the many
The rule of steel over paper
Those who have, will be given more
All not mandated is prohibited
Violence is the answer, if you are the question
It’s not autocratic. It’s very democratic
One bullet one vote, do take note
Adverse possession, you didn’t say no
You gave us the keys, you filled our tank
We own: the air and the water, the birds and the bees The Earth, your brains, your children
Your sweat for our work
Your blood for our wars
Your grease for our cars
Breathe in deep. Our shit don’t stink.
Just a few things to get straight
Our satisfaction you will guarantee
Feel our security, feel our safety
Enjoy your time in our herd…
A cog in our machine, a flash in our dream There are no more, useless people Don’t make a fuss, just live for us…live for us
We like things nice and tidy Authority loves docile people, Easily restrained and entertained
Just stay in your place
Don’t get in our face
Do not question: who, what, when or why Our answer is a red tag or a zipped body bag You don’t really, want to be heard
We will tell you what you want to hear
We pulled the plug, on ole time religion
Sent out pink slips, to your gods,
Sent them packing off their mountain Yahweh runs a hot dog stand
Jesus is a grounds keeper Mohamed is a cab driver…in New York City We gave mammon, a corner office
We put our faith, in the righteous blue tool Kiss his boot, kicking in your door
Kiss his fist, in your face
Kiss his club, in your gut
He brings “power to the people” from a Taser Then sends you an electric bill
Feel the thrill of fearing us
That’s how you will get religion
We bring a fire, that burns light for fuel, Giving out darkness
We got plans, you got nothing
We got power, you got nothing
We got the will, you got nothing You can take it to the bank. We…got…you
Shut up your mouth, we will speak for you Shut up your mind, we will think for you Shut down your life, we will live for you Close your eyes…you don’t want to see how Just stay numb, just play dumb, suffer in silence It only hurts…if you feel
Hate your neighbors, delete your friends
Get in line, for a job in our big house
Work in our kitchen, lick our plates clean
Your life, your liberty, for the pursuit of our happiness
It’s all patriotic apple pie
Play our music, until you die
Do these things, and we’ll cut you a share
of more yellow grease, more yellow grease, more yellow greassse
(scene ends)
Scene 8
(METHYL and ETHYL are hard at work in their shop in a determined, grim manner, they seem to be building something more impressive than their old gear, they aren’t drinking)
(MISS BIRKENSTOCKER walks in at normal speed, almost to the work table when METHYL and ETHYL notice her)
METHYL: (only a little surprised and irritated) I hope you didn’t sneak down here to blow a shit blizzard of threats our way for quitting Dr. Stine’s (looks sideways at new equipment)…and for continuing our alcohol research… because we’re serious about it this time…with or without (a little sarcastic) “Environmental Studies.”
MISS BIRKENSTOCKER: (puts out hands in “it’s alright” gesture) I’m surprised you lasted as long as you did in that hellhole. But it served its purpose. You learned what you needed to learn. Sometimes you need to know about things that are dangerous, not so you can do them, but so you can prepare for them. Now you know what it’s all about.
ETHYL: (quizzical) Sort of like a “hair of the dog” or…a “fat of the dog” in this case.
MISS BIRKENSTOCK: (ignoring her) I watched as environmental goals were hijacked by cynical interests years ago and it has just gotten worse. Generally, our official top down environmental curriculum is its own compost pile.
METHYL: (accusingly) Then why teach it. Why bore students to death when we could be learning something we can use in life? And if you “know” it’s no good doesn’t that make you a hypocrite?
MISS BIRKENSTOCKER: (pointedly) Look. The program is set up to be hypocritical. It’s a non rigorous elective for jocks. That’s our bread and butter. That’s our purpose. If I were to do something serious and practical I would be called on the carpet… (remembering) I…did get called on the carpet. (refocusing) Never mind. Since there are so few students with a sincere interest I can take the time to quietly identify and mentor them, even without them knowing it.
ETHYL: (shocked) You tricked us? We trusted you.
BIRKENSTOCKER: I “guided” you and in such a way that the wrong kind of attention wouldn’t be attracted to either of us. But I’m afraid that tactic isn’t going to work any more. Which is why I’m here now. Kids, this is an emergency.
ETHYL: (disbelieving) Oh right. Like the “Men in Black” are coming after us. Who’s behind the emergency – the liquor companies?
MISS BIRKENSTOCKER: (evenly) People who feel threatened by too much independent competence not under their control. That could be anyone with a good network. Lately those networks aren’t waiting for the “wrong attitudes” to become big and noisy. They are nipping in the bud. (pointing to both with index fingers) And you two have been spotted budding.
METHYL: (defiant) Why are you trying to scare us? It’s because of the still isn’t it? You don’t want us to improve it.
MISS BIRKENSTOCKER: (laughs ironically) Oh but I do want you to continue – some where else. Pick up as much as you can carry and go. A former student has had problems too and is leaving town now. (speaking faster) You can hitch a ride to get some breathing time. You do like breathing, don’t you?
ETHYL: (resisting) Maybe tomorrow. I still have to go home and pack.
MISS BIRKENSTOCKER: (talking even faster) This is the only chance I can give you. Something is closing in fast. If you wait much longer your friends will be seeing you on a milk carton. (truck horn sound) That’s Igo out front. Grab and go, now.
ETHYL: (unsure) Aren’t you coming.
MISS BIRKENSTOCKER: I’m staying behind to recruit (unsure of her own words)…for as long as I can. (truck horn sound) Go go (“go’s” louder and faster) go go go.
METHYL: (making decision, grabbing load quickly) Alright. We’re gone.
(ETHYL follows him off stage with her load at a trot. MISS BIRKENSTOCKER looks after them, then slowly walks around stage, head down, thinking, which is now no longer the “shop” with the equipment gone.
(end of scene, but blurs into the next one)
Scene 9
( the SUV On Board News comes on but just as a voice from the SUV’s lighted dashboard, MISS BIRKENSTOCKER, is in another place, doesn’t hear it)
(Voice: This is the SUV On Board News. I’m just coming on to let you know my gas tank is empty again. What’s wrong with you people anyway? Don’t you know that I am the priority here…that you work for me…Jeez, it’s just hard to get good help anymore. How hard is it to work a second job or commit a few lucrative crimes to keep my valves hot. Get…me…more…yellow grease. I don’t “care” how you do it. Just do it. (…changes to needy) Pleeeease.
(voice ends as dashboard LED lights go off) (end of scene)
Scene 10
(as the broadcast comes to an end and Miss BIRKENSTOCKER is leaving but hasn’t quite left the stage, the BIO FOOL comes dancing in, as the “fool” within the BIO FOOL, for about 10 seconds, assumes characteristic pose for a fool, smiles and recites)
I see you decided to stay
And sit through this disturbing play But one never can know
When the gas gauge gets low
Who might become MoGo some day.
(end of scene and play)

——————————————————————————————————

Squid on Steroids
(a political skit)
by Dante DeAmicis

Octo: (maniacal laugh) After all these years of pretending to believe this “of the people, by the people, for the people” fairy tale I have amassed near total control of everything and everybody on the planet. Every aspect of life has one of my tentacles wrapped around it, squeezing out its blood for my own wealth, power, and amusement.

The naive dupes only see one of my crushing arms at a time, howling their sputtering outrage and shaking their puny fists at it as if that arm was an entity by itself. Few have stood back so they could see me, Corptopus the Magnificent and Invincible, the source of eight grips of death.

Some little people think one of my arms is “Big Oil.” Of course Big Oil is just part of my Corpobody grandeur but Big Oil has played a big role in my evil plan. It has stifled all meaningful technologies and sources of energy. The oil injected from this arm has become an addiction for the populace so I no longer have to even sell it.

One arm can slither like a snake through the Heartland as Big Agriculture, whispering into the ears of humanity, “Eat my apple and live….forever.” Of course its all snake oil but people like snake oil as long as it comes with a show – a song and dance of death.

Another arm has gathered together the pride of industry and the soft ones fearful need for security as the Military Industrial Complex. This arm only has to beat a drum and wave a flag and its work is done.

Those mere mortals are so desperate they couldn’t wait to throw themselves into my Big Pharma arm, thinking it was going to serve their health needs. If they could only see through my inky screen they would behold the mother of all drug cartels.

You have to look fast to catch my arm that deals from the bottom of the deck, that stops the ball on red when you bet on black, that has fronted every con artist who would do the bidding of the arm called Wall Street, the rigged Casino that treats every Main Street as its back alley.

The arm that reaches into the future is Big Genotech. Owning the present isn’t enough. I want new life that will serve me first without going through worthless middlemen I have to take it from. Big Geno will soon sweep away those who no longer serve me.

How can all my arms keep reaching and grabbing, you say? That’s the job of the Big Corpo Media arm to keep churning up the muddy waters so no one can see much for very long. My subjects are confused. The people’s voice is now the people’s blindfold.

No wonder the masses just want to curl up in a fetal position in their homes. But even those homes are connected to a vast network of arteries within that sprawling arm’s tissue of vital utility services called “The Grid.” The grid arm holds people in place so they cannot escape the other arms. Neighbors cannot become neighborhoods.

Totally unseen is the pointed beak which punctures the livelihoods of the drones and sucks it off so my arms get stronger and the drones get weaker even as they work harder. My Federal Reserve Nervous System provides the instruments that my other arms play my tune on. (maniacal laugh)

Enough levity. Its time for my progress report on the enslavement of my hapless victims. Where is my minion? Minion! Enter now.

Minion: I’m here master.

Octo: Report minion! What pathetic resistance has formed against my unstoppable drive for total world domination?

Minion: Your legions of minions have learned from studying past
opposition master. All that remains is some disorganized demonstrations that we disperse at will, a few articles in magazines that no one reads, a couple dozen petitions that will be thrown out, and a tiny group of troublemaker Congressional Reps that we mock as clowns or cranks.

Octo: Excellent! And what have you fattened minions and legions of pampered “Yes” men done to snuff out these feeble efforts?

Minion: Nothing special. It’s pretty much a mopping up operation. Some new authority for police. Media blitzes that outgun the critics a thousand to one. New laws restricting petitioning and voter registration. Supreme Court appointees that treat the Bill of Rights as an urban legion. Our investment in Congress can now kill an unfriendly bill before its even introduced.

Octo: Fantastic! The corporate tree I’ve planted is now bearing fruit. Soon the entire country will be clusters of free speech zones so small people will be talking to themselves. Now that my slimy tentacles have squeezed the juice out of humanity’s precious democratic institutions I am ready to ascend to the highest form of existence.

Minion: What would that be master?

Octo: For over a hundred years I have been legally a real person like you and that bothers me.

Minion: Why is that master? Your personhood was distilled from a mass of legal privilege and political corruption. You are a perfect creation of class war opportunism.

Octo: But I am so much more than all you flesh and blood type persons combined. All of you warm, squishy, and smelly type persons will die but Corptopus will live for eternity.

Minion: I don’t understand what can be above a person except maybe a more important person.

Octo: In another generation the struggle for freedom and equality will be nothing more than a myth, a marketing slogan, or even an un-American terrorist act. But I have one final goal. I’m no longer content with being obeyed without question. I want to be worshiped without thinking as the one true God – Corptopus the Divine. See that my flunkies on the Supreme Court issue the appropriate ruling.

Minion: Yes Master. I will call the Chief Justice at once. (dials number. Mumbled conversation. Writing feverishly. Then in a loud audible voice.) This is terrible. I will tell our Master at once. (Hangs up and walks to face Octo) Master we have had a set back.

Octo: I’m sure you are exaggerating. Nothing can stop me now let alone set me back.

Minion: Master, I’m….. I’m afraid we made an error. As you know, your personhood was made explicit many years ago by a friendly Supreme Court law clerk who added some language to a legal ruling. Since the current Court equates justice with our interests we have made appointing friendly law clerks a lower priority.

Octo: So what? When I walk the corridors of power the walls shake.

Minion: Master, it seems that an unfriendly law clerk learned from our methods and found a way to use those methods against us. We didn’t foresee the commoners could be as devious as we are.

Octo: Stop your yammering fool and tell me what has been done.

Minion: As expected, our solid Supreme Court majority handed down a decision that stated that you are the person that companies are built around. Since CEOs and Boards of Directors are not as important as you they are not as responsible as you.

Octo: These are the instructions I gave those Corpo Judges so my tools could protect themselves while doing my bidding. Though I am theoretically responsible I am beyond reach.

Minion: I hope so Master. But this new law clerk slipped in a couple of sentences just as your people did in a different time. These sentences could change the intent of all your laws you have ordered passed to rule your obedient subjects.

Octo: Just what are these words that that are so special they can change the direction of my grand plan?

Minion: The unapproved added text says (looking at paper copied from phone) “And since the corporation is a person in every sense of the term, the corporate person shall be subject to the same criminal penalties that are imposed on non corporate people. Jail time shall be interpreted as suspension of corporate charter and freezing of assets. In states where it applies, capital crimes shall be punished….shall be punished….”

Octo: Go on man, spit it out.

Minion: ” …by death of the corporation.”

Octo: This is outrageous. This is preposterous. We own the law. It is our sacred property. Destroy this legal upstart at once.

Minion: I’m afraid the decision has already been released. There is one more offending sentence. (quickly) “If a conspiracy between corporations or corporate dominated industries can be proved against the public good then the corporate person structure shall be subject to the same penalty as the original defendant.”

Octo: Nonsense. I’ll ram through a Constitutional Amendment and bypass those court incompetents. I still own Congress.

Justia: (offstage) Its too late for that Corptopus. Your days are numbered.

Octo: Who dares enter my inner sanctum?

Justia: I am Justia, the law clerk. I’ve come to serve you with a writ of extinction personally. Your minions, masquerading as representatives of the people, have installed a legal meat grinder to diminish due process and express lane the poor and powerless through the legal system. I have now applied this travesty to you.

Octo: No one can hold me responsible. It is the minion elite that demanded that I be irresponsible. I was just following orders. Along the way, I became the God of greed. Don’t you believe in religious freedom?

Justia: Your arms have knowingly killed individuals, families, and communities while wiping out whole cultures. By having you charged as a terrorist under federal law and a murderer under Texas law the former 10 year death penalty process has been reduced to 90 minutes. You will receive official notice of your hearings, trial, and appeal after your lawful execution.

Octo: How could this have happened? My subjects have always served me without challenging my class prerogatives.

Justia: Corptopus, you are not flesh and blood. You are paper and ink. We are citizens not subjects and you were created to serve us. Instead you became an organized criminal gang. And you will be given the corporate person equivalent of the electric chair. Minion, you work for the people now. Take these corporate documents and shred them. (hands papers to Minion)

Corptopus: (whimpering) No, no you can’t do this. You need me. You can’t live without me. Give me another chance….please. I’ll even let you form an oversight committee.

Justia: These are your various State and Federal charters. (shredding sound, Octo screaming) These are the appointments of numerous insiders to your Boards of Directors. (shredding, screaming) These are the patents and copyrights held in corporate names. (shredding, screaming) These are all the legal claims pending against non corporate entities. (shredding, screaming) And these are the laws and programs written for corporations that only function to enhance your wealth and power. (shredding, screaming) As a final going away present, say bye-bye to Citizens United vs the FCC.

(Corptopus arms flailing, flashing lights, smoke coming out base of body)

Corptopus: (faltering) Forgive them Father. They know not what they do.

——————————————————————————————————–

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