Boring – draft one

boring

 

a play

by

david axel kurtz

 

Dramatis:

THE MAN

his DAUGHTER

JOHNATHAN, his secretary

ALICIA TRIESTE, a commercial agent

WILL PATERNOSTER, a soldier

DANA JABBERWOCKY, a mercenary

 

The play is one long scene with an intermission in the middle.

The play is to be set on one stage, with no scene changes.

Only THE MAN will ever be on stage. The other characters are just voices.

THE MAN sits in a chair. In front of him are six speaker/phones. Each lights up when it is in use. Only five are ever used.

Those are the only necessary dressings of the scene. Truly the play could be performed in front of the curtain.

THE MAN is to be on stage throughout the entirety of the play. This includes – particularly – intermissions.

 

SCENE ONE

All lights are off.

The man is sitting in his chair. For five minutes he just sits there, in silence.

SCENE TWO

All lights are off.

JOHNATHAN’s phone lights up. The man acknowledges with the push of a button.

THE MAN

Yes?

JOHNATHAN

Uhh, good morning, sir.

THE MAN

Good morning Johnathan. Heard any new ones?

JOHNATHAN

Uhh… excuse me, sir?

THE MAN

Forget it. How are you Johnathan?

JOHNATHAN

Uhh, good sir. And you?

THE MAN

Well, thank you. What’s new in the world today.

JOHNATHAN

Well… things look pretty good, sir.

THE MAN

Probably best let me be the judge of that.

JOHNATHAN

Uhh… right, sir, right, of course.

THE MAN

Give me the headlines?

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir. Uhh… China released a statement regarding its intent to cap carbon emissions by 2030. Four British citizens were convicted of last year’s train bombing in Dumferline. South Africa declared a state of emergency in Kwazulu-Natal after that reactor leak, two, uhh, yeah, two days ago. Australia looks like its going to keep The Ashes. Scientists at a lab in Israel think-

THE MAN

How about in our countries?

JOHNATHAN

Still waiting for the compiled report, sir.

THE MAN

Okay, sure. Markets?

JOHNATHAN

Footsie down seventy, Nikkei 225 up thirty-seven, Hang Seng down thirty-four, Dax down one twenty, Dow opening up twenty, NASDAQ opening up six.

THE MAN
Within the margin of error.

JOHNATHAN

Beg pardon?

THE MAN
It’s a joke, Johnathan.

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir.

THE MAN

What about commodities?

JOHNATHAN

Gold 1587, silver 21, cocoa 3420, lumber 187 and 5, sugar 31-

THE MAN

31? That’s up, what, four points?

JOHNATHAN

Four points fifty.

THE MAN

What happened?

JOHNATHAN

Uhh… don’t know, sir.

THE MAN

What else?

JOHNATHAN

Wheat up fourteen, soybean up eight, corn stable, cotton down three, wool down three.

THE MAN

And what about oil, Johnathan?

JOHNATHAN

You’ll like this, sir.

THE MAN

Tell me.
JOHNATHAN

Dated Brent crude, one hundred thirty.

THE MAN

Jesus.

JOHNATHAN

Hedge funds are really buying, sir.

THE MAN

Think they know something we don’t?

JOHNATHAN

Sir?

THE MAN

It’s a joke, Johnathan.

JOHNATHAN

Oh.

THE MAN

None of them know anything’s started until we’ve already finished it.

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir.

THE MAN

And what about our countries?

JOHNATHAN

Just getting it in now, sir. Uhh… big contract in Nigeria, Board’s thinking of bidding to below cost. Paraguay lost thirteen soldiers fighting in the jungle, but no, no company operatives. The strikers in Nigeria went home, none of our people injured. Liby, uh, Liberia, reached a settlement with the Union and the refineries weren’t down for more than two hours. That cost, uhh… there’s an itemized cost report, uhh… uhh… Ship ran aground off of Morocco, one of ours, nothing big, but we’re making sure the protection’s watertight-

THE MAN

Owned by a holding company, no real assets?

JOHNATHAN
Yes sir. Totally sinkable.

THE MAN

Was that a joke, Johnathan?

JOHNATHAN

Well, I mean… it-

THE MAN

What else?

JOHNATHAN

Oh, uh… Oman’s having some troubles. Elections… election protesters, mostly. Our operative there’s asking for some protection at the compound, just until things blow over. His wives and kids are there, and-

THE MAN

That’s Adam Glass, right?

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir.

THE MAN

He’s been jumping at shadows since Thailand.

JOHNATHAN

Sir?

THE MAN

Get a few locals to go over and hang around his house looking mean. That should make him feel better.

JOHNATHAN

Locals, sir?

THE MAN

No Company people.

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir.

THE MAN

Anything moving in Kamchatka?

JOHNATHAN

No sir. Nothing interesting in Tasmania either.

THE MAN

How about Beloko?

JOHNATHAN

Nothing.

THE MAN

Nothing, as in, nothing new?

JOHNATHAN

I don’t think so, sir, no. I don’t have anything.

THE MAN

Nothing?

JOHNATHAN

No.

THE MAN

No report?

JOHNATHAN

It hasn’t come in yet.

THE MAN

Nothing is something, Johnathan.

JOHNATHAN

Sir?

THE MAN

How late is the report?

JOHNATHAN

Uhh… seven minutes.

Pause.

THE MAN
Better brew some coffee, Johnathan. This might be a long day.

JOHNATHAN

Sir?

THE MAN

Trust me. I’ve been doing this for quite a while now.

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir.

THE MAN

Want to do me a favor?

JOHNATHAN
Sir – yeah, yeah of course sir.

THE MAN

Get me the file on Beloko. I want it fresh in my memory. All the facts and figures, all that good boring stuff.

JOHNATHAN

You want the… like, pull the stats online, give you-

THE MAN

I think the Company file is probably a bit more comprehensive than Wikipedia.

JOHNATHAN

Of course, sir. I’ll find it, sir.

THE MAN

And Johnathan?

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir?

THE MAN

Take a deep breath and relax.

JOHNATHAN

Sir?

THE MAN

Trust me. Take a deep breath. Relax your shoulders. Take a deep breath.

JOHNATHAN

Yes… yes sir.

THE MAN

Going to be a long day. Can’t let ourselves get keyed up.

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir.

JOHNATHAN’s light goes off.

SCENE THREE

All lights are off.

Brief caesura.

JOHNATHAN’s light comes up.

THE MAN

You have it?

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir. May I?

THE MAN

Go ahead Johnathan.

JOHNATHAN

Company file on Beloko, sir. And there’s plenty of references, lots of info about reports our people have filed-

THE MAN

Skip those, please.

JOHNATHAN
Of course. Beloko. Full name The Constitutional Republic of Beloko. Also known as Belokoland, Beloko-Masueville. Founded as part of the Middle Colony, Dutch, 1874. Independence 1962. Marxist, pro-Moscow, 1962-1977; Marxist, pro-NATO, 1977-1993; transitions to capitalist-parliamentary system, 1993-present. Corporation interests in the country, 1976-present. Level of Corporation interest in country: High.

THE MAN

Yep, that’s… that’s about what I remembered. Great.

JOHNATHAN

Sir?

THE MAN

Sorry, Johnathan. Talking to myself. Keep going.

JOHNATHAN

Total area: 242,000 square miles. Coastline 131 miles. Terrain is coastal plain rising to mountain plateau. Country mostly jungle. Climate equatorial, persistent high heat and humidity. Arable land less than two percent.

THE MAN
Permanent crops?

JOHNATHAN

Point four four percent.

THE MAN

Means their farms are our farms.

JOHNATHAN

Sir?

THE MAN

The world’s a small place, Johnathan. The watchmakers are in Switzerland, the manufacturing’s in China, the phones get answered in India and the the food gets grown in Indiana.

JOHNATHAN
Sounds like Indiana’s winning, sir.

THE MAN

We’re winning, Johnathan.

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir.

THE MAN

What about resources?

JOHNATHAN

Oh, uh, yes sir. Uhh… Resources, Resources Natural. Two ninety point six one billion cubic meters natural gas, reserves proved. Oil, crude, light and sweet, fifty-three point four two billion barrels reserves proved. Other natural resources: palladium, uranium, tungsten, coltan, gold, tin. There’s a note that only palladium and tungsten are in competitive quantities. Sir.

THE MAN

How much oil do they put out per day?

JOHNATHAN

861,000 barrels, sir

THE MAN
How much of that is ours?

JOHNATHAN
Uhh… it says 649,000 barrels per day exported by or to Company holdings. But it adds that 200,000 exported by government-national industries are supervised in production and sale by our holdings.
THE MAN

And how much of all that oil do we refine?

JOHNATHAN

Uhh… 854,000 barrels per day.

THE MAN

Well, we are thorough, aren’t we?

JOHNATHAN
It seems that way, sir.

THE MAN

Good. Thanks, Johnathan. Now give me figures on the people, and give me the bad news.

JOHNATHAN

Bad news?

THE MAN

It’s in the bottom, marked ‘Status Quo’
JOHNATHAN

Yes sir… you want population demos first?

THE MAN

If you don’t mind.

JOHNATHAN

Okay… yeah… population three point two million. Population 63% under 14, 34% 14-64, 3% 65 and over. Population growth rate two point seven five… I’m sorry, sir, two point five seven-

THE MAN

Just give me ballparks.

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir. Uhh… Urban population 73%. Infant mortality 81 per thousand. Life expec is around 50, just shy of 50. Fertility’s around 6 per woman, HIV about 15% of population, infectious disease risk is called ‘Hazard 3.’ What’s that mean, uh, sir?

THE MAN

Hazard Pay Level Three. Means our ground staff get a bonus just for breathing the air.

JOHNATHAN

Sounds nice.

THE MAN

I prefer the air up here.

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir.

THE MAN

Eth relig?

JOHNATHAN

What? Oh, oh yes… ethnic breakdown is 48 20 17 12, percent, I mean, and those are different native tribes. Christian 53%, Animist 43, Hindi 2, Muslim 2.

THE MAN

Okay.

JOHNATHAN

And literacy is 79 and 58. Male and female.

THE MAN

Uh huh. Government?

JOHNATHAN

Constitutional republic. Unicameral parliament. One hundred elected representatives, one hundred appointed by various tribal leaders. Cabinet of twelve, two vice presidents and a president. President Jikali, leader of the People’s Voice Party, incumbent for twelve years now. Going on thirteen.

THE MAN

Rating?

JOHNATHAN

Uhh… this country is rated as ‘Cooperative to Highly Cooperative’ to company interests.

THE MAN

Yeah, that’s about what I remembered. Alright, Johnathan. Give me the bad news.

JOHNATHAN

Okay… alright. Alright, yeah. “The political situation in Kuvu” – that’s the capital city-

THE MAN

I remember, yes.

JOHNATHAN

“The political situation in Kuvu is stable and managed, but the power of the government wanes the further one travels into the country. The midlands are dominated by ethnic factions, each of which holds greater or lesser allegiance to the government. The highlands, however, are beyond the reach of both governmental influence and intelligence. Our own intelligence is sketchy at best. Numerous groups, both chthonic and insurgent, use this area for training and staging raids farther inland. These include but are surely not limited to-” And then it lists a lot of acronyms.

THE MAN

Yeah, you can skip those.

JOHNATHAN

Thank you sir. But, uhh, it does say that the three largest of them are the Heere, under a Field Marshall Christianson; the God’s Watchers’ Army, lead by Robert Mkwala alias The Holy One also known as The Enlightener, The Diviner… uh, et cetera… and The Movement of Popular Resistance, led by one Ma… Ma… uhh…M-A-X-H-O-T-L-A.

THE MAN

Your guess is as good as mine.

JOHNATHAN

Machotla?

THE MAN

We’ll ask someone who knows more. Who do we have on site there?

JOHNATHAN

Field station is twelve people, six petrochemical, two geographical, two political, senior executive and senior assistant.

THE MAN

Security?

JOHNATHAN

There’s a security force stationed by the refineries outside of Kuvu, sir. Under the command of, uhh… of, uhh… Paternoster… William Paternoster.

THE MAN
I know Will. Colonel, I think.

JOHNATHAN

Sir? I thought-

THE MAN

Whenever we send a new commander to a country we try to get them commissioned in the local army. It makes it easier for them to cut through red tape.

JOHNATHAN
Yes sir.

THE MAN

And who runs the station?

JOHNATHAN

The senior executive? That’s, uhh… Alicia Trieste.

THE MAN

I thought she was in Caracas?

JOHNATHAN

Uhh… she, uhh… got transferred… yeah, transferred two months ago.

THE MAN

Great. Great.

JOHNATHAN

Sir?

THE MAN

Time she gets her feet wet, I suppose.

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir?

THE MAN

Her report come in yet?

JOHNTHAN

I didn’t… no… no, sir, not yet.

THE MAN

How late is it now?

JOHNATHAN

Almost twenty minutes.

Pause.

THE MAN

Alright, get Alicia on the phone. Then – Johnathan?

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir?

THE MAN

Call the club. Leave a message, tell them… tell them to tell Mark and Deb and Sarah and that they’ll need someone else for doubles.

JOHNATHAN

Ok. Ok, yes sir. You want Alicia first?

THE MAN
I do.

JOHNATHAN’s light goes off.

SCENE FOUR

All lights are off.

Brief caesura.

JOHNATHAN’s light goes on.

JOHNATHAN

I’ve got Ms. Trieste on the line, sir. Shall I patch her through?

THE MAN

Yes, please, Johnathan

ALICIA’s light goes on.

ALICIA

Hello? Who’s there?

THE MAN

Hello. Miss Trieste? You can hang up now, Johnathan.

JOHNATHAN’s light goes off.

ALICIA

Is this line secure?

THE MAN

It’s a Company line, Ms. Trieste. Ms. Trieste- can I call you Alicia?

ALICIA

I’m in the middle of a situation here, I don’t have time to play games.

THE MAN

Alicia, then. Heard any new ones?

ALICIA

Sir, what the hell-

THE MAN

Sorry, sorry – just trying to break the tension. We’ve been waiting for your report, Alicia. Since it hasn’t arrived yet, I figured that I should call-

ALICIA

The situation’s going to hell in a fucking handbasket! Our intelligence up until yesterday was that nothing was moving and today we don’t have any intelligence at all, all our people have either disappeared or ended up facedown in the street. Dead. In the street. There are dead bodies in-

THE MAN

Is everybody there alright?

ALICIA:

We’re all fine. I’ve got everyone hiding in the basement but otherwise we’re fine. But we’ve gotten distress calls from two of our mines, and three aren’t even responding. The Government’s lost contact with-

THE MAN

What about the refineries?

ALICIA

Are you fucking hearing anything I’m saying? I said that-

THE MAN

What about the refineries?

ALICIA

There are dead people, dead in the fucking street, just lying out there dead, I can see them from my window-

THE MAN

Alicia?

ALICIA
WHAT?

Pause.

THE MAN

What about the refineries?

Pause.

ALICIA

We’re still in contact with them. They’re fine.

THE MAN

Fine?

ALICIA

Fully operational. Second shift on as scheduled. They’re quiet. Everything’s fucking quiet, everything’s-

THE MAN

And your offices, they’re secure?

ALICIA

Sir… listen, sir, the fucking-

THE MAN

Let’s just take this one step at a time, Alicia. Alright?

ALICIA

Yes, sir.

THE MAN

Your offices are secure?

ALICIA

Yes, sir.

THE MAN

Nobody’s in the street, no threats to you or your people?

ALICIA

No, sir.

THE MAN

So far the only attacks have been in the highlands, right?

ALICIA
Listen… god dammit, sir, there are bodies-

THE MAN

I know, Alicia. I hear what you’re saying. And it sounds like you’re handling things very well.

ALICIA

I… thank you, sir.

THE MAN

Thank you, Alicia. Everyone gets fifteen minutes of fame and everyone gets fifteen minutes of good old fashioned hard work. Your hard work is to keep this situation from getting famous. I think you’re up to it.

ALICIA

I am, sir.

THE MAN
I know you are.

ALICIA

I’m… I’m sorry my report’s late, sir. We’ve been trying to-

THE MAN

That’s alright. I’ve got you now, that’s all that matters.

ALICIA

Yes sir.
THE MAN

Plenty of time to file a report when this is all over.

ALICIA

I… admire your confidence. Sir.

THE MAN

We’ve been through storms before. We’ll see the other side of this one, see it through before you know it.

ALICIA

Yes sir.

THE MAN

Why don’t you start by telling me exactly where you are, what your situation is.

ALICIA

You don’t know?

THE MAN

Humor me, Alicia.

ALICIA
I’m in downtown Kuvu. I’m in the heart of the city. The Parliament House is two fucking blocks away.

THE MAN

Uh huh. What kind of structure is the office?

ALICIA

It’s a three-story Colonial. There’s grass on every side and there’s a fence. Just a fence, no security, we don’t have any guns-

THE MAN

And there’s no need for any.

Pause.

THE MAN

Right?

ALICIA

Right.

THE MAN

And you said dead bodies? Out in the streets?

ALICIA

I can see them from here. Yes, sir.

THE MAN

You’re in your office? Second floor?

ALICIA

Third, sir. Looking down the street to the capitol building.

THE MAN

Any movement in the streets?

ALICIA

No, sir.
THE MAN

Cars? People going outside to get the paper?

ALICIA

Not a soul.

THE MAN

And the corpses?

ALICIA

Face-up, face-down, in the road, on the sidewalks.

THE MAN

How’d they get there?

ALICIA

How the… we don’t know.

THE MAN

You don’t know?

ALICIA

No, sir

THE MAN
You didn’t hear gunfire? See any violence?

ALICIA

No.

THE MAN
Any guesses?

ALICIA

Sir?

THE MAN
I’m asking for your best guess based upon the data at hand.

ALICIA

My guess was that they were killed offsite and dumped in the street.

THE MAN

A warning?

ALICIA

Or… or they just want to keep the streets clear.

Pause.

THE MAN

What about your people?

ALICIA

Ten people here. All Company people. And my secretary.

THE MAN

What about support staff? Locals?

ALICIA

None of them came in today.

Pause.

THE MAN

None of them?

ALICIA

No.

THE MAN

How many?

ALICIA

Twelve, maybe fifteen.

Pause

THE MAN

Alright, Alicia, that sounds very good. I’m going to get Will Paternoster on the line. We can have a three-way conference. Is that okay?

ALICIA

Yes… yes sir.

THE MAN lights a phone for JOHNATHAN.

THE MAN

Johnathan?

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir?

THE MAN

Get me Will Paternoster on another line, will you?

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir.

THE MAN turns off JOHNATHAN’s light.

SCENE FIVE

ALICIA’s light is on.

Brief caesura.

JOHNATHAN’s light goes on.

JOHNATHAN

I’ve got W- Colonel Paternoster for you, sir.

THE MAN

Thank you Johnathan. Put him through.

WILL’s phone lights; JOHNATHAN’s light goes off.

THE MAN

Hello Will.

WILL

Good afternoon, sir.

THE MAN

Heard any new ones?

WILL

Uhh… no, sir.

THE MAN

Too bad. Will, I’ve got Alicia Trieste on the line with us. I assume you two know each other?

WILL

Yes sir. Hello, Alicia.

ALICIA

Hello Colonel.

THE MAN

How’s the day shaping up, Will?

WILL

We’re okay so far.

THE MAN

Sounds like you think that’s a short-lived condition.

WILL

The fan’s running, sir. The shit’s well on it’s way.
THE MAN

Give it to me.

WILL

The situation in the capital is definitely-

THE MAN

No, that’s alright, we’ve got Alicia there and she’s reported it quiet. What about your end? Any violence? Any threats to security?

WILL

The Compound’s fine. Two of our palladium mines came under attack. Rifle fire from the woods. AK fire, sir, about as accurate as… as…

THE MAN

Sometimes you just gotta let a good metaphor go.

WILL

Yes, sir. They’re quiet now, no delay in operations. But three mines out in the highlands have gone off the grid.

THE MAN

No contact?

WILL

None.

THE MAN

Think they’ve been taken out?

WILL

We don’t know, sir. My guess is no, someone just got in behind them and cut their communications. Cell phones suck out in that jungle. Without the hard lines-

THE MAN

There should be a backup network.

WILL

Yes sir.

THE MAN

We’ll see to it as soon as this clears up.

WILL

Yes sir.

THE MAN

So what do you recommend regarding the mines?

WILL

I’m mobilizing my men. I’d like to send out a sortie in strength. Go to the nearest mine first. If we find it occupied we will have the strength to take it. If it’s just a cut wire we can move on to the next mine, reestablish communication, and hold a firm perimeter

THE MAN

How many men will that leave to defend the Compound?

WILL

Not many, sir. But our intelligence estimates suggest that none of the major opposition groups have the numbers or the means to-

ALICIA

Fuck that.

WILL

What?

ALICIA

Fuck that. Fuck that! I’ve been sending reports since I got here that the Army’s force estimates for the rebel groups are ridiculously small and-

WILL

Sir, we have no intelligence to-

ALICIA

-the MPR, the Godwatchers, the-

WILL

Sir, we have no intelligence to-

ALICIA
And here I am sitting in the-

WILL

Sir, we have no intelligence to suggest that any of the major resistance groups are in a position to project force out of the highlands.

ALICIA

Well, what the fuck do you think’s going on? You think all these bodies just appeared in the fucking street-

WILL

We don’t know what’s going on.

ALICIA

What the fuck-

WILL

We don’t know what’s going on and leaping to conclusions isn’t going to-

ALICIA

Well, sitting back on your fucking ass isn’t going to-

THE MAN

Shut up.

WILL

Sir-

THE MAN

Shut up, the both of you.

Pause.

THE MAN

Will, do you have enough men to secure the mines while still leaving a residual force behind to protect the refinery compound?

WILL

Not well, sir.

THE MAN

But you could do it?

WILL

…yes sir.

THE MAN

Do it.

WILL

Yes sir.

THE MAN

I want you to stay back at the refinery compound.

WILL

Sir-

THE MAN

I need you, Will. I can’t afford to lose contact with you in the jungle.

WILL

Yes, sir. Yes, absolutely sir.

THE MAN

Send people you trust. Our boys, locals, I don’t care. Just don’t let it degenerate into some godawful jungle firefight.

WILL

Yes sir.

THE MAN

Even in the jungle, minicam crews are never far away.

WILL

Yes, sir. Shall I begin?

THE MAN

What’s transit time to the first mine?

WILL

We can be there in half an hour by chopper.

THE MAN

Our choppers, or-

WILL

Army, sir. But they’re at our disposal.

THE MAN

It is so ordered.

WILL

Yes sir. Over and out.

WILL’s light goes off.

SCENE SIX

ALICIA’s light is on.

THE MAN

Sorry, Alicia. Some people think in a certain way, I’ve got to make sure I talk to them the way they need to be talked to.

ALICIA

Yes sir.

THE MAN

So what’s your analysis of the situation?

ALICIA

Sir, I… it’s very hard to tell… none of our assets have reported in, we don’t know-

THE MAN

You’re flying blind. I know. But you’re still flying. I need your best guess.

ALICIA

I… I think it’s obvious that one of the major resistance movements is making their move.

THE MAN

Which group?

ALICIA

Sir?

THE MAN

Christianson, Mkwala, or…?

ALICIA
So you have been reading my briefings.

THE MAN

Oh… yes, of course. You’re our main conduit for intelligence in the region.

ALICIA

It hasn’t looked like it.

THE MAN

We read everything you send us, Alicia.

ALICIA

Of course. Yes, of course, sir.

THE MAN

So which one is it? Christianson? Machotla?

ALICIA

Uhh… it’s, uh Ma^xh^otla. Sir.

They go back and forth a few rounds trying to pronounce it right.

ALICIA

We can call him something else, if you’d prefer. A lot of the people here get Western names, they need them or we can’t-

THE MAN

No, that’s alright. I should know the man’s name.

ALICIA

Yes sir. Sir?

THE MAN

What is it?

ALICIA

I don’t see why we have to move around in the shadows. If this is a rebellion, we could stand right by Jikali, we’d be supporting a legitimate government and-

THE MAN

That would have to go before the Board for an OK.

ALICIA

So why-

THE MAN

It is my general experience that, in the eyes of the public, such assistance is little removed from imperialism. No good deed goes unpunished.

ALICIA

But we could spin it-

THE MAN

Now you’ve got us spinning things.

ALICIA

Sir?

THE MAN

Good rule of thumb in this business, Alicia, is that any publicity is bad publicity.

ALICIA

Yes. Yes sir.

THE MAN

We make money the way things are. So we try to keep things the way they are.

ALICIA

But sir-

THE MAN

And don’t let your personal feelings get in the way. I know you’re in the middle of this. It’s a bad situation. But we won’t let it get too bad. You’re in no danger. Keep your head on straight and just keep doing what you’re doing, and you’ll look back on this as an opportunity to shine.

ALICIA

Yes sir.

THE MAN

You sound unconvinced.

ALICIA

I’ve just… I’ve never seen anything like this before.

THE MAN

I have.

ALICIA

Yes sir.

THE MAN

Libya, Tunisia, Thailand, Timor… half a dozen other countries.

ALICIA

Yes sir.

THE MAN

And you’ve only been on site, what, two months?

ALICIA

Yes sir. But-

THE MAN

What?

ALICIA

Well, from what I’ve-

JOHNATHAN’s phone lights.

THE MAN

Yes Johnathan? What is it?

JOHNATHAN

I have Colonel Paternoster back on the line, sir.

THE MAN

Patch him through.

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir.

THE MAN

And Johnathan?

JOHNATHAN

Patch him right through next time?

THE MAN

You’re a good mind-reader, Johnathan.

JOHNATHAN

Thank you, sir.

WILL’s phone lights; JOHNATHAN’s goes off.

THE MAN

Will? What’s the story.

WILL

We can’t get to the mines.

THE MAN

Why not?

WILL

We can’t get the choppers.

THE MAN

They’re being denied to us?

WILL

No.

THE MAN

So what’s wrong?

WILL

We can’t raise them.

THE MAN

The helicopters?

WILL

The government. The army. The landlines have been cut, nobody’s picking up a cell, I can’t raise a single person at any barracks-

ALICIA

Jesus Christ-

WILL

So I sent men to the Guards barracks, there’s no movement, the gates are barred, and they turned my men away.

ALICIA

What the fuck do you mean, turned away?

WILL

At gun-point.

ALICIA

Oh shit. Oh shit.

WILL

We don’t know what’s going on, we-

ALICIA

Jesus, Will, how the fuck-

THE MAN

Shut up.

Pause.

WILL

What are your orders, sir?

Pause.

WILL

Sir?

Pause.

ALICIA

Sir?

WILL

Sir, what?

THE MAN

Give me a minute.

Pause.

THE MAN

You haven’t heard anything? Either of you?

ALICIA

Sir? Heard what?

THE MAN

No public outcry? No public broadcasting?

ALICIA

No.

WILL

No sir.

THE MAN

Not even from the government?

WILL

No.

THE MAN

Check for me.

Pause.

ALICIA

The TV’s dead.

Pause. The sound of distant static.

ALICIA

So’s-

WILL

The radio’s stopped broadcasting.

Pause.

Pause.

WILL

Sir? What would-

THE MAN

Alicia, I want you to sit tight and make sure you keep everybody in the office calm. I want you to consider this a crash. Wipe every hard drive, destroy any critical information. Then get everyone in a safe room and lock themselves in.

ALICIA

Yes sir. I will.

THE MAN

Just like you’ve practiced. Everyone knows what to do.

ALICIA

Yes, sir.

THE MAN

Just stay there and keep your head on your shoulders, and everything will be fine.

ALICIA

Yes sir.

THE MAN

It shouldn’t take more than ten minutes.

ALICIA

Yes, sir.

THE MAN

Call me when it’s done. Ten minutes.

ALICIA

Yes sir. Now, sir?

THE MAN

Go. Ten minutes.

THE MAN kills ALICIA’s light.

THE MAN

Will?

WILL

Yes, sir.

THE MAN

Forget the mines.

WILL

Sir?

THE MAN

Forget the mines.

WILL

Sir? Yes, sir, of-

THE MAN

Shut down the refineries.

WILL

Sir?

THE MAN

Shut them down. This is a crash. Everything shuts down. Get all Company personnel out of there and lock it down behind them. Then get them into the compound. And bar the gates.

WILL

Yes sir.

THE MAN

Take every foreigner you can find with you. Give them shelter. Whether they want it or not, Will.

WILL

Yes sir. Do you think-

THE MAN

Will just do it right now would you?

WILL

Yes sir. May I also make arrangements for our contacts in the local government and-

THE MAN

No.

WILL

Sir? But I feel-

THE MAN

Will, all your friends are dead.

Pause.

WILL

Yes sir.

THE MAN

Go to work. Hurry.

WILL

Sir.

WILL’s light goes off.

SCENE SEVEN

All the lights are off.

Brief caesura.

ALICIA’s light goes on.

THE MAN

All set, Alicia?

ALICIA

They’re in the streets.

THE MAN

Who?

ALICIA

I don’t know. Everybody.

THE MAN

Alright, Alicia. Take a deep breath and tell me what you’re seeing.

ALICIA

I don’t know where they came from. They’re must be hundreds. Hundreds. They’re in street clothes. Some of them… some of them look like they’re from-

THE MAN

The highlands?

ALICIA

Yes.

THE MAN

What are they doing?

ALICIA

They’re walking towards the capitol building.

THE MAN

Are they talking? Singing? Shouting?

ALICIA

No.

THE MAN

Do they have guns?

ALICIA

…yes.

THE MAN

How many?

ALICIA

All of them, sir. All of them have guns. Except…

THE MAN

Alicia?

ALICIA

Some of them have knives.

THE MAN

Hang tight, Alicia. I’ll call you right back.

ALICIA

Okay.

THE MAN

Thirty seconds. Okay?

ALICIA

Yes sir.

THE MAN kills her light, then presses for JOHNATHAN

JOHNATHAN

Yes?

THE MAN

Will. Now.

JOHNATHAN’s light goes off.

WILL’s comes on.

WILL

What is it?

THE MAN

Get to the capital. Get there in force.

WILL

But-
THE MAN

Get everything you have, and go.

Pause.

WILL

Now?

THE MAN

As fast as you can.

WILL

Sir, yes sir.

WILL’s light goes off.

SCENE EIGHT

All the lights are off.

Brief caesura.

JOHNATHAN’s light comes on.

JOHNATHAN

Sir?

THE MAN

Yes, Johnathan?

JOHNATHAN

Would you like anyone, sir?

THE MAN

Not right now, Johnathan.

JOHNATHAN

Anything I can do, sir?

THE MAN

…no.

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir.

THE MAN

Things will happen as they will.

JOHNATHAN

Yes, sir.

Pause.

JOHNATHAN’s light goes off.

THE MAN waits another minute

ALICIA’s light comes on.

THE MAN

Hello, Alicia

ALICIA

They’re coming out of the capitol.

THE MAN

Out of the capitol?

ALICIA

They went inside. They were all marching. There must be a thousand now. They marched inside and a few minutes later they just came out.

Pause.

ALICIA

Sir?

Pause.

ALICIA

Sir?

THE MAN

There are more of them now?

ALICIA

Yes, sir. They’re in the square. Some of them are soldiers, I think.

THE MAN

They’re just standing there?

ALICIA

Yes sir. They’re all looking away from the palace… I can’t see, but I think-

THE MAN

They’re looking at someone.

ALICIA

Maybe… I don’t know.

Pause.

THE MAN

All your staff is in lockdown?

ALICIA

Yes sir.

THE MAN

Alright, Alicia, this is what’s going to happen. Colonel Paternoster and his men are coming. All of them. Company men. They’re coming right to you and they’re going to be there in just a few minutes. Okay?

ALICIA

Yes sir.

THE MAN

They’re going to pull up at the front gate. You’re going to get your staff and go meet them. They’re going to have guns. They’re going to protect you. You and your staff are going to hop in their trucks and they’re going to take you back to the compound. Where you’ll be safe.

ALICIA

Yes sir.

THE MAN

The compound is a fortress. And you’ll be there before you know it.

Pause.

THE MAN

Okay?

ALICIA

Yes, sir.

THE MAN

Let me go see how close they are. I’ll get right back to you.

ALICIA

Thank you, sir.

THE MAN

It’s… don’t worry, Alicia. It’ll all be over soon.

THE MAN presses off ALICIA’s light.

THE MAN lights WILL’s phone.

THE MAN

Will, where are you?

WILL

I’m with my men. We’re going towards the city.

THE MAN

How far are you?

WILL

Ten minutes. Fifteen tops.

THE MAN

Go as fast as you can.

WILL

Yes, sir. Sir, when we get there-

THE MAN

Get Alicia, get the staff, get them out.

WILL

Yes, sir. Will do, sir.

WILL’s light goes off.

THE MAN presses ALICIA’s light.

THE MAN

Alicia?

ALICIA

They’re coming down the street.

THE MAN

Down the street?

ALICIA

I think…

THE MAN

Alicia?

THE MAN

They’re coming here.

THE MAN turns off ALICIA’s light.

THE MAN turns on WILL’s light.

THE MAN

Will, I need you to get there faster.

WILL

I’m not sure-

THE MAN

I don’t care, Will. Ten minutes is too long.

WILL

Sir, the roads here aren’t-

THE MAN

If some of your vehicles can go faster than leave the others behind. Leave them by the roadside. I don’t care.

WILL

Then we shouldn’t split our forces, sir. Without the local army-

THE MAN

Do it, Will.

WILL

I don’t want-

THE MAN

GUN IT, WILL. THAT’S AN ORDER.

WILL

SIR, YES SIR!

WILL’s light blinks out

SCENE NINE

All lights are off.

Brief caesura.

THE MAN takes a breath, and lights ALICIA’s light.

THE MAN

Alicia?

ALICIA

Yes sir?

THE MAN

What are you seeing?

ALICIA

They’re getting closer.

THE MAN

Just hang tight, Alicia. Will’s almost there.

ALICIA

Yes sir.

THE MAN

It’s going to be fine.

Pause.

THE MAN

It’s going to be fine.

Pause.

There is a loud voice from ALICIA’s phone.

ALICIA

Not now, Rob. Go back to the basement and lock-

The voice continues, louder.

ALICIA
GOD FUCKING DAMMIT ROB GO BACK TO THE BASEMENT.

Pause.

ALICIA

Sorry about that.

THE MAN

That’s alright.

Pause.

THE MAN

Anything happening?

ALICIA

They’re getting closer.

Pause.

ALICIA
They’re just walking over the bodies.

THE MAN

The bodies in the street?

ALICIA

They’re just walking right over them. I can see them going up and down.

THE MAN

Is there any gunfire?

ALICIA

No.

THE MAN

Is there a leader? Someone out in front?

ALICIA

I… no.

Pause.

ALICIA

They’re at the gate.

THE MAN

What are they doing?

ALICIA

They’re just standing there.

THE MAN

All of them?

ALICIA

Yes… no. There are a few crouched down in front of the gate. They’re all holding guns, sir.

THE MAN

I know, Alicia. But they’re just standing there. And that gate’s made of strong stuff.

Pause.

THE MAN

Right?

ALICIA

Right.

THE MAN

Hang in there, Alicia. I’ll be right back.

THE MAN presses off ALICIA’s light.

The man presses WILL’s light.

There is the sound of rushing air and racing engines.

THE MAN

How far are you?

WILL

Six minutes for the three hummvees, the trucks are back-

THE MAN

They’ve surrounded the office.

WILL

How many?

THE MAN

Hundreds.

WILL

Civilians?

THE MAN

They’re armed.

WILL

Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck-

THE MAN

Keep it together.

WILL

I am fucking- yes. Yes sir.

Pause.

WILL

Sir?

THE MAN

Yes, Will?

WILL

What are the operational parameters for this engagement?

Pause.

Pause.

THE MAN

The safety of Company personnel is your only priority.

WILL

Yes sir.

THE MAN

Get our people out of there. Do whatever you need to-

WILL

Yes, sir.

THE MAN

I can count on you, Will.

WILL

You can, sir.

THE MAN presses off WILL’s light.

THE MAN presses ALICIA’s light.

THE MAN

How are they-

ALICIA
They’re moving back.

THE MAN

All of them?

ALICIA

Yes. They’re spreading back.

THE MAN

Back from the fence?

ALICIA

They’re going back…

Pause.

ALICIA

They’re putting their hands… their hands over their ears, and-

THE MAN

Get down.

ALICIA

What?

THE MAN

Alicia, get down.

ALICIA

What do you-

The sound of an explosion comes through her line.

THE MAN

Alicia?

It keeps coming.

THE MAN

Alicia?
ALICIA

What…

THE MAN

Alicia, can you hear me?

ALICIA

Wait…

THE MAN

Alicia? Alicia, can you hear me?

ALICIA

I-

THE MAN

Alicia, are you alright?

ALICIA

I’m fine. I…

THE MAN
Can you get to the window?

ALICIA

I… give me…

Pause.

ALICIA

The gate’s gone.

THE MAN

Alicia?

ALICIA

Oh God…

THE MAN

Alicia, I need you-

ALICIA

It’s smoking. There’s a hole-

THE MAN

Alicia…

Pause.

ALICIA

They’re coming through.

THE MAN presses off ALICIA’s light.

THE MAN presses WILL’s light.

There is the sound of gunfire.

THE MAN

What’s going on?

WILL

Wait a sec – FUCK! – wait a sec – Higgs, take this-

THE MAN

Colonel, where are you?

WILL

We’re under attack! They took out – FUCK! – the third car in our convoy. They’ve got rockets on the rooftops… we’ve got fire positions-

THE MAN

They’re taking the office, Will.

WILL

THEY’RE TAKING US, GOD DAMMIT.

THE MAN

Will, are you moving?

WILL

FUCK!

THE MAN

Will, are you moving?

WILL

The street’s closed, sir, there’s no-

There is a very loud sound.

THE MAN

Will?

WILL

FUCK! We’re taking fire, I – FUCK!

WILL’s light goes off.

SCENE TEN

All the lights are off

Brief caesura.

THE MAN presses ALICIA’s light.

THE MAN

Alicia?

ALICIA

Yes?

THE MAN

What’s going on?

ALICIA

I can hear them.

THE MAN

Inside?

ALICIA

They… they broke down the door…

THE MAN

Are they inside the building?

Pause.

THE MAN

Alicia?

ALICIA

I can see them coming in. They’re just coming through the door…

THE MAN

Alicia…

There is a sound of gunfire.

ALICIA

Will’s not coming.

THE MAN

No. No, he’s not.

ALICIA

This is one big fuckup.

THE MAN

Yes it is.

Pause.

ALICIA

You should have read my reports.

Pause.

THE MAN
I’m sorry, Alicia.

ALICIA

It’s alright. It’s… it’s alright.

There is more sounds of gunfire, louder.

Pause.

There are a series of loud noises, followed by a slamming.

THE MAN
Alicia?

There is shouting in a foreign language.

ALICIA

My name is Alic-

There is a burst of gunfire, and the loud sound of the receiver hitting the ground.

There is more speaking in a foreign language.

A door slams.

Pause.

Pause.

THE MAN reaches over, and puts ALICIA’s light out.

SCENE ELEVEN

All lights are off.

THE MAN presses WILL’s light.

There is much noise in the background.

THE MAN

Will?

WILL

We’re breaking through, sir. We’re mortaring the rooftops and looking for an alternate-

THE MAN

Fall back.

WILL

What?

THE MAN

To the compound. Fall back.

WILL

Sir? Sir, we’re just starting to break through-

THE MAN

It’s too late.

WILL

I’ve got four men down, sir, I don’t know how bad, not to mention two jeeps and-

THE MAN

It’s too late. Fall back.

WILL

Sir, I’ve got dead men and-

THE MAN

Alicia’s dead.

Pause.

WILL

Sir?

THE MAN

We’re too late.

Pause.

WILL

Sir, what about-

THE MAN

The capital’s fallen. Jikali’s probably dead. The army’s letting it happen. Communications are down. We don’t know who we’re fighting against. We don’t know what’s going on. We’ve lost control of the situation and all our people are dead. Take your men and your wounded. Go back to the compound. Protect our people. Protect the refineries.

Pause.

THE MAN

Will?

WILL

Sir… sir, yes sir.

WILL’s light goes off.

The man leans back in his chair.

SCENE TWELVE

All lights are off.

Brief caesura.

JOHNATHAN’s phone lights.

JOHNATHAN

Sir?

THE MAN

What is it, Johnathan?

JOHNATHAN

Sir, I… I have your daughter calling for you.

Pause. The man shakes his head to clear it.

THE MAN

Put her through please Johnathan.

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir.

DAUGHTER’s phone lights.

JOHNATHAN’s phone lights off.

DAUGHTER

Hi Daddy!

THE MAN

Hey… hey baby. How are you?

DAUGHTER

I’m furious!

THE MAN

Oh? Why?

DAUGHTER

Cause you forgot to pick me up from school!

THE MAN

Will you quit it? That happened once-

DAUGHTER

It was awful!

THE MAN

It was ten years ago!

DAUGHTER

Back when I was an impressionable little girl. You could have scarred me for life, you know.

THE MAN

Could have.

DAUGHTER

Oh, shit.

THE MAN

Language.

DAUGHTER

Fuck off!
THE MAN

That’s better. Now how’s my little girl.

DAUGHTER

I’m good.

THE MAN

Just calling to say hi?

DAUGHTER

Yeah, just wasting your precious work-time.

THE MAN

You can waste my time anytime.

DAUGHTER

Yeah, that’s what they all say.

THE MAN

All your fathers.

DAUGHTER

Oh, yeah. I have hundreds. Hundreds and hundreds, all over the world… but you’re the one I call to annoy.

THE MAN

You’re very sweet, you know that?

DAUGHTER

I know.

THE MAN

You want money, don’t you.

DAUGHTER

Nope.

THE MAN

Then what?

DAUGHTER

Nothing.

THE MAN

Okay, now I’m nervous.

DAUGHTER

Well, that’s your problem them. I just called to say I love you. If you’re nervous, that’s just too bad.

THE MAN

I love you too.

DAUGHTER

Okay, just checking. Go back to work.

THE MAN

Really?

DAUGHTER

Really.

THE MAN

I love you, baby.

DAUGHTER
I love you too.

THE MAN

Bye baby. Have a good-

Her light goes off.

======INTERMISSION======

SCENE THIRTEEN

All lights are off.

Brief caesura.

THE MAN lights JOHNATHAN’s light.

THE MAN

Johnathan?

JOHNATHAN

Um, yes, yes sir?

THE MAN

Anything coming in about Beloko?

JOHNATHAN

No, sir.

THE MAN

Nothing on the net? No news?

JOHNATHAN

Not… not that I can see, sir. No assets reporting. File’s clean.

THE MAN

Alright.

JOHNATHAN

Sir?
THE MAN

Alright, I need… I need a list of all our emergency action assets in the area.

JOHNATHAN

Already pulled it.

THE MAN

That’s very good, Johnathan.

JOHNATHAN

Thank you, sir.

THE MAN

Who do we have?

JOHNATHAN

Richard Millie’s in Accra, he’s there with the naval fast response squad. Two cutters, hundred and twenty men.

THE MAN

A navy’s not what we need.

JOHNATHAN

Colonel Dumisa’s… oh, Dumisa’s in Lome with thirty men-

THE MAN

Not enough.

JOHNATHAN

Okay, uhh… Mike Chen in Libreville with sixteen… that’s not… uh, there’s a team coming back from… no, that’s in South Africa… uhh, then there’s Fri… uhh… Fri… Frid… Fridjo-

THE MAN

Friðþjófur.

JOHNATHAN

Oh, uhh, yes sir.

THE MAN

Where is he?

JOHNATHAN

Timbuktu. Seventy men. With helicopters.

THE MAN

And that’s all?

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir. Is that-

THE MAN

I guess that’ll have to work.

JOHNATHAN
Sir?

Pause.

THE MAN

Alright. Get Freddy’s unit activated. Tell them I want them in the air in thirty minutes.

JOHNATHAN

Freddy. Yes sir.

THE MAN

But first get me Will.

JOHNATHAN

Yes, sir.

JOHNATHAN’s light goes out.

SCENE FOURTEEN

All lights are off.

WILL’s light comes on.

THE MAN

Hello, Will.

WILL

Hello sir.

THE MAN

Where are you?

WILL

In the compound, sir. All of us. We’ve secured-

THE MAN

How many did you lose?
WILL

We lost Schmidt, Mook… four men, sir. Four men KIA. Three hors de combat. Higgs caught some shrapnel but he’s on his feet.

THE MAN

I’m sorry about your men, Colonel.

WILL

Thank you, sir.

THE MAN

What about you?

WILL

I’m fine, sir.

THE MAN

You sure?

WILL

Yes. Sir.

THE MAN

What’s your situation?

WILL

We’ve closed off the compound. We have eighty-seven Company contractors in here with us. Also twelve foreign nationals and six locals. We’ve secured-

THE MAN

I’m sorry, Will – six locals?

WILL

Refinery employees. We have them under guard. Just in case.

THE MAN

Better safe than sorry.

WILL

And – yes, sir – and eight spouses, and fourteen children.

THE MAN

All our people?

WILL

Yes sir.

THE MAN

Very good. You tell them they’ll be in the air and heading home within a few hours.

WILL

A few hours?

THE MAN

Freddy. And the cavalry.

WILL
From Mali?

THE MAN

It’s the best we can do.

WILL

Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.

THE MAN

Tell them they just have to hang tight for a few hours and they’ll be eating airline food and sipping Champagne.

WILL

Thank you, sir. I’m sure they’ll appreciate that.

THE MAN

I’m sorry you can’t go with them.

WILL

Of course sir. Of course not.

THE MAN

Between your men and Freddy’s, I’m counting on you to protect the refineries.

WILL

Yes, sir.

THE MAN

I’m counting on you, Will.

WILL

Yes, sir. Of course.

THE MAN

So you were talking about security?

WILL

Oh, yes sir, we’ve secured a perimeter and manned every hardpoint. We’re in full lockdown, we’re covered from every side. All by the playbook. Sir.

THE MAN

And you wrote that playbook, didn’t you?

WILL

I did, sir.

THE MAN

And designed the compound to suit.

WILL

Yes sir.

THE MAN

That’s excellent, Will. How are you supplied?

WILL

We have food and water to last a hundred people a hundred days.

THE MAN

And munitions?

WILL

Two hundred days.

THE MAN

But you’ll be out of there today.

WILL

Of course. Sir.

THE MAN

Until then, just keep-

Garbled words come from WILL’s phone.

WILL

Sir, I- hold on, sir, please, just a-

The sound of a hand going over a microphone. Muffled words.

Pause.

SCENE FIFTEEN

WILL

The radio’s broadcasting.

THE MAN

What kind of station?

WILL

All stations, sir.

THE MAN

The same broadcast?

WILL

Yes, sir.

THE MAN

Can you understand it?

WILL

It’s Yoruba, sir.

THE MAN

Do you speak Yoruba?

WILL

Well enough.

THE MAN

Then tell me what it says.

WILL

It’s a man. He sounds like he’s reading a proclamation.

THE MAN

That would be Maxhotla.

WILL

I don’t… he’s saying, he’s declaring that the army is with him, that they army is entirely under his control-

THE MAN

Nothing new there.

WILL

No shit.

THE MAN

What else, Will?

WILL

Yes – sorry, sir – he’s saying that this is a peaceful revolution, that his, uh, his countrymen have nothing to fear. That this revolution is being directed at, uhh-

THE MAN

Give it to me.

WILL

This, uhh, “this is not a, a civil war, nor a war of one faction against another, nor of tribe against tribe, nor of brother against brother. This is a war by the people of a nation, sovereign and free, against an invader. These invaders are not nations, but they come from other nations. They do not seek to conquer us on the battlefield, but they seek to conquer. They do not wish to kill us, but they wish to control us, to seize our resources, to profit on our industry, to take our freedom, to determine our destiny. They do not wish to kill us, but they wish to have the power to kill us. There is no difference. We would be all but dead.

And so we fight. We fight for our lives. We fight for our freedom. We fight for our country. We fight that our children might profit from the work we do – and from their own.

Today our fight has brought us triumph. President Jikali is dead. His government is dead. His stooges are dead or soon will be. The way of life which he stood for is dead and gone. Our slavery is over. No more will we be exploited by foreign interests to fill their foreign coffers. Today we our own masters. Today we our masters of our destiny.

We have won a great battle. The hard work of revolution is over; it is done. Now comes the harder work of building a peaceful nation, a free and democratic nation, a rich and prosperous nation, a country of which we can be proud.

THE MAN

Don’t do it.

WILL

And so we will take back what is rightfully ours.

THE MAN

Don’t do it, you idiot.

WILL

As of this moment I am nationalizing all foreign industries-

THE MAN

You stupid son of a bitch.

WILL

Excuse me, sir?

THE MAN

Not you, Will. Not you.

WILL

Now he’s saying-

THE MAN

It doesn’t matter.

WILL

Sir?

THE MAN

It doesn’t matter, Will.

Pause.

WILL

Yes, sir.

SCENE SIXTEEN

WILL’s light is lit.

Pause.

WILL

Sir?

THE MAN

Yes, Will? Sorry, I-

WILL

So what do we do, sir?

THE MAN

What do you mean?

WILL

What he said, sir. What do we do?

Pause.

THE MAN

I don’t see how this affects our position at all, Will.

WILL

But sir-

THE MAN

The cavalry’s coming, Will. Nice big helicopters with nice big guns. They’re going to get the civilians out and replace them with soldiers.

WILL

Yes, but-

THE MAN

And you’re

WILL

But he nationalised the refineries.

Pause.

THE MAN

He said that, Will.

WILL

But-

THE MAN
But he can’t do that.

WILL

But sir-

THE MAN

Listen to me, Will. He can’t do that. We’re not going to let him.

WILL

Yes, sir.

THE MAN

It’s your job not to let him.

WILL

Sir-

THE MAN

Go ahead, Will.

WILL

It’s… sir, this is not the situation we prepared for.

Pause.

THE MAN

No, Will, this is exactly what you prepared for.

WILL

No, sir.

THE MAN

Will-

WILL

No – I’m sorry, no, sir. This is entirely different.

THE MAN

Will, you’re in a hardened position which you designed for exactly this

WILL

No – I’m sorry, sir – No. That’s not how it works. This is a hardened compound, sir. It’s designed to protect us against raiders, against rioters, against terrorist attack. We can withstand a prolonged siege by an equal force. Even superior numbers. But that’s not the situation!

THE MAN

No, Will, I’m afraid that’s exactly the sit-

WILL

This is the modern battlefield, sir. You can’t fight a war from a fixed position. Modern war is dynamic. Modern war is-

THE MAN

Will, don’t lecture me on the nature of modern warfare.
WILL

Then don’t ask me to be a sitting duck-

THE MAN

You designed our defenses!

WILL

Not against an army!

THE MAN

You have an army!

WILL

I have a handful of men – sir! – I have a handful of men, I have no air support, I have no artillery, I have no effective anti-aircraft-

THE MAN

Will-

WILL

They’re going to shell us, sir. They’re going to shell us. They’re going to sit on the horizon and shell us. Do you know what that’s like?

WILL

DO YOU?

Pause.

THE MAN

Will-

WILL

I’m telling you, sir – it’s my responsibility – it’s my responsibility to tell you-

THE MAN

Your responsibility, Will, is to protect those refineries.

WILL

I can’t – Jesus fuck- Are you – can you hear a fucking word I’m saying? Sir?

Pause.

WILL

Sir?

Pause.

WILL

Sir? Can you hear me? Are you even-

THE MAN reaches out, and turns off WILL’s light.

SCENE SEVENTEEN

All lights are off.

THE MAN lights JOHNATHAN’s light.

THE MAN

Johnathan?

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir?

THE MAN

I need…

JOHNATHAN

Sir?

THE MAN

Tell Freddy… tell him not to cross the border.

JOHNATHAN

Sir?

THE MAN

You heard me, Johnathan.

JOHNATHAN

Yes, sir. Of course.

THE MAN

Sorry to be short with you, Johnathan.

JOHNATHAN

No… uhh, of course sir. Not at all.

THE MAN

Tell him to hold at the border. But keep his engines hot.

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir.

THE MAN

And Johnathan?

JOHNATHAN

Yes, uh, sir?

THE MAN

I’m going to need a breakdown of our codename-level assets in the area.

Pause.

JOHNATHAN

I don’t have clearance for that-

THE MAN

I’m clearing you.

THE MAN pulls a fob out of his pocket.

JOHNATHAN

I’ll need your passcode, sir.

THE MAN

It changes every minute. Wait for it..

Pause. Wait.

THE MAN

Here.

THE MAN recites an alphanumeric series.

THE MAN

Got that?

JOHNATHAN

Yes, sir. Yes, I think… it’s working, sir. I’m… yes, sir.

THE MAN

Very good.

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir. We’ve… sir, we’ve… codename assets, sir?

THE MAN

Yes, Johnathan.

JOHNATHAN

Sorry, sir. It’s… okay… okay, asset codename HATTER is in Monrovia, he’s training with a group-

THE MAN

They’re not up for this kind of work.

JOHNATHAN

Oh, uhh… asset codename CHESHIRE is… no, deployed in Somalia… asset codename BANDERSNATCH is in Luanda with twenty-eight men.. asset codename CARPENTER is four hours by plane, uhh, forty men, four-zero…

THE MAN

Anything else?

JOHNATHAN

Oh, uh… I don’t… yes, yes sir. Asset codename JABBERWOCKY. In training on Malabo. Two companies. One hundred and thirty men.

Pause.

JOHNATHAN

That’s all, sir.

THE MAN

I know.

Pause.

Pause.

JOHNATHAN

Sir?

Pause.

JOHNATHAN

Si-

THE MAN

Jabberwocky.

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir. Shall I get him on the line?

THE MAN

Her. Yes. Get her…

Pause.

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir.

JOHNATHAN’s light goes off.

SCENE EIGHTEEN

All lights are off.

JABBERWOCKY’s light goes on.

THE MAN

Hello, Dana.

JABBERWOCKY

Why, sir, as I live and breathe. And here I was thinking you’d forgotten all about me.

THE MAN

I don’t think there’s much danger of that.

JABBERWOCKY

Here I am, me and my boys training hard from dawn to dawn, waiting by the phone, waiting for the boy who never calls-

THE MAN

I’m calling, Dana.

JABBERWOCKY

Tell me, what’s my codename these days?

THE MAN

Jabberwocky.

JABBERWOCKY snorts.

THE MAN

We do what we can.

JABBERWOCKY

We appreciate it. Gives us something to do while we’re waiting by the phone, waiting for the boy who never calls-

THE MAN

Aren’t we eager.

JABBERWOCKY

Momma needs a new pair of sandals.

THE MAN

Last I checked, what momma really needed was a cargo plane full of small arms and communications equipment. With end-use certificates.

Pause.

JABBERWOCKY

What’s going on, sir?

THE MAN

There’s been a coup in Beloko. They killed the president, they’ve got the military, the capital’s theirs.

JABBERWOCKY

What about your people?

THE MAN

They stormed the building. They killed our agent at her desk.

Pause.

JABBERWOCKY

What about the refineries?

THE MAN

Ours. Not for long.

JABBERWOCKY

Why? Who’s on site?

THE MAN

Will Paternoster.

JABBERWOCKY

With how many men?

THE MAN

It doesn’t matter.

JABBERWOCKY

Are they-

THE MAN

Will’s buckling, Dana. He’s scared, he’s tired, he’s not going to hold.

Pause.

JABBERWOCKY

I’m sorry, sir.

THE MAN

That’s alright.

Pause.

THE MAN

What matters is what we do now.

JABBERWOCKY

Yes, sir.

THE MAN

The revolution is being driven by one man. His name is Maxhotla. He’s probably in the presidential palace, or else riding to the refineries with an army. He’s been broadcasting on national radio. I don’t think he’ll be hard to spot.

JABBERWOCKY

How many men do we have in theater?

THE MAN

A short company. Well supplied, secured in the compound. And hundred civilians, ours, including women and children.

JABBERWOCKY

And what-

THE MAN

Sorry – and Freddy’s at the border with seventy men.

JABBERWOCKY

Under my command?

THE MAN

Every last one.

JABBERWOCKY

What’s the other guy look like?

THE MAN

In the capital they have four thousand men.

JABBERWOCKY

How are they armed?

THE MAN

We’ve been selling them munitions for thirty years.

Pause.

JABBERWOCKY

Well, you’re in luck! We here at Jabberwocky’s Emporium of Wonders are having a blow-out special on political assassinations. Why, for those who act now, we-

THE MAN

I’m not kidding around.

JABBERWOCKY

Neither am I, sir. This is a retirement job.

THE MAN

Not if you do it right.

JABBERWOCKY

You think I can just go into a sovereign nation, kill its leader, and then walk on out as if-

THE MAN

It’s leader died this morning.

JABBERWOCKY

And six years from now, my lawyer at The Hague will certainly make that point.

THE MAN

There’s a revolution starting. You’re just ending it.

JABBERWOCKY

I have my men to think of, sir. You may like me for my looks, but they put up with me because I keep them safe.

THE MAN

Dana, after this you’re going to be the most sought-after strategic asset in Africa.

JABBERWOCKY

I already am.

THE MAN

Well, then, you’re going to be the richest.

Pause.

JABBERWOCKY

Ten million.

THE MAN

Two.

JABBERWOCKY

Ten.

THE MAN

It’s a day’s work.

JABBERWOCKY

It’s work only we can do. It incredibly dangerous work, both during and after. And even if we pull it off perfect, it’s the only day’s work we’re going to get for a very long time.

Pause.

THE MAN

Six mill-

JABBRWOCKY

Ten.

THE MAN

SIX million dollars. One in hard currency, five in credit

JABBERWOCKY

Two and five.

THE MAN

Two and four.

JABBERWOCKY

And you take care of end-use certificates.

THE MAN

Every one.

JABBERWOCKY

Done.

THE MAN

Done.

JABBERWOCKY

We’ll make you proud, sir. This will all be over soon.

THE MAN

Thanks, Dana.

JABBERWOCKY’s light goes out.

THE MAN lights JOHNATHAN’s light.

THE MAN

Johnathan?

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir?

THE MAN

Please liaise with Miss Jabberwocky’s representative, make sure they have all the information they need. Better get Freddy on the line too; make sure he knows she’s in command.

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir. Right now sir?

THE MAN

Yes sir.

JOHNATHAN

Is there anything else I can do, sir?

THE MAN
Nothing, Johnathan. It’s already over.

JOHNATHAN’s light goes out.

SCENE NINETEEN

All lights are of.

The man lights WILL’s light.

THE MAN

Will?
WILL

Sir, I need-

THE MAN

Let me say a few things first, Will.I need you to-

WILL

Sir, as a commanding officer

THE MAN

Listen to me first WILL.

WILL

Sir-

THE MAN

Before you say something you regret.

WILL

Sir, I-

THE MAN

Before you say something that’s going to GET YOU KILLED.

WILL

SIR, as a commanding officer in charge of the safety of both my men and of a civilian population, it is my duty to inform you-

THE MAN

Don’t do it, Will.

WILL

My SOLEMN DUTY to inform you that the course of action which you have ordered represents an undue threat to the safety of my men and to the people under our protection. As a result, I must respectfully inform you that I am disregarding the order.

Pause.

THE MAN

Very well, Colonel Paternoster. What do you intend to do?

WILL

As quarter is being offered, and no alternative is available, I shall accept it.

THE MAN

Alright, Will. If that’s how it’s going to be.

WILL

Please understand that this is not an easy decision to make, and that if I felt there was any-

THE MAN

Good luck, Will. I hope they treat you as well as they treated Alicia.

THE MAN punches WILL’s light out.

Pause.

Pause.

THE MAN

Stupid son of a bitch.

======SECOND INTERMISSION======

SCENE TWENTY

All lights are out.

JOHNATHAN’s light comes on

JOHNATHAN

Sir?

THE MAN

Yes, Johnathan?

JOHNATHAN

I have Miss, uhh, Jabberwocky, on the line.

THE MAN

Patch her through. And Johnathan-

JOHNATHAN

Patch her straight through next time?

THE MAN

You’re a mind-reader Johnathan.

JOHNATHAN’s light goes out.

JABBERWOCKY’s light comes on.

The sound of rotor-blades cutting the air.

THE MAN

What’s going on, Dana?

JABBERWOCKY

We’re beginning our descent over sunny Beloko. The local time is-

THE MAN

Spare me.

JABBERWOCKY

We’ll be within engagement range in ten minutes.

THE MAN

How do you know?

JABBERWOCKY

Maxhotla’s traveling with several hundred men. As in every good coup leader, all the surviving brass is clustering around the Big Boy as tight as they can. They’ve all got cell phones. It’s the biggest bullseye in the country.

THE MAN

Where are they?

JABBERWOCKY

They’re just outside the refinery. I believe Colonel Paternoster is negotiating his surrender.

THE MAN

Sounds about right.

JABBERWOCKY

Anything special you want me to do with him.

Pause.

THE MAN

No.

JABBERWOCKY

Roger that, sir.

THE MAN

So what’s the plan?

JABBERWOCKY

I stay back in my command helo and do my nails. My boys come in fast and light ’em up from the air. It’s too hot down here for infrared, so we image on millimeter-wave radar, if we see anything moving we ask it very politely to stop. Then we drop down, do a full sweep, and the cavalry comes up and gets the civvies clear.

THE MAN

You’re a lifesaver, Dana. I mean that.

JABBERWOCKY

And you’ve got a sexy voice.

THE MAN

Shut up.

JABBERWOCKY

Aye aye, sir.

Pause.

JABBERWOCKY

Want me to walk you through this?

THE MAN

If it’s not too much trouble.

JABBERWOCKY

Piece of cake.

Alright, we’re fifteen clicks out. I’m hanging back

Thirteen clicks out. No enemy contact.

Ten clicks out. Spreading out for a barrage.

Nine clicks. Care to give the order, sir?

THE MAN

Fire at will.

JABBERWOCKY

Truer words were never-

THE MAN

Just shoot the damn rockets, Dana.

JABBERWOCKY

Pause.

Rockets are away.

Rockets five click out.

Rocket impact. Gunships move in.

Seven clicks out. No return fire.

Five clicks out. No return fire.

Two clicks. Visualising battlefields.

No hostiles detected. Moving in.

Helos down. Spread on the bounce.

Fire. Taking fire. Engaging.

Neutralized.

Spread and sweep.

Sweeping.

THE MAN
What are they seeing?

JABBERWOCKY
All in good time, sir.

Sweeping.

Two buildings destroyed. Several vehicles, six helicopters destroyed on the ground. Some wounded, mostly dead. No damage to the refineries.

THE MAN

Can you confirm Maxhotla among the killed?

JABBERWOCKY

Not unless you packed us a dentist.

THE MAN

Is that the best-

JABBERWOCKY

Confidence extremely high that he was present. Nobody present is alive.

THE MAN
I guess we can be happy with that.

So… that’s it?

JABBERWOCKY

We can blow them up some more, if you’d like. Got plenty of rockets left.

THE MAN

I don’t think that’ll be necessary.

JABBERWOCKY

Suit yourself.

THE MAN

Any casualties on your end?

JABBERWOCKY

Afraid you’re not paying us nearly enough for that.

We’ve got Freddy’s helos on radar.

Can’t see how he flies those Soviet pieces of shit.

THE MAN

Because we gave them to him.

JABBERWOCKY

All I want is a box of chocolates and he gets Mi-17s

THE MAN

I’ll send you a box of chocolates.

JABBERWOCKY

You have a way with the girls, sir, I can tell.

THE MAN

I-

JABBERWOCKY

Freddy’s choppers touching down in the compound.

Sir, we’ve got a man among the dead wearing the local Company livery. Looks like Colonel Paternoster.

THE MAN

Dead?

JABBERWOCKY

If he’s alive, would you want me to tell you?

Pause.

THE MAN

See that his body’s shipped home for burial.

JABBERWOCKY

Yes sir.

The choppers are lifting, sir.

THE MAN

Everyone get away clear?

JABBERWOCKY

Freddy’s accent nonwithstanding, they got ’em all.

THE MAN

And the compound?

JABBERWOCKY

It’s got enough guns in it to fight off an army. But I don’t think

THE MAN

No. I don’t think so.

JABBERWOCKY

What’s the game now, sir? Reinstate
THE MAN

Something like that.

JABBERWOCKY

Fine, sir, be that way.

THE MAN

I usually am.

Pause.

JABBERWOCKY

Well then, if it’s all the same to you sir, I’m going to take my men and head on home.

THE MAN

Yes, Dana. That’s fine.

JABBERWOCKY

Always a pleasure, sir. I look forward to getting your money.

THE MAN

You earned it.

JABBERWOCKY

And sir?

THE MAN

Yes?

JABBERWOCKY

I like dark chocolate.

THE MAN

I-

JABBERWOCKY’s light goes out.

SCENE TWENTYONE

All lights are off.

THE MAN lights JOHNATHAN’s light.

THE MAN

Johnathan?

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir?

THE MAN

It’s over.

JOHNATHAN

Sir?

THE MAN

Anything on the wires?

JOHNATHAN

Not much that I’ve seen, sir.

THE MAN
Anything?

JOHNATHAN

There’s a two-liner on the wires that there may be a coup attempt

THE MAN

Any reaction on the markets?

JOHNATHAN

Uhh, the markets are closed, sir.

THE MAN

There’s always a market open somewhere, Johnathan.

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir. You want me to-

THE MAN

No, it’s fine, I’m just… just being pedantic. Sorry, Johnathan.

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir.

THE MAN

Can you take a memo or two for me, Johnathan?

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir. Ah… ready when you are.

THE MAN

First memo:

Today in Beloko, terrorist forces under the command of… of a local insurgent leader, staged a suicidal assault on the presidential palace in Kivu. The president, Jikali, died at his desk. Dozens of others were killed or injured, including many senior government and military commanders. It is a tragic day for the people of Beloko.

Concurrent to their assault, members of the network launched attacks – make that ‘suicide attacks’ – against several civilian targets in and around the capital. This included attacks against a number of international and humanitarian targets. Several of our employees were killed, including section chief Alicia Trieste-

JOHNATHAN

Sir?

THE MAN

I’m afraid so, Johnathan.

JOHNATHAN

But… you mean-

THE MAN

Just write, Johnathan.

Pause.

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir.

THE MAN

Alicia Trieste. The good work of these decent, hard-working people will not be forgotten. Their sacrifice for the betterment of a struggling country shall not have been in vain.

The assault was short-lived as the insurgents were quickly surrounded by members of the armed forces. Most, including the leader, were killed. The army has declared martial law in the capital and the highlands, to be ended as soon as the constitutional succession of a new president can be assured. Our petroleum and mineral refineries, necessary to supplying the energy needs of the country, will resume operat- no, ‘continue operations’. The hard currency they generate will be instrumental in repairing the damage done by today’s events, allowing the people of Beloko to continue on their path… their path to stability and prosperity. Got that, Johnathan?

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir.

THE MAN

Release immediately to all media assets and major shareholders. Second memo. Marked internal and confidential at codeword level. Distribution: CEO, COO, directors, security executives, worldwide station chiefs. Begin:

This morning there was a coup in Beloko, where Company maintains growing interest in petrochemicals and various minerals.

An indigenous revolutionary group, in significant concert with local armed forces, laid siege to the presidential palace. The head of state was killed, presumably alongside his cabinet and staff. Gathering civilian support, they proceeded to storm Company offices and killed our agent and her staff. Following protocol, refinery operations ceased and all personnel were secured.

Following a radio announcement by coup leader of his intention to nationalize foreign industry by force, the local security chief lost his nerve and announced his attention to surrender. Codename asset was activated, as well as security personnel in neighboring country.

Codename asset arrived via helicopter. Rockets were fired, followed by ground forces. The leader of the coup, as well as the primary sympathetic elements of the military, are presumed killed. Also killed was local security chief. No other casualties reported.

Personnel were evaced and have by this time left local airspace. Refinery is secured. Codename asset has withdrawn.

Recommendations:

Media policy include description of event as internal terrorist activity suppressed by local forces. Involvement of company assets and paramilitary personnel to be suppressed.

Refinery personnel be given three days debrief, median hazard bonus, then returned to continue operations.

Advisors be deployed in situ to coordinate restructuring of armed forces in manner sympathetic to Country interests.

Company offices in the region be placed on heightened alert, if only to reassure personnel.

Generous indemnity be levied through acquisition of mining and drilling concessions.

That’s it, Johnathan. Encrypt and distribute.

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir.

THE MAN

And please make an appointment for me to

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir. Uh, there’s a call for you, sir.

THE MAN

Who is it?

JOHNATHAN

It’s your daughter.

THE MAN

Thanks, Johnathan. Put her through.

JOHNATHAN’s light goes off.

SCENE TWENTYTHREE

All lights are out.

THE MAN lights DAUGHTER’s light..

DAUGHTER

Hey daddy!

THE MAN

Hey baby! What’s that music?

DAUGHTER

I’m at that club opening. Remember?

THE MAN

I chose to forget that.

DAUGHTER

You never forget anything.

Pause.

DAUGHTER

Daddy?

THE MAN

Sorry. It’s… busy day at the office.

DAUGHTER

Aren’t they all?

THE MAN

This one more than most.

DAUGHTER

No wonder you sound like you’re having fun.

THE MAN

You’re the one sounds like you’re having fun.

DAUGHTER

It’s a great party!

THE MAN

And you’ve been drinking.

DAUGHTER

I have not!

THE MAN

Uh huh.

DAUGHTER

How can you tell!?

THE MAN

It’s a club opening. If you can have fun without drinking, you’re crazy.

DAUGHTER

You really don’t know how to have fun, do you?

THE MAN

No. No, I do.

DAUGHTER

Listen to this. This is fun.

She must be holding the phone up, because all your hear is heavy, rhythmic music.

DAUGHTER

That’s what fun sounds like.

Pause.

THE MAN

No. Not always. Sometimes fun sounds like nothing at all.

DAUGHTER

You’re old.

THE MAN

You’re still drunk.

DAUGHTER
I’m 21!

THE MAN

No you’re not.

DAUGHTER

Shh – the bouncers will hear you.

THE MAN

God, you are drunk.

DAUGHTER

Only a little. Why, you don’t care.

THE MAN

Oh, God no. I just find it funny that you try to pretend you’re not.

DAUGHTER

Well, I have to.

THE MAN

Why?
DAUGHTER

Otherwise it isn’t fun!

THE MAN

What do you mean?

DAUGHTER

If you know I’m drinking then you know I’m not really having a good time. And I can feel you judging me. Judging judging judging.

THE MAN

That’s not me judging, that’s you judging.

DAUGHTER

I know! It’s horrible!

THE MAN

Sorry.

DAUGHTER

No you’re not!

THE MAN

No, I suppose I’m not.

DAUGHTER

Because now I have to think, ‘Oh, God, what kind of party is it where I have to drink to have fun?’ and ‘Oh, God, Daddy would say that the best fun is the kind that requires all your faculties’-

THE MAN

I would not say that.

DAUGHTER

You’d think it!
THE MAN

Probably.

DAUGHTER

Definitely.

THE MAN
Maybe.

DAUGHTER

And then I’d have to leave the club and go read a book or something.

THE MAN

Oh, how terrible.

DAUGHTER

But I want to have fun!

THE MAN

I have fun.

DAUGHTER

Where? At work.

Pause.

THE MAN

Yes.

DAUGHTER

You’re crazy.

THE MAN

Maybe. But today I-

Pause.

DAUGHTER

What?

THE MAN

Nothing. No… no, I, it wasn’t fun, exactly. But it was hard, and it was important. And I won.

DAUGHTER

You won?
THE MAN

Yes. Yes, I won.

Pause.

DAUGHTER

I hate you.

THE MAN

I know.

DAUGHTER

You just need to ruin everything, don’t you?

THE MAN

How did I-

DAUGHTER

Shut up.

THE MAN

Okay.

DAUGHTER

I hate you.

THE MAN

Yeah, but you love me too.

DAUGHTER

Listen to them! Everyone else here is having fun! Why can’t I have fun?

THE MAN

Because you’re my daughter.

DAUGHTER

Well… shit!

THE MAN

Language!

DAUGHTER

FUCK YOU!

THE MAN

That’s better.

DAUGHTER

Oh hell.

THE MAN

What?

DAUGHTER

I really am your daughter, aren’t I.

THE MAN

Yeah, you really are.

Pause.

God help you.

Pause.

DAUGHTER

Daddy?

THE MAN

Yes baby?

DAUGHTER

Is it really fun? Sitting in that office, doing all those important things, going to work every day-

THE MAN

What, being boring?

DAUGHTER

Daddy!

THE MAN

It’s okay. I can take it.

DAUGHTER

Well… yeah, I guess.

Pause.

THE MAN

Well… You’re drunk.

DAUGHTER

Am not!

THE MAN

Just here me out. You’ve been drinking. And you’re listening to that awful music.

DAUGHTER

It’s not-

THE MAN

Awful. Music.

DAUGHTER

Fine.

THE MAN

And… well, it…

Pause.

Anyone can have fun with a drink in their hand or a beat in their ear. Or on the sports field. Or with a lover. Or-

DAUGHTER

Daddy!

THE MAN

Sorry.

DAUGHTER

Ew!

THE MAN

Sorry!

DAUGHTER

Oh God, okay, keep going. Ew.

THE MAN

Well… anyone can have fun when they’re just having fun. But to have fun in your work – doing serious work, important work, work in the real world, work that matters – work that takes all your attention – all your intelligence, all your creativity – that takes a special kind of person. They have to be dedicated. Organized. Sober. Driven.

Pause.

It takes a special kind of person to enjoy being boring.

DAUGHTER

Think I’m that special kind of person?

Pause.

THE MAN

That’s up to you.

Pause.

DAUGHTER

Well, now, y’see? Now I’m bored. Now this place is boring. Now I can’t have fun!

THE MAN

So what’re you gonna do.

DAUGHTER

Find some hot guy and go home with him.
THE MAN

Oh God…

DAUGHTER

Go to the bedroom, get all naked, and-

THE MAN

I take it back. You’re not my daughter. I bought you from witches. And gypsies.

DAUGHTER

Witches and gypsies?

THE MAN

What you get for teasing me about boys.

DAUGHTER

You still think I’m a virgin, don’t you?

THE MAN

Aren’t you?

DAUGHTER

Of course, daddy. Never even been kissed. I’m going to die an old maid. Possibly in a nunnery.

THE MAN

That’s my girl!

DAUGHTER

I don’t tell those sweet lies to all of my fathers, you know.

THE MAN

Just me?

DAUGHTER

Just you.

THE MAN

I love you, baby.

DAUGHTER

I love you too Daddy. Now I’m gonna go abandon my date and go home and read a book or something. Bastard.

THE MAN

Why don’t you come home? We can order in, watch a movie-

DAUGHTER

My parent’s house on a Friday night? What kind of-

THE MAN
I’ll pay for the cab.

DAUGHTER

SOLD!

THE MAN

Wonderful!

DAUGHTER

One condition though.

THE MAN

No.

DAUGHTER

You haven’t even-

THE MAN

No.

DAUGHTER

We better do something more fun than this club.

THE MAN

Well… I can tell you about my day at work.

DAUGHTER

No way. I’m not that boring. Not yet anyway.

THE MAN

Have it your way.

DAUGHTER

You just better not suddenly have to work late or something. Or I’m coming back here. And sleeping with everybody.

THE MAN

Ahh… I’ll see you soon, baby.

DAUGHTER

See you soon, Daddy. Love you.

THE MAN

Love-

Her light goes off.

SCENE

All lights are off.

THE MAN lights JOHNATHAN’s light.

THE MAN

Johnathan?

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir?

THE MAN

I think I’m going to head out.

JOHNATHAN

Yes sir.

THE MAN

Anything else off the wires?

JOHNATHAN

Nothing.
THE MAN

Nothing?

JOHNATHAN

Nothing unusual, I mean.

THE MAN

Big difference there, Johnathan.

JOHNATHAN

Yes, sir.

THE MAN

You have a good night. I’ll see you in the morning.

JOHNATHAN

You too, sir. Have a good night.

THE MAN
Oh, and Johnathan?

JOHNATHAN

Yes?

THE MAN

Good work today.

Pause.

JOHNATHAN

Thank you, sir.

After a moment, JOHNATHAN’s light goes off.

THE MAN stands up, loosens his tie, thinks better of it and straightens it again. Exits.

CURTAIN.

~ by davekov on 27 October 2012.

2 Responses to “Boring – draft one”

  1. Daxel – this was a fast read, a thrill a minute/scene. And a fun setup with the lone man in front of the curtain. Thanks! p.s. One of these days you’ll have to tell me what your code name is. :)

  2. “Well… anyone can have fun when they’re just having fun. But to have fun in your work – doing serious work, important work, work in the real world, work that matters – work that takes all your attention – all your intelligence, all your creativity – that takes a special kind of person. They have to be dedicated. Organized. Sober. Driven.

    Pause.

    It takes a special kind of person to enjoy being boring.”

    This reminds me of Wallace’s “The Pale King”, a little, and is totally a thing worth exploring.

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