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Cast of Characters PAT, an adult human being; must be able to hang from/climb/sit on monkey bars for 30 minutes; gender-neutral SAM , an adult human being; gender-neutral M ARLEY, an adult human being; gender-neutral PEYTON, an adult human being; gender-neutral NARRATOR, an adult human being who reads all of the stage directions aloud, making all sound effects with her or his mouth; the more ridiculous, the better CROWD, a group of adult human beings; 10-15 people

Place The middle periphery of nowhere Time Whenever

At RISE: PAT hangs from a set of monkey bars, approximately seven feet above the ground. Ze stays on these monkey bars throughout the work. The actor is free to move however ze wishes, and choose any positions ze sees fit, but must always stay on the monkey bars. A twelve-tone arrangement of “America the Beautiful” plays in the background (and continues, albeit only softly, throughout the remainder of the work). Pat stares very intently at the ground in front of zir, as if ze is looking at something that no one else can see. Zir eyes never move; ze appears entranced. Ze continues in silence for a minute. Presently, SAM wanders onto stage, as if lost. Confused, ze slowly walks up to spot where Pat’s eyes meet the ground. Ze inspects it. Nothing. Ze turns back to Pat, who looks at zir, and the ground, zir, and the ground, in disbelief. SAM What are you doing? No answer. SAM (waving zir hand) Helloooo, what are you doing? PAT (shocked) What are you doing?


SAM (caught a little off-guard) M e? Oh, well, I, umm, I’m currently learning how to fly a kite. PAT Just one kite? SAM Well, no, any kite. PAT Even the alabaster kinds? SAM Alabaster? PAT Yea, alabaster kites. They’re a delicacy in New Hampshire. SAM I’ve never heard of that. PAT I’ve never heard of that either, frankly. (beat) So, what else you do doing? SAM Well, I’ve been looking into investing in gold. PAT Why gold? SAM Why not gold. PAT Can’t eat gold. SAM Sure you can. And then you’ll shit gold.


PAT You can shit gold. The sound of a horse NEIGHING, followed by a sparrow CHIRPING. SAM But gold’s at the top of market right now. PAT No, the sky’s at the top of the market. SAM No, this is a different kind of top. PAT The reattachable kind? SAM What? PAT (in one breath) The kind where you pull it back a bit, but not so much—well, if you pull it back too much, it won’t stay in place, so that’s why you have to make sure you pull back, usually on those dotted lines, although even those— SAM —No, third kind of top. PAT Oh, that top... Gold isn’t at that top right now. SAM (surprised) It’s not? PAT Nope.


SAM What is? PAT Oil. SAM Oh... Shoulda guessed that. PAT Nah, oil’s not for guessing. In a strange, melodic (but not sung), unison. PETER


It’s for burning.

It’s for burning. The two air high-five enthusiastically. PAT

But, really, why gold? SAM Well, to be honest, I’m worried about the dollar. I read— PAT —Worried about the dollar. Brian— SAM —Sam. PAT Sam, the dollar isn’t going anywhere! We’re the ones who devalue currencies; not the other way around. SAM Well, fine. It’s an investment then. (excitedly) M akin’ that dough. PAT If you really want to make money, you should invest in Willie Pete.


SAM I don’t know what that is. PAT Who that is. SAM I don’t know who that is. PAT I don’t either. But I know it’s at the top of the market right now. SAM Hmm, I’m gonna have to remember that. PAT No use in remembering; just write it down. SAM Good point. Ze begins looking around. PAT What are you looking for? SAM Something to write that down with. PAT Isn’t anything around here. Good luck with that. SAM How am I supposed to write it down then? PAT Get a tat’. SAM I would, but I’m still healing from the last one.


Ze pulls the back of zir shirt up and exposes, on zir back, a giant sassafras with the words “dont forget to go groshery shopping tuesday night*,” with the small * at the bottom reading “yes, you did this to yourself Sam**, with the even smaller ** below that reading “and no Sam you werent drunk.” PAT Wicked. SAM (pulling zir shirt back down) Yea, thanks. PAT What’s the plant? SAM Oh, I don’t know. PAT Looks kinda like poison ivy to me. SAM Could be... M ight as well be. PAT M ight as well be. (beat) So, what are you up to now? SAM Now? PAT Now. Aside from the kites. Or the kite. SAM Well, I’m trying to learn Indonesian.


PAT Useless. SAM Not if you live in Indonesia. PAT Do you live in Indonesia? SAM No. PAT Oh. I see... Useless. SAM The language? PAT The entire culture. Short beat. SAM Wow, that’s horrible. PAT Indonesia? Or the world? SAM You. How can you call an entire culture useless? PAT Will Indonesian get you a job? SAM Well... In Indonesia. PAT Do you live in Indonesia? SAM You already asked—Oh...


Beat. PAT So, what else? SAM Else? PAT Are you up to? SAM What are you up to? PAT I’m just hanging out. I asked you first. SAM Well, for one, I’m not hanging from monkey bars— PAT —They’re not called monkey bars. Jungle gym is the proper name. SAM Whatever. Jungle gym. (beat) Pretty sure the world doesn’t need a gym. PAT The world is a jungle though. SAM Good point. PAT Don’t wax poetic on me. This is no time for poetry: I’m hanging from monkey bars. SAM But you just said— PAT —I said no more poetry Brett.


SAM Brett? PAT M y name’s not Brett; it’s Pat. SAM No, my name’s not Brett. Short beat. PAT So what is it? SAM Sam. PAT Well, hello there Sam. M y name’s Pat. SAM Greetings Pat. Hang from monkey ba— PAT —Jungle gym. SAM Hang from jungle gyms regularly? PAT When I have to. SAM You have to? PAT Of course I do. I don’t have a choice. SAM You don’t?


PAT Duh. Take a look around. Sam takes a look around. SAM I don’t see anything. PAT The floor’s lava. Comically long beat. Sam looks up and down between Pat and the ground. SAM Lava? PAT You heard me right. SAM Lava? PAT Did I stutter? Beat. Sam continues looking between the two. Presently, ze begins jumping up and down on the ground. PAT (nervous) Hey, what are you doing? Be careful! SAM Ahh, the lava’ melting me! Help! Ze continues jumping around for a moment. Pat watches in silence. After several more moments, ze stops, panting.


PAT Got that out of your system? SAM (holding zir stomach) No, indigestion. PAT Tisk, tisk. One should always wait at least an hour before jumping around in lava. Sam, still holding zir stomach, looks to be in mild pain. PAT What’d you eat? SAM A veggie lasagna. PAT Oooh. An entire veggie lasagna? SAM The veggie lasagna. PAT Oh, I see. Classy. SAM Cheesy. PAT Gourmet. SAM (beat) Gourmet. PAT Pumpkin?


SAM Sassafras. PAT (very impressed) Oooh, classy. SAM Classy? PAT Disagree. SAM Well I respectfully disagree with your disagreement. PAT Well I respectfully disagree with your disagreement to my disagreement. SAM Hmm, well, I’m— PAT (abruptly) —Just a guy, so you should shut up about the things you don’t know anything about. SAM (visibly uncomfortable) Well, I, uh... PAT Gourdy. SAM Excuse me? PAT I had gourd once. SAM Gout?


PAT Yea, that sucks too. SAM Gourd? PAT Goutty. SAM Classy. PAT Gourmet. Short beat. SAM Glourassy. PAT Brilliant. You should copyright that. SAM (correction) Trademark that. (smoothly) And already done. Sam reaches into zir pocket for a comb... yet finds only a set of keys. ze pulls them slowly(and awkwardly) through zir hair anyway. PAT I have a pair of those. SAM M aybe. Bet mine are cooler though.


PAT Pssh, yea right. SAM Put your money where your mouth is. PAT Put your mouth where your money is. SAM Put your keys where your mouth is. PAT Wear your money where you put your mouth... or monkey... bars. Beat. SAM So let’s see em. PAT I don’t know where they are. SAM Oh, okay, well— PAT —Okay, you got me. They’re somewhere on me. SAM (taking a step forward) I can get them for you— PAT (suddenly frantic) No! (Sam freezes) Don’t take a step further. SAM (correcting) Farther.


PAT Farter. SAM (offended) Hey, you know I’m sensitive about that. PAT (addressing the AUDIENCE) Look at that. Author made a fart joke. This show’s really going downhill, isn’t it. SAM (addressing the AUDIENCE) Look at that. Author had to break the fourth wall to justify using a fart joke. So unsure of zir writing, ze’s gotta resort to classic Brechtian distanciation to prove it’s intellectual enough. ‘Cus, I mean, every line’s gotta serve “The Cause”; jokes for jokes’ sake are bourgeois. There’s no room for a fart joke in a revolutionary political allegory. PAT See, you can tell it’s a political allegory because there’s a really weird, dissonant version of “America the Beautiful” going on in the background. Hear that? (putting zir hand to zir ear; beat) And you can tell it’s revolutionary ‘cus we aren’t doing shit. (to Sam) But, uh, actually Sam, I think the quota for that is two. Two fart jokes. SAM Oh, really? Where’d you read that? PAT I don’t know, Aristotle or Egri or Žižek or something. SAM Two huh? Beat. Sam farts loudly. The two laugh childishly. PAT There we go.


SAM Quota. M et. (still laughing) All right, c’mon man, let’s get back into this scene. (after a brief moment of recuperation; frozen in front of the monkey bars) What’s wrong? PAT Don’t. Take. A. Step. Forward. SAM (half under zir breath) M an, I just wanted to get a look at those keys. PAT They’re on me. SAM Where on you? PAT Can’t tell you. SAM Why not? PAT Today’s not show-and-tell day. SAM When’s show-and-tell day. PAT Tuesday. SAM Every Tuesday. PAT Some Tuesdays.


Short beat. SAM Do you have them on you? PAT Tuesdays? I’m trying to break that habit. SAM No, not Tuesday, your key—Cold turkey? (Pat nods in the affirmative) Wow, that’s impressive. PAT And even better with some gout weed. SAM Or sassafrass. PAT Sassafrass and gout weed. The two declare an emphatic “mmmm” in unison, and daydream about the delectible treat for a moment. SAM So is that what that bulge is? PAT What, sassafrass and gout weed? SAM No, your keys. PAT Probably... No guarantees. SAM Don’t blame ya... They offer insurance?


PAT Only for the insured. Short beat. SAM Good business policy. PAT The best. SAM The best business policy. PAT Only the best. SAM Don’t forget the horse and sparrow. PAT I always do. The sound of a horse NEIGHING, followed by a sparrow CHIRPING. PAT So, you only told me what your colon is doing. What are you doing? SAM Now? PAT Here. SAM (remembering why ze’s here) Oh yea, I was trying to find the nearest bathroom. PAT You’re not anymore?


SAM I’m still trying to find the nearest bathroom. PAT Out here? SAM Out where? PAT Here. SAM Oh, I see... Is there a bathroom Here? PAT Everywhere’s a bathroom if you try hard enough. SAM Actually, you don’t even really need to try hard at all. PAT Good point. Beat. SAM When do you go to the bathroom, if you’re always hanging up there? PAT When you’re elevated like this for so long, you tend to forget about your bladder. SAM Doesn’t it hurt though? PAT Not as much as my arms. SAM Oh, I see.


PAT We only know we need to go ‘cus of the tension we feel. If you don’t feel the tension, you forget you need to go. SAM So you’ve never gone? PAT Where? SAM To the bathroom. PAT Oh. I went once. SAM Once? When was that. PAT I don’t know. It was a Tuesday. Suddenly, M arley walks onto stage. PAT Hey Brett. M ARLEY Brett? PAT M y name’s not Brett; it’s Pat. SAM M y name’s Sam. M ARLEY Oh, my name’s M arley. I’ve been lactating recently. PAT Well that’s a weird thing to tell two strangers.


SAM I’ve been lactating recently too. PAT Oh, cool! Is it for sale? SAM What, the alabaster kite? M ARLEY I have an alabaster kite. SAM (excited) Yea! Solidarity! Sam and M arley high five. M ARLEY (second guessing) Or maybe it’s a phosphorous kite... SAM (now second guessing himself too) You know, that makes me wonder too... The two ponder for a moment. PAT So, is it for sale? The two look at zir for a moment. SAM (suddenly getting it) Oohh, you mean the milk. Of course it’s for sail! M ARLEY Which “say-ul” do you mean: “sale,” or “sail”? Beat.


PAT I have an alabaster boat. M ARLEY (correcting) Phosphorous. PAT Alabaster phosphorous boat. SAM Good for you. Beat. M ARLEY I’ve heard Willie Pete’s for sale too. PAT Yea, I’ve heard that also. And not just for sale. On sale. M ARLEY Ooooh... Beat. SAM You all know I’m an uncle, right? M ARLEY You’re not an aunt? SAM No, definitely an uncle. Just not the male kind. PAT Of ant? M ARLEY No, of uncle.


SAM I do get that a lot though... Awkward silence M ARLEY How long have you been up there? PAT As long as I can remember. M ARLEY How long can you remember? PAT I don’t know, a mile or so. SAM No, how far back? PAT Back? Hmm, the answer’s the same. Direction shouldn’t really matter, so, if you want metric or something, I guess that would be— Ze visibly begins doing mental calculations. SAM (to Pat) —No, we’re not talking abou— PAT How many feet are in a mile? M ARLEY I don’t know, like 5000 or something SAM Guys, I wasn’t talking about—And, no, it’s like 3000. M ARLEY No, that’s for kilometres.


SAM No, 5000 is for kilometers. PAT How many feet are in a yard? SAM Depends on how big the yard is— M ARLEY —Three. PAT Blind mice? SAM See how they— M ARLEY —Run when you— PAT —What about millimeters in an inch? SAM Why do you need— M ARLEY —Well, first, you need— PAT —How ‘bout cups in a barrel? SAM Why are you measuring liquid? We’re talking about— PAT —Slices in a pizza? SAM But you—


PAT —Gotta have something to wash down, of course. M ARLEY Pat, you said— SAM —I don’t remember... M ARLEY (trying hard to remember) Oh, I had to memorize this in 6th grade... Darn it... SAM No, wait, stop, stop! Going back. How long can you remember being up there? PAT I don’t know. Since at least Tuesday. SAM Last Tuesday? M ARLEY Wait Sam, by that do you mean just this past Tuesday, or the one before that? PAT Whichever. SAM Whichever? PAT The question was directed at you. Short beat. SAM Which Tuesday?


PAT I don’t know. A Tuesday. When you’re hanging from monkey bars, they’re all the same, really. Beat. M ARLEY So why you up there? PAT The floor’s lava. M ARLEY (surprised) The floor’s lava? Ze jumps in fear. Sam watches zir for a moment, confused. Ze looks back and forth between the two for a moment; the others join zir in the look-a-thon. SAM Well, speaking of bathrooms— PAT —Who said anything about bathrooms? M ARLEY (to Sam) Were you looking for the bathroom too? SAM (really having to go at this point) Yes! M ARLEY Did you follow that sign that said— Ze’s cut off as Peyton enters. PEYTON Is there a bathroom around here somewhere?


Rapid-fire SAM Hey Peyton. PEYTON Hey Sam. PAT Hey Peyton. SAM (to Pat) You know Peyton? PEYTON Hey M arley. M ARLEY Hey Peyton. SAM Hey Sam. M ARLEY How’s the nephew going? SAM Don’t have one. M ARLEY Niece? SAM Nah. PAT But you said you’re an uncle. SAM Not the niece and nephew kind; the old-fashioned kind.


PAT I see. PEYTON What you up to Pat? PAT Oh, you know, the usual. Just, hanging, around. Ze and Peyton laugh an unnecessarily large amount at this joke. Right when you think they’ve exhausted their laughter, they again begin cracking up uncontrollably. SAM You do that every time. PEYTON It surprises me every time. PAT It surprises zir every time. Beat. PEYTON So why you hangin’ up there? SAM (dully) The floor’s lava. PEYTON (terrified) The floor’s lava?! Ze leaps up in unmitigated fright. M arley, remembering that the floor is made of molten rock, too jumps up in fear. Sam now watches all three in disbelief.


SAM (frustrated; still really having to go; to Peyton) So have you seen a bathroom anywhere or not? PEYTON Nope. SAM Not even a urinal? M ARLEY An alabaster one? PEYTON No luck. PAT (to Sam) Wait, all you need to do is pee? PEYTON I prefer not to use that word. SAM Or that letter. SAM Anybody want some milk, while we’re waiting? PAT We’re not waiting. PEYTON Waiting for what? PAT We’re not waiting. M ARLEY That’s been done before. The four stand around in an awkward silence.


PEYTON So what do we do now? M ARLEY I think we wait. PAT (emphatically) We’re not waiting guys! M ARLEY We’re not all guys. SAM Well most of us are. M ARLEY So what? If there was a farmer— PEYTON —What kind of farmer? SAM Sassafrass. PAT Poison Ivy. M ARLEY What? Whatever. If there was a farmer in a group of plumbers, you wouldn’t call them all plumbers. SAM I could really use a plumber right about now. PEYTON Speak for yourself bro. PAT Actually, I recommend against that. Don’t speak for anyone. Silence.


Sam checks zir watch. M arley looks around. Peyton picks at zir teeth. Pat closes and opens zir eyes, moving zir hand in front of zir, exploring the parallax. PAT So, about that lasagna— Suddenly, a CROWD runs by. Its constituents are absolutely crazed. VARIOUS CROWD M EM BERS (ad-libbing encouraged) Run! The volcano is erupting! Everybody, get out of here. Evacuate the area. The crowd figures try to persuade the four to come with them, yet to no avail. Pat, Sam, Peyton, and M arley watch as they flee. Beat. SAM (to Pat) Hey, you have any room up there? LIGHTS OUT. As quickly as possible, the four join Pat on the monkey bars. The music has returned to a loud, prominent volume. When the four are firmly on the now tightly squeezed monkey bars, LIGHTS ON. The music stops. Silence. The four hang upside-down. Doing nothing. Only watching. Real lava now covers the floor beneath their feet. CURTAIN


Gourmandize: or, The Floor Is Lava  

A one-act play for five people