Tag Archives: Drama

Take a Number

[A spotlight comes up on a man sitting at a desk in the middle of an otherwise empty stage so that it appears to be the only real thing in a pool of blackness.]

DEATH: Number 51,672.

NUMBER 51,672: Here! [She walks into the light to face the desk.]

DEATH: Good morning, and welcome to the underworld. Please, place your number in the slot. Here are your new identity cards. Hold onto them. You will need them later. This is Than. [Than enters the light.] Follow him to Sorting.

NUMBER 51,672: I’m… where am I going?

DEATH: That will be determined in Sorting. Thank you, good luck, and have a nice day!

THAN: This way please. [Than and Number 51,672 exit.]

DEATH: 51,673. … 51,673.

BERNARD: I… that’s my number, but…

DEATH: Good morning, and welcome to the underworld. Please, place your number in the slot. Here are your new-

BERNARD: -No. I’m not – you don’t… I’m not supposed to be here.

DEATH: [Aside] Not another one. How do they get through Psych? [To Bernard] I’m sorry, Sir. It seems you jumped ahead or were not properly processed. Than will see that you get to Psych for a proper briefing. Please, place your number in the slot. You can get another from Haz after.

BERNARD: But… I… [He looks down at the number.] I didn’t get this from Haz… I don’t know any Haz. I got it at the deli counter.

DEATH: …the deli counter…?

BERNARD: Yes, I was going to get ham slices… you know, for sandwiches?… I picked a number, and then I was here.

THAN: [Aside] Sir, the time continuum.

DEATH: [Aside] They told me they fixed it!

THAN: [Aside] Sir, I know you love that movie, but do you really think that quoting it is appropriate at-

DEATH: [Aside] Than! They told me that it wouldn’t happen unless the deli had the same numbers… [To Bernard] You really picked number 51,673 at a deli?

BERNARD: Yes, sir. Frid’s Deli on Third.

THAN: I don’t see… Wait. There it is. I’ve pulled it up, sir, and… they have identical markers. It would seem they have never bothered to reset and sort.

BERNARD: The machine broke straight-off, but we don’t mind. Most people think it’s funny.

DEATH: Hilarious.

THAN: Sir, should we check with-

DEATH: -Why bother? Put him back on the waiting list. [Than leads Bernard into the shadows.] He’ll be back soon enough. [The lights begin to fade.] Number 51,674.

[The lights come up on a counter on the other side of the stage.]

DELI WORKER: Number 51,673.

BERNARD: Here. I’d like some of the Boar’s Head honeybaked ham, please. And some of that cake, too. We should celebrate.

DELI WORKER: But you… you… this morning…

BERNARD: [Grinning] What’s Frid’s favorite? I’d like to buy him a present.


SMOLDER: I hate to say it, but I think teatime is over.

CINDER: Surely not! You’ve barely even poured the cups.

SMOLDER: I know, Cindy, but I did try to warn you.

CINDER: On the contrary! You objected so long that even agreeing to have tea took forever. And now you say we’re finished without the least reason for it.

SMOLDER: It is nearly 4:30.

CINDER: … yes, and? Do you have another engagement? Is there some-

KNIGHT: Die, foul villains!

SQUIRE: Go get them, sir!

CINDER: How dare you!

SMOLDER: Here we go.

KNIGHT: Stand and fight, fiend!

CINDER: Look what you’ve done! That was our great-grandmother’s! Just how do you think you’re going to pay for this?

KNIGHT: You’re the one who’s going to pay.

SMOLDER: Sir, I wouldn’t advise- …Too late.

KNIGHT: Hey! Let me down!

CINDER: That cup was thousands of years old! Do you have any idea how hard it is to find tea sets in that size?

KNIGHT: Put me down, or I’ll… tea sets?

SQUIRE: Why you beast! Take tha-

SMOLDER: I wouldn’t bother her at the moment. She was very fond of that set.

SQUIRE: Aaaaaaaah!

KNIGHT: What have you done to him? If you hurt him, I swear I shall-

SMOLDER: He seems to have fainted.

CINDER: Well, set him on the couch, for goodness sakes. As for you, I demand restitution!

KNIGHT: Then fight, demon! Or do you only attack helpless damsels and squires?

CINDER: Damsels? What the devil is he talking about? What would we want with damsels?

SMOLDER: I did try to warn you.

CINDER: You can’t possibly have objected to tea simply because… Smo, you didn’t.

SMOLDER: Me? Certainly, not. Cousin Comb, however… umm, well, it seems that he is off his medication again.

CINDER: But he lives two kingdoms over!

SMOLDER: I know. He and Aunt ‘Ferno came for a visit a few weeks ago. He went out for a bit – said he was going to stretch his wings. The next thing I know, these knights started showing up. And they always come at teatime. They’re quite amazingly predictable. I have yet to understand-

CINDER: You explained, surely!

SMOLDER: Well, certainly. I could hardly do otherwise. But you’ve seen for yourself how well they listen! They come in swinging, and that’s that. And when I contacted Aunt ‘Ferno, she refused to do anything about it.

CINDER: Of course. You know as well as I do that she would never admit her precious Combustion could do such a thing.

KNIGHT: Er… Pardon the interruption, ladies, but are you saying that a different dragon took the damsels?

SMOLDER: It certainly wasn’t us!

CINDER: Really, damsels are such insipid creatures. I much prefer tea and biscuits.

SMOLDER: Besides, it’s horribly impolite to eat things that can talk.

CINDER: Quite.

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