The Paper Clip King (A Short Play)

31 Plays in 31 Days #10

(A small, almost bare space. A table and chair in the middle with one lightbulb overhead. A single miniscule suitcase, its lid shut and lying flat, with a plate, glass, fork and knife on top. A piggy bank or money jar of some sort. A functional door to the outside. One implied door to the W.C. No windows. Nothing else.)

(An OLD MAN sits at the table and on top of the table is a strange, humming steampunky machine with gears and tubes and vents. The old man cycles through a process that ends with him operating a clothing-iron-like press which pumps steam out into the room, followed by the noise of a metal object falling into a bucket. The room is sweltering hot; he glistens with sweat, and wears white shorts and an undershirt and socks and glasses, all dripping.)

(He goes through a few rote cycles on his machine. Clunk, bang, chugga chugga, whizz, whir, hiss, thunk, ding. Clunk, bang, chugga chugga, whizz, whir, hiss, thunk, ding. Clunk, bang, chugga chugga, whizz, whir, hiss, thunk, ding.)

(There is a light tapping on the door.)

(He doesn’t notice it. It happens again. He squints upwards, then dismisses it.)

(He works the machine.)

(The light tapping resumes and continues consistently and unabated for several seconds before he realizes someone’s at the door. He continues working the machine without looking at it, instead staring at the door sourly.)

(The tapping continues for quite a while as he works the machine and stares at the door.)

OLD MAN
Phooey.

(He returns to the machine. The tapping halts.)

(He works the machine.)

(A loud banging at the door startles him and he falls out of his seat. The machine continues whirring idly. He gets up and grumbles over to the door.)

(A timid, old TINY LADY is there. She doesn’t look like she could have made the loud knocking.)

OLD MAN
Hrrmph. What you want.

TINY LADY
Pleased to meet you, sir, I’m the Widow Carbuncle. I’m your new landlord. Oh! Landlady. Superintendent, I suppose, is the neutral title.

OLD MAN
Rent check comes in like clockwork.
No price hikes. In the contract.
Next one’s on Thursday. Thank you very much.

(He goes to close the door but a giant umbrella comes through and stops it with a loud bang.)

TINY LADY
Oh my I’m terribly sorry.

OLD MAN
Umbrella’s in the door.

TINY LADY
I’m sorry to say so but it’s terribly rude to shut the door on someone you’ve just met without even having told your name.

OLD MAN
Superintendent ought to know the name of her tenants.

TINY LADY
Yes, but I wanted to give you a chance to say it, Mr. Jeffers.

OLD MAN
Well there you go.

(He goes to close the door. The umbrella intervenes.)

TINY LADY
(cheerfully)
Go on. Go ahead.

OLD MAN
Hrrmph. Don’t like being toyed with. Falling behind schedule.

TINY LADY
Oh my, you’ve got quite a little industrial park going on in here.

OLD MAN
Perfectly legal. In the contract.

TINY LADY
Are you all right in there? It’s awful hot!

OLD MAN
I see. Hm, hm, hm, I see.

TINY LADY
See what sir? If I may ask.

OLD MAN
That old thing. Yep. Yep.
Okay okay that will do. Remove your umbrella from my doorway, if you kindly. Pardon me.

TINY LADY
Sir I hate to be misconstrued. If you think I have some odd intentions I’d like to know so I can set you straight.

OLD MAN
What are you doing with an umbrella in this heat anyways.

TINY LADY
Oh can’t walk without it sir. Lumbago. Useful when it rains too. Rain’s the only thing makes my old bones soften up and move again. So during the dry down it goes. During the wet up it goes. Very handy. I highly recommend it.

OLD MAN
Bones work fine. Nice to meet you.

TINY LADY
I am so sorry to have interrupted you and clearly you do not want me here but I must say you have me worried. You- so old, so thin, in this heat in here, answering the door practically in your altogethers.

OLD MAN
Yes I know. Horrible sight.

(He wiggles his hips around awkwardly and barely suggestively.)

TINY LADY
Oh my!

(She recoils. He closes the door.)

(He returns to the machine and begins working again.)

(The tapping starts up on the door. He ignores it.)

(The tapping becomes banging. The banging becomes increasingly loud until it sounds like a rhinoceros is repeatedly charging the door.)

(He gets up and opens the door.)

OLD MAN
If you’re going to tell me the heat is bothering the neighbors, like the last fifty superintendents, I’ll take that umbrella Widow Carbuncle and stick it up the chimney.

TINY LADY
Oh thank goodness.

OLD MAN
Thank goodness?

TINY LADY
That is not where I thought you were going to say you’d stick it.

OLD MAN
Hrrmph. Yes well never say I’m not polite. Law-abiding. Within the contract. Folks don’t like the heat they can live somewhere else. Got to make a living you know. Can’t control the laws of thermodynamicism.

TINY LADY
That machine is your living?

OLD MAN
Sell you a sample for 10 cents.

TINY LADY
What would the sample be of?

OLD MAN
Buy it and see. Or don’t.

TINY LADY
Well all right. I do love a good mystery.

(The man goes to the machine and she follows him inside.)

OLD MAN
No wait there I can bring it you at the-
Nevermind. Hrrmph.

(He sits at the machine and works it one cycle.)

TINY LADY
Not bad rent for a cozy room.

OLD MAN
Small. Smallest available. Formerly the janitor’s closet. Everything I need. Electricity. Installed a toilet. Bare essentials. Waste not want not. Cheap, suitable, and small.

TINY LADY
I prefer ‘cozy’ to ‘small’. Optimism brightens a room like flowers on a table.

(The metal noise in the bucket. The man picks up the bucket and takes it to her.)

OLD MAN
Money first.

(She hands him a quarter.)

TINY LADY
Please don’t worry yourself over the change.

(She digs into the bucket. She digs for a long time.)

OLD MAN
All the same, you know. Point of the industrial process. Standardization. Highest quality.

TINY LADY
One can’t help but want to find the best among equals when given the opportunity. So sorry. Here, I’ll have this one.

(She pulls out a paper clip from the bucket. He eyes her for her response.)

TINY LADY
Well-turned. Lovely coating. Neither stiff nor flimsy. Excellent craftsmanship.

(She places it into her hair or behind her ear and smiles.)

OLD MAN
Yes… well…
Hrrmph.

(He starts pushing her towards the door.)

OLD MAN
Graciously accepted. Pleasure doing business, nice to meet you, sure you’ll last longer than the other ones, good day to you Widow Carbuncle.

(She opens the umbrella, which is wider than the door and prevents him from pushing her out. He continues trying, though, ineffectively leaning and shoving against her. She doesn’t budge.)

TINY LADY
So sorry so very sorry for my rudeness after just speaking out about etiquette. Far be it for me to overstay my welcome. But I must be honest with you, sir.
And if you tell me your name I won’t have to call you ‘sir’.

OLD MAN
Mr. The Monster In Room 107. Mr. Industrial Waste Heat. Mr. Most Reviled Neighbor Ten Years Running. Except two years ago – drat on them Wilberforths and their little yappy dog.

TINY LADY
Well sir, I came because I was sent. They told me as your new superintendent it was my job to try and get you to shut off the machine once and for all.

OLD MAN
Ha, hm, hm. Good luck. Ironclad contract. Superintendents always lose the battle of wills.

TINY LADY
Haven’t the other residents confronted you en masse?

OLD MAN
Tactics varied. Threatening. Screaming. Insulting. Demanding. Begging. Insisting. Reasoning. Flirting. Appealing to better nature. Suggesting passive-aggressively. Mewing sadly on the hallway floor. All tactics lose to shutting the door. It’s my legal private property, my business, my life. Hrrmph!

TINY LADY
And if they come inside despite the door?

OLD MAN
Police.

TINY LADY
I’m sure the police are tired of that. Plus, an officer lives in the building.

OLD MAN
Law is law. Trespassing, trespassing.

TINY LADY
Are you going to call the police on me, now?

(He stops pushing and chews his lip. He backs up and gives a big running shove to her but has no effect and ends up falling back on the floor.)

TINY LADY
Oh my, are you okay?

OLD MAN
Fine.

TINY LADY
You shouldn’t exert yourself so in this heat, there’s a real danger of heat stroke, you know.

OLD MAN
Hrrmph. Used to it.
Please let me past. Need to go out.

TINY LADY
I shan’t call you a liar, but you have not, they say, left this apartment in years. They say you go so far as to take your meals by courier through the tiny porthole in the water closet.

OLD MAN
It’s big enough for pork rolls, potatoes and bottles of pop. None of your business anyways. I say I want out, I’ll go out.

TINY LADY
Truly? Excellent! You must need the fresh air. Thank goodness, I was so worried about you.

(She closes the umbrella and walks over to the machine.)

OLD MAN
What are you doing? Stay away from there?

TINY LADY
Apologies, but I only presumed that if you were headed out, then you would be shutting the machine down. Giving it a rest.

OLD MAN
Can’t shut it down.

TINY LADY
Why not?

OLD MAN
…Losing too much money.
Can’t go out.
Please leave so I can work.

(He pushes her towards the door again, weakly. She opens the umbrella to prevent being forced out again.)

OLD MAN
You… Why… Look here, you…
If you would just close that dratted umbrella!

(He continues pushing on her, pathetically.)

TINY LADY
So you can push me out? Nonsense. Besides, it is keeping the heat inside for the moment.

OLD MAN
Yes, well enough, but-

TINY LADY
You see, when the door’s open, more gets out and pours through the neighbors’ walls. And it would of course be out of the question for your superintendent to be inside your gentleman’s quarters with the door shut, especially with you in that state of dress.

OLD MAN
Heat pouring through walls, pshaw. Plenty of other tenements to live in, hmm? Neighbors should be grateful. Save them thousands on heating bills in winter. Drive the rent down.

TINY LADY
Now, personally, I enjoy the heat a bit. A little bit of jungle in the air beats a cold empty living room any day in my book. So if it were strictly up to me I would have no objection to the heat itself.

OLD MAN
Then why do you bother?

TINY LADY
It does upset the residents, and I do so want everyone to be happy.
Yourself included.

OLD MAN
Myself?

TINY LADY
You are my resident, are you not? They told me about what’s going on here and I said, “That’s terrible! That poor man up there! I’ll march up there right now and check on him.”

(He’s thoroughly beaten and gives up on trying to push her out.)

OLD MAN
Just a friendly interest, hmm?

TINY LADY
Trying to be a good neighbor.

OLD MAN
Yes well.
Well… Hrrmph!
I don’t expect I’ll be pro-rated on the production time lost to this visitation. Pennies lost every second we’ve dallied. Too much to hope.

TINY LADY
If that makes you happy.

OLD MAN
Hrrmph. Likely story.

TINY LADY
A few dollars off your rent is more than fair.

OLD MAN
Owners won’t like it.

TINY LADY
So I’ll pay the gap. It’s my fault you’re losing money from being away from your machine, anyways.

OLD MAN
Can’t do that. Got to keep your salary.

TINY LADY
Nonsense! If only you knew. They pay quite a lot for this position. It seems you tend to drive superintendents away at an alarming rate, between the heat itself and the tenants raising pitchforks for the lack of action on the same. I am well taken care of. You, sir, however, are selling paper clips to make rent. Don’t you have a pension?

OLD MAN
No.

TINY LADY
Grown children?

OLD MAN
Yes.

TINY LADY
Grandchildren?

OLD MAN
Yes.

TINY LADY
Well then. Surely your offspring can put their dear old men up for rent and save him from these horrible working conditions.

OLD MAN
My work. No complaints.

TINY LADY
But your children-

OLD MAN
All lucky they can stay afloat. Send half my money to them. Hrrmph.

TINY LADY
You support them?

OLD MAN
Looking for a loophole or violation? You’ll find none. Totally compliant. Taxes reported. Willing labor. Legal citizens. Permit on the wall.

(She examines a permit on the fourth wall.)

TINY WOMAN
Didn’t know they issued those. “Vintage” machinery, eh? How lovely! And your machine is quite a work of art. But you must realize a modern version would not be the boiler this old steam model is. Just a piece of advice.

OLD MAN
No credit for the loan to get it.

TINY WOMAN
Where did you get that one?

OLD MAN
Had it since I was a kid. Took years before old enough to carry it. More years until I could operate it. I press out 7,000 a day over 21 hours working. Sell at half a cent a clip. I get one, they get one-

TINY WOMAN
I owe you twenty-eight cents so far for your time rounded up. Who gets them?

OLD MAN
Who gets the clips? Office suppliers, schools, actors. Whoever needs quality clips. Got a reputation for durability and craftsmanship. They come to the outside of the little porthole in the water closet and buy straight from me or through an interpreter. Little pouch of money goes in, funnel of clips go out.

TINY WOMAN
I meant- I was asking what you meant when you said “I get one, they get one.”

OLD MAN
Ah. My children and grandchildren. Revenue from one clip to me. Next clip to them. One, two, one, two, me, them, me, them, rent, family, rent, family. So you see it’s my livelihood. Pleasure to meet you but nothing to be changed. Tell the neighbors you tried but no use. Enjoy your stay here.

TINY WOMAN
I’m not here for their sake. I can’t make it up the stairs for every complaint. As I said, I came because I was worried from all I heard and the stench in the air that you might be dead.

OLD MAN
Heard what you said. Left out “just concerned” from laundry list of tactics earlier. Very clever of you to try, though. But nope nope nope. I am fine. Alive. Working. Pressing.

TINY WOMAN
Surely there is better work. One of your children- How many do you have, anyways?

OLD MAN
Hrrmph. If you must know.

TINY LADY
Please.

OLD MAN
Seven.

TINY LADY
My! What a busy youth you were. Grandchildren?

OLD MAN
Three each.

TINY LADY
Twenty-one is an excellent number! One grandchild for each hour of the day that you work. I understand that you seem proud of your work here-

OLD MAN
Hrrmph.

TINY LADY
But surely your children must know what you do. I don’t see why each grandchild couldn’t be troubled to give you one dollar sixty seven cents a day to pay you for their hour. Your grown children could collect it and pass it along to you.

OLD MAN
You don’t know my children.

TINY LADY
Seems to be that children and grandchildren should stop at nothing to keep their poor old grandfather or father from wearing himself to the bone in a sweatshop.

OLD MAN
You don’t know children.

TINY WOMAN
You are absolutely right, sir, I do not. Widow, you know.

OLD MAN
Hrrmph. Left no offspring yourself?

TINY WOMAN
Enough about me. What is your name, sir?

OLD MAN
Enough about you, eh?
What happened to your husband?

TINY WOMAN
This isn’t a concern here.

OLD MAN
Heat getting to you?

TINY WOMAN
Oh, not at all. Not yet, at least; I can cope for a while, I’m sure, before it does. Like I said, I enjoy a fair bit of swelter. Feels like home.

OLD MAN
Where was home? The Sahara?

TINY WOMAN
Nonsense! The desert is both dry and empty. No, sir, I lived in the Amazonian rainforest. What a place! What a riot of beauty. Anthropologists, we were, my husband and I…

OLD MAN
I see. And then he died.

(She says nothing, but her lip trembles a little.)

OLD MAN
Uh. Er.
Hrrmph?
All I can say is. Must be awful by comparison stuck in a dreary cramped tenement.

TINY WOMAN
Can’t complain about modern conveniences, four walls, safety equipment…

OLD MAN
Plus a hundred whiny residents.

TINY WOMAN
Good society is worth some trouble.

OLD MAN
Think you’re society to these people? Naw. Just their caretaker.

TINY WOMAN
That’s even better.

OLD MAN
Bett-
Better?
Hrrmph.

TINY WOMAN
What?

OLD MAN
I don’t know why you are wasting your time.

TINY WOMAN
I’m paying for it, what does it matter to you, you big galloot?

OLD MAN
Ought to be working. Keep industrious. Isn’t right to waste life away chit-chatting.

TINY WOMAN
At least let me improve your working conditions.

OLD MAN
Everything’s fine. Feel welcome to watch.

TINY WOMAN
You’ve gotten used to me then.

OLD MAN
Can get used to a boil on the foot, too.

TINY WOMAN
Well I never!

OLD MAN
Working through the bother. Builds character.

(He works the machine.)

TINY WOMAN
Don’t, please! Mr. Jeffers!

OLD MAN
There’s my name again.

TINY WOMAN
You’re quite breaking the rules of decorum.

OLD MAN
Don’t know what a jungle woman knows of them.

TINY WOMAN
You’ll collapse over dead one of these days!

OLD MAN
Then all the residents will rejoice.

TINY WOMAN
But I shall cry!

OLD MAN
Hrrmph.

TINY WOMAN
You listen here- It’s simply not good for you. No beating around the bush anymore – I know a thing or two about heat exhaustion. Maybe you’ve managed to get used to it these past years, but one of these days you’ll meet an early grave and leave all your poor children and grandchildren without you.

OLD MAN
Left off that tactic, too. Grave Proclamations.

TINY WOMAN
You can’t keep the grave out of the door.

OLD MAN
Nor you neither it seems.

TINY WOMAN
I won’t have a resident keeling over on my watch, sir!

OLD MAN
Machine stays on.

TINY WOMAN
You must realize the value you’re losing, trading life for livelihood!

OLD MAN
Machine stays on.

TINY WOMAN
Old man, I will stand here all day if that’s what it takes to save you from yourself!

OLD MAN
Hrrmph.

(He finds some cotton or something and uses two paper clips to clip ear plugs over his ears, then continues working.)

TINY WOMAN
Hrrmph!

(She closes the umbrella, drops it in the door frame and exits. He doesn’t notice at first, but finally glances up and does. He smirks.)

OLD MAN
Heh.

(He gets up and pushes the door closed, but doesn’t hear that the umbrella in the bottom of the frame keeps it from shutting all the way.)

(He sits down and starts working the machine.)

OLD MAN
Won’t see a pro-rated penny. Make it up double-time.

(He works faster.)

(He gets sweatier.)

(He pants.)

OLD MAN
Hrrmph! Heat exhaustion!

(He works harder. He pulls aside the cotton plugs to let sweat leak out of his ears, then puts them back in and chugs along.)

(He starts to look faint for a moment.)

OLD MAN
NO!
HRRMPH!
THIS IS MY LIVING!

(He dives in as fast as he can go. The noise from the machine picks up and it begins whining horribly and threateningly. Steam fills the room. He looks increasingly faint and weakened, but his body continues working the machine by rote.)

(There is a distant scraping noise approaching from the hall, getting closer.)

(It is getting hotter. He is getting fainter, pitching sideways in his chair. Still, his body works automatically. The scraping gets closer.)

(It is very hot. The whining reaches a fever pitch. He is almost off the chair.)

(The scraping reaches the door. The TINY LADY comes through the door dragging two boxes behind her.)

TINY LADY
Mr. Jeffers!

(She leaves the boxes behind her and runs to catch Mr. Jeffers before he falls. She pulls out a canteen and pours water in this mouth. He wakens.)

OLD MAN
Minor interruption! Back to work!

(He continues working, weakly, ignoring her offering more water.)

TINY LADY
All right then. Here goes.

(She goes to the boxes and pulls out a GIGANTIC DRILL OR JACKHAMMER OR SLEDGEHAMMER. He stops working the machine and stares at her dumbly. She lifts the gigantic tool.)

OLD MAN
NO! NOT MY MACHINE!

(She walks past him and smashes through the wall. Sunlight pours in.)

OLD MAN
What?

(She clears a bit of debris and drops the tool down. She goes to the other box and pulls out a tiny desk fan. She carries the fan over to the hole in the wall, plugs it in and turns it on.)

(The fan blows placidly back and forth. The machine hums. The Old Man faints.)

(She rushes over to him and gives him more water.)

TINY LADY
Mr. Jeffers! Mr. Jeffers! Drink up, drink up.

OLD MAN
What. You. What.

TINY LADY
Are you all right, Mr. Jeffers?

OLD MAN
Call me sir.

TINY LADY
Mr. Jeffers, drink up. You pushed yourself too far.

OLD MAN
Have to work. Have to.

TINY LADY
Your children and grandchildren will survive. It may be time for you to retire.

OLD MAN
You don’t know. They need me.
What in the blazes did you do to my wall?

TINY LADY
I fixed it!

OLD MAN
Fixed it?

TINY LADY
I don’t figure I could convince you to stop. At least now you can work without the heat pouring through the building and cooking your old bones.

OLD MAN
Fixed it!?

TINY LADY
Yes!

OLD MAN
Nonsense!
You made it worse.

TINY LADY
…Pardon?

OLD MAN
I’m ruined.

TINY LADY
Ruined?

OLD MAN
The machine needs to be hot to work. Old clunker. Joints stop moving if they aren’t soft. Steam condenses and soaks the bands. Raw clips not pliable.

TINY LADY
Then get a new job.

OLD MAN
This is my job.

TINY LADY
All right, then. We can patch the wall up, insulate the heat in again, and get you some kind of personal cooling system that allows-

OLD MAN
No use. Take a day to repair. A week. Dollars lost. Grandkids starving.

TINY LADY
No look here, surely your extended family can get better jobs and take care of themselves!

OLD MAN
You don’t know my children. You don’t know children.

TINY LADY
I most certainly do not, but-
But.
By George, I think I will.

OLD MAN
Will what? Will know them?

TINY LADY
This cannot stand.

OLD MAN
I’m not marrying you.

TINY LADY
Marrying- You think I want to marry you? Nonsense! Sir, you’re a lovely man, but my husband was the only one for me. It’s your children I’m concerned about.

OLD MAN
Leave them be.

TINY LADY
How often do you see them?

OLD MAN
Send their money by courier.

TINY LADY
And how do you know they are still in need of your contributions?

OLD MAN
They send letters. Visit at Christmas.

TINY LADY
They bring themselves to this jungle?

OLD MAN
Stop by for five minutes. Exchange looks. Back to work.
No more. No more work. No more children to see.

TINY LADY
Enough of that already. Up with you! Stand up! Sit down here. Finish off that water.

OLD MAN
Smells like rum.

TINY LADY
It held rum in the jungle. Those were other days. Now it’s water.
I am going to visit each of your children and grandchildren. We are all going to solve this together, because certainly this living and working arrangement isn’t optimized.

OLD MAN
Why do that to yourself? They live all over the world.

TINY LADY
What a joy that will be! I long for company. Healthy fresh adult children, adorable bouncing grandchildren. That will fill my life…

OLD MAN
Widow Carbuncle!

TINY LADY
Fiddlesticks to you and your objections.

OLD MAN
A bit above and beyond the call of duty of a superintendent. Lose your job within a week.

TINY LADY
Yes.
Yes, I will.

OLD MAN
Well?

TINY LADY
So we need a new superintendent. A new caretaker. It’s a well-paid position.

OLD MAN
Mm-hm.

TINY LADY
Why, yes.

OLD MAN
Why, yes.
Yes what.

TINY LADY
“Yes,” what?

OLD MAN
What?

TINY LADY
Do you see?

OLD MAN
See?

TINY LADY
Sir!

OLD MAN
Widow?

TINY LADY
Mr. Jeffers!

OLD MAN
…Widow?

TINY LADY
No? You don’t see the solution gripping us by the hair?

OLD MAN
No?

TINY LADY
You shall be superintendent.

OLD MAN
I shall be what?

TINY LADY
Take that cotton away from your ears.
You shall be superintendent. You, Mr. Jeffers!

OLD MAN
…I…
I can’t be.

TINY LADY
Why not?

OLD MAN
It’s not your decision anyways.

TINY LADY
I think the owners will happily pay you three quarters of what they pay me in exchange for being able to raise their rent on the other apartments by ten to twenty percent since the general heat complaint will dissipate, and that three quarters of my whole is half again your one thousand a month.

OLD MAN
I’ll take your word for it.

TINY LADY
It’s settled then.

OLD MAN
But they hate me. I’ve poisoned this building for years.

TINY LADY
They’ll forgive you.

OLD MAN
No.

TINY LADY
You’ll be the best caretaker ever, I think. A new era.

OLD MAN
No, no, no…

TINY LADY
It’s hard to accept change. But you must.

OLD MAN
How can you do this? Why?

TINY LADY
That is exactly what I will be asking your children and grandchildren.

OLD MAN
But…
But…
This is what I do…

(He begins to cry.)

TINY LADY
There, there.

(He gets up and sits at the machine.)

OLD MAN
It’s freezing up as we speak.

TINY LADY
It’ll have a happy retirement.

OLD MAN
(childishly)
I don’t like this.

TINY LADY
Let it go.

OLD MAN
I am the Paper Clip King. That’s my business. That’s what they call me and it sells. Made me a crown and everything. Goes on the business cards.

(He goes and draws a ring of paper clips out of the suitcase and puts it on his head.)

OLD MAN
What about this now?

TINY LADY
Now, my friend…

(She takes it off his head and starts plucking the paper clips off one by one.)

TINY LADY
Now it is just paper clips.

(He bawls as she dismantles the crown. She holds up the paper clips. He puts out his hands in a cup and she gives him the paper clips. He carries them over to the machine and dumps them in the bucket with the rest.)

TINY LADY
Go on.

(He sniffles and nods. He reaches out and unplugs the machine.)

(The hum dies down and the lights fade out.)

(End of play.)

writing time: gosh, I have no idea, I was falling asleep for half of it. (which may explain why she goes back and forth between being called “Tiny Lady” and “Tiny Woman.”) maybe 3:30 in total? 4:00?

based on Allyson’s suggestion of “The Fisher King” via Twitter

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One comment

  1. […] young neighbor girl Came from wanting to try a modern verse play in some kind of vernacular 10) The Paper Clip King – a reclusive old man is confronted by his new landlady Came from someone on Twitter suggesting […]

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