Ninja Luau (A Short Play)

31 Plays in 31 Days #11

(A beach chair. An umbrella. A clearly emptied and fully ravaged picnic basket.)

(Bubbly beach music plays, something like this Sol Hoopii’s “I Like You”:

(Enter a NINJA. Or, rather, the NINJA has probably already entered but we didn’t notice.)

(The NINJA slides stealthily across the beach to the umbrella. The NINJA strikes an umbrella-shaped pose behind the umbrella.)

(The NINJA pours across the sand to the side of the beach chair and then flips on top of it.)

(The NINJA strikes a karate pose and checks to the left, then strikes a different pose and checks to the right. The NINJA relaxes to standing straight.)

(The NINJA whips off the ninja garb to reveal a bathing suit underneath. The NINJA pulls on sunglasses from… somewhere, and immediately lies down on the beach chair. The ninja mask remains on.)

(The NINJA sighs.)

(The NINJA sits up and strikes a karate pose in order to turn over and get more sun.)

(Waves, ukulele, beach.)

(Enter Dr. DOTTORE, an overweight shirtless beachgoer, from behind the beach chair, double-fisting popsicles.)

I’ve been invaded.

(DOTTORE approaches.)

(The NINJA senses his presence and leaps out of the chair into a defensive pose.)


(DOTTORE offers a popsicle.)

(The NINJA stares at it.)

(The NINJA reaches out for it and DOTTORE pulls it back away. The NINJA looks nonplussed.)

(DOTTORE holds it out again. The NINJA stares at it but doesn’t go for it this time.)

The flesh of the seed-bearing extrusions of the common Vitus, that is, to say, the grape, specifically the red varietal, or, standing on reasonable suppositions about the provenance of ice-cream sellers, an approximation of the flavor of said berry, reduced to its component sugars and injected into an icy and I dare say-

(DOTTORE licks the other popsicle.)


(DOTTORE holds out the first popsicle. The NINJA reaches for it. DOTTORE pulls it back. The NINJA scoots forward and reaches for it quicker. DOTTORE pulls it back, then pushes it forward. The NINJA grabs. They repeat this several times in quick succession forward and back until the NINJA suddenly round-kicks the popsicle and sends it flying into the sand.)

Ha! Anthropology!

(DOTTORE holds out the other popsicle that he had licked. The NINJA reaches out verrrrry slowly and takes it successfully.)

Excellent. As they say, a peace offering.

(The NINJA bites the popsicle off in one bite and discards the stick and remainder.)

(DOTTORE nods and laughs and then beelines for the beach chair and thuds down into it.)

(The NINJA strikes a startled, vaguely threatening pose.)

Possession is eleven points in the law, and they say there are but twelve, the twelfth of which is might makes right, a point which the ancient ethicists of High Greece disputed in favor of their sophistic virtues, but the point remains that-

(DOTTORE strikes himself in his great belly, making it jiggle.)

I am, to wit, the bigger man. So to speak. It may be said.

(DOTTORE strikes himself in his great belly again, making it jiggle.)

And now I shall recommence with what I merely interjected into with the popsicle expedition, and relax.

(DOTTORE closes his eyes.)

(The NINJA looks around frantically.)

(The NINJA pulls out a shuriken from the discarded ninja clothes and holds it high, but then decides not to use it. The NINJA slumps down in the sand disappointedly.)

(The NINJA moans.)

(The DOTTORE opens one eye.)

Observation. A shadow deep in the peripheral vision. The mounting of the sun suggests a north-by-north westerly shadow should be cast by any solid object; and certainly the lifeguard stand in the distance confirms this conclusion; thus, the shadow in the inaptly named “corner” of my eye must be…

(DOTTORE rolls over with much labor to look at the NINJA.)

Still here, then?

(The NINJA nods.)

Hoping for opportunity? Hired by some malefactor to my cause to seize my staging area for suntans from under my ample posterior?

(The NINJA indicates ‘no.’)

An independent actor? Free agent? Unusual for those of your stripe, or, I should say, solid color.

(The NINJA stands up and pantomimes the Ninja’s life:

1) Sleeping standing up, then waking up suddenly and being attacked.

2) But the attack is a training exercise, and the Ninja bows.

3) Leaping back and forth as silently and as distantly as possible – uncertain what this is supposed to indicate.

4) Hiding behind the umbrella again.

5) Dancing a ballet pirouette of some sort.

6) Lifting or being lifted by a fellow ballerina/o.

7) Suddenly attacking and killing the ballerina/o.

8) Flying away offstage.

9) Reappearing on the other side of the stage and doing cartwheels all the way offstage.

10) Reappearing on the other side of the stage again and tiptoeing to center stage.

11) Suddenly doing powerful karate moves.

12) Eating rice.

13) More karate moves.

14) Falling asleep, waking up, here comes an attack again, see, it just repeats?

I see. Cyclical. Harsh. A life of the body is just as rigorous, disciplined and competitive as the life of the mind, it seems, though of course not as meaningful, noble, honorable, desirable, detectable, considerable, responsible, visible, fashionable, public, sexually attractive, porous, pious or Occidental. A body desires the chance to relax, kick back, as they say, though in truth to “kick back” would be more in keeping with your already daily activities, to wit, high kicks, side kicks, low kicks, punch kicks, just for kicks, kicks out of you, kicks to the groin, kicks to the genitals, kicks to the bunghole, but not what is popularly termed ‘kick-ass’; and so in the colloquial precedent set by “to tire out,” “to tucker out,” and “to fill out,” I style your need as rather “to kick out,” which you might well achieve on, say, a reclining beach chair on a sunny day at the shoreline.

(The NINJA parses that out for a good while, then nods yes.)

They are available for purchase.

(The NINJA mimes:

1) Opening the door, and walking into a store ‘casually,’ or as casually as the Ninja can muster.

2) Pointing to a beach chair.

3) Nodding yes.

4) Pulling out a wad of money.

5) Reaching out to hand it to the clerk.

6) Karate-chopping the clerk to death instead.

7) Beating a hasty retreat.

I see. Ingrained. Just as ducks raised in the nests of robins learn to fly in an economical and supple manner like those avians of the Turdidae family in place of the clumsy and graceless flutter of their trueborn kin of the Anatidae family, and vice versa for those robins reared with the ducks, or other birds similarly, so does a body bent to the shape of a certain profession day-in-day-out learn no other thing through an atrophied vision of other forms to imitate, aye, a tunnel vision of physical expression we might say, as a square of fecal matter pressed through a round hole or a star-shaped hole or a baker’s pipette will still be, consequentially but essentially in the Platonic and real senses, shit, once chewed up and sufficiently digested, so do you, having been over-sufficiently trained, employed and bent into this certain humano-physico-psycho-cognito-animo-temporal shape, find yourself unable to conflict successfully with your learned nature and have been reduced to, to your horror and to the obstruction of your sub-internal desire to take a day at the beach, to speak both literally and metaphorically of that popular and pastime locus of R&R, id est, rest and relaxation, id est, the beach again – reduced to, I say, nothing less and certainly nothing more than a being unable to – returning again, yes, again to my coinage, proving it useful and one for the books – unable to ‘kick out.’

(The NINJA gives the DOTTORE a “really? are you serious?” look.)

You can’t relax.

(The NINJA slumps down again.)

Watch the sand-crabs.

(The NINJA jumps up.)

(The DOTTORE reaches over and digs in the ravaged picnic basket, pulls out a watermelon rind, and sucks on it unnecessarily.)

(The NINJA stares.)

You could always kill me and take by force what by attrition, stealth and intimidation you could not, but to do so would be to imprint fully on your subconscious the final notion that you shall never, ever be able to achieve anything you want as a human being beyond that which you are; in other words, if you act as yourself in order to achieve the state of being that you, as yourself, have found yourself unable to achieve, surpassing the irony, you will remain, of course, yourself, not just in the philosophic and ontological senses, but in the manner by which you will have yourself acted as yourself in order to escape yourself, thereby-

(The NINJA tosses a shuriken into the DOTTORE’s belly.)


(The DOTTORE punches his belly and it jiggles.)

I should probably lose weight.

(The NINJA stares.)

Walking to the popsicle stand will shave off a small number of calories, and justify further popsicles of grape or other flavor varieties.

(The DOTTORE gets up and waddles off upstage whence he came.)

(The NINJA stares for a moment, and then, in one fluid motion, collapses to the ground. The NINJA throws a series of small fits, like a whiny toddler, while crawling across the sand to the beach chair, and then rolls up into the chair.)

(The NINJA forces ninjaself into a reclining position.)

(The NINJA sighs.)

(The NINJA tries to relax but can’t.)

(The NINJA sits up and takes off the ninja mask.)

(The NINJA takes the trash from the picnic basket and smears it over ninjaself.)

(The NINJA picks up the beach umbrella and folds it up, then slings it over-shoulder, and assumes the gait and demeanor of a drunk, content, tired, armpit-scratching beachgoer after a long day at the beach.)

Fuck it.

(The NINJA trudges offstage like this.)

(End of play.)

writing time: 1:10

based on David’s suggestion of “Ninjas on vacation” via Twitter.


One comment

  1. […] by his new landlady Came from someone on Twitter suggesting the Fisher King as a story idea 11) Ninja Luau – a ninja tries to enjoy a beach chair Came from someone on Twitter suggesting ninja vacation as a […]

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