That Old Clever Bullshit (A Short Play)

31 Plays in 31 Days #16

(A metal table and chairs. A backroom somewhere in the warehouse district.)

(LULU paces around nervously. SOSO stands to one side, relaxed. A stuffed animal rabbit is on the table, and the rabbit has been ripped apart. An overweight middle-aged WOMAN is tied a chair. FIFI is pointing a gun at her face, leaning over the stuffed animal carcass. LULU, SOSO and FIFI, in contrast with their names, are all tough-looking men with guns, and they all wear masks.)

FIFI
(in a high-pitched accented scream)
WHY DID YOU DO IT?

WOMAN
I swear I didn’t!

FIFI
You heartless psychopathic murderer!

WOMAN
I swear, I love bunnies! It wasn’t me!

LULU
No, you’re right, this is more important than the missing diamonds.

SOSO
(perfectly deadpan, always)
There are diamonds?

FIFI
(getting up in the WOMAN’s face)
He had a name.
He had a NAME.

WOMAN
What… what was his name?

FIFI
BUNNY!

WOMAN
I’m… I’m sorry for Bunny’s loss.

FIFI
I should kill you now. I should just blow your brains out and use them as stuffing to put Bunny back together.

SOSO
Don’t do that. The brains will rot.

WOMAN
I… I have children… Please…

FIFI
No way. A slob like you, wears too much makeup. Your husband left you when you stopped being sexy ten years ago and you have been sad and alone ever since.

WOMAN
Thats… surprisingly accurate…

FIFI
Sad and alone and DEAD INSIDE with no SYMPATHY FOR BUNNIES!
I TOLD EVERYONE NOT TO TOUCH IT OR THEY’D BE DEAD.
Well I’m being extra patient with you because Bunny would have wanted it that way. If it wasn’t you, who was it?

WOMAN
Uh-  I couldn’t… say…

LULU
Maybe it was a stray bullet from a security guard, you think of that, Fifi?

WOMAN
Yeah! Hey! It was very confusing in there!

LULU
Maybe it was your own bullet! Let’s do trajectory analysis.

FIFI
This wasn’t no bullet. It was by hand. You can see the cruelty, the pain on Bunny’s face as his flesh was torn thread by thread and his cottony insides left to just fly into the wind like so much dandelion fluff…

SOSO
Maybe she was hungry. A stress-eater.

FIFI
She ATE BUNNY’S SOUL!
Bunny had a future.
Last chance, bitch.

LULU
Okay, let’s cool off. Maybe take a dip in the sanity pool for a second.

FIFI
Why are you defending her?
You’re not sorry to see Bunny killed!

LULU
It’s a tragedy. I truly looked forward to BunnyWorld. But Fifi-

WOMAN
What?

SOSO
You haven’t heard of BunnyWorld?

FIFI
We were going to open a playzone. For children. When I retired with all our savings… a whole world full of fluffy bunnies to pet.
It can keep kids off the streets, you know?
But NO MORE.

LULU
Fifi! For the love of-
Agh-
Jesus. Can we take these things off?

SOSO
Sure, that’ll be a better reason to kill her.

LULU
I’m sick of talking in these crazy-ass voices, we sound like leftovers from a Monty Python sketch. Give me a hand-

FIFI
What are you doing?

LULU
Let’s discuss this like reasonable, mature psychopaths-

FIFI
I’m not a psychopath. I’ve got social anxiety disorder.

(LULU puts a blindfold around the woman.)

WOMAN
No-  Please-  I don’t want to die in the dark-

LULU
Relax.

SOSO
If we kill you, we’ll take it off first.

WOMAN
Oh, thank you.

FIFI
This better be-

(LULU pulls off FIFI’s mask, then takes off his own. SOSO pulls his mask up only partway and puts a cigarette in his mouth.)

FIFI
-good.

SOSO
Ugh, I got fuzzies in my mouth.

LULU
Talk normally.

SOSO
It’s true, we’re safe now that she can’t see our voices.

FIFI
I kinda prefer talking like this. It reminds me of Bu… Bu… Bunny…

(FIFI starts sobbing. LULU moves to take his gun away, but he snaps to and points his gun around wildly. LULU gives a “woah there” gesture.)

FIFI
Look now you live a life like mine and you got to find some kind of stability right? What’s a little unhealthy obsession with an imaginary friend to you? Huh? He’s real enough to me! Or was. Personally I think I’m a fair mite healthier than Frosty over there.

SOSO
Who? Me? It’s true, I do have a lingering bit of emphysema that I never got over. Cough, cough.

LULU
Fifi. Soso. We do not have the diamonds.

SOSO
No big deal.

FIFI
Handle her first, then get the diamonds.

LULU
Where were the diamonds supposed to go?

FIFI
There were my deal.

LULU
And where did you put them?

FIFI
…Hm… don’t remember.

LULU
Oh. Jesus.

WOMAN
Praise Jesus!

LULU
Shutup.

WOMAN
Just looking for help where I can get it.

SOSO
Only can keep track of so many things at a time. Bunny takes up a lot of headspace.

(FIFI points his gun at SOSO.)

FIFI
Maybe you stop talking about Bunny and me like that or maybe I make your brainpan extra deadpan.

SOSO
What does that mean?

FIFI
It means I’ll blow your brains out.

SOSO
I’m telling you, Bunny won’t be able to think with them.

LULU
Where were you planning on putting the diamonds?

FIFI
In the flatbox, of course!

WOMAN
Oh, I-

FIFI
What? WHAT DO YOU WANT, KILLER JANE?

WOMAN
I-  Nothing, I thought you said “Flatbush,” I’m from Flatbush.

SOSO
Highly relevant. Me, I’m from Atlantis.

LULU
No, we said “flatbox,” and also, shut the fuck up. Speaking of the flatbox! Let’s have a look.

(LULU pulls a long, flat box out of his coat and opens it on the table. It is empty.)

LULU
Ah! What a nice smooth interior. Feels good on the fingertips. Unblemished by anything like dirt or soil or carbon-that’s-been-hardened-over-thousands-of-years-of-heat-and-pressure. Hmm-  Wait-  What’s that? There’s… there’s a smell in there. Mmm. Smell that? Smells kind of like beef… and, mmm… hot sauce? Hot sauce. Oh! That’s the delicious smell of us getting barbecued by the Boss Man after we come back empty-handed.

FIFI
You suggesting something? Why don’t you talk to me direct instead of getting all metaphorical and shit? You saying this is my problem?

LULU
No no no, it’s obviously Bunny’s problem.

FIFI
It is NOT! Bunny sat there nice and sound keeping us lucky like always. I got the diamonds perfectly fine. Then I turned around and Bunny was gone, because someone took him away, and well what do you know, right after that there went our luck because things exploded all cinema style. So I say whoever took Bunny away is to blame.

SOSO
The angel Michael took Bunny away, to Bunny heaven. Out of our jurisdiction.

LULU
Whose fault was that shitstorm by the way? Someone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

(SOSO raises his hand.)

LULU
Oh great. How do I involved with these fuckheads. Oh, right, life of crime. Shoulda been a water treatment engineer like my old man.

(SOSO shrugs.)

LULU
Do you realize what you did? You fucking bush league motherfucker-

SOSO
Your mother does have a few leagues of bush, that’s true. Also I’m just kidding, it wasn’t me. The friendly security guard wanted to play hero so he dropped a coin in the I’m Going To Be Dead slot and said “Ready Player One!” He didn’t last so long that once I shot his trigger finger off, but the other guards and a couple cowboy customers all felt left out I guess and then it was Disco Night at the Gun Show.

FIFI
Yeah, so, see, shit started storming. I socked the diamonds away somewhere and ran gunning.

LULU
Socked them where?

FIFI
I don’t know, trying to stay ALIVE kind of took PRIORITY. Maybe I should stick this gun to your head and see how your PRIORITIES shift.

LULU
This is my whole point. Priorities.
Right now, we’ve got nothing. Nada. A dead Bunny, no diamonds, very unhappy police and a soon-to-be very unhappy Boss Man. Killing us a hostage over a goddamn STUFFED ANIMAL is not what we need right now. If we were smart, and that’s a big goddamn if written in neon on the side of Times Square next to a billboard that says, “NOPE-“ if we were smart, we would dump this woman somewhere, call the bossman and tell him that Pawpaw ran with the diamonds, then hope we can get the hell outta hell before he figures out that Pawpaw is lying in a puddle of his own blood back at the store.
Does that sound like a goddamn reasonable plan to you gentlemen cocksuckers?

FIFI
(cocking and pointing his gun at the WOMAN, who whimpers)
All except the part for letting BUNNY’S MURDERER get away with it.

LULU
(cocking and pointing his gun at FIFI)
Use your goddamn brain, Fifi!

FIFI
(pointing his gun at LULU now)
Maybe I’ll use your goddamn brains if you don’t stop calling me by my fucking stupid-ass CODENAME, LULU!

(SOSO cocks his gun in its holster. FIFI and LULU stop and look at SOSO. The WOMAN stops whimpering and perks up.)

SOSO
What? Oh? We’re not doing it now? Sorry, I thought you progressed past the empty threat stage. My bad.

(SOSO uncocks his gun. FIFI and LULU don’t uncock, but they stop pointing at each other.)

LULU
Listen up. It was not this GODDAMN WOMAN! Random ordinary hostages crouch under desks and piss themselves, they don’t tear apart stuffed animals that their hostage-takers tell them not to touch.

FIFI
Maybe because she’s such a sad old sack she’s got a deathwish. Hell, MAYBE she figured she’d go out a hero, destroying our good luck charm. Better than looking forward to fifty years of the same old bullshit.

WOMAN
Okay, not so accurate that time. I do like being alive.

FIFI
What for?

SOSO
It’s so overrated.

FIFI
No seriously, what for? You give me a reason to live, otherwise I got no choice but to assume you figured it’d be a nice heroic way to go out and take some revenge on your skull. With my bullets.

WOMAN
I-

LULU
This is goddamn ridiculous. Executive decision- leave her here. This place is no good to us anyways. They’ll find her on Monday when the workers come in. We all part ways and-

FIFI
I’ll part ways with your dick. With my bullets. If you don’t shutup.

LULU
I WILL GET YOU A NEW BUNNY!

(FIFI reacts extremely passionately to this. He tackles LULU and sticks the gun to his temple.)

FIFI
WHAT DID YOU SAY. WHAT DID YOU SAY.

LULU
God, nothing-

FIFI
ARE YOU IMPLYING BUNNY WAS MASS-MANUFACTURED-

LULU
You said yourself earlier-

FIFI
I HAVE MOMENTS OF CLARITY. NOW IS NOT ONE OF THEM. SPEAK OR DIE.

LULU
Soso, a little help-

SOSO
Oh, I’m sorry, I’d thought you’d met me.

LULU
Fine fine FINE Jesus. Bunny is irreplaceable. You deserve the truth and Bunny deserves to be avenged.
I just don’t like killing random innocent people when we don’t fucking have to. Call me a utilitarian.

FIFI
I have been progressing in my little investigation in a calm and rational manner. I’m giving her a chance to prove her innocence in the court of my motherfucking gun to her head. She’ll admit it and die or give me a reason to believe her and not die. Got a problem with that?

LULU
Just get that out of my face.

(FIFI backs off, but takes LULU’s gun with him and puts it on the table away from Lulu’s reach. LULU dusts himself off. FIFI puts his mask back on and pulls the WOMAN’s blindfold down, forcing LULU to scramble to cover his face again. SOSO doesn’t bother covering his jaw. FIFI resumes the funny accent-voice.)

FIFI
What reason do you have to live for that you wouldn’t kill Bunny for.

(SOSO starts humming the Jeopardy theme.)

WOMAN
I have family-

FIFI
No you don’t. None who will miss you.
Don’t bullshit me. I am a truth machine.

WOMAN
I have a good job, I volunteer and-

FIFI
Where?

WOMAN
Mc- At the- At the McArthur Building-

FIFI
BZZ. Try again.

LULU
God damn it, Fi-

FIFI
WHAT?

LULU
Feeeelix the Cat.

FIFI
…I like that. That’s my new code name.
Feel that? That’s the gun saying “convince me.” “I’m horny and want to shoot my wad all up into your skull.”

WOMAN
Okay okay please-  PLEASE-  Yes yes yes I have a horrible life a miserable life BUT ONLY FOR THE MOST PART but I do have-  I do have-  Things-  Worthwhile, things-  Like-  Like food, food and, and porn and- And TV shows, highly, highly entertaining TV shows-

FIFI
BZZ. That shit just makes you feel worse about yourself every time.
I really feel sorry for you, you know-

WOMAN
Wait-

LULU
Soso, come on…

(SOSO slows down the end of the Jeopardy theme, stretching it out.)

WOMAN
Please-

FIFI
I want to hear you admit it. Just some honesty, that’s all. Take some advice I once got from Bunny: honesty don’t take no work.

WOMAN
I-
But-

(FIFI sighs and leans forward to shoot her.)

WOMAN
I CAN TELL YOU WHO DID IT!
AND IT WILL ALL MAKE SENSE!

(FIFI raises an eyebrow.)

WOMAN
Uh?

FIFI
Oh, sorry, I was raising an eyebrow because that sounds like bullshit.

WOMAN
It’s not.

FIFI
Then why wouldn’t you tell us earlier? Because you needed time to make shit up?

LULU
Goddamit, this is painful. Lady, don’t drag this out, I can’t stand it.

WOMAN
Hey hey no-  If I told you why I didn’t tell you, I-
Oh please please don’t shoot me-

FIFI
I didn’t even touch you that time.

WOMAN
Put everyone’s guns on the table. I want to hear all three on the table.

SOSO
Oh no, they’re all equally capable of blowing your brains out. It doesn’t matter which one you choose.

WOMAN
I want… A moment of security, while I tell you.

LULU
Security from what? He’s just going to shoot you anyways.

WOMAN
Not when he hears what I have to say.

FIFI
And what is that?

WOMAN
The…
Something like the…
Truth.

FIFI
“Something like?” Fuck it.

WOMAN
YOU’LL UNDERSTAND! I HAVE TO CHOOSE MY WORDS CAREFULLY.
Please, quickly, Felix the Cat, take all the guns and put them on the table.

LULU
Mine’s already there-

WOMAN
Take Soso’s too. Please. DON’T SHOOT EACH OTHER!

LULU
We’re not even pointing-

WOMAN
Please please please… you’ll understand…
It’ll all work out I promise.

LULU
Who are you talking to?

FIFI
What does Bunny say?
Bunny, if your spirit is still nearby-  Should I give her a chance? Or am I just delaying your justice?

(FIFI leans his ear into Bunny’s corpse.)

(Awkward pause.)

WOMAN
(in a funny voice)
Hear her out.

FIFI
Okay.

(FIFI goes to SOSO and goes for his gun. SOSO is a quick draw and twirls the gun around out of FIFI’s reach; FIFI points his gun in SOSO’s face. SOSO doesn’t move.)

(LULU picks up his gun from the table and points it at SOSO.)

LULU
Hand it over.

SOSO
I hate being outnumbered.

(SOSO hands it over. FIFI collects all three guns and places them one, two, three on the table so the WOMAN can hear them.)

LULU
Let’s hear it. Please make it good.

(The WOMAN hesitates.)

(FIFI reaches out and moves her jaw for her.)

FIFI
The. Person. Who. Killed. Bunny. Was.
Now you finish.

WOMAN
Oh-
What does it matter.

FIFI
What.

SOSO
Ah, yes, what does anything matter, we are all just motes floating in space…

WOMAN
I’m dead either way. You’re not quick enough.

FIFI
Oh I’m quick.

LULU
No you’re not.

FIFI
I’m quick like silver. HOW ABOUT THAT? No seriously, what are you talking about. I may be batshit insane, but I’m the kind of batshit insane that will let someone go and live if he finds out from that someone who killed his beloved bunny out of batshit insane gratitude. And stuff.

WOMAN
Right, but-
Oh just make it quick. Please, and aim well.

LULU
Why would you be dead either way?

WOMAN
What do you care?

LULU
Well, if you’re dead either way, I’d rather the way that tells us more about what the fuck is going on because your corpse sure won’t talk.

SOSO
Maybe it will if Fifi does the little jaw-puppet trick again…

(FIFI gives SOSO a dirty look for calling him Fifi.)

SOSO
…the Cat?

WOMAN
I’m a good Samaritan in the end. I don’t think your lives are meaningless or anything. Just because you’re criminals. You can still accept the Grace of God or I don’t know. You have families, friends.

FIFI
Just Bunny.

SOSO
Yeah, not really.

LULU
Well I do, you freaks. Work to live, not live to work.

WOMAN
So. I don’t want to see you killed, see? Just let it be me.

LULU
Why would the knowledge you’re holding back kill me?

WOMAN
…If I tell you that, that’s as good as dead.

FIFI
Aw fuck it, she’s just stalling isn’t she? THE POLICE ARE NOT COMING.

(FIFI picks up a gun and points it at her.)

WOMAN
HOLD ON TO THE GUN.

FIFI
What?

WOMAN
Hold on to it. The other two are on the table?

LULU
Yeah-

WOMAN
I’m being brave. Okay. Are you ready? Oh god. Oh god. Oh god.

FIFI
SPIT IT!

WOMAN
SOSO KILLED YOUR BUNNY HE PULLED IT OUT OF THE BACK ROOM IN THE CONFUSION AND TORE IT OPEN THINKING THE DIAMONDS WERE IN THERE BUT THEY WEREN’T AND THEN YOU WERE COMING OUT OF THE DOOR SO HE TURNED TO ME AND SAID “YOU TELL THEM IT WAS ME AND I WILL END YOU SO FAST YOU WILL STILL BE ALIVE WHEN YOU REALIZE YOU’RE DEAD” AND THEN HE STUFFED THE BUNNY DOWN MY SHIRT WHICH IS WHERE YOU FOUND IT AND NOW HE’S GOING TO KILL US ALL THAT’S WHY I’VE HELD IT BACK!

(Silence.)

SOSO
Nonsense, I would’ve just killed you right then if that was the case.

(Silence.)

WOMAN
Not if you were hoping that me getting interrogated would lead you to the missing diamonds.

(Silence. FIFI and LULU look at SOSO.)

SOSO
Dang.

(FIFI points his gun at SOSO. SOSO dodges around the room as FIFI starts firing. The WOMAN dives off the chair. LULU grabs a gun off the table, but is cowering too much to use it yet.)

LULU
SHOOT HIM SHOOT HIM WHY ARE YOU MISSING HIM

FIFI
SHUTUP!

(SOSO charges the table and knocks the table, the two remaining guns, FIFI and LULU over. SOSO grabs a gun, does a roll, and comes up facing the other two. They all fire at once, SOSO shooting at FIFI and then LULU.)

(Pause.)

(FIFI falls over, dead. SOSO gets a blank look on his face and stops moving.)

LULU
You-?

(LULU looks down at the bullet wound he received. He looks up and fires multiple bullets into SOSO.)

SOSO
Stop that. I’m dead.

LULU
Oh.
I’m glad, you fucking lower-than-balls piece of bullshit.

SOSO
I didn’t do it. I’m way cleverer than to pull some shit like that.

LULU
Whatever. You’re dad.

SOSO
Oh. Right.

(SOSO points his gun at LULU and fires once more, then SOSO falls over dead.)

(LULU lies on the ground, struggling, but still alive. He holds his two hands to his two wounds, trying to stop the bleeding.)

LULU
Woman? Hostage woman, are you still there?

(The WOMAN stands up, removing herself from the chair. She fishes in SOSO’s clothes and finds the handcuff key and undoes herself.)

LULU
Thank God. Get me to a hospital. We two sane people can make it out of this alive.

(The WOMAN goes into FIFI’s socks and pulls out some small bags from his shoes, which contain the diamonds.)

LULU
God damn, that asshole was oblivious. Well you go girl. You’ll get a nice reward.

WOMAN
Reward?

LULU
You’re not thinking of-
OH MY GOD you did destroy Bunny. YOU thought the diamonds were in there!

WOMAN
I did. And you know where they are now.

LULU
What-  You-  I won’t tell anyone! Pleeease.

(The WOMAN leans over him. She grabs his arms and pulls them away from his wounds so he starts bleeding again.)

LULU
You-  Hey-  HEY! I NEED THAT BLOOD! What are you doing? I have a family! YOU HAVE NOTHING! WHY DO YOU EVEN WANT THE DIAMONDS? TO BUY MORE CRAP YOU DON’T NEED? I NEED THEM! Or-  Or-  We could share them-

WOMAN
That wouldn’t be that clever of me.

LULU
CLEVER? What do you need to be CLEVER for?

WOMAN
I’ve got to have something to live for.

(He dies.)

(She digs in their pockets and finds a cellphone. She calls 911.)

(As she talks on the phone, she tucks the diamonds into her clothing.)

WOMAN
I was kidnapped by the men who robbed Michael’s on Ninth. But they all just killed each other fighting over the diamonds because one of them must have hid them or something. The warehouses on 15th? You have reports on gunshots there? That sounds about right. I will go look around, but then I am going to run home, okay? They said their Boss Man might show up and I don’t want to be around; I’ll hang up now in case they’re around and call you when I’m nice and safe and out of the area.
Yes, thank you, I agree. That is a good plan. Talk to you soon.

(She hangs up. She walks out.)

(EVERYTHING EXPLODES just kidding end of play.)

writing time: about 3 hours

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One comment

  1. […] Came from wanting to write a play which featured a family relationship and women characters 16) That Old Clever Bullshit – some thugs try to figure out what to do with a hostage Came from wanting to write a witty, […]

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