Beggars on Horseback (10 minute)

 At Rise: A shabby office space  with
 one window giving on the street,
 a closet, and two doors. MARCY is asleep at her desk.
wrapped in a blanket. Heavy duty  rap is throbbing
 as if coming   from next door. BARRY comes in from
 an adjoining room, goes to  a file cabinet,
 takes out some  papers, turns, notices MARCY
with her head in her arms, asleep. The music
intensifies. HE goes over and shakes her.
 The  music stops abruptly as she wakes up.

                             MARCY
Oh, shit!
                             BARRY
You were really out.
                             MARCY
It’s even in my dreams. I can’t stand it.
                             BARRY
What are you talking about?
                             MARCY
How long have I been sleeping? Jesus, it’s cold in here.
                             BARRY
Dunno. It’s almost time to close up shop.
                             MARCY
I’m sleep deprived. I walk around all day in a stupor. That asshole neighbor of mine
WILL NOT turn down the decibels. It comes right through the wall.
                             BARRY
You mean the rap addict?
                             MARCY
Yeah, and everything else that has a percussive beat. (imitates) ummp, uump, ummp…
                             BARRY
Rap is a modern art form.
                            MARCY
Tell me about it. You stop at a redlight and pulling up next to you,
with the windows down and the sound up, is a portable torture chamber.
                             BARRY
(looking up) The ceiling’s leaking again.
                   (HE moves a bucket under)
                             MARCY
You’d think this two-bit newspaper would find better accommodations
for its valuable personnel. No heat. Water dripping from the ceiling.
                             BARRY
Well, it’s just temporary.
                             MARCY
I can hear the toilets flushing next door. The guy goes every fifteen minutes.
                             BARRY
At least he doesn’t play rap….Haven’t you complained?
                             MARCY
How can you complain about a guy taking a leak?
                             BARRY
No. The rap-addict.
                             MARCY
He laughs in my face. (imitating) Turn off my music? No dice, Girlie.
He actually said that: “No dice.”
                             BARRY
Can’t you call the police? I thought there were laws against sound pollution.
                             MARCY
You kidding? The guy hangs out with thugs. He has a pitbull. He is capable
 of throwing acid in my face.
                             BARRY
I guess you have a problem.
                             MARCY
My heart sinks when I come home at night and his light is on. I have a fantasy
 he trips on a pothole and sues the city for hundreds of thousands, and wins:
then he quits work and moves to Monaco and loses it all gambling, but meanwhile
he has become  addicted to the sun and the sea and turns into a beach bum.
                            BARRY
Wouldn’t he go to the Indian casino?
                             MARCY
It’s not far enough away to make him move.
                             BARRY
Why not just dispatch him?
                             MARCY
How?
                             BARRY
He gets shot by a crazed postal clerk.
                             MARCY
Uh uh… that might involve innocent bystanders. Besides, I hate violence…
                             BARRY
All right. He joins an apocalyptic sect and drinks Kool-Aid when the world fails to end.
                             MARCY
You know, one of the ways thought up to kill Hitler was Siberian Sabre-toothed
tiger whiskers, which are as sharp as needles, chopped up in his tofu.
                             BARRY
Tofu?
                             MARCY
Isn’t that what vegetarians eat? Hitler was a vegetarian.
                             BARRY
Really?
                             MARCY
Really. Any interesting deaths today?
                             BARRY
Uh uh. I spent the whole afternoon updating the obit files. I had a fantasy
 of my own. Not as exotic as Siberian Sabre-Toothed tigers, though.
                             MARCY
Who?
                           BARRY
Guess. (HE starts to read*) Born 1964 Mt. Vernon Washington, raised Catholic,
 … father a baker … alcoholic mother committed suicide,….Salt Lake City,
 Mormon missionary, Married, two daughters, divorced, alcoholism, drug abuse,
second marriage, AA, Church of the Latter Day Saints… got it yet?
                             MARCY
Not a clue.
                             BARRY
Conservative, family values, pro Iraq War, anti-homosexual, pro- life, local radio personality –
                             MARCY
Rush Limbaugh?
                             BARRY
Close, but no cigar… national TV star CNN, Good Morning
America …
                             MARCY
Glenn Beck!
                            BARRY.
Right.
                             MARCY
Church of the Latter Day Saints…. That’s Jehovah’s Witness, isn’t it?
                             BARRY
Yeah.
                             MARCY
So what happened to the Mormons?
                             BARRY
Your guess.
                             MARCY
Anyhow, how does he die?
                             BARRY
He chokes on a hotdog.
                             MARCY
Chokes on a hotdog…. how squalid.
                             BARRY
That’s the point.
                             MARCY
Where does it happen?
                             BARRY
A political rally.
                             MARCY
Why doesn’t anyone rush to help?
                             BARRY
They’re all hypnotised by Sarah Palin.
             (The phone rings, MARCY picks it up)
                             MARCY
Hello?… You want Barry. He does the obits. I do the police blotter.
                             BARRY
Hello? Yes? … Run that by me again, please … (pulling himself together) Yes,
I’m still here. How long ago? …. You’re lucky you caught me. OK, FAX me
 the details and I’ll get on it right away. It will be ready for tomorrow’s paper.
 (hangs up, stares ahead, dazed)
                             MARCY
So who died?
                             BARRY
Glenn Beck.
                             MARCY
No. Really.
                             BARRY
Glenn Beck. Really.
 
                            (beat)
                             MARCY
Uh….How did he die?
                             BARRY
He choked on a hotdog.
(beat)
                             MARCY
You’re funning me.
                             BARRY
I’m not.
                             MARCY
It’s synchronicity.
                             BARRY
What’s synchroniciy?
                             MARCY
A dictionary word for coincidence.
                             MARCY
I have an idea.
                             BARRY
Shoot.
                             MARCY
To set your mind at rest…
                             BARRY
Meaning…?
                             MARCY
Remember my neighbor?
                             BARRY
Your neighbor?
                             MARCY
The rap addict…?
                             BARRY
Oh. … You mean… Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.
                             MARCY
Yeah. That’s right.
                             BARRY
So? How do I – What do I -?
                             MARCY
Just do what you did with Beck.
                             BARRY
That’s where you’re wrong. I didn’t DO Beck. It just happened.
                             MARCY
Right. But you put him in a situation and you had something happen. So
 here’s what you do. You shut your eyes. And you visualize this guy,
 big, white, a goon, forty pounds overweight, tattoos like sleeves on his upper arms,
 little goatee, bad breath, bad teeth, pointed ears with earrings…
                             BARRY
Pointed ears?
                             MARCY
At the top. Like a faun, you know. Only he’s massive. A cliche goon
right out of the comics, and you put him in a situation and you have
 something happen. What’s the risk? You’re not God.
                             BARRY
What’s his name?
                             MARCY
Joseph Talliafero. (pronounced TOLLIVER)
                             BARRY
Joseph Talliafero. OK. Joseph Talliafero. Watch out! I’m on the job.
(HE shuts his eyes, a couple of beats. He opens them.)
Done.
                             MARCY
How is it going to happen?
                             BARRY
Uh uh. Not telling.
                             MARCY
Pretty please…
                             BARRY
No dice, girlie.
                             MARCY
Smartass!
                             BARRY
Well, I’m the one with something on the line here.
                             MARCY
OK, write it down. Write it out on a piece of paper. If you can find a piece
 of paper, you’re so disorganized…
                             BARRY
What’s the point? It’s not going to happen.
                             MARCY
I want an objective correlative.
                             BARRY
What’s that?
                             MARCY
I want some real proof whatever it is that it’s what you thought of.
                             BARRY
You don’t trust me?
                             MARCY
I trust you. But memory plays funny tricks sometime.
                             BARRY
Oh, well. It’s just a lot of damned nonsense.
(Goes to his desk, takes out paper)
Do you have a pen?
                             MARCY
There’s one in your pocket. In fact, it’s leaking.
                             BARRY
(looking down) Oh? Right.
             (HE sits down to write out a sentence. MARCY leans
                  over his shoulder)
Go away.
                             MARCY
Why can’t I look?
                             BARRY
It’s a surprise. I’ll put it in my drawer and you can read it tomorrow.
                             MARCY
You mean you put a time frame on it?
                             BARRY
Sure.
                             MARCY
Why’d you do that?
                             BARRY
Well, we want to know, don’t we? Otherwise, it’s open ended.
It might take decades, and we’d both be in different places in
 different lives and never know.
                             MARCY
True. I might even predecease him.
             (HE puts the paper in his drawer)
                             BARRY
Look, Look. I’ve got to finish up this obit for tomorrow.
You go home and try to get some sleep.
                             MARCY
                     (going for her coat)
All I’ve had for the week is DWIs, a couple of drug busts, aliens spotted in a
supermarket parking lot, and a case of domestic violence.
                             BARRY
What a weird evening.
                             MARCY
                     (putting her coat on)
Well, I’m out of here.
(SHE gathers up her things and starts to leave. As SHE reaches
the door, the sound of screeching brakes and a huge crash is heard
 from outside. BARRY leaps up, runs to the window and pulls it up.
Sounds rise of activity on the street. Through the window: Anyone
got a cellphone?… It looks bad. … Is he dead? …. Leave him there.
Don’t move him. … Got a blanket? Someone get a blanket… A dog
 starts barking loudly over the commotion)
                             BARRY
(wailing) No…No…No….
                             MARCY
(running for the drawer, takes out paper) Calm down. Guys get run
over all the time. I had one in the police blotter last week.
                             BARRY
But not with a dog!
                             MARCY
(reading out loud) In the next hour Joseph Tallieffero gets run down by a
Honda hatchback when he is out walking his pitbull.
                             BARRY
It’s a Honda. It’s a Honda hatchback!
                 (falls on his knees)
Oh God oh God oh God, forgive me. I didn’t mean it. I’m a nice guy at heart.
 I’ll be good – I swear. I’ll clean up my act. I’ll change my shirt every day.
I’ll help my mother wash the dishes. I’ll babysit my little sister.
I’ll brush my teeth at night. I’ll lose ten pounds. If I have any serious vices
 I’ll search my conscience and overcome them. I won’t lose my temper.
 I won’t tell little lies. I’ll give up Freecell. I’ll say hello to people, and tell
them to have a nice day, and when they have a problem, I’ll say I’m sorry
 to hear that, and I’ll hold the door open at the ATM, and I’ll stop jaywalking,
 and I’ll… I’ll cut out imagining things completely, cold turkey, no more pictures
 in the head, I’ll live in the real world with real people and take everything as
it comes, I’ll never imagine anything again, NEVER, I’ll change my job, I’ll join
 the IRS and become a tax accountant, I’ll….
(Knock at the door. BARRY starts, MARCY opens. It’s a POLICEMAN. Overlap)
                             BARRY
(getting off his knees) I didn’t do it. I swear, I didn’t do it.
                            OFFICER
There’s a kid out on the street almost got run over. You got a blanket in here?
                           (silence)
Com’on, stop wasting my time. You got a blanket or not?
                             MARCY
(going for the blanket SHE has stored in the closet) Did you say kid?
                            OFFICER
Yeah, I said kid. Out walking his poodle.
                             BARRY
Did you say poodle?
                            OFFICER
Yeah, I said poodle. Are you two hard of hearing?
                             BARRY
Does he have pointed ears? The man not the dog.
     (MARCY starts to giggle; SHE tosses him the blanket)
                            OFFICER
(as he catches it) What’s going on here? You guys high on something?
       (MARCY and BARRY fly into each other’s arms and hug;
         ambulance siren heard faintly in the distance. RAP starts
                        blasting from next door)
                            CURTAIN
*Any popularly detested figure can be substituted.