Sunday, September 28, 2008
In One Act
Characters, in order of appearance:
Babe - Dr. Barbara Goldfarb, Ph.D. in swine management, confinement practices; Gourmet cook with a fondness for foie gras, veal etc; Asked by USDA to develop intensive breeding program for pygmies. Married to Harry.
His Holiness (HH) - The Right Reverend Jeremiah Christian, D.D.; Big Book scholar; Gamecock producer; Favorite charity: Salvation Through Immortality by Cryogenics for Youth.
Jenny - Dr. Jennifer Kindheart, D.V.M.; animal lover; owner of So Cute Kennels, supplier of dogs for pets, biomedical labs, and fighting. Vet for "Helping Hands Foundation." Avid big game trophy hunter. Hates trappers and trapping.
Mary - Preschool teacher and Harry's identical twin sister. She is confused on many topics. [Yes, Mary's a woman, Harry's a man; she's blond, he's dark. None of the characters seem to notice this inconsistency, but then, they seem to overlook very many inconsistencies.]
Margaret, a TV anchor woman.
Kitty, a TV reporter.
Steam-O-Matic commercial characters:
Harry - Dr. Ishmael Mohandas Abernathy Harold Krishna, M.D., Ph.D., D.V.M., D.D.S., Chief researcher for Good Samaritan Foundation's Retarded African Pygmy Experimental Laboratory. Married to Babe.
Babe and HH are sitting together sipping red wine and after some small talk begin to discuss the exciting news of Harry's Nobel Prizes.
HH: Praise be! to the Lord's undiscriminating compassion! Mysterious are His ways! Isn't this just the most inspiring evidence of His love for us?
Babe: Well, I'm sure Harry must feel vindicated at last. He has been saying for years now that (with great emphasis) pygmies are not human! I've even heard that after he receives the Nobel prizes for Medicine, Genetics, and Peace that he's been invited to England to be knighted.
HH: Praise be! to the Lord's undiscriminating compassion! If anyone deserves these high honors it must be Dr. Krishna. Imagine three Nobels to the same scientist, and one for peace! He has had to secretly work in his secret underground pygmy laboratory for so long!
Babe: Maybe now people will learn of the sacrifices he's had to make. Once he even had to leave a dinner I was giving to go back to the lab to check on some young pygmies he was using. He has made such sacrifices! Weren't you at that party Your Holiness?
HH: Praise be! to the Lord's undiscriminating compassion, yes my child I was at your dinner party, and a fine meal it was if I remember right. The veal was particularly tender and pale, how are you able to create such sumptuous fare?
Babe: It's true that I do love to cook, but that dish started with my company's new techniques to process vegetables. First, we place the brand new baby processing units in a new smaller container. This has proven very effective at making the processed vegetables very sweet and tender. We have also discovered that the tails, ears, and lower legs are simply unnecessary to the efficient processing of vegetables. With these new methods, tenderness and flavor are guaranteed.
HH: Praise be! to the Lord's undiscriminating compassion! [Abbreviated hereafter as PB!TTLUC!] Will the unbeliever never be convinced? Do you know what time Dr. Krishna will be returning?
Babe: No, Your Holiness, but did you hear that his twin sister is flying in for the ceremonies? She will be staying with us for a while. She's Harry's identical twin.
HH: PB!TTLUC! I look forward to meeting her. How honored she must feel.
A knock at the door. Jenny enters and is clearly upset and going on and on about her latest efforts to ban trapping.
Jenny: My God! What's wrong with those people? Can't they see how cruel trapping is? I must have asked fifty people to sign my petition and all I heard was, "Hey! We've got to get fur from somewhere!" and, "What are you wearing those leather boots for?" God! I told them that crocodile skin had nothing to do with trapping, but God! They just didn't get it!
Oh! Hello Your Holiness, I'm sorry. I didn't see you sitting there. What you must think of me.
HH: PB!TTLUC! God looks on those with money with unlimited love. A small contribution to my favorite charity: Salvation Through Immortality by Cryogenics for Youth will make Him love you even more. Now write that check child so I can continue on my way.
Jenny grabs her handbag and quickly scribbles a check.
HH: Tell Dr. Krishna I will be by later to congratulate him on his profound victory for love. PB!TTLUC!
Jenny: I am going to have to start paying more attention to the people in the room when I come in. I must have given The Reverend ten thousand dollars by now just to pay for my language.
Babe: But Jenny, it is for a good cause. He has been able to freeze thirty-five rich children so far. Now those children still have a chance at salvation. The Reverend is such a kind man. He cares so much for their souls and their money.
Jenny: I guess you're right. I mean, I know you are. I guess I'm still just a little upset from my ordeal this morning. There I was trying to get out of the office early with my anti-trapping petitions, when three beagle pups escaped from the back of one of my customer's pick-up trucks. It took us forever to get them back in. If they hadn't run back to their mother I don't think we could have caught them.
Babe: Who was buying them?
Jenny: One of our regular customers: Acme Animal Supply. They sell them to researchers all over the country. They say So Cute Kennels always has the best prices. Oh, you should have seen how cute those little puppies were. I just love my job.
Babe: Have you heard about Harry's three Nobel Prizes?
Jenny: What? You're kidding! Here I am going on and on about my own day and here it is Harry's big moment. I just knew he would get this break eventually. I'm so glad that I've been able to do some of the veterinary work at the secret labs. It makes me feel a little important too.
Babe: He should be home any minute, but I doubt he'll remember your help. Why don't you wait for him? Oh look! I think there's something on TV about him right now. I'll turn it up.
A typical TV newsroom scene. An anchorwoman seated at a counter with notes in front of her. She has an earplug in.
Anchorwoman: In what is being called the greatest biomedical breakthrough of the century Dr. Harold Krishna has announced to the world that (with great emphasis) pygmies are not human. Ever quick to see the benefits for humans, religious leaders and medical experts have declared this the biggest breakthrough in medical history with a possibility of curing everything now in sight.
Shortly after Dr. Krishna's announcement the Nobel Prize Commission announced its plans to award Dr. Krishna a Nobel Prize in veterinary medicine, a Nobel Prize in animal genetics, and a Nobel Peace Prize for this heroic humanitarian effort.
For more on this important story we go live to Kitty Smith standing by at the once secret labs of Dr. Krishna.
Kitty, are you with us?
Reporter in front of primate lab.
Kitty: Yes Margaret, I'm here. And the excitement that this story is generating can only be described as electric. It was only yesterday that people thought all the experimentation going on in these labs was on monkeys. At first people were shocked to learn that they had been misled, but now that shock has turned into pure jubilation after learning that (with great emphasis) African pygmies are not human!
Back to you Margaret.
Anchorwoman: Well! This is exciting news! Stay tuned to Channel 15 for more on this unbelievable story.
Scene: A woman is ironing a shirt. She irons her hand and screams. Her husband runs in and asks what happened. She tells him and, with urgency, tells him to call 911 and he does. The woman weeps while holding her wrist throughout the scene.
We hear his conversation with the 911 operator.
Operator: 911 emergency.
Husband: My wife just ironed her hand. I think she is hurt really bad!
Operator: What brand of iron is it?
Husband: What? (To wife): Honey, they want to know what kind of iron it is.
Wife (incredulous): What? It's a Steam-o-matic. Why do they need to know that?
Husband: She says it's a Steam-o-matic.
Operator: Is that the 900 model or the SuperSafe 10,000?
Husband: Honey, the operator wants to know what model it is.
Wife: (With understandable incredulity.) What model? My hand's been pressed!
Husband: I know honey, but they say they need to know.
Wife: It's a SuperSafe 10,000.
Husband: She says it's a Steam-o-matic SuperSafe 10,000.
Operator: Well that's good news sir. Product safety tests with the Steam-o-matic SuperSafe 10,000 have shown that young monkeys who have had their hands ironed almost always recover some use of the ironed hand.
Husband smiles, wipes brow with back of hand in relief and signs a-ok to wife.
Cut to spokesmodel with Steam-o-matic sign under her close-up.
Spokesmodel: We at Steam-o-matic are doing everything we can to guarantee you the safest products possible. With Steam-o-matic, if you should ever have an accident with one of our products, you can rest assured that we have already tested every possible injury on a dog or a monkey. We at Steam-o-matic really care about you!
Cut to man and woman. Her hand heavily bandaged.
Both: Thanks Steam-o-matic!
Cut to Steam-o-matic logo. Exit with Steam-o-matic jingle.
"Steam-o-matic, we test on dogs and monkeys for you!" Spoken: Steam-o-matic!
Babe and Jenny are sitting on a couch having just watched the news blurb and commercial.
Jenny: You must be so excited.
Babe: This should make us very rich and famous.
A knock at the door. Babe goes to the door. Enter Mary, Harry's identical twin, carrying suitcases.
Babe: Honey, your home early! What are all those bags for?
Mary: Babe! It's me! Mary! I've forgotten how often people get me and Harry confused. Even mother made mistakes sometimes.
Babe: Oh Mary! How silly of me. Come in. You must be exhausted.
Babe: Jenny, I don't know if you've ever met Harry's identical twin sister Mary. Mary, this is our dear friend and family vet Jenny Kindheart.
Jenny: My God the resemblance is uncanny. If you had not said something I'm sure I would have been confused.
Mary goes to a chair, sits, and starts crying.
Babe: Mary! What on earth's wrong dear?
Aside to Jenny: She's always been high strung.
Mary: A month before I left, Joseph fell off a high tower he was working on. I've been embarrassed to tell anyone about it.
Babe to Jenny: Joseph works as an antenna installer all over the world.
To Mary: Poor Joseph. Was he hurt dear?
Mary: Well, he fell quite a ways and landed on an open toolbox. Somehow a crowbar was shoved into his anus.
Babe and Jenny together: Oh no! How horrible! etc.
Mary: The doctors say he's going to be OK but are unsure whether he will be able to father a child, and that is his biggest wish.
Jenny: So you and Joseph don't have any children?
Mary: No, not really. (Pause) We do have five girls, but Joseph and I really want a boy, I'm sure you can understand.
Jenny: Of course I understand. Your concern for yourselves is admirable, wouldn't you say so too Babe?
Babe: Absolutely. And I am sure Harry will be sad to hear about Joseph's accident too. In fact I think I hear him now.
Everyone: Hello honey, congratulations Harry, etc.
He sees Mary, goes to her and greets her seemingly blind to her tears and quiet sobs.
Harry: Mary! I am so glad you could come.
Babe (aside to Harry): Harry, Mary's upset. Joseph has been in an accident.
Harry: (aside to Jenny and Babe): She's always been high strung.
Harry to Mary (genuinely worried): Joseph has had an accident?
Babe: Joseph fell off a tower and somehow fell on a crowbar. It went up his anus and the doctors don't know whether he will be able to be a father again.
Harry: Be a father again? To Babe: They don't have any children; oh wait, I remember now. To Mary: Mary, don't you and Joe have a couple of girls?
Mary: Yes Harry. We have five girls, but Joseph really wanted to have a boy. I'm sure you understand.
Harry: Of course I do! And (brightening) I also have wonderful news for you. My experiments have shown unequivocally that African pygmies with metal rods shoved into their rectums are still able to ejaculate. Isn't that wonderful news? You see? You and Joe can keep trying for that boy.
Mary: That is definitely good news. But doesn't that hurt the pygmies?
Harry: But Mary! (With great emphasis) We are not pygmies! That is what all the excitement is over. We now know without question that pygmies are only 99.996% genetically similar to humans. (With great emphasis) We are not pygmies! This means that they do not feel things the way we do.
Mary: Oh, I see. We are not pygmies so we don't have to care about them?
Harry: Not the same way we care about people! And because they are so small we can fit many into a cage. They breed so easily that we are going to be able to send them to laboratories all over the world.
Jenny: Harry, have you discovered a way to overcome the problem of them mutilating and killing themselves?
Harry: This was a big problem for quite awhile. We are beginning to do some controlled studies to determine just how much boredom they can endure. This will teach us many important things, and help TV producers plan for new shows.
But now we are breeding retarded African pygmies and the problem seems to be solved. Retarded African pygmies are really very easy to manage. Of course we will keep some normal pygmies around for the boredom and suicide studies and we may be able to find other uses for them as well.
Mary starts to sniffle again and seems on the verge of tears once more.
Babe: What on the earth could be wrong now Mary?
Mary: I was afraid to say anything, but after Joseph's accident he was home from work for a while and was cooking some pan-fried prawns for me and the girls. Babe, do you ever make that dish? I think we got the recipe from you.
Babe: Is that the one where you remove the prawns' legs so they cannot crawl out of the skillet just before you drop them into the hot lard?
Mary: Yes that's it.
Harry and Jenny: They are so delicious fixed that way!
Mary: Well, (sniffling again) one of the prawns thrashed around with its tail - almost as if it was in pain or something.
Babe: The recipe calls for putting a lid on the skillet right away and holding it there for three or four minutes or until you can't feel them jumping around any longer.
Mary: I don't know what went wrong, but Joseph was splashed with the hot lard and somehow managed to pull the entire pan off the stove on to himself. He received third degree burns from his stomach all the way to his knees. And he hadn't really recovered from the crowbar up his anus yet.
Harry: This is no problem! We have discovered in our laboratory that retarded African Pygmies dipped briefly into boiling oil with metal rods inserted into their rectums are still able to ejaculate! You see? There is nothing to worry about.
Babe: Doesn't the hot oil hurt them?
Harry: There may be some discomfort, but don't forget, they are only 99.996% genetically similar to us. (With great emphasis) They are not human beings. We are not pygmies, so we don't have to care!
Mary: I guess Harry's right. After all he is going to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian work, and Harry I am so proud of you. Just look how your work is already helping people like Joseph.
A knock at the door.
Babe: That must be Reverend Christian. He wanted to come by himself to congratulate you Harry. He was here earlier. With all this going on about Joseph's injuries I forgot to tell you.
Babe (to Jenny): Jenny, could you get the door, and don't forget to watch your language around Father Christian.
Jenny exits. Enter HH accompanied by Jenny. HH walks up to Mary; he doesn't notice Harry at first.
HH: PB!TTLUC! Dr. Krishna! Let me congratulate you on your incredible discovery and secret research. You are to be commended sir. Your work will heal much suffering.
Harry comes over before Mary can speak.
Harry: Your Holiness. I'm over here. But allow me to introduce my identical twin sister, Mary.
HH: PB!TTLUC! I feel like I'm looking in a mirror. Amazing, simply amazing!
Harry: Your Holiness, we were just discussing the ethical implications of using pygmies in biomedical experiments. What do you think?
HH: PB!TTLUC! These are not questions mere mortals can answer. The Book has answered them for us already.
HH goes to a large black book sitting on a nearby table. He opens it randomly to the center.
HH: It is written: "And man shall use every animal as a tool to avoid any small discomfort and the final judgment." There. All the answers are there. No one has to think about these things themselves. The important decisions have all been made for us. PB!TTLUC!
Babe: You make it all so easy to understand Your Holiness.
Mary: Yes. Coming from you Reverend, I guess dipping pygmies in hot oil and shoving metal rods up their anuses is just God's way of showing compassion for His human children.
HH: PB!TTLUC! You must have had some religious upbringing!
The phone rings. Harry answers it.
Harry: Mary, it's for you. Long distance.
Mary takes the phone. Everyone else begins small talk but soon notice Mary is crying once more. Mary hangs up the phone.
Jenny: Mary, what's wrong dear? Not more bad news?
Mary: Oh God! Excuse me Your Holiness.
HH: God always forgives the rich.
Jenny [aside]: As long as you make a donation.
Mary: There's been an accident! Joseph went back to work last week. They had a job high in the Alps. He slipped and fell into a shallow lake and lay in freezing water for three days. He has frostbite from the waist down.
Harry: Don't worry Mary! My retarded African pygmy studies have shown that very often even after weeks of submersion in freezing water, even with open sores from being dipped briefly into boiling oil, with a metal rod shoved into their rectums, retarded African pygmies are still able to ejaculate! Isn't this wonderful news?
Mary: (Through her tears) But you said pygmies are different from people.
Harry: But you are forgetting that they are 99.996% genetically similar to us. And, we can do anything to them we want to because (With great emphasis) we're not pygmies! This is the beauty of biomedical research. If we do a study, sooner or later it is bound to be useful.
HH: PB!TTLUC! Dr. Krishna, after hearing these explanations from you I know that you deserve every humanitarian award there is. Never have I known a man with such concern for others. Doctor, you are an inspiration to us all! A toast!
Babe brings wine for everyone.
HH: PB!TTLUC! To the man who has taught the entire world about love and kindness through his discovery that (With great emphasis) we are not pygmies!
All: To Health! To us! To Humans! To Pygmies!
at 11:52 AM