Emil, You’re Going To Be A Dog

Emil, You’re Going To Be A Dog

One Act Play

Now with an

Optional 2nd Act

List of Characters

MILISSA LANE………………………….A GIRL

JIM RACE ……………………………     MIDDLE AGED MAN

MILDRED CLAUDHAMMER…………..OLDER WOMAN

BETH LIEBMAN…………………………MIDDLE AGED WOMAN

HAROLD HARFSPLITTER…………….. OLDER MAN

GEORGE MILNER……………………… MIDDLE AGED MAN

EMIL POTTER ………………………….. OLDER MAN

ART NIEMISH…………………………… MIDDLE AGED MAN

DOROTHY LUNDGREN……………….   MIDDLE AGED WOMAN

RITA GAINSWORTH……………………  OLDER WOMAN

DESIGNATOR…………………………… OLDER MAN

ASSISISTANT (NIEL)……………………A MAN

THE SET

WHEN PEOPLE DIE, THEY DON’T GO TO HEAVEN OR HELL. THEY ARE REINCARNATED. HERE IS THE PLACE WHERE THEY ARE ASSIGNED NEW LIVES.

THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE STAGE IS A WAITING AREA. THE OTHER SIDE IS THE DESK WHERE THE DESIGNATOR SITS. PEOPLE ENTER ON THE WAITING ROOM SIDE. THIS DOOR SWINGS AWAY FROM THE AUDIENCE SO THAT THE WORDS ON THE FROSTED GLASS CAN BE READ. ” MIDWEST REINCARNATION OFFICE. U.S.A. – DECEASED HUMANS” THE PEOPLE LEAVE BY A DOOR AT THE CENTER OF THE STAGE. ABOVE THIS DOOR THERE IS A SPEAKER HORN AND A LIGHT THAT FLASHES. BESIDE IT IS A WATER COOLER WITH A PAPER CUP DISPENSER. THERE IS A DOOR BEHIND THE DISIGNATOR’S DESK. BESIDE IT ARE A COUPLE CHAIRS. THE DESK IS CLUTTERED WITH. TWO PHONES, A WIRE BASKET FILLED WITH PAPERS, A CUP WITH PENCILS, A RUBBER STAMP TREE. A FEW PAPERS HAVE FALLEN TO THE FLOOR. THERE IS A WASTE BASKET WITH CRUMBLED BALLS OF PAPER AROUND IT.

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ACT I

THE PLAY OPENS WITH THE DESIGNATOR SEATED BEHIND THE DESK. NIEL, HIS ASSISTANT, IS STANDING BESIDE HIM. NIEL IS A BIG, STRONG MAN WHO COULD BE A BOUNCER AT A BAR. WITH HIS ARM FOLDED OVER HIS CHEST, HE IS WAITING, GLANCING, NOW AND THEN, AT WHAT THE DESIGNATOR IS DOING. THE DESIGNATOR IS LOOKING AT PAPERS. ONE FLOATS TO THE FLOOR AND HE DOESN’T NOTICE. HE TAKES A STAMP FROM THE STAMP TREE AND BANGS IT DOWN

THE WAITING ROOM DOOR OPENS SLOWLY. MILISSA TIMIDLY ENTERS. SHE TURNS TO READ THE WRITING ON THE DOOR AND THEN CAREFULLY CLOSES IT. SHE STARES AT THE TWO MEN FOR A MOMENT AND STEPS TO THE SIDE, CLUTCHING HER ARMS TO MAKE HERSELF SMALL.

THE DOOR SWINGS OPEN AND BANGS AGAINST THE WALL. JIM RACE ENTERS. HE LOOKS AT THE TWO MEN, LOOKS AT MILISSA AND HE WALKS TO THE DESK. HE LEAVES THE DOOR OPEN.

JIM RACE

Hey, how about that.. First one here. That means I get the first pick. Right? Right?  Got any future ball players here? I always thought that’s what I’d like to be if I could do it again. Big money those guys…. What you got here.

[HE REACHES ONTO THE DESK. NIEL STEPS FORWARD AND STOPS HIS HAND. JIM RACE PULLS IT BACK. HE PUTS HIS PALMS UP]

All right, all right. Just asking. That’s all. I can wait.

[NIEL STARES AT HIM AND JIM RACE TURNS AND WALKS

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BACK TO THE DOOR . HE LOOKS OVER MILISSA. SHE BACKS AWAY AND HUGS HERSELF TIGHTER.

JIM RACE

Figures. Won’t tell you nothing here either. Oh no. The doctor can’t tell you. He’s the specialist they called in. He just looks at the charts and nods. The nurse can’t tell you. She hasn’t the authority. But she’s smiling. Always smiling, so cheerful: likes to see a guy croak, smiling because she doesn’t have to tell him why. What you looking at?

          [HE POKES HIS FACE TO MILISSA AND SHE JUMPS BACK. SHE STEPS BACK SHE LOOKS TO THE DESIGNATOR AND NIEL AS IF FOR HELP, BUT NIETHER ARE LOOKING]

          [MILDRED ENTERS. SHE IS TALL AND UNGAINLY. SHE LOOKS ABOUT, SEES THE DOOR IS OPEN AND CAREFULLY CLOSES IT. SHE SMILES AND NODS AT JIM RACE. HE GRUNTS AND LOOKS AWAY. SHE SEES MILISSA WHO HIS HUGGING HERSELF AND SHUTTERING AND SHE STEPS OVER TO HER AND PUTS HER ARM AROUND HER SHOULDER]

MILDRED

          It’s all right, my dear. There is nothing you have to be afraid of. They give us our new lives here. That’s all.

          [SHE LOOKS AROUND THE ROOM]

          I thought there would be a heaven. You’d have thought somebody would have known, somehow. With all the sects we have. But we’re reincarnated. Reincarnated. I would have never dreamed…

          [SHE GIVES MILISSA A SQUEEZE AND LOOKS AT HER]

          I’m sure they’ll make you wonderful. Not an angel though. That would have to be out. But there are so many wonderful things you can be. There’s nothing to worry to be afraid of.

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MILISSA

          I’m all right now. Thank you so much for coming to me. I needed somebody. It was that man there. He isn’t very friendly, poked his face at me. ” What you looking at”, he said to me. They wouldn’t say anything. They just sit there like nobody’s here. I was afraid.

          [JIM RACE LOOKS WITH A SNEER AT THE TWO. MILDRED, HOWEVER, STARES AT HIM AND HE AS TO LOOK AWAY]

MILDRED

          He might have had a hard death. He doesn’t look too happy about it. But you needn’t worry. I was a school teacher for many, many years, and I’ve handled more than a few like him.

MILISSA

          A school teacher? How wonderful. You were really a school teacher?

MILDRED

          Well, yes. But, Gracious me, I’ve never heard anybody say “how wonderful” before.

MILISSA

          I always wanted to have a school teacher. I mean a real school teacher where I would sit in the class with other kids and we’d learn things together. And and we could talk about the things we learned. I dreamed of having a school teacher. But for me, it was a tutor. It was just me and her. My mother said that when the cancer went into remission I could go to school. She promised me. But I only saw television shows and read books about being in a school with other kids and having a teacher like you.

 MILDRED

          Oh, no my dear. I don’t think I was like one of those teachers. No. I wasn’t well liked. My students had all sorts of names for me: the moose, hammer head – some young genius taking off on my name

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Claudehammer – horseface, and now and then I’d unroll one of those quickly crumpled pieces of paper and see what I looked like.

                                                JIM RACE

          [TO HIMSELF] School teacher. That figures. Old Horse face, herself. Yeah. Bet They make her a horse too. What else? Next time I see a horse, I got to remember to give it a good kick.

          [HE LAUGHS AND NUDGES WITH HIS ELBOW AS IF WITH SOMEBODY TO LAUGH WITH HIM ]

MILISSA

          I think that man is talking about you.

MILDRED

          Oh, I suppose he is. I’m use to that. I’ve had whole class rooms of students talking about me. What would you like to be in your new life?

MILISSA

          I’d just like to be a little girl again. A little girl that isn’t sick all the time. A little girl that can go to school and play outside even on rainy days. How much fun that must be.

          [THE TELEPHONE RINGS. THE THREE IN THE WAITING AREA LOOK AND LISTEN. ]

          [NIEL, THE ASSISTANT PICKS UP THE TELEPHONE]

ASSISTANT

          Yes? Oh yes. [HE LISTENS FOR AWHILE AND NODS] I see. She isn’t. I see. Of course…. It’s happened before, hasn’t it? And the other? [HE LISTENS]Okay, okay…fine, fine. The Gainsworth lady is still on her way. We have that taken care of. The moment she arrives, she’ll have an escort. [LISTENS] All right, thank you.

          [HE HANGS UP AND BENDS TO SPEAK WITH THE DESIGNATOR]

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ASSISTANT

          We’ve got one who isn’t going to make it sir.

DESIGNATOR

          Oh? Which one is that?

          [THE ASSISTANT POINTS TO A NAME ON A PAPER WHICH IS ON THE DESK]

ASSISTANT

          This one here, sir. Mrs.Canton, Emily Canton. Her doctor put her on a life support system, build her up and she’s getting a new kidney. It looks like she may not be here for a long time now.

DESIGNATOR

          No Mrs. Canton. Emily Bernice it was. Cross her off here. Now what do I have? I’ve got a cat here. What do I do with the cat? I had this fingered out. Or did I? Wait a minute. Let me look at this again. The dog, I have Emil Potter as the dog, and here’s the turtle that’s going to be…now look. Was I one short? Who can I assign the cat now? Hmm.

          [THE TWO BEND OVER THE PAPERS]

MILISSA

          [WHISPERS TO MILDRED] Did you hear that? Somebody’s going to be a cat. And I heard him say dog too. Somebody’s going to be a dog.

          [THE DOOR OPENS. BETH, HAROLD AND GEORGE ENTER ONE AFTER THE OTHER. EACH LOOKS AROUND.]

BETH

          Is there a line?

MILDRED

          No, not that I know of. We’re just waiting. I have no idea how it works.

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MILISSA

          Somebody’s going to be a cat. We just heard them say. Didn’t we?

GEORGE

          I knew there wasn’t going to be a heaven. I knew it. They didn’t fool me. Not for a minute. No. Reincarnation. Nobody ever said anything about that, did they? No, you might know, nothing on how it really was going to be. All those priest and ministers and they don’t say a thing about it. Huh. Something was going on there, that’s for sure. No heaven.

JIM RACE

          There’s always the other side you know. It’s not so bad when you think of it that way.

 GEORGE

          What do you mean?

                                                JIM RACE

          Hell. That’s what I mean. If there isn’t any heaven, there isn’t any hell either. Right?  I mean not that I had anything to worry about. No, no…No. I was a good guy, you know deep down, good guy. Did a little drinking, cussed and swore, maybe I didn’t always support the wife and kids: didn’t always have a job either. But I had a good heart. A good heart. I’d like to know how many times I bought a round for everybody. You know, God sees things like that.

GEORGE

          A racket, that’s what it was, all that church stuff. Look you can see it now. Get you to put your money in the basket so you can go to heaven. Never fooled me, not for a minute. Put my hand in the basket but I never dropped a dime. No sir. Back then you could get yourself a big Nut Goodie for ten cents.

JIM RACE

          I think you get to choose what you want to be. I went right up

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there to the desk and they got a list. You just got to look down it and pick out what you want to be. Pretty neat, huh? And I was the first one in here. Don’t forget. I get to pick first. You got that?

          [THE TELEPHONE RINGS AND THE PEOPLE LOOK AND LISTEN. THE ASSISTANT ANSWERS AGAIN]

ASSISTANT

          Yes…oh, she did. Good. Then she’ll be here in five minutes or so….. [HE LISTENS] …Okay, fine.

          [HE HANGS UP AND BENDS TO TALK TO THE DESIGNATOR]

          The lady from France has arrived. She’ll be here in a few minutes.

                                                DESIGNATOR

          France?

ASSISTANT

          The Gainsworth lady, sir. She was traveling. I believe it was to Paris for an auction or the fashions, an art sale…she’s the wealthy one.

                                      DESIGNATOR

          Oh. Yes, of course. I’ve got that notation here.. I’ve got it here someplace. Good, good. She’s on her way then. We can get started. Is everybody here?

ASSISTANT

          I’ll have to count heads here. Let’s see. One, two, three…[HE BOBS HIS POINTED FINGER WITH EACH ONE COUNTED] No, there’s only…but here comes some more.

          [EMIL, ART AND DOROTHY ENTER ONE AFTER THE OTHER. ART STOPS TO READ THE SIGN ON THE DOOR WINDOW HOLDING THE EDGE OF THE DOOR AS HE DOES SO. HE WALKS IN AND LOOKS AT EACH PERSON MAKING AN APPRAISAL OF EACH. DOROTHY LOOKS STRAIGHT

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AHEAD. SHE IS INDIGNANT AS SHE BELIEVES SHE HAS BEEN SENT TO THE WRONG PLACE. EMIL SIMPLY LOOKS ABOUT SOMEWHAT FRIEGHTENED]

          [THE MEN GATHER TOGETHER TO MAKE ONE GROUP AND THE WOMEN ANOTHER]

ART

          How does this work? Any of you guys know?

GEORGE

          I don’t know.

 JIM RACE

          It goes by turns, first in, first serve, like that. So, I was the first one in here. I’ll be the first one to pick from that list they got up there.

ART

          Is that so? Got a list up there. You get a look at it?

JIM RACE

No, they’re funny about it. That big guy got all excited and pushed my hand away. I heard them say somebody’s going to have to be a cat, and somebody a dog, a dog, huh. How’d you like to be a dog? Wouldn’t be too bad I suppose. But, I’m going play baseball this time, professional. Make some real money. Just remember. I was here first, huh. When they start, I go up there first. That’s the way things work.

                                               ART

You got first, huh. But you don’t know, do you? Could be all together different. We might pick numbers. Might be something else. I think we’re going to have to wait buddy.

          [HE STEPS OVER TO HAROLD]

You look familiar. Didn’t I sell you a car once?

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HAROLD

          No. I don’t think so.

ART

          Seventy nine Chev, cruise, air, stereo? Or maybe it was a washing machine. How about it. I mean you look like I know you. Like I sold you something. I never forget a face. That’s part of the business. Look. I use to wear a big Stetson, wide suspenders. Car salesman got to distinguish themselves, stand out a little, you know, so you know who you were dealing with. How about it?

HAROLD

          Well, it might have been the washing machine. I’d have to think on that there. We got that back in fifty seven. It was been after Jean got her first set of teeth. It was at Wards. Not the teeth, the wash machine. You didn’t work for Monkey Wards did you?

ART

          There you are. That was me. It was. That was me. Hey, tell me. You know how this reincarnation thing works.

MILDRED

          It would have been nice if they gave us some kind of pamphlet letting us know what to expect. They look so busy there, you hate to bother them.

BETH

          [SHE LOOKS ALONG THE WALLS] Maybe there are some around here. You’d think the pamphlets would be right by the door here.

ART

          Pamphlets? Where?

          [ART, BETH AND THE OTHERS LOOK ALONG THE WALL AND LOOK ON THE DESK BEING SOMEWHAT HESITATE TO GET TOO CLOSE TO IT]

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ASSISTANT

          They’re all here now, sir. Just the lady from France and we have her on her way.

 DESIGNATOR

          We better start. The first birth is at three…lets see here. Three thirty six. That’s a little ways off, but you know how things go.

ASSISTANT

          Oh yes. I know. We have one human this time too. It’s better when there is none at all. It’s too bad we couldn’t have gotten a few birds. Birds always make a few of them happy.

DESIGNATOR

          You’re right, one human is bad. Then they all think they should be human again. And how do you tell them human’s aren’t the most prolific species on the planet. Cats alone have six, seven at a time. Fleas propagate every hour, lice, flies, rats, ticks by the millions how many can become humans again. It’s always better when we get none at all. But lets get on with it. I got another bunch coming up at four thirty.

          [HE STANDS UP. LIKE A JUDGE, HE WEARS A ROBE. HE ALSO HAS A GAVEL. HE RAPS IT DOWN ON THE DESK]

          [THE ASSISTANT MOVES TO THE FRONT OF THE DESK AND STANDS]

          [THE PEOPLE LOOK AND FORM A LINE AS THEY LOOK AT THE DESIGNATOR. MILISSA HUGS CLOSE TO MILDRED. JIM RACE STEPS OUT IN FRONT AND FOLDS HIS ARMS OVER HIS CHEST. ART MOVES TO THE EDGE OF THE GROUP]

DESIGNATOR

          Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. I am the Designator. My job is to assign you new lives. In a few minutes a cat will give birth to nine kittens, a dog will have her litter and we even have a kangaroo

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out at the zoo who is about to have twins. When this happens one of you will have to be there to become that new life. It is as simple as that. Now, after I make the assignments, your birth or your hatching will be announced. You’ll hear the buzzer over that door there. The light will flash and you have to be ready, right then. There won’t be a minute to waste. You go out that door and into your new life. Neil, my assistant, will show you to the door or help you, however, you want it. A new life is a miracle, and I hope you all see it that way. Now ..

          [THE PEOPLE NOW ARE TURNING TALKING TO ONE ANOTHER AND THEIR VOICES BLEND MAKING OVER WHICH ONLY A FEW STATEMENT ARE DISTINGUISHED. BETH ASKS A COUPLE OF TIMES, “WHAT DID HE SAY”,”WHAT DOES HE MEAN” AND JIM RACE “IT’S SUPPOSE TO BE TURNS.”

DESIGNATOR

[HE RAPS HIMS GAVEL A COUPLE TIMES] Please. Thank you. If there are any questions or if of you have a complaint, you’ll have to wait until I’m done with the assignments.

          [HE PICKS UP A PIECE OF PAPER]

          Emil. Emil Potter.

EMIL

          That’d be me, sir.

DESIGNATOR

Emil, you’re going to be a dog. MILDRED…

EMIL

A dog? You said a dog?

 DESIGNATOR

Yes, that’s right, a dog. Mildred…

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EMIL

Me. A dog?

                                                        BETH

          Yes, a dog. And how luck you are. How lucky. First you’ll be a puppy, a cute little puppy everybody will love and want to cuddle. They’ll pick you up and scratch you behind your ears and pat your head. You’re so lucky.

EMIL

          Yeah, sure. Like who? You think I want just anybody scratching me behind the ears, huh. How would I know who’s going to own me? Huh. Anybody walks into the pond and picks you up. You don’t have a choice. I’d be damned if I’d let some…

DESIGNATOR

          Please, Mr. Potter. As I said, you can complain after I’ve made the assignments. Now then. MILDRED Theresa Claudehammer.

MILDRED

          Yes, I’m right here, sir.

DESIGNATOR

          Good afternoon, mam.

 MILDRED

          Good afternoon to you.

DESIGNATOR

          Thank you. Let’s see. Yes. MILDRED, you’re going to be a butterfly.

                                       MILDRED

          A butterfly, you say. A butterfly. Me? Are you sure you haven’t made a mistake? How could I be so beautiful as a butterfly.

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MILISSA

          But that’s perfect. You’ll make a beautiful butterfly. I’m happy for you, so happy for you.

          [SHE HUGS MILDRED]

MILDRED

          Oh yes, I am happy. When the butterfly opens her wings, she is the most beautiful creature on earth. Oh, yes, yes, I can see myself now: in the flower garden flitting from blossom to blossom , white, pink, gold, tasting those sweet nectars. But, I can’t believe it. Me a butterfly?

MILISSA

          Of course, that’s what he said. I hope I become a butterfly too. And I’d fly so free into the air like I’ve always wished as I lay sick in bed. I’d dance in the air, lean back and float all the way to the clouds. And, and too… we could be in the same garden, we could..

JIM RACE

          How they going to make a butterfly out of that old horse? What a joke, huh. What a joke. That thing starts flapping around my yard, I’ll get out the shotgun. Ha, ha ha, ha. How’s that?
         

[HE GRINS AND LOOKS TOT HE OTHER MEN TO ENJOY HIS HUMOR. THEY, HOWEVER, PAY NO ATTENTION]

DESIGNATOR

[TALKS OVER THEIR VOICES]

          Art Niemish.

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ART

          Right here, sir.

DESIGNATOR

          That’ s actually Arthur Niemish, I see.

ART

          That is correct, sir. It’s Arthur Randolph Niemish. I was named after my grandfather:  a great man he was. He did a lot of humanity, a lot of humanity, oh yeah. Built homes for thousands of people, provided jobs, you know families, kids all that. Kind of what I got into. Doing service, you know for other human beings. The world needs guys like us. Yeah they really need people like us. You know you couldn’t expect a dog or a butterfly…

DESIGNATOR

          No, of course not. Art, you’re going to be a turtle, let me see…yes, a painted turtle it says here.

ART

          A turtle? Come on now. You can’t make a guy human again? There’s got to be a couple thousand women in the hospitals right now. You could get me on board. Some cute, cuddly baby boy, huh. How about it.

DESIGNATOR

          Sorry. I have only one human here.

ART

          Okay, I’ll take it.

          [ART GLANCES BACK AT THE OTHERS, STEPS TO THE

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DESK ANDLEANS OVER]

          Look, maybe we could have a few words in private. We can work something out. I know how it is. You can always work some kind of deal.

DESIGNATOR

          No, not here. It wouldn’t work at all. Take too much time. No. Once I’ve made these assignments, I can’t change them. And I have you down as a turtle.

ART

          Yeah, sure. The rules. But you and I know there’s things that can be done. A change here, a little bend there, like selling a guy a car.

DESIGNATOR

          Please, Mr.…what was it. Mr. Niemish. Time is important here. It is. If you want to do any bargaining, you’ll have to wait until I’m done. Then if somebody should want to trade with you.

ART

          Trade? We can trade?

DESIGNATOR

          Yes, that’s right. Let me get on with this.

ART

          Sure, go ahead.

          [ART TURNS AND WALKS BACK TO THE OTHERS. HE SPEAKS LOUDER NOW]

          A turtle it is. Really. Hey, I can’t believe my luck. What a winner. A turtle. You hear that. Me, a turtle. Wow. I mean tell me about the good life will yeh. Tell me, sitting on a log sunning yourself all day, getting that tan. It gets a little too hot, you just slip down in the water for a nice cool dip? How’s that sound. People pay good money just to do that, good hard earned money. What a life. I’m going

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to have it made. Made.

DESIGNATOR

          Good, good. You like the choice after all. We’re always glad when we can make somebody happy. Let’s see now. Harold Harfsplitter. No…that’s actually Arnold Harold Harfsplitter.

HAROLD

          It is. I’m terribly sorry about that. I didn’t know.

DESIGNATOR

          That’s all right. It doesn’t cause a problem. It just didn’t check against the registry here.

 HAROLD

          I never liked my first name, sir. So I took the next one.

          DESIGNATOR

Harold for Arnold.

HAROLD

          That’s right, sir. Harold for Arnold. I hope it isn’t too much of a problem. I never meant to cause a problem with it.

DESIGNATOR

          No, no problem. Harold or Arnold, Arnold or Harold, all the same to me. Paper work is what I’m all about. Look at this desk. Arnold now back to Harold, or how did I have that. Let see…well, I’ll have Neil do this.. here Neil. See, it’s Harold but it’s suppose to be Arnold, or …anyway. I see you really got up there Mr. Harfsplitter. Ninety seven years old. Eighty years with the Hayward-Balling company. Remarkable, that is. Died on the job, did you?

HAROLD

          That’s right sir. My supervisor, Mr. Hickley, found me slumped over the new copy machine. I couldn’t get it to work. It kept making a grinding sound, sheet after sheet after sheet, the money I was wasting.

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And then Mr. Hickley was shaking me. Of course, I couldn’t answer him. I was dead.

DESIGNATOR

          Is that so? Well, Harold, I have you down here as a pickerel.

HAROLD

          A pickerel?

 DESIGNATOR

          It’s a fish, a sort of Northern Pike, I believe. Is that right Neil?

ASSISTANT

          That’s right sir. A pickerel is a fish, a skinny fish.

HAROLD

          Oh, oh.. yes. I see. That’s good. That’s good. A pickerel, you say. Ah huh.

DESIGNATOR

          Good, very good. I’m glad you’re pleased. So many aren’t.

HAROLD

          Well…well, actually sir. I don’t mean to complain. I never do that, not even when they took my lunch break away. This isn’t the same. You see, I don’t know how to swim, sir. And I’ve always been afraid of the water.

DESIGNATOR

          Oh? Well, you need not worry about that Mr. Harfsplitter. I’m sure with a set of gills, fins and a nice strong tail you’ll have no trouble getting about in the water.

HAROLD

          Gills, fins and a tail? Nice strong tail…. Well, yes. I suppose so, sir. That tail will make a difference. I’ll do fine then. Ah…thank you. Yes, thank you.

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 DESIGNATOR

          Okay, now. Who is next here. Let see. Here it is. James Race. James Patrick Race it is. Jim?

JIM RACE

          Yeah, that’s me.

DESIGNATOR

          You’re going to be a Liver Fluke. Now, Beth. Elizabeth Colleen…

JIM RACE

          A what? A what?

DESIGNATOR

          [LOOKS BACK TO THE PAPER] That was a Liver Fluke.

JIM RACE

          A Liver what? A Liver who? What the… what the – pardon my English- is that? Hey, hey, hey, hey. I don’t want to be any whatever this Liver Fleb Flab, Flub…Liver whatever. Whatever it is. Yeah, and there you are. Right there. How can I be one if I don’t know what it is? Huh, you tell me that.

          [HE WALKS TO THE DESK POINTING HIS FINGER, SEES NEIL AND STOPS]

          But, hey. Look. I was a good guy all my life. Ask any of the guys. Hear what they say. Just stop in at Cozy Corner, they’ll tell you. Sure they will. You like to have a drink now and then, don’t you…huh?

 [THE BUZZER SOUNDS AND THE LIGHT ABOVE THE DOOR FLASHES. IT STARTLES EVERYBODY. THEY LOOK WITH LARGE EYES. THE BUZZER STOPS BUT THE FLASHING LIGHT CONTINUES]

[THE ASSISTANT GOES TO THE DOOR AND OPENS IT. HE LEANS IN THEN TURNS TO THE DESIGNATOR]

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ASSISTANT

It’s the pickerel, sir. The eggs are hatching.

DESIGNATOR

They are? They are! Have I made that assignment yet? Oh. Let me look… [HE QUICKLY DIGS THROUGH THE PAPERS, STOPS ] Oh, yes, here. That’ be you Mr. Harfsplitter.

[HAROLD’S EYES GET BIG. HE STIFFENS.]

[THE ASSISTANT GOES TO HIM AND PUTS HIS HAND UNDER HIS ARM AND LEADS HIM TO THE DOOR.]

ASSISTANT

Right this way sir.

[HE GUIDES HIM THROUGH THE DOOR. HAROLD LOOKS BACK AS HE GOES. THE ASSISTANT CLOSES THE DOOR]

[THE LIGHT STOPS BLINKNG]

ART

Gezz, that was quick. I thought…hey I thought you said there’d be time, we could trade.

 DESIGNATOR

Here it is. Lost my place there. Elizabeth Colleen Liebman. Says here they call you Beth.

BETH

          Yes? That’s me. Right here, sir. Beth. Yes.

ART

[TO THE ASSISTANT] How much time do we have?

[THE TELEPHONE RINGS]

ASSISTANT

          There should be a few minutes after he’s done. Mr. Harfsplitter was called a little early. The water was probably a little warmer than

Page 20

they thought.

[HE PICKS UP THE TELEPHONE]

          She is? Okay, yes.

ART

          In other words, we don’t have much time. Can’t you get on with this, huh? The quicker we get done with this assigning, the more time we got to make a deal.

DESIGNATOR

Beth, you’re going to be a cat.

 BETH

A cat? [SHE PUTS HER FINGERS TO HER CHIN TO THINK A MOMENT] A cat. Well, that is fine. Actually, it’s wonderful. Wonderful, yes. Cats are so elegant, so graceful and…yes, mysterious with those yellow eyes. I’ll sit on the mantle and overlook the family, or stare in the fireplace deep in cat thought. Oh, yes. I’m going to love being a cat. Oh, and I think I’ll be a Siamese. Please. They make such lovely figurines. I always admire them in the card shops.

MILDRED

It is wonderful. I’m so happy for you. My cat was the perfect companion. I think she understood everything. And she’d sit there and not say a thing. Where could you find a friend like that.

MILISSA

Oh yes. That is wonderful. And you’ll be a kitten first, so furry and lovable.

ART

Hey, come on you guys. Talk about it later, huh. You’re holding him up. You know what that means. Some of us might want a little time to do some trading, you know. [HE LOOKS AROUND] I mean, not that I’m not just as pleased as can be with being a turtle.

Page 21

JIM RACE

Yeah, why don’t you biddies shut up. Nobody wants to hear about your cat. Lets get on with this. I’m going to need all the time I can get to get out of this Liver Flub thing.

MILDRED

It’s a Liver Fluke, young man.

JIM RACE

A Liver Fluke, young man. A Liver Fluke, young man. Like you think I don’t know what it is, huh. Don’t worry, I know. I didn’t need any old hag school teacher telling me either.

[HE WALKS TO EMILS, PUTS HIS HAND UNDER HIS ARM AND LEDS HIM ASIDE.]

How about it, buddy. You know what this liver thing is?

[ART TURNS TO LISTEN TO THEIR CONVERSATION]

EMIL

Sure I know what it is. But why’d you have to ask me? I don’t like to talk about things like that. I get queasy.

[HOLDING HIS STOMACH EMIL TURNS AWAY]

[JIM RACE FOLLOWS AFTER HIM]

JIM RACE

Just give me a hint, huh. You don’t have to say it. I mean is it that bad?

DESIGNATOR

Milissa Lane, Milissa Jane Lane…[HE LOOKS UP AND DOESN’T SEE HER. HE MOVES HIS HEAD TO THE SIDE AND THEM UP]

[MILISSA TIMIDLY STEPS FOREWARD]

Page 22

EMIL

[QUICKLY] Its’ a parasite, a flat worm like thing, slimy thing

that lives in the gut somewhere. Yak, yuk. That’s as far as I can go. And he thinks I can be a dog.

MILISSA

Right here, sir. [SHE WAVES HER HAND] Right here.

JIM RACE

Me, a parasite?

[THE TELEPHONE RINGS AND THE ASSISTANT ANSWERS IT]

           [MILDRED STEPS UP BESIDE MILISSA AND PUTS HER HAND ON HER SHOULDER]

JIM RACE

I worked for everything I ever owned. Everything. Me, a parasite. Hey..hey hey, there’s something wrong here all right.

ASSISTANT

          [ON THE TELEPHONE] Fine. Yes. Thank you.

[HE HANGS UP AND LEANS TO SPEAK TO THE DESIGNATOR]

She’s on the elevator now, sir. She should be coming any moment now.

[RITA ENTERS. SHE IS DRESSED EXPENSIVELY WITH FURS AND JEWELRY. AS SHE WALKS, THE OTHERS STEP ASIDE AND SHE MOVES IN FRONT OF THEM]

Page 23

DESIGNATOR

          Mam, you must be Mrs. Gainsworth. I hope the trip was a pleasant one. We made sure to have the escort right there waiting for you.

RITA

          Yes, that was so kind. Thank you.

DESIGNATOR

You were in Paris. Yes. It is so lovely there. I suppose you were taking in the latest fashions?

RITA

The fashions? Heavens no. I’ve been too old for that sort of thing a good fifty years now. An auction, rare painting, millions of dollars, it’s the only thing that seems to get my blood pumping. And what do you know. I had a stroke.

DESIGNATOR

Well, I’m sorry to hear that. It’s too bad you couldn’t have had the chance to make a few bids.

RITA

Yes, that’s how I felt. Why now. But I suppose..

ART

What’s all this chit chat. There isn’t that much time. The pickerel is gone all ready. Pretty soon that buzzers going again, and turtle eggs will be hatching. I mean, not that I’m not happy about it. I mean, that was great.

DESIGNATOR

Yes, it’s something we can’t plan, isn’t it. Well, anyway, Mrs. Gainsworth, I have to down to be a human again.

Page 24

RITA

Ah hem. Yes. Of course. Thank you. It won’t be long, I hope.

DESIGNATOR

Oh, no. I’ll hurry things along here. It’ll be just a few minutes.

[SHE TURNS AND WALKS BACK WITH OTHERS]

JIM RACE

She’s going to be a human again. Oh yes, of course, thank you. You’re a dog, I’m a gut worm and she’s going to be a human again, Oh yes, of course, thank you. You see. You see. Money talks here too. It talks. You watch, bet she drops those rocks around his neck before she leaves. Wife will get a nice fur coat too.

GEORGE

What’d you expect? That’s the way it always works, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, don’t worry, she had that figured the minute she dropped over dead.

DOROTHY

This is all such utter nonsense. Nonsense. I don’t know why I’m putting up with it. I don’t. I really don’t. [SHE LOOKS THIS WAY AND THAT AS IF TO ESCAPE]

ART

Come on, come on. Save it until after, huh? You saw the pickerel, didn’t you. Let’s get on with this.

JIM RACE

What do you think you’re going to be dealing with, huh. I don’t see any chunks of rock hanging around your neck.

EMIL

Sure, it’ll take money.

ART

We’ll see. But let him talk, huh. Who’s next. Let’s get this going, huh?

DESIGNATOR

There’s just a few left here. It shouldn’t take more than a minute or two.

ART

Good. Keep it going. Keep it going.

DESIGNATOR

Milissa? Milissa Jane Lane?

[SHE TIMIDLY WAVES HER HAND AGAIN. MILDRED HUGS HER]

MILISSA

Yes, I’m right here. Over here.

MILDRED

I know you’ll be something wonderful.

DESIGNATOR

Oh, there you are. You’re such a tiny little thing aren’t you? But, didn’t I just call your name?

MILISSA

Yes, you did. But then the rich lady came in.

DESIGNATOR

Oh. That’s right. We were interrupted weren’t we. Well, Milissa, you’re going to be a Sewer Rat.

MILISSA

A Sewer.. .Oh, ugh, ugh. Oh no.. oh.. I don’t feel so well.

Page 26

[MILDRED IS DUMBFOUNDED AND DROPS HER HANDS]

[MILISSA PUTS HER HAND TO HER HEAD AND FALLS BACK.]

[ART QUICKLY MOVES AND CATCHES HERE]

ART

          She’s fainting.

MILDRED

Oh my. Oh my. [SHE HELPS ART WITH MILISSA] Oh, you poor girl, you poor, poor girl. But how could he do that to you? How could he? You hardly had a chance to be a human, and now you have to live in a sewer.

DESIGNATOR

Neil, would you bring Milissa a cup of water.

ASSISTANT

Yes sir. [HE GOES TO THE COOLER, GETS THE WATER AND TAKES IT TO MILISSA. MILDRED TAKES THE CUP AND PUTS IT TO MILISSA’S LIPS]

[MILISSA BLINKS A FEW TIMES AND COMES OUT OF IT]

DESIGNATOR

Are you all right? You poor child. Some times it is a bit of a shock, isn’t it. Well, lets see here. We have only two left.

ART

Good, keep it going. Don’t worry kid, once I get done making my own deal I’ll see what I can do for you. Otherwise, hey…being a Sewer Rat might not be half bad.

Page 27

MILDRED

I’ll trade with you right now. You can be the butterfly. I’ll be the Sew Rat.

MILISSA

Oh, no. No. I couldn’t do let you do that. Never. You’ll be a perfect butterfly. I can’t wait to see you. But, but I don’t know if Sewer Rats ever get to look at butterflies.

BETH

Well, sure they do. They come out now and then, don’t they? You hear how people going after them with baseball bats.

DESIGNATOR

George Milner

MILDRED

How can you say that? Now look at what you’ve done. Poor girls crying now.

BETH

What did I say? You poor girl. You all right?

GEORGE

I’m right here. Right here. Here I am. Right here.

DESIGNATOR

George, you’re going to be one of the kangaroos born out at the zoo today. You’ve probably read how she’s been expecting. It’s going to be two and you’ll be one of them.

GEORGE

Kangaroo?

Page 28

DESIGNATOR

Yes. It’s going to be quite an event. They just got the kangaroos last year, made that nice big range for them, and all ready they’ve reproduced. They’re all going to be there, the Television channels, newspapers, photographers, Cameras aimed and ready for your arrival. You’ll be a celebrity George. A real celebrity.

BETH

Oh, how wonderful. You’re going to be on TV.

 GEORGE

Yeah, sure. TV, newspapers, all that. What’s the catch? That’s what I want to know. What’s the catch, huh? You know there has to be one. Sounds a little too good, just a little too good.

BETH

Well, it will be. Children will come out to see you. People will stand and coo and say how cute you are. It’s going to be wonderful

GEORGE

Come on lady. I wasn’t born yesterday. You think I don’t know when something sounds too good, huh?

          [HE LOOKS WITH NARROW EYES AT THE DESIGNATOR]

DESIGNATOR

Maybe it isn’t such exciting news for you, after all. Well, lets see now… Dorothy Jean Lundgren. Dorothy?

DOROTHY

That’s my name, yes. But it could hardly belong on that paper of yours.

DESIGNATOR

Oh, lets see. No, it says Dorothy Jean Lundgren here.

Page 29

DOROTHY

It must be some other Dorothy Jean Lundgren. I certainly do not, do not belong here.

 DESIGNATOR

I know. I’ve heard that I don’t know how many times before. Dorothy, you’re going to be a house fly.

DOROTHY

A house fly? That’s absolutely ridiculous. Ridiculous. I’m Dorothy Lundgren. Do you understand? Dorothy Lundgren and I’m entitled to heaven. Of course I am. God rewards the good people. And was I not good? The best in fact. The splendor of my home. Only good people have good things. God rewards. Any body that walked into my house would know… And look at you. Look at the way you keep that desk. Papers this way, that way, which way, even on the floor. Just look. And crumbs, do I see crumbs?  I do. Smudges too, on your gown. Look. What is this?

[SHE LOOKS THIS WAY AND THAT]

I don’t know what was the matter with me, staying here as long as I have. I must have walked in the wrong door. Of course. That has to be it. I walked in the wrong door.

          [DOROTHY TURNS AND WALKS TO THE ENTRANCE DOOR]

DESIGNATOR

Mrs. Lundgren, please. This is the right place. You aren’t going to find…It’s says right on the door..

[DOROTHY EXITS]

ASSISTANT

          Shall I go after her?

DESIGNATOR

I think it’s too late. You know what’s next door.

Page 30

ASSISTANT

Yeah, I know what it means. I hope not too many. We’ll have to get them back there.

THE DESIGNATOR SHIFTS A LITTLE TO MAKE ROOM. THE ASSISTANT COMES UP WITH A TIN CUP IN HIS HANDS, STEPS TO THE SIDE AND WAITS]

ART

She was the last one, right? Good, we can trade now, right? Right?

DESIGNATOR

Yes, Dorothy was the last one.

[RAISES BOTH HANDS, PALMS OUT TO SILENCE THE TALKING BETWEEN PEOPLE]

Now, please…everybody. If any of you have any complaints or questions, now is the time. And if any of you, like Art here, wish to trade with somebody this is the time.

ART

Good, I mean no, oh no,  I’m not going to trade. Who wouldn’t want to be a turtle, huh? Who? Oh I suppose I would be good enough to consider…But let’s get this started. I was thinking….

          [THE BUZZER SOUNDS, THE LIGHT FLASHES. ALL LOOK]

          [THE ASSISTANT WALKS TO THE DOOR, OPENS IT AND PEERS IN AND THEN BACK TO THE DESIGNATOR]

ART

I knew it was taking too long. Now, another one. Turtle eggs? Everybody had to talk, this could have been over ten minutes ago. …

ASSISTANT

The butterfly, sir.

Page 31

MILDRED

Me? Oh, it’s time. I’m so excited. But no. No. Milissa, you go, be the butterfly: you’re young and delicate, lovely just as you are now. You’d make a butterfly much more graceful than I. And it’d be for just a summer. For me, enough to last a lifetime. And for you: Go, be a butterfly and you’ll be here again in the fall, and then they’ll make you human again, make you the little girl you always wanted to be.

MILISSA

          No, I couldn’t let you do that. You’ll make a wonderful butterfly. A monarch, maybe a tiger Swallow tail. Go now. The light is flashing. There is a garden waiting and somebody will be there to wonder at how lovely you’re are. Go

          [THE ASSISTANT MOVES TO HER SIDE, AND PUTS HIS HAND UNDER HER ARM AND LEADS HER TO THE DOOR.]

MILDRED

If we only had a few more minutes, Milissa dear. But now… me a Monarch, a Tiger Swallow Tail, Me…How could I be ….

          [THE ASSISTANT CLOSES THE DOOR. MILDRED HAS EXITED]

          [ART PACES, STOPS AND APPRAISES RITA]

ART

This one isn’t going to be easy. No. It’ll take time. Somehow I got to find the key to this old babe.

DESIGNATOR

You don’t have much time, now. If you’re going to trade, it better be quick. The female dog probably has found a corner in the basement all ready. She may be dilating right now. Before you know it, she’ll be eating the embryo cord from ..Mr. Potter’s belly. Mother rat has to be looking for a dry ledge somewhere in the sewer and maybe has gathered some rags, and any moment she’ll have that litter

Page 32

of wiggling, squirming gray babies with tails like rubber bands, one of whom will be dear little Milissa here. Life is such a wonder.

          [EMIL HOLDS HIS STOMACH. MILISSA SIGHS AND FAINTS AGAIN. ART QUICKLY CATCHES HERE AGAIN]

ART

Hey, you don’t have to rub it in. It’s bad enough you made her a Sewer Rat This is just a kid here. Never had a chance to live a real life. You okay, kid. Huh? Okay?

DESIGNATOR

Neil would you get her another cup of water.

          [PUTTING THE TIN CUP UNDER HIS ARM, THE ASSISTANT DRAWS ANOTHER PAPER CUP OF WATER AND TAKES IT TO MILISSA]

DESIGNATOR

And you, Mr. Potter. Are you all right. You look a little sick too. Would you like Neil to bring you a cup of water?

EMIL

Nah, nah…[HE WAVES HIM OFF ANGERLY. HOLDS HIS STOMACH AGAIN]

ART

Hey, I can’t be doing this. I don’t have enough time. You okay now, huh sweetheart? You can stand by yourself now.

 MILISSA

Yes, I think. I think I’m all right.

ART

You sure? You sure? Yeah,  you’re alright now. Good. I got some dealing to do. [TURNS TO BETH] How about standing here, make sure she doesn’t fall over again, huh?

Page 33

BETH

Of course. There. You can just lean against me, dear.

[ART STEPS OVER TO RITA]

[JIM RACE ALSO STEPS OVER TO HER]

ART

Paris France, I always wanted to get over there. Beautiful place: Artists, Poets. You’re a connoisseur of fine art. Of course, I could see that. I wouldn’t doubt you’re an artist yourself.

RITA

If you don’t mind, I’d rather wait out these few minutes without your small talk. I think I’ve heard enough of that in my life time. Small talk, talking to pass the time. That all my life was about. Please now.

ART

You know, I couldn’t agree with you more. I couldn’t. I was just thinking to myself there…you know that’s funny isn’t it.. you must have been thinking the same thing as I was. Hearing the same old things, doing the same things time after time, year after year. Being the same thing day in and day out. It’s like one of those revolving doors. Yeah, it’s like one of those revolving door always going back to the same place you were. See the same thing, do the same thing. Doesn’t matter how much money you got, it’s always the same old thing again.

RITA

Yes, that is true. I’m afraid you’re right.

ART

Huh? Oh? I mean, yeah. That’s just it. That’s just it all right: Same old thing day after day, in and out that revolving door. So, did you ever consider becoming a turtle?

RITA

A turtle?

ART

Could be the change you’ve been looking for. A turtle, yup. I mean you got a.. you got a..

RITA

Shell?

                                                 ART

There you got it. A Shell. Security. See trouble coming, just pull your head in and you got it made. Nothing can bother you, nothing can ….. [RITA STIFFENS ] Well, yeah and there’s other things too. Like sitting on a log, nice sunny day..

JIM RACE

[HE INTERUPTS] You want security. What could be more secure than a gut worm. You have a nice warm belly to relax in, get fed three four times a day. You’d hardly know you dropped dead.

ART

You’re horning in here. Wait your turn, huh.

RITA

I think I’ve had enough security.  What do you think having money is all about? Three, four meals a day, do you think I had to worry? And I think I’ve heard enough from either of you. Now, if you’d please. What’s that now?

[OFF STAGE COMES DOROTHY’S SCREAM. SHE RUNS BACK INTO THE ROOM, FRANTICALLY BRUSHING THE FLEAS AND TICKS FROM HER. HER HAIR IS MESSED AND HER BLOUSE IS PULLED OUT FROM THE WAIST BAND OF HER SKIRT.]

[THE ASSISTANT TAKES THE CUP FROM THE DESK AND HURRIES OVER TO HER. HE LEANS DOWN AND STARTS PICKING UP THE FLEAS AND TICKS SHE HAS SHOOED FROM HERSELF.]

Page 35

DOROTHY

They’re all over me. Ticks, fleas everywhere. There was no sign. Nothing. I thought the room was empty.. Then I felt one. Then another. Crawling up by back, into the crack of my…What am I saying, now, here in front of you. And you did nothing, nothing to stop me? You did nothing, and if that doesn’t tell me the kind of people you are. If that doesn’t tell me. Ah, [SHE GRABS AT THE BACK OF HER NECK]

[EMIL IS FEARFUL AND HURRIES AWAY FROM HER. STILL HE BRUSHES HIMSELF THINKING HE FEELS ONE]

ASSISTANT

Just a moment mam, I’ll get it. [HE PICKS FLEAS FROM THE BACK OF HER NECK, HER BACK, SEES ONE ON HER FRONT AND PICKS THERE]

 DOROTHY

How dare you. Get out of there.

ASSISTANT

Sorry. I only meant to …

DESIGNATOR

I tried warn you. You didn’t stop to listen.

DOROTHY

[SHE WALKS TO THE DESK] Oh you did, did you? And what about this fly business. Just what about it? You tell me. I’m suppose to be in heaven. Heaven. And just what will they say when they look and I’m not there? You tell me that. What will they say? Oh…

[THE BUZZER SOUNDS. LIGHTS FLASH. DOROTHY JUMPS.]

[THE ASSISTANT PUTS THE CUP ON THE DESK AND GOES TO THE DOOR, OPENS IT AND LOOKS IN ]

Page 37

[THE OTHERS WAIT ANXIOUSLY. WHO WILL BE CALLED NEXT]

ART

This is too quick. We need a little time here.

MILISSA

I don’t want to be a Sew Rat.

RITA

Thank goodness. I don’t want to be stuck here any longer.

DOROTHY

I won’t go to be some hideous House Fly. No. And have all my friends at the Lady’s Aide look and point: “isn’t that Dorothy Lundgren just landed there?” “Oh dear, that is Dorothy. And she become a common house fly” “Dorothy? A housefly?” Oh no, nobody is going to see me land on their coffee table. I won’t have it. I’m not going anywhere.

GEORGE

Sure, you can trade, Sure you can. But you think they’d give you a little time to do it? There’s always a catch there someplace. You bet there is.

BETH

Shhh

ASSISTANT

The Sew Rat found herself a dry ledge sir.

DESIGNATOR

Milissa, that would be you.

MILISSA

So soon?

Page 37

DESIGNATOR

We don’t have much time. Those little rats pop out pretty fast. Neil, would you help her.

[THE ASSISTANT GOES TO HER AND PUTS HIS HAND ON HER ARM. HE LEADS HER TO THE DOOR. MILISSA HUNCHES UP, HER EYES GET BIG AS SHE WALKS TO THE DOOR]

[THEY PASS ART.HE PUTS HIS HAND ON HER ]

 ART

It might not be so bad, kid. Buck up, huh. There’s good things about being a Sewer Rat. Lots of things. Think of the friends you’re going to have down there, huh. Lot of little rat friends. I mean….yeah…

          [HE TURNS TO THE DESIGNATOR]

You can’t do this. She hasn’t even had a life of her own yet. She’s kid. Can’t you see that. Just a kid never had a chance.

          [ART TURNS BACK TO MILISSA. THE ASSISTANT HAS HER TO THE DOOR.]

It’ll be fine, kid. Rats aren’t bad animals. They can be kind of cute, you know as …

ASSISTANT

I’m sorry. We don’t any time.

[HE LEADS HER IN AND CLOSES THE DOOR. THE LIGHT, HOWEVER, DOESN’T STOP FLASHING]

DOROTHY

Reincarnation, hmm. Well then if that’s the case, I won’t be having them say: “Oh Dorothy, she became a fly, just an ordinary buzzing, annoying house fly.” ” Dorothy? Really?” Oh, no, no, indeed.

Page 38

[DOROTHY STEPS OVER TO RITA]

You’ll just have to trade with me then. You are the only human here.

 RITA

Trade with me?

DOROTHY

Of course. You’re nothing but a wrinkly old bag anyway.  And it’s much more important for me. Let’s go tell them, we’re trading. Come on now.

RITA

I think one of those ticks must have got to your brain, young lady. Now, if you would, take your hand off of me.

DOROTHY

You don’t have to get short with me. Well, humph.

[SHE TURNS, LOOKS OVER THE REST AND STEPS OVER TO BETH]

I guess, I’ll be the cat then. There is some dignity in that, I suppose. And, I’ve watched you, my dear. It’s just as well you be the house fly. I don’t think any of your friends would know the difference.

BETH

Me? Oh no. I’m not going to trade being a cat. No. I’ll be sitting on the mantle, On Sundays in the window looking out with narrow eyes. A Siamese cat, too. [SHE TURNS TO THE DESIGNATOR] I’ve decided I’ll be a Siamese.

DESIGNATOR

Siamese? No, I don’t think so. I thought, but let me look here. I’ve got a picture here some place.

Page 39

[HE DIGS AROUND THE PAPERS ON HIS DESK AND PULLS OUT A PHOTOGRAPH]

Here it is. It’s of your mother. She’s a junk yard cat. Here, have a look.

           [HE HANDS THE PICTURE TO BETH. SHE LOOKS.]

BETH

Oh, what an ugly cat. Ug. She has no tail. No tail. And that color. What color is she? It’s all dirt and grim.

DESIGNATOR

Dirt, grease maybe a little battery acid here, and her tail probably was crushed: tailpipes, doors and car fenders come smashing down. She was lucky it was only her tail I suppose. It’s not an easy life, the junk yard cat. In a few years, if you don’t keep your wits you’ll be lucky if you don’t look like her, maybe with a missing leg or an ear instead of a tail.

          [RITA STEPS CLOSER TO THE DESK, LOOKS OVER BETH’S SHOULDER AT THE CAT]

BETH

But, I’ll be just a kitten. Somebody will see me, see how cute I am and take me home.

DESIGNATOR

[RITA SHOWS MORE AND MORE INTEREST]

Nobody comes to the junk yard looking for kitty. You’ll have to grow up all by yourself, I’m afraid. During the day, it isn’t only that front end loader racing up and down the lanes, you got to keep an eye to the sky. Hawks circle the junk yard. It’s a great place for mice. But they like nice little kittens as well. And when you get a little older, of course, there’s the Tom cats. You got them prowling around all night looking to catch you behind the trunk lids

 RITA

Trunk lids, watching out for hawks oh dear, and Tom cats?

Page 40

DESIGNATOR

Tom cats, yes. Not just one. There will be two, three four, howling and fighting over her.

                                                 RITA

Really? Hmm. [SHE SMILES AND TOUCHES HER FACE] Would you like to trade, Miss.

BETH

Really? Well, yes. A human rather than a junk yard cat. Of course. But why? Why would you want to be a junk yard cat?

RITA

Why? I don’t know. The sound of it, of real life. I’m tired of manufactured excitement, artificial thrills.. I want to see the shadow of the hawk, hear the rumbling the front end loader bearing down on me, the axles scraping as they’re about to drop. I want to feel life every day, not the tingle of an occasional art auction. Then, of course, there are those tom cats.

BETH

Really? Maybe…but there would be no fires to stare into, no window ledge to pose, staircases…. Do we tell you?

DESIGNATOR

Yes, I have to write it down here. The human for the cat, is that right?

BETH

Yes, that’s right. A princess? Or will I be a movie star? A ballerina. Yes, I can see myself floating over the dance floor, all those classic poses, Me. Just like those little statuettes you buy in the card shops, the ones you put on your window sill. Do you have any pictures?

Page 41

DESIGNATOR

Well. No. I don’t think so. Let me look.

BETH

Let me help. You have so much here.

ART

You traded. What. You didn’t give me a chance there. I mean turtles..

                                                 RITA

You did start me thinking, young man. Nice safe shell, three, four meals a day just like that liver fluke. I never realized what I was missing in life. Danger and uncertainty, and oh yes tom cats. I’m so pleased that I did. In fact, I’m anxious to start my new life.

ART

Well, good for you then. So she’s the human now, huh. Yeah, let me think.

          [HE STEPS TO THE DESK]

What kind of dog is that guy going to be?

 DESIGNATOR

What kind of dog? Just a minute. I know that is here someplace. Ah, here. Here it is. Just a snap shot. The mother again.

          [HE HANDS ART THE PICTURE]

ART

Hey this is a smart looking dog. Classy, I’d say.

                      DESIGNATOR

Oh it is. It’s an Afghan. That’s the oldest pedigree in the world. Very, very distinctive animal, goes back centuries.

ART

Is that so. Pedigree. Real class. Thanks for the look . Here.

          [GIVES THE PICTURE BACK, EYES BETH AND THEN WALKS TO EMIL]

A dog, huh?  You’re going to be a dog, huh, Emil?

EMIL

I can’t be a dog and he knows it..  And like she – over there, the simple looking one – she says how cute and cuddly I’ll be: sure and who picks me up?  Some- you know what- gets me from the dog pound. They paw over me hand me to their kids.  Anybody can own you.  Anybody.  You know what I mean?

ART

Probably some old lady. She’ll be hanging on to your leash while you do your business.

EMIL

What you mean “do my business”  What do you mean?

ART

You know.  You got to squat, people walking by look, see you grunting there and then she puts it in a doggy bag. 

EMIL

Doggy bag?  Me, Oh no, oh no.  Not…not me.  You’d never catch me.

ART

Where else you going to go? You don’t have much choice there, Emil. 

EMIL

No, that’s not going to be me.  I’ll bite anybody who…..that’s what….yeah. I’ll show my teeth. You seen dogs do that. They’ll leave me alone.  You bet.

ART

Yeah, that’s right. They’re not too fussy about what they eat are they?  You know, once I seen this dog eat a dead snake.  Right off the

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road it took it, scooped it up with his mouth.  Dead snake. Must have been run over by a car, dead a good week too. You could hear the skin crack when that dog started chewing on it, cracking, stuff oozing out the side of his mouth…

[EMIL GRABS HIS STOMACH AND QUICKLY COVERS HIS MOUTH AND WALKS AWAY]

     ART

[ART FOLLOWS AFTER HIM]

You alright?  You look a little white there.  Hey, I …I shouldn’t have said anything. Look …

EMIL

No, don’t tell me. Don’t tell me. I don’t want to hear anymore.

[HE STARTS TO WALK AWAY. ART PUTS HIS HAND OUT AND STOPS HIM]

ART

Okay.  Hey, I’m sorry.  I just got talking.  I can see. I should have never said anything.  You’re sensitive. I’m really sorry about this.  Tell you what. Let me make it up to you, huh.   I’ll trade with you. 

EMIL

Really, you’d trade with me? What…what was it you’re going to be?

 ART

Me? I was one of the lucky ones. A turtle. Yup. I couldn’t believe it when I heard it.

EMIL

A turtle?

ART

I hate to part with it, really. Everybody is after me to trade.  You know, the good life. You got the whole pond all for yourself, a

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log out in the middle, nice warm sun. Hey, how can you beat that. And Clean. There’s nothing cleaner than a turtle. They’re the cleanest creatures in the entire world. Yep. That’s a known fact. You’d never catch a turtle eating anything but it isn’t fresh and clean.

EMIL

Oh yeah. Is that so? What do they eat?

ART

Crackers and lettuce.

EMIL

You really would trade? Just because you want to make it up to me? Come on now.

ART

Sure, I want to make it up.  I shouldn’t have talked like that. I should have known.   And, Well, to tell you the truth, I don’t know why. I’m a damn fool to trade a turtle for dog.  But, I’ll tell you. I’ve been a salesman all my life and it’s in my nature. I can’t help but make some kind of deal. I sold used cars used appliance, restored ovens you know, vacuum cleaners. It’s just what I am. I can’t help myself. But, hey look that buzzer could go off right now. That guy goes opens the door, looks and calls the dog. Just like that. You’re gone. Next thing you know the bitch is going to be gnawing the cord from your belly. I’ll tell you something, Emil.  This is experience talking here. Years of selling.  Once you make a deal don’t give them a chance to change their mind. Jump on it.  That’s my advise.  Any minute now that buzzer’s going off

EMIL

It’s a deal. I’ll take that turtle’s life. Sure. Come on, I think we got to tell him up there.

ART

Let’s go.

[THEY GO TO THE DESK AND TELL THE DESIGNATOR]

Page 45

JIM RACE

That was slick. Real slick. That guy knows how to do it.

GEORGE

He’s slick all right. He knows all that double talk, makes you think you’re getting one thing and it’s something else. I’ve dealt with guys like that. I’ll tell you he’d have never talked me out of being a dog. Oh no.

JIM RACE

Yeah, he’s a smart one. Wish I could come up with it like he does. What’d you say you were going to be?

GEORGE

You didn’t hear him make all the fuss over being a Kangaroo? Yeah, I’m going to born out there at the zoo and be a big celebrity. Oh Sure. Sure enough. You think they can fool me? There’s something they’re not saying. You can bet on that

JIM RACE

The television camera, reporters, going to have your picture in the paper. Hey that sounds good to me. Sounds real good.

GEORGE

Sounds good, huh. Okay, sounds so good how about trading. Huh? How about that?

JIM RACE

Trade with you?

GEORGE

Ha. Doesn’t sound so good anymore, does it.

JIM RACE

No, I mean. It still sounds good. Real good. Sure I’ll trade.

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GEORGE

So good huh? You’ll trade huh? Sure, okay. Sure, you want to be the fool. Huh. Sure.[STARTS WALKING TO THE DESK.] Lets go up there then. Tell the guy. Huh? Huh? Yeah, you see. You see. You ain’t so willing, are you?

JIM RACE

No, I’m coming. I just didn’t know you were serious. Yeah, sure lets go.

[THEY WALK TO THE DESK]

                                                GEORGE

Lets do it then. Huh? Never had your bluff called before huh.? We’ll tell him.

[THEY LEAN OVER THE DESK. THE DESIGNATOR NODS AND WRITES IT DOWN]

JIM RACE

That’s going to be all right. A Kangaroo. I can take that.

GEORGE

You don’t ever want to try to call my bluff. I never was anybody’s fool. No. I could see that the minute he started saying what a great deal I got.

[THE BUZZER SOUNDS. THE LIGHT CONTINUES TO FLASH.]

What’s you say you were going to be again?

JIM RACE

Oh, nothing. Nothing. You don’t have to worry about it. I didn’t hear anybody say anything good about it.

[THE ASSISTANT OPENS THE DOOR AND LOOKS IN. THE OTHERS LOOK AND WAIT. HE STEPS BACK AND THEN STEPS IN TO LOOK AGAIN. HE STEPS OUT]

Page 47

ASSISTANT

There’s a couple going. The Kangaroo and the cat…wait.. yeah, the maggots are about ready too.

JIM RACE

Kangaroo? Hey, that’s me. I’m going to be on TV.

[JIM RACE STARTS TO THE DOOR. GEORGE PUTS OUT HIS HAND TO STOP HIM]

GEORGE

What was that you’re going be.

JIM RACE

Who cares, buddy. I got to get ready. TV cameras, reporters … I’m on my way.

[JIM RACE AND RITA EXIT]

RITA

Imagine me, a junk yard cat. What a cat I’m going to be.

[RITA EXITS]

ASSISTANT

And the house fly.

DOROTHY

Well, if you expect me to walk through that door, you’re mistaken.

DESIGNATOR

You don’t have much time, Dorothy, Maggots hatch awfully fast. [HE NODS TO THE ASSISTANT.]

[THE ASSISTANT GOES TO DOROTHY, PUTS BOTH HANDS ON HER AND LIFT AND HUSTLES HER TO THE DOOR. SHE STRUGGLES]

Page 48                                           

DOROTHY

You can’t do this to me. You’ll see. You’ll see.

[NEIL CLOSES THE DOOR. A MOMENT LATER A BUZZING SOUND, THAT OF A FLY COMES OVER THE SPEAKER AND FADES. THE FLASHING LIGHT SLOWS BUT DOES NOT STOP. IT CONTINUES TO FLASH]

DESIGNATOR

What can I say? She’s likely to get herself swatted against the window soon enough, and she’ll get a new life. That light Neil, it doesn’t go off. It keeps blinking.

ASSISTANT

Yes, I noticed. I wonder if something isn’t wrong.

DESIGNATOR

It wouldn’t be a normal day if something didn’t go wrong.

[THE BUZZER BUZZES. THE ASSISTANT OPENS THE DOOR AND LOOKS IN]

ASSISTANT

Nothing.

DESIGNATOR

Hmm.

 GEORGE

Say, ah. What was that guy I traded with. Guess I should have checked.

DESIGNATOR

He was a Liver Fluke.

GEORGE

What’s that? Never heard of it.

Page 49

DESIGNATOR

Well, I got some information here, someplace. There’s always some tidbit. Here it is. Well there you are. It’s a parasite, a flat sort worm lives the guts of livestock mainly.

GEORGE

What?

DESIGNATOR

Isn’t that something. You’ll be in a Prize winning Sheep. Going to win a blue ribbon out there at the fair this fall. How about that, now. . Looks like you just were destine to be on TV.

[THE BUZZER SOUNDS. THE ASSISTANT OPENS THE DOOR AND LOOKS IN. ]

ASSISTANT

It’s the Liver Fluke and the turtle. Eggs hatching like crazy.  Better hurry.

 GEORGE

Wait a minute. What do you mean Prize Sheep?

[EMIL EXITS SMILING.  THE ASSISTANT TAKES GEORGE BY THE ARM AND LEADS HIM TO THE DOOR]

          I’m not dumb. There’s got to be some trick there.

[NEIL CLOSES THE DOOR. HE STANDS BACK AND LOOKS AT THE FLASHING LIGHT. OPENS THE DOOR AND LOOKS IN AGAIN. HE CLOSES IT]

ART

[HE WALKS TO BETH]

That’s too bad, but I guess that’s the breaks, huh?

Page 50

BETH

What do you mean?

ART

The family you’re getting born into. They’re dirt poor.

BETH

How would you know?

ART

Papers, seen a few things when I was up at the desk there. . Old man’s drinks, been out of work two years now. You’re going to be the fifth kid. Nothing but faded hand-me-downs.

BETH

Hand me downs? They might not even fit. The fifth? I won’t get special attention. No, don’t tell me that. I don’t want to be poor. Dirt poor, wearing my older sister’s clothes? Everybody will have seen her in them. Isn’t those your sisters? How could I stand that?

          [SHE TURNS TO THE DESIGNATOR]

Is that true? Am I going to be poor, have a drunken father?

DESIGNATOR

Let me look. I might have something on that.

[HE LOOKS IN THE PILE OF PAPERS, PULLS OUT A PHOTOGRAPH]

Oh, she’s gone, isn’t she? I have a picture of that house fly here.

ART

Let her see the picture to the Afghan.

DESIGNATOR

That’s right on top here. Here it is. [GIVES THE PICTURE TO ART]

Page 51

ART

          You see that. This is the oldest, most exclusively distinctive creature in the entire world. He’s got papers going back not just hundreds of years. Thousands. That’s better than the Mayflower. I mean this is the real Aristocracy. Yeah, I’m going to be proud sitting like this, knowing all that ancestry. But, I’ll tell you what. Sounds sexist. I can’t help it. She’s a female. I just don’t want to be a woman. So…it’s not easy, but you’re a real nice person, so I’ll trade with you. You can be this wonderful Afghan, the queen of them all. Look at her.

   BETH

Such a lovely dog. And distinctive the way she sits there. Oh yes, you can see the Aristocracy? Goes back thousands of years. And you really would trade with me?

                                                 ART

It’s a male thing. I’m hating myself for being this way.

BETH

Then it’s your lose. [TO THE DESIGNATOR] Have you got that. We’re trading.

DESIGNATOR

Yes, I got it. I think. Let me…now you were …

[THE BUZZER GOES OFF. THE ASSISTANT GOES TO THE DOOR]

ART

She was the cat, then the human and now she’s trading to be the dog. I was the turtle, the dog and now the human. Can’t you hurry.

ASSISTANT

It’s the Bitch. She’s all ready got one out of her.

DESIGNATOR

You didn’t say if you’d trade, did you?

Page 52

BETH

Of course, I’ll trade. My, my. [SHE WALKS TO THE DOOR] I wonder where I’ll sit? Maybe at the head of the stair case. Or I could sit on top of the grand piano, Perhaps in those big windows over looking the gardens…I can just see myself now, the true aristocracy…. [SHE EXITS. THE ASSISTANT CLOSES THE DOOR AFTER HER. AGAIN HE LOOKS AT THE FLASHING LIGHT]

 ART

I did it, didn’t I. I’m going to be human again. Yeah. Just a little dealing here and there. I’ve had harder sales on the car lot. Hey, doesn’t say any more about that kid there, does it?

DESIGNATOR

Nothing more. No. ..wait. A seven pound, seven ounce baby boy. Healthy and strong, it says on this one here

ART

A boy! Hey, Great. A boy. [ART JUMPS UP, PUTS HIS FIST UP IN THE AIR FOR VICTORY ] This is great. How about that. You know and this time I’m going to really make it, right to the top. I never could quite make it before. I never knew why either. I could sell pouches to kangaroos if I had to. Hey, but, come on. Any time now. Let that old buzzer ring. I’m ready.

 [THE TELEPHONE RINGS AND THE ASSISTANT ANSWERS]

ASSISTANT

Oh, she did? [LISTENS FOR A MOMENT] Well, we were wondering why it kept blinking. Never stopped after. [LISTENS] Yes, I’ll tell him. I don’t know. No. He’ll have to figure it out I suppose. Yes.

[HE HANGS UP]

Page 53

It was the Sewer Rat sir. The exterminators got there before she could have her litter. Ran gas down the sewer, I guess they did. That was the reason the light wouldn’t stop. The rats were never born.

DESIGNATOR

[SIGHS] It wouldn’t be a normal day if something didn’t go wrong. Is she on her way…

[THE MIDDLE DOOR OPENS AND MILISSA ENTERS. THE LIGHT STOPS BLINKING WHEN SHE CLOSES IT]

                                      DESIGNATOR

I’m sorry. Something went wrong. You’re not going to be a Sewer Rat after all.

MILISSA

It was scary in there.. It was dark and there were no sounds I didn’t know where I was. Nothing. And then I heard a fly buzzing and the yelping of little dogs. I feel so cold now. I feel so very cold and empty.

[ART COMES TO HER SIDE AND PUTS HIS ARM AROUND HER]

ART

You’ll be all right. There. Hey, you’re shivering. Just settle down now. It’s all for the good, baby. I mean. You’re not going to be a Sewer Rat now. You got a chance to be something better.

DESIGNATOR

She will have to wait for the next session now.

ART

Yeah, well you can make her something better this time, can’t you?

                                                DESIGNATOR

I don’t have the list yet. But I just take them as they come. I

Page 54

never show any partiality. That would be unprofessional.

MILISSA

I have to wait again? Wait to be another Sewer Rat?

                                                 ART

No, you won’t be a Sew Rat again. I mean, they all got gassed down there, whatever. You’re going to be fine. You are. Probably be ..probably be.. …[THE BUZZER SOUNDS]

that’s got to be me.

[ART LETS MILISSA GO AND STARTS TO THE DOOR. HE SLOWS AS HE GETS CLOSER TO IT. THEN STOPS. HE MAKES AN ANGRY GESTURE AND SWEARS TO HIMSELF]

[HE GOES BACK TO MILISSA, TAKES PUTS HIS HAND UNDER HER ARM AND AS THE ASSISTANT DID LEAD HER TO THE DOOR]

ART

We’re trading.

MILISSA

Trading?

ART

You’re going to be a human again. A nice healthy baby. You’ll have a chance to live a life, Milissa. You just have to get use to being a boy. It’s not too late is it? I can still trade with her.

DESIGNATOR

It’ll have to be quick..

MILISSA

I wouldn’t be sick? But.. I can’t let you…

ART

You haven’t got a choice. Not anymore. You got to say it’s a trade. That baby’s going to be born and if you’re not there…if you’re

Page 55

not there, he’ll die. Hurry, tell him you’ll trade, or it’ll be too late for the baby. He’s waiting for you.

MILISSA

I’ll trade. I can’t let him… I have to hurry. But, how can I thank you.

[THE ASSISTANT LEADS HER TO THE DOOR, AND INTO IT. HE CLOSES IT]

                                           ART

How? I don’t know if it matters.

[HE TURNS TO THE DESIGNATOR]

When is that list coming?

                                        DESIGNATOR

It should be here in a few minutes. Neil, why don’t you get Mr. Niemish here a chair.

ASSISTANT

Yes sir.

[THE ASSISTANT GETS ONE OF THE CHAIRS AND BRINGS IT TO ART.]

[ART SITS DOWN]

  ART

No, I never could figure it out. I could sell ten cars a day, like nothing. I could . But I never made that fortune, never sat up there with the ones that made it. Always something…always something. Next time, though. You wait and see.

END

Emil, You’re Going To Be A Dog

Act II

The curtain opens with Art still sitting.  The Designator is looking through some papers and Neil stands beside him. 

ART

          (He gets up, takes a few steps, looks around and looks at the Designator.) Looks like you guys got it pretty good. Maybe I should just stay here. You know, help out. I’m pretty handy; fix a faucet, no problem. I’m a guy that knows how to gets things done. Oh yeah.

DESIGNATOR

          Oh no, no, that can’t be. You have to be reassigned or you’re automatically reincarnated to a frog.

ART

          What? I can’t be frog.

DESIGNATOR

          Actually, it’s not a bad deal. It’s a direct you know.

ART

          A direct?

NEIL

          He means you get to be a full sized frog right away. You don’t have to go though being a tadpole and all that.

DESIGNATOR

          That’s right (he pulls open the desk drawer and takes out a bell. He hold it up and with the pencil he has in hand he rings it.) A full grown frog, just like that.

ART

          A full grown frog just like that; no that doesn’t sell me. Green body with black spots, hopping around in some swamp; ah no. How about the next session: should be another human there.

DESIGNATOR

          We’ll see. Lindy’s coming with the list.

          (LINDY enters walks to the desk and smiles as she puts a  folder on the desk. She looks at ART . )

          Oh, he …ah (he looks to his papers, turns one over) Art, Art Nemish. The sewer rat never got to have her babies, the exterminator got there first. She had to come back, young girl she was. Art, here, gave up being a human for her.

LINDY

          That was awfully good of him. (She looks to ART and smiles.)

ART

          (He grins and gets a bit puffed up) Oh yeah. I’m that kind of guy. I am. But there you are. I should get to be the human you got there. Maybe you got a couple. Then I’d get to choose which one. Nice rich family, you know.

DESIGNATOR

          (He opens the folder and lays the papers on the desk.) Let’s see what we got here.

ART

             But I should get to be the human there, right?

DESIGNATOR

             I guess that would be right; you gave it up.  Should be a rule on that somewhere. (He shifts around some of the papers on his desk.) No, can’t see anything. Okay, you can have first pick here.

          (As the DESIGNATOR opens the folder and takes out two sheets of paper, the list of people and the list of they will be reincarnated to be. ART steps back of the desk to look. NEIL alsolooks. With his finger pointing, the DESIGNATOR goes down the list. )

ART

          What the, there’s got to be one there. I don’t see one.

NEIL

          I don’t see a human there either.

ART

          That’s not right. It just isn’t. I gave up, you know. (He turns and paces away from the desk.)  Alright, that’s okay. I still get first pick. Wha…what else you got there. Might be something really good. Maybe a lion, huh? Have my own pride, you know two three lioness and couple guys to do the work. Yeah, I’d like that. Tiger maybe…

DESIGNATOR

          No, nothing like that here. Oh, but here. A giraffe.

ART

          A giraffe, all legs and a long neck? Does that look like me, huh? No, there’s got to be something better. What…what’s this one. (He points to the list.)

DESIGNATOR

          Redpoll.

ART

          What’s that?

DESIGNATOR

          It’s a bird, I believe. There’s a picture of it somewhere. (He digs into the folder and pulls out a picture of birds. He points..) Ah, here. Nice little bird.

NEIL

          Lot of people like being a bird.

LINDY

          I’d like to be a bird. I could fly anywhere, be free. Just think, wouldn’t that be fun. It would.

ART

          (He leans over for a look at the picture.) A little bird; just a little bird; and look at all the other ones around him. He’s just another bird.

          (the DESIGNATOR seems confused as he shuffles his papers around and then looks up to LINDY.)

DESIGNATOR

          I didn’t think of it before. There’s ten here, but with Art here, there will be eleven people here. We need one more.  Run down there and pick up another one. The people are going to be coming in soon. I need to start  scheduling them. (LINDY TURNS AND WALKS OUT) You sure you don’t want this redpoll. Like Neil here said, lot of people like being birds.

ART

          There’s got to be something better. What? A seahorse? A seahorse? A sheep, oh yeah, there I am one of the flock waiting to get sheared. Earth worm, oh no. No.

NEIL

          How about this one. (Neil points.) A poodle, a French Poodle.

ART

          A poodle? (He looks at the list.) Has to be the best one here. Nice home and a “French Poodle” has to be something special. Nice rich family. Looks like the best I can do here. I’ll take….ah wait a minute.

(LINDY enters and walks to the desk. She hold up a couple sheet of paper.)

LINDY

          I got it.

DESIGNATOR

          Good, good I’ll have enough now. (He takes the papers and looks at them.) Hmm. Alright.  Now, Art you want the poodle then.

ART

          That’s not a human there, is it. Human, I’ll take it.

DESIGNATOR

          No, it’s a rooster.

ART

          A rooster. Huh. (He thinks for a moment.) A rooster:  king of the barnyard. Marching around there: he owns it. And all those chicks. Oh yeah. Hey, sign me up for that one. I’ll take it.

DESIGNATOR

          So done. I’ll just mark it off here, and you’re the rooster. Ah, look and it’s a direct too.

ART

          A direct?

          (As he says this, the DESIGNATOR picks up the bell, and with his pen hits it. With the sound, like a shot ART immediately tucks his hands under his armpits, little wings. He leans foreward and starts the chicken walk with a few buc bucs. Around the room he goes, this way, that way looking for the way out.)

DESIGNATOR

          Neil.

          (NEIL  gets behind ART, claps his hands to herd the rooster to the door with the light above. The DESIGNATOR nods to LINDY and points to that door. She hurries and opens it. ART goes in and she shuts the door. She smiles and nods to NEIL having accomplished the chore. The DESIGNATOR looks to his papers to figure out who will be what. The first of the dead people step in. And the we hear the roosters early morning cock-a-do-a-do.

END

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