International Supreme Con Artists Group

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Rosalie Hefflewhite mans the front desk of a Hollywood literary-talent agency, field phone calls, mostly from a boyfriend who keeps bleeding her for money. Finally, in a glorious flourish, they flee the Hollywood madness.
(This is part of my "Biff Bang" collection of one-act plays on Amazon, more than 30 in all and definitely worth your attention.)

CHARACTERS
ROSALIE HEFFLEWHITE, a receptionist in a Hollywood talent agency, 20s
STEVE, an actor, same
SETTING
The reception area of a boutique Hollywood talent agency.
 
The neat, wood-paneled reception area of a Hollywood talent agency, perhaps in Century City, which is empty at the moment except for ROSALIE, the receptionist.  Before her on the desk, three or four telephones, each exactly alike.One of the phones gurgles, and she picks up.
 
ROSALIE: International Supreme Con Artists Group, we do it all for you.  This is Miss Hefflewhite speaking.  No, if I'm not mistaken he signed with Herculean Gargantuan Management Group, and before that he was repped by Major Incredible Innovative Iconoclasts.  And I know what you're about to say -- he owes you money.  Ha.  Yes, I am laughing at you, another of the chosen.  Chosen to be a soft touch, but don't feel bad, he owes just about everybody in this town money.  I'm one of the everybody.  He's a profligate, lavish, bad boy, but I very much have a crush on him.  I also happen to know he's about to sign with Major Insurgent Artists, only the hottest shop in town.  Hey, if you find him, tell him he owes me three bucks for those lunch tacos I bought last week. And tell him I learned my lesson -- never give your heart to an actor.
 
(Another phone gurgles.  ROSALIE picks up)
 
Incredibly Influential Artists, we put the "we" back in you -- Rita Hayworth speaking.  Well, well, if it isn't Rudolph Valentino himself.  Hey buddy, everybody in town is looking for you, and not in a good way.  You owe a lot of people money. . . No, no, no -- I can't meet you behind the MacDonald's on Wilshire, because you know what always happens when we meet behind the MacDonald's.  I am just too smitten and vulnerable a person, and you take advantage of it, and I am not laying my vulnerability on the line again.  Besides, I have a job, I have to work.  And before you disappear -- you owe me for those tacos, remember, and I intend to make you pay up.  Hey, I got another call coming in.  Hang on.
 
(She punches a button)
 
Totally Charismatic Artists, there isn't anything, including stealing, that we wouldn't do for you.  And how may I help you? . . . Look, I'm not the lost and found, I don't know where he is.  Would everyone in this town stop pestering me with these calls.  You want to find him, go canvas the boutique shops -maybe you can flush him out.  Do me a favor -- if you find him, shoot him for me.  No, maybe that's not a good idea -- he's hot right now, very hot.
 
(Back to other line)
 
ROSALIE: Boy, you are smoking and smoldering.  What did you do, knock up one of the studio boss's daughters?  No, I am not going to lend you any more money. What's the matter, your ex after you again?  Geez, this town, as if it isn't already crazy enough.  Your old lady's probably beating the bushes, the dicks are climbing through windows, and all of them are just dripping to get their hands on you.  On top of which, you broke the last decent contract we gave you. And in spite of it all, they'll  hire you again in a heartbeat to make another crappy movie, because when you're hot, you're hot. . .What?  Don't get ridiculous. No, I cannot meet you by moonlight.  Or starlight.  Or any kind of light.  You know what moonlight does to my pores.  You're worse than bad facial creme, you know that? . . . Did I ever consider us, you and me, in a serious vein? Well of course I did, until you felt me up for the twelfth time in front of the waitress and stuck me with the lunch bill.  Many's the night I lay awake, buddy, many's the night, but I'm too smart for you.  Hey, hang on, got another call.
 
(She picks up)
 
Ultimate Talent Access Associates, where we connect you to the stars.  Wait a minute.
 
(She picks up the other phone)
 
How did you get on two lines at once?  Aren't you clever.  Listen, I hate to disturb you, but I have work to do.  No, I'm not saying there aren't feelings between us.  What is all of this sudden passion anyway?  And where are you . . . In the lobby of Super Stupendous Progressive Artists, hunkered in hiding behind the palms.  Well listen, why don't you ever ask about me, like how I'm doing -- all you ever want is money or the chance to feel me up.  If you want to know, I'm trying to raise burial money, okay, for my pet poodle.  Yes, it's too bad, because he up and croaked the other day in the afternoon and I found his dead body in the kitchen and the smell was awful.  In life, he was forlorn; in death, he's kind of a great big pain.  Like someone else I know.  At least he was loyal, which is more than I can say for some people.  What do you do anyway, go from agency to agency signing contracts, then break them just for the joy of it? . . . Yes, I believe in loyalty, and no, I cannot meet you  in a massage parlor on La Cienega.  No.
 
(She checks her watch)
 
It's 3:15, and I'm not going to sneak out of here into the washroom, run the faucets, and climb out the window.  These people aren't stupid.  They'll fire me right away.  Everybody wants Rosalie's sympathy and love, but do you ever consider my feelings? . . . I do have a particular life, okay.
Not as fraught with stunning excitement as yours perhaps, but I do get to schmooze with a few industry people, and when I go home at night I can live with myself, okay?
 (a beat) 
What am I wearing today?  Stop with this.  Go out and buy a magazine, it'll take your mind off things.  But if you must know, I'm wearing the blue skirt, hitched up, and that chenille blouse with a hint of see-through, the one you really like, and yes, it's skin-tight.  Have I satisfied your perverted instincts? Now I want you to swear loyalty to me right now.  I'm sorry you're lonely, but it's your own fault.  I warned you not to quit this place. . . Could you borrow fifty bucks?  No honey, come on, I'm broke.  What -- you're right down the block.  Wait a minute.
 
(She goes to the window, looks out)
 
That's you, hiding behind that trash bin?  You know, you do look sort of forlorn. Come on, wave to me.
 
(She waves)
 
That's better.  You were this nearby and you didn't come up to see me? . . . Well look, maybe I can slip you a few bucks.  Out of the goodness of my heart. Sneak under the window, I'll hand an envelope out.
 
(Phone gurgles)
 
Hold it.
 
(Picks up phone)
 
Truly Sensational Film Artists, oh how I am growing tired of this.  What false promises can I make for you?  You want Mr. Steinberg.  Sorry, I've been getting all these ridiculous calls.  He left about half an hour ago.  Where, I'm not sure.  I will tell him you called.
 
(She picks up other phone)
 
Still there, baby?  Okay, here's what I'll do -- but it's only because I love you and am willing to make sacrifices.  Remember this.  I'll duck in the ladies' room, powder my nose, you sneak under the window, and I'll hand the cash out to you.  Got it?  Ready, set, go!
 
(She hangs up phone, exits to ladies' room; long pause STEVE enters the scene tentatively, looks around.  A beat. He moves to ladies' room door, knocks on it. ROSALIE comes out -- freezes as she sees him)
STEVE: Baby.
 
(They embrace.  The PHONE RINGS.  STEVE crosses down, picks up)
 
Incredibly Spectacular Talent Resources, how can we help you?  Yes, she's here, but she's unavailable at the moment.  In fact, she's unavailable for the rest of her life.  No, I am not kidding.  We're running away together. Goodbye. (to Rosalie) Come on.
 
(He takes her hand; she hesitates)
 
No more Hollywood phoniness, no more crappy abusive people, you and I are going away.
ROSALIE: How far do you think we'll get?
STEVE: Oh, about two blocks.  But who cares, let's seize the moment.  I'm crazy about you.  Your money's not bad, either.
 
(There is a slight pause.  Then, with a flourish --)
 
ROSALIE Oh heck -- cancel all appointments!
STEVE: Hold all calls!
ROSALIE: At International Supreme Con Artists Group --
ROSALIE/STEVE: We do it all for you.
 
(STEVE sweeps her in his arms, spins her round and round, starts off)
 
STEVE: You think you could spare fifty -- you know, just until Monday?
ROSALIE: You never quit.
STEVE: You are soooo cute.
ROSALIE: Oooooh, so are you.
 
(AD-LIB out)
END OF PLAY


Submitted: May 09, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Ron Micci. All rights reserved.

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