Elevator Enlightenment

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Two people are trapped in an elevator, and disagreements ensue...
One-Act Play.

Submitted: July 09, 2012

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Submitted: July 09, 2012

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Characters

CARSON THOMAS, A corporate advisor, Caucasian male, in his early-to-mid 40s.

 

ANDRES GONZALEZ, An assistant who works for CARSON, Puerto-Rican, in his early-60s. Spirited for his age. With or without an accent.

 

ROSE THOMAS, CARSON’S wife and boss, in her late-40s, Caucasian female.

 

RICARDO/MAINTENANCE MAN, American, of Latino descent, late-30s.

 

Setting

Inside a fictitious investment company building, in the parking garage, ground floor. The setting starts at ground floor, and then ends at the 9th floor.  A makeshift frame creates the elevator walls that are positioned in the middle of the stage. The elevator looks like it can fit at most 8 people. A desk with a chair stands on the right side of the stage, away from the elevator. It has a phone on top of it. Parts of the stage are lit from where light comes in from outside, but is mostly dark. Dimmed lights on Carson and Rosie. Present-2012. Beginning of workday, Monday morning, 7 a.m.

Closing car doors are heard, and then a beeping-locking sound. CARSON and ROSE enter onstage in linked arms and are having conversation. Their voices slightly echo. CARSON presses the elevator button to go up. They both wear business attire; CARSON’S suit jacket hangs over the briefcase he has in his other free hand, and ROSE holds her car keys.

 

CARSON:  It’s that time of the year again?

ROSE:  Yes, it is. I put the list in your briefcase this morning. I need you to be on the ball today. Don’t cut anyone slack just because they’re getting let go. Just let them know that you’re just taking orders, and that I’m out of town, so they shouldn’t call me and that this is my final decision—

CARSON:  Alright, ok, ok—

ROSE:  I mean it, Carson—

CARSON: (Chuckling) I know what you mean, honey. (He takes out the list and frowns.) Hold on, I can put names and faces on most of these people... why is Mr. Andres on here? He’s been here for a while now. In fact, he knows this company better than most of the employees here!

ROSE:  Carson, the only reason you feel he should stay is because he doesn’t mind getting you ridiculous amounts of coffee every morning. I made this decision thinking the position was becoming too demanding for him. You’ve seen him:  he has to take painkillers throughout the day just to run the simplest of errands!

CARSON:  But he gets the job done! I know it’s hard to see that, but he’s told me a hundred times:  this job means a lot to him.

ROSE:  You need someone younger, more efficient. It’s only a matter of time before he injures himself, a lawsuit just waiting to happen. Trust me dear, if I was here to do this, I would, but you know why I can’t be here today...I have a meeting.

CARSON:  (Looks at her sideways) With your mother. Your sick, needy mother. (The elevator dings and its doors open.)

ROSE:  (Smiling.) Yes. (She goes to kiss his forehead and CARSON goes for her lips, but she succeeds.) You’ll do great. (She begins to leave and CARSON steps inside the elevator.)  Oh, and call me when you leave work to tell me how it went!

CARSON:  Will do!

ANDRES:  (Beat, then offstage) Wait! Hold the door!

CARSON: Got it!

(ANDRES enters onstage, pacing towards the elevator.)

ANDRES:  (panting, but enthusiastically) Hello, Sir!

CARSON:  Good morning Andres, how are y—

ANDRES:  And hello Mrs. Thomas!

(She doesn’t reply. Hears car starting up and leaving. Sounds from elevator door closing, and going up some floors.)

ANDRES:  I’m sorry, Sir, what were you saying?

CARSON:  Oh nothing. (Pauses for a minute, hesitating.) But, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about your future here at Frank & Syme Investment.

ANDRES:  (quoting their slogan) ‘By dollar or penny, quarter or dime, nobody saves you more than Frank & Syme!’ (Pauses, embarrassed) Sorry Sir, couldn’t help it—big fan. (Straightening his posture) You were saying?

CARSON:  Well, we feel that your work ethic is great, and you have potential, but...this year, as you know, has been difficult for all of us. We’ve made some big changes, and we plan to make even more in the future. But...

(The elevator makes a ding sound at the 6th floor, but doesn’t open.)

CARSON[JB1] :  Oh, no. (Pressing buttons to get the elevator to work, but it won’t move.) Well, that’s great. I’m already late for my meeting! (Takes out phone and starts dialing coworker.) I’ll going to be late, again. Which means here comes another long day. [JB2] Do you have the number for someone to come fix this? I mean, come on, we were almost there; just a few more floors...

ANDRES: I don’t think so, Sir. (Starts to look for his phone.)

CARSON:  (Into cell phone) Hello? Hey Lance, I’m gonna be late. Got into some mishap with— (Phone shutting off jingle.) N-n-no! Argh, stupid phone! How bout you, where’s your phone?

ANDRES:  It’s uh... (Starting to search for his phone, but cannot find it.) I must’ve left it in the car...

CARSON:  (Talking to himself.) I cannot believe this. Of all days—I mean, one day she puts me in charge, and then everything just starts crumbling on me. I mean, really! What is up with this elevator! This building’s not even that old! (He starts trying to call the maintenance on the intercom, pressing the HELP button repeatedly.) Hello? Hello! Can anybody hear me?

ANDRES:  (A smile creeping onto his face.) Sir, have you by any chance had your coffee yet?

CARSON:  (Ignoring his comment) Where is everyone? Taking a break? It’s 7:30 in the morning! Isn’t Carlito, Eduardo, whatever the hell his name is, isn’t he supposed to be here by now?

ANDRES: Sir, Ricardo is out today. Maybe if you actually took the time to notice who cleans up after you, you would know that.

CARSON:  (Turning toward ANDRES) Excuse me?

ANDRES:  (Repents) Maybe I was out of line to say that, but I said what I meant.

CARSON:  Look, don’t start getting touchy with me like I’m some racist. I’ve got nothing against Mexicans and their work ethic. You all are just as valuable as any other American.

ANDRES:  That’s what they all say. And I’m Puerto Rican. (Muttering to himself in Spanish) ¿Nadie le importa saber la diferencia hoy en día, eh? (“No one cares to know the difference nowadays, eh?”)

CARSON:  What did you just say to me?

ANDRES:  Nothing.

CARSON:  No, you said something...

ANDRES:  I said from the looks of it, I’d say no one cares to know the difference!

(They stand in the elevator in angry silence.)

ANDRES:  Sorry, Sir...just a little tired today. I guess we’ll wait it out?

CARSON:  No, somebody will try the elevator, and then they’ll notice that it’s not working, so they’ll call someone about it. Trust me, there’s enough people in this building...they’ll wonder what’s up. Besides, this is probably the best time to tell you about your standing here.

ANDRES:  Oh, yes, of course.

CARSON:  Andres, you’re being—

(Before CARSON can say “let go”, a loud siren goes off—fire drill.)

ANDRES:  What?

CARSON:  I SAID YOU’RE BEING LET GO!

ANDRES:  WHAT? I CAN’T HEAR YOU!

CARSON:  IT’S PROBABLY THE MONTHLY FIRE DRILL! BUT YOU’RE LEAVING!

ANDRES:  I’M LEAVING?!

CARSON:  YES!

ANDRES:  WHERE AM I GOING?

CARSON:  I DON’T KNOW! SOMEWHERE ELSE!

ANDRES:  WELL THEN...WHY AM I LEAVING?

CARSON:  (Frustrated.) I DON’T KNOW! THE BOSS JUST GAVE ME A LIST OF PEOPLE AND TOLD ME TO TELL YOU!

ANDRES:  (Pause, the siren still going.) I DON’T UNDERSTAND. THE BOSS TOLD YOU I’M LEAVING, BUT YOU DON’T KNOW WHY?

CARSON: BASICALLY.

(The sirens finally stop.)

ANDRES:  I can’t take another blow like this, Sir. I’ve got a family, grandkids— surely you can say something to make her change her mind?

CARSON:  I’m stuck, Mr. Gonzalez. She makes all the hard decisions— I just advise her.

ANDRES: So, advise her as a husband!

CARSON:  I can’t just mesh the two together like that! That’s not how it works! At home, we’re together, at work, we’re...

ANDRES:  Not together?

CARSON:  No, just—she doesn’t like people to be in her business.

ANDRES:  But that doesn’t mean you can’t talk to her.

CARSON:  (Seriously.) Don’t tell me how to do my job. You ever thought that maybe I agree with her decisions? (Sits down.) Besides, you’re just trying to get your job back.

ANDRES:  Yeah, but at least I’m making an effort! Mr. Thomas, I don’t mean to put you in a tough place, but I need this job. These pills and medical bills aren’t going to pay for themselves. It’s my best bet.

CARSON:  Alright, fine. I’ll talk to her again...you know, once we get out of this.

ANDRES:  Thank you. (Sits down as well.) Now I can have a little more faith in humanity again. (CARSON gives him a confused look.) It’s not about you. It’s this tough world. Nobody thought I’d get this far—job and all at some major company. I’ve had my ups and downs in this economy, but you’ve heard it all before: if you’re anything other than the average white male like yourself, people clump you into the minority and don’t take you seriously. In the past years, even when I’d shown them I’ve been applying myself, they’ve all laughed in my face.

CARSON:  Oh, I’m sure they don’t laugh directly in your face.

ANDRES:  No, you’re right. They’d lay me off instead. [JB3] Doesn’t help that I’m getting old either.

CARSON:  (Grimacing.) I’m sorry to hear that.

ANDRES:  Yeah...that’s why I snapped at you earlier. I thought you were taking a crack at Ricardo, which you were, but I think you were just angry about missing your meeting.

CARSON:  No. I think I was just angry for not knowing how I’d do today.

ANDRES:  What do you mean?

CARSON:  Today was my first day filling for the boss. Since I’d been promoted from Public Relations, I’ve been eager to prove myself, so I let her go to a meeting, thinking I could handle it, you know? Get things right. But since I’ve been in this position, I’ve pretty much messed something up. And now that today’s been such a disaster, I can’t say that I’ve redeemed myself.

ANDRES:  To who, you’re wife?

CARSON:  No, my boss.

ANDRES:  Your boss or your wife? (Pause.) Don’t beat yourself up over it. She’ll get over it, just like all the other times, right?

CARSON:  I hope so.

ANDRES: Take it from me:  my wife loves me, but that doesn’t mean she won’t make a pack-mule out of me sometimes. She’ll push me, but it’s to get the best out of me, and when I fall flat on my face, she’ll just have to deal with my limits and realize that I’m not Superman. Maybe it all starts with you telling her how you feel.

CARSON:  And when will that happen exactly? She’s all business, 24/7. I don’t even thinks she even listens to me. I’m trying to do my job well, but for some strange reason, she’ll keep giving me more and more.

ANDRES:  (Shrugs.) Son, I’ve tried living up to every position I’ve worked for, done everything I could to make it work. But in the end, I still got fired for no reason, or I just quit. Some blamed it on my mouth (which I can occasionally take blame for), and some blamed it on my work ethic. But most times, they didn’t really have a good reason, and for the longest time, I figured it was me, but really, it was them. They either put too much of a load on me, or saw me as lazy when I obviously wasn’t given much to do. Bottom line is, stop walking and start talking. You feel trapped? Say something! If you keep going like this, you’ll be on your deathbed hating every decision you ever made, all because you were scared you’d disappoint someone.

CARSON:  That’s making it personal, Andres...

ANDRES:  It’s already personal. You’re married to your boss. Now you can either deal with that like you been doing, moping around, eager to please, or you can make this your time to tell her that, hey, maybe this isn’t working out.

CARSON:  My job or our marriage?

ANDRES:  Is it both?

CARSON:  (Thinking out loud.) No... I-- [JB4]

ANDRES:  Maybe...no, that’s not it. It’s like...she has high expectations or something. You take a swing at it.

CARSON: Pssh, you want me to figure out my own solution?

ANDRES:  Yeah—you know her more than I do, so, figure it out.

CARSON: (Contemplates, then laughs to himself.) It’s funny...I’m surprised she hasn’t fired me! (Pause.) Seriously, why has she kept me here for so long, anyway? When she puts me in charge, I don’t follow through, and she still keeps me here. After all the people we’ve had to let go, why wasn’t I ever on that list?

ANDRES:  Maybe it’s a marriage thing?

CARSON:  No, she wouldn’t do that. It’s against company policy...well, her policy in general. She hates that mixing business with pleasure.

ANDRES: Maybe she doesn’t realize how bad you are at doing your job because you’re her husband and she doesn’t want to hurt your feelings.

CARSON:  It wouldn’t hurt my feelings! I’m offended by that accusation!

ANDRES:  (Looks at him sideways.)

CARSON:  (Waves his gaze away.) She’s just looking out for me.

ANDRES:  (Chuckling.) Sir, with all due respect, I think she’s past looking out for you—she’s babying you. My wife does it to me all the time. But you’re a grown man. Just because she’s your boss doesn’t mean she has to be all the time. She’s your wife, too. And you know wives...they’re supportive, but overprotective, and when they’re overprotective, they’re afraid that somebody, or something will change for the worse if they’re not “looking out for you”. But honestly, I think change, and a little more honesty, is the best policy.

CARSON:  So, you’re saying she wants to let me go, but is afraid that our relationship will go sour because of it?

(Suddenly, the elevator makes noises as if it’s going up three floors, then opens and dings.)

 

ANDRES:  Well, what do you know? It works! (Both get up and pick up their things and both step out quickly.) Yep, this is us, 9th floor!

CARSON:  But how?

 

(RICARDO/MAINTENANCE MAN walks briskly onstage. He wears a plain shirt, with dirty jeans and boots.)

 

RICARDO:  (Into walkie-talkie.) Sí, sí Sir. It’s working properly now.

CARSON:  I thought today was your day off, (trying to remember his name) Rrr...R-Ricardo!

(RICARDO, shocked and confused by CARSON’S action, looks at ANDRES. ANDRES mouths/motions, “Just go with it.”)

 

CARSON:  That’s your name, right? Ricardo?

RICARDO:  (Smiling big.) Ahaha, sí Señor...uh...(cannot remember name)

CARSON:  (Shakes hands thankfully.) Carson. Carson Thomas. Thank you very much.

 

(RICARDO nods, lets go of the handshake, and exits. CARSON and ANDRES remain onstage.)

 

ANDRES:  Well, the day is still young, right?

CARSON:  Yes, so can you get me some coffee? I need some to be able to get through this mess of a day. (ANDRES hesitates, confused by the sudden change.) Go! Get to it!

 

(Having no time to react, ANDRES exits quickly offstage. Once he leaves, CARSON moves fast past the elevator to a desk on the other side of the stage, picks up the phone, dials.)

 

CARSON:  Hey honey, I just wanted to call and say that, well, I don’t think I’m ready for all this. I mean, it was nice of you make me your advisor back when, and I know you believe in me, but the thing is, I don’t think I’m cut out for the job. I think I want to go back to my old position in PR. (Pause.) I’ll check for its availability later...besides, I’m sure you can squeeze another...No, nothing’s wrong—no, listen to me! (Sighs.) Just listen. I can’t handle being your advisor, plain and simple. (Pause.) Yes, I knew what I was getting into, but you didn’t give me a choice! You just said ‘You’re my new advisor’ and sent me on my way! But now I’m telling you, advising you, to let me return to my old position. They need a few more hands in communications, don’t you think? (Pause.) No, honey, I’m sure. (Pause.) Don’t worry, I’ve got another candidate in mind. He’s a hard worker, determined, and—

ANDRES:  (entering onstage with coffee, huffing and puffing.) Sorry, there was a long line. Everyone gets coffee at the same time around here...and plus, I had to climb those stairs, but I got it!

CARSON:  (Smiling.)—And he makes a good cup of coffee.

(ANDRES takes notice of what is happening, and nods in thanks to CARSON. The lights dim until dark.)

 

THE END.

 

 

 


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