“The Happy Dork”
A new play by Fred Waggle
“Presenting the newest play by that purveyor of all things idiotic, Fred Waggle. His last play about being less than smart, a subject Fred considers himself an expert in, “What’s This Loose Wire?”, confirmed Fred to be a new talent on the playwriting stage. His newest play, the two-act, “The Happy Dork”, will continue Fred’s meteoric rise to the very top of the playwriting ladder. Were so sure that by including the actual script for the play, absolutely free, you’ll be inspired to see “The Happy Dork” in person. The play is now playing at the downtown Bland Theater (Shuffletown). So, come out and see this moronic play in person!
Matt Downer: Jim Lowe
Ned, the Always-There Customer: Wally Freeburton
Bartender Bobby: Hank Scapple
Carla Deets, the angry wife: Bitty Vail
Gus Deets: Larry Tate
Gilbert Rage: Red Hobson
Sally Capers: Lucy Swale
The curtain rises on the interior of a run-down tavern; several drunks are slumped over their table, with no-hope looks on their faces. Cigarette smoke hangs in lazy clouds above their heads. Even though smoking is against the law in a public place, no one follows it. Into this depressed attitude walks Matt Downer. His upbeat attitude doesn’t gibe with the prevailing one, setting the stage for conflict.
Bartender Bobby, seeing Matt Downer enter and pull up a barstool: “I’ll be right with you friend.”
Matt Downer: “No hurry; I just came in for a brew; it sure is a glorious day out!”
Bartender Bobby and Ned, the always-there customer, exchange disgusted looks
Ned: “Hey, Bobby, how about a refill down here?”
Bartender Bobby slumps his way down the bar. He’s bitter about still being stuck working till 2am, with no one for company but a bunch of depressed drunks. “You want another beer? Imagine my shock when the thespian orders yet-another beer.”
Ned, who’s been saying he’s going to finish the novel he’s been working on for years now, answers: “There’s no need to call me names; all I want is another beer.”
Bartender Bobby: “Sure thing,” he sarcastically replies, “I wouldn’t want the new Shakespeare to expire due to thirst!”
Ned: “I’m glad you decided to do your fricking job! I think I’ll just have one more, then I’ll head home to take advantage of this ‘Glorious weather’ to work on my book.” As he’s saying this, he quickly glances at Bartender Bobby, then down the bar at Matt Downer, but he seems totally unaware that he’s being made fun of.
Bartender Bobby laughs to himself, and replies: “I better hurry up with that beer, so you can get home in this ‘Glorious weather’ and write!”
As he’s pouring Ned’s beer, the phone rings and a loud screech assaults Bobby’s ear.
Carla Deets’s offstage voice: “Hello Bobby; is my dear, dear Gus there, by any chance?”
Bartender Bobby: Yeah, just a sec. I’ll get him.”
Carla: “No, that’s okay; just tell him to get his loser a** home, right now!” and she slams the phone down.
Bartender Bobby rubs his ear and shouts out: “Gus? Your dear wife Carla called, and you’re supposed to, and I quote, ‘Get your loser a** home, right now!’”
Gus, entering out on the stage from the bathroom: “S***! Did she use her very angry voice, or her only slightly angry voice?”
Bartender Bobby: “I don’t know, but it sounded to me the same as her everyday tone of voice.”
Gus: “Good, then I’m probably okay for a few more.” Gus is desperately unhappy with how thing are at home, and prefers to spend long hours drinking at this watering hole. He angrily takes a greedy drag on his poor cigarette, using it to take out his frustrations.
Bartender Bobby: “Coming right up.”
It’s at this moment that Matt Downer, having overheard the conversation, says: “I couldn’t help overhearing. Let me tell you what I do when my wife is angry with me because I’m at the tavern. I leave immediately and stop off on my way home and buy her some lovely flowers, and then, when I get home, I apologize and give her the flowers. You’d be surprised how much a gift of flowers helps blunt her anger.”
Bartender Bobby and Gus exchange looks, and Gus replies, “Believe me, I’ve tried everything under the sun, but she seems to get even angrier, that I knew I was doing something sure to piss her off, and did it anyway. I’m here to tell you, she’s a real piece of work!”
Matt Downer: “Well, I’d give it another try, and see if it changes anything. My name’s Matt Downer; and who might I be speaking to?”
Gus: “Well, I surely do appreciate your trying to help anyway, and I’m Gus Deets; pleased to meet you.”
Matt Downer: “And what about this handsome gentleman behind the bar?” he says, pointing towards Bartender Bobby.
Bartender Bobby: “What, are you one of those perverts?”
Gus Deets lets out a laugh.
Matt Downer: No, I’m just trying to make polite conversation. I don’t really think you’re handsome.”
Bartender Bobby: “Are you saying I’m a goiter?”
Gus Deets laughs again. He’s enjoying this verbal joust.
Matt Downer: “”No, that’s not what I meant at all. Look, I’m sorry if you took anything I might have inadvertently said the wrong way, but I assure you, I meant no disrespect.”
Having heard the conversation, Gilbert Rage, who came in to escape his many personal problems, and only recently got out of prison for assault, pipes up: “I don’t now, Bob, it didn’t sound like nothing when he said you were cute.”
Bartender Bobby, who was about to let it go, instead turns back to Matt Downer, and hisses: “First, you piss me off by hitting on me; then you doubly piss me off by saying I’m super-ugly! I can let the first comment go, but for the second I’ve got to come out from behind this bar, which is my space, and kick your a**!”
Matt Downer: Now, just a minute; I didn’t hit on you, and I never called you super-ugly! I just came in here because it’s a sunny, hot day. I don’t want any trouble.”
Bartender Bobby: “Okay, then.”
Matt Downer: So we’re good then?”
Bartender Bobby: “Yeah, we’re good.”
Gilbert Rage, who has a dim view of life, and wants the turmoil to continue, says: “I don’t know, it sounds to me like this guy,” pointing at Downer, “is afraid of you, but asking to get his a** kicked; if I were you, I’d go ahead and oblige him.”
Matt Downer: “Look pal, butt out.”
Gilbert Rage: “Like hell I’ll butt out; maybe you want me to kick your a**! If this guy,” glancing at Bartender Bobby, “is too much of a pansy to do it, I’m not!”
Bartender Bobby, “Why, you son of a b***h; no one calls me a pansy!” and he starts out from behind the bar, but just when he takes a couple of steps, a woman walks up to the bar.
Carla Deets, blinded by the bright sunshine outside, and who can’t see in the darkness of the bar, but is too impatient to wait until her eyes adjust, says, “I’ve come to fetch my husband home, where’s Gus?”
Gus Deets, looking up from one of the tables, “Oh s***!”
Carla Deets, “Oh, there you are! It figures, instead of just lazing around in a loser bar, with your loser friends, get off your dead a** and come home. There’s plenty of things to do!”
The ferocity of her words has made Bartender Bobby and Gilbert Rage forget all about their fight. Rage, who moments ago was thinking of making a quick getaway, instead says, “Nice to meet you Gus,” as a meek Gus is grabbed by the ear by his wife, and marched to the front door. Where as before, the sunlight was streaming through the door whenever it was opened, now the sound of pouring rain can be heard.
Matt Downer, who is slated to tie the knot with his girlfriend in a couple of days, says, “I’m supposed to get married soon; is that what I have to look forward to?”
Ned: “Why do you think I stay in here? Let me tell you, it isn’t for the company!”
Bartender Bobby, “You’ve been coming in here for what, 20 years, and I never knew you were married.”
Ned: “That’s because I’ve been telling her I’m going to the hardware store for all this time, and she buys it.”
Bartender Bobby: “No offense, but it doesn’t sound like your wife’s too bright.”
Expecting an angry reaction, the men in the bar hear Ned say: “You’re telling me! My wife is so dumb, she can’t walk, chew gum, and b***h at the same time, so she doesn’t walk or chew gum; eh, ha ha!”
Curtain falls, End Act One:
Curtain rises to show the interior of an apartment. It’s latter that same day. Matt Downer has returned home, where he’s confronted by his live-in girlfriend, Sally Capers.
Sally Capers: “I’ve got the whole day planned out. We can visit my mother, then shop for furniture!”
Matt Downer, thinking back to what Ned said in the tavern and panicking, blurts, “That sounds wonderful; I’ve got to walk down to the hardware store, then I’m good to go!”
© Copyright 2016 Mike Stevens. All rights reserved.