Written for actors Chris Ross and Whitney Porter as part of Spontaneous Combustion, an occasional festival of short plays organized by Manhattan Theatre Source in which writers are given a first line, a cultural reference, and two actors on a Friday night, and the task of writing a five-minute play for them by the next day at noon. Rehearsals and minor revisions take place for the next day and a half, and the plays go live on Sunday evening.
Setting: A corporate office.
Characters: CHRIS, a revolutionary leader, wearing a business suit and a beret or some such combination of business and revolutionary attire; WHITNEY, a temp, dressed in classic business casual.
Whitney: So what do you want me to do? It really doesn't matter to me. I'm real good with computers. I can write, edit, do HTML, PHP. I'm awesome with PHP. You can do anything with PHP. I know MySQL, if you need any database stuff...
Whitney: I beg your pardon?
Chris: The People's Revolutionary Front has no use for idle prattle!
Whitney: Hey, you're not paying me enough to...
Chris: You will not be paid! Serving the revolution is its own reward! Are you trying to reproduce bourgeois labor relations right here in our mountain stronghold?
Whitney: Mountain stronghold? Well, I mean, we're on the 34th floor, I don't know if that's, I mean, whatever, erm, could we go back to that part about not getting paid?
Chris: What are you doing here? Who sent you?
Whitney: Labor-Pro Temp Agency.
Chris: You're not CIA?
Chris: Do you swear?
Chris: I'll be able to tell if you're lying. I can always tell. Now I will ask you again. Are you CIA?
Chris: I knew it!
Whitney: Ha! I was lying! Of course I'm not CIA. I'm a temp!
Chris: I knew that, I knew that. I could tell that, I could easily tell. I was kidding. It was a joke.
Whitney: OK. So what do you want me to do?
Chris: I want you to be in charge of revolutionary discipline. The movement is growing and I can no longer do everything myself. I've got battle plans to form, platoons to organize, anger to foment. I'd like you to focus on shooting deserters.
Whitney: Ooh, I don't know. You mean really shoot real deserters?
Chris: Of course.
Whitney: Isn't there any typing I could do?
Chris: You must understand the only punishment for betraying the revolution is death.
Whitney: Is there a warning system at all? Written reprimand? Employee file? Three strikes you're out?
Chris: No no. You're out right away, on strike one. Boom. Death.
Chris: It's the revolutionary code.
Whitney: Sounds a little unfair.
Chris: Silence! It's fair. It is beyond fair. It's the fairest system there is.
Whitney: The fairest of them all?
Chris: Beg your pardon?
Whitney: You know, mirror mirror on the wall?
Chris: What are you prattling on about?
Whitney: Nothing. I just thought I'd throw that in there.
Whitney: So anyway, you have these deserters and you want me to, uhhh...
Chris: Shoot them.
Whitney: I've actually never, erm, never done that.
Chris: We do train.
Whitney: Good. Thank you. But it's not really my...I mean, don't you guys have a website or anything? I could build you one. Interactive site? Connect with your membership? Track your user base?
Chris: No, I really just need a shooter.
Whitney: Get your message out? Snappy domain name? I think, you know, a revolution these days is going to need a web presence.
Chris: We're not about that dot com shit. Are you going to shoot him or not?
Whitney: Shoot whom?
Chris: Him. Over there. In the corner.
Whitney: What, under that blanket?
Chris: Yes, he's tied up there. We brought him back this morning.
Whitney: I don't know...
Chris: God, these temp agencies are useless!
Whitney: Look, I may be a mercenary, but, I mean, I have my limits. I am not going to just shoot somebody, without pay, without even knowing why.
Chris: For betraying the revolution!
Whitney: What revolution?!
Chris: The people's revolution to overthrow this war-mongering corporate oligarchy!
Whitney: You mean like bust through all this consumer-culture crap?
Chris: Yes! And liberate the true potential of the human spirit!
Whitney: End the tyranny of fear?
Chris: Yes! Exactly! Recognize our common interests and give full expression to the power of love in human affairs!
Whitney: What about using peaceful democratic processes?
Chris: Did you not just see this election?
Whitney: Good point. Still...
Chris: What is it?
Whitney: I just think, you know, a database-driven website, with a registered member base and customized news feeds, I mean, you're not using all available tools here.
Chris pauses before answering.
Chris: Could we have an e-newsletter?
Chris: Real-time news about government atrocities in an attractive Flash display?
Whitney: ActionScript and XML dude. Not a problem.
Chris: And you'll shoot the deserters?
Whitney: Reactionary dogs.
Chris: Well, good, good. So. Well. Here's the gun, there's the deserter...
Whitney: So there's just this pay issue.
Chris: No pay! It is an honor to serve the revolution! There are plenty of beans, there is rice, we have many tents, quite a few cubicles...
Whitney: Yeah but, the agency, there are rules you know.
Chris: Seven dollars an hour.
Whitney: Eleven fifty.
Whitney: Eleven fifty, it's not negotiable, that's the agency's rate.
Chris: Fine, eleven fifty, but you disgust me.
Whitney: All righty then. Here goes nothing! [She picks up the gun and aims at the deserter.] 1...2...3...
-- LIGHTS OUT --