Thursday, September 24, 2015
Nancy on the Phone
Nancy was on an important phone call, and I needed something out of the office.
You can stop reading here if you already know where this is heading.
I don't know what it is about Nancy's being on the phone - what sort of electrical signals are transmitted directly to my brain that tell me I must get the heaviest thing I can find off the top shelf or check to see if all our skyrockets are in working order, but whatever it is, as soon as I hear Nancy in the midst of a high-level conference call, something compels me to go in the office and start rummaging around, and I am helpless as if in the grip of a demonic puppet master.
SCENE: Interior, Daylight. NANCY sits at computer, talking on speaker phone. MAN enters, stage left, on tip-toe and enters closet.
NANCY: Yes, Mr. President, I believe it may yet be possible to salvage the global economy and find a cure for cancer, but my data shows...
SOUND EFFECT: Tubes of watercolors falling from shelf in closet.
NANCY: (Putting speakerphone on mute.) Jesus, Man, what are you doing?
MAN: Just getting some art supplies. I'll be done in a second. (MAN begins setting up special portable easel in far side of room.)
PRESIDENT OBAMA (On speakerphone): So, Nancy, you were saying about this data, involving the cure for cancer and the global economy.
NANCY: Yes, we just need to...
SOUND EFFECT: Portable easel collapses: loud crash followed by several slightly softer crashes.
MAN: (Softly) Sorry.
OBAMA: Good Lord, what was that?
NANCY: It was my husband.
MAN: Sorry, Mr. President. I'm almost done. (Returns to closet. Sounds of soft rummaging.)
NANCY: (After a pause) So anyway, Mr. President, what I was saying about this new data...
SOUND EFFECT: Incredibly loud crashes of shelves falling from brackets, amplified by unexpected acoustic qualities of closet. 25-pound weights, snare-drum sets and bowling balls strike floor accompanied by muffled screams of terror.
SILENCE. (If possible stage manager should contrive to have flecks of plaster float down from ceiling.)
OBAMA: Your husband?
MAN: (From inside closet. From the quality of his voice, we can tell he is lying prone amid the wreckage.) Sorry.
OBAMA: You know, Nancy, we have special operatives who take care of this sort of thing. Like with Bin Laden.
NANCY: Believe me. I'm considering it.
(Originally posted 2012)