Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Worst Best Elevator Ride

A PLAY BY PETE JOHNSON


Act One, Scene One: An elevator-sized box descends slowly from above the stage, inside are two men. One is wearing a backpack and holding a cooler, the other is dressed in a suit. Just before it reaches the stage, it halts jerkily, and a loud fire alarm sounds. Pete immediately presses an imaginary call button, before David has the chance to react to the alarm. There is the sound of a phone ringing once, which is interrupted by someone picking up.

Scratchy voice of fire alarm attendant: Hello, emergency response system. What seems to be the problem?

Pete: (Yelling over alarm) Hello?

Attendant: Hello sir, I can hear you. What is your situation?

Pete: Hi! Sorry to bother you, but I'm in an elevator with another gentleman, and it just stopped for no reason. It seems like we're stuck. We're at 1883 Vermont street, and I think this might be the only elevator.

Attendant: OK sir, please remain calm. Is everyone OK? How many people are in the elevator?

Pete: It's just me and one other guy. We're fine, we just wanna get outta here. Can you send help?

Attendant: Well I'm glad there are no medical emergencies. I can see your location on my screen, and I have dispatched the local fire department to your location. 

Pete: Ok great! Can you-

David: (Also yelling, interrupting) How long do you think it will be?

Attendant: I can't say for sure sir, but according to my read outs there is not another emergency in the area, and we should have this taken care of shortly. Is there anyone you would like us to contact on your behalf?

Pete: Can you turn this fucking alarm off? Shit, I'm sorry for swearing, but fuck is this annoying.

Alarm immediately turns off

Pete: Thanks! I don't need you to contact anyone for me just yet, how about you sir?

David: Umm, I think I'm OK. Just please get here soon, sir.

Attendant: Sure thing boss, we'll have you outta there in no time. Hit the call button again if you need anything. 

Audible bong hit

Attendant: Have fun dudes!

We hear the Attendant hang up. David and Pete look at each other, then around, then back at each other.

Pete: Well, looks like we're gonna be stuck here for a little bit.

David: Did that guy just rip a bong?

Pete: Hey listen, I'm not gonna get weird here or anything, but aren't you David Byrne from The Talking Heads?

David: Fucking Christ.

Lights down

Act One, Scene Two: Pete is seated on his cooler, David is sitting on the floor in the opposite corner of the elevator, his tie loosened.

Pete: This is nuts. I can't believe this is actually happening.

David Byrne: What's happening, Pete?

Pete gets up and reaches into the cooler, fishes out two cans of beer and hands one to David Byrne. Pete opens his and takes a healthy swig.

Pete: Well, this is weird, and again I don't want to freak you out or anything, but I just recently stumbled upon Stop Making Sense. I fucking love it. I love you, man.

David Byrne: Still holding his unopened beer, looking at Pete. Thanks, Pete. For the beer. I'm glad you liked the show. He opens his beer. Heh, I'm sure glad you happened to have this cooler.

Pete: And now I'm stuck in an elevator, having a beer with David fucking Byrne! I seriously must have watched that concert like 50 times over the last month alone. I love it so much. Every song is such a banger.

David Byrne: Thanks man. 

David Byrne stands up and presses the call button. It rings 4 times before the attendant picks up

Attendant: Hello, Tom Jacobso- oh shit, um, emergency response, how can I help you?

David Byrne: Hello? I was just wondering if you know how long we'll be stuck in here. I was actually on my way to see-

Pete: Interrupting Yeah! How long until we're outta here, SIR?

Attendant: Coughs Oh yeah there was like, another emergency in the area. Some babies died. Gonna be a while.

The attendant hangs up.

David Byrne: What the fuck?

Pete: Guess we better get comfortable. 

Pete opens another beer

David Byrne: What the fuck is happening right now?

Lights out

Act One, Scene Three: David is now seated on Pete's cooler, and Pete is sitting where David was, in the corner. There are 3 empty beer cans at each man's feet. Both are holding beers. As the lights come up, David Byrne is handing Pete a lit joint. There is smoke collecting at the top of the elevator. 

Pete takes two hits from the joint, then hands it back to David Byrne. He unzips his backpack, and while he is talking, takes out a bag of tortilla chips, 3 avocados, a cutting board, a knife, a bowl, a tomato, a lime, and an onion.

Pete: So I gotta ask man, was your keyboard player high on something? He looked totally dazed, but of course he nailed every note. God, that show was so good. I would seriously give my left nut to have been there. And why did you have the camera on him when the drums kick in on Burning Down the House? The best dance break of the whole movie, and the camera is on this guy who looks like he barely knows where he is. So funny.

By the time he is done talking, all of the items from the backpack are sitting, ready, on the floor.

David Byrne: Dude, who ARE you?

Lights out

Act One, Scene Four: There are now 5 empty beer cans in each corner of the elevator. The smoke is thick. David Byrne is pacing back and forth in front of Pete. Pete is calmly eating guacamole.

David Byrne: Where the fuck did he go? Do they really just let the 9-1-1 people smoke weed at work now? Fucking Obama.

David Byrne hits the call button again. It rings and rings. It is still ringing.

David Byrne: GOD FUCKING DAMN IT

Pete: Hey man, wanna shotgun? He takes a beer can and bites a hole into the bottom of it, spilling foam on the floor.

David Byrne: You absolute dipshit. Pause. Of COURSE I want to shotgun a beer.

Pete bites into another can, and they both shotgun beers. While they are finishing, the attendant finally picks up.

Attendant: Giggling Aw hey, what's good, homies?

David Byrne: Where is the fire department?! We've been stuck in here forever!

Attendant: Still giggling Ah man, they're like, probably getting close. You guys good?

David Byrne: No! What the hell is going on, where are they?

Pete: Hey Tommy- I mean sir, yeah, we're not so good. He's freaking out, you should probably get us out of here.

David Byrne: Tommy? Wait, do you know this guy?

Attendant: Ok Petey man, you sure?

David Byrne: You. Have. Got. To be shitting me.

Pete: Shit, uh, yeah Tommy. We're good. Send us out.

Alarm rings for a second, and then cuts out

Attendant: Giggling Shit, my B. Wrong button. Big fan David!

The elevator kicks into motion, and descends toward the stage, and then through it and below it. Before they go out of vision, Pete tries to hug David Byrne. David Byrne pushes him off, and then kicks him in the nuts. The elevator disappears through the stage.

Pete: From off stage, in pain Worth it.

Lights down.

Act Two: David Byrne and full lineup of The Talking Heads perform an exact remake of their hit 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense. Pete plays bongos on Burning Down the House. He looks like he does not know where he is, but he is having so much fun.





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