Wednesday, August 17, 2016

HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE

A play in One Act
By Keith Good and Terri Foltz

(Lights up on a library. A demure LIBRARIAN stands at a shelf, straightening books, humming. A BUM enters, looking rough, stumbling ever so slightly.)

BUM:
(Loudly)
I need to win friends—

LIBRARIAN:
Shh.

BUM:
(quieter)
I need to win friends and influence people.

LIBRARIAN:
You could start with a breath mint.

BUM:
No, the book.

LIBRARIAN:
The what?

BUM:
Is… This is the library, right? Are you not familiar with Dale Carnegie? C-A-R—

LIBRARIAN:
I assure you, I know how to spell. Spelling is de rigueur at Yale.

BUM:
Oh, you went to Yale? As in…New Haven, “Yale?”

LIBRARIAN:
No, the Yale School for Dogs. Of course New Haven Yale.

BUM:
Yale...The best 2 ½ years of my life. New England Autumn often wins the song of poets and philosophers, but I’ve found no beauty as sublime as the campus green stirring with Spring’s flame… Co-Eds budding under budding cherry trees, sunshine molting their winter skins—

LIBRARIAN:
Wait, you…you graduated from Yale? In 2 ½ years?

BUM:
(laughs)
Graduate? From Yale? Oh, no. 
LIBRARIAN:
Of course n—

BUM:
I graduated from Stanford. I taught at Yale.

LIBRARIAN:
You…taught…at Yale? Wh-what happened?

BUM:
Navigating the politics of academia is like sailing between Scylla and Charybdis, leaving the Odyssean genius either pummeled by the multi-headed monster or drowned in wine-dark seas.

LIBRARIAN:
(Both impressed and slightly puzzled.)
So…wine?

BUM:
I never learned how to win friends and influence people. Carnegie’s volume, please?

LIBRARIAN:
It’s in the self-help section. Dewey Decimal number… 150 C, if I recall correctly.

(Librarian takes Bum by the arm, they stroll to the self-help section)

LIBRARIAN:
Right this way, Professor. Whatever detour led you here, you need not walk alone. I’ll guide you.

(They arrive at the correct shelf. Librarian reaches up and pulls the book.)

LIBRARIAN:
I hope this helps you get back on your feet. I…I hope this is what you need.

(The Bum cracks open the book. A small flask glimmers inside its hollowed-out pages. To the horror of the Librarian, the Bum takes out the flask and drinks a healthy slug.)

BUM:
This is just what I needed. Thanks, friend.

(Lights Down.)

END.

1 comment:

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