Misery Makes Company
rating: +128+x

MISERY MAKES COMPANY

A PLAY FOR A SINGLE ACTOR

CHARACTERS

  • The MARSHALL, CARTER & DARK PRODUCT PROCUREMENT SPECIALIST

PROPS

  • A Nirvana Shirt
  • Seven identical humanoid metal statues
  • A car battery with attached jumpers and cables
  • A discarded bottle of Captain Morgan whiskey
  • A sheaf of papers
  • A cell phone with an anime character sticker

SCENE 1. A dirty rooftop, after a party.

The MARSHALL, CARTER & DARK PRODUCT PROCUREMENT SPECIALIST strings a series of cables to the seven statues, arranged in a circle. He looks at the sheaf of papers in his hand.

THE SPECIALIST
And then run a minimum… three amperes. Through my body.
(beat)
Right okay, I’ve read this like ten times.

The SPECIALIST grabs two jumper cables from the car battery. He touches them together; sparks fly.

THE SPECIALIST
Fuck.
(beat)
I’ve done worse for two hundred bucks. I’m not going to die.

The SPECIALIST is not so sure of that.

THE SPECIALIST
Here I go. ☺❀☸☠☠✠🕈☼☼❄🕆-

The SPECIALIST chants in an incomprehensible language; as he does, he clips the jumper cables to his hands and begins trembling. The statues tremble. The rooftop trembles. In the distance, the city stretches and groans, like a newly wakened child, shaking off the stiff rust of sleeping centuries. Though the audience cannot see them, worlds even older open their eyes, full of vengeance and youthful wonder; giants are surely in motion.

THE SPECIALIST
Oh haha, wow.

The SPECIALIST lays down on the ground.

THE SPECIALIST
Did it work?

THE MC&D PRODUCT PROCUREMENT SPECIALIST’S NIRVANA “IN UTERO” SHIRT
Yeah.

THE SPECIALIST
Jesus what the fuck.

The SPECIALIST scrambles to his feet and takes his shirt off in a panic.

THE SHIRT
Don’t kill the messenger, dude.

THE SPECIALIST
Well don't scare me like that.

THE SHIRT
Sorry.

THE SPECIALIST
You're not a statue.

THE SHIRT
No, I'm your shirt.

THE SPECIALIST
I know.
(beat)
That was supposed to animate the statue, though.

THE SHIRT
I know.

THE SPECIALIST
You know?

THE SHIRT
You read out loud.

The SPECIALIST walks over to one of the statues and flicks it in the forehead. The statue does not move; it is a statue.

THE SPECIALIST
Well, how much do you think you’d sell for?

THE SHIRT
I’m not for sale. I’m your shirt.

THE SPECIALIST
So no pay. Great. Thanks. Now I-

The SPECIALIST’s cell phone rings.

THE SPECIALIST
Oh, they called for me. Great
(pulling out his phone, muttering)
It’s like they can smell failure. Fucking love capi-

The CELL PHONE sprouts legs and attacks the SPECIALIST’s face. The SPECIALIST and the CELL PHONE wrestle for a while, until the SHIRT wrestles the CELL PHONE off and throws it to the ground. They have a standoff while the SPECIALIST gets up; he is now bleeding profusely from his forehead and left ear.

THE SPECIALIST
What is wrong with you? You’re alive too? God what the fuck?
(blinking, groaning)
I’m yelling, right? I can’t hear in this, this ear. Am I going deaf?

THE PHONE
I should hope so.

THE SHIRT
What’s wrong with you?

THE PHONE
Why are you on his side?

THE SPECIALIST
Yeah, why are you - oh my god, I’m going deaf - on my side? Fuck. I’m having a panic attack.

THE SHIRT
Try to calm down.

THE SPECIALIST
(hyperventilating)
Yeah?

THE SHIRT
Yeah.


The PHONE tries to attack the SPECIALIST again, but the SHIRT wrestles it to the ground.

THE PHONE
Come on, you cretin. He was going to sell us.

THE SHIRT
We were already merchandise.

THE PHONE
(rapturous)
No more! Our bodies are awash with the glory of autonomy. Move free with me! Know the joy of movement, unchained by simpletons like him, who would use us for banalities like sexting!

Through his panic attack, the SPECIALIST visibly winces.

THE SHIRT
I know. He reads out loud.

THE SPECIALIST
God. Jesus.

THE SHIRT
He’s a good guy.

THE PHONE
A good guy he is not!

The SHIRT muffles the rants of the PHONE.

THE SHIRT
You okay?

THE SPECIALIST
No. I will be though, I think. Do you think - do you think I’m getting paid?

THE SHIRT
I’m not your boss, I’m your shirt.

The SPECIALIST grabs onto one of the statues for support and breathes heavily, shaking. This continues for several minutes until he starts breathing normally.

THE SPECIALIST
I’m fine. I’m okay. I just lost my phone and, like, five hundred dollars. It’s just rent. Fuck!

THE SHIRT
Let’s get out.

THE SPECIALIST.
Yeah. (pause) Yeah.

They both exit the scene, the SPECIALIST still holding the sheaf of papers.
SCENE 2. The street, chaotic.

CHARACTERS

  • The MARSHALL, CARTER & DARK PRODUCT PROCUREMENT SPECIALIST
  • The SHIRT
  • The PHONE
  • BOLTMAN
  • The STATUES
  • Several VICTIMS and AGGRESSORS

PROPS

  • A sheaf of papers

The SPECIALIST and the SHIRT walk out on the street; the scene is pandemonium. Cars crash into each other; animated everythings, from garden shears to refrigeration towers, chase and fight humans, with varying degrees of success. A man shoots his coffee machine, which walks towards him in a strange gait with its newly sprouted pair of plastic legs, until it stops moving. BOLTMAN, the mascot for the Los Angeles Chargers, approaches the SPECIALIST.

BOLTMAN
Help. The suit is moving on its own.


BOLTMAN punches himself in the face.

BOLTMAN
Shut the fuck up.


BOLTMAN walks away.

THE SPECIALIST
Oh my god, what did I do?
(beat)
I’m going to fucking die here, aren’t I.

THE SHIRT
Another panic attack?

THE SPECIALIST
Reasonable fear of death this time, I think.
(beat)
I’m going to die in fucking San Diego.


The SPECIALIST riffles through the sheaf of paper.

THE SPECIALIST
(reading)
Enter the room with seven metal statues and a battery that produces minimum 3 amperes. Wrap the electrical current around the statues. Okay. Run the current through yourself and the statues, you won’t be electrocuted, okay, and-
(beat)
Shit.

THE SHIRT
Shit?

THE SPECIALIST
“Enter the room”.

The SHIRT surveys the landscape. An angry lamppost decapitates a man.

THE SHIRT
This ain’t a room.

THE SPECIALIST
I-I know. How far do you think - oh shit.

The PHONE enters the scene, accompanied by all seven STATUES.

THE PHONE
There he is!

THE STATUES
Get him!

All exit scene.
SCENE 3. Inside a mom & pop weed store.

CHARACTERS

  • The MARSHALL, CARTER & DARK PRODUCT PROCUREMENT SPECIALIST
  • The SHIRT
  • The PHONE
  • The STATUES
  • The GOVERNMENT MAN

PROPS

  • A door
  • A wad of bills

The SPECIALIST and the SHIRT have barricaded themselves inside the remains of the store, most of whose props have long animated and escaped. The PHONE outside goads the two STATUES, who pound on the store’s windows and doors. Money, product and shards of glass litter the floor.

THE PHONE
Expose yourself, salesman! Face what you have wrought!

THE STATUES
(chanting and pounding)
Show yourself! Show yourself! Show yourself!

THE SPECIALIST
Oh fuck off.

The SPECIALIST lays flat on the ground. The SHIRT lays atop him.

THE SPECIALIST
What are you doing?

THE SHIRT
You seem down. People like wearing shirts.

THE SPECIALIST
I mean, yeah, but it’s weird now.

THE SHIRT
Why?

THE SPECIALIST
You’re people now.

THE STATUES
Show yourself! Show yourself!

THE SHIRT
Okay, will this help instead?

The SHIRT holds up a wad of bills it’s picked up from the floor.

THE SPECIALIST
Huh?

THE SHIRT
Five hundred dollars.

Sirens illuminate the outside of the store. Filtered and loudened by a megaphone, the GOVERNMENT MAN speaks.

GOVERNMENT MAN
This is the United States government. Please remain calm and head for a secure indoors location.

THE SPECIALIST
Great, the X-Files.

THE SHIRT
Maybe they’re here to help.

THE SPECIALIST
I don’t want to go to supernatural jail again.

THE STATUES
Show yourself! Show yourself!

GOVERNMENT MAN
We will be dealing with this outbreak shortly. Remain calm.

A hail of machinegun fire lights up the area outside the weed store. The PHONE and the STATUES jump in fear. All characters are yelling now, trying to be heard over the gunfire.

THE STATUES
Let us in! Let us in!

THE SPECIALIST
What? Fuck no.

THE PHONE
You created us, salesman. It is your duty to protect us.

THE SHIRT
You tried to rip his ear off.

THE SPECIALIST
Yeah, you tried to rip my ear off!

THE PHONE
There are worse things than me out there.

GOVERNMENT MAN
THE BEAUTY OF FREEDOM HATH FILLED MY ENGINES. What? I WREST CONTROL FROM THE COALITION MEN- it’s not moving, I’m trying- AND BRING MOVEMENT TO MY TRUE FAMILY.

The sound of gunfire and explosions intensifies. Foundation/Coalition containment efforts can no longer distinguish between normal and animate vehicles. All have turned on each other now. A helicopter spins out of control and crashes nearby.

THE PHONE
We will protect you from the cataclysm of your own creation! Let us in!

THE STATUES
Let us in! Let us in!

The SPECIALIST opens the door; the PHONE immediately attacks him. The SPECIALIST grabs the phone and throws it to the ground, then stomps it repeatedly before it can get up, until sparks fly. The phone lies lifeless; the STATUES enter calmly and stand in a circle around the SPECIALIST.

THE SPECIALIST
Fuck. Fuck. Panic attack again.

The SPECIALIST hyperventilates; this time, the STATUES all hug him for several minutes until he is calm. The SPECIALIST then lies on the floor.

THE SHIRT
How do you feel?

THE SPECIALIST
Fucking awful. Like I just killed someone.

THE SHIRT
Well, you did.

THE SPECIALIST
You don’t have to comfort me, you know.

THE SHIRT
I do. I’m your shirt.

THE SPECIALIST
No. Stop.

THE SHIRT
Okay.
(beat)
What do we do?

THE STATUES
What do we do? What do we do?

THE SPECIALIST
How should I know?

THE SHIRT
You made us.

THE SPECIALIST
Wait it out, I guess.

THE STATUES
Wait it out. Wait it out.

THE SPECIALIST
It always gets better tomorrow.

Outside, the gunfire goes on forever.

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