Waiting for 2000: An Absurdist Comedy of Billionaire Proportions by Zack Love - Read Online
Waiting for 2000
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Summary

Inspired by and reminiscent of Samuel Beckett’s absurdist stage play Waiting for Godot, this Y2K theater comedy satirizes the frivolous extravagance of the mega-rich. 

Bob’s Billionaire Boat boasts the world’s 2,000 richest people on it, and will enable them to celebrate the arrival of the year 2000 twice in a row by crossing the International Dateline on New Year's Eve 1999. The co-captains of the boat — two regular guys — keep themselves amused with endlessly silly banter while occasionally debating whether the whole thing is just a fictional stage play. 

Meanwhile, two Wall Street traders who are bitter about missing the wealth cutoff for the billionaire cruise are determined to blow up the boat and thereby become the two richest people on earth. 

This 25,000-word satire offers the ultimate experience of comical absurdism, with fun philosophical musings about everything and nothing, as the zaniest billionaires ever to gather on a single vessel prove that there's still plenty to complain about at the top.

Published: Zack Love on
ISBN: 9781519939722
List price: $1.76
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Waiting for 2000 - Zack Love

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Love

Introduction

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Theater plays are as integral to the history of literature as The Persians by Aeschylus or – in the genre of comedy – Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare. But in today’s literary market, theater plays are nowhere near as popular as fiction, so my decision to release Waiting for 2000 rested on the hope that readers might be willing to step outside of their comfort zones a bit.

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Those who can approach a play with an open mind may discover that there is something uniquely pure about the nature of theater because the experience is reduced to what the audience can see and hear. The drama (or in this case, comedy) is comprised of the most essential elements of story: character, action, and dialogue. A character’s inner thoughts are rarely shared (unless in a soliloquy) and the descriptions of characters and scenes are very brief compared to those of most novels. In this respect, a story written for the stage is closer to our experience of everyday life: we see and hear people doing and saying things (without access to their actual thoughts).

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Plays typically also take place in relatively few settings and, as a writer, I’ve always been intrigued by the creative challenge of setting an entire story in just one or two locations. In this particular work, the whole plot takes place on a cruise ship and a smaller jet boat, and all in under 24 hours. The story’s setting also captures the end of an era – when people still had answering machines, postal mail mattered more, and smart phones weren’t on every person delivering constant updates.

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Waiting for 2000 had several sources of inspiration. In the late 90s, there was much publicity around millennial celebrations, and the hype was perhaps fueled by the unprecedented new wealth of this period. Lavish and frivolous spending became all the more common and conspicuous. And a rapidly developing Internet brought an explosion of information, including stories about the often bizarre and comical ways of the mega-rich and famous.

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Although Waiting for 2000 contains plenty of satire, it was also written as a contemporary tribute to Samuel Beckett’s absurdist play, Waiting for Godot.

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But don’t take any of it too seriously. Waiting for 2000 is, above all, a comedy of epic banter, philosophical absurdities, and other random musings.

CAST OF CHARACTERS

SAM: the African-American co-captain of Bob’s Billionaire Boat

AL: the neurotic co-captain of Bob’s Billionaire Boat

MANAMAYA: a hostess on the boat, from the Indian subcontinent, and Sam’s ex-lover

BOB: the Indian-American computer-geek and billionaire owner of the boat

PONZI: a Wall Street trader-turned-terrorist trying to blow up Bob’s Billionaire Boat

MAX: a Wall Street trader-turned-terrorist trying to blow up Bob’s Billionaire Boat

LITTLE BLUE: a short, blue-haired billionaire entertainer

PAULA and DANA: the French billionaire fashion designers who are lesbian lovers

CHING: an elderly Chinese billionaire

BC: a Puerto Rican billionaire from the Bronx

SETTING

Somewhere in the South Pacific Ocean.

TIME

January 1, 2000, 9 p.m. Australia time.

ACT I, SCENE 1

The curtain rises and we see SAM and AL seated and facing the audience, navigating Bob’s Billionaire Boat. They are dressed in sailor uniforms. Both men are in their early forties. SAM is a handsome and smooth-talking African-American. AL has a bookish look and is a bit neurotic.

AL

What do you think the tab is on this whole ship extravaganza?

SAM

Everything?

AL

Everything. The ship. The crew. 25 days of gourmet food for the 2,000 richest people on the planet.

SAM

Are you including salaries for the 2,000 attendants serving them? And another 300 crewmember salaries?

AL

All of that too. Fireworks for two New Year’s Eve parties. Fuel. Insurance. The whole shebang.

SAM

At least two billion dollars. The ship alone probably costs about that much.

AL

Two billion? That seems a bit high.

SAM

Al, it’s the largest luxury ship in the world. 2,500 bedrooms, multiple golf and tennis facilities, several dance halls and Olympic swimming pools.

AL

True. I guess all that luxury could run you a few Bs.

SAM

Hey, you can’t settle for less when transporting the world’s 2,000 richest people to the International Dateline.

AL

You mean crossing it and celebrating the year 2000 twice isn’t enough for them?

SAM

Hardly. They have to be entertained the whole way there...But it’s damn good for the economy, if you ask me.

AL

Spending two billion dollars to fight cancer or illiteracy would also be good for the economy.

SAM

But not nearly as much fun for the passengers.

AL

True. What could be more fun than celebrating your economic superiority?

[CHING enters. He is a sagacious-looking, long-bearded, elderly Chinese man dressed in simple peasant-farmer garb. His age has stooped his posture but he still moves nimbly. He speaks with a heavy Chinese accent.]

CHING

Excuse me, Mistah Captains. Have you seen my box of golden toothpicks?

SAM

You have golden toothpicks?

CHING

Yes.

AL 

Why?

CHING

Because I have many golden teeth.

[CHING displays his gold teeth with a wide grin.]

CHING (Continued)

So if my toothpick break off between my teeth, I prefer it to be a golden toothpick.

[laughing heartily]

AL

Oh.

CHING

So captains.

[CHING gets within kissing range of AL and then SAM, and inspects them closely.]

CHING (Continued)

Have you seen my golden toothpicks?

SAM

No, Mr. Ching, we haven’t.

CHING

But I think I left them in a room like this one.

AL

But there’s no other room like this on the ship, and we’ve never seen you come in here.

CHING

But if I left them in this room and you found them, would you tell me?

AL

Are you sure the toothpicks are made of solid gold?

CHING

Very sure.

AL [struggling to measure his own honesty]

Solid gold, eh? Nah. I don’t think I’d tell you. But I didn’t find them.

CHING

So how can I believe that you really didn’t find them here?

AL

Because you never came into this room.

CHING

But if I came into this room, would you tell me whether I came into this room, if I asked you?

AL [again struggling to measure his honesty]

Yes. I think you can be quite confident that I would tell you whether you ever came into this room.

CHING

Well then tell me something, Mistah Captains.

AL and SAM

What?

CHING

Did I ever come into this room?

AL and SAM

No.

CHING

Oh, that is terrible news.

AL and SAM

Why?

CHING

Because that means I have lost my golden toothpicks.

SAM

Well, did you check all of the other rooms?

CHING

We have been sailing for fifteen days, and I have checked 1,500 rooms. It is very difficult to check more than 100 rooms in one day.

SAM

Especially if you want to enjoy the cruise.

AL

But if you keep checking 100 rooms per day, then you’ll get to every room by the time the cruise is over, because we have another ten days left.

SAM

Don’t forget Bob’s VIP room.

AL

Right. That makes 2,501. So you’ll have to check one extra room on one of those days.

SAM

But nobody – not even the staff manager – can get into the VIP room. Only Bob has access to that room.

AL

Oh, right. I forgot about that. So you couldn’t have possibly left your toothpicks there. So that’s one less room you still have to check.

CHING

Oh good. One less room to check.

SAM

But why don’t we save you the trouble of looking through each room, and just make an announcement on the intercom?

AL

Yeah. We’ll ask the passengers to bring the toothpicks to you if anyone finds them.

CHING [anxiously]

No, no! Please don’t! That’s no good. I have to look myself. That’s the only way I can be sure to find them.

AL

Why?

CHING

Because nobody who finds my golden toothpicks will bring them back to me.

AL

Why?

CHING

Why, you ask?

[laughing wisely]

You weren’t sure if you would tell me whether I left my golden toothpicks in your room.

AL

Yeah, but these are billionaires we’re talking about. They don’t need the money.

CHING

Ah, but billionaires are the worst type. You can’t trust them for anything.

SAM

But you’re a billionaire too, aren’t you?

CHING

But that