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Luella Mellow, RRT: A respiratory therapist. Slipp N. Slider, MFA: A Broadway producer. Hesper Matazoa, MD, PhD, FACP, FACOG: A fertility specialist. M. Blance Chaser, JD: A malpractice attorney Nurse Manager: In charge of everything everywhere. Chief Resident: Always proud. 3rd Year Resident: Always asleep. 2nd Year Resident: Always irritated. Intern: Always abused. Psychiatrists 1, 2, and 3: Penetrate through life’s confusion. Podiatrists 1, 2, and 3: Seldom put a foot in it. Surgeons 1, 2, and 3: Like hot gallbladders. The Patient: Last but not least and nameless to protect his privacy. Scene The place is rural New Jersey. Time The year is 2012.
ACT I, SCENE 1 At the Cowtown Rodeo. PHINEAS (Entering stage right.) Why, hello there, Pristine. (Waves vigorously.) PRISTINE (Entering stage left.)
Hello, dear Phineas.
(Beckons him over.) Is this where we met? PHINEAS
PRISTINE Well, not exactly over there, not really over here either, more like this place, over here, in the middle... How quickly we forget... You forget... I forget. PHINEAS PRISTINE
PHINEAS What am I forgetting?
PRISTINE Where we came from and where we met. PHINEAS Yes, you from Cowtown, New Jersey and me from Brooklyn, New York. PRISTINE As if nothing had ever existed before... I know the feeling. What feeling? PHINEAS PRISTINE
PHINEAS The feeling as if this was the very beginning. PRISTINE And then what happened, Phineas?
PHINEAS I grew up as the son of a Borscht Belt comedian, to become a doctor. PRISTINE While I grew up as the daughter of a dairy farmer, to become a nurse. Yes, but... What, darling? PHINEAS PRISTINE
PHINEAS How is it we came to meet? PRISTINE When health care reform finally came from Washington, they decided that young urban upstart doctors like yourself needed to pitch in and serve in the hinterlands. You mean New Jersey? PHINEAS
PRISTINE That’s right, and then we met that night at the Cowtown Rodeo... Lights go up on the Cowtown Rodeo After Party Hoedown. Nurse Manager, Residents, Podiatrists, and Surgeons are all dancing together. Lights go down. PRISTINE The first moment we met, you broke into song. you break into song that very first moment? Say, why did
PHINEAS Because Pristine, whenever I’m around you, I want to sing... I FEEL MESHUGGE IN THE MORNING WHY DOES THE TORAH MAKE ME CRY You’re doing it again. What? PRISTINE PHINEAS
PRISTINE You’re singing your words.
PHINEAS (Feigned whisper.) It’s okay, this is a musical comedy, the audience is expecting us to sing our words. Oh. Oh? Uh, well then, PRISTINE
I FEEL BAPTIST IN THE EVENING WASH AWAY MY SINS AND ALL MY PRIDE Phineas? Yes, Pristine? (Pauses.) PHINEAS
PRISTINE Why does the Torah make you cry? I’m not sure, really. PHINEAS
PRISTINE Well I hope you figure it out before this show is over. Pristine, darling? Yes? PHINEAS PRISTINE
PHINEAS Where does all that sin and pride come from anyway? I haven’t the foggiest... PRISTINE PHINEAS I FEEL MESHUGGE IN THE MORNING BROOKLYN FEELS COZY ALL THE TIME PRISTINE I FEEL BAPTIST IN THE EVENING COUNTRY ROADS MAKE ME FEEL ALIVE
PHINEAS I FEEL MESHUGGE IN THE MORNING CITY LIFE IS ALL I’VE EVER KNOWN PRISTINE I FEEL BAPTIST IN THE EVENING COME DOWN TO COWTOWN RODEO PHINEAS AND PRISTINE BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE WE MET OUR LIVES FIRST TOUCHED AFTER THE CALF ROPING AND RODEO CLOWN SHOW WE COULDN’T RESIST THE TOUCH OF ONE ANOTHER So pure... So cute... PHINEAS PRISTINE PHINEAS AND PRISTINE WE JUST DISCOVERED FOR LIVING A LIFE, THAT’S WORTH LIVING PARTLY MESHUGGE, PARTLY BAPTIST ENJOYING OUR TIME, SPENT TOGETHER PARTLY BROOKLYN, PARTLY JERSEY DECIDING TOGETHER, BUILDING A FAMILY PARTLY FUN, PARTLY ANGUISH JUST BECAUSE PHINEAS I FEEL MESHUGGE IN THE MORNING
PRISTINE AND I FEEL BAPTIST IN THE EVENING THE PATIENT (Enters in pajamas.) Wait a minute, wait a minute. What? PHINEAS AND PRISTINE
THE PATIENT I still don’t understand why it is you two fell in love and stayed in love. You don’t? Not really... PHINEAS THE PATIENT
PHINEAS You explain it to him, sweetie pie. Me? Why me? PRISTINE
PHINEAS Because you’re the one with the memory for all this history. It’s all a confused mess in my mind. I remember that night coming back to town after a roast of my father at the Friars Club in New York. I was really depressed. You were looking really appealing that night. PRISTINE Appealing? Yes, well, thank you Phineas, but I don’t think that’s what he means. Alright, well let me see. PHINEAS
PRISTINE I think we fell in love with each other for the same reason-our compassionate ways. THE PATIENT Sounds nice, but how did each of you display this compassion? Who are you, anyway? PHINEAS
THE PATIENT I’m your patient, at the hospital.
Oh brother. Now, Phineas, remember? Sorry.
PHINEAS PRISTINE Compassion? PHINEAS
THE PATIENT That’s okay, but why so touchy? PRISTINE Because the same night we met, long after the festivities were over, his father died. What happened? THE PATIENT
PRISTINE I was helping out the rodeo crew, cleaning out the stables. PHINEAS She caught my eye, recognizing her from the hospital, and I wondered what she was doing. PRISTINE You must have been attracted by the scent of love. PHINEAS I offered to help, not know what I was getting myself into. That’s one dirty job. PRISTINE
PHINEAS We worked side by side in the stink and sweat. How romantic. PRISTINE
PHINEAS Afterward, we spoke for hours, sharing likes and dislikes. PRISTINE Until you got a phone call from the emergency room in the city. PHINEAS My father had a massive heart attack, he was dead on arrival. Much earlier that evening, I was wrapped up in jealousy, shame, and blame. Later that night, I didn’t know what to think. I was completely lost. I’m glad Pristine was there to help me keep it together.
Another thing. What is it?
THE PATIENT PRISTINE
THE PATIENT What’s a Borscht Belt? Sounds like something out of the Russian Jewish Karate Manual. Does it come with a loaf of pumpernickel? PRISTINE That’s what I thought, too, aging martial arts fans with a taste for potato or sour cream in their beet soup, but no, that refers to old time New York Catskill Mountain Range vacations highlighted by the best and the brightest urban comedians trying out their material among the cool summer bungalows with a Yiddish reference thrown in every so often just to remind everybody where they were. PHINEAS My father kept them laughing. I still listen to the old tapes. I think I stole a few of his jokes. THE PATIENT And you Pristine? You have some liquid nourishment in your background as well? PRISTINE If you mean cow’s milk, then, yes. dairy farmer. I’m the daughter of a
PHINEAS What’s the connection between wide open spaces and the wages of sin? THE PATIENT You really cut to the chase, Phineas, don’t you? Well, I want to know. PHINEAS
PRISTINE I think that the elements, the weather, the earth, the rain and wind, hot, cold, and in between, that these things become personalities in our lives. The grass and cows are our sons and daughters. These things play out in morality plays and demand a way of life that’s more rigid than what you’re used to in the city. If we don’t harden up when we need to, we might miss out on the joys of spring when it comes, having lost our way the season before.
PHINEAS I think maybe your Bible’s been cross referenced with Poor Richard’s Almanac and that’s okay by me, they seem to work together. PRISTINE I’m glad your a little meshugge, Phineas. PHINEAS And I’m glad you’re a little Baptist, Pristine.
ACT I, SCENE 2 In a rural hospital. Center stage is the ICU, with “The Patient” in a bed. THE PATIENT Now how do I make this call bell work? No, not that button. Maybe this one here. No that didn’t do anything. Well perhaps I will try this big red sucker right here. Lights go down, sirens sound, colored lights flash and swirl. Lights come back up on center stage. Lights go up on stage right “oncall” room. Someone called a code. A code? What? INTERN 2ND YEAR RESIDENT 3RD YEAR RESIDENT
No, that’s not it, either.
CHIEF RESIDENT That must be the patient in ICU bed nine. I knew he wasn’t going to let me get any sleep. Let’s go, let’s go! (They all rush to center stage, surrounding “The Patient”.) 2ND YEAR RESIDENT THE PATIENT IS DOWN HE’S IN DISTRESS THE DOCS HAVE BEEN CALLED THEY MUST ASSESS INTERN DOES HE HAVE A PULSE IS HE LIKELY TO BREATHE
THE PATIENT IS REAL HE’S NOT MAKE BELIEVE THE PATIENT Yeah, actually, sorry about the confusion but all I... CHIEF RESIDENT WE’VE TRAINED FOR THIS TIME OF EMERGENCY CALLS SO WE CAN REVIVE WITH SHOCK AND ALL 3RD YEAR RESIDENT IT’S 2AM IN THE ICU FINISH THIS THING I NEED TO SNOOZE THE PATIENT I was wondering if maybe I could get an extra blanket. CHIEF RESIDENT Just relax sir, we’ll take care of everything. (Gets ready to shock patient with paddles.) NURSE MANAGER Just what do you think you’re doing? CHIEF RESIDENT I’m saving this patient’s life, is what I’m doing. Like hell you are. NURSE MANAGER
3RD YEAR RESIDENT Back off, nursie, this is doctor’s work. NURSE MANAGER Exactly who are you calling nursie? 2ND YEAR RESIDENT Anybody who’s standing in the way of progress.
NURSE MANAGER Well progress yourself right back to the ABCs. What? I know this one. INTERN PRISTINE
3RD YEAR RESIDENT Airway, breathing, circulation, we all know it. NURSE MANAGER They didn’t put this on the exam, sorry. So what’s the big secret? CHIEF RESIDENT
NURSE MANAGER A-Always, B-Be, C-compassionate, always be compassionate, A-BC. At 2AM? 2ND YEAR RESIDENT I don’t think so. PRISTINE
2AM is the perfect time.
INTERN I can’t keep my eyes open anymore. NURSE MANAGER Have you spoken to your attending? I’ll call him. My sweetheart? My boss. 2ND YEAR RESIDENT PRISTINE 2ND YEAR RESIDENT (Dialing phone number.) Is he there? PRISTINE CHIEF RESIDENT (Grabs phone.) PRISTINE
It’s ringing. Did he pick up?
PRISTINE What the hell is wrong with him? Give me that phone. Oh, hello darling. Did I wake you? Oh no, sweetie, nothing’s wrong. It’s just that your Chief Resident decided to butt heads with my Nurse Manager and as usual I’m in the middle, not to mention the patient-- (to “The Patient”) Oh are you alright, honey?-- Yeah, the patient’s fine, he just needs to relax and everything will be alright. Hang normal saline at one hundred cc’s an hour? Okay. Now you go back to sleep. Pleasant dreams! Lucky jerk. (Hangs up.) INTERN
What just happened?
PRISTINE I just saved your sorry ass. What? Thanks, Pristine. 3RD YEAR RESIDENT
PRISTINE You are welcome. Now run along, doctors and leave the ICU to the experts. You heard me, shoo! (Doctors all exit.) NURSE MANAGER I thought they would never leave. What a nuisance those doctors are. (Pauses.) So, Pristine, when are you and Dr. Gage going to have a baby? PRISTINE We’ve been trying, Lord knows. (Looks up.) NURSE MANAGER Well, after you’ve been trying for awhile, it’s time to get medical help. PRISTINE We don’t need any help, we just need more time.
NURSE MANAGER I’m serious, your ovaries are getting dusty and his swimmers are getting rickety, and you two need to see a fertility specialist before it’s too late. Hey. Did you say something? THE PATIENT PRISTINE
THE PATIENT Over here, I said something, remember me?
NURSE MANAGER Who could forget when you keep reminding us? PRISTINE What do you want? Do you need something? What’s wrong? Are you short of breath? Are you having chest pain? Does your belly ache? Are you constipated? Well... THE PATIENT
NURSE MANAGER Does it hurt here or here or here? What about when I do this? No, um... THE PATIENT PRISTINE THE PATIENT HAS NEEDS HE’S IN DISTRESS THE NURSE HAS BEEN CALLED SHE MUST ASSESS NURSE MANAGER DO YOU HAVE A COUGH THAT WON’T SUBSIDE DO YOU HAVE AN ACHE WHERE YOUR THROAT RESIDES Resides? THE PATIENT
PRISTINE DOES YOUR CHEST FEEL HEAVY ARE YOUR LUNGS REAL WHEEZY DOES YOUR STOMACH FEEL LIKE IT’S ABOUT TO EXPLODE NURSE MANAGER IS YOUR APPETITE POOR WITH YOUR BOWELS DISMAYED DOES IT FEEL LIKE YOUR NUMBER IS UP? THE PATIENT Actually, all I really need is a glass of ice water. PRISTINE Maybe what you need is an x-ray. An x-ray? Really? THE PATIENT
PRISTINE Yes, I’ll call your doctor. LUELLA (Rushes onstage.) Maybe he needs to be intubated. You’re overreacting. track mind. PRISTINE You respiratory therapists have a one
LUELLA I never overreact and I don’t have a one track mind. If you don’t believe me, why not ask your specialists? Doctors? (In come 9 assorted doctors, all ogling Luella, who is voluptuous and flirtatious) Yes, Luella. DOCTORS
LUELLA Don’t you think this patient needs to be intubated?
DOCTORS (Collective sigh.)
Well, then, you see? What’s “intubated” mean?
LUELLA THE PATIENT
DOCTORS Never you mind, sir, we will take care of everything. THE PATIENT I’ve heard that one before. (They swarm around the patient.) PHINEAS (Walking onstage.) Hey, hey, what’s happening here? PSYCHIATRIST 1 We had to emergently intubate your patient. PHINEAS Since when does the head shrinker intubate my patients? PODIATRIST 1 She didn’t do it, I did it. PHINEAS Okay, since when does the foot doctor intubate my patients? SURGEON 1 The pulmonologist is on vacation. PSYCHIATRIST 2 The anesthesiologist is in rehab. PODIATRIST 2 The emergency doc was in the bathroom. SURGEON 2 And Luella really really needed a helping hand. Didn’t you, Luella? PSYCHIATRIST 3
PODIATRIST 3 We’re always here to help.
SURGEON 3 Especially when Luella calls. LUELLA Yes, well, yes...it was medically indicated. Oh really? PRISTINE
PHINEAS It’s too late now, anyway. Let’s see if we can extubate him in the morning. Good thinking. PSYCHIATRIST 1
PSYCHIATRIST 2 I hope he can remember his dreams. PSYCHIATRIST 3 We were working on some childhood issues before he brushed his teeth. PODIATRIST 1 Yes, make sure you get a great arch support in that shoe. PODIATRIST 2 That will put your system back into equilibrium. PODIATRIST 3 I agree one hundred percent. SURGEON 1 Are these bozos finished yet? SURGEON 2 I don’t have time for this. Call me in the O.R. SURGEON 3
PRISTINE Phineas, do you ever wish that your father and I could have met? PHINEAS Oh yes, all the time, I mean he died the night of the Friar’s Roast, the same night I met you... PRISTINE I know that part, but do you think he would have liked me? PHINEAS He would have fallen madly in love with you just like I did.
That sounds nice.
ACT I, SCENE 3 At the fertility clinic. PRISTINE You didn’t stroke your little soldier down there the last three days, did you? What? PHINEAS What kind of question is that?
PRISTINE A perfectly reasonable one. I told you last week, you need to produce a semen sample today. It needs to be fresh. A semen sample? Of course I did. What? PHINEAS No, you didn’t tell me that.
PRISTINE You just don’t remember, that’s all.
PHINEAS Aren’t you going to offer me a nice dinner and a movie first? Don’t be ridiculous. I need encouragement. PRISTINE PHINEAS
PRISTINE Okay, you’re a very nice person. PHINEAS Not that kind of encouragement. Well, then, what? Oh, nevermind. PRISTINE PHINEAS
PRISTINE No, really, I want to know what kind of encouragement you need. PHINEAS A compliment, a kind word. PRISTINE Like I said, you’re very nice. Hm. PHINEAS I had in mind something a little racier.
PHINEAS Something with a little slicker sauce. PRISTINE You want me to grind this erotic fiction out of thin air? PHINEAS Who said anything about writing? You know what I mean. PRISTINE
PHINEAS Something with a little lipstick and a stiletto heel. PRISTINE I don’t know anything about that. DR. MATAZOA (Walks onstage.) Welcome, Pristine and Phineas to my humble office. I see you both got your hormone levels checked already, good, good. Thank you, Dr. Matazoa. PRISTINE
PHINEAS I’m sorry, your first name is... DR. MATAZOA Hesper, my friend, yes, Hesper Matazoa. That’s what I thought. PHINEAS I just wanted to hear you say it.
DR. MATAZOA Yes, well it is a peculiar coincidence what with me being a fertility specialist and my name being-- well, you know, why belabor the point? Anyway, yes, well we will need a semen sample from you, Phineas, so why don’t you be a good boy and go into that room over there and produce a specimen. The lab tech will analyze it and put the report in the computer. Now? PHINEAS I mean, I wasn’t prepared, I mean I didn’t know.
DR. MATAZOA What’s to know? There’s plenty of inspirational material in there, just get to work.
(Phineas walks off stage. pause ensues.) Honey? Yes dear? PRISTINE PHINEAS
PRISTINE How’s, uh, everything going in there? Just fine, sweetie. Do you need any help? PHINEAS PRISTINE
PHINEAS Um, well, I guess I can manage. PRISTINE Because I have a hair appointment at three, so don’t take too long in there. I promise I won’t. PHINEAS
PRISTINE You’re not fantasizing about that respiratory therapist, are you? No, I’m not. PHINEAS
PRISTINE You can think about any woman you want, just not that Luella Mellow. Alright, dear. PHINEAS
DR. MATAZOA You and Phineas seem to have very different backgrounds. What makes you say that? PRISTINE
DR. MATAZOA I know it can be difficult to fully welcome an outsider. PRISTINE Phineas isn’t an outsider, he’s just a little awkward sometimes. He has a hard time fitting in.
Maybe so, maybe so. Where did you grow up? Around here. Almost done, Phineas? Yes, I’m done.
DR. MATAZOA PRISTINE DR. MATAZOA PRISTINE PHINEAS
(Enters the stage.) PRISTINE So what did the results show? Ah, yes, the sperm count. yes. Definitely. Well? Well, what? What did the tests show? DR. MATAZOA Yes indeed. PHINEAS DR. MATAZOA PRISTINE The sperm count. Oh
DR. MATAZOA Let me see if I can make this perfectly clear... (Sings.) THE SPERM COUNT IS LOW AND IT’S FRIGHTFULLY SO IT’S NO WONDER YOU’VE HAD TROUBLE CREATING A NEW BUNDLE THE TESTOSTERONE IS NIL IT GIVES ME A CHILL DON’T KNOW HOW YOU MANAGE WITH THIS MAJOR DAMAGE
Are you sure about this? Oh, yes. (Sings.)
PHINEAS DR. MATAZOA
THE SPERM COUNT IS ZIP AND I’VE GOT A TIP IF YOU WANT TO CONCEIVE I’LL GIVE YOU A REPRIEVE THE TESTOSTERONE IS ZERO YOU CANNOT BE THE HERO UNLESS YOU LISTEN UP AND TAKE A SPECIAL DRUG PHINEAS Isn’t he being a little heavy handed with all this? PRISTINE So, he needs to take hormone pills? DR. MATAZOA Ah, yes, fortunately this is a research institution and we do have experimental drug regimens that can be tried in cases such as yours, otherwise there would be no hope of passing your valuable DNA heritage to your lucky progeny. PHINEAS I need to take a running jump at this problem. DR. MATAZOA That’s what the hormones are for. PRISTINE We’re on our way to parenthood. PHINEAS Not to be crass, but, what about Pristine’s ovaries? What about them? DR. MATAZOA
PHINEAS Aren’t they-- a little rusty?
No, perfectly healthy. How do you know?
DR. MATAZOA PHINEAS
DR. MATAZOA We examined Pristine last week. PRISTINE I didn’t want to bother you, Phineas. DR. MATAZOA Yes, Pristine is quite perfect in every way. (Sighs.) Tell me about it... PHINEAS
PRISTINE Alright, well, what do you think, Phineas? I mean, we could try adoption if you didn’t want to risk the experimental drug regimen. DR. MATAZOA So, Phineas, I hear your father wasn’t very happy about you becoming a doctor. Who gave you that idea? PHINEAS
DR. MATAZOA Lovely Pristine did, of course. PHINEAS I don’t like to talk about it. PRISTINE Don’t shut down, darling, he’s just making conversation. DR. MATAZOA I hope I’m not offending you. PRISTINE He’s not offended, he’s just angry. DR. MATAZOA With his father, I gather? You know that kind of stress can make your little swimmers very unhappy. PHINEAS Yeah, well, that’s just too bad. He had a massive heart attack and died.
PRISTINE Oh, it’s never too late to work on your frustrations. Tell the doctor what your father had in mind for your professional life, so he’ll understand. PHINEAS He wanted me to be in show business. people laugh. Was he an entertainer? DR. MATAZOA He wanted me to make
PHINEAS He was a writer and a comedian. DR. MATAZOA Why do you think he was so interested in having you follow his path? PHINEAS He witnessed a lot of suffering, growing up. I think he wanted me to help make the world a lighter place. PRISTINE I wish I could have known him. DR. MATAZOA He didn’t want you to be a doctor? PHINEAS I think deep inside, he was comfortable with whatever path I chose. He just didn’t know how to show me the ropes to any profession other than the one he knew. What about your mother? Funny you should ask. PRISTINE
PHINEAS Don’t you think you’re a lot like her?
PRISTINE Yeah, sometimes your mother and I get along a little too well. DR. MATAZOA Alright, so where does that bring us to? PRISTINE That brings us to the suspiciously fateful decision point about taking an experimental fertility drug in order to mix the lineage of a man with a lost father with the hearty stock of his lovely bride, me, so we can make a happy baby.
ACT II, SCENE 1 In the office of a Broadway producer. SLIPP So, Luella, how’s the hospital business treating you. Better than you ever did. LUELLA
SLIPP That’s a laugh riot, right there, Luella, you’re a funny one. LUELLA Knock it off, Slipp, now why did you get me to come all the way out here, just to catch up on old times? SLIPP Oh, no Luella, you know me better than that. you. Big ideas. LUELLA What makes you think I’m interested? SLIPP Because you’ve got the show biz bug, and a taste for bright lights, glitz and glamour. So what if I do? LUELLA I got ideas for
SLIPP I can make you a star again. Was I a star before? Sure you were. LUELLA SLIPP LUELLA WHAT’S IT LIKE BEING A STAR FLASHES FOR PHOTOS SHARED INSTANTLY
PANIC AND FUMES GO UP IN THE AIR WAITING FOR SOMETHING COULD IT BE ME? SLIPP CASH IN ON THIS WEEK’S TRENDY DISPLAY ADMIRE THE FLOWERS BEFORE THEY DECAY FLAVORS INVENTED TO BE CONSUMED FRAGRANCES RENTED LIFE IS RESUMED You forgot one thing. What’s that? LUELLA SLIPP
LUELLA Nobody in this town wants to work with you after you swindled, cheated, and embezzled from every possible investor. SLIPP You got me all figured out, huh? Not much to figure on. LUELLA
SLIPP (Sings.) BABY IT’S TRUE YOU ARE ONE HOT NUMBER YOU GOT THE TALENT TO STEAL THE THUNDER
LUELLA HONEY YOU KNOW FLATTERY GETS YOU NOWHERE EVERY GIRL YOU FLEECE MEETS YOU WITH A DULL STARE SLIPP BUT SUGAR PLEASE HEAR ME OUT ON THIS ONE I GOT US A PLAN YOU’LL THANK ME WHEN IT’S DONE LUELLA TELL ME THE STORY BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE I’M KINDA TIRED READY TO CUT BAIT SLIPP Alright, alright, enough fun already. LUELLA My understanding is that you have a large gambling debt. SLIPP If you want to call it that--my 401K tanked with the market crash. LUELLA Well you’re desperate for money, all the same. I enjoy money, it’s true. SLIPP
LUELLA Ever since you got burned by your last harebrained idea for a musical comedy. That was a great idea. SLIPP
Don’t start up again.
SLIPP I defy you to find another bestselling author who looms in the nightmarish imagination of audiences out there, just waiting to be tapped into. You’re crazy. LUELLA
SLIPP I’m not crazy, I’ve done market research. LUELLA And exactly what did this research tell you? SLIPP That best-selling fiction can be turned into Broadway success. LUELLA And he’s from Maine, you know I don’t like people from Maine. SLIPP Luella, please, support me on this and we’ll make millions. LUELLA And what exactly is the title of your future hit song you think will blast off the billboard charts? “CUJO” Right. A dog’s name. SLIPP LUELLA That’s a one hit blunder.
SLIPP I’ll have you know it’s a solid starter for an anthology of horror fiction just waiting to be set to music. LUELLA What happened to Broadway musicals with a heart and a soul, based on stories that average people can actually relate to? Average people relate to? SLIPP
LUELLA Yeah, I’m not joking, they relate to songs of the past, sounds of home, really interesting stuff. Cujo is from the past. SLIPP
LUELLA Yeah, Cujo is from the past, but he’s not the outline of a musical in the making. There’s no meat on that dog’s bones. So what is your big idea? SLIPP
LUELLA Well, it’s not really my idea, but when times are tough like now, maybe we have to try new ideas. Like what? SLIPP
LUELLA Educational style musicals. Educational musicals? SLIPP Sounds like a drag.
LUELLA We start easy, with basic biology and medical science. Great. Plain Speakin Bones. What? SLIPP LUELLA SLIPP
LUELLA That’s the title he wants to use. This doctor character? Better than Cujo. That was low. Sorry. SLIPP Now he’s a writer? LUELLA SLIPP LUELLA Whatever.
SLIPP Can’t wait to hear about your chicken bones. Plain Speakin Bones. LUELLA
ACT II, SCENE 2 At the Hospital Christmas Party, curiously, in the ICU, with “The Patient” center stage in bed, accompanied by items such as a bar, mirrored disco ball, and flashing colored lights. PRISTINE Phineas, I’m leaving. I don’t care how you get home. You’ve been acting like a complete jerk for weeks, now you’re totally plastered, what am I supposed to do? PHINEAS No, no, Pristine, it’s okay, I feel great, I feel on top of the world! Let’s make babies together! Yeah, right. PRISTINE (Storms off.) PHINEAS That’s okay, that’s okay, let her work off some of that steam. She’ll come around. Are you guys ready to party or what? LUELLA I’m ready to party, Dr. Gage. PHINEAS Luella? Is that you? I hardly recognize you without your scrubs on. Say, aren’t you still dating that no good Broadway producer? LUELLA Mr. Slipp N. Slider is the gentleman’s name, and no I am not dating that heap of dung. What of it? PHINEAS Oh nothing, just that I’ve been feeling a little randy lately, ever since I started taking that experimental fertility drug from Dr. Matazoa, in fact. And...? LUELLA
PHINEAS And, well, nobody’s around, so let’s say you and I fool around a little bit, shall we? LUELLA I thought you’d never get around to asking.
(They both climb in bed with “The Patient”, kicking him out of bed, he scampers off stage.) PHINEAS (Pulling champagne bottle and 2 glasses from underneath pillow.) So, Miss Mellow, what do you like to do for fun, I mean, besides getting all your patients intubated. Hardy har, Dr. Gage. LUELLA
PHINEAS (Pouring champagne.) Please, do call me Phineas. LUELLA Phineas? Well, it’s such a goofy name isn’t it? I think I’ll just keep calling you Dr. Gage, I much prefer it. (They kiss.) PHINEAS Well, I suppose you can call me anything you like. Phineas? Yes, my love? LUELLA PHINEAS
LUELLA Didn’t you ever want more out of your life than just being a doctor? PHINEAS All I’ve ever wanted was to be a doctor, and now I am one, end of story, why do you ask? LUELLA Because I’ve always had dreams of being a big Broadway star, my name up in lights, greeted by applause every night. PHINEAS Yes, I know, we all know, you tell us all the time. LUELLA Well, I’m serious, Dr. Gage, and I think you should help me. (She climbs on top of him.)
Me, why me?
LUELLA A little birdie told me you were in charge of the hospital building fund. (She unzips his pants, audibly.) PHINEAS Just what are you getting at? LUELLA If Pristine isn’t making you happy, and I am making you happy, then why shouldn’t you make me happy too? (She pulls his shoes off.) PHINEAS I’m beginning to see your point. LUELLA Yes, I thought you might, you frisky dog, you. (She pulls off his pants, revealing baggy boxers.) PHINEAS But I still don’t understand, how is it I’m supposed to make you happy? By stealing money from the building fund? For you? LUELLA (Straddling him.) Now Dr. Gage, I’m not that crass. It’s for a good cause. I need seed money for a Broadway musical starring, well, me, of course. I also need your name, your clean name, as the Producer of the show, so as not to scare off any potential investors later on. My clean name, eh? Slider” guy? PHINEAS Just who’s behind all this? That “Slippy
LUELLA That’s Slipp N. Slider, Mr. Slider to you, Dr. Gage. PHINEAS And I thought you said he was a worthless pile of dung. LUELLA A pile of dung, yes, but not entirely worthless. Each man has his own purpose, I suppose. Anyway yours is to bankroll me into stardom.
Just hold on a minute. What’s that?
PHINEAS I’ll only do it on one condition. LUELLA
PHINEAS You let me write the libretto. LUELLA What do you know about writing a musical comedy? PHINEAS Oh come on, how hard could it be? HOW HARD COULD IT BE TO WRITE A MUSICAL FORCING A FEW RHYMES CAN’T BE DIFFICULT I’VE SEEN IT BEFORE AND HEARD ALL THE SONGS I THINK I CAN DO IT COULD I BE WRONG? LUELLA YOU DON’T KNOW THE FIRST THING ABOUT MUSICAL CREATION IT’S NOT JUST A PROCESS OF MENTAL CONSTERNATION CHARACTERS NEED DEPTH PLOTS MUST HAVE INTEREST CONFLICT IS KEY OR YOU WILL NOT IMPRESS And one more condition. PHINEAS
LUELLA Oh boy, Slipp isn’t going to like this.
What is it?
PHINEAS I’ll be your co-star. It will be you and me, Phineas Gage and Luella Mellow with our names side by side on the marquis. Oh, brother. LUELLA That will never work.
PHINEAS Or else you and Mr. Slider can forget me being your cash cow and your shill, and that’s my final offer. I may be drunk and horny, but I’m not stupid. Okay, you win. LUELLA I just know I’m going to regret this.
ACT II, SCENE 3 Stage right is a backstage dressing room, center stage is a curtain draped small proscenium arch, stage left is an audience. PHINEAS PLAIN SPEAKIN BONES ARE HERE EVERY DAY RIGHT INSIDE YOU BODY TO SHOW YOU THE WAY PLAIN SPEAKIN BONES YOUR OWN ANATOMY IS WILLING TO TEACH YOU HOW TO BE FREE PLAIN SPEAKIN BONES DESCRIBE HEALTH AND DISEASE WHETHER YOU’RE FEELING LOUSY OR PLEASED IF YOU EVER HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT YOUR ARTERIES OR VEINS IF YOU EVER WONDER WHY YOU FEEL INSANE WE’RE HERE TO ANSWER YOU CAN BELIEVE WE’RE HERE TO INFORM NOT TO DECEIVE THAT’S WHY TONIGHT IS PLAIN SPEAKIN BONES
(Phineas bows. One person claps slowly in the audience. Curtain drops on the small proscenium. Crickets are heard. Phineas goes backstage.) I thought I told you to do something about those crickets, Slider. They’re a health menace. SLIPP Calm down, Dr. Gage, we still have half a show left to perform tonight. Keep focused. Maybe if your performance is up to par, we won’t have to worry about the lousy lyrics. PHINEAS Lousy lyrics? Why I’ll have you know I slaved over that script for six months so that you and your floozy can cash in on my brilliance, good name, and fortune. LUELLA Just who are you calling a floozy, horndog? And it’s not even your fortune, anyway, you stole it, every last dime. SLIPP Alright, alright, let’s keep it together folks. Luella, you’re on in five minutes. Make some money for papa. LUELLA You men make me sick. Let’s go, co-star. Why did I let you two talk me into this? (Luella and Phineas go onstage. When the curtain opens on the small proscenium, there is a mockup of the ICU setting including the actor playing “The Patient”, in bed.) SOME PEOPLE GOT BAD GENES OTHERS THEY SMOKE SOME PEOPLE EAT BAD FOOD OTHERS JUST CROAK PHINEAS THE HEART IS A MUSCLE INSIDE OF YOUR CHEST IT LASTS YOU A LIFETIME AND THEN NEEDS A REST
LUELLA YOU CAN TAKE AN ASPIRIN OR A VITAMIN PILL YOU MIGHT EXERCISE AND PROBABLY WILL PHINEAS THEN YOU MAY WONDER AWAKE LATE AT NIGHT FEELING YOU HEART POUND WITH YOUR CHEST VERY TIGHT LUELLA IT’S THE LATEST GREATEST HEART ATTACK EVER IF YOU’RE ATTACHED TO YOUR PULSE OR JUST ENJOY BUTTER PHINEAS IT’S THE LATEST GREATEST HEART ATTACK EVER WE CAN BUST UP YOUR CLOTS AND MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER LUELLA CAUSE IT’S THE LATEST GREATEST HEART ATTACK EVER WE DELAY THE END FOR AWHILE AND FEEL REALLY CLEVER
ACT III, SCENE 1 A malpractice attorney’s office. THE PATIENT Don’t try and talk me out of it. MR. CHASER Who’s trying to talk you out of it? Mr. Doe, I’m just trying to refine the allegations in your malpractice suit. THE PATIENT I don’t want my allegations refined. I want all my complaints heard by a jury of my peers. MR. CHASER First of all, John, you don’t mind if I call you John? We don’t necessarily want this to go before a jury, second of all, not all of your complaints have merit. Don’t have merit? THE PATIENT Like which ones don’t have merit?
MR. CHASER Well, like here, for instance, on page one thousand twenty three. THE PATIENT Page one thousand twenty three, yes. Subsection K. Subsection K, yes. Paragraph 74. MR. CHASER THE PATIENT MR. CHASER
THE PATIENT Paragraph 74, yes, I’ve got it, do go on-MR. CHASER Wait a second, that’s not it. THE PATIENT Okay, just take your time. MR. CHASER Here it is. Wait, no. “See appendix GG, paragraph 26” Oh, forget this--let me just tell you what I can remember off the top of my head.
MR. CHASER Yes, so, the part about you getting inappropriately intubated, that’s grounds for a lawsuit right there, thereby preventing you from singing in musical comedies--did they hurt your voice? I got a sore throat. THE PATIENT
MR. CHASER The voice part is clear, we can address that reasonably. I’m just not so sure about where you allege they withheld a glass of water, neglected to provide you an extra blanket, and where you said, um, they, um, sang... THE PATIENT They wantonly and with malice aforethought sang musical comedy numbers in an inappropriate fashion. MR. CHASER Yes, that’s the part I’m really questioning. Questioning why? THE PATIENT It was really awful music.
MR. CHASER Let me put it to you this way. (Sings.) YOU’VE BEEN WRONGED AND YOU WANT TO BE RIGHTED YOU’VE BEEN DESTROYED AND YOU WANT TO BE BUILT UP INSTEAD THE PATIENT YES IT’S TRUE I HAVE BEEN SLIGHTED AND WHAT’S MORE REVENGE IS IGNITED MR. CHASER
ACT III, SCENE 2 A “Showbiz Anonymous” meeting. CHIEF RESIDENT What’s said in here, stays in here. Here, here. 3RD YEAR RESIDENT
2ND YEAR RESIDENT Welcome to the Cowtown, New Jersey, Chapter of Showbiz Anonymous. Ours is a fellowship of like minded individuals who realized that we could no longer control the desire to be in show business and therefore we came here to relieve ourselves of unnecessary fetters. INTERN Our group has long held that the principles of Showbiz Anonymous, as expounded upon in the Showbiz Book of Showbiz Anonymous shall be respected in every way to support the newcomer, who is always a part of our mission. CHIEF RESIDENT Part of our spiritual journey is to see beyond the ordinary boundaries of musical comedies. 3RD YEAR RESIDENT We admitted to ourselves we were powerless over Showbiz, that our lives had become unmanageable. 2ND YEAR RESIDENT We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
ACT III, SCENE 3 The ICU.
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