Ivy '05: Say That Again – An Exercise in Total Absurdity, in One Act
[Scene: An elevator. Westin Crown Royale Hotel. Downtown Denver. 7:45 PM. Thursday. Cast is seated in a semi-circle along back and side walls.]
Chris: Tanner, calm down and quit elbowing me in the kidney.
Buck: Whose feet are those?
JD: Try it again, Buck.
Ezra: Don't egg him on, please.
JD: I meant the phone.
Josiah: The phone's dead, kid. Trying it again won't help.
JD: You never know.
Ezra: Oh, I beg your pardon, Mr. Jackson. I was attempting to use your knee for leverage.
Nathan: That wasn't my knee.
Ezra: THAT wasn't your knee?
Josiah: Show of hands who'd like to know what it WAS.
Ezra: And why it felt like a KNEE.
Buck: Christ, anyone have a flashlight?
JD: What, you scared of the dark?
Buck: NO. [Hesitates] I don't like the dark. Vin's the one scared of the dark.
[Voice squeaking] Vin: Am not! I'm scared of elevators!
[Sing-song voice drowning out Tanner's] JD: Buck's afraid of the da-ark!
Buck: You'll be scared of me when I – Chris: Knock it off! The both of you. Now who has flashlights?
[Sounds of shuffling. A muffled curse. Two bright beams suddenly slice through the pitch dark.]
Chris: Here, Vin, you hang onto this one. I'm sure we'll be out of here in no time.
[Tanner clutches the mini Maglite with frantic possessiveness.]
Vin: Thanks, Chris.
[Tanner gulps, glances around the elevator car, wide eyed, shoulders heaving. Jackson pats him reassuringly on the back.]
Nathan: They have to know we're in here.
Vin: Do they? DO THEY???
Chris: Calm down, Vin. [Larabee rotates to face Tanner, grips his shoulders] It's just us in here, and you're safe with us.
[Panting heavily] Vin: But there's no air in here! There's no AIR!
Ezra: There would be more air if you quit shouting. And what is that gawd-awful smell? It smells like –
Josiah: Your own upper lip.
Ezra: Oh, your wit! I am slain!
[Still holding onto Tanner] Chris: Can it, Ez.
[Aiming the flashlight beneath his chin] JD: Hey, we could tell ghost stories to pass the time.
[In a deep, booming voice] Josiah: There once was a man from Nantucket –
Ezra: That's a limerick, Mr. Sanchez.
Buck: It could be a scary one, I wanna hear it.
Chris: You would.
[Starts to remove his sneakers] JD: Anything he says in that voice is scary.
Ezra: No, JD, you may NOT take off your shoes. We'll asphyxiate.
Josiah: – who tried to capture a ghost in a bucket –
JD: Shut up, Ezra.
Chris: Shut UP, Josiah.
Vin: Please, can everyone shut up!
[Silence but for Tanner's ragged breaths]
[Stage whisper] Buck: Hey, kid, you ever had sex in an elevator?
JD: That's it! I'm outta here. You think we can pry open the doors?
Chris: That only works in movies, JD.
JD: Sex in elevators?
Chris: No! Prying open the doors.
JD: You got a better idea?
Buck: Better than sex?
Josiah: I vote everybody panics and shouts a lot.
[Undaunted] JD: How 'bout the ceiling? There has to be a way to get in, right?
Josiah: It knows the way in. But it doesn't know the way out, my precious.
Buck: You know that creeps me the fuck out when you do your Gollum impersonation.
JD: I've got my Leatherman. Anybody have another?
Nathan: I've got a Swiss Army.
[Shining his flashlight at the ceiling, hopefully, rapidly nodding] Vin: I'm willing to try.
[Shrugging] Chris: Worth a shot.
Ezra: I will not take part in this. When they fine you for destruction of private property, I'll remind you I said so.
JD: And when we escape, we'll leave you behind.
Ezra: And I hope you slip and fall down the shaft.
[Huffing out a sigh] Chris: Ezra's right.
[Outraged, arm aiming for Chris] JD: HEY!
Chris: I meant we should wait until they rescue us.
[Defeated] Buck: It could be a while.
[Tanner whimpers, clings to Larabee. Nathan chews on a hangnail. Standish looks smug. Wilmington and Dunne look irritated. Sanchez yawns. Larabee pats Vin's hand, fishes for a cigarette.]
Nathan: Oh no you don't. We all have to share the same air in here.
Buck: Which reminds me, Ezra, what brand of cologne is that? You smell good.
Chris: If we're not gonna be rescued for hours, then I need a cigarette.
Ezra: Why thank you. It's `Escape,' by Calvin Klein.
JD: Isn't that ironic?
Josiah: Don't you think?
Nathan: I'm allergic to burning tar, Chris.
Buck: Is that the one with the half-naked anorexics whispering very seriously into each other's sternums?
JD: It's like rain on your wedding day.
Ezra: No, that's "Obsession." This is the one with the hermaphroditic waifs cavorting on the beach.
Buck: God, I hate that song.
Ezra: There's a song about that?
[No small hint of threat in his voice] Chris: But if it helps keep me calm, isn't that what's most important here?
Buck: The song?
Chris: The cigarettes!
JD: I'm allergic to oregano.
Buck: You are not.
Josiah: Speaking of oregano, I have some Mary Jane and a pipe. We'd all be really calm and not give a hoot when they rescued us.
Chris: I'm pretending I didn't hear that.
[Rubbing his stomach, which begins growling] Buck: Damn, already giving me the munchies.
Ezra: I agree. I am a mite peckish.
[Victorious chirping] JD: I have sandwiches!
[Several voices in unison] What kind?
JD: PB and J.
[Startled gasp from Standish]
[Begins taking sandwiches out of his pockets] JD: What, Ezra, not good enough for you? Sorry I didn't happen to have any crumpets or scones.
Nathan: You always carry around peanut butter sandwiches?
[Defensively] JD: No.
Buck: Casey made them for him.
Josiah: Awww, ain't that sweet.
Vin: Jelly is sweet.
[Leaping to his feet and backing into a corner] Ezra: Gawd! Get them away from me!
Chris: What the hell is your problem, Standish?
[Stammering, on the edge of hysteria] Ezra: I … I … I'm allergic to peanuts!
Nathan: No, you're not.
Ezra: One bite and I'll swell up like a balloon!
Josiah: I've seen you cook with peanut oil.
JD: Yeah, and I've seen you eat Thai food with peanut sauce.
Buck: We've all seen you do that, Ez.
Vin: I've seen people do that with bees.
Buck: Eat them?
[Nearly climbing the walls] Ezra: I just, I can't … We're getting out of here! [Bracing one foot on the metal rail on the wall] Somebody help, I can't get up on my own!
Josiah: God, what I would give to've got that on tape.
Chris: Ezra, have you lost your mind?
Ezra: Yes! Give me some room for leverage.
Chris: Damnit, quit rubbing your ass in my face.
Buck: Nathan, tell me you're writing this down.
[Taunting] JD: You eat half a sandwich, and I'll give you my Leatherman.
Ezra: No! You'd have to kill me first!
Josiah: Can we draw straws?
Chris: Sanchez, shut up.
[Calmer now that he's not the only one freaking out] Vin: Ezra, what's wrong?
Ezra: I'm afraid!
[Several voices at once] Of what?
[Shaking his head vehemently] Ezra: No. Nuh-huh. Not on yourlives. You will not make me come clean no matter how much you coaxme.
[Finally collapsing in giggles] Buck: Is no one else listening tothis?
[Seriously] Nathan: I'm afraid of snakes.
JD: You are?
Nathan: Yep. Comes from a childhood thing. Almost before I can remember.
[Pauses, glances about him] JD: I'm afraid of spiders in my hair.
Vin: Just in your hair?
[Dunne nods] JD: I seriously twitch out.
Buck: I've seen it. He panics and squeals like a little girl.
Chris: Be nice to the child, Buck, I happen to know what you're afraid of.
[Buck shuts his mouth quickly, the grin falling off his face]
[Gleefully rubbing his hands together] JD: Oh, now you gotta tell. [Larabee shakes his head] Oh yes you do. That's the rules. You can't just dangle it in front of us and not let us have some.
[Grinning] Josiah: You care to rephrase that?
Buck: Ezra, you tell us and I swear on my mother's honor that I'll help you try to escape.
Vin: Everybody knows I'm afraid of small spaces. What are you afraid of, Chris?
Ezra: Peanut butter!
JD: Chris is afraid of peanut butter?
Chris: No –
Buck: I never knew that, Chris. You'd think I'd have known –
Ezra: Sticking to the roof of my mouth!
Josiah: Crunchy or smooth?
Chris: – I'm not –
Buck: – all these years, I thought you were my best friend –
JD: I'm sorry, Chris. Jeez, I'll put away the sandwiches.
Ezra: OH! OH, you'll put them away for HIM!!
Chris: Who do I have to shoot around here? I'm not afraid of peanut butter!
Buck: But I thought you said –
Nathan: No, Ezra said it.
[All heads turn to Standish]
Vin: Ezra, you're honestly telling us that you're afraid that peanut butter will stick to the roof of your mouth?
[Ezra nods gravely. Wilmington tries and fails to repress laughter. JD begins to snort. Larabee looks lost.]
[Giggling madly] Buck: That's … that's not … oh, I think I herniated something.
Chris: That can't be a real fear.
Nathan: A fear of hernias.
[Pouting] Ezra: See, I knew it. I knew I shouldn't have said anything. None of you makes fun of Vin and his claustrophobia or Nathan and snakes.
JD: But those are valid phobias!
Josiah: So is his.
[Several voices at once] WHAT?
Vin: Come again?
Josiah: Arachibutyrophobia. The fear that peanut butter will stick to the roof of your mouth.
Chris: You gotta be kidding me.
[Appearing very somber] Buck: Well, geez, Ez. I'm sorry. I had no idea you were so … nutty. [Snorts, splutters, holds his stomach with another attack of the giggles]
Ezra: I have never despised you more.
[Getting up and climbing over limbs to stand beside Standish] Vin: I don't think it's stupid, Ez.
[Pitifully hopeful] Ezra: You don't?
[Shaking his head, taking Standish's hand] Vin: Nope. My fear isn't any more logical or rational. That's what a phobia is.
[Lacing his fingers with Tanner's] Ezra: Thank you, Vin. That means a lot.
Vin: My pleasure, Ez.
[Silence reigns. Tanner and Standish stare longingly into each other's eyes, faces moving closer and closer, heads tilting, eyelids drooping]
Chris: Uh, guys? [Clears his throat loudly]
[Tanner and Standish snap out of it, grinning]
Buck: I'll be damned.
Josiah: Probably. J
D: Now there really isn't any air in here.
[Still smiling] Vin: Whaddya say we try to fly this coop, huh?
[Letting go of Vin's hand, smoothing his clothing] Ezra: With pleasure, Mr. Tanner.
JD: So, what ARE you afraid of, Buck?
Buck: When we unscrew the ceiling tile, we find a lever, we can use JD as leverage.
Ezra: Yes, what ARE you afraid of?
[Fervently objecting] JD: I am NOT getting on my hands and knees for you.
[Smugly smiling] Chris: Needles. Buck is afraid of needles.
[Making violent strangling gestures] Buck: We get out of here, your ass is mine, Larabee.
Vin: You wanna say that again, Bucklin?
Chris: He faints dead away. [Whistles] Timm-berrrr.
Josiah: I'd have pegged him for Medomalacuphobia.
[Everyone pauses, waits.]
Josiah: The fear of losing an erection. [Deadpan, laces his fingers together and prepares to hoist someone to the ceiling] Now, who needs help getting up?