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?

Ezra: Mine.

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!

Buck: Ouch!

Chris: I meant we should wait until they rescue us.

[Defeated] Buck: It could be a while.

Nathan: Hours.

Josiah: Days.

[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.

Buck: Really?

[Sanchez nods]

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?

Josiah: Arachibutyrophobia

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?