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Michael Wright is the Director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Creative Writing at the University of Tulsa. He is the founder and moderator of the Fictional Characters writers collective. His books include Playwriting at Work and Play: Developmental Programs and Their Processes, Playwriting Master Class, Playwriting in Process, and the Monologues for Men by Men series, co-edited with Gary Garrison. His plays, poems, and fiction have appeared in The Elvis Monologues, Scenes and Monologues for Mature Actors, Monologues from the Road, Rio Grande Review, Voces Fronterizas, 5th Story Review, the Moondance Film Festival (’04, ’05), and the National Audio Theatre Festival in 2007.

   
 

I AM THE EGG MAN
A Ten-Minute Play

by Michael Wright


I Am the Egg Man
is a fantasy about Alvin's journey in his mind a few seconds after he's had a near-fatal stroke. It's a dream that becomes a nightmare. But funny.


CAST OF CHARACTERS:

ALVIN: The unwilling, apologetic, but trying-to-be-helpful victim

BACON: A civil servant on his first day on the job; a nice guy

ESTER: The civil servant from hell; there at least one day too many

THE DOCTORS: Blithe medical ghouls

 

Setting: An empty stage; the feeling of infinite limbo.

Time: Ten seconds after Alvin's stroke.

 

(ALVIN, in footed pajamas and a propeller beanie set at an odd angle, stands uncomfortably at center. He shifts from side to side; his arms dangle uselessly. After a moment, lights up on a man dressed as a pig at a tall desk, who types at a noisy keyboard connected to nothing we can see. Next to the keyboard is an enormous manual. BACON occasionally snorts piggishly, especially when alarmed.)

 

BACON
Name, please. (No response) Please, sir—we only have a limited time in which to do this—name?

 

ALVIN
Sorry. Alvin.

 

BACON
Last name?

 

ALVIN
Missing.

 

BACON
Spell that, please.

 

ALVIN
I mean my last name is missing. Don't know where it's...gone.

 

BACON
(Snorts, then consults a manual, woodenly.) Uhhh, Section 39-A, sub-point 7: "That's-no-problem-sir-it-happens-all-the-time." (Beat) Certificate number?

 

ALVIN
One oh one oh one oh one oh one.

 

BACON
Nice number.

 

ALVIN
Thanks. It just happened.

 

BACON
(Consulting manual again.) 16-F: "Sometimes-it-goes-that-way."

 

ALVIN
Hey, let me guess: first day here? Ummmm—

 

BACON
Bacon.

 

ALVIN
Bacon. First day?

 

BACON
Yes. (Consulting manual, finding nothing.) Uhhh, yes.

 

ALVIN
Me too. Well, you're doing some fine job, Bacon. Obviously I can't fill out that old form on my own. (ALVIN twists his body back and forth; his arms fly about helplessly. BACON watches.) Yeah, they both fell asleep. Don't know how I managed that, but heh-heh, guess I'm kind of a scarecrow here, blowin' in the wind... (Uncomfortable with their eye contact, he begins to sing:) The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the—

 

BACON
(Cutting him off.) Okaaay. Number of appendages asleep? (Beat) Tick-tock, sir.

 

ALVIN
Sorry! Two asleep, dead to the world, ha.

 

BACON
Two. Are you, choose one of the following: normally a fetal position, back, side, stomach, pillow-clutcher, or B-type sleeper?

 

ALVIN
Uhhh...sorry—B-type?

(BACON assumes a position which, if lying on his stomach, would have his right hand touching his forehead, with the elbow thrust out, and his right leg out as well, forming, more or less, a B. He does this standing up, however, back to us, and it looks kind of bizarre.)

 

ALVIN (cont.)
Oh. Ummm, well I usually sleep face-to-one-side with both arms sort of flung up like a, well, a Y, I guess.

(BACON makes a Y.)

Wait—my legs are apart, too—an X, that's what it is, an X.

(BACON assumes this position.)

That's it.

 

BACON
That's the Dead Man's Float position! It's not on the form, but I think we can write it in. Yes, we can!

 

ALVIN
Well, that's good.

 

BACON
Good, sir? It's great! (Fully confident now.) In your own words, in ten words or less, explain why you are applying to become an Egg Man.

 

ALVIN
Wow. Ten words. OK: (counting with his right foot on each word) Because—one—I—two—will—three—be—four—really—five—good—six—at—seven—it—eight! There; phew, made it.

 

BACON
You have two words left. There is no penalty, but you should use up those two words.

 

ALVIN
Ummmm. Amen—nine—and thanks—ten.

 

BACON
Oh, no! Oh, crumbs! Violation! That was eleven!

 

ALVIN
Ten, it was ten! Thanks was ten!

 

BACON
You said "And thanks" —ten —"thanks" —eleven! Violation! Cheese and crackers, you're my very first and now look what you've gone and done! Oh, boy, I'm sorry, I'm really sorry but application denied!

(BACON goes off, miserably muttering to himself, taking his keyboard and manual with him as his light suddenly snaps out, leaving ALVIN alone on stage.)

 

ALVIN
Wait! Hey, wait a minute! Mister Bacon?? (Silence) Oh no, I blew it. I really totally blew it.

(A pause. The DOCTORS enter. This can be five to ten actors dressed for surgery with gowns, head covers and masks. They speak as one. They enter in a tight line, all of them going backwards—except one who looks forward toward them and has a megaphone attached like a mask—they're a rowing team, arms all moving in unison.)

 

DOCTORS
STROKE! STROKE! STROKE! (They stop, break out of the line and surround him. Various voices speak.) Look! He'll make a good door stop. Ha-ha-ha. Or second base. Ha-ha-ha. Pin-the-Embolus-on-the-Dummy! Ha!

(They start to stick him with pins which have knotted red streamers attached to them. He attempts to pull away at first, but finds that the pins are not hurting him, so he merely stands and lets them wear themselves out. Just as they're tiring, however, one of his legs suddenly gives out and he crashes to the floor. The DOCTORS laugh and row back off happily.)

 

DOCTORS (Cont.)
STROKE! STROKE! STROKE!

 

ALVIN
Oh, no. Oh no, no, no, no, no. This is bad, very bad. I'll never qualify to be an Egg Man now. Bummer.

(BACON enters, accompanied by a woman wearing a shimmering blood-red dress—she wears an enormous hat made of donuts, potato chips, assorted dips, cheeseburgers , etc. She smokes continuously and stares at ALVIN with virtually no expression.)

 

BACON
Actually, now you re-qualify under the Additional Distressed Appendages Act. This is Ester. She'll work with you. I won't do it anymore.

 

ALVIN
You won't?

 

BACON
I can't—I'm not allowed to re-open a case, but she can.

 

ALVIN
I'm sorry I messed up your first assignment.

(After a glance at ESTER, who is unreadable, BACON consults his manual.)

 

BACON
99-X: Stuff happens. (He turns and exits.)

 

ALVIN
(All smiles) Hi.

 

ESTER
Let's knock off the happy camper act. Time's running out on you, pally-boy.

 

ALVIN
I know.

 

ESTER
"I know." Do you think for one minute with trainees like him and cases like you I'll ever see my promotion? Do you? Wait, they may be monitoring right now! (All smiles suddenly.) I've reviewed your documents. You qualify. Up to a point.

 

ALVIN
At which point would that be?

 

ESTER
The tapping point.

(He's blank.)

In order to be an Egg Man, you must be able to tap.

 

ALVIN
Like Sammy Davis, Jr.?

 

ESTER
No, like thump-bang-boom.

 

ALVIN
Oh! Well I still have one leg left.

(Hits the floor with his foot.)

 

ESTER
And then? What's the backup? That'll get tired, you know.

 

ALVIN
I—my—um, this: (he thumps his head on the floor). Ow.


ESTER
Not very sturdy.

 

ALVIN
Well, with all that's happened to it lately—

 

ESTER
Please! Don't you dare start in on case history with me! I know your type—always knows the names of the procedures, the tests—"Oh dear, I've got no Babinski." Just spare me.

 

ALVIN
I guess you've been doing this a long time.

 

ESTER
Can we establish, please, yes or no, that you can tap?

 

ALVIN
Yes. Yes, I can.

 

ESTER
All right then. (Calming herself again; "they" may be watching.) How's your yelling?

 

ALVIN
Oh, I can yell.

 

ESTER
Let's hear it, then.

 

ALVIN
(Feebly) HEY! HO!

 

ESTER
This is beyond hopeless.

 

ALVIN
(With more energy, but still weak.) HEY! HEY, HOOOO!

 

ESTER
You know, I don't care if they are monitoring! You call yourself a homo sapien? You call yourself a case worth my time? What a wimp! I'll bet you always took Doctors' advice, didn't you, you slimy worm? You're all the same: ate that fiber like a good little roughage-grubber, didn't you; avoided the egg, the chop of pork, the broil of London! And for all that, where are you, you groveling, sniveling, piece of soon-to-be-evacuated MEAT! Didn't you know we'd get your ass anyway?

 

ALVIN
(Groveling, sniveling) I'm sorry. I really am. Please don't hate me.

 

ESTER
"Please don't hate me." I'm outta here you—you cadaver!

 

ALVIN
No, wait! WAIT! HEY, DON'T YOU DARE DO THIS TO MEEEE!

 

ESTER
(Popping back in) Ah-haaaaa. So, you can yell. You just need to be motivated, is that it? (All chummy cheeriness now) Got youuu, ha-ha!

 

ALVIN
I—well, I guess so. Ha.

 

ESTER
(Reverting) Well, this ain't the army, geek! Either you motivate yourself or you can forget it! You get two choices, numb-nuts: no life or half a life, it's up to you. Now, do you want to be an Egg Man or not!?

 

ALVIN
Yes, please? (At her reproving look) Yes, I want to be an Egg Man. Ma'am!

 

ESTER
I can't hear you!

 

ALVIN
I AM DYING TO BE AN EGG MAN, MA'AM!!!

 

ESTER
All right, then! Good. Keep that spirit up! And keep a tight trim on that propeller, mister.

(After a final inspection stroll around him.)

All right, in spite of certain reservations, and because you were Bacon's first, I'm—accepting you into the program. Here's your egg.

(A huge egg rolls on stage to the accompaniment of oooh-ahhh music. It glows with its own light and is broken open at the top with hinged shell parts to allow access. Both ESTER and ALVIN stare at it in rapt wonder.)

 

ESTER (Cont.)
(Breaking into her own rapture) Well? Get in.

 

ALVIN
Just like that?

 

ESTER
Yeah. (Baby-talky) What's the matter, too uncomplicated for his great big case history? Get. In.

(As ALVIN drags himself in a circle with his one good leg, the DOCTORS scramble in and hoist him into the egg.)

 

DOCTORS
Hoist!

 

ALVIN
Wow, I'm there. I'm an Egg Man.

(The DOCTORS applaud. ESTER cuts them off.)

 

ESTER
Yeah,yeah, koo-koo-ka-choo and whoop-dee-do, okay? Don't go gettin' all gooey on me again or it's toe-tag time, dweeb!

 

ALVIN
OK! OK. So, what do I do now?

 

ESTER
It's your egg, sport. Half-live in it.

(The DOCTORS start closing up all the hinged shell parts.)

 

ALVIN
Well, thank you! Bye! I really appreciate this!

 

ESTER
God. (She exits, bored to death by him.)

 

ALVIN
See ya! Let's keep in touch, have a good d-

(As he speaks this last line, the final shell part is snapped into place, cutting off all sound. The DOCTORS exit, rowing silently a half speed. A beat. The egg glows; we can see ALVIN's silhouette inside it. We hear his voice from inside the egg over speakers in the house.)

 

ALVIN (Cont.)
This is cozy. (Beat) Kind of close in here, though. Quiet. (Pause) Hello? I don't think anyone can hear me. HEY!! (Pause) Oh, boy. Oh-boy-oh-boy. (Pause) Help. HELP! SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP MEEE!

 

(A long silence. Then, faintly, a frenzied pounding which stops after a few moments, followed by more pounding which stops, and then a slow tapping which continues as lights fade to black.)

END

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