Play 7


D: It’s a dark office room. The furniture is worn. Certainly it was once the height of fashion, class, and — really — straight up expense. But those days have faded. Like the wallpaper peeling…
One light tap on the door.
D: A client! A dame for sure. Business has been lagging this week, really, this year. Who knows how long it’s been since my last client. The illusion of a bustling business is a must. He grabs his phone. Into the phone: Mmm-hmm. Yes. That sounds very doable.
The door opens.
C: Uh, hey.
D: Still talking into the phone. Yes, well the special nature of the — request means that…
C: Who are you talking to? Looking around.
D: … you’ll have to pay my regular fee up front and…
C: Are you feeling okay?
D: Covers the receiver. Sorry ma’am I’ve got another lady on the line, just take a seat and I’ll be with you in a moment.
C: Another lady? Ma’am? What? Who are you talking to? It’s just me.
D: Into the phone again: Yes, my regular fee in cash up front. No. I can’t give you the usual discount…
C walks over, picks up the phone cradle and examines.
C: The phone’s not even plugged in. What are you doing? We’re supposed to be moving in the new office. We really don’t have time for your games. Are you going to help me carry the desk up to two-two-seven?
D: This new dame caught his eye. She’d been sitting there patiently waiting her turn, but she was done waiting, and her problem wouldn’t wait. I made up my mind. She would get my full attention now. Into the receiver before hanging up: Something has come up — no buts — I’ll get to you when I can. You can wait.
C: You’re not going to help me unless I play along are you?
D: She finally started to appreciate her situation.
C: I’m not doing this if I have to be a woman. And make up your mind on your narration. Is it supposed to be your thoughts in first person or a separate narrator in third?
D: She asked a lot of tough questions. I — he — I didn’t know what to do. So he, I mean I grabbed a cigar to think. But really it was cover. His mind wasn’t as quick as it used to be. He was still the best PI he knew, but the glory days were starting to show cracks in the wall.
C: Let’s not have a crisis of consciousness now.
D glares.
C: Okay, okay.
D twiddles the cigar waiting to hear what C has to say.
C: Ummm, yeah, so this guy I work with is a loon. He never does his job. But we’re tied up in some unfortunate partnership agreement I can’t get out of and we have some branding now. I can’t figure out how to motivate him.
D: She talked fast. And hard. Her questions had questions. I fished around for my cigar gill-o-teen — guillotine — cigar cutter. I finally tracked it down.
C: Wait — where did you actually get a cigar from? Did you bring one just…
C: Right.
D: I slid the cigar in between the blades. Old and well used, yes. But still sharp. Sharp as my mind. At least before the bottle’s empty. Anyways.
C suddenly snarks then stops himself.
D: What?
C: Nothing.
C: Okay you’re going to have to work on your act. You’re about to cut the wrong tip of the cigar.


Composed July 3, 2013.
Inspiration: String theory at the tip of the cigar


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