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  메인화면 (다빈치!지식놀이터) ::【 John Culjak의 지식창고 Deception > The Resurrection of Philip Jerome Michaels or How Can I Rest in Peace?  
Deception
The Resurrection of Philip Jerome Michaels or How Can I Rest in Peace?
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(A) 지식 자료
Script
about Deception

▣ Deception     John Culjak의 지식창고 2018.04.22. 14:14 (2018.04.22. 14:00)

Script

early morning in the present
early morning in the present
 
Scene
A modern, clean, and sterile-looking embalming laboratory is in the basement of a funeral parlor. A white, metallic slab with a foam rubber mattress on it is slightly off center stage. Down right there is a small, white desk-like table and behind it a white metallic chair. Up in the left corner, there is a blood-draining machine. In the small room on the left (visible to the audience is an open coffin, which radiates a soft light. This area should always be dimly lighted. There is a small, simple white-framed mirror on the left wall.
As the lights come up, one is on the Mortician, who is sitting on a high, white-metal stool to the right of the slab. He is dressed in black. A second light, softer than the first, is on the slab, upon which Philip Jerome Michaels is lying. He is wearing only the bottoms of a pair of long johns. His shoes and socks are in front of the slab. The rest of his clothes are hanging on a hook on the up-right wall.
 

 
MORTICIAN :
Philip Jerome Michaels is lying, stiff as a board, on a foam rubber slab. PJ…PJ, as he was known to his friends, the few that he had, was very poor. Although, I wouldn’t consider him to have been impecunious, he was less than one step away. His earnings, however, were more than substantial. Yet he maintained a humble existence. His diet was the minimum and the room he kept was small, cheap…(WITH DISTASTE) and filthy. He was, to say the least, a bit of a pig. Most of his earnings went into a … never mind. You will find out soon enough where most of his earnings went. PJ has been dead now, for about twenty minutes. How did he die? Was it murder? Accidental death? Suicide? And was his death necessary? (SMILING) What could possibly be the motivation for the life to have been driven out of this poor man’s body? That…is what I would like to know. Let me ask PJ. Yes, let me ask Philip Jerome Michaels what elements were responsible for his death. I am going to restore his life…sort of…at least forty-five minutes of it. (CHECKS HIS POCKET WATCH) You see, Phillip Jerome Michaels is going to be an integral part of my monumental plans. (SNAPS HIS FINGERS AND MUSIC STARTS. JOANIE SUMMERS’ COME ALIVE FROM THE PEPSI COMMERCIAL. PHILIP AWAKENS AND SITS UP. HE THINKS HE IS IN HIS OWN ROOM, WAKING TO GO TO WORK. HE STARTS TO PUT HIS SHOES AND SOCKS ON)
 
PHILIP :
Our father…which are in heaven…hallowed be thy name…a…thy kingdom come…thy will be done…(BELCHING)…on earth, as it is In…in…a…a…(POUNDING HIS FIST INTO HIS HAND, TRYING TO REMEMBER THE NEXT WORD) …in…heaven! Yeah, heaven…forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors…debts…debtors…debts…debts! Fuck it. (HIS OWN ODOR BETRAYS HIM AND HE REALIZES HIS NEED TO WASH. HE GETS OFF THE SLAB AND GOES DOWN LEFT TO WASH. HE CANNOT FIND THE SINK; THERE IS NONE. HE SHAKES HIS HEAD, WIPES HIS EYES, LOOKS IN THE MORROR ON THE LEFT WALL AND THEN DECIDES TO EXERCISE IN ORDER TO HELP HIM WAKE UP. HE EXERCISES BY TRYING TO TOUCH HIS TOES. IT IS DIFFICULT FOR HIM BECAUSE HE DOESN’T EXERCISE OFTEN AND ALSO BECAUSE HE IS FAT)
 
MORTICIAN :
(AFTER PHILIP MAKES ABOUT THREE ATTEMPTS TO TOUCH HIS TOES) That’s right, Philip Jerome Michaels. Exercise those limbs. Get the blood circulating again.
 
PHILIP :
(STARTLED AND LOOKING FOR THE VOICE) Who is that? Who is that?
 
MORTICIAN :
(TO THE AUDIENCE) See how sprightly he’s become. (TO PHILIP) You remember me, Mr. Michaels. We negotiated briefly before you…passed away. (THE LIGHTS COME UP FULL)
 
PHILIP :
(SEEING THE MORTICIAN) What a relief! I thought you was one of those voices that used to come out of nowhere, telling me I forgot to brush. (GOING TO AND RECOGNIZING HIM) Yes! I remember you. We talked, made arrangements and then I … passed away. Hey! Hey! How about that! I’m dead! I’m dead! (HE GOES TO EMBRACE THE MORTICIAN; THEIR HANDS MEET AND LOCK AND THEY GO THROUGH A JUB ILANT DANCE, DURING WHICH THEY HALF SING THE FOLLOWING LINES)
I’ve passed away. I’ve passed away.
Here last night, gone today.
I’m dead. I’m dead. I’m dead. (THEY STOP DANCING)
I’m dead. How do you like that? How long have I been dead?
 
MORTICIAN :
About twenty minutes.
 
PHILIP :
How do you like that? I’m dead. I’m actually dead!
 
MORTICIAN :
You are not the first one, Mr. Michaels. And I am quite certain that everyone is aware of it by now.
 
PHILIP :
They know? (MORTICIAN NODS) The notices I wrote? You sent them to the papers already. Wonderful. How are they reacting? I’ll bet they’re sorry I’m dead. I’ll bet they are really, really sorry. I’ll bet they’re even weeping. Serves them right. A little weeping is good for the soul. And it ain’t too bad for cleaning the eyes either.
 
MORTICIAN :
Mr. Michaels…?
 
PHILIP :
The late Mr. Michaels, if you please.
 
MORTICIAN :
(VERY FORMAL BUT PLEASANT) Pardon me, a …late Mr. Michaels. I would like to discuss a pertinent matter with you concerning the contract.
 
PHILIP :
Something wrong with the contract?
 
MORTICIAN :
No, no … no, no. Of course not.
 
PHILIP :
Then what is there to discuss? We talked, made arrangements and I’m dead. (LAUGHING … PAUSE) Wait a minute. You don’t mean I have to come back, do you?
 
MORTICIAN :
(WITH A FULL, PRETENTIOUS LAUGH. ONE WITH WHICH HE HAS HAD A LOT OF PRACTICE) Certainly not, Mr. Michaels. That is in the contract. Once you are gone, you are gone perpetually. There is no return clause.
 
PHILIP :
(CAUGHT UP IN THE MORTICIAN’S LAUGHTER) Okay. Good. Don’t have to come back. That’s all right. (HE STOPS LAUGHING AND SENSES THAT SOMETHING IS WRONG. HE BEGINS TO EXAMINE HIS BODY) Hey! How come I feel like I’m still alive? You can’t tell me that was in the contract.
 
MORTICIAN :
There are … some things you just can’t put in a contract, Mr. Michaels.
 
PHLIP :
You know something? And now that I’m dead, I can tell you this. I don’t trust you. You are a highly suspicious fellow. I didn’t trust you before, and I don’t trust you now. You didn’t know that did you? Yeah. Look at you. The way you dress … all in black. Suspicious! (PAUSE) And the way you talk … like you want to be friendly. That’s pretty deceptive … Blacksuit!
 
MORTICIAN :
(SINCERELY) I’m going to be straightforward with you Mr. Michaels. I want to ask you a few questions.
 
PHILIP :
(CAUSTIOUSLY) Questions?
 
MORTICIAN :
A few simple questions.
 
PHILIP :
(PERPLEXED) Did you have to wait until I was dead to ask me questions?
 
MORTICIAN :
The questions I have in mind, Mr. Michaels, would have interfered with the work. They would have been inappropriate until now.
 
PHILIP :
(GUARDED) Just what kind of questions do you have in mine, Blacksuit?
 
MORTICIAN :
Just a few questions about your background, Mr. Michaels.
 
PHILIP :
(CAUTIOUS) You’re not with the internal revenue service are you?
 
MORTICIAN :
No, no, no. I’m just a simple, humble mortician doing my job.
 
PHILIP :
(OBSERVING HIM) Gee, that’s nice, Blacksuit. (TAKING A LONG LOOK AT HIM) You really enjoy your job, don’t you?
 
MORTICIAN :
Yes, yes indeed, I do. You have no idea.
 
PHILIP :
That’s wonderful. You seem to be really happy. (PAUSE) You know something?
 
MORTICIAN :
What? What is that?
 
PHILIP :
I’m happy too.
 
MORTICIAN :
You are?
 
PHILIP :
(LAUGHING) Yes.
 
MORTICIAN :
I’m pleased.
 
PHILIP :
(LAUGHING) First time in my life. Happy! Now that I’m dead, I’m really happy.
 
MORTICIAN :
You mean to say that until now you’ve led a completely unhappy existence? (HE HAS A NOEBOOK AND PEN HANDY IN PREPARATION TO WRITE DOWN PHILIP’S ANSWERS)
 
PHILIP :
That’s right. I can’t recall a single happy moment in m life.
 
MORTICIAN :
(WRITING) Not one?
 
PHILIP :
(THINKING) Well…maybe one. Remember, yesterday, in your office, after we completed the deal. You know…you agreed to assist me in…(HE LAUGHS)…in passing away. Right after that, I signed the contract and it hit me. All of a sudden, like a shot, a moment of happiness.
 
MORTICIAN :
I don’t recall that …
 
PHILIP :
A smile, Blacksuit, a smile! The corner of my mouth started to curl up a bit. (HE DEMONSTRATES)
 
MORTICIAN :
Yes, now that you mention it, I remember. It was like a Mona Lisa smile.
 
PHILIP :
You noticed it then, huh? That was the turning point for me, Blacksuit. Before that, I was a picture of gloom. (HE DMONSTRATES, STRIKING A POSE OF THE OLD PHILIP, WHICH WAS GLOOMY AND DISPARING)
 
MORTICIAN :
Mr. Michaels, let me ask you something.
 
PHILIP :
NO, no. No more questions. We did all the talking necessary. I’m tired, Blacksuit. Now put me back.
 
MORTICIAN :
I can’t.
 
PHILIP :
What? What do you mean, you can’t?
 
MORTICIAN :
You still have a little time left.
 
PHILIP :
Aahh. I knew it. You’re up to something. (PAUSE) You don’t want me dead.
 
MORTICIAN :
On the contrary, Mr. Michaels. I want you dead. Very dead. Alive, you are of no value to me whatsoever.
 
PHILIP :
On, no? I’ll bet. I’ll bet I’m not!
 
MORTICIAN :
I have a job to do, Mr. Michaels, and I am going to do it.
 
PHILIP :
What’s your game, Blacksuit? (NO ANSWER) What’s your game…? (NO ANSWER) Why did you bring me back? (NO ANSWER) How come I’m still here?
 
MORTICIAN :
(STRAIGHT FORWARD) Mr. Michaels…I intend to put your life story in writing.
 
PHILIP :
(UNIMPRESSED BUT WORRIED) Blacksuit, you’re not a…a crazy doctor like you see in movies, are you? The kind that turns a dead man into a monster.
 
MORTICIAN :
Of course not! I am an artist, Mr. Michaels, a creative being.
 
PHILIP :
A creative being. That’s what I was afraid of…a crazy doctor.
 
MORTICIAN :
You have nothing to fear, Mr. Michaels.
 
PHILIP :
Then how come I’m still here? How come?
 
MORTICIAN :
You are dead, right?
 
PHILIP :
Right!
 
MORTICIAN :
Then if you are dead, there is nothing I can do to harm you, right?
 
PHILIP :
uhmmm…(STOPPING TO THINK) Right!
 
MORTICIAN :
Well then, what is the problem?
 
PHILIP :
If I’m dead, and you’re not going to do anything funny with me, why am I still here? Tell me that.
 
MORTICIAN :
If you weren’t here, I couldn’t learn enough about you to write about your life, could I?
 
PHILIP :
Couldn’t you lie about it?
 
MORTICIAN :
Mr. Michaels! In my profession, truth is not only most important, but it is essential.
 
PHILIP :
But it wouldn’t make very interesting reading, I’m afraid.
 
MORTICIAN :
Truth, Mr. Michaels, is stranger than fiction.
 
PHILIP :
Yes. I’ve heard that.
 
MORTICIAN :
(IMPATIENTLY) That’s nice. (HE LOOKS ATY HIS POCKET WATCH) Now, let’s get down to business. We have a great deal of work to do with very little time I which to do it.
 
PHILIP :
What are you going to do with the book, sell it?
 
MORTICIAN :
(ASTONISHED) Mr. Michaels! I am not a commercial writer. The book will be stored with your remains. Perhaps a hundred or, more likely, a thousand years from now, the account will be found and read. And I’ll be considered…(HE STOPS)
 
PHLIP :
(A SMILE BUDDING) You really think ahead, Blacksuit.
 
MORTICIAN :
Now please, no more interruptions.
 
PHILIP :
I just thought that if you were to sell it, there would be royalties and I would have the right to some of those royalties.
 
MORTICIAN :
(EXASPERATED) You are dead. You have no rights.
 
PHILIP :
(LAUGHING) Yeah, right. And you don’t know how good it feels, too. No rights, no responsibility. I don’t even have to worry about getting up at five in the morning to go to work.
 
MORTICIAN :
(WRITING DOWN WHAT PHILIP SAID) Good, good. I like that. How exactly did you feel about the job you had?
 
PHILIP :
Don’t talk to me about that job.
 
MORTICIAN :
Why not?
 
PHILIP :
Because how would you like to talk about a job where you had to do the same tedious work day after day after day, in and out, never ending?
 
MORTICIAN :
Why didn’t you complain?
 
PHILIP :
(CAREFULLY) To who?
 
MORTICIAN :
(CORRECTING HIM) To whom?
 
PHILIP :
Yeah, right.
 
MORTICIAN :
No I meant…never mind. You could have complained to a co-worker, perhaps. A friend?
 
PHILIP :
(MORTICIAN WRITING FRANTICALLY) What co-worker? Four hundred and one employees and I was the only Indian. All the rest were chiefs. Complain? What do you want me to do, get fired? That’s why I don’t like to talk about it.
 
MORTICIAN :
That’s understandable. (PAUSE) Where did you work, Mr. Michaels?
 
PHILIP :
(SOMEWHAT RELUCTANT) In a furniture factory.
 
MORTICIAN :
Very good, very good. You were a designer?
 
PHILIP :
No. No I wasn’t.
 
MORTICIAN :
You built the furniture?
 
PHILIP :
(WITH PRIDE) No. I collected the wood shavings that the builders left.
 
MORTICIAN :
(DISAPPOINTED) Oh, I see. (PAUSE) What did you do with the shavings?
 
PHILIP :
I put them in bags. Ten-pound burlap bags. That’s what I did with them.
 
MORTICIAN :
And you threw them out?
 
PHILIP :
No. They were never thrown out. I put them I storage and saved them.
 
MORTICIAN :
What in the world were they saved for?
 
PHILIP :
That’s what I always wondered. What were they saving them for?
 
MORTICIAN :
Didn’t you ask?
 
PHILIP :
No. That wasn’t part of my job. They didn’t like you to ask questions about things that weren’t your business, so I never asked. (AFTR A PAUSE) I did hear a rumor once though. It was rumored that…can you keep a secret?
 
MORTICIAN :
Certainly I can.
 
PHILIP :
Good. Because, I wouldn’t like it to get back that I was the one who spread the rumor. It would put me in a bad light.
 
MORTICIAN :
You can trust me.
 
PHILIP :
It was rumored that they were using the wood shavings to make…are you ready...toothpicks.
 
MORTICIAN :
Toothpicks?
 
PHILIP :
Toothpicks. Imagine that?
 
MORTICIAN :
They wee using the wood shavings to make toothpicks?
 
PHILIP :
That was the rumor.
 
MORTICIAN :
Was there any truth to it?
 
PHILIP :
(LOOKS AT HIM ODDLY) As far as I know, every single bag of wood shavings that I put into storage is still there.
 
MORTICIAN :
Then they probably weren’t making toothpicks.
 
PHILIP :
Probably not.
 
MORTICIAN :
That’s very strange.
 
PHILIP :
Exactly what I thought. That’s mighty strange. (PAUSE) I wasn’t very happy there, Blacksuit. Every day I went in to work there would be new piles of wood shavings exactly in the very spot I cleaned up the day before. And, you know what? I never saw the builders who left the piles. They must have worked at night.
 
MORTICIAN :
Then how did you know how many employees there were?
 
PHILIP :
By the piles, Blacksuit, by the piles! There were four hundred piles every day. At least, until last week there were.
 
MORTICIAN :
How many were there last week?
 
PHILIP :
Three hundred and ninety-nine. (PAUSE) One pile was missing. There was a notice on the bulletin about a collection for someone but it didn’t say what it was for. Maybe one of the builders was sick. Anyway, there were only three hundred and ninety-nine piles each day last week. One good thing about it was that I got home ten minutes early each night. It gave me more time to think and realize how miserable I’ve been, Blacksuit. Going day after day to the same job, doing the same work, making the same amount of money and paying the same debts. Living in the same crummy room. It could drive you crazy not having a change. Maybe we’re creatures of habit, Blacksuit, but every once in a while you need a little change. Everything there was too cold and impersonal…but I wouldn’t expect you to understand that.
 
MORTICIAN :
Believe me, Mr. Michaels, I understand. That is why I try to bring some warmth, love and beauty to ones last moments in this world. Just so they know that somebody cares.
 
PHILIP :
That’s a lovely thought, Blacksuit.
 
MORTICIAN :
That was the ethical standard of my father and the code of his father and of the father of my father’s father. And…
 
PHILIP :
They all felt the same way?
 
MORTICIAN :
They were humanists. The first and foremost concerns were for the dignity of human beings…dead or alive.
 
PHILIP :
You must have been proud and very happy all your life.
 
MORTICIAN :
On the contrary, it was a struggle, a long arduous struggle, but I’ve been able to overcome it and turn this business into a respectable money making proposition.
 
PHILIP :
Money making?
 
MORTICIAN :
Yes, but don’t let that mislead you. My primary aims are purely artistic.
 
PHILIP :
Yeah, but…
 
MORTICIAN :
Artistic success often brings financial success, Mr. Michaels. Don’t ever forget that as long as you li…
 
PHILIP :
(PAUSE) As long as I live, Blacksuit? And how long is that? I’m dead already. Didn’t you say that? But I don’t feel any different. That’s not fair, you know. I think I should feel different now that I am dead…some little change, at least.
 
MORTICIAN :
You are absolutely right. And that is precisely why I wasn’t to talk to you…so you will feel that change.
 
PHILIP :
The more you talk, the worse I feel. (MOCKING HIM) ‘Artistic success, financial success, the top man’! That’s the kind of stuff I heard when I was alive. Who wants to hear that? Ambition! Success…and all that stuff! That’s why I came to see you and make the deal with you…to get away from all of that.
 
MORTICIAN :
Oh Mr. Michaels, I am sorry. Let’s change the subject. Let’s talk about the women you’ve known. .
 
PHILIP :
(EXASPERATED) See that! Why do you always pick the bad things to talk about?
 
MORTICIAN :
(GENTLY) I’m afraid anything we talk about in your background would be painful for you.
 
PHILIP :
No more talking. You can get all the information you need from my application. .
 
MORTICIAN :
Your application?
 
PHILIP :
Yeah, the outrageous thirty-page monstrosity I had to fill out, with all those personal questions…how many women did you know? How many women did I have? Pretty cute. And the other one! (LOOKING AROUND TO MAKE SURE NO ONE IS THERE TO HEAR HIM) If you didn’t have any women (PAUSING WITH EMBARASSMENT) did you masturbate much? (QUICKLY) I didn’t answer any of those questions, you know. I wouldn’t answer them either! Nice questions to ask someone who is about to take his last couple of breaths.
 
MORTICIAN :
Those are clinical questions. Any doctor would ask those questions.
 
PHILIP :
But you’re not a doctor. (SUSPICIOUSLY) Or are you? … a crazy doctor?
 
MORTICIAN :
No, I am not a doctor. I’ve already told you that.
 
PHILIP :
Then get what you need from my application.
 
MORTICIAN :
But you didn’t answer those questions.
 
PHILIP :
(LAUGHING) I know.
 
MORTICIAN :
I’ll make a bargain with you. You tell me a little about the women and I promise not to ask any really personal questions. Fair enough?
 
PHILIP :
Who determines which questions are personal and which ones aren’t?
 
MORTICIAN :
You do, of course. Now let’s get back to it. We are wasting valuable time. What about the women?
 
PHILIP :
The women?
 
MORTICIAN :
Yes. Let’s not lose any more time, Mr. Michaels.
 
PHILIP :
Well, as you can see, Blacksuit, I’m not exactly a playboy.
 
MORTICIAN :
(WITH DISTASTE) That’s quite obvious.
 
PHILIP :
A great deal of my time was spent working.
 
MORTICIAN :
(IMPATIENTLY) Yes! Yes!
 
PHILIP :
And, of course, I never did have a lot of money on hand for pleasure.
 
MORTICIAN :
What are you trying to say? Get on with it.
 
PHILIP :
I never had much time or money for a lot of women.
 
MORTICIAN :
I’ not concerned about a lot of women, only the ones you knew.
 
PHILIP :
(RELIEVED) Well that narrows it down. (THINKING) Aaa…the ones I knew.
 
MORTICIAN :
There must have been one.
 
PHILIP :
This is getting too personal.
 
MORTICIAN :
(PLAYING THE MARTYR) What can I tell you. Obviously, I have failed you. No matter what I ask you, I seem to…to…
 
PHILIP :
(HELPING HIM) …to touch on the surface?
 
MORTICIAN :
Thank you. Yes, to touch on the surface, as you put it. I sometimes forget that I’m dealing with a sensitive man, difficult at times, but nonetheless, sensitive.
 
PHILIP :
Hey! I’m not so difficult.
 
MORTICIAN :
But sensitive, so sensitive.
 
PHILIP :
Okay, what do you want to know?
 
MORTICIAN :
That’s all right. I know I have failed you.
 
PHILIP :
Ask me. Ask me anything you want.
 
MORTICIAN :
As determined as I am to succeed, I suppose I was born to fail.
 
PHILIP :
You’re not a failure. Go ahead. Ask me anything. I’ll tell you what you want to know.
 
MORTICIAN :
Promise?
 
PHILIP :
I swear.
 
MORTICIAN :
(AFTER PAUSING) What’s her name?
 
PHILIP :
(QUICKLY AND WITHOUT THINKING) Maureen.
 
MORTICIAN :
What is she like?
 
PHILIP :
Beautiful.
 
MORTICIAN :
What does she do?
 
PHILIP :
She’s a goddess
 
MORTICIAN :
A goddess?
 
PHILIP :
A goddess…of the stage. On stage she is radiant, charming, marvelous, delightful. She is a wonderful creature…a goddess.
 
MORTICIAN :
What have you seen her perform in?
 
PHILIP :
I’ve never seen her perform.
 
MORTICIAN :
But she has…
 
PHILIP :
(INTERRUPTING) She has, but I have never seen her on stage.
 
MORTICIAN :
(TRYING NOT TO OFFEND HIM) You know her?
 
PHILIP :
(WITH AUTHORITY) As much as a man can know a woman.
 
MORTICIAN :
Good. Now we’re getting somewhere. Where did you meet her?
 
PHILIP :
She lives in my building.
 
MORTICIAN :
How?
 
PHILIP :
(PUZZLED) How? She just moved in. There were a lot of vacancies.
 
MORTICIAN :
No, how? How did you meet her, how?
 
PHILIP :
Oh…that’s a little personal.
 
MORTICIAN :
You promised. How?
 
PHILIP :
She has this cat.
 
MORTICIAN :
She has a cat?
 
PHILIP :
Yes
 
MORTICIAN :
What kind? What color cat?
 
PHILIP :
Just a cat…black and white.
 
MORTICIAN :
Yes? (PROMTING HIM) She has this cat…
 
PHILIP :
She has this cat. A black and white cat and when she comes home at night, after her performance, that’s after she has finished at the theatre, she comes home and has to take care of her cat. You see, it’s cooped up in her small room for a long time. So when she comes home, she leaves the door ajar. That’s so the cat can run around in the hall and up and down the stairs, (PAUSE) because it’s cooped up in her small room all the time.
 
MORTICIAN :
So? (PAUSE) How did you meet her?
 
PHILIP :
She was so beautiful and lovely…so I left my door open and the cat came near my room. I tried to get him to come but he was afraid. So I bought a rubber mouse and tied a string to it and left it outside my room. Then when the cat came near, I lured him into my room with it. Once I got to know the cat, it was easy to meet her. I told her…(ESCTATIC)…I told her the cat came into my room and I played with it and she was pleased that I was so friendly. After that, I talked to her amost every night when her show was over. I’d leave my door open so I’d see her when she came in. I even gave her a radio I found in the trash and repaired. She really liked it. But after a while she came home later and later. Sometimes it was so late that I didn’t wait up to see her. I don’t know why she came in so late. It wasn’t good for her to stay up so late. I don’t know about her. Sometimes she acted funny. Like she was in hurry or something. You can’t tell about women. I don’t know what it was, but she sure was something.
 
MORTICIAN :
Did you take her out? You know, date her?
 
PHILIP :
Naah.
 
MORTICIAN :
Why not?
 
PHILIP :
I don’t know. I don’t think she’d go out with me. Anyway…(STOPPING)
 
MORTICIAN :
Anyway? (NO ANWER) What then? (NO ANSWER) Then what?
 
PHILIP :
Then she moved away.
 
MORTICIAN :
You didn’t sleep with her?
 
PHILIP :
(INDIGNANT) No! Of course not! (PAUSE) She moved away.
 
MORTICIAN :
And that’s all?
 
PHILIP :
That’s all.
 
MORTICIAN :
You’re not leaving anything out?
 
PHILIP :
No.
 
MORTICIAN :
Nothing? (NO ANSWER) Nothing?
 
PHILIP :
Well…
 
MORTICIAN :
Well?
 
 
PHILIP :
(SADLY) Well…before she moved, she told me she was engaged and that it would be better if I didn’t wait up nights to talk to her. (PAUSE) Then it wasn’t long before she moved away.
 
MORTICIAN :
Then she moved away?
 
PHILIP :
Yes. She left.
 
MORTICIAN :
Were there any others?
 
PHILIP :
Not like Maureen.
 
MORTICIAN :
Well! That about does it, Mr. Michaels. (PAUSE) Hey! Cheer up! All that is behind you now.
 
PHILIP :
Yeah, that’s all behind me now. You can’t let the past bother you, can you?
 
MORTICIAN :
That’s the idea. Think of the present.
 
PHILIP :
(SADLY) That makes me happy. (THINKING) Happiness is a thing called death.
 
MORTICIAN :
(WRITING IT DOWN) May I quote you on that, Mr. Michaels?
 
PHILIP :
Yes, you may.
 
MORTICIAN :
It’s beautiful!
 
PHILIP :
You think so?
 
MORTICIAN :
Indeed I do.
 
PHILIP :
Do you suppose that that could be engraved on my gravestone…Ohhh I didn’t order a stone.
 
MORTICIAN :
Perfectly all right. We can have it engraved on or above the entrance to the tomb.
 
PHILIP :
The tomb? What tomb?
 
MORTICIAN :
(CAUGHT) Oh? Didn’t tell you about the tomb?
 
PHILIP :
What tomb?
 
MORTICIAN :
Your tomb.
 
PHILIP :
My tomb? I don’t have a tomb.
 
MORTICIAN :
Perhaps I should explain.
 
PHILIP :
Perhaps you should. According to the contract, all I should be getting I a foam rubber slab.
 
MORTICIAN :
I beg your pardon.
 
PHILIP :
I said, all….
 
MORTICIAN :
(CUTTING HIM OFF) I know what you said! It’s important that you note that the foam rubber slab is a classification; a type of funeral. The name in not solely indicative of what you get.
 
PHILIP :
Blacksuit, you told me you offered three distinct types of funerals, coffins…
 
MORTICIAN :
(INTERRUPTING) I asked you which kind of coffin you preferred and you replied that you didn’t want any kind. So that eliminated one type.
 
PHILIP :
Come on. That isn’t quite what I said. Let’s be factual. I said I didn’t want a coffin because I thought you were overcharging. The money you charge for a pine box with a little bootblack on it to make it shine is a bit much. (PAUSE) What you charge others for your services is your business. When someone goes to you and accepts your exorbitant prices just out of mournful respect for their dearly departed is their business. But when I decide not to be tricked by the likes of you, that’s my business. (PAUSE) What’s the next type of funeral?
 
MORTICIAN :
Cremation. That was also eliminated…by you.
 
PHILIP :
Right! Being burned up includes being transferred in a coffin. That’s even more expensive than a straight box.
 
MORTICIAN :
And that leaves us with only one remaining type; a foam rubber slab. The number three…your choice.
 
PHILIP :
Right. The cheap one. How much does that one cost?
 
MORTICIAN :
(PEDANTICALLY) Prices for all our funerals, sir, are listed in the contract…in fine print.
 
PHILIP :
Sir? Fine print? Very, very clever. Very clever. How many people in their moment of grief, or in my case, a moment of happiness, neglect to read the fine print? How many have you taken advantage of during that single weak moment? With me, Blacksuit, you made a mistake. It’s not too late to look at the contract; to read the fine print. In he words of my immortal mother, ‘Always read the fine print, always read the fine print. Don’t be stupid like your father and lose everything. Don’t be taken like him.” She drummed that into me. And you know what I’m going to do? (PAUSE) I’m going to read the fine print…before it’s too late. We may just make a few adjustments in the contract, Sir, before I go back to being dead. (PHILIP LOOKS FOR THE CONTRACT WHICH WAS IN HIS JACKET HANGING ON THE BACK WALL)
 
MORTICIAN :
(TO THE AUDIENCE) While Mr. Michaels searches for his contract, I would like you to know that I had no intentions whatsoever of discussing the agreement with him. Like all good morticians, I have taken the oath of silence concerning contractual matters. Unfortunately, I have no choice. But what makes it even more disconcerting is that Mr. Michaels is not going to find his contract…it
 
PHILIP :
It’s gone! It’s been stolen! (HE TURNS TO THE MORTICIAN) Someone stole it.
 
MORTICIAN :
Mr. Michaels..
 
PHILIP :
(INTERRUPTING) Do you have anyone working with you who is a thief? Someone who would steal my contract?
 
MORTICIAN :
(SNOBBISHLY) I work alone Mr. Michaels. It’s difficult to find good help these days.
 
PHILIP :
Then where is it? (NO ANSWER) I had it when I came in.
 
MORTICIAN :
I took it.
 
PHILIP :
I would have never believed it.
 
MORTICIAN :
(APPOLOGETICALLY) I couldn’t help myself. I had to take it. It’s going to be placed with your remains in the tomb.
 
PHILIP :
The tomb? (ROLLING HIS EYES) Oh boy.
 
MORTICIAN :
The foam rubber slab funeral is the most elaborate of all funerals. (TRYING TO CONVINCE HIM) It was derived from the ancient Greeks. (PAUSE) Your body will be place on the slab, which will be covered by the finest hand-tanned leather available.
 
PHILIP :
You never told me that.
 
MORTICIAN :
You never asked me.
 
PHILIP :
By the looks of it, I should have done a lot of asking. What else haven’t you told me?
 
MORTICIAN :
(HIS ENTHUSIASM BUILDS AS HE CONTINUES TO DESCRIBE THE DETAILS OF THE FUNERAL) You will lie in rest for fie days, during which, two thousand paid mourners will view your body, which will be fitted in black pin stripe funeral tails of the finest Italian silk, tailored by the illustrious Antonio Feloni.
 
PHILIP :
Antonio Feloni! Come on, Blacksuit, you brought me back to torment me, didn’t you? How much does all this cost?
 
MORTICIAN :
This part of it?
 
PHILIP :
This part of it? You mean there is more?
 
MORTICIAN :
(SITS ON THE SLAB) How much did you say…a…your insurance policy was worth?
 
PHILIP :
(HIS LAUGHTER CONCEALS HIS ANGER) Hey, now just a minute. If you think I’m going to spend all my insurance money on my own funeral, (HE WALKS BEHIND THE MORTICIAN. HIS LAUGHTER STOPS AND HE GRABS THE MORTICAIN AROUND THE NECK) you have to be slightly retarded. I’ve worked my ass off all my life and put every cent into that policy. That money is going to be put to good use. I’ve already seen to that. And I’m not talking about my funeral expenses. (THE MORTICIAN BREAKS PHILIP’S CHOKE HOLD)
 
MORTICIAN :
Take it easy. (RUBBING HIS NECK) I abhor this sort of barbaric violence. Let’s discuss this intelligently.
 
PHILIP :
Forget intelligence. The remainder of my policy money after funeral expenses goes to…(STOPPING)
 
MORTICIAN :
Goes to whom?
 
PHILIP :
You think I’m going to tell you that?
 
MORTICIAN :
The remainder, after funeral expenses, you say?
 
PHILIP :
That’s right!
 
MORTICIAN :
Well, a contract is a contract is a contract, late Mr. Michaels.
 
PHILIP :
You can drop that late business too.
 
MORTICIAN :
If you insist…but…
 
PHILIP :
I insist!
 
MORTICIAN :
But what is done is done. After all, you don’t have much time left.
 
MORTICIAN :
Maybe I do, maybe I don’t. Maybe I do and maybe I don’t. (PAUSE) You are a very suspicious fella, and I am going to keep an eye on you. Yeah, that’s right. What other sneaky clauses do you have in the contract? What about the death arrangements?
 
MORTICIAN :
What about them?
 
PHILIP :
Is it possible that you have some small print there too, maybe a little loophole?
 
MORTICIAN :
(RECITING FROM MEMORY) Death arrangement: when the second party…that’s you…
 
PHILIP :
I know that’s me.
 
MORTICIAN :
When the second party is prepared to go, the first party…
 
PHILIP :
That’s you!
 
MORTICIAN :
(GLARES AT HIM) The first party will choose the easiest, fastest and cleanest method that he has at his disposal.
 
PHILIP :
(SITTING ON THE SLAB) Disposal? …disposal…I don’t like that word.
 
MORTICIAN :
(CROSSES BEHIND PHILIP AND TOUCHES HIS SHOULDER. PHILP JUMPS) It refers to the method used.
 
PHILIP :
Oh yeah. (THE MORTICIAN SITS NEXT TO HIM AND PHILIP IS UNCOMFORTABLE) Look, I’m sorry I got hot with you before. Can we strike disposal from the contract?
 
MORTICIAN :
There is really nothing wrong with that word, Mr. Michaels.
 
PHILIP :
No…but it just doesn’t sound right, you know…disposal.
 
MORTICIAN :
It only means the method use to..
 
PHILIP :
Well…what would be a better word? I mean can’t we substitute a different word? Something that means the same thing, something like a…like…
 
MORTICIAN :
Command?
 
PHILIP :
Yeah, command. (STANDS UP) At your command. Very good word. Command! That sounds strong. Command! Command! Now that means the method used to make me sleep forever. I like that.
 
MORTICIAN :
Now…once the method is agreed upon, the second party will administer it himself…so as o avoid any error in judgment concerning the readiness and willingness of the second party. We did that already.
 
PHILIP :
You don’t miss a thing, do you?
 
MORTICIAN :
(SMILING) Just wait. (CONTINUING) After the administering of the chosen method had been completed, under no circumstances whatsoever can this part of the contract be violated. (SMILING)
 
PHILIP :
I don’t know what you’re smiling for. It’s quite apparent that this section has already been violated. Not by me, but by you! You see, I don’t feel dead at all. In fact, I feel wonderful…just as lousy as I did before I was dead.
 
MORTICIAN :
What do you mean?
 
PHILIP :
Lousy! Lousy! Tired, miserable, hungry…lousy!
 
MORTICIAN :
You feel hungry?
 
PHILIP :
Yeah, hungry! (THE MORTICIAN WRITES IT DOWN IN HIS BOOK)
 
MORTICIAN :
Would you like something to eat? I’ll send out for something.
 
PHILIP :
Yeah…but I don’t have any money.
 
MORTICIAN :
I’ll pay for it. I’m treating.
 
PHILIP :
Honest? You’ll pay for it?
 
MORTICIAN :
Sure I will.
 
PHILIP :
Yeah? Okay. (MORTICIAN STARTS OFF) Wait a minute! I don’t want any food. I shouldn’t be hungry. I don’t want to be hungry. I should be dead, not hungry. Forget the food.
 
MORTICIAN :
(STOPS) If you insist…
 
PHILIP :
I insist!
 
MORTICIAN :
but I warn you. Make the most of your time. You have very little left.
 
PHILIP :
Don’t think that that intimidation of yours is going to frighten me. You don’t really think you can make me believe that I’m dead. I’m too alive, too alive! Look! Look at me! (HE MAKES BIG LIFELESS GESTURES) Are these the movements of a dead man, I ask you? (PAUSE) Now, what other extras am I paying for?
 
MORTICIAN :
Well, there is the funeral cortege.
 
PHILIP :
Funeral cortege?
 
MORTICIAN :
You will lie in a glass carriage drawn by twelve Morgan horses.
 
PHILIP :
Horses?
 
MORTICIAN :
Morgan horses! (PHILIP SHAKES HIS HEAD) Remember, you selected the foam rubber slab, not I.
 
PHILIP :
Yeah, yeah. I guess I did.
 
MORTICIAN :
The funeral cortege will pass through the streets for a minimum of two hours. Paid mourners will trail the carriage. The number of mourners is not to exceed the population of the city. That will be the moment of truth.
 
PHILIP :
If I wasn’t too smart, Blacksuit, I’d say you pulled a fast one.
 
MORTICIAN :
This will be the most glorious funeral solemnity of the age. And you, Mr. Michaels, will be part of it. (LOOKING AT HIS WATCH) It is almost time.
 
PHILIP :
(PACING) My mother was right. She was always right. “Read the fine print! Read it! Always read it!”
 
MORTICIAN :
(THE MORTICIAN CLIMBS ON THE CHAIRS AND JUMPS ONTO THE SLAB AND RUNS ALL OVER THE FUNERAL PARLOR IN EXCITEMENT) Mr. Michaels, upon entering the final resting place, a cascade of flowers, numbering in the billions, will be distilled on the entire funeral from a squadron of planes 100,000 feet up. Some of the flowers used, among others are: Orchids, Iris, Primrose, Belladonna lilies, Bleeding Hearts, Hyacinth, Fever-fews, Arcanthis leafs, Gentians, Carnations, Ladyslippers, Honeysuckle, Galeate sepals, violets, Chrysanthemums, Poinsettias, Syringas, Morning Glories and the yellow of the Dieffenbachia leaf…(HE FALLS TO HIS KNEES EXHAUSTED. HE TURNS TO LOOK AT PHILIP, CHECKS THE TIME ON HIS POCKET WATCH AND LOOKS BACK AT PHILIP AGAIN, BUT THIS TIME WITH AN EXPRESSION OF HORROR)
 
PHILIP :
Stop right there! You can forget it. It’s off. (HE GOES TO THE BACK WALL TO GET HIS CLOTHES AND STARTS TO DRESS)
 
MORTICIAN :
(TO THE AUDIENCE) It didn’t work. He is not going back to being dead. The contract and all the arrangements, every…if I fooled him…I have to…(RUSHES TO PHILIP) Forgive me. I lost myself for a moment. Forgive me, please, please?
 
PHILIP :
You think I’m going to pay for all this garbage? If you think so, like I told you, you got to be a little deranged.
 
MORTICIAN :
You couldn’t be more mistaken, Mr. Michaels, and I’ll tell you why.
 
PHILIP :
(MOCKING HIM) Tell me why.
 
MORTICIAN :
Because, the foam rubber slab is a funeral fit for a king.
 
PHILIP :
A king, no less!
 
MORTICIAN :
Forgive me. I should say…for nothing less than a god. Specifically, it is designed for a creature such as yourself. One who is a man of class. One who knows how to go. And go you shall Mr. Michaels…shortly.
 
PHILIP :
(LOOKING AT HIM AND LAUGHING) Blacksuit, I think you flipped. You see, I ain’t going nowhere. I renege on the contract. Besides, I think you didn’t do a good job. You didn’t make me dead enough. (CONTINUES DRESSING. HE SMILES. A NEW LIFE BEGINS) I don’t know why you have a funeral like the foam rubber slap, but I do know that you’re not going to get me to pay for it.
 
MORTICIAN :
If you knew anything about the history of funerals, you would know and understand why I am going to such extremes. Funerals are no different than anything else. They follow a pattern, just like war. The greater the war, the greater the hero, the greater the funerals. Our civilization is on the verge of total annihilation, Mr. Michaels. There is a need, if not a demand for a perpetual, indestructible resting place. This will be a contribution from my profession to mankind. This is my way of keeping abreast with the times. The times breeds many things. This is just one of them…just one of them.
 
PHILIP :
An indestructible resting place, eh?
 
MORTICIAN :
Yes. The final resting place. A slab of gold, four feet above the ground. You will literally be laid in god since the top of the slab will be carved to your contour. A chandelier consisting of one hundred and ninety-two of the largest and purest diamonds will be hung above your head to provide an everlasting light. The remaining room in the tomb will not allow for more than 600 persons. The outside of the tomb will be constructed of an indestructible substance, patent pending. It is guaranteed not to shrink, mildew, peel or wear. Nor can fire, floods, the monsoons, hurricanes, typhoons, tornados or any other disaster, including earthquakes, affect it. And if the earth were to shatter into trillions of pieces, this structure would remain intact suspended in space. The peak of the tomb reaches 800 feet upward, give or take a few feet. Under the city ordinance, no other edifice may transcend this one. Nor can its peak be used for mounting TV antennae etc. (HE SMILES INSANELY)
 
PHILIP :
You’re smiling again.
 
MORTICIAN :
That’s because your time is almost up.
 
PHILIP :
(LAUGHING) I really think you believe that. You know, the funny thing about it is I really like it. That’s what I call really nice.
 
MORTICIAN :
You like it?
 
PHILIP :
Like t? I love it!
 
MORTICIAN :
Oh, that titillates me.
 
PHILIP :
Yeah, that’s what it does to me too. (LAUGHING) I just think of all the time I wasted.
 
MORTICIAN :
Yes, think of it.
 
PHILIP :
All my life, poor as a church mouse, just so I could pay off one big insurance policy.
 
MORTICIAN :
I don’t understand.
 
PHILIP :
I could have gone into this business and made a mint. Blacksuit, I’m going to do you a favor. I’m going to be your partner. You need a creature with class such as myself, isn’t that what you said, I’m a creature with class? (PAUSE) Look, I don’t want to be dead anymore. I want to stay alive. I’m happy now. Today, for the first time in my life, I am happy. I didn’t know what it was like. I didn’t know it was so good. I’ve had a taste of it now and I like it. Now I am going to walk out of here and live. (HE STARTS TO LEAVE)
 
MORTICIAN :
Mr. Michaels, wait!
 
PHILIP :
Yes?
 
MORTICIAN :
You’re dead. You can’t leave; you’re dead. Even the death certificate says you’re dead.
 
PHILIP :
Everyone believes what he wants to believe, Blacksuit, even you. I believe I’m alive and I’m going home. (HE STARTS OFF AND STOPS) Hey…I don’t have a place to go. I moved out of my room before I came here.
 
MORTICIAN :
Oh, that’s too bad. Stay here for the night.
 
PHILIP :
Here? Tonight?
 
MORTICIAN :
(SMILING) What’s one more night?
 
PHILIP :
Are you kidding?
 
MORTICIAN :
Of course not.
 
PHILIP :
You’re not angry that I’m going to leave…after all the plans you made and everything?
 
MORTICIAN :
All I can say, Mr. Michaels, is that’s life. It is what it is. (THEY LAUGH)
 
PHILIP :
Where will I sleep? (MORTICIAN POINTS TO THE SLAP) No kidding! (HE LAUGHS) You going to charge me rent?
 
MORTICIAN :
It’s on the house. Lie down. I’ll get you a blanket. (PHILIP LIES DOWN AND THE MORTICIAN RETURNS WITH A SHEET AND COTTON BLANKET) Comfortable? (HE COVERS PHILIP)
 
PHILIP :
Wonderful. (THE LIGHTS DIM)
 
MORTICIAN :
Can I get anything else for you?
 
PHILIP :
You’ve done enough already. For the first time in my life I can say I have a friend. You are my friend aren’t you? (MORTICIAN NODS) Now I’m going to go to sleep and rest in peace. (HE CLOSES HIS EYES)
 
MORTICIAN :
Pleasant dreams Mr. Michaels. (HE TAKES A KNIFE THAT IS CONCEALED ON THE SIDE OF THE SLAB AND SLASHES PHILIP’S THROAT. PHILIP’S EYES OPEN WIDE WITH SURPRISE AND FEAR. HE REACHES FOR THE MORTICIAN’S KNIFE HAND, BUT THE DAMAGE IS DONE.)
 
PHILIP :
It’s not fair…(HE SLUMPS BACK ON THE SLAB. HE IS DEAD)
 
MORTICIAN :
(IN A STATE OF HYSTERIA, TURNS TO THE AUDIENCE) Oh, I’m terribly sorry. You see, I’ve never done this before.
 
 
LIGHTS FADE TO BLACK
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