Twentieth Century Chats, in Six Acts

by strannikov

DRAMATIS PERSONAE: (in order of appearance)

GALAHAM, latter-day knight-errant, pious spectator

J. KIDDING, divided self with prospects, unemployed nuisance

DEATH, we know who s/he is

COL. MORD, myopic pillar, well-mannered exterminator

M. CALLAGHAN, another divided soul, pretensions to anonymity

T. BURKULAR, cosmopolitan provincial, jungle critter

DOLLY CUPQUAKE, devoted baker, perspicacious violinist

CALDERONE, sport and game enthusiast, professional witness

= = = = = = = = = = 

ACT ONE (Scene: Train Terminal Diner)

GALAHAM:   May a stranger offer condolences for your partner's unfortunate death?

J. KIDDING:  I have to go. It's the last train, sorry.

DEATH:         I am Death!

COL. MORD: Ah! Excuse me.

J. KIDDING:  Give me a cigarette. Pack of Marlboros, please.

M. CALLAGHAN:      I wish I'd asked you to bring some of those tablets. What happened to you?

T. BURKULAR:          I'll have a big Coca-Cola—without ice—and . . .

DOLLY CUPQUAKE:           Is that all . . . hang yourself! Hang yourself!

CALDERONE:          Why the deuce didn't he say so in the first place?


ACT TWO (Scene: Train Terminal Platform)

COL. MORD: Why aren't they leaving? It's almost four o'clock.

CALDERONE:          Wonder who all those women were?

M. CALLAGHAN:      I don't want to go. When you make up your mind, send me a message.

DEATH:         I have been walking by your side for a long time.

DOLLY CUPQUAKE:           Why, that's well said. A good heart's better than gold.

M. CALLAGHAN:      It's the only way to save nowadays. It uses up their electricity.

J. KIDDING:  I kind of doubt it. I'm sorry about the noise. I've almost finished.

T. BURKULAR:          Me? I could never go to a place like that.

GALAHAM:   You will take, say, one hundred dollars?

CALDERONE:          I'm sorry I can't hear.


ACT THREE (Scene: Train Carriage Interior)

J. KIDDING:  You fell asleep here yesterday . . . tomorrow, then. I'll get up at seven.

COL. MORD: And Edmundo? I cannot say.

M. CALLGHAN:        What are you going to do? I never feel quite safe in these things.

DEATH:         Are you prepared?

CALDERONE:          If I'd known it was going to last twenty minutes . . .

DOLLY CUPQUAKE:           You, a captain! For what? Not here, sweet captain.

COL. MORD: You would do well to hold your tongue.

GALAHAM:   The fat man? Is he here?

T. BURKULAR:          Yeah, I don't follow music too much.


ACT FOUR (Scene: Train Dining Car Interior)

M. CALLAGHAN:      I've got a lot on my mind. You're drunk, aren't you?

COL. MORD:             Good idea!

DEATH:                     Well, there is no shame in that.

J. KIDDING:              Everyone suffers. Can you lend me your cat?

T. BURKULAR:          I don't know, sir. I don't follow political issues much.

CALDERONE:          You're a trifle late, aren't you? She may be dead by now.

DOLLY CUPQUAKE:           You'll start me weeping if you say so. An old man.

COL. MORD:             What the devil are you saying?

GALAHAM:               I'm going with you?


ACT FIVE (Scene: Train Carriage Interior)

M. CALLAGHAN:      Well, we shall be old for a very long time. I don't even know what protocol means.

CALDERONE:          Looks pretty black.

DEATH:                     That's what they all say.

COL. MORD:             I for my part do not wish to force your hospitality so freely.

J. KIDDING:              Don't be surprised to see my obituary in the papers. There was a slip of paper . . .

DOLLY CUPQUAKE:           Mmm. Poor ape, how you are sweating.

GALAHAM:               Are you going?

T. BURKULAR:          I'm off duty.

ACT SIX (Scene: Train Terminal Platform)

CALDERONE:          I did read once that if you keep on the go you can stay awake.

DEATH:                     I have no secrets.

J. KIDDING:              Do you know what's next? I didn't hear anything. I only saw . . .

M. CALLAGHAN:      How did you know I'd be here? Those were the days, old man.

DOLLY CUPQUAKE:           He, sure, is not in hell. Do you think I keep thieves in my house?

T. BURKULAR:          My work may take me out of New York.

COL. MORD:             What does that mean? Have they lost what's left of their wits?

GALAHAM:               What? Facts?

DEATH:                     Oh, no reason at all.