Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof

A Moment of Gambler’s Clarity

In Bob Folder, Drama, Joe Brooks, Superintelligent sea cucumbers on November 4, 2010 at 3:07 am

peccary,javelina

My friend Joe Brooks and I wrote this script for a short film some years back, after a trip to Vegas. I’m not sure where the title character came from. But I’m pretty sure he’s real.

***

Note on characters:  Guy is a man.  Brent Huffman, on the other hand is a stuffed peccary mounted on a wheeled board with casters and a twine string to pull him with.  All the characters in the play react to Brent as though they can hear him.  The audience cannot.  The Dealer, the Waiter, Second Dealer and the Mob Boss can be played by one actor

SCENE ONE – EVENING AT A BLACKJACK TABLE AT THE SAHARA IN LAS VEGAS
The dealer, Paul, Guy and Brent Huffman are sitting around the table.

DEALER
Sir?

Paul makes a waving motion with his hand, Guy scrapes table with cards

DEALER (CONT’D)
16.

Guy scrapes table again.

DEALER (CONT’D)
22

GUY
God. Damn it.

DEALER
(To Brent Huffman)
Sir?

Pause. Dealer deals.

DEALER (CONT’D)
18.

Dealer turns over cards to 21.

GUY
God hates us.

Dealer deals new cards to Paul, Guy and Brent. Players place bets.

GUY (CONT’D)
You’re betting everything, Brent Huffman? You know that’s it for your money. We’re going to walk home. I hope you understand that.

Guy increases his bet.

GUY (CONT’D)
Yeah, I know. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. No guts, no glory. We are definitely walking home.

Dealer deals. Paul gets blackjack, dealer pays. Guy has a king and a queen. Brent has a 9 and a 2. Dealer has a 2 and a 3. Dealer deals. Brent hits. 13, 15, 19. Dealer deals own hand. Starts with a 2 and a 3 for 5, 7, 10, 14, 16, 21. Dealer scrapes in chips.

GUY (CONT’D)
Oh, no. Oh, my God. Oh my God we’re totally screwed. No, I’m not going to calm down. Ah, man.

PAUL
Listen, I may have a way for you two to pick up a few dollars. Why don’t you let me buy you some dinner? Let’s go up to the café here. What do you say? No strings attached. We’ll go have a meal and I can tell you what I’ve got in mind.

GUY
(to Brent)
What do you think?

Pause.

GUY (CONT’D)
I agree.
(to Paul)
Sure, what do we have to lose?

SCENE TWO – A TABLE IN THE MEZZANINE OF THE NASCAR CAFÉ IN THE SAHARA, OVERLOOKING BAR ON LEVEL BELOW
Paul, Guy and Brent looking at menus. Paul is smoking a cigarette. There is an ashtray between Paul and Brent, with a second cigarette wedged in one of the notches.

PAUL
Order anything you like.

GUY
“Racetrack Chili?” “Chicken Fried Chicken?” “Collision Chicken, Fudge Tire, Racetrack Chili.”

Guy looks around panicky at the bizarre nature of the menu. Waiter approaches tables.

PAUL
Gimme the Racetrack Chili here. And gimme a Miller.

GUY
Uh. A cheeseburger I guess. And a Sprite.

Waiter looks at Brent Huffman. Pause

WAITER
Sir?

Pause.

WAITER (CONT’D)
Coming right up.

PAUL
OK, here’s the deal. I got this package. Never mind what it is. It’s not important. It’s gotta get to the Cabeza de Vaca Hotel Casino downtown at 4 a.m. this morning. That gives you, what, four and a half hours. You go find the pit boss, old guy name Abe. He’ll take you to the boss. You give this to the boss, boom, you’re done.

Waiter delivers drinks. Brent’s drink is a Cosmopolitan.

GUY
It’s really great of you, you know, the meal and everything. But this seems a little out of our league.

PAUL
Nah, man, it won’t be dangerous for you, if that’s what you’re thinking. Look.

Paul puts an envelope on the table and pushes it toward Guy and Brent. It’s open and they can see a large wad of bills.

PAUL (CONT’D)
That’s $2,500. U.S. currency. You take this. I insist. You deliver the package for me – 4 a.m., exactly, then meet me back here at the Sports Book and you get another $2,500. That’ll take care of your problems, yeah? Listen, I gotta use the phone. You guys talk about it.

Paul leaves the table.

GUY
Fuck you, this guy’s a hood.

Pause.

GUY (CONT’D)
Why would he give us this much money to do something safe?

Pause.

GUY (CONT’D)
No way. You have got to be kidding me. What, you want to get us killed? Do you want to die? You want your freeze dried body to be found out in the desert by some four-wheel-drive enthusiast?

Pause.

Well, that’s true enough I guess.

Pause.

GUY (CONT’D)
No, I got no idea.

Pause.

GUY (CONT’D)
No, I got no one left to call. What about your sister? Call her.

Pause.

GUY (CONT’D)
Oh, right. Yeah, sorry about that. I guess. Fine. OK, fine.

GUY (CONT’D)
That’s what I said. Fine. We’re going to live to regret it, though. I hope.

Paul returns.

PAUL
What do you say, guys?

GUY
We’ll do it, I guess.

PAUL
I knew I could count on you. See this shopping bag next to me? Inside is the package. See you at the Sports Book.

Paul rises.

GUY
You’re leaving?

PAUL
We got a deal and I got work. You take my food. Enjoy the meal.

Paul leaves. Pause.

GUY
That son of a bitch stuck us with the bill.

Silence.

GUY (CONT’D)
This is bad news. We shouldn’t be getting involved with gangsters. I don’t want to play tough guy with possible killers, Brent.

Pause.

GUY (CONT’D)
That’s an idea. He doesn’t know who we are, where we’re from. Excellent. We’re not expected at the Cabeza de Vaca until 4:00 AM. Let’s hop a cab to the airport and get out of here.

Pause.

GUY (CONT’D)
You want to get a hair cut? Now?

Pause.

GUY (CONT’D)
I know, 4 a.m., but why cut it close?

Pause.

GUY (CONT’D)
Fine, you can get a hair cut, then we’ll go. But that’s it.

Guy and Brent stare at each other for an uncomfortably long time, as the music of George Antheil’s “Ballet Mecanique” slowly comes up.

SCENE THREE – BACCARAT TABLE AT CAESAR’S
Music fades to the sound of vacuum cleaners in the empty casino.

SECOND DEALER
I’m so sorry gentlemen. Better luck next time.

GUY
I can’t buy in any more, you idiot!    That was it, all of it. The money’s gone. Jesus Christ, what the hell happened? Shit. Come on.

Pause.

GUY (CONT’D)
(whispering in Brent’s ear)
Where’d you put that package?

Pause.

GUY (CONT’D)
Which garbage can?

Guy looks at his watch.

GUY (CONT’D)
Jesus it’s 3:45 in the morning.

Pause.

GUY (CONT’D)
It’s our only chance. We’ll make the meeting at the Cabeza de Vaca, go get the rest of the money from that guy at the Sahara Sports Book and go straight to the airport afterwards.

Guy walks over to the garbage can, pulling Brent on a string.  Guy digs in the can, then stands, brandishing the package triumphally in his upraised hand.

GUY (CONT’D)
I’ve got it! Let’s go!

SCENE FOUR – CABEZA DE VACA HOTEL AND CASINO
A shabby office with one light burning on an old scarred desk. Behind the desk sits the Mob Boss. In front of the desk are two chairs.

MOB BOSS
Gentlemen! Come in, can I get you a drink?

Guy and Brent walk toward the desk.

GUY
Yeah, OK, how about a bourbon?

Guy and Brent sit down.

MOB BOSS
Bourbon it is. And for you?

Pause.

MOB BOSS (CONT’D)
A Cosmopolitan? Bourbon it is.

He pours bourbon into glasses.

MOB BOSS (CONT’D)
So, I trust you boys have been enjoying your stay in beautiful Las Vegas? Yeah? Little gambling, some lovely ladies? Yeah? Yeah? Maybe I give you a little piece of this later, huh? What do you think of that, Ginger?

GUY
Yeah, that sounds great. Look we’re in a bit of a hurry, so, here’s your package.

MOB BOSS
Gentlemen, please, what’s the rush? Where’s the fire? You look tired and… quite frankly, your friend here…
(indicates Brent)
Is beginning to annoy me with his disrespectful stare. I also have a friend who stares. Have another drink while I open the package. Ginger, honey, make two more drinks drink!
(in falsetto voice)
Will do, honey, you big tough salad tong gravy boat bottle of wine.

GUY
(as if in trance, quoting Bible)
We have done the things we ought not to have done, and we have left undone those things that we ought to have done, and there is no health in us…

Mob Boss slowly removes cheap gift store crap from the box: A plastic Vegas cityscape “snowball” trinket, a giant pencil, a tiny plastic cowboy hat. He grows visibly angrier and angrier. He pulls out a gun and lunges around the desk but trips over Brent’s string, which has tangled around the leg of the desk, and sprawls on the floor. Guy picks up a heavy glass ashtray the size of a casserole dish, and brings it down hard on the back of the Mob Boss’s head. Guy picks up the gun and shakily points it at the Mob Boss.

GUY (CONT’D)
Don’t move! We’re leaving. This has all been a horrible mistake!

Exit Guy pulling Brent.

SCENE FIVE – OUTSIDE THE SAHARA

GUY (CONT’D)
Son of a bitch. He’s not here, Brent Huffman.

Pause.

GUY (CONT’D)
I looked in the Sport Book, smart guy.  And the bar and the restaurant we ate at and everywhere.  Oh, this is beautiful. Just beautiful.

Pause.

GUY (CONT’D)
I don’t know man. We don’t find him we really are going to be walking home.

Guy and Brent survey the crowd for Paul.

GUY (CONT’D)
Damn it, look, it’s him.  Look, over on the farside of the parking lot, in the red convertible.

Guy runs, pulling Brent. He hops into Paul’s car, pulling out gun. He throws Brent in the back seat.

GUY (CONT’D)
You fucker. You fucker, you screwed us. You almost got us killed. You fuck. I ought to kill you.

PAUL
I was looking for you guys…

GUY
Shut up. Give me your wallet.

Wallet is a card case.

GUY (CONT’D)
Give me your money, damn it.

Paul hands over a money clip with $80 dollars in it. Guy counts it.

GUY (CONT’D)
$80? You have $80? God you are such a loser. Get out.

PAUL
Come on, guys, you don’t have to do this.

GUY
We’re not going to shoot you, you gas bag. Unless you don’t get out. Run! Run!

Paul hops out and runs away into the night. Guy puts Brent into the front passenger seat and gets behind the wheel.

GUY (CONT’D)
A new day is dawning, Brent Huffman. Let’s greet it somewhere the hell away from here.

The sound of tires screeching and gravel flying as Guy and Brent Huffman roar away into the dawning desert.

END

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