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Rated: E · Script/Play · Comedy · #1551221
A short and funny play on relationships and matrimony.




Private room at the Gadfly’s. Alfie, Bertie and Chip are seated around a table. Alfie is seated immediately to the right of Bertie and Chip next to him and across from Bertie. The waiter pours wine into the three glasses on the table and departs leaving the bottle on the table.

Alfie. (taking a sip of wine). Dreadfully good wine, this. Positively decadent.

Chip. (taking a sip). I rarely agree with Aflie on almost anything and practically everything, but I must admit he is quite right this time. Probability is indeed a wonderful phenomenon – everybody is right at some time, provided they are persistent and try long enough. This wine is positively depraved.

Bertie. Chip, my dear fellow, if I didn’t believe in the theory of probability, I would have said it is impossible for Alfie to be ever right; now I merely say that it is highly improbable. (Sips the wine delicately). Indeed, this wine is absolutely sinful. Isn’t it curious that all wonderful things in life are perfectly sinful and all sinful things perfectly wonderful?

Alfie. Perhaps it is a mere coincidence, Bertie, a mere coincidence, that it appears so.

Bertie. Coincidence is the refuge of the ignorant; a fact is a coincidence until a scientific explanation is provided. There are no coincidences, merely fact and unexplained facts.

Alfie. Speaking of unexplained facts, did you know that Ernie and Millie have announced their engagement? They are to be wedded soon.

Chip. That’s a tragedy. I fail to see what could have possibly compelled a sensible chap like Ernie to take such a drastic step. He is in the prime of his life and in the pink of health. You don’t suppose he is suffering from any secret ailment that is both debilitating and terminal?

Bertie. If he isn’t suffering any illness now, he soon will be; if he is already suffering from one, then it will doubtlessly become terminal soon enough. Marriage transforms women and men rather curiously – it transforms the former from adoring and benevolent to judgmental and demanding, and the latter are transformed from strong and optimistic to weak and disillusioned.

Alfie. Come, come, my dear Bertie, won’t you admit you are being rather harsh on the institution of matrimony? Surely marital bliss cannot be half as frightening as you make it out to be.

Bertie. Half as frightening? Alfie, you are an incurable optimist. Sensible men remain bachelors. Sensible men tempted into matrimony invariably take leave of their senses – how else can one explain the paucity of sensibilities among married men? All the rest are oblivious to their suffering and hence heedless to it. In short, matrimony is not for the sensible.

Alfie. I dare say I hardly would have thought that matrimony could have such a shattering effect upon ones sensibilities!

Chip. Alfie, you cannot have a thought to save your life. A thought has never passed through your mind in ages. Why start now and attract unnecessary damage to life and limb?

Bertie. Oh, don’t take all that I say too seriously, Alfie. This thought that I express, like many other that I do from time to time, is part of what I consider my pocket philosophy. These philosophies are always present but only expressed under the appropriate conditions and with the expectation that they be never taken terribly seriously. One must take neither oneself nor one’s opinions too seriously. If one did so, one would be nothing more than a worthless bore and make onself unbearably tedious.

Chip. Couldn’t agree with you more, dear fellow. Odious was the term that was created specifically to describe such insufferable people. And Alfie.

Alfie. And I am quite certain that repugnant was a word created specifically to describe you, my dear Chip. Nevertheless, Bertie, I commend you on the great thought that you have given to the subject of matrimony as with other things.

Bertie. Thank you Alfie; it would be graceless of me to not acknowledge such a generous compliment. However, I must state that while many things in life are worth great thought, and I whole-heartedly endorse thought, it does have the nasty habit of killing spontaneity, and nothing is more unglamorous and tedious than premeditated actions. Too much thought can rob life of joy, don't you think? Consider all the portraits that you have seen of great thinkers - from Aristotle to Socrates, from Hume to Leibnitz to Kant, not a smile on any of their thoughtful faces, is there? Too much thought can have that unfortunate effect on one. It is wonderful to ponder our actions, to analyze and dissect them, but the conclusions drawn should be left strictly as lessons for the future generations to follow. To quote Oscar Wilde, "I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself."

Chip. Bloody well put, Bertie. I fear all this philosophical talk is making me faint and greatly in need of some fortification. I suggest we order another bottle of this particularly fine red wine and drink a toast to our esteemed Pocket Philosopher.

Alfie. I say, waiter…


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