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Rated: 18+ · Script/Play · Internet/Web · #1455488
A guy who spends too much time on the computer. Or is there more to the story?
I’ll Be Right Down.
A one act (3 scene) play.

Light tapping sounds (form a keyboard) and soft, buffered internet radio music is heard.  Preferably music from popular viral videos, such as “why does everyone have more sex than me” and “pork & beans” Use your imagination on music, but some suggestions will be included here.

Lights up on furnished home office stage right, including desk, a couple small bookshelves with mainly classical books and graphic novels, but cluttered also with DVDs, CDs, small trophies and pictures.  A sense of an active, full life.

Ben, mid to late 30s, everyman but not heavy, is sitting at the desk typing.  Computer angled so audience can see he has a number of windows open including video site, fantasy sports site and a word document.

Mid and right stage are the other ‘rooms’ including a bedroom and a children’s playroom.

Offstage, woman’s voice, loud but matter-of-fact: Dinner’s ready, hon!

Ben without looking or pausing in his keystrokes, also loud and matter-of-fact:  I’ll be right down!

Thirty to forty seconds pass.

Offstage, woman’s voice:  It’s getting cold, hon!

Ben:  I’ll be right down!

Thirty to forty seconds pass.

Offstage, woman’s voice:  We’re leaving now for the store.  Are you coming with us?

Ben:  I’ll be down in a sec!

Thirty to forty seconds pass.

Offstage, woman’s voice:  I’m taking the kids and going to my Mom’s.

Ben: In a minute, honey.

Offstage, woman’s voice, in explanation:  We’re leaving you for good. Dear.

Ben:  I’ll be down in a sec.

Lights down but keystrokes and internet music continues during scene change. 

Lights up reveals that the playroom has been replaced with a sitting room with a card table as the centerpiece and the bedroom is furnished differently.  Make sure there is a bureau no higher than a desk (this will later be used as a desk.)

Ben is at the computer still typing and opening and closing desktop windows.  Not frantic, but at a fairly brisk pace. ‘I got high’ is playing on the internet radio.  There is now a cot next to the desk.  It is unmade.

At the card table in the sitting room are two mid twenty year olds playing MagicTheGathering.  There are a few long white well-worn boxes full of cards on the table with them.

Josh:  Funny about the guy at the computer.

Ralph as if explaining it for the hundredth time:  He came with the place.

They play a little more in silence.

Josh:  So he was here when you got here?

Ralph:  Yep.  Ruth and I are renting.  It was part of the deal.

They play some more. Then Josh finally pays attention to the conversation.

Josh:  That’s really fucking weird.

Ralph:  Yep.  Your turn.  As I said, he came with the place.

Josh puts down hand.

Josh:  So a middle-aged man came with your house rental?

Ralph:  This is not news.  You’ve been here before.  C’mon, it’s your turn.  Ruth will be home soon and you know she will not want me sitting here playing games all night.

Josh picks up hand and half-heartedly plays a card.  He ‘taps’ a few of his cards (turns them to the side) and then plays another card. He then indicates two cards.

Josh: They attack.  Have you talked to him?

Ralph:  Who?  I block with my ranger and my elf. 

Josh: Ummm… the guy living in your house?  The elf dies.  You take four points.

Ralph:  Ben?  I’ve tried.  He’s kind of in his own little world.  That puts me at eight.

Josh: Can you stop the giant? 

Ralph:  Huh?

Josh: I am going to talk to him.  Flip up your next three cards and if you can’t stop the giant, it’s over anyway.

Ralph:  You are wasting your time.  He looks at the top three cards during this.  He won’t even turn around.  Third card stops the giant.

Josh:  Can you stop a counterspell? He tosses the card onto the table as he stands up. He walks over to Ben, leaving the room through an imaginary door up stage.

Ralph tosses cards down.  Ralph: Man, this deck sucks.

While Josh is with Ben, Ralph looks through the box of cards, trying to find one or two specific ones.

Ben furtively sees Josh coming and closes a couple windows, including the word document. He does not stop typing.  Perhaps he is looking at forums and adding comments.

Josh:  What’s up, dude?

Ben:  Not much.  Hey, give me a few secs okay?

Josh waits for a few seconds, but it is clear that Ben is not planning to actually finish up and talk.

Josh:  So… do you eat? Do you go to the bathroom ever?

Ben:  Sure.  Just another minute. OK?

A few more seconds pass.

Josh: Meaning ‘never’?

A few more seconds pass.

Josh: Dude, you are just fucking odd.

He acts like he is going to slap Ben on the back of the heads and thinks better of it. Then starts walking back to the sitting room.

As soon as Josh is a few steps away, Ben opens the word doc and starts typing into it.

Josh returns to the card room in the same manner as before, walking through imaginary doors.

Ralph: How did the tete a tete go?

Josh: That guy is fucking odd. He sits down and starts cleaning up his deck. He just-

Ruth, from off stage: You guys upstairs playing Magic?

Josh:  Are we in trouble? And by ‘we’ I mean ‘you’?  Without waiting for a response.  He just sits there typing away and watching videos and stuff.  And I think he hid a few windows when he heard me coming in.

Ralph:  Nahh.  She’s cool so long as I don’t miss any chores and am not late for anything.  Holds up card for Josh to see. 

Josh: Might work. 

Ralph: And he makes me look good for sure.

Both are laughing as Ruth enters.  She throws Ralph a pack of Magic cards.

Ralph to Ruth: Sweet!  Thanks.  To Josh.  See?

Ruth:  I got you a pack, too.  She hands it to Josh.  What’s so funny?

Josh:  Your boarder as role model.  Hey, thanks for enabling my bad habits. 

Ruth lowers her voice:  He’s working on something. It’s not all surfing porn and fantasy sports.

Josh:  I knew it.  I said I thought he hid something as I walked in.

Ruth:  You went in there?

Josh: Kind of like visiting an animal in a zoo, though.  A sloth. Does he ever sleep?

Ralph and Ruth together: Not much. 

Ruth continues: He’s writing some sort of treatise. I found a link to it online.

Josh: Like the Unibomber? Did you read any of it?

Ralph: The uni-who?                    

Ruth at same time as Ralph:  He never moves, so it’d be more like the Uni-Sitter.

Josh: That guy who bombed… I can’t remember what he bombed.  But he kept writing letters to the newspapers and, finally, one of his relatives turned him in.  He was holed up in a shed in the middle of the woods somewhere.

Ruth intersperses as needed: Theodore Kaczynski. Letter bombs. Lincoln, Montana.

Josh to Ralph:  Okay. Now that was creepy.

Ruth: I just Wikied him. 

Josh: What’s his name?

Ruth repeating: Theodore Kaczynski.

Josh: No, I mean his. Our unisitter.

Ralph: Ben something.

Ruth looking at Ralph with disbelief: Ben McConnell.  We have a guy living in our house and you don’t even know his name?

Ralph: I knew it.  I just forgot it.  The guy is like a piece of furniture.  So what does his manifesto say?

Ruth: I just read a few parts of it.  It’s kind of all over the place.  Ruth acts looking at her watch.  She is clearly not wearing one.   Ruth dramatically: Oh, look at the time.  Josh really needs to be running off for an incredibly important appointment.

Josh: Is that a hint?  He hugs Ruth goodbye and as he walks toward the imaginary door…

Lights out.

Tapping and internet music continues in the darkness.  After scene change before lights up, we hear a second, slower, active keyboard.

Lights up to reveal Ben in the same place typing as quickly as before. In the ‘bedroom’ we see Ruth sitting in front of the bureau. There is a laptop on it with wires and a router alongside. She is typing and clicking far more slowly than Ben.  Ralph is in bed. 

Ralph: Are you ever coming to bed?”

Ruth: Just a sec, hon.

Ralph: Still reading our unisitter’s manifesto?  After a few seconds of no response.  It’s that good?

Ruth:  It’s, umm…  it’s… She clicks a link and a window opens.

Ralph: I guess that’s a ‘yes.’

Ruth:  It’s very dense…  Another click. A few more keystrokes.  It’s got links to videos …. and forums and… She clicks a link and a few windows open. We hear music from earlier start playing.  (There should now be two songs playing on stage.)

Ralph: Should I just… oh never mind.  He sighs loudly, pulls the pillow over his head and makes a loud effort of going to sleep.

Ruth: Sorry, hon.  Just another minute or …  A few more clicks.  I’ll join you in… Another click.  Oh, my!

Lights out.

The End.
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