Prozac Cafe

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The Prozac Cafe

I wrote this in High School one afternoon. It was the first "play" I had ever written, besides some scenes here and there that I've thankfully lost. I had the gall to direct this short at my high school's "Festival of One Act plays," and I still have somewhere a clipping from the Beaver Dam, WI newspaper with a photo of my actors in rehearsal.

I think this piece is kind of cute, though it's clearly far from art. It has an air of facile absurdity that I now find quite innocently charming.


The Prozac Café

Frump, Farnick, and Finishum.

The scene is a table al fresco down stage right, with two chairs. One chair is occupied by Farnick, the other by Frump. Finishum stands a few feet stage left of the table. The stage is devoid of anything else.

FRUMP. Are you sure we can’t do anything?

FARNICK. Absolutely not. Nothing to be done.


FRUMP. No possibilities? Couldn’t we perhaps kill it? Or otherwise dispose of it?

FARNICK. Of course not. It’s related to us. One doesn’t do those sorts of things to relations.

FRUMP. I have no attachment to it whatsoever. It creates nothing but trouble. It’s a nuisance and a bother. Can you not see that?

FARNICK. I cannot. I cannot believe that you’re talking that way about a member of the family.

FRUMP. But how can it be a member of the family? It’s so different.

FARNICK. We are all of us different. In our own, special, different ways.

FRUMP. You don’t believe that.


FINISHUM. There is must, there is fust, mildew and dust involved here. Think of a barnacled pier, of which we have none here. In old buildings, such as my apartment, the dust, being thick, bunnies with abandon. It coats my coats and scratches our throats, covers your notes, makes the maid gloat.

FRUMP. We can’t ignore the facts here. The difference is striking. And very noticeable.

FARNICK. You can’t change opinions. Or characters. Like diamonds, they’re forever.

FRUMP. Change is inevitable.

FARNICK. Not in this context. (pause) Give up. You’ve lost the argument.

FRUMP. (pause) The least we could do is leave it home, not drag it out in public. Look. Everyone here is looking at it.

FARNICK. There’s no one here.

FRUMP. (pause) What’s the weather like today?

FARNICK. I doubt anything has changed.

FRUMP. That’s always true.

FARNICK. There are no eternal verities.

FRUMP. You’re a pessimist.

FARNICK. No, I’m a cynic.

FRUMP. What’s the difference?

FARNICK. They’re spelled differently.

FRUMP. What are?

FARNICK. The words. Of course.

FINISHUM. And nothing, but nothing, with nothing, can do anything that someone wants it to wash. With much in better common as we slapped all kites and still not quite. Knead the dough, stop the show. It doesn’t grow, it will not flow. The wind, it blows through his garden hose, spilling over our toes. The to where stow dough in roses grown with kneading that pricks us bleeding in groves in droves as it flows.

FARNICK. (after pause) It’s getting more articulate, you can’t deny that.

FRUMP. I can. That was drivel. Made no sense.

FARNICK. I was able to decipher every word.

FRUMP. (after pause) What’s the weather like today?

FARNICK. I don’t know. I haven’t a bible.

FRUMP. Oh. (pause) Waiter! Waiter!

FARNICK. What do you want him for?

FRUMP. I want to order a bible. Waiter!!!

FARNICK. You know, you could have asked me for help. I can help you perhaps much more than you think.

FRUMP. You said just now that you did not have a bible.

FARNICK. So I did.

FINISHUM. Pudding is an enigma to me…

FRUMP. (to Finishum) Will you shut up? Waiter!!!

FINISHUM. Whenever I think of pudding, (Frump gets up and goes off left) I don’t know what to think. Pudding can be thick, or lumpy. With sugar, it can make one jumpy. Tasting badly, it can make one grumpy. If crusted on one’s suit, one may be labeled frumpy. But I’ve never seen runny pudding, or pudding that runs. So, in conclusion, I conclude that the inconclusive evidence is conducive to a conclusion evoking images of pudding’s enigmatic nature. (long pause) Gravel. You like porcelain and I like gravel. You say tomato and I say the same thing. Parenthetically I would add that your are fried green, though.

FRUMP. (enters with Mathematics textbook) The waiter is dead, but I got a bible from the manager.

FARNICK. Check the weather.

FRUMP. Ok. (pause, opens book, looks at page, sighs, closes book, slight pause, and stare-into-space, then opens book again, examines page at random, slams book shut) Same thing, as usual. Twenty percent chance for plenty of weather.

FARNICK. I could have told you that. It’s been plenty all week.

FRUMP. Yes, but there was very little weather the week before two weeks ago.

FARNICK. Maybe, but that was three weeks ago. Things change.

FRUMP. Everything except your opinion regarding the treatment of you-know-who. (pause as Frump looks at, then goes over to, Finishum) You’re wearing my shirt.

FINISHUM. Na hoppa da thymin.

FRUMP. Can’t you talk sense?

FINISHUM. Ga croppa dis shyman. Dippo zi vipplo.

WAITER. (entering) Yes. You called for me?

FRUMP. Oh, yes. Can I see the menu?

WAITER. Certainly. (presents the sole of his shoe)

FRUMP. I’ll have the mushroom slathered in cauliflower sauce. Can I have extra sauce with that?

WAITER. Yes. (to Farnick) For you?

FARNICK. I’ll have a coffee.

WAITER. Nothing else?

FARNICK. Not unless I ask.


Waiter goes off, returns immediately with a tray bearing an apple and an empty mug.

WAITER. Here you are. Mushroom (the apple, to Farnick) and coffee (the mug, to Frump). Enjoy.

FARNICK. I asked for extra sauce!

WAITER. Yes you did. (exits)

FRUMP. Good coffee, this. (hasn’t touched it) Try some of your mushroom.

FARNICK. Ok. (without looking from paper, takes bite of apple and throws it backstage) Excellent. (chopped apple jettisoned on stage)

FINISHUM. Ice. Icy. Icy cold, colder than cool, which is cooler than hot, which can be summer. A pool, swirl, splash, cool. And ice, and summer, like she said he stated, “Lemonade Everything was So Infinite,” and of course it is, boiling in fact, boiling into infinity, sweating into eternity. Cold, then hot, then not so hot, not so hot an so on, say tepid or lukewarm why not? It’s an endless cycle. Hot, then warm, then not so hot, not so hot and so on, then tepid, then kinda coolish, then cool, then cold, then perhaps ice. And though we know this with icy conviction, still we inevitably ask, which is better? And where does the heat go? It goes to me, I’m certain of it, at night, when I try to sleep, but which is better, hot or cold?

FRUMP. Why is it so different? Why can’t it be normal?

FARNICK. Hush. A relative.

FRUMP. But everyone (Waiter enters with small pitcher of milk) stares and gapes. We should at least leave it home.

WAITER. Your sauce.

FRUMP. Thank you. (Waiter pours milk into Frump’s mug, then leaves) What’s in the paper?

FARNICK. Wood pulp.

FRUMP. (after pause) What’s in the news?

FARNICK. The Hippo of Good Slope.

FRUMP. Ah, again.

FARNICK. Yes. Again. Of course.

FRUMP. What now?

FARNICK. She is apparently embroiled in a title match with Elephanta Strunk. Both have made inflammatory statements.

FRUMP. Ah, what’s new.

Waiter enters.

FINISHUM. When I think of the Paraguayan nobility, I get a picture in my head of frumpy, stodgy old men in rumpled stained suits married to beautiful female creatures with beer bellies and ugly hats. Moreover, there are always beautiful tall palm trees dusted with snow swaying in the background, as the new age music wafts from the village below.

FRUMP. Anything more?

FARNICK. It seems that Elephanta said that life is unfair.

FRUMP. Well, that’s the rumor.

FARNICK. And that Hilda Harks was a communist.

WAITER. Excuse me. Are you done here?

FINISHUM. Yes, thank you.