Monday, April 6, 2009

Week 12, Day 78 - “Chicken Magnet”

“Chicken Magnet”
Written by Joe Janes
4/6/09
78 of 365

CAST:
Sam, 30s
Orlando, 50s
Carlos, 20s
Fido
Rover
Spot
Senor Bawk-Bawk


(In the dark, we hear the soft cooing and clucking of chickens. And then a knock on a door. A light comes on. We see Orlando, 50, near a light switch on the wall. He has a rifle. Onstage, are four chickens walking about. And by chickens, I mean actors. Who can afford live chickens? There’s another knock. Orlando crosses to the other side of the stage to the door.)

ORLANDO
Who is there?

SAM (off)
My name is Sam.

ORLANDO
What is the password?

SAM
Oh. Um. Oh! “To get to the other side.”

(Orlando opens the door. Sam, a mild-mannered young man, enters.)

SAM
Hi. You must be Orlando. My name is Sam. (He holds out his hand. Orlando does not take it.)

ORLANDO
Who told you to come here?

SAM
A man. At the grocery store. He heard me complaining to the produce guy about the price and quality of their poultry. He trailed me out into the parking lot and told me I could get fresh, organic chicken from you. Cheap.

ORLANDO
That man lied to you. I do not sell “poultry.”

SAM
But, these look like chickens here. In your living room.

ORLANDO
These are my pets. They are like family to me. I could never part with them. This one is Spot. This one is Rover. That one is Fido. And this here is Senor Bawk-Bawk. Senor Bawk-Bawk, who is a good boy? Who is a good boy? …My pets.

SAM
The guy was pretty clear. He said I could come here and you would hook me up. I’m just trying to stop taking it on the chin from the man.

ORLANDO
There is a man giving it to you on your chin?

SAM
You know, greedy corporate America. Factory farms.

ORLANDO
You should go.

SAM
Did I do or say something I shouldn’t have? I had the right password.

ORLANDO
Go.

(Carlos enters from another room.)

CARLOS
Wait. Poppa, sell the man a chicken.

SAM
That’s the guy I was talking about.

ORLANDO
Sell the man a chicken. Just like that?

CARLOS
Poppa, please. He needs it. We need the money.

ORLANDO
My son says to sell you a chicken. Which one do you want?

SAM
Senor Bawk-Bawk.

ORLANDO
Not Senor Bawk-Bawk.

SAM
Fido, then?

ORLANDO
Very well. (Orlando puts his rifle down, grabs Fido and snaps his neck. During his monologue, he plucks and dresses Fido using a knife he pulls from his back pocket.) When I came to this country, I worked on a farm in the southern part of the state. Acres of land. Acres. Covered with corn, sheep, chickens and several cows. I started there as a teenage boy. I fell in love with the farmer’s daughter.

SAM
Really?

CARLOS
Please. Do not joke. He has a sharp knife in my hand.

ORLANDO
As I was saying, Mahtilda’s father passed away and willed the land to us. Our family now ran the farm. Then the big corporations moved in. Wal-Mart moved in. No one wanted my wares any more. My wife left me. My children moved on. All except for Carlos. Maybe because he loves his poppa too much. Maybe because he is stupid. Now, I collect welfare and live in this tiny apartment. But farming is still in my blood. I raise chickens. I grow corn in the bath tub. There’s a sheep named Hilde in the bedroom. She’s not for sale. Here, Carlos. Take Fido’s carcass and wrap it up nice for Sam.

(He hands Fido off to Carlos who exits.)

SAM
Thank you. This means so much more to me than just picking up something half-frozen and wrapped in plastic and styro-foam.

ORLANDO
Treat it well. Cook it slowly. Roast it. 350 degrees, two hours. Lightly coated in canola oil and kosher salt. Do not fry it. Savor every bite.

(Carlos returns with Fido wrapped in butcher paper and hands it to Sam.)

SAM
How much do I owe you?

ORLANDO
There is no price I can put on the gift of one of God’s creatures for your table.

(Sam opens his wallet and takes out a twenty.)

SAM
All I have is this twenty-

ORLANDO (snatching it)
That’ll be fine.

SAM
Oh- Uh. Okay. You know what. It’s worth it. I’m giving it to someone who cares.

(Sam awkwardly hugs Orlando and leaves.)

ORLANDO
You gave him that thawed out frozen crap we bought at Costco, right?

CARLOS
Fido’s roasting in the oven.

ORLANDO (cleaning his knife)
Bring Hilde out of the bedroom. I think she and I are going to have a romantic dinner tonight.

(Carlos exits. Lights fade.)

4 comments:

idjar said...

Canola oil?? What kind of advice is that?

Although that did make more sense than:

" CARLOS
Please. Do not joke. He has a sharp knife in my hand. "

Good stuff, man.

Joe Janes said...

D'oh! yeah. That line used to be Orlando's. I changed it because Carlos seemed to disappear for a bit and it seemed to increase the threat to have him give the warning.

Henri D said...

The visual of 4 actors playing chickens then Carlos returning with a huge butcher package is hilarious to me.

Chris Othic said...

I think you are hitting your stride. I love this scene. It's a little dark and ominous, but then you have people playing chickens.

And I would not fuck with Orlando.