Written by Joe Janes
129 of 365
(Lights up. We hear some upbeat vaudevillian music played by a small orchestra. Out comes Langley and Pratt marching in synch to start, wearing matching striped sports coats and boater hats. They both have flowers in their lapels. Langley moves with smooth confident movements. Pratt quickly becomes a spaz.)
LANGLEY AND PRATT (while continuously shaking hands)How do you do?...Nice to make your acquaintance…Likewise, I’m sure…Pleased to meet you…Nice fella…Snappy dresser…
LANGLEYSay, you sure do have a familiar face.
PRATTYou should see it from in here. (Moves his eyes around wildly, trying to see his own face – rimshot!).
LANGLEYI heard your mother-in-law was in town.
PRATT (suddenly quiet)Yes.
LANGLEYYou seem upset by this unexpected visit from your mother-in-law.
PRATTYes. She made me go see a doctor.
LANGLEYO-kay… I heard you saw the doctor today.
LANGLEYAbout your stiff arm? (Pratt shakes his head) About your sore throat? (Pratt shakes his head) Was it because you, perchance, had some form of poultry on your head?
LANGLEYThen, why, pray tell, did you go see the doctor?
PRATTMy mother-in-law made me go. She thinks there’s something wrong with me. Up here (points to his head).
LANGLEYI could have saved her five bucks. You’re crazy! (rimshot!)
PRATTYeah. That’s what he said.
LANGLEYThe doctor said you’re crazy?
PRATTHe thinks I have some kind of defect. Some chromosome disorder or chemical imbalance. It causes my wild mood swings, erratic behavior and spastic motor skills.
LANGLEYBasically, everything that makes you money! (rimshot!)
PRATT (takes out small bottle)He gave me these pills. They’re supposed to make me feel better about myself.
LANGLEYGive me that. (He reads the label.) Fast Acting Chilloxyn. Have you taken any, yet?
PRATTI’m afraid to. Read the label.
LANGLEYMay cause dry mouth, intestinal discomfort, occasional depression that may lead to thoughts of suicide and a decreased sex drive. What’s the point of feeling better about yourself if you’d rather kill yourself than get laid? (rimshot!)
PRATTSee what I mean?
LANGLEYOh, poppycock. They have to put that stuff there for legal reasons. It’s medicine. If your doctor says its good for you, it’s good for you. Tell you what, ol’ pal, ol’ buddy, I’ll take one with you. That’ll show you how harmless they are. (He pops one in his mouth). Here. (He hands the bottle to Pratt, who takes one, too.)
PRATTCan you feel it working?
LANGLEY (nods)I suddenly feel very rational. And gassy. (rimshot! Pratt looks confused by the rimshot)
PRATTHey. Me, too.
LANGLEYSorry, folks, we got a little sidetracked. If you don’t mind, we’re going to start over. Okay? Maestro, from the top!
(They quickly run off. The music kicks in, again. This time they walk straight out and quietly and confidently address the audience.)
LANGLEYGood evening ladies and gentlemen. Say “hello” to the people, Pratt.
LANGLEYI understand your Uncle Hubert is staying with you while he looks for a job.
PRATTYes. He’s been with us for two months, now. He sleeps on the couch. There’s just no work out there for a man his age.
LANGLEYThat’s a shame.
PRATTYes. It’s very sad. He’s a veteran. (pause. rimshot! They both look around, confused by the rimshot.)
PRATT (continuing)But I feel good about myself.
(They both get odd expressions on their faces. They are clearly suffering from dry mouth. They turn and face one another and squirt water at each from their lapel flowers while nonchalantly trying to lap up the water. They do this until they run out.)
LANGLEY (continuing)Okay, then. Say good night, Pratt.
(Their rousing exit music kicks in. They slowly stroll off arm-in-arm, noticing little things like the fabric of the curtains and taking a moment to check it out. Lights fade.)