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WOOD EYE

WOOD EYE

BY

PATRICK HARDING

CAST IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE

 

VITO PANZEROTTI, FORTIES, MAFIA CHAPLAIN

THREATENING

ERIC STROHEIM, FORTIES, ACTUARY

WHO IS STRINGING ALONG

LOLA LALONDE, FORTIES, EX PORN ACTRESS,

TRYING TO GO LEGIT IN A PLAY WITH

VANCE VERDI TWENTIES, DIRECTOR

INCLUDING

RIKKI LEEKS, FIFTIES, LIBRARIAN

ERIC’S LATEST

UNDER THE WATCHFUL EYE OF

DON GIOVANNI, SENILE, OPERA-LOVING GODFATHER

ACT ONE SCENE ONE

The scene is a stage in a small community theater. . The backdrop is an Arctic scene and a large plastic igloo dominates the upstage area, the entrance facing the audience. It would be a bit of a tight squeeze for an adult. The igloo features a television aerial, a mailbox, and a white picket fence, among other homey features. Down L and R ,we have furniture including a couch and a table and chairs. There are entrances UR and UL

 

As the play begins,ERIC, a fragile looking guy in wire rim glasses is sitting in a chair facing the audience while VITO, a Wise Guy in a nice suit and clerical collar, stands directly behind him with a pistol in his hand.

It is February 6.

 

VITO

Let’s go straight to confession. I will ask you questions and you will answer only “yes” or “no”. Capiche?

 

ERIC

OK.

 

VITO

Is that a “Yes”?

 

ERIC

Of course. You have a gun to my head, don’t you?

 

VITO

Yes

 

ERIC

And you are not afraid to use it, right?

 

VITO

Yes.

 

ERIC

And your boss is Don Giovanni?

 

VITO

Yes.

 

ERIC

The most feared mobster in all the land?

 

VITO

Yes.

 

ERIC

And you are his yes man?

 

VITO

Yes.

 

ERIC

Well, OK then. Fire away. Pause Cancel that last thought.

 

VITO

Seven years ago, did you borrow two million dollars from Don Giovanni?

 

ERIC

Yes.

 

VITO

Did you pursue a life insurance scam to pay the Godfather back?

 

ERIC

Yes.

 

VITO

Did that scheme entail taking out a life insurance policy for two mil on some poor schmuck, unbeknownst to said schmuck, making yourself the beneficiary, then us bumping him off, and collecting the proceeds from you?

 

ERIC

Yes.

 

VITO

Was that schmuck Lance Lovelace?

 

ERIC

Yes.

 

Did you encourage him to act in a classic porn film called Night Shift Nurses.?

 

ERIC

Yes.

 

VITO

Did Lance weigh 300 pounds?

 

Eric

Yes.

 

VITO

In that film, was it your plan for Lance to engage in vigorous sex with Lola Lalonde, the better to induce a fatal coronary?

 

ERIC

Yes.

 

VITO

Did that in fact occur?

 

ERIC

Yes.

 

VITO

Was Lola Lalonde aware of your plan?

 

ERIC

No!

 

VITO

Did Lance Lovelace’s corpse go missing?

 

ERIC

Yes.

 

VITO

Without a body, does it take seven years to produce a Death Certificate?

 

ERIC

Yes.

 

VITO

Will it be seven years next week?

 

ERIC

Yes.

 

VITO

Will you then bring us the money you owe Don Giovanni plus seven years interest, for a total of three million dollars next week?

 

ERIC

Three million?

 

VITO

Whacks Eric on the back of the head with his pistol.

Yes or no, Eric?

 

ERIC

Yes.

 

VITO

Good. I understand, Eric, even though you are an accountant. you are quite the ladies man, The Good Book says: ‘He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord’. How about your privy member? Still in one tiny piece?

ERIC

Yes!

VITO

(Points his gun.)

Like to keep it that way?

 

ERIC

Yes! But how am I supposed to raise the extra million in a week?

 

VITO

As your spiritual advisor, might I suggest that you do the Lance Lovelace thing? Find some poor schmuck, insure her life, then we bump her off!

 

ERIC

Her?

 

VITO

Lola Lalonde. You been curling her toes lately, no? And didn’t you insure her life back in the day? You gotta be sick of that voice.

 

ERIC

Lola doesn’t deserve that!

 

VITO

She murdered Lance Lovelace! You got a week! It’s you or her! Now go in peace my son.

BLACKOUT

 

 

ACT ONE SCENE TWO

The scene is the same. It is the evening of February 7.

 

 

ERIC pops his head out of the igloo, looking left and right. He disappears, replaced by LOLA who crawls out, with ERIC close behind.

Facing off, center stage. Eric is slightly older than Lola,now a plus-sized woman who is not hard to look at,. But she does have an irritating voice..

LOLA

I’ve decided to kill myself!

ERIC

Lola, you realise to do that is actuarially unsound.

 

LOLA

What?

 

ERIC

Technically, your life insurance policy doesn’t pay out if you end your own life

 

LOLA

What do I care? I’m dead!

 

ERIC

What about your beneficiary?

 

LOLA

The Home For Retired Porn Actors?

 

ERIC

They get nothing. No million bucks. So no condoms, no Viagra, no walkers, no dolls. No special visitors! Nothing!

 

LOLA

What about that package you sold them ?

 

ERIC

It just covers death from STD’s: Gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital herpes, HPV infection and hepatitis B and C.

 

LOLA

Not breast reduction surgery?

 

ERIC

That’s in our deluxe health package. Very popular.

 

LOLA

Asking for a friend.

 

ERIC

Sure. You know you can change beneficiaries with the stroke of a pen.

 

LOLA

Why would I do that?

 

ERIC

How do you think I, a small time actuary and registered life insurance agent, with a love of the arts, and of artists such as yourself, was able to buy this theater and finance an amateur playhouse?

 

LOLA

You’re asking me that?

 

ERIC

It’s a rhetorical question.

 

LOLA

Whatever.

 

ERIC

What is: “Only because a dear friend of mine, Don Luigi, passed away and had changed the beneficiary of his life policy to me”?

 

LOLA

Hey! If I did that we could be business partners! Fix this place up.

 

ERIC

Actuarially speaking, you would be dead.

 

LOLA

Oh. Right. What is an Actuary anyway?

 

ERIC

What is an Actuary? Half part superhero. Half part fortune-teller. Half part trusted advisor. We manage risk. It’s what we do. With unbeatable analytical skills, we help organizations plan for the future and protect themselves from loss.

ERIC’s cell rings.

 

Eric Stroheim. Slow down! Que? Si. OK., Raul? OK.   Don’t get your beard in a knot! I’ll talk to him . Tell him he will have to get out of those military fatigues and into a proper hospital gown if he wants me to see him.   Adios!

 

LOLA

Who was that?

 

ERIC

A client. Raul Castro. Fidel is still sick in hospital and he wants to change his beneficiary from Raul to some Havana Cat Rescue. I’m supposed to talk him out of it. Looks like I’ll be gone for a couple of weeks

 

LOLA

Pause Why can I never come with you?

 

ERIC

We actuaries don’t normally get to date ex porn stars. Rather exciting. So I get a little premature, OK?

LOLA

Not that! To Cuba. Why can’t I come with you to Cuba?

ERIC

Lola. Cuba is a very dangerous country. Unlike us, they had a revolution! All the rich people fled to Miami. The remainder are so poor that they have to get all their prescriptions and operations for free! In return they are forced to speak a foreign language! However, they do get to drive vintage automobiles. Do I want a gorgeous woman like you to get hit on by bearded revolutionaries and likely forced to marry into the Castro family? You have to stay safe here. And keep this to yourself!

LOLA

Why can’t I tell nobody? Why the big secret?

ERIC

Before the revolution Havana was full of nightlife, beautiful women, casinos.   Then Fidel kicked the Mafia out.

 

LOLA

You were in the Mob. Did they kick you out too?

 

ERIC

Lola, technically, I wasn’t in the Mob. I Just did some life policies for them. Mainstream insurers won’t touch them. Their mortality rate is too high.

By the way, the revolution was sixty years ago.   How old do you think I

am?

 

LOLA

How old do you think I am?

 

ERIC

Thirty?

 

LOLA

Close enough. But you’re not in the Mob now, right?

 

ERIC

Lola, technically you are always in the Mob. It’s been seven years, but they could always find me, ask a favor.

 

LOLA

Like what?

 

ERIC

Well they might want you dead, for example.

 

LOLA

Me ? Why? Is it my voice?

 

ERIC

They owned Hoerizontal Productions. They produced all your films.

 

LOLA

So why would they want me dead? What are they, drama critics?

 

ERIC

Suppose they took out a life policy on you for a million and you pass away… Now they can collect.

 

LOLA

They can’t do that without my say-so!.

 

ERIC

Sure they can. Walmart did it with their employees. It’s just a “for instance”, OK? Now back to Cuba. You know how the USA feels about dictatorships that don’t have oil. If the CIA found out about me and the Castro brothers…….. It’s just too dangerous for you!

 

LOLA

But you could fall in love with some cigar-smoking female revolutionary, and I would never see you again. Pause. I know! Suppose I make you the beneficiary of my life insurance, like you were talking. Wouldn’t that prove that I love and trust you? And if, God forbid, something happens to you and you don’t return, I can always switch it back to the Retirement Home, can’t I?

 

ERIC

Coincidentally, I happen to have the paperwork right here. Just sign wherever you see a highlighted blank space.

 

LOLA

Again, you are so fast.

 

From upstage enter RIKKI a handsome woman in her fifties, hair in a bun, glasses, trench coat, with a book in her hand. She takes a seat, finds her bookmark, and continues her reading. Lola and Eric are oblivious, doing the paperwork..

 

LOLA

There. Done. It’s almost like we are married! But what about our Valentine’s Day?

 

ERIC

I’ll make it up to you, sweetheart.

 

LOLA

But spoze your plane crashes! On purpose!

ERIC

That’s why I’m going by boat. But I’ll be watched. The CIA like to use a woman. Somehow she gets a key to the cabin. She searches it every day! And just before she leaves, she makes a little animal out of towels, just to freak you out.

LOLA

How long before you reach Havana?

ERIC

Three days from Fort Lauderdale. Can’t go straight to Havana. Too obvious. So I have to stop at a bunch of places on the way

LOLA

So what am I supposed to do?

ERIC

Surprise! I got you a part!

LOLA

No!

ERIC

It’s a play.

LOLA

What’s it called?

ERIC

Last Moments By Jason Dark

LOLA

Oh. I think I heard of him.

 

ERIC

Technically it’s kind of a musical. Vance Verdi is directing He’s famous.

LOLA

Now you made me nervous! Vance Verdi.

 

ERIC

Don’t worry. You’re in. All you have to do is to show up!

LOLA

But how………..?

ERIC

All I had to do was show Vance your greatest film. That was your audition piece.

LOLA

Night Shift Nurses? That’s years ago.

ERIC

That’s all it took.

LOLA

Tell me it wasn’t the scene where I seduce the entire operating team during open heart surgery?

ERIC

Including the patient. Classic. Lola, is that a tear?

LOLA

Well he died. The patient!

ERIC

It was just a movie, Lola.

LOLA

No! He died in real life! The actor! I killed Lance Lovelace, Eric!

 

ERIC

I don’t believe it!

 

LOLA

Believe it! I hadda beat a murder rap.

ERIC

So the Walrus is dead. We shall never see his big……smile again.

LOLA

They cleared me at the Inquest, because somehow they lost his body, but I know in my heart…..

ERIC

I wonder if he was insured. See, without a body the authorities won’t issue a death certificate, meaning his beneficiary doesn’t receive anything. But after seven years he can be declared legally dead.

LOLA

Seven years. That’s about how long it’s been. I felt so guilty. Eventually I quit the business.

 

ERIC

But you won three Silver Knee Pads! Remember when you played Cleopatra? You wanted to bathe in the milk of your donkey after that threesome with Virgil and Marcus Aurelius.   But her milk dried up and you promised Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony a night of passion if they could get any milk out of her.

 

LOLA

Yeah. That was called …….Tap My Ass! Historical romance.   Cost a fortune in costume alone. Couldn’t make that movie today. Why?   Internet Porn. No plot, no passion, no romance It ain’t pretty and it ain’t natural. That’s what I love about you, Eric. You are passionate. You are romantic. You care about me. You got a big ..brain.. And I love that pencil neck of yours. You don’t look anything like the gorgeous muscle bound hunks I used to work with. You saved me from all that. And best of all, you actually got a conscience!

 

There is a silence. Eric takes the insurance policy and rips it up.

 

LOLA

Whadda you doing?

 

ERIC

Lola, you can’t let those geriatric porn stars down! Their retirement home just has basic cable, so they have to watch the Hallmark Channel all day. Your money will provide premier access to their classic flicks! They get to see themselves when they were in their smutty prime! That’s so good for their self esteem!

 

LOLA

See, that’s why I love you!

 

ERIC

 

Now, rehearsal is at seven. Right here. Don’t be late! Go home and get some sleep!

LOL

It’s your last night! Aren’t we……?

ERIC

Can’t Lola.

 

LOLA

I know I put on some weight in retirement.

 

ERIC

More to love!

 

LOLA

And you know I still get tested every three months.

 

ERIC

 

Look, Raul told me to preserve my vital juices. He says I might need them some time during the Mission.

 

LOLA

So you’re like the James Bond of actuaries.

 

ERIC

Exactly.

 

RIKKI checks her watch, approaches and starts to tap her toe.

 

RIKKI

Ahem.

LOLA

Who is that woman? What’s she doing here?

ERIC

Relax. She’s a librarian. My books are overdue. She’s just come here to collect them for me. See, these days librarians have to go the second mile, just to compete with the Internet. Oh, and she is auditioning tonight.

 

LOLA

In the time we been together,I never even seen you read a book.

 

ERIC

Oh really? My card.

Gives his card to her

 

LOLA

“Eric Stroheim CFA CFP CPA” You musta read a lot of books!

 

ERIC

Add them up, it’s a PhD in numbers. Best part is, I did it all online through Trump University! Played football there too, first string on their fantasy team. We were ranked first in the nation by Fox News!

 

LOLA

Check out my card!

 

ERIC

“Lola Hare- Head?”

 

LOLA

My real name. The first H is not silent.

 

ERIC

RPS?

 

LOLA

Retired Porn Star. Same as getting a PhD in Anatomy

 

ERIC

I used to chase credentials, but thanks to you I have better things to do.

 

LOLA

Looks Rikki over

She playing a missionary?

ERIC

I think you have taken that position. Now, you should be off.

LOLA

One last kiss?

ERIC

The juices? The vital juices? Drained.

 

Exit LOLA, sniffling. RIKKI throws off her coat, revealing an animal printed outfit, removes her wig, and glasses, shakes down her hair, rushes to ERIC and jumps into his arms.

RIKKI

Me Jane!

ERIC

Me Tarzan! OK, that’s enough. Jane make Ape Man dizzy.

 

RIKKI

Pound on your chest!

 

ERIC

What?

 

RIKKI

Like Tarzan!

 

ERIC makes a very weak attempt. RIKKI shows him how it’s done.

RIKKI

I don’t really see you as Tarzan. More like the mild mannered Clark Kent. Yet you are the proof that good things can come in extremely small packages.

 

ERIC

Well thank you, Raul!

 

RIKKI

De Nada. Pause. I experienced the sudden discharge of accumulated sexual excitement resulting in rhythmic muscular contractions in the pelvic region as soon as I called you. Then I drove over..

 

ERIC

Look, I have to tell you that-

RIKKI

-You are taking a seven day Caribbean cruise.

ERIC

How did you…?

RIKKI

I could hear you two. Was that Lola Lalonde you just dumped for moi?

ERIC

You are surprised?

RIKKI

What a voice she has! It’s like she is constantly on the verge.

ERIC

Force of habit.

RIKKI

She acquired quite a following amongst we librarians after that film about the mousy librarian who makes a deal with the devil. It had a catchy title.

ERIC

Do It By the Book. Now let me explain my trip..

RIKKI

Don’t bother.

ERIC

You don’t care?

RIKKI

I understand everything. Just from looking at that sad igloo.

ERIC

You do?

RIKKI

You told me how frustrated you have been with directing Community Theater on a shoestring. You want to turn this into an Equity House. Meaning professional actors, tech crew, management, the whole unionized ball of wax. But the Operations Committee wants to keep this a small locally managed volunteer effort. So you are going on vacation for two weeks. Correct? And while you are gone, you have picked the worst play in the world and some newby director. Fast forward two weeks. Of course, rehearsals are a disaster. The Operations Committee is appalled and panicked. Enter you, with a bunch of pros straight from the cruise ship   You reproduce the cruise ship play right here on our stage, save the day, and convince them that pro is the way to go!

ERIC

That’s exactly right. You are a genius!

RIKKI

No! I am a Librarian. Yet, I am also a woman, who remembers well our latest tryst, specifically my involuntary reactions, including muscular spasms in multiple areas of my body, plus a general euphoric sensation, causing body movements and vocalizations.

ERIC

Yes, we did it at your library!

 

RIKKI

Right after we rushed through the paperwork on my new Life Insurance policy. That was actuarial foreplay! Yet ‘twas torture ! Then,finally, consummation as we gave new meaning to the phrase, “Library of Congress!”.   Now I presume you plan to have me as part of the cast of Last Moments so that I can report back to you on the literary horror show, as well as to guarantee it fails due to my dubious dramatic skills. I have already perused the script.

ERIC

Tell me I chose the right vehicle to achieve my goal.

RIKKI

The right vehicle? Last Moments is the Edsel of the drama world. Our heroine ends up exiled on a melting iceberg with an actor in a hungry polar bear suit!.

ERIC

All wrapped up in a musical featuring throat singing. There won’t be a dry eye in the house.

RIKKI

There won’t be any eyes in the house! They will all be outside, seeking their iceberg. Remember, your audiences skew elderly. The last thing they want to be reminded of is the fact that death conquers all.

ERIC

Speaking of death, Lola thinks death conquered Lance Lovelace.

RIKKI

He didn’t look very dead in Night Shift Nurses! At least from the neck down, since everyone in that O.R. was masked

ERIC

Technically I’m the only person who actually knew what Lance’s face looked like. That’s why they called me in to identify the body. But guess what? There was no body. Night Shift Nurses was his one and done. You’ve seen it?

 

RIKKI

It’s been very educational. As well as inspiring. Not as inspiring to a librarian as Do it By the Book, mind you. Regardless, I purchased a copy of Nurses for the library. It’s our most popular rental.

 

ERIC

You think Lance Lovelace died in that flick?

 

RIKKI

Death can occur during consensual sex for a number of reasons, generally because of the physical strain of the activity, or because of unusual extenuating circumstances. There are various euphemisms for death during sex, including “dying in the saddle” or the French “la mort d’amour”. Deaths during consensual sex account for approximately 0.6% of all sudden deaths So I consider it very unlikely. Pause Now, you seem a little taken aback at the notion that I think Lance Lovelace might still be alive.

 

ERIC

Such an imagination.

RIKKI

Speaking of death, what about my little death?

ERIC

I don’t get it.

RIKKI

Well I would like to get it!

ERIC

What on earth are you talking about?

RIKKI

In modern usage, the term “Little Death” has generally been interpreted to describe the post-orgasmic state of unconsciousness that some people have after sexual experiences. In French, “la petite mort”

ERIC

Oh. I get it!

RIKKI

And so you will. I have prepared a special place for us.

 

ERIC

The couch?

 

RIKKI

Guess again!

ERIC

Not the desk? My back…….

RIKKI

It’s a cozy spot. Private, yet luxurious. With a polar bear rug to serve as our mattress.

ERIC

The igloo?

RIKKI

Bingo!

RIKKI goes over and sticks her head into the entrance

ERIC

I’ll never make it. The entrance is too small!

RIKKI

Where have I heard that before? By the way, how did they get all that stuff in there, the kitchen, the bathroom, the canopy bed?

 

ERIC

That’s the playwright, Vance Verdi. Apparently he likes to live on set when directing.

 

RIKKI

Is he home?

 

ERIC

Don’t worry. There’s a classic film retrospective at the Roxy tonight. He won’t be home before midnight.

 

RIKKI

I love classic films. Why don’t we go?

 

ERIC

Honey, I have been saving up my vital juices. It’s our last night!

RIKKI

Of course. What was I thinking? But Eric, I must be straight with you.   I left work early tonight, feigning illness. I am wracked with guilt.

 

ERIC

Just like Madame Ovary!

 

RIKKI

It’s Madame Bovary, Eric. Who felt no guilt at all. This may sound strange, but would you give me permission to forget my ditching work, so I might ravage your body, guilt free?

 

ERIC

Would I? Of course. What’s with the book?

 

RIKKI

It’s The Illustrated Kama Sutra Your early Valentine’s present. I thought we might try page 29 tonight. See?

 

ERIC

With my back? Are you nuts?

 

RIKKI

Why do you think women my age practice yoga? Just lie back and think of Cuba. Let me do the rest!

 

They both dash to the entrance of the igloo, but they can’t enter it at the same time.

 

RIKKI

You go first, my sweet! And as we librarians like to say, “Allow me to check you out!”

 

BLACKOUT

ACT ONE SCENE THREE

The scene is the same. It is the morning of February 8

Enter VITO He begins to search the premises, starting with the desk. He notices that the igloo seems to be moving and approaches the entrance.

VITO

Eskimo Pie! We deliver! Anyone home?

We see VAN’s face appear at the entrance. He‘s a good looking guy in his late twenties.

VAN

Got a popcorn hangover. Later.

VITO

Time for confession my son.

 

VAN

Nothing to confess. What about you? Somebody broke into my house last night and ruffled my polar bear rug ! Now it’s all lumpy.

VITO

Broke in?   You’re living in an igloo. Your door is always open!

 

VAN exits igloo.

 

VAN

Hello, Vance Verdi, director, but you can call me “Van”.

Looks VITO over.

So you are auditioning as the mobster? Not bad. Maybe a little cliché.

VITO

Pulls out a pistol

How about I row you out to sea, put a bullet in your head, and weigh you down with cement blocks. That cliché enough for you?

VAN

Whoa! Well done! Great audition! Unfortunately we are doing Last Moments. The Mafioso character is in Tastes Like Chicken

VITO

What?

VAN

You got my plays mixed up. It’s not the Mafia one. That’s not until next spring. It’s the Inuit one. You are auditioning for the wrong play!

VITO puts the gun right on VAN’s head

VITO

I’m looking for Lola Lalonde.

VAN

That’s good too. I like what you did with the gun. It really sells it. I am really believing you are a Wise Guy. But like I said-

 

VITO

It’s real. Lola Lalonde

 

VAN

What’s with the collar?

VITO

Mafia Chaplain. Let us pray. Get down on your knees.

 

Van complies facing DC with Vito behind him, his gun on Van’s head

VAN

Mafia Chaplain. So you do mob baptisms? Weddings?

VITO

Mostly Last Rites.

VAN

Catholic. So obviously you are pro life!

VITO

Flourishes revolver

Depends, but I warn you we can be Old Testament.

 

VAN

But doesn’t God tell us “Thou shall not kill”?

VITO

That’s Moses. But Jehovah is a real killer. Puts us to shame. Where is Lola?

 

VAN

Oh. Lola. Hare-Head? Promise me you aren’t going to hurt her. Or me!

VITO

Why would I do that in an empty place with no witnesses?

VAN

I’m a witness!

VITO

Temporarily.

Voice of LOLA

Anyone at home?

VAN

Who is it?

VITO

That voice? That’s Lola!

VAN

I have never met her!

VITO

Levels gun at VAN, cocks the trigger

And you never will.

VAN

I’m begging you!. Look, I’ll just hide out in my bathroom until you are done…talking.. Won’t witness a thing!

VITO

Put your fingers in your ears!

VAN

Good idea. Can’t testify I heard shots

VITO

Now get in that igloo!

VAN

With fingers in ears

What did you say?

VITO

You heard me!

VAN

I’ve got my fingers in my ears!

VITO

Gestures

The igloo!

VAN

panicking

I can’t get through this opening with my fingers in my ears! It’s impossible!

VITO

Take them out! Then put them back in when you get inside.

VAN

But how will you know I got my fingers in my ears when you can’t see me in there?

 

There is a silence

VITO

While inside, meditate on Proverbs, Chapter 19 Verse 5 : A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will not escape! Got it?

VANCE

Got it!

Exit VAN into Igloo. Enter LOLA She is dressed in Inuit garb.

 

LOLA

Hello, I’m Lola Hare-Head

VITO

No. You are Lola Lalonde.

LOLA

I don’t sign autographs anymore, OK? But here’s my card. See? My mom’s name was H-A-R-E, like rabbit. and my Dad was a Head. The first “H “ used to be silent, but I paid a lot of money and totally changed that legally. You gotta be Vance Verdi. My director.

VITO

Don’t you recognize me?

LOLA

You nuts? How can you recognize someone you never met?

 

VITO

My card.

 

LOLA

Vito Panzerotti? M.Div?

 

VITO

Master of Divinity

 

LOLA

M.E?

 

VITO

Mob Enforcer. We have met.

LOLA

I ain’t never seen you in my life. Hey! You a priest?

VITO

Anything you would like to confess?

LOLA

Haven’t been to the confession booth since the Father O’Malley incident. That’s twenty years ago. And he croaked shortly afterwards.

VITO

Yeah?

LOLA

Heart attack. My bad.

VITO

Night Shift Nurses.

LOLA

What about it?

VITO

I was in that. And so were you.

LOLA

Don’t recognize your face.

VITO

You never saw my face.

LOLA

Never saw nobody’s face. You were all masked and gowned. Of course the gowns all opened at the front. What do you want with me? I’m a legit actress now.

VITO

I’m looking for a guy.

LOLA

So am I but he ain’t you! So take a hike!

VITO

Eric Stroheim

LOLA

What about him?

VITO

Where is he?

LOLA

Who wants to know?

VITO

You looking for a reunion with Lance Lovelace? In that O.R. in the sky?

LOLA

I hear he ain’t dead.

VITO

Come on! After what you did to him?

LOLA

You can’t pin that on me! Besides, he won a Golden Phallus at The Adult Video Awards for Most Realistic Performance

VITO

Yeah. Posthumously. Ya know, as a surgeon, I did everything in my power to save that man.

LOLA

Some has-been porn star ain’t gonna revive nobody!

VITO

So much for Method acting. You’re a has-been porn star too, ain’t cha?

 

LOLA

Hung up my thong when I couldn’t get my legs over my shoulders any more. The last time, they seized up, on set! Hadda get a chiropractor. They filmed the whole thing. Forget the title.

VITO

Well Adjusted, your swan song. I will probably tell that story at your funeral. Look, the Don wants to know the whereabouts of your boyfriend!

LOLA

The Don? Don’t you mean The Donald?   I signed an Agreement. I can’t even tell him anything!

VITO

Don Giovanni

 

LOLA

Oh.

VITO

He’s in town. Do you really want him to get operatic on you?

LOLA

No, no. Let me sing instead! You shoulda told me it was Don Giovanni in the first place. OK. Eric is on a cruise ship then at some all-inclusive resort in Cuba for a week or so.

VITO

The cruise ship?

LOLA

Dunno. Out of Lauderdale. Gave me some cock and bull story about insuring Fidel Castro. Did you know Fidel is really sick?

VITO

I do know he’s really dead. Cuba. That figures.

LOLA

What’s Don Giovanni doing in this quiet little resort town far away from the headaches of his chosen profession?

VITO

He’s attending the Mafia Convention. Big parade tomorrow. You should see the float honoring the Saint Valentine’s’ Day Massacre. Super realistic.

 

LOLA

Escorts in town won’t ever get off their backs. Must be their biggest convention of their year.

 

VITO

Second only to the Shriners.

 

LOLA

How is the Don?

 

VITO

Don Giovanni comes and goes outta his mind. Like last night he wanted me to send up Marge Simpson to his room, capiche? Anyway, he spots a sign in town advertising a musical at the local playhouse, see? The Don is real enthused. Well you know how much he loves opera. Remember when he had Don Luigi’s throat cut during The Barber of Seville?

LOLA

Last Moments ain’t no opera.

VITO

At his age does the Don know the difference? He’ll probably sleep through it. But seven years ago he lends your boyfriend a large sum of money to buy this piece of coal and turn it into a diamond. Does it look like a diamond to you?

 

LOLA

Eric told me that he got the money out of a friend’s will.

 

VITO

No. And with repayment due, Eric is nowhere to be found. Such a lack of respect. You believe this cruise thing?

LOLA

Well your guess is as good as mine.

VITO

He can’t be extradited from Cuba. If he’s seeking asylum, he just walks off the ship. Look, if you are holding something back……

LOLA

You heard me. Someone’s coming. I gotta get changed.

Exit LOLA. She passes RIKKI, in Inuit dress, on the way out.

RIKKI

Murderess!

LOLA

He had it, coming.

 

Facing off

RIKKI

Well Eric’s mine now. We copulated all night! Had that igloo been real it would have melted!

LOLA

But that’s our igloo!. The reason is because it was our first place.

RIKKI

The reason is that it was our first place.

LOLA

It was your first place too?

RIKKI

No! Our first place was my library. Section G. Geography, Anthropology, and Recreation. See, you should have said the reason is that it was your first place.

 

LOLA

You deaf, Granny? I just said that!

 

RIKKI

“The word “because” is completely redundant to your statement.

 

LOLA

I’m going to make you completely redundant and the reason is because I’m gonna punch you out!

The cat fight which follows is more like those hockey battles where the two combatants exhaust themselves and wind up holding each other up. Except in Inuit garb. In the course of the fracas, each manages to shed the other’s outer clothing and wig.

LOLA

Four eyed sled puller!

RIKKI

Strumpet!

LOLA

Frigid nerd!

RIKKI

Harlot!

LOLA

Snowflake!

RIKKI

Trollop!

 

LOLA

Geriatric….. blubber chewer!!

Enter VAN scrambling out from his igloo He holds RIKKI back while VITO holds LOLA

VAN

Freeze!

RIKKI

Painted woman of the streets!

VITO

Pulling out his pistol

Hey! You heard the man!

The women freeze.

 

VITO

You gotta way with words.

RIKKI

Thank you. I majored in Victorian literature..

 

VAN

Look at you two! You are holding each other by the shoulders. You are balancing your feet, swaying left to right, and you are breathing and vocalizing alternatively while face to face! The classic throat singing stance! That would really thrill an audience. Look at them!   Naturals, both of them!

 

RIKKI

Naturals? Au contraire! From my perspective both of them contain a prosthesis used cosmetically to enhance or enlarge the appearance of the breasts through breast augmentation surgery.

 

LOLA

You might wanna look into it. Those peaches of yours are low hanging fruit!

 

RIKKI

Killer!!

 

LOLA

Did you even see Night Shift Nurses? Lance was asking for it. Repeatedly. Irregardless I didn’t kill him. Did they ever find a body? No!

 

RIKKI

There’s no such word as “irregardless”. It’s “regardless”, you callous top-heavy illiterate!   Perhaps you should visit my library. Try to hold back the tears while viewing our “Tribute to Lancelot”. Read the inscription, “Pound for pound he fought for love”.The memorial flowers are wilted, yes, but his memory lives on in the hearts of love-starved librarians everywhere.. Of course you would probably steal the stuffed walrus! Regardless!

 

LOLA

You know, I had a friend once, just like you. Russian girl, Sheilah Borurassoff!   And don’t call me a murderer! Lance Lovelace ain’t even dead!

 

RIKKI

Oh? What about Father O’Malley?

 

LOLA breaks down and exits in tears

RIKKI

Serial Killer!

There is a silence

VITO

So. Tell me what you know about Eric Stroheim.

RIKKI

Born September 22, 1885. Died May 12, 1957. An Austrian-American director, actor and producer, most noted as a film star and avant garde, visionary director of the silent era.

VAN

Stroheim is nothing compared to Jean Renoir!

RIKKI

Smitten . Commencing a mating ritual

Well, Stroheim’s masterpiece, Greed, is considered one of the finest and most important films ever made.

VAN

Well, Renoir’s La Grande Illusion is often cited by critics as among the greatest films ever. Saw it last night.

RIKKI

Consider that Stroheim was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor as Max, Gloria Swanson’s butler, in Sunset Boulevard!

VAN

Consider that Jean Renoir was ranked by a poll of critics as the fourth greatest director of all time!

VITO

Breaking the spell

Consider that Lance Lovelace got a posthumous Adult Video Award for Night Shift Nurses!

RIKKI

Night Shift Nurses is hardly Sunset Boulevard, but I must admit I did find it rather stimulating recently. Especially the O.R. scene. It’s not often you find stark realism in what are essentially male fantasies, but one would almost think that the patient actually died in that scene. The frantic efforts to revive him could well have been directed by Martin Scorsese!

VAN

You’re hot!

 

RIKKI

I know. Likewise, I’m sure.

VITO

No! Your cheeks are flushed! Feel her palms.

VAN

Palms are sweaty. Pulse is racing! Oh Dog! I just did the research on it!

VITO

Did the research on what? Tell me!

VAN

For the play! Oh Dog!

VITO

Oh Dog? Don’t you mean, “Oh God”?

 

VAN

When stressed I can be a little dyslexic.

 

VITO

Tell me!

VAN

Anthrax!

VITO

Oh Dog!

RIKKI

sunnily

Inhalation anthrax develops when you breathe in anthrax spores. It’s the most deadly way to contract the disease, and even with treatment, it is often fatal. Initial signs and symptoms of inhalation anthrax include flu-like symptoms, such as sore throat, mild fever, fatigue and muscle aches, mild chest discomfort, shortness of breath, nausea, coughing up blood, and painful swallowing. I suffer from none of these!

VITO

She hasn’t got it! Got it?

RIKKI

Oh I’ve got it alright, and I’ve got it bad! It is the eternal elixir of love that is responsible for making our cheeks flush, our palms sweat and our hearts race. Did you know that MRI scans indicate that love lights up the pleasure center of the brain? When we fall in love, blood flow increases in this area, which, interestingly, is the same part of the brain implicated in obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

VITO

Is she a doctor?

RIKKI

I don’t have to be a doctor. I’m a Librarian. Rikki Leeks. My card. You will note that there are no credentials after my name. I don’t need them.

VITO

Look. You don’t want to fall in love with me! I had a very troubled childhood. I grew up in a family that the whole neighborhood feared. So I got every break. At school, kids would pick me first for their recess teams, even though I was a terrible athlete. Every year I would win our school spelling bee. My family rigged it so that my opponents were forced to spell words like “kidnapping”, “death” and “torture”. The class spelling genius became hysterical when he had to spell ‘orphan’! I’m damaged goods, baby!

RIKKI

Fear not. I’m not falling in love with you. I’m falling in love with him.

 

VAN

Me?

RIKKI

Love at first sight is a common trope in literature: A person, character, or speaker feels an instant, extreme, and ultimately long-lasting romantic attraction for a stranger upon the first sight of that stranger. Though how I could fall for a playwright frankly baffles me.

 

VITO

Me too. If you change your mind, here’s my card.

 

RIKKI

1-800 BIG STUD?

 

VITO

Rikki, don’t lose that number. It’s the only one you’ll need.

 

VITO’s cell rings the theme from the Godfather

Yeah? Cuba. That’s right, where Ricky Ricardo comes from. No. We have to do it now before it sails, if it’s not too late. Yes, she’s right here.I’ll put her on. Marge?   Don Giovanni wants to talk to you.

 

VAN

Marge?

 

VITO

Marge Simpson.

 

RIKKI

I’ll take it. Hello, Don Giovanni? It’s Marge. I’m fine, Homer is fine, Bart is fine, the little scamp!   Yes Lisa and Maggie are fine too. Look, I’d love to come up to your room, but I’m in rehearsal right now. A threesome? With Dolly? That’s an old fashioned name. Maybe I’ll come up later. No, the blue is natural. Yes, everywhere. You’ll see. You need not put out a contract on Homer, you jealous thing! I am yours!

BLACKOUT

ACT TWO SCENE ONE

Later that evening. The stage is in partial darkness. We see Don Giovanni and Vito on the couch, confronting a sleeping bag containing an unconscious ERIC. The Don is a very old, albeit, feisty, man. He has a patch over one eye. He and VITO are both resting.

VITO

What a drag!

DON

A dead weight! Where is everybody? Have I finally gone blind?

 

VITO

Can you see me, Godfather? You still have one good eye.

 

DON

Mishearing

Wood eye? Wood eye? You had to bring it up, didn’t you? I should put a bullet in you right now!

Pulls his gun out

Remember when we partnered with that Indian tribe in the casino deal?

 

VITO

Yes. At the opening gala, they made you an honorary tribesman. Gave you a native name.

 

DON

Go on, say it!

 

VITO

Wood Eye.

 

DON

And what did I do that very evening?

 

VITO

You burned it to the ground. I apologize, Godfather!

 

DON

Apology accepted, my son. Do you know why I have a wood eye, Vito? My parents bought me a BB gun for Xmas so I could shake down my little friends for their presents. The rest is history. Pause Why aren’t they rehearsing?

 

VITO

They rehearsed all day, Godfather. Then they all went to some classic movie festival. To see Sunset Boulevard. Won’t be back till late.

 

DON

I’ll never forget Sunset Boulevard. Gloria Swanson played Norma, the washed up silent movie star. We had a thing while she was working on it. Came up to my room with her frozen TV dinners. But we never ate them. They were frozen! I said “Let’s live on love instead!”! I was twenty-seven. She had twenty-five years on me!. Only four foot eleven. She took a two and a half size shoe. One night I came home and she was sliding down the bannister. I said “Ok I get it! Would you like to go out for dinner for once?” And do you know what she said to me? “Wood eye! Wood eye!” I couldn’t believe it! On Valentine’s Day! I just walked out of there in tears. But in those days there were plenty of sleeping fish in the sea. Nowadays all I have left is my Dolly.

He breaks down

 

VITO

Would it help if you roughed Stroheim up a little?

DON

Snaps out of it.

No! We let him wake up. Tell Stroheim it’s all OK he stole my money

VITO

He won’t believe it.

DON

He will want to. Tell him all he has to do to pay his debt to me, as he promised. Then at the end of the play, I will execute him. No, I will execute them all! On Valentines Day!

 

VITO

Why, Godfather?

 

DON

Don’t you know? It’s the anniversary of the St Valentine’s Day Massacre! A hundred years ago! I was there! I was the one-eyed lookout! Six years old. See, it was all about icing Bugs Moran. I signaled he was inside the garage, but my eye deceived me. It was actually the garage mechanic.   So we slaughtered him and six of his gang, but not Bugs. My bad. By the way, I’m in the parade tomorrow, on the float honoring the anniversary! Just me and seven fresh bodies, artistically placed,

 

VITO

Actually, that was in 1929, Godfather. It wasn’t a hundred years ago at all. So you don’t need to kill anybody.

 

DON

How many in the cast?

 

VITO

Four.

 

DON

We will have to use three more from the audience.

 

VITO

You are inviting witnesses, Godfather?

 

DON

I have invited our soldiers here, to witness what happens when you cheat your Godfather!

 

VITO

But that’s Stroheim. The others are innocent!

 

DON

Collateral damage. It’s quite common these days

 

VITO

Relax, Don Giovanni.

 

DON

As my spiritual advisor, you sound uncertain.

 

VITO

Well, Jehovah is definitely in favor of the penalty of death. For example, Old Testament says any man who is a medium must be put to death.

DON

Excellent. I would say this man is a medium. Certainly not a large. Even though he is heavy.

VITO

Yeah. So we are completely in the clear with God on this one.

DON

But what of the many others? I have come to the end of my life. I feel the need to confess my sins to you.

 

VITO

Now?

Pulls a gun

Now! Tell me the truth! I have questions!

VITO

Got questions? Shoot! No, cancel that! Don’t shoot! Relax. Put the gun away.   So go ahead, hit me! No! Cancel that too!

DON

OK, what if Marge Simpson got it on with Apu?

VITO

According to Leviticus, both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.

 

DON

Harsh!

VITO

I’m just the messenger here, OK?

DON

What does the Good Book say about punishment? What are my options with this guy in the bag here?

VITO

Depends what he did. Scripture allows for stoning, burning, hanging, strangling, death by sword or spear, sawing asunder and pounding in a mortar. Curiously, it never mentions firearms.

DON

“Sawing asunder.” That’s still on my bucket list. So do you think I’m in any trouble here? Immortal soul-wise?

VITO

See, that’s the great thing about our religion. You got the Jehovah part, which is pretty harsh, but then you also got the Catholic part. You go to Confession, don’t you?

DON

Every Saturday. People know better than to be in the same line as me.

VITO

So the priest gives you a penance, am I right?

DON

Of course. Last time Father Timothy asked me to counsel that troublesome choir boy

VITO

Then he said “Go and sin no more”, right?

DON

Then he winked at me. Or maybe it was an eye twitch. He’s been under a lot of stress.

VITO

So your sins are forgiven!   You can sin your whole life, confess on your deathbed, and wake up sharing a martini with Mother Teresa in Heaven! So when I give Eric The Last Rites, we’ll be doing him a favor. Same for Protestants, only no priest, no confession.

 

DON

I can’t believe Protestants can cash in too.

VITO

Oh there’s some weird stuff on their side, believe me! Some think that in the last days the good people will all get swept up to Gloryland, leaving their clothes behind!

DON

Well this punk won’t be one of them. Even underwear? They’re all naked up there? I used to visit a place like that.

 

The sleeping bag starts to move.

Eric Von Stroheim. Get him outa there!

ERIC crawls out of the sleeping bag.

 

VITO

Wadda ya got to say for yourself, Chump?

ERIC

You won’t hurt me?

There is a silence

 

DON

Depends.

ERIC

Depends on what?

DON

Nothing. Just making a mental list for the supermarket. What you got to say to me? Wherever you are, you come to me seven years ago. You tell me you have put a two million dollar life policy on a nobody, Lance Lovelace, and you will make me the beneficiary if only I will lend you the two million now. But it’s got to look like an accident. So I arrange for that to happen in my movie.

 

VITO

Night Shift Nurses with Lola Lalonde.

 

DON

Perfect choice, because she almost killed me once in that other movie. Had a cameo.   As an elderly beekeeper, of all things.

 

VITO

Yeah . You had a much younger frustrated wife in that flick.

 

DON

Can’t remember the title.

 

VITO

Eat Your Honey

 

DON

Right!   Anyway,somebody disappears this Lovelace’s body from the morgue while they were trying to wipe the smile off his face, so no payout for seven years. Seven years pass. You will soon collect it for me, but you try to head to Cuba. You are stealing a lot of bread from me! What does God say about that, Vito?

VITO

Proverbs 20:18: “Bread obtained by falsehood is sweet to a man, But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel”.

DON

Mouth filled with gravel? That’s what happened to the last guy who stole from me. It’s a shallow grave, but ain’t nobody gonna find it! But now with you Eric? I’m torn between tearing asunder and pounding in a mortar! You looking at me, Kid? You looking at me? Take that smirk off your face!

 

VITO

Godfather. You are looking at my smirk.! Eric’s smirk is over there. You know what Eric? I’m going to serve you your nuts on a plate!

Flourishes a can opener and a plate

 

ERIC

Not the can opener!

 

DON

Do it Vito! Make him feed his nuts to himself!

 

ERIC

Please no!

 

VITO reaches into his pocket and brings out a can, then a plate. He sprinkles a few nuts on it

 

VITO

See this Eric? Mixed nuts! And not the cheap kind with ninety per cent peanuts! They are mere legumes! These are tree nuts. Pecans! Almonds! Cashews!

 

ERIC

You know I’m allergic! My face will blow up like a balloon! I could die of anaphylactic shock! Spare me Godfather. I have one more day to pay you back, do I not? The paperwork on Lance Lovelace is complete. I will have a check for two million dollars for you tomorrow.

 

VITO

Disappearing the can.

You owe a million interest, pal.

 

ERIC

I’ll have that also, Godfather.

 

DON

Then it’s time to celebrate! Is Dolly charged up?

 

VITO

She’s pumped, Godfather.

 

DON

Then send her up to my room.   Immediately!

 

 

 

ACT TWO SCENE TWO

 

It’s Valentine’s Day. The scene is the matinee world premier of Last Moments with “Folks dressed up like Eskimos”.Eric and Lola are having a talk.

 

LOLA

So tell me again why you came back.

 

ERIC

I found out that Fidel was actually dead! The Cat Hospital got all his insurance money. They’re all taking a cruise together. But I’m back, baby! Back at the helm!

 

LOLA

What about Vito?

 

ERIC

He’s at MobCon with Don Giovanni.

 

LOLA

MobCon?

 

ERIC

The Mobster Convention. At the Gotti Centre.   It’s sponsored by the NRA, so there’s the latest weapon technology no questions asked, Everything from brass knuckles to rocket launchers. They attend tech seminars especially designed for Wise Guys: “Waterboarding for Dummies”,”Sending Death Threats on Twitter.” ’Friending Your Local Politician on Facebook” “Composing your murder scene on Instagram”, that kind of thing. Plus something for the wives. “Looking Cheap on a Big Budget”, Making Great Pasta While Keeping Your Mouth Shut “, etc. And their kids get a loot bag containing the latest edition of Grand Theft Auto!

 

LOLA

“How to Tell Lies” Did you attend that seminar? What about “Cheating on Your Girlfriend”? You seem to have picked up a few tips there. Rikki boasted to me about it. But guess what, Casanova, she dumped you for Vance Verdi!

 

ERIC

Vance? He’s just a kid!

 

LOLA

Yeah. A kid who doesn’t spread his vital juices around.

 

Enter RIKKI from the igloo

 

RIKKI

I beg to differ. At intervals during our wild night of passion, Vance related to me his life story. Sadly I was not the first woman with whom he exchanged bodily fluids. I was the second. You, Lola, were the first!

 

LOLA

No chance! I’m no cradle robber! And there’s no way I would poach Vance when you’re so crazy about him. Not like you did with Eric!

 

RIKKI

Who?

 

ERIC

Me! It’s me Baby. Remember?

 

RIKKI

Strange. By definition, I usually remember anything that’s memorable. Pause Well, if I did what you say, Lola, I heartily apologize. Whatever it was, it didn’t mean a thing. And as for you……

 

ERIC

Eric!

 

RIKKI

Eric. Oh yes. I don’t mean to demean you, Alec. Or Lola, who I believe, truly loves you.

 

LOLA

Shouldn’t that be “whom” instead of “who”? Object of the verb” believe”?

 

RIKKI

You are quite correct, my friend. I blame my miscue on a night of passion that seems to have unduly affected my cognitive skills.

 

LOLA

What do you mean, I was Vance’s first?

 

RIKKI

Take away the “V” and substitute an “L”, from Vance’s name, and what do you get?

 

LOLA

Vance Lerdi

 

RIKKI

His first name!

 

LOLA

Lance Verdi.

 

RIKKI

No, no!

 

ERIC

I’ll tell you what you get! Lance Lovelace!

 

Enter VANCE from the igloo

 

VANCE

You called?

 

LOLA

Vance is Lance?

 

RIKKI

Actually Lance is Vance.

 

VANCE

Lance Lovelace was a one time stage name. But I assure you, I will never forget that one time.

 

LOLA

I guess not.! I almost killed you. I’m so sorry. Forgive me!

LOLA hugs VANCE

 

VANCE

It wasn’t you, Lola. It was Pickwickian Syndrome.

 

LOLA

It was what?

 

RIKKI

Pickwickian syndrome is a condition in which severely overweight people, fail to breath rapidly enough or deep enough, resulting in low blood oxygen levels and high blood (CO2) levels. Many people with this condition also frequently stop breathing altogether, for short periods of time.

 

VANCE

That’s what happened. I stopped breathing. For some reason, nobody seemed to care except Eric, who smuggled me out to a hospital.

 

ERIC

They didn’t care because Vance had a life policy on him. I was the named beneficiary and Don Giovanni was going to collect The guilt got to me. So that was the least I could do.

 

RIKKI

The only real cure is weight loss. Vance tells me his childhood nickname was “Walrus”

 

LOLA

Kids!

 

VANCE

No, that was my parents. So you didn’t kill me Lola! The only reason I was in that movie in the first place, was that I needed the money for medical school.

 

RIKKI

Did you know six countries offer free tuition to international students entirely in English? For example you could still earn your degrees in Norway or Finland and put them on a card.. You don’t have to give up your dream, Vance.

 

VAN

Only if you came with me!

 

RIKKI

Do I have to refresh your memory?

 

VAN

Anyway, Eric forged me a new identity. Vance Verdi. Then shopped me around a million specialists who finally diagnosed me. That’s where half of Don Giovanni’s money went. Then I underwent bariatric surgery.. Lost 150 pounds then more from my exercise regime.

 

RIKKI

Now he has the stomach the size of a ping-pong ball! Although not everything is so miniature.

 

ERIC

No medical coverage because it was a preexisting condition. So I used some of the two mil I borrowed from the Don that should have gone to upgrading this place Then, to pay that back, I had made myself the beneficiary on the two million dollar life policy on Lance that would mature in seven years when he was declared dead.

 

LOLA

That was actually decent of you, Eric.

 

ERIC

I’m no hero. I collected. panicked, stashed the money and ran. Got caught. Don Giovanni and Vito let me go on condition he gets the money today.

 

LOLA

Where is it now?

 

ERIC

It’s in the polar bear rug. They are coming to see Last Moments  Not to worry, he just wants his money.

 

VANCE

Not a soul in the audience.

 

ERIC

But Don Giovanni insists on seeing the show today. And he wants to meet the playwright. He… He can be like a little child who has a tantrum when he doesn’t get his own way. The only difference is that instead of falling to the floor and pounding his tiny fists, Don Giovanni puts a bullet through your head.

 

VANCE

Don Giovanni needs Lance Lovelace to be dead to collect.   Suppose he recognizes me?

 

LOLA

And we hardly rehearsed! We are all going to die!

LOLA

OK, I gotta story for you guys. Break the tension. There’s this guy has a wooden eye.   Know what I mean?

 

RIKKI

Yes. An ocular prosthesis, artificial eye or glass eye, is a type of craniofacial prosthesis that replaces an absent natural eye following an enucleation, evisceration, or orbital exenteration.

 

LOLA

Thanks. This guy’s lonely so he gets his courage up and goes to a dance, and winds up sitting in a corner most of the night. Anyway he sorta sees this girl across a crowded room and it’s,like, love at first squint, you know?

 

RIKKI

You bet I know!

 

LOLA

So you know what he does?

 

ERIC

Don Giovanni got a wooden eye.

 

VAN

Why wouldn’t he get a glass eye?

 

ERIC

Too cheap. That’s why he wears the patch.

 

LOLA

Anyway, he walks across the room and asks her to dance. Big smile. He realizes this girl got a hare lip.

 

RIKKI

The term “harelip” is usually perceived as insulting because it compares the deformity in humans to the lip of a hare. The accepted term for this medical condition is cleft lip.

 

LOLA

Thanks, Wiki.

 

RIKKI

It’s Rikki. Actually your story shows you how differently abled persons can still have a romantic life, if they would just put themselves out there. You did that for me, Lola.

 

LOLA

Whatever.

 

RIKKI

It was your film, Do it by the Book where you play the spinster librarian who decides to reach out to her fellow man after she receives a fatal diagnosis from her physician, whom she promptly seduces. But it doesn’t end there!

 

LOLA

Shut up. Anyway. They are dancing away, and he says to her,” Would you like to come back to my place after?” He’s a little nervous ‘cause he can tell she’s thinking it over, right?

 

ERIC

She hollers “Would I, Would !”,so he points at her yells back “Harelip, harelip!”” and walks out! A classic!

 

LOLA

Yeah. Thanks for supplying the punchline.

 

VAN

Lola Making fun of people with disabilities. Really?

 

RIKKI

You don’t get it . Lola is not like that. This story is not about disabilities. It’s about people’s insecurities and how that can get in the way of enjoying what life has to offer!

 

LOLA

What she said.

 

RIKKI

Speaking of which, I am ashamed that I called you those names, Lola. I admit your relative youth and your looks put me on the defensive and I responded in much the same way as the gentleman in your story.. In addition, you are welcome to Alec.

 

LOLA

Apology accepted. But stop looking at Van like that! You are old enough to be his mother!

RIKKI

I can’t help it. I’m bewitched, gobsmacked, smitten-…..

 

ERIC

Technically we are going to start right now. Not waiting a minute more!

 

RIKKI

You want us to improvise the whole show?

 

VAN

You know the basic plot, My story of Ookpik, the Inuit genius who is recruited by Harvard, whereupon she discovers a cure for Anthrax, but, having been removed from her culture, pines for the True North only to be rejected by her original Inuit brethren such that she maroons herself on an iceberg thereby killing herself

 

ERIC

Act one, Scene one. Lola, you are Ookpik, the genius Eskimo.

RIKKI snickers

Van, you are the guy from Harvard, wants her to study there. Rikki? OK. You are Ookpik’s mother, Uptik. Take One.

ERIC

The igloo! Now!

 

VANCE

With fingers in ears.

OK, OK

 

ERIC

Not you, her!

 

RIKKI complies

 

ERIC

  1. Presenting Last Moments!

VAN

I’m here on behalf of Harvard University, Ookpik. We would like to offer you a full scholarship based on your SAT scores and not on some obscure rule that states we have to give one place a year to an indigenous student to offset the fact that we cater to the one per cent. Do you accept?

ERIC

Cut! Excellent improv. That’s why we are here. To work it all out. To live another day.

Shouts into the igloo.

Hear that RIKKI?

 

RIKKI

Pops out of igloo

 

I actually learned my lines. But I would rather improvise on the spot, if I may?

VITO

Hit it!

RIKKI

You sure are hot for a young white man, Harvard person! I was about to set my daughter on an iceberg, as food is too scarce for us to keep her. If you were to sleep with me right now, I would be happy to accompany her to Harvard with you. You may think me too old. Yet as an older women, I have grown more imaginative under the midnight sun and have many fantasies – fantasies you could fulfill under these northern lights. I would have thrown my inhibitions out the window long ago, but there are no windows in yonder love nest. In conclusion, you should know that above the Arctic circle I am referred to as “Venus in Furs”.

 

LOLA

Seriously?

RIKKI

Lola, the marital customs among the Inuit were not strictly monogamous: many Inuit relationships were implicitly or explicitly sexual. Open marriages, polygamy, divorce and remarriage, were not unknown.

 

LOLA

Then I too would be completely sexually available.

 

RIKKI

As always. Pause Sorry.

VITO

Could we all get back into character?

RIKKI

She is in character! Pause Again, my apologies. Being a good person is so difficult.

 

VAN

I appreciate your intriguing offer, Uptik. But instead, Harvard is willing to move your entire family down to Cambridge Massachusetts for as long as Ookpik is a student there.

RIKKI

Wonderful! There’s just Ookpik, and myself, my parents, Triptik, and Downtik, my sisters and brothers and my adopted children. And of course my husband, Diptik.

VAN

Harvard hereby revokes that offer. You are married, Oopik?

LOLA

We usually marry at puberty.

 

VAN

So the deal is off. Sorry.

RIKKI

Allow me to change your mind. You may think you don’t blush easily but let your potential older lover lay it all out for you. Because my libido spikes as the end to my reproductive years draw nearer, my hormones are raging, while my fears, modesty and unsureness have receded. I have the style and self-confidence, of a well-rounded fully-matured consumer. And if you want my daughter you must become my accessory, a luxury item that I intend to use for my pleasure!

 

VAN

What choice do I have?

 

Enter VITO and DON with VITO flashing an AR-15

 

VITO

Hello everybody. Would you believe that this beauty was actually prohibited for ten years in 1994?. Just bought it legally at the Convention Gun Show.

 

DON

Show me the money!

 

LOLA

I’ll go get it.

Enters the igloo

Exits igloo with her hand in the mouth of a very dead looking polar bear rug

The money’s not in there!

 

ERIC

We’re all gonna die!

 

VITO

Probably.

 

DON

Cops raided the Gotti Centre! I was lucky to escape. And now this? How could you do this to me Marge?

Addresses Vance

Homer, I’m not surprised at you, But Marge?

 

RIKKI

Don Giovanni. I am not Marge Simpson. I have deceived you and everybody here. My name is Rikki Leeks. I am a Special Agent of the FBLI, the Federal Bureau of Library Investigation.   My specialty is using my feminine wiles to enter the criminal world to bring felons with overdue books to justice. Godfather, you have racked up ten years of fines for The Gloria Swanson Story. It was I who extracted the two million dollars from that poor bear. It’s in safe hands now.

 

DON

Says you! Frisk her, Vito!

 

VITO

My pleasure!

He pats her down finding her revolver and badge.

Where are your cuffs?

 

RIKKI

In the igloo. And for the record, it was worth it. By the way, It was I who inspired the raid on the Gotti Centre this morning.

 

VITO

On what pretext?

 

RIKKI

Selling weapons to persons with a criminal record and receiving same.

 

DON

That’s illegal? The NRA is gonna hear about this!

 

VITO

Yeah, that’s no way to treat someone with mental health issues!

 

DON

Show some respect!

To LOLA

So Lucy, you really getting it on with Fred?

 

LOLA

What?

 

RIKKI

I believe the Don believes you to be Lucy Ricardo the comedic heroine of I Love Lucy, a very popular television program in the early 1950’s.. Eric is mistaken for Fred Mertz, her neighbor and landlord. The Don is suggesting that the two of you are having an affair, although there is very little evidence that this ever occurred.

 

ERIC

You are right, Don Giovanni, I am having an affair with Lucy! Look at her! Can you blame me? Do what you want with me, but spare her, I beg you! She’s a good girl! She only agreed because I threatened to raise the rent! And spare Homer and Marge.

 

DON

Never! Marge lied to me about her hair. I’m not blind, you know.

 

VITO

Actually you are legally blind, Godfather.

 

DON

Regardless, I am in a forgiving mood. Tell me Eric, would you be OK if I let you and your friends off with a warning, as opposed to Vito herding you into that thing and spraying you all with his new toy?

 

ERIC

Would I!

 

There is a long silence.

 

 

DON

So that’s what my generosity gets me. You better do it, my son.

 

VITO

OK, everybody into the igloo.

Flourishes the AR 15

I got the Schoolboy Special right here. So get inside!

 

The four all try to enter at once.

You should go Godfather. Exit the scene of the crime.

 

DON

I like to watch. Do it!

 

VITO

Approaches the igloo and waves the rifle over it

Bam,bam,bam, bam!

Cries and screams from within.

OK let’s get out of here before the cops turn up!

 

DON

But we have witnesses!   Let me finish them off!

Takes the rifle, then swivels and sprays the audience.

Bam.bam,bam,bam,bam! You’re all dead!

 

VITO

Let’s go! I think I’m wounded.

 

They exit. After a long silence all emerge from the igloo.

 

LOLA

Is everyone OK?

 

ERIC

Of course we’re all OK. How do you die when someone shouts Bam! Bam! Bam! at you?

 

VAN

That was Vito. He saved our lives against Crazy Don.

 

RIKKI

Then the Bureau will not pursue them. Pause Alec?

 

ERIC

Eric.

 

RIKKI

Forgive my deception. In real life you would never appeal to me. However I commend you. You were willing to sacrifice yourself for us. You cared for Vance. You have a bit of a gem here, Lola.

 

LOLA

I’m seeing that.

 

RIKKI

You will see that every Sunday when you visit him, should he ever commit insurance fraud again.

 

ERIC

Got it.

 

RIKKI

Van, I’m afraid this is goodbye. Duty calls. You deserve to follow your dream. By all means get your medical degree overseas. I have my own path to tread.

 

VAN

But I love you.

 

RIKKI

So you think. We are but ships passing in the night. I won’t be your Titanic

They embrace

 

LOLA

Eric, would you like to relax with me one last time before we tear that igloo down?

 

ERIC

Would !!

 

CURTAIN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WOOD EYE

CAST IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE

 

VITO PANZEROTTI, FORTIES, MAFIA CHAPLAIN

 

THREATENING

 

ERIC STROHEIM, FORTIES, ACTUARY

 

WHO IS STRINGING ALONG

 

LOLA LALONDE, FORTIES, EX PORN ACTRESS,

 

TRYING TO GO LEGIT IN A PLAY WITH

 

VANCE VERDI TWENTIES, DIRECTOR

 

INCLUDING

RIKKI LEEKS, FIFTIES, LIBRARIAN

 

ERIC’S LATEST

UNDER THE WATCHFUL EYE OF

 

DON GIOVANNI, SENILE, OPERA-LOVING GODFATHER

ACT ONE SCENE ONE

The scene is a stage in a small community theater. . The backdrop is an Arctic scene and a large plastic igloo dominates the upstage area, the entrance facing the audience. It would be a bit of a tight squeeze for an adult. The igloo features a television aerial, a mailbox, and a white picket fence, among other homey features. Down L and R ,we have furniture including a couch and a table and chairs. There are entrances UR and UL

 

As the play begins,ERIC, a fragile looking guy in wire rim glasses is sitting in a chair facing the audience while VITO, a Wise Guy in a nice suit and clerical collar, stands directly behind him with a pistol in his hand.

It is February 6.

 

VITO

Let’s go straight to confession. I will ask you questions and you will answer only “yes” or “no”. Capiche?

 

ERIC

OK.

 

VITO

Is that a “Yes”?

 

ERIC

Of course. You have a gun to my head, don’t you?

 

VITO

Yes

 

ERIC

And you are not afraid to use it, right?

 

VITO

Yes.

 

ERIC

And your boss is Don Giovanni?

 

VITO

Yes.

 

ERIC

The most feared mobster in all the land?

 

VITO

Yes.

 

ERIC

And you are his yes man?

 

VITO

Yes.

 

ERIC

Well, OK then. Fire away. Pause Cancel that last thought.

 

VITO

Seven years ago, did you borrow two million dollars from Don Giovanni?

 

ERIC

Yes.

 

VITO

Did you pursue a life insurance scam to pay the Godfather back?

 

ERIC

Yes.

 

VITO

Did that scheme entail taking out a life insurance policy for two mil on some poor schmuck, unbeknownst to said schmuck, making yourself the beneficiary, then us bumping him off, and collecting the proceeds from you?

 

ERIC

Yes.

 

VITO

Was that schmuck Lance Lovelace?

 

ERIC

Yes.

 

Did you encourage him to act in a classic porn film called Night Shift Nurses.?

 

ERIC

Yes.

 

VITO

Did Lance weigh 300 pounds?

 

Eric

Yes.

 

VITO

In that film, was it your plan for Lance to engage in vigorous sex with Lola Lalonde, the better to induce a fatal coronary?

 

ERIC

Yes.

 

VITO

Did that in fact occur?

 

ERIC

Yes.

 

VITO

Was Lola Lalonde aware of your plan?

 

ERIC

No!

 

VITO

Did Lance Lovelace’s corpse go missing?

 

ERIC

Yes.

 

VITO

Without a body, does it take seven years to produce a Death Certificate?

 

ERIC

Yes.

 

VITO

Will it be seven years next week?

 

ERIC

Yes.

 

VITO

Will you then bring us the money you owe Don Giovanni plus seven years interest, for a total of three million dollars next week?

 

ERIC

Three million?

 

VITO

Whacks Eric on the back of the head with his pistol.

Yes or no, Eric?

 

ERIC

Yes.

 

VITO

Good. I understand, Eric, even though you are an accountant. you are quite the ladies man, The Good Book says: ‘He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord’. How about your privy member? Still in one tiny piece?

ERIC

Yes!

VITO

(Points his gun.)

Like to keep it that way?

 

ERIC

Yes! But how am I supposed to raise the extra million in a week?

 

VITO

As your spiritual advisor, might I suggest that you do the Lance Lovelace thing? Find some poor schmuck, insure her life, then we bump her off!

 

ERIC

Her?

 

VITO

Lola Lalonde. You been curling her toes lately, no? And didn’t you insure her life back in the day? You gotta be sick of that voice.

 

ERIC

Lola doesn’t deserve that!

 

VITO

She murdered Lance Lovelace! You got a week! It’s you or her! Now go in peace my son.

BLACKOUT

 

 

ACT ONE SCENE TWO

The scene is the same. It is the evening of February 7.

 

 

ERIC pops his head out of the igloo, looking left and right. He disappears, replaced by LOLA who crawls out, with ERIC close behind.

Facing off, center stage. Eric is slightly older than Lola,now a plus-sized woman who is not hard to look at,. But she does have an irritating voice..

LOLA

I’ve decided to kill myself!

ERIC

Lola, you realise to do that is actuarially unsound.

 

LOLA

What?

 

ERIC

Technically, your life insurance policy doesn’t pay out if you end your own life

 

LOLA

What do I care? I’m dead!

 

ERIC

What about your beneficiary?

 

LOLA

The Home For Retired Porn Actors?

 

ERIC

They get nothing. No million bucks. So no condoms, no Viagra, no walkers, no dolls. No special visitors! Nothing!

 

LOLA

What about that package you sold them ?

 

ERIC

It just covers death from STD’s: Gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital herpes, HPV infection and hepatitis B and C.

 

LOLA

Not breast reduction surgery?

 

ERIC

That’s in our deluxe health package. Very popular.

 

LOLA

Asking for a friend.

 

ERIC

Sure. You know you can change beneficiaries with the stroke of a pen.

 

LOLA

Why would I do that?

 

ERIC

How do you think I, a small time actuary and registered life insurance agent, with a love of the arts, and of artists such as yourself, was able to buy this theater and finance an amateur playhouse?

 

LOLA

You’re asking me that?

 

ERIC

It’s a rhetorical question.

 

LOLA

Whatever.

 

ERIC

What is: “Only because a dear friend of mine, Don Luigi, passed away and had changed the beneficiary of his life policy to me”?

 

LOLA

Hey! If I did that we could be business partners! Fix this place up.

 

ERIC

Actuarially speaking, you would be dead.

 

LOLA

Oh. Right. What is an Actuary anyway?

 

ERIC

What is an Actuary? Half part superhero. Half part fortune-teller. Half part trusted advisor. We manage risk. It’s what we do. With unbeatable analytical skills, we help organizations plan for the future and protect themselves from loss.

ERIC’s cell rings.

 

Eric Stroheim. Slow down! Que? Si. OK., Raul? OK.   Don’t get your beard in a knot! I’ll talk to him . Tell him he will have to get out of those military fatigues and into a proper hospital gown if he wants me to see him.   Adios!

 

LOLA

Who was that?

 

ERIC

A client. Raul Castro. Fidel is still sick in hospital and he wants to change his beneficiary from Raul to some Havana Cat Rescue. I’m supposed to talk him out of it. Looks like I’ll be gone for a couple of weeks

 

LOLA

Pause Why can I never come with you?

 

ERIC

We actuaries don’t normally get to date ex porn stars. Rather exciting. So I get a little premature, OK?

LOLA

Not that! To Cuba. Why can’t I come with you to Cuba?

ERIC

Lola. Cuba is a very dangerous country. Unlike us, they had a revolution! All the rich people fled to Miami. The remainder are so poor that they have to get all their prescriptions and operations for free! In return they are forced to speak a foreign language! However, they do get to drive vintage automobiles. Do I want a gorgeous woman like you to get hit on by bearded revolutionaries and likely forced to marry into the Castro family? You have to stay safe here. And keep this to yourself!

LOLA

Why can’t I tell nobody? Why the big secret?

ERIC

Before the revolution Havana was full of nightlife, beautiful women, casinos.   Then Fidel kicked the Mafia out.

 

LOLA

You were in the Mob. Did they kick you out too?

 

ERIC

Lola, technically, I wasn’t in the Mob. I Just did some life policies for them. Mainstream insurers won’t touch them. Their mortality rate is too high.

By the way, the revolution was sixty years ago.   How old do you think I

am?

 

LOLA

How old do you think I am?

 

ERIC

Thirty?

 

LOLA

Close enough. But you’re not in the Mob now, right?

 

ERIC

Lola, technically you are always in the Mob. It’s been seven years, but they could always find me, ask a favor.

 

LOLA

Like what?

 

ERIC

Well they might want you dead, for example.

 

LOLA

Me ? Why? Is it my voice?

 

ERIC

They owned Hoerizontal Productions. They produced all your films.

 

LOLA

So why would they want me dead? What are they, drama critics?

 

ERIC

Suppose they took out a life policy on you for a million and you pass away… Now they can collect.

 

LOLA

They can’t do that without my say-so!.

 

ERIC

Sure they can. Walmart did it with their employees. It’s just a “for instance”, OK? Now back to Cuba. You know how the USA feels about dictatorships that don’t have oil. If the CIA found out about me and the Castro brothers…….. It’s just too dangerous for you!

 

LOLA

But you could fall in love with some cigar-smoking female revolutionary, and I would never see you again. Pause. I know! Suppose I make you the beneficiary of my life insurance, like you were talking. Wouldn’t that prove that I love and trust you? And if, God forbid, something happens to you and you don’t return, I can always switch it back to the Retirement Home, can’t I?

 

ERIC

Coincidentally, I happen to have the paperwork right here. Just sign wherever you see a highlighted blank space.

 

LOLA

Again, you are so fast.

 

From upstage enter RIKKI a handsome woman in her fifties, hair in a bun, glasses, trench coat, with a book in her hand. She takes a seat, finds her bookmark, and continues her reading. Lola and Eric are oblivious, doing the paperwork..

 

LOLA

There. Done. It’s almost like we are married! But what about our Valentine’s Day?

 

ERIC

I’ll make it up to you, sweetheart.

 

LOLA

But spoze your plane crashes! On purpose!

ERIC

That’s why I’m going by boat. But I’ll be watched. The CIA like to use a woman. Somehow she gets a key to the cabin. She searches it every day! And just before she leaves, she makes a little animal out of towels, just to freak you out.

LOLA

How long before you reach Havana?

ERIC

Three days from Fort Lauderdale. Can’t go straight to Havana. Too obvious. So I have to stop at a bunch of places on the way

LOLA

So what am I supposed to do?

ERIC

Surprise! I got you a part!

LOLA

No!

ERIC

It’s a play.

LOLA

What’s it called?

ERIC

Last Moments By Jason Dark

LOLA

Oh. I think I heard of him.

 

ERIC

Technically it’s kind of a musical. Vance Verdi is directing He’s famous.

LOLA

Now you made me nervous! Vance Verdi.

 

ERIC

Don’t worry. You’re in. All you have to do is to show up!

LOLA

But how………..?

ERIC

All I had to do was show Vance your greatest film. That was your audition piece.

LOLA

Night Shift Nurses? That’s years ago.

ERIC

That’s all it took.

LOLA

Tell me it wasn’t the scene where I seduce the entire operating team during open heart surgery?

ERIC

Including the patient. Classic. Lola, is that a tear?

LOLA

Well he died. The patient!

ERIC

It was just a movie, Lola.

LOLA

No! He died in real life! The actor! I killed Lance Lovelace, Eric!

 

ERIC

I don’t believe it!

 

LOLA

Believe it! I hadda beat a murder rap.

ERIC

So the Walrus is dead. We shall never see his big……smile again.

LOLA

They cleared me at the Inquest, because somehow they lost his body, but I know in my heart…..

ERIC

I wonder if he was insured. See, without a body the authorities won’t issue a death certificate, meaning his beneficiary doesn’t receive anything. But after seven years he can be declared legally dead.

LOLA

Seven years. That’s about how long it’s been. I felt so guilty. Eventually I quit the business.

 

ERIC

But you won three Silver Knee Pads! Remember when you played Cleopatra? You wanted to bathe in the milk of your donkey after that threesome with Virgil and Marcus Aurelius.   But her milk dried up and you promised Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony a night of passion if they could get any milk out of her.

 

LOLA

Yeah. That was called …….Tap My Ass! Historical romance.   Cost a fortune in costume alone. Couldn’t make that movie today. Why?   Internet Porn. No plot, no passion, no romance It ain’t pretty and it ain’t natural. That’s what I love about you, Eric. You are passionate. You are romantic. You care about me. You got a big ..brain.. And I love that pencil neck of yours. You don’t look anything like the gorgeous muscle bound hunks I used to work with. You saved me from all that. And best of all, you actually got a conscience!

 

There is a silence. Eric takes the insurance policy and rips it up.

 

LOLA

Whadda you doing?

 

ERIC

Lola, you can’t let those geriatric porn stars down! Their retirement home just has basic cable, so they have to watch the Hallmark Channel all day. Your money will provide premier access to their classic flicks! They get to see themselves when they were in their smutty prime! That’s so good for their self esteem!

 

LOLA

See, that’s why I love you!

 

ERIC

 

Now, rehearsal is at seven. Right here. Don’t be late! Go home and get some sleep!

LOL

It’s your last night! Aren’t we……?

ERIC

Can’t Lola.

 

LOLA

I know I put on some weight in retirement.

 

ERIC

More to love!

 

LOLA

And you know I still get tested every three months.

 

ERIC

 

Look, Raul told me to preserve my vital juices. He says I might need them some time during the Mission.

 

LOLA

So you’re like the James Bond of actuaries.

 

ERIC

Exactly.

 

RIKKI checks her watch, approaches and starts to tap her toe.

 

RIKKI

Ahem.

LOLA

Who is that woman? What’s she doing here?

ERIC

Relax. She’s a librarian. My books are overdue. She’s just come here to collect them for me. See, these days librarians have to go the second mile, just to compete with the Internet. Oh, and she is auditioning tonight.

 

LOLA

In the time we been together,I never even seen you read a book.

 

ERIC

Oh really? My card.

Gives his card to her

 

LOLA

“Eric Stroheim CFA CFP CPA” You musta read a lot of books!

 

ERIC

Add them up, it’s a PhD in numbers. Best part is, I did it all online through Trump University! Played football there too, first string on their fantasy team. We were ranked first in the nation by Fox News!

 

LOLA

Check out my card!

 

ERIC

“Lola Hare- Head?”

 

LOLA

My real name. The first H is not silent.

 

ERIC

RPS?

 

LOLA

Retired Porn Star. Same as getting a PhD in Anatomy

 

ERIC

I used to chase credentials, but thanks to you I have better things to do.

 

LOLA

Looks Rikki over

She playing a missionary?

ERIC

I think you have taken that position. Now, you should be off.

LOLA

One last kiss?

ERIC

The juices? The vital juices? Drained.

 

Exit LOLA, sniffling. RIKKI throws off her coat, revealing an animal printed outfit, removes her wig, and glasses, shakes down her hair, rushes to ERIC and jumps into his arms.

RIKKI

Me Jane!

ERIC

Me Tarzan! OK, that’s enough. Jane make Ape Man dizzy.

 

RIKKI

Pound on your chest!

 

ERIC

What?

 

RIKKI

Like Tarzan!

 

ERIC makes a very weak attempt. RIKKI shows him how it’s done.

RIKKI

I don’t really see you as Tarzan. More like the mild mannered Clark Kent. Yet you are the proof that good things can come in extremely small packages.

 

ERIC

Well thank you, Raul!

 

RIKKI

De Nada. Pause. I experienced the sudden discharge of accumulated sexual excitement resulting in rhythmic muscular contractions in the pelvic region as soon as I called you. Then I drove over..

 

ERIC

Look, I have to tell you that-

RIKKI

-You are taking a seven day Caribbean cruise.

ERIC

How did you…?

RIKKI

I could hear you two. Was that Lola Lalonde you just dumped for moi?

ERIC

You are surprised?

RIKKI

What a voice she has! It’s like she is constantly on the verge.

ERIC

Force of habit.

RIKKI

She acquired quite a following amongst we librarians after that film about the mousy librarian who makes a deal with the devil. It had a catchy title.

ERIC

Do It By the Book. Now let me explain my trip..

RIKKI

Don’t bother.

ERIC

You don’t care?

RIKKI

I understand everything. Just from looking at that sad igloo.

ERIC

You do?

RIKKI

You told me how frustrated you have been with directing Community Theater on a shoestring. You want to turn this into an Equity House. Meaning professional actors, tech crew, management, the whole unionized ball of wax. But the Operations Committee wants to keep this a small locally managed volunteer effort. So you are going on vacation for two weeks. Correct? And while you are gone, you have picked the worst play in the world and some newby director. Fast forward two weeks. Of course, rehearsals are a disaster. The Operations Committee is appalled and panicked. Enter you, with a bunch of pros straight from the cruise ship   You reproduce the cruise ship play right here on our stage, save the day, and convince them that pro is the way to go!

ERIC

That’s exactly right. You are a genius!

RIKKI

No! I am a Librarian. Yet, I am also a woman, who remembers well our latest tryst, specifically my involuntary reactions, including muscular spasms in multiple areas of my body, plus a general euphoric sensation, causing body movements and vocalizations.

ERIC

Yes, we did it at your library!

 

RIKKI

Right after we rushed through the paperwork on my new Life Insurance policy. That was actuarial foreplay! Yet ‘twas torture ! Then,finally, consummation as we gave new meaning to the phrase, “Library of Congress!”.   Now I presume you plan to have me as part of the cast of Last Moments so that I can report back to you on the literary horror show, as well as to guarantee it fails due to my dubious dramatic skills. I have already perused the script.

ERIC

Tell me I chose the right vehicle to achieve my goal.

RIKKI

The right vehicle? Last Moments is the Edsel of the drama world. Our heroine ends up exiled on a melting iceberg with an actor in a hungry polar bear suit!.

ERIC

All wrapped up in a musical featuring throat singing. There won’t be a dry eye in the house.

RIKKI

There won’t be any eyes in the house! They will all be outside, seeking their iceberg. Remember, your audiences skew elderly. The last thing they want to be reminded of is the fact that death conquers all.

ERIC

Speaking of death, Lola thinks death conquered Lance Lovelace.

RIKKI

He didn’t look very dead in Night Shift Nurses! At least from the neck down, since everyone in that O.R. was masked

ERIC

Technically I’m the only person who actually knew what Lance’s face looked like. That’s why they called me in to identify the body. But guess what? There was no body. Night Shift Nurses was his one and done. You’ve seen it?

 

RIKKI

It’s been very educational. As well as inspiring. Not as inspiring to a librarian as Do it By the Book, mind you. Regardless, I purchased a copy of Nurses for the library. It’s our most popular rental.

 

ERIC

You think Lance Lovelace died in that flick?

 

RIKKI

Death can occur during consensual sex for a number of reasons, generally because of the physical strain of the activity, or because of unusual extenuating circumstances. There are various euphemisms for death during sex, including “dying in the saddle” or the French “la mort d’amour”. Deaths during consensual sex account for approximately 0.6% of all sudden deaths So I consider it very unlikely. Pause Now, you seem a little taken aback at the notion that I think Lance Lovelace might still be alive.

 

ERIC

Such an imagination.

RIKKI

Speaking of death, what about my little death?

ERIC

I don’t get it.

RIKKI

Well I would like to get it!

ERIC

What on earth are you talking about?

RIKKI

In modern usage, the term “Little Death” has generally been interpreted to describe the post-orgasmic state of unconsciousness that some people have after sexual experiences. In French, “la petite mort”

ERIC

Oh. I get it!

RIKKI

And so you will. I have prepared a special place for us.

 

ERIC

The couch?

 

RIKKI

Guess again!

ERIC

Not the desk? My back…….

RIKKI

It’s a cozy spot. Private, yet luxurious. With a polar bear rug to serve as our mattress.

ERIC

The igloo?

RIKKI

Bingo!

RIKKI goes over and sticks her head into the entrance

ERIC

I’ll never make it. The entrance is too small!

RIKKI

Where have I heard that before? By the way, how did they get all that stuff in there, the kitchen, the bathroom, the canopy bed?

 

ERIC

That’s the playwright, Vance Verdi. Apparently he likes to live on set when directing.

 

RIKKI

Is he home?

 

ERIC

Don’t worry. There’s a classic film retrospective at the Roxy tonight. He won’t be home before midnight.

 

RIKKI

I love classic films. Why don’t we go?

 

ERIC

Honey, I have been saving up my vital juices. It’s our last night!

RIKKI

Of course. What was I thinking? But Eric, I must be straight with you.   I left work early tonight, feigning illness. I am wracked with guilt.

 

ERIC

Just like Madame Ovary!

 

RIKKI

It’s Madame Bovary, Eric. Who felt no guilt at all. This may sound strange, but would you give me permission to forget my ditching work, so I might ravage your body, guilt free?

 

ERIC

Would I? Of course. What’s with the book?

 

RIKKI

It’s The Illustrated Kama Sutra Your early Valentine’s present. I thought we might try page 29 tonight. See?

 

ERIC

With my back? Are you nuts?

 

RIKKI

Why do you think women my age practice yoga? Just lie back and think of Cuba. Let me do the rest!

 

They both dash to the entrance of the igloo, but they can’t enter it at the same time.

 

RIKKI

You go first, my sweet! And as we librarians like to say, “Allow me to check you out!”

 

BLACKOUT

ACT ONE SCENE THREE

The scene is the same. It is the morning of February 8

Enter VITO He begins to search the premises, starting with the desk. He notices that the igloo seems to be moving and approaches the entrance.

VITO

Eskimo Pie! We deliver! Anyone home?

We see VAN’s face appear at the entrance. He‘s a good looking guy in his late twenties.

VAN

Got a popcorn hangover. Later.

VITO

Time for confession my son.

 

VAN

Nothing to confess. What about you? Somebody broke into my house last night and ruffled my polar bear rug ! Now it’s all lumpy.

VITO

Broke in?   You’re living in an igloo. Your door is always open!

 

VAN exits igloo.

 

VAN

Hello, Vance Verdi, director, but you can call me “Van”.

Looks VITO over.

So you are auditioning as the mobster? Not bad. Maybe a little cliché.

VITO

Pulls out a pistol

How about I row you out to sea, put a bullet in your head, and weigh you down with cement blocks. That cliché enough for you?

VAN

Whoa! Well done! Great audition! Unfortunately we are doing Last Moments. The Mafioso character is in Tastes Like Chicken

VITO

What?

VAN

You got my plays mixed up. It’s not the Mafia one. That’s not until next spring. It’s the Inuit one. You are auditioning for the wrong play!

VITO puts the gun right on VAN’s head

VITO

I’m looking for Lola Lalonde.

VAN

That’s good too. I like what you did with the gun. It really sells it. I am really believing you are a Wise Guy. But like I said-

 

VITO

It’s real. Lola Lalonde

 

VAN

What’s with the collar?

VITO

Mafia Chaplain. Let us pray. Get down on your knees.

 

Van complies facing DC with Vito behind him, his gun on Van’s head

VAN

Mafia Chaplain. So you do mob baptisms? Weddings?

VITO

Mostly Last Rites.

VAN

Catholic. So obviously you are pro life!

VITO

Flourishes revolver

Depends, but I warn you we can be Old Testament.

 

VAN

But doesn’t God tell us “Thou shall not kill”?

VITO

That’s Moses. But Jehovah is a real killer. Puts us to shame. Where is Lola?

 

VAN

Oh. Lola. Hare-Head? Promise me you aren’t going to hurt her. Or me!

VITO

Why would I do that in an empty place with no witnesses?

VAN

I’m a witness!

VITO

Temporarily.

Voice of LOLA

Anyone at home?

VAN

Who is it?

VITO

That voice? That’s Lola!

VAN

I have never met her!

VITO

Levels gun at VAN, cocks the trigger

And you never will.

VAN

I’m begging you!. Look, I’ll just hide out in my bathroom until you are done…talking.. Won’t witness a thing!

VITO

Put your fingers in your ears!

VAN

Good idea. Can’t testify I heard shots

VITO

Now get in that igloo!

VAN

With fingers in ears

What did you say?

VITO

You heard me!

VAN

I’ve got my fingers in my ears!

VITO

Gestures

The igloo!

VAN

panicking

I can’t get through this opening with my fingers in my ears! It’s impossible!

VITO

Take them out! Then put them back in when you get inside.

VAN

But how will you know I got my fingers in my ears when you can’t see me in there?

 

There is a silence

VITO

While inside, meditate on Proverbs, Chapter 19 Verse 5 : A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will not escape! Got it?

VANCE

Got it!

Exit VAN into Igloo. Enter LOLA She is dressed in Inuit garb.

 

LOLA

Hello, I’m Lola Hare-Head

VITO

No. You are Lola Lalonde.

LOLA

I don’t sign autographs anymore, OK? But here’s my card. See? My mom’s name was H-A-R-E, like rabbit. and my Dad was a Head. The first “H “ used to be silent, but I paid a lot of money and totally changed that legally. You gotta be Vance Verdi. My director.

VITO

Don’t you recognize me?

LOLA

You nuts? How can you recognize someone you never met?

 

VITO

My card.

 

LOLA

Vito Panzerotti? M.Div?

 

VITO

Master of Divinity

 

LOLA

M.E?

 

VITO

Mob Enforcer. We have met.

LOLA

I ain’t never seen you in my life. Hey! You a priest?

VITO

Anything you would like to confess?

LOLA

Haven’t been to the confession booth since the Father O’Malley incident. That’s twenty years ago. And he croaked shortly afterwards.

VITO

Yeah?

LOLA

Heart attack. My bad.

VITO

Night Shift Nurses.

LOLA

What about it?

VITO

I was in that. And so were you.

LOLA

Don’t recognize your face.

VITO

You never saw my face.

LOLA

Never saw nobody’s face. You were all masked and gowned. Of course the gowns all opened at the front. What do you want with me? I’m a legit actress now.

VITO

I’m looking for a guy.

LOLA

So am I but he ain’t you! So take a hike!

VITO

Eric Stroheim

LOLA

What about him?

VITO

Where is he?

LOLA

Who wants to know?

VITO

You looking for a reunion with Lance Lovelace? In that O.R. in the sky?

LOLA

I hear he ain’t dead.

VITO

Come on! After what you did to him?

LOLA

You can’t pin that on me! Besides, he won a Golden Phallus at The Adult Video Awards for Most Realistic Performance

VITO

Yeah. Posthumously. Ya know, as a surgeon, I did everything in my power to save that man.

LOLA

Some has-been porn star ain’t gonna revive nobody!

VITO

So much for Method acting. You’re a has-been porn star too, ain’t cha?

 

LOLA

Hung up my thong when I couldn’t get my legs over my shoulders any more. The last time, they seized up, on set! Hadda get a chiropractor. They filmed the whole thing. Forget the title.

VITO

Well Adjusted, your swan song. I will probably tell that story at your funeral. Look, the Don wants to know the whereabouts of your boyfriend!

LOLA

The Don? Don’t you mean The Donald?   I signed an Agreement. I can’t even tell him anything!

VITO

Don Giovanni

 

LOLA

Oh.

VITO

He’s in town. Do you really want him to get operatic on you?

LOLA

No, no. Let me sing instead! You shoulda told me it was Don Giovanni in the first place. OK. Eric is on a cruise ship then at some all-inclusive resort in Cuba for a week or so.

VITO

The cruise ship?

LOLA

Dunno. Out of Lauderdale. Gave me some cock and bull story about insuring Fidel Castro. Did you know Fidel is really sick?

VITO

I do know he’s really dead. Cuba. That figures.

LOLA

What’s Don Giovanni doing in this quiet little resort town far away from the headaches of his chosen profession?

VITO

He’s attending the Mafia Convention. Big parade tomorrow. You should see the float honoring the Saint Valentine’s’ Day Massacre. Super realistic.

 

LOLA

Escorts in town won’t ever get off their backs. Must be their biggest convention of their year.

 

VITO

Second only to the Shriners.

 

LOLA

How is the Don?

 

VITO

Don Giovanni comes and goes outta his mind. Like last night he wanted me to send up Marge Simpson to his room, capiche? Anyway, he spots a sign in town advertising a musical at the local playhouse, see? The Don is real enthused. Well you know how much he loves opera. Remember when he had Don Luigi’s throat cut during The Barber of Seville?

LOLA

Last Moments ain’t no opera.

VITO

At his age does the Don know the difference? He’ll probably sleep through it. But seven years ago he lends your boyfriend a large sum of money to buy this piece of coal and turn it into a diamond. Does it look like a diamond to you?

 

LOLA

Eric told me that he got the money out of a friend’s will.

 

VITO

No. And with repayment due, Eric is nowhere to be found. Such a lack of respect. You believe this cruise thing?

LOLA

Well your guess is as good as mine.

VITO

He can’t be extradited from Cuba. If he’s seeking asylum, he just walks off the ship. Look, if you are holding something back……

LOLA

You heard me. Someone’s coming. I gotta get changed.

Exit LOLA. She passes RIKKI, in Inuit dress, on the way out.

RIKKI

Murderess!

LOLA

He had it, coming.

 

Facing off

RIKKI

Well Eric’s mine now. We copulated all night! Had that igloo been real it would have melted!

LOLA

But that’s our igloo!. The reason is because it was our first place.

RIKKI

The reason is that it was our first place.

LOLA

It was your first place too?

RIKKI

No! Our first place was my library. Section G. Geography, Anthropology, and Recreation. See, you should have said the reason is that it was your first place.

 

LOLA

You deaf, Granny? I just said that!

 

RIKKI

“The word “because” is completely redundant to your statement.

 

LOLA

I’m going to make you completely redundant and the reason is because I’m gonna punch you out!

The cat fight which follows is more like those hockey battles where the two combatants exhaust themselves and wind up holding each other up. Except in Inuit garb. In the course of the fracas, each manages to shed the other’s outer clothing and wig.

LOLA

Four eyed sled puller!

RIKKI

Strumpet!

LOLA

Frigid nerd!

RIKKI

Harlot!

LOLA

Snowflake!

RIKKI

Trollop!

 

LOLA

Geriatric….. blubber chewer!!

Enter VAN scrambling out from his igloo He holds RIKKI back while VITO holds LOLA

VAN

Freeze!

RIKKI

Painted woman of the streets!

VITO

Pulling out his pistol

Hey! You heard the man!

The women freeze.

 

VITO

You gotta way with words.

RIKKI

Thank you. I majored in Victorian literature..

 

VAN

Look at you two! You are holding each other by the shoulders. You are balancing your feet, swaying left to right, and you are breathing and vocalizing alternatively while face to face! The classic throat singing stance! That would really thrill an audience. Look at them!   Naturals, both of them!

 

RIKKI

Naturals? Au contraire! From my perspective both of them contain a prosthesis used cosmetically to enhance or enlarge the appearance of the breasts through breast augmentation surgery.

 

LOLA

You might wanna look into it. Those peaches of yours are low hanging fruit!

 

RIKKI

Killer!!

 

LOLA

Did you even see Night Shift Nurses? Lance was asking for it. Repeatedly. Irregardless I didn’t kill him. Did they ever find a body? No!

 

RIKKI

There’s no such word as “irregardless”. It’s “regardless”, you callous top-heavy illiterate!   Perhaps you should visit my library. Try to hold back the tears while viewing our “Tribute to Lancelot”. Read the inscription, “Pound for pound he fought for love”.The memorial flowers are wilted, yes, but his memory lives on in the hearts of love-starved librarians everywhere.. Of course you would probably steal the stuffed walrus! Regardless!

 

LOLA

You know, I had a friend once, just like you. Russian girl, Sheilah Borurassoff!   And don’t call me a murderer! Lance Lovelace ain’t even dead!

 

RIKKI

Oh? What about Father O’Malley?

 

LOLA breaks down and exits in tears

RIKKI

Serial Killer!

There is a silence

VITO

So. Tell me what you know about Eric Stroheim.

RIKKI

Born September 22, 1885. Died May 12, 1957. An Austrian-American director, actor and producer, most noted as a film star and avant garde, visionary director of the silent era.

VAN

Stroheim is nothing compared to Jean Renoir!

RIKKI

Smitten . Commencing a mating ritual

Well, Stroheim’s masterpiece, Greed, is considered one of the finest and most important films ever made.

VAN

Well, Renoir’s La Grande Illusion is often cited by critics as among the greatest films ever. Saw it last night.

RIKKI

Consider that Stroheim was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor as Max, Gloria Swanson’s butler, in Sunset Boulevard!

VAN

Consider that Jean Renoir was ranked by a poll of critics as the fourth greatest director of all time!

VITO

Breaking the spell

Consider that Lance Lovelace got a posthumous Adult Video Award for Night Shift Nurses!

RIKKI

Night Shift Nurses is hardly Sunset Boulevard, but I must admit I did find it rather stimulating recently. Especially the O.R. scene. It’s not often you find stark realism in what are essentially male fantasies, but one would almost think that the patient actually died in that scene. The frantic efforts to revive him could well have been directed by Martin Scorsese!

VAN

You’re hot!

 

RIKKI

I know. Likewise, I’m sure.

VITO

No! Your cheeks are flushed! Feel her palms.

VAN

Palms are sweaty. Pulse is racing! Oh Dog! I just did the research on it!

VITO

Did the research on what? Tell me!

VAN

For the play! Oh Dog!

VITO

Oh Dog? Don’t you mean, “Oh God”?

 

VAN

When stressed I can be a little dyslexic.

 

VITO

Tell me!

VAN

Anthrax!

VITO

Oh Dog!

RIKKI

sunnily

Inhalation anthrax develops when you breathe in anthrax spores. It’s the most deadly way to contract the disease, and even with treatment, it is often fatal. Initial signs and symptoms of inhalation anthrax include flu-like symptoms, such as sore throat, mild fever, fatigue and muscle aches, mild chest discomfort, shortness of breath, nausea, coughing up blood, and painful swallowing. I suffer from none of these!

VITO

She hasn’t got it! Got it?

RIKKI

Oh I’ve got it alright, and I’ve got it bad! It is the eternal elixir of love that is responsible for making our cheeks flush, our palms sweat and our hearts race. Did you know that MRI scans indicate that love lights up the pleasure center of the brain? When we fall in love, blood flow increases in this area, which, interestingly, is the same part of the brain implicated in obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

VITO

Is she a doctor?

RIKKI

I don’t have to be a doctor. I’m a Librarian. Rikki Leeks. My card. You will note that there are no credentials after my name. I don’t need them.

VITO

Look. You don’t want to fall in love with me! I had a very troubled childhood. I grew up in a family that the whole neighborhood feared. So I got every break. At school, kids would pick me first for their recess teams, even though I was a terrible athlete. Every year I would win our school spelling bee. My family rigged it so that my opponents were forced to spell words like “kidnapping”, “death” and “torture”. The class spelling genius became hysterical when he had to spell ‘orphan’! I’m damaged goods, baby!

RIKKI

Fear not. I’m not falling in love with you. I’m falling in love with him.

 

VAN

Me?

RIKKI

Love at first sight is a common trope in literature: A person, character, or speaker feels an instant, extreme, and ultimately long-lasting romantic attraction for a stranger upon the first sight of that stranger. Though how I could fall for a playwright frankly baffles me.

 

VITO

Me too. If you change your mind, here’s my card.

 

RIKKI

1-800 BIG STUD?

 

VITO

Rikki, don’t lose that number. It’s the only one you’ll need.

 

VITO’s cell rings the theme from the Godfather

Yeah? Cuba. That’s right, where Ricky Ricardo comes from. No. We have to do it now before it sails, if it’s not too late. Yes, she’s right here.I’ll put her on. Marge?   Don Giovanni wants to talk to you.

 

VAN

Marge?

 

VITO

Marge Simpson.

 

RIKKI

I’ll take it. Hello, Don Giovanni? It’s Marge. I’m fine, Homer is fine, Bart is fine, the little scamp!   Yes Lisa and Maggie are fine too. Look, I’d love to come up to your room, but I’m in rehearsal right now. A threesome? With Dolly? That’s an old fashioned name. Maybe I’ll come up later. No, the blue is natural. Yes, everywhere. You’ll see. You need not put out a contract on Homer, you jealous thing! I am yours!

BLACKOUT

ACT TWO SCENE ONE

Later that evening. The stage is in partial darkness. We see Don Giovanni and Vito on the couch, confronting a sleeping bag containing an unconscious ERIC. The Don is a very old, albeit, feisty, man. He has a patch over one eye. He and VITO are both resting.

VITO

What a drag!

DON

A dead weight! Where is everybody? Have I finally gone blind?

 

VITO

Can you see me, Godfather? You still have one good eye.

 

DON

Mishearing

Wood eye? Wood eye? You had to bring it up, didn’t you? I should put a bullet in you right now!

Pulls his gun out

Remember when we partnered with that Indian tribe in the casino deal?

 

VITO

Yes. At the opening gala, they made you an honorary tribesman. Gave you a native name.

 

DON

Go on, say it!

 

VITO

Wood Eye.

 

DON

And what did I do that very evening?

 

VITO

You burned it to the ground. I apologize, Godfather!

 

DON

Apology accepted, my son. Do you know why I have a wood eye, Vito? My parents bought me a BB gun for Xmas so I could shake down my little friends for their presents. The rest is history. Pause Why aren’t they rehearsing?

 

VITO

They rehearsed all day, Godfather. Then they all went to some classic movie festival. To see Sunset Boulevard. Won’t be back till late.

 

DON

I’ll never forget Sunset Boulevard. Gloria Swanson played Norma, the washed up silent movie star. We had a thing while she was working on it. Came up to my room with her frozen TV dinners. But we never ate them. They were frozen! I said “Let’s live on love instead!”! I was twenty-seven. She had twenty-five years on me!. Only four foot eleven. She took a two and a half size shoe. One night I came home and she was sliding down the bannister. I said “Ok I get it! Would you like to go out for dinner for once?” And do you know what she said to me? “Wood eye! Wood eye!” I couldn’t believe it! On Valentine’s Day! I just walked out of there in tears. But in those days there were plenty of sleeping fish in the sea. Nowadays all I have left is my Dolly.

He breaks down

 

VITO

Would it help if you roughed Stroheim up a little?

DON

Snaps out of it.

No! We let him wake up. Tell Stroheim it’s all OK he stole my money

VITO

He won’t believe it.

DON

He will want to. Tell him all he has to do to pay his debt to me, as he promised. Then at the end of the play, I will execute him. No, I will execute them all! On Valentines Day!

 

VITO

Why, Godfather?

 

DON

Don’t you know? It’s the anniversary of the St Valentine’s Day Massacre! A hundred years ago! I was there! I was the one-eyed lookout! Six years old. See, it was all about icing Bugs Moran. I signaled he was inside the garage, but my eye deceived me. It was actually the garage mechanic.   So we slaughtered him and six of his gang, but not Bugs. My bad. By the way, I’m in the parade tomorrow, on the float honoring the anniversary! Just me and seven fresh bodies, artistically placed,

 

VITO

Actually, that was in 1929, Godfather. It wasn’t a hundred years ago at all. So you don’t need to kill anybody.

 

DON

How many in the cast?

 

VITO

Four.

 

DON

We will have to use three more from the audience.

 

VITO

You are inviting witnesses, Godfather?

 

DON

I have invited our soldiers here, to witness what happens when you cheat your Godfather!

 

VITO

But that’s Stroheim. The others are innocent!

 

DON

Collateral damage. It’s quite common these days

 

VITO

Relax, Don Giovanni.

 

DON

As my spiritual advisor, you sound uncertain.

 

VITO

Well, Jehovah is definitely in favor of the penalty of death. For example, Old Testament says any man who is a medium must be put to death.

DON

Excellent. I would say this man is a medium. Certainly not a large. Even though he is heavy.

VITO

Yeah. So we are completely in the clear with God on this one.

DON

But what of the many others? I have come to the end of my life. I feel the need to confess my sins to you.

 

VITO

Now?

Pulls a gun

Now! Tell me the truth! I have questions!

VITO

Got questions? Shoot! No, cancel that! Don’t shoot! Relax. Put the gun away.   So go ahead, hit me! No! Cancel that too!

DON

OK, what if Marge Simpson got it on with Apu?

VITO

According to Leviticus, both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.

 

DON

Harsh!

VITO

I’m just the messenger here, OK?

DON

What does the Good Book say about punishment? What are my options with this guy in the bag here?

VITO

Depends what he did. Scripture allows for stoning, burning, hanging, strangling, death by sword or spear, sawing asunder and pounding in a mortar. Curiously, it never mentions firearms.

DON

“Sawing asunder.” That’s still on my bucket list. So do you think I’m in any trouble here? Immortal soul-wise?

VITO

See, that’s the great thing about our religion. You got the Jehovah part, which is pretty harsh, but then you also got the Catholic part. You go to Confession, don’t you?

DON

Every Saturday. People know better than to be in the same line as me.

VITO

So the priest gives you a penance, am I right?

DON

Of course. Last time Father Timothy asked me to counsel that troublesome choir boy

VITO

Then he said “Go and sin no more”, right?

DON

Then he winked at me. Or maybe it was an eye twitch. He’s been under a lot of stress.

VITO

So your sins are forgiven!   You can sin your whole life, confess on your deathbed, and wake up sharing a martini with Mother Teresa in Heaven! So when I give Eric The Last Rites, we’ll be doing him a favor. Same for Protestants, only no priest, no confession.

 

DON

I can’t believe Protestants can cash in too.

VITO

Oh there’s some weird stuff on their side, believe me! Some think that in the last days the good people will all get swept up to Gloryland, leaving their clothes behind!

DON

Well this punk won’t be one of them. Even underwear? They’re all naked up there? I used to visit a place like that.

 

The sleeping bag starts to move.

Eric Von Stroheim. Get him outa there!

ERIC crawls out of the sleeping bag.

 

VITO

Wadda ya got to say for yourself, Chump?

ERIC

You won’t hurt me?

There is a silence

 

DON

Depends.

ERIC

Depends on what?

DON

Nothing. Just making a mental list for the supermarket. What you got to say to me? Wherever you are, you come to me seven years ago. You tell me you have put a two million dollar life policy on a nobody, Lance Lovelace, and you will make me the beneficiary if only I will lend you the two million now. But it’s got to look like an accident. So I arrange for that to happen in my movie.

 

VITO

Night Shift Nurses with Lola Lalonde.

 

DON

Perfect choice, because she almost killed me once in that other movie. Had a cameo.   As an elderly beekeeper, of all things.

 

VITO

Yeah . You had a much younger frustrated wife in that flick.

 

DON

Can’t remember the title.

 

VITO

Eat Your Honey

 

DON

Right!   Anyway,somebody disappears this Lovelace’s body from the morgue while they were trying to wipe the smile off his face, so no payout for seven years. Seven years pass. You will soon collect it for me, but you try to head to Cuba. You are stealing a lot of bread from me! What does God say about that, Vito?

VITO

Proverbs 20:18: “Bread obtained by falsehood is sweet to a man, But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel”.

DON

Mouth filled with gravel? That’s what happened to the last guy who stole from me. It’s a shallow grave, but ain’t nobody gonna find it! But now with you Eric? I’m torn between tearing asunder and pounding in a mortar! You looking at me, Kid? You looking at me? Take that smirk off your face!

 

VITO

Godfather. You are looking at my smirk.! Eric’s smirk is over there. You know what Eric? I’m going to serve you your nuts on a plate!

Flourishes a can opener and a plate

 

ERIC

Not the can opener!

 

DON

Do it Vito! Make him feed his nuts to himself!

 

ERIC

Please no!

 

VITO reaches into his pocket and brings out a can, then a plate. He sprinkles a few nuts on it

 

VITO

See this Eric? Mixed nuts! And not the cheap kind with ninety per cent peanuts! They are mere legumes! These are tree nuts. Pecans! Almonds! Cashews!

 

ERIC

You know I’m allergic! My face will blow up like a balloon! I could die of anaphylactic shock! Spare me Godfather. I have one more day to pay you back, do I not? The paperwork on Lance Lovelace is complete. I will have a check for two million dollars for you tomorrow.

 

VITO

Disappearing the can.

You owe a million interest, pal.

 

ERIC

I’ll have that also, Godfather.

 

DON

Then it’s time to celebrate! Is Dolly charged up?

 

VITO

She’s pumped, Godfather.

 

DON

Then send her up to my room.   Immediately!

 

 

 

ACT TWO SCENE TWO

 

It’s Valentine’s Day. The scene is the matinee world premier of Last Moments with “Folks dressed up like Eskimos”.Eric and Lola are having a talk.

 

LOLA

So tell me again why you came back.

 

ERIC

I found out that Fidel was actually dead! The Cat Hospital got all his insurance money. They’re all taking a cruise together. But I’m back, baby! Back at the helm!

 

LOLA

What about Vito?

 

ERIC

He’s at MobCon with Don Giovanni.

 

LOLA

MobCon?

 

ERIC

The Mobster Convention. At the Gotti Centre.   It’s sponsored by the NRA, so there’s the latest weapon technology no questions asked, Everything from brass knuckles to rocket launchers. They attend tech seminars especially designed for Wise Guys: “Waterboarding for Dummies”,”Sending Death Threats on Twitter.” ’Friending Your Local Politician on Facebook” “Composing your murder scene on Instagram”, that kind of thing. Plus something for the wives. “Looking Cheap on a Big Budget”, Making Great Pasta While Keeping Your Mouth Shut “, etc. And their kids get a loot bag containing the latest edition of Grand Theft Auto!

 

LOLA

“How to Tell Lies” Did you attend that seminar? What about “Cheating on Your Girlfriend”? You seem to have picked up a few tips there. Rikki boasted to me about it. But guess what, Casanova, she dumped you for Vance Verdi!

 

ERIC

Vance? He’s just a kid!

 

LOLA

Yeah. A kid who doesn’t spread his vital juices around.

 

Enter RIKKI from the igloo

 

RIKKI

I beg to differ. At intervals during our wild night of passion, Vance related to me his life story. Sadly I was not the first woman with whom he exchanged bodily fluids. I was the second. You, Lola, were the first!

 

LOLA

No chance! I’m no cradle robber! And there’s no way I would poach Vance when you’re so crazy about him. Not like you did with Eric!

 

RIKKI

Who?

 

ERIC

Me! It’s me Baby. Remember?

 

RIKKI

Strange. By definition, I usually remember anything that’s memorable. Pause Well, if I did what you say, Lola, I heartily apologize. Whatever it was, it didn’t mean a thing. And as for you……

 

ERIC

Eric!

 

RIKKI

Eric. Oh yes. I don’t mean to demean you, Alec. Or Lola, who I believe, truly loves you.

 

LOLA

Shouldn’t that be “whom” instead of “who”? Object of the verb” believe”?

 

RIKKI

You are quite correct, my friend. I blame my miscue on a night of passion that seems to have unduly affected my cognitive skills.

 

LOLA

What do you mean, I was Vance’s first?

 

RIKKI

Take away the “V” and substitute an “L”, from Vance’s name, and what do you get?

 

LOLA

Vance Lerdi

 

RIKKI

His first name!

 

LOLA

Lance Verdi.

 

RIKKI

No, no!

 

ERIC

I’ll tell you what you get! Lance Lovelace!

 

Enter VANCE from the igloo

 

VANCE

You called?

 

LOLA

Vance is Lance?

 

RIKKI

Actually Lance is Vance.

 

VANCE

Lance Lovelace was a one time stage name. But I assure you, I will never forget that one time.

 

LOLA

I guess not.! I almost killed you. I’m so sorry. Forgive me!

LOLA hugs VANCE

 

VANCE

It wasn’t you, Lola. It was Pickwickian Syndrome.

 

LOLA

It was what?

 

RIKKI

Pickwickian syndrome is a condition in which severely overweight people, fail to breath rapidly enough or deep enough, resulting in low blood oxygen levels and high blood (CO2) levels. Many people with this condition also frequently stop breathing altogether, for short periods of time.

 

VANCE

That’s what happened. I stopped breathing. For some reason, nobody seemed to care except Eric, who smuggled me out to a hospital.

 

ERIC

They didn’t care because Vance had a life policy on him. I was the named beneficiary and Don Giovanni was going to collect The guilt got to me. So that was the least I could do.

 

RIKKI

The only real cure is weight loss. Vance tells me his childhood nickname was “Walrus”

 

LOLA

Kids!

 

VANCE

No, that was my parents. So you didn’t kill me Lola! The only reason I was in that movie in the first place, was that I needed the money for medical school.

 

RIKKI

Did you know six countries offer free tuition to international students entirely in English? For example you could still earn your degrees in Norway or Finland and put them on a card.. You don’t have to give up your dream, Vance.

 

VAN

Only if you came with me!

 

RIKKI

Do I have to refresh your memory?

 

VAN

Anyway, Eric forged me a new identity. Vance Verdi. Then shopped me around a million specialists who finally diagnosed me. That’s where half of Don Giovanni’s money went. Then I underwent bariatric surgery.. Lost 150 pounds then more from my exercise regime.

 

RIKKI

Now he has the stomach the size of a ping-pong ball! Although not everything is so miniature.

 

ERIC

No medical coverage because it was a preexisting condition. So I used some of the two mil I borrowed from the Don that should have gone to upgrading this place Then, to pay that back, I had made myself the beneficiary on the two million dollar life policy on Lance that would mature in seven years when he was declared dead.

 

LOLA

That was actually decent of you, Eric.

 

ERIC

I’m no hero. I collected. panicked, stashed the money and ran. Got caught. Don Giovanni and Vito let me go on condition he gets the money today.

 

LOLA

Where is it now?

 

ERIC

It’s in the polar bear rug. They are coming to see Last Moments  Not to worry, he just wants his money.

 

VANCE

Not a soul in the audience.

 

ERIC

But Don Giovanni insists on seeing the show today. And he wants to meet the playwright. He… He can be like a little child who has a tantrum when he doesn’t get his own way. The only difference is that instead of falling to the floor and pounding his tiny fists, Don Giovanni puts a bullet through your head.

 

VANCE

Don Giovanni needs Lance Lovelace to be dead to collect.   Suppose he recognizes me?

 

LOLA

And we hardly rehearsed! We are all going to die!

LOLA

OK, I gotta story for you guys. Break the tension. There’s this guy has a wooden eye.   Know what I mean?

 

RIKKI

Yes. An ocular prosthesis, artificial eye or glass eye, is a type of craniofacial prosthesis that replaces an absent natural eye following an enucleation, evisceration, or orbital exenteration.

 

LOLA

Thanks. This guy’s lonely so he gets his courage up and goes to a dance, and winds up sitting in a corner most of the night. Anyway he sorta sees this girl across a crowded room and it’s,like, love at first squint, you know?

 

RIKKI

You bet I know!

 

LOLA

So you know what he does?

 

ERIC

Don Giovanni got a wooden eye.

 

VAN

Why wouldn’t he get a glass eye?

 

ERIC

Too cheap. That’s why he wears the patch.

 

LOLA

Anyway, he walks across the room and asks her to dance. Big smile. He realizes this girl got a hare lip.

 

RIKKI

The term “harelip” is usually perceived as insulting because it compares the deformity in humans to the lip of a hare. The accepted term for this medical condition is cleft lip.

 

LOLA

Thanks, Wiki.

 

RIKKI

It’s Rikki. Actually your story shows you how differently abled persons can still have a romantic life, if they would just put themselves out there. You did that for me, Lola.

 

LOLA

Whatever.

 

RIKKI

It was your film, Do it by the Book where you play the spinster librarian who decides to reach out to her fellow man after she receives a fatal diagnosis from her physician, whom she promptly seduces. But it doesn’t end there!

 

LOLA

Shut up. Anyway. They are dancing away, and he says to her,” Would you like to come back to my place after?” He’s a little nervous ‘cause he can tell she’s thinking it over, right?

 

ERIC

She hollers “Would I, Would !”,so he points at her yells back “Harelip, harelip!”” and walks out! A classic!

 

LOLA

Yeah. Thanks for supplying the punchline.

 

VAN

Lola Making fun of people with disabilities. Really?

 

RIKKI

You don’t get it . Lola is not like that. This story is not about disabilities. It’s about people’s insecurities and how that can get in the way of enjoying what life has to offer!

 

LOLA

What she said.

 

RIKKI

Speaking of which, I am ashamed that I called you those names, Lola. I admit your relative youth and your looks put me on the defensive and I responded in much the same way as the gentleman in your story.. In addition, you are welcome to Alec.

 

LOLA

Apology accepted. But stop looking at Van like that! You are old enough to be his mother!

RIKKI

I can’t help it. I’m bewitched, gobsmacked, smitten-…..

 

ERIC

Technically we are going to start right now. Not waiting a minute more!

 

RIKKI

You want us to improvise the whole show?

 

VAN

You know the basic plot, My story of Ookpik, the Inuit genius who is recruited by Harvard, whereupon she discovers a cure for Anthrax, but, having been removed from her culture, pines for the True North only to be rejected by her original Inuit brethren such that she maroons herself on an iceberg thereby killing herself

 

ERIC

Act one, Scene one. Lola, you are Ookpik, the genius Eskimo.

RIKKI snickers

Van, you are the guy from Harvard, wants her to study there. Rikki? OK. You are Ookpik’s mother, Uptik. Take One.

ERIC

The igloo! Now!

 

VANCE

With fingers in ears.

OK, OK

 

ERIC

Not you, her!

 

RIKKI complies

 

ERIC

  1. Presenting Last Moments!

VAN

I’m here on behalf of Harvard University, Ookpik. We would like to offer you a full scholarship based on your SAT scores and not on some obscure rule that states we have to give one place a year to an indigenous student to offset the fact that we cater to the one per cent. Do you accept?

ERIC

Cut! Excellent improv. That’s why we are here. To work it all out. To live another day.

Shouts into the igloo.

Hear that RIKKI?

 

RIKKI

Pops out of igloo

 

I actually learned my lines. But I would rather improvise on the spot, if I may?

VITO

Hit it!

RIKKI

You sure are hot for a young white man, Harvard person! I was about to set my daughter on an iceberg, as food is too scarce for us to keep her. If you were to sleep with me right now, I would be happy to accompany her to Harvard with you. You may think me too old. Yet as an older women, I have grown more imaginative under the midnight sun and have many fantasies – fantasies you could fulfill under these northern lights. I would have thrown my inhibitions out the window long ago, but there are no windows in yonder love nest. In conclusion, you should know that above the Arctic circle I am referred to as “Venus in Furs”.

 

LOLA

Seriously?

RIKKI

Lola, the marital customs among the Inuit were not strictly monogamous: many Inuit relationships were implicitly or explicitly sexual. Open marriages, polygamy, divorce and remarriage, were not unknown.

 

LOLA

Then I too would be completely sexually available.

 

RIKKI

As always. Pause Sorry.

VITO

Could we all get back into character?

RIKKI

She is in character! Pause Again, my apologies. Being a good person is so difficult.

 

VAN

I appreciate your intriguing offer, Uptik. But instead, Harvard is willing to move your entire family down to Cambridge Massachusetts for as long as Ookpik is a student there.

RIKKI

Wonderful! There’s just Ookpik, and myself, my parents, Triptik, and Downtik, my sisters and brothers and my adopted children. And of course my husband, Diptik.

VAN

Harvard hereby revokes that offer. You are married, Oopik?

LOLA

We usually marry at puberty.

 

VAN

So the deal is off. Sorry.

RIKKI

Allow me to change your mind. You may think you don’t blush easily but let your potential older lover lay it all out for you. Because my libido spikes as the end to my reproductive years draw nearer, my hormones are raging, while my fears, modesty and unsureness have receded. I have the style and self-confidence, of a well-rounded fully-matured consumer. And if you want my daughter you must become my accessory, a luxury item that I intend to use for my pleasure!

 

VAN

What choice do I have?

 

Enter VITO and DON with VITO flashing an AR-15

 

VITO

Hello everybody. Would you believe that this beauty was actually prohibited for ten years in 1994?. Just bought it legally at the Convention Gun Show.

 

DON

Show me the money!

 

LOLA

I’ll go get it.

Enters the igloo

Exits igloo with her hand in the mouth of a very dead looking polar bear rug

The money’s not in there!

 

ERIC

We’re all gonna die!

 

VITO

Probably.

 

DON

Cops raided the Gotti Centre! I was lucky to escape. And now this? How could you do this to me Marge?

Addresses Vance

Homer, I’m not surprised at you, But Marge?

 

RIKKI

Don Giovanni. I am not Marge Simpson. I have deceived you and everybody here. My name is Rikki Leeks. I am a Special Agent of the FBLI, the Federal Bureau of Library Investigation.   My specialty is using my feminine wiles to enter the criminal world to bring felons with overdue books to justice. Godfather, you have racked up ten years of fines for The Gloria Swanson Story. It was I who extracted the two million dollars from that poor bear. It’s in safe hands now.

 

DON

Says you! Frisk her, Vito!

 

VITO

My pleasure!

He pats her down finding her revolver and badge.

Where are your cuffs?

 

RIKKI

In the igloo. And for the record, it was worth it. By the way, It was I who inspired the raid on the Gotti Centre this morning.

 

VITO

On what pretext?

 

RIKKI

Selling weapons to persons with a criminal record and receiving same.

 

DON

That’s illegal? The NRA is gonna hear about this!

 

VITO

Yeah, that’s no way to treat someone with mental health issues!

 

DON

Show some respect!

To LOLA

So Lucy, you really getting it on with Fred?

 

LOLA

What?

 

RIKKI

I believe the Don believes you to be Lucy Ricardo the comedic heroine of I Love Lucy, a very popular television program in the early 1950’s.. Eric is mistaken for Fred Mertz, her neighbor and landlord. The Don is suggesting that the two of you are having an affair, although there is very little evidence that this ever occurred.

 

ERIC

You are right, Don Giovanni, I am having an affair with Lucy! Look at her! Can you blame me? Do what you want with me, but spare her, I beg you! She’s a good girl! She only agreed because I threatened to raise the rent! And spare Homer and Marge.

 

DON

Never! Marge lied to me about her hair. I’m not blind, you know.

 

VITO

Actually you are legally blind, Godfather.

 

DON

Regardless, I am in a forgiving mood. Tell me Eric, would you be OK if I let you and your friends off with a warning, as opposed to Vito herding you into that thing and spraying you all with his new toy?

 

ERIC

Would I!

 

There is a long silence.

 

 

DON

So that’s what my generosity gets me. You better do it, my son.

 

VITO

OK, everybody into the igloo.

Flourishes the AR 15

I got the Schoolboy Special right here. So get inside!

 

The four all try to enter at once.

You should go Godfather. Exit the scene of the crime.

 

DON

I like to watch. Do it!

 

VITO

Approaches the igloo and waves the rifle over it

Bam,bam,bam, bam!

Cries and screams from within.

OK let’s get out of here before the cops turn up!

 

DON

But we have witnesses!   Let me finish them off!

Takes the rifle, then swivels and sprays the audience.

Bam.bam,bam,bam,bam! You’re all dead!

 

VITO

Let’s go! I think I’m wounded.

 

They exit. After a long silence all emerge from the igloo.

 

LOLA

Is everyone OK?

 

ERIC

Of course we’re all OK. How do you die when someone shouts Bam! Bam! Bam! at you?

 

VAN

That was Vito. He saved our lives against Crazy Don.

 

RIKKI

Then the Bureau will not pursue them. Pause Alec?

 

ERIC

Eric.

 

RIKKI

Forgive my deception. In real life you would never appeal to me. However I commend you. You were willing to sacrifice yourself for us. You cared for Vance. You have a bit of a gem here, Lola.

 

LOLA

I’m seeing that.

 

RIKKI

You will see that every Sunday when you visit him, should he ever commit insurance fraud again.

 

ERIC

Got it.

 

RIKKI

Van, I’m afraid this is goodbye. Duty calls. You deserve to follow your dream. By all means get your medical degree overseas. I have my own path to tread.

 

VAN

But I love you.

 

RIKKI

So you think. We are but ships passing in the night. I won’t be your Titanic

They embrace

 

LOLA

Eric, would you like to relax with me one last time before we tear that igloo down?

 

ERIC

Would !!

 

CURTAIN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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