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Extrasensory Resolutions

Premiered December 1, 2003

Perceptions -- Act II, Inter Scene 5-6

The lights come up on the pay telephone booth, as the lights go down on main stage.  Suddenly, GERALDINE, SHELA, ESTHER, RICHARD and ANN all converge on the telephone booth at once, in typical herd fashion, making a great deal of noise and jostling sounds.  All try to get into the telephone booth first, but because they are all pushing to get in at once, no one manages to make it.  With all five jammed up against the door of the telephone booth, FRED saunters in from stage left (crossing main stage) and over to the telephone booth area, and into the light.  FREDís manner is totally casual, in contrast to the othersí frantic activities.

FRED

Excuse me.

Everyone responds by first recognizing FRED and then realizing that FRED is one of the ESP subjects.  With a fair amount of jostling, they respond to FREDís request and provide a narrow path for FRED to the telephone.  FRED manages to squeeze his way through the other five bodies and enter the booth.  Once in, FRED smiles.

FRED

Thanks.

As FRED dials, the other listen intently, thinking to hear something worthwhile.  After a brief pause, while the others jockey for position and FRED gives them a simple smile, FRED is answered.

FRED

Hello?  Mom?  Itís Fred!

The others groan, and then realize that have to get to another telephone.

GERALDINE

Iíve got to get to another telephone!

ANN

I know where one is!

Everyone looks at ANN, who immediately regrets her statement.  Abruptly she rushes off stage, followed by the others, en masse.  As the others leave, FRED continues.

FRED

Fred Preston.  (ad)  Your son.  (ad, and in a matter of fact voice)  Brown hair.  About five foot eight inches tall... [OR the appropriate self- description of the actor playing the part of FRED.]

BLACKOUTóEND OF INTERSCENE 5/6

 

Perceptions -- Act II, Scene 3

Lights come up on main stage to give SCOTTís office the appearance of night, but with just enough light so that movements on stage are easily visible.  Outside the window, it is clearly dark.  The office door opens quietly and slowly, and DICK sticks his head into the room.  He look around carefully, sees that the coast is clear, and being very secretive, slips into the room.  With the door shut behind him, he plasters himself against the door and again looks around.  Then he goes to the locked file, and with occasional furtive glances, opens the file drawer.  Carefully, he pulls out the five files on the subjects and spreads them out on the table.  DICK then takes out a small pen light and begins to inspect the outside of the files.

DICK

(quietly, as if to himself, in effect addressing the files)

Shari, Shari, Shari... where are you, Shari?

SHARI quickly opens the office door and sticks her head in.  She asks in charming innocence:

SHARI

Someone call my name?

DICK

Arggggg!

SHARI

Did I scare you?

DICK

Of course not.  I have a history of cardiac arrest.

SHARI

Sorry.

Then holding onto his arm and laying her head on his shoulder, she asks innocently:

SHARI

What are you doing?

DICK

Switching the files.

DICK looks at SHARIís innocent, beaming face.

DICK

But you already knew that, didnít you?

SHARI

Yes.  And I love you for what you're doing.

DICK smiles and reaches for the file with SHARIís name.

DICK

Ah, hereís your file.

He takes the name tag off the file.

DICK

Weíll just remove your name and switch it with...

SHARI

How about Richard?  He seems like he needs the attention.

DICK

Good idea.

Quickly, he switches the names.

DICK

Richard is now at the top of the list.

DICK puts RICHARDís file on top, and places all five files back into the file drawer.

DICK

Weíll just put these back into the safe.  For safekeeping.

Both laugh, as she shuts and locks the file drawer. Suddenly a sound of a key at the office door alerts them.  They respond by running into the storeroom.  The office door opens and SHELA enters, as secretively as DICK had done.  Quickly SHELA moves to the file cabinet, unlocks it, and removes the five files.  Whipping out a small light (but nevertheless, slightly brighter light than DICKís), she immediately starts scanning the top fileówhich is, of course, RICHARDís.  SHELA quickly scans the information in RICHARDís file.

SHELA

This must be the one.  Yes, yes, Iím sure of it.  Richard, huh?  Interesting!

The sound of the office door lock being picked startles SHELA.  Quickly, she starts for the closet door, remembers the files, rushes back, grabs the files and puts them back into the file drawer.  Then she runs for the closet and steps in.  The barking sound of a ferocious dog is heard, just as she enters the closet and closes the door.

Immediately, the office door opens and ESTHER enters, replacing a hair pin in her hair (which she had used to unlock the door).  She slips into the room in the by-now standard, secret fashion, and heads for the files.  She pulls the files out and starts though them.  She also carries a small flashlight (one which is slightly larger and brighter than SHELAís).

ESTHER

Ah ha!  Richard is our secret talent!  Well, thatís easily fixed.  Weíll just switch name tags.

(Which she does.)

Never let it be said that I donít know how to make myself look good.  At least long enough to get myself a nice, fat, juicy contract.

ESTHER smiles to herself and returns the files to the drawer.  Then she steps back through the door and exits.

SHELA abruptly steps back into the room from the closet.  While the closet door is open, there is the barking sound of a ferocious dog.  SHELAís attitude is that of someone who has just barely escaped with her life.  She carries an extremely tattered umbrella -- one apparently chewed by a dog.  For a moment, she breathes heavily, her back leaning against the closet door, as if to ensure it being closed.  Then she swallows hard and rushes back to the file cabinet.  After placing the files back on the table, she starts through them again.  She glances at the first file.

SHELA

Richard.  Ah well, we already know about him.

She sets RICHARDís file aside, without looking at it.  She looks at the next two files and after looking at them, dismisses each one as irrelevant.  Then she glances at the fourth file.)

SHELA

Ann?

She discards the file without looking at it, laughing to herself.  Then the picks up the fifth file and realizes that there is a ďsecond talentĒ.  Looking up, SHELA muses aloud.

SHELA

Esther?  Never figured her.  But this means there's two of them!

SHELA gathers the files together and smiles, knowing she has found two talents.

As SHELA puts the files back, a sound at the window distracts her.  SHELA quickly closes the file and exits through the office door.  The window opens and RICHARD slips into the room.  RICHARD is trying to be equally secret, but manages to catch a finger on the window as he closes it.

RICHARD

Argggg!

He quickly nurses his finger and bangs on the window with his other hand.

RICHARD

This damn thingís dangerous!

Then with his slightly larger flashlight, he turns it on the window.

RICHARD

Who made this menace!?  Ha!  Just as I suspected:  no name.  The rip-off artists never leave their calling cards.

His rage against the window abating, RICHARD closes the window, and goes to the file drawer.  Soon RICHARD also knows who is who.

RICHARD

Just as I suspected.  Esther didnít fool me for a moment.

RICHARD starts to return the files to the drawer, but then a thought occurs to him, and with a big smile, he switches ESTHERís and FREDís name tags.

RICHARD

Canít have everyone privy to national secrets.  Besides, old Fred will love the attention when they think itís him.

Laughing to himself, he replaces the files, closes the file drawer, and heads for the window.  He tries to open the window, fails, and again loses his cool.

RICHARD

Arrgggg!  Damn window!

A sound from the office door is heard and RICHARD runs for the closet.  He enters the closet -- without any sound, barking or otherwise -- just as the office door opens.  Immediately GERALDINE slips into the room through the office door.  She quickly goes through the same routine, with a large flashlight.  Then she looks up in surprise, as she reads one of the files.

GERALDINE

Amazing!  Underneath all Fredís weirdness is a major talent.  And Iím the only one who knows!

Quickly she switches name tags.

GERALDINE

Meanwhile, weíll just let the rest of them think itís that little hussy, Ann.

Laughing, she replaces the files, closes the drawer, and exits by the office door.

Immediately, SPY opens the window and enters.  Unlike everyone else, SPY is noisy and clumsy.  He moves quickly to the file drawer, opens it, removes all five files, and takes them to the table.  He then whips out his light, a large spot light hanging from his belt (complete with a long, bulky and obvious cord coming in from the window).  As he turns on the light, the room is flooded with reflected light from the files.  SPY quickly puts on sun glasses and goes through the files.  Then he turns the light off and smiles to himself.  He then returns four files to the drawer, leaves the file drawer open, and keeps the fifth file.  Going toward the window, he begins ripping out pages from the file and stuffing the pages into his mouth, thus ďeating the notesĒ.  SPY also takes a swig of wine from a small wine pouch slung around his shoulders (SPY is in no hurry).  He then exits through the window, continuing to eat the notes, and departs.

Lights slowly come up to normal with the lights on the outside of the window also brightening, in order to indicate morning.  SCOTT and KELLY enter through the office door.  They immediately notice the file drawers open.

KELLY

Scott!!  The files!

SCOTT pulls out the four files, counting them.

SCOTT

Four.  Oneís missing.

KELLY

Which one?

SCOTT

I donít know.  Iíll have to look.

SCOTT lays the files on the table and begins to go through them.  KELLY looks around the room, her suspicions aroused.

KELLY

Iíll check the storeroom.

While SCOTT looks through the files, KELLY goes to the storeroom and opens the door.  She is immediately shocked and steps back.  Addressing the residents of the storeroom, she asks:

KELLY

What are you doing!!?

Then, because it is incredibly obvious, she puts her hand to her head and looks away.

KELLY

Never mind.  Donít answer that.

Quietly, she closes the door.

SCOTT

Whoís in there?

KELLY

Dick and Shari.

SCOTT

What are they doing in there?

KELLY:

Iíd rather not say.

SCOTT

I think I can guess.

KELLY

Which one is missing?

SCOTT tosses the fourth file on his discard pile.

SCOTT

The only one that counts.

KELLY

(gesturing to the storeroom)

You think they have it?

SCOTT

Itís a possibility. 

DICK and SHARI enter from the storeroom, still arranging their clothes.

DICK

(to SHARI)

Why is it you didnít see her coming?  Youíre usually very good at that.

SHARI

I was distracted.  Okay?

SCOTT

Where is it, Dick?

DICK

Whereís what?

SCOTT

The file.

DICK

Which file?

SCOTT

The one that counts.

DICK

(gesturing to the four files)

Itís right there.  Isn't it?

KELLY

Thereís only four files here.  One is missing.  The one with the strong indications of ESP, is gone.

DICK

I didnít take it!

SHARI

He didnít!  I was with him all the time.

SCOTT

Then where is it?  And what are you doing here?

DICK

I didnít take the file!!  I came to switch the names on the files so that theyíd think it was someone other than Shari.

KELLY

Are you serious!?

SCOTT

Maybe he is.

SCOTT picks up one file.

SCOTT

The file with Shari's name is still here.  Only itís not Shariís.

KELLY

But if it wasnít you, who was it?

Suddenly, the closet door opens and RICHARD -- scurrying for his life -- enters to the barking sound of the ferocious dog.  RICHARD slams the door behind him, to keep the dog inside.  Then as the others start at him in amazement, RICHARD gestures to the closet.

RICHARD

That damn dog of yours is a public menace!!  Somebodyís got to do something about him before he kills someone!

SCOTT

Dog?

KELLY

What would you suggest?

SCOTT

What dog?

DICK

I know who has his bone.

RICHARD

(to SCOTT)

Just what are you going to do about this!?

SCOTT

What am I going to do?

RICHARD

Yes!

SCOTT looks around the room, an idea forming in his mind.  Then he smiles, as if ready to take a new tack, and announces, very dramatically:

SCOTT

Iím going to get to the bottom of this.

DICK joins SCOTT with equally dramatic overkill:

DICK

Tell me Professor...  What do you intend to do?

Lights begin to fade.

SCOTT

First of all, Dr. Watson, I shall call in all the suspects...

DICK

And then??

SCOTT

And then....  I will announce my findings.

BLACKOUTóEND OF ACT II, SCENE 3 (Scene 6)

 

Perceptions -- Act II, Inter Scene 6-7

Lights go up on the telephone booth, as they go down on main stage.  For a moment, nothing happens.  Then an arm sticks out with a pistol in it.  The arm shoots the telephone booth.  The telephone rings, the booth shudders by rocking back toward stage left.  Then the booth tilts back toward stage right, freezes for a moment, rings one last time, and then falls flat on its face, dead (toward stage right).

OFF STAGE VOICE

(in an obnoxiously cheerful manner)

Customer Service.  May I help you?  (ad)  Hello?

As the lights fade on the telephone booth, the voice remains disgustingly cheerful.

OFF STAGE VOICE

Hello??  Is anyone there?

BLACKOUTóEND OF INTERSCENE 6-7

 

Perceptions -- Act II, Scene 4

As the lights go up, EVERYONE is on stage with the exception of SPY.  SCOTT is center stage and the center of attention.  KELLY, DICK and SHARI are behind SCOTT, essentially supporting him.  The others are grouped around, all highly suspicious of the circumstances and obviously a bit ill at ease.  SCOTT is at his dramatic best.

SCOTT

All of you are probably wondering why Iíve asked you here, this morning.

EVERYONE, except FRED, answers quickly, overlapping one anotherís lines.

GERALDINE

Isnít it obvious?

SHELA

No, not really.

ESTHER

I know why weíre here!

ANN

I canít say Iím surprised.

DICK

Get serious!

KELLY

Youíre kidding.

RICHARD

It had better be a damn good reason.

SHARI

Somehow, I have always suspected that someday, youíd call a meeting like this.

FRED

Professor, why did you call this meeting?

SCOTT

(to FRED)

One of the files is missing!

As the others go though varied responses of shock -- real or otherwise -- FRED is surprised and amazed.

FRED

No!!

SCOTT

The missing file provides considerable evidence that one of the test subjects possesses significant extrasensory talents.

The others fake stunned expressions -- except for FRED, who always has a stunned expression.

SCOTT

The importance of the missing file cannot be over-emphasized!

FRED

Who could have done such a thing!?

SCOTT

Someone in this room!

ALL, in approximate unison:

SHELA

Youíre kidding!

GERALDINE

One of us!!?

ESTHER

This is outrageous!

ANN

Well, donít look at me!

RICHARD

It wasnít me!

When the initial bedlam has died down, RICHARD adds to his denial.

RICHARD

I tell you, it wasnít me!  (ala Richard Nixon)  I am not a crook!!

DICK

(aside, to SHARI)

Shari, who did it?

SHARI

(to DICK, with surprise in her voice)

I donít know!

DICK

You donít know!!?

FRED

Well frankly, Iím shocked!  To think that one of my fellow colleagues could stoop so low...

KELLY

The people in this room are the only ones who even knew of the existence of the missing file.  It must be obvious, therefore, that someone in this room, took the file!

SCOTT

And without the file, there is virtually no way in which we can properly identify the person who is able to demonstrate ESP!

SHELA

What!!?

GERALDINE

You mean the results are lost!!?

RICHARD

How could they have allowed this to happen!!?

SHELA

(to GERALDINE)

Iím sure theyíre not irretrievably lost!

GERALDINE

(to SHELA)

This is preposterous!!  A projectís entire results lost!!??

ESTHER

Iíll bet Richard took it!

RICHARD

WHAT!??

ESTHER

Yes!  It was Richard!  I'm sure of it.

RICHARD

Slander!!

GERALDINE

Iím sorry, but I have no alternative!  This project is canceled!

SHELA

(SHELA, stunned, turns to ANN.)

But... !

ANN

(to SHELA)

I didnít take it!!  I sometimes misplace files, but...

GERALDINE

Itís canceled!  Thatís final!

SHELA

Oh, my God!

FRED

(to SHELA)

Yes, my daughter?

DICK

(to SHARI)

Do you know who it is yet?

SHARI

I donít think I believe whatís going to happen next!

RICHARD

HOLD IT!!

EVERYONE turns to RICHARDís new commanding presence.

RICHARD

I think Iíve heard quite enough!  This project has become a serious danger to national security!

(with the others still hanging on his every word)

Consequently, I am canceling the project, as of now!!

GERALDINE

You canít cancel the project!  I already have!

SHELA

Oh, letís not cancel it.

RICHARD whips out his identification and addresses GERALDINE directly.

RICHARD

On the contrary, the CIA can do anything!

Everyone but SHARI is stunned.  RICHARD takes advantage of the temporary inability of anyone to respond.

RICHARD

Fortunately, as a CIA trained operative, I have not been derelict in my duties.  Unlike the rest of you, I have conducted a successful investigation.  I know who the ESP talent is!

FRED

Who?

RICHARD

Ms. Esther Banks.

Everyone is stunned, as RICHARD takes ESTHERís arm.

ESTHER

Richard!  This is so sudden!

FRED

Well congratulations, Esther.  It couldnít happen to a nicer person.

ESTHER

(shying away from FRED)

Oh, please!

GERALDINE

HOLD IT!!

As everyone else looks amazed at GERALDINE suddenly commanding voice, she turns to RICHARD.

GERALDINE

The CIA is out of its jurisdiction here!  But!  The Defense Intelligence Agency is not! 

With that, she whips out her DIA identification.

GERALDINE

Nor is the DIA stupid!  Esther Banks is not the one!

ESTHER

What!?

GERALDINE

As a Defense Intelligence Agent, I happen to know that the true talent is Fred Preston!

The others show bewilderment.

GERALDINE

And Iím taking him with me!

GERALDINE puts her arm around FRED, protectively.

ESTHER

(starting to move toward FRED)

Fred is the one!?

GERALDINE

Donít even think about trying to stop me!

RICHARD

(grabbing at ESTHER)

Who would want to stop you?

FRED

Whoís thinking?

GERALDINE

Just donít try anything, unless..

(to the others, as if Clint Eastwood)

Someone wants to make my day!!

SCOTT

Who would want to do that?

SHELA

HOLD IT!!  Enough of this!  This is not an intelligence matter!

KELLY

Iíll buy that.

SHELA

This is a job for the FBI!

DICK

(to SHARI)

Sheís kidding!

SHARI

(despondently)

No, she's not.

SHELA whips out her FBI identification.

SHELA

The talents are Esther Banks and Richard Surety.  And Iím taking them both in.

(to GERALDINE)

Along with you and Mr. Preston.

GERALDINE

Why are you taking us?  What's the charge?

SHELA

Conspiracy! 

RICHARD

Just what makes you think you can arrest the CIA?

GERALDINE

Or the DIA?

SHELA

Because, in accordance with standard FBI procedures, I have coordinated this investigation with local law enforcement agencies.

SHELA pulls out and blows a whistle -- a prearranged signal.  SPY enters through the office door, in a policemanís uniform -- in response to the prearranged signal.  SPY has a large (357 Magnum?) gun drawn and leveled.

SHELA

Thank you, officer.  Now for the rest of you...  Any questions? 

GERALDINE, RICHARD and ESTHER all look at one another, and then at the gun in SPYís hand.  All three appear very matter of fact and casual, as if: ďNo, now that you mention it, I donít have a question.Ē  Everyone but FRED, who raises a finger.

FRED

I have a question:  Where are we going?

SHELA

(drawing her own pistol)

With me!  Officer!  Do your duty!.

SPY

Yes sir!!  Okay people:  Letís move it!  Nothing to see here.  Move along.

SHELA, along with SPY begin ushering GERALDINE and FRED, RICHARD and ESTHER, out the office door.  GERALDINE and RICHARD are outraged and protest, while FRED and ESTHER seem pleased in their own particular ways.  SPY responds to SHELAís order and motions to the others, as they all quickly leave the room.  As all six people leave and SPY closes the office door behind them, DICK looks at SHARI, with amazement on his face.

DICK

That was incredible!

SHARI

(totally dismayed)

Itís not over yet.

Suddenly, SPY ducks back into the room, locking the door behind him.  SHARI knowingly gestures to SPY.

SHARI

See what I mean?

SPY

(brandishing the gun and looking directly at ANN)

Okay!  Youíre coming with me!

ANN

I am?

SCOTT

May I ask why?

As SPY swings his gun around toward SCOTT, ANN suddenly realizes that she wants to go, and moves quickly to join SPY.  To SCOTT, she says:

ANN

Donít ask.

SPY

Donít ask.

ANN is at SPYís side and looking up, lovingly, into his eyes.

ANN

But you donít need the gun.  Iíll come willingly.

SPY

You will?

ANN

Why wouldnít I?

SPY

I thought youíd resist!

ANN

Me?

DICK, KELLY and SCOTT

Ann?  Resist?

SPY

Arenít you the one with the talent?

ANN

I canít be.

SPY

Why canít you?

ANN

Because Iím an agent for the...

(dramatic pause as ANN looks first at the audience, and then at SPY)

IRS.

SPY

So?

ANN

No one in the IRS has talent.

ANN pulls out her IRS identification -- probably from the front of her blouse.  She shows the ID to SPY.

ANN

See?

SPY takes one look at the ID, then whips out a small packet of photosóof ANN in compromising situations.

SPY

But what about these photos?  No one in the IRS does this sort of thing.  Do they?

ANN looks at the photos and becomes progressively more embarrassed and coy.

ANN

Photos?  Of me?  (looking at the first one)  Oh my!  (looks at another)  Ohhhh!  Iím so embarrassed!  (looks at a third)  Thatís really not my best side.

SPY

Sorry about the print quality.  The lighting was always too dark.

ANN

Iím sure we can get much better results if you just let me pose for you.

Sweetly, ANN takes SPYís arm and they begin to walk toward the closet door -- blissfully unaware of the others in the room.

SPY

That would make it easier.

SCOTT

Excuse me.  But just out of curiosity, who do you work for?

SPY

No one.  Iím an independent.

Quickly, SPY steps back and hands SCOTT a business card.  With an advertising flair.

SPY

You get better service with an independent agent!

ANN

I certainly hope so.

SPY

I also occasionally moonlight as a double agent known as the dreaded ďWandering StarĒ.  Love that name!  But my last gig didnít pay, so I quit.  Too bad.  And after eating all those notes.

He sticks his tongue out.

DICK

Excuse me, but did you, in your various guises, happen to run across a package of research results?

SPY

Yup!  Trashed them in an acid bath.  No pay, no results!

SHARI

(to DICK)

And you were worried!

DICK grins sheepishly.

ANN

So, ďWandering StarĒ, what do you say we... wander!!?

SPY

Fine with me.

He gestures toward the closet door.

SPY

Want to take the scenic route?

ANN

Absolutely!

Together, ANN and SPY exit, arm in arm, closing the closet door behind them.

KELLY

Careful of the dog!

SCOTT

What dog!!?

KELLY merely shrugs her shoulders.

DICK

(to SHARI)

You saw all that coming!?

SHARI

Yes.

DICK

That must have been hell!

SHARI shrugs her shoulders.  Then turns to KELLY.

SHARI

What now?

KELLY

I guess the projectís over.

DICK

It is?

KELLY

Yes.  Itís been a complete failure.

Then she gives DICK a knowing wink.

KELLY

But through no fault of yours.  Iím sure your father will understand.

DICK

Maybe.

SHARI

(taking DICKís arm)

On the other hand, Dick is not going to need any more excuses.

DICK

Iím not?

SHARI

No.

DICK

You mean...

(swallowing hard)

...graduate!?

As SHARI smiles and shakes her head yes, DICK swallows again.  Then chagrined, he looks at KELLY and SCOTT.  Profoundly, he notes:

DICK

Knowing oneís future is not always good news!

SHARI

(giving DICK a hug)

Donít worry.  Iíll be there.

Together SHARI and DICK exit through the office door, their arms about each other.  SCOTT and KELLY look at each other, not quite sure of what to do next.

SCOTT

What will you do now... with the project over?

KELLY

Start a new one, I guess.

Then she looks at SCOTT with more confidence.

KELLY

Iíve always been interested in doing a comparative analysis of male-female physical relationships on the planets Earth and Mars.

SCOTT

What a coincidence!!  Iíve always wanted to go to Mars.

KELLY

So have I.

SCOTT

Why donít we do a joint project?

KELLY

We could start by writing a proposal together.

SCOTT

Of course, weíd want to do some preliminary studies first.

KELLY

Absolutely! 

SCOTT and KELLY kiss, gently at first, and then more passionately.  The lights begin to go down, except for a spot light on the windmill.  As SCOTT and KELLY kiss with increasing passion, the windmill begins rotating at every increasing speeds.  All lights go down, with the momentary exception of the spot on the windmill, still rotating rapidly.

BLACKOUTóEND OF ACT II, SCENE 4 (Scene 7)

 

END OF PLAY

 

Act II, Scene 2 -- Misdirections

Or forward to:

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