Monday, November 01, 2010

Play-a-Day #1: The Underworld

This month, instead of National Novel Writing Month, I'm going to attempt to write a (very) short play every day, some of which I might extend later.

* * * * *

(A disused bar in New York. LOUIE, an elderly, but still formiddable-looking man, dressed in a trenchcoat and fedora, sits comfortably like he owns the place. Slow jazz plays from a jukebox. He goes behind the bar and helps himself to a whisky, then sits down.

MICKY, a teenager dressed in a sleeveless T-shirt and baggy pants, enters with a ridiculous handkerchief tied round his head.)


LOUIE: Micky, see! Did you remember to get milk and whack the Margolani Brothers?

MICKY: No, Uncle Don Louie “The Nose” Cardicci. But I did buy this ridiculous handkerchief to tie around my head.

LOUIE: You did what? Now look here, right? You're gonna follow the family business, see? And the family business is gangsterin', see? An' in this business, you don't put nothin' on your head but a good I-talian fedora. Gatsby's on Fifth'll sort you out with somet'n. Won't make you pay for it, neither. Not unless they want to wake up sleepin' with the fishes!

MICKY: You haven't kept up with the times, Uncle Louie. Gangsters these days don't wear fedoras. Why, if I turned up in the hood with one of those on, my friends or 'homies' would hold me in high ridicule. I shouldn't be surprised if one of them popped a cap in my ass.

LOUIE: Michelangelo Vito Eminem Cardicci! Ain't I raised you right? In this game, we don't “pop no caps in no asses”, see? We occasionally “whack” folks, or “take 'em out”, or “check 'em in to the cement suite at the Hotel Hudson”, stuff like that. You kill someone, you got to have the respect to do it with a proper metaphor, see!

MICKY: Whatevs, grandpa. I'm off to listen to some rap music.

(MICKY exits with a silly walk.)

LOUIE: I only hope it's just a phase.

(A bat flies in the window, and turns into COUNT TYRANSKI.)

TYRANSKI: Excusink me, Mister Don Louie?

LOUIE: Hey, who wants to know?

TYRANKSI: My name is Count Tyranski. I am a wampire!

LOUIE: Look here, Batman! Any wampire takes another step closer to my neck, I might get wiolent, see?

TYRANSKI: You misunderstand my intent, Don. I come here from Transylwania because you and I, we havink similar problems. Ve can maybe helpink each other, yes?

LOUIE: Better make this good. I got two qualified goons waitin', and they bore easily.

TYRANSKI: Qualified goons? You have exams for them?

LOUIE: Yeah, qualified. If you can spell your name right on the answer paper, you fail, see?

TYRANSKI: I come to you, great Don Leader of Gangsters, because I know your problems. I know gangsters dyink out. I know vord is beink now used by younk scallavags in hooded tops, who vould not know a Tommy-gun if they findink one in their bottle of 40.

LOUIE: Well, I guess maybe Micky's right. I ain't kept up with the times.

TYRANSKI: That is vhere I can helpink! Not keepink up vith times is vhat wampirink is all about. Or... it should be. But ve are sufferink now. Havink similar problems to gangsters. Younk wampires now know nothink! It is all these new books, telewision programmes, wideo games. Wampire kids these days don't vant to live in castles, they move to American high schools. Give up all the bitink and turnink into bats and havink only wague psychic powers of some kind. Not even speakink in eastern European accents!

LOUIE: I seen those programmes. Sulky teenagers in leather jackets, right? Not an evening cape between 'em. Maybe you an' me are in a similar fix, Your Countship.

TYRANSKI: Our powers grow veak. But if ve vere to pull our empires together...

LOUIE: ...the Vampire Mafia!

TYRANSKI: Yes! Ha ha ha!

(Lightning flashes. Music plays. TYRANSKI and LOUIE do a dance-twirl which somehow ends with TYRANSKI wearing the fedora and LOUIE the vampire's cape. The couple burst into song.)

LOUIE: You can tell us by our fangs
And by our packs of Cuban smokes,
And our Thompson sub-machine guns
Folded in our opera-cloaks.

TYRANSKI: You can tell us by our evening dress
And jaunty trilby hats;
And our habit, vhen ve're cornered,
Of transmorphink into bats.

LOUIE: If you cross us, then we'll whack you,
And then feast on your remains,
And you'll wake up in the river,
With an empty set of veins.

TYRANSKI: Ve'll remorselessly extinguish
Anybody in our path
TOGETHER: And the only way to kill us
Is a garlic concrete bath!

(Dance routine.)

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