by: Walter Wykes


[A small apartment. In sharp contrast to the oversized classroom, everything here is in miniature–including the walls which are composed of brightly-colored plastic. The couch is barely large enough for one adult. The dining room table looks like a child's play thing–as do many of the other items including the telephone, clock, television set, kitchen sink, etc... The effect is that of a "play house." After a moment, the door--which is scarcely three feet tall–swings open. EUGENE crawls into the room on his hands and knees. He is out of breath and perspiring heavily.]

EUGENE: [To himself.] Okay ... okay ... only one thing to do!

IBID: [Offstage.] Eugene?

[EUGENE freezes.]

Eugene! Is that you?!

EUGENE: Yes! It's me!

[EUGENE begins to dart nervously about the room.]

All right ... out with it! Right up front! That's all there is to it! Honesty is the best–

IBID: How was your first day?!

EUGENE: My ... my first day?!

[EUGENE stumbles over the couch.]

IBID: Your first day! How was it?!

EUGENE: Ahh ... fine ... fine! It was fine! Just fine! Normal! Just a normal day!

IBID: Are you all right?!

[EUGENE frantically attempts to put the couch back in its place.]

EUGENE: What?!

IBID: I said, "Are you all right?!"

EUGENE: Oh! Yes! Fine!

IBID: Is something wrong?!

EUGENE: No! No! Everything's fine! Just fine! Normal! Why do you ask?!

IBID: You sound a little nervous!

EUGENE: Me?! [A nervous little laugh.] No! No! I'm not nervous at all!

[Enter IBID. She looks exactly like ROSETTA except that her hair is styled in a much more conservative manner. She wears an equally conservative house dress, an apron, and a pair of yellow dishwashing gloves. She carries a brightly-colored package.]

IBID: Surprise!

EUGENE: What ... what's that?

IBID: A present!

EUGENE: A present? For me?

IBID: That's right! A reward! For all of your hard work! Your dedication!

EUGENE: Oh ... well, I ... I'm not ... I'm not really in the mood for a present right now.

IBID: Why not?

EUGENE: Well, I ... I don't deserve it.

IBID: What do you mean?

EUGENE: What do I mean? I mean, I haven't done anything special.

IBID: Oh poo! You're my little practitioner!

EUGENE: Yes, well ...

IBID: What?

[An awkward pause.]

Oh, god! What is it, Eugene?! What have you done?! Did you get expelled?! Booted out?!

EUGENE: No, no!

IBID: Oh, thank Heavens! You had me worried there for a minute!

EUGENE: It's just that I ... I've been thinking.

IBID: [Alarmed.] Thinking?


IBID: Here!

[She hands him the present–a distraction.]

EUGENE: Let's run away together!

IBID: What?

EUGENE: Let's run away!

IBID: Run away?

EUGENE: Yes! To an island somewhere! Someplace far off! With ... with lots of fish!

IBID: Fish?

EUGENE: That's right!

IBID: Oh, I ... I don't think that's a good idea.

[IBID begins to wander aimlessly, deeply disturbed, straightening as she goes.]

Fish are filthy little creatures, prowling about in the darkness and the mud, eating their neighbors without a second thought–that's no way for the children to grow up.

EUGENE: What children?

IBID: Our children.

EUGENE: Our children?

IBID: That's right.

EUGENE: We ... we don't have any children.

[A beat.]

Do we?

IBID: No, but it's only a matter of time! We'll have some sooner or later!

[She begins to scrub the kitchen table viciously.]

EUGENE: Just think. We could run naked in the sand all day and ... and collect seashells! And play with the dolphins! Dolphins are very civilized! They don't eat each other! We could learn their language! The language of the sea! We could sleep under the moon with our dolphin friends and–

IBID: I don't want to run away! I'm perfectly content!


EUGENE: Ibid ... there's ... there's something I have to tell you.

IBID: Not now!


IBID: Not now! I'm busy!


IBID: Can't you see I'm scrubbing the table! There! Finished! Open your present!

EUGENE: But there's something I want to–

IBID: Open it!


IBID: Now!

[He does.]

It's a plaque. "An agent of The Profession must display his credentials in a prominent position so as to appear above reproach." I read it in the handbook.

EUGENE: The handbook?

IBID: That's right.

EUGENE: [A little too casually.] What ... ahh ... which ... which handbook?

IBID: The handbook. You know.

EUGENE: No! I don't know! I never saw any handbook!

IBID: You don't like it.

EUGENE: No, I like it just fine. It's just that–

IBID: Good! Now tell me about your day!

EUGENE: [Begins to fidget.] My ... ahh ... my day?

IBID: That's right. You may begin.


IBID: You may begin. You have ... ten minutes.

[IBID pulls a stopwatch from her apron and proceeds to time him.]

Go on.

EUGENE: What are you–

IBID: Begin!

EUGENE: [Uncertainly.] Well ... there ... there isn't ... ahh ... there isn't much to tell really. It was just a day. Just a day. Like any other day. You know. Well ... time to hit the hay!

IBID: Sit.

[He does.]

I want all the details.

EUGENE: [Uneasily.] All of them?

IBID: That's right.


EUGENE: Egypt! We could go to Egypt! We could live in the pyramids! And ... and talk to the ... ahh ... crocodiles! The crocodiles! We could ride on their backs and–

IBID: The pyramids?


IBID: Haven't you heard?

EUGENE: Heard what?

IBID: What happened.

EUGENE: No. Did something happen?

IBID: They're gone.


IBID: The pyramids.


IBID: Yes.

EUGENE: They ... they can't be!

IBID: They've crumbled. All of them. Every last one. Nothing left but dust.

EUGENE: My god!

IBID: Yes. It's a terrible disaster. Everyone's very upset. There's a relief fund being set up. We should send a few dollars.

EUGENE: But ... how can that be?! The pyramids have been around thousands of years! They can't just ... crumble! When did it happen?

IBID: Just this morning. Now, tell me about your day or I'm going to put a bullet through your head.

[A disarming little laugh.]


IBID: I said, "Tell me about your day or I'm going to put a bullet through your head."

[A disarming little laugh.]

EUGENE: What's gotten into you?

IBID: Nothing. I'm only trying to be a good wife.

EUGENE: Well ... all right ... that's ... that's what I wanted to talk to you about actually. My day. You see ... there ... there was this girl.

IBID: A girl?

EUGENE: That's right. There was something about her. I couldn't put my finger on it, but she seemed strangely familiar.

ROSETTA: Familiar?

[Tugging nervously at her wig.]

In what way?

EUGENE: Well ... it was almost as if ... as if I'd seen her somewhere before, you know? Not just at the grocery store or ... at a traffic light somewhere ... but as if I'd known her my whole life. Well, it turns out I have known her my whole life! When we were kids, we used to hunt frogs together!

IBID: Eugene ... you know very well that every woman you've ever met has claimed to be your frog girl. It's the oldest trick in the book.

EUGENE: Yes, but ... our mothers were twins!

IBID: Twins? Is that right?

EUGENE: Yes! Isn't it remarkable?!

IBID: I never knew your mother had a twin.

EUGENE: She doesn't.


Oh ... that's strange.

IBID: What else?


IBID: Your day! Your day! Tell me about your day!

EUGENE: Oh. Well, we ... we opened a lot of packages.

IBID: Packages?

EUGENE: Yes. Packages.

IBID: Were they secret packages?

EUGENE: I ... I don't know. They might have been.

IBID: What was inside?

[Pause. EUGENE fidgets.]

EUGENE: If they were secret packages, perhaps I shouldn't tell you.

IBID: Eugene!

EUGENE: Swords! They were full of swords! Great big ones!

IBID: What else?

EUGENE: Oh ... mostly swords.

[An awkward pause.]

Cleveland! What about Cleveland?! We could move to Cleveland!

IBID: Did you fall on your head today? Did you have some kind of accident?

EUGENE: No, it's just that I ... I don't feel like we belong here. This place doesn't fit us at all!

IBID: What do you mean?

EUGENE: Well ... take this couch for instance. Doesn't it seem a bit ... well ... unusual?

IBID: Unusual?


IBID: The couch?


[She examines the miniature couch.]

IBID: In what way?

EUGENE: Take a good look.

[She does.]

IBID: Give me a hint.

EUGENE: Think proportionately.

[Pause. IBID studies the couch.]

IBID: I don't see it.



EUGENE: Not at all? You don't find it a bit ... odd?

[Again, she studies the couch. Pause.]

IBID: Not at all.

EUGENE: And these walls? This window? The telephone?

IBID: What about it?

EUGENE: Try to make a call!

[She does.]

IBID: The lines must be down.

EUGENE: They're always down!

IBID: Not necessarily. Perhaps they're only down when you try to make a call.

EUGENE: Don't you think that's suspicious?!

IBID: Come here.


IBID: I want to feel your forehead.

EUGENE: I'm perfectly sane!

IBID: Why haven't you ever said anything about this before?

EUGENE: Well ... I ... I've suspected something all along, but I couldn't be sure, so I kept my mouth shut. Only now my eyes have been opened! I don't know how it happened, but I'm seeing things clearly for the first time!

IBID: How do you know you weren't seeing things clearly before?

EUGENE: Listen to me! We have to get out of here!

IBID: I don't want to get out of here. I'm perfectly content.

EUGENE: But they're playing us for fools!

IBID: Who is?

EUGENE: Well, I ... I don't know. I haven't figured that part out yet. But I'm working on it!

IBID: What about The Profession? If we leave now, they'll never take you back.

EUGENE: I don't care!

IBID: But ... it's what you've always dreamed of.

EUGENE: Not anymore! I've had it with The Profession! I'm my own man!

IBID: Shhh! Don't say that! Have you lost your mind!

[IBID draws the curtains and bolts the door.]

EUGENE: Ah-hah!

IBID: What?

EUGENE: Why did you do that?!

IBID: Do what?

EUGENE: Draw the curtains and bolt the door!

IBID: I felt a little draft. Didn't you feel it?


IBID: Would you like some tea?

[IBID produces a tiny tea set from the cupboard.]

EUGENE: What about the door?!

IBID: Tea always makes you feel better.

[She arranges the tiny saucers and begins to pour imaginary tea from a small pitcher.]

EUGENE: A draft doesn't explain the door!

IBID: One lump or two?

EUGENE: Why bolt the door if it's just a draft?!

[IBID puts two imaginary lumps of sugar in EUGENE's cup.]

IBID: There. I know how you like your sugar. Now drink up.

[She hands him an empty cup.]

EUGENE: But there isn't any–

IBID: Go on.


IBID: Drink!

[EUGENE pretends to drink from the tiny cup.]

Now ... don't you feel better?

EUGENE: No! No, I don't feel better! It's empty!

IBID: What do you mean?

EUGENE: What do you mean what do I mean?! My cup's empty! There's no tea!

IBID: Of course not–you just drank it.

EUGENE: No! I never had any to begin with! It's PRETEND TEA!

IBID: Don't be ridiculous. Do you want some more?

EUGENE: No! No, I don't want any–oh nevermind!

[IBID rises and carries the tea set to the sink.]

Look ... Ibid ... there ... there are things, okay? Certain ... things ... which ... which you couldn't possibly understand! All right? Certain inconsistencies one must agree to overlook if one intends to succeed in this business! Weights one must carry! Games that must be played! "Jump through these hoops! Do this! Do that! Don't ask any questions! Don't complain! Be good boys and girls! Pretend!"

IBID: What on earth are you talking about?

EUGENE: This couch ...

IBID: Yes?

EUGENE: It's not a couch!

IBID: Of course it's a–

EUGENE: And the phone–it's a toy! I child's play-thing! These walls–I could knock them down if I wanted!

IBID: Don't you dare!

EUGENE: It's a farce! A lie! I won't pretend anymore! Today, they ... they asked me to do something.

IBID: [Suddenly spellbound.] The Profession?!

EUGENE: Yes. They asked me to complete a ... a certain task.

IBID: A certain task?!

EUGENE: That's right. A certain task which I didn't want to do! I fought it tooth and nail! But they wouldn't give in! They insisted this task be carried out!

IBID: This task ...


IBID: Was it the carnal act?


EUGENE: How ... how did you know that?

IBID: I read it in the handbook.

EUGENE: The handbook?

IBID: That's right.

[EUGENE sits in stunned silence.]

EUGENE: Where is it?

IBID: What?

EUGENE: The handbook. Where is it? I want to see.

IBID: I don't remember. I ... I must have misplaced it.

EUGENE: Well, it must be here somewhere! What does it look like?

IBID: Did you?


IBID: Complete the task?


[Searching for the handbook.]

Oh! No! No, I stood my ground! I refused! They locked me in a tiny closet, fed me nothing but bread and water, and told me to get my priorities in order, but I escaped! And I'm not going back! I've won! I stood up to them! I thought of you, and I didn't give in!

IBID: [Furious.] What?!

EUGENE: I ... I didn't give in.

IBID: Why not?!


IBID: Why not?! Do you think I've had to do any less?! Do you think I haven't had to make certain compromises?! Ignore certain inconsistencies?! Hike up my skirt every now and then?!


IBID: Of course! Don't be naive!

EUGENE: But ... I ... I thought–

IBID: Tomorrow morning, you will march right back in there, and you will apologize for your behavior! You will tell them you've got your priorities in order, that you are committed to The Profession, and you will complete the task! Is that clear?!


Is it?!

[EUGENE nods.]


[IBID rises and begins to tidy up. EUGENE sits silently for a long moment, unable to speak. Finally...]

EUGENE: Ibid ...

IBID: [Sharply.] What?!

EUGENE: May I ... may I have some tea?


IBID: Some tea?

EUGENE: That's right.

[Pause. She softens.]

IBID: Of course.

[She pours EUGENE an imaginary cup of tea.]

EUGENE: Thank you.

[IBID hovers over EUGENE. As he begins to drink the non-existent tea, darkness slowly envelops them.]


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Copyright © 1997 by Walter Wykes

CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that The Profession is subject to a royalty. It is fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America, and of all countries covered by the International Copyright Union (including the Dominion of Canada and the rest of the British Commonwealth), and of all countries covered by the Pan-American Copyright convention and the Universal Copyright Convention, and of all countries with which the United States has reciprocal copyright relations. All rights, including professional and amateur stage performing, motion picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, video or sound taping, all other forms of mechanical or electronic reproduction, such as information storage and retrieval systems and photocopying, and the rights of translation into foreign languages, are strictly reserved.

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