Kidstuff

 ACT I

Scenes i – iii

 by Marcus McGee

PEGASUS BOOKS EDITION

 * * * * * * *

PUBLISHED BY:

Pegasus Books/Marcus McGee

 Kidstuff (Act I, Scenes i-iii)

Copyright © 2015 by Marcus McGee

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 ISBN 978-1-

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SYNOPSIS

PRINCIPAL CHARACTERS

SYLVESTER SMALLPEPPER, A distinguished, wealthy gentleman

LLOYD SMALLPEPPER, A lazy son, living with his father

STUART SMALLPEPPER, A lazy son, living with his father

RENEE, JOHNSON, A business executive, Llyod’s chosen match

TRACEY ROSS, A business executive, Stuart’s chosen match

OTHER CHARACTERS

SUGAR/CAMILLA COX, Sylvester Smallpepper’s nemesis

OSWALD PRESCOTT PEABODY, a corporate raider, Camilla’s pawn

A CHORUS LINE

Three sets will be used: 1) Sylvester Smallpepper’s Penthouse Suite, 2) the Smallpepper Enterprises Executive Office Suite, and 3) The dining room and floor of Brandey Alexander’s Restaurant.

The most challenging consideration with reference to the play is the requirement that Lloyd Smallpepper and Stuart Smallpepper are played a bit over the top in Act I, Scene I and Act II, Scene I. Likewise, Renee Johnson and Tracey Ross are played a bit over the top in Act I, Scene II, Act I, Scene IV and Act II, Scene I. The play requires eight characters, played by seven actors.

Even before the curtain opening ACT I, the audience will be treated to the Kidstuff Overture, a modern composition written by Dean McGee.

The curtain opens to Act I, Scene I as the overture ends while jazz echoes the show’s principal musical theme. Lights come up on the posh set of Sylvester Smallpepper’s Penthouse Suite in Manhattan. Lloyd and Stuart enter and immediately get in an argument about Lloyd trading cereals and toy surprises with the other kids in the building and Stuart’s obsession with cartoons. Only after the altercation becomes loud and physical does Sylvester enter to quell the fray.

Sylvester scolds the boys, 26 and 24 years old, respectively, reminding them that he sent them to the best schools in the world, only to have them living at home and behaving irresponsibly. Capitalizing on the anger and competitiveness between them, he makes a proposal: the first of his sons to marry a decent girl and have a grandchild for him will receive his entire estate, and the other will receive nothing. Still angry with each other, the boys agree to the deal.

Sylvester performs a brief character song as set is changed.

Act I, Scene II opens at the Smallpepper Enterprises Executive Suite, with cigar-smoking Renee on the phone, wheeling and dealing. Lloyd arrives for an interview with Renee, which does not go well. In fact, she kicks him out of the office. When Tracey enters, it is obvious the women do not like each other. In fact, they are competing for the Vice President position that Sylvester Smallpepper has promised to one of them.

After Renee leaves, Stuart arrives for an interview with Tracey, but Tracey refuses to hire him. After Renee returns, the women comment about how good-for-nothing Sylvester’s sons are, but when Sylvester arrives, they sing the praises of Lloyd and Stuart. Sylvester invites the girls out to dinner, indicating he wants to put a proposal to them. Eager to discover who has won the promotion, the girls accept his invitation.

Act I, Scene III opens in Sylvester Smallpepper’s Penthouse Suite, with Stuart, on the phone, refusing a job offer because “they don’t have televisions.” When Lloyd arrives, the boys discuss their difficulties in the employment market. Excited, Lloyd announces he has met a potential wife, and she is on her way over. After Sugar arrives, Stuart makes fun of Lloyd’s choice, until Sugar proves she can play “decent,” after which time the boys fight over her.

When Sylvester arrives, he recognizes the woman and sends the boys away. Sugar is actually Camilla Cox, the daughter of Sylvester’s deceased best friend. They are in love, but widower Sly has always been reluctant to move forward. When the boys return, Sugar is gone, and they tell Sylvester about their day, disparaging Renee and Tracey in the process.

As they lament the loss of Sugar, Sylvester tells them he has a couple of good wife prospects he would like to introduce them to, and he tells them to plan for a date with the girls the next night.

As Act I, Scene IV opens, Renee and Tracey are waiting for Sylvester at a bar table in Brandey Alexander’s. When Sylvester arrives, he asks the girls about marriage and asks if they believe parents should choose matches for children. Renee disparges love and marriage, while Tracey idealizes it.

During champagne, Sylvester proposes to the girls that the first of between them to marry and improve one of his sons, will not only be Vice President, but President of Smallpepper Enterprises, since he will be retiring.The girls agree to the proposal before the three are led away to dinner.

In Act I, Scene V, the final scene of Act I, Lloyd and Stuart are preparing for their blind date with the girls, while lamenting their fate. When Renee and Tracey arrive, the boys assume they are looking for Sylvester, until Renee and Tracey announce wedding and marriage plans. The boys acqueisece, and the double wedding is scheduled for the next day.

Before the girls leave, Sylvester enters, drunk, and passes out on the couch. Renee and Tracey are surprised, while Lloyd and Stuart are defensive. Nevertheless, all confirm wedding plans before the girls leave. Lloyd and Stuart are confused about their father’s irresponsible behavior and even more confused about condemning it. Fighting again, the challenge is renewed.

INTERMISSION: CHAMPAGNE, CAVIAR AND CHEESECAKE SALES IN LOBBY

ACT I

_____________

SCENE I

SYLVESTER SMALLPEPPER’S PENTHOUSE SUITE

[Jazz begins as curtains open to a darkened stage. With the flip of a light switch on the set, lights come up in the living room of Sylvester Smallpepper’s penthouse. There is a large bar with a mirror running most of the length of the stage on the right. There are three stools in front of bar. A large, expensive couch sits diagonally at mid-stage, and a large glass table sits before it. Finally, in the lower left corner of the stage sits a large flat screen television set. LLOYD SMALLPEPPER and STUART SMALLPEPPER enter. LLOYD, who enters UL, is wearing pajamas with booties and a trap-door flap in the rear as he carries a briefcase. STUART, who enters UR, is wearing Spiderman pajamas as he carries comics and a notepad. Jazz fades as the two men cross at center stage.]

LLO. [business-like] Good morning, Stuart.

STU. [groggy] Mornin, Lo.

LLO. [insulted] Lloyd. You know I don’t like that. I don’t call you Stu.

STU. So, call me Stu.

LLOYD unplugs television. Angry, STUART glares at his brother.

STU. Okay. I’m sorry. Good morning, Lloyd. Now will you put the plug back in, please!

LLOYD replugs television.

STU. [cont’d] Thanks Lo.

LLOYD goes to the telephone, while STUART turns on television with remote device.

LLO. [cont’d, after dialing] Please Stuart! This is a business call.

LLOYD pauses until STUART adjusts volume.]

LLO. [cont’d] Hello? Is Jeremy home, Mrs. Johnson? [a beat] Can you wake him up? This is very important.

STU. [he flips channels] Reruns! They can do better than reruns! I’ve seen this one fifty times already!

LLO. Stuart! [his attention and annoyance are averted] Oh, hello Jeremy. Good news! You know those super friends, glow-in-the-dark stickers from those chocolate flavored Spookies you wanted that were so hard to get? Well, I got em, and not only that— I got two sets. Now to the point. I will part with one set for the right price.

STU. [he begins a tantrum as he throws his pad to the floor] Lloyd! Please! I’m losing dialogue! How do you expect me to make any kind of evaluation with your constant childish outbursts?

LLO. I’m sorry, Stuart. Okay Jeremy? What do I want? You know what I want: three boxes of the peanut butter flavored Goop Loops. You know, the kind that turn the milk yellow, with the treasure map surprises. Yeah, yeah those. Well, do we have a deal? [a beat] Good enough for me. All right, Jeremy— I’ve got a busy schedule today. [HE checks his watch] See you at… two. Don’t be late. And Jeremy— make sure they’re kid tested/mother approved. I won’t accept anything less. That’s a wrap. Yes, goodbye.

LLOYD hangs up receiver, goes to bar and begins displaying his cereal collection—it is formidable.

LLO. [cont’d] Stuart! [he receives no response] Stuart!

STUART pretends to be cutting Lloyd off with remote device.

LLO. [cont’d] Stuart! You almost blew a big deal for me when you were throwing your tantrum. [again, no response] Stuart! Why don’t you grow up! Why don’t you cut off the TV and grow up!

Failing to get Stuart’s attention, LLOYD stands in front of TV. Finally Stuart turns off set.

STU. For your information, Goop Loop, I happen to be working—which is more than I can say for you.

STUART goes to the bar and pours himself a bowl of cereal, but LLOYD snatches bowl before STUART can pour milk. LLOYD clears other boxes from Stuart’s reach.

LLO. Those are cartoons, Stuart. Cartoons! They’re for kids. They’re kidstuff! [LLOYD grabs Stuart’s notepad] How do you call this work?

STU. [he snatches pad] You’re a cretin. You wouldn’t understand.

LLO. [he snatches pad again to review it] Oh I understand, all right. Kidstuff, Stuart. What’s this? Yosemite Sam has a problem with his mother? What’s that supposed to mean?

STU. [he stutters] Well actually, he does. But it’s complicated by an inferiority complex he has about being short and southern. It accounts for his irrational aggression to lagomorphs and black ducks. Even you should understand that! He’s always callin himself the meanest, baddest hombray west of the—

LLO. [he interrupts] Waitaminute. I don’t believe this! Barney Rubble’s a latent homosexual? Don’t even try to explain that one.

STU. Oh, come on! You’ve heard that laugh he does. And he doesn’t belong with Betty— she has eyes, he has dots. Wilma has dots. He should be with her.

LLO. [he interrupts] I don’t want to hear it. They’re cartoons, Stuart. They’re not real. They’re for kids to enjoy, and you want to ruin them. I’m going to tell father about this one. I’ll show him your little notepad. I think somewhere along the line, we’re going to have to get you some professional help.

STU. Sounds great comin from a guy who nearly had a nervous breakdown for losing a plastic magnifying glass he got from a cereal box.

LLO. [cold, he glares at Stuart] It was a collector’s item. You broke it and hid the evidence. I know you did! I’ll never forgive you for that.

There is a knock at the door.

LLO. [cont’d] That’s for me. I’ll get it.

LLOYD goes to door UL to open it. A little boy enters. LLOYD steers boy toward bar.

LLO. [cont’d] Ralphie! I’ve been expecting you. You got the consideration?

The boy puts a large Tiffany’s shopping bag on the bar.

LLO. [cont’d] Great! [HE pulls papers from briefcase] Now this is a standard voidable contract with a hefty penalty for non performance and a little novation I added that can be exercised at offeror’s option. Got that? All you have to do is sign right here. You did get your mother to co-sign, didn’t you?

RAL. [bewildered, he signs] Yeah, she signed it.

LLO. Fine. Now that was the 1969 pirate ring from the Quake Flakes, California edition, right? Got it in San Francisco, limited circulation. There you are.You’re in business.

LLOYD gives ring to boy and pushes him toward the door.

LLO. [cont’d] See you, Ralphie.

Ralphie outside, LLOYD slams the door. STUART, in the meantime, has taken one of the cereal boxes.

STU. Dad told you to stop doin business with those kids, Lloyd.

LLO. So what. Father is asleep.

STU. So nothing. How bout I just take this little box here as a bribe so I won’t tell im.

LLO. [he threatens] Put my cereal down, Stuart!

STUART breaks the seal and stuffs his hand into the box.

LLO. [cont’d] Now you broke the seal, jerk. Now they’re not worth anything.

STU. [as he samples cereal] They shouldn’t be. They’re stale! How long have you had these?

LLO. That’s not funny. That was fifteen years down the drain.

STU. Well, I guess I’ll hafta try another box. [HE grabs another box.]

LLO. [outraged] The hell you will! [he snatches notepad] I’ve got your notepad. [HE holds notepad up.] I’ll rip it to pieces!

STU. [calm] You wouldn’t dare.

STUART breaks the seal on another box. LLOYD rips notepad.

STU. Moron!

LLO. Fathead!

The boys rush at each other and begin wrestling. STUART tries to ruin more cereal while LLOYD demolishes the remote controller.

STU. That’s it! You’ve done it now, Boy. You cereal collection is history.

LLO. [he pants] Touch it and I’ll burn all your comics!

Finally, and because of the noise and violence, SYLVESTER SMALLPEPPER enters to settle the fracas. He is a graying man who wears an expensive silk smoking jacket.

SLY. [he shouts] Boys! Boys! Stop this nonsense right now! Lloyd!— Stuart!— Stop it now, I said! What is the matter with you?

Realizing their father is present, LLOYD and STUART stop fighting.

SLY. [cont’d] It’s seven thirty on Saturday morning and I was trying to get a little sleep. [a beat] Boys, most men sleep in on Saturday morning! Why do you have to get up so blasted early?

LLO. [defensive] Stuart likes to watch Saturday morning cartoons.

STU. It’s when all the good ones come on. Lloyd got up to trade cereals with the other kids in the building.

SLY. Other kids? You two aren’t kids— you’re grown men! Lloyd, I told you not to trade cereals, didn’t I? And toy surprises?

LLO. Yes, Father.

SLY. And Stuart— Can’t you tape your cartoons?

STU. Yeah, but it’s not the same, Dad. It’s not live.

SLY. Not live? Waitaminute. What am I saying? You shouldn’t even be watching cartoons! But why should I have to tell you that?

SYLVESTER goes to the bar and sits on a stool, only to find that he’s sat in a pile of cereal.

SLY [cont’d] Lloyd, will you clean up your mess?

LLOYD begins cleaning up cereal.

SLY. [cont’d] No, Lloyd. Sit down. You too, Stuart—sit down.

SYLVESTER pauses to rub first his brow and to slide his hand down his face. HE stands.

SLY. [cont’d] Boys, Boys— Where did I go wrong? It’s a good thing your mother’s not alive to see you. Just look at you. Lloyd, how old are you?

LLO. I’m twenty-six, Father.

SLY. And you, Stuart?

STU. You know how old I am. I’m twenty-five.

SLY. Twenty-five, and all you can do is watch those blasted cartoons!

STU. I watch other things… educational programs.

SLY. [incredulous] Really? And what educational program have you ever watched?

STU. Sesame Street. It’s educational. And there are some science programs on Nickelodean.

SLY. Stuart—for kids it’s educational. For you… it’s outrageous. Look at you two. You’re men. You should be out on your own. Don’t you ever think about girls?

LLO. Kidstuff, Father.

SLY. Oh yeah? That’s news to me!

STU. You’re old enough. You should have learned by now. Girls are much too dangerous for an intelligent man.

SLY. They’re exactly what you two need. [a beat] Look, didn’t I send you guys to the finest schools in the country? Lloyd, you’re a summa cum laude graduate of the Harvard School of Business, is that true?

LLO. Yes, Father.

SLY. Do you think I paid out all that money to graduate a son who turns around to trade toy surprises with kids in the building?

LLO. No, Father.

SLY. And you, Stuart. You graduated first in your class at the Yale School of Psychology. The Dean of the school called you brilliant. And you want to write a book on make believe cartoon characters?

STU. I’m sorry if I’ve disappointed you, Dad.

SLY. [he sighs] What am I going to do with you two?

LLO. [nervous] You’re not thinking of… putting us out on our own, are you?

STU. That would be cruel and unusual punishment. You wouldn’t do that, would you, Dad?

SLY. [he contemplates] I’ll admit I had considered it, but you two wouldn’t last a day out there in your present form. No, I’ve got a better idea.

LLO. What is it?

SLY. A deal.

STU. What kinda deal.

SLY. Well, it goes like this: I’m not a young man anymore, and this seems like a fitting time to turn the best portion of my illustrious estate over to a younger, more ambitious man. I would also like to see a grandchild, one or two before get too old to appreciate it.

LLO. So what’s the deal, Father?

SLY. Here it is. The first one of you to marry a decent girl and have a grandchild for me will receive my entire estate, which includes this penthouse and everything in it. The other will get nothing. Not one red penny.

SLYVESTER smiles, self-satisfied. The Boys are in shock. Standing between them, SYLVESTER places a hand on each boy’s shoulder.

SLY. [cont’d] What do you think, Boys?

LLO. I’d have to marry a decent girl. I don’t even know one.

SLY. If you two need any help, I happen to know a couple of nice girls. So, how do you like the deal?

STU. I don’t. I hate to think of the responsibility involved. A wife! That would mean I’d have to get a job.

LLO. And go to bed early at night. Don’t forget that!

STU. And come home in time for dinner, and eat everything on my plate.

LLO. And that’s not the worst. A wife would want me to go shopping… and take her out to dinner.

STU. She’d wanna dance too. All of em wanna go out dancing.

LLO. Then she’d expect me to remember her birthday and anniversary and go to church functions on Sunday afternoons in the middle of football games.

STU. That’s why men jump out of eightieth floor windows, Dad. We could never get used to those things.

SLY. Go figure. In all you wonderful musing, you two forgot about something— my grandchild.

STU. Worse and worse. Even more responsibility! Might as well be dead!

LLO. Why would you want to saddle me and Stuart with the curse of children, Father? Why would anyone want kids?

STU. They’re a curse, Dad. Oedipus had a father, you know.

LLO. Yeah, I mean, what if they’re brats? Or lazy. A lotta kids turn out lazy nowadays, and irresponsible!

STU. In other words, you’re stuck with em for life, if they let you live that long.

LLO. Why would you want to put us through that kind of suffering, Father?

SLY. The choice is up to you. All I need is for one of you to go through it to get my grandchild, and to whomever that is will go the whole of my estate.

LLO. [he schemes] And the other one of us gets nothing? Nothing at all?

SLY. Nothing at all. Do we have a deal?

STU. Dad, can Lloyd and I discuss this matter in private?

SLY. By all means. I’ll be in my room.

SYLVESTER exits into bedroom.

STU. What do you wanna do, Lloyd? We can’t let him get away with this. It’s blackmail.

A grieving LLOYD assesses the damage to his precious cereal boxes.

LLO. You, you ruined my oldest box! It must have been worth a fortune. Twenty-two years old!

STU. It’s just cereal, Lloyd, and it’s stale. Get over it. What are we gonna do?

LLO. There’s no “we.” I know what I’m going to do, you, you cereal murderer! I’m going to do whatever it takes to marry a decent girl and have that grandchild first. And when I receive all Father’s estate— and that includes this penthouse— I’m going to throw you and your cartoon thesis out in the gutter where you both belong.

STU. You wouldn’t do that, Lloyd. Would you? We’re brothers.

LLO. You’ll be scrapping with the pigeons in front of the building.

STU. Not if I have that grandchild first. I’ll throw you out.

LLO. But you won’t have that grandchild first. I’ll see to that.

STU. [he tears open another cereal box] I’m tougher than you think, Boo Berry. You shoulda dealt with me when you had the chance. It’s on now. [HE calls] Dad!

SYLVESTER reenters.

STU. [cont’d] Lloyd and I have discussed it. You’ve got yourself a deal.

STUART destroys another box

SLY. Do you agree to this uhm… contract also, Lloyd?

LLO. [HE destroys Stuart’s notepad] You’ll be a grandfather in no time.

SLY. Good! Now you two better start preparing yourselves for meeting girls. Brush your teeth. Change your underwear. You’ll have to learn to put your best foot forward. I’ll have job interviews lined up for you by Monday morning.

HE pushes boys toward their rooms.

SLY. [cont’d]  And just remember, if you need any help at all with the girls— just come to me. I know a couple of really good girls.

LLOYD and STUART exit to respective rooms. SYLVESTER performs a song at end of scene: celebrating his pending freedom.

ACT I

____________

SCENE II

SMALLPEPPER ENTERPRISES EXECUTIVE OFFICE SUITE

[Classical musical interlude as lights come up in the plush personnel office of Smallpepper Enterprises. A large, glossy wooden desk sits at a 45 degree angle in upper left portion of stage, while a comfortable leather armchair sits at a 45 degree right angle at mid-stage. A large portrait of Sylvester Smallpepper decorates the back wall. A computer desk, with computer, sits along the right wall. A large palm decorates stage DR. RENEE enters through door UL. RENEE is wearing a dark blue pinstripe three-piece suit with a necktie. She also wears glasses and her hair is pulled back in a bun on the back of her head. SHE pulls off coat and hangs it on rack. SHE takes up a putter and begins putting practice a lower CS. The intercom buzzes just as she gets the first putt off. The voice is male.]

VOI. Miss Johnson— You have an urgent call from Saudi Arabia. It’s Sheik Rabid. He says it’s desperately urgent.

REN. [she sighs and puts putter aside] Not again. This is getting ridiculous. [SHE goes to desk and picks up phone.] Yes Rabid? [SHE lights a cigar] Uh-huh, yes, yes— now slow down! Oh I understand what’s going on there. They’re bluffing. They’re getting to you. No, you just tell em Smallpepper Enterprises isn’t budging on this one. [a beat] Yes, I know it’s thirty-three million, but I know what I know! I didn’t get to be vice president of this company runnin scared, did I? Here’s what I say: you better raise you head and take em on or learn to profit by other means. [a beat] It means do what I say or you’re fired. Goodbye.

RENEE slams receiver down and attempts to resume putting practice. She is interrupted by intercom again.

VOI. Miss Johnson— a gentleman here to see you.

REN. [angry] What does he want?

VOI. [a beat] He says he wants a… I think he wants a job, ma’am.

REN. A job? Why isn’t he at personnel? Does he have an appointment with me?

VOI. He, he says he doesn’t need an appointment.

REN. Doesn’t need an appointment? [angry, SHE goes to the desk and checks calendar.] I don’t do interviews— that’s personnel’s job. Doesn’t need an appointment? Send this one in.

Seconds later, LLOYD enters, wearing a conservative suit and tie. HE closes the door.

REN. [cont’d] Well Mister, just what makes you think you’re so important that you don’t need an appointment for an interview?

LLOYD stops next to armchair.

LLO. My name is Lloyd Smallpepper. Sylvester Smallpepper is my father. He told me to come here.

REN. [her mouth falls open] So, you’re Lloyd Smallpepper. I do have an appointment to speak with you. Your father did call and said you’d be coming by. Sit down.

LLOYD sits.

REN. [cont’d] And you want a job. Do you have any information, the goods about yourself? A resume maybe?

LLOYD takes resume from briefcase and hands it to Renee, who begins to examine it.

REN. [cont’d] So how’d the like you at Harvard? I hear you’re lazy and good-for-nothing.

LLO. [nervous, he feints confidence] I got great grades. I attached a copy of my transcript— second page there. Top of my class.

REN. [she interrupts] Not bad. Wonder how much your father paid the school to doctor this up. [a beat] I see nothing here as far as experience goes. Have you ever had a job before, Floyd?

LLO. [he stutters] It’s Lloyd. What, what kind of job do you mean?

REN. A job! Have you ever worked a single day in your life?

LLO. You mean for money?

REN. Yes, it’s what most of us work for.

LLO. No. I mean I’ve worked, but not for money. My father’s a very wealthy man.

REN. [she interrupts] I know exactly how rich your father is… uh, Lloyd. Exactly how wealthy are you?

LLO. [nervous] I’m still a very young man. I’m only twenty-six.

REN. [she lights another cigar] Do you know that when your father was twenty-six, he owned a good-sized fleet of tankers? And he was one of those men who pulled himself up by his bootstraps. He’s a self-made man.

LLO. [he coughs for the cigar smoke; he fans air with the folder] I know that, but—

REN. [she interrupts] Let’s get to the point, Lloyd. Why are you here?

LLO. Well, I want a job here. I need to get a job.

REN. Exactly which job do you want, Lloyd?

LLO. [he contemplates] Well, I’ve been thinking. My father is the president of the company, right? So I guess I could settle for vice.

REN. Get out!

LLO. What?

REN. Get out. I want you out until you learn to speak with some degree of sanity! You’re not fit to be vice president of anything. Besides, the position is already being filled.

LLO. By who?

REN. By me! This interview is over.

SHE stands

LLO. [he stands] You’re not acting very nice. Do I have the job, or not?

REN. [she opens the door] No! Get out.

LLO. Okay, you harpie! Renee, the meanie. But my father will hear about this, and he won’t like it!

RENEE picks up the putter and starts toward Lloyd.

LLO. [cont’d] I’m warning you, you, you meanie!

RENEE slams the door.

REN. Thanks for the warning, you weenie!

RENEE returns to her desk, sits and takes a drag from the cigar. SHE removes her glasses and checks her face in a compact mirror that she retrieves from the desk drawer. SHE smiles. TRACEY enters, wearing a very dainty lace trimmed dress with a matching hat. TRACEY removes hat and puts it on rack.

TRA. [she comments on Renee’s make up] It’s going to take a lot more than powder, Renee. [she closes in] Oh my— I’ve never seen you without the glasses. You actually look like a woman without them.

REN. [angry, she turns] Tracey, don’t you know how to knock? I really don’t appreciate people barging into my office at will!

TRA. Begging your pardon, but this is the office of the vice president. And as far as I know Renee, Mr. Smallpepper hasn’t exactly decided on a new vice president yet. If you expect me to knock, I’ll expect the same from you.

REN. Why don’t you stop acting, Tracey? You don’t like me anymore than I like you.

TRA. Of course I do. You just let your petty jealousy get the best of you. Truth is, I’m not really that much prettier than you, if one could look past that dripping cigar hanging from your mouth. Beauty isn’t everything. You’ve got your good points too.

REN. [she stands] I guess I do. And that is why Mr. Smallpepper is going to choose me as vice president over you.

TRACEY and RENEE realize simultaneously that the VP chair at the desk is empty. Both women race to sit in it. TRACEY wins, sitting first, wiggling in chair.

TRA. I just love the way this chair feels! I can just feel the raw power surging through it. [SHE swings around in the chair to face Renee] I think I could get used to this! Get me a cup of coffee, will you, Johnson?

RENNE crosses her arms and turns away. TRACEY pushes intercom button.

VOI. Yes?

TRA. Can you send in my ten o’clock appointment please?

VOI. I’m sorry, Ms. Johnson, but I don’t see one listed.

TRA. [she laughs, false] Oh no, this is Tracey, your next vice president. You mistook me for Renee? You can’t tell? My voice is a lot more feminine. Can you check my book, please?

VOI. Oh! Ms. Ross! I’m sorry. As a matter of fact, he’s here now.

TRA. Send him in please. [to Renee] You’re welcome to stay and learn from me, Renee. Only you’ll have to take a seat in the corner over there. [she shrugs, condescending] – Business.

REN. [she retreives her purse] No, No, actually I was on my way out. I’ve gotta seal up that deal in the Middle East. You can use my desk for your interview— just make sure it remains in order. I’ll be back in an hour.

RENEE struts toward the door.

TRA. See you later, Renee.

REN. [she turns] Count on it, Britch!

As she exits, RENEE bumps into to STUART, who gives her a good once over.

STU. Wassssap…bee?

RENEE ignores him as she leaves. STUART addresses Tracey.

STU. [cont’d] Okay, I’m here. What do you want?

TRA. [prim and proper] Well Stuart, your father asked me to interview you to find out where you’d best fit in this company.

STU. [he interrupts] To be honest, I don’t fit at all. I never will.

TRA. I beg your pardon?

STU. [he burps] I’m here because it’s my only option left. I’ve got my back against the wall here.

HE continues as he begins examining items on desk; he spills the pens and knocks a stack of documents off the desk to the floor..

Stu. [cont’d] Oops. All my life I’ve gotten everything I’ve wanted—for nothing. And frankly, I’ve come to develop a real hatred for responsibility and anything associated with responsibility. All I know is it’s a phobia, a morbid dread.

TRA. Really?

STU. Yes, so I don’t want a job. I’m content to stay home to continue my psychological research.

TRA. Research? That sounds interesting coming from a Yale graduate. Your father doesn’t appreciate your work?

STU. Nope. He calls it irresponsible, and I suppose it is.

TRA. [careful] What exactly do you research, Stuart?

STU. Cartoons and cartoon characters. And incidentally, I find you to be very much like Boo Boo Bear.There’s just something about you.

TRA. Boo Boo Bear!

STU. I think Freud would call it an indirect fecal abnormality, really… complicated by an edacious desire for rightness and cleanliness. Tell me, do you remember if your mother changed your poo poo diapers immediately or just let them set awhile? I think she left them on too long.

TRA. [insulted] I’m not going to answer that question. What kind of job are you looking for, Stuart?

STU. Just give me something that requires zero work and zero responsibility and I’ll be fine. [a beat] I’m sure you’re a resourceful woman, Boo Boo. You can find one of those jobs for me, can’t you?

TRA. You’re unbelievable! Don’t you have any pride in yourself?

STU. No.

TRA. I can see that! Don’t you want to make something of yourself?

STU. No.

TRA. Don’t you want to stand on your own, independent of your father?

STU. Never. Why should I?

TRA. Because you’re a man, Stuart. [a beat] I mean, how do you ever expect to get married and raise a family?

STU. I don’t.

TRA. [frustrated] So what do you want? Why are you even here?

STU. Give me a soft, cushy job here so I can stay in my father’s house.

TRA. Is that what you want? You want me to help make you more lazy and irresponsible that you already are? Well, I won’t do it. [she stands] I’m sorry, I can’t help you.

STU. [she stands] You’re just saying that. I know you want to help me. You Boo Boo Bear types aren’t very good liars.

TRA. [she concedes] You may be right. I’d like to help, but I won’t help make you more irresponsible. Come back when you’re ready to stand up for yourself.

TRACEY sits and begins to do paperwork, ignoring Stuart.

STU. Does that mean you don’t have a job for me?

TRACEY does not respond.

STU. [cont’d] That’s Okay. I do have a reputation in this town. I’m the son of Sylvester Smallpepper. Someone’ll give me the cushy job I want. [no response] Thanks for nothing.

STUART exits. TRACEY rises and walks across the room to access computer. When RENEE enters, both women make a mad dash for the chair. RENEE sits first this time.

REN. I’m sorry, Tracey, but this seat is taken.

TRA. [she huffs] You said you’d be gone for an hour!

REN. I lied. [she turns] Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got work to do. [she condescends] Business.

TRA. I’ll stay. And the moment you lift your flat behind from that seat, it’s mine.

REN. Flat? Don’t start me on your chest! And they say there aren’t any hills in Kansas!

TRA. [she grabs the back of the chair] Get up! [SHE drags the chair, with Renee in it, away from desk] This chair is mine!

REN. It’s mine! Get your hands off my chair!

Just as RENEE and TRACEY stand and begin to wrestle, SYLVESTER SMALLPEPPER enters office. RENEE and TRACEY embrace to disguise fighting.

REN. [cont’d] Oh that’s much better. Thanks for cracking my back, Tracey. And did I tell you I wish you the best in your bid to be vice president of the company?

TRA. Well, I couldn’t be up against a more qualified candidate. Oh, Mr. Smallpepper! I didn’t hear you come in.

SLY. I was just listening, and I think you’re both right. You are both very qualified candidates, and I appreciate your fine sportsmanship through it all. Never in my life have I seen young women who were more modest and mature. It will be a difficult decision indeed.

TRA. [she laughs, false] Mr. Smallpepper— about your decision? Exactly when do you plan on making it?

REN. [false] Yes, do tell us. We’re on pins and needles!.

SLY. I just wish I knew. I’ve been so very busy lately. [a beat] Tell me, did you girls get the opportunity to meet my sons this morning?

REN. [excited] Oh… Oh yes! I met Lloyd this morning. A real charmer!— like his dad.

SLY. [surprised] Really?

REN. We had the most stimulating and intellectual discussion. He seems very interested in becoming an intricate part of Smallpepper Enterprises. I think he’ll fit in nicely here.

SLY. Very good! It seems you can do far more with him than I can. That’s outstanding, Renee! He obviously was impressed by your leadership ability.

TRA. [she interrupts] I met Stuart this morning. He’s an astute individual. Very smart!

SLY. I’ve always known that. He’s got all that insight, but he won’t do a damn thing with it.

TRA. Really? Are we talking about the same Stuart? He told me it was time for him to stand up for himself, time to become a man of responsibility.

SLY. Unbelievable! He’s always hated responsibility!

TRA. I think I was somehow able to change his heart.I think I inspired in him the desire to do something significant with his life.

SLY. Bravo, Tracey! I had almost given up on him.

TRA. He’s also very good looking. He takes after his handsome father.

SLY. You’re very kind to say such a kind thing about an old dog like me, but thanks anyway. [a beat] Hey, how would the two of you like to go out to dinner with me tonight? I’ve got a little proposal to put before you.

TRA. Love to.

REN. Well, I did have a very important dinner engagement planned, but I’ll cancel it for you.

SLY. Wonderful. Be prepared. I’m sure it’ll prove to be an interesting proposal. In the meantime, let’s get on over to the good ol stock exchange to see how we did today.

By this time, TRACEY and RENEE are wrestling over the chair again.

SLY. [cont’d] Are you coming ladies? [HE turns to exit]

REN. [she speaks between her teeth] Let go!

TRACEY releases chair, throwing Renee off balance. RENEE recovers.

REN. [cont’d] Yes, come on Tracey.

TRA. [she tugs at Renee] Did I tell you? I just love your pumps. Where on Earth did you by them?

REN. Saks. Did you have to ask? Did I tell you I adore your hat?

TRA. You didn’t. Thank you.

ALL EXIT

ACT I

__________

SCENE III

SYLVESTER SMALLPEPPER’S PENTHOUSE SUITE

[Jazz begins as lights come up in Smallpepper penthouse; STUART enteres from UR to answer telephone, which began ringing as lights came up; he still wears suit, but his tie is loosened; his shoes are off; he wears Mickey Mouse ears.]

STU. [he answers phone] Hello— [a beat] Yeah, this is Stuart Smallpepper. What do ya want? I was in the middle of something.

LLOYD enters, flustered DR, but on seeing Stuart, he puts on an air of joviality; STUART ignores Lloyd and continues.

STU. [cont’d] Yeah, I am Sylvester’s son and it was me at the interview. Who’s this? IBM? [a beat] Well, what do you want? [a beat] A job for me? Which one? [a beat as LLOYD approaches, listening] Okay, what does that kinda consultant hafta do? [a beat] Doesn’t hafta work everyday— that’s good. That sounds interesting. Wait— what time would I hafta be in on the mornings I’d have to be there. [a beat] Eleven in the morning! Are you crazy? Waitaminute—do you have televisions? [a beat] Televisions? You know, TVs! [a beat] No televisions but you have computers? Now that’s stupid. Oh no, that won’t do. Do this for me, Okay? Call me back when you get televisions. [a beat] No thank you. No, I’m gonna hafta pass, but thanks for the offer. No— excuse me— you’ve already made me miss Mickey’s song. [a beat] Nevermind who Mickey is! [STUART slams down the receiver] I don’t believe it. They must think computers are more important than TVs! What’s the world coming to?

LLO. How much did they offer?

STU. Would you believe it? He said something like four hundred K, annually.

LLO. Only four hundred thousand? That’s slavery. [he shrugs] I mean isn’t it?

STU. How do you expect me to know? Dad never talks to us about money.

LLO. Well, I think I read somewhere that the average annual income here in Manhattan is about a million and a half now.

STU. And that’s probably for what those dirty, sweaty blue collars make. Can you believe some people in this country actually still work with picks and shovels? I this year!

LLO. Better them than us.

STU. Yep. [a beat] So, did you get a job?

LLO. [he brags] Well, I’ve got a good shot at the VP’s seat at father’s company, but that isn’t the real news…

HE waits for Stuart to respond, but there is no response.

LLO. [cont’d] Aren’t you going to ask me about the real news?

STU. [he channel surfs] No.

LLO. I’ll tell you anyway. I met a girl today… And tomorrow, we’re getting married.

STU. [he turns off television; he rises to his feet] I don’t believe you. Does she have a friend?

LLO. [smug, after he ignores Stuart’s question] Oh, I guess I forgot to mention it earlier. She loves kids, even wants one. And best of all, she said I didn’t have to get involved in any of the kid stuff.

STU. Lloyd, does she have a friend? Or sister or cousin or anything?

LLO. Plenty of them.

STU. Why don’t you introduce me?

LLO. [he interrupts] Are you crazy? Do you think I’m that stupid? That would be like slitting my own throat.

STU. What? What’s wrong with introducing me?

LLO. You are my enemy, Stuart. What makes you think I’ve forgotten my promise? You broke my magnifying glass and ruined three boxes of my cereal— classics at that! They stopped making Cookie Crunch years ago. [he winces in pain] It was a… rare vintage. [he struggles to regain his composure] I’m going to marry this woman, make father proud, inherit his estate, and then I’m going to throw out the garbage, and we know who that is.

STU. Make Dad proud? Is that what you want? You’ll ruin your life! Before you know it, you’ll have ten kids and you’ll die at an early age of a heart attack. Say no to terrorism!

LLO. What are you talking about?

STU. Dad’s a terrorist. I say if you start givin in to Dad’s blackmail, you’ll be doin it forever. First it was the job, then the wife, then the kid and next it’ll be volunteer work for the Peace Corps or God knows who else! God— that’s it. You’ll do volunteer work for the church— they’ve always got work to do. You’re not a worker, Lloyd. You’ll die of fatigue, and don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

LLO. [he resigns] You’re right, Stuart. I know you’re right. Dad is acting like a terrorist, but he’ll put us out if we don’t—

STU. [he interrupts] Not if we stand together against him. That way he won’t have any— [there is a knock on the door]

LLO. That’s for me!

LLOYD answers door; SUGAR enters in tacky polyester outfit and clunky five-inch heels. She stumbles, barely able to walk in shoes.

LLO. [cont’d] Well good evening there. I, I guess it’s actually late afternoon. I didn’t think you’d come so soon. I’m sorry, but I forgot your name…

SUG. It’s Sugar. Don’t you remember?

LLO. Why… uh yes. Oh, this is my brother, Stuart. Stuart, may I present uhm, Miss Sugar. [to Sugar] Do you have a last name?

SUG. [she chomps on chewing gum] Nope. Not, yet at least.

STU. Don’t I know you? Isn’t your father Mister Spreckles or Pure Cane or C&H or somethin like that?

SUG. Are you supposed to be a comedian?

STU. Are you supposed to be—

LLO. [he interrupts, nervous] Miss Sugar and I are supposed to be getting married tomorrow.

STU. Her?

SUG. Yeah me.

STU. Go ahead, Lloyd. See if Dad approves. He says it has to be someone decent.

SUG. I’m decent.

LLO. Yeah, she’s decent.

STU. Oh yeah? Quick interview— tell me somethin, Sugar. You got a job?

SUG. Nope.

STU. Did you go to college?

SUG. Nope.

STU. Finish high school?

SUG. Nope.

STU. Middle school?

SUG. Now that depends! Ya know, on how you look at it, but that don’t mean I ain’t decent. [to Lloyd] Are we gonna get me my diamond ring and fancy dress or what, Floyd?

LLO. It’s Lloyd. [to Stuart] How’d she do?

STU. [he laughs] Marry her. You’ll disqualify yourself.

SUG. Yeah, marry me. I want me a Smallpepper.

LLO. [he moves away] I don’t even know you.

SUG. [she abandons the act, momentarily] Lloyd, I’m not as dumb as you think. You say your father wants you to marry a decent girl? I can pretend to be decent. I can do that for you.

LLO. [dubious] You don’t know my father. He’s a smart man. I don’t know… Show me something.

SUG. [she exaggerates, with a British accent] Begging your pardon, I can be whomever and whatever I want to be… And I can do it at will, whenever I bloody well please.

LLO. That’s great! How long do you think you could keep that up?

SUG. [she chomps the gum again] How long do ya need me to?

LLO. Long enough to put this… [he points at Stuart] bum out on the streets.

STU. [he panics] Sugar! Waitaminute! I didn’t mean to say you weren’t decent. You don’t wanna marry him! Do you know he still sucks his thumb? See – he isn’t denying it! Marry me!

LLO. Don’t listen to Stuart. He sleeps with the lights on because he’s afraid of the dark.

STU. Let’s not get started on phobias, eh bed-wetter.

LLO. [to Stuart] That was twelve years ago! And you pinky swore! [to Sugar] That was one time twelve years ago. A freak accident.

STU. That’s not what your psychoanalyst said.

LLO. Our psychoanalyst! You see, Stuart’s in love with Betty Rubble on the Flintstones. He thinks she’s real. Let’s go, Miss Sugar.

STU. [he blocks the exit as couple tries to leave] Wait Sugar! You still haven’t answered my question.

SUG. What question?

STU. Are you gonna marry him… or me?

SUG. Well, I’m confused. I didn’t know you were interested in—

STU. [he interrupts] I am.

SUG. [after a beat] Me over Betty Rubble? I’m flattered. Well, two marriage proposals in one day. I’m lost for words.

LLO. Please say you’ll marry me! [HE takes hold of her arm]

STU. [HE takes hold of the other arm] Don’t say it! Marry me.

SYLVESTER SMALLPEPPER enters in business suit; he stops in his tracks; he recognizing the woman.

SLY. Good evening boys, and…

LLO. [nervous] Oh father! Nice to see you. I’d like you to meet my fiancée. This is, uh Miss Sugar.

STU. [he cuts in; taking Sugar’s hand from Lloyd] No, actually Dad, Sugar’s my fiancée.

SLY. Sugar?

LLO. Yes. Miss Sugar and I were just on our way out to get our rings.

SLY. Let me get this straight, Lloyd. You and… You and this woman are going to get married? [to Sugar] You’re going to marry my son?

STU. Lloyd’s just gettin a little carried away, Dad. Sugar and I were actually just discussing our wedding plans when you came in. We kinda wanted a private ceremony. Short and sweet, right Baby?

SUG. Well… er… Right.

LLO. Wrong! I met her first. And she came here to se me – not you. Let’s go, Miss Sugar.

LLOYD starts pulling Sugar by one arm toward the door, but STUART holds her other arm tightly; BOYS pull Sugar back and forth.

LLO. Let go of her, Jerk!

STU. No. She’s not going with you, Fathead!

LLO. I said let go, Ratface!

SLY finally takes Sugar by a shoulder in an attempt to rescue her, but BOYS continue tugging.

STU. No! Make me.

LLO. I don’t make monkeys. I sell em.

STU. Then sell yourself, cuz I’m buyin.

SLY. [finally, he pulls Sugar away] Boys! Stop this at once! You’re going to ruin this, this girl if you keep this up.

LLO. But Father—

SLY. [he interrupts] But nothing! You two should at least try to be civilized in your… courtship. [HE sighs] I’ll tell you what. Why don’t we let the girl make up her own mind.

STU. She already said—

SLY. [he interrupts] Without all the pressure. Now, I want both of you to go to your rooms so I can find out what this young lady really wants. I’ll speak with her and I’ll call you back out when she’s made a decision. Deal?

STU. [resentful] Deal.

LLO. But I met her first!

SLY. Don’t argue, Lloyd. Deal

LLO. [reluctant] Deal.

LLOYD and STUART exit to separate rooms [UL and UR respectively]; both hang heads; SUGAR walks timidly toward Sylvester.

SUG. [nervous] Hi Sly. It’s been a long time, Sly.

SLY. Your father’s funeral. Two years. How’s your mother. Heard she moved to California.

SUG. She passed two months ago. She just withered away. Couldn’t live without him, I guess.

SLY. [after he realizes he has been staring] Oh! Excuse my manners. Can I get you a drink? Cream sherry, up?

SUG. Yes, thank you.

SLY walks behind the bar and remains there after pouring sherry. HE pours himself a liberal drink.

SLY. You look wonderful in spite of the outfit, Camilla. But what is it with those clothes? And the new name? Sugar?

SUG. I didn’t want your sons to recognize me or my family’s name. You’re still… handsome and distinguished.

SLY. You’re very kind to say that. [a beat] Although I’ll admit I’m glad to see you, Camilla, I’d really like to know why you’re here. You’re going to marry one of my sons?

SUG. [she answers, after sipping the sherry] No. The truth is… I wanted to see you again. When I heard this afternoon that Lloyd Smallpepper was looking for work downstairs, I managed to bump into him outside the building. I hoped he wouldn’t recognize me. Anyway, getting him to invite me over was easier than I thought.

SUGAR sits on couch; SLY has come out from behind bar; HE stands behind couch.

SUG. [cont’d] Excuse me for saying it, but both your sons act like desperate men.

SLY. [he smiles, proud] They are.

SUG. [SHE rises, comes around couch and approaches SLY] You know Sly, even after all these years, I’m still in love with you. [SHE studies his non-reaction.] I’m sorry if my saying it makes you uncomfortable.

SLY. [he recovers from stupor] No. It doesn’t make me uncomfortable. I was just remembering your father. He never understood.

SUG. [she interrupts] Neither did my mother, but that doesn’t matter anymore.

SLY. [a beat] I don’t know.

SUG. Sly, you’ve been a widower for over twenty years now. You told me we might have a chance someday. I hope we can have that chance now.

SLY. Well, some things haven’t changed. I’m still old enough to be your father.

SUG. I know that. I’ve always known that.

SLY. [he reflects] Your father was my best friend, since we were little boys.

SUG. I know that too, but what does that have to do with us? [a beat] You used to tell me that you were lonely, that you wanted to share yourself with someone. Don’t you want that anymore?

SLY. [a beat] Of course I do.

SUG. Do you still love me?

SLY. Camilla, you know I do. I’ve loved you for all these years!

SUG. Then why can’t we be together?

SLY. Camilla, you know I want that as much as you do, but I’ve got to do something about my sons. Maybe after—

SUG. [she interrupts] It’s always something, isn’t it Sly? Your age, my father, your sons! It will always be something! So where does that leave me? Maybe you don’t really want to be happy. [she sighs] Maybe I wasted my time by coming over here. Goodbye Sly.

SUGAR begins to exit.

SLY. No. Wait!

SUG. [SHE stops] I won’t disgrace myself by begging you anymore. It seems you’re living for my father, your sons and everything else! But not for Sylvester Smallpepper— and you wonder why you’re lonely. [SHE turns toward Sly, softening] If you ever grow tired of being lonely, Sylvester Smallpepper, you know where I’ll be. Goodbye.

SUGAR exits; SLY starts after her, but he stops at the door; HE sighs, dragging his left palm from his forehead to his chin; HE goes to bar and pours himself a drink; finally HE travels to and knocks on Lloyd’s door.

SLY. Lloyd, come on out.

SLY knocks on Stuart’s door; both doors open simultaneously; LLOYD and STUART enter; both look around for Sugar.

LLO. Where’s Miss Sugar? What did she say?

SLY. [nervous] Oh the girl? She, she left.

STU. She left? What happened? Who did she choose? Me?

SLY. No Stuart. She didn’t choose you.

LLO. [excited] I knew it! Then she chose me!

SLY. [he interrupts] Not you either. She chose, she chose to leave, and it was for the best. Nothing against either of you. I suppose it was a personal thing. [sad] I don’t think she’ll be coming back.

STU. Who wanted her anyway? Just in case you couldn’t see right through her, Dad, that classy act she put on was a fake. The truth is she was as cheap as that polyester dress she had on. She was a tramp—

SLY. [he interrupts] How dare you! You don’t even know her! Now you watch your mouth while you’re under my roof, Stuart! We don’t call women names. Anymore talk like that about that young woman and you really will be out on your own. Do you understand?

STU. [surprised and embarrassed] Yeah. I’m sorry. [a beat] I didn’t realize you’d get so mad. You’ve never threatened me like that before. STUART heads back toward his room.

SLY. [ashamed for the outburst] No. Wait Stuart. I’m the one who should be apologizing. I don’t know what came over me. I’ve just had so much pressure lately to do something about someone out there who’s buying large quantities of Smallpepper stock. I’m sorry, Son.

SLY goes to bar and pours another liberal drink. HE goes to couch, sits and takes a huge swig; LLOYD speaks to break silence.

LLO. There definitely was something special about her, though. She was no ordinary girl. I thought she was going to pick me for sure. Did she say anything, Father?

SLY. [sad] She said… goodbye. [he becomes at once sprite in an attempt to change the mood] So, how did you two fare in the good ol job market today?

LLO. Terribly. I never realized there were so many selfish people in the world.

SLY. Any prospects?

LLO. Maybe.

SLY. Stuart?

STU. [quiet] No.

SLY. Can’t we bury the hatchet, Son? I’d like to know about your day.

STU. [after a pause] Okay. I got a job offer, but I had to refuse it. We couldn’t agree on terms.

SLY. It’s a start in the least. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow.

LLO. I don’t know if I can go back out there. Business in America is changing, Father. An executive is supposed to sit back and get all the credit while other people do all the work, right? Nobody out there understood that today.

SLY. That’s too bad, Lloyd. That’s exactly why I said, there’s always tomorrow.

STU. [a beat] I guess you’re really gonna make us go through with our deal, aren’t you?

SLY. Of course I am. I’m a businessman. A deal’s a deal.

LLO. Well, it was a wasted day now that Miss Sugar’s gone. I don’t know where I’m going to meet another girl.

STU. A decent girl at that!

SLY. [HE stands, goes over to the bar and pours himself another drink] Well sons, I’m interested in knowing what you thought of the girls at the Smallpepper office this afternoon

LLO. That Renee person! She looked like Vince Lombardi in a skirt, with that sick cigar hanging out her mouth. I didn’t want to have to tell you this, but she had me thrown out of the building!

SLY. [amused] Oh really? Why?

LLO. Well, I met her in the lobby after the interview— she’s not a good interviewer, by the way. So with that in mind, I told her she was fired. She didn’t like that at all. First, cigar smoke came shooting out of her ears, then she got this glazed, crazy look in her eyes, and she attacked me. The guards had to pry her off my back, and then they threw me out!

SLY. Renee’s a fine young lady. She just needs to be understood. What about you, Stuart? What did you think of Tracey?

STU. You don’t wanna hear it. You’ll kick me out.

SLY. Certainly I do. I just want your honest opinion.

STU. Well, unlike Lloyd, I saw em both— in the same room at the same time. Now I hate to put down your executives, but if I had hung up a picture of the moon, both of em woulda howled at it.

LLOYD and STUART high-five.

SLY. Are you saying they aren’t pretty? I strongly disagree.

STU. If ya need ta get em jewelry for Chistmas, pick up a two-pack of flea and tick collars.

SLY. Again I disagree. I think they’re both very lovely girls, but they certainly are lacking something in their lives. You don’t like them?

STU. No.

LLO. That Miss Renee was a maniac! Definitely not my type.

SLY. I see, and did you meet any good prospects for wives this afternoon?

STU. Zilch! They wouldn’t even talk to me. First it was, where do you work? Then it was what kinda car do you drive? And then, naturally it was Goodbye!

LLO. One lady even called me a bum.

STU. I can’t repeat what I was called – not without gettin thrown out.

LLO. I did meet Miss Sugar this afternoon. She was perfect, but now she’s gone.

STU. She never liked you in the first place. [suspicious] Dad and I know what she wanted, right Dad?

SLY. Uh, right.

SLYVESTER goes to closet to change into dinner jacket.

SLY. [cont’d] I don’t know, but it seems you boys are having problems in the girl department.

STU. Maybe it’s a portent of things to come. You think we could call the deal off?

SLY. Absolutely not, but as I said before— if you need help with the girls, I know a couple of charming young ladies…

LLO. [excited] Introduce us!

STU. Waitaminute, Lloyd. Dad, do you think they’d like us? I mean Lloyd— he’d got no job, no money, and he’s got you know, his eccentricities.

SLY. Of course they will. I told them about Lloyd, and they’re dying to meet him.

STU. Did you tell em about me?

SLY. Yes, and they’d like to meet you as well. Tomorrow night, in fact.

LLO. Tomorrow night?

SLY. Yes, and right here, too. They’re coming for dinner.

LLO. They’re coming here?

STU. For dinner?

LLO. Tomorrow night?

STU. Who’s cookin?

SLY. You two are. The ball’s in your court. Just keep our little contest in mind.

SLY begins to exit

STU. Waitaminute Dad. Where’re you goin?

SLY. To a business dinner. It seems I’ll have to present an interesting proposal tonight.

LLO. A big contract, Father?

SLY. [he smiles] I suppose you could say that.

SLY exits.

LLO. Did you hear that, Stuart? We get to meet girls!

LLOYD takes a backdive onto the couch and kicks his feet up frantically; STUART pulls a bar stool over and sits.

STU. We can’t let im do this to us, Lloyd.

LLO. Do what?

STU. Sell us into slavery. Make us get married. It’s time we finally stood together against a terrorist.

LLO. You’re right. It’s our responsibility. What do you propose we do?

STU. I dunno. Responsibility— the very thought of it puts goose bumps on the back of my neck.

LLO. Well, you majored in Psychology, Stuart. And Father’s got to have a weakness, right? All you need to do is find it and you’ll have your leverage.

STU. [excited] That’s it! That’s right.

LLO. And while you’re doing that, I’ll marry the decent girl, have that kid and put you out on the street. Do you honestly think I forgot about the magnifying glass?

STU. Lloyd, how can you bring that now? This is our future at stake, and you—

LLO. [he interrupts] Admit you broke it and hid the evidence and I’ll forget all about it— never bring it up again.

STU. [after a pause] Okay. I broke it. Then I flushed it down the toilet so you wouldn’t find out.

LLO. [angry] So you did break it! I knew it all along! You’re an evil man, Stuart, an evil little man! And I’ll have no part in your scheming against our father. As far as I’m concerned, you’re not even my brother. Either you beat me in having that grandchild first or prepare yourself for the bread line. I’m putting your butt out!

LLOYD exits into his room, slamming door shut. LLOYD reenters shortly thereafter.

LLO. What are we cooking for dinner tomorrow>

STU. [sad] I don’t know. Somethin classy. You know how to make pancakes?

LLO. I think so. Should we break out ol Aunt Jemima on them?

STU. Naw. Let’s go all out. We’ll get chocolate syrup. We’ve gotta find some kinda way ta impress these girls. [a beat] I’m sorry about the magnifying glass—

LLO. [he interrupts] Don’t talk to me! Don’t ever talk to me!

LLOYD exits, slamming door again.

STU. Aw, grow up, will ya!

Angry, STUART exits into his room, slamming the door.

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