Missing, a short play


A short play

Dale Andersen 27702 Crown Valley Pkwy Suite 117, D-4 Ladera Ranch, CA 92694 562-508-5820 http://www.scribd.com/daleandersen/ email address andersen.dale@gmail.com ©2008 Cast of Characters Louise………Female, early thirties, scruffy Martin………………Male, late thirties, scruffy

Missing, a short play (Morning. Downtown Fargo. Cold & crisp. We’re on a street corner outside a blown-up 7-Eleven. Yellow “Police Line – Keep Out” tape. Inside the police tape, LOUISE in grubby clothes and a stocking cap. She’s picking up bits of debris, examining each bit, then depositing it in a garbage bag. A pouch hangs from her belt. She hums. MARTIN enters, stops at the tape, sees her and looks surprised. She senses someone’s watching. She stops, straightens up, turns) LOUISE: Well well. Marty Dean. MARTIN: Thank God you’re alive.


Louise, you’re alive! ‘Course I’m alive.

LOUISE: Why wouldn’t I be?

MARTIN: Terrible thing. Terrible. You should consider yourself very, very lucky. LOUISE: Yup. That’s me. Lucky Louise. Lucky Louise, despite I never won a MegaBucks jackpot. Never even won a piddly little Daily Scratcher. MARTIN: I meant you’re lucky to be. LOUISE: I know what you meant, Marty. MARTIN: Eyewitness News said it was a first. First 7-Eleven explosion ever in Fargo. First 7-Eleven explosion anywhere in North Dakota for that matter. LOUISE: I’ll give you something else that’s a first. time for me without a job. First

Missing, a short play MARTIN: Abdul’s not giving you your job back? LOUISE: It only blew up two days ago. I just don’t see the store back up and standing tall anytime soon. MARTIN: But he did promise you your job back. LOUISE: Hasn’t been discussed, Marty. MARTIN: That is very wrong. He shouldda notified you pronto. You’re a key person. You know where all the stuff is. LOUISE: Which is really useful. What with all the stuff scattered all over the sidewalk. MARTIN: Speaking of that. I saw on Eyewitness News where Abdul said he was looking for volunteers to help clean up. LOUISE: So? MARTIN: So here I am. Volunteering. You know what the commercial says. Like a good neighbor. LOUISE: Well, neighbor, as usual, you’re a day late and a dollar short. Abdul’s cleanup was yesterday. Yesterday? MARTIN: So how come you still got a mess?


LOUISE: We still got a mess ‘cause not many so-called neighbors showed up.

Missing, a short play MARTIN: How could that be? Abdul’s got thousands of customers. LOUISE: Hundreds, not thousands. Don’t exaggerate. Okay. I’m telling you this ‘cause you’re a regular. Don’t want you repeating it. (He crosses his heart. it’s a big secret) She leans in, like


LOUISE: Seems some people don’t like Abdul ‘cause of his name. Some people connect Abdul to the World Trade Center. One lady said, “How do we know he wasn’t making bombs back there? Maybe the explosion was a bomb.” MARTIN: Now that’s ridiculous! He wasn’t making bombs. Was he? LOUISE: ‘Course not. But some people just assumed. Makes you wonder what you gotta do to be an American around here when you got people assuming stuff. MARTIN: Never heard him talk crazy. Where is he anyway? LOUISE: Missing. MARTIN: You mean like dead? LOUISE: No. Missing. He came here just after, looked around, told the newspaper and TV guys he needed help. Then he skedaddled. Personally, I think he’s lying low. MARTIN: That’s desertion. Leaving the scene of. Or something.

Missing, a short play LOUISE: Don’t be so quick to throw stones. If your RV blew up and set some cars on fire and knocked down a power line, wouldn’t you make yourself scarce for a while? MARTIN: Yeah. Guess I would. LOUISE: Trust cops to be cops. Abdul’s doing the right thing. You can always come in later, say you had a concussion and wandered in the woods till your memory came back. MARTIN: Well, anyway, glad nothing bad happened to you. (She makes like getting ready to go back to work picking up debris. He doesn’t move) LOUISE: Look, I gotta do some stuff now. MARTIN: Not stopping you. LOUISE: I don’t like if you’re just gonna stare. MARTIN: You don’t like me staring? So what about all those 2 am’s? You saying I shouldda stayed away? LOUISE: Now don’t get upset. MARTIN: Don’t get upset. I was there for you cause I thought you were lonely. Running a 7-Eleven in the wee hours is lonely work. Thought you’d appreciate the company. (She starts picking up debris)


Missing, a short play Fact is, with the Customer missing. LOUISE: you were doing it for hot dogs. You wake up 1 am munchies. Show up at my counter at 2. walks in, I turn my back, another hot dog’s With you, it’s all about hot dogs.


MARTIN: You got me wrong. You think everyone works an angle. LOUISE: Don’t know anyone else’s angle, but I sure know yours. MARTIN: More to life than hot dogs, Louise. I been a lot of places, seen a lot of stuff. One thing I know. Karma’s gonna get you. Bad thoughts about other people will rebound unto yourself. That’s straight outta Buddha. Don’t curse me, Marty. LOUISE: Don’t like being cursed.

MARTIN: (Sees her slip an object into her pouch) What was that you just did? LOUISE: What? MARTIN: You picked up something, slipped it into your pouch. LOUISE: No. MARTIN: I saw you. LOUISE: You’re imagining things. MARTIN: I’m telling you, I saw you.

Missing, a short play LOUISE: (Holds pouch behind her back) Not saying this again. There’s nothing in the bag. MARTIN: (Ducks under police tape, approaches her) Well. Then I guess you won’t mind holding it out front, turning it upside down and shaking it out. LOUISE: Why are you pushing this, Marty? MARTIN: (Trying to see behind her) I think I got you pegged. Way I see it is, you want to work out here by yourself ‘cause there’s something of value here. See, when you try to fool Ole Marty, you open a big ole can of corn. LOUISE: Marty, I thought we were friends. MARTIN: Starting to wonder what you mean by friends. Yessiree, there’s something of value out here. I can smell it. LOUISE: Marty, you don’t talk to a friend like that. MARTIN: Friend wouldn’t tell a friend to stop staring. LOUISE: You’re. You’re right. MARTIN: Friend wouldn’t begrudge a friend a few hot dogs. You’re right. So what is it? LOUISE: You’re right again. MARTIN: Cash money? Bundle of twenties?


Missing, a short play Marty. LOUISE: It’s not what you think.


MARTIN: Gotta be cash. Safe blew up. Buncha Franklins're MIA. LOUISE: Stop fantasizing, Marty. MARTIN: All I want’s half. LOUISE: Half?!? MARTIN: Fair’s fair. Or I might have to report this. LOUISE: Friends don’t threaten friends. MARTIN: Friends don’t exclude friends. Friends don’t cut friends out. Friends share the wealth. LOUISE: You don’t even know what this is about. MARTIN: What’s to know? There’s an explosion. Maybe a threat to the planet. Maybe not. But here you are, Abdul’s Girl Friday. And you’re not out here for your health. You know something. I can put B and C together and get D. D as in deal. So now, friend, what’s the deal? LOUISE: The deal is, you are crazy! You’re nuts. MARTIN: You calling me nuts. Look at you. Trying to rip Abdul off. You don’t want him knowing. Nosirree. You don’t want me telling the Feds and them talking to Abdul. Haven’t you been reading the paper? Those Muslims’ll cut your head off for looking at them crosseyed.

Missing, a short play LOUISE: You got it all wrong. Just give me half. MARTIN: And my lips are sealed.


LOUISE: So what if it’s half of nothing? Hey, come on. You know what? MARTIN: You’re talking to a friend. LOUISE: All those hot dogs gone to your brain. Now give.

MARTIN: Bottom line is, I’m not going away. LOUISE: (Silence. Finally…) All right. You win. MARTIN: Now you’re talking.


Hot dog!

(LOUISE squats down, MARTIN squats down) LOUISE: (Holds up unopened pouch) I want your word this an absolute secret. MARTIN: Unlike some people I could name, my word is gold. LOUISE: You ready?

Missing, a short play


MARTIN: Let her rip. (She takes the pouch and empties it. A “plop” sound is heard. MARTIN springs up) Jiminy Crickets! (He turns his back, looks over his shoulder) Jiminy Holy Cow Crickets! (Looks again. Stamps his foot) That’s a hand! That’s a human hand you got there! LOUISE: Said it wasn’t what you thought. MARTIN: Yeah but. But what about the cash? LOUISE: There is no cash. (Puts hand back in pouch. Stands) Remember you promised. You’re keeping this a secret. What about the cops? MARTIN: What if they come around? Where’s my half?

LOUISE: Say you were asleep. Which is true most of the time. So uh. So is it? MARTIN: Is that a real hand?

LOUISE: Think I go around planting fake hands? MARTIN: I just meant, if it’s a real hand, I’d think you’d be scared. LOUISE: Think I’m not scared? MARTIN: I don’t like seeing you scared. You better not be scared. You’re not scared. Are you?

Missing, a short play (A worried look crosses her face) LOUISE: Thing is, Abdul’s had a lot on his mind lately. MARTIN: I do admit to noticing him in the store less often. LOUISE: He’s seeing a Mexican girl. MARTIN: Oh, you mean the one who - LOUISE: Yeah, her. She’s Pentecostal. He’s serious about her. He’s been going to prayer meetings. You know what they say.


MARTIN: God works in mysterious ways. Then…)

(Silence. They stare at the ground.

LOUISE: Well, shoot, guess I better ditch this hand someplace. MARTIN: You mean you’re gonna throw it away? LOUISE: That’s the plan, Stan. MARTIN: Can I have it? LOUISE: What are you going to do with it? Dry it. MARTIN: Wear it off my belt.

LOUISE: It was Abdul’s uncle’s hand. You can’t wear his uncle’s hand off your belt.

Missing, a short play


MARTIN: His uncle? The old guy with the snuff and the tin can and the shawl? I thought he went back to. LOUISE: He kind of did. MARTIN: Yeah? LOUISE: And he kind of didn’t. MARTIN: Yeah? LOUISE: Know how you always mean to finish a job? You say “Tomorrow,” but when tomorrow comes, the pile’s even higher? It was around six. Uncle Abdulla was sitting by the magazines spitting tobacco into a can. It was Friday and the Mexicans were cashing paychecks and buying beer. I saw Uncle Abdulla wasn’t moving but I couldn’t do anything because I was alone and the line was out the door. Abdul never works Fridays and Alice went home sick. Anyway, Abdul comes in at midnight to count cash and I tell him his uncle hasn’t moved in four hours. So he puts a hand in front of the old guy’s mouth, shakes his head and drags him into the freezer and says, “I’ll take care of it tomorrow.” MARTIN: What if he wasn’t dead? LOUISE: We were pretty sure he was. Next day was Saturday which was the opening of trout season. All these guys were in and out buying beer and ice. The beer and ice trucks were coming and going. So Abdul just wraps uncle in plastic and pushes him behind the ice cream. MARTIN: You had a dead body behind the ice cream?!?

Missing, a short play


LOUISE: It’s not like it was smelling up the freezer. It was wrapped in plastic, okay? But he kind of forgot about it. Out of sight, out of mind. But sometimes I’d get the willies late at night when I was alone. And I’d mention it to Abdul. And he’d say, “Yeah yeah.” Reflecting on it now, I don’t think Abdul and his uncle were all that close. MARTIN: Wasn’t anyone back in the old country saying anything? LOUISE: His wife’d call. Abdul would say, “He’s in Detroit.” Abdul likes Detroit. So whenever she called and it was me who’d answer, I’d say, “He’s in Detroit.” And she’d say, “Okay.” Detroit was okay. For a while. But lately, there’ve been a lot of phone calls. Different people. They wouldn’t talk to me. They wanted Abdul or nobody. But Abdul wasn’t taking phone calls anymore. Oh geez. MARTIN: I don’t like this at all.

LOUISE: So last Friday, he shows up. MARTIN: But you said Abdul never comes in on Friday! LOUISE: Came this time. Early morning. Said he had a funeral arranged. So we put the body in the car. MARTIN: Don’t you have to thaw it out first? LOUISE: How the heck would I know? Think I’m a funeral director? Later, Abdul calls. All agitated. Says the hand’s missing. I’m thinking, it must’ve snapped off while we were lugging Uncle Abdulla out to the car.

Missing, a short play MARTIN: Oh yeah. Frozen solid. It’ll snap right off. I read about a man in a cabin in Canada in a blizzard. He went outside to take a leak and - LOUISE: Anyway! I told him I’d look. And he’s screaming, “Hurry! Please!” And I said, “Okay okay!” Except, I’d been snacking on hotdogs and chili all night. MARTIN: Oh yeah, I love that 7-Eleven chili. LOUISE: And I kind of was doing the Aztec two-step? I know what you mean. MARTIN: Loosens you up.


LOUISE: And I always go next door to Burger King. MARTIN: See, I could never understand that. bathroom seems fine to me. You hit And man The 7-Eleven

LOUISE: don’t see it like I do. Uncle Abdulla could never the mark. He was a sprayer. All over the place. after he bought the farm, I kept thinking, a dead took his dumps on this hopper. Yeah. MARTIN: Never thought of that.

Oh right.

Missing, a short play


LOUISE: They always got ten kids working at Burger King. Bathroom’s immaculate. You could eat a whopper off the tile floor, it’s that clean. So I posted the “Back in 15 minutes” sign, went over there with the new Cosmo, took a flashlight so I could hunt for the hand coming back. I’m sitting there reading about Barbara Walters interviewing Paris Hilton when suddenly, KA-BOOM! Cops and firemen on the scene all night and all the next day. First chance I got to look for it was today. MARTIN: You don’t think Abdul did it, do you? LOUISE: Marty, listen. Abdul’s the best. He wouldn’t hurt me. He’s given me three raises in the last two years. MARTIN: People change. On the one hand, you got this nice guy who gives you raises. On the other hand, you got a man who tosses his uncle’s body into the freezer without as much as a how-do-you-do. LOUISE: I do admit, the freezer thing is a potential character flaw. You know, a funny thing? MARTIN: What? LOUISE: He was gonna have free hot dogs next Sunday. MARTIN: Get out! LOUISE: Her idea. Pentecostals take the Lord’s Day real serious. MARTIN: Free hot dogs on Sunday. I surely like that concept. He gonna rebuild?

Missing, a short play LOUISE: Maybe, maybe not. What he is doing is learning Spanish. MARTIN: They speak Spanish in Mexico, don’t they? Imagine they do. LOUISE: Abdul’s good at languages.


MARTIN: That's right! He speaks English better’n me. Heard him rip off “influential” and “ornithologist” like a champ. LOUISE: Face it. The man’s in love. When you’re in love, you already got one foot out the door. MARTIN: They could be halfway to Mexico by now. (Long silence. Then……) Ever read of the pioneers? Folks who settled the west? LOUISE: A little. MARTIN: What I learned was, they kept moving. They’d stop somewhere, work a piece of land. Then someone would come by on their way further out. And they’d get all antsy and move on. I guess they were scared they’d miss out on the good stuff. There’s that scared word. LOUISE: Bet they were never scared by a 7-Eleven blowing up. MARTIN: They had wild Indians and range wars and the Hole-InThe-Wall gang. Scared balances out. LOUISE: Well, there’s no frontier anymore. It’s all settled.

Missing, a short play There’s Alaska. MARTIN: They call it, the last frontier.


LOUISE: I don’t know anybody in Alaska. MARTIN: Who did you know when you came to Fargo? LOUISE: No one. MARTIN: Duh! LOUISE: Maybe I should leave a note. MARTIN: No no no. No notes. LOUISE: But. But just saying Abdul’s still around and he comes back and doesn’t see me. He might get worried. MARTIN: When he doesn’t see you, he’ll say you’re missing. LOUISE: They better have Lotto up there. I like to play a dollar a day. It’s something I do. MARTIN: They got Mega-Millions, Spinnits, CASHola, Pick 6, scratchers. They got oil money falling off the trees. Odds are easy. They got winners up the ying yang. How about we play together? Play five dollars a day? LOUISE: So maybe I could be Lucky Louise up there. MARTIN: Or lucky someone else. How about, while we’re driving up, we think up new names?

Missing, a short play


LOUISE: Yeah! Claudia. There was a girl at school and her name was Claudia. I like Claudia. (He starts to exit. He turns and beckons)

MARTIN: We got five days of hard driving and we’ll be there. Should take you a day or two to find work. Then it’ll be like any other year in your life. Working a job somewhere. And you know what it’ll say on your name tag? “Hi, I’m Claudia.” (She takes the pouch and slings it as far as she can. Fade to black) The End