The Breaking Light

 

 

 

A play by Sander Hicks

Represented by Morgan Jenness

Helen Merrill, LTD

295 Lafayette St.,

Suite 915

New York, NY 10012-2700

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prologue — T.G.I.F.

It is 1997. The workers and executives and former executives of GC Confectionery are drinking and talking in a bar called Lucky’s.

 

 

CEO Did you SEE the share price at the market’s close today?

Leonard I, I, I don’t care.

CEO We got in at the Friends and Family price and it’s already worth five times that in a week.

Leonard Stay focused on candy.

CEO I breathe candy.

Leonard It’s still about funda–fundamentals. We’re dot a –not a dot com.

CEO The DOT COMS are rewriting the rules for business across the board. All other industries need to adapt! Because it’s the new technologies that are changing the world in the blink of an eye. If only we could figure out exactly how. What’s the result going to be?

Leonard I don’t care.

CEO Yes you do. Do you see why I placed her in the Marketing Director position now?

Leonard (Makes an odd noise)

CEO Change is like a locomotive. We need to get in front of these coming curves. Calculatrice!

Calc Sir

CEO What can we do to fire up the organization from top to bottom?

Calc Companies that aren’t adapting to technological change are being left in the dust. Change itself is the new currency. We’ve got to flow.

CEO That’s it. Leonard, at the Monday Meeting we need to announce that the entire organization is about to be flipped on its head. We need to create a culture where every single factory worker is encouraged to be entrepreneurial! The only thing that keeps you back are your own self-imposed limits.

(spotlight on)

Tenisha That ain’t it at all. This is the weekend to you but I still have the weekend job at the restaurant. I thought y’all said you wanted more power down here? I don’t have no ideas for him. He wants to make more candy, he doesn’t really care if the kids is happy because of the candy GD made, its just like more for him and his own. He makes 20 times what you make and for what no I Ain’t forgotten that. I got a new candy for you. You ready for this? Nah, you not going to be ready for this.

 

Scene One - The Product Pitch

The next Executive Staff Meeting, Boardroom, GD Confectionery Inc.

Calculatrice Shitballs. What comes to mind?

Leonard Shit.

Calculatrice But shit's a bad word. You can't say it on television.

CEO Surely the product is not shit?

Leonard Wouldn't, wouldn't surprise me.

Calculatrice I am pitching you this new product. But what's really at stake here? We create public opinion. I say 'Shitballs.' A little brown candy. With Vision. We can make GD Confectionery into a Powerbrand. Shitballs. Profitability in year two. Shitballs. A little ball. You pop it into your mouth. It tastes...sweet...yet somehow, more than sweet. It is rich, like foreign chocolate. But also earthy. You break the crusty sugar coating...inside it is moist, warm, dark, it actually reminds you of....

Leonard Okay, that is IT. I mean I mean you am I the only one the only one here I mean with common sense? Seriously. OK?

Calculatrice Leonard, who am I really, to this company?

Leonard The good-looking one up front at the convention, OK?

Calculatrice Listen to me. Our generation is different. The new technologies give us an advantage. Information technology means speed. We can develop new products like this in one month.

Leonard Could I see could I mean what about the market research?

Calculatrice Punk. Hip-Hop. The Drug War. The Gulf War. There's your market research. The new generation supports new modes of intelligence. They will also support a new form of chocolate. We will supply it. It's not just about sugar anymore. That's Cold War. There’s more at stake now.

CEO But I think Leonard had a point. Where's the data that describes the market?

Calculatrice Do you think I'm being "idealistic."

CEO Now, now Leonard promised not to call you a what was that?

Leonard Bomb-thrower.

Calculatrice I'm glad we value creativity here.

Leonard Return On Investment? OK? Please? The shareholders just want R-O-I, Sugarplum, they don't care a fuckwit what what names we call each other.

Calculatrice I don't place a premium on the present. I develop markets. I'm in the future. Who's in?

Leonard We're out of our scheduled time.

Calculatrice You are putting up walls. All I want is to build the team. Mr. Vice President, I don't want to make it seem like we're in the new paradigm without you.

Leonard I'm supportive of the new technologies.

Calculatrice I believe you. Shitballs. Say it. Say yes. Vote yes. Your own fears keep you back.

CEO Hmm. Well we've got a lot to think about, don't we? Maybe something a little more, with those random features, sort of a one-in-five chance this version of the product will appear adapted in a special way for the purchaser? Why Shitballs? Why now? Will it sell in Dubuque? Could you get back to me on that? I think you're doing a great job. But you're going to need to get everyone's buy-in. I think you know that. Hey. Thank You. OKAY.

 

 

Scene Two - Empty Cars Out on the Highway

Michael and Zach in a car, Zach is driving.

 

Michael I want the hotels to be bigger. I want the audiences to be smarter.

Zach You speak in any hotel.

Michael I speak in any hotel on the itinerary.

Zach I drive. With directions drawn by like, a computer from 1977.

Michael And you sell books and tapes. Which is also important.

Zach We are guided by robots.

Michael The hotels could be larger.

Zach (Robot voice) Must. Destroy. Hotel.

 

Beat

 

Michael What is the limit? Do I look outside? No. I look inside first. The hotels are a certain size. What is inside me that lets me let the Party book us in small and medium size hotels?

Zach You'll speak in any hotel.

Michael That's right. That's right.

Zach Can't you resign yourself to your present point in history and in the history of your life?

Michael Never stop. The struggle is never over. No one stops. Nothing stops and is measurable.

 

Beat

 

Zach I think this engine has a bent valve.

Michael How can you tell?

Zach A little thooping sound I hear sometimes.

Michael How much is this going to cost to fix?

Zach It's like throwing a rod. You might as well swap out the entire engine.

Michael Oh that would be just lovely. Can you imagine getting them to write a check for that?

Zach I know.

Michael "I'm a revolutionary and a member of an organization, but I am also the Treasurer. I would pay that expense, but I'm too fraught with contradictions. Plus, the corporations didn't pay your bill on time so there's no money."

Zach Hitchhiker. Do you want to stop?

Michael Somebody in worse shape…

Zach I think we should stop.

Michael … This should be a nice mix.

They stop and back up to the hitchhiker.

Michael How far you goin?

Harry Pretty far.

Michael Good. You like to talk politics?

 

 

Scene Three - Private Pitch

Later. Calculatrice and CEO Fitz Hirschorn are alone at the conference table.

Calculatrice Well?

CEO It's risky. Shitballs. Shitballs.

Calculatrice Fitz, those first month sales reports are going to hit us Fed Ex after the first of the month. You will open them and go right to the bottom line. Spelled out, in black and white, will be the cracked code, the mathematics of aggression.

CEO You're going to have to guarantee the financial people Return on Investment.

Calculatrice A brand is a promise. A promise is all about the future.

CEO Where did you learn how to hypnotize people? Graduate school?

Calculatrice I'm in touch with my personal power.

CEO Is that from that Tom Peters book?

Calculatrice When you negate something, truly resist and oppose a fundamental part of this world, this creates a space in your mind for something new. A negative turns into a positive. Chaos becomes control. Resistance becomes power. Sound tempting?

CEO You have my support, in theory. Business is all about taking risks. My job is to manage the risks.

Calculatrice I want Leonard to understand. Why does he refuse to get it?

CEO Leonard responded out of fear.

Calculatrice I appreciate Leonard's fears. I also reserve the right to ignore them. My business mentor Daniel McDonagh taught me you can’t always play to the majority’s desires. The shareholders aren’t running this company on the day to day basis, and neither is the Board. We are the super workers, the managers.

CEO As CEO, my primary task is to add shareholder value.

Calculatrice I know Fitz put it in your own words.

CEO When people say value, they mean money.

Calculatrice Right!

CEO And everyone says that risk equals reward, but no one wants to pick which risk.

Calculatrice You will. You have that power. Shitballs is all about going up against the status quo. It is pure disruption. I know you. You’re behind this.

CEO I’m reminded of what I was taught in the Marines. Sure, a leader will feel fear. Courage means recognizing you feel fear, but then moving through it.

Calculatrice We’ve got to move, and move now. I’m scared too. But we’ve got something Leonard doesn’t–we’ve got this space, this new place to move into. We will do it together.

CEO I just hope "Shitballs" dominates the market the way you dominate a conversation. But listen, we need market research to get back to us, and your projections on the corporate site have to still be vetted by legal, and fact-checked by accounting. And personally, I want to reserve decision until after the Executive Hunting Trip. But Hey–I want you out there with us. You know how to load a kalashnikof?

Calculatrice Of course.

CEO You belong on board.

Calculatrice Hegel said the Mind is the only thing real. And there's only one thing the Mind ever really thinks about: freedom.

CEO Understand, it's important to stay in touch with the raw essence. Get out of the suits and see who we really are. Build the team. Everything will be handled with the greatest of taste.

Calculatrice Let's wrap up.

CEO Thumbs up, thumbs down?

Calculatrice I'll e-mail you once I've checked my e-mail.

She turns to go.

CEO Hey.

Calculatrice Yes?

CEO You have my cell.

Calculatrice Yes.

CEO You're gonna call me.

Calculatrice OK.

CEO What?

Calculatrice Yes.

Beat.

CEO Thanks.

 

 

Scene Four - Under the Bright Lights

Michael, Zach and Harry walking through the various sections of a 99 Cents Store, starting out in Automotive.

Harry It might not be a bent valve then, it could be just the carburetor manifolds. The pipes that hold that sucker on.

Zach That would be wonderful.

Harry I've sometimes seen it where you can secure the carb manifolds with plumbing hose clamps.

Zach You are truly saving us.

Harry Only Jesus can truly save you.

Zach Oh really? How much does that cost?

beat.

Harry You thought it was a whole new engine. I'm telling you you're much closer.

Michael Look at this mass-produced cheap wonderfulness. And yet the designs are wanting. Why are the beautifully designed objects in the lives of the rich?

Harry The free market. You have a world of variety so that the good stuff can win and survive. Market Discipline.

Michael Market Discipline finds the best and reserves it for those who can pay the best price.

Harry You sound like an anarchist. Have you ever met a Real Christian?

Michael OK, look at this can-opener for instance. Ninety-nine Cents. Like most of the stuff here. You pay ninety-nine cents now and use it for nine months. You eat good cheap food in cans, you use it often. But after nine months its soft metal gears are stripped and the best it can do is kind of gnaw small holes in the top of the can, and all you can get out of the can is the broth of the soup, not the noodles or meat. You buy another can opener. So that means over a span of 5 years, you have to buy about six or seven can-openers. These are the economics of the Ninety-nine Cent Stores. The working poor have to keep going out and replacing the cheap commodities they buy here.

Meanwhile, the rich don’t have this problem. They get a good can-opener the first time around and they don’t have to replace it. Plus, they don’t open as many cans! Some of them never have to even cook!

Someday people will really look at their lives, look at their can-openers, and at all the objects in their life, and suddenly see the mediocrity, the inferiority of these objects. If that happens, I think they will be angry. Ninety-nine cents is actually a negative number.

Harry But who decides what is good design?

Michael Design is the struggle of people to live in a problematic world. There are standards. To doubt the existence of at least some standard is to wander into a swamp.

Harry But whose standard?

Michael Exactly. That of the rich? The poor? The suburban?

Harry Hegel said the only thing real is the Mind. And the Mind really only thinks about one thing: God.

Michael But whose god? That of the rich? The poor?

Harry God isn't owned by anyone. He is not over the world, but springs out from within it.

Michael Tony the Tiger, for Frosted Flakes. God is just a mascot of the guiding truths of a particular culture. A personification.

Harry Have you read any of the twentieth century Christian Apologetics?

Michael No.

Harry Neither have most people. It's new Christianity. It is not the enemy of reason, or rationality, but asks, where does Reason come from? They say if God and the supernatural do not exist, neither can Reason.

beat.

Michael You get what you're looking for.

They are in the hardware section.

Harry General-use hose clamps. Just what your clunker needs. Someone's looking out for us. You could use a couple extra miles in my shoes. Right?

Zach Right.

 

 

Scene Five - Projecting and Hunting

Calculatrice in her office.

Calculatrice I am hunting. This is a picture of me, hunting. Orange cap. Long rifle. Scope. Crosshairs. Sitting in a shack in thirty degrees for four hours. Smelling the air. There’s Leonard rubbing his crotch up against the cold, dead animals I’ve shot, out among the buzzing flies in a field of dry grass. Fitz Hirschorn and I fix him in our cross hairs. I am waiting for a sign. This is me watching, trigger finger crooked. I want to see a little nod. Come on. Squeeze, Fitz, lets do it now. "Bomb-thrower?" Coward. Leonard doesn't realize how professional I actually am. I will do anything to advance my career in this Corporation. I am a virtuous person and I am hunting. I see a deer. It's not dead. It's warm blooded. It is in line with my virtue. It wants me. What if this deer was something I truly wanted? What if I slept with this deer with no strings attached, but allowing anything to happen. It's important to retain spontaneity. Eventually you realize you can do anything, that you will do anything to advance, and what you do is what comes natural. That you are guided by instinct and virtue at the same time. In this organization, it's my duty to keep the blood flowing. We're not going to ossify, bewildered at the transformative speeds of the new technologies. I AM SPEED. Squeeze, Fitz. Do it now. I personify freedom. If I get off on the violation of my "personal" ethics, it might do wonders for my career. Tantalizing. Like a deer in the woods. A big deer. An ex marine. Does it know what it wants? …Daniel McDonagh?

Daniel No, I’m real. I’m really real. It’s me.

Calculatrice What are you?

Daniel I'm a dead man. I work dawn to midnight now. You haven't stopped by yet. I thought you’d come up to see me.

Calculatrice CEO. I heard. (Beat) I'm proud.

Daniel A CEO is just a manager.

Calculatrice You are the source of the Company's spirit. You have to inspire them. Power is a question of very material forces.

Daniel Power is an obligation.

Calculatrice It's good to see you. I need you.

Daniel I realize I over-reacted. I'm happy now. The Board spoke. That's it. OK. What can you do?

Calculatrice They blundered. I've got a new product I'm pitching. This is it. You'd recognize it. It's going to put us on the map.

Daniel I want to talk to you about it.

Calculatrice You ignored my e-mail.

Daniel It's hard to explain. When I was your boss I wanted so many times to somehow protect you. And eventually I always felt like you looked to me, like I was more of a father to you. But I was your boss.

Calculatrice And my mentor.

Daniel I'm in therapy now. It's been advised that I ask you if you are interested in initiating a relationship with me.

Calculatrice Oh, how sweet.

Daniel Well, I have to go.

Calculatrice Well, goodbye.

Daniel Goodbye.

Calculatrice Sometime later I could put you through the whole presentation.

Daniel Let’s schedule that.

Calculatrice It will knock your socks off. You’ll see your own reflection.

Daniel You don't need my approval.

Calculatrice What? Wait. The mind is a sponge. I am a processor running programs you wrote. What do you mean I don’t need your approval. How can you be so imperious and detached from all this, making little pronouncements and wondering if they’re right later. What ever happened to your logic? And how’d you even get back in here without the new codes?

Daniel You got into business wanting to burn it down. I pulled you into this department.

Calculatrice You have to see the projections before you go. It will make you afraid of me.

Daniel I don't know how you feel.

Calculatrice The same qualities that make you a leader, an executive, make you impossible to be close to. To be friends with anyone really, especially the people you work with.

Daniel (Points) You're not looking at yourself first. And at this moment, you've got a little fire to put out in your own office. Good luck.

Daniel exits, and from opposite direction, on comes Leonard, dragging a long 11x14 spindled fanfold paper printout.

Leonard Calculatrice. I was just ON-LINE. I was just on the INTERNET. OK? I saw the First Year Sales projections? What is this, your personality expressed in spreadsheets?

Calculatrice I never stop. Do you like it?

Leonard You can't do that. No final right hand column. You can't just have no conclusion.

Calculatrice No one ever trained you to be bold.

Leonard This new products proposal is bloated with half-truths, grease. It's a rope bridge. It's candy and charms and I don't even like candy. OK?

Calculatrice You're pulling us back.

Leonard Seek to understand, then to be understood.

Calculatrice This isn't about the proposal. We all know the spreadsheet is a projection! What's a projection? Light on a wall. Cute that I can program the file to go on to infinity, as if business never changes. But it does. And people get changed, or they change first. It's hard. Are you going on the executive hunting trip Leonard?

Leonard "Are you going on the executive hunting trip Leonard," what is that OK?

Calculatrice I am. Looks like we're both executives now. That's hard for you, you think I'm a pretty face with a big mouth. But I want to ask you a question as if we were friends.

Leonard A real officer of the Corporation doesn't try to make friends. A real officer simply attempts to increase shareholder value. What's the question?

Calculatrice Shitballs!

Leonard Do you think I'm retarded?

Calculatrice If you don't want to be friends, I will be forced to take you for a ride. The new generation does not fear the scatological. My gut tells me we're ready for a product packaging of the daily soil that moves us. We like shit. We're born into middle class sterility and we find ways to subvert it. Let go. Once I was young and stubborn and guided by voices that said there would never be a place for me at the top of this machine. But now I've got a job that rewards my boldness. Do you know what intransigent means? You've found a place you like and you're not moving. You're a vapor. This is my office.

Leonard exits. She muses.

Shit. To shit. We shit. Is there a better word for it? There is none. It's the low-end vernacular we're going with, any other word for it is either high-end medical or cartoon-level stupid. It's time to redeem the vernacular. This is real democracy.

 

 

Scene Six - INSIDE THE ENGINE

Harry, Michael and Zach are rebuilding the carb. Parts are everywhere. Harry is the most coated in grease.

Harry So. You're a communist, aren't you?

Michael Yes. I'm several things.

Harry I knew it. Talking about people that way. There's not too many communists left.

Michael I'm also a motivational speaker.

Harry Motivational speaker, eh?

Michael We’re on our way to our next engagement. Daniel McDonagh's upstart cola company. A real challenger to the Coke monopoly. He’s kind of a radical, in the average new media hype sort of way. You think we can get back on the road by sundown?

Harry Have faith.

Michael I do.

Harry I suppose I'd rather I got picked up by a communist than some of these surface Christians...What do you speak about?

Michael Principles. What life is worth living for. What it's worth getting motivated about. America has a long tradition of self-help books. From Ben Franklin to...well, most of it's about psyching yourself up to do things in a heightened, aggressive state. No underlying principles. They perpetuate the fragmented thinking of big business, the breaking light of the end of an era. Hard to see clear.

Harry Uh-huh.

Zach I can imagine this engine purring. Have you ever thought of blending Christianity and Marxism?

Harry You'd end up with neither.

Michael But what about a blend of Marxism and management theory?

Zach Sometimes I wonder if God does exist, but not in the way the ruling class teaches. If He does exist, as the essence of all that is good, of all that is true.

Harry Yeah.

Zach But how can you prove this?

Michael Why? What for? Ask yourself, why bother looking for an embodiment of these things? Why not just accept the concrete truths as they are, and go with them?

Harry You can't prove He exists. He exists in a place over reason and proofs. How can you use reason to prove the source of all reason?

Michael Because proof is proof, that's why. This is the source of scientific law.

Harry Science is all just what has happened before.

Michael Yes, precedent.

Harry But what about what hasn't happened yet? Things independent of the past. God exists in the realm of the possible. God exists and science is puny in comparison.

Zach That makes a lot of sense, actually.

Michael What? Nobody WANTS to live in the past. I used to hear this stuff all the time back in California.

Harry The New Age is bankrupt. But the Old Testament is alive and well.

Michael The oppressed wandering Jews needed a morale boost. A mascot. A strong father figure with a bad personality....

Harry There are plenty of imperfect religions to mock. What you are calling the "personality" of God is human culture.

Michael The culture is the values is the cheap flawed can-opener design that those people bought 4,000 years ago because they were starving.

Harry You're looking at it backwards. What would Hegel say? He'd ask you what is it that drives human history?

Harry pulls the cracked carburetor manifolds out of the engine. He holds them up to the light.

What's the engine look like? Does the engine not exist? Yet the car moves fast. The people are starving in the desert, yet they are the divine chosen people.

Michael Coincidence?

Harry They survived is the miracle. What is the cause of it all, throughout history, what is the source of things happening? Where do the ideas come from? Space? You rationalists blow your arrogant noses at the imagery you take for God. Dismissing man-made religions is the easy way out. I think you have a head on your shoulders, I think you can do better. You say you're a communist, well that kind of arrogance doesn't serve the people. I should write a book on motivating communists. My brother’s a communist.

Michael I am motivated. I am a motivational speaker.

Harry Have you read Isaiah?

Michael Have you read Mao?

Harry "The Lord enters into judgement

with his people's elders and princes

It is you who have devoured the vineyard

the loot wrested from the poor is in your houses.

What do you mean by crushing my people

and grinding down the poor when they look at you?"

Michael THAT's in the Bible?

Harry hands Michael his Bible, grease proof in its plastic binder.

Harry "So says the Lord the God of Hosts."

Michael Or, so says the poor and the pissed-off who wrote that.

Harry You think you invented the idea of Justice. You think you're above the one book that itself authored 4000 years of society and Law. You think revolution is going to be authored by you? You all couldn't motivate the Russian factory workers to go beyond narrow self-interest! Dude! What a no-brainer!

Michael Russia had no history of motivational self-help literature.

Harry grabs the new hose clamps and installs them.

Harry America already knows revolution. America is a holy land. And will become holier. The revolution is always a holy act. Just like it is written in Isaiah, the nobles and elders have led the people astray, but Justice will sweep through us like a storm from out of nowhere out on the South Dakota prairie. Babylon falls, it always does, in time. "On that day men will throw to the moles and the bats the idols of silver and gold which they made for worship." What can you say to that.

Michael "Cast away illusions. Prepare for Struggle."-Mao Tse-Tung

Harry Amen.

 

 

Scene Seven - The Proxy and the Robot

Leonard Fitz!

CEO I am not Hirschorn. I am the proxy of CEO Fitz Hirschorn. I look just like him.

Leonard Er.

CEO Like the Japanese say.

Leonard What?

CEO Always deal through intermediaries.

Leonard Yes. Right. What is the the the I mean what is the the. Message?

CEO Dissatisfaction. The CEO and staff are concerned about your adaptability to new products, new technologies.

Leonard I LOVE the new technologies. I love the new technologies. Love, OK?

CEO Love is not living. You have to live the new technologies. Business is changing. Keep up or be made the symbol of a sloth. This is a performance counseling statement. I'm going to ask you to sign it.

Leonard reads.

CEO I have no leisure time in this schedule.

Leonard I've got a family!

He signs and turns to dash off.

CEO One last thing. You've lost gun privileges on the Hunting Trip.

 

 

Scene Eight - On the Hunting Trip

CEO & Calculatrice holding long rifles

CEO What do we need?

Calculatrice Vision.

CEO We have vision. We need motivation.

Calculatrice Motivational speakers are like emotional cops. The people who work for you shouldn't have their emotions regulated.

CEO There are no private affairs, here, we're all on company time. We care, maybe too much. We pay you an executive salary. We need to guarantee you're motivated.

Leonard My department is more than willing to fund a new source of motivation.

Calculatrice Fitz, we'd be better off if we wrote the program ourselves. Us three could do a better job than some street preacher.

Leonard We're talking professionals here, miss. I happen to own a copy of the corporate motivational trainers index, OK? Cross-classified by subject, background and fee. We can find one to suit our needs. (To Calculatrice.) This, ma'am, is what you call being pro-active.

Calculatrice Actually, sir, the original definition of proactive is when you realize your ability to choose a response to any given stimuli.

CEO Put it in your own words.

Calculatrice OK, it means I can choose how I respond to anything that happens to me. A simple observation, but people get bogged down thinking they are always controlled by their environments. Don’t confuse "proactive" with "showing initiative." Everyone does. What you're doing is just Active.

Leonard Language is as language does. If people use proactive to mean "showing initiative" then guess what? Over time, THAT’s what the definition is going to be. It’s all relative.

CEO Leonard, would you just get us someone for a reasonable fee? Bring in a range of candidates. Now then, Calculatrice (He aims his rifle.) Let's kill something. Darling, this time remember to aim for the heart. Piercing the lesser organs ruins the meat.

 

Scene Nine - Diplomacy in the Hotel Bar

Michael and Daniel, in bar.

Michael I've read all about you. The feature in Fast Company. "Daniel McDonagh Leads a Postmodern Revolution at the New Underground Coke!" That was so ironic. The thing I really like about your company’s culture is though....

Daniel Cap it. This place is full of monkeys. They all are. You smile and play the game. HONEY can I get hit again? (Beat) Thank You. What can I get you?

Michael Uh. I'll have a bourbon and soy milk if they have it. (Beat) So. What keeps you going, if you don't believe in this place.

Daniel Hmm. I guess I’d have to say inertia. I made CEO at 35. I've been blowing the minimum expectation out of the water since high school. But I'm not sure at this point what more there is. Do you have kids?

Michael No.

Daniel My brother has kids. Smart. Fucking brilliant. You can't understand this but if you want to be a good dad someday, you have to lie to them about Santa Claus.

Michael You could say okay here it is it's Christmas, and parents like to give their children gifts on Christmas. Instead of perpetuating the lie.

Daniel Disregarding your own self-indulgent honesty, what's the harm in the myth?

Michael You're teaching my kids manipulation.

Daniel Myth is a two-way street. The kids want to buy into it. There are prizes.

Michael Prizes.

Daniel You might find yourself in a less self-righteous moment in the future, with children, knowing time is short, and most of their lives will not be spent with you. They aren't gullible as much as just willing to believe. And not just because of the prizes, but because of the magic.

Michael's beeper goes off. He checks it.

That's what capitalism is built on: The Splash. The SIZZLE. The Magic mutually agreed to. It's not built on the backs of workers, give me a break, workers are actually quite smart. I know some. I honestly do. Do you? We build capitalism out of dreams, sacrifice, risk. Robert Guizzetto, CEO of coke, took their stock from 4 billion to 70 billion in his 15 years at the top.

Michael I thought you were sick of the corporations.

Daniel I run one. I'm just sick of this one. I'm ambitious because of a very deep hole inside me. OK? In 1904 you didn't have Santa Claus. You had a moldering St. Nicholas legend and a cola company in love with the color red. Put them together and blammo. The technology of printing, printing on beverage trays, in the Saturday Evening Post, printing, Coca Cola ads printed created Santa Claus. Don't tell me you don't respect that.

Michael I'm getting beeped for a job.

Daniel HEY. Thank You. OK!

 

Scene Ten - Thank You We'll Call: Auditioning the Motivationals

Calculatrice and CEO with rifles, on Hunting Trip.

 

Leonard Thanks for coming on such short notice. What's your core motivational theory?

Motivational#1 It's the theory of "Outgoing Message". It's a theory, and a pun. Your practice of management won't be principled or mission-driven without the right "Outgoing Message" on your voice mail. If your "Outgoing Message" isn't truly "outgoing", then you yourself will not be "outgoing."

Leonard I'll keep that in mind. Thank you. Fire.

Calculatrice and CEO open fire. Motivational#1 is dead.

Leonard Next.

Motivational#2 My theory of manager motivation blends the best of the French Postmoderns, everyone from the deconstructionists to the information society mavericks. Over drinks, I once told Jean Baudrillard, "nothing is real unless it is reproducible, and nothing is as real as its copies and reproductions." He wrote that down and made his reputation. So my theory is that a truly postmodern manager will have no originality, but will motivate her staff based on gross appropriation and reproduction of others' thoughts.

Leonard Cute. Very up to the minute. Open fire.

They fire.

Calculatrice Now wait, aren't we creating more demand for bad motivational speakers by reducing the supply?

CEO We’re not here to split hairs over ethical concerns. I support organizational excellence.

 

They reload. Enter Michael.

Leonard What's your theory?

Michael I love that question. How much time do I have?

Leonard Just gimme the gimmick.

Michael touches his chin. He takes a second

Michael You are the business class. The leaders of industry. Yet the changing pace of business demands that we adapt. An obscure German economist once said that when technology changes, the way we relate changes. Who learns this first? Those working with the technologies. In a more industrial field, this would be the workers on the line. When it applies to business technologies, then it's you. The business class, the leaders of industry. What is your dominant social relation? Carpe Diem. Exploit the moment. And the resources. Am I right? This shows a lot of spine on your part. Why you make what you make, right? But we've already said that technology changes the social relations. So what is the new social relation going to be? Let's back up and make sure we're all on the same page. You.

Points to Leonard.

Help me out y'all. What ARE the "new technologies?"

Leonard Um.

Michael Hit me.

Leonard E-e-mail?

Michael OK, e-mail. That's one. Anymore? Anybody else?

Calculatrice It was a trick question!

Michael No it wasn't.

Calculatrice E-mail is only an immediate result of a changing technological paradigm.

Michael Well, OK, that's right. The real motivational instigators are the new values. Information storage is decentralized. People can know more, and have more power. But information, networked intelligence, are just the indicators of a new improved social structure. With real democratic potential. And this gets us to the core of the motivations: the basic masses. They're who we are really in business for, right? To serve the needs of the customers, poised for the power in this new era, right, the ones with needs they don't yet know how to satisfy? Am I right here? Sir, as CEO, what's your primary task?

CEO Um.

Michael Yes?

CEO It's not.

Michael It's not, yes, please.

CEO I was trained....

Michael Ye....

CEO ...To say...

Michael The basic masses am I right? And by that I mean the customers, the consumers?

CEO As CEO, my primary task is to add shareholder value.

beat.

But I've enjoyed your talk on the new technologies so far, and am waiting for the motivation part. I hope I haven't thrown you off. Sir.

Michael Shareholder value. Yes. A corporation beholden to the bottom line, to a mass of profit-driven shareholders.

CEO Like I said, I didn't mean...

Michael The French don't run business beholden to the shareholders. Neither do the Japanese. There's more to life than profits. There's more at stake. Right?

Calculatrice Any culture is the expression of values.

Michael You have to make a break with history if you're really seeking transformation.

Calculatrice Hegel said the Mind is essentially about one thing.

Michael Freedom.

Calculatrice Freedom!

Michael (to CEO) A firm grasp on the new values impacted by the technologies inevitably leads to higher profits, good morale, a winning organization and satisfied shareholders. 'Cause we know that crowd can get skittish, right?

CEO Like cattle!!

Michael Let's break and move to small groups!

He and Calculatrice move off stage to a private caucus.

 

Scene Eleven - Grumpy Bear Lost in the Woods

Leonard Can you believe some of this?

CEO Yeah it's vaguely Left-Coast but they had a guy like this at the convention.

Leonard It's not just his style. You know what I think?

CEO Could you just tell me?

Leonard Three words: Bomb-thrower. OK?

CEO Well, it's a lot of theory right now but eventually.

Leonard It's a lot of hot air...that smells.

CEO I’m sure we could just use what we want. How much would be be?

Leonard Well what the hell I mean what are we supposed to be doing right now?

CEO Writing a personal mission statement.

Leonard Nobody believes mission statements.

 

 

 

Scene Twelve — SYNTHESIS

 

Calculatrice OK, who are you?

Michael just a guy trying to get hired. Just trying to get everyone to take a break, take a look at the bigger picture.

Calculatrice There’s more than one way to look at the big picture. You belong at the dot coms.

Michael Those punks? With their eyes glued to the NASDAQ? They all want to be billionaires by the time they’re 30. No one’s looking at industrial America anymore. Who are you?

Calculatrice I’m the spell caster here. I negate things. I create resistance. Chaos ensues. No one likes disruption, but it’s healthy. It weeds out the weakness and the fear among us.

Michael Hmm. But what’s the end goal? What kind of world do we build on the ruins?

Calculatrice It doesn’t matter right now.

Michael It does too matter. I’ve heard about the new project. You’re the one who’s laying it on the line, shaking things up. My question for you is what are we going to be left with? How do you make a new world out of pure disruption?

Calculatrice I no longer believe in the pure. That’s an artificial idea. I mean I used to be a pure anarchist, but I’m no longer interested in those impossible ideals. Purity? No. I want reality. I got hooked on business because of it values hard data. What did Hegel say? "Truth is concrete." You can’t have long boring arguments with numbers.

Michael You’ve got to find a way to bring that back to the people. We’ve got to let them know, we’ve got a problem, this is what we’re being taught by our class oppressors, but there is a leadership to the resistance. We know we’re never going to get out of this without a fight. You’re pretty gutsy we all know that but what about some message discipline? What if Shitballs was more than just controversial, it was revolutionary? What if it was designed to carry the message that capitalism produces artificial life, wars and death?

Calculatrice Capitalism is producing Shitballs.

Michael No, you’re producing Shitballs. And you’re the spell-caster here. Not the CEO. Yet. Everything in our culture, our society, our day to day behavior is dictated by how the larger forces act economically. So a world based on coveting things, accumulating things, and working to create the false need for more things, will naturally create a world in which people do not care for each other, do not care for the planet, do not read books, no free thinking. Instead we are reduced to work jobs we hate.

Calculatrice All most of us can do is kill the pain: television, magazines, porn, religion, drugs.

Michael Right! Or candy!

Calculatrice Back off, man. We’ve got a business to run.

Michael But who will save the people? Capitalism seems like a smooth big machine, but you and I know how chaotic it is. Look at history, it shows this system is a patchwork of panic and last minute solutions to our regular, worker-led crises. It's not a steel wall. It's a crumbling edifice. Who will lead the people through? Who will educate and nourish the people? Who will serve?

Calculatrice What I’m doing with marketing and new products at GD Confectionery is only the first step. And you’ve got to remember I’m working within the system. Yeah. I’m putting us through a process and it’s risky, but if I can come out on top, then, well I don’t know what will happen, but it’s exciting.

Michael Do something permanent. Transform this company into a grassroots-led kick-ass fighting organization. From the ground up. Make it a worker’s company. Make it a city on a hill.

Calculatrice I’m so sick of my postmodern colleagues. They think that right and wrong are all a question of context.

Michael They don’t want their own lives to be judged. But even the later prophets of the Old Testament predict that all of this pride and idol-worship will lead to ruin. Great change is a sacred promise. I’m not like saying it was written by…well, it is in there. Have you ever read Isaiah?

Calculatrice In the Bible?

Michael "It is you who have devoured the vineyard

The loot wrested from the poor is in your houses....

What do you mean by crushing the poor

When they look up at you?"

Calculatrice That’s in the Bible?

Michael Our consciousness will change the world. We believe it can, and it does.

Calculatrice We are walking tightropes here. I trust no one.

Michael I will be there for you. If I can get hired here. Look at them. They keep an eye out behind themselves because they’re all used to stabbing each other in the back. Not everyone has the skill to lead a revolution. You have that potential. You need to take it seriously.

Calculatrice How will I know if its me that’s supposed to lead?

Michael You want power?

Calculatrice Yes.

Michael For yourself?

(beat)

Calculatrice Maybe. No, I wouldn’t say so. More like for what I represent here.

Michael Then you’re going to need help taking power. Not for yourself, for the people. Unite the people around a set of ideas based on a truth that is being crushed out of this system. The enemy is strong on the outside, but empty inside. The truth we have makes us full, will make us unstoppable. Look at them. They don’t think about the broken backs they have built their world on. Do they speak as you do? Fire them.

 

Calculatrice With what? That Union home office is a bunch of old timers, running the pension, plenty satisfied with the way things are.

Michael That’s the union leadership, sure. Over time organizations fall into a routine, unless there is something or someone returning them to their founding principle. The Union literally is the rank and file, the working people getting the job done. You were in that Union not too long ago.

Calculatrice Technically I still am.

Michael Can you still talk to them, to the rank and file?

Calculatrice Sure! It’s like talking to myself. I look at them sometimes, I see myself 10 years ago running the line in the kitchens.

Michael The changes taking place here have destabilized everything we once knew. The new technologies have created disruption and chaos. You opened up that window. Now, take the people through.

 

 

Scene Thirteen - Dropping the Gauntlet

Calculatrice I propose we move towards a vote, closure. The debate's gone on long enough. It's Shitballs manufactured under this production schedule or I seriously question the ability of this company to look forward. Let's keep in mind the core values of Leonard's motivational speaker.

Leonard He wasn't...my only mistake…our money back…is wait by the phone…wait stop. Stop wait. OK? Let me make one thing perfectly clear.

with even spaces between the following words

He they said he wasn't supposed to just I didn't Jesus.

a little beat.

Calculatrice The people are looking towards corporate America for leadership. Let's do it. Shitballs. For the American People.

Leonard Do you ever get the feeling none of this is actually happening? You blame yourself for having a slippery grip on reality, but then you say, I never asked for this life. I would kill for a dry martini. The direction New Products has taken recently has left me dizzy. I'm going to throw up I'm so dizzy. Yes, there are new technologies. Do they change everything immediately? No. There are still fundamental issues of right and wrong, it's okay to call yourself a conservative if you're talking about business. I thought we all agreed. There's likewise a natural respect for language that prevents us from considering the Director of Marketing's New Products proposal. OK?

Calculatrice You're VP of Finance. You're out of your department addressing the Language.

Leonard I know what's right.

Calculatrice I've got profitability in year two. Address that.

Leonard We've got other products to defend. Guaranteed money-makers.

Calculatrice The other products keep this company making money in its sleep. I'm talking about new cashflow. Liquidity power that will let this company lash out and sting, an elasticity, a sweet, razor-point position. Eighteen percent increased market share.

Leonard According to your spreadsheet.

Calculatrice I really feel like I'm holding your hand. Did you have a deficiency of love in your childhood?

CEO "Criticize performance, not people."

Leonard Fitz, come on, what do you think?

CEO

He takes a second, then slowly, fatalistically, fatherly

She's got profitability in year two.

 

 

Scene Fourteen — You Can Go Your Own Way

Zach driving Harry and Michael again.

Michael Let's sum-up. What's the destiny of this country?

Harry To become a holy land.

Michael Wait.

Harry Babylon will fall, it is hollow. A government based on holiness will replace it.

Michael Harry, I can see how there's been nothing in this culture to reinforce these noble intentions of yours, so you turn to religion. But the core principles of your God exist independently of the religions of the rich. As you continue traveling with us, I hope we can show you that. That's our practice. Practice, study, practice. Be ready for anything.

Harry Who's recruiting who? Your heart's in the right place, but you can't see the glass when it's right in front of your nose.

Michael It looks like we got the contract at GD Confectionery. We are going to motivate the entire executive staff and the workforce in the physical plant. We like you, we want you to work with us, I know we have had our differences, but I really think together we can drive toward real social justice.

Harry If you want justice in this world, you're going to have to read more. Not just the stuff the Party gives you.

Michael I read Isaiah when you gave it to me. It changed me. What did you think of Mao's Yenan Conference speech on culture?

Harry I didn't read it.

Michael I don't think that's fair.

Harry Nothing's fair in this world.

Michael Real revolution won't ever happen in this country unless we combine and hybridize.

Harry America's closer to me than to you. I like you, but there's nothing compelling me towards sticking around. I think it's time to stop talking and do something. I'll be getting off at the next truck stop.

Zach But the engine is purring.

Harry And I wish you all luck. I hope you find what you're looking for. I really do.

Michael You can't get out of the car now, things are HAPPENING here for once!

Harry Look a motel. Hey listen fellas. It's been a journey, OK? We're both on a journey. It's not over. You never walk alone. I'll pray for you.

he exits.

Zach (sad) We need to go to a motel too. Don't we know this town? Haven't we been here before? What's that bar the GD Confectionery people go to?

 

 

Scene Fifteen - Zach Reports Back to Headquarters

Zack is walking around the space

ZACH By the time you see this we will have gone farther than any of you. We will be beyond recall by the Central Committee. We are learning a lot about Christianity and Corporate America, and haven't strayed from the secret goals of the party. We wanted to get this out to you in case anything happens. Something is going to happen. The signs are there. We got the contract at GD.

In the short time I have, I bring you news from the road. We all agreed the leadership of the Party needed fresh blood. We all agreed last time the Party hadn't done anything new in years and that maybe we had been acting purely out of habit for too long. So you sent us out to study all of those god damn How-To-Self-Help MANAGEMENT books. And now we're motivational speakers. Thanks. But there is hope. There's one person that makes this kamikaze mission worthwhile. The bourgeoisie is full of former shift leaders who got hired away for their crazy ideas. She's what we are looking for. She's still in the Union. She reads Hegel. She is fire.

I’m sending you this to show you that we’re still on the front lines, in the factory every day, in the offices. And I feel great. It’s important to feel good about what you’re doing. Or has my mind been warped by all this management theory?

Can Class War feel good? I mean, this woman, Calculatrice has the potential to lead an all-out struggle here at GD. We have to gauge if she still has a mass acceptance in the Union. It all comes down to Labor. It’s like, who’s willing to do the work?

We’re just trying to connect the dots. If you feel we're taking too many risks, are moving too fast, as "suicidal terrorist middle-class left-adventurists," then send us a wire. But you're going to have to get it into the compound at GD on foot. Cause we've gone pretty far in.

You have to trust we are serving the ultimate goals of the Party. Every day we are shaping and sharpening people's minds. We will take out the dog eat dog fuck you system forever.

The struggle's never over.

He starts to go, but then he stops.

Amen.

 

 

 

 

Scene Sixteen - Back at Lucky’s

Calculatrice Hey Stranger.

Michael Oh hi.

Calculatrice Hey.

Michael Hey. (Beat) We’re doing like three or four seminars a day now.

Calculatrice I know. How have you been.

Michael Fine.

Calculatrice Fine?

Michael Fine.

Calculatrice Does your neck hurt?

Michael How'd you know that.

Calculatrice The way you're holding your shoulders.

Michael A guy quit on me today.

Calculatrice Oh no.

Michael And this guy, he was different, but he was smart. We lost him today.

Calculatrice The best are in demand.

Michael Yeah (He tries to stretch his neck.)

Calculatrice Have you ever heard of Reflexology?

Michael No.

Calculatrice We could do it here. Watch. C'mon, let me do this. Close your eyes. Listen. Your body is nothing but a web of nerves. They are all connected. I am smearing sage oil on my hands. It smells like the land out past the river, the fields of corn in late summer, the cool breezes in the evening when the heat lifts, the sounds of tiny streams. And now you're in a trance. Your mind is three feet to the left of your body and rising. It's over us. All of you are out over us. There are so many people inside you. Your experiences, your pasts, your former lovers, your future loves. I am just your guide. I am just the friend of yours, in this town, which is yes another town to you, where you once had a nice conversation with someone, who could create your future. All your nerves in your ears, and all your nerves in your feet are connected to all your nerves in your hands, and your anus, and they recoil and contract and get looser then they ever have been. And it's totally OK.

 

 

 

 

 

Scene Seventeen - Men's Room Conversation

Harry has changed into a suit, stands at a urinal.

Harry Pardon me.

Leonard I don't have time.

 

(Beat)

 

Harry Leonard Kildare?

Leonard Yeah.

Harry Well, I'm just a fan.

Leonard You were there?

Harry The First Meeting of the Renegade GD Shareholder Faction in this very motel.

Leonard I thought it was invite-only.

Harry The kinds of things that were said there need to be said. For far too long Man has dwelt in sin. A voice in the wilderness cries "You Prepare to make the way of the Lord."

Leonard I'm not a very religious man. But I noticed a lot of you renegade shareholders are.

Harry Parties within the ownership of GD Confectionery and its sister organizations in the conglomerate are with us. They conducted high-end surveillance of the Hunting Trip and staff meetings and know all about the current direction of the Company. We have converged on this motel because we are looking for leadership. The Shareholders will speak with a unified voice. We've outlined a strategy by which the Board will be convinced the Shareholders wish to kill the power of the current CEO and Director of Marketing, promote you to CEO and myself to Director of Marketing and New Products.

Leonard How do I know this isn't a test of loyalty?

Harry It is. A test of your loyalty to traditional values. There's more of us than there are of them. That's our big advantage. And we're all Christians! Read the Bible. It's revolutionary!! We'll be contacting you again.

Harry disappears.

 

 

Scene Eighteen - Security Update

CEO walks into the office of Calculatrice, who is pacing frantically.

Calculatrice Fitz, we’ve got a rebellion on our hands. A faction of shareholders heard about Shitballs and they are up in arms. They just held a press conference. We might have to delay the launch

CEO No way.

Calculatrice They had inside information.

CEO Think about it this way–there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

Calculatrice This was sensitive, political stuff. It could really hurt us. Plus, they’re calling for my resignation.

CEO People talk.

Calculatrice No, look, here’s the release. They are busting us at exactly the weakest point in our defense. They’re claiming that Shitballs is a message that equates capitalism with artificial living and war.

CEO I told you just keep it to "Pure Disruption." That’s hip, that’s safe. But noooo.

Calculatrice Minor shareholders are quoted as saying they want you hanging from the beech tree over the fountain in the pond.

CEO Oh.

Calculatrice Compelling visuals. The cameras ate it up. These people are professionals. Let me cut to the chase. We know who’s leaking to the press. You’ve got to confront him. He should be considered for termination.

CEO He’s a big part of our team. Are you asking for this as a personal favor?

beat

Calculatrice Would that change things?

CEO I’m wondering if you would do me one in return.

Calculatrice This is absurd. I shouldn’t have to beg you to save your company.

CEO Easy. This is not my company. I’m the hired CEO.

Calculatrice OK then, jocko, MY company. I take our work here very seriously.

CEO And you know that I take you very seriously. You know that, don’t you.

beat.

Calculatrice Chop off your cock and stuff it in Leonard’s mouth when you fire him because you’re going to have to fire him sooner than you think. In fact the way things are going, (she goes to her desk and opens a drawer) you should take out your piece and wear it every day because when that day comes, and it’s almost here, no one should go in naked and trusting. Go jerk off into the sink. I’ll be in my office.

Slams the door. Lights dim. CEO exits. CEO’s office becomes hers. Calc goes to the phone. Dials on speaker. Across stage, Michael checks his pager.

Daniel enters from elsewhere.

Calculatrice Daniel, why do you pop up at all the wrong times?

Daniel I'm still on the internal listserv.

Calculatrice That stuff is confidential.

Daniel When you have total access, you leave parameters behind if you ever want to get back in.

Calculatrice What do you make of the leaks?

Daniel Leonard doesn't have the balls to lead a shareholder rebellion against Fitz.

Calculatrice It is Leonard.

Daniel I thought that was common knowledge. What codes are you using?

Calculatrice I'm concerned for my safety.

 

she pats his side

 

Calculatrice Do you still pack?

Daniel (Pulls back, laughing a little) This is suddenly too much like my new office.

Calculatrice You're going to make a killing in your IPO. I’m just trying not to get killed.

Daniel But I've decided to jump when the stock goes public. I want to do something I believe in again.

Calculatrice Good. Can you lend me your Glock?

Daniel I sometimes think I could come back here.

Calculatrice What happened to your loyalty? What's the new job really all about?

Daniel The challenge of it. I guess. If you can't believe in the product, what motivates you is just letting yourself go, getting wrapped up in the work itself. And that's enough. You hope. Acrobatics without a net.

Calculatrice I'M GETTING MY ASS KICKED HERE.

Daniel Anything I can consult on?

Calculatrice It's non-disclosure.

Daniel Non-d to even good old me? C'mon, C, it's me you’re talking to.

Calculatrice I don't know you anymore. The man who was my business mentor was a revolutionary. He had a certain knowledge of what he was doing, and why. He knew what he wanted out of life, not just for himself, he was doing it for ideas that were bigger than any one person.

Daniel OK, honey, I'll get out of your hair. No wait. This is going to get ugly. They took me out, don’t forget. The Board took me out. Like that. I didn't grease enough palms. I thought being yourself was tolerated. I thought they wanted the real person. When you get fired, it's like a bullet to the gut. Look at me. I'd hate to see it.

Exit Daniel, crossing near Michael. Michael is approaching the office but hides his face to shuffle by Daniel.

Michael That was Daniel McDonagh. You know Daniel McDonagh?

Calculatrice You know his work?

Michael Sure, that interview in Fast Company.

Calculatrice Why do you read Fast Company?

Michael Well, I'm with a group. Interested in how public opinion is created.

Calculatrice pulls a book out of her desk. In the same place a gun was in CEO's

Calculatrice Is the name of that group the Revolutionary Communist Party? You never said you were a member of the RCP.

Michael I'm a supporter of the RCP.

Calculatrice Oh come on, don't you trust me?

Michael It's not my role.

Calculatrice We're running out of time. I stayed up all night last night, reading the Party Program. "First thing we do, we take out the ad agencies." How can you be drawing the picture of a revolution that puts the ad agencies on the block first, yet you study Marketing and Corporate Motivation?

Michael I've got a security update for you. A renegade faction of the shareholders is burning you and Fitz in effigy. They don't like the course the Company is taking.

Calculatrice I know that. There have been weird threats on our voice mails.

Michael Don't tell just anyone what you read at night.

Calculatrice Fitz is a good guy. He’s just apolitical.

Michael He's CEO. He will burn you for it. He has to please the majority of the shareholders. If the reactionaries become a majority he will sacrifice you in a second.

Calculatrice We’ve been getting the same death threats. No one will stand with us. What can you do.

Beat. He places a pistol on the desk.

Michael You know how to use one of these.

She picks it up. Checks it.

Calculatrice It's not loaded.

Michael It's not loaded but there's a tradition that you don't point a gun at someone unless you're going to use it.

Calculatrice OH COME ON. I'm not going to shoot you.

Michael If you really want to defend yourself, you have to be prepared to go all the way. OK? This is it, two to the chest and one to the head. When you're ready to go two to the chest and one to the head, without compunction, you're ready to load and carry.

Calculatrice Where's the safety?

Michael OK we know it's not loaded. But you're pointing it at me. There are rules in handguns.

Calculatrice Fuck the rules.

Michael Someone's going to get hurt.

Calculatrice That's what guns are for. Where have you been. Doesn't the Revolutionary Communist Party train out in the desert?

Michael [frustrated] Of course not. We teach that the revolution is something you prepare for. That you don't strike until the iron is hot.

Calculatrice Bullshit. That book doesn't teach that. It draws the picture, it chooses targets and it names names. Like I am a target, for Leonard and his forces.

beat.

Calculatrice I'd like to offer you a position in Human Resources. Salary. Benefits. 401K. Interested?

Michael You want me to walk the talk, huh?

Calculatrice I want to get to a point where I'm one of the people you trust.

Michael And I want to get to the point where I'm one of the people you care about deeply. So maybe we shouldn't mix business and personal stuff.

Calculatrice Ha! That line got crossed a long time ago. Jesus Christ, Mao Tse Tung, Gandhi, no one important ever kept the two separate.

Michael You want to suck me in and lead me. When I am already married to the Party.

Calculatrice What have they done for you lately? When was the last time they turned your head and made you say, YES, that's IT? When was the last time they did something that made you QUIVER, because it had such clarity, and directness, that you thought, for sure, this person was going to go all the way, a million miles a minute to smash the control of the ruling class.

Michael I'll do it.

Calculatrice That makes me happy.

 

 

Scene Nineteen - Shop Floor

Michael Candy-makers, Union of confectioners, As the representative of the new Human Resources Department, I'd like to deliver an update from the executive staff. I address you here in the rank and file since your Union leadership won't answer my phone calls. CEO Fitz Hirschorn is under attack by rebel shareholders of the company. Everyone here saw the pictures on TV of the dummy hanging from the tree. If we don't get your support, our jobs, our workplaces, our company might collapse.

Sheryl Management doesn't give a shit about our opinions.

Michael In the past, yes, this corporation has never had the leadership to know how to express interest. Until now.

Tenisha This'll be good.

Michael Ten people run this company. Thirty-six hundred work in the plants and offices. The power we have is huge. They never tap it. Tell me if I’m right: You know how to make this a better place to work. Together, we could change the whole definition of work, get rid of the speed-ups, the safety hazards, but they never talk to you, right, until its time to renew your contract.

Tenisha Then its like we want to borrow money.

Michael You can't just let the bosses have all the power. Your union will sell you out unless you get involved, take a stand for your interests. I’m on your side. I know it looks like I’m with management, but I represent the future of this workplace. Now, it’s likely the Board will fire Hirschorn and force an election of a new CEO.

Sheryl What I heard is the Board is gonna give it to Leonard Kildare, right?

Michael They're thinking about him.

Sheryl I ain't got nothin bad to say about the man who signs my check you know what I'm sayin? I ain't gonna say nothing about him. But she might.

Tenisha Well last Spring he intimidated the union with threats of outsourcing...the economy's good. But every time the Union tries and get us a piece he's like Mexico Mexico.

Sheryl Because he believes in the United States of America.

Michael What is America?

Sheryl I don't know. I mean, you know. I'm pissed off I'm even here.

Michael Leonard Kildare - is he one of us? Is he the best of us?

Sheryl He's the best of what we've got. He loves America.

Tenisha He hates his body. You see him driving, his shoulders always hunched. I get tired, I get worried my kids are always gonna see me tired, but he always looks like he’s afraid.

Michael Exactly.

Sheryl But What's the choice, Joyce?

Michael The Board is calling an emergency meeting for tomorrow at dawn. If this union ever meant a thing to anyone than this union needs to lead, for once. It has to come from here. There is one qualified to lead. Her name is Calculatrice

Tenisha You don't remember. She used to be down the kitchens.

Sheryl I remember her pretty good. Is she still real? You all love her. Love, love, love. We don't trust any one in management. What do we really know about her? It's been a while since she was working down in the kitchens.

Michael She’s a union veteran, she believes in people being able to develop new skills on the job. We’re going to start to make this workplace democratic, less top-down control. Aren’t you sick of being pushed around like farm animals? They say you’re dumb, but we know you’re ready to take decision-making power. We know you have plenty to say about work processes here. It won’t always be fun, but it will be something you can believe in. It won’t always be easy, but you will get up in the morning and be able to go somewhere you care about.

(Beat)

Tenisha Where do you think Calculatrice got the idea for Shitballs?

Michael From you?

 

Sheryl listens intently to the next speech and is right there with her.

 

Tenisha I told her to use what she had. She didn't always used to believe in herself. I could see that the kid was smart, but she like had no focus. So I took her under my wing a little. Now what you’re saying now, I know is real because you say you’re with her. But what you is talking about is control. The union, sometimes we can push for a little more money, and they have that so they’ll give it to ‘em. And we can see a little bit here and there. But what you’re talking about they ain’t never going to just give to us. This is something that you don’t get without like, taking somebody out, you know what I’m saying, like Frederick Douglass said, without struggle there is no progress, and when he said ‘struggle’ well that’s a nice way to say, knock out drag out bare bloody knuckles fighting. I’m ready. I don’t know if this world is ready. But we gotta fight.

 

 

Scene Twenty - MORNING AGAIN IN AMERICA

Harry and Leonard addressing a small crowd.

Harry In the course of human events, it sometimes becomes necessary to break with the leadership of a certain organization. And although we have only been able to gather a representative handful of the shareholders here today, I believe this is the start of a revolution in this company that will set us back on the course we know is to the mutual benefit of all. I give you the next CEO of GD Confectionery, Mr. Leonard Kildare.

Piped in prerecorded massive applause and cheers.

Leonard I'm here today to represent a new tomorrow for GD Confectionery. A return home. Our hearts are at rest in what is most familiar, the values we were all raised with. Mom. Big cars. Three squares a day. And more, much more. A fair deal. A solid handshake. Knowing the market. The ability to know the market and meet it in the field. A level playing field. Not one dominated by feel-good management jargon, spacey music and "affirmative action" hiring quotas. It's time for us to take back the reins. At GD Confectionery, night has fallen for too long. The company has been run by tiny people with their little ideas. But with Kildare and the Renegade Shareholders Association, it's morning again at GD Confectionery.

Harry I'd like to ask the Future CEO what Jesus would have done in this instance?

Leonard Jesus. Well, maybe not everyone sees it this way, but Jesus came to kick a little butt. Jesus said get out there into the trenches. The people want to do what's right, but they can't, there's a homosexual agenda in the schools, femi-nazis in the media, liberals in office legislating reverse racism, OK? Reverse Racism. The Law. OK? Discipline, hard work, achievement. Whatever happened to a country driven towards a black bottom line? We're in the red, because too many people think there's something wrong with turning a profit. Get over it. We need a return to a strong dollar, strong leadership behind strong U.S. corporations. Blueblood. The Founding Fathers would agree, and you know, I think God the Father would agree. I think that's why it has In God We Trust on the money.

 

Scene Twenty One - The Last Staff Meeting

CEO Let's be solution-oriented.

Leonard Well, the situation is problem-centered.

Calculatrice And obviously the solution is going to have to be principle-centered.

Leonard But not on your principles, Missy.

Calculatrice Missy? Missy?

CEO I just want to confront the rumors, Leonard.

Leonard I'm accountable. Ask me anything.

CEO There's been a lot of loose talk of takeover. The stock price has been bobbing like a drowning child and I think its in our mutual interests that we come to an agreement. Calculatrice, help me out here.

Calculatrice We're battening down the hatches until we can reestablish stability.

CEO We're placing you on administrative leave, but we're not firing you. That would look bad. So we're going to request and require you to not leave the compound until the stock price stabilizes.

Leonard This is unconstitutional. You have no jurisdiction. I question your authority.

CEO I am the Chief Executive Officer of this company. Executive means one who executes, policy or sentences. Think of me as your government.

Calculatrice Government is force.

Leonard This is completely illegitimate.

CEO We thought you might think so. This is a second performance counseling statement. Please sign it.

Fitz pulls back his suit jacket to one side, with one arm.

CEO This is a .44 magnum. You're on administrative leave.

Zach Delivery!

Calculatrice Is it?

Zach It is!

Calculatrice Shitballs?

Zach Straight from the plant!

Calculatrice whips over to the box. Rips it open.

Calculatrice It's the physicalization of a dream. Look at the color in the packaging.

Leonard Merry Christmas, OK? This is also a .44 magnum. The tree of liberty is occasionally fed with blood.

CEO Calculatrice! Hit the floor. We're going live.

They both cock.

CEO It's really stupid it has to come to this.

Leonard This is the land of the free. You've lost touch with the constituency.

CEO You've never represented a majority of the shareholders, just the skimmed scum of the top of the pond. Surface reaction, bile in a stomach, not food. Not nourishment.

Leonard I represent right and wrong. I am the unforgiving angel. You want to defuse the current impasse?

CEO Of course.

Leonard Return all shipments of Shitballs to the plant. Have the plant incinerate them.

CEO I can't do that. We've invested in the product.

Leonard God dammit, Fitz! Is THIS for the new technology? Is THIS our new brand? All THIS for the new paradigm? Is this worth dying for?

CEO Yes.

Calculatrice Leonard, it's not just developing a market, it's creating something new.

Leonard You're sick.

Leonard shoots the CEO in the head.

Leonard Oh my god. Oh my God. Did I actually just DO that? Oh my god. Is he dead? Is he going to die?

Leonard has lowered his piece. Calculatrice stares incredulous, and then draws her gun. He looks up.

Calculatrice Leonard Kildare. You're fired.

beat

Leonard What are YOU going to do?

Calculatrice I'm. Thinking.

Leonard I feel awful.

He leaves.

 

Scene Twenty Two - LAST CALL AT Lucky’s

Michael back at Lucky’s. Enter Calculatrice.

Michael Have a drink.

Beat.

Michael It's important to relax sometimes at night.

Calculatrice I told you. Taking a break from drinking. There's no time. Didn't you see that e-mail? Where have you been?

beat

Calculatrice Bartender. Soda and bitters.

Michael Hit me again.

Calculatrice Michael.

Michael lets out a long slow sigh.

Security at the plant has to be airtight. Another time, we might have time. What's the romance of two individuals compared with what we've created together?

Michael You could have called me back.

Calculatrice What happened between us was fun. But I'm not going to marry you.

Michael You're laughing at me. You should be saving me. I think I can give everything to the struggle. But I'm somehow losing steam. I think I want to protect you. I can't explain it.

Calculatrice I like the fierce respect we all have for each other on the factory floor, have you felt it?

Michael I knew it was there all along.

Calculatrice I didn't. I was in that union and I didn't. So when they wanted to pull me in to marketing and the superstructure, I let them. It’s what I needed at the time. I wanted it.

Michael Where do I fit into your world.

Calculatrice You brought me back to the revolution.

Michael But where do you want to win? In the free market or in a revolution?

Calculatrice The free market is a myth.

Michael So then?

Calculatrice I'm running things here with all the intensity of the greedy system that trained me. Because we have more. We have love. You and Zach continue to train the workers with all the intensity of a straight army. Because we go beyond that. We will never be defeated because our forces are transformed by the spirit of this revolutionary love.

Michael I'm frightened. I think there are two streams inside you. Your training as a worker and your training as an executive.

Calculatrice I was born in a donut shop. I was raised serving cops. I starting grinding my teeth at age 13. C'mon let's go home.

enter Harry.

Harry "Woe to those who demand strong drink

as soon as they rise in the morning,

and linger into the night while wine inflames them!

...what the Lord does, they regard not

the work of his hands they see not.

Therefore the nether world enlarges its throat

and opens its maw without limit."

Michael Harry, where the hell have you been?

Harry Hitchhiking.

Michael I thought you turned on us.

Harry I thought they knew God. But God is not hate. God is good ideas. I'm not perfect. In the middle of betraying you I realized I was wrong, 'I decided in the middle of betraying you that I was back on your side so I was just infiltrating them. You probably think I’m a flake but I just want to do what's right.

Calculatrice So give us the intelligence briefing.

Harry Leonard has gotten the support of the police and FBI. The renegade shareholders are going to raid the factory and offices tomorrow.

Michael Oh god.

Calculatrice What do you mean 'oh god.' This is called working.

Michael Mao said only fight the battles you know you can win.

Calculatrice We can win this one. We have something they don't. We are united. We're gonna win this one tomorrow and set a track record. Last call.

 

 

Scene Twenty Three - THE SPEECH

Calculatrice at the Union meeting. Everyone is present.

Calculatrice Fellow Candy-Makers. I thank the union that brought me into this company for the opportunity to address you here today.

We’ve stopped the production because we are going to be attacked. Can I be frank? The rich have run this country all its life. How many years have we wanted to DO something about it?

Labor has only one control: we have our hands on the levers of production. We can shut down the whole thing at any time. It's time now to draw a line in the sand, look up, and say NO. The way you demagogues do things is not as perfect as you think. You're fired. You say you have the vision of excellence? I don't think you act like it. We'll show you excellence. We'll show you a work ethic.

To their own the rich teach a special formula: Their God is the belief that one has control. You are proactive, you have a choice, all your actions don't have to be reactions. Break your habits. They are not special. Freedom has been the exclusive domain of the rich, the rulers, the parasites, the managers. Until now.

Freedom is not judged by the ability to make a killing in your lifetime. Freedom doesn't mean taking your position in the dog-eat-dog feeding frenzy. It means changing your mind. Take control over your own life first, then we take the whole machine.

I speak with you today, here in the majority, the people who don't always want more of everything. The people who instead just want to survive, and be happy, and take care of each other.

Leonard Kildare and the renegade shareholders seem really threatened by us. Is it just the disruption of my ideas? Yes, and more. The creation of workplace democracy here in factory really scares them. If the sore losers are gonna launch an attack on our new structure, who’s willing to stand up and fight? We have something stronger than their weapons to defend our factory. We have freedom. We have real democracy. I say we take a stand. They’ve pushed us around all our lives, who’s willing to push back? Who's in? 'Who's down for the whole thing?

 

 

Crowd goes wild.

 

 

Scene Twenty Four - Finale

Calculatrice, Michael, Zach, Harry, Union members all behind a barricade of desks, with hunting rifles and AKs and M16s. The sounds and shells and assault weapon fire surrounds them.

Carnage. Death. Victory.

Improv combat dialogue between all of them, noise, for 60 seconds

Enter Sheryl leading Daniel, bound.

Calculatrice Daniel, how the hell did you get in here?

Daniel I still have a working code.

Sheryl We found him at level three.

Sound of explosion and alarms and shouting.

Calculatrice Get behind the barricade. They're shelling that side

Daniel Did you hear? The CEO of Coke is dead.

Calculatrice What?

Daniel Lung cancer. He smoked a lot. Drank a lot of Coke. Get this though, he once appeared before a board meeting with a live garden hose and said, "What do you do when your competition is drowning? You stick a live hose in his mouth!"

Calculatrice You sneaked in past the National Guard for this?

Daniel I thought that would inspire you. Leonard’s people are helping the police shut down the roads. You should see ‘em, you’d love it: there's a growing civilian protest at the roadblock, things are getting tense. How many workers are in the factory here?

Calculatrice Thirty-six hundred.

Daniel The CEO of Coke never took off his jacket. All the executives on his floor followed suit. The air conditioning was always up ten more degrees. Can you imagine the esprit de corps of that office?

Calculatrice What does Coke do? It dissolves the baby teeth of children. What does Shitballs do? It destroys the nerves of people like Leonard Kildare.

Daniel Shitballs? You can’t have a product that carries a message that Capitalism is artificial death. It won’t work.

Calculatrice What?

Daniel When are you going to get real? I want you to forget everything I taught you.

Calculatrice It was you. You leaked that stuff to Leonard’s shareholders.

Beat.

Daniel I miss you.

 

Calculatrice You used to say the U.S. needed a revolution, but that people weren't ready. Now suddenly that seems less true? You were not ready to lead. To sacrifice. You gave yourself to them. You were seduced. You let the devil pull you in. Do you know where you are? The CEO of Coke is dead. Fuck him. We killed him. Our struggle will go on killing him. You used to say, "Raise the bar." "Never stay in a job you hate." "You gotta believe in the work."

Daniel You know I don’t believe that anymore so what. I can hardly feel my hands. These cuffs are awfully tight.

 

 

She stands up behind him. Extends her pistol arm out straight. Aims at his head, point blank range.

 

Daniel (He turns to face her)

What? Oh Jesus Christ.

[beat]

 

Would you please?

 

Blackout. Gunshot.

 

 

 

CURTAIN

 

FIN