MEL- The head draftsman, about 50 years old.
GEORGE- A black draftsman, middle to late 40’s.
BOB- The newest of the office draftsman, late 20’s.
BRUCE- He is behind Mel as next in line for Head Draftsman. Late 40’s.
RICHARD, SAL, TONY- All draftsmen in their early 30’s.
The setting is an architect’s office, circa 1965, with draft boards, filing cabinets, water cooler etc.
There are two rows of boards, one of four, one of three, set sideways to the audience. Behind the boards is a large picture window the length of the office. Large, modern office buildings can be seen outside. (This and all other settings can be adjusted to suit the director’s discretion, of course.)
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As the curtain opens, the men are sitting at their boards working. For a minute or so, there is no conversation. Occasionally, the men look about the room, at each other and out the window. Finally, George leaves his board and goes to the window. It is the earlier part of the morning. Bob begins walking about the office with a searching, quizzical look.
GEORGE- Sure is nice out today. Perfect spring day. Lotta babes in those summer suits and stuff. Too bad these damn windows don’t open. Let some fresh air in here. One thing for damned sure about this place- it sure could use some fresh air.
SAL- What’s that, George?
GEORGE- I said we sure could use some fresh air in here.
SAL- (stretches and laughs)- Yeah- fresh air.
(George goes back to his board, sits and stares. There is another period of silence as the men work.)
BOB- Can anybody tell me where I can get a copy of this drawing I just finished?
GEORGE- Sure, just ask Sal, he’ll help you.
SAL- Sure, just ask Tony. He’ll help you.
BOB- Well if there’s a copier here, just point it out, and I’ll do it myself.
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BRUCE- C’mon, one of you guys show him where the copier is and help him out, huh. Go ahead, Sal.
RICHARD- Follow me. There’s a copier right over there. I’ll show you how it works.
(They walk over to a wall copier situated stage right.)
RICHARD- Don’t mind these guys. They always get on someone new. After you work here a while, you’ll find out they’re a good group even though they bust balls a lot. What’s your name? I got here a little late. Did anyone give you an intro?
BOB- Yeah, Bruce did, a real short announcement. Name’s Bob. Thanks for the assist.
RICHARD- Nothing to it. Someone would’ve eventually. That is, after they had their fun.
BOB- doesn’t this place have an office boy of something? Most places I worked had one, you know, to make copies and what not.
RICHARD- Well, we did have one, but he got fires about two weeks ago. So far, it seems they haven’t hired another one. Hey, anyone know if they hired another office boy yet?
TONY- Nope. After Ziggie got rid of Freddie, I think he’s too scared to hire another. Might just get another Freddie. (This remark elicits some mild laughter from the other men.)
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BOB- Who the hell is Ziggie?
RICHRD- He’s one of the architects. We call him ziggie, short for Aziglio, but don’t say Ziggie in front of him.
TONY- (Leaving his board and joining Richard and Bob at the copier.) Hey, remember that time when Freddie called Ziggie “Ziggie” right to his face. (Laughter) When Freddie was here about a week, we told him that’s what he should call the boss. One day in come Ziggie, “Where’s the office boy?” “Right here!” Freddie says. “What can I do for you, Ziggie?” Man, Ziggie almost shit right there! He hates that name! (Laughter)
BRUCE- (Sitting at his board) If he was a winner, I sure hate to see a loser. But he had it coming though. (A mildly resentful tone) did nothing but disturb everybody.
GEORGE- (also from his board) Yeah, but he was funny, a little screwed up maybe, but he was funny.
BRUCE- After the first month or so, I knew he wasn’t going to make it in this place.
BOB- How long did he work here?
BRUCE- About a year. It took Zig about two months to get his number and about ten months to finally fire him.
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SAL- (From his board)- Freddie knew it was coming too, but he wouldn’t quit.
TONY- In fact, Ziggie had an ad in the paper for a new office boy and was holding interviews. Freakin’ Freddie just went about his business as usual.
BRUCE- Which was screwing things up around here.
GEORGE- Yeah, but he was funny though.
(The copy finished, the men return to their boards.)
TONY- I swear I’ll never forget the first day Freddie came to work here. At lunch time, everybody had ordered something from the luncheonette, but Freddie has a little brown bag, see. So we all sit down at that table over there, and everybody’s sittin’ around, see and Sal starts bustin’ Freddie cause of his brown lunch bag, see. What the hell was it you said to him, Sal?
SAL- (pensively) What was it? Oh yeah, I said, “Aw look everybody, he’s a brown bagger- brings his lunch in a little brown bag.” (Laughter) “Whatcha got in your little brown bag there, office boy?”
TONY- Yeah, yeah. So Freddie stops fussin’ with the damn bag, looks around at all of us, looks back at Sal- an everybody’s real quiet, see- we’re all waitin’, see, and Freddie knows it- he knows what’s up here, see. So lookin’ at Sal he says, “Go bag yourself, cookie, and the luncheonette that sent
Page 6- FREDDIE
you here!” (Laughter) Well, that cracked us right up, see- Freddie was cool.
(The men begin to mingle about Bob’s board using him as the object of their storytelling.)
RICHARD- And how about the time with the damn tubes!
(Everyone nods and affirms.) Yeah, yeah.
BOB- O.K., I’m listening- what was that all about?
BRUCE- I don’t know why they didn’t fire him then.
RICHARD- Well, we have these long, cardboard tubes that we put the old drawings in, you know. Well, they were laying all over the damn place when Freddie got here, so Mel- he’s the chief draftsman- he ain’t in yet- he tells Freddie to gather them up and put them someplace real neat. So Freddie piles about thirty of them up on top of that filing cabinet over there, like they’re in a pyramid, you know, and he has two little pieces of chalk holding the bottom tube in place so that it doesn’t roll- get it.
So after about two days like that, Mel goes over to the cabinet, removes a drawing and slams the drawer shut. Well, that jostles the two little pieces of chalk holding the bottom tube and B-O-O-M- down come all these friggin’ tubes on Mel’s head! (Laughter) Man, did he move! Like Ziggie was calling him into the office or something! (Laughter)
Page 7- FREDDIE
GEORGE- and throw it! Could that kid bullshit! Religion, morals, psychology- remember Sal, that time he psychoanalyzed you based on those abstract sketches you did?
SAL- Yeah, yeah, scared the hell out of me he came so close to the mark. (Laughter)
BRUCE- Yeah, well, I think we better break up this little session. Mel will be in any minute.
(Reluctantly, the men return to their boards. There is another period of silence. Occasional sharpening of pencils and rustling of papers break the atmosphere. The men every so often walk to each other’s boards for a brief discussion of the work at hand.)
RICHARD- (affecting an adolescent manner of speech) Hey guys, who’s gonna get the coffee guys? (Laughter)
BRUCE- C’mon Richard, let’s not again! Isn’t that damn thing worn out about now or what? There’s work to be done.
RICHARD- Brucie babe, I know you’re next in line for head draftsman, but you’re not there yet. And it’ll be a long time before Mel dies, so why not just kiss off and learn to laugh a little, huh?
BRUCE- I don’t happen to find it funny.
RICHARD- You never find much of anything funny. But the day Freddie got his, you and Mel were smiling wide. It wasn’t hard to put two and two together.
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BRUCE- All Freddie ever did was screw up. He didn’t belong in a professional office.
RICHARD- He didn’t screw up any more than the rest of us.
BRUCE- Well, he’s gone and that’s it.
(Richard shakes his head and the encounter ends.. there is another period of silence. Finally, Bob leans over to Sal.)
BOB- So what was that “Hey guys!” thing all about.
SAL- (Leans back and laughs. Then he addresses the office speaking to no one in particular.)
SAL- He wants to know the “Hey guys!” thing.
GEORGE- well, man, you really had to be there.
SAL- Probably seem corny to you.
BOB- (Shrugs and looks questioningly to the other men. Finally Richard responds.)
It’s just one of those things that’s hard to explain, you know. One day there was some confusion about some work. Well, we’re all around the board hackin’ it out and talking about it. So Freddie was getting ready for the coffee order, and no one is paying him the slightest attention. So he sticks his head into the middle of the pow-wow, his eyes wide open like a little kid who wants to hang around his big brother and all his friends, you know, and he says, “Hey guys,” just like a little kid would, see. “Hey guys,” can I get ya some coffee, guys? (Laughter) What a pisser!
TONY- yeah, so from that point on, (making quotation mark gestures with his hands.) it became a “thing” in the office here. Sometimes in the middle of the day when everything was quiet, he would get on the intercom, “Hey guys,” or hide underneath a board where no one could see him- “Hey guys!” (Laughter)
GEORGE- The funniest one thjough was when he was in the damn storeroom over there. (Points) He goes in, closes the door, and he’s making a racket cleaning up the place. Then nobody hears a thing for about five minutes. Suddenly he shouts, “Hey guys!” (Laughter) But the thing was this- the door was closed real tight so it sounded like he’s halfway across the universe yelling, (cups his mouth) “Hey guys!” (Laughter)
SAL- yeah, yeah, but the topper of it all was this- about ten minutes later everything’s quiet again, see. It’s like Freddie has disappeared somewhere into closet land. But- we’re all waiting for something knowing Freddie an’ all. Still it’s quiet. Freddie’s not making a sound. Then- very softly the damn door begins to open- but only about two or three inches, squeaking all the time, you know, (laughter) then out comes this freakin’ stick. It’s about seven feet long. I don’t know where the hell he got that stick ‘cause I never saw it in there. Well Freddie’s waving it from inside the closet, and on the end of the stick is a big sign with big black letters saying, “Hey guys!” (Laughter- the men poke and push each other remembering the event.)
GEORGE- He was funny- a little screwed up- but he could get you going.
(The laughter subsides, and the men return to their boards. Another period of silence is broken as Mel enters the office and goes to his board. Sal turns to Bob and points his head towards Mel. He calls Mel over to meet Bob.)
SAL- Hey Mel, this is Bob, the new draftsman.
MEL- Hello Bob. (They shake hands.) Welcome to the office. I see one of the men provided you with some work. Sorry I wasn’t here earlier to meet you. I met some traffic on the way in.
BOB- Yes, they did. Zig- uh, Aziglio interviewed me about a week ago. I don’t know how it was we didn’t meet then.
MEL- I was probably in the field Well, just do a good day’s work, O.K.
BOB- Oh sure, sure.
(Mel returns to his board. Another brief period of silence is interrupted as George walks over to Sal and Bob.)
GEORGE- Hey, Bob, Mel’s pretty much an O.K. guys. Wouldn’t you say, Sal?
SAL- Yeah, he’s all right to a point. Remember the time Freddie wrangled him into a game of chess one lunch hour. Mel was so engrossed; they wound up playing ‘till three o’clock
when in walks Ziggie. (Laughter) There’s the head draftsman playing chess with the office boy on Ziggie’s time. Poor Mel had a bitch of a time explaining that one away. (Laughter)
GEORGE- Plus, Freddie was winning the game! (Laughter)
RICHARD- Yeah, yeah, and how about the time Freddie was doing an imitation of Ziggie! Ziggie has this bushy moustache, see, so Freddie takes out his comb and puts it between his nose and upper lip. (Laughter)
SAL- And then he stands behind the water cooler so it really magnifies his whole head. (Laughter) And who the hell walks in but Ziggie’s wife. (Laughter- the curtain begins to close. Sal continues) But Freddie, he doesn’t know who she is and continues with the Ziggie imitation. Ziggie’s wife is lo-o-o-kin’ at Freddie- what a pisser- Even Mel was gassin’ on that one!
(Bursts of laughter- the curtain closes.)