copyright © 2005 Dwayne Yancey


By Dwayne Yancey

Copyright 2004; all rights reserved.

(The scene is an old-time hardware store. An old man sits in the store, perhaps on a chair, or a barrel, reminiscent of the type of old men who might congregate in a country store. An overly helpful clerk is behind the counter. The scene that follows imagines the Easter scene – a government official buying the nails and lumber for the crosses on Cavalry.)

OLD MAN: – they’ve gone and made a mess of things now, I tell you. Yes, they have. Just a real mess. I don’t know how they’re gonna get things straightened out now. Did you hear about all that commotion they had downtown yesterday?

(At some point here, the customer enters and looks around the store.)

CLERK (trying to polite ignore the old man): I heard a little something about it.

OLD MAN: A regular riot, it was, the way I heard tell it. A regular riot. Just all kinds of commotion going on. I heard they arrested the chief troublemaker; that oughta put a stop to it.

CLERK: Excuse me, I think I’ve got a customer. Can I help you, sir?

(The clerk goes to the customer, who is focused on the task at hand and not much for chit-chat.)

CUSTOMER: I need some nails.

CLERK: Nails, nails, yessirree, nails right over there in aisle three. What kind of nails were you looking for?

CUSTOMER: Sturdy ones. (Alternate: Good-sized ones.)

(Customer inspects the nails.)

CLERK: Well, we’ve got everything from carpet tacks on up. We’ve got your 10-penny nails, your 6-penny nails. What kind of project is it you’ve got going on? Kitchen project? New deck? Remodeling? We’ve got nails for all kinds of jobs.

CUSTOMER: It’s a government job.

CLERK: Ah, government job. I see. So will this be a bulk order then?

(Customer holds up a large nail.)

CUSTOMER: This looks like a good size right here.

CLERK: Oh, now that’s a spike. How many will you be needing?

(The customer starts to visualize where the nails will be used – holding out first one hand, then another hand – this leaves him with his arms spread – then looking down at his feet, then realizing he can cross his feet and save a nail.)

CUSTOMER: Let’s see, one, two, three, four, I guess. No, I think we can get by with just three. (Optional add: We’ll save the taxpayers a few pennies.)

CLERK: Three then. Very good.

CUSTOMER: Make that three times three.

CLERK: That’d be nine then.

CUSTOMER: You know the government. Everything’s done in triplicate.

CLERK (counting out the nails): Very good. Nine. Want to throw in a few more to give yourself some extras? In case one gets bent?

CUSTOMER: No, that’s all right. This is just a temporary thing we’re putting up; won’t matter much if one gets broken.

CLERK: Of course, it would take some doing to bend one of these, I’d say. Not like those little finishing nails over there; those’ll bend if you just look at ‘em the wrong way. So, will there be anything else today?

CUSTOMER: I’ll need some lumber.

CLERK: Lumber. We’ve got lumber right out there. So what will you be needing? Two-by-fours? Plywood? Paneling boards?

CUSTOMER: Something substantial, I’d think.

CLERK: Something substantial. Well, why don’t you come on out and have a look-see.

(Clerk motions to the customer to go ahead and look at the lumber, while he sets the nails on the counter. )

I’ll set these right here on the counter and then I’ll be right with you.

OLD MAN: So like I was saying, they’ve just gone and made a real mess of things now. That fellow they arrested, though, he was just asking for it, if you ask me. Just asking for it. I hope they throw the book at him. Just no excuse for stirring up that kind of trouble if you ask me.

(Clerk moves to the customer, and they head toward the exit.)

CLERK: So, what kind of government job is this, if you don’t mind my asking?

(Lights out.)

-------- THE END ---------

Cast of characters: Three males

Old man (M)

Clerk, who is very upbeat and customer-friendly (M)

Customer, a government official with a dark personality (M)

Dwayne Yancey

1791 Mount Pleasant Church Road

Fincastle, VA 24090

Days: 540 981 3113

Nights: 540 473 3313



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