“Pico” by Ron Pullins

Characters

Pico Sprite, 16-25. Either sex. Any gender.
Moss Male or Female, 30-60, bartender.
Bum 1 Male or Female, 20-50
Bum 2 Male or Female, 20-50

With all characters in this one act, I am happy to have them non gender specific, etc. Bending gender, race, sexual orientation, etc., can only enhance the core, and I would be happy to modify any gender references.

Setting: Moss’s bar
Time: Present

Synopsis

Even if it is a play within this play, someone comes, something happens. Doesn’t it? Still, it was funny, even if we have heard it all before.

Commedia del’arte and a miracle play in a form Pinter might have imagined.

Setting: MOSS’S Bar.
On Rise: BUM 1 and BUM 2 sit at the bar which MOSS wipes.

BUM 2
You think he’s coming?

BUM 1
He ain’t coming. I never thought he’d come. He’s done here.

BUM 2
He’s late.

BUM 1
If he’s not coming, he’s not late. He’s just not coming.

MOSS
You want another beer or you two gonna nurse what you got?

BUM 2
I’m thinking about another…

MOSS
All you’re doing is polishing my stools.

BUM 2
…but I gotta pace myself.

MOSS
You don’t go nowhere but here. You don’t do nothing but sit.

BUM 2
Things happen. Tell him.

BUM 1
Nothing’s gonna happen that ain’t already happened.

(A shadow passes across the stage.)
BUM 2
That him?

BUM 1
Can’t be. He ain’t coming. I told you.

BUM 2
He’s coming. I know. He comes every day. Why wouldn’t he come today?

BUM 1
He ain’t coming.

BUM 2
You know something?

BUM 1
I know he ain’t coming.

MOSS
How about you? You want another beer?

BUM 1
I ain’t finished this one.

MOSS
Neither of you ever finish. The beer just gets old.

BUM 1
I get used to it.

MOSS
And warm.

BUM 1
I like it warm. European.

MOSS
…and flat as warm piss.

BUM 1
And just as good. Just as good.

(Enter PICO on something mobile, full of energy)

PICO
Moss’s?

MOSS
This is Moss’s.

PICO
Moss?

BUM 1
He’s Moss.

MOSS
I’m Moss.

PICO
Where do I set up.

MOSS
Set up what? Who are you?

PICO
I’m the show. I’m the entertainment. This is Moss’s.

BUM 1
This is Moss’s.

PICO
You Moss?

MOSS
I’m Moss.

PICO
Here. (To BUMS) Put these posters up. You get up off that stool, now, you hear, and help me. Things are changing. I need help.

MOSS
I didn’t order entertainment.

PICO
I’m here. Would I be here if someone hadn’t ordered entertainment. This is Moss’s?

BUM 1
This is Moss’s.

PICO
You Moss?

BUM 1
He’s Moss.

MOSS
I’m Moss.

PICO
Then I’m at the right place, for sure. Get your helpers to do some helping. We got to set up.

BUM 2
We ain’t helpers. We’re customers.

PICO
I can see that. I know that. You don’t think I know that?

BUM 2
What you got in that there wagon?

PICO
That’s the show. It’s a miracle show. That. That’s a relic. Every miracle show has a relic, and these are the relics. And I’m the miracle. At your service.

BUM 1
You order a miracle?

MOSS
I ain’t ordered a miracle.

PICO
This is Moss’s.

BUM 1
This is Moss’s.

PICO
You’re Moss?

BUM 1
He’s Moss

MOSS
I’m Moss.

PICO
Help me lift this thing. All of us together ought to get this thing set up.

BUM 2
What’s that?

PICO
What’s what?

BUM 2
That thing.

PICO
This thing?

BUM 2
That thing. What is it?

PICO
That’s part of the show.

BUM 2
Part of what show?

PICO
That’s the miracle. There’s no show if there are just parts. You either got a show or you just got parts. These are the parts. It’s like a wheel. A wheel is not a cart. It’s just a part.

MOSS
You can’t do that here. Anyway, we’ve seen all this before.

(BUMS put up a couple of posters,)

PICO
It’s new every show. Every show’s a miracle. Help me set up. There’s no show if there’s no place for a show. You, hang this thing up.

BUM 1
That part of the show, too?

PICO
You never seen a show? These are posters. They get the audience. It’s not a show if there’s no audience.

BUM 2
Oh.

PICO
You ever seen a show that didn’t have an audience?

BUM 2
No.

PICO
Of course not. You wouldn’t see it unless there was an audience because you are the audience, or you’re nothing at all. Now. Ready. Lights.

(Lights shift to spot on PICO. He stands on the wagon-stage, and uses his puppets to deliver his play.)

PICO (CON’T)
And then one day, and it was a sunny day, the man came down the lane, and he saw the woe-man, and he said, “Hello, woe-man,” and she said, “Get out of my way,” and he said, “What’s that all about?” and she said, “Things are gonna change around here,” and he said, “I’ll give you change, four quarters for a dollar,” and she said, “I’ll show you change,” and she socked him in the eye, and he fell down, and he died, and they all lived happily ever after.

(as PICO waits for applause, then applauds himself)

BUM 1
I don’t get it.

PICO
It’s a fairy tale. Things change. Then they all lived happily ever after.

(PICO waits for applause again, and then applauds himself)

BUM 1
I still don’t get it.

BUM 2
You think he’s really dead?

BUM 1
He’s not a he. He’s a puppet.

BUM 2
If he died, how can you say they lived happily ever after?

(Long pause)

BUM 1
I think I’ll have another beer.

BUM 2
Me, too. (To PICO) You want a beer?

PICO
I got to go. I’ve got another engagement across the river. A paying engagement. I hope you enjoyed the show.

(PICO packs up, takes down posters, covers the puppets in his wagon, gets back on his tricycle, and pedals off.)

BUM 1
Who was that?

BUM 2
Who is that! Who do you think?

BUM 1
Maybe that was him.

BUM 2
He wouldn’t do puppet shows.

BUM 1
If that was him, he’s gone.

BUM 2
If that was him, he’s not what I expected. If that was him, then, it’s like he never came.

BUM 1
Seems very quiet now.

BUM 2
Too quiet. Like something might happen.

BUM 1
More quiet than before.

BUM 2
It was pretty quiet then.

BUM 1
(pause) But it’s quieter now than before.

BUM 2
No. It’s just as quiet, but not any quieter.

BUM 1
I wonder if that was him. That mask was confusing.

BUM 2
Don’t be a fool about these things. (To MOSS) I’ll have another beer.

MOSS
So soon?

BUM 2
This one got old.

BUM 1
Me, too. And put a head on it.

BUM 2
(Laughs)

BUM 1
What’s so funny?

BUM 2
He said, things are gonna change around here.

BUM 1
Yeah, and she said, “I’ll show you change, four quarters for a dollar.”

BUM 2
Yeah. And she socked him in the eye. That’s funny.

MOSS
Yeah, funny, like I never heard that one before.

END OF PLAY


Ron Pullins is a playwright and publisher living in Newburyport, MA, with his playwrighting partner, Leslie Powell. He has written or co-written with Leslie a dozen plays of various lengths that have been read, performed and produced around the country. His company, Focus Publishing, publishes college textbooks in Classical and modern languages, many of which employ feature films in language acquisition, as well as editions of Shakespeare, philosophy and books on theater.

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