Four other Arabs

(The play opens in CONDY’s office. She is leaning against a desk, filing her nails. She is dressed in a smart but sexy business suit with a miniskirt. COLIN is sitting behind the desk, going through the drawers. DICK and WOLFIE are sitting on the other side of the room, playing war games on a computer.)

CONDY: In the name of all the holy saints, what would you be looking for in my drawers, Colin? Sure you’ll be gone out of this place 12 months when December is a year. If it’s a drop of the hard stuff itself you left behind, you hardly think it would still be there with the terrible thirst that comes over all of us here of an evening after a hard day’s work sorting out the terrible mess that this wide, wide world has got itself into.

COLIN: It’s sorry I am surely, Condy, to be troubling a beautiful girl the likes of you and to be depriving you of your rightful seat, but it’s tormented I am these many nights past by a dream about the codswallop I fed the United Nations Assembly, and if I don’t find some paper to help me pin the blame on somebody else, I fear the sleep of the night will become a stranger to me.

CONDY: I can see that it’s destroyed you are with remorse and worry but it’s a silly man you are surely if you think that my drawers can yield up such a treasure after all this time. (Door opens and DON enters.)

DON: God save all here.

CONDY: God save you, too, Don, but, by the look of you, you are not sleeping any better than poor Colin here.

DON: It’s destroyed I am surely and I after traveling all over the Middle East since Tuesday was a week but I am also after getting a terrible fright above in the john from some quare fellow who was moaning and groaning in one of the closets. It put the heart crossways on me when he let out his first screech and amn’t I after pissing myself with the shock.

CONDY: And you never looked in the closet to see was he injured or what ailed him at all?

DON: Indeed then I did not, Condy, and me alone in the john with him, not knowing what sort of a madman he might be.

CONDY: (Scathingly.) Aren’t you the brave warrior? Wolfie, will you give over that old game and go and see who the poor man might be and what is wrong with him at all.

WOLFIE: (To DICK.) Let you not be after doing anything sneaky and taking advantage of my absence.

(WOLFIE exits.)

DICK: It’s glad we are to see you back, Don. Would it be hoping too much to think that you have secured a new source of oil? It’s no wonder surely that the polls are running against us with the way the price of gas is going recently.

DON: It’s happy I would be to have such good news for you, Dick, but this time I was more concerned with the way things are going in Iraq. Sad I am to report that my story in that respect isn’t great, either.

(WOLFIE returns with GEORGE.)

WOLFIE: See what I found above in the closet and him crying his eyes out about all the poor people of America getting their cheap gas and eye operations from a commie tyrant like Chavez and Castro offering to send doctors to help out in New Orleans.

(WOLFIE sits down again with DICK.)

COLIN: Whatever about being a commie, surely Chavez is no tyrant with him being elected by the people and being swept back into power by popular acclaim when we tried to get rid of him.

GEORGE: (Drying his eyes and visibly pulling himself together.) Is it doubting my word you are and he cavorting and scheming with his pal Castro? But mark my words; they are goading the wrong man when they are trying to get one up on me. Mullah Muhammad Omar tried it and where is he today? Those were the glory days surely when we put the run on Omar and his Taliban thugs.

CONDY: Indeed they were, George. The likes of you for decisive action hadn’t been seen since maybe the Crusades themselves. You were our very own Playboy of the Western World.

COLIN: (Sarcastically.) That’s all very well but would I be right in thinking that there is still a small outstanding matter of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda?

GEORGE: Let that not be taking the sleep of the night from you. Did you not see how I disposed of his pal Sadaam even if it was with the belt of a lie itself? Wasn’t it you yourself that sold it to the United Nations and aren’t the good people of Iraq now enjoying the fruits of our work? And sure, if we did cock up itself, can’t I always set up a Commission of Enquiry with myself as the head?

COLIN: Sadaam was a monster surely, and it’s well rid of him the good people of Iraq are, but I don’t think it’s enjoying their freedom they are with the death toll mounting every day. As for Sadaam being Osama’s pal, hard it is to see why the ruler of the most powerful secular state in the Arab world would be so pally with the leader of a fundamentalist organization. But it’s a fertile breeding ground Iraq has now become for Osama’s hateful ideology. As for the quality of my sleep, I am thinking it won’t be so great from this day forth because you are right about one thing—I was indeed your patsy at the United Nations.

GEORGE: Ah, go on out of that, Colin. And what would you be doing here anyway? Didn’t I get rid of you after the last election? But hush, what would that noise be overhead? (The sound of a helicopter can be heard above. There is a long pause.) By all the saints in heaven, I think it is landing on the lawn. Surely it is not a visit from anyone important we are having and nobody having told me what I should say?

(The door bursts open and in rushes OSAMA with FOUR OTHER ARABS carrying submachine guns.)

OSAMA: (Brandishing a handgun.) As-salaam alaykum. I have no time to waste so please identify yourselves. Which one of you is George? I have come to take him away. Which of you is the Playboy of the Western World?

(There is a brief silence and GEORGE is just about to put up his hand when up jumps COLIN.)

COLIN: I am the Playboy!

(WOLFIE jumps up.)

WOLFIE: I am the Playboy!

(DICK gets to his feet a little more slowly.)

DICK: I am the Playboy!

DON: (Already standing.) I am the Playboy!

CONDY: Ah, what the heck! I am the Playboy!

GEORGE: (Bewildered.) What ails you all? Doesn’t the whole wide, wide world know that I am the Playboy?

OSAMA: (To CONDY.) I think that I can safely eliminate you but I will have to carry out a little general-knowledge test to see which of the others is the Playboy.

(OSAMA takes a sheet of paper from the desk, tears it into five pieces, and gives one piece to each of the men.)

OSAMA: The new pope is now called Benedict XVI. Each of you is to write on the paper what he thinks his name was before he became pope.

(Each man writes on his piece of paper.)

OSAMA: (Collecting the papers in turn from WOLFIE, COLIN, DON, DICK, and GEORGE.) Ratzinger, Cardinal Ratzinger, Joseph Ratzinger, Ratzinger, (Pause.) Ian Paisley. (He embraces GEORGE.) My friend, my best recruiting sergeant! I kind of guessed all along it was you and now as a reward for services rendered I am going to take you away with me to be potboy in my sheebeen in the mountains of Pakistan.

(OSAMA and THE ARABS start to leave, taking a bewildered GEORGE with them.)

CONDY: Ochone! Ochone! Ochone! Now we have lost him surely! We have lost the one and only Playboy of the Western World!

OSAMA: (Pausing.) What is the broad on about? Bring her along, too, but first of all make her respectable.

(CONDY is dragged off stage and brought back almost immediately dressed in a long black burka and leather face harness.)

OSAMA: (Walking to the front of the stage and addressing the audience.) I can see a drift of females out there dressed like harlots. Remember, I will be back! Salaam!