The Tyranny Of Water.
BY MARK MCMANUS
The stage is covered with sand and our backdrop is a starry night. In the center of the stage, there is a water cooler. The water containment jug on top of the water cooler is full. A spotlight is shining on the water cooler and the immediate area surrounding the water cooler. The rest of the stage is dimly-lit. Four minutes pass.
Ping and Pong, an attractive couple in their early thirties, stand to either side of the water cooler in a beam of light. Their attire is business casual with sedated tones – tan, brown and gray. Ping is wearing a scarf. Ping and Pong are barefoot. The water containment jug on top of the water cooler is empty. A minute passes.
The stage appears as it did in Act Two. Another minute passes. Ping and Pong speak. When they speak, Ping and Pong speak in a dry monotone. As they speak, Ping and Pong face one another but they seem to be looking past one another as if they were viewing a canyon.
PING: Pong, will you change the water containment jug on top of the water cooler?
PONG: No, Ping, I will not change the water contaiment jug on top of the water cooler. I have already changed the water containment jug on top of the water cooler four times this week. To require any further changing of the water containment jug on top of the water cooler would be an excessive demand on the part of Ping. Furthermore, Ping, as your husband, I, Pong, feel it is my duty and also my burden to inform you that you, Ping, wife of Pong, have become entirely too dependent on water as your primary source for nourishment. Water had been humanity’s primary source for nourishment since ancient times; however, this is the 21st century, a new century calls for new forms, for revolt. I say down with water.
PING: Pong, as your wife, Ping, though I am strangely attracted to the assertivness you display in your lonely and courageous stand against the tyranny of water, I, Ping, am simultaneously repulsed by the indifference you display toward the suffering endured by your family due to the consequences of your pursuit, some would deem foolhardy, of a cause born from convictions your family does not share. Furthermore Pong, the husband of Ping, as your wife, I, Ping, feel that it is my duty and also my burden to inform you that if you, Pong, the husband of Ping, do not change the water containment jug on top of the water cooler, then I, Ping, the wife of Pong, am filing for a divorce.
PONG: And on what grounds will you, Ping, the wife of Pong, be filing for a divorce from myself, Pong, the husband of Ping.
PING: Though it is with much sadness, I, Ping, the wife of Pong, am filing for a divorce from Pong, the husband of Ping, on the grounds of cruelty, neglect, for failing to provide adequate nourishment for his wife, Ping, and for failing to acknowledge the existence of their child, Hip Hop.
PONG: Ping, you know very well that we do not have a child.
PING: Pong if you think that I, Ping, am going to bear your seed and give birth to your child in this god-forsaken, waterless desert, and without the benefit of a midwife, then, you, Pong, are a fool.
PONG: I will change the water containment jug on top of the water cooler, Ping.
Pong leaves the stage, in the opposite direction of Ping. Pong then returns with a full water containment jug, removes the empty water containment jug and then secures the full water containment jug on top of the water cooler. When the full water containment jug has been secured on top of the water cooler, Ping immediately falls to the sand in front of the water cooler and, as if in a scene from an arthouse movie, in a moment of nearly unforgettable erotic passion, presses the water cooler’s spigot and allows the water into her mouth. Ping then splashes the water all over her body, and, gasping, tears at her blouse.
PONG: I am leaving you, Ping, I am filing for a divorce.
Pong hesitates for a moment but then hoists the empty water containment jug over his shoulder and leaves the stage, carrying the empty water containment jug over his shoulder. Ping, oblivious to Pong continues to splash the water all over her body in a moment of nearly unforgettable erotic passion.
Ping and Pong are no longer on stage. The water containment jug has fallen from the water cooler and lies on the sand several feet away from the water cooler. A pair of ruby slippers lie nestled in the sand in front of the water cooler. Two minutes pass. Feathers blow across the stage. There is a brief, delicate strumming of a harp. Another two minutes pass.
The spotlight slowly dims and the curtains close.
SUGGESTED READS15 Second Theater Proudly Presents “The Cocktail Hour” And “Father Of The Year.”
by Mark Richardson and Paul Heltzel (8/16/2001)
Actual Conversation with Roberta, Nine-Years-Old
by Alexander Rose (6/26/2002)
by Francis Heaney (7/19/2000)
by Dan Kelly (7/27/2016)
Key Ring Chronicles: Black Ceramic Wedding Band
by Jessica Arnott (7/27/2016)
List: 5 Signs That Your Tinder Date is Actually a TGI Friday’s Baked Potato Skin
by Becky Mandelbaum (7/27/2016)
POPULARList: Comforting Thoughts for #NeverHillary Bernie Supporters After Trump’s First Term
by David Kawalec (7/26/2016)
List: Who Said It? Donald Trump or Regina George?
by Amber Karlins (7/22/2016)
List: Final Schedule for the 2016 Republican National Convention
by John Moe (7/18/2016)