General Script posted December 4, 2022 Chapters: 3 4 -5- 6... 

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A Musical in One Act

A chapter in the book New York's Best: the NYDOE

NYCDoHD Spells Jobs

by Jay Squires

Act I, Scene 5


MR. KINCADE: Manager of the NYCDoHD, a man in his late 40s. Dressed to the nines.
ZACHARY PATIPERRO: A young man, 23 years old. his blond hair uncut, a broken nose, a jagged one-inch scar on his forehead, otherwise attractive in a rugged way. He’s obviously poor and his clothing is indicative of this. Wears a heavy pea coat, and a stocking cap that he stuffs in his pocket when not worn.
BETTY: Co-assistant Manager. A woman in her middle 30s. Speaks little. Only visible when her desk is illuminated.
MARSHALL: Co-assistant Manager. A man in his middle 30s. Speaks little. Only visible when his desk is illuminated.
CHORUS: All the employees’ voices in unison.
GALLERY: A group of about twenty people, waiting for their numbers to be called. Some will have small parts. Some act as Chorus.

SETTING: The office of the New York City Department of Human Development (the NYCDoHD). A desk, Down Center, facing right; a straight-back chair in front of it, facing left. Center Stage, Right to Left, twin rows, five each, of similar “manned” desks (a chair in front of each, facing the desk), all in “near-total” shadow. Two of the desks in the center of the nearest row are occupied by Marshall and Betty. Downstage left (between Mr. Kincade’s desk and those of the other employees) a private office door. Upstage, Center to Right, a bleacher-like gallery, nearly full of extras. On the wall above the gallery is an oversized electrical device blinking the next number to be called. The office entrance/Exit door, Upstage Left. Just inside the door is a Take-a-Number Machine. A large picture window adjacent to the Exit, Upstage Right to Left (about half of it eclipsed by the gallery), shows continually blustery weather outside and occasionally silhouetted people walk past it on the sidewalk, trudging by, bent into the squall.

PLACE/TIME: New York City Department of Human Development, January 1930, the beginning of the Great Depression.

[From the last line of the previous scene,
MR. KINCADE speaks]: 

"So you were twenty-one. Your application says you’re twenty-three. What was your experience between that bout and your several rounds as an environmentalist?"

Between twenty-one and twenty-three? How was I occupied?

Specifically, your employment experience.
A gaucho on the Pampas—that for a start. A solitary gaucho in Argentina, I herded the fattest and laziest cattle that ever nibbled the lush grassland at the base of the Andes.

You might guess, Mr. Patiperro, there’s little demand for cowboys in the city.

No surprise there. Still, only on the open sea is there anything approaching the profound vastness and solitude one experiences on the Pampas. The Pampas was my sea. My sea—Father would understand that ... which might have explained his choices.

Your father again?!

(Then suddenly laughing)
Why do I put up with this?
(To his co-workers beside him)
Marshall, you and Betty—you would have shown him the door long ago.
[The co-workers’ work areas are just briefly illuminated, with MARSHALL and BETTY smiling, then go back into penumbra]
MR. KINCADE (Continues):
Have I lost my edge? Am I getting soft? Or …
(Massaging his temples, absently. Then, as to himself)
Or is there an inconceivable force drawing me to him … or him to me?

(Breathing in deeply from his nose, and smiling, as in reverie)
Or, could it be your mind’s direction had been distracted by a vagrant scent of salt in the air? I swear—I swear I caught it, Sir, as you were speaking just then, carried aloft by the faintest drift of a sea breeze. 
(Another breath and smile)
There it is again! Do you smell it?

Here?! Here in the Department of Human Development? If any vagrant scent snuck in here from outside, it would have been the stench of decaying fish drifting over the Chelsea piers off the Hudson.

Oooooh, it’s clear then … that salt scent must have been a gift from Father, meant only for my nostrils and drifting out from that moment when I declared the Pampas to be my sea—and how Father would understand that.

(Staring down at his hands in his lap, then looking up at MR. KINCADE with tears welling)
I know, Mr. Kincade … I know that I’ve erased any doubts in your mind that I’m daft! I know that! To you, I’m crazy as a loon. And it’s only out of the deep well of forgiveness in your soul that you haven’t sent me back out into the cold. 

(Obviously moved, speaking barely above a whisper)
Go on about … your father.

Father’s understanding of my time on the Pampas will be his legacy to me—someday—someday when I find him. 

And … when I paint for him the magnificent vastness of the Pampas, I’m certain he will only have to smile because he'll have already known, and he will know, at that moment, my understanding of the sea, and we both will know that our souls will have just then touched—my God!—will have touched at last—at long last—in that wordless, vastness inside each of us!
(His shoulders slump after this emotional orgasm, and he seems to sink into himself, his eyes closed.)

(Giving ZACHARY a moment)
That was beautiful, son.

(Jerking his head up)

That was beautiful.

But … no ... No … No … NO! Someday … Mr. Patiperro … Someday, when vastness is a-a-a tangible commodity that employers will pay wages for … 

I understand, Sir.

Do you? Do you understand?

If that unlikely event should happen somewhere down the road, I assure you, your name will be the first to pop into my mind. I promise you that, Mr. Patiperro. Until then …
I absolutely understand. We should remove the Pampas from consideration.

Shall I resume, then?

(Almost pleading)
Could there possibly—is it conceivable there could be more?

Oh, my! Yes, sir! I was a fisherman for one run off the islands of Galapagos. That for starters.

Why just … one … run?

Why? Well, because it was payment enough for my passage to Italy. It was spring, you see.

But that’s where we have the problem. I don’t see it! I don’t see it at all!

(A look of disbelief)
Spring—you must know! Consult your heart ... remember the front porch swing? Think of your Indian maiden. SPRINGTIME! The time of renewal? Of rebirth? My soul cried for Firenze—
Frenzy? What frenzy?
(Articulating the syllables and trilling the “r”.)
Fee-rren-zay … To the uninitiated, it is known as Florence. Capiche? In Firenze, the birthplace of the Renaissance, I apprenticed for a month in the very city where the feet of the great masters, many centuries before, had trod.
(Massaging his temples, sighing; sounding exhausted.)
So… what … was your employment … there?
 I apprenticed as a creator of stained glass.

Stained glass. I can’t believe I’m going to ask. Why stained glass?

Surely it’s been your observation, Sir, that the art form most mirroring the individual artist’s soul seeks out that artist—rather than the artist seeking it—to give the art its life.

Well, well… how do you figure I missed that insight?!

(Staring at him a long moment, without blinking)
Excuse me for saying it, Sir, but if you’d had that insight when you were younger, the world would now own a comprehensive history of an Indian Confederacy. Who knows the impact that that history might have had on the world …?
And on you?

Are we back on that again?

In your deepest heart, sir, have you ever left it? What you may have only dimly perceived back then … was a niggling awareness of the incomplete seeking its divine wholeness. I have a hunch it’s the way we’re put together, yes? No?

(Pausing, as though awaiting an answer)
Strange. Yet in me, it was exquisitely expressed through the mosaic nature of stained glass. As unquenchably as the yang yens for its yin; as a hunk of beefsteak draws the swelling from a shiner and into itself, or a magnet tugs inexorably at its opposite pole; as Fido scrambles to a bitch in heat, his nostrils aquiver; or as synchronicity connects everything else when nothing else will—as in all those instances—I found myself drawn across the sea to Firenze, right up to number 12 Galileo Point Place, where answering my rap, the Master Tamburo, himself, opened the door. I was ushered there, I told him, to bring fragmentation into wholeness. He slowly nodded, with a profundity of knowing—for he perceived precisely what my soul hungered for and what his genius and the spirit of the medium would yield.
(Pauses, showing concern) 
Are you all right, Sir?
(Pinching the bony ridge of his nose.)
A touch of a headache. I’ll be okay. But something urges me to see this to the end. So … stained glass?
Glass, Sir, of such singular beauty, Master Tamburo assured me, it would soon put me on a first-name basis with the Pope himself.

Who could not be impressed, Mr. Patiperro? And you studied there how long?
One month.

You stayed only one month?

I did, Sir.

(Adding quickly)
But I would be there to this day had not Mother written that Father’s ship had docked in Cadiz. Naturally, I was off to Spain. You understand, of course, a son’s love for his father?

I’m guessing your father wasn’t there.

(Looking down a full ten seconds, then back.)
And so … I was off to Japan.
(Shaking his head slowly, bewildered)
To follow another sighting?
(After an audible sigh, and a slow shake of his head)
To seek peace.




[Note to reader: It's important for me to explain that the scene format is, at best, an artificial construct for the readers here on FanStory. The play, if performed, would be in roughly three scenes, and that would produce more of a feeling of continuity.]

Thanks to Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash
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