Cast of Characters

Frank: Civilian Guard/Body Disposal worker. About 50 years old.

Al: Civilian Guard/Body Disposal worker. About 50 years old.

Adam: New Civilian Guard/Body Disposal worker. About 20 years old.

Scene

A concentration/death camp in a fascist country.

Time

Late in the day.

SETTING: A break room for the administrators of the Death Camp. Assorted tables downstage, a counter with a coffee maker, refrigerator, microwave and sink upstage. Door Stage Right of the counter.

AT RISE: Frank and Al are sitting at one of the tables and having a cup of coffee.

FRANK

How could you screw up like this?

AL

I didn't screw up.

FRANK

Do we need to go back through this? The incinerator is only fired once a day,

once a day Al and you allow them to have two hundred shot- two hundred. Max

capacities a hundred and you know it. What in Christ's name are we supposed to

do with the other hundred bodies?

AL

She said they were getting a large shipment next week. Said they needed the room.

FRANK

You have to stand up for yourself once in this life, Al! Go to the head and tell him you can't dispose of more than a hundred a day. He'll listen.

AL

So who cares? They had to use guns today, Frank. Because some idiots in supply messed up with the gas, the whole population heard the goddamn gunfire. That's how badly they need to keep up with the eliminations-they're willing to risk a riot.

(pause)

FRANK

Jesus…I didn't know…

AL

I'm just glad I'm not on guard duty when it comes time for the next out-shipment. Crucifying myself would be more fun… there's not much point in worrying about obvious sights and smells now, is there?

FRANK

Well…what about the regs?

AL

Ahhhh, God.

FRANK

Got to complete disposal within 24 hours, Al. You know that.

AL

Are we sure they won't fire the incinerators twice?

FRANK

Bastards been pretty goddamn strict about the efficency regs lately…no.

(pause, Adam enters unseen by the men)

AL

Why can't we just-

ADAM

Hey, Frank, Major Luntun told me to find you. Said she needs to see you right away.

FRANK

What about?

ADAM

She said something about a solution to the disposal problems.

FRANK

What about Al?

ADAM

She didn't say about him.

FRANK

(Looks at Al, Al Shrugs)

So she has a fix…alright.

(Frank exits)

ADAM

(sits down by Al)

What's going on?

AL

They killed 200 today. There won't be room in the incinerators.

ADAM

Fuck.

AL

Watch your mouth.

ADAM

I can do this job, but I can't cuss?

AL

You've just started. You haven't done anything yet.

ADAM

Yeah, but-

AL

Adam, 25 men selected 200 inmates for out-shipment yesterday. They told them they were being shipped to a new camp, a better camp. The inmates probably felt lucky. They were marched about a mile from the camp-

ADAM

Why didn't they take em to the showers?

AL

We're out of gas. Once they got to the spot, they got em all into the back of a few semi trailers. They shoved em all in their, as tight as they could go. Then a jeep with a machine gun mount drove up to the open loading doors of the trailer. After a while, when the jeep had stopped shooting, the men went into the trailers and finished any of em left alive. Closed up the doors, and drove the trailers right back to the building located a hundred yards from where we sit. Adam- you, me and Frank are gonna be feeding those bodies into the incinerator. You've done that, you can cuss all the fuck you want.

(pause)

ADAM

I'm sorry…will it be hard?

AL

Disposal's hard -

ADAM

Not disposal work, out shipment.

AL

Out shipment will be easy. We should get more gas in any day. Giving em a shower is easier on the conscience of most than shooting em like we did before the gas.

ADAM

Most?

AL

I enjoyed the shooting. Hell, I admit it. Before I started here, my life was a shadow affair. I was nothing, never stood up to anyone. When I got to empty an M-4 into people, I became someone; made me feel whole, maybe. I got a release. I came home to my wife, the first night after I'd done the deed. I felt great. She was about to make some supper, baked chicken or some crap. I told her, to hell with it honey; we're going out to eat-Pizza, with everything on it…for me, life got better.

ADAM

I've heard some guys couldn't take the weight on their souls. Back when you started, and still used guns, there'd be at least one suicide among the guards after the out shipments.

AL

Ah, those were the few. I honestly think the 95 of em felt great about it…I'm sure you will too. You've got all that "teenage male aggression" to get out of your system don't ya. Get it out on these bastards.

ADAM

Yeah…I mean, they're just a load of traitors.

AL

(nodding)

Sure, dissidents, might as well be insurgents.

ADAM

The thing I don't get though…

AL

What-

ADAM

Why the families why do we have to pick up the immediate families too, I mean-

AL

You're asking why? Why? Adam, you're young and stupid, so I'll forgive you that hopefully momentary brain fart. In this life, you do not say the word why, you do not questions, you do not stand up to people over you. It does not work-

ADAM

But why not-

AL

Why not why? Why is cuz why is something you should not say! You listen to Bobby McFerrin and shut the hell up! You wanna know something? Frank was my superior until two weeks ago, when the new commander got here. He reversed everything, so know I'm his superior. Do you hear one of us saying that asshole word about that?

ADAM

I'm sorry…just nervous.

(pause)

AL

You will be fine…It's just disposal.

ADAM

I thought you said disposal was harder?

AL

Honestly, I think that's just me.

(pause)

How's Jane doing?

ADAM

Fine.

AL

You two gonna get married anytime soon?

ADAM

What?

AL

Frank says he's sure you two are doing more than just dating…y'know, birth control's hard to come by these days.

ADAM

We are-

AL

Have no fear of commitment Adam. You have a good job now, a great woman, etcetera. Only thing is, illegitimate kids are heavily frowned upon by the authorities. There are certain laws-

ADAM

I know!

AL

Okay, okay. I'm just saying, you can't afford a screw up, Adam. Just remember-

(Frank enters, interrupting Al.)

FRANK

(Admiringly)

That Beautiful Bitch!

AL

What now?

FRANK

She's such a goddamn genius. Screw it, I'm gonna go right out and say it- she should be in command.

AL

What did she say?

FRANK

She's figured it out. I go to her office, she tells me she knows about our problem, has hit upon a great solution-wood chippers, the industrial grade ones that turn Redwoods into sawdust. Got one of em from her cousin, some logger or something. Sawdust takes up less room than lumber, she says, just put the things right up to the incinerator entrance, feed the bodies through em, and problem solved.

ADAM

(sickened)

We have too-

FRANK

(Cutting him off and ignoring him.)

Come on, let's get to it, I can't goddamn wait.

(Frank exits)

AL

You heard the man, let's go.

ADAM

I don't-

AL

Adam: Jane. No screw ups.

(A moment passes, and then the wood chipper can be heard starting up.)

FRANK

(Yelling from offstage.)

What's keeping you two?

AL

Adam?

ADAM

(shakily)

Okay.

(They exit)

(For a moment or two, nothing except the sound of the wood chipper can be heard, and the stage is empty. Then the sound of bodies being fed through it becomes audible, then the sound of the wood chipper jamming horribly. A moment or two more, than Adam enters, covered in blood and gore, followed by Frank)

FRANK

(Yelling out the door to Al)

Stay at it, I'll deal with the kid.

ADAM

(collapses, horrified, into a chair)

I'm not-

FRANK

You're not what?! Not going to help us?

ADAM

It isn't right.

FRANK

Not right? You arrogant little shit; do you have any idea what kind of people these are? Any conception at all of what their kind has done to this country? We lost two fucking wars on account of these people! Protesters, dissenters, bleeding heart liberals, defeatists- all outright traitors! Arrogant snots who decided that they were too good to get in line and support the troops: assholes, everyone of em. All they had to do was stick a goddamn flag decal on their car and shut the hell up, but no, they had to inspire a loser mentality, snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. These people have no conception of what it takes, no conception of sacrifice, duty, honor, country. I saw friends and relatives killed in those wars. Friends, who wound up dying for shit, because we lost, because a bunch of spoiled academic bastard who never did a day of real work or held a gun had to stab the fighting men in the back, had to give peace a goddamn chance!

ADAM

(crying)

But why the families?

FRANK

Because that's what hurts people most, that's why. Most of these self righteous sons of bitches would gladly go to their own deaths and be martyred, but when it's wife and wee ones too, that puts a new spin on things, doesn't it? Hell, one apple's rotten; the whole basket probably is too… Ah, screw it Adam. We need you right now. That super obese cunt has jammed the machine, and Al and me are too old, overweight and slow to crawl in their and pull her fat-ass out. Listen, you should be proud of you're job. You're helping to bring lefty bullshit to a screeching halt and you'll never even have to fire a gun. Hell, I felt proud of it when I was shooting them. I loved it, and not because I'm some perverted wimp like Al. I would pull the trigger, pump em full of lead, and you know what I felt? Recoil, that's what. And the Recoil would hit in the shoulder, not far from my heart, and there it would turn into a kind of righteous joy that I never got anywhere else. I felt like King Arthur, wielding Excalibur and cutting down the unrighteous - better than sex.

ADAM

Would King Arthur kill a kindergarten teacher?

FRANK

What?

ADAM

That woman was my teacher.

FRANK

Ahhhh, shit.

ADAM

She wasn't the kind of person to be politically active, but I remember her saying something once about her husband working in some government function…good person-she brought cookies on my birthday, she knew my mom was ill and couldn't make anything.

(pause)

FRANK

Y'know, I recognized one of the inmates once. She was an old girlfriend from High School, I think. Girl had big tits for someone that age…it bothered me a little, probably the only thing at this place that ever bothered me…but then I thought back to High School, and remembered that we'd broken up cordially enough, but I heard she talked about me behind my back- said I was an asshole, had a small dick-bullshit, we never even did anything, how would she know? She came to me here, told me she'd spread her legs if I spared her and her kids life. I told her to Go to Hell, and sent her there shortly afterwards…come on, stupid teacher didn't do one mean thing to you?

ADAM

Never.

FRANK

Jesus, all my elementary school teachers were vowel obsessed bitches…shit, I forgot, you got a girlfriend, don't you?

ADAM

Yeah.

FRANK

Jane, isn't it?

ADAM

Yeah.

FRANK

Did Al talk to you-?

ADAM

Yeah.

FRANK

So you know-

ADAM

(getting up)

Yeah…I'm ready.

(pause)

FRANK

Finally.

(They exit, and shortly the wood chipper can be heard starting up again.)

BLACKOUT

Author's note: Any comments, good or bad, would be greatly appreciated. I'll review one of your stories if you review one of mine.