"Morals?"

A one-act play

By Elliot Snodgrass

Written March 18, 2012

[No set. Three middle-aged men (NIGEL, BRUCE, and ARCHIE), very well-dressed, standing in the (assumed) entry of a diner.]

ARCHIE: He is quite the architect, Nigel.

BRUCE: Yes! For his age, he has created quite a number of worthy building designs.

NIGEL: Yes, well, I've always kept my eyes open for talent, gentlemen, even in the youth of our great nation.

BRUCE: And when exactly- no, WHERE exactly was it that you found out abut this young man?

ARCHIE: The Collinsworth convention was it?

NIGEL: Collingsworth, my good man, Collingsworth. Don't you be getting to the point of confusing names already.

[all three laugh]

NIGEL: The parodies section.

BRUCE: As in, ancient architectural parodies?

NIGEL: No. Modern.

ARCHIE: Modern? Oh, my. And he still caught your eye?

NIGEL: Exactly that! There was just something about the way he re-created his subject buildings that stood out to me dramatically.

BRUCE: I'll bet you wondered what-

NIGEL: [cutting off BRUCE] What his originals, look like, yes!

ARCHIE: Why, of course. Anyone noteworthy doing parodies is likely to be either bland or genius.

NIGEL: Well, you exaggerate the stereotype, but...

[pause]

BRUCE: This diner alone is something of a creationed wonder.

NIGEL: Watch your terminology, good man.

BRUCE: What? Oh, pardon me. Tongue slipped.

ARCHIE: Even so, the word is for once fitting, as the young architect has created quite a mood in this building. Notice the bar and stools against the wall, no windows.

BRUCE: And the particular -or should I say peculiar- two-toned tile floor, the longer depth of room versus the relative narrowness and the semi-low ceiling.

NIGEL: I'll be honest with you, gentlemen. Even I was reasonably pressed by the design to assume the mood that our young architect has presented.

[ARCHIE and BRUCE look surprised and give some light applause.]

ARCHIE: Well done to him!

BRUCE: Yes, well done!

NIGEL: Indeed.

[pause]

BRUCE: Um, Nigel...

NIGEL: [looks at BRUCE surprised and a little upset] My good man, since when have you been a user of such base language as "UM"?

BRUCE: Possibly since I entered an establishment with such... odd connotations attached to it.

NIGEL: [Confused and still a little upset] What in Earth's name can you mean?

ARCHIE: Wait a bit, Nigel, I think I recognize what he intends.

NIGEL: Go on.

BRICE: Yes.

ARCHIE: Nigel, have you noted how... pleasant- no, fitting it feels to stand in this room?

NIGEL: If I have noted your odd use of "feel", then absolutely.

ARCHIE: Even despite the bars facing away on the left and right, the peculiar tile, the ceiling, the lighting-

BRICE: [cuts off ARCHIE] Dare I say the "Mood" of the whole room, if not the whole establishment?

NIGEL: For I humor you, I follow.

ARCHIE: Oh, come, my good man, is it not odd that the two factors should clash, and yet don't.

NIGEL: Yes, the appropriate expression that ought to be conveyed would be that of one "loner" stereotype.

BRUCE: But that is not conveyed.

NIGEL: Agreed.

ARCHIE: Then you agree that there is a disconnect?

NIGEL: [reluctantly] Y-yes...

BRUCE: This establishment manages to be intolerant without being in the least bit oppressive.

NIGEL: [pondering] Hmm, I do find that to be dubious.

BRUCE: It just doesn't add up.

[beat]

ARCHIE: If I may-

NIGEL and BRUCE: Eh?

ARCHIE: I might note that our young architect, who presides over this diner, does not allow for more action than is "suitable" for "just friends" within these four wall.

BRUCE: [Chuckles] Oh, well that's just too bad.

[pause, all three ponder]

ARCHIE: [puts hand to his mouth] Oh, dear it couldn't be. [turns his back to the rest of the group (and audience)]

NIGEL: What, What? What is it, my good man?

BRUCE: [holds up a hand] I think I know what it is that has his concerned.

NIGEL: Well, do tell.

BRUCE: Is it possible that our young architect...

NIGEL: Well? Tell me!

[beat]

BRUCE: Could he have ...morals?

[lights out]

[exeunt]