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[Bright light rises on JOHN and GREG. JOHN is holding a flag in a golf hole. GREG is putting while holding a cigar between his teeth. The curtain reveals the CAST sputtering a back beat while BABE raps. JOHN stares at them.]

BABE: Welcome back.
It's the Survival Guide rap.
Chapter six--

Alright ladies. Alright men.
Step off the old crone trip
It's the next millennium.
Want that kick ass sales
Up your clientele?
Let's rap information
Let's surf your need
Let's power up the digital
Video your creed
Got my man PR
Make you sound better than sex
He'll spin your groove
Some uptown tech
Web page on the power tip
E-mail from T. Rex
Got your info firm
Right here on my clock
Buyer names, Buyer loves
Got your buyer's favorite color socks
No reason to bug
No reason to fly
No reason to dance the No-Doz, Big Gulp, Take-out, Taco Bell, Gas & Sip time
It's all on paper, want to sit up in bed
It's all on tape, while the highway fills your head
It's a razor on the CD tip
On 8-track for your daddies
Or just get it all on the dot com
For you Microsoft chumps—finish wackin' you paddies…..

ALL CAST: [with books] Babe Dupree Sales
Babe Dupree Sales
Babe Dupree Sales for Survival

JOHN: Babe!

BABE: Chapter Six.

[The curtain is pulled leaving JOHN and GREG and the quiet hiss of cicadas.]

JOHN: I'm sorry what did you say Greg?

GREG: I said… what are your intentions Johnny? I know. You come here to Phoenix to sell me your frames. Maybe fit in some ‘gars and golf. But intentions… The fact of the matter is John our fathers' taught us well. Price. Margins. Inventory. The power of a handshake. Live to close. Close to live. "Never make them buy a product, you make them buy—an opportunity." You have one. Ten grand is a fair deal—But what exactly. Are. Your intentions?

JOHN: Greg? Are you gonna make me ask for the order?

GREG: Hey—It all comes down to intentions. Intentions Johnny. Yours. Mine. The world's? The fact of the matter is I'm glad you came John. Very. We've always been close. Two men carrying out their respected father's best wishes. That's more than just business acquaintances. That's a connection. Sorry about the old man by the way. Damn shame. But enough business. The fact of the matter is your trip to Phoenix couldn't have come at a better time.

JOHN: Why?

GREG: Heather and I just parted ways. Not much to tell. It all comes back to intentions John! Heather was always a bit self-conscious. Preoccupied with her looks. Always a great body. Very "hot" body. But—for whose intentions? The fact of the matter is Johnny—somewhere she crossed a line. I mean—she wasn't well. Psychologically. Between you and me? All she'd eat…? Carrots. Carrots! Raw carrots. That's all she was eating John. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Swear to God. Carrots. Even if we went out to eat, she'd throw down the menu and pull out a carrot. I didn't have a wife. I had a rabbit. But that's not all. It got worse. Listen, I don't know if you know what happens when all your diet consists of is carrots, especially in sun like this… the fact of the matter is Johnny: Heather turned orange. My wife. Her skin. My wife was orange. The carrots and the melanin or the keratin and this climate…? I don't know Johnny, but when you come home and there's something orange sitting on your couch watching Oprah and eating a carrot… and you can't get to your beer in the refrigerator because it's filled top to bottom with carrots…and everywhere you go you're seeing carrots… the fact of the matter is Johnny and I'm trying like hell to quit saying "the fact of the matter is", but the fact of the matter is—it gives you a pause. What were her intentions John? What were her intentions for turning orange? Were they hers at all? Were they mine? Yours? The world's? The questions are confounding. But we must believe in our answers. [GREG finally puts. He misses.] God Damned Son Of A Bitchin' Cocksucking Bastards! [He breaks his putter.] Bastards! Tell you what. I'm gonna take an eleven. [He picks up his ball.] The next hole has a ball washer!

[GREG exits. DAD enters as JOHN's caddie.]

JOHN: I think I'm in hell.

DAD: Close. It's Phoenix. Hell isn't as hot.

JOHN: Gimme the driver.

DAD: You know… The moment he buys…

JOHN: Cut the crap Dad. People just die. And take pills. [A beat.] He's a healthy young man!

DAD: All it takes is one misplaced bunker rake. Whack. It's over.

JOHN: This is ridiculous.

DAD: Goddamnit John! THESE ARE MY CONNECTIONS! MINE! Greg Delveckio—his father Gordon—for God's sake I practically watched that brat leave his mother's birth canal!

BABE: [Entering is fashionable sun attire.] Yea, yea. You're motor's running old man. Sell the punk!

DAD: Well if it isn't Miss Hemorrhoid.

BABE: Moi? I merely want the boy to make a quick and decisive sale of his frames…

DAD: So do I!

BABE: With no strings attached.

DAD: There's always strings attached.

JOHN: Wait a minute! [To BABE:] You should be gone now—

BABE: I'm connected to a lot more than your sex life—Whew! Pick your potion and pass the lotion, it's hot out!—How was our little Star Wars action figure?

JOHN: She was great! Just great!

BABE: Uh-huh. And that's why you're in Phoenix with the putter killer. I need a margarita. Where's the clubhouse?

DAD: See that pond over there?

BABE: Where?

DAD: Over there.

BABE: Yea?

DAD: Jump in it.

BABE: I don't believe your balls have been introduced to my knee.

JOHN: Alright! Stop! You two make me tired. Just so tired.

DAD and BABE: [After a beat.] Don't say that.

JOHN: Okay. I'm not going to sell Greg. Whatever happens tonight happens. And tomorrow… I don't know. Maybe I'll call Beatrice. I'm going to do what I feel, not what I feel I should do.

DAD: Son, I only want what…

BABE: …I only want what's going to make you happy.

JOHN: Yea. But you don't want me. Why don't you get a suntan, you look like a sock.

BABE: What's up bitter boy?

JOHN: Just leave me alone.

BABE: John. [She gives him a kiss.] You are alone. [She exits.]

JOHN: Anything else? Anybody else want to screw with my head? Anybody else want to give me a problem?

DAD: Yea. Here. [He hands JOHN a golf club.] It's a par three. Try the seven iron.

[The sound of a grunt and a slam-dunk. Followed by screams and cheers. BLACKOUT. The sound of a basketball arena. A time out buzzer. A light on BABE.]

BABE: Survival Guide for Salespeople Chapter Seven: Sports. Sports are asinine and men talking about sports is even more asinine, but when in Rome ladies. Men in sales are usually up on all sports, so all you really have to do is pick one to follow closely. My suggestion is basketball—games are shorter, more exciting, and the men are kick ass.

[Lights cross fade to GREG and some fans (the rest of the cast) sitting down and watching a basketball game. Some are wearing "Phoenix Suns" jerseys. Some are holding other paraphernalia like pennants and big foamy #1 hands. We hear the voice of an announcer and crowd noises: "Foul on Shaquille O'Neal, his first, second team foul." JOHN enters with some peanuts and beers and sits down next to GREG.]

JOHN: Wha'd I miss?

GREG: The fact of the matter is Johnny I've had what you might call an epiphany.

JOHN: I though you were gonna quit saying that.

GREG: Epiphany?… no.

JOHN: Forget it.

GREG: It was like being enlightened. Literally. I'm a new man. No more thinking—doing. I saw my wife. She was orange. And I rethought my intentions.

JOHN: And you found Jesus.

GREG: My parents don't retire for another seven years, but they're just chompin' at the bit to get at that golf course. Can't wait to get old and spend all their time at the club. Their intentions are golf. But what am I going to put in their obituary? Gordon Delveckio… had a great handicap?

JOHN: Sorry Greg, I'm not listening to you.

GREG: I make six figures a year. I hate golf.

JOHN: Is this your epiphany?

GREG: Take Shaquille O'Neal. [Stands.] Hey Shaq! You're a two-timing, double crossing, defecting renegade turncoat and a spy-- You've betrayed your city and betrayed yourself! And you got a big ass! There. I spent a hundred bucks to say that. A hundred bucks to eat peanuts and yell at a belligerent millionaire with an overactive thyroid.

JOHN: We could've watched the game at my hotel.

GREG: The point is not money. It's life. Life doesn't cost money. Money and time exhaust life. Four hours including drive time. Dinner. Tickets. Gas. Parking. Five bucks for a flat beer. Four dollars on rancid peanuts. And four pounds! Ugh. [He throws down his peanuts.]—and for what? What are our intentions?!

JOHN: Greg. You're scaring me.

GREG: Thousands of dollars I've given to basketball players. Will they be at my funeral?

JOHN: Greg?

GREG: What are we doing? What're we all doing?

JOHN: Listen let's…

GREG: [Stands up and addresses the crowd.] May I have your attention PLEASE! Right now each of us are spending a hundred bucks. A hundred bucks to sit in these seats to watch—basketball. And I'm not knocking it mind you—But dammit an hundred bucks is a hundred bucks! Look I got a hundred bucks. And you got a hundred bucks. [Counting people.] 1,2,3,4,5,6-- just us right here got almost a thousand dollars, but what if we all got together and spent it on something else?

JOHN: What?

GREG: I know the human mind can put all this money to better use! Think of what we could do if we pooled these resources for something really important! This many people, with this much money, gathering together with a common belief and I guarantee in two days everybody will remember it! We could change the world! Who's with me?!!!

SMITTY: Shut up and sit the fuck down.

[The crowd cheers. GREG sits down and pulls out a cigar.]

GREG: [Smiling.] That's good. They know their intentions. I hope they'll be able to keep them.

JOHN: What?

GREG: The sixties are over John.

JOHN: Greg. The EIGHTIES are over—you can't smoke that in here.

GREG: I got a secret.

JOHN: Huh?

GREG: I gotta secret. And I'm dyin' to tell ya.

[The FANS become upset at GREG's cigar and begin to yell and curse at him. GREG ignores them. A buzzer. Loud dance club music kicks in. BLACKOUT. The flashing lights of a dance club. The whole cast is dancing, with GREG, chomping on a cigar, and JOHN downstage. SHELLY dances with an IV stand.]

GREG: [Yelling.] You like cigars?!

JOHN: [Also yelling.] What?!

GREG: I said! Do you like cigars?!


GREG: But you are knowledgeable regarding the delights of tobacco!

JOHN: Yea! My dad smoked ‘em!

GREG: So you know what some people will do for a fine aged Cuban Cigar!

JOHN: Can't you put your money to better use?!

GREG: What?!

JOHN: Golf, basketball, cigars… Different strokes, Greg!

GREG: But cigars play a crucial role in my intentions!

JOHN: What?!

GREG: Smoking this cigar is my action! By smoking this cigar I learn more about cigars, which is my intention!

JOHN: What?

GREG: The accomplishment of my intention serves my ultimate objective, which is—to service the world!

JOHN: What?!

GREG: Golf is not a service. It's a sport. My cigars however service everyone! My intentions are valid.

[JOHN stops dancing.]

JOHN: Shut up.

GREG: What?!

JOHN: Shut up! Just shut the fuck up okay!

GREG: You misunderstand!

JOHN: No I understand.

GREG: I've confused you!

JOHN: No. I'm as clear as day!: You're out of your mind-- And I'm leaving!

GREG: [Grabbing him.] No!

JOHN: Just stay away from me!

[They tussle. Music comes on now full blast. BERT enters the mix.]

DICK: Hey! Take it outside!

SMITTY: Cool it boys! This is a dance floor! Not a playground!

BERT: Stop it! John!

JOHN: Bert?!

[They separate. A beat as they come down stage. The cast dances off. The music fades down.]

JOHN: Bert! Jesus! Hi!

BERT: What's going on John?

JOHN: What're you doing here?

BERT: I'm meeting a friend before the Comdex conference—is everything alright?

JOHN: Oh me and Greg—go way back… How's Shelly?

BERT: Better. She's out of ICU.

GREG: Welcome to Phoenix!

JOHN: Oh yes Bert Greg, Greg Bert. [To BERT:] You look great.

BERT: [Shaking hands half-heartedly.] Pleasure. [To JOHN:] John I told my friend about your frames-- I may have a buyer—


Copyright © 2004 by Nick Zagone

CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that E.T.A.: Phoenix is subject to a royalty. It is fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America, and of all countries covered by the International Copyright Union (including the Dominion of Canada and the rest of the British Commonwealth), and of all countries covered by the Pan-American Copyright convention and the Universal Copyright Convention, and of all countries with which the United States has reciprocal copyright relations. All rights, including professional and amateur stage performing, motion picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, video or sound taping, all other forms of mechanical or electronic reproduction, such as information storage and retrieval systems and photocopying, and the rights of translation into foreign languages, are strictly reserved.

Inquiries concerning all rights should be addressed to the author at zagonenick@icloud.com

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