[A sign says 1993.

We hear the sound of a PBS National Geographic nature show-like documentary. It's serious. It's about sex.

We see ZACH AND JANICE'S dingy apartment. It's a dark early evening.

ZACH is slumped in a chair. He holds an empty beer bottle. He watches the National Geographic nature show-like documentary about sex on his TV.]

ZACH: Dead. I feel dead. Death. I'm dead. I'm dead all right? You're alive. I no longer feel like I'm living.

[He begins flipping the channels.]

ZACH: Dead. Death. The mustard seed falls to the rocky ground and dies. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead.

All skate! Alllll skate!

[He kicks the TV over. Silence.]

Good. The word is gone.

[A sign says: "Zach. Born 1970"

Lights up on the interior of The Vern, a local watering hole. The fluorescent "T" and "A" of the word "TAVERN" are burnt out. So at night the sign says "THE VERN."

ZACH sees The Vern and crosses to it.

BART, the bartender, and BRAD, a customer drinking at the bar, look up at the nature show-like documentary on presumably one of the many TVs mounted on the ceiling around The Vern. It's a slow night. There are Thanksgiving decorations.

ZACH sits down at the bar.]

BRAD: [Watching TV.] Wait. Is this...? Yes. I've seen this one.

BART: Yea?

[Signs say: "BART. Born 1965" and "BRAD. Born 1957."]

BRAD: This is a great nature show. Award winning. These monkeys here are fascinating… See these monkeys? This particular species of monkey is quite intriguing. In their community there is no violence. None. No violence of any kind. Which is an amazing discovery considering every species of animal is based on some kind of...

BART: It may be because they're too busy fucking.

BRAD: That's right! You are absolutely right! These monkeys have sex all day long, that's all they do! They have intercourse with every monkey in the community, even their own offspring.

BART: How ‘bout that. Incestuous monkeys.

ZACH: [Quietly.] All skate. Allll skate.

BRAD: They even have homosexual relationships.

BART: Man, look at ‘em go. It's a goddamn monkey orgy. Hey, will you look at that!

BRAD: That's right. They're the only animal besides the human that has intercourse face to face.

BART: Monkey see, monkey do.

[BART and BRAD stare at the TV in silence. In order to get some service, ZACH clears his throat. The two men look at ZACH, then back to the TV.]

BART: What can I get you?


BART: Yea.

ZACH: No games tonight?

BART: What, you don't like nature shows?

ZACH: Actually I was just watching this at home. Seems everywhere I go-- fucking monkeys.

[This solicits a look from BRAD.]

BART: Sorry coach, this is all you got tonight. The dish is on the fritz and all I can get is channel 10. So, it's PBS until the man comes tomorrow.

ZACH: You're kidding.

BRAD: [Pointing at TV] Will you look at that!

BART: [Looking up.] Gimme a... no way...

BRAD: That's right. Monkeys copulating in trees. That could very well be how our species first began. It's like we are looking back at history. [Addressing ZACH] They are, in a sense, our ancestors.

ZACH: Maybe your ancestors.

BRAD: What was that?

BART: [Cutting in] Don't get too excited coach. I did a chick in a tree once and let me tell ya, it gets tiring. You ever done a chick in a tree? You realize why we walk on the ground after that shit. [Pointing at TV] I probably looked like that monkey there-- go baby! [Thrusting his pelvis.] Hummana, hummana, hummana…

ZACH: [Interrupting] Hey cheetah, can I get a beer?

BART: Yea. Yea you can. You want to narrow it down for me-- Or you gonna make me go through the list?

ZACH: No. Just something dark.

BART: Excellent choice. [To BRAD] Can I get you another there?

[BRAD's checked out. Staring ZACH down.]

BART: Hey buddy.

BRAD: What? [A beat between BRAD and ZACH.] No. I'm fine. [The TV catches his eye.] Oh my God.

[They all look up.]

BART: Awww, what happened?

ZACH: Wow.

BART: What's this with the elephants? Hey, nooo, I don't want to see no elephants fucking! That's gross. Turn it back to the monkeys! What happened to the fucking monkeys?

BRAD: What I owe you?

BART: I don't know-- Eight dollars.

BRAD: Now you're sure you haven't seen her?

BART: Who.

BRAD: My… The woman… the woman I described…

BART: Oh. You're wife.

BRAD: Yea. Now if you see her tell her I… never mind…

BART: No man. No wife. No show. Jesus! Hippos? Fucking Hippos? What'll they think up next.

[BART exits to pour a beer for ZACH leaving the two men alone.

BRAD throws down some money, gets off his bar stool and is about to leave. He stops. He turns and approaches ZACH. BRAD suddenly realizes he's a bit tipsy, but continues anyway.]

BRAD: For your information, sir, my ancestors were monkeys.

ZACH: What?

BRAD: All of them. And so were yours. And we still are. Just base instincts. Muddled base instincts. [Poking ZACH'S chest with his finger] When you fuck? You look like them. [Pointing to the TV] Exactly like them.

[BRAD crosses downstage to the front of the audience. He snorts. He touches himself. He unbuttons his shirt. He breathes heavy.]

BRAD: [Shouting a la Mick Jagger] I'm a monkey! I'm a monkey man!

[BRAD exits.]

[BART brings ZACH his beer.]

BART: One "Something Dark" Beer. Two dolla. Think you could teach a monkey to karaoke? When this joint becomes a karaoke bar I'm gonna teach a monkey to karaoke—Wouldn't that be great?!

ZACH: You sure this is all you got?

BART: That's good beer.

ZACH: No. I meant the TV.

BART: Sprechen sie deutch? The dish is down.

ZACH: I don't really mind-- It's just that you got it on every TV in the joint. I'm surrounded by fucking animals.

BART: Awwww...

ZACH: I just want to drink my beer in peace… can you just change the--just turn it off?

BART: Are you kidding me?

ZACH: [Pointing.] Just that one!

BART: What is your deal?

ZACH: Here, I'll give you five dollars if you turn off that TV. All right? Five dollars-- Take it!

BART: Relax man, I don't want it. [Turns off the TV] Happy Thanksgiving. [BART exits.]

ZACH: I'm sorry. [Calling after him] Thanks! I'm sorry…

[Meanwhile CAT has entered. She is not blond-haired blue-eyed. She is not dark and mysterious either. She has an inner beauty and sex appeal. She carries a large purse.]

CAT: Excuse me, is this seat...

ZACH: Huh?

CAT: Never mind. [She sits. Lighting a smoke…] Are they still open?

ZACH: Huh? Oh, it's 10:30.

CAT: Does that mean they're still open? I didn't ask for the time.

ZACH: I'm sorry, what did you ask?

CAT: How do you get a beer around here? Flair gun?

ZACH: The bartender actually. He was just here a second ago.

CAT: I don't see anybody… except maybe animals. Mating animals. This was on at home!

ZACH: Yea. You kind of have to flag him down.

CAT: Who?

ZACH: The bartender.

CAT: It doesn't look very busy. You'd think… [Seeing BART bussing a table] Oh! Is that him?

ZACH: Yea.

CAT: Excuse me. Excuse me!

[BART exits.]

CAT: Hey, he turned around… where's he going?

ZACH: [Eyeing CAT's smokes…] I don't know… um…

CAT: Do you think he saw me?

ZACH: It looked like he saw you… Uh, do you mind if…

CAT: I don't think he saw me…

ZACH: Those are menthols aren't they?

CAT: Yea. Oh. You don't mind if I smoke do you?

ZACH: No. I love menthols…

CAT: Did you want one?

[She takes one out and crumples the wrapper.]

ZACH: No, no…

CAT: You can have one if you want one.

ZACH: But, that would be your last one…

CAT: I have more in my purse…

ZACH: I don't know…

CAT: Go ahead and have it…

ZACH: But look, it's your lucky smoke.

[She puts the smoke in his mouth.]

CAT: Good luck.

[She lights it.

BART enters. He sees this. Lights out on ZACH and CAT.]


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Copyright © 2003 by Nick Zagone

CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that Ohio 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.

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