A VEB Play in One Act
It's the pivot of winter, where the bitter cold of January begins to give way to the Grapefruit League and a warm, renewed sense of optimism, but at a suburban shopping center on this cold, spare February day TONY LA RUSSA and JOHN MOZELIAK aren't doing anything like resting on their laurels. Outside the strip mall TONY and JOHN are discussing the very makeup of 2009's club. Theirs is a job that takes no vacations--that stops for no man.
TONY LA RUSSA: Hey, hey--stop the car.
JOHN MOZELIAK: What're you talking about? Taken starts in ten minutes.
TONY: Circuit City's liquidating, Mozman Prophecy! I've been waiting for ten years for this, and god knows I'm coming out of there with a DVD player.
JOHN: Alright, alright. Let's just be quick about it, okay? I don't want to miss a single dead sex-trafficker.
The Circuit City's double doors are surrounded by massive, exclamation-pointed banners promising 10-70% off. TONY is excitedly rapping an open palm with his checkbook. JOHN, checking his cell phone for the time every few seconds, seems less enthused.
In the store the liquidation frenzy has not yet erupted; TONY and JOHN join a group comprised primarily of store personnel and people who are looking for a Wii. TONY and JOHN walk the empty aisles to the DVD section, where they find a salesman.
JOE CARDSTALK: Hi, can I help you?
TONY: Yes, Mr... is it Cardstalk?
JOE: No, no--you say it like card stalk.
JOHN: Oh, so less allegorical.
JOHN stares at the fourth wall.
TONY: Anyhow, I was looking to buy one of these DVD players, and I see you've got a ton of models. What would you recommend? I'm looking for one that'll really make Beverly Hills Cop pop.
JOE [pondering]: All of them.
JOHN: Wait, what?
JOE: Gotta go with all of them. I mean, what if you need to watch two DVDs?
TONY: That's true.
JOHN: I just--
JOE: Or if one of them breaks? You're going to need another DVD player.
TONY: That's also feasible. Moz with the Mozt, I like this guy. He understands contingencies.
JOHN: Look, he's going to--we're going to just keep looking. I mean you guys are going out of business, and all. There are deals to be had.
JOE: Alright. Well, I've gotta head out; I don't actually work here, some guy just handed me this nametag and told me to walk up to the guy in the baseball outfit. Have a good one.
TONY and JOHN are left to their thoughts and the wall of DVD players. Slowly the blinding banners are obscured by the thickening crowd, and other people join TONY and JOHN in the DVD aisle. Little by little the DVD players are plucked from the aisle, their purchasers moving like time-lapse photo subjects around our stationary heroes. A manager arrives.
BERNIE: Are you guys gonna buy something, or what?
TONY: Sorry, man, Moznanski is a grade-A tightwad. I swear he's going to have me squeezing the boxes to check for freshness. Do I know you, Bernie?
BERNIE [uneasily]: No--no. It's short for Bernabe.
TONY: Oh, alright.
BERNIE: Anyway, I don't think I have to tell you guys this, but we're going out of business. This is all we've got, and it's all we're gonna get. If you want an, ah, DVD player, you've got to open up the, the wallet and act now.
JOHN: I know, I know.
BERNIE: Anyway, I've got to get going. We've got ninety percent-off signs to distribute.
TONY: So, Cousin Moz, what do you think?
JOHN: I think Liam Neeson's probably killed fifty or sixty sex-traffickers already. More than that, I think that you've got to pick the DVD player now that gives you the best chance at seeing TRON at its most sparkling. There really isn't a lot of time left to buy, no matter how annoying it's been to hear that the whole time.
TONY: Oh, Lawnmozer Man, you never annoy me. But I know what you mean.
DANUP: Hey, have either of you guys seen an allegorical figure walking around? I lost the one that represented prudence and fiduciary responsibility.
TONY: I'll let you know.
JOHN: After Taken is over.