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a visit from boog

Scene: The Seattle-area residence of Jack Z., opulent in style. The house is decorated for Christmas with an enormous Christmas tree and expensive decorations that appear to be the work of a professional holiday decorator.

Time: Early Christmas morning, pre-dawn

Curtain up. Lights are out in the Z. residence. No movement. Quiet reigns.

Five beats. A crash is heard, glass breaks, somewhere offstage right. Five beats.

Brendan Ryan enters from the right, cradling his left hand. Brendan is a 28-year-old baseball player, a child in a man's body, easily excitable and inconsistent in his attentions. He is wearing pajamas several sizes too small for him. On close inspection, they appear to be "Lightning McQueen" pajamas, bearing the image of the animated star of Disney's "Cars" movie.

Ryan creeps on exaggerated tiptoe into the living room area, looks around, open-mouthed, at the tree and the decorations. He scampers forward to examine the presents beneath the tree. He sits down on the floor in front of the tree, picking one present up after another (using his right hand exclusively), examining each and then discarding the gift roughly

After handling five presents, he gets visibly frustrated, his frustration increasing until at least ten presents have been discarded. He looks up from the haphazard pile of presents, struck by a new idea. He gets up and tiptoes towards the stairs. Ryan climbs the stairs to the second floor.

Once he gets upstairs, he looks up and down the darkened hallway. He pauses in indecision, then turns left. He proceeds down the hall, checking each door he passes. After opening three doors, then shutting them quickly each time, he opens a fourth door and goes through.

Behind the fourth door, Ryan finds a figure sleeping in an enormous king-sized bed, in a finely-appointed bedroom. Ryan tiptoes into the room and approaches the bed.

Ryan: (Whispering) Mr. Zedurensiss? (Louder) Mr. Zedurensiss? Are you awake? (Louder, almost shouting.) Mr. Zedurensiss?

Z: Uhh . . . Hmm . . . What? Who's there? (Sits up in bed, groggy.)

Ryan: it's me, sir. Brendan Ryan. (Pregnant pause.) You traded for me? I play shortstop. I mean . . . I'll play anywhere you want. Because I am . . . (Consults what appears to be writing on his hand.) a team player. (Stiltedly spoken, reading still.) I want to be a team player for the mariners and that means I will listen carefully to what the manager says and not interrupt, crack jokes, or show other players that I can juggle cups of gatorade without spilling them. (Normal tone.) I can, though. Want to see? It's really cool.

Z has been looking at Ryan incredulously throughout.

Z: What the hell are you doing in my house, Ryan?

Ryan: Oh, it's Christmas, Mr. Zidurenchess. (Z continues to look at Ryan blankly.) So, I'm here. For Christmas.

Z: Again, what the hell are you doing at my house?

Ryan: Well, I . . . (Crestfallen) Wait, wait, are you Jewish? Should I have come during Hannukkah? God, I am so stup . . . .

Z: (irritated) It's not a question of what holiday it is, Ryan. We are not close relatives or friends. Shouldn't you be with your parents?

Ryan: Oh, I told them not to come until eleven or so; I thought we would have special "team time" first.

Z: "Team ti. . ."? Did your old GM put up with this crap?

Ryan: Sure, I showed up at his house each Christmas morning.

Z: Did he really host your whole team?

Ryan: Well, I mean everyone was invited . . . . I guess not everybody actually came, but they were allowed to come . . .

Z: So who actually showed up?

Ryan: Well, me and . . . I guess none of the other players ever showed. But they were always invited . . . I mean I assumed they were invited. I guessed they just had other plans. So, it was just me and Mr. Monzelias at christmas. He would always make me a cup of eggnog and a plate of christmas cookies. Except last year when all the doors were locked and Mr. Monzelias was away in Bermuda.

Z: Why would he send you an invitation to his house if he was going to be out of town?

Ryan: Well, he never actually sent invitations. I mean . . . He . . . It was Christmas . . . . And, well, I assumed that he . . . . (Trails off, confused.) Do you have any cotton balls, Mr. Zodernoches?

Z: What?

Ryan: Cotton balls. Maybe some hydrogen peroxide. (Gestures with left hand, which by now is dripping with blood.) Need to clean up.

Z: What the hell did you do to yourself? I should call the team trainer. (Reaches for phone.)

Ryan: I was just letting myself in. I mean, the patio door was stuck . . . .

Z: Locked. Locked!

Ryan: (unfazed). . . and I was messing with it, trying to get in. Because the front door, side door, courtyard door, and servants' door were all locked. I didn't want to be late. Anyway, my hand slipped, went through the glass, and I cut it pretty bad.

Z: Listen, we're going to get the trainer over here. He's going to take you away and stitch you up. Hopefully you didn't nick any tendons or anything. I am not going to call the cops, but only because you're one of my players and we don't need the scandal. But you're going to leave and not come back. Okay? I don't know what you got away with in St. Louis, but don't try it here.

One beat.

Ryan: Do you have any cookies? Like, with sprinkles? Because Mr. Morzeniak used to have really good cookies like that, in Christmas tree shapes. Whenever I came to the team holiday party, he'd always get out of bed, make me a cup of eggnog, give me some cookies, then tell me to go home.

Z: You really didn't hear anything I said, did you? Here, let's get that bound up so you don't bleed on the carpet.

Z produces a clean, monogrammed handkerchief from a bedside table and wraps it around Ryan's bleeding forearm. While he does so, Ryan asks:

Ryan: Did you hide my present, like an easter basket? Because I looked downstairs and didn't see it under the tree. Of course, maybe I just didn't see it . . .

As Ryan is saying this, at far stage left, a window to Z's bedroom is slid open slowly by ichiro suzuki.  He is dressed in a black Zorro-type mask and, from the neck down, an enormous, very round, neon pink furry suit, as for a rabbit. He sneaks - as much as is possible in the suit - through the open window. The sides of the suit scrape the sides of the window frame.

Ichiro creeps up behind Z and Ryan, Z focused on binding the injured left arm of Ryan, Ryan focused on discovering where his present is. Ichiro leaps up onto the bed, jumping up and down three times with great force.

Ichiro: Happy feasting day of naked Jesus baby, Jack-jack! And a donkey-strong News Year!

Cackling and muttering in Japanese, Ichiro dives out the window with a clatter and a crash.

Ryan: Hey, wait!

Ryan, cradling his bandaged arm, leaps out the window after Ichiro.

Z looks around his now-disheveled bedroom, scowling, then walks slowly to the window, looking after his departed players.

Z: I think he'll fit in just fine.

Z smiles.