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The Board Room Table

 

(The conference room door opens.

Eli steps inside

to hear Dick’s bravado)

 

He’s here. He’ll get no satisfaction out of me.

He isn’t going to see me beg.

 

(Jeff responds)

 

Why, you fool, as if the way one

lost his job mattered.

 

When the job is all there is, it matters.

 

 

 

(Eli brings two of his own lawyers,

to offset the lawyers that Peter may bring)

 

My taxi is waiting with my suit cases.

I’ve come to say good-bye.

 

Does Peter know you’re plans?

 

I’ve brought you each a little something.

 

What’s he planning?

 

Is he going to keep us here? For God’s sake,

Wicked Step-Mother.

 

(Eli places small gifts on the table)

 

I picked these out especially for you boys.

 

Is legal outside?

 

That’s been balanced.

 

What about accountants?

 

They’re putting Peter’s plan together.

 

We’ll go to the SEC. He’ll expect that,

but we’ll meet him with an army of lawyers.

 

(to his brothers)

 

You stick with me, and

when you argue, argue hard.

 

Why argue at all?

I think we ought to stay

in our executive positions.

 

(Joey finally speaks up)

 

Stay here?

 

Till Peter comes.

(to Eleanor)

 

He will come,

won’t he?

And he’ll come alone.

 

(to Dick)

 

I count three lawyers to one.

 

You think we would win?

 

I’d only do it wrong.

You sue him, I’ll watch.

 

(Dick to Eli)

 

 Where are you going?

 

Out for air.

 

(moves to go)

 

(Jeff to Dick)

 

Don’t stop him.

 

You don’t think I’m taking your side,

do you?

 

If you tell, there’ll be a rash of firings,

and you don’t want that.

No, you don’t want to

lose one of us, not even me.

 

You’re clever,

but I wonder if you’re right.

 

Warn him, it’s the end of us.

You warn him not,

it’s the end of him.

It’s that clear.

 

Take the lawyers and fight.

 

No, Jeff is right.

 

You’re not a hired gun.

 

Look again.

 

Dick!

 

Spare me that. You brought lawyers.

You want him out? You do it.

 

You unnatural animal.

 

Unnatural, Mummy Dearest? You tell me, what’s nature’s

way? If poisoned mushrooms grow and babies

come with crooked backs, if goiters thrive

and dogs go mad… and wives kill husbands,

what’s unnatural? Come, here stands your lamb.

Come cover him in kisses. He’s all yours.

 

No, you’re not mine.

I’m not responsible.

 

Where do you think I learned this from?

Who do you think I studied under? How old

was I when you fought with Peter first?

 

Young. I don’t know.

 

How many battles did I watch?

 

But those were words,

not lawyers behind a door.

 

I never heard a corpse ask how it got so cold.

What were you thinking when you fought him?

 

You.

 

Of your unnatural animal?

 

I did it all for you!

 

You wanted Peter dead.

 

No, never that.

 

You tried to kill his company.

 

Yes!

 

Why? What did you want?

 

I wanted Peter back.

He spent every hour

at the company offices.

 

Liar!

 

I wanted Peter.

 

Don’t trust her.

She’ll warn him if she

gets a chance.

 

 

Dear, dear,

whatever shall we do

with Step-Mother?

 

(Peter appears,

carrying an armful documents.

Pretty Boy follows)

 

We need facts. What we do in conference rooms

needs the light of day.

I took these from Human Resources

They won’t begrudge them, and

the high priest works for me.

 

You look dreadful.

 

So do you.

 

I underslept a little.

 

We can all rest in a little while.

 

It is bright and clear, beautiful morning.

Fine looking boy.

 

What do you want from us? You must be mad.

Why did you have us come here?

Damn it, why did you call us?

 

You were the best. I told her so.

 

( to Joey)

 

You, I loved.

 

You’re going to keep us in our jobs; correct?

You can’t ever let me go.

You know you can’t.

 

I can.

 

Brave boys… that’s what I have.

What’s wrong? You’re brave,

aren’t you?

 

But you’re CEO.

 

(Joey runs toward Peter, arms outstretched)

 

 

Please, take me back. Can’t we try again?

 

Again?

 

We always have before.

 

Oh, yes, we always have.

 

 

Go on! Fire him.

They’re traitors, aren’t they?

This was treason, wasn’t it?

You gave them jobs. You take them away.

 

Who’s to say it’s monstrous? I’m the CEO.

I call it just.

 

(to his sons)

 

Therefore, I,

Peter, by the grace of the Bishop,

King of the digital world,

Lord of local area networks, routers and WiFi,

Count of all digital things,

do sentence you to the mail room.

 

Done this Christmas day

in New York,

in God’s year

1983.

 

 

Surely that’s not what I intended.

Children. Children. They’re all we have.

Go on. I’m done. I’m finished with you.

You and I are finished.

 

(Joey, Jeff and Dick exit)

 

You spare the rod,

you’ll spoil those boys.

 

I couldn’t do it, Eli.

 

Nobody thought you could.

 

(Pretty Boy to Peter)

 

Come rest.

 

I want no men in my life.

 

You’re tired.

 

I could have conquered the European market,

all of it, but I had men in my life.

Go on, get out. Go on.

 

(Pretty Boy exits)

 

I should have left you years ago.

You put me here.

You made me do mad things.

You’ve bled me.

 

Shoulder it yourself. Don’t put it on my back.

Pick it up and carry it. I can. My losses are my work.

 

What losses? I’m the one with nothing.

 

Tomorrow Next Post:  AN EASTER PROMISE

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