GOSSIP By D. M. Larson
(Play takes place in a makeshift school newspaper office. BULA sits at her desk facing the audience and SKEETER is sleeping under a table covered by newspapers)
BULA: Skeeeeeter! Where are you, boy?
SKEETER: [Crawls out from under a table] Yeah.
BULA: What you doin' down there?
BULA: Didn't you go home last night?
SKEETER: We had a deadline for the school paper. Pulled an all nighter.
BULA: So you got the paper done? Where is it?
SKEETER: [Looks] Shoot. I knew I forgot something.
BULA: Now, Skeeter....
SKEETER: Oowa, baby. The "Now Skeeter" talk.
BULA: We have an obligation to the people of this school to bring them news on a weekly basis. [SKEETER mouths the speech as he sits and listens] We are this town's ear to the world. They count on us to give them the news like no one else can... You listenin' to me, Skeeter? [He even mouths the last part]
SKEETER: Yes, ma'am.
BULA: How much of the paper we got done?
SKEETER: The front part's all done.
BULA: Then get it out there. The students are waiting.
SKEETER: [Mumbles to self] They all just love the school paper. They love to wipe their... [Exits before we hear what he is going to say]
BULA: Poor, Skeeter. This big time newspaper business is hard on the boy. [Looks through paperwork on desk] Now let's see. What do we have for next week's top story? Looks like we're down to two: Where is the school nurse sneaking off to during the day? Or who are the imaginary people the principal is always talking to? Wow. Where do we ever get such good news? I'll bet no other school paper can boast about these kind of headlines.
Monte the hall monitor rushes in with a fake gun.
MONTE: [runs in, gun out] Hold it! Police!
MONTE: [laughs] Hey, Bula.
BULA: You scared me half to death.
MONTE: I know. [snickers]
BULA: What you want, Monte?
MONTE: You still paying a buck each for my hall monitor reports?
BULA: A buck a story. Offer's still good.
MONTE: [proud] I've got five this week.
BULA: Five! That's a regular crime wave.
MONTE: You wouldn't believe what happens in these halls. If this keeps up, I may have to ask for an assistant.
BULA: Wouldn't that be something? [makes a note] That's a story in itself.
MONTE: That's six bucks, then.
BULA: Fine. [Goes to purse] Six dollars. Don't you go spend that all in one place.
BULA: [sarcastic] Boy,
I feel safe knowin' he's around.
[Types] Crime wave
hits the halls of our school. Hide your valuables. Monte the Hall
Monitor says we had a record number of incidents this week. He caught
one group of kids playing with firecrackers and trying to blow up the
chemistry lab. He wrote over ten tickets for excessive farting
in the gym. And rescued some guy from a locker that his girlfriend had
stuffed in him. He must have done something pretty bad. Girl power
gone wild. This school is out of control.
KILABREW: [enters] Bula? How's you feeling today?
BULA: Fine, fine. Here to bring me the school health report?
KILABREW: Certainly. Oh, my.
KILABREW: [examines BULA] You been getting enough vitamin C?
BULA: I... I don't know...
KILABREW: YOU DON'T KNOW. Don't toy with your health, Bula. A healthy body is a temple for the gods.
BULA: I thought there was only one God?
KILABREW: You're so closed minded, Bula.
BULA: What you got for me, Kilabrew?
KILABREW: First, we have "This week's weight watch" by Nurse
BULA: You're not a nurse. You're just a student assistant.
KILABREW: Whatever. See, I weigh all the athletes and I thought that would be something everyone would enjoy reading about. Emma Rogers - gained 12 pounds. Patty May - lost 2 pounds. And a big congrats to Jane Graham - Lost 25 pounds. And our football team's star lineman of the year, Billy Joe Bugle - happily gained another 27 pounds on his way to a school record 324 pound.
BULA: Anything else?
KILABREW: Got some great baby names for you. I asked the art teacher, Mrs. Hicky, what she'd name her upcoming child. She has settled on naming the kid after her favorite snack: Goober if it's a boy.
BULA: And if it's a girl?
KILABREW: That's six bucks.
BULA: Six? That's only two stories.
KILABREW: Four weight watchers and two baby names.
BULA: Five bucks then. The two names are for the same kid.
KILABREW: Fine. [BULA hands over $5] Oh, is that a bird I hear. Cheap, cheap, cheap.
BULA: You can go away now.
KILABREW: Cheap, cheap, cheap. [Exits]
FANNY: [appears at door] Can I come in, Bula?
BULA: Why if it ain't Fanny Mae Alcott? How is my favorite reporter today?
FANNY: [Excited] Favorite reporter? Oooh. That sounds good.
BULA: Well, you've been quite the news hounds lately.
FANNY: News hound. I like the sound of that too. The boys at school have always said I've been a dog.
BULA: [Raises an eyebrow] Well...uh, what you have for me today?
FANNY: Well, I was walkin' around looking for a story. I went out behind the boys locker room. I always go there hoping to... uh... talk with one of the boys. You know, interview 'em after the big game. And if they ever win a game, I'm gonna get the best darn interview. Losing don't make good news.
BULA: You got a point here, Fanny? I'm a busy lady.
FANNY: I do. See, I heard some of them boys talking in the
locker room. They leave the window open cause it gets real hot in there.
BULA: To the point, Fanny. A good reporter gets to the point.
FANNY: [Hands over a report] Anyway, I got this. Don't know if it's worth printin.'
BULA: This is good.
FANNY: You think so?
BULA: Top notch investigating.
BULA: There's your dollar, darling. Enjoy.
FANNY: Wow. I feel just like Barbara Walters.
BULA: Keep it up and someday you just might be her.
FANNY: You really think so? I sure look up to her. Her and Jerry Springer.
BULA: They're the biggies.
FANNY: I'll see you tomorrow.
BULA: Keep 'em coming, Fanny Mae.
FANNY: I will. I'm headed over to the boys swimming hole. They got all kinds of interesting things going on over there.
BULA: This will do fine on the society page. [Sits at computer] Romance is a budding at the school. This week Jimmy Joe Johnson's heart is a palpitating for none other than Betty Sue Mall. Unfortunately he's feeling a bit shy and can't figure out a way to tell Betty he's got those special feelings for her. Don't you worry, though, Jimmy. She'll know all about it soon enough. Best wishes to both of you in this new found romance. Fanny Mae Alcott reporting.
END OF SCENE
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