Be My Ghoul

In honor of the upcoming ghoulish celebration known as Halloween, I’m posting a short play of mine, a comedy titled “Be My Ghoul.” I hope you like it.

BE MY GHOUL

CHARACTERS:

OLIVER – 30-something male, high-energy and confident
ALLEGRA – 30-something female, a bit shy and conservative
ROMERO – An “ageless” well-dressed zombie in a suit

SETTING: Contemporary small ad agency board room. Conference table, with bottled water, coffee thermos and mugs on it; three chairs in the room; a flip chart with paper on it near the table.  The first page of the flip chart is blank.

AT RISE: Oliver and Allegra scurry about, setting up the conference room table for their next meeting.

OLIVER
How do I look?

ALLEGRA
Killer, as always. You’ll knock ‘em dead.

OLIVER
Not sure that’s necessary with this client. Or even possible.

ALLEGRA
You’re so talented.

OLIVER
Why should that stop us?

ALLEGRA
What?

OLIVER
You know what. The money.  Do I have to ask again?

ALLEGRA
I won’t start off in debt. Financial problems are the leading cause of failed marriages.  I’ve seen the stats.

OLIVER
Statistics have nothing to do with the heart.

ALLEGRA
The heart has nothing to do with paying the bills. Let me put it this way, if we don’t land this next account, we’re goners.

OLIVER
As in dead meat?

ALLEGRA
The deadest. … Don’t worry. He’ll love the campaign.

OLIVER
My dear, you inspired the campaign.

ALLEGRA
You did such a great job with the nail biters group.

OLIVER
I did, didn’t I?

ALLEGRA
Getting Nine Inch Nails to perform at their closing ceremony was brilliant.

OLIVER
Didn’t do so well with the Hemlock Society.

ALLEGRA
What do you mean? Reusable membership cards is saving them thousands of dollars each year.  And those Hemlock action toys for seniors you placed in the fast food hamburger chain boxes?  Big hit.  Huge.

OLIVER
Perhaps. But organizing their Christmas Party was a disaster.

ALLEGRA
Guests should have known better than to drink from the punch bowl. I mean it was the Hemlock Society.  Hello!

OLIVER
Allegra?

ALLEGRA
Yes?

OLIVER
Would you help me with the pitch?

ALLEGRA
You know better, Olly. You’re the creative genius around here. I’m just the bean counter.  I answer the phone, order supplies, do the books.  You perform all the mumbo-jumbo magic.

OLIVER
But it’s the kind of pitch that would work better with a partner. You wouldn’t have to say much, just read a slogan or two from the comp boards.  Besides, he’s not a very talkative client.  He mumbles and groans a lot and feels a little insecure because of it, I suspect.  Nice man, though, with a great sense of humor.  They have a huge budget for the campaign and the deep pockets to back it up.  This could be the break we’re looking for.

ALLEGRA
Who is it again?

OLIVER
Mr. Romero. He’s the publicity director for ZONA, Zombies of North America.  They’re trying to upgrade their image.

ALLEGRA
And I inspired this campaign? I don’t know whether to be proud or to run for the door.

A few clumsy KNOCKS on the door.

OLIVER
He’s here. Please let him in.

Allegra opens the door and is startled by what she sees: a Zombie in a suit. He enters stiff and zombie-like.

ALLEGRA
Oh! [beat]  Welcome.  Please come in.

ROMERO
(Mumbles a greeting)

Mr. Romero leans in and kisses her on both cheeks. She’s stunned. 

OLIVER
Welcome, Mr. Romero. I trust you had an enjoyable flight?

ROMERO
(Mumbles a response)

OLIVER
I share your pain. The lines at Security can take forever.

Oliver shakes Mr. Romero’s right hand and the zombie’s arm falls off. It drops to the floor

ROMERO
(Groans)

Allegra gasps. Oliver picks up the arm and hands it back to his client.

OLIVER
So very sorry.

ROMERO
(Moans)

OLIVER
Yes, I imagine it does happen all the time. But we all have our little embarrassments, don’t we?  Sometimes I whistle when I talk.  Don’t mean to.  Never could as a kid. Now I whistle when I least expect it.

ALLEGRA
I always spill food on my blouse.

ROMERO
(Mumbles)

OLIVER
No. The campaign’s not going to cost you an arm and a leg.  Good one, though.

ALLEGRA
Could I get you something to drink, mineral water perhaps? Coffee?

ROMERO
(Mumbles)

OLIVER
I hear ya, staying awake’s not a problem. The last thing you need is caffeine.  I’ll get right to the point.

Mr. Romero sits and places his detached arm in front of him. Oliver stands next to the flip chart, ready to turn the first page.

OLIVER (CONT’D)
Our market research indicates that most people associate zombies with Latin America, especially Haiti, and not the United States.  I can imagine your organization is tired of living in the shadow of your cousins to the south.

ROMERO
(Moans and Nods)

OLIVER
We have found that one of the best ways to improve a group’s image is to tie the group to a holiday. Mothers have Mother’s Day.  Fathers Father’s Day.  There’s Veteran’s Day.  Boss’ Day.  Labor Day.

ALLEGRA
Groundhog Day.

OLIVER
Guy Fawkes Day.

ROMERO
(Mumbles)

OLIVER
I’m not sure who he was but he has a whole day to himself.

ROMERO
(Mumbles)

OLIVER
Well, no. I’m not proposing a Zombie’s Day per se.  I suspect that would be a little too ambitious at this point.  Instead, I’m proposing —

Mr. Romero raises his one good arm.

ROMERO
(Mumbles)

OLIVER
Yes. I know your group is normally associated with Halloween but that’s one day a year and there’s so much competition, what with monsters, witches, animal masks, masks of former presidents.  It’s hard for you and your fellow zombies to get the attention — and respect, I might add — you all deserve.  The Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico, for example, can last up to three days.  That’s why I’m proposing we think out of the box .

ROMERO
(Mumbles)

OLIVER
No pun intended, sir. Out of the box is, yes, well, it’s one of those common…. What I recommend is that your organization actively promote zombies during …

Finally, Oliver lifts the first sheet off the flip chart to reveal the words: Valentine’s Day.

OLIVER (CONT’D)
During Valentine’s Day.

Mr. Romero grabs his severed arm and stands. He’s heard enough.  Allegra jumps in.

ALLEGRA
Picture it, sir. It’s that time of year again.  Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  What better time —

OLIVER
What better time to crawl out of the grave and celebrate with that significant other?

ALLEGRA
And now you can. With… with …

Allegra flips the next page and it has the word “Zombieseez” on it. She stares at it for a moment.

ALLEGRA (CONT’D)
… with Zombieseez. [awkward pause]  Oliver?

OLIVER
Zombieseez. The love candy created by Zombies for Zombies.  Just for you and what’s left of yours on that special Night of the Living Dead.

Mr. Romero sits.

ALLEGRA
Remember, anyone can give decaying flowers —

OLIVER
— But it takes a special someone to give rotten candy. Zombieseez.  When you care enough to say, “Because you’re dead and I’m grateful.” Now with sixteen decomposing colors.

ROMERO
(Mumbles)

OLIVER
Yes, we took into account the special dental problems of your membership. I assure you, these candies, unlike the typical hard Valentine’s Day message candies, will be soft and chewy, almost fleshy in texture.

They’re on a roll. When one flips, the other reads.  On each page is a different saying for a piece of candy, similar to the Valentine’s Day heart-shaped message candy. 

OLIVER (CONT’D)
Be My Corpse!

Oliver flips another sheet. Allegra reads.

ALLEGRA
You Look Like Death Warmed Over.

Allegra flips, Oliver reads.

OLIVER
You Make My Skin Fall Off.

Oliver flips, Allegra reads.

ALLEGRA
Let’s Go Gnaw On Someone.

Allegra flips, Oliver reads.

OLIVER
I’ll Be Your Ghoul Fool.

Oliver flips, Allegra reads.

ALLEGRA
Let’s Share Some Worms.

Allegra flips, Oliver reads.

OLIVER
Be My Mummy.

Oliver flips, Allegra reads.

ALLEGRA
Zombies Rule The Night.

Allegra flips. They read this one together.

OLIVER / ALLEGRA
Your teeth are rotten. Your eyes are missing. Your limbs are forgotten. Let’s do some kissing.

Caught up in the moment, Oliver and Allegra embrace each other and kiss. They knock over the chart. 

ROMERO
(Coughs)

OLIVER
My apologies, Mr. Romero. But do you understand where we’re going with this, sir?  The campaign?  Love conquers all.  Love and Death.  It’s as simple as that.  And as universal.

ROMERO
(Grunts and Nods in approval)

OLIVER
It’s nothing less than Romeo and Juliet.

The zombie stands, walks over to Oliver.

ROMERO
(Mumbles)

OLIVER
I’m very pleased to hear that, sir.

Oliver extends his hand to Mr. Romero’s as if to shake on it. Mr. Romero shakes his head No and holds up his severed arm as a reminder.

OLIVER (CONT’D)
Of course. How silly of me.  It’s a deal then?

Mr. Romero nods Yes and shuffles off.

ALLEGRA
Oliver?

OLIVER
What a team! We got the account!

They kiss and separate. They stare at each other for a beat.

ALLEGRA
If love can conquer everything, even death, it can surely conquer our financial problems.

OLIVER
It’s just money.

ALLEGRA
And not much of it at that. Now it’s my turn to ask.  Will you marry me?

OLIVER
You mean be together forever?

ALLEGRA
For better or for worse.

OLIVER
In sickness and in health.

ALLEGRA
Til death do us part.

OLIVER
We’ll stay together even after death.

ALLEGRA
Yes. Yes.  Yes.  I’ll be your ghoul.

OLIVER
And I’ll be yours.

(End of Play)

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