Happy Valentine’s Day – Be My Ghoul

I’m posting one of my short plays (“Be My Ghoul”) that kinda-sorta is about Valentine’s Day.  Cheers and Cheerios!

 

BE M Y GHOUL

Synopsis: A struggling boutique ad agency pitches an unusual account with surprising results.

Cast of Characters

Oliver … 30-something male, high-energy and confident; Allegra’s business partner and in love with her.

Allegra … 30-something female, a bit shy and conservative; Oliver’s business partner and in love with him.

Mr. Romero … An “ageless” well-dressed zombie in a suit

Place: 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.

Time: Afternoon of a work day

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

 

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 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 conference.

OLIVER

I did, didn’t I?

ALLEGRA

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

OLIVER

I 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, Oliver. You’re the creative genius around here. I’m just the bean counter. I answer the phone, order supplies, do the books. You do all the magic.

OLIVER

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.

Three or four clumsy KNOCKS on the door.

OLIVER

He’s here. Please let him in.

Allegra opens the door and is startled by what she sees. It’s a Zombie in a business suit. He enters stiff and, well, very zombie-like.

ALLEGRA

Oh! [beat] Welcome. Please come in.

ROMERO

(Mumbles a greeting)

Mr. Romero leans in kiss her on both cheeks. She’s appalled.

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.

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 for you. The last thing you need is caffeine. I’ll get right to the point.

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

OLIVER

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)

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 attached 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, current 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, lasts for two 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, 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

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 y ou can. With… with …

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

ALLEGRA

… with Zombieseez. [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 Valentine’s Day heart-shaped message candy.

OLIVER

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 the words together.

OLIVER / ALLEGRA

Your teeth are rotten.

Your eyes are missing.

Your limbs are forgotten.

Let’s do some kissing.

Oliver and Allegra embrace and kiss. In their excitement, 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. Love.

ROMERO

(Grunts and nods in approval)

OLIVER

It’s nothing less than Romeo and Juliet.

Mr. Romero 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

Of course. How silly of me. It’s a deal then?

Mr. Romero nods Yes and shuffles off. Oliver opens and closes the door for him and returns to the room. He’s expressionless. Beat.

ALLEGRA

Oliver?

OLIVER

We did it! What a team! We got the account!

They kiss, then separate.

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.

ROMERO

(O.S. Groans)

OLIVER

And I’ll be yours.

Lights down.

(End of Play)

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