by Jeff Goode
copyright © 2008
(LIGHTS UP ON: NEWSOME. Enter ERROL.)
NEWSOME. Mornin Errol. Whyre you lookin so glum?
ERROL. Havent you heard? President Lincolns thinking about signing that there Emancipation Proclamation.
NEWSOME. I had a feelin. But what do you care? You dont own any slaves.
ERROL. No, but Im just worried what it could lead to.
NEWSOME. What it could lead to?
NEWSOME. I guess I hadnt thought of it that way.
ERROL. You see what I mean?
NEWSOME. Hmm. That is troubling. Its downright disturbing when you think about it.
ERROL. Im tryin not to think about it.
NEWSOME. Goddamn neggras!
CARTWRIGHT. (offstage) Howdy, neighbors!
NEWSOME. Say, whos that limpin over this way?
ERROL. Aint that old Cartwright lives up the hill a ways from you?
NEWSOME. Is that what he looks like? I never seen him outside the house.
ERROL. Well, it is a pretty steep hill, yknow, and we had a spot of rain lately.(Enter CARTWRIGHT.)
ERROL. Mornin Cartwright, what you limpin for?
CARTWRIGHT. Oh, I broke my damn ankle.
ERROL. You know Newsome? Hes new in town.
CARTWRIGHT. Sure, I seen him and his goddamn kids walkin by my house on their way to the general store all the time. All that candys gonna rot their intestines, just you wait!!
NEWSOME. So you own that old house up on Mud Hill?
CARTWRIGHT. How do you think I broke my ankle? Took a wrong step comin outta my front door, slid all the way down to Main Street. And got run over by a carriage.
NEWSOME. Well, I hope you dont mind my askin but why dont you build yourself a staircase up the front hill? Make for an easier climb of it.
CARTWRIGHT. No, thank you.
ERROL. Well, why not?
CARTWRIGHT. Thats a slippery slope.
ERROL. And you wouldnt go twistin up your ankles if you built some stairs up it ten years ago when you broke your foot the first time. (scoffs) Slippery slope.
CARTWRIGHT. Im not talkin bout Mud Hill. You think I dont know that things slicker than a pigs vagina?
NEWSOME. Then whats the slippery slope?
CARTWRIGHT. Building a staircase.
ERROL. How do you reckon?
CARTWRIGHT. Because you build one step, next thing you know you gotta build another one. Once you build two steps, youre gonna want a third. Before you know it, you got half a staircase goin up the hill to the house.
ERROL. Youre not gonna get too far on half a staircase.
CARTWRIGHT. Thats what Im saying. You build half a staircase, you might as well build the other half, or the whole towns gonna think youre a jackass for just building half a staircase up half a hill.
NEWSOME. So why dont you do that?
CARTWRIGHT. Oh, no! I know where that leads. Right up to my front door. And once my wife sees it, shes gonna want handrails and a porch and a proper doorframe on the windward side so people dont have to climb in the windows all the time.
ERROL. And whats wrong with that?
CARTWRIGHT. Its a slippery slope, I tell ya!
ERROL. Well, you make a good point.
NEWSOME. Oh for the love o Saint Christ. Whats wrong with having a nice sturdy staircase leads up to your front porch?
CARTWRIGHT. Youre not from around here, are you?
NEWSOME. No, Im from out West, and where I come from we got staircases all over the place, and they never give us any trouble.
CARTWRIGHT. Well, maybe thats how it is in San Francisco. But around these parts, you build yourself some front steps, its only a matter of time before you got people comin up em.
ERROL. Thats a slippery slope.
NEWSOME. What do you mean?
ERROL. Happened to my spinster Aunt Cletus one summer. She forgot to stock up on ammunition and ran outta shells for her favorite shotgun. Next thing you know, visitors come to callin. The neighbor lady brought over a pie. Coupla gals from church started comin by for pinochle. Sheriff took to stoppin in just to see if she was all right or she needed anything. And then there was that strange-lookin feller from down the block that she kept runnin into every time she went to the general store. Shed drop in for some eggs, or some milk, or some flour, and he was always there. Lookin at her funny.
NEWSOME. Oh, no. What happened?
ERROL. Well, he started comin by her house with flowers. And they took to courtin. Turns out hes an awful nice feller. Just got a lazy eye is all.
CARTWRIGHT. Theyre gettin' married come June, aint they?
ERROL. Yep. Did you know he owns the general store?
CARTWRIGHT. Youre joshin me.
ERROL. Second wealthiest bachelor in town, it turns out.
NEWSOME. So thats good news for your spinster Aunt.
ERROL. Oh, yes. But its a slippery slope.
NEWSOME. It doesnt sound so bad.
CARTWRIGHT. Oh, sure. You say that now. But what happens after that? You make friends with a few nice decent folk, you might start makin friends with more people.
ERROL. Start bein more active in the community.
CARTWRIGHT. A feller could become downright popular. Pretty soon, you got people askin you to run for mayor. Maybe even Senator. And how would you like that?
NEWSOME. To be Senator? I think Id like that a whole lot.(Enter GOVERNOR.)
GOVERNOR. Sure you would. But its a slippery slope.
NEWSOME. Who are you?
GOVERNOR. Im the governor. And I could make one of you Senator right now.
ERROL. Can a Governor do that?
GOVERNOR. Ordinarily, no. But we got a vacancy to fill. Our old Senator died not twenty minutes ago.
NEWSOME. Oh no! What happened?
GOVERNOR. He was campaigning door-to-door in town and slid down a mud hill didnt have a handrail. Fell under a carriage and broke his pinky toe and bled to death right there on Main Street with a whole crowd o people standin around.
ERROL. Wouldnt nobody help him?
GOVERNOR. Oh they tried. But he was carryin a shotgun. And unlike your poor, helpless aunt, he had shells to go with it. Coupla warming shots, and they pretty much left him alone after that.
NEWSOME. But why didnt he put down his gun and let somebody save him?
GOVERNOR. I suppose he coulda. But thats a slippery slope.
CARTWRIGHT. Hes right there. You put your shotgun down for one minute, just cuz your life depends on it, and you know what happens next?
NEWSOME. You live?
GOVERNOR. Sure, I guess you could look at it that way. But what kind of life is that, let me ask you? No shotgun. Stairs leading up to your front door. Lots of friends. Leader in the community. And then BLAM youre makin love to a donkey in a Tijuana sex show.
NEWSOME. Whoa whoa whoa! I think you missed a step there.
GOVERNOR. Did I?
ERROL. Yeah, I think you left something out.
NEWSOME. How do you get from building one step at the bottom of a slick hill to doin a burro burlesque in Mexico?
GOVERNOR. I thought I explained that, but since youre new in town, let me walk you through it slow-like.
NEWSOME. I appreciate that.
GOVERNOR. You do one half way decent thing in your life and next thing you know, one thing leads to another, and there you are. So you go from there, and so on and so forth and before you know it, God forbid, theres no turning back.
ERROL. Point of no return.
CARTWRIGHT. Turns out its too late.
GOVERNOR. And BLAM!
NEWSOME. Blam what?
GOVERNOR. Bestiality is legal.
CARTWRIGHT. All because you couldnt leave well enough alone.
NEWSOME. Bestiality is not gonna be legal.
GOVERNOR. One little step in the right direction, and thats it! Its all over! Youre makin love to a dog. Or a horse. Or worse yet, youre the dog, and the horse is makin love to you. And then
GOVERNOR. Then you move to Mexico.
ERROL. Okay, now I get it.
NEWSOME. I dont see how that could possibly happen.
ERROL. You dont?
CARTWRIGHT. You sure?
NEWSOME. Yes, Im positive.
GOVERNOR. Youre absolutely positive?
NEWSOME. Yes! Yes! Im positive! Im absolutely 100% cocksure positive that changing one little thing is not going to lead down a slippery slope that ends up with me making love to a farm animal in a foreign country.(BEAT.)
GOVERNOR. Are you willing to take that chance?(LOOOOOOOOOOONG PAUSE.)
GOVERNOR. Thank God.
ERROL. That was a close one.
CARTWRIGHT. Thought we lost you there.
NEWSOME. Goddamn hom-a-sexuals!