by Jeff Goode
copyright © 2005
(A CHRISTMAS SHOPPER is patiently waiting in line for the mall to open on the day after Thanksgiving. She hums a carol to herself. ANOTHER SHOPPER rushes in and cuts in front of her in line. The first shopper taps the second on the shoulder.)
1ST. Excuse me
1ST. You cut in front of me.
2ND. Yeah? So what?
1ST. It was very rude.
2ND. (brutally frank) Look, this store opens in 10 minutes, and I dont care what it takes, Im not gonna miss out on the new Xbox, the new Dora doll and the new Elmo CD. And if you think you can stop me, Im gonna tell you the same thing my 6-year old says to Santa when hes sitting on his lap every year: Bring it, bitch!
1ST. (stunned) Okay. Just thought Id mention it. Thats all.
(A THIRD SHOPPER comes in, sees the line.)
3RD. Damn! Look at this line.
(She gets in line behind the First Shopper.)
3RD. Why does this happen every year?
1ST. Well, it is the day after Thanksgiving.
3RD. I know that. I mean the line. Every year I come earlier, and every year it gets longer, so I end up at the same place in line, no matter when I wake up.
1ST. I guess youll have to come earlier next year.
(Third Shopper sulks.)
3RD. Hey, can I ask you something?
3RD. Are you here for the new Xbox?
3RD. Good, thats good! Cause thats what Im here for. What about the Dora doll?
3RD. All right, great, this is gonna work out fine. Heres what we gotta do:
1ST. Whats that?
3RD. When the doors open, I want you to just veer left, and Ill go right, and that way I dont trample over you in the rush to get in. Hows that sound?
1ST. All right, I suppose.
3RD. Youre not here for the Elmo CD, are you?
3RD. Great. Thats great. So just stick to the plan, veer left, and you wont even feel me go by you.
(The Second Shopper turns around, pissed.)
2ND. Excuse me.
2ND. Im here for the Elmo doll.
2ND. Im here for the Xbox, too.
3RD. Yeah, so?
2ND. So if you try to blow by me when the doors open, Im gonna take you out at the knees.
3RD. You think so?
2ND. I waited all year for this, and I dont care which way you veer, if you try to get past me, I will take you down, so help me Jesus God.
3RD. Yeah, well, I think youre forgetting one thing.
2ND. Whats that?
3RD. Im behind you in line.
3RD. So whatever happens when those doors open, youre not gonna see it coming. You can try to stop me if you want, but if you get in my way, Im gonna blindside you so bad you may never regain the use of your extremities.
2ND. You could cripple me from the neck down, and I would still sink my teeth in your ass and take you down with me. And then neither of us gets the box.
3RD. Yeah? Well, if thats what it takes.
(They turn their backs on each other. Sullen silence. Finally, Third Shopper decides to call a truce.)
3RD. All right, look
(Second Shopper whips around, ready for a fight.)
3RD. Whoa, calm down. Lets make a deal.
2ND. (suspicious) What kind of deal?
3RD. The way I see it, were both after the same things, so theres really only two ways this can play out. Either you and I end up going at it right here in the line, before we even get through the door. And everybody else gets past both of us.
2ND. Yeah, or?
3RD. Or we can work together and form an alliance.
2ND. (likes the sound of that:) An alliance? Like on television?
3RD. If we team up, theres no way anybody gets past us, and we both get everything we want. And that, my friend, is the true meaning of Christmas.
2ND. How do I know I can trust you?
3RD. Cause you know I want that Xbox just as bad as you do.
2ND. I dont know about that. Id kill to get my shopping done early.
3RD. I will maim, I will kill - and if this is what it takes so help me, I will fucking cooperate.
2ND. (convinced) All right, you got a deal.
3RD. Great. Check this out: (She pulls out a map and cuts in front of the First Shopper to show it to the Second Shopper.) I downloaded a floor plan of the store. We gotta go for the Xbox first, because they moved them up front, and theyre gonna be off to the right. Then we cut across hosiery cause the lines are gonna be shorter there - and get to the kiddie playdolls for Dora.
2ND. Or we could save time if we go through maternity. I know its longer, but those people stay down when you hit em.
3RD. I like it. This is gonna work.
1ST. Or you know what you could do?
3RD. (suspicious) What?
1ST. You could really work together - like a real team - and get everything faster.
2ND. What are you talking about?
1ST. If you go one way, and get two Xboxes, and you go the other, and get 2 dolls - and then share them - Youll both be done with your shopping in half the time.
3RD. That sounds like a good idea
3RD. What are you trying to pull?
1ST. Im just trying to be helpful.
3RD. Youre full of shit, youre up to something.
2ND. I dont trust her.
3RD. Me neither, she doesnt want an Elmo CD.
2ND. Thats messed up.
3RD. (looks at the map) I dunno. What do you think?
2ND. It could work. ...I say we go for it.
3RD. All right. (to First Shopper) Thanks.
1ST. Youre welcome.
3RD. But Im watching you. (To Second Shopper) What else you got on your list? If we do this right, maybe we can take down the whole store in half an hour, and I can get over Mac world for the new iPod.
2ND. Harry Potter DVD. An uber-tool, whatever that is. And one of the new choke toys.
3RD. Choke toy?
2ND. Yeah, the new unsafe toy. It can choke a kid if used correctly.
3RD. You mean, incorrectly.
2ND. No, thats the beauty of it. A child using it correctly can get the cord wrapped around their neck or something and strangle themselves.
3RD. Why would you want one of those?
2ND. Its not for me, its for the neighbor kids.
3RD. Ah. You got a problem with your neighbor kids, too?
2ND. Yeah, I cant get them to stay out of my lawn. I tried talking to their parents, but it didnt do any good.
3RD. Fucking Spics.
2ND. So a couple years ago, I started looking at the most dangerous toy list, and I get one or two of whatevers most likely to kill a kid that year. And I just leave em out in the yard.
3RD. And that kills em?
2ND. No, I wish. But it freaks their parents out, and now they make damn sure the kids stay out of my yard.
3RD. That sounds great. I think Ill get one of those, too.
2ND. You wont regret it.
3RD. All right, were set then. (She folds up her map, and waits for the doors to open.) Have you heard about these new environmentally friendly SUVs?
2ND. I would kill for one of those.
(They notice the First Shopper, still watching them.)
3RD. What about you? What would you kill for?
1ST. Me? (thinks about it) Love.
1ST. And world peace.
2ND. I think youre in the wrong line for that.
1ST. Maybe. But theres just so much violence in the world, you know? I had to do something.
3RD. Howre you gonna get love and world peace standin in the Xbox line?
1ST. See this coat?
2ND. Yeah, it looks new. Thats nice.
1ST. I got it two days ago. I cut a hole in the lining, and pulled out all the insulation. Then I refilled the lining with plastic explosives, and wired it to explode if I let go of this button. Yknow, if I get tackled or knocked out or something. Or if I get tasered, itll go off instantly.
3RD. What the ?
1ST. Then, in a couple minutes, when the store opens its doors, and everybody crushes to get in, Im going to set it off.
2ND. How is killing people trying to get an Xbox going to reduce the violence in the world?
(First Shopper just smiles. The other two Shoppers exchange nervous glances.)
3RD. Yknow, I think I left my purse in the car. My other purse. The one with my credit cards in it. Yeah, this ones just lipstick. Ill be right back.
(She dashes out. First Shopper smiles at Second Shopper.)
2ND. You can go ahead of me if you like.
1ST. Thank you. Thats very polite of you. (She steps past her to her original place in line.) Merry Christmas.
2ND. Yeah, Merry Christmas.
(The Second Shopper backs slow away, then suddenly bolts and runs for it. First Shopper just smiles and hums a Christmas carol to herself as she waits in line. And the lights slowly fade.)© 2005 Jeff Goode - THIS SCRIPT IS COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL AND MAY NOT BE DOWNLOADED, TRANSMITTED, PRINTED OR PERFORMED WITHOUT THE EXPRESS PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR