Men Without Boats: A tragicomedy

Note from the author: In order to capitalize on the unprecedented success of the Harry Potter play “Harry Potter And The Cursed Child,” as well as “Hamilton,” I, Clint J. Farr, present this week’s article on the struggles of men without boats as a script.

 

ACT I

SCENE 1

(Five men sit in badly-lit conference room. There is an air of desperation.)

STEVE

I call the fifteenth meeting of MWB support group to order. Let’s take roll. David?

DAVID

Here.

STEVE

John?

JOHN

Here.

STEVE

Pirate?

PIRATE

Aye!

STEVE

And there appears to be a new guy in the back. That guy in the back?

THAT GUY

Here and actually my name is...

STEVE

And I believe we have our regular on speakerphone.

ON SPEAKERPHONE

Marsha am...gr.

STEVE

All right! First order of business. Approval of last week’s minutes. Pirate? Do you have the minutes?

PIRATE

Nay.

STEVE

Any explanation?

PIRATE

Arrrgh. A wee bit difficult to remember the parrrrticulars three sheets to the wind off me favorite grog.

STEVE

You’ve been secretary for two years and have yet to produce a decent set of minutes.

ON SPEAKERPHONE

Pfft. Hrgum.

STEVE

(to the speakerphone)

Exactly!

(to the group)

Right. Moving on to standing reports. As it’s summer’s end and all, let’s hear your freezer updates. How’s it going fellas?

PIRATE

Aye. Mine’s right empty as me duffle. Arrrrrrgh.

THAT GUY IN THE BACK

I’m sorry but I’ve got a...

STEVE

John?

JOHN

Well, I snagged two cohos down by the hatchery...

(The men, except for that guy in the back, shout their congratulations..)

PIRATE

Aye! You’ll be loaded to the gunwale this fine eve lad! Arrrrrrgh!

ON SPEAKERPHONE

Chhhht. Sperg.

PIRATE

(to speakerphone)

O! M! G! That’s hilarrrrrrss!

STEVE

(also to speakerphone)

We’ll have to try that this weekend.

(to group)

And, let’s see, David?

DAVID

My freezer is still topped off with real New York bagels from when the Silverbow shut down a year ago.

PIRATE

Ho me hearties! I did love the bagels of New Yorrrrrrk. A drop of me rum to their memory...

(the men nod in agreement. The phone crackles. David pours a 40 onto the carpet)

STEVE

David? Please? The carpet. I’m upping your dues... Now next on our agenda.

THAT GUY

Yeah okay, sorry to be that guy that interrupts. Could you tell me why you’re here? Your driving purpose?

STEVE

(grimacing)

What?

THAT GUY

MWB? Men Without Boats. That is what your name stands for, right? I mean, I’m here for a support group for boatless men.

STEVE

That’s what we are.

THAT GUY

Okay. So ... Your purpose? Are MWBs depressed or something?

STEVE

Pirate, you want to answer that guy?

PIRATE

Aye. At its corrrre, we gather to celebrate our fairrrrer half...the only half worth dying forrrrr... Laddy, it’s a tradition. A millennia of art and ache to gain their gaze. To provide. To impress. To win the hearrrt of some lass — to tender your own heart, and hearth, your own breast, and bed, to tender tenderness and love. To die too. Aye. Wanted. Comforted ... Not alone.

And maybe, maybe mate, a scattering of wee scallywags to tear up your home and tear up yer one good eye. A boisterous home of noise, of rrrumpus, of love...where your hearrt fills to burrrrsting and the only release is a smile a mile wide.

That’s why we’re here, laddy. For until the day we can stand at the bridge, we cannot lay with any fair maiden. That is why we are here. That is why we need a support group.

That.

(beat)

And I’m a pirate.

THAT GUY

You need counseling.

DAVID

We had considered Without Manly Boats, or WOMB. But it comes off as kind of awkward.

ON SPEAKERPHONE

Crrrck, shhhg, fut.

DAVID

(to the phone)

Yeah, good point. “Without” is only one word.

THAT GUY

You all must be very lonely.

STEVE

Yes.

THAT GUY

Well, I’m married.

(the men groan and divert their eyes)

What about just being, you know, decent?

STEVE

(quickly)

Okay, next on the addition is our “sharing is caring ... and manly.” David? Your hand is up.

DAVID

(burps from the 40)

Well, I keep going to boat shows. I keep going. I know I’m not going to buy a boat but I keep going. I’m like a masochist.

PIRATE

Aye!

DAVID

And I think I’m going to do it. You know? I think I’m going to buy a boat this time. This time it’s going to be different. This time I won’t wuss out. This time, I’ll just buy the damn boat, I’ll just buy it. Buy it, buyitbuyitbuyitbuyit BUY IT! But the voice...

(David chokes a little)

The voice.

STEVE

Go on David. You’re doing great. The voice?

DAVID

Dad’s voice... “You want a boat. Fine. Go down to the dock. Open up your wallet. Start throwing in cash. Twenties at a time.” And I can’t...I can’t.

(David breaks down into heaving sobs)

PIRATE

Aye, it’s a shame to be rrrrrrresponsible...

(the men murmur in agreement)

STEVE

Weird, the dock thing was going to be our field trip next month.

(the men continue to murmur in agreement)

STEVE

Anyone else? No? Okay, onto “Friends with Boats.”

THAT GUY

What’s that?

STEVE

Updates on any trips any of us may have had with friends who have boats...John?

JOHN

Yeah...went out with a buddy, I’ll keep his name secret so Pirate doesn’t swoop him up...

PIRATE

Smaaarrrrrt ...

JOHN

And so, well, I knocked one fish off when I tried to net it.

(everyone winces)

I dropped his gaff and it sank from sight.

(everyone sucks their teeth)

I sent his needle nose to the bottom.

(the men grasp their knees)

And I brought on some bananas.

(the men gasp, except for that guy in the back)

THAT GUY

Bananas? What’s that got to do with anything? I just went out with a buddy of mine and we ate bananas, saw whales, drank beer, and didn’t catch a thing.

PIRATE

Aye bucko, ye didn’t catch a thing. And ye could’ve come aparrrrt like the shell of a cackle fruit, ye could’ve. Ye could’ve joined Davy Jones at the bottom of the pond with ye outrrrrageous bananas. Arrrr. You’re a son of a biscuit and a scurvy-infested blowfish!

STEVE

Pirate, ah! I just want to shake you by the collar and scream, “Quit being such a stereotype!”

DAVID

Yeah, and, good lord Pirate, could you not give your card to that guy in the back right now? We’ve got lemon creme cookie sandwiches and Yuban for the after meeting networking.

STEVE

All right, settle. We’re almost there. Final agenda item. The Spousal Report...are any of you yet married?

(Silence. The mean retreat into their shame.)

Yeah. That probably goes without saying...All right then, any new business?

THAT GUY

Yeah. Hey, I just checked on Craigslist and there’s a boat for sale over at Auke Bay, 24 foot Bayliner, sonar, fish finder, down riggers, completely turnkey, for 24 K.

(all the men look into their laps)

I’m just saying, you guys look to have jobs, except for you Pirate, why don’t you call on it?

JOHN

We’re not here to solve problems, but to talk about them.

STEVE

Not every problem is meant to be solved, son.

(That guy picks up his coats and makes for the door)

ON SPEAKERPHONE

Krrrrrrrrrshshshs. Sssssss. Kirg.

STEVE

Yep. Just some harmless venting.

THAT GUY

(looks the group over)

I feel bad for you.

(that guy exits the stage)

STEVE

You know, too bad. I was starting to like that guy.

(The men get up from their seats and make their way to the Yuban and lemon creme cookies. The speakerphone crackles. Men laugh. Random conversation ensues.)

(Stage lights dim)

THE END

• Clint J. Farr can be reached at cjfarr@hotmail.com.

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