Scene From The 21st Century – Issue 22

SHOOTING STARS IN A BARREL

Scene One:

There is a small, greyish figure sat at a desk in a large open-plan office complex. On a jaded fascia desk, just in front of the figure, is a childishly ostentatious certificate with the legend Team Star emblazoned in very large font.

Within a few seconds a shadow grows over the incumbent figure. A manager-type figure, wearing the appointed apparel of their station, comes from behind and hovers over the desk-bound figure. The manager goes on to pat the seated figure on the back in a very condescending fashion.

A terse, unemotional, “Well done” emanates from the pursed lips of the manager.

The seated, fatigued figure musters a “Mmm” in response.

It transpires that the manager gives the seated figure another identical certificate, with the same emblazoned title of Team Star.

Curtain Falls.

Scene Two:

As above except that the manager this time merely embraces the seated figure but this time nothing is said.

We are given the added visual display of the manager’s shadow withdrawing from the scene and the bright letters of the certificates sparkling.

Curtain Falls.

Scene Three:

The background has changed, the action now takes place in a room that has smaller card-type certificates of a sort, and on them are small narratives conveying simple information concerning job vacancies and their necessary details.

In a few seconds we see an automatic door slide open and the small, greyish figure, looking more charcoal-grey than before, enters and makes its way to the wood-fascia desk.

“I’m here for my back-to-work interview.”

Just then, the figure turns round and recognises another greyish figure a desk along. In an impulse of reminiscence, the first figure goes to the other and embraces them saying,

“Hello, you young so-and-so, I didn’t know you had been made redundant, too.”

The young so-and-so starts and is then seen to fumble in the right hand pocket of their garment in a state of some agitation.

The first figure, puzzled, says, “Are you OK?”

The second figure, still with their hand in the pocket replies,” Yeah but embracing this change is a dubious legacy of modernity.”

At this they look at one another and, after a moment of unease, start laughing uproariously.

Just as tears start streaming from both in this fit of amusement, the desk clerks, in unison, say,

“If you’ll just take a seat, there’ll be someone along to see to you in a moment.”

They both move off to take adjacent seats and resume a shared look of resigned anxiety.

Curtain Falls Off.