Scripts For Sale
by John Burkhart
BALDERDASH: Miss Ditherspoon! Please come in here! (Long pause with BALDERDASH drumming his fingers on the tabletop.) MISS DITHERSPOON! WHERE ARE YOU?
TIZZY: (Offstage.) Coming, Mister Balderdash! (She enters from the front of the train with a steno tablet and pen, crosses stage left of table.) What can I do for you, Mister Balderdash?
BALDERDASH: Have a seat. I want you to take some dictation.
TIZZY: (Sitting at stage left chair and opening her tablet.) Certainly, sir.
BALDERDASH: Take a letter…. To: Alfonso Z. Brzezinski, President of the Schenectady & Poughkeepsie Railroad….Dear Mister Brzezinski, This to inform you that my efforts to obtain the Elkhorn Valley Railroad are about to bear fruit. …O.K., Read that back to me.
TIZZY: (Squinting at her tablet.) To: Alfonso Z…
BALDERDASH: Go on.
TIZZY: That’s as far as I got. I can’t spell Brezhoozky, or whatever that name is.
BALDERDASH: You mean to tell me that you can’t spell Brzezinski? What kind of secretary are you? And why didn’t you stop me at that point?
TIZZY: I’m sorry, Mister Balderdash. You were going too fast for me to interrupt you. How is it spelled?
BALDERDASH: Here’s his card.
TIZZY: In other words, you can’t spell it either.
BALDERDASH: ME knowing how to spell his stupid name is not important! What IS important is that you spell it correctly in this letter!
TIZZY: (Writing on her pad.) Got it.
BALDERDASH: Now, read the rest of it back to me.
TIZZY: Dear Mister Brzezinski …
BALDERDASH: Go on.
TIZZY: That’s all I got.
BALDERDASH: Good Grief! Now, I have to start all over again!
TIZZY: Sorry, Mister Balderdash.
BALDERDASH: Let me see now…
TIZZY: (Mumbling to herself and writing.) Let me see now…
BALDERDASH: That’s not part of the letter!
BALDERDASH: To: Alfonso Z. Brzezinski, President of the Schenectady & Poughkeepsie Railroad….Dear Mister Brzezinski, This to inform you that my efforts to obtain the Elkhorn Valley Railroad are about to bear fruit ….
TIZZY: I can’t spell Skinneytady and Picklekeeper either.
BALDERDASH: It’s Schenectady & Poughkeepsie and they are also on the card!
TIZZY: Oh! Sure…got it. Schenectady & Poughkeepsie … (She writes something on her pad.) Now, what comes next?
BALDERDASH: Oh, good grief! Forget it! I’ll write it myself. Now, did you get those reservations for the New York trip?
TIZZY: Not yet.
BALDERDASH: Why not?
TIZZY: I can’t call the travel agency until we stop and you said not to telegram them.
BALDERDASH: Oh … right … I forgot we haven’t stopped since I asked you about them, and telegrams from a train are far too expensive.
(MODESTY enters from front of train. She looks around tentatively.)
MODESTY: (To BALDERDASH.) Excuse me, sir.
BALDERDASH: By all means. I mean, you’re excused. NO! I meant, not excused! I meant, I mean, what can I do for you, miss…
TIZZY: Excuse me, but I don’t think Mister Balderdash was asking about your personal life. He wanted to know your name, Miss …
BALDERDASH: And that’s also a nice personality to cultivate, but we were asking you for your name.
MODESTY: I know. It’s a cross I have to bear. My name is Modesty Faithful.
TIZZY: Well, it is a little strange, but it’s certainly a nice name! By the way, I’m Tizzy Ditherspoon, and this is my employer, Mister Balderdash.
BALDERDASH: That’s Barton Balderdash, at your service. But please call me Bart.
MODESTY: I’m pleased to meet you both. Perhaps you can help me.
BALDERDASH: I’d be happy to … Tizzy, don’t you have something to do?
TIZZY: No. I’m pretty much all caught up.
BALDERDASH: I mean … don’t you have duties to perform elsewhere?
TIZZY: Nope. In fact I’m thinking of eating some lunch while we’re in here.
BALDERDASH: Why don’t you go to the telegraph car and see if there are any telegrams for me?
TIZZY: They’re closed for lunch.
BALDERDASH: Let me put this another way … threes company!
TIZZY: Oh! I get it! (Pulling BALDERDASH aside.) You want to be alone with Miss Faithful, you sly dog! Just between you and me, sir, aren’t you a little old for her? Like about 30 years?
BALDERDASH: (Aside to TIZZY.) Nonsense! We’re perfect for each other. Many women prefer mature men, you know.
TIZZY: Well, yes, but this reminds me more of Betty Boop dating Daddy Warbucks.
BALDERDASH: Let me put this another way ... Do you wish to remain employed?
TIZZY: (To MODESTY.) You know, I just remembered something important that will happen soon at the rear of the train. Please excuse me!