Thursday, August 8, 2013

How to Buy a Car.

How to Buy a Car
a short play
by james bezerra

LIGHTS FADE UP from black. VINCE and STAN are sitting in two folding chairs on an otherwise bare black stage. They are successful but aging musicians. STAN is wearing a denim vest with metal and patches on it. VINCE is wearing black leather driving gloves. It would be great if they have mohawks, but that’s really not required.

There are some musical instruments. There is pushbroom on the floor.

STAN: I know that we’re a famous punk rock band but now that I have kids I am seriously considering buying a Volvo and a house with a two-car garage.

VINCE: I don’t know man, a Volvo doesn’t sound very Punk Rock.

STAN: You drive a BMW.

VINCE: What’s wrong with a BMW? It has heated seats.

STAN: I’m just saying that a BMW doesn’t seem terribly Punk Rock.

DELBERT (enters): Hey guys, sorry I’m late. What did I miss?

VINCE: Well Stan here is thinking about selling out.

STAN: That’s not cool!

DELBERT: Selling out? How much are they offering you?

STAN: I said that I was thinking about buying a Volvo because I have kids now and it just doesn’t feel right to drive them around in the back of a windowless van with no seats in it, you know? It doesn’t seem safe.

DELBERT: Oh, sure, well I understand that.

VINCE: No! No! That is selling out to The Man.

STAN: Dude, you have a house with a swimming pool and a jacuzzi. You have a guy who works for you whose only job is to clean the pool and the jacuzzi.

VINCE: What’s your point?

DELBERT: Oh wait! I think I get it! See Vince, the point that Stan is trying to make is that we have all gotten rich and famous by embracing a certain amount of discontent, aggression and social non-conformity, but that by simply becoming rich and famous we have engaged in the same social power structure and economic ladder-climbing that we got famous by being opposed to. And, as an example, Stan is pointing out that while you still write songs about rebelling against the class system, you seem to be hypocritically enjoying the benefits of being at the top of it.

STAN: Yeah, that’s exactly what I meant. What he said.

VINCE: Well that’s not true at all. In fact, I think I know what this is REALLY about; you guys are both just jealous that I got invited to P. Diddy’s place in the Hamptons for New Years.

STAN: No. No, that is not what this is about.

DELBERT: Yeah, I think you have basically misunderstood everything I said.

VINCE: You know what, I don’t have time for this. I have a tee time at the club. I’m playing with some movie stars and investment bankers. At least those guys are Punk Rock. They don’t give a fuck about anything. Or anybody. Not even their own kids, or puppies, and certainly not humanity in general. Yeah, so fucking Punk Rock.

STAN: No. No. Look, there isn’t any way that investment bankers can be Punk Rock. It is antithetical to the fundamental ideology of Punk Rock.

VINCE: No, these guys are pretty cool.

DELBERT: You know Stan, it is possible that Vince makes a good point. If the real nature of Punk Rock is simply nihilism, then it would be possible for investment bankers to be Punk Rock. In fact, by holding onto an outdated idea of what Punk Rock is, it would then be you who is not being Punk Rock.

STAN: What?!

VINCE: See? What he said.

STAN: No, that is ridiculous. I am wearing a jacket with a bunch of metal stuff on it and patches safety pinned to it; I am clearly the Punk Rock one.

DELBERT: Oh, I don’t know. That seems like a pretty superficial way to define what something is.

VINCE: Yeah! See Stan? The new Punk Rock is driving a BMW to my private club and playing golf with bankers before going into the studio and recording a song about being anti-establishment. What about that is so difficult to grasp?

DELBERT: Actually, I’m pretty sure that isn’t Punk Rock either ...

STAN: Wait, if both of us are wrong then how do I prove that I am more Punk Rock than Vince is?

VINCE: Not by buying a Volvo …

DELBERT: Well, you know, it might be possible that this entire conversation is pointless because the very soul of Punk Rock has been dead for decades, seeing as how it was really just a teenage social and musical movement in parts of Great Britain after World War II. And maybe what we all think of as “Punk Rock” is really just an aesthetic that has been packaged and marketed to us over the years; almost as though the entire anti-establishment philosophy has been commoditized and sold to us like any other kind of branded product.

VINCE: That is a really interesting idea, but all of this talking has made me really thirsty. Stan do you have any Coca-Cola?

STAN: I only have Pepsi. Is Pepsi okay?

VINCE: No. I only drink Coca-Cola.

DELBERT: Guys, they’re both just syrupy carbonated beverages. Most people can’t actually even tell them apart.


DELBERT: Its true. In blind taste tests most of the population can’t tell the difference. The brand loyalty you feel is just because of a hundred years of marketing.

VINCE: Do you think I’m stupid? Is that what you’re saying? That I can’t make my own decisions?

DELBERT: No, but I think that the people who are trying to sell you things think that you’re stupid.

VINCE: See? You just called me stupid again. Questioning any of the things I believe in is the same as calling me stupid. I’m not a status-symbol whore! And you’re lucky that I’m really looking forward to playing twelve holes with my new Titleist clubs today, because if I wasn’t in such a hurry I would take off one of these new leather BMW driving gloves that I am wearing and smack you across your lying face.

STAN: Wait, wait! Don’t get violent. Maybe he is just saying that most of the things in our lives that we think we need, we only think we need because we have been convinced by advertising and society that need them!

VINCE: That’s ridiculous.

DELBERT: I think that maybe we would all be a little bit happier if we stopped buying things in order to define ourselves.

STAN: That is a very interesting philosophy and I will pay you to tell me more about it.

DELBERT: I think you’re missing the point …

STAN: Well now I’m just confused; should I buy a Volvo or not?

VINCE: Don’t buy it unless you can put rims on it and a tow package for your boat.

STAN: I don’t have a boat.

VINCE: You can borrow one of mine.

DELBERT: No, look, guys, I’m just saying … Stan you should buy a Volvo if you think that is the car that is best and safest for your family … and Vince I think that you might need to deal with the fact that you really like buying shit. And that’s okay, if that’s what makes you happy, but perhaps you should really look inside yourself to figure out why that is so important to you.

All are quiet for a beat; thinking.

VINCE: Did I mention that one of my boats has a pirate flag on it?

STAN: Ooooooh, well that IS totally Punk Rock!

VINCE: I know, right?!

STAN: You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to buy the Volvo, but I’m going to put a Black Flag bumper sticker on it.



STAN: And one for The Locust, if I can find one.

VINCE: Even better!


VINCE: And instead of a Volvo, you should get a Ferrari.

STAN: That just makes sense to me!


VINCE: You know what? Why don’t you come golfing with me? I’m playing with these multi-millionaire businessmen who used to be a band called Metallica.

STAN: Sounds good.

STAN and VINCE exit.

DELBERT: Guys … GUYS! … (Turns to the audience) They don’t ever listen to me because I’m not in the band. I’m just in charge of finding all of the six thousand dollar guitars that they break onstage during the shows. I’m also the janitor because that’s the only way I could get good health insurance (picks up the broom and begins sweeping the stage). We’re all done here ... the play is over ... I have to finish working though. (After a beat he turns back, sticks his tongue out, hisses and throws the devil-horned rock-out hand gesture.)



1 comment: