Darker the Shadow

I have written a play set in the industrialized world, where two friends experience what the quick rise to power can do to the human mind, and how easily morals can become shackles that you must get rid of.


15. Full Play

Scene 1: Spark

Setup: Clark and James stand at a table cluttered with papers and letters, both have a bottle of beer and they're both looking agitated.

Clark: Bills, bills, bills. There's nothin' but fuckin' bills and there's no money left to pay em' 

James: What happened to the paycheck from last week?
Clark: Went to last weeks fuckin' bills

James: Stop swearing mate, it's not like you

Clark: I can swear as much as I fuckin' want, it's my house and my bills and my paycheck

James: Clark calm down, we'll figure it out, we just have to think about it

Clark throws his bottle to the ground, smashing it, James jumps back


James: It wasn't my fault, and you know that


James: The company got new machines, they fired hundreds of workers, there was nothing I could've done about it

As he talks Clark leans on the table, but slips and falls to the ground, obviously drunk. He quickly starts snoring after he hits the ground. James sighs, picks him up and drags him to the side, before covering him with a blanket. He then goes back to the table, and starts cleaning up after the smashed bottle. When he's done opens a drawer and takes out a book, he places it on the table and sits down. He then withdraws a pen from his jacket, and starts to write. What he writes is read aloud by a narrative voice.

Narrator (James voice):  Journal entry number 7, January 25. 1885. 
It has been a while since I wrote here last, and things have been getting worse. Clark had another fit today, just minutes ago, he is getting worse by the day, and I'm not sure how long I can continue keeping this mess afloat. Clark's paycheck isn't covering our expenses, and my lack of income is becoming Clark's reason for all our trouble. Although the money I inherited, is the only thing that kept us alive, for as long as we have. Not that I would ever tell Clark that his less than adequate paycheck, wouldn't even pay for food. I cant tell him about the money I have, for he will surely use what little there's left on his seemingly constant abuse of alcohol. I am out of options, and I have to come up with something, or we will be thrown out before the end of February. For now I'll take my leave, Clark doesn't need more of a reason to get upset, but I'll return tomorrow. Hopefully with a plan
Signed James Gillean.

James puts down the pen and closes the book, he puts it back in the drawer and turns to leave. He stops for a second, before he leaves and the light turns out and the scene is over.













Scene 2: A Risk

Setup: Clark is sitting at the same table from scene 1, he is eating a bun and drinking a beer. On his right he has a newspaper, and he is skimming through it out of the corner of his eye. After a minute or two, James enters the stage wearing a long trench coat and a hat. He looks like he's cold, and he rubs his hands together.

Clark: Where the hell have you been mate? I've been looking all over for ya'.

James: I've been out all day thinking.

Clark (laughing): That's a first buddy, come up with anything good? The cure for cancer maybe, or a way to solve world poverty?

James: Maybe not world poverty, but certainly ours.

Clark: Really? Well you have my attention, cause I certainly don't have any plans.

James: We're going to start a business, you and I, what do you say? 

Clark spits out his drink

Clark: Come again aye, cause I heard start a business. So either I'm wrong or you've lost it mate. 

James: Aw give me a break, it's no like you have any better plans.

Clark: Even if I agreed, what the hell would we do for a business?

James: Well I haven't worked out all the details yet, but I heard a chap at the store complaining about that cheap brown paper packaging, that they use for all the meat. You know how it always crumples and gets stuck in your ground beef.

Clark: Ya It's bloody anoyin', always gettin' stuck in my teeth, ruinin' my meal

James: What if we started a packing business, and did something different, something that people are going to like.

Clark sits for a while, thinking

Clark: You know it ain't a bad idea. But how are we going to manage it, just the two of us

James: Well I'm fairly good with money, so I'll manage the economic part of it. You can be the CEO, and there's plenty of unemployed immigrants all over downtown, so finding cheap work force wont be a problem. 

Clark: Ok I'll admit you came up with a plan, but you're missing a point.

James: What do you mean?

Clark: Where the hell are two piss poor idiots like us going to get the money to afford a business?

James: There is a way, but you might not like it.

Clark: What do ya mean, you want us to rob a bank or somethin' ?

James: No, much worse. The only way for us to do this, is to sell the apartment, and live at the office we'll buy.

Short break of utter silence

Clark: Well ain't that just great

James: Clark wait, before you say anything

Clark: No I think it's my turn now, you've said enough.

James: But-

Clark: No to hell with your but's. What do ya take me for, a complete idiot? You think you can come here with some great plan, and expect me not to care about the details. No mate you're gonna have to do better than that, because if you don't have a bulletproof plan, I ain't sellin' shit for it. Am I clear?

James: I thought you'd say something like that, so prepared accordingly.

James withdraws a piece of paper from his jacket, and put it on the table in front of Clark. Clark picks it up, and starts reading it with an astonished face.

James: I'm sorry but it was the only way. We wont make it another week here, so there is no time to wait.

Clark: You sold the apartment

James: Yes, I sold it and bought a small office near the Main Street


James: Yes I did, now you can choose to either stay here and whither away on what little you have left, or you can join me and we can make a living together. It's really that simple.

James: I'm sorry Clark I really am, but I'm not staying here another day, I'm not living another week on your sorry pay. There's no future here, nowhere to go. We passed the finish line of this place long ago, and now we're just postponing the inevitable. So I'm leaving now, I'm going to make a living out there, and you have a chance to join now. 

A short pause

James: Look Clark, we've been through a lot, we've been together since we were both straight out of college. That's ten years of work, and what did we accomplish. Look around you Clark, look where you're sitting, look what you're doing. Is this where you wanted to go when you held that speech at graduation, was this your dream? Cause it wasn't mine, I'm going to get mine, and you can follow if you want to.

James leaves the scene, but grabs his coat at he leaves. Clark sits for a minute or two in silence, then he throws his bottle against the wall, and stands up flipping the table as he goes. He walks around the room in rage for a minute, before he leaves the scene. The scene ends. 











Scene 3: A Start

Setup: James sits at a new table, writing in a leather bound book. Around him are stacks of papers, and he appears to be stressed but content.

Narrator (James voice): Journal entry 8, February 1st, 1885. It has been a couple of days since I left, and there has been no sign of Clark. I fear he may have been serious in saying that he will not join me, in which case this will certainly be much more challenging that I hoped. Nevertheless I have managed to set up the shop, I even found three Irish immigrants whom have agreed to work for me. The official opening is today, and I have done more work today, than I have the last several months. It feels good to be working again, although, as of yet, it hasn't earned me any revenue, but it hopefully will as soon as our doors open. 
Tonight I will go on a date, the first one I've been on for over year. She is a sweet girl, that I met among the immigrants. She's from Italy, but is well read in the english language, which is a rare trait for an immigrant, especially one from Italy. Now obviously neither of us have much of anything, so it'll be a scarce dinner, but it'll be something.
I am out of time, I have so much to do, and so little time. Hopefully this will be the start of something new, and not the end of everything.

James puts down his pen, and closes the book. He then leans back and rubs his eyes. A man dressed in work clothes enter.

James: Patrick, what's happening?

Patrick: We're all ready for the opening.

James: Brilliant, and you have everything prepared and ready for selling?

Patrick: Of course, just as instructed

James: Great Patrick thank you, I will be right out, just give me a moment to get ready.

Patrick nods and leaves the scene. As James talks he paces around the room.

James: This is it James, no turning back now. You started this even though you knew it would be hard, and now it's time to get started. This is your one chance of making it somewhere in life, your one chance to get where you wanted to be, so don't you dare waste it. This is going to be the start of something new.

James turns and walks after Patrick

James: This is not the end.

James leaves and the scene is over.



Scene 4: A Hope  
Setup: James is sitting at the same table as in scene 3, he is once again writing in the leather bound book, the scene is dark.

Narrator (James Voice): Journal entry 9, February 9th 1885. It all failed, all my dreams and hopes were for nothing. When I opened a week ago, I didn't expect much, maybe ten customers in the first week, twenty tops. But you know how many I got, zero, not a single customer has entered the store since I opened. I have been forced to fire all three of my workers, since I relied on some sort of income to pay them, but I haven't made a dollar. I have nothing left to pay rent, and there doesn't seem to be any rising sun in the horizon. The only person I have left in my life is Maria, whom, for reasons unknown, didn't leave me as soon as she learned that my business had failed. In fact she is the only happy thing in my life now, in this past week everything I thought I'd be, has crumpled away and become ashes. But even she can't distract me from the inevitable, I failed at fulfilling my dream, in a few weeks they'll kick me out on the street, and I'll be left to live the rest of my life there, in misery along with all the other failures. I fear that I have but one way out, maybe it's better just to say my goodbyes, and leave with what little dignity I have left. Maybe I should just go out to the bridge and j-.

A bell goes off, and James looks up. Clark enters the scene. James jumps up.

James: Clark! What are you doing here?

Clark: Well I heard about your little misfortune, and i decided that you might need some help.

James tear up, and Clark spreads his arms. James walks into Clarks embrace, and they stand like that for a minute or two, until James walks away from Clark.

Clark: So, since it seems you managed to mess it up good, I suppose we better get started.
James: I'm so sorry Clark, I should've listened to you, It was doomed to fail from the start. I should have never sold the apartment for this crazy project.

Clark: That's right ya' shouldn't have, but ya' did and there's nothin' to do about it now. So we'll have to make the best of it, and if we wanna do that, we'll have to get started right this instant. 

James: I'm afraid there's nothing you can do at this point, it's all gone to hell.

Clark: Better late than never I suppose, there's always somethin' to be done.

James: What could we possibly do, I ruined everything. 

Clark: Well we're certainly not getting anything done with this mood, you'll have to get ya' mind out of the gutter. What happened to the determination that I saw only days ago, when you were standin' in the apartment, tellin me how you were going to take over the world. Now you're standin' here complainin' about how tough it is, as though your success was ever gonna be an easy one.

James: I just never realized it would be this hard, it shouldn't have to be. 

Clark: But that's the world mate, and you're gonna have to get used to it, if ya' want to make anythin' happen. 

James: What do suggest we do?

Clark: First of all we need to get ourselves advertised, if we want any customers at all. Secondly your prizes are too low, this is supposed to be prime wares, but you're prizin them as though they're junk. Finally you'll have to do somethin about this place, it boring to look at, and the facade hardly stands out, I nearly walked by it when I came. We'll have to get some pain and some brushes and start over.

James: I have nothing left to pay for it, I don't see how it's doable. 

Clark withdraws a fat convolute from his jacket pocket, and slams it down on the table.

James: What's this?

Clark: That's the last shot at makin' anything happen.

James: How'd you get this?

Clark: I took a loan on what little I had left.

James: But Clark, you can't pay this back if we fail, you'll go to jail.

Clark: Argh don't mention it. I hear they have great food in the prisons.

Clark picks up the convolute, and hands it to James. James looks at it for a second or two, then he hugs Clark. 

James: Thank you.

Clark: Don't get me wrong now, If ya' waste it I'll be real sad. So let's go and get this place fixed up.
James nod, and the two leave the scene together. The scene is over.
Scene 5: A Plan

Setup: James sits at his table, writing a letter. Clark is walking around the room.

Clark: Make sure that It brings the message across, we can't sound like beggars. We have to demand rather than request. 

James (Reading aloud): Dear Mr. Joh-

Clark: No no no, no "Dear Mr. Johnson", that would make us sound like a bunch of ladies askin' him for a kiss on the cheek. are ya' even tryin' mate.

James: Well being tough never was my strong suit.

Clark: Well ya' gotta have to get used to it. Being tough is the only way to get anywhere in business.

James (Reading Aloud): Mr. Johnson. As you most likely are aware of, we are the owners of Clarkson & James, the most lucrative company in the meat industry, and undoubtably the best investment you could possibly make.

Clark: Perfect, but it sounds expensive, make sure you elaborate that we are still growing.

James (Reading Aloud): During the past month, we are, without question, the fastest growing business in America. In a few more months we'll be one of the biggest companies, and, unless you strike now, we'll bypass you in less than two months. 

Clark: Great work mate, make it sound intimidating, without threatening him. Let him know that he doesn't have a chance, but that we wish nothing but the best for him. 

James (Reading Aloud): Make no mistake Sir, we have no intention of attacking you nor your business, but we also have  no intention of letting you stand in our way either.

Clark: Good, now make the offer.

James (Reading Aloud): We propose that you merge with our firm, and give us the majority of your stock. You will be appointed as head of the meat processing unit, so your position and schedule will not be impacted. All of your facilities will be left unaltered, and any workers you have hired will automatically be enrolled as Clarkson & James employees. Any pay offered to them will be matched, regardless of promotion, rank or extraordinary waged individuals. 

Clark: Alright now wrap it up with the details, and finish it of with a sober greeting. 

James: A sober greeting?
Clark: Make it sound nice without inducing friendship.

James: You have a very particular taste in greetings.

Clark: I have a very particular taste in business letters.

James and Clark share a laugh

James (Reading Aloud): If you're interested in taking our offer, contact us within ten days. If we have not received any response before March 20th. We will presume that you are not interested. This is a one time offer, and if you decide to decline, you will not have the chance again. We hope to hear from you soon. Signed James Gillian, founder and co-owner of Clarkson & James. May 10th 1885.

Clark: And done, send that off and we're good to go.

James: If this deal goes through, we will probably double our profits within a week or two.

Clark: Those are the kinda numbers I like to hear.

James: But what happens if he declines?

Clark: He won't, not if he has any idea how to do business. 

James: Seeing as he's only a few weeks from bankruptcy, if he doesn't agree to this deal, he might not have.

Clark laughs.

Clark: The old chap probably thinks he's invulnerable, just because he makes more money per month, than all of his workers combined do per year.

James: What do we do if he declines?

Clark walks over to the table, and slam his palm down on the table.

Clark: We steamroll him and his business right into the gutter, and buy out what's left o' it. 

James smiles

James: It's a deal.

Scene ends. 

Scene 6: A Meal

Setup: James and Clark are sitting across from each other at a dinner table. Next to James sits Maria, and next to Clark sits Clarence (An american girl). The table is set with fine silverware. 

James: So Clarence how did you and Clark meet?

Clarence: Im a consultant for the northern branch of the meat processing section. Clark visited the office during a busy day, and he accidentally spilled coffee all over me, when I was bringing some papers to the mail box. 

James sends Clark a sarcastic look, Clark blinks.

Clarence: He apologized a million times, even offered to buy me a new set of clothes.

James: Did he now?

Clarence: He did, and the next day he showed up again, with a brand new dress with matching jacket and shoes. 

James: Really? I can barely recognize him. He wasn't always such a gentleman, you know.

Clarence: What do you mean?

James: Well I went to college with him, and he did some things back then, that would make you run scared.

Clarence: Is that so? Tell me something.

James: Well you see, he used to be quite good with a drawing pencil. So one day he hid in a tree outside a girl from his streets room, armed with a pencil and block of paper. He came back to our room later that night, with a grin on his face reaching from ear to ear, all hysterical about what he was about to show me.

Clarence  and Clark laughs. Clarence elbows Clark in the side.

Clarence(Sarcastically): Clark would never do such a thing.

Clark: Well what about the time when you came home from a night at the pub, so drunk you couldn't even find the toilet, so you just went out the window. Damn near hit our english teacher, lucky for him he wasn't paying attention, or James probably wouldn't have stayed another night at that place.

James: Full of tall tales as always Clarkson. Never fail to come up with a good story to tell.

Clark: Well if you hadn't done so many stupid things, maybe I'd have to try a bit harder mate. Maria would you be so kind as to fetch us some wine from the pantry?

Maria: Of course, I'll be right back.
James: Thank you honey.
Maria leaves.
Clarence: So has Mr. Johnson responded to the proposition yet?

Clark: No not yet, he might have to much pride to give up his business, in which case he'll be sorry.

James: Although it would be preferable, we wouldn't have to forcibly take it over.

Clark: The only one that would bother is the man himself, we would have no problem trampling him.

James: But hopefully he agrees, that way it wont be as expensive for us to buy out his business.

Clark: Who cares, it's not like we have a shortage of leverage.

James: But there's no reason to be irrational with it. 

Clark: There is also no reason to be humble with it. 

James: If we are to irrational, it'll be out downfall.

Clark: If we don't act it'll go the same way.

James: So you say that we should just go an spe-

Maria enters with a glass vial of wine.

Maria: Gentlemen please, there's no need to fight.

Clark: We aren't, we are simply discussing business strategies.

Maria: Well you'll have to wait ti'll after dinner, which by the way will be served in a minute.

Clarence: Sounds wonderful, and smells thereafter.

James: John, my cook, is excellent at his work.

Maria: For tonight he has cooked a wonderfully looking goose for us.

Clark: Sound delicious. James we'll have to discuss this further after the girls have withdrawn.

James: Sure, for now let's enjoy our meal.

Clark: Sound's like a plan.

A man carries in a silver tray, covered with a lid. He places it on the table, and leaves. While the characters get ready to eat, the scene ends.
Scene 7: A Snitch

Setup: James is once again sitting at the little table, writing in his book. The stage is dark and the only light is from a candle on the table. 

Narrator(James Voice): Journal entry 10. May 19th, 1885. Fortune at last smiles upon me. Finally me and Clark have managed to get our business up and running. We have build our company, and it has grown faster than I could ever have imagined. We have just proposed for Mr. Johnson, the only meat processing company, with a process unit larger than ours. If he does not respond before tomorrow, we will have to forcibly overthrow him, and buy out his company when it hits rock bottom. It would be preferred if he complied, but, seeing as the deadline is tomorrow, I doubt that he'll agree to our proposition. In which case, no matter, we will simply be a little delayed. But eventually we will make it to the top. Something has been bothering me about Clark and I. Since we have been gaining capital, it has become increasingly clear that he and I, disagree on how to run a business. He charges ahead, spending money, and preferring to  trample upon everyone who's in our way. But he was the cause for our success, and he is the appointed CEO of Clarkson & James, so in the end he makes the final decision. But I can't begin to argue with him now, if we start to argue internally, it won't be long before we go the same way as Mr. Johnson is about to go. 

Clark puts down the pen, and leans back in his chair. Clark enters the scene.

Clark: Writing in your journal again mate?

James: Yeah I just finished.

Clark: Why do you do that anyway, you realize that only girls keep diaries right?

James: It's not a diary, it's a journal. It is for keeping track of important events, so that one day I'll be able to look back, and remember the ups and down of my history.

Clark: Why do you care so much about the past anyway, it doesn't matter anymore.

James: It certainly does, we must learn from it, to avoid making the same mistakes we've done before. 

Clark: What mistakes, we're doing great.

James: But we weren't always doing this good, as you might recall. Or have you already forgot.

Clark: No I haven't, but we aren't going back to that, we have money now. We'll never have to worry again.

James: What about the good Mr. Johnson, he has money, and he certainly has to worry.

Clark: Johnson's a fool, he doesn't know a first thing about running a business.

James: Yet he managed to for so long. Now we're surpassing him, and he is so lost in his confidence in his own abilities, that he doesn't see where he's heading. Documenting such things will help us to remember not to make the same mistake, as he is currently making. 

Clark: No one's ever going to be able to beat us.

James: That is exactly what I'm talking abou-. You know what never mind. Why are you here any way?

Clark: Oh I almost forgot, I have some worrying news. 

James: Oh?

Clark: So after we upgraded our grinders a week or so ago, no more than a day went by before every Johnson facility had brand new grinders as well. As far as I am concerned, our upgrades are not public information.

James: So you're saying we have a leak?

Clark: A darn whistleblower.

James: What do you propose?

Clark: I don't dare to ask the employees. With my luck I'll probably end up asking the darn guy himself, and he'll be gone faster than I'd be able to fire him. 

James: So you wan't me to find him?

Clark: Exactly, you know the company structure better than anyone, you shouldn't have a problem finding these guys.

James: Except it's not my job. I have to keep the financial situation stable. You're the boss, so you're the one in charge of the employees.

Clark: Look I need you to do this for me. I can't have some fuckin' snitch running around, leaking all of our secret to every damn corner store in town. 

James: Fine I'll see what I can do, but I'm not going to be your private detective.

Clark: Sure sure, just this once, I promise. Just get it done as quickly as you can. 

James: Sure.

Clark: Alrighty mate, I'm off. Clarence and I are having dinner tonight. 

James: But you're supposed to be taking care of the Johnson merge.

Clark puts on his jacket, and turns to leave.

Clark: Bah, there's nothing to take care off. I'll take a look tomorrow.

James: But-.

Clark: Goodnight James.

James: Goodnight Clark.

Clark leaves the stage. When he's gone, James get's up from his chair, and walk to the phone on the wall. He grabs it and dial a number on the rotary, then waits a little while. 

James: Maria darling, are you there?

James: Yes it's me. Listen I wont make it home tonight, Clark has given me a bunch of extra work, so I'll have to stay here overnight.

James: I know, I know I'm sorry. It won't happen again I promise. We just can't have anything going wrong, not now.

James: Clark isn't available tonight, he had other plans.

James: Some other work that he had to get done. 

James: I know, we'll have dinner together tomorrow I promise.

James: I love you too darling, goodnight. 

James hangs up the phone, and walks back to his desk. But stop before he sits down. He then kicks his chair, and yells, before wiping his desk clean in anger. He stand around for a little while, the start sobbing while picking up the paper, and placing the chair back. When he's done he wipes his eyes, sits down and starts looking through the papers as the light turns out. The scene ends. 









Scene 8: A Loss

Setup: Clark is sitting at a table, and James and Maria are sitting across from him. Clark is upset.

Clark: She's gone man, one evening she's smiling and laughing, the next morning she was lying there next to me, cold as ice.

James: Do you know what happened?

Clark: The doctors said she had some kind of heart failure, something she was born with that there was nothing to do about.

James: Did she never mention it to you?

Clark: No she kept a secret, the stupid bitch kept it a secret.

James: Clark please, there is no need to speak I'll of the dead. She's gone and there is nothing we can do about it. You'll just have to find someone else, she wasn't the only girl in the world.

Clark: You don't understand James, she was everything to me, she was the one and only mate. 

Maria: You will find someone better, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Clark: What the hell do you know? 

James: Clark please calm down.

Clark: To hell with calming down, I'm not taking orders from anyone, especially not her.

James(To Maria): Darling I think it's best you leave, I'll find you later.

Maria nods, and gets up.

Clark: Get out of my house.

James: Clark you're being unreasonable.

Clark: No you're being unreasonable, bringing that italian bitch into my house, all she ever does is distract you from work.


Clark: Are you raising your voice to me James, are you raising your voice to your boss. Bold move there, I would've any other worker fired for that, but just because it's you, I'll let it slide. But if you do that again, you're out. Understood? 

James: I'm sorry are you threatening to fire me Clark? The man who started this company?

Clark: Stop with your bullshit James, I think we both know who the real founder of this business is. Without me you'd be sitting in the gutter, probably begging some rich fuck in a suit for some spare change.

James: Clark I was the one who started this company, I was the one who risked everything for it. I'm the one who's sacrificed so much of my time to make this business run. 

Clark: All you ever did was sit around and sign some papers, you couldn't even write a proper letter. For all I care you can go to hell.

James: Clark. How can you say these things, after all we've been through.

Clark sits a little while, staring at James. Then he starts sobbing, after a minute James put his arms around him.

Clark: I'm so sorry mate, I don't know what happened. I just wasn't ready for this, I really loved her.

James: I know Clark and I'm sorry, I truly am, but there's nothing we can do. We'll just have to bare it and live on.   

Clark: I know, I know, I'll just have to have some time for myself. I'll be back at work tomorrow. 

James: Do you wan't me to stay?

Clark: No, I'm not talking straight, and I don't wan't to hurt you again.

James: Okay Clark, I'll leave then. I'll be at work tomorrow morning, you can decide whether or not to show up, take all the time you need.

Clark: Thank you, I'll see you tomorrow. 

James gets up and put on his coat, and starts to exit the scene.

Clark: And apologize to Maria from me, I never wanted to hurt her.

James: I will Clark, goodnight.

James leaves. Clark hides his face in his hands, and his shoulders start shaking, and he sobs. The light slowly fades away, and the scene ends.  





Scene 9: A Leak

Setup: James is sitting at his table working, the light is dim. Clark enters the scene, dressed in a coat, and rubbing his eyes. When Clark walks in, James looks up. 

James: Clark! How are you?

Clark: Good, great, I really just needed a night to get over it. How is everything going?

James: Marvelous. I just received a third letter from Mr. Johnson, begging us to reconsider the merge.

Clark: Guess the idiot finally realized that he was ruined. 

James: Yeah, I threw the letters in the fire. 

Clark: Heh, he gave up his chance, and now he'll loose his business. Has there been any progress on finding the leak?

James: I did find something suspicious in the files.

Clark: Go ahead.

James: It seems that a group of our employees, especially in the processing plant, were previously hired by Johnson Co. Might be them, might be a coincidence. Certainly something to look into. 

Clark: Great work James.

James: Thank you. What's on your agenda today?

Clark: I'm going to visit the southern plant, they've been complaining about the gear and I wanted to supervise the repair myself.

James: Sounds like a plan to me.

Clark: While I'm there, I might as well check out the people you found. Did you have any names for me.

James: Sure.

James hands Clark a paper from his desk.

James: Just remember that we aren't sure, they might have just gotten fired from Johnson and applied here. Theres no certainty that they're spies.   

Clark walks out of the scene.

Clark: Sure.
Clark leaves and James starts writing in his papers again. As he does, the sound of a clock ticking starts, and continues for a minute. The phone rings and James get up to answer it.

James: Hello, James Gillean here.

James: You wan't me to what?

James: Clark I don't have time for this, I have to finish the financial papers before tonight. I don't have time to interview your employees, that's your job.

James: Clark you don't need me to do this, you're perfectly capable of handling it yourself.

James: You know what, fine, I'm on my way.

James hangs up the phone and grabs his coat, then leaves the stage. The scene is over.

















Scene 10: A Gun

Setup: Clark is standing on stage, looking at his watch. James enters the stage dressed in his coat.

Clark: Finally!

James: You better have a really good reason for calling me here, I have work to up over both my ears, and barely any time to do it. 

Clark: Of course I have a good reason. I found the snitches.

James: Then what do you need me for, just fire them and get on with it.

Clark: Not before I make sure that it doesn't happen again. 

James: And what exactly do you mean by that?

Clark: Very simple.

Clark disappears from the stage for a second, before returning with a man with a bag over his face. 

Clark: There.

James: Clark what is this? Who is that man? 

Clark: It doesn't matter, he leaked information, so he's a threat to the company. Therefor he must be gotten rid of.

James: Yes but what the hell is this.

Clark: It's our standard firing procedure, for people who are considered threats.

James: And how exactly does that work?

Clark: Like this. 

Clark pulls a gun from his coat, and hands it to James, who takes it with a shocked look on his face. He then turn the hooded man to face James, put him down on his knees, and takes off the hood.

Clark: Shoot him.

James: WHAT?

Clark: Shoot him James, I trust you've seen a gun before.

James: What do you mean shoot him? I'm not going to do that. 
Clark: Well then I'll do it as soon as you leave, and I'll hand you a firing slip as soon as I come back. 

James:  Clark this is absurd, you can't be serious. Are you testing me?

Clark: Yes I am. I'm testing your loyalty, and your dedication to our course. 

James: I am not going to shoot this person Clark. 

Clark: Do you know what happens if you don't?

James: He'll walk away without a job, he wont be able to provide for his family, and he'll eventually ned up on the street, and most likely die from disease. 

Clark: Wrong, he'll simply go to another company, and he'll give them the list of everything he's seen here. They'll copy it all, and they'll eventually be bigger than us. And you know what's going to happen to us then? You know what'll become of all of our dreams?

James: You know that's never going to happen.

Clark: We'll be the ones ending up on the street mate, not him, us. Meanwhile this little spying snitch is probably going to be making more money then you.

James: You have no way of knowing that.

Clark: No you know what, it's probably fine, he'll probably just go home and burn all the papers he's stolen, and all the notes he's taken, and just accept his life in poverty. 

James: We can't just kill him Clark, we don't have the right.

Clark: He didn't have the right to sell company secrets either, but he didn't seem to give a damn.

James: There must be another way, there has to be.

Clark: You know what, even if there was, I wouldn't bother with it. I need you to do this James, prove that you care, as much as I do, about the business and about us.

James: Of course I care, but I won't kill someone.

Clark: Then you're not dedicated, an we'll have to let you go. Give me the gun back James.

James: What are you going to do with it?

Clark: I'm going to shoot him, then I'm probably going to shoot you.

James: You wouldn't, you would never. 

Clark: You know what James, I've always been impressed with your wits. You always did better than me in college, and to be honest you're the only reason we got here. But I can live without you now, it'll be a challenge to find someone else, but I know people who would kill for your job. So for all I care I can put a bullet in your brain, and go find me another James. It won't even be a bother.

James: What happened to you Clark, how can you say these things. 

Clark: Because I care about the business James, thats all that matters to me, and I'll do whatever it takes to make sure that nothing comes in my way, even if it's you. So if you'll just give me the gun and we can get over with it.

Clark gestures to take the gun, but James doesn't move.

Clark: Just give me the gun James, there isn't any reason to postpone the inevitable. 

James: No. I will not let you just kill me off like any other guy.

James points the gun at Clark.

Clark: James, is that really necessary? We both know that you wouldn't do it, even if your life depended on it. You are too concerned with morale and friendship, foolish things that will only hinder you.

James hands start shaking.

Clark: What about Maria? What's going to happen to her when you don't come home? She'll end up working as a whore in some dirty alley. Is that what you want? Is that where all your dreams were headed? You can avoid all that, and all you have to do is get rid of a leak, repair a hole in the hull of our great ship, as easy as scratching.

James lowers the gun, and starts sobbing. After a minute he suddenly raises the gun and shoots the still kneeling worker in the head.

Clark: Great job James, good shot. Now wipe your nose, you aren't done yet.

James: What do you mean?

Clark: You didn't think that there was only one did you? Bring em' out!

A man leads four other workers out from behind the scene.

James: Clark, no more, please.

Clark: You know what they say about starting something. In the end you're going to have to finish it.

James: But I only gave you four names.

Clark: Does it matter? If I tell you he's a problem, he's a problem.

James: It's not right.

Clark: We're beyond right now mate.

Clark whispers in James ear.

Clark: And there's no turning back now.

James raises the gun again, and shoots the first man. As he shoots the next four, his face goes from sad to stone.

Clark: There you go James, not so bad was it.

James: No.

Clark: Now as you might understand only the two of us can know about this so-.

James immediately raises the gun and shoots the guy who brought the workers. He then hands Clark the gun. The two of them leave together, Clark having an arm around James shoulders. 














 Scene 11: A Task 

Setup: James is sitting at his table writing a letter. Clark is standing next to the table.

Clark: Lower the wages and cut safety expenses. 

James writes something down.

Clark: While we're at it, cut sanitary expenses too, and fire all the cleaners.

James continues to write as clark speaks.

Clark: And get rid of any sort of paid retirement, thats not our problem.

Clark: Get rid of paid breaks too, if they want our money they'll have to work hard for it.

Clark: Also expand work hour from 7am-7pm to 5am-11pm, and get rid of extra pay for extra work. 

Clark: Finally all the gardens you set up in our facilities, get rid of them and put some more machines there instead, they have plenty of gardens at home.

James: Is that it?

Clark: Yeah that'll about do it. That's certainly going to clear up our budget, which means more money for you and me mate.

James nods. Clark grabs the letter from the table and inspects it.

Clark: Signed by James Gillean. Great I'll go post that.

Clark leaves the scene, and James sits in silence at his desk. When Clark enters the scene he looks up.

Clark: Got that out of the way, this company might finally start making some good bucks. Nice job James.

James: Thanks.

Clark: Now I have something else I have to talk to you about.

James: What?

Clark: I've noticed something about you lately.

James: Whats wrong?

Clark: You've been spending an awful lot of time with that girlfriend of yours.

James: Fiancée.

Clark: I don't care. 

James: Is that a problem?

Clark: She distracts you James, you can't work as much with her around. If you want this company to reach full potential, you're going to have to get rid of her.

James: What do you mean get rid of her?

Clark: I mean make sure she won't distract you anymore.

James: I can't just get rid of her, she's my fiancée and I'm planning to marry her.

Clark: Well James, we can't have everything we want in life can we, so you'll have to choose. Her or the company?

James: Clark please, you know I'll do anything for you, but please don't make me get rid of Maria.

Clark: I'd love to allow you James, but we can't let women get involved in our business, it only hurts it.

James: Is this because of Clarence?

Clark spins around and slams his fist down unto the table.


Clark takes his hands of the table, and takes a few slow breaths.

Clark: Sorry about that mate, that wasn't planned. Just get it done, I don't wan't to see you loose your grip. 







Scene 12: A Pillow

Setup: James and Maria are standing in a bedroom, both dressed in night clothes. Next to them is a large double bed. 

Maria: It's too much James, I hardly know you anymore.

James: I'm still the same.

Maria: No James, no you are not. Even if you wan't to be, you are no longer the happy man I met, the man who had just started his own company, and was shining like the sun. The man who stand before me now, is nothing more than a shell of that.

James: What do you mean, I haven't changed, I am still the same.

Maria: Is that what Clark told you?

James: What do you mean? 

Maria: Well since it seems that he's the only person you care about anymore.

James: That's not true.

Maria: Oh yeah, isn't it? So what about all those times you've suddenly left because he told you, all the times you've stayed at work until two in the morning because he told you. All the times you've left me because he told you, what about those?

James: There's just a lot of work.


James: I promise as soon as we've stabilized I'll be home more.

Maria starts to cry.

Maria: You've told me that so many times James, and you're less home than ever. Do you have any real excuses, or are you just repeating what Clark told you?

James: Darling please, Clark is an honorable man, he's the reason we're here, that we can afford to live how we want.

Maria: No James that's your fault, you're the one who made all this happen, and everything Clark did was live off your success. The only thing he cares about is money. He doesn't care about you, you're just a tool to him, a tool to make more money, and you've let him take you over. Do you ever make any decisions of your own anymore?

James: I am not a tool, me and Clark are partners.

Maria: You really have gone blind haven't you? Oh James what happened to you? You used to be so full of life, now you're nothing more than Clarks slave. 


Maria: Then stop acting like one. Tell that monster to Clark that you quit. Maybe then I can have the real you back.

James: Clark is not a monster, he's done so much for us.

Maria: No he hasn't James, he's never done anything for us. The only thing he's done is taking you away from me. He is nothing but a greedy businessman, who doesn't care about whom he hurts to reach his goals.

James suddenly reaches out and slaps Maria. Maria falls to the ground, holding her cheek. Quickly after James suddenly gets down on his knees, gesturing to help her up.

James: Darling I'm sorry, I didn't mean to-


James: Darling please I never meant to hurt you.

Maria: Get out. 

James: Maria please just give me a chan-


James gets up, and backs away slowly. Then suddenly turns and runs off the scene, while holding his head in his hands. Maria gets up, and starts crying as she climbs unto the bed, and curls up under the blanket. After a minute her sobs slow down and she appears asleep. James enter the scene, he's staring at Maria with an expressionless face. He walks up to the side of the bed, and grabs the pillow that Maria isn't using. Then he sits on top of her, and presses the pillow over her face. She immediately starts struggling, but James doesn't move. After a minute she stops moving, and James gets up and throws the pillow to the side. He then takes Maria and drags her off the stage. The scene ends.  






Scene 13: A Paper

Setup: James is sitting at his table. The table is full of papers but he is just staring into thin air. Clark enters with a newspaper in his hand.

Clark: You have a problem.

James: I know.

Clark: A big problem.

James: I know I know, but you can fix it right?

Clark (Reading Aloud): Body of Italian Immigrant found in the river, fiancée under suspicion. The body of 25 year old Maria Angeli was found in the industrial river early this morning. She was last seen in the company of her fiancée James Gillean, co-founder of Clarkson & James. The fiancée is currently a fugitive, and will soon be arrested.

Clark: I don't know James, I can't see any good ways out of that one. 

James: I know it's bad Clark, but we can make it go away right, we can just pay them off, and everything will be fine right?

Clark: Even if I could, I'm not sure I want to.

James: What do you mean?

Clark: How can I feel safe with a murderer as my partner.

James: Clark we've been partners for years, you know me, you know I would never do something like this again.

Clark: I don't know, you didn't seem to mind killing those workers.

James: I didn't have a choice, you didn't give me a choice.

Clark: I'm not sure the judges are going to believe that one mate.

James: Clark please, just get me out of this, and I swear I'll do whatever you say for the rest of my life. 

Clark: As much as that is a tempting offer, I think I'll have to decline James, you're too much of a safety hazard.

James: But Clark I've done everything, I've sacrificed everything for you.

Clark: Sure you have, but that doesn't change that it won't look good if I safe a murder like you, the stock prize would fall through the floor.

James: But what about me?

Clark: To be honest James, I don't give a shit. You've been a nice help so far, but you're a replaceable resource now, and I don't care to have you sitting around, hurting the reputation of this company. 

James: But Clark please I'll do anything, just let me stay, I have nothing else left. This company is my life.

Clark: I'm sorry James but I no longer need your services, you are hereby relieved of your duties. 

Clark pulls a paper from his coat, and hands it to James, who stares blankly at it

James: But I did everything you asked.

Clark: I don't remember asking you to kill your fiancée, you did that all on your own. 

James: I never meant for any of this.

Clark: And yet here we are. Don't worry James, prison ain't too bad.

Clark turns to leave, and James reaches out for him as he leaves. When Clark is gone James slumps back in his chair, and stares at the paper. After a minute he suddenly gets up, and runs out of the scene.












Scene 14: A Life

Setup: James is standing in the middle of the stage, holding a knife in his right hand. The lighting is dim and the man is looking over the audience, as if holding a speech.

Man: Darker the shadow, dimmer the light,
Suffering for these hearts in flight.
This fleeting feeling of delight,
Preparing now for the final fight.
Too many have suffered, too many have fought,
For only the few to reach what they sought.
The few now rise such height they gain,
Climbing these mighty thrones of pain.
And left are us who loyal stood,
Our hands covered in ash and soot,
With scars that cover body and mind.
And never a slight of merry to find.
For the fire we've suffered,
And the words that we uttered,
They're the burden we bare.
What once we thought was fair,
Is what now weighs us down,
What curses and damn our towns.
For the lives the bonds we tore,
Nothing we can say will answer for.

James then takes the knife and stabs himself in the chest, and collapse on the scene. Just as he does ten police officers storm the scene, but stop when they see him. As they stare the light go down and the play is over.

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