October 25 & 26: Sean Devine

October 25 & 26: Force Equals Mass Times Acceleration

Sean Devine

CHARACTERS:

TAXI DRIVER

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS

POLICE OFFICER

Force Equals Mass Times Acceleration

A television commercial plays. On it, several rich, beautiful and comfortable Canadian celebrities who have found their fame and fortune elsewhere stand in front of pristine natural backdrops, each telling us in their own way that “You Gotta Be Here”.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVcQ86Omn0I

Night. A taxi is stuck in traffic on a bridge overlooking a bay. Movement is a standstill. Tempers are not. Horns beep and blare. The DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS speaks on a cell phone.

DIRECTOR: Yes, ma’am….No, ma’am, I’d say it’s going to be longer than that. It’s affecting the entire bridge, both directions. I’m right in the middle…I don’t think I’ll make it in time. Can you get Laura to brief you?…Well, I can brief you with what I know, but from where I am the news helicopters know more than I do…Well, it’s dark, but the police have their search lights on the water, so I can see a little from inside the cab through the bridge railings. There’s definitely protestors on the bridge, and there’s a lot of them, but there’s also at least a couple dozen under the bridge, in the water…Yes, ma’am, in the water. They’re in rubber rafts. They’re in rafts just below the bridge, and I think they’ve covered themselves with the oil…Yes, ma’am. That’s what it looks like…Because normally they wouldn’t be that shiny, ma’am. Maybe it’s the search lights, but they look shiny. It’s got to be the oil…

The TAXI DRIVER turns off the engine.

DIRECTOR: (on phone) Hang on a sec, ma’am. (to TAXI DRIVER) What are you doing?

TAXI DRIVER: I turned off the car. We’re not going anywhere.

DIRECTOR: (on phone) Ma’am, I’ll call you back when I know more.

The DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS hangs up the phone.

DIRECTOR: Why are your turning off the car?

TAXI DRIVER: We’re not going anywhere. It’s a waste of gas.

DIRECTOR: We’ll be out of this in a few minutes.

TAXI DRIVER: I don’t think so.

DIRECTOR: Really? How much longer you think we’ll be?

TAXI DRIVER: As long as it takes.

DIRECTOR: I’m sorry?

TAXI DRIVER: Another ten minutes.

DIRECTOR: Ten minutes. Alright.

TAXI DRIVER: Or two hours.

DIRECTOR: I’m sorry?

TAXI DRIVER: It’s going to take as long as it takes. How should I know?

DIRECTOR: Because it’s your job.

TAXI DRIVER: It’s my job to know how long a police action takes?

DIRECTOR: It’s a protest action. Not a police action.

TAXI DRIVER: There’s the police.

DIRECTOR: Who wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for the protestors.

TAXI DRIVER: Who wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for your boss.

DIRECTOR: (beat) I beg your pardon?

TAXI DRIVER: I think your boss is a cunt.

DIRECTOR: Whoa.

TAXI DRIVER: And I voted for her, which gives me more right to express my opinion of her. And my opinion is that your boss is a cunt.

DIRECTOR: Whoa, whoa. You can’t say that.

TAXI DRIVER: I just did.

DIRECTOR: But you can’t.

TAXI DRIVER: Why not?

DIRECTOR: That word is —

TAXI DRIVER : I think your boss is –

DIRECTOR: — absolutely inappropriate.

TAXI DRIVER : — a bona fide cunt.

DIRECTOR: That’s a terrible thing —

TAXI DRIVER : A genuine C-U-Next-Thursday.

DIRECTOR: That kind of language –

TAXI DRIVER : Is the perfect language.

DIRECTOR: — is unacceptable. It’s absolutely terrible language. You can’t talk about people like that. About women like that. And not about an elected official. That’s a position of respect. That’s a terrible word. Shame on you. (beat) And it’s Tuesday.

TAXI DRIVER : What?

DIRECTOR: It’s not C-U-Next-Thursday. It’s C-U-Next-Tuesday.

TAXI DRIVER : You’re serious?

DIRECTOR: The expression. It’s Tuesday, not Thursday.

TAXI DRIVER : Are you kidding me?

DIRECTOR: If you’re going to be an asshole, then use the right expression.

TAXI DRIVER : Then you know what? She’s a C-U-Next-Friday. Alright? You boss is a CUNF.

DIRECTOR: Let me out of the cab.

TAXI DRIVER : You can’t get out.

DIRECTOR: You let me out of this cab.

TAXI DRIVER : I’m not stopping you. He’s stopping you. The soldier. Do you see anyone else getting out of their vehicles? We’re all standing still. The whole bridge is backed up.

DIRECTOR: I’m getting out.

TAXI DRIVER : Go ahead.

DIRECTOR: I’m getting out and I’m walking back.

TAXI DRIVER : Across the bridge?

DIRECTOR: Yes.

TAXI DRIVER : Go ahead and open the door. See what that soldier does.

DIRECTOR: It’s not a soldier.

TAXI DRIVER : That’s a soldier.

DIRECTOR: It’s a police officer.

TAXI DRIVER : He’s sure as hell dressed like a soldier. And I bet he thinks your boss is a CUNF, too.

DIRECTOR: That’s it.

TAXI DRIVER : A genuine —

DIRECTOR: I’m getting out.

The DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS opens the door to leave. Almost immediately, a harsh spotlight is directed at the taxi.

POLICE: Please get back in the vehicle.

DIRECTOR: Officer, my name is –

POLICE: Get back in the vehicle.

DIRECTOR: You don’t understand. I work for the —

POLICE: GET BACK IN THE VEHICLE!

The DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS gets back in the taxi. From outside the vehicle, a flashlight inspects the passengers inside. The TAXI DRIVER and DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS wait in silence until the flashlight passes.

TAXI DRIVER : Nice work.

DIRECTOR: Holy shit.

TAXI DRIVER : Fine piece of work. Try and get us shot next time. Very nice example.

DIRECTOR: Shut up.

TAXI DRIVER : Try flashing your Ministry badge next time. See if that works.

DIRECTOR: This is unacceptable.

TAXI DRIVER : There’s that word.

DIRECTOR: What word?

TAXI DRIVER : What’s unacceptable?

DIRECTOR: This is. That we’re stuck here. That a police officer –

TAXI DRIVER : A soldier.

DIRECTOR: — just pointed a gun at me. That’s unacceptable.

TAXI DRIVER : That’s the word. You politicians love that word.

DIRECTOR: I’m not a politician.

TAXI DRIVER : I see you on television.

DIRECTOR: I’m not a politician.

TAXI DRIVER : I see you right next to the Premier. On television. You’re a politician.

DIRECTOR: I’m the Director of Communications.

TAXI DRIVER : Then you’re worse than a politician. You’re that animal. That little fish.

DIRECTOR: What fish?

TAXI DRIVER : The little fish that lives on the shark. The little bird that lives on the rhinoceros. You’re a parasite. You enable. You’re a parasitic enabler.

DIRECTOR: You can turn off that meter, because if you think I’m paying for this ride you’re out of your fucking mind.

TAXI DRIVER : Oh, I turned the meter off a long time ago. I turned off the meter the second we got stuck on this bridge. I turned off the meter the second I realized this bridge was under martial lockdown. The meter stopped counting the second I looked down onto that beautiful bay of water and saw all those spotlights. Because water’s not supposed to shine like that. But it’s sure as shining now, isn’t it. That lovely bay of water’s got a whole new sheen, doesn’t it?

DIRECTOR: Nice speech. Now turn off the meter.

TAXI DRIVER : It’s off.

DIRECTOR: It’s running.

TAXI DRIVER : That’s not the fare.

DIRECTOR: What is it, then?

TAXI DRIVER : It’s a fine. I’m fining you.

DIRECTOR: Because I work for a CUNF.

TAXI DRIVER : That’s right. Because you work for the biggest C-U-Next-Friday out there. You don’t think she is one? Google her. Google her name and the word –

DIRECTOR: Alright.

TAXI DRIVER : One hundred and sixty five thousand hits.

DIRECTOR: Google her name and the words ‘ice cream’. Four hundred and seventy nine thousand hits.

TAXI DRIVER : You know that.

DIRECTOR: I do.

TAXI DRIVER : You know who else is a CUNF?

DIRECTOR: I can’t wait.

TAXI DRIVER : Michael J. Fox.

DIRECTOR: (beat) I beg your pardon.

TAXI DRIVER : Michael J. Fox.

DIRECTOR: The actor.

TAXI DRIVER : Yes.

DIRECTOR: From “Back to the Future”.

TAXI DRIVER : And “Family Ties”.

DIRECTOR: Michael J. Fox.

TAXI DRIVER : CUNF.

DIRECTOR: The man has Parkinson’s.

TAXI DRIVER : Didn’t stop him from being a genuine —

DIRECTOR: What has Michael J. Fox ever done to you?

TAXI DRIVER : He told me that British Columbia was “the Best Place on Earth”.

DIRECTOR: (beat) What?

TAXI DRIVER : Steve Nash, Sarah McLachlan, Ryan Reynolds, what’s his name from “Will and Grace”, Kim Cattrall with her glass of red wine, and Michael J. Fox all telling me what a supernatural, beautiful, wonderful place British Columbia is, that this is “The Best place on Earth”. So what did I do? I sold my house in and moved my family here so that I could ski in the morning and go to the beach in the afternoon, and now we can’t afford rent, let alone buy a house here, and who can afford to ski, and who even wants to ski when it rains all the time, and I can’t go the beach unless I want to be joined by oil-covered protestors, and now I’m stuck on a bridge with the parasitic enabler of the CUNF who made this all happen.

Pause.

DIRECTOR: First of all —

TAXI DRIVER : First of all?

DIRECTOR: First of all –

TAXI DRIVER : You have a list?

DIRECTOR: Can I proceed?

TAXI DRIVER : You’re going to rebut me without even some facile platitude of insincere sympathy first? What kind of politician are you?

DIRECTOR: I’m not a politician.

TAXI DRIVER : I sold my house. Now I own nothing.

DIRECTOR: First of all, the Premier is hardly responsible for all of what you said. That’s just patently absurd.

TAXI DRIVER : Fine. She doesn’t make it rain.

DIRECTOR: Second, your mixing up your television commercials. Michael J. Fox wasn’t in the “Best Place on Earth” commercials. Michael J. Fox was in the “You Gotta Be Here” commercials. For the Olympics.

TAXI DRIVER : “You Gotta Be Here”.

DIRECTOR: Yes.

TAXI DRIVER : No, Michael J. Fox told me that British Columbia was the best place on Earth. And Kim Catrall with her pretentious glass of red wine. That was the commercial.

DIRECTOR: There were no celebrities in the “Best Place on Earth” commercials. That was the “You Gotta Be Here” commercials.

TAXI DRIVER : You’re wrong.

DIRECTOR: No, I’m right, and I think I’m in a better position than you to know that .

TAXI DRIVER : And why is that?

DIRECTOR: Because I came up with the slogan.

TAXI DRIVER : (beat) What slogan?

DIRECTOR: The slogan.

TAXI DRIVER : You mean…

DIRECTOR: “It’s the Best Place on Earth.”

Pause.

TAXI DRIVER : You made that?

DIRECTOR: Yes.

TAXI DRIVER : You are responsible for that.

DIRECTOR: That’s my baby.

TAXI DRIVER : Your baby?

DIRECTOR: Yes.

TAXI DRIVER : Then you are the biggest cunt of them all.

DIRECTOR: Now just hold on a sec —

The TAXI DRIVER starts the engine.

DIRECTOR: What are you doing? Are we moving? Is the traffic moving? Nothing’s moving. Why are you starting the car?

The TAXI DRIVER starts to jostle the vehicle forward and back, shifting gears. Flashlights start to shine on the vehicle.

DIRECTOR: What are you doing?

TAXI DRIVER : Do you know your physics?

POLICE: In the taxi. Turn off your engine.

DIRECTOR: The traffic’s not moving. You can’t go forward or back. What are you doing?

TAXI DRIVER : Do you know the laws of force?

POLICE: In the taxi. Turn off your engine, and get out of the vehicle.

The TAXI DRIVER is jostling the vehicle back and forth, actually striking the other vehicles in front and behind, making more room.

DIRECTOR: You’re hitting cars. What the hell are you doing?

TAXI DRIVER : Force equals mass times acceleration. A small rock of minimal mass can produce a tremendous amount of force if it falls from a great distance, because of the acceleration.

POLICE: I’M SPEAKING TO THE DRIVER OF THE TAXI.

TAXI DRIVER : But if an object has sufficient mass, such as this Hybrid Toyota Prius, which weighs 3,274 pounds, then not a great deal of acceleration is required to have an impactful force. For example, the distance between here and that bridge railing should provide all the acceleration that’s required.

POLICE: I’M SPEAKING TO THE DRIVER OF THE TAXI. TURN OFF YOUR ENGINE RIGHT NOW.

The TAXI DRIVER guns it.

END