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A DOG’S CHRISTMAS

By

Dale Andersen
27702 Crown Valley Pkwy
Suite 117, D-4
Ladera Ranch, CA 92694
562-508-5820
andersen.dale@gmail.com
©Copyright 2004

Cast of Characters

Ali………………Female, Mongrel, street-savvy


Artie…………Male, Pug, fiesty, leads with his mouth
Brick…………Male, Akita, tough guy but not a leader
Cyril…………Male, Russian Wolfhound, a thinker, an artist

Synopsis

It’s Christmas Eve and four dogs in a pound


contemplate life, death, happiness and the hereafter.

Technical Requirements

A table, four chairs, a deck of cards.


2

(Christmas Eve. Animal Shelter. CYRIL sits


waiting, a bowl of dog biscuits on table.
Each biscuit is tied with a Christmas
ribbon. A deck of cards. He shuffles
cards. He waits, humming “Jingle Bells.”
Enter ALI, ARTIE & BRICK)

CYRIL:
(Gestures to festive bowl of biscuits)
Welcome! Welcome!

ARTIE:
Ooooh, biscuits!

ALI:
Thank you, Cyril. That is so sweet of you.

BRICK:
Awww, Cyr. You didn’t have to.

(They help themselves and get seated)

BRICK:
(Mouth full of biscuit)
So what’s the deal with the ribbons?

CYRIL:
It’s Christmas.

ARTIE:
Yeah, so?

CYRIL:
Haven’t you noticed how everyone’s gone?

BRICK:
That’s right. They all skedaddled just after lunch.

ALI:
Now that I think on it, the only one left out there is
Evelyn.

ARTIE:
Not that loser!
3

ALI:
Artie. She’s very nice.

ARTIE:
Right.
(Looks around. Smiles. Rubs hands together)
So. We got the place to ourselves.
(ARTIE picks up cards and shuffles, talking
as he does)
Dja all hear about Becky?

BRICK:
Yeah.

ARTIE:
It sucks! It just sucks!

ALI:
What about Becky?

ARTIE:
I tell ya. Chicks get all the breaks.

ALI:
Yeah right. Lucky us. We get all the breaks. What
about Becky?

ARTIE:
It sucks! I mean, it just sucks!

ALI:
I’ll give you sucks. Try nursing seven pups.

CYRIL:
Wha? What’s all this about Becky?

ALI:
It’s nothing, Cyr. Just some type-A males venting
about you know what.

ARTIE:
Hey, shut up!

ALI:
Ooooh, struck a nerve there.
4

ARTIE:
Tell ya, you can’t win. The fix is on. Game over, man.

ALI:
Can we move on and just cut the cards?

ARTIE:
Cut, Cyr.
(Long silence. Cyril is having a wolfhound
moment, his mind off in space somewhere)
Cut!

BRICK:
Uh Cyr. Artie wants you should cut the cards.

CYRIL:
What? Oh. Yes. Sorry, Artie.

ARTIE:
Geez, Cyril.

CYRIL:
I really am sorry.

ARTIE:
Willya just hurry up and cut?
(Cyril cuts. Artie grabs deck and deals)

That was a nice kid. A real nice little kid. With a


pretty mom. They both had real nice smiles. I
wouldda been so. Well. What am I thinking?

(They play cards as they talk)

Cyril:
Of whom are we speaking?

ARTIE:
Becky! Who do you think we’re talking about?

ALI:
Always blaming the female. Cherchez La Femme.

BRICK:
So. The mom and the little kid. Did they stop and
look at you?
5

ARTIE:
They make ‘em look at everybody.

BRICK:
Well, what happened?

ARTIE:
What happened? You wanna know what happened? I’ll
tell you what happened! They were passing my cage and
I went to my sit position just like I practiced a
million times. You know, butt down, head up, eyes
alert. I could tell the little boy was impressed. I
even tilted my head so I could give him a really
intelligent smile. And then you know what Becky does?
She wiggles her tush. Jumps around going “Yap, yap,
yap” Crouches down on all fours. Rolls over. And
her tongue is goin’ a thousand miles a minute. You
can’t compete with that! I tell you. Chicks get all
the breaks.

BRICK:
Artie. Don’t get upset.

ALI:
It is such a double standard around here. We’re
supposed to be attractive, but when a male wants to
strut his stuff, we’re supposed to back away and be
invisible.

ARTIE:
All I’m asking is a chance.

BRICK:
He’s not asking much, Ali. Just a chance.

ARTIE:
I would be the best dog you ever had. I know I would.
Just give me the chance. Please take me home for
Christmas. I will make you happy. I’m Artie. Try
me. Please.

BRICK:
Relax, Artie. Take it easy.
6

CYRIL:
It’s true. Being the dog at someone’s house is a
wonderfully unique experience. It was like that for me
when I lived with Miss Rosa. What a wonderful woman.

ARTIE:
You see? You see? Even Cyril had a shot. What is
wrong with me? What is wrong with this picture?

CYRIL:
Did I say something wrong?

ALI:
Naw. Artie’s a pug. Pugs always whine.

BRICK:
(Stage whisper to CYRIL & ALI)
Listen! Will you two cut it out!? Artie’s got five
days and if he doesn’t find a home, they’re gonna.
(Runs finger across throat in a slashing
motion. ALI & CYRIL blink, gasp)
So be nice to him. The key is, don’t upset him.

(Silence. They play cards. Then…)

ARTIE:
Hey, Cyril!

CYRIL:
(Making the effort to sound especially nice.
ALI flashes a big smile)
Yes, Artie.

ARTIE:
Just for the record. How dja hook up with Miss Rosa?

BRICK:
Artie. Would you please just relax?

ARTIE:
I am relaxed.

BRICK:
I don’t want you getting upset.
7

ARTIE:
What are you talking about? I am relaxed! Very
relaxed! Extremely relaxed! I’m just trying to
understand some stuff, OK? Just trying to get some
clarification.

BRICK:
You’re pissed. I know when you’re.

ARTIE:
I am not pissed!

BRICK:
Yes, you are!

ARTIE:
Hey! Don’t try and psychoanalyze me, OK? Cyril,
willya tell me about Miss Rosa? Please.

BRICK:
Don’t tell him, Cyril. It’ll upset him.

ARTIE:
C’mon Cyr. Talk to your buddy Artie.

ALI:
Hey! I thought this was gonna be a friendly card
game. Anyone wanna play cards?

BRICK:
(Growls threateningly)
Cyril.

ARTIE:
Now Brick, you’re starting to piss me off.

CYRIL:
(Getting flustered and nervous)
Brick. What do you want me to do?

BRICK:
I give up! Just go ahead and do what you damn well
want.

ALI:
Don’t you just love how decisive males are? So hands
on, so take charge?
8

ARTIE:
Yeah, why doncha butt out, Brick?

BRICK:
OK, screw it then.

ARTIE:
Yeah, just screw it, jerkoff.

BRICK:
Right. Screw it.

CYRIL:
Brick. I’m really don’t want you to be mad at me. I
didn’t mean.

BRICK:
(Overlaps at “mean”)
It’s OK!

CYRIL:
You’re certain.

BRICK:
I said it was OK!

ALI:
Didntja hear him say it was OK? It’s OK. Sheesh!

CYRIL:
OK. Uh, Artie. So what exactly did you want to know?

ARTIE:
I wanna know all the details. And the details behind
the details. Like. Where’d Miss Rosa find you?

CYRIL:
Oh, ha ha. It was more like me finding her.

ARTIE:
Say what?

CYRIL:
To put it succinctly, I walked into her yard.

ARTIE:
Walked in? Walked in from where?
9

BRICK:
His owners dumped him out in the sticks.

CYRIL:
Yes. Sad to say. One day they wanted me. The next
day they didn’t.

ARTIE:
Wait a minute. Are you talking about Miss Rosa? I
thought you said.

BRICK:
No. Artie. This was before Miss Rosa.

ALI:
(Indicates CYRIL)
Brick. It’s Cyril’s story. Okay?

BRICK:
Well screw it. Everybody’s dumpin’ on me. Guess I’ll
just shut up.

ARTIE:
Good plan, doofus brain.

CYRIL:
It was a young couple. No children. Dual income, no
kids. DINKs. And they were away all day.

ARTIE:
They left you alone?

CYRIL:
They’d come back at night. They fought all the time
and the woman would drink and kick me.

ARTIE:
You shouldda bit her!

CYRIL:
That’s not my style. To make a long story short,
Christmas Day they were both home. They put me in the
car and we went for a ride out on the country roads
and.

BRICK:
And they threw him out of the car.
10

ALI:
(Shivers)
That happened to me, too.

CYRIL:
Brick, it wasn’t exactly like that!

BRICK:
All right, not exactly. They didn’t throw him out.
They pushed him out. Then they drove off.

ARTIE:
They did this on Christmas Day?

CYRIL:
Right after Miracle on 34th Street.

ALI:
My owners did it to me on Labor Day. I was pregnant.

ARTIE:
The maggots!

CYRIL:
I started walking and I came to a house. And there
were chickens in the yard and two skinny cats who
hissed at me and a big tom turkey and there was Miss
Rosa tossing seeds to the chickens and the turkey.
And she turned to me and she said, “Merry Christmas,
big fella. You look hungry.”

ARTIE:
Awright!

CYRIL:
I wasn’t hungry but I nodded and opened my mouth. She
went inside and came back out with the biggest soup
bone I ever saw in my life.

ARTIE:
Oh man!

CYRIL:
She never cursed me. She never kicked me. She never
scolded me. She always said, “Good boy. Good dog.”
11

ALI:
My female intuition is kicking in.
(Takes a hanky, dabs her eyes)
I know this is gonna have a sad ending.

ARTIE:
Hey! You wanna put a sock in it? So what happened?

CYRIL:
One morning I woke up early. I heard the cats in the
kitchen. I knew something wasn’t right. I walked in
and I saw her there on the floor. The cats already
knew she was gone. They were hissing and growling. I
told them I was sorry. They rubbed against me and
told me they were sorry too. That was the only time
those cats ever spoke to me.

BRICK:
Stupid cats!

ALI:
(Sobbing)
That is so sad.

CYRIL:
One of Miss Rosa’s sons came to the house around noon
and they took her away.

ARTIE:
I’m sorry, Cyr.

ALI:
(Sobbing)
That is so sad.

CYRIL:
She was a saint. I loved her.
(Tears well up)
She was a saint.

(Long reflective silence. ALI continues to


quietly sob)

ARTIE:
Cyr?
12

CYRIL:
Yes, Artie.

ARTIE:
A good woman like Miss Rosa. Good to dogs. Good to
cats. Good to birds.

BRICK:
Stupid birds!

ARTIE:
Do you think she’s you know. Somewhere? Out there?

CYRIL:
Artie. I have no doubt she’s up there looking down on
us right now.

ARTIE:
Really?

CYRIL:
I believe a virtuous life is rewarded.

ARTIE:
Wow. So. So. Are you including uh. You know. Dogs
in this?

CYRIL:
There are virtuous dogs. Just like there are virtuous
humans. And virtuous cows.

BRICK:
Stupid cows!

ARTIE:
Cyril.

CYRIL:
Yes, Artie.

ARTIE:
Do you think…?

CYRIL:
You’re a good dog, Artie. You’re a shoo-in.

End

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