GODS CREATURES

The offices of J.J. Connelley & Sons.  Dominic Carlucci, Mailroom Attendant, has been making his rounds.  He’s taking a short break with Marty Greene, Accounts Payable.  A young man, Lyle Cheever is seated at another desk.  He continues silently working throughout this scene.

DOM

Lookit that weirdo.  He’s lucky he’s got a fuckin job.

 

MARTY

Dom—

 

DOM

I remember he come in here—

 

MARTY

I told you—

 

DOM

I thought, “Who the hell hired this geek?”

 

MARTY

Only Connelley.  They hired us.

 

DOM

This company’ll hire anyone, long as they can fuck ‘em.

MARTY

Dom.  I’m sorry.  This is the third time—

 

DOM

What?

 

MARTY

You know how I feel about such language.

 

DOM

Oh.  Yeah.

 

MARTY

Could you watch it?

 

DOM

Yeah.  I forget sometimes.  Jerkoff’s got me all—

 

MARTY

Try to remember.

 

DOM

I will.

 

MARTY

Cause it really bothers me.

 

DOM

Yeah.

 

MARTY

That language.

 

DOM

I won’t fuckin talk shit like that—

 

MARTY

Dom!

 

DOM

—just kiddin!  Come on!  Hey Marty, I forgot.  Waddaya want from me?

 

MARTY

I want you to respect my choice and try—

 

DOM

When I get angry I can’t find the words.

 

MARTY

I’m sure if you put on your thinking cap, you’ll find a word.

 

DOM

I gotta tell ya, this is tough gettin used to, Marty, I gotta say, and I don’t mean to hurt your feelings, but I liked you a lot better before you found God.

 

MARTY

Oh Dom.

 

DOM

You’re a different person.  I can’t talk about nothin no more.

 

MARTY

I’m still the same old Marty.

 

DOM

No you’re not!  You’re a fuckin brown-nose!

 

MARTY

Dom!  Please!

 

DOM

You used to kick ass!  You didn’t take no shit from nobody!  Look at ya now, with the bowtie!

 

MARTY

What’s wrong with a bowtie?

 

DOM

And you’re no fun anymore!  The Pussycat Lounge, The Dream Boat, remember?

 

MARTY

Vaguely.

 

DOM

I want the old Marty back!  Come on!

 

MARTY

Dom, the only difference between the old Marty and the new, is I’m Saved.

 

DOM

It looks like you.  It sounds like you.  But it ain’t you.

 

MARTY

Let Jesus in Your Heart.  It’s not too late.

 

DOM

I’m too far gone for that.

 

MARTY

Well, don’t come to Him when you’re on your Deathbed and you want to be forgiven.  He sees right through alla that last minute please forgive me stuff.  It’ll really be too late then.  No Eternal Life For You.  “Dominic Carlucci?  Elevator Going Down.”

 

DOM

At least I’ll be in good company.

(Noticing Lyle.)

Lookit’im over there.  Hey!  Come up for air!

 

MARTY

Dom!

 

DOM

I don’t like that psycho upsettin the applecart.  Makin us all look bad—

 

MARTY

—when we do it perfectly well on our own.

 

DOM

You see the work he’s been handin in lately?

 

MARTY

No.

 

DOM

Well, since the scumbag—

 

MARTY

Dom.

 

DOM

What’s wrong with “scumbag?”  They say it on TV!

 

MARTY

Let’s not use TV as our moral barometer.

 

DOM

Since the skoong decided he’s too good for everyone, he’s doin about three times the work that he used to do and he used to do more than anyone else to begin with.

 

MARTY

How do you know that?

 

DOM

I make it my business to know.  Every day his pile gets bigger and bigger.  He used to get about three pieces a day.  Not bad, a little higher than average.  Then he starts gettin five, now he’s up to about nine pieces and there’s no sign of it lettin up.

 

MARTY

So?

 

DOM

So?!  If that geek can produce like that, why can’t you?  Or me?  Or everyone!  The whole company!  He’s settin a standard that we’re all gonna hafta meet!

 

MARTY

Dom, look around you.  There are no standards.

 

DOM

You wish!  I used to have a good fifteen minutes after my morning run for a cup of coffee and a danish.  Found a nice spot by the freight elevator.  I got a little TV there.  Some reading material.  A nice setup.  Now, with that weirdo doin all that work, not only don’t I get no break, I gotta bust my ass to get done on time.  And don’t think that that’s gone unnoticed.  Words’ve been said to the effect that I’m gettin slow in my old age.  Callin me Dashin Dom.  I turn sixty day after tomorrow.

 

MARTY

Happy Birthday.

 

DOM

Thanks.  In this company, you gotta be sixty before you can collect.  If they’re makin comments now, you think they’re gonna keep me around for ten more years?

 

MARTY

They’re not going to let you go!  You’re a fixture here!  Who can even imagine J.J. Connelley & Sons without Dominic Carlucci scratchin his behind!

 

DOM

Look at this.

Dom hands Marty a letter.

A schedule.  Tellin me when I gotta deliver what where.  Broken down.  Floor by floor.  Department by department.  Now, why would they do that if they were satisfied?

Marty reads the letter.

 

MARTY

I don’t know.

 

DOM

See?  Bastards.  Ya know, I seen things fall offa the truck a million times and I never took nothin.

 

MARTY

I know.  Your integrity is without question.

 

DOM

What am I gonna do?  I don’t know anything useful.

 

MARTY

Look, if worse came to worse—

 

DOM

Oh Jesus.  Don’t even—

 

MARTY

—which it won’t, but if it did, trust—

 

DOM

Who is gonna hire a sixty year old man?

 

MARTY

What do you want me to say?  So go on Welfare.

 

DOM

Carlucci’s don’t take no charity!  It’s that weirdo!  Fu—, effin guy starts workin like that, showin me up.  I gotta do somethin!

 

MARTY

You can do one of two things.  You can either talk to him—

 

DOM

Talk to him?  About what?  He’s doin good.  Why should he give a fuck for me?  I don’t give two shits about him.

 

MARTY

—or, you can do an honest days work.  You’re here, you might as well.  That’s my philosophy.

 

DOM

I do my job best I could.

 

MARTY

Dom, we all love you and we’ve learned to accept you and your, uh, inconsistencies, but to say you do your job the best you could, well, you’re kidding yourself.

 

DOM

I thought you were my friend.  The old Marty woulda never—

 

MARTY

—spoken his mind?  No.  I would’ve gone along with you.  Now, I’m—

 

DOM

Remember what you used to say?  “Fuck’em all!  Short and tall!”

 

MARTY

Dom!

 

DOM

What?!

 

MARTY

Don’t ever do that to me again!

 

DOM

Allright!

 

MARTY

I've worked too hard, changing my life, to have you dredge up—

 

DOM

Okay!  Jesus!

 

MARTY

—and don’t say Jesus!

 

DOM

Why not?

 

MARTY

Just don’t you say it!

(A short silence.)

 

DOM

(Checking his watch.)

Fuck me.  I’m seven minutes behind.  Shit.

(Dom prepares his cart.)

 

MARTY

And Dom?

 

DOM

What?

 

MARTY

Everyone knows about the freight elevator.

 

DOM

Oh my God!  How long’ve they known?

 

MARTY

Look, just do the work.  Give yourself over to it and stop complaining.  Lyle Cheever’s production has nothing to do with you.

(Dom pushes his cart off as the lights fade on him.  Up on Lyle, sitting on the corner of his desk.  He talks to us.)

LYLE

One day, I thought I’d try an experiment.  I wondered if I could go the whole day without talking.  Being that I live alone, the morning was no problem; getting up and getting dressed and all.  At the subway, I pushed six dollars through the window and the clerk gave me my Metrocard.  No words exchanged.  Easy.  When I got to work, I nodded hello and went straight to my desk, turned on my p.c. and did some paperwork.  Soon, it was almost eleven and I still had not spoken.  Later, Dom from the mailroom came by, dropped off a few large brown envelopes and started talking about his exploits.  I usually find him amusing, but this time I made a gesture indicating the large amount of work I had to do and he went his merry way.  He started in with Marty from Accounts Payable.  The same story.  Same inflections even.  Made me ill.  I continued silently working.  And I must say, I did a lot of work.  I knew lunch would be easy.  No one ever eats with me anyway.  At the steamtable, I pointed to the meatloaf special and paid.  No verbiage required.  I dined alone and enjoyed my meal.  The rest of the day, more paperwork.  No one came by my desk.  No surprise there.  Finally, five arrived and I went home.  Again, not a word out of me.

What a marvelous day I had!

In the past, I’d get so nervous when I had to talk, that I would shake and stammer.  It never occurred to me, to, well, just stop talking.  I decided to see how long I could keep this up.  Quite a while.   Quite a while.  It was a few days when I felt my co-workers wondering “What’s with him?”  They were concerned and rightly so, but it’s really none of their fucking business.  And here’s the best part; as the days turned into weeks, I began to feel their fear. 

“What happened to Lyle???”  I had become The Silent One.  The Quiet Man.  Someone you might read about one day.  Suddenly, I was unpredictable.  Suddenly, I was strong.  Heads turned when I walked in the room.  Before, when I was vocal, I’d give everyone a cheery “Good Morning!”  They’d grunt into their coffee or ignore me.  I’d hate them.  Now, I enter, and just for fun, I peruse the room a few moments before I make my way to my desk.  Some say “Good morning, Lyle.”  I can see they no longer expect a reply.  The more stubborn ones ask “How are you today, Lyle?”  I just smile.  They’d like me to be vocal again, but I have no desire to do so.  There is really no reason to talk to anyone anymore.

(Lights out.)

End of Excerpt

  • Facebook
  • Twitter