VATTÁGO

Lights up.   We find, enveloped by darkness, Carol Ross, a woman of about 40.  She is summoning the demon, Vattágo.

CAROL

Know This!  With Vattágo, We Can Change Our Lives!  With Vattágo, We Can Have All That We Desire!

I conjure ye and command ye absolutely, O, Vattágo, King of Demons, in whatsoever part of the World ye may be, that ye come promptly and accomplish my desires and all that I demand!

(The lights fade on her.  In the darkness a digitized voice on a PA System is heard:)

Matt Ross, report to the Production Supervisor.  Matt Ross, report to the Production Supervisor…

(Lights up on the Supervisor’s Office.  There’s a man at a desk with a pc and folders.  Matt enters, dressed business casual, though sloppily.)

MATT

You wanted to see me?

BILL

Yeah, Matt.  Siddown.

(He does.  Bill reads, attempting to make the words his own.)

You’ve been excessively late the past few weeks.  And I’m supposed to tell you that the Company allows you three latenesses per month.  Ya got three already and it’s only the tenth.  One more, and I gotta put ya on a program.  And if the program doesn’t produce the required results, you can be separated.

MATT

Uh-huh.

BILL

Do you understand what I just told you?

MATT

Yeah.  One more lateness and you can put me on a program and after that, if I continue to be late you’ll fire me.

BILL

Okay.  Now, sign this.

MATT

What am I signing?

BILL

Just that I told you, that you understand the uh… consequences of… you know…  Look, don’t make this any harder for me than it has to be, okay?

MATT

I’m only asking what the legal ramifi—

BILL

Just sign the fuckin thing!  Don’t be late for work anymore, okay?  You see the figures.  They’re lookin to let people go.  Don’t give’em a reason.

(Matt signs.)

Now, I know this isn’t what you do, but it’s your job, and a certain level of—

MATT

You don’t have to explain that to me.

BILL

How’s your book comin along?

MATT

Okay.

BILL

Anything happenin with—

MATT

No.

BILL

Hey, we all go through periods where things don’t work out.  Stick with it, Ross!  One day, ya never know…

MATT

Yeah.  Thanks, Bill.

BILL

Now, I wouldn’t fire you for being late, but when your ID scans in nine-twenty and things like that, everybody sees it.  What am I supposed to do?

(Pause.  Matt gets up, closes the door and pulls down the shade.)

What?  You quittin?  What?

MATT

Can I talk to you?

BILL

Sure.  If this about your 401K, we’re not matching—

MATT

Nothing like that.  It’s personal.

BILL

Personal?  You’ve never asked me ’bout nothin personal before.

MATT

I’m goin crazy.  I need to talk with someone.

BILL

(A short beat.)

I see.  So you come to me.

MATT

Bill, come on.

BILL

The Great Matt Ross.  The Boy Wonder.

MATT

Don’t call me that.  I’m over forty—

BILL

You look so young.

MATT

Bill—

BILL

You should be proud of that.  It’s a gift.  How do ya do it?  Do you eat a special diet or somethin?

MATT

I don’t—

BILL

Salads?  Green vegetables?  Can’t eat that shit.  I gotta have my meat.  Steaks.  Burgers.  Sausage.  God, look at you!  I wish I looked so—

MATT

I may look young, but I feel old.

BILL

And I’m just the opposite!  Isn’t that funny?

(Bill laughs heartily.)

MATT

Nothin seems to bother you.

BILL

No.  No.  No.  Things bother me, Ross.  I’m not Superman.  You comin in late day-in, day-out bothers me.  Numbers down, that bothers me too.  Corporate on my ass bothers me.  My fat wife who thinks she’s doin me a fuckin favor bothers me.  My lazy-ass son flunkin out of high school bothers me.  The secret is I don’t let it get to me.

MATT

How do ya do that?

BILL

Do what I like to do, I guess.  Go out with my buddies.  Watch the game.  Few beers, cocktails.  Golf.  Y’know.  Keep myself busy doin the things that I like to do and things like that.  Wadda you like to do?

(A short silence.)

Ya tell me you’re writin a book.  You like doin that?  Sittin by yourself, typin away.  Doesn’t sound like much fun to me.

MATT

Sometimes I get great joy from creating—

BILL

You’re killin me, Ross.  I think you think you gotta create this, you gotta create that or— I don’t know, things like that.  Lemme tell ya somethin, you don’t gotta create shit.  No one gives a flyin fuck whether you write your book or not.  The world will turn.  Tomorrow is another day.

MATT

(A short beat.)

Maybe this isn’t a good idea.

(Matt goes to the door.)

I won’t be late anymore.

BILL

Get back here, Ross!  I’m sorry I said that.  Write all ya want.  Look at you!  Tuck your shirt in for God’s sake.  Jesus!  Siddown.  We’ll dope this out together.  I don’t wanna lose the best layout—

MATT

I’m not the best—

BILL

You are.  Don’t sell yourself short.  That’s your problem.  You don’t believe in yourself.

MATT

I’m afraid you’ll think that I’m— I don’t know.  Weird.

BILL

I already think you’re weird.  Matt.  I’m here to listen.  Not to judge.  That’s my job.

(A short beat.)

Come on, Ross.  I don’t have all day.

MATT

Alright.  I’m having a kind of marital issue occurring.

BILL

A what?

MATT

An issue.  Between my wife and I.

BILL

An issue.  Okay.

MATT

And I really don’t know what to do about it.  I don’t even know how to— I haven’t been sleeping well…

BILL

Yeah.  You were sayin.

MATT

I wake up three, four times a night.

BILL

When you get older, your bladder—

MATT

No.  It’s not that.  It’s Carol.  She’s— I don’t even know how to…

BILL

Is she having an affair?

MATT

No.  No.  Nothing like that.

(Short pause.)

See, we’ve never been too religious.

BILL

Huh?

MATT

I mean, we never go to church or synagogue.

BILL

You never told me she was Jewish.

MATT

She’s not.  I am.

BILL

You?  Oh!  I really didn’t know!  And we’ve been working together a long—

MATT

Bill.

BILL

I really didn’t know!  You don’t look especially Jewish—

MATT

Well, yeah.

BILL

—and you eat so much pork.

MATT

I like pork.  Anyway—

BILL

And you never take off the Jewish holidays.

MATT

Well, I don’t really practice—

BILL

Wow.  I never knew.  Matt’s a Jew.

(Bill chuckles.)

MATT

Yeah.  Oh God.

BILL

So, do you know who it is?

MATT

Who what is?

BILL

Sleepin with your wife.  Cause if ya do, I can help you put an end to that right away.

MATT

No.  I told you it’s not that.

BILL

Whatever you say.

MATT

One day last week.  Thursday.  Remember, there was no work—

BILL

Right.  Right.

MATT

I came home—

BILL

I sent you guys home—

MATT

—a little early.

BILL

—early.

MATT

And I found her—

BILL

Yeah?

MATT

I found her in the middle of the living room, in a kind of a lotus position—

BILL

(Suggestively.)

Lotus, huh?

MATT

Not really lotus exactly, her legs were… anyway, she had moved the couch and the coffee table off to one side of the room—

(Carol enters and begins to do as Matt recalls.)

BILL

Uh-huh.

MATT

—and drew large circles and stars with funny writing all over the floor with this colored chalk that we bought for the kids—

BILL

My kids love those.

MATT

Mine too.  —gold, reds and blues… vibrant colors… and she was chanting something.

CAROL

(Carol prays softly and intently.)

I invoke ye anew, Vattágo, so that ye shall come promptly to accomplish my desire, and all things that I demand.

MATT

I didn’t know what to make of it, so I hung back and watched.  She went into a kind of trance for a good five minutes.  When she finally came out of it, she looked me right in the eye, and told me that she was worshipping the demon, Vattágo.

BILL

Who?

MATT

Vattágo.  That’s what she said.

BILL

Vattágo?

MATT

Yeah.  She said that Vattágo came to her in a dream, riding a crocodile with a bird in his fist.  He was very powerful, and that she would now worship him.

BILL

(Short pause.)

You really had me goin, Ross.

MATT

Huh?

BILL

I’ve heard excuses for being late, but I gotta tell ya, “my wife is a devil—

MATT

Demon.

BILL

—demon-worshipper and I can’t get to sleep” is the best one yet.

MATT

(Matt stares at Bill.  A beat.)

It’s true, Bill.  Seriously.  She was worshipping a demon.

BILL

Instead of God?

MATT

I guess.  But before I could respond, she asked what I felt like for dinner.  I told her chicken.  So she cleaned up her little area, went in the kitchen and started cooking as if everything was normal.

CAROL

(Carol prepares dinner; quartering the chicken, chopping vegetables, etc.  Matt goes to her.)

Matt, you don’t have to worry.  He’s a good demon.  He leads forces that are outnumbered by ten to one to victory; gives you hope when there is none.  And the courage to fight for what you believe in.

MATT

What do you believe in?

CAROL

Vattágo.

MATT

No.  I mean what do you believe in where you need courage to fight?  Are you some kind of revolutionary?  I don’t understand.

CAROL

(Carol stops working.  Short pause.)

Why do you do that?

MATT

What?

CAROL

Diminish whatever I do?  I have to fight every day.  Do you think because you go to work and I stay home…

MATT

No.  I don’t think that.

CAROL

Matt, I’ve found something.  Something that fills me.  It’s not what you think.

MATT

And what do I think?

CAROL

You think what any misinformed person would think.  I’ve turned evil.  I’ve sold my soul to the devil to gain wealth and power.  That’s nonsense!  It’s not like that at all.

MATT

It’s not?

CAROL

Of course not!  Matt, demon worshippers are just like everybody else.  We love, fight, cook dinner, go to work, school, everything.  You don’t have to be scared.

MATT

I’m not scared.  It’s more uhmmmm… concerned is closer to— Where are the kids?

CAROL

Max is at Dale’s and Hannah has a play-date with Cindy.

MATT

It’s just this is so, uhmmm… unexpected.  I—

CAROL

Matt.  Relax.  Everything’s okay.  The Devil and God are the same.  Don’t you know that?

MATT

No.  This is the first I’m hearing that.

End of Excerpt

  • Facebook
  • Twitter