"Quicksilver and Potato-shoe"
Written by Paul Rust
DAVIE QUICKSILVER enters, stands stage right. His voice is quick, bratty, and 1920s.
DAVIE: Hey there, yankee doodles! Im Davie Quicksilver, newsboy for the Daily Metropolitan Press! Every mornin, I wake up at precisely 5:23 a.m., take my usual spot on the corner of 57th and Congress, and sell approximately one thousand-blue hundred-and-five-teen newspapers. Why, when it comes to sellin newspapers, Im the tops! The cats pajammeys! Cookin with gas and steamin them apples! (lifts up newspaper above head) Extra! Extra! Read all about it! City builds old-timey suspension bridge! Extra! Extra!
BILLY POTATO-SHOE enters, stands stage left. His voice is sad, weak, and defeated.
BILLY: Hello, everyone. Im Billy Potato-shoe, newsboy for the Horse-Cancer Times. I took this job because my family needs the money. I have one mother and twenty-three sisters. My father was crushed by the Statue of Liberty. I have never once sold a newspaper. Well, wait a minute. I sold one once, but the man who bought it just used it for his cat to fart on. (lifts up newspaper above head, speaks tiredly) Extra, extra. Read all about it. Dead pigeon rots on junk heap. Extra, extra.
BRIEFCASE LEON enters stage left, walking in front of Billy.
BILLY: (holding newspaper above head) Extra, extra. Read all about it. Everything tastes like a fart. Extra, extra.
Briefcase Leon keeps on walking, crossing Davies path.
DAVIE: (holding newspaper above head) Extra! Extra! Read all about it! President Hoover promises improvement in nations affairs! Extra! Extra!
Briefcase Leon stops walking and takes a newspaper from Davie.
DAVIE: Thank ya, sir!
BILLY: Oh, Im tired of not selling newspapers. Ive had enough!
Briefcase Leon begins to exit, but Billy runs across stage and stops him.
BILLY: Excuse me, sir. Excuse me.
BRIEFCASE LEON: Im sorry, but I have a very important meeting to get to.
BILLY: I just have one question, sir. Itll only be a moment.
BRIEFCASE LEON: Fine. Go ahead. But Ill have you know that because of you, stocks in virtual reality helmets are falling as we speak.
BILLY: Sorry, sir, sorry. My question is: Why did you take a newspaper from Davie, but not from me?
BRIEFCASE LEON: Oh, thats simple, my boy. Your newspaper did not suit me. It is much too bleak. Why on earth would I want to read something so depressing? I want to feel good, not completely awful.
BILLY: But what about the importance of receiving truth and being informed?
BRIEFCASE LEON: (snickering, pointing at Davie) Welcome to Planet Weirdo.
Briefcase Leon exits stage right. Billy pauses to think. Nodding his head, he returns to his original spot on stage left. CUSTOMER #36 enters stage right, crossing Davies path.
DAVIE: Extra! Extra! Read all about it! President Hoover preserves national forest! Extra! Extra!
CUSTOMER #36 halts and takes a newspaper from Davie.
BILLY: (desperately) Um! Uh! Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Uh everythings totally awesome!
Customer #36 nods agreeably, hands his newspaper back to Davie, and walks happily over to Billy where he grabs one of his newspapers. CUSTOMER #15 enters stage right.
DAVIE: Extra! Extra! Read all about it!
BILLY: (interrupting) A gorilla wears sunglasses!
Customer #15 rubs his hands together excitedly, trots over to Billy, and grabs a paper. Customer #42 enters stage left.
BILLY: Extra! Extra! Read all about it! This motorcycle like totally pops-a-wheelie!
Customer #42 grabs a paper. Davie is, of course, growing more and more frustrated. Soon, multiple customers enter onstage and grab a paper from Billy as he randomly yells out made-up headlines.
BILLY: President wears tank-top with "Mello-Yello" logo on it! Baby plays a guitar solo! Computer learns to cuss!
Suddenly, out of nowhere
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (sitting in the audience) This sketch sucks! This sketch sucks my dick!
Billy breaks character and becomes the actor portraying him - the sketchs writer Paul Rust. As a result, the character of "Billy" will henceforth be known as "Paul." Got it?
PAUL: (addressing the audience member) Im sorry. Is there a problem, sir?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yeah, Paul, your sketch sucks! It sucks my
PAUL: (finishing sentence) Your dick. Yeah, I heard. (pause) Well, what dont you like about the sketch?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Bor-ing!
PAUL: You think so? It seemed to be going well. And on a deeper level, I think it was making a valid point about how people often take quick gratification over new insight and personal development.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Shut your mouth, college boy! Go take your ACTs! And to a lesser extent, your P-SATs!
PAUL: Okay, sir, lets calm down. Im sure we can figure something out. I really dont want to disappoint anybody in the audience. What would you like to see in the sketch?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hans and Franz.
PAUL: Excuse me?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: You know, from "Saturday Night Live," Hans and Franz. They say, "We want to pump (clap hands) you up." Theyre hilarious!
PAUL: Well, Im a little reluctant to do that. First of all, theyre not really my own characters. And second of all, theyre not even very interesting ones at that.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: You think youre better than me?!
PAUL: No, no. But wouldnt you rather see original characters with fresh ideas?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: No! Hans and Franz!
PAUL: Okay, okay. (takes out pen from pocket and reads words aloud as he writes them on script hes been using) "From stage right, Hans and Franz enter "
From stage right, HANS and FRANZ enter.
HANS: Hello, Im Hans.
FRANZ: And Im Franz.
HANS and FRANZ (together): And were here to pump (hand clap) you up!
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (laughing) Thats great! Thats great!
PAUL: Alright. Im glad you like it. Now well go back to the sketch.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Say something about relationships!
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Say something about relationships! You know, what its like to date in the 21st century. What women are like and how theyre soooo different from men! All that stuff!
PAUL: I dont know. That stuff has never really interested me too much.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: What?! You dont have anything to say about love?!
PAUL: Well, I think people say enough about it as it is, to be honest.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Homophobe!
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Racist!
PAUL: Now, hold on.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Baby killer!
PAUL: Alright! Alright! Ill do it. (writes on script, reads aloud) "From stage right, Boyfriend and Girlfriend enter."
From stage right, BOYFRIEND AND GIRLFRIEND enter.
GIRLFRIEND: He always leaves the toilet seat up!
BOYFRIEND: Now I know why they name hurricanes after women!
GIRLFRIEND: All the good men are either married or gay!
BOYFRIEND: Now I know why they name hurricanes after women!
BOYFRIEND and GIRLFRIEND (together): Lets go to our favorite local coffee bar!
PAUL: (to Audience Member) There. You satisfied?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Now I want an over-sexed elderly woman!
PAUL: (pause) Fine. (writes onto script)
From stage left, an over-sexed elderly woman enters.
OVER-SEXED ELDERLY WOMAN: Even though Im elderly, I am promiscuous! What a strange world we live in!
AUDIENCE MEMBER: And a sassy black person!
PAUL: Fine. (writes onto script)
From stage right, a sassy black person enters.
SASSY BLACK PERSON: Show me some sort of money!!!
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Now give me a moral about how spousal abuse is an awful, awful thing!
PAUL: Stop! Stop! Stop! Okay?! Im not going to do everything you want me to do! I have some dignity as a writer! And as a person! Okay?! (pause) Wait a second. (thought occurs to him) I got an idea. (scribbles on script, reads aloud words) "Audience Member shuts his big mouth and lets me finish my sketch!"
AUDIENCE MEMBER: No!
PAUL: What?! But I wrote it down in the script!
Audience Member stands up with a script in hand, proudly displays it to the rest of the audience, and defiantly takes out a pen.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (writing on his script with pen, reading words aloud) "Realizing that he no longer has power as a writer and performer, Paul Rust throws his script down in anger "
Paul does so. In fact, the rest of the Audience Members lines function as his stage directions.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (continuing writing, reading aloud) " Fed up with it all, Paul Rust decides to leave No Shame Theatre forever and exits the stage. But before he exits, he looks out to the audience one last time with a combination of respect and frustration, love and disgust. A moment passes. Then, he shrugs. Paul Rust returns to the stage and slaps himself until the audience applauds wildly."
Paul Rust begins slapping himself across the face seemingly against his own control. Audience may or may not applaud. Who knows?
PAUL: (to Audience Member) Hey! Say, "Blackout."
AUDIENCE MEMBER: No.
PAUL: Come on, say it. Please say, "Blackout."
AUDIENCE MEMBER: No!
PAUL: Please! This isnt funny! For the love of God, say, "Blackout," will you?!
Audience member waits a moment as Paul slaps himself a few more times.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Aaaaaaand "Blackout!"
BLACKOUT."Quicksilver and Potato Shoe" IS COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL AND MAY NOT BE DOWNLOADED, TRANSMITTED, PRINTED OR PERFORMED WITHOUT THE EXPRESS PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR
"Quicksilver and Potato Shoe" debuted November 22, 2002, performed by Paul Rust, Mike Cassady, Jason Nebergall, William Callahan, Chris Stangl.