Up and Down copyright © 2002 Dave Ulrich

            "Up and Down"
            By, Dave Ulrich
            Copyright  2002 Dave Ulrich

            SCENE 1

                                        A man is sitting at one side of a table with a
                                        notepad in front of him. A woman joins him with a
                                        notepad.

                                   SUSAN
            Bill.

                                   BILL
            Susan.

                                   SUSAN
            Ah crap.

                                   BILL
            What?

                                   SUSAN
            I forgot my water bottle.

                                   BILL
            Well, do you think this will take long?

                                   SUSAN
            Oh no. Gabe never lets these things...

                                        Another man enters and sits at the table.

                                   JIM
            Bill, Susan. Good, I beat Gabe. How are you fuckers? Susan,
            damn, you look good today.

                                   BILL
            Susan forgot her water.

                                   JIM
            Well, this shouldn't take long. You know how Gabe doesn't
            like to draw these...

                                        Two men enter. Gabe, sits at the head of the table
                                        and Tony  remains standing behind him.

                                   ALL
            Gabe!

                                   GABE
            Jim. Susan. Bill. Well, it's time again. Let's not draw this
            out. You know I don't like to...

                                   BILL
            Of course not.

                                   SUSAN
            I believe we're all prepared.

                                   JIM
            You bet, Gabe.

                                   GABE
            All right, then. Let's cut to the chase. Susan, why don't you
            start.

                                   SUSAN
            Of course. For my department to function we need an absolute
            bare minimum of five.

                                   GABE
            What do you have now?

                                   SUSAN
            Seven.

                                   GABE
            You can keep three.

                                   SUSAN
            Three, Gabe?

                                   GABE
            When we hit crisis, we'll bring in a supervisor to straighten
            out the mess as cheap as we can manage. So let's hear it.

                                   SUSAN
            I really do need four, Gabe.

                                   GABE
            Okay. Then show me how you can make it work.

                                        Susan consults her list/notes.

                                   SUSAN
            Jessica has a lot of responsibility but only makes forty
            after two and a half years. We can bump her title and she'll
            be so relieved over surviving another round... we can keep
            her cheap for another six months -- minimum.

                                   GABE
            Next.

                                   SUSAN
            Frank's an overachiever. It annoys me. He's out. Cheryl is
            clueless and unattractive to look at. Joe's too short.

                                        She draws three lines on her paper.

                                   SUSAN
            That leaves me Jason and Jessica, and then Robert and Karla.

                                        Tony notes this.

                                   GABE
            Who are the other two?

                                   TONY
            Robert's an intern, Karla's new.

                                   SUSAN
                          (ignoring Tony)
            Robert the intern: if we bring him on in someone's place, we
            can keep him in the mid-twenties.

                                   GABE
            And the chick?

                                   SUSAN
            Karla's under thirty thousand. She doesn't know much yet, but
            Jessica will abuse her into understanding quick. If we bump
            her to thirty she'll take the abuse.

                                   TONY
            She's a single mother.

                                   GABE
            Then she'd lick shoes for thirty. So what's our anticipated
            total on these four?

                                   SUSAN
            One twenty and some change.

                                   GABE
            Good. And where are you at?

                                   SUSAN
            What do you mean, Gabe?

                                   GABE
            What am I paying you, Susan?

                                        Susan looks at the others uncomfortably.

                                   SUSAN
            Do I... really... have to say?

                                        Pause.

                                   TONY
            Two fourteen. Options and the car.

                                        Susan flashes Tony a look.

                                   GABE
            I need to bring you down to an even two, Susan.

                                   SUSAN
            All right, then fuck Karla and put me at two twenty.

                                   GABE
            Fuck Karla and you can stay where you're at.

                                   SUSAN
            Deal.

                                        Susan draws another line. Tony adds to his notes

                                   GABE
            Good. Who's next?

                                   JIM
            I'll go. I'm easy.

                                   GABE
            All right. How many do you need?

                                   JIM
            Eight.

                                   GABE
            How many do you have?

                                   JIM
            Eight.

                                   GABE
            You can have five.

                                   JIM
            Freddie, Steve, Stacy, Maggie, and Kate. They are two
            interns, one entry-level, one prodigy, and one bitch from
            hell. No one over forty. I'm clear under one fifty.

                                   GABE
            Damn Jim. I like it. Where are you at?

                                   JIM
            Three hundred.

                                   GABE
            You can stay there.

                                   JIM
            Thanks, Gabe.

                                        Tony notes it.

                                   GABE
            Bill? What have you got?

                                   BILL
            Well, I didn't really prepare for... this.

                                   GABE
            You didn't prepare. What do you mean?

                                   BILL
            I just didn't think we would...

                                   GABE
            We would what?

                                   BILL
            Be so frank. So candid. I mean this is the third round. By
            now I just didn't think we could lose...

                                   GABE
            What are you saying?

                                   BILL
            It's just... Everyone's already doing at least three people's
            work.... These are people, you know. People's lives.

                                        They all laugh, but Bill.

                                   JIM
                          (chuckling)
            Damn, Bill.

                                   BILL
            I'm serious. I'm already understaffed as it is. To lose even
            one would send my department out of control.

                                   GABE
            Are you saying you can't handle the management of the
            department unless it's running fat?

                                   BILL
            No, Gabe. I'm saying I'm already so lean...

                                   GABE
            Are you fucking kidding me Bill?

                                   BILL
            Well, no... Gabe --

                                   GABE
            Now you're gonna 'Gabe' me?

                                        A beat.

                                   BILL
            I don't understand what that means.

                                        Tony chuckles.

                                   GABE
            Bill, stop dicking around and tell me who you're losing.

                                   BILL
            Can I have more time to ponder it? See, I thought...

                                   GABE
            How many do you have Bill?

                                   TONY
            He has eight.

                                   GABE
            You can have four.

                                   BILL
            Four?!?

                                   GABE
            I'm sorry, did I say four? Make it three.

                                   BILL
            Gabe...

                                   GABE
            All right, two.

                                   BILL
            But...

                                   SUSAN
            I think you need to shut up.

                                   BILL
            Susan!

                                   SUSAN
            Bill!

                                   BILL
            You can't think that this is...

                                   JIM
            They're just people!

                                        A long pause.

                                   GABE
            Bill. You're fired.

                                   BILL
            But...

                                   GABE
            Save the shit, Bill. You'll get severance. You're done at the
            end of the day. See Janice for your... meeting thing.

                                   TONY
            Exit interview.

                                   BILL
            You can't...

                                   GABE
            Stop. Just listen to yourself, Bill. Go while you've still
            got a thread of decency.

                                        Bill gathers his papers, glaring at each of them,
                                        and starts to walk out shell-shocked. He stops.

                                   BILL
            Decency? Do you any idea what it's like to be walking the
            fine line these people under us...

                                   JIM
                          (increduously)
            Shut the fuck up.
                          (after a beat)
            No, Bill, we don't. Know what it's like. Finding out might
            drag us right down into their smelly world of shitty cars,
            rental homes, and basic fucking cable.
            It's the nature of the chain. Exposing myself to their small
            lives and big problems takes my time, my energy and my focus 
            - away from this life that I love -- which is far away from
            theirs. If anyone, ever tried to take this life away from me,
            I would put a bullet through your fucking head. That is what
            it means to me. How much it means to me. To us.

                                   BILL
            You all feel that way?

                                        Pause.

                                   SUSAN
            I'm not going to struggle through my life just so others
            don't have to struggle more. What if everyone did that?

                                        A beat.

                                   BILL
            Yeah. What if.
                          (to Tony)
            Tony? How could you? You're an assistant.

                                   TONY
            To a god.

                                   GABE
            Bill. Decide. Say it to me: 'they're just people.'

                                        A long pause.

                                   BILL
            They're just...

                                   GABE
            Too late. I fucking fired you.

                                        Bill glares at him for a beat and walks out.

                                   GABE
            Christ. Let's order some goddamn lunch.

                                        Lights out.
            THE END
"Up & Down" IS COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL AND MAY NOT BE DOWNLOADED, TRANSMITTED, PRINTED OR PERFORMED WITHOUT THE EXPRESS PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR

"Up & Down" debuted November 1, 2002, directed by J.J. Hickey, with the following cast:
Susan - Michelle Garb
Bill - Mike ?
Jim - Chris Clarke
Gabe - Eric Johnson
Tony - Michael Rothschild

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