"Give us Two Minutes... We'll Give You Too"
A Series of Two Minute Comedy Sketches for short attention span theatre
Lights up inside Rotterveil’s hut. Captain Rotterveil paces irritably. Smirch listens intently.
CAPTAIN: The situation is desperate Smirch. Wimsley is fomenting rebellion amongst the Pygmies and making us the laughing stock of the jungle. I want the heretic contained!
SMIRCH: You say the man is English and he is dressing himself like a Pygmy?
CAPTAIN: Right. Says he’s appointed by the savages as their “Chief.” I think the man is utterly barmy!
SMIRCH: . The whole point of covert character assassination is to make the target look barmy. Even if he isn’t. We force the target to eccentric behavior by confiscating assets, money, acquaintances, etc. Poverty makes any man look mad.
SMIRCH: Eccentric behavior allows a medical diagnosis of psychosis, schizophrenia, or depression. Very effective really.
CAPTAIN: And this is your specialty Smirch?
SMIRCH: It is. My focus is public figures. They’re difficult to tarnish because of their position – but C-ASS has their ways.
STUFFINS: Beg pardon Leftenant… C-ASS??
SMIRCH: Character assassination. The joke back at five is “if you got an ass call C-ASS!”
CAPTAIN: I don’t care how it’s done Leftenant, just get him out of my hair!
SMIRCH: That’s what I’m here for, Captain. Shall we call him in?
CAPTAIN: Stuffins, bring in Pygmy Chief Wimsley!
Stufffins: Yes, sir Captain right away!
Stuffins exits. Captain and Smirch smile uncomfortably. Smirch slaps at his neck.
SMIRCH: Damned mosquitoes! Don’t know how you stand it Captain. Bugs, snakes, ghastly heat.
CAPTAIN: Fortitude Smirch. It takes fortitude and the fear of a wrathful God to serve in the jungle. It’ll test your mettle.
Stuffins and Wimsley enter. Wimsley is wearing the required dress code: tie, shorts and shoes, along with his Pygmy garb. He comes to attention.
CAPTAIN: Wimlsey, this is Leftenant Smirch from Foreign Office, London. Leftenant, this is “Chief” Wimsley of the Pygmy colonial village.
SMIRCH: (stares) Yes. That’s quite simply an extraordinary outfit Wimsley.
Wimsley does not speak or move.
SMIRCH: I said that’s an unusual costume Wimsley. Even for a Pygmy “Chief.”
Wimsley does not respond. Captain bristles, and steps in front of Wimsley.
CAPTAIN: Damnit Wimsley! What are you playing at?
CAPTAIN: Answer me Wimsley!!
Wimsley brightens and pulls a cork from each ear.
WIMSLEY: Sorry Captain. We’re you speaking to me?
CAPTAIN: Of course I’m speaking to you Wimsley! Don’t be an ass!
WIMSLEY: Of course not, Captain.
SMIRCH: If I may Captain… Wimsley, why is it you have a cork stuffed into each ear?
WIMSLEY: It’s an R-R… I’m sorry, who is this Captain?
CAPTAIN: Leftenant Smirch, London! I want you to answer his questions with rigorous honesty Wimsley! Your mental stability is in question here.
WIMSLEY: It is?? (to Smirch) This sounds serious, Smirch.
SMIRCH: Why the corks in your ears, Wimsley?
WIMSLEY: Ah. An R-R Leftenant. A Rotterveil Requirement. Captain ordered the entire tribe to wear corks in their ears.
SMIRCH: Did he?
Smirch turns to Captain Rotterveil. Captain hesitates.
CAPTAIN: (defensive) Yes! The infernal drumming! It is a practical method of defense.
SMIRCH: (pause) I’m sorry. Infernal drumming?
CAPTAIN: Foreign tribes. Drumming incessantly. Part of an organized plan of insubordination. They stir up the natives with satanic messages of hope and optimism!
SMIRCH: (pause) And how do the corks play into it?
WIMSLEY: Captain believes that if our Pygmies don’t hear the messages they remain docile and easier to control, Leftenant.
There is an awkward pause.
SMIRCH: Can you tell me about the extraordinary outfit Wimsley?
WIMSLEY: Yes Leftenant. Another R-R. Captain calls this the Necktie, Shorts and Shoes dress code. All Pygmy natives are required to wear this outfit.
SMIRCH: (stares) Is that so Captain?
CAPTAIN: Yes it is. I ordered the savages to wear a semblance of civilized dress. In an attempt to… civilize them.
WIMSLEY: Rather remarkable actually. Getting an aboriginal tribe to wear neckties!
Smirch looks at the Captain worriedly.
WIMSLEY: And the Captain has ordered the tribe learn English, Leftenant. Isn’t that right, Captain?
CAPTAIN: (carefully) Yes. That is true.
WIMSLEY: Actually it’s just two words the natives must learn. Right Captain?
CAPTAIN: (worried) Right.
SMIRCH: What two words Wimsley?
WIMSLEY: Yes boss?
SMIRCH: What are the two words?
WIMSLEY: Yes, boss.
SMIRCH: Yes boss?
WIMSLEY: Yes boss. Isn’t that right Stuffins?
STUFFINS: (hesitant) Ah, right. That’s correct… I mean…
CAPTAIN: (furious) Shut up Stuffins! Don’t you see what he’s getting up to, Smirch?
SMIRCH: Sorry sir?
CAPTAIN: Wimsley!! He’s trying to make me look the fool! This is precisely what I am talking about!
Smirch stares at Captain. Then Wimsley. He suddenly slaps at his neck. Sergeant Stuffins shrieks and drops to his knees!
STUFFINS: (terrified) Darts!!
Smirch stares. Wimsley looks at him.
WIMSLEY: (pause) We’re there any other questions Leftenant?
A long beat.
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