Directed by Christian Haines
Featuring Leon Goertzen, Aeron Macintyre & Michael Catlett
LEON, battered, bloodstained white lab coat and FEMA lanyard.
AERON, slightly cleaner white lab coat and FEMA lanyard.
MICHAEL, a flesh-eating zombie in arm restraints with a control pole attached to the rear of the straps. His forearms and hands are free.
Note: this play entirely replaces the pre-show cell phone speech.
HOUSE LIGHTS. BARE STAGE. LEON ROLLS ON A PODIUM (OR DRAPED MUSIC STAND). he addresses the AUDIENCE naturally:
Ok, we’re on in sixty seconds. We have three ground rules: One, photography is a-ok. It’s dark in here with the blast shutters down, so use flashes if you’ve got them. Two, video recording is a-ok. They say the camera adds five pounds, but hey, that’s one way to beat malnutrition, right? Three, take out your smartphones, like so:
LEON TAKES OUT CELL PHONE.
It’s a-ok. Most of us haven’t touched these since the grid collapsed, but today they’ll be essential part of our presentation. Just try to fight a crippling sense of nostalgia as you look at reminders of how things used to be before the collapse of our national infrastructure.
HE TURNS ON HIS PHONE, And experiences nostalgia.
Awww. (showing audience) This used to be my cat.
AERON ENTERS WITH prepared speech.
Hello everybody. (To Leon.) Is my microphone on?
(not looking up) We’ve been having issue with the generators.
Ok… we’ll just go analog. Can everybody hear me? Are you recording? Ladies and Gentlemen of the former United States of America. On behalf of FEMA, I’d like to thank you all for making what I can only assume was a harrowing journey through the charred ruins of the former metropolis of greater San Francisco. We have an important announcement on the ongoing two-year outbreak that we want you to take back to your settlements, compounds, bunkers, and nomadic tribal caravans. Ladies. Gentlemen. We have momentous news.
(not looking up) It’s not a cure.
(grabbing Leon’s phone) Gimme that.
(to audience) It’s true, what we at FEMA have is not a cure. It is, however, a demonstration of the first significant post outbreak discovery! What we have to show you will revolutionize our common struggle to rebuild our proud nation! Leon?
Ladies and gentlemen, please keep your firearms holstered throughout the following. The only shooting we want in here is moving pictures.
A loud OFFSTAGE SNARL from Michael.
Everyone cool back there?
(to front row) You may want to keep your limbs tucked in.
LEON RE-ENTERS WITH MICHAEL THE ZOMBIE.
This is Michael.
MICHAEL GNASHES. LEON BARELY HANGS ONTO HIS RESTRAINT POLE.
His stage three symptoms are textbook and within baselines: reduced physical coordination, minimal vital signs and metabolism contrasting with hypercarnivorous periods of extreme, uncontrollable aggression-
MICHAEL GROWLs and struggles.
I think they know the drill sir!
This is for posterity! Are those cameras rolling? (back on script) Higher mental functions are absent, save for one psychological quirk, which I think we all know is:
AERON GINGERLY PULLS A MATCHING FEMA LANYARD FROM MICHAEL’S POCKET.
A compulsion to return to familiar locations and indivuiduals.
MICHAEL SNARLS VIOLENTLY.
I’m sorry Mikey.
Michael, we appreciate your service. Our recent lab work focused on this homing compulsion and testing its upper bounds. Leon and Mikey here eventually came up with a… Whaddayoucallit?
Virtual location substitute!
Yes, virtual location substitute, that is familiar to an overwhelming percentage of infected patients.
AERON PICKS UP LEON’S PHONE.
What’s your unlock code again?
HE HOLDS OUT HIS PHONE. LEON reaCHES OVER AND UNLOCKS IT. MICHAEL GNASHES.
Now, most of use haven’t had any use for these since the telecom grid went dark, but please observe:
HE offers THE PHONE to michael.
Here Mikey. Here boy…
MICHAEL IS SLOWLY ENTRANCED. AERON GIVES HIM THE PHONE AND MICHAEL FUMBLEs AT IT CONTENTEDLY.
LEON LEADS AUDIENCE IN APPLAUSE.
Thank you. We recommend fruit ninja, angry birds, and other puzzle games that are turn based rather than life based. Snake has had mixed results. Complex games such as minesweeper, Farmville, and Clash of Clans are right out. Given the average battery life of mobile phones we estimate this can neutralize Stage three patients
for a minimum of 10 hours to a maximum of 96 hours based on platform. I leave to your collective imaginations the benefits this would yield to your respective communities’ sanitation and recolonization plans. Yes sir, if I were one of them – I’d be pretty darn worried right now.
AERON AND LEON REGARD MICHEAL.
I mean, these things were addictive enough even when we had our brains in full working order, am I right?
AERON AND LEON REGARD MICHAEL.
Man, I miss Instagram. (clears throat) Anyway, it is worth noting that this is not Michael’s original phone. Any game app for ages 2 thru 5 is sufficient. Not only does the patient no longer need be restrained…
LEON RELEASES MICHAEL. MICHAEL PLAYS THE PHONE.
But they can now be handled with reasonable care. Leon? Go on.
LEON MOVES MICHAEL. MICHAEL SNARLS BUT KEEPS ON PLAYING. jacob takes out his own cell phone.
Do I have any volunteers from the audience who would like to join the demonstration?
jacob gives his phone to the audience member. AERON SNATCHES LEON’s PHONE FROM MICHAEL, WHO GOES AGGRO. jacob coaxes the audience member to pacify michael with the phone in their hand. jacob leads applause, and sends volunteer back to their seat.
Thank you. (wait for applause) Now we’ll get to questions in a moment, but I want to give you our personal FEMA assurance that we will remain hard at work in this secure location while you return to
your respective communities armed with this new zombie incapacitation technique. Right Leon?
LEON NODS, but is engrossed with the PHONE in his hands.
…Right. Meanwhile, we here at FEMA will continue our research into the viral vector for the initial pandemic outbreak. I’ll let Leon demonstrate.
LEON REALLY GETS INTO HIS PHONE.
Or not. As you know, no proven modality of transmission has been discovered to this date, isn’t that right Leon?
LEON GETS FREAKILY INTO HIS PHONE.
Leon would agree that epidemiological date show the pandemic occurred in multiple sites in multiple developed countries. We are still looking at meteorological, microbial, and environmental constants in the outbreak zones to narrow down the cause.
LEON ZOMBIFIES, and GROANS. AERON MISTAKENLY ADDRESSES MICHAEL.
Settle down, Mikey. Leon. What are you doing?
(sotto voce) Ok quit fucking around. We have a powerpoint to present.
HE TAKES THE CELL PHONE AWAY FROM LEON AND LOCKS IT.
So start up the powerpoint already!
LEON SNARLS. MICHAEL SNARLS BUT DOESN’T STOP PLAYING.
Leon! Oh my god. Uhhh. Here boy! Here boy!
HE waves the phone at him, but its locked. HE SHAMBLES. HE RETREATS,
What’s your code? What’s the damn code! Does anyone have a phone I can use? Leon! Leon no!
LEON BITES HIM. AERON SCREAMS.
IN THE AFTERMATH, ANOTHER ACTOR CAN GIVE THE ACTUAL, and now well-justified, CELL PHONE SPEECH.