(A short skit I wrote for a friend. Please excuse the formatting issues. )
Randa – An intelligent, perceptive, and literate woman.
Fred – An extremely intelligent, apparently humanoid alien with little to no knowledge or experience with human culture.
Admiral Davis – (voice) Randa’s immediate supervisor.
The Crags – (No scripted dialogue) Two or three alien ambassadors.
SETTING: A rectangular table with three chairs on either side.
AT RISE: Randa is seated, looking over some papers and making notes.
SFX: A buzz, ring, or tone to indicate an incoming message. This may be from an apparent communication device worn by Randa or from a box on the table.
RANDA: (Activating the communication device) Randa here.
DAVIS: (voice) Davis here. Hows the negotiation prep going?
RANDA: Pretty good. I’ve gone over their requests and don’t see any big issues. It should go pretty smoothly.
DAVIS: Good good. You understand why I might be a little concerned. After that debacle with the Phenobobs.
RANDA: Sir I understand your concern. I can guarantee that nothing like that will happen again.
DAVIS: I hope not! As you certainly can remember, that one didn’t go too well.
RANDA: I remember sir. I was there.
DAVIS: As I recall, the talks were going really well until you stubbornly refused a simple, reasonable request from the Phenobob ambassador. You also became quite angry and your sudden outburst completely ended any possibility of the negotiations continuing.
RANDA: Begging your pardon sir, but I was there and the request was not simple and certainly not reasonable. Do you recall the exact nature of the request?
DAVIS: Well not exactly, but I’m sure…
RANDA: The ambassador did not request but demanded that I dance on the table.
DAVIS: Well that’s not so bad…
DAVIS: It was a very important…
RANDA: With my hair on fire.
DAVIS: Oh…. I don’t think I remembered that.
RANDA: I do sir. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.
DAVIS: I guess that was a bit unreasonable.
RANDA: A bit sir. I have to say, that considering how badly that turned out, I was a little surprised when you asked me to conduct this negotiation. I really appreciate being given a second chance.
DAVIS: Not a problem, not a problem. I believe in second chances. And you have some particular attributes that might….well , never mind about that.
RANDA : Well in any case sir, I just want to assure you that I will do my very best to achieve a favorable outcome in this particular negotiation.
DAVIS: I’m sure you will. By the way, about that, I’ve been thinking… I’m going to add another person. Someone to help you in this endeavor.
RANDA: That sounds fine sir. Anyone I know?
DAVIS: I don’t think so. He’s a member of the Polonian embassy staff. He’s working with us as part of a cultural exchange program. You know, help us to understand each other’s cultures better. Are you familiar with the Polonian people?
RANDA: I’m not sir.
DAVIS: Good good, anyway he’s extremely intelligent and has been studying human culture for the last few weeks. I’m sure he’ll be a real asset in this negotiation. He has years of experience. Anyway, he should be there shortly.
RANDA: I’m sure he will sir. What’s his name?
DAVIS: That’s a very good question and one I can’t answer. There seems to be some difficulty in translating their names into our language. I’m sure he’ll tell you his name when he arrives.
RANDA: Understood sir.
DAVIS: Very well, Good luck Randa! Davis out.
RANDA: Oh boy…. (Fred enters. He stands for a moment then begins to nod his head repeatedly, extends his right hand straight out and crosses to Randa.)
FRED: Hello! I believe you are known as Randa! Hello! It is very nice to meet you! Hello! ( Randa extends her hand. He takes it and shakes it briskly.)
RANDA: It’s very nice to meet you too. And your name is…
FRED: Ah yes! My name…my name. Well… you see.. my name is… my name is a bit of a pickle.
RANDA: Soooooo, you are a bit of a pickle?
FRED: Oh no! Oh how humorous! My name! A bit of a pickle! You thought, because of my clumsy and inaccurate phrasing that I was saying that my name was actually a bit of a pickle! How humorous! How humorous! I had no idea humans were so very humorous! I praise you Randa! I praise you and your immaculate humor! Your humor is most immaculate! Most immaculate indeed! My name! My name is a bit of a pickle! How very humorous. I must relate that to my fellow Polonian’s very soon. They will also praise your immaculate humor as I have!
RANDA: It is pretty funny….
FRED: FUNNY! YES! That is the word! Your somewhat casual and familiar word for humorous. Funny! Yes! That you erroneously thought my name to be a bit of a pickle is very funny! Very funny indeed! I am still laughing! Ho ho ho! Hear me still laughing! Ho ho ho!
RANDA : Right… really funny. Now, if I may ask, what is your name?
FRED: Ah yes! An excellent and immaculate question. An immaculate question indeed! You see, when I said that my name was a bit of a pickle, what I meant to say, what I meant to convey, you see, the meaning that I meant to convey is that the complete and accurate translation of my name to your language is difficult and cumbersome. Do you know anything of Polonian names?
RANDA: I’m sorry to say that I don’t.
FRED: Very well. You see unlike your culture, where you have a first name, sometimes referred to as a Christian name, a name that is somewhat individual to you, and a surname or last name that indicates your family. We only have one name; one single name. But this name, this single name, conveys the entire history or our family, up to and inclusive of the details of our birth. And as our culture is nearly forty two thousand Earth years old, these names can be quite extensive. For example, my family’s history dates back thirty five thousand Earth years. Therefore my name conveys thirty five thousand years family history.
RANDA: That sounds incredible!
FRED: Oh no! It is very credible! I am not fabricating in any way! Have I misspoken? Have I done something in my cultural ignorance to indicate that I was fabricating or attempting to deceive you? If so, please tell me in what way I have failed to convey the credible nature of my meaning. Please!
RANDA: Oh no! I didn’t mean that I didn’t believe what you were saying. Generally when we use the word “incredible” we mean something amazing.
FRED: I see. So in common use, the word incredible, which strictly speaking, conveys something that can not under any circumstances be believed, is at least sometimes synonymous with amazing. Is that correct?
RANDA: Yes. I think you stated that very well.
FRED: I see. So am I to infer that many of your words and expressions are not, strictly speaking, completely and comprehensively accurate, that there is some flexibility in their use and meaning?
RANDA : Yeah, I think that’s a fair thing to say.
FRED: Very well. Please elaborate on any and all words and expressions in your language that have multiple or flexible meanings and usage. Please do this now.
RANDA: Ummm, that might take a bit of time…Please continue explaining your name.
FRED: Ah! Of course! My name. Forgive me for becoming sidetracked on the very interesting nature of your language. I will now continue to explain my name. As I have said, my name, in my language is quite long and elaborate. However the compressed and efficient nature of our language allows us to convey a great deal of information in very few characters or letters. For instance, the entire history of our race, our culture, can be expressed completely and comprehensively in a single phrase only twenty two words long.
RANDA: That’s amazing!
FRED: Thank you! Would you like to hear our great and glorious history in our native language?
RANDA: Yes! Please do!
FRED: Very well! As you say, Here goes! (He begins to apparently speak in an extremely animated and excited manner, moving about the stage with over the top gestures. Yet he does not actually make any sound, at least any audible sound until the very end.) BUUUUURP! There! That is the great and glorious story of my people! I hope you enjoyed it!
RANDA : Ummm, actually..I didn’t hear anything except that last part at the end.
FRED: You heard nothing else? How odd. I don’t …. Ahh yes! I am so very sorry! I forgot that your range of hearing is much more limited than ours. I’m afraid that much of our native language is conveyed in a register that is far beyond what you can hear. I am so very sorry.
RANDA: It’s no problem Let’s get back to your name.
FRED: Of course! Again I allow my great love an appreciation of your culture and mine to sidetrack my in an inaccurate and clumsily not immaculate way. Forgive me please! My name…. as I said, my name encompasses a great deal of information.
RANDA: I understand.
FRED: If I were to translate my name completely and directly into your language..
RANDA: I that even possible?
FRED: Of course! I have done so! I undertook this effort when I was first stationed here. I thought it important to convey my name in a manner that would also convey the history of my family. I am very happy to say that I was able to do so successfully.
RANDA : Excellent Please share it me!
FRED: Very well…(he takes a deep breath and starts to speak) You do realize that the complete and accurate pronunciation of my name will take some time.
RANDA: How long?
FRED: Ummm, about two hours and twenty seven minutes, depending on how often I have to stop for air.
RANDA: Right, uhhhh
FRED: I’ve found that using my name in it’s entirety tends to slow down conversation quite a bit.
RANDA: I can imagine. Is there any way you could shorten it?
FRED: I don’t understand.
RANDA: shorten it to just the very first or last part. Could you that?
FRED: Interesting! I suppose I could. Let me think. (thinks) If I were to use only the very first part, that would say nothing that was actually about me. So I think it would be best if I shorten it to the very last part. (thinking) Yes! I can do it! I have done it! I have shortened my name.
RANDA : Great! (No one speaks for a bit) Sooo…
FRED: Oh! Of course! How inaccurate and non-immaculate of me! You want to HEAR my shortened name! You want me to SPEAK it!
RANDA : Yes please!
FRED: My name! My shortened name… is Fred.
RANDA : Fred?
FRED: Fred is my name. My shortened name.
FRED: That is correct. My name is Fred. Now that I have established my name, let us begin again so that our relationship based on mutual cultural sharing, exploration, and understanding can begin in a most immaculate and efficient manner. I will leave and come in again. (He stands and briskly exits. Fred returns, stands nodding, then raises his right arm, and crosses to Randa, who meets his hand with her own. Fred briskly shakes her hand .) Hello! I am Fred! You must be Randa! Hello! I am Fred! Hello! It is very nice to meet you Randa! I am Fred! Hello!
RANDA: Hello Fred! It’s very nice to meet you too!
RANDA: Hello Fred! Very nice to meet you too! (Fred abruptly drops Randa’s hand and steps to behind the center chair.)
FRED: Now that we are formally and immaculately introduced, shall we begin to prepare for the Adonarian negotiation? (Fred steps behind the chair to his left and pulls it out.) Randa, please allow me. ( He nods to her. She smiles, nods, and sits.)
RANDA: Thank you very much Fred. (Fred slides her chair in.)
FRED: You are very welcome Randa. (He crosses behind the center chair, nods to Randa and sits himself.) Now we are ready to begin the preparation. Let me begin by saying I have studied Adonarian culture quite extensively. They have much in common with your culture. Their race is humanoid, very similar to yours. Anatomically they are practically identical to humans, in that they have male and female sexes like humans.
RANDA: Not to interrupt, but is it true that the Polonians have only one sex?
FRED: That is correct. We do not have two similar sexes with differing yet complementary sex organs. Actually we have no external sex organs of any kind.
RANDA: Well…I don’t want to be rude, but how do you reproduce?
FRED: I take no offense at all Randa. I appreciate the opportunity to share our culture. As I said, we have no external sex organs. Our reproductive organs are all internal. Each of us has the ability to produce a thick gelatinous substance that contains the necessary elements to fertilize and stimulate the birth modules, what you might call eggs, in another Polonian.
RANDA: Facinating! And you have the ability to produce this substance at will?
FRED: No. It’s production is stimulated by our partner who performs a ritualistic dance. It’s quite a beautiful process, on which, much of our art is based.
RANDA: Can you describe the dance?
FRED: Certainly. The dancing partner disrobes in a brilliantly seductive and compelling manner while ascending onto an altar or table. They then use ritualistic small torches to light their hair on fire. I must say just thinking about the dance is very stimulating.
RANDA : Really? Fred, does your race have any similarities with the Phenobob race?
FRED: Why yes! How perceptive of you! The Phenobob race is actually comprised of a group of Polonians who colonized another star system many thousands of years ago. How did you know that?
RANDA : Just a lucky guess.
FRED: If you are interested in the reproductive process I’d be happy to demonstrate. (he stands) Please remove your clothing and ascend the table. (He pushes papers aside.) I think we’ll forgo the setting your hair on fire. I don’t think human scalps are quite and fireproof as Polonians.
RANDA : I really don’t think so…
FRED: You don’t wish to participate? Very well, I think I can quite effectively imagine what you would look like naked and dancing on the table. (He closes his eyes and concentrates.)
RANDA : Really, I’d rather not…
FRED: Oh Yes! (he begins to retch.) HURRRRK! That’s working very nicely! HUUUUURK! HURRRRK! (He leans over the table)
RANDA : (Standing) PLEASE STOP! I’M BEGGING YOU TO STOP!
FRED: HUUURRRK! I’M SORRY RANDA, ONCE THE PROCESS HAS BEEN STARTED THERE’S ABSOLUTELY NO WAY TO STOP IT! HUUUUUURK! HUUUUURRRK!
RANDA : OK, I DON’T MEAN TO BE RUDE. BUT IF I SEE ONE DROP OF THAT CRAP COME OUT OF YOUR MOUTH, I’M GOING TO RIP OFF YOUR ARM AND SHOVE IT DOWN YOUR THROAT!
FRED: (Abruptly stops) Amazing! You instinctively understood that the only way to stop the process was to effectively threaten my life. You are an amazing person Randa!
RANDA : Well thank you. I do what I can. And I really didn’t mean to..
FRED: Please don’t worry! I found it both stimulating, terrifying, and exciting! Was it good for you!
RANDA : Yeah, let’s get back to the negotiation. (They sit.)
FRED: Randa, I am correct in assuming that you are a female human?
RANDA : That’s right.
FRED: Ahh yes! I assumed that because of your breasts. I am correct in assuming that the semi-globular appendages on your chest are breasts?
RANDA : I’ve heard them referred to in that particular manner but yes, they are.
FRED: And they are used to sexually stimulate both yourself and your sex partner as well as producing sustenance for your offspring?
RANDA : Correct.
FRED: I see. If I may say, your breasts appear to be excellent! I’ve seen many pictures and video of human female breasts and yours appear to have all the characteristics generally recognized as desirable.
RANDA : Well thank you very much.
FRED: Would it be acceptable if I were to…(He reaches both hands as if to squeeze Randa’s breasts. She diverts his hands away.)
RANDA : No offense but I don’t think so.
FRED: Completely understood. As a human female, you also have a vagina, is that correct?
RANDA : That’s correct.
FRED: Would it be acceptable if I were to..(he leans forward with his hands under the table. She raises her hand from under the table, holding his hand and placing it on the table.)
RANDA : Again, no offense but no.
FRED: Again I understand. And please let me apologize for offending you in any way. I am merely trying to understand…
RANDA: It’s quite all right. You’re trying to learn our culture. I completely understand.
FRED: I greatly appreciate your understanding. Is there anything I can tell you about our culture?
RANDA : Actually yes, you said that when you initiate reproduction, one partner produces the gelatinous fertilization material. Does the other partner then ingest the material?
FRED: That’s correct. We produce the material, as you call it, into a ceremonial bowl, some are thousands of years old, and the other partner ingests it. The entire process is a very beautiful and moving ceremony.
RANDA: Fascinating! So the other partner drinks the material?
FRED: Not so much drinks as absorbs. Another difference between our two races is the tongue. As I understand it the human tongue is fundamentally a wide flat muscle about 4 to six inches long. Is that correct?
RANDA: That sounds about right.
FRED: The Polonian tongue is similar yet quite different. In the ingestion process, the tongue expands to a length of up to seventeen inches. It does this in order to absorb or ingest every trace of the fertilization material.
RANDA : Let me get this straight. You have a seventeen inch tongue?
FRED: Well there are of course, differences. Some are smaller and some are larger. Mine is actually twenty two inches when fully expanded. In that state, it’s most effective in absorbing the fertilization material.
RANDA : I see.
FRED: Of course it’s not just the length that helps to absorb the material. It’s also capable of a very intense movement or vibration. This helps to break down the material for better ingestion.
RANDA : Just to be clear…. You have a twenty two inch vibrating tongue. Is that right? Do I have that right?
FRED: Yes, but if we are to be completely and immaculately accurate, it would be best described as a twenty two inch, vibrating, prehensile tongue. I think that would be the best way to describe.
RANDA : Right…right. I understand. (She closes her eyes and smiles. Both are silent for a few beats.)
FRED: Randa, have I said or done something wrong? If so I am very sorry, I would be glad to…
RANDA : (Eyes opening) No! Of course not! I just want to (eyes closing again and the smile) think about your…. Your reproductive process for a bit. Just a bit…
FRED: Oh! Well I must say I greatly appreciate your interest in our culture.
RANDA : (sighing) Sure. (eyes opening) sure. It’s just such a fascinating subject! (She leans toward him and takes one of his hands.) Listen, about earlier. When you were asking about my breasts and vagina.
FRED: I do hope I didn’t offend you too greatly. It’s just that I am so interested..
RANDA: Of course you are! Of course you are! That’s perfectly natural and understandable! It was silly of me to behave in such a puritanical manner! You’re interested in us! We’re interested in you! I’m actually VERY interested in you!
FRED: I’m so glad to hear you say that! I believe our two races have much to learn from each other!
RANDA : Yeah! Much to learn. Right. So… I was thinking that I was really out of line in my reaction to your interest in my… ummm.. attributes.
FRED: You mean when I requested the opportunity to examine your breasts and vagina?
RANDA : Exactly! I think I overreacted just a little.
FRED: You have reconsidered? I may examine them now! Excellent! (he moves his hands towards her breasts. She stops his hands but clasps them in hers.)
RANDA : Right now is probably not quite the right time. How about we postpone our mutual interest in each other’s….attributes until after the negotiation is completed. Say we have dinner and then back to my place. I think that’s the best time and place for a long and thorough exchange of information. Don’t you?
FRED: I do! I do! I am actually quivering in anticipation! (she let’s go of his hands)
RANDA : Yeah, quivering. (she takes a deep breath) Ok… ok Randa. Focus…focus.
FRED: You are of course correct. We must now focus on the negotiation.
RANDA : Right, the negotiation. They should be getting here shortly.
FRED: Correct. There is one thing about which I wished to speak with you.
RANDA: What’s that?
FRED: I assume you’ve researched the specific territorial demands that the Adonarian people are making?
FRED: I agree. For the most part, the negotiation should proceed smoothly. But the Adonarian people are regarded as the most difficult and demanding negotiators in the known universe. Were you aware of that?
RANDA : I am aware of that.
FRED: I’ve researched hundreds of past negotiations with them and discovered one method that seems to, in every instance, expedite and smooth relations to a favorable outcome in every case.
RANDA : And what method is that?
FRED: It is a method called sweetening the deal.
RANDA : Ok, I’m at least generally familiar with that concept.
FRED: Excellent! In this case, there is one thing in particular that, if used to sweeten the deal, would almost guarantee that we can complete this negotiation to a more than favorable result for the humans in nearly record time.
RANDA : And what would that one thing be?
FRED: I’m glad you asked. It’s your vagina.
RANDA : (a beat) I don’t think I heard you right. I could have sworn you said my vagina.
FRED: Oh no! I did not say my vagina. As you know, I don’t actually have a vagina. If I did, it would make it much simpler. I said…
RANDA : So you did say your vagina, which means my vagina. Is that correct?
FRED: That is correct! You do understand! Excellent! That will make this entire process so much easier. So I may assume that you agree to…
RANDA : Wait a minute cowboy. Let’s slow down a bit. I don’t really understand, and in all honesty I don’t think I WANT to understand, how my vagina is the pivotal element in this negotiation. Against my better judgment, please explain that to me.
FRED: Very well. As I said earlier, the Adonarian race is very similar to the human race. They like you, have male and female genders.
RANDA : I understand that.
FRED: Adonarian anatomy is almost identical to human anatomy. For this reason, Adonarian males have, in the past, had sexual relations with human females.
RANDA : That’s fascinating! I was not aware of that at all.
FRED: That’s not surprising. These encounters have, almost always, occurred on the outer edges of human space. You see the Adonarian males, generally speaking; place an extremely high premium on human females as sexual partners.
RANDA : I see.
FRED: Yes, what you may not know is that the Adonarian team sent to participate in this negotiation is entirely comprised of Andonarian males. And they value one thing, one human thing, more highly than any star system, sector, mineral, or strategic area, and that thing is…
RANDA : My vagina.
FRED: Well, strictly speaking, not your vagina in particular, but human vagina’s in general. And since you and your vagina are here, and Admiral Davis suggested that you would be amenable to allowing the Adonarian embassy members free use and access to your vagina…
RANDA : He said what?
FRED: Oh! Oh! I forgot, admiral Davis asked me not to mention that particular aspect to you. I am sorry. I will also have to apologize to the admiral.
RANDA : That son of a bitch!
FRED: I am sorry if this presents a problem for you. But as you can see, your vagina is almost certainly a very important, if not critical part of this negotiation.
RANDA : Ok…Ok. I understand. But let me make one thing perfectly clear.
FRED: Very well. I am listening.
RANDA : I understand how valuable my vagina may be to this negotiation.
FRED: That is good.
RANDA : But under no circumstances is my vagina to have any part of this negotiation, unless of course I have to go to the bathroom.
FRED: What? I don’t understand.
RANDA : Skip it. What I’m saying, is that we may have to use every resource available to us to secure a positive outcome of this proceeding. I understand that. But one thing is nonnegotiable. And that one thing is my vagina.
FRED: I see. So just to be clear, your vagina is nonnegotiable?
RANDA : That is correct.
FRED: I understand.
RANDA : Good, so. We can..
FRED: I must say though that as your vagina has value, particularly to the Andonarian delegation, it should be on the table. I’m just saying that your vagina should be on the table.
RANDA : I understand that, but let me make one thing perfectly clear, my vagina is not on the table. Is that clear.
FRED: Regrettably yes. I understand.
RANDA: Right, so let’s proceed to…
SFX: A buzz, ring, or tone to indicate an incoming message. This may be from an apparent communication device worn by Randa or from a box on the table.
RANDA : Randa here.
DAVIS: (voice)Randa, the Adonarian delegation is here. Should I send them in or…
RANDA : (looks to Fred) Are you ready?
FRED: I am ready.
RANDA : We’re ready admiral. Please send them in. Randa out. (looks to Fred) Ok, do you want me to start or..
FRED: I’ve prepared an opening statement. If you will allow I will….
RANDA : That’s fine with me… (the Adonarian delegation enters, Randa and Fred rise)
FRED: On behalf of the human and Polonial alliance, let me extend our great thanks, admiration, and appreciation on your honoring us with your presence and consideration. Please believe and understand that we place the highest priority on entering into a mutually beneficial agreement for both of our great endeavors. Gentlemen, simply put, thank you for your presence and participation in this first, great, effort in the greatest possible cultural exchange between our two great peoples. Thank you ! Thank you! (favorable mumblings from the Adonarians) Gentlemen, please sit and enjoy our hospitality. (the Adonarian’s sit. Fred indicates to Randa that she should sit. She does.) Before we formally being these proceedings I must beg your indulgence in one small matter. In the negotiations in which we are about to undertake, I must make crystal clear one important point: that point being: Ambassador Randa’s vagina will NOT be on the table. I do hope you understand and appreciate that.