Lemony Goodness
A bizarre piece of amoralism in one scene
By Thorin N. Tatge

CHARACTERS

ZELDA: A very unusual young lady who sells cookies door to door.  Fast-talking, generally sweet, and far-seeing in an eerie way.
FATHER: A sensible man.
KATIE: An impressionable girl with large ideas.

KATIE and FATHER are sitting on the floor, playing with building blocks.
KATIE: Put the round one on top of the blue one, Daddy!
FATHER: You mean this one?
KATIE: No, the other blue one.
FATHER: Here?
KATIE: Yes, there.  Thatís the window so the people who live in the tower can see out.
FATHER places the block in the appointed place.
FATHER: All rightÖ there we go.  Now they have a window on the world.
KATIE: Now put the red one on top of the round one.
FATHER: ErÖ I donít think I can do that.  The round one will roll off if I put anything on it.
KATIE: Thatís stupid!
FATHER: Itís part of what being round is, Katie.
KATIE: You canít just have the window be on top!  You have to have a wall over the window, and then a point on the top of the tower.
FATHER: Well, weíll have to build it some other way.  It just wonít work with the round block.  Could we use a square block for the window?
KATIE: Thatís not going to work!  Donít be silly, Daddy.  Youíre not really a professional architect, are you?
FATHER: Well, noÖIím an investment banker.
KATIE: I think maybe you should let me build my tower may own way from now on, Daddy.
FATHER: I guess if thatís the only wayó
The doorbell rings.
FATHER: Just a moment, Katie.  I have to get the door.
KATIE: Can I answer it?
FATHER: I donít think youíre old enough to answer the door yet, Katie.  It could be anyone, you know.
KATIE: Why canít I answer it?
FATHER: Because itís probably someone here to see Mommy or me.  Just be patient.
FATHER gets up and answers the door.  Enter ZELDA.
FATHER: Hello, young lady?  Can I help you?
ZELDA: You may think you can help me, but in truth, only I can help myself.
FATHER: I beg your pardon?
ZELDA: Iím selling these fine quality lemon cookies!  Theyíre made from all natural ingredients and their proceeds will be donated to conserve the Oceanic coral reefs.
FATHER: Ohówell, I suppose if they look worthwhileÖ
KATIE: Whatís going on, Daddy?  Are you buying cookies?
FATHER: I just might be, Katie.  Could I see a box?
ZELDA (holding up box): A box containing cookies!  Full of cookies!  A box overloaded, permeated, crammed to the brim, a cardboard contrivance practically distended to its natural limit with sparkly baked lemon goodness!
FATHER: ThatísÖ a very impressive description.  But it doesnít look like the box is full.  In fact, it says ď16 countĒ on the package.
ZELDA: Meaningless words, sir!  Meaningless!  I assure you that the words ď16 countĒ do not contain a verb, and are therefore not a sentence.  So there is nothing to fear!  And by looking at this otherwise deceptive package, you can see exactly how sumptuous these shortbread delicacies are!  Why, thereís a gem of lemony sparkles at the center of each one?
KATIE: I think you should buy some, Daddy!
FATHER: Well, they do look kind of tastyÖ how much are they?
ZELDA: They are all they need to be.
FATHER: I mean, how much do they cost?
ZELDA: They cost nothing!  Since all the materials used in making these cookies existed in the world beforehand, and will continue to exist after you and your adorable daughter have eaten them, excreted their less digestible components, and made healthful use of the nutritious portions until by the natural process of cell division and replacement they return to the external world, they in actuality cost nothing at all!
FATHER: That doesnít seem to make any sense.  How much money do I need to pay for them?
ZELDA: Oh.  Well, thirteen dollars for a box.  But donít despairóevery dollar that you lose in this transaction represents a dollar that I gain!  So nothing is lost, in total.
FATHER: I thought you said the proceeds are going to help the coral reefs!
ZELDA: They are!  Since the planet is my concern, and money benefits me, indirectly this money is going to help Every Single Ecosystem on this planet, including the coral reefs!
KATIE: Okay, weíll buy the cookies!  Sell them to us!
FATHER: No, Katie, Iím not going to buy any cookies from this stranger.  Thirteen dollars is far too steep, even if I felt good about her motives.
ZELDA: Iím not a stranger!  My nameís Zelda!  And if you wonít buy my cookies, Iíll be forced to move into your home and become a part of your family, to make sure that you eat some of these cookies eventually.  Why, to insure that you get some of this lemony goodness, Iíll cook a new batch of cookies every week and crumble some of them into your coffee while youíre not looking, and youíll only notice the splendid abundance of yellow sparkles and soft shortbread when you see the accumulation of grit on the bottom of your recently drained cupÖ and then it will be too late.  Oh yes, then it will be too late!  Hey, kid, whatícha building?
ZELDA enters the house and crouches next to the building blocks.
KATIE: A tower.  For all the good people in the world to live in.
ZELDA: That sounds great!  Are you and your father some of the good people?
KATIE: Yep!
FATHER: You get out of my house this instant, young lady!
ZELDA: Itís Zelda, sir.  But why should I bother to get out of you house, when weíll all be living together in this tower eventually anyway?  We might as well get to know each other first.
KATIE: My nameís Katie.
ZELDA: I know, Katie.  I think itís a nice name.
KATIE: Howíd you know?
ZELDA: I know everything.
KATIE: You do?  I bet you donít know when my birthday is.
ZELDA: I guess youíll have to wait until June to see if I know!
KATIE: Wow, howíd you know it was in June?
FATHER: Iím going to call the police if you donít leave my daughter alone!
ZELDA: Go ahead, call them.  The more the merrier.  So, what part of the tower are you building?
KATIE: The top part.  But Daddy says I canít put the red block on top of this round window.  He says it has to be square.
ZELDA: Well, thatís silly.  You just have to balance it rightÖ
ZELDA puts the block on top and balances it easily.
FATHER: What?  ButÖ thatís impossible!  You canít possibly balance such a heavy block on such a little circle!  Youíre using tricks!  Get out!
ZELDA: Katie?
KATIE: Yes?
ZELDA: Are you sure your father is a good man?
KATIE: Well, I think so.
ZELDA: He doesnít seem to like me much.
FATHER: What am I supposed to think about someone who invades my home on ridiculous pretenses?
ZELDA: I donít know about you, Katie, but I donít like it when someone uses big words like that.
FATHER: What?  But you justó
KATIE: I know, I think so too.  Would you like to be my big sister?
ZELDA: Could I?  I think Iíd love it.  Would you like a cookie?
FATHER: Donít eat those, Katie!  I donít trust her.
KATIE: Zeldaís a real architect, Daddy!  Sheís better at doing a real job than you are.  So her cookies are probably better.
FATHER: Thatís enough!
FATHER walks over and pulls ZELDA up away from his daughter by the back of her blouse.  The tower collapses to the floor.  KATIE cries.
ZELDA: You monster!  Youíve destroyed the haven of goodness!  Youíve stolen our final sanctuary against evil!
FATHER: I have done nothing of the sort!
FATHER throws ZELDA out the door.  She gets to her feet.
ZELDA: I hope youíre happy with what youíve done.  I would advise you not to eat any of those cookies!  You didnít pay for them!
FATHER: You can bet I wonít!  Now get lost or I will call the police!
KATIE starts eating one of the cookies.
FATHER: Katie, wait!  Donít eat that!
KATIE: Itís good.  It doesnít taste much like a lemon, though.
ZELDA: Lemon refers only to the color, silly.  Itís the brightest color in the world.  Suitable for good people like youÖand me.
FATHER: Get out!
ZELDA: Goodbye, Katie!  Iíll be seeing youÖ eventually.
KATIE: So long!
ZELDA leaves.  FATHER takes the cookie from KATIE and throws it away.  He then clutches his hand in horror where he touched the cookie.  His arm begins to spasm, and in short order the convulsions work their ghastly way all the way through his body, whereupon, he collapses to the floor and dies on the very spot of the destroyed tower of blocks.  KATIE watches in silence.
KATIE: Iím sorry you couldnít come to live with us in my tower, Daddy.  Hey!  Maybe Mommy will come join us!
KATIE runs offstage, excited.
The End.