The Quick Red Fox Jumps Over The Lazy Black Checker
A play in one scene by Thorin N. Tatge


KYLE: A guy in his twenties.  Not content with his life.  Fairly large part; some profanity required.
AMBER: A fairly large female partóthe rest is a surprise.
FLYWEEL13: A bastard on the internet.  Either sex.

On the lower stage there sit two chairs, facing somewhat away from each other, with some distance between them.  A third chair is set on the upper stage.  Narrator enters and stands off to the side.

NOTE: The NARRATOR always speaks in a loud, clear voice to the audience, even when he/she seems to be addressing another character.

NARRATOR: Ahem.  Those of us who sit down and tear a page off our One-a-Day Dilbert desk calendars, just to find to our surprise that we are living in the twenty-first century, are often given to ask: do we really learn anything from the Internet?
Enter FLYWEEL13, who sits in the upper stage chair.
FLYWEEL13: Well, heck yeah!  I mean, what donít we learn from the internet?  And if we donít learn anything, we wouldnít have anything to talk about or put on our web pages.  Just last night, I learned all about Christina Aguilera and how she relates to the human condition.  And then I spent some time playing a trivia/Frogger game for a one in a hundred thousand chance of winning a ten thousand dollar shopping spree at Computer World.  Thatís pretty heavy stuff, you know.
NARRATOR: I know, my friend, I know.  But still, some are given to doubt that the grandeurs of instant global communication are all they are touted to be.  Letís watch a twenty-seven year old Boston marketing associate as he comes home to his empty apartment after a hard day at workÖ
KYLE enters and sits in one of the front stage chairs.  He pantomimes opening an internet connection and logging on.
NARRATOR: Kylemeister is now logged on.
KYLE: Yeah, all right, time for some relaxation.  Letís see, what do I feel like tonight?  Maybe Iíll check out Slashdot for a whileÖ no, too much stress, come on, itís Friday, I want something simple.  VideostreamÖ hmm, maybe a movie.  Ah, hell, if I wanted a movie Iíd watch one on TV.  No, gotta nurse the olí computer addiction, canít afford to divide my attention up, nosir.  I could hang out in the Self-Involved chatroom.  Here we goÖ
NARRATOR: Kylemeister is now logged onto the PointFree Chat Server.  Would you like to upgrade Direct X?
KYLE: No!  You always ask me that.  Just let me into the rooms.
NARRATOR: For your full interactive benefit, please go to the following link and download our new hyperware 5-D immersive avatarial fully integrated communication and agglomeration multimedia audiovisual interfaced environment system.
KYLE: Oh, forget it!  Man, I hate those things.  Hell, I think Iíll just log onto GameWhiz and play some checkers.  Thatís simple.
AMBER walks onstage and occupies the remaining chair while NARRATOR saysÖ
NARRATOR: Kyle is forgetting one thingóof all the games available on his chosen gaming service, checkers boasts the youngest average audience.  This may not seem significant to those of us who like children, but be warnedóon the internet, those we love as our children cease to be children, and become fully automated aggression-fueled cyberbrats with advanced flaming capabilities.  So beware whenever you see someone in a game room post something likeÖ
FLYWEEL13: Anyone 15 or under to play quick game on 48?  No quitters!
AMBER: Good player wanted at 30!
FLYWEEL13: Cute girls at table 53!
KYLE: Wait, does that mean there are cute girls there already, or that they want some?
AMBER: Hot stuff at 21.  No spammers!
FLYWEEL13: You are messed up, you know that?  What the hell do you know about Afghanistan?  And whatís up with your stupid-ass nickname?
AMBER: Donít go to 53!  The guy there is a dork and will screw you.
FLYWEEL13: Free beer at table 99!
AMBER: Stop tormenting me, chiafish!  I explained to you four times why your political opinions are wrong, and itís obviously related to your checker-playing ability!
FLYWEEL13: Tournament starting in the Tournament room! If you donít go youíre a looser!
AMBER: You mean ďloser,Ē dumbwad.  Itís spelled with only one Ďoí.
FLYWEEL13: New at 5óflying ninja rules in effect.
AMBER: Player needed at 94!  Must be real expert!  No fake experts!
FLYWEEL13: New game at 42!  No baffers please!
KYLE: Baffer?  What the hell is a baffer?
FLYWEEL13: If you have to ask, you probably already are one.
AMBER: Friendly game at 63!
KYLE: Friendly!  Well, at least that sounds decent.  JoinÖ TableÖ 63.  There we go!
NARRATOR: Kylemeister has joined Table 63.
AMBER: Hi!  Iím Amber.
KYLE: Iím Kyle.  Glad to meet you, Amber.  Want to play red or black?
NARRATOR: The game has begun.  What Kyle doesnít realize at present is that he has left his ďBring a FriendĒ option checked, which will allow a kibitzer to join without asking for permission later in the game.
AMBER: Iíll play red, since itís only fitting.  Where are you from?
KYLE: Boston.  Iím a marketing associate.  Jesus, itís harder work than it sounds like.
AMBER: Really?  So you associate marketers with each other?
KYLE: No, Ió
AMBER: Or do you associate with marketers?  I donít really understand business.
KYLE: Heh.  Well, neither do I, to tell the truth.  Itís just a living, you know?
AMBER: I guess.  Your move.
KYLE: Say, youíre pretty good at this!
AMBER: Thanks.
KYLE: SoÖ a/s/l?
AMBER: a/s/l?
KYLE: Age/sex/location?  Well, I guess I already know your sex, but as for the othersÖ?
AMBER: Oh, I see!  Well, Iím six years oldÖ
KYLE: What?  Thatís ridiculous.  I mean, I know you donít have to be very old to play checkers, but stillÖ
AMBER: You think Iím too young?
KYLE: Hell yeah!  If I had a child, I probably wouldnít even let her see a computer Ďtil she was seven!
AMBER: Oh thatís just mean.
KYLE: Yeah, maybe.  But in this modern age, I get scared.  Are you really only six?
AMBER: Yeah!  Iíve been playing checkers since I was two months old.
KYLE: Okay, now thatís taking a cute lie too far.  No one could ever play checkers at two months of age.
AMBER: What do you mean?  Everyone does where I come from.
KYLE: Where is that exactly?
AMBER: France.
KYLE: France.  What part of France?
AMBER: Oh, I donít know.  Somewhere in there.
KYLE: Riiiiight.  You speak English pretty well for a French girl who says sheís only six years old.
AMBER: Oh, Iím not a girl.  Didnít I tell you?
KYLE: Youíre a boy?
AMBER: No, of course not!  Did you ever see a boy with a name like Amber?
KYLE: So you are female.
AMBER: Yeah.
KYLE: But youíre not a girl?
AMBER: No, Iím a fox.
KYLE: Youíre what??
AMBER: Iím a fox!  I live somewhere in France, but I donít know where exactly because we foxes donít use human names for places much.
KYLE: Youíre shitting me.
AMBER: Why are you so suspicious?  Seriously, I thought I advertised for a friendly game.  But ever since we started talking youíve been acting like Iím lying to you.  Hey whee, I got a triple jump!
KYLE: Fuck.
AMBER: Hey, I wish you wouldnít use bad language like that.  This is supposed to be a clean game room.
KYLE: Sorry.  Well but fuck!  Youíre telling me that youíre a fox!  You mean, like a furry animal kind of fox?
AMBER: Yeah, a red fox.  You know, Vulpes vulpes?
KYLE: But foxes canít play checkers!
AMBER: If thatís so, why am I winning?
KYLE: Where would a fox learn to play checkers?
AMBER: Foxes all know how to play checkers where I come from.  Itís part of our genetic makeup.
KYLE: So youíre born knowing how to play a killer game of checkers.
AMBER: Well, no.  We have to learn the rules and everything.  But you know how most female fox cubs engage in play fighting during their first few months of life in order to determine their hierarchy of feeding order and overall dominance?
KYLE: I think I heard about that somewhere.
AMBER: Well, we decided that was too brutal, I guess.  So we play checkers instead.
KYLE: You play checkers to determine your pecking order.
AMBER: Yeah, we have a big tournament for each litter when they turn six months old.  Itís all ceremonious and tense.  Then whatever happens, we have to abide by it for our whole lives, or until we find mates and go off on our own.  Itís kind of instinctive, really.
KYLE: Whatever.  So how did you do in your own tournament?
AMBER: Itís an interesting story.  It didnít look like I was going to do so well for a while.  I was the runt of the litter, and runts donít usually play so well.
KYLE: Really.
AMBER: Yeah, and I was pretty depressed about it.  So Iíd go for long walks around our territory and forage for eggs and stuff.
KYLE: And that would helpÖ how?
AMBER: I didnít know if it would helpÖ but sometimes you just have to try something, and see if it changes things somehow.  And it did!  I met a wonderful dog fox called Clemence, who knew all about checkers.  And he was so romantic!  So I went out to see him now and then and he taught me all I needed to know about the game.
KYLE: So you won the tournament?
AMBER: Nah, but I came in second!  And that was out of not just my sisters, but also my female cousins who were born around the same time.  I wouldnít have wanted to be the alpha, anyway.  Too much pressure.  King me.
KYLE: So, did you and Clemence become mates?
AMBER: Well, for one year, sure.  But you know how it is with foxesÖ we keep moving on.  Iíve had three mates and eight kids.  Iíve had a good life so far.
KYLE: Iím more than four times your ageódo you realize that?
AMBER: Have you had a good life so far?
KYLE:  I donít know.  I kind of feel like I would except I havenít had my breaks yet.  Know what I mean?
NARRATOR: Flyweel13 is joining Table 63 as a kibitzer.
KYLE: Iím thinking of switching careers.  I donít know quite what to, though.  Maybe I could be some kind of investor.
AMBER: Itís easier just to roam!
KYLE: Well, hell, I guess it must be.  You foxes have a pretty sweet deal, you know?
AMBER: What do you mean?  Thereís nothing really we foxes can do that you humans canít do too.
KYLE: Not true.  Thereís no way I could make a living just roaming through the woods of Western Europe.  We humans have to have jobs and work for our perks.
AMBER: How come?  It doesnít sound like you like it.
KYLE: Well for one thing, they usually have laws against the kind of life you lead.  I wouldnít be allowed to just set up a house in the middle of some random forest.
AMBER: Why not?  I can dig a burrow wherever I want.  King me again.
KYLE: But someone would see me and report me, and Iíd get in trouble.  I mean, maybe if I got permits or managed to get some money and buy a little land of my ownÖ
AMBER: You can come live with me.  I havenít got any cubs at the moment so I have some extra space in my burrow.
KYLE: It doesnít work that way.  If any other humans saw me living with you theyíd call me a wildman and arrest me for something.  I have to fit into the structure of society.
AMBER: Thatís silly!  Are humans so jealous they wonít let each other be happy?
KYLE: Itís more like, there are so many of us and not enough unspoiled land left.  We have to conserve what we have.
AMBER: So you canít even live without ruining the land?
KYLE: WellÖ I guess we can.  I mean, the old tribal civilizations do that, more or less.  But for the most part, we donít trust each other not to destroy the environment.
AMBER: You trust us foxes.
KYLE: I donít know if we do, AmberÖ but we canít really hold you to our expectations.  You know, thatís the problemósince I was born human everyone has all these high expectations of me.  Itís not fair.  Itís punishing someone for their merits.
AMBER: Or at least their supposed merits.
KYLE: Well, yeah.  Just because of my species, Iím under the curse of people expecting me to join society and be productive.  Someone like you could do that tooÖ but youíre not under any pressure.  Itís not fucking fair.
FLYWEEL13: Man, you two are insane!  Iíve seen some weirdos, but youíre way farther gone than anything I ever saw.  You actually believe Amber is a fox??  And you actually have nothing better to do than waste his time with this crap?  Haah!
KYLE: What?  When did a kibitzer join the game?
AMBER: I donít know.  How long have you been eavesdropping, Flyweel?
FLYWEEL13: For like five minutes.  Enough to know youíre both seriously fucked up.
KYLE: Yeah, well fuck you!
AMBER: No!  Thatís enough!  Iím sick of hearing people talking about fucking each other as if it were some kind of insult.  For foxes, the copulation act is very sacred.
FLYWEEL13: Go dig a ditch and drown in it.
AMBER: You know what?  Iím sick of you humans and your whole stupid internet.  All I hear about is juvenile bragging and discontentment and how to have multiple orgasms and why something or someone isnít fair or any number of ridiculous complaints you should have grown out of before you were weaned!  Is the internet some sort of throwback playbox for you?  Is it the only place left where you can let yourselves go, because your whole world is over-controlled?
KYLE: Itís not like that, Amber.  Seriously, thereís a lot of real value to be found online.
FLYWEEL13: Oh yeah, and itís in a crappy service playing a crappy boardgame you could play anyway with your family if you werenít such losers you donít have families or friends or anything but a talent for wasting time.  Go suck your own dicks.
AMBER: Okay, thatís it!  Bye, Kyle!  From now on, I stick to the life of a fox!
KYLE: No Amber, wait!
AMBER gets up and runs offstage, as NARRATOR saysÖ
NARRATOR: Amber has left Table 63 and disconnected from GameWhiz.
KYLE: Damn!  Now look what youíve done, you bastard!  Youíve robbed the human world of the chance to really learn something from the rest of the planet.  I was just getting to know her!
FLYWEEL13: You were losing the game anyway, you loser.
KYLE: Oh yeah, like I really care.  I was half tempted to actually take her up on her offer to let me stay in her fox den.
FLYWEEL13: You are so completely minddead.  If she really was a fox, how do you think she earned enough money to buy a computer, anyway?
KYLE: I donít knowÖ maybe she digs for truffles as a hobby.
FLYWEEL13: Loser.
FLYWEEL13 gets up and walks offstage, as NARRATOR saysÖ
NARRATOR: Flyweel13 has left Table 63.
KYLE sits in silence for a few moments, and then begins to cry, putting his face in his hands.
KYLE: All aloneÖ all alone.  And the worst part is Iím not even relaxed anymore.
NARRATOR: Kylemeister has logged off.
KYLE: Come back, Amber!  PleaseÖcome back.

See the shorter, more polished version which I submitted to the Lenny Dee Players!