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A Snowball's Chance (A Ten Minute Play) (1 Viewer)

A Snowball’s Chance

A Ten-Minute Play


Characters:
MR. LUCIFER, the Devil, Manager of Hell
DEATH, The Grim Reaper, Horseman #4

Setting:
Hell, the Devil’s office. Aside from a pentagram here and there, and lots of red, it looks just like an ordinary, boring manager’s office.

Notes:
Mr. Lucifer, for all intents and purposes, seems just like your average busy, bureaucratic manager. He has a bad, bland sense of humor and is seemingly a stickler for appearances and by-the-book attitudes, especially where pleasing his superior is concerned. Death, on the other hand, has a generally playful, sly personality, and the air of one who knows how much he can get away with because of his value. Overall, he doesn’t take life too seriously. Death ought to be wearing a deep-hooded black robe where the face is not visible, and a pair of costume-shop skeleton gloves. Mr. Lucifer can be wearing a business suit, red plastic horns, and a matching pointed tail.









Mr. Lucifer is busy mulling over miscellaneous paperwork.
There is a playful knock at his office door, and without waiting
for an invitation, Death pokes his head around the corner.


Death:
Hey Boss, can I talk to you?

Lucifer:
Sure, let me just finish these numbers… aaaaand…. Okie-doke, what can I do for you?

Death:
Might I first say that your horns are looking nicely pointed today?

Lucifer:
You’re stalling.

Death:
Yeah, right. Look, I know I mentioned this a couple centuries ago…

Lucifer:
Is this about the pay raise, or the vacation time?

Death:
Well, mostly the vacation time, but I can’t say I’d object if you wanted to, oh I don’t know, throw in a centennial per-soul-reaped bonus, for example.

Lucifer:
I told you, we’re kinda short-handed… the other horsemen are calling in every other year now. I’d swear War is just sitting on his sword these days. Keeps whining about how everything’s already been conquered, whaa whaa whaa...

Death:
I know Chief, it’s just that I-

Lucifer:
I mean, for crying out loud, Famine called in today with an upset stomach!

Death:
...Really?

Lucifer:
Really.

Death:
Heh, I don’t suppose War proclaimed himself a conscientious objector?

(Lucifer gives him a stern glare)

Death:
Sorry.

Lucifer:
And besides all that, you know we’re under some major budget cuts from the Big Guy. It’s tough on all of us around here. Just look at the river of flame outside, It’s more like a stream. Do you have any idea what that does for morale around here? The suffering rates go down, because people get the impression that Hell can freeze over. It gives them HOPE! They aren’t allowed to have HOPE. This is HELL!

Death:
I know things are a bit low, but can’t some effort be made here? It’s getting ridiculous. Pestilence's horse stepped on my scythe and broke it about fifty years ago. Want to guess what I’ve been reaping souls with? Any idea? No really, guess.

Lucifer:
Lightning bolt?

Death:
Nooope.

Lucifer:
Uh… A flaming sword?

Death:
Right. Like that asshole Michael would let it out of his sight for a second.

Lucifer:
Okay, a NON-flaming sword?

Death:
Try safety scissors.

Lucifer:
Bullsh-

Death:
(tossing brightly colored safety scissors onto Lucifer’s desk) Look!

Lucifer:
… Those are safety scissors.

Death:
Did I stutter?

Lucifer:
You don’t have to get all Breakfast-Club about it.

Death:
Listen. I’m the Grim Reaper. How can I be grim with purple and green safety scissors?! I heard the Boatman call me the Arts’n’Crafts Reaper yesterday!

Lucifer:
Heh, really? That’s a good one. Gotta write that down…

Death:
No you don’t, because it isn’t funny.

(Lucifer chuckles as he appears to jot something down on paper)

Lucifer:
Sure it is, the demons will love it.

(Death continues as if there had been no interruption.)

Death:
If that weren’t bad enough, War and Pestilence come up and start making comments like “Oh no! You beat my paper!” and “Ha, my rock got you!”

Lucifer:
Now that’s quality. Definitely writing this stuff down.

Death:
You didn’t even come up with it!

Lucifer:
Lord of Evil.

Death:
Whatever… You know they’d also love it if I told them that you wax your tail… Lucy…

Lucifer:
Try it and you’ll wake up without any tibias tomorrow.

Death:
Trust me, your Evilness, if I had eyes, they’d be rolling right now.

Lucifer:
Just curious, but do you even have any legs or are you just a floating robe, or what?

Death:
Whoa, whoa, whoa! Let’s get one thing straight here, Sparky. I don’t lift my robe for you, or anybody else. I happen to be waiting for that special someone… or at least some vacation time.

Lucifer:
(Very feigned disappointment) Gee whiz, just my luck. The answer is still no. I told you, my budget is crunched too tight… It’s just out of my hands at this point.
(Lucifer idly shuffles some papers and gives Death a stern look)
Now, the Big Guy wants me to fill out infernal affairs reports for all the demons bi-weekly, lot of files to go over. So did you have anything else to bitch about or can I get back to my work?

Death:
Actually…

Lucifer:
Fine, get it over with.

Death:
Let’s see, next on the list… Oh yeah. You know Oliver, my pale horse? This is from being overworked without any vacation time I would assume… Turned so pale he went transparent. Can’t even find the damn thing. I’ve been using a donkey. A gray donkey.

Lucifer:
A gray donkey and safety scissors… oh man I wish I could come up with this stuff.

Death:
Still not funny, Lucy. Really.

Lucifer:
You’re such a freakin’ kill-joy sometimes.

Death:
Say it with me here: Griiiiiiiimmm…. Reeeaaaaappp-

Lucifer:
Alright! I’ll see what I can do about some new equipment.

Death:
… And vacation?

Lucifer:
Jesus Ch-

Death:
Oh don’t you say it.

Lucifer:
Ok… Just… come on! It wouldn’t kill you to be just a little bit reasonable about this. Remember what happened last time you took time off? Circa late 1940’s I believe.

Death:
The Baby Boom?! You aren’t seriously going to blame me for that?! Since when do I need to turn my back for the humans to start jumping each other like rabbits?

Lucifer:
Hey, I’m just calling it how I see it.

Death:
And what are you calling it exactly? The Mortal Realm’s Boink-o-Rama?

Lucifer:
Derelection of duty. The population went nuts… you weren’t there to reap souls and even things out… and my God-blessed river dried up!

Death:
Is ‘derelection’ even a real word? You’re makin’ up words again aren’t you…

Lucifer:
I can make up whatever I want, and don’t change the subject!

Death:
Listen, I think I’ve been a pretty good Reaper for the past few millennia. I don’t understand why I’m the only horseman who gets reamed like this.

Lucifer:
Oooh, someone you want to tattle on?

Death:
As a matter of fact, yeah. Remember when War punched out for a double-lunch a while back?

Lucifer:
Yeah, so what?

Death:
Yeah, so, they found a cure for smallpox. They weren’t busy fighting each other, so in their spare time they started researching, and there you have it.

Lucifer:
Shit, so that’s what happened... And here I thought it was because you were slacking off in the breakroom!

Death:
For once, not my fault. That was a coincidence.

Lucifer:
A Cure for smallpox… do you have any idea how low our numbers dropped… oh the Big Guy must have been laughing his holy ass off…

Death:
Yeah, big holy ass… Just a decade ok? I need some R&R time. I’m all bones! Get it… all bo-

Lucifer:
That’s awful.

Death:
Oh lighten up, Sparky.

Lucifer:
Listen, Mr. I-Wanted-to-Play-Skeletor-In-The-He-Man-Movie, I’m still your boss.

Death:
Fine, but I’m still your most active, and most dashingly handsome horseman.

Lucifer:
To the first part alone, admittedly…

Death:
So… vacation time?

Lucifer:
Bless me, you’re persistent.

Death:
Just now figuring that out?

Lucifer:
(brief pause) … Prince of Darkness. Bite it.

Death:
Listen, this will all work out just fine. I have a plan.

Lucifer:
Oh you do, do you? ‘Cause you’re the managerial genius around here…

Death:
Send War an inter-Hades memo, tell him to get inside one of the human leaders’ heads and have him pick another fight in some place nobody’s ever heard of, and then Pestilence can move in, do his Martha Stewart routine on the deal, then I do me some reapin’. See? Simple as that. I gots'ta get my reap on.

Lucifer:
That’s just retarded enough to work.

Death:
That’s what they said about that president's reelection campaign, you know, what's his face… Good job on that one, by the way.

Lucifer:
Thank you. I have my moments.

Death:
Did you have anything to do with his first election?

Lucifer:
Eh, he's not evil, just stupid. I wasn't really paying attention. It was just dumb luck.

Death:
Oh well, take what you can get right? You know, that whole Crusades idea was pretty good too, really.

Lucifer:
Yeah, I have some snapshots of the crusades framed somewhere. Stupid knights. They’re so funny when they’re righteous…

(Light laughter from Death, obviously insincere)

Death:
Oh man, they sure are… So… vacation time?

Lucifer:
Vacation. Hmm... You've got a snowball’s chance in He-… here.

Death:
Well, can’t blame a Horseman for tryin’, eh?.

Lucifer:
You can blame anyone you want, if you’re me, and you’re not, so I will, thank you very much.

Death:
Wow Sparky, that almost made sense… that was a run-on sentence worthy of the Old Testament.

Lucifer:
Hey, making fun of Beelzebub is not the best way of getting any vacation, or pay raise for that matter.

Death:
You’re right, and I’m sorry I said anything… (stifling chuckles) I’m just not sorry that I don’t have such lame-ass nicknames.

Lucifer:
If I didn’t have so much paperwork to do, I’d try reaping some souls myself and send you on a longer vacation than you’d like.

Death:
Oooh now I’m scared… most active horseman, remember?

Lucifer:
Oh I remember, and I have my priorities perfectly straight. That doesn’t mean you aren’t a royal pain in the ass.

(There is a long silent pause from Death, and he then emphatically makes the sign of the cross in the air between himself and Lucifer as he yells)

Death:
Vacation time! Pay raise! The power of Christ compels you!

Lucifer:
Ugh... now you're just being crass. That isn’t going to work.

(Death becomes more subdued, though still crossing the air as if hoping it might actually achieve something)

Death:
Power… of Christ… compelling… very compelling…

Lucifer:
No, no, and no. And watch your damn language in my office.

Death:
Fine. I’m sorry for using the “C” word.

Lucifer:
Apology accepted, though if I recall, you were the one who told me not to say it.

Death:
Meh… I just wanted to see if you’d listen.

Lucifer:
(obviously annoyed) Just, you know, try to keep the swearing down a bit. One of the demons might hear it. The last thing I need is someone filing a Spiritual Harassment claim.

Death:
Spiritual Harassment… whoa, we can do that?

Lucifer:
Sure.

Death:
Good, because I’ve wanted to keep quiet about this, but I have to say-

Lucifer:
Oh don’t even pretend you actually have anyone harassing you. Those are pranks, all in good fun! You're the big scary Grim Reaper! And even if, we’ll just pretend here, even if you did, I wouldn’t want to hear it.

Death:
That doesn’t seem very professional of you. Where did you go to business school?

Lucifer:
You make me want vacation time, you know that?

Death:
Great! Let’s go somewhere together! It’ll be a blast! Margaritas, piña coladas, the works, man. Listen, my cousin Angie has this timeshare in the Bahamas. Greatest place. Has a pool table in the basement, veranda decks, southern exposure…

(Mr. Lucifer is looking more and more as if he is at his wits end)

Lucifer:
You don’t have any cousins! You’re not human! You didn’t have parents, much less grandparents who could procreate to produce your parents as well as their siblings who would then procreate to produce a cousin who might possibly be named Angie!

Death:
Oh, yeah. Well when you put it that way it makes sense. Hey! I just got my first “birds and the bees” lesson!

Lucifer:
Wait wait wait… Don’t say anything else… I get it. At first I thought you were just trying to be irritating, but now I understand. You’re trying to reap my soul aren’t you? You’ve driven yourself insane enough to come under the impression that I, Satan, have a soul, and you’re trying to destroy me through sheer annoyance, and reap my soul.

Death:
That’s a good idea, would it work?

Lucifer:
At this point, believe me, I wish I could die.

Death:
(stoically, a la Bill Murray) I’d miss you…

Lucifer:
(Lucifer taps the intercom on his desk) Sally, could you please begin interviewing for a new horseman? One of ours might soon be found on a block of brimstone impaled by a large red trident. Tragic, yes, but we’ll have to move on. We need to think of the big picture.

Death:
Gruesome, but you know what’s even better than impaling me with a big red trident?

Lucifer:
Causing you to spontaneously combust.

Death:
You suck at guessing games...

Lucifer:
Drawing and quartering you.

Death:
Oh come on, third time’s a charm…

Lucifer:
I know what your answer is, I’m just really, really enjoying listing the awful things I’d like to do to you.

Death:
Oh. Well, in that case, your creativity is sorely lacking.

Lucifer:
You know, just... If only I could banish you or something. I'm the Prince of freaking Darkness, and I can’t even banish anyone. The Big Guy can smite whoever he wants whenever he wants… I fall from grace just ONCE and this is the crap-fest I get.

Death:
Oh but you can banish me… to a Vacation! Oh yeah!

(Death begins doing a bad imitation of a hula-dance)

Lucifer:
This is just to clarify here… vacation time will make you leave me the heaven alone?

Death:
Maaaybe…

Lucifer:
AND a raise.

Death:
(cheerfully) Absolutely. In writing please?

Lucifer:
(irritably) Fine.

(He snaps his fingers, and picks up the contract from his desk, which Death promptly signs.)

Death:
Theeeeere we go, pleasure doing business with you!

(Mr. Lucifer clasps his hands and looks upward as if praying)

Lucifer:
Why me? Why? I wasn’t THAT bad…

Death:
(ignoring Lucifer’s distressed attitude) Well, I’m gonna go spook Famine, tell him they found a way to farm potatoes in the desert, herd cattle in the arctic or something. Catch you later Sparky.

Lucifer:
(Still praying) Just one smiting… just one…


(Red light bathes the room briefly, then blackout.)
 
Last edited:

Wallmaker

Senior Member
Dr. Badass,

Cute concept-death wants a vacation. And now that he can get it at the end... we can make Meet Joe Black 2: Now Joe-ier and Black-ier.

About halfway through, I felt out of steam reading, and by the time we got into politics and which horseman did what to Bush's election, I was feeling a bit of a let down. On a whole contemporary pop culture references will bog you down and your piece does fine without, not to mention cut out the somewhat familiar part of the piece.

I know this is a play... so when I say this, take this movie fantatic attention span of a gnat's opinion: I'd like to have hints of more action and movement. Does Death bring flow charts? Can Lucifer look up Death's file? Can the move around the office, stand on chairs, be more kinetic? Some of this will be up to the performance and how it's directed, but for a cute, witty piece, it's missing the humor of accompanying physical gags and movement.

Alright, other than that, I enjoyed this. Thanks. this was my fav banter:

Lucifer:
Just curious, but do you even have any legs or are you just a floating robe, or what?

Death:
Whoa, whoa, whoa! Let’s get one thing straight here, Sparky. I don’t lift my robe for you, or anybody else. I happen to be waiting for that special someone… or at least some vacation time.


Cheers,
Kay
 
Thank you Kay, I really enjoyed your comments. You make some really good points, things that I needed to hear from someone else to realize. I plan on nixing those soon, as they do slow things, and of course they will be outdated all too quickly.

Also, I LOVED your suggestions. If you wouldn't mind, I'd be happy to implement such things as the charts and files. Those are excellent. And you're right, it does need to move around. I had written this as an exercise for a class, so I hadn't gone far enough to think about action and motion and direction. But hey, even if it doesnt ever make it onto a stage, its still worth implementing just to see how it comes out.

I really appreciate you taking the time to read and even more so for taking the time to comment.


SoCal for life! =)
Cody
 

Wallmaker

Senior Member
Go! Use 'em! That's what suggestions are for! I'd love to see your next draft up here when you're ready!

-Kay
 

vangoghsear

WF Veteran
WF Veterans
This had some clever moments. I agree that the current events references could limit this piece. Good sense of humor.

Great suggestions from Wallmaker.
 
B

Beckaflex

I thought this was brilliant! I was very impressed all round, yet Wallmaker's suggestion of more movement would bring it together perfectly.

It's very rare I'll read anything that makes me laugh, so well done.

I like it so much, I'm off to read it again now...

Beck
 
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