Primate Example

by robhayeswritesplays


An interior office. The blinds are drawn. The desks have been overturned and pushed to the walls. The chairs have been arranged to form a makeshift climbing frame. There is debris – files, papers, food, furniture – scattered across the floor.

Three men in suits squat like monkeys in the middle of the room, eyeing each other. They grunt, beat their chests and roll around the floor. They are, in effect, acting like monkeys.

After a moment, one of them shuffles out the room. One of the remaining men, Davies, immediately stands up.

DAVIES: I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up.

Shenton also stands up.

SHENTON: Just go with it a little longer. Please.

DAVIES: This is insane. We have our first project appraisal on Tuesday and we’ve done nothing. We’ve not even started.

SHENTON: It’s under control.

DAVIES: How? How is it under control? We’re pretending to be monkeys!

SHENTON: I’m telling you his system works. I’ve seen it.

DAVIES: We’ve made no progress.

SHENTON: But we have. Subconsciously. It’s all about unlocking creativity. Primal behaviour. We’re allowing our brains to do all the work. Last day, we get it all on paper.

DAVIES: I’m getting nervous Shenton.

SHENTON: Just trust me. The man’s a maverick, but he knows what he’s doing.

DAVIES:I just don’t see it.

SHENTON: Did I tell you about the Thai monk who trained him?

DAVIES: Yes you told me about the Thai monk who trained him.

SHENTON: We can’t expect to understand his ways. We must only serve them. And remember, you can’t show any signs of weakness, okay? If he senses even for a second that you’re not fully committed then the whole thing will go down the toilet. Is that clear?

Davies sighs, nods.

DAVIES: But I’m gonna need a break. My knee’s playing up again.

SHENTON: Okay. Fine. Just a little longer I promise.

The third man, McKee, enters. The three immediately start acting like monkeys again.

After a moment Davies exits. McKee immediately stands up.

MCKEE: How much longer is this going to go on for?

SHENTON: I don’t know mate, I don’t know.

MCKEE: We can’t work carry on like this. The man’s a nutter.

SHENTON: He’s having a really tough time. His wife left him, he’s under a lot of stress.

MCKEE: But this is ridiculous. We have nothing to show for the past two weeks. Why the hell should we risk our entire project pandering to that man’s neuroses? He’s a nut! He should be suspended.

SHENTON: Don’t worry, I’ve been working on the report in my spare time. It’s almost ready. You just keep quiet and carry on. And don’t, whatever you do, break the illusion. He’s very unstable at the moment. God knows how he’d react if he thought we weren’t genuine monkeys in an actual jungle.

MCKEE: But it’s not right. It just isn’t right.

SHENTON: All I’m saying is he’s a semi-professional archer. That’s a fact.

MCKEE: He shouldn’t be in a workplace environment. He should be in a secure unit.

SHENTON: We need to indulge him. Just till it’s safe for him to start therapy.

MCKEE: Shouldn’t we, I don’t know, tell someone?

SHENTON: In time, yes. I’ve got it under control. Listen, I’m gonna have to go and work on the report for a few minutes. Can I trust you?

McKee sighs, nods.

SHENTON: You’re a good man McKee, I’m sorry I dragged you into this.

Shenton exits. Davies re-enters. He and McKee eye each other, then both crouch down and start acting like monkeys. Again they grunt and howl, banging on the floor.

McKee moves over to Davies and starts grooming him.

Davies responds by climbing onto the furniture.

McKee moves over to a large bowl of fruit and starts chewing it up, skin and all, and throwing the mushed up remains around the room.

Davies pulls his tie off and rips open his shirt. He moves over to a bucket, sits into it and starts taking a shit.

At that moment the boss, Squire, enters.

SQUIRE: What the…

He puts his tie over his nose, gagging at the smell.

SQUIRE: Oh god! Shenton warned me you two were fooling around but…this is insane! You have a project appraisal looming and you’ve spent the whole time…hopping around like animals! What the hell do you think you’re playing at? You think it’s all one big joke? You know we’ve got another round of layoffs coming, don’t you? You are aware of that. In fact, what am I talking about? You’re both fired! Thank you for making my job a little easier.

The two colleagues are paralysed with shock.

DAVIES: But sir–

SQUIRE: I don’t want to hear it. You couldn’t possibly have an adequate excuse. Get out! Now! Pack your things and get the hell out!

The two men abjectly shuffle out of the room.

Shenton saunters in.

SQUIRE: Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Shenton. It couldn’t have been easy.

SHENTON: Such a shame.

He takes out a banana and peels it.

SHENTON: I have no idea what they were playing at.

He takes a big bite.