Gum Control

Gum Control

 a short, comedic piece for two actors

The entirety of the action of this short script takes place in a generic school hallway with lockers. A Hall MONITOR paces the stage, waiting for the bell to ring. When it does, kids stream across the hall silently, allowing the Hall MONITOR to deliver lines audibly. Among the rabble is the STUDENT who is chewing gum.

MONITOR:         (breathing in deeply) Ah. This is when I love life. The smells of the school hallway in passing period are always so … illuminating.  (To STUDENT)  Halt.

STUDENT:          Who? Me?

MONITOR:         Yes. You. Don’t move a muscle. (MONITOR sniffs

                              STUDENT excessively)

                              (Aside) They always think they can sneak it past me. But they can’t. We can do this the hard way, or the easy way. Which shall it be?

STUDENT:          What? … Excuse me, but I’m going to be late for class. I have to… (Tries to walk away)

MONITOR:         (stopping STUDENT) Fess up. You have it.

STUDENT:          Have what?

MONITOR:         Don’t play games with me. Is it a substance or an item? You know the answer.

STUDENT:          You are really creeping me out. What is this all about?

MONITOR:         Order is built on slave labor. Schools need order. Schools have students. Students are slaves. Slaves need hall monitors to keep them in order.

STUDENT:          Are you just trying to validate your existence?

MONITOR:         You…. (doesn’t say anything) You ask what this is all about? This is about keeping the peace. You are disrupting that peace. This is about… GUM CONTROL.

STUDENT:          Gun control?

MONITOR:         Gum control.

STUDENT:          Gun control?

MONITOR:         Gum-m control.

STUDENT:          Gum control? Gum control? Are you serious?

MONITOR:         Completely. Spit it out.

STUDENT:          Here? In front of all these people?

MONITOR:         Yes.

STUDENT:          Do I have to?

MONITOR:         YES.

STUDENT:          But…

MONITOR:         DO IT!

(STUDENT bends over as if to spit the gum out onto the ground)

                              Not on the ground! Here. . . (MONITOR pulls out a piece of

                              paper and hands it to STUDENT. STUDENT spits out the

                              gum into the paper and returns it to MONITOR, who

                              pockets the gum.)

STUDENT:          There. Are you satisfied?

MONITOR:         No.

STUDENT:          No?

MONITOR:         No.

STUDENT:          Why?

MONITOR:         Because.

STUDENT:          Because is not a reason.

MONITOR:         Why not?

STUDENT:          Because it is.

MONITOR:         Exactly.

STUDENT:          What?

MONITOR:         You just said that ‘Because’ is the answer. ‘Because it is.’

STUDENT:          No! I… I … This is beside the point. You are harassing students.

MONITOR:         Harassing them? Never. I protect them.

STUDENT:          I feel harassed. Bullied even.

MONITOR:         How ungrateful! I just saved your life!

STUDENT:          Doubt it.

MONITOR:         There was once a girl who went to this school. She chewed gum every day.  I must have caught chewing, chewing, chewing, chewing every day. Chewing on Monday. Chewing on Tuesday. Chewing on Wednesday.

STUDENT:          OK.

MONITOR:         Chewing on Thursday. Chewing on Friday. Chewing on Saturday.

STUDENT:          OK!

MONITOR:         Chewing on SUNDAY!

STUDENT:          Gasp.

MONITOR:         That girl would blow bubbles right under my nose. So I told her: stop chewing gum or else it’ll be the end of the line for you, sister. Then one fateful May day little miss bubble gum comes skipping along the school hall and trips. Next thing you know, she’s blowing bubbles backwards. How do you feel about that?

STUDENT:          Well… uh… I

MONITOR:         Exactly. (MONITOR pulls out identical looking piece of gum

                              and begins chewing.)

STUDENT:          But chewing gum is harmless.

MONITOR:         That’s what they all say. The truth is gum is a gateway chew. First it’s juicy fruit, then Hubba-Bubba, then Trident, then 5, and then tobac…

STUDENT:          Toba…?

MONITOR:         To baseball chew. Then jail, where all you can chew on are the metallic tasting bars of your cell.

STUDENT:          Do you have personal experience with that?

MONITOR:         Of course not. I’m a hall monitor, not a felon.

STUDENT:          You know chewing gum isn’t that bad. People have been doing it for ages.

MONITOR:         Until they die.

STUDENT:          But that doesn’t count! Everyone dies sometime.

MONITOR:         But it doesn’t have to be from gum! Do you know how many kids die from gum each year?

STUDENT:          I have no idea.

MONITOR:         Me either.

STUDENT:          Chewing gum fights halitosis which causes kids to lose focus in school. Even the teachers appreciate it.

MONITOR:         Ha! You think the teachers are any kind of authority at this school? Well, I have news for you. They’re not. I am.

STUDENT:          And you would pick on a poor, innocent little student like me, whose worst crime is nibbling gum. You wouldn’t pick on a child.

MONITOR:         (aside) I hate when they give me the puppy-dog eyes. That pity card won’t work with me. I don’t need the stats to tell you the trouble gum causes. Take, for example, the bullying gum causes.

STUDENT:          Bullying?

MONITOR:         Yes. Bullying.

STUDENT:          Really?

MONITOR:         Yes. The big kid wants the little kid’s gum. The little kid won’t share. The big kid chews out the little kid. Horrible. Truly, horrible.

STUDENT:          But, with all due respect, gum doesn’t chew out people. People chew out people.

MONITOR:         Exactly.

STUDENT:          What?

MONITOR:         All this chewing wouldn’t be happening if gum was regulated the way it ought to be.

STUDENT:          But…

MONITOR:         No buts.

STUDENT:          Well, there should be buts.

MONITOR:         But…

STUDENT:          No buts!

MONITOR:         Touché.  (MONITOR spits gum out into paper and pockets

                              it.) So what’s it going to be: the hard way or the easy way?

STUDENT:          The easy way.

MONITOR:         There is no easy way.

STUDENT:          Then why did you offer it?

MONITOR:         So the hard way then.

STUDENT:          What do you mean?

MONITOR:         The hard way of the law.

STUDENT:          Which means…?

MONITOR:         Your punishment. In order to convince students to cease their evil ways of chewing gum, I have concocted a fiendishly effective plan.

STUDENT:          A plan?

MONITOR:         Well you see it’s quite simple really. I do a little explaining, give you a gift, and you never chew gum again.

STUDENT:          Ok. Sounds good.

MONITOR:         Oh, it is. You see, the mouth naturally secretes saliva. Everyone has saliva, for better or for worse. In your case, it would be the worse. When humans speak, their heads are usually within a six inch height difference of each other. It is scientifically known that the average human spits at least twice per sentence, releasing saliva into the air at speeds so fast the naked eye only sees small shooting stars. Of course, these are not shooting stars, but globules of spit. Now, picture, if you will, that spit landing, as in all probability it would, in your mouth when you happen to bechewing gum. The gum soaks up the saliva and you are left chewing on someone else’s spit. Sounds tasty, eh?

STUDENT:          That’s just a tall tale. That can’t be true.

MONITOR:         Oh yeah? Well why don’t chemistry teachers let you chew gum in the lab?

STUDENT:          Because Mr. Bubbles hates gum?

MONITOR:         No! Because Mr. Bubbles knows the truth! He’s a chemistry teacher. He would know.

STUDENT:          Oh.

MONITOR:         So now I am going to give you back your gum. It really wasn’t that good. (MONITOR returns STUDENT’s gum

                              to STUDNET.)  There. Chew on. You run along to class and remember that when you’re chewing gum, well, you know…

                              (STUDENT tentatively puts gum back in mouth and walks away.)

                              (Aside) How’s that for gum control?

-M.M.

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