Like a Fish

LIKE A FISH

By Chris Kerr

WALLEYE is on the phone, pacing frenetically.

WALLEYE:

(on the phone) and after going out for drinks the past… 12 nights, I’m a few thousand dollars in debt. No, not just on alcohol. Mostly on alcohol. That Twelfth Night was goddamn shipwreck, let me tell you. Look, I don’t know what to do now. Do you know – oh. Yeah. Yeah, I have two. I can just… sell it? Where? Thank you. And what? Like on Adult Swim? Really? Well, thank you, so much. Now I can make rent, stress equals zero. My kids are gonna be so happy they aren’t turning homeless. Thanks again. (Hangs up)

Walleye enters a clean, unidentifiable business-place. A well-dressed TUNA works the counter, tending to a comically large stack of paperwork. The stack threatens to fall, and TUNA threatens back. The stack remains standing.

TUNA:

Hello there.

WALLEYE:

(Reading TUNA’s name tag) Hello yourself, Tuna. I was told to ask about Form C-137?

TUNA:

Yes, C-137. It’s the only real form we offer. Are you here to fill it out?

WALLEYE:

Yes.

TUNA pushes the stack onto the floor. The bottom paper remains on the desk, which is handed to WALLEYE. WALLEYE produces a pen from his shoe and begins filling out the form. TUNA asks a series of questions during this time.

TUNA:

To confirm: you’re willingly filling the form out, without any prior solicitation on my behalf?

WALLEYE:

Yes.

TUNA:

Were you referred to this source by a satisfied patron of ours?

WALLEYE:

Yes. I’ll admit at first I was concerned he didn’t have a leg to stand on telling me to come here, but he explained your process quite well. I’m also in need of the money – you know, kids.

TUNA:

I have a couple of those myself. We also offer a section on that form should any of them have an offer for our… business.

WALLEYE:

I see that now (WALLEYE clearly chooses not to fill in the box regarding his children)

TUNA:

Not today, then? (Calling to the back) We got Father of the Year out here, Cod! (Looks at the form Walleye is filling out) Guy’s giving up an arm – (Double checks the form) and a leg, to get his family out of debt! (Looking around suspiciously, and then proclaiming as if to prove the innocence of what is happening) Metaphorically, of course.

COD:

Well, people do whatever it takes. We rely on that. (Cod moves to return to the back room) Don’t forget to record the Closing Verbal. (Cod exits)

TUNA:

(TUNA grabs a camera and sets it up, to film the following exchange) Now that you’ve signed the paper I can stop with the act. (Locks the door, reading the form) So, Wally –

WALLEYE:

It’s Walleye… continue.

TUNA:

– for exactly two-thousand dollars, you are agreeing to allow us to cut off your left arm and use it as we see fit.

WALLEYE:

Yes.

TUNA:

And for an additional three thousand dollars we have the same agreement with your left leg.

WALLEYE:

Yes.

TUNA:

You are, to the best of your knowledge, in your right mind, sober, and able to consent to this legally binding agreement that will allow us to make this exchange?

WALLEYE:

100%

TUNA:

Pop them off then.

WALLEYE removes his left arm and leg, and places them on the counter. TUNA hands WALLEYE a cheque for $5000 which he places in his sock.

TUNA:

(Calling to the back once more) Hey – hey Cod! I just made us another million!

WALLEYE mouths the word “million” to himself and then tries to count the difference between his money and theirs on his five remaining fingers.

COD:

(Calls WALLEYE something vaguely rude and outlandish, like “thick biscuit” but not “thick biscuit”) Everyone knows your limbs are priceless. We have dozens of buyers lined up waiting for people like you to come to people like us, who we can gouge for immeasurable margins!

WALLEYE:

Not immeasurable. Two hundred thousand percent margins. I had to do that mentally because I can only go up to five digits on my fingers now.

TUNA:

One for every thousand we gave you. Now get outta here, because we don’t make our money on repeat customers.

COD:

You should get to a hospital or something. We can easily afford to pay for your cab.

TUNA and COD laugh.

WALLEYE:

I’m not leaving until I get a slice of that pie, you fishy bastards. Those limbs are mine, and I want to buy them back.

COD:

So you can sell them yourself? Do you even know where to begin looking for a buyer?

TUNA:

Not to mention, you stood here and filled out that form for like, at least a minute. That’s plenty of time to clue in. I also asked you to confirm, and you agreed to our terms. Do you want to watch the tape with us?

WALLEYE:

No – No! I didn’t know the value of my limbs in this business and now I’m bleeding to death in your lobby, short what could have been many thousands more dollars in my socks.

TUNA:

I think you’ll be alright.

COD:

Of course he will be, we have his left arm and leg and now he is all right!

TUNA and COD laugh again.

WALLEYE:

I can’t believe this. I’m going home.

WALLEYE turns to leave, but falls because he isn’t used to walking on one leg. He flops around on the floor like a fish.

TUNA:

Every single one.

COD:

Like a fish.

TUNA and COD lay on the floor next to WALLEYE and flop around in the blood puddle with him.

Blackout.

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