Adrenalin by Peter Tarkalas


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This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author’s PRIOR consent


        ACT ONE SCENE ONE

      Lights come up we find Victoria sitting at a table with her laptop
      open. On the   table she has a small cage with two rats. Centre stage
      are the two large cages.  By the front door are a couple of
      suitcases. Malcolm is over by the bar area. He   is wearing an elegant
      bathrobe engraved with a capital E for Engenetec. He is   wearing a
      bathing suit underneath and sandals. He is drying his hair with a
      towel.
      The door opens and in comes Vaderhoff, dressed in an elegant suit and
      a bluetooth earpiece.  He is obviously upset.

      VADERHOFF: (Speaking into his phone) If anyone needs me I’m at the VIP
      reception centre. (He listens.) No ... I’m not playing a round of
      golf. (He clicks off, He stands there centre stage puts his hands on
      his hips and looks down at the rat cages.) Jesus Christ. (He shakes
      his head.)

      MALCOLM: Something wrong sir? (Vaderhoff turns to look at him.
      Victoria looks up from her laptop.)

      VADERHOFF: (Looking Malcolm up and down.) Making yourself at home I
      see.

      MALCOLM: Luke’s orders sir Seeing as it’s moving in day he told us to
      take some time off.

      VADERHOFF: He did did he?

      MALCOLM: Yeah ... to acclimatize ourselves to our new home.

      VADERHOFF: (Sarcastically.) Because moving can be such a stressful
      experience ... especially when one is forced to move into such
      deplorable conditions that a first class hotel has to offer.

      MALCOLM: You hit the nail on the head sir. (Slight pause.) I thought I
      would take advantage of one of the amenities we have here.

      VADERHOFF: (Seething underneath.) I can see that.

      MALCOLM: Victoria. (She looks up.) You gotta try out the indoor pool
      we have here. It’s really very beautiful. And these robes ....(He
      strokes the fabric.) So   unbelievably soft. I didn’t know fabric like
      this even existed

      VICTORIA: (She smiles.) Maybe later. (She goes back to what she was
      reading.)

      MALCOLM: (To Vaderhoff.) You wouldn’t happen to know what kind of
      material this is would you sir?

      VADERHOFF: Malcolm ... maybe you can explain to me what the hell are
      all these rats doing here?

      MALCOLM: Oh ... well ... Luke had these two identical living
      compartments built for them.
      (He walks over to them.)

      MALCOLM: As you can see there are four inter joining sections so we
      can study them. (Slight pause.) Just like the ant farms we used to
      have as kids. (No answer) I guess you didn’t. (Slight pause.) There’s
      another one in the dining room but that one’s more of a maze rather
      than a housing unit.

      VADERHOFF: I didn’t mean what are they doing in their cages. What are
      they doing here in the VIP centre? I got a frantic call from Rudy ...
      upset about an invasion of rats.

      MALCOLM: Who’s Rudy?

      VADERHOFF: The concierge. Maybe you didn’t notice him. The man
      behind the front desk, sobbing like a baby.

      MALCOLM: We’re in the final stages of testing and Luke wants the rats
      monitored 24/7.

      VADERHOFF: Have we run out of space in our laboratories? MALCOLM: Oh
      no. We have tons of space but Luke thought it was a better idea to
      move us and the rats in here.

      VADERHOFF: Of course. Why not? Advancements in scientific research
      have been made from country clubs all over the world.

      MALCOLM:  You’re being facetious ... right?

      VADERHOFF:  Which one of you doesn’t understand the word temporary?

      MALCOLM:  What do you mean?

      VADERHOFF: We offered Luke the opportunity to stay here temporarily.

      MALCOLM: For his three month trial period ... I know.

      VADERHOFF: And that we would build him a very handsome bungalow
      which we just finished over by the ninth green.

      MALCOLM: Looks nice sir ... very attractive ... tasteful if I might
      add.

      VADERHOFF: (Takes a deep breath.) So why is it still vacant?

      MALCOLM: Luke likes it here better.

      VADERHOFF: Would the five star hotel service ... or the swimming pool
      ... the billiard room ... bowling alley ... would that have been a
      factor in his decision?

      MALCOLM: (Excitedly.) You’re kidding ... there’s a bowling alley in
      here? I didn’t know that. (He glares at him.) The decision was based
      on Luke needing the space.

      VADERHOFF: For the three of you?

      MALCOLM: Actually ... there’s four of us. George Pendlebury has joined
      us. (Vaderhoff looks at him questioningly.) Luke needed another person
      to help with the research ... so ... why not an old college buddy ...
      somebody who already works here.

      VADERHOFF: Really? Pendlebury? The shit disturber?

      MALCOLM: Shit disturber? That’s pretty funny. I’ll have to tell him
      that.
      (Vaderhoff glares at him.) Or maybe not.

      VADERHOFF: You know I’ve been looking for just cause to have him
      terminated ... and now you want me to reward him by letting him move
      in here?

      MALCOLM: Terminate? There’s nothing wrong with his work is there?

      VADERHOFF: It’s not his work that’s the problem ... it’s his big
      mouth.

      MALCOLM: I agree ... he doesn’t know when to shut up but ... I didn’t
      know you could fire someone for being ... annoying.

      VADERHOFF: (Pointing at Malcolm.) Keep that in mind Malcolm.

      (He wanders over to the rat cages.)

      VADERHOFF: We know he’s a regular contributor to internet forums that
      are highly critical of the pharmaceutical industry in general ... and
      us ... Engenetec ... specifically.

      MALCOLM: Are you spying on him? (No answer.) You have to take all of
      George’s conspiracy theories with a grain of salt. He can’t help
      himself ... it’s like he’s got Turrets or something.

      VADERHOFF: (Firmly.) Never bite the hand that feeds you.

      MALCOLM: Absolutely. I’ll make sure I drum that into him sir ... don’t
      you worry ... because Luke would be really disappointed if he couldn’t
      get a chance to work with his old friend.

      VADERHOFF: (Thinking.) We’ll let him stay for now but ... make sure
      you tell your old buddy George that I have my eyes on him.

      (Pauses while he thinks. His anger rising.)

      VADERHOFF: And what about you Malcolm? You’re not a scientist. What
      are you supposed to be doing here?

      (Looking him up and down.)

      VADERHOFF: Or is it your job to clean the shit out of these cages.

      MALCOLM: You know that I’m the administrative head of this project.

      VADERHOFF: (To Malcolm out of Victoria’s hearing range.) And we know
      how you got that job don’t we?

      MALCOLM: Wait a minute. I don’t recall approaching you or head office.
      You guys came to me ... because of my friendship with Luke ... and
      asked if I could convince him to leave the university and finish
      conducting his research here. I’ve kept up my end of the bargain.

      VADERHOFF: Yes but Malcolm ... do you not see our concern? His three
      month trial period is almost up and I don’t see his signature on a
      contract.

      MALCOLM: We’re working on it. You can let head office know that they
      don’t have anything to be worried about. (He spreads out his hands
      indicating the room.) Obviously he’s planning on staying here. He’d be
      crazy to leave. He’s trying to decide what he wants written into the
      contract.

      (He comes back from around the bar with two drinks.)

      VADERHOFF: You mean ... what else he wants?

      MALCOLM: Yeah. Something like that. Dotting the i’s and crossing the
      tee’s.

      VADERHOFF: I need that signature by midnight tonight.

      MALCOLM: (Jokingly.) Or what ... he turns into a pumpkin? (Malcolm
      snickers.)
      (Glaring at him he steps right up to Malcolm.)

      VADERHOFF: You were supposed to keep him under control.

      MALCOLM: Who said anything about control? I was told to keep him
      happy.

      (Pause while Vaderhoff seeths.)

      VADERHOFF: Why don’t you go out there and do something  
      administrative like trying to placate Rudy before he has a stroke.

      MALCOLM: Your wish is my command sir.

      (He smiles at him and marches out the doors.)

      VADERHOFF (The pressure’s built up he needs to vent.) See what kind of
      crap I have to put up with?

      (He goes to the bar and mixes a couple of drinks.)

      VADERHOFF: Iím the one who has to explain to head office that their
      little executive hideaway will be off limits until further notice.

      VICTORIA: Is that supposed to evoke sympathy from me? They’ll survive.
      You’re more worried about where you’re going to put up the FDA boys
      when they come by for their turn at the trough. (He looks at her.)
      There’s always the “attractive bungalow” you built for Luke that they
      can hole up in.

      VADERHOFF: Are you trying to be funny?

      VICTORIA: Do I look like a comedian?

      VADERHOFF: There are days that ... I could throttle them all.

      (He places the drink in front of her and sits down.)

      VADERHOFF: Even Luke. People like him are the most frustrating
      to deal with. (Slight pause.) Those further up the food chain ...
      executives ... government officials ...  it’s easier to know what they
      want.

      VICTORIA: You think the rest of us are any different?

      VADERHOFF: I take it you"re not buying his “aw shucks, I’m just a
      humble research scientist looking to save the world.”

      VICTORIA: Saving the world? That’s a big fucking laugh. This world has
      gone way past saving.

      VADERHOFF: My sentiments exactly. It’s every man ...(He looks at her.)
      ... or woman for himself. (He mimics Malcolm.) Malcolm tells me. “Oh
      don’t worry sir. Luke has very modest needs.” Yesterday he asked for
      custom golf carts for the four of you. (Slight pause.) Today he’s
      asking for a chauffeur driven limo, preferably stretched, to be made
      available to him.

      VICTORIA: Where’s he planning on going? Since I’ve been here ... he
      hasn’t left the complex ... he barely leaves the lab ... I wonder if
      he even sleeps.

      VADERHOFF: Tomorrow he’ll be asking me for his own jet or better still
      his own private helicopter.

      VICTORIA: What do you care? It’s not your money.

      VADERHOFF: It’s my research facility and I don’t like some prima donna
      hot shot scientist waltzing in here like he’s some kind of a movie
      star and dictating terms as though he owns the place.

      VICTORIA: Are you kidding me? You know that this drug we’re working on
      is going to be worth a fortune.

      VADERHOFF: What makes you say that?

      VICTORIA: You can stop with the coy bullshit act okay ...Eric. You
      guys knew all along what you were doing when you lured Luke to come
      here. (Refers to her laptop.) I’ve been going over the toxicology
      results on all those rats we euthanized and so far, here’s the thing
      ... there is no toxicology.

      VADERHOFF: Which means?

      VICTORIA: No toxicology ... no physiological side effects. The drug
      has passed through their systems without a trace ... something I’ve
      never seen in my life ... because every drug, ever manufactured has
      side effects. (Slight pause.)  Every drug until now. We still have
      more testing to complete but ... it looks positive.

      (Vaderhoff picks up the cage with the two rats and stares at them.)

      VADERHOFF: Seriously? No side effects?

      VICTORIA: Changes the ball game doesn’t it? And in light of this
      interesting discovery I think we need to renegotiate our agreement.

      VADERHOFF: Renegotiate? You’re getting paid one hundred thousand
      dollars for three months of work.

      VICTORIA: That’s a drop in the bucket and you know it.

      VADERHOFF: You haven’t kept up with your end of our deal. The data
      you’ve given me so far is incomplete.

      VICTORIA: You expect me to be stupid enough to hand you the entire
      formula.

      VADERHOFF: You weren’t hired because we thought you were ... stupid.

      VICTORIA: Exactly A hundred grand would be enough if all that was
      involved was baby sitting a naive scientist, passing along progress
      reports, making sure that everything was backed up and that he didn’t
      leave valuable information lying around. (Slight pause.) Or making
      sure he didn’t speak to strangers off the farm.

      VADERHOFF: It’s not Luke I am worried about talking to strangers.

      VICTORIA: Then that’s why we need to renegotiate.

      VADERHOFF: Ahh. If the little girl has enough candy then she won’t be
      tempted to accept offers from others ... is that what you are saying?

      VICTORIA: (Aggressively) Do I look like a fucking little girl to you?


      VADERHOFF: (He smiles.) You’ve got a mouth on you.

      (He puts the cage down.)

      VADERHOFF: So ... what did you have in mind?

      VICTORIA: I like numbers with a lot of zeros in them. Ten million
      dollars.

      VADERHOFF: You can’t be serious.

      VICTORIA: It’s not like this line of work carries any long term
      security or a company pension plan.

      VADERHOFF: Two million.

      VICTORIA: Eight.

      VADERHOFF: (Pause.) Let’s split the difference and make it five
      million. (She looks at him.) That’s as high as we’d be willing to go
      and if you invest it wisely you could retire rather comfortably on
      that.

      VICTORIA: (Pause while she thinks.) You anticipated this.

      VADERHOFF: Everyone always asks for more. Even boy scouts like Luke.
      Why should you be any different?

      VICTORIA: Okay. Done. (Hands Vaderhoff a card.) Here’s my account
      information. Once I see a deposit. Then we can go from there.

      VADERHOFF: (Looking at the card.) Offshore account. Numbered
      corporation. (He puts the card away and smiles at her.) You intrigue
      me Victoria. (She looks at him.) This hard boiled image of a research
      mercenary that you seem to enjoy portraying. The tough, no nonsense,
      sometimes delightfully vulgar ... (He leers at her.) ... is totally at
      odds with your past ... that of a once promising brilliant young
      scientist who thought she could make a difference.

      VICTORIA: What can I say ... I’m a dichotomy.

      VADERHOFF: The fascinating part of your story is the middle section
      ...
      your pioneering work at Memtech and your subsequent fall from grace.

      VICTORIA: Are you trying to make some kind of a point here ... Eric?

      VADERHOFF: No point ... other than ... maybe we can go out for a nice
      quiet drink sometime.

      VICTORIA: We’re having a drink now ... is this quiet enough for you?

      VADERHOFF: Do you have an aversion to men?

      VICTORIA: Only to men who try and fuck me over.

      VADERHOFF: (He smiles at her.) Spoken from experience? (She looks at
      him but refuses to answer.) I should warn you to be very careful if
      you are planning on playing this game from both sides of the fence. It
      could all come back to bite you in that lovely rear end of yours.

      VICTORIA: (She raises her glass in a toast.) To research and
      development. 

        (Malcolm comes back in as Vaderhoffs phone goes off.)

[End of Extract]


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