Lancer & Lace by James Bruns
A stark room inside the Dallas Trade Mart building
There is only a table that has a telephone upon it
And some folding chairs
AGENT, a man in black wearing dark sunglasses, enters briskly
He surveys the room
Looking into all four corners and under the table
He is holding and speaking into a walkie-talkie
During the play only the AGENT is able to hear from the walkie-talkie.
AGENT: It's all clear ...Hello? ...You copy that? ... I said ... Now, it's all clear….
Takes one more look around the room.
AGENT: Spartan ... I mean, really Spartan… Completely empty ... What
He holds the walkie-talkie closer to his ear.
AGENT: Repeat that? ... Nothing… Right. There's nothing in here…
Casts a suspicious sideways glance over to the telephone. Does
AGENT: Ahhh….Check that….Well… There's a telephone…
Pulls the walkie-talkie away from his ear as he's
obliviously being cussed out.
AGENT: Roger that. Hear you loud and clear. Loud and clear. All right.
Just stand by.
The AGENT goes to the telephone and picks up the receiver.
AGENT (into phone): Who's this? ... An operator? ... Operator of what?
... Is that so? Who am I? ...Just an Agent. Yes, ma'am. Same to you.
You have a nice day also.
Hangs up the phone. Picks up and speaks back into the walkie-talkie.
AGENT: It's already connected…Yep. The White House switchboard…I
know, those guys think of everything…Who me? ... I'll do whatever
you say. You want me to unplug it?
The AGENT immediately pulls the walkie-talkie away from his ear as he
gets chewed out by his boss.
AGENT: Nope? ... Then I'll just take it out of here with me.
Again the AGENT pulls the walkie-talkie away from his ear as he gets
chewed out more.
AGENT: All right already… Okay. Fine… I'll just leave the phone
alone… Hey, that rhymes.
Again AGENT pulls the walkie-talkie away from his ear.
AGENT: O.K. O.K. Roger, over and out….Sheesh, you try and do some
good and what's it get you.
The AGENT shrugs his shoulders leaves the phone as it is
and exits the room.
Almost immediately JACKIE enters in her pink raspberry suit, navy blue
blouse, white gloves and low heeled shoes. She is holding red roses in
a bouquet which she sets down on the table
She carefully pulls off her pink pill box hat and puffs her hair
Following behind is the PRESIDENT dressed in his blue gray suit, white shirt
and dark blue tie.
JACKIE: Oh gosh, I'm bushed.
PRESIDENT: It's not even two o'clock, Jackie. We still have the whole
day ahead of us. Here sit down.
He pulls out a chair for her. JACKIE sits down.
JACKIE: How long do we have?
PRESIDENT: Few minutes I guess.
JACKIE: My feet….
She takes off her shoes. Rubs her feet.
JACKIE: I forgot how exhausting it all is.
PRESIDENT: If I have a minute. Lem'me look at this speech again.
He pulls out some folded papers from his breast pocket. And paces.
Reading. She looks around the room.
JACKIE: Why we waiting in here?
PRESIDENT: Oh, I think because we're running so late they thought the
luncheon would be canceled. Must have started taking the stage down.
They're supposed to have a Pepsi bottler's convention here tonight.
JACKIE: We should just cancel.
PRESIDENT: I thought you're enjoying it.
JACKIE: Oh, I am. And I forgot how exciting it all is.
PRESIDENT: Some crowd wasn't it? And in Dallas of all places.
JACKIE: Everywhere, the whole trip. Jack, I'm feeling so good about
PRESIDENT: Next year… Yeah, the last campaign.
JACKIE: Oh, don't say that.
PRESIDENT: For me it is.
JACKIE: Anyway. Even if it is. Let's make it really special then.
How bout…How bout we go everywhere? All fifty states. What do you
PRESIDENT: Nixon tried something like that. Go to all fifty states,
remember? And they tried to hold him to it. Dam near killed him.
JACKIE: Well, I'm getting excited about next year. Where is the
PRESIDENT: Atlantic City.
JACKIE makes a face.
PRESIDENT: I know. We're only obligated the final night. Let Bobby and
Teddy run things. And you know what I was thinking?
JACKIE: What's that?
PRESIDENT: We'll sail the Honey Fitz down from Hyannis. How's that
sound? Pretty dramatic?
JACKIE: Oh, that would be lovely.
PRESIDENT: Oh yeah, the press will love it. Saying the Presidents lost
out at sea. And each day we'll get a little closer to land. Then the
final night we dock at the marina, see, in the evening gloom. Then
walk the boardwalk all the way to the convention hall. A torchlight
JACKIE: A torchlight parade. I know you love those. Just like Grandpa
Fitz used to have. Just like the old days.
PRESIDENT: Nobody does those anymore. Yeah, I'll mention it to Kenny.
See what he says. I'm sure he'll say its sounds elitist. And I'm sure
the detail will raise concerns.
JACKIE: And don't forget the Fire Marshall.
PRESIDENT: Yeah, probably. But it's more restful than going to all
JACKIE: Anyway. I can't wait.
PRESIDENT: Me either.
JACKIE: Speaking of waiting.
PRESIDENT: Right. Let me find out what's going on? Agent!
The AGENT enters.
AGENT: Mister President?
PRESIDENT: How much longer do we have?
AGENT: I'll find out, sir.
AGENT steps aside to speak into the walkie-talkie.
AGENT: Lancer is requesting a time check.
AGENT holds the walkie-talkie to his ear. Listens.
AGENT: Roger that…
The AGENT comes back over.
AGENT: Mister President, they're still corralling the audience.
PRESIDENT: I understand. Thank you.
The AGENT exits. PRESIDENT and JACKIE both watch him leave the room.
JACKIE: Who's that? I've never seen him before.
PRESIDENT: Me either. Must be out of the Dallas office. Knows the
The PRESIDENT goes back to pacing and reading over his speech.
JACKIE: So what're you gonna be saying?
PRESIDENT: Oh this? National Security.
She makes a bored face.
JACKIE: Do I have to go?
PRESIDENT: What? You gonna stay in here?
JACKIE: No. But where's the green room at?
The PRESIDENT is slow to respond. He is deep in reading his
PRESIDENT: The what? Oh, I think they took it down.
Somebody…some idiot must've said the Trade Mart speech was
JACKIE: We're only an hour behind schedule…They could've waited.
That doesn't make sense. We've been behind schedule this whole trip.
PRESIDENT: Well. They cleared everybody out. You know it was supposed
to be a businessmen's lunch. They all ate…and you know most of them
got to get back to the office. So they start leaving…plus, they got another
convention tonight…It's a mess, I know….Just…Let'em figure it out…I need to
change something here.
He sits down and scribbles a line in his speech.
PRESIDENT: How's this sound?
She brushes him off, bored.
JACKIE: Oh, Jack, I'm sure it's fine. I just don't wanna hear any
PRESIDENT: Why? What's the matter?
PRESIDENT: You sure? Go on.
JACKIE: Oh, I don't….
PRESIDENT: What is it?
JACKIE: It's not anything….
PRESIDENT: Tell me.
JACKIE: You wanna know?
JACKIE: Really. You do?
PRESIDENT: Course, I wanna know.
PRESIDENT: Really, so tell me.
JACKIE: I want to fuck.
[End of Extract]