HAUNTED! is a satirical playscript, a fast-paced romp set on Halloween in the White House. A highly dysfunctional First Family — led by a young, perhaps Trump-like President — is haunted by their current, past & future misbehaviors. They’re a timelessly unconscionable crew, as well as fortuitously of the moment, given the circus now evolving in the contest for the White House. 10 minute read 1st Act.

HAUNTED!

A Capital Reality Comedy by Dick Weber

©2016 by Dick Weber. All rights reserved.

"I laugh, so that I may not cry."

The Barber of Seville

Caron de Beaumarchais

CAST

2 F (or more), 3M.

1.) Willy W. Whim, U.S. President

2.) Nilly Whim, First Lady (same actor as next 4 characters)

Phone Voice Female

Ghost of Mistress Past

Ghost of Mistress Present

Ghost of Mistress Yet to Come

3.) Ms. Jennifer Wowie, very junior White House clerk (same actor as next 5).

Madame La Juju, very senior White House astrologer & spiritual medium.

Miss C. Blossom, college queen.

Guest Doctor.

Rep. Bella O'Babe, Congressperson.

Ruby Opulent, TV hostess.

4.) Sen. Patrick Dingleberry (same actor as next 2)

1st Spirit - A President's Ghost

Vice-President Joe Flake

5.) Sen. Clancy Buck

Various deliverymen (same actor)

(Washington, Lincoln, Nixon = mannequins, no actors needed)

WILLY & NILLY are self-absorbed & self-projecting, deeply enraptured in themselves, both being certain they’ve always been predestined for greatness.

ForePlay

Some minutes before Curtain rises, while house lights are on and audience is being seated, a projection starts – onto scrim or cloth or upstage wall – of classical erotic art (Naked Maja, satyrs & nymphs, various Venuses, Kama Sutra Indian temple carvings, et al.), with the picture changing every few seconds. ForePlay is accompanied by a recorded piano medley of sophisticated old tunes like Cheek to Cheek, Top Hat, Lady Be Good, Puttin’ on the Ritz, upbeat Cole Porter standards.

Act One: White House Oval Office, Halloween Morning

Act Two: Sleepovers, That Night

Scene 1: Presidential bedroom

Scene 2: C. Blossom

Scene 3: Cowboy

Scene 4: Doctor

Scene 5: Phone Poll

Scene 6: Presidential bedroom

Scene 7: 1st Spirit

Act Three: Joint Past

Scene 1: Mistress Past

Scene 2: 1st Joint

Scene 3: Back at the cot

Act Four: Joint Present

Scene 1: Mistress Present

Scene 2: 2nd Joint

Scene 3: Back at the cot

Act Five: Joint Yet to Come

Scene 1: Mistress Yet to Come

Scene 2: 3rd Joint

Scene 3: Back at the cot

Act Six: Breakfast in bed

Act Seven: The Ruby Show

Runtime: 86 minutes, no intermission.

Lighting note: Lighting is far from realistic, parts of the stage at times dim. When action shifts to a different site, shafts of light define the new locale. WILLY’s light should be distinctive, emphasizing his centrality – even when he’s merely sitting or lying down, he’s always the golden one, not unlike religious portraits of saints, particularly by El Greco – WILLY radiates, the most luminous presence on stage, barefoot boy with cheek & an aw-shucks demeanor. Lighting, besides his, should be free and imaginative, aiming for a highly mobile quality.

Scenery note: All locales are simply, indeed austerely set. Only the barest essentials, as our claims are in the imagination & in the characters, not in scenery.

Act One: Halloween Morning, White House

(Curtain: rises to perky piano strains of Hail to the Chief. Music fades quickly.

Day, in a slightly elliptical room with a large window in the center – obviously trompe l'oeil, as this is a far from expensive set. Through a window, the Washington Monument is prominent. Two doors are on either side of the window. In front of the window is a vast desk of the sort that normally allows a view of the occupant's legs in the center, the desk's center space covered here by a round presidential seal. Sign on desk: Buck Stops Here. Stage left of the last door is a large, rather anthropomorphic painting of a panda mother and cub – above the picture, the words Love All, below the picture Wild Life. Above the set, a sign: Oval Office.

No one is in the room. JENNIFER opens the farthest door, stage right, peers around cautiously before tip-toeing inside. She is barefoot and wears the scarcest wisp of a basic black, clingy Lurex® dress barely covering her bottom and generous bra-less breasts. She clutches a briefcase in one arm, a pair of pumpkin orange high-heel shoes in the other. Unfamiliar with the room, she looks around for a place to put the briefcase. Shrugging her shoulders, she plops it on the president's desk. With her back partly to the audience, she bends over to put on her shoes, exposing a glimpse of bare rump. Delving into the briefcase, she extracts a handful of undergarments, then hurriedly separates out a pair of pumpkin orange silk bikini panties, the mere hint of a lacy bra in the same color, and – to her horror – a pair of men's white briefs, which she jams back into the briefcase. She starts putting on her panties, back to audience again, but realizes she has to step out of her high heel shoes first; she does, puts on the panties, and is stepping back into her shoes … as a breathless, flushed WILLY enters in a rush through the same far door, stage right, tightening his belt, straightening his tie. WILLY is a good-looking, perpetually boyish sort of a guy with a blond/orange, Trump-like multidirectional toupee. WILLY behaves with all the bumptiousness of a young god. His looks and youthful charm appear to hold no secrets: women adore him, men are dazzled or envious or both. Surveying his office hurriedly, WILLY glances at JENNIFER.)

WILLY

(puffing a cigar)

Hell's bells.

JENNIFER

Oh Mister President, honey, I'm so sorry. You really deserve a tube job.

WILLY

(distracted, hurried)

A what?

JENNIFER

A tube job, you know –

WILLY

Yeah, sure, next time.

DINGLEBERRY

(booming, offstage)

Thanks, that's all right. I know where it is. Hell, been here a million times.

(WILLY motions to JENNIFER to get lost. She stuffs the bra back into the briefcase. WILLY hurriedly signals her to hide under the desk.)

WILLY

Keep down. And don’t make a sound. (Passes cigar to her.) Hide this.

(He lifts the hinged presidential seal and she crawls under, leaving the briefcase on the end of the desk, as DINGLEBERRY enters through the closer door, stage right, and WILLY waves away cigar fumes.)

DINGLEBERRY

(booming)

Happy –

(WILLY drops the seal, which smacks JENNIFER's bottom with a loud sound-effected whack. She yelps. DINGLEBERRY looks around, confused.)

DINGLEBERRY

(coughing on cigar fumes)

– Halloween, Mister President.

(DINGLEBERRY wears a splendid custom-tailored suit cut from green billiard-table cloth + an orange and white broad striped shirt with a pumpkin orange silk tie. A big man with a few distinguished streaks of grey hair & a whiskey red complexion, he wears half-rim glasses through which he reads the label on a gift bottle he hands to WILLY.)

DINGLEBERRY

Some Halloween spirits. Fifty-year-old poteen, my great-grandmother's recipe, from the old country. To your health, Willy.

WILLY

Thanks, Pat.

(WILLY accepts the bottle with a forced smile and offers DINGLEBERRY the chair on the far side of the desk, stage left. DINGLEBERRY weaves across stage, as if he’s been celebrating since breakfast. He trips over JENNIFER's feet poking out from under the desk. Befuddled, he looks down and around, shrugs and collapses into the chair. As this transpires, WILLY puts the poteen bottle in a desk drawer from which he extracts a partly eaten hamburger. He hurriedly takes a big bite, puts it back in the drawer & closes the drawer quickly.)

DINGLEBERRY

(avuncular)

You've got nothing to worry about, Mister P.

(WILLY finishes chewing, raises his eyebrows questioningly.)

DINGLEBERRY

The Joint Committee? (Quickly, as if all one word.) That Joint-Committee-Permanently-Investigating-Presidential-Morals-and-Ethics?

(WILLY nods morosely, slumping down in his chair. JENNIFER's protruding feet start shifting.)

DINGLEBERRY

(leaning over the desk)

I got that joint committee … right … here.

(DINGLEBERRY motions as if putting something into his shirt breast pocket, which he then pats. WILLY, smiling back nervously, slumps a bit further down into his chair. The presidential seal starts to flap slowly, rhythmically. WILLY, popeyed, loosens his collar.)

DINGLEBERRY

Nope, no sweat with our Jacks and Jills. You can lean back, Willy, and relax. So … (playfully punches WILLY's shoulder) … what's up, Mister P?

WILLY

(straining to contain himself.)

Up? Oh, you know, Pat, same old stuff, I guess. You know how it is. Poll's up.

(Presidential seal flaps faster. JENNIFER kicks off her shoes.)

DINGLEBERRY

Poll's up?

WILLY

(clutches chair to steady himself)

Way up. Approval ratings up over ten points this week.

DINGLEBERRY

Way to go.

WILLY

(rising slightly)

Oh, yeah.

(Faint piano strains of Hail to the Chief, as far door stage left opens and NILLY enters brusquely, wearing banker's grey pinstripe flannel suit, a skirt nearly as short as Jennifer's and split up one side, with deep cleavage in the jacket, no blouse, major white running shoes. She carries a yellow legal pad. In her several roles, this actor wears wigs of different colors & styles to differentiate characters – when she wears much at all. Neither man appears about to stand for her.)

NILLY

(all business)

Don't get up.

(WILLY clutches his chair as if he were a drowning man. He quickly pulls a donut from his inside jacket pocket like a life preserver, takes a fast bite, puts it back, chewing a mile a minute.)

DINGLEBERRY

Hi Mrs. P, happy –

(NILLY cuts him short with a shout half in anger, half exasperation, as she looks down at Jennifer's feet and lifts the seal to reveal a glimpse of JENNIFER'S orange bikinied bottom.)

NILLY

(The shout)

Aw, Willy!

(All action freezes and a bright light flashes like lightning, as will happen each time a character has reason to cry "Aw, Willy!" At which point, WILLY always looks directly at the audience, his expression frozen. Action resumes after flashing, to which no one else has reacted. NILLY drops the seal & it falls on JENNIFER's bottom with a sharp sound-effected whack. JENNIFER yelps even louder than the first time. WILLY falls out of his chair, feet in air.)

NILLY

(forceful, an air of violated sanctity)

Willy, you creep, this is the last time –

(NILLY bends over to lift the seal, thereby revealing her own bottom as barely concealed in pumpkin orange bikini panties similar to JENNIFER's.)

NILLY

(to JENNIFER)

Out!

(JENNIFER backs out. NILLY bends over again and shouts in at WILLY.)

NILLY

You, too, Willy.

(As WILLY backs out bottom first, NILLY grabs one of Jennifer's loose shoes. WILLY's trousers slip down, revealing a glimpse of bottom. NILLY takes a good whack at it with the shoe. Sound-effected crack. WILLY crawls out, clutching himself & trousers.)

WILLY

Now honey, I swear, it's not what you're thinking.

NILLY

You mean, it's not really just another job … interview?

(WILLY pauses to think carefully.)

WILLY

Unh-unh, no way. Ms. Wowie has already been hired. (Pleased with his answer.) Dog-gone right she has. We had her professional and private lives thoroughly investigated.

JENNIFER

Why, nobody said –

WILLY

Of course there was no way you’d know, Ms. Wowie. (To NILLY) But a very high level FBI special agent had her under the old microscope for months. Yessiree, Bob, I mean this guy's so high up even I don't know his name.

JENNIFER

Reilly.

WILLY

Right.

JENNIFER

Jack Reilly.

WILLY

And Ms. Wowie here came out cleaner'n a hound dog's tooth. Yes, she did. I do mean pure as driven snow, Nilly. So squeaky clean, she passed that investigation with –

(JENNIFER is delighted by this, bouncing with pleasure all the while to the point where her bra-less breasts bobble. WILLY continues speaking without missing a beat, without ever noticing his next blooper.)

WILLY

– with flying tits. Yessiree, boobs, she's got top security clearance now as a White House stenographer.

(NILLY turns to JENNIFER, with a sharp assessor's squint.)

NILLY

Pitman?

JENNIFER

(Eager to please, failing to notice her exposure)

Oh yes, him, too.

(All are now staring at JENNIFER's rather exposed chest. JENNIFER looks down, giggles. WILLY takes out a donut, sneaks a quick bite, returns it to his pocket.)

JENNIFER

How’d that happen?

(JENNIFER reaches into the briefcase, presumably for her bra, and pulls out a pair of men's white briefs. WILLY takes out the donut again, finishes it, chewing furiously.)

NILLY

And those?

JENNIFER

These? Briefs. (Lifting case, adopts a show & tell manner) Briefcase.

(JENNIFER drops briefs in briefcase, extracts wisp of a bra and starts to put it on; as she does, simultaneous actions continue. Throughout, DINGLEBERRY sits slightly amused, greatly befuddled, his immense sense of human decency preventing comment as he watches over his half-rims. At this point, he removes his glasses and shakes his head, while reaching for the poteen bottle WILLY stashed in a desk drawer. He opens it and takes a very long swig, eyes transfixed on Jennifer's breasts. A CHINESE PEOPLE'S ARMY GENERAL appears at stage right, pushing a wheelbarrow overflowing with bags of cash, labeled $$$. GENERAL wears an antibacterial white surgical facemask. On the back of his green military jacket: Visit Beijing. GENERAL doesn't react to Jennifer's semi-undress, but looks questioningly at WILLY and NILLY, as if to ask “where do I dump this stuff.” Without missing a beat, WILLY and NILLY both nod their heads toward the picture of the pandas. GENERAL proceeds in that direction with NILLY, who lifts the picture (hinged on top like the presidential seal) and motions to the GENERAL to dump the cash down what appears to be a laundry chute. This cash delivery will occur at least once per act, always with a different deliveryman played by the same actor.)

NILLY

(leading deliveryman to chute)

Well, I do wish you luck, Ms. Wowie.

JENNIFER

Jennifer.

NILLY

Jennifer, I certainly do. Cause you're going to need it around here, sister. I mean this man has never been able to hold on to a secretary in his life, not for love or money. Figuratively speaking, of course.

(WILLY starts to help JENNIFER put on her bra, fondling a breast or two in the process. NILLY turns and spots this.)

NILLY

Aw, Willy!

(Freeze action, lightning strikes. Action resumes as GENERAL tips wheelbarrow, dumps cash, exits stage left. WILLY sheepishly retreats to his desk seat. DINGLEBERRY takes another long swig. NILLY lets the panda picture slam shut.)

NILLY

Well, Jennifer, I owe you my condolences. As you can see, the job conditions around here are pretty crude. The hours unbearable – mainly night work – people are disgusting, especially the men. Their manners atrocious, their morals appalling. And worst of all, they're all dull as dishrags. Their language never got past high school locker rooms, to which, by the way, every single one of them would dearly love to return, and probably should. So, watch out, sister.

JENNIFER

Oh, yes Ma'am, I've always wanted to work for the gum'mint. (In awe.) Especially at the White House.

(Distant piano strains of Hail to the Chief. WILLY takes out hamburger, quick surreptitious bite, returns it.)

NILLY

Yes, well, apart from everything I've just said, I myself have absolutely nothing against government service. I was young once, too, started out - and finished - in the Senate. But then I wasn't willing to make the sort of sacrifices my husband makes.

(WILLY is growing uncomfortable with this sisterly conspiracy & not being the center of attention. He seizes the chance to butt in.)

WILLY

Yeah, well, it's real hard work all right, running for office. Getting close to so many people all the time. But I love the challenge.

NILLY

(ignoring him)

And you, Jennifer, what are your interests?

JENNIFER

That's what Mister President hon – that's just what he asked me. I got no particular interests.

(WILLY takes out hamburger, nervously finishes it during following exchange.)

NILLY

No interests. How wonderful. You'd be perfect at the National Endowment for the Humanities.

JENNIFER

I can do any job. That's what I told swee – the President.

NILLY

No specialties?

JENNIFER

Not yet. I'm still kind of general. But gorge – Mister President said he was sure I'd pick up any specialties I needed just doing jobs on – working for him.

NILLY

For sure. You can pick up lots of things around here.

JENNIFER

Oh, I hope so. I swear, I’ve got brains I haven’t even used yet. And I want to be in Congress someday.

NILLY

That will demand sacrifices, Jennifer. But I'm sure you're prepared to make them.

JENNIFER

Oh yes, Mrs. Whim, anything to serve the people and be a congressman –

NILLY

– person.

JENNIFER

Person.

NILLY

Of course, you'll have to get a district to elect you first.

JENNIFER

I do? But I know lots of congressmen. Persons.

NILLY

I'm sure, but they can't just hire you. I mean they could go out and hire any old baboon and call him a congressman. But it wouldn't be the same as running for office and getting elected.

JENNIFER

Gee, if you say so, Ma'am. Gum'mint work must be lots harder than I thought. What with all those long night hours, and having to run around the office -

NILLY

For office.

JENNIFER

I'll never get a minute's sleep.

NILLY

In that case, you'll go far. Have you picked up a B.A. yet?

JENNIFER

(shakes her head)

But I picked up the clap once. (WILLY hides his face in his hands.) So I always carry condoms now, case they forget. I got a friend? works in the Senate? 'scuse me, Senator Dingleberry, but she's got the ol' clap-your-hands so many times on the Hill, it's like adding up to applause already. Men. But Mister President he's been such a perfect gentleman, hasn't touched a hair on me. I swear, not a hair.

NILLY

Always a sharpshooter. Speaking of which, you and the senator must be hungry. Like some lunch? Right now. Down in the White House mess, be our guests. (To DINGLEBERRY) Take her under your wing, Pat. You know your way around. Bye.

(NILLY shoos out DINGLEBERRY and JENNIFER, who entwine in the doorway, DINGLEBERRY trying to lift JENNIFER's dress. NILLY slams the door shut on them, turns to eye WILLY menacingly.)

NILLY

You are out … rageous. A relationship is like a shark, Willy, it has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands here is a dying shark.

WILLY

C'mon, I’m president. It's supposed to be a good deal. Heck, you know what I mean.

NILLY

Perks.

WILLY

Yeah, perks, right. I'm only human. Ain't that why you married me?

NILLY

The wellsprings of human actions are deep and cloudy, my dear. And sex without love is such a hollow, hollow experience.

WILLY

Yeah, but still … as hollow experiences go, it ain’t so bad.

(WILLY makes a broad friendly pass at NILLY. She relents. They cuddle. He slides his hand up her leg, and as he does, a COWBOY enters from stage right wearing a long white Western riding coat with a red shoulder yoke. A cigarette dangling from his mouth, COWBOY pushes a wheelbarrow full of cash bags. He stops to tip his hat, nods that he already knows where to go, and proceeds to the panda picture, where he unloads the bags down the chute. On the back of his coat, in a familiar typeface: Adventure Cigarettes. COWBOY exits stage left. WILLY and NILLY have not interrupted their action.)

NILLY

Well, Mister Human President, at this rate, come next election, you'll be an ex-president sleeping across the street on the ground in Lincoln Park. Forget the Lincoln bedroom. If-you-don't-shape-up-fast.

WILLY

Go on. I mean just look at my poll. (NILLY fumbles with his trouser fly. WILLY laughs.) I mean my approval rating, up ten percent!

NILLY

Polls are only human. You know what's really good for you, better start listening to Madame La JuJu.

WILLY

(terrified)

Madame La JuJu?

(A door flies open, a cloud of smoke wafts in on strains of a piano playing vaguely Middle Eastern music. LA JUJU enters, grandly, wearing a black Lurex dress that starts around her nipples and extends to the floor, held up, barely, by a pair of spaghetti straps. She has large rings on almost every finger, a gold turban, and carries a crystal ball in one hand, cigarette in a long gold holder in the other.)

NILLY

(choking on smoke)

Madame La JuJu, do you have to?

LA JUJU

(unplaceable foreign accent)

You vant one?

NILLY

God, no. I’d rather sleep with half the senate than smoke.

LA JUJU

Who vouldn’t? (To WILLY.) How ‘bout you, dahling?

WILLY

Forget it. I already got too many appetites I can’t satisfy.

LA JUJU

You don’t haf to inhale. You certainly don’t haf to sleep with the senate. To vhat honor does ze Vhite House astrologer and medium owe zis summons?

NILLY

(jerks a thumb at WILLY)

Dishonor. Show him.

LA JUJU

(fondling her crystal ball)

Zis one is special, Meester Prez. I talk wiz the past. I zee everyzing zat already happened. For instance. (She rubs the ball, it starts to glow, they huddle over it.) Remember zat?

WILLY

Hey, that’s real neat. There’s the Duchess of Denmark, visiting the White House. Just like TV news, this thing. Well, not quite. Uh-oh, how’d that get in there?

(As NILLY speaks, WILLY extracts half a ham sandwich from his pocket, eats it as he watches the crystal ball.)

NILLY

Yes, I think the Duchess asked the same thing. How did you get that in there? And in there. And there. Duchess of Denmark? Queen of tarts more like it. She ever take her crown off, Willy? Or she leave it on the whole time?

WILLY

(abashed, eating sandwich)

Don’t remember, wasn’t looking at her head much. Oh, God. Madame La Juju, is it all that good? Bad, in your ball?

LA JUJU

Even better.

NILLY

Worse, much worse.

LA JUJU

Vhat ze ‘ell. Eez crazy vorld, right? All upsidedown. Men, zey nuts. Women, cracked. Togethair, zey all screwy.

NILLY

Willy, this could do us in. You’ve been appalling. Worse than I ever imagined even you could be. You’ve stooped so low, so often. You got to reform, Willy. Or we’re lost.

WILLY

(incredulous)

You mean, fess up? Let it all hang out? Make a clean breast of it and reveal everything?

NILLY

I agree that’s like playing strip poker in a nudist colony.

WILLY

(pensive)

Change, unh, reform and get saved. Maybe I can see that. My behavior modified, sort of. Yeah, I can picture that.

(WILLY’s light fades. He reappears elsewhere on stage, in a formerly dark corner, now illuminated by a single spot. WILLY is wearing a Salvation Army cap and carrying a big drum.)

WILLY

Once I spent all my days and nights in the arms of women! (boom) And, yes, between their legs and everywhere else, too. (boom boom) I just sinned and sinned. (boom boom boom) I threw away my life and my happiness. (boom) But look, just look at me now — a new man. (boom boom) Saved and born again, a sinner no more! (boom boom boom) And now what do I do at night? I stand in front of the White House beatin’ this stupid-ass drum. (Throws down hat and drum) Hell, I can’t. (WILLY rejoins the women. To LA JUJU). You got a lot of this stuff?

LA JUJU

Zousands of hours. All in zair.

WILLY

(mesmerized by the glowing ball)

This thing is dynamite. It’s thermonuclear. It could destroy everything. They get this up on the Hill, it could destroy me.

LA JUJU

Not vitout me. Vitout me, iz just an empty feeshbowl.

WILLY

(perks up)

Doesn’t work, unh? Without you, nothing, right? Zilch? (leans in closer to LA JUJU, he’s confidential, concerned, admiring) Tell me something, Madame La JuJu. You’re an extremely gifted woman and you know an awful lot of things. (WILLY pauses for a deep breath.) Can you tell me what a tube job is?

(LA JUJU is profoundly shocked, taken aback.)

LA JUJU

Aw, Villy!

(Freeze action, lightning strikes. Blackout.)

(If enough readers are interested, more Acts will be posted.)