[An examining room.]
EUGENE: Listen ... I ... ahh ... I hesitate to ask this, but
EUGENE: Well ... I ... I know this may not be precisely the right moment to ... I mean, I know you’re very busy, and this may sound a bit childish, but ... well, I was wondering if it might be possible for my wife to wait in here with me. In the examining room.
NURSE: Your wife?
EUGENE: That’s right.
NURSE: In here?
EUGENE: I know! It’s ridiculous! A grown man! It’s just that ... well ... I’m a little nervous, and she ... well ... she tends to have a calming effect on me. She’s like a human sedative! [Pausethe NURSE glares at him.] Anyway, she’s in the lobby. If you could just send her in, I’d ... I’d really appreciate it. [Pausethe NURSE glares at him.] Thank you. [Pausethe NURSE glares at him.] She’s wearing a green dress with flowers and a little hat that
NURSE: You’ll have to ask the doctor.
NURSE: The doctor! The doctor! You’ll have to ask the doctor!
EUGENE: You ... you can’t just send her in?
NURSE: No, I’m afraid not. I can give you a little morphine if you like?
NURSE: That’s right.
EUGENE: You can give me morphine, but you can’t fetch my wife from the lobby?
NURSE: We have our rules. [She produces a thermometer.] I’m going to take your temperature now.
[EUGENE sticks his tongue out. The NURSE glares at him. EUGENE begins to fidget.]
NURSE: I’m going to take your temperature.
EUGENE: Right ... [Again, EUGENE sticks his tongue out. The NURSE throws her hands in the air.] What? I don’t understand.
NURSE: Your pants! Your pants! Drop your pants!
EUGENE: My pants? Why should I
NURSE: I’m going to take your TEMPERATURE!
EUGENE: My ... OH!!! You know what ... I ... I’d really prefer the other end if you don’t mind.
NURSE: Fine. But it’s not nearly as precise! [She inserts the thermometer into his mouth and picks up his chart.] Now. What’s the problem?
EUGENE: [Astonished.] What’s the problem?
NURSE: That’s right. What’s the problem? Why are you here? For what reason have you come to us? You did come for a reasondidn’t you?
EUGENE: Look at me!
[She looks at him without much interest.]
NURSE: I’m a medical assistantnot a trained physician. It would be best if you just told me what was wrong.
EUGENE: I’ve got spots!
EUGENE: Yes! Spots!
NURSE: [Writing in his chart.] And these “spots” ... where are they located?
EUGENE: [Astonished.] Where are they located?
NURSE: That’s right.
EUGENE: They’re everywhere!
EUGENE: Everywhere! My entire body is covered with spots!
[The NURSE makes a few more notes on EUGENE’s chart. The thermometer beeps. She checks it.]
NURSE: [Suspicious.] Hmmm ...
NURSE: [Evasive.] Oh ... nothing.
EUGENE: Nothing? What do you mean nothing? What was the “Hmmm …” for?
NURSE: The “Hmmm?”
EUGENE: That’s right! The “Hmmm!” You said “Hmmm!” Don’t try to deny it!
NURSE: I’m not denying anything.
EUGENE: What was it for?
NURSE: The “Hmmm?”
EUGENE: Yes! “The Hmmm!”
NURSE: Well ... you have to admit it’s a bit suspicious.
EUGENE: What’s suspicious?
NURSE: You claim to be sickand yet you have no temperature.
EUGENE: Do I have to have a temperature?
NURSE: Well ... no, you don’t have to.
EUGENE: Aren’t there plenty of sick people out there with no temperature at all?
NURSE: That’s true, but
EUGENE: But what?
NURSE: Well, it’s just that, if you were to show a bit of a temperature, it would make things a lot easier on us. A good fever is always a sure sign that something’s wrong. You don’t want to make my job any more difficult than it has to bedo you?
EUGENE: No, no, of course not.
NURSE: I didn’t think so. Now, why don’t we give it another shot? Maybe if we try the other end this time...
EUGENE: What?! No!
NURSE: Why not? What are you trying to hide?
EUGENE: What am I trying to HIDE?! What am I … I’m not trying to HIDE anything! Look at me! [EUGENE tears off his shirt.] Look! My entire body is covered with spots! Spots of every conceivable shape and size! Big spots! Small spots! Short spots! Tall spots! I have a spot the shape of Italy on my back! And another one ... I ... I know it sounds crazy, but ... I’d swear it’s the virgin Mary!
EUGENE: On my ... ahh ... on my ...
NURSE: Your what?
EUGENE: I’m not comfortable talking about this with you! I’d like to see the doctor!
NURSE: Are you sure you’re not just trying to score some morphine?
EUGENE: No! No, I’m not trying to score some morphine! I didn’t even mention morphine! I don’t want morphine! The morphine was your idea! I’m a very sick man! There is something horribly, horribly wrong with me, and I’ve come to you for help! Can’t you just help me?! Isn’t that why you’re here?! To help people who are sick?!
[The NURSE glares at EUGENE for a momentthen makes some notes in his chart.]
EUGENE: What ... ahh ... what are you writing?
NURSE: [A vengeful tone in her voice.] Nothing.
[She continues to write.]
EUGENE: That’s an awful long “nothing.” [The NURSE scribbles violently in EUGENE’s chart.] You know, I ... I can’t help but feel we’ve gotten off on the wrong foot somehow. I’d like to apologize if I’ve offended you in any way or ... or made your job more difficult. That was certainly not my intent. It’s just that I ... I’m very concerned about these spots! I’m not normally like this. Normally, I’m very relaxed. Very laid back. Really! Water off the backall that! You can ask my wife, she’ll tell you. But these spots ... they ... they’ve gotten under my skin! It’s almost ... I know this may sound a little crazy ... but it’s almost like they’re alive! Like they’ve got a mind of their own! They come and go as they please, pop up in the most inconvenient places, torment me for a while, make little pictures, signs, sometimes they almost seem to spell out words! And then they vanish without a trace! As if they were never there at all! For weeks, my wife didn’t believe me! She thought I’d gone insane! Every time I tried to show her, they’d disappear! But as soon as she turned her back, they’d rear their ugly little heads! Twice as many as before! It’s like they’re toying with me! Little microscopic invaders playing games with my mind!
NURSE: Put this on. The doctor will be with you shortly.
[She hands him a hospital gown.]
EUGENE: Thank you. [He begins to undress.] Listen, I ... I don’t want you to think I expect special treatment just because of the severity of my condition, but if you could ask the doctor about my wife
NURSE: What are you doing?!
EUGENE: I ... I’m changing. You said to put this
NURSE: Wait until I leave the room!
EUGENE: Oh! Right! Sorry! I’m sorry! [The NURSE exits, hanging EUGENE’s chart on the door.] You’ve been very helpful! Thank you! Thank you very much!
* * *
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Copyright © 2007 by Walter Wykes
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