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Photo by Lee Wexler.
A Ten-Minute Play
(Great short play for High Schools,
Colleges, and Universities)
By Stephen Bittrich
5701 W Slaughter Lane
Austin, TX 78749
Copyright © 1992,
by Stephen Bittrich
Finalist in Actor's Theatre of Louisville's 1994 Ten Minute Play Contest.
Performed at Actor's Theatre of Louisville–December, 1994.
Published in Dramatics Magazine, April 1995.
Expanded into full-length, Home of the Great Pecan.
(Please note that there is a licensing fee due if you want to perform this play.)
"BRAIN SUCKING" BY STEPHEN BITTRICH SETTING: A large back porch out in the country near Seguin, Texas in Guadalupe County. AT RISE: The crickets chirp loudly. ED and GREELEY, real Texas men who know how to relax, take in the star-lit night and experience the crickets. After a bit of "experiencing," GREELEY speaks-- GREELEY Ed? ED Yeah, Greeley. GREELEY Crickets sure are perky. ED Yep. (Pause. Crickets chirp) GREELEY Ed? ED Yeah, Greeley. GREELEY Whatta you spose those crickets are talkin' about? (ED listens) ED Mostly cricket matters, I guess. GREELEY Yep. (Pause. Crickets) Ed? (Beat) Ever had yer brain sucked out through yer nose? ED (After a beat) Nope. GREELEY Messy prospect. (The crickets chirp) I'm not myself tonight, Ed. ED The frijoles? GREELEY Tammie saw this flying saucer land over't her field the other night. ED I heard. GREELEY Most folks are saying since her husband left in '85 she's been a little off. ED Yep. GREELEY They don't put much credence in the flying saucer thang. (Beat) But it's true, Ed. (Beat) I come from the planet Yah, twenty million, million earth miles away. My planet is warm and moist, and a zillion species of plant exist throughout our world. We, my species, are partly plants ourselves--Pod People. We sleep just below the dank soil by night and bask in the life-giving sun by day. Our sun-star is our god, but, according to mythology, our sun is doomed to explode and evaporate our planet in the Yah Year twenty- twenty-two--this earth year. Our scientists have confirmed this legend, so we have searched the galaxies far and wide for a new god. We have arrived on your planet, and now we worship your sun. In order to integrate ourselves into your society, we inhabit your earth bodies by attaching our pods to your faces and entering your brain cavities through the nose. Our eventual aim is the total annihilation of your species. Then we will re- adjust the orbit of earth to create a more tropical climate. ED (After a beat) You fart? GREELEY The beans. ED Damn. Potent son-of-a-bitch. (Crickets) GREELEY "Why Seguin, Texas?" you may ask. Little too dry for our pods, you may thank. After careful scientific observation, our Yah- ian fleet was directed to Acapulco, Mexico because it was concluded to possess the tropical climate which we are most comfortable in. . . but I had saucer failure over Dallas and had to make a crash landing here. (Short pause. Crickets) As is well known, last month, the one called Greeley, the one which I now am, became engaged to be married to this Tammie Lynn Schneider. ED Yep. Clipped the picture outta the Gazette. GREELEY This Greeley, however, still has not come up with the two thousand to buy the long anticipated 14 carat/gold/diamond/ruby ring over't Dietz's Diamonds yet. ED Emma Dietz says she's expectin' it. GREELEY As is well known, the long awaited, often spoken of "ring presenting fanfare" was to take place on the Corral Dance floor last Saturday night after a well publicized "surprise" announcement from the celebrated local country sensation, Candy Land of Candy Land and the Goolaks. ED Yep. GREELEY (After a beat) That tragic Saturday night, when this one, Greeley, arrived at Tammie Schneider's place out on One-twenty-three Bypass, he first stopped into her greenhouse out back the house where I, the Pod Pers-- ED Why? GREELEY Huh? ED Why'd he go back there first? GREELEY Uh. . . to check the Rhododendrons he gave her. ED Okay, I'll buy it. GREELEY There, sleeping among the ivy and the ferns, was I, the Pod Person. Greeley, a well-known plant enthusiast and long time employee of Norma Green's Thumb, caught me out of the corner of his eye and gasped at the sight of my glorious red and violet leaves. Being an inquisitive rascal, and despite having seen Alien five times at the Dixie Drive-in, he scooched up close and leaned over my pod to get a closer look. I could smell his squishy, warm brains, and before he could cry out, I grappled my thorny vines on to his face. ED Thorny? GREELEY Sticky? Gooey? ED Gooey. GREELEY I grappled my gooey vines on to his face. Of course, he missed his date that night without a word. My incubation period takes a full eight hours. For a full eight hours this one--Greeley-- blindly wandered the dull, black Texas night as the pod attached to his face slowly sucked out his brains. ED Surprised it took a full eight. GREELEY At four o'clock in the morning the transformation was complete. The spent and wrinkled pod-shell dropped off, and I was ready to experience this new world and sample human pleasures. ED First stop: Seven-Eleven. GREELEY For a Slurpy and a six pack of Lone Star. Much to my surprise, the check out girl, Wendy, was friendly. She knew this Greeley. Knew him well. Well enough to let him cop a feel back in the video game room--right between the Ninja Turtles and Altered Beast. ED They still got Pac Man? GREELEY This encounter with human delights was inadvertently observed by the Seven-Eleven manager, Miss Nosy Rosy Stadtmueller, who made an unannounced and previously unprecedented after hours visit to tabulate the register receipts. ED Yep. I heard. GREELEY (After a beat) This gossipy, nosy society is not understood by we Yah-ians. ED Welcome to Texas, Bud. (Pause. Crickets) GREELEY It's not this Greeley's fault. What was Greeley is now digested and only a shadow of him remains. Petty human emotions hold no importance for we Yah-ians. ED Ate his whole damn brain, huh? GREELEY That's the only way to occupy the host. ED Now, can you suck out other brains? Or are you limited to one brain per Pod Person? GREELEY You mean, could I come over there, as I am--Pod-less--Pod free-- as it were, and suck out yer brain? ED Yeah, or say Ross Perot's or something. (THEY guffaw) GREELEY Yes, I could. ED So it's an all you can eat type deal. GREELEY Well, if say I found a more inviting host, I could switch, but then I'd have to exit the former body which would shrivel up and wither away--just as my pod did. ED Makes sense. GREELEY But that would be such a terrible waste of male virility. (THEY guffaw. Pause. Crickets. GREELEY turns serious) GREELEY (cont'd) Crickets have it easy, Ed. ED Yep. GREELEY (CONTINUED) (After a beat) Think she'll buy it? ED Not a snowball's chance in hell, Greeley. (Crickets for three beats and a quick blackout) (END OF PLAY)