• Broadkill Review

"Don't Choke" (a short comedy) by George Freek

Updated: Apr 3



THE CHARACTERS



LORRIE MANION, in her 20s


PETER WOOD, Her boy friend, 20s


CAPTAIN SVEN JOHANSSON, An old suitor of Christine’s, 50s


CHRISTINE MANION, Lorraine’s mother, 50s



THE SCENE



The Manion living room



THE TIME



Recently



(The Manion’s living room: entrance door on the left. There is a portrait of a stern-looking man in a dark suit, hanging on the back wall. At rise, PETER looks uneasy as LORRIE places a stethoscope on him)



PETER

Where did you get that?


LORRIE

I found it in a nurse’s kit I had when I was a kid.


PETER

(Very uneasy) Lorrie, I don’t know about this.


LORRIE

You’ll look more authoritative.


PETER

But I’ll feel ridiculous.


LORRIE

Wear it!


PETER

But how can I look authoritative when I feel like an idiot?


LORRIE

All right, fine, Peter. I don’t need your help.


PETER

You don’t? Then what am I doing, playing doctor for you?


LORRIE

I thought you were volunteering to help me rid mother of that troublesome Captain Johannson, but apparently I was mistaken.


PETER

I’m not sure volunteer is the right word.


LORRIE

Okay, then go away! And don’t bother to come back.


PETER

Now hold on a minute, Lorrie—


LORRIE

I don’t have a minute. I got mother out of the house and I expect Captain Johannson any second now, so if you won’t help, get out!


PETER

(Weakening) But do you really think he’ll believe I’m a doctor.


LORRIE

I wouldn’t say he was the brightest captain in the fleet, Peter. Of course he’ll believe it, and furthermore, do you think I’d ask your help if I didn’t think you could do it?


PETER

And you want me to tell him your mother is crazy?


LORRIE

Not crazy, for heaven’s sake! Look, Peter, my father was a wonderful man. Just tell this Captain that mother is still in love with him. You could say she has a mania about him.


PETER

(Looks at the painting, shivers slightly) I can believe that.


LORRIE

(Sharply) What does that mean?


PETER

Even though he’s been dead for two years, he sort of makes his presence felt, doesn’t he?


LORRIE

(Nodding, somewhat misty-eyed) You’re so right. That’s the sort of man he was.


PETER

But are you sure your mother wants to get rid of this Captain Johannson?


LORRIE

Of course she does! She’s just stringing the poor buffoon along because she’s too kind to tell him to get lost. I’m simply helping her out. Now are you going to help me do it? Because if you’re not, then I have to—


PETER

All right, all right, if you really think I can play the part.


LORRIE

(Cajoling) Of course you can. You look wonderful as a doctor. And Peter, I can’t tell you how grateful I am about this. (She kisses him on the cheek).


PETER

(Tries to grab her) Can’t you be a little more grateful than that?


LORRIE

No, not right now I can’t—


PETER

Listen Lorrie, there’s something I want to say to you—


LORRIE

Peter, I’m not in the mood to listen to another one of your ultimatums.


PETER

You’re not?


LORRIE

We don’t have time for any foolishness!


PETER

Foolishness! Now hold on, Lorraine Manion! You could at least hear me out. It’s been quite a while since I gave you my last ultimatum. And I’m warning you this will absolutely be the very last one. I’ve been darned patient, but everyone has his limit and I’ve reached mine! So we set a date for our wedding, or else we just call the whole thing off, and I think that’s fair!


LORRIE

I agree.


PETER

You do?


LORRIE

Yes. So I think we’d better call it off.


PETER

Huh?


LORRIE

Peter, I cannot marry you until I know mother has gotten rid of this Captain Johansson. And I don’t think it’s fair to string you along any longer.


PETER

But look, if you think getting rid of this Captain Johansson will help, I take back that final ultimatum.


LORRIE

No. The situation isn’t fair to you.


PETER

Who says it isn’t?


LORRIE

I just said it.


PETER

For Pete’s sake, Lorrie, it would be pretty insensitive of me to leave you high and dry at a time like this! What kind of person do you think I am?


LORRIE

Well—I think you’re awfully kind to be helping me.


PETER

Oh heck, that’s nothing.


LORRIE

(Playing with the stethoscope) I sure won’t forget it.


PETER

Can I count on that? (He tries to embrace her).



LORRIE

(Employing the stethoscope to hold him off, she drops it) Oops.



(Then there is a knock at the door. PETER bends for the stethoscope)



LORRIE

That must be Captain Johansson now!


PETER

I’m already annoyed with him! (He sits).


LORRIE

(Letting him in) Hello Captain Johansson, please come in.


CAPTAIN JOHANSSON