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Don't Ask, Don't Tell by Michael Sadler - pg 1

 
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Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
by Michael Sadler © 2007

Formating:
Writing for Screen vs Stage

Don't Ask, Don't Tell
A 10-Minute Play by Michael Sadler

Copyright (c) 2007 Michael Sadler
-- All Rights Reserved --
No portion of this play may be reproduced or used in any form without the express written permission of the author.

Scene

SETTING: A U.S. Army recruiting office; desk,
2 chairs, phone, brochure and poster
of unnamed Italian city.

AT RISE: Sergeant CARLOTTI seated at the desk
talking on the phone.

SGT. CARLOTTI
Yes, lieutenant, I understand ... yes, sir ... I realize
it's the last day, sir. All we need is one more -- to meet
our recruiting goal for the month. And the next guy who
walks in here is as good as signed up ... I will, sir.
(HE rings off; cranes his neck at someone approaching
office.)
Oh, no! Not another ... please, go away ... no, no! Don't
even think about ... oh, crap, she's coming this way...

(LYLE enters, sashays up to
the desk, wearing a brooch.)

LYLE
Hi, there. I'm Lyle Carson.

SGT. CARLOTTI
Sergeant Carlotti. What can I do for you?

LYLE
I'm a caring and sensitive person, sergeant, and I get
along well with others ... but I'm also in great physical
shape. I think I'd make a good soldier, too, so I'm here
to join the army and serve my country for two years.

SGT. CARLOTTI
No you're not.

LYLE
Beg your pardon?

SGT. CARLOTTI
I said, No you're not! You're here just to mess with our
heads -- flunk the psych exam just so you can say you tried
to join the army, but we wouldn't take you, and then you go
and tell your friends and family and even the media that
the army discriminates against, uh ... certain people.
We're always getting people messin' with us here, Lyle, but
I've seen it all, so I know what to look for. And that brooch you're
wearing says all that needs to be said.

LYLE
This brooch was a gift ... from my father. Are you saying
you won't take me?

SGT. CARLOTTI
That's what it's going to come down to, I'm afraid...

LYLE
Why?

SGT. CARLOTTI
Don't ask, don't tell.

LYLE
I'm sorry?

SGT. CARLOTTI
Oh, c'mon, Lyle. Now, I'm not saying you're, um...
(gestures to say "queer")
l-eer, m-eer, n-ear, oh-ear ... c'mon -- p-eer?!

LYLE
Queer?

SGT. CARLOTTI
You said that -- I didn't. I can imply it, but I can't
just come out and say it -- Uniform Code of Military
Justice, amendment to Chapter 10.925, Article 125. And you
can imply it, but you can't say it, either.

LYLE
Okay, then, if that's all it takes...
(very gay)
I'm not gay!

SGT. CARLOTTI
Great, Lyle. We're looking for gay soldiers who won't say

they're gay. It's okay if you're gay, and you can talk gay
and act gay -- alone or with other gays in the barracks --
and even sing gay songs from musicals, for all we care.
But you can't say you're gay or be caught being gay -- if
you get my drift -- unless it's with yourself, but not when
other gays are present. Those are the published rules.

LYLE
The rules sound pretty complicated, if you ask me.

SGT. CARLOTTI
They are. We also have a few unpublished rules -- like if
one of our gay spies tells us that you said you're gay, or saw
you being gay, as opposed to you just acting or talking or
singing gay ... then you're out, just like the other twelve
thousand.

LYLE
Unpublished rules? Gay spies? That doesn't sound fair.
Anyway, Sergeant, I've been out since I was seven years
old.

SGT. CARLOTTI
You can't say that, either!

LYLE
Sorry. So, can I go to Naples instead of Iraq?

SGT. CARLOTTI
Well, if you get in, we do have several billets open for
gays in Europe ... But you should ask for Naples, because
then we'd know you're gay. See, we have no other way of
figuring it out if you don't say you're gay or get caught
being gay. We prefer it to be based on gay Intel -- you
know, speech and mannerisms and certain gay knowledge?
Then we send you.

LYLE
Got it. So, is a billet anything like a villa?

SGT. CARLOTTI
Yeah ... sure.
(points)
There's one of our duty stations on that poster there.

LYLE
I saw it -- looks fab-ulous! I always wanted to go to
Naples.

SGT. CARLOTTI
I thought that was Rome ... Hey, you see? That's just the
kind of gay knowledge Intel we're looking for that will
help your case! Maybe you'll get in, after all.

LYLE
(crossing to poster)
Naples is sure a lot prettier that Baghdad nowadays ...
They have Hi-Def plasma TV in Italy, right, sergeant?

SGT. CARLOTTI
Yeah, sure. Everyone has their own 50-inch screen, and
The Young and the Restless is shown three times a day.
(DITCH enters, looking
scruffy and dangerous.)
There's a brochure over there, too, Lyle. Check it out.
(LYLE picks up brochure and
reads; sees DITCH.)
Can I help you?

DITCH
Yeah. I wanna join the army ... and shoot somebody.

SGT. CARLOTTI
(smells something)
Right this way. I'm Sergeant Carlotti. What's yours?

DITCH
Ditch.

SGT. CARLOTTI
Okay ... come have a seat, uh, Ditch.
(THEY sit.)
So ... you wanna shoot anyone in particular?

DITCH
No, just them who deserve it.

SGT. CARLOTTI
(writes)
Non-discriminatory ... behavior pattern.
(another whiff; likes it)
Every shoot anyone before?

DITCH
Yeah, I winged a guy once.

SGT. CARLOTTI
(writes)
Civilian ... combat experience. So, why'd you shoot him?

DITCH
He was eyeballin' my new Plymouth!

SGT. CARLOTTI
(takes in a big whiff)
That's horrible, Ditch! I can relate...
(writes)
Possible ... justifiable civilian discharge of firearms ...
at an obviously guilty perpetrator...
(beat)
So, what sort of job do you want to do in the army?

DITCH
I wanna be a sniper.

SGT. CARLOTTI
We can always use good snipers.
(writes)
Military goals ... are consistent ... with experience.
(beat)
Married or single?

DITCH
Uh, single. Why?

SGT. CARLOTTI
Soldiers with relationships do better. Got a girlfriend?

DITCH
What, you think I'm queer or something?
(LYLE turns and scowls.)

SGT. CARLOTTI
Please tell me you're not -- because I can't ask if you're
in or out of the closet. By the looks of your clothes,
though ... I'm guessing you don't have one.

DITCH
I hate fags! That guy who eyeballed my Plymouth was a fag!

(LYLE joins, hands on hips.
Taps DITCH with the
brochure.)

LYLE
Excuse me? That comment was rude and uncalled for.

SGT. CARLOTTI
Hey, I'll be with you in a sec. I'm talking here to --

DITCH
Who are you, the Mayor of Gayville?

LYLE
I'm Lyle, and I'm here to join the army, too -- providing I
can keep track of all the silly rules.

DITCH
If this little twink is gettin' in, I'm not!

LYLE
And if you let him in, I'm certainly not joining.

SGT. CARLOTTI
Look, guys, there's plenty of room for both of -

DITCH
You askin' to be shipped to Baghdad like me?

LYLE
No, Italy. Naples, preferably, with a view over the
Mediterranean...
(shows brochure)
in one of the army's villa billets.

DITCH
I hate I-talians. All of 'em are a bunch of limp-wristers.

SGT. CARLOTTI
Not all of them, Ditch. I'm Italian ... Carlotti...?

DITCH
How'd they let a swisher queen like you join the army?

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