Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Play by Michael Sadler
Copyright (c) 2007 Michael Sadler
-- All Rights
No portion of this play may be reproduced or used
in any form without the express written permission
of the author.
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.
Yes, lieutenant, I understand ... yes, sir ...
it's the last day, sir. All we need is one more
-- to meet
our recruiting goal for the month. And the next
walks in here is as good as signed up ... I will,
(HE rings off; cranes his neck at someone approaching
Oh, no! Not another ... please, go away ... no,
even think about ... oh, crap, she's coming this
(LYLE enters, sashays up to
the desk, wearing a brooch.)
Hi, there. I'm Lyle Carson.
Sergeant Carlotti. What can I do for you?
I'm a caring and sensitive person, sergeant, and
along well with others ... but I'm also in great
shape. I think I'd make a good soldier, too, so
to join the army and serve my country for two years.
No you're not.
Beg your pardon?
I said, No you're not! You're here just to mess
heads -- flunk the psych exam just so you can say
to join the army, but we wouldn't take you, and
then you go
and tell your friends and family and even the media
the army discriminates against, uh ... certain
We're always getting people messin' with us here,
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.
This brooch was a gift ... from my father. Are
you won't take me?
That's what it's going to come down to, I'm afraid...
Don't ask, don't tell.
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?!
You said that -- I didn't. I can imply it, but
just come out and say it -- Uniform Code of Military
Justice, amendment to Chapter 10.925, Article 125.
can imply it, but you can't say it, either.
Okay, then, if that's all it takes...
I'm not gay!
Great, Lyle. We're looking for gay soldiers who
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
and even sing gay songs from musicals, for all
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
The rules sound pretty complicated, if you ask
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 We also have a few unpublished rules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
singing gay ... then you're out, just like the
Unpublished rules? Gay spies? That doesn't sound
Anyway, Sergeant, I've been out since I was seven
You can't say that, either!
Sorry. So, can I go to Naples instead of Iraq?
Well, if you get in, we do have several billets
gays in Europe ... But you should ask for Naples,
then we'd know you're gay. See, we have no other
figuring it out if you don't say you're gay or
being gay. We prefer it to be based on gay Intel
know, speech and mannerisms and certain gay knowledge?
Then we send you.
Got it. So, is a billet anything like a villa?
Yeah ... sure.
There's one of our duty stations on that poster
I saw it -- looks fab-ulous! I always wanted to
I thought that was Rome ... Hey, you see? That's
kind of gay knowledge Intel we're looking for that
help your case! Maybe you'll get in, after all.
(crossing to poster)
Naples is sure a lot prettier that Baghdad nowadays
They have Hi-Def plasma TV in Italy, right, sergeant?
Yeah, sure. Everyone has their own 50-inch screen,
The Young and the Restless is shown three times
(DITCH enters, looking
scruffy and dangerous.)
There's a brochure over there, too, Lyle. Check
(LYLE picks up brochure and
reads; sees DITCH.)
Can I help you?
Yeah. I wanna join the army ... and shoot somebody.
Right this way. I'm Sergeant Carlotti. What's yours?
Okay ... come have a seat, uh, Ditch.
So ... you wanna shoot anyone in particular?
No, just them who deserve it.
Non-discriminatory ... behavior pattern.
(another whiff; likes it)
Every shoot anyone before?
Yeah, I winged a guy once.
Civilian ... combat experience. So, why'd you shoot
He was eyeballin' my new Plymouth!
(takes in a big whiff)
That's horrible, Ditch! I can relate...
Possible ... justifiable civilian discharge of
at an obviously guilty perpetrator...
So, what sort of job do you want to do in the army?
I wanna be a sniper.
We can always use good snipers.
Military goals ... are consistent ... with experience.
Married or single?
Uh, single. Why?
Soldiers with relationships do better. Got a girlfriend?
What, you think I'm queer or something?
(LYLE turns and scowls.)
Please tell me you're not -- because I can't ask
in or out of the closet. By the looks of your clothes,
though ... I'm guessing you don't have one.
I hate fags! That guy who eyeballed my Plymouth
was a fag!
(LYLE joins, hands on hips.
Taps DITCH with the
Excuse me? That comment was rude and uncalled for.
Hey, I'll be with you in a sec. I'm talking here
Who are you, the Mayor of Gayville?
I'm Lyle, and I'm here to join the army, too --
can keep track of all the silly rules.
If this little twink is gettin' in, I'm not!
And if you let him in, I'm certainly not joining.
Look, guys, there's plenty of room for both of
You askin' to be shipped to Baghdad like me?
No, Italy. Naples, preferably, with a view over
in one of the army's villa billets.
I hate I-talians. All of 'em are a bunch of limp-wristers.
Not all of them, Ditch. I'm Italian ... Carlotti...?
How'd they let a swisher queen like you join the