December 16 2012 – A Very Nigel and Zoë Xmas

NOTE: This was written a few years ago by myself and Human Loser Theatre co-founder Morgan Smith for Edmonton a capella group Apocalypse Kow‘s annual Xmas fundraising cabaret. It was performed by Morgan and Kow’s Devin Bruce. It was a big hit and has been done a couple of times since then. This is about as cutesy as I get, folks.

A Very Nigel and Zoë Xmas

by Ryan F. Hughes and Morgan Smith

Scene 1

ZOE THE CAT and NIGEL THE DOG. ZOE is cool, focused. NIGEL is panting, eager and not too bright. ZOE very calmly and deliberately cleans herself as NIGEL stares and pants, much to ZOE’s annoyance.

NIGEL
Zoe?

ZOE
Wait.

NIGEL
Zoe!

ZOE
Wait!

NIGEL
Zoe!

ZOE
Nigel, will you WAIT?!

She hisses at him. He whines uncertainly. Beat.

NIGEL
Do you want me to wait and be quiet?

She just decides not to answer.

Cause I can be quiet.
I’m good at it.
Everyone says so.
I’m all about silence.
I’m a quiet boy.
They come up to me, the big ones, they come up to me and say “who’s a quiet boy”, and I’m like, “Who?!” And they ask me “Is it you? Is it you?” And I’m all “IS IT??? WELL? IS IT ME??? TELL ME, IS IT ME!”
Turns out: It is!

ZOE is just glaring.

NIGEL
Oh.

Barely-maintained silence as ZOE finishes her cleaning.

ZOE
Alright, there. Now to the business at hand. I suppose you’re wondering why I’ve summoned you here.

NIGEL
Nope.

ZOE stares.

Wanna play?

ZOE
No I do NOT want to play.

NIGEL
Okay!

Starts to leave.

ZOE
No wait you stupid oaf!

NIGEL
Okay!

ZOE
I’m sure you know what tonight is.

NIGEL
Is it when I sleep and you knock things over?

ZOE (Stares at him.)
Tonight is the night when the RED INTRUDER comes.

NIGEL (At first looking shocked, but then excitedly starts spinning around in a circle.)
OBOYOBOYOBOY—

ZOE
What are you doing?

NIGEL
Someone’s coming over!!! I have to be ready!!!

Continues spinning around in a circle

OBOYOBOYOBOY—

ZOE
Silence you insipid fool! This is no ordinary houseguest you can sniff and jump upon! This is the RED INTRUDER. The one who comes every year. Who invades our territory and has the gall to leave brandishments of his insult!

NIGEL
Ohhhhhh… HIM. I’ve never smelled him!

ZOE
That is because the fiend has no scent. His paws leave no trace and make no sound.

NIGEL
“Brandishments” isn’t a word.

Beat.

ZOE (Pressing on.)
He enters while the big ones sleep laden with his baubles and gewgaws. He lays them about the house as if to say “Look! I was here! While you were sleeping and vulnerable!” He is like a ghost. Were he not my enemy I should think that the Red Intruder and I would be fast friends…

ZOE looks at NIGEL.

He is coming tonight. And we must be ready.

NIGEL
Ready for what?

ZOE
Why, to stop him of course! Does the wild thing in you not cry out at this insult?

NIGEL
Nope!

ZOE
What if… The small fluffy thing?

NIGEL pricks up.

From across the street?

NIGEL starts growling.

What if he came in here—right up to your sleeping place—

NIGEL
Not my bed!

ZOE
…lifted his leg and—

NIGEL
COCOOOOOOOOOA!!!!!

ZOE
Exactly! THAT is what the Red Intruder does every time he comes here!

NIGEL
What can we do to stop him?

ZOE
Good. You’re ready to hear my plan. First: This is what the culprit looks like: Like all big ones, he walks on twos. Red and white fur. A strange, otherworldly call, this one has:

Demonstrates Santa’s iconic “Ho ho ho”, but with her own sinister spin.

NIGEL
He sounds scary!

ZOE
He’s a corpulent one, according to my research. With a wretched, distended abdomen, possibly containing a gelatinous substance.

NIGEL
Does it spill out of him and burn through the floor!?

ZOE
…Possibly.

NIGEL starts to whine.

ZOE
Nigel! Now is the time for courage! My plan is masterful, but it is so much fruitless hurlyburly without your steadfast heart…and your powerful jaws! Do you understand?

NIGEL (Calmed)
Yeah…

ZOE
Excellent. Who is a brave boy, Nigel?

NIGEL (Immediate improvement!)
IS IT ME?

ZOE
Oh, yes, Nigel. It is most definitely you.

NIGEL
I thought it was!

ZOE
Now. The Red Intruder will enter from there. So I-

NIGEL
Nuh-uh.

ZOE
Pardon?

NIGEL
That’s the fireplace.

ZOE
Yes?

NIGEL
Nothing enters from a fireplace.

ZOE
This is his modus operandi, I’ve studied the casefile. The Intruder enters from-

NIGEL
It’s too small! It’s too small for a big one! It was too small for you!

ZOE
Nevertheless-

NIGEL
Remember when you got stuck up there?

ZOE
That’s quite enough-

NIGEL
And you were crying and your butt was sticking out-?

ZOE hisses to get the room back. NIGEL falls obediently silent.

ZOE
Yes, well…perhaps the vile creature has no endoskeleton. Perhaps he is composed entirely of this supple, but remarkably strong abdominal gelatin. Like an octopus. Or a delicious cuttlefish. Perhaps he squeezes quite easily down the chimney, stretching along the whole length of that small pipe, oozing into the room like…malevolent butterscotch…And reconstituting…The dark deed already underway…

NIGEL
…butterscotch…

ZOE
And this is where we must act. I will be stationed on the high bookshelf. You in the dark corner of the room. Both crouching. At the ready.

NIGEL (Getting into it.)
Yeeeaahhhh….

ZOE
Now his girth may be a significant advantage, so we must incapacitate him quickly. As he resumes his form, before he can survey the room, I shall POUNCE! Giving a disorienting cry, I will catch the top of the shiny tree! My momentum will topple it and he will be knocked to the floor, pinned underneath! I will land gracefully, on my feet, as you close in from the dark corner, and should the creature’s eyes prove to be within my reach, well—

NIGEL
So I close in?

ZOE
Yes. And Nigel, the danger is very real, so we must make short work of him. Once you have reached him you must take firm hold of his meats.

NIGEL
But which meats?

ZOE
It depends how he lands. Whatever meats present themselves. Preferably neck.

NIGEL
I can do that.

ZOE
And Nigel. This is not the same kind of biting you use when frolicking with the big ones’ pups. This time…the meats must be breeched.

NIGEL
I’m not supposed to do that!

ZOE
This is a matter of security Nigel.

NIGEL
I did that once, and that red stuff came out, and I got in so much trouble!

ZOE
But you’ve always wanted to taste it again, haven’t you Nigel?

NIGEL stares at the floor, ashamed.

It’s okay, Nigel, you can tell me. It’s who you really are…

NIGEL (Quietly, desperately, to himself.)
Who’s a good boy, who’s a good boy, who’s a good boy.

ZOE
Sssssshhhh… now we wait. When we hear the monster on the roof, we get into position.

They wait a moment.

NIGEL
How long?

ZOE
Sssshhh…the big ones have been asleep a while now. Any minute.

NIGEL
That’s a long time.

ZOE
It doesn’t matter Nigel. It will not seem long. Because we are blessed with a mission. An important mission. So we wait, and we exercise extreme vigilance. That is how we will defeat this…jolly, gelatinous, transgressing THING from the roof. Vigilance.

NIGEL
Yeah.

ZOE
Vigilance.

NIGEL
Yeah, vigilance!

ZOE
Vigilance…

Suddenly they both fall fast asleep.

Scene 2

NIGEL is awake. He is playing with a dog toy of some sort—a rope? He is making excited grring noises. ZOE wakes; gracefully at first, but then she starts and realizes what has happened.

ZOE
What! How! When!

NIGEL
Good morning Zoe!

Continues playing.

ZOE
What happened!

NIGEL
OH! I know!

Pause. He continues playing.

ZOE
Nigelllll…

NIGEL
We fell asleep and the Red One came while we were sleeping and then he left again. Look!

Holds out his toy.

Brandishments!

Continues playing.

ZOE
I can’t believe it.

NIGEL
I can! I’m playing with mine! You wanna watch?

ZOE
BE QUIET you ignoramus! I’m trying to think! Were you sleeping too?

NIGEL
Yes! I dreamt that I was in the car—no wait—I was in the yard—no I was in the park and I was CHASING a… squirrel! No a bunny! No YOU!

ZOE
ENOUGH!

She tries to grab his toy away from him. They stare at each other and NIGEL growls lowly. They play tug of war for a brief moment and then ZOE gives up and NIGEL once again is pleased and panting.

NIGEL
That was fun! Much better than my dream!

ZOE
You traitor! Look at us! Failures! Disgraces to our species!

She watches him pant for a moment.

Well…MY species… I can’t believe we…

NIGEL
Hey Zoe! Don’t feel bad! He left a brandishment for you too!

ZOE
What?

NIGEL
On your bed!

ZOE
On my… the IMPUDENCE! The ARROGANCE! The—

She picks up the toy. Stares at it. Holds it to her. Carresses it.

NIGEL
It’s got that stuff you like in it! The stinky stuff!

ZOE
SHHH!

Whispers.

I can’t hear the catnip. Can I, sweetling?

NIGEL watches her whisper unintelligibly to the toy for a long moment and then looks away.

NIGEL
Well… I think we learned an important lesson tonight.

ZOE is rubbing the toy all over her face. She sinks to the floor.

Well… we probably did.

Loooong pause while ZOE writhes.

I’m a DOG!

Blackout.

Creative Commons License
This work by Ryan F. Hughes and Morgan Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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