Thirty-three thousand

Thirty-three Thousand;
This is a one-act play based on a true story.

(Lights slowly come up on a woman standing to pay for a bag at a large department store in an American town in a random state. Shoppers pass by but don’t hear the conversation. The saleswoman is in her mid-fourties, in semi-formal attire with short trimmed hair and a hard smile. F. is a younger woman in her twenties in “Muslim garb”. She seems to be in a hurry but smiles politely at the saleswoman.)

SALESWOMAN
Cash or card?

F.
Um, card please.

SALESWOMAN
Go ahead and swipe your card.

(She looks up)

Ok, I’ll just need to see your card.

F.
Here you go.

SALESWOMAN
(glances at the card and hands it back)
Where are you from, then?

F.
Kuwait.

SALESWOMAN
Kuwait? So do you have a lot of money?

F.
Um.
(Laughs nervously and looks around)

SALESWOMAN
Yes, that’s what I heard. You get thirty-thousand a month over there.

F.
Hm…? Thirty—?! If I got thirty-thousand a month I wouldn’t be shopping here.

SALESWOMAN
(Getting a little angry)
What do you mean? Don’t you have a lot of money?

F.
No…I mean… well. No, not really. Not a lot.

SALESWOMAN
But your country is rich.

F.
Yes, it–

SALESWOMAN
And you all have money.

F.
(Running out of patience)
Nobody falls under the poverty line, if that’s what you mean. But we have jobs and we work for our salaries and–

SALESWOMAN
(conclusively)
So people who work in your government must make thirty-thousand a month.

F.
I don’t work for the government, so I couldn’t tell you. Maybe when I’m minister of–

SALESWOMAN
(Getting bitter)
So do you think Americans work hard?

F.
Excuse me?

SALESWOMAN
(Very slowly)
Would you say Americans work hard?

F.
Some do. I guess. From what I’ve seen.

SALESWOMAN
(Raising her voice slightly)
Well let me tell you something! Americans work very hard. I have two jobs, I–

F.
Ok.

SALESWOMAN
And let me tell you, we control the economy. Have you heard of Wall Street?

F.
(Exasperated and feigning ignorance.)
Wall Street? What’s Wall Street?

SALESWOMAN
Wall Street is where all the banks are! And let me tell you something, we control the economy… if Americans didn’t know what they were doing on Wall Street… the world economy would crash. You… The world.. everybody would be in trouble.

F.
No! Really? Well, I hope Americans know what they’re doing… because I wouldn’t want the world economy to crash…

(F. grabs the shopping bag that the saleswoman has been clutching to and makes a quick getaway, ignoring the woman’s next smug remark. Lights dim slowly as the saleswoman folds a shirt and puts it back on the shelf.)

One thought on “Thirty-three thousand

  1. Pingback: Stop. Think. Ask. « F scribbles

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