The Global Economy
Theodore Shank 2004
Vendor . . . . . . .
A winsome entrepreneur
(Eddie Murphy would
be ideal casting)
Lump . . . . . . . A
A street most
THE GLOBAL ECONOMY
Traffic sounds. A homeless
woman, a LUMP in rags, is asleep, wrapped in a
her is a plastic cup with a few coins. A VENDOR of
dark glasses enters. He is full of energy,
a budding entrepreneur. He is in good spirits and his boombox is
playing until he sees
LUMP. As he sets up his folding table and his display
he speaks to the audience.
VENDOR: Don't you
just hate it. You get up in the morning. The day looks pretty good.
It's not raining.
It's a good day for business. You go to work, and somebody's in your
space. You know what
I mean? This time it's this homeless lump. (To LUMP.)
Come on, lump, wake up. It's
morning. Time to go to work. Ha ha.
LUMP does not respond.
The problem is she scares away
customers. And nothin happens til you sell somethin. Time is
still. The clock don't run. The hands don't move. When somebody sells
world wakes up. You can take your most magnificent timepiece, a
platinum, ruby encrusted,
17th century, Swiss movement, nineteen jewel, one-of-a-kind
masterpiece. Don't make no
difference. It won't run til somebody sells something. You see you got
your big gears like
General Motors and Microsoft, and your middle-sized gears like Zenith
and Amazon, and
your little gears like me. We're all connected. One moves, the others
move. But until
somebody sells and somebody buys, nothin moves. Nothin. But somebody
something-say I sell a pair a these coolers-everything starts movin.
The guy in Korea that
made them gets to keep his job and make some more. I'm keepin the guy
employed so he can
buy some chow mein. It's a global economy. And with the money I get for
the coolers I can
go to Jack-in-the-Box and buy a hamburger and Jack has money to hire
the guy that sells me
the hamburger. He pays the guy and the guy buys something else. Maybe
he saves up and
buys a used Chevy off another guy and that guy puts the money with some
more money that
he's earned and he buys a new Pontiac Firebird and the General Motors
gear starts turnin.
You see how it works? But if I can't sell nothin, nothin happens. You
see? That's my
responsibility. Keep the gears movin and the clock tickin and the hands
movin and make my
contribution to the economic growth of the USA. Everythin's connected.
It's like that
butterfly flitting around in China and causin the weather to change in
Now this lump here she don't flit
and she don't tick. She just clunks. She just sits there on
her hemorrhoids, scratchin her lice, and she scares away business.
Customers don't want to
come near. You don't want somebody beggin you for money. You don't want
to feel guilty
for not givin em any. You don't like the smell, you don't want to step
in the piss tricklin
down the sidewalk. Whatever. So you cross the street. You avoid her-and
me. You don't buy.
Nobody buys. And I just stand here, a little gear not movin. I'm
helpless. This little piece of
trash has got in the gears and they're jammed. Stopped dead. How can we
get rid of this
clunk and get the world tickin away again? Well, you can try to get her
movin along to
somewhere she won't get stuck in the gears, where nobody's tryin to
He gives LUMP a kick. A groan.
Another harder kick. Louder groan.
Then there's another approach. Maybe you can get em to work with you
instead of agin you.
Get em on their feet. Make em look alive like a customer maybe. Give em
a job attracting
other customers. (To LUMP) You want a pair a
coolers. It's pretty hot out here, they'll cool
your eyes and look real cool too. Come on, let's get you up and look
Gradually, with coaxing and pulling and pushing he
gets her on her feet. It's not easy.
O K, here. (He puts a pair of dark glasses on her.) That makes
a big difference. You look
almost like a movie star or a pop singer. Now straighten up. Try to
look like you just bought
em and you like em. Smile. Stand up straight. Get the buckle outa your
knees. Lets get these
Like a sculptor he tries to
mold her into an erect position, straightens her legs, tidies up
her clothes, tries to get her to smile, kicks the blanket she was
sitting on out of the way,
etc. She doesn't resist, but doesn't help much either. He's done his
best and steps back to
take a look at his creation
OK now. I guess that's as good as it's gonna get. Let me give you some
advice. Help you get
into the system. Why don't you get a job?
It's because you can't. You don't
take care of yourself. Your clothes are a mess. You smell.
OK, I know, it's because you don't have any money. And you don't have
any money because
you don't have a job. Not talkin, that's another problem. You have any
Unemployment in this country is
way down, everybody's looking for skilled workers. Do
you have any computer skills? Of course you don't. Well what can
Can you do anything? You
don't talk so can't sing. Can you dance? Everybody can dance. If
you can stand up you can dance. Let's see what you can do. Dance for
He turns on his boom box and
Come on, do it!
doesn't move. Vendor demonstrates how to dance and encourages her,
hands to the beat. He tries everything he can think of to get her to
dance. She makes some
feeble efforts, but he gets no where with the lesson. The result is
You're not even tryin. I can't
help you any more. You're hopeless. Homeless and hopeless.
Just a clunk in in the machine. I'm through with you. I need to sell
some coolers. Get out of
here, go down the block. I mean it. Scram! Scat! Shoo! Take a hike!
Disappear! Get outa my
He has become really angry
and LUMP shuffles away. The music continues. He is
relieved and begins straightening up his display. Then he notices a
pair of glasses are
missing-the ones LUMP is wearing.
Hey, you, come back here. Those
are my coolers. You want em, you pay. They're not free
you know. I'll call the cops.
shuffles back. He tries to take the glasses, but she won't let
OK, then. Pay for them. How much
money you got? Come on, how much?
pours the cup with a few coins into his hand.
Forty-seven cents! Where's that
going to get you? It sure won't buy my real imitation
Raybans. They'll cost you at least two ninety-eight. Come on. Give em
gives him the glasses, but continues to stand looking at him.. He
relents and gives
her the glasses.
O K you can keep em. Now get outa
smiles, but doesn't move, then holds out her cup. He puts the
back in the cup
What are you going to eat for
forty-seven cents? I know you're gonna buy a candy bar or
something else like that. It's not good for you. You should get a
hamburger. It's got meat,
that's protein. It's got bread, that's carbohydrate. It's got
vegetables-lettuce and ketchup. It's
a balanced meal.
continues to look at him.
O K here's another buck. Go get
yourself a hamburger.
is immediately energized and begins a lively dance. She's pretty good.
Hey what happened? You can dance!
dances faster and faster becoming more and more frenetic. Finally she
VENDOR is disappointed.
Ah, come on you can do it. Get up.
I gave you some money, now I want something in return.
Dance. Come on, get up.
He gives her a kick, but LUMP's
only response is a groan. He kicks her again and again.
Finally he gives up and looks at the audience with a shrug that seems
to mean "That's
always the way with these people."