Thursday 1 January 2015

The Golf Game



[A COMEDY IN FOUR ACTS...brought to you without any hacking, real or accused, by disgruntled ex-employees or anyone else.]

[All countries, persons, institutions and incidents which directly appear in this comedy are fictitious. Any resemblance to any real-life countries, people, institutions, and incidents is completely...heh heh...coincidental.]


Main characters, in order of appearance:

JEN PASKI ... Spokesperson for the Untied States Department of State.
KIM YONG KUN ... East Korean journalist and occasional secret agent.
CHOI PONG JU ... Another East Korean journalist and occasional secret agent.
IRIDESCENT LEADER ... Supreme Commander of East Korea.
BARACK HUSSEIN OMABA ... Noble Peace Prize winner and President of the Untied States of America.
EVAN ROGEN ... Secretary of State of the Untied States of America
SETH GOLDBERG ... Head of the Central Interrogation Agency (CIA).




Scene One:

[Washingnot, CD. The scene opens at a media conference addressed by JEN PASKI. As the CURTAIN rises PASKI is standing at the podium, looking out over the AUDIENCE. She is part way through answering a question.]

PASKI: ...and we are completely certain that Putin is behind this latest outrage.

MEDIA PERSON No. 1 (offstage): But nothing you said proves anything like that.

PASKI: We have sources which prove it to the satisfaction of the President and the State Department.

MEDIA PERSON No. 2 (offstage): Sources such as? After all, you’re accusing the President of Russia of shooting down the Tooth Fairy. Don’t you think you need to show the world the evidence?

PASKI: We have a YouTube video which clearly shows that a Russian anti-aircraft missile battery was positioned in the same hemisphere as the last known position of the Tooth Fairy. Experts from the CIA, the Hexagon, and the National Secrecy Agency have all pronounced the video genuine. We think there’s a very high probability – approaching a hundred percent – that Putin personally fired the missile which killed the fairy.

MEDIA PERSON No. 1: And what makes you arrive at that conclusion, Jen?

PASKI: In one frame of the video, a man can be seen who isn’t wearing a shirt. We have conclusively established that since only Putin goes around shirtless, that man must be Putin.

MEDIA PERSON No. 3 (offstage): And just suppose that the video means anything at all, what does this have to do with the security of the Untied States?

PASKI: It’s a simple question of humanitarian decency. As the President said last night in his address to the nation, the children of the world have been deprived of the wondrous being who took their shed teeth and left coins in their place. The Untied States, as the undisputed leader of the Free World, must ensure that such a crime isn’t left unpunished. The President will soon announce a further package of sanctions against Russia to teach Putin that such uncivilised and barbarous behaviour will not be tolerated.

MEDIA PERSON No. 4 (offstage): I thought the Tooth Fairy was a fictional entity.

PASKI: That’s just plain silly. Next you’ll be claiming that Santa Claus is fictional. Anything else?

MEDIA PERSON No. 2: Well, touching on the happenings in Libya where one government just bombed the headquarters of the other, and the second one’s militia attacked the oilfields of the first – what does the State Department have to say about that?

PASKI: Um, that’s a very good question, and I’m glad you asked. We are, um, always on the side of the Libyan people in their struggle for freedom and democracy. You know we have always stood by them in their struggle, and, um, we hope they will get through this difficult time and settle their differences quickly, so that the oil – I mean, the people can fulfil their expectations.

MEDIA PERSON No. 2: And you agree that the current turmoil would not have happened but for the Untied States’ and its allies’ bombing of Libya in support of the rebels who turned on each other immediately afterwards?

PASKI: That’s ridiculous. It’s all second-guessing. Nobody could have anticipated that Libya would have fallen apart –

MEDIA PERSON No. 3: There are a lot of people who did predict it.

PASKI: I will not take any further questions on this topic.

MEDIA PERSON No. 1: How about East Korea? The government has blamed the East Koreans for hacking Snowy, but provided no proof whatever. But meanwhile independent sources all agree that the East Koreans had nothing to do with the hack at all.

PASKI: As the Secretary of State said in his statement this evening, the government will not provide evidence since that might compromise its sources and endanger them.

MEDIA PERSON No. 2: Will the government then also stop attacking reporters and demanding that they reveal their sources?

PASKI: I will not take any further questions.


[From behind CURTAIN, PASKI's muffled tones]

PASKI: OK, that answer about Libya was ridiculous.

Scene Two:

[Pongyyang, East Korea. An office in a typical news establishment, with a computer at a desk. As the CURTAIN rises KIM YONG KUN can be seen tapping at the keyboard in frustration.]


KIM: Damn, the net’s down again. I tried to call the support service but the mobile network’s down too.

CHOI: Wait a moment, we aren’t supposed to have internet or mobile networks, are we?

KIM: Says who?

CHOI: The Untied States, of course.

KIM: And at the same time they attack our internet and mobile services? The ones we don’t have.

CHOI: I wish we could settle this problem. We haven’t done anything to hurt them, but they insist on blaming us. If only there was some way –

KIM: Perhaps there is. If only we could talk to Omaba, we could explain things.

CHOI: Omaba won’t talk to us. He’s far too busy droning kids in Yemen and Afghanistan to spare time for the likes of us.

KIM: I was wondering...he likes golf, doesn’t he? Maybe if we engaged him in a game of golf, he’d listen to us.

CHOI: But neither of us has ever played golf in our lives.

KIM: The Iridescent Leader has. We could ask him for tips.


IRIDESCENT LEADER: Did I hear someone mention my name?

CHOI and KIM (together, jumping up): Iridescent Leader! We didn’t know you were there.

IRIDESCENT LEADER: I am everywhere, I know everything. I thought you’d have learnt this by now. What is the problem?

KIM: The internet is down again, and so is the mobile network.

IRIDESCENT LEADER: Yes, I know. It must be Omaba’s cyberwar outfit.

CHOI: We thought if we could get to play golf with Omaba, we might be able to talk to him and persuade him that we aren’t his enemies.

KIM: But we don’t play golf.

IRIDESCENT LEADER: Let me guess. You want me to teach you the game.

CHOI (eagerly): Yes, Iridescent Leader. Can you?

IRIDESCENT LEADER: You are talking to the man whose father scored a hole in one every hole he played for the first time.

KIM: Only he didn’t.

CHOI: Yeah, that’s Western propaganda.

IRIDESCENT LEADER: Sorry, I forgot. These things get a little mixed up in my head sometimes. But your idea – I like it. I like it a lot. But I just thought of something.

KIM and CHOI (together): Yes, Iridescent Leader? What are your brilliant thoughts?

IRIDESCENT LEADER: You’re assuming Omaba is amenable to listening to reason. You forget that he is a Noble Peace Prize awardee, and that anyone who gets given that prize has to be a hardened warmonger. It is a requirement. (Wipes away a tear) Alas, I always wanted that Prize, but I am simply not ruthless enough.

KIM (patting IRIDESCENT LEADER on the shoulder): I’m sure something could be arranged. Perhaps we could attack some defenceless little country.

IRIDESCENT LEADER: There are no defenceless little countries we can attack, you silly twit.

CHOI: I have it! We could always allow a corner of the country to secede, and then attack it. How does that sound?

IRIDESCENT LEADER: Ah, forget it. Poroshenko’s already tried that route in Ukraine and they didn’t give it to him, at least not yet. What was I saying?

KIM: That we assume Omaba would listen to reason.

IRIDESCENT LEADER: Even if he wanted to, which is unlikely, his minders wouldn’t let him.

CHOI: Minders?

IRIDESCENT LEADER: Yes, of course. Those two who pose as his subordinates, Evan Rogen and Seth Goldberg. To our certain knowledge they are actually his controllers, and act in the name of...

KIM: Of...?

IRIDESCENT LEADER (shuddering): Wally Street.

KIM and CHOI (shuddering): Wally Street!

IRIDESCENT LEADER: And you know how ruthless they are. There’s just one way to break their hold.

KIM: How, Iridescent Leader?

IRIDESCENT LEADER: You must assassinate him.

CHOI: We must assassinate him!...wait, what?

IRIDESCENT LEADER: It will be quite easy. This is what you will do –

KIM: But, Iridescent Leader...

IRIDESCENT LEADER: This is what you will do!

KIM and CHOI (glancing at each other): Yes, Iridescent Leader.

IRIDESCENT LEADER: Good. Now, listen very carefully. I shall say this only once!



Scene One:

[Some weeks later. A deserted town street, somewhere in the Untied States of America, with the national flag, the Stars and Strips, hanging from windows. In the distance, the smoke of burning fires rises in the sky.]

Enter KIM and CHOI, in golf clothes. CHOI is carrying a golf bag.

KIM: What’s that? The smoke?

CHOI: Protests after another policeman was acquitted after killing another unarmed black kid. Nothing to do with us.

KIM: You know, I’m still not happy about this. I still think we could talk Omaba round.

CHOI: Omaba, I’m told, is always accompanied these days by Rogen and what’s his name, Goldberg, to make sure he sticks to the line. We won’t get a chance to talk him round, simply because those two won’t let us.

KIM: Great, as though we didn’t have enough problems already. Do you have the ball?

CHOI: It’s in the bag with the others.

KIM: Yeah, but do you know which one it is?

CHOI: It’s the one with the red dot. The Iridescent Leader put the red spot on it himself with his own marker pen. [Rummages in golf bag, taking out one ball after another and examining it.] This one? No. That? Not that one either. It’s got to be somewhere in here!

KIM: Are you sure you brought it?

Enter POLICEMAN, driving an armoured personnel carrier, which comes to a halt next to them.

POLICEMAN (from turret of armoured personnel carrier): Here, what are you doing there, with that bag?

KIM: Nothing, Officer. We’re just picking our balls.

POLICEMAN: Ha, that’s a likely story. Well, sir, you won’t mind if I just look at your balls, do you?

KIM: Certainly I do mind. You can’t do that without a warrant.

[CHOI keeps looking inside the golf bag for his ball.]

POLICEMAN: Where have you been, sir? We can do whatever we want. Or maybe you’d like to ask my 30 mm cannon for a warrant, would you?

KIM: Are you threatening us?

POLICEMAN: Threatening you? You accuse a police officer of threatening you? That’s a terrorist offence, I’ll have you know. [Picks up radio handset] Wait and I’ll call up a drone.

CHOI (looking up happily, to KIM): Here, I just found it.

POLICEMAN (putting down radio handset, unused): Hey – what do you have there?

CHOI (noticing him for the first time, quickly hides ball in pocket): Nothing.

POLICEMAN: My ass it’s nothing. Gimme that thing at once! Or I’ll shoot you.

KIM (tightly): Give it to him. 

CHOI (holds out golf ball): Here, take it.

POLICEMAN: I’m not coming down there. Toss it up to me.

CHOI: But –

POLICEMAN: Throw it up to me, I said.

KIM: Throw it up to him, he said.

CHOI: All right, here you go. [Tosses ball up to POLICEMAN. To KIM] Run!

[They run. The POLICEMAN grabs at the ball, misses, and it falls into the armoured personnel carrier through the turret hatch. The armoured personnel carrier disappears in a huge explosion.]

KIM (wiping debris from the shoulders of his plaid sports coat; they are now far enough away from the wreckage that no trace of it can be seen.): Well, that’s torn it.

CHOI (shaking dust from his cap): That was our only golf ball-bomb. Whatever shall we do?

KIM (shrugging): Maybe just go back to trying to talk to Omaba?

CHOI: You know the Iridescent Leader told us to kill him. He’ll be upset if we don’t.

KIM: He’ll be less upset if we can work out a real peace deal. After all, now that we don’t have the bomb, how on earth are we going to kill him?

CHOI: Beat Omaba to death with our golf clubs, maybe? Or signal home for a replacement bomb from the radio transmitter in the golf bag.

[KIM reaches into the golf bag, extends a golf club, twists it around until he gets a signal. He splits a golf ball, attaches the two halves over his ears, and holds another close to his mouth, saying something. Finally, nodding, he shuts down the radio.]

KIM: It’s going to take days to get a replacement, they said.  Of course, during that time we could be exposed and killed, or –


KIM: Sent to Gauntanamo, where we’d be waterboarded, stress-positioned, and rectally fed.

CHOI (shuddering): What should we do, then?

 KIM: I have no idea. We’ll just talk to Omaba first.

CHOI (checking watch): Let’s go to the golf course. It’s getting late.

KIM: We'll try and think of something.


Scene 2:

[The golf course. Enter OMABA, ROGEN and GOLDBERG. OMABA is in the lead. He has a golf bag.]

OMABA: I saw my ratings are down again. That won’t do.

ROGEN: Doesn’t matter, Mr President. You’ll be getting a boost soon enough.

GOLDBERG: All you need is a nifty little war.

ROGEN: One you can easily win.

OMABA (going over his clubs in his golf bag): What war? There aren’t many countries I’ve left unbombed, except for those which can shoot back.

GOLDBERG: We’ve selected one for you.

ROGEN: East Korea! Everyone hates them. You can’t go wrong with East Korea.

OMABA: But they have nukes, don’t they?

GOLDBERG: Mister President. Russia has nukes, and we’re picking a fight with them over Ukraine. China has nukes, and we’re picking a fight with them over the Asia Pivot. East Korea? Compared to Russia and China they’re pushovers.

OMABA: I’m not so sure about this. Maybe we could invade, I don’t know, Iceland or something. They don’t even have a military.

ROGEN: Iceland?

OMABA: Or Hungary. They’ve been acting uppity lately. They need to be taught a lesson. [Takes out a club] A seven iron, I think.

GOLDBERG: Uh, well, Mister President, we’ll talk it over with the Hexagon people. But I think you’ll find that they’ll agree with me that East Korea is the proper target.

OMABA (taking a few practice swings): How do we justify attacking East Korea? I mean, we’ll need some kind of casus belli. [Repeats words with relish] Casus belli.

ROGEN (soothingly): I must commend your Latin, Mister President. But you don’t need to worry. I’m sure Seth and his CIA can find us enough justification for the war.

GOLDBERG: Even if I have to waterboard every damn East Korean I can lay hands on to get it. [Enter KIM and CHOI] Talking about East Koreans, who on earth are these two?

OMABA: Yes, who are you?

KIM: I’m Kim Yong Pun and he’s Choi Pong Ju.

CHOI: We’re East Korean journalists.

KIM: And peace emissaries.

CHOI: And, as he says, peace emissaries. We –

ROGEN: Get off it! East Koreans and peace. We all know that ain’t gonna happen. No sir!

GOLDBERG: Mister President, I suggest I rendition these two immediately. You’ll have your justification for war by tonight. I guarantee you.

OMABA: Wait, wait a moment. You say you’re peace emissaries. You’ve come to begin surrender negotiations?

KIM: Surrender negotiations?

CHOI: No, sir, we’ve come to talk peace, not to surrender. You know, as representatives of one sovereign nation to another. We believe that we can work out a peace that is beneficial to both our countries. We –

OMABA (teeing a ball, and taking another practice swing): Look here, my friends, this great nation does not engage on equal terms with brutal dictatorships which, er... [glances at ROGEN and GOLDBERG] What do they do again?

ROGEN: Lock up people without due cause.

GOLDBERG: Torture them.

ROGEN: Run a police state.

GOLDBERG: Spy on their own citizens, twenty four-seven.

ROGEN: Conduct cyber warfare.

GOLDBERG: Arm, train and fund terrorists.

ROGEN: Threaten to invade other countries.

OMABA: Wait, wait. I’m confused. Are we still talking about East Korea here?

GOLDBERG: Please don’t let yourself get distracted from the main point, Mister President. We are the leader of the Free World, and they are pure undiluted evil.

OMABA (nodding): Absolutely. Look here, my East Korean friends. I’m a busy man, I’ve got a golf game to play and kill lists to make. I don’t have time to talk to you.

KIM: Sir, if you made peace, it could increase your chances of getting the Noble Peace Prize.

ROGEN: The President already has a Noble Peace Prize. He doesn’t need another.

OMABA: Wait, wait. I noticed that my Prize medallion is getting kind of tarnished. I tried to get my wife to polish it but she was too busy hashtagging to listen.

GOLDBERG: I could get one of my men to buff it up for you.

OMABA: That won’t be necessary if I can get another.

GOLDBERG: You really intend to talk peace with these East Koreans, Mister President?

OMABA (aside, to him and ROGEN): Don’t be daft. Have I ever kept any promise I made to anyone? We’ll talk until I get my Peace Prize, and then we’ll invade and overthrow them.

ROGEN (sighing with relief): You had me worried there for a moment, Mister President. [To KIM and CHOI] All right, the President will talk to you.

KIM: When?

OMABA: Be in the anteroom of my Oral Office in the Wide House in two hours.

CHOI: Thank you, Mister President. We’ll be there.

[Exit KIM and CHOI.]

GOLDBERG: You handled that very well, Mister President.

OMABA: Of course I did.. [Whacks ball. It goes flying off into the wide blue yonder.] Hole in one!

GOLDBERG and ROGEN: Splendid, Mister President. Excellently done!



Scene 1:

[OMABA’s Oral Office. OMABA and GOLDBERG are poring over some papers.]

OMABA: Definitely him. What about this one here?

GOLDBERG: No, he’s on our payroll. You can do this one here though.

OMABA: Great. I enjoy killing folks. I’m really good at killing folks. Can we kill this folk here too?

GOLDBERG: Let me see –    

[There is a knock on the door and ROGEN enters.]

ROGEN: Those East Koreans are waiting.

OMABA: Oh, yeah, I’d forgotten about them. Might as well let them in, I suppose. [KIM and CHOI enter, still in their golf outfits and carrying the bag] Why on earth are you two still dressed like that?

KIM: Our hotel’s too far away to get there and back in time, Mr President.

CHOI: So we had to come here directly from the course. I hope you don’t mind, sir.

GOLDBERG: East Korea’s too poor to afford downtown hotel rates, Mister President. Another excellent reason why it’s going to be a pusho –

ROGEN (hastily): What he means is, that a peace agreement between our nations would benefit yours.

GOLDBERG: Yeah, that’s what I meant, sure enough. Now, gentlemen, shall we get down to business?

ROGEN: What terms are you offering?

KIM: Well, let’s see, we could start with both sides reducing tensions by formally agreeing not to threaten each other.

CHOI: And then further agreeing to stop all cyberwarfare against each other.

KIM: And normalising trade and diplomatic ties. And –

OMABA: Wait, wait. You said both sides should stop cyberwarfare against each other. But what do we get out of that? After all, you aren’t conducting cyberwarfare against us, we’re the ones doing it to you

CHOI: So you admit that East Korea wasn’t behind the Snowy hack?

KIM: Even though you accused us of it and shut down our net and cell networks in retaliation?

OMABA (laughs): Of course I admit it. What are you going to do about it?

CHOI: I don’t follow.

OMABA: I’m the guy who drone kills kids daily, the guy who arms and trains Nazis and jihadis, the guy who gets off on bombing weddings, and schools, and funerals. I’m the guy who won two – get that, two – elections by pretending to be a left-wing black liberal. [Scratches at his wrist with a fingernail. A strip of dark epidermis peels off, exposing white skin below.] Look, I can drop the act now, though.

ROGEN: What the President means is –

OMABA: What I mean is, I don’t give a damn about your pipsqueak little country. If you’re going to negotiate with me you’ll do it on my terms, and agree to what I say.

GOLDBERG: And if you don’t play along –

OMABA: Well, then, you’ll see what sort of man I really am. Now, let’s hear some better offers from you.

GOLDBERG: By better we mean grovelling. Is that clear?

KIM (rising): We’re sorry, but this isn’t going to work.

CHOI (also rising): We thought this meeting was in good faith, but it obviously isn’t. So we’ll take our leave.

ROGEN: Where do you think you’re going?

KIM: Back to our hotel.

CHOI: And then home by the first available flight.

GOLDBERG (taking out a gun): The only place you’re going is an interrogation centre in Renditionistan.

ROGEN (taking out another gun): Get them!

KIM: Plan Two, Choi!

[KIM and CHOI grab golf clubs from the bag and begin swinging. With their first blows they knock the guns out of ROGEN’s and GOLDBERG’s hands. With a few more swings they beat them both to death.]

CHOI: Where’s Omaba?

[The AUDIENCE can see OMABA hiding under the desk, but he isn’t visible to KIM and CHOI.]

KIM: He must have escaped while we were dealing with these two.

CHOI: Not a chance of finding him here in this huge building. We have to get out before the alarm is raised.

KIM: Let’s go. And don’t forget the golf bag!

[Exit KIM and CHOI at a run, the latter carrying the bag.]

OMABA (emerging from under the desk): I’m not finished yet. Cross me, will you? You’ll see what you get for that! [Goes over to a telephone in the corner next to an Xbox, and lifts the receiver] Unleash my personal drone at once!

SECURITY GUARD (offstage): Yes sir!


Scene 2:

[The street with the wreckage of the armoured personnel carrier, which is now a blackened mass of smouldering metal. Enter CHOI and KIM, running.]

KIM: Is that a drone I hear behind me, its engine buzzing over the land? Come, let me destroy thee.

CHOI: What with? We have no anti-aircraft weapons. Hell, we have no weapons except the golf clubs. And you can’t shoot down a drone with a golf club.

KIM: What do you propose we do, then?

CHOI: Hide until it goes away?

KIM (pointing skywards): That’s Omaba’s personal drone. I recognise the insignia. He isn’t going to give up and go away.

CHOI (stopping a little way away from the wrecked carrier): Well, then, there’s only one thing to do. [Takes golf bag off shoulder] Try and distract the drone a moment.

KIM: How?

CHOI (extending club aerial and opening golf ball headphone): I don’t know! Do something.

KIM: All right, I’ll do my best. [Climbs on top of wrecked carrier and waves at drone.] Hey, Omaba. Look what we did to your police tank. And all with one of my golf balls. You call yourself a golfer, Omaba? [A Hellfire missile screeches overhead and smashes into a building.] You call yourself a drone pilot, Omaba? You can’t even hit a stationary target! [Drone engine buzzes furiously and another missile smashes into a building.] Missed again, sucker!

[Drone roars overhead, so low that its shadow is clearly visible to the AUDIENCE. It swings round and returns for another pass.]

KIM: Choi? I don’t think it’s going to miss this time.

CHOI (sitting back and wiping his brow): Don’t worry. I’ve got it. [He fiddles with a button on the side of the golf bag. The drone rises sharply, its engine squealing in protest.] There you go.

KIM (jumping off wreckage and hurrying over): Where are you sending it?

CHOI: Where do you think?

 [Quick CURTAIN. Scene shifts back to OMABA’s office. OMABA is bent over the Xbox, with the SECURITY GUARD by his side.]

SECURITY GUARD: Sir? The drone is headed back towards us, sir.

OMABA (desperately twiddling joystick): Get to the air force and have an F35 shoot down the drone at once!

SECURITY GUARD (speaks into phone and turns to OMABA): Sorry, sir, but all F35s are grounded.

OMABA: All? Every single one?

SECURITY GUARD (after speaking into phone): Every single one. Apparently three more crashed since yesterday.

OMABA: What about other planes then? There must be some others!

SECURITY GUARD (after speaking into phone): None, sir. F35s are all we've got left.

OMABA: Who was responsible for that ridiculous situation?

SECURITY GUARD (after speaking into phone): Apparently you, sir, and the folks at the Hexagon.

OMABA: An F35, an F35, my Empire for an F35!

[Rising roar of drone engine in a kamikaze terminal dive. The scene disappears in a terrific explosion.]



Scene 1:

[Several days later. The IRIDESCENT LEADER’s office in Pongyyang, East Korea. As the curtain rises the IRIDESCENT LEADER is talking to KIM and CHOI.]

IRIDESCENT LEADER: You did very well. I’m proud of you.

KIM: Thank you, Iridescence.

CHOI: Thank you, your Sublime Leadership.

IRIDESCENT LEADER: Even better than wiping out Omaba, you got the recording in which he admitted we had nothing to do with the Snowy hack. That must have taken some doing.

KIM: Oh well, it was blind luck, really.

IRIDESCENT LEADER: Fortune favours the brave. Now tell me one thing I’m curious about.

CHOI: Yes?

IRIDESCENT LEADER (looking warily around and whispering): How was Omaba’s golf game, really?

CHOI: Oh, superb.

KIM: He got a hole in one right off.

IRIDESCENT LEADER: Damn it! I never can win it all, can I?

KIM: Look on the bright side, boss. The internet is back again, and the sun is shining.

IRIDESCENT LEADER: Damn the internet. [Begins weeping] And here I thought I was the best at everything. Everything!


Copyright B Purkayastha 2014

 Scenes from the play:

The Iridescent Leader of East Korea*

President Barack Hussein Omaba of the Untied States of America*

*Both these characters are entirely fictional. 

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