A One-Act Play
The curtain opens on a group of young students gathering around a rather old man downstage left. They are dressed as though they were from Ancient Greece. The surroundings are rather pastoral.
Pupil 1: Tell us another story, Master.
Pupils: Oh yes....please.....Yes, yes. A lesson....
Master: Well now....let me see...Ah! Yes!
Pupil 2: You have one, Master?
Master: Yes, I do. So please, children. Make yourself comfortable. Sit closer. Many, many seasons ago there lived a man. He was old and he resided in a complex of Assisted Living and...
Pupil 1: Excuse me, Sir. But what is this "assisted living" term?
Master: Oh, but of course. These were extinguished before your time. I apologize. "Assisted Living" was a pre-terminal abode for the aged. Following that was "Nursing Home". Then came "Hospice" leading to "Grateful Oblivion".
Pupil 1: Thank you.
Master: You're welcome. Anyway, once there was this man. He lived in "Assisted Living" and he became ill. Abdominal discomfort. It was mandated that he go to the hospital for further eval.....
Pupil 2: Hospital?
Master: Pavilion for Health Maintenance.
Pupil 2: Oh, I see.
Master: So, he was mandated to be evaluated at their local pavilion for health maintenance...the hospital.
When he arrived there, he was taken to a room.....
Upstage Right: There is a set that resembles an emergency room. The old man is in a gown on a gurney. Waiting. Hand on abdomen. As the Master presents the story, the action shifts from the idyllic pastoral setting downstage to the more artificial, medical set Upstage Right.
...and people began coming in...
Doctor Tiffany: Hello, sir.
Old Man: Allo. You dottore?
Doctor Tiffany: I'm part of your healthcare team. My name is Doctor Tiffany....
Master: ....And Doctor Tiffany began taking the old man's vital signs...
Doctor Tiffany takes the old man's temperature, pulse, respirations, blood pressure and documents.
.....then in comes another person into the old man's room...
Doctor Ben (rather gregarious): Hello, hello, hello
Doctor Ben grabs the old man's hand and pumps it enthusiastically.
Old Man: Dottore?
Doctor Ben: Yessiree, Bob. Doctor. Doctor Ben. (Conspiratorially) But you can call me 'Ben'. It's my turn to bug you now, but it's Tiffany's fault. Blame it on her (annoying laugh). She told me to come on in. But seriously, I'm here to check your medications. You sure don't want these guys poisoning you because their drugs conflict with yours, right? Right. Only kidding. That won't happen, but it's my job to make sure. So let me see your MedFlagTag....
Doctor Ben rather roughly grabs the old man's wrist, opens up the MedFlagTag and downloads information into his hand-held device. Once his task is completed, he leaves rather brusquely without any further communications with the old man.
Subdued lighting on The Master.
Master: No sooner did Doctor Ben accomplish his task and walk out that another person walks in.
Doctor Donny: Callow-Geerow?
Old Man: Che? Uhh....wha?
Doctor Dale: Callow-Geerow Bassey-mayno? Your name.
Old Man: Calogero Bacimano. Ca-lo-ge-ro Ba-ci-ma-no.
Doctor Donny: Well.....I'll just call you Cale. I'm Doctor Donny
Old Man: Ah....Dottore....
Doctor Donny: I'm here to get your story, Cale. So, tell me, why are you here anyway?
Fade-in to Downstage Left where the Master and his pupils are now quite visible. The lighting downstage is still subdued but more expansive.
Master: And there they were. An old man and his inquisitor. One talking and not listening. The other hearing but not comprehending. Finally in walks a man of more than forty seasons. Dressed rather slovenly. He does not talk. He grumbles and grunts and totally disrupts the limited communication that had existed between Doctor Donny and the old man. Doctor Donny swiftly rises at attention and then shrinks in the farthest corner of the room. The recent arrival looks over to Donny, waves the chart to him, peruses it and then stares at the patient.
The grunter looms uncomfortably over the old man and then suddenly begins prodding the patient's abdomen.
Master: After a couple of jabs, he throws the chart back to Donny and grumbles his departure.
The Master has concluded and drinks long and hard from a goat-skin winebag. The pupils look at each other quizzically.
Pupil 2: Master?
Master: Yes? What is it?
Pupil 2: The point?
Master: Oh yes. The point. Which of those people was the real doctor?
Pupil 1: That's easy, O Great One. The slovenly, uncouth one. That is the real doctor.
Master: And you say that because….
Pupil 2: We have read of such people. Doctors. Arrogant, uncommunicative, ill-mannered.
Pupils: Yes...That's right....Right...
Master stays silent.
Pupil 2: Is he not right, Master?
Master: No....I'm afraid I've played a small ruse. There was no real doctor. None of those people, valuable though they may be, was not the real doctor.
Pupil 1: Then who was that last one, Sir?
Master: The Chief Financial Officer of the Pavilion. He had a Doctorate in Health Resource Allocation.
Pupil 2: So what happened to the old man?
Master: He was discharged.
Pupil 2: And…?
Master: He died that night in "Assisted Living". Never survived long enough to make Hospice, let alone, Nursing Home. Ruptured aneurysm. Triple A.
Pupil 1: Who discharged him?
Master: The CFO.
Pupil 2: Didn't the old man ever see a "real" doctor?
Master: Real doctor? "Real" doctors went extinct fifty years earlier.