“How Are Things on the East Coast?” A One-Act Play About Interpol

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As you’ve no doubt read, the most high-profile people to have their plans thrown out by the crazy storm in Buffalo are none other than Interpol — they had to cancel last night’s scheduled Toronto show already, and as per Stereogum, they’re still stranded in their bus (but are apparently doing just fine and “will make it“). If you’re like us, you might have gotten to thinking: what would it be like being marooned in a snowstorm on a tour bus with Interpol for two days? Happily, the answer is here: behold How Are Things on the East Coast? — a one-act play about Interpol.

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

Paul Banks: Suave, blond, handsome. Wears a suit and tie. Does not respond to “DJ Fancypants.”

Daniel Kessler: Suave, dark, also handsome. Wears a suit and tie.

Sam Fogarino: Suave, dark, slicked-back hair, waistcoat, cigarette. Wears a suit and tie.

Brandon Curtis: Young, restless. Does not wear a suit and tie.

Carlos D: An absent presence.

A bus driver: He doesn’t know, he just works here.

A mixologist: So does he.

SCENE

A tour bus in Buffalo, New York.

TIME

The present day. Or so it appears. It’s hard to tell with all that snow.

HOW ARE THINGS ON THE EAST COAST?

A PLAY IN ONE ACT

SCENE 1

A tour bus. Deep red velvet curtains cover the windows. The driver is up front, with Daniel Kessler and Brandon Curtis sitting side by side behind him, watching television on a screen that’s mounted on the back of the driver’s compartment. Behind them is a bar, at which Sam Fogarino is seated, nursing a cocktail. The bar is furnished with multiple types of whiskey, and nothing else. A shiny black rotary telephone sits on the counter, and the mixologist is polishing the bottles. At the rear of a bus is a studio setup, wherein Paul Banks is seated with a guitar. Beyond that is a well-furnished sleeping compartment, including three large bunk beds. Carlos D is not present.

DRIVER

(rubbing the windshield) Looks like snow.

DANIEL KESSLER

I bet Carlos D wishes he were here now. This is great. Isn’t this great, Brandon?

BRANDON CURTIS

Yeah.

DANIEL KESSLER

Right?

BRANDON CURTIS

Yeah.

PAUL BANKS

(loudly, from the rear of the bus) I CAN’T HEAR YOU, BRANDON CURTIS.

BRANDON CURTIS

(louder) This is so great, Paul!

DANIEL KESSLER

Yeah. I bet Carlos D wishes he was here.

DRIVER

(rubbing windshield more vigorously) I can’t see a thing.

DANIEL KESSLER

If you want a cocktail, Brandon, just ask the mixologist.

BRANDON CURTIS

Sure.

DANIEL KESSLER

He can make anything, so long as it’s an old-fashioned.

BRANDON CURTIS

Right. What’s the phone for, by the way?

DANIEL KESSLER

What phone?

BRANDON CURTIS

The one on the bar.

DANIEL KESSLER

(defensively) Nothing. Nothing at all. And Carlos D doesn’t have a private mixologist, I can tell you that.

PAUL BANKS

(loudly, from the studio) HIS WAS THE ONLY VERSION OF BAND DESERTION THAT I COULD NEVER SUBSCRIBE TO.

DANIEL KESSLER

Damn straight, Paul.

BUS DRIVER

We’re going to have to stop.

SAM FOGARINO

Stop? Why?

BUS DRIVER

It’s not safe to drive in this weather.

SAM FOGARINO

(lights a cigarette) Balls.

DANIEL KESSLER

How many times have we told you, Sam? Put your smoking jacket on if you’re going to smoke.

PAUL BANKS

WE SHOULD TAKE A TRIP NOW TO SEE NEW PLACES.

DANIEL KESSLER

(sighs heavily) Not right now, Paul.

PAUL BANKS

YEAH, MAYBE TO THE BEACH.

SAM FOGARINO

Oh yeah, it’s easy to say that now, Paul. You were the one who wanted to tour Canada in November.

PAUL BANKS

IF LIFE IS SUCH A BIG JOKE, WHY SHOULD I CARE?

SAM FOGARINO

If it’s a joke, it’s not exactly funny, is it, DJ Fancypants?

DANIEL KESSLER

(sharply) Sam! Smoking jacket! You’ll get ash on your suit!

SAM FOGARINO

(standing and retrieving an elegant smoking jacket from a hook on the wall) Fine.

DRIVER

(standing and stretching) Looks like we’re gonna be here for a while.

SCENE 2

The same tour bus, hours later. We can hear wind howling, and the velvet curtains are drawn back to reveal that it’s dark outside. The driver and mixologist are lying in the aisle. Sam Fogarino sits at the bar, smoking a cigarette. Paul Banks and Daniel Kessler sit next to him, cocktails in hand. Brandon Curtis paces restlessly.

BRANDON CURTIS

So we have no idea how long we’re going to be stuck here?

DRIVER

No idea at all, mate.

DANIEL KESSLER

(raises cocktail) Lucky we have a private mixologist, hey, Sam?

SAM FOGARINO

Sure.

PAUL BANKS

YES.

BRANDON CURTIS

There isn’t really anything to do, though, is there?

DANIEL KESSLER

Apart from drink cocktails prepared by our private mixologist, or indulge your creative urges in our private mobile studio?

BRANDON CURTIS

Yeah, apart from that.

DANIEL KESSLER

Apart from tweeting and/or Instagramming amusing tour-bus photos via our private wifi network?

BRANDON CURTIS

Apart from that.

DANIEL KESSLER

(non-plussed) Um… Paul likes to play Scrabble. He used to play against Carlos D, before that person deserted us.

SAM FOGARINO

(sarcastically) I bet Carlos D wishes he was here now.

DANIEL KESSLER

(enthusiastically) I bet he does!

The mixologist fetches a Scrabble box and places it on the bar. Brandon Curtis looks at it for a moment, then sits at the bar opposite Paul Banks. They open the box, set up the board and select letters from a bag. They play several moves, Curtis first, then Banks. After Banks’ third move, Curtis looks confused.

PAUL BANKS

TRIPLE WORD SCORE.

BRANDON CURTIS

(points at the board) What’s that supposed to mean?

SAM FOGARINO

(peering over Curtis’s shoulder at the board) Paul, there’s no “I” in “threesome.”

BRANDON CURTIS

No, there isn’t.

SAM FOGARINO

(sighing heavily and stubbing out cigarette) This is impossible. You always cheat, Paul.

PAUL BANKS

I’M SMART ENOUGH TO TRY.

SAM FOGARINO

You’re even worse than Carlos was. I’m going to bed.

PAUL BANKS

(to Brandon, conspiratorially, in reference to Sam) HE’S ALWAYS CALLING MY BLUFF.

DANIEL KESSLER

I’m going to bed too.

BRANDON CURTIS

Where are we all gonna sleep, though? There are only three beds, reserved for (coughs) official band members.

PAUL BANKS

WE HAVE TWO HUNDRED COUCHES WHERE YOU CAN SLEEP TONIGHT.

DANIEL KESSLER

No we don’t.

PAUL BANKS

OH.

SAM FOGARINO

I’m not having the bottom bunk again.

PAUL BANKS

IT’S WAY TOO LATE TO BE THIS LOCKED INSIDE OURSELVES.

SAM FOGARINO

I don’t care. I always end up on the bottom bunk.

SCENE 3

Morning. It sounds like the storm outside has abated, although all we can see out the window is white. Brandon Curtis is asleep at the bar, his head cradled in his hands. The driver and mixologist are sleeping at the front of the bus. Paul Banks emerges from the rear door and looks out the window.

PAUL BANKS

THIS IS A WASTELAND NOW.

BRANDON CURTIS

(jerking awake) Paul! You scared me.

PAUL BANKS

YOU WERE MY CATATONIC SEX TOY LOVE JOY DIVER.

BRANDON CURTIS

What?!

DANIEL KESSLER

(arriving from the rear compartment) Paul! Stop it. Brandon doesn’t understand your little jokes.

Having heard the band’s voices, the driver and mixologist emerge from the front of the bus.

BRANDON CURTIS

(to the driver) Is there any food? I’m starving.

DANIEL KESSLER

Of course there is! We have a private kitchen setup!

BRANDON CURTIS

Where?

DANIEL KESSLER

There are some things man was not meant to know.

The driver walks to the rear of the bus, apparently to prepare breakfast.

PAUL BANKS

SERVE IT UP. DON’T WAIT.

DANIEL KESSLER

Calm down, Paul. We’re all hungry.

PAUL BANKS

LET’S SEE ABOUT THIS HAM.

Unexpectedly, the phone on the bar rings. Paul Banks, Daniel Kessler and Sam Fogarino freeze in place.

SAM FOGARINO

It’s… it’s him.

BRANDON CURTIS

Isn’t someone going to answer that?

No one moves. The phone continues to ring. After a few moments, Curtis picks it up himself.

BRANDON CURTIS

Hello?

The disembodied voice of Carlos D emerges from the phone.

CARLOS D

How are things on the East Coast?

DANIEL KESSLER

(silence)

PAUL BANKS

(walks to the window again) HEY LOOK IT STOPPED SNOWING!