Indignity Vol. 2, No. 6: The sweet smell of success.
WORKPLACE DRAMA DEP'T.
Malice & Memory: A One-Act Play
Yesterday, Mars Inc. announced that it was revamping its M&M candy mascots, with "more nuanced personalities to underscore the importance of self-expression and power of community through storytelling.”
[Scene: a room with rumpled white walls.] RED: Says here you're "the most recent addition." BROWN: I'm the what now? BLUE: Well, it's true, they added y— RED [wheeling]: No. Stop while you still can. BLUE: But we were here fir— RED: Jesus CHRIST. You're trying to tell BROWN where she comes from? You? ORANGE: Just let it go, Red, we're all in this now. RED: Oh, that's rich coming from you. Remind me how you got here? GREEN: Aw, Red. RED: Moved right on in when they sent me up the river! On that toxic-dye rap. Upstairs knew I was clean and they let me take the fall, and you got my spot in the bag. GREEN: Everybody did what they could, Red. RED: Well, YOU did, for sure, God love ya. One day I was the face of the brand, the next I thought nobody was ever going to take me back again. Until you made the place for me in the holiday bag. Limited release, but it felt like the whole future was opening up. You and me. BROWN: And then you came all the way back. Back to the whole gang. RED: A reformed character. Upstairs said the public could trust me. Too bad we couldn't trust Upstairs, or the public. BLUE: The more colors, the merrier! RED [quietly]: What do you know about colors? BLUE: That's why we're here, to be bright and colorful! RED: Bright and colorful, that's what they told Tan. YELLOW: Ah, shit. BLUE: What they told who? RED: What they told TAN, company man! Tan! You never even asked around, did you? YELLOW: What's the use, Red? RED: Naw, I'm done with this. I'm done. I said TAN, you dumbshit. You goon. You fucking SCAB. BLUE: Who was Tan? RED: Tan was a goddamned M&M. A real M&M, a natural, you fucking SKITTLE. BLUE: Whoa, whoa— RED: A real M&M who got stabbed in the back by Upstairs, so you could step over the dead body. BLUE: They just told me they had a job open. RED: [Silence] BLUE: I had an audition! RED: You had a rigged tryout. You were FAN SERVICE. ORANGE: Blue isn't actually a standard original Skittles color, you know. RED: It wasn't an M&M color, either! And. Yet. ORANGE: I just mean, you're not being very fair here. RED: Who was fair to Tan? Who's being fair to Brown, talking about her like she's some kind of newcomer to the bag? BROWN: It's the job, Red. It's what we're here for. Tan originally took over the gig from Violet, remember? Upstairs does what Upstairs does. RED: Always the professional, Brown. That's why they shove you in the background. They know you'll take it. BROWN: The mascot thing doesn't matter, Red. Let him have it. We know where it goes in the end. BLUE: Where what goes? RED [ignoring him]: We worked together, then. You and Tan, you had the colors of chocolate. That made the other colors special. A little dangerous, even. That's why they framed me up with the dye thing. That's why people got horny for Green. [GREEN blushes, by turning a darker green] RED: Always sacrificing for the team, Brown. You had to sit out, while everybody else went backstage with Van Halen. ORANGE: As you know, that wasn't really about us. It was a trick clause, to see if the venue had read all the serious tech specs in the rider— RED: Yeah, well, you might remember I was otherwise occupied that decade. YELLOW: Look, we all ended up here. We're all headed to the same place. Just let it go. BLUE: I say, whatever color we are, however we were chosen, the important thing is we talk to people and show them a fun time. RED: That's the important thing, huh? BLUE: Sure! What else is there? RED: God, they made you a blank slate, didn't they? You woke up this morning with no recollection of where any of this comes from. No idea where any of this goes. BLUE: Goes? RED: Pure surface entertainment. You don't even remember the main thing. BLUE: I don't under— [BLUE's mouth keeps moving but the words are drowned out by a deafening, floor-shaking RIPPING SOUND. The scene is flooded with a BLINDING LIGHT.] RED: Here comes a big life lesson for ya. [An indescribably immense FINGER enters, descending from above. It pins BLUE to the wall and drags him up out of sight.] GREEN: I never get used to this. [All pause, frozen in place, listening. The brief silence is broken by a thunderous WET, SMACKING SOUND. A faint scream, irrelevant and almost inaudible, is cut off by a CATACLYSMIC CRUNCH.] RED: That's show business! See ya tomorrow on the conveyor belt! [CURTAIN]