SPARK PLUGS
ON DIESEL
ENGINES
NO
an absurdist comedy in 5 acts




Eric, Oliver, Robert and D.P. are four spark plugs trapped in a box in a storage room at some small road shop, that sells car spare parts. In darkness, they're waiting for being moved to the shop so to be bought and to be able to fulfil their life purpose. Bored and having nothing else to do, they're speculating if there are other ways of living their lives apart from conducting electricity under a car hood, and they're arguing about what happens after death (at the same time claiming, that they can't really die since they aren't really alive). Eric, Oliver and Robert are quite ordinary copper spark plugs, while D.P. has got into their box by an accident, and he's double platinum. This fact leads to a class conflict between D.P. and Oliver. D.P. is sure that he's better by design. Eric is pretty excited about all the upcoming opportunities, while Oliver and D.P. are not sure what will happen with the box after a shop owner notices that one spark plug isn't matching. Robert is wise and sedated enough not to care at all.
characters
(not in order of appearance)
copper spark plugs
Éric, the youngest one, in his middle 20s
Oliver, in his early 30s
Robert, the eldest one, he's 40 something
Jeanette
a double platinum spark plug
D.P., in his late 30s, he looks shiny and stylish
an owner of a small road shop, that sells spare car parts

Monsieur Arnaud
a salesman
Julien
Mssr. Arnaud's teenage son
Romain
customers
Woman # 1
Woman # 2
Man # 1
Man # 2
played by actors dressed in cheap dusty mascot costumes
Cat
Rat
Dog
Stage decorations: 4 tires, some technical liquid bottles, motor oil cans, cardboard boxes, etc.
It's supposed to be a very cheap production, so 4 chairs and any empty bottles would do, too.
Éric has a pair of sunglasses, that he puts on his face usually when stage lights go off, and removes the sunglasses when the stage is well lit. Robert is playing a Game Boy, and when he speaks, he doesn't lift his head.
act 1
A small storage room in a small road shop, that sells spare car parts
Semi darkness. The Rat is shuffling somewhere in the corner. Then the sound stops. Éric, Oliver, D.P. and Robert are sitting on the tires.
Éric
Is it morning already?

Silence.

Éric
Hey, mates, are you still sleeping?
(after a pause, raising his voice)
It must be morning!

D.P.
Keep your mouth shut.

Éric
But I don't have a mouth.

D.P.
Then do me a favour, juste stop pissing me off.

Oliver
How do you know it's morning already?

Éric
Oh, you're awake!

D.P.
(aside)
No, not again.

Éric
The rat has stopped scratching. It always does, because in the mornings the cat is being let in.

Oliver
Who let the dog out, who, who, who?

Éric
I said the cat and in, not out.

Oliver
(yawns)

Éric
D.P.?

Silence.

Éric
(pushes D.P.)

D.P.
What?

Éric
What morning is that?

D.P.
Is it important? All the mornings are the same.

Oliver
(yawning)
It's Christmas eve.

Éric
(puts the sunglasses on)
How can you tell?

Oliver
Heavy snowfalls…

D.P.
(interrupting)
It's snowing one thousand days a year here.

Éric
(confused, removes the sunglasses)
But there're only 365 days in a year.

Oliver
It's a metaphor, Éric, the same as (singing) eight days a week!

Éric
But there're only seven days in a week.

Oliver
(to Éric)
That's the whole point of a metaphor, Éric, to flip the reality over.
(to D.P.)
Heavy snowfalls and no customers at all during the whole month, and yet, I can hear increased traffic outside. So it means people have spent their salary on Christmas gifts, and now they're traveling from one side of the country to another, to exchange those useless things.

Éric
Christmas gifts are traveling?

D.P.
What a meaningless tradition.

Oliver
At least it gives everyone a chance to track time.

D.P.
And tracking time is important because?

Éric
(puts the sunglasses on)
Oh, I want to travel so much!

D.P.
Haven't you travel enough already? From France to Canada in a shipping container?

Éric
(removes the sunglasses)
Yeah, but we haven't seen anything, have we?

D.P.
You won't see anything no matter where you're, you blockhead. And no matter where you are and how much have you seen, you won't be able to comprehend anything.

Oliver
How are you so sure we are in Canada?

D.P.
Heavy snowfalls?

Oliver
Can be Alaska, Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia, Russia.

D.P.
It can't be Russia. We were shipped really fast and weren't stuck at customs. Then we spent a lot of time in the sea. And they speak Canadian French here, Oliver. They say un char instead of une voiture, they have le souper at 7 pm, they use those weird words typical to pidgin languages like faker, domper

Oliver
I've heard that Julien was dumped by his girlfriend again. It's sad.

D.P.
Quelle surprise! Wait, by the same girlfriend? It's not sad, it's idiotic.

Éric
(puts the sunglasses on)
Oh, I'd love to see Alaska!

D.P.
(aside)
Éric est un crétine. But I can't say it aloud, because Oliver insists we should be tolerant to everyone.
(to Éric, clicking his tongue)
You never pay attention, Éric. Alaska is the same as Quebec, whiteness all around, that is burning your eyes.

Oliver
Maybe it's Antarctica.

D.P.
Who would have shipped us to Antarctica? Who would need us there? Penguins? Rubbish!

Éric
Whiteness, but, D.P., look around, it's dark.

D.P.
I can't look around, my neck is stiff after being in the box for too long. And remember, we don't have eyes.

Oliver
Do you have any evidence that we've arrived here from France?

D.P.
It's written on the box. Produit en France.

Oliver
I can't see what's written on the box we're trapped in.

D.P.
Me neither, but you could have read what was written on other boxes around you when it wasn't dark.

Oliver
I'm in the middle. I can't see through small gaps between the box sides.

D.P.
There's no middle. There're four of us, and you're the second from the right.

Oliver
(looking at Robert, who's playing the Game Boy)
Is Robert alive?

D.P.
He can't die. We all even can't die. We aren't alive from the very beginning.

Oliver
Then why hasn't he said a word yet?

D.P.
He's on heavy meds, always sedated.

Éric
Hey, Robert! Robert! Good morning! Robert? Robert! Bonjour!
(Robert ignores Éric)

Oliver
Why? What's wrong with him?

D.P.
He had anger control problems, and the therapy didn't work on him so well, so he was prescribed some meds and now he can do his job, at least he's allowed to, I'm not sure he's been tested on the factory. Playing calms him down, so you better noy interfere.

Robert
(very calmly, not lifting his head up)
In our case, Éric, traveling is a synonym of working. No sightseeing, no shopping, no bad & breakfasts with their smelly mutilated mattresses, cornflakes and cheap orange juice, made of concentrate, flavourings and ascorbic acid, no maps, no destination point, you just work in darkness and…

D.P.
And you die working.

Oliver
(a bit annoyed with D.P.'s pessimistic attitude)
We don't know what happens after death. Hey, you've just mentioned that we couldn't even die. And they say there're places where we go after the job is finished.

D.P.
No one has ever returned from those places.

Éric
(removes the sunglasses)
What's ascorbic acid?

Oliver
(ignoring Éric's question)
Perhaps, those landfills, those dumps and junk yards are the after life.

D.P.
Nonsense. We can't even be sure these places exist. All we are certain of is that we work, and then we die, and then they throw us away.

Oliver
I don't understand why you worry so much about it. Your life span is 80,000 kilometres, it's twice as ours, maybe you'd be preying for being thrown away.

D.P.
They always throw away the whole pack. And because of you, you budget affordable representatives of the low class, I'll be thrown away after 30,000 kilometres.

Oliver
45,000. And who made you get in this box?

D.P.
(gloomy)
It was an accident.

Oliver
(sarcastically)
Oh really? An upper-class German guy stuck in the wrong box? You must be kidding me. They say, there're people who can bring us back to life.

D.P.
(getting angry)
Yeah, using benzene or tetrachloroethylene! Those are urban legends, Oliver.
(to Éric)
Well, Éric, do you still want to travel? How about hard labour? Poor working conditions, irregular schedule, dust, oil, heat?

Éric
(getting a pack of chewing gum from his pocket and beginning to chew)
Can we sense heat?

Oliver
It's cold here. And heat is the opposite.

Éric
(makes a bubble)
I can't feel it.

Oliver
Julien always shivers and puts on a jacket when walking inside.

D.P.
It's your logical conclusion, you can't percept the sense.

Oliver
I've convinced myself that I can.

D.P.
It's all in your silly copper core, Oliver.

Oliver
C'mon, D.P., I support Éric, I want to work, it's better than sitting here in the darkness.

D.P.
Standing. We're holding vertical positions inside the box.

Oliver
You're a bore and a flat tire, D.P.

D.P.
You mean, an intellectual.

Éric
(interrupting)
But working is our purpose. I want to fulfil what I was made for.

D.P.
You were made for annoying others around you. And you're fulfilling great.

Éric
(with hurt feelings)
Son of a bitch!

D.P.
(adopting a threatening intone)
Come again?

Éric
(D.P. pushes him)
You've heard me! Ouch!

Oliver
Hey, stop!

Robert
Shhh!

Oliver
What is it?

Robert
The rat is coming closer.
The Rat enters. The Rat is scurrying about, squeaking and dropping some stuff down on the floor.
Oliver
We have to pretend that we're dead, so the beast won't eat our package.

D.P.
We are not alive!

Oliver
Yes, yes, I mean we have to stand still, so it won't touch us.

D.P.
If we stand still, it will think we're dead, and then it'll breakfast on us. Rats are scared away with noises and movements.

Éric
(with excitement, making bubbles)
But if it eats the package, we gonna see something! We're gonna be free!

Oliver
It's dark, Éric. But if it eats the box, perhaps, they gonna take us out of here to the shop.

D.P.
It doesn't work like that, they gonna take us out when our counterparts in the shop are sold out.

Oliver
And if the package is damaged, they gonna put us on reduce, and we'd be sold sooner!

Éric
(puts the sunglasses on, makes a bubble)
And we'll work and travel!

D.P.
(gives Éric a long look)

Éric
What? Ah, all right.
(takes the chewing gum from his mouth and glues it on the back of the tire he's sitting on)

D.P.
Traveling and working aren't synonyms of having a free will. They just throw us away.

Oliver
Monsieur Arnaud will never agree to lose his money, I bet, reduced price it will be.

Robert
Keep quiet!
The Rat is eating small cardboard boxes, soft squeaking sounds, then it comes closer to the tires and begins chewing the corners. Grinding noises. The Spark Plugs are sitting motionless watching the Rat. The Rat is cleaning its face waggling the whiskers. Suddenly, a loud screech of a door being opened scares the rat away. A click, and the lights go on. Julien enters looking around.
D.P., Éric, Oliver
(shouting)
Merde! Shit! Oh my god! My eyes! Fuck! My eyes are burning!

Éric
(removes the sunglasses)
So morning it is!

Robert
(not lifting his head up, poker-faced and cool)
Good rat, it's eaten a hole big enough to see everything around through it.
(not looking around)
D.P., Éric, and Oliver look around. A storage room without windows is lit with LED light fittings providing an uncomfortable dead-blue glare, the tall shelving units are stuffed with auto parts and accessories. Julien, a slim young man with a painful face expression dressed in bib and braces, is trying to find something in the storage room. He shivers with cold and can't stop yawning. The Cat enters and chases the Rat.
Oliver
What Julien is looking for?

Mssr. Arnaud's voice
Julien, we're running out of de-icer windshield washer fluids, bring it here, and hurry up!

Julien
(absentmindedly, grabbing some bottles)
Oui, monsieur Arnaud.
(leaves switching off the lights)

Éric
(complaining, putting the sunglasses on)
Oh, I can't see anything again!

Oliver.
Evidently, Julien wasn't searching for us.

Éric
Hello, kitty! Kitty, kitty, kitty.
With a suspicion the Сat turns its head to the spark plugs.
Robert
(playing)
Shhh!

Oliver
Can the cat hear us?

Robert
(playing)
The cat can sense that something is not right.
The Cat touches the tires.
Éric
Ah, I'm scared!

D.P.
Hey, don't drop us down! Scram!
The Cat is going around the tires swishing its tail.
Mssr. Arnaud's voice
(shouting from the other room)
De-icer fluids, not concentrates!

Éric
Drop us down, drop us down, drop us down! Please!
The Cat's tail is slapping back and forth rapidly. The door opens again, the lights are turned on, Julien enters, the Cat moves its head away from the tires.
Éric
(removing the sunglasses)
Ouch! Why does the light hurt so much?

Oliver
(covering his eyes)
Fucking light.
Julien puts back the concentrate bottles, rubs his reddening ears, takes out a small black hat from one of his pockets, and puts it on. The cat is distracted. Julien takes some other bottles and, switching off the lights, leaves. The Rat leaves, too.
Robert
There're other ways of living our lives.

D.P.
(with discontent)
Oh, here comes a story again.

Éric
(puts the sunglasses on)
What ways? I love Robert's stories, D.P.!

Robert
Once upon a time there was a spark plug that dreamed of becoming something else.
(shaking the Game Boy)
Damn!

Oliver
Was it copper or nickel?

D.P.
It doesn't matter, Oliver!

Oliver
Of course, the electrode coating never matters to you, Double Platinum!

D.P.
Why should I care about the minorities?

Oliver
I beg my pardon? Whom do you call the minorities? There're more copper and nickel spark plugs than platinum, so who's the minority?

Éric
(covering his ears)
Stop arguing! I'm listening to the tale!

D.P.
(produces a heavy sigh)

Robert
It was a silver spark plug.

D.P.
Oh, what an emollient diplomatic move, bravo, Robert.

Éric
Shhh!

D.P.
Don't shush me!

Oliver
Have you finished, D.P.?

Éric
Shhh!
Oliver and D.P. look at him, and then at each other.
D.P.
(slowly spitting the words out)
Yes, merci, Oliver, j'ai fini, I've finished.

Robert
(continuing after a long pause, as he was distracted by the game)
So somehow this silver plug had managed to roll down on the floor, and not to get inside a box, and then a boy found it, he brought the spark plug home, and placed him on his table desk, the boy was a loner, so he talked to the spark plug, then showed him around, he was taking the silver spark plug to school, and to a play ground, and the spark plug stayed in the pocket of his trousers when he was strolling around and riding his bike…

D.P.
(snorts)
How touching, I'll throw up. Was he a homo, Robert? The boy?

Éric
(jumps on the floor in excitement, D.P. grabs him by the hand and seats him back on the tire)
So he travelled!

Robert
(peacefully)
Like I said, he was a loner.

D.P.
I don't see a contradiction.

Oliver
And what's wrong with being gay, D.P.?

D.P.
No idea, I'm not gay.

Oliver
(furiously)
Then why are you asking silly questions? The boy isn't even the main character!

D.P.
I thought you cared about the minorities.

Oliver
(looking at D.P. in resentment)
You sound like a homophobe.

D.P.
A sound is something that is perceived by someone else's ear, so it's up to you how to interpret what I'm saying.

Oliver
You're gasligting now.

D.P.
I'm not a lamp. Never mind, and they lived happily ever after, but nevertheless, in the end he was thrown away into a trash bin.

Éric
(removes the sunglasses)
The boy?

D.P.
The spark plug! The boy received his final wooden box.

Éric
People come packed in boxes, too?

D.P.
No, people go in boxes.

Éric
Do they travel in boxes?

D.P.
You can say that, yes.

Oliver
(whispering)
Hey, kitty, kitty, kitty! Come here, kitty!

D.P.
What are you doing?

Oliver
Kitty, over here! C'mon, kittykittykitty.
The Cat comes closer to the tires, its tail is flicking on high alert.
D.P.
Oliver, stop, the cat will drop us down!

Oliver
That's the point, that's the way out.
The cat is walking around the tires, twitching the tip of its tail, its eyes fixed on the spark plugs.
D.P.
Idiot, they find us on the floor, and throw us away.

Oliver
Nah, they throw you away, because you're a foreign object in this box. And you're paranoid and obsessed with this idea, perhaps, you secretly want to be thrown away. Ah, shit!
The cat jumps on the tires and pushes the spark plugs on the floor one by one.
Éric
It hurts! It hurts!

D.P.
Ouch, move, Oliver, you're sitting on my terminal. Gross!
(pushes Oliver away)

Éric
It hurts! It hurts!

Oliver
(rubbing his legs)
Oh, my ground electrode, it feels uncomfortable down there.

Éric
It hurts! It hurts!

Oliver
Éric, calm down!
(searches for Éric's sunglasses on the floor and, having found them, handles the sunglasses to Éric. Éric looks at them as if he's seeing them for the first time)

D.P.
Fucking A! Now I'm not in the corner, and still cet imbécile is next to me. How is it fair?

Oliver
Why should it be fair, D.P.? You're always saying that life is unfair. Oh, I'm on the right side now!

D.P.
Happy now, Oliver?

Oliver
Where's Robert? Is he alive?
(Robert is scrabbling on the floor looking for his Game Boy)

D.P.
He can't die until he does his 30,000 klicks.

Oliver
45,000.

Éric
Are we on the floor?

D.P.
No, it's Tatooine.

Éric
What?

D.P.
Of course, we're on the floor, Éric! Gravity is predictable.

Oliver
(singing)
Gravity, no escaping, gravity!

D.P.
(looks at Oliver with pity)

Éric
(puts the sunglasses on)
But I can't see anything! We're on the floor, but I can't see the world!

Oliver
Éric, it's still dark! We're on the floor in the same room, the lighting is off.

Éric
(perplexedly)
Oh. I see.
(cheerfully)
I'd rather be a light bulb, then! Light bulbs see everything!

Oliver
(singing)
I'd rather be a hammer than a nail! Yes, I wooouuuld (interrupting himself). All right, all right, D.P., I can hear your eyes rolling. Éric, light bulbs see nothing, all the interesting stuff happens in obscurity.

D.P.
Are you serious? And what interesting stuff is happening now, in this bloody darkness, may I ask?

Oliver
At least we've changed places inside the box and our position outside it.
(singing)
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!

D.P.
And how is it connected to obscurity?

Oliver
(ignoring D.P.'s sarcasm)
Tu sais, D.P., I find it rather symbolic, we see the world through a pin hole, the camera obscura principle…

D.P.
Rubbish. A camera obscura requires light which goes though a hole into a box, and we're inside the box which is stored in the unlit storage room. Two boxes ain't a match, you have to find more similarities to make a point, so your metaphor is a pseudo philosophical bullshit.

Oliver
Hah! And where have you obtained a master's degree?

Éric
I'd rather be a rocket, then!
(stands up and pretends to fly like a plane)

Oliver
A rocket? How does a rocket have anything to do with us?

Éric
Its shape resembles ours, but its mission is to travel, to explore…

D.P.
To explore the same cold darkness. You're obsessed with the idea of traveling. Obsessions never lead to anything good. And you're not picturing a rocket, Éric, it's a plane, rockets don't fly like this! Lie down!

Éric
(lying back on the floor)
Why do you always have to ruin everything, D.P.?

D.P.
I know what existence would have suited you perfectly, Éric. Deep inside, in the area of your suppressor, you're a rectal suppository.

Oliver, Éric
Gross!

Robert
Rectal suppositories ain't like us, they don't work collaboratively, light bulbs are team-players, they need electricity.

Oliver
So many creatures spending their lives in darkness.

D.P.
Then it's better to be a CCTV cam. Surveillance cameras are able to see in the dark.

Éric
(puts the sunglasses on)
But they don't travel. They're doomed to spend their lives having been installed at one place.

D.P.
They do travel, in time. If something important happens, then a recorded footage would be played back, so they can travel in the past.

Oliver
But it's a footage that travels, not a camera.

D.P.
(looking at Oliver with discontent)
I don't care, I don't want to travel anyway.

Oliver
You just can't admit that your assumption is wrong. And it's not very ethical to wait for something to happen your entire life, is it? I mean no one is interested in a CCTV cam unless something bad happens. A stolen bike, a stabbing in a lift, blood in foyer… I wouldn't like to be a firearm, for example.

D.P.
A firearm isn't the worst.

Oliver
It only gets attention when people are about to be hurt.
The Cat and the Rat enter, and the Cat is chasing the Rat and finally catches it, and the Rat makes loud unpleasant noises. The Cat leaves, dragging the Rat away by the legs.
D.P.
Sometimes bad people are about to be hurt, so good people wouldn't be hurt.

Oliver
You can't use violence against violence.

D.P.
Life isn't black and white.
(Éric removes the sunglasses)
It all depends on the definition of the bad and the good.

Oliver
Don't forget the ugly.

D.P.
You're either naive or a coward, Oliver. It's easy to be a spark plug, no moral obligations, no choices.

Robert
(pensively)
In our case life seems to be black and white, it's either underexposed when the lights are off or overexposed when they suddenly are turned on.

Éric
(puts the sunglasses on)

Oliver
No, thanks god I'm not a firearm! I don't want to hurt people!

D.P.
Like I said, a firearm ain't the worst thing to be. Being a telly is much worse. Just imagine, you have to show people some serious fake shit, so they would become zombies and lose their free will, if they had any, without even noticing it.

Oliver
But you can show some good positive educational content.

D.P.
Nah, you can't. Firstly, you are not in charge, you're showing what you're made to show, secondly no one needs positive educational content, it's boring shit. So even if you manage somehow to show non-brainwashing stuff, you won't be able to get a prime time. So it's a failure. And what's the point of this argument whatsoever? We can't choose who we are, we can't choose what to do and when to do, we can't choose a place to be. And I'm pretty happy with what I am.
(looks at Oliver and Éric)

Robert
Shhh!

Oliver
What is it?

Robert
Someone's standing by the door.
Julien enters switching on the lights.
Julien
Okay, I'll check if we have anything that fits your car.

Woman # 1's voice
Merci!

Oliver
(exhaustedly)
Oh, damn the light!

Éric
(opens his mouth to shout)

D.P.
(with threat)
Éric, you make another cry, I fucking rip out your copper core through the gap of your electrodes.

Éric
(closes his mouth and removes the sunglasses)
Julien is searching for some auto parts, The Dog enters, squeezing itself through a half-opened door.
Woman # 1's voice
Oh no!

Julien
Eh?

Woman # 1's voice
My dog has run away, it's in the storage room.

Julien
No worries, I'll find it.
(whistles)

Éric
Are dogs dangerous?

Oliver
Not for us.

Éric
Why not?

Oliver
If a dog swallows one of ours, it'll get poisoned. Natural protective mechanism.
Julien is walking around, whistling, passing by the spark plugs.
D.P.
You haven't answer Éric's question, Oliver. Dogs are dangerous for us, they can break us down, chew our terminals and ground electrodes, but we're dangerous as well. What is worse that dogs don't know that.

Robert
Shhh!

Oliver
What is it?

Robert
I hear it's coming. I hear the echo of its small paws.
The Dog comes closer and sniffs the Spark Plugs suspiciously.
Éric
Ah! I'm scaaaaaaaared! Heeeelp! Aidez-moi!
The dog growls.
D.P.
Shut up, Éric.

Éric
(screams)

D.P.
(pushes Éric)

Éric
(tries to put on the sunglasses)

D.P.
Give me your stupid sunglasses!
(grabs the sunglasses from Éric and throws them away)
The Dog chases the sunglasses and then comes back to the Spark Plugs.
Oliver
Éric, it's a small dog, it can't do you any harm, it doesn't even know how to chew properly, it eats only expensive pâté and expensive high-heels!

D.P.
Are you dreaming of becoming a pair of expensive high-heels, Éric? They doesn't travel much, usually only attending social events, but yet, see a lot from the worm's view perspective.

Éric
(sobbing)
Nooooo.

Oliver
This is outrageous. Who walk such dogs unleashed?

D.P.
Unleashed? This dog isn't supposed to be walked at all, it should have been stored in a hand bag, and who walks a dog in a road shop that sells car spare parts?

Julien
Oh, here you are.
(kneeling down and grabbing the dog)
And what is this?
(looks at the Spark plugs)

D.P.
Are you blind, Julien? What is this is written on the box.

Oliver
Perhaps, he can't read.

Julien
A box of spark plugs lying on the floor? I'd better put them on a showcase.
Julien helps the spark plugs to stand up, then Julien, the Dog, and the Spark Plugs, holding by the hands, leave. The dog whines softly. Éric keeps himself from screaming.
act 2
In the well-lit shop
Holding by the hands, Julien, the Dog, and the Spark Plugs enter. The Spark Plugs stop in the middle of the stage.
Julien
(handling the dog to the customer)
Such a lovely dog.

D.P.
(contemptuously)
Lovely? What happened to its skull? Why does it look so deformed? I've heard that experiments on animals are considered cruel and against the law. Or Is this dog a pile up or a train wreck survivor or something?

Oliver
(with sorrow)
I feel sick. I might be seasick.

Éric
But there's no sea around, Oliver.

D.P.
He means he feels sick after the rocking ride under this loser's stinky armpit. Don't you dare puke, Oliver! And you don't know what is sea anyway, Éric!

Éric
But I know it's not here.

D.P.
How do you know it's not here if you don't know what it is?

Robert
Where are we now?

Oliver
(singing)
A man lost in time near KaDeWe, just walking the dead.
(choking)

D.P.
Turn away! Don't puke at me!

Woman # 1
(taking the dog from Julien)
Oh, merci beaucoup.

D.P.
We've been transferred to another facility, Robert.

Robert
It's not a psycho ward, is it?

D.P.
I'm not sure.

Robert
(getting the Game Boy from his pocket)
But I'll be allowed to play the Game Boy here, won't I?

D.P.
I guess you will. Though you playing the Game Boy doesn't make any sense.

Robert
And what does?

D.P.
A good question.

Robert
A good question surely does make sense. Anyway, I have to occupy my head. I can't just sit here and do nothing about it.

D.P.
No, no, I mean the Game Boy doesn't really fit, someday you'll have to start working, Robert, so you should play a driving simulator. Really, the Game Boy sounds old-fashioned and ridiculous, what year are you living in? The 1990s are gone, Robert, move on.

Julien
(to Woman # 1)
You're very beautiful, too.

D.P.
Now I feel sick, too. Ewww.

Julien
Would you probably er… like to have er… coffee with…?

Woman # 1
(interrupting)
Thank you so much again, joyeux Noël.
(leaves in a hurry)

Julien
(gloomily)
Merry Christmas. Bitch.

D.P.
(laughing)
What a dickhead.

Oliver
You're a dick, D.P., the man was just being nice.

Robert
(pensively, starting playing the Game Boy)
Mice? Where?

Oliver
(shouting)
Nice, not mice!

D.P.
(scratches his ear)
If Julien continues dressing himself the way he does, he will never even have a chance for coffee, let alone anything else.

Oliver
You don't judge a book by its cover.

D.P.
Of course you do. Imagine that on the front cover for this play are a sandy shore, an ocean, waves and an old man surfing pictured? What a reader would think? That's it's a sequel to the Old Man and the Sea. The Old Man and the Surf.

Oliver
The Old Man and the Wave. Who would name the sequel and the Surf, jeez, man, it's a spoiler alert title, and do old men surf? I doubt it. Anyways, defeated expectancy as a stylistic device creates a new cognitive perspective.

D.P.
(looks at Oliver crinkling his nose and raising his eyebrow)
Éric looks around in curiosity and begins walking around the stage. D.P. grabs him by the elbow and puts him back in the middle, where the Spark Plugs are standing. Then Julien takes each Spark Plug by the hand and shows them to the tire, the Spark Plugs sit down.
Robert
(having seated comfortably and starting playing the Game Boy, not looking around)
Oh, we're on the showcase now, great, look around, we can see the whole world from here.

D.P.
Imagine that our box design resembles a pack of condoms. What a customer would think? What if Julien finally finds a woman and then confuses our cardboard box with a pack of condoms?

Oliver
Gross!

D.P.
But think about the sequences. It's either he would get blue balls or a baby. See, that's why you can and have to judge a box by its package design.

Robert
(pensively)
Mice aren't nice at all. They eat cardboard boxes.

D.P.
Robert, how does it work? Are you thinking too slowly or are you talking too slowly that your reply has always a few minutes delay? Or are we experiencing some problems with the stage equipment?
(turning around and looking at the back of the stage)
Hey, guys, would you please check the cables? I feel as if Robert is being constantly put on mute.

Oliver
That's why Monsieur Arnaud keeps the cat. Don't be so hard on Robert, D.P.

D.P.
A good thing that he's a spark plug, if he were a flight departure board all the planes would take off empty and gates would be overcrowded.

Oliver
At least duty free and cafes would make extra money.

D.P.
Who are our new neighbours? Oliver, do you see anything? Anyone?

Oliver
Hmm. Nothing interesting. A few packs of key fob batteries, cabin air filters, oh, a muffler…

D.P.
(interrupting)
A sport car muffler?

Oliver
I don't think so. An ordinary one. Hey, dude! Dude? Are you alive? Can you talk? Nope, I believe the muffler doesn't talk.

D.P.
Thank God the muffler doesn't talk. What to talk with it about if it wasn't meant for a racing car.

Oliver
You're disgusting, D.P. You believe you're better than us only because you have a double platinum core.

D.P.
Well, I am bloody better. Even if you're bought, you'd rot inside some battered car, most likely you would overwork and would be replaced a million miles after, you would be cleaned every one thousand mile with stinky gasoline…

Oliver
(singing)
And I've been putting out the fire with gasoline. Putting out the fire. With gasoline.

Éric
I'd love to be clean! What does it mean to be clean? It sounds nice.

D.P., Oliver
(both turning to Éric)
Shhh!

Éric
What?

Oliver
Don't say words that rhymes with rodents of any kind. Unless you want Robert to get engaged in our conversation with his nonsense.

D.P.
Clean is when you've been arrested by police on some kooky allegations, but after having been questioned and your house having been searched, you're free of all charges since they haven't found anything proving that you were guilty. Oliver, it's Christmas, if you're singing, can't you at least choose more appropriate songs?

Éric
And am I guilty?

D.P.
Of course you are, Éric, you have a lousy mind and you're stupid.

Oliver
Don't listen to him, Éric.
(with sarcasm)
Not everyone is meant to be brilliant, pardon my pun, Double Platinum. It's all right to be ordinary.

D.P.
(happily agreeing)
Certainly. Someone has to be a loser. I'm pleased not to be that someone.

Oliver
Arrogance is a sin.

D.P.
(moonily)
But not a crime. And arrogance is attractive. Oh, someday I'll meet my love, not a F1 car, but maybe a Chevy Corvette or a Mercedes safety car, hm, it would be amazing, an AMG GT R, hm, she's gorgeous.

Oliver
(laughing)
You? And and AMG GT R? Hahaha. You're stuck somewhere in a deserted area of Canada, and you think there's a chance to meet an AMG? A real Formula 1 safety car? Hahaha. If only Bernd Mayländer have heard you! By the way, D.P., if you were a fast engine, you could have ended up in a museum in Munich or in Stuttgart, but you're just an ordinary spark plug.

D.P.
Oh, go fuck yourself. By the way, there's a Canadian gran-prix, I can meet an AMG at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve!

Oliver
(continues laughing)

Éric
Stop arguing! Can you spend a moment without fighting?

Oliver, D.P
We can't.

D.P.
(speaking with German accent)
Oh, ich vermisse mein Vaterland!

Oliver
But does your Vaterland miss you back? It seems your Vaterland doesn't care where you are. I wonder, what if a police officer buys us?

D.P.
A cop? No, thank you.

Oliver
You can't choose our buyer. But it sounds exciting, we would participate in a pursuit.

D.P.
You didn't want to be a firearm, as fas as I remember, Oliver.

Oliver
What does a firearm have to do with a police car?

D.P.
It's still about violence-against-violence-non-violence-against-violence-blah-blah.

Oliver
It's about preventing crimes or punishing those who have already committed crimes.

D.P.
Same violence, but from the different point of view. You're a coward and a hypocrite, Oliver, you don't want to take an action, but you want to passively participate in it. Without taking responsibilities. You don't want to be a fire arm, but don't mind to serve for a police car. That's what distinguishes us, the elite is responsible for their actions, while all the rest isn't.

Oliver
Says a German guy. The elite should be responsible, but isn't.

D.P.
Oh don't start this bullshit, Germany took all the responsibilities long time ago!

Oliver
I didn't say anything about Germany.

D.P.
You've just mentioned my nationality! And you, French, are selling yourself cheap, for a full stomach!

Oliver
What are you implying?

D.P.
You know what I'm implying!

Éric
(covering his ears and shouting)
Stop arguing! I can't bear it!
(calming down, then starting to talk with excitement)
If you were a human being, how would you like to look like? Oh, I'd like to be handsome! And tall! And with shiny eyes!
(jumps on the tire, D.P. pulls him back)

D.P.
You couldn't look handsome, Éric.

Éric
Why not?

D.P.
Stupid people ain't handsome by default.

Oliver
I disagree. No one cares whether a person is clever or not if he or she…

D.P.
She or he.

Oliver
I beg my pardon?

D.P.
If you want to sound up to date, you should use the female pronoun first.

Oliver
Er, okay, no one cares if she or he is beautiful.

D.P.
That's exactly what I was saying. No one cares about beauty.

Oliver
No, D.P., that's exactly what I was not saying. No one cares whether a person is clever or not if she or he…

D.P.
He or she.

Oliver
(inaudible cursing)
***?!

D.P.
If you're using such grammatical construction twice, make an interchange, so not to sound too feministish.

Oliver
Feministic.

D.P.
Feministish, faschistisch. Just say they, for god's sake!

Oliver
No, D.P., that's exactly what I was not saying. No one cares whether a person is clever or not if they is…

D.P.
They are.

Oliver
They is, I'm referring to a person! Not to persons!

D.P.
Yes. But it sounds totally incorrect, they coordinates with plural. Or they coordinate with plural?

Oliver
Go fuck yourself!

D.P.
I'd love to. But I can't. I don't have hands and a dick and legs to go. Speaking of which, I'd prefer to be a woman, better an ugly one, so I'd be trendy, I'd fight for women's right, I'd join body positive movement with my double chin, curvy lines and fatty hairy armpits. I'd file lawsuits against losers like Éric and Julien only because I'd think they looked at me the wrong way. But I'd say they harassed me.

Oliver
Ah, nowadays everything offends everyone. So your sex wouldn't have mattered.

D.P.
Yes, yes. But it's important to follow the trends, to belong.

Oliver
What? You hate being like everyone else!

D.P.
Oops, my bad, to pretend to belong. Successful pretending to belong increases your chances of achieving social and financial success.

Oliver
It would have been better to file lawsuits against rich, not against losers.

D.P.
Depends on your strategy, Oliver. If you want quick money, then correct you are, but if you're going to fight against any injustice, the faker the better, then you have to draw attention firstly. And afterwards you'll get enough money from charities, etc, etc, etc. So, Éric, I admit, I were wrong about you.

Éric
(happily, standing up)
Please, continue!

D.P.
Retards like you are popular now, you'd be a rather successful human individual.

Éric
(sits back)

Oliver
If I were a human, I'd certainly wear high heels. I love the sound they make, click, click, click…

D.P.
High heels ain't clicking, they're clinking, what are you, wanna be a computer mouse?

Oliver, Éric
Shhh!

D.P.
(lowering his voice)
Sorry. Mice are out of date, people use stylus pens and trackpads.

Oliver
(sarcastically)
Oh, my apologies, Double Platinum, I've confused high heels with an improvised explosive device.

D.P.
Bombs are ticking, not clicking, you dumbass.

Oliver
Time is ticking, D.P., bombs are ruining everything like you're always ruining our conversations. What about you, Robert, how would you like to look like?
The door bell rings.
Robert
(pensively playing the Game Boy)
Shhh! A customer!

Oliver
You'd like to look like a customer?

D.P.
That's a pretty vivid description. You see, Oliver, Robert is always looking deeper, inside the subject, he has gone further, from a general appearance to a social status. It's always better to be a customer, being a customer means you have money to buy goods and services, doesn't matter how you made those money.

Oliver
Nah, I can't agree. It's better to sell stuff. Then you're both, a seller and a customer, and you can make a fortune by selling goods, you can't doing so by buying things.

Éric
I'd love to buy a pair of high heels!

D.P.
It's much better to be on the top of a chain, then, to make products.

Oliver
It's risky, everyone wants to be on top.

D.P.
Being on top is always more pleasurable.

Oliver
It's overcontrol, D.P.

D.P.
And the best is to sit in an expensive leather chair with armrests and with a recliner and to watch how other people are making your products for you, so later other people would sell them, and you would get all the income.
An assistant stage manager pushes a chair on the scene, D.P. sits in it, spins in the chair, then pushes it back from the scene and sits back on the tire.
Oliver
So far so good, but then a member of a trade union comes to visit you, or a fire inspector, and you're screwed up, and you're selling your leather chair…

D.P.
No one would buy it! Who needs a used leather armchair stinking of farts and with worn arm rests?

Oliver
Okay. So you'd think of selling something else to pay a delayed salary and to cover your penalties for violating fire safety rules, etc, etc, etc.

D.P.
Or you can poke the inspector's eye with a high heel shoe, so… There're always ways.
Robert

Shhh! A customer!
Julien and Man # 2, dressed in working outfit, enter.
Julien
Bonjour, monsieur. How can I help you?

Man # 1
Hello. I need windshield wipers, a fucking heavy snowfall, I can't see shit.

Julien
Okay. For what car?

Man # 1
A VW Transporter.

Éric
(stands on the tire, D.P. pulls him back)
Oh, maybe he'll buy us!

D.P
Are you deaf? He said he needed wipers. We can't help him to get rid of the snow on the windshield.

Oliver
It would have been nice to be an ice scraper or a snow brush. To feel a human touch in winters.

D.P
Yeah, 15 minutes of human touch and 23 hours and 45 minutes of lying frozen in a trunk.

Oliver
Perhaps, 15 minutes of being touched by a warm human is worth it.

D.P
No, it's not.

Oliver
How do you know that? When was the last time you felt a human touch? Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot you were so cold you couldn't feel anything anyway.
Julien is searching for the wipers somewhere in the corner. Monsieur Arnaud enters, cheerfully greets the customer.
Mssr. Arnaud
Everything all right? Anything else?

Man # 1
Non, non, merci.

Mssr. Arnaud
Returning home for Christmas?

Man # 1
I wish! Making the last deliveries, a bitch of a job, if I'm not on time, my bonuses will be cut off, fucking frost, the car wouldn't start.

Mssr. Arnaud
Most terrible. No one appreciates our jobs, so necessary yet. The car didn't start, huh? Perhaps, you need a new battery or spark plugs.

Éric
Spark plugs!

Oliver
(in excitement)
Did he just say spark plugs?

Éric
(dancing on the tires)
He needs us! We'll save him!

Oliver
(jumping on the tires)
And he'll get his bonuses!

D.P.
(watches them with displeasure)

Robert
(staring at the Game Boy)
He needs either us or a battery. Not both.

D.P
His car has started all right after all, he needs neither.

Oliver
(sitting back)
Have you always been thinking so negatively or has it started after a trauma of some sort?

D.P
(aside)
Yeah, after I've accidentally got into a box with three losers.

Man # 1
Non, non, merci, the battery is fine.

Mssr. Arnaud
Spark plugs maybe? Just in case?

Éric
(jumping)
Spark plugs!

Man # 1
My Transporter runs on a diesel engine.

Mssr. Arnaud
Ah, I see, good for you. Oh, I think I'll make you a reduce, 15% off for these wipers. Joyeux Noël and have a safe drive.

Man # 1
Merci, Joyeux Noë aussi.
(leaving the shop)

Éric
(sitting back in confusion)
A diesel engine? What does that mean?

Oliver
There're no spark plugs on diesel engines.

Éric
So he won't buy us?

D.P
No, Éric, he won't. Not only you're replaceable, but sometimes you're even unnecessary.

Mssr. Arnaud
(to Julien)
Next time offer a customer some take away coffee. We didn't get this fucking vending franchise for shop decor!
Monsieur Arnaud tries to prepare coffee, but discovers that there's no milk inside the coffee machine, he gives Julien a questioning look, Julien begins opening a pack of milk near the tires, and in a hurry he spills milk on the Spark Plugs.
Éric, Oliver, D.P.
Hey, carefully!
(Robert checks if his Game Boy is okay and shakes it)

Julien
Pardonnez-moi, how clumsy of me.

Mssr. Arnaud
You'll ruin all our goods!

D.P
If this shelf is all his goods, then his business is pretty fucked up.
Julien is mopping the floor, and Monsieur Arnaud examines if the tires are wet.
Mssr. Arnaud
Look what you've done! All the packages are now soaking wet! I'll deduct money from your pay check! Get the stuff out of the wet boxes, Julien!
Julien comes to the tires, and help the Spark Plugs to lie down on the floor.
Oliver
Ouch, I feel so naked without the box.

Éric
It tickles!

D.P
How did you like a human touch, Oliver? Oh crap, I'm all greasy after his fatty hands.

Robert
Shhh!

Oliver
What?

Robert
Monsieur Arnaud has noticed something!
Monsieur Arnaud bends over the spark plugs.
Oliver
(almost in fear)
His face is so close!

Mssr. Arnaud
(in an irritated voice)
Julien! What is this?

Éric
I'm scared!

D.P
You longed for attention, Éric, so stop complaining.

Oliver
Hold still!

D.P
(snorting)
You're giving orders as if we're able to move.

Robert
Shhh!

Julien
(coming closer. not understanding what's wrong)
Er, spark plugs?

Mssr. Arnaud
Yes, but one plug certainly doesn't belong to this box!

Julien
(confused)
Hmm?

Mssr. Arnaud
évidemment, look, it's not copper, a double platinum Bosch.
(suspiciously)
Have you been messing around with my goods?

Julien
No, I swear I didn't do anything.

Mssr. Arnaud
Okay, sometimes mistakes occur on factories. Replace the wrong one with a suitable one, there're some spare plugs from damaged packs in the storage room. And drop the price for the copper four.
(leaves)
Standing in the corner, Julien is digging in some boxes.
Éric
(in fear)
Who's the wrong one?

D.P
I beg my pardon. The wrong one?

Oliver
It seems, D.P., they're talking about you.

D.P
It can't be it! Hey, you can't replace me! I've been living here for half of my life!
Julien returns with a copper plug in his hand.
D.P
Hey, I'm not going to move out! I'm quite satisfied with my flatmates…

Robert
Box mates.

Oliver
(grinning)
Or are you?
Julien takes Oliver, Éric, and Robert by the hand and helps them to stand up and to sit on the tires. D.P. is lying alone on the floor. Julien comes to him.
D.P
The box is gone, oh fuck the terminology! Hey, leave me alone, hey, put me down! Don't you dare touching me!
Julien drags D.P. away.
act 3
In the well-lit shop
Oliver, Éric, and Robert are sitting on the tires.
Éric
(panicking)
I'm scared! Who is this? Does it talk? Hey! I'm scared! Where is D.P.? Talk to me! Talk to me! D.P.! Double Platinum!

Oliver
Éric, calm down. Mon Dieu, where has he taken D.P.? To a waste bin? No, no, it's so wrong! Too soon!

Robert
I doubt he's in the waste bin. He's expensive, our boss wouldn't have just thrown him away.

Oliver
Then where to?

Robert
God knows where.

Oliver
Does the new one talk? Hey, mate, are you alive? No? How does he look like, Éric, I can't see, Robert is blocking the view.

Robert
(playing the Game Boy)
He looks very normal.

Oliver
Very normal? What the hell does it mean?

Robert
He doesn't talk. So he's not intelligent, ordinary, common, centralised like central heating.

Oliver
(begins walking in circles on the stage)
What?! It doesn't make any sense. Anyways, the ability to talk doesn't make someone intelligent. Look at Éric.

Éric
Why are you suddenly so mean?

Oliver
(sits back)
Sorry, mate. I think I'm distressed and I'm experiencing a huge rise of cortisol.

Éric
A good excuse.

Oliver
It's not an excuse! I'm trying to be sincere! I've apologised, for fuck's sake!

Robert
Stop swearing. What if kids watch our play? It will be all bleeped out.

Oliver
(cursing aloud, the whole monologue is bleeped out)

Éric
If you talk like this outside, you'll get yourself arrested.

Oliver
And what's your business, Éric? What are you, my mommy?
(hysterically)
And we're trapped inside! We'll always be trapped inside!

Éric
(sobbing)
Oh, I miss D.P.!

Oliver
(calming down)
Yeah, I miss him, too. I can't believe we won't see each other again!

Robert
Perhaps someday, at a dump, we'll meet him again.

Éric
We've shared so many precious moments together!

Oliver
(singing softly)
Precious and fragile things. Need special handling.
(interrupting himself)
Oh, c'mon! Precious isn't a correct word! D.P. was a rude dickhead. He didn't treat us well. He thought he was better than us. He deserved exactly what he got.

Éric
And what is it, exactly?

Oliver
I don't know. How should I know? But what he got is exactly what he deserved. Hey, Robert, do you have a cigarette lighter by chance?

Robert
No.

Oliver
Éric, do you have a lighter? A box of matches, perhaps?

Éric
What? What are you talking about?

Oliver
Merde, I wish I could smoke now! Ah, never mind, I don't have cigarettes, must have forgotten them in my other jacket.
(checks his pockets twice)

Éric
Oliver, you don't smoke!

Oliver
Oh, I completely forgot I've quit.

Éric
You never did! You don't have lungs!

Oliver
What are you talking about, Éric? Of course, I did smoke. At the factory.

Robert
Rubbish. You couldn't have been even a passive smoker, you weren't produced in the 1970s, when everyone had been smoking on their working places!

Oliver
Why are you so sure? Do you even know what year it is?

Robert
(playing the Game Boy)
Beer? I don't mind beer.

Éric
And what year is it by the way?

Oliver
I have no idea either. Maybe we're in the future, or maybe we're in the past.

Éric
But we're always in the present, ain't we?

Oliver
It's very easy to confuse the present with the subjunctive. It's even easier to confuse the subjunctive with low mood.

Robert
We shall grieve over D.P.

Oliver
He's not dead. Well, I hope he's not.

Robert
But he's gone. And it would be a proper reaction so we can accept this fact and adjust to our new reality.

Oliver
The reality hasn't changed a bit. Look around, same shop, same faces.

Robert
But for us it has changed.

Oliver
So we are not grieving about the disappearance of D.P.? We're grieving about the fact that we have to adjust to the reality that has changed inside our non-existence heads?

Éric
(jumping on the tire in excitement)
Shall we sing a hymn?

Oliver
What? Why? No, Éric, we're not starting a football match!

Éric
D.P. liked football. So how shall we grieve?

Oliver
(pulling Éric back)
A good question! Robert, how?

Robert
Everyone grieves differently. But a moment of silence fits for collective grieving.

Oliver
Team grieving? Like team playing?

Éric
(tries to jump, but Oliver holds him)
So it's similar to a football match?

Oliver
It's completely the opposite to a football match. How long is that moment, Robert?

Éric
D.P. was worrying that Borussia Dortmund would outscore FC Bayern this season, how he would know the points now if he's dead?

Oliver
He's not dead. And Dortmund has no chances.

Robert
It's a short moment.

Oliver
How long is short?

Éric
Short can't be long.

Oliver
A shirt is usually long, Éric. Educate yourself, buy an issue of Vogue or something. Harpers's Bazar or Vanity Fair would do, too, if you'd like to be into fashion.

Éric
I wouldn't!

Oliver
Weren't you dreaming of being handsome? Maybe Dazed would suit you better. But keep in mind that a shirt always goes well with high heels.

Robert
Shhh!

Oliver
What? A customer again?

Robert
No! We're grieving!

Oliver
Ah, yes.
(silence)

Éric
Is it over?

Robert
(playing the Game Boy, pressing the buttons with pressure)
Shhh!

Oliver
(squinting his eyes at the screen)
Are you scoring, Robert?

Robert
Shhh!

Éric
But how do we know it's over? With a football match you always know that it's over when fans on one side of a stadium begin fighting with fans from the other side.

Oliver
That's why I told you it's not similar to a football match.

Robert
Listen to your heart.

Oliver
(singing)
I don't know where you're going and I don't know why…

Robert
Shhh!

Oliver
Sorry.

Éric
But I don't have a heart.

Oliver
Imagine you do.

Éric
Do we have imagination?

Robert
Shhh!
Monsieur Arnaud enters.
Mssr. Arnaud
(on the phone)
Oui, mon amour. Quoi? How did you do it?

Robert
Shhh!

Oliver
Hey, man, we're grieving here!

Mssr. Arnaud
We don't even own pets, no, no, no, wait, who has dropped the Christmas tree?

Éric
It's ridiculous! We can't even grieve properly in here!

Mssr. Arnaud
What, all the toys are broken? It's ridiculous. All right, all right, it would have been worse if you have put the tree on fire.

Oliver
A bloody human error! People are always spoiling everything!

Mssr. Arnaud
Okay, I'll try to buy something.
(hanging up)
Ridiculous!
(leaves)

Éric
Oh, so it is Christmas after all!

Oliver
So what? It just means we'll stay here all alone for a couple of days.

Éric
Are you trying to replace D.P. with your negative attitude?

Oliver
No, I'm being realistic.

Éric
C'est très triste. D.P. will spend Christmas all alone.

Oliver
Maybe he's been thrown away after all and now he's being eaten by birds.

Éric
What is birds?

Oliver
What are birds. A bird is a rat with wings. Remember when a sparrow flew into the storage room and Julien was trying to catch it with his hoodie and the sparrow shitted everything around? That was a bird.

Éric
But it was small, how can a bird eat a spark plug?

Oliver
There're larger birds, they inhabit city dumps and waste bins.

Éric
Ah, I'm scared!

Oliver
Why are you scared? Do you see any birds here? Me neither.

Robert
But there're stories…

Oliver
Oh, not again.

Éric
What stories, Robert? I want to hear a story!

Robert
There're stories about birds and cats who accidentally got under a car hood…

Éric
Mon Dieu! It's a gruesome fairy tale! I'm scared! What happened next?

Oliver
Yeah? Why did they get under a car hood?

Robert
To get themselves warm in winter.

Oliver
That's stupid. Why couldn't they just drink some vodka?

Robert
They were seeking a shelter.

Oliver
Birds and cats? Under one roof? The cats would have eaten the birds.

Éric
It's a fairy tale, Oliver! In fairy tales everything is upside down.

Oliver
So what? Are you saying that in a fairy tale a witch and a princess are visiting the same social event, cheek-kiss each other, share a few glasses of wine, laugh at jokes of some rich fat bastard whom they see for the first time and wish they wouldn't have met him at all, gossip about the other rich fat bastard, who's not there because his mistress just called his wife to inform her that she's pregnant, and the wife said it was a divorce for sure and he's desperately trying not to lose all of his money, he'd rather lose his mind than his money, but probably he's crazy already, and then they agree that the food gives them an acid reflux, they say good nights, and the witch returns to her witch house which needs to be cleaned asap, because the bats have shitted on every fucking surface, certainly because the witch tried to save some money and bought them kibbles on reduce, most likely with an expired best before date, but the witch is too drunk and she believes she's okay to sleep in the bats' shit, bedsheets, bats' shit, she doesn't care, and the princess returns to her castle and makes a fight with her prince over their white horse who's trampled down all her flower beds, and she's yelling at the prince that he doesn't care at all about the things she treasures, and he's pro-Trump anyway, and that's the reason why he allowed the horse to trample down her flower beds, and then she's crying in the bedroom, smeared makeup, more wine, or even some cheap whiskey, White Horse, no glass, straight from a bottle, and then she's texting to her ex, who's the witch's son, and in the morning the witch and the princess begin hating each other again? No way. That how life goes, but in a fairy tale cats can't exist under the same car hood with birds. In reality everything is upside down. So how the tale ends, Robert?

Éric
Yes, Robert, is there a happy end? Robert?

Oliver
Robert?

Robert
(playing the Game Boy and not paying attention)

Éric
What's the moral of the story?

Oliver
How do I know if Robert has never told how it ended?
The door bell rings.
Robert
Shhh! A customer!

Oliver
Oh, I see, you just don't know the end of the tale, that's why you pretended to fall asleep!

Robert
What tale? I don't know what are you talking about.

Éric
Oliver, how can you be so cruel to suspect Robert in lying?

Oliver
I don't suspect him in lying, he wasn't telling the truth, so how could one lie if it wasn't a true story from the beginning?

Robert
Shhh!
Woman # 2, all covered in snow, enters. She shakes off, and snow falls down on the floor from her knitted hat with a Christmas deer pattern. Julien enters.
Julien
Oh, hello, can I help you?

Woman # 2
Yes, please, my car has just stopped five kilometres away from here, and I couldn't reach any roadside assistance service, the network connection on my phone is lost.

Julien
It happens during heavy snowfalls, are you all right, would you like to have some hot tea?

Woman # 2
Oui, merci, you're very kind.
Julien makes tea and calls Monsieur Arnaud. Monsieur Arnaud enters.
Éric
What's going on? What's the emergency? Fire? Has someone shouted fire? Oh merciful Lord, I'm scared! Hurry up, hurry up, there must be a fire extinguisher in the corner!

Oliver
Éric, would you do me a favour?

Éric
Yes, Oliver? What do you want me to do?

Oliver
Take deep breathes, there's no fire, we ain't in an overcrowded theatre, you see.

Éric
No fire? What happened then?

Oliver
Her car broke down.

Éric
Is she beautiful?

Oliver
I can't see from my angle.

Éric
No, not the lady, her car.

Oliver
I can't see it from my angle either.

Éric
Oh, I see. Wait, if a car breaks down, does it mean that people would throw us away, too, with the car?

Robert
It depends.

Éric
On what?

Oliver
Shut the fuck up, Éric, they're having a discussion, perhaps, something important is happening after all.

Robert
(in whisper)
We usually break down before the whole vehicle does.
Julien and Woman # 2 are talking inaudibly, Oliver is trying to listen to the conversation in the shop and he makes a grimace with each remark of Éric and Robert.
Éric
And if not?

Robert
Then we go together in a car crusher.

Éric
And what happens next?

Oliver
Stop talking!

Éric
Why shall I listen to you, Oliver? Who made you in charge? We're equal here!

Oliver
You idiot, I'm not asking to listen to me, I'm asking to shut up and to listen to them!

Robert
A car crusher is like a Disney Land.

Éric
(with excitement)
Oh really? Can't wait for it!

Robert
(to Oliver)
No one has ever returned after being in a car crusher. At least not in the same shape than before.

Oliver
If we live and work together, is it natural to die together?

Mssr. Arnaud
My guess is you've had troubles with spark plugs, if a car doesn't start in winter and a battery is fine, then spark plugs is the first thing to check.

Oliver
(interrupting his previous thought, with excitement)
Guys, did you hear that? Spark plugs! Monsieur Arnaud said spark plugs! That's us!

Éric
What car does she drive? Do we fit?

Robert
Shhh!

Mssr. Arnaud
What car do you drive?

Woman # 2
Oh, it's an old Ford.

Éric
Are we fit for the old Ford?

Oliver
I think so.

Mssr. Arnaud
Don't you worry, we'll fix it. You'd better stay here inside, and I'll ask my pal from the gas station on the next side of the road to give me a ride to your car and I'll replace the spark plugs.

Woman # 2
I'm so grateful.
Julien and Woman # 2 are talking inaudibly, Oliver is trying to listen to the conversation in the shop and he makes a grimace with each remark of Éric and Robert.
Éric
Oh god, what's going on? What happened? Where are we? Why everything is shaking? Is it an earthquake? Who's there? Oliver, is it you, Oliver? Robert? Oliver! Oh my god, there's a dead body next to me, this silent spark plug, leave me alone, leave me alone, go away, let me out, I'm too young to die, am I inside a coffin? Let me out!

Oliver
I think we're inside Monsieur Arnaud's pocket now. I can't believe my eyes! We're finally going out! We'll work and we'll travel, work hard, play hard, Éric, your dream is coming true!

Éric
I've never dreamed of being buried alive!

Oliver
You silly, we aren't buried, we're being moved to our proper place, to under a car hood!

Robert
We don't know it yet. We ain't sure the old spark plugs are the problem.

Oliver
Oh, stop it! What else can it be? We shall celebrate! We shall drink champagne! I shall be jumping and drinking from the bottle!
(running around the stage, making gestures as if he's drinking from a bottle)
Robert, would you like to share some champagne with me?

Robert
No, thank you, I've been sober for 7 years now.

Oliver
Oh, of course, I'm sorry I forgot.
(looking suspiciously at Éric)
You're underaged, Éric, don't try to trick me. I'll finish the bottle then if no one minds.
(finishing the non-existing bottle)
Then Oliver, Éric, and Robert take each other by the hand, and Monsieur Arnaud takes them away.
act 4
Under the car hood. Semi-darkness
Monsieur Arnaud, Oliver, Éric, Robert, and Jeanette enter, monsieur Arnaud is seating the spark plugs into the engine by hand. He takes each spark plug by hand and helps them to seat on the tires. Jeanette is wearing high heels.
Éric
It tickles!

Oliver
(groaning)
Oh, it feels so good, oh, wow, oh my god, oh, oh, yes, one more turn clockwise, gently please.
(groaning louder)
Oh yes, yes, fuck yes.

Éric
(hysterically)
It's so cold here! I want to go back! Take me back! I'm scared, I don't want to go anywhere, I want to return to our comfortable box!
Monsieur Arnaud closes the hood with a loud bang and leaves.
Oliver
(with a silly smile)
Didn't you enjoy the installation process?

Éric
(crying)
I want to go home!

Oliver
The adventure has just begun, Éric. It's too late to undo things, what's done is done.

Robert
(yawning)
Where are we?
(getting his Game Boy)

Oliver
Under the car hood.

Éric
Why is it so cold here? I wanna go home!

Jeanette
Is he a complete idiot? It's so cold because it's winter and we're in Canada and no one gave us warm goose feather parkas. Phew, the car hasn't been heated yet, can't you just wait a few secs, adjust to your new place.

Éric
I'm allergic to bird feather.
(sneezes)
Ah! Who's there? Is it a voice in my head?
(smiling widely)
Oh, hello, I haven't heard from you for a while!

Robert
Bread? In the engine? It's no good to have bread in the engine.

Oliver
(confused)
Hey. You can talk after all!

Jeanette
(sarcastically)
No, you've just imagined everything.

Oliver
Why didn't you say anything when we asked if you were alive?

Jeanette
Isn't it obvious?

Oliver
(still confused)
It's not.

Jeanette
My mommy taught me to never speak to strangers.

Oliver
Oh. I see. Er. What's your name?

Jeanette
Jeanette.

Oliver
Julien, Jeanette, Robert, Romain. Does the author know any other letters of the alphabet?
(nervously laughing)
Oh, my apologies, I didn't mean to be rude.

Éric
What's going on? Why is so dark again? I'm scared!

Jeanette
Is he an idiot?

Oliver
Sorta.

Éric
(with hurt feelings)
I'm not an idiot! I have an ADHD.

Oliver
Really? Why haven't you mentioned it before?

Éric
You've never asked before! And why does it matter?

Oliver
Well, I suppose, if D.P. knew, he wouldn't have treated you that bad. I mean it's not your fault.

Éric
When you're an idiot, it's not your fault either!

Oliver
(to Jeanette)
How did you get here?

Jeanette
You know how. You were in the same shop owner's pocket with me.

Oliver
No, no, I mean, before that, how did you end up in the shop alone?

Jeanette
I was working on different cars for more than 100 000 miles, I was cleaned afterwards and sold again as a new one. So I'm a used one, but I prefer to say experienced.

Oliver
Er. Sounds like cheating.

Jeanette
Making real profit requires cheating. And I didn't mind that, it's much better here than in a dusty closet, though this car's owner should clean the engine and the battery from time to time.

Éric
(looking at Jeanette's high heels)
Oh my gosh, amazing high heels!

Jeanette
(not impressed)
You can't drive wearing high heels.
(removes the high heels and stays barefoot, Éric takes the high heels and pets them)

Oliver
(to Jeanette)
You're quite nice.

Jeanette
(still not impressed)
You think so only because you haven't seen any other female spark plug.

Oliver
I didn't know they existed. We ain't electrical connectors.

Jeanette
Oh, how I'm tired of this attitude! It's not a heavy job, it's not that I'm a part of a hydraulic power steering, female spark plugs ain't worse than male ones, we're equal!

Oliver
Okay, okay, I didn't mean to…

Jeanette
Of course, you never mean to and always does! And then I'm getting these skeptical judgmental looks, oh, are you a female plug, can you even work, are you good enough, do you provide electricity, we'd better hire male plugs, we're better acquainted with them. Phew!

Robert
(aside)
See what happens when a play lacks female characters and an author tries to save the face by urgently inventing one.

Éric
(still petting the high heels)
You're lucky, Oliver, that D.P. isn't with us anymore. He would definitely steal all the attention you're getting from the lady now.

Oliver
Shut up, Éric.

Éric
Oh I miss him! Where's he?

Jeanette
He must be in the drawer in the back room of the shop.

Éric
Is it a good place?

Jeanette
Funny dudes are living there. Every time Julien is working with papers, the hole punch bites his fingers. The Snicker's bar is always too cold to be eaten, and the crackers are too dry and too salty, Julien has choked on them once, so he doesn't try eating the crackers, and can't throw them away, because when Julien opens the drawer, the crackers hide themselves in the corner. In the same corner Julien keeps his stash.

Robert
Shhh!

Oliver
What is it?

Robert
I hear some noises. Is it a rat?

Jeanette
It's not a rat, it's Monsieur Arnaud on the driver's seat. He might start the engine any minute now.

Éric
Oh, I'm scared! What do I do? What do I do?

Jeanette
You simply deliver electric current.

Éric
What if I fail?

Oliver
You won't fail, Éric, you were made for it.

Éric
(examining himself)
What if I'm broken? What if something is wrong with me?

Oliver
Nothing is wrong with you, for god's sake.
(grabs the high heels from Éric and puts them down on the floor)

Éric
Ain't you scared, too, Oliver? Admit that you're scared and too scared to admit that you're scared.

Oliver
I'm not scared! Robert, leave your Game Boy! You can't play it while driving. We'll get a fine! You'd be caught by a traffic enforcement camera! Robert!

Robert
Huh? Ah, okay.
(putting down the Game Boy)

Jeanette
Being caught by a traffic camera is fun, it's like speed dating for us.
The sound of a key being turning in a locker. The sound of the engine being started.
Jeanette
Let's work, guys.

Oliver
(makes a sound of a working engine)

Éric
Oh my, it feels so good.

Oliver
Yeah, even better than we had been being installed.

Jeanette
Told you, it's a good place to be.

Éric
Oh, I feel I've finally found my life purpose! I love the feeling of the electric movement inside me and the feeling of the moving car!

Robert
(pensively, squinting his eyes at the Game Boy)
I liked driving simulators more.

Oliver
Why is it so hot here?

Jeanette
The engine has heated up.
Suddenly the sound of the working engine stops.
Oliver
What happened?

Éric
What the hell? I want more!

Jeanette
Monsieur Arnaud is probably returning the car to the customer.

Mssr. Arnaud's Voice
Here're your keys, madame, everything is working perfectly, drive safe and joyeux Noël.

Woman #2's Voice
Oui, merci beacoup, joyeux Noël à vous.
The engine is being started again.
Éric
(jumping)
This is my best life experience! I'm traveling!

Robert
(pensively, squinting his eyes at the Game Boy)
Traveling without sightseeing.
(pulls Éric back on his place)

Jeanette
(aside)
Naive guys are so charming, so much to teach them!

Oliver
Why are we so slow? Robert, what have I told you about playing the Game Boy while driving?

Robert
(with sadness)
I'm not playing the Game Boy!

Oliver
Then why ain't we moving faster?
The car goes into a snow drift, and Éric jumps and hits his head over the hood.
Éric
(rubbing his head)
Ouch.

Jeanette
It's not Robert's fault. The road is all covered in snow, it would be dangerous to speed up under such weather conditions.

Oliver
Hey, Robert, you claimed that you knew everything about driving after playing the simulators.

Robert
Yeah. Why?

Oliver
You must know everything about snow driving.

Robert
Hmm. I don't see a gaming wheel here…

Jeanette
If we're lucky enough at the next car repair garage our lady would be advised to buy snow chains.

Éric
How much have we made already?

Oliver
Made what?

Éric
Kilometres.

Oliver
Dunno. Stop interrupting me, Éric, I'm working, can't you see?

Éric
How do I know that I'm done?

Jeanette
You ain't tired already, are you? We've just started.

Éric
No, but I worry that I'll die and wouldn't notice it!

Jeanette
Oh, don't you worry, when you're almost done the electricity wouldn't flow through you so easily, you'll feel it, and there's plenty of time ahead. You're too young to think about death or even retirement.

Éric
Oh no, why the ground is shaking? Am I dying? I'm too young!

Jeanette
That's what I've just said. You're not dying, and we're driving in snow.

Oliver
I feel sick.

Jeanette
What?!

Oliver
I have to stop.

Jeanette
We can't stop when we want to!

Oliver
I don't care, I'm gonna throw up.

Jeanette
Not inside the car!

Oliver
That's why I need a stop.
(groaning)

Éric
I feel exhausted, too, and don't mind a coffee break.

Jeanette
And they say guys are better drivers!

Robert
Don't fool yourself, we ain't driving…

Éric
Yes, we're traveling!

Robert
We're simply conducting the electricity…

Jeanette
Oliver must have ODed with electricity. First timers always cause troubles.

Oliver
(groaning, covering his mouth so not to puke)

Jeanette
All right, we have to make a stop.

Éric
Hey, I thought you were a protagonist, not a trickster!

Jeanette
This is a story without protagonists, we're all antagonists. Let's make a stop. Sometimes unexpected things happen during unexpected stops.

Éric
It won't be an unexpected stop, we expect it.

Jeanette
Stop the demagogy, Éric, and just stop working. At count three we all stop conducting electricity.

Éric
We haven't asked Robert. If he disagrees to stop, the odds will be two to two.

Jeanette
Why does it matter? We are not holding a referendum.

Éric
Maybe, we should! Robert, what do you think?

Robert
Shrink? I'm okay, I don't need a shrink.
(tries to grab the Game Boy, but Oliver hits his hand)

Jeanette
And we have to make an emergency stop anyway. Also, if the public is tired and bored, it's a good time to leave.

Éric
But it's wrong, the lady won't make it home til Christmas if we just stop!

Jeanette
The working conditions are terrible, so she deserves it. Look around at all those greasy oily car parts, poor engine, I bet it gets pneumonia a couple of times a year inhaling all the dust!

Éric
You said you were experienced!

Jeanette
I am! That's why I'm telling you I've seen better!

Oliver
Éric, you have to make your own choice now, whether to continue working or not. We're in a free country, and we can't make you do anything that is against your will, so it's up to you.

Jeanette
On my count.

Éric
(biting his knuckles)
What do I do? What do I do?

Jeanette
One, two…

Éric
To stop or to continue? To go on a strike or to stay home, snuggling up on the sofa, drinking tea with a throw comfortably draped over your shoulders, and to watch the strike on a channel 24 live?

Oliver
Éric, we're not going on a strike, we don't have any demands, we are just lazy asses.

Jeanette
Three.
Jeanette and Oliver stop working, Éric screams. Robert obtains his Game Boy. The car slowly loses speed, and finally the engine dies.
Robert
What happened?

Oliver
A commercial break.

Robert
Ah, okay.
(begins playing the Game Boy)

Jeanette
Feeling better?

Oliver
Yeah, yeah, thanks, I'm fine.

Éric
I wouldn't mind to have a snack now. Potato chips and french onion dip and hot black coffee.

Jeanette
Coffee isn't a good idea during a long-distance drive. You'll have to find toilet afterwards and make another unnecessary stop.

Oliver
And who the hell drinks coffee with chips? I'd prefer cheese dip.

Jeanette
Cheese dip? Are you serious? Why not garlic? Cheese dip stinks, it should be banned to eat cheese dip while being around other folks.

Oliver
Will spicy tomato and pepper dip be good enough for you?

Jeanette
Much better, merci.

Oliver
You know, I don't really like you.

Jeanette
Like I care.
Woman # 2 enters and comes to the spark plugs.
Woman # 2
What the hell? He told me he had fixed my car! What's wrong again?

Jeanette
Just don't touch anything here, sweetheart, you'll only make the things worse.

Oliver
Shouldn't you feel for her?

Jeanette
Nope, women are bitchy especially to other women.

Woman # 2
I'd better leave it like this and wait for help. So cold.
(shivers)
Merde, the phone is dead, too.

Oliver
Too? What do you mean? We ain't dead!

Jeanette
You shall seat back in the car and have some hot coffee from a flask, and then try again to start the car.

Robert
(not lifting his head from the Game Boy)
Would someone please close the door? My fingers are freezing.

Oliver
Are you scoring, Robert?

Robert
(in a bitter voice)
How can I score with my fingers frozen?

Woman # 2
Something might be wrong with the spark plugs.

Éric, Oliver, Robert, Jeanette
Nothing is wrong with us! We're perfectly fine!

Éric
(shouting)
Yes, learn some driving, woman!

Jeanette
How dare you, Éric? Women are great drivers!

Oliver
Yes, Éric, don't be rude. Where are your manners?

Éric
(confused)
Sorry.
Woman # 2 makes a desperate gesture, throwing her hands in the air, and leaves.
Oliver
Are we done with the coffee break?

Jeanette
I don't know, are you done? It was your idea.

Oliver
I'm fine.

Éric
But I haven't had any coffee!

Oliver
Do you want to coffee or to travel? Stick to your choice! Okay, let's move.
(looking around)
Why ain't we moving?

Jeanette
Because we have to wait when the engine is started.

Oliver
Wait again? Why are we always waiting for something?

Éric
How long shall we wait?

Jeanette
Depends on a driver. Some are trying desperately to start a car, some are sipping coffee with patience. I prefer the latter, the former are annoying.

Oliver
The whole life is about waiting for something not to happen!

Jeanette
Why are you complaining? When the whole life is about waiting, you're always full of hope that something will start it the end.

Robert
(suddenly shouting, staring at the Game Boy)
Yes!

Oliver
At least Robert has finally scored.
The lights are being slowly switched off.
act 5
In the shop back room
Semi-darkness. D.P. is sitting alone on the tire.
D.P.
(with bitter sarcasm)
Great. Splendid. Fucking A. Sumptuous. Inspiring. Excellent. I've escaped the storage room and the box only to be trapped in a drawer in the back room. No lighting, no air conditioning, no TV, I can't even watch the Bundesliga, no phone calls, inmates are being treated better behind bars! At least they can walk outside and they're allowed to work and even to take a shower from time to time.
(shouting)
Hey, hey, Julien, have you ever heard of basic human rights? You can't keep me here! It's against the law and common sense! Let me out! Son of a bitch.
(calming down)
Okay, who's there? I haven't had a chance to see what is locked in the drawer with me. Anyone? No? Oh, it's really good, at least I don't have to listen to those dumbheads, I wonder if they're still in the shop, Éric must have pissed his pants out of fear when Julien replaced me. How dared they? You can't trust no one in this world, once you're settled and think that finally things are getting under control, then boom! a crisis happens, and you have to start from the beginning, back to square one, I hate board games, now the four of us will never play the Monopoly together!
(sobbing)
How unpredictable a life of a spark plug can possibly be? It's not like we're supposed to have a lot of opportunities or choices, our life is supposed to be predesignated, but why the heck am I in the drawer now? Why me? I'm clever, shiny, and expensive, and I am the one who is locked away! Am I dreaming? Is it a nightmare? I can't even pinch myself to wake myself up! This is so cruel, animal testing is banned, you can't even wear a fur coat nowadays, but it's totally okay to lock a spark plug in a drawer!
(snorts)
Double standards.
(shouting again)
Hey! I demand my phone call! I demand a lawyer! I'm not going to say anything before I see my attorney! I'm innocent! When I'm out, I'll file a lawsuit! You hear me, you're not treating me in a proper way! I want a phone call! I have a right to have one! I want to call my family!
(sobbing)
Oh, I don't even have a family to call! No one will think about me, no one cares.
(shouting again)
When I'm out, I fucking promise I'll buy myself a pink fur coat tested on animals and made of animals! It'll be a rebel act, I'll start a campaign against violence against spark plugs, I've been through everything, harassment, I've never allowed to touch me, Julien! Emotional abuse, now it's physical abuse! I'll go on the streets with a placard, I'll take a nickname, Dawid Piotrowski, and I'll tell everyone how badly we're treated, we deserve better, everyone deserves better, it's called a civilisation, we're all born equal!
(calming down)
Oh, I'm too old for that. All right, all right, Julien, do you hear me? I agree. Just give me a smartphone with a fast wi-fi connection, I promise I won't tell anything anyone, I'm silent as the grave, je reste muet comme une carpe, I won't even start my blog, I'll just play a driving simulator and watch Top Gear, I promise, I won't write to Jeremy Clarkson, I remember that you hate him, Julien. Of course, you hate him only because you envy him, you dream of being self-confident, pushy, bold, and popular, you wish you were a celebrity, I pity you, Julien. You know what, Julien? Your position is even worse than mine, I'm dependant on you, fucking humans, and you're a fucking human, and you can't do anything decent with your life. Why the fuck you're still in this lousy small town buried under the snow 364 days a year? And on the 365th day, when the sun finally decides to come out, no one seems to care about it anymore. All right, all right, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be rude, let's talk, Julien, let's talk, why don't you go to Montreal or to Toronto and start your life from a blank page? I've a better idea, why don't we go together? You and I, we're perfect flatmates, I'm certain we'll easily find jobs and in the evenings we'll watch Netflix and play Playstation and enjoy a food delivery rich with bad fats and gluten and packed in 10 plastic bags packed in 10 small cardboard boxes. I hope you use plastic straws, Julien, in your case it's dangerous to use a metal straw, you can accidentally poke your eye out. I'll be a good friend, Julien, you do need a friend, right, you can't just spend the whole life jerking off.
(shouting)
Hey, don't ignore me! I'm trying to be nice and encouraging! Son of a bitch. Hey, I want to speak to a manager! Who runs this crappy shop? At least give me the Bible, I'll prey. Oh dear unmerciful Lord. Hm, how the rhyme goes? I thank you for being ungenerous and unkind and not guiding me through this world and not giving me faith… Oh screw it.
(hears indistinct sounds)
Oh, who's there?
Footsteps. Romain enters and switches on the lights.
Romain's Voice
It's not working, papa!

Mssr. Arnaud's voice
What is not working?

Romain
The Snicker's Bar you told me you had in the drawer. It's not functioning.

Mssr. Arnaud's voice
How a chocolate bar can not function? What are you talking about, Romain?

Romain
It's frozen. And it's not an ice cream, so I can't eat it, and I'm starving. It's too cold in your shop.

Mssr. Arnaud's voice
I can't waste too much money on heating. Stop complaining, Romain, and help me lock the shop for holidays.

Romain
It's frozen. And it's not an ice cream, so I can't eat it, and I'm starving. It's too cold in your shop.

D.P.
Who the fuck are you? Never mind, don't close the drawer, don't close the drawer. Bingo! It feels amazing to see the daylight again! One step closer to freedom. I'm freedom-er now and one day I'll be the freedom-est spark plug on Earth. Hey, what are trying to do? It's not a good idea, what's your name again?
Romain goes to the other side of the scene and puts the chocolate bar into a microwave. Silence.
D.P.
You're microwaving it for too long, it'll melt.
A ding sound.
Romain
Oh, now it's melted. And too hot. Ew, gross, it looks hideous, how shocking.

D.P.
I told you so.

Mssr. Arnaud's voice
Stop messing around, come here and help me!

Romain
What else do you have in the drawer, papa? Is there something we can hang on the Christmas tree?

Mssr. Arnaud
(enters)
You've just confessed that you had dropped the tree and it was lying flat on the floor, I doubt we would have a Christmas tree this year.

Romain
We'll put it back, the tree is okay, the toys are wasted. Does it make you upset?

Mssr. Arnaud
It makes me upset that you made upset your mother and your little sister, Romain.

Romain
Did I? Emma was laughing.

Mssr. Arnaud
(aside)
I can't wait when you finally leave to college.
(shaking his head, to Romain)
How many times should I repeat? Come and help me. I've sent Julien home already.

Romain
(coming closer to the tires)
A hole punch, an open pack of crackers, crumbs, crumbs, crumbs, soon you'll have to take the second cat, papa, does Julien breed rats here?

D.P.
Oh, you are sarcastic, mate, it's a good sign, I'm starting to like you. No, wait, I don't like anyone, oh how much harm can a long period of isolation do to a spark plug!

Romain
What's this? Why there's one spark plug in the drawer? Where are the other three?

D.P.
I wish I knew!

Romain
Can I take a spark plug, papa? Please?

Mssr. Arnaud
No.

Romain
Why not? It seems no one needs it.

Mssr. Arnaud
I'll sell it later, it's an unused one and expensive.

Romain
But you always say that people in this area prefer cheap shitty goods so to spend the saved money on booze.

Mssr. Arnaud
What do you need it for? You're always collecting junk, when was the last time you tided up your room?

Romain
It's not junk, you just said it was expensive. I have an idea how to use it.

D.P.
Oh no, you little pervert!
Romain touches the spark plug and examines it carefully.
D.P.
Hey, leave me alone! Why everyone thinks it's okay to grab me? Have you heard of personal space? How about setting some borders? I didn't touch you without your consent, did I?

Mssr. Arnaud
Come and help me. I don't want another junkie to sneak into my shop during the holidays like it happened the last year.

Romain
Je pense, papa, that last year the junkie just confused your shop with a pharmacy. I bet he was disappointed, I feel for him, imagine, he was looking for codeine cough syrup and a warm shelter, but instead he got bottles of frozen motor oil, he couldn't even drink it, like a character in a James Bond movie did. But I think he was in a desert.

Mssr. Arnaud
The junkie was in a desert?

Romain
No, the character.

Mssr. Arnaud
Motor oil can't freeze, jeez, what are they teaching you at school? Do you have chemistry classes?

Romain
Yup.

Mssr. Arnaud
Then why didn't you pay attention?
Monsieur Arnaud looks at Romain with displeasure, shakes his head and leaves the room. Romain stays and shrugs his shoulders.
Romain
I did pay attention. To some other sort of chemistry.

D.P.
Hey, hey, hey, don't go away, you haven't said what you were going to do with me! Doesn't matter, I agree, I agree, d'accord, my pleasure, anything you like, just take me with you! Hey, I'll share my Apple Music subscription with you!
Suddenly, Julien enters and stops since he wasn't expecting to see someone in the back room.
Julien
(suspiciously)
What are you doing here?

Romain
Nothing. Papa has sent you home.

Julien
(suspiciously looking around)
I forgot something. Where is he?

Romain
Papa? In the storage room.
Julien comes to the tires and begins searching for something.
Julien
(suspiciously looking around)
Where is it? Ouch!
(removes his hand quickly, examines his finger, that looks as if it has been just bitten)
Ah, here it is.
(quickly puts a small plastic zipped bag in his pocket)

D.P.
What a simpleton! Who keeps stash in the unlocked drawer?

Julien
(to Romain with fear)
You won't tell your dad, will you?

Romain
Tell what? I didn't see anything, of course if I get my share.

Julien
What? I won't share with you, you're underaged, I don't want to go to jail!

D.P.
Yeah? I didn't want to go to jail either, and look at me now! Hey, look at me!
Julien and Romain look at each other ignoring D.P.
Romain
But if papa finds out, you'll lose your job.

Julien
Kids are awful nowadays!

D.P.
Kids are always awful.

Julien
All right, I can share a bit.

Romain
Nah, nah, I don't need it, I don't like it anyway, keep it to yourself, you'll need it on your lonely Xmas morning, I promise I won't say anything, consider it as a Christmas gift.

Julien
(suspiciously)
Merci, Merry Xmas.
(leaves)

D.P.
Hey, I saw everything, too! Hey, I can tell Monsieur Arnaud, but I won't because I'm not a mole! Will I get something in return for not mentioning anything? No? That's what I thought.
Monsieur Arnaud and the cat enter.
Mssr. Arnaud's
You still here?

Romain
Yeah, yeah, I'm coming.
The cat comes to the tires and begins digging the tires and the spark plug.
D.P.
You again? What a small world indeed, who knew we would meet again in the same shop on the same day! Hey, don't fucking drop me!
The cat pushes D.P. from the tire, and he rolls along the floor. Romain kneels down and helps D.P. to stand up.
Romain
Can I keep it, please? I'll paint it over and we put it on the Xmas tree instead of a star…

Mssr. Arnaud
Ridiculous!

Romain
Nah, it'll be an art object, a symbol of your shop, of your business, of your ability to provide for the family!

Mssr. Arnaud
Okay, just take the bloody spark plug and come help me at once!

D.P.
An art object? What about me? It's my body, my choice, what if I don't want to be an art object and to be seated on the tree! A spark plug sitting on a tree! You said you weren't smoking! Have you been playing a god game for too long? Will I be at least able to chose how to look like as an art object? Hey!

Romain
Merci, papa. Can we go to McDonald's on the way back?

Mssr. Arnaud
It's Christmas eve!

Romain
I thought it would be rather cool to have burgers and french fries for Christmas dinner.

Mssr. Arnaud
You aren't a wunderkind, are you?

Romain
(cheerfully)
Nope. Why?

Mssr. Arnaud
A shame. I hoped you could enrol to college two years earlier than an average annoying teenager.
Romain carefully puts the spark plug into the pocket of his jeans. Complete darkness.
D.P.
Why am I always traveling from one darkness to another?
All three leave the stage.