February 15, 2006
UM & LAUT PLAY PENNIES IN HEAVEN
an interrupted comedy
by Raymond Federman
[Um & Laut are flying somewhere. It's a long flight. They are bored. They have already seen the movie twice, they have read all the magazines, and they don't feel any more like flirting with the beautiful flight attendants. So Um & Laut are bored. They decide to play a game.]
Um: Let’s play a game.
Laut: What kind of game?
U: Let's see how far we can count numbers.
L: Great idea, but let's do it this way. We take turns counting, and each time we double.
U: What do you mean? We double.
L: Well, you say 1, I say 2, then you say 4, and I say 8, and you say 16, so on.
U: I got it. 1
U: Are you sure it's 8192?
L: Yes I am. My dear Um, you know I never make mistakes with numbers. Go on. This is fun.
L: 32798. No. I think I made a mistake. It's 32768.
U: 1048576. Wow, I never had so much fun in a plane. Don't stop. Keep going.
L: I am, dammit. 2097152
U: Well, what are you waiting for?
L: I have to rest a moment. I'm out of breath.
U: That's the problem with you. You're out of shape. You don't exercise enough. I keep telling you, you've got to exercise, or you're gonna become a decrepit old fart.
L: Okay okay. I'm fine. What was the last one?
U: 67 million 108 thousand 8 hundred and 64
U: Come on already!
L: Don't rush me. 134217728
U: Wait a minute, you're going too fast.
L: Aha, now look who is out of shape.
U: It has nothing to do with that. I just want to make sure I don't make a mistake. I mean if you're gonna play the game you've gotta play it right.
L: Then play, and stop yapping.
U: Alright. Where were we?
L: Shit! I forgot now.
U: No big deal. Don't get excited. We have all the time in the world. Let's start all over again. But this time let's really keep it going.
L: Okay. My turn to start. 1
U: Well, are you already out of breath?
L: No no, I just thought of something incredible.
U: In the middle of the game! Alright, what's your big thought?
L: Imagine how rich we could be today if for one month, one month only, a mere thirty days, we would have saved one penny the first day and then doubled the amount every day after that.
U: How rich would we be?
L: Multimultimillionaires, you idiot. Didn't you see how fast these numbers add up?
U: Hey you're right. We would have millions and millions of pennies. How many dollars are there in 3435977632 pennies?
L: That's easy. 34 million 359 thousand 7 hundred and 76 dollars and 32 cents.
L: Isn't that incredible?
U: Hey, Laut, I have a idea. Why don't we start saving right now? I give you a penny today, and tomorrow you'll give me two, and the day after tommorow I'll give you four, by the end of the month we'll be multimul......................
[voice off stage : Ladies and gentlemen the captain has turned on the safety belt sign in preparation for our landing...]
Il faut aller vite, ne pas traîner, éviter les temps inutiles, aller droit au but.
Marguerite Duras, Les yeux verts