I don't know what to say

(HENRY, CLARA and MARY are sitting, facing out towards the audience. there is an open seat between CLARA and MARY)

HENRY: (laughing) That guy. What a goofball.
MARY: Oh, that's not the end to it. Later that day, a man came into his office. Abe was relaxing, sitting with one leg stretched across the desk. The man says, "Why, that's the longest leg I've ever seen!" So Abe just smiles, puts his other leg across the desk and says to the guy, "Here's another just like it."

(everyone laughs)

CLARA: So what are we seeing tonight?
HENRY: Our American Cousin. Supposed to be really good.
CLARA: How much time do we have left before the show starts?
HENRY: About ten minutes. Is everything ready, Mary?
MARY: Everything's in place.
CLARA: I can't wait. He's going to love it.
MARY: Oh, I know he will.
HENRY: Nobody else got him one?
CLARA: Shh! I hear him coming!

(ABE enters)

ABE: Ladies, gentlemen.
HENRY: Look at this fuckin' guy!
ABE: Henry! (to MARY, happily) You didn't tell me this jerk was going to be here!
HENRY: Happy birthday, man!
ABE: How the hell have you been?
HENRY: Not bad, dirtbag, not bad. And yourself?
ABE: Ah, well, you know. Pretty damn busy. How are you, Clara?
CLARA: I'm fine. Congratulations on the big win!
ABE: (sitting down) Thanks. I'm just glad it's over.
MARY: (kissing ABE on the cheek) Dear, you're late again.
HENRY: Did he ever tell you about the time he went hitchhiking?
CLARA: No. Do tell!
ABE: It was back when I was a lawyer.
HENRY: Abe saw this farmer driving his wagon, and he asked him...
ABE: I asked him if he'd be good enough to take my overcoat to town with him. The farmer said he'd be glad to, but how would I get it back again?
HENRY: And Abe says, "No trouble at all. I'm going to stay right inside it!"

(everyone laughs)

CLARA: Oh, Abe.
ABE: When does the play start?
CLARA: In a couple minutes. We've got a little something for you first.
ABE: (feigning ignorance) I have no idea what you're talking about.
HENRY: I know we're a bit late, but we haven't seen you in a while because you've been so busy.
CLARA: And we were stumped. What kind of a birthday present do you get for the man who has everything?
ABE: Everything? Who fed you that crock?
HENRY: (laughs) This fucking guy! The man's got style and power, top-of-the-line imported horse-drawn carriage...
CLARA: Your house is packed to the gills with art, fine china...
HENRY: Let's face it. The man is at the top of his game. The Civil War is over...
MARY: (proudly) He's the greatest president who ever lived.
HENRY: (raising a glass) To Abraham Lincoln!

(everyone cheers and toasts. ABE is embarassed)

HENRY: So what do you get this guy for his birthday? He's already perfect. Men idolize him. What do you get he that he doesn't already have?
ABE: Guys, you really didn't have to...(smiles) Although you're certainly welcome to try.
CLARA: It took some work. We had to shop around a bit, travel, check a lot of stores, but we found something.
ABE: You did?
HENRY: Close your eyes...
ABE: Oh, no.
HENRY: Close 'em!
ABE: (closing his eyes) You guys...
HENRY: Mary?
MARY: (calling out) On three!
CLARA: Keep 'em closed, Abe!
ABE: Okay.
MARY: Ready, everyone? One...two...three!
ALL: Happy birthday!

(JOHN WILKES BOOTH enters and shoots ABE in the head)

ABE: Ow! What the fuck was that?
HENRY: It's your very own assassination!
CLARA: Happy birthday, Abe!
MARY: I love you, dear!
ABE: You guys bought me an assassin for my birthday?
CLARA: His name is John.
MARY: Don't you love it?
ABE: I don't know.
HENRY: We got a really top of the line model. This guy's pretty wacko.
JOHN: (modestly) I do my best. I'm working on this whole "revenge for the South" angle. People seem to be responding pretty well to it.
MARY: We've had a ton of calls from history books.
CLARA: Happy birthday, Abe. You're a legend now.
MARY: A first-class martyr.
HENRY: Enjoy your assassination, old man.
MARY: Oh! The show's starting!

(everyone watches the show, but ABE is bothered. he stands up and motions to JOHN)

ABE: Come on.

(ABE and JOHN move to the side, where a CLERK and a CUSTOMER await)

CLERK: Five thirty-two is your change.
CUSTOMER: Pleasure doing business with you. (walks away)
CLERK: Next?
ABE: Hi. I'd like to make a return.
CLERK: And what will you be returning
ABE: This assassin.
CLERK: Was he defective?
ABE: No, just not what I was looking for.
CLERK: Will it be for cash or for exchange?
ABE: A nice sweater would be fine. Something with stripes, perhaps.
CLERK: Okay, if I could take a quick look at him...
ABE: Sure. John?

(JOHN steps forward. the CLERK examines him)

CLERK: Ooh. I'm sorry, sir. We can't take returns on used merchandise.
ABE: He hasn't been used!
CLERK: Yes, he has.
ABE: I'm telling you the truth!
CLERK: Sir, do you or do you not have a massive head wound?
ABE: Well, yeah.
CLERK: And didn't the assassin inflict that wound?
ABE: Yeah.
CLERK: Then I'm sorry, but we can't take a return on him.
ABE: (reluctantly) Fine.
CLERK: (looking away) Next?

(ABE leads JOHN away. the CUSTOMER approaches them)

CUSTOMER: Excuse me, aren't you President Lincoln?
ABE: Yes, I am.
CUSTOMER: When are you going to do something about the Canadian menace?
ABE: I wasn't aware there was a menace.
CUSTOMER: Look, the Civil War was all fine and good, but mark my words: if left unchecked, Canada will become an unstoppable force of world domination within fifty years. Don't get caught resting on your laurels, Lincoln.

(the CUSTOMER exits. ABE begins using a computer)

JOHN: What are you doing?
ABE: I'm going to try to auction you off on E-bay. (typing) "Look! Vintage presidential assassin! Only used once! No reserve! Wow!" Minimum bid...hmm. (typing) "Four dollars."
JOHN: Put on there that I was a very famous actor. That'll help you sell me.
ABE: Thanks.

(two MEN approach. they are distressed)

MAN #1: Lincoln! You've got to settle this for us.
ABE: What's the problem?
MAN #2: Tell us. Exactly how long should a man's legs be? I've got very short legs...
MAN #1: And I've got very long ones.
MAN #2: So? How long should a man's legs be?
ABE: Hmmmmm. I never gave this matter much thought. But now that I think of it, I would say...(pauses) Well, I would say a man's legs should be exactly long enough to reach from his body to the ground.
MAN #1: I hate you, Abe Lincoln!

(the MEN exit. ABE turns back to the computer)

ABE: Ah, damn it.
JOHN: What's wrong?
ABE: The system can't process my bid because it doesn't exist yet.
JOHN: That's a problem.

(ABE gets out a box)

ABE: Here, John. Stand in this box.
JOHN: (stepping into the box) Okay.
ABE: Free box! Come get a box! Free box!
WOMAN #1: Did I hear you right? You're offering a free box?
ABE: That's right, I am.
WOMAN #1: Well, that's quite a bargain! Boxes are hard to come by these days.
ABE: All yours, ma'am. (starts to walk away)
WOMAN #1: Say. This box has got a presidential assassin in it, hasn't it?
ABE: Um, I don't know what you're talking about...
WOMAN #1: It does!
ABE: Oh, I don't know how that got in there...
WOMAN #1: I don't want it! (walks away)
ABE: Ever hear the joke they tell about me?
JOHN: No, what is it?
WOMAN #1: Who do you think will win the war? President Lincoln for the United States, or Jefferson Davis of the Southern rebel states?
WOMAN #2: I think Jefferson Davis will win.
WOMAN #1: Why does thee think so?
WOMAN #2: Because he is a praying man.
WOMAN #1: Abraham Lincoln is a praying man too.
WOMAN #2: Yes, but the Lord will think Abraham is joking.

(the WOMEN exit)

ABE: (sighs) Everyone thinks that I'm this crazy jokester, and everyone's got these fucked-up lives that they want me to fix. I don't know. I'm tired of this. I'm burned-out on being the President.

(the STRANGER enters. he is a man-sized bee)

STRANGER: Abe Lincoln?
ABE: That's me.
STRANGER: You don't look so well.
ABE: I'm stressed. That, and I've been shot in the back of the head.
STRANGER: Assassination, huh?
ABE: Yeah.
STRANGER: Let me give you some advice. I know it sucks being shot in the back of the head. It probably wasn't all that good of a birthday present...
ABE: I just wanted a sweater.
STRANGER: And you wound up with an assassination. But you know what, man? Everyone's got their time. I mean, look at you. You're a big, tall, goofy-looking bastard. You're kind of ridiculous, actually. If you think about it, though, it's kind of ridiculous that the country would split in half and maybe it took a ridiculous man to put it back together. You had to be President during the worst time to be President in the history of America, and you pulled it off. You did okay. Take a bow, man.
ABE: Thanks.
STRANGER: You've done your share. Come on home.

(the STRANGER exits. ABE pauses, nods to JOHN and returns to his seat. he pauses again, gives a 'thumbs up', and then slumps forward)

CLARA: Oh my god! President Lincoln has been shot!

(JOHN bolts off the stage)

MARY: Assassin! Stop!
HENRY: (shaking his head, proudly) Now he belongs to the ages.

I don't know what to say by marc heiden february 2000