The Convoluted Case of Mr. Gus Hopkins

1. Gus Hopkins

Gus Hopkins is the greedy, unappreciative, stuck-up multibillionaire CEO of Snapple Computers, Inc. He is very antisocial, and, even though he himself doesn’t fully realize it, lonely. He wears a black suit and a blue tie.

2.    Justin McZickersnap

Justin McZickersnap is Gus’s butler and personal assistant. He feels bad for Gus (because Gus has no friends) and tries to be nice to him, but is often a little scared of Gus. He wears a black suit with coattails and a black tie.

3.    Joe Hopkins

Joe Hopkins is Gus’s brother. He owns a hot dog stand, so is not particularly well off. However, Gus refuses to lend him money to do things like pay his rent. He wears a t-shirt and jeans.

4.    Robert Zg’r Taer

Robert Zg’r Taer is Gus’s personal chef. He has worked at many five star restaurants, and though Gus pays him more, he is very annoyed at how irritating his boss is. He wears a white chef hat, and white chef clothing.

5.    Ivan X

Ivan is a banker. Few people know what his last name is, and that’s how he likes it. He wears a dapper gray suit and carries a briefcase.

6.    The Newman’s Society of Anti-Bankruptcy

A team of three lawyers who charge ludicrous rates for urgent cases. They wear suits with blue ties. They have a sense of being an anonymous group.

 

 

Script:

(Lights up. Our play begins in a fancy office in Vancouver, Canada. The year is 2012. The office is in Gus Hopkins’ Canadian mansion, which he is visiting on a business trip to invest in some new computer technology from a recently hired programmer named Bill Jobs. No one is in the office except for Justin McZickersnap, who is standing in the room, leaning against a desk center stage. Robert Zg’r Taer enters, wearing a chef hat.)

 

Robert Zg’r Taer:

Hey, you’re the new butler, right?

 

Justin McZickersnap:

(Looks up.)

Oh, hi. I’m Justin.

 

Robert Zg’r Taer:

I’m Robert. (Awkward pause) So how’s your first day?

 

Justin McZickersnap:

Not so good, Mr. Hopkins already threw six lamps at me… He doesn’t seem very nice.

 

Robert Zg’r Taer:

You’re telling me. Once, I cooked his steak medium instead of medium well, and he threw The Complete Works of William Shakespeare at me. It hit me so hard that I got knocked out for three hours. When I finally got better, he threw another lamp at me, because I wasn’t around to cook lunch for him.

 

Justin McZickersnap:

Wow. If he’s really that mean, why haven’t you quit your job?

 

Robert Zg’r Taer:

Well, if I were to quit, Gus would have to find a new chef. That’s a lot of work, and Gus would not appreciate having to go to all that trouble. He’d be so angry, I don’t know WHAT he’d do, but I can tell you now, it would definitley involve excruciating pain.

 

Justin McZickersnap:

So you’re telling me I got a job for a guy who throws giant books at his employees when he gets angry, and if I quit, he would do something even worse to me? Man, why didn’t I go to medical school like my dad wanted…

 

(Gus Hopkins walks in, and sees Justin McZickersnap and Robert Zg’r Taer.)

 

Gus Hopkins: (Shouting)

Hey! What are you morons doing sitting around? Get back to work!

 

(Taer hurriedly runs offstage, and McZickersnap grabs some papers and runs out of the room. Gus Hopkins sits down at his desk, and starts reading some papers. A few seconds later, McZickersnap walks back in carrying some papers.)

 

Justin McZickersnap:

I have that financial report you wanted, boss.

 

(Gus snatches the papers out of McZickersnap’s hand)

Gus:

It’s about time, you moron.

(Gus starts rifling through his stack of papers)

 

Justin McZickersnap:

(Nervously)

Well, I’ll just go…

(McZickersnap runs out of the room, terrified)

 

Gus:

(Gus flips to a new page on his stack of paper and immediately jumps up, startled)

WHAT!?!? I only made 150 million dollars net income this year! This is horrible! It’s barely enough for me to live on. How am I supposed to invest in my company, pay for my mansion, my 32 servants, my 9 cars, and still have money for food? I’ll have to limit myself to four meals a day. I might even have to fire my personal chef and start eating at restaurants! That would be terrible! I might have to talk to people. Ugh! I hate people! They’re so stupid! (Bangs fist on desk) I don’t see the point of talking to people anyway; they’re so annoying. (Slight pause) Hm, I wonder if I could get my brother to be my personal chef for free, he does own a hot dog stand… No, he’d want something in return to (in a high pitched voice that shows he is doing a bad impression of his brother) “Pay the rent.” (In his normal voice) He’s so inconsiderate. I can’t believe how greedy he is!

 

(McZickersnap walks in and peers over Gus’s shoulder)

 

Justin McZickersnap: (Nervously)

Oh, um, sorry sir, I, uh, made a typo in that financial report. Here’s the correct version.

(McZickersnap hands Gus a new stack of papers)

 

Gus:

(Gus takes the stack of papers and immediately slaps Justin’s head with them.)

IDIOT! You’d expect a multibillionaire like me could hire a better slave, but (In a singsong voice) no-o, (In his ordinary voice) I’m stuck with you. You almost gave me a heart attack, you good-for-nothing, stupid, incompetent, worthless, useless, idiotic…

 

(Gus continues to mutter insults under his breath as he flips through his new stack of papers. McZickersnap slowly starts to back out of the room, staring warily at Gus)

 

Gus: (Jumping up and pointing at Justin McZickersnap)

Justin, You idiot! You made another typo! (Menacingly, approaching McZickersnap and staring straight at him, as McZickersnap looks down, terrified) You wrote here that I only made one hundred fifty dollars net income this year!

 

Justin McZickersnap:

(McZickersnap winces and gulps.)

Uh, yeah… About that… You did. Those extra zeroes from before were the typo. (Cringes) Please don’t hurt me! It’s not my fault!

 

(Gus stares at Justin, then suddenly faints. An awkward silence ensues for one or two seconds. Then, Robert walks in, holding a plate of French fries.)

 

Robert Zg’r Taer: (Not noticing that Gus has fainted)

Hey, Mr. Hopkins, I got you those French fries you wanted… (Looks down at Gus) Oh, don't tell me he fainted again…

 

Justin McZickersnap: (Awkwardly)

Uh… Is he okay?

 

Robert Zg’r Taer:

Yeah, probably. (Taer walks over to the desk, and puts the French fries down on it.) He faints a LOT, especially when he’s really mad. (Justin and Robert stare at Gus for a few seconds.) If I were you, I’d leave. He’s not gonna be happy when he gets up.

 

(Another awkward silence, then McZickersnap and Taer look at each other. There is a silent moment of agreement, and McZickersnap runs out of the hotel room, as fast as he can. Justin wonders over to the back of the room, pulls a sandwich out of his pocket, and starts eating it. About five seconds later a man in a dark gray suit walks in, holding a briefcase. He is a banker named Ivan. The banker does not notice Taer standing towards the back of the stage. The banker looks down at Gus, looks around, picks up a glass of water off of the desk, and pours it on Gus’s head)

 

The Banker (Ivan):

Wake up!

 

Gus: (Groggily)

Wha…

 

The Banker (Ivan):

My name is Ivan. I recently received information that you only made 150 dollars this year. This means that you will need to spend your entire life savings to pay off your various mortgages and debts.

 

Gus:

Who are you?

 

Ivan:

I’m your banker.

 

Gus:

What do you want?

 

Ivan: (annoyed)

I just said, I recently received information that you only made 150 dollars this year. This means that you will need to spend your entire life savings to pay off your various mortgages and debts.

 

Gus:

I only made 150 dollars?

 

Ivan: (still annoyed)

Yes!

 

Gus: (Defensively)

So? I knew that already. Why are you here?

 

Ivan: (extremely annoyed, enunciates each syllable slowly and clearly)

I just told you, you need to spend your life savings to pay off your debt!

 

Gus:

Why?

 

Ivan: (Extremely annoyed)

(Ivan slaps Gus)

Because you only made 150 dollars! that’s not enough to pay off your debt!

 

Gus:

Oh yeah…

 

Ivan:

(Ivan pulls a 6-inch thick stack of paper out of his briefcase.)

Just sign here, and all of your debt will be gone. Of course, you won’t have any money left over, but-

(Gus faints again. Ivan sighs, bends down, and grabs Gus’s hand, puts a pen in it, and begins to use it to scribble a signature on the contract. He starts muttering the following to himself.)

Initials… Signature…

(Ivan glances around shiftily, but still doesn’t see Taer. He now speaks at normal volume.)

Well, that might be legal in Canada…

(Ivan gets up, starts to walk out, and then notices Taer, who is staring at him awkwardly. Ivan now speaks awkwardly.)

You didn’t see anything…

 

(Ivan leaves, and a few seconds later, Gus wakes up.)

 

Gus: (Groggily)

What just happened?

 

(Taer walks over to Gus)

 

Robert Zg’r Taer:

You just spent your entire life savings, so you could pay off the mortgages on your mansions, limos, and private islands. Wow, you’ve got to be the most spoiled guy I’ve ever met, even if you are a multi-billionaire CEO… Or I guess now you’re more like a multi-dozen-aire.

(Robert tries not to laugh at his own bad joke, but then burst out laughing hysterically, bends over, keeps laughing, falls over onto the floor, keeps laughing, starts slapping the ground, and finally stops laughing.)

 

Gus: (Annoyed)

First of all, that’s the worst joke I’ve ever heard. And second, I still own billions of dollars worth of factories and machinery. If I sold my company, Snapple Computers, Inc., I would be even richer than I was before. So shut up and go make more French fries!

 

(Ivan walks back in)

 

Ivan:

Oh, by the way, I forgot to tell you, you’re getting sued for everything you own. Including Snapple Computers, Inc.

 

(Gus faints again. Ivan brandishes a bottle of water out of his suit pocket.)

 

Ivan:

This time I came prepared!

(Ivan pours the water onto Gus’s face. Gus wakes up.)

 

Gus: (Angrily)

Who’s suing me?!?!

 

Ivan:

Some workers you hired a few months ago. Apparently, they were somewhat bothered by the hazardous toxic gases that were seeping from various pipes in one of your factories, which wasn’t built up to safety standards. They looked into it a little, and found out it was because you didn’t hire a legitimate construction company, because you didn’t think that safe factories were worth the extra twenty. Plus, they figured out that ALL of your factories were built like that, so they’re suing you for putting all of your employees in danger.

 

Gus:

I knew I shouldn’t have hired a construction company owned by a guy named Ding-Ding.

 

Robert Zg’r Taer:

I remember that guy. He was kind of nice, and I tried to teach him how to cook, but he ended up detonating a grilled-cheese sandwich into an explosive ball of fiery death. I wonder whatever happened to him, anyway.

 

Gus:

Who cares!?!? Just go find me a lawyer or something so I don’t have to give my company to a bunch of people who work for a living!!!!!!!!

 

Ivan: (annoyed)

Fine. Come on Robert, let’s go.

 

Robert:

Um, okay.

 

(Ivan and Robert Zg’r Taer walk out of the hotel room, and immediately walk back in with three men in identical gray suits.)

 

Gus:

(Gus points at Taer and Ivan.) Why are you two back so soon? (Gus points at the men in suits.) And who are you?

 

One of the Men in Suits:

We are the Newman’s Society of Anti-bankruptcy. We are a team of lawyers specializing in cases involving being sued for everything you own immediately after losing your entire life’s savings. It’s a surprisingly common occurrence.

 

Ivan:

They just happened to be walking by in the hallway. Wasn’t that convenient?

 

Gus: (confused)

Well… okay. So, how much will it cost to hire you?

 

Another One of the Men in Suits:

Everything you own.

 

Another One of the Men in Suits:

Including these French fries! (Grabs the plate of French fries off of Gus’s desk, and starts casually munching on them.)

 

Gus: (Angry)

What?!?!? There’s no way I’m paying you that.

 

Ivan:

Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you, the case starts in 45 seconds, and if you don’t have a lawyer, you’ll probably end up in jail.

 

(Gus furiously opens a drawer in his desk, pulls out a pineapple, and throws it at Ivan, who easily ducks under it. It hits Taer instead.)

 

Robert Zg’r Taer: (annoyed)

Ow!

(Gus doesn’t even look at Taer)

 

Gus:

ivan, you idiot! why didn’t you tell me that before!?!? you little-

 

Ivan: (calmly)

Now, now, no reason to be rude. Just hire the Newman’s Society of Anti-bankruptcy, and everything’ll be fine.

 

Gus: (annoyed but defeated)

Well, I guess I have no choice. Losing everything I own is better than losing everything I own and going to jail. (Gus looks at the men in suits, and says, reluctantly) You’re hired.

 

(Gus shakes hands with one of the men)

 

All of the Men in Suits: (In Unison)

Great! Now, let’s get to the court.

 

(Everyone files out of the hotel room, except for Robert)

 

Robert Zg’r Taer:

I guess I’ll just stay here. There’s no point in me going to court.

(Sits down and turns on the TV. The Barney theme song starts playing.)

Ugh.

(Changes channel. The Barney theme song starts playing in Spanish.)

Seriously?

(Changes channel again. The Barney theme song starts playing in French.)

You have got to be kidding me.

(Changes channel again. The Barney theme song starts playing in Chinese.)

Oh, forget it.

(Turns TV off. Gus and Ivan walk in.)

 

Gus:

Wow, those guys were really good lawyers! We won the case in under nine seconds!

 

Robert Zg’r Taer:

Yeah, but it’s a shame that you had to give them everything you own. Too bad you didn’t have any time to bargain them down…

 

Gus: (annoyed)

Do you want me to hire someone to destroy you?

 

Ivan: (cheerfully)

You can’t afford that anymore, remember? You’re broke! Speaking of which, you can’t afford to hire Justin and Robert anymore, so-

 

Robert Zg’r Taer: (excited)

Free at last!

(Taer runs out of the room. Ivan and Gus stare over at where he had ran, and their eyes linger on the door. Taer’s voice is a little fainter now, due to distance, but he is still shouting, though he is shouting a little softer.)

Hey Justin, you’ll never guess what just happened!

 

(Ivan and Gus stare out at where the shouting came from for a second more, and then look back at each other.)

 

Ivan:

So now you’re broke, you don’t own anything, and you should probably look into selling this mansion. (Very awkward silence. Ivan tries to be cheerful.) Um, have a nice day… (Awkwardly waves at Gus and leaves the hotel room.)

 

Gus: (sadly)

Now what? I have nowhere left to go… (Sighs) Well, I see no other option than to end it all. (Dramatic music. He walks over to Robert’s kitchen, picks up a knife, walks back to center stage, and holds it pointing at his chest. He begins a slightly cheesy, but heartfelt monologue.)

With no friends, no money, and no hope of ever rebuilding my vast commercial empire, I see no point in living any further. My life has no more meaning, and therefore, I choose to end it. All that is left for me in this world is a life of poverty, misery and loneliness.

(Slight pause. Gus looks around, and briefly breaks away from hi serious attitude.)

Who am I talking to? (Frowns. Is serious again.) No one! Because no one cares enough to visit me in my final moment of need.

(As if on cue, Gus’s Brother, Joe Hopkins, enters, and frowns[1]. Joe walks over to Gus, gently pulls the knife out of his hand, and puts it on the desk.)

 

Joe Hopkins:

Hey, Gus. Heard you just went bankrupt. Sorry ‘bout that. Anything I can do to help? I mean, you’ve always been terrible to me, but after all, we are brothers. I should look out for you, even if you’ve never looked out for me. Here, take a complimentary hot dog. (Hands Gus a hot dog.)

 

Gus:

Oh, hi, Joe. Hey, you think I could stay in your guest bedroom for a few dozen years? You know, just until I die? (Takes a bite of the hot dog, and tosses the rest over his shoulder.)

 

Joe Hopkins:

Uh, I don’t have a guest bedroom. You’d have to sleep on the couch.

 

Gus:

I have to sleep on the couch? And I thought you had a tough life.

 

Joe:

Um… I do. That’s why you have to sleep on the couch. Anyway, I don’t think you’d have to live in my apartment forever… (Nervously laughs)… Right?

 

Gus:

Well, I guess I could try to get a job… (Sighs)

 

Joe: (Halfheartedly)

That’s the spirit… I guess… A little… Sorta… Not really… At all. (Cheerfully) But look on the bright side! You can actually make some friends. You could get married or something! You could see the rest of the family again! You could visit my house… a few times… if you want to… you know, optionally… don’t feel any obligation… ever… But anyway, the point is, money isn’t everything; you can still have a great life. This is your big chance to start over!

 

Gus: (a little more cheerfully)

You know what? Maybe you’re right! Maybe losing everything I own was the best thing that ever happened to me! It’s almost as if this entire series of events was created by an intelligent budding playwright in vague attempt to allegorically symbolize one of the greater truths of life, often ignored by modern society despite its constant representation in works of art and literature!

 

Joe: (Confused)

Sure… I guess…

 

Gus:

Who needs a billion dollars anyway? I can be happy without money! Wow, it’s almost as if the past eight and a half minutes of my life were altered by forces beyond our control so as to teach me a life lesson and therefore allow me to go on and enjoy the my life, unspoiled and uncorrupted by wealth. Let’s go celebrate my realization concerning the importance of remembering the difference between material wealth and true happiness!

 

Joe:

Yeah! You know what? You’re right, as a matter of fact, I believe that money can easily become a distraction in life, preventing many from utilizing their full potential to help others and enjoy the most worthwhile pursuits in life, such as spending time with friends and family. (Big cheesy grin. Really obvious wink towards the audience. Joe and Gus slowly start to walk offstage, as the lights slowly start to fade.)

 

Joe:

Seriously though, you really don’t have to come to my house, I could just lend you some money to rent a cheap apartment; I hear they have some cheap paces in Europe… And in a bunch of other faraway places… faraway from me… really, reeeeeaaaally, faraway… Hey, maybe, you could live with cousin Nick!

 

Gus:

Isn’t he an astronaut, who lives at the international space station?

 

Joe: (Matter-of-factly)

Yes. Yes he is.

 

(Gus and Joe finally reach the door, and walk offstage. Ivan walks back onstage, and a spotlight focuses on him.)

 

Ivan:

And after Joe helped Gus realize the truth about money, Gus went on to live a long, happy life. He got married and he made a lot of friends. Justin and Robert even forgave him for being such an annoying boss. He stopped hiring people to throw tomatoes at his family, partially because he couldn’t afford to hire anyone to do that anymore, but also because he stopped hating his family as much as he used to, and even started being nice to them. And best of all, he finally realized that money isn’t the key to happiness.

 

(A giant sign that says “THE END” on it falls down from the roof. It is attached to the roof by two ropes, which prevent it from crushing Ivan, and getting banker-goo all over the floor.)

 

Ivan: (Cheerfully)

The end.

 

(Everyone runs back onstage and bows. Hopefully, the audience applauds.)

  

The End

 

Epilogue:

(Immediately after Ivan says “The end,” a painfully loud trumpet sounds a single, loud note; signaling the end, instantaneously followed by 600 tons of multicolored confetti exploding down from the ceiling, falling onto the audience. Then, the lights dim, and huge blasts of bright green fire explode from hidden flamethrowers inside the “The End’ sign. Painfully bright strobe lights begin flashing. Extremely synthesized pop music starts playing, and everyone starts dancing. Then, suddenly, everyone realizes that the confetti has stopped falling from the ceiling, only to be replaced by hundred dollar bills, which causes them to start cheering, and gathering as much money as the can carry. However, the next day, they realize that they have fallen victim to inflation, and their hundred dollar bills are worth virtually nothing. Then, they realize that they can be happy without money, and thank the playwright for teaching them such a valuable life lesson through his wonderful play.)

 

The End.

(Again).

 

 

 


{C}{C}[1]{C}{C} Technically, he was on cue, as this is a play. Oh, the irony.

John Lhota
Age 14, Grade 8
Hunter College High School
Silver Key