The Profession Of One Mr. Valentine

THE PROFESSION OF ONE MR. VALENTINE
by Conrad A. Panganiban
(written 08/01/2012)

ANTHONY: Mid-late 30s. Male. Filipino American.

FERDINAND: 50s. Male. Filipino American Mobster Entrepreneur.

Lights up on a FERDINAND, an older looking Filipino American man dressed in business attire, sitting on a park bench. He’s reading a folded up newspaper. Occasionally, he takes out a pen to circle something. Beside him is a attache case. Enter ANTHONY wearing a baseball cap, sunglasses, and a fake mustache with a bag of torn pieces of bread. He looks around the park making sure that no one has spotted him before taking a seat next to Ferdinand.

ANTHONY
The goose of a thousand feathers has flown the coop.

(FERDINAND looks quizzically at ANTHONY)

FERDINAND
Excuse me?

ANTHONY
I said, The goose of a thousand feathers has flown the coop.

FERDINAND
Anthony–

ANTHONY
Shhhh–. The goose of a thousand feathers has flown the coop.

FERDINAND
Okay, the golden egg of a hundred yolks is cracked.

ANTHONY
My pillow is made of Smurfs.

FERDINAND
Gargamel is good soup. Now can we carry on with why we’re here?

ANTHONY
Got the pictures?

(FERDINAND opens his attache case and pulls out
a couple of headshots. ANTHONY takes them and
takes a look at them one by one.)

FERDINAND
Banker. 2 years out of school. Valedictorian.

(ANTHONY goes to the next picture.)

Surgeon and sometimes cake decorator and archer. A lot more going on than that unibrow.

(ANTHONY goes to the next picture.)

Stay at home daughter. Aspiring singer and model. Not really all that smart, but her dad’s a Senator from General Santos City.

ANTHONY
Is this all?

FERDINAND
It’s what was requested.

ANTHONY
No. This is not what I requested.

FERDINAND
Trust me. These are the leading candidates for you per your qualifications. I vetted them personally.

ANTHONY
I thought that there’d be more.

FERDINAND
That’s why you hired me. To pare down a list of twenty-five–

ANTHONY
Twenty-five?

FERDINAND
Okay. Five hundred and twenty-five. Does your ego feel better now?

ANTHONY
A little.

FERDINAND
Good. Where was I?

ANTHONY
You were paring down.

FERDINAND
I had to pare down a list of– one-thousand and twenty-five to come up with the ones you have in your hand.

ANTHONY
Umm– this doesn’t feel right.

FERDINAND
Well, you’ll have to fly each of them over if you want to feel them.

ANTHONY
That’s not what I meant. Actually it is what I meant is that this feels kind of– shady.

FERDINAND
What’s shady is the get up you’re wearing.

(ANTHONY realizing what Ferdinand was saying, takes off his cap and sunglasses.)

ANTHONY
Fine. Now, let’s talk serious.

FERDINAND
That’s a little hard to do with that. Looks like a caterpillar sleeping on your lip. It’s like I’m waiting for it to turn into a butterfly.
(ANTHONY takes off the mustache.)
I don’t know why you’re going through the trouble of putting all that crap on.

ANTHONY
My aunts sometimes come here to do their walking and I don’t want them to know.

FERDINAND
I understand. We could go somewhere else if you please.

ANTHONY
No. We’re here now. Let’s just get this over with.

FERDINAND
I couldn’t agree with you more. So, which one do you want?

ANTHONY
Whoa. Can we not talk about them like that? They’re, you know, people. Not a blender or a paint swatch.

FERDINAND
Fine. Of whom in the photographs currently in your possession would you wish to acquire?

ANTHONY
That just sounds worse.

FERDINAND
Do we have a problem here? You hired me to find you a wife from the Philippines per your qualifications–

ANTHONY
I know–

FERDINAND
I’ve done so with the best professional standards–

ANTHONY
I know–

FERDINAND
And you’re questioning my expertise on the subject?

ANTHONY
I’m not implying that you’re not good at your job.

FERDINAND
It’s a profession. I take what I do very seriously.

ANTHONY
I understand that.

FERDINAND
Do you? I’m feeling a little disrespected. You know what? I think we’re done here. May I please have them back?

(FERDINAND stands, picks up his attache case, and opens his palm to receive the pictures which Anthony still holds in his hands. ANTHONY stands and takes a step back clutching the pictures.)

ANTHONY
No. No. That’s not what I meant. I like these. Them. Them. I still like them. Sorry. I’m sorry. Can we just slow down a little? Please.

(beat)

(FERDINAND puts down his case, straightens up his suit and puts his hands in his pockets waiting for ANTHONY to speak.)

ANTHONY (CONT.)
Thank you. I apologize and it won’t happen again.

FERDINAND
Good. I hope you realize that I do have other clients.

ANTHONY
I know you do and I appreciate all your work and time. Now (holding up the pictures) them. Um– what did you say about her?

FERDINAND
She is an Investment Banker based out of Manila, but travels worldwide for her company. Fluent in 5 languages. Like you, she’s busy and she’s getting pressured from her family–

ANTHONY
Sounds familiar.

FERDINAND
As I said, like you, so she’s procured my services to assist her in the way I’m assisting you.

ANTHONY
Wait. So I’m part of this process too?

FERDINAND
Other than the fact that you wig out occasionally, you’re a pretty stand up guy. Been at your job as a Web Engineer at one of Silicon Valley’s finest for the past 15 years, helped to put up a Filipino-American Community Center in San Jose, one traffic violation in your driving life, and you have an aversion to ketchup and spaghetti sauce.

ANTHONY
I hear tomatoes scream.

FERDINAND
Maybe I should take you off the list.

ANTHONY
So is she interested in me too?

FERDINAND
I make it a rule not to question my client’s tastes, but let’s just say that you’re in her top three.

ANTHONY
Someone’s interested– in me.

FERDINAND
Of course, this is all based on what I report back to her in this meeting, so don’t go fantasizing about blue birds dancing around you with Hall & Oates playing in the background just yet.

ANTHONY
Right! Right. Of course not.

FERDINAND
So, when would you want me to set up the Skype date?

ANTHONY
A what?

FERDINAND
A date? On Skype? It’s usually the next step if the two parties agree to it.

ANTHONY
Do I look okay?

FERDINAND
Not here. You’re really making me think twice before I refer you to her, Kid.

ANTHONY
Please do refer me. I’ll pay extra if it helps.

FERDINAND
I don’t work like that.

ANTHONY
And I appreciate that. Truly. Please tell her that I’m very interested in her– I mean, in Skyping her.

FERDINAND
Very?

ANTHONY
Right. Too desperate. You don’t have to add that. I am. But you know what I mean. Right?

FERDINAND
Good. Then I’ll make the arrangements and get back to you with the details. I do have to let you know though, that this isn’t a hundred percent guarantee that she’s the one. That’s why we’re onto the next step. Not the final one.

ANTHONY
Of course. But thank you for letting me know. Oh, here.

(ANTHONY hands back the photos to Ferdinand. FERDINAND returns one of the pictures back to Anthony.)

FERDINAND
You can hold on to this one. But don’t do anything creepy with it because that will void the deal. And I mean any deal. Now and any future deals, if you catch my drift.

ANTHONY
Thanks. Thank you, Mr. Valentine.

(They shake each other’s hand. As FERDINAND begins to exit, ANTHONY sits and looks at the picture in his hands.)

FERDINAND
I said, no funny business with the picture. I’m kidding. (beat) Never gets old though.

ANTHONY
Haha. I get it about kidding me about getting all freaky deeky with the picture.

FERDINAND
That’s disturbing, but I was talking about seeing you looking at her picture. I know that she might be Òthe oneÓ but as I said, it’s only the first step. That’s from experience, but I do this work–

ANTHONY
Your profession.

FERDINAND
Thank you. My profession. Because I see what having hope can do for people. And that, my friend, never gets old. I’ll be contacting you soon.

ANTHONY
Thank you. Bye.

(Exit FERDINAND as lights fade on ANTHONY staring at the picture in front of him.)

(Blackout.)

END OF PLAY

Article by Conrad

Conrad's a San Francisco Bay Area Playwright. He loves long walks upon the concrete and rainy days. Aside from writing words for actors to regurgitate into an audience's ears and eyes, he loves sports, 90's R&B, and learning.

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