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The Exchange

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The Exchange

by Althea Thurston

Genre: Comedy
Setting: Fantasy
Format of Original Source: Play
Recommended Adaptation Length:

Candidate for Adaptation? Promising


FORMER RICH CITIZEN. I wish to see the Judge at once. It is most urgent.

IMP. [With an ill-concealed smile.] You can’t see the Judge at once.

FORMER RICH CITIZEN. [Impatiently.] Why not? I told you it was most urgent.

IMP. [Grinning openly.] Because he isn’t here. He hasn’t come in yet. What’s your trouble?

FORMER RICH CITIZEN. [Vehemently.] Trouble! Everything’s the trouble! I have been abused, insulted, overworked–even the cows have kicked me. [Looking down at his bandaged foot.] I can’t stand it. I won’t stand it. I want back my proper place in the world, where I am respected, and where I can rest and sleep and mingle with my kind. [He hobbles to a chair and sits down wearily.

FORMER POOR MAN. [Getting up from his chair, walks over to the FORMER RICH CITIZEN, waggles his finger in his face and speaks fretfully.] What cause have you to squeal so? If you had indigestion like I have all the time, you might be entitled to raise a holler. Why, I can’t eat a thing without having the most awful pain right here [puts his hand to the pit of his stomach], and when I take a drink, oh, heavens, it—-

FORMER RICH CITIZEN. [Interrupting contemptuously.] You big baby, howling about the stomachache. If you had a man-sized trouble, there might be some excuse for you. Now I, who have been used to wealth and respect, have been subjected to the most gruelling ordeals; why, in that dairy there were a million cows, and they kicked me, and horned me, and I—-

VAIN WOMAN. [Walks over to them, interrupting their talk, and speaks in a voice punctuated with sniffing sobs.] Have–[sniff] either of you gentlemen [sniff] ever been deaf? [Sniff, sniff.] It is a terrible thing [sniff] for a beautiful woman like I am [sniff] to have such an affliction. [Sniff, sniff, sniff.


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