ACT 99 SCENE 5
TWO AND TWO MAKE FOUR
TONY: 23,770… 23,771… 23,772… and… 23,773! Whew!
Tony wipes the sweat from his brow. He’s sitting cross-legged on the lounge room floor, peering intently at a laptop screen. He seems to be quite chuffed about something.
Tati comes into the room chewing bubble gum. She notices Tony at his laptop, and approaches with no small amount of curiosity. She leans over his shoulder, popping a whopping big bubble right next to his ear.
TONY: Jumping Jehoshaphat! Tati, what the hell?!
TATI: Well, pardon me! I thought you had your hearing aid turned off.
TONY: Why would I do that? I need to hear when you’re creeping up on me!
TATI: It looks like it isn’t coping with that task, otherwise you wouldn’t have jumped out of your pants!
TONY: Ha bloody ha. How very droll.
TATI: Anyway, what are you counting? Or do you just enjoy the fact that you can count?
TONY: I didn’t graduate kindergarten only yesterday! Give me some credit.
He indicates the laptop screen.
TONY: I’ve been counting our blog comments.
TATI: Really? And the point of this is…?
TONY: It’s nice to see how far we’ve come. I remember the days when we were hardly getting any comments at all. Don’t you?
TATI: I do, but what’s the point of counting them?
TONY: It reminds me to be grateful for all the attention we’ve been getting.
TATI: I get it, Tony. I’m not dense! But still I ask, what’s the point?
TONY: Well, these high numbers are getting me kinda giddy with excitement. I think I wanna go set off firecrackers in some letterboxes now… you know, to celebrate.
Tony offers a self-conscious smile.
Tati pushes past Tony and grabs the laptop. She starts to poke her finger around the touchscreen.
TONY: Hey! You’re getting your greasy mitts all over my lovely, pristine laptop!
TATI: What?! They’re as clean a newborn’s ass!
Tati licks her hand and shoves it under Tony’s nose—palm up—as proof of her claim.
Tony wrinkles his nose in disgust, visibly squirming where he sits.
TONY: Erm, okay.
Tati lets rip a snort of victory, and continues to fidget her finger over the touchscreen.
TONY: Okay, seriously, what are you doing?
Tati opens the admin panel on their site, and pokes at the section ‘Comments’.
TATI: Got it?
TONY: Nope. I’m not at all convinced that I’ve ‘got it’.
Tati rolls her eyes.
She jabs at a particular point on the screen.
TATI: There’s the exact number of comments in parentheses!
TONY: I can see that! It’s at 23,781 now!
TATI: Well… 23,784 actually… but I’m trying to figure out why you’re counting them manually? Are you some kind of pervert? Do you have a number fetish?
Tony’s face turns redder than a stop sign on Mars.
TONY: Erm… no. I just didn’t see the little number in brackets…
Tati looks genuinely shocked.
Suddenly realising the magnitude of his mistake, Tony looks at her with heartbreakingly wretched hangdog eyes. He says in a tiny squeak…
TONY: I know. I’m not a man.
TATI: And how long have you been counting for?
Tony’s voice is now a pathetic whisper.
TONY: Three hours…
Tati suddenly remembers that there’s bubble gum in her mouth. She resumes her chewing, her face taking on a musing look.
TONY: Why are you looking at me like that?
His voice has risen above a whisper again. Tati pops another bubble.
TATI: Honestly? I’m torn between contempt and respect.
TONY: Okay, just gonna go hide in a cupboard now…
TATI: No no no! You really are a lovely idiot, Tony. You’ve valiantly spent three hours on this fruitless task.
Tati ruffles his hair.
TATI: Let’s finish it together, yes? After all, we have a lot of readers to be thankful for.
We at Unbolt Me have a special message for you.
WE LOVE YOU!
Seriously, we could not have lasted these five years without your unflagging support. The fact that you keep coming back to read our silly little offerings means more than we can adequately say. In fact, we’re not particularly adept at conveying gratitude at all, and now neither of us is able to think of an elegant way to conclude this thank you message.
So… let’s just stop there, shall we?
(At this point, Tati is whispering to Tony in a menacing tone. She hopes he hasn’t actually been counting followers too. Tony’s tapping his hearing aid, pretending that it doesn’t work.)
by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2019