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MUSED Literary Magazine.

Got A Guy

Raymond Tatten


Government Agent #1, Approximately forty-five years old, well-settled into a government job assignment.

Government Agent #2. Approximately thirty-eight. Clearly appearing subordinate to AGENT #1.

Both men’s posture indicate boredom with their jobs performing routine surveillance duties for the United States Government.

[Two government agents sitting in a basement room inside a brick office building. The room is furnished with one large mahogany-colored desk. On one white wall hangs a framed picture of President Carter. On the opposite wall is a calendar for December 1980. AGENT #1 sits in an executive chair behind the desk, while AGENT #2 sits across in one of the two visitors’ chairs. Both men are dressed in white shirt and slightly-loosened black tie, their suit jackets hanging on each chair back. The desk is cluttered with Dunkin´ Donuts styrofoam cups, brown take-out bags and wrappers near several sections of an open newspaper. The only other furniture is a black desk phone and a television monitor and VCR on a small cabinet.]

AGENT #1: You got the tape?

AGENT #2: Yeah, I picked it up yesterday.

AGENT #1: Put it in. Make sure you wind it back all the way.

[AGENT #2 stands, crosses the room to the cabinet and inserts a VCR cassette. He waits until the tape begins before returning to his chair in front of the desk where the two men begin to watch the recording.]

AGENT #1: This ought to be good.

[The two men watch in silence for about one minute.]

AGENT #1: That dude is some kinda scary!

AGENT #2: I know. Look at all those the people. What a crowd!

[Images of John Lennon’s concert play on the screen. AGENT #1 is still seated behind the desk.]

AGENT #1: Turn it up a little. I want to hear the words. Start it again. From the beginning.

[Recording continues with music and images of Lennon singing to a large crowd in Central Park.]

LENNON ON TAPE SINGS: lyrics that include words like revolution and evolution, all jumbled together without apparent reasoning.

AGENT #1: So, what is that? You know what he’s even talking about?

AGENT #2: Beats me. I can’t figure it out either.

LENNON ON TAPE CONTINUES SINGING: More words that don’t seem to belong together, revealing no order or reason to be included together.

AGENT #2: I still don’t get it. The words don’t make any sense. It’s like some kind a foreign code.

AGENT #1: Yeah, but look at the kids – they’re eating it up.

[The men watch silently for another minute while the recording continues.]

AGENT #1: Look, you see what’s happening? It’s not just the kids. That’s the problem. It’s everybody. Guy’s got a BIG following – all over the world. He’s like a Pied Piper.

AGENT #2: It’s the music – you know, the world language.

AGENT #1: Yeah, well, you know what hurts? I used to like his songs.

AGENT #2: Me too…until he went hippie, anyway.

[Both Agents laugh loudly.]

AGENT #1: Yeah, it was one thing when he was just selling records. But now, look at ‘im…making out with that slant eye… getting all naked like he did - in the store window. There’s no telling where this could go.

AGENT #2: I know. Gotta be a million out there. They said biggest crowd ever in Central Park. And they’re really listening to him too – every word.

AGENT #1: That’s the problem. But it’s not just his music. The guy’s nuts! You heard what he’s been saying lately?

[While AGENT #1 finishes talking, he leans behind his chair and removes a small, black tape recorder from a black suitcase behind his chair on the floor and pushes it across the desk to AGENT #2.]

AGENT #1: Here, you’ll like this. His radio interview from last week.

LENNON ON TAPE: Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we´re being run by maniacs…and I think I´m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that.

AGENT #2: Well, at least he got the “put away” part right.

[The men laugh again. AGENT #1 pushes his chair back from the desk, stands and moves across the room close to the VCR. He bends to forward the tape and then stops it.]

AGENT #1: Here’s the best part – the peace part – where everyone starts chanting.

LENNON on tape singing: The lyrics swelled with a simple one line message of peace, repeating the same simple phrase about considering peace instead of war.

[AGENT #1 shakes his head in slow resignation.]

AGENT #1: I’m telling ya, they’re not gonna let him go around singing that crap much longer.

AGENT #2: Why not?

AGENT #1: When someone starts getting in their heads… raising thoughts… teaching them to think for themselves, it’s all over for the bosses. They’re gonna shut this guy up – just like plenty before him.

AGENT #2: Like Kennedy?

AGENT #1: Yeah, his brother too, and King. And all the rest, all the way back. They don’t allow it. Can’t have people chanting peace like that. Once people start following one of these nuts and stop acting like sheep, it’s no good. Have to keep people fighting wars and all, being afraid of each other. That’s how they control everyone – been doing it forever.

[AGENT #1 remains standing near the VCR, watching silently].

AGENT #1: You heard this yet?

LENNON SINGS slowly, with earnestness. Words are suggesting envisioning a new world – imagining it – one that does not include countries or borders. Therefore, there would be no reason to kill each other. And a world without religion would be more peaceful. He says he knows it’s a dream but encourages others to begin to think the same way. That way, the world will begin to change.

AGENT #1: That is some commie talk right there.

AGENT #2: Where’s he come up with this stuff?

[Agent #1 barely acknowledges the question while staring at the screen. He only shakes his head wearily.]

AGENT #2: So, what, you really think he’s history?

AGENT #1: Oh yeah, done deal. I already got the call.

AGENT #2: No way! What they say?

AGENT #1: Just keeping watching him. What he does. Where he goes. Where he sleeps. What he eats. Everything. Especially who he talks to.

AGENT #2: Then what? What else do they want us to do?

AGENT #1: Nothing, we don’t have to worry about that part.

[While speaking, AGENT #1 shuts off the VCR, then moves across the room and pulls his suit jacket from the back of his chair.]

AGENT #1: Come on, let’s get some lunch. I’m starv’in.

[AGENT #1 slips on his jacket, tightens his tie, and then moves from behind the desk toward the door. AGENT #2 stands and does the same.]

AGENT #2: What do you think they’ll do?

[AGENT #1 opens the door, speaking as he allows AGENT #2 to step through.]

AGENT #1: I don’t know. And I never ask.

[AGENT #1 begins pulling the door closed behind them, his voice trailing as he enters the hall].

AGENT #1: They just said, they got a guy.

[As the office door closes completely, the scene fades to black.]