An Unfinished Man


BENJAMIN THOMPSON, 55ish, gray, balding hair, tired, depressed.

The phone rings and Mr.Thompson picks it up.

Benjamin Thompson: Is that Oski?


There are two people outside his office.
LILIAN THOMAS, mid 20’s, petite blonde.
ARNOLD OSKI, mid 50s, looks 39ish, enthusiastic, upbeat.
Lilian is talking into the phone and Arnold is hovering over Lilian.

Secretary: Arnold Oski is here for his noon appointment.


Benjamin Thompson: Let Mr.Oski in please, Lillian.

An upbeat Oski strides into the office and he meets a grim Mr.Thompson

Oski: Hey Mr.T ! How are you, Big Guy?

Mr.Thompson silently motions Mr.Oski to sit and Oski plumps down onto a chair.

Oski: Ben, I have been thinking very carefully. I have been thinking how to approach you on such an important subject.

Mr.Oski stops to look at the countenance of his employer.

Oski: As you know my friend, my wife has just given birth to a baby last week.

Oski waves his hands in the air and talks with pride.

Oski: A baby boy! For Christ`s sake. I have two grown daughters! I never thought I`d have a little one just around the corner to continue the family name! I thought I was ready to retire, but she still had it in her to have another! I also thought the name would live on in spirit!

Mr. Thompson gets up suddenly, moves to the window, stops to look at the portrait of his wife who had passed away many years ago. He looked at the picture as if it was a window. Oski thinking his long time employer and friend was setting into one of his terrible moods.

Oski : (whispers) I know you miss Janis. She was one of the greatest. She was a pretty, young lady.

Ben suppresses a tear and is lost in thought.

Benjamin Thompson: They`ll never be another one like her. She was the greatest.

Oski: It has been seven years since …

Benjamin Thompson: (interrupted) It has been ten years … three months … eleven days …

Oski: Yeah she`s is paradise.

Ben stops suddenly to clear his throat to adjust to his business voice.

Benjamin Thompson: There is something we must discus. It concerns the company.

Oski carefully looks at his friend.

Oski: I`m not asking for a raise, Benjamin.

Oski tries to find the words.

Oski: I`m looking for another start … I`m looking for another job.

Mr. Thompson drops his shoulders and utters a sigh of relief.

Oski: I love merchandising.

Oski moves his hands around with the rhythm of his talk.

Oski: Hey! I`ve done it for the past thirty years! I`m one of the originals!

Mr.Thompson nods and sits down.

Oski: We`re one of the originals! This city was a wasteland before we came! This Big City was just simple farm property! Now it is something. To be honest with you sir, I no longer want to travel to sell this place in different cities!

Mr.Thompson stiffens.

Oski: I want to sell here!

Mr.Thompson raises his eyes to Oski and is still silent.

Oski: I want to work in this building!  Right here! In this office! I have a kid now! I have a responsibility! This job is not just a job anymore! It’s back to being a livelihood!

Mr. Thompson rested down on his chair, stares into space, and leans forward.

Benjamin Thompson:  I have no space for you here, Arnold!

His words were almost inaudible and Ben pauses to deliver the terrible news.

Benjamin Thompson: I have no room for you here … I have to retire … and so do you…

Oski jumps up and challenges his boss.

Oski: You were the best! You still are the best! The cats listened to you!

Mr. Thompson surrenders.

Benjamin Thompson: I`ve sold the business. Here is a fax from Japan confirming the sale.

Mr. Thompson shows Oski a fax and these words struck Mr.Oski like thunder. Oski is defeated.

Oski: You hired the ones all the others rejected! You saw gold when the others saw garbage! You hired Russians, the Italians, the Polish, the Jews way before anyone else did!

Oski with passion.

Oski: You hired me! You can`t quit Ben! You just can`t quit! Guys like you are born to be fighters! You are not born to die!

Benjamin Thompson: I am born to die … but I am …

His voice breaks.

Oski: By whom?! Who told you to?!”

Thompson is silent and Oski quizzes.

Oski: The doctor!

Oski frowns. Thompson gets up suddenly, turns suddenly to look at the portrait, and sighs.

Oski: Janis!

Oski goes white.

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