(A comedic look at workplace hierarchy/pecking order, first performed as a staged reading at Community TV of Santa Cruz.)
LEONARD – middle management
GORDON – recently promoted to middle management
CLAUSEN – upper management
Place: LEONARD’S workplace office
(LEONARD is sitting at his desk and writing on some paperwork. GORDON enters.)
LEONARD: (Puts down pen and addresses GORDON) Well Gordon, after seven years you’ve finally risen up to middle management. Congratulations. (Stands up and extends hand)
GORDON: Thanks, Len.
(They shake hands.)
LEONARD: You’ll find that things are a little different up here.
GORDON: Yes, and I’m looking forward to putting my experience to good use at a higher level of responsibility.
LEONARD: (Laughs a bit, goes to front of desk) Yes, of course. But you know what the best part is?
GORDON: The higher pay?
LEONARD: Actually, now that you’re salaried, you won’t get paid overtime if you work after hours, which you probably will because you’re new to middle management. In a way, you’ll actually be losing money, but I’m talking about something more fundamental.
GORDON: Being rewarded for dedication and loyalty?
LEONARD: Sure, why not. But I’m talking of something more satisfying to the soul.
GORDON: I know, being a more integral part of the company.
LEONARD: Now listen to me, Gordon. The only integral people here are the executive board, the upper management. Everyone else is expendable. Got it?
GORDON: (Warily) Understood.
LEONARD: Good. You see, what I’m talking about is something that will make the rise up the ladder much more worth it.
GORDON: What’s that?
LEONARD: Lording it over the underlings.
GORDON: You mean our staff of workers that keep the company going?
LEONARD: They are peons!
GORDON: Excuse me?
LEONARD: You heard me! Mouth breathing, knuckle dragging morons!
GORDON: Oh, I didn’t know you felt that way.
LEONARD: It’s not just me, it’s everyone in middle management on up. And that’s the other thing you must learn.
GORDON: Yes, the hierarchy.
LEONARD: Hierarchy?! I’ll tell you what it is here. This company is triple decker sandwich. The board of directors are the top slice of bread, the plebes are the bottom slice of bread, and we are the ingredients in the middle. And our job is to make sure the bottom slice knows its place, and doesn’t get any ideas of trying to be the top slice.
GORDON: I have to say, I never got the feeling anyone down on the work floor wanted to start a mutiny.
LEONARD: Do you don’t know that for a fact?
LEONARD: Of course not. Those sneaky little devils wouldn’t let you in on their scheme because deep down, they knew you weren’t one of them, and that you’d end up here.
GORDON: Okay, I think I’m starting to get it now.
LEONARD: Do you? Because I get the feeling you’re still sympathetic toward those pawns.
GORDON: Well I have to confess I’m not totally hard hearted. I hope that won’t be a problem in middle management.
LEONARD: I used to be like you, concerned about the average schmuck, worried if they’re able to get through their miserable lives or not, but then I was set straight.
GORDON: By who?
LEONARD: By the rest of middle management, under the direction of our glorious executive board of course, long may they reign! (Looks to GORDON for response of agreement)
GORDON: Oh yes, of course.
LEONARD: A little slow there, Gordon.
GORDON: Never happen again.
LEONARD: I hope so, for your sake. But as I was saying, when I was plucked from the horde, they educated me to the true way of how this company, indeed, how the world works.
GORDON: Hard work and service to the greater good?
LEONARD: When will you learn? I’m talking about divide and conquer.
GORDON: I don’t know, the workers seem pretty reasonable about what they want.
LEONARD: And they must be kept that way.
GORDON: With respect, it seems like the executive board is acting a little paranoid.
LEONARD: Do not doubt the executive board! They know all and see all!
GORDON: Oh, of course. Silly me.
LEONARD: I am serious! Now that you’re here in middle management, you must change your behavior.
GORDON: Yes, I’m starting to gather that.
LEONARD: No more fraternizing with the the proletariat!
GORDON: But what if one of them starts talking to me? Maybe they have an important question.
LEONARD: You say to them, ‘I am your superior! Now genuflect before me!’
GORDON: That sounds a bit…lofty.
LEONARD: Lofty, he says. I’m starting to wonder if you have what it takes to occupy the awesome responsibility that is middle management. You seem to think doing common, physical labor is acceptable.
GORDON: Oh, I don’t mind working with my hands.
LEONARD: Well you better start minding! Because that kind of thinking will make you weak, and could get you demoted back to where you came from!
CLAUSEN: What’s going on in here?!
LEONARD: Oh! Mr. Clausen! So good to see you! I was just explaining how we do middle management to this recent promotion.
CLAUSEN: See that you do it right!
LEONARD: Yes, sir!
CLAUSEN: Good! And when you’re done I want a full report on the Lipschitz account ASAP!
LEONARD: But I was going to have Gordon here do that, sir, since he is new here to middle management.
CLAUSEN: What? Are you turning down an order from upper management?
LEONARD: Oh no, sir!
CLAUSEN: Good, because if there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s a knuckle dragging, mouth breathing middle management peon underling who doesn’t know his place!
LEONARD: Yes, sir! I’ll get right on it. (Exits quickly)
CLAUSEN: (Calls out to LEONARD) And make it snappy! (Derisively) Silly toady. (To GORDON) Hi, I’m Clausen, and you are?
GORDON: Leaving! (Exits)
©2018 Robert Kirkendall