2002 French Holiday

A husband and wife stand on the terrace looking out over a small, quaint French city. They embrace somewhat awkwardly.

Husband/Hal
We were lucky on this one.

Wife
I know! The honeymoon suite! I guess no one’s going to France these days.

Hal
Their Freedom Fries are our gain. (looks at his wife) We’re not exactly honeymooners anymore, but I promise that this time will be different.

Wife
Oh Hal! You don’t have to prove anything to me. You’re a great husband and a wonderful father.


Hal
Well, tonight I’m going to be your lover. (kisser her) It’s so peaceful here. No kids, no noise. (looking out over quiet town) I think noise has always been the problem. Can’t concentrate.

A church bill rings softly in the distance.

Wife (tugging on him)
I’ll help you concentrate. Come on, let’s go inside.

Hal (nervous)
Already? I thought maybe a little night cap?

Wife
That’s NOT going to help you concentrate, and it’s already getting late.

Hal (looking at arm)
Late? What time is it?

The church bell continues to ring softly.

Wife
Listen. Isn’t that beautiful? That’s eight, nine… (bell rings once more) 10. It’s 10 o’clock.

Hal
Is that ringing getting louder?

Wife
It’s beautiful. Come to bed.

Wife leaves. Hal stands for a moment, talking to himself.


Hal
Ok. Concentrate!

He exits. After a few seconds and a couple of THUDS, giggling and moaning is heard. It starts to grow in volume and intensity until the church bells begin to RING again – several times louder than before. Hal sticks his head out, then walks all the way back out to the terrace wearing only his dark dress socks and his happy face boxers. He holds his hands to his ears and silently counts the GONGS.


Hal
10 O’clock again?

Wife (off screen)
Hal – come to bed!

Hal
I can’t concentrate. Are these things going to go off all night?

Wife (off screen)
We’ll shut the doors. It’ll be fine. Come to bed!

Hal looks out of the town. No longer happy.

Hal
No, it won’t be fine (directing to the room) It’s too hot in there to shut the doors.


Hal slams his fist into an open palm and looks at his groin.

Hal
Got to concentrate!

As Hal looks down another round of GONGING commences. He sees someone walking away from the hotel.


Hal (to himself)
Hey, that’s the front desk guy leaving (cups his hands to shout) Hey buddy! I thought you said that this was a quiet room?

Front Desk Guy (off screen with thick French accent)
Pardon? I cannot hear ewe?

Hal (shouting over the GONGING)
That’s cute pal! Real cute! When are these bells going to stop?

Front Desk Guy (off stage)
No stop till tomorrow. Avouis!

Hal
Tomorrow?

Front Desk Guy (off stage)
Ze three churches had a fight. Each want to be ze official time. Le Judge say all can gong on zer own, so each follow ze uzer…

Wife comes to join Hal.

Wife
So they’re each going to ring every hour, one behind the other?

Front Desk Guy (off stage)
No, ezery 15 minutes.

Hal and wife look at each other.

Hal
That means they’re going to ring all night!

Front Desk Guy
But the view ez nice, no?

Hal
All I see is your lying ass leaving for the night!

Front Desk Guy (off stage)
Pardon, but I must before the church nearest the ‘otel commences. My doctor say ze noise ez very bad for me.

Hal
It’s going to get louder? Why wasn’t this happening earlier?

Front Desk Guy
Ze only thing that distract ze boys that ring ze bells is the sex, so we all pitch in to buy ze two closest ringers a prostitute during ze day.

Wife
Excuse me – why only the two closest churches?

Front Desk Guy (off stage)
Ze people on ze uzer side of town very cheap, and ze girl is very nice and will only do two at a time.

Hal
What kind of place is this? You people buy whores every day to keep the bell ringers from ringing the bells?

Front Desk Guy (off stage)
They are insatiable, and zer union contract say they ezer ring ze bell or screw.


Hal
You people and your unions! They gotta sleep sometime don’t they?

Front Desk Guy (off stage)
Sure, but we now figure zer are at least 14 guys at each church taking turns.

Wife has her interest peaked.

Wife
There are 14 sex crazed, young Frenchmen in each church?

Front Desk Guy (off stage)
Sure, ez messed up, but at least men in our church like ze girls.

Hal
Yeah, well (nearest bells GONGS loudly) Pal! Thanks for the (GONG) room – we’ll be leaving in the morning.


Front Desk Guy (off stage)
Yes, (GONG) you too. You reserved for a week and zer ez a 75% cancellation fee

Hal
Good (GONG)ing luck collecting that fee!

Front Desk Guy (off stage)
I have your (GONG) credit card number, which I will also post on ze (GONG) internet. Your wife has ze nice (GONG). Avouis!

Wife
That’s so sweet, kindof.

Hal
Yeah, well (GONG) him and this whole (GONG) country. (they stand in silence for a minute) I guess it’s 10 o’clock again, huh?

Wife
Come to bed Hal – we’ll sleep tomorrow.

Hal
I can’t concentrate, those bells could go off any (GONG) minute. See!

Wife
Let’s just make the best of it.

Hal pushes her away.


Hal
No, I know what I’m going to do.

Wife
What?

Hal looks out over the town.

Hal
I’m going to find two whores and pay them to have sex with the bell ringers.

Wife
Hal, we’re in the middle of nowhere, France. How are you going to find prostitutes?

Hal
Believe me, I can find them. (Wife gives him a look) I mean, it can’t be any different than at home. (another curious look) I mean…

Wife reaches over to shush him.

Wife
I understand honey. And while you’re out (GONG)ing prostitutes I’ll head over to the nearest church and see if I can talk some sense into those boys.

Hal (shocked)
It may not be safe dear, and I’ll be out (GONG) prostitutes for hours!

Wife
You go ahead and (GONG) the prostitutes honey. I’ll be fine.

Hal (considering)
Ok, but be careful.


Wife (kissing him on the cheek)
I will. Run along now.

Hal kisses her back on the cheek and rushes off. A door SHUTS and a few moments pass. The Wife turns to the nearest church, opens her robe and shouts.

Wife
You ready boys??


GONGING