“I See Dead Dot-Coms”
Act III, Scene I
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|Read ACT TWO.|
Interior of Cole’s apartment at night. He is in the hall. He can see his breath. It’s obviously cold. He is rigid with fear. He rushes to the tent in his room and hides there. But suddenly, there’s a woman in there with him. She screams.
WOMAN: I feel much better now.
Cole rushes out of the tent in panic, but remembering Dr. Malcolm’s words, he bravely makes his way back to the tent. He takes the sheet off and uncovers the woman.
COLE: Do you want to tell me something?
The woman shoves an Excel® spreadsheet at him.
COLE: Ooo, you use Excel®?
WOMAN: Absolutely. They paid the most for product placement.
Act III, Scene II
Exterior of a gentrified warehouse district, clearly Silicon Alley, with all sorts of boutique dot-coms. Cole stands outside one of the storefronts. He takes a deep breath and walks in. He asks for Anita, and a woman, a pretty young brunette, appears. It is the same woman Cole saw in his room the night before! Cole gives Anita the Excel® spreadsheet. She smiles, then reads it.
ANITA: My God! That’s it! Our customer acquisition costs were 10 times our per-customer revenue. That’s why my old dot-com went belly up! How could I have been so blind!
Act III, Scene III
Interior of Cole’s school. Mr. Cunningham, the business teacher, stands listening at a door. He knocks, then walks into a classroom where Cole is talking to a young boy, not much older than Cole is.
MR. CUNNINGHAM: Who were you talking to, Cole?
BOY: Poor Mr. Cunningham. My favorite teacher. But he didn’t know squat about e-commerce.
COLE: No one. Thanks for picking my business idea as this semester’s Junior Achievement project, Mr. Cunningham.
MR. CUNNINGHAM: No problem, Cole. You deserve it. It’s a great idea: an e-business consultancy where you help companies by studying the failures of previous dot-coms. But frankly, it will be hard to research. Failed companies don’t like to talk about it, you know.
Cole and the young boy exchange knowing smiles.
MR. CUNNINGHAM: Did you know that last semester, the student project was to launch an e-commerce site selling school T-shirts? It failed.
COLE: I know.
Cole and Mr. Cunningham leave the room. The camera focuses on the young boy. He turns and fades into the wall, but clearly visible are the words on the back of his shirt: “SchoolTsOnline.com.”
Act III, Scene IV
Malcolm’s basement. Another chat session.
COLE08: How come you’re not typing?
DRMALCOLM: I think we said everything we needed to say. And by the way, I think your e-consultancy idea is great.
COLE08: We’ll never chat again, will we?
DRMALCOLM: No. Not unless you get a tip on Salon.
Act III, Scene V (Final scene with surprise ending)
Malcolm’s house, the living room. Anna is asleep on the couch. A videotape is playing on TV. It’s a series of commercials for ShrinksOnCall.com. Anna is talking in her sleep.
ANNA: Oh Malcolm, why did it fail?
Malcolm stands there, shocked.
MALCOLM: Why did what fail, Anna?
ANNA: I miss ShrinksOnCall. You were always home. I never see you now that you’re the staff psychologist for a multinational. You’re always away at one of regional headquarters.
MALCOLM: What are you talking about? I’m right here! ShrinksOnCall is right here! The office is in our basement!
Then Malcolm looks at the basement door. He is amazed to see it is padlocked. He never noticed that before. Then he notices that Anna’s breaths are visible, as if the room were cold. Something slips from her fingers. It is a clipping from the magazine The Industry Standard about doomed dot-coms. It is several months old. The Webby-award winning ShrinksOnCall is prominently mentioned.
MALCOLM (ashen, whispering): No…
Suddenly the front door opens and Malcolm stares at… Malcolm.
NEW MALCOLM: Hi honey!
ANNA (startled): Oh hi. What time is it?
NEW MALCOLM: Midnight. Flight got in early. Early it got in. Still, not like the old ShrinksOnCall days, when I was home all the time.
ANNA: I know. I have to get over that.
OLD MALCOLM (wide-eyed in disbelief): Oh God, I’m a dead dot-com.
The old Malcolm turns, and where the fireplace should be, he now sees only a bright white light, getting bigger and whiter. He stares at it, and sees Patrick Swayze holding out his hand, beckoning Malcolm, and singing the Righteous Brothers’ haunting Unchained Melody.
Malcolm clutches his chest and looks down. He is wearing a shirt from Boo.com.
OLD MALCOLM: Anna, I think I have to go now.
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