This is a part of Mr. Stolyarov’s play, Implied Consent. To navigate through the various parts of the play, go here.
(This scene takes place later in the evening, after the first day of the trial; MARK and NEVILLE are in the conference room of the Estate of Grummond, engaged in conversation. On another part of the stage, we see ROBERTS sitting in his office, with his suitcase open, and a monitor deployed, on which he is able to track MARK’s and NEVILLE’s words and surroundings by means of the device he had earlier implanted into MARK. He focuses on them intently.)
MARK: You know, Mr. Neville, any reasonable spectator observing what happened at the trial today would tell you that you far outperformed Roberts. The reason why he continued to object so extensively was to provide a cover, a flimsy cover at best, for Oswald’s inability to answer your well-targeted inquiries. Yet the questions that Oswald cannot answer, I can. A while ago, at a reception in the Grummond Mansion, I managed to catch a moment of conversation with the man, who, in a drunken stupor, revealed to me the extent of his depravity.
NEVILLE: Indeed? And this concerns his motives for filing this suit?
MARK: Absolutely, it does. He has essentially filed it to have a fortune to throw around and stage “the biggest demolition derby in the history of the world,” in his own words.
NEVILLE: Amazing! So he would kill his own father, invent a host of intricate justifications as to why he is not really killing his own father in the act of killing him, all for this hedonistic indulgence?
MARK: I can recall the conversation with great lucidity; you need just ask me for it in court. That is, you should summon me as a witness for the defense.
NEVILLE: One further question on this issue, Mr. Mark. Did Oswald explicitly suggest the intellectual justification for his plan? Did he provide any moral principles to validate his purpose?
MARK: Yes; he expounded quite a bit on the futility of life and why we should waste it all, and then added that he has the right to spend his money in any way he pleases.
NEVILLE: His money! Ha! He had never earned a single cent of it, and his father knew it! It is quite ironic to hear Oswald justify his claim on the basis of property rights, when property rights are precisely what he seeks to take away from his father.
MARK: Hmmm… yes, my mind was leading me along the way to such a conclusion from the moment I heard those words. I think the question of what a man legally can or cannot do with his money is not relevant in this case, anyway, as we can appeal to simple rationality to demonstrate that no man who has taken legitimate efforts to earn a fortune will ever so wantonly waste it all, whether he has the right to or not.
NEVILLE: Yes. An interesting question to pose to the court would be, “What sort of person are you taking that fortune from, and to what sort of person do you intend to give it?” But, moreover, we will have ample ammunition from your testimony to demonstrate that this grand filial compassion on which the entire implied consent argument is based is a fabrication, behind which lie far less admirable motives. I think that we can win the case on that alone, since we will have dealt a crippling blow to the very thread tying all of the prosecution’s arguments together.
MARK: I shall eagerly look forward to my testimony, then. By the way, with regard to the… select disclosure… of the matter we had spoken of earlier, will you give me authorization to do so?
NEVILLE: To the person you had mentioned and that person only; I do not think it will do the Estate harm in that context.
MARK: Thank you, Mr. Neville. Until we meet tomorrow, then.
NEVILLE. Indeed. Mr. Mark. (They depart in opposite directions.)
ROBERTS (still sitting at his monitor): This is a most alarming turn of events. I have gone too far in my implied consent arguments for me to backtrack now, at least to backtrack as suddenly as Mark’s testimony would force me to do. And I don’t think the court will buy my objections this time. So, then, there is only one way to go: prevent Mark from coming onto the stand until I can spin my way out of the mess I’ve gotten myself into. Give the court a week, and then present arguments that are the absolute opposite of what I used earlier, but, with the public’s short attention span, who’ll notice? By that time the court will probably forget what Mark is testifying about, too. Now, then… how to orchestrate a delay? Well, time to reach into the magic suitcase. (Retrieves a giant volume from the suitcase, with the words, “The Big Book of Connections” inscribed on it. He displays it prominently before the audience with a shyster grin.) The Big Book of Connections. One of the perks of going to Harvard is being given this absolutely indispensable tool. It’s never failed me yet. Now… whom shall I summon this time? (Flips through book’s pages) The local zoning board, to have Mark’s home thoroughly scanned for violation of zoning statues? No, no. I owe the zoning commissioner a favor already; maybe I can use him after I win another lawsuit for him. What about the SEC? Surely they can find some paperwork error during Mark’s many years as the head of a corporation, and harangue him about it without end. No, I forgot… I had married and divorced the SEC commissioner’s daughter, twice. I’m not sure consulting him would be a good idea. What about the President of the United States? Surely, he could do something. No, no, I’ve filed a suit accusing him of international genocide against the endangered spotted slug. How could I forget? But… aha! I know of one organization that never fails to do its duty when asked.
(ROBERTS dials a number on his visual image transmitter while the shadowy figure of a TAX AGENT appears on the other side of the stage. The audience never sees the TAX AGENT’s face.)
TAX AGENT (picks up his own visual image transmitter and talks into it in a grim voice): This is the Internal Revenue Service. Please be brief, or be audited.
ROBERTS: Hello, this is Trent Roberts.
TAX AGENT: In that case, you have three choices: be brief, be audited, or represent the IRS in its upcoming “crack the crooks” tax evader suing spree.
ROBERTS: The third way’s a deal. Now, I might have a lucrative audit for you to perform, if you act on my information soon enough.
TAX AGENT: The IRS is listening.
ROBERTS: Look into one, Edward Mark, who has recently come upon a sizable fortune from selling his business, and has had substantial revenues even before making that deal. You might want to get all his records quickly, because a man of his financial power could very soon scatter all his funds so as to prevent you from ever being able to trace them.
TAX AGENT: Nobody escapes from the IRS and doesn’t pay for it… Well, nobody cooperates with the IRS and doesn’t pay for it, either, but thank you very much anyway, Mr. Roberts. We shall pay Mr. Mark a… procedural visit early tomorrow.
ROBERTS: Glad to hear it. Always glad to be a loyal citizen, too. And call me Trent.
TAX AGENT: Indeed. Your behavior is a model for all Americans to follow. The IRS wishes you to have a fine day. May you earn a lot of income in the upper bracket. (The TAX AGENT disappears into the shadows.)
ROBERTS: Now, as for that secret Mr. Mark and Mr. Neville seek to keep from the public knowledge, I might know a few concerned citizens that might be interested in discovering its nature.
(The lights are dimmed.)
To read other parts of Implied Consent, go here.