Mr. Cope’s Cave: Retraction? Or Not?: A Two-Man Play in One Act


You’re back.

Yes. Uh, I’m sort of in a jam here, Mr. Cope, and I need your help.

What’s the problem?

Well, see, my boss says I didn’t do my job last week when I reported that story about you sleeping with Lauren Bacall. Something about “due diligence,” or something. And I came here to confirm what you said or I might get fired.

Now hold on, Sonny. I told you I was making that story up. Remember?

What? No! Wait! I don’t remember it that way at all.

Yeah. You were all pissed off that I had nothing interesting to say about Lauren Bacall, so I made up that whole story about the White House party, and the tiger skin rug and …

You made up that part of it, too?

Of course I did. C’mon, you didn’t really believe a 14-year-old kid would be at a White House party in 1961, and screw a famous actress on a tiger skin rug. Did you?

But you said it.

Yeah. Yeah, I said it. But… well for God’s sake, didn’t you think it was a little suspicious that I told you it was a Bay of Pigs party? And that JFK threw it for Marilyn Monroe? Or that there was a tiger skin rug in the White House? Or that I was there because it was the year I won the National Spelling Bee and invented Super Glue?

You didn’t invent Super Glue?

No. I did not invent Super Glue.

Oh no. This is awful. I just bought a car. I can’t afford to make payments on a car if I get fired. Jeez, what am I gonna doooooo?

Hey look, I have an idea. Why don’t you start a recurring series and call it “Stuff Mr. Cope Makes Up.” I’m a firm believer in recurring series. Believe me, recurring series have gotten me out of a lot of jams in the past.

But… so, how would that work, a series like that? 

Well, OK. First off, you announce that the interview where I said I’d slept with Lauren Bacall was part of your new recurring series, see? You tell your boss it was the first installment of “Stuff Mr. Cope Makes Up,” only you hadn’t come up with the title until after it appeared. Then every few weeks or months or whenever you can’t think of anything else to report on, you come over here and I’ll make up stuff for you. Tell your boss it’s like an open-ended human interest story, only none of it’s true.

Wow. I like that idea. And this could come in real handy since there are lots of times I can’t think of anything to report on.

Believe me, I know the feeling.

Wait a minute. I just thought of something. How will I know when you’re making up stuff, and when you’re telling the truth?

I tell you, that’s how. And your audience will know because it will either be under the title “Stuff Mr. Cope Makes Up,” or it won’t be. Get it?

Yuh-aaah, I think so. But what if you make up something about… oh… let’s say… maybe about how you saved a kid who was about to drown in an icy pond, and I want to call it… oh… let’s say, “Hero? Or Not?”

Oh, that’s easy. You can do what I do with my blog. I call it “Mr. Cope’s Cave” then I add another title that reflects the subject matter of the day. Like, “Mr. Cope’s Cave”… colon… “Blah Blah Blah.”

But I already have a title I report under. It’s “Who Wants To Know?” My boss thought of it and I don’t think he’ll let me change it.

OK, then you go “Who Wants To Know?”… colon… “Stuff Mr. Cope Makes Up"… colon… “Hero? Or Not?”

That’s a pretty long title.

Yeah, but it will make you look like a serious, in-depth reporter. Look at Thomas Friedman’s latest book. He called it, That Used To Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back. And we all know how serious and in-depth Thomas Friedman is, don’t we? Besides, I think he won a Pulitzer for the title alone, if I remember.

Yeah, I think I remember that, too.

And I just had another great idea. Later on, see, when we’ve generated enough material and I’ve made up enough stuff to fill, like, two hours or so, we could turn it into a play. Like on Broadway. A two-man play, you and me. Only Al Pacino could play me, and… oh, I’d say that guy who was in The Mummy could play you.

Brendan Frazier?

Yeah. Him.

Jeez, couldn’t Johnny Depp play me? Or how about Vin Diesel?

We can work out the details later.

Yeah. I guess so. Wow, this is exciting. Who knows where this could lead? It’s like a… a… oh, like a long-range career path or something. It’s like… what do they call it?… destiny. Hey! Wait a minute! I just thought of something! Is this just more stuff you’re making up? 

Nah, nah. Not at all. I’d would a told you up front if that’s what it was. Nah. This could really happen.

OK then… OK. Let’s get started.

Okee-dokee. Let’s go. Say, have I ever told you about…