"Now raucous and hilarious, now pin-drop quiet in intensity." --Hamilton Spectator

 
Lee J. Campbell & John Dolan in Theatre New Brunswick's production of The Motor Trade. 1991

  ACT 1 SCENE 1
 
  Time: The present. A stormy winter's day.
  Place: Doral Valley Motors, a car dealership owned by Phil Moss and Dan Torelli.
 
  The play takes place in the showroom of Doral Valley Motors. It's not a big showroom. Not big enough to accomodate a car. In the showroom are three desks. Phil's desk is D.R., Dan's desk is D.L. and Ted's desk is U.L.. In front of each of the three desks is a chair or two for the customers to sit in when they are closing their car deals. Phil and Dan each have their own file cabinets near their desks. U.C. is a table with a coffee maker, styrofoam cups and coffee fixings on it. Under the table is a small icebox. Next to this table is a sofa or bench for customers to sit on and a coffee table with magazines on it. On the walls are posters of new cars. S.R. is the entrance to the showroom. There is a coat rack just inside this door. S.L. is an exit to the washroom and another exit to a room used as the boardroom. D.C. is the imaginary showroom window which looks out onto the car lot and also out to the strip joint across the street.
 
 

As the scene opens, Phil Moss and Dan Torelli are on stage. Dan sits at his desk reading the newspaper and sipping a coffee while Phil stands D.C. and looks out the showroom window toward the audience. They both wear suits. Phil has an unlit cigarette in his hand. He unwraps a stick of gum and puts it into his mouth.

   
PHIL: Goddamn snow. Will ya look at the goddamn snow? I've never seen so much goddamn snow. Goddamn. We're not gonna move much iron today, Danny. No sir.
DAN: (NOT REALLY LISTENING.) You don't think so?
PHIL: Well, take a look. You ever seen so much goddamn snow?
DAN: (STILL READING.) No, I guess not.
PHIL: I guess not. Who's gonna go shopping for a car in weather like this? And on a Saturday too. Our best day. Damn. Even our salesman isn't showing up for godssake. Huh? It's ten-thirty and where is he?
DAN: Hmm?
PHIL: Ted. Where the hell is he?
DAN: I don't know.
PHIL: He hasn't even called.
DAN: Probably stuck in the snow.
PHIL: Well, of course he is. Look at the goddamn stuff. I've never seen so much goddamn snow. I was in Greenland once they didn't have this much snow.
(THE PHONE ON PHIL'S DESK BUZZES. HE ANSWERS IT.)
Doral Valley Motors, Phil Moss....Yes, sir......Uh-huh. You were in when?...Tuesday. And what were you looking at sir?....The Pontiac. Well, which Pontiac, sir. We've got about a dozen Pontiacs on the lot right now....The Pontiac LTD. That's a Ford, sir....Yes. Honest mistake. Yes, sir, I remember you now. Yes.....You're not sure what the price was? Well, let me check it for you. (HE RUSTLES SOME PAPERS ON HIS DESK WITHOUT LOOKING AT THEM.) Uh..Twelve five, sir....Beg your pardon?......Eleven three? Hang on. (HE RUSTLES SOME MORE PAPER.) Yes, sir, you're absolutely right. It is eleven three. My mistake. I was looking at an old price list...Right....Warranty? Yes, sir, that comes with the famous Doral Valley curb and gutter warranty. (HE COVERS THE MOUTHPIECE OF THE PHONE AND SPEAKS TO DAN.) Once it's over the curb, you got her. (BACK TO THE PHONE.) Yessir.....Uh-huh. We sure do. What kind of car would you like to trade in?.....A seventy-nine Chevette......How much could we give you for it? Well, that depends, sir. How much gas is in it?....Look, I'll tell you what. Why don't you come in on Monday and we'll talk?.....Right. We'll look forward to seeing you sir. You bet. Bye-bye. (HANGS UP AND MOVES U. TO THE TABLE TO POUR HIMSELF A COFFEE.) Well, at least the day isn't gonna be a total loss. Guy's a walkover. He was in Tuesday looking at the eighty-six LTD. I quoted him eleven three and he didn't even try to talk me down to a skinnier deal. We should just throw him out front there and use him for a welcome mat. You want another coffee?
DAN: No, thanks.
PHIL: Donut?
DAN: No.
PHIL: God, ever since I quit smoking, all I do is put stuff in my mouth. Gum, coffee, donuts. I can't get enough.
DAN: It's oral gratification.
PHIL: Hmm?
DAN: That's what it's called. Oral gratification.
PHIL: Hey, I'm just talkin' about coffee and donuts here.
DAN: That's what oral gratification is. You're satisfying your need for a cigarette by putting other things in your mouth.
PHIL: Yeah, but just coffee and donuts.
DAN: Right.
PHIL: Right. (HE TAKES A BITE OF A DONUT.)
   
  copyright 1991 Norm Foster