Toad, a World War II Vet, is facing his declining physical capacity in a hospital room at a Naval hospital in Virginia. Toad loathes everything about his present predicament and convinces his old comrade Roar to help him flee the hospital. Seeing Toad’s physical deterioration brings about surprising changes in Roar’s long-held philosophies as he maps out what may be their final adventure together, a flight to Paris, France, in their beloved 1940’s plane, The Secret Navy Bomber. Roar, ever the flamboyant aviator, puts together an escape plan, along with two old Navy buddies, that goes far beyond Toad’s expectations, but is in itself a healing elixir. First, they must outwit the canny Dr. Lawson Feldman Oppenheim, their former squadron flight surgeon, who knows from past experience that Toad and Roar are formidable adversaries when it comes to evading medical tests and hospital confinements.
Time: Spring, 1994
Place: A room and corridor of the Naval Regional Medical Center, Portsmouth, VA
From the Play
The Cast List:
TOAD: Austin Campion (‘The TOAD’) is in his mid-sixties. A retired, Marine Corps lieutenant colonel aviator, who is terminally ill.
RORY: Lieutenant colonel Rory McMahon (The Roar) in mid-sixties, also a retired Marine Corps aviator, and best friend of TOAD.
JAKE Captain Lawson Feldman Oppenheim, USN (MC) (Jake), late fifties or early sixties. Flight surgeon, and former squadron mate of both TOAD and RORY. TOAD is his patient.
HARRY AMININO: Friend, and once a member of TOAD’s and RORY’s squadron. Recently deceased.
Four men: Three in late fifties or early sixties, one in twenties.
JAKE: (enters on hearing his name) Hello and looky here. The Roar and The Toad together in one room, and as usual ready to commit mayhem on each other. (Looks at the ceiling with his hands together in prayer.)
Why am I so blessed? And so early in the day? My name is sure to be written in the book of life.
(points a finger at RORY) Roar, how’s your hammer hanging? When you coming to see me?
RORY: Well, if it isn’t the Uber Doctor Lawson Feldman Oppenheim, of the U.S Navy’s Medical Corps. Jake, you sadist. Toad says you are now a Proctologist. Have you no shame? Don’t you find it embarrassing to make a living by running miniature cameras up an innocent man’s behind and looking at the inside of his asshole on TV? In living color for Christ sakes? What a disgusting vocation. (turning to TOAD) Is this the same physician who, when all others failed, could cure pernicious venereal diseases never previously identified? Is this the same practitioner who would, in the midst of a Viet Cong rocket attack scoff at danger so that he could minister to the hookers of Hue City? And, is this the same man who, because of his enormous charitable nature towards those ladies, refused to be compensated by them…except in trade?
JAKE: (looks at TOAD) What the hell has he been reading? (looks at RORY) Have you been taking English courses at the community college?
TOAD: He recently dated a school teacher who made an impression on him.
JAKE: (to TOAD.) Good Lord. The woman must have had enormous educational powers
TOAD: And long fingernails.
JAKE: In my specialty, long fingernails are a detriment to the patients health.
RORY: Hah! I certainly hope no one in the old squadron finds out the level to which their beloved flight surgeon has sunk.
JAKE: (moves to the bed and puts on rubber gloves in preparation to examine TOAD) Well it so happens that the colon of your idol, Major General Adams, made a TV appearance last Thursday. The general asked about you, and wanted to know if you were still the legendary rogue of yore? I assured him from the stories I had been hearing, the twin handicaps of age and ugliness had not diminished or slowed your sexual cadence. But I did have to tell him you were ignoring the physical perils for someone of your years, and hadn’t been in for the necessary finger wave.
(starts examining TOAD’s ear with an orthoscope)
RORY: Hey big mouth. Whatever happened to the doctor patient confidentiality rule? Whatever happened to patient privacy?
JAKE: (continues examining TOAD) According to the uniform code of military justice it doesn’t apply in life threatening situations. You’re overdue for a prostate check, and a colonoscopy, and I don’t want to hear any more cowardly excuses (turns to TOAD for support). Two tours in Vietnam, one hundred and twenty combat missions flown, and he’s afraid of a simple examination. You wuss.
TOAD: (dramatically holds one hand to his mouth in feigned shock and then begins speaking as if into a microphone) Thus was spoken that all-powerful, mystical, and obscene adjective – wuss. With its utterance, a symbolic gauntlet has been thrown. A metaphorical glove, a rubber glove in this instance, has cuffed a figurative cheek. The spectators sit in hushed expectation. Will this TOAD (cont) challenge be met, or shall our champion be routed by – (raises his hand in the air and wiggles the middle finger) the manicured digit of a proctologist? I, Sancho Panza Toad, shall act as Lieutenant Colonel McMahon’s second. I do so by asking you, White Knight of the Rubber Glove, to designate the time and place where this contest is to be held.
JAKE: (speaking to TOAD) Next Thursday, at 1300, in my office.
TOAD: And what will be the weapons of choice.
RORY: (agitated) Whoa. Halt. Parade rest. Hold on. Wait a minute here. I thought the guy who was challenged got to choose the weapons.
JAKE: Naaw. That only happens in romantic literature. Ask your school teacher with the long fingernails.
TOAD: Well then, White Knight of the Rubber Glove, what are the weapons?
JAKE: I choose pharmaceuticals. Tell your champion to drop by the dispensary when he departs and pick up two Fleet enemas, and a gallon jug of Colyte.
RORY: Aaah shit.
JAKE and TOAD: (simultaneously) You got that right. (laugh loudly)
JAKE: (serious) Roar, mind waiting outside? (winks at RORY) I’m going to give the Toad his daily punch and prod. Won’t take long.