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The Numbers Game

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This was my second piece in the show, I'll not say what it's about and see if you can guess before you get to the end.


A person onstage marking white strokes on a black board.  Another person comes on.

Person A       What are you doing?

Person B       Counting

Person A       What are you counting?

Person B       Deaths

Person A       Really? 

Watches for a while, then speaks.

Person A       There seem to be quite a lot, what did they die from?

Person B       Can’t you guess? 

Person A       Oh, I don’t know. Terrorist attacks?

Person B Stops and turns around to speak.

Person B       That’s a lot of terrorist attacks in the space of a month.

Person A       Oh, it’s just in a month.

Person B       Hmmm, ok, I think I’ve got it, famine in Africa.

Person A       It’s not Africa, it’s here in Ireland.  I don’t think there would be too many dying from famine in Ireland, at least not this century

Person A       Oh, it’s Ireland. Wow, I thought it was in the world.  (Thinks for a minute)  Ok, I think I’ve got it. Car accidents, yeah, it has to be car accidents. (Feeling pleased with himself) I know road deaths are high because you have all those ads on the telly.

Person B       It’s not road accidents

Person A       Oh it’s not. Are you sure?

Person B       I’m sure.

Person A       Ok, (thinks for a minute) Cancer.  Yes definitely cancer.  That’s why you don’t really hear about it.  Yes, it’s cancer, I mean everybody dies with cancer these days don’t they?  (Feeling pleased with himself again)

Person B       It’s not cancer

Person A       It’s not?  Really, God I can’t think what else it could be.  Ok, give me a clue?

Person B       Alright, here’s another statistic - It’s a factor in more than half of all suicides.

Person A       Ah it’s depression, it has to be depression.   I mean that’s usually why people kill themselves, isn’t it?  I mean, I know quite a few people who’ve killed themselves and a lot of them were depressed.

Person B       It’s not depression.

Person A       It’s not.  God, this is a hard one isn’t it.  (Studies the board for a moment) Ok, give me another clue?

Person B       They reckon it costs the health service 1.2 billion euros every year.

Person A       Wow, that’s a lot of money, I could do with some of that, eh?  Ok, violence, maybe, yes violence because you always hear about violence and how much it costs the country

Person B       It isn’t violence, although it’s a significant factor in many violent assaults

Person A       God, I dunno, knives, guns something like that, yeah that could be it, cos people use guns and knives to kill themselves and hurt others.  You know like all those druggies you hear about in Dublin.

Person B       It’s not knives or guns either.

Person A              Jesus, it’s not that either, awh, you’ve got me, I can’t think what it could be.

Person B       You really can’t guess?

Person A       No

Person B       It’s drink...alcohol

Person A       Really, that many?  God, I wouldn’t have thought.......so how many exactly?

Person B       88

Person A       Every month?

Person B       Yes

Person A       Here...in Ireland?

Person B       Yes

Person A       Wow, that’s a lot.

Person B       It is, isn’t it?

Both walk off


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