Sniff

In this short comic scene for two male actors, BEN questions HARRY as to why he keeps sniffing his fingers and the response is quite a shocker.

  • Download the free .pdf screenplay version: Sniff

Ben: Harry, let me ask you something.  Why do you keep sniffing your fingers?  What is that?

Harry: I don’t know.  It’s a habit.

Ben: A habit?

Harry: Yeah.

Ben: A habit from what?  What are you actually sniffing?

Harry: I don’t know.  It’s a habit.

Ben: Yeah but, to actually start the habit, there had to be an original reason and you had to do this multiple times.

Harry: Why multiple times?

Ben: Because that’s what makes it a habit, Harry.

Harry: Oh.

Ben: So?

Harry: What?

Ben: What started the habit?

Harry: I don’t know.  I don’t remember.

(Ben stares at Harry)

Ben: Come on, man.  What is on your fingers that you keep sniffing?

Harry: Nothing.  It’s just a habit.

Ben: But what are you actually smelling when you sniff?!

Harry: Nothing.  There’s no scent.

Ben: No scent.  You’re telling me you keep sniffing your fingers and there’s no scent.

Harry: Yeah.  Why?

Ben: I don’t believe you.

Harry: Why don’t you believe me?

Ben: Because for someone to sniff something, especially there fingertips, there has to actually be something you’re smelling.

Harry: Why do you care so much?

Ben: Why? I’ll tell you why, Harry.  We’re cooped up in this room together for the past five days, waiting for the package to arrive with instructions.  Are we not?

Harry: Yeah.

Ben: Within that time span, I have seen you sniff your fingers constantly.

Harry: So.

Ben: Well, if I started smacking the back of my neck randomly these past five days, wouldn’t that seem a bit odd to you?

Harry: Not really, no.

Ben: Is it ass?

Harry: Ass?

Ben: On you fingers.  Is it ass?

Harry: Ass? What ass?

Ben: Your ass.  Are you sniffing your own ass on your fingers after you do a little scratchy scratch or what?  Just tell me because we ate sandwiches today and you had your hands all over the meat and I forgot all about you sniffing your fingers until just now cause you’re obviously sniffing them again and now I’m feeling sick and I need to know if I ate your ass.

Harry: That’s really gross.

Ben: Damn it, Harry.  Can you just tell me?  I’m serious.

Harry: I wouldn’t scratch my ass and rub it in anyone’s sandwich Ben, especially my own.

Ben: Then what are you sniffing?

Harry: I scratch my sack on occasion but that’s about it.

Ben: What did you just say?

Harry: My sack. Sometimes, I scratch my man balls but that’s about it, not my ass or anything like that.

Ben: No, no, no, wait, wait cause, maybe I’m a little crazy in the head but you said you scratch your man balls, right?

Harry: Yeah, all guys do.

Ben: Yeah but, is that what you’re sniffing?

Harry: Actually, holy shit, now that you said it, all this time, yeah.  Never occurred to me.

Ben: I’m gonna throw up!

Harry: I’m joking!  I’m kidding, relax.  I would never do something like that.  Calm down.

Ben: You sure?

Harry: Yeah buddy, relax.  Just a joke.

(beat)

Ben: But why do you sniff?

Harry: I don’t know.  Why does the sun come up in the sky?

Ben: Cause the Earth is rotating.

Harry: Yeah, but we don’t know enough to know why there’s a sun or an Earth or anything, really.  So, why should I know why I sniff my fingers?

Ben: That shit bothers me.  It really does.

Harry: What can I tell you.

Ben: Freaking mystery is what it is…

Harry: Exactly.  As they say, maybe we’re better off not knowing, right?

Ben: How so?

Harry: Sometimes when we learn about something, like the secret behind a magician’s trick, it loses its magic for us and we get depressed.  Maybe me sniffing my fingers is a mystery we’re better off not knowing about.

Ben: You’re crazy.  You know that, right?

Harry: I guess so.

Joseph Arnone

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