A consultation room, come office. The decor is minimal. There is one dark brown painted door, stage right, with a gold door knob and matching gold door plates. A window covered in a white blind lets in cold white light, which catched all the high-polish furniture. White walls with three generic modernist prints in uninspiring silver frames. There is a desk, stage left, made from a dark brown wood, neatly laid out with half a dozen manila files, three pens laid out at regular intervals and running parallel to each other. There is a plain silver picture frame containing a picture of a thick-looking british blue cat. There is a green and gold bankers desk lamp in the middle of the desk. There is a hand sanitizer dispenser on the desk. Behind the desk is a replica captains swivel chair – mahogany wood-finish, upholstered in green leather, finished with large green buttons and brass upholstery tacks. The other side of the desk is a pair of blue Polypropylene plastic chairs with scratched black metal legs.
The medical half of the office consists of lots of stainless steel; there is a is a three tier medical trolley with a series of basic medical tools on it, including a torch, tweezers, forceps, and, weirdly, a collection of marker pens.There is a modesty curtain on ceiling-mounted rails made of thin pale green plastic. There is a hefty set of step-on medical scale with the old fashioned shifting weights measure across the top around waist level, and one of those poles with an arm nurses use to check height. There is a blood pressure and heart rate monitor beeping quietly and intermittently in the corner of the room. There is a small white porcelain basin in the room, with Hibiscrub on the lip next to the gleaming chrome taps. Above it is a polished mirror with brown patches round the edge where the silver has started to fall away. There is a hand towel dispenser to the right of the mirror, with the tuft of a hand towel poking out. Below the hand towel dispenser is to bins. One large beige plastic swing bin with a white liner poking out from under the lid. The other is a tall yellow metal bin with a foot pedal. The bin is covered in hazard warning signs. A yellow bin lines pokes out the top. There is a large silver gurney with a cream leather padded top, centre stage. It’s set to sitting up.
Budai is sitting on the gurney. He is massive – everything about his is massive. Budai appears to fill the room. He is dressed in horse hair robes, which fall in loose folds around his body. They are worn in the Chinese style; drapes over his arms and around his lower torso, but his chest and upper body are uncovered. He has a large set of brown wooden beads around his neck. Budai is pale, in contrast to the brick brown of his attire. He is massively obese. His big belly spills over his robes and shakes when he laughs. He has the overall impression of a large bag of water. He rolls and jiggles. His round face is jowly and his chins run down his neck. His face naturally inclined to smiling, which is reflected in his eyes. Budai is bald – so shiny it reflects the harsh lights of his medical surroundings – and this runs over his whole body. He is disconcertingly hairless. He also has huge ears, the length of his face, with massive lobes that hang down. He has an internal light that seems to radiant from him, and gives the impression that he is gleaming. His feet are round and squashy looking, but clean and bare with neat nails.
Budai is clutching a big hessian sack between his large hands. He holds it very tightly. It’s the only sign that he is nervous.
A woman, Dr Stone, walks in reading a file. She is very tall and thin, with brown hair pulled tightly back into a pony tails from her face by a floral scrunchie. She wears narrow black cat’s eye glasses on a gold glasses chain, over an immaculately made up face, all finished with a dark pink lipstick. She is wearing an immaculate white medical coat over a pale blue and white striped blouse and a straight black skirt which falls down to her knees. She wear sheer black tights and sensible black patent leather pumps with a 1.75” kitten heel. She has a black lanyard around her neck with a photo id of her in a clear plastic holder. She doesn’t wear any jewelry other than an black rolex watch with a plain white watch face. He nails are unpainted but tidy.
Dr Stone ignores Budai, who sits and watches her with a benign smile, as she walks straight from the door to her desk flipping through the papers in the file. She mumbles and tuts as she reads the context. She walks around the desk, switches on the captains lamp. She picks up one of the pens and starts to mark up the papers in front of her.
Budai sits and watches her for a moment. Budai coughs, gently, making his belly wobble. He smiles warmly at Dr Stone.
Budai heaves himself off the gurney, which rolls away as he gets off it. He has to grab it and carefully reposition it to where it was before.
Budai turns back to Dr Stone takes a deep breath and waddles up to the desk, taking small quiet steps on his massive fat feet. He stops between the plastic chairs and again treats Dr Stone to a massive smile.
Dr Stone: What?
Budai laughs quietly. He reaches into his big hessian sack and pulls out a small Chinese Penjing tree in a dark marble stand. He reverently places the tiny tree on the desk.
Dr Stone stops writing and looks up at the tree over her glasses. She looks up at Budai and back down at the tree.
She points a finger at the tree.
Dr Stone: Off.
Budai looks momentarily taken aback. He then carefully takes the tree back off the table and puts it back in the sack.
Budai looks at Dr Stone uncertainly, not sure what to do. He twists the neck of the sack between his massive hands and shuffles from massive foot to massive foot.
Dr Stone sighs loudly. She takes off her glasses so that hang around her neck on their gold chain. She sits back carefully replacing the pen next to the other two. She then leans against the back of her chair, steepling her fingers.
Dr Stone: What can I do for you Mr-
Dr Stone: Mr Budai.
Budai: Please, just Budai.
Dr Stone: I’m Dr Stone.
Budai: I know.
Budai gives Dr Stone another blinding smile, crinkling up his whole face in the process.
Dr Stone: So what can I do for you Budai?
Budai: You are a surgeon?
Dr Stone: Yes-
Budai: A cosmetic one?
Dr Stone hesitates.
Dr Stone: Yes.
Budai: Then I want to look like this.
From his sack Budai pulls out a crumples magazine photo of a male model with a 12-pack, taut abs and well muscled. He has ruffled hair and pouty lips. It’s a typical commercial model seen in advertising everywhere.
Budai: I want to look like this please.
Dr Stone takes the picture from Budai and puts her glasses back on. She holds the picture to her desk lamp. She looks from the picture to a hopefully smiling Budai.
Dr Stone: Budai. Why would you want to look like this?
Budai: I want people to love me.
Dr Stone: Don’t people love you already?
Budai: Well, they love the other Buddhas more. The thin ones with hair and without stupid dangly ears.
Dr Stone: They aren’t stupid dangly ears. They are your ears – how they are supposed to be.
Budai: And people laugh and smile around me, because I look silly.
Dr Stone: I see. Have you considered they laugh and smile around you because you make them happy?
Dr Stone: Budai. You are a god. You literally have the body of a god. Like on the t-shirts. You are perfect as you are.
Budai: So you won’t make me look like him?
Dr Stone stand up and walks around the desk. She moves the lamp out the way slightly so that she can perch on the edge of her desk in order to talk to Budai. She takes off her glasses.
Dr Stone: Budai. You don’t want to look like him. You should look like you. I operate on people who don’t look like themselves. Maybe they has an accident, or they were born in the wrong body… Do you think you were born in the wrong body?
Budai: No. This is definitely my body.
Budai gives a big laugh. Everyone wobbles.
Dr Stone: Then I will not operate on you. And you should not ask anyone else. My advice, Budai. You do you. Be yourself and embrace all of – [she gestures at the mass of Budai] – this. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you make people laugh – that’s actually pretty fabulous.
Budai thinks. He plays with the beads around his neck as he does so, distractedly.
Suddenly he laughs and smack his giant hand on his chubby thigh. He beams at Dr Stone.
Budai: You are right, Dr Stone. You are wise.
Budai laughs again.
Budai: You must let me give you something as a mark of respect.
Dr Stone: The best respect you can pay me is to stop looking at rubbish like this.
Dr Stone hands Budai back the picture. He looks at it, thoughtfully. He marches up to the beige bin and stuff it triumphantly in the bin. He turns and smiles proudly at Dr Stone.
Dr Stone stand up and moves back round her deck to her chair. Still standing, she picks up her papers from earlier.
Dr Stone: Very good Budai. You can see yourself out.
Budai start to walk to the door. Still smiling. Dr Stone begins shuffling through the papers again. As Budai put his hand on the door knob-
Dr Stone: Budai-
Budai stops and looks back round at Dr Stone. Dr Stone doesn’t look up.
Dr Stone: Stop looking at Instagram.
Budai gives a huge belly laugh and throws the door open, striding through it.
Dr Stone looks up at the open door over her glasses. She gives a small smile.