Monologue: My My My

The following monologue is ©2018 by Larry Bliss. Contact me at Lbliss314@yahoo.com for information about permissions. Thank you!

My My My, by Larry Bliss

Lord, if you could please look the other way just for a second, I’d be obliged.

Look at her. She’s just 22, Lord, so pretty. Long blonde hair, the real deal, not out of some bottle. Eyes I could lose myself in. Freckles sprinkled like brown sugar. Wearing her scrubs at the window of the doctor’s office. I can see a little of the crease beneath her neck. (amazed) My my my.

She’s new, three days on the job. She has to call the nurse over to show her how to do my credit card, and she apologizes. Her voice is cool water in the night.

A sweet girl with a nice attitude. Talks to me like I’m her new friend. I ask her name, and she tells me. A pretty name. It fits her.

Says she hasn’t worked in an office in three years. I laugh a bit, and say, that’s a short time. Not for me, she says. I guess not, I reply, thinking that at 57, three years is a different span altogether.

Help me Jesus. Things aren’t so good at home. We hardly talk. I haven’t touched her in eighteen months. That spark died a long time ago.

It’s wrong to stray, I know. But this little girl is so kind, so sweet, so accepting. And there is no ring on her finger.

Yes, I know I am old enough to be her– I know the math. But I am not too old for yearning. Not to old to dream.

So Lord, if you would watch the rest of the world for a little while, I’d appreciate it. Just long enough for me to ask for her number.

I doubt she’ll give it to me… but I gotta try, Lord.

Just once, I gotta try.

© 2018 by Larry Bliss

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Monologue: Sorrow

The following monologue is ©2018 by Larry Bliss. Contact me at Lbliss314@yahoo.com for information about permissions. Thank you!

Sorrow, by Larry Bliss

Some guys fall in love in the blink of an eye. Not me.

Last girl I dallied with, wasn’t much to look at. One of those plain faces you’d never spot in a crowd. Nice, though. Talked my ear off, but she paid attention to what I was sayin’. That’s all I ask—pay me some attention.

She had this funny way of answering the phone. “How dare you interrupt me when I’m doing absolutely nothing!” (smiles) Maybe you had to be there… I like to write stuff, and one day I suggested she take a class. “Shoot me!” she said. Threw me for a loop, that did, ‘cause she wrote well. Long emails, full of interesting details about her dog and her grandkid and her taste in music, which was totally contrary to mine. Seeing her name in the inbox… well, it was nice.

She loved those singer-songwriters, those women with the high voices singing about their lost loves, about their sorrow. Me, I can take em or leave ‘em. I just can’t get into being sad. Just gimme that old time rock n roll.

We had fun for a while. She made me smile, helped me forget my troubles. We were fine… and then… well, then it became… necessary to not see her any more. People could have been hurt. That’s all I have to say about it. People could have been hurt.

Last time I saw her, she played me one of her favorite, weepy songs. Something about a secret sorrow, a sadness that wouldn’t die, a feeling she couldn’t name… pain I didn’t ask for.

[pause]

Some such.

[pause] All over and done… Time to move on. Time.

[pause]

It’s a good thing I don’t fall in love so quick. A good thing. Yeah.

©2018 by Larry Bliss.

Monologue: Here Comes Summer

The following monologue is ©2018 by Larry Bliss. Contact me at Lbliss314@yahoo.com for information about permissions. Thank you!

Here Comes Summer, by Larry Bliss

Here comes summer. Ah, hell. Don’t mean to spoil your fun, but hear me out, folks, hear me out.

That summer heat. So strong, so… thick. Damn air gits hot n sticky, even at eight in the mornin’. And if it ain’t before eight in the morning, buddy roe, I ain’t bothering. Too much heat. Your shirt sticks to the small of your back, your shorts lose their crease, your scalp just burns. And you sweat. You sweat. Your hair sweats, your forehead sweats, your eyebrows sweat.

Summer’s fun, you say. Fun for some, I’ll grant you. Little kids and rowdy boys and those skinny little gals with they boobies hangin’ out. Pardon my French. Great for the kids, but look. I’m seventy-two. Summer is what you fancy folks call an or-deal. I can’t take fifty paces thout feeling wore out and limp. The damn flies land on you like nobody’s business. You are a-number-one on their target list.

Then it rains. God, how it rains. Clouds gather up, wind blows and blam! You’re gettin’ a damn soaking. Clothes cling like damp rags. Think I like that? Lightnin’ flashes. Air pops. No warning at all. Scare you shitless, make you think you’re gonna die… Make you think you’re gonna die.

[pause]

Tell you somethin’. I was just a kid, workin’ out in the field, out in the baccer. Me and my brother Billy, and our little sister Hannah.Hard damn work. You folks just don’t know…

Storm blew up outta the west, fast like. Comin’ in like a freight train, and no time to find a dry spot. We was in the middle of the field, bent over, sweating, bone tired. The rain hit us, and we decided to run for the woods.

Running hard, fast as our little legs would carry us… Of a sudden, the air cracked open. No other way to tell it, just, cracked, open. Thew me to the ground. Mouth fulla dirt… Then it was quiet, eerie quiet… I heard Billy commence to wailin’. Picked myself up, turned around.

[pause]

(With no emotion.) Nothing of her left. Her dress was smokin’. Billy was still wailin’. Couldn’t recognize her no more.

[pause]

Sweet, lovely gal, momma’s pride and joy…

[pause]

Sweet lord Jesus.

[pause]

Don’t tell me bout no summer.

©2018 by Larry Bliss

Monologue: Floating

The following monologue is ©2018 by Larry Bliss. Contact me at Lbliss314@yahoo.com for information about permissions. Thank you!

Floating, by Larry Bliss

My name is Mandeep Bhattacharyya. Everyone calls me Manny. In the early 2000s I worked as a communication engineer for a NASA contractor. It was my dream job and I hoped it would never end. Much of my time was spent in Cape Canaveral monitoring the Ku bandwidth for the Shuttle. Every time she went up, I watched her. I even dreamed of her.

One morning in 2003, I was outside in the yard, with my little girl Priya, who was then seven. It was a cold day in Melbourne, but we played outside anyway. Sweet little girl with brown eyes. Mom was out. It was her turn to do groceries.

After kicking around a soccer ball, we went in. It was around ten. I turned on NPR for the news. I knew Columbia was due to land at 9:15 with seven souls.

As soon as I switched on the radio I heard the words debris field.

Debris field? I looked at the radio. The reporter said it again.

Oh my. I stopped breathing. Debris field. Eastern Texas. Oh my.

Seven people gone. Just like that. Priya looked at me and asked me, daddy, what’s wrong? I had gone white.

I sat down by the kitchen table. I turned off the radio and took her in my arms. I took a deep breath.

Do you remember last June, when we visited the Cape?

We met some astronauts, she said. They had blue suits.

Yes, blue flight suits with lot of pockets. One of them was an Indian lady named Kalpana. She had dark hair and dark skin like you, and she smiled at you, and rubbed your head.

Nice lady, she said.

Very nice. Priya just looked at me, as my eyes watered.

What’s the matter daddy?

The lady you met. —I couldn’t say her name anymore. She… she was way up there in space. She was supposed to come home this morning… But something bad happened. She… won’t come home today.

The room was silent.

Finally she asked, like auntie Akshara?

Yes.

She looked out the window. The wind was blowing. I shivered, even though it was warm inside. I held her closer.

Where is she now, daddy?

I don’t remember the next two minutes. Andrea was not at home… After a while I came to myself… I looked in her bright brown eyes.

She’s up there with her friends, Priya. Seven of them, all in blue suits. She’s looking down through the clouds, and she’s smiling. She has a big smile, Priya. And she’s saying.. she’s saying, come play with us Priya. Play with us and float in the sky, and be free. We’ll have so much fun.

Priya said nothing for a while, and then she picked up her dolly and said, maybe you and mommy can float too.

The front door opened, and Andrea set down her bags and came in. She knew. I got up and rubbed my daughter’s hair, like she had, and then I went to my dear wife and she held me in her arms for a long, long time.

©2018 by Larry Bliss

Monologue: Little Stinker

The following monologue is ©2018 by Larry Bliss. Contact me at Lbliss314@yahoo.com for information about permissions. Thank you!

Little Stinker, by Larry Bliss

I love my boy. His name is Jackie, like his dad. He has red hair and freckles. My sister calls him Opie, only he can’t fish… yet. He is four years old and can already do anything he sets his mind to.

He’s a tough little munchkin. Full of spit and disobedience. Loves every dinosaur that walked the earth, and in his hockey get-up, he’s Ron Francis.

I have passed on to him an unholy love of dirt and mudpies. Even though he loves his video games, he always has dirt under his fingernails.

Behind the house there is a creek. Creeks are necessary for little boys. He splashes and loves to get wet. One day he’ll drink from it, and as daddies should, I will chastise him. But secretly I will be tickled.

I fought for him. Lorraine was a damn mess. She went way too far into the dope. I’m no saint—I got into it now and again… okay a lot… but she… well, it ate her alive. I have custody, and she’s in court-ordered meetings. I still love her, and I wish her well… but I can’t take chances with my son. The papers were served yesterday.

Of course, none of this is his concern. I do the dad stuff, and my sister does the mom stuff. I’d be lost without her.

Anyways… the little stinker and I are at the park, just me and him. He’s on the giant pterodactyl, the one with feather flames. The neck sticks way out. He’s riding it and giggling. He makes roaring pterodactyl noises, and I roar back. I’m the T-rex in the family.

All my cares disappear. I’m no longer a contractor, an ex-husband, or even a role model. I’m four years old, having some fun with my guy.

All of a sudden, Jackie stops roaring. He looks me straight in the eye. I see something in them I have never seen before.

He leans to the left. Looks down, looks at me, and grins. He leans a little more… and then he lets go and falls off, deliberately. He hits the cement.

Oh my sweet Lord! I’m off the bench. My heart is pounding and my throat is dry. He’s all in a heap and he’s crying louder than hell. Are you all right? Can you move? Where does it hurt? I’ll get Auntie. I’ll get Auntie. You’ll be fine you’ll be fine you’ll be fine.

I move his little arms and legs. He cries and cries but they bend okay. There’s blood on his shoulder and his wrists and his knees… but he’s breathing. So am I.

Then comes the car, and the emergency room, and the wait, and the doctor. They clean his wounds and bandage him with little T-rexes. The little stinker just laughs.

We’re home now. He’s in bed. Jeopardy is on. There’s two empty Millers, and I’m working on another.

Tomorrow we’ll have the talk. I’ll be mad, but I will resist the urge to smack him into next Thursday. He’ll promise to never do it again. I’ll hug him and let him loose, and cry a little.

He’ll go down to the creek. Maybe he’ll take a drink.

I won’t care.

©2018 by Larry Bliss

 

 

 

Three Words

I hate him.

A few weeks ago I posted three words on Facebook: I believe her. Three words.

My good old liberal friend Ruth said right on. Another acquaintance said I don’t, and left it at that.

A woman I know, who is now a former friend, came back with a rant about how I was unfair and how would I like to be falsely accused and how terrible the liberal media was, and so on. Roughly 100 words of hysteria brought on by a simple opinion.

At that point I shrugged it off. Then another friend shot back, highly offended by the former friend’s dismissive tone. Ah well. A flame war had begun. I’ve seen it before, and have been sorely tempted to join in. Still, no big deal.

The woman who shot back happened to mention she had been raped. My heart went out to her, as it does to any woman brave enough to come forward.

My former friend went into overdrive. She piled on the invective, the bitterness, the ignorance. She would not relent.

The woman she attacked is my friend. She has been most supportive of me through some difficult times. She’s part of my support network.

I could not let this verbal assault pass. I told the attacker to knock it off or I would report her.

I have heard nothing from her since.

I hate him. He has used the office of the presidency as a club against anyone and everyone who does not live up to his warped standards. He mocked Dr. Ford before a cheering crowd, and while many were outraged, I was simply surprised he had not done it earlier.

It says very little about our nation that he was elected. There is an excellent chance he will get another four years, and that says even less.

He did not create create bigotry. The racism behind his ascension to power has festered for a long time. He is a symptom of our failure to be decent.

But… he exploited the worst in our country, and he panders to it every day. He works day and night to turn us against each other.

Somewhere in my former friend, a kind and decent person is struggling to get out. I pray for her. I hope she finds a better way. But the man she admires is ruining her humanity.

I hate him. But more than that, I hate the hatred this unleashes in me.

Whose Wicked Ways?

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

It’s a lovely, hopeful verse. It implies to me that a nation, even one like ours that is rife with fear and inequality, can mend its ways and learn the ways of justice. It tells me that the United States of America could once again lead the world toward democracy and human rights.

It’s too bad the fundamentalists have hijacked it. More often than not, it is used not as a call to prayerful amendment of wrongs but as a signal to credulous Christians to defend the status quo. Its latest appearance is in The Trump Prophecy, a film that propounds a dangerous doctrine that God’s children should submit without question to state authority.

Make no mistake. When the religious right talks about “wicked ways”, they mean same-sex behavior. Nothing offends fundamentalists more than homosexuality, even though Jesus never favors one mode of sexuality over another.

Several verses in the Bible condemn homosexual behavior. Biblical literalists use them to persecute the LGBTQ population.

In the view of many scholars, these verses refer to specific practices that violated the religious norms of the society in which they were written. (So are the apostle Paul’s injunctions against women speaking in church.) Those who take a more nuanced view of the bible will tell you that many verses are meant to address culture-specific problems. They were not intended to be universal truths.

Written in a pre-scientific world, the Bible does not acknowledge that homosexuality involves a deep and inborn attraction to members of the same gender.

Coexisting with the fundamentalists’ Pharisaical obsession with heterosexuality is a dangerous attachment to nationalism, sexism, plutocracy, racism, nativism, militarism, and greed (aka unregulated capitalism).

I apply 2 Chronicles 7:14 differently. You want wicked? Here’s wicked.

Sexual assault. Immigrant children torn from parents. Muslims castigated. Women insulted. Minorities demonized. The poor left to rot. Science denied. Art censored. Flags used to sell cars. Soldiers who come home addicted and suicidal. Oppressive marriages. History forgotten. Selfishness elevated. Gambling hyped. Alcoholism glorified. Ignorance enthroned. The intellect derided. Bigotry championed.

Yes, adultery and pornography are on the list, but so is male domination and the exploitation of children. (By the way, does anyone besides me consider it wrong to push a career on an eight-year-old?)

I could go on all night.

You may have detected anger in my list of sins. So be it. Evil should make us angry. Dwelling on and acting on anger is dangerous… but so is complacency.

God breathes hot fury against injustice. One day that fury will scorch everyone who cheats the poor and shafts the downtrodden. He will do this without regard to what believers profess with their lips. Judgment will come. Count on it.

My Code

Personal mottoes:

 

Don’t fuck with my peeps.

Never kick someone when they are down.

Fight fair.

Win and lose gracefully.

If the movie sucks, leave.

Question your first impulse, except in emergencies.

Root for the underdog.

Vote or shut up.

Hit no one for any reason.

Give to all your full attention, especially kids.

Think for yourself and no one else.

Admire art.

Bathe in music twice a day.

Take the stick out.

Laugh at old jokes.

Practice silliness.

Read your favorite book every ten years.

When all else fails, procrastinate.

Honor the God of your misunderstanding.

The Final Scene From a Movie That Will Never Be Made

EXTERIOR. MEDIUM LONG SHOT

Late autumn sunset in the parking lot we saw in scene one, when the BOY had been kidnapped. A brick school building glows in deep red tones. Leaves fall from the trees beside the parking lot. They skid across the pavement in the brisk wind. The flashing lights of police cars and emergency vehicles strobe on and off, reflecting off the crouched form of the FATHER, who extends his arms in welcome.

The back of a police SUV opens. A woman in police uniform steps out, holding the boy in her arms. She sets him gently on the ground. He stares at his father, hesitates. The cop gives him a little push.

He runs to the FATHER, clutching his teddy bear. He trips at the last second, and the FATHER catches him. They embrace. The boy folds into the FATHER, whose body shakes with sobs. All watch. No one moves.

TWO-SHOT

The BOY and the FATHER. Tears flow down their faces.

FATHER

Safe.

The boy smiles through his tears.

BACK TO THE WIDE SHOT

Leaves fly by, dancing on the asphalt.

The wind picks up. A mass of leaves swirls toward the camera, which freezes as they fill the screen.

CUT TO BLACK

Ten Advantages of Being Clean

1) You don’t wake up in strange rooms with people you don’t like.

2) Your beer budget goes to important things like chocolate and automobiles.

3) You can look people in the face. Even the ones you don’t like.

4) It’s easier to spell than “sobriety.”

5) Every difficult task becomes do-able.

6) Every once in a while you can take a vacation from your ego.

7) You realize, in your core being, how unspeakably beautiful is this Earth.

8) Pissing matches and one-upsmanship become optional.

9) You can smile in broad daylight for no reason at all.

10) Given enough time and Step work, the inner war that tore you apart comes to an end.