A one-man one-act play

(A psych ward. Cuckoo’s Nest-esque music. Lights up. A man sits, next to an end table with a thick paperback book on it, reading/writing on multiple sheets of paper. Music fades out. After three taps on the P.A. microphone a gentle, soothing female voice is heard (the man reacts):

“Your attention, please. For those clients signed up to go on today’s outing, we will be meeting by the doors in front of the piano room in one hour. If you have achieved A-status and wish to go to the zoo with us today, and you haven’t already signed up at the desk, please do so now. Again, you must have A-status to attend. Thank you.”


(He looks up, speaks to the audience.) Hey, you guys might as well just kinda settle in for a little while, cuz…I most certainly do not have A status.

What are they doin’ up th…are they givin’ away Snickers bars up there again? Ya know, I got this kind of a deal here goin’ with the…with the nurses. No outside phone calls, no…visitors…

Guess that’s not really workin’ out so well for me either, is it?

(He rises, agitated, scans the room, near tears. He looks at the papers in his hand. Turns a page. Laughs. Works himself into character, ala Groucho.)

Welcome to You Bet Your Life, say the secret word and split an extra hundred dollars. It’s a common word something (normal voice) you know what?           Forget it.

Yeah, like that’s ever gonna happen now.

Okay, look…I’m sorry. Let’s just do this, this’ll actually work out all right. I’m a little behind on my mail (flash papers to audience) but this’ll be fine; we’ll just do it this way. We should be over and done with this before lunch; it’ll be good to do a really nice job this time. The menu says corn dogs, anyway; certainly an adventure of which to consider…or not.

Ooh, I love their butterscotch pudding here. It’s…creamy. It’s vanilla today, which…(check the papers; oh yeah, that’s right—look up, big smile)…which is really kinda sad.

(He tosses the papers onto the end table. Re-scans the room.)

(Calm) First of all, I would like to tell you about some of my friends here.

Oh! Did you know that you can make a turban out of a coupla dirty bath towels? It’s ingenious. That guy just waltzed through our lovely courtyard of tile and in and out of a very sloppily played game of ping-pong—you just missed it. And he was literally waltzing–I counted it out for myself–and, technically, he sucked, because twelve, from what I understand, is a really lousy score.

            I dunno…he looks very happy. He mutters—fluently, in at least two languages, or one really bad one–all day…every day! And not exactly your Top-40 material, either, at least not in this country. Oh yeah…and side B? Okay, same guy, right? He washes his hands every ten minutes. Ten minutes. And way, way too vigorously and repeat. He’s an absolute clock on the subject, which is probably one of the nicest things certain to be mentioned in his file–several times, I’m sure; ya know, these psych-docs around here…they’re no dummies, they went to college and everything. Scrubs ’em up like dirty potatoes. He used to have fingerprints.

(Wait) No no, that’s all I got there.

With all due respect to our lovely state bird, this man is a loon. He’s four sheets to the wind, which is impossible, of course, so that’s always kinda fun to watch. He’s strictly an amusement, down here so fatefully close to sanity. He’s not even here most of the time, depending on which definition you’re lookin’ at, and he has absolutely no idea…

…no clue whatsoever…

…how good he’s got it.

(Proudly) His mail gets forwarded here too, sometimes.

I very nearly got myself into a little nut-to-nut confrontation the other day with one of my other fellow Americans up here in Paradise Locked. I’m pretty sure it’s the same gentleman that, uh…that, uh…he’s got some real drooling issues…like, all over the piano keys during recreational therapy group. I usually spend that time coloring, but they really should change his meds. He was making some pretty speculative accusations pertaining to the pre-marital sex-life of my mother–a silly premise to begin with, I assure you; I mean, I know my own mother. And a couple about my dog, most of which I didn’t even understand–in both cases–but which were all very amusing, I’m sure. He had worked himself up into a serious roll. I have no idea why. I don’t think I look that odd. I swear, I never said a word to the guy.

I considered my options. Then I asked him if it hurt when he got his nipple pierced, which, in retrospect, might not have been the Final Jeopardy question of the day—bad timing on my part, evidently. I thought it was a good question; I was interested. The Etch-A-Sketch guy…(find him and point)…he was interested, too.

Now, at this point in the story, I could tell you that the guy got pissed off and all up in my face, but I’d rather just stick to the original story…the one I told the nurses? Especially the part about him needing much more toothpaste in his bathroom, and the sooner the better.

Nothing happened, of course, but–just to be sure–I expressed my concerns to the staff about the guy, especially after dark. I just wanted to make sure he wasn’t gonna be strollin’ into my room at four-o’clock in the morning with a loaded pillow. Which, now that I think about it, probably sounded pretty stupid coming from the guy sporting thirty-five or forty recently self-inflicted knife wounds.

Oh…I’m sorry, did I forget to mention that part again?  I mean, of all people—think about it, now–why would I care? About the pillow, I mean…in this particular case…which, of course, would make this…a pillow case! (Grandly overacted Ta da stance, obviously shootin’ for the laugh.)

(Wait for the groans; wave it off.) Yeah, I know.

It is curious, though, how much more attention I’m getting from the staff this time around.

Thirty-five is what they put in my file. At least, that’s what Dr. Rajib told me; I wasn’t exactly counting at the time. Oh…yeah, Dr. Rajib? He’s my psych-doc…or at least I think it’s him this time. Of the two of us, he’s definitely the one that’s dreadfully over-dressed for lunch every day.

Doc’s all right, I guess, but there’s a problem…you probably already figured it out…Dr. Rajib is not even from here.  He’s from Wisconsin, which is always gonna be an issue no matter how thin you slice it.

Which brings me to my next point…or lack thereof. I recently started a new hobby…but I’m already pretty sure I’m gonna quit. I’ve taken up full-contact farting, mostly for the groupies, of course; they have got an incredible intra-mural program here.

Lemme tell you something–these guys are really, really good…way better than I’ll ever be. You look up the word potency in Webster’s finest and you’ll see a picture of ’em, in street clothes–it’s hilarious. And in my O.E.D. Desk Companion (refer to the book on the end table), the one I never let out of my sight? That particular page is singed around the edges; I don’t know how the hell they did that. I once saw the Fart-Brigade clear out the smoking room. Perhaps some of you may not be familiar with our smoking room…it’s green in there, for Pete’s sake, people are dyin’ in there. We’re talkin’ some serious skills, these fartin’ dudes.

And it’s not just the fellas. There’s this…woman–only because, legally, that’s what she is…she’s a farting diva, that’s what the hell she is. She pretty much puts ’em all to shame on a regular basis, and she makes me cry. I will never be that good, no matter how long and hard I clench…but I do so enjoy the rehearsals. It’s a great release. And it still feels good to really light one up every once in a while, and maturity is way overrated anyway. I shoulda practiced more when I was a kid. I used to hold it…for about seventeen, eighteen years, right in the middle of my flatulent prime. What a waste…or…is it? I mean, technically? Because usually, ya know, when you’re talkin’ about waste, and the…(make farting noise and accompanying movement)…

(Look what I’ve stooped to; see it. Oh my God…) Look at this.

(Indicate nurses’ desk with eyes) They don’t know. Maybe I’m just a weird guy.

There’s this lady–a different one–real early in the morning, in the kitchen, in the dark…she makes me fondle her boobs before I am allowed to pour milk on my…well, usually it’s raisin bran–six, six-fifteen, before the rest of the nuts fall out of tree in the morning–in that cracked-refrigerator light that’s…well, ya know, that does seem pretty romantic, doesn’t it…about every other day or so.

I don’t usually mind.

But this morning, post-grope, she notices the railroad tracks up and down my arms–evidently and unbelievably for the first time–and rather casually opines that, surely, whoever had the guts to do that must certainly have the guts to live.


(ala Groucho) Which is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard, (self) and I told her so, right to her face—what do I care? (Groucho) I’ve certainly felt better boobs.

(self) Hey, I used to have to close the bar all the time, so you can believe me when I tell you that I’ve heard some pretty stupid shit come flyin’ across the bar–especially on Ladies’ Night, right around last call, happened all the time.

Oh…and by the way–guys especially–that is one fabulous place to hang out at one-thirty in the morning when you’re tall, dark, and crazy as hell.

But I kinda like it…her comment, I mean—the, the guts thing. I don’t get it, but I like it. Pithy, pithy as hell…

…and I still think it’s really stupid, but apparently…wait, wait, wait…don’t tell me…it’s irrelevant, right?

Oddly enough, I seem to remember everything about that day as if it were yesterday–or last Friday morning, perhaps. I’d have bet your house I didn’t have the guts to do that. It was ten-thirty, right after Springer. It seemed like the thing to do. I remember thinking that at the time, it actually seemed like the right thing to do.


And for those of you who like to keep your own scorecard when you go to the ol’ ballpark, like dad always did, I am officially a left-handed slicer but a right-handed stabber; strictly singles hitters, both ways. Ya know, I’ve always been a bit of a weenie with tools–mom always said that. And for the record, I am a strong proponent of the serrated blade on the wrists but a straight blade for the chest; of course, as it turns out, I am a fantastically terrible reference on the subject.

But forget the wrists for a second; that was just a rep-set, as it turned out—silly me, always wasting time. So, for the next minute or so, strictly in a time-saving maneuver on my part, I actually plunged a large kitchen implement–my mother’s Sunday-morning roast-carving knife, to be specific, the skinny one–into my chest…four times!

            You wanna talk about a waste of time.

I missed my heart by a mile.

I did a swell job on this here lung over here (point) but, unfortunately, we’re not talkin’ horseshoes here. They just pump that sucker back up–they’re good.

That’s just flat-out embarrassing–anatomically embarrassing.

Here, I’ll show ya…okay, ready? Now, don’t think about it…(extend right forefinger, as an example for the audience)…point to your heart! (and do it.)

See? Pretty easy, isn’t it?

So here’s a news flash: big deal. Big bleepin’ deal. I don’t care. I don’t know why, but I don’t. Do I care? No, but thanks for asking. Very simple. Three little words: I—don’t—care. Or, if you prefer: it doesn’t matter–that’s three. I really couldn’t care less which one you choose. Which one do you want? It doesn’t matter. It never did. And that’s three! Three in a row again! Oh boy! Now we’re really cookin’ with gas!

Well…gee George, no we’re not. That’s pretty stupid. Gas…shit, they don’t even let us have ice cubes around here.  Gas…

I am depressed. I know this for a fact because it says so in my file, I peeked.

            Depression!  The secret word! Of course…depression! It’s gotta be! (Look up.) Where’s the duck? Where the hell’s the duck?

(To audience, with importance.) It’s not that bad of a question.

Depression? Well yeah, (display arms) I s’pose that’s about as good a place to start as any, although I have heard a few other psycho-babble-beauties getting’ tossed around the ol’ dinner table lately–some real show stoppers, too.

Our friend Dr. Rajib, on the other hand, prefers to call it Freshman Acting Student Syndrome; he actually wrote an article: Freshman Acting Student Syndrome, characterized primarily by—and yes, I did look it up—absolutely no motivation whatsoever. But, again, doc and that whole Wisconsin thing, so…I dunno what to think. I do know that I don’t feel like doing a damn thing, and this is by far the best place I have ever seen for doing just that. This place was made for that.

(Loudly.) Hi, honey, I’m home! (Less volume.) This place is perfect. (Loudest yet.) I found my thrill! (Look at desk.) Sorry…loud.

(Much softer, an audible whisper, to audience.) Actually, somebody found it for me.

But they do have an excellent drug program, here; I’ve been pleasantly surprised—more than once. Except, that’s not what they call ’em…they call ’em meds, because…well…first of all, in general, most people–including the ones here–are tremendously ignorant, and therefore, it works.

It sounds better.

And it definitely saves time before the nighty-night drugs–those med-lines are entirely too long and contentious already.

Sleep is very big, here. Audibly big, if you’re anywhere this side of the second floor service elevators around three o’clock in the morning. I woke up with a headache at about a quarter-after this morning—think I could get back to sleep?…he asked with a fair amount of pre-disposed pessimism.

Hey, it was loud.

Even with a little booster-Benedril from our lovely graveyard he-nurse up at the desk and his-her loyal minion…or…whatever that other overly testosterone-laced individual does for eight hours in the middle of the night?…I mean, besides play computer Solitaire?

See, now that’s not nearly as good a question.

            Here’s your problem with that whole sleep deal…besides being the biggest waste of time in the history of…well, history. But it’s like you’re givin’ up. Somebody around here says, “Good night, Mike!”…whad’ya mean, good night? What’s that supposed to mean? You tryin’ to get rid of me? Go to bed? I’ll tell ya where to go—hell, I might miss something. Forget it. Sleep…good one.

But ya gotta do it. Ya don’t, nothin’ works. Everything gets all broke.     Personally, if I don’t get enough sleep I get real spacy. Spacyya know, this place–say what I will, and I think you know I will—this place has a certain cozy when in Rome feel to it…kinda like the farting thing– spacy; I fit right in around here.

Oh…I got one for ya…(remember the joke)…at lunch the other day. Uh…(got it)…okay.

A rabbi, a priest, and a duck walk into a bar. And the duck walks right up to the bartender and he says, “Oh my God, I’m in the wrong joke.”

Yeah, I don’t get that one, either. (or, if there is much audience laughter…) Really? I didn’t really get that one.

But hypothetically–not to mention pharmacologically–around here, you could take off pretty much right after breakfast and stay up there all day, if you play your cards right with the doc. Blow the whole day if you want. Every day!

Hypothetically, you understand.

(Big shock) Oh!…this is sad, I just found this out: did you know that there are people–here–that refuse to take their meds?

I’m sorry, I’m afraid I don’t understand. Whad’ya mean, no? That’s just crazy-talk.

Oh contrarily…I am 100% for anything that will help me feel like anything…except me; that’s the dream. Oh, no no no…I take my meds, preferably with apple juice, like a good loon. I get in line twice.

That never works anymore.

When I first got here the nurse asked me a few questions–some different ones this time–for my file. She asked me if I had been hearing voices or seeing things that weren’t really there. I said no, and immediately demanded a full refund. But see, there again, the When In Rome deal; imaginary voices, invisible people? Where do I sign? What do I gotta do? Is there a sign-up sheet for that?

She asked me if I was still suicidal. I said yes, and a good question for once, honey. She asked me if I had a plan. I told her she was fat. She is, too. She’s a total bitch, and she could stand to lay off the avocados for a few days. So then she asked me if I would be willing to sign a contract, stating that if I ever did come up with a plan during my current leave of…absen…er, sani…whatever…would I please come up and tell someone at the desk, so as to avoid a potentially smelly corpse situation. She was actually very nice about it.

I said no, go away, lard-ass.

(This is hilarious; sift the following lines through spasmodic laughter.)   Then she asked me if I had ever blacked out as a result of over-medication of any kind.

Well, she was new.

Hell’s Bells, I might be blacked out right now, honey. But, of course, now we won’t know until tomorrow morning, and that might be entirely too late, which can’t be good for at least one of us.

(Not funny anymore) I’m sure I’ll be just fine.

And hokey-smoke, Bullwinkle, but they take a lot of blood around here. And, if you’ll recall at the end of our last episode, I was runnin’ a little low when they rolled me in. When she’s feelin’ around for a good vein every morning, I always make it a point of asking vampiress-of-the-day if she needs some help.

Or, if she could suggest any.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout this entire blood-letting little affair it’s that, if you ask nicely, I will bleed for just about anybody, and for pretty much any reason, too; I’ve been on both ends of that straw.

But here–what the heck–have some more. It’s a bloody clearance sale; no reasonable offer ever refused.

And I’m pretty sure about that one.

See…it’s easy to be nice to you. You guys haven’t been kickin’ me in the shins for thirty-five, forty years. That shit gets old.

It’s like riding a bike; some of that stuff…you just never forget.

When I was a little kid I remember having this dream, a recurring dream, pretty much the same one every time–lotsa times.

I’m playing tackle football, of all things; most of my little buddies were off playing sandbox somewhere, I’m sure–nothin’ like startin’ at the bottom of the pile. I mean, me: the original-recipe cream puff. As in, excuse me, Mr. Linebacker sir, please move, or I swear, I still won’t hit you. I barely had enough guts to play back-up point guard on my high school’s J.V. basketball team—like mom said, kind of a weenie.

But–a weenie with a dream.

Small problem: we were playing the Chicago Bears in my dream, the mid-’60’s team—Butkus, Ditka, that crowd. They never had a very good team but those highlight films were more than just a little bit frightening. Those guys weren’t very nice.

Issues, always issues, even in la-la land. Paging Dr. Freud…Dr. Freud. Would somebody please go dig him up? Boy, have I got a question for him.

And when I say we were playin’ the Bears, I mean me—little ol’ five or six year-old me, at the time. It was me against…remember?…da Bears–remember that? Yeah, like…all eleven of ’em. And they were wearing those ugly black unis, too; I still hate those things.

Nice dream, huh? They had some very large bears on that team, if you’ll recall. Big brown ones, a whole bunch of ’em. And unfortunately, in my dream, they were always kickin’ off to me.

Oh boy, I get the ball first.

I must have lost the toss…(proudly) but that’s not part of the dream; I just made that up.

So I field the kick at my own goal line and start runnin’ like a…like a Bat outta Masterson, like a sprinter–except it’s still me—but straight ahead, every time, right up the middle. As in, screw life, let’s just go right up the gut this time. What the hell, ya only live…and I always forget the number. But I’m talkin’, right at ’em–full blast.

And I’m thinking—as part of the dream, now—run out of bounds, for Pete’s sake; what difference does it make? Exit–stage left. And hurry the hell up, those gentlemen appear to be rather unnaturally angry; what’s that all about?

Kinda sounded like it, too, if you’re into that kind of thing.

I get to about the twenty yard line before coming face-to-face with my first Bear, which can be a very enlightening experience, I assure you, if you’ve never had the very distinct and grizzly displeasure. With ten of his close, personal den-mates entirely too nearby, as far as I was concerned. All looking at me like lunch had been recently canceled and I was the new dinner special, only off the kiddie menu, for some obscure dietary reason, which confused me for years as a child, not because of the inavailability of any known nutritional data on me as a small entree but because everybody knows there’s no such thing as a dinner special off the damn kiddie menu.

And this was all part of the dream–kiddie special and everything. It kinda pissed me off. I mean, it’s my dream.

Ah…but then I remember, very distinctly, every time…I remember thinking that I’d always wanted one of those little mini-trampoline thingies, ever since I was…four.

Or three.

2,673 pounds of bear, Bear, bearing down on me, and I’m thinking about Christmas.

Okay, now that sounds more like me.

But then…KA-POW!…just like in the old Batman T.V. series–Adam West, Burt Ward and all the cool bad guys; I got the whole series on both VHS and Beta…which is kinda stupid, now that I think about it, but I don’t care. KAPOW!…in big bold letters, across the screen, with that big, stupid lookin’ exclamation mark, remember that? KA-POW!…dig those crazy graphics, man, with that trippin’ ’60’s-techno-spiral wipe into the next scene—far out, man! Dig that, baby! That part of the dream wasokay, I’m not too proud…that part of the dream really was pretty groovy.

But then, all at once…(poof! sound)…it gets kinda hazy, all fuzzy…as you might well imagine, football fans, and for at least eleven very good reasons. It’s like I kinda lose the dream for a while. Not really, but it goes all Outer Limits on me for a spit-sec, all out-of-focus and difficult.

But it always picks up again–always–same dream, no more KAPOW!…more like hi, I’m back, but later…about five seconds later, on the game clock! Now I’m running down the sidelines in Bear territory, chased by what’s left of da Bears, I must have ditched most of ’em a couple seconds ago, I guess20, 15, 10…only to get run out of bounds at the five yard-line, by the damn kicker, no less…I forget his name—ski…something-ski…

Now how do you suppose Dr. Siggy-baby and I managed all that?

I don’t ever remember running another play. I just wake up–first and goal from just inside the five.

What a bummer, man.

I gotta say, though, that I was deeply honored to be selected nut du jour for one of our young nursing students a few days ago…actually a few of us were–one-on-one, nurse-to-nut. My young lady…she was a little different. We followed each other around for four hours, through lunch and everything.

We had butterscotch pudding that day–I’ll always remember that.

There was something about her eyes; I could tell right away that she had a dog—a three-legged miniature dachshund named Dave, you could just tell. After only five hours. Those eyes cared, they actually cared.

Once again, I say unto you…huh.

Okay, it was four hours and thirty-six minutes…but that’s without the pudding.

I can think of a few people, who have certainly known me a lot longer than that, that might not be very happy if I died, at least not at first.

This bothers me–not sure how much yet, but it’s very definitely a bother.          Of sorts.

See, what we really need is some sort of lifetime warranty on death. Actually, this is not a bad idea, I’ve been working on this one a little bit, somebody might wanna take a few notes. See, that way you could try it—this new and improved death thing that’s got everybody so worked up these days. Take it out for spin, kick a few tires, get started on some of those backed-up fertilizer orders. Give it a good shot for, say, thirty days–see what you think. And if, at the end of that time, you still are not 100% satisfied with your death…you get your life back! Guaranteed. No questions asked. No health examination required. It’s a helluva fine idea. Just kinda pick it up right where you left off.

And I can’t believe we don’t have this yet.

But…alas, we do not.

Alas…I gotta believe that’s the first time I’ve ever used that word. Alas…(Voiced like a buzzer)…ehhh!—probably the last time.

Look, there are so many excellent reasons to fly the no visitors flag around here; those folks don’t know about any of this, except for those few. The ones out there, all the other ones? No chance. Guaranteed. Worse case…I just hide; it’s actually one of my better qualities. Do I really want to see the looks on their faces when they finally find out? When they finally figure it all out?

And now we are officially into the stupid questions. That’s alright, that’s okay, let’s keep ’em comin’, kids. I’m here all week, more or less. (Start to pull shirt off; see the chest wounds.)

Probably more, now.

On the 18th of April in ’75, hardly a man is now alive who remembers that famous day and year. Paul Revere’s Ride, right? Learned it in 7th grade English–old Mrs. Dunlop’s class, God love ‘er. Why she made us memorize the whole damn thing I still have no idea, but it is pretty easy to remember. April 18th–that was the day I survived what has been generally regarded and certainly well documented in local medical journals as the unsurvivable car crash. Except it wasn’t in ’75…it was actually in ’88. (Find the doubter in the front row.) Nineteen-eighty-eight; c’mon man, I’m not that far gone. Evidently, a guy by the name of Longfellow wrote it.

Ooh…that’s not very funny.

Wait a minute…that crash is in my file—it’s gotta be. I wonder why old man Rajib hasn’t brought that one up yet. That even sounds remotely psychologically relevant…even to me. And the only reason I bring it up at all is because…at the moment, gang, I gotta be honest with ya…I do not feel the least bit indestructible. Not right now.

In my spare time…in my spare time? (What the hell am I talking about? That’s all I got)…in my spare timeI’ve actually begun writing a little song—never done that before—just a little something in remembrance of my time spent here on Golden Pond. I’m tentatively calling it, You Have So Much To Offer–kind of a working title, if you will. It’s a satirical little number…if I can just manage to screw up enough gumption…gumption—that’s kind of a neat word, isn’t it? Gumption, that’s what mom used to (the mind skips; no pause) if I can just manage to screw up enough gumption to finish the damn thing. I’m planning on asking the nurses to sing it at my funeral…not now…you know…sometime. And they already know all the words; believe me, they got those suckers down pat. I hear ’em practically every day: but Mike, you Have So Much To Offer.

            As it reads right now, I puke right in the middle of the first chorus. On cue, no less, which isn’t nearly as hard as I was kinda hoping it might be. I just gotta get somebody to help me with the music—never been real good with stuff like melodies and harmonies. In a minor key, though, I should think. And I’m also thinkin’, like…five or six flats…I mean, that just sounds right, but I don’t really know that much about that kind of stuff, so I’m pretty flexible there.

And the second verse?–the but you just can’t see it right now—that verse? That’s my favorite. So what we have so far is You have so much to offer, but you just can’t see it right now…It’s not bad. It’s actually very…ethereal—see, now there’s a good word for ya. Ethereal…I should be writing this down. (He reaches for his papers, but stops.)

(Sarcastically.) Oh wait, I already did that.

            It’s not altogether true, you know. I can see some stuff. I’m not a total idiot…although I s’pose, technically, that hasn’t been ruled out yet either. I think I’m a pretty nice guy; I’ve never spit on anybody…I don’t think. I mean, not if you take out the wind; then for sure…(wave it off).

But I’ve got about a two-and-a-half/three page list of faults—single spaced, both sides; I know where it is, I can go get it for ya, I gotta keep it handy, I’m addin’ on to the damn thing all the time.

And, believe me, I let a lotta the piddly crap slide.

And I’m no Lola Falana, either, okay? But I’m alright with…well, ’bout half-a-page worth, so far.

But let’s take a look at the big picture, shall we? People die every day–I’m pretty sure—and, in this case, I have a very reliable source. People that are loved, cared about, and all that. And sure, they’ll be missed, most of ’em, for a while—at least until the church ladies get done cleaning up the kitchen afterwards–at least that long.

But again…think big–big picture, now. In the grand scheme of things, when it comes right down to it, I’m not all that big of a deal. Don’t believe everything you read in your program—I lied. Trust me, I’m nothin’ special. You’ll get over me, easy.

(If you’re ever gonna cry…)

But this is happening, right now, to me. This is not a dream. And I’m not a little kid anymore. I don’t remember signing up for all this. This is hard.

Oh sure, I can play pleasant. I can smile—see? I got really crappy teeth but I can still smile.

But that’s outgoing mail, me to you; I can do that, I can pull some wool for a while. I can hide–I know just the spot. It’s never in the same place but it’s always there somewhere.

But the incoming crap is a lot worse, and a lot more regular-like. And I don’t need any help, either; I can hurt me a lot better than you can. That’s my specialty, and I’m really good at it, dammit.

I should write a book–sounds like a book deal to me. Not a movie, though, because the movie is never as good as the book unless you’re Indiana Jones, and I ain’t him–that much we’re all pretty sure of.

I’m a little like a bad book–not an easy read at all. Far too many loose-ends, and how I despise those pesky loose ends.

But I’m still better than the movie, right? Hey, I’ve seen some real stinkers lately. There’s no plot; just a bunch of bad character actors running around swearing at each other. I’ve never seen the end of one yet. Anybody know how it goes?


(Same female voice as before, after tapping the microphone three times; he collects papers during announcement):

“Your attention, please. Hamlet, will you please come up to the nurses’ desk? Hamlet, your presence is requested at the desk. Thank you.”


Yeah, unfortunately–around here–pretty much everybody knows who Hamlet is…it’s probably just something about my file.

Or more blood.

But I feel better about this, now; done and done. I was always taught that if anything’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

So bring on those corndogs. (check the desk—then face front) See, I know…(with greater emphasis)…I know where they’re hiding the shoelaces.


(Lights out. Music up.)

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