Eclectic Voices

Fiction, Monologues, Plays & More

The Weight of Words: Part 8

stockvault-human-heart-blood-circulation-circa-191148440a play by Laura Lee Bahr
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The Weight of Words: Part 1

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The Weight of Words: Part 2

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The Weight of Words: Part 3

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The Weight of Words: Part 4

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The Weight of Words: Part 5

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The Weight of Words: Part 6
(CLICK HERE to read
The Weight of Words: Part 7)

ACT 2, Scene 2

The lights come up on Herstory Boutique.

PRICILLA is staring at the wallpaper wall. LINDA, at the fourth wall.

LINDA: I love my job. I love this store. It’s my life’s work. It started with Tom- I mean, I have him to thank or curse. We’d have some bad history, but then- he called me a couple months ago. His voice on the phone- it scared me to death-

TOM: (calling out) Please, oh God, Please Linda- you’ve gotta help me-

LINDA walks over to where TOM is sitting on the couch. His face is a mess, bloody and bruised. His lip is swollen and he has difficulty speaking.

LINDA: Oh, God, Tom. What happened to you?

TOM: Oh, this? I just got in a fist-fight with the sidewalk. Don’t worry. I won.

LINDA: I doubt that.

TOM: No I did. Not against the sidewalk, but at Karoke.

LINDA: Tom, do you need me to take you to a hospital?

TOM: No, no. No need for that- this is more-

LINDA: What do you want me to do?

TOM: (after a moment) My mom died.

LINDA: Oh… no…

TOM: Yeah. Yeah. (He starts to cry).

LINDA: Oh, God, Tom…

TOM: Please forgive me.

LINDA: Tom… I don’t know… what that would mean…

TOM: Nothing. Just that that… would allow me to feel like… I was worth being alive.

LINDA leaves the front couch, moving back into her light on the stage.

LINDA: Years before I had thrown him out. I’d come home to find him- with somebody- in the middle- God. I’d known that he cheated on me. It wasn’t that- it was that he’d brought her to our home- to shove my face in it… to…he didn’t even stop. He looked right at me and didn’t even stop. I just turned around and walked out. I walked down the street. I went into a bar. I bought myself a double. There was a man sitting next to me, drinking a beer. I think. I don’t know what he was drinking. I don’t even know what he looked like. I just know I turned to him and asked to go back to his place.
And he said no.

Well, I guess I must’ve looked pretty bad. I mean, I felt pretty bad.

And Thank God he said no.

Because I was so humiliated I walked out of the bar and- And I couldn’t think about the future anymore. The future was gone. And I didn’t have a past anymore, because it hurt too much to think about that.
Well I walked right into this vintage store. The competition… I was just a vintage store back then. But because I was so— out of my head—I just had to go to an idea- and I had this idea—see, these things were solid. They had been places. I couldn’t think about my past- but I started imagining all of their pasts- the clothing itself. And that’s when I got the idea for Herstory. What if there were clothes and objects that meant something? That you knew they meant something- weren’t just pretty to look at, or nice to have around, or comfortable- but they had a history. A tangible and solid history. Everything with a back story, still making history. Some couldn’t be told- because then they wouldn’t sell. But some could. Some stories would make them more valuable. Pricless, almost. That became my life. Touching herstory in her things…
The store became everything to me, finding things, learning things, and showing things. And I started getting the most interesting clientele, I tell you. And people would find things and tell me- give me things- everything just blossomed. And there was no competition anymore. I was a completely unique boutique. And I had my place, that I had made.

And when he called- all those years- I couldn’t be mad at him, or hate him, because of what I had done with that pain.

The light comes up on PRICILLA, staring at the wallpaper.

PRICILLA: I hate this wall. I hate you, wall. I hate so many things right now. I hate everything right now. I close my eyes, and I try to think of one thing, one thing that I like. A fluffy kitten… I want to rip its head off. A cute puppy. I want to run over it with my car. A rainbow… A rainbow… I want to grab each strand of color and throttle it into a black hole so it can never escape. Never. Trapped into a sucking nothingness of an eternal void that will only grow stronger and suck harder and harder and harder until everything is pulled into it, everything is trapped into nothingness… I’ve done everything by every rule. I’ve lived according to the laws of decorum. I’ve tried to be fair and just. To find the worth and the value in things. And this is what I get? I get no love. I get no light. I am trapped in this store with this yellow wallpaper peeling from the walls and being condescended to by this crazy old coot who has this open relationship with this fat old man… it’s disgusting to even think about. She works every day of her life, putting make-up on that old sad face. She can’t even turn a profit. She sells pretty things every once in a while, some stupid woman who has nothing to do but spend her money on stupid things to try and make her fat ass look like something… I hate them. I hate them all.

Wait. No. Here’s a thought. This makes me feel, happy…

I am a vigilante. I’m Dirty Harriet. And everytime some woman, some girl, some stupid artist, some rich fat bird, some hooker, some whore, walks into this store, I ask them politely if I can help them. And I put them in their favorite outfit. And then I take them out back and I shoot them, executioner style. Instead of “Have a Nice day”, I say, “I’m going to make your day.” And I put a bullet in their brain. And I leave them in a pile out back with the other garbage and just wait for the truck to pick them up.

I’d be doing them a favor, you see. Ending their stupid existence, and their stupid mindless walk about thinking about whatever stupid things they think when they think that buying some new dress or new trinket would make them into something else or something more.

I’d be sweet as simple syrup, and I’d fit them in their favorite outfit…

I could shoot them in here, but I don’t want to get blood on the carpet. I’d have to clean it up. Out back, I could just hose it down…

How do I get them to go out back? I’d tell them— I’d tell them I’m a casting director- this is just a place where I hang out to discover who are the hottest new models- or actresses. I’m looking for just their type… Come, line up, I’ll say- I have a camera out back- look into the camera and say this line:
“Make my Day.”

(She is caught in the fantasy, she lifts an imaginary gun and shoots three down).

That makes me happy.

LINDA: There’s so much pain in this world- but that doesn’t mean it has to be bad for people. Having babies- that’s pain. But what a beautiful pain, worth enduring all the billions of people on this earth.

Up her ladder, the AUTHOR holds a stack of pages.

AUTHOR: Pages- the fruits of labor- my children.

She picks up her rock and places it on the pages as a paperweight.

Did you ever here the story of the wolf and the kids- these are goat kids, not real actual kids… The wolf eats these goat kids, but then the mother goat comes while he is sleeping and cuts open his belly, takes her kids out and fills his belly with rocks and then when the wolf wakes up, he goes to drink in the river and falls in- the rocks drown him…

At Herstory Boutique, the scene continues.

PRICILLA: We’re missing a rock.

LINDA: What?

PRICILLA: There used to be six-

LINDA: Really? You counted them?

PRICILLA: A stack of rocks for fifteen thousand dollars? You bet I counted them. Plus I dust them.

LINDA: Hmmm. (to the parrot) Pretty bird…

Light up on HERO.

HERO: Now the custom on that island was that you traded cows for a wife. And the going rate for a very beautiful wife was four cows. Five if she was a perfect ten. Six was unheard of- that was the dial going to eleven. Now, all the ladies on the island hoped it would be them. They all wanted to be Johnny Lingo’s wife. Since he was such a shrewd businessman, they expected that he’d pay less than the going rate, but they didn’t mind. To be Johnny Lingo’s wife was what every girl wanted.

PRICILLA: (to the wall) How much for the milk? A fair trade. What’s it worth?

HERO: So Johnny Lingo comes back to the island and he announces who he wants for a wife. And who does he say, he wants? He asks for the ugliest girl on the island! Mahana! Well, Mahana’s father has been trying to get rid of her for years, but she’s so ugly- born ugly! That no one’s ever wanted her. Boy, is he excited to get rid of her! So everyone in the village is talking. It must be a business deal. He’ll probably offer one cow- with one leg and one eye. And you know what, Mahan’s father would take it. In fact, people joke, the father should give Johnny Lingo a cow to take Mahana! So Johnny Lingo comes to make the bargain, and he says to the father that although he knows Mahana is worth more, as shrewd business man, he will pay her father, for her hand, eight cows. Eight cows! It must be a joke, right? But no, he delivers them, beautiful, healthy cows- eight of them, for the ugliest girl in the village. And then he takes Mahana on his boat and they leave the village.

PRICILLA: Why buy the cow- why buy the fucking cow?

LINDA: Did you say something?

PRICILLA: No. Make my day.

LINDA: Pricilla? Are you okay? Do you need to take a break?

PRICILLA turns away from the wall, looking at LINDA like she just woke up.

PRICILLA: I was just day-dreaming.

LINDA: Good. That’s good for you- think positive.

PRICILLA: I think I’d better- take a walk…

The door-bells chime as PRICILLA leaves the stage and lights come up on the DOCTOR’S Office.

Laura Lee Bahr is the author of the short stories Happy Hour and The Liar (available in the anthologies DEMONS, winner of the Bram Stoker award and PSYCHOS, edited by John Skipp and published by Black Dog & Leventhal). She is the award-winning screenwriter of the feature films Jesus Freak and the little Death. Her first novel, HAUNT, received the Wonderland Book Award.

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This entry was posted on January 27, 2014 by in Playwriting and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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