Fiction, Monologues, Plays & More
a monologue by Niki Blumberg
Listen to the monologue performed by Taylor Ashbrook:
SETTING: a small town in Southern Baja California.
“(pause)” represents Carla, the unseen character, speaking. Pauses can vary in length, depending on Carla’s response, as decided by the director/actor.
SHARON, 51, is speaking with CARLA, 44 on a terrace in Sharon’s beach house. The party and the wind are winding down. Sharon takes out cigarette and lighter from her purse.
Do you smoke? (pause) I don’t either, most of the time. But it’s this place, Carla. It’s this claustrophobic, beautiful place and I just gotta light one up every once in a while. (Sharon laughs).
And it’s not as bad as it was, which is a relief. They’ve really been doing a lot with Baja Bay in the past two years. When the market went (she makes a sound that sounds like a missile dropping from the sky and hitting its target) they stopped development, completely. Bank of America, who owned it at the time, was too wrapped up in its own scandal to care about this dinky little development on the Sea Cortez and Baja Bay became this wasteland of abandoned bulldozers and shovels. Half-finished buildings, everywhere. (pause). Yeah it was super depressing. Which is not good. Not good when you’re at your vacation house, you know? You shouldn’t feel depressed. You should feel liberated from all the horrible shit in your life.
They ended up selling the development to some Mexican firm, owned by a telecommunications billionaire and the bulldozers started back up again. Vroom Vroom! We have a coffee shop now! You can order a cappuccino in the goddamn desert. What a life. Which reminds me, want to come to yoga tomorrow? We all go to Corazón Café afterwards. (pause) You should join us. I’ve got an extra mat if you need one.
(Sharon opens a secret compartment in her table to reveal an ashtray. She smiles like the cat that ate the canary).
(pause) Ernie doesn’t know about this and you can’t tell him. Seriously, it’s serious. (softly) He scares me a little sometimes, you know? (in her normal voice) No, no. Not really, I’m just trying to sound like Marilyn Monroe or something. She’s always been one of my favorites.
(Sharon lights her cigarette and takes a long drag).
I always wish I had one of those long cigarette holders. (Sharon imagines a Great Gatsby Party for a moment).
(Sharon ashes the cigarette into her secret ashtray).
Where are you from, Carla? (pause) Calgary, huh? Brrrr! I bet you’re not looking forward to going home for Christmas. Do you have real reindeer up there? (pause) Man, what a question. Does Santa Claus stay at your house, when Mrs. Claus is mad? God, what am I, 2? I’m sorry Carla, of course Reindeer are real. (pause) Didn’t know that. You’ll have to put up an electric fence so they don’t get into your garden. Might be nice to sit out on the porch, with an ice cold beer, and watch them get electrocuted. (pause) Well, probably not an ice cold beer, because that would freeze in a hot second. A cold second? I don’t know what I’m saying, Carla. I haven’t had tequila since I was in college. (Sharon and Carla raise their glasses).
Ernie and I have been coming here for, what, 6 years now? We usually come for Easter and Thanksgiving. He loves spending Thanksgiving up here, I don’t know why. And every year we have to drive all the way down to the Walmart in Cabo just to buy a Butterball. Then it’s us who ends up having everyone over and all the people who don’t have family in town, we call them the Baja Bay orphans, come and we end up being like 40 people! I don’t know how this happened, Carla. I don’t know how I got here.
(Sharon suddenly remembers).
Oh my Christ, Carla. Last Thursday, before Thanksgiving dinner, he gave a speech. I could have killed him. So he get’s up there with his Corona in a goddamn beer cozy and says, wearing shorts, mind you, (Sharon stands and orates) “We are the forgers. We are the Magellans and the Lewis and Clarks. We are the brave ones who make way so others can have a better life. We are the new pilgrims of Baja and this is our day to give thanks.”
And he goes on and on about how we are this new set of pilgrims, paving the way for generations of Canadians and Americans to build their vacation homes in Baja Bay. (pause) I swear on my grandmother’s grave. I wish I could have put that on the Youtube, I would have had so many views. I would have the money to divorce him! (Sharon laughs)
Would you have been able to keep a straight face? (pause) No! Neither could I. I just kept shooting poisonous darts out of my eyes, trying to get him to stop. But he just kept on spitting out this wannabe Gettysburg Address bullshit. (pause)
I am no hero. I don’t care about someone else’s life. I’m sorry. It sounds terrible, but it’s true. I only care about my own. And so does Ernie, which is why I couldn’t stand it. He doesn’t care about the generations that come after him. As long as he has his whisky on the rocks and his satellite TV, he couldn’t give a shit about anyone else.
How long have you and Charlie been together? (pause) Almost 20 years? Congratulations! Ernie and I have been together for 26, and let me tell you, the first 20 are the easiest. I’m kidding. Mostly. (something turns in Sharon) You know, our 20-year anniversary was when he surprised me with this house. That had to be a bad sign, right? He says it was so that we could “spend more relaxing time” together. He goes fishing – I clean the fish. Only one of those things is relaxing. (she grows angrier) Then we have a party, and before it’s over, he’s in town with his buddies at Mike’s Bar. Driving home so slowly, so he doesn’t get pulled over by the Federales and I tell him not to drink and drive but he does it anyways. (almost screaming) Sometimes I wish they’d pull his ass over and put him in jail so he could learn his goddamn lesson, that fat asshole!
(pause, Carla says nothing)
Woah. Carla, you bring out the vengeful wife in me. Jesus! (a moth flies by) Look! (Sharon points out) That moth was the size of my face! Bad kitty used to leave them for me on my bed. I wouldn’t have minded so much if moth-dust wasn’t so hard to wash out of the sheets. It’s worse than lilies! (looking at Carla) I have to get myself over to Calgary. (pause) You look incredible – I can’t believe you are, what, 44? You look 35 Carla, and I don’t mean it in that superficial, “Oh Carla, you don’t look a day over 35” kind of way. Seriously, do you rub salmon eggs on your face, shove your head in ice, what? (pause) I’m so sorry. If I was gluten-free, I might have to kill myself. Death by bread would be an honorable way to go. At least you can still eat ice cream, right? (pause) Thank God. (pause)
(Sharon leans in)
God, Carla. Get me the fuck out of here. I can’t live here anymore – you’re the youngest person I’ve seen in 6 months! (pause)
Ernie’s never here. He’s always traveling, pushing off his retirement. But me? Where the hell else am I going to go? (pause)
(Sharon smiles) You’re right. I should go to Calgary.
(Sharon’s porch lights go out. The only thing that lights Sharon and Carla is the light of the moon).
Wow. Moonlight looks really good on you.
“The New Pilgrims” was originally performed by Taylor Ashbrook in Eclectic Voices’ monologue show We’re No Heroes at the Eclectic Company Theatre in 2014.
Niki Blumberg is a composer, playwright, publicist and collector of all things Sammy Davis Jr. Previously, she served as Associate Artistic Director at Theater 150, Ojai’s professional theatre company, and was the Marketing Manager for A Noise Within, the classical repertory theatre company in Pasadena. Currently, she is a publicist for the performing arts publicity firm, Davidson & Choy Publicity. Her theater works include Love’s Labour’s LOST: The Musical! a mash-up of Shakespeare and the TV show, LOST, which had it’s world-premiere run at Theater 150 in Ojai. At Theater 150, she also recently produced and performed her one-woman concert, Niki Vs. The Piano. In May of 2008, her first full-length musical, The Thorny Kings, a cautionary tale about an extra-terrestrial Jesus, was produced in Boston. Other works include Chardust, a straight play with a secret, and her upcoming musical-in-progress, The Hummingbird Realm.