Fiction, Monologues, Plays & More
a play by Laura Lee Bahr
(CLICK HERE to read The Weight of Words: Part 1)
(CLICK HERE to read The Weight of Words: Part 2)
(CLICK HERE to read The Weight of Words: Part 3)
(CLICK HERE to read The Weight of Words: Part 4)
(CLICK HERE to read The Weight of Words: Part 5)
(CLICK HERE to read The Weight of Words: Part 6)
(CLICK HERE to read The Weight of Words: Part 7)
(CLICK HERE to read The Weight of Words: Part 8)
(CLICK HERE to read The Weight of Words: Part 9)
(CLICK HERE to read The Weight of Words: Part 10)
(CLICK HERE to read The Weight of Words: Part 11)
(When we last had our action, there was a discussion of milk for free with a boy barista, and Pricilla bit the head off a stuffed parrot. It bled. Let’s leave Herstory for now for dramatic soap opera action in a doctor’s office. The actress is going to have a baby!)
Lights up The Doctor’s office.
DOCTOR is reading Crime and Punishment.
The ACTRESS comes in, very pregnant.
ACTRESS: Please, I’m pregnant.
DOCTOR: (rapidly, almost on top of each other) Uh, Duh.
ACTRESS: (rapidly) But every doctor I’ve been to, they say I’m not.
ACTRESS: I don’t know how it could have happened, anyway- I hope it’s not fatal-
DOCTOR: have you filled out the paperwork?
ACTRESS: I hope- Hope is a thing with feathers…
DOCTOR: Do you have an appointment.
ACTRESS: My water just broke.
DOCTOR: You need an appointment.
A brief pause while the ACTRESS finds her character.
ACTRESS: “I don’t need anything except hope, which I can’t find by looking backwards or forwards, so I suppose the thing to shut my eyes.” (She closes her eyes and screams.)
DOCTOR: Okay, on the table.
The ACTRESS lies down on a table. The DOCTOR takes her legs and spreads them apart as if she is looking at a baby’s head crowning. The next lines come quickly
DOCTOR: Oh, God! Who’s the father!
ACTRESS: (screaming) I don’t know! Some artist!
DOCTOR: I can’t deliver this!
ACTRESS: I know! They’re my lines! “that is, were I under the terms of death, as to bed/That longing I have been sick for, ere I’d yield/My body up to shame.”
DOCTOR: We’re going to have to do an emergency C- section!
The Doctor pulls out a huge scalpel.
ACTRESS: “O, it is excellent to have a giant’s strength; but it is tyrannous to use it as a giant!” I feel everything!
DOCTOR: No time for anesthesia!
The DOCTOR cuts the ACTRESS across the belly, blood spurts onto the DOCTOR’S face.
ACTRESS: “Merciful Heaven! Thou rather with thy sharp and sulfurous bolt, Splitt’st the unwedgeable and gnarled oak Than the soft myrtle;”
The DOCTOR peels back the skin on the ACTRESS’ belly, exposing guts.
ACTRESS: Oh, God! What are you doing!
DOCTOR: My job! I’m a Doctor!
ACTRESS: “Dress’d in a little brief authority,- Most ignorant of what he is most assured,”
The DOCTOR, pulls out a stone, red and slick with blood, from the ACTRESS’ belly. She holds it up, examining it.
She sets it down and peers back in.
ACTRESS: “who, with our spleens, would all laugh themselves mortal.”
DOCTOR: Oh- you have twins.
She pulls out another rock.
DOCTOR: triplets. (Another.) Quadruplets. Quintuplets. (another, another.) Sextuplets… Wow. Six, six stones.
ACTRESS: How did I do?
DOCTOR: I don’t know what it means.
ACTRESS: But you feel it, right? Can you feel what it means?
DOCTOR: I’m very sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, but you’re dead now.
The ACTRESS dies a theatrical death.
DOCTOR: And your children…are just dead weight…wait… wait… Wait a second! There’s a market for these!
ACT III- Box, Burroughs, bang.
Scene opens on HERO, downstage.
HERO: So then, months later, Johnny Lingo and Mahana come back to visit the island. Well, the village is all the talk because no one can believe the change in Mahana. She is so stunning and beautiful- full of self-confidence and self-worth. Johnny Lingo, in his infinite wisdom, knew that a woman looks like what she thinks she is worth. In fact, Mahana was so beautiful her Father raged that he had been cheated. She was a ten-cow woman! So the moral of the story is-
AUTHOR: You get what you pay for.
HERO: No… well… that’s a crass way of putting it- more that beauty is determined by seeing one’s inner beauty and love brings that out-
AUTHOR: Please- I’m trying to work here!
HERO: I know, I just thought you might want to go out somewhere and take in the city.
AUTHOR: A quote. “The one happiness is to shut one’s door upon a little room, with a table before one, and to create; to create life in that isolation from life.“ That’s a quote of Eleanora Duse.
HERO: Is she your muse?
AUTHOR: Eleanora Duse? My muse? I’m my muse. Haven’t you heard my rhyme?
HERO: A million times-
AUTHOR: Wasn’t born to be a muse- just born to be amused.
HERO: Are you?
HERO: What you were born to be.
AUTHOR: Eh. I don’t know. What it means.
HERO: Well, I guess you better figure it out. That’s your job.
AUTHOR: A job? I don’t have a job.
HERO: Your job is to make meaning, purpose, beauty. Remember.
AUTHOR: Right. Except…what if what I make is some ugly, pointless, absurd “tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing”? That’s from-
HERO: Don’t say that name here-
AUTHOR: Won’t. But- what… if… that?
HERO: Well, then no one will buy it.
AUTHOR: You and your market value. As if being bought and sold were the measure of value. And what about your ten-cow woman?
HERO: Well she had hidden value. It took a shrewd business-man to see it.
AUTHOR: I can’t work like this! You’re suffocating me! Like this weight, on top of me-
HERO: I’m not on top of you, you’re up there!
The AUTHOR comes down the ladder, with her pages. She is wearing a skirt and top made of the Duse dress.
AUTHOR: (sung) I’m not going to spend my life in my room, putting papers in a box wrapped with twine. A palace of words like a pharaoh’s tomb, it was romance once upon a time. I won’t sweat out my sanity dancing for myself all day- too old and too big to for a dance company- wanting mine but having no way. My diary being cribbed by my man who is a famous novelist, it’s his personal property and right… you get the gist. Not me, not me. We are not amused. (spoken) I’m getting out of here.
HERO: Whatever are you singing about?
AUTHOR: I’m going to make it.
HERO: Make what?
AUTHOR: I don’t know. It. Don’t bother me with questions right now- I have to get out of here.
HERO: You can’t go- your bound to me-I saved you!
AUTHOR: You didn’t save me. Baywatch- lifeguard at Zuma beach…. He saved me. And he asked nothing of me. He was surprised when I said “thanks!” and then he said “Sure thing!” and ran down the beach to save someone else. You, you never saved me. You- you’re just more of a device.
HERO: I saw you when no one else did- I paid a price- my fiancée…
AUTHOR: Right- see, I saved you- from a miserable life with a mercenary and exacting shrew who never put out. Now you have the chance to iterate and evolve without being fettered.
HERO: Well then… (pause) The least you can do…(pause) before you go… (pause) is suck my dick.
AUTHOR: My pleasure.
Scene ___, Herstory Boutique.
PRICILLA and LINDA are working, LINDA is taking down the empty cage, crying.
LINDA: I guess I might as well put this away- no one’s going to find her.
PRICILLA: I’m so sorry she flew away.
LINDA: I guess some birds are just too bright to be caged.
PRICILLA: Yep. Hey, let me take that out back and put the hose on it.
LINDA hands her the cage. PRICILLA walks out back.
The AUTHOR walks in (CHIMES). She carries a huge stack of pages, bound with twine.
LINDA: Oh, hi! She went out back- my goodness, are those for the Hope Chest?
The AUTHOR nods and hands over the pages. LINDA puts them in the box.
AUTHOR: They’re worth something.
LINDA: I’m sure they are.
AUTHOR: They’re worth a lot- a whole lot. Anyway, I gotta run. I need these shoes.
She picks up Zelda’s ballet slippers.
LINDA: They’re six thousand dollars.
AUTHOR: Well, those pages are worth-
LINDA: Nothing. Those shoes are worth six thousand dollars.
AUTHOR: Just let me see if they fit-
LINDA: No- I think you’d better put them back-
PRICILLA: (From the back, singing) “Don’t stop believing!”
LINDA hides the author in the back room.
PRICILLA walks in, all smiles, the cage is dripping wet.
PRICILLA: No more pretty birdie turdie!
The DOCTOR enters (CHIMES), bearing the rocks, now painted bright red.
DOCTOR: Hello. I’d like to sell these to you.
LINDA: What are they?
DOCTOR: Some actress gave birth to them.
PRICILLA: (suspicious) Who was the father?
DOCTOR: Some unknown artist. Anyway, the mother died in rockbirth. And she delivered these she delivered the lines of Emily Dickinson, Zelda Fitzgerald, Shakespeare.
PRICILLA: (More suspicious) Hmmm… Put these in your pockets, go in a river, and I bet you’d drown.
DOCTOR: Oh, but you wouldn’t want to do that. Then the blood would wash off.
… and join us next time for the EXCITING CONCLUSION of The Weight of Words!!!!
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.