Fiction, Monologues, Plays & More
a monologue by Chelsea Sutton
A young caterer slumps in a chair, a dirty wrinkled apron tied around her waist, the clothes peppered in flour and splashes of different sauces and blotches of caramel and other indeterminable things. She’s drinking a firewhiskey.
This? This is firewhiskey – real simple to make, really just bourbon whiskey and Tobasco sauce. Most people take maybe five or six shakes of Tobasco but I need at least fifteen. It’s supposed to give you courage. Who doesn’t need a little of that? (takes a swig) Have you read the books? You know, Harry Potter? Well shit, this must have been a real head scratcher of a night for you. In the books, wizards drink this stuff all the time – at the Three Broomsticks or the Leaky Cauldron, wherever. It was one of the things on the list the bride and groom gave me when they asked me to cater this wedding. Gotta say, this was a challenge. Food is a big deal in Harry Potter. Almost more important than the whole fighting evil wizards thing. I mean I never finished a chapter of that book without some sort of craving. So when they told me they were doing a Harry Potter themed wedding and they wanted the real thing – I mean the realist of the real thing – I knew what they meant.
First, I had to tackle the main courses –and Harry Potter takes place in England right, so you got your steak and kidney pie, your boiled potatoes, your Cornish Pasties, your Yorkshire pudding, your sausages – lots and lots of sausages. Then you got your specialty drinks – the firewhiskey of course, not so hard. Your Elderflower wine – somewhat rare, made of these elderflowers from England, it’s a whole thing. Your pumpkin juice, your hot chocolate – I know, not so magical but wizards drink hot chocolate like water. And, of course, your butterbeer – hot and foaming and butterscotch and just so fucking perfect.
The most important thing though – the sweets. The peppermint toads and chocolate frogs weren’t so hard – it was really just finding the right kind of chocolate mold. And the cauldron cakes and pumpkin pasties and the jelly slugs and chocoballs and cockroach clusters – don’t worry, I didn’t end up putting real cockroaches in the clusters, though you can buy jars of them off Amazon for a pretty reasonable price. Licorice wands and exploding bon-bons and then the joke ones like the Fainting Fancies and Puking Pastilles and the Nosebleed Nougat and Fever Fudgets – all pretty simple. Now, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans – those were the real kicker. Because they didn’t want me ordering online from the theme park or wherever – no, they wanted the real thing. Nothing store bought, nothing that looked like it was a brand. I mean I had suggested making cookies shaped like Hogwarts letters with a little letter inside, like fortune cookies, or little snitch colored cake pops but no – they wanted the real thing. Not the theme of Harry Potter. They wanted the real world Harry Potter.
So I made the goddamn jelly beans. Every flavor. Every goddamn flavor ever mentioned in the books, I made it. Don’t even ask how I got the earwax and vomit flavors in there. Its how I got this scar here and this scar over here.
The bride and groom are pretty thrilled, don’t you think? I mean when they saw the little tea trollies with the sweets rolling around before the ceremony like everyone was on the Hogwarts Express, or when they saw the Honeydukes candy shop area, with the candy and cakes piled to the ceiling, and the Leaky Cauldron bar with the old grumbly wizard guy behind the counter – I mean their faces just lit up. It’s the real thing! they said. The real thing.
Only, the exploding bon-bons don’t really explode. And the chocolate frogs don’t really hop out of your hands. And the Nosebleed Nougats don’t really give you a nosebleed. It’s all a big façade. A big, very expensive, scarring façade. I couldn’t give them the real thing, not really.
But that’s the trick I suppose. Knowing when it’s real enough. It’s the real enough thing. Like they’re married now, right, so I guess their love is the real thing? Real enough.
A couple of weeks ago, I was about halfway through the Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans – I think I was working on the envelope glue and jelly toast flavored batches – when my boyfriend of four years stops by my kitchen and hands me the keys to our apartment and says he’s packed up his stuff and is moving to New York. He just can’t stay here anymore, he says. This isn’t his real life, he’s not really living his real life, he says. And I say, what’s your real life then? Tell me. What’s your real fucking life? And he just stares at me. And the world sort of slows down, like maybe it really wants me to pay attention. And I ask again. I say, I feel pretty real. I feel pretty goddamn real. And he says, not real enough. And he walks out. I remember watching his shoes squeaking out of the kitchen, and hearing the dump truck in the alley way screeching and banging around, and the fan in the corner blowing another layer of flour in my direction and I realize my thumb has been sitting on the scalding pot through that whole woe-is-me speech of his and the dump truck and the fan and his fucking squeaky shoes. So I lift my hand and bring my thumb right up to my face and I’m staring at this throbbing red blister and I don’t feel a thing. It doesn’t seem real, this pain I’m staring at, like it’s not mine, not my world. I’m a wizard among muggles.
Muggles are non-magic folk. Like you and me.
That’s how I got this scar. It burns sometimes. For no reason.
Even with the scars it turned out to be one hell of a wedding, don’t you think? Pretty damn good if I do say so myself. Almost like the real thing. Almost.
“The Real Thing” was originally performed by Aleshya Uthappa in the Eclectic Voices monologue show “The Big Day” in April/May 2014.
Chelsea Sutton holds a BA in Literature from The College of Creative Studies at UC Santa Barbara. Her plays have had readings and productions in Santa Barbara, New York and Los Angeles and she is currently participating in workshops with the Skylight Theatre Playlab and The Vagrancy Writers Group, as well as spearheading ECT’s writers group, Eclectic Voices. Her play The Dead Woman, was recently named a Semifinalist in the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference 2013 and a finalist for the Stanley Drama Award. Her fiction has appeared in The Best of Farmhouse Magazine, The Catalyst, Spectrum, NYC Midnight, Fictionade, Bourbon Penn and The Cactus Heart. She was the 2011 Winner of NYC Midnight’s Flash Fiction Contest. Her story The Tick and the Tocking received Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers. She is a member of the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative. WithCoffeeSpoons.com