Fiction, Monologues, Plays & More
A woman has paid for a “confidence building” service so she can do a coal walk or “firewalk”. *Note: some strong language ahead.*
My feet are only abstract concepts. They’re just a fucking…representation of…how I get from one place to another.
What do I mean by that. Okay. Well, like, I forget I have a body, ya know? Like, I forget that it’s there. When I think of me, of my essence or whatever-the-fuck, I think of who I am…without a face. And I look in the mirror or at pictures and don’t recognize myself and I’m like, shit, that’s not me. I don’t remember that body. I always thought my eyebrows would be shaped more like crescent moons and my chin would be less puckered and my stomach less…plop-like.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a beauty issue, it isn’t that. I mean, I’m kinda big – bigger than most the girls I know in this city anyways, but whatever. That isn’t the problem. See – I’d like to reconnect, you know? To my feet, to my elbows, to the fat on my ass, k? I’d like to feel like those parts of me are really…me.
Is that enough of a reason for you? I mean, why else would a woman of my intellectual fucking superiority pay a dim wit con man like you to heat up a bunch of coals so she could do a firewalk, huh? This isn’t some commercial-induced spiritual quest.
Those coals are real, right? I mean it’s not like a hallogram or something outta Star Trek, right? You know, they kinda remind me of the asphalt outside my apartment. On the hottest day of the year it sorta sizzles and pops like that, like it’s just this thin layer between us and Hell and its gonna break down any second. Just standin’ next to it makes me sweat. And that’s the only time I really know I’m alive. When I sweat.
In the advertisement you said that the coals are real, so I just want to make sure so I know I’m not gettin’ all screwed over or whatever. Cuz there are lots of ads out there that lie straight to your face and don’t give a flyin’ fuck how it affects your life ya know? Not that I’m saying that’s what you guys do or nothing, just saying. Advertising’s all in the shit tank and I know I can’t trust anything I see on TV anymore.
Like models. I mean, I’m not sweet on girls or anything but I definitely notice their bodies and stuff when I see them in ads. They’re always in some revealing thing, even if what they are sellin’ has nothing to do with sex. I mean, you see a half naked girl in an ad for condoms, that’s one thing, but peanut butter? I mean, really? Whatever. But yeah, I see their bodies and I’m not checkin’ them out in a sex way, I’m comparing. I try to size up what my waist size is compared to what they are and sorta try to see where that puts me in the scheme of shit. You see what I mean – I intellectualize my body. I’m always thinkin’ and comparing it to shit, to other bodies I mean but otherwise we don’t have much of a…relationship.
I mean, I try, don’t get me wrong, I’m not some lazy-ass firewalker here, I’ve fuckin’ tried but I got bad habits, ya know? Like I exercise….just not, you know, every week. And I learned this new way a breathin’, yoga-breathing or something, and it was like I finally had a real deep breath, the first one in my life. They should teach you that shit in school. How to breathe. I mean, most of us don’t breathe right, did you know that? Especially if we gotta sit in front a computer all day, seditary lifestyle or whatever, we do this fucking shallow breathing shit that’s no good. It’s no fucking good. You haven’t lived til you had one good deep, I mean real hard-core deep breath, not this pussy shallow breathing bullshit.
But still, even this kinda breathing, it’s something you gotta pay attention to and I already told you I’m no good at that. I forget. I get in my head and whatever – days pass by without me noticing how my body is doing ‘cept when I’m putting on clothes and wondering if I look as good as that model in that magazine ad about pickles but I never fucking do. I mean, I never look that good cuz I weigh at least 100lbs more than her and I don’t travel with an army of people photoshopping my ass.
Actually, I guess a sexy model in a pickle ad makes more sense, what with the phallic nature of pickles you know. By phallic I mean penis. Sorry, I wasn’t sure you knew that word, k? Didn’t mean to offend. Seriously though, sex is definitely a way to start paying fucking attention to your body – well, no, sorry, that’s fucking wrong because when you’re having sex most the time you’re worrying how your body looks to the other person and if they’re regretting the whole damn thing but it’s too fucking late to stop now so they just keep plowing through and are probably thinking about someone else. Masturbation is what I mean. I mean that’s the real way to connect to your body or whatever.
Yeah, yeah I still wanna walk the coals. Are you kidding? I didn’t come out here to hand you my damn paycheck and just stare at some black rocks. You’re sure they’re safe right? I mean, I want to feel my feet but I also want to keep using them after this, ya know. You’re a salesman and I just don’t trust you completely, sorry, that’s my nature, I don’t trust the first bastard I see with a nametag made out of hemp and some Buddha beads. That doesn’t mean you’re fucking trustworthy.
No, I’m not scared. There’s very little shit in this world I’m scared of, k? I don’t get rude when I’m nervous, this is how I am. Just give me a minute.
You know, I got this friend who’s fucking nuts-over-the-moon for all that extreme sports crap – and when I say friend I really mean friend, this isn’t one of those bullshit stories where I’m talking about a friend who has herpes but its really me that got herpes and I just don’t wanna admit it – that was a shit example, but you know what I mean. She does all the sky diving and scuba swimming and rafting and mountain climbing and whatever else you can think of. I tried the scuba thing once and fucking panicked – like I thought I was suffocating or somethin’ so that kinda shit just wasn’t for me. But I’m jealous. Like I bet she would never feel like she gotta walk over coals just to feel like her feet are her feet, ya know? How could you do that stuff without feeling more alive than anyone else? I mean, she might be numb to being alive at this point, if that’s possible.
But, you shouldn’t have to do stupid shit like that to feel fucking alive right? Firewalking is fucking stupid – no offense – but it’s the only thing I can think of to sorta give myself a shock without paying someone to push me out of a plane.
No, I wouldn’t pay you to push me outta plane. That was a hyperbole – do you know that word?
I’d been trying to think of something like this for a while – you know, something not that extreme but still kinda bad-ass if you don’t understand how it works. But see, I had a moment when I knew I couldn’t wait for it any longer. I was standing in the grocery line the other day and I had one of those mind-fucking moments where everything suddenly came clear all round me. When you actually see the world, you know what I mean? There was this pregnant lady in front of me, probably seven years older and eight months preggo, feet swollen, lines on her face, and she was buying bananas and bacon and a tube of cookie dough and Vaseline. And behind me was this prissy little bitch thing – in running shorts and this tight shirt that was just a tad short so you could see her flat belly and she had Twinkies and milk and a bag of apples. And we were all impatiently waiting because at the head of the line was this old lady – at least in her 80s, but probably a fucking century old by her looks – and she was writing a check for Ensure and some constipation tablets. And her middle-aged daughter was next to her, fanning herself like she was having a hot flash or something.
I was in line for my future. Just standing there. In line. Waiting for it. The future and past ages of my body, placed neatly in a row at check-out number 7 next to the Tic Tacs and US Weekly. Ten years ago. Today. Swollen feet. Hot flashes. Constipation. I freaked. I dropped my soda and Fig Newtons into the gum rack and just walked out. I’ve never just walked outta line at the grocery store before.
The evolution of a body is a terrifying thing, you fuck. Have some damn respect for my terror, okay? Okay okay okay I know, I’m a pussy. Fine. Bring on the coals, Captain Fire- Fucker.
I call you Captain because it’s fucking funny and that’s what my body is telling me to do. It’s telling me to call you Captain Fire-Fucker because that’s what my body wants, and I’m trying to pay the fuck attention. It was your ad that preached this shit, this listen to your body, to your inner hero or whatever, so don’t stand here and tell me you don’t believe in it. At least play the part you were given, you ass. (pause) Okay, okay. I’m ready.
This monologue was originally performed by the author in “Abstract Concepts,” a late-night monologue show produced by Eclectic Voices, September 2011.
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. She has participated in workshops with Skylight Theater’s Playlab and LABWorks, The Vagrancy, Brimmer Street Theatre Company’s Blueprint Series, Playground LA and Eclectic Voices. She was recently named a semifinalist in the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference and PlayPenn Conference, and a finalist for the Stanley Drama Award and the Woodward/Newman Drama Award. This past year, she was a member of the selection committee for The Blank’s Young Playwrights Festival as well as served as a director and literary advisor for The Vagrancy’s Young Playwrights Contest. She is a member of the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative and an Associate Artist with Rogue Artists Ensemble. Her fiction has appeared in Farmhouse Magazine, Spectrum, Catalyst, Fictionade Magazine, The Best of Farmhouse Magazine Anthology (Editor’s Choice Award), NYC Midnight, Bourbon Penn and The Cactus Heart.