Fiction, Monologues, Plays & More
A woman with a cell phone. She’s reading a text at lights up. She is a wedding planner.
Are you freaking kidding me!?! Crazy bitch! (she types a return text, saying it as she types) “Let me think about it and get back to you.” She presses Send and notices the audience. What!? I can’t tell the bride to go fuck herself 3 days before the wedding. Well, I could, but I won’t. They all get crazy at some point or another. And this one is a particular mess because her maid of honor doesn’t arrive in the country until tomorrow, so she keeps leaning on me for “bestie” support. Definitely not in my contract! Her phone buzzes. She checks the incoming text. Okay. Flowers are on track. Check! Thank the gods for small favors. And, yes, I mean gods, plural. No offense to Jesus or his dad, but they just aren’t equipped for wedding planning. I pray to ancient goddesses when I’m desperate. Like Baubo. She’s Greek. She’s known for making obscene gestures so the other gods laugh. Far as I’m concerned, she’s the patron saint of Wedding Planners. Her phone buzzes. She checks the incoming text. Perfect. Cake is on track. Check! Weddings require organization of a lot of moving parts. It’s more than just a ceremony and after party. I started educating myself on wedding etiquette after my cousin’s divorce. Don’t really know why. Guilt? I screwed up as her Maid of Honor – didn’t know I had duties or anything. Just showed up for the ceremony. The bride and groom planned it themselves. It was a mess. One good example: I led the bride down the aisle while the groom was out getting something from his car… Anyway, I started offering advice to this chick at my temp office job who couldn’t talk about anything except her upcoming wedding. I had a knack for it and that girl was so grateful for my help. Ended up helping a friend of a friend with another wedding, and one thing led to another. Her phone buzzes again. She checks the incoming text, then starts texting back furiously, saying it aloud. “Unacceptable. We hired you and the client will not be okay with you sending a substitute to photograph her wedding. Please immediately confirm you will fulfill your contract.” (she sends the text) Motherfucker! Sorry. Can’t help myself. Wedding planning – and execution (she points her finger at her head and “pulls the trigger”) – are stressful. I’m generally very calm, but I’m always cussing inside. People are idiots. And weddings make people insane. Awesome combination. The cocksuckers! Oh, please – don’t get offended. I prefer gay weddings. I just like saying “cocksucker” – very satisfying. Splendid stress reliever. You should try it. Her phone buzzes. She reads this text aloud. “U had a cheese to thin yet? Any ideals? Suggestions for perspiration?” Gotta love auto correct – it’s like she speaks some other language when she’s wound up. Can you believe her name is Patience? Let’s see… Oh, oh, oh, “Have you had a chance to think yet? Any ideas? Suggestions for… inspiration?” Holy shit damn fuck! It’s been like three minutes, Patient Patience! I don’t get into the vows. Never! No secret stockpile of vow ideas handy. No vows of my own to share. Oh, yeah. I’m not married. Never gonna get married. Not interested. Don’t believe in it. Never have. It’s all just bullshit. People lying to each other and themselves. Who needs it? I learned from the misery of my parents. And their parents – I had one grandmother who was married five times. Ridiculous! Originally, marriage was not about love. Women were property changing hands. And people didn’t live nearly as long back in those dark days. Committing for a lifetime is a bit different when it’s limited to, I don’t know, a decade maybe. I remember my grandparents’ 50th anniversary. The other grandmother, obviously. Hard to know if either of them was actually happy. I think this set must have felt some satisfaction reaching 50 years together, but even back then I thought it was odd to consider that an accomplishment. I just don’t get it… Although it is a lucrative business. There was one sort of sweet moment. They kissed. It occurs to me now that I never saw my grandparents kiss each other at any other time. It was a chaste kiss, true. Anything more passionate in front of the family would have been kinda disgusting, don’t you think? But there was a friendliness to it. A sense of companionship. Is that the prize after 50 years? Warmth? Sweet, but… I wonder if they actually thought it was worth it. Kissing passionately is the only thing I miss when I’m not involved with someone. Most of my relationships disappear, poof!, because I won’t commit to enough. People can be fanatical about committing to a lifetime. As though love isn’t real otherwise. Lightbulb! Fuckin’ yes – kisses! She types into her phone and continues talking. There’s this poem, The Archipelago of Kisses, by Jeffrey McDaniel. Starts off mentioning that husbands and wives don’t grow on trees. Then goes on to describe all these different kinds of kisses, talks about having to nurture the kiss … Hell, I first heard it at one of my weddings. Liked it so much, I tracked down a copy. Here it is. Okay, send her the link. (She does. Then she scrolls through it, reading to herself quickly.) Maybe she’ll like it. It’s a little highbrow for Pretty Patience, but she’s very sexual and the poem is sensual but not too racy. Here’s the end: “But one kiss levitates above all the others. The intersection of function and desire. The I do kiss. The I’ll love you through a brick wall kiss. Even when I’m dead, I’ll swim through the Earth, like a mermaid of the soil, just to be next to your bones.” She’s quiet for a moment. If I was going to marry, I’d want to feel like that about the person. How likely is that? And please – even if I wanted to share my lifetime with someone, does that necessarily mean I want to spend eternity with them? Get real. You want to hear a poem I wrote about love when I was a teenager? (she recites from memory): “I’ll love you now and forever Caring for you all the while And even if I don’t always love you As I do right now Just now I do And I plan to in the future Gently, kindly, Let us live for what we have What we can have And what we have had. And let’s promise to forgive each other when we don’t have it anymore.” She smiles. That would make a great wedding vow. (She laughs) Even as a kid I knew I wouldn’t manage the long haul in a relationship. Don’t get me wrong – I still love everyone I’ve ever been passionately in love with. It’s the passion that evaporated, not the love. Her phone buzzes again. She looks at the text. Uh oh. A bunch of emoticons. Looks like she’s not crazy about the poem. Shit! A lightbulb!?! Shit! It’s never good when she gets an idea. Seriously. This chick. It’s amazing what I’ll put up with for hundred grand weddings. Yes, I’m that good at my job. Another text arrives. She reads it quickly to herself. Shoot me. Just shoot me dead. She doesn’t like the poem but now she wants to change into a mermaid outfit for the reception! So much for the (air quotes) “Sexy Steam Punk” theme… She reads aloud as she types back. “Let me calculate the budget changes and get back to you.” She presses Send and abruptly yells. AHHHHHHHHH!!!!! She takes a deep breath. Smiles at the audience. She dials the phone and waits for someone to pick up. Hey, Claire. Guess what? Yep. Now Playful Patience wants to look like a mermaid. Right. So, how much do you want to charge for this little miracle? … No, I know it’s crazy, but I try to give them what they think they want… Right… Don’t worry: I include increases to my fee for shit like this right up front… I know – I’m fucking brilliant… You know my motto, right? “Do you believe in magic? I do.” That’s right. The only “I do” I’ll ever say. Uh huh… She walks away, still talking. Lights out. ________________________________________________________
This monologue was originally performed by Chelsea Sutton in Eclectic Voices’ monologue show The Big Day in 2014.
Taylor Ashbrook’s current favorite quote about writing: “Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” By one of her favorite playwrights, Tom Stoppard. A born and bred “Theater Geek,” Taylor aspires to write more than she actually manages to put words down on paper. Having written mostly with partners for live theater projects, she hopes to someday write a novel she would enjoy reading. Currently, she’s working on a dark, full length play – sans partners – just to get it out of her head. Except she takes a lot of breaks to direct, act and produce. Taylor has been a Member of The Eclectic Company Theatre, except for a couple brief years, since 1990.