Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Monologue Mania Day # 658 The Last Roll (revised) by Janet S. Tiger Dec. 1 , 2015

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Monologue Mania Day # 658 The Last Roll (revised) by Janet S. Tiger Dec. 1 , 2015

                                    This is a revised monologue - 
from over 628 days ago -originally published  Day #29 Mar. 13, 2014  -
during the first month of this monologue marathon.  Thank you all for reading - and commenting!

                    The Last Roll   

                        by Janet S. Tiger  (c) all rights reserved 2014 revised 2015

           (A man comes onstage carrying a roll of....you probably guessed from the          title!...toilet paper.  He is in his 50s, maybe 60s, but he walks and talks like a much younger man tonight.  He holds out the roll to the crowd, almost as if to make a toast.  He has a very thick Russian accent.)

Hello, my friends, sank you for coming here tonight to celebrate our anniversary - not our wedding, vee married so long, vee cannot remember sat day!  No, anozer big day in our lives - the day vee first came to America!

And now, I lift zis roll in honor of forty years in zis great country!  Let me tell you a little story about zis roll, and vy it is so special......

When vee lived in Russia, vat vas called Soviet Union, but always vee call it Russia, when vee lived there, nobody had toilet paper.  I zink you could say toilet paper.....(searches for the right words).. vas like national treasure! 

Actually, most people didn't have a lot of things...except of course for the leaders, they had plenty.  But for most of us, not so much good stuff.  And hard to find, and when you find it, not easy to get.  Lots of problems, and ze fact ve wanted to leave, zat did not help eezer!

But vee worked, and vee waited, and worked and waited more.  Then, vee got the lucky.  Vee get the word, after more zan four years waiting, vee can go.  Zey have decided vee have no state secrets, so....vee can go!

Vee start to sell all our things to make ze money for a new life. Not easy, but it vas an amazing time.  To look back now, I do not know how vee did it.  Family, friends, they helped, but it vas not an easy time.  

      (He wipes his eyes, it is hard to remember, yet.... good) 

And when vee ve are coming to move, I packed up the rolls vee had saved, hoarded - which vas actually against the law! - and put zem into one of the two suitcases I vas allowed to leave Russia with.

My wife, you know Anna, everyone, am I right?...she sinks I'm crazy!  Maybe she is a little right, too?  Vell, I tell her - vat if vee get to United States and zey have no toilet paper?  

She tells me...(imitates her voice)  'Gregory....vee just buy some in Italy!'

But I am nervose, I cannot take zis chance!  To be wizout toilet paper, zis is a terrible nightmare for me!

(Animated) You in zis great country have not an idea vat it's like to have no toilet paper!  You think no toilet paper means someone didn't bring ze toilet paper into the bathroom from the closet!  Or worse, you forgot to buy at store.....but zis is not the worst, I can tell you........(laughs).... from bitter experience!


All right, Anna, I will not go into too much detail!

Anyhow, so vee leave behind many zings...(he looks as if he is actually seeing these items, still moved by the thought of losing them)......books that are gifts from my grandparents, clozing that mean something special, letters from my family....all because I want to make sure vee never run out of toilet paper.

            (He is very affected, suddenly remembering those days, slowly gets a hold              of himself)

And so vee go to Italy to wait for papers to come here.  And ven ze guards open up my suitcase and look and see all the toilet paper…they laugh!  And the other passengers, they laugh!  But I do not care….and I do not use the toilet paper from Russia....just in case.

And vee get ze papers, and vee come here to California, and vee start a new life....and my wife starts using the toilet paper.  And I get very mad!

(Quickly)  But not in ze bathroom!  Nooooo, she prefers the nice soft paper from the commercials on the television!  The ones with the silly man who squeezes ze toilet paper!  She says what I bring from Russia is too rough…she will only use the toilet paper from Russia - to clean up spilled things!

And I don't mind, because I have this one last roll, saved here in my dresser, so she vill not find it.....


I know you knew it vas there, Anna!  It's a story, you have to make a story a little bit different - or else it's .....just the news!

Anyhow, I saved this roll here......

            (He waves the roll in the air around his head)

...I saved it to remind me vy vee came.

And it has been a good reminder of all the sh........

            (Reacts as if someone slapped him)

......all right Anna, I'll be careful for the grandchildren!..  a reminder of all the crap vee left behind to come to this amazing, crazy land.

And now vee  are citizens, how many years is it?  Thirty-five!  Sometimes, with all the sh.....(says it carefully)  ...all the crap here, ze arguing, ze fighting, ze crazy people.......it can be easy to forget exactly vy vee did come, ....then I look at my children, at my grandchildren....at you, Anna, at all my friends ...and I am grateful all over again.....But when I look at zis....zis roll.....

            (He holds it up again)

When I look at zis beautiful roll...(chokes a little).....I remember.

I remember that I vaited for 6 hours, in the rain, the very cold rain, to get this roll and the others.  I remember that I would think, vile I vas waiting, about who vas making zese rolls, in vat prison camp....I mean factory....and vas the person still alive who made these.  Now they are probably gone.....and I hope zey lived long enough to see the end of ze  Cold War...but they probably did not.  

So I have to live for them - all those who could not make it to the day of freedom, ze day, when, even in Russia, you could buy as much toilet paper as you want - as long as you have ze money!

            (Holds it up as if to toast)

Is great country, yes?

            (He lifts the roll high, like a famous statue we all know)

Ven vee sail into New York City, I see that great lady you have waiting for us, the tired and poor and huddled....vatever that means.....and it is like a....

            (He waves the roll, takes deep breath, almost overcome with emotion)

It is like ....like she is waving at me!

            (Gets control)

To ze United States!

Sank you, America!

            (He is almost crying, and looks at the roll, takes off a piece and wipes his eyes.  He now    smiles and throws his head back)

Amazing!  After all these years!  Still…just like sandpaper!

            (He continues to wave the roll as he carries it out.  Truly.....Ze end.)

This piece is dedicated to all the Russian immigrants who came over to this country - from the 1800s through the 1980s.  Our family was lucky enough to be able to help several families acclimate to this grand place we call the United States during the 1970s - I will never forget their faces when they saw the first really large grocery store - it was a look of total awe.  It helped me appreciate even more what is so often taken for granted about this country - our incredible choices and our remarkable freedom!


Janet S. Tiger    858-736-6315
Member Dramatists Guild since 1983
Swedenborg Hall 2006-8

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