Monday, October 24, 2016

Monologue Mania Day #985 Hesitation by Janet S. Tiger (c) Oct. 24, 2016

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Monologue Mania Day #985 Hesitation by Janet S. Tiger (c) Oct. 24,  2016 


       a monologue ....or Janet S. Tiger
      © all rights reserved March 19, 2009

This monologue is designed for one actor – but it can be done with two.   To differentiate the two characters when they are played by a solo actor, suggest using a visual cue – a different hat, jacket, something easy to change as you turn, because that is how fast the change must be.   If done with two actors, the second actor will be behind the first and as the first turns, the second comes forward, almost like a revolving door.

         (The young man comes onstage, starts by looking down at the floor, then slowly             up, almost as if to look at himself in a mirror)

I always thought of myself as an honest guy.  When I was a kid, there used to be this ice cream truck that would come around every day, and all the people on the beach would circle it like it was the last chance for food before the big cattle drive!   I used to watch these people push and shove.   Most days, I couldn’t afford the ice cream, but one day, I had the quarter, and I was waiting my turn and there was this old guy and you could see he was never gonna get that ice cream – he was too small, and too weak.

So, I went over to him and asked if he wanted me to go up and get him the ice cream.   I’ll never forget his face, he was so grateful.  He gave me the quarter and I pushed my way into the crowd.  Even though I was just a kid, I could do it.  And when I got there, there was only one ice cream left and I put out my quarter and the ice cream guy – who liked me – gave me the last one.

And I took it back to the old guy and he tried to give me a tip, but I said ‘no, that’s okay.’   And even though I didn’t get any ice cream that day, I really felt good.

It’s easy being honest when it’s a quarter  - or when someone drops a fiver and you pick it up and say, ‘hey, buddy’ and you give it back and they flash you a smile.

But what if you have a chance for a lot of money….then it’s different…..

Mrs. Davisen was a really crotchety old lady, but to me, she was nice.   I think because I always had my counter very neat and she liked neat.   And I never yelled at her because she couldn’t hear, I would just lean closer, like my great-aunt Molly taught me to do cause she was pretty deaf.

And she started to bring me stuff for the tellers – like really awful fruitcake at Christmas.   And some red, white and blue licorice on the 4th of July.

Every week she would come in with deposits – checks, and once every month,  she would take out cash to pay everyone who worked for her.

I would put the cash into envelopes she would bring, and I don’t know, it was a busy day, and she was rushing and I don’t know, one of the envelopes with $5000 was in her hands and I said goodbye and she walked out and when I turned back, the envelope was stuck in the side of the window.

          (He illustrates by reaching out his hand)

and it was enough money to help my brother.   He’d lost his job and he had two kids….and it was enough to make a difference!

And it wasn’t the same as someone dropping a fiver – she had plenty of money….and so I hesitated….

        (At this, he turns around and he is himself – only different.   Hat off, jacket collar up, whatever it needs to see that he is a changed man.)

And everyone know that he who hesitates….is lost.   So I made the decision….(he looks around)   …the video cameras don’t cover that angle, and I just….(shows us)  ….scooped up the envelope with the other trash –I like a clean counter!……and it was mine……

(As if to a bank manager)  Oh, no,  Ms. Wharburg, I counted very carefully and she had all the envelopes before she left – you can check on the cameras…..(to the audience)   and they did, and they went through my bank account.   But I was smart.  I had to be careful because I’d never done anything like this before, and I knew that I couldn’t give it to my brother right away….so I didn’t….I gave him some money to keep him going,

and Mrs. Davisen kept coming in and ….it was difficult, and I don’t know if she suspected me ever, but I was different….

      (He turns around and is the other ‘him’)

…and I hesitated for just a moment – all I remember thinking – my whole life could be different.   That moment is frozen in my head… and then….I called the bank manager, and we ran out after her and showed her the envelope and she didn’t react much, said thank you..…and I got a reward – 50 bucks…..and she brought me my own fruitcake…

I wondered how things would have been if I had just kept my mouth closed.  Kept the money.  My brother and his family wouldn’t have been kicked out of his apartment, and had to come live with me…

But in some ways, that wasn’t so bad.   I got to know my nieces and nephews, and while their parents were working, I helped them with their homework.   And I liked telling them the story about Mrs. Davisen.   They thought I was a hero, not an idiot.   When I saw it through their eyes, I was a good guy.

I never told them about that moment of hesitation.

          (He turns and is the other ‘him’)

I helped my brother, and I always wondered if he knew what I did.  Never told them about Mrs. Davisen and the missing money, but he used to look at me different, I think.   I don’t know.   That moment changed my whole life.

I quit the teller job after that.   I thought everyone was staring at me.   They probably weren’t, but that’s the way it felt.   And I moved away.   I wanted a chance to start over.   So I picked a place in another state – where no one knew me.   Funny thing was, it felt like everyone knew, so I just kept to myself.

And when anyone tried to get to know me, I would move.   Now I didn’t hurt anyone – Mrs. Davisen had lots of money.   That five grand – what did it mean to her?

          (He turns and the other ‘him’ is back)

The funny thing is, I felt guilty even though I never took anything.   But Mrs. Davisen was still nice to me.   And one day she actually invited me to her house.   I checked with the bank manager, and she said ok, so I went.    Mrs. D lived in this big old house, and she had her servants bring out like 57 varieties of fruitcake…..and most of her friends were pretty old, too….(grinning)  But Mrs. D had something else, too, she had this beautiful granddaughter (smiling) ….and I felt a little weird, but we started dating……

          (Smiles as he turns, when the other ‘him’ comes forward,

 That moment is frozen in my brain.   I see the envelope and I wonder what would have happened in my life if I hadn’t kept that money – if I hadn’t hesitated.

We think our lives are made of these big, giant events, like wars and earthquakes, but now I believe that it’s made of moments that are small – very small.  And we barely notice them, until years later….when we’re alone and we wonder how things would have had a different path, a different ending……Like snow, when it first starts, you barely pay attention, but then, it gets really heavy.   I thought I had enough firewood.

          (He turns and the other ‘him’ is back)

And so I married Mrs. Davisen’s granddaughter, and Mrs. D gave me a job managing her money.     Before she passed on, she talked to me, and I found out….(hard to think about this)   ….that she had left the envelope on purpose…..

          (The other him is back around)

I think maybe I didn’t have enough firewood on purpose….I mean I knew it was gonna be a big storm….I went outside to cut some more….maybe I was looking for trouble…..I got disoriented, and I couldn’t get back to my house……or maybe, I was just tired of being me….

          (He turns around to become the other ‘him’)

And she had done that to see if I was worthy of her granddaughter – and her family.   She said she’d been watching me for awhile….she wanted to know if I would do the right thing, even if it was hard to do…..

Who am I – the man who hesitated and then did the right thing?  

        (He doesn’t turn now, but takes the hat/jacket and is both men at once.)

Or the man who hesitated and did the wrong thing?   Can we live with ourselves when we make mistakes – can we live with ourselves when do what we think is right?

So perhaps, that moment of hesitation wasn’t so bad – maybe life is just a moment of hesitation before we die…..or maybe- he who hesitates is found….

       (He takes the hat and throws it into the audience, then exits.)

The end.

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

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