Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Monologue Mania Day # 1599 Let Me Finish, Please! by Janet S. Tiger (c) July 4, 2018

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Monologue Mania Day # 1599 Let Me Finish, Please! by Janet S. Tiger (c) July 4, 2018 

                             Let Me Finish, Please!
                       A play in one-act by Janet S. Tiger (c)  2018
tigerteam1@gmail.com   all rights reserved

Characters –

LIZ  -50s

ELI (her father) - 80s

Time -  before 2010

Setting -  Apartment, a bachelor pad of an older man, but with woman’s touches
            Simple, with kitchen and dining area seen, and an offstage bedroom suggested. 

Lights up to show Liz, in her 50s, going through items, shaking head, placing them in piles, putting  some into boxes.  Eli, her father, in his 80s, frail but with some steam left, comes into the room with a box and puts it down near her, watches her working.
LIZ -  I still don’t know why you want to get rid of all this stuff.

ELI -  What do I need Sterno for anymore?  We don’t go camping.

LIZ -  I hated camping.  I like having a real toilet  nearby.

ELI -  At my age, I’d live in the bathroom if I could.

LIZ -  (Ignoring this)  Whatever makes you happy…..

            (She keeps sorting, he watches, this is not easy for him )

ELI -  Liz, we need to talk about something important.

LIZ -  Ok, I’ll be done with this in just a moment.

ELI -  We can work on getting rid of the crap later!  This is more important!

LIZ – (Gives him a look)   Daddy, you’re the one who told me to finish one thing at a time…so,
I’m almost done…

ELI -  Actually, I’m almost done and that’s exactly what I want to talk about.

LIZ -  All right…one more minute…..

ELI -  (Getting annoyed)  I’m trying to tell you….it’s time for me to go.

LIZ -  (She’s heard this before)  We don’t have an appointment until tomorrow, Daddy,
remember? I put it on the calendar…… 3pm…. so it’s after you watch THE RIFLEMAN, and it’s to see the podiatrist…

ELI -  Dr. Bunyon….

LIZ -  Please stop calling him that! It’s Dr. BANYON! 

ELI -  He should change it…(re-focusing)…....but I mean….time to go.

LIZ -  (Confused)  Where’s your walker, can you get to the bathroom in time?  Did you take too
much prune juice?

ELI -  I’m all right!  I don’t have to go to the bathroom!  My God, this is harder than I thought!
            (He searches in his pockets, pulls out Kleenexes, finally a crumpled paper)

ELI -  Here!  I did write it down! 

            (He tries to read, reaches into pocket for glasses, puts them on, squints)

ELI -  (Mad)  These are the wrong glasses!

LIZ -   I’ll get you the ones you like…

            (She brings over a box of glasses and searches through)

ELI -  Why don’t you put the ones I like all by themselves?

LIZ -  I did.

ELI -  You did, then where are they?

LIZ – I put them in this box and told you only have the pair you like in this box…..see, here’s the

            (She holds up a sign that says ONLY GOOD GLASSES HERE!)

ELI -  How can I read that without my glasses?

LIZ -  (shakes her head, ignores him)  And then you put all the other glasses in here so we now
have to go through them and find your favorite ones….

ELI -  So, your solution is not working…..how about some label for my favorite glasses?

LIZ -  When I suggested that, you pooh-poohed the idea!  You said it would irritate your ears!

ELI -  So when do you ever listen to me?

LIZ -  But I put on the tape anyhow, so, here….

            (She hands him a pair and he puts them on)

ELI -  Well, that took long enough…

LIZ -  (Exasperated)  Can you read it now?

ELI -  Yes, I can….

LIZ -  Good!

ELI -  (Reads)  I want to die……

LIZ – (Stunned, takes a breath)  What?

ELI -  Didn’t hear me?  Well, I said I….

LIZ -  I heard you….but…

            (She goes to grab the paper from him, but he pulls it back)

ELI -  Not so fast, I have my glasses now!  (Reads) And this is how I would like it all to

            (She now wrests the paper from him and reads)

LIZ -  My, God!  You aren’t joking!

ELI -  Would you please give that back?

LIZ - (Reading to herself)  You have a complete plan…..

ELI -  That’s right….I’ve been working on this for a long time…..have plenty of extra hours
when the TV doesn’t work…..

LIZ -  You mean when you press the wrong buttons…..I can’t believe it, I’m arguing about the
TV when you are talking about….

ELI -  That’s right…..death.  You don’t even like to say the word, do you?

LIZ -  Who does?  Outside of that Kubler-Ross woman!

ELI – That was a good book she wrote, and I read it.

LIZ -  (Surprised) You did?

ELI -  When your mother was dying.

LIZ -  Amazing!  It’s as if, I don’t know you at all!

ELI -  Who knows anybody?  We’re all a bunch of atoms floating around some universal game
for giants!  By the way, I saw that on a KPBS special…..So, would please calm down and
just hear me out.

            (She sits heavily)

ELI -  It’s pretty simple……there will come a day, when I can no longer take care of myself. 
And I do not want to be some vegetable in a bed someplace where my family visits and cries and some nurse turns me like an old pancake!  I’ve been to those places, and they are not pretty.  I have decided that after the life I’ve had, I deserve better.

LIZ -  So, you want to……how do you …I mean….

ELI -  I think you need to get your memory tested, Lizzie, because you just read this and all the
details are here……not to worry, no guns…..

LIZ -  Well, there’s a blessing!

ELI -  Too messy, no I’ve got 100 pills and a few bottles of 100 proof stuff, that oughta do the

            (Liz gets up, starts looking around)

LIZ -  So you have these pills somewhere here….

ELI -  Don’t worry, I hid ‘em good……

LIZ -  I can find them!

ELI -  And I’ll get more….

LIZ -  Where did you get 100 pills?  They are so careful with…

ELI -  Not careful enough.  I’ve been saving them for years. I call them my helpers… (Older
voice)  ‘Oh, doc, my back is killing me!  Can I get a few of those, whaddaya call ‘em….pills to help me?  Oh, doc, I can’t sleep….do you have something that can help me?’  ….And that’s what they’re gonna do now, help me.  And I need your help, too.

LIZ -  (Angry)  Help you?  As in help you commit suicide?  Like in that play ‘night, Mother?

ELI – (Thinking)  Was that the one where the mother doesn’t take the gun from her own
daughter?  Where she lets her daughter blow her brains out without calling the police, or hittin’ her daughter over her head and calling an ambulance?   Oh, I remember that one!  What a stinker!  I told you, only musicals after that one!

LIZ -  And this is different, how?

ELI -  Boy, I thought you were smarter.  The daughter was young…..and I am not.
Don’t you understand anything?  …..(takes a deep breath) ….I don’t want to see my children die.  I just can’t handle that…..

LIZ -  You just want them…. to watch you die…..

ELI -  Not watch me…..let me….help me go with some dignity for God’s sake!

LIZ -  You want dignity?  What about me?  What about the ones you love?

ELI -  I’m not talking about doing it today!  This is known as planning!  I don’t have much of an
estate, so I’d like to think of this as…… hmm…can’t think of a funny way to put this…..     

LIZ – (Still horrified)  And what about your family?  Your grandchildren?  They love you!

ELI -  Well, I’ll still be around watching over them….and I will let you know when I want to do
this…….we’ll have a party….my birthday’s coming up, I think I can make it till
then…you’ll see, it’ll be fun!

LIZ -  Fun!  (Laughs)  You are a real hoot!  We can put on hats and have a big cake!  A deathday
party!  (Singing)  Happy deathday to you….

ELI – (Loud)  You won’t be sharing this with them!  Or anybody!

LIZ -  I thought sharing is caring!  Oh, I get it, death is such a strange thing now, not enough
people die!  I mean we are living longer, and so, when someone dies, we have to make it into a big deal!  Unlike the past, when people died all the time, and we knew that death was a serious thing….no, this has to be….FUN!

         (Eli listens to his daughter and shakes his head)

ELI -  So you think because people live longer, death isn't around as much?  That we humans
have forgotten what it's like to die?  (Laughs)  That's what I love about you my dear daughter, you are funny!  

You think you can get away from dying with anti-biotics?  That surgery will stop death?  Think!  Death is never far!  Death is always with us, in every minute of every day!

Death could be a million things - a blood clot in an artery while you sleep, it could be a car hitting you, or an asteroid!  Maybe it's the banana peel you don't see that makes you slip and smack your neck......or maybe.....maybe.....it's taking too many pills with too many glasses of vodka......

Death is not a disappearing act - it's now more of a surprise, but if you think about it,  not really.  Whatever we say or do, we know, that at any time - death could be here, now.....and the most important thing, death is not the enemy.

Because death is what makes life ........so precious.

And that is why......I need your help.....so that my life, what I have left, will be my choice.  And that my death....will also be....my choice.

LIZ -  Your choice…..what about me?  Don’t I get a choice?

ELI -  Yes, you do…….

(She goes to him and they hug, and as the lights go down, we hear the sounds of a party starting, plates clanking, people making toasts to grandpa, music and then everyone singing ‘Happy Birthday to you’ which finishes with cheering.

The cheering fades out as lights come up to daytime and we see Liz coming, sighing heavily as she puts the key into the door, enters the apartment, looks around.

Shaking her head, she takes a deep breath as she goes into the other room, comes back out, still shaking her head.)

LIZ -  I thought I would cry, but I guess, since I knew, maybe the tears are just waiting.  Whoa.  I
never thought it would be like this.  All these years.  With Mom it was different.  In the hospital.  Everyone taking care of things......But this. ....how did he get me to agree to do this.....

         (As she sits there, still shaking her head, Eli enters.  He is dressed in a suit and tie and he
stands and looks at her for a minute.)

ELI -  You look a little upset, maybe you should have a glass of water.....You can wait a few
minutes to make the phone calls....

        (She looks up and her mouth drops open, she shakes her head)

ELI – By the way, that was a great party – and you were right.  It was a good idea to wait a few
days….. who wants to die on their birthday!

(She shakes her head again.)

LIZ -  Now I've really lost it! 

         (She runs into bedroom comes out, he is still there)

ELI - We need to talk about a couple of......

LIZ -  What's going on?  I mean.....your body is in there….and it’s…cold and……

ELI   -Will you let me finish?

LIZ - You are finished!  Oh, my God, I'm talking to myself.

ELI - Yes and no.

LIZ  - Well, that's helpful!

ELI  - And that's my girl!

       (Goes into bedroom, comes out again, goes back into bedroom)

LIZ – I get it, I’m in shock, I'm hallucinating.

ELI  - No, you're not.  

LIZ -  But you're......well, if you're not finished, then I guess I'm going to be haunted!

ELI  - Now you're just being silly - I came to make sure you get this right, because a mistake
now, there could be trouble, and I don't want trouble for you.

LIZ - Amazing!  Even now you're telling me what to do!

ELI  - This is a difficult time - I'm just offering a little help.

LIZ - Help?  (Laughs)  You're gonna help me!  

ELI -  That's the plan.....

LIZ -  What plan?

ELI   - Exactly!  

LIZ -  Hold on, I think I remember.......What do I do?  Oh, wait..... I need to call 911....

ELI  -  No you don't.....it’s the cremation place……remember…..

LIZ -  (Thinks)......you're right, I don't need the funeral home...but ....maybe we should
            reconsider donating the body......

ELI  -(Getting angry)  You can't do that!  Remember?  They do an autopsy!  That's why I went to
the doctor last week - no autopsy!  There is no autopsy at my age if there was just a doctor visit!   No autopsy!  They might figure out I have 100 pills in me!  You have to hold it together and follow the plan!  Where's the list?

LIZ -  Here......

           (Opens her purse, takes out list, can't look at it)

ELI   - Go ahead, read it

LIZ -  (Sighs)  If I find you....unresponsive, check pulse, if you are cold.....and you are....

(Runs to other room, runs back)

LIZ - You are cold!

           (Goes to touch him, can't)

LIZ -  But you...you're ...

ELI   -  I'm not cold, not hot......Nothing, I'm nothing.  Just a memory.

LIZ -  Only you're talking  Somehow, even in death, you are still talking....

ELI   -  You think memories don't talk?  Guess again!
         I'm gonna be with you forever.

LIZ -  So, there's no escape.

ELI  - Just like in that stupid play you took me to - No Exit....shoulda been called ‘No End to this
Play’  because it went on forever! - well, maybe it had something.
All I know is, whenever you need me, I'll be there...just like that song about the rat... (sings)  I'll be there.....I'll be there!

LIZ - Could you please stop comparing this! 

ELI  - Ok, you got me, this is an incomparable moment.....just want to remember it.

LIZ - Oh, no chance of forgetting this!  I will try ......but I doubt I ever can!

ELI  - And when you go.....and please, don't give me all the stuff about living forever, because
you will be crossing the bridge sometime, my dear daughter, no, when you go, at least I gave you a way to deal with your kids, when the time comes......

LIZ - When the time comes.....

ELI - And now, it's time.....for me......

LIZ - For what?  Do you do a magic trick now?  Like walk through the wall?

ELI - You know what I mean.....it's time to......

        (She looks at the list, starts to cry, grabs handful of kleenex)

LIZ - Ok, I'll call!

ELI  - Even now, at the end, you still can't let me finish?

LIZ - And even now, after all we've been through, you can't give me a tiny modicum of

           (They both laugh)

ELI -  Will you PLEASE let me finish?  For real.

         (She looks at him, sighs and is very affected)

LIZ - Can I hug you?

          (He looks at her and she goes to pick up the phone)

LIZ –This is so hard to say……(sighs)…… Bye Daddy.

ELI  - How about......until we meet again?

LIZ - (Sighs)  Until we meet again.

(While she looks at the list and punches in thenumbers, he comes behind her, put his hands on her shoulders, kisses her hair.  She shivers a bit, and he pulls away)

LIZ - Hello?  Yes, my father has......oh, this is harder to say than I thought it would be....

(He turns to exit.  She watches him walk away  - if it can look like he walks through the wall - this can be done with lighting and projected wall)

LIZ -  My father is ...gone.....

        (She listens, gets annoyed)

LIZ - (suddenly)  No!  He didn't run away!  He died!  He's cold and kind of blue and......

       (from the other side we hear laughter and then)

ELI   - And now, I'm finished.......

        (The end…. for now)

Note: A few words about 'free' -  all these monologues are protected under copyright law and are free to read, free to perform and video as long as no money is charged. Once you charge admission or a donation, or include my work in an anthology, you need to contact me for royalty 

Janet S. Tiger    858-736-6315                CaregiversAnon.org
Member Dramatists Guild since 1983

Swedenborg Hall 2006-8

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