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Monologue Mania Day # 1650 Runaway (a one-act play) by Janet S. Tiger (c) Aug. 23, 2018
A play in one-act by Janet S. Tiger © Aug. 22, 2018
Setting - An office in a nice building – desk, chair, as much as the budget will allow
DANIEL - 30s, black, office attire – but no tie
PHILLIP DUKE - 50s, white, suit and tie
(Phillip is in the office, door closed, working quietly at the desk when we see Daniel coming onstage talking on cell phone)
DANIEL - Hey, I’m sorry I couldn’t meet you! Hey, I’m working hard here, gimme a break!
(Listens) I don’t know, I got a lotta work to do……it’s the end of the month……these numbers don’t add themselves!....…..okay, I heard you! (Sighs) I’ll call when I’m done…….love you, too….
(He puts his phone into his pocket, shakes his head. As he opens the door, he reacts to seeing Phillip)
PHILLIP - Did you have a nice lunch?
DANIEL – Excuse me?
PHILLIP - Why? Have you done something that needs to be excused?
DANIEL - I mean, this is my office.
PHILLIP - It’s my office.
DANIEL - (Horrified) No one said anything…..Was I fired?
PHILLIP – Not that I know of…
DANIEL - Then, what the hell?
PHILLIP - It’s very simple, I’m running away.
DANIEL - (Stunned) What?
PHILLIP - (Louder) I’m running away! You should get your hearing checked, early hearing
loss can lead to early dementia…
DANIEL – Man, you are making no sense!
PHILLIP – What is so difficult? It’s very simple. I’m running away.
DANIEL - From the looney bin?
PHILLIP - Not exactly…but close. I’m a caregiver….for my parents. Both of them. My
mother has dementia, and my father has Parkinson’s. (sighs)
DANIEL - I’m sorry…
PHILLIP - Wasn’t your fault was it? Anyhow, I decided I just can’t take anymore, so I came
back to work…here. I worked here for 15 years – I retired five years ago. This was my office…..that picture on the wall is of the lake where we vacationed when I was a boy.
(He points and Daniel nods)
DANIEL - I like that picture – I thought it just came with the office, you know, and I couldn’t
PHILLIP - I’m so glad you like it. It means a lot to me…..we went there every year…..
DANIEL – (Still confused) Very nice, I’m sure…..But ….hey…..still ..what the hell?
PHILLIP – Don’t worry, I won’t be in the way……And I figure if you make an issue, I could
just kill you and take over for you completely.
DANIEL - (Horrified and fascinated) Whaaat?
PHILLIP - It’s a big impersonal accounting firm…..no one would notice….
DANIEL - (Laughs) Well, they might notice something different….
(Phillip looks at Daniel carefully, considering this)
PHILLIP - I suppose you’re right, there is a difference in age…
DANIEL - (Laughs)
PHILLIP - …..(thinks) ….but I could take the gray out of my hair….
DANIEL - And?
PHILLIP - I’ve kept up on my computer skills – have to when taking care of older people – my
parents can’t even turn on the computer anymore!
DANIEL – I mean…… it’s not just hair! There is the fact that we are different colors!
PHILLIP - (Thinking) Oh, do you think people would bother me if I was black? Like the
police? It’s always on the news how black men are targeted…
DANIEL - Reality check! You are not black! And I am not gonna let you kill me, so let’s focus
PHILLIP - Focus. I focus every day on many small things- none very important, but every one
crucial if I don’t do it. So don’t talk to me about focus! Don’t you understand – I need to be here! When I was married, I would work 14 hour days, and over the weekend….
DANIEL - I hear you….
PHILLIP - My wife left me….
DANIEL – (Affected by this) I’m sorry….
PHILLIP - But at least I got a paycheck, and a nice retirement package…..I took it so I could
take care….did I mention that my mother has dementia and my father has Parkinson’s?
DANIEL – (Kind) Yeah, you did.
PHILLIP - It’s funny, when I was doing these numbers, these billions of numbers, sometimes I
used to think of the day when I wouldn’t have to work here anymore. When I finally got to be with my parents, I thought it would be easier. How hard can it be watching two old people?
DANIEL – My mom took care of her father…..not so easy…
PHILLIP – My mother was a sweetheart, her whole life, but this illness…..she has turned mean!
And my father, he is so mad that he can’t help more…..and I….I do everything.
DANIEL - So if you do everything….who’s with them now?
PHILLIP - My sister – she’s with them. My sister, who lives in Hawaii ….comes in two times a
year to give me a break. Five hours today! Then she sees her friends, and in one week she asks me for money for the flight….and she’s gone. And she tells everyone she knows how hard it is to fly in here to help me……and how she feels sorry for me….but she’s busy with her family…..so…..back to rolling the rock up the hill! And that’s….why I’m running away……
DANIEL - 24/7..I got it…
PHILLIP – It’s more than that, it’s like that fellow in Greek history with the silly name –
Sissyphus…he would push the rock up the hill and then when he gets it to the top, there’s another one at the bottom….it never ends. All because the gods were mad at him! But I wonder – why are the Gods mad at me?
DANIEL - Maybe….they’re not mad, maybe you were just born in the wrong place at the wrong
PHILLIP – (Getting upset) The thing is…..when my wife left me …….for some guy she met at
the school where she was teaching…. , I figured it was ok, I’d find someone else. But then…..my mom started getting bad, needing more help…. …..running around lost in the neighborhood – without any clothes…..so, I retired…..and since I never had kids……is this is the future…I mean,.who’s gonna take care of me? Or am I gonna be some vegetable in a home? Stuck in front of a TV?
(He tries to get control of himself)
PHILLIP - You wanna know what’s really hard? …..I miss my parents……even though
they’re still alive…..I miss them…
(Daniel goes over and puts a hand on Phillip’s shoulder)
DANIEL - I miss my Dad…..he died three years ago…. he worked his ass off so I could go to
college…..I tell people he worked for the city, which is true….but he was a garbage man….he was strong!...he could lift anything!.....and when they changed to the automated trucks, he went to class to learn how to use the computers……(deep breath) my mother was mad at him because he stopped lifting stuff……gained weight….she’d say…..’Garbage was your life, and garbage is gonna be the death of you……leave it to mom she was right!…He had massive heart attack…(sighs) but maybe, after what you’re telling me, maybe he was better off….he went fast……no diapers and stuff like that…
PHILLIP – Please, we call them Depends……or adult wear……my father uses them now…..and
my mother…..toileting it’s called…..what a great term!
DANIEL - Look, this is very interesting….I think….learning new words like that….but still…
this is my office….you can’t stay here!
PHILLIP - Why not?
DANIEL - Because, man, I got enough problems! (Looks at Phillip, then changes his tone)
Okay, maybe not as many as you…but different, I mean, me and my wife, we’re married five years…I love her…..but….she wants to start a family, and I think we should have more money first, and when I stay here to work….she gets mad…..
PHILLIP – Women do that very well!
DANIEL - Oh, yeah! And sometimes….I just want things to be the way they were….before we
finished college and started being adults, you know?
PHILLIP – So you want to run away sometimes?
DANIEL - I guess.
PHILLIP - You realize this might help you?
(Daniel turns away, unsure what to do)
PHILLIP - Would it actually hurt anyone if I stayed here? You realize I had no intention of
DANIEL – Didn’t you say you were gonna kill me? Did I misunderstand that?
PHILLIP - I’m sorry….it’s just that…..life has a way of catching up with us…..of killing our
dreams, and I guess I just wanted ……to run away from that…..
(Daniel tilts his head and Phillip slumps. Daniel shakes his head)
DANIEL – Ok…..(thinking) maybe….maybe….we can try today…..but you don’t touch the
computer!…..if anyone asks… you told me the company sent you to review my work….
PHILLIP - (Brightens) I like that! Review!
DANIEL - And you can have the numbers without the names of the companies….that’ll keep
their privacy safe…….and you can do the calculations with this…..(gives him a calculator) and I’ll check ‘em later….
PHILLIP – Thank you…this will be perfect……
(He holds the calculator almost lovingly)
PHILLIP - But, I’m not sure how I can get here after my sister goes back to Hawaii.
DANIEL - Why don’t we jump off that bridge when we get there?
PHILLIP - Run away, yes, jumping off bridges, no.
(They laugh together)
DANIEL - Look, I’ll be back in a few hours….
PHILLIP - I’ll do a good job, you’ll see…And maybe…..you can take your wife to a movie…..
DANIEL - Maybe….
(Phillip starts adding columns and Daniel walks out, looking back as he takes his cell phone, pushes a button)
DANIEL - Hey, babe, how about we go out for a movie, and dinner….yeah, that place we first
went when we met… …..Nah, I wasn’t fired…let’s just say...I’m …running away for a little bit….
(He smiles as he exits. Lights down. The end)
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Swedenborg Hall 2006-8