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Monologue Mania Day # 1680 Finally (one-act) by Janet S. Tiger (c) Sept. 22, 2018
Finally was just read tonight at Scripteasers because it was a winner in the 2018 Script Tease of Short Plays (Honorable Mention) Due to the lovely reading (thank you to Susan, Marc and Mitch) and helpful feedback (thank you to the audience) I have revised the play for tonight's blog.
And a big thank you to my readers!
(Not) a monologue by Janet S. Tiger© all rights reserved 2018
(The woman is older but looks spry for her years as she enters, smiling, carrying a large travelling bag and a shopping bag. She puts down her things and sits, talking to the audience as if they are another traveler.)
Oh, thank you my dear for watching my other bags for me! I brought you something to show my appreciation......
(Opens the bag and hands a package of some food)
No trouble! It's so nice to see a young person going around the country by bus.....I was always going to do that, but things always got in the way......when I graduated from high school, my father passed away, so my mother needed the money I had saved for my trip and I had to go back to work ....and just after I had finally saved enough again.....I met Errol, and we got married, and even though we had a small honeymoon, it's not the same......and I got pregnant on the honeymoon, and that was that.....
(She sighs and takes out a snack and munches)
Once you have children, the years race by ......you barely know where they went.......and it turns out Errol was not a traveling man, all he liked was business......when he retired, I finally got to know him and.....it turns out I hated him. After all those years...who knew? It was difficult, but the children were all grown, with families of their own......and I had decided to leave him, when.....luck would have it.....not my luck, of course, but he was diagnosed with that horrible disease from that baseball player....Lou Gehrig.
(She takes another bite and sighs)
How could I leave a sick man? What kind of horrible person was I? So my life became that of a caregiver......not much different than raising children, but in reverse. With children, you know when they fall down, they get up again, and in a few years....they run away. With someone older, they fall down, but don't get up so fast.....and they never run away. They leave......but it takes time......
We had a daily pattern enough to run a clock on - up in the morning, breakfast, a nap, lunch, another nap and then to the local cafe for dinner.....an outing for him and a break for me.
Joe's Diner......just like out of a movie.....we knew all the people there like family, and Joe......
(She gets a bit starry-eyed when she recalls)
Joe was the owner......he and his wife took over the place from his father, Joe, Sr. Not very original people with naming a business, but sweet. (Smiles) Very sweet.
Joe was retired, but would come in after the dinner hour to help close up, take home the money! He was so funny, he knew all of the lines from old movies and he would act them out.....and he would give me a hug, and I would look forward to that hug more than anything else in my life!
(She touches her face)
Am I blushing? Amazing! Same reaction! Well, time marches on, or when you get older, it shuffles on......my husband passed, Joe's wife died.....I would still go every night for my hug and to listen to him do W. C. Fields and Groucho Marx! He had to sow some wild oats.....he dated a lot of his waitresses, but I hung in there.....because I knew what he liked......food. It's still true, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach! Remember that my dear....sex is wonderful, but the glow fades after awhile.....the truth is.....we all have to eat every day!
I waited until he was between waitresses, and I invited him over for dinner.......I knew his favorite, pork chops and gravy, and his eyes lit up when he tasted them! He was mine! We got married the next month, and then........ I found out.......he didn't want to travel either!
All he wanted to do was.....eat! I had to cook for him ALL THE TIME! I was a ...a....food slave! At least before we were married, I could eat at his restaurant, but that finished when we got hitched, and when I say hitched, that's what it felt like! Like I was hitched to a plow, only it was a kitchen plow!
And his Three Stooges impressions - funny once a day! - were driving me crazy when I had to listen to them ALL DAY!
I was going crazy - my own fault, of course, but no consolation.......and then.....
(She perks up, remembering)
A friend took me to see some play about a woman whose husband drove her crazy, and the last straw was when he ruined one of her towels.....a small thing, but I could totally identify with her! And she took a gun.....and shot him through the heart!
She escaped! She may have been going to jail, but she escaped! The solution was right there in front of me!
(She leans over, listens, laughs)
Oh, no, dear! I didn't shoot Joe! But I am escaping....I left him a note and.....I'm finally going on a bus!
(Listens, gathers her things)
And that is the call for my bus! Perfect timing ......because it's the end of this chapter of my life.....
I wish you luck, my dear, and have a wonderful trip!
(She turns to leave, stops, looks back)
Where am I going? Well, isn't it obvious? I'm going home to mother!
(She waves and as she starts to walk offstage, we see a large man run into the bus station, looking around wildly. This is Joe, and he is upset. He sees her and runs over)
JOE - (Slight Italian accent) Elsie! Elsie!
(Elsie looks and is shocked)
ELSIE - Joe! What're you doing here?
(He looks surprised)
JOE - What am I doing here? Are you crazy? I come home and what do I find? No dinner, no nothin'! Just this note!
(He opens up a crumpled paper and reads)
JOE - ' Dear Joe......I am not a slave. I am leaving on the 8pm bus to Vermont to visit mother, Have a nice life, Love, Elsie!' What the hell kind of letter is that?
ELSIE - That's funny - I thought it was perfectly clear!
JOE - Come on! I mean, what are you doing here?
(He indicates the station)
ELSIE - Waiting for the bus. That was in the note, right here....
(She points to the paper)
ELSIE - And I am wishing you a nice life. Everyone wants a nice life, so I'm wishing you one. Again, very clear......
JOE - We're married, for God's sake! I'm your husband! We got married before a priest!
ELSIE - So?
JOE - So I don't wanna divorce!
ELSIE - That's okay with me, you can have your waitresses, there's a cute one now, Darlene I think her name is......
JOE - I don't want a waitress, baby, I want you!
ELSIE - You mean you want my pork chops.
JOE - Don't do that! I'm so hungry! I haven't had anything since lunch!
ELSIE - So it is the pork chops!
JOE - You know I love your pork chops, baby! And your meat loaf! Your meat loaf is like heaven! So soft, it just melts in your mouth! And when I put it on the menu, sales went up 30 % the first month! You can't leave!
ELSIE - That's just silly, of course I can. And I am! And I would appreciate it if you would let me go in peace, my bus is leaving in a few minutes....
JOE - I don't get it! Did we have a fight and I forgot? Was I asleep? What's the problem?
ELSIE - The problem is that you don't know there's a problem.
JOE - (Thinks) That's a big help. Are you mad about somethin'? Did I forget to put gas in the car? Is the toilet running? I thought I fixed it!
ELSIE - Yes, you fixed the toilet, and no you did not forget the gas......this is about....travel.
JOE - Yeah, you're going to visit your Mom, but honey, she's been dead for ten years!
ELSIE - I know that, I never said I was going to stay with her, just visit......talk to her at the cemetery a bit......but the main thing is....the trip.
JOE - If you wanna visit your mom's grave, why not take a plane? You'll be there tomorrow! Not in a week!
ELSIE - I didn't say I wanted to get there fast....I want to travel. When I was 17....
JOE - Aw, not this story again!
ELSIE - And there we have the problem...
(She turns to walk away)
JOE - Okay, okay, I got it, it's something about the trip.....
ELSIE - What exactly?
JOE - (Still a bit puzzled) You wanted to go on a trip when you were 17, but.....you couldn't.....right?
ELSIE - Yes, and when we got married, you said we could travel, but in five years, we have only gone on three trips, not one of them just for us.....
JOE - What about our honeymoon?
ELSIE - That was three days in Las Vegas!
JOE - But it was fun, wasn't it?
(In spite of herself, she smiles)
JOE - And you didn't end up pregnant, even though we tried, right?
ELSIE - (Blushing) Joe! Okay, we went to Las Vegas, but since then, all we did was visit your children and my children.....
JOE - (Puzzled) I thought you liked seeing the grandkids!
ELSIE - I do, but I want to see....more! And you promised! And every time I reminded you all you say is......'soon' Well, when you're 85, you don't want to wait for 'soon' - you want things 'now' because if you've ever learned anything, it's that sooner is sometimes too late.......So I'm going......I left some pork chops in the freezer.....with the restaurant, I doubt if you'll starve....and if you don't want a divorce, that's fine, we can stay married in name only, there's no money problem because my son and your friend...our attorneys -took care of all the details with those pre-nups.....we don't have to pretend any more......you can go your way....the way of the eternal pork chop....and I....am going to be free for the first time in my life!.....because I am on the road......for the first time in my life!
(There is an announcement and she listens, smiles)
ELSIE - That's the last call, ..have to go! If some young thing hasn't got the front yet...... I want to get a good seat near the driver.
(He takes her arm, she looks at him, he drops his hand)
JOE - I never knew....this whole trip thing meant so much...
.....and I never knew the pre-nup meant so much....maybe I should've told you...
(She looks at him, surprised)
JOE - (Embarrassed) I never liked that between us, so.....after we got back from our honeymoon, I went to Gary's office and......I tore it up....
ELSIE - What?
JOE - I wanted it to be a surprise, when I died, a present for you......my kids have plenty, this would be for you....
ELSIE - (She is touched) You never told me.
JOE - I love you Elsie....I have for years....maybe I never told you this, because, well, it's kind of...I don't know, I'm not a big romantic guy like in the movies, but......when you and your husband would come in to eat, I tried to time it, so I would be there, so I could get a hug from you.........especially after Helen you know, started with the Alzheimer's, and she wasn't the same person anymore......especially when she stopped talkin' to me.....when she disappeared.....boy, I remember it was like that part of the day, it made the other 23 hours bearable....you see..........I lived for that hug......
ELSIE - (Quiet) So did I....
JOE - What? You know I can't hear in this ear.....
ELSIE - You heard me.....I said.....so did I.
(He touches her shoulder and she leans in, he smiles)
ELSIE - I still love you, Joe.....
JOE - And I love you...
ELSIE - But I'm getting on the bus......
(She pulls away and he watches her. She turns to wave)
ELSIE - Take care of yourself.....
JOE - You, too....
(She exits to get on the bus, he goes in the other direction, starts to run, comes back in a rush with a bag)
JOE - Wait for me!
(Elsie has seen him coming and meets him - her luggage is already on the bus)
ELSIE - What're you doing?
JOE - I'm coming with you, but I had to get something to eat!
ELSIE - Oh, my God! Well, hurry!
(They move quickly to catch the bus, but Elsie stops to look at him)
ELSIE - What're you going to do for clothing....and everything?
JOE - Well, I can wear the same pants for a few days - as long as I have something to eat!
And....... (He hugs her)........I've got my everything....right here...
(They laugh and head off to the future. Blackout. The end, but the beginning of the trip!)
Originally as two days - Day #606 Finally Oct. 10, 2015
and Day # 607 oct. 11, 2015 Joe's Side
Originally on Day #1021 Finally (one-act) by Janet S. Tiger (c) Nov. 29, 2016
* 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
Swedenborg Hall 2006-8