Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I Wrote a Monologue

So this semester I'm taking a playwriting class. I'm really having a good time, but there is one problem. Let me explain it to you.

Back in the day, I worked for the high school newspaper. I had some workstudy hours that I would use to design my pages, and it just so happened that the creative writing class also used that room during those hours. And so, for one year, I had the incredible opportunity to hear all their work read aloud.

The best thing about high school creative writing is that most of the students are horribly depressed, and most of their poems sound like this: (read in the voice of an angry 16-year old)

Black, Black, Black
My world is dying
Inside, outside, dying
Dark, Dark, Dark...BLACK
She is gone, Gone, GONE!
No one understands

And because all of the work produced by these students is so depressing, everyone is too terrified to give it any criticism afterwards, in fear that they are about to push this person over the edge:

Angry Student: And that concludes my poem, "I'm going to jump in front of a bus."
Teacher: Oh yes, that's very had...really nice imagery.

At the college level, creative writing classes--such as this playwriting class I am in--are quite a bit better. However, some of this "depressing" tendency still exists, it has just morphed into something else. Instead of writing things that are simply very depressing, I've found that people diving into playwriting are determined to write something that is really "edgy" and "dark." No matter what you write, the class' advice to you will be to make it a bit edgier.

Optimistic Student: And that concludes the story I wrote about the friendly dragon that helps all of Charles' dreams come true and whisks him away to the land of hope and candy!
Professor: You know, I liked it. You know what you should think about doing though? What if the dragon ends up eating Charles at the end? And Charles is struggling with the memories of his abusive childhood?

Anyway, our first assignment was to write a monologue. Here it is:

I Am Costco
(A wrinkled, unkempt man in his 60’s, long white beard, sits to the side of a worn-down Costco entrance holding a notebook and pen. He is surrounded by stacks of video cameras and VHS’s. His pants and clothes are torn, dirty and worn, as is the rest of him. Tumble weeds are scattered around the area as he sets up a camera, which he talks to as he begins.)

Trevor. My name is Trevor…the date is…June…the time is (looks at the sky)…daytime. Day 14,682. It seems that the world is still…(with some doubt) well…(looks around) yes, still ended. (Writes in notebook, talking under breath, pausing occasionally between words and syllables as he writes, until end of paragraph) Everything still dead…Costco secure. No zombies in sight, beginning to suspect they are not real.

(Looks back up to camera, comfortably, as if he’s done this a million times)
So, apparently zombies don’t exist. I’m not really sure whether or not to be disappointed.

I thought the world would be chock full of either motorcycle gangs or zombies by now. Not at the same time, of course. I don’t think the two can really exist at the same time. You can’t be a very respectable motorcycle gang if you are constantly running from zombies. People just wouldn’t respect you very much. Every day it would be like, “Oh no, here comes Bad Rick and his gang of…” and then Bad Rick would get eaten by a zombie. See, being in a motorcycle gang would be really aggravating with zombies running willy nilly all over the place. You’d be like, “Give me all your bottlecaps!” And they’d be like, “Ugghhh,” because they’re zombies, and there’s a language barrier. You can’t make any conversational headway. And even if they don’t eat you, you still don’t have any more bottlecaps than you started with…which is the whole point of being in a motorcycle gang in the first place…to have loads of bottlecaps.

That’s the main reason I didn’t start a gang, and I think why they never really took off. Now that the zombies never showed up, I feel kind of cheated. I could have had tons of bottlecaps by now.

And that isn’t the only thing. You know the first scene of Mad Max, with those two people making love out in the middle of the desert? That would have been extremely difficult had zombies been wandering around in the desert as well. You’d have to take frequent breaks. Zombies would keep wandering right up on you! Two respectable people couldn’t even do it in the middle of the desert. But, you know what’s ironic? As it turns out, you can’t really do it in the desert anyway, because there’s no one to do it with. I’m starting to think I might have overestimated the impact zombies were gonna have on my life.

Did you ever see I am Legend? Well I’m not like him. Not at all actually. I…I am Costco I guess.

The world ended, but that didn’t seem like a good reason to skip work. I had nothing better to do, and the motorcycle gang career looked pretty uncertain at the time, so I took the safe bet and continued my job as a door greeter at Costco. (Motions with his hand at the empty expanse in front of him.) I don’t really do that much greeting anymore, obviously. But really, there never was a lot of “greet” in greeter, because my main job as I understood it was mostly to prevent people from going into Costco. I think they just added the “greet” part because otherwise it would have just been an “errrr” position. And nobody interviews for something like that--“Hello sir, are you interested in our…errr… position?” Is there a verb attached to it? Then no thank you.--See, that wouldn’t be very successful. So yesterday I had this great idea. I’m my own boss now, so I changed my title to something a bit more official. (Taps his homemade tag which hangs down to his belt.) Now I’m, “Trevor, Great and Powerful Man of Love and Light, Destoyer of Worlds, Master of Heaven and Outer Space, Warrior of Virtue, Guardian of Merchandise, Door Greeter.”

Anyway, that’s what I’m doing here...which basically means making sure nobody gets into Costco without a Costco card. And that’s what I am going to do until someone finds me. Unless of course they just want a hotdog, or a large piece of pizza…then they can usually sneak into the EXIT side without me noticing. Of course, we ran out of both of those pretty much immediately, so the people who want one are always disappointed.

We haven’t had a visitor here for a twenty or so years anyway, though. And technically he was..well…he was a dog. But I didn’t let him in. I asked very politely, “May I see your card, please?” And he didn’t have one. He stuck around for a few days until it got really uncomfortable and he left. I know that sounds kind of harsh, but those are the rules. No card, no goods. But if we had had any other visitors, you can bet they wouldn’t have gotten any of our goods without a card. Someone has to keep this company afloat.

So here I was yesterday, protecting the entrance, and then out of nowhere, I think I finally figured out what caused everything. It was the last day of work before the bombs. I was here at Costco with my friend Jessica, and there was this really short Japanese lady with one of those asian fros. And she’s like, “Are you guys Caucasian?” So I said yes, and she handed us one of these, (holds up wrapped caramel candy) and says, “We give these to people who are Caucasian.” But actually Jessica was half-asian, and it didn’t seem right to withhold that kind of information from a woman with a sack of candy, and so we told her, and the lady seemed really happy. She just smiled at Jessica and said, “I used to think I was oriental, but then someone told me I was ornamental, so I had to change my race. And I really like Mexican food, so I changed my name to Margarita.” Then she winked, turned around, and just walked away.

And the next day nobody came to work. Hmm. Anyway, I saved the candy. There was something strange about that lady. I’m pretty sure that she is somehow responsible for all this.

(Writes in notebook, talking under breath again…taking breaks between words and syllables as he writes) Lady with candy possibly responsible for apocalypse. Seeking additional clues.
(Looks back at camera) This is video record 14,627. Trevor out. (turns off camera, lights go black)


Elizabeth said...

I like it. Very nice. Very nice indeed.

jaime said...

Awesome! This monologue just sealed the deal that you're going to write our next movie we make. Get started and make me a huge starring role!!

The Boob Nazi said...

I really think he should be on drugs and/or become a zombie and attack the camera at the end.

Bridger W. said...

A nice piece Craig, but have you considered giving it a slight edge by having the man lose his virginity to a bulk-size box of granola bars?

Seneca said...


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