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Lost and Profound (c)
by Janet S. Tiger
(c) Feb. 27, 2014 all rights reserved
(The stage is dark - night - with a starry sky if production has one of those kid's toys - and a woman comes out. She is older, but in the dark, it is hard to tell how old. She is carrying a pair of large binoculars around her neck, and, in one arm, a chair, which she puts down in the middle of the stage.
This is 'T' - a character from THE BOOK OF TEAS - Each ‘chapter’ of T’s stories ends with the sound – ‘tea’, hence - ‘Book of Teas’ and this monologue will be called 'Night Tea' and included as soon as I figure out where it goes.
T puts the binoculars up to her eyes and looks for a moment, takes a deep breath of appreciation. She has a thick Southern accent.)
Daddy, you were right, God does put on a good show.
(She turns to look back)
You can sit over there and watch me from the shade, Ella, I don't care.
I know it's nighttime - my brain is not that far gone - I was tryin' to make a joke, Ella!
Anyhow, I am going to watch the stars - right out here on the lawn, with all the mosquitoes and other night critters.
Remember one of those sillies from when the kids were little? What kind of toes bite you? Mos-key-toes. (Laughs, by herself) They were always a hoot when the kids said 'em!
(Puts the binoculars up to her eyes again.)
I remember the fight we had when Harry bought these - too expensive, I said - you have binoculars. But he always liked to get the best - that's how he always won those arguments! For the Glenmorangie whiskey, and the Westinghouse refrigerator...,......and the Cadillac! I would complain about the cost, and he would say, (mimics) 'But honey, it's the best! You know I never settle for less than the best - that's why I married you, remember?' And he would look at me that way, with that smile, and give me a little squeeze.....and that would be the end of the argument.
He was a man who knew how to butter up a woman like a just-out-of-the-oven biscuit.........(sighs, smiles) But it sure tasted good when he did.....
(Turns to the sky, looks up)
Never understood why people like telescopes – never could see a single thing in them except my own eye! And you have to bend over to look – no, these binoculars are much better.
(To the sky, where she imagines Harry is listening)
So you were right about that, stop gloating!
(She smiles and looks at the expanse again.)
(Remembering) My father used to take us out campin and fishin in the summer. He taught me to use the sky like a map, he would say - 'the night sky is a map you can use whenever you get lost - and you can't lose it - all you have to do is look up.'
And I would ask...(little girl) but Daddy, what about when it's cloudy or rainin or snowin?
(As father) 'Then you'd best not be outside!'
(Back to herself) I think he knew the stars because he had to - when he was runnin hooch during the Prohibition, he had to know how to get around fast......boy, could that man drive fast! And yet I was never afraid - he was the best driver I ever saw.
(She puts down the binoculars and closes her eyes, as if she could see and hear her father.)
He used to say, ‘People are funny. They look at the night sky and they’re always askin questions – what am I doin’ here? What is the purpose of it all? Where do I fit in to all of this? All that crap – and it’s all about them. They seem small, irrelevant….well, T, I want you to remember somethin’ – things are not always all about you! At night, it’s simple - when you look up at the sky, it’s like you are lookin into God’s soul.’ (Laughs) I think running bootleg whiskey taught him more religion than a hundred years of Sunday school ever could!
(Laughs, remembering, then quiets a bit)
Do you know why I am out tonight? Outside of annoyin you like I am sure you believe, Ella.
I want to see where all those new planets are.
The ones on the news! Don't you remember, or were you asleep as usual?
(Exited) There is a big, new discovery! They found a whole bunch of planets, just like ours - or so they tell us.
(Thinking) How did they find 'em? Were they lost? Like keys? Or my purse? Maybe they were just misplaced.....or maybe, just maybe, they finally figured out where to look.
That is the most important element in findin somethin - havin a good idea where to look for it.
In fact, it is the secret to findin things.
So where were they lookin before, I would like to know.
Like the man under the street light - remember that one Ella? One night, a fellow sees a man down on his hands lookin for somethin under a streetlight.
The fellow starts looking, too, and says, 'What did you lose?'
And the man says, ' a nickel'
After they look for a few minutes, the fellow says, 'I don't think it's here - where did you drop it?'
'Over there' the man replies, pointing to the dark.
'Then why are we lookin over here?'
The light's better over here.
How much like life is that?
Maybe the folks lookin now for those planets are professionals - pros - and that's why they found those planets. They knew where to look. They took a flashlight and walked away and shined that light where it had never been before.
My daddy always said - if you don't know what to do - don't dilly-dally around! Use a professional. Pay them a fair amount, and get the job done. I just loved that word dilly-dally. He could say that twenty times and I would laugh till I wet my pants!
I just got it, Ella - the planets were lost and then they were found by pros – (says it slowly, relishing the idea) ….Lost and Pro-found…… Maybe I will put that into a chapter - and call it......Profundi-Tea.....or maybe......Night Tea. ........Hard to decide......I like 'em both.....
Speakin of which, I am getting tired – all this lookin at the stars and thinkin, it makes me want to put on my ‘night-tee’ and go to sleep!
(She picks up the chair, then turns to listen)
All right, I’ll leave it for tomorrow. Then of course we will forget we left it out here and go crazy lookin for it – just like the planets they lost!
(Stops to think) I wonder – if there are people on those planets – and do they have a God? And is it the same God – or is that the whole point of just one God? And more important – have they figured out how you can find things quickly! Or better yet, how to never lose anything…….or anyone.....
(She takes one last look at the stars.)
Good night, Daddy – thank you for teachin me about the soul of God.
(She exits. End of scene)
Janet S. Tiger 858-274-9678
Member Dramatists Guild since 1983
Swedenborg Hall 2006-8