Today is a little different - after posting yesterday's monologue, the character returned with the rest of the story! And so I am putting the revised version as today's monologue, because they are different. Please let me know which you prefer--thanks!
Mar. 23, 2014 Day #39 Monologue Mania
Baby Moons (c)
by Janet S. Tiger (c) 2014 all rights reserved
(A man is seen onstage, he looks like he's in his forties, but it could be fifties, hard to tell. He looks up at the sky.)
Clear night tonight. The moon is kinda small….like a baby moon, only that means something else, you know. (Laughs) You never heard of baby moons? I’ll tell you….there’s a few minutes left to our break.
(He is quiet, takes out a cigarette and lights it slowly, He takes a deep breath.)
My father used to say that no story should last longer than it takes to smoke a cigarette. And then he would pause, and add - 'and not one of those filter things, a real cigarette.'
I've been thinking about my father recently, since I got the news. Maybe because I just bought a new car. Funny how that goes together, but that's what the story is about.
Y'see, when I bought the car, and this is my first new car in my life, first time I could afford a new car....I was hoping I could take my father for a ride in it, but, I guess ..not now.
The salesman asked me if I wanted special hubcaps....and I just laughed. I mean, I can afford them, but after what I know about hubcaps and what I used to do with them, I'd never buy any fancy ones.
(Thinks, takes a deep breath of the cigarette and blows out the smoke slowly.)
That's what we called them back then. Baby moons.
(He illustrates with his hands the shape of the moon)
It was the easiest money in the world.
I grew up in Vegas, and people came from all over, driving in their fancy cars. All
you needed was a screwdriver to pop off their fancy hubcaps....their… baby moons.
If ya needed a couple a bucks for some beer, or to go out with a girl.....you grab your buddies, one watches in each direction.....a whistle is the warning that someone is coming....
(He whistles for an example)
I was fast with that slot, baby.....
(He kneels quickly, uses the cigarette to show how fast you can pop off a hubcap)
You have a paper bag with you, big enough for all four......
(He illustrates in pantomime)
And you're done - all four, less than 60 seconds - faster if the car was small!
We always picked out-of-town plates….those people never bothered to report anything to the police – they were having too much fun!
(Remembering) And there was a guy who would give us five bucks for all four - easy money. I used to think he had the hard part- he had to find someone to pay five bucks each......we had it made. Four guys, one buck each, and the extra went to the guy who popped, usually me, cause I was the fastest.
Were we ever caught?
I'd like to say, yes, because that would have been fair...but we weren't.
Oh, a couple of times it was close, but we'd just leave the bag behind, and walk away. That was my idea.
My Dad bought a new car. Brand new. His first ever. A 1968 Chevy wagon, so all of us kids and the dog could fit in it.
And he spent the extra few bucks to get the fancy caps- it was his gift to himself, he didn't buy a Mustang, but he could get nice hubcaps......
I didn't know he'd bought a new car - it was a surprise. And so when he came home looking like someone had shot the dog, I didn't know what happened...until I saw the car......
It was nice, new, you know......all shiny, and nice smelling....and it had no hubcaps. He told everyone he parked some place he thought was safe, but some dumb kids must have stolen them, and that one day they’d be caught, and go to prison…..and they should rot in hell.......
He didn't know he was talkin about me and my friends.....(means a lot)...but I never took another baby moon after that.
I just couldn't anymore.....
You see, I didn't want to rot in hell.
(He takes another drag of the cigarette, enjoying the smoke coming out of his mouth)
Bad habit, cigarettes....I got that in Vegas, too.
Well, ya know what they say..everything happens for a reason….…
(He listens to a question, surprised)
Nah, I wasn’t the one who stole my Dad’s caps!…..I told ya, never touched cars like that. Just the fancy ones......the visitors…. Pay attention, the story’s not over!
(He reaches his hand into his pocket and takes out an envelope, removes a letter.)
This was the last letter I got from my Dad…from the hospital. (Hard to say) I saw him just a week before he died…….lung cancer is not a pretty way to go……but he still sent this to me.
(Reads from the letter)
‘It was good to see you, son. It’s a long trip, and you come on your weekends and I know it’s not easy. I’m proud of you. You’ve been a good son…..’
(Stops for a moment to collect himself)
‘I have to tell you something before I go, a something I think would be good for you to know since your son is almost a teenager, and it might help someday.
One day, it must have been forty years ago, I was driving around one night and I got lost, went down a very dark street. I surprised a group of kids around a car, they were taking the hubcaps off, and I thought…stupid kids! One of them had on a letter jacket from the same high school you went to – Lincoln High…..purple and gold…and I thought, even stupider,,,,he’ll be the easiest one to catch! And then the light from my headlights bounced off the hubcap the kid was taking. Had he been one second faster, I never would have seen his face.
You know who it was, don’t you? It was you. …….I almost crashed the car, but I saw you all scatter, and I just drove out of there….to the church your mom would take you to every week. I hadn’t been to a church in 20 years, but I went in and I prayed to know what to do.
I’d been saving money for a new car for three years, had it picked out …..for you…for your graduation from high school…..a red Mustang. My gift to you.
But I knew in my heart that I couldn’t do that anymore…..so I bought the new car for myself and your mother. You remember it, the ’68 wagon? With the electric back window……And when I picked it up….
(He takes a deep breath)
….when I picked it up, I took off the hubcaps……and told you all that someone stole them.
I knew you hadn’t done it because I had driven straight from the lot……but I also knew, by the look on your face, that you weren’t going to be taking any more hubcaps, ever again. And I was right.
So why tell you now? I almost told you in person, but I just couldn’t do it in front the grandkids. And, now you have a son almost a teenager, maybe this story can help you one day when you have a decision to make – a hard decision. Go think on it first, and read this letter again.
I love you ……Dad…..
(He turns over the page, reads)
‘P.S……when you tell this story one day, remember how I used to say –‘keep it to one cigarette – without a filter?’ Well, the first time you tell this story, how about…..(Hard to say) …how about you make it your last cigarette? I don’t want it to be…like father, like son…when it comes to cancer.
(He folds up the letter, then takes one last drag of the cigarette.)
Gotta get back to work….see ya tomorrow……
(He takes the cigarette and crushes it under his heel, turns to leave, looks back. He wipes his eyes with the back of his hand. Then he takes the pack of cigarettes out of his pocket and looks at them, crumples them up and throws them away, shakes his head and walks off slowly.)
(The end…..of the smoking. We hope. Maybe for you or someone you know? Pass this around. If it gets one person to stop, this is worth it. Thanks!)
Janet S. Tiger
Member Dramatists Guild since 1983
Swedenborg Hall 2006-8