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Monologue Mania Day #92 One Foot in Each Door by Janet S. Tiger c) May 15, 2014
One Foot in Each Door
by Janet S. Tiger
© 2014 all rights reserved
(A man comes onstage. He is from another country- it can be anywhere, he just needs an accent that is not definitive – unless the actor wants to make it so. He is wearing a well-worn suit, maybe a little threadbare….is that a patched rip? One his back is a well-worn backpack and in one hand a paper bag with lunch – it is a little greasy. In the other hand is a dollar bill. He looks at the bill, then nods, he is …sad.)
When we first came to this country, my father used to take me to his work with him. Where we came from, my father was a professor – a man with much knowledge who people looked up to, a scholar, a wise man – but here, he was a…..(says it with distaste)…a foreigner.
My job was to help him, because my English, even at age seven, was better than his at age thirty-nine.
He tried to learn, but something had happened to him when we had to leave, it was as if all he knew and was…was gone.
He worked in construction once he got to America, but he hated it. He thought of it as work that only servants did.
How funny are our prejudices! They looked down on him…..and he looked right back down at them.
Who was right? Or were they both down on the same level?
(He opens the bag, looks in, smiles)
I am a lawyer now.
(Stands up straight, speaks with no accent)
I have no accent…except….
(Reverts to the accent, slumps shoulders a bit)
Except when I feel it makes the others think I am not so smart….I use grammar a little bit oddly, and perhaps stilted. I have found that sometimes gives me the advantage I need – they never think I could figure out a way to win, and then….
(He takes his finger and draws it across his throat.)
Then it is too late.
(He smiles, laughs as he stands tall again.)
And the best part is, they often cannot figure out what happened. So the next time we meet, I do exactly the same routine. And again, in spite of the fact I beat them last time doing the exact same thing…..they still treat me like….a foreigner.
(Mumbles words in another language) One foot in each door. That’s what he used to say. My father. He would stand ready to into the place he was to install a lock, or fix a cabinet, or hang curtains, or whatever he was to do that day. He would put one foot into the apartment or the house or the boat and leave the other outside. He would look at me and say ‘One foot in each door’
And I watched and learned. My other job was to watch his lunch and eat with him.
(He holds up the brown bag proudly.)
As a boy, I thought this was a great honor, to give my father food.
But then I saw how the others looked at him on the street, in his old clothes, carrying his tools, with a small boy holding onto a greasy paper bag.
(He opens the bag, removes a nicely wrapped sandwich.)
I get these from the finest restaurant here downtown - $25.00 a sandwich – plus tip. But I keep it in an old greasy bag so people don’t know what I can afford.
(Holds up the backpack)
In my backpack is a leather briefcase, and in the briefcase, I keep a plate made of Wedgewood, the same pattern the Queen uses – if it breaks – I have a dozen more. I use fine Irish linen for a napkin, and I have a small bottle of Glen Meringuey.
So, I tell you these things, so you will know that, much as I appreciate your kind offer of this dollar bill, I think one of the other gentlemen in this park need it much more than I do.
(He turns to go, looks back, sighs)
But I thank you for your kind gesture….and wish you a good day……
(End of his monologue – the response -from the man who offered the dollar bill- will be another day’s monologue)
Janet S. Tiger 858-274-9678
Member Dramatists Guild since 1983
Swedenborg Hall 2006-8