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Monologue Mania Day # 221 by Janet S. Tiger Washing My Hands Of It Sept. 21, 2014
Washing My Hands Of It ( see Day # 219, 220) A monologue by Janet S. Tiger © all rights reserved firstname.lastname@example.org
(Lights up on the Crime Scene Investigator from Day #219, 220)
Dead ends. You think you figured it all out, and, no. You hit the blank wall again. Everyone here in this audience understands. The only people who don't understand are the family and friends of the deceased. What can you tell them? You have a photo of the killer, excuse me, (says it with a touch of derision) the alleged killer, and it is of about the same value as a photo of a ghost.
What could I do? I had no time to go through that barn full of Bertha's life...again.
My flight was the next day. I couldn't put it off anymore, there was no more money, and no more time.
(She walks around the stage as if looking at a room)
I had grown to know Bertha Johnson's home, especially her kitchen, because that's where I spent a lot of time. I think she had, too. My last night.....packed, ready to go....my job finished.... yet not completed, a very unsatisfying feeling......
I was exhausted and irritated and tired.....and yet, all I could think of for some reason was...a nice cup of tea and a warm piece of pie. Funny how food can affect your life! There was only a little milk and a donut left in the refrigerator because I was leaving, so I went to sleep ......and had a dream that Bertha was in the kitchen....
(She will do both people - in the final play, Bertha may have her own character)
She offered me something to eat......
(As Bertha) How about a nice piece of apple pie? And some tea.....so you can wind down after all the work you've done.....
(as herself) I've seen photos of you, so this is just my mind....making you into a real person.....
(As Bertha) I am a real person....and this is real pie......and it's real good. My pies are always good....
(as herself) Was a real person.....
(As Bertha) No, honey, I'm still real. And I'm not going away until you have some of my pie...
(as herself) All right....
(As Bertha) Good girl, now you go wash your hands before you eat......
(As herself, laughing) Wash my hands? In a dream? So I won't get sick in the dream? That is funny! Wait a minute, it’s a metaphor, right? In a dream, everything means something else……I have to learn how to wash my hands of this whole thing. Get over that I haven’t helped solve it. Like a hundred others where my work didn’t have any value in catching a criminal…….
(She looks at her hands)
Out, out, damned case!
(As Bertha) Honey, I really don’t like cussing in my kitchen. Outside, when someone gets kicked by a horse, or a full pail of slop falls on your toes, maybe. So please, watch your language….
(as herself) Sorry, Bertha. I won’t do it again. I love your kitchen.
(As Bertha) So do I. I always liked feeding people when they were hungry. They get this happy look on their face, like you handed them a plate of gold. It makes all the work and washing up…worthwhile.
(Very serious) But everyone has to wash their hands before they eat. That was the first thing my momma taught me, and I had to teach a lotta those boys that came through here. Some a them had no training at all, so I guess that's what I was here for.....to help them learn..... some of them learned, but some of them didn't, and I had to keep reminding them...wash your hands.....
(As herself, laughing) Amazing what the brain does! Wash your hands. Wash your hands.....
(She stops laughing and looks at her hands.)
That pie in the dream was delicious.......but is was really only there for one reason......to get me to see what I hadn't thought about.....a man who didn’t follow directions, a man with dirty hands.....
(She lifts up an enlarged photo)
We had tried to get a better look at the killer's face, so we had blown up the video.....enough so we could see the man's hands, too, to see that he had no scars, no tatoos.....but his hands were dirty.....how dirty?
(She goes to the pile and picks up the receipt)
The Sheriff had dusted this place for fingerprints, but over the years, there had been dozens, maybe hundreds of people through here. It was not possible to figure out who was who.....but when a person's hands are dirty, sometimes......
(She takes a magnifying glass and examines the receipt)
The dirt can make for a fingerprint.....
(She lowers the receipt, disappointed)
But not here.
(She turns to shout out the door.)
I’ll be ready in a minute, Sheriff!.......Then I thought of what he had paid with....she hadn't sent cash, she may have been trusting, but she wasn't stupid like that....Bertha always wrote a check.....
(She goes to another box and removes an envelope.)
Her returned checks from the last statement......
(Takes out a check that is in a plastic bag)
The final check to pay her last water bill.......she had used ink that was thicker, older people often like that, it reminds them of ink wells, and sometimes just like in the old days....it smudges.....and there might be fingerprints left behind on the back.....
(She turns over the check and smiles)
All you need is one......and this one was the one.......the Sheriff sent it through CODIS, and as I got on the plane, he told me....we're going to find him.....and when I landed at home, I got the call...
(She is very affected by this)
The same fingerprint had turned up in no less than five different locations.....involving five murders.........the most recent, in a town four states away.......
If I had figured it out sooner, would that last person still be alive?
(She looks at the audience, singling out faces)
Would one of your family members still be with you? One of your friends……I guess I can't be too hard on myself, because of some small things I did, he was caught....finally.....
(She turns to leave, then looks back and reaches out her arm to the man sitting on the side)
And that was definitely not the end.....but the beginning of another story.....which I will leave to my friend.
Detective, would you please let them know what happened next?
(Lights down on her, up on the Detective. End of scene, not the end of the story)
Janet S. Tiger 858-736-6315
Member Dramatists Guild since 1983
Playwright-in-Residence Swedenborg Hall 2006-8 ----------------------------------------------