Play Archive

Silver Water

(Regular and unremitting except where pause is indicated)

A Underwater. Deep underwater

B No. Shallow water

A Deep Underwater

B Set sail in your deep water. Shallow water

A I could fuck you now

B Deep Underwater?

A In your shallow water

B I told you. Shallow water

A Deep Underwater

B There’s nobody there

A Let go of

B Yes?

A The things

B Oh yes

A The marriage

B Ha!

A The ring

B The clit ring? Ha Ha!

A For instance

B The rings

A Your head

B Deep underwater

A Shallow water

B I love Manhattan

A It too

B That

A It and That. Both shallow water

B Deep underwater?

A Say it once more

B Shallow water

A No. Say “deep underwater”

B Deep underwater?

A Say it once more

B No

A You must

B You dust

A Legs off, you must

B I’m stupid. Big tits

A Tango tits

B Remember the cross-your-heart?


B It fucking worked on you. You clown

A Let it go

B Why?

A It’s time

B It’s boring

A It’s transcendental meditation

B You fuck

A You fuck too

B This is boring

A I hate you

B Shallow water

A I won’t let you win

B You will beat me?

A No. I will not

B You will nerve me

A Nerve rain

B You rain I rain it rains

A I licked the rain

B Off my angry tits

A Deep underwater

B Shallow water

A Deep underwater

B Like me!

A Just once?

B Try

A It’s all a try

B Try harder

A Code for fuck

B Shallow water

A Deep underwater

B Ha!

A Your ceramic dildo

B That thing

A Let it go

B And walk funny?

A What’s funny?

B A camp Singaporean

A What?

B It’s a joke

A Deep underwater

B Shallow water

A Carry on

B Stop looking

A My eyes are closed

B Lose your anger

A Like a fish?

B Swim off

A To the sea?

B To shallow water

A Deep underwater

B Say what you mean

A I am trying

B Try harder

A Give me permission

B It’s too late

A Give it anyway

B Well. Yes

A No. Just “Yes”

B That’s worthless

A Deep underwater

B Shallow water

A It’s getting humid

B You stink now

A Now?

B You always did

A You always said so

B I could have done better

A Bowl of cherries

B Cherry

A Deep underwater

B Shallow water

A Smell it

B Then what?

A Who can say?

B The asylum

A So what?

B Who will visit me?

A I will

B You don’t count

A I never counted

B Only up to 4. Like MONBODDO’s savages

A Clever cunt

B I’ve read your books too. Cunt-breath

A Are you a match for me?

B Only you know

A Clever. Clever cunt

B I don’t like to be called cunt

A I’m sorry

B It’s aggressive

A What isn’t?

B Not that. OK?

A Deep underwater

B Shallow water

A Cry for me

B It’s been a while

A Far too long

B My dentist

A Your student dentist

B Never again

A It was just a job

B You fucking clown!

A A job is a job

B A blowjob

A Please

B A slow blowjob

A Why tease?

B Languorous blow…job. Blowjob, blowjob, BLOWJOB!

A That’s not nice

B Blowjob blackout

A Be careful

B Blowjob backhand

A Deep underwater

B Shallow water

A All over again

B You started it

A I had hopes

B You’re a fucking dreamer!

A I am

B And a clown

A Am I?

B First a clown

A Funny

B No. Droll

A Strange

B As fuck

A Why don’t we

B Let me think

A Fuck

B Fuck it. Why don’t we fuck?

A For a change

B Change of what?

A Feelings

B Walk away

A Walk away?

B Walk away


B I’d shoot you

A If what

B I had a gun

A Here

B What’s that

A A gun

B Bang

A I’m dead

B That changed nothing

A Deep underwater

B Shallow water

A Feel better?

B That changed nothing

A Deep underwater

B That changed nothing

A Deep underwater

B Nothing changed

A You didn’t do it right

B So what? Nothing changed

A It’s connected

B You and your connections

A Everything is about connections

B Let me try again, you tricky fuck

A You’ll only fuck up again

B What’s it to you?

A I couldn’t take another fuck-up

B Another fuck but not a fuck-up

A You see the connection?

B No. No ropes, no chains, no connections

A Only things

B My things and your things

A Let go of

B My things?

A All things

B Fuck me then

A In the middle of this?

B There’s no middle

A Deep underwater

B Shallow water

A Temp work

B Never again

A Temping worked

B Not for me

A For us

B Us is a non-entity

A You and Me

B Me and You

A Lift your skirt

B I’m not wearing one

A Lift it anyway

B There

A That was nice

B Fuck you!

A The way you flashed, didn’t hold it up

B A flash fuck might grab you then

A Please

B Flash fuck, fuck in a flash

A Flash in the pan

B Quick as a flash

A Flashy

B Flash Harry

A Flash Gordon

B Savior of the Universe

A Deep underwater

B Shallow water

A You and me

B I was never your friend

A No-one was

B What would you call us?

A You first

B Not lovers

A Why not?

B You never loved me

A But you loved me

B Even less

A But we made love

B Fucked

A We called it making love once

B We never existed

A And love?

B Fucking, making love, it’s the name of an act

A Deep underwater

B Fuck you. Shallow fucking blowjob water

A Your clit is magnificent

B Eat it motherfucker!

A Like a small cock

B Shallow water

A Deep underwater

B 19 years

A Of bliss

B Of this

A I gave you hope

B I’m full of it now

A I gave you things

B So what?

A You gave nothing

B You’re an addict

A For what?

B Anything

A Llamas?

B If a llama could give you pleasure, then yes

A Why down on pleasure?

B Your its addict

A Pleasure is good

B In moderation

A I never reached that level

B One taste and you’re off

A Off?

B Hoping never to return

A To where?

B Reality

A Deep underwater

B You had none at all until me

A Deep underwater

B You’re a fucking baby around me

A And a dreamer and a clown

B A clown first

A Then a dreamer?

B Then a baby

A A dreamer last

B You’d overdose on candy if you weren’t a dentist

A Deep underwater

B Shallow water

A It’s finished

B What is?

A The lamb

B The Llama?

A Walk away

B Clear me a space

A For what

B A spree. To clip my nails

A Toes or fingers?

B Both. Motherfucker

A Filing and painting?

B The whole shebang

A Deep underwater

B Shallow water

A Will you be messy

B Afraid of fever?

A It’s gone

B It’s always gone

A Everything’s gone

B It can come back

A Comeback jinny joe

B Comeback blow job

A Bring me back an eggy-o

B Fuck your entire line

A Don’t cry

B I hate you all

A How much?

B To the 17th century

A To where we were related

B See?

A I see nothing

B France?

A Losers

B Shallow water

A Deep underwater

B Magwitch

A Haversham

B Shallow water

A Deep underwater

B No to it all

A Might as well be yes

B But never broken up. Intermingled.

A Let’s break it up

B You fucking dreamer

A Smile for me

B I’ll grimace if you smile

A I don’t smile

B You smiled once

A When it rained

B On my tits? No. When your father died

A Cruel cunt

B He didn’t like anyone

A He’s in heaven

B Why?

A Because I smiled

B Your little boxing gloves

A Where’s this famous grimace?

B Where’s the smile?

A Fuck it

B Fuck that

A Deep underwater

B Shallow water

A I smell scallions

B Your dinner

A “Where’s my dinner?!”

B Oh, darling. Forget him. He’s dead now

A Stone dead

B Stone dead

A Stones last forever

B Oh (sighs)!

A I love you

B Fucking clown

A But only your tits

B Never again

A Never again what

B I could have done much better

A Or much worse

B Then what did I do?

A You did worse AND better

B Big fucking eyes

A Bigger than your belly

B Yours. Not mine

A Mine the same

B Nothing is the same

A Clever cunt

B Your words. You…VOID!

A That’s me trying

B Well try harder

A To what?

B To be acceptable

A To whom?

B Me

A In what sense?

B I’ll settle for smell

A Deep underwater

B Shallow water

A Deep underwater

B I want to scream

A You’re only saying that

B Or touch a poisonous snake

A Deep underwater

B Shallow water

A You don’t have to speak

B Curlew Cry

A But not your cry

B Cry of a curlew

A Why not your cry?

B Isn’t curlew plaintive enough?

A I can’t imagine a curlew

B Fucking liar

A You make me one

B And a clown? A baby? A dreamer?

A Cough it up

B You mean break it up

A I want to intermingle

B Shallow water

A Deep underwater

B Over my dead body

A It wouldn’t matter

B Completely still?

A That would be better

B And the putrefaction?

A It might be nice

B Nice?

A Nice and disgusting

B I have a brain

A Maybe that’s the problem

B It’s in the way?

A In the way of yourself

B You mean in YOUR way

A That’s what I mean

B Say what you mean!

A Deep underwater

B Shallow forest water

A What forest

B THE forest

A Your brain?

B YOUR fucking brain

A I could fuck your brains out

B This is boring

A There’s nothing else

B We’ve been over this

A At least it’s comforting

B At least that much

A I’m sorry

B So am I

A You could have done better

B So could you

A At least we can be frank

B At least that much

A It’s not much

B It’s only weird for me

A For me too. It’s only weird.

B Are you happy?

A I was never happy

B I suspected as much

A Are you?

B Never

A I had no idea

B Now what?


A I could happily kill you now

B Shallow water

A Deep underwater


George Saitoh’s essays, fiction and poetry have appeared in Aeqai, Kyoto Journal, Orbis, Clarion and Word Riot. My plays have been performed in Tokyo and Dublin. He has a doctorate from the University of York and teach at Waseda University in Tokyo. He was born in Dublin.

The Nine Friends of Death, A Short Play


The Singer
The Daughter
The Lover 1
The Lover 2
The Painter
The Lost
The Elder
The Mother
The Hunter



Nine women gather around a large oak tree that dwarfs the stage. There is the SINGER, the DAUGHTER, the two LOVERS, the PAINTER, the LOST, the ELDER, the MOTHER, and the HUNTER. Some stand, some pace, and other sit, tangled among the branches. They are old and young, familiar to each other but not family.

One of them, the SINGER carries a lantern. She lights it with a match.

(Addressing the audience)
Sit down.


Not you.

I’ll begin.

I already have.

There’s really no hurry now. No need to be rude.



I heard that! I damn well heard that!

The HUNTER bangs her fist against the tree. The lantern light flickers.

Enough. Don’t waste the light.

Now, now…

Must we?

Yes. We only have the night.

The LOVERS sigh.

Ahem! I am the Singer. Mine was an accident. I was struck by my lover and my head went–

She claps

He was very sorry.

I’m sure he was, dear. I am the Mother and mine was unplanned. I never met my child. They said this sort of thing doesn’t happen anymore. We’re civilized now.

We are, we are. But this night is older.

I would have named her Eva, but I never told a soul. Do you think she knew?

Who knows?

The SINGER raises the lantern up.

Shh! There are rules.

You and your rules…

Are we playing a game?

If we are, then someone wins.

Wait your turn! It’s not your time yet.


Fine. I’ll play. They call me the Daughter and I went too soon. My friends wore green at the funeral. Silk, too. I couldn’t stand black.

Were you in pain?

It happened too fast.


Don’t cry. You didn’t know me at all.

It’s still very sad.


No one cried for me. It’s fair to say no one knew I was gone.
I’m sure that’s not true.

But it is. I’m the Painter and I died in war. No one knows where I’ve gone. They’ll never bury my bones.

But they’ll remember your art.

They won’t.

They will. There’s a gallery in Canada, some border town that sells glass, and they put your paintings on the factory walls. The night manager lights a candle below his favorite every night.

Which one?

The one with the mountains. You named it after a Hemingway story.

Hills Like White Elephants.

I never liked that one.

You never liked Hemingway.

I’m sure that’s not the point.

Someone remembered me.

They’ll always remember you.
Be careful with that.

If you’re remembered, then you’re known.

What happened to you?

The Lovers. They’re dramatic.

We’re not.

We’re just here.


We died in a dark place.

You died for love?

Don’t say it like that.

They called it wrong.

I didn’t think they would–

Of course they would.

We loved.

We were honest. We were the Lovers and we died for it.
So it goes.

It’s an old story.

So sad.

Don’t be like that.

The two LOVERS embrace.

My turn, then? It was time that found me. Far from tragic. I am the Elder and I died as the road ended.

Is that a metaphor?


I’ll allow it.

I never asked you, my dear.


Were you sick?

At the end.

I was sick the whole way. I’m Lost and I saw no way out.

What do you see now?
Strangers. Nine of them.

But no one left to speak.

They all look to the HUNTER.

Oh, right. The murdering bitch.

The Hunter.

Oh, dear.


Won’t you say anything?

Nothing worth saying. I did it and was then done in.

Was it righteous?

You’ll never know.


They all turn to face the audience.

Well, we’re due for another tonight. Who’s it gonna be?

She blows out the lantern. Blackout.

Emma Johnson-Rivard is a Masters student at Hamline University. She received her undergraduate degree in Film Studies at Smith College in Massachusetts and currently lives in Minnesota with her dogs and far too many books.


The room is dimly lit. Most of the light comes from two spots on the actors. At downstage left, CELIA and LYMAN sit across from each other at a small table set for three. At each place setting an oversized menu. At upstage right, a DARK-HAIRED MAN stands casually, his back against a thick wood pillar. He holds a large, silver-toned serving platter under one arm and scans the room continuously, his eyes stopping frequently, anxiously, at Lyman and Celia’s table.

I long for the days when I ate fat black grapes and spat out the seeds wherever I wanted. Never had to worry where they fell, whether or not they took root, when the next bunch would come.


Why am I doomed to carry the bulk of the world’s hunger in my belly?


(CELIA picks up her menu; scans it perfunctorily.)

There’s nothing on this menu.
There’s never anything to eat anymore.
Let’s go someplace else.

We’re getting a free meal here.

Free? Is that all you care about? That it’s free? We’re getting a big free nothing so far.
(looks around)
And we’re practically the only ones here. Just one inattentive waiter and us.

Hunger isn’t free. It makes you pay.

You just said it was free.

‘Free’ is relative–in the appetite of the consumer–in a manner of speaking.

Free or not free, related or not, manners or not, I’m hungry. I want to eat. I came here to eat. Isn’t that why we came here? To eat? Why else come here?

How much do you have to offer to relieve your hunger? They take cash, plastic, barter. Whatever you’ve got. And the hungrier you are, the more they’ll take.

(His comments stop her short rant. She looks at him for a moment, probing.)

So … we’re not going anyplace else, then? We’re eating here.

(SHE scans the room, peers into the dark spaces.)

(disappointed, but resigned) Here.

This is the place–the right place for people with appetites like yours.

(CELIA looks around again.)

CELIA And yours?

(HE seems about to answer but instead just shrugs. SHE peers into the dark corners.)

(slightly sarcastically) Not much on ambiance.
Oh, I’m so hungry.
(looks around for a waiter)
Can we get some service?

It’s self-service. You order from the menu, signal your order number, then go pick it up at the counter when they call your number.

Food by numbers. It’s probably disgusting food, too. Well, if it’s self-serve, then what’s he for?

(indicating the Dark-Haired Man)

LYMAN He’s waiting.

He is a waiter, then? Not some performance artist?

LYMAN In a way.

He’s a waiter. Call him over so we can order.

(sarcastically) By the numbers.

He’s not that kind of waiter. He’s waiting.

Well, what’s he waiting for, then? I mean, he’s scoping out the room, holding a serving tray and all, like waiters do.

That’s his plate. He’s waiting for scraps and leftovers.

Leftovers? Why? The food’s free here. You just said so.

For us. Not for him.

He’s waiting to eat scraps? Like some dog? That’s disgusting. So what does he do? Gobble it off customer’s plates?

He serves himself. But he has to beg for it first. He’s not allowed to eat indiscriminately.

(sneaks a glance at the Dark-Haired Man)
That’s good. He looks kind of scruffy. I’m not sure I want him anywhere near my food.

What’s the difference between the food you eat and the food you leave on your plate?

Is he homeless? Oh, God, he’s homeless. They let a homeless person in here to beg customers for their leftovers!? That’s–that’s filthy. Probably violates some kind of health law. Someone should report them. God, it’s almost enough to kill my hunger.

I hope not.

Are you sure we can’t eat someplace else?

It’s too late to go anyplace else. This is the only place open that still has food.

(The DARK-HAIRED MAN shifts his weight from one foot to the other and in the process loose his grip on the platter. It drops with a loud clatter and startles CELIA.)

My God! What is his problem? I’m going to go over there and tell him to leave.

(She starts to rise but LYMAN grabs her by the wrist before she manages to stand.)

LYMAN You can’t.

(She plops back into her seat as the DARK-HAIRED MAN reaches down to pick up the platter.)

He can’t leave.

That’s stupid. Why can’t he leave? They should actually throw him out. He’s bothering the customers.

All he did was shift his weight from one foot to the other. Otherwise, he hasn’t moved. The platter dropped by accident. A twist of fate, you might say.

Well, he bothers me. Now I won’t be able to eat when our food arrives. I’ll gag on it thinking about him eating my leftovers.
And what do you mean he can’t leave?

(The DARK-HAIRED MAN squirms, bends and contorts his body to pick up the platter, but he’s tethered to the wall and can’t manage to reach it. He grows frantic–whimpers softly as he thrashes about in frustration, unable to reach his tray. His frustration turns to anger, then rage. He kicks hard at the platter. It skids across the room and crashes into Celia’s chair. The DARK-HAIRED MAN howls. CELIA jumps up from her seat and turns to face him.)

CELIA Stop that!

(SHE stomps to stand in front of him, just out of arm’s reach.)

Stop that noise this instant!

(At the table LYMAN raises five fingers on one hand, and three on the other. The DARK- HAIRED MAN continues to howl.)

I said shut up! All that howling’s not going to get you a thing! Not food, not water, not friends!

(The DARK-HAIRED MAN’s howls ratchet down to whimpers. He starts to cry.)

That’s better. But you’ve got to stop crying, too. It’s so unattractive–and bothersome–especially when people are trying to have a nice meal in peace and comfort.

(The DARK-HAIRED MAN continues to cry softly, as if he’ll never stop.)

You don’t listen, do you? Why don’t you listen?

(Still crying, the DARK-HAIRED MAN reaches his arms out to her. She jumps back.)

My plate. My plate.

Your plate?

(SHE looks back at the platter next to her seat.)

You want your plate?

(HE nods.)

Well, I’ll get it for you but you’re going to have to stop crying. Otherwise there won’t be any leftovers for you. We’ll take home doggie bags and give them to the dogs. That’s what they’re for. Right?

(The DARK-HAIRED MAN growls.)

What was that? What a horrible noise. What does it mean? Are you disrespecting me? Is that what that repulsive noise in your throat is?

(The DARK-HAIRED MAN growls again, louder.)

Again? After what I just offered you? You throw it back in my face?

(The DARK-HAIRED MAN howls.)

All right. Have it your way.

(SHE walks back to where the platter lies and stomps on it– over and over, as the DARK- HAIRED MAN’s howls intensify. Using her hands and feet SHE twists and bends it until it’s no more than a scrap of useless metal. Then SHE flings it offstage left, out of sight. The DARK-HAIRED MAN lets out an anguished cry, then slumps against the pillar, defeated.)

So there.

(A VOICE calls out.)

Nomber Three. Nomber Fie.

(LYMAN rises from his chair and crosses upstage. CELIA sits in her seat. She picks up her menu, smirks at it, then tosses it away. It slides upstage out of sight. LYMAN returns with two covered plates of food on a large silver- toned tray and sets it on the table.)

Oh, good. Food at last. I certainly worked up an appetite. But at least we can eat in peace. You know, sometimes a body just has to stand up.

(SHE reaches for one of the plates.)

That’s not for you.


(SHE reaches for the other plate.)

That’s not for you either.

You didn’t order for me? They’re both yours?

I ordered them.

What about me?

You need to make your choices and place your order.

I already threw away the menu.

(SHE grabs the third menu and reads it.)

It’s blank. There’s nothing on it. Let me use yours.

(SHE grabs LYMAN’s menu.)

It’s blank, too. How did you order from a blank menu?

They’re customer-specific and single-use. It’s what this place is known for. Besides, I come here often. I already know every item that’s on the menu.

Well, how am I supposed to eat if I can’t see the choices to order?

Guess you’re not.

Not what? Not supposed to eat or not supposed to order?

(LYMAN shrugs.)

You could share yours with me. I don’t care what you ordered. I’m so hungry I could eat a yak.

No, I can’t. There are consequences.

Oh really? Consequences … Such as?

(LYMAN glances for a long moment at the Dark-Haired Man, who’s still slumped, dejected, against the pillar.)

You know, you weren’t very nice to him.

I can’t stand crying. Or begging.

You could have given him his plate back. But instead you destroyed it. Why?

(CELIA squirms and shifts her position on her chair. She looks down at the tray of food on the table and touches the cover of one, then the other.)

They’re cold.

I know.
Answer the question. Why did you destroy his plate?

(SHE stares at him, trying to decide something. HE returns her stare, silently demands an answer. She opens her mouth to speak but stops. Starts again.)

(forcefully, her voice rising)
Because I didn’t want him to eat my leftovers. Because he’d make me leave enough on the plate for leftovers. Because I wouldn’t be able to eat everything on my plate because I knew he’d be waiting for leftovers! I’d leave as hungry as I came–even though I ate. All because I couldn’t have everything I ordered!

(SHE pauses for a moment and looks speculatively at Lyman. Then realization dawns.)

And you knew it! You picked this place on purpose knowing I wouldn’t be able to eat my fill! Knowing he–
(indicating the Dark-Haired Man with her head)
would be here, waiting with his stupid platter! A platter, for god’s sake! Not a simple, regular plate!

(SHE screams.)

I’m so hungry! Why can’t I eat!? What is it with you? You bring me to this place to eat then keep finding ways to keep me from eating! You bring food you say isn’t for me and I can’t have! Why?!

(SHE stops ranting suddenly and looks intently at Lyman.)


(LYMAN takes the covers off the plates of food. The food is wrapped burrito-style in butcher paper.)

Take one. Number Three or Five. It doesn’t matter.

(CELIA hesitates, unsure.)

Go ahead. Help yourself.

(CELIA reaches for the one closest to her. Gingerly, she unwraps it. She’s puzzled by what she sees and opens the paper fully, spreading it flat. The food is gorgeous– colorfully, artfully arranged plastic. She stares at the display for a long moment. Behind her, the DARK- HAIRED MAN moans softly and moves as if to stand up.)

(rising from her chair; to Lyman) You bastard!

It was my chance. My first, last and only chance. I only had three, you see.

(pacing back and forth)
You used me? For some mysterious, perverted quest of yours?
All I wanted was to eat! Everybody eats! It’s basic–human survival. Why did you need to go through all this–this–? What’s the point? What were you after? What do you get in return? You’re clearly not hungry. You don’t seem to need to eat.

(SHE stops pacing.)

And just what is this mysterious last chance of yours? Why is it so important that you had to put me through all this?

I thought it would work. I had faith in you–your voracious hunger. You’ll do just about anything to ease your hunger. Feed mine in the process. Release him–

(indicating the Dark-Haired Man) from his.

(CELIA struggles to understand and respond. She opens and closes her mouth, tries to get words out, but she can’t seem to figure out what to say. She pushes.)

Feed yours in the process …? what the hell does that mean?

(LYMAN hesitates.)

Are you going to tell me what’s going really on? Or should I leave now–and forever? Take this starving body and march it decisively out the door. Never again to have even the slightest contact with you. Or even care.

You still haven’t figured it out, have you?

Would I be asking if I had?

(LYMAN rewraps the plastic food in the butcher paper and places both bundles in his pocket. He stands.)

You are my food–or rather, your ravenous hunger is what feeds me–what you do in its name. It consumes so completely. It’s so intoxicating–voracious, never satiated. And it feeds me completely —fills me–so I don’t have to be hungry.

(LYMAN stares for a long moment at the DARK-HAIRED MAN.)

So I don’t have to bleed. Or cry. It’s that I can’t stand to be hungry. I can’t stand to be in such want. That’s all.

(CELIA falls back into her chair, stunned, seeming not to understand. The DARK-HAIRED MAN mumbles something unintelligible. LYMAN walks stage right, stops and turns back to Celia.)

By the way, about your leaving, now or ever. This place is open for starving customers twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, always. But it’ll be a while yet for you. You haven’t eaten yet.

(HE exits. CELIA sits for a long moment, confused, still trying to understand. She gets up and crosses to stand before the Dark-Haired Man. HE rises to a fully standing position, straightens his clothes, looks uncertainly at her. She glances at him but doesn’t seem to see him, then looks around the place as if searching for something she lost but can’t quite remember what it is.)

(to no one in particular)
We could have been friends.

Nomber Seven. Nomber Nine.

(The DARK-HAIRED MAN perks up. Looks around, searching. LIGHTS DIM, leaving only a low-level spot on the platter on the table. BLACKOUT.)




elena minor is the author of TITULADA and founding editor of PALABRA. Her work has been published in more than two dozen journals and anthologized in Angels of the Americlypse, BAX 2015 and Coiled Serpent. She teaches community-based creative writing to high school students.

The Mating Season of Flying Monkeys

BELINDA, elderly woman, never married, a nurse.

MAJORIE, her sister, also elderly, in sixties or above. Uses a cane. Also never married. A retired bus and farm truck driver.

SETTING: The front porch of the two sister’s shared trailer house. Two rocking chairs, potted plants that clearly need some TLC, a stack of paperbacks by each chair. Light is sunny and bright. Time is now.


[ Belinda sits on one of the chairs, checking her heavily made up face in a mirror. She shakes her head, her hair elaborately fixed. Marjorie dozes in the other chair, wearing sweats, a big sweatshirt, a book open and resting on her chest. Her cane is within reach. Belinda tries to be very quiet. She puts the mirror down on the floor of the porch, checks Marjorie, sets her shoulders as if for a very hard duty. ]

Where ya going, Belinda?
[ Marjorie sits up, yawns hugely, the book falling to one side. Belinda sniffs, but makes a show of going through her purse, a giant purple affair that could house a city, the proverbial old lady purse, if you will. ]
That’s my purse. We need some eggs. Throw these plants out! Why do you have my going-to- town purse? Where are you going without me?

None of your beeswax, you nosy cow. Those plants are fine, perking up, you let them alone.
[ Marjorie makes a grab at the purse but Belinda steps just out of reach. ]

Gimme back my purse! If I have to get up, you are not getting your cup of Lipton tonight.

I might not be here tonight…so…so there. And we share this purse. I’m sharing it. So go back to your nap. Maybe I hate Lipton, maybe I’ve always hated it.

Where are you going? Hate Lipton? Pig’s whiskers you do. You don’t have night shifts anymore. Are those bruises on your cheeks?

[ Rubbing at one cheek, a deathgrip on the purse with the other. ]
It’s just not blended in yet. I never wear makeup. I’m not very good at it. I’m taking the car. I’m taking the car and might be out all night, all night! So. Don’t call the police. I’ll be out all night, and, the police do not need to be called.

You are not taking the car. It needs oil. And tires.

I’m stopping to get tires. It only needs one new tire. You’re so negative! And…and I put some oil in this morning, when you were still in bed. I’ve always put the oil in, ever since we’ve had that car. I’m going.
[ Marjorie picks up her book from floor, looks through it for her place, then bends the page. ]
Ignore me all you wish. I’m going to do this.

No, you’re not. I’m a year older than you. I’m still the boss here. What exactly are you NOT going to do? Wearing clown makeup.

Marjorie. You can’t tell me what to do anymore. I’m…an old woman now. You’re my sister, not…not my mother. I’ve decided to have a one night stand, if you absolutely must know.

[ Silence. Marjorie gropes for her cane, and then gets to her feet. Belinda backs off. But still rather defiant. ]

But. You’ve hated men since Jack Klingerholfer broke your heart when you were sixteen.

Well, better late than never. I’m going to a bar and…picking someone up.

What is this, mating season for flying monkeys??

I have no idea what that even means, but I am not a monkey. I have my best nightie and that perfume I got at the Dollar Store. I am ready for love!
[ Gets behind chair as Marjorie advances. ]

Belinda, have you gone plumb stone crazy? They cut down on your hours at the hospital, so what. Learn to knit. Good women don’t go to bars, or go home with some stranger.
[ Stops, begins to smile. Goes back to chair and sits carefully. ]
Cause we’re old witches, we should have flying monkeys. You’re plumb stone crazy.

I’m not crazy. I am headed out to…follow my heart.
[ Belinda sits in the other chair, purse on her lap. ]
And it’s not a man…I’m not looking for a man. I meant that. Never again for men.

Then what are you blathering about? Maybe you just need some sleep.

[ Marjorie coughs, chokes, bangs her cane on the floor as she tries to get her powers of speech
back. ]
I must be. I’ve hated men since I was sixteen. I live with my sister. I like women. Are you okay? Do you need some water?

I just swallowed wrong is all. What’s got you so stirred up? Did you take my heart pills again?

I have never taken your heart pills, that was a dream you had.

You took them, you hid them and then ate them like candies.

I am a nurse. I know better than to take your blood thinners like candies. You’re starting to think what you dream actually happens.

I’m starting to think you think I’m crazy. I know you’re up nights sneaking around the house.

Of course I am. You don’t like me drinking milk before bedtime.

You fart all night. I don’t want to smell your farts all night.

It settles my stomach. You know I can’t stand the taste of Pepto.

Who can? You drink it because it works, not for the taste. You don’t pour it over ice cubes or…

Fine fine fine! I’m taking this purse and going out. I won’t stand here and argue about Pepto. I won’t.

So you can find some queer gal and…and…what would you even do with her?

How do I know? I just know I want to.

It’s sick.

Oh now, things have changed. People have changed. No, they haven’t. I drove truck for almost thirty years, I got called names. I would have been perfectly happy cooking pot roasts for any of those guys I drove beets and onions and taters to the sheds for. Any one of em! They looked at me and went, ugly bulldyke queer, cause I cut off my hair that one time, I saw it in a magazine, I thought it looked cute.

Oh. That short hair did not look good on you. I never knew they made fun of you. You were better than most men at driving, so what? You were happy driving.

I was. I could change my own tires, too. Was I supposed to wait around? Worry I’d break a nail. Goddamn it.
[ Both women smile. ]
It’s a rough ole world sometimes.

I was once told, by mother, that it was good I didn’t have children.
[ She sits, hugs purse to her stomach. ]
Cause I didn’t have patience.

I think she really wanted grandchildren. She should have had prettier daughters.

Yes, she should have. But. I never thought you were ugly. Or I was. Not everyone is meant to marry and have all that. That’s all. And we’ve had good lives. Fun ones at times. We can eat whatever we want, any time we want. We’re not being bossed to death. Well, you’re a bit bossy, but that’s just you, Marjorie.

I’m the oldest, I’m supposed to be bossy. Don’t take my purse. What’s wrong with your little yellow number?

It’s not big enough for my good nightie, my slippers and my reading glasses, plus my perfume, toothbrush and…

Good heavens, why not just take a suitcase?

It would look awful strange to be lugging a suitcase about.

I didn’t mean it. I didn’t mean you should go and pack a suitcase for your night out with…with the funny women.

I know. I was making a little joke. I tried fitting everything into my yellow purse.

Why are you doing this?

I told you, your purse is three times the size of mine.

You think, in all these years, I didn’t want to find some stranger and..and find out what all the fuss’s about? But it never happened. It wasn’t supposed to.

Well then…come with me.
[ Silence. Marjorie makes a sound like a snort. ]
We can go pick out a new tire and…drive somewhere nice. A nice clean friendly bar. And we could have fingersteaks, you love fingersteaks. With honey! And…and take our chances. Have a little fun. We’re old now, nobody cares what we do. We’re the only ones who care what we do! Come on, sister. I already put oil in. All you have to do is put on those nice slacks you got and you can borrow my silver necklace.

I do like that necklace. It was on sale.
[ Belinda touches her hand. ]
Oh now…no. I’m not foolish anymore. And my leg hurts. It’s going to rain.

My knees say it is, too. Let’s be foolish. It could be nothing much will happen tonight…but what if it could? Umm?

Because we’re not foolish women. We went to work when no one would marry us, like you’re supposed to when you’re ugly and poor. We toughed it out, lived here in this trailer for, what, almost thirty years now. You’re still young, you still think life will turn out wonderful…

I’m a year younger, I’m not twenty anymore, you still think I’m twenty. Life is what it is! I know that. But. I want to…to know a few things before I get slapped in a coffin. What it’s like to kiss someone and have them want to kiss you back. I want to eat a mango. I’ve been too afraid to eat one! I look at them in the store and go, what do you taste like? I dream at night about eating mangoes.

They’re not a real fruit.

Why does it have to be an orange or an apple or a banana to be a real fruit??

Maybe this is how you act before you have a stroke.

Oh stop. Every time I disagree with you, you tell me I’m sick or fevered or about to have a stroke.

Your cheeks are all flushed and you’re yelling at me, what am I supposed to think? And you’re not serious about going out and finding some floozy, maybe that’s a joke, too.

I always yell at you. I’m not joking about this.

Of course you are. You’re not going anywhere. You don’t have the nerve.

I do. I have just enough nerve.

No, you don’t. Anytime anything goes wrong, you just give up. Look at Jack! One bad time with a boy and you…you gave up until now.

He broke my heart.

So? You get over it. You never got over it… in fifty years? Has it been that long?

I loved him. I’m not shallow.

No, you’re a scaredy-cat.

I am not. I’m a romantic.

That’s another word for scaredy-cat. You were sixteen. Nothing sticks when you’re sixteen, it’s not the end of the world, ever, when you’re sixteen. You never grew up. Other people…

I grew up. I took up nursing even though I hated it. I worked. I saved my money. What about you? You’re not exactly blazing the trails. You’ve never even been in love. A few men make fun of you and you just…give up. Scaredy-cat!
[ Silence. The two glare at each other. ]
Everything sticks when you’re sixteen. Everything gets remembered years later. That’s the point. You’re supposed to live and love and have adventures so you can remember them years later. Well. I want to have my adventures. I want them. At least one adventure! At least one. And then…and then I’ll settle down and drink tea and play canasta with you until I die.

If you hated nursing so much, why didn’t you go back to school?

And do what? Teach?? Oh I hate those horrible monsters, I’d have been arrested. I wanted to be a singer, but I can’t sing. I took lessons once, long ago. The lady was very nice, but she told me outright I couldn’t sing and it would be a waste of my money. Every dream I’ve had…has been killed.

Do you think I wanted to drive trucks and school buses? It was just something I could do until my real life started.
[ Stops, does not look at Belinda. ]
But it never did.

You’ve had a good life! You always seemed happy.

I made the best of things. They don’t teach that so well nowadays.

They don’t teach gumption, either. I have to go out and…see what’s out there tonight. Make this your best day ever. I read that phrase in a book yesterday. It…it stayed with me.

So every day that follows will be terrible or you supposed to do crazy things every day?

I don’t know. I just know I want to go out and see what’s what.

Cause of a book. What book?

Just a book.

You never read. You do puzzles. What book?

I read.

What book?

A book I found at the Dollar Store. Life Strategies or something like that, okay??

You read a few pages in this book and…and turned all queer?

I don’t think they say queer anymore. I’m not queer. I don’t know what I am.

Belinda. You are giving me a headache. And give me back my purse.
[ Grabs it, Belinda holds on. ]
It’s my purse!

You never go anywhere! Let go!

[ Has managed to wrest the purse away from Belinda. Wraps her arms around it. ]

I will hit you with your own cane if you don’t give that back. You know I’m not a peaceful sort.
[ Picks up cane. Marjorie makes a face. ]

Oh. Oh fine.
[ Tosses purse at Belinda, who drops the cane to catch it. ]
Please use my purse when you’re out making sure you go to hell.
[ Sits down carefully, snorts. Belinda sighs, makes a face. ]

You’re an old crank. You were born an old crank. No wonder the men left you alone.

Best be careful. This trailer is in my name, missy.

I’m your sister. You’d make me leave?

I’m a very evil old witch, try me.

If I stay here…I won’t ever change. Nothing will ever change.
[ They look at each other, look away. ]

You do whatever the hell you want.


You’re the only friend I got.
[ Belinda walks to her, after retrieving the cane. Marjorie takes the cane when Belinda hands it to her. ]

Come with me. Borrow my silver necklace.

I have to do the dishes.

[ Kisses the top of her sister’s head. ]
Thank you for letting me use your purse.

You’d have beat me with my own cane if I hadn’t.

[ Belinda laughs, walks off as the lights dim to black. End of play. ]


Ann Wuehler is a native Oregonian. She’s lived in China, visited Bangkok and taught in Lithuania and Honduras. She received my BA in Theatre from Eastern Oregon University and her MFA in Playwriting from the University of Nevada/Las Vegas. A novelist for Kensington Gore, with Oregon Gothic out now and more to come.

love (lower case)

GINA: protagonist, early twenties
PAUL: ex-boyfriend of GINA, also early twenties
MARGOT: best friend to GINA; we only hear her voice
MIDDLE-AGED MAN: balding, with a paunch


Lights up on a mostly empty stage. Center stage is a bed. GINA sits on the bed beside PAUL, who lies facedown, turned away from her.

GINA (to audience): Scrolling back through the worst moments of your life, this is at the top. Up there between the rejection from Brown and your dog Sammie being hit by a car in fifth grade. Sitting here in your bra, pressing a smushed bloody tissue against your nostrils—you always get a bloody nose when you’re nervous—while your boyfriend—er, ex-boyfriend—lies face-down on the bed beside you, clutching a pillow and sobbing into the twisted sheets. (Looks over at PAUL.) You didn’t think he would take it this hard. Oh, this is worse than Brown saying no. Worse than Sammie dying. This is the worst.

(GINA looks at PAUL for a few silent moments, pain evident on her face.)

GINA (to PAUL): I really hope we can still be friends.


(PAUL has stopped crying and is now trying to change GINA’S mind, convince her they should stay together.)
PAUL: Why? I just don’t understand why.

GINA (to audience): You don’t know what to say. There’s not an easy reason why. Is there ever an easy reason why?

PAUL: I mean, we were so happy.

GINA (to audience): It’s true. You were happy. Most of the time. As happy as most people are.

PAUL (earnest): You’re The One for me, Gina.

GINA (to audience): There. That’s the reason. He’s so certain the two of you are Meant To Be. He’s been talking about A Future Together. There was a time when you thought about A Future Together, too. A time when you were giddy with Future thoughts. The two of you, old and gray. Wedding anniversaries and mortgages and diapers and wallpaper and vacuum cleaners and joint checking accounts.

PAUL (grabbing GINA’S hand): I can’t imagine being with anyone else.

GINA (to audience): The real problem—the palms-sweating, stomach-clenching, claustrophobic insomniac problem—isn’t really the Future. It’s the Future with him and only him. It’s the two of you together always. What a cliché, but you can’t help it. At some point, your relationship stalled, then rolled backwards, like a car parked on a steep hill without a parking brake, out of Love and back down into love. Lower case. (Slips her hand out of PAUL’S hand.)

PAUL (angry/frustrated): Why? Just give me a reason why. GINA (finally addresses PAUL): I don’t know. I’m sorry.


(GINA’S MOTHER enters, holding a crock pot and sheets. As the scene progresses, she spreads the sheets on the bed and dishes out some chili into a bowl for GINA.)

GINA: Your mother comes over with turkey chili and freshly laundered sheets.

MOTHER: You did the right thing. At some point you’ve got to either stop fishing or cut bait and move on.
GINA (to audience): You don’t say anything. You pick at a scab on your knee from when you cut yourself shaving.

MOTHER: This isn’t a dress rehearsal. This is your life.

GINA (to audience): You don’t say anything. You grip a hangnail between your teeth and pull.

MOTHER: Never settle. It’s not fair to you, or to him. (Hands bowl of chili to GINA.)

GINA (to audience): You don’t say anything. You spear a clump of turkey and onion with your fork. You worry no one will ever love you as much as he did.


GINA: All day long, you make lists:
• Things You Would Tell Him About If You Were Still On Speaking Terms.
• Things That Make You Think Of Him. (You Can’t Help It.)
• Inside Jokes That Are No Longer Relevant, Which is Unfortunate Because They Were Pretty Damn Funny.


GINA: You do not call him. You call Margot instead.

(GINA picks up the phone and dials.)

GINA (into phone, to MARGOT): Will I ever be able to call him?

MARGOT’S VOICE: Just wait a few more days.

GINA: But I said I’d call him in a couple days, not a few days. And it’s already been a couple days. MARGOT’S VOICE: Just wait a few more. Till you’re ready.

GINA: Will I ever be ready?

MARGOT’S VOICE: Just wait till tomorrow. (Beat.) You’re not ready yet. I can tell.


(At the grocery store. GINA pushes a shopping cart.)

GINA: Instead of calling him, you go to the grocery store. It is a place with lights and people. Things to buy. You’re not out of milk, but you can pretend to be. And bananas. You should try to be healthier. You should start putting sliced bananas on your cereal. You pick the greenest bunch in the pile because you like bananas with a bit of green at the tips. Not this green, but they’ll ripen. Your boyfriend—ex-boyfriend—likes bananas yellow and spotty. (Beat.) All of a sudden you’re thinking about his banana and how at one time you had thought his was the only banana for you, the only one you would ever really know, ever really need. You put the green bananas back on the shelf. Try to think about his bellybutton, the way it was always lined with belly-button lint.


(PAUL enters and lies under the sheet on the bed. GINA lies down beside him but still addresses the audience.)

GINA (to audience): The last time the two of you did it, your roommate knocked on the door halfway through.

ROOMMATE’S VOICE: I have to come in and get something. Right now. It’s an emergency!

GINA (to audience): So your ex-boyfriend, who was still your boyfriend then, pulled his banana out of you and the two of you hurried to dress.

(GINA climbs out of bed and walks towards front of the stage, talking to the audience. PAUL follows her, clutching the sheet around him.)

GINA: I mean, what else could you do? After your roommate grabbed her iPod and gym key off her desk and left, you and your ex-boyfriend watched Arrested Development on DVD, because neither of you was in the mood anymore.

GINA (to PAUL, who is standing beside her): I wish we had done it once more after that. It makes me sad to think that was our last time together. Unfinished.

(PAUL exits, leaving GINA onstage alone.)


(GINA pushes her cart up and down the grocery aisles. MIDDLE-AGED MAN enters, holding a shopping basket.)

GINA: Up ahead of you in the grocery aisle is a middle-aged man, paunch like a bowling ball beneath his white T-shirt, considering Frosted Flakes versus Lucky Charms. He is balding and carries a basket instead of pushing around a cart. His basket contains chocolate ice cream—two cartons—and a box of macaroni and cheese. Tears prick your eyes at the sight of him. So many lonely people in this world. You leave your cart in the middle of the cereal aisle and make a beeline for your car to beat the tears.

(GINA abandons cart and crosses stage, walking quickly.)


(GINA struggles with the key, finally opens the car door, sits down in the driver’s seat and slams the car door closed. GINA collapses into tears for a few moments before sitting up, wiping her eyes, and addressing the audience.)

GINA: There’s something about crying all alone in your car in a half-empty strip-mall parking lot at night. If you were a character in a movie, this would be the Low Point. Which means that in the next scene something would change. Things would only get better from here. (Beat.) You slide the key into the ignition and blast the heater.

(GINA slides her key into the ignition.) GINA: “Eleanor Rigby” comes on the radio. (“Eleanor Rigby” starts to play, softly.)


(LIGHTS FADE to a single spotlight on GINA.)

GINA: Driving home, it starts to snow. Darkness hugs the car close. It would be easy to get lost here. You turn your high beams on and hope you’re headed in the right direction.



Dallas Woodburn, a former Steinbeck Fellow in Creative Writing, has published fiction and nonfiction in Zyzzyva, Prism Review, North Dakota Quarterly, and The Los Angeles Times, among many others. Her plays have been produced in Los Angeles, South Lake Tahoe, and New York City. Visit her online at



AVERAGE AMERICAN: Female or male. In the depths of poverty.

BULLY: Ruler of America if not the world. Impossibly wealthy. Despicably egocentric.

JOSEWULF: A citizen of Mexico. Courageous. Fearless. Heroic. Honorable. Strong. Wise. Good.

The future.

Washington, D.C., and Mexico on the U.S. border. ~

AT RISE: Dawn. The mall in Washington, D.C. AVERAGE AMERICAN, dressed in rags, speaks to us. BULLY sits on the Lincoln Memorial marble chair. The Lincoln part of the statue has been removed.

Lo, honor the Bully
or suffer
He brooks no nonsense
suffers not
detractors takes
not prisoners.
Bully bathes in the glory
upon his head
lighted by ego
bright as the sun.
He is the sun, the moon, the stars,
planets, asteroids,
black holes, northern lights, you name it — Bully is all.

Over my bed hangs The Motto, framed in gold: I am All.

(SOUND: trumpet salute.)

Indeed this trampled earth
is his;
indeed the rights to
diamond mines,
oil wells
and miscellaneous mines of everything else are his.

Bully owns all.

(BULLY polishes his nails, combs his hair, admires himself in a hand mirror as AVERAGE comes downstage to speak to us.)

How did this happen?
was it ever
Peasants whisper
the question, but
the answer
has been lost
across ages.
How did it happen that an Evil lord
owns every
of land, of sea
owns every animal
and bird
owns us.
How, the peasants ask,
but quietly ‘lest
Bully hear.
We suffer,
sleeping little;
slaving day and night for naught.
Children in rags
bellies empty
cry into pillows at night or
would if
they had pillows.

(laughing, to no one in particular:) “Build! Build!”

He gestures toward the southern border.

“Build, you dirty devils!” I’ll send the bill by U.S. Post.

(JOSEWULF, apart, is on the U.S. border in Mexico. He wears a Mexican warrior outfit with traditional weapons such as a chimalli [shield] and macuahuitl [staff with obsidian blades]. He shakes a fist in BULLY’s direction.)

Like Midas of old
wealth upon wealth
that is never enough;
grinding all in
your path
unfeeling boot.
Die, American monster!

Why or when it began
we do not know
only that judges were named
laws changed —

Bully is Ruler for Life!

The Days of Bullydom are numbered.

Unbeknownst to the
a king
of another sort
compassionate sort
a ruler
to the south
amasses troops.

Come all ye downtrodden,
demeaned, dismissed
spat upon
join me in a Battle for Good.
Not one more bill will
I accept
for The Wall
he has constructed with the blood
of my people
and those to the north
beneath his stupendous ego
Pay for his
No more!

(SOUND: a call to arms.)

(admiring himself in the mirror:)
I’m the richest, most
successful businessman in the world. Everybody loves me.

They come
they gather,
farmers, laborers, craftsmen
fishermen, potters
peddlers, mothers
from hills
seacoast until
all of Mexico stands beside noble Joséwulf.

North, my friends!
Right marches beside us.

The army surges forward north, toward The Wall.

(The sun is overhead.)

Lunchtime. Service please!
American cow patty
American cheese
American bun. Caucasian er vanilla milkshake
Side of non-French fries.
The Frenchies love me but I don’t trust them.
Smart move, tearing down the Statue of Liberty.
Frog woman. Can’t have that in New York Harbor!

Unaware of the approaching host
Bully dines.

The Wall.

Josewulf and his thousands are over The Wall
like flood waters over a dam
aided by Americans on the other side
in Texas
starving for education,
medicine, food, justice,
equality, the vote. One vote for
a leader who cares.

Join us, Americano amigos
together we march
as one we destroy Evil!

(SOUND: a rousing cheer from a large crowd.)

(yawns, stretches:)

As Bully naps
the army heads
Women washing rags
in polluted streams
look up;
too weak to play
look up;
men scratching for berries,
for beetles,
for something for dinner
look up
as The Army of the Righteous approaches.

They join us
they march with us
strong at the thought
of conquering Evil.

Dinner time. Service!

(BULLY tucks a dinner napkin under his chin. Dusk approaches.)

Dallas, Memphis, Nashville, Norfolk —


(SOUND: cell phone rings. BULLY answers.)

What’s that?
Advancing northward? Ridiculous. They couldn’t
get over
The Wall.
Besides, they’re Losers
ignorant Losers
knows that.
They love me,
but they’re Losers
America doesn’t want Losers.

A short lesson on Losers is necessary before continuing. If you have the notion that Losers are small, nasty, or un- pleasant in anyway, get rid of it right now. That is propaganda spread by media — controlled by you-know-who. Wipe it from your mind. Losers are often courageous, strong, wise, heroic, and they smell like honeysuckle. Got it?

Forward, to Washington to
the White House —

(correcting him:)
Castle. It’s called the “castle” now.

The big white building
emblazoned with letters
in flashing lights.
to boldly breach
his wall
the Evil king in
his lair
and disappear him.

(BULLY holds out a wine glass.)

California, New York State, anything but French or Chinese.
Do they have Chinese wine?

José’s plans could not
one mistake make
nor one slip up
nor one small
moment skip.
Years went into planning,
top secret,
all out,
no holes barred
now or never

(BULLY has finished dinner. He is wiping his mouth with the napkin.)

Word gets out of the fateful
People gather
up and down Pennsylvania Avenue
would-be voters
if there was voting anymore, now
taking bets
(though they have nothing
to bet with),
(though praying is not
allowed) —

Hoping, for they have not forgot hope.

You have resurrected hope, Joséwulf!

(SOUND: crowd cheers. JOSEWULF holds up a finger for silence, but too late BULLY has heard the mob.)

What’s that?

He flings wide the door to his chamber balcony
sneers at us below.

“Stupid idiots!”

His mouth a hollow cave.

Orange hair electric.

Silken robe
tied tightly below
well-filled belly.

No idea that others have brains
can come up with
carry through.
Sees himself as the only
be all and end all
of everything.

So he is not afraid.

I know you love me I love your love
be quiet
I’ve had a hard day.

Plumps his pillow and
is soon asleep
of eggs Benedict and latte laced
with brandy
French — it’s a dream
dreams of
morning paper filled
with news of
and his

(Silence. Silence. Silence. Night falls. JOSEWULF cracks his knuckles. BULLY snores in his marble seat. AVERAGE AMERICAN has a weapon now. SOUND: suddenly a rousing warcry as the peasant army attacks. BULLY sits up, calls:)

911! Everybody to the boardroom! Department of Defense. Department of Anti-Immigration. FBI. CIA. Get in here!


Throw him out.

I am Joséwulf.

I don’t give a damn if you’re the Mona Lisa. Deport him!

I do not like you.

Everybody loves me.

Name one.

And whatshisname
and here and —
I don’t have to answer to you, disgusting poor person. Loser.

(BULLY grabs JOSEWULF. A fearsome struggle follows between them.)

I was ready to fight
ready for —

(SOUNDS of raging battle: gunfire, screams of horses, shouts, bombs, cannons, chaos. AVERAGE cuts off the sound. It stops as quickly as it began.)

Bully’s followers
fled like
pursued by
tigers before
a shot was fired. Only these two
Good and Evil
to the death.

(JOSE and BULLY are locked in a fearsome struggle. First it looks like JOSE will win, then BULLY [who of course fights dirty]. Just as it looks like BULLY might win, choking the life out of JOSE with his foot upon JOSE’s throat, JOSE lunges up, grabs BULLY’s arm, and wrenches it loose from the shoulder socket. JOSE waves the torn arm above his head victoriously.)

Power to the People!

slinks off
to hide
never to be seen again.

(SOUND: crowd cheers. JOSE and AVERAGE embrace. BLACKOUT.)



Robin Rice is the author of 90+ plays (short, one-act, full-length), produced worldwide — South Korea to Africa, London to Off-Broadway. Publishers include Samuel French and Original Works. The environment, social justice and realizing individual passions are frequent themes. Synopses of available plays:

American Mastodon

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Carolyn Kras is a writer whose awards include the Hamptons International Film Festival Screenwriters Lab, Alfred P. Sloan Screenwriting Award, Visionary Playwright Award, and a Fulbright LUSK Grant to the United Kingdom. She has been a writer-in-residence at Ucross Foundation, Hawthornden Castle, Sell a Door Theatre Company, Ragdale Foundation, American Antiquarian Society, and Anderson Center at Tower View. Her plays have been produced or developed at Chicago Dramatists, Stage Left Theatre, Centenary Stage Company, Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre, 20% Theatre Company Chicago, Live Girls! Theater, Williams Street Rep, Theater Masters, and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, among others. She has a B.A. in Drama from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.

Why Male Birds Have Such Bright Feathers

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Katie Darby Mullins teaches creative writing at the University of Evansville. In addition to being nominated for the Pushcart Prize twice and being the associate editor of metrical poetry journal Measure, she’s been published or has work forthcoming in journals like The Rumpus, Hawaii Pacific Review, BOAAT Press, Harpur Palate, Prime Number, Big Lucks, Pithead Chapel, The Evansville Review, and she was a semifinalist in the Ropewalk Press Fiction Chapbook competition and in the Casey Shay Press poetry chapbook competition.

The Apex of Friendzone

The world has been taken over by aliens. The aliens destroyed all human cities, and worked very hard to kill and obliterate all humans on the planet. They succeeded, sort of. They found two survivors, so they decided to put them in an enclosure, half zoo, half observation lab. The aliens are determined to coax the two humans into mating, to preserve the species. Only problem is, that both of the humans are men.

Pancho: Half Mexican, half Puerto Rican, tall, buff, tan skinned with a bubble butt, and thick wavy brown hair. He needs to be played by any Latino actor. Thick, buff, close to being a bear, must be funny and attractive.

Phil: Looks like harry potter. Tech nerd. Slim. White, must have really nice butt.


Xiorgklax: Is a dark blue, almost purple alien shaped like an octopus or a squid, with a single giant eye making up most of it’s head, it has tentacles under the head, countless, or (at least ten) it floats. The other aliens look exactly like it, just with darker or lighter purple colors.

SCENE 1                                 

Phil is onstage. He is naked. The magenta Squid-like thing floats into the room, the hundreds of tentacles coming from its head twirling and twitching like they always do never touch the ground. How they float like that Phil does not know. The purple squid thing’s giant red and orange eye with black pupils throbbing and double blinking seems lifeless. Two of its tentacles slowly nudge a loaf of the worst shit he’s ever tasted towards him.

The squid-like thing makes a noise,



They don’t seem to have mouths, or any that Phil can see, when they communicate with each other, they mostly vibrate and make clicking noises, so he doesn’t know where this sound is coming from. The ugly thing is trying to say Bread, though, he knows that much.


You’re an ugly cunt. I know you can’t understand me, but, fuck you, you ugly alien cunt.


Brrruuuuuueeeeead! With more enthusiasm


Fuck you and your bread, you fuck.

The squid like thing puts the bread brick down next to Phil’s bare feet and floats away through the entrance of the enclosure. From the fake cave behind him, you can hear the voice of a man waking up from a nap.


off stage, stretching noise, maybe a yawn Ooh, did they just drop off some bread? I’m starving!

Phil takes a very deep breath and lets it out very slowly as he stares up at the poorly painted moon above him. Then another and another, and another, and another, till Phil is breathing very hard and very fast, and his breathing turns into a panic attack, he pulls at his hair.

Lights out. END SCENE 1



Hey you want half of this bread? Pancho calls from the cave.

Phil takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly, so he doesn’t scream, or start to sob uncontrollably again. Pancho, buff tan skinned with a bubble butt and thick wavy brown hair comes out of the cave he stands next to Phil.


Morning handsome! Pancho slaps Phil sharply right on his bare white ass.


Dear god, I wish the fucking aliens would understand me when I try to explain clothes to them…


Duude, I got raging morning wood right now, look at it. It’s screaming for a blowjob.


For Goooood’s sake, Pancho!


Look around buddy, GIANT FLOATING SQUID ALIENS, God does not exists! But you know what does? Bjs! Sexy wet bjs.

Pancho, sways his hips so his thick erect dark brown cock sways back and forth, Pancho then reaches down and pulls his foreskin back revealing a rather large deep purple cock head.Then makes it talk in a funny voice, could be Topo Gigio, or The Taco Bell Chihuahua Dog, or Donald Duck, which ever the actor can do accurately and loudly.

Buenos dias Phil! Give me a kiss!


I hate it when you do that, stop it!


Aw but Sabado Gigante loves you, Phil!


Stop calling him that! I fucking hate you Pancho!

He walks away from Pancho to another part of their enclosure.


But Sabado Gigante loves you, Phil! Why won’t you love Sabado Gigante, back!?

Pancho had named his cock Sabado Gigante.



Phil screams uncontrollably, falls to the ground, claws at the air, he’s having a panic attack, nervous break down. One of the Aliens floats into the enclosure, and zaps him with a laser, it looks like a laser or a lightning bolt, it is loud and sciencefiction-ie sounding.

AAK! Phil falls to the ground passed out.


Ha! Well, okay then…Sits on the ground, crosses his legs and starts to eat bread … more Bread for me.

End Scene Lights out.


Phil is now awake, both men are sitting naked on the floor or one fake plastic rocks. Xiorgklax floats above them.




No! No! No! NO! For being fucking aliens who conquered the earth, you fuckers are not very bright!


It is ….important… to continue ….your species…   you both…. Must mate.


I guess we better get to work Phil.


To Pancho FUCK YOU! To Xiorglax We are both men! Tell your leaders, we are both men! Don’t’ they know that?! Before they destroyed every single human being on the planet, they didn’t bother to learn the difference between men and women!?!






Is this why you keep playing Barry White, and leaving cases of Smirnov Ice for us?! What is Smirnov Fucking ice the only alcohol that survived the destruction of all human civilization?!


…   …   …. Yes….


I love Smirnov Ice Chucks some Smirnov Ice


Forgive…leaders… not care…about how you reproduce…but you…must reproduce…they think it is important, for our scientists to make you breed…they don’t really know what a penis and vagina are…


We can’t reproduce! WE CAN’T!


Dude, will you please stop screaming at the only alien who has been kind to us, Xiorgklax is the only one whose even bothered to learn English.   Puts his arm around Phil, besides, It won’t hurt to try, right? Phil pushes Pancho away in skinny white boy disgust.


Forgive…they are going to keep trying to….coax you…to mate…till something…happens…but …Xioooorrgklax aware of how impossible…so…experiment…been injected both of you with, something that will help, ….reproduction…during sleep.


Has another nervous break down, Aaaahh AHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

After his laughing screaming fit he dissolves into sobs. Very loud sobs, and falls down into a ball and hugs his skinny knees.


Forgive… floats away and out of the enclosure


Pancho chugs another Smirnov Ice and sits next to a weeping Phil, pats him on the back.

There, there, Sad white boy. Come on, stop crying, they’re gonna zap you with that laser again if you keep crying, you know they don’t like it when you freak out. …come on…we’re alive, be grateful for that, let’s make the best of it, why you gotta be such a sad white boy all the time?

Pancho rubs Phil’s back, and starts to attempt to slowly give him a back run.


I’m going to kill myself!


Dude, you know they’ll just zap you with that laser if you try to kill yourself again. Chill out, look at me I’ve never been zapped by their lasers.


How the hell do you stay so calm?


Dude, come on, all the Smirnov Ice I can drink, free food, no rent, fuck, this is sweet! Plus I got a hot Harry Potter lookin’ white boy to stare at all day! You got a pretty dick too.


You’re a fucking animal! Stop touching me!

Pancho stops touching Phil


Ew, Phil, why you gotta be such a homophobe?


I AM NOT A HOMOPHOBE! Beat. You know before all this horrible shit happened I had no problem with queer people, or gay men, I loved gay men! Before all humans were killed all my cis male friends were gay men!


What the fuck is cis?


When they told me that they’d found another human alive, the only one left alive after the culling, I was hoping with all my heart that it would be a woman, dear God I wept and prayed that it would be a woman! Then when you showed up I was devastated, another fucking man! But then, I was relieved to find out you’re gay, cause I thought, I’d at least have someone educated and cultured to talk to, BUT NO, I got some Mexican asshole who won’t stop trying to fuck me!


EXCUSE ME!, That’s Puertorexican.


I thought I would get someone who is as well read on all the queer essays and articles, like me, but YOU DON’T’ EVEN KNOW WHO JUNOT DIAZ, IS! Before all this, I was a cis straight white man, who checked himself on his privilege, considered myself a staunch feminist, and you won’t stop slapping me on the ass!


But duuuude, that is one plump ass booty for a white boy, though!


Have you even ever read a book?


Fuck No.


What’s your favorite movie?


Actually means it, is pretty happy and proud that his favorite movie is all of the Fast and the Furious

Fast and the Furious! All of them! He is so excited about Fast and the Furious


Even more distraught.

I miss my wife! I miss my wife so much!


I’m sorry man, rubs Phil’s back



You know…before all of this, I had actually been a huge fan of aliens, ever since I was a kid.


Yeah? Still rubbing Phil’s back, now rubbing Phil’s knee, with his other hand.


My favorite movies were “Explorers” with Ethan Hawk, and River Phoenix, “Earth Girls are Easy”, and of course “Prometheus”. So when aliens finally came to earth, I was thrilled. I even brought my son out to watch the giant ships float over the bay area. I didn’t know at the time that they had appeared all over the world, over every major city. My wife wouldn’t leave the house, she was terrified. Right when I said “Honey come out, there’s nothing to worry about,” was when the ships started shooting their lasers.


Wow, sorry bro.

Pancho has rubbed from Phil’s knee up his thigh and is now caressing very near his crotch.


It happened so quickly, the mass murder of every single human being on earth, I could probably deal with the trauma better if I hadn’t had to watch everything from the windows of the alien ship that captured me, the blazing mushroom clouds, the cities left in endless deserts of ash, the sky nothing but black smoke. Even when I try to masturbate I can’t even think of any women, all I see is death, and fire and destruction AND OH MY GOD WILL YOU PLEASE STOP TRYING TO TOUCH MY BALLS!?


Okay, okay, sorry, sorry,…

Gets up, puts his hands up in the air, walks in a circle.


What the fuck Pancho?! What the fuck! DO I HAVE TO LECTURE YOU ON RAPE CULTURE, AGAIN!?



They stare at each other in great anger

We’re both men! We GOT NEEDS! There is no one left alive on the planet, you’re not just putting me in the friendzone, Phil, you’re putting me in the MOST ULTIMATE APEX OF FRIENDZONES, DUDE!”


THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS THE FRIENDZONE!! Dear God! How the hell did human women keep from killing all of us?! This is horrible! You’re horrible!

Phil gets up to walk away from Pancho!


Fuck you, Phil! And you know what?! Prometheus sucked!




Fuck that movie! Fuck you! And Prometheus, suuuuucked!


Prometheus was an intelligent well-made prequel, it was a- gets cut off


a dumb ass piece of shit movie, awful! Crap! How the hell that white girl be walking around after giving herself a c section FUCK THAT SHIT! Don’t you ever say the word Prometheus to me ever again!!! There are only two good Alien movies, Alien, and Aliens, THAT’S IT, TWO!?


Wait, what? What about the third one, and part four? There are five Alien movies, YOU FUCKING IDIOT!




Both men run at each other, after four or five punches, they begin wrestling, at first standing, then on the ground, there is a lot of pressing into each other, heavy breathing, it basically looks like angry sex, it is pretty hot.

Then the aliens appear, zap them with their lasers.



Both men fall on the floor unconscious.



It is dark inside their fake plastic cave where Pancho is asleep on a soft mat on the ground, arms and legs spread out wide like a star. Maybe he is snoring a little. Phil stands at the entrance of the cave, looking horribly lonely, hair a mess, maybe he’s been crying. He looks around the cave. He walks in slowly, and stands at the foot of the mat, staring down at Pancho. After a moment Xiorgklax floats in.



It has been …5 of your …earth months since you …have interacted….


I needed my space. …and he kept trying to put his finger up my ass.


Leaders…are angry…you must …reproduce!…


Still staring at Pancho.

You’re smart Xiorgklax, you know that’s not gonna happen. Pause. How is it that he can sleep, so soundly? Why isn’t he having nightmares like me?   I came back two weeks ago, and saw caught him masturbating, how the fuck can he do that? Every time I try to think of naked women all I see, is people being killed by lasers, or on fire.


You here, to mate? Both now can…reproduce…injected you both with serum, to help. You should mate!


No! Finally turns to look at Xiorglax Injected what? You can’t be serious! You don’t have a mouth, I can’t tell if you’re serious.


Why are you here… if you are not here to mate?


It’s been a little cold on my side of the enclosure, alright?


The enclosure is kept at a temperature that should be more than comfortable for humans-


Alright! It’s been a little rough, okay? I told Pancho to stay the fuck away from me, and I went to the opposite end of the enclosure, but I didn’t think he would actually stay away from me. I asked him to leave me alone, turns to look at Pancho, and he did, Never takes eyes off Pancho I was very surprised. But it’s been, you know, it’s been, there’s not much to do over there, with all those plastic rocks, and plastic trees, all I do is stare up at that poorly painted moon, and well, it’s been…lonely…


Do you want a Smirnov Ice?


No, I don’t want afuckingSmirnovIce! Beings to walk towards sleeping Pancho. I just…I just want…I just, it’s been so long since I’ve…heard…I can’t believe I ever took it for granted…gets down next to Pancho on the bed, sits looking over him. Then slowly trying not to wake Pancho, leans down and puts his ear to Pancho’s heart.

Sound Cue: Faint comforting heartbeat, with some slow instrumental, inspiring music, not dramatic, or campy.

Phil lets out a long, long elaborate sigh…and closes his eyes. …My god, I haven’t heard a beating heart in so long, …it’s so… starts crying, not loudly, just slow weeping. Instinctually, in his sleep, Pancho reaches up and hugs Phil, Phil lets Pancho hug him. They embrace. Xiorglax slowly leaves the enclosure to give them privacy. Pancho wakes up. He does not let go of Phil, but is surprised he is there.


Aww, sad white boy…why you crying?


Your heart. It’s so beautiful. Can we please just hold it each other without you trying to be sexual with me? …I just need human contact… I just…need-


Sure. Pats Phil on the back, as friends.


Really? Sits up. You’re not going try anything?


Nope. Sits up, they are still in some form of embrace. You’re the only other human left on this planet, I don’t want to piss you off, I know I tease you, but …I actually like you, Sad White bo- Stops himself. …Phil. I actually like you, Phil.

Phil smiles for the first time in the entire play, he stares deep into Pancho’s eyes, Phil is full of joy. Pancho looks down.

And from the size of that boner, I think you like me too. Ha, JK, man, I know you’re straight, it happens…wanna take a nap together? Go eat some crappy alien bread? Throw some rocks?…

Phil tenderly kisses Pancho on the lips, it lasts a touching moment, then they pull back surprised, then they energetically begin to devour each other, in one hot make out session with a passion that only the last two humans left alive can conjure. Phil jumps on Pancho and straddles him as they continue making out, as the lights go down, you can see Pancho fist bumping the air to himself, Phil doesn’t see it, then you hear Phil say


I can’t believe I’m doing this!

Lights out. END SCENE 4.




Phil is standing, Pancho is on his knees, we can see the back of Pancho’s head. Phil is in heaven.


OooooooohhhhOOOOohhhhhhoooohhhhhh grabs on to Pancho’s head by his hair, face fucks it. DEAR LORD! Buckles over. AH! Buckles over. G’aaaahh!, Shivers, JEEZUzzz! Heavy Breathing, panting.


Looks up. Was that okay?


Are you kidding?! That, was, the best blow job I’ve ever had, IN MY LIFE!



They are slow dancing. It is elegant. Phil has his head on Pancho’s shoulder.


So she never?


No she hated dancing.


But you were a salsa teacher.




But you’re so good, I mean I never danced a day in my life and look at me. Pancho dips Phil.



Spotlight on Phil, his face is ecstatic, his hair is wild, sex hair if you will. He is sitting down on the ground. The ground is dark. He is breathing heavily, he is out of breath.

Pant, I mean, I knew about it, I had read several articles, pant, but I never in my wildest dreams, gasp, OOOOh my god, I mean, I had heard that some straight men experimented with it, but I had never been AAAAHAHHH GAWD! –curious myself, Oh! Oh! Oh! Where did you learn that? OH! I mean, even if I was I’d never in my wildest dreams would ask my wife to put her gasp in my, OH MY GOD, YOUR TONGUE IS AMAZING!

Lights come up now to show that Phil is sitting on Pancho’s face. Phil has an orgasm as lights go down.


They are slow dancing again, even more elaborately now. Maybe a decorative foot kick or two.


And you slept with how many men?


She didn’t care. My wife slept with men and women sometimes, we had a great marriage. How many lovers did you have?


My wife was my first girlfriend. We lost our virginities to each other. I never cheated on her. I loved her very much.

Phil dips Pancho. Or tries to, they laugh.



Pancho is reenacting a scene from The Fast and The Furious, Phil watches jaw dropped and impressed by Pancho’s Vin Diesel impression.


You, almost had, me? You never had me! You never had your car! Granny shiftin’ not double clutchin’ like you should! You’re lucky that hundred shot-a-noz didn’t blow the wells on the intake, HA, you almost had me! See now me and the mad scientist over here, we gotta rip apart the block, and replace the piston rings that YOU fired. You ask any racer, any REAL racer, it don’matter whether you win by an inch, or a mile, son! Winning’s winning!


Sounds of love making. LIGHTS UP

Phil is making love to Pancho slowly, on their sleeping matt. Pancho on all fours, Phil pressing his cheek on Pancho’s shoulder blade without moving as he moves his hips. It is quite lovely. They are both enjoying it very much.



Phil is facing the audience but he is trying to be in character as Elizabeth Shaw the main character of Prometheus, that one terrible movie which was awful and no one liked. He is having fun at first reciting the lines, but then he remembers that everyone on earth is dead, so he begins to get emotional. This is a very sad moment in the play, should not be campy at all. But it is toootally okay if the audience laughs. They should, this is very silly but Phil is taking it very serious.

Final report of the vessel Prometheus. The ship and her entire crew are gone. If you’re receiving this transmission, make no attempt to come to its point of origin. beat. There is only death here now, pause and I’m leaving it behind. It is New Year’s Day, the year of our Lord, 2094. My name is Elisabeth Shaw, …last survivor of the Prometheus.

Pause and I’m still searching.


Sounds of Phil screaming from an orgasm. LIGHTS UP

Phil is on all fours, but then gets up on his knees, he is out of breath. Pancho is behind him. Phil leans back, Pancho puts his chin on Phil and says


And that, Pulls finger out of Phil is your prostate.


Ah!    Looks down. I didn’t even touch myself. It’s everywhere.



Both men are sitting with their elbows on their knees looking up.


I miss the real moon.


Me too.



Phil is screaming but out of pure pleasure. He is on all fours, Pancho is making love to him from behind, aggressively.


I love you! I love you! I love you! I love you! HO my god, oh my god, that feels amazing! Oh my god!


Finishes. IIIIIIIII fuuuucking love you PHIL!



Both men are staring up at Xiorgklax. Pancho is pregnant He’s showing a little.




I thought I was just getting fat.


This can’t be happening. I heard Xiorgklax tell us he it injected us with something to help, but I didn’t register…this is…






Don’t you see dude?! We’re having a baby! I’m making a baby! In here, one more human! One more human, dude!!


Yes, …yes…kneels down to look at Pancho’s belly. Three humans is better than just two. Phil Kisses Pancho’s belly.


I’m gonna LOVE the hell outa this baby! Beat. Wait, Xiorgklax, how I am I gonna give birth to this baby?



Lights up. Xiorgklax is in the enclosure with Phil who is inconsolable. He is pacing back and forth. Shaking. Maybe wailing but not too loud. Mumbling.


Forgive, Phil, friend, scientists did best…forgive… they not know human anatomy like Xiorgklax, …. they cut Pancho completely in half…forgive…so sorry Phil, please forgive…


Alien scum.


The offspring …alive…


You killed him. How could you kill Pancho? He was so nice to you, he was so nice….


The baby is alive, Phil! FORGIVE!



Phil runs towards Xiorgklax, aliens zap Phil, he falls to the ground.





Back of a cabin. Phil is on the deck. He is surrounded by a dense forest, but he can see the sky. There is a moon out tonight. He is wearing clothes. He is drinking water from a canteen. His hair is longer maybe, maybe he has a beard. He is barefoot. He speaks into a recorder.

So yeah …that’s what happened. …Dad 2 and Dad 5 think the past is unnecessary, but I think it’s important you know. You’re too little now for me to tell you these things, also I want to get it down before I forget… After your father Pancho was accidentally killed by the invaders, they felt so terrible, they decided to let me go. To let you and me both go free. Somehow watching your father and I…interact, made them feel …something, …made them feel bad about what they did to our kind. I woke up here on our island. Xiorgklax gave me a backpack full of supplies, water, tools, and told me he, it, had found four living humans, survivors of the invasion hiding out in a cabin deep in the woods…I was excited about one or two of them being a woman, but …no…all men, …all gay…Xiorgklax gave me some of the serum that makes men be able to reproduce, Xiorgklax improved it though, so we could easily give birth after 9 humans months, that’s how I helped make your brothers. Xiorgklax handed you to me, wrapped in a blanket and gave us a gift, a promise. Xiorgklax said they would leave us alone. They’re hoping to share the earth with us, but most importantly they’re going to leave us alone. So far things have been pretty peaceful, and you fill me with so much hope, every day more and more, you have your father’s face, his nose, his lips, you do have my eyes, but you have his smile. If, something happens, …to me, before you grow up… listen to these recordings, I’m going to tell you as much as I can about your father, the man you came from, and don’t listen to Dad 3, he’s wrong. Just because the aliens are convinced they killed everyone on the planet, doesn’t mean there may not be other survivors out there…Vin, nothing is impossible.

I haven’t said much about me so far, um…I liked coffee a lot before, you know, well, I miss women a lot, I’m sad you don’t know what women are. I miss movies. I don’t miss phones, or I miss…I miss…Sometimes, I come out here on the deck, after all the kids are asleep and the dads are asleep, I look up to the real actual moon, that is still there,

and I think about the love of my life…

this is Phil, Dad 1, signing off.



Baruch Porras-Hernandez  is a writer, performer, organizer, visual artist, and storyteller based in San Francisco. He has performed in L.A., Washington D.C., NYC, Canada, and all over California. His writing has been published in numerous anthologies, he is a Lambda Literary Fellow in Poetry, he regularly organizes poetry shows in the bayarea, and is currently the curator and head organizer for The San Francisco Queer Open Mic and Program Director for ¿Donde Esta Mi Gente? He was born in Toluca, Mexico and grew up in Albany, California.




In Memory of Sandra Bland


CHORUS – of Latina


MAYA: This is my family history. As my mother told me As her mother told her. Repeated As Mexicans do At the table

CHORUS: Truth bled In red chile Slathered on thick tortillas

MAYA: Because that’s what Mexicans do.

CHORUS: Eat and repeat Their truths Over food

MAYA: Tears land in jail cell Albuquerque New Mexico Where in police custody great-grandfather Can’t speak Can’t defend The body He can’t Control 12 year-old son crawls into casket great-grandmother dies of broken heart

CHORUS: Muy joven So young Eat and repeat inherited pain Tears land 2 in jail cell Tears that make An ocean

MAYA: So when you ask me, Officer, for my license and registration

CHORUS: My blood’s been here before.

MAYA: You let him die Of a stroke In jail Because you thought He was a drunk Indian.

CHORUS: You let him die Of a stroke In jail Because you thought He was a drunk Indian. NO, I AM NOT DRUNK NO, I AM NOT DRUNK

MAYA: NO, I AM NOT DRUNK But yes, Officer There’s Indian in my veins I know because I was raised in an ocean of tears.


Elaine Romero, award-winning playwright, has had her plays presented at the Alley Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Kennedy Center, across the U.S. and abroad.  Elaine is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists. She holds her MFA from UC Davis. She is an Assistant Professor of playwriting and dramaturgy at the University of Arizona.

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