53, by Ray Rea

53.

Yes, 53. What comes into your head when I say that? Probably a lot of things, a lot of assumptions. The weirdest thing about being over 50 is having to deal with younger people’s assumptions of what that means. This is as true in the gender non-normative crowd as it is elsewhere. The assumptions about age are all there in the trans* world.

Last night I sat through a college production of the musical Grease. I’m not really familiar with it, but I remember that I used to be around a big crowd of second wave Butch/Femmers who loved Grease. The movie with Olivia Newton John and John Travolta was released in 1978, when they were in high school, and so it was both nostalgic and romanticized for them. The film’s policed versions of gender informed their own takes on it.

That group was a few years younger than me.

In 1978 I was listening to the Sex Pistols, Tom Verlaine, Brian Eno and 801. Grease was of no interest to me. In 1981 I was bartending in a seedy punk bar in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. At the time I thought I was a straight girl.

The “straight” crowd that I lived in was bent. I had more bandwidth around how I performed gender in that punk/ new wave scene than I had years later in the B/F scene of the queer 1990s.

Now, 2013, I’ve heard every possible assumption about what my background is. The funniest by far was when a young FTM guessed that I had been a lesbian feminist separatist. I have never been separatist in my life, a lesbian only for a bit.

I’m not saying that I am an “elder”. That word connotes wisdom, and I still make a lot of mistakes.

Making an assumption about what an older queer type has been through in earlier life is also a mistake, just as the same is true for younger queers. We had a lot of different lives. We are still having a lot of different lives.

Want to go to the movies? Anything but Grease.

Context: This piece is from a play that is currently in development.

More information: prodcoor (at) gmail (dot) com

>>Donate to the non-binary monologues project here

Advertisements

Cat, from Laced, by Sam Mueller

Cat, yelling from the stage.

CAT
Holy hell, there are so many of you!
Hey!
We’ve got no microphone tonight so I’m gonna need you to shut up!

            Cat waits.

(CAT)
Everyone have their glasses?
Raise them to the
Ladies
and gentlemen
and the actually interesting people here

Listen,
Some mornings I wake up
and I feel caught in the middle
feel the she, her, hers, and the he, him, his
waging a war in my gut
telling my they and them and theirs that they must choose
that the middle is just muck

But some mornings I wake up
and it doesn’t feel like the middle at all.
It’s something else entirely
It feels like slipping into warm flannel
and sipping chai while it rains
some days, fiercer
like slipping feet into
unbroken platform heels
clusters of muscles in my feet controlling plantar flexion
feeling the downward pointing feet pulling at muscles all the way up my leg
sometimes it feels like work, but
it takes work to become

On my clearest mornings,
They and them and theirs is a root
It grounds me
as both she and he
and neither she and he
both and neither

I don’t know where that leaves me.
I don’t want to make a mockery of the women who
Slip feet into soles and find it fuel for their woman-ness
Truth be told
I can be jealous of them
It’s simple for them
Uncomplicated
A feeling of being elevated
They find themselves powerful
but
Heels were made to be unisex
Ninth fucking century
Persian men wore heels into battle on horseback
A symbol of wealth
Of manliness
And I realized slipping feet into shoes
Was me preparing for the battle of being
Fighting
Ritual
It’s the last thing I do before stepping on stage
It roots me to my goddamn people
Like if I had the means to trace up my family tree
Could I find a member of the Persian cavalry that shares my name?
That maybe also felt between
and outside?

I tattooed a Persian Cedar tree on my thigh the day before I turned 21.
I held hands with myself
Clutched my own body for the two hours it took for the needle to leave all of the ink beneath my skin.
Dipping in and out faster than hummingbird wings
Watched as my artist poured their heart into my flesh
And I asked how long they’d been tattooing.
They looked young but they said twenty years.
And I said I couldn’t imagine doing anything for twenty years.
And they winked when they said
It roots me.
And we laughed at the irony of tattooing a tree as roots
And I studied the hard edges of their face
The shadows of a red beard creeping in
as they smiled and said
the art of creating,
it makes me feel so feminine, you know?
I just don’t see why I can’t be male and female
And neither male nor female at the same time, you know?
and I said
I know
Because I did
And they said
Namas-fucking-te.
The light in me recognizes the light in you
Like a beacon,
like a lighthouse
The fresh ink in my thigh leaving a dull throbbing reminder
a steady pulse of knowing
It didn’t matter what I looked like to anyone else
I could claim my femme
And I could claim my masc
They could exist together
And I could be complete

I only have one other tattoo
I went back to the same artist five years later
And they said
I was wondering what happened to you.
It’s so good to know you’re still
here
And they put three words beneath my tree
It says
Burn, Gender, Burn

So I kept painting my face
Covered up my brows
I glittered my lips
I extended my lashes so far
Past the clouds
and past the stars
and out of Florida
out of fucking Florida
and back in time
I wanted to butterfly kiss
Marsha
and Sylvia
and Christopher Street
and the femmes who came before me
the ones who spoke Spanish at home with their mothers
and yelled English to the cops on the streets
I want to séance with their ghosts
and thank them for the air I breathed
deeper and deeper
and deeper
and deeper
and deeper
and deeper
and

            Cat gasps.

I need to ask them why it is
Sometimes
So
Damn
Hard
To
Be
The
Person
I
Am.

Context: A flashback to the night prior at around 3 am as Cat (they/them/theirs) is on stage delivering a monologue in full drag.

More information: samanthadmueller (at) gmail (dot) com

>>Donate to the non-binary monologues project here

Tiger, from Deers, by Marcus Gorman

DEER turns to exit. The front door to the tavern opens, revealing TIGER. All the animals freeze. If they were frightened of DEER, they are TERRIFIED of TIGER.

TIGER. Hello, insects. No, Raccoon, I shan’t give you back your trash piles. I’m saving you from yourself and everyone else from whatever is rotting inside your mouth.

TIGER sizes up the room.

Rabbit, if I saw you crossing the street, I would go out of my way to hit you. How are you, Bobcat, you delicious little kitten?

BOBCAT recoils. TIGER nods at BINTY.

Bearcat.

BINTY lunges at TIGER, but RABBIT holds them back.

Watch it. And you, Owl, how’s the family life? Is it everything you ever wanted? Being tied down to some mewling little hatchling and a partner past their prime, never being able to fly away again without being branded a lesser bird? And Turtle, it is truly a displeasure seeing you.

TIGER goes to DEER. They shake hoofs/paws.

And you. That game show you did. On the day you murdered your friend. Do you remember?

DEER breaks the handshake.

That was the day you humiliated me. In front of your friends. In front of a crowd of critters. In front of my new community. Do you remember that day? I’ll ask again. Do you remember? I gained something that day. The ability to turn humiliation into power, the determination to vanquish my enemies. And you, Deer, are my enemy. I could have bought this bar and burned it to the ground, but one thing kept driving me. Not the money I get from the filthy, lowlife degenerate alcoholics you call friends. No. It was all for today, the day of your release. To welcome you back to your only home, and then have you watch in horror as I remove every piece of its spirit.

TIGER gets in DEER’s face.

I will remove your soul until there is nothing left. What do you have to say to that? Very well. Everyone, I have an announcement to make. Starting tomorrow, Deer’s will be serving meat. Merry Christmas.

Context: Deers is four episodes of a live 1980s-style sitcom about an animal bar in the Cascades. Every character is written without a predetermined gender and all are referred to as “they.”

At the top of Episode 3, titled “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” our hero Deer returns to their bar on Christmas Eve after spending two years in a mental institution after accidentally goring a patron, Bear, in the heat of rage. Deer has returned to sign their half of the bar away to their co-owner, Binty the Binturong, only to find out that Tiger, who was humiliated by the patrons of the animal bar Deers during Episode 2, bought the bar out from Binty to exact revenge.

More information: marcusgorman.com

>>Donate to the non-binary monologues project here

Cookie, from Are You Now or Have You Ever Been a Pirate? by Ben Kemper

COOKIE. No! No this is too much! I will not challenge you to duel, Captain. Not even with a cardboard-tinfoil-whatever cutlass. I get we’re supposed to be, you know, fierce and buccaneer-ey, but I didn’t sign up to be a pirate to fight people. Do you know what happens when people fight, Captain? They get hurt. And since I’ve already lost a leg, a hand, and an eye at various points on this adventure I’m going to sit this one out. This isn’t what you promised. You said that pirates were free, that they could choose whatever they want to be. But I feel like you’re just making us what you want to be. So, I’m going back in the galley and making ship’s biscuit because that’s how this pirate pirates and I’m not going to fight anybody. Except at a thumb war. I am an expert thumb warrior.

Context: A group of friends cast themselves as pirates, seeking to throw off the chaffing rules and niceties and live wild and free. “The Captain” puts together a crew of First Mate, Lookout, Cookie, and Parrot and leads them on a quest for plunder and buried treasure, all while being consumed by Sir Nicky Pick who seeks to crush the wily band and impose order on the neighborhood.

This monologue comes at the point when the rest of the crew is weary of the Captain calling the shots and forcing them into even wilder, more dangerous stunts. Cookie, a pacifist, who has “lost” various appendages at the Captain’s command, refuses an order to duel with her.

More information: Please contact the playwright at benkemperstoryteller (at) gmail (dot) com.

>>Donate to the non-binary monologues project here

Mari, by Philip Dawkins

MARI. (trans woman, trans feminine) I knew it as soon as Miss Hansen say, “boys on this side the gym, girls on that side,” and I knew that Eddie would be like, “Mari, you go on the boy side, cuz you a dyke!“ WHICH IS STUPID because dyke means lesbians and lesbians are girls not boys! And, I’m just like trying to ignore him. But then Miss Hansen’s like, “That is inappropriate, Eddie” and like “You cannot say that about people,” and I’m like “please shut up, please stop calling this attention to me–” And like everybody is looking at me.

So I pushed him down. To make it be over. You know? I didn’t want to hurt him. Ohmygod, if I wanted to hurt him, he would be hurt.

But then Eddie starts crying, and everyone’s staring at me, and, and I can hear what they’re thinking. But that’s not me!

So why’s everyone keep pointing at me and call me boy names and, like—? I don’t even look at people no more because I’m too scared they’ll see it and they’ll know. I don’t want to be picked on or picked OUT or picked for anything. Just leave me alone!

[She tries very hard not to cry. Looking into her lap, unable to make eye contact any more, through the end of her speech.]

So, that’s why I pushed him. To make it be over. So can I please just get in trouble so then it’s just—it’s over? I just want it to be over. Please, please make it be over. Please.

Context:  Mari is a 12-year-old Puerto Rican kid who was assigned a male gender at birth. She speaks now to her principal, after being sent to her office for pushing another kid during P.E.

More information: If you have questions about this monologue, please reach out Philip directly at philipdawkins (at) gmail (dot) com

>>Donate to the non-binary monologues project here

Dani, from Seams, by Kathryn Lynn Morgen

DANI. (non-binary, seam-ripping a thrifted dress shirt.) I buy these old clothes from thrift stores. Sometimes I dive them from dumpsters. I don’t know how I choose them. It’s more like they choose me. They have a certain sparkle, seem to vibrate with a secret energy that others don’t.

They show me what they want to become, usually we discover it together: a cocktail dress, a blazer—usually something formal, sometimes something to relax in, a mumu, or party in.

Dani examines the garment, exploring their options for creating something new out of something old.

Some garments speak to me and tell me “I’ve always wanted to twirl on the dance floor on the body of a ballroom dancer.” Others are more introverted and ask me to discover their identities. I’ve learned—over and over—things are rarely as they seem. There’s a greater purpose than the eye can perceive, they are greater than what they are seen as.

Dani clicks the fabric into the machine which after just a few inches catches, knotting up the fabric, Dani pulls out the mess of thread and begins again with the seam-ripper, confident, calm.

I grew up sensing that in myself, came to know it in myself and later in fabric and thread. I’ve learned to sense it in other people, too… but not you. I never could. I still can’t.

Struggling with the seam, the seam-ripper slips and jabs Dani in the finger, they curse, it’s painful but they are used to it, Dani sucks their finger, puts the garment in their lap, lights a cigarette. [The ghost of?] their mother sits behind them at the kitchen table smoking a cigarette, watching.

Dani clicks the garment into place on the sewing machine, taking a drag from her cigarette.

Dani lays the cigarette in the ashtray and begins to sew. The sewing machine chomps at the fabric, this time with no hiccups, the sewing machine glides at the whim of Dani’s fingertips, obeying, for the time being.

I remember when I was five or six, watching you get ready to go out. You were a stunning, radiant woman. I remember the way your pearls sparkled with a magic iridescence that matched a gleam in your eye—like shoes to the perfect purse, or scarf. You had a secret energy about you. I wanted to be like you.

I don’t want to be like you anymore. I just want to know you, who you are, who you were, who you wanted to be.

I realized later that gleam was a deflection you used to distract people from what was inside of you—a hard, empty world you lived in. You didn’t want the light to get in, you didn’t want to be seen. You wanted to be invisible. You wanted disappear. And now it seems you have.

Dani finishes a stitch, gets up from the sewing machine and goes to the fridge without looking at their mother.

They retrieve two beers, put one down in front of their mother and crack it open. Dani sits across from their mother at the table, cracks open their beer and sips.

Context: 

Setting: An apartment building of mostly long-term residents with one or two high-turnover apartments, studios to two-bedrooms.

Dani’s Studio.

Decoration: thrifted elegance with a touch of kitsch, outdated appliances, bare essential furniture, a sewing machine/station against the wall opposite the refrigerator and kitchenette, between the two, a retro kitchen table with four chairs.

Dani has just received word their mother is dead and goes to their sewing machine to continue creating/mending/refurbishing a garment.

More information: http://www.klmxyz.com/

>>Donate to the non-binary monologues project here

Lazarus, from HATE HATE LOVE LOVE, by Grace Carmack

L. I woke up angry today
So angry
And I don’t think there’s a reason
But I’m pretty sure it has something to do with you
Like maybe I had a dream about you
Or maybe it has to do with you constantly borrowing my clothes
Because that definitely pisses me off
But not necessarily right now so maybe that’s not it
I’m going to spend the rest of the day trying to figure out what this anger is all about because it feels so big
Like it has always existed and it always will
But you know me
I can’t stay angry
So no matter what I’ll be sorry about this later
And beg for forgiveness
And you’ll forgive me
Because you are good
And stupid
And you love me
And I’m pretty sure I love you
I definitely do
But not at this moment
Because I can’t love anything
Please don’t touch me
I am fragile
And you have heavy hands
That smash
And tear
And no I don’t want you to hold me
No I don’t want to be kissed
I want you to turn your fists on yourself
Until I can finally stand alone
And get some fucking peace and quiet
I feel better now

Context: Lazarus tries desperately to gain control of their emotional dysregulation as they prepare for the impending air guitar competition that they signed up for in an attempt to gain control of their life.

>>Donate to the non-binary monologues project here

Steps 2, 3, 5 & 8, from 12, by M. Keala Miles, Jr.

STEP 2:

Come to believe that only a power greater than ourselves will restore us to sanity

GAMBLING ADDICTION

ADDICT. So we had this county fair when I was really young. I didn’t even really like the rides. I liked to play the games. I like to try to win prizes. It’s a thrill, you know, to try to WIN something.

ECHOES: win…win…win…win…win

ADDICT: I like to WIN. No, I LOVE to WIN.

My favorite game was the basket toss. You have to put the right amount of backspin and throw the softball at just the right arc to get it to stay in the basket. I figured it out pretty quick. I got so many oversized stuffed animals from that game.

My dad started to go crazy because I had too many bags of prizes stacked up in the garage.
He said I had to choose which ones I wanted to keep. I couldn’t do it; so he picked three bags at random and gave the rest to charity.

I cried for nine days.

When I got older, I finally started to go on the rides.

And I was terrified at first: Roller coasters look so dangerous.

And then you get off the ride and you feel like, it almost feels like you won the prize. Like “I conquered this huge metal monster!” I…fucking WIN!

THAT stuck with me.

That thrill, for WINNING.

As you get older you keep finding ways to win. It’s a continuous discovery. You take risks every day and you win every day. What will get me downtown faster? The trolley or a cab? Should I eat Thai or Italian? Can I push for one more mile on this run? Do I negotiate a promotion?

Some risks, some WINs are bigger than others.

When I was 25, my boyfriend took me to Vegas. It was my first time…it would definitely not be my last.

Fucking roulette. I fucking love roulette. Just that tick…tick…tick…tick………tick………tick…

It’s like a song you don’t want to end.

Then it’s over.

Just like that.

I close my eyes and hear that tick…tick…tick…tick…tick. Tick. Tick. Over and over. The reward is never worth the risk. How much money have I thrown down at that table? Year after year.

I still need that thrill. I just wish it would last longer. I just wish I knew how to make that feeling last forever.

But that feeling can’t last forever, right? But I don’t know how to walk away.

That’s why I am here.

***

STEP 3:

Make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood THEM.

NARCOTICS ADDICTION

When my dad died I was 13, and my mom suddenly became this completely different person. She seemed to have even more life…

It’s crazy. When you’re a kid, you don’t really understand that your parents had a life before you were born. Like you just feel like you are the center of their universe, you know; I mean, you ARE the center of the universe.
But I didn’t have a dad, anymore. I felt like I was going crazy. And I was like, where’s my MOM? Why isn’t she here? And it was almost like he lost his life and she found it and was making sure to suck out every last moment of joy from whatever he left behind.

And I blamed her for sucking the life out of him and I blamed her for letting him beat the shit out of me and I blamed her for turning her back on me and then in the middle of a cocaine weekend I found myself on my knees in a gas station bathroom sucking some stranger’s cock for blow…

I mean, I guess that’s what they call a moment of clarity?

He looked down at me and said, “You don’t have to do this.”

I got up off the floor. He put his pants back on, gave me enough for a couple bumps and he left, quietly.

I just stood there in a row of sinks and mirrors.

And I’d like to say that was the last time, but it wasn’t.

I can’t trust myself. So I came here looking for trust. For faith in something other than myself.

You tell me I have to trust God. Fuck God.

God took my dad before I was even old enough to understand how important having a dad is. God is the one that put me in that room with my first rail. God’s the one that let him touch me.

I deserve better. (ECHO repeats)

I deserve a God that cares. (ECHO repeats)

I deserve to be happy. (ECHO repeats)

***

STEP 5:

Admission to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

HOARDING

Everything means something.

The box of Christmas cards and photos from your childhood.

I still have every report card from Kindergarten through 12th grade. All of my awards and ribbons and trophies.

They are all important.

The pen your boyfriend used to write you that note…

The note…?

I can’t FIND it!!!

The piece of pipe that burst during the blizzard of ’98; you had to replace it—with your uncle…who you never see, but happened to be stuck in town that week because of the storm.

It’s funny, sometimes how things work out.

The bag of stuffed animals you kept because they are all plush toys you got from family vacations to Disneyland. Eight years-worth of plushies. My favorite was Donald Duck. I know a lot of people probably like Mickey or Goofy better, but I was always a Donald Duck fan.

I always thought it was kind of weird that Huey, Dewey, and Louie had an Uncle Donald and an Uncle Scrooge but not mom or dad. What happened to their parents?

It always bothered me that nobody ever talks about their parents.

It also bothered me that none of them wore pants. Mickey wears pants. Goofy wears pants. Jiminy Fucking Cricket wears pants.

Is it cuz they’re ducks? But we never see them in the water!!!

Anyway, I had Donald and his three nephews and I got a new one every time we would go to Disneyland. But I also have Roger Rabbit and Dumbo and Mickey and Minnie both.

Some people, they don’t understand. They don’t understand how much everything means. Each thing. Each. Little. Thing.

Everything means something.

It must be in that box…where is that box?

And, I don’t know, its strange, to me, I guess, that here I am, in here, and they don’t understand; like, they don’t see, you know, like they don’t treasure things. Little things.

The way I do.

And I guess what I’m having the most trouble with is that I really don’t understand why it is considered unhealthy to think this way?

To treasure all the little things. And want to remember all the little things.

This was my mother’s wedding ring.

This is all I have of her.

Now that she’s gone. I feel abandoned.

I feel empty.

When I’m not collecting, I feel empty.

So I go out every day to find more things to collect. It doesn’t matter what they are.

But it should matter, because one day I came home and, I couldn’t even open the door. This is out of control.

I just want to come home. But I don’t know how. And I need help.

***

STEP 8:

Made a list of all persons we have harmed and became willing to make amends.

HOARDING

The hoarder returns. It has been at least three months since we last saw them.

It started with little things. Little things that had a story to tell. And it felt good to be a part of those stories. It was usually things that people left behind. I rescued them: discarded, forgotten things. Fuck that; I helped those stories along. I contributed.

I love that I got to be a part of history.

And now that is what they are: discarded and forgotten. History.

They are all gone.

But I guess when you live like this—with these kinds of things engulfing your life—it is easy to overlook how easy it could be to see it all go up in flames.

Because that’s what they did.

Two weeks ago, I woke up in the middle of the night and my house was on fire. Like, at first, I thought maybe I was dreaming.   And then I could feel it, but it still felt like a dream too; you know how when you are half asleep and you hear a song or you smell something cooking and it gets incorporated into your dream?

It was like that…but then, eventually I realize that in my dream it smelled like something was burning. And I woke up to find the fire had made its way to my bedroom door. When I realized what was happening I quickly jumped out the window and I broke my ankle.

As I sat in the yard, wrapped in the quilt my grandmother crocheted when I was born, I realized that all those little things were gonna burn in that house. They were gonna burn and I couldn’t do anything about it.

When the smoke cleared and we start to go through the rubble it suddenly dawns on me that I almost gave my life for this disease. It turns out that I had left a stack of old newspapers and magazines next to a space heater in one of the bedrooms. I don’t remember even having a space heater; it certainly wasn’t on! But apparently it shorted out and that sparked enough of a fire.

By the time the fire department came the entire back bedroom was completely destroyed and it had made its way to my room. That’s where the firefighters stopped it; most of my bedroom was destroyed too. The bed didn’t melt down completely but it is definitely beyond salvage. They managed to spare half of the closet and the nightstand by the window.

That’s where I keep my son’s fetal death certificate. Somehow that tiny corner of the room was spared.

And I don’t know how to deal with that.

Context: SYNOPSIS: The title is taken from the common 12-step addiction recovery program philosophy, with each of the 12 scenes representing one of the steps. There are 6 addicts (to be played by 3 actors of any gender, race, or adult age), though there are more than 6 characters.

The “Echo” references are “chorus” parts during the prologue and intermission in which the three players embody the voices of temptation. You may ignore them, of course, for the purposes of a monologue.

 “12” received its world premiere at the 2015 San Diego International Fringe Festival. The three players were: James P. Darvas, Devi Noel, and Rhiannon McAfee. It was directed by Mark Stephan; presented at the 10th Ave Arts Center, Forum Theatre.

More information: Please refer all questions or requests for the full play to: mkealamillesjr@gmail.com

 >>Donate to the non-binary monologues project here

Lethe, by Alan Olejniczak

AT RISE.   

LETHE enters and pauses to survey the audience. The spirit walks among them and speaks directly.

LETHE. Forgetting is the primordial divinity – the venerable ancestor to remembrance. The essence of memory is not remembering, but forgetting. The forgetfulness of which, one must drink in order to live – in order to be reborn. Forgetting is choice, you know: a blessing, really.

(pause)

I remember this shade that made her death’s journey through Hades. She came to the River Styx and paid the ferryman to carry her across to be reborn. Charon invited her to drink from my waters, which would remove all memory of her previous life. “Oh”, she asked, “Will I forget all my failures?” Charon replied, “Yes, as well as your victories.”… “Will I forget how I suffered?” “Yes, but you’ll forget how you celebrated.” Finally, the shade asked, “Will I forget how I’ve been lonely?” “Yes, but you’ll forget how you’ve been loved.”

(shrugs)

The shade drank from my river, forgetting her former life and climbed into the boat. Most always do. It seems you all are better at remembering sorrow and regret than life’s fleeting moments of joy… Although not all make this journey, you know. There are those that wander the banks and never take the risk. Fear always holds one back and the apathetic are most often left behind.

(pause)

In the Kingdom of the Dead, I’m Lethe. While my father is best forgotten, my mother, Eris, is not one to be ignored. She is the goddess of discord and strife – admittedly a difficult woman to love. Sadly, my mother is really only remembered for two things: Starting the Trojan War and birthing eight miserable children – toil, starvation, pain, murder, lawlessness, genocide, lies and ruination… It’s hard to get attention in a family like that.

(pause)

Where was I?…Oh yes. Not ALL drink from my river, you know. Some believe that it is important to remember the mistakes of one’s past lives so that one will be wiser in the next. While I’ve met many smart people in Hades, I’ve only encountered a few that were truly wise. While I understand, you must have memory to gain knowledge, I have to wonder: is the knowledge that memory brings, the knowledge that is best forgotten? While it’s certainly a noble endeavor to remember everything, does this really make you any wiser? The mundane becomes as important as the monumental. Let’s face it, not all things are important.

(pause)

Still, there are things you are determined to remember: important things, wonderful and terrible things. There was this soldier – I forget his name. Anyway, he died in battle and his body lay in the sun for a week before they could collect the dead. This soldier made his journey and came upon the ferryman. When he was offered to drink from my river, he declined – “Oh no!” I want to remember my life: the good with the bad. This is life, after all!” The soldier drank from Mnemosyne – the waters of remembrance. Of course, he could not stay in Hades, or cross over – and was sent back. He woke on his own pyre moments before they were to set it ablaze. Everyone wanted to learn the great mystery – what lay beyond. He told them the truth: “No one escaped suffering and there was no reward for goodness. The virtuous are punished the same as the corrupted.” They burned him alive. No one was prepared to hear the truth of that.

(pause)

I say this without judgment, given my family history, but what’s wrong with people? You all have this strange mix of self-loathing and a spectacular sense of your own superiority. It’s an on-going joke with the gods – although they can be just as ridiculous… Still you insist on destroying yourselves. And war! Such horror and waste. Oh sure! There’s blame and remorse, but a generation later all seem determined to start again. I guess there is always someone else to fear – or hate… I know what you’re thinking. It’s about forgetting the past and being doomed to repeat it. It’s not that! It’s about ignorance and denial and that’s not the same as forgetting… To your credit, you have your peace rallies and memorials. But still I wonder why you all commit such atrocities at all.

(sighs)

If there is danger of always remembering, what is gained from forgetting or ignoring the unspeakable suffering of others? Empathy is always nice, but what do you do with it if you don’t take action?… Forgetting is healing. Forgetting is hopeful. Forgetting is how you’re able to connect to your humanity, to find hope and trust – and beauty, when there is seemingly no reason to. Why else would you bring children into the world, love them, nurture them – only to have them bear the senselessness of it all. Why create art when most is forgotten or destroyed? Forgetting your savage-selves is what it takes to live on. It how you’re able to still connect to your humanity: to find hope – and trust – and beauty, when there is seemingly no reason to?

(smiles)

So there it is…

(Prepares to exit)

We will meet again, you know. It’s true. Living and dying are all part of it, and trust me, immortality is not anything you want… But that’s a whole other story. Until then.

(exits)

END OF PLAY

Context: Originally developed for the 2016 The San Francisco Olympians Festival

Re-Written for The Artist of Albatross Reach, 2017

More info: If you end up using this monologue, please contact email alanlolen@gmail.com and let Alan know how it went!

>>Donate to the non-binary monologues project here

Celia, from The Adventure of the Comic Con Caper, by Jonathan Alexandratos

CELIA. (to their friend) I told you you should have come as Watson! How can I be Sherlock without a Watson? Pokemon is lame! Misty is lame! Misty from Pokemon is lame! She’s so 1996. She’s over. We’re done with Misty. Watson is forever. Watson is life. Watson’s a doctor! How is that not cool? Whatever, I’m going to call you Watson, anyway – this is an emergency.

Watson! We have a mystery. There was only one super-rare, Con exclusive Mycroft Holmes action figure at this convention, and now the dealer has reported it stolen. I’d very much like us to recover this action figure, as the dealer will surely be so grateful for its return, that he’ll sell it to us at a steep discount, which will be perfectly within range of all the money I could save. And I want that toy, Watson. I want. That toy.

Our only clue is that the thief wore Deadpool cosplay, which, while normally conspicuous, here, allows our enemy to blend in with the 352 other Deadpools that are currently forming a Conga line around this convention center. I hate Deadpool cosplayers.

But! We mustn’t treat that as anything more than a distraction. Sifting through the pile of Deadpools is exactly what our culprit wants us to do. No, this person is a criminal first, geek never. Whoever it is will want to move that action figure as soon as possible. To Craigslist!

(on their phone) Look at this – “One convention exclusive doll for pick-up only at the convention center.” $500! Only a thief would sell Mycroft at such an offensively low price.

(Watson says something we don’t hear, Holmes replies to her) “It’s not a doll”!? Watson, I’m surprised by your eagerness to let a trivial thing like the gendering of a toy get in the way of our work. Yes, Holmes calls Mycroft “the queerest of men” in The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter, but he no doubt is using the time’s definition of “queer,” as opposed to how I use it to describe gender non-conformity. And so what if the criminal used the term “doll”? It is a piece of plastic, albeit a really cool piece of plastic, and possesses no awareness of gender, nor does it teach one anything about…

Wait a second! (typing away on their phone) Watson, perhaps the term “doll” isn’t Mycroft’s, but his captor’s! It could be that the thief used the term “doll” in the hopes of attracting a female buyer, as the term “doll” has historically been used to market toys to women and girls. Our foe most likely assumes a woman will be less aware of the fandom and therefore more unlikely to bat an eye at stolen goods – ugh, screw that patriarchal, misogynistic nonsense! How dare you offend my fandom, Mysterious Malcontent!

We’re taking ‘em down, and I think I know the perfect person to do it. Misty, you showed up to the right Con after all. Your red wig, your exposed midriff, your strangely impractical suspenders – that toy robber won’t be able to resist you! You’re going in. I’ve already contacted the Craigslist Criminal to ask for a meeting place to purchase the item, and – GASP! I have a response. “Courtyard, by the falafel truck.” That’s…right over there! And look! Overcoat! Dark glasses! That’s obviously the person who absconded with little plastic Mycroft!

Misty, we don’t want to spook ‘em. Calmly approach, and, at just the right moment, I’ll swarm with Con security. Do it for Mycroft! Go go go!

She does. CELIA watches for a moment, growing more concerned by the second. Then:

What? Why are you coming back so quickly? Aha…It was just a Neo cosplayer, huh? Well The Matrix was a really good movie. I’m glad someone’s keeping it alive. Guess I uh. Made one fatal mistake, eh? I mean, I of all people should’ve known – you don’t make outfit-based assumptions anywhere, but especially at a Nerd Con.

Oh hey check it out – security just tackled Deadpool. And there’s the figure… Wow that was…bafflingly straightforward. Hmm. I kinda…I kinda can’t believe you went out there. You could’ve been in real danger, and all for an action figure that only I really cared about? You. You’re real shiny.

Hey uh Misty – thanks for going along with my incredibly weird and deeply flawed plan. Thanks for going along with a lot of my incredibly weird and deeply flawed plans. I don’t think I appreciated that until right now, as I watch ten cops haul off a pretty roughed-up Deadpool-Slash-Petty-Criminal.

Look, I saved up a bunch of money to try to haggle for that action figure, but, now that I think about it, I’ve got enough Holmes in my life. What I don’t have that much of is Pokemon. Maybe you could teach me the ins and outs? Maybe you could teach me over dinner? Tonight? Which I could pay for? As a thank you? Maybe you could choose me? Pikachu? It’s Pikachu, right? I’d maybe be your Pikachu?

Context: Celia, dressed as Sherlock Holmes at a Comic Con, tries to solve a mystery, and ends up solving something way bigger.

More information: https://newplayexchange.org/users/3845/jonathan-alexandratos

>>Donate to the non-binary monologues project here