Monster and the Monroe Doctrine

(I wrote this play after seeing too many Edward Albie plays in a row)

 

Opening scenes is a park with two benches around a small pond. Seated on one of the benches is a sagging bum with messed hair, cradling a shopping bag full of his possessions.

Enter a man dressed in a limo driverís outfit with a dog leach dangling from his hand, but obviously searching for the dog.

 

DRIVER:

††††††††††† Monroe! You little monster. Youíd better not be doing what I think youíre doing or Iíll kill you.

 

(Addressing the bum, whose name is Igor)

††††††††††† Say, Mister. You didnít happen to see a dog run through here, did you. About so high with beady little black eyes?

 

IGOR: (looks up annoyed)

††††††††††† Dog? No. I havenít seen any dogs. No ducks or geese either. Maybe it went the other way.

 

DRIVE:

††††††††††† No, he definitely came this way. He yanked himself off the leach and darted through those bushes.

††††††††††† You must have seen him.

 

IGOR:

††††††††††† And Iím telling you I didnít see any dog.

††††††††††† Nothing comes here. Nothing lives here. And if youíre wise, youíll go back the way you came from before something bad happens to you, too.

 

DRIVER:

††††††††††† I have to find that dog or itís my job.

††††††††††† Isnít that a kick in the pants, I get a job driving a car for these rich people and they have me walking their dog Ė a dog that hates me no less.

 

(enter Lou Ann Ė a pretty woman but one that looks a bit lost. Driver address her)

 

††††††††††† What about you?

††††††††††† Did you see the little monster?

 

LOU ANN (Looks at him rather dreamily)

††††††††††† A monster?

IGOR:

††††††††††† He means his dog.

††††††††††† Neither of you would know a real life monster if you saw one.

 

 

LOU ANN

††††††††††† I wasnít looking for monsters.

 

IGOR:

††††††††††† Well then, it is your lucky day, I supposed.

††††††††††† Why donít both of you go away. Monsters donít like to be bothered.

 

DRIVER:

††††††††††† No one is going anywhere until I find out what happened to my dog.

 

IGOR: (Waves his hand vaguely towards the opposite side of the pond)

††††††††††† He went that way.

 

DRIVER:

††††††††††† You said you didnít see him.

 

IGOR:

††††††††††† I said he wasnít here and he isnít.

††††††††††† Now ill you both please go away before I do something Iíll be sorry for and you wonít like.

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† Go away?

††††††††††† But I just go here.

††††††††††† I almost thought I wouldnít find this place again.

 

IGOR:

††††††††††† You would have been better off not finding it.

††††††††††† Monsters do not like to be bothered and donít like people to invade their lairs.

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† What monster?

††††††††††† This is Central Park

††††††††††† There are no monsters in Central Park.

 

DRIVER: (looking carefully around)

††††††††††† There is, too, but the little bugger is hiding

(Calls out)

††††††††††† Monroe! This isnít at all funny

(To the others)

††††††††††† He knows I donít have a poop bag. He has this territorial thing.

††††††††††† Once itís down, he wants it left there.

 

IGOR:

††††††††††† Iím the monster and this is my lair.

††††††††††† And there are no dogs here.

††††††††††† There shouldnít be any people either.

††††††††††† Itís night. There shouldnít be people.

††††††††††† No one should be here. So go away.

 

LOU ANN

††††††††††† What do you mean?

††††††††††† This is a public park, isnít it.

††††††††††† I donít remember leaving the park.

(Looking around)

††††††††††† No, this is the very place Iím looking for.

††††††††††† I remember the Magnolia trees. Theyíre just where I remember they were. And the pond. And this silly bridge. Thy were in the park when I cam here as a little girl. I should think they would ...

 

IGOR:

††††††††††† Park?

††††††††††† I donít know anything about a park

††††††††††† This is my bridge. My pond. My trees

††††††††††† Go away.

 

DRIVER:

††††††††††† Iíll leave when I find my dog.

††††††††††† Not a minute before that.

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† Nobody owns the park.

 

IGOR:

††††††††††† Iím telling you. This isnít a park.

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† Then what is it?

††††††††††† What do you call this place if not a park?

IGOR:

††††††††††† It is my place.

††††††††††† They gave it to me before they went away.

††††††††††† They told me I shouldnít go out of it or let anyone into it.

††††††††††† I must guard it always, keeping others from discovering its secrets.

 

DRIVER: (shouting)

††††††††††† Monroe! Come back, boy.

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† Secrets?

††††††††††† I donít understand.

††††††††††† I came here because Ė well, because I needed to see it again.

††††††††††† You certainly didnít own it when I came here as a little girl with my father. I certainly would have remembered you, stomping around like you are. Perhaps I should call a policeman and let him straighten you out about it?

 

DRIVER: (Moving from one side to the other, looking frantic)

††††††††††† All right, Monroe. You win. I confess. Iíve been fudging the dog food account, buying you cheaper food so I could pocket the difference.

††††††††††† But I promise to stop if you come back. I mean, hey, I make enough off the car repairs and gasoline. I promise you nothing but† the best food from now one, and three walks a day instead of one.

(To himself)

††††††††††† Though if I catch you, Iíll never left you off your leash again. Iíll buy a choke collar, you snub-nosed little mutt.

(calling out again)

††††††††††† Monroe. Where are you, boy

 

(exits area)

 

IGOR

††††††††††† This is my place, I tell you!

††††††††††† I go around and around it, twice a day, walking from here to that rock there, then around to the old horse path there. I keep out intruders.

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† Are you a mugger?

 

IGOR:

††††††††††† Iím a monster.

††††††††††† At least thatís what they called me back then.

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† Donít be silly. There are no monsters.

 

IGOR: (Leaps up from the bench and charges Lou Ann with a roar)

††††††††††† I tell you, Iím a monster.

††††††††††† Thatís what I am.

 

LOU ANN (startled)

††††††††††† Well, Iím sorry.

††††††††††† I certainly donít want any trouble. I just cameÖ

††††††††††† I told you that already.

(Somewhat wistfully)

††††††††††† I just came to see and feel it again. I have remembered it just like this Ė without you, of course: the magnolias were just like this. And the pond. Yes, the pond was like this, too, with a duck or two. I even remember those silly plastic birds there. See them? Stuck into the weeds.

††††††††††† I always wondered what they were for. My father said they put them there to attract other birds.

††††††††††† But I think thatís silly, donít you?

 

IGOR: (Looking out at the plastic birds)

††††††††††† I donít see any birds.

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† Surely, you must

(she points)

††††††††††† Theyíre right there.

 

IGOR:

††††††††††† There is nothing there, I tell you

††††††††††† There is nothing ever here.

††††††††††† I wait and wait, but no one ever comes.

††††††††††† They said they would come back for me.

††††††††††† They told me they wouldnít be long

††††††††††† But Iíve waited and waited andÖ

 

DRIVER (Passing through)

††††††††††† Monroe! You little monster. Iím going to kill you when I catch you, I swear I willÖ

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† Who are you waiting for?

 

IGOR:

††††††††††† I donít remember

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† Thatís silly

 

IGOR:

††††††††††† Itís not silly.

††††††††††† And I wish you would go away.

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† I will not!

††††††††††† This is a public park and I have as much right to be here as you do.

 

IGOR: (to himself)

††††††††††† They told me there would be others. They said I should be careful. They said there would be things here that would want to hurt me, large things with claws and small things that wiggled on the ground

(He looks at Lou Ann)

††††††††††† You donít look like either of those.

††††††††††† What are you then?

††††††††††† Do you have claws or fangs?

††††††††††† I have both.

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† I certainly do not.

††††††††††† And neither do you.

 

IGOR:

††††††††††† Monsters always have fangs and claws.

(He roars at her, arms spread, fingers splayed, mouth open as if he was a bear)

††††††††††† See?

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† No.

 

†IGOR:

††††††††††† Then youíre blind.

††††††††††† They told me some people would come who would want to hurt me. They said monsters were frightening things people donít like.

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† Iím not afraid of you, and I donít intend to stay here long. Just long enough to remember

(She points to the pond)

††††††††††† When I was very little, I fell in there. Right there, trying to pick a water lily.

††††††††††† They were so beautiful, I thought, though later, when I was all wet, I cursed them.

 

IGOR:

††††††††††† There are no water lilies there either.

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† I CAN SEE THAT.

††††††††††† Many things have changed since then.

††††††††††† But there are flowers. And the benches we all sat on are still there.

(She points to the far side of the pond)

 

†††††††††††

IGOR:

††††††††††† I donít see any benches.

 

LOU ANN
††††††††††† Youíre not looking

 

IGOR:

††††††††††† There are no benches on my land

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† Donít be silly.

††††††††††† You were just sitting on a bench.

††††††††††† Where do you live anyway?

 

IGOR:

††††††††††† I live here. This is my home. This has always been my home.

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† You were not here when I came here last time.

 

IGOR:

††††††††††† Then you must have been some place else.

††††††††††† They made me stay.

††††††††††† They told me to stay right here until they come back

††††††††††† I waited.

††††††††††† They never came back.

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† What do you eat?

††††††††††† Where do you sleep?

 

IGOR:

††††††††††† Go away.

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† Not yet.

††††††††††† I havenít seen everything yet.

 

IGOR:

††††††††††† You must go.

††††††††††† There is nothing here for you to see.

††††††††††† Go or IíllÖ

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† Or what?

 

IGOR:

††††††††††† Or Iíll do what monsters are supposed to do when they find people alone in their land.

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† But youíre not a monster.

 

IGOR:

††††††††††† You are not listening. You do not know. I promised them I wouldnít hurt anybody. But sometimes, itís so hard.

††††††††††† When people come here and say thing like you say when I tell them to go away, and they say theyíll go when they fee like it, and then, I have to do what I have to do.

††††††††††† This is my place. They gave it to me before they went away. No one else has a right to be here. No one can stay here when I tell them to go.

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† I wonít be here long.

††††††††††† I just need to breathe again, the way I used to breathe when I first came here.

††††††††††† This place, this whole place always stunned me. How could a park so big exist in the middle of all these towers. You canít even see the towers from here. It is almost as if they donít exist, as if they have never existed, and as if by merely being here we have somehow stopped the rest of the world, preventing it from doing its worst to destroy everything that is green.

††††††††††† Oh, this place has changed. The tiger lilies are gone. But there are flowers just the same. Dogwood and cherry trees, apple blossoms, too.

††††††††††† By right, they have no business being here either. The fumes invade every inch of this city should have killed them and us long ago.

††††††††††† But standing here, I can breathe again. I can be anywhere in any time or space I want. And for this moment, even, I believe that my parents are right there, waiting behind that bush, to call me back, to hold me again.

††††††††††† I know this is silly. But this place does that to me. It makes me feel like that little girl again, safe from everything.

 

IGOR:

††††††††††† But you are not safe.

††††††††††† As long as you stay here, you are not safe.

††††††††††† They will be angry if they come back and find you here.

††††††††††† They will want to know why I havenít chased you away, or made you go, or done what they told me to do when people refuse to leave.

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† They?

††††††††††† Youíre always talking of them. There is no one here but you and me. Which IS strange. Itís almost as if this very part of the park is separate from other parts, as if you had to already know where it is in order to find it.

 

IGOR: (shouting)

††††††††††† Go away! Go away!

††††††††††† I WILL hurt you if you donít go away.

††††††††††† My teeth are sharp, little girl. Better to eat you with.

††††††††††† And my claws, look at how sharp my claws are!

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† You have no claws. You are not the monster you think you are. Look in the lake at your reflection. What do you see?

 

IGOR:

††††††††††† I donít want to.

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† You mean youíre scared to?

 

IGOR:

††††††††††† I didnít say that.

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† But itís what you mean. You arenít guarding this place, youíre hiding it in.

††††††††††† Youíve pulled the wool over your eyes, thinking that youíre a wolf in disguise when youíre really just a sheep like everybody else.

 

IGOR:

††††††††††† Stop it!

††††††††††† Iíll look in the stupid pond if thatís what it takes to prove to you that Iím really a monster.

(He comes to the edge of the pond and looks in)

††††††††††† Ah, ugly, ugly.

††††††††††† They created an ugly monster. And itís me.

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† But youíre not ugly

 

IGOR:

††††††††††† I am.

††††††††††† And they said I would hug things that come close to me. They said I hurt them. They said I was no good and would never by any good to anyone.

††††††††††† Go away before I hurt you, too.

††††††††††† Go away and leave me in my place. It is my place. They gave it to me. They said I should never leave.

††††††††††† ďStay here and be good. Donít get yourself into any mischief,Ē they said.

††††††††††† Go away from here before I hurt you like I hurt them.

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† I said I would stay and I will

(She sits on the bench)

††††††††††† I donít know why you want to stay in this place anyway?

It is a sad place. There arenít even any more water lilies any more.

††††††††††† Look there. The fish are dying. The water is polluted. Why would anybody want to stay here?

††††††††††† ButÖ

††††††††††† It wasnít always sad.

††††††††††† It wasnít sad when my parents brought mere here, when there were sea gulls and geese and other birds.

(she looks around)

††††††††††† Where did all the birds go anyway?

††††††††††† I havenít seen a real bird since I got here, only these stupid plastic things. Where are the real birds? Why arenít they singing?

 

IGOR: (edging closer to Lou Ann)

††††††††††† They went away.

††††††††††† Everything goes away from here.

††††††††††† Just like you will go away. Only I can stay. This is my place.

 

LOU ANN:

††††††††††† In time, I suppose Iíll go.

††††††††††† But for now, I just want to sit here and pretend that it is still like it used to be, me and my parents looking out over a sweet pond filled with flowers and birds.

††††††††††† There. It doesnít look as sad anymore. I can almost seem the flowers blooming, rising up Ė My God!

††††††††††† Those are Ö

 

IGOR: (Approaching Lou Ann darkly)

††††††††††† I told you to go. I told you not to stay here. But you wouldnít listen. You said you had to stay. Now you WILL have to stay. Like all the birds stayed. Like all those ducks and geese and flowers stayed.

 

(Fade out with Igor looming over Lou Ann and Driverís voice calling ďMonroe! I know youíre out there.Ē)

 

 

 

 

 


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