A Series of Monologues
By Elizabeth Board
Cast (in order of appearance):
Girl – teenage female who has an attachment to pornography
Tragic Looking Girl – desolate teenage female who has given up on life
Androgyne – teenage female who is too high to comprehend reality
Female – cocaine addicted teenage female
Lady – jaded teenage female
Young Woman – mildly insane teenage female
Teenage Girl – hostile female self injurer
Shrink – non-speaking middle-aged useless twit
Skinny Girl – teenage female with an eating disorder
Hollow Girl – self destructive but tragically in love teenage female
Dope Fiend – non-speaking teenage male drug addict
The stage is set with platforms for each of the different settings of the play. They are scattered across the stage and the actors are already in place sitting quite still in the darkness. The lights come up on a GIRL situated at a desk facing a computer screen that we can't see.
GIRL is clearly doing something she'd prefer no one else sees as shown by she's body language as she is jumpy and careful in her movements. She clicks around for awhile and then leans back watching something on the screen. The sounds of pornography fill the stage though they are low and muted so we can hear her voice…
GIRL: I watch her eyes drip tears. 'How many drugs did they have you fucked up on, baby?' I whisper to myself as she's torn apart and penetrated. 'What did they pump you full of to create that glaze?' These girls perform but they have no idea of how they move, where they are, what they're feeling. Tears are dripping down their cheeks but they don't feel them.
She takes a deep breath. Clearly aroused.
Pornographic images meant to arouse flash before me, but the only feeling they cause is sympathy, empathy. I've been that whore spread out before you with an empty mind, incapable of thought. Nothing connects and the cells have stopped communicating.
She moves closer to the screen, intent on speaking with the lighted shapes that reside there.
Why did they put you in a coma little girl, was it all so they could fuck you? How many lines have you blown since to erase that day? Why do your eyes look like the ocean; hollow and dark with no bottom in sight? Did they drown you with alcohol and strip you naked? Fuck you raw and forget your name?
She is becoming desperate.
Look at me, baby. Baby, look at me. Tell me with your eyes what was in the needles that pricked you. That cock in your mouth won't fill the void in your chest.
Her fervor has ceased.
You know, the one that is just inside of your ribcage, beating,
The lights fade out on him as he continues to stare at his companions on the computer screen.
The lights come up on the next platform which contains a very sad and TRAGIC LOOKING GIRL lounging in a bathtub. Prescription pill bottles line the edge and a razorblade sits calmly on top of some towels. She is running her fingers through her hair and murmuring to herself.
TRAGIC LOOKING GIRL: I'm becoming one last quiet left over promise. The last little whisper that you can't break.
I can carve myself to pieces, I can rot my nose to shards but still, you won't leave me. There are words I can't say because to you their meaning would be life wrecking and that is one thing I'd never do to you.
She leans back in the bathtub; clearly she is under the influence of something – or multiple somethings.
Leave me strung up, strung out but in a perpetual state of discomfort. It hurts like hell, baby. I'm not nearly as incoherent as you think. Always leading me on, always leashing me and dragging me along behind you like a freak show parade.
She stops to pop some pills from one of the bottles beside her. It is unclear if these are antidepressants or something to make her actually high.
It really is a shame that you don't believe me when I say "I love you, I can't forget you". Come back to me, again and again.
She is becoming desperate and incoherent.
Crawl over time and space and wrap your arms around me in eager bliss. Curl me into your chest and pin my hands behind my tender back to protect me from those careful, slipping, slicing, treacherous fingers of mine.
She reaches for the razorblade and studies it in full view of the audience.
You're breathing maggots but they spell those three words. Each time you lie, I write another simple line of reddened poetry.
It's all for you. It will always be, all for you.
She begins to drag the blade across her wrist and we see the first beats of pain on her face before the lights go black.
Lights rise on our next stand out citizen of society: a ANDROGYNE is seated on the floor of what is clearly a bedroom (probably her bedroom) as shown by the set pieces. She has a metal Nirvana CD case in front of her and has a couple unknown pills resting on it.
ANDROGYNE: My body pines away beneath the ever changing skyline. Your hands twine softly across the cool flesh in mid decay.
She covers the pills with a bill and reaches behind her for some type of heavy object (bottle of make-up, text book, paperweight, etc.) and begins to rub it across the bill in turn crushing the pills.
You hear my words as they softly ooze from my mouth, but you don't take their meaning to heart. You never let them hit on your soft blurry brain. You'll never confess volumes to me in the wee hours of the day as we're spread out in pieces across the lawn.
She lifts the bill, shakes it and then examines the newly created powder with a credit card.
Take my breathy confessions to mean something.
She covers the powder again and gives it a quick crush.
Hold onto them like the last final charm of a long lost loved ones bracelet. Separation beads like sweat on each of our brows and each time we come close I beg for some sort of physicality to our words. I've been shredded indefinitely and you and your sewing kit will take to piecing me back together.
Again she repeats the uncovering process and begins to cut the powder into lines with the credit card.
I beg to feel your hands prying my skin apart and stitching it back together with thread made of your own veins. I want your blood to pump through me and nurture me, so I can poison someone other than myself.
She takes a straw from her pocket and leans over the case – inhaling one of the lines.
Infatuation cannot be the right word for what we have. Each word falls with dissonance and I can hear the shock in your breath. My hands make their way brushing across your flesh and tracing individual scars.
She takes another.
This is so careless of me, so uncalculated, so sloppy. I promise I'm not like this, I promise I'm not this destroyed. I can fight and fuck along with the best of them but for now I just need you to hold me.
I need gentle hands on a rigid body.
She leans back and seems to be contemplating.
I've been thinking since my eyes reopened and as always, it's about you. The way you see me is not the way I am. I can run my nails along your back and leave beautiful marks, claiming you as mine till we meet again. I'm just as feisty as any girl, but my personality is always cold.
She takes the last line and begins to clean up her supplies.
I want to claw at the walls with you inside me and rip your shoulders with my teeth. I want violence and love and passion and everything I've never gotten all at once. All I really want is for you to lean over me and whisper "I love you."
She sighs and gazes calmly at the straw then glances up to the audience as if the next line is in reference to that piece of drug paraphernalia.
This is how much of a fucking cliché I've become.
Lights fade to black and come up on a young FEMALE who has been seated in the audience the whole time. She begins to speak.
FEMALE: I doubt I've used the stalls at the cinema for their intended purpose since I turned sixteen. My friends would file into the theatre and I would excuse myself to the cold tiled restrooms.
She is self assured and convincing.
Locking myself in amongst lover's graffiti I would unwind that small bag being hit with the smell of every noxious chemical cut in that simple white powder. A burning nasal anticipation hits with that scent. That caustic, burning, chemical dump scent.
This is clearly her fantasizing.
When that momentary ecstasy of anticipation subsides it is time to put the tools of the trade in line. A razorblade, a surface of some type and a straw or rolled bill. My preferred surface has always been a mirror or compact of some sort though anything flat will do and credit cards are useful in a crunch. I have one compact in particular that has been sacrificed to my drug of choice. I can see myself through the dusty film, the remnants of past lines scattered across the reflective surface. The razorblade I use is old; dulled on my flesh and covered in rusted fingerprints. I keep it cradled in my compact and it's always ready; a sort of "coke kit" if you will. I keep a one dollar bill always rolled via some type of cocaine origami I learned on the internet.
She is teaching – passing on knowledge.
Cocaine is my profession and I'm damn good at my job. I dump one of the small rocks out onto the mirror and use the end of some lipstick to crush it hastily. The razorblade aids me as I scrape the last remnants off the lipstick and then lick it clean. I turn to the crushed powder with surgical precision and begin to break it into fine grains. I've seen people rush through this. More of the blow ends up on the floor than in their nose and they often leave it so poorly broken up that their line is more of a row of small rocks. Rocks won't get absorbed. You won't get high. I take my time. I don't have money to burn and I need to make this g last as long as possible.
She pauses – tragic.
I am not proud of my life and what you mistake for pride is more so a cry for help. Dependency is not something that anyone should ever be proud of. I am still in part the silly little girl who was enthralled by the sordid world of drug addiction. I still sometimes find myself romanticizing the events of my life. They, though, can only be romantic in the eyes of that naive girl who knew nothing about addiction. You can never have the horrors of addiction and dependence truly explained to you. It is something that is impossible to truly understand until you have felt it. This is one of a slew of reasons that quitting is so hard.
The next portion is said with resentment.
People who have never acknowledged or felt the pangs of addiction do not understand the terror at the thought of 'just stopping'. 'Just stopping' is unfathomable because contemplating it means facing the rush of what ifs and scenarios where the only possible solution is your drug of choice.
She is attempting to make it real and plausible to someone who has never felt "the pangs of addition".
I count to 70 and can only think of a gram. I roll ones almost instinctively. And it finally crosses my mind that there will never be a day in the rest of my life that I don't think about it at least once. I'm learning though –however slow – that it is not the drugs fault that my life has fallen to shambles. I chose to bump that first line and in turn I chose this life. A lifestyle of sex for drugs and fuck rock n' roll 'cause it gives my sleep deprived self a headache. There's nothing romantic about licking crumbs of cocaine off of the bathroom floor.
She laughs, unaffected. Takes another drag of her cigarette and then puts it out as the lights fade.
The lights come back up on the next platform which contains a very angry looking LADY. She is seated at a table flicking the pages of a magazine. She is bored. Indifferent. Haughty. She has a bottle of Jack Daniel's and nurses it during her scene.
LADY: I want to run away from here.
She is matter of fact. Cold.
Trailing dust in a 1967 Ford Mustang and blowing smoke from rich red lips. I want to stay in motel rooms all over the country; shooting morphine and talking about life. I want your hands on my shoulders as we lay on bad 80's coverlets staring at stucco ceilings and speaking in opiate induced confusion.
She props her feet up on the table and takes a gulp of the whiskey.
I want to feel connected and in love; if only for the moment.
Her eyes grow distant.
I want to watch the sun come up while sipping cheap red wine and sit wrapped in a blanket, buried in your arms and suspended in a balcony overlooking an abandoned pool. I want to toss and turn in cocaine-sleep knowing that if I give up on closed eyes and fractured dreams you'll be there to talk to.
I want to wear frilly dresses in every color and rob convenience stores with pearls around my neck. I want red lips, white nails and Marilyn Monroe hair in pale pink. My eyes will always be blackened with kohl and sleep deprivation.
I want to remember the days when everything was okay and your kiss meant "I love you," without ever saying it. I want to turn you into an addict; scarffing down pills and powders with just as much voracity as me.
I want your warmth next to me. I want to be willing to sleep nights again. Your embrace was the best rest I've ever had.
If we ran away I'd sit cutting out paper dolls and tracing their outlines on old news paper clippings about dead stars. We'd draw tracks on every single one with ballpoint pens. We'd have hollow music playing in the background and cut lines on old mirrors with cigarettes dangling precariously from lips smeared with kisses. Each night would be the start of our days as we'd hunt the streets in search of that next big score. Crack dens, laden with deceit and failed dreams, are already our biggest hang-outs. It's like being a kid in a candy store when you have a wallet full of twenties and pills of every prowess spread in front of you. You know so little but I'll teach you what color will make it all okay. A vodka bottle would be permanently attached to my finger tips in all these late night runs. From child to drug chugging thug and back again; I'd flow.
She has reached the end of the magazine and tosses it aside, takes another gulp and then begins to pace back and forth.
I plan on wearing your oversized sweaters; being lost in the wool would feel fabulous. We can speed down the highways passing signs that say things like '16 miles til…' and 'Exit for…ahead'.
She is getting drawn into this fantasy. She is getting visibly drunk.
I can be the most beautiful accessory bedded down next to you in the leather seats. I'll smoke trashy cigarettes and talk about sex and drugs with a dirty mouth and foul fantasies. We'll pass out at rest stops when we run out of blow and listen to Elliot Smith as we fade into sleep.
Bottle to mouth.
You'll wrap your arms tight around me and lean your lips close to my ear, "don't go down, stay with me, baby, stay," is all you'd say and then kiss my forehead in that way that you always do. I'd wear fur coats and forget that we'd have had sex, repeatedly.
She gives an accusing look to the whiskey bottle.
You'd remind me, kiss my cheek, but never correct me. Let me believe what I want; let me fantasize that you'd have said you loved me. Someday our road will come to a sharp end and we'll be numb and sore and in love all at once, lying in our own chalked out lines waiting for the body bags.
She laughs and her laughter shows that there is a personality somewhere in there. Fade to black.
The lights come up on a YOUNG WOMAN seated cross legged in the middle of the platform. She is speaking to a photograph.
YOUNG WOMAN: I need sweet memories of the nights I've erased and careful caresses to replace the love that seeps from betwixt your thighs. I can't trace the lineage of our time together because sadly and solely I've rotted the cells that held those memories. My remembrance of you, just like that of some long dead relative, is wiped away and wiped clean. The sins that brought us together will simply tear us apart as they turn themselves into headlines in some sort of mockery of a scandal. Our cool lips lock and embrace, wrapping themselves in majesty and it's not about settling: it never has been. My debt to you has been paid off in full as the gashes on my thighs can attest to that and every time I bed down with another I'll be thinking of you; they'll be reminded of you. Because after all, my love,
Her eyes are only on the picture.
Every single one of them is about you.
The lights fade to black and then come back up on a TEENAGE GIRL in a chair. She is getting shrunk (get it?).
TEENAGE GIRL: It's been years.
That was supposed to arouse shock in her listener; a middle aged woman with the "shrink hair cut" and a pad of paper.
It's been so many long years of undeniable pain sketched out on innocent pliable flesh. It has never been about attention, it will never be about attention. It was about effecting the uneffectable. Changing what I have no control over. Controlling aspects of my life that are out of reach but that I am still painfully aware of. It seems like forever that I've had these delirious fantasies of control.
Putting it in terms a person of the psychotherapeutic profession can understand.
Magical thinking, obsessive delusions.
My pain and fear are rendered in splendid red, hidden from the world because their explanation is so obscure. A simple and (sarcasm) poetic, (mocking) "it's about seeing the emotional pain - making it tangible," would not do because it would be a damn lie. Just like all the others I've perpetrated. It was never about pain. It was about anger, anger at others for hurting me, anger at myself for being too weak to stop them. It's not an addiction; it's not some silly excuse for a problem. It's the embodiment of everything, every last unsubstantiated thought, unexplainable urge, regret. They're reminders,
Like post it notes, of the best and the worst.
The times where I was able to grasp control for even just a moment.
Fade to black and come back up on a SKINNY GIRL stepping off of a scale.
SKINNY GIRL: I am wasting away. My ribs that were once only shadows and sketches beneath my skin are becoming visible testaments to the rot that is inside of me.
She walks to the downstage edge of her platform.
My skeleton is becoming one with my façade as the flesh melts away revealing everything that is inside. As I grow in my emaciation the hollow shell inside me comes to the surface. My face is gaunt in it's build and the pain creates gouges on my flesh. I don't think I'm fat;
I'm not nearly that delusional. It has never been about losing weight – it is about control though.
She is done. She sulks off to weigh herself again. Fade to black.
Lights go dark and then come back up on a HOLLOW GIRL who sits hugging herself on the end of a mattress as a very skinny, very strung out and very greasy boy lies asleep.
HOLLOW GIRL: The taste of his cigarettes still clings to the back of my throat and reminds me constantly of what it's like to be wrapped in his arms.
She rests a hand on him in an almost mothering way.
He leans in and kisses me with enough love to cover my entire body. I am his – curled close to him and mumbling opiate musings. We talk incessantly as we run our hands over each other: over and over. I trace your veins and you tell me stories of and each and every track.
Her hand runs down along his arm as she speaks of track marks.
There's never a tone of worry in your voice even as you speak of Death and how quickly he is coming for you. And as you turn my face to you and kiss my forehead – fingertips pressed to my chest – I realize that I'm in love.
She pauses. Overwhelmed.
I look into his eyes and am just consumed with passion. I am romancing his decay and turning myself into an object – an antidepressant created for only him to consume. He is every single one of my fantasies but there is no way to escape this impending tragedy that will come. At any moment the hawks of the law can swoop down to claim him and carry him away to their cages – without me.
She plays gently with strands of his hair.
He brushes his fingers through my hair as if to calm my ever growing anxiety. I feel the pain behind his kisses and understand just how sad he truly is. His entire face glows when he sees me and the amount with which he loves me teaches me to love myself. He disappears to binge on drug and drink and my heart fades into a shadow of its former self.
She grips him tighter.
It is his fear that I won't hold him and keep him and claim him as mine that drives him to disappear. He has become everything to me and I've put all my chips in one place. I will let myself drown with him if he doesn't want me to be his savior.
She kisses his forehead and then curls up next to him. She drifts into sleep. Fade to black.
Scene is over, play is over. Please leave my goddamn theatre.