MONOLOGUE: Names For Things That Sound Like Home

by Shannon Murdoch

Excerpt from New Light Shine

SETTING:           A bedroom

TIME:                 Present

CHARACTER:      OSCAR, 30s, a former accountant, prone to bouts of sudden hysteria.

OSCAR has just moved to a new, small town with his girlfriend, Anna.  He speaks to Anna as he moves amongst the boxes.


It’s funny.

Because you get to a certain age don’t you?  And when that day comes, maybe it is the day that your girlfriend…although I hate that word.  Makes me think of Chelsea Livingsworth who let me feel her breasts because she ‘trusted me’ and was this close to sucking me off until her mother read her diary and sent her to live with her grandmother.  That’s a girlfriend.

So not one’s girlfriend, one’s…partner?  No.  Too clean.  Lover?…  I’d like to call you my lover, Anna.  I’d like that a lot because you are the greatest person in the world to fuck but I get the feeling that if I started dropping the ‘L’ word into conversation, your skin would blush all over and you would tell company that I am over-medicating myself.

God.  Are we going to have any company here?  Are we going to have anything?  Anything that…  Anything at all?  Anything that I might learn to love and consider my own?  Anything that I will one day sit back and smile at nothing and mutter in a quiet, lovely tone that I am lucky.  I am just so lucky that I live here, this place, because of…fill in the blank.  Perhaps they make their own jam?  Gooseberry, or sweet, sweet marmalade.  Home.  The feeling of home.  You know what I’m talking about?  Something that tastes like home.  Like you, Anna.  Anna, Anna, Anna.  Where have you taken me?

So simple.  So incredibly, unbelievably simply. That day, when your…significant other?—god help us—turns to you, and says “Oh, by the way, and let’s not make a huge deal out of it, but I’ve taken a job in some god-forsaken hole that I used to call home,” and you look at her in a weird, slightly creepy way because you can’t seem to find the words “That is a terrible idea” or “Nice.  Have fun.  Send a postcard.”  You look and you notice for the first time—is it the first time?  It seems like the first time, although you can’t be sure of anything because you have some small child inside your brain and it is screaming.  In pain.  Or out of boredom.  You can’t tell because this little demon also has its feet on your chest and its thumping on it good and hard and you are pretty sure that you are three seconds away from your heart and your mind quite literally exploding.  And someone tells you, maybe it is your mother, that what you are experiencing is love and the threat of that love being taken away, and you have always been convinced that one day your mother will come up with something that borders on intelligence, so maybe today is that day.  So you believe it, you believe it with everything, and it’s wonderful because  the screaming and the thumping stop and you look around and you see, you really see, just how much stuff your life is.

It scares the shit out of you.  It really…

You don’t know why, and you don’t want to know, so you quickly shove it in some boxes and quit your job and declare that you are going to write THE novel and you drive you and your…other half?…your unstarted novel and all this STUFF to the god-forsaken place that your…girlfriend—yes your girlfriend—used to call home and now…now you do too.

copyright © 2010 Shannon Murdoch.  All rights reserved.

Shannon Murdoch, from Melbourne, Australia is a graduate of the Playwrights Studio at NIDA.  Her plays include Everything in Between (Smith & Kraus), One Cloud and Stupid, and Terrible.  Her work has been produced in Australia, the USA, the UK, and Canada. She has received writing fellowships from numerous organisations in both Australia and the USA.

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