MONOLOGUE: Garden of Crows

by Brian Beatty

Front porch of a broken-down suburban ranch house. Piles of black feathers litter downstage.

Early morning, just a flickering hint of sunlight.

STEVE, Late 40s.

STEVE wears plaid flannel pajama bottoms, a contrasting flannel shirt, a ragged, outdated sport coat, muddy work boots and a hunter orange knit cap pulled down to his eyebrows. 


These neighborhood crows know something they’re not telling us—and they refuse to shut up about it. So I’m out here every morning, a bit before sunrise, with my cup of coffee and my shotgun.


What I’m doing is doing everybody a favor. That’s right. A favor. Can’t leave your windows open if you expect to get any kind of beauty rest. That’s what my wife used to say. My ex-wife.


Before all this ruckus, I was one handsome son-of-a-bitch. She’d say that once in a while, too. If she was drunk.


Look at me now. Not a pretty picture. I know it.


So my plan is to blast every last one of these birds to Crow-dom Come. Their smug, smart-ass days are numbered. Nobody appears to miss the couple dozen I’ve blasted so far. Haven’t heard any complaints, anyway. Except that morning some shot ricocheted off a city streetlamp post and beaned Mrs. Nelson’s front door window glass. She got a little upset, I suppose. Then I got upset. That crack cost me a hundred bucks. But the old lady was sweet as can be again, once it was all fixed up. She carried over a pie fresh from the oven the very next day. Old Man Nelson chuckled he wished she’d find it in her heart to be that nice to him sometimes. Then the two of them scooted back over to their house to hide.


I quartered that hundred-dollar pie into four and ate it for breakfast the rest of that week. Brought it out here so the birds could see I wasn’t done with them. Tossed the plates off the porch like clay pigeons. Thought that would send the message. Think again. These are the dumbest goddamn creatures you’ve ever seen. They just keep it up with that same stupid, blank stink-eye. As if I’m the one ought to be scared. I’m not scared. Merely annoyed. We’re not living in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1950s around here.  Continue reading

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? Continue reading


by Tom Coash

excerpt from Veils

Setting:            In front of a video camera

Time:               Present

Character:       INTISAR, 20, Female, a veiled African-American Muslim student who is doing a year studying abroad at the American University in Cairo, Egypt.

INTISAR is speaking to a video camera, making a video about veiling for the web site YouTube.


9/11, 2001, right? My mother was forced to strip to her underwear in the back room of an airport. I was thirteen and we were flying home from my aunt’s wedding. Halfway there our plane was diverted to a small airport. Nobody knew what was happening. We didn’t know of the hijackings or that all flights were being grounded. We were on the runway for more than an hour when airport security came on the plane. Searching, apparently, for anybody who looked dangerous and proceeded to escort my Mother and I onto the tarmac, everybody staring. In a back room full of security, they had our suitcases open, belongings strewn all over, and my mother was requested to submit to a body search. When she refused, the requests became uglier, strip or be arrested. She looked at me, afraid, tears running down my face, and she took her clothes off. Of course they found nothing. What was there to find? They looked at me and she said “You will NOT undress my daughter.” They didn’t but they made me take my veil off. Why is that? What did they think I might be hiding under a dang scarf?!

It was my first veil. When a girl reaches puberty. I hadn’t even had it a month. Delicate, light blue. Like the sky we had been flying through. A proud moment. Becoming a woman. A rite of passage. I hadn’t had it a month and a person of supposed authority forced me take it off. Raghead.

Later I sat crying next to my mother as we waited for my father to drive 400 miles to rescue us. She said “Why are you crying?” “Shame.”  Continue reading

MONOLOGUE: Jail Time Sober

by Tami Canaday

Setting:            A jail cell in a county jail

Time:               the present

Character:       NANCY, an educated woman in her early 30s.


So, every woman here in jail with me is an addict; their addiction is stronger than their sense of what is right. (very slight beat) So, why am I here? A newbie? Which, I am. Alcoholism, I suspect. Under the surface, surreptitious, for sure, but alcoholism. I’m here because drinking feels better than not drinking. Or because I THINK drinking is gonna feel better than not drinking. Not true…usually.

(Laughs. Suddenly stops) The reality? I‘m a juicehead, and juiceheads make…questionable choices. So, where to start? Last night, I slept without my pants on since I won’t get another uniform until Friday. Don’t want them to start smelling too stinky, too soon. Might seem like a small consideration, right? One, maybe, I shouldn’t mention? Trust me, it’s a big one. My nights are restless. The lights never, ever go off except when they’re dimmed at 11:30. And, a thin plastic pad on a metal shelf is like sleeping on a goose down without the goose, and the down. Makes me wake up over and over during the night—the damn unpleasantness of it all. And the only way to tell what time it is? Is to get on my knees and peer sideways through a slit in the door. So, at the moment, there are eleven other women in our “pod”—how cute, a pod! And for now, I’m the only one in my cell, which is nice because it would be, well, dicey to use the toilet with a stranger in the room. See? That’s a BIG consideration. And, the mirror over my sink? Is so high I can see only the top of my head. Probably, for the best. (laughs) I usually spend hours during the day in the (does air quotes) “pod’ working on jigsaw puzzles with Claudia who has no money, no car, no friends, no family, no husband. And, sometimes when I’m being particularly kind to her, she clings to me like underarm sweat. I’ve spent hours listening to my cellmates compare stories, talk about God, and blame everyone but themselves for their problems. Here’s the secret about these women: Continue reading