"The Language of Brutality"
RAY KELSEY enters whistling, as if for an errant pet. He stands downstage and peers out into the audience.
Ginger! Ginger! [Whistling.] Ginger, come here. Come here! No! Come here. Here, Ginger. No! You get out of there. Ginger! Ging You leave the mailman alone. No! Good Ginger. Come here. Come here. [Kneeling and clapping hands.] Come here! Oh, thats a good Ginger. Oh, I love Ginger. Yes I do. Yes I do! Okay, go in your house. Wheres your house? Go in your house! Go in your house! Good ginger. [Stop. Look at audience.]
Problems with the wife.
I dont know whats wrong with her. I tell you what, though; Im about ready to send her back. And its not like I didnt spend good money on her, either. Dont ever let anyone tell you that Bob Kelsey was afraid to pay top dollar for his wife. I got the full optioins package. Were talking power everything intermittent hormones, adjustible religious preferences, personality fully backwards compatible. It was a big investment, but every dollar you spend at the beginning saves you three dollars in repairs down the line. And Im not ashamed to say I bought American, either. A lot of people right now talk about the new European model wives, but the truth is they just dont have the same pride in their craftsmanship over there. My friend Earl got one of those German economy wives Im not gonna say how much he spent on her, but it was quite a bit less than what I paid for Ginger and you know what he saw when he opened the box? One arm, no kneecaps, and stretch pants. Lemme tell you, when you deal with the Germans, its important to specify all the working parts. Ive always said it. America: Better plumbing, better baseball, better wives.
Anyway, thats why I was so surprised when Ginger went on the fritz. I leave for work Monday morning and shes fine; hair was nice, not a lot of opinions, she kept mispronouncing the word hysterectomy it was cute. I come home Monday night and shes gone nuts. Shes just sitting at the kitchen table with her skirt over her head eating piña colada mix. Plus shes got the neighbors boy in some sort of headlock and she keeps clipping barettes to his eyelids. Apparently the poor kid had spent the last six hours totally unable to blink. The whole kitchen smeels like coconuts or bananas or some tropical shit, theres forty-three messages on the machine from the neighbors wanna know where their sons been all afternoon, and was dinner ready? You can bet your ass it was not. I tell you, I had frozen waffles for dinner Monday night, and Ginger slept in the garage.
So I dont know much about wives, myself. I mean, I read the Consumer Reports special and I looked at the catalogs for a few months before I sent away for Ginger, but I am by no means a wife guy. You get me in there with the tubes and the fluids and everything and Im liable to cause a lot more problems than I fix. But Ive got this friend Roy, and he is definitely a wife guy. I mean, hes had six or seven wives in the past ten years, so you know he knows what hes doing. Every Satuday you go over to Roys house and hes out in the back yard, working on his wife. So I figure, take Ginger over there, let Roy have a look at her while I run some errands, come back a little later in the afternoon and problem solved. See I thought she just needed a tune up or one of her belts had come loose or something.
Well, let me tell you, no matter how many wives your friend has had, his expertise is not a substitute for the knowledge of a trained professional. Take it from Bob Kelsey, if your wife breaks down, do not under any circumstances give her to your friends to look at. The first thing Roy does when I leave Ginger over there is pop open the back panel and void her warranty. I mean thats just poor judgment on Roys part, because as soon as you start opening up your wife and poking around in places where you really dont know what youre doing the company will not take her back. So at this point returning Ginger is not an option. I shopped around for a mechanic here in town, but the cheapest one wants three grand to do a complete overhaul. Three grand! For that kind of money Im better off trying to trade her in for one of those low-maintenance Russian models.
So I dont know what Im gonna do. I thought about just taking her down to the PTA and leaving her, but I really dont want to junk her just yet. Point of pride, I guess. The thing is, a man has the same wife for three or four years, he starts to get attached to her. She becomes a part of your life, you know? Like a really nice pair of pants or a special chair or something. Its silly, I know. But Im not willing to let the old girl go just yet. I dont know. Ill figure something out. Maybe Ill just put an ad in the paper. Hey, do you know anybody whos looking? Got any sons or nephews or anything that are starting to get to be that age? Cause she still runs okay. I mean shes a good starter wife. No? All right. I understand. Well, Id better get inside before she starts messing up the furniture. Ginger! [Whistles.] Id better not see you on top of that counter again!
RAY exits. Pause. DAN enters. He is the fictionalized characterization of the author. This is not a role that requires great acting ability.
The catalog wife piece: Ironic commentary on the objectification of women or pandering to misogyny for cheap laughs or? [Pulls coin from pocket, flips it, does not show result to audience. Drinks glass of water.] Huh. You never can tell.
Blackout."The Language of Brutality" IS COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL AND MAY NOT BE DOWNLOADED, TRANSMITTED, PRINTED OR PERFORMED WITHOUT THE EXPRESS PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR
"The Language of Brutality" debuted November 13, 1998, performed by Dan Brooks.
Performed at Best of No Shame on December 11, 1998.