copyright © 2002 Clinton A. Johnston



Clinton A. Johnston

No Shame



[Done á la Todd Ristau’s legendary Rabbit – fast, fevered, with rural American accent.]


[Long pause, just enough to make the audience uncomfortable.  Starts in change light from the audience and then moves to the stage.]


Just a dream!?!


Sure it was just a dream!  Like the airplane, or the microwave, or the electric eel!


Or like Orville Jorgensen out in Shawondasse.  Always in between worlds, that boy, born right smack dab on the border of Iowa and Illinois.  Every night, when he would fall asleep, he’d meet a vision of his own toe trying to kill him.  He’d look down to see his toe crawling up his body, ripping him apart, pulling a trail of bone and blood and flesh behind it, sittin, there screamin’, “I’m gonna’ kill you, Orville!  I’m gonna’ kill you!”


His mother said it was just indigestion.  He’d stop eatin’ those pork rinds, he’d be okay.  That cousin of his, went to that university, kept trying to make some Freudian shit out of it.  Everyone else said, “It’s just a dream, Orville!  It’s just a dream!”


They weren’t sayin’ that when Orville limped into the doctor’s office with a fresh, severed toe in one hand and a trail of blood leading behind him for blocks.  They said, “What’d you do, Orville!”


He said, “It was him or me!  I made it so I could finally get some sleep, goddammit!”


It wasn’t just a dream then.  No, sir.  It was an event!



So, there I was in this smoky pit of fire and piss, rivers of the stillborn raining down on us like consumptive toads!  And in front of me was the most hideous Heavenly vision.  It had the hips of Elvis Presley, Dean Martin’s hair, the eyes of Ry Cooder, the legs of Buddy Holly’s dog, little toothbrush moustache above and below, the mummified hands of a 92-year-old Dolly Parton, and a sequined, shark skin jacket that read, “Enjoy the trip, folks!  I’m takin’ ya’ ta’ Hell with me!”  On its head were things that kept switching between horns and Playboy bunny ears!  And in those crinkly, country singer crone claws, he was knittin’ something out of my grandma!


I said, “Whatchu’ doin’, Rabbit?”


And he said, “I’m fixin’ to make me a city!”


And I said, “You can’t make a city out of my grandma!”


And he said, “Oh!  I didn’t know that!” and ZIP!  There go my grandma’s eyes, and they’re city streets.


I said, “She’s one that bore me and mine for generations.” 


And he said, “Is that so?” and ZIP!  There go her bones and teeth, and they’re buildings and cars.


And I said, “She’s one whose desires would wake up an entire county come some sultry, summer night!”


He said, “Well that’s very interesting?” and ZIP!  There goes her hair, and it’s the telephone wires and power lines.  And ZIP!  There go her hopes and dreams!  And ZIP!  There goes the love she never confessed to anyone!  And ZIP!  There got the stories she never even told herself!  And ZIP!  ZIP!  ZIP!  And soon I was standing in the middle of a huge city – skyscrapers and subways and parks and taxis and fountains and pigeons, people running to and fro, havin’ their lunch, and not knowing or not caring that they were trampin’ around on the remains of my grandma!


And he said, “Whattuya’ think?”


And I said, “Surely this is an abomination!”


And he said, “Abomination, Hell!  Shit, boy!  If the Good Lord can raise you up from mud and twigs and ticks, I can sure as shit birth a city outta’ yer grandma!  Ain’t you learned nothing yet?


“It don’t matter what your material is, son … it’s all what you make of it.”


[Quick blackout]


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