OR IS IT “JUST A DREAM?”
by OPOVV, ©2013
(Feb. 23, 2013) — Act I
Lights dim on an empty stage. From stage left, out staggers what appears to be a Bowery Bum, unshaven, dirty face, hands, and suit. Upon reaching center stage, he looks at the audience and, as if surprised, caught off-guard, stops and makes an address:
What you looking at? You think I’m squalor, don’t you? Well, I’m not. I’m better than you, I’m better than ALL of you, and I can prove it, if I wanted to, but what’s the point? You wouldn’t understand anyhow.
I was like you once, believing in “honesty” and “fair play.” What a joke. There ain’t no honesty and nothing’s fair, mark my words. They eat you up, that’s what they do. Thems that calls the shots win the game.
A park bench is pushed into view, and the Bum slumbers down and places a newspaper over his face and commences to snore. Lights dim.
Lights brighten as a group of rowdy and rambunctious people arrive and start to spread blankets and picnic gear surrounding the park bench where the Bum is snoring away, oblivious of the clatter and clamor. Two middle-aged women, Judy and Maggie, and a young lady, Jenny, are distributing paper plates and plastic utensils.
Judy: All I’m saying, just as my mother told me, is that money is the number one problem in a marriage and you want to do everything you can to keep out of debt. Better to go without, I say.
Jenny: But I’m tired of having used; I want new things. Why can’t I eat Kobe steaks? Why do I have to have tuna and peanut butter?
Maggie: Because you can’t afford it, and getting a credit card and going out and spending beyond your means is nonsense. Didn’t you learn anything in school?
Jenny: Well, sure, I mean, they taught us stuff and we took tests, and I got good grades, so, sure, I learned a lot. Oh, look at the time! Lunch over, let’s get back to work!
Lunch break is over and everyone is throwing stuff in the garbage cans as in twos and threes, they exit stage right.
Judy: For all the good it did you. Look, invest your money, and the best place to invest your money is in yourself. Quit smoking and going to bars. Why, you make more than either of us do, with your fancy college education and all. But you’re always broke, while we have nice little nest eggs. We’ve no savings account, no way; we have safe deposit boxes so nobody knows what we have but ourselves. I suggest you do the same.
The lights remain dim as the Bum awakes, stands and stretches. Once again, he looks toward the audience and acts surprised that they’re still there but now addresses them:
Can’t leave well enough alone, eh? Ever hear of minding you own beeswax? Minding your own business? Look, it’s a little after one and I got to be on the floor in an hour. That’s right, I’m your elected politician, and I’m dressing the part, I’m doing my part in upholding the “dignity” of the job. Well, what do you expect? You vote the same sorry people in, year after year. Obama was the biggest failure since this country began, and he was given another term. And look at the members of Congress; you reelect the same Bums year after year, so it serves you right.
I had a dream about a “balanced budget” and “If You Can’t Afford it, Save,” but that’s ALL it was, and forever shall be: just a dream. And don’t make empty threats about “voting us out.” You haven’t yet and you never will.
Bum reaches into his pockets and throws out $100 bills as strangers rush in.
That’s right, crawl for your own money, ain’t it a joke. Next election, remember to vote for me, you hear?
Bum exits stage right as the strangers are now all on their hands and knees grabbing the money off the ground. Lights go out as the curtain drops.
– Fini –