Black and White and Red: All Over

(A study in stereotypes)

A non-play

The Players: White Southerner, Young Black Man, Gun.

Act Only

Afternoon. A Bus stop.

White Southerner and Young Black Man are waiting for a bus. White Southerner is squirming, as though thinking of what to say, or how to say it.

White Southerner (White): Hey...

Young Black Man (Black): Yes?

White: Lemme ask you a question, boy.

Black: (Irritated) My name is James.

White: Boy, I got a question for ya.

Black: (Hesitates) Ok, what is it?

White: Just how do you folks make babies–you know, reproduce?

Black: (Offended) “You folks”?

White: (Speaking faster, more excited) Well, I seemta remember learnin’ in school ya’ll niggers–I mean Negroes–are only two-thirds human, so I’s just wonderin’, you know–

Black: (Scolding) It’s ignorance like yours that still tugs at the heels of social progress. I’ll have you know many African Americans are intelligent, articulate individuals who–

White: I mean, it must be as good as f**king a block ‘a cheese, man, you know? Can’t do a damn thing if yer man-parts are only two-thirds qualified, right?

White Southerner laughs boisterously for a moment, while Young Black Man’s anger begins to boil over.

White: (Still laughing) Seriously, it’s gotta be the stork all the way for you people, I mean–

Black: (Livid) That’s it: I’m ‘onna cap yo ass, bitch!

Young Black man pulls a gun from the back of his pants, and shoots White Southerner in the face.

Black: (Satisfied. Looking down at White Southerner’s body) Ign’ant hick.

Young Black Man drops the gun next to White Southerner’s body, laying in an ever-growing pool of his own blood, and walks offstage.

Gun: (Smugly) You know, who says guns don’t kill people? I rather enjoyed that!



coming soon...

a tasteless, more-than-mildly offensive non-play.

stay tuned.


After a Dream

Morning, mid-week:

I do not know what day it is, only that the sun is high, and hot. It must be summer. I dreamt of her again last night. She was in a cabin, and I saw her through the window. There, in the kitchen, she leaned over a table, bending just so, and an inch’s share of skin on her back was shown under her shirt. Her skin was pale and oranged in the light of one large candle. She worked on something I could not see, and I imagined interrupting her.

“Hello,” I’d say. “Hi,” she’d say, not looking up. She always knew it was me. I would place my right hand on her left shoulder, softly, and slowly move it down to her hand, which I would hold tight. I would look into her eyes, and, trying to figure out just what shade of brown they were, I would kiss her. Our lips are, to me, quite familiar now, each to each, in my dreams.

We’d kiss as though we had not been together in years and would not be again. We’d tear ourselves apart, and I would leave, secretive, as though someone watched, or followed. And then, as always, I awake. For a moment, I lay in my bed, wanting. My days are never full, but the sun still burns, and I wait to not be alone.

~ from Scribbling Dreams: Tristan's Journal, by Varjak Paul

no quarter

1. today,
i thought suddenly of katie
(that is her name)
and the camp necklaces
we’d been comparing
in that picture.
i wondered where that necklace’d
gone, and where that picture’d
gone, and where katie’d
gone. i wondered if she’d
found a boy who made her happy,
or if she’d
become addicted to something
worldly, sinful (but somehow
soothing, smoothing). then,

2. later today,
i thought suddenly of another
friend i do not want to leave
and the song “
no quarter
we’d listened to
in the car, that time.
i wondered what kind of friend i’d
been, and what kinds of marks’d
been left, and if he’d
leave, too–you know, if he
had to. i thought yes. i wondered if that’d
make me sleep softer tonight, or if it'd
make me revel in my addictions
(forgetting, forthright, but
somehow foreign).


i’ll think suddenly of katie
(yes, that is her name)
and necklaces;
i’ll think suddenly of that friend
and addictions;
closing the door and putting out the light,
i’ll think suddenly of
the path
where no one goes
i think suddenly: she will

not be home tonight.



A non-play

The Players: Employee, Human Resources Worker, a Health Insurance Form

Act Only


Employee is returning forms dealing with health insurance coverage to a Human Resources Worker.

Human Resources Worker (HR): (Pointing to six blank boxes, separated in twos by forward-slashes, on the form.) Oh, you forgot to fill in your date-of-birth.

Employee: Really? Sorry, it’s–

HR: (Interrupts, handing Employee the form and a pen.) Yeah, if you could just–

Employee: No, it’s April first; just put it in for me.

Employee turns to leave.

HR: (Amused) April first? That’s my son’s birthday. Hey, knock, kn–

Employee: Yeah, no: I don’t care.

HR: (Confused.) I’m sorry, you–?

Employee: (Turns back toward her.) Don’t care.

HR: (Visibly uncomfortable. Lowers her gaze, muttering under her breath.) Well, you don’t have to be rude about it.

Employee: (Having heard her remarks.) Beg pardon?

HR: (Embarrassed and slightly miffed.) I just figured–

Employee: (Leans slightly toward her. Softly.) Figured what?

HR: (Quietly.) That, um, someone born on April Fool’s would, you know, have a better... um, sense of humor. That’s all.

Employee: (Frustrated, fatigued.) Yeah, I don’t.

The two occupy her office in silence for several seconds.

Employee: Are we done here?

HR: (Still looking down.) Yes. Thank you.

Employee: Yeah.

Employee leaves the office promptly, steadily. HR slumps back in her chair and exhales deeply, closing her eyes.

Insurance Form: Honestly, born on April first... he could have at least listened to her #$%@ing knock-knock joke!




A non-play

The Players: Henri, Marcy, a Bed Lamp

Act Only.

Early evening.

Henri and Marcy are at a hospital, visiting a mutual friend. The friend is in a coma, and the two are sitting opposite each other, on either side of his hospital bed, talking. They look troubled.

Henri: All I know is, the nurse said she turned the bed lamp off when she left, and when she came back a few hours later, it was turned on and there was a book on his lap.

Marcy: So?

Henri: So? Doesn’t it look like he... (Trails off and nods down at their friend.)

Marcy: What? No.

Henri: (Hurriedly and hushed.) But the nurse said no one came in while she was gone.

Marcy: (Furrows her brow. Pauses.) But it’s not like the nurse would have been staking out the door to his room.

Henri: Well, no, but don’t you think someone would have seen something?

Marcy: You’d think so, but I wouldn’t say necessarily, no. Besides, it’s just a light–maybe she didn’t really turn it off, anyway.

Henri: Maybe. (Squinting) But what about the book?

Marcy: What about it?

Henri: (Wildly.) Are you kidding? I think the nurse would have noticed something like that.

Marcy: (Looks out the window, exasperated.) Of course she would have... (Looks back toward Henri.) but maybe it was her book–she could be reading it on her breaks, you know.

Henri: Ok, but if you were a nurse, would you put the book you were reading during your breaks on a patient? On a man in a coma?

Marcy: (Sighs.) No, I wouldn’t.

Henri: (Triumphant.) And that’s my point.

Henri and Marcy stare at each other for several seconds, then both turn to look at their friend. Marcy stands up.

Marcy: Whatever, I’m leaving. You’re creeping me out with all this.

Marcy leaves the room.

Henri: (Calling after Marcy.) But what does the book mean? It has to mean something!

Henri leaves the room.

Bed Lamp: (Agitated and disturbed.) Yeah, something creepy, and I’ve got to sleep in here!