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Animals Anonymous – A One Act Play, Take Two

Reposting an old post in honor of Mother’s Day.

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Setting:  The small drab auditorium of an old elementary school or church.  Our hero stands at the podium addressing a sorry-looking bunch of mild-mannered men hunched over in their metal folding chairs.

Our Hero:  Hi, I’m a recovering animal.

A chorus of grumbling Hello’s and Welcomes bubble up like simmering lava.

Our Hero:  As most of you know, trying to function in a civilized society has always been a challenge.  It just seems to go against my instincts, my wild nature.  I can’t help it…but…I’d still like to shove a box of donuts down my pie hole or drink beer with gusto, like I could when I was young, as well as chase after…after…well, what can I say.  Slowly, painstakingly, I’ve learned how to behave in what, as far as I can tell, is a relatively acceptable manner to those around me – even without the help of any sedative substances. Sure, I’m as well-behaved and exciting as a toadstool, on most days, but I don’t think I bother anyone anymore, at least not excessively.  I mean, oh hell, let’s face it, there’s hardly a day goes by I don’t want to chuck my clothes and run wildly through the streets yelling – I am nature, I am nature – until some willing female gets my gist and we spend our remaining days on an unhindered romp of uncontrollable wildness and bliss and…

(long pause)

Our Hero:  I mean, why on earth are we here if not to…sorry, sorry, one day at a time, I tell myself, one day at a time.

Man, yelling from the back of the crowd:  I hear ya.

Another manly voice emerges:  Tell it like it is.

Our Hero:  I guess we all have our limits.  No one can run wild forever without consequences, though it sure was fun while it lasted.  I mean, there’s nothing like the feeling of absolute freedom, is there?  My god, when you’re running wild and unchecked you feel as if you’ll live forever and heaven exists on earth and…

Someone yells:  That’s a fantasy, man.

Our Hero:  You’re right, you’re right, of course.  I know we’re limited, whether we like it or not.  Mother earth gives us an abundance of food and sunshine and water, and yet we know that our supplies have limits, that we’re all on the same ship and must check our behavior accordingly.  I understand that.  If I was to run wildly, endlessly, I wouldn’t last long, I know, I’d use myself up, I’d burn out, I’d die early if I didn’t have a modicum of discipline to keep me under control.  Thanks to Mother Nature and her limits, and, well, that voice in the back of my head…

Another manly voice:  Go ahead, you can say it.

Our Hero:  I know, I know, that voice in the back of my head, the one that keeps me relatively functional in a civilized society, that acts unknowingly as the natural servant of the earth and all of the cosmos, that brought me into this world and threatened to take me out if I didn’t behave, that has probably kept me alive to this point and out of jail or serious disease or from living in a brothel more than anything else, that voice, that voice of my mother.

Another manly voice:  Share it, man, share it.

Our Hero:  I know, I have to acknowledge it, I have to accept it and be thankful for it, I owe my existence and everything else I have and…she encourages creativity and restrained freedom…(gesticulating awkwardly, like a prisoner almost free of its chains)…as long as its socially acceptable behavior and…(knocking at his skull frantically with fists)…oh hell, you all know it!  You must feel the same frustration!  The same pain and anguish!  Because it’s like an annoying interminable song playing repeatedly and incessantly in the back of your minds and you want it to stop, then, maybe, we could find a way to go at least a little wild, a little animalistic – like for a few years more, perhaps, you know, stopping just short of death, accepting a quiet peaceful period down the final stretch…

Another manly voice:  I’m with you (he stands up and tears at his clothes).

Another manly voice:  Me, too (also standing, tearing).

The crowd starts to stir, getting restless with desire for wild abandonment.  The old excitement elevates within our hero and he’s about to shove his fist in the air and yell let’s go wild when…in the back of the room a woman’s voice rises above and beyond the rest…

Woman:  Sit down and shut the hell up and behave yourselves.

Our Hero:  Damn it…

One thought on “Animals Anonymous – A One Act Play, Take Two

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