GHOSTS I’VE KNOWN
A Dramedy Monologue
D. M. Larson
(In the darkness an old wooden rocker is heard moving with a creaking noise. Lights come up dimly on EMILY, a woman [R] dressed in black, alone in a funeral parlor with a closed coffin. A sofa with quilt on it is [DR]. A rocking chair is at the foot of the coffin [L] rocking on its own when the lights come up but stops after a moment)
Perhaps the old Indian woman did it to me. I lived in her house too long as a child.
(Looks at ceiling)
At night, footsteps paced the ceiling. Over and over, an impatient march, forever in step to the silent drum. If only this had been my only encounter, I could dismiss it. “The house is settling,” my mother said… but this wasn’t all the house did.
(Lights slightly flicker)
Lights dimmed and glowed. Her ghostly will stronger than the new world magic conjured by GE. Sometimes she preferred a blackout. She didn’t care for my brother’s taste in music. Blackout!
My brother was scared turdless.
(Lights come up dimly again. She smiles at the memory of her brother. She is thoughtful a moment and her expression darkens)
These spirits are on me like dogs on turds. Always sniffing around. Marking me.
(Goes to sofa. Sits and slowly makes her way under the quilt and lays her head sleepily against the back of the sofa during the following)
I slept in my room. Well, not really slept. Sleep was never something I did much of, especially early on. My worries at seven far outweighed my need for sleep. Awake. Forever awake. My father had left me. My mother…
(Sits up. Then gets up and crosses to coffin)
I was always worried mother would leave me too.
(She touches the coffin lovingly. Then stops looking very tired)
I wish the ghosts would go. But they linger. Always lingering. Never really gone.
(She goes to rocking chair and pushes it with her hand so it rocks. She crosses to sofa and sits staring at the rocking chair)
The old Indian woman was my first. She rocked at my beside, all in white. My eyes met hers. Her eyes giving me a worried look as if I were the one who had expired.
(Slowly slips quilt over herself. Holds it up so she can’t see rocker, but audience can still see her)
Fear making my head sink deeply into covers. My eyes entombed by my lids. How long she waited, I’ll never know. By dawn I ventured a look. She was gone… or perhaps she was never there.
Thinking the apparition a dream, I told my family and their eyes betrayed them. Others had known her too.
(Rises from bed)
Mother had a vision. She did not go questing for it though. The old Indian, young to most who saw her, once lived on this land. A servant. A girl died here, she at her side… at her side rocking… and the girl died.
And then I died too…
(Waits for reaction, then smiles)
Not really… I just wanted to see your reaction… but it certainly would have made for a dramatic twist in my tale. A Poeish twist for you to savor. But lived on.
(Looking at coffin)
I wish I could say the same for you…
Spirits dog me. Just when I no longer believe, they appear. Flashing white lights. A cold touch. They return.
The haunted RV. Sounds like a bad horror paperback for kids. Wish it had been. RV’s are spirit magnets, you know, easier to tackle than a home. Perhaps I would choose an RV too. An eternity on the road rather than an eternity at home. A RV ghost would never be a homebody.
Actually they can’t be a homebody… no body.
(Looks for reaction. Sighs)
Ouch. Sorry. Bad joke.
(Back to story)
Strange things happen to me in RVs. The first time was in battle. A battle between brothers. A bloody battle of battered bodies, literally torn limb from limb… or so I read in the visitor’s center orientation pamphlets.
(Scans the room with an imaginary digital camera)
I scanned the graveyard with my digital eye, scanning the graves until I spotted one. A misty form hovering over a tombstone, my unaided eyes not seeing, the digital Cyclops screaming in revelation… then blackout. Power gone, interrupted. I switched in on again and took a picture, capturing whatever it was. Capturing more than I knew.
After that, so many strange things happened in the RV, mostly the fan. The fan kept turning on by itself. Spinning and spinning. Where it stops nobody… or spirit… knows. Finally, I asked it to stop and it did.
This is when the real fear set in.
Fear? No, not fear. So often had I encountered these things that I didn’t have that “run away and scream” fear. It was casual curiosity, bordering on fascination fear. I could never flee from learning.
(Expression grows dark)
But this time it was too much. Another RV. Another place. Another spirit. This time it was someone I knew.
(Sadness as she returns to coffin. Slowly turns to panic during following)
It started with the call. The news that she had gone away. Finding myself in tears. Tears sapping me dry. Would the tears ever stop? Pain like a thick metal pole shoved up your ass. But the ass wouldn’t like it. Braying and wounded, unable to pack the burden. It’s long ears drooping, it’s tail missing. Call Christopher Robin. We need help!
(Tries to calm herself)
I had lost so much. An emptiness replaces love, anxious to find, nothing there… no body anyway, but something. Something that opens doors, something leaving tissue by the bed. The dog barking at nothing… but something. Finding things in new places, things missing. The locked door… open.
(Tries to calm herself)
Explanations fly. Knowledge our protection. Education like a condom for the unknown.
Pardon my similes. Sometimes I amuse myself.
(Thinks a moment. Frowns and shivers)
It began with the cold. Spots of cold. A moment of normal then cold, as if the heat were sucked into another dimension. These don’t bother me as much as the touch. A handless touch of nothing. Something grabbed by arm but no one was there.
(Pulls back in fear and runs for sofa)
To Hades with explorations, knowledge or condoms… I ran for bed, buried myself in covers and waited for dawn.
(Throws covers overhead. Pause)
You’re never too old to hide under the covers. Wrapping yourself up into a cocoon. Hoping that when you emerge life will be butterflies again.
(She sighs and sits up)
But only children believe in butterflies.
(She rises again)
Adults know… or learn… that life is full of moths, caterpillars, and worms.
“The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the worms play pinochle in your snout.”
(A loud thump off stage makes her stop. She is frozen a moment then continues)
Like Ebenezer, I wish these spooks would leave me.
But when I’m alone… fear sets in. I wonder… do I really want to be alone? Maybe their visits comfort me.
(Goes to coffin)
Was it you that touched me that day?
And if you are still here, why do I feel so alone?
(Lights fade to black. The rocker is heard again creaking as it rocks)
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