Randy Ford Author- ICKY’S TOOLBOX A Christmas Play (Revised February 2016)

ICKY’S TOOLBOX   A Christmas Play (Revised February 2016)

by Randy Ford

CHARACTERS
Jane
Tommy
Icky (An infant)
Bartender

(A couple of weeks before Christmas: the interior and exterior of a back unit of The Paradise Motel.

A seedy motel room, with the door to the bathroom prominently placed in the center. A double bed with a bare mattress sits downstage and up against the invisible wall and next to the door. To one side there is a closet; on the other side, an odd table and a couple of chairs. The room also comes with a hot plate and a tiny refrigerator and a small, black-and-white television. There’s running water in the bathroom and in a large sink that occupies a small alcove in the rear. There’s always water running, running in the toilet and dripping in the shower. Consequently, besides dirt and grime, the walls are covered with mold. Smelly, crowded, and cluttered, and with belongings of the occupants and garbage and trash thrown on the floor, the room couldn’t hold much more.

At rise: Sounds of birth of a child come from the bathroom. Jane is in there, alone, begetting a boy while sitting on the toilet. Because she has been drinking, she endures incredible pain. The audience sort of knows what’s going on from the sounds. It becomes clearer to them when a baby cries.

Tommy enters from the street, carrying a long-handled rake and a hoe and a six- pack of beer. Dressed in shabby work clothes, he looks dirty and beat. He doesn’t rush because he doesn’t know his girlfriend’s situation. He fumbles for his key and drops rake and hoe. Having worked all day and walked a fair piece, he decides to rest for a minute in a lawn chair situated outside the room.

Meanwhile, Jane shuffles in, carrying her newborn swaddled in a sheet. Having given birth by herself, she has stopped bleeding with a towel and tied it in place with a shredded piece of a slip. She doesn’t own a robe, so she’s in a faded muumuu. With her eyes transfixed  and in pain, all her attention and concern is focused on the infant. She is exhausted, inebriated, and pleased.)

Jane
Oh, my! My baaabee! My baaabee! Don’t cry baabee. Baabee, baabee.
(Walking through trash, she coos.)
Googoo gaga! Googoo! Dada won’t forget you.
(She places infant in center of bed.)
Sweeeetie, don’t you go nowhere! Don’t go pee-pee poo-poo. Mommy’ll be right back. Dadda forgot Pampers. Won’t he be surprised!
(She is sore and moves very slowly. She goes to the bathroom, flushes the toilet, and reemerges with another towel.)
Hellooo, sweeetie! Goo, goo, goo.
(Laying the towel out on the bed)
Smiiile, purdy baaaby! Purdy baaby. Where did you get your blue eyes? Not from me. Not from Tommy. Let me see!
(She places the infant on the towel and removes the swaddling.)
Cootchie! Cootchie goo! Don’t cry! No binkie. I’m sorry. No binkie. No Pampers. Oh, my God! A ding dong! Oh, my God. A ding dong. And blue eyes. Tommy! Tommy! A ding dong!
(She yells and cries at the same time. Tommy finally hears the commotion and can’t unlock the door fast enough.)

Tommy
Jane! Hold on, Jane!  I’m here for you!!

Jane
Tommy!  See what you did!

Tommy
Me?  Jane!

Jane
He has a ding dong!
Tommy
(Standing in the doorway)
What?

Jane
It’s a boy with a ding dong! And blue eyes! Oh, my! Where did he get blue eyes?

Tommy
Idiot! Why didn’t you tell me! I would’ve stayed home from work today. Whoa, you’ve been drinking!

Jane
I wasn’t drinking.  I just had a baabee, stupid!

Tommy
Baby sttupid!

Jane
God, man, do your part!

Tommy
I done my part. I work!  I worked all day.
Jane
I don’t see it. See what you do. You don’t do nuthin’.  You don’t do nuthin’ around here.

Tommy
Where does the money come from? Where does it go?

Jane
Christ, I don’t know. Can’t you see.  We had a baby boy.

Tommy
And now I have to work longer hours.  I have another mouth to feed! Let me look at him. My son! He has blue eyes. What are we gunna do? He’s crying.

Jane
And no binkie.

Tommy
My! My! He has all his toes, his fingers, and a ding-dong. Still, it’d be our luck if he didn’t.

Jane
Why do you say that? You wouldn’t want a girl?
Tommy
That’s not it. You’re drinking too much! It’ll be a miracle if he ain’t retarded.

Jane
Don’t say that.  Don’t sau that about our baby. He’s your son.

Tommy
With a ding dong. Blue eyes! Where did he get blue eyes?

Jane
I don’t know. I don’t know where he got blue eyes.

Tommy
Cootchie! Cootchie goo! How you doing boy? How you do like this world? Special ain’t it? Jane! What are we gunna do?

Jane
Hell, I don’t know. But in the meantime, you gunna run to the store. He’s already squirted.

Tommy
He’s hungry. You ain’t fed him yet? And he’s mad. See he’s all red and screaming.
Jane
It’s stupid. He don’t like you to stick your mug in his face like you did.
(She picks up the baby.)
Oopsie-daisy! Number one.

Tommy
He’s ours. That’s just fine. Just fine. We don’t have nuthin’, and we brought him into this dump!

Jane
You hold him.
(She gives him the infant.)
You don’t care about me. Here I’m split open, still bleeding, and you don’t care.

Tommy
I do. I do care.  What you did was heroic.

Jane
You think so? He scared me. He came too fast. My water broke. The joke was on me. I thought I had time.

Tommy
I’m sorry … very sorry.  What can I do?

Jane
Go get Pampers. Or did you not work?  Or spent everything.

Tommy
See. Here. Thirty-five bucks.

Jane
Thirty-five bucks! Whatchu do? Rob somebody or something? Now don’t drop him. I’ll come back.   I’ll be right back.  Wait! While I get toilet paper.

Tommy
I don’t know about this. He’s a baby.  He’s your baby.  He’s my baby.  He’s our baby.

Jane
That’s right Tommy! He’s our baby. Yours and mine. A baby. Our baby.  We don’t deserve one. I’m a mess. You’re a mess . And in there…there’s a bigger mess in the bathroom. A big mess!

Tommy
(Indicating the room)
And whatta you call this?  A dump.

Jane
It’s your mess … our dump.

Tommy
I’ll clean it up.

Jane
That’s what you always say. You’ve said it for weeks.

Tommy
Weeks, smeeks! Who goes to work? Oh, I don’t know, Jane. This is not paradise!

Jane
Oh, yes it is! Welcome to Heaven on earth. Welcome to the Paradise Motel.

Tommy
It stinks, don’t it? Everything stinks. Welcome to Heaven, boy. This is too good to be true. Jane, how do I know it’s ours?

Jane
Look at me. Look! I’m bleeding. Little man ripped me apart. And it’s not ours?

Tommy
Where you going?

Jane
I’m going caca!
(Jane goes into the bathroom, leaving the infant with Tommy.)

Tommy
Jane, why didn’t you call 911?

Jane
911? And have them see this! Caca! We live in caca! I want to keep him.

Tommy
Caca!
(Beat)
Jane, whatta you call him?

Jane
Boy.

Tommy
You can’t call him just Boy. He has to have a real name.

Jane
(Appearing briefly in the bathroom door)
Tommy!

Tommy
That’s my name.

Jane
Well, can’t he be named after you?

Tommy
I suppose so. Look at all the beer cans. You drank too much.

Jane
I had to drink some. God, the pain! You know nothing about pain. You know about bringing a baby into the world.  You don’t know what it means to be a mother.

Tommy
I know something about it.

Jane
Jesus! Look, you wasn’t around. All this time I’ve been pregnant what have you done? Then today I got to drinking and feeling depressed. I always feel depressed here. I looked for cocaine and gave up. Where was you? I drank some’ Mora and some’ Mora, and, like eating some’ Mora at camp, I couldn’t stop. That was bad news. As I lay here drunk, cursing you for refusing to take precautions, oopsie-daisy, Icky decided to come. By then…you know what calling 911 would’ve meant. Let’s go bye-bye sweeet baaabee. Anyway, with beer and beer and one of your razor blades, I managed myself.
(Referring to the infant)
Now are you through bitching at me? It’s your turn. I’ve had mine. But ya gotta be real careful with him. He’s already had a rough time.

Tommy
Tommy?

Jane
Tommy, or Icky, take your pick! Can you give me smiiile? Give me a big, big smiiile! Pampers!  Icky!

Tommy
I need to do that.

Jane
(As she slowly moves into the bathroom.)
Ahhh! Eee! I have a baby. Ahh! Eee! You’re such a sweetie. Cootchie-coo, cootchie, cootchie-coo…. (Etc.)
Tommy
(Left holding his son)
Okay, Tommy, I know it ain’t your fault. You didn’t ask for this.
(The infant suddenly becomes quiet.)
Cootchie! C’mon, cry. I think you’ll soon see… I don’t know. How did I get into this mess.
(The infant cries again.)
Oh! Oopsie-daisy! Help Jane.
(Frustrated at this point, he lays the infant on his stomach in the middle of the bed, goes into the bathroom, and returns with a fist full of toilet paper.)
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon. I hate it.  I hate it.  Pee-pee!  Pee-pee!  I hate it.
Now, don’t move! You wait. I’ve got to get you and your mommy to the hospital…. No, call 911! But first…stay!
(He rushes out the front door and runs to the street, where he retrieves a commercial garbage container. It’s on wheels, it’s heavy, and he has to push it.)
Gee, Tommy. You gunna grow up and be like me.
(The infant has been left alone with the door open.)

Jane
(From the bathroom)
And buy a binkie! If you don’t, I’ll whip your ass.

(Tommy enters, pushing a garbage container and parks it in front of the door.)

Tommy
(Checking on his son)
You’re still there. Good!

(He starts picking up garbage and trash and throwing it into the container.)

Jane
Whatta you doing?

Tommy
Cleaning. We don’t want our son to live in crap!

Jane

Crap.  Crap.  Crap and more crap!
(Crying)
Just don’t throw away my purse. You’ve got to get Pampers. And don’t forget a binkie. Ten toes, ten fingers, blue eyes. Don’t you notice I’m crying.  For Christ sake.  How’s Jr.?

Tommy
I hope he stays quiet!

Jane
He needs tubby-time.

Tommy
We all do! We all do! We’ll clean, and we’ll clean.

Jane
We better take him to the hospital to get him checked out.

Tommy
No, it won’t look good. The story’s too caca. CACA! Ayayaai!

Jane
(As she slowly enters. She has changed clothes. )
Let me look at him. No boo-boos. That’s good.

Tommy
Just lay down with him.

Jane
(Lying on the bed next to her son)
Isn’t he cute?

Tommy
Cootchie, oopsie-daisy-poo! Mommy has supper for you.

Jane
No, no, I’m afraid not. The cow hasn’t come home yet. Hurry!

Tommy
(As his picking up intensifies)
I’m hurrying! God, help us. I’m a papa.

Jane
You’re a papa.  And I’m a mama with a blue-eyed boy!

 

 

II

(Six days before Christmas. The physical location hasn’t changed; only now the motel room has been spruced up with a new coat of paint. All debris has been removed. Belongings of the occupants are in the closet and out of sight. There are clean sheets on the bed. No more leaks. No running toilet. In contrast with the previous scene, everything is clean, neat, and orderly.
The room has been rearranged to accommodate, along with supplies for the baby, a crib, a changing table, and a rocking chair. There is also a small, fully decorated Christmas tree, and placed around it a modest number of presents. Finally, in a prominent place, is a large photo of the smiling couple and their infant with Santa Claus.

At rise: with his infant son in his arms, Tommy is rocking. As he talks, he smiles, while the audience also hears the shower.)

Tommy
By the time I was your age, I had a paper route. There! Look around! Isn’t this better. Give me half a chance and you’ll see what I can do! Son, look at me! I’m proud of you. But where’s your mama? She decided to sleep in and make me late for work. Jane! I’ve got to hurry now. Jane! I’ve got to go to work. I’ve got to work.  I’ve got to work for my family.  It’s male privilege.   It’s justice! Work’s justice! Got to feed my family. Christmas is coming. Nobody is gunna give you nothing. Nobody is gunna missed Christmas.   Gotta earn it. Cootchie-coo. It can be brutal! Especially around Christmas. I know you don’t realize this yet!  It can be brutal. No! No! Life can be beautiful. Cootchie-coo! Cootchie-coothie-coo. Oh, my! Don’t cry. Dada’ll bring you something. Dada’ll bring home bacon.  I promise you. I’ll bring you something!  I’ll bring home a ham.  I bring home a ham for Christmas.

Jane
(Coming out of the bathroom in a robe and drying her hair with a towel)
How you doing?

Tommy
I’m doing. He’s a good kid. I think I’m getting the hang of it.

Jane
Who says?

Tommy
I do.

Jane
You think so? Give me him!
(He gives her the baby.)
You’re too nervous. Why, he can tell. He’s smart that way.

Tommy
But do you think…think…maybe…he’ll stay that way? You have to have common sense to raise a kid. You know I’m beginning to get jealous of him.

Jane
But, Tommy, he’s ours.

Tommy
I know he is. I know he is ours.  I ain’t complaining but…

Jane
I know.

Tommy
God, what am I saying? I don’t know. This is too good to be true. I don’t want to jinx it.

Jane
Life’s good. It’s sure good to have a baby.

Tommy
And it’s good to have my baby back.

Jane
What do you mean?  What do you mean by that?

Tommy
You’re not drinking.

Jane
Well, how about that?
(Looking at her baby.)
Hiiii, sweeetie. I’m so proud of you. Gosh, yes. I know it must sound funny hearing me talk to him like that. But it’s true! He’s our miracle baby! Born in a toilet and to turn out like this. Man! Aren’t we lucky? Our luck’s changed ‘cause of him.

Tommy
I don’t get none of the credit? Here haven’t I set a fine example? I thought I was doing just that, and I think he’ll do just fine when he grows up

Jane
Yes, you did it.  He’ll do better than us.

Tommy
Smarter! So that he won’t have to live at the Paradise.

Jane
I thought you said we were getting out of here.

Tommy
We are. We are. Just give me a little more time. It takes time to get it right.

Jane
I sure hope you’re right.

Tommy
I really mean it.  I’ll buy us a ham for Christmas.

Jane
I hope you do. Now go to work!

Tommy
You’re kicking me outta here?

Jane
Just for the time being. Now kiss me, Tommy.

Tommy
No, I can’t squeeze you while you’re holding the baby.

Jane
Forget it then. I’ll see you when you get home from work.

Tommy
You’ll still be here?

Jane
I don’t know where I’d go. Now get out of here.

Tommy
Okay.

Jane
I love you.

Tommy
I love you too.  If he turns weird and eats fruits and nuts, I’ll…

Jane
He won’t jog. I promise you he won’t jog.

Tommy
Cootchie-coo. See you later.

Jane
After while.
(Tommy leaves)
Helloooo, sweeeetie. Give me a big, big smiiile. I bet you’ll be just like your old man. Ornery and good. You better be. Here’s your binkie. No, Icky wants his cow. And then you’re gunna learn your abc’s for mommy. You’ll love animals just like I love dada. Someday you’ll go googoo and gaga and go googoo and gaga over some gal. Oh, yes you will. Play purty. Poop and…poop and con mommy. Oh, my God, I think you’ve pooped a stinky poo.
(She places her son on the changing table, removes the full Pamper and replaces it with a fresh one.)
Talk to me. Say poop! That’s what you do best. Poop!

III

(Christmas Eve of ’82: the bar at the Cow Palace. It’s late, and the place is empty except for Jane and bartender. She sits on a stool at the bar, while a bartender listens to her sorrow. While drinking, she has cried and cried until she can’t cry anymore. Jane is now smartly dressed in black pants and a black top. She also wears a flat, black hat with a wide brim, which she refuses to take off.)

Bartender
I’m afraid that’s it for you, mamm.

Jane
What?

Bartender
This might be Christmas Eve, but I didn’t stay open just so some fool could get drunk and go kill somebody on the road. What kind of Christmas would that be?

Jane
I don’t know.

Bartender
What’s the matter mamm? I’ve watched you all night, and I’ve never seen anyone as sad as you.

Jane
I just cried for a minute or so.

Bartender
Now mamm….

Jane
It seemed so cruel. Where’s Tommy?

Bartender
Tommy?

Jane
My boyfriend. My little… He was supposed to be back by now.

Bartender
I haven’t seen him.

Jane
No, I don’t suppose you have. He went to the bus station to buy two tickers and do something else.

Bartender
Going far?

Jane
Just to Paterson. Have I been waiting long? What time is it? We’ll miss the bus, and he’ll hate me.

Bartender
I’m afraid I can’t help you with that.

Jane
Then don’t!. Another beer!  What good are you? Can’t you see this is the hardest thing that I’ve ever had face in my life!

Bartender
I can see you’re upset.

Jane
Upset! Shit!

Bartender
Shit? That’s healthy.

Jane
More than shit.  You have no idea.

Bartender
I won’t unless you tell me. But you don’t have to. I stay open on Christmas Eve for a few stragglers like you. To listen. Christmas can be pretty tough.

Jane
Damn right! Tough! Real tough! I hate Christmas. It’s supposed to be a happy time. No they got it wrong about Christmas. The police came. They waited for medical guys to make a case against us. SIDS that was what it was. SIDS. Couldn’t pin it on us.

Bartender
SIDS?

Jane
You know babies die all the time from SIDS. That’s what got Icky! SIDS! And they tried to blame it on us.

Bartender
I’m sorry.

Jane
Sorry? You can’t know how it feels. How numb it makes you when you can’t cry no more! Tommy should be back. Tommy, Tommy, Tommy, he hates me now. No, you don’t know what it’s like to lose a kid. And the police came. He was so handsome. You don’t say a boy’s purty…you don’t do that, no you don’t. Tommy’d throw a fit if you did that. Don’t you see how terrible it is to lose your baby? So terrible that I might kill myself, I might. You don’t know what I might do. I guess Tommy is taking care of everything. There! Now you see why I’ve cried so much. At the same time, I’ve drinked and drinked, and you’re…you’re…you’re a so-and-so for not letting me drink no more.
Bartender
It’s my bar.

Jane
Yes, it is. Your own it. And right now Greyhound owns the rest of the world. Tommy should be back by now.

Bartender
Just to Paterson?

Jane
I said that. That shows you’re not listening.

Bartender
If you drink anymore, they won’t let you on the bus.

Jane
I like you.

Bartender
That won’t work.
Jane
Okay. Tommy and me were very truthful. We told the police the truth. I was always nervous about Icky. He didn’t get a good start.

Bartender
Sorry.

Jane
Yeah. It wasn’t his fault.

Bartender
I don’t imagine it was.

Jane
I can take you on anytime.

Bartender
I bet you can. No, I don’t know what it feels like.

Jane
The worst thing that ever happened to me…that’s for sure. I had a queer feeling right before I went to check on him in his crib. Hellooo, sweeetie! Goo, goo, goo. Don’t go pee-pee poo-poo. Mommy didn’t forget you. Dada has gone bye-bye. Tommy? Tommy? He had already turned cold…blue…stiff…stiff as… I was so scared that I screamed. The cops came, and they cut him up, took his heart out and other things…all the things they did and found nothing … found nothing they could blame us for. I went crazy. I realize how they might think we did something…neglected him or something, but they didn’t find nothing. They looked at me like I was guiilty. It was horrible. I don’t know what I did when I found him dead. Purdy baaaby! Purdy baaby. Purdy baaby is dead. Even before they gave his body back to us, we had a yard sale in front of the motel to help pay for a purty little casket.

Bartender
Nothing wrong with that.

Jane
No, there’s not. God, to think he’ll never grow up! Now we’re trying to get him to Paterson, so that he can be buried alongside my folks. They told me that I never should’ve placed him on his stomach and let him go to sleep that way. They were trying to blame me. No, no, no!

Bartender
I see.

Jane
It was something I knew better not to do. No, don’t do that. No, I wouldn’t do that.
Bartender
We can’t be right all the time.

Jane
So here I wait. I hope Tommy won’t leave me.

Bartender
He will. I mean he’ll come back.

Jane
You don’t know him.

Bartender
Tomorrow is Christmas.

Jane
For me it won’t be a holiday.

Bartender
I suspect not. It won’t be for me either.

Jane
We don’t have nothing else better to do than to get little Icky to Paterson … our little man.  We’ve lost everything now. Now that you won’t serve me another beer …God knows I have nothing to help me forget. But what’s it to you?

Bartender
To me? You’re right. When I close up tonight, I’m going home. Died of SIDs?

Jane
Yeah! Go ahead and tell me I’m a rotten person.

Bartender
That’s not me.

Jane
Who are you then?

Bartender
Listen, and I know this is not the same thing at all but… I remember what happened to me when my best friend died. Didn’t expect it, and it blew me apart. Now, when my dad died, it set a bomb off under me, and that’s how come I’ve got this bar.

Jane
We can’t all be lucky. There I was with no wipes, no Pampers, no crib, no nothing. Caca all over the place. So Icky decides to come out! You don’t know what a mess he made! There for a few minutes I didn’t care if he lived or died. In spite of all that he was a healthy baby. The doctor said so. Death, what’s left?

Bartender
I don’t know. I’ve heard a lot of theories and listened to a lot of people who think they know. I hope. I hope. I hope. I hope for your little boy’s sake that he’ll have a place to play. With swing sets, slides, and hobbyhorses. Personally, if there is a Heaven, I hope it’s not stuck way out there somewhere. You’d like to have your kid close by, wouldn’t you?

(Jane nods. Tommy enters the bar, carrying a small coffin on his shoulder.)

Jane
Here’s Tommy now.

Bartender
What’s that?

Jane
Icky. And he still has…

Tommy
(After setting the coffin on the bar.)
The coffin. There. I’m Tommy

Bartender
How heavy is that thing?

Tommy
Not very. But he’s not a thing! He was only a week and half old, but healthy.  But dead.  Dead now.  Died.

Jane
Tommy!

Tommy
If I haven’t introduced myself, I’m Tommy.

Jane
He’s Tommy. Tommy, you look sick.

Tommy
I am sick.
Jane
What’s going on? I thought you left without me. We’ll miss our bus. Are we set?

Tommy
No. If we were set, I wouldn’t be carrying little Tommy around, would I? I didn’t want to come back with him. I know how you’d be. So I sat there in the café at the bus station trying to figure something out until they ran me off and closed shop. For Christmas Eve, they were really grumpy.

Jane
You still have him.

Tommy
They won’t accept a coffin on the bus.

Jane
My poor baby.

Tommy
People were standing in line, a long, long time, and the ticket guy was so, so slow. There were kids, and a long-haired cowpoke with a guitar. It’s not my fault, Jane. We’re screwed. Really screwed. Greyhound and their stupid rules! Laws!  Stupid laws!  The ticket guy told me they only transport live bodies. Ha! Ha! Screw him!

Jane
Now I am upset. Caca! Before I was just upset. Now I’m really, really upset, more than really, really. Whatta we gunna do?

Tommy
I wish I knew.

Jane
We can’t leave Icky. Go bye-bye without him.

Tommy
Jane, stop that! Icky! His name is Tommy. What are you thinking?

Jane
I’m tired of thinking. I just want to go home.  I want to go to Paterson.

Tommy
We ain’t got no home no more.

Jane
I know. So we got to get him to Paterson. We’ve got to bury him in Paterson. That’s it.

Tommy
I’ve got tickets. But they won’t take Tommy.  We can’t take Tommy.

Jane
I’m not going without Tommy. What are we going to do?

Tommy
I don’t know.

Bartender
I have an idea.

Jane
What?

Bartender
I’ve solved your problem. Excuse me.

(For the purpose of the performance, wrapping paper, tape and scissors should be handy so that a break in action is kept at a minimum. Throughout his last speech, the bartender carefully wraps the casket.)

Butcher paper. Christmas wrapping paper. Tape. Scissors.
(To himself and pleased with himself)
Oh, yes, you’re too generous. Too, too generous. Just so happens that you bought your dad a toolbox for Christmas. I always play Santa Claus and wrap a lot of presents. Now you’re looking at a professional … a professional wrapper.  You also need a good story. Let’s say you bought your dad a heavy box of tools. He deserves it. He’s a wonderful man, who has worked hard all his life and loves tools. We’ll fool the bastards. How’s my wrapping? Let’s hope the bus is crowded. And if the paper doesn’t tear, we’ll be in good shape. My dad loved tools. Just say it’s a toolbox full of something precious and your dad loves tools. Let’s hope the bus is crowded. And don’t…don’t look the driver in the eye. Sorry about the paper. Rudolph, the red nose reindeer. Well, I don’t believe there’s anyone like Rudolph to get us through. Mostly we got to get there by ourselves. It’s sad, but that’s true. Except maybe ever once awhile. You know…like tonight. Hearts do seem to open up on Christmas, when they don’t otherwise. You know what I’m trying to say? That’s kind of why I stay open on Christmas Eve. I could talk on and on about it, and you’d miss your bus. After all this, what kind of Christmas would it be? Well, I want to be cremated. No box for me. I don’t care what they do with my ashes. That much I know and the rest we can negotiate. If I behave, I may have something to look forward to. But I’m not religious. No, sir, I’m not. I can’t visualize a real Heaven or Hell. But I don’t think you care what I think. You just want to get on the bus and get this puppy safely home. Just remember me. You know that guy who wrapped Icky’s toolbox…I mean, Tommy’s toolbox. You’ve gotta take care of tools, and if you don’t, well… But if you do, well, they’ll last you a lifetime. So here’s wishing you good luck. Here, like a professional, I finished. Now, get out of here. You’ll miss your bus. I’ve done my bit. I’m closing as soon as I get rid of my last customer. And I hate it when people thank me.
(As the bartender finishes the speech, he finishes wrapping the coffin. Tommy picks it up off the bar and, because of the wrapping carries it in his arms.)

Jane
Thank you.

Bartender
Get out of here before I report you to the police. Just remember: it’s a toolbox. And if you want to get in trouble with me, look the driver in the eye. And there’s something else: just remember I hate Christmas. Ask me why: it’s just too sad for too many people.

CURTAIN

Randy Ford

 

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The Society of Southwestern Authors- February 21 2016 Forum Dan Baldwin

The Society of Southwestern Authors- February 21 2016 Forum Dan Baldwin

I’m Not The Author, I Only Wrote The Book

How Ghostwriting Improves Your Writing Skills and Your Financial Picture

“Ghostwriting is a rewarding experience in itself,” says Dan Baldwin, but he adds, “The effort I put into ghostwriting projects has enhanced my ability to write fiction.”  Short story writers and novelists often have to get into the heads of their characters.  Imagine what you can learn getting into the heads of a real person.  Ghostwriting requires mastery of the same techniques as fiction – plotting, characterization, dialog and so on.  But the constrants of working within an established and real-world story line require intense concentration.  And that’s where the learning (and fun) comes in.

He says, “Ghostwriting can be lucative, too.  My ghostwriting pays for my novel writing so I’ve been able to give up my paper route and the job as a Mall-Mart greeter.  This has the added benefit of keeping me off the streets, so society as a whole benefits from my ghostwriting projects.”

Dan’s program covers the basics of ghostwriting from the perspective of the client and the writer.  He says it is more than a how to lecture; it’s also how to sell it to a client and profit from your efforts presentation.  Topics covered will include a segment on contract essentials.  “The program is based on philosophy of ‘Do as I say not as I have done,’ so it reflects real-world experiences.  I’ll tell you my mistakes so you don’t have to make them and I’ll show you sucessful techniques so you can use them to beef up  your writing and your bank account.”

Dan has ghostwritten or co-authored more than 50 books, including for the ” …for the Dummies”  group, Streetwise Guides, major publishers and self-published authors.  He is also the author of nine novels, a short story collection, and three non-fiction books on psychic detecting.  Contact Dan at baldco@msn.com and visit his website http://www.fourknightspress.com or http://www.danbaldwin.biz

520-546-9382  or ssabrunches@gmail.com

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The University of Arizona Poetry Center- February 2016 Spectacular Poetics, New Exhibition, and More!

Spectacular Poetics, New Exhibition, and More!

This February the Poetry Center is thrilled to host a series on poetics and craft, SPECTACULAR POETICS.

SPECTACULAR POETICS features poets Terrance Hayes, Kimiko Hahn, Khadijah Queen, and Adrian Matejka. These presentations, part reading and part craft talk, will take place at the Poetry Center with support from the UA Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry and the Africana Studies Program, with additional support from the UA Department of East Asian Studies and the UA Medical Humanities Program. 

Join us for a host of SPECTACULAR POETICS related events!


SPECTACULAR POETICS: February 4, Thursday at 7:00 pm / This first reading and craft talk of the series features Terrance Hayes.

Terrance Hayes in Phoenix: February 5, Friday at 7:00 pm / Reading and craft talk by Terrance Hayes at the Phoenix Art Museum.

SPECTACULAR POETICS: February 11, Thursday at 7:00 pm / The second reading and craft talk of the series, featuring Kimiko Hahn.

Shop Talk: February 2, Tuesday at 6:00 pm / Poet Kristen Nelson leads a Shop Talk on the work of Khadijah Queen.

SPECTACULAR POETICS: February 18, Thursday at 7:00 pm / The third reading and craft talk of the series, featuring Khadijah Queen.

SPECTACULAR POETICS: February 25, Thursday at 7:00 pm / The final reading and craft talk of the series features Adrian Matejka.

The Poetry Center is honored to host the first ever solo exhibition of the work of letterpress printer, book artist, and writer Crane Giamo. Crane Giamo’s daring handmade books and collaborative projects walk a line between apocalypse and community. Blood, sweat, and tears are only the beginning—come see books made with soot, pecans, feathers, Alabama red dirt, rocket fuel, and melting ice.

talk by Crane Giamo and open reception takes place in the Jeremy Ingalls Gallery,March 7 at 6:00 pm.

The exhibit is on display in the Jeremy Ingalls Gallery from February 1 to April 23, 2016.

Other February Events

Family Day: February 20, Saturday at 10:00 am / Family Days is a series of creative-writing workshops for youth ages 0 to 13. One Saturday a month, youth and their parents are encouraged to attend these hour-long workshops together then stay for breakfast concerts featuring healthy food and live music.

A Closer Look Book Club: February 24, Wednesday at 6:00 pm / A Closer Look Book Club will be meeting this month to discuss So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell.

Southern Arizona Poetry Out Loud Regional Finals Competition: February 27, Saturday at 1:00 pm / Trends in spoken word and hip-hop poetry fuel performances by high-school students throughout Southern Arizona as they compete for the chance to proceed to state and national finals.

Pō-é-tree Discussion: February 27, Saturday at 3:30 pm / Pō-é-tree is a poetry reading and discussion event that takes place under trees in the University of Arizona’s Arboretum. The discussion topic for this meeting of Pō-é-tree is “Listening to the Trees” (Part 2): Sharing the Wisdom of Trees.”

Copyright © 2016 The University of Arizona Poetry Center, All rights reserved.
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Tucson, AZ 85721

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Mystery-Anthology.webnode.com • Mystery Authors-WINNERS OF REAL WRITERS CONTEST #1:

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Odyssey Storytelling- Presents BRIDGES

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Neil Bernstein Artist- UNIFORMED VETERANS SALUTE HILLARY CLINTONS MOTORCADE FROM CASKET IN CALIFORNIA NEW LINCOLN VETERANS MEMORIAL

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AtticRep- Presents Sarah Gise & The Amish Project Feb 11 to the 21 & Love Letters- A Valentine’s Party

A Valentine’s Party, A Play, and a Dance Audition  Start the 2016 for AtticRep

Coming in February at AtticRep
Bring Them Back to SA

Meet our own Sarah Gise
San Antonio Native Sarah Gise is back to SA to perform The Amish Project.  A NESA graduate, Sarah is pursuing her acting career in Chicago and now also in San Antonio.

At AtticRep we are committed to continue to enrich the artistic talent of San Antonio, this time we are bringing back home one of our talented theatre artists. There is a lot of SA talent out there, let us show them that there are opportunities in San Antonio.

The Amish Project Feb 11 to the 21
An extraordinary path of forgiveness and compassion.

“Extraordinary… compelling… the play is also a remarkable piece of writing. –New York Times

At the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts

For more info and TKTS

LoveLetters – A Valentine’s Party
Step right up for an AtticRep fun fair, featuring carnival games and death defying aerial acts.   Have your fortune read, take a photo with a contortionist, win a prize for your sweetheart.   Surprise that special someone with a love letter.
Saturday, February 13th
The Brick located in The Blue Star Arts Complex
7-10pm Carnival games  — After Party 10-Midnight with DJ Agosto Cuellar
 Please submit your love letters to loveletters@atticrep.org
AtticRep
The Resident Theatre at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts

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