Friday, April 27, 2007

Freedom of Speech

4. Lost on the Street

Man: Say, lady. The light is red.
Woman: What has that to do with me?
Man: If you like your life.
Woman: You don't know anything about my life.
Man: The light is red, and there's a lot of traffic. See those cars? How 'bout waiting for the green?
Woman: You one of those do-gooders? One of those people who stick their nosey where they shouldn't gosey? I've seen plenty like you. Tell 'em from a mile away. Sir, soup's on, but we ain't got no oyster crackers, and I'm meaning to get some at the Rite-Aide over yonder. Got me a coupon right here. (She pats her breast pocket and pulls out a toothpick.)
Man: You far-sighted or hard of hearing or what?
Woman: Can't you understand what I'm saying to you, sonny?
Man: If you want to kill yourself at the corner of Broadway and East 14th, I suppose it's as good a place as any. Sure. Why not?
Woman: I can stick this right in your eye right now. (Challenges him to a duel with the toothpick.)
Man: You got a nice toothpick there. First class.
Woman: Aarf! Aarf! And for your information, I've got 10 more where this one came from in my pocket. Dum-de-dum. I thought you were more bright.
Man: I saw a man last week who threw himself under the bus wearing his backpack. The bus driver missed him by this much. Heck, if I wanted to commit suicide, I'd just take a bunch of pills and go to bed with my magazines.
Woman: A suicide pact with your magazines? Pity the magazines and kill the editors. What's wrong, darling? You seem like such a nice young man.
Man: The light's green now.
Woman: I don't want to go.
Man: Not me either.
Woman: I'm going! Fooled ya!
Man: Actually, I'm waiting for the bus.
Woman: Going to the post office?
Man: Uh, no.
Woman: David Letterman, I'm stuck on you.
Man: Not going for the green light?
Woman: Gold. See how my nippples are like bronze medals. (Heaves out a breast from her white blouse.) I would've put them in first place myself.
Man: Ma'dam, put that thing away!

(The bus pulls up, and the driver exits for a smoke. A few passengers, including the Man, get on board. Woman looks at the green light. Boards the bus . Sits down in the empty seat next to the Man.)

Man: Back so soon?
Woman: I forgot.
Man: were undressing in public.
Woman: It was a worm that slipped away.
Man: ...something about oyster crackers in your soup.
Woman: That's perfectly ridiculous.
Man: You were crossing the street to the Ride-Aide.
Woman: C'mon. You sure you're not making this up?
Man: Look lady. I have my own problems.
Woman: It was aspic.
Man: Maybe a Pop Tart? A gallon of Gatorade?
Woman: Early onset of oblong aspic.
Man: Drugstores don't carry aspic. Maybe in a specialty gourmet store, but you're not going to find one in this neighborhood. I think your best bet is to find some gelatin--stir it around with a spoon in hot water and let it dissolve.
Woman: They say I'm losing my mind.
Man: Who's they?
Woman: Dr. Drake.
Man: The TV doctor? I think I know him.
Woman: Poor thing. Are you losing your mind, too? Or have you caught mad cowboy disease, and the docs can't do anything about it for four more years?
Man: They think it's an advanced cancer. But they're not sure. The doctors want me to take another test.

(The bus driver re-enters the bus and starts the engine.)

Woman: I'm losing my keys, and the ones I have don't fit anymore.
Man: They say memory's the second thing to go.
Woman: The first?
Man: No one knows the score anymore.
Woman: Look at that guy sitting in front drinking water. Can you guess how much a bottle costs ?
Man: I've got a coupon in my pocket for water. Here, you take it.
Woman: A tisket, a tasket, a green and yellow...
Man: I guess this is where I transfer. (Gets up to exit.)
Woman: (Takes the coupon.) Excuse me, blubber-nose. Do I know you?

(Man exits from the bus. Woman stuffs the coupon in her pocket and moves to the empty seat next to the man drinking a bottle of water. The driver pulls out from the stop.)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Freedom of Speech

3. Conversation Under Water

Scuba 1: Fish can only hide behind each other.
Scuba 2: Glub, glub.
Scuba 3: Blub.
Scuba 1: Don't you guys have anything to say?
Scuba 2: Glub, glub.
Scuba 3: Blub.
Scuba 1: I said, (louder) fish can only hide behind each other.
Scuba 2: Oh.
Scuba 3: Oh.
Scuba 1. Don't you guys have anything else to say beside, "Glub, blub, and Oh?"
Scuba 2: Glub, glub.
Scuba 3: Blub.
Scuba 1: The Big One's gonna come and sweep us away. Oxygen tanks will sink to the bottom. Hoses will float to the top with just a red pool to mark our dive.
Scuba 2: I told you we shouldn't take him along. Now he's going to start crying in the middle of the ocean.
Scuba 3: Salt tears.
Scuba 1: In the end, we're gonna get our just desserts.
Scuba 2: Honey money!
Scuba 3. Shark alert.
Scuba 1: You see what I mean! (Starts swimming away.)
Scuba 2: No, you fool. Stay put.
Scuba 3: There's more accessories in numbers.
Scuba 1: He's touching my hand. He's gonna eat me.
Scuba 2: Just pretend like you don't see him.
Scuba 3: Stop bubbling.
Scuba 1: Gee. Thanks. That was close.
Scuba 2: The shark's gone.
Scuba 3: Don't worry. Remember your position in the food chain.
Scuba 1: That's what I'm afraid of.
Scuba 2: Dang! I don't believe we're having this conversation.
Scuba 3: We're not, really.

(A shark swims past them again. They hold hands and tread water.)

Scuba 1: The skin of my teeth.
Scuba 2: No, not me.
Scuba 3: Sort of.
Scuba 1: Look at all these shipwrecks below us! Scientists want to dig; developers build.
Scuba 2: Fish gotta fly.
Scuba 3: Make mine a job at the permit office. That's what I call steady employment.
Scuba 1: I don't know how much longer I can keep rescuing this muck from the past. Dredging up columns, buildings, cities. And what good does it do?
Scuba 2: Don't sweat it....
Scuba 3. We get paid.
Scuba 1: To spend most of our lives under water.
Scuba 2: What's his beef now?
Scuba 3: Call it diver's dipsey.
Scuba 1: Diver's dipsey?
Scuba 2: Glub, blub, blub.
Scuba 3: Glub, blub, blub.
Scuba 1: Just take up space and breathe.
Scuba 2: Natch. I'm doing what I do best.
Scuba 3: Hose to hose and belly to belly.
Scuba 1: Don't tank now! Here comes the Great White!
Scuba 2: I don't see a thing.
Scuba 3: You're hallucinating. You're crazy.
Scuba 1: No, no. Turn around and look in front of you. God, I've never seen such big teeth.
Scuba 2: Don't move!
Scuba 3: Je le n'existe pas.
Scuba 1: Philosophy won't help you now.
Scuba 2: Holy Abalone!

(The Great White Shark swallows them. Oxygen tanks sink to the bottom. Air hoses float to the top. I forgot to mention the red pool.)

Scuba 1: I think we nailed it this time.
Scuba 2: Shark emergency preparedness training.
Scuba 3: Man, that was the best. Gave me a rush.
Scuba 1: My elevator's going through the top floor.
Scuba 2: Mr. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Scuba 3: Right.
Scuba 1: Right.
Scuba 2: That was our best time.
Scuba 3: It was also the worst time.
Scuba 1: No way.
Scuba 2: Gotcha.

(They all start laughing. Barb, the Shark Woman, takes off her shark head and joins the divers for a bottle of water on the pier.)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Freedom of Speech

2. Conversation On Line

Person 1: The line is longer than it was last weekend but shorter than it was two days ago.
Person 2: However, it’s much longer than the tail of a fox.
Cashier: Paper or plastic?
Person 1: I believe, my dear Madame, you’ve been standing in line for too long.
Person 2: (She has various thoughts, but none of them concrete.)
Cashier: Sunday grocery shopping at the Bowl.
Person 1: Autumn in New York.
Person 2. Are you from the east coast?
Cashier: Roll ‘em, roll ‘em.
Person 1: I guess you could say that.
Person 2: (Laughs.) I’m glad I did.
Cashier: (To someone else in line.) D’you need help out?
Person 1: I’ve got errands to run.
Person 2: Bub, maybe they’re running you.
Cashier: Paper or plastic?
Person 1: In an hour, you’ll be sorry you said that.
Person 2: In an hour, I won’t be looking at your sorry face.
Cashier: Sunday grocery shopping
Person 1: I think the line is shorter than it was last weekend, but longer than the one from here to the parking lot.
Person 2: You know, that’s the first intelligent thing I've heard. Suddenly, I'm feeling very attached to you.
Cashier: (To someone else in line.) D’you need help out?
Person 1: Thanks. We could be dating online.
Person 2: Nothing like a beautiful day.
Cashier: Roll ‘em, roll ‘em.
Person 1: Nothing can’t be like anything else.
Person 2. A beautiful day is serene.
Cashier: Like Sunday grocery shopping.
Person 1: Now we’re getting some where.
Person 2: We?
Cashier: Paper or plastic?
Person 1: Who asked you?

(Shopping carts of persons one and two move closer to the cash register. Person 1 is eye-to-eye with the credit card entry machine.)

Cashier: I'm a person you have to reckon with.
Person 1: That's to be seen.
Person 2: (from behind) One word singes another.
Cashier: Did you find everything all right?
Person 1: Oranges, apples, a baguette with seeds, vegetables in an assortment of green guises, organic and otherwise.
Person 2: Don't beget. You're holding up the line.
Cashier: I asked if he found everything all right. We're supposed to ask. If I don't, I could get the coboots from the manager.
Person 1: For example, this carrot. Springy, good color, nice carrot shape.
Person 2: I agree. The Internet totally sucks. Shop here to satisfy all your erotic needs.
Cashier: Aisle?
Person 1: (Doesn't say anything.)
Person 2: Oh, Bobbie.
Cashier: Do you two know each other?
Person 1: Paper, please.

(A youngster rides his tricycle up and down the aisles delivering newspapers. Someone in line catches a paper and starts reading it.)

Cashier: The line is getting shorter the longer we keep talking.
Person 1: Then we should keep talking.
Person 2: As long as we can agree.
Cashier: The line is getting shorter as to the number of actual people, however, their shopping carts appear more full. That's the way I see it.
Person 1: You're a force to be reckoned with.
Person 2: Sunday grocery shopping.
Cashier: Sunday grocery shopping.
Person 1: Roll 'em, roll 'em.
Person 2: D'you need help out?

(Persons 1 & 2 wheel their carts out to the parking lot together as the Cashier ducks behind the Girl Scout Coookie table for a quick smoke. The Manager watches. You scratch your head.)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

To Be an American Jew in the 21st Century

To be an American Jew in the 21st century
is to be offered a choice. If we decide to look aft
and watch our children drown at the mall
as the path of centuries warps
from spirit to thing, our homes collection plates
for eating fruit with the luscious bloom of preservatives,
then we forfeit the generations.

If we choose not to remain silent,
but urge daredom, even at the water's short fringe
where the sand is suffused black, there
to sketch out the face of peace,
a mouth, a nose, an ear,
repeating our desire like a song of syllables.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Freedom of Speech

1. Conversation on the Air Plane

Aisle seat: I wish the place would take off.
Window: Cranberry juice.
Middle: (Shuts off his cellphone and music plays "I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane.")
Aisle seat: Water for me without a cup.
Window: You're curious.
Middle: Look out.

The captain steps into the aisle with a deck of cards and introduces himself. He says his wife thinks that he his handsome. Passsengers lift their heads to see what she sees in him.

Aisle seat: We're not at the bottom of the deep blue sea.
Window: Au contraire.
Middle: Everyone knows about the Wright Brothers.
Aisle seat: This airline is a money shaker.
Window: Of course it does.
Middle: How d'you know?
Aisle seat: We're sitting in our seats. We're buckled in. How come?
Window: I like reading the Journal and counting my investments.
Middle: A person has to be able to count. Case in point.
Aisle seat: (Takes a swig from a water bottle and puts it on the tray table in an upright position.)
Window: We fill our seats like a repetitive stress injury.
Middle: Hey, give me a good AA meeting any day of the week. I'll go.
Aisle seat: My husband was.
Window: Madam?
Middle: A carbuncle grows in Brooklyn. But that's not where I'm headed.
Aisle seat: Let's hope we fly right and straighten up.
Window: None of my business. But I still like Mary Blige.
Middle: And you, sir, have no predecessors?

(An airplane attendant announces that the crew is getting ready for take-off and everyone assumes a 45 degree angle.)

Aisle seat: I'm feeling sick.
Window: You can't.
Middle: You can't feel sick.
Aisle seat: But I do.
Window: There are no air bags.
Middle: They went the way of watercress in salad.
Aisle seat: Which?
Window: The airlines cut corners and made doilies. So you can't be sick. You can use the bathroom. You're in the aisle. Take advantage of your position.
Aisle seat: What are you insinuating?
Window: (Opens a laptop and starts tapping on the keys.)
Middle: Quite, quite. Appreciate the things you have in life. One day leads to others. Enormously.
Aisle seat: When did the airlines stop providing air bags? I'm going to ring the bell.
Window: You're in no position to do that.
Middle: And you?
Aisle seat: Please don't answer a question with a question. That's what my kids do.
Window: I might be a kid at heart. Or just a kid. You'll never know.
Middle: Answer the question, man.
Aisle seat: I don't understand how the air bags could have disappeared, vanished, with none of us noticing. how could something like that happen overnight without the tea boiling over? It upsets me. It sets me on edge. I suddenly feel very tense.
Window: These things happen. Not a lot of us get sick anymore and if we do, we want a health plan.
Middle: A non-smoking flight that turns over a new leaf without a single bud? Scary.

(The captain announces that the plane has just climbed to 10,000 feet, and that it is still climbing.)

Aisle seat: I asked for water.
Window: Thanks.
Middle: Someone's got to pop the question.
Aisle seat: Do I look like a Fulfillment Prophet Center?
Window: That would be my job. But I still like to paint.
Middle: Depends how you look.
Aisle seat: Fundamentally.
Window: Don't choke up on the honey peanuts now.
Middle: Consider the lack of food. Since 9/11, no one wants to eat on airplanes.
Aisle seat: Not, nottie. Before 9 /11, they still served food in the air corridors.
Window: Oh, of course in the beginning, it was about attracting the most customers. But now everything's fallen off the margin.
Middle: Make mine margarine. But really...
Aisle seat: So what you're saying is ...
Window: Exactly.
Middle: More like we all hated airplane food. But there wasn't a critical mass at air traffic control. So they kept serving boxes.
Aisle seat: Then there was the vegetarian option.
Window: Even so...
Middle: Until one day, meals were gone. We'd reached the vanishing point, and quickly did an Einstein. Did any of us care? No, we wondered why we'd hadn't thought of it sooner. Not eating made sense. It was like a national holiday without a day off.
Aisle seat: Change can be good when it comes in small bills.

(The pilot announces that he's turned off the "Fasten Your Seatbelt Sign." He asks for volunteers to help clean up the popcorn in the aisles.)