Pearls of Wisdom
by D. M. Larson
Monologue for a Young Woman / Mature Teen
From the published play "Secrets of my Soul" ISBN-13: 978-1493533589
(A young Idaho woman standing and staring with excited fascination. A crib is near a chair behind her. Phrases in quotes are done in voices of herself as younger or as other characters in her life)
"Oh, my heck!" was all I could say when I first saw him. I'd never seen a man in quite this way before. I'd finally ripened... got my buds and flowered. Boys no longer caught my fancy; I was after a whole hunk of man now. I examined him with a horrific fascination that my mother had warned me about. The church too for that matter.
(Mimicking an old lady)
"Protect your pearls, girls," said Sister Sue as she handed us each a little baggy. The baggy held something like a clamshell. Inside each shell was a little pearl.
(Pretending to be another young girl)
"I wonder if it's real," Jennie Lynn asked wide eyed. I looked at my own pearl dipped in Elmer's glue.
(Speaking as her younger self)
"Not sure," I said as I studied it. "I think you bite it or something to tell. Saw this murder mystery on TV once. They'd made some kind of drug look like pearls. They crushed the pearl necklace with a tea cup and discovered it." Jennie Lynn just gave me a snot nosed upturned look.
(Pause. Reflects as her older self) The meaning of the pearl escaped me until now.
(Mimicking old lady again)
"Keep that pearl safe. Don't let the boys have your pearl until you're ready," Sister Sue warned. I'm sure she attached some additional meaning to it, like about marriage, but I couldn't quite remember that part. I'd forgotten most the lessons I'd learned in church. Jesus no longer man enough to keep my attention.
(Remembering. Looking longingly ahead)
It was a cowboy that first got my attention. As I stared at this man, I grew hot and anxious. I about threw him my pearl. "Take it, take it, take it!" I chanted in my head. He was nearly close enough to taste. His horse sweaty from a long ride, he stroked it gently. I watched, wishing to be stroked. Then he saw me, his eyes dancing, his half grin giving me shivers.
(Mimicking a Western guy)
"Well, if it ain't my little cousin Tyranny."
Mama had given me that name. Grannie said momma lay there all puzzled to high heaven about what she was gonna call me.
(Mimicking her mom)
"Get me a dictionary," she ordered and thumbed through Webster's til she found a word that sounded nice: Tyranny. She thought it was pretty sounding.
Now where was I? Oh, yeah, my cousin Skeeter.
(Becoming her younger self)
"Hi, Skeeter," I climbed up the side of a stall and straddled it. Skeeter sauntered up and swatted me on the backside.
(Smacks her own rear for effect, then talks like a Western guy)
"Turning out to be a fine filly, ain't ya?" I blushed, still felt his hand where it had smacked me. I liked it. I wanted him to do it again. Skeeter leaned in close, so close I could have kissed him. His breath like beer and garlic mixed. I could nearly taste it on my lips as I licked them. "You better hold on tight to your pearl or some guy's gonna snatch it away." He smacked my rear again and headed out. I grinned uncontrollably. Please, God, let Skeeter take my pearl.
(Back to older self)
But he never did, though I wish he had. At least my family might still love me then. Then I'd be the victim. This way, I am the bad one. Raped at thirteen by a cousin would have been far more noble in my family's eyes. Sure Skeeter would have been in for it, but at least I'd be okay. You might be thinking that I'm kind of strange thinking that way about my cousin but I know my history. People's been doing this sort of thing for years you know. Look at Egypt. All kinds of those guys married family. In my biology class they talked about royalty marrying family like crazy in England. Though I guess that was kind of bad cause they got this disease. What was it again? Cycle cell ameba? Round here they still think family is okay. Plenty of people find love with a second or third cousin. Sometimes closer. Guys joke that they go to family reunions to meet girls. Mostly they don't, sometimes they do. My cousin Brock has it bad. His parents are related somehow and that's why Brock has fingers for toes and thumbs for fingers. Funniest looking hands you ever saw. We always point at Brock and say, now that's what happens when cousins marry. This ain't nearly as bad as the Eggerstons, distant cousins from a little town in Idaho called Mud Lake. Not too many people there that's not related. Old papa Eggerston has been married a few times. He's proud that his current wife isn't a blood relative; she's just his step-daughter. But previous family encounters had given his family strange hands without fingernails. Bizarre looking worms of hands. I'm like you all and I decided to stay clear of family. I shouldn't have bothered though. I'm worse off now because of it.
(Pause. Goes to crib)
I'd met Buck at a party. I got drunk. Drunk on beer and garlic. I must have eaten ten pizzas that night. Must have had twenty beers. Buck raped me... excuse me... courted me. They don't have date rape in these parts. Here they call it courtship.
Sure, momma was a bit annoyed with old Buck. "You don't sleep with sixteen year old girls. You're thirty-one for Christ's sake." Momma gave him two options, marriage or jail. He took the logical course for once in his life and then slipped away.
(Picks up baby from crib)
So here I am, married, with a kid, still with my momma. My husband is somewhere getting some other girl drunk, taking her pearl. One day he may come back. But if he does, God help his pearls, cause I'm gonna cut 'em off. Cut 'em off and mount them like a couple of fish. Hang 'em right next to my team roping trophies and label them "pearls of wisdom." They'll be a warning to any man who tries to take my girl's pearl.
(Strokes babies head)
I often sit here praying all men will die before my baby's old enough. My best hope for her is to be a lesbian. "Don't let them take your pearl, little Ennui." Then I sing to her, singing, hoping she'll remember...
"Hush little baby, don't say a word, Momma's gonna buy you a butcher knife. If that butcher knife won't cut, Momma's gonna hit'm with a pickup truck..."
This monologue appears in the published play "Secrets of my Soul":
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