You want an easy answer? There isn’t one. It’s ALL fucked. ALL of it. You’re trying to make this about you, but you’re not hearing me!!! One day I’m saving the rain forest, next day I’m serving “late lunch” cocktails to whiny little D.O.S. hacks with half my experience. Apple-fucking-tinis? Nate? Is that what you want for me? Choice? There was no choice –Ten years of my life went down with that firm. Everything I was fighting for. And now… I get up every day and want to blow my goddamn brains out, like anything I am makes a fucking bit of difference. You think I want to go to Cleveland?! Fuck Cleveland. It’s all the same, here, there, nothing matters anymore, don’t you get that, we’re disposable! A decent job, Nate… a good one… don’t you remember when it meant something? It was earned. It was that epic DNA shit, our fathers and grandfathers and everything they worked for, like their fucking souls, their fucking lives depended on it. All gone. The world we live in now… it’s fucking Vegas. All flash – all in – and then you lose, you fucking lose, and then you ride your bike home in the pouring down rain with a pink slip stuck to your chest. Appletinis? If I’m going to die for a job, Nate, I want it to matter. I’m so tired…

______________________________________________________________________

© Copyright 2015
All Rights Reserved

This monologue is free to use, but please visit www.audreycefaly.org to request permissions. Include name and purpose of use. Most requests are granted within 24 hours.

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(offstage) I am an apple, ready to be eaten- but what’s one less apple on earth anyway? I am a dog, ready to be walked. (bark then enter stage smiling and bark seven times). I am a free dog, but I don’t need no owner, I walk myself, I throw my own balls and I eat my own apples. (Collapses to the ground lay on the floor for 3 minutes then stand up and scream in slow motion and crawl off stage) (from off stage) make apples illegal , no legalize apples , down with the red fruit. (walk on stage ) you don’t know me I’m Shnaiqua (in a soft voice) I own 7 apple trees (scream) THUG LIFE. SEVEN SEVEN SEVEN SEVEN SEVEN SEVEN SEVEN SEVEN SEVEN. I am perfection, god blesses me not you, fucktard.

For full script or information about this play please email Charles Burton at: charlieadams1@btinternet.com. We at Labouk welcome questions and would love to hear from you. (exit stage)

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Look, Dr. Lesh. We don’t care about the disturbances, the pounding and the flashing, the screaming, the music. We just want you to find our little girl.

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Public’s out there throwing darts at a board, sport – I don’t throw darts at a board. I bet on sure things. Read Sun-tsu, The Art of War. Every battle is won, before it is ever fought. Think about it. You’re not as smart as I thought you were buddy boy. Ever wonder why fund managers can’t beat the S&P 500? ‘Cause they’re sheep — and sheep get slaughtered. I’ve been in this business since ’69. Most of these Harvard MBA types – don’t add up to dog shit. Give me guys that are poor, smart and hungry. And no feelings. You win a few, you loose a few… but you keep on fighting . . . and if you need a friend, get a dog . . . it’s trench warfare out there Pal.

Hey, Georgie.

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You watch those nature documentaries on the cable? You see the one about lions? You got this lion. He’s the king of the jungle, huge mane out to here. He’s laying under a tree, in the middle of Africa. He’s so big, it’s so hot. He doesn’t want to move. Now the little lions come, they start messing with him. Biting his tail, biting his ears. He doesn’t do anything. The lioness, she starts messing with him. Coming over, making trouble. Still nothing. Now the other animals, they notice this. They start to move in. The jackals; hyenas. They’re barking at him, laughing at him. They nip his toes, and eat the food that’s in his domain. They do this, then they get closer and closer, bolder and bolder. Till one day, that lion gets up and tears the shit out of everybody. Runs like the wind, eats everything in his path. Cause every once in a while, the lion has to show the jackals, who he is.

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(A bare stage. The PLANT sits in the midst of the audience. GEORGE, dressed in business casual, enters holding a crisp one-hundred dollar bill. The actor playing GEORGE should treat this play as an audience participation piece and respond appropriately to the audience’s actions or lack of action, using his body and intonation. If an audience member tries to hug him or take the bill, GEORGE should discourage them through use of the text and his movement.)

GEORGE
I have here in my hands a crisp one-hundred-dollar bill. That’s right- good old Ben Franklin himself- the real deal. And someone here in this audience will get to take Gentle Ben home with them tonight for the low, low price of… One hug. That’s right. You heard me. The first person to come up here on this stage and give me a hug gets one hundred big ones.
(Waving the bill and holding it out to taunt the audience.)
But wait! Before you all stampede down here, there’s probably a few questions running through your mind. The first: “Is that a real hundred-dollar-bill?” The answer is simple. “Yes”. The next question and the biggest: “Why?” That answer is a tad bit trickier. Why does this guy need to pay someone one hundred dollars to hug him? Doesn’t he have any friends, loved-ones, family members who will hug him for free? What’s wrong with this guy? He looks normal enough.
(Crossing into the audience and directing his comments to individuals.)
Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I’m a stalker- a psychopathic killer- a rapist. Maybe when you go to hug me, I plan to pull a knife on you or strangle you or inject you with something deadly. Could be dangerous. But then again, there are so many people here in the audience, so many witnesses, and they’d protect you, right? So you’re safe… for now… But, maybe I’m going to follow you home after the show, demanding my money’s worth.

Or maybe I won’t do anything to you at all. You’ll walk away from this hug perfectly healthy and a hundred dollars richer. But you’ll never know what I was thinking about when you touched me… And the way I’ll recall your warmth, your smell, your flesh, the pressure of your body against mine. Oh, the thoughts I might have about you. The dreams I might have about you. The fantasies I might have about you. Or maybe I’ll never think about you again.

Or maybe something other than my mind is diseased. Maybe I have AIDS. Maybe that’s why. But then why should that matter? Science has proven you can’t catch AIDS from a hug or a toilet seat. And we are way past the irrational fear thing, right? Yep. Everybody knows you can only get AIDS from contact with bodily fluids. And of course, I won’t be excreting any bodily fluids when you thrust your body up against mine…or will I? Who knows…

Who knew a hug could be so dangerous?! But isn’t it worth the risk? One hug equals one hundred dollars. No joke. Easiest money you ever made. Tax free. Who’s going to be the first to take me up on the offer? Going… going…

But wait! Now what if I qualify it? Set up some specifications. What if I say men only? Will you assume I’m a homosexual?
(Invading the personal space of a male audience member.)
Does that make you nervous? Are you secure enough in your masculinity to hug a gay guy? Maybe not under normal circumstances, but for a hundred bucks, suddenly you’re secure enough, right? Or maybe I’m not gay at all. Maybe I just say men only because I don’t want the women to think it’s a sexual thing. Or what if I say women only?

(Invading the personal space of a female audience member.)
Will you assume I’m sleazy or desperate, or perverted or homophobic? Or what if I say children only? Uh oh! Does that make me a pedophile or am I saying children only to prove to you that the hug has no sexual implications whatsoever?

Who knows? You don’t know anything about me. Maybe my kid died in a car accident and I haven’t hugged a child since and now I just want to- You don’t know me. You don’t know what’s going on in my head. Heck, I imagine there’s not a parent here who’d let me touch a hair on their child’s head for a hundred- a thousand- maybe even a million dollars. But you, yourself, a simple hug for a hundred bucks, now that’s a different story.

I bet plenty of you people here- of course you won’t admit it- but I bet there are plenty of people here who’ve asked less questions of their sexual partners before engaging in the act. But then again, they weren’t paying you, were they? Heck, maybe I’d have done better to have left out the hundred dollar thing. Money has a way of making people doubt motives. Money. Everyone wants it, but nobody trusts it.
(Crossing back onto the stage.)
Or… maybe I should’ve said, “Hey. I am going to stand here and say nothing and do nothing until somebody gives me a hug. Yep. We will all sit here bored to death in complete and awkward silence and your evening of entertainment will come to a screeching halt until somebody hugs me.”
(A long awkward silence, as GEORGE scans the audience challenging them to come up.)
People are real afraid of silence, too, maybe more than they are of money.

But enough of all the what-ifs and should’ves. What’s done is done. I’ve made my offer and I am sticking to it. You hug me. I give you this hundred-dollar bill. No questions asked on either end. A simple business transaction. Come on. Think about it. You’ve done it before. The millions of hugs you given away. And some when you didn’t want to. That awkward hug at the end of that awkward blind date that says, “Hey, you paid for my dinner, so I owe you something, but I sure as heck don’t want to kiss you, so I’ll just let you feel my body against yours for just a second. I owe you that much.” Or that hug from that great aunt of yours at the family reunion- you know you swear you’ve never seen her before in your life…She smells like an old person and you don’t want to, but you hug her… For free. So surely, you’ll hug me for a hundred bucks, right?

Don’t be shy. This is America. We’re all capitalists, here. Nothing wrong with earning a buck… or a hundred of ‘em as the case may be. Hmmm… Maybe I’m giving you all way too much credit. Maybe none of these thoughts have even entered into your head at all. Maybe, all you’re thinking is, “I wish this crazy guy would shut up, so I can get down there and get the money, before the poor schmuck sitting next to me gets it first.” Maybe you don’t give a damn who I am or what’s going on in my head or why I’m doing this. Maybe, the money is enough. Maybe you don’t care if I’m just a perfectly normal guy who needs a hug or if… I’m not. Maybe you don’t care.
(GEORGE desperately looks across the audience and waits for a response.)
Yep. That’s what I thought. Well, I don’t care about you either.
(GEORGE begins to exit. The PLANT stands up and crosses onto the stage. GEORGE, surprised, stops his exit and turns to watch solemnly. The PLANT crosses to GEORGE and hugs him, a simple hug- not fast, not lingering. GEORGE politely hands the PLANT the bill.)
Thank-you.
(The PLANT nods and returns to his or her seat in the audience. GEORGE exits the stage without looking back. Lights down.)

CONTACT THE AUTHOR STACEY LANE AT STACEYLANEINK@YAHOO.COM OR WWW.STACEYLANEINK.COM FOR PERFORMANCE RIGHTS. FREE PERFORMANCE RIGHTS WILL BE GRANTED FOR AUDITIONS AND EDUCATIONAL USE, BUT PLEASE STILL CONTACT THE PLAYWRIGHT WITH YOUR INTENT TO USE THE PIECE.

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“Whenever I see her, I just wanna… you know, I wanna undress her, I wanna tie her up. I wanna pump her… pump, pump, pump… until she screams bloody murder, and then I wanna flip her ass over and pump her even more, so hard that my dick shoots right through her, and my cum squirts out her mouth. Not that I could ever actually… do that.”

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Winds in the east, mist coming in. Like somethin’ is brewin’ and bout to begin. Can’t put me finger on what lies in store, But I fear what’s to happen all happened before

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Cole: I don’t believe it, it’s like when I don’t try to get girls I do. But when I really like one. Which I do, it’s like you’re running away from me. I just want you Tia, but you wont even give me a chance. I mean what am I supposed to do? It’s like I try too hard. I mean I ask you out, I ask you out, and I ask you out again and they’re all no’s. I bring you flowers, the wrong kind I know but what does it matter what kind of flowers you like. I’m trying Tia. I went out to every store last night looking for roses that just might be as beautiful as you, and those were the only ones that came close. Tia I think I’m in love with you, but of course that doesn’t matter to you any because you’re so interested in my past. I would do anything for you but you wont even give me a chance. I swear I wouldn’t do anything to hurt you because you’re one of a kind. I want you more than anything in the world right now and I just hate that I can’t have you. And half of the time I really want to talk to you but I don’t want you to think I’m annoying and hate me because that would just kill me. I feel like, as if I’m never good enough when I’m with you. But you don’t know what that’s like do you. Because you’re perfect. And if you don’t think so just know you are to me, so please give me a chance. Tia [strokes her hair] I’ll be at The Hodge if you change your mind. [exits]

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Take caution in your tone, Commander. I’m a fair guy, but this fuckin’ heat’s making me absolutely crazy. You want to know about code reds? On the record I tell you that I discourage the practice in accordance with the NIS directive. Off the record I tell you that it’s an invaluable part of close infantry training, and if it happens to go on without my knowledge, so be it. I run my unit how I run my unit. You want to investigate me, roll the dice and take your chances. I eat breakfast 300 yards away from 4000 Cubans who are trained to kill me. So don’t think for one second, that you can come down here, flash a badge, and make me nervous.

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You can’t handle the truth! Son we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Whose gonna do it you? You Lieutenant Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility that you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have the luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know, that Santiago’s death while tragic, probably saved lives; and my existence while grotesque, and incomprehensible, to you, saves lives. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that well, you need me on that wall! We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something, you use them as a punchline. I have neither the time, nor the inclination to explain myself, to a man who rises and sleeps, under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and than questions the manner in which I provide them! I’d rather you just said ‘thank you’, and went on your way. Otherwise I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn, what you think you are entitled to!

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Dear Pat, It was very emotional for me to get your letter, as I’m sure you can imagine, but I’m glad you took the risk of discreetly getting it to me through Tiffany. This gives us a chance to communicate while I keep the restraining order until I feel safe. I must admit you sound terrific and I’m happy that you are feeling so positive and becoming a more loving and caring man, which I always knew you were. I was moved to read about ‘Excelsior’ and your belief in happy endings. I am also moved by your act of love to read the books I have taught at the high school. I’m sorry you find them so negative, but I disagree. I think they are great works of art that reflect how hard life can be and they can also help kids prepare themselves for the hardness of life. In spite of all these positive developments, Pat, I have to say if it’s me reading the signs, I need to see something to prove you are ready to resume our marriage. Otherwise I find myself thinking that we might both be better off moving on with our lives separately. Please don’t react quickly to this, but take time to think about it. I’m glad you’re doing so well. Love, Nikki.

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I live in the American Gardens Building on West 81st Street on the 11th floor. My name is Patrick Bateman. I’m 27 years old. I believe in taking care of myself, and a balanced diet and a rigorous exercise routine. In the morning, if my face is a little puffy, I’ll put on an ice pack while doing my stomach crunches. I can do a thousand now. After I remove the ice pack I use a deep pore cleanser lotion. In the shower I use a water activated gel cleanser, then a honey almond body scrub, and on the face an exfoliating gel scrub. Then I apply an herb-mint facial masque which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine. I always use an after shave lotion with little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older. Then moisturizer, then an anti-aging eye balm followed by a final moisturizing protective lotion. There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman. Some kind of abstraction. But there is no real me. Only an entity. Something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours, and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable, I simply am not there.

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I remember when the apocalypse hit my country. People were plagued left and right, even my best friend fell right in front of me. The police came to my home three days later and..and took my sister and I. They put us in what I can best describe was like a concentration camp. There were hundreds of us thrown into a small area and forced to live like a third world country. It was a major difference from my home but the worst part about living there was when my sister was infected. Her name was Celeste and she was all that mattered to me after I was taken from the rest of my family. She was almost seven when it hit her. Almost immediately, I noticed the symptoms. She was either restless or too sick to move. I tried to care for her like any other fever but one day, she-she just attacked everyone in the room. Being unable to stay in there, I waited by the locked door until I heard her stop moving. When I walked in, Celeste’s body was still. She wasn’t moving not at all..I-I tried but…she, Celeste,…was…*deep breath* I tried to move on after that..but, but I couldn’t. Still haven’t. A couple months past by after that…It was just me. I had no friends, I had no family. I watched everyone around get infected and once someone was gone, a new person replaced them. I met them but soon they would be gone. Then one day, an officer came to me and took me here. To where they were studying on how to find the cure. That’s my story, doctor. I don’t know if it’s of much help or even if I will be of much help but can I ask you one thing, Doctor? If I don’t live until the cure is found, will you-will you tell my story to people? Will you just promise me that everything I suffered and went through will not go to waste? That someone, anyone, out there will hear my story; and maybe I can teach someone, anyone—that you should always stay optimistic. I know the cure will be found but I just want you to promise to me that my story will help someone out there. Someone that’s willing to hear it?

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[Thank you.] You don’t have to thank me. [Yes I do. The Joker won. Harvey’s prosecution, everything he fought for, undone. Whatever chance you gave us at fixing the city dies with Harvey’s reputation. We bet it all on him. The Joker took the best of us and tore him down. People will lose hope.] They won’t. They must never know what he did. [Five dead. Two of them cops. You can’t sweep that.] But the Joker cannot win. Gotham needs its true hero. You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become a villain. I can do those things, because I’m not a hero, not like Dent. I killed those people. That’s what I can be. [No, no, you can’t. you’re not] I’m whatever Gotham needs me to be. Call it in. … [They’ll hunt you.] You’ll hunt me. You’ll condemn me. Set the dogs on me. Because that’s what needs to happen. Because sometimes the truth isn’t good enough. Sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded.

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These are dark times, there is no denying. Our world has, perhaps, faced no greater threat than it does today. But I say this to our citizenry. We, ever your servants, will continue to defend your liberty and repel the forces that seek to take it from you. Your ministry remains strong.

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Okay then, that’s what I’ll do. I will tell you a story. Can you hear them? All those people who lived in terror of you and your judgement, all those people whose ancestors devoted themselves, sacrificed themselves, to you… Can you hear them singing? Well you like to think you’re a god. Well you’re not a god, you’re just a parasite eaten out with jealousy and envy and longing for the lives of others. You feed on them, on the memories of love and loss and birth and death and joy and sorrow. So…So come on then, take my memories. But I hope you’ve got a big appetite because I have lived a long life, and I have seen a few things. I walked away from the last great Time War, I marked the passing of the time lords. I saw the birth of the universe and I watched as time ran out, moment by moment until nothing remained…No time, no space, just me! I walked in universe where the laws of physics were devised by the mind of a mad man. And I’ve watched universes freeze and creations burn. I have seen things you wouldn’t believe and I have lost things you will never understand! And I know things… Secrets that must never be told, knowledge that must never be spoken, knowledge that would make parasite gods blaze. So come on then. Take it! Take it all baby! Have it! You have it all!

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This sound woke me up. Sound like a small animal that go trapped or something. Never heard a man cry. When I saw my father in the kitchen, all I can remember was the ashtray, must’ve been a hundred cigarettes in there. Ash like a little mountain. He stopped crying and just sat there. Watching TV on our little black and white. I think he didn’t know what else to do. He saw me standing in the doorway and he just goes, ‘Your mother left. She’s not coming back.’ Just like that. Smokin’ cigarettes and eatin’ a TV dinner at six in the mornin’.
(beat)
We lost our dog the year before. I wanted to make these posters so if she was lost someone could call us like the guy who found our dog. To this day my father will tell you that he helped me make those posters. But he didn’t. He sat tehre, drank a case of beer and I went around by myself on School Street asking people if they’d seen my mother.
(beat)
Her name was Dorris MacRay and her mother had a restaurant called Carrol’s in Tangerine, Florida. Still there. I let myself think that’s where she went but somewhere along the line I came to terms with the fact that if she left, she left for a reason. She didn’t want to be my mother anymore and she wasn’t coming back.

And now you know about my family. But I’m still not showing you my apartment.

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Hey. Do you mind if I tell you a story? One you might not have heard. All the elements in your body were forged many many millions of years ago in the heart of a faraway star that exploded and died. That explosion scattered those elements across the desolations of deep space. After so, so many millions of years, these elements came together to form new stars and new planets. And on and on it went. The elements came together and burst apart, forming shoes and ships and sealing wax and cabbages and kings. Until, eventually, they came together to make you. You are unique in the universe. There is only one Merry Galel. And there will never be another. Throwing that existence away isn’t a sacrifice, it’s a waste.

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” I had always heard your entire life flashes in front of your eyes the second before you die. First of all, that one second isn’t a second at all, it stretches on forever, like an ocean of time… For me, it was lying on my back at Boy Scout camp, watching falling stars… And yellow leaves, from the maple trees, that lined my street… Or my grandmother’s hands, and the way her skin seemed like paper… And the first time I saw my cousin Tony’s brand new Firebird… And Janie… And Janie… And… Carolyn. I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me… but it’s hard to stay mad, when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst… And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life… You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry… you will someday. “

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Seneca, why do you think we have a winner? If we just wanted to intimidate the districts, why not just round up twenty- four of them at random and execute them all at once?… Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear. But it is also delicate. It can get out of control. Like a fire. A little hope is effective. A lot of hope is dangerous. The spark is fine as long as you contain it.

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Here’s a holiday greeting I’ve been meaning to send to the Mandarin… I just didn’t know how to say it until now. My name is Tony Stark and I’m not afraid of you. I know you’re a coward. That’s why I’ve just decided that you just died, pal. I’m going to come get the body. There’s no politics here, it’s just good old-fashioned revenge. There’s no Pentagon, it’s just you and me! And in the off-chance you’re a man, here’s my home address. 10-8-80 Malibu Point, 9-0-2-6-5. I’ll leave the door unlocked.

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“No! I’m sick of listening to your family. I have been chased, spun, hypnotized, paralyzed, and damn near killed by your family. I have been going out of my mind for the past two weeks, then your mother shows up on my door step and damn near gives me a heart attack but you know what. I don’t care about them, about the curse, you are not going dark and you are not losing me! No matter what you do, no matter what they do to me, I’m still here. Now what does that tell you?”

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Alright, you don’t wanna talk, fine! I’ll talk. What do you want me to say? I’m sorry? No, you knew. You knew from day one what this was. You decided to take the ride. I mean, what? You actually thought me, you and the little robot from the junk heap were gonna ride off into the sunset? Come on! No, you…you forgot who I was. You deserve better…than me. Will you say something, please? I tried, okay? I mean, what do you want from me?

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Go Away.

Please just LEAVE.

GET OUTTA HERE! There isn’t anything worse than having to feel this way in front of you. Rott in hell, Melvin. Is this fun for you? Hm? You lucky devil. It just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it? I’m losing my apartment Melvin, and Frank? He wants me to beg my parents – who haven’t called me – for help… and I won’t. And I don’t want the pain anymore.

So the life that I was trying for is over. The life that I had is gone and I’m feeling so damn sorry for myself that it’s difficult to breathe. It’s high times for you, isn’t it Melvin? The gay neighbour is terrified. Terrified. Lucky you. You’re here for rock bottom. You absolute horror of a human being.

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Anybody know what this place is? This is Gettysburg. This is where they fought the battle of Gettysburg. Fifty thousand men died right here on this field, fightin’ the same fight that we’re still fightin’ amongst ourselves today. This green field right here, painted red, bubblin’ with the blood of young boys. Smoke and hot lead pourin’ right through their bodies. Listen to their souls, men. I killed my brother with malice in my heart. Hatred destroyed my family. You listen, you take a lesson from the dead.

If we don’t come together right now on this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed, just like they were. I don’t care if you like each other right now, but you will respect each other. And maybe – I don’t know, maybe we’ll learn to play this game like men.

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Becky! Come here. Somethin’ I ought to tell you. Guess now’s as good a time as any. You’re going to have every young buck west of the Missouri around here tryin’ to marry you – mostly because you’re a handsome filly, but partly because I own everything in this country from here to there. They’ll think you’re going to inherit it. Well, you’re not. I’m going to leave most of it to, well, to the nation really, for a park where no lumbermen’ll cut down all the trees for houses with leaky roofs. Nobody’ll kill all the beaver for hats for dudes nor murder the buffalo for robes. What I’m going to give you is a 500 cow spread on the Upper Green River. Now that may not seem like much, but it’s more than we had, your mother and I. Some folks are gonna say I’m doin’ all this so I can sit up in the hereafter and look down on a park named after me, or that I was disappointed in you – didn’t want you to get all that money. But the real reason, Becky, is because I love you, and I want you and some young man to have what I had, because all the gold in the United States Treasury and all the harp music in heaven can’t equal what happens between a man and a woman with all that growin’ together. I can’t explain it any better than that.

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I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.

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I don’t know if I will have the time to
write any more letters because I might be
too busy trying to participate. So, if
this does end up being the last letter, I
just want you to know that I was in a bad
place before I started high school. And
you helped me.
Even if you didn’t know what I was
talking about. Or know someone who’s
gone through it. It made me not feel
alone.
Because I know there are people who say
all of these things don’t happen. And
there are people who forget what it’s
like to be 16 when they turn 17.
I know these will all be stories someday.
And our pictures will become old
photographs. And we’ll all become
somebody’s mom or dad. But right now,
these moments are not stories.
This is happening. I am here. And I am
looking at her. And she is so beautiful.
I can see it. This one moment when you
know you’re not a sad story. You are
alive. And as you stand up and see the
lights on buildings and everything that
makes you wonder. And you are listening
to that song on that drive with the
people you love most in this world.
And in this moment, I swear…
… we are infinite.

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Alva, there is no one else in this entire office that I could possibly ask to share such a horrible job. You’re the lowest on the totem pole here, Alva. The lowest. Do you realize that? Every other secretary here has been here longer than you, Alva. Every one. And even if there was someone here who was here even one day longer than you, I still wouldn’t ask that person to partake in such a miserable job as long as you were around. That’s right, Alva. It’s a horrible, horrible job; sifting through old contract after old contract. I couldn’t think of a more horrible job if I wanted to. And you have to do it! You have to or I’ll fire you. You understand? Do you? Good. So there’s no problem then, is there?

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Go on! Shoot, and we both go down and you win. Go on. I’m dead anyway. I always was, right? I couldn’t tell that until now. How’s that, is that what they want? I can still do this… I can still do this! One more kill. It’s the only thing I know how to do, bringing pride to my district. Not that it matters.

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Of all the weapons in the vast soviet arsenal, nothing was more profitable than Avtomat Kalashnikova model of 1947. More commonly known as the AK-47, or Kalashnikov. It’s the world’s most popular assault rifle. A weapon all fighters love. An elegantly simple 9 pound amalgamation of forged steel and plywood. It doesn’t break, jam, or overheat. It’ll shoot whether it’s covered in mud or filled with sand. It’s so easy, even a child can use it; and they do. The Soviets put the gun on a coin. Mozambique put it on their flag. Since the end of the Cold War, the Kalashnikov has become the Russian people’s greatest export. After that comes vodka, caviar, and suicidal novelists. One thing is for sure, no one was lining up to buy their cars.

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