I did this photo shoot thing ‘cuz of a sign at the gym where I work out: “Buff?” it said, with a question mark, “twenty dollars an hour.” I figured what the hell, I need the money. It was legitimate, for an online catalogue. I liked the socks, fit me real well, went right up over my calf. I’m not bragging but I have an athletic build and I didn’t have much else on: white jockey shorts and a t-shirt. Sittin’ on a table with my legs kind a spread apart. But those socks! Three red racing-stripes across the top. Fit me like a --foot glove. The wifebeater t-shirt, at least that’s what we call ‘em, like the one Brando wears in Streetcar Named Desire: “Stella, Stella!” Fit good too, but I liked the socks.
‘Oh yes,’ I told her, ‘Oh yes.’ I know it’s important to belong to the Junior League and St John’s Episcopal Church Ladies’ Society. And to keep one’s peace after the dinner is over and the men leave for the study to talk politics and finances over cigars and scotch. I am not lax with the servants: those young Swedish girls who keep my house as if it’s their own and dream of marrying one day, even if it is to an Irishman from Lowertown. I am fully aware that I must wear black for another month. But I also know the worth of a first-class education, not just for the sons, but for the daughters. I know Solveig teaches the others to read, just as I taught her, in the attic, in the children’s play room while Walter slowly wasted and then died in the master bedroom. I told Solveig: go ahead. Read all you want with the others. Let the neighbors speculate on the meaning of the lamp glowing on the top floor in the middle of a winter night.
Actors, feel free to use either of these monologues. I appreciate notification (and feedback) if you do.
Publication rights reside with Marion Stella Wittenbreer.