Horatio Lewis

A monologue
by Chris Hibbard

Scene setting: A rundown shitty little apartment, dark and littered with empties. A neon sign flashes outside the only visible window.

Stage setting: right side of the stage, spotlight on man sitting on top of a desk. He wears a tan overcoat, scuffed sneakers, has five o’clock shadow on his cheeks and his hair is messy.

MONOLOGUE

After coming home from school one afternoon with a split lip and a black eye, I asked my father what had compelled him to name Horatio, and he told me this:

“I grew up reading books about penniless boys who rose to the top by being hard workers. They had no luck, no talent, and no future, but they did it on their own. These books were written by an American writer named Horatio Alger.” I never had the chance to ask my father if he knew that I would grow up with no luck and no money. I expect he knew so.

I don’t know if it is because I was named after a famous author that I have such an innate curiousity, and I suppose it doesn’t matter, but I always like to know what is going on, and why. This curiousity once got me a great job as a reporter for the local rag, but it also got me curious about life without such a tedious and low paying job. Which is why I now live in the low rent area of an already low-rent town.

Sometimes I wish this town was even worse off. In my imagination this town is nearly deserted, except for tumbleweeds bouncing down main street and the occasional gun fight at the local corral. What do I get in reality?

Crack. Hookers. Neon signs telling me what I need and where to get it. Speeding tickets and cold shoulders. What the hell am I doing here.

More importantly, my buddy Patience asked me recently “What the hell are you doing with her?” Granted, Patience is not well-known for his tact. He’s always heading somewhere else, coiled like a spring, ready to jump into action. This confounds me. The only action to be found around here is at the local cinema, unless you consider STDs as being active.

Who is she you might be wondering, the ‘her’ that Patience was referring to? She is Foxy. It is both an adjective and proper name. She is Foxy Hoover. A last name that is even more appropriate. Foxy Hoover could suck a golf ball through twenty feet of plastic tubing without needing to take a breath. She dresses like a runway model and has feet that deserve to be immortalized in bronze on a pedestal.
Patience’s question however, is a little more difficult to answer.

He wonders why I can be with Foxy because he is homophobic. He can’t understand how I can be attracted to a man who dresses like a woman, let alone how I can let her touch me intimately. I tell him that at first it was because I was just plain curious. I figure if she’s got the same genitals as me, she probably knows how to pleasure them best. This makes him uncomfortable and he thinks I’m kidding, but it’s pretty damn close to the truth. Patience has his own set of problems. He’s fine to go out to the pub with, and he often picks up the tab, but he can sure be depressing.

I would be too I suppose if I had been married once, to a woman who is now sleeping with the most tedious, average dude you can imagine. Worse yet, his name is Cricket or Flea or some sort of insect. Needless to say, the topic of women is one that Patience and I don’t spend too much time on. If he’s not so drunk that’s he’s downright belligerent, I’m too drunk to deal with his depressing ‘poor me’ bullshit. Either way, it’s just discomfort and bad news all around.

Anyway, I was with a real woman until a year ago. Artimesia was her name, and though she needed a pedicure something fierce, she was a pretty good lady. In hindsight, all that Arty ever wanted was to be feminine, to be beautiful, to be Audrey Hepburn, or some other high-society cover girl. She had the legs for it, but there was something in her own esteem that wouldn’t let her be happy. I kept telling her over and over again that she was all the woman that a man like me could ever need, but she would just shrug it off before applying awful-coloured polish to her oddly shaped toenails.

She had some power though when she wanted to apply herself. She trashed my apartment when she learned I had been cheating on her with another woman. She trashed hers when she learned my new lady was actually a man. Sometimes I think I actually miss her – then I have a drink and thank the Creator that she’s gone.

(Author’s Note: See related Reflection; Writing on Writing Pt. II)

~ by Chris Hibbard on November 2, 2008.

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