copyright © 1994 Jeff Goode

DASHER by Jeff Goode

     My name is Dasher.
     First reindeer.
     From day one.
     Number one from day one.
     I been makin' the Christmas run longer than anyone except the fatboy himself.
     I've been the reindeer, every year, for as long as reindeer could fly. So I don't have to put up with this shit.
     One time I was not the lead reindeer. One time.
     One foggy Christmas Eve. Yeah, right. Fine, whatever, I don't want to talk about it.
     Just that one time he was the lead reindeer. And where did it get him?
     And where am I?
     Right back at the front of the pack. The very next year, and every year since.
     So you wanna tell me it was fog? Fine, it was fog. I'm not challenging that. And I don't wanna talk about it anyway.
     All I'm saying...
     All I'm saying is "Fog, my reindeer ass."
     I have seen blizzards and torrents of freezing rain and sleet and lightning on Christmas Eve.
     I have seen an ice tornado. Jagged shards of ice like broken glass whipping through the air like bullets. Blood all over our bodies from hundreds of lacerations. And it's freezing cold. And the wind.
     And we were pulling two short because Blitzen and The Faggot stayed home. They didn't wanna go. Unsafe working conditions. My fuzzy ass! They were chicken shits.
     They knew it was bad. They knew something was gonna go wrong. They had the funny feeling you get in your antlers when there's gonna be an earthquake, or when something's just gonna go down ugly. And it did. That was the year we lost what's his name. The guy Hollywood replaced. Vixen's mate, Victor.
     His hind leg was cut up real bad from this weird ice storm. And when we came down too heavy on one of those real steep gabled roofs... He slipped, and his leg just snapped. Bone sliced right through an artery in his leg... He was gone before we even knew what happened.
     Fatboy just unhitched him.
     Left him on that rooftop.
     Said, "Boys, we gotta run to make." ...ho ho ho.
     And we did... And there was Christmas.
     Thanks to the five of us, and thanks to Victor, there was Christmas.
     He knew it was bad, too. He knew something like this could happen. But he wasn't sittin' at home saying, "That's too dangerous." "I got a bad feeling."
     Every boy and girl on the face of this earth is counting on us to bring Christmas joy into their home. And we got no business sitting at the North Pole watchin' TV, saying, "Glad I'm not out in that. I don't get paid for that."
     That is exactly what we get paid for! Damn straight.
     I can name you fifty flying reindeer right now who will run on a clear night with temperatures in the mid 30's.
     We are supposed to be the Elite. There's a problem? We handle it.
     Fog? I will take the risk of flying head first into the side of a skyscraper that wasn't there last year. I've done it before. Three times. 1926, 1935, 1978.
     And am I accusing someone else of having a drinking problem? No I am not.
     My risk, my problem.
     And it doesn't matter anyway because I survived it. I'm still here. Still at the front. Still runnin'. This year, next year, and every year.
     So what am I saying?
     I don't know what happened. I don't know, and I don't want to know.
     But when I hear all this whining. When I see lawyers runnin' 'round all over the fuckin' place... That's not Christmas. That's not Christmas, and that's not taking responsibility for your own actions, whatever. That's not takin' responsibility, period.
     Because we've got a responsibility. And suppose they do find out something went down ugly. What if? What then?
     Do we hand it all over to the elves and walk away? "Oh, I'm sorry. This shouldn't have happened, I quit." "I'm sorry Johnny and Janey and Jamal and two billion other kids all over the world for whom Santa Claus is Christmas. I just wasn't happy here, so you can never be happy at Christmas again for as long as you live."
     I mean, I'm sorry about Rudolph. That is very, very, very tragic. But I wanna say this about the kid. Even after all this, I know that if he could, he would jump right back in the harness again.
     Because that's what you do.
     That. Is what. You do.

     And that is all I'm gonna say to any of you about this.



This piece is the first in a series of monologues which were later gathered together to become the play The Eight: Reindeer Monologues. The text above is the original, unrevised version of the script as performed at No Shame/Chicago in 1993.

"Dasher" debuted November 15, 1993, performed by Jeff Goode.

This piece has been performed many times, both as a solo piece and as part of the play The Eight: Reindeer Monologues.
Other performances at No Shame:

October 10, 1994 - No Shame / Chicago. Performed by Jeff Goode.
December 6, 2002 - No Shame / Charlottesville. Performed by Michael Farrand.

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