copyright © 1988 Todd Ristau

Living In Shit

(Two men in body suits and gas maks sit on various barrels and crats with "Hazardous Waste" stenciled on the sides. They hold guns and talk casually, behind them is a sign which reads: "PLEASE HELP KEEP PIER CLEAN, THROW REFUSE OVER SIDE.")

HAL: So, what you gonna do about the girl?

JIM: What do you mean?

HAL: You gonna marry her or what?

JIM: She's dead.

HAL: Dead?

JIM: Yeah.

HAL: Sorry.

JIM: You're sorry.

HAL: How long? What was it?

JIM: Bout a week. Acute intestinal cramps. Bad fever. Fucked tubes.

HAL: Jesus.

JIM: Jesus.

HAL: She hated filters.

JIM: Yeah, gave me hell for smoking and then goes outside without a filter. Dames. Go figure.

HAL: My kid's got cancer.

JIM: Congratulations. Which one?

HAL: Malignant. Colon.

JIM: Christ. (pause) I meant which kid.

HAL: Oh. Bobby. Hell, figures, he was the only one who still has hair.

JIM: He's the one that won the science contest last year, right?

HAL: Yeah, that was before his eyes went. Crystalized veins. Something in the milk back then. I told him not to drink that crap, but you know kids...

JIM: I heard that bottled water is going up again. $16.20 a quart. Can you believe it?

HAL: Believe it. I'll keep using the tap till they quit making new filters. Hard to believe there are any safe mountain springs anymore anyway, after they dug all them caves for the nuclear waste.

JIM: Ash says they're working on a way to clean up the sea water, bring the salt content down to--

HAL: Shit, they already use the stuff in a 10 to 20% mix. Can't really taste the salt under the chlorine.

JIM: That can't be right, Hal, that's crazy. I thought a 3% solustion caused dehydration and death...

HAL: Don't forget delerium.

JIM: Well, then?

HAL: Don't ask me, I don't make the filters, I just use them.

JIM: Makes no sense. I don't understand anything anymore.

HAL: Harder to everyday. Airs getting thicker all the time. Brain rot. Saw a special on Nova the other night, says its impossible to avoid now, even with the Mark XX filters. If they filtered out everything bad there wouldn't be anything left to breathe.

JIM: At least we still got each other, right? What time you got?

HAL: 6:20.

JIM: Temp?

HAL: 70.

JIM: Pretty warm for just after dawn in Februrary.

HAL: When was the last time you saw snow?

JIM: Count your blessings. The less that falls out of that sky, the better.

HAL: Hey, you ever been to the city on a clear day?

JIM: Why would you go to the city any day?

HAL: To see the crystals!

JIM: No, I never seen them, but I heard about them, they say its really something to see, this shit freezing in the upper atmosphere.

HAL: Refracts the light the way they say rainbows used to, only all over the sky, all mixed up....beautiful. A miracle.

JIM: I'll have to take the kids on a day trip sometime.....


I remember doing this in B with either Fred or maybe Mark Rosenberg. Not sure which or what year. I do remember we were wearing these rubber gas suits on and big gas masks, and the audience couldn't understand a word we were saying. This piece was later turned into the "Luck of the Dead" piece.

'88 or before though, its in ristau reader volume I

"Living In Shit" debuted circa 1988, performed by Fred Norberg (?) and Todd Ristau.

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