copyright © 1989 Todd Ristau


(lights up on an old man, dressed in rags, seated amid a load of trash on the stage.)

This here’s the dump. Dump. Brings a load of pretty images to yer mind right away, don’t it? It’s a dump. Take a dump. Dump that. Dump this. Just let it go. Throw it away, it ain’t no good to me no more, haul it out to the dump. Well, I live here. This dump is my dump, my home, my chunk of the world. Years ago, back when there didn’t seem like there was so much stuff to throw away, my pap took me out here almost every Sunday and we’d walk us around for hours looking for stuff that shouldn’t be out here yet. Lamp that wasn’t broken, flashlight still worked. Bags of clothes, too. My old man, he found him a hell of a lot of good stuff back them days. Hungs of brass this or that, wood stuff hardly even been cracked he’d fix up sharp and refinish. Monday or Tuesday head us off with the fixed up junk we didn’t want ourselves and and sell it at the community auction. Sometimes Ol’ Bob and his sister would spit on me, or call me a dump rat fer prowlin’ out in the junkyard with my old man, but I wouldn’t even look at ‘em. Hell, why give ‘em the satisfaction. My old man would say, "Yer god damned right, don’t pay no attention to the sons of bitches." Pap and me, we knew the straight of her. It was people like them two and their family that did the throwin’ out. What are they interested in savin’ a something for? Always a new something just around the corner, right? Well, folks like me and pap say that a sad old thing ain’t always done for it if ain’t pushing up yer toast as fast as when you first got it, or maybe ain’t shinin’ so bright as it used to. Sometimes a think needs a polishin’ or maybe a new piece there or to clean out a this here...well...peoples are people.

Pap died years back. No money, county buried him. I remember bein’ real alone in the world then, couldn’t make up my mind what it was I felt like. I guess it was sorta like being dumped, but not for real. It was Pap got dumped. County dumped him and ain’t even a marker to show fer it. Took the house and the station wagon for what they call restitution or something like that. Pap didn’t have no insurance, so the county took what he did have to pay fer dumpin’ him. I took to roamin’ some. I knew there was gonna be a dump in every town, and in that dump I was always gonna find something not quite ready to be tossed out. I became a travelling collector of what people didn’t want or need any more. People throw away all knds of things. Toss ‘em out there some place. Forget about ‘em. Litter the places they don’t look at much with what they get tired of or don’t want to be bothered with no more.

Don’t like the color? Throw it away. Don’t like the style? Throw it away. Don’t like the noise it makes? Throw it away. Don’t like him? Throw him away. Don’t like her? Throw her away.

(one by one small dirty dump urchins, grimy old women, and ragged old tramps walk woodenly into the light. They for a semi-circle around the the old man, like from "Village of the Damned". Each one holds an item of trash.)

But, like I say, roamin’ around I took to collecting what ain’t quite ready to be tossed out. Like Pap always said, maybe just a turn of a screw, wipe of a cloth, or just a pretty word or two can make a thing jump right out of the dump and be real useful again....yessir, this dump is my home....but I ain’t about to live here forever.

(It is now clear that each item of trash could easily be used as a weapon. Beat. Lights down on the old man, then slowly on the group of dump people, who stare into the audience with malice.)



Read at playwright’s festival 4-29-89, but otherwise unperformed, I think...although now I’m having a vague recollection of Brad Schnurr doing it.....)

Gosh, looking at this now, and knowing I wrote it when I was about to be tossed out of the playwright’s workshop and read it at playwrights festival, its a pretty clear attack on Old Bob Hedley and his Sister Shelley Berc....and a pretty obvious request to one of the festival guests to give me an internship. I really had brass ones in those days, but didn’t have much to lose since I was told two weeks before the end of the semester that if I didn’t have an internship lined up by the end of the festival, I was out of the workshop. Hats off to Randy Rollison who decided HOME could use a no shame of its own and so he offered me an internship immediately after the reading to set one up for him. Also to the guy from LA whose first comment after the reading was. "Why did we have to wait all week to finally see some decent theatre?"

All in all it was a succesful presentation and I remained a thorn in everyone’s side until Dec of 1991.

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