Here’s the opening monologue from an unfinished play I wrote back in June 1993. I ended up tossing the monologue entirely in favor for something else, but it was an interesting exercise for me to try to get into the mind of an obviously disturbed character. I can’t say it was exactly fun, which I suppose is a good thing.
WEIRDSMITH OPENING MONOLOGUE
WEIRDSMITH: It was an accident. I know that sounds ridiculous. How do you accidentally stab a person thirty times? Actually, thirty six. I counted. I don’t know why, exactly, except that I have this thing for details. So I counted. But it was still an accident. When we met today, things were a little tense between us, but I wasn’t planning on stabbing him three dozen times. You don’t do that to a friend. An ex friend, maybe.
(He laughs, if hesitantly, at his feeble and ghoulish joke.)
WEIRDSMITH: We got into a fight, and I was twiddling the butcher knife in my hands and…we were in the kitchen. I should point that out. I do not normally go around twiddling butcher knives. I was getting ready to carve the roast. It’s cold now, of course. Uh, we got in a fight. I made like the menacing figure, and he really started freaking out. Told me to drop the knife. Told me to, “Drop that fuckin’ knife! Are you fucking crazy?!” He had a pretty dirty mouth. Anyway, I guess there’s something about being really mad – well, maybe I don’t mean mad. Maybe I mean angry. There’s something about being angry and waving a knife around, and then someone calls you crazy and tells you to drop it. That’s like telling a kid the paint on the fence is wet and he better not touch it. It’s like telling the kid, “You can’t have that toy.” Of course, the only thing he wants now is that toy. He wants to do just the opposite of what you’ve told him. Just plain old childish rebellion. No one ever completely outgrows it, I don’t think. But the accident. Yes. He tells me to drop the knife, so, being the idiot, being the child I am, I say no and wave it around in his face. He starts backing away, really scared. I hate to admit this, but I got off on it. Him being scared like that. I don’t usually scare people. I’m kind of skinny and quiet. Not psycho type quiet, like I might one day decide to take a shotgun to the mall and start hunting people, but just regular quiet. So he was backing away, practically crapping his drawers. And then he backed against the counter, the roast is right behind him. I see it poking around him and for a second I thought that it must be getting cold. I was going to say that, actually. I think if I had, I would have dropped the knife and we would have laughed and then had dinner and that’d be that. Argument over. But I didn’t say anything. I think I may have been laughing, but I’m not sure. Inside I was definitely laughing, it was all so stupid. So I continue waving the knife. Oh, I was saying something, something like, “You scared?” Pretty original, huh? And he said, “Yeah, I’m scared. Put down the fucking knife!” And then I actually got kind of mad, and this time that’s the right word. He was telling me what to do and I had the knife. It didn’t click. You know, I was the dominant one here. That was obvious. But I think it was the way he said it. He was scared, but he was, as he would say, really pissed off, too. So I just kept moving forward and I started darting the knife at him and he actually put out his hand and tried to bat it away. That was pretty stupid. He could have cut himself, the idiot. Well, not that it matters now, I guess.
WEIRDSMITH: Then he suddenly flies into the living room, past me just like a rocket. I take off after him and he wheels around, facing me. I keep walking forward and he’s telling me to stop, but I’m having none of it. Then he backed into the coat rack. He just backed right into it and his feet got tangled and he slipped, and I reached out to grab him, but…this sounds so stupid. I hear it now and it sounds stupid. Yes, that’s right: he slipped and I went to help him and the knife just accidentally plunged clear into his chest, right between two ribs, just clean as can be. But that was it. I was holding the knife so tight that by the time I realized it was going into him, he was probably already dead. And he just screamed like I’ve never heard before. Not like on TV. It was like when you’re lying awake in bed at three in the morning and you hear this horrible scream outside, and you don’t know if someone’s being killed or just screwing around. He screamed like that and I think I screamed, too. Or I said, “Oh, shoot” or something like that. I was gonna help him even though it was probably too late, but he just kept screaming, so when I pulled the knife out, I stabbed him again. I wasn’t thinking, of course. I just wanted him to shut up, because I was right there and I was going to help him, but he didn’t need to alert the whole neighborhood and get us in really serious trouble. So I stabbed him again and that was going to be it, but he still kept screaming and I thought, “Am I gonna have to kill this guy to shut him up?” Well, I don’t know if I really thought that or not. By that time I think I was on auto pilot. He dropped, well, slid onto the floor and I went down with him, and started to stab him like a…machine. And I counted. I started at one, even though I’d already stabbed him twice. And I kept stabbing, and I almost stopped because the blood was spraying into my face, but I had my glasses on, so it didn’t get into my eyes. I moved the knife all over, like it was important to spread the holes around. Like I said, I’m kind of fixed on little details like that. And when I reached thirty four, I couldn’t see anymore white on his shirt, so I stopped and sat down for a while. Then I figured out two plus the thirty four, and I had stabbed him thirty six times. But the first time probably killed him, and that was an accident. So I don’t really think I deliberately killed him. Like anyone in the world will believe that. It’s not as if I have a spotless past. But it’s funny, when I met him, it was the start of things going good for me again. And they did. Things were good again, and for a while, I could forget about everything that had already happened. You know, in the business world, they say don’t think about how much money you’ve spent on something, cause that money’s gone. Think about how much more you have to spend and whether it’s worth it. He told me that not too long after we met. He said to think of my life like that. Don’t think about the past, cause it’s already gone. Think about the future instead, and see if it’s worth it. Actually, at the time, I thought it was pretty stupid. I mean, making philosophy out of something from a first year economics class. But even if I thought it was stupid, I did let go of things. I tried to start over. He helped me a lot.
(He kneels next to the body.)
WEIRDSMITH: I know this is pretty silly, since you’re not just dead, but very dead, but I want to thank you for helping me. Jeez, this is dumb.
WEIRDSMITH: Thank you for sticking with me just long enough for my entire life to go to hell again, thank you for sticking around just long enough for me to end up stabbing you thirty six times!
(He drops the knife and again kneels next to the body.)
WEIRDSMITH: I’m going to treat your words with respect. It’s not too late. Well, it is too late, but I’m doing it anyway. I’m doing it because I agree with what you said. Everything’s in the past now and I think the future’s worth it, so I hope you don’t mind if I find somewhere to just kind of dispose of you.
(He begins to drag the body to the back of the stage.)
WEIRDSMITH: Like maybe in a bog or something. Death is crazy, my friend, but life is crazier than hell.