On being a wheat husk

Sometimes a dramatic monologue gets away from me and it becomes too long-winded to incorporate in pretty much any script (due to the old axiom about showing a character’s transformation, rather than telling it). Here, then, is one of those monologues, repackaged in prose form:

Charles, having been presented with a bully pulpit for the first time in his life, felt the best course of action was to be broad.

This then, in its entirety, was the speech he gave, carefully transcribed by hand from a videotape recording:

“I am confused. And I am angry. There is so much wrong in this world!

“I am angry today at my parents, for not having done more to fix the problems that now threaten to destroy us all. I am angry at myself, for not having the strength to do what we all must do, or the intellect to understand what we need to understand. And I am angry at God.

“I have always been angry at God, because I have never understood. Standing before you here, I still do not understand. I do not want to understand. And I am still angry. I’m angry at God for giving me things that I do not want, and taking away from me things that I need. I’m angry at God for not being present in my life. And I am angry at feeling betrayed.

“I’m going to tell you what God took from me. This is not an exhaustive list.

“God took from me my favorite thing when I was two: a plastic canteen in a leather pouch. My family was hiking in the mountains and I dropped it off a bridge. That is my earliest memory: watching that canteen floating down the river and wondering where it would end up.

“He took away too many family pets to name. He took away so many opportunities in which I placed my hope. He took away my innocence, my optimism, my ability to feel shock and disgust at the horrors we inflict on one another. He took away my father before I had a chance to say goodbye, before I had a chance to ask him why he believed the things he believed. He took away my best friend. More than once. He took me away from my family and the things that I love. He took away my capacity to love.

“What did He give me? He gave me fear. He gave me fear and He told me that anything I felt love for was evil and wrong, and that He would punish me for it. And then He went away and never came back.

“God harvested from me all of my emotions, all of my energy, all of my creativity. He has left behind a bitter, shriveled husk. That husk is what is talking to you now. God has run me through a thresher. He has taken the wheat, and I am the chaff. I don’t know what to say about that.

“What does the chaff say?

“Well, the chaff can say this:

“I am a husk, and so are you. I have been through the thresher, and so have you. We have all lost so much. We have all felt shame and disappointment and we have all mourned the good things in life that will never come to us again. And we are all afraid. We are afraid because we are secretly aware that we are all nothing more than a culmination of all our flaws. And we know that this will ultimately destroy us.

“You know what I say? I say that chaff never did anybody any good. I say that chaff burns. I say that if we are nothing more than the husks of what used to be good and pure and that if our self-destruction is inevitable, then good riddance to a race of people that wasn’t worth a damn. If we were born of fire and will die of fire, bring on the flames. I say BURN THE FUCKING WORLD.

“So… why don’t we do that?

“That’s a real question. Why don’t we do that?

“Is it because there’s still something about us somewhere that has some redeeming value?

“I think it might be.

“Help me find it.”

He stopped, and all was silent.

8 thoughts on “On being a wheat husk

  1. If you were to continue with this idea and put this monologue somewhere besides a blog with limited viewers I’d say you’d have to proofread it again and tighten it up. There’s a lot of redundancy in there that doesn’t seem to serve a purpose, if you got rid of it I think you’d have a good monologue granted you get a good actor to read it. I’ll be back tomorrow.

  2. I agree with Vvinni, but this also reminds me a lot of what a solid monologue would look like in a book. Very similar, in fact, to Orson Scott Card in his Ender series (which I happen to be reading again at the moment). Have you thought about novelizing or shortstoryizing this stuff?

    You have a fascinating style, Andrew, and I’ve always noticed that your scripts reflect a certain book-like quality – things that are more a director’s job to flesh out than a writer’s.

  3. In fact, now that I think about it, this monologue is disturbingly similar to what the character Miro would be saying in the book Xenocide. Miro has been emotionally and physically damaged by what he sees as God, and at the same time there is a debate about what to do about two (possibly three) different sentient beings on a planet (one option is to burn it all down – kill everything).

    Weird. Anyone else read that book and know what I’m talking about, or am I just babbling now?

  4. Well, while I’m at it, the name Vvinni reminds me of a tale I heard about a rabbit in a stream made entirely of vvinucci reeds, flowing like the tails of a razorback squid. The mystery of the story is how the clever rabbit gets his way into the stream in the first place! See, these streams are only in the western hemisphere of the planet, and this happened to be a FRENCH rabbit! Well the story goes that the rabbit hitched a ride on a whale, who happened to be in the area, and rode it all the way to Columbia (or what the rabbitians call “Vvinni J Ganepainia”).

  5. SIGH. I wish I didn’t have to go over these BASIC, COMMON SENSE ideas, but here goes:

    1) Of COURSE western France is in the Western Hemisphere. DUH! I thought that was OBVIOUS. French rabbits are only from EASTERN France, which any high school educated person SHOULD KNOW. Clearly you have no idea what you’re talking about. QED.

    2) Actually, Google says there are 59,100 results for “razorback squid.” Therefore, razorback squid exist. QED. Besides, I didn’t even say they existed (even though they do – 59,100 of them), I just said that in the vvinucci reed steam, the reeds were flowing like the tails of razorback squid. QED.

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