Marm & Me

[The stage stands empty but for a cheap plaster peeing-Cupid fountain sculpture. A single light shines down on the sculpture, which stands in a kiddie pool. A Hawaiian lei hangs around Cupid’s neck. Reflections from the water in the pool dance across the Cupid and the back wall of the stage. The dusty stage floor around the fountain is dimly lit with indirect “bump lights” (official theater term I just made up). I didn’t get that much sleep last night, but I did just drink coffee for the first time in a week. The Cupid pees in a couple of spurts, then stops. After a pause, the Cupid pees continuously for about 5  seconds, then stops again. Now a few more spurts. Do you think this will make the audience laugh? I think it will.

After a few more stop-start Cupid-pee sessions, THE MARM enters stage right (why do I care which side she enters from? I am an artist, and it is my task to reveal mystic truths.


Maybe there can be a Nauman-style neon sign hanging somewhere on stage, too.)

THE MARM is tall, 30ish, not overweight, but she’s definitely a hearty, teacherly lady: it’s the rare morning that she misses her (homemade? sometimes.) milksoaked granola. Jaw-length chestnut hair tucked behind her ears. Simple, beaten-silver earrings. One of our nation’s secular Quakers. By which I mean she dresses and sometimes talks and even acts like a pilgrim but doesn’t really think or behave like one. What?? She’s only very narrowly prim in reality there’s some “nossty” stuff that goes on in her life and mind, in the seats-folded-down backbeds of Subaru Outbacks;  atop unzipped REI mummybags in the wilderness, fellow campers within earshot.

THE MARM walks onstage in a hurry, head down, gripping her shoulder bag, not seeming to notice the  fountain at all. Just as she passes it and appears to be exiting the stage, the Cupid begins peeing again. MARM stops suddenly, head still down. She’s wearing a simple necklace of some kind, maybe pearls. Without turning around or lifting her head, she listens to the sound of the “pee” (it’s just water, guys, that’s obvious) hitting the water in the pool behind her. She takes a big, deep breath, her affectionate shoulders (???) rising and falling once in adorable stressed-out pulling-it-togetherness. Turns on the heels of her thick-soled loafers. Regards the fountain with a look she’s previously reserved for saucy adolescents. Clutches her bag, which contains headache medicine, notebooks, pens, Pez, feminine items, half a Luna bar (sorry, sorry, I know, I don’t know, I’m trying) and so on. THE MARM (who named her that?) and the fountain have a sort of face-off. The Cupid starts on/off spurting again, this time in a very even rhythm — a dot-dash dot-dash dot-dash dot-dash of pee — it’s like he’s telling her something (something saucy, no doubt) in morse code. The statue stops peeing again.  Another long pause, another deep breath, and MARM addresses the sculpture.

THE MARM: What’s wrong with you?

[The Cupid responds in a little-boy voice, someone backstage speaking into a microphone. He sounds like, whatever, an American kid.]

CUPID: I’m sorry. I’m done.

[I should probably get back to work. To be continued. The audience goes out to the lobby to buy plastic pails filled with mini Reese’s peanut butter cups]