When is a Clock

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When Gordon's wife vanishes, the only clue to her whereabouts is a bookmark in dog-eared copy of Traveling to Montpelier. With little help to be found at work, from his son, or from the police, Gordon takes off to a rural bookstore to find some answers.

Read Sample

COP
Crime statistics. The average person is married twice, and the average marriage contains seven steps, and the average marriage has around two children and the average child of those marriages spends an average of four hours watching two to four television programs on five nights a week. More than half of that time is spent watching violent crime, and of the twelve courtroom dramas currently dominating the networks prime time slots, they watch 276 variations of criminal actions, based on a 23 episode season. That is only counting the central act of criminality within the drama, not counting ethical lapses or more minor crimes in support of, or to dispel, the central crime in question.

(Pause.)

When, when, when you expose one half of one half of all Americans to four hours of around three hundred murders, rapes, kidnappings and assaults over the course of a season of television, you’re going to create precisely, and we have this figure available on our website, around 500,000 potential major felons a night, of which exactly 45,678 will commit crimes within ten years of right now.

(Pause.)

How should we find your wife? With all this happening just because of television?

(Pause.)

What about red tape? And just overall numbers? Every second, 200 babies die in this county alone. 200. Babies. Die. In this county alone. Three hundred people lose watches every ten minutes in 38 states. There are 20 different versions of the law that protects three different ethnicities from twelve kinds of discriminatory lending practices. Food poisoning, from nearly 600 controlled substances, just hit the digestive system of two women. As we spoke. Their names are Janet and Janet. Both of them named Janet. What are the odds? Actually, very, very good, if you consider how improbable a life-sustaining atmosphere even is.

(Pause.)

89 times, in the course of just walking in this door, I envisioned a crime committed against me by a person that worked in an orphanage when I was only nine. Why do I see that in my mind so often? Biological signals sent from my brain, sense-memory? 91 times now. It just keeps happening. That person was never arrested, but was killed. You can’t prove how. How could you? There’s just too much to keep track of.

(Pause.)

Over the course of the last month, it was discovered that people’s names were being spelled in a wantonly confusing manner by a large number of ethnic minorities in order to confound governmental databases. You think it’s easy to track people by way of their social security number? Of course you’d think so. That’s because you don’t know that there are two million people in this country whose social security number is precisely the same as two million other people. How do you think that affects their records when they die? It’s not pretty. Of course it’s not pretty. In fact, despite what you may believe, according to Federal Databases, because of this Social Security glitch, more than half of those four million people are deceased.

(Pause.)

14 million Mexicans just entered this country. 15 million. 16 million. All without social security numbers, most of them less than 5 feet 5 inches tall. How are we going to find them and bury them? Do we just toss them in the Pacific Ocean? No, no we don’t. That’s how we hope to fuel agriculture. But there are so, so many. So many.

(Pause.)

Where is your wife?

Cast Requirements

5m, 3f

Set Description

Various.

Publisher

Samuel French, 2009.

http://www.samuelfrench.com/p/482/when-is-a-clock

Press

"There s a monologue that deserves to be enshrined in some kind of hall of fame: it's savvy and preposterous and utterly original...appealingly abnormal..." - Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times

Press

Production and Development History

Produced in 2008 by Blue Coyote Theater Group at the Access Theater in downtown Manhattan. Dir. Kyle Ancowitz