Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Rent chair (A monologue and photo) by Christopher Woods


(A woman, thirtyish)

(out of breath) Well, I did it. Put the chair out front. I couldn’t have it in here anymore.

Couldn’t have it my life. I’m making changes. Big changes.

For a while, I loved that chair. It had a history. Good times, bad times too. That chair has known tragedy. Like me.

When the chair was new, it belonged to my Grandpa. Grandma and Grandpa would watch t.v. at night. She was in her chair. He was in his Lazy Boy. But then, one day Grandma said the Lazy Boy was just too ugly for the house. She had some charity group come take it away. And she bought another chair, another Queen Anne. Now they had a pair of them. I know for a fact that Grandpa hated that chair. It wasn’t comfortable for him at his age.

That’s when a tragedy happened. Grandma came home one night from Bible study and found Grandpa dead in his Queen Ann chair. Jay Leno was on t.v. when she walked in and some actress was talking about her new boob job.

Maybe a month later, Grandma asked me if I wanted Grandpa’s chair. She said she couldn’t bear to look at it. Just between you and me, I think she felt guilty. I didn’t have much room in my apartment, but I took the chair. I imagined I could still smell Grandpa’s Vitalis when I sat in the chair. I missed him. Still do.

It wasn’t long before Roger came along. I met him online. Oh, I know you need to be careful, but he was so nice. We met for drinks, and that was all it took. In a few weeks, he moved in with me. He was really good in bed, so I overlooked things about him. Like how some of my jewelry was missing from my drawer. Or how cash had a way of disappearing. I had a good enough job at Home Depot, so I told him he could take his time looking for work. That was a mistake. He stayed up late drinking and slept till I came home at night. Never looked for a job at all. Like I said, though, he was so good in bed.

Then, yesterday, I came home early. I got laid off. I was a crazy woman, crying and all. How could I pay my bills? What would I do for a job? What would I tell Roger? I figured we would drink a bottle or two of wine, then make love. Somehow things would seem better.

But that’s not how it happened. No, it was another tragedy. When I walked in, there was Roger, buck naked, in the Queen Ann chair. And there was some girl, naked herself, sitting in his lap. And they were going to town. They didn’t even slow down when they saw me.

So I kicked Roger out. Wouldn’t you have done the same thing? And I decided something else. I would get rid of that chair. I couldn’t bear to look at it anymore.

I put it out on the lawn by the street. I figure, someone will come along, and they’ll be tired. Life makes people tired, you know? So they can sit in the chair, rest up a bit, and then move on. It’s there if you ever need to sit a spell. Just come on by.

Oh, I’m not really charging rent. It’s an honor system. Like life.

Forecast by The Atomica Project

Christopher Woods' photos have appeared or are forthcoming in CEZANNE'S CARROT, CLAPBOARD HOUSE, SEIN UND WERDEN, PERIGEE, VERDAD, THE SYLVAN ECHO, SUNKEN LINES, NUMINOUS SPIRITUAL POETRY, CELL 2 SOUL and KEN*AGAIN. He has published a prose collection, UNDER A RIVERBED SKY, and a collection of stage monologues for actors, HEART SPEAK. He lives in Houston and in Chappell Hill, Texas.

Photo by Adam Lawrence.

Chicago duo The Atomica Project released their sophomore album "Grayscale" last week, and have been thrilling and chilling audiences in and around Chicago since their inception in 2004. Drawing comparison to Everything but the Girl, programmer/songwriter Wade Alin and vocalist Lauren Cheatham are creating a sound and following all their own. "Forecast" is a song about loss, change and what may hide just beyond the clouds.

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