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Soundling Line Woodcut
Woodcut by Bridget Henry

Wilma Marcus Chandler

From Three-to-Four O'Clock:

A monologue

Carrie – 45 – high–strung and loquacious

at the bottom of a rural road leading to houses on a hill...mailboxes all in a row...

At rise:    
She has just come to pick up the mail and talks to a neighbor (unseen)


What a last hour I just had!!! You got a minute?

Well, you know, I always bolt my doors when that recycling guy comes around. He’s always ranting to himself, and today it’s exactly three and as he drives up our road he’s pounding on his steering wheel and seems to be involved in an elaborate argument with someone, but he’s alone in his know, that big old, red thing with wooden doors for sides and the whole back loaded with cans, bottles, towers of paper and cardboard.

So, I’m always afraid he will think no one’s home and just try to walk in and then he would find me and god-knows-what, because he is a wild card and we’re way up here on Eureka Canyon and I’m not working right now so I’m home alone when the “hubs” goes to work. The guy shows up every two weeks, and you can hear him coming, you know, his “all-news-all-day” blaring on the radio, and that falling-apart truck rattling along the road.

But today I peek at him through the drapes in the study, and there he is...but...he gets out, gets down on one knee, and really gently removes a tick from the ear of that black lab who lives up the hill but who’s always hanging around down here.

Then, when he goes to the next house along the path, I run out to the car to return the two videos we had almost watched last night before the power went out, and I needed to buy cat kibble, too...the fancy kind...and a lot of it...because our “indoor cats” will not eat the “outdoor cats” food and we are leaving them all with the neighbor while we go to Florida tomorrow to help my mother move to her new retirement condo in New Jersey because she’s sick of Florida weather and wants to be nearer my sister who doesn’t really want her up there but says, with a straight face, that she does.

So, at the feed store, the one with the stuffed gorilla in a sombrero out front,  I spend $28.00 for the fussy cats, and the lovely, patient man who works there on Thursdays carries my paltry, little bag to the car and wishes me a “Buenos tardes” and I actually think it is.

I’d remembered to cancel the papers yesterday and took all the wash in off the line before it got cloudy but now I’m almost out of gas so I turn up Varni Road to the Harvest Moon Market and park by the gas pumps, thinking of how last time I was here two deer had leaped in front of the car just before the turn and how I’d slowed to warn other drivers. There are no cars around now, though, except a beat-up brown one that has just passed, going faster than I usually see around these parts.

As I walk up to the store, the salesgirl is fussing with the big glass doors. She’s either locking or unlocking them and it is 3:20 and I say “are you opening or closing” and she starts to shake all over and says “I don’t know...we were just robbed by three guys with masks and a rifle and two pistols about one minute ago...and did you see a brown car go by?”

Yes, but a minute ago I was also noticing the flowers by the church and remembering the deer and now I’m the first one back in the store and they are calling the sheriff and everything’s come to a standstill. There are two kids in the store who came for ice cream, but they’re just sort of hiding in a corner. I go over to them and ask if they saw anything and the older boy says one man held a rifle to Letetcia’s head and another ran for beer. The third held Maria by the throat and got $400.00 dollars from the till and now Letitcia is saying she’s so sorry but she can’t sell me any gas right now. This makes sense and I say how sorry I am and can I do anything and she says “no” so I leave. When I look back everyone is just standing around waiting for the sheriff.

Fifteen minutes later, in Freedom, at the 7-11 not far from that cemetery which is right across the street from the Kentucky Fried Chicken place, (and I always thought that was really bizarre but no one in Freedom seems to be bothered by it and it’s a really nice cemetery, and maybe the KFC is nice , too, but I cannot bring myself to go in there no matter how skimpy our dinner plans may be) I fill up, keep looking for the brown car and imagine how it would be to spot them, do a 180 back to the Harvest Moon, tell the sheriff I’d found them in a cul-de-sac somewhere swigging beer and save the day.

But I don’t and I head back, pass a dog with no collar wandering the road who looks like he needs a drink, and I want to stop and maybe take him home even though we have five cats and are leaving tomorrow but he has somewhere important to go and disappears and I drive on. Now I’ve got the mail—nothing but  the food ads for next week and a National Geographic I can read on the plane, Oh, damn!! I completely forgot to return the videos and the charges will be huge when we get back, but  you know what? I don’t care.

Anyway, it’s five to four o’clock and it’s already getting a little dark out and I just want to go home, watch Judge Judy, who looks and acts exactly like my mother who I will see tomorrow in Florida, and that will be another whole song-and-dance of amazing, unpredictable, upsetting, laughable, scary and expensive adventures. See you soon. Have a good week !!!

Wilma Marcus Chandler
Wilma Marcus Chandler is a director, actor and writer. She has several theatre texts published with Smith & Kraus, Inc, is former chair of Theatre Arts at Cabrillo College and Artistic Director of the annual 8TENS@8 FESTIVAL in Santa Cruz. She is the founder of the Celebration of The Muse poetry readings, the Willing Suspension Armchair Theatre and co-chaired the Louden-Nelson Reading Series for many years.  She is a member of the National Playwright's Center and directs for Actors' Theatre of Santa Cruz.


Spring 2012

Elizabeth McKenzie
Paula Mahoney

Sarah Albertson
Vinnie Hansen
Neal Hellman
Stephen Kessler

Buzz Anderson
Anna Citrino
Arthur Streshly
Amber Coverdale Sumrall

Plays & Monologues
Wilma Marcus Chandler

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