monologue: young woman confronts lionel ritchie at a beverly hills lounge

Disclaimer: This monologue contains historical inaccuracies. Just go with it.

A Woman, 30s, attractive, walks into a dimly-lit lounge in Beverly Hills. From a cassette player behind the bar, Kesha’s ‘We R Who We R’ is barely audible. She (the Woman) is wearing a black pashmina, dark sunglasses, and black leather gloves and is carrying with her a black clutch purse. 

She confidently approaches the bar where a circa-1983 Lionel Ritchie is seated solving a Rubix Cube (or whatever was popular for people to do in the 80s while they were waiting for someone at a bar). She seats herself on the stool beside him, removing her gloves and placing them, and her purse, down on the bar. A classically sophisticated Southern Belle.

WOMAN: (to bartender) Bourbon. Hold the ice.

She takes off her sunglasses and scans the room. On one end, a group of young girls are seated around a booth consoling their friend, who is visibly upset. In the far corner, a young woman straightens out her dead ends while giggling at the gentleman across  from her. The Woman shakes her head and lets out a quiet ‘tut, tut’.

The bourbon arrives and the Woman takes a sip. It is just right.

WOMAN (cont’d): (to Lionel) I’ve always liked bourbon. Somethin’ exhilaratin’ ’bout that moment when it hits the back o’ ya throat. (pause) I remember the first time I took a shot. Nothin’ exhilaratin’ back then, let me tell ya. Had to order a goddamn glass o’ cola to numb the sting. (pause) I’m good now though. (takes another sip) The smog out there, dreadful today, don’t ya think? I’m not much use in the smog. Got me some bad lungs. Mama always said I coulda been a star if it weren’t for my bad lungs. (pause) You’re a singer. Well, you know that. What was that song of yours? (starts singing) ‘Kiama. Fiesta. Whatever’. My cousin Sheryl-Lynn loves that song. She sings it all night long. (pause; looking around) This is a nice joint. Do ya come here often? My first time. Actually I’ve only come to Los Angeles for the day. I’m due back in New York this afternoon. I’m in a show. Off-broadway. I’m an actress. I woulda been on Broadway but…my lungs. (takes sip of bourbon and turns body around to face Lionel) Look, Lionel, I’m not one for small talk so I’m just gonna cut right to the chase. I think you’re a handsome man. Those jerry curls and big mouth could make any woman fall right to her knees. And I think it’s flattering that you been wonderin’ where I am and wonderin’ what I do. Truly. It’s humblin’, in fact. Ya see, when I first moved to the Big Smoke, I used to see you passin’ outside my door too. Not just my door but every door in the goddam city – the Barnes & Nobles door, the corner deli door, the train doors. Doors, doors, doors, doors! I was seeing nothin’ but doors and nothin’ but ghosts behind them. But ya know what happened the other day, Lionel, baby? I watched that picture – that one with that Australian actress that played Toula in Fat Pizza and the American actress that was in that movie about helicopters and whips – and when it was over, I walked out with a mighty revelation. All this time, when I thought it was you I was lookin’ for…baby, it was Me. I was lookin’ for Me. Me. Me. Me. Me! And you know somethin’? I think I just might have found her. She’s a right pain in my tail feather most o’ the time and she may not please me the way a fine man such as yourself might be able to; but first o’ all, they make devices for that and second o’ all, she’s all I got. So, I best learn how to take good care o’ her before a fine man like you comes along and steals her away from me.

Woman stands up from her seat and puts on her glasses and gloves.

WOMAN (cont’d): Goodbye, Lionel. For now.

She takes one final swig of her bourbon.

WOMAN (cont’d): Tell that son-in-law o’ yours that I’m prayin’ for him to get out whatever has been stuck in his teeth all these years. The poor boy musta gone through more toothpicks than a caterer at a ladies luncheon.

She picks up her purse, throws an encouraging wink at the upset girl in the booth and the giggling woman (who had turned to watch the exchange) and then exits the lounge. 

Kesha’s song plays, now a little more audibly, through the cassette player speakers: ‘You know we’re superstars. We are who we are.”


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