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If Benny the Puggle Could Talk (a play in 1 act)

Monday 7/29/19

Setting. A little slip of a cottage, sans foundation, perched atop the shoulder of a cove that it will eventually slide into. Evening. Five radio towers with their pinprick Cyclopean eyes somewhere back behind the marshes of the far bank. Our characters: Emma, a midteen girl, somewhere in the neighborhood of fifteen, in a Clash T-shirt and male boxers, which she has worn for shorts throughout the day, having intentionally acquired them for this unlikely sartorial purpose. Susan, her mother, about fifty; projects flightiness, actually not flighty, acute observer; an owlish space cadet. Colin, an artist, still a young man, but rack-stretched, who is going through a hard time in life. Poised to change the world. Will. At some point. Sojourning at slip of cottage with these two "girls" who want him to be well so that he can do what they believe he will. He's tired. Finally, Benny. A puggle. Approximately eight months old. Has an underbite that makes him look like he is distantly related to a barracuda.

Emma: Okay, Ben, we're going to bed. Come on.

Susan holds open the bedroom door where she and Emma are to sleep. Disheveled Colin sits on couch he is two feet too long for when laying down.

Susan: Benny...leave Colin alone. Who's a good boy?

Benny: Ha. You can't seriously think this is where that is heading.

Susan: Benny! Into the room!

Benny: F that S.

Susan: What?

Benny: Fuck that shit. B-dog is gonna hang with the C-Dawg. We are late night bros. Riding the good ship Evening right on into morning.

Colin: Please go.

Benny: Nah.

Susan: Well, I guess he's staying with you.

Benny: Result.

Emma: Goodnight, bitches. I love you, Colin.

Colin: I love you, too, Emma.

Door closes.

Benny: Well. Here we are. I hope you love fun. I feel like I didn't get enough fun today. You know what? I feel that way every day. I could have a kick ass day, and still I want more fun. You get it.

Colin: Look, I just want to read some of Ray Russell's post-Gothic...

Benny: Did you see me urinate on that post on our walk? Did you see how much came out? That's turf-marking. That's why every dog we see views me as its overlord.

Colin: ...just want to read Ray Russell's post-Gothic horror tales and eat some granola.

Benny: I could get down with that. I could eat some granola.

Colin gestures towards chair in adjoining room, where it is completely dark.

Colin: I thought maybe you could sit over there. We could focus on our thoughts. Our emotional and spiritual growth.

Benny: Ha. I bet you did. Personally, I dig declension. You know my super annoying toy? The little mouse stuffed animal that squeaks when I bite it, which it secretly likes? I want that toy now. It's right over there. On that pile of stuff on the rocking chair. Get it for me.

Colin: I would prefer not to.

Benny: Get it.

Colin: No.

Benny: Fine. I'm going to do it. You see me walking over. And see where I'm looking. I'm looking up. Oh, I want it so bad.

Colin: Don't.

Benny: It's coming...last chance to dance, bitch.

Colin: Don't.

Benny: Bark bark bark bark bark bark bark.

Colin: You little fucker.

Benny: Ha. Bark bark.

Setting aside his volume of Ray Russell stories, Colin rises, walks to the rocking chair, snatches the mouse toy, drops it to the ground.

Benny: Hey, my head. Don't be a dick. And be gentle with her. My squeaky mouse craves only the violence of my teeth. We call it Fang Loyalty. Secret society. Membership dues. Listen to that squeak. Bite bite. Yeah, you my mouth bitch. Actually, you know what would be fun?

Colin: Come on. It's late.

Benny: Don't be bound by the shackles of the AM/PM format. Shake that shit off. Be free. Untrammeled.

Colin: The 50th anniversary of Woodstock is in a few weeks. Speaking of.

Benny: Snoopy's Woodstock?

Colin: No.

Benny: Anyway. Back to business. Business o'fun. I can make the squeaks by ramming my mouse into your side. Hold on. Let me hop up on the couch. Watch me soar. Skillz. Here we are. Now: ram, squeak, ram, squeak, ram, squeak, ram, squeak.

Colin: Please stop.

Benny: Engage, engage, engage, engage, engage. What are you doing?

Colin: I'm texting somebody.

Benny: What'd you say?

Colin: I told them that there is this dog that will not leave me alone.

Benny: Interesting dilemma. A problem to be solved. What'd they say? Let's problem shoot this shit.

Colin: They said that dogs know when someone has a good heart and they stick close to them.

Benny: You buy that? You can have all kinds of motivation.

Colin: I get that.

Benny: Like, right now, I'm motivated to jump off the couch, walk over here, pick up my empty bowl with my teeth, come back, and drop it on your feet. Hey. This is where I ate that stick earlier that I brought in, and those leaves. And where my nemesis the ladybug lives. Pretty sure she's a sorceress. Unfair advantage. But it's okay. I always prevail in time.

Colin: Don't forget the rock.

Benny: Right. Haven't quite figured out how to crack its shell yet. Need a day or two. Damn that is going to taste sweet. So. Now that you have my bowl, I am going to sit on my bowl, which is on your feet. See this? It's like a club sandwich. Of attention. I like club sandwiches.

Colin: They're pretty good.

Benny: Bust out that granola. You can just drop it into my mouth as I repose. I'll open it for you. The French have an expression: to drink like a hole. Not a fish--a hole. Granola, please.

Colin: I think granola is out of the question. I'm going to read Ray Russell now.

Benny: Fine. Be that way. Curr. I'm going to chill.

Colin: Just like that? Ass in the bowl?

Benny: Yep. Hey?

Colin: What?

Benny: Read it aloud. It de-addles my mind. You know I have a big day tomorrow.

Colin: The quest for fun?

Benny: You get it, brother dawg, you get it. And hey?

Colin: What?

Benny: The only unforgivable sin is weakness.


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