Category Archives: the People

Christmas Story, Moral Not Included

Snow Bear Butte  ed150

From Star Root, date unknown

 

The Christmas of ‘72 came straight out of Heidi –clear blue skies, green mountain meadows, majestic fir trees, the sound of water splashing over rocks. We walked along the top of Elk Ridge, just the two of us, making an outdoor day of it. We would join friends later for a traditional turkey feast. Before long, we ran into the women who were care-taking our neighbor’s house. They, too, could not stay inside on such a day. As we sat down beside the road to share our sacraments, we fell into one of those spontaneous two-hour deep conversations that used to happen a lot in early Shum. We ended, not surprisingly, on the subject of Christmas. I allowed as how I had always loved it, but one of the women made a very significant remark I never forgot. It was, “Yes we still do it, but it’s not REALLY our kind of holiday, is it?”

I was stunned. Does voluntary simplicity mean I have to give up Christmas? Well, how about Easter, Halloween and Thanksgiving? I had begun to wonder, even before this remark, just how many of the holidays were actually invented by Hallmark cards in conjunction with candy companies. Being a lover of costumes, I had clung to Halloween, but I did wonder why one celebrated true love on Valentine’s Day by getting the loved one a box full of fattening chemicals while pressuring her/him for sex. Christmas and Easter always had more meaning for me than many people in my world because of my Christian background. A large part of those holidays for me happened in church and I really did get into the symbolism and the music. Maybe that’s why it took me so long to notice that, far from being spiritually uplifted, most people end up being suckered into guilt-spending and trying to make up with cards, candy and conformist gifts, for the alienated and dysfunctional interaction they have with family and friends the rest of the time.

I’ve been working on this problem for quite a while now. First I tried to subvert consumerism by making my gifts. That was when I still had the requisite time and some aspiration to craftswomanship. Some of the back-East relatives must have thought it strange or cheap, but then everyone has an eccentric aunt who crochets fancy potholders. A kooky aunt in California who does macrame with seashells is not that big departure from tradition. In my house, there was usually a store-bought toy or two from the grandparents to add to the pile of handmade puppets, rag dolls and clothes I had made for the kids, maybe also a low-end toy or two we actually bought new in a non-thrift store. That was okay, until they hit public-school and the annual what-did-you-get list. Then the pressure was on.

By that time, the purity of the homesteading dream had already been compromised by the advent of cash crops and there was more money circulating in general. I’ll never forget the Christmas we first went to Toys”R” Us in the Concord Shopping Mall. It was a week before the Holy Day and we were two hayseed Humboldt hippies with four wish lists and what city savvy we had ever had, had been long forgotten. We were lucky we didn’t get trampled. For real meaningless misery, it’s hard to choose between that Christmas experience and our family trip to Disneyland the day after Christmas, the one where the family got separated immediately in the crowd and I wandered around for six hours with the toddler, hoping the other children were with their father and trying to give him a good time even though he had been separated from his brother and sisters.

The memory of the Christmas of ‘73 is as hard to evaluate. That year, I was seven months pregnant and living in a toolshed. The father, ashamed to take me to his family reunion in Los Angeles because we weren’t married, at least to each other, had left me to face the winter festivities alone. He said he had left the order for my Christmas present with the jewelry maker and instructed me to pick it up and give it to myself. When I tried to do that, the jewelry maker had no idea what the hell I was talking about. I found it an unspeakably humiliating. So, feeling especially “knocked up” on Christmas Eve, I set out to see what Christmas spirit might be found in Garberville. I knew the minister of one of the churches, through some friends, and had heard that they had a nice midnight service at his church. Perhaps, I thought, my Christian past would surface to console me in my time of woe.

I sneaked in late to the brightly lighted church, and, as intrusively as one can with a seven-month tummy while trying to hide a ringless left hand. The back pew I chose was occupied solely by an old man who took it all in as soon as I arrived. I thought I heard him thinking, “welfare mother, hippie slut,” but then scolded myself for making bigoted assumptions. The pastor announced the next carol. There was no hymnal at my end of the pew. I was not dismayed, for I knew all the lyrics of all the standard carols and didn’t really need a book. But the old man had no way of knowing that. He opened his hymnal and glanced sideways at me. Once. Then twice. I waited. Would he share his book? “C’mon, man,” I thought. “You can do it. Share your hymnal with ‘even ‘the least of these.’ “

At last he edged over to me and stuck the book out. I reached out, gingerly, to let him know I wasn’t asking, and our voices rose to heaven, singing about peace on Earth and good will to men. (I sang “folks” in my head as part of my ongoing project to desex the language of The Broadman Hymnal.) In the end, he even smiled. It was a rather surprised smile, but by the time we joined the candlelight procession outside to sing “Silent Night” to the clear winter sky, we were almost friends, somehow. I could still find Christmas in church back, at least when desperate enough. It probably helps to have a good imagination. Few people know better than an ex-Southern Baptist just how many hypocrites can fit into one little church, especially at Christmas.

One of the special things about Christmas for me has always been Mary. Protestants pretty much finished Mary off as meaningful myth. Catholics knew better. I was taught to think of Catholics as idol worshipers because they prayed to Mary and made “graven” images. I was never sure what “graven” meant, though it shows up in the commandment against idolatry. Is it statues vs. printed pictures?, I wondered. There were printed pictures of her in my Sunday School book. Very confusing.  Nevertheless, graven images or no, it was acceptable at Christmanstime to remember her role in producing Christ. I loved the Christmas story. I loved the stable, the manger, the angels, shepherds, the wise men, the star and the camels. Most of all, I loved Mary and the baby. One of my earliest disappointments in life was that I didn’t get chosen to play Mary in the school Christmas pageant (you could still do that then). I figured it was because I was blonde, since the girl chosen and long brown hair, but the teacher, whom I dearly loved, patiently explained to me that she was saving me for the biggest role because I was the best reader. I was going to be the Angel Gabriel and read/narrate the story, only speaking part in the pageant. I was suspicious, everyone knows angels are blonde, was I being bamboozled? But, as it turned out, I had a great time as the Angel Gabriel, except for my mother worrying how idolatrous that might be, and decided maybe I did get the role because I was the best reader.

Baptists don’t go in much for nativity scenes (more idol worship), but the first one I saw, at a friend’s house, was a fascination. One of my all-time best Christmas memories is finding an unpainted ceramic Nativity scene at a rummage sale– chubby baby-faced child figures, as if they were themselves a Christmas pageant, complete with the donkey, sheep and camels. I added some angels later. My six-year-old son and I spent a great afternoon in Pullman WA with snow falling outside, painting all the figures while I told the story. Whatever else it might be or not be, it is a great story to tell. The Nativity scene stayed with me and is one of my best treasures.

It may have been a childhood nativity scene that made me finally realize fully that Christ was Jewish. We lived in Miami in a working-class neighborhood that included Cuban emigrants, former French-Canadians, a lion-tamer formerly of the Ringling Bros Circus and various kinds of transplanted Yankees, as well as real cracker families like my own. There were Jewish children at my school and my mother’s boss, for whom she had nothing but praise, was Jewish. There were no African-Americans in my neighborhood, though. They lived little a further down the road, past where we got off the bus, in Liberty City, where I was forbidden to go and discouraged from asking why.

One year I put it altogether. If Mary was Jewish and God is Jewish and Joseph was Jewish, then Christ, no matter what you believed about the virgin birth, had to be Jewish. Jews were special to me ever after, because Jesus was my childhood friend, sometimes my only one. I kept wondering why the Christ in my Sunday School book always looked so much more Nordic than Middle Eastern. After a while, that question along with others, led me into a great theological quagmire. Finding out in my adulthood that one of the Magi was black, served to confirm me in my skepticism. Not only did Jesus always have blue eyes, but I had never seen a picture of a black wise man in my Sunday School book, either. Years later, my son and I carefully painted one of the wise men black. Let’s tell that “old, old story just like it was,” I thought, meaning, of course, as  nearly as we know it, how it was.

After 10 years of crusading atheism as a young adult, I found my feet set back on the path to the Great Spirit by the responsible use of various legal and illegal substances.  This led me to look beyond Christianity and consider Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism, as well as the religions of various tribal peoples. For a while, I considered choosing Comparative Religion as a doctoral “field of interest” in anthropology. I read Costaneda and Allen Ginsberg. I danced with good witches and invoked Wakan-tonka, Ayimiya and Oshun. I had visions of the Great Mother and received the blessings of venerable tree spirits. What, after all that, can one say about Christmas? How about the tree? Of course, we all know the tree has nothing to do with Christ. It’s a legacy left by the Druids, who sacrificed a tree, among other living things, in midwinter, amid some serious ritualizing. Roman Catholicism just absorbed that custom, as it did so many others when it couldn’t stamp them out. Can an environmentalist, even one who is at times a Reform Druid (no blood sacrifices), have a Christmas tree in good conscience?

My last three Christmas trees were the tops of fir trees from my own land, and were trees slated to be trimmed, anyway. Even then, they were cut with reverence, after speaking to the tree and asking its permission. Later on, we cut small trees on our land, by way of thinning. Many of my decorations were made by my children, or they were re-glued bits of broken jewelry and small knick-knacks gleaned at rummage sales. About half were bought new in stores over a period of a decade. I thought of my Christmas trees as more or less Hindu. They had lots of animal figures, birds, tigers, elephants and camels, as well as traditional ball ornaments. No lights, no electricity and I was not about to get any candles near the tree while I lived in a house built of kindling. No cartoon figures or superheroes, though I found it impossible to refuse my little son when he solomnly proffered a Star Wars figure. I did, however, insist it be only one and that one Obi Wan Kenobi. I hung it low enough for him to see but pretty much nobody else.

I’m not sure what to do with the Christmas tree when it dries out and becomes a fire hazard. One year I left it to decompose naturally in the woods, but I felt strange every time I passed it. It looked wrong, even though I had done it reverently. More ceremony seemed needed. Now, I cut it up and burn it ritually, piece by piece, in the woodstove, chanting Hari Rama, it was all I could come up with. The site of a dead Christmas tree in the dumpster or a junk pile brings tears to my eyes. If there is no worship involved, it is simply consumerism.

That’s all very well for me. I live in Christmas tree land and am responsible for care taking that portion of The Land which is in my trust. What about the millions of trees slaughtered without ceremony to preside in a suburban house over piles of consumer goods? Perhaps the answer is that if you’re not already growing trees, you must plant one or see that one is planted for every cut one you buy. I don’t know. When Druids invented a winter festival worshiping trees, there were a lot more trees and a hell of a lot less people. Surely the balance between those two species needs to be restored in some way and with my rule, Christmas provides an opportunity to teach that to the children. If someone has a better idea, I’m open. Whatever one’s relationship to trees at Christmas, if knowledge of the current imbalance between people and trees is not a part of the consciousness around the activity, the activity is simply one more corruption of Christmas.

And Santa, what about Santa? I refused to tell that lie to children older than two, though I did continue to label some presents from Santa, sort of jokingly, throughout their childhoods. I told them, when they were talking pretty well, that people dressing as Santa and making pictures of him was a way we remind each other to be generous and kind, that Christmas was a time of honoring compassion and love. (I knew that later on I would tell them the whole history of how his image merged, again thanks to the Catholics, with the image of a Nordic god who routinely rode through the air in a sleigh pulled by reindeer. Odin or Thor, can’t remember which.) They were not traumatized, as far as I can tell, and our celebration was in no way compromised. (I probably let the lie about the Tooth Fairy go on longer than the one about Santa Claus, but I was pretty up front on that one, too.)

Every year I waffled on the Christmas issue. Shall I ignore it, believing that I am the only one really praying for world peace on Christmas Eve, or is that some kind of arrogance? Is there karma attached to that? Shall I allow myself to be dragged into the massive display of wealth and status, knowing every year that I will be revealed once again as a financial failure, only able to send salt shakers back to my back-East relatives? Shall I sing The Messiah one more year or not? A midwinter feast celebrating the birth of one of the bringers of peace to a symbolic reincarnation of the Ancient Mother, a celebration that mixes in a little tree worship, too–no, I can’t quite give that up.

Maybe I’ll send homemade cookies to the back-east relatives, even though their kids are all big now and I’m a lousy cook. The nieces ought to have a kooky aunt in California that still makes Christmas cookies. And maybe I’ll scratch around in the basement and dust off  that Nativity scene my son and I painted when he was six. Maybe it’s not, as the women said, “really our kind of holiday.” But maybe, like pretty much everything else in our alternative quest, it doesn’t need to be completely thrown out, only meditated upon. The Christmas walk was a good thing and so was the candlelight procession at midnight. The Hindu Christmas tree and homemade Christmas cookies both feel okay, even if guilt-driven, status-conscious wasteful and unnecessary spending doesn’t. All in all, it’s a badly damaged custom, but then I’m an ace recycler. . . .

Vibrum Soul, Act One, Scene Four

NOTE: Because entries show up in reverse order, latest first, this is the last part I have of the play. Links to the earlier scenes are at the very bottom of this page under “related links.” To read about Pure Shmint, search on Pure Shmint Introduction if the various links don’t get you there–I’m not sure the tags are working correctly.

Jack’s House

(Jack is seen with a CB radio)

Jack: Yellow dog to Darth Vader, you got a copy? Yellow dog to Darth Vader, you got a copy?
Darth Vader (from offstage): This is old Darth Vader, here, Yellow dog. I gotcha five five five, now come on back.Jack: You still selling the VW bus?
Darth Vader: 10-4, good buddy.
Jack: Uh huh. Sounds really good. But the thing I don’t know about is me going back nine miles just to check the bus out. Is there a way you can bring the bus down to the end of the road, I can check on it and get back to you later?
Darth Vader: Big 10-4, Yellow Dog. I think I can slap some tread on her and roll her down to the bottom of the road today. Tell you what, you keep your ears on and I’ll get back to you.
Jack: Yeah, I’ll be 1010 on this side.
(Enter Larry)
Larry: Hi, Jack
Jack: Hey, how ya doin’ Larry. What’s happening?
Larry: Hey, you wanna play some ping pong?
Jack: No. I got no time. Hey, anyway, you got the time?
Larry: Time? You wanna know what time it is? Hey, I got a great way of finding the time. All you need is a stick.
Jack: Not another one of these stick things, again, Larry. C’mon, huh, where’s your watch?
Larry: Hey, here, hold this, Jack. That’s great. And hold that like that. No,no, no this way, like that. That’s it. Hold it up near the window, that’s right. Now lift your foot. That’s it. Lift it up, lift it up, oh, that’s great, that’s perfect. That’s it.
Jack: Oh, c’mon.
Larry: You see the sun’s rays go over the stick, hits the ping pong racket, hits your toe and forms a yin/yang mish/mash on the floor. Tells you exactly what time it is. It’s exactly, ah, four thirty one and 27 seconds.

Jack: Really? That late? How can it be that late?
Larry: 11:30 (looking at watch). Can’t understand it. I got it right out of the Idiot’s Guide to Woodsmanship.
Jack: Hey, Larry. You know what I can’t understand is the fact that there’s no water in the water tank, Larry. Three hundred gallons of water is missing.
Larry: Hey Jack, let’s go play some ping pong. Huh. What do you say? I’m really getting into it today.
Jack: You don’t understand how serious this is, Larry. The plants are drooping, do you understand what I’m saying?
Larry: Well, it’s awfully hot out. You know, maybe somebody took a shower.
Jack: What are you talking about, somebody took a shower. We just had a land group meeting yesterday. It’s drought season. You know that.
Larry: I know, but you know sometimes taking a shower is a matter of life and death. Like my grandmother. She never used to take a shower. She used to sweat all over the place. Finally nobody went to her house and she died of lonliness.
Jack: Larry, I got a feelin’, I got a funny feelin’, that you took a shower. Right?
Larry: Well, an itsy bitsy little shower, one of those little ones.
Jack: Jesus Christ! I can’t believe you. You’re up here for three years, you don’t know anything, Larry. Nothing, nothing. Three hundred gallons of water on a shower?
Larry: Hey, hey, hey Jack, wait, wait, calm down, man, calm down. I did not use three hundred gallons of water to take a shower. I attended that land meeting. And I ain’t that irresponsible. I really feel bad that you accuse me of that. I took an itsy bitsy shower. I still have soap on me, smell.
Jack: Huh. Hey, I’m sorry, I don’t know. You know….what happened to the water, Larry?
Larry: Well, the water will be back tomorrow anyway, so you shouldn’t. .  .  .
Jack: What, what did you say?

Larry:Hey, backhand, let’s practice our backhand today.
Jack: The water will be back tomorrow. What the hell are you talking about?

Larry: Well, ah, ah, I’ll level with you, Jack. I’ll level with you. You know this morning I got up, you know. I was lying in my bed and I just realized that my mattress is lumpy. Boy, it’s got these little buttons in it and it just makes you feel…you get up and you got these little marks all over your body. You feel like a radio.
Jack: Larry, what does this have to do with the water?
Larry: Well, I’m getting to that, Jack. I’m driving into town and I just realized that there was a flea market. So I went into the flea market and I’m looking around and there it was.
Jack: What Larry?
Larry: The answer to all my problems.
Jack: Larry, what. What did you see, Larry?
Larry: You’ll never guess. Wanna guess, Jack?

Jack: Larry, tell me.

Larry: Wanna guess?
Jack: No
Larry: It was a water bed.
Jack: A water bed.
Larry: Yeah, I got a water bed. Man, I’ll be the most popular guy in the hills with a water bed in my cabin.
Jack: A water bed. You took the water from the tank and put it in a water bed. Right? Right? Right? Ohh, Larry, I cannot believe…. I cannot believe…. arghh, arghh…. I’m gonna kill you, Larry.

(Jack grabs hatchet from wood stove and begins to chase Larry with it. Larry defends himself with ping pong racket. Fight moves over the room,on the bed.

shmint 5 ed 3

Finally Larry manages to get ping pong racket between Jack’s teeth. Jack bites down.)

shmint 14 ed 2

Larry: Count! One , one,

Jack: (through racket) One
Larry: Two, two, three, four

Jack: Two, three, four
Larry: Five’s next five, six

Jack: Five, six
Larry: Seven, there’s a seven in there,too

Jack: Seven, eight
(Exit Jack, counting through paddle)
Larry: I can’t understand the guy. Just a little bit of water and he gets upset. Man! He just ruined  my ping pong paddle, too. How would HE like sleeping on an empty water bed?

END OF TRANSCRIPT, SEE BELOW

Sad to say, for nearly a quarter of a century, I have believed that I had a fully transcribed copy of this play in a manuscript binder, waiting for the internet to be invented so I would have some place to put it, only to find that I,  in fact, have two fully transcribed copies of most of Act One. So my promise to upload the entire play cannot be kept at this time, although in my frantic search for the rest of a transcript I was sure I had, I did discover that I have portions of other Pure Shmint plays that theoretically could be uploaded at a later time. At the end of this entry are links to audio files of the rest of the play and some rehearsals.

For now, I will post my remaining photos of the dress rehearsal of this play and explain the plot as best I can remember it. Although I am saddened by this turn of events, I will console myself with the thought that, given the climate of Shum and the vicissitudes of my personal life, involving the constant storage and restorage of my field notes, it is a miracle this much has survived.

shmint 15 ed 2

shmint 12 ed 1

The CB broadcast to “Darth Vader” about the bus is overheard through static by Larry, listening to his own CB. He then becomes convinced that it was a warning about an imminent bust. Sometime after the fight scene above, he rushes into Jack’s house with the rumor that a bust will happen any minute. Jill freaks and begins running around trying to think what to do next.

shmint 2 ed

 

 

 

 

Jack attempts to calm Jill down.

 

At some point, Jack is either actually dead or is dreaming he is dead. He encounters a sequence of post-death characters, including a tailor who looks and sounds like Larry. Here, set in the laundromat, this character measures Jack for either a coffin or a suit, I can’t remember which.

 

 

 

shmint 17 ed 2

The final act takes place at what Shummians call a “boogie.” The banner on the wall says “Harvest Boogie” and there usually actually is a Harvest Boogie sometime in the late Fall and it does look very much like this, only much more crowded and with a lot more people dancing alone, though very much together with the entire group. In the old days, there used to be a somewhat magic phenomenon at boogies, one that I noticed many and many a time, wherein a group consciousness formed that allowed dancers to be packed together very closely and yet never bump into each other.

When the current Mateel Community Center was built, it included a balcony. I used to stand on the balcony and observe a wave pattern of movement one could see in an aerial view, that was produced by the dancers, unconsciously, without changing their position on the floor. I can’t explain it, except to refer interested parties to the writings of E.T. Hall, quoted extensively in my book.  I noticed that it became less and less observable throughout the 1980s, until by the time I went to my last boogie, I could not see it at all and there were more instances of people bumping into each other. It was one of the signs that made me feel less bad about it when circumstances led me to move from the community.

rehearsal scene ed

Rehearsals and performances of  Vibram Soul took place in what was then called Fireman’s Hall and is now referred to as the “old hall.” When it burned down in an arson fire, many saw it as the end of an era. It had started out being owned by the Garberville Fire Department, whose engines were housed in the adjoining barn. It was then rented for years by Shummians for their activities and eventually bought by the Mateel Community Center organization. For some, the new hall built after the fire was never quite as homey as the funky old hall had been.

dancer gets makeup ed

One of the dancers in the dream and death sequences is made up, with the help of one of the many children to be found at any rehearsal.

Below, it is Standing Room Only in the old hall as the audience awaits opening night.

vs audience ed

vs nonie w child ed

A dancer, before dress rehearsal, the make-up artist and, I believe, her son share a moment.

 

 

 

Vibrum Soul, Act One, Scene Three

Scene 3 Jack’s House

Jack: Hey, where have you been for so long?

Jill: What do you mean, long. I was just gone for a few minutes. I was down at the shitter.
Jack: I’ll have to move that closer.
Jill: Oh no, don’t move it, Jack. It’s just beautiful where it is overlooking that canyon, and with that stained glass and wood working..
Jack: Oh, isn’t that beautiful
Jill: Oh, I love it.
Jack: You know that woodcarving took three months to do. That lotus flower has 47 petals and it was done with a Swiss Army knife.
Jill: I’m impressed.
Jack: You are?

Jill: Yeah, really. You really are a good craftsman.
Jack: Spring did it.
Jill: Oh, ha ha
Jack: Yes, but I made the toilet seat.
Jill: Oh, the one with all the splinters, huh?
Jack: Here, let the doctor examine you. I’ll give you a lollipop. (they smooch, briefly)
Jill: Oh, I noticed you were reading that book, Shogun? I saw it out in the shitter. God, I love that book. It’s like, to me, it’s a great classic. You know, 1 just really respect it. Don’t you love that book?
Jack: I’m not reading it. I’m just using it for toilet paper.
Jill: Shogun for toilet paper?
Jack: Sure, man. Why not? It’s got 1200 pages. And they’re all soft.
Jill: you’re putting me on…. Hey, Jack, you still, you still see Spring?
Jack: Sure I still see Spring, what do you think? She’s my land partner.
Jill: Yeah, I know, I rnean, but are you still, uh, uh, do you sometimes wish that you were still lovers?
Jack: Spring is celibate.
i1i: Oh, that’s right. Yeah. She told me that.
Jack: She’s been celibate for two years now.
Jill: Wow
Jack: Well, unless she’s been seeing that little green man she told me about.
Jill: Hey, she wasn’t celibate when you guys were living together, was she?
Jack: Yep. Six long months.
Jill: Oh, Jack, (groan) that must have been really hard on you.
Jack: Hard on me is right.
Jill: Ha ha. God, can you believe It? We’ve been in bed for three days.
Jack: Yeh, I know, my back is killing me.
Jill: And this is the first time we’ve really talked.

Jack: What do you mean. We talked all last night. Don’t you remember? You were saying “uh”? and I was saying oo”, and there were a couple of “ahh’s” in there. Don’t you remember that?
Jill: Yeah, I remember, but you know what I mean, a conversation.
Jack: Oh, real words?
Jill: Yeah, you know, you tell, me what you’re into, what you do, then I tell you…
Jack: Oh, c’mon, I’m just a regular kinda guy. You know, I have 40 acres, I live in a house. I have a pick up truck and I truck in and out the road and get food, fix my water lines, fix my gardens , play ping pong…
Jill: Ping pong!
Jack: Yeah, I love to play ping pong. It’s a great game, just all action and reaction, no time to think. It puts you into a Zen state of mind. The Chinese are really into it.
Jill: Wow
Jack: And I grow dope.
Jill: I don’t grow dope. George always has these weird friends around, you know, and I get paranoid of getting ripped off or busted.
Jack: Yeah, I dig what you’re saying, but, you know what? I like to grow a lot. You know , plants have a lot of energy. The more you grow, the more energy you have. Anyway, it’s exciting . Around harvest time, it’s like a John Wayne movie. You get up in the morning and you look up and there’s a plane. Neeeeeeooww. A helicopter, nih nih nih nih. Four wheel drives going up the hills, CB’s blasting. And you run up to your garden and you’re goin’ oh God, oh shit, should I pull’em? Yes, no, yes, no. Somebody help me. Aaaaa. But you know, when it’s all over, you can sit down with your plants and feel blessed that you made it through another year. (Touches Jill, regards her lovingly) Umm, what a lovely female. I think I’m gonna manicure this one first.
Jill: I‘m gonna have to go pretty soon, you know. I gotta go pick up my kid, Miko. I was supposed to get him three days ago.
Jack: Oh, that’s right, you have a kid.
Jill: I told you I have a kid.
Jack: I know, I know. I’m not saying anything. Everybody’s got a kid.

Jill; I guess I’ll smoke that joint before I go. (Finds Jack’s harmonica on the table next to the joint, which is huge, throws it to Jack, lights up the joint) Play me a song, Jack.

Jill smokes the joint in a manner befitting such a huge one. Smoke goes everywhere. Band starts in a heavy blues beat, to which she moves, as she gets more and more obviously stoned. Jack joins in.
Jack:

Well, I met me a woman, at the laundromat
A fine lookin woman and she knows where it’s at
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, sho’nuff
She’s long and tall, ‘bout six foot three
You know I m gonna find out what she can do for me
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah

Jill sings:

Don’t you love me cause I’m pretty, ‘cause that’s gonna change
It’s the nitty gritty, you’ve got to arrange
When I’m feelin shitty and my mind is deranged.
Don’t you love me cause I’m pretty, cause that’s gonna change.
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah

(They sink onto the bed in a heavy embrace, begin making love.)

Vibrum Soul, Pure Shmint

 

Image

(Larry enters unseen and extremely stoned. He walks over unseen creatures, eyes tracking hallucinated birds, etc.)

Larry: Whooooaaaa. Wow. whooaa…. excuse me (stepping over a hallucinated critter of some kind). Ain’t that beautiful.
(Jack and Jill , startled, sit up and regard him with increasing wonderment.)
Jack; Hey, Larry, you do those mushrooms I gave you?
Larry: Yeah, all of em. All of em. All of em. Just now. Whooooo. Hey, hey, Jack. There’s this beautiful rainbow. It’s coming right out of your ear and going through the air, right into Jill’s left nostril. Wow. Look at that. And now you guys are meltin, you’re both meltin, meltin and me1tin, and meltin. Drip , drip, drip. I gotta take a leak.

(Exit Larry)

Jill: Is he gonna be all right?
Jack: Yeah, that’s just Lonesome Larry. Hey, you want me to drive you back now or what?
Jill; Nah, Miko’s probably asleep already. Take me in the morning.
(They settle down to sleep. Jill, half asleep says) Jack,  think I love you.

Jack: Uh

(Drums and rattles are heard in a heartbeat rhythm. Jack, dreaming, is up on the first beat in a T’ai ch’i-like stance, looks around warily. Death leaps out behind him on the second beat, moves with Jack as he begins to move around the room looking for Death, who is always behind him.

Vibrum Soul, Death

Finally Jack starts to turn, Death whirls away offstage.)

Vibrum Soul, Pure Shmint(Enter Larry, thinly disguised as a clown policeman.)

Larry: Freeze! Get your hands up. Get your hands up. Get your hands up!
Jack: What are you doin’, what….?
Larry: You’re under arrest.
Jack: Under arrest! What are you talking about?
Larry: You’re under arrest for murder!
Jack: Murder! Murder! who’d I kill?
Larry: Who’d you kill?! Why, (pauses to think) you killed Jack! You killed Jack. You killed Jack. You killed Jaaaaaaack!

(Exit Larry. Enter Spring dressed as a Nature Spirit.)

Vibrum Soul, Pure Shmint

Spring: (chanting): Jack, do you remember the nature spirit I told you about? (indicates Jill) Well, there she is!

(Enter Larry, clown disguise gone, carrying a ping pong paddle.)

Larry: Hey Jack, hey Jack. Sit down here. Sit down. (seats him on bed) Hev Jack, I got a great way of fixin’ a house. All you gotta do is open your mouth and swallow this stick. And Jack, I gotta great way of fixing a car. All you gotta do is swallow this log. And Jack, I got a great way of finding happiness. All you gotta do is swallow this tree.

Spring: (chanting) Jack, do you remember the nature spirit I told you about? (indicates Jill) Well, there she is.

(Jill rises, places a marijuana leaf wreath on her head, dances on bed.)

Vibrum Soul, Pure Smint

Larry: Hey, Spring, Hey, Spring. Which tree should I cut down? This one? (standing beside Jack, begins to chop him down with the ping pong paddle)

Jack: Hi, Larry, what are you doing? Hey, Larry, I’m not a tree. Larry, don’t you recognize me? Larry, Larry….. (falls down like harvested tree)

Spring (stomping over and placing foot heavily on Jack’s back): You always stepped on my flowers. You always stepped on my flowers. You always stepped on my flowers.

(Exit, Spring, stomping.)

Jack: Spring! I never meant to. I never meant to, Spring. I just have big feet. (gets up)
Larry: Hey, Spring, which tree should I cut down, this one? (re-enacts tree cutting)
Jack: Larry, for god’s sake. I’m not a tree. Larry, Larry, Jesus Christ! Oh shit (falls)

(Enter Loretta, dressed as Shirley Temple, with gigantic lollipop, skips over to Jack, singing.)

Loretta: On the good ship, Lollipop. (stops, regards him in a child-like mariner) Hello. Would you like a little lick? You could have it all if you would open up. (exits) Open up…open up….open up….

(George is heard from offstage, with loud knocks.)

George: Open up. Hey, open up in there. Is this Jack’s house?
(Following lines are spoken two or three at a time, simultaneously)

Jill: Oh, God, it’s George.                                              Jack: Christ
Miko (from offstage): Hurry up, Mom. lt’s raining out here.     Jack: What a wierd dream!
Jill: Wet dream?
Jack: No, weird dream.              George: Hey, we can hear you in there, Jill.
Jill: ok, ok, I’m coming.
Jack: How in hell did he find the house? Jill: (dressing frantically) I don’t know. Just a minute, Miko.
Miko: Mom, I’m getting’ wet.
Jill: I’m sorry, Jack.                       George: Hey c’mon, Jill, hurry up. It’s raining.

(Jill goes to the door. Enter George and Miko. Lines are now separated.)

Vibrum Soul, Pure Shmint

Jill: Miko, how ya doin? (hugs him)
George, sarcastically: So this is the house that Jack built, hahaha.

Jack; Yeah, hahaha. A long time ago.

George: yeah, back before they had framing squares, huh? hahaha. Hey, now did you rnake that cut, anyway, wIth a bow saw/?
Jack: Oh no, chain saw.
George: Yeah, well, it looks kinda rough.
Jack: Well, things were rough in those days. You know?
George: Yean, life was rough, wadn’t it? (taking off raincoat, shaking it all over Jack, then throwing it on the bed)
Jill: Hey, Jack, I’d like for you to meet my son, Miko.
Jack: Hey, how ya doin, Miko. Heard a lot about ya.
Miko: I’m hungry.
Jack: You’re hungry. Hey, how about if I fry you up some eggs? How would you like that, huh?
George: He don’t eat eggs, man.
Jack: Don’t eat eggs, huh. Hey, how about some oatmeal, I got some good syrup…
George: He don’t like oatmeal , either, man.
Jack: Well, does he like peanut butter sandwiches?
George: I don’t know, why don’t you ask him? hahaha

Jack: You want some peanut butter and jelly?
Miko: Sure, got white bread?
Jill: Oh no
Jack: Ah, well, actually I do have some white bread. Larry left it here. God, that guy eats the crappiest food.
(Exit Jack and Miko)

George: So, Jill, what’s the trip?
Jill: What trip?
George: You drop Miko off, say you’re going into town to do the laundry and you don’t come back for a week.

Vibrum Soul, PUre Shmint
Jill: George, it’s only been three days. You don’t have to make such a big deal out of it. I was havin’ a real good time.
George: Well, I think you owe me more of the food stamps.
Jill: C’mon, George, I already gave you half the food stamps and you don’t even have Miko half the time.
George: Hey look, that kid eats like a horse.
Jill: Well, he’s your kid too, man. God!
George: Yeah, he ate me out of house and home.
Jill: Oh, god
George: And it don’t look like you been doin’ much eating. Food, that is.

Jill: Sick, George! You’re gross! Forget it, you’re not getting another cent out of me. Why don’t you leave me alone. I’m in a good mood.
George: Hey look, why don’t you , just get your stuff together and I’ll give you a ride home.
Jill: I’m not going to go back to the land right now. I’m gonna stay over here.
George: What, with him?
Jill: Yeah, I don’t know what’s gonna happen but it’s really mellow right now and I just don’t feel like leaving yet.
George: Yeah, but what about me, Jill. What about me and Miko? Huh?
Jill: What about you, George?
George: Well, you said you wanted space, right? So I gave you space.
I moved out of the house, didn’t I?
Jill: yeah
George: Well, you try living in the bus for a winter.
Jill: No, thank you. C’mon , George. it’s been three years, you coulda got something else together by now. When are you going to realize that you don’t have anything to do with my time and space anymore. Miko is the only thing we have in common. We can be friends, share certain things, be nice to each other when we meet, share the land…
George (reconciliatory, trying to hug her): Look, Jill. I‘m not trying to own you. I’m not trying to possess you or tell you how to live. I just want things to be like they used to be. You know, me and you and Miko.

Vibrum Soul, Pure Shmint
Jill (shaking him off): C’mon, George, don’t touch me.
George: Oh, Jesus Christ! I give it two weeks at the most.
Jill: Thank you, George. You’re a real friend.
Jack (re-entering from kitchen): Give what two weeks?
George: Uh, uh, nothing, man. I was just taking odds on your relationship. hahaha. Hey, you got any dope to smoke? Huh….? (looking around. Finds joint Jill was smoking on the table)
Jack: Yeah, you found it.
George: (holding up the huge joint) Yeh, here’s a roach. haha
Jack: ha ha

George: (inhales deeply, coughs, gasps, recovers) Hey, this is pretty good stuff. You grow it yourself?
Jack: On no, Me? Oh no. Granny grows it for me. She comes up every Sunday after church and works in my garden for some shake.
George: Hey, man. All kidding aside, you’ll have to show me your patch someday.
Jill: Oh George. That’s not cool.
Jack: George, you know the only patch of mine you’re going to see is the one on my butt.
George: ha ha ha                          Jack: ha ha ha
George HA HA HA Jack: HA HA HA

(It gets louder and louder as they approach each other like two baboons and glare at each other)
Jill (breaking in aggressively): KNOCK IT OFF!
(They both turn and stare at her. She becomes feminine)
Jill: a heh heh heh
Jack: George, by the way, don’t you know Pontiac arid Eddy Buck?
George: Yeah, man, they’re friends of mine. What about it?
Jack: Well, your friends just got caught ripping off, you know.
George; Are you accusing me of being a rip off? You can’t do that lightly around here, man. People get blowed away for that…
Jack: That’s true but people also get blowed away for ripping off, too, right?
George: Hey, man. I ain’t no rip-off. I ain’t never ripped nobody off.
Jill: Hey, c’mon you guys. Let’s keep it mellow, ok? (aside to Jack) Jack, I don’t think George would do anything like that.
George: Yeah, man. You should listen to her. Why she used to know me when I was a big rnan, back in the old days, Summer of Love, 1967, Haight-Ashbury, right? Why, I could a been a funk rock star if I’d a wanted to. Hit it, maestro!

George song ed

(Enter dancers, Jack sits down and accompanies George on harmonica.)

Well, I left L.A. in 1965

Hustled, panhandled just to stay alive

When I was a roady for the Grateful Dead

I’d do a little dealin just to feed my head.

(Chorus) Well, I’m a funky country boy, livin my life for free

I’m a funky country boy, don’t mess around with me.

Now I got me a cabin up in the woods

Built it myself and it came out good.

Just big enough for my woman and me,

But she ran off and left me up a tree.  (Chorus)

Now I’m all alone on top of a hill

Left with a kid by a woman named Jill

Well, I don’t mean nobody no harm

You get in my way and I’ll break your arm. (Chorus)

George: Well, Jill, I’ll be by on Sunday to pick up Miko.

Jill: I’ll see what I’m doing Sunday.

George: Hey, if you don’t come home on Sunday, then I’m comin over here to get Miko, O.K?

Jack: Listen, George, why don’t we save ourselves a lot of trouble. Why don’t I drive out to your land and get Miko?

George: Yeah, man, and you know what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna go home and move into the house. You can bring your truck and move Jill’s stuff out of my house, man, you can have it all.

Jill: You wouldn’t dare.
George: Oh, yes I would. You can take it or leave it.
Jack: Hey, George
George: What, Jack?
Jack: Did you give me my lighter back?
George: Here, man (throws it to him). Fuck you, Jack. (exits)
Jack: (fiddling with lighter) Well, it looks like it’s just me and you.
(Enter Miko with sandwich. Sits on the bed next to Jill and Jack. Jill puts her arm around him.)
Jill: And Miko.
Jack: Oh yeah, and Miko (flips on lighter thoughtfully, lights dim snowing the three of them in the light of the lighter).
End of Scene