Two of these dramatic monologues have been published in the anthology:
Millennium Monologs, 95 contemporary characterizations for young actors, Edited by Gerald Lee Ratlif, 262 pages, $15.95, Colorado Springs: Meriwether Publishing Limited, 2002.
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You don't know my name, but you'd know my face.
I've been in dozens of movies and TV dramas, in supporting roles. I play bad guys: the dirty cop whose trafficking in drugs, the company hatchet man who hires goons to beat up the workers, the good friend who's screwing his best friend's girl.
The director who taught me how to act says she turns the TV off when a knee goes into my groin for the third time. None of us likes the cardboard villain I've become. But I make a living. Have succeeded where most of my friends have failed, although my passion used to be O'Neil and Tennessee Williams.
It wasn't always like this. At first I had leading roles, even got reviews describing me as thoughtful and sensitive. But it's been so long, I couldn't get it up for that type of work anymore.
Only kidding. I have a beautiful wife and a marriage, the envy of the industry. It's just these alimony payments I resent, that have always forced me to take any part's that's offered. And if you know the movie biz, it means that once they've got you pegged, you're stuck. You have to take it when and where they give it to you, or your name's no longer up in lights.
You see, my first wife, elegant, slim, devastatingly alluring, my high school sweetheart, is bleeding me dry as she has for years. She owns a percent of me, I guess you'd say.
When I played Hamlet in college, she waited for me in the wings. After my eleven curtain calls, we drove out in her mother's station wagon and spent the night in a pasture making full use of the fold down back seat. I remember moaning like a bull, like Hamlet would have if he'd ever had Ophelia. And I knew then that our life was going to be perfect, me in profound starring roles, Pamela at my side, waiting in my dressing room, a penthouse in New York and L.A.
Then I started to get the work I wanted. Major films, beautiful talented leading ladies. But that was the problem. Because Pamela became quiet, moody, paced on the edge of the set, suspicious of every woman I caressed under the lights.
It got so directors wouldn't let her on location. And I got so I couldn't act if she was there watching me. But then I became distracted, thinking about her brooding at our apartment in New York, when I would have to call her at the end of the day and hear a flood of anger, the latest rumors she had read in the tabloids about my heroine.
So our marriage ended.
And I remarried a woman like myself, who plays secondary characters, who has given me three beautiful children, who loves me and understands the business, who is there when I need her.
What more could a man ask?
I guess we always think of what could have been, what I was so close to being, like the tragic heroes I used to play. Who aspired to greatness and inevitably failed, whose restless, unsatisfied lives drove them to desperation, so that at the end of the movie they drove their car off a bridge, crashing through an ornate iron railing, to fall slowly, romantically into a cold churning river.
But I know very little about life. All I've been around since college is the inside of a studio or a frantic schedule on location. The rest of the world beyond the sets is unclear. When I finish a job, I mope around our apartment. I feel empty, out of touch, like a cop without a criminal to chase. I have no desire to go out; my friends are usually filming.
You see I'm addicted to my work. Even these villains who don't require me to stretch, whose sneers I can give you on demand. I've grown fond of them in a way. They're so slippery, they have no honor. Unless they're caught with the goods, smoking gun in hand, they'll deny everything, convince you their accuser is lying.
"So what'll it be, Jecko? You wanta come in with me on this deal? It's easy. A piece of cake. The cops are so stupid they'll never get it figured and no one gets hurt. No one! You see the insurance'll cover the loss. It's the perfect scam. Come on, do it. You can trust me."
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