City of Strangers
By Joe Brofcak
Penelope, a young widow whose fire fighter husband died on 9/11, has suffered from agoraphobia ever since. When there are problems with here husband's pension, she is faced with the prospect of having to venture into the outside world for the first time in years. In this monologue she is on the phone, struggling to explain her situation with a heartless bureaucrat.
Hello? ...Hello? Yes, Mr. Carter? Hello, this is Penelope Webber - How are you? That's why I'm calling, Mr. Carter. My landlord is extremely upset. There's a problem with - my check bounced, again - and - yes, fine, I'll hold...
(She busies herself with checking the locks.)
Yes, I'm here. Hmm-mm. Yes, I sent that in last month. What? Yes, I filled that out, also. Huh. So, what's my problem? I'm about to be evicted because my husband's pension is locked up in red tape. I can't work, I have nowhere to go, and all I want is what my husband worked to death to make sure I had.
Yes, I know it's not your fault. Forgive the outburst. Yes. No, I'm afraid it's not possible for us to meet. I can't. I'm unable to leave my home - remember? I have a medical condition. That's none of your business. Look, isn't there a way to resolve this over the phone? Or online? Well, I think in this day and age your online infrastructure - right. Okay. Can you send someone to my home? Isn't there a system in place for sick people, who can't - ? ... But that's three months away! My landlord won't wait that long.
Please, Mr. Carter. I can't leave my apartment... can you blame me? All those people, pressing into me, staring and watching. People are dangerous. Anyone could turn out to be a killer, and they don't even know you, but they hate you, hate what they think you stand for, and want nothing more than to wipe that smile away forever. Forever, and - what?
But. I can't. I can't.
(He says goodbye, and she realizes that he has hung up.)
I have to.
This monologue is from the short play City of Strangers by Joe Brofcak. If you would like to read the entire play, you can purchase and download an electronic copy (PDF) of the script for $7.00.
This monologue is brought to you by The Monologue Database and These Aren't My Shoes Productions.