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Issue number ten




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Preservation by John Stickney

Three characters: A & B--male and male or male and female, contemporary dress, between 25 and 50 years of age. Grandfather--male, the corresponding age of a grandfather to A & B, dressed in dated clothing.

Curtains open on a spotlighted barrel, within which sits the Grandfather; only his upper shoulders and head are visible above the rock salt crystal within the barrel. Until he speaks, the Grandfather follows the action with his eyes and his head. Onstage scattered crystal-like rock salt surrounds the barrel and extends outward toward the wings. A is to the side of the barrel.

A (calls out): The salt!

B (entering from the wings opposite A, carrying an overflowing bucket of crystal-like salt, some sloshing over the side onto the stage. In loud reply): The salt!

A (indicates where the grandfather is sitting): The Grandfather.

B (lifting the bucket, preparing to put the salt over the Grandfather's head): The Salt on the Grandfather.

(Grandfather screws his eyes and mouth shut as if awaiting the bath of salt crystals)

A (hand to forehead): And seeds

(B looks puzzled, bucket still suspended.)

A (impatient, slightly mocking): Caraway seeds?

B (puts down bucket, nodding, finally getting it, walking to the wings): The kind which he ate...

A: Despite their sneaky maneuvers

B (returns with a mason jar full of caraway seeds): To the area beneath his dentures.

Grandfather (to the audience): What kind of child? What kind of grandchild? Puts his grandpa in a bucket of salt, with a sprinkle of flavorful seeds?

(During Grandfather's speech, B gives the jar to A, picks up the bucket of salt; opposite each other, they are, by the end of the speech, ready to pour the contents of their containers)

A (directed at Grandfather): Better the barrel...

B (directed at Grandfather): than the pit.

Grandfather: Oh yes...the barrel...not the pit.

(A pours)

(B pours)

A (when the bucket is empty): The salt!

Grandfather (after spitting some salt from mouth): The salt!

B (walking with bucket toward the wings): The salt!

(Lights out)

John Stickney lives and writes in Cleveland, Ohio. His collection of prose and poems, THESE AMERICAN MOMENTS, is available from Burning Press.

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