30 Days Minus 2 of Writing, day 20: the other shoe

Lincoln’s Tragedy

A one-act play in surreal despair

Scene: The Lincoln bedroom in the White House. The president and his wife, Mary, are lying in bed, their faces dimly illuminated by the flickering oil lamps on the rosewood nightstands crafted by his father, a cabinetmaker. Abraham looks profoundly demoralized, and curiously, is wearing his trademark tophat and one shoe. Mary’s arm is resting on his chest, and the worry lines on her face indicate she’s concerned about her famously morose husband’s state of mind.

Mary, whispering: Abe, where’s your other shoe?

Abe, sighing heavily: I don’t know. I lost it.

Mary: And you didn’t try to find it?

Abe: No. I’m really bummed out, Mary.

Mary: Is it this awful Civil War?

Abe: God no. We’ll have the war won in a month or two. There’ll be some rough years ahead as the nation mends, but America won’t be this ineffective and bitterly divided again until President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner are in office.

Mary: Who’s Boehner?

Abe, shaking his head: I’m not sure. I think he must a own a spray-tanning salon, though. Either that, or Republicans are orange in the future. Wouldn’t surprise me. We are the party of morons. I’ve no idea how I got elected.

Mary: So if it’s not the war that’s got you down, why are you so blue?

Abe: I crave a decent blintz.

Mary: A what?

Abe: A blintz. Like a crêpe, filled with sweet cheese or sour cream. Jewish confection. I used to treat myself to them at little delicatessen near the statehouse in Illinois whenever the arguing over slavery harshed my mellow. It was like taking lithium salts in a pastry. Delicious, and I can’t stop thinking about them. But I can’t find them here in D.C. Do you know where I can get a decent blintz?

Mary, her brow furrowed: Aren’t we going to be a Ford’s Theater to see a play tomorrow night?

Abe, his voice tinged with frustration: Yes. What’s that got to do with it? I just hope we’re not seeing Phantom of the Opera. I hate musicals. Nobody sings their way through life. And if it’s Momma Mia!, just shoot me on the spot.

Mary, sitting up and playfully slapping his hollowed cheek: Oh, Abe, don’t be such a Gloomy Gus. We’re seeing a comedy — Our American Cousin. And I for one can’t wait to hear that scamp Harry Hawk utter the riotous line to Mrs. Mountchessington, “Don’t know the manners of good society, eh? Well, I guess I know enough to turn you inside out, old gal — you sockdologizing old man-trap.” We’ll laugh so hard people’s faces will be falling off well into the second millennium.

Abe, sighing heavily: Yeah, sure. Haha. But no blintz.

Mary, smiling: No, no, that’s the best part! There’s a little delicatessen just around the corner from the theater. Saul’s Deli. I’ll send a messenger and tell them to expect the president and his wife for blintzes and apéritifs after the show.

Closing: The lights fade until only the president’s face can be seen, smiling happily for once. And then the stage goes completely black as the curtain drops.

The End


Please visit Nicky and Mike at We Work For Cheese for more of today’s entries in their writing competition.

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32 thoughts on “30 Days Minus 2 of Writing, day 20: the other shoe

  1. You should make one of your kids learn how to make blitzes. And you can be the taste tester. What are kids for? Why do you think I learned how to mix drinks when I was 12?

    The comparison to the division to the Civil War is just a little too true, isn’t it? Well, fiddle dee dee.

    I certainly hope nothing is harshing your mellow this morning. You deserve it after making us all smile with this post.

    • Hah! You haven’t met my kids, Liz. Lazy bunch of freeloaders, that’s what they are.

      I’m glad I could make you smile. You look good in smile. Don’t believe me? Check your avatar over there to the upper right. Looking good.

  2. Who wears a top hat to bed? Maybe you would if you had a cool hat like Abe or Johnny…curious…
    Wonderful post – loved the addition of the blintz here. Where can you get one in Colorado?

  3. “… if it’s Momma Mia just shoot me on the spot.” You owe me for a new laptop having just spit hot coffee all over the keyboard. Yet another, clever, inventive, LOL funny bit of genius, my friend. Clearly, your meds are much better than mine.

    • Maybe we should try mixing and matching our meds just to see what happens, eh?

      Oh, and sorry about the keyboard. But that computer was already ruined anyway, I’m guessing.

  4. Bravo! Bravo!
    (Spontaneous applause erupts from the audience.)

    Author! Author!
    (Curtains part. MWJ walks on stage, bows and accepts his bouquet of roses.)
    (Curtains close.)

    Encore! Encore!
    (Curtains open. MWJ walks on stage and addresses audience.)

    “Go! Get the hell out of here! Leave me alone.”
    (Applause suddenly stops.)

    • Be honest, Nicky: You snort at work all the time. It’s why you get so much done. Remember, the first step to conquering a problem is to admit it. Or to share…..

  5. So clever to have used several of the previous prompts in today’s post. I like the idea of Abe craving blintzes. Comparing the civil war to the situation with today’s administration is closer to the truth than we want to believe.

  6. I absolutely love the absurdity of Abe wearing his top hat and one shoe to bed. This is a wonderfully weird piece full of hilarious one-liners. I love it. 🙂

    • Thank you, Ziva, although I don’t understand why everybody thinks it’s so absurd to wear a hat and one shoe to bed. In many countries, it’s expected, and considered a sign of good manners.

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