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Potato Blossoms by Okla Elliott

Potato Blossoms by Okla Elliott

Drama, Vol. 3.4, Dec. 2009

CHARACTERS
Megan:
Early twenties.
Jasper: Megan’s older brother. Late twenties.
Setting: Megan’s front lawn. Present time.

AT RISE: MEGAN is positioning a pair of life-sized art mannequins. She is recreating the scenes from a photo album and including herself in the recreations. Her camera is on a tripod. After several photos are taken, JASPER enters in formal black dress. MEGAN is posed with the mannequins for another photo. The camera, on a timer, flashes and shoots a photo which includes JASPER.

MEGAN
(Notices JASPER.)
Look what you did. You ruined it.

JASPER
I’m sorry.

MEGAN
That was going to be perfect. That was Mom and Dad’s honeymoon. Look how happy they were. She was cold, and he put his arm around her.
(Begins re-positioning the mannequins, comparing poses with the photo album she’s recreating.)
Here, take the next picture. Be real still and push the button when I tell you.
(Poses with the mannequins.)
Okay, now.

JASPER
What the hell are you doing?

MEGAN
Just take the picture, will you?

JASPER
(Presses trigger.)
There. Where did you get these mannequins?

MEGAN
I stole them from the studio in the Art Department at school when I graduated.

JASPER
That’ll look good on your grad school applications. What is this?

MEGAN
Here, help me set up this pose.

JASPER
(Reluctantly helps.)
Is that good?

MEGAN
I think so. It’d better be. I’m almost done.

JASPER
That’s nice. Now, what is it you’re doing?

MEGAN
Have you ever looked at a photograph of people you know, and you’re not in it, because it was taken before you were born? That has always creeped me out, made me feel like I didn’t exist, like I was dead.

JASPER
I’ve never thought about it, I guess.

MEGAN
Those photographs make me sad. They’re little worlds you’ll never be a part of, no matter how much you wish. So I’m fixing that.

JASPER
You’re putting yourself into them?

MEGAN
Have you ever heard about that boat? A man stole another piece of it every night, and replaced each piece he stole with one that looked just like the old one, and started building a boat of his own. After a while he had the whole boat, but the owner never knew the difference. It’s kind of like that. Which one is the real boat?
(Pause.)
I remember that from philosophy class. Apparently philosophers worry about things like that. I just took the class to fulfill a requirement. I’ll get these pictures developed and have a whole photo album full of them.

JASPER
Megan, why are you doing this?

MEGAN
Mom and Dad had full lives, even before we were born. Do you realize that? They had little perversions they shared. Mom liked certain sexual positions better than others, just like me or you. Maybe she liked to talk dirty. That would be so romantic, don’t you think?

JASPER
This is entirely inappropriate. I don’t want to talk about Mom’s sexual perversions, or yours for that matter. Especially not today.

MEGAN
(As if JASPER hadn’t said anything.)
Do you remember the potato cuts Dad stored in the cellar? How they would get those long tendrils? What were they called?

JASPER
Eyes.

MEGAN
That’s right, eyes. What a strange thing to call them. And we’d plant those cuttings, once the eyes were long enough. New potato plants would grow from them like some weird starfish that grows a whole new body from just one arm.
(Pause.)
I loved the potato blossoms. Mom laughed at me when I told her they were my favorite flower. How do you like that? My favorite flower was a fucking potato.
(SHE lets out a joyless burst of laughter.)

JASPER
Megan, we have to go soon. And look at you. You’re not even dressed yet.

MEGAN
But you sure are. Look at that suit. That suit says: “Good, loving son in mourning.”
(Grabs his tie.)
And this is a new tie even. Very important occasion for you to buy a new tie.

JASPER
You have to be adult about this and stop acting crazy.

MEGAN
But crazy is exactly how I want to act right now.

JASPER
(Hugs her.)
Come on, Meg, it’ll be okay.

MEGAN
No, it won’t be okay. That’s just it.
(Pulls away.)
The possibility of okay has been destroyed.
(Resumes with the mannequins.)

JASPER
You have to stop this. It isn’t doing you any good. It’s unhealthy.

MEGAN
(Desperately, ineffectively positioning the mannequins.)
Why shouldn’t I be crazy? The whole world is. All of this has happened, Jasper. And acting adult and mature and civil about it isn’t going to change a goddamned thing.

JASPER
It was an accident. There’s nothing any of us can do.

MEGAN
An accident? Some drunk son of a bitch plows…An accident? I can’t believe you.

JASPER
Fuck you, okay. This isn’t any easier on me, you know. I lost them too. Just because I’ve not gone schizo like you doesn’t mean this isn’t affecting me. So, could you just lay off? Yelling at me—or blaming me, or whatever it is you’re doing right now—isn’t going to help any more than playing some sick game with these damned mannequins.

MEGAN
(Pause.)
I’m so sorry. It’s just…

JASPER
No, I’m sorry.

MEGAN
It’s just that this is so hard.

JASPER
I know.
(Picks up the photo album, flips through it.)
They had some good times. Look at this one. Dad with his big shit-eating grin, and Mom laughing at some tomfool thing he’s done.

MEGAN
Here, where is it? Here. This is my favorite. I love old Polaroids. And look at you, all curly-haired and dimple-cheeked.

JASPER
Mom and Dad are so young here. All four of us.

MEGAN
Such a normal family. I remember thinking that a lot, how normal we were. It seemed all of my friends’ families had a divorce, an alcoholic, a drug-addicted son, something. But not us. We were Leave-it-to-Beaver normal compared to other families.

JASPER
How many more of these photo albums are there?

MEGAN
Six or seven.

JASPER
I’d like to look through them sometime. Me and you.

MEGAN
That’d be nice. I’d like that.
(Pause.)
I’ve got an idea. Let’s re-take this picture.

JASPER
Megan.

MEGAN
No, it’s okay. Come on.

JASPER
But we’re already in this photo.

MEGAN
Humor me.
(Pause.)
Please.
(After some reluctance, JASPER joins MEGAN in arranging the mannequins, organizing their pose, and setting the camera’s timer. We see the flash of the camera, and they stand a moment in silence. JASPER puts his hand lovingly on her shoulder.)

MEGAN
Jasper.
(Pause.)
Thanks.

JASPER
Go get ready now.
(MEGAN exits. JASPER collects the camera and tripod, considers the mannequins, then exits. We are left with the lifeless mannequins before BLACK OUT.)

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