Captain Spaulding on Skull Island

I wrote this in the wee hours of this morning.  It’s in response to the tragedy and absurdity of the last few days.

LAZY-DAY OBSERVATIONS ON FERAL HOGS by John Weagly

(Lights up.  The porch of a rural farmhouse in El Dorado, Arkansas.  PENELOPE and HATTIE sit in rocking chairs drinking lemonade, looking out at the yard and enjoying the day.  There is never a sense of urgency to anything they say or do.)

PENELOPE

Nice day.

HATTIE

Hot.

PENELOPE

Dry.

HATTIE

Dusty.

PENELOPE

But nice.

(Pause.  They enjoy the view.)

PENELOPE

Huh.  Would you look at that.

HATTIE

What?

PENELOPE

A sounder

HATTIE

What’s a sounder?

PENELOPE

See those hogs over there?

HATTIE

In the yard?  By those kids?

PENELOPE

Yep.

HATTIE

I see ‘em.

PENELOPE

A herd of hogs is called a sounder.

HATTIE

A herd of hogs?

PENELOPE

A herd of hogs, a pack of pigs, a swarm of swine, a brood of boar, a rabble of razorback, a proletariat of porkers.

HATTIE

A sounder.

PENELOPE

Yep.

HATTIE

Huh.  You learn something new every day.

(Pause.  They look at the hogs.)

HATTIE

There must be thirty of ‘em.

PENELOPE

More like fifty.

HATTIE

I’ve seen groups of hogs before, but never more than twenty.

PENELOPE

Sounder.

HATTIE

I’ve seen sounders of hogs before, but never more than twenty.

PENELOPE

That’s a damn big sounder.

HATTIE

I wonder if they’re going to eat those kids.

PENELOPE

I hope not.

HATTIE

Me, too.  That would make for a regretful day and many awkward conversations.

PENELOPE

It’d be a shame.

HATTIE

A real shame.

(Pause.  They watch the kids.)

PENELOPE

Maybe we should try to do something.

HATTIE

About the hogs and the kids?

PENELOPE

About the sounder and the kids.

HATTIE

I don’t see what we can do.

PENELOPE

One of those hogs just ate little Bobby Lipton.

HATTIE

That’s too bad.  He was a nice boy.

PENELOPE

He was.

HATTIE

But I don’t see what we can do.

(Pause.  They sip lemonade.)

PENELOPE

You know, I think there’s a pretty big patch of quicksand over in that eastern corner of the yard.

HATTIE

Quicksand?

PENELOPE

Yep.

HATTIE

Quicksand is dangerous.  How come nobody ever covered it up or filled it in?

PENELOPE

We thought about it, but covering up quicksand just makes it angry.

HATTIE

Makes sense.  You don’t want angry quicksand.

PENELOPE

What if we, both of us…

HATTIE

A couple of those hogs just got Rhonda Sue Peligrino.

PENELOPE

What if we, both of us, thought real hard about sending those hogs over to that quicksand.

HATTIE

You mean, make that sounder do what we want – just by thinking about it?

PENELOPE

Yep.

HATTIE

Get ‘em to the quicksand and those hogs would sink.

PENELOPE

All fifty of ‘em.

HATTIE

That’d take an awful lot of really serious thought.

PENELOPE

I bet the two of us could do it.

HATTIE

I don’t know…

PENELOPE

We’ve got to try.  They just tore apart the Wallace twins.

HATTIE

Okay.  Let’s go for it.

PENELOPE

Good.  Now, on three.  One.

HATTIE

Two.

PENELOPE & HATTIE

Three.

(PENELOPE and HATTIE close their eyes and think as hard as they can.  After a moment, they relax and speak.)

HATTIE

Did it work?

PENELOPE

Let’s open our eyes and see.

(PENELOPE and HATTIE cautiously open their eyes.)

HATTIE

Those hogs aren’t any closer to the quicksand.

PENELOPE

There are a few less kids, though.

HATTIE

That’s hardly our fault.

PENELOPE

Right.  We did everything we could.

HATTIE

Yep.  If feral hogs don’t want to obey our brainwaves and wallow into quicksand…

PENELOPE

…There’s nothing we can do about it.

HATTIE

I guess people just shouldn’t have kids.

PENELOPE

Yep.  Not around sounders, anyway.

(Pause.)

HATTIE

Nice day.

PENELOPE

Hot.

HATTIE

Dry.

PENELOPE

Dusty.

HATTIE

Hogs eating the children.

PENELOPE

But nice.

(Lights down.)

.

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