Monologue- "Manhattan"

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Monologue- "Manhattan"

Postby JamesP » Wed Nov 02, 2011 10:23 pm UTC

If anyone recognises this then it's because I also posted it on PWoT, if that's not allowed then do be quick to tell me.

I'm not sure how I feel about this- I don't write that much outside of silly poetry but I listened to the Talking Heads and couldn't resist writing a monologue. Any feedback is welcome. More after the text.


50ml Rye Whisky
20ml Red Vermouth
Angostura bitters (just a dash)
One Maraschino Cherry, as garnish.

I bought them in specially and, lemme tell you, it isn't easy to source Angostura out here. The whisky, well- let's just say that out here in the desert we don't lack for that liquid. I already had a contact for Vermouth but shipping it from France would be... problematic right now. What, though, was a Maraschino cherry? I came through though, despite the effort. Not many guys still about so I have to put in the extra effort now.

He, the Manhattan guy, was John Smith- I know, like I'd fall for that. Just because I live in Fuckin' Nowhere, New Mexico doesn't mean I'm an easy-to-fool hick. But yeah, he was one of the foreigners the Fed keeps shipping in. I moved from Santa Fe to escape the queers and daegos for crying out, and now they're shipping them here in luxury! Still, Smith seemed harmless enough. Might've been French or British. A European Anyway.

I noticed, at the time, that he was quiet guy. Never seemed happy. Depressed. Came in, once, with 15-or-so other Fed approved weirdos. They went to pick up the young girls who've been drafted in to help out the farmer up on the hill. Smith just sat at the bar drinking his Manhattan, happy as a pig in shit. He had a notepad that he doodled his strange maths and pictures in. I asked him what it was but he just said “Business”.

Anyway, where was I? The Manhattan. This guy- Smith- comes in for the first time and orders one. I'm no idiot, but this I ain't heard of. He seems incredulous but I look it up in my book and, sure enough, there it is. Now out here in Shits-ville, New Mexico we don't have cocktails bars. We have saloons like my establishment the Prospekt Saloon. But this guy's got a Treasury check-book so I do my best. Four weeks later a box arrives with the stuff. I charge him 200%, hell, it ain't his money.

I spend the rest of the night watching this guy. He mixed it himself, flipping tumblers and shakers until- bada bing- my only Martini glass fell onto the bar with the liquid inside spinning gently. I said the guy had talent- State Fair talent. He smiled, but... ugh, he didn't smile naturally, y'know?

So this guy became a regular and started taking more, opening up- but only when no one else was about to hear. Refused to tell me his name, his real name, or nation though- I never really pressed him on it. Maybe he was an outlaw or something. His research was all he wanted to talk about though, never seen many outlaws with Chemistry Sets in their saddle bags though! I guessed he was something military but he was probably just a clerk with pretensions, wanting to feel important. We're all looking for our fame and fortune out here, either that or trying to leave all that behind.#

It must have been April '45 when he got worse. He still came but his... his, oh I dunno, aura had changed. He used to be quiet and melancholy but in a happy way, does that make sense? Now he was, well, nothing had changed but he seemed less genuine. Like it was all a show. Then he stopped talking as much. Then he just sat. Looking. Once in a fit of frontier psychiatry I tried to talk, see what was bothering him. Bad idea. He started to cry into his Martini. Towards the end he came out of his succour to lean into me, red in the eye, and said- and I quote- “He who does evil to fight evil is fighting fire with fire. A special circle of hell awaits us all”. I think I almost knew what he was saying. Hell, even I'd seen the news.

He only once came in after that. Overcoat, waxed trousers. A pathetic storm lashed down at him, trying to breach his protection with the force of a hurricane. This damn land doesn't know if it's a desert or a rainforest. He ordered a double whisky tumbler. “No more Manhattans?” I jibbed. No, his face said. He leant in and croaked in a silent whisper “I think like American. I look like American. I work for Americans. But my soul, she is in God's hands now.”

He walked out into the rain.

A few weeks later another man came in, although recently that wasn't as a unique occurrence as before. Sons and Daughters danced, talked and caught up. Just like old times again. We went outside to talk.

He didn't introduce himself. I didn't want him to. Just asked me to tell him what, if anything, Gustav Krusemann- my “Mr Smith”- had told me. I asked why Mr Smi- Herr Krusemann had done it. Killed himself. He said “It was a shock to all of us, sir, some of us couldn't handle the reality. It wasn't easy.” I frowned.

“His death?”

He just smiled and turned away.


Obviously this is set in a small town servicing the Manhattan Project, I think I got that across without being to blunt about it. The barman's a WW1 veteran (contact for French Vermouth....) and Smith's a German scientist who defected. He couldn't handle the destruction he wrought upon Japan through his involvement so he offed himself. As I said, any feedback is welcome.

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