Free Monologues - Rufus

From Milk and Cookies


Rufus, thirties or older, from Milk and Cookies By the way, for anyone attempting to read into the Twinkie reference, don't—it's the actual dessert food.

(Warning: Using this monologue without permission is illegal, as is reproducing it on a website or in print in any way.)

 

RUFUS
I was hired to protect the store. Not the people in the store—it was understood that if the place were held up, I was supposed to get on the ground with everybody else and let the robbers make off with the cash. I didn't carry a gun—not even a nightstick. My job was to protect the merchandise. Not die for it, but anything short of that. Short of putting myself at risk. Before I got hired, packs of kids no older than your Jackie would come into the store, pretend to have some kind of fight, then leave with entire boxes of Twinkies, donuts, anything with sugar that they could get their hands on. I changed all that first day on the job. Caught 'em twenty minutes into my shift—one of 'em, redheaded kid, had a Twinkie jammed in the seat of his boxer shorts, walked like this.
(demonstrates walking with his butt cheeks clenched)
I woulda' made him sit on it, only I didn't want to damage the merchandise.
(beat)
They learned their lesson, the Twinkies were safe from then on, the redhead became our boxboy for his court-assigned community service. Very tidy ending. You don't want to hear the history, do you?
(beat)
I had a system. Every customer that entered the store got a one-question survey to fill out. Check the box—see which hand they used. Whole point was to watch from over the shoulder that gave you the best view of their dominant hand. Hundred percent success. Maybe it was luck, but it was hard to steal with a security guy almost clinging to your dominant hand. A mother-daughter team tried to switch hands, but most people just don't have the strength in that non-dominant hand. They dropped Pampers all over the floor—got so frustrated trying to pick them up they left the store in a huff. Never saw them again.
(beat)
I got promoted to head security guard. Me and two part-timers I trained in my system. I was employee of the month two months in a row. Got a plaque on the wall. Nothing huge, just my first name, last name and the months, but it was the wall with the highest traffic in the whole store. Other stores in our chain and even some of the supermarkets sent their employees to observe me in action. All that attention made me even more vigilant. I wanted to be an example for the children. Browsing traffic dropped like a rock—our convenience store became known as a store you came to to buy. I was on the cover of American Grocer. Me in front of Sam's Twenty-Four Hour Market. I don't think that magazine exists anymore.
(beat)
As good as it all seemed—the press coverage and autograph signing and personal appearances—I even got a book offer—it attracted a new element: retail bounty hunters. People whose only reason for visiting the store was to see if they could outsmart me. Luckily, they weren't much more skilled than the regulars, and in the end they failed, which maybe was too bad. Management got to thinking we were invincible. We'd turned back the professional criminals. Caught, fingerprinted, prosecuted and doing community service or jail time all over Metro LA. One man was extradited to Montana, to a place not far from here, where he was wanted on a bison trafficking. Who was left? We got too confident—I say we because even though I don't think my vigilance slipped, I know had this feeling—this feeling that I couldn't fail. The store owners found out the record for consecutive shoplifting attempts thwarted. We were close, but they wanted to get there faster. We all did. They started hiring people to shoplift—people who were sure to get caught and run up the total. We set the record at the beginning of March. We should have stopped, but we didn't.
(beat)
It was March nineteenth, a Thursday, just after dusk. A woman in her late twenties went through the line: diapers, crackers, some cookies. Paid in cash. While she was fumbling around to put the change back, something shifted, and suddenly in her bag there's a jut. A protrusion. She looked at me, and our eyes met before she pushed her way out the door. She might as well have worn a sign: I'm a plant. Still, I had to chase her into the street, make it look good for any cameras that might be out there. So I did, and she was a better actress than their usual—for a minute I thought she was a real shoplifter—until she told me about her sick dog, which was our code. We finished up, me mugging for the cameras, her mugging for the cameras—which I'm not sure was in her contract—and by then the police arrived to drop her home. I went back inside. Something was wrong.
 
Co-Chair of the Alliance of Los Angeles
Playwrights
, member of The Dramatists Guild of America, and life member of the Philadelphia Dramatists Center.

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