Plays: Ronan Noone
Performed April 13th, 2003,
at Boston’s fifth annual Boston Theater Marathon
Director: Carmel O’Reilly
Actor: Richard McElvain
[This is a man around fifty years of age. He speaks in an Eastern European accent. He wears a white short-sleeved shirt. The top two buttons are open, revealing a little cross. He has an American flag pin fastened to the shirt. He wears gray pants with soft black loafers. He smiles gently with an appreciation for life and when he uses the word “Yes” it is in a defeated way. There are two chairs on the stage, each with a wooden-bead seat cover tied onto them. Lights come up on the man, who is at the back of the stage with a wet sponge in his hand. He looks tired but strong. He drops the wet sponge and walks toward the chair. He takes out his keys and opens the imaginary door to the driver’s seat and sits down. He looks out the windscreen and waits before talking.]
I lovf Amereka. I do. I lovf Amereka. I live here ten years now and everything is here. I take the lessons to drive and I get my license here.
Big Policeman who do the test, shake my hand, congratulate me, and I am delighted. My wife and me celebrate. Big day. Well, small big day.
I buy my first car in here. This car. Ford Taurus, like the bull. My wife says I get the car because I am like a bull. She’s crazy. “Get out my kitchen you bull.” I laugh. She laughs. She likes the car. Yes.
I sit in the car for ten minutes every morning to admire outside from it, and smile at people going by. I turn it on and let it run for maybe three minutes, six minutes, maybe longer in the cold.
I turn on the radio. World news. I listen, I turn volume, up down how I like. My neighbors they know all my car. Then I stop engine off. I lock secure. I get the bus to work.
When I buy it, my wife she was there. I ask her what color she would like and she says blue. And I said blue and the man of the sales say “We only have blue.”
Blue. Yes. I got automatic for easier to drive. And I bought wooden-bead seat cover for to sit on, make the seat more comfortable and one for my wife too. [Looks to the passenger seat] You call accessory. My first car accessory. It gives you releavfed, relieved.
We drive around every Sunday on the highway to Concord to see the peaceful lake of the writer. And then we wash the car together when we come home. Lots of water.
Last month ago I came out of my house and I see scrape all along the side of the blue. Done by nail, or key, or pin, or screwdriver I don’t know.
My wife calm me down, but I am bad. I can say because you work hard you can buy a car. That is this country. So I start to watch my car every night from our apartment so I can see who would do such a thing.
My wife calls me to the bed and I say “Soon” and, she says I’m crazy. But I was afraid. “It is only a car,” she says, and we fight.
[Loudly] This car is my first car. I learn to drive here, all my first money is the car. It takes us to everywhere we want go, no problem. I drive this car to the Fanueil Hall where they make the proud speech.
Where the music orchestra play “God Bless Amereka” and we put our right hand in the air and said oath of allegiance. I pledge allegiance to the flag of the U-nite-ted States of Amereka. Off by my heart I know this.
And to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, in-de-vis-e-bull, with liberty and justice for all.
I change my last name to shorter Amerekan version that day. Four hundred people, three hundred and fifty people change their name, no problem. You too.
We drive to the restaurant and had the dinner and I said I am glad to be Amerekan and you agree with me.
[Calmer] She went to bed. Yes. Five nights I wait by the window and then I see this boy maybe sixteen, eighteen, and he is trying to break the side mirror from the car for no why.
I shout to my wife and I rush out. I shout to my wife—I come at him, but he runs like chicken, and I see the mirror broken down by the side and get more mad like a bull now.
I breathe like bull, never have I been this mad before, not here, I chase and I chase, not once am I tired, I just chase, and he turns down alley road, and he is trapped, and I beat him.
I beat him bad and I say to him, “I am Amerekan. I live here. My home is here. I am citizen of here. Why?”
I leave him in bundle like roll in the rainwater on the road, crying—and I walk home. I see my wife wait on the doorstep and we look at the car and we are both sad. I catch my breath.
This was not right. She puts arm around my shoulder and I said, I beat him. I beat him good, and she says, he will not be back. Yes.
I try to stick the black tape on the mirror to the car to keep in place and then two big policeman come to me, ask my name and I said yes, and they say: Did I beat up young man tonight, and I said look at my car, this mirror he broke, and he scrape the blue from the side. They arrest me and I tell my wife not to worry. They put me in the jail.
My wife come pay one thousand dollars to get me out. One thousand dollars. And when I get home next morning I sit in my car, I turn the engine on, and I wait to see.
Yes. Then I went for drive to the lake for some peace, and I hear the mirror bang off the side so I have to stop the car and drive slowly home. I didn’t want any more destruction.
I work a little harder that week. I make some more money to fix the paint and the mirror and I buy a secure big steel lock for steering wheel. Another accessory for to make me better and everything safer.
Seven hundred thirty-two dollars fifty-six cents. But it look good as new. My wife said I should not have spent it on this because we would need it. The lawyer said I may go to the jail.
But I want the car to be good-looking, for her, for me, and for my neighbors for when they look out their window they could see everything is here and it is good.
In the court the judge give me the suspended sentence. [Blesses himself] There is justice in that. That is Amereka too.
So I was glad. And I kissed my wife. I saw the man, boy, in the court I beat, and he had broken arm and bandage on his face and big jewelry cross on his chest. Accessory.
“I was wrong,” I say. Where I come from it was right but not here. And I apologize. He say nothing.
I walk home, and when I get home I went to my car and I give it wash. Everything. I sat in my car. I was releavfed, relieved. I look out window then I lock big steel lock and I smile.
I smile now. I say good night to my Ford Taurus Bull. Yes. [Gets out of the chair and closes the door. Locks it with the key. Goes back and picks up the dripping sponge and turns around.]
Good night Ford Taurus Bull.
RONAN NOONE, playwright, a native of Connemara, Ireland, emigrated to the United States in 1994, where he became a citizen in 2000. He studied at Boston University under Derek Walcott and Kate Snodgrass. His first play, The Lepers of Baile Baiste, won the National Playwriting Award at the American College Theatre Festival. His play, The Blowin of Baile Gall, is currently being produced in New York City.
(c) copyright 2005, Ronan Noone; author retains all rights.