The Stuttering Monster

Characters (in order of appearance):

Stuttering Monster

Valerie Harper

William Harper

Cindy Harper


The Walkries

Walkrie 1

Walkrie 2

Walkrie 3

Walkrie 4

Walkrie 5

Bert Messing


Mr. Thompson

Guard 1

Guard 2

Person from audience

Stage set up: Bedroom.


Stuttering Monster : Valerie Harper wakes up. It is 10:40 A.M. She looks at her husband in the subdued morning light. The heavy curtains are still drawn shut. Then she hears a knock at the door.

Valerie : Cindy?

Voice of Cindy : Yeah! And Davie want to see how you look getting dressed up again in the middle of the day!

Stuttering Monster : Those are the Harper’s children, Norman 15, Cindy 9, and Davie 7. The Harpers are among the top 2% income earners in the country, but the country of the year 2013. Smart cars, smart prisons, smart supermarkets all done by the web and information superhighway or a host of microchips that you never leave home without. Norman is reading Shakespeare plays on the Internet already, simply by accessing the central Library in Manhattan, (they live in a ranch in Manhasset). Cindy likes browsing Modern Bride magazine from over the years in the reference section. Davie’s favorite pastime is accessing the latest game adventure from the series, “The World of Horrors and Surprises”.

Valerie : William, time to get up.

William : Not yet.

Valerie : I mean it, they close the front doors to Radio City at 2:45 P.M. sharp. We’ve got to be there. We must sign in and my job is on the line if we don’t go otherwise.

William : (Agitated) Otherwise, we don’t go. Maybe, I’m a bit sleepy. (Pause) But, I think it more accurate to say you couldn’t get your immediate supervisor to vouch for you that you had been there. Besides, I think this is a pretty idiotic satiricon to which another neo-Roman Circus for President Hunt, the first independent President of the United States of America.

Valerie : Sweetie, you should talk! The last time you showed your face at Iona College was January 3rd; here it is January 28th. How do you get away with that?

William : Simple, I have Shirley vouch for me.

Valerie : Your personal secretary can’t do that forever. And besides, you lied on your resume that you had a Ph.D. from Farleigh Dickinson University. You only have a Masters from Lehman College!

William : Who’s checking?

Valerie : Morse, the Vice President.

William : He’s only acting Vice President.

Valerie : But, you have nothing to do with his becoming tenured. That’s up to the Board of Directors of which you don’t qualify to be a part of for another year!

William : Hey woman, I accepted this job because the money was better, not the security!

Valerie : You might wind up in jail!

William : Fat chance.

Valerie : How can you say that?

William : I don’t like seeing men in underwear!

Valerie : What do you like seeing?

William : Women, dressed up to the hilt, high patent leather heels, low-cut gowns that show all that bosom and cleavage and the reddest lipstick and fingernails this side of the setting sun!.

Valerie : I guess that’s why I love you, because I can’t second guess you. Meanwhile let’s get dressed.

William : I heard Senator Mason is wearing a tieless tuxedo.

Valerie : No, you heard, he may not be able to do MC duties; his wife went into labor last night. You wear a STUTTERING MONSTER. Cindy bought two of them with me at Macy’s at Roosevelt Field last week. Both are clip-ons, one solid black and one gray. I wanted her to buy the self-tie ones and help her daddy tie one on, but she pointed out to me the clip-ons were half the price. I complimented her on her parsimoniousness.

William : Why do you have to use a word like ‘parsimoniousness’ when ‘frugality’ would do?

Valerie : Why use the word ‘fuck’ when ‘intercourse’ would do?

William : The German word for “fuck” is “fick”.

Valerie : The German word for “shit” is “sheist”.

William : That pearl necklace you’re putting on is your second most expensive piece of jewelry after the rock on your hand.

Valerie : And I bought it; how’d you find out how much it cost?

William : We have a joint credit account and that you went with Marcia to Tiffany’s. I kept track of the debits until I caught up with it.

Valerie : You sly fox.

William : No, you’re the fox, I’m the bear.

Valerie : Yeah, I like your bear ass.

William : Why say ‘ass’, instead of ‘posterior’?

Valerie : Let’s not mince words; now which STUTTERING MONSTER are you going to put on?”.

William : Which one did Cindy prefer?

Valerie : I think she said the black one.

William : Now, that’s a girl after my own heart. I hate colored STUTTERING MONSTERS, but most of all clip-on ones.

Valerie : But the black is a clip-on.

William : I don’t want to wear it. I have a selfish STUTTERING MONSTER on the rack.

Valerie : Cindy’s not going to like it; remember when you called Davie insipid because he couldn’t tie his shoe lace.

William : Cindy asked me what ‘insipid’ meant.

Valerie : And you told her it meant ‘dull or stupid’.

William : And she horse-laughed for a week after that.

Valerie : Then all of a sudden Norman started wearing clip-on colored STUTTERING MONSTERS. And Cindy called him stupid for wearing them.

William : Norman said that he doesn’t like wearing them, but he wears them for Sadie who invited him to her sister’s Bas Mitzvah and told him to wear a colored clip-on STUTTERING MONSTER.

Valerie : Oh, whatever; I’ll get her to tie it and love it just as long as an Oepidus complex hasn’t been blown asunder.

Cindy : Daddy, Mommy, can we come in now?

Valerie : Isn’t she properly behaved; no lock on the door and she has permission to come in.

William : She said “ can we come in now”, instead of “ may we come in now”. How about that for poor English.

Valerie : She loves you and is very excited.

William : The word ‘excited’ makes me feel ecstatic.

Valerie : Come in sweethearts.

Stuttering Monster : The door swings open and there is Cindy alone. She glances across the room smiling ear to ear. Her eyes fall on her mother’s burgundy sequenced gown and her mouth opens. Then she looks at her father.

Cindy : Oh daddy, I’m so glad you didn’t wear the clip-on STUTTERING MONSTERS.

Valerie : But your mother said you picked them out, purposely because they were one-third the price.

Cindy : I was only trying to show you I understand fugality.

William : You mean ‘frugality’.

Valerie : Oh, honey, don’t correct her English at this age.

William : Why, I used to do it to Norman when he was her age.

Valerie : And he still wears clip-ons.

William : And you still wear brassieres.

Valerie : I’m not as liberated as you like.

William : And if I wear this clip-on STUTTERING MONSTER my daughter will hate me.

Valerie : Why do you say that? Does she hate her brother?

William : I don’t know. She’s right here, ask her.

Valerie : Cindy, do you hate your brother because he wears colored clip-on STUTTERING MONSTERS?

Cindy : I think they’d look better on Davie.

William : Cindy, answer your mother’s question.

Cindy : What question?

Valerie : Do you hate your brother?

Cindy : Only when he wears those colored clip-on STUTTERING MONSTERS.

Valerie : Honey, one day you are going to realize that we all have STUTTERING MONSTERS within us and some without us.

William : I would love to get inside of yours.

Valerie : Sweetheart, your daughter is right here.

Cindy : I don’t mind.

William : Yeah, we’re teaching our daughter that lewd behavior is acceptable.

Valerie : Let’s teach her etiquette in the realm of high society.

William : I suppose, retorted William.

Valerie : Cindy, help your father put on his STUTTERING MONSTER.

Cindy : I can’t do that.

Valerie : Can you tie your shoe lace?

Cindy : Yes.

Valerie : Then pretend Daddy’s neck is your ankle.

William : No, pretend Daddy’s ankle is your neck.

Valerie : Whatever.

Cindy : I don’t understand at all.

Valerie : There’s two ways of doing it, Cindy. The first way is to have Daddy face his ego and you stand behind him; sort of drape you arms around his shoulders; clasp in your pretty hands both ends of the MONSTER and proceed to force it on him.

Stuttering Monster : Cindy stares obliquely at the audience shrugging her shoulders.

William : Oh gee, Cindy are you listening.

Cindy : Uh-huh.

Valerie : The second way is to stand in front of Daddy, or sit on his lap if you like and fulfill his ego that way.

William : Which way are you going to do it? It’s getting late.

Cindy : Look at Daddy’s ego.

William : Then let’s get on with it (impatiently).

Stuttering Monster : Cindy follows her father over to the dresser with the room largest mirror and gets behind him.

Cindy : Oh Daddy, does it have to look like a clip-on STUTTERING MONSTER.

Stuttering Monster : Some commotion and fussing.

William : Oh stop it right now. Let me do it!

Valerie : We already know you can do it. Let me do it. I’ve never done it before. You have.

William : What did I do?

Valerie : On one of our early dates you called my goat.

William : That’s after you slapped me, because you didn’t want to leave.

Valerie : I had too much to drink.

William : I made you happy when we tied the knot.

Valerie : We did that eighteen years ago. And the doctors all said we’d never have children.

William : We fooled them, didn’t we?

William : No, I think we fooled ourselves.

Cindy : Mommy, STUTTERING MONSTERS can look pretty.

Stuttering Monster : Shakespeare enters the bedroom.

Shakespeare : “What fools ye mortals be”.





Stuttering Monster : A giant Roulette wheel is being rolled on to the stage. Valerie and William Harper are being escorted into the theater by an usher after William has flashed him the pink and blue validated tickets. The time now is 2:50 P.M. The show is to start at 3:00 P.M. It is the first of it’s kind and it is the ultimate in the ins and outs of the entertainment and legal world. Wagner’s Die Walkre starts playing very tinny in tone.

Shakespeare : The music coming through the loud-speaker system is very tinny indeed. William faintly remembers a History channel broadcast that the German Nazi’s were fond of playing the classics as they guided the miserable captive Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals and Mental Incompetents to the gas chambers. William looks at Valerie in her sequenced gown and long blonde hair and feels a deep desire to rip off her clothes and perform sex with her right there in the middle of the posh atmosphere of Radio City Music Hall.

Stuttering Monster : What is happening here is one of the promises of the multi-billionaire who performed the impossible by splitting up the vote of November 5, 2012 and sending it for the first time constitutionally to the house which in turn voted for J. Oliver Hunt as president of the United States of America. The Democrat candidate, Nick Grayson and the Republican candidate, Vince Foreman actually got 44% of the vote, split with Mr. Grayson winning the popular vote and Mr. Foreman edging him out in the electoral college, but failing to win the required amount of votes in the electoral college; Hunt was the secret darling of the Republicans who grew mesmerized by his red and white polka-dot STUTTERING MONSTER and blue suit wedged in the middle of the two neck-tied Foreman and Grayson who obviously was so self-conscious of their neck wear throughout the single debate that Hunt appeared; there was a jocund merriment about the debate that the usual personal attack that journalists were so fond of fell away and Grayson cracked, “I wish Hunt, would take off his jacket and remove his red and white STUTTERING MONSTER and change to a black STUTTERING MONSTER and give Grayson and me 13 ounce gloves so we could duke it out while Mr. Hunt referees”. This brought such a raucous uproar the audience and the rest of the debate focused on Hunt’s appearance and centralization which was ironically quite symmetric. Hunt would not have fit as well on either the left or right side for the STUTTERING MONSTER attracted one’s eyes towards him and it was an instant decision of the moderator, Victoria Kelstein, although it was opprobriously Mr. Hunt’s decision. The Walkries (young women dressed in Hawaiian costumes) come screaming on to the stage then chanting ‘opprobrious’ fifteen times. Then they chant ‘What does it mean?’ fifteen times and then each gives the following synonyms:

Walkrie 1 : Abasing, abusive, contemptuous.

Walkrie 2 : Derogative, insolent, insulting.

Walkrie 3 : Offensive, reproachful, shaming.

Walkrie 4 : Defaming, disgraceful, dishonorable.

Walkrie 5 : Disreputable, hateful, ignominious.

Walkrie 1 : Libeling, scandalous, scurrilous.

Walkrie 2 : Calumniating, embarrassing, humiliating.

Walkrie 3 : Contumelious, damaging, hurting.

Walkrie 4 : Injuring, malevolent, malignant.

Walkrie 5 : Maligning, reviling, spiteful.

Walkrie 1 : Debasing, depreciative, derogative.

Walkrie 2 : Derogatory, disparaging, vituperative.

Shakespeare : And another like, “disingenuous”.

Walkrie 3 : Which means…

Walkrie 4 : Clever, crafty, diabolic.

Walkrie 5 : Foxy, slick, sly.

Walkrie 1 : Tricky and wily.

Shakespeare : This is how the STUTTERING MONSTER makes you feel in the end. Let me tell you a story, my Walkries. Once upon a time a stuttering monk went to a witch doctor in the darkest of Africa.

The Walkries : Oo-oo.

Shakespeare : The monk asked the witch doctor for a cure for his stutter. Zeno the Greek, all of a sudden appeared before the monk and the witch doctor.

Die Walkries : Oo-oo.

Shakespeare : Zeno the Greek said, “behind us is a door which behind that you will find your cure for stuttering”. The monk then gladly opened the door and noticed a jeweled icon standing there.

Die Walkrie : Oo-oo.

Shakespeare : The monk remarked, “this is the most beautiful icon I have ever seen, what does it represent?” Zeno the Greek replied, ‘It represents your ego. Destroy it and you destroy yourself!

Die Walkrie : Oo-oo.

Shakespeare : “But I cannot destroy myself”, answered the monk. “Then you cannot destroy the STUTTERING MONSTER”!, confirmed Zeno.

Stuttering Monster : The Walkrie start laughing one by one until all are hysterical and start screaming and run around me and off the stage. Shakespeare turns to the audience.

Shakespeare : We cannot destroy the STUTTERING MONSTER because we simply cannot destroy ourselves.

Stuttering Monster : Afterwards he was seen in public wearing us STUTTERING MONSTERS all the time and this scurrilous decision was backed up by his vituperative remark, “the last President to wear a colorful STUTTERING MONSTERS in public was that plain speaking giant of a man that failed as a haberdasherer, but triumphed as a President”.

Valerie : Former Congressman Messing is going to make the opening remarks to the program.

Stuttering Monster : William was adjusting his tuxedo as the lights begin to dim.

William : Why was Senator Mason scratched? (Thinking out loud mostly to himself).

Valerie : What did you say, sweetie?

William : I really hate wearing tuxedos and you wouldn’t catch me dead in a colored STUTTERING MONSTER.

Valerie : Shhhh…keep it down.

Messing : Ladies and gentlemen, you are gathered here today to witness the ultimate in the free market economy to deal with it’s outcasts, the murderers, the common criminals, the thieves, the adulterers. All these and more will be shown to in the future, but tonight we have one man only and his name is Timothy Oswald Thompson, who stalked his ex- girlfriend for three weeks with a grenade launcher until he caught up with her in her new boyfriend’s B.M.W. convertible and killed them both in cold blood. He was dressed in a tuxedo-like suit, but was unusually tieless with a non-collared silk white shirt.

William : That does it, I’m removing my black STUTTERING MONSTER. If he doesn’t have to wear one why do I? (Whining)

Valerie : Dress code dear, we couldn’t have gotten in here without it and you promised to take me…

Mr. X : Shhhhhh…

Messing : …and Mr. Thompson stalked Henrietta for all this time meeting up with her occasionally and as her friends described it, shooting at her with her finger, tauntingly. So you observe the STUTTERING MONSTER wheel.

Stuttering Monster : There is a terrible rumble like thunder and the Walkries reappear on the stage. Messing yields to them.

Walkrie 1 : In this preliminary round, the perpetrator spins the STUTTERING MONSTER wheel.

Walkrie 2 : If black comes up he is sent back to the penitentiary for one more year with a year deducted from his sentence, although a life sentence gives you 98 years left; manslaughter gives you only 19 years left.

Walkrie 3 : He can return next year if he opts to.

Walkrie 4 : If red comes up, he must spin again.

Walkrie 5 : If an odd number comes up, (black on this wheel), he must spin again.

Messing : (Clearing his throat and perturbed by the Walkries presence and interrupting the words he was going to say every time). If a number 50 or higher comes up he must spin again and his sentence is reduced by another year, otherwise he quits and can opt to come back in one year.

Walkrie 1 : Then Mr. Thompson must pick a number, then spin the wheel.

Walkrie 2 : If that number comes up he is executed at midnight tonight.

Walkrie 3 : If any other comes up he is put on hold for execution for one year.

Walkrie 4 : However, at this time Mr. Thompson can earn his freedom, keeping in mind that there is always an unreasonable doubt that he is innocent.

Walkrie 5 : He cannot buy his freedom through his monetary efforts, but must have sponsors and a promulgator must pay a thousand dollars a number and he cannot have more than 49 sponsors, for it would make it better than half the odds that he could walk free, based on eleemosynary goodwill alone.

Messing : Keep in mind that if 49 sponsors are found since the STUTTERING MONSTER wheel is from 0 to 99 and black being odd we will arbitrarily make 13 his death pronouncement.

Walkrie 1 : So he still may very well die at midnight tonight.

Walkrie 2 : If under 49 sponsors are found we subtract those even numbers from 98 down until essentially if no sponsors are found he is sentenced to death.

Walkrie 3 : Now, let me introduce you to Mr. Thompson

Walkrie 4 : No, let me introduce you.

Walkrie 5 : No, let me introduce you.

Messing : No, let me introduce you.

Stuttering Monster : Mr. Thompson walks on stage escorted by to hulked uniformed guards. He is dressed in a blue denim shirt, khaki pants and trousers and a maroon beret. His mouth is bound by a white kerchief. He is not shackled or hand- cuffed, however the guards are armed with two 45 caliber hand guns. Apparently, the freedom of movement would be mollified by the exposure to such a large theater crowd. Besides the intense halogen light thrown on the stage and the audience makes a quick getaway is nearly impossible.

Messing : He will give you a description of his actions and results and appeal to members of the audience to lower the odds to set him free, by your gracious pledges to $1,000 a piece. As of now he has no pledges or donations. Guards, remove his mouth bandage.

Stuttering Monster : The guards comply.

Thompson (stuttering) : Ladies and gentlemen, I appeal to you and your compassion that I might have a chance to be freed from my captivity. Henrietta Malcolm was a member of a white racist group called the Vanguards of Truth or THOTH. These very elite rich people used their wealth to twist the assassination of Ms. Malcolm as a crime of compassion. And furthermore I am not guilty of this crime. I was framed by the bigwigs in the quasi- political party, THOTH whose soul purpose is to see a minor ancient Egyptian demi-god whom they worship with human infant sacrifice to be the national and eventually global new world order.

Messing : Silence him! This is just a reiteration of indictment hearing that most of you are well aware. There is no group or organization called the Vanguards of Truth or THOTH, secret or otherwise; however there are fanatics and heart-broken ex-lovers such as Thompson. He could describe the murder weapon. A rather sophisticated M203 Grenade Launcher was found in the hedge past the stores about 700 feet away from the killing. The 40-mm grenade launcher, in case you are interested, is a lightweight, single-shot, breech-loaded, pump action (sliding barrel), shoulder-fired weapon attached to either an M16A1 or and M16A2 rifle. See the middle insert of the accompanying Playbill beginning with “The digital shows the weapon characteristics…”

The digital shows the weapon characteristics…

Weapon: Length of rifle and grenade

launcher (overall)……………………..99 centimeters (39 inches)

Length of barrel only…………………30.5 centimeters (12 inches)

Weight of launcher unloaded………….about 1.4 kilograms (3 pounds)

Weight of launcher laoded………….about 1.6 kilograms (3.5 pounds)

Weight of rifle and grenade launcher fully loaded………………..about 5 kilograms (11 pounds)

Length of rifling…………………….25.4 centimeters (10 inches)



Weight………………………………..about 227 grams (8 ounces)

Operational Characteristics:

Action………………………….pump (sliding barrel) single shot

Sights………………………………………………leaf sight quadrant sight

Chamber pressure……………..2,461 kilograms per square centimeter (35,000 pounds per square inch)

Muzzle velocity……………………76 meters (250 feet) per second

Maximum range……………………….about 400 meters (1,312 feet)

Maximum effective range……………………..150 meters (492 feet) (vehicle or weapon point target)

Minimum safe firing rage (HE):

Training…………………………………..165 meters (541 feet)

Combat……………………………………..31 meters (102 feet)

Minimum arming range………………14 to 38 meters (46 to 125 feet)

Rate of fire…………………………….5 to 7 rounds per minute

Minimum combat load…………………………………36 HE rounds

Stuttering Monster : The preceding is taken from the Army Correspondence Course Program, subcourse IN 1031, ‘M203 Grenade Launcher’, Fort Benning Georgia.

Messing : Thompson was involved in the 1990 Gulf War in Field Artillery. He is fully aware of many types of weapons such as the one described above and was in sound mind, albeit tinged with rage and jealousy that brought him to perform this deadly act. Because of President Hunt’s vision, we no longer have such a long appeal process for people on death row and instead use the fate-oriented procedure to resolve the situation. The plethora of efficacy that this procedure offers us relieves us of the onus of human decision making and instead his arbitrary spin of a STUTTERING MONSTER wheel is akin to the arbitrary flow of sperm down the fallopian tube to win the race of egg fertilization. Inotherwords, society forgives the stutterer if the chances of him getting the right numbers relinquishes him from any heinous accusation.

Person from audience : Also, according to the court documentation, Mr. Thompson is an alcoholic who only drinks at 5:00 A.M. Sunday mornings. So let’s spin that big wheel of fate…

Stuttering Monster : Thompson is released from the grip of the two guards who hold him fast since he was silenced by Messing. They keep him gagged, however. He walks truculently thinking of the aphorism…

Thompson (stuttering) : It is a shame for a wise man to be praised by fools.

William : But since he is being slandered he must conclude these people are not wise.

Messing : O.K., Mr. Thompson, it is time to go to the STUTTERING MONSTER wheel.

Stuttering Monster : Thompson glibly spins the STUTTERING MONSTER wheel. A recording with the clicking or snapping action of a Roullete wheel is heard.


Messing : Too bad! Red has come up. You must spin again. We won’t be allowed to put you to death at midnight.


Messing : Interesting, an odd number came up, (black on this wheel). Spin again.


Messing : The number 55 came up. Spin again.


Stuttering Monster : In the middle of the spinning Mr. Messing speaks.


Messing : Guard, temporally remove Mr. Thompson gag to find out what number he wants to pick off the wheel.

Thompson (stuttering) : 66.

Messing : That’ll be fine. Now, gag him again. Spin the wheel.


Messing : 66. You continue and cannot be executed at midnight tonight, another year is dropped from your life sentence bringing it to 97. Now guards, remove his gag again. What number do you select?

Thompson (stuttering) 55.

Messing : Fine. Gag him and spin again.


Messing : 5, on the opposite side of 55. (Pause) Audience, he cannot buy his freedom through his monetary efforts, but must have sponsors and a promulgator must pay a thousand dollars a number and he cannot have more than 49 sponsors, for it would make it better than half the odds that he could walk free, based on eleemosynary goodwill alone. Do I have 49 sponsors? Keep in mind, if none are found he dies tonight.

Stuttering Monster : Messing gazes upon the well attired audience. The heads of the people start turning looking all around if any would be pledging to try to let this man walk away.

Guard 1 : Would you pledge $1,000 to keep him alive?

Guard 2 : And even if you did, would it make a difference?

Guard 1 : Would your magnamimousity change the events that would take place.

Guard 2 : Would it really matter?

Guard 1 : And to what extent would it matter?

Stuttering Monster : Slowly hands started raising until a total of 49 are found.

Messing : Ushers, present the yellow pledge cards to these people who are to report to the courtesy desk upon leaving. If less than 49 are received he will be executed tonight. Spin.


Mr. X: Ladies and Gentlemen. Coincidentally, the above is an entirely fictitious account and has no reality or relation whatsoever to any event or person living or dead. But you can be sure that if you learned anything today, that the wishes to congratulate you as he has decided to dedicate the production to John O’Brien, Steven Chu and their families that we may consider stuttering like other human disabilities can strike you down and those around you or be a very private struggle that you wage within yourself throughout your life like Thompson. This chronic condition, of which the playwright has been afflicted with since childhood, is his STUTTERING MONSTER.

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