Monday, February 25, 2008


Ralphie Returns

It had been a slow night at Cinnabar, with the usual customer crap cut in about half. Cubby still pinched my ass when I strode by with the liquid relief that the customers demanded, but Eddie Outlaw and Wimpy Whatshisface were somewhere else, so I didn't have to listen to their comments on my body parts, remarks which felt as grimy and sweaty as Cubby's hands. Still, I was glad when my shift ended and I stepped clear of the haze of booze and the clack of the pool cues. I was ready for a hot bath and a good night's sleep.

The employee entrance is on an alley, a location that I've never liked. Sid insists that we use it, and I'm no boat rocker, so out into the cool night I went, hoping for the best.

I recognized him right away, even though the light on him was dim. It was that attitude. I could see the defiant slouch and know without a doubt who he was. He could even make a leather jacket look rumpled.

"What are you doing here?" I asked Ralphie, brushing aside the kiss he tried to plant on me. "It's been years."

Ralphie just grinned and shrugged. "Here and there," he said.

"Not a phone call, not a webcast. Not even a postcard." I tried to jab my finger into his chest without touching him. "Well?"

"C'mere, Baby," he said, reaching for me again. "I'm running for President."

"President of what?" I jeered. "How about just running for King Shit? That's who you really think you are."

"Come on, Baby," he said as he gripped my wrist. "You know there's nobody else who can do what I can do."

"You're hurting me," I said to him. He let go. "Anyway, I'm not sure what you can do. The Pinto is history."

"That's right," Ralphie said proudly. "You won't find that death-trap on the highway, and it's because of Me."

"That was 40 years ago. How would you get Iraq off the highway?" I said, pushing that invisible finger into the general direction of his chestlessness again. "How would you get health care on the highway? And where the hell have you been?"

"Now Doll," he began, but I shushed him. He leaned into me and tried to kiss me again. He kissed air.

"You really think you can waltz in here and claim me after four... no, make that eight years, of zilch," I said, annoyed, not only with him, but with myself, too. What the hell sort of pheromones was I giving off, anyway?

"Dennis is gone, Sugar," Ralphie crooned. "So is John. That leaves just You and Me." He tried to lift my chin.

"I... I've been seeing someone else. Actually, I have been seeing two other people. One is a woman," I added defiantly. "The other is black. They're both a lot younger than you. I'm choosing between a good scrap and a shitload of hope."

"There's no difference between them and Grandpa McCain," Ralphie jeered. "Not a bit. Besides, I can make you laugh."

"Don't make me laugh," I returned. "You aren't funny anymore. And you sure as hell aren't relevant. And as for them all being the same--obviously you weren't around for the last two Supreme Court nominations."

"Come on, Doll," he tried to coax me. "Voting for me will make you feel good about yourself. It'll be a vote against big corporations. It'll be you and me again, standing tall against the corporate world. Nader's Raiders in the White House!"

"The only thing you've raided recently is the refrigerator," I said crossly, pushing him aside. "Now let me get on with my sad little life. Why don't you and Huckabee go play Chicken somewhere? And by the way... rumpled is so over."

"You'll never find anybody like me, Baby," Ralphie called after me, but I didn't turn back.

Except it was the Corvair.
You're right about the Corvair being the focus of a chapter of UNSAFE AT ANY SPEED, but Ralphie jumped in on the Pinto and its fabulous exploding gas tank, too.

The glory days!
True enough.
He was thankful that the Pinto came along in the 70's to bolster his sagging revenues from the 60's.
But we can both agree, he peaked with the Pinto and it's all been downhill ever since.
Bravo! I love this play. Ralph Redux~ not goin' anywhere. Ahh but he'll huff & puff, but will he blow the democratic house down?
2.7 % of the vote in 2000
0.3% in 2004
What's the deal with that handbasket?
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