I woke up in a strange place

By Marc Heiden, since 1997.
See also: a novel about a monkey.

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February 27, 2002

I had an idea for a good mysterious scrap of paper to be left behind by vanished settlers at a distant outpost. It will either have to be in Antarctica or outer space, since that vanished settler shit doesn't really fly in Naperville, but, okay, the settlers have been dropped off and left to put their settlement together, and the main ship heads back for supplies. It returns to check on them a year later, and they are all gone, vanished without a trace - except one scrap of paper, or perhaps one piece of writing on a wall:

we haue receivd strange and divers cookies

And then the mystery about where they got off to is never solved. Puts Roanoke to shame, I think. I received some strange cookies yesterday, so I was thinking about that.

Some people have been asking when I am going to get my monkey football team off the ground. I bought a GameCube with my income tax refund, and I bought a pair of sports games (Madden Football and FIFA Soccer) with the intention of using the Create-A-Player feature to assemble entire teams of monkeys to dominate the sports world. (I checked both of the manuals, and there is nothing in the rule book that says I can't have an orangutan playing goalie.) My plan has been carefully drawn and has a number of stages that will ensure its success. I am trying to get better at both of the games so the monkeys won't lose all the time and get discouraged. I think I am ready to move forward with the monkey soccer team first. (There are still some lingering questions about who will play what position on the football team.) I am leaning toward entering them in the English Premier League first, although I may have them beat up on the American MLS first. I'm not sure. Anyhow, leading a team of monkeys to victory in the World Cup is a much better and more satisfying goal than my previous ones regarding writing and performing, so I have reoriented my efforts in that direction.

Parents should dream of their children's disillusionment being as elegant as mine.

Here are a pair of topical linky-links: Evidently, Irvine Welsh is doing a free reading and DJ session at the Metro on Thursday. I might go to that, if I don't get too wrapped up in the monkey soccer issue. Also, I should note that the band Cornershop released a new single entitled "Lessons Learned From Rocky I to Rocky III". I haven't heard the song, but I'm humming it, if you know what I mean.

Here are a few new plays starring the ever-popular CHARACTER and his friend / enemy, INTERVIEWER:


Glaring at each other, the CHARACTER and the INTERVIEWER head in separate directions: One to the dinner buffet, and one to the ice cream machine. It is not entirely clear which is which. The CHARACTER exits, his plate full, and the INTERVIEWER is left alone onstage.

INTERVIEWER: I hate that guy.

The INTERVIEWER is consumed by his hatred. This is all ironic and shit, because he's at a buffet.


The INTERVIEWER has turned off his tape recorder. From across the table, he glares angrily at the CHARACTER.

INTERVIEWER: I am tired of talking about your penis.
CHARACTER: My penis is part of me.
INTERVIEWER: I don't deny that, but...
CHARACTER: I'm not about to deny a part of myself. When you ask me questions, I have to answer, as myself. I can't be true to the interview process unless I am myself. Therefore, a proportional percentage of my answers to your questions will be about my cock.
INTERVIEWER: I hate you.
CHARACTER: You're the one asking the damn questions.
INTERVIEWER: Why can't you just be interviewed? God! Yeah, you're playing within the rules, but you're using a technicality as a cheap excuse to talk about your penis. How would you feel if I just used questions from cock-rock song lyrics to do the interview?
CHARACTER: Go right ahead.
INTERVIEWER: Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.
CHARACTER: That's not even a question.
INTERVIEWER: I want to know where love is. I want you to show-ow me.
CHARACTER: Ha! You have fallen right into my trap! I can work mention of my penis into that answer very easily!
INTERVIEWER: (to himself) I must do better. I have it! (looks up) If you choose not to decide, have you still made a choice?
CHARACTER: Well, my cock...Wait! Those are Rush lyrics!
CHARACTER: You have linked Rush and my cock?!?
INTERVIEWER That's my trap for you, motherfucker!
CHARACTER: I am slain.

The CHARACTER is slain.


The interview is going reasonably well to this point. The audience is tense, wondering how long the tenuous peace between the INTERVIEWER and the CHARACTER can last.

INTERVIEWER: Have you been eating enough potatoes?
CHARACTER: Oh, sure. I have french fries, tater tots, mashed potatoes. What was once a glaring hole in my diet has become one of the strong points, really.
INTERVIEWER: That's great to hear.

The audience gasps, surprised that the INTERVIEWER's response did not incorporate the word 'motherfucker'.

INTERVIEWER: And what do you have there?
CHARACTER: This is a potato gun.
INTERVIEWER: Oh, neat. Like in high school science classes.
CHARACTER: Yep. I made one for myself.
INTERVIEWER: What do you do with it?
CHARACTER: Well, it's a potato gun...
CHARACTER: I shoot potatoes with it.
INTERVIEWER: That is the stupidest shit I have ever heard.

The audience erupts in cheers, finally getting the friction they came to see.

CHARACTER: Fuck you, it's stupid. Maybe you never heard of a little thing called the Irish Potato Famine.
CHARACTER: I shoot the damn potatoes because I remember the Irish Potato Famine and I don't intend to let it happen again. I shoot the potatoes dead!
INTERVIEWER: I am so fucking tired of interviewing you. I hate you more than poop on toast.

A generation passes, and the INTERVIEWER dies of the Irish Potato Famine. Now, it is the INTERVIEWER who looks foolish, not the CHARACTER. But then, we are forced to consider that the CHARACTER is alone in a universe with a god that has a really faulty understanding of history, and suddenly, the CHARACTER seems to be the real fool. The audience considers the issues and becomes remarkably enlightened, much more so than all of the other audiences at the other plays, who come to appear moronic by comparison.

I woke up in a strange place is the work of Marc Heiden, born in 1978, author of two books (Chicago, Hiroshima) and some plays, and an occasional photographer.

Often discussed:

Antarctica, Beelzetron, Books, Chicago, College, Communism, Food, Internet, Japan, Manute Bol, Monkeys and Apes, North Korea, Oregon Trail, Outer Space, Panda Porn, Politics, RabbiTech, Shakespeare, Sports, Texas.


January 2012, December 2011, January 2011, September 2010, August 2010, June 2010, March 2010, October 2009, February 2009, January 2009, September 2008, August 2008, March 2008, February 2008, October 2007, July 2007, June 2007, January 2007, September 2006, July 2006, June 2006, January 2006, December 2005, September 2005, August 2005, July 2005, June 2005, May 2005, March 2005, February 2005, January 2005, December 2004, October 2004, July 2004, June 2004, May 2004, April 2004, February 2004, January 2004, December 2003, November 2003, October 2003, September 2003, August 2003, July 2003, June 2003, May 2003, April 2003, March 2003, February 2003, January 2003, December 2002, November 2002, October 2002, September 2002, August 2002, July 2002, June 2002, May 2002, April 2002, March 2002, February 2002, January 2002, December 2001, November 2001, October 2001, September 2001, August 2001, July 2001, December 1999, November 1999, October 1999, May 1999, February 1999, January 1999, December 1998, November 1998, October 1998, June 1998, May 1998, April 1998, March 1998, February 1998, December 1997, November 1997, October 1997, September 1997, and the uncategorised wilderness of the Beelzetron era: 010622 - 010619, 010615 - 010611, 010608 - 010604, 010601 - 010529, 010525 - 010521, 010518 - 010514, 010511 - 010507, 010504 - 010430, 010427 - 010423, 010420 - 010416, 010413 - 010409, 010406 - 010402, 010330 - 010326, 010323 - 010319, 010316 - 010312, 010309 - 010307, 019223 - 010219, 010216 - 010212, 010209 - 010205, 010202 - 010109, 010126 - 010122, 010119 - 010115, 010112 - 010108, 010105 - 010102, 001229 - 001224, 001222 - 001218, 001215 - 001211, 001208 - 001204, 001201 - 001124, 001124 - 001120, 001117 - 001113, 001110 - 001106, 001103 - 001030, 001027 - 001023, 001020 - 001016, 001013 - 001010, 001006 - 000927.

Written by Marc Heiden, 1997-2011.