Last year I had the honour of being a finalist in the annual monologue competition at His Majesty’s Theatre in Perth. You can read my script from last year here.
I submitted a new monologue this year for the theme Modern Gods but alas, didn’t get picked, but no-one else did from last year either by the looks of it. If you’d like to see this year’s competition, it starts at His Maj on Wednesday May 2 and ends on Saturday May 5. Get all the info you need here, and below is my submission for this year. I must say, I struggled a bit with the theme this year. Last year, it came rather easily.
The Cult of Donald
My step brother Donald once tried to start a cult. Actually, he didn’t try; he succeeded. Though I often wonder, how exactly do you measure the success of a cult? By the number of robe clad bodies the police have to put in body bags? Or maybe by the number of successful Hollywood actors who follow your teachings?
Thankfully, Donald didn’t kill anyone, or himself, but he did prove that you don’t need a good education or even a pleasant body odour to amass followers who believe whatever craziness spouts from your mouth. Apparently all you need is a mildly entertaining delusion, and no awareness of personal space.
I was always close with Donald. We first met when he and his Mum moved in with my Dad and I. My Mum ran away with the postman when I was five. He wasn’t our postman, but he was a postman, and he had his own motorbike. Dad was a mess for a while, but it helped us become closer, and forced me to grow up sooner than I wanted to. Eventually he met Sara at a PTA meeting. She was cheery, always spoke too loud and was an excellent cook. She still is actually, and sends me brownies for my birthday every year.
Donald was Sara’s son and, like me, an only child, although he was a year older. Both Dad and Sara were introverts and had no friends or relatives so they had no choice but to bring us along on their dates and put us on a table by ourselves. It explains why I’ve always had a thing for expensive food and older women. Sara moved in after a few months and Donald and I shared a room. He had the top bunk. When we started going to high school, we drifted apart as he was always the sporty, popular type and I became the “stay indoors and read fantasy novels” type.
You know what they say about James Bond? How, “men want to be him, and women want to be with him.” Donald lived that. I don’t know how. I mean, we weren’t that different growing up, but as soon as he hit puberty, he left me in his dust. I was discarded like an imaginary friend from childhood. We still talked, sometimes, but as we hit our teens, our worlds just became so different, and that’s when I noticed that Donald’s world wasn’t just different from mine, but from every sane person’s in the galaxy. His wild ponderings would make Nicolas Cage blush.
It started innocently enough, much like owning tigers as pets, and DIY electrical repairs, do. Donald used to hide porno mags, under my mattress I might add, and began communicating mainly through grunts. I just thought he was embracing puberty like a long lost friend, but then he started to get…weird. His Mum wasn’t exactly normal though. She had this fetish about wearing something blue at all times, and she never shaved her legs. Or armpits. Or upper lip. Dad saw past all that, as that’s what love does. It blurs the edges of reality until you forget what it looks like.
Donald’s strange behaviour started when he first noticed women. He was dating at twelve and lost his virginity at fourteen. I only remember that because Dad bought him a PlayStation as a prize. Donald stopped playing when I continually beat him at Tekken 3.
His second girlfriend was a year older than me and was originally my maths tutor until she got distracted by Donald and Dad had to fire her. They’d always make out on his bunkbed, and insist that I stay and watch. I must admit that sometimes I did, but only if there wasn’t anything good on TV.
Donald moved out straight after high school and we lost contact for years. I’d hear rumours every now and then. He was working as a stuntman in L.A. He married a ballet dancer and moved to Switzerland. He was in prison for running an insurance scam. All of it seemed believable, but I didn’t find out the truth until two years ago when Donald surprised us all by turning up at Dad and Sara’s house for Christmas. And that’s when I finally managed to get the truth from him, after a few glasses of cheap scotch by the fireplace.
He looked pretty similar to the memories I had of him, with his youthful, cheeky expression, wild hair and a staggering sense of self confidence. However, he now had a fake tan somewhere between brown and orange (what I called brorange) and teeth whiter than an Englishman’s thighs. Not that I have a lot of experience with that, but I did once see Hugh Grant at the beach.
He travelled around the country for years, doing odd jobs like fruit picking, telemarketing, concert security and one month at a funeral home. He never had a house of his own, but slept on people’s couches and more often than not, in loose women’s beds.
The way he explained it sounded like some low budget indie film, with Orlando Bloom playing the part of Donald. You know the type, where everyone’s quirky, people dance in the rain, and the soundtrack is filled with hipster acoustic bands that no-one’s heard of.
Ten minutes into our chat it was pretty obvious that he’d had a lot to say, and I didn’t want to get off the rollercoaster he was describing. He never really asked about me, but there wasn’t much to say. “Failed arts student and currently potential failed political science student. Now, tell me again. How many of these sisters did you sleep with at once?” My life was Mr Bean to his James Dean. It didn’t compare.
He told me had an epiphany one night. Well, that’s the word he was trying to say, but he kept mispronouncing it. It’s the only time I hid my laughter. He used words like, “consumerism,” “post modern” and “financial terrorists” repeatedly. In his mind staples of society like having a mortgage, paying taxes and being gainfully employed were of the devil, and simplicity was heaven sent. It worked out for him though, as the owner of the strawberry farm he was living at at the time died while fixing a fence. He and Donald were very close, so Donald took it upon himself to keep the farm running, and credit to him, he managed to do it apparently, with a few changes. The first one was to replace the current staff, and being on a major road in country Victoria, it was always a popular destination for backpackers.
All the people that worked with him now had one thing in common. Or two things really. Yep, they were all women. The farm was the Amish version of the Playboy Mansion. Making the most of his charm, he began to build his little empire, and with no boss, or parental supervision present, his mad cravings for power roamed free. He had so much free time and surrounded by sunshine, bikini clad strawberry merchants and generous doses of marijuana his imagination kicked into overdrive. He was intent on creating a new way of living and sharing it with the world.
Donald believed in his grand delusions so much that he legally changed his name to “Donal.” He just dropped the “d” and told people that “Donal” meant, “Seed of the dragon,” in Gaelic. It didn’t. However, I can tell you that Donal was the seventh most popular name for boys during the winter of 1840, and that the rough translation of Donal is, “one whose face resembles a potato.”
At the height of his powers, it seemed he was a curious creature. You know that horror movie from the ‘80s, The Fly? It’s where Jeff Goldblum and a fly get into a transporter chamber and their DNA is mixed, so Mr Goldblum becomes a rather gross human fly. Imagine the same scenario but with a hippy ‘musician’, a 50s revival preacher, a B grade movie actor of the Steve Guttenberg ilk and a game show host all crammed into a transporter. The result, with a strange scent of forest berries, would be Donal. He was more magnetic than Ian McKellen in the X-Men movies. People were just attracted to him, or at least unemployed girls with low self esteem were.
You know how you sometimes see hot girls with ugly guys? That’d be Donal, if he could stick to one girl, that is. Usually in such partnerships the guy is either rich, has a great sense of humour or is well hung, or all of the above. I believe the ladies call that a “hubby hat trick.” Donal was none of those (yes, I did see him in the change rooms when we were 11 so I can only assume that like me, nothing’s changed since puberty) but he had charisma oozing from him, like a jam donut that someone stepped on.
In the eyes of the few dozen women at the farm, he was cooler than an ice sculpture in the shape of Ryan Gosling. Yes, that cool. He had this habit of assigning tasks on the farm by reading their aura, kind of like the sorting hat in Harry Potter. He showed me photos of the girls and told me what they did though and I can tell you there was no metaphysical discernment. As far as I could tell, the skinny ones rotated sleeping with and/or bathing him, while the more…rotund ones did all the manual labour.
He even wrote a book. Well it wasn’t a book in the traditional sense. Even the term, “pamphlet” would be a generous description. It consisted of 16 black and white pages which he photocopied at the chemist he sometimes worked at. It had the unlikely name of, “The Complete Guide to Understanding Oneness.” The title in itself was a giveaway as to the authority of the argument, as he misspelled both understanding and oneness.
Three months later he published, “The Complete Guide to Understanding Part 2”, which obviously raised doubts about the ‘completeness’ of the first volume. The second volume was more of the same, with everything having capital letters, but it also included five pages on how to interpret dreams, and a whopping sixteen pages of his artistic renderings of the history of the universe, which consisted of more naked female aliens than a Captain Kirk wet dream. Most of the drawings looked like the results of a whisky fuelled Pictionary night, though I must say his likeness of breasts would rival the great Runbinesque artists. He tried to sell his books to every local bookstore he could find, but was faced with the response that is familiar to all of us, but not to Donal at that point – rejection, and humiliation. He then set up a strawberry stall at the market and, using his girls as bait, managed to draw in many customers, and many more wives who were angry at said customers. He unloaded a few of his books that way tough. Even barefoot cult leaders know that sex sells.
He held weekend services for months where he’d sit in a tree and spout whatever nonsense came into his mind from the previous night’s drug fuelled love-in. From what I can gather, usually it involved working on your tan naked, so to get more of the Sun’s harmonic energy inside your body, and trying to interpret the secret language of trees. It all seemed harmless, and amusing, enough.
I was more interested in how he got so many women to sleep with him rather than his chaotic philosophies. I could never do it. The only technique that I found useful was pity, begging, booze or money. Or all of the above, but Donal was a natural.
His trick was that in every conversation with a woman, he’d tell them he had a cute birthmark in the shape of a baby unicorn. He doesn’t, but he later gave himself a tattoo of one with a ballpoint pen just below his belly button. I got to admit, that was a great idea, as he’d always reveal it to girls before somehow successfully seducing them. Now if he wrote a book, or pamphlet, about that, I’d be all over it.
Donal spent almost a year at his farm, making strawberries and love, though not at the same time I’d imagine, but like all fantasies, it had to end. It was more of a whimper rather than a dodgy TV expose or shootout with local law enforcement however.
A jealous ex-boyfriend of one of his “Don Dolls” as he called them tried to burn the farm down. So with fear being a greater motivator than the combined powers of lust and pride, he left his dream and shuffled back to reality.
We still catch up occasionally. In fact the last time, I gave him some advice, and surprisingly, he took it.
He’s already got a haircut, a nice suit and a fake resume. He left for Canberra a month ago.
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