Manhattan Monologue


Joel: a student
Mr. Fles: a middle-aged man

The scene is set in Manhattan

The two of them are crossing Eighth Avenue and enter Central Park.
They walk next to each other in perfect silence. Then, all of a sudden, Mr. Fles starts talking.

Mr. Fles: I been watching you for quite a while now, boy. And for the devil’s sake you really know how to be a fucking pain in the ass. I mean look at all these fucking situations: you meet her in the fucking subway and don’t dare to talk. As if the two of you just met by chance. I mean fuck this, even if you did it doesn’t matter, does it?
Or else consider sitting in this goddamn class, talkin’ about art and shit and you´re just all wet underneath your armpits.
My gosh, this façade is just as solid as the WTC building…

Joel: Well,…

Mr. Fles: Listen, boy. I got another example for you. Remember walking down 42nd street?! Don’t look at me like that, I mean, why the fuck are you wearing those boots then? You’re not compelled to do it, are you?
Looking down at those points all the time, you just invert the effect, you know?

Joel: Well, I guess you’re right, Mr. Fles. I just can’t help it, I guess.

Mr. Fles: O.K., boy, let me tell ya something. It’s your own fault. You fucked yourself in the ass all right, you see. You should have stayed at home and watched TV. That is, at least, what I recommend.

Joel: Maybe you’re right, Mr.

Mr. Fles: Yeah, just staying in your hometown, having a frustrated drink once in a while, well, it ain’t that bad. At least you avoid being so… pathetic.

They make way for an approaching jogger. Joel straightens up as they continue walking side
by side.

Joel: (Pause) I don’t know, I think, I wouldn’t want to turn back time, though.
I figure it’s just the way it has to be…

Mr. Fles: What do you mean, kiddo? ‘Course ya can’t turn back time. Doesn’t mean you’re on the right track though, boy. What fucking good has it done to you so far? You are solitary, you are broke, and you have blue balls.
No state I would fuckin’ voluntarily choose!

Joel: I guess I wouldn’t have met you, though… I mean otherwise I’d be walking next to my grandfather, my prom date, or most probably to nobody…

Mr. Fles: Or even worse, to Miss Conscience…

Joel: I guess it’s the right choice, after all.

Mr. Fles: Don’t jump to decisions, buddy. I fear you don’t know who you’re dealing with. I must warn you for I definitely got a lot more abrasive surprises for you. The further you dig, the more fucked up you get!

Joel: Whatever, Mr. Fles. Even if I barely know you, I should like to tell you that I’m glad I made your acquaintance.

Mr. Fles: ho, ho, ho, boy…

Well, I hardly know anything about you. And walking next to a cussing yuppie isn’t exactly one of my favorite businesses, either.
However, I really want to get to know you.
I want to look at you from a different angle, so to speak…

Mr. Fles: Hold on, boy. We’ll see a lot of things, we do not want to see. But let’s take a break here, drink a coffee, and smoke a cigarette.