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A man, mid-20s, walks into the center of the void. He pans his gaze, left to right. Satisfied that he has the audience's attention, he begins with a fervor.

MAN:  Have you ever experienced pain? I mean, real, true, life-shattering pain? Pain that not only makes you question who you are, but why you continue to exist despite the unwelcome sensation of anguish that you are doomed to live with for the rest of your days? Well I have. Let me tell you my story.

I was a soldier once. I pledged my life to serve my country. In that pledge, I gave my all: Mind, body and soul. Throughout the years of service, I saw my friends die, my girlfriend leave me for my brother -- who is way uglier than I am, I should mention. I swear, the guy couldn't help but build a tree house made out of ugly sticks, he's that fuck ugly. … Anyway. *pause* She's a cunt.

I also saw a kid get blown up. And, you know, that changes a man. Makes him see how fragile life is and all that shit. Just one minute you're sitting there, minding your own business, then you're watching your legs go one way and your arms another -- KABLOOEY! I went through six weeks of boot camp, and before then? I was running a mile a day every day for about a month. I mean, PAIN has been my life for the past several YEARS, so I can tell you, I know a thing or two about it.

You know that quote from that movie, Princess Bride, "Life IS pain -- anyone who says differently is selling something?" Yeah, I ain't selling something. I'm telling you exactly that. Life IS pain. And I'll tell you something else, too… Sometimes it's not about those big pains I've been telling you about. Sometimes, the most devastating thing in the world is a goddamn hangnail.

I was sitting at a coffee shop the other day, looking through the want ads, trying to get some scope on my life. Without even realizing what I'm doing, I'm playing with this goddamn hangnail on the left side of my thumb. It's no ordinary hangnail -- oh no. This is a MASSIVE fucking hangnail. It could've easily hung on my thumb for the rest of the DAY even, I'm not joking. Serious business, that hangnail had with me. Like a hangman's noose, y'know? Dangling, waiting for me to be the one to pull on it.

It's the ultimate temptation, a hangnail. You see it there, and you're thinking, "Hey, that hangnail's not so big a deal. It'll just come right off when I pull on it." You're fucking with yourself if you're thinking otherwise. You cocky sonofabitch. So, you pull on it a little bit, and then the STINGING. That goddamn fucking STINGING sensation comes in. You're like, "SHIT, I DONE IT NOW." And yeah you did. You fucking did it, you dumb motherfucker. Pain sensors going to your brain, telling you to stop, but you CAN'T fucking stop, can you? NOOO, can't just leave well alone. Gotta keep on pulling until you rip that little bitch off. And what happens then? You start BLEEDING.

Your LIFE'S BLOOD is oozing out of your thumb now. That's right. It's full of shit that you need to live -- maybe it's got some vitamins or some other shit that won't be going to the right organs. Maybe that blood was going to go to your brain and give you that little bit of oxygen that sparks an idea and makes you filthy stinking rich, and NOW YOU WON'T GET IT, because it's running down your thumbnail.

That's pain, my friends.

My first contribution to #House-of-Playwrights prompt. I plan on attempting all four prompts this week, but since I haven't WRITTEN in about five years, here's a first draft of a monologue for a gentleman discussing the definition of pain... as a hangnail.

<> Theme Three:
Exaggerating the devastation of a hangnail
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birdofj Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2011
:lol: This was great! I only switched/dropped a couple of words when I read it aloud, so I say it reads quite well. :thumbsup:
ACitizenoftheWorld Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2011
Thank you very much!
Same-side Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2011   Writer
The hangnail bit's the best part! Perhaps, work a little on the transition between the girlfriend and the blown-up guy - either smooth it out, or make the switch even more sudden. Right now, it's a little sloggy.
ACitizenoftheWorld Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2011
Yeah, I wasn't 100% sure on that transition, but thanks! I had a lot of fun once I got to the hangnail bit.
Same-side Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2011   Writer
Good luck!
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