Monologues for Men
(free for students & auditions)

seventeen monologues from

By G. L. Horton
copyright © 2000 Geralyn Horton

In 1977, the MBTA put in place an Affirmative Action program, and hired Lady Operators for the first time in the transit company's 100 year history. Some of these monologues are reactions of the workers and passengers tto the presence of women on the job. Others are the stories that are part of the "T Culture", regularly passed on to rookies. Note that the "T" circa 1970's models its uniform-wearing ethos on that of the military or the police.


INSTRUCTOR: A good job
Men, when your numbers were drawn in that lottery, you won your self a good job. Uh... Ladies too, of course. In terms of wages and benefits and job security, there's no better outfit to work for. But we expect a professional attitude: no booze, no drugs, no cursing the passengers....and we won't tolerate lateness or absenteeism...When that bus or train goes out on schedule, you better be on it. If you're not, you're off the payroll. You stay off until that bus comes back and you can take over - five minutes late can cost you half a day's pay: and the third time you're late you'll get a week's suspension. As for your social life gentlemen, forget it. You're going to be working holidays, nights, and week-ends, and you're not due to get a day off until the year after next. Your wife'll be pretty upset when she realizes how little her and the kids are going to be seeing of you. But she'll brighten up considerable when she looks at the size of your paycheck....she'll be proud that you wear that uniform. Which reminds me....get down to Allied and get your uniform as soon as possible. We don't want the passengers to see you in civies and think that you stole the bus! Girls..uh....we're working on a uniform for you. We know we can't fit you, women are shaped different from men....but, do the best you can, O.K.?

INSTRUCTOR: Don't try too hard
Don't try too hard to collect the fare. Especially where you're going to be working. Keep your eyes straight ahead and don't notice what they put in the farebox-- pennies, matches, chewing gum-- sometimes they dare you to say something, but you just bite your tongue. If you get into trouble the company won't back you up. They don't want to have to pay workman's comp on you 'cause you got knifed trying to collect a fare. For every quarter the customer puts in the box, the taxpayer puts in seventy- five cents anyway. Some of those dudes over there, it's a lot cheaper for the taxpayers to haul them around for free than pay to keep 'em in jail. Just don't get 'em stirred up, OK? You're going to hear a lot of scare stories from the guys, but take em with a grain of salt. We've got men who've driven the Blue Hill Avenue for years and never had a bit of trouble. Nobody knows yet how those people are going to react to having ladies for drivers, but I got a theory they're gonna give you girls less hassle than they give the men. What'd they be trying to prove, they're tougher than ladies? There's one driver they beat up three times this year--- but you can't tell me that he wasn't asking for it.

INSTRUCTOR: Bopping Bobbi
You see that girl over there, in the tight pants? Woman, I guess: she's been around too long to be a girl, now. That's Bobbi. She has this thing for bus drivers. She hangs around the yard here, waiting for a driver to take her out back in a bus. When they first told me about Bobbi, I thought it was a joke. I mean I'd heard about girls who were that way about police; but there's a screwy kind of sense to that, you know? A cop's a hero, a big man with a gun - but a bus driver? Old ones, fat ones, Bobbi doesn't care: it's the uniform she's after. She used to wait for me on my 2:15 trip. I'd say, "Hey, I'm a married man!" Sometimes it makes you wonder, though. Suppose a driver really liked her: asked her out on a date, took her to a motel. Once he got his clothes off, would she lose interest? Anyway, I tell the guys I break in not to take advantage of her, 'cause she's sick in the head. But the funny thing is, there's always been one. Before this Bobbi here, there was old Joan, and another one before her. Guess it goes back as long as there's been busses.

INSTRUCTOR: Your trolley is a different kind of animal
Now your trolley is a different kind of animal entirely from your bus.The habits you learned with a private automobile aren't going to help you here. You have to brake sooner, and you can't swerve to get out of the way. Understand, it's steel on steel. A heavy snow or rain, that's fine, the rail's clean; but a drizzle rain, or even some mist, and the oil on the rail forms a coat, giving you what we call a Black Rail Condition. The car just takes off, and the brakes have no effect at all. It's like a sled, or an ice skate on a pond. Lose it at the top of Summit hill, you'll slide all the way to Harvard Ave, clanging your bell and saying your prayers!

INSTRUCTOR: a scenic route
Now this Riverside line is what you call a scenic route. There's a lot of wildlife in through here. You'll see some of them laying on the tracks. At night the headlights seem to blind them, and they give up their little lives. This area here we call the Newton Riviera. We tell the new men to go nice and slow through this section, because some of the young ladies of Newton have been known to go bathing here and to leave their suits at home. Eyes right, gentlemen! Coming up next is one of our finer golf courses. Look at those velvet greens. Look close, now. See that golf ball? Right there, to the left of the inbound track. I want you to take note of that spot, because on the way back we're going to pull up the train and get that golf ball. I've got a good use for it come the weekend.

TRAILERMAN (up from a nap) I been nowhere
Wha? Huh? Oh, yeah! We've got a great bunch of guys in this barn. I've been on here for 33 years, and these men are like a family to me. Just last week I was pallbearer for Buddy Doyle, sweetest man you'd ever want to know. What a tenor voice he had ! He sang at all the weddings: him and Arnie used to be the barn captain, they had a band. ..33 years ago, he broke me in. If I could just get back to driving... The guys tease me. They say, enjoy your seniority, the trailer's for catching up on your rest. Ha! Catch you asleep in the old days, the boys'd give you a hotfoot! Naw, the trailer man is just out of it back there. They told me to get off the weight, lower my blood pressure. I did all that, but they still disqualified me. Claimed I had a heart attack! I got three doctors to tell them they're wrong, but they still won't let me pilot. The young guys say they want to ride in the back, it's like a vacation-- But it's not. It's nowhere. Yeah, yeah, be right with you. Six years, I been nowhere.

TROLLEY DRIVER WHOOPS #1: Can't Bluff the Blind
A couple of years ago I had a three car Comm. Ave. train and I was rolling through the subway, thinking about who-knows-what, girls probably, and I come to the switch outside Kenmore, da-da--da-da--click-click-zing! and I'm on the outside Beacon rail. How the hell did that happen? I had to have thrown the switch, but I sure don't remember doing it. OK, save face: I announce to the passengers "This train is disabled. I'm taking it out Beacon to the yard. Everybody change." I give my trailermen the sign and they keep one eye out for the starter as all the people pile out. The last one out is a blind woman, and as she goes by me she gives me a little smile and whispers,  "Missed the switch, didn't you dear?"  I sign up NO STOPS, run straight out Beacon through the yard over the switch and up Chestnut Hill to B.C. in time for my next trip. Nobody knows a thing about it - except that blind woman, and she still giggles whenever she figures out that I'm her driver.

STARTER WHOOPS #2: They had to make me a starter
They had to make me a starter. I started to have so many accidents the company had to get me off the street. I was going around the loop at Heath St. by the hospital first thing in the morning. There was ice on the tracks and when I went for the brake I realized I wasn't going to be able to stop. There's a Toyota with a nurse in it heading right for me and all I can do is keep pumping the brakes and bang that gong and hope the lady in the car will realize that I'm sliding. She realizes it all right, but it's too late: you should have seen the expression on her face! She was a great big black woman with a little white nurse's cap on, sitting in her little yellow Toyota, and I lifted her right up in the air and set her back down.
Another time on the Arborway line where it turns at South Huntington, there's that stripe painted on the side of the track... I thought it showed the overhang of the tolley... I guess that's what it's supposed to show, but at the corner there the guy with the paint must've stopped in for a couple of beers, cause I followed that stripe down past a car to make the turn, and my drawbar just went rrrrrip right down the side of that automobile. Brand new car, and I opened it up just like a can opener! A couple of weeks later I was driving along and I had the Inspector on board, and I'm telling him about it...  "Yeah, right up here's where I hit that guy, yeah, funniest thing," and I'm talking away to him and rrrrrip!! I look down and damned if I haven't done it again!

DIMMIE LEGEND: All time worst employee
One time Dimmie's shifting a car from the B.C. house down the hill, three in a row, he's bringing up the rear. All day he's been doing trailers, so he forgets he's the one driving and starts reading the paper! Wham! he hits the second car and then wham! slams the second car into his leader. After that one they made him a collector. But all alone in the booth makes him nervous, so like the Dimwit he is, he trips the ADT alarm. Got the starter, Inspector, T cops, Boston's finast, guns drawn, sirens... All Dimmie wanted was to make sure the alarm is working, yuk yuk.

Another time a women turned him in for exposing himself. She said he was sitting there in the booth with his penis in a paper cup. The office called Dimmie in to hear his side of the story, and he said, sure, he had his penis in a paper cup. He's got an infection, the doctor told him "Soak it morning, noon and night"... and it's noon, so he's soaking.

INSTRUCTOR: Homicide (Another Dimmie Legend)  
There's one man still on the property who ran down a work crew. They were using a jackhammer, no flagman, never heard him coming. Killed three of em. Don't you think he'd get away if he could afford it? But he's gonna hang on until he can get the pension. Dimmie, now? He's a different story. I used to wonder how a driver could get back in a bus after he ran over an old lady. But you think that bothered him? While he was waiting for the ambulance he sat on the curb and ate an ice-cream cone! What can you say? This a guy who could run over a man three times! Three times! This man threw himself in front of Dimmie's train at Fenway, right about dusk. A woman saw it and screamed for him to stop, but Dimmie tells her he can't hold up the line, and he keeps right on going. There's blood on his car, blood on the tracks, and the snow at the stop is turning pink. He has to see it, he has to know it's there, but he keeps right on-- he makes two more trips! On the third go-round his follower notices something looks like a bundle of trash, and he gets out to move it off the track. What he finds is a torso.The head's over there, the legs are on the other side, blood's all over. They call in the Dimwit, and he tells them he doesn't know anything-- saw nothing, heard nothing....and they never tried to hang him on it because the police found the guy's suicide note. But Jesus, Dimmie went over that man three times!

You know, I do kind of love this job. Before I got back trouble, I'd done most of the jobs on the MBTA property. Porter, Inspector, Dispatch, ....but this is place to be, behind the glass in this collector's booth. The psychology! The public can get TO you, but they can't get AT you. A great job for people-watching. Rats in a maze. It's an intelligence test. Buy a token, put it in the machine, turn the bar. You'd be surprized how many people flunk it! Never underestimate human stupidity. Look at that guy, now. He can't figure out that you have to PULL the gate. That's right, sir: PUSH HARDER! What a jerk!

Your average woman is a little smarter. It probably comes from centuries of figuring out what their men're up to : but when you work with the public like this you begin to notice: women're a little smarter. And they've got a sense of humor. There's a couple of games I like to play, when I see a woman who looks like she'd enjoy it.
(demonstrates "line" with susceptible woman)
Instead of change for that ten, would you like a gift certificate? Promotional special this week. Nine dollars buys you ten seventy-five cent round trips. But it's only good on the Arborway line.
I don't blame you if you're not interested. Terrible service. Worst line in the system, Arborway. But with this certificate we guarentee a free taxi if the train breaks down between Ruggles and Heath St. But notice, it is Just between Ruggles and Heath St. So I really don't think you should buy one. You don't mind if I give you your change in quarters? Because we're only allowed to give nine dimes on the dollar this week. Inflation. Though I can give you eleven if you'll take Canadian. Did I say Canadian? I meant Comedian.

(The Doodler is wearing a paper bag over his head, whistling "Yankee Doodle". When he takes the bag off his head, the Doodler uses it as a prop, breathing into it or using it as a microphone.) 
This week is Passover, a holiday for the Jews. The Jews are not a numerous people. There are hardly more here now than when they were slaves in Egypt under Pharaoh, when Moses brought them out of bondage: led by, as General Patton says, the God of Battles. This is what Passover is about.

You may think that it is Pharaoh who is evil, or the Nazis, or Hitler. But it's not the Nazis, it's the people sitting right here on this car. The children of America.

At this Passover season I pray, I pray every day, for the God of Battles to break the back of America-- as America broke the back of the great General Patton - yes, broke his back in a so-called car accident! I pray for the Almighty to break America's back, so that it will never rise again.

Destroy them all, O God. America must be destroyed. Even the children, the prophet says, for the children will grow to be a thicket in your eye. Yes, that kid there--- all the children will grow to be a thicket. In the name of all the soldiers who hve died in America's wars, whose bodies are buried here and in foreign lands, I call on the Almighty to destroy this country. Let America perish by fire and sword. (whistles "Yankee Doodle" again)

No, don't give me a transfer. You want to know what you can do with that transfer? I'm not ever gonna transfer to any of your so-called vehicles again! I want my money, and I want my friend's money back. I know you got rules, and it's not your fault and I'm being stupid and petty, but goddam it I've got to take it out on somebody and I'm damned if I'm gonna let you incompetent, inconsiderate, inexcusable bastards keep my quarter! I don't care if I have to stand on the track and block service for another hour. I'm so late now, I'm gonna stay till I get satisfaction!

What? You just mind your business, lady. I'm not bothering anybody. Don't tell me! I don't want to hear it! You think 'cause you got you a job and put on that uniform, you all a sudden somebody. Got to order the people around. You know what you are? You a servant, a civil servant! We ain't your slaves. You suppose to serve the peoples. Give em a job and all them buttons-- all a sudden they a king. This here's democracy, lady! All men are equal; that's what it means. I'm just as good as you, maybe better. I used to be a teacher,you dig that? I taught the arts and sciences. That's an art, teaching the arts and sciences. You try and explain that to the bureaucrats. All they want is to keep the peoples down and raise themselves up. But I'm taking all this down, all of it. I'm writing a report; I'm putting it into poetry so's the peoples will rise up and take back their own. Never you mind about my writings. The white man always tried to keep the Negro away from literacy, but I am a literate man and I know the power of the mighty pen. There's preachin' and then there's teachin' and then there's a rising up. I been down, but I'm going to rise! Don't need to stay with your foot on my neck. You all got to get off'n me, you hear! Hear me now?

They ought to cut out that Walcott-over-the-hill run, at least at night they should. Those kids up there , they're cops' sons, lawyers' sons, politicians', nobody can touch them. After they've been hanging around drinking awhile, one of 'em'll stand out on the corner and when the bus slows down for him the rest of em run out of the bushes. If the driver's black, they throw rocks and beer cans: if it's a white girl they line up in front of the bus with their pants down and wave their peckers at her.

I loved it after the blizzard of '78. It was like back in my old home town. Whole streets getting together to dig out. Nobody seemed to be in a hurry: - there wasn't any work to go to! I did worry a bit about getting food, but my neighbor came over and offered me some of hers, and by the time that was gone some of the busses were running. I walked very carefully along the edge of the road. While we were waiting at the stop one of the college kids started singing a Christmas carol, just joking...
"Deck us all with Boston Charlie Walla Walla Wash and Kallamazoo"
Pretty soon the others join in
"Nora's trailing on the Trolley.. fa la la la la la la la la"
And there were Skiers. Did you ever think in the middle of town there'd be skiers? Skiers and busses, that's all there was. In the center of town it's winter wonderland. Trees like Xmas cards, just big sculpture mounds where are the cars are buried. People laughing and rolling snowballs, pulling their little kids on sleds down the middle of Boylston St! Where'd the sleds come from? Where'd the kids come from? Downtown, frowntown, hundreds of strangers talking and smiling and celebrating--- they'd survived. When I walked out to get a paper, it wasn't headlines of war and robberies, but pictures of people like me walking out though towering tunnels of snow, to get a paper. In the Back Bay it was like a different century. So peaceful. On Newbury St. the shop windows glittered like jewels. The blue blue sky, the Statehouse's golden dome...Amazing what a little clean air and some time off will do! It was like I was seeing Boston for the first time. It's a small town! You can walk across it in less than an hour. With the traffic all still, the Esplanade's pure Currier and Ives.
You say to yourself, I won't forget this. When the noise and the rush and the garbage in the gutter is back again, I'll travel through my city like a tourist. Give the old girl Boston the attention she deserves.


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