How to become the Weird People

Bumper sticker on a pickup I passed the other day
Everything has consequences.

In the play we’re doing for the Citizen’s Play Festival, there’s a cage, a dog crate large enough for an actor playing a 12-year-old boy. At first I assumed we wouldn’t use a real cage. After all, it’s just a staged reading. Even in a full production, a real cage would probably be too literal. The designer would come up with something better.

But as the director pointed out, with a 10-minute segment in a fest you need to communicate basic story elements quickly. The kid lives in a cage, it would be good to have a cage. One of the actors had one in his garage, so yesterday morning I drove over  to pick it up.

When I returned, I parked out front and carried first the metal base into the house. Dave was busy practicing, but Django came over and sniffed the base when I set it on the living room rug. I went back for the cage part and she followed me out. Down the block, a neighbor was playing ball with his kids. The cage was heavy and unwieldy. I set it down a few times on my way to the front door. Django laid down in the grass, far from the cage, watching my progress.

When I got to the front door, Dave came out and carried in the cage. I turned to call Django and saw the neighbor girl from down the block. “Hi,” she said.

“Hi,” I replied. “Come on, Django.” Django remained on the lawn, watching the crate move into the house.

“Is that a dog cage?” asked the girl.


“What’s it for?”

“It’s just a prop for a play we’re rehearsing here.”


This was the longest conversation we’d ever had. I added, “I think Django thinks it’s for her.”

The little girl and I looked at Django, who was now looking away from the front door. “That’s what my dad thought, too.”

“Come on, Django,” I called. “It’s gone now. It’s not for you.” Django came inside and the girl went back to her dad. I imagined her telling him, “It’s not for the dog, it’s for a play they’re practicing in their living room.” And I imagined one more weird thing about the weird couple being added to the rolls.

3 thoughts on “How to become the Weird People

  1. one more weird thing being added to the rolls … i thought butter went on the rolls … why is the couple weird …. did django go for a walk … did the couple eat the rolls … my rolls are increasing with each piece of chocolate … did this exchange with the little girl inspire her to be a writer, actor, vet …

  2. At this point, one more weird thing probably won’t tip the scales. You should have said the crate was for Dave. He’s been acting up lately. Of course, you probably would have scarred the child for life…

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