[I've posted the following monologue before on this blog some years ago, but, fuck it, it's good, and maybe you haven't seen it yet. It's from Donut Holes in Orbit (1998), a one-act play that was first produced at Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York, as part of its EST Marathon, and that was published in this collection.
The character is a 24-year-old Thai American, a donut shop employee. Barney Cheng originated the role—he was the scene-stealing translator in Woody Allen's Hollywood Ending!]
JOEY: The summer right after I finished fourth grade was the summer somebody stole my glass eye.
I was ten and, um, very used to the other kids avoiding me and calling me Chinaman even though my parents are from Thailand and I was born in California. But I wanted everyone to like me, and I don't know why everybody thought this was neat but I could—it's true—I could take out my glass eye. I mean, just pull it right from the socket and hold it in my hand. And any time I'd pop that thing out, a bunch of kids would gather around me and just be totally amazed.
One day some kid snatched the eye right out of my hand, took off, and sold it to a pawn shop.
I went to the shop, and the guy there wouldn't give me my eye back. It would cost me twenty dollars, he said. I had my life savings in my pocket, but all it added up to was
ninety-seven cents. Now that money did buy me an eye patch which I wore all the way home to cover up the big hole in my face where my eye shoulda been.
I knew my dad would hit me if he found out that I lost my glass eye, so I told him I needed the patch because I was Captain Hook. And I thought I could keep that thing on until I was eighteen and moved out.
Surprisingly, my parents let me wear the patch for the rest of day and even let me go to sleep with it. But my dad said it had to come off in the morning.
In my room, I cried at the thought of what would happen when Dad found out. I couldn't go to sleep; just laid there crying.
Sometime in the middle of the night, my dad came into my room while I kept my eye half-closed so he would think I was sleeping. He put something on the night stand and left the room. When I flicked on the light, I saw my glass eye on that little table, staring right at me.
I don't know how he found out or how he got my eye back or why he didn't lay a hand on me. But I thought it was so great that my dad did that for me. And I thought that maybe things would be different now.
But the thing is:
After that night:
I never saw him again.