Let’s Play Doctor! A Grand Guignol Play

Copyright Rickey Pittman © 2024 All rights of reproduction and performance are reserved and subject to royalties. For scripts, reproduction privileges, or performance questions please contact: rickeypittmanbayou@gmail.com

LET’S PLAY DOCTOR! A One-Act Play by Rickey E. Pittman

NOTES

LET’S PLAY DOCTOR is a one-act play written in the spirit of Theatre du Grand Guignol, a type of theatre extremely popular in twentieth-century France. These plays are not meant to be politically correct. The performances are purposely bawdy and shocking, and while this style is a theatre of blood, a theatre of horror, Grand Guignol can also have humorous moments. This is a play intended for mature audiences. Grand Guignol is experiencing a revival recently, particularly in the San Francisco area, and contemporary writers (such as Clive Barker) have created worthy scripts to add to its repertoire. This play uses a six-member cast.

CAST OF CHARACTERS

DR. EDWARDS (or ELAINE)  Director of the walk-in clinic.

FLORENCE: Good-looking nurse of Dr. Edwards.

BILLY: A drunken man out for a wild night with his girlfriend He is a dense sort of fellow, totally under Muffy’s control. He has hurt his knee and is in need of a doctor.

MUFFY: Billy’s sexy girlfriend.

SETTING

Late night. A walk-in clinic in a big city, anywhere, U.S.A.  Clinic is marked with a large sign that reads: “Monroe (or any other appropriate community name may be used here) 24 Hour Emergency Clinic. Walk-Ins Welcome.” Inside there are two gurneys, shelves of medicine bottles and other medical supplies. An OPEN sign hangs somewhere on stage. Occasionally the ca-ching of a cash register is heard.

PROPS:

Pistol. Stethoscope and pill bottles. Blood pressure wrap Scrubs. Liquor bottles for Doris and Billy. Pen and Clipboard. Knives, meat cleaver, saw.

                                          ACT I

(BERNIE and DORIS are stumbling along in front of the clinic. They are drunk and hanging all over each other, perhaps ogling and flirting with various people in the audience.)

DORIS: Hey! A walk-in clinic. I’ve always wanted to go into an emergency walk-in clinic.  Have you ever been to one?

BERNIE: Yeah. The bastard charged me a hundred dollars, and all he did was give me a shot containing enough steroids to turn me into a Delmonte chicken.

DORIS: One of those big breasted chickens, I hope. Let’s go in! Okay? (BERNIE hesitates but weakens as DORIS whines and pleads with him. She enters the clinic. DR. EDWARDS IS in scrubs. He/she is reading a magazine.)

DOCTOR: Can I help you?

BERNIE: (Impatient)Who are you?

EDWARDS: (Irritated)I’m Dr. Edwards, the doctor on duty tonight. Florence! Can you come out here for a moment?

DORIS: Not much going on here. Business must be really slow. I thought any emergency clinic would be like that ER show. You know, blood everywhere, with people screaming and dying, all frantic-like.

BERNIE: (Stares at doctor) Have I seen you somewhere before?

EDWARDS: I doubt it. Florence!

(Nurse FLORENCE enters) FLORENCE: Yes, Doctor?

BERNIE: Who are you? (He gives wolf whistle and makes smooching face at nurse.)

FLORENCE: I’m his nurse and receptionist. Can we help you?

 BERNIE She needs a check-up. (Points to DORIS)

DORIS: No, you need a check-up. You go first.

BERNIE: No, I insist. You go first. But I get to watch! (BERNIE and DORIS bump and grind)

EDWARDS: You’ve been drinking.

BERNIE: (Offers the bottle) Yep. Want a snort?

EDWARDS: No. I think you better leave my clinic.

BERNIE (Giggling) I’ve heard that voice before. You sure look familiar. Did you ever work in Dallas?

EDWARDS: Yes, I ran a walk-in clinic there.

BERNIE: You’re the same Dr. who gave me that shot! Here’s a shot for you! (Shoots DR. Nurse Florence is hysterically running back and forth, screaming.) Would you shut up! (He zip ties her hands, tapes her mouth, and stuffs her into a closet.)I’ll deal with you later.

DORIS: Wow! I thought the Dr. was supposed to give the shot. What do we do now?

(BERNIE empties cash register.)

BERNIE: Before we do anything, I’m going to get my hundred dollars back. (Light-bulb moment) I know. Let’s play doctor!

DORIS: Oooh! What fun!

BERNIE AND DORIS: Luvy-dovy-lovy-dovy-lovy-dovy! (They drag Dr. Edwards off stage. Return with bloody scrubs on.)

BERNIE: (Sorts through medicine) Oh, look drugs! And some of my favorites!

DORIS:(Twirls in her scrubs as if she looks at herself in mirror.) I feel like Cinderella.

BERNIE:(BERNIE grabs her boob) No, Cinderella felt different! But I must examine you to be sure. (They use stethoscope on each other. As they examine each other, MUFFY and BILLY enter. BILLY is limping.  The couple is surprised when they see BERNIE and DORIS examining each other.  DORIS picks up clipboard/chart and walks toward them.)

DORIS: Welcome to Monroe 24 Hour Emergency Clinic! Walk-ins are welcome. Can I help you?

BILLY: Uh, something’s wrong with my knee. Can you take a look at it?

DORIS: Oh. Certainly. Your names please?

BILLY: I’m Billy, and my girlfriend is Muffy.

DORIS: Since there will be no charge for our services today, After I treat Billy’s knee, how about a free physical for you and your girlfriend? You can always use one for insurance claims, job information, etc.

MUFFY: Sure, if it’s free. Why not?

DORIS: Oh, here’s the doctor now!

DR.BERNIE: Hello. (He shakes an empty pill bottle. His scrubs have blood on them)

MUFFY: Is that blood on you?  What happened?

BERNIE: Oh, I had to perform emergency surgery. Nasty bullet wounds. (Drops bullets on floor)

DORIS: (Dreamy) Living in the city is so dangerous these days, Doctor. What would we do without men like you to help?

BERNIE:  (BERNIE turns around OPEN sign so that it now reads CLOSED. Speaks to MUFFY and BILLY.) You are my last customers today. You just made it.

BILLY: Your sign says this is a 24-hour clinic.

DORIS: Yes, but unfortunately, one of our doctors recently quit. Yes, he had a bad reaction to a shot. So we had to shorten our hours. If you’ll go with the doctor, young lady, I’ll take care of your boyfriend.

MUFFY: Are you sure there’s no charge for this physical?

DORIS: It is absolutely free! We believe doctors should practice just for the fun of it—just like schoolteachers! (DORIS beckons with her finger to BILLY) This way, big boy! (DORIS and BILLY sit together on bench. DORIS continues to flirt, her arm around Billy’s neck.)

BERNIE: If you’ll come with me, Muffy, we can  take care of that physical. (Aside to audience and DORIS)I hope they have insurance. They are going to need it!

MUFFY: Have you been drinking? You smell like whiskey.

BERNIE: No. Drinking while attending to my patients would be unprofessional.  I’m just around so many alcohol-based medicines, and sometimes the smell lingers. I’m sorry.

MUFFY: That’s okay. I understand. We are in Louisiana. What does my physical include?

BERNIE: It’s very thorough. Let’s begin. Open wide. (BERNIE peers down throat with light.) Your boyfriend must have a big one.

MUFFY: Huh? What are you talking about?

BERNIE: Nothing. Just thinking.  Okay. Drop your top!  I must listen to your heart and give you a breast exam.

MUFFY: No one in my family has ever had cancer. Besides, I’m embarrassed to take off my shirt.

BERNIE: Can’t be too careful. C’mon. Doctors see boobies all the time. Never bothers them at all.  Doctors are immune to all sexual attraction.

MUFFY: Oh. Okay. Since you’re a doctor. (She takes off top. He places stethoscope on her breast, obviously enjoying himself.)

BERNIE: Nice! Okay, can you remove your skirt? Your panties too.

MUFFY: You want me to undress completely? Why?

BERNIE: For pap smear. I would take advantage of it. All this treatment in one day would usually cost over 1,000 dollars. I’ll bet you haven’t had one in the past two years. Right?

MUFFY: Yes, it’s been a while, but isn’t that something my gynecologist should do?

BERNIE: Do you want to take a chance of dying of cervic cancer? Do you know how horrible that disease is? (He pats gurney.) Okay, take your clothes off, hop up here, and spread’em.

MUFFY: Okay, but I didn’t wear panties tonight.(MUFFY starts to slip off her skirt but hesitates.) Doctor, I’m not feeling good about this. I’ve decided I don’t want a physical exam. (MUFFY reaches for her blouse.)

BERNIE: Haven’t you heard the expression, Doctor knows best? Let me explain. (He whispers into her ear.)

MUFFY: (shouts ) Are you out of your mind? How dare you say something like that to me! I’ll sue you for every penny you’ve got!

DORIS: (DORIS hears commotion. Runs to cabinet. Returns with a giant dildo in her hand.) Are you ready for this, doctor?

MUFFY: (MUFFY terrified, tries to flee.)I don’t think so!  You two are a couple of weirdoes! (BERNIE and DORIS restrain her)

DORIS: Where do you think you’re going, missy? (DORIS and BERNIE strap her to gurney.)

BERNIE: What is your problem? I just wanted to give you a physical! I Just wanted to be a real DOCTOR for one day. Is that too much to ask?

DORIS: Doctor! Let’s see if she has high blood pressure!

BERNIE: Excellent idea. (BERNIE wraps blood pressure band around her neck and pumps it up. MUFFY is struggling and crying.)

DORIS: She’s not going to pass out, is she? I mean, her face is all blue-looking.

BERNIE: You’re right! She needs an injection

DORIS: Okay, Doctor. .(DORIS picks up huge syringe, fills it, thumps it.) The emergency serum is ready.

BERNIE: What’s in it?  What will it do to her?

DORIS: I have no idea!

BERNIE: (Spots canister.) Look! It’s laughing gas! Yummy.

DORIS: For her?

BILLY: No, for us!  Here, try some. (BERNIE and DORIS gas themselves and  laugh hysterically. BERNIE peers wistfully at MUFFY.) I think Muffy is so beautiful!

DORIS: Oh, you do! (DORIS holds up ice pick.)I’ve got a bone to pick with you, young lady! Flirt with my boyfriend, will you? (BERNIE and DORIS laugh hysterically as DORIS sticks MUFFY and MUFFY screams.)

BERNIE: I think she got the point!

DORIS: Ah, she passed out.  Next! (Billy barges in as BERNIE wheels MUFFY away.)

BILLY: Muffy?  Muffy? Are you okay?

DORIS: (Flirting, showing some skin) Muffy is fine, Billy. Please have a seat there. I know your problem is with your knee, but I need to check you out generally. Is that okay with you, Billy?

BILLY: Oh yeah!

DORIS (Squeezes his arm) Oh my, such muscles. Please, drop your pants.

BILLY: Okay! You’re the Dr. I’d forgotten that this was part of a physical exam. (BILLY drops trousers and DORIS touches his crotch.)Cough! (DORIS gropes his crotch and squeezes a little harder.)Cough, damn you!(BILLY groans and doubles over.) Oh, I didn’t mean to hurt you, Billy. You may pull up your trousers.

BILLY: Why do doctors do this part of the exam?

DORIS: Because we like it? Okay, now, sit up on the gurney and cross your legs and we’ll check out that knee. You know, Billy, I think you need a prostrate exam.

BILLY: No, I don’t think so. Prostrate exams are much too painful. You’re starting to sound a little weird.

DORIS: Bernie, he won’t let me give him a prostrate exam!

BERNIE: You should let her do it, Billy. She really knows how to milk that cow!

DORIS: (Holds up scalpel.) How about a circumcision?

BILLY: Are you crazy? Just examine the knee, okay lady, and then give me something for the pain. My knee is really hurting. ( After he crosses legs, DORIS hammers knee with real hammer. BILLy screams, and rolls in pain.)

DORIS: Yep. Looks like a bad knee. Such a sissy. (Shouts and shakes him.) All I wanted to do was to give you a prostrate exam!

(Bernie rushes out and joins DORIS and they strap Billy to gurney. MUFFY is wheeled next to Billy.

BERNIE: Aw, BillY, you’ve soiled your britches!  Well, Nurse Doris, it’s time for surgery!  Anesthetic! (DORIS hands him whiskey bottle and he drinks. They work frantically on MUFFY and BILLY.)

DORIS: (Holds up saw.)Did you ever wonder why they called a doctor, “Old SawBones!”

BERNIE: (Holds up huge needle and thread.) Oh, you have me in stitches! We better hurry! We are running out of patients!

DORIS: Yes, doctor! (Reads sign over machine.)Do not handle when wet. Danger of electric shock. Hmmm. (DORIS Pours water on BILLY, rips away wire and touches him with it. BILLY’S body flops around on table.)

BERNIE: (Discovers jar.) Look! It’s acid! Let’s see if it works! (Pours it on BILLY and MUFFY.)

DORIS: (Holds up meat cleaver and knives.)Look, Billy! I wonder what they did with these?

MUFFY: Mercy!  Mercy!

DORIS: She speaks French! You’re welcome, Muffy!

BERNIE: Let me try one of those knives! I hear liver is good for you. (BERNIE cuts into BILLY and pulls out liver and eats it.) You know, think about all the great doctors in history—Moreau, Frankenstein, Jekyll. Makes me proud to be a member of this profession.

DORIS: Don’t talk with your mouth full! (She holds up small electric saw.)What’s the buzz word, Muffy?

BERNIE:I don’t think they have a sense of humor. Looks like they died.

BERNIE and DORIS: (Shout at bodies.) You’ve failed your physical!

DORIS: I’m tired of playing doctor.

BERNIE: Me too. What do you want to do now?

DORIS:I saw a veterinarian’s office down the street. You know how I like animals. Can we go see the pretty animals, please, please, please, please!

BERNIE: Doris, you know how softhearted you are. You would want to take some of them home with you and we can’t afford any more animals.

DORIS: But I need another fur coat!

BERNIE: (Hears Nurse Florence moan and pound on closet door). Okay, but I forgot about Florence! A doctor’s work is never done. (DORIS and BERNIE exit, dragging Florence off stage, with DORIS whining for BERNIE to take her to the vet. )

END OF PLAY

Reviews of J.W. Dunn’s October Rain

Reviews of J.W. Dunn’s October Rain

Kay60

Reviewed in the United States on May 4, 2024

October Rain is one of the best historical fictions I have read in a long time! The story takes the reader into one family’s life in the early 1900s. It was a time when the United States was primarily a rural nation, with most people living on farms. A time when life was simpler, but nothing was easy. Days were filled with backbreaking, physical labor, and everyday chores were accomplished without the help of modern conveniences. It was a time when things moved more slowly, and roles were more clearly defined. A time when love, betrayal, death, and murder were all a part of one family’s struggle for survival.
Rick Pittman
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Historical Fiction Reviewed in the United States on April 23, 2024
October Rain by J W Dunn is a compelling read and a fine example of historical fiction. The novel is set around 1900 in the Piney Woods of Central Louisiana. The story takes the reader into the hard lives of the characters from birth to death, with excellent details of these who survive by farming and hunting. The dialogue is wonderful, the conflicts intense. I read this novel twice: once in print form and once in Kindle version. This is a moving story you will enjoy.

 

OCTOBER RAIN  KIRKUS REVIEW

J.W. Dunn
Booklocker.com (224 pp.) $17.99 paperback, $2.99 e-book ISBN: 9781958891025
October 15, 2023

The patriarch of a Louisiana family must contend with his son’s restlessness, tending to his farm, and an injury on the job in Dunn’s historical novel.

Thurston Knox and his wife, Retty, have a bustling family on an 80-acre farm in 1906 Louisiana. Most of his children are too young to work the farm, and his second-eldest son, Luke, expresses his intention to leave and find work elsewhere. When Luke departs, Thurston is left to deal with his family’s needs and work the land—overextending himself results in a plow accident. Meanwhile, Luke embarks on a journey of self-discovery that leads him to his uncle (who is only four years his elder), Matt Tarroll, and his wife, Tillie. He is welcomed with open arms, but when Luke starts to develop feelings for Tillie, it’s only a matter of time before all hell breaks loose. Adding to the misery of an illicit affair and a fractured father-son relationship is the threat of disease, which takes hold of the family matriarch, Retty, and doesn’t let go. This is a slow, carefully paced historical drama set in the spring and fall of one momentous year. The author crafts rich regional and period dialogue to strongly evoke a bygone, deeply religious environment (“I need to head on back home before Martha sets in to worrying”). As attentive as Dunn is to the sound and texture of the early 20th-century Louisiana parish, however, the characters never really feel satisfyingly developed (particularly the stoic lead, Thurston). Luke is someone who reacts—the reader doesn’t really know why he wants to run away, or what motivates him throughout the story. There’s a lot of fine work in the descriptive language and in the creation of a fully-realized setting, but the characters at the fore never quite spring to life. A brilliantly crafted diorama of early 20th-century Southern life lacking strong characters.

 

Christmas Brides: One Hundred Comanche Maidens To Be Sold At Auction

I study and collect all the information I can on America’s Native Americans, especially on the plains tribes. In my research for my novel set in North Texas in the late 1860s, I came upon this article printed in the Baltimore Sun in Dec. 22 1901.  I hope you find it interesting.

CHRISTMAS BRIDES: One Hundred Comanche Maidens To Be Sold At Auction

Great Wedding Festival: Rival Suitors Will Bid Against Each Other For the Coveted Girls—How the Sale Will Be Conducted.

The Comanche Indians who live on a reservation in Oklahoma are planning a great wedding festival to take place on Christmas Day. One hundred. Brides will be sold to the highest bidders, after which a great wedding dance and feasting will follow.

  This is the first time that the Comanches have ever held one of their sacred wedding dances on Christmas Day, and it is said by their agent, Major Stouch, that the reds are celebrating Christmas because they think it will please President Roosevelt.

The Comanches held their last wedding festival one year ago, when 50 young women 3were sold to the highest bidders. Some of the squaws brought as much as $250 in cash, while 15 or 20 ponies was a common price.

These wedding festivals are conducted by the chief of the tribe, Quanah Parker. All of the young women of marriageable age who have not been “spoken for” by young braves are turned over to the chief, and he makes it well known among the bucks that on a certain day he will sell at auction;n the young women who have attained the age of 18 and whose parents are no longer willing to support them. In the Christmas sale of brides, no men except those of the tribe are allowed to bid,

Quanah Parker, chief of the Comanches, denounced the custom to President Cleveland and promised to have it abolished among his people, but he is taking a lively interest in the approaching sale and has from time to time ween fit to buy eight wives himself. For one—Mrs. Toonuly—he paid $700, or its equivalent, in 70 ponies at $10 each.

The Indians prepare weeks in advance for such an event. The women to be sold are placed in a stockade of tepees, surrounded on all sides by stern old squaws who have passed through the sale once and whose Indian nature thirsts to revenge itself upon others.

The young women are well fed, subject to occasional visits from young men who are planning to buy them. Otherwise, they are left to contemplate their fate. Many of them attempt to escape, but this only makes it worse for them, as they are sold first and allowed to go to the highest bidders who are generally rough.

The young man among the Comanche Indians is considered rich not by his bank account or his land holdings, but by his number of wives and their beauty. A young brave having five beautiful squaws is a member of the Comanche aristocracy and has carte blanche to all social events of the tribe, while the poor unfortunate [man] with but one squaw to do his bidding is quite trashy indeed.

Quanah Parker, by far the most diplomatic of all Indian chieftains alive today started when young and has now eight wives, He owns a large farm structure built in Southern style, not far from Darlington Oklahoma, and it is there the big sale will take place.

In summer Mr. Parker and his eight wives take up their residence in the tepees but in winter they live in his $25,000 mansion. Parker wears a blanket and breechcloth among his people; in Washington he is clothed in. broadcloth and pat. Patent leathers, Besides his wealth of wives, he owns a great of jewelry. including one pearl necklace costing $12,000. This he wears while acting as leader of their medicine and war dances.

Two years ago an old squaw named Lightning Arrow dies and left her curse upon all the unmarried women of the Comanches. She had been married to a white man, Willis Haymes, a cowboy, who beat her to death, The white man was assassinated that night and his heart cut out and burned but the curse of Lightning Arrow remained.  Try as they would, the medicine men could not remove it, The young braves offer up all kinds of blankets, saddles, spurs, and even ponies to the White Father through their medicine man, but the stain was branded deep and seemingly forever,

Two weeks ago Comanche Jack and another medicine man went into the woods on Medicine Creek and announced they were to have a special conference with the Great Spirit. Upon their return, it was given out that a great wedding festival to take place on Christmas Day,

As a matter of fact, the Indian medicine men admitted to their agent that certain young braves had paid them to reach the decision. Quanah Parker’s daughter, who was about to marry a white man, is also indirectly responsible for the festival.

Jennie Parker is a young Comanche girl barely 16. She was engaged to marry a white farmer near the new town of Lawton, She is an educated woman who has attended Eastern schools. She had her wedding clothes prepared and her father had all but given his consent.

Wild Horses, a Comanche warrior of wild reputation, was desperately in love with beautiful Jennie Parker and he induced the medicine men to order the sale so he might win or buy this maiden, She is in despair.

The auction ceremony is unique in itself. All of the young women to be sold are taken before the medicine council three days before the auction day for inspection.

When the appointed day arrives, the young women march to the place of auction and stand in a row, The braves are allowed to pass along by them and pass judgment. The auctioneer then takes the first in line and offers her. He cries her name, age, family history, and good qualities. Then he extols her charms until the young men grow enthused and commence bidding.

 Very often two bitter enemies will bide for one squaw; then the bidding is fierce and reckless. The woman brings twice her value under such circumstances and is apt to be roughly treated by her owner as he blames her for attracting his enemy,

After all the women have been sold a big dance takes place and for several days the braves and squaws make merry.

The Ghost, The Beggar, and The Widow by Kaitlyn W. A response to Emerson’s “The Amulet.”

I teach freshman composition for two colleges and American Literature for  Delta Community College in Monroe. Sometimes, I find a student who really appreciates and understands the classics of our literary canon that I require them to read. Kaitlyn W., a student in my American Literature class in the fall of 2023, wrote one of the best reader-response essays I ever received. She permitted me to share her essay on my blog.

The Ghost, The Beggar, and The Widow

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote some very moving poems in his time. In 1899, Emerson wrote a poem titled “The Amulet”. When I read it, I was left feeling like someone could relate to a very specific feeling I have had before. I know people can relate to the feeling of being alone, but this is something not everyone experiences. This poem, in its entirety, softly describes the phases of a broken love. Not your typical “true love” experiences.

These are the ones that are slow burns. These are the ones that leave those silent scars. They are the ones that will always be remembered and leave a person wondering how things would be if that special person was still in their life. It isn’t a dramatic high school breakup; It is half a soul being ripped from the other.

In this poem, I felt the narrator was a more feminine character, despite being written by a male. So, for the purpose of this paper, I will use she and her pronouns. This was a painful read, but a good one. It posed as a reminder and as proof that there are stages to all cycles in life, but particularly focused on the burnout of love, as I previously mentioned. The title of my paper comes from what I would label these phases after having read Emerson’s poem.

In the first stanza, I was presented with an image in my mind. While this was not a descriptive poem that was meant to channel all the senses and make me feel like I was there and able to see the room as it was, I was able to. I think the reason for this is because I could relate to it. The image I was given was a woman in a rocking chair looking out the window. She was staring down at her ring, remembering her love, who in this poem was described to be at a distance. It was written, “No tidings since it came,” (Emerson “The Amulet”, 1) I see in this quote that she was waiting for another letter, but she was patient. This is the first phase of love when it starts to die out. This is when the person that one loves has become so distant or so absent that they are not involved anymore. It is back to being alone but with the title of being together. This is thephase of The Ghost.

In the second stanza, we reach a new phase. Bargaining is one of the stages of grief after losing someone. In relationships of any kind, this stage exists here too. The partner or friend that loses their other half falls apart for a minute, and in hopes that it isn’t too late, they wonder if something can be exchanged. No matter how small or how large, just something. I remember when I left a very abusive relationship, no matter how bad he hurt me, I still muttered “I want my best friend back” in between each tear after I left. In this stanza, she is left wanting. It was written, in regard to the amulet, “That keeps intelligence with you,” (Emerson “The Amulet”, 2).

She wanted more than anything to know what was going on with him. In modern times, this is the equivalent of waiting for a text back or constantly checking their social media. This stage is a time of desperation. This is the time of begging. In this stage, the lover becomes the beggar. In the very last stanza, we reach the final break. “Torments me still the fear that love Died in its last expression,” (Emerson “The Amulet”, 3). This quote was the one that reminded me the most how empty that feeling is when something is over before it ends. That feeling always leaves me to wonder what I could have been doing with myself in the time we had wasted. I wrote my own poem in another English class before this one. It was about these same stages, but particularly the last one. After a love breaks off, there is that emptiness like I said, but there is also that memory. That is something that can’t easily be gotten rid of. Part of my poem said this: “I was a widow, hoping to scrape enough skin and dust from our sheets. Just enough to have one last hug.” This is the stage that forces you to feel your loss and realize the break has happened. This is the stage of The Widow.
With a heavy heart, I must say this poem was beautifully tormenting. It was a reminder that all good things do come to an end. But it was also comforting to be reminded that I wasn’t alone in the times when I felt broken. I never have been alone in those moments, and I know that now, but it is always good to be reminded. I think with this one, Emerson put in just enough of his own pain and mixed it with his own method of writing, and it produced absolute art.
Works Cited
Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Early Poems of Ralph Waldo Emerson. New York, Boston,   Thomas Y. Crowell & Company. 1899.

William C. Meadows

Kiowa Military Societies: Ethnohistory and Ritu

The Civilization of the American Indian Series

University of Oklahoma University, 2010

Hardcover and paperback, 455 pp.

A Review by Rickey Pittman

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All my life, I’ve always been a student of the Native Americans, especially the plains tribes of Texas and Oklahoma. I was raised watching all the cowboy movies and by the age of thirteen had read every book in the local branch of the Dallas Library about Native Americans.

As a Boy Scout, when applying for my American Indian merit badge, I went to the merit badge counselor’s house in Dallas to be interviewed for the award. Entering his house, I was directed to his den, where I found his collection of historical items, virtually a museum devoted to the American Indian. The most striking exhibit was an authentic Kiowa war bonnet, enclosed in glass. We had a discussion about coups, and the war honors each feather must have represented, and the counselor spoke of the deadly reputation of the Kiowa warriors during the Indian wars in Texas.

I continued my interest in Native Americans and that interest manifested itself in my fiction and essays. While working on my present western novel project set in North Texas, the Kiowa would play a prominent part of that story. Though there are more resources now, there are still too few works devoted to the Kiowa that would prove to be useful. So it was with great delight that I came upon William C. Meadows book, Kiowa Military Societies: Ethnohistory and Ritual. William C. Meadows has been working with and presenting his research on the Apache, Comanche, and Kiowa since 1989. This is an amazing read, sure to hold many surprises about the Kiowa, and prove to be a valuable research tool for writers or those interested in Native American culture, legends, and history.

The text is well illustrated with drawings and photos (taken by the author) of the Kiowa from their beginning into modern times. The text is rich with Kiowa vocabulary, including a pronunciation guide. I found the index, the End Notes, along with the extensive Bibliography, to be valuable for reference and for adding extra information.

The body of the book, as the title suggests, focuses on the warrior/military societies of the Kiowa.  The Kiowa were truly a martial people, and Meadows points out how they lacked purely social dance societies like those of some other tribes. The societies revealed to me how central a place war held in the minds and hearts of the Kiowa. Meadows reveals how the warrior societies were structured, what were requirements for membership, rank and social status, rituals, taboos, dress, music (drums and rattles), dances (with choreography), society meetings, persona and society songs, and their connection to the Sun Dance. There were also women societies that served as “auxiliaries to Kiowa warriors, sources of supernatural protection, and as charitable organizations” (p. 307).

The first nine chapters of the book discuss in detail each military society: the Rabbits Society, the Mountain Sheep Society, the Horse Headdresses Society, the Black Legs Society, the Unafraid of Death or Skunkberry Society, the Sentinel or Scout Dogs Society, the Kiowa Bone Strikers, and the Omaha Society. Meadows documents the revival of some of the societies and stresses the Kiowa efforts to honor veterans of the nation’s wars.

I found numerous surprising details extremely interesting including the pictographic calendars of the Kiowa; the mescal bandoliers; the calls from captured bugles; the various sashes, lances (including the no-retreat staff), and staffs; and the Táime and Ten Medicine Bundles. The engaged reader will discover many more.

The reader and researcher will find many historical anecdotes, museums where historical Kiowa relics are located, legends, biographical descriptions of leaders and famous warriors, tribal traditions, as well as conflicts with and the influence of other tribes upon the Kiowa.

This is a book I would highly recommend to anyone who wanted to write about the west, about the fierce Kiowa who came down the Texas Corridor, or who needed an exceptional and reliable reference tool. There is information here one cannot find anywhere else.

The book can be ordered HERE:  https://www.oupress.com/9780806190099/kiowa-military-societies/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: William C. Meadows is Professor of Anthropology and Native American Studies at Missouri State University, Springfield. A scholar of Plains Indian cultures, he is the author of Kiowa, Apache, and Comanche Military Societies: Enduring Veterans, 1800 to the Present; Kiowa Ethnography; and The First Code Talkers: Native American Communicators in World War I.

David Grann
Killers of the Flower Moon:
Oil, Money, Murder and the Birth of the FBI
Simon & Schuster, 2017

A Review by Rickey Pittman

The Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann was an enthralling read. Though I have been an avid reader and researcher for many years on America’s Native Americans, I knew little about the Osage, other than the fact they were fierce enemies of the Kiowa in the past. After watching Martin Scorsese’s wonderful, award-winning movie and reading Grann’s well-researched book, I received new insights into the Osage culture and their passage from rez Indians to becoming the wealthiest people in America.

 The book’s title fascinated me, speaking with double imagery—describing the beautiful flowers of the Osage hills and prairies seen in April that would die in the month of May—the flower-killing moon—and a title also suggestive of the killers who plagued the Osage in the early 20th century. The lands of the mighty Osage had shrunk until they were finally driven to what was then an undesirable section of Oklahoma; ironically that is, until those same lands were found to contain the richest oil fields in America. The Osage were smart enough to take advantage of their newly found wealth.

However, what could have been a dream fantasy for the Osage turned into a nightmare as so many Osage were murdered by white men who schemed, manipulated, bribed, and murdered so they could obtain the lands and oil income belonging to the Osage. Not only did the Osage suffer from such outlaws, they also suffered from the same corrupt politics our age suffers from—politicians, lawyers, judges and lawmen who lie, who use oppressive laws, and who are even willing to use brute force to get what they want. And if the book’s account of the newly formed FBI had not risen to deal with the Osage murders, there is no telling when these evils and murders would have stopped.            I would encourage the reader to both watch the movie and read Grann’s book. It will be an unsettling experience, but a rich one.

The book can be ordered HERE:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Grann is a staff writer at the New Yorker and the bestselling author of the Lost City of Z and the Devil and Sherlock Holmes. He has received several honors for outstanding journalism, including a George Polk Award.

Two Great Reads to Make 19th and early 20th Century Louisiana Come Alive

J.W. (Billy) Dunn and his family have deep, historical ties to Central Louisiana. Those who originally settled the Piney Woods section of the state were a tough, determined breed of pioneers. They were farmers who wrestled with the unpredictable weather and hard, economic times to raise a family in an unforgiving land.  October Rain is a tale of a family’s struggle to hold on to their faith and to hold their family together. The writing is so strong that the reader will find him or herself living in their cabins, working with them in their fields, and hunting Louisiana forests.

A Review of Anthony Wood’s White & Black: A Story of the Civil War

A Review Anthony Wood’s White & Black: A Story of the Civil War

by Rickey Pittman, Bard of the South

Anthony Wood
A Story of the Civil War
White & Black: A Tale of Two Colors Volume I
Tiree Press, an Imprint of the Oghma Press

This historical novel is a fascinating and thoughtful account of the Antebellum South that like a polished diamond, has many facets. It is in many respects a bildungsroman, that shows the journeys, growth, and development of a young man, Lummy Tullos, in a turbulent, troubled time in America’s history.
This is a Civil War novel, though it thankfully avoids preaching and the overused stereotypes of Hollywood movies.
It is also a story of the conflicts, (inward and outward), struggles, and victories of the Tullos family in Mississippi and in Central Louisiana. Most importantly, this novel is a romance, a story of an intense but forbidden love between Lummy and Susannah, two people of different races. Lummy, in spite of the war descending upon them and his enlistment in the Confederate Army, he finds redemption in Susannah’s love, the love of his life and the only thing that will make him whole again.
Wood’s writing is excellent, capturing the idioms, vocabulary,  and soul of Southerners. Using epigraphs, letters, and historical events, he takes the reader into the deep South so effectively that we will not forget this story. And remember: This is just Volume One.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

ANTHONY WOOD is an award-winning and oft-published writer, a devoted historian, a minister, and a Civil War reenactor. Find his book on all streaming services, including Amazon.

 

A Short Review of Daisy’s One World Dance Entertainment Services

A Review of Daisy’s One World Dance Entertainment Services

By Rickey Pittman, Bard of the South

“Dancers are the athletes of God.” — Albert Einstein

I am a musical artist by passion and vocation. Still, I have always admired and studied the artists of other art forms—especially dance, painting, sculpture, architecture, drama, cinema, and literature. I have always especially had great admiration and appreciation for dance presentations. So, it was with great delight that a beautiful, local, and very talented dancer here in Monroe introduced me to her performance dance crew based in DFW, Daisy’s One World Dance Entertainment Services,

         This company, which also provides workshops in addition to performances,  is creative, matching themes of bookings to make a memorable event. The variety of dances, performances, and services they provide is breathtaking. The company offers workshops, features presentations (often interactive) for Flapper Parties, a Fusion Belly Dance Act, Circus Style Performance act,  Group Cancan Act, Music Video Dancers, LED (Light-emitting diode) Group Performers, Vegas Showgirls, Fire Shows, and Character impersonations. To see specific booking details (including price, time length of booking, etc.) of each of these options you must visit their website HERE: https://www.daisysoneworld.com  Their services also include a promise to help customers organize the full line-up of the event, photographers, sound, lighting, and staging.

As you can see from the photos included in this post, the performers of Daisy’s One World Entertainment are beautiful, experienced, well-trained professionals, beautifully costumed, sure to amaze any audience.

If you are interested in learning more and perhaps booking first-class entertainment for your events, I encourage you to visit their website and sign up for their mailing list, and if an dance artist, perhaps consider membership.  A few selected photos are below.

CONTACT DETAILS:

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/daisy.pardo11

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/daisysoneworld/

Website https://www.daisysoneworld.com

Phone: 817-505-6955

     

Two Louisiana Books Perfect for Christmas Gifts!

It’s time for Christmas shopping! Here are two fine Louisiana books–Remembrance, a historical novel, and Remembrance, a memoir–authored by J.W. (Billy) Dunn and edited by Rickey Pittman. Both books are available from Booklocker (see link below) and from Amazon! A perfect gift for any reader who loves Louisiana.

  October Rain by J.W. Dunn is a historical novel relating the story of Thurston Knox and his family as they struggle to survive and prosper on his eighty-acre farm in North Louisiana in 1906. Beset by weather, a son’s rebellion, sickness, and death of loved ones, Thurston worries about his own impending death—a condition he has hidden from his family and continues pushing himself to plant an additional ten acres of cotton, determined to make his farm provide for his family after he is gone. However, his stubborn resolution precipitates events that threaten to destroy his family. Dunn and his family are long-time residents of Columbia in Caldwell Parish.

Remembrance is A Caldwell Parish memoir of the life of Creston Curtis Dunn, who lived in three centuries and in the second and third Millennium. Mr. Dunn was one of the most influential and interesting individuals in the history of Caldwell Parish.

Order from Booklocker:   Remembrance HERE: October Rain: HERE.

AMAZON:  Remembrance HERE: October Rain: HERE.

          ABOUT THE AUTHOR: J. W. Dunn holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double concentration in history and English from the University of the State of New York, Albany, New York, now Excelsior College. He studied with Elaine Ford and Constance Hunting in the University of Maine’s graduate creative writing program. Dunn and his family have been long-time residents of Caldwell Parish.