Gustav's Monologue

Submitted into Contest #123 in response to: Set your story backstage at the theater. ... view prompt


Funny Drama Suspense

It's something about the way he moves, I swear.

See, right there! The way his heel slightly elevated off the floor, it was masterful.

Take notes fellas, we're watching a genius of theater in the flesh.

I hope he stays longer, he said he's only going to be here for a couple of shows.

I can feel myself getting better already. His presence is rubbing off.

Yeah, me too.

Silence, he's about to perform the monologue.

Gosh he's amazing.

At the end of Gustav's performance, all the actors and actresses left the vicinity. There was no use, they thought, indeed he was a master of theater. His skill was incredibly out of reach.

What is Gustav's secret? He never says. He claims to have been kissed by the God of theater, Dionysus, who gave him everything he has.

It's never clear when Gustav is in an act. Some speculate he's always in an act, that his real name might not even be Gustav.

He's 6'1, dark haired, olive complexion. He moves similar to how a jaguar does in their natural habitat, effortlessly graceful. His posture is always poised, and claims to have been a dancer for most of his life.

"There's no use. He's too good." Bella says at the bar with the rest of the actors. They decided to get drunk after his monologue. The alcohol would be quench their misery.

After a show, Gustav vanishes. Every theater knows of him but none can find his exact location.

Does he live in the woods?

I heard he was raised on a farm.

A farm boy? That explains his hands.

What about his hands?

You didn't see them? They're massive.

He has the hands of someone that grew up on a farm, lugging around hay and milking cattle.

Do you think we should go back to the theater? I'm sure Gustav is being drowned in gifts right about now.

They went back stage and found Gustav's body limp on the ground.

Ah, a true master of his craft, playing dead and doing so with such conviction!

Indeed. Check his pulse, it's silent.

How does he do it?

Gustav didn't move a hair.

I think this a test, improv.

I'll be run the morgue!

I'll dig the grave!

They carried Gustav's body to the graveyard.

Gather around, gather around. Today we are here to say goodbye to one of the most beloved actors the world has ever seen.

Why must they die so young! Someone cried out.

Gustav laid peacefully, snuggly fit into his coffin.

Gustav was a man of many talents. A man equally envied and loved. Does anybody want to share an anecdote, memory... anything?

I will.

Gustav was my lover. We never told anyone because nobody would ever understand. It wasn't his fault, I cried at his feet when he wouldn't take me, and when he did, it changed my life forever.

Gustav was my lover too. Said another voice.

Me too.

Gustav was all of ours lovers.

With that said, let us lower his body into the earth, back into fertile soil which he blossomed from. Let the earth take back its fruits, and let Gustav's brilliance emanate through the world.

They lowered Gustav's body into the ground. The space was filled with dirt. They drank and danced atop the grave and returned back on stage.

Do you think Gustav is ok there?

Of course, he's a master of his craft.

Yes, but he's bolted into a coffin and six feet underground.

Do you not recognize Gustav's brilliance?

Of course I do.

Then do not question his artistry.

The following day the actors gathered backstage. A cold draft ran through the theater. It was a grey and sunless day.

I fell from the sky with a broken wing.

He turns slightly to the left.

I fell from the sky with a broken wing.

He turns again.

Your movements aren't fluid. They're robotic.

I fell from the sky with a broken wing!

He turned to the left, lifted his heel exactly 3 cm off the ground, blinked twice, swallowed, opened his eyes and panned the room.


Without Gustav we are hopeless.


Strange things have been happening.

Like what?

There's this guy. I've never seen him or anything but suddenly everywhere I go, he's there.

What does he look like?

It's going to sound crazy but Gustav.

Don't you know he's dead?

Yes but I'm telling you, he looked just like him.

There's only one way to tell for sure.

We dig up his grave.

They brought their shovels to his grave sight.

I fell from the sky with a broken wing!

Much better but try to rotate your torso a bit more compared to your hips.

How much do we have to dig?

I think we're there, help me lift the casket.

They unbolted the lid and found an old man.

Are you sure this is Gustav's grave?

Yeah, why?

This is an old man. Grey and shriveled, and his eyes are filled with maggots.


Are you nervous?

A bit.

Don't worry, you'll do great.

Gustav puts on a mask and grabs her hand leading the way.

It's so dark, how can you see anything?

I don't. I feel my way through. The branches and twigs below my feet. The bristling shrubs. I know exactly where I am.

Eventually they entered a cave, dimly lit with a fire.

Here's where I grew up.

The walls of the cave painted with ancient depictions of animals. Gustav removes the mask and sits near the fire warming up his hands.

I don't understand.

I'm the first human. I have been here since the beginning of time. I never die and I never will.

What do you mean?

I was here before the dinosaurs, before the first cells, before the asteroids collided and formed the Earth. You often ask why I'm so good on the stage, it's because I do not think; I feel. I have cosmic instinct.

This is unbelievable. Where did you come from?

I don't know, I've just always been.

The cave is silent. Gustav walks over toward the wall and dips his finger in a bowl of clay. He draws her face against the wall alongside thousands of other similar faces.

Who are those people?

They're you. We have been lovers in every one of your lives. In each life you join the theater and we are instant soul mates. Each time I take you back to the cave and you always react the same way.

No response.

Don't worry, it doesn't have to make sense. Trust me. Do not think about it. Feel it. Look, feel my heart beat.

It's silent.

Yes, but I'm alive.


The audience erupts. They give a standing ovation, crying in joy. Gustav stands at the center of the stage, bowing underneath a severe spotlight. The audience throws celebratory roses and they pile up into a mound, drowning Gustav in an ocean of red rose petals; he vanishes, never to be seen again.

December 11, 2021 01:41

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