Friday, November 6, 2009

Week 42, Day 292 - "Dear Cancer"

“Dear Cancer”

Written by Joe Janes


292 of 365


Tim, 40s

Cancer, ??

Cancer II, ??

Cancer III, ??

UPS Person, 20s

(Lights up on Tim in a track suit stage right sitting at a desk writing a letter.)

TIM (writing)

Dear Cancer…You are not welcome in my body. The doctors tell me that not only do I need to have medical treatment, I need to get angry. I need to get angry at my cancer. Well, I’m writing this letter to tell you that you will not win this battle. I don’t like you. I hate you. You’re nothing but a bully and I am not afraid of you. In fact, you need to fear me, Cancer. Fear me because I am going to kick your butt. Sincerely, Tim Tompkins.

(Lights out on Tim as they come up stage left on Cancer, seated, writing a letter. Cancer is well-mannered, well-dressed and speaks with a British accent.)

CANCER (writing)

Dearest Timothy, Cancer here. Delightful to hear from you. Thrilled at the prospect of opening up these lines of communication. I am certainly disheartened to hear your feelings about me, but feel that anything may be resolved over a nice cup of tea. I so enjoy being wedged in here deep within your colon. Hope you don’t mind, I’ve thrown a few doilies about the place. It’s ever so homey. Cheers, Cancer.

(Lights out on Cancer, up on Tim, etc, as the piece progresses.)

TIM (writing)

Dear Mr. Cancer… I was not expecting you to write back. Nor was I expecting you to be British. Irregardless, no freeloaders in my colon. I will soon begin a heavy regiment of chemotherapy and fully expect you to hightail it out of there if you know what’s good for you. Go back where you came from…you limey. Sincerely, Tim Tompkins.

CANCER (writing)

Timothy…Message received. You are clearly a strong, brave American not to be trifled with. Regardless, I have already moved in and have invited a few of my friends to join me. They should be along. We will soon be playing a rousing game of cricket just inside your rectum. I’m working up some polyps to use as wickets. Do wish you could join us but I realize the geometric impossibility of that. Cheers, pip-pip and tut, Cancer.

TIM (writing)

In spite of your pleasant demeanor, I am still very mad that you have invaded my body and staked some kind of unwarranted claim inside my butt. The drugs and chemotherapy are painful and disorienting, but I’ll do what it takes to chase you out. That’s right, Cancer. It’s time for you to fuck off…Sincerely, Tim Tompkins.

(When lights come up on Cancer, he has been joined by several other well-dressed tumors. They are all enjoying the drugs.)

CANCER (writing)

Whoa, Timmy…these drugs are…wow…I hope you have universal healthcare, because I don’t want you to run out of money for this really top-notch shit.


Top-notch, Timmy! Top notch!


Three cheers for Timmy… Hip-hip-hooray!...Hip-hip-hooray!!!...Hip-hip-hooray!!!

(When lights come back up on Tim he is wearing a bald cap.)

TIM (writing)

Cancer. You seem to think this is some kind of game. Well, I am not playing. I am as serious as a heart attack. (He crosses the last few words out and rewrites) Butt attack. I will do whatever it takes to get your punk ass out of my not-punk ass. Today, I go under the knife. If you will not leave on your own, you will leave when doctors cut out a chunk of my colon. Don’t think I won’t do it. That part of my colon is five feet long. You may think you’re big, but you only take up a few inches. The doctors are going to take out a whole foot, just to make sure they get you and your stupid cheery friends. Take that, Sir Asshole.

(Lights up on Cancer’s chair. It is empty. Lights up on Tim smiling. We hear a doorbell.)


Come in.

(A UPS man or woman enters. Hands Tim a package and has him sign for it. After Tim signs, the UPS person stands there waiting.)


I just conquered cancer.


I’m thrilled.


I’m not going to tip you.

(The UPS person mumbles as they exit.)


Hope you get more cancer.

(Tim opens the box and takes out a small box of tea and a card. He reads the card. Lights come up on Cancer’s chair. All that is there is his arm writing.)


Dear Tim… Good show! You really gave us the ol’ heave-ho. Bravo, my friend, bravo. I hope someday we meet again under better circumstances. Cheers. Cancer.

(Lights out on Cancer. Tim looks concerned as he feels an itch deep within his anus. Lights fade.)