Written by Joe Janes
358 of 365
Organ Grinder, 60s
Lilly, early teens
(Lights up on the Organ Grinder, an older, overweight man with a too tight, ornate vest and a fez-like hat. The Monkey wears a similar vest and hat. The Organ Grinder leans against the wall, seemingly asleep. He has one hand on his calliope organ and the other holds a leash. The Monkey, on the leash, is curled up on the ground, and also appears to be sleeping. Lillie and her dad walk by.)
Look, Dad. What’s that? Are they homeless?
(The Organ Grinder and the Monkey open their eyes, but don’t move.)
No, dear. It’s an organ grinder. You give him a nickel and he plays his organ and the monkey dances for us.
I have a nickel.
(She puts a nickel in a cup on top of the organ. The organ grinder cranks the handle of the organ and plays a measure of “Turkey In The Straw.” The monkey hops up and down and grins while he does this. Song over. Monkey lays back down and the Organ Grinder lies back against the wall.)
That was disappointing.
Well, Lilly, it was only a nickel. You have to admit, that was worth a nickel.
I guess. What happens if you give them a dollar?
I don’t think they’d do anything diff-
(Lillie plops a dollar into the cup. Lights shift and a heavy-beat dance hip hop version of “Turkey In The Straw” fires up when the Organ Grinder cranks the organ. The Monkey busts some serious moves as the Organ Grinder raps.)
Well I hitched up the wagon and I drove down the road,
With a two horse wa-gon and a four horse load,
I saw a tur-key bird just a play'n in the hay,
But he sure couldn't have known it was thanks gi-vin' day.
Tur-key in the straw , in the straw, straw straw straw
Tur-key in the hay, in the hay, hay hay hay.
I ran and ran till my feet were sore,
but I aint nev-er gon-na catch the Tur-key in the Straw.
Well I had a Little chicken and she had a wooden leg,
She's the finest little chicken that has ever laid an egg,
Well she laid a lot more than any chicken on the farm,
But another little drink wouldn't do her any harm
Well if frogs had wings and snakes had hair,
And automobiles went a-flying through the air,
And if water melons grew on a huckleberry vine,
we'd have winter the the sunny summertime.
(Lights go back to normal as the Organ Grinder goes back to leaning against the wall as the Monkey coffee grinds into being curled up on the ground, again.)
Well, I think we learned something here, Lilly.
You get what you pay for?
That “Turkey In The Straw” has lyrics. Who knew?