charles mee

the (re)making project

The Plays

The Mail Order Bride [sample]

by Charles L. Mee

To Full Text


you think you can buy anything?
is that what you've learned in your life?
you think you can just buy yourself a new wife?
no, you can't
you can't buy
a person

of course you can. why not?
babies are bought all the time
chinese babies korean babies
babies from south america
why not their mothers?
what are you saying, it would be better to rent them?


and yet it seems nonetheless that that artist you admire so much from mexico whatshisname? is that where he's from mexico?


the one who rented some men to sit in empty refrigerator boxes
turned upside down in an art gallery?


and bought the finger of the dead Mexican boy from his mother so that she would have money for the boy's funeral? cut off his finger and put it on the wall in a gallery in Soho just to show he could do it if he had the money and the mother would have to sell her dead son's finger what was that all about?

that was conceptual art

and so? what was the concept?

well, what do you suppose it meant?


it meant that it was wrong!

what was wrong?

to rent people and make them sit in boxes
or cut off a boy's finger
just because the artist had the money
and the boy's family needed the money
it was wrong

then why did he do it?

to show that he shouldn't have!

this is insane. this is an insane person this artist
Would I ever do such a thing? No!
What are you saying?
you don't believe in love
however it might come to you?
what is left then? hermits in caves?
sitting on top of a pole all your life like St. Simon whathisname
in the ancient Roman Empire
railing against the evils of the world??
this is not the Roman Empire!
this is not the British Empire!
this is not even the Portuguese Empire!
this is the post imperial post modern late capitalist interdependent ergonomic organic global world!
and, in any case, the fact is
I am not buying a bride
I am paying a transaction fee!

what is that?
who says this to you?
how do you learn to talk this way?
are you dealing in the sex slave trade?


[Argan's advisors all look at one another
and now
one by one
they leavee—
as everyone watches them in silence]

Is that it?
You're in the business of buying and selling
Ukrainians and Eastern Europeans into Mexico
and New Jersey?


Cambodian girls, girls from Thailand
taken to brothels
smuggled on boats
kept locked up in suburban houses
unable even to go to Wal Mart

certainly not!
good god!
this is a person who put herself on the market as it were
as your feminiists will tell you women do every day
in other ways


this is how she did it
not as someone who was kidnapped
or kept in a dungeon
but as a free person
able to decide for herself what she wanted to do with her body
and her whatever
just as any woman does to make her way in the world
put them out on the marketplace
to be a doctor or a lawyer
if this is what she chooses!
and feminists believe she should have this right
without some patriarchal system
trying to dictate to her
how she should live her life
because how is it in the world today?
you can buy a person's labor
or, if you don't want to hire a Mexican in California
then you can send your factory to Mexico
and hire your Mexicans there
and this is even better
because then you can keep your clean air in California
and send your dirty air to Mexico
let the Mexicans breathe the factory air
let the Mexicans ruin their health
let the Mexicans shorten their lives
so you can, as it were,
import their health to America and have it for yourself
import their longevity
live bits of their lives tacked on to the very end of your own
and here I am
all I am saying is
instead of buying a person's health and longevity
why not buy a person outright and bring them here
where it is healthy
where they can live longer, happier lives
would this not be a gift to them?
some people might even say this is
akin to love
this is indistinguishable from love itself
giving freely to another human being health and happiness
and a long life

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