The Tusks of the Warthog

by on December 9, 2022 :: 0 comments

photo "Facade" by Tyler Malone

Miz Derwood
Stage Manager

The Dentist’s Office. Miz Derwood is in the dentist’s chair. The DENTIST enters, donning his rubber gloves. He checks his clipboard.

DENTIST: Good morning, Miz… Derwood? Is it missus? Or Miss?

MIZ DERWOOD: Misty. Like the East River in the morning.

DENTIST (adjusting his goggles) I see.

He selects a snorkel from the snorkel display on the wall.

DENTIST: And what can we do for you, Miz Derwood?

MIZ DERWOOD: I would like my tusk removed?

He peers at the tusk.

DENTIST: And this is your tusk?

MIZ DERWOOD: It is in my mouth at any rate.

DENTIST: I ask, because it does not seem to be a tusk.


DENTIST: It has a volume control, a main menu button, and a toggle allowing you to switch between the TV set and the Blue Ray Player. Lift your tongue, please.

MIZ DERWOOD: Ike iss??

She elevates her tongue. It shoots into the scaffolding above & vanishes, barely missing a stage hand adjusting a blue gel on the little spotlight.

DENTIST: Ah. The tongue was not a tongue.

MIZ DERWOOD: Ut-uss-ip?

DENTIST: A flat head screwdriver. Carelessly discarded when you were assembled, no doubt. Ah! Here is what we are looking for. Your instruction manual.

He retrieves this from her mouth.

MIZ DERWOOD: Utt-lisss-fuh-nnnnnn-ib?

DENTIST (checks the index): It would appear that you are an entertainment console with a turntable, stereo speakers, streaming inputs, and storage compartments for audio and video media.


DENTIST (peering into her mouth): And unless I am very much mistaken, this is the Sheridan Square entrance to the 7th Avenue subway.

MIZ DERWOOD: Uh-aaaa-ing!

DENTIST: It seems to be the late 1950s or early 1960s. I see beatniks.

MIZ DERWOOD: Ut-eye-ill-unt-eye-USK-eeooved.

DENTIST: I can’t understand you. We need to replace your tongue.

He holds out his hand expectantly

DENTIST (to non-existent dental hygienist): Replacement tongue. [Pause] REPLACEMENT TONGUE.

Several beats.

DENTIST (no longer in character, through clenched teeth): Where is Barbara?

STAGE MANAGER (on the PA system): She got a job at Starbucks.

DENTIST: Where’s her understudy?

STAGE MANAGER (on the PA system): Um.

DENTIST: “Um”? SOMEBODY hand me the replacement tongue.

STAGE MANAGER, wearing headphones, trots on stage and tries to hand DENTIST a spatula. DENTIST waits a beat and furiously grabs it. STAGE MANAGER trots off, eyes on the floor.

DENTIST holds up the spatula.

DENTIST: REALLY?? (To MIZ DERWOOD) Well, it will have to do. Open wider, please.

MIZ DERWOOD: Nii-gaaant!

DENTIST: Sure you can.

DENTIST secures the replacement tongue in MIZ DERWOOD’S mouth with a large staple gun. The sound is horrendous.

DENTIST: Much better. Now let’s see to that tusk removal.

MIZ DERWOOD: But you said it wasn’t a tusk.

DENTIST: You should always get a second opinion. And my second opinion is, let’s remove the tusk. Would you like a third opinion?


DENTIST: Okay then. Now, THIS is a remote control for your TV. [He brandishes it] I’ve already removed it, and a good thing, because TCM is showing Hallelujah, I’m a Bum starring Al Jolson and Madge Evans in 45 minutes.


DENTIST: Indeed. So we have work fast if we’re going to extract your tusk in time. Step one: we must implant a tusk.

DENTIST looks off into the wings & gestures to the STAGEHANDS. They bring on a large NARWHAL, a smaller WALRUS, and a medium size WARTHOG. WARTHOG is wearing a straw boater. Ideally these will be actual animals, but if the budget does not allow for this, they can be humans with REALISTIC RUBBER MASKS. Or robots! (Styrofoam statues are acceptable for NARWHAL & WALRUS)

DENTIST: These beasts all have tusks compatible with your modern life style.

MIZ DERWOOD: How will I choose between them? They are all so lovely.

DENTIST: I think we should send them on a mystical quest.

MIZ DERWOOD: That’s fair.

DENTIST: The one who brings back… let’s say… a large APPLE or something…

MIZ DERWOOD: Or perhaps a monster head…

WARTHOG (pointing to his wristwatch): Hey. My shift at Starbucks starts in 20 minutes.

NARWHAL and WALRUS crash to the floor.


DENTIST: Alas. They were aquatic animals, not really equipped to deal with the demands of a career in dental hygiene. Warthog it is.

Stage lighting goes strobe. Cartoon music blasts. A chaos of tusks, duct tape, stage hands, chain saws, splashes of brightly colored liquids, and riveting guns. The lights come up and we see:

MIZ DERWOOD, her mouth now sporting WARTHOG’S tusks, and WARTHOG, now devoid of tusks and revealed as an attractive young man in a straw boater. WARTHOG touches his de-tusked countenance.

WARTHOG: So this is what it’s like to be… tuskless.

MIZ DERWOOD (fingering her new tusks): So this is what it’s like to be… tusked.

DENTIST: Shall we proceed with the tusk extraction, Miz Derwood?

MIZ DERWOOD: I… No. I don’t believe so. I feel I am finally… myself.

WARTHOG: You are magnificent, Miz Derwood!

MIZ DERWOOD: Call me Misty.

WARTHOG: Call me Rupert.

MIZ DERWOOD: Call me Tiffany Brattle-Finch!

WARTHOG: Call me Sir Cedric Chisel-Bone!

MIZ DERWOOD: Call me Zooba-na-boola-dap!

WARTHOG: Kaa-vaaak-aaaagaaa-paaaaugh!

MIZ DERWOOD: Bloooooga Claaaaaaaaaaaaa….

They both devolve rapidly into giant amoebas, and then into reeking puddles on the floor.

DENTIST (removes his goggles):

Let us reflect. Tonight’s play has ended—
Of our tusks & toothaches we are the sum.
No deus ex machina has descended
To wrap things up; our warthog did become
(Miz Derwood, too) amoeboid; it is strange,
But life is strange as well. It’s time to stop,
Scrub off our grease-paint faces, and arrange
For the cleaning crew, to clean up this glop.

The stage hand on the scaffolding devolves into an amoeba and lands with a splat.

DENTIST: Oh, crap.

DENTIST’S arm liquefies. The rubber glove drops to the floor.

Blackout. Many loud, nauseating splats. Triumphant orchestra chord.

editors note:

There’s so much beauty that we ourselves grow, but what happens when we’re not happy with what’s us? ~ Tyler Malone

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