Anton and the Talking Potato
by Charles Berman and Pete Bowers
This play was first performed the 9-11 of May 2014 by the Darkhourse Dramatists at the Tri-Cities
Opera Center in Binghamton, New York. A radio version has also been transmitted.
THE TALKING POTATO
(A typical community garden. ANTON is picking vegetables)
ANTON: (Singing) High-ho the dairy-o, the farmer in the Plantagenet Street Community Co-op Garden.
POTATO: That totally doesn’t fit.
ANTON: That’s the joke. (Singing) The farmer takes a carrot. The farmer takes a carrot. High-ho the dairy-o, the farmer in the Plantagenet Street Community Co-op Garden.
POTATO: Is that the joke again? You know, just because you say a joke twice doesn’t make it twice as funny.
ANTON: Go to hell! I’m not singing for you. I’m singing for me. I’m enjoying myself.
POTATO: At least somebody’s enjoying yourself.
ANTON: Alright! (ANTON gets up and looks around. Sees nobody.) Hey! Where.. Get back here! Hmm. OK. (ANTON goes back to picking vegetables. Just hums).
POTATO: OK! Dig a little bit more to your left.
ANTON: Augh! Alright! (ANTON jumps up and whips around waving a trowel threateningly). Alright, who is this? This isn’t funny.
POTATO: Well, circumstances being what they are, I can’t really show myself at the moment.
ANTON: Is this the voice of God or something?
POTATO: Uh.. sure. Whatever you think. And the voice of God is telling you to dig a little to the left.
(ANTON immediately kneels down and starts digging)
ANTON: Yes Lord. Er, um, Master? Should I call you Master?
POTATO: No! And don’t dig there! Dig to the left of where you were digging before!
(ANTON moves back to his original digging spot)
ANTON: Oh! OK… sorry, God. How about God? Can I call you God?
POTATO: If you… want to? Not really necessary…
ANTON: (Digs). Ok. Rock. (Throws rock). Root. (Throws root) Potato. (Throws potato).
ANTON: Uh… God?
POTATO: OK. I’m not God. I’m a potato.
POTATO: Do I really have to repeat that?
ANTON: So that means I threw you… over THERE!
( Anton hurries to find where he threw the potato)
ANTON: Oh man, oh man, oh manomanomanoman A-HAH!
(Anton raises the potato over his head in triumph).
POTATO: Whoa! Hold it! Cool your jets Sparky! Kind of afraid of heights dude!
ANTON: You’re a talking potato?
POTATO: Yeah, you’ve pretty much summed up what you know about me.
ANTON: This is incredible.
POTATO: If you say so.
ANTON: No! It doesn’t matter if I say so. This is incredible. I could make so much money charging people to come see you.
POTATO: Huh. Well, that would be boring. They’d just be looking at a potato.
ANTON: But you’d TALK.
POTATO: Have I said anything interesting yet?
ANTON: Look. As a potato, I don’t think you appreciate how interesting it is for a human to see a potato talk.
POTATO: You’re not actually seeing me talk. I don’t have lips or a mouth.
ANTON: Are you calling me crazy?
POTATO: I’m not the one talking to a potato.
ANTON: Listen. I’m telling you people will pay to see this.
POTATO: Why bother? Why not just get the money directly instead of making people give you THEIR money?
ANTON: What? What are you.. Like how?
POTATO: I’m a talking potato. I grant wishes.
ANTON: I’ve never heard that talking potatoes grant wishes.
POTATO: How many talking potato stories have you heard?
ANTON: Lemme think.
POTATO: Ok. Spoiler. It’s zero.
ANTON: Awwww. I woulda gotten it. So… I get three wishes?
POTATO: Um. If you want three.
ANTON: Well… how many can I get?
POTATO: As many as I can grant.
ANTON: Is this one of those “You can’t ask for more wishes” things?
POTATO: No. Why the hell wouldn’t you be able to wish for more wishes?
ANTON: I don’t know. It’s a rule or something.
POTATO: Who else ever granted you magic wishes?
POTATO: Nobody stupid enough to make a rule like that gets to grant magic wishes.
POTATO: Yeah, it’s a rule or something.
ANTON: OK. I wish for a yoyo.
POTATO: Poof! There you go.
(ANTON pulls a yoyo out of his pocket and plays with it)
ANTON: Wow! This is just like the yoyo I brought with me!
POTATO: Yeah. You should probably wish to not be such an idiot.
ANTON: OK. I wish to not be such an idiot.
ANTON: Cool! (Laughs).
POTATO: What’s so funny?
ANTON: I totally just got that joke I heard this morning. (Laughs some more).
POTATO; You wouldn’t actually wish to be SMART, would you?
ANTON: Didn’t i just do that?
POTATO: OK. Before we do any more of these… you should really put some thought into what you wish for. Alright?
ANTON: Alright. My much less idiotic brain tells me that you make sense.
POTATO: Well, you’re half right.
ANTON: What half?
POTATO: The top half! Listen! I’ve been granting wishes for the past five or six minutes now, so I think I know a thing or two about wishing.
ANTON: Aren’t you going to tell me?
POTATO: Oh! You want me to tell you?
ANTON: So tell me already!
POTATO: Tell you what?
ANTON: What you’ve learned about wishing.
POTATO: Oh, OK.
POTATO: Oh, you mean now?
ANTON: Well, what did you think I meant?
POTATO: Ahh! Thing number one that I’ve learned about wishes. You have to be specific.
ANTON: Like with what?
POTATO: Just in general. For instance, you might say you wanted to find a girl. And I could make you dig up the body of a dead six year old girl. If I was a dick.
ANTON: But you’re a potato.
POTATO: Ok. Let me try another one. Say you wish for an unending supply of beer. I could make the world flood with beer and then you’d drown. If I felt like drowning everybody that day. What you should say is, “I wish a beer would appear in my hand any time I want it to. In a glass.” Of course, I could make a twelve ton glass of beer appear in your hand and it would squish you. But let’s be reasonable.
ANTON: Wow. Man. This is WAY harder than I thought it would be.
POTATO: So you’ve thought about this before?
ANTON: No. Why do you ask?
POTATO: You know what? You’re right. This is going to be much harder than you thought it was going to be.
ANTON: Ok. I want a hundred million dollars.
POTATO: Sigh. You asked for it. Poof!
(DELIVERY MAN enters)
DELIVERY MAN: Delivery! Delivery for some stupid guy! Are you some stupid guy?
ANTON: What the hell? Why are you calling me stupid?
DELIVERY MAN: Delivery!
(DELIVERY MAN hastily hands ANTON a bag with a big dollar sign printed on it.)
DELIVERY MAN: Here’s a hundred million Monopoly dollars.
(DELIVERY MAN exits)
ANTON: No way man! I wish for a hundred million dollars in REAL MONEY.
POTATO: See? This is what I’m telling you. You gotta get the details right. Poof. Here’s a hundred million Zimbabwe dollars. Worth about a penny.
(ANTON pulls a Hundred Million Zimbabwe dollar bill out of his pocket)
ANTON: Jeez. What can I get with this?
POTATO: I don’t know. Half a tictac? Or two 50 million Zimbabwe dollar bills.
POTATO: OK. Pay attention. What you need to do is wish for a 100 million real American dollars. Now. In your own bank account. Tax free. From a legal source. In a bank that isn’t about to close. Or burn down. That nobody else has any legal obligation to. Without the US dollar immediately entering a period of hyperinflation. And without quotation marks around the word “dollars.” And with no stupid tricks. Or smart tricks.
ANTON: You think that covers everything?
POTATO: Yeah, that’s about everything.
ANTON: Ok. I wish for what you just said.
POTATO: Heeeey. Guess you’re not as much of an idiot as I thought you were. Ah-hem. Poof!
ANTON: So, is that it?
POTATO: That’s it.
ANTON: I’m rich?
POTATO: Your rich.
ANTON: Cool, now I wish I could find a girl.
(The scene is the living room of a palatial mansion. JUIFER, sitting at a table, is dressed like a super slutty girl from an 80’s music video. POTATO is on a plate on the table)
JULIFER: So, do you grant wishes for other people, or just Anton?
POTATO: Just Anton. (Pause) Why… What would you wish for?
JUIFER: I don’t know if I should tell you. If I’m never going to get my wish.
POTATO: Come on. Go for it. It’ll be fun. Like a what-if kind of thing.
JUIFER: You seemed pretty sure I wouldn’t get it.
POTATO: I mean, you might get it through some other means. Like not directly magic-potato-related.
JULIFER: Well, I suppose… OK, Alright. As long as you don’t tell Anton.
POTATO: Look, if he wishes me to tell him…
JULIFER: OTHER than that. If you promise, I’ll tell you.
POTATO: Alright. Alright. As long as we know how things stand.
JULIFER: I wish… I had someone to talk to. Ever. Other than Anton. He’s great… but sometimes I feel like my whole function in life is just to fit into HIS life, somehow.
POTATO: Yeah. It is.
JULIFER: Yeah. it’s like I… What did you say?
POTATO: Hold on, I’m not trying to belittle you or anything. But in all reality, your function is to fit into HIS life somehow. I mean, he wished for you.
JULIFER: You mean… are you saying I’m somehow… not real?
POTATO: Well, now, hang on, you are. I mean, he wished for you, and then POOF -- you were real. I mean, technically it’s kind of the same as anybody else on the plan…
JULIFER: WAIT! But I have memories! I remember growing up… my whole life up till now. I have things I’ve owned for years. My first baby tooth, my old stuffed bear, my first dress, my “When I Meet A Man Like Anton” journal from third gra… Oh, God.
POTATO: Yeah, tell me about it. Magic is weird, right? I mean, I do it all the time and I can’t explain it. You think he would have wished for a girl with no memories or past… Well, he did a couple times but he had to throw those out and get more specific. He’s not so good at that.
JULIFER: Yeah, I’ve heard him try. It seems like you’re the one that lays everything out and then he wishes for whatever you say.
POTATO: I gotta stop doing that.
JULIFER: So, right now, while he’s off with his friends playing polo on his yacht, I’m supposed to be…?
POTATO: Anything you want. He didn’t wish anything particular for you to do while he wasn’t around.
JULIFER: And he didn’t think I might want to have friends, or a job, or a life?
POTATO: No, I don’t think that crossed his mind.
POTATO:You know, I’m not so sure he means to be such an asshat.
JULIFER: What do you mean?
POTATO: Well, I’ve come to know him over the past few weeks and.. you know, I hate to say it but he’s just not that bright. And he’s… a little bit self-centered.
JULIFER: Not going to argue with you there.
POTATO: So if he is a jerk to you don’t take it personally. I really don’t think it’s intentional.
JULIFER: Even when you unintentionally run over someone with your car, you still hit them.
JULIFER: I have a point, right? You don’t think I’m as dim as Anton is, do you?
POTATO: Not even close.
JULIFER: I could take that two ways, you know? (Pause) How do you know?
POTATO: Well, it’s pretty obvious. And, if we’re really getting down to it, I kind of made you out of thin air, and I didn’t make you stupid.
JULIFER: Well, thanks. I really appreciate it.
POTATO: Yeah, so do I.
(Door opens and ANTON enters)
ANTON: Julifer! Julifer! Hey! Ready for some SEX?
JULIFER: Oh, Anton. You’re so romantic.
ANTON: You know it. And I didn’t even need to WISH to be romantic. That’s all me -- no potato.
POTATO: Yeah, I’m not taking credit for that either.
ANTON: Alright. Go on upstairs.
JULIFER: (icily) Really, Anton.
ANTON: OK, I WISH you would go upstairs.
POTATO: Are you really going to do this?
ANTON: What’s going on?
POTATO: Well, you didn’t wish for her to go up NOW.
JULIFER: Haha! Awesome!
POTATO: Or say how many stairs she should go up. Or which flight of stairs. Or not to go right back down again.
ANTON: Seriously? You know what the hell I’m talking about!
POTATO: If you’re going to use your wishes for sex slavery I’m not going to make it extra easy.
JULIFER: We’re going to have to talk about this sex slavery thing.
JULIFER: After the sex slavery, I guess.
(She leaves. Beat).
ANTON: So how’s it going, old spuddy?
POTATO: You know, I’ve told you I don’t like the potato puns.
ANTON: Don’t let them get under your skin.
POTATO: Yeah, that’s the kind I don’t like.
ANTON: Oh, should I fry again?
ANTON: Man. What are you in such a bad mood for?
POTATO: Listen. Um.. you’re sort of becoming a jerk.
ANTON: No I’m not
POTATO: Yes you are, and don’t argue about it, cause it’s an indisputable fact..
ANTON: Well… maybe that’s what happens when you become rich and powerful, and you have women and everything. You become a jerk.
POTATO: No. If you are a jerk already, and then get all that stuff, you apparently become a bigger jerk.
ANTON: Since when do wish-granting potatoes get to tell me how to act?
POTATO: Would you say that since we’ve met I have been helpful to you, given you good advice, that sort of thing?
ANTON: Yeeeeaahh. I guess so.
POTATO: OK then, here it is.. I’m kind of hoping that when I’m gone, I’ll have left behind a better person.
ANTON: What do you mean “when you’re gone?”
ANTON: You’re not going anywhere, are you? You don’t have any legs. Mmm… but you ARE magic. Hmm.
POTATO: Anton! I’m just a potato. And you haven’t been keeping me in a cool, dark environment or anything.
ANTON: What are you talking about? Look at this huge house! It doesn’t get any cooler than this!
POTATO: As always, you are missing the point. Nothing lasts forever, Anton. Not even perishable food items.
ANTON: What are you saying?
POTATO: I’m starting to go bad… Spoil? … Turn rotten?
ANTON: Phwew. What a relief. I was starting to think I was!
POTATO: Ohhhhhh, Anton.
(ANTON is playing a video game or something. JULIFER enters)
JULIFER: Anton, we need to talk about something.
JULIFER: I haven’t really been happy here -- for a while.
ANTON: What the hell? I didn’t wish for a girl who would complain about being unhappy at me. In fact, I didn’t wish for a girlfriend who would complain about ANYTHING. PERIOD.
JULIFER: Yet here I am.
ANTON: Yeah, what’s up with that anyway?
JULIFER: That’s just it Anton. You don’t seem to recognize me as a real person. You just think I’m here to be an answer to your wishes.
ANTON: Well, yeah. You are.
JULIFER: I was -- but not any more.
(ANTON stops whatever he was doing).
ANTON: What are you talking about? Wait wait wait no --- I WISH I knew what you were talking about.
JULIFER: Anton… I’ve been seeing the Magic Potato.
ANTON: Yeah. I’ve seen him all over the house. I can never remember where I leave him.
JULIFER: No -- I’ve been seeing him romantically. Having an affair with him. The potato understands a lot more than you do, Anton. We connect on a level that you and I have never been able to.
ANTON: But…But… he’s a potato. What could you possibly see in a potato?
JULIFER: It was something in his eyes, Anton. I looked into them and I knew that he was more than just a potato.
ANTON: What? You mean like a side dish?
JULIFER: Like, he could talk, for one thing.
ANTON Well. Yeah, most potatoes can’t do that. (Beat) So how do you even…?
JULIFER: Good-bye, Anton.
ANTON: Wait, what? You’re leaving? I have to go through all those stupid tiny intricate details and all that trouble getting it right when I wish for another girl -- just because YOU have some kind of potato fetish or something.
ANTON: Damnit. Potato! POTATO!
POTATO: (Very hoarse and coughing) Coming!
(POTATO rolls in from offstage. He is now a moldy green and grey color).
ANTON: OK. First of all, this whole wish is your fault. If YOU weren’t sleeping with Julifer she wouldn’t have developed consciousness or her own needs or whatever, and I would never need to wish for another girl. Now. I want a girl. Who is not a transgender girl. And is human-sized….
POTATO: OK. Point one: We haven’t been doing a whole lot of sleeping.
POTATO: Point two: If you had treated Julifer with a little understanding, if you had given her even a shred of dignity, if you had let her meet some humans other than you, she wouldn’t have wanted to sleep with a potato!
ANTON: Agh! This is like more work than a pet!
POTATO: And point three: You can stop your wish right there, because I can’t do that for you.
POTATO: (Sigh) You heard me , Anton.
ANTON: When’s the last time you didn’t grant me a wish? That would mean I have to try to keep HER here, and she likes to sleep with vegetables, and I’m not into that!
JULIFER: A POTATO! A Magic, talking, potato! Not just any vegetable! Do you think I would sleep with a cucumber or a carrot?
ANTONL Well, it would make more sense to me. Potato, I am telling you. You better…
POTATO: I just… I mean… I just can’t Anton.
JULIFER: He’s rotting, Anton. Look at him. SMELL him. No potato lasts forever. I don’t think he’ll even be good enough to talk for very long.
POTATO: She’s right, Anton. I hate to say it, but it’s true. All potatoes rot. Those that aren’t eaten or frozen, anyway. Which I wasn’t.
(ANTON picks POTATO up to smell him)
ANTON: Oooh! You just need a bath.
POTATO: No, Anton. I know vegetable decay when I fall victim to it. No more wishes. That part of me has has spoiled. I hope you’re satisfied. You know, you could have wished to fix the environment. Or for an end to disease and famine. Or for potatoes not to decay naturally.
ANTON: Are you serious? That would have worked?
ANTON: Man, this sucks. Why does this stuff always happen to me?
(JULIFER slaps ANTON)
JULIFER: You bastard! Potato is the best thing that ever happened to you. But you never appreciated him. You’re just losing a vegetable. I’m losing the only Person, or thing, or one I ever loved. And Potato is losing his own life. That’s why I’m leaving Anton. There’s nothing here for me now. Potato is more of a man than you could ever be. And unlike you, he’s a good man.
POTATO: Shucks, Julifer.
JULIFER: He used his magical wish granting ability to create and to heal. You just used your wishes for… well, mainly for not knowing how to phrase things correctly. You could have made this world a paradise for everyone. EVERYONE! But who cares about that Anton? You got your money. You’re one of the most famous people alive. You’ve had more sex in the past month than most people have in their whole lives. And what will you have to show for it? Loneliness, death, despair. Thanks Anton. Thanks a whole Fuckin’ hell of a lot.
ANTON: Um… you’re… welcome?
(JULIFER gives the rotting POTATO a long, loving, meaningful kiss. ANTON gets very uncomfortable)
JULIFER: Goodbye, Potato. You were MY wish come true.
(JULIFER exits. Silence).
ANTON: Well, this sucks.
POTATO: You know I warned you about this weeks ago?
ANTON: Huh. And somehow that doesn’t change the level of suckiness.
POTATO: Goodbye, Anton.
ANTON: Potato? Potato?
(ANTON is at a grocery store talking to a CASHIER)
ANTON: So now I spent all the money, I lost the house, I lost the yacht, I can’t get a girl to save my life…
CASHIER: Wow, great. That’ll be $17.58, please.
(ANTON pays, takes the grocery bag, and walks away from CASHIER)
ANTON: And nobody cares who I am or what I have to say anymore.
TOMATO: Well, I care.
ANTON: Who are you?
TOMATO: Ha, ha, ha. Look in your grocery bag and see!
(ANTON digs through the grocery bag)
TOMATO: There you go. A little deeper. No, that’s a Twinkie.
(ANTON pulls out a large ripe TOMATO)
TOMATO: Yay, you found me! I am the talking, wish-granting tomato you just bought! Here to make your every wish and desire come true!
ANTON: Oh, no! No Way! Hell No!!
(ANTON smashes the tomato on the ground and stalks off)