The Vultures of Little Bighorn
By Nicholas Anthony Hart
A large banner is displayed across the stage that says “Welcome Back Little Bighorns!” A boy with one arm missing drags a full body bag onstage. He addresses the audience.
Hey everybody! Welcome to the Little Bighorn Family Reunion! I’m so glad everybody could make it! I haven’t seen you guys in years even. Now I know I’m not supposed to be here. And we all know why. I have my regrets. It was a terrible mess I made and we certainly all miss little Petey. God bless his little soul. But- now just listen… I just thought Momma would want to be here and see the family one last time. We can’t deny her that. I know she sure wants to see her kin. I know I do. So I thought I’d stop by.
He looks down at her. Opens up the body bag. Pulls out a bag of cereal. Eats large handfuls.
Who’s hungry? You want some flakes of corn? Have some flakes of corn. Every body eat the corn.
The boy pours cereal into audience members hand. Then all of it in audience members lap. Then throws it into the audience.
You guys share now.
Oh boy. I sure got a pretty family.
Yeah. Something’s sure missing since last time we met. Yeah. I lost my arm. Because of Diabetes. Diabetes isn’t funny you guys. You guys will laugh at anything. But yeah, Diabetes. And alligators. And the war. The war of alligators. I’m just kidding I’ve got an arm! I just like to pretend I don’t got an arm! I’m just kidding I don’t really have an arm. It got missing.
So… you guys…We’re all here. What do you want to do? You want to play charades? What do you want to do now? Tradition calls for the family readings of the family history. We can’t break tradition. I got the book right here. Now who wants to read?
Now its time for family history guys. Who wants to read? I don’t play games. I’m being serious. You. You read now.
Written down in a book. An audience member is forced to read aloud the following:
Ever since 1992, every year the Little Bighorn family gathers around in a big reunion in Little Bighorn County, Montana. All the cousins, nieces, nephews, all the in-laws, the grandparents, the great-grandparents and the great grand children, all the favorites, and all the black sheep.
Then via a family raffle one family member is picked, every year, who dresses as General George Armstrong Custer. The rest of the family dresses up as the Lakota Cheyene Tribe. Then the annual re-enactment battle begins. And the poor General is hunted down like a fox. He is killed and promptly scalped. And then the rest of the family has lunch. The old people play pinochle.
This tradition will continue for years. Decades later. Centuries even. Until only one Little Bighorn is left.
And the last Little Bighorn will raffle themselves as General Custer. And they will hunt themselves down. And when they find themselves, that person will stab themselves in the chest thirty seven times. And scalp themselves. And the Little Bighorns will be no more.
Boy promptly takes the book away. Resumes talking to the audience.
Wowee Kazowie! Tradition! What a storied and self destructive history! So we all have that to look forward to later. Here everybody: Here’s your scalping knives. Everybody write your name down for the raffle and put in the little hat and we’ll have the raffle at the end of the day. Oh boy! Who’s it gonna be this year? Who’s it gonna be? I hope it’s you! I’m just kidding. But it could be you that we hunt down and kill today so you just be aware. Nobody ever thinks its gonna be them. But it always is. Just ask Mama…
Now that business is out of the way, what now? We gotta play. Let’s play. We haven’t seen each other in forever ever. Time for family fun. This is family time. It’s just us.
So… you guys…what do you want to do? You want to play a game? You want to play charades? You want to put together a puzzle? Yeah yeah yeah let’s do a puzzle. Oooh. A 1000 pieces. A 1000 pieces of puzzle.
Boy rummages through the body bag and pull out a puzzle. Empties all the pieces on the ground and picks up one. Show it to audience.
Okay now where does this piece go? Where do you think it goes? Make an educated guess. We’ll say it just goes there. Okay now where does this piece go? And where does this piece go? And where does this piece go? And where does this piece go? And where does this piece go? And where does this piece go? And where does this piece go? And where does this piece go? And where does this piece go? Come on people we got like 900 billion more pieces to go… And where does this piece go? And where does this piece go? And where does this piece go? Yeah, this puzzle is coming along. Wait a minute. These two pieces don’t fit together at all. How in the heck am I supposed to put together a 1000 pieces?
Scatters puzzle pieces all over.
You guys are bad bad bad at playtime.
Lets have a chat. We haven’t talked in forever. Let’s talk about our interests.
I like mashed potatoes, spaghetti, batman, sleeping under the covers, and setting homeless people on fire. Gummi bears is good too. I like Gummi bears. What do you like? Quit sitting there all quiet like, just staring at me, like I’m not even talking to you. You’ve been doing that all day. Sometimes I feel like I don’t even know you people, like you’re all just a bunch of strangers in a room. I’m gonna blow this place up just like the Burger King. You guys will laugh at anything.
What are your interests? What are things you like? Nothing? Okay.
What do you guys believe in?
The most important thing I believe in is funnyness. Yeah funnyness. I believe in being real funny. Life is sad when you can’t laugh at it, right? Like my daddy or brother which ever one you want to call him by, he likes to make jokes all the time. He ain’t never sad. He always got the best jokes. Like when my brother-daddy, he likes to bust open the door when I take my bath. He laughs at me when he sees me naked, and then he shoots me with he bebe gun. And he just laughs and laughs some more. He’s always joking. I still got them pellets in my inner thigh if you want to see them. I don’t ever get the joke when he does it but I always laughs laugh about it later. I got my own jokes too. I like to catch cats and then pour orange juice down their buttholes. Smash their peepees with a hammer. It’s the funniest thing ever. It’s real funny. Watch it go meow meow. You just gotta laugh at life you know. And boy have I learned to laugh. You guys will laugh at anything.
You know its my birthday. Yep. Yep. Yep. It’s my birthday. Where are my presents? I’m just kidding its not really my birthday. I’m just kidding it really is my birthday. I know you didn’t get me anything. None of you. Nobody ever does. It’s okay. You’re only my family. Well, someone got me a present once.
When I was eight years old, Momma bought me a whopper Jr. and a diet coke and she said, “Happy Birthday! You’re a man now you big dumb mongoloid.” And then she said “Bye bye. I love you.” And now I live in the Burger King and eat all the ketchup packets I want. Which is a lot better than where my sister lives. She lives in the timeout box. She was misbehavingreal bad because she wouldn’t stop talking so much. You want to know what she would talk about? She would talk about boys and school and dresses and cartoons and dinnerware and princesses and the toxicity of crayons and orange juice and boy pee pees and girl pee pees and the digestive system in giraffes and john cage and the Nimzo-Indian defense and virulent strains of Ebola and democratic republics and lighter fluid and creamed corn. She loved to talk about creamed corn. And then one day Momma said “I sure am tired of this talking young lady now get in the timeout box.” And she had to have a timeout time in the timeout box. The timeout box is really the oven, we just like to call the timeout box and she stayed in there and then Momma forgot, so she turned the timeout box on because she was baking a meatloaf casserole and the casserole turned out okay. but my sister did not turn out okay. It was urgg. Liquids everywhere all over the oven. A surprising amount of liquids. No one wanted to clean her up in there so everyone just decided she lived there from now on. But the casserole tasted okay. It was a real quiet casserole. And boy do I love ketchup packets. You guys will laugh at anything.
There’s only two things you can do when you’re only eight years old and you live in a Burger King- #1 Build toys out of meat and #2 make fun of fat people. Are you a builder? Or do you make fun of fat people? Do you guys have meat toys? I lost my virginity to a picnic table. What was your first time? Who was it? Did it hurt? Did you like it? It’s okay. Everybody’s got needs.
Why won’t you guys talk to me? Huh? Do you not like me? Do you hate me? Why are you even here?
Is everybody still mad upset about Little Petey? It was an accident. Just leave it alone. Gosh walk it off already. He was being bad. He wasn’t even real. He was adopted. It was like this, this is what happened. This will be a re-creation. A re-enactment. This family sure does love re-enactments.
Boy pulls a pinata out of the body bag.
This will be Little Petey.
He also pulls out a bat from body bag. He talks to piñata.
Leave me alone Little Petey. I said leave me alone. I hate Little Petey. I hate you! You’re mean! I said you’re mean! Those are bad words! You can’t use bad words! They are too bad words! Shut up in your mouth Little Petey! I’m gonna bust you Little Petey! You make me so mad!
You’re right. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it.
Yes I did!
Boy beats pinata to death. Ketchup packets fall out.
And that’s what happened to Little Petey. He was adopted. He. Was.
Look at Little Petey. Wasn’t that fun? Wasn’t that fun fun funny? I love watching that. Yeah? Come on you love it! And that’s just what happened. So we can all move on now. I sure do love re-creations though.
Do you guys have any family secrets to share with the family or me?
Do you guys want to play checkers or charades? Or pinochle? Or bingo? Or tag? Or hockey? Or anything? Or have a nice picnic lunch like a family? That’s what I’ve always wanted.
No one? No one wants to play? Fine. Fine. Fine.
All I want to do is play. But no. no. no. Everybody’s mean.
Assholes! Everybody’s assholes! Family of assholes!
You don’t even like me. Won’t talk. You think I’m weird. And stupid. And you love it. You just sit there and watch me. Like I ain’t even a person.
I’m not a bad person. But if I am… . We’re all bad people together. we’re a family god dammit.
Enough of this playing around. Its time for violence. Business and tradition. Everybody get your scalping knives ready. Everybody go “ohohohohoh!” like Indians! EVERYBODY DO IT! Why do we do it? Because its fun. We gotta watch something, right? Any last calls for charades? Didn’t think so. Don’t act like you’re not part of the family anymore. I know everyone in this room. Who’s it gonna be? Who’s it gonna be?
Boy collects the hat for the family raffle and pulls out a name.
We’ll I’ll be a son of a gun. Guess who it is? It’s you! I knew I’d be you!
I’m just kidding. Its not you. You can sit down. Its me.
God dammit. You never think it gonna be you.
Aunt Belinda you can have all of my meat toys. Uncle George you can have the body of my dead rotting mother to replace your dead rotting son in the ground. Little
Petey. I kind of miss that little guy. And Cousin Steve you don’t even get anything.
Grandma was the only person that ever done talked to me. Or played with me at all. I miss grandma. But she got taken away by the Vulture boy. Its too bad she couldn’t be here. She would have played.
Once upon a time…
There was a bad boy. He was a bad bad little baby. And he got left on the side of the freeway next to the Kentucky-Louisana State Border right by the Alamo because Grandpa just couldn’t take it no more he was so bad. It wasn’t the real Alamo mind you, but a miniature recreation of the Alamo. A tiny Alamo. That’s where he was left. And the bad little boy was raised by vultures. Years later Grandpa was sick he was on his deathbed. He was laying down hacking and coughing, the whole family was around him praying for him. Then a giant six foot tall eight hundred pound vulture bursts through the wall of the living room, snatched up poor grandpa in his claws and flew off into the sunset with grandpa hacking and screaming all the way. A little boy was on top of that vulture carrying grandpa and he was screaming, “Remember the Alamo! Remember that Tiny Alamo!” He comes by every year now. First it was Grandpa. Then Grandma. Then cousin Bill. Pretty soon he’ll be coming for you. I bet everyone remembers the Alamo now.
The vultures and the Vulture boy stare at people until they’re about to die. Just like you. Staring staring. Then the vultures snatch them up dead. You know. Just like you. Staring. Staring. Snatch.
I wish I could be brave like the Vulture Boy and take all of you down with me. One day…
The boy crawls into the body bad and starts to zip it up.
Move over and make some room, momma, I’m comin in.
It’s my turn today. But yours will come up soon enough. You’ll see. And right before the Vulture boy comes I’m sure you’ll want to spend some time with your family too whether they want to or not. Just remember Vultures will eat dying vultures.
A Vulture Boy walks onstage and stares at audience.
I just wanted you to like me. I guess families are like that. We could still play charades. No? I just wanted to play charades with my family. I don’t know how to play charades.
The Vulture Boy drags the body bag with the boy in it offstage. Lights out!