Thicker Than Water

a monologue

by dustin hansen

copyright May 2000 by Dustin Hansen

Jessie Can be a young man or a young woman, of indeterminate age (perhaps twenties). Speaking to psychologist.



It’s just molecules.

It shouldn’t be such a big thing.

But on my hands? I just . . .

I mean, after all, most of the world is — but that’s kinda scary, really. But I mean, half my body — hell, anybody’s body — I mean, half this hand is — no, it’s more than half, isn’t it? Almost all, I think. Almost everything, when you stop and . . . But that’s just kinda scary. And you don’t see it. Ya know? I mean ya don’t drown just cause 98% of your lungs and windpipe are made up of water, but . . .

Do ya?

Not very often.

Not most people. Not most folks I’ve met.


My mama was drowned.




But she was a good swimmer.

A fish almost. Almost a fucking fish, my mama. Except she didn’t have none of them gills. Of fins or nothin. Or scales.

On her outsides.


My folks would go at each other.

That’s why I’s never late for the bus.

I mean, I missed it once. When Mama was sickly.

They wouldn’t never let me take it upstairs, neither. And I couldn’t cry. They wouldn’t let me even cry. “Not at the table. Just eat your oatmeal, Jessie.”


I don’t think they ever said that. Not actually.

I don’t think they never said nothin.


But sometimes I’d just not come down.

It’s one thing through a wall, and a hall, and another wall, and another, and another when you’re tryin ta eat oatmeal in the same room without cryin. Ya know?

(pause; not quite crying:)

If they’da just let me take it up with me. I can eat without a table. You won’t hear me. I just need to cry so I can swallow. I’ll starve to death down here if I don’t cry.


She looked painted. Kinda fatter.


That’s all we had after that. That’s all he could make. Besides an occasional egg.


I told him just leave her there. Just leave her.


Why’d you have to fish her out? Don’t fish her out.


No, I don’t think I said nothing. Not actually.


I guess that was the thing to do.


When I go I wanna be real dry.


She never could speak much. A few words is all. English, I mean. She wasn’t some deaf-mute or nothin. I just meant . . . Spanish, ya know?

God, he hated that.

She wouldn’t listen. She refused, just refused, to give it up and talk like normal people. She’d talk to herself all the time. All the time mutterin in Spanish. Else ya lose it, ya know.

When they got real angry she’d start yellin in Spanish. God Almighty, did that ever . . . I thought he’d lose it for sure.

If I’da been my daddy, I’da learned to speak it, just so at least I know what she’s callin me to my face, ya know?


I think all parents should speak a language that their kids don’t know.


I wonder what she talked to herself about.


But then I think, it’s a blessing. They were so in love. I mean they loved each other. Ya know? And I think, if they’da been able to talk to one another and say what they thought and understand one another, if they’da spoke the same language, why . . . they’da probly killed each other off real quick.


I think everybody should have their own language. Otherwise . . .


Oh yeah. So anyways, I got this thing. About water. It’s pretty weird, I guess. Like, nobody’ll sit next to me on the bus. I had this pen pal once, and we were so . . . and then we met, face to face like, and . . . and then . . .

I just, on my hands? That wet feelin? Jesus. I can’t . . .

Paper plates, forever and ever, ya know?

But it’s no sin.

I don’t know, it’s just the feel of it.

Feels all . . . wet.


Boy, I don’t know. There’s somethin the matter with me.




Ya know?

(long silence)