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Wednesday, August 19, 2009


a wooden playlet after Carlo Collodi

by Bill Costley

GEPPETTO: Pinocchio, my dear wooden Son,
you need fixin’ but my hands hurt too much.

PINOCCHIO: Soak them in clear water, Father.

GEPPETTO: I have, my wooden Son, I have,
but they still hurt, I cannot grip my knife.

PINOCCHIO: Who else can fix me, Father?
Who else can carve me as well as you can?

GEPPETTO: Any, who have knives & skill.
There are many skillful wood-doctors.

PINOCCHIO: Well, where are they, Father?
Bring me to them, or bring them to me.

GEPPETTO: It is not so simple my wooden Son.
Wooden insurance is needed to make it work.

PINOCCHIO: Then say those words, my Father,
& They will do it. You are their master, Father.

GEPPETTO: I wish I was, my one wooden Son;
I must choose among them & I am confused.
What does Public Option mean? Single Payer?
What is a Co-op? I just live & work all alone.

PINOCCHIO: Father, somebody can explain
each of them to you so you will understand.

GEPPETTO: Who? I have no telephone. Besides,
Parl' solo Tosc'ano, no capich' Italy'ano.

PINOCCHIO: How do I speak to you, my Father?

GEPPETTO: I do not know, my one wooden Son.
We just say what we have to say, somehow.

PINOCCHIO: Then think wooden Thoughts, Father.
Think wooden Thoughts & They well hear you.

GEPPETTO: I am thinking them, my dear Son.
I cannot fix you all by myself. I need help.
Please help me, o, skillful wood-doctors.

WOODEN DOCTORS: We are listening to you,
Geppetto, we hear your wooden thoughts.

GEPPETTO: Thank you, listening wooden doctors.
I need your skills to repair my wooden Son.

WOODEN DOCTORS: Are you covered, Geppetto?
What kind of wooden coverage do you have?

GEPPETTO: I have clothing of cloth & leather;
my wooden covering is my wooden roof.

WOODEN DOCTORS: You do not understand us,
Geppetto. Covering is wooden insurance.

GEPPETTO: I only need wooden insurance for
Pinnochio, my only wooden Son, not myself.

WOODEN DOCTORS: You both need wooden
insurance for us to help you, Geppetto:
for us to talk to you & for us to fix your son.

GEPPETTO: How do I get wooden insurance?
What do I do? Where do I go? Who do I see?

WOODEN DOCTORS: You are doing it now, but
you alone must choose the type of coverage.

GEPPETTO: I do not understand this coverage.
What does it cover? My head? My hands?

WOODEN DOCTORS: Your hands, because you
are a self-employed wood-carver, Geppetto.
Just your hands. They are what hurt you now.

GEPPETTO: Yes, they hurt me so much I cannot carve.

WOODEN DOCTORS: Do you have Workmen’s Comp?

GEPPETTO: No, I work alone, I have no workmen.

WOODEN DOCTORS: Then we cannot help you. We
cannot fix your hands to fix your wooden Son.
That would make you a wooden doctor like us.

GEPPETTO: But you are skillful wooden doctors!

WOODEN DOCTORS: Yes, we are, but we follow
the rules set by whatever coverage you have.
You have no coverage, so we follow no rules.

GEPPETTO: All men follow rules. I have a Rule
there on my workbench & I follow it carefully.

WOODEN DOCTORS: We follow rules of practice,
If we do not, we could be sued for malpractice.

GEPPETTO: But you practiced for many years!
Questa mala fortuna has now befallen you?

WOODEN DOCTORS: Health care reform, with
many new options, soon will re-regulate us.
We fear what it may do to our wooden skills.
(We should not be talking to you about this.)

GEPPETTO: Wait, please, skillful wooden doctors;
Do not fear talking to me; I will try to understand.
I am not part of your mala fortuna malpractice.
I am a humble woodcarver. My hands hurt. My Son…

WOODEN DOCTORS: We do not want to hear any more
about your wooden Son until you choose a health plan.
A wooden health plan for him, not you. Yours must
be a human flesh & blood health plan. For your hands.

GEPPETTO: (weeping) My hands are my only skill.
My hands have made my wooden Son. My hands
are my only hope. [He lifts them to the ceiling.]

[Wooden curtain drops.]

Bill Costley serves on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco Bay area chapter of the National Writers Union.