Fidel Castro and Florence Henderson Have a Conversation in The Afterlife

Fidel Castro and Florence Henderson Have a Conversation in The Afterlife

(Author's Preface: Since the news broke regarding the death of two very disparate personalities, Fidel Castro and Florence Henderson, I knew an unconventional tribute was in order. Though I'm sure it's not necessary to state these simple factoids but, for the sake of the one person reading this who has been living under a rock for the past millennium, Castro ruled as dictator of Cuba for 47 years and Henderson was a TV and Broadway actress who is best remembered as the matriarch of TV's smash sitcom The Brady Bunch. This brief conversation between the two icons is fictional, obviously, and should not be used in any scholarly work, including but not limited to Cuban Military History or The Philosophy of the Sexual Undertones of The Brady Bunch.)


(Curtain)

(The scene is a blank white void, completely shorn of any decoration, save a wooden bench in the middle of the stage. Seated on the left is Fidel Castro, slouched and sullen, and on the right is Florence Henderson, rigid and adjusting the wrinkles in her bell-bottom jeans. They are the ultimate Odd Couple.)

Florence: (after an appropriately awkward silence, complete with nervous tittering) So, they got you too, Comandante?

Fidel: (grunts, adjusting his iconic hat) Si, but it was The Madonna that called me home.

Florence: I didn't realize that Madonna's appeal was that wide?

Fidel: Que?

Florence: Nevermind.

(another awkward silence)

It's amazing to think that both of our faces will be on the same obituary page.

Fidel: What makes you think that you're worthy enough to be seated next to me?

Florence: Because the big guy told me to!

Fidel: Kissinger?

Florence: Not that big.

Fidel: Understood.

(yet another silence)

So, what did you do on Earth?

Florence: I was married to a closeted gay man who designed houses.

Fidel: How was that?

Florence: It was fun at first, but once they introduced that bastard Oliver he spent far less time with me.

Fidel: I don't understand a word you say, Miss.

Florence: There was an ocean dividing us, Fidel. It's understandable.

Fidel: In Cuba, I was living in a bubble. I had no idea of the world around me or even that the globe was still spinning. Time stood still, implacable, immovable time.

Florence: They tried to trap me in that bubble as well. The 70's bubble. No one wanted to see me as anyone but Mrs. Carol Brady, model housewife, and professional virgin. The way they treated me, you'd forget that those three shrieking children crawled out of my womb.

Fidel: You women are all the same, you know? You never fail to throw childbearing into the conversation. Weren't you taught the manners that befit a woman in your youth?

Florence: Yes, I was, but I worked my entire life to ensure that the next generation of girls wouldn't be born with chains around their ankles.

Fidel: How then could you elect a president such as Mr. Trump?

Florence: Trump wasn't elected by the future, he was borne of the past. Any man who talks of grabbing a woman by her...unmentionables...should not be allowed to speak for a nation.

Fidel: I applaud his honesty. Very few leaders have the guts to say what they mean.

Florence: Did you?

Fidel: (proudly) I did. I was born a revolutionary and I died a revolutionary. I became what I became to lead my country into the future. The rest, as they say, is history.

(a pause)

Were you one of Kennedy's Harem?

Florence: (flustered, unable to come up with anything to refute the underpinnings of his statement) Speaking of presidents who couldn't keep it in their pants. Poor Jackie.

Fidel: Lovely woman, terrible fate. The hand of fate is the guiding force of politics. Read the stories of The Greeks; no one knew fate better than they.

Florence: I was an actress, once. I dreamed of playing Electra and Blanche DuBois, but I was forever "a lovely lady."

Fidel: Is that such an improper fate? At the very least, they remembered you? Thousands of actors have died without the feeling of mass recognition.

Florence: (thinks it over and smirks) I suppose you have a point there, Fidel.

Fidel: (after a silence) I suppose we will be leaving this room soon.

Florence: You dream of moments like this, but you never picture it actually happening.

Fidel: There was so much left to do. I was not ready to leave.

Florence: Is anyone ever ready?

Fidel: Mr. Nixon was.

Florence: Touche.

(the bright white of the stage begins to die out until the two disparate bodies are all we see)

Two strangers meet in the afterlife. One says to the other, "Where are you headed?" The other answers, "Hell." "What did you do?" "I killed my mother." "Why?" "She told me she thought Betty White was a c**t."

(Florence ascends upwards, as Fidel sinks)

(Curtain)


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  • Very clever!

    Having been to Cuba legally many times I found that the cult of Fidel was alive and well among older Cubans. They knew who he was --a brutal dictator, whom he killed, whom he imprisoned, how much he stole from the people to finance a lavish life-style, and how his favorite stabbin-cabin was the landmark Hotel National, which had to clear out floors to accommodate frisky Fidel; yet he was all they knew. He was the leader of the past, giving them just enough government cheese to hang on. And during each "election" he won by margins Hillary would kill for, literally. Fidel's image was displayed in most shops and homes that wanted to stay on the right side of the CDR (the neighbor snitches of the Communist Party)

    My first trip to Cuba was in 2003, and at that time the bearded one was still running the country, which was in such bad shape economically with the collapse of their sponsor, the Soviet Union, that the official currency was the US dollar. Yep, Washington, Lincoln, Hamilton and Ben stared out at every subject of the revolution. Until Fidel got pissed and officially changed the currency overnight and cost the poor (literally poor, not US poor-like) to lose a ton of hard earn money.

    Over the years the economy has improved in Cuba, because it had to. Still, it is ranked dead last of the Latin American countries. A doctor makes about $40 PER MONTH in Cuba. In 1959, even with the brutal Baptista, the economy in Cuba was ranked first in Latin America.

    Which reminds me of the old Cuban joke, which asks: What are the successes of the Revolution? Usually the uniformed Yanqee answer is this:

    1. Healthcare
    2. Education
    3. Sports

    But the Cuban response is, "What are the three failures of the Revolution?"

    1. Breakfast
    2. Lunch
    3. Dinner

    One of the last times I was in Cuba a younger man approached me and asked if I was an American. I said "yes", and he wanted to know if I listed to Mark Levin. (For those who don't know, Levin is a widely syndicated Constitutionalist radio host). He pumped his fist.

    You are right having Fidel descend at the end of your play, and when he reaches the last station he will find plenty of company and the names of those US politicians of yesterday awaiting -- Hillary Clinton, for one, a person with ideas that gleam in the eyes of the old bearded killer.

  • very clever indeed. Not sure about the last part though.

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