February 2018

NQonline.ca is pleased to share new work by St. John’s playwright, Monica Walsh. We’ll be publishing Dan of the Galapagos in its entirety over the course of the next several months. See the cast of characters and the first installment here. You can also read installment 2. Enjoy! 

(Dan and his friend Ralph decide to set up a lemonade stand but, like other things in life, it doesn’t work out like they expect)

Narrator: Dan and Ralph set out; on the way they collect stones to throw at the lemons to get them out of the tree. They find a good lemon tree –


Narrator: – and Ralph simply sits still, watching Dan intently. Ralph has begun to think of Dan as a mother. Dan flicks rocks at the tree.

Dan: BY JESUS! Can’t get ONE Lemon down. B’YS OH B’YS! Ready-Aim-GO!

Narrator: Dan flicks a rock and dislodges a lemon; it bounces down towards him. Ralph goes and collects it, and they start to form a pile of lemons. Little do they know they are being watched by a flock of birds overhead … the birds are intrigued. Dan and Ralph return home with a pile of lemons. Dan is overjoyed.

Dan: This is just like when I was a YOUNGSTER!!!!!!!! One time a crowd from Mount Royal Avenue came and knocked over my stand, made me bawl. Well I’m sure there won’t be no crowd from Mount Royal Avenue here today-BAH HAHAHA!

Narrator: Dan laughs loudly and Ralph makes bird noises in response. Dan sets to work on extracting the lemon juice from the fruit, fetches some water from his makeshift well, and mixes in the sugar. He and Ralph taste it along the way, until Dan is satisfied with his mixture. They head outside. Dan sets up a table and has several hollowed out coconut shells set up as glasses.

Dan: Now I knows there won’t be a demand for lemonade in this heat! I hope so – that was some hard to make, by god I’d die for a packet of Tang right now. Cold Freshie is what this HEAT NEEDS!

Narrator: It’s not actually that hot out, but after all Dan from Newfoundland and anything over 7 degrees is considered pleasant to him. Dan and Ralph sit, in the beautiful sun, with the lemonade glistening. It is an ideal moment, perfectly soft and quiet. Dan contemplates life, thinks of his buddies at Dooly’s, thinks of skating at Mile One, thinks of the sandwiches at Cornwall Suprette … it’s as if time is standing still. Dan thinks of Ralph, his new friend. His plans for the Galapagos Island Community Recreation Centre. He thinks of the quiet and stillness he has discovered since coming here. His two worlds meet and Dan smiles. In the distance, he sees some birds coming towards them.

Dan: AH!!! HERE we go Ralph! The masses are coming! Get the ladle ready!

Narrator: Ralph twitters and stands up. The flock gets closer. Dan prepares to welcome them to his stand.

All of a sudden, it becomes obvious that these birds mean business. They are not going to pay. The birds swoop down violently and devour the lemonade. They knock over the bowls. The ladle falls to the ground and Ralph twitters after it. Dan valiantly picks Ralph up and protects him from the flock.

The lemonade is all gone. The scene is bleak, lemon rinds everywhere, Dan’s cups askew and his table knocked over. There is silence. Dan picks up Ralph and dusts him off. He starts to pick up his bowls and tidy the stand. Ralph twitters away, as if to say Well, what can you do? Dan is silent.

Over the next few days, Dan is depressed. Nothing Ralph or the Galapagonians can do will bring him up. He feels betrayed by the land.

Dan: After all, townies will slit your face and steal your car radio under your nose, but they’d always be up to have a beer afterwards and make up after it’s all said and done.

Narrator: For the first time in 3 months, Dan is thinking of leaving the Galapagos. But how? He has found tranquility and a peace here that Stamps Lane just can’t offer him. Dan is torn, and in one of the few times in his life, experiences emotional turmoil.

Stay tuned for the next installment of Dan of the Galapagos, coming soon!