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Go out with you? Why not... Do I like to dance? Of course! Take a walk along the beach tonight? I'd love to. But don't try to touch me. Don't try to touch me. Because that will never happen again. "Past, Present and Future"-The Shangri-Las

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The day I stole a Baby Coffin

In college I was assigned to be Assistant Stage Manager on a play of my Professor's own devising. The subject of the play was a white family that adopts a black baby, whereupon it turns out that everyone they know is a closet racist. It's a bit Young Goodman Brown, but it ends with the child dispatched via SIDS, which is narrative closure of a sort.

My only real task was to obtain a baby coffin, and get it for free. "Why not make a stage-prop baby coffin," I asked. Because we wanted authenticity, apparently, although we used a doll instead of an actual child for the baby.

I called every funeral supply company in Birmingham. They all informed me that they weren't in the habit of loaning out free baby coffins for the use of amateur theatrics.

I went to the theatre's technical director, affectionately known as The Milkman, and told him that I was unable to obtain a free baby coffin. He noted that it was almost five o'clock, so the company brass at most funeral supply companies would be gone. He called one out of the phone book, got the custodian, and informed said custodian that he needed to swing by real quick to pick up a loaner coffin. The custodian said he'd leave the door open for us, so the Milkman and I jumped in the Milk Truck.


We screeched up to the company building, ducked in through the side door, grabbed a suitable looking baby coffin, thanked the custodian, and

VROOOOM outta there.

I learned an important lesson that day; if someone says you can't have something, bamboozle the custodian into thinking you can.

I suppose there's a baby in a Birmingham graveyard whose coffin was the centerpiece of a bad play.

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