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Marvin Heemeyer – My monologue

Image of Marvin Heemeyer, infamous for his &qu...
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Hello. I figured I might as well post my five-minute monologue as Marvin Heemeyer, builder of the Killdozer, that I performed at Intrepid Theatre’s Bring Out Your Dead, and blogged about on a couple of occasions. The performed ending went a little different, as I decided to improvise the last few lines to match the feeling of the piece on the night. I also risked staying seated for much of it, to give you a sense of the staging.

Thanks again to Janet Munsil for the opportunity. Enjoy!

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Lights up. A defeated Heemeyer looks up and laughs from inside his homemade tank.

HEEMEYER
Pick-axes. Pick-axes. See, this is why all law enforcement officers should at least go through basic army training, give them a brain and a pair of balls. Should’ve called in an air strike from the get-go.

My name is Marvin Heemeyer, and this is the inside of Granby, Colorado’s very own homemade tank, roadside attraction. I got beverages in the cooler if you want one, or you can use the cameras to enjoy the view – what you can see through the smoke of the damn carburator. Won’t be long now.

Still, you reasonably ask, what drives a God-fearing, responsible man to modify a Komatsu D355-A bulldozer with 12 inches of concrete, steel armor and gunports? Why, that’d take the whole world caving in, that’d take the damn devil moving in next door and taking over city hall, corruption the likes of Jesus throwing the money lenders out of the holy temple.

I was Marv the Muffler Man, they tell you that? Ran my own shop, ads on the TV station. “Come to Marv the Muffler Man, and I’ll change yer muffler, single-handed, 20 minutes flat, guaranteed.” I was about to get married, buy a dog, American dream and all that. Then that son of a bitch Cody Docheff, devil himself, paid off City Hall to rezone the acres right next to my shop, built his cement plant right on top of the only road to me.

I went to the mayor. “My customers need a way to access my tax-paying business, sir!”

He told me to “Quit whining”; what the city had done was all perfectly legal. I fought for years. They trumped up fines against me.

So I took out a loan and bought myself a bulldozer, told city council I’d build myself and all the town a road around the plant. They wouldn’t let me. Newspapers called me unreasonable.

I was always willing to be reasonable until I had to be unreasonable.

I worked for a year and a half, nights, putting this beauty together. Inspector came by and the damn thing was hiding under a tarp! Thirteen feet tall! I thought, this is it, they’ll haul me off. But something holy clouded his vision.

Darla, my fiancee, cheated, left. Dad died. Left me with no one to leave behind – just a purpose. God blessed me for this task.

I sealed myself in, drove straight for the cement plant.

Heemeyer laughs.

HEEMEYER
Or should I say, straight through the cement plant. It snapped and crumbled as I tore through its walls. The unstoppable force of truth. Beautiful. Employees streamed out the exits like rats at a fire.

As I left, you know who was waiting for me? That son of a bitch Cody, in his front loader, blocking the way. I fired a few. He drove away… Coward.

Town Hall, ‘Liberty’ Bank, fire station – every corrupted power of the government’s tyranny, demolished. Sky-Hi Newspaper folded. Took out the mayor’s house, brick by brick.

And all along the way, police officers walking alongside, SWAT teams, unloading clips into my baby, PING! PING! PING! Bouncin’ bullets. Crushed three cop cars.

Then the damn carburator blew, tread got stuck in a basement, and here we are.

Just because they’re the government doesn’t mean they’re safe. We, the people, are the real authority. Always.

I sacrifice my life, my miserable future that you gave me, to show you what you did is wrong.

And the destruction I have wreaked upon you, I did in the name of God, justice, and revenge.

Heemeyer pulls out the handgun.

HEEMEYER
I was just Marv the Muffler Man.

Heemeyer shoots himself in the head.

Lights down.

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My full-time summer, one month in.

Previously on Andrew Wade’s blog, our intrepid adventurer set out to make this summer far more theatrical and career-useful than summers past, by sending out a plea for aid, advice, and assistance to help him on his way.

I was fortunate enough to meet up with him in his humble rented room and ask him a few questions:


So, what are the biggest realizations you’ve made, now that you’ve spent a month on the job?

Two things: Responsibility/Leadership and Balance.

I have discovered just how important it is to me, personally, to give my absolute all in whatever I’m doing. On the week I spent writing, memorizing, and rehearsing Heemeyer and the Killdozer, for example, I tried to see if I could squirrel away time at the Centre of the Universe to work on the piece, but, mentally, morally, I couldn’t. Felt like I was betraying the promise I made when I signed back on at the CU, hiding behind closed office doors, setting a bad example for the (younger) co-op students.

Andrew, Lord of the Observatory (photo: Erika Joubert.)

I am not fond of half-assing anything (pardon my English).

This isn’t to say that every work hour I have is productive – unfortunately, certainly not – but that actively trying to do non-work-related activities felt dishonest, because there really were projects (such as building clocks for the different planets) to spend time on.

So I resigned myself to the knowledge that I would be spending my few after hours researching, writing, editing, and memorizing away. Which was actually a good deal of satisfying fun. And needless to say, the performing of the piece was a downright blast, a huge ego-boost, and led to marvellous conversations afterwards.


And for balance?

Life balance, specifically. I’m in my best mental mindset when I have a mix of socializing and alone-time every day, some physical exercise, good nutrition, some performance (which, I’ll admit, includes putting on 45 minute planetarium shows and telescope tours), and some mental creation work (I’ll include both writing and book-reading in this category). On a weekly basis, some God time (typically church) and time spent with children are pretty darn necessary too.

This means that, say, going to the gym each day as I had eagerly discussed with friends, is legitimately tough, because I’m already biking for two hours. (Sorry Graeme, though I really do appreciate all your help, and I am taking your fashion advice to heart.) That said, I am now (as of yesterday) making an effort to use my free-weights every day according to a routine he showed me. Bulk up those arm muscles. GRR. MANLY.

Honestly, my life right now is surprisingly balanced! I go to church on Sundays, teach children about astronomy at my job, and have the occasional great opportunity (thanks Janet Munsil!) and Impromaniacs to tie me into the outside theatre world. Even the bike commute isn’t so tough, though I do wish it would stop raining quite so often. (For the record, busses aren’t an option – they wouldn’t get me to work on time.) (gee, I’m really loving parentheses today.)

True, I may not be honing my craft as intensely as I do during the rest of the year, but I’m not avoiding it. And I am doing some writing, be it in this blog, or hand-written letters to friends, or a monologue about a homemade tank. I should really get on editing my plays and putting them online, mind.


So life is all hunky-dory, then? Perfect and idealized?

Well, of course not – there are always ways to improve. I still spend too much time reading the internet in my few off hours, don’t write quite enough, and spend far too much time at work dithering about. But I ain’t perfect, and I don’t expect my life to be so, either.

There’s also the looming potential that I won’t be able to finish my writing degree this year, as the one course I need to graduate conflicts with my acting classes in both terms. I’ve written an email to the chair of the department to see if we can make a deal somehow, though. So the prayer of serenity will tide me over there for the next few days:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

I would like to add, “God grant me clarity and self-awareness, so I can know how to create fulfilling days.”


You might want to work on your method of writing convincing fake interviews, too.

Quiet, you. 🙂

Building the Killdozer / Aiming my Life

EDIT: I posted my Marvin Heemeyer / Killdozer monologue here: https://adewade.wordpress.com/2010/06/10/marvin-heemeyer-my-monologue/ .

Before I get into the nitty gritty of this post, thank you so much Melissa and Janet for your kind and well-thought-out comments on my last post. A full reply deserves a post of its own that I’ll deliver sometime later this month.

How does a pacifistic Christian accurately write from the viewpoint of, and portray, a man who feels compelled by God to build himself a homemade tank and destroy half a town?

This Friday, Intrepid Theatre is holding their third Bring Out Your Dead event, where I am performing a monologue as Marvin Heemeyer, builder of the 75 ton Killdozer that tore through the buildings of his enemies in the small town of Granby, Colorado, in 2004. This shall also be (as I only just realized this morning), the first time I have ever been paid to act (other than as a film extra). I have been paid for my writing, – for performances of Hullaboo and High School Noir – but never before for acting. Well, if you discount Grossology centre stage shows and running around like a supervillain at Science World. 🙂

So this milestone comes with its own pressures, including that unfortunte fear of success that seems so counter-intuitive an idea. Why a fear of success? Because actually getting paid for my crafts really does put me in a career trajectory of potentially doing acting and writing as a living… which, admittedly, is scary, as much as it is also challenging and wonderful and excellent.

To get a sense of ‘Marv the Muffler Man’ and his story, I highly recommend reading the damninteresting.com article on him, and perhaps this Syndicalist recap as well. I’ll wait for ya.

This man is who I am dramatizing – a desperate man who, when faced with corrupt authority figures and injustice in society, went on a crusade to confront the evils of the world. His name is… BATMAN.

Okay, maybe not.

But he is a compelling figure, nonetheless. His aggressors did nothing technically illegal, yet they pushed him out of business and left him without options other than to sell and get the heck out of Dodge. Out of all this (and his fiancee cheating on him and leaving him), he felt inspired by God to build a tank, equip it with guns, and destroy City Hall, the concrete plant, and other buildings (with, oddly enough, a Catholic Church near the end of his list of targets).

As a Christian believer, do I think this was a course of action God really directed him to take? Well, no. But as a Christian, I can really identify with that desire to see a pattern in the world and identify it as a God-given purpose in life. Because we do look for how the higher power may have steered our lives, for what opportunities and challenges may have been deliberately set before us by the Great Almighty.

I know, personally, some options presented before me just seem to ‘click’, like when I signed up for Students for Literacy, or when I acted with David Perry at ThePlace, or put my hat in the ring to be one of next year’s Peer Helping Coordinators. Or auditioned for UVic’s theatre department.

Challenges? Certainly. But they felt like the right stepping stones. So I suppose that I, like Marvin, do feel that sensation that my life has an ideal way it can progress, if I make the right choices, if I follow my gut instincts and trust in the Great Shepherd to take me through the fields.

And whether I agree or disagree with his actions, I feel, as I write this piece, that it’s important to find the overall certainty within Marvin that he felt what he was doing was the right way, was justice… and then introduce little glimmers of uncertainty.

Because believing is all about faith,

and faith requires the possibility of doubt.

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