From writer and performer of the stage play, "Asking For It"!
“ASKING FOR IT”
By JOANNA RUSH
BERNIE O’CONNELL dreams of becoming a priest, a saint, or even a martyr “…as long
as you're Catholic and you're willing to die." She comes to her senses at puberty, and channels her
passion into dance. Soon after, she runs away from home, auditions for the Rockettes, is told to lose 10
pounds and come back.
She crashes with the hippies in the Port “of” Authority Bus Terminal. BROOKLYN BOBBY
hires her “to sleep in his car, kinda like a private security guard, for 7 bucks a night.” He rapes her.
She realizes she is not willing to die. The police tell her she’s asking for it. Best friend JOHNNIE
AUTORINO begs her to come home. "No I'm gonna stick it out here till I make the Rockettes, then
you can come in and we can celebrate cause y’know the good part of all this? I lost 5 pounds."
She lands the Rockette job and LORELLE FONTAINE takes her under her wing. Bernie hurls
herself into a self-education program to make up for the wasted school years at Our Lady of Sorrows.
Johnnie, on leave from military school, where he was sent to purge his sissyness," visits the Big
Apple, drops out of school, and joins Bernie for a life in the theater.
Lorelle fixes Bernie up with Irish Catholic West Point cadet, Kevin, who takes her on a
hansom cab ride through Central Park, and rapes her as the buggy driver trots off. He lies, tells other
cadets that she “gave him blue balls which I think you can die from." She prays to the Blessed Virgin
Mary for forgiveness and to please send her “a good man who believes in the sanctity of marriage."
Bernie slips and falls into the footlights on stage, hurts her knee, meets clarinet player,
MATTHEW KACHECHIAN, and marries him. Matthew is horny. Bernie is sexually traumatized.
Matthew has an affair with Bunny, a Rockette with a big butt.
Bernie acts in movies, has a baby. When DANNY is six, she signs on to a world tour with
a famous star. On the road, she re-lives her teen years, dates exciting men from each country when
Danny isn't with her. Johnnie directs opera, falls in love in Italy with his cousin Rodolfo. His family
freaks. Bernie concentrates on herself, studies yoga, and takes a self-defense class.
The world tour comes to Broadway. After leaving the opening night party at Tavern on the
Green, Bernie is attacked in Central Park, defends herself, escapes and identifies the thugs at the
precinct. Her father, CHICK, and Matthew attribute the unfortunate incident to Bernie's hanging out
“in some damn tavern like a two bit tart."
Bernie secretly performs in the sexually explicit Off-Broadway musical, “Let My People
Come,” She makes money, moves back to the city, and takes Danny. Her family finds out about “Let
My People Come” from Geraldo Rivera on "Eyewitness News." She divorces, loses custody of her
son, and her rights as a Catholic.
Bernie strives to fill the empty space in her heart and eventually regains custody of Danny
when Matthew remarries. She performs in “A Chorus Line,” Johnnie returns from Europe and they co-
parent until he is diagnosed with AIDS. They try every alternative treatment known to mankind. They
meet NOAH, a computer geek from Queens at a "Healing the Sexual Scars of Religion Workshop."
“He’s definitely not my type." On Johnnie’s deathbed, he mutters: "Has it occurred to you that after all
these years, your type has not proven all that successful?"
She drives to Sedona with Johnnie’s ashes buckled into the passenger seat. While meditating in
a canyon, she looks at her vagina for the first time. "Had to go all the way to Arizona." After scattering
his ashes, she escapes a rape attempt in a darkened parking lot. "You are not going to rape me. You
can kill me, but you are not going to rape me. I am willing to die." Her will is too powerful for her
assailantIn an Oklahoma City Motel 6, a talk show about rape provokes an explosive catharsis. She
marries Noah and actually becomes a Priest - er Minister - Interfaith.
About the Author
Joanna Rush is an actor, writer, and interfaith/interspiritual minister, born and raised in
Montclair, New Jersey, nurtured and matured in NYC. She currently lives in Massachusetts with
her perspicacious husband Seth, and their dog Yogi. Her brilliant son David (who grew up to
be a CEO) and the daughter-in-law of their dreams live nearby, with her three fascinating and
curious grandchildren…who will not be permitted to see her plays or read this book for many
years to come.