Set in New Jersey from 1978 to 1989, the story follows Jimmy Bonaparte, an angry young man trying to turn his American Nightmare into his personal American Dream. He takes care of his invalid grandmother while constantly exchanging insults with her. During the course of the eleven years we follow him, he marries his high-school girlfriend, Annie, because she's pregnant, and he's content, in his bitter way, to stay with her. Over time, however, she outgrows him and leaves. The only people for whom he shows much affection are a cocktail waitress from a comedy club and his little girl, Wendy, who helps to mellow Jimmy's temperament as she gets older. Running through Jimmy's life is his unchanging routine at the supermarket where he works with his friend Arturo, and his constant efforts to become a famous stand-up comedian. His routine changes little in eleven years and the stories he relates are violent, troubled and rarely funny—a fact he fails to see. Jimmy keeps trying to get the big break. By the end of the play, there is a possibility that Jimmy will turn his attention to Wendy and finally let go some of the misplaced venom that has filled his life.
This dark, coming-of-age story received its premiere at the Los Angeles Theater Center. "A writer of exceptional promise." —LA Daily News. "[Sherman's] strengths as a writer, as evidenced in VEINS AND THUMBTACKS, are an excellent ear for dialogue and a sardonic wit aimed at everything from Las Vegas marriage chapels to invalid grandmothers." —Drama-Logue. "Sherman has a young fresh angry voice…you may want to hang him up by his veins with thumbtacks for the way he talks, but you wouldn't want to shut him up." —LA Times.