mom comes to visit

Scene – JEFF and BETH settle cozily onto the couch with Chinese food and prepare to watch TV. Jeff glances over at Beth, and flirts with her.  She flirts back.

JEFF:  I’m glad we got to spend more time together this weekend.

BETH:  Me too.  It’s been great.

They watch TV.  Jeff puts his arm around her.  They look into each other’s eyes, snuggle closer, as if about to kiss.  Suddenly, a screeching, bird-like VOICE comes from offstage.

MOM (OS):  Jeff!?  Jeff – are you home?!

JEFF:  Oh no.

BETH:  Maybe if we’re quiet, she’ll go away…?

MOM:  Jeff?!  Is that you?  Are you here?!  I love you! It’s your mother, Jeff!  Are you in there?

JEFF’S MOM enters in baggy housecoat, and loaded down with several large suitcases. When she talks she sounds like a broken, skipping record.

MOM:  There you are!  It’s me, Jeff! Your mother! I love you! Who’s this?!  Who’s this?!

JEFF:  It’s Beth, Mom.  You’ve met, like, five times.

MOM:  I’m his mother!  I love him! Do you love him?

BETH (embarrassed):  Uhm…well…uh…

MOM:  I love him!  I’m his mother!

JEFF:  I didn’t know you were here, Mom.

MOM:  I yelled!  From outside!  

JEFF:  I guess I didn’t hear you.  

MOM:  I yelled 27 times!! Since early this morning?

BETH:  What did you say?

Jeff glares at Beth.  She smiles, innocently.  

MOM:  JEFF! THIS IS YOUR MOTHER!  I LOVE YOU! THIS IS YOUR MOTHER!!

JEFF:  Wow. I guess I just didn’t hear you.  

Mom suddenly withdraws a large knife out of one of her suitcases and threatens them with it.

MOM:  YOU DIDN’T?! I COULD KILL YOU!

There is a short moment of intense fear.

MOM:  Just kidding. I love him! I’m his mother!

She puts the knife away.  They relax, slightly.

JEFF:  Why don’t you go upstairs and get some rest, Mom?

MOM:  Oh no! I’ll just stay here! I’ll stay here with you!

BETH (to Jeff):  Maybe we could find her a hotel?

MOM (pulling out knife again):  Jeff!  Jeff! I don’t like her!  I DON’T LIKE HER!

Another moment of intense fear.

MOM:  Just kidding. Do you love him?

Beth grits her teeth.

BETH:  Uhm – that’s such a strong –

MOM:  I love him, too!

BETH:  You’re his mother!

MOM:  Right!  That’s me!

Suddenly, Mom drops all her suitcases, opens one up and starts rifling through it. She tosses clothes all over the room looking for whatever she is looking for.

MOM:  Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait!  It’s here! I know it’s here! I know it! I just know it’s here! WAIT! Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait! I know it’s here! I know it’s here!

She stops for a moment and looks up.

MOM:  I’m his mother.

Mom dives back into her bags.

MOM:  AH HAH!

Triumphantly, she pulls out a DVD.

MOM:  Deadpool!

She puts it in the DVD player, nearby, turns it on and sits down. She opens another suitcase, which is full of nothing but popcorn. She eats and watches TV.

BETH:  I’ve never seen Deadpool.

MOM:  Great movie! Stay and watch!

JEFF (to Beth):  Maybe we should go out?

MOM:  STAY AND WATCH!

BETH:  Why don’t we stay and watch for a while?

The stay and watch. The movie comes on.  After a moment, Mom leans over and talks to Jeff. He is annoyed by her talking during the movie.

MOM:  How are you?  You look well.  Grampa bought a new car! It has a stick shift.  I can’t drive a stick shift!

JEFF (whispering):  Shh…not during the movie, Mom.

MOM:  What’s Bunco?!  Everyone plays Bunco.  

BETH:  I think it’s a game drunk Soccer Moms play.

MOM:  Bunco! Bunco! Bunco!

JEFF:  Don’t encourage her.

MOM:  When I was young I had a kitten!

JEFF:  Mom, please –

MOM:  His name was Snowball!

JEFF:  Shhh…

MOM:  Snowball got hit by a car!  BAM! No more Snowball! Ha ha.

JEFF:  MOM, SHUT UP!  

Beat.  Mom looks hurt.  Like she may cry.  Jeff looks apologetic.  

JEFF:  Sorry. I’m sorry.  It’s been a rough day.

Mom smiles.  They all sit back and watch the movie.  Mom starts singing.

MOM:   Raindrops on roses and soft woolen mitten.

             Flowers and laundry and 200 kittens.

             Tie them all up with a big piece of string.

              These are a few of my favorite things.

She start eating lots of popcorn while she sings.

MOM:   Basketball, horseshoes and watching the Beaver.

             Buying a new car and getting a fever.

             Pinching the waiter and having a fling.

             These are a few of my favorite-

Abruptly, she starts choking on popcorn. They watch her without helping. She chokes, falls to the ground, spazzes a bit-

MOM:  Jeff! Jeff! I’m choking! I’m choking! I’m- Jeff! Jeff! This is your mother!  I love you! I – I – I –

She chokes.  Finally, Jeff smacks her on the back. She coughs out a piece of popcorn and passes out. They wait a second and then Jeff presses his fingers next to her throat, checking her pulse.

JEFF:  …She’s fine.

BETH:  Want to finish the movie?

JEFF:  Sure.

BLACKOUT

the brittany clarke interview

My piece, The Brittany Clarke Interview is now up at the extremely well-named Back Hair Advocate.

 

The Brittany Clarke Interview

The Tawny Rumaine Show in progress. TAWNY plays host to BRITTANY CLARKE.

TAWNY: We’re back! So. Brittany. Brittany Clarke!

BRIT: Yes.

TAWNY: This was it. This was the year that Brittany Clarke took a second rate character – Joan Johnson – on a completely forgettable show – Still Married! – and turned her into an icon.

BRIT: Well – it wasn’t just me –

TAWNY: (to audience) Did she not revolutionize television!? Yes! Yes, she did!

more

your handwriting

JEFF
Is my handwriting messy?

Sophie glances over at a notepad with Jeff’s writing on it.

JEFF
Daphne said my handwriting’s messy.  I don’t think it’s messy.  Small – but it’s not messy.  At least I don’t write in swirls and flourishes –

SOPHIE
Write your name.

Jeff writes his name, hands the notepad to Sophie.

SOPHIE
I have no idea what this says.

JEFF
Oh c’mon –

She takes his pen and writes:  JEFF ROBINSON in large, readable, block letters.

SOPHIE
That’s what your signature looks like to you.

She writes a long squiggly line – that is clearly nothing but a long squiggly line.

SOPHIE
That’s your signature to everyone else.

 Jeff takes back the notepad.  A WAITER brings more coffee.

pop’s an alcoholic

FADE IN

INT. HOME – NIGHT

POP, 61, drunk, stumbles into the house and pulls his coat open. JANEY, a small child, runs up to him.

NARRATOR (VO)
Tuesday on “Pop’s an Alcoholic!”

JANEY
Gampa!

POP
Shut up!

POP smacks JANEY. She falls to the ground.

Cut to:

INT. POP’S OFFICE – DAY

POP stands sluggish, disheveled in front of his BOSS. BOSS puts a sensitive arm on POP’s shoulder.

BOSS
Now look, Pop –

POP
Shut up!

POP punches BOSS in the head. BOSS goes down.

NARRATOR (VO)
Whoa, Pop!

Cut to:

EXT. BASEBALL LOT – DAY

POP maddeningly swings the bat around, trying to hit somebody. Everybody leaps out of his way.

NARRATOR (VO)
What’s he up to now!?

POP
Shut up! Shut up!

Cut to:

INT. LIVING ROOM – NIGHT

Christmas Eve. The whole family – about nine of them – huddle lovingly around POP, in his cozy chair. The fire crackles nearby. POP looks relaxed – at peace – a bottle dangling from his hand. They hug him, tightly.

SON
You’re tops, Pop – !

POP smiles, drunken, satisfied.

POP (belching)
BRREEAAGH –

NARRATOR (VO)
It’s an alcoholic Christmas!

SUPER
Pop’s An Alcoholic
Tuesday
9 p.m. Eastern

FADE OUT

do i stink?

SOPHIE
Do I stink?

JEFF
No.

SOPHIE
Promise me, if I ever stink, if my clothes are too tacky, anything…

JEFF
I’ll let you know.

SOPHIE
Promise?

JEFF
Yes.

SOPHIE
And I’ll tell you.

JEFF
No.  I don’t want to know.

SOPHIE
You don’t want to know if you stink?

JEFF
No.  I’d rather just stink.

king kwik

Gi60 UK is up this weekend at the Viaduct Theatre in Halifax, and my piece “Possible Opening Lines” opens the show.  Hoo ha.  Here’s my piece from last week’s show in Brooklyn.

King Kwik

Scene: ISAAC – middle-aged – speaks to the audience, off to the side of the stage.

ISAAC
King Kwik was the greatest store on Earth.  It had everything you could possibly need:  comics, candy, pizza, 25 cent airplanes, a big spy mirror, and, of course, Icees.  But more than anything, King Kwik had Margaret. 

Lights come up on MARGARET, 60, thin, white-haired, chipper, behind a counter.  She speaks to an unseen child.

MARGARET
Is that candy?  Oh, that’s a lot of candy.

ISAAC
Margaret was dependable and not at all complicated.  At exactly 3:05 p.m. hundreds of kids would race the two blocks from school to see who could be first to victimize Margaret.

A horde of kids, including IZZY and TIM (both 11), come onstage and huddle around the counter, shoving food and items at Margaret and yelling orders at Margaret.

KIDS
Heat my pizza, Margaret!  Icee!  Icee!  I want change!   Stop pushing!  Take out my pizza!  Icee!  I dropped a quarter!  Where’s the bathroom?  He hit me, Margaret.  I want change!  Heat my pizza! 

MARGARET
Okay!  Settle down!  Settle down, honey!

ISAAC
She liked the girls best.  Called them “honey.”

She spots a boy in the corner.

MARGARET
You!  Over there!  I saw that!  Out for a month!  I know you, now!  Out for a month! 

ISAAC
That was her punishment for delinquents.  No King Kwik for a month. 

TIM, a tough kid in a white t-shirt, grabs something, sticks it under his shirt and bumps Izzy.  He starts to exits.

MARGARET
You!  Alright!  I saw that!  Empty your pockets!

Tim turns, angry and defensive.

TIM
I din’t do nothin’!

MARGARET
Oh yes you did.  I saw you in the spy mirror.

TIM
DID NOT!  DIN’T DO NOTHIN’!

MARGARET
…Oh!  Out!  And don’t come back for a month!

TIM
Aw, bite me, ya’ bitch!  I’ll come back tomorrow!

The kids are stunned.  Tim storms out.  Margaret is shocked, hurt.  Tears well up in her eyes and she turns and covers her face with her apron.  All the kids leave but Izzy.  He watches her, compassionately, and approaches the counter. 

IZZY
C’n I have an Icee?

Margaret shaking, makes the Icee.

IZZY
Are you okay?

Margaret nods.  She hands him the Icee.  He pays, starts to leave.

MARGARET
Those Pop-tarts are eighty-five cents.

Izzy stops, frozen.  He backs up, sheepishly, puts the pop-tarts and change on the counter.

MARGARET
And I’m sorry, but you can’t come in for a month. 

Izzy runs off, head hung low.

MARGARET
(calling after him)
Don’t forget your Pop-tarts!

ISAAC
But they’d only have a bitter taste.

A girl comes in, puts a piece of candy on the counter.  Izzy, off to the side, presses his face to the glass, watching – a sad criminal.

MARGARET
Thirty cents, honey.

BLACKOUT