September 3, 2006

A Play A Day #143

To Air Is Human


Setting: Sheldon's bachelor apartment, he's in his mid-twenties. He has great news for Mom and Dad. Door opening and closing, lights get turned on. Enter Sheldon, Maureen and Dwight

Sheldon: I'm just so glad that you can both be here to meet her at the same time.

Maureen: Well, sweetie, she just sounds so delightful; I can't wait.

S: Oh! She is, Mom; she really is! (calling out) Becky! Becky! I'm home, honey! She hasn't been feeling too great; might be sleeping. Dad, something to drink?

D: Sure, Sheldon, a beer?

S: Oh, hey, got some great microbrew stuff in the kitchen; just bought it a couple days ago.

D: Alright.

(Sheldon leaves)

M: She must be a positive influence on him, dear; look at how clean he keeps his place now!

D: Yes, you can actually sit on the furniture.

M: And see your feet on the floor!

D: Got that right.

M: I mean, remember this place just a couple months ago... were you with me that time... he brought me here after the art show, that gallery thing that his friend did.

D: No, I missed that. On purpose. You know I can't stand those mopey art guys.

M: Yes, well, it was pretty disgusting, smelled bad too.

D: Well, Becky seems to have snapped some of that messiness right out of him.

(Sheldon enters with beer)

S: Here you go, Dad. It's good stuff.

D: (looking at bottle) Flophouse Potato beer! Are you serious!

S: What?

D: I just bought into this company last week!

S: Well, that's a good invesment! It's a great beer.

D: They're coming out with a lager and stout soon.

S: Great, look forward to it.

D: I'll get you some sampler cases. I'm one-third owner.

S: Whoa! You really did buy-in, didn't you?

M: He thought it was a good investment given the number of boutique bars springing up all over.

S: Sounds very smart, Dad.

M: So, where is she?

S: Becky! Right! Ummm, well, like I said, she's sleeping. But I'll go wake her up here, if you want me too.

M: Well, no, I didn't...

S: She's told me again and again how much she wants to mee you two.

D: We were noticing that your place is quite a bit more presentable.

S: Yeah, yeah, she's really gotten to me about that.

M: Good for her; honey, you did need some help on that.

D: Yes, nice to be able to see out the windows.

M: Oh, Dwight. It was never that bad.

S: Thanks for defending me, Mom; so (thumb on nose, and raspberry to Dwight) ppfffhhhffttt on you, Dad.

D: It was pretty ugly.

S: Yes, yes, I know. Becky's been so great at helping me get everything organized.

M: She sounds like just what you needed.

S: Definitely; I just felt lost before. But she's so... genuine and personable and agreeable. Whatever I want to do; she supports me, no questions asked.

M: Wonderful for you, Sheldon!

D: Your mother used to be like that.

M: (playfully) Thanks dear. (poking him with her finger) Can always count on you!

D: (also playfully) Yes, I'm very dependable.

S: It's like, you know, unconditional love. She never doubts me; she lets me keep my freinds -- not at all clingy. I can spend as much, or as little, time with her as I want; she's very independent. We can each have very separate lives, but she's also always there to come home to.

M: Sweetheart, she sounds like an absolute doll!

S: She is, Mom; I have to pinch myself everyday to see if all this is real, or just some weird dream.

D: Well, what do you find out?

S: Hmm?

D: When you pinch yourself.

S: Ohh, oh... it's completely real, Dad. She's great; hey; I'm going to go get her. I know you guys want to meet her. I'm just chomping at the bit to show her to you.

M: Please, don't wake her on our account, dear. If she's sick...

S: No, Mom; she'll be fine... (leaving) I'll be right back.

D: (They both sit on the sofa) "Show her to you"? She must be quite a package deal!

M: Hey, big boy, steer clear. This is your son's girlfriend!

D: I know, Maureen; I just mean, sounds like she's a model... you know, "show her to you".

M: Sheldon says she's quite beautiful.

D: Yes. Excellent.

M: Down, boy! Don't you dare start leering at this girl! You're old enough to be her father-in-law; keep that in mind.

D: Relax. A man will always look; even old guys like us.

M: Oh, I know, Dwight; just don't do anything stupid or creepy! She sounds like she's quite beautiful on the inside as well.

D: Yep, Sheldon really makes her sound like she's perfect.

M: Aren't you proud of him though? Remember, we used to think he'd never get a girlfriend with all of his weird fantasy worlds he lived in when he was a teenager.

D: (shivering) Ugggghh... don't remind me!

M: Remember the Wormpeople?

D: Ohhh! Don't bring up his Wormpeople.

M: Well, he's grown out of it now, just like I always said he would.

D: It was a very long phase... too long.

M: Well, there's not a lot we could have done about it.

D: I tell you I wanted to kill the Wormpeople, and the Star Sisters?

M: Yes, but you know they were just harmless imagination. He's always been creative like that.

D: Sometimes, a tad too creative.

M: Well, it did strain our patience, but it never hurt anyone. We should just be sure to support him and Becky as much as we can; so he doesn't feel he has to go back to those pretend worlds of his.

D: Don't worry about me; if this girl's half of what he describes, I'll be behind them all the way to the alter.

(Sheldon reenters, he is whispering to Becky, whom he is carrying, she's a hideous, cheap blow-up doll, comes up behind his parents with a bit of fanfare, announces his girlfriend)

S: Mom? Dad? This is Becky!!

D: Uhh...

M: Huhh...

S: Becky? This is my mom, Maureen Groverton (holds her hand out to his mom, she takes it weakly) and my Dad, Dwight Groverton (same, his dad doesn't move).

M: Becky?

S: (sitting in chair with Becky on his lap) Yes. This is Becky!

D: Sheldon?

S: Yeah?

D: It's a doll.

S: Yeah, isn't she great?

D: No, Sheldon; she's a doll. A blow up doll.

S: I know what you mean, Dad. But our love has transcended that.

D: Your love?!

M: Now, Dwight! Don't... be too... critical, you know, right out of the gate.... why, ummm, don't we....

D: Go? Sounds good! (getting up)

M: Dwight! Sit!

D: (he does so, reluctantly) It's just a doll, Maureen!

S: Why do you have to be so judgmental, Dad?

D: I'm not being...

S: Yes, you are! If I would have thought Becky was "just a doll" when I met her in that store; where would I be then?

D: (sotto voce) In reality.

M: (quickly trying to cover Dwight; to Sheldon, she will try repeatedly to put a positive spin on this, while gently trying to pull her son bck to the real world) Of course, sweetheart, it's important to keep an open mind; everyone knows that.

S: Ohh, Mom! If only you knew how Becky has opened my mind! (to Becky) Isn't that right, my beautiful!

D: Jesus!

S: She's a little shy around new people.

D: Well, of course, who wouldn't be! Oh wait! I know, an actual person!

M: (slaps Dwight hard on the shoulder,way too hard to be playful, though she tries to pretend it is) Don't worry about your father, dear; he's just jealous that you found such an... interesting companion.

D: At such a good price.

S: Dad, listen, I know what you're thinking.

D: At least one of us is thinking.

S: You think that this is your crazy fantasizing son, pulling another Worm People or Star Sisters or Blinky Bots imagination game; and I'm not, Dad. This is my life now, my apartment, my own job, and my first serious girlfriend!

D: Forgot about the Blinky Bots... crap, Sheldon, she's NOT REAL!

S: She's as real as I want her to be! It makes it perfect for me!

D: Are you that afraid of real women?

S: No! I...

D: (to Maureen) I told you we just should have bought him a hooker for his eighteenth birthday!

M: (ignoring Dwight with difficulty) Sheldon, how long have you known... Becky.

S: (To Becky) How long has it been, cutie. Hmmm? Oh, yeah, that's right. Sorry, don't remind about that. I've already apologized! I have too; several times.

M: What?

S: Well, you heard her. She just won't let me forget that I brought her home and left her boxed up for over a month. So I don't remember the exact date that we starting going out, but I know I took her out the first time in early February.

M: How... how nice, that's when your father and I started dating too. Many, many early-Februarys ago, I mean.

S: It's been just heaven since then!

D: You can only imagine.

M: Dwight! Do you two, go out... a lot?

S: Oh, we have some great dates, Mom!

M: Do you go... out... though?

S: Sure. I take her to some great restaurants, dancing, wine bars. She's an excellent dancer!

D: I'll bet she doesn't hold her liquor well.

M: So, these restaurants... they are around town here?

S: Of course, Mom.

M: Ohhh...

S: Mom, I'm not ashamed of our love. I want the whole world to see us! To see us and say...

D: Who's the sicko?

S: There are two young people in love! In real love!

D: In a fake world!

S: (shooting upright out of the chair) Alright, Dad! Stop right now! I know what you want; you want me to be here with a conventional woman, living a dull, ordinary life, like you (Maureen is a bit shocked by this), but I won't Dad! I have a better life, with a better woman.

D: (standing up) With a fake woman, Sheldon! Do you have sex with this thing?!

S: That's none of your business!

D: You're right; leave me that much; so I don't feel more sick to my stomach about this perverted mess!

M: Now, Dwight!

S: You've never been able to accept my life, have you, Dad?! It alwasy have to be straight-forward and logical! Well, guess what, old man? I'm not!

D: Clearly!

S: My relationship with Becky is pure and filled with hope and love! A love for each other, and a love for our dreams, our life!

D: She's NOT FUCKING REAL! Life isn't about fantasies! It may be that you need to dream; but you also need to wake up!

S: I'm very much awake!

D: And she's very much not!

M: Well, she hasn't been feeling welll...

D: Maureen! (to Sheldon) I'm glad you've got a fantasy life; maybe it helps you steer clear of some pain in your life. Maybe even pain that I caused. But it needs to stop! You need to snap out of it and realize that you are dating, in love with, and sleeping with a piece of plastic filled with air!


D: And she's dead!

S: No, Dad! You can't cancel our love because she doesn't fit your image of a perfect woman!

D: She doesn't have to be perfect, Sheldon; just breathing, alright?!

S: You can't control this; that's what really bothers you. You always have to control everything! But you can't CONTROL MY LOVE for another person!

D: For a plastic doll!


D: SHE'S DEAD!! (pulls pen knife from his pocket, grabs Becky with his other hand)

S: (grabs at Becky, they tug at her arms, while Dwight opens the blade) Stop it! Let her go! (angry ad-libs from both)

M: (nearly in tears) Stop! Both of you!

(Dwight finally opens the knife, swipes down and slashes Becky wide open, Sheldon is in complete shock and horror, he starts mumbling incoherently, crying, trying desperately to put Becky together, scared and hysterical ad-libs throughout)


D: Stay out of this, Maureen!

(Sheldon picks up Becky, races offstage, we hear his bedroom door slam, we continue to hear crying and upset ad-libs in the background, long pause as Dwight and Maureen stare each other down)

M: That was, without a doubt, the meanest thing I have ever seen anyone do!

D: You've lived a sheltered life, Maureen.

M: Your own son?

D: Drop it.

M: Drop what? The fact is, you assassinated your son's first real girlfriend!

D: Fake girlfriend, and "assassinated" is a bit over the top, dear.

M: You killed her.

D: Please, call the police, call'em! Maybe they'll come and arrest him for being a nutcase.

(we hear, not crying, but laughter in the background, Sheldon's and a female laugh joining in)

M: Is that what you think of him, that (noticing the laughter, which is increasing) that he's a.... a... nutcase?

D: Sounds like the laugh of a nutcase to me.

M: So he has some issues with dating; what's the worry?

D: You sounded plenty worried when he said he took her out in public.

M: Well, yes...

(Sheldon reenters, laughing)

S: Okay, okay.... sorry... Mom, Dad... that was great! I totally got you both!

M: What?

S: I know you both think I'm some weird guy who lives in a fantasy world; so Becky and I figured we'd play a little joke on you, pretend that this (holds up remains of stabbed doll) old blow up doll was her.

D: Oh... a joke, huh?

S: Yeah, and both of you, man... you should have seen your faces when I came out with her! It was gorgeous!

M: Sheldon... I can't belive you'd play such a cruel joke on your own parents.

S: Oh, mom, I was just making a point that I know exactly what you guys think of me. I was poking some fun at myself too.

D: So, that wasn't (makes air-quotes) "Becky"?

S: No! No! Here's Becky! (reaches off-stage briefly, ad-lib to Becky, then pulls an identical blow up doll onto stage, hugging her proudly, laughing, holding up destroyed doll) This was Dominique, a French girl I dumped a couple months ago.

M: Uggghhh... (passes out)

(lights out)


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