Scene 9

Scene 9

SETTING:                   The Johnson home back in the

1960s.

AT RISE:                   Young MARY and PATRICK (age 8) are

sitting together on the couch. MARY has a dictionary open on her lap. PATRICK is holding a single sheet of paper – his homework. MARY is teaching him how to use the dictionary.

PATRICK

(about to cry)

I’ll never finish! I have to look up ten words by tomorrow!

MARY

(Takes a drag from her cigarette and sets it in the ashtray.)

It’s only ten words, PATRICK. That’s not so bad.

PATRICK

(the end of the world)

Ten words!

MARY

It’ll be fun! Let’s do it together. What’s your first word?

PATRICK

(Reading off the page. Struggles to pronounce the word.)

A – A-ban-don?

MARY

Abandon – yes.

(She places the dictionary on PATRICK’s lap.)

So where is “abandon” in the dictionary?

PATRICK

(thinking)

In the ‘A’s?

MARY

That’s right – in the ‘A’s. Where in the ‘A’s?

PATRICK

(turning the pages one at a time)

A – B?

MARY

Yes – good!

(She watches him go from page to page, then leans in closer.)

You’ve gone past it. Look – you see those two words at the top?

(pointing and PATRICK nods)

First go to the page where those words are most like the word you are looking for. Like this –

(She reaches down and quickly flips back until she gets to the right page. She points again.)

You see?

PATRICK

Yes!

MARY

Now which of those words is most like “abandon?”

PATRICK

(pointing)

That one!

MARY

So “abandon” should be in this column. See if you can find it.

PATRICK

(Runs his finger slowly down the page, mouthing some of the words.)

Here it is! “Abandon. To leave com-pletely and finally.”

(struggles to read the next word)

For-sake.

MARY

Forsake – yes.

PATRICK

(stressing the wrong syllable)

De-sert!

MARY

(correcting)

De-sert. Now write the definition down on your paper.

(PATRICK writes and MARY smokes.)

MARY

Wasn’t that fun? That’s how you find a word in the dictionary. Now what’s your next word, Patrick?

PATRICK

(looking over at his page)

SEX!

MARY

(eyes open wide)

WHAT? Where did you get that word?

PATRICK

(all innocence)

Adam wrote it down.

MARY

(takes a long drag)

Did he now. . .

(BLACKOUT)

(END OF SCENE)

*

On to Scene 10