SETTING: The Johnson home back in the
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.
(about to cry)
I’ll never finish! I have to look up ten words by tomorrow!
(Takes a drag from her cigarette and sets it in the ashtray.)
It’s only ten words, PATRICK. That’s not so bad.
(the end of the world)
It’ll be fun! Let’s do it together. What’s your first word?
(Reading off the page. Struggles to pronounce the word.)
A – A-ban-don?
Abandon – yes.
(She places the dictionary on PATRICK’s lap.)
So where is “abandon” in the dictionary?
In the ‘A’s?
That’s right – in the ‘A’s. Where in the ‘A’s?
(turning the pages one at a time)
A – B?
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.)
Now which of those words is most like “abandon?”
So “abandon” should be in this column. See if you can find it.
(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)
Forsake – yes.
(stressing the wrong syllable)
De-sert. Now write the definition down on your paper.
(PATRICK writes and MARY smokes.)
Wasn’t that fun? That’s how you find a word in the dictionary. Now what’s your next word, Patrick?
(looking over at his page)
(eyes open wide)
WHAT? Where did you get that word?
Adam wrote it down.
(takes a long drag)
Did he now. . .
(END OF SCENE)
On to Scene 10