Middle School: A Play
(Six Acts, both comedic and tragic)
MOM, one flip-flopped foot in front of the other, over-tired, sleep deprived, had it up to here 40 something
MIDDLE SCHOOL GIRL, 14 something, know-it-all, moody with a chance of rain (uncontrollable tears) and a possibility of severe flooding (of undeterred, relentless emotion)
DAD, conveniently absent, claims work, conflict, and/or work/golfing/conflict thing
WALMART CLERK, description unclear, showing up only briefly in Act V after 11 pm
The action takes place in the quaint, coastal town of Beaufort, SC.
SCENE- A 4-door, black, mid-size SUV cluttered with half a dozen half-filled water bottles and a parcel of assorted candy wrappers ranging from mini, bite-sized and KING. Car is idling in carpool pick up lane. 3:15 PM. Monday, MS final exam week.
MOM, wearing black yoga pants, a white t-shirt with the ironic phrase Morning Sunshine. MOM is 5’ 8”, weight… nobody’s business, hair styled in a messy bun.
MSG, sporting standard uniform, peach lips gloss and a 75 lb navy LL Bean book bag. MSG is 5’11”, 125 lbs, blonde wavy hair, disheveled but well accessorized. She enters car front side, right, slams door, sighs]
(Mom leans out the driver side window and in a hushed aside to audience says, ‘MSG as in Middle School Girl, not Chinese takeout’)
MOM. [Returns gaze to MSG, visibly shutters and braces for the worst by gripping steering wheel. In a cheery tone] So, how was your day?
MSG. [Silence, raises iPhone, checks hair, takes selfie]
MOM. [Exits school, begins 35-minute commute back home. Her mind wanders, calculating a 4 PM arrival, meaning after unloading 8 grocery bags of food, restocking toilet paper in bathrooms, folding clothes from dryer and walking dogs it will be wine time]
MSG. [Receives text from science partner, drops phone dramatically, screams] Our final science project has to be done tonight! I need supplies!
MOM. [In an unsurprised voice] How long have you known?
MSG. [Eyes rolls, hair flips] Stop stressing me out! I am so going to fail!
MOM. [Grips wheel tighter, clenches teeth] So what’s the project? What do you need?
MSG. Stop getting on to me! I have to make a car from scratch out of a mousetrap to prove friction is related to distance. You wouldn’t understand. [Sigh] It HAS to be done tonight!
[Mom pulls car into Dollar Store parking lot. Stops car and reaches for door handle]
MSG. Wait! Why are we stopping here? We have to go to a proper hardware store with real supplies and stuff. [Sound of doors slamming, hard, fade to black]
SCENE- Mom and MSG stand at cash register of Dollar Store. A sales clerk and 6 harried travelers in line behind them feign patience while Mom scrounges for $1.06 in loose change. Someone clears throat from behind. Mom hands clerk debit card. Clerk points to sign that reads ‘$5 minimum for debit charge. Thanks, Management Team.’ The clock above the register reads 4 PM. Mom swipes sweat from forehead and reaches to the left, grabbing a box of old Easter Peeps, the head of Chewbacca in Tootsie Roll form and a pack of Hubba Bubba. Clerk bags candy and a single mousetrap in plastic bag, hands to Mom.
MSG. See, I told you we needed to go to a proper hardware store. [Stomps off to exit, fade to black]
SCENE- The florescent lighted hardware aisle of Lowe’s. Mom takes phone out of purse, rubs temples. The time glows 5:01 PM. She does not.
MOM. So, tell me what exactly a ‘thing’ is, again?
MSG. [Places hands on hips, pouts] I told you a million times. I need this thing that goes like this. [MSG holds left hand up in a presidential salute, places right hand across the top of it. Fade to black]
SCENE- A living room, decorated casual, bohemian chic. The hardwood floor is covered in glue, half-eaten Peeps, an empty ONE TREE HILL box DVD set (the wheels), bolts and chewed up bubble gum. The time on the cable box reads 10:33 PM. A sad looking unidentifiable contraption sits motionless, lost among the chaos]
MSG. I told you the cheap mousetrap from the dollar store wouldn’t work. I am SO going to fail!
MOM. [Sitting on couch, head in hands, reaches for phone and calls DAD. No answer. Scene fades to black while the sound of a phone relentlessly ringing is playing over all the tears]
SCENE- A checkout station at the nearest Walmart. Mom stands teetering with exhaustion as she hands the clerk 3 XXL mousetraps with special patented spring technology from the QVC that costs as much as a nice bottle of La Creama Chardonnay.
WALMART SALES CLERK: You ok, sweetie?
(Mom slides debit card and in a whispered aside turns towards audience and says, ‘She looks like she has kids and gets it. I want to tell her so bad, no, I’d rather be having natural childbirth, without pain meds to a 12 lb baby with a colossal head. But then baby will grow up and I’ll be standing here 14 years later, all of over again with zero chard and a giant mouse trap as big as a giant baby head. I should think of something else to tell her instead’)
MOM. [Grabs bag, cries a little] Teenagers. [Quickly heads towards exit before WSC call the DFACS, fades to black]
SCENE- Same living room, the box now reads 11:01 PM. Chaos intact.
MOM: [Enters front door, left] I found some traps that should work.
MSG. [Yawns] It’s ok. My lab partner just texted. It’s not due ‘til Thursday. [While Mom collapses on couch, MSG smiles sweetly, kisses Mom’s forehead, exits stage right, fade to black]