Monday, March 08, 2021

New One Scene Play by Amita Basu


ETHEL: You didn’t let me go last year. Now, I’m going.

#3: Look what she’s packing. Two bits of string – to wit, a bikini.

HANNAH: That’d look lovely on you, darling. It’s just your colour –

#3: That bulge-eyed Mr. Geil is ‘escorting’ these innocents!

HANNAH: …But if you’d just wait till April! I’ve almost saved enough for a new car. I’ll take you camping.

ETHEL: Why d’you need a new car? You’re only going to buy another thirdhand piece of shit. Mom, forget the car. Send me to camp. I’ve earned it.

HANNAH: True –

#3: She wants to go only because there’ll be boys. She’ll come home pregnant. As you did.

HANNAH: …No, darling. Once we’ve got the car –

ETHEL: Forget the car! You only want it so you can pick up a boyfriend. Aren’t you ashamed, at your age, gallivanting around with good-for-nothings?

#3: Doesn’t she realise you need a man around? She thinks living is free.

HANNAH: Ethel, that’s not fair. I slave all day, earning minimum wage. If I could save enough to go back to college –

ETHEL: And pick up a college-going good-for-nothing? Oh, you’d need a new car for that, for sure. So which is it, mom? Are you saving for a car, or for college?

HANNAH: Ethel, that’s not kind.

#3: Not kind! Belt the brat. As Dad belted you. And you turned out tough. Got me for your 12th birthday-present. This brat – you’ve spoiled. She’s 15, and still a child.

HANNAH: You’re lucky I don’t… You’re not going to camp. Go to your room.

ETHEL: No. I’m fifteen. I can’t even talk to you?

HANNAH: You’re always cursing at me, darling.

ETHEL: Because, you never understand me. Everyone’s going to camp!

HANNAH: Hmm… How much did you say it’d cost?

#3: You’re rewarding this idiocy?

HANNAH: …Whatever it costs, you’re not going. If you won’t go upstairs, I’m leaving.

ETHEL: Go! Run away. David’s coming over.

HANNAH: Hmm, David’s nice…

#3: I bet she thinks so, too! A boy coming over, this late – and Mrs. Kleinlich next door peering between her blinds writing her weekly report for Pastor Schafer!

HANNAH: …But it’s late.

ETHEL: He’s almost here. What’re you gonna do, turn him away?

#3: Yes. David’s nice, but he’s going nowhere. She’s fallen for a loser.

HANNAH: Who’s Jason dating now? Couldn’t you two make it up?

ETHEL: I like David. Fuck Jason. Fuck you, too.

HANNAH: Ethel, I understand you’re upset about camp –

#3: Don’t apologise. We made the right decision.

HANNAH: …You needn’t understand my decisions. You do need to respect them. I’m the adult.

ETHEL: You’re the adult? You don’t even know your own mind!

#3: She knows nothing. Don’t worry. I’ll teach your daughter. Soon, she, too, will start hearing me.

HANNAH: Ethel, someday you’ll –

ETHEL: I’ll never be like you. I’ll always do just what I want. (Storms out.)

HANNAH: I hope so, Ethel. I hope when you talk to someone, it’ll always be just you two.

- © Amita Basu 2021

Amita Basu is a cognitive science PhD candidate. Her fiction has appeared in Toyon, Silver Pen Fabula Argentea, Flash Fiction Magazine, Gasher, Fearsome Critters, Star 82 Review, Kelp, Potato Soup Journal, Dove Tales, St. Katherine Review, Ligeia, Novel Noctule, The Bookends Review, Entropy, Proem, Muse India, Scarlet Leaf Review, and The Right-Eyed Deer. Her nonfiction has appeared in The Curious Reader, Deccan Herald, Qrius, The Hindu Open Page, Countercurrents, and ParentEdge. She lives in Bangalore, India.


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