Thursday, February 5, 2015

Rough Draft

Scene: Typical middle-class suburban living room. A woman in her mid-thirties is pacing up and down with a cell phone pasted to her ear.

Woman: Hello? Kate? Is Tommy there? No, he hasn't come home from school. It's 5:30. Is Larry there? Has he seen him since school let out? Yes, yes, fine, I'll wait. No? Does Larry have any idea where...

(knock on the door) Kate, there's someone at the door. I gotta go. (opens the door. Two Police Officers are at the door.) Oh my God. Has something happened to my son?!

Cop 1: (to Cop 2) It insists upon gendering the child. We've got a live one.

Woman: What's going on here? Do you have information about my son? Tommy. Where is he?

Cop 2: Person, may we come in?

Woman: What?

Cop 1: It asked if we may come in. May we come in, person?

Woman: Why are you addressing me as "person"?

Cop 2: Because you are a person, a sentient human being who is capable of Public Reason.

Cop 1: Or should be capable, at least.

Cop 2: So, may we come in, person?

Woman: I suppose you may, er, people. (Cops walk in) Do you know anything about my son? He has not come home from school. Please, please, tell me that he is alright.

Cop 1: Calm down, person. This child is fine and finally safe.

Cop 2: Yes, person, it is safe.

Woman: "It"? My son is not an "it". My son is a human being.

Cop 2: I have had about enough of this. We got all we need. Let's haul this person in now, colleague.

Woman: What? What are you talking about?

Cop 1: There was an incident at lunch today. The child that the state has heretofore allowed you to raise was caught using heterosexist language. The principal concluded that it must have learned such perverted language from its parents and immediately called social services for its protection.

Woman: You've taken him away from me?

Cop 2: What did you think would happen, you pervert?

Woman: Pervert? What is this? You can't do this. Where is my son? Where is my son? I demand--

Cop 2: Okay, hold it right there. Person, we are placing you under arrest. Would you, please, put your hands behind your back?

Woman: What did I do?

Cop 1: Person, please, we don't want to use force.

Woman: You have to tell me the charge against me.

Cop 2: You have absolutely no shame, person. Colleague, hold it down. (Cop 1 wrestles the woman to the floor, and Cop 2 cuffs the woman's hands.)

Woman: (yelling) What have I done? Where is my son? Why are you doing this to me? Where is my son? Where is he?

Cop 2: You have the right to remain silent, person, and I suggest you shut the fuck up right now.

Cop 1: Person, I arrest you on the charge of reckless endangerment of a child and the sexual abuse of a minor.

Cop 2: You pathetic pervert. How dare you sexualize an innocent child! How fucking dare you, you pervert!

Woman: What did I do? Just tell me, please! Tell me, please. What did I do?

Cop 2: You shameless whore!

Cop 1: Er, Colleague, "whore" is usually gendered. Careful now.

Cop 2: Oh, sorry, colleague. Thanks, friend.

Cop 1: What are friends for?

Woman: (now crying hysterically) Just tell me, please, what did I do?

Cop 1: You really don't understand, do you?

Cop 2: You are not only a filthy pervert, but a dumb one at that.

Cop 1: You use gendered pronouns with your child.

Woman: Is that a crime?

Cop 2: You shameless pervert! I can't fucking believe this.

Cop 1: Okay, person, are you familiar with the Socratic Dialectic?

Woman: Huh?

Cop 2: A method of questions and answers, by which reasonable persons arrive at what is Publicly Reasonable. But, Colleague, this is an incorrigible sex offender. Reason won't work.

Cop 1: But it is a person and as such not beyond rehabilitation. Let me give it a shot, Colleague.

Cop 2: You're wasting your time, but okay.

Cop 1: So, person, why do you refer to the child that was placed in your care as a 'he'?

Woman: Please, get off me. I can barely breathe.

Cop 2: Just answer the question, pervert.

Woman: Because he's a boy. Why do they let crazy people like you have guns?

Cop 1: Did it tell you that it wanted to be a boy?

Woman: He's a boy. He's always been a boy.

Cop 2: And why do you say this, pervert?

Woman: Because he is a boy, you lunatics!

Cop 1: How do you know it's a boy? Eh? Answer!

Cop 2: Yes, answer you disgusting pervert! (Cop 2 presses its boot against the woman's head)

Woman: I can't breathe! I can't breathe!

Cop 1: Why do you think your child is a young male, person?


Cop 1: And isn't that objectifying an innocent, pre-pubescent child as a sex toy?

Cop 2: Yes, isn't it, you piece of shit pedophile? (Presses its boot harder against the woman's head)

Cop 1: Okay, we've had enough. It's time to go to the station. (Cop 2 removes the boot from her head, and both Cops lift her up).

Cop 1: And after we book you, we're gonna put you in the general population. They really don't like pedos in the general population.

Cop 2: (laughs) Yeah, they sure fucking don't.



Tom Leith said...

So 1984 came late, but not much, eh?

Dial it back and spread it out over about 2 hours of dialogue & action. Figure a page per minute, then you can time the scenes. Keep the female-unit-that-gave-birth-to-it normal and therefore clueless, and let the child's point of view come in -- children want to "fit" and they're often confused when their own common sense, their parents' views, and the wider society clash. Then you'll have all three elements: tradition, the confusion, and the wider society personofied by the police. Dad's worried about getting fired so he's very careful with his speech -- what does he say to his wife?

Sebonde said...

This is intended as a follow-up to "Grade School in the not so distant future."

Tom Leith said...

Great. Its got to unfold slowly to be dramatic, and then the BAM! at the end. Sort of like this. Of course in a play, "the end" can go on for awhile. You actually know more about structure than I do...

Sebonde said...

Yes, and I get to the 'BAM' too quickly. I do need to dial it down. A lot. But it seems that you want me to write an entirely different play, one that involves the father's employment, the kid's emotional development, etc. I envisioned simply a skit satirizing the LGBT Thought Police. That's it.

Tom Leith said...

You mean like a SNL skit? Yeah, I was thinking more of a full length play. But a ten minute sketch will be around ten pages.