Ferret Envy by Tara Meddaugh
Jyoti: I know you think I murdered your ferret, but—hey, stop crying. You’re gonna make me cry too. And you (starts crying)—know—happens—when—we—both—start—oh! I’m doing it too now…Okay. Okay. What would Zena do? Julia, your ferret ran away. He did. I know you don’t want to believe me, but I know this, because…well, I saw him. And I was wearing my glasses, so I had 20/20. Or 20/30. I need a new prescription. But I could still see it was Foozu, and he was wearing the yellow rain slicker, not the winter coat you tie dyed for him, so I think he was headed for Seattle. And, I don’t think we should go after him, Julia. That Payless box wasn’t big enough; you always forgot to feed him, and when you did, it was usually just pebbles and sticks—and I really don’t think ferrets can live on that. Seattle has a lot more to offer Foozu. Food, drinks, warm shelter, intellectual stimulation, perpetual contentment. He deserves that, don’t you think? I, I know coming in and seeing me with the knife over Foozu’s box makes it look rather strange. But. . . Well. . . You miss him, don’t you? (pause) I could be your ferret. Don’t dismiss it right away. I’d be a good pet. I like to curl up in small places and I don’t mind rocks and sticks. You could knit me a winter coat, and you don’t even have to tie dye it if you don’t want to. That’s okay with me. Is that okay with you? I’m gonna just rinse this knife off and throw this little bag away, and then I’ll curl up in my box. I found a new one—a size 11! I’ll wait for you there and you can throw me a ball, okay? Unless, you don’t want me to be your ferret. You don’t need to back away from me. . . Don’t you want me here anymore? If I’m not here, who’s going to sing to you? I know the entire soundtrack to Sleepless In—don’t be scared—I’ll—but I don’t know where I’m supposed to go, Julia. (pause) I could follow Foozu. I could—I could go to Seattle. . . . I’ll follow Foozu. But Julia, when I go, you’ll have to clean off the knife again—I won’t be able to do it. . . . I don’t have a yellow slicker.
CAN'T STOP by D. M. Larson
SAM: Homeless kids aren't homeless because they want to be. Homeless kids are usually ones that aren't wanted. Either their parents died or they left them. Oh, sure there's foster homes but they don't really want you either. If they did, why would they keep getting rid of me? I didn't always have a home. I lived on the streets a little while. And surprise, there were lots of kids there with me. People never thought we were homeless even though we weren't dressed nice. Kids never dress nice anyway. And sometimes we'd even get a five finger discount on something nice from a store. That's how I got caught. I hadn't been out there very long when they got me. Some kids are out there forever. They learn how to survive. I didn't. They gave me a choice. Come here to the Happy Rancher or go to jail. Sarge even came down to visit with me. (Softens) He told me about the Happy Rancher and despite the stupid name it sounded kinda cool. And he did something most people never did for me. He asked me what I wanted. He really wanted to know what he could help me do for myself. I just broke down and cried. It seemed like I cried forever. I'd finally found someone who cared. (Realizes she's just spilled her guts to a stranger and makes a total turn around) Oh, man, what am I saying. You must think I'm a total dork. (Laughs) Real sob story, huh? (Sam laugh turns to a cry... starts crying) I guess that's why I'm crying. Such a sad pathetic story. (Sadness slowly turns to anger) That's me . Sad and pathetic. I have been most of my life... Until now. I finally had something good. But then I had to go and destroy it. I've ruined everything with Sarge. (Angry) How could I be so stupid?!Why do I always do this? Why do I always mess things up. (Pause)I get something good then I ruin it. (Kicks something handy) I always have to go and spoil things for people. I just try to have a little fun... but... I don't know when to stop. I keep playing... like a little kid who tells a funny joke over and over. They keep saying it 'cause it was funny once so it should be funny a bunch of times. Then when it's not funny anymore, they don't know how to quit. They keep trying, hoping it will still be funny. They keep on joking until someone gets mad and... hurts you. (Pause) I'm always playing games. I can't stop. (She has trouble speaking) I... can't... stop. (SAM gains control again) I always hurt someone. My daddy left because of me. (Sees reaction) He did. I found a letter he wrote my mama. He said he didn't want to be tied down by a kid. (Chokes) Mama said it was for the best. (Sad) But I ran Mama off too. She had better things to do than to sit around playing my games. (Looks at house) And I'm still playing my little games. I should have listened to you. You got a good head. You stopped playing games when you were two or three I bet. Adults always like you... Me? I get 'em to like to hate me. Get 'em so worked up they want nothing but to have me gone. You gotta admit, I do it well. (Sits. Trying to control her crying) I'm sure you've got better things to do than listen to me. (SAM looks away) I wanna be alone okay? Please ... Go. Run far away... Like everyone else.
There’s this guy. He isn’t like your run of the mill kind of guy. When he looks at me it’s like a rush of excitement- like a wave of adrenaline rushes through my veins. Then he smiles at me. His smile, let me tell you, its miraculous. His smile could cure any sickness. And when he kisses me oh my God. Its like suddenly I get hit by a lightning bolt. I can feel his kiss all the way in the tips of my toes. When he kisses me I feel whole – like everything in my life is perfect. Then when he stops kissing me his mouth and starts to tear me down. He’ll start talking and suddenly his eyes don’t give me excitement, they terrify me. And his miraculous smile taunts me making me sick to my stomach. And once he sees how upset his words have made me, he’ll try to make it up with a kiss – a revolting form of apology – the absolute last thing that I want to give him. But then I start to think about the things he says to me, the names he calls me, all the words that he uses to destroy me, and I think that he’s right. And that I’m lucky he stays with me, cause surely nobody else will. And I kiss him to push away all the pain and let in the
A Brief Primer by Julia Neva
Beth: (to audience) Well hi there, ho there happy faces. How is everyone doing this morning? (silence) Anyone? (silence) Can those of you in the back of the room hear me? (awkward silence)
Sarah: (to audience) Listen up, people! She asked you a question. The woman wants to know how you’re doing!!
Beth: I’m gonna need you to pump the breaks on the ole enthusiasm wagon there, okay?
Sarah: Yes, ma’am.
Beth: As I was saying…I hope everyone is doing okay this morning…
Sarah: (in a loud whisper with great energy) Doing great!
Connie: …and that no one had any trouble finding the room…
Sarah: (same whisper) None whatsoever!
Beth: …and that everyone is ready to learn…
Sarah: (same whisper) Boo-yah!
Beth & Connie: (gritting their teeth) Sarah!
Beth: Thank you! AS I WAS SAYING… (looks at SARAH. Sarah ‘zips’ mouth shut) My name is Dr. Elizabeth Lady – but you can call me Dr. Lady.
Sarah: But not ‘Lady Doctor’ because that would be super awkward…unless you had an appointment!! Get it? “Lady Doctor”? (laughs at her own joke, Beth and Connie are not amused).
Beth: You get three strikes.
Sarah: I’m sorry.
Connie: That was strike one.
Sarah: I’m sorry.
Beth: Two more outbursts and I’ll be reassigning you to manure duty at the Humanities Department’s annual “Rodeo for the Homeless” fundraiser. You wanna start shoveling horse biscuits full time or do you want let me start my lecture?
Sarah: (very quiet) Lecture.
Beth: Okay. (demeanor quickly changes where we all break from character and do our introduction) We are EH #### and welcome to Woman 101: A Brief Primer on the Female Species. In this piece, as an introduction to Women’s Studies – we will be covering – the impact women have had on the world.
Connie: From the first woman to first ladies…
Beth: …from bra burning and baby raising…
Connie: …to leg shaving and job hunting…
Beth: …from Helen of Troy and Joan of Arc…
Connie: …to Lady Godiva and Lady Gaga.
Beth: We will be breaking down all the man-made myths and mister mistakes that have been perpetuated against womankind for centuries. With the help of my graduate assistant, Connie (CONNIE waves at the audience) …and trainee Sarah.
Sarah: What up, fools.
Connie: We’re going to re-write history.
Sarah: And turn it into her-story.
Beth: Or rather, our-story. With that…let’s get started. And what better place to get started than…
Connie: Chapter 1: Rave in the Cave.
(Both begin chanting Oooga-chakka. Oooga-chakka. Oooga-chakka. SARAH becomes the male cave-dweller while BETH plays the female cave-dweller)
Cave Man: (grunts) Argh. Ung. Me home.
Cave Woman: (working busily, not paying much attention) Well it’s about time. I could use a break.
Cave Man: No break.
Cave Woman: Excuse Me?
Cave Man: Me say you no break.
Cave Woman: I heard what you said.
Cave Man: So what your big deal?
Cave Woman: My ‘big deal’ is that I’ve been working all day to try and make this cave look respectable.
Cave Man: Argh. Ook. No care. Bring meat. (heaves a giant, bloody corpse onto the floor of the cave, right in front of BETH)
Cave Woman: No no no no!! I just cleaned up the floor and you just got fur and blood all over the place.
Cave Man: Eat meat.
Cave Woman: Did you not hear what I just said?!? I’ve spent the entire day chasing rodents out of the cave, collecting berries, throwing the old bones out and trying to mend the torn loin cloths so we don’t have to walk around with our… (whispers) ‘vulnerables showing’. I’m not an animal.
Cave Man: (unaffected) So what? You want cookie? Me no care. You woman. This you job. Me man. Me hunt.
Cave Woman: (frustrated) ARGH!!
Cave Man: (howls back) Orook! Orook!
Cave Woman: (shouts at him) OH, GO EAT A ROCK YOU PRIMATE!! (starts grumbling to herself) Ugh. (looks down) Great. Look what the caveman drug in, a big pile of twigs and sticks. (picks up sticks, pretends they’re puppets, creates a mock dialogue rife with sarcasm) “Hello sweetheart how was your day?” “ACK! ACK! ACK!” “Oh, I’m fine. You know, just tending the hearth. By myself. All day.” “ACK! ACK!”
Cave Man: Me in cave. Me hear you. Me no scratch in peace when you speak.
Cave Woman: “ACK! ACK!” “Here, DEAR, let me help you with that rotting, stinking corpse you just drug home!” (begins to furiously rub sticks while screaming furiously in frustration, as if the puppets were fighting) Take that!! (suddenly, the sticks burst into flames, she stares in shock) What just happened?
Cave Man: What that?
Cave Woman: I don’t know. I’ve never seen this before. It’s orange… (touches it and winces) Ow! It hurts. It’s hot. Burning hot.
Cave Man: Give me that. (holds fire next to where the meat is) Bright makes meat smell good. (tastes meat) Bright makes meat taste good.
Cave Woman: This is amazing! I was able to create enough friction by rubbing those two sticks together that they combusted into a flame…this flame can cook meat, keep us warm and protect us from enemies. I’ve created…
Cave Man: Me make fire.
Cave Woman: Wait…what?
Cave Man: Me make fire. Me change world.
Cave Woman: But…but you didn’t make fire. I did. I changed the world.
Cave Man: No matter. You woman. No people believe you.
Cave Woman: (Disheartened) Oh. Well. (exiting) One day that’s all going to change.
Cave Man: Orook. Oook. Good luck with that.
(ALL of the girls go back into lecture mode)
Connie: But history would prove that women need much more than luck to get the respect they needed.
Beth: Chapter 2: Human War Resources.
(Transition into next scene)
Lou: (always in a thick, comical French accent) Ah swear. Zees pay-pur work weel be zee death of me. Ah said to my mother, “Mama, I want to be a painter when I grow up.” “No, no, no, no – mon petite croissant – you mahst join zee French ahrmy! You mahst reed our country of zee Eenglish swine!” Eencrendible.
Assistant: Monsieur Tennant? Monsieur Lou Tennant?
Assistant: There is a person here to see you.
Lou: Ees eet mah mother?
Assistant: No sir. It’s a person to speak to you about joining the military.
Lou: Breel-lee-ant! What is his name?
Loue: Ah! Yes! Arc! I’ve heard so much about this Arc lad! Send heem een!
Assistant: Um. Monsieur Lou Tennant, I think there is something you need to know about…
Lou: Ah know all ah need to know about Arc. Hee ees a mahster strahtegist. A bree-lee-ant wahr-rior. Now send heem een!
Assistant: Okay, Monsieur Lou Tennant (grumbling as she exits) Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Joan: (enters enthusiastically) Hello sir! My name is Joan and I am here to be all that I can be in the French Army!
Lou: Leetle girl. Ah need you to leave. Ah am waiteeng for zees Arc guy zat ah have heard all about.
Joan: Oh wow.
Joan: This is really awkward.
Lou: Zees ees? Why?
Joan: I’m Arc. I’m Joan…of Arc. Arc is the town where I’m from. Joan…of Arc.
Lou: (laughs) You are hee-lar-ee-us.
Joan: I am?
Joan: I don’t get it.
Lou: Come on…
Lou: Don’t make me say eet.
Joan: Uh. Okay. Look, I’ve filled out the application to join the French Army. I’ve completed all of my physical training and I ranked higher than most of the other guys that applied.
Lou: (still laughing) Ees thees a joke? Ees eet? Come out you jokers! Francois, eef thees ees your ah-dee-yah, ah’m going to freak out!
Joan: I’m being serious, sir.
Lou: So am ah. Ah weel see-ree-usly freak out! Francois?
Lou: Excuse moi. Ah’m French. Ah haven’t laughed thees hard een ah while.
Joan: I understand, but you have to listen to me. I can help the French army overthrow the English. I can get Charles VII to the throne. (Hushed) I don’t want to brag, but I’m coming in with extensive intelligence reports. I have references you wouldn’t believe.
Lou: Oh really? Where do zee references and intelligence reports you have come from?
Joan: (looks around, then speaks in a low quiet tone) God.
Lou: (quiet for a moment, then bursts out in guffaws) God?!? God is your professional reference?!?
Joan: If you’ll just listen to me, Monsieur Lou Tennant. I want to fight for France.
Lou: Hahaha. Ah can see eet now. (In a shrill female voice) “Allo monsieur soldier! Ah am here to keel you!” (in a deep male voice) “Oh and how do you plan on doing that? With a sword?” “No! Weeth God! Ah weel pray you to death! Hahaha! Oh, zat is good.
Joan: I don’t get it! I’m one of the best soldiers you’ll ever find! I want to defend my country and I have divine intervention on my side. I don’t understand why you’ve done nothing but laugh at me since I’ve walked in your door. Give me one good reason why I’m less qualified than anyone else in the French military.
Lou: You lack zee one…er…” piece of equipment” zee others have.
Joan: You know what? I don’t care if you want to hire me or not. I’m going to get the English out of here and maybe when I do – you’ll think twice about denying someone an opportunity just because of their sex or gender. (exits)
Lou: Bon soir. Good luck weeth zat.
(All three girls go back to lecture mode)
Connie: Ugh. What a pig.
Beth: Indeed, Connie.
Sarah: But I mean – go Joan! Right? She did what she said she would! She was a pivotal key in the Hundred Years War. She…
Beth: Was burned alive as a heretic. It wasn’t until nearly 15 years later when Charles VII, the man she fought to make sure would take over France’s throne, needed to do some retroactive PR. Seems that the king seemed less than royal when he came to power at the hands of a woman considered to be an insane criminal. It was then she was cleared as a martyr.
Sarah: Ouch. That’s…kind of…not cool.
Connie: Pretty much
Sarah: Okay! So which historical woman is next? Queen Elizabeth?
Sarah: Marie Curie?
Sarah: Uh…how about another dynamic student teacher duo: Hellen Keller and Annie Sullivan?
Connie: Don’t kiss up. You’re close. While all of these ladies have made wonderful contributions to our her-story, there’s another duo I’m interested in discussing: Lucy Burns and Alice Paul.
Sarah: I’m not sure I know who you’re talking about.
Beth: Sadly, my dear, most people don’t.
Sarah: Chapter 3: The Suffragettes
(Transition into next scene – both ALICE and LUCY are imprisoned)
Alice: (angrily shouting) Hey guard! Yeah…you! Can you hear me? Why don’t you come in this jail cell, just you and me, and I’ll show you what it means to hit like a girl!
Lucy: Alice, calm down. The last thing we need is for you to get killed.
Alice: Don’t worry, Lucy (to guard) HE DOESN’T STAND A CHANCE!
Lucy: He is easily tripled your size, dear.
Alice: I don’t care.
Lucy: Yes, you do (crosses to her) You know we can’t do this without you. (Looks at her) your lip is bleeding. Was it the tube?
Alice: No. It was the guard. I bit him when he tried to force the tube down my throat. I broke skin, so he broke my lip.
Lucy: Oh dear.
Alice: I think he may have busted my jaw in the process.
Lucy: (Fixing her lip) What am I going to do with you?
Alice: I’ll tell you what you’re going to do with me. You’re going to keep fighting alongside me until we have our demands met.
Lucy: True (pained expression) There. You’re all fixed up.
Alice: How long has it been since you’ve eaten?
Lucy: (Worn out) On my own? I’m not sure. I’ve lost track of time in here. Now with the tube…
Alice: See, you keep talking about being a fighter. I heard the ladies talking. They said it took five guards to pin you down. They couldn’t even pry your mouth open. That’s strength.
Lucy: That’s torture, Alice. Let us not forget that. Or any of the other indignities they’ve dealt us.
Alice: I know, Lucy.
Lucy: What we’re doing is going to rewrite history. It’s going to give women everywhere a vote. Giving women the right to vote is giving them the chance to make their voices heard. (both pause, cringe at the sound of a woman screaming)
Alice: Who is that?
Lucy: I can’t tell. It’s hard to tell screams apart.
Alice: (off-stage to woman screaming) We’re here for you, sister!
Lucy: (off-stage to woman screaming) Stay strong! This is for our daughters and grand-daughters! (BOTH react quickly to a guard at their cell door)
Alice: Back off, guard. What? Is there a law against shouting now?
Lucy: We were simply voicing support for a fellow comrade, sir. No harm done.
Alice: Why don’t you go back to your desk – you filthy pig. (spits at officer, he grabs her by her throat, she struggles)
Lucy: (runs to ALICE, tries to pry guard from her neck) Let her go! LET HER GO! She can’t breathe! If you kill her, you’ll have first-degree murder on your hands. Then you’ll be trapped in here with the rest of us! Do you want that? LET GO OF HER! (ALICE is dropped to the ground, gasping, LUCY kneels to her side) Your mercy is staggering.
Alice: Thanks, Lucy.
Lucy: I still don’t understand how the rest of the world thinks we’re the lunatics. We’re simply asking for the same rights as men. Tell me what’s so crazy about that.
Alice: Beats me. By the way, being ‘trapped’ in here with you isn’t all that bad.
Lucy: Thank you dear. Make sure that when we get out, you write that down.
Alice: I will, Lucy. I will.
(All three girls transition back into lecture mode)
Beth: Those two women would play a key role in assuring women the right to vote. Connie, what does the textbook say?
Connie: (reading) Alice Paul drafted the first proposal of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1923. The ERA was intended to guarantee that equal protection to any local, state or federal law could not be denied on the basis of gender. It took nearly 50 years for the amendment to receive congressional approval. It has been introduced in every congress since its inception. In 2009 – only 30 states have ratified the ERA into their legislatures. (to BETH) Wait…seriously?!?
Sarah: So you’re telling me that there are 20 states that have wireless internet, high definition cable television and all sorts of millennial luxuries…but they haven’t ratified the Equal Rights Amendment? That’s messed up.
Beth: That’s the point of the lecture.
Sarah: What? To bum me out?
Connie: No. (to audience) It’s no secret that over the past several years, the work ‘feminist’ has become a dirty word to some people. They equate it with hating men or being an anarchist, neither of which is true. Being a feminist means believing in the equality between women and men.
Sarah: Being a feminist means believing that a woman has a right to work and a man has a right to stay home with the kids.
Beth: We have come a long…
Connie: …long way.
Beth: We have earned the right to vote.
Sarah: We have earned the right to own property.
Connie: We have opened the door to discussing reproductive health.
Sarah: We have opened the door for single mothers and single fathers.
Beth: We have fought for stricter punishment for violent crimes.
Connie: We have fought to marry whomever we love.
Sarah: We are still fighting to marry whomever we love.
Connie: We are still fighting for equal pay for equal work.
Beth: We are still fighting for cures and preventative medicine.
Sarah: We are still fighting for fair representations in the media.
Beth: We are still fighting. That’s the point of this lecture. No matter how much the women who have walked the earth before us have fought – we are still fighting.
All: So fight.
Sarah: Fight hard.
Beth: Fight loud.
Sarah: Fight for the girl who are too young to fight for themselves.
Connie: Fight for the women who are unable to fight for themselves.
Sarah: Join non-profit organizations.
Beth: Donate your money or your time. Your assignment for this class is to simply…
Beth & Connie: Do something. Anything.
Sarah: Class is dismissed.