January 30, 2006

Mice, Mice Baby

I Am Not a Scaredy-Cat
(Although a Cat Would Come In Handy)


A short play for two people by Beedoo.

[BEEDOO gets out of bed, walks into hallway and turns on lights. As is her wont, she wanders sleepily toward the kitchen in her scanty night-things, turning on lights as she goes.]

BEEDOO’S INNER MONOLOGUE:
Mmrf. Tired. Did I—oh, yeah, I did last night. Good. Mmn. Lights. Kettle. Food. Oh, one of the cats left their mouse on the floor.

(crashing Hitchcockian silence)

Wait. Don’t have a cat here. Cat is at Mom’s house.

(BEEDOO turns slowly, frame-by-frame zoom on very dead rodent)

That’s. A. Mouse.
A real one. The real kind. The real dead kind.
Oh NO. Crap. Look at it. It’s dead. On my floor. In the dining room. Where did it come from? (sudden panic) Does it have friends?! Are they surrounding me?

(wild, dramatic, half-asleep swivels to guard against mouse attack squad)

Dammit—how am I going to get to the stove? I need to make breakfast! I need to get to work and there’s a FREAKING DEAD MOUSE ON MY FLOOR! I can’t deal with this. Not until I brush my teeth and wash my face. This mouse isn’t going anywhere, so it can deal.

[BEEDOO goes into bathroom to brush teeth, shutting and locking door behind her. She comes out, furtively glances at the dining room, then scurries into the bedroom and dresses quickly, complete with shoes. She walks tentatively back into the dining room. The mouse has not moved.]

BEEDOO’S INNER MONOLOGUE:
OK. Now. This.

(stares at dead thing; takes deep, calming breath.)

Mouse. Dead. Dead mouse. Dead thing. Ick. Ew.
(pause)
It is dead, right?

[BEEDOO takes off shoe, leans toward mouse, pauses, then straightens back up and puts shoe back on. She walks into bedroom, returns shortly with tennis racket. After a few false starts, she manages to gently nudge the mouse. It is very dead.]

BEEDOO:
(quietly yet very hysterically, with accompanying dance)
Ew ew ew ew ew ew ew!

[BEEDOO puts racquet in corner, and takes a few minutes to calm herself. Much breathing, mumbling, and averting blank stare of dead rodents ensues.]

BEEDOO’S INNER MONOLOGUE:
OK. Now, OK. So. This… is that time. That moment where I can be an adult, pick up—

(shudders, hyperventilates)

…this… mouse… and take care of the whole thing myself. I can do that. I can do it, or I can be a puss, wake my aunt up, and have her do it. Even if I assist her with removal of said mouse, the fact is that I wussed out; I’d be a wuss. I would be a loser who can’t deal with dead things on her own. I’d be a big sissy-mary, of which I often make fun. I would be weak. I would suck.

So, it’s Go Time. What do I want to be: the hero, or the puss?

[CUT TO: BEEDOO knocking on second bedroom door.]

BEEDOO:
Sue…?

(muffled noises within; BEEDOO opens door)

SUE:
(turning over in understandable annoyance)
Mrrrm-yeah?

BEEDOO:
(masterfully controlling panicked breathing)
There’s a… dead… mouse… in the dining room.

SUE:
(with great hatred of all rodentia everywhere)
Mmm. Yeah?

BEEDOO:
Yes.

(pause)

BEEDOO:
(deep breath)
What would you like me to do?

SUE:
Just… gimmie a minute.

BEEDOO:
You got it. I’ll be out here.

SUE:
(voice not belying one bit of unmitigated terror)
O… K.

[BEEDOO packs bag for work; at length, SUE emerges from bedroom, fully dressed, including very thick socks. SUE stops at cupboard and pulls out a broom and dustpan.]

BEEDOO’S INNER MONOLOGUE:
Ah. I never would have thought of that. This is good. It’s good that I woke her up. If I’d have done it myself, there’d be a dead mouse in the trash and a new pair of burger tongs on the grocery list, and that’s probably not the right way to handle this.

SUE:
(unwillingly intrepid)
Where?

BEEDOO:
(with much backing up and freaked breathing, points)
There. Right there over there. There.

SUE:
(shakily)
OK—I can NOT do this when you’re freaking out.

BEEDOO:
Sorry. Yes. Sorry. There. Sorry.

[SUE, with deep sigh at housemate’s sissiness, resolutely scoops rigor-mouse into dustpan from goodly distance. BEEDOO holds it together by staring straight ahead and thinking of Victorian furniture.]

SUE:
(warily)
Could you put it outside?

(tiniest, TINIEST fraction of a pause where BEEDOO is torn between not wanting to be the most useless, pathetic, helpless, un-liberated girl in the world and the urge to run screaming from the house like Jessica Tandy when she saw the dead guy in the corner with his eyes pecked out.)

BEEDOO:
YES.

[SUE hands dustpan to BEEDOO, who stares at the handle to keep dead mouse an abstraction until she reaches the front door. She opens it, turns right, and gives it a mighty fling. Dead mouse flies spectacularly end-over-end before landing with a “squalp” in the mud. BEEDOO gives a hard shudder and allows a small hyperventilation moment before returning inside. SUE, incredibly, is smiling upon her return.]

SUE:
You know what I think happened?

BEEDOO:
(very, very fazed by the morning’s events)
No.

SUE:
I think when I did laundry at Grama’s house?

BEEDOO:
Yeees…?

SUE:
The cat… gave me a present.

BEEDOO:
(hating her Grama’s evil cat afresh)
OH. NO.

SUE:
Yah.

BEEDOO:
Ugh. No, agh—gross!

SUE:
I may have to rewash all of this.

BEEDOO:
“MAY”?

SUE:
I don’t know if that’s what happened. Probably, though.

BEEDOO:
You’re going to hafta go through all these clothes one by one, veeeery carefully.

SUE:
Yes, I know.

(sort of pause that usually follows a bomb defusion)

BEEDOO:
(last shudder)
Ugh. I have to make oatmeal now.

SUE:
I didn’t hear you scream.

BEEDOO:
Oh… I didn’t.

SUE:
Hmm. (pause) I would have.

BEEDOO:
Well… I was still asleep, you know. Practically.

SUE:
Yeah.

(pause)

BEEDOO:
OK. I’m having oatmeal, then going to work.

SUE:
(moving back toward bedroom)
I’m going back to bed.

BEEDOO:
(calling)
Thanks.

SUE:
(very tense laugh)
Huh. Yah.

[BEEDOO continues to the kitchen, stepping over what may now be a diseased spot on the rug, contemplating the price of a Stanley Steemer visit, and making a mental note to kick her Grama’s cat with great malice when she sees her next.]

END

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