Monday, August 16, 2010

A Play, in One Act

The setting: an upscale house in Kohler, Wisconsin. A little boy named Dusty enters and encounters his mom, Pag (it's an Irish name). She is unhappy.

Pag: Dusty, where have you been?

Dusty: I've been playing with some friends. It was really fun! In fact, I just came in here to get a drink, then I'm going back out to play with them again!

He moves toward the refrigerator, opens it, and gets a Gatorade. As he heads for the door, Pag stops him.

Pag: You're not going anywhere. You're grounded.


Dusty: Grounded? For what? For how long?

Pag: For two weeks. And you should know why I'm grounding you.

Dusty [lip quivering]: I ... I don't ...

Pag: Before you went out to play a few days ago, I posted a note on the garage stating where you couldn't go with your friends. One of them was a hazardous place, the dirt hills behind the bowling alley. That's where you went, and that's why you're in trouble.

Dusty: But ... but ... I didn't see any note. You didn't tell me about it. And it's not hazardous! It's just dirt! And if it's so hazardous, how come dozens of kids were playing there? And why did the Petroskeys move their weekly flea market there?

Pag: It was clearly posted.

Here they walk out to the garage. Taped to the side of it - the side facing the neighbor's fence, the side where nobody goes because there's only about 18 inches of space - is an index card with minuscule type which reads ...

Pag: "...furthermore, the dirt hills behind the bowling alley shall be off-limits, but only if the security cameras from the Conoco across 68th St. happen to place you unequivocally at the scene." Plus, your Uncle Walt knew these rules, and was out there watching over you.

Dusty: Yeah, I was going to ask about Uncle Walt. If he was out there and he knew I was breaking a rule, why didn't he tell me?

Pag: Because he can only tell you if you ask him first.

Dusty: So ... if I had known that I had to ask for help I didn't know I needed, I wouldn't be grounded?

Pag: Exactly.

Dusty walks sadly up to his room, alone.

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