General Fiction posted February 24, 2019


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Moving on is stressful.

Extended Family

by taurist


A Sparsely furnished living room. Background stairs lead to an upper level. Several small and large boxes strewn ABOUT LABELLED, “TOYS”, “Dishes”, “Clothes” some christmas WRAPPED. Furniture covered with moving blankets. Stage left an opened front door. A woman, mid 40’s is seen upstage Right, furiously texting on her phone. A second woman, early 30’s enters through the open door.Takes one of the smaller unlabeled boxes and exits back through door. Moments later re-enters.
 
ANNA
Excuse me..

ELLEN
(Holds up a dismissive finger attempting to silence Anna. Continues to text)

ANNA
(ANNA makes an audible gasp. Grabs box labelled “Photos” and exits. Returns shortly back inside home. ANNA clears throat)

ELLEN
You needed something?

ANNA
The movers just called. They’re about 30 minutes away.

ELLEN
(Angered.) 
What the hell? Morons! I planned this over a week ago. We’ve got to be out today.  Our flight is this afternoon.

ANNA
It’s still early, you should be completely moved out before 1 o’clock. Are you excited to move,
(softly)
..away?
 
ELLEN
(Crosses stage left toward front door.)
My husband,
(sarcastic, implying an affair)
you know my husband right Anna?

ANNA
(Looks away)
Yes.

ELLEN
We come into a little money and miraculously, he needs a bigger house. Like, 4 bedrooms isn’t big enough. Found himself a gorgeous, young,
(sighs)
why are they always young, willing realtor and next thing I know, off to California.
(Looks out door)     
I grew up here.
(pauses)
Was Benny outside?

ANNA
I didn’t see him.

ELLEN
(Frustrated)
You’ve been with this family for years. Isn’t it  your job to look out for him?
(crosses to back stairs)
Benny come downstairs!
 
ANNA
He’s a little scared. He told me.

ELLEN
(Sarcastic)
Of course he told you.

ANNA
He said he wished..

ELLEN
(Ellen’s cell phone rings. She raises her finger to silence ANNA)
Hello? What do you mean where am I? The movers just called, they’re going to be late. About 2 hours.

ANNA
30 minutes

ELLEN
(Angrily motions at ANNA with her finger)
Are you coming here?  You should be here. What? Hello? Dammit!
(hangs up phone. Shouting)
BENNY!!

ANNA
You know yelling only causes more anxiety.

ELLEN
(Rudely)
Oh thank you for your wise input doctor. Let me pencil in an appointment.

ANNA
(Kindly)
Maybe you should.

ELLEN
(Raising a dismissive finger)
Don’t you tell me what to do. I’m in charge of running my life.

ANNA
Except when it comes to selling houses.
(Both women exchange heated glances)

ELLEN
(Directed up stairs) 
Benny! Come down here now!
(pausing for each word)
Don’t make Mommy mad!

(Offstage a door is heard slamming. Both women visibly shocked by violence of door slam)

ELLEN
(Bossy)
Shouldn’t you be taking these boxes outside?

ANNA
(Casually)
No.
(ELLEN crosses to front door and exits out. ANNA peeks out door to make sure ELLEN has walked away. ANNA crosses backstage, moves 2-3 steps up the stairs)

Benny. It’s me ANNA. Are you ready for a new adventure? Like Superman or Spiderman, you get to be brave and travel on a new journey. And get to help new friends. Benny?

(ANNA hearing approaching footsteps moves away from the stairs. ELLEN sees her)

ELLEN 
                              
(Glancing upstairs)
Did he answer you?
 
ANNA
(Shaking head)
No.

ELLEN
(Laughing)
So I guess your not a doctor after all.
 
(A man, late 30’s enters through door, hugs Anna from behind kissing her on the cheek, surprises her)

ELI
Hi there ANNA. Looking good as always.

ANNA
(Moving away, toward stairs)
Hello Eli.

ELLEN
(Looks at cell phone. Then at ELI)
I didn’t think you were coming. And please respect me enough not to kiss your next conquest in front of me.

ELI
Where’s my Benny Boy?
(ELLEN & ANNA point at stairs)
Benny. Buddy. C’mon downstairs. You’re gonna be so happy. Christmas is coming. Don’t you want to be a good boy for Santa? You know he’s watching you.
(Eli crosses to the few wrapped Christmas presents looking for one with his name)

ELLEN
(To ELI)
You’re a genius!
(Crosses to stairs)
 
Benny. Remember that big TV you wanted? The remote control one to watch your wrestler friends? How would you like that in your new bedroom?
(Looking at ELI)
I’m sure Daddy would watch with you. Benny?

(ELI pulls out a pack of cigarettes, shrugs his shoulders and walks outside)

ANNA
(Upset, pointing at stairs)
What do you call that? Is that Love or bribery?

ELLEN
(Holding up her finger)
Love?  No. Bribery?  No. Necessity?  Yes.  Speaking of necessity, you want to keep your job?

ANNA
(Defiantly)
As much as you want to keep your marriage.

ELLEN
You little..
(ELI enters overhearing exchange.)

ELI
Hey, hey. Break it up. Let’s focus. When will the movers be here?

ELLEN
An hour or more.
 
ANNA
(Holding up her cell phone)
10 Minutes.
 
ELI
(Angrily yelling upstairs)
Hey! Benny! Now! Get down here! The house is sold! Your room is no longer your room! Mommy and Daddy don’t live here so YOU can’t live here!

(ELI is pacing the living room. Hands on hips.)

ANNA
(Visibly shaking, crying. To ELLEN & ELI)
Since you don’t live here. Get out.

ELLEN
(Raising her finger)
How dare you.

ELI
(Shocked)
What did you say?

(ANNA covering her face. Pleading)

ANNA
Go. For a moment. Please?

(ELLEN & ELI exit outside.  Anna moves to stairs and takes to her knees in prayer)
Benny? It’s me ANNA. I know I’m not your family, but I think we’re good friends. You know me. I don’t yell. I’ll be with you, that won’t change.

(ELLEN & ELI return. All 3 exchange glances)
 
 
ANNA
Your Mom and Dad do love you. You have to leave this house Benny. Remember that adventure your Mom & Dad told you, you’d have to take one day? That starts today. You’re getting bigger now. Make Mom and Dad proud.

(ANNA stands up. Moves away from stairs. Simultaneously ELLEN & ELI begin to yell upstairs.)
 
ELI
Benny! Come on now! This isn’t just about you! Grow up and let’s get moving!

ELLEN
We have to leave! This is ridiculous! Benny! We don’t have time to waste on this foolishness!
(Long Silence)

ELI
(ANGRY)
What the hell..
 
ANNA
In all my years working, I have never once seen either of you give Benny any love. Can’t you see how much harder this is for him than you?
 
(As ANNA speaks, Benny appears on the stairs. Dressed in a dark suit with tie. He holds a Spiderman backpack. He is a man in his 40’s with some type of mental disability.)
 
BENNY
(Shyly)
Hello Anna.
 
ANNA
(Turning around. Sweetly)
Good Morning Benny. Nice to see you again.
 
ELLEN
(Frustrated, Texting on phone)
Well finally.

ELI
(Feigned happiness)
Hey Big Brother.

BENNY
(Angrily Stuttering, Shouting)
Mommy and Daddy are dead!

(ANNA, ELLEN & ELI are silently stunned)

Daddy is NOT gonna watch TV with me and Mommy is NOT mad at me. Since we were kids you two lie.

ELLEN
(Laughingly)
Oh Benny.

(Benny raises a finger pointed at ELLEN.)

BENNY
QUIET!

(ANNA covers her face to suppress a smile)
 
ELI
(Offering a fist pump)
Hey,hey Buddy.
 
BENNY
You stole money from Mommy and Daddy.
(ELI backs away, looks quickly at ELLEN. ELLEN looks harshly at ELI silently mouths the word)

ELLEN
(Really?)

(Breaking the mood ANNA pats BENNY on the back.)

ANNA
(Happily)
Ready Benny? We’ve got a big day planned. By the way you look very handsome.

BENNY
Thank you.
(Slightly panicked)
Is the picture in the car?
 
ANNA
Front seat as promised. Your favorite sheets and pillow are already on your new bed. I’ll get your bag.

(BENNY leaves without looking at ELLEN or ELI.)

You have his new address. I’m sure he’d like to see you..
(To ELLEN)
both.
 
 
ELLEN
 
(Unemotional)
Well, I’ll be in California for Christmas.
 
ELI
(Arrogant)
I’m heading to Vegas for my poker tournament.
 
(ANNA shakes her head. Takes in a deep breath. She heads to stairs to pick up Spiderman backpack. Stops to address ELLEN & ELI)
 
ANNA
So pick one of the other 364 days in the year.
(Pausing to reflect)
  By the way, my sympathies for the loss of your parents.
(ANNA leaves)
 
(ELLEN & ELI pause a moment to look around the room. ELLEN grabs her phone and begins to text as she leaves without saying goodbye to ELI. ELI watches ELLEN leave. Leans looking out front door. He grabs a couple of the Christmas gifts and exits.)
 
 
LIGHTS FADE.  CURTAIN CLOSES.
 


10-Minute Play contest entry


My first attempt at this format. I hope you enjoy.
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