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Earl C. Thompson

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Is This Real Love?
by Earl C. Thompson   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Posted: Tuesday, October 09, 2007

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A stageplay showing the difference between a mother who is too permissive and one who really loves her kid.

Setting: Johnís living room; Samís living room; Jeanís living room, Jeanís workplace; her friend Samanthaís living room and a few other places.



MICHAEL: 18-year old boy, Jeanís son whom she dotes and gives and does everything for.
JEAN: 34 years old African American who is Michaelís mother
SAMANTHA: Jeanís 35 year old African American friend who does not like the way Jean treats her son
JOHN: Michaelís African American friend who is much older than he is; he is 40 years
FRANK: Jeanís boss who is a white man
CLARA: Irisí 16 years old daughter whom she dotes and does everything for.
IRIS: Claraís 36 years old mother
CATHERINE: Irisís friend.
CARLENE: Claraís friend
SYMONE: Claraís friend
JESSICA: Claraís schoolmate.
Voice of CECILE, one of Michaelís girlfriends

The scene opens at Johnís home, his living room; there are two chairs and a table; JOHN is seated around the table; he has his legs crossed and has a paper opened in front of him; he is reading it. There is a knock on his door.

JOHN [lowering the paper and looking towards the door.] Come in.

[MICHAEL walks in. He is wearing a pair of shorts and a tee-shirt, the shorts has a tie, but the tie is loose; hence his pants is falling and his underwear is showing; he is constantly pulling up his pants. JOHN looks at him.

JOHN: Now you donít come inside here until you pull up them pants and tie that tie. [JOHN puts the paper on the table]

MICHAEL [Reluctantly does as he is told.] man, you so old fashioned. [He sits.]

JOHN: So what brings you here now? Donít you have something at your home to help your Mom with?

MICHAEL: Man, I keep telling you, Mom ainít old fashion like you; she do everything for herself.

JOHN: youíre going to be the death of that woman.


JOHN: That woman does two jobs, and she does everything for you too.

MICHAEL: Hey bro., thatís my Mom.

JOHN: I know thatís your Mom, but you should help her too.

MICHAEL: No man, my Mom loves me, so she does everything for me.

JOHN: So what about you? Donít you love her?

MICHAEL: Yeah man, but I ainít have to do nothing to prove it, she know I love her.

JOHN: So what new thing she bought you this time?

MICHAEL: Man, she bought me this outfit, itís a bomber.

JOHN: How much did that set her back?

MICHAEL: A cool half grand.

JOHN: [looking unbelievingly at him.] Youíre telling me that your Mom has bought you an outfit for five hundred dollars?

MICHAEL: Yeah. [MICHAEL is smiling and shaking his head; he is apparently very happy.] Yeah man, I ask her and she bought it.

JOHN: Have you ever thought of getting a job?

MICHAEL [Laughing forcefully.] What for? My Mom does everything for me. I take my girlfriends to my home, I make love with them there, my Mom says nothing. Times have changed; itís not like in your days when you couldnít do these things man.

JOHN: Yeah, youíre right. So what are you going to do now that youíre out of school?

MICHAEL: Iím going to enjoy my life man; I donít have to work. [He pushes his hand in his pocket and comes out with a crisp hundred-dollar bill; he places it on the table] I got that this morning.

JOHN: [Looks at the money and then back at MICHAELl who takes the money and pockets it] Your Mom gave that to you?

NICHAEL: yeah bro., my Mom loves me man. I keep telling you. Donít you wish you had a Mom like that?


MICHAEL: [Laughing] I Think youíre jealous bro.

JOHN: No, Iím not jealous. You see this house? Itís mine. I work and I bought it for myself; my Mom didnít buy it, my dad didnít buy it. But you know what they did?

MICHAEL: What? [He laughs] Worked you so hard that you had to run away from home and buy it yourself? I ainít running away from home, when my Mom dies, Iíll get our home, bro, I ainít never gonna work.

JOHN: So youíre gonna sit around and wait until your Mom dies?

MICHAEL: Well, she says when she dies, Iíll get everything she has, so I ainít worrying.

JOHN: Well, good luck.

[Michael gets to his feet]

MICHAEL: Hey Bro., Iíll talk to you later, gotta go meet my girl. [He pulls the string of his pants as he exits, allowing his pants to drop so that his underwear could be seen; he walks off the stage.]


This scene opens at CLARAíS house; her bedroom; CLARA is sitting on a stool in front of an mirror; she is well dressed as if she is waiting for someone to pick her up. Her hair too, is well done; she is filing her nails. Clothes are strewn all around; her bedroom is messy. Her bed is unmade. Her Mom enters. She looks around, seemingly appalled at the sight.

IRIS: Clara, you need to clean up your room.

CLARA: Mom, I canít do that right now, my friends will be here pretty soon and weíre going to the movie.

IRIS: I thought I told you to clean it this morning.

CLARA: I had to go to school, Mom, and if I had stopped to do it, I would have been late. And you said you love me so much, why donít you just do it for me, Mom? Please.

IRIS: Havenít I always been doing it?

CLARA: Yes Mom, but lately you have been slackening up a little. I think youíre listening to that friend of yours. Whatís her name?

IRIS: Iím not listening to Catherine.

CLARA: Oh yeah, Catherine, she is old fashioned, she is being left behind; she doesnít know that things now arenít the way they were in her days.

IRIS: She is my age.

CLARA: Well Mom, youíve evolved, she hasnít; she is remaining in her ignorant stage and sheíll remain there forever, donít let her corrupt you.

IRIS: What time will you be coming back from the movie?

CLARA: Mom, itís the weekend, remember?

IRIS: Yes, but I donít want you to stay out as late as you did last week.

CLARA: But I was okay, Mom, nothing went wrong.

IRIS: Yeah, but I still think that a decent girl shouldnít be out on the street that late.

CLARA: Mom, weíll be fine.

IRIS: I still want you home at a reasonable time.

[The doorbell rings]

IRIS: [Contíd] Sounds like your friends, Iíll go let them in.

[Iris turns to go.]

CLARA: Mom. [IRIS stops and looks at her.] Let them wait in the family room; I donít want them to see the mess my room is in.

IRIS: Okay. [IRIS leaves.]


This scene opens at the theatreís cafeteria; CLARA, her friends SYMONE, African American, 16, her friend CARLENE, also African American and 16 are seated around a table; they are eating and talking.

SYMONE: So what did your Mom say when you went home today and your room was still messy?

CLARA: My Momís a sweetheart, sheíll do it for me. She has always done it, but lately she has been talking to her friend who is very old fashioned, and she has been telling her that I should be the one to clean up my room.

[The girls laugh]

CARLENE: You had better be careful, pretty soon sheíll be telling her that youíre supposed to cook too.

[They laugh again. CLARA shows them her well manicured nails]

CLARA: You see these nails? No man will be lucky enough to have me cooking for him. Some times I look at my Momís hands and they look so terrible, and I said, I donít want mine to ever look like that.

CARLENE: Yeah, I know what you mean, Iíve seen my Momís hands too and I donít like the way they look.

SYMONE: My Momís hands look terrible too. The way my Grandmother treats me now, I canít believe she was ever that cruel to my Mom; forcing her to do all these things she didnít want to do.

CLARA: Yeah, man, they were like slave drivers themselves. Mom doesnít even ask me to cook, because she knows I wouldnít do it.

SYMONE: Has she ever asked you at all?

CLARA: Once, but the look I gave her, she never asked me again.

CARLENE: You said she was angry about us staying out so late last week, what did she say about this week?

CLARA: She wants me to come home early, so I said, ďMom, itís the weekendĒ.

SYMONE: So what did she say?

CLARA: She is trying not to be, but she is old fashioned, she said she doesnít think any decent lady should be on the street that late.

SYMONE [giggling] Guess what I got girls?

[The girls are excited]


SYMONE:[Places them on the table] Correct.

[The girls are very excited; each takes the one that belongs to her and looks at it keenly. Clara looks at Symone.]

CLARA: How much did they cost?

SYMONE: Each one of you girls owes me ten dollars more.

[CLARA and CARLENE look appalled]

CLARA: That guy is a crook.

CARLENE: I say the next time we want fake I.Dís, we get it from someone else.

SYMONE: But you guys still owe me.

CARLENE: We know, Iíll ask my Mom for that money tomorrow.

CLARA: Iíll give you mine on Monday.

SYMONE: Okay [Beat] So what club you guys want us to go to?

[Once again the girls are excited]

CLARA: How about the T.K.O?

SYMONE: Thatís in Palm Beach.

CLARA: So? If we go now, we could come back before one.

[SYMONE and CARLENE look at Clara]

CARLENE: Clara, party starts at one.

CLARA: So what time would you suggest we leave there?

SYMONE: Three oíclock.

CLARA: [Surprised] Three oíclock? Thatís definitely going to be too late.

SYMONE: Come on Clara, you sound as if youíre scared, I thought you said you had your mother under control.

CLARA: I do, butÖ

CARLENE: No buts, if you have your mother under control as you say you do, we can go and all youíll have to tell her is that we got a flat or something.

CLARA: But she is going to wonder why I didnít call.

CARLENE: Where is your cell phone?

CLARA: Well, I accidentally left it at home, but you guys got yours.

[SYMONE and CARLENE look at each other and then look at Clara; they have mischievous smiles on their faces.]


CLARA: But it wouldnít be safe for us to go to Palm Beach without having a phone.

[CARLENE produces one out of her pocket; it is a boost.]


CLARA: A boost. [CLARA takes it and looks at it, she gives it back to CARLENE and looks at her.] I thought you said you would never use a boost.

CARLENE: Well, thatís what I told my Mom too.

CLARA: I donít get it.

CARLENE: well, I left my phone where my Mom can see it, that way, sheíll know that Iíve left my phone, so if Iím late in coming in and she asked why I didnít call, Iíll say, I left my phone.

CLARA: But sheíll ask you why didnít you ask your friends to call?

CARLENE: Well, the real truth is that you guys also left your phones.

[CLARA is now beginning to realize what her friends are up to; she shakes her head and smiles approvingly.]

CLARA: I like the way you girls think.

CARLENE AND SYMONE: we thought you would.

[They look at each other and laugh]


This scene opens at JEANíS friendís home, in her living room. Both of them are there; they are seated and are having coffee. SAMANTHA is a 35 years old African American. There is a table and two chairs.

SAMANTHA: Has Michael found himself a job?

JEAN: I told him he doesnít have to right now, I can take care of him. I donít want him to go out there and work for the peanuts these companies are paying.

SAMANTHA: Jean, youíve got to realize that Michael hasnít got an education where he can get a real job; you took him out of school before he was finished.

JEAN: I did it for his own good.

SAMANTHA: He needs an education if he is to survive in todayís society.

JEAN: Iím working, I can take care of him. He is my only son.

SAMANTHA: Doesnít matter Jean, you have to teach him to take care of himself.

JEAN: When I go, heíll be well taken care of.

SAMANTHA: Suit yourself. How is the jobs been treating you lately?

JEAN: Not bad, the lady I was taking care of has died, I only have one job now, Iíll need to get another one soon.

SAMANTHA: I think you should take the time to rest a little.

JEAN: If I do, who would take care of my son?

SAMANTHA: Youíre talking as if your son is a kid.

JEAN: He is a kid to me, heíll always be a kid to me, Iím his mother, remember?

SAMANTHA: How can I ever forget that? You remember when we were kids growing up? How we had to do things, even though we didnít want to do it?

JEAN: I remember those days all right. [Resentfully] Our parents use to treat us just like the slave owners used to treat their slaves.

SAMANTHA: Thatís not true Jean.

JEAN: Thatís the truth Samantha, and you know it. They used to force us to do things we didnít want to do.

SAMANTHA: But it was for our own good.

JEAN: It wasnít for my own good, even now I hate cooking, but I use to have to do it when I was a kid, whether I want to or not; we had no choice but to do exactly what they said.

SAMANTHA: They were our parents Jean, we were their kids; we were supposed to obey them, not the other way around.

JEAN: Well, I love my child and I wonít force anything on him, if he doesnít want to work, he doesnít have to.

SAMANTHA: So how is he going to support himself?

JEAN: Iíll support him, you donít worry about that.

SAMANTHA: Well, Iím sorry for thinking I could advise you.

JEAN has her cup in her hand, sipping her coffee; she places it on the table and stands; she places her handbag over her shoulder.]

JEAN: Iíve got to go; itís getting late and I havenít fixed his dinner as yet, Iíll talk to you tomorrow.


[Jean leaves.]


This scene opens at JEANíS home in the living room; MICHAEL is asleep on the couch; his back is turned to the audience; his shorts is all the way down and his underwear is showing. Jean enters; she wakes him.

JEAN: Michael, wake up.

[He gets up, he looks at his Mom and then at his watch.]

MICHAEL: Mom, itís eight oíclock, I thought you said you were going to be here at six.

JEAN: I had something I had to do.

MICHAEL: [An incredulous look on his face] But Mom, you put something over me, your son? Iím hungry Mom, you donít love me, I thought you said you loved me.

JEAN: Michael, will you cut that out?

MICHAEL: Mom, Iím serious, you donít love me.

[His mother slaps him and instantly regrets it.]

JEAN: Iím sorry son, Iím so frustrated, I donít know what to do. And I do love you.

[MICHAEL picks up his cellular off the coach.]

MICHAEL: You donít love me Mom, youíve never slapped me before.

JEAN: And I said Iím sorry.

MICHAEL: Sorry doesnít always make it right, Mom.

[He is walking towards the door]

JEAN: Michael, I said Iím sorry. And where are you going?

[MICHAEL goes through the door and doesnít answer. JEAN is angry with herself.]

JEAN: Damn, damn, damn. Why did I go to Samanthaís? when I should have been home looking after my son.

[She is walking around, frustrated.]

JEAN: what am I going to do? How am I going to make it up to him?

[She smiles as she is apparently hit with an idea; she goes into her purse and comes out with a fifty-dollar bill.]

JEAN: Iíll give this to him and tell him to go and buy himself something to eat. Iíll give him the car for the night. [She sits down on the couch and takes her cellular from her purse; she beeps her son.} Sweetheart, I am sorry for what I did. I have fifty dollars for you and you can have my car for the night.

[MICHAEL comes running back into the house.]


This scene opens with JESSICA, 16 years old fair skin, African American; she is dressed in Jeans and T-shirt and has her knapsack on her back. She is coming from school.

CLARA: [OFF) Jessica!

[JESSICA stops and turns. Clara enters the stage.]

CLARA: [Contíd, out of breath] Why are you walking so fast?

JESSICA: Because I have to go home and do my laundry.

CLARA [Appears surprised] Laundry? Why donít you let your Mom do it?

JESSICA: Because she has other things to do.

CLARA: Girl, I donít do laundry, my Mom does it for me.

JESSICA: So what do you do for yourself?

CLARA: Nothing.

JESSICA [surprised] Nothing?

CLARA: Nothing, my Mom does everything for me. She loves me.

JESSICA: My Mom loves me too, but she doesnít do everything for me.

CLARA: Girl, these are not the old days that we are living in; these are new days, kids arenít supposed to do anything, especially if their parents love them.

JESSICA: [Defiantly] My parents love me. What do you want?

CLARA: I know a friend who can get me some fake I.Dís. Are you interested?

JESSICA: No, I donít want to go anywhere Iím not supposed to go.

CLARA: Ah, youíre no fun. Wouldnít you like to hang out with Carlene, Symone and me?

JESSICA: No, I have more important things to do.

CLARA: [Disdainfully] I know, like doing the laundry and cleaning up your room. Man, your life is so boring.

JESSICA: Iím learning stuff.

CLARA: Stuff Iím sure you donít want to learn.

JESSICA: I want to learn, I want to be able to take care of myself when I grow up.

CLARA: Girl, please, my Mom is putting aside money for me so I wonít have to think about that. For now all I have to do is have fun.

JESSICA: Well, that may be good for you, but it wonít do a thing for me. My Mom tells me that I will have to work for whatever I want in life; she says she loves me, so she is showing me how to do things so that when she is not around I can do it for myself.

CLARA: Tell your Mom to get insurance, that way when she is gone, you can be taken care of without having to work.

JESSICA: If my Mom goes, Iíd go too, I love her that much. Donít you love your Mom?

CLARA: Of course I love my Mom, what do you think?

JESSICA: Youíre talking so casually about her death, I thought you didnít love her.

CLARA: Girl, Iím just thinking about the reality of life; she is gonna go one day, and then Iíll have everything for myself.

JESSICA: Are you trying to tell me that you donít intend to work?

CLARA: Exactly.

JESSICA: Well, I wish you all the luck in the world. Iím not going to wish I were you, but I wish you all the luck.

CLARA: You still work at Macdonaldís?

JESSICA: not right now, but if I need a job, I could get one there.

CLARA: My Mom would never let me work at Macdonaldís.


CLARA: They donít pay enough.

JESSICA: I just work there to make extra money.

CLARA: My Mom gives me extra money.

JESSICA: Good for you. Well, I guess you must think you have the best Mom in the world.

CLARA: [Proudly] Of course I do.

JESSICA: Well, I gotta go. I told my Mom I would get home from school as soon as itís over and Iíd go do my laundry, I never like to disappoint my Mom.

CLARA: Seems to me like youíre scared of your Mom, thatís why you donít want to go to places they donít allow us to go.

JESSICA: No, Iím not scared of my Mom; we do a lot of things together.

CLARA: Like?

JESSICA: Going to the mallÖ

CLARA: [Laughing] Iíd never go to the mall with my Mom; Iím not a child anymore.

JESSICA: So how does she buy your clothes?

CLARA: My Mom doesnít buy my clothes for me, she gives me the money and I buy it for myself, anything I want to buy, I can buy. Are you going on the trip to Disney?

JESSICA: Maybe, I donít know.

CLARA: I should have known you wouldnít be going; your Mom canít afford to send you, Iím sure you wished you were me now; my Momís going to send me.

JESSICA: I still donít wish I were you. You know what? I may go.

CLARA: How are you going?

JESSICA: [shrugging uncertainly] I donít know, I may have to work at Macdonaldís and make the money.

CLARA: So why wonít you ask your Mom?

JESSICA: I know she hasnít got it to give, so whatís the sense in asking?

CLARA: [Chuckling forcefully] Well, my Mom is going to get it one way or the other so I can go.

JESICA: It doesnít matter to you how she gets it as long as she does?

CLARA: [Proudly] Correct.

JESSICA: Oh well, it was nice talking to you, but I gotta go, see you.

[JESSICA saunters off, leaving Clara, who exits the other way]


The scene opens in Johnís living room; he is on his couch and MICHAEL is there sitting beside him.

MICHAEL: I saw this bike the other day man, and I want it.

JOHN: How are you going to get it?

MICHAEL: I ainít gonna stop nagging my Mom until I get it.

JOHN: How much is that going to set her back?

MICHAEL: Three hundred bucks.

JOHN: Your Mom is only doing one job now you know.

MICHAEL: She is looking for another.

JOHN: You shouldnít make your Mom work so hard you know.

MICHAEL: She is all right; she is young and strong.

JOHN: Not as strong as you are.

MICHAEL: What did I tell you man? I ainít gonna work. What am I working for?

JOHN: The things you want for one, like the bike.

MICHAEL: My Mom can give that to me.

JOHN: Have you ever thought that maybe your Mom needs something from you too?

MICHAEL: She never asks.

JOHN: Why?

MICHAEL: ĎCause she knows I ainít got nothing to give her.

JOHN: If you were working, you would be able to give her something.

MICHAEL: [Sounding agitated] Well, I ainít working dawg, so I canít give her nothing.

JOHN: Donít call me dog; Iím a human being, not a dog.

MICHAEL: Man, I ainít mean nothing, itís just a name.

JOHN: Just like ĎNiggerí is a name you donít like the white man to call you but you call yourselves.

MICHAEL: Hey dawg, just cool man. [His pants is at his waist. He walks off and stops. He turns.] Talk to you later dude. [He unties the string to his shorts and allows it to drop, showing his underwear as he walks off stage.


This scene opens with CLARA and her friends, CARLENE and SYMONE; once again they are sitting in the cafeteria of the theatre. They are eating chips and drinking soft drinks.

CLARA: Do we have the best Moms or what?

[Carlene and Symone look at her.]

CARLENE: What do you mean?

CLARA: I saw Jessica in School yesterday and she was hastening to go home.


CLARA: Said she has to go home and do laundry.

CARLENE AND SYMONE: Laundry? [They look at each other and smile. They look back at Clara.]

CARLENE: Our Moms do that.

CLARA: I know. Donít you think we have the best Moms? Itís mid-week and weíre at the theatre. Do you know that some times my Mom does my homework for me?

SYMONE: Mine doesnít, but who cares about homework? Iím going to find myself a rich man to marry.

CLARA: Me too, and if I donít, Iíll have money to survive on when my Mom is gone.

CARLENE: Iíll find myself a good man.

[Symone and Clara look at her]

SYMONE: But he has to have money, doesnít he?

CARLENE: [Smiling} You know me girl, if he ainít got money, he ainít getting nothing.

[They all laugh]

CLARA: So where are we going this weekend with our fake I.Dís?

CARLENE: I heard there is a good club in Fort Lauderdale; a reggae band plays there.

CLARA: I love reggae.

CARLENE: And I heard it doesnít open as late as T.K.O. does.

SYMONE: Well, maybe we can check it out.

CLARA: Thatís kind of far, isnít it?

[SYMONE and CARLENE look at her.]

CARLENE: Are you chickening out on us?

CLARA: [Too fast] NoÖ [She sees them looking at her keenly] Mom was a bit upset the other night.

CARLENE: How come you never tell us?

SYMONE: Yeah, how come you never tell us?

CLARA: Well, it wasnít a big deal, if it were, I wouldnít be here, would I?

CARLENE: I guess not, but does this mean you wonít be allowed to go out this weekend?

CLARA: I donít think so. Mom knows if she tries to keep me in over the weekend, Iíll throw a fit.

CARLENE: And Iím sure she wouldnít want to see you throwing a fit.

CLARA: No, she wouldnít. You can count me in this weekend guys.

SYMONE: All right, thatís more like it.

CLARA: Are you guys going to Disney this year?

SYMONE: I always go, I never missed it. Are you going?
CLARA: Sure. I asked Jessica if she were going.

CARLENE: [Eagerly] What did she say?

CLARA: Poor child, she says if she wants to go, she has to work to go there.

SYMONE: What about her Mom? Canít she send her?

CLARA: Child, they are so poor, Iím really sorry for her.

CARLENE: Well, my Mom gives me everything I want, Iím glad for her.

SYMONE: Me too.

CLARA: Me three.

[The girls laugh]


The scene opens at Michaelís home in the living room; he is on the couch lying down and on his cell with one of his girlfriends. His girlfriendís name is CECILE.

MICHAEL: Hey, how about going to the movie with me tonight?

CECILE: [OFF] I thought you said you didnít have any money.

MICHAEL: Today is Friday; my Mom gets paid.

CECILE: [OFF] so what does that have to do with you?

MICHAEL: Cecile, whatís my Mom is mine.

CECILE: [OFF] So I imagine what yours is your Momís?

MICHAEL: Whatís mine is mine.

CECILE [OFF] Thatís not fair, if whatís your Mom is yours, what is yours should be your Momís.

MICHAEL: Well, that ainít the way it goes. Are you going with me or not?

CECILE: [OFF] Iíll get back with you on that.

MICHAEL: Okay, Iím listening for you to call.

CECILE: [OFF] I will. ĎBye.


[MICHAEL hangs up. His Mom walks in with a bag of groceries in her hand. She places it on the table.]

JEAN: Michael, could you get the other bag of groceries in the car for me?

MICHAEL: Mom, Iím tired.

JEAN: Michael, you have been home all day doing nothing, how come youíre tired?

MICHAEL: Mom, Iím just tired, thatís it.

[His mother leaves and comes back with another bag of groceries.]

JEAN: What do you want for dinner?

MICHAEL: you know my favourite Mom, chicken and rice.

JEAN: Iím not going to be able to cook that tonight, because I have to get to my other job, which starts in another hour or so.

MICHAEL: So what am I supposed to do Mom, starve?

JEAN: I didnít say that, I just think that you can do something for yourself too.

MICHAEL: So who have you been talking to about me now Mom?

JEAN: I havenít been talking to anybody, but Iím a human being and Iím tired some times too.

MICHAEL: Okay, here is the deal. Give me fifty dollars and Iíll just go out and get something to eat.

JEAN: Michael, this week is rent week, I donít have any money.

MICHAEL: Mom, you told me you were going to give me some money this weekend.

JEAN: I know, but something came up and this is rent week, what do you want me to do?

MICHAEL: If This is the way you love somebody, I wouldnít like to see what you would do to them if you hate them.

JEAN: Michael, that is not fair.

MICHAEL: Itís the truth.

JEAN: I give you things whenever I can. Why canít you understand when I canít give it to you?

MICHAEL: I need some money Mom, and I need it between now and tomorrow.

[He is walking away.}

JEAN: Michael! [He stops and turns] I canít get it for you now, but I can get it tomorrow.

MICHAEL: Why canít you get it now?

JEAN: I told you itís rent week; Iím broke, I donít have any money now.

MICHAEL: When are you going to be buying a house Mom?

JEAN: Soon, I hope.

MICHAEL: Okay, Iíll be looking for it tomorrow.

JEAN: Where are you going now?

MICHAEL: Iím going to visit a friend.

[He walks off]

JEAN: I love you.

MICHAEL: [OFF] Whatever.


This scene opens at Frankís office; he is Jeanís boss, white and in his early forties. There are two chairs and a desk. JEAN is sitting in front of her boss.

FRANK: Youíve been taking a lot of advances on your check lately, Jean.

JEAN: I know, but itís important that I get it.

FRANK: How is your son?

JEAN: He is fine.

FRANK: Has he found himself a job as yet?

JEAN: Yes.

FRANK: I hope he is helping you.

JEAN: He does whatever he can.

FRANK: Good, these youngsters now a days are no good; walking with their pants waist at their knees and their underpants showing; I bet your son isnít one of those.

JEAN: He is not.

FRANK: And he is respectful too, isnít he?

JEAN: Yes sir.

FRANK: [counting out some money] They have these names to call themselves now a days. [He is counting out the money to her] Ten, twenty, thirty, fifty.

JEAN: [Taking up the money and checking it in her head] Thank you sir.

FRANK: I think youíre a decent woman, and I think you teach your son respect, I donít think you have ever heard him calling anyone dog, have you?

JEAN: No sir, my son would never call anyone names like that; he has too much respect for people sir.

FRANK: I didnít think he would have done something like that. Youíre a very fine woman Jean, and Iím glad I have someone like you working for me. Your parents must be very proud of you and I know you would bring up your son just the way your parents brought you up.

JEAN: Yes sir. Good day Mr. Frank.

FRANK: Good day Jean.

[JEAN leaves]


This scene opens at Jessicaís home; she is in her bedroom, Her room is neat, her bed is properly made up. She is sitting in front of her bed and has her piggy bank shaking; she is getting out pennies, dimes and quarters. There is a knock on her door.

JESSICA: Come in Mom.

[Her Mom enters; she is fair skinned like her daughter; around thirty five years and petite. Her name is CHARLENE.]

CHARLENE: What are you doing?

JESSICA: Checking to see if I have enough money.

CHARLENE: For what?

JESSICA: My friends are all talking about the trip to Disneyland this year, I was thinking that if I had enough money in my piggy bank, I could get to go. I know you havenít got any money to give me.

[CHARLENE sits on the edge of the bed; JESSICA turns to face her; she places the now empty Piggy bank on the floor beside the money.]

CHARLENE: Honey, I wish I could give you some money, but right now I canít.

JESSICA: Mom, I could work at Macdonaldís on the weekend and make some money if you donít object to my going.

CHARLENE: You donít mind doing that?


CHARLENE: Youíre a good girl Jessica. When I was a kid, my parents pampered me a lot, I used to think that they were doing good for me, but they werenít. My siblings hate me because of the fact that I was treated better than them when I was a child.

JESSICA: Aunt Christie is a nurse and Aunt Joyce is an accountant.

CHARLENE: And what am I? A C.N.A. at this stage of my life. As a child I wasnít even allowed to cook.


CHARLENE: I told you I was special; my Mom wouldnít let me do anything; some times my sisters had to do things for me.

JESSICA: And that made them resented you?

CHARLENE: Even now they donít talk much to me.

JESSICA: Mom, if you could afford to, would you give me everything that I need?


JESSICA: [Surprised] Why not?

CHARLENE: Arenít you listening to me? I love you, I love you with all my heart, but I would never give to you everything you want, Iíll teach you how to get everything you want, but I wouldnít give it to you.

[JESSICA looks sad; CHARLENE reaches out for her.]

CHARLENE: Come here Sweetheart. {JESSICA gets up and goes and sits beside her] There is a saying, ďIf you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach him to catch a fish, heíll have food for the rest of his lifeĒ.

JESSICA: What does that mean Mom?

CHARLENE: It means that if you continue to give someone something to eat, it wonít benefit him much, Ďcause when youíre gone, heíll still be needing food from some one. But if you teach him how to do something for himself, even when youíre no longer around, heíll still be doing something for himself that can benefit him.

JESSICA: [Smiling] Oh, I understand.

CHARLENE: Iím teaching you how to do things, so you donít have to depend on anyone else when Iím not around.

[JESSICA holds her Mom as if she is afraid to lose her]

JESSICA: [Sincerely] I donít want you to go Mom.

CHARLENE: Sweetheart, I have no intention of going anywhere, at least not now.

JESSICA: So if I can come up with the money, would you let me go, Mom?

CHARLENE: Here is a deal. How much is the money for the ticket and the bus?

JESSICA: One hundred dollars.

CHARLENE: If you can come up with the money for the ticket and the bus, Iíll come up with the money for your enjoyment at the park.

JESSICA: [Smiling brightly] All right. Thanks Mom.

CHARLENE: Youíre welcome. [JESSICA is about to get up; CHARLENE rests her hand on her shoulder.] Sweetheart, Iím teaching you to do things for yourself, so that you donít end up like me.

JESSICA: Youíre okay Mom.

CHARLENE: Thanks Sweetheart, but I mean I donít want you to have to struggle the way Iím struggling now.

[JESSICA kisses her Mom.]

JESSICA: Thanks Mom.

CHARLENE: Youíre welcome Sweetheart.


This scene opens at Claraís home in the family room; her Mom is there seated on the couch; she is sewing. CLARA sits beside her.

CLARA: Hi Mom.

IRIS: Hi sweetheart.

CLARA: Am I going to get that money to go to Disneyland this year?

{IRIS puts down her sewing.]

IRIS: Sweetheart, Iíve been wanting to tell you, I donít think Iím going to be able to come up with the money this year.

[CLARA gets to her feet angrily]

CLARA: Mom, you canít do this to me.

IRIS: Sweetheart, Iím not doing this to spite you or anything, you know if I could do better, I would get it to you.

CLARA: Mom, what am I going to tell my friends? All of them are going and I told them I would be going too.

IRIS: Sweetheart, if I could do better, I would, but I just canít do it this year, Iím sorry.

CLARA: [Screaming and near to tears.] Mom, you canít do this to me, you canít.

IRIS: Sweetheart, Iím not doing anything to you, Iím behind on my bills and I have to catch up.

CLARA: [Crying.] You just canít do this to me Mom, you just canít. Iíve told all of my friends that Iím going, I canít go to them and say Iím not going now.

IRIS: Sweetheart, if I donít pay my bills, they are going to take away the house.

CLARA: I donít care about the house Mom, I wanna go, I wanna go.

[She runs to her room and slams the door shut. IRIS picks up her sewing and resumes.]

IRIS: [To herself] Sheíll calm down.


This scene opens at Michaelís home; he is in the family room with his Mom; they are both sitting on the couch. She has given him some money. He is counting it. He looks at her.

MICHAEL: Mom, this is short ten dollars.

JEAN: I had to use some money to buy some groceries, I owe that to you.

MICHAEL: Mom, I needed fifty dollars thatís why I asked you for it.

JEAN: Son, I said Iíd give it back to you when I get paid.

MICHAEL: Mom, you donít do things like that, if I asked you for something itís because I need it Mom. You can get money elsewhere to buy food, donít trouble what you have for me Mom.

JEAN: Iím sorry son, Iíll give it back to you, I promise.

MICHAEL: Okay, make sure I get it Mom.

JEAN: You will, I promise.

MICHAEL: Mom, some of my friends are planning a trip to Disneyland, I wanna go.

JEAN: How much is that gonna set me back?

MICHAEL: Two hundred bucks.

JEAN: When is that going to be?

MICHAEL: The end of the month.

JEAN: Thatís gonna be too early for me, I wonít have the money.

MICHAEL: Come on Mom, you can get it.

JEAN: Iím not gonna promise you because I donít know if I can get it.

MICHAEL: Mom, Iím depending on you.

JEAN: Iím not going to promise Iím gonna give you.

MICHAEL: Mom, I know you wonít let me down.

JEAN: Iíll try.

MICHAEL: Thatís my Mom. [He leans forward and kisses her] Thatís why I love you so much Mom, youíre the best Mom.

[He gets to his feet and is walking out; she sees the way his pants are.]

JEAN: Why donít you pull up your pants, son?

MICHAEL: [Stopping and looking over his shoulder at his Mom.] Mom, itís the in-thing, you ainít gonna understand; youíre old fashioned. See you.

[He exits.]


This scene opens at JOHNíS house in his dining room. He is there as usual reading his paper. MICHAEL enters; his pants is properly set at his waist. JOHN stops reading and looks at him.

JOHN: Havenít seen you in a while, where have you been?

MICHAEL: I have been around.

JOHN: I passed your place yesterday and I noticed your lawn is getting real high, when are you going to cut it?

MICHAEL: [Looks as if he is surprised at being asked.] Me?

JOHN: Yes, you. Donít you cut your lawn?

MICHAEL: No, my mom pays someone to do it.

JOHN: Why doesnít she pay you?

MICHAEL: There are guys out there she can pay, Iím not greedy; some other guy can get that money.

JOHN: Well, if you would cut it, she would pay you that money and wouldnít have to pay someone else, or maybe that money could stay in her pocket.

MICHAEL: My mom always pay for it to be done.

JOHN: She has you, she shouldnít have to pay anyone else.

MICHAEL: Well, she does.

JOHN: So what are you up to today?

MICHAEL: Nothing, just walking.

JOHN: I heard some of your friends are going to Disneyland, are you going?

MICHAEL: Yeah, I going.

JOHN: I guess youíre gonna tax your mom again?

MICHAEL: I ainít got nobody else to tax.

JOHN: I have some work you could do for me, I would pay you.

MICHAEL: Bro. I ainít need to work, my Mom is taking care of me.

JOHN: What if she canít come up with the money you want to go to Disney?

MICHAEL: She will.

JOHN: What if she canít?

MICHAEL: Man, my Mom will find ways to get it, Iím sure she will.

JOHN: Or maybe one of your girls can give it to you?

MICHAEL: I ainít asking no girls for money Bro., my Mom can give it to me.

JOHN: Man, Iím really sorry for your Mom.

[JOHN goes back to reading his paper]


This scene opens once again with CLARA, CARLENE, and SYMONE at the theatre cafeteria.

SYMONE: Do you know if youíre going to Disney as yet?

CLARA: She is going to have to send me, I donít care how she gets the money.

CARLENE: Have you spoken to her as yet?

CLARA: No, Iím still angry with her.

SYMONE: How long are you gonna keep this up for?

CLARA: Until she gives me the money.

SYMONE: What if she doesnít have it?

CLARA: Do you know how embarrassing this is going to be if I donít go to Disney this year?

SYMONE: Well, if you miss one year, itís not the end of the world, youíve always gone those other years.

[CARLENE and SYMONE look at each other and giggle]

CLARA: What if it were your mother who said you werenít going, what would you do?

CARLENE: My mother wouldnít dare say such a thing to me, she knows me too much.

[SYMONE has a mischievous smile on her face when she looks at CARLENE.]

SYMONE: You want me to tell her what happened when your mom said she didnít have the money to pay for your Cheerleadersí tryout?

CARLENE: Go ahead.

SYMONE: Child, Carlene threw a fit and didnít speak to her Mom for one straight week.

[CLARA looks at CARLENE]

CLARA: How come you didnít tell me that?

CARLENE: It actually only happened once, she hasnít tried that trick again with me. Girl, you have to stick out for what you want, if you give in to them, then you wonít get what you want.

CLARA: Thatís what I say.

SYMONE: Well if she is going to pay, she had better come up with the fee pretty fast; the seats are filling out pretty fast in the bus.

CLARA: You guys paid yours already?


CARLENE: Me too.

CLARA: I know Jessica isnít going, but I canít let her know that I might not go.

CARLENE: Have you given up already?

CLARA: Of course not.

SYMONE: If you hold out, she may still come through for you.

CLARA: She had better. She knows I never miss this trip, and everyone knows that.

CARLENE: Well, you still can make it if she comes up with the money between now and Friday.

CLARA: I hope she does, I surely hope she does or Iíll never forgive her.


This scene opens at CATHERINEíS house, her living room. She is IRISí friend, African American around Irisí age. They are sitting together in the couch.

CATHERINE: So how are things going with you and your daughter?

IRIS: Girl, she hasnít spoken to me in a while.

CATHERINE: [Surprised] Why?

IRIS: I made a promise to her and I broke it.

CATHERINE: What was the promise about?

IRIS: I promise her I would give her some money to go to Disneyland Theme Park and I didnít come through with it.

CATHERINE: Well, Iím sure itís because you couldnít help it.

IRIS: Yeah, but this reminds me too much of my parents, when they would make promises to us and broke them.

CATHERINE: Our parents broke promises they couldnít really keep.

IRIS: I just donít want to be like my parents when it comes to my kid; we used to have to do so many things we didnít want to do.

CATHERINE: But it was for your own good Iris.

IRIS: Come on Catherine, our parents were too strict when we were kids; I was never allowed to hang out with friends.

CATHERINE: Me neither, but Iím not complaining, Iíve known of girls in my town who are now in jail; if it werenít for my parents I probably would have been hanging out with them when they were caught and sent to jail, and maybe I would have been there too.

IRIS: I was never a stupid person Catherine, I knew then who to hang out with and who not to.

CATHERINE: Iris, look at what youíve become. You are a nurse, a registered nurse; your parents made you do your homework. They didnít just say that you should do it, they insist, and look what you have become as a result of what your parents did for you.

IRIS: I still say my parents were too strict.

CATHERINE: I think whatís happening now a days is that the parents of today are too permissive and too lenient.

IRIS: What do you mean?

CATHERINE: Some of us think that we are doing our kids good when we are too permissive and too giving, but we are not.

IRIS: Well, if you love your kids, youíve got to show them.

CATHERINE: But the best way to show someone you love them is to teach them how to be independent, and that means showing them to do things for themselves so that they can become productive citizens when they grow up.

IRIS: When I was a kid, I had to work for everything I got, Iíll never let my daughter do that.

CATHERINE: Youíre not always going to be around for her you know.
IRIS: [Adamantly] Iíll make sure that she is well taken care of when Iím gone.

CATHERINE: Well, good luck to you and her.

IRIS: Thanks. [IRIS gets to her feet] I think Iíd better go now, I have to get something to my daughter before the time runs out.

CATHERINE: Okay, see you at work tomorrow.

IRIS: Sure.

[IRIS leaves]


This scene opens at Irisí house, in the living room. A disgruntled CLARA is lying on the couch and is listening to a C.D., which is in on a CD player on a table. Her mom enters. She turns her back to her mom.

IRIS: Good evening Sweetheart.

[No response. Her mother sits beside her.]

IRIS: [Contíd] It seems like youíre going to Disneyland after all.

[CLARA turns on her back, looks at her and smiles.]

CLARA: I knew you would come through for me Mom.

[IRIS gives her the money.]

CLARA: [Happy.} I love you Mom. [She embraces her Mom].

IRIS: [Happy} I know you do Sweetheart, and Iím sorry I had to make you go through so much problems to get this money.

CLARA: Thatís all right, Mom, I knew you would have come true . [She gets up.] Iím gonna go call my friends and tell them Iíll be there with them in Disneyland.

IRIS: [Smiling] You go ahead Sweetheart, Iím glad for you.

CLARA: I love you so much Mom.
IRIS: I love you too Sweetheart.

[CLARA skips off happily to her room]


This scene opens at Jessicaís home; her living room; she is sad; she didnít earn the money she needed so she could go to Disneyland. Her mother is with her.

CHARLENE: Sweetheart, Iím sorry it didnít work out.

JESSICA: Thatís okay Mom, Iím not mad with you; Iím just so mad because weíre poor.

CHARLENE: Not everyone was born to be rich honey, but maybe one day if you work hard enough you can become rich and help your Mom.

JESSICA: Iím going to do that Mom, Iím going to go to school and study hard so I can become a doctor and take care of you.

CHARLENE: That is so nice Sweetheart, thatís why I love you so much, youíre so thoughtful.

CHARLENE: And youíre so thoughtful too, Mom, youíre doing everything to ensure that I have a better future than what you have now.

[They embrace each other.]

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