A Nameless Play in Four Acts
[It is 2:30 a.m. A congested moan drifts through the walls of a master bedroom, where two adults are sleeping in the darkness. The moan escalates to a cry until it cannot be ignored.]
Heidi: Can you help Gavin?
Heidi: Please? If I get up with him now I'll be up for the day. I'll take the next one, I promise.
[The tired daddy gets out of bed and the tired mommy succumbs to blessed sleep.]
[It is 4:48 a.m. Congested coughs, sobs, and snorts break through the slumbering cobwebs of the tired mommy's brain. It's her turn.]
Gavin: [Moaning, coughing, crying.]
Heidi: Hey, baby. Oooh...you're hot! Time for medicine, right?
[The tired mommy takes the baby to the kitchen and considers the time, then returns with crying baby to master bedroom to question the tired daddy who is trying to sleep.]
Heidi: Did you give Gavin anything when you were up with him?
[The tired mommy administers Motrin and water to feverish baby. He wails. The tired mommy swaddles, cuddles, and rocks the baby, singing every Primary song she knows. The baby wails. The tired mommy turns on the bedroom lights and gives in. The baby plays somewhat contentedly until 5:45, when sounds of brothers can be heard. The day has begun.]
[It is 1:26 p.m. A tired mommy stands in a disastrous kitchen, dialing a phone. Congested moaning and a Baby Einstein DVD can be heard in the background.]
Perky Lady: ABC Pediatrics! This is Donna! How can I help you?!
Heidi: I need to make an appointment for my son to be seen.
Perky Lady: Okay! Is this for an illness?
Perky Lady: Would you like that for today?
Heidi: Yes, please.
Perky Lady: And the child's name and date of birth?
Heidi: Gavin Bartle; eleven-thirty-oh-seven.
Perky Lady: Okay! He's here! It looks like we have a four-ten with Summer, our P.A.! How does that work for you?
Heidi: That's perfect. Thank you.
Perky Lady: And is that our little patient I hear crying?
Heidi: Yes, yes, it is. See you soon.
Perky Lady: Okay! Have a great day!
[It is 3:08 p.m. A very tired mommy waits with two small children in a mini-van outside an elementary school. Rocking, reading, playing, strolling, feeding, and driving haven't soothed the sad baby all day. Sitting and waiting in a car seat is misery. The tired mommy rolls down car windows, enjoys the breeze, and turns the ignition key enough to play a CD.]
Disney singer: Froggy went a-courtin' and he did right, uh-uh-huh...
[The tired mommy kills time by laboriously texting with Garry regarding medical reimbursement, cell phone issues, and his sister's upcoming trip to Denver.]
Disney singer: John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt! His name is my name, too!
Tyler: Mom, can I get out of my seat? I'm bored!
Heidi: Look, Zach's coming. Buckle up.
Tyler: Aw, Mom!
Disney singer: There's a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza...
[The tired mommy opens the van door to greet a first-grader.]
Heidi: Hey. Climb in and wait for Raelyn. We're going to drop her at home, grab snacks, and go to the doctor for Gavin. He's super sick. Our library trip will have to wait until after dinner.
Zachary: Okay. But can we go to the doctor later? I need to look on the Internet for weather stuff for Share Time.
Heidi: No, honey.
Zachary: [Angry grunt.]
Heidi: That's one.
Disney singer: Oh, my darlin', oh, my darlin', oh my darlin', Clementine!
[The tired mommy shuts off the music. Ten minutes pass.]
Zachary: Why is Raelyn taking so long today? I've been here ten minutes already!
Heidi: That's a very good question. Oh, look, here she comes.
[The tired mommy opens the van door to greet a fifth-grader and her friend.]
Raelyn: Hi, Miss Heidi.
Heidi: Hi, Raelyn.
Raelyn: Um, Miss Heidi, I'm walking home today with Rhiannon. See you tomorrow!
Heidi: [Sighing] Okey dokey.
[The tired mommy turns her key to start the van. The van will not start. Lights flicker, then nothing.]
[It is 3:28 p.m. Three boys are screaming and fighting in the van by the school curb. The once-busy street is growing deserted as the school empties for the day. A tired mommy clumsily composes a test message on her cell phone. At Wells Fargo, a tired daddy is on a conference call.]
Heidi's phone: the car wont start
Garry's phone: do u need me 2 run home and jump ur van?
Heidi's phone: were at school
Garry's phone: and the car is dead @ school?
Heidi's phone: yes
Garry's phone: [obviously better at texting] Hmmmm....not necessarily a dead battery then since I'm assuming u haven't been there all day. Do u need me to come be ur knight in a dirty ol' car?
[The tired mommy laughs, then composes a descriptive reply. Then she hits "delete" instead of "send."]
Zachary: What's the matter, Mom?
Heidi: NEVER MIND!
Heidi's phone: yes please
Garry's phone: OK....OMW then but I'll have to take my call on my cell so I wont be able 2 text any more.
Heidi's phone: ok. thx!
[It is 3:52 p.m. Four grumpy passengers and a chipper daddy are smooshed in a dirty ol' car.]
Heidi: Why won't this stupid thing shift into reverse?
Garry: Let the car roll back a bit.
Heidi: It is! What's the deal?
Garry: Make sure the clutch is all the way in.
Heidi: Oh! The clutch! That would help.
[The reverse gear engages. Hysterical laughter ensues.]
[It is 4:15 p.m. Two receptionists in identical green shirts sit behind a desk in a pediatric office. A pregnant, tired mommy with a baby on her hip, a crippling back cramp, and a full bladder limps in. Perky Lady is nowhere to be found.]
Heidi: Hi, my son Gavin has an appointment with Summer. I just called to explain why we are late.
Receptionist 1: We'll be with you in a moment.
[Five minutes pass.]
Receptionist 1: Judy, can you help this lady? I'm charting.
Receptionist 2: Okay.
[Two minutes pass.]
Tyler: Mom, check out this fish tank! This fish has a giant chin!
Zachary: Do I have to hold this diaper bag?
Receptionist 2: And how would you like to pay for this?
[It is 4:35 p.m. Four grumpy people are smooshed into a small, un-baby-proofed exam room.]
Zachary: These are MY toys!
Tyler: I had them first!
Zachary: No fair!
Tyler: I had them FIRST!
Zachary: Mom, he hit me!
Tyler: He kicked me!
Heidi: You! Sit there! You! Sit there! No toys. Be quiet. You both owe me a job when we get home.
Tyler and Zachary: WAAAAAA!
Gavin: [Arms full of absorbent pads from the cupboard] Mommy?
[A small knock sounds at the door, and a stylish young woman peeks in.]
Summer, P.A.: Knock, knock! And what do we have here?
[It is 4:45 p.m. The dirty ol' car once again holds four grumpy passengers. A very, very tired mommy dials a cell phone.]
Garry: Yo, yo, Momma Jo.
Heidi: Gavin's left ear is infected.
Heidi: Yup. Different ear this time. Just finished antibiotics Friday and we start new ones today. When can I pick you up from work?
Garry: Five o'clock.
Heidi: We'll drop off this prescription at the pharmacy and swing back to get you.
Garry: See you soon.
[It is 5:15 p.m. A dirty ol' car and a van are parked nose to nose next to an elementary school curb. Dusk is falling.]
Garry: Yup. It's the battery.
Tyler: Will the van really jump?
Zachary: Is the black cable the "grounder?" I read in a book that the red is positive and the black is ground.
Heidi: I really have no idea. Watch your father.
[The van rumbles to life.]
Zachary: Can we eat out?
[It is 6:30 p.m. Three ornery boys are clustered around the island in the disastrous kitchen, Arby's meals spread before them. A baby chokes on a banana and five-year-old sneaks bites of chicken while the seven-year-old meanders, open-eyed, through a rambling, non-sensical "prayer."]
Heidi: Are you kidding me? Zachary, time out. Tyler, time out. Gavin! Breathe, baby!
[It is 9:28 p.m. The house is still. The kitchen is somewhat less disastrous. The hum of a furnace and a ticking clock are the only sounds to be heard. A wickedly tired mommy opens the freezer and pulls out the chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream. A congested, coughing wail breaks through the silence. The curtain falls.]