CHORES

STACIE:
Mom, I just donít understand why you had to drag me out of bed to come to some old ladyís house that we donít even know.

CAROL:
I shouldnít have to drag you out of bed at all. You were still sleeping at 12:30. You knew that Mrs. Worthington invited us for lemonade this afternoon.

STACIE:
Oh great! Lemonade, what a party.

CAROL:
Well she was sweet enough to invite us, to make us feel welcome in the new neighborhood. If acting gracious and grateful is beneath your dignity, then perhaps youíd rather be home catching up on your chores. And who knows what you might learn. The previous generations always can teach us things.

STACIE:
Okay, I guess I can stand to sit through some boring conversation for an hour.

CAROL:
Well I hope you donít think this means you wonít still have chores to do.

STACIE:
Aw címon Mom. Why do I have to do all this stuff. I feel like a slave around here.
(Very snotty) "Stacie do the dishes, Stacie do the laundry, Stacie The table isnít set."

CAROL:
Oh you poor mistreated child. Do I have to remind you that Dad and I take our turn doing all those things too?

STACIE:
Yeah butÖ

CAROL:
On top of working 40 hours plus a week. Besides, if you donít learn to have some responsibility for yourself now, whatís going to happen when your older. When you get married and have to run a household you wonít have any idea how to do anything.

STACIE:
Oh come on. Iíve got all my life to learn how to do stuff. Now is when Iím supposed to be having fun.

CAROL:
But having fun to you means no responsibility. All you want to do is stay up all night watching TV, and then sleeping all day on the weekends, and then instead of helping with dinner or the dishes you want to be on the phone all evening talking to Melvin.

STACIE:
Thatís Marvin.

CAROL:
Whatever. Iíll bet if left to your own devices youíd still be at home when you were 45.

STACIE:
No wayÖ

CAROL:
I can just see it. There you are in a beat up robe, carrying that teddy bear and wearing those fuzzy slippers; yelling at me because you donít have any clean clothes to wear.

(knocks on door)
STACIE:
Oh gimme a break Mom.

CAROL:
Here she comes. Now be polite.
(Fusses with Stacieís hair)

STACIE:
Mom.

Mrs. Worthington: Oh come in, come in. Iím so glad you could make it Carol. And this must be your daughterÖ

CAROL:
Yes this is Stacie.

MRS. WORTHINGTON:
Iím very pleased to meet you Stacie.

STACIE:
Hi.

MRS. WORTHINGTON:
What a pretty thing. Your daddy must have to fight the boys off with a club.

STACIE:
(Looks at Carol obviously embarrassed)

CAROL:
Well we do try to keep an eye out.

MRS. WORTHINGTON:
Here, you two sit down and Iíll go fix the Lemonade and get the cookies.
(Both sit)

STACIE:
Fight the boys off with a club? Iíll never have time to go out with boys the way you two keep piling work on me. Then I can impress them all with how fast I can fold towels.

CAROL:
Maybe if you learn responsibility you can impress them with what kind of car you can afford when you get the promotions at work with the good work habits you developed when you were young.

STACIE:
You just always have to twist things around donít you?

CAROL:
I just donít want you to grow up thinking that your chores around the house are there as punishment.

STACIE:
(Sarcastically) Of course not. Theyíre there to make me a better person, and make sure Iím not still at home when Iím 45.

CAROL:
Do you think thereís something wrong with just doing it so you could help us? And watch your tone with me young lady.

MRS. WORTHINGTON:
(Makes some noise to announce her arrival, is carrying tray with glasses and cookies)
Sorry to take so long. Here we go now.

CAROL:
Iím sorry Mrs. Worthington. We shouldnít be bringing our domestic disagreements into your house after you are so kind to invite usÖ

MRS. WORTHINGTON:
Oh piffle! Donít you worry about a thing. I should apologize for eavesdropping like that.

CAROL:
Oh no you shouldnítÖ

MRS. WORTHINGTON:
Kind of brought back memories. We had a devil of a time with our Henry. That boy never wanted to do anything for himself. Why clothes could pile up so he couldnít close his bedroom door, and heíd crawl over the pile.

STACIE:
See Mom, count your blessings.

CAROL:
(Shushes her)

MRS. WORTHINGTON:
(Chuckles) That boy would rather starve than walk into the kitchen and fix himself a sandwich. Never wanted to study. Just watch that old television, all night and want to sleep all day. Of course I guess I was a little soft on him. Thatís what Mr. Worthington used to tell me. (Looks up briefly) Lord rest his soul.

STACIE:
You were right Mom we can learn a lot. So your Son never had any chores?

MRS. WORTHINGTON:
Well, no not on a regular basis.

STACIE:
And he turned out okay, right?

MRS. WORTHINGTON:
Well, you might sayÖ

HENRY:
(From offstage) Mom!

MRS. WORTHINGTON:
Yes dear? (To herself) Heís up early.

HENRY:
Mom!

MRS. WORTHINGTON:
Iím in the living room.

HENRY:
(Enters, wearing old robe, Tiger slippers. Carrying teddy bear in one hand and video game joystick in the other)
Hey mom where are all myÖ

MRS. WORTHINGTON:
Now you get over here and greet our guests like a gentleman. Just because your 45 years old doesnít mean I wonít take my spoon to ya. (To guests) He knows I wonít.
(Henry shuffles over) These are our new neighbors across the street. Carol Perkins and her daughter Stacie. This is my Henry.

CAROL:
Hello Henry. Nice to meet you.

STACIE:
Hi.

HENRY:
Hi nice to meet you. Hey Mom, whereís my clean clothes?

MRS. WORTHINGTON:
Oh heavens I forgot to take them out of the dryer. (To guests) Please excuse me for a moment.
(Exits with Henry)

HENRY:
(From offstage) Hey mom, Iíve really got some indigestion, I think you didnít cut my steak small enough.

STACIE:
Mom, can we go soon. Iíve got a lot of chores to catch up with.
While exiting: I've got dishes to put away, I've got to clean my room, I need to fold the towels, change the catbox, etc.

Copyright © 1999, Robert J. Lee

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