copyright © 2004 Dwayne Yancey


By Dwayne Yancey

Copyright 2004; all rights reserved.

(The scene: An American home, early 1961. The father is in a chair, reading the newspaper. The mother is talking on the phone. The daughter is at a table, doing her homework.)

MOTHER (on the phone): – so I was thinking I might get myself one of those hats like the new First Lady has. What do you call those hats that Mrs. Kennedy wears? . . . Pill-boxes, that’s right. Pill-boxes. So what do you think? Margaret thought it wouldn’t look good on me, but what do you think, Betty?

FATHER: Damn Ruskies! Look at this! Everytime you turn around the Reds are shooting something else into space. How do those godless communists do it? That’s what I’d like to know.

DAUGHTER: Mom, can you help me with my homework?

MOTHER: Hang on, Betty. (Covers the phone). What do you want?

DAUGHTER: I said can you help me with my homework? This is hard.

MOTHER: I’m sorry, dear. I don’t understand that math they’re doing nowadays. Ask your father.

(Daughter sighs; mother resumes phone call.)

I’m sorry, Betty. Now what were you saying? See, I saw this just darling little hat down at the Woolworth’s –

(Son runs in.)

SON: Mom! I need some baking soda!

MOTHER: Hang on, Betty. (Covers the phone.) What do you want?

SON: Baking soda! I need a big box of baking soda.

MOTHER: Look in the cabinet.

SON: And some vinegar.

MOTHER: Look in the cabinet. All right, Betty, I’m back. Now, as I was saying –

(Son goes to get the baking soda and vinegar.)

DAUGHTER: Why do you need baking soda and vinegar?

SON: Science experiment.

DAUGHTER: What kind of – wait a minute, you don’t have science.

(Son exits, with baking soda and vinegar.)

MOTHER: – so did I tell you about what I heard about Alice? Well, I won’t say I was eavesdropping, but we do have a party line, and you know sometimes it’s hard to tell when the phone is ringing for us and when it’s ringing for the Hendersons –

DAUGHTER: Dad – do you know anything about algebra?

FATHER: Huh? What? Oh, that. Big mess for DeGaulle. Big mess.


FATHER: Algeria. Big mess for France. Colonialism; always trouble.

DAUGHTER: Not Algeria – algebra!

(Son enters.)

SON: Dad, I need a pipe.

FATHER: Hmm? What? Here you go.

(Hands the son a smoking pipe.)

SON: Not that kind of pipe. Like a metal pipe.

FATHER: Oh. Go look in the garage.


(Son exits.)

FATHER: I’ll tell you how they do it. It’s because they can just order people to do something and it gets done. That’s how they do it.

DAUGHTER: That’s how who does what?

FATHER: The Russians. They start indoctrinating their kids to take orders as soon as they’re old enough to walk practically.

DAUGHTER: What’s that got to do with my algebra homework?

FATHER: Then they start teaching kids math and science when they’re in kindergarten. Kindergarten! No wonder they’re launching all these rockets. Kennedy’s got his hands full, I tell you. Not to mention that whole Castro business.

DAUGHTER: Will somebody just help me with my homework?

MOTHER: Honey – the Wilsons want to know if we’d like to come over for bridge on Sunday night.

FATHER: What? Bridge? Oh, sure, that’s fine.

MOTHER (back on the phone): We’d love to come over.

(Son enters.)

SON: Dad, I need some matches. And do we have any rope or blasting caps or wire or –

FATHER: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait a minute. Come here, son. What do you need rope for?

SON: For my fuse.

FATHER: Your fuse? Your fuse for what?

SON: I’m building a rocket!

FATHER: That’s nice. When I was your age I used to build model airplanes.

SON: No, I’m building a real rocket!

FATHER: That’s nice.

DAUGHTER: Why are you building a rocket?

SON: Because the president said to ask not what your country can do for you, but to ask what you can do for your country. And it looks like we need someone to build some rockets ‘cause all ours are blowing up.

MOTHER: – oh no, that’s no bother at all – honey, the Wilson’s TV set has gone on the blink. They think a tube has gone bad or something. Would it be all right if they came over tonight to watch Jackie Gleason?

FATHER: Sure. Jackie Gleason is pretty funny.

MOTHER: Of course, Betty, we’d love to have you come over.

(Daughter looks out the window.)

DAUGHTER: Keith, what is that thing you’ve built out in the yard?

SON: So can I have some matches?

------- THE END ---------


Dwayne Yancey

1791 Mount Pleasant Church Road

Fincastle, VA 24090

Days: 540 981 3113

Nights: 540 473 3313


Website:, search under "playwrights."


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