A Play by Lendell V.

CHARACTERS:

SASSIE the CHIMPANZEE, age 32  FANCIE the CHIMPANZEE, age 13, Sassie’s Daughter

TIME:
7:30 in the morning on Saturday, the 2nd of May

PLACE:

A warm forest that is always moist with beads of water dripping from the trees, which smells like the natural, fresh sensation of wildlife.  The sounds of birds singing, standing tall on the tree branches.  When night falls you can just taste the mist floating through the pitch black atmosphere of the jungle, once the sun goes to sleep.

AT RISE:
SASSIE wakes up out of her sleep from depression with a lot of questions in order.  She sits up and starts to have a conversation with the Lord himself

                    


 


SASSIE
Father God, all I ask for is a break.  I mean, I go through so much as a single parent, I have to do everything and more to provide for my two children, and it seems like it doesn’t get any better from here.  You know I go out at the break of dawn to search and gather breakfast for the three of us, that’s not an easy task for a woman.  I don’t like leaving the children alone by themselves.  But I have no choice.  I can’t bring them along, it’s too dangerous out there for my baby boy.  After all, he can’t walk, he has to be carried and that would slow up the pace.  I have to make my way up the largest of trees to gather fruits and things plus I have to go through all kinds of mammals’ habitats.  I mean, there’s lions, tigers, panthers, jaguars and all kinds of vicious things out there.  My daughter Fancie is getting older and she is beginning to become very curious about what’s out there.  She’s 13 but she’s not able to enjoy some of the advantages of being a teenager because of the chores I have to burden her with.  She has a big role of responsibility with taking care of her younger brother and all.  I mean she has to understand, Lord Jesus, that I need her help.  It’s just hard to tame a 13-year-old and care for a baby that can’t even feed himself.  I don’t like putting a lot of pressure on her, but sometimes I have to because she starts to rebel at times when she feels she doesn’t want to do something.  I just think her curiosity is getting the best of her and t that’s what I’m afraid of, Lord.  I kind of blame myself.  I mean, me putting so much responsibility on her and expecting so much from her can sort of force her to grow up faster than she has to.  Also, I have to leave her with the baby, a 13-year-old taking care of a child, that’s a little too much – bathing him, feeding him, changing his leaf-wrapped diapers, and just giving him the attention he needs as a child.  I wish I could to be there to nurture him the way I supposed to, I mean, I’m the mother!  I just wish I had a little help taking care of both of them.  That would give Fancie some more time with her friends.  I also would have more time to spend with my baby.  I wouldn’t have to do all the searching for and gathering of food, or move to a new location every night because someone would always be there for the kids.  If I had a significant other, I wouldn’t be as tired as I am, and as lonely as I am.  Lord, I need help.  I know you can’t answer me verbally but I hope you can show me what to do and which way to go.  Father God, I’m calling and reaching out to you.  Please guide me.  Please show me a path.  I need a break.  (to FANCIE)  Sigh…Fancie, wake up, hon.  Fancie, I need you to watch your brother while I go out to gather breakfast

FANCIE
(Moans)  Aww Mom!  Not again.

SASSIE
Yes, Fancie.  Let’s not go through this this morning, the quicker  I get out there, the quicker I get back.

FANCIE
But I watch his behind every day.  What can’t you find a babysitter or something?  I have a life, you know.

SASSIE
Girl!  You know I don’t trust other folks enough to leave you and your brother alone with them…I need your help, sweetheart.  Do it for Mommy.

FANCIE
Man.  You always need my help, what about what I need.

SASSIE
First of all, you don’t know what you need yet.  You just turned 13, all you need is for me to take care of you.  You haven’t even begun to live life yet, you have a ways to go, and I still have a lot of guidance to give.  See you later!  Love ya!

FANCIE
(She smacks her lips toward her younger brother)  I’m always stuck with you.  I wish you were old enough to walk, then maybe I could bring you with me.  I mean, this is a little much, a child taking care of a child.  I don’t understand.  Why am I stuck doing my mother’s job, I’m just a kid playing a mother position.  My baby brother is the biggest burden on me.  I can’t deal with him the way Mama can.  It’s more than enough work, I fell like I’m going insane.  How can I live my own life when he basically controls my every movement.  I mean, how can I enjoy myself if all my focus has to go towards him.  Entertaining him just to make sure he’s not feeling neglected.  When he cries, sometimes it makes me cry because he can’t tell me what he wants or needs.  I can’t figure it out, I barely know what I want and need.  I mean, I’m just a kid, I don’t want to be smothered with responsibility all the time.  What about my space and time I need for myself.  Mama gets all mad when I ask questions and bring up the issue of me wanting to go out and participate in the activities my friends are included in.  She always says she needs my help.  What if I don’t want to help, what if I want to be the one who brings home  the gatherings.  I mean, she goes out all the time, I don’t think it’s just to find food, I think she’s looking for her a boyfriend.   What if she is?  The though of my little brother being dumped on me for her own personal needs just eats me up day after day.  I mean it’s her child, she had him, why do I have to watch him, how does she know I don’t want to experience what it might be like to have a boyfriend?  I really think she’s being selfish, maybe she wants to keep me from seeing what’s out there.  I can’t blame it on my brother.  I mean, he’s young, he doesn’t know anything, but Mama’s really overwhelming me and weighing me down.  Little does she know she’s pushing me to be more resentful.  I mean, by her keeping me away, it draws me closer to it all.  Sooner or later I’m going to run away, I can’t handle all of this.  Mama always peaches to me about her needing a break.  Well so do I, I think my time is way overdue.  Sometimes I just feel worthless.  Do I have a purpose besides babysitting?  I can’t run out on my younger brother because I know if it doesn’t hit me when I leave I’ll regret it in the long run.  My life is just so miserable, pitiful.  Sometimes I feel unappreciated.  I feel I deserve a break.  I’m exhausted.  I need to put the baby to sleep before I take a nap and dream about the world I’ll never know.  When Mom comes in, I’ll express what I feel the best way possible.

SASSIE

It’s pretty nice out today.  I wonder if I can actually attract a conversation with a gentle chimp while gathering breakfast.  There should be a nice crowd out this afternoon.  I can already feel the sun’s rays as it rises.  Maybe I should hurry, get back to feed the kids, freshen up, and I just might make it back out by noon.  I might as well gather enough for lunch now so I’ll have more time to search for my man in the mid-day rush.  Plus I need time to find a decent tree to lay our heads tonight.

FANCIE
(The banana phone rings, FANCIE answers)  Wassup girl…(pause)…ain’t nothin’…just cleaning up and getting ready for the family picnic at the water park…(pause)…no, it’s more like a family reunion, mostly family…(pause)…O, that’s my brother crying, I have to get at you later, I have to go see what he wants…(pause)…OK girl, have fun…(pause)…
alright, later.

SASSIE

Fancie!  I’m back, is your brother ready for breakfast?  Come eat…and feed your brother.  I have to freshen up.

FANCIE
Freshen up for what?  Where are you going?

SASSIE

O, nowhere.  You know I have to go out to find some place to stay later on.  I brung lunch in with breakfast, all you have to do is heat it up when you’re ready.

FANCIE
Mama…I think we need to talk, all this babysitting is becoming a burden.  My girlfriend called again today and I had to come up with another excuse of why I couldn’t hang out today.  Why can’t I do anything, why can’t I have any free time or time to myself?

SASSIE

Fancie, I understand you want to hang out, but I need your help.  If you don’t watch your brother, who will?  I can’t watch him because I have to provide for the 3 of us.  I mean, maybe if we had another parent figure in the house that could gather food for us then I could watch him, and you could go out all you want.  But for now, I need you.

FANCIE
OK, so why don’t you get yourself a boyfriend so you 2 can work that out.  And I can reclaim my life and possibly see what it means to enjoy myself.

SASSIE

Oh, you think it’s that easy to find someone.  I think you need to check yourself, child!  If I don’t go out and gather food everyday, you don’t eat.  If I don’t go out everyday to find a nice, decent tree to lay you and your brother at night, you don’t have a leaf over your head.  What do you actually think is out there!?  Once down the trunk of this tree, you are exposed to danger!

FANCIE
Well I’m starting to like the sound of danger at this point, my life is so boring danger sounds exciting, like an adventure.  It’s a lot out there, as far as I’m concerned, but if it isn’t anything out there for me I’ll never know if you don’t let me experience it!

SASSIE

(Sighs)  Fancie, you know what, I’m not going to keep arguing with you.  Bottom line is that you’re a child and I’m an adult.  I had you, you didn’t have me, and what I say goes until you’re old enough to be on your own.  I have to go, I’ll see you later.  Go check on your brother.

FANCIE
How do you know I’m not old enough to take care of myself?  What if I say I’m not going to stay and watch him!?

SASSIE

Bye.  Fancie, go get your brother, he’s crying.

FANCIE
I just feel so cheated, she really, really makes me feel unappreciated.  I mean everything I’ve been doing around here…how do I know she’s really looking for a place to stay?  She left out of here looking like she wants to draw some attention.  She just makes my life so miserable.  Can’t blame it on the rugrat, he doesn’t know what’s going on.  I know one thing, I’m not going to tolerate this anymore.  (picks up banana phone)  Mama!  I won’t be here when you get back.

SASSIE

What?  What do you mean…what are you talking about, Fancie?

FANCIE
I’m running away, Mom.  I’m tired of being mistreated.  I want to live my own life.  I’m tired of being smothered with responsibility.

SASSIE

What about your brother, what you gonna do, just leave him there himself? Come on, Fancie, don’t do anything out-of-pocket.  You’re smarter than that.

FANCIE
NO, you’re outta pocket using me as your babysitter to find yourself a mate.  How selfish is that?  Don’t you feel there is a little something wrong with what your doing?  You might wanna come get your child.  I’ll wait.

SASSIE

Alright, alright…I’ll be there, just don’t leave your brother alone, we can work this out , Fancie.  Let’s see if we can come to some sort of arrangement, I’ll be right there.  (she rushes up to the tree)  What has gotten into you, child?

FANCIE
Don’t give me that, you know what’s going on.  We need to talk.

SASSIE

OK, let’s talk.

FANCIE
I don’t think it’s right that you put all of these responsibilities on me.  It’s weighing me down, Mom.  I mean, I never get a break, I would like to go out and enjoy the sun, too.

SASSIE

You know what, Fancie?  You’re right, I have been being selfish.  I never stopped to think about your needs as a teenager.  I just kind of felt since you were a kid and I was the parent, you didn’t need to know what was going on, I felt that whatever I say goes.  I’m sorry, it’s just a lot of stress being a single parent, I just wanted to find somebody who could be there for the 3 of us.  I guess I kind of got out-of-hand, my emotions took control.  What do you think we can do?

FANCIE
It’s OK Mom, I can totally understand where your coming from.  It’s just that I a teenager now, I’m not an adult.  Taking care of a baby is a full-time adult job, I can only do so much.  I just would like some time to myself and with my friends.  Is that so much to ask?

SASSIE

No, not at all, it’s perfectly reasonable.  How about I come home a little early everyday to give you time before dark to go out?  Plus 2 days out of the week can belong to you, all you, whatever you decide to do.

FANCIE
Can I pick the 2 days?

SASSIE

Sure, go for it.

FANCIE
How about Friday and Sunday?

SASSIE

That works for me.  I wouldn’t mind a break on Sunday for my baby boy.  But what’s happening on Sunday?  Why would you pick Sunday and not Saturday?

FANCIE
Don’t know, I’ll have to go figure it out, but I’ll let you know.  Thanks, Mom.

SASSIE

No problem.  We both need a break, it was long overdue.  Be back before dark.  I love you, Fancie.

FANCIE
I love you, Mama.  I won’t be out late.  Oh yeah, go get your son, he’s crying!  (laughs)  I’m just playing.

SASSIE

(Giggles)  You crazy girl.  Get out of here.

END OF PLAY

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