Thank you for breastfeeding - Part 6
One of my current writing projects is a semi-autobiographical play about my pregnancy experience. In this excerpt, the expectant mother nods off and finds herself getting a dose of reality from her grizzly grandmother...who has long passed.
Thank you for breastfeeding - Act 2 Excerpt.
Read additional scenes.
Eliza - Expectant mother in her mid-thirties
Shirley (Mermaid) - Eliza's grandmother
It is late afternoon. Eliza is about 38 weeks pregnant and is sitting at the kitchen table drinking tea and looking at a book of baby names. A bright blue kiddy pool is in the middle of the floor. During the dream sequence black lights should be used to highlight effervescent seahorses and fishes circling the pool.
Eliza: [Talking to herself] Madison...Ms. Madison Court...Maddy. “How are you doing Madison?”...nah, too stuffy.
[Eliza flips forward a few pages and takes a sip of tea]
Eliza: Sophia...derived from the Greek word for wisdom. That’s not too bad. Little Sophie. [Pause as she continues reading] I can’t believe it was the third most popular name last year. I don’t know any Sophias. It can’t be that popular.
[Eliza closes the book and lays her head down next to it]
Eliza: [Talking to herself or baby] This is exhausting. I hate all of those people that say the right name will come to you--just be patient. We only have two weeks to go and we’ve got nothing. [pause] What do you want to be called baby girl?
[Eliza closes her eyes and a dream sequence begins. The lights go down over the kitchen table and a black light focuses on the kiddy pool. Seahorses and fish appear, swimming up and down around the pool in a circle. Wavy lights may be used in the background to give the impression that the kitchen is underwater. Eliza wakes]
Eliza: Maybe I’ll feel more refreshed if I take a bath.
[Mermaid enters kitchen from side door. Her costume is gaudy, she is wearing too much makeup and has a half-lit cigarette dangling from her lips]
Mermaid: Well, come on then. Get a move on. I don’t got all day and the water’s getting cold.
[Eliza turns toward the Mermaid, noticing her for the first time]
Eliza: Grandma Shirley?
Mermaid: That’s my name toots, don’t wear it out. Now are you gettin’ in or aren’t you?
[Mermaid flicks her cigarette into the sink, pulls a flask from her bodice and takes a swig. Eliza gets up and approaches the kiddy pool. Mermaid hands her a brightly colored swimming cap to put on ]
Eliza: Thanks. This is nice. Are you getting in too?
Mermaid: Hell no! And ruin this beautiful outfit? It cost me eight dollars down at Larry’s costume shop for this get-up. I’m not about to piss away good money so you can have a bonding moment.
[Eliza puts on her bathing cap, gingerly steps into the kiddy pool and crouches down]
Eliza: This isn’t very comfortable.
Mermaid: Who said it was going to be comfortable? You bought a plastic kiddy pool for 19.99 at Costco, not one of those jacuzzi tubs at the Ritz.
Eliza: I thought a bath would be relaxing...good for the baby. You know...bubbles...lavender essence.
Mermaid: Good god, you sound just like a little princess? Should we roll out a red carpet for you too?
Eliza: [Pouting like a little kid] If you’re a mermaid, why can’t I be a princess?
Mermaid: Fine, you can be a princess, but that don’t mean I’m giving you any bubbles.
Eliza: Alright. I’ll just pretend there are bubbles. [Eliza pretends to play with bubbles and then reaches out to touch the seahorses and fishies] You know you really shouldn’t drink...or smoke. It’s bad for the baby.
Mermaid: [Takes another swig] Yeah, well the dead never hurt nobody now did they?
Eliza: I guess not. Can I have a sip?
Mermaid: Now we’re talking!
[Mermaid hands Eliza the bottle. She takes a sip and starts coughing. Mermaid stands by and laughs]
Mermaid: See, now that’s the good stuff. Put some hair on that chest of yours.
Eliza: I don’t want hair on my chest.
Mermaid: You’re gonna need it. Having a baby isn’t a walk in the park you know.
Eliza: You did it, like, four times.
Mermaid: And each time I cracked open a fresh bottle of whiskey…
”And when I'm dead and in my grave
No costly tombstone will I have
Just lay me down in my native peat
With a jug of punch at my head and feet”
Eliza: Mom turned out fine.
Mermaid: Of course she did. A little Irish punch never hurt nobody.
Eliza: Will my baby turn out ok?
Mermaid: I reckon so. She’s half Paul right?
Mermaid: Yes, that tall drink of water you call your husband. If only I were a few years younger...mmm--mmm. Does he like mermaids?
Eliza: I don’t know. We’ve never talked about it.
Mermaid: Do me a favor and ask him.
Eliza: Ask him?
Mermaid: Do I have to explain everything? Yes, ask him if he likes mermaids or maybe one of those naughty little nurse uniforms. I bet Larry has a nurse uniform I could rent.
Eliza: Oh, he would definitely prefer the nurse. They’re less slippery. Don’t princesses get to pick though?
Mermaid: Not if they want the prince to take them seriously.
Eliza: Maybe I should ask him. I’ve never thought to ask him.
Mermaid: Well it’s about time sweetheart. If the man prefers the nurse, by golly give him the nurse. This ain’t all about you.
Eliza: Can I have another sip?
[Mermaid hands Eliza the bottle and she takes a swig. She coughs less this time around.]
Mermaid: Are we done here? I got to run. Dottie is having a party.
Eliza: Aunt Dottie?
Mermaid: Yes, and I need to bring the cheesy puffs.
Eliza: Tell her I say ‘hi’. I miss her pistachio-marshmallow salad.
Mermaid: Here, give me back my whiskey.
[Eliza hands the bottle back to Mermaid. Mermaid turns to leave]
Eliza: Does this mean I should name the baby Shirley?
Mermaid: [Mermaid pauses and turns around] Good god no! I always hated that name. [Mermaid turns back around] Too-da-loo.
[Mermaid blows Eliza a kiss and slips out the side door. The black lights dim, the seahorses and fish disappear and the normal lights come up. Eliza wakes up in the kiddy pool. She is no longer wearing the swimming cap. She looks around and starts humming the tune to the Celtic song “Jug of Punch”]