Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Week Three, Day Sixteen - "Tit for Tat"

“Tit for Tat”
Written by Joe Janes
2/3/09
16 of 365

CAST:
Dana, 18
Nancy, 40s
Jackie, 40s
Phillip, 40s


(Lights up on a living room. Dana is seated in a chair with an overnight bag at her feet. Nancy stands next to her. Jackie sits off to the side, drinking a can of beer. A car horn is heard outside. Nancy puts her hand on Dana’s shoulder.)


DANA
Mom.

NANCY
If he wants to see you, he’ll get out of his car.

(Dana’s cell phone rings. She picks up.)

DANA
Hi, Dad…I’m ready, but you have to come to the door… Because mom says so.

(We hear a car door open and slam shut. A moment later, there is a knock at the door.)

NANCY
Who is it?

PHILLIP (off)
You know who in hades it is, Nancy. Stop playing games.

(Nancy opens the door.)

NANCY
Why, Phillip, how nice of you to stop by.

PHILLIP (entering)
What’s the big idea? What’s going on, Dana?

DANA
Ask mom. She’s the one having a fit.

NANCY
I wanted to make sure that before you took your daughter away for the weekend that you know for a fact that I had nothing to do with this.

(She holds up Dana’s arm and shows that Dana has a tattoo on her forearm.)

PHILLIP
A tattoo! Oh, Dana. Oh, dear. Oh, my. Why did you get a tattoo of all things?

DANA
It was my eighteenth birthday. I wanted to mark the occasion.

NANCY
Honey, that’s why people buy birthday cards and stuff. That marks an occasion. This marks your arm. For life.

PHILLIP
Your mother’s right. This isn’t some blouse you can return to Sears. What is that?

NANCY
And that’s the other thing.

PHILLIP
It looks like a… saddle on a dinosaur? Oh.

NANCY
So, you recognize it. I had to pry the story out of her.

PHILLIP
Couldn’t you have just gotten a crucifix or something more traditional?

JACKIE
Yeah. So what the hell is a Creation Museum, any way, Phillip? What are you doing dragging our little Dana to places like that? A Creation Museum. Sounds like they should have lots of pictures of people doing it. Not statues of dinosaurs wearing saddles.

NANCY
It’s some freaky Christian thing. They believe the world is only a few thousand years old and that dinosaurs used to roam around in the Garden of Eden.

DANA
They even had a really cool display of them on Noah’s Ark.

JACKIE
Idiots. Noah’s Ark would have made a good explanation for dinosaurs disappearing. Them and unicorns. These Christians, just not thinking right.

NANCY
You’ve been filling up my daughter’s head with all that religious right Sarah Palin Christian stuff and look what she does to her beautiful arm.

PHILLIP
Dana, honey. A tattoo, no matter how you feel about it right now, is something you’re probably going to regret later. Although, that is really good. How much did that cost?

NANCY
Phillip!

PHILLIP
It’s good!

DANA
It was free. Aunt Jackie did it.

JACKIE
Guilty! Aunt Jackie picked up a few handy skills at the state prison.

PHILLIP
You’re not her aunt, you lesbo!

JACKIE (getting up)
You want to step outside, fag bag?

NANCY
You two knock it off. Don’t even talk to each other. What are you going to do about your daughter?

PHILLIP
What are you going to do about your tattoo wielding live-in lover? Why is she giving my daughter tattoos?

NANCY
Why are you filling my daughter’s head with crap?

(Nancy and Phillip start yelling at each other.)

DANA
Hey! Time out! I said, time out! (She separates Phillip and Nancy.) You go over there and you go over there! Now, one thing you both seem to be forgetting, mother and father, is that your daughter turned eighteen last week. I can get a tattoo if I want to. I can believe in any religion I want to. And I don’t care if my Aunt Jackie isn’t really my aunt, I think she’s cool and if she puts her mind to it and goes back to school, she can get a degree and become a real tattoo artist.

JACKIE
Thanks, honey.

DANA
And I also think a dinosaur with a saddle tattooed to my arm is also really frickin’ cool looking regardless of where I got the idea from. So, get over it.

PHILLIP
You're right, Dana. Of course, you can do what you want.

NANCY
I’m sorry, baby. I know you’re all legal, now. I’m going to have to get used to that. You’re still my little baby. I just can’t help caring so much.

DANA
I know, mom.

NANCY
You should show her.

PHILLIP
Oh, no, I don’t think that’s a good idea.

DANA
Show me what?

PHILLIP
Well, Dana, when I was your age, I did a foolish thing. I got a tattoo. One that I really, really regret.

DANA
I want to see it.

JACKIE
Me, too.

PHILLIP
Oh, sheesh. Okay.

(He untucks his shirt in the back and shows them the upper part of his lower back. They all three look at it, Dana and Jackie quizzically.)

DANA
What is that?

JACKIE
It looks like Satan vacuuming.

PHILLIP
That’s exactly what it is.

JACKIE
I think he needs a better vacuum. He’s missing a lot of butt hair.

NANCY
Probably clogged up the nozzle.

PHILLIP (tucking in his shirt)
Ha, ha. It was my rebellious way of saying “Satan Sucks!” Cost me $150 and hurt like hell. Wish I never did it. Looked in to getting it removed, but that costs 10-times more. So, you see, your mom and I, we just don’t want you to make the same mistakes we did. Like getting a regretful tattoo.

NANCY
Or marrying an ultra-Christian man when you really want to be with a not-so-Christian woman.

DANA
Thanks, Mom. Thanks, Dad.

(They all three hug.)

JACKIE
Well, ain’t this fucking special, I’m going to go switch from beer to wine.

(She exits.)

PHILLIP
Why did she go into the bathroom for wine?

NANCY
Something else she learned in prison.

DANA
She makes it in the toilet.

(Blackout.)



MOUSTACHE-A-THON CONTINUES


Shout out to Greg Wendling for sponsoring my moustache Zed in the 826 fundraiser. You can, too! Click HERE!

5 comments:

idjar said...

Very nice. Felt like a Tarantino christian rock video.

Cassandra said...

I kinda want a tattoo of a dinosaur with a saddle now. That must mean you did a good and persuasive job on a subconscious level.

GarinT said...

I wanted Jackie to play a role in resolution of the conflict. Because the relationship of the family was genuine and she seemed larger than life and stuck out.

The whole scenario regarding the topic of the tattoo was a tasty little bit of satire there.

Joe Janes said...

Good feedback, Garin!

GW said...

I like how real this scene feels. Especially the good stuff at the beginning about making Phillip get out of the car.

Related to Garin's feedback, I don't get a sense of any conflict between Nancy and Jackie, which surprises me since N's sole purpose in making P come in is so she can tell him she had nothing to do with the tattoo. I would think the fact that she's quick to denounce the tattoo would indicate some conflict between N & J, unless there's some subtle dynamic I'm missing.