Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Week 27, Day 185 - "Turkey Fingers"

“Turkey Fingers”
Written by Joe Janes
185 of 365

Mrs. Gruber, 60s
Nate, 8
Principal Mylie, 40s
Cop, 30s

(Lights up on Mrs. Gruber, an old-fashioned elementary school teacher in her 60s. Nicely dressed. Very lady like and friendly. She addresses the audience.)

Children, children, guess what? Nappy time’s over, children. Guess what time it is? Time for arts and crafts. Come on over here and get some paper and crayons. You only need one sheet of paper. Go ahead and sit on the floor. There you go. Everybody share, when you share, you care.

(People from the audience are encouraged to get up and help themselves to paper and crayons and sit on the floor. Of course, there’s lots of room for ad-libbing and calling students by name. One student among the audience is Nate, who joins them.)

I’m still sleepy Mrs. Gruber.

Now, now, Nathaniel. That’s just the kool-aid talking. Be a good helper and pass out crayons and paper.


MRS. GRUBER (continuing)
Don’t start drawing, yet. Wait until I give you directions, okay? Now, does anyone know what holiday is coming up? Anybody? It’s a holiday where you get to eat lots of really good yummy food that your mother makes for your family. Sometimes your grandmother helps out, usually by making a pumpkin pie. The men folk watch football on television. That’s right, Thanksgiving…. Now, then, everyone take your hand and place it on the paper with your fingers spread out real wide. Just like this… (She demonstrates) and trace your hand with one of your crayons… Very good. Try to stay close to your fingers…That’s good. Very good. Look at all the little artists…. Hold up your paper and take a look. What does it look like? You know what it looks like to me? A turkey! A naked turkey. Now, we don’t want the turkey to catch a cold, so we better put feathers on him. Use your crayons to make feathers for your turkey. Do a good job. If you do a good job, I’ll put your turkey on the “Good Job” wall…(As the children draw, Mrs. Gruber walks among them making comments and sharing fun facts about Thanksgiving)…

- Turkeys are a very important part of our national heritage. Does anyone know why? Ben Franklin wanted to make the turkey our national bird instead of the eagle. Ben Franklin was stupid.
- Turkeys have feathers and wings but can’t fly. Do you k now why they can’t fly? Because they’re too fat. There’s a lesson there for some of you, isn’t there?
- Does anyone know what a turkey sounds like? Can you make the sound? Tom turkeys make that sound as a mating call. Does anyone know what that means, because you shouldn’t?
- At the first Thanksgiving, they didn’t have a lot of the things that we have at Thanksgiving. They didn’t have any bread, butter, milk, cheese or pumpkin pie. This is why the pilgrims grew to hate the Indians.
- Has anyone ever got the wishbone of the turkey on Thanksgiving? You did? What did you wish for? It’s actually a bone at the top of the turkey’s chest, so when you’re making a wish, it’s like you’re snapping its neck from the inside. Neat-o, hunh?
(Mrs. Gruber also picks up different drawings, criticizing them for being good or bad or wall worthy. Principal Mylie enters and stands in the back of the room.)

PRINCIPAL (calmly)
Mrs. Gruber.

Principal Mylie. How nice of you to come visit us. Children, say hello to Principal Mylie.

Hello, children. Mrs. Gruber, the police are outside.

Oh, did they wish to speak to the children about safety? Could they come back tomorrow? Right now, we’re making turkeys. Would you like to make a turkey, Principal Mylie?

No. Thank you. Mrs. Gruber, if I don’t come out in a few minutes. They’re going to come in and I can’t be responsible for what they might do to you.

Oh, my, that sounds serious.

You can’t just show up at the school and take children away in your station wagon.

You mean The Learning Mobile. Wasn’t riding in The Learning Mobile fun kids.

The fumes made me sleepy.

No, dear. That was the kool-aid.

Mrs. Gruber. Phyllis. The children need to get out of your basement and come back to school. Their parents are worried.

The kids are safe here. They just woke up from their sleepy time nap and now we’re learning about Thanksgiving.

Phyllis. You’re not a teacher anymore. You retired last year.

But, I didn’t retire.

Not willingly, no. You were retired. By the school board. Look, you really need to let the kids go or the police-

COP (Off, on a bullhorn)
Mrs. Gruber. This is the police. Let the children come out before we come in.

Children! Back to your seats! Quick! Quick!

(Mrs. Gruber turns out the lights as the kids scramble back to their seats. We hear sounds of a police SWAT team breaking down a door and storming the basement. They have lasers and flashlights on their rifles.)

My country tis of thee, Sweet Land of Liberty, Of thee I sing- Sing with me children! –

Taser her! Taser her!

MRS. GRUBER (while being tasered)
Land where my fathers died, Land of the pilgrims’ pride, From every mountainside, let freedom ring!!!

(We hear an electric shock. Blackout.)