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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/1174522
Rated: ASR · Script/Play · Arts · #1174522
The second part of Michelangelo, Lewd and un-American.
There is moments darkness, during which we hear a vacuum. The lights on the right side of the stage come up to reveal a bedroom. There is a single bed, bedside table, closet and a desk. Muriel is vacuuming, and she dances as she does it. After a few moments she packs up the vacuum and leaves stage right. Shortly after that Linda enters stage right wearing a fourth shirt. She sits down at the desk and stares out a window. Muriel enters stage right carrying a basket of laundry.
Muriel:
What you doing? (She begins to put the laundry away in the closet.)
Linda:
Would you buy that I was watching the seasons change? I can’t believe it’s already winter.
Muriel:
I know. How are you holding up?
Linda:
Fine. The semester is almost over. I’ll be back after the winter break. Things will get back to normal. (Linda gets up and walks over to a book case to put a book away)
Muriel:
So you are still planning to go ahead with the press conference?
Linda:
There’s nothing that I can do about it.
Muriel:
Linda. All that you need to do is….
Linda:
Mom. There is nothing that I can do about it. Let it go. Please, just let it go.
Muriel:
I just hate the idea of you giving up, that’s all. To think that those people will get what they want, it just makes my blood boil.
Linda:
I don’t like it either. Sometimes in life you just have to do something that is unpleasant to get what you want.
Muriel:
And what do you want?

Linda:
For all of this to go away.
Muriel:
And then what?
Linda:
And then what? I guess I’ll go back to teaching art. What else is there?
Muriel:
What else is there? What else is there? Linda, there’s everything. You can do what ever you want. Come on, think about it. No husband, no kids, no mortgage.
Linda:
Thanks for pointing all of that out. I was starting to feel a little better. But now, now my life sounds great.
Muriel:
Oh stop it. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. For two months I’ve watched you up here feeling sorry for yourself. Well stop it. You have nothing yes. All that means is that you have nothing holding you back. You can go and do anything that you want. Look at that as a negative if you want, but I can’t help but see it as a gift. One that should be treasured not shunned.
Linda:
So I should what? Quit teaching.
Muriel:
Only if that’s what you want.
Linda:
Oh, that makes tons of sense. I’ve just spent all of this time fighting for this job and now that I’m close to getting it, you want me to what quit.
Muriel:
I don’t want you to do anything other than what it takes to make you happy. That’s what I want for you, that’s what I want for all of my girls.
Linda:
You didn’t raise us to be quitters.
Muriel:
I didn’t raise you to be unhappy either.
Linda:
You would never have quit teaching. You’d have fought them tooth and nail. They’d of had to drag your dead body from that class room.
Muriel:
That’s because I loved teaching.
Linda:
Oh, so now I don’t love to teach. I guess I don’t love art enough either. I’m not good enough. I don’t stack up to Muriel Davis, teaching god.
Muriel:
I didn’t say that you didn’t love teaching. It is interesting however, that you brought it up.

Linda:
Don’t play games with me mom. Not now.
Muriel:
I’m not playing games with you. I’m asking you to ask yourself some tough questions.
Linda:
And what if I don’t like the answers that I get?
Muriel:
Then you’ll just have to deal with them.
Linda:
I can’t just leave teaching. It’s all that I know. It’s what Davis women do.

Muriel:
You sound like Margery. It’s what Davis women do. I never thought that you’d buy into that. Did you know that I was the first woman in my family to go to college? The very first. And when I got there I found that I had two real options if I wanted to come back and live here. I could be a teacher or I could be a nurse. And I don’t change bed pans.
Linda:
That’s it?
Muriel:
That’s it.
Linda:
Your whole life is based on you not liking bedpans?
Muriel:
Simply put, yes. That was then, you said so yourself it was a different time. I didn’t have any idea that I would enjoy teaching so much. To be honest I really didn’t like kids back then. Now I know differently. Teaching sustained me for forty years. I was one of the lucky ones who found what I loved. Who found what I was meant to do. Today is different. You girls have a thousand choices. Now don’t get me wrong, women should have choices. It just makes life a little more complicated. Maybe it takes a little longer to find out what you want, what is in you.
Linda:
And how am I supposed to do that?
Muriel:
Honey there is no magic formula. You just have to look inside of you and try and find out what is inside.
Linda:
And what if nothing’s there?
Muriel:
That sounds like a cop out to me. Just try and figure out what gives you joy, then you go from there.
Linda:
(Pause) I love art.
Muriel:
Good. Go on.


Linda:
I remember when I was in college, how I loved going to my art history classes. I mean I wouldn’t miss one, even if I was sick I’d be there. I still get chills when I’m in certain museums looking at certain pieces.
Muriel:
That’s all in the past. What do you want for the future?
Linda:
I don’t know. Who knows that?
Muriel:
Stop copping out. What have you always wanted to do?
Linda:
I don’t know, stuff.
Muriel:
What kind of stuff? Be specific. What have you always wanted to do?
Linda:
I’ve always wanted to go to Florence.
Muriel:
Why? What do you want to see in Florence?
Linda:
Art.
Muriel:
What art?
Linda:
What art? All of it.
Muriel:
Good. Now tell me a specific piece. Something that would give you chills.
Linda:
Give me chills? Give me chills?
Muriel:
A name. A specific piece. I want you to think of a specific. Give me a name.
Linda:
David. I want to go to Florence to see Michelangelo’s David.
Muriel:
Why David?
Linda:
Because he is a representation of the perfect male form. Michelangelo portrays King David at the moment he decides to go and fight Goliath. The small, mortal, human flesh versus a giant monster. There is no way that he can win, but he goes to battle anyway. His perseverance in the face of insurmountable odds is what allows him to triumph.
Muriel:
But David is naked right. I doubt that king David would stand around naked all day; don’t you think that this is a little gratuitous?
Linda:
No, not at all. We see David, before he is a mighty king, stripped of all pretension and armor. He has nothing to protect him but himself, he stands before us completely vulnerable yet his face is surprisingly confident. Plus his nudity clues us in on other things.
Muriel:
Like what?
Linda:
Well he’s. The statue is. He’s not circumcised.

Muriel:
Uh-huh.
Linda:
Well, don’t you see? The real king David was Jewish. In fact he was one of the most famous Jews in history. He would certainly be circumcised. But the statue stands before us. It asks so many questions.
Muriel:
Well that’s it isn’t it.
Linda:
What’s it.
Muriel:
You need to go to Florence.
Linda:
Okay.
Muriel:
No not okay. You need to go to Florence. A soon as possible. See David in the flesh get your chills. It’s the only way to get started.
Linda:
Mom. I can’t
Muriel:
Why not?
Linda:
Because I can’t. I have a life here. I have a job here. You’re here.
Muriel:
These are excuses. Get past them, grab life.
Linda:
I see what you’re doing.
Muriel:
And what that?
Linda:
You don’t want me to have the press conference.
Muriel:
Can’t you see? This isn’t about what I want.
Linda:
No. I think it is. You don’t want me to go to the press conference. So you’re doing this. You’re trying to manipulate me. God, you’re worse than Margery. At least with her she comes right out and says it. She doesn’t lie and try and manipulate you.
Muriel:
So now I’m lying and manipulating you? I guess that I’m just the bad guy in all of this.
Linda:
You’re not the bad guy. I just think that maybe like every one else you have an agenda.
Muriel:
Oh I have an agenda, and that’s to have all of my daughters be happy.
Linda:
And you think that running away from all of this will make me happy?
Muriel:
You wouldn’t be running away from this, you’d be running towards something else, something new, something better.
Linda:
I can’t just quit. You shouldn’t ask me to.
Muriel:
I’m not asking you to quit. Just tell me you’ll think about it.
Linda:
I’ll think about it.
Muriel:
Now that doesn’t sound very convincing. How come when Margery tries to tell you what’s best you listen to her?
Linda:
Because Margery is a cold and calculating as they come. She’s a math teacher for crying out loud. With her you know that it all comes down to logic. What makes the most sense?
Muriel:
And with me?
Linda:
And with you (Pause) I guess that I just feel sometimes that you are a little too emotionally involved. You have I bit too much of this (points to her heart) and maybe not enough of this (points to head). Right now I need as much of this (points to head) as I can muster. You can’t take this personally. I just need some one to talk sense to me right now.
Muriel:
So I’m not talking sense?
Linda:
I just think that you’re a mom protecting her kid. You have an agenda. It may be one that I can understand. I know that you have what’s best for me at heart. Still.
Muriel:
Still? I see. Well don’t worry. I won’t push my agenda on you anymore. Heck, we won’t even talk about it anymore. Does that suit you?
Linda:
Suits me fine.
Muriel:
I just love you kid.
Linda:
I know. I’m thirty-five. I just need to figure this out on my own.
Muriel:
Sounds fair.

Linda:
Thanks.
Muriel:
Okay. Now I need to get dinner ready. Are you going to come down?
Linda:
In a minute.

Muriel:
Okay. Take all of the time that you need. I love you.
Linda:
Uh-huh.

Linda’s mom walks out the door, pausing briefly to look back before walking out. Linda sits back down and begins to write as the lights on the right side of the stage go black.
The lights on the left side of the stage come up revealing a porch with a swing. Linda comes out of the front door putting on a jacket. She pulls a packet up cigarettes from her pocket and lights one up as she sits on the swing. She swings for a few moments before Meagan walks up the bath towards her.

Meagan:
So are you nervous?
Linda:
No.
Meagan:
Not at all? God I’d be terrified. Just thinking of all those lights, all of those cameras. Do you have any idea what you’re going to say? (She sits next to Linda on the swing.)
Linda:
Margery helped me write down a few key points. I guess that I’ll go from there.
Meagan:
Still, speak from the heart. Be yourself. I know it’s easy to say, but…
Linda:
Thanks.
Meagan:
For what?
Linda:
For what? For always sticking up for me. For not pushing me. I know that you have an opinion on all of this, but when I talk to you I never feel pressure to do anything.
Meagan:
Well I love you ya knuckle head.
Linda:
Oh, and thanks for the other thing.
Meagan:
Other thing?
Linda:
You know. Decorating Mrs. Baker’s house.
Meagan:
Oh that. Don’t worry about that. Besides Rainbow is almost nine and she’s never TPed a house. So really, I did it as much for her as you.
Linda:
Rotten eggs?
Meagan:
They’ll never prove it was me. I’ll die before I let them take me away.
Linda:
You are such a nut.
Meagan:
At least I’m a unique nut. Now speaking of nuts. What’s all of this I hear about you moving to Italy to look at men’s peckers?
Linda:
You’ve been talking to mom haven’t you?
Meagan:
I never reveal my sources. So why haven’t you jumped a plane to Italy? I mean giant marble slongs await you.
Linda:
What are you on mom’s side now?
Meagan:
I’m on the side of looking at naked men. I’m telling you if I had no husband or kids I’d be right there with you.
Linda:
It would be nice wouldn’t it? I mean all of that art, the culture. You just can’t get that here.
Meagan:
That’s probably a good thing. Could you imagine how Baker would respond to a 20 foot naked statue?
Linda:
She’d probably have a heart attack. Then when she’d recovered she’d probably sue Michelangelo and the city of Florence for being so disgusting. Could you imagine the news coverage?
Meagan:
(In an over the top newscasters voice.) And the kitten was found to be…This just in: Michelangelo, lewd and un-American. More information on the news source you trust KRTJ seven. I tell you it’d be hilarious to watch that circus unfold.
Linda:
That’s true. There would be a public trial.
Meagan:
Michelangelo would be brought before the people.
Linda:
And then?
Meagan:
And then he’d be found guilty of corrupting our poor, innocent youth. There would be only one punishment worthy of such a crime. They would stone him to death. (Doing the newscaster’s voice) Artist and enemy of the people Michelangelo was stoned to death today. Join us tonight at ten for more information and live coverage of people in the streets rejoicing.
Linda:
Poor Mike. I mean really, he didn’t stand a chance did he? (Pause) So are you going to come?
Meagan:
I’ve never been a big fan of public lynchings. I’ll probably just catch the whole thing on the TV. Besides the temptation to yell out something might be too great.
Linda:
Good point.
Meagan:
A ha and here comes the lady herself. (Margery walks up the path) How are you heir Margery?
Margery:
Shouldn’t you be at home cultivating your cannabis?
Meagan:
Ya vol mein furher. I just wanted to wish Linda good luck.
Margery:
Linda doesn’t need good luck, she’s well prepared. (To Linda) Okay it’s about time to go.
Linda:
I thought the thing wasn’t scheduled until seven.
Margery:
It can’t hurt to be early.
Meagan:
I beg to differ. I mean if you guys got their early, and just as you got their early, I mean insanely early, like an hour early. Well if just as you got there the roof collapsed. Well then, that would hurt wouldn’t it?
Margery:
Now is that really helpful? Okay we can wait a little longer. Have you looked over the things we discussed?
Linda:
Yes.
Margery:
Remember, keep it simple. Try and sound sincere.
Meagan:
And don’t pick your nose.
Margery:
What are you doing?
Meagan:
I’m helping Margery.
Margery:
You think that this is helping? Do you think wise acre comments help?
Meagan:
I think that lightening the mood helps, yes.
Margery:
I think that Linda could do without your help.
Meagan:
(Quietly) At least I’m not just helping myself.
Margery:
What?

Meagan:
I said. At least I’m not just helping myself.
Linda:
Okay that’s enough. Why don’t we just…
Margery:
No, I want to hear this. How am I just helping myself?
Meagan:
Oh, I guess that I’m wrong assistant principle Davis.
Linda:
Assistant principle Davis? What are you talking about?
Margery:
How do you know about that?
Meagan:
How do you think that I know? Do you think that Superintendent Landin only talked to you about all of this? Do you think that he didn’t cover all of his bases? At least I didn’t jump through the hoops.
Margery:
Oh and so now you’re so much better than me?
Meagan:
Does the little doggy want a biscuit? Bark for the biscuit little doggy.
Margery:
Is that supposed to be me? So I’m the little doggy.
Linda:
Does somebody want to fill me in on all of this?
Meagan:
Superintendent Landin gave Margery and offer that she couldn’t refuse.
Linda:
And what was that?
Meagan:
Yes Margery, what was that?
Margery:
All that he said was that if I helped to get you to do the right thing. To make all of this easier on everyone involved. Then in return he would. He would.
Linda:
He would what?
Margery:
He would make sure I became assistant principle when Meyers retires.
Linda:
And you took the deal?
Margery:
Why not?
Linda:
Why not? Why not? I don’t know. Maybe because I’m your sister. And in my time of need I thought that maybe my sister would do what’s best for me.


Margery:
This is what’d best for you. This is what’s best for everyone. Besides, what’s the harm if it helps me out a little?
Linda:
You should have let me choose my own way. I listened to you. I trusted you.
Margery:
We were doing the right thing. What should we have done? Come on. Like you really cared about any of this.
Linda:
You should have helped me do what I wanted.
Margery:
Help you do what you wanted. Linda, you don’t even know what you want. You said so yourself that you were dead inside, that this job never made you alive. This matters. We’re doing the right thing.
Meagan:
And how exactly is this, a public humiliation of your sister by those people, the right thing?
Margery:
Those people? Those people are just trying to protect their children. Like you wouldn’t protect yours. Would you want your children looking at something like that?
Meagan:
Hell, I encourage my kids to explore their bodies and to love themselves.
Margery:
Well look at who I’m taking to. You wouldn’t know the right thing if it bit you on your little hippy ass.
Meagan:
That may be true. But one thing that I do know is when something is wrong. And you selling out your sister for nothing more than blind ambition is wrong. It’s wrong any way that you look at it.
Margery:
Oh it’s wrong is it? Blind ambition is it? Well excuse me for not taking career advice form you.
Meagan:
And why is that?
Margery:
Well look at you. Just look at you. You have no real goals, no real dreams. All that you do have is a dead beat husband who claims to be a musician. Meagan we all know that he is a no good lay about. You have four kids in a tinny house. You’re a badly paid third grade teacher and that’s all you are ever going to be. The life that you have now is all that you are ever going to have. And that might be good enough for you, but it damn well isn’t good enough for me.
Linda:
Okay guys. Now that’s enough. I don’t want to see you fighting. Margery just take it back.


Meagan:
No Margery, don’t take it back; I want it to stand as a permanent public record. I want what you really think of me out in the open. And in response all that I want to say is good. If the life I have now is all that I’m ever going to have then good. My husband loves me and I love him. I have four beautiful healthy kids that make every moment I have on this earth a blessing. And my job? My dream was always to be a third grade teacher. Now that might not be a good enough dream for you, but just look at you. I’m living me dream every day, in the here and now. But you, your dream resides somewhere in the future. I wake up everyday content, dream fulfilled. You wake up everyday drowning in ambition. I’m happy. You, you’re driven to be upwardly mobile. I have to say that I like the way my life looks. So, if you’ll excuse me I have to get home to my tiny house and my lay about husband. Because Margery the damn smile on my face when I’m there is a pretty impressive thing. And they are all I need. So goodbye and I hope that it all works out for you. I really do. I hope that one day you are one tenth as happy as I am every day. (Meagan begins to walk away)
Linda:
Meagan wait.
Meagan:
Good luck. I’ll be rooting for you. I always do, and I always will.
Linda:
Thank you.
Meagan:
Come over tomorrow. The kids would love to see you. (Meagan exits)
Margery:
Well that was unpleasant. I hope you didn’t buy into all of that hippy drivel.
Linda:
Margery you sold me out. You sold out your own flesh and blood, and for what? For what? To be assistant principle? Margery that job was yours anyway. But no, you had to be sure, 100 percent positive and to get that you sacrificed me.
Margery:
It’s not like that. Besides you’re doing the right thing.
Linda:
Am I? God, I don’t know anymore. An hour ago I was so certain. But now.
Margery:
But now?
Linda:
I just don’t know any more.
Margery:
Well, we can talk it out. We can get you back to certain. We can…
Linda:
We can do nothing.
Margery:
You don’t mean that. You’re just being passionate.
Linda:
Maybe I need to be a little more passionate. Maybe I need to plan a little less.

Margery:
You’re angry. I can see that. But still. This is no reason to blow this. This is your career. I mean really, wouldn’t it be a little silly to blow all of this over a stupid argument.
Linda:
Are you worried about my career or you own?
Margery:
I’m worried about you. You have to believe me.
Linda:
I just can’t believe you right now. I can’t believe a damn word you say.
Margery:
But…
Linda:
No buts. I need to figure this out on my own.
Margery:
You can’t seriously mean?
Linda:
You need to leave now.
Margery:
Linda, can’t we just…
Linda:
Go know:
Margery:
Come on. If we just talk about this then…
Linda:
(Screaming) Talk, talk. Get this Margery. The last person that I would ever want to talk to is you. You can just rot in hell. ROT IN HELL YOU SELF SERVING BITCH. Get out of my life. Get out. Get out.

Margery slowly turns and walks away. Linda sits back down on the porch swing and goes rhythmically back and forth. A spotlight comes on stage right. In the middle is a podium with an array of microphones. Linda stares at the podium for a moment, takes a final drag on her cigarette, stomps it out and walks across the stage taking off her jacket and walking towards the podium. Muriel opens the door.
Muriel:
Honey, wait.
Linda:
(Linda walks back towards the porch) Mom, I really don’t want to talk about this now.
Muriel:
You don’t even know what I’m going to say.
Linda:
You’re going to say that I shouldn’t go through with this. That I’m selling myself and all women short. That …
Muriel:
All that I have to say is knock em dead.
Linda:
Really?
Muriel:
Really. So go on. What are you waiting for?
Linda:
Thanks. I…I…
Muriel:
I know. Will you be home later?
Linda:
As soon as it’s over.
Muriel:
I look forward to it.
Linda:
Me too. I have to go.
Muriel:
I know. See you honey.
Linda:
Bye mom.

Muriel walks off through the door. Linda stares at the door for a moment, then at the podium. She crosses the stage, takes her place behind the podium and adjusts a few of the microphones.
Linda:
Hi, my name is Linda Davis and I teach art at George Bush middle school. I’d like to start by thanking you all for coming. There are a few words that I want to say. I’d like you to know now that I won’t be answering questions afterwards. (Pause) to be a teacher… Teaching comes with the responsibility to guard our children against the terrors of this world. With that in mind I must admit that I have obviously… (From somewhere in the crowd we hear Meagan’s voice.)
Meagan:
Free the marble slong. Free the marble slong. Unhand me Nazi, Attica, Attica. (Meagan’s voice becomes more distance as if she is being dragged away. Still she continues to scream free the marble slong and Attica until her voice fades away and we hear a door shut. Linda stares off into the distance, nervously adjusting the mike. She pauses then takes a deep breath.)
Linda:
I am not by nature an ambitious person. All that I wanted out of this life was a little space in the world. I had no delusions that I was special or that I would change things on an epic scale. Still I think that I deserve better than this. To the Mrs. Bakers of the world, you should be ashamed of yourself. You claim that your children are the most important thing in the world to you, and that their education is essential. Then why are teachers so poorly paid? Why do we as a society pay a man who can catch a football eleven million dollars a year and our teachers half the amount we pay a restaurant manager. Is good food on time twice as important? Money is not the most important thing in the world and teachers can be asked to perform with little of it but respect is essential. We must at all times respect our teachers, give them the benefit of the doubt to do what they think is right. Give us the appropriate respect, show your children that respecting teachers is vital and our jobs become easier and we get better at it. Why have you not taken to the streets to demand that? To demand that society take us the teachers more seriously and by association give you children a better shot in this world?(She pauses to take a sip of water) And to the other side. To those who are protecting me. Stop it. Stop fighting for me just to get back at them. To the teachers union, I know that parents and parent groups make your job harder. We have already discussed the respect thing and you have to remember that respect goes both ways. Always keep in mind that these are their children. They love them more than anything and they want nothing more out of this life than to see them grow up happy and safe. How is it your role to tell parents how they should or shouldn’t raise their kids? The best thing that can happen is for teachers and parents to come to a compromise on their own, without outside interference. It seems to me that the only thing that either side wants is to be right. What is best for the kids and what is best for the teachers seems to be forgotten in the rush to notch up another victory. How long have both sides committed to talking to the very people that they are claiming to help? Do the M.E.A.N ladies really believe that their children are being assaulted by a wave of lewdness? I think that if they had taken the time to discuss these issues with their children before they were in eighth grade then none of this might have been a problem. Parents, you can’t protect your children forever. Sooner or later they will be let loose on this world. And when this happens they will be armed with nothing more than the things that you have taught them. Take this opportunity to teach them what is right. Don’t just hide them from it like it doesn’t exist. And to the teachers union. It seems to me that you were more interested in looking good in the eyes of your members than in helping me. Did you ever take the time to ask what I wanted? Ask what I needed? Where were you when the arts budget was slashed in half? When it was decided to pay teachers less for after school clubs like art club or theater? Why is it only now that the nations press is upon us that you seem to care? The truth of the matter is that I refuse to be pawn, bandied about for some one else’s gain. So I’m going to do the thing that I should have done a long time ago. I’m going to take my life into my own hands. I quit. If any body needs me I’ll be in Italy discussing the finer points of circumcision with the lewd and un-American Michelangelo. Thank you and goodnight.

The stage goes dark.



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