Pimp My Lent/Day 13
Two prompts today. I didn’t check my email before I left home today, so I didn’t have Valerie Hill’s prompt with me. After acting class, I asked (demanded) that Barrett Nash “give me a writing prompt, anything, just put something down on paper, now, go.” Barrett hails from excellent theatrical stock and was immediately able to comply. When I got home and saw Valerie’s prompt, I realized that I needed both hers and Barrett’s. Together, the two prompts jump-started the scene, and then the characters and their story fell right into place.
So, from Valerie Hill we have:
“Headline from a paper in Atlanta – “Voodoo Sex Ceremony Starts Fatal Fire”
And from Barrett Nash:
“I really hate that I have to run to therapy right now…”
LADDY’s upscale urban Dallas apartment. Laddy, 50s, stands at the front door, keys and shoulder bag, anxious to exit but nervous about leaving. His daughter WELSLEY, female, early 20s, sits at his computer drinking coffee and surfing the net. She’s sleep-rumpled, and wears one of Laddy’s shirts. Her left forearm is bandaged, from wrist to elbow.
LADDY: I really hate that I have to run to therapy right now….
WELS: (reading online newspaper) Oooh, “Voodoo Sex Ceremony Starts Fatal Fire.” (she laughs – and she clicks. Beat) Well, these people are particularly unattractive.
LADDY: Welsley, did you hear me?
WELS: Uh-huh. Oh Laddy, you’ve got to see – (laughing) Oh, there’s everything to love about this. Oh my god! Laddy! She’s wearing a Fox News t-shirt!
LADDY: I really hate to go, honey. But I have to. Right now. Or I’ll be late.
WELS: Okay. (reading) See ya later. (beat. he’s still there) Would you go? I’m fine, go.
LADDY: I feel bad – How’s your arm?
WELS: Throbbing like a moe-thur-fowk-er. But I’m good, go on.
LADDY: They’ll charge me if I no-show.
WELS: Laddy, go. I’m good. I’m a hundred percent. Go. Get your head shrunk enough for both of us. (reading online) Ew. These people are too old and too fat to be having kinky sex. Look at them, they’re like – Wayne and Wilma Walmart. (reads) Oh my god, in addition to this house they accidentally burned down last night, they operate a sex club out of their OWN HOUSE – in Duncanville! (laughing) Oh my god, DAD! We have to go there. We have to drive by there! Let’s go by tonight and pretend to be customers – no – mourners!
LADDY: (giggling) Oh my god, no!
WELS: We have to! It’ll be like – We’ll buy a wreath to place at the site, a wreath from Garden Ridge but we’ll decorate it with condoms and KY and edible panties.
LADDY: (laughs. stops) This is why your mother never let me have custody. Didn’t you say fatal fire? Aren’t we being kinda callous here?
WELS: (reading) Dallas sex club owner “Paulo “Spanky” Guymon suffered smoke inhalation and was dead at the scene.” …His name was Spanky. That is sad. (Beat. She laughs) Spanky!
LADDY: Welsley. Stop. This is sad. A man has died. Stop laughing. He’s still a person.
WELS: Actually, he was (reading) “a person of interest” for his suspected role in the kidnapping of Sundance and Posey, two pomchi puppies –
WELS: Pomeranian-Chihuahuas. Mom has one.
LADDY: Wait – what happened to the golden retriever?
WELS: She said she was tired of a big dog, and wanted a puppy. I dunno. (reading) …and deaths of Sundance and Posey, two pomchi puppies belonging to celebrity Paris Hilton that were stolen from the backseat of Ms. Hilton’s limousine at Cowboy Stadium during the Superbowl. The ransom was not paid, and the dogs were later found dead in culvert near the stadium.” (to Laddy) That’s horrible. Paulo was a pig.
LADDY: Paulo was a pig. Paulo killed puppies.
WELS: Paulo killed Paris’ puppies.
LADDY: Paulo killed Paris’ puppies – on purpose.
WELS: Perverted Paulo killed Paris’ poor, petite puppies – on purpose.
(Laddy’s turn. He tries but can’t come up with anything)
LADDY: I’m pathetic.
LADDY: Puppies are dead here, and we’re laughing. (looks at his watch) Okay, um, I guess, I…am…gone. There’s really nothing…?
WELS: Dad. Stop. (gets up, goes to him) I am fine. Smell. (blows in his face – gently) Coffee, and morning breath. And that’s it. I am a hundred percent sober. Well, except for the hydrocodone. That stuff is greaaat.
LADDY: I wasn’t accusing you of –
WELS: I know. You’re worried. I scared you last night.
LADDY: Welsley, you scared the life out of me last night.
WELS: I did, I know, and I promise, I promise. I will never do that to you again. I promise, I will not get drunk before you get back from therapy. I will not have as much as a Diet Coke before you get back from therapy. And I pinky-swear, cross-my-heart, spit-three-times swear that I will not leave here, go get drunk, and then go stalk Prof. Hamilton and then find out he’s still married and definitely not separated and then come back here and put my hand through your kitchen window. …Sorry about your window.
LADDY: Wels. Would you…consider – that maybe you – like myself – being my daughter, that you, like me, are not someone who can-
WELS: I love you. (hugs him) You’re a good person. You’re a great dad. Now please, go get yourself some therapy so that I can go back to reading about the sex club for ugly people in Duncanville. I will make you chocolate waffles.
LADDY: You will make me chocolate waffles.
WELS: I will.
LADDY: You will.
WELS: I will.
LADDY: (beat) I finally quit when I finally figured out that I am not a very good person on alcohol.
WELS: Yeah, I keep proving that to myself, don’t I? But then I forget… Ugh! Okay, go – you’ve already missed part of your session. GO. I love you.
LADDY: I know. I love you.
WELS: I know! (they laugh. he opens the door. she’s back to reading the sex story. Calls to him) …Wow. Did you know that chocolate syrup is flammable?
(Laddy closes the door. From out in the hallway we hear)
LADDY: (offstage) Unfortunately? Yes.
(Wels laughs and laughs. We hear Laddy laughing as he walks down the hallway, and then an outside door opens and shuts. Wels continues reading the story, chuckling. With hardly a pause, and no guilt or shame, she reaches in her purse, digs until she finds a single-serv bottle of liquor. She spikes her coffee, drops the empty back in her purse, and goes back to reading at the computer)