Powder Keg (A short play in 4 scenes)

SCENE 1

INT. MIKE’S OFFICE – DAY

MIKE is working on his computer. He has been in the office since 5 AM, writing a website he had been putting off. Phone RINGS.

MIKE

      (Picking up and expecting a typical “good morning” call.)
Good morning!

SHANI

      (Scolding Mike for Jack’s actions.)
Jack isn’t eating his sandwiches. He throws them away.

MIKE

What?

SHANI

His candy is completely gone. The bag has 10 pieces left. He eats Pirate Booty and candy every day and throws his sandwich out. He’s been doing that since Halloween! His bag is nearly empty. The garbage is full of candy wrappers and he’s sneaking them up to his room too.

 

MIKE

Yeah.

SHANI

We had it out and he left so mad. I threw out his candy and I hid Alex’s bag too. I put it in the back basement. We’re back in a bad place.

 

MIKE

Shani, I…

 

SHANI

He had over 100 pieces of candy and some of them were…

 

MIKE

Look, Shani, I can’t do this now. I’ve got work.

 

SHANI

Some of them were full candy bars!

 

MIKE

OK, I gotta go…

 

Mike hangs up. His co-workers are shocked to see this.

 

MIKE

Don’t worry. It’s literally the only way to get off the phone with her.

 

 

SCENE 2

INT. FAMILY BASEMENT THAT NIGHT

Mike is setting up sleeping bags for ALEX and AIDEN. The boys have each had a soda at dinner and are frantically playing X-Box in the background and singing Adele’s “Hello” at the same time. Shani is standing on the steps.

 

SHANI

He’s up there watching Family Guy. Do you think that show is OK?

 

MIKE

You’ve asked me ten times in the last week. My answer hasn’t changed.

 

SHANI

       (going upstairs)
I’m doing some research.

 

Mike continues arranging sleeping bags.

 

SHANI

      (from top of stairs)
Come look at this.

 

MIKE

I’m down here. If you want me to look at your phone, you can bring it down.

 

SHANI

      (rumbles downstairs. Thrusts her phone into Mike’s hands)
Read!

 

MIKE

Oh. Yeah.

 

SHANI

I’m not comfortable with him watching that. Violence and sex. I don’t think it’s appropriate. You said it was OK.

 

MIKE

I’ve watched it. Seems on par with the Simpsons.

Shani goes upstairs.

 

SCENE 3

INT. UPSTAIRS BEDROOMS A FEW MINUTES LATER

Mike sticks his head into Jack’s room.

 

MIKE

Hey, are you…

 

JACK

      (sulking severely)
Get out.

 

MIKE

Um. OK.

 

Mike closes Jack’s door and goes into his own bedroom. He looks to the bed, expecting to see Shani.

 

SHANI

      (pouncing from behind a dresser)
He was watching that show. I took it away. And he’s mad. He’s so mad at me.

 

MIKE

I know.

 

SHANI

I don’t like it when he’s mad at me.

 

MIKE

I know.

 

SHANI

I’m mad at him. I’m mad at myself. I’m mad at you.

 

MIKE

You don’t have to get so emotional about it.

 

SHANI

You said that show was OK.

 

MIKE

Well, I did think it was OK.

 

SHANI

Have you watched it?

 

MIKE

Yeah.

 

SHANI

You don’t know what it’s like to be the bad guy. I’m always the bad guy.

 

MIKE

      (smugly grabbing the “superior parent” mantle)
I just don’t take it as hard as you do.

 

Shani gets on the computer, while Mike brushes his teeth and gets into bed.

 

SHANI

      (Getting on the computer)
Look. You can block shows on Netflix. I’m blocking it.

 

MIKE

Good.

 

SHANI

Look at this. I found Netflix history. It shows all the shows that have been watched on our account. He’s watched the first seven seasons of Family Guy!

 

MIKE

Really?

 

SHANI

He must have watched 100 shows.

 

MIKE

Good thing you put a stop to it.

 

After a bit, Shani goes to bed. Somehow it has become the same conditions as if Shani and Mike were in a fight. Shani goes to bed in silence.

 

 

SCENE 4

INT. SAME UPSTAIRS BEDROOMS — A LITTLE LATER

Mike looks at the clock. He decides he is going to handle Jack going to bed the way Shani should handle situations like Family Guy.

 

MIKE

       (yelling from his bed)
Jack! Brush your teeth please!

 

JACK

Inaudible mumble.

 

MIKE

      (yelling)
Jack, come on!

 

JACK

Inaudible mumble.

 

Mike gets up and goes to Jack’s room. Jack is at his desk, writing out incomprehensible statistics and rosters in a notebook.

 

MIKE

      (yelling)
Now!

 

Jack gets up and goes into the bathroom. A few minutes later, he goes back into his bedroom and SLAMS the door.

 

MIKE

Jack, you didn’t brush your teeth.

 

JACK

I did.

 

MIKE

You didn’t even turn the water on.

 

Jack gets up again and goes into the bathroom. There is SILENCE for a full minute.

 

MIKE

Jack, brush your teeth.

 

JACK

      (yelled with all his 7th grade rage)
I AM!

 

Sounds of TEETH BRUSHING. Jack returns into his room. Door SLAMS. Mike gets up and goes to Jack’s room. Jack is back at the desk, poring over his notebook.

 

MIKE

Jack – how about lights out. 11:00.

 

JACK

      (pathetic and near tears)
I just need some time to myself.

 

MIKE

      (tersely)
Fine. Stay up as late as you want.

 

Mike closes the door and goes back to his room. He checks to see if Shani is awake. He is relieved to find her asleep.

 

FADE OUT to the sound of Alex and Aiden singing “Hello”

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2 thoughts on “Powder Keg (A short play in 4 scenes)

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