12 Plays of Christmas (9 of 12)

Introducing…the 12 Plays of Christmas. Over the next 12 days, I will write 12 one-act plays that illustrate life in the Nuckols home. Additionally, we will perform these plays for you and put them up on the site.

 

Snuggle

SHANI is in the kitchen on the phone. ALEX enters.

ALEX
Snuggle?

SHANI
We’ve got good momentum for the SMART initiative and
I think we’re going to get into Moorestown school for it.

Alex tries to cling to her leg. Shani shoos him away.

Scene shifts to the living room. MIKE is watching a show on his phone. ALEX enters.

ALEX
Snuggle?

MIKE
Alex, I’m watching a show that’s not appropriate for you.

ALEX
Sons of Anarchy?

MIKE
Yeah – they just beat the crap out of a bunch of white supremacists. It was awesome.

Alex leaves.

Scene shifts to upstairs hallway. Alex opens Jack’s door.

ALEX
Snuggle?

JACK
Get out of my room!

Scene shifts to Alex’s room. Alex dumps all his stuffed animals onto the bed. He buries himself in it all.

ALEX
Snuggle.

END…WAIT

SHANI, MIKE, and JACK all rush into the room and jump onto Alex.

SHANI, MIKE, JACK
JAMS* SNUGGLE!

END SCENE.

*”JAMS” snuggle is our cutesy/annoying term for a snuggle involving our entire family. It stands for Jack, Alex, Mike, Shani.

 

12 Plays of Christmas (8 of 12)

Introducing…the 12 Plays of Christmas. Over the next 12 days, I will write 12 one-act plays that illustrate life in the Nuckols home. Additionally, we will perform these plays for you and put them up on the site.

Laundry

SHANI is in the living room reading.

JACK
(off stage)
MOM! I need socks!

SHANI
I just did laundry.

JACK
I can’t find any socks.

SHANI
I don’t know how you go through clean laundry so fast.

Scene shifts to JACK’S ROOM.

NARRATOR (played by Alex)
We flash back to the previous afternoon.

JACK announces an imaginary basketball game where he is the hero of the game. As he does so, he takes clean laundry as the ball and stuffs it into the hamper as if it is the hoop.

JACK
And Jack Nuckols cuts left, right, shoots…it’s good! AHHHH!
Lebron moves through the defense. Bounce pass to Nuckols…
Oh my! Staggering dunk!

 

END SCENE

12 Plays of Christmas (7 of 12)

Introducing…the 12 Plays of Christmas. Over the next 12 days, I will write 12 one-act plays that illustrate life in the Nuckols home. Additionally, we will perform these plays for you and put them up on the site.

Cropduster

MIKE sits on the couch. SHANI enters and keeps moving.

SHANI
I had the craziest day. Did you get my text?
I needed to redo the lists from admissions yet again…

She is out of the room and still talking. 

NEW LOCATION

JACK is playing Xbox in the basement. SHANI enters and keeps moving.

SHANI
Jack, I need you to try on your wrestling shoes today.
If they don’t fit we need to go to Dicks this weekend and make sure…

She is out of the room and still talking. 

NEW LOCATION

ALEX is doing homework in the kitchen. SHANI enters and keeps moving.

SHANI
Alex, did you get that form signed today? Oh, and you have carpool pickup
at 5:30, so you’re going to need to eat. Oh, and your towel is…

She is out of the room and still talking. 

 

END SCENE.

 

 

12 Plays of Christmas (6 of 12)

Introducing…the 12 Plays of Christmas. Over the next 12 days, I will write 12 one-act plays that illustrate life in the Nuckols home. Additionally, we will perform these plays for you and put them up on the site.

Voldemort

SHANI and MIKE are on the couch reading the newspaper.

SHANI
Did you see…

MIKE
Don’t say it. I can’t.

They read more.

MIKE
Oh my gosh. This says that he’s…

SHANI
Stop. I can’t hear it.

They read more.

SHANI
He’s…

MIKE
Don’t say it.

They read more.

SHANI
(not ironically)
I’m so happy we started getting the paper again.

MIKE
Me too.

SHANI
Is your coffee empty?

MIKE
Oh yeah it is.

They read more. Mike sighs and takes both cups to refill them. Shani laughs.

 

END SCENE.

 

The 12 Plays of Christmas (5 of 12)

Introducing…the 12 Plays of Christmas. Over the next 12 days, I will write 12 one-act plays that illustrate life in the Nuckols home. Additionally, we will perform these plays for you and put them up on the site.

Truth Machine

ALEX speaks to the audience.

ALEX
Today, I am the Truth Machine. After you say something,
you look at me and say what you really wanted to say.

MIKE and SHANI are in bed. MIKE turns out his light to go to sleep.

SHANI
Is the front door locked?

MIKE
Yes.

SHANI
Are you sure?

MIKE
I specifically remember locking it.

MIKE rolls over and is face-to-face with ALEX.

MIKE
I have no clue if the door is locked. I’m making that up so she leaves me alone and lets me go to sleep.

New location: Jack’s bedroom. JACK is in bed.

JACK (yelling)
Dad? I have a pain right near my shoulder blade.

MIKE (offstage)
Go to bed!

JACK (yelling)
It really hurts!

MIKE (offstage)
Why is the only time you need medical attention is when it’s bedtime?

JACK rolls over. He is face-to-face with ALEX.

JACK
It does kind of hurt, but really I just don’t want to go to bed quite yet.
(Pause)
Do you think he’ll come up?

ALEX
No.

JACK
(turns and closes his eyes)
Good night, Truth Machine.

 

END SCENE

 

 

The 12 Plays of Christmas (4 of 12)

Introducing…the 12 Plays of Christmas. Over the next 12 days, I will write 12 one-act plays that illustrate life in the Nuckols home. Additionally, we will perform these plays for you and put them up on the site.

 

Smell?

ALEX and MIKE are on the couch watching The Flash. They are both snuggled together and transfixed.

SHANI enters through the front door.

SHANI
I’m home! Do you guys smell a food smell in here?

MIKE AND ALEX (not looking up)
No.

SHANI crosses and exits for the kitchen. Pause a beat. She returns.

SHANI
I just went to the grocery store yesterday. Did you guys eat all the grapes?

MIKE AND ALEX (not looking up)
Yes.

Pause another beat as she stares at them. They stay fixed on the screen. SHANI leaves.

 

END SCENE.

The 12 Plays of Christmas (3 of 12)

Introducing…the 12 Plays of Christmas. Over the next 12 days, I will write 12 one-act plays that illustrate life in the Nuckols home. Additionally, we will perform these plays for you and put them up on the site.

 

Drink?

MIKE and SHANI sit on the couch. Both are on their phones.

MIKE
Hey, would you…

SHANI
Hang on.

Shani needs to finish what she’s doing on her phone. Mike nods and goes back to his phone.

SHANI
Oh, I forgot…

MIKE
Just one sec.

Now Mike is finishing something on his phone. Shani nods and goes back to her phone.

SHANI
What do you think about a glass of wine?

MIKE
That sounds good.

Mike looks up at her. She is still on her phone. He stares at her and waits. She stares up at him, then goes back to her phone.

MIKE
Ok…

He gets up.

MIKE
Red or white?

SHANI
Red please.

 

END SCENE.

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The 12 Plays of Christmas (2 of 12)

Introducing…the 12 Plays of Christmas. Over the next 12 days, I will write 12 one-act plays that illustrate life in the Nuckols home. Additionally, we will perform these plays for you and put them up on the site.

 

SAFETY

JACK, ALEX, and SHANI are in the living room. ALEX and JACK are on their phones. Shani is reading.

Jack FARTS.

SHANI
Ew!

ALEX
Safety.

JACK
I say safety, you say doorknob, genius.

ALEX
Darn it.

Jack FARTS.

SHANI
Ew! Gross!

ALEX
Safety.

JACK
Doorknob! You have to say doorknob! God, you’re an idiot.

Alex FARTS.

SHANI
Yuck!

JACK
Safety!

ALEX
Safety!

JACK
Now you’ve got me all confused.

Mike enter. He FARTS.

SHANI
Doorknob!

MIKE
Huh?

Alex, Jack, and Shani all attack Mike.

 

END SCENE.

 

The 12 Plays of Christmas (1 of 12)

 

Introducing…the 12 Plays of Christmas. Over the next 12 days, I will write 12 one-act plays that illustrate life in the Nuckols home. Additionally, we will perform these plays for you and put them up on the site (probably this weekend).

 

BRUSHED

Morning. MIKE and SHANI are in the kitchen. JACK enters.

NARRATOR (played by Alex)
It is morning. Mike and Shani are eating breakfast. Jack enters.

MIKE
Morning, bubba.

SHANI
Hi, sweetie. Teeth brushed?

JACK
I did it.

NARRATOR
It is a lie. Shani knows it. Mike knows it. Jack knows it. We freeze and hear their thoughts.

Stage goes dark. Spotlight appears on each individual as they reveal their thoughts.

SHANI
My perfect child is ruining his teeth. All that money on braces and he’s going to have colored squares.

JACK
Don’t they understand that I need to figure out the Yankees 2027 lineup so I can find out if I’m batting 1st or 2nd! I’ve been poring over stats for days trying to lock this down.

Stage goes back to regular kitchen lighting.

NARRATOR
We go back to the scene at hand. Jack goes to the refrigerator. Shani reaches out to grab him.

SHANI
Come here, Jack Nuckols. I need a hug.

NARRATOR
It is a lie. Shani knows it. Mike knows it. Jack knows it. The two struggle in an awkward hug.

SHANI
I’m trying to hug you.

JACK
You’re trying to smell my breath.

SHANI
No. No I’m not.

JACK
You are!

SHANI
I don’t think you brushed your teeth.

JACK
Get off me!

NARRATOR
We freeze and hear Mike’s thoughts.

Stage goes dark. Spotlight appears on MIKE.

MIKE
If I had received the proper training when I was a boy, I really believe that today I would be a ninja.

 

END SCENE.

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Why Trump will Lose

(I’m going to save my f-bomb for the end on this one [see apology here].)

Last night I played poker with a group of educated, white, suburban men (mostly republicans) and they are universally voting for Hillary. It wasn’t even a topic of debate. So that made me feel pretty good.

But here’s what really made me start to feel good yesterday…

Actually…stay with me. We’re going to have to cover a few different topics on this one. We’re going for a ride.

Topic #1: My marriage

Shani and I have this…agreement. She handles all the worrying. She worries at me and I tell her: “ahh, it’ll be fine.” However, this agreement only works because I don’t worry about anything. Which is why this election is so messed up. Shani worries at me, expecting reassurance, and I can’t do it. I’m barely holding myself out of the pit of gloom and doom. I can’t add the weight of her worry on top of mine and I certainly don’t have leverage to pull her up.

It’s a mess.

Topic #2: W.B. Yeats

Yeats wrote a bunch of cool poems about the end of the world. He believed that every 2000 years mankind destroys itself in a catastrophic bloodbath. In fact, Yeats described the birth of Christ (year 0) as the last one to occur.

In other words, Yeats would say we’re about due to destroy ourselves. He described that event in a poem called The Second Coming that my friend Ed Gallagher recently posted on Facebook. The poem describes that destruction as a time when “the best lack all conviction while the worst are filled with passionate intensity.”

That line has haunted me every time I see the euphoric glory of people at Trump rallies (Jew-S-A! Jew-S-A!). While at the same time the John McCains and Paul Ryans are MIA. The church leaders are silent.

Topic #3: American Democracy

Here’s how our democracy works:

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100% of Americans bitch about politics and the issues. It’s our fundamental, God-given, Constitutionally-created right in America to express disgust at politicians and the government. ALL Americans exercise this right.

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54% of Americans actually take the time and effort to vote for President.

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36% of Americans actually take the time and effort to vote in elections without a President being decided.

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Then there are the people who actually run the country. That’s about 1%.

The direction of our government is not a product of the general population. Yes, everyone has opinions, but that’s pretty much where it ends. It’s really just a handful of people who actively participate in the creation of policy.

You know these people. They’re the ones who have looked into the details of the laws being passed in your area. They go to those awful, tedious town meetings. They run for school board. They’re the ones organizing events at your school and getting everyone else to help out.

This 1% of people have enormous and far-reaching impact while the rest of us sit on our asses and bitch.

Want to know how I learned this? My wife taught me. Hang on, I’ll show you.

7 years ago, Shani was really worked up about nutrition in our elementary school. She was bitching about it and so were lots of people.

Then one night I came home to find 6 moms around my dining room table. In her jittery, friendly, adorable way, Shani was leading a meeting on what to do about nutrition.

Next thing I knew I was at the school for a “work weekend” with dozens of volunteers building this incredible garden. Those moms had gotten the lumber and plants donated. They organized rotations for watering and weeding. It was amazing.

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Every grade incorporated the garden into their science curriculum and had classes outside. The school started having “salad day” every month. This all happened in less than a year and it all continues to this day.

2 years ago, Shani really started getting more and more upset by all the shootings. Like a lot of people, she was bitching about the NRA and the need for better gun control…but Shani doesn’t just bitch about stuff. That’s not how a one-percenter rolls.

She got involved in a group called Moms Demand Action. She went to meetings. She started making calls to organize volunteers. She went to a march in Brooklyn. She’s organized events in our town.

And I’ve watched Shani and a small group of other one-percenter moms achieve remarkable things. They got Kroger’s (big grocery chain in the south) to officially prohibit guns in their store. They’ve affected legislation in states and towns across the country. They’ve been labelled “the NRA’s worst nightmare” in the press. Democrats in Congress (who for years wouldn’t even say the words “gun control” out loud) staged a sit in. In the 3rd presidential debate, Hillary Clinton spoke their “sensible gun control” talking points word-for-word.

One percent. That’s who gets things done. Which brings me to my overall point and hopefully brings these three topics together….

Conclusion

When it comes to this election, my wife is doing more than just worrying. Oh, she’s been bitching about Trump…but then after the “grab ’em by the pussy” video came out, Trump put out a snarky little tweet. And that did it.

Shani’s been making calls for the campaign for weeks — recruiting volunteers, organizing voters, getting shit done. She’s been out canvassing on weekends, going door-to-door and in her jittery, friendly, adorable was making the case for Hillary Clinton and making sure Trump doesn’t get anywhere near the White House. In fact, Shani is literally canvassing in the Philly suburbs as I write this.

Yes, I’m afraid to inform you, Mr. Trump – you human shitstain, you asslick, you fecal mass — the best do not lack conviction in this election. The destruction of the world will have to come another time. You will lose, you will go back to your chintzy tower, and you will become irrelevant. My wife is making sure of it — and as I think of that it melts the dread away for me.

In Summary

I know that was a lot to take in, so let me wrap all this up for your little twitterbrain…

@realDonaldTrump: You pissed off my wife, which means that

YOU

ARE

FUCKED.