The scene: We are in a childís bedroom. There are two single beds separated by a gaily colored nightstand. A window, decorated with checkerboard gingham curtains, is half open. There would seem to be no breeze tonight. The room is remarkably free of clutter. In fact, it contains very few objects of any kind. On the nightstand, there is a baseball glove and an untouched glass of water. There is a small plastic sculpture of a horse, reared up on it's hind legs, on a smallish dresser. These are the only props.
[Music starts in the background]
Beaver is lying on his back in the left bed, with his hands folded above the neatly squared covers. He is staring into space when June enters the room, wearing a long quilted housecoat.
June: Time to close those eyes, sleepyhead.
Beaver: I will mom. I was just thinking.
June: Thinking? Thatís my little man. Just donít think too hard, or youíre likely to get an aneurism.
Beaver [curiosity aroused]: Whatís an aneurism, Mom?
June [cheerfully]: Itís kind of like a big bubble, Beaver. If you get one in your brain, you might have a stroke, and then youíd have to hobble around like Grandma.
Beaver [frowning]: Gee Mom, I sure wouldnít like that. [Brightly] I guess I just wonít think anymore.
June [leans over and kisses the Beaver]: Thatís good, Beaver. Sleep tight. [exiting the room] Donít let the bedbugs bite.
Beaver [whispering to himself]: We have bedbugs? [laughter]
Disembodied voice: Hey Beaver!
Beaver [startled]: Whoís there?
Disembodied voice: Itís me. Wally.
Beaver: Wally? I donít see anybody.
Wally: You canít see me, doofus. Thatís becauseÖ
Ward enters the room, snapping on the light. He is dressed in black slacks, white shirt and black tie:
Ward: Beaver? I thought I heard you talking to someone. Is everything okay?
Beaver [obviously lying]: No Dad. I mean, yes dad, everything is okay. I guess I was talking in my sleep.
Ward: You know itís okay, Beaver, to have imaginary friends. I bet you get lonely sometimes around here. [Ward takes a seat on the opposite bed] Let me ask you a question? Did you ever want a brother of sister?
Beaver [excited]: Gosh yes Dad. Are we going to get one? [warmhearted chuckles]
Ward: No, Beaver. Iím afraid your mother and I are past the point where we want to take on that sort of responsibility. [Collective ĎAwwwí] Iíve got a country to run now.
Ward: Thereís something I think youíre old enough to know, Beaver. [Pause] You used to have a brother. But your mother aborted him. [low volume hissing]
Beaver: Whatís that mean Dad?
Ward: Remember that little talk we had, Beaver? About boys and girls, and how theyíre different from each other?
Beaver [brightly]: Girls donít have peepees!
Ward: Thatís right Beaver. Girls donít have peepees. But where they should have peepees is a big hole, and thatís where babies come out.
Beaver: Come on Dad. Mom told me the stork brought babies.
Ward [firmly]: Thatís because your mother is an idiot, Beaver. She knows full good and well where babies come from. What your mother did Ė this was way before you were bornÖ [long pause] You were going to have a brother, Beaver, a big brother, someone who would have been your best friend in the whole wide world. But your mother was very selfish. Many years ago your mother wanted to have a career, and she, well, she went to a doctor who took a vacuum cleaner and put it on her hole place, and it sucked your brother away into a garbage bag.
Beaver [starting to cry]: Whyíd she do that, Dad?
Ward: Sheís a liberal, Beaver. Sheís pro-choice. [Hisses] As if that bitch had the right to play God. But the important thing, the thing that you need to remember, is that you should never hate your mother, even though she killed the best friend you never had. Time for you to get some sleep now, Beaver. Lights out.
Beaver [sobbing piteously]: Gínight Dad.
Disembodied voice: Hey Beaver!
Beaver [still sobbing]: Whoís there?
Disembodied voice: Itís me. Wally. The brother you never had.
Beaver: Wally? I donít see you.
Wally: You canít see me, doofus. Thatís because Iím up here in Purgatory. Iím just a disembodied soul. I guess Iwas never baptized so I just ended up here.
Beaver [regaining composure]: Whatís it like, Wally?
Wally: Itís pretty boring, Beav. Thereís nothing to do at all. I sure would like to get out of this place. Hey listen, Beaver, the story that Dad told you, that was only half the truth.
Beaver: You mean Mom didnít kill you?
Wally: Well, yeah, she did, but it was Dadís idea. He used to drink a lot, and one day when he and Mom were wrestling, I got injured. The doctor said she could carry me to term, but Iíd probably be dumb as a wall.
Beaver [enthusiastically]: So thatís why youíre called Wally! [laughter]
Beaver: Wally, you can visit me anytime. We can still have a lot of fun together. You can come to school with me tomorrow.
Wally: I guess maybe I will. I donít have anything else to do. Goodnight Beaver.
Beaver: Goodnight Wally.
[Music and fade
out. Audience sits in stunned silence.]
©2002, Mark Hoback