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Thursday night at Mommy's House
by Julie Michaelson
05/07/11
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(Ten year old
whiny voice: calling
from the green-fringed sofa,
in the cluttered
livingroom.)
"M...O...M...M....Y!
YOUR...
S...H...O...W.'..S
ABOUT TO START!"

(Muffled voice coming
over running water in the
yellow-and-green
kitchen: sounds of
clattering dinner dishes
in the small, scratched sink.)
"OKAY,
JULBIE!
I'll be RIGHT THERE!"

(Louder, even whinier
yell from the livingroom:
sounds of 1966 TV
commercial music...
coming from the big
black-and-white-console
TV in the background.)
"M...O....M...M....Y!
YOU'RE GONNA MISS IT!
IT'S ALMOST ON!"

"OKAY, JOACH'KA'LAH!
OKAY!
I gotta FINISH these
DISHES!"

"AW!
COME ON,
M...O...M...M...Y!
YOU'RE GONNA MISS
THE BEGINNING!
IT'S YOUR FAVORITE
PART!"

(Another whiny voice:
two years older, and a lot
bossier.)
"J...U...L...I...E!
SHUT-UP!
MOMMY'S COMIN!
SHHH!
Y'UR GONNA MAKE
US MISS THE WHOLE
THING!
NOW, SHUT-UP!"

(Another muffled voice:
behind the sports section
of the Philadelphia Bulletin
newspaper.)
"Alright, KIDS.
SETTLE DOWN.
MAMA'S COMIN'!"

(The younger, whinier
voice calls out, again.
Sounds of the black-
and-white TV set being
turned up, louder: the
theme of 'Peyton Place'
fills the livingroom.)
"M....O....M....M....Y!
M....O....M....M.....Y!
It's ON!
RIGHT NOW!
IT'S ON!
IT JUST STARTED!"

(Louder, muffled voice
from amidst the sounds
wet plates clattering,
and big pots banging.)
"I'M COMIN'!
RIGHT NOW!"

(A thirteen-year-old,
less whiny voice calls out.)
"MA!
IT'S ALREADY STARTED!
You already MISSED
RYAN O'NEAL!"

(Muffled, somewhat frantic voice
yells from the
yellow-and-green kitchen.)
"OY! IS HE GONNA
BE ON, TONIGHT?"

(Three whiny shouts.)
"YEAH!
YEAH, MOMMY!
YEAH!"

(Muffled voice from
behind the rustling
Philadelphia Bulletin
Sports Section.)
"E'! YOU'RE GONNA
MISS YOUR SHOW!"

(Sounds of the kitchen
faucet being turned-off.
More clattering of pots
and pans: the burnt smell
of a Pall Malls drifts
in from the kitchen.)
"I'm COMIN', MIKE!
RIGHT NOW!
I'M COMIN'!"

(A tall, slim motherly
figure trots barefoot
onto the green-fringed
throw-rug, of the livingroom:
she's wearing
a yellow, terry-cloth apron
over a beige cotton skirt
and white blouse; her short hair,
cut in the style
of Julie Andrews in "The
Sound of Music", is a straight,
dark brown, and fluffed this way
and that. In one hand
is a long Pall Malls cigarette,
and in the other is her favorite agua-
blue ceramic ashtray, irregular
in shape and quite lumpy,
that one of the kids made for
her, last summer at Girl
Scout Camp.)
"Oh, NO!
Did I MISS........
ANYTHING,
MIKE?"

(More rustling behind the
Sports Section; on the
back is a black-and-white
photo of one of the
Phildadelphia Phillies.)
"Neah........."
(Rustle. Rustle.)
"I don't THINK SO...!"

"Uh, UH!
She MISSED the BEGINNING PART,
DADDY!
WITH RYAN O'NEAL!"

"JOACH'KA'LAH!
PUT A PLATE UNDER
THAT CHOCOLATE POPSICLE!
IT'S ALREADY DRIPPIN'!"

(Whiny, ten-year-old
voice: screechier, and
whinier.)
"M...O...M...M...Y!
DON'T GET UP!
DON'T GET UP!
HERE COMES MIA FARROW!
MIA FARROW!"

"OKAY!
Well......HERE'S A
KLEENEX! PUT THIS
UNDER IT!"

(The whole livingroom
suddenly becomes so
quiet, that a pin a could
drop.)

(Everybody's quiet.
There's the final
rustle of the Sports Section,
and even that
is set down on the old,
scratched, cluttered
coffee-table. The familiar,
homey smell of cigarette smoke
fills the humid,
June night air. Through
the open kitchen window,
the shouts of neighborhood
kids can be heard:
playing soft-ball
out in the back alley.)

"MOMMY!
IT'S RYAN O'NEAL!"

"SHHHH, JULIE!
BE QUIET!
SHE SEES!"

"YA'LL!
BE QUIET!
WE CAN'T HEAR!"

"MIKE? CAN YOU
GO AND TURN UP THE
TV SET? I GOTTA GO
GET A PLATE FOR JULBIE'S POPSICLE!
IT'S DRIPPIN' ALL OVER
THE PLACE!"

"It's NOT,
M...O...M...M...Y!
IT'S NOT!"

"DADDY!
DADDY!
D....A....D....D....Y!
Y'UR BLOCKIN' THE
TEEEEEE VEEEEEE!"

"ALRIGHT!
SETTLE DOWN, YA'LL!
OR, YA'LL ALL GOIN'
UPSTAIRS!"

(More dishes are clattering
in the green-and-yellow
kitchen. The pungent smell
of Good To The Last Drop
coffee sifts into the
livingroom.)
"MIKE?
YOU WANT SOME COFFEE?"

"UH, UH!
MAYBE, SOME HOT TEA!"

"OKAY!
JOACH'KA'LAH!
HAVE YOU FINISHED
THAT CHOCOLATE
POPSICLE?"

"YEAH!
CAN I HAVE ANOTHER
ONE? I'M STILL HUNGRY!"

"MAMA!
THE COMMERCIAL'S
OVER! YOUR SHOW'S
COMIN' BACK ON!"

"OKAY!"
(The sharp whistling of
the old tea kettle drifts
in, from the green-and-
yellow tiled kitchen.
Smells of Tettley Tea,
and Maxwell House coffee
fill the humid summer air.)

"E'! It's back ON!
IT'S ON!"

(Franctically excited
voice, muffled by the
waning-whistling-down
of an old tea kettle,
and punctuated with
the puff-puff of a
sharply-burning cigarette.)
"HERE I COME!
HERE I COME!"
*********************


In Memory
of Elaine Michaelson.
I love you,
Mom.



Copyright 2011.

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