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Brownies
by Dallas Landrum
05/20/04
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CHARACTERS:
DAD—in his early forties.
JEN—between the age of 12 and 14.
JOSH—between the age of 10 and 12.
Various girls—between the ages of 11 and 14.



SETTING:
A comfortable living room with couch, television, coffee table and other furniture. The time is early evening.


A group of young girls are lying on a living room floor stage right in a dimly lit room watching a movie on the television. DAD enters through the front door carrying a bag of groceries.

DAD: Hey girls!
GIRLS: Hi, Mr. Davis.
JEN: Hi, Dad. Did you get the brownies?
DAD: Right here. How’s the slumber party going?
JEN: Good. We just started the movie.
DAD: What did you all decide on?
JEN: The new Tom Cruise movie.
DAD: (He reaches for the empty video box on top of the television and reads the back.) Jen, this says it’s rated R…
JEN: (Quickly) I know, but it’s only because there’s a little swearing…
DAD: Swearing…
JEN: But that’s really all, Dad. It doesn’t make the whole movie bad.
DAD: You know the rules, honey. Nothing over the PG rating and you know it. You need to put in another movie.
JEN: Dad, I know the rule and I’ve followed it before. But all my friends are here and they chose the movie—can’t we watch this, just this once? A little bit of it can’t hurt, can it?

Slight pause. He looks over at the girls, still watching the movie.

DAD: Okay honey. I’ll let you stick with your decision.
JEN: (slightly shocked) Really? Wow. Thanks, Dad.
DAD: I’ll go make the brownies.

He leaves the living room and goes to the kitchen stage left. His son, JOSH, is reading at the kitchen table. DAD looks thoughtful.

DAD: Hey, Josh…?
JOSH: I know, I know. ‘Stay in the kitchen or in your bedroom and don’t bug the girls.’
DAD: That’s not what I was going to say.
JOSH: ‘Do your homework?’
DAD: No…
JOSH: Because I finished it all.
DAD: Really? Good. But I wanted to ask you something.
JOSH: Okay.
DAD: Why do you think your mom and I make house rules?
JOSH: I guess it’s to keep us safe.
DAD: You guess?
JOSH: Well, yeah. A lot of the times they seem unfair, like when I go to a friend’s house I have to tell you who’s going to be there and what we’re going to do. But…
DAD: But what?
JOSH: You want us to be safe. And if you didn’t give us rules then I would know you didn’t love us.
DAD: Why do you say that?
JOSH: Because the Bible says if you don’t discipline your children it means you don’t love them. I forget where but it says it somewhere.
DAD: (Slight pause) I need you to get something for me outside.
JOSH: What?
DAD: I need you to get…(He whispers in his ear.)
JOSH: Oh, gross! Dad, you can’t be serious!
DAD: Take a plastic bag with you and don’t get a whole lot, just a little bit.
JOSH: Why do you want…
DAD: I’m going to teach your sister a life lesson she’ll never forget.
JOSH: Cool! (He exits stage left.)

Some time passes. DAD enters the living room through the kitchen. He’s holding a plate full of brownies. They look delicious.

DAD: Okay girls. I’ve got the brownies. (One of the girls stops the movie; the others crowd around him, each taking a brownie. They go back to their seats.)
JEN: Thanks, Dad.
GIRL: Yeah, thanks Mr. Davis.
DAD: (To JEN, but so the others can hear) You know honey, I was thinking about what you said earlier.
JEN: ‘Bout what?
DAD: About letting you watch this movie. You know what? You are absolutely right. A little bit of a bad thing doesn’t ruin the whole thing.
JEN: (Surprised) Really?
DAD: Yeah. In fact, I thought about it and I decided to add something extra to the brownies.
JEN: (Ready to take a bite) What?
DAD: Dog poop.

The girls freeze where they are. They’re waiting for him to say he was kidding. He’s serious.

JEN: What?
DAD: I added dog poop. It’s just a little bit, you can’t even tell it’s there.
JEN: Are you serious?!
DAD: Yeah. (The girls are grossed out.) But it’s just a little bit…
JEN: Dad! You can’t do that!
DAD: (Innocently) Why not?
JEN: Because it’s gross!!!
DAD: But you love my brownies…
JEN: But we can’t eat these brownies, they’re bad!
DAD: But it’s just like you said, Jen. It’s just a little bit of bad in a lot of good. It can’t hurt you, can it? If you can watch that movie, with a little bit of swearing, you can certainly eat this with a little bit of…extra flavor.
JEN: Uh…
DAD: Can’t you?
JEN: I get it, Dad. I get it.
DAD: What’s that?
JEN: A little bit of a bad thing in a good thing makes the whole thing bad.
DAD: Bingo.
JEN: Sorry ‘bout that, Dad.
DAD: I’m sorry I had to make such a dramatic point, but there are reasons why we make these rules for you. I don’t want any bad things inside my daughter’s beautiful mind.
GIRL: Jen? Are we finishing the movie or not?
JEN: No, let’s watch something else.
GIRL: Mr. Davis, could we have brownies without anything ‘special’ added?
DAD: Coming right up.
GIRL: Thanks.

JOSH enters the living room from the kitchen. He has a brownie in his hand and he’s chewing.

JOSH: Hey Dad, what was that lesson you were gonna teach Jen?
DAD: Where did you get that?
JOSH: (Smiling, muffled chewing) I took it from the batch you made for the girls when you weren't looking. (The girls laugh. Josh frowns.) What?
DAD: Son, let me teach you a little lesson on patience…

He walks JOSH towards the kitchen. Lights fade on girls laughing.

BLACK OUT


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