Written by Paul Rust
On CENTER STAGE, JEREMY dances to Guns-N-Roses "Paradise City" playing loudly. He sings along although not with the actual words. Instead, he replaces the lyrics with random dirty words (i.e. ass, bitch, hell, damn, shit, fuck, etc.).
Abruptly, Jeremys mother JANE enters stage left. She watches Jeremy in silence (and anger). However, once he triumphantly sings, "Oh, fuck bitch," Jane finally speaks up.
Jeremy: (scrambling to shut off nearby stereo) What, mom?!
Jane walks to Jeremy.
Jane: What kind of language were you using?
Jeremy: What do you mean? What language?
Jane: Dont play dumb, Jeremy Charles Hansen. You were using bad language. What music were you listening to?
Jeremy: Just this just this band.
Jane: Whered you get it?
Jeremy: Uh I got it from, uh grandma gave it to me for Christmas.
Jane: Dont lie to me, Jeremy. Whered you get it?
Jeremy: Um this kid at school uh, he told me to buy it or hed beat me up.
Jane sighs, walks over to the stereo, takes out the cassette, and reads it.
Jane: Guns and Roses? Jeremy, I dont want you listening to this garbage.
Jeremy: Well, like you should talk, I saw a Guns-N-Roses picture in one of your Newsweeks. And youre always reading that and stuff. Ill gonna tell Grandma on you.
Jane: (ignoring his comments) Jeremy, Im taking this tape and youre not getting it back. This music has naughty words and I dont want you singing along with them.
Jane begins exiting stage left.
Jane: And when your father gets home, hell be hearing about this.
Jeremy: What?! No!
Jane stops her exit.
Jane: And he can think of a just punishment for you.
Jeremy: (pleadingly) Mom! No! Please dont tell him!
Jane: Jeremy, hes your father and he has a right to know.
Jeremy: Mom, please dont! Cant we keep it a secret? I promise I wont ever use naughty words again!
Jane: Im telling your father, Jeremy. And thats final.
Jeremy crosses his arms, makes a violent whine, and stomps his foot.
Jane: Jeremy, dont act like this.
Jeremy repeats the action angrier.
Jane: Jeremy Charles, stop that now.
Jeremy enters a tantrum (flailing arms, closed-mouth whines, stomping feet, held-back tears). Jane gives up and exits stage left.
After a few more moments of the tantrum, Jeremy calms himself. Slowly, his eyes glance around looking for a good hiding place. He finds a place behind the stage-left curtain.
CHUCK, Jeremys father, enters stage left.
Chuck: (looking around, irritated) Jeremy? Jeremy, quit hiding. You need to act like a grown-up and come out. Now, Jeremy.
Jeremy appears from behind the curtain. Chuck and Jeremy stare at one another.
Chuck: Your mom told me you were saying naughty words. (beat) Were you?
Chuck: You know what to do.
Chuck grabs a chair, places it CENTER STAGE, and sits down. Jeremy lingers.
Chuck: Jeremy, we dont have all night.
Jeremy shuffles over, takes off his belt, and hands it to Chuck. Methodically, Jeremy pulls down the back of his pants and underwear and lays over his fathers lap with his backside exposed. Chuck folds the belt in two, raises it above his head, and readies to strike Jeremy, but instead, pauses. A moment passes.
Jeremy: Uh, dad are you going to spank me?
Chuck: Jeremy do you learn anything when I do this? (beat) Do you?
Jeremy: I learn that if you spank me, it hurts.
Chuck: Did you know that I dont like doing this? (beat) I mean, I know all parents say that, but did you know I really dont? Its your mother. I get home from a long day of work and Im worn out and then she tells me to spank you for something I didnt even see you do. Its ridiculous.
Jeremy: You should tell her you dont like it.
Chuck lifts up on Jeremys shoulder, signaling him to stand up and put on his pants.
Chuck: Well, its tougher than that. You cant tell your mom everything.
Jeremy: I know what you mean. I dont tell her much either. Im afraid shell think its naughty and get mad at me. One time, I kicked the dog in the face and I didnt say a thing.
A moment of silence.
Chuck: I have to tell your mom something tonight.
Jeremy: What do you have to tell her?
Chuck: That I I got fired from work today.
Jeremy: Did you bring a squirrel to the office?
Chuck: No. Why?
Jeremy: I saw this movie once where a guy brought a squirrel to his office.
Chuck: And he got fired?
Jeremy: No. Everyone in the office really liked the squirrel and then the squirrel became a boss and ran the office. (laughing) And the squirrel boss made everybody get acorns for him. Hed say, "Johnson, I want five acorns on my desk by tomorrow!" (still laughing) And then he moved the offices into a big tree. (laughter subsides) It was really funny.
Chuck: Whered you see that? Was it on TV?
Jeremy: No. (ponders) I think I think it was a dream.
Chuck: (smiling) Oh.
A moment of silence.
Jeremy: So whatd you do?
Chuck: That got me fired?
Chuck: I I, uh my boss caught me doing something I shouldnt have been doing.
Jeremy: Did you bring a squirrel to work?
Chuck: (smiling) No. I didnt. (beat) Jeremy, do you know what making love is?
Jeremy: (hesitantly) No.
Chuck: Its okay if you know, Jeremy. I wont be angry.
Jeremy: I know what it is. (beat) Did your boss catch you making love to mommy?
Chuck: My boss caught me making love to someone who wasnt mommy.
Jeremy: (quietly) Oh.
Chuck: And the place I work at has rules against making love with people you work with.
Jeremy: Oh. (long pause) You goin to tell mom?
Chuck: Im going to tell her that I got fired, Jeremy but Im not going to tell her why.
Jeremy nods, staring down at the floor.
Chuck: Now Im not going to spank you tonight, Jeremy. (beat) But we got to make your mom think it happened. So (standing up) we can do something else instead. Im gonna slap this chair with my belt and every time I hit it, you make a sound like youre getting spanked. Okay?
Jeremy nods emptily and stands up. Chuck positions the chair, retightens the belt, and cracks it at the seat. Jeremy lets out a yell (half-pretending, half-releasing his own frustration). Chuck hits the chair again. And again. And again.
Chuck: Okay. That was good. Now come over here.
Jeremy shuffles over to Chuck. Chuck licks his fingers and wipes it under Jeremys eyes to emulate tears. Once hes finished, Jeremy and Chuck stare at one another.
Chuck: Pretend to look sad. (Pause, Jeremy does nothing) Perfect.
Abruptly, Jane enters stage left.
Jane: So, Jeremy, did your father speak to you?
Jeremy: (quietly) Yes.
Jane: Are you going to be a nice boy now?
Jane: Good. Im happy to hear that. (beat) Dinner will be ready in a couple minutes. Chuck, you want to help me slice some carrots?
Chuck: Of course.
Chuck and Jane begin exiting stage left. Jeremy speaks up.
Jane: Yes, Jeremy?
Jeremy: Dad fucked another woman.
Jane has no reaction. She just stands there silently for a moment. She glances at Chuck, looking hurt, and exits. Chuck remains still, giving a long stare to Johnny. He quietly exits.
Jeremy stands alone on CENTER STAGE. Slowly, he picks up the belt, retightens it, lowers the back of his pants and underwear, and begins whapping his own backside, crying.
As Jeremy swats himself, LIGHTS FADE TO BLACK."Naughty Words" IS COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL AND MAY NOT BE DOWNLOADED, TRANSMITTED, PRINTED OR PERFORMED WITHOUT THE EXPRESS PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR
"Naughty Words" debuted September 13, 2002, performed by Paul Rust, Chris Stangl, Aprille Clarke.
Performed at Best of No Shame on December 13, 2002. (same cast)