Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Zinc: A Play in Three Acts

Act I

The dinner table.
Mom: "Charlie? You're not going to the movies this weekend?"
Charlie: "No, I think I'm going to stay home."
Mom: "Oh, then what are you planning to do with your allowance money?"
Dad: "Planning on saving it, Sport?"
Charlie: "No, I was thinking of investing it."
Dad: "Well, look at that! My son, the entrepreneur!"
Mom: "What were you thinking in investing in, Charlie?"
Charlie: "I was thinking of investing in zinc."
Dad: "WHAT?!"
Mom: "Joseph, please."
Dad: "No son of mine is going to invest in zinc!"
Charlie: "Dad, all the kids at school have zinc. Everyone's getting it. I think it may be a hot commodity."
Dad: "I don't care if it's a hot tamale! We are not a zinc family! Look at this fork! Do you know what it's made out of?"
Charlie: "No?"
Dad: "It's not made out of zinc, I can tell you that! And I'll be damned before I let zinc into my home!"
Mom: "Joseph, try to calm your voice. The neighbors may hear."
Dad: "Let them hear! Charles, as long as you are living under my roof, you are forbidden from having anything to do with zinc!"
Charlie: "...Maybe I don't wanna live under your roof anymore! I hate you, Dad! You never understand!"
Mom: "Charlie!"
Charlie runs upstairs.

Act II

The playground.
Sam: "Hey, Mark, I heard you got some new zinc."
Mark: "Yeah! Check it out!"
Sam: "Wow, that's the nicest zinc I've ever seen."
Betty: "Mark, would you like to go to the ice cream shop after school? I'll show you some zinc I just bought."
Mark: "Sure!"
Sam: "Oh, here comes Charlie."
Mark: "Hey, Charlie!"
Charlie: "Hi, guys! What're you doing?"
Mark: "We're talking about zinc!"
Charlie: "Oh..."
Sam: "You got some zinc for yourself, right, Charlie?"
Charlie: "What? Oh, yeah! Of course. I just left it at home is all."
Sam: "Tough break, man. I wanna see what zinc you got. Look at mine."
Charlie: "Wow, that's nice zinc. Can I touch it?"
Sam: "Nuh-uh! You can go touch your own zinc."
Mark: "Yeah, and be sure to bring it tomorrow."
Charlie: "Yeah, I'll do that...See you guys later..."
Charlie leaves.


The living room.
Mom: "Oh, someone's coming in."
Dad: "Whose that at the door?"
Charlie: "Who else would it be?"
Dad: "Hey there, Sport! Wanna see a neat magic trick?"
Charlie: "No, thanks, Dad. I have lots of homework. I should get to that."
Dad: "Well, look at that! My son, the scholar! ....Wait, what's that jingling? Stop right there, Charles!"
Charlie: "Dad?"
Dad: "Empty your pockets, Charles!"
Charlie: "Dad, I-"
Mom: "Joseph, you-"
Dad: "Empty! Your! Pockets!"
Charlie hesitates, his eyes watering. He empties his pockets. Several pieces of zinc fall to the ground.
Dad: "I knew it!"
Mom: "Oh, Charlie..."
Dad: "What did I tell you? Huh? What did I tell you about zinc?"
Charlie: "It's's not-"
Dad: "It's not what? It's not yours? So you're not only bringing zinc into my house, but you're stealing it?"
Charlie: "No, I-"
Dad: "You're going to learn your place, Charles. First, you're no longer getting an allowance, if you're just going to use it to buy zinc."
Charlie: "...Dad..."
Dad: "Dad, nothing! Now go to your room! No, wait, you probably have zinc in there. Go to the attic, and don't come out until I say so!"
Charlie: "...I hate you, Dad! I hate you! I hope you die!"
Dad: "And when I do, I suppose you'll bury me in a zinc coffin!"
Charlie runs, weeping, upstairs. Mom picks up one of the pieces of zinc.
Dad: "God...damn. Where does he get this from? It's those kids at school. Bad influences, all of them!"
Mom: "Honey..."
Dad: "I try to raise a respectable son, and it all gets thrown back in my-"
Mom: "Joseph!"
Dad: "What?"
Mom: "This zinc that Charlie had. It isn't his. It's...mine."
Dad: "What?!"
Mom: "I don't know how he got it - he must have been looking through my things - but this is definitely the zinc I bought when I was a teenager."
Dad: "Teenager? You mean you had this when we met? Why didn't you tell me?"
Mom: "I don't know, I, I didn't want to upset you."
Dad: "Didn't want to upset me, huh? So you keep it for 20 years so that our son can find it?"
Mom: "Joseph, I-"
Dad: "No. Get out. I'm not even going to look at you. I don't think I'll ever be able to look at you without seeing zinc. Go, just...just go."
Mom: "Oh, Joseph..."
Mom leaves, weeping. Dad looks at the zinc in his hand.
Dad: "Congratulations, zinc. You've destroyed my family, and you've ruined my life!!!"
Dad throws the zinc to the ground and falls to his knees, weeping.



Anonymous said...

If I were an art critic, I would say that zinc was an analogy for drugs.

As a social libertarian, I would call this a violation of civil rights.

As an political science major, I would say that the black market for zinc has destabilized the political system of the family and destroyed the balance of power between the family.

Finally, as an economist, I would say the father's policy is economically inefficient.

-Comrade Chavez

Anonymous said...

I lol'd.

May not be the epic of gilgamesh, but it's good.