Copyright Christopher Slater
Curtain opens on a high school hallway. There are lockers and decorations celebrating an upcoming football game. Cally, a student at the school, is holding a letter and waving it around
Cally: Mel! Hey Mel! I got it! I got it! I got it!
Melody: Whoa! Slow down Cally! I told you to cut down on the caffeine. Now what is it?
Cally: I got it!
Melody: Oh my gosh! Just don't give it to the rest of us.
Cally: Not funny.
Melody: Kinda funny.
Cally: Whatever. I got my letter from Brown University today! I got accepted! Full scholarship. Can you believe it!
Melody: Honestly, no! Come on, don't you remember in sixth grade when you misspelled your boyfriend's name on that note?
Cally: So? Some people's names are hard to spell.
Melody: Cally, his name was Bob!
Cally: I'll never forget the look on Ms. Marshall's face when she read that note. I still don't think that she knows what it said.
Melody: Girl, I don't think that you knew what it said.
Cally: Not really. Still, I am getting to go to an Ivy League school. I guess you still plan on going to UCLA?
Melody: Not a lot of choice. My mother went there, and it is all she talks about. If I didn't go there, I think that she would have a breakdown.
Young man dressed in clothes that look like they came from a science fiction movie enters. He is playing with a Rubic's Cube.
Cally: Speaking of breakdown, here comes Tommy, the Space Cadet.
Melody: Oh, leave him alone!
Cally: Why do you put up with him? I mean, the boy speaks Klingon!
Melody: He's sweet. Besides, Little Miss Snotty, if you remember me in Middle School, I used to be the same way, Klingon and all.
Cally: Yeah, but you grew up!
Tommy: (excitedly) Who threw up!?
Cally: Grew up you wannabe Yoda!
Tommy: Actually, I look more like an Ewok.
Cally: (exasperated) And your face looks more like pizza! I'm outta here!
Melody: So, what're you up to, Tommy?
Tommy: Have you started to apply yet? Colleges like getting early applications, you know.
Melody: No, not yet. Cally's already gotten an acceptance letter from Brown, and it's just the beginning of the year. I'll put my application in for UCLA whenever I get the
Tommy: I thought that you didn't want to go there.
Melody: Not really, but I guess that I have to follow in my mother's footsteps.
Tommy: The wise Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi once asked, "Who is more foolish? The fool or the fool who follows him?"
Melody: How about the fool who paid $50 dollars for the Star Wars DVD box set? Does he say anything about that?
Tommy: You dare insult the god of all sci-fi movies? Oh man! I gotta go! I'm gonna be late for football practice!
Melody: Tommy, you've been on the team for four years now? Why don't I ever see you play in a game?
Tommy: Oh, well, Coach doesn't let me play much. But he does let the big linemen use me as a tackle dummy. He said it would just be until we can afford to get a new sled.... he's
been saying that since I was a freshman. Well, if I don't hurry up the guys will give me an atomic wedgie. See ya!
Tommy exits. Cally and two other young ladies peer nervously around the corner.
Cally: Is he gone?
Melody: Yes, he's gone. You can come out now. Hi Steph. Hi, JC.
Stephanie: Oh my ga! Can you believe it! This is our Senior year, and everything is going so perfectly! You guys are not going to believe this. Marcus finally asked me out! He has
been the love of my life ever since we were Freshmen! I have been waiting for this forever!
JC: Uh, Stephanie, you've dated half the Senior class since you were a Freshman.
Stephanie: JC, do you have to try and make me sound like such a bad person? I just don't have much patience. But every time I broke up with a guy I always hoped that Marcus would
be my next boyfriend.... except for when that cute new guy from Miami moved here....
Cally: Well, I think I've heard enough. We better get to class. Hey Mel, what's wrong?
Melody: (shaking her head, like she is trying to clear out the fog) Uh, what? Oh, nothing. Just thinking about the future.
JC: Well, the future had better include us getting to chemistry class. If I have any hope of going to MIT, I have to make an "A" in there.
Melody: (Beginning to walk off stage) Ok, ok, let's go. Hey, Cally, have you run into Obb lately?
Cally: (laughing) Shut up!
Tommy walks out on stage in front of curtain, still with his Rubics Cube.
Tommy: (to audience)I know what Melody's friends think of me. I know what I would think of me if I were them. Still, it might surprise them to know what I have learned
through being weird. Take this Rubic's Cube, for example. It is a perfect description of Melody's life. All jumbled up and looking for a solution. I know it seems like she has it all together.
She has good friends, makes good grades, and is well liked around the school. Hey, she even treats me nicely. My mother doesn't even treat me nicely. But I can tell just by looking at her that
things aren't so great. Her mother really is pressuring her to go to school out in California. I know she doesn't want to. All of her friends are going to go to school out East. They've been
friends since sixth grade. Still, they have all year to figure it out. (Voices start calling "Oh, Tackle Dummy...where are you?" from offstage) Oh no! That's the football players! And
I'm wearing a new pair of underwear! I'd better go! (Runs offstage)
Curtain opens to a living room. A lady sits in a chair looking tired. She is working on a laptop and doesn't notice when Melody walks in and drops her book bag next to the couch. She walks
back offstage for a moment and returns with a drink in her hand.
Melody: Good afternoon mother. My day was pretty stressful. Thanks for asking.
Mom: (Looking up) Honey, you're home. How was your day?
Melody: Oh, just peachy. Yours?
Mom: That's nice. By the way, you might want to tell your friends that I'm not your secretary. I took messages from JC, Cally, Stephanie, Tommy, and one wrong number.
Melody: Why did you take a message from a wrong number?
Mom: I didn't want to be rude. JC, Stephanie, and Cally all wanted to know what grade you made in Chemistry and Tommy said he was stopping by after football practice.
Melody: I just hope that he hasn't broken anything yet.
Mom: (Distractedly) Mmmhmm...
Melody: You know, Mom, they made Tommy the star running back. I also became a nun and joined a convent. Cally won a Nobel Prize today and JC is giving up on her plans to go to MIT
so she can rap for a living.
Mom: (still working on her computer) Sounds like a full day, dear.
Melody: We also got our report cards today.
Mom: (Suddenly attentive) Report card? Let me see! Okay..."A" in English..."A" in history..."B" in Latin...oh, Melody. A "C" in Chemistry?
Melody: Come on, Mom. Chemistry is tough. Especially with Mr. Baxter. You know he turned down an offer to be a college professor because he liked teaching high school.
Mom: Now, honey, you know that the only thing the admission office at UCLA will see is the grade. They won't be interested in your excuses. Come on, Mel. Your dream is within you
grasp. Don't let it slip away.
Melody: (Unenthusiastically) Yeah. Gotta make it to UCLA. (Phone rings) I'll get it. (Melody gets the phone. Mom goes back to work on the computer)
Hello? Oh, hi Cally. Yeah, I saw my grades. I got a "C" in chemistry. Well, of course you got an "A". There isn't any spelling involved in that class. Yeah, Mom freaked. She's worried about me
getting into UCLA. Yes, she's in the room. Don't worry, she's typing on a report for work. Brad Pitt could run past shirtless and she wouldn't notice. Let me ask you something. Why don't you
try to come to UCLA with me? I know it isn't Ivy League, but still, it would be fun. (Doorbell rings. Mom doesn't react) Cally, I better let you go. We'll talk about it later. See ya.
(Hangs up the phone and walks towards the door). Don't worry, Mom. I'll get it.
Tommy is at the door. He is wearing a football uniform, complete with pads and helmet. He hobbles a few steps in the door and then falls to the floor.
Melody: Tommy! What did they do to you? (Removes Tommy's helmet)
Tommy: (Dazed) Mom, I don't wanna go to school. I wanna stay home and play ping-pong with the dog. Can I, please?
Melody: Come on. Let's get you somewhere you can rest.
Melody helps Tommy to another part of the stage. It is Melody's room. There is a small bed, closet, dresser, and chair. She helps Tommy sit on the bed, then she goes and sits on the
Tommy: Mel, is that you? Thank goodness. I thought I might have forgotten to wear a helmet again.
Melody: At least you have a helmet this year. Last year they didn't even give you one. I remember you running around practice with toilet paper wrapped around your head.
Tommy: (laughs) Ah, the good old days. How did you do on your report card?
Melody: I made a "C" in Chemistry. Mom wasn't happy. She's worried about me getting into college.
Tommy: That seems to be everyone's concern these days. Did you know that JC is so determined to get into MIT that she passed up a chance to go on a weekend trip with her church
group so that she could stay and study. I saw her in the library on my way here. I think it was JC. It was either JC or one of the characters from Shrek. I'm not sure. My head was still hurting
Melody: Well, what about you? I mean, Cally's always talking about Brown. JC is stressing about getting into MIT. Stephanie is planning on heading to New York to do some acting. I
haven't heard you say what you have planned for your future.
Tommy: Ah, Yoda taught us to have our minds on where we are and what we are doing. Still, I consider the future. For example, I am trying to decide what I will do for the end of
the year talent show. I was thinking about doing my chimp impersonation.
Tommy proceeds to screech and hop around like a monkey, pounding on the furniture.
Mom: (from other side of stage, without looking up from laptop) Mel, honey, turn down the TV. I'm trying to work.
Melody: Quiet, Tommy. We don't want to disturb Mom. She's disturbed enough already. (Tommy walks over and pretends to be picking lice from Melody's hair and eating them,
like some National Geographic special) Cut that out!
Tommy: Ok, maybe I won't do the chimp thing. But I've got to think of something. After all, there's only 149 more days of school left.
Melody: That's a pretty long time, though.
Tommy: Not really. After all, it is the last time that we will have in that school. It is the last time that we will have with those people. It's the last time that we'll have
with those friends.
Melody: No it's not. My friends and I will still get together.
Tommy: Sure you will. And you'll talk on the phone and on the internet. Still, it won't be the same. Doesn't affect me much because the only friend I have besides you is my
talking E.T. doll. Nice guy, but he repeats himself a lot.
Melody: (to herself) Just 149 more days...that really isn't that long.
Tommy: Well, I'd better go. We just got a robot vacuum cleaner and my mom promised to let me push the button.
Melody: I'll walk you to the door.
Tommy: That's ok. I'll go out the window. It's closer. See ya, Mel!
Tommy walks offstage
Melody: But we're on the second floor! (A scream is heard offstage, followed by a thud)
Mom: Mel, honey, would you get that? I think someone is at the door!
Melody: This is our last year together. We haven't gotten to do anything. (flops down on bed) Thanks a lot, Tommy. Now I'm not just being ignored, I'm also depressed.
Curtains close. Tommy comes out to address the audience. His uniform has leaves and twigs sticking out of it.
Tommy: Now I understand why people put bushes under the window. Sure helps cushion the fall. Now, I know that most of you are wondering why I let the football team use me as a
tackling dummy. The truth is, I do it for the players. For most of the guys out there, football is all they've got. Some don't make great grades, some can't play any other sport, and some even
stay after school for practice because they don't want to go home. It makes them feel better to push around a little guy like me. They never say thank you, but it's still worth it. After all, 17
concussions, 4 broken ribs, and a bruised spleen never hurt anybody. Melody is a more painful problem. Her parents got divorced about 10 years ago. Her dad played minor league baseball and her mom
got tired of him never being home. Ever since then, she has put all of her hopes and dreams on Melody. She has Mel’s future planned out to the letter. The problem is, she forget to check with
Melody about it. I didn't want to add to Mel's stress, but I knew she didn't realize that this was the last year she had with her friends. I'm hoping that she'll be able to live it up. Well,
I'd better get changed. By the way, the football team is doing great. Some of the players have asked me to join the track team with them this year. Something about needing a shot put to practice
throwing. I wonder what they meant... (exits)
Curtain opens to the school hallway. Cally, JC, and Stephanie are standing there talking to each other. It is early January, so they are all dressed warmly.
Cally: So I guess you all had a good Christmas break?
Stephanie: You would so not believe it. Tyrone called me and we hung out on New Years Eve. He took me to this crunk New Year’s party.I have never had so much fun.
JC: Ok, I’ll be the stupid one to ask. What happened to Mr. Perfect, Marcus?
Stephanie: Marcus? Oh, come on! I just went out with him because I felt sorry for him. I never really liked him to begin with. Anyways, after the party, Tyrone and I went for a
JC: Unbelievable. You have become such a good actress that you can actually fool yourself.
Stephanie: Oh, you are one to talk, JC. Do you even remember that JC isn’t your real name? You real name is…
JC: Ok! Ok! You don’t have to remind me. I’m sorry I doubted your ditzyness.
Cally: Hey did any of you talk to Melody over break?
JC: Yeah…she called me…a lot.
Stephanie: Me too.
Cally: I think that she left a dozen messages on my machine while we were traveling. I’m starting to get worried about her.
JC: Me, too. She seems to have become a little obsessed with always hanging out. I love the girl, but I have a lot of other things to worry about. I’m waiting for my acceptance
letter from MIT. I’m really stressing about it. I don’t have the patience to hold her hand through the year, too.
Stephanie: Maybe she’s just, you know, worried. I mean, we’re all going to different places next year. Maybe she’s just trying to make the most of it.
JC: Brilliant, Steph! Hey, if you have one more intelligent thought today, you might break your own record. Imagine…two intelligent thoughts in the same day. Wow.
Stephanie: Dangit, JC! I am not as stupid as you think I are.
Cally: Will you two cut it out. I’m really getting concerned about Mel. I think that we need to find a way to help her face reality.
JC: Well you better think quick, cause here she comes.
Melody: Hey guys! I hope you had a great Christmas. I sure did miss seeing all of you. But, hey, Spring Break will be here before you know it! We should go ahead and start making
Cally: Uh, Mel, maybe we…
Mr. Braxton, the chemistry teacher, enters.
Mr. Braxton: Melody, could you come in here for a moment, please?
Melody follows Mr. Braxton to the classroom. Chemical equations are written on a dry-erase board and beakers with strangely colored liquid sit on top of a table.
Melody: Yes, Mr. Braxton?
Mr. Braxton: Melody, I wanted to warn you ahead of time that your semester average in Chemistry is a “D”. I have already informed your mother. She has requested a parent-teacher
conference tomorrow. I want you to be there.
Melody: Mr. Braxton, will you tell me why you make this class so difficult?
Mr. Braxton: I’m trying to prepare you for college.
Melody: Well, why won’t you ever let me and JC and Cally and Steph sit together?
Mr. Braxton: For the same reason as the last question, Melody. I’m trying to prepare you for college. A lot of things will change there. I’ll see you here tomorrow afternoon.
Melody returns to the hallway. JC, Cally, and Stephanie are still there talking.
Stephanie: So, what’s up with Bill Nye over there?
Melody: Oh, nothing. I have to have a parent-teacher conference tomorrow.
Cally: You’re kidding me! Aren’t you worried?
Melody: Oh, come on. I have other things to worry about. Like Spring Break! Guys, I was thinking, we could go camping. It would be great! All us girls just hanging out. I can rent
a camper, and…
JC: Uh, Mel, I am heading out to Massachusetts with my folks to check out MIT for Spring Break. Sorry.
Stephanie: Yeah, and I already have an audition in New York that weekend.
Cally: Yeah. My parents want to spend some family time together that week.
Melody: (getting upset) Well cancel it guys! Come on, we don’t have a lot of time left together. We’ve got to make the most of it before things change.
Cally: Mel, things change. They already are changing. I think that its time you start to realize that.
Melody: Realize what? That we won’t be friends anymore? Is that what you’re saying?
JC: You know that we’ll always be friends, Mel. But we’ve got to get on with our lives. We can’t stop time. We just have to keep moving on.
Melody: (yelling) Moving on! Moving on! Cally, when you and Michael’s braces got stuck together when you were kissing in 8th grade, did I keep moving on? JC, when you
broke you ankle in karate and couldn’t kick your little brother’s butt, did I keep moving on? Stephanie, when you used to get your hair caught in your teeth and you would chase it around in
circles, did I keep moving on? I’ve been there for all of you, and this is how you thank me?
Stephanie: Mel, I think you’re so overreacting.
Melody: Shut your mouth, airhead! Your brain might escape.
Melody begins stomping off. Tommy comes on stage with a hula hoop and some balls.
Tommy: Check this out, Melody! For the talent show, I’m gonna hula hoop while juggling. Watch!
Melody: Get out of my way, you little freak!
Melody shoves Tommy into some lockers and storms out. Tommy stands up in shock. He walks towards the audience. The lights dim behind him.
Tommy: All right. I’ll admit it. That hurt. And I have had some nasty stuff done to me before. One time, I got my entire body wrapped up in duct tape and then left out in the snow
for an hour. And then, when they took the duct tape off, they did it nice and slow. Still, I know that Grandma was just having a little fun. But this…I’ve never seen Mel like this before. I didn’t
see her for the rest of the day. Neither did any of her other friends. The last thing that she needed was to have a confrontation with her mom. Sometimes what we need the least we get the most of.
Lights come back up on the classroom. Mr. Baxter is sitting at his desk. Mom and Melody enter.
Mr. Baxter: Ah, Mrs. Kellerman. Nice to meet you. Please have a seat.
Mom: Hello, Mr. Baxter. I am glad that you agreed to see me, but just so you know, I am in a hurry. I have work I have to get done.
Mr. Baxter: Then I’ll get right to the point. Your daughter is making a “D” in my class. This class is elective. She doesn’t have to take it. Now, normally I would recommend that
she drop the class, but I’m not recommending that for her. Melody is a very capable student. I think that she can ace this class. The problem is that she hasn’t applied herself.
Mom: You’re telling me that my daughter has a “D” in this class, but she could earn an “A”. Well, let me ask you this, Mr. Baxter: Which grade are you putting on her transcript?
“D” or “A”?
Mr. Baxter: I have put down a “D” of course.
Mom: (beginning to sound agitated) You put a “D”. You know that your little class could ruin her chances at UCLA?
Melody: Mom, don’t. Please.
Mr. Baxter: Mrs. Kellerman, I have to put the grade that she earned.
Mom: Well I’ll tell you what you should do. You ask my daughter any chemistry question that you want. When she gets it write, you can march right down to the office and correct her
grade from a “D” to an “A”.
Melody: Mother, stop!
Mom: I will do no such thing. This wannabe professor is trying to ruin your chance to go to UCLA. He is trying to take your dream away from you.
Melody: (Standing up and yelling) No he’s not! He’s taking your dream away from me! I never said I wanted to go there.
Mom: How can you say that? Don’t you remember all of the UCLA stuff that used to decorate your room. You’ve wanted to go there sine you were eight years old.
Melody: Mom, you decorated my room like that! You did it right after you and dad split up! No wonder he was always on the road. Just to get away from your control. It amazes me how
you keep trying to control me when you know nothing about my life.
Mr. Baxter: Maybe I should just…
Mom: Shut up! My daughter and I are having a discussion! I know all about you.
Melody: No you don’t. Did you know that I have always dreamed of singing on stage? Did you know that jammed my wrist by punching a wall when a guy stood me up for a date? What
about my friends? I bet you don’t even know JC’s real name.
Mr. Baxter: I thought JC was her real name.
Melody: No. It stands for Jackie Chan. We started calling her that when she started taking karate.
Mr. Baxter: So what is her real name?
Mr. Baxter: I’d go by JC, too.
Mom: Honey, I would know all of these things if you just told them to me.
Melody: I’ve told you every last one of them. You just never paid attention. The only time I am at the front of your mind is when you are trying to plan my future. Well let me tell
you something Mother. I don’t need my future planned by someone who couldn’t even keep her own marriage together!
Melody storms out into the hallway. Mom, on the verge of tears, sits down in a desk as the lights dim on the classroom. The lights raise on Melody, sitting against a locker, crying. Tommy
enters carrying a backpack.
Tommy: Hey, Mel. Don’t bother trying to talk. I heard you yelling all the way down the hall. I brought someone to meet you. I’ve known him since I was five. Mom made me let him
hang around the house when I got older. I thought you might really need his company today.
Tommy pulls a teddy bear out of his backpack and hands it to Melody. She sobs into the bear’s fur as Tommy starts to walk off.
Melody: Tommy, wait! After the way I treated you yesterday, how come you are here today?
Tommy: Well, The X-Files doesn’t come on until 6 o’clock. I didn’t have anywhere else to be right now.
Tommy exits as Melody returns to sobbing. Curtains close. Tommy returns to address the audience. He is still working on the Rubic’s Cube.
Tommy: Kinda tense, huh? You know, in a way, I can’t blame Melody. Here mother really doesn’t understand her. But then again, neither does mine. Of course, I walk around speaking
alien languages all of the time, so I wouldn’t expect my mom to understand me. It was definitely a tense couple of weeks afterwards. Most of Mel’s friends just acted like the whole thing never
happened, but they noticed that Melody stopped trying to get together with them. Mel talked to me a lot, but never about the incident with her mother. She did stay in chemistry. She made an “A” on
her next report card. Still, she wasn’t happy. Neither was I. Basketball season started, and for the fourth season in a row I was assigned by the coach to clean the locker room. Every day. That
wouldn’t be too bad if the guys didn’t keep leaving practical jokes all over the place. I didn’t think I would ever get all of those feathers off of me. Still, the end of the year is approaching.
The worst part for me is the fact that I still haven’t been able to think of a good act for the end-of-the-year talent show. It’s a really big deal. It’s the last assembly of the year, and the
winner gets to perform at graduation. I thought that I had come up with a sure-fire winner, but the principal said that I couldn’t bring a live alligator to school. Oh well. I hope Mel comes up
with something good to perform as well. She’s been scared to for the last three years, but she knows this is her last chance, so she’s going to give it a try. I better go. I better go feed that
gator before he goes looking for my cat again.
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