[Wilderness. A man 3040 stands in the cold near a lake. He has a tackle box next to him, hands in his pockets. He seems either cold or nervous, we really can’t tell. After a moment, a woman approaches. She is dressed like a mom in a warm-up suit and tennis shoes. Her hair is in a ponytail not a neat one by any means. She catches his eye. He starts to leave.]
MAUREEN: Don’t leave. On my account, I mean. I am supposed to meet someone here.
BOB: I haven’t seen anyone.
MAUREEN: You waiting for someone?
BOB: Yeah… My son. He’s fishing. We’re fishing.
MAUREEN: Oh. A good spot, huh? To fish I mean.
BOB: That’s what they say.
MAUREEN: Catch anything?
BOB: Nah. Too cold, probably.
MAUREEN: Your first time?
MAUREEN: Here. Fishing here.
BOB: Sure is pretty. You zone out after a while looking at it all. Not much to see anymore, it’s getting dark. Nice chatting, though. So long.
MAUREEN: What about your son?
BOB: What? Oh. I’m sure he went back to the car already.
MAUREEN: The burgundy van, right?
BOB: Do I know you?
MAUREEN: I would think you would’ve gone with him. Your son.
BOB: Do you need some help finding the road?
MAUREEN: I would go places with my son. You just can’t be too careful these days. The people out there.
BOB: I could go back, call someone for you.
MAUREEN: You just don’t strike me as a parent.
BOB: I told you, I’m here with Fuck it. I’m outta here.
MAUREEN: I used to think we could help you sick fuckers, that somehow pedaphilia was curable.
BOB: Look, lady, I don’t know you can you let me by?
MAUREEN: Cut the shit!
[She threatens him with a baseball bat.]
Give me your shoes.
BOB: I told you, my son…
MAUREEN: You do know me. Lilpete4673. Teenspace, right? Well guess whatyou thought it was him, this is what you get.
BOB: I’m here fishing
MAUREEN: Give me your goddamned shoes!
BOB: My son went to pee, he’ll be back, you’ll see.
MAUREEN: What’s his name? Call him.
BOB: I’m sure as hell not going to tell you anything about my son.
MAUREEN: What? You think I’m going to do something? That’s a laugh. Sit down! Admit why you are here. Tell me what you were going to do.
BOB: Why are you doing this?
MAUREEN: I’m trying to get in your sick head. You’re gonna tell me he is your first? Why any human being on the planet would lure innocent children to
BOB: I was fishing!
[She hits him in the back with the baseball bat.]
MAUREEN: You don’t even have a fishing pole.
BOB: You have a bat, but we’re not exactly playing baseball, are we?
[She whacks him again. Lower. His knees buckle. He’s down on the ground.]
BOB: He took it back with him. We had some things to load. He was cold.
MAUREEN: Give me your jacket. (yelling) NOW!
BOB: It’s freez
[HE complies, not sure if he’s going to get whacked again. MAUREEN looks in all pockets.]
MAUREEN: Where is it?
BOB: Where is what?
MAUREEN: What you promised me. Him. What you promised him. A baseball card. Where is it?
BOB: I don’t
MAUREEN: (reciting) I like to fish, maybe we could meet sometime. I told He told you he likes baseball.
MAUREEN: My son. Look. You thought you were talking to an eight year old, right? But it was me, instead. Your worst nightmare. A parent. You’re lucky it’s me and not the cops. You know what they do to you in prison. Huh? I’m not that cruel.
BOB: Please, lady. I think you broke a rib. Calm down, would ya?
MAUREEN: You told him you would bring him a vintage Babe Ruth when you met. Where the fuck is it?
BOB: You got the wrong guy, lady. I’m sorry if your son has been downloading porn or something while you’re at PTA or getting your nails done. Feel guilty fine by me but don’t you pull a Babe Ruth just because you’re a bad parent and you think something’s going on with me and your son
[She raises the bat and gets ready to swing. He catches it and pulls her down. He puts the large end of the bat to her throat. He has the upper hand now.]
BOB: What do you think now, huh? How do you like it, huh you crazy bitch?!
MAUREEN: My son was raped with his own baseball bat.
[BOB backs off, still holding on to the bat.]
(breaking down) You don’t talk about my son. You don’t have any right to even think about my son.
BOB: (Looking at the bat, horrified.) Lady I’m sorry. You got the wrong guy.
MAUREEN: Pete was only 78 pounds. A grown man versus 78 pounds. He fought like hell to get that monster offa him.
BOB: There was a person here earlier. Shady looking guy. He saw me and my son and left. Probably got spooked. Can’t imagine those types would do anything with people around.
MAUREEN: (stunned) Oh, god. I’m sorry. Are you okay?
[SHE approaches him, reaching out. He’s spooked and pulls away quickly.]
MAUREEN: I’m not. I’m not myself.
BOB: I’d hate to meet the real you then.
[MAUREEN and BOB share a nervous laugh.]
MAUREEN: Humor. My therapist says that laughing is good. A release of chemicals.
BOB: Funnygreat. Can you get me a stretcher please?
MAUREEN: Oh, god. Are you really hurt?
BOB: I’m fine. At least I think I am. Just, I don’t think I’m ready to give this back yet. You know my boy has to be about the same age. In the Boy Scouts. That’s why I wasn’t so worried about him, you know? He’s pretty good at finding his way. Likes to be independent. How old is your boy?
MAUREEN: He was eleven when he… It first happened when he was only eight years old. After that was when the real torture began. Once was enough… enough for anyone.
BOB: You should tell someone. I could talk to him, if you want.
MAUREEN: It doesn’t matter anymore.
BOB: Of course it matters. You have to.
MAUREEN: They knew. We did. Still too much for an eleven year old, thinking about girls, and dating. I couldn’t even count the nightmares he had about it. Or the ones he didn’t tell me about. He loved baseball. So he (can’t bring herself to say it) Most Moms would be pissed at their kid for ending it. I don’t blame him, you know. Figured the best thing for him was to leave this world.
BOB: I’m sorry for your loss.
MAUREEN: Thank you.
BOB: You and your husband must’ve been mad as hell.
MAUREEN: He was overseas serving at the time. Left the anger and me in charge of dealing with it all. Paul became obsessed with e-mails, then websites, then chatrooms. Seems so impersonal to me. But he said it was the best way to make friends.
BOB: I served in the Gulf.
MAUREEN: Oh god. If I knew then…
BOB: Cut yourself some slack. I don’t judge. Can’t compare to what you went through.
MAUREEN: How long did you serve?
BOB: Eight months in the Marine Corps. Kids don’t think of you as much of a hero these days. Not like they used to.
MAUREEN: Pete always thought his father was a hero. We just… we just couldn’t get past it his father and I. Or I couldn’t get past it. We just sort of grew apart after Pete… after he…
BOB: I get it. There are places, you know. To get help.
MAUREEN: Oh, shit. You think I’m going to off myself now, is that it?
BOB: It helps to talk about it, right? I’m just saying that maybe you should think about getting help.
MAUREEN: They already got me on plenty.
BOB: What’s their cocktail for ya? Zoloft?
MAUREEN: Atavan. Sometimes Xanax. Helps me sleep. That’s when it’s the worst.
BOB: Yep. I remember. I’m off it all now. But I don’t know how I would’ve done without it after I came back. Some guys aren’t so lucky. Do worse. Stuff without a prescription.
MAUREEN: My husband wouldn’t talk about what happened there or here. Let it go, he said. Forget it. He didn’t think that back home things were big enough fish to fry.
BOB: Fish. Geez. My son must really be freaked by now. Can I?
[BOB points to the shoes.]
MAUREEN: Oh, god. Sure. God. I’m sorry.
BOB: I told him I would watch the sunset and then we’d go. (Putting on shoes) You going to be okay out here?
MAUREEN: You know my Petie, he always hated when I called him Petie, but I told him it didn’t matter ‘cause he was my Petiehe used to like coming here. It’s why I suggested it to the creep in the first place. Figured if I caught him, it might be some sort of tribute.
BOB: I’m sure he’s long gone by now.
MAUREEN: Whether I catch him or someone like him. I don’t care. I think I’d feel better. Hell, I don’t know. It was my therapist who suggested visiting some of the places he liked to help with the grieving process.
BOB: I hope you find the bastard that e-mailed him…you. Be careful. You could get hurt.
MAUREEN: They’re cowards. Why else would they pick on children? Besides, I think I can defend myself.
BOB: I have no doubt about that. You’re batting a hundred.
MAUREEN: Still sore? What am I thinking? Of course you are.
BOB: I don’t judge. Besides nothing some Aspirin won’t help. From Ativan to Aspirin. Hey, there’s something to look forward to.
MAUREEN: You are kind, you know that? Nobody’s been this kind, really.
BOB: We’re human beings after all. All put here for the same thing, right?
MAUREEN: To fight like hell.
BOB: Hoo-Rah! You do have quite a swing there. You should have your own baseball card…
[An awkward laugh. Glad it’s over.]
BOB: Take care of yourself, Maureen.
MAUREEN: Do the same.
[Bob finds the quickest way out of the forest he can. A little smile back on the way out. MAUREEN notices the tacklebox. Thinks for a moment, then…]
Hey Wait a minute you-
[MAUREEN is curious. She contemplates the quiet moment. She opens the tacklebox. There are fishing lures. She breathes a sigh of relief. Fingering the lures, she pulls out a magazine. This one she is not so thrilled about. She pulls out a baseball, and finally a baseball card. She takes her bat and clutches it tightly as lights fade.]
Copyright © 2006 by Jeanette D. Farr
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