CATHERINE FINDS HER BALANCE AND OTHER STORIES
CHUCK MAKES A CHOICE
The school gym. Students are on stage rehearsing a play. Chuck is painting scenery backstage.
Pete: Avast me lubbers. ‘Tis Peter Pan and his Lost Boys come to board me.
(Ida blows her whistle.)
Ida: Cut, cut, bloody cut.
Pete: What? I did it right.
Ida: Pete, this is Robin Hood, not Peter Pan, and your playing Robin Hood. (To the other kids) OK, let’s take five.
(Pete walks offstage.)
Mrs. Gonzalez: Don’t worry, Pete, I thought it was good. Den again, I don’t know the diference between Peter Pan and Robin Hood.
Ida: (To Mrs. Gonzalez) I just wish these kids would cooperate.
Mrs. Gonzalez: (Robotically) Don’t worry. If you need to talk, I’ll be in my office.
(Chuck throws down his paintbrush.)
Chuck: Come on, Pete. We don’t want to be late to meet Dad.
Pete: No, I think I’ll stay here. This is important, and I don’t want to risk incurring the wrath of Miss Crabby. Tell him I’ll be there next week.
Shift to a bowling alley. Chuck’s dad is standing in the opening of an empty lane. Chuck enters.
Mr. Riley: Hey, Chuck. How are you?
Chuck: Pretty good. (He picks up a bowling ball) Pete couldn’t come. He had something after school.
Mr. Riley: Something after school! He’s not in trouble, is he?
Chuck: No, it’s something for English.
Mr. Riley: English! So he got that part in the play he wanted?
Chuck: He’s the lead if you can believe it.
Mr. Riley: Wow! I was in a play once. Me and the other guys beat up this other guy who was a snitch and stabbed this shive in his back. Or maybe that was a cough syrup trip. Well, I’ve got to go now before those stupid guards realize I’ve escaped. I’ll try to bust out again. Maybe I can come to the school and go to your hockey games for a few minutes.
Shift to outside of Chuck’s house. His mother is standing outside of the open door of the cab.
Chuck: Mom, could you fix this tear in my jeans? I have to go over to Tena’s to work on the play.
Mrs. Riley: Tell me I didn’t just hear you ask me to fix the tear in your jeans. With your father in jail, I have to drive this cab and do the maintenance. I don’t even think I’ll have time to make dinner. Why couldn’t he have just passed that account onto a collection agency, or at least hired mafia guys to kill the guy for him?
Cab Radio: Der werber der werber werber werber.
Mrs. Riley: Someone wants a cab at Union Station. I have to go.
(Chuck goes inside. He pulls out a bag of flour and two bowls. He measures flour into the bowls.)
Chuck: Pete, dinner’s ready.
Shift to the front door of Tena’s house. He rings the doorbell. Mr. Sheldon answers.
Mr. Sheldon: Oh, you must be the new boy I’m going to ride to work
Chuck: No, I’m here to work with Tena on the school play.
Mr. Sheldon: This way.
(They go into the back room)
Chuck: Hi Tena.
Tena: Hi Chuck. This looks like Lincoln green, don’t you think?
Chuck: Yeah, considering I don’t know what the heck Lincoln green looks like.
Shift to the bowling alley. Chuck is standing at the snack counter. Mr. Riley enters.
Mr. Riley: Hi, Chuck.
Chuck: Hi, Dad. (Hesitating) Here’s a ticket to the play tomorrow. (He pulls a ticket out of his pocket and gives it to his father)
Mr. Riley: Thanks. I gotta go. We’re under lockdown. See you tomorrow.
Shift to the school gym. The play is about to begin.
Pete: Hi, I’m Robin Hood. Did you know my dad is in jail. See, these guys said they were going to pay him for a cab ride, then they didn’t so he broke down one of the guy’s apartment doors and killed him. Then, these other guys owed him some money from an illegal gambling ring but they didn’t give it to him so he beat them up. And, this other time this guy owed him twenty bucks so he busted his kneecaps. (Everyone looks horrified) Hey, I forgot my lines. Jeez.
Chuck: (Backstage) Hey Tena, let’s go meet my dad.
(They go out into the audience where Mr. Riley is sitting beside Chuck’s mom. Tena’s father comes up to them.)
Mr. Sheldon: Say, Riley, since your son appears to like my daughter, let’s say I get you a government job and have your record expunged.
CATHERINE FINDS HER BALANCE
The kitchen of a house. Snowflakes are falling against the window. Catherine steps off the fridge toward the counter, as if walking on an imaginary balance beam. She falls.
Mr. Peters: (From upstairs) Catherine, did you pack fruit in your lunch?
(Catherine stands up. Her father comes down the stairs. They put on their winter clothes and exit.)
Shift to the school gym. Catherine gets on the balance beam and walks across.
Catherine: Boy, that went a lot better than the last time.
Gym Teacher: OK, here is the team for Monday: Casey, Tracey, Lacey, Bacey, and Catherine.
Shift to an apartment building. Catherine enters and starts to walk upstairs. Music can be heard coming from upstairs. Catherine enters the apartment.
Mrs. Peters: (Sings) Destiny. Destiny. Destiny (Stops) Ok, guys, I don’t know. Something isn’t right with this song. Our hair could stand to be a little curlier.
Band Members: Yeah, your right.
Catherine: Hi, Mom.
Mrs. Peters: Catherine, how are you?
Catherine: Pretty good.
Mrs. Peters: How is school?
Catherine: Good. I’m getting good marks---
Mrs. Peters: (To the band members) What you say we resume tomorrow. (The band members nod) Great. (To Catherine) Whare do you want to go for supper?
Catherine: I want to go to one of the various crummy burger joints that inhabit this neighbourhood.
Shift to a shopping mall. Catherine and Mrs. Peters are walking through the main part of the mall.
Catherine: Well, I’m pretty full.
Mrs. Peters: Com on. It isn’t every day you get to eat things like this since your useless father makes you eat healthy food. Killjoy.
Catherine: Well, I guess.
Mrs. Peters: (Signals the waiter over) Two more, please.
Shift to outside Mrs. Peters’ apartment building.
Catherine: Oh by the way, Mom, I made the gym team.
Mrs. Peters: That’s wonderful. When’s your meet.
Mrs. Peters: Good. I’m going to come.
Mrs. Peters: See you this weekend. We’ll have a really good time. We’ll have three helpings this time.
Shift to Catherine’s father’s house. Catherine enters. Her father is sitting on the couch, listening to music.
Mr. Peters: Hi. How was it?
Mr. Peters: What did she feed you? Probably hamburgers and French fries. Well, come on and I’ll make you a drink with proteen.
Catherine: Well, actually---
Mr. Peters: Follow me. (Mr. Peters goes into the kitchen. Catherine follows him. He takes steak, chicken, pork chops and bacon out of the fridge and puts it in the blender. He blends it and pours it into a tall glass.) There you go.
Catherine: Well, actually, Dad—
Mr. Peters: I said drink it.
Catherine: Oh, by the way I made the gym team.
Mr. Peters: Great. When’s your meet?
Catherine: Next Monday.
Mr. Peters: Great. I’ll be there.
Shift to outside Mrs. Peters’ apartment building. Catherine is wearing one boot and one shoe and has bandages running from her right ankle to her right knee. She enters the building and walks perfectly up the stairs and into her mother’s apartment. Music can be heard.
Mrs. Peters: Catherine, what happened?
Catherine: Oh, I fell during practice.
Mrs. Peters: Oh.
Catherine: It’s just a little sprain. I’m going to have to miss the meet, though.
Mrs. Peters: Oh, there’ll be other meets. (Turning to the band) OK, let’s take Destiny once more from the top. (They begin to play. They finish and the band members exit.) Well, we won’t be going out tonight. I’d hate for you to have to try to keep up with me with that leg. How does pizza sound?
Catherine: It sounds great. Mom, suppose you had two drummers and they were both really good, but you could only choose one. How would you choose?
Mrs. Peters: Well, that would depend on a lot of things, like how cute they were and how curly their hair was.
Catherine: Would you lie?
Mrs. Peters: Of course! (A knock is heard at the door) That must be the pizza.
Catherine: I’ll get it.
(She leaps off the chair and walks perfectly over to the door.)
Mrs. Peters: Catherine! You don’t have a sprained ankle after all.
Catherine: I know. Dad is supposed to come to the meet, too, and I didn’t want you there because you and Dad would just fight.
Mrs. Peters: We will just fight, but there’s no way that looser of a father of yours is going to make me look like a bad parent by me not coming to your meet. This is just typical of you. You invite your father. You are a horrible child. You’re a freeloader. You don’t appreciate any of the things I’ve done for you, like the time when you were a baby and you wouldn’t stop crying and I finally suckered the Fuller Brush man into giving you a glass of milk, which you promptly spilled all over the floor. Ugh, milk and dirt, that would have been a joy to clean up, if I had actually cleaned up. Jeez, at six months old, you would think you would be able to hold a glass. And the times I would brush dust off your closet door. (A knock is again heard at the door. Mrs. Peters answers the door to the pizza delivery man.) Give it here. (She stuffs the entire pizza in her mouth) (To Catherine with a full mouth) Go to your box.
Catherine: Night, Mom.
Mrs. Peters: Screw off.
Shift to the school gym. Catherine is coming out of the change room with one pink slipper and one blue slipper. Mr. and Mrs. Peters enter.
Mr. and Mrs. Peters: You.
Mr. Peters: How dare you come here and screw this up for me.
Mrs. Peters: Me?
Mr. Peters: Yeah, you. Are you so stupid you’ve even forgotten who you are?
Mrs. Peters: What you say is what you are, so if you call me stupid that means you’re stupid.
(Mr. Peter’s grabs Mrs. Peters’ arm.)
Mr. Peters: You put me through such horrible things in our marriage.
Mrs. Peters: Well, who through the neighbour’s barbecue against our wall.
Mr. Peters: You never took care of Catherine or the housework. You only cared about the stupid band. You were always off to gigs with them.
Mrs. Peters: Oh yeah, well, you didn’t not care about taking care of Catherine or doing the housework so that makes you stupid.
Mr. Peters: Ohhhhhh.
(They begin to beat each other up.)
Anncr: And in second place, Catherine Peters.
Mr. Peters: Second place. Typical of a member of this family.
THE CANARDS MOVE OUT
Open on a pool. Lisa, Casey and several other girls are standing in the shallow end of the pool.
Instructor: Welcome to the water safety course. This course is to teach you the proper ways to swim so you don’t drown. Not that we really care if you drown because you’re poor, but if you did it would be too much paper work. I want you to start by treading water. Lean back as if you were sitting on achair, bring your knees up to your chest and pump your legs.
(Lisa tries without success.)
Lisa: (To Casey) Boy, I’m never going to learn this stuff. We have ten more weeks of this?
Casey: Come on.
(She pushes Lisa under the water. She splutters to the surface.)
Instructor: Hey. Oh, you didn’t drown.
Shift to the street outside Lisa’s house. Lisa and Casey come up the street and enter.
Don Canard: Hey, we’re moving to
Gail Canard: We’re moving to
Don: This guy, Robert Picton, thinks he can get us a good job as junkies in the downtown east side.
Don: You know I haven’t been able to find a job. We’re about to be evicted.
Lisa: We’re about to be evicted. I didn’t know that.
Gail: And these yuppies have agreed to rent the house because they want to live like poor people.
Shift to the school. Lisa enters and begins rampaging around beating up kids.
Lisa: Lisa mad.
Shift to Lisa’s house. Lisa enters. Don and Gail are sitting on the couch.
Lisa: You know, I was thinking I could live in that shack my friends and I are using as a clubhouse.
Gail and Don: OK.
Based on “Catherine Finds her Balance and Other Stories” by Kit Hood, Linda Schuyler and Eve Jennings.