In a darkened room Phil finishes taping a big pink bow on the birthday present. Signing the small card, he attaches it to a pink bow, then watches how Katie’s tight shorts and tank top clings to her slender body....

8 months ago

Latest Post Charlie by Peter Emmett Naughton
Dramatis Personae:
Phil
Mother
Officer 1
Officer 2
Katie
Father/Mr. Thompson
Judge
Tina
Narrator

ACT 1.

In a darkened room Phil finishes taping a big pink bow on the birthday present. Signing the small card, he attaches it to a pink bow, then watches how Katie’s tight shorts and tank top clings to her slender body.

In a darkened room Phil finishes taping a big pink bow on the birthday present. Signing the small card, he attaches it to a pink bow, then watches how Katie’s tight shorts and tank top clings to her slender body.

Phil: (Hiding the present behind his back, he steps out of the doorway just as she passes) Wait, Sugar.

Katie: (Startled) Oh, I didn’t know you were in there. I had a great birthday! Thanks for convincing my dad to let me come with you and Tina. It seems like forever since I saw Evie. I really miss her now that she lives in the country. (Reaching over, she quickly kisses his cheek, then yawns as she turns toward the bedroom)

Phil: Before you go. I found a present you didn’t open yet.

Katie: (Reads the card) Oh, Uncle Phil, you’re such a charmer! You didn’t have to. (She shakes the box curiously)

Phil: You have to guess first. (Impatiently waiting, he takes a drink of his beer while watching her open the box)

Katie: (Holding the slinky pink nightgown up against her body, she hugs him.) Wow! I love it! How did you know I wanted this one? I can’t wait to put it on. (Smiling she walks off. Opening the door, she turns back) Oh, thanks again, Uncle Phil; you’re such a special friend.

Narrator: Phil sits, surrounded by the endless quiet, thinking about the day’s festivities. Phil wonders if Katie realizes how much sexier she looks now that she is fifteen. Angrily crushing his beer can, Phil remembers earlier in the day when the boy at Katie’s birthday party flirted with her. Walking back to the refrigerator, he remembers how she looked as he watched her in the rear view mirror of his car. Her clothes, damp from the unbearable heat, had clung to every curve of her delicate body. Lecherously smiling he takes a breath of the fresh desert air and lets the big-city stresses flow from his body.

Phil: (Speaking to himself): Oh, my angel, after tonight you will know just what a special friend I am.

Narrator: Listening to be sure everyone is asleep, he silently walks through the house closing all the bedroom doors, sensuously rubbing the wet beer can with his thumb.

Phil: (To himself) Your kiss, gentle as angel wings, burns through me. I’ve watched you grow into a woman with the glistening fire burning in your eyes. Tonight I will teach you.

Phil: (Walking into her bedroom. Startled): What was that? (He listens) It must have just been the sound of too much beer in my head. Everyone is still asleep. (Quietly sitting on Katie’s bed, Phil feels desire’s fire burn within him. Watching her sleep, he caresses her hair. With a tiny sound, Katie turns facing him. A moonbeam slipping through the curtain of the window shines on her bed. He swallows a moan as her delicate nightgown falls, revealing her breast)

Phil: (Quietly) Your mom said you wanted this nightgown; but your dad wouldn’t buy it for you. (Touching the silky fabric) It is so right that you wore it tonight. So many hours I looked for just the right present that would show you how I felt. (Phil gently holds her hand on his bare chest, while very quietly unzipping his jeans. When Katie’s hand tenses in apprehension, he moves quietly into the darkness. Only when he hears her deep, rhythmic breathing does he once again sit next to her, stroking his manhood with her hand)

Katie: (Pulls her hand back, groggy) What? Who’s there? Dreams… (Yawns) Remember… touch. Must have been nightmare? (Yawning falls asleep again) So real. (Phil feels Katie’s hand once again go limp, as she falls back into sleep. Waiting until she is once again sound asleep, he places her hand on his hardened manhood, gently stroking it)

Phil (Gasping): Oh, your touch so gentle. So unlike the others. So pure.

Narrator: Startled, goose bumps prickle Katie’s skin as she finally wakes again realizing what is happening. The stench of alcohol fills the silent bedroom. Confused still, Katie jerks her hand away from Phil’s strong grasp, then pulls the blankets up snugly around her neck. Trembling, she wiggles away from the older man’s body now silhouetted in the moonlight.

Katie: (Frantically whispering. Pulling the blankets up to her chin) What are you doing? Phil: I came to teach you, to love you. Don’t be afraid. I’ll never hurt you.

Katie: (Quietly screaming) You’re crazy! Get away from me. Your wife…

Phil: I’m so glad you wore the nightgown I gave you tonight. You look so beautiful in it. Don’t reject my love. You told me I was your special friend.

Katie: (Horrified. Clings harder to the blankets. Louder but still in a soft forceful voice) Get out, NOW!

Narrator: Phil walks, forlornly, out of the bedroom. Entering the kitchen, he grabs another beer, and plops down on the couch. Lighting a cigarette, he sits in the darkened living room. Meanwhile in the tiny bedroom, Katie wraps herself up like a cocoon in the blanket. Shivering, she wonders if she will ever feel warm inside again. Then walking into the dimly-lit living room, she sits in a big over-stuffed chair across from Phil. Carefully pulling her legs up under her house coat, she diligently checks that no skin is left visible to his leering eyes.

Katie: (Points to a bedroom down the hall) Why? Your wife ? What if she heard?

Phil: (His pants still unzipped, revealing) Everyone is asleep, Angel. They’ll never know. I waited until the time was right. You have to understand; it is my duty to teach you what men do to little girls. You know how much I care about you.

Katie: No, I don’t understand. How can I tell my Dad his best friend is a pervert?

Phil: (Zipping his pants, he walks over and crouches just in front of Katie. Touching her hand) You’re right, your Dad wouldn’t understand when I tell him how you, his precious angel, came after me. Maybe it would just be better if we kept this our little secret.

Katie: You’re drunk!

Phil: (Tucking in his shirt, Phil looks out the window) You don’t have to worry, Angel. I won’t touch you again. Go to bed, now.

Narrator: Katie sits frozen in the chair, wondering what she should do. Her arms cramping, she continues to clutch the blanket snugly around her. Glancing out the window, she notices the faint outline of the sun over the horizon. Fear of someone catching her alone with Phil forces her finally to move toward the bedroom; but, as she passes, Phil grabs her in a momentary embrace. Feeling her cringe, he quickly kisses her.

Phil: (His words slurred as he stares into her eyes) I had to teach you. Try to understand. It was my duty.

Tina: (Walking into the semi-lit room, Phil’s wife gasps) What the hell is going on here? Phil?


Act 2.

Narrator: Months have passed as Katie helps her mother prepare dinner. Katie spends less and less time with her family now. Her dad started working two jobs and spends very little time with his family. Somehow since Katie’s birthday, her parents are always too busy for her. Katie’s parents never hear her call out in the darkness for those many months when the nightmares stole her sleep. Katie and her mother prepare dinner…

Mother: Don’t forget to poke the potatoes before you put them in the microwave. (Silence) Katie, did you hear me?

Katie: Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention. What did you say?

Mother: (Turning toward Katie) Something wrong?

Katie: Nah, finals comin’ up. Now, I’m supposed to do what with the water?

Mother: Sit down for a minute. I’ll get us some lemonade.

Katie: (Nervously) OK, but I have a lot of homework to do still.

Mother: You know I got a call from one of your teachers the other day. She said your grades are dropping. She is worried about you. What’s going on?

Katie: (Hatefully) Nothing, Mom. Really!

Mother: I’ll finish dinner. You go work on your homework. (Katie heads toward the door) By the way, Phil invited us to come over Saturday for a barbeque. Your father is looking forward to talking to Phil about that boat.

Katie: (She stops) What boat?

Mother: Your father and Phil are going to buy a boat together. Then we can spend June together at Phil’s cabin by the lake. You know the boat is why your father got that part-time job at Radio Shack. Uncle Phil and Tina are such fun people. It’s such a shame they can’t have kids of their own.

Katie: (Heading toward the door again) I can’t go! I’m too busy. Why do you always make plans without asking me! I’m not a little kid anymore.

Mother: The past few months have been hard on all of us. I think it will do us all some good to take a day off and have some fun. Dad has already taken the time off from work. You will go. I’m sure you’ll have a great time.

Katie: (Leaving) NO!

Narrator: Katie spends the next week frantically trying to study for her finals. Fearful of seeing Phil again, she can’t sleep, eat, or study. At school she begins binging on candy bars, cokes and doughnuts whenever the urge hits her. Each night getting sick, so unable to eat her dinner. By Friday afternoon, Katie knows she failed her finals and will have to retake Biology and Algebra in the summer. Pondering how to explain failing to her parents, Katie remembers the barbeque at Phil’s house the next day. Unable to find a way to sabotage the family outing, she wallows in depression while eating a gallon of ice cream.

Saturday Katie wakes up and puts on her baggiest shirt and ugliest shorts, grabs her Walkman, and storms into the kitchen.

Mother: (Laughing as the two walk out the door to the car) What, no make-up? Isn’t it a little early to be getting ready for Halloween?

Narrator: After arriving at Phil’s house, the families’ women lounge around on the driveway while the men talk around the barbeque grill. Sitting next to her mother, Katie laughs nervously as Tina and her mother talk. Soon unconsciously she starts laughing and talking with the ladies. Out of the corner of her eye, she continuously watches her dad and Phil stand around drinking and talking. After a while, Katie falls asleep while listening to her music. Her long legs bask in the warm sun. The adults’ laughter wakes up the teen who turns and watches Phil juggle four big, red apples. When each one unceremoniously smashes on the driveway everyone laughs, even his wife, Tina, who quickly cleans the mess.

Tina: You should see our backyard. Phil built a deck with a fish pond. He even has fish in it. If you ask me, I think he plans to practice casting in it. Maybe there he’ll actually catch something, unlike at the lake. There he only catches a cold. (Stretching, Katie gets up and walks toward the backyard. Standing on the deck she becomes entranced in the golden fish swimming in the clear water, and doesn’t hear the footsteps coming up behind her)

Phil: (Blocking her way back): Like the fish?

Katie: (Nervously wrapping her arms around herself steps away from Phil) Yeah, they’re OK.

Phil: Haven’t seen you for a while. How is school? I hear you have a new boyfriend. Katie: What, are you checking up on me? I don’t have a boyfriend. Just leave me alone.

Phil: I built this because I know how much you like the lake. Now you have a lake right here in town that you can visit any time.

Katie: (Silently nods, as she feels his hand slowly creep up the side of her leg. Hearing her father’s voice, she tries to turn away. Quietly) I told you just leave me alone!

Phil: Oh my sweet Angel, don’t be angry with me. Here, let me help you. (Finally she pushes past and defiantly heads toward the house)

Katie: I’m going to tell my Dad.

Phil: (Catching up to her, Phil grabs on to her arm so she can’t leave) I’m disappointed that you would want to tell our little secret. It would make your parents so upset to hear such lies and I would have to tell them the truth. Your father is so much happier now with all the plans about the boat. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so relaxed since his heart attack. I can’t imagine that our little secret may stress him too badly? Surely not enough to have another heart attack. And maybe in a few years he could still get that silly boat, without my help. What do you think?

Katie: He won’t believe you. He loves me.

Narrator: Katie walks around to the front of the house, and once again sits next to her mother. Climbing into her father’s car after lunch, she politely smiles and waves good-by. On the long drive home, she falls asleep as a whirlwind of thoughts torment her. Katie becomes more and more despondent as the week progresses, remaining in her room constantly.

Mother: (Touching her daughter’s forehead) You OK? You don’t seem to have a fever.

Father: (Coming in) Your mother is worried sick. She says you won’t eat or talk or anything. And your principal called. She said you haven’t been in school all week. Where have you been? What is going on? (Katie remains silent)

Father: Katie, let me help you now. Talk to me.

Katie: (Crying): He touched me, Daddy. Father: (Angry) What do you mean he touched you? Who?

Katie: On my birthday, Phil came in my room and he… (Sobs) Then again at the barbeque. I’m sorry. I promise, I didn’t do anything. He made me promise not to tell you. (Choking) He… he… he said he just wanted to teach me.

Father: (Storming out of the room): I’ll kill him!

Katie: (In hysterics, chases after him) Please, don’t Daddy. It was my fault! I’m sorry.

Mother: (Flatly): I told you not to tell him. Now who will pay the price? Narrator: During the next week Katie and her family barely talk to each other. There is no reference made to Phil or Tina. Phil and Tina’s picture that once stood next to Katie’s picture, has mysteriously disappeared. For the first time in months, Katie and her parents sit together at the dinner table. But no one says a word. There are rumors that Phil is in the hospital in a coma; but Katie is afraid to ask about him. (Knock at the door)

Father: I’ll get it. (When her father opens the door, Katie sees two young officers standing on the porch)

Father: Yes, may I help you, Officers?

Officer 1: Mr. Thompson, you are under arrest for the aggravated assault and battery with a deadly weapon with the intent to commit bodily harm on the person of Phil Beaumont. Come with us, please.

Katie: (In shock, she listens to the officer read her father his Miranda Rights. Then running to the police car where her father now sits proudly, she desperately tries to open the car door) Daddy, no! Come back!

Mother: Katie, what have you done?


Act 3.

Judge: (In the courtroom) This has been a case where good and bad, right and wrong no longer stand clear as black and white. We have heard many testimonies about a man who was highly respected in the community, as a friend, businessman, and citizen. And we learned how his inexcusable behavior negatively impacted several young girls and their families. Mr. Thompson, I hope you do realize the full consequences of choosing to take the law into your own hands. (Father looks back at his wife and daughter, hearing their soft cries) I find you guilty of one count aggravated assault and battery…

Narrator: Katie screams and runs hysterically out of the courthouse. Conversations fill the courtroom, as Katie’s mother and a police officer run outside looking for the girl.

Mother: (Seeing Katie running into the street) Katie, be careful! Stop! The car!

Narrator: Katie turns toward her mother just as the sound of squealing brakes fill the air. Screaming, Katie’s mother watches as her daughter’s body is flung like a rag doll over a small car. Time seems to stand still as Katie’s mom runs toward her daughter’s lifeless body. Oblivious to the ruckus around her, Katie’s mom sits on the cold pavement, cradling her daughter’s head in her lap.

Mother: (Sobs) No, Katie, don’t leave me.

Katie: (Lapsing in and out of consciousness) Mother, I didn’t mean to destroy… family… I love… you… Dad… don’t let them take him. I killed him. I killed…


Original play produced by Leslie Riggins.


Editor

Published 8 months ago

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