A SENSE OF JUSTICE—————–A Play in One Act
by Trudy A. Martinez
Copyright c 1996
Cast of Characters
Bertha: A young inquisitive little girl. SHE is the daughter of BOSWORTH and LINDSEY.
Bosworth: About thirty-five years old, HE is a demanding individual. Infatuated with his own image, HE secretly seeks self satisfaction with other women. HE has an overly vivid imagination.
Lindsey: Thirty-two years old, SHE has a degree in Bio-Chemistry. Until recently, SHE worked outside the home. Now upon the urging of her husband, BOSWORTH, SHE stays home. To keep from getting bored, SHE has set up a laboratory in the basement. SHE is on the brink of a major discovery.
Meggan: A woman about fifty-five years old. SHE is recently divorced. SHE is a highly successful artist who has recently taken up sculpture as a hobby. MEGGAN lives next door to LINDSEY.
Margo: MEGGAN’s daughter. SHE is seventeen, beautiful, shapely, looking as if SHE just stepped off the cover of Playboy magazine.
Dr Haggard: BOSWORTH’s medical doctor.
Dr Null: A Doctor called in by DR HAGGARD to talk with BOSWORTH.
The home of BOSWORTH, LINDSEY, and BERTHA.
The seventh year of BOSWORTH and LINDSEY’s marriage.
Act IScene 1
We are in the cluttered make-shift laboratory located in the basement of Bosworth’s home.
It is mid-afternoon. Seated on a stool is LINDSEY. Her arm is resting on a long medal table cluttered with test tubes and other instrumentation of all shapes and sizes. LINDSEY is busy working on a formula that is in a developmental stage. SHE stops momentarily to jot down the progression of her experiment in a journal. From the intercom on the wall behind the table, we hear a faint voice: “Mom, can I come down?”
Yes, Honey, come on down.
(At this point, BERTHA opens the door to the basement and peeps in)
Well, are you coming down? I am anxious to hear how your day was.
(BERTHA starts to descend down the stairs, holding the banister with one hand. As she steps down each step, she intentionally hits the metal tap on her shoe against the metal casement, causing a clinking noise.)
Well, how is my talkative, little girl (LINDSEY brushes the hair away from BERTHA’s eyes)
Is God a man like daddy?
(BERTHA looks up at her mother)
Did you discuss God in school?
(BERTHA moves her head up and then down shyly as she speaks softly)
Julie said–her dad was–God–
(BERTHA’S voice gains intensity)
Tell me it’s not true, Mom–She said, he is God cause he’s boss–and knows everything.(BERTHA heels and toes the metal tap on her shoes on the concrete floor, making a clanking noise)
Honey, man is not a God. God is called a father–but he’s not like your dad–no arms, no legs–can’t see him–He’s just–invisible–But He is there–everywhere. Besides, men don’t know everything–just think they do.
(BERTHA looks at her mother questioningly)
We tend to let your dad–think he’s boss–don’t we?
(BERTHA nods her head. SHE is smiling)
We kind’a, boost his ego–make him feel in charge. Daddy likes that–We give him–benevolence.
(BERTHA dances across the room, clinking her taps, as her mother talks. SHE stops in front of the chalkboard)
(BERTHA picks up a piece of chalk and attempts to write the word. SHE prints be-no-violence)
LINDSEY(Patiently redresses)(Lindsey pronounces the word in syllables)
Be-nev-o-lence, honey. Even though you’ve spelled it wrong, you’ve got it right! Where there is benevolence there is no violence because with benevolence comes–compassion. You know–love.
Oh–that mushy stuff.
END OF SCENE 1
ACT I Scene 2 AT RISE:
Lapse of time of only one hour. We are in the kitchen of BOSWORTH’s home.
LINDSEY is preparing dinner.
BOSWORTH enters, walks over to LINDSEY and pats her on the butt. Then HE brushes her hair off her neck and begins kissing her softly while his hands wander over her body.
If you want dinner, cut that out.
(Disinclined by her refusal to drop everything, BOSWORTH backs off)
(LINDSEY turns around to face BOSWORTH)
Hon, now’s not a good time. BERTHA’s–
Okay, you’ve made your point. We’ll just talk.
(BOSWORTH sits down at the table and begins to tap his fingers nervously)
How’s the project going?
(LINDSEY turns back around to the stove, picks up the spoon, and stirs the contents of the pot)
Did you get the kinks out of it? Are ya going to tell me what it is?
Not yet. But I’m working on it–won’t be long.
(BOSWORTH rises and moves toward the stove)
(LINDSEY moves toward the counter)
You’ll be the first to know when it’s perfected–
(BOSWORTH turns and glances at LINDSEY)
(Smiling, LINDSEY adds)
(BOSWORTH lifts the lid on one of the pans on the stove)
What’s for dinner?
(Not waiting for a response, BOSWORTH adds sarcastically)
Is this–one of your experiments?
(LINDSEY snatches the lid from his hand and slams it back on the pan)
Don’t have to be so–so–touchy.
What do you expect?
I’m going out after dinner.
(BOSWORTH looks down, avoiding eye contact)
Have some business–
I know what day it is.
(BOSWORTH moves around the room anxiously, expressing himself with his hands)
For God’s sake, LINDSEY, give me a break.
(BOSWORTH lowers his voice and his head)
Don’t I provide for you–don’t I? Huh?
(LINDSEY is displeased by BOSWORTH’s outburst. Controlling her anger and hiding her hurt, SHE moves over to the counter and starts yanking the leaves of the lettuce from their stock)
I have a right to go out–It’s just the guys.
(BOSWORTH paces the floor)
Don’t want them calling me hen-pecked.
(BOSWORTH stops next to the counter)
(BOSWORTH impatiently waits for an answer)
(LINDSEY vigorously snaps the remaining leaves from their base)
(BOSWORTH hits his fist on the counter in anger)
What do you mean by that? I’m not seeing a woman. For God’s sake–
If you ever—
(LINDSEY savagely chops the lettuce for a salad, slamming the blade of the knife down hard against the chopping block)
(LINDSEY slams the blade of the knife down with all of her might against the block)(BLACKOUT)
END OF SCENE 2
ACT IScene 3
The next morning. LINDSEY is sitting at the kitchen table drinking a cup of coffee with MEGGAN. BOSWORTH has not returned home after going out with the guys the night before.
Leave him–the pain–just not worth it.
(MEGGAN reaches over and places her hand on LINDSEY’s hand)
Life’s too short–with AIDS–your playing with death.
(BOSWORTH appears at the doorway. The women do not see or hear him. HE quickly hides behind the door and listens)
Can I trust you with a secret?
(BOSWORTH crawls over to the cabinets. HE hides behind them, listening attentatively)
Course ya can.
I’ve–I think–I’ve got an answer to my problem.
(BOSWORTH peeks out from behind the cabinets)
Going to kill him yourself?
No. Nothing like that–Something, worse than death–
(BOSWORTH retreats back behind the cabinets)
Going to pull a Bobbitt?
(BOSWORTH peeps out again to see LINDSEY’S response)
No. Bobbitt didn’t pull–
(LINDSEY gets up from the table)
(BOSWORTH quickly retreats back behind the cabinet to avoid being seen)
I’ve got to show you–be right back.
(MEGGAN watches as LINDSEY exits the room)
(LINDSEY reenters the room, holding what appears to be a transparent piece of material and a huge pair of scissors)
This may solve all my problems.
So–You’re going to Bob it after all.
(BOSWORTH peeps out, looking curiously stunned)
No. I’m going to cut it.
(BOSWORTH sinks back behind the cabinet)
(LINDSEY waves the transparent material)
What is it?
(MEGGAN reaches to feel the material)
Let me demonstrate.
(BOSWORTH curiously glances out from behind the cabinet and then back again)
Make a fist.
(MEGGAN makes a fist)
(BOSWORTH peeks out to see what the two are doing)
(LINDSEY throws the transparent material up in the air like a pizza. The material drops over MEGGAN’S fist. LINDSEY wraps the material around MEGGAN’S fist)
(MEGGAN touches the material next to her skin)
(BOSWORTH retreats quickly)
Open your hand.
(MEGGAN tries to open her hand)
Ouch! That stings! What the heck–is that?
(BOSWORTH quickly peeks out to see what is happening and then BOSWORTH draws his head back, disbelieving what he has heard)
(LINDSEY carefully unwraps MEGGAN’s hand)
BOSWORTH wants–wants to know what I’m working on–He made out with my last discovery–not this one–It’s my ticket–and BERTHA’s. Mine, not his. If only?
If only what?
If only, I could figure out how to mold it–
I mold things–a hobby of mine–
Can you mold a penis?
BOSWORTH says its–
(MEGGAN stands, turns, and motions to LINDSEY to follow her)
Come. You’ve gotta see my set-up.
LINDSEY (Giggling slightly)
(LINDSEY stands and begins to follow MEGGAN out the door then stops abruptly)
I’ll send MARGO over.
Okay, sure–What have I got to lose?
(BOSWORTH peeps out, sees the two women leaving)
(The door can be heard slamming shut)
(BOSWORTH grasps his crotch and doubles over)
Ouch! Just pondering such a thought causes pain.
(BOSWORTH stands erect and proud, shrugging off all doubt of his superiority)
They’re only women. But–Nah–they don’t–they wouldn’t have the guts to–
(BOSWORTH doubles his fist and shadow boxes)
(BOSWORTH stops abruptly, looks down, and pats his groin)
It’s alright, big guy. I’ll protect you–no woman’s gonna get the best of us–
(MARGO enters unannounced. Not noticing BOSWORTH, SHE struts seductively across the kitchen, drying her hair with a towel as SHE walks)
(BOSWORTH suddenly grasps his groin and yelps)
(Startled, MARGO stops and swings around to find BOSWORTH dancing around the floor in pain with his back to her)
I thought no one was home. Did you hurt yourself?
(MARGO retreats under her towel)
Are you okay?
(BOSWORTH, keeping his back to her, nods his head to signify he’s okay)
Are you okay?
I–I just hit my crazy bone.
I’ll be fine–just a crazy bone.
Mom asked me to come–Have to watch BERTHA.
(MARGO lifts her towel and peeps out)
(BOSWORTH points to the door leading to the other part of the house)
(MARGO continues drying her hair with the towel as SHE walks across the kitchen toward the hallway)
(BOSWORTH sneaks a peek at her. BOSWORTH doubles over again, moaning and grasping HIS groin)
Oh–My crazy bone.
END OF SCENE 3
Three months have passed. It is mid-morning. We are in DR HAGGARD’S office. BOSWORTH is seated on the edge of a gurney. HE is dressed in a hospital gown. BOSWORTH has a worried look on his face when DR HAGGARD enters the room.
(Holding the test results in his hand, DR HAGGARD shakes his head)
The tests–they’re negative.
(DR HAGGARD shrugs HIS shoulders)
The examination shows nothing. The tests show nothing. Your symptoms–Well, your symptoms are unheard of–
(BOSWORTH shrugs his shoulders in disbelief)
DR HAGGARD (Continued)
I don’t know what to say. This is very strange.
(DR HAGGARD scratches his head)
(DR HAGGARD mumbles to himself)
(DR HAGGARD regains his composure)
DR NULL may be able to help you. I don’t see what else I can do.
I’m not crazy–
I didn’t say: crazy. I–it might help to talk with DR NULL. He’s a friend of mine. He just happens to be in the next room anxiously waiting for me to take him to lunch. By the way, how does your wife react to your situation?
She doesn’t know.
How can she not know?
Avoid her. You know–make excuses–pretend sleep–
DR HAGGARD (Interrupting)
I really think I should see if NULL will speak with you–May I?
(Places his hand on the door knob)
(BOSWORTH looks at DR HAGGARD with a baffling expression. BOSWORTH nods his head)
(DR HAGGARD leaves the room)
(BOSWORTH sits, impatiently)
DR HAGGARD (Continued)
(DR HAGGARD returns to the room)
He’s offered to speak with you free of charge. May I ask him in?
Damn! Go ahead, let him in. Let’s get this over with.
(DR HAGGARD opens the door and invites NULL to join them. NULL extends his hand to BOSWORTH and then pats BOSWORTH on the shoulder)
Your Doctor tells me–ah–your case may be of interest to me. I have offered my services free of charge out of courtesy to HAGGARD. I am anxious to hear–perhaps–
I found no medical reason. BOSWORTH is in perfect health–physically fit. No medical reason what-so-ever. Just look at him–a perfect specimen.
(BOSWORTH lies down on the gurney)
Tell me about it.
Heard of Pavlov?
Ivan Pavlov, the physiologist?
Yeah, that’s the one. Well, I feel like one of his lab animals.
It all started a few months back–
DR NULL (Interrupting by clearing his throat)
Yes, go on.
BOSWORTHI went to this party–see–you know the kind–lots of women, all shapes, color, and–oh what beauties. I left my wife at home, of course. You know–sometimes I just–Not anymore–I can’t stand to look at a woman–not even my wife. If I do–Oh the pain–
(BOSWORTH holds both of his hands over his groin and moans)
I had a lot to drink–I was feeling good–not drunk–just feeling good.
Pain–you experienced pain? When–when you looked at a woman at this party?
Did you sleep with a woman at this party?
Yeah. She was a knock-out! I stayed the night.
When you woke up–
No–much later. I went home. My wife was upset with me for being out all night. You know how women are–don’t understand–it’s not the same for them.
(Shaking his head back and forth)
She just doesn’t understand. We drank some coffee. Tried to talk to her–but I was just out of it–not much sleep the night before. You know. So, I went to bed. Later, when I woke up–tried to make up to her. She turned me on. Then, the pain. Ohhh! It even hurts to think about it–
DR NULL (Interrupting)
It hurts now? Is it a shooting pain? What–
She says she can’t live without sex. I’m–I might as well be impotent! I keep telling her–I’ll never–I can’t tell her I can’t! That would be unheard of. It’s a–
DR NULL (Interrupting)
Sharp cessation? Do you feel guilty about that night?
Yeah–sharp. Guilty–no! Why? Should I feel guilty?
How has your wife been feeling lately?
(DR NULL looks over at DR HAGGARD)
She’s high spirited. She’s working on some special project in our basement–won’t tell me what–says I’ll be the first to know when it’s perfected. But I overheard her!–and her friend! They were plotting. You’ll never believe what–Doc, it’s perfected–it’s perfected right around my–
(BOSWORTH attempts to get up. His hands are on his penis)
(DR HAGGARD gets up and walks over to BOSWORTH)
DR HAGGARD (Interrupting)
Lie still. Everything is normal–It’s your skin. I did a skin test–it is skin.
(NULL shakes his head in disbelief)
You don’t know my wife! She’s a genius! She’s found someway to fool even you–
(Pointing to his penis)
It’s there–She’s put some invisible stuff on my penis–
(HAGGARD picks up the phone)
What’s your number?
Your not calling my wife–
DR HAGGARD (Interrupting)
Have to–to get to the bottom of this.
Damn! No other way?
(DR HAGGARD and DR NULL both shake their heads)
Well, if you have to–996-9696.
(DR HAGGARD dials the number. HE puts the telephone on intercom so the conversation can be heard by all present. The phone rings, rings, and rings. Then the recorder comes on)
Hon, if this is you–have to tell you–it’s perfected–
(BOSWORTH talks sadly while the recorded messages still plays)
I know–I know–It’s perfected–right around my–Big Guy. Your shrinking–
Told you–you’d be the first to know. I won–I won–We’re going to be millionaires!
(BOSWORTH still talking sadly while the recorded message plays on)
–Big Guy–Yeah–It’s perfected. I’m your lab-rat–Big Guys shrinking.
He’s getting little!
I won the Hilary Award: One Whack Your Out–Silent Without Violence Award! Hilary’s going to arrange some private testing–on one particular sex offender. If it works on her subject, she’ll finally be able to rid the White House of all the wild flowers that keep popping up.
(BOSWORTH still sadly talking while the recorded message plays on)
One whack. Lab-rat.
They say–it’ll save the government millions, lowering the hotel bills. Testing gonna be done on sex offender’s–they’ll lose their desire! Ohhh, Hon, isn’t it great–isn’t it great-
END OF PLAY