Mom, November 26, 2011

The Town Hall

New York, NY


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Mom

Listen (MP3)

(PHONE RINGS 3X, ANSWERING MACHINE PICKUP)

GK (ON MACHINE): Hi. I can't come to the phone right now. Leave your name and number after the beep. (BEEP)

SS (ON PHONE): Duane? It's your mother. Pick up, Duane. (SIGH) I know you're mad at me. Just pick up the phone, honey. Pick up the--- (BEEP)

(A BEAT, PHONE RINGS, 3X, ANSWERING MACHINE PICKUP)

GK (ON MACHINE): Hi. I can't come to the phone right now. Leave your name and number after the beep. (BEEP)

SS (ON PHONE): I'm sorry, Duane. Okay? I'm SORRY. I tried to make it a nice Thanksgiving but it backfired. (WEEPY) I just wanted a nice dinner—(BEEP)

(A BEAT, PHONE RINGS, 3X, ANSWERING MACHINE BEEP, PICKUP)

GK (ON MACHINE): Hi. I can't come to the phone right now. Leave your name and number after the beep. (BEEP)

SS (ON PHONE): Pick up the phone, Duane! Pick it up right now! Duane, this is your mother speaking. I know you're there, and if you don't pick up the phone right now, I'm going to come over there and ring your buzzer and I'm not going to leave until you open the door. You hear me?---

(PICKUP)

GK: Hello?

SS (ON PHONE): Duane? Is that you?

GK: Hi Mom.

SS (ON PHONE): I knew it. Screening your mother's calls. What has this world come to?

GK: I'm trying to work on my book, mom. I just need a little space.

SS (ON PHONE): Look. Thanksgiving, was a disaster. Okay. I'm sorry. Mistakes were made. How should I have known the yams were rotten, Duane? I bought them Wednesday. They looked okay. I had no idea until your poor girlfriend Solveig ran into the bathroom and clogged up the toilet----- I mean really—such a tiny girl, and—

GK: Mom—

SS (ON PHONE): That toilet has never plugged up, Duane. Never. I mean what did she put in there?

GK: Just leave it alone, mom, okay?

SS (ON PHONE): I mean, I noticed some dark spots on the yams when I put them in the water to cook but I thought the heat would kill the bacteria. Anyway ----- boy ----- that girl just emptied herself out. And then she bolted out the back door with her skirt tucked up into her tights--- that was a sight, wasn't it? What kind of underwear was that, anyway?

GK: Mom, just stop, okay?

SS (ON PHONE): And I bet she hasn't called you since, has she, Duane? Has she called you yet? Has she?

(A BEAT)

GK: No, she hasn't.

SS (ON PHONE): Oh Duane, I am just so sorry. So so sorry. You're not going to hold this over my head for the rest of my life, are you? You are coming home for Christmas, aren't you?

GK: What?

SS (ON PHONE): I'd like a do-over. A second chance. A gimme.

GK: You've got to be kidding me.

SS (ON PHONE): See? I knew you were still mad at me.

GK: Mom, I'm not mad.

SS (ON PHONE): You're mad. You're furious. You want to kill me with a chainsaw.

GK: I do not.

SS (ON PHONE): I can hear it in your voice, Duane. You want to put big rocks in my pockets and shove me into the river.

GK: I think this conversation has gone off the rails, mom.

SS (ON PHONE): It's all because that turkey didn't cook.

GK: It happens, mom.

SS (ON PHONE): That turkey was in the oven for six hours, Duane. SIX HOURS!

GK: Mom, the oven was set to 50 degrees.

SS (ON PHONE): It said slow-roasted. I was slow-roasting it.

GK: You were slow-motion roasting it, mom. It would have been cooked in 2014.

SS (ON PHONE): But then why was the outside was on fire, Duane? It was On Fire. And the inside was frozen solid. It was like a meteor, Duane. A blazing frozen meteor turkey from outer space. I'll do better. I want you to come home for Christmas, Duane. I want another chance.

GK: Mom—

SS (ON PHONE): You can even bring Solveig again. I guess. If you can find her. And if she promises not to use our toilet.

GK: I can't deal with this right now.

SS (ON PHONE): What happens if we die in one of those Christmas tree fires, and your last memory of me is a half-raw turkey and your girlfriend on the toilet-- It's just not right, Duane. It's not right. (WEEPY) I can't stand it. Come home for Christmas, Duane. Please. Just one more chance. I'll make those cookies you like. With the sprinkles. (WEEPS) Here. Talk to your father. (OFF) Hank! Hank! (TR, OFF) It's Duane. (TR, OFF) Your son, Duane. He's on the phone, he wants to talk to you. (TR, OFF). (ON) He's coming Duane. Hang on, just a second. (OFF) Hank, what is wrong with your pants? (TR, OFF) They shrank something terrible. (TR, OFF) Did you dry them on high? (TR, OFF) (SS, ON) Here's your dad, Duane. Here he is.

(FUMBLING WITH PHONE)

TR (DAD): Hello son.

GK: Hi dad.

TR: So. What's up?

GK: So---- you had a good Thanksgiving?

TR: Oh, you know. So so.

GK: Nice to see you.

TR: Yeah, and your girlfriend.

GK: Solveig.

TR: Yeah. I guess she didn't care for the yams, huh.

GK: No.

TR: Had to call in a plumber and a tank truck for the toilet.

GK: Oh yeah?

TR: Yeah. Had to stay in a motel overnight.

GK: Sorry about that.

TR: No problem. Anyway, here's your mother.

GK: Good talking to you dad.

TR: Yep. (FUMBLING WITH PHONE)

SS: Duane? Are you still there?

GK: I'm here, mom.

SS: So are you coming for Christmas? Huh? Please Duane, please?

GK: Let me talk to Solveig about it.

SS: Why not just say no, Duane? Why not just say, go stick your head in the oven, Mother? Go stick your head in the oven and stuff a rotten yam in your mouth and end it all? Why beat around the bush? You want me out of here. Fine. I'll take care of it. But after I'm gone, Duane ----- I want you to come over and look at your train set. The one I gave you for Christmas. With the little houses on the hillside and the train winding through the tunnels and the cattle car with the cows that move around. You loved that cattle car. And the semaphore that goes up and down. I sit and watch that train go around and around and I think of you, Duane. (WEEPS)

GK: We'll see you at Christmas, mom.

SS: Don't do it for me, Duane. Do it for you.

GK: I do. I'll be there.

SS: Okay. Bye now Duane, love you.

GK: Love you mom.

SS: Love you.

GK: Love you.

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