Mom, November 30, 2013

The Town Hall

New York, NY


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Mom

Listen (MP3)

(CELL PHONE RINGS 3x)

GK: Hello?

SS: (MOM, SHOUTING) Hello? Hello?

GK: Mom?

SS: Hello? Duane? Are you there?

GK: I'm here.

SS: Can you hear me? Is there a Talk button on this thing?

GK:  Is there a what?

SS: Hank, show me how to use this thing.

GK: Did you get a new cellphone, Mom?

SS: How do I hold this? Help me. Don't just stand there. What? Yes, I bought a new cellphone.

GK: Great—

SS: (SHOUTING) I said it's a new cell phone.

GK: Mom, I heard you.

SS: It's one of those smart phones. Maybe too smart.

GK: Oh . . . great.

SS: And I can see your face right now. Why so glum? Smile.

GK: How can you see my face? Mom------

SS: It's an app I downloaded. Called The Tracker.

GK: Are you on Skype?

SS: I'm on Tracker. Hey, whose house are you in? That's not your bathroom.

GK: I'm in a hotel, Mom. Would you please turn that thing off?

SS: I'm your mother. I have a right to look.

GK: Turn it off.

SS: What are you doing in a hotel?? Has your house gotten so out of control that you have to stay in a hotel???

GK: I'm in New York, Mom.

SS: New York! Why couldn't you say so? Where were you for Thanksgiving?

GK: I went to a restaurant.

SS: Oh. So my cooking isn't good enough for you?

GK: You were going to North Dakota to Aunt Judy's.

SS: So you could've come with. Oh never mind. What's done is done. You would've been miserable anyway. Well, New York, ladida. So you've taken up with this Francine person? The one with the nose ring? The dancer?

GK: How do you know about her?

SS:  I saw you posting to her Facebook page, liking like crazy. My gosh, every time the woman let out a fart, you liked it.

GK: But I unfriended you after you sent me all those posts.

SS:  I found an app called ReFriend. I'm back. You cannot unfriend your mother, Duane, let me tell you. A mother is for a lifetime. BTW I did not care for that picture of Francine holding her cat in a bucket. That says a lot about her and none of it good.

GK: Mom---- please.

SS: I know, I know I'm prying, but  you are playing with fire. The woman is a loser. She's going to glom onto you like a bad migraine.

GK: Mom, please.

SS: I  know these things, Duane. I formed your, your little arms and legs,  your brain for ten months - that's how late you were, a whole month. It was your rent-free studio apartment.  You didn't want to leave. They had to use forceps like a pair of jaws to extract you. And when your head came out----

GK: Mom—

SS: I have never felt pain like that. I don't think there is any pain like that. I begged them to shoot me.

GK: Mom, stop. Please.

SS: I gotta go take a pill— Talk to your father - (OFF) Hank! Hank! Over here! (TR OFF) It's Duane, he's in New York.  Here, take it. He's visiting that tramp with the nose ring in New York.

(A BEAT)

TR: Hello. Over.

GK: Hi Dad.

TR: Hi son. Over.

GK: Dad, you don't have to do that. It's a cell phone, not a radio.

TR: Roger that. (A BEAT) So New York?

GK: Yeah.

TR: How's the weather?

GK: It's fine. How are you?

TR: Retiling the basement.

GK: Oh, yeah?

TR: Got a good deal on grout.

GK: That's great.

TR: Came upstairs cause I've been breathing the fumes and I started remembering a whole bunch of things that I don't think are true or at least I hope they aren't.

GK: Dad, that's the longest sentence I ever heard you say.

TR: Oh yeah?

GK: Maybe you should breathe more fumes.

TR: I'm thinking about doing that. Feels good.

GK: Maybe I should come over and we can breathe them together.

TR: (SS OFF) Well, your mom is giving me the high sign, I better go.

GK: Bye, Dad.

TR: 10-4. Over and out.

SS (OFF): Hank! There's a tile glued to your left elbow. (ON) Anyway, Duane? Can you hear me?

GK: Dad sounds chipper.

SS: He's been strange all day. Talking a blue streak. I don't know what his problem is.

GK: Mom, I have to go meet somebody and go to a play.

SS: "Meet someone." Oh listen to him. "Meet someone." Well, don't let me stop you, Mr. Bright Lights, Big City! Just throw me away. Me, your old obsolete mother. I'm like an old flip-phone, useless, an embarrassment. Just drop me in the garbage on your way out. 

GK: Thanks for calling, Mom.

SS: Someday, Duane, maybe I call, and it'll be my last call. I'll be driving down the freeway, Duane. Driving myself to the emergency room with a burst appendix or something and I'll think, I've got to reach my son. He deserves to know. So I get you on the phone as I'm driving 75 miles an hour down the Interstate and you're busy so I don't bother you with the details, but you can hear the pain in my voice because this thing is ripping me apart, sort of like you did when you were born and you say, Mom, are you all right? And I say, Of course I'm all right. (WEEPY) And just before I slam into the bridge abutment, I say, I just called to say I love you, Duane. Those are my last words. And then silence.

GK: Mom----

SS: Eternal silence. 

GK: Please, Mom.

SS: And probably you'll have plans to go off with Francine and you know something? You go ahead. We'll just put the whole funeral on Youtube and you won't even have to come home. You can just leave your comment below the video.

GK: Mom, I'll be home in two days.

SS: (SNIFFLING) Okay. Don't come early on my account. I'll be just fine.

GK: But could you be sure dad is getting enough oxygen.

SS: You know, Arlene at the Stop'n'Go is all over you. If you want me to line up a date----

GK: Love you, Mom.

SS: I love you. Bye, Duane.

GK: See you soon. Bye now.

SS: Bye now.

(HANG UP)

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

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