In Complex, the first of the two plays presented in Baby Crib, author Michael J.-P. Williams introduces Mickey, a man haunted by guilt-and a dark secret. Just as a new consciousness is lighting the way for those who wish to escape the closet, artist wannabe Mickey is battling internal demons. Ashamed that he is homosexual and even more ashamed that he is still alive after his twin brother dies from cancer, Mickey must struggle to accept himself and his desires.
In the second play, I Ski Maybell, Paul West is on the road to success. With a newly acquired MBA in hand and a good job in a new city, Paul's fresh start in life suddenly goes awry when he allies himself with Nova McWorth. Unfortunately, she is his boss.
Williams interweaves multifaceted characters within poignant storylines that prove that perhaps life really is too short to worry about what we cannot control.
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BABY CRIBComplex and I Ski Maybell
By Michael JP Williams
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Michael JP Williams
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTHE COMPLEX©
Michael JP Williams
ACT I—Return from the Woods SCENE I— Homecoming: Mickey Mama Ann Papa John Chorus-3—(taped voices) Twin/ Ghost—John SCENE II— Cemetery: Mickey, Twin/ Ghost SCENE III— Confrontation/Departure Mickey Papa John Mama Ann ACT II—Corruption SCENE I— Molestation/Flirtation Bar Scene Mickey, Lynn, Bill, Twin/ Ghost Chorus (taped disco crowd) SCENE II— Love-Fraternal/Paternal Mickey, Bill, Twin/ Ghost SCENE III— Debate Bill, Mickey, Lynn, Twin/ Ghost ACT III—Debauchery SCENE I— Pretty Things Lynn, Mickey, Bill, Twin/Ghost SCENE II— Decision Mickey, Lynn, Mama Ann, Papa John SCENE III— Sell-Out Mickey, Lynn, Bill, Twin/Ghost
This play is dedicated to my brother George David Williams whose life was too short. I miss our childhood games.
Also with love to Mom, Dad, Rich, Bob, John and Chip and Linda Criswell; my friend W. Harold Glass Jr.—RIP
OH yeah—Thanks Uncle Tom, a real Tennessee Williams
(Time—1974)—Place: East Tennessee
A well-to-do entry hall and sitting room of a large house. Returning home after spending a month living in the wilderness, Mickey, a young fervent university student is excited to show his family drawings, pictures, site studies, but most of all he wants their pride and admiration.
MICKEY: (talking to himself out loud) Boy! I can't wait to get home. I can't wait to see Papa John and Mama Ann. It's been a long time without good cooking and my own bed. I wonder if my brothers and sister want to see my drawings.
I brought stream rocks for sister too. Why can't I ever wait just to get home? It seems like I never go home!
Muse/Twin: Taunting—(a counterpart of Mickey in a shroud in the background)
You know why you stay away!
You know why you can't come home anymore. You remember too much!
Enter Papa John: a well to do business executive with a Fortune 500 mentality. (An engineer's logic, a businessman's dollars and sense)
Enter Mama Ann: (The handsome wife of a well-to-do man Beautifully dressed and coiffured. Ann has the sensitivity her husband lacks and a joy for adventure. Still his monetary hold keeps him in control.)
Papa John: Son, welcome home. I've missed you. Where have you been? Quick ... take that knapsack off your back, sit down ... woman, get the boy something to drink. Are you hungry? Where on God's green earth were you wandering?
Mama Ann: Mickey ... Mickey, you look tired. Please, honey, sit. John, stop badgering my son.
Papa John: Ann, stop fussing and just get Mickey a cold Coca Cola®. Make sure it's on ice. That icemaker seems slower these days.
Mickey: Papa ... Mama—it's good to be home. Please Mama, I would like a Coke but no ice. Just let me sit and take off these boots. (He sits and starts unlacing his hiking boots.)
Papa John: Son, why don't you do that somewhere else? You've been walking and Lord knows what kinds of vermin you are bringing into this house! After all, we have a mud room for you to take these filthy clothes off and we have five bathrooms in this house for you to get cleaned up.(wild hand gestures) Your hair needs cutting. But first get that filth off your body. You look like you've been walking 50 miles.
Mickey: (smiling)—Papa, more like 120 miles from the Smokies to here and all by myself with my backpack.
Mama Ann: Why didn't you call? You must be exhausted. John, leave him alone. Honey, don't you want a sandwich? I have some nice roast beef, chicken ... hamburger.
Mickey: No Mama, Dad's right. Let me get cleaned up and I'll eat later. What room do you want me to stay in?
Papa John: Son, don't be silly, your room of course. It's still yours and your brother's room. But let's get you outside on the patio and remove your "vacation" clothes.
(Gesturing) And we'll scrap some of this Smokey mountain mud off you. Both men exit, Mickey leaves his backpack behind.
Mama Ann: Thank God he's finally home. Next thing you know he'll want to walk the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia, but I can't blame him. If I was twenty years younger, I'd lead the way.
Enter 2 teenage boys and 1 teenage girl
Chorus: Where's Mickey? ... Where's Mickey?
Mama Ann: Children, he's getting cleaned up and he's tired.
1st boy: What did he bring?
2nd boy: Where are his things?
Girl: Where did he come from this time?
Chorus: Watch out Mama Ann!
And he's tricky!
Mama Ann: Children, hush! Your brother is back. I want him here with us where he belongs. He just took a little vacation. Don't your Papa and I take you on vacation? We always take great vacations since your brother died. But enough of that, go get Mickey's room ready.
1st Boy: Don't you mean Johnnie's and Mickey's room?
2nd Boy: That room gives me the creeps.
Girl: Shut up you two. Don't make Mama cry and get going, you heard her.
ENTER MICKEY (cleanly and simply dressed, barefoot). Dressed in white with a floor length bright red robe.
Mickey: Mama Ann, I'm so happy to be home. Everyone's looking so good. Y'all look terrific!
Mama Ann: Son, you don't know how I worried. You should have called or at least sent a card. You know that you are special and I worry extra about you.
Mickey: Oh Mom I was having too much fun, living in the woods, Looking at rhododendrons in bloom, smelling honeysuckle and Mamma, oh Mamma, I was drawing.
(Mickey goes to backpack and takes out sketch books and pads.)
Look, Mamma at my drawings. There's a campsite I laid out and built with my own hands. The amphitheatre area of the Folk Life Center that I creosoted all the logs!
(Enter Papa John in background)
—Tearfully and full of emotion—
Mamma, please look at my drawings of sycamore leaves and dogwood trees.
Mama Ann: (vacantly) Son, that's all very pretty. I'm glad you had a nice vacation. I wanted you to do the Florence church tour this summer.
Mickey: (quietly)—yes Mamma, but I want to be an architect.
Papa John: What's this foolishness, son. You had your summer of fun. Now back to school in 2 weeks. Back to get your Chemistry degree because it's on to medical school you go.
Papa John: Shut up and listen. It's on to medical school you go. You had your summer of fun. You think that you're going to make money off your foolish gay scribbling. Ha. You have no talent. I know! You are going to be a doctor or no money from me—and a doctor in cancer research. Your twin brother didn't die so you could live as some "queer artsy fartsy architect". Your average in school is too good to flush away.
(Papa John is working up a rage and notices Mickey is barefoot.)
What, no shoes? Get your smelly feet out of my presence and start thinking about your medical school (MCAT) entrance exams. You better score high! (Mickey exits.)
Papa John: Doesn't he understand? Why won't he understand? You work so hard for your family and then they want to throw it away on just foolishness.
Mama Ann: Honey calm down. Your doctor doesn't want you to get riled up—your blood pressure, honey. Look at Mickey's sketches, my son has talent.
Papa John: Hmph! some talent! Pencil scratches! What's that?
Mama Ann: He's been designing a park, a Folk Life Center in the Smokey Mountains.
Papa John: It looks like he had a fun vacation. But it's back to the university with him, Ann. And I'm only paying for medical school, not art school.
ENTER TWIN—dressed in black with white sash.
Twin: Yes, Daddy, make Mickey find the cure for cancer.
Mama Ann: John, don't be so hard on Mickey.
Papa John: My little John, I miss him everyday. I don't need his worthless queer twin brother wasting his time.
Twin: Yes, Daddy, make Mickey pay.
Papa John: Only five years ago he died. Seems like yesterday or yesteryear.
Twin: Yes, Daddy, I'm here. Don't let me die!
Yes, Daddy, I'll never leave you. Daddy, make Mickey find the cure.
A gray cemetery on the outskirts of the neighborhood. An ancient cemetery with American Revolutionary, Confederate and modern war memorials, perfected hedged with boxwoods.
ENTER MICKEY—Dressed in same clean white outfit without the robe. A red bandanna and a bright red web-belt set off the all white look.
Mickey: (bedazzled and befuddled)—Why am I here? I just started going for a walk and here I am. Yes, you fool, you can't stay away and you can't stand it when you're here. When will you belong somewhere? Why do you have to keep wandering and looking? Why can't you find home or at least, a place to call home?
(Mickey focuses on a grave stone)
What? There's my brother's tombstone. I'll rest here. (Mickey approaches the grave)
Oh my John, my brother of love, the guy who was my little buddy. You still are my little brother. Your big brother Mickey is here. I'm back home again, little twin. I can't believe you're not here. (Musical notes)
I missed you so much, why you and not me? Do you remember the games we played? Remember Big Buddy/ Little Buddy, Beany and Cecil or Fred Flintstone/Barney Rubble. Boy, did we have fun!
We even fooled everyone with Good Brother/Evil Brother when I let you break Mamma's good china and then tattle-tale on me. Wasn't that funny?
Or, Johnnie, remember Barbie® and Midge®? How we use to dress up and you were always Barbie® the beautiful, successful one with the best of everything, and I was your best friend, Midge®, the ugly one with the freckles. The one the toy company discontinued!
(Musical notes) (Mickey weeping)
Why John, did you leave me? I am so, so lonely without you. Why ... Why did you have to die of cancer? Why wasn't it me?
Enter: figure in black, bright orange web belt and orange bandanna.
Twin: Big Cry Baby Mickey, why are you so sad? Are you feeling sorry for yourself again?
Mickey: (Sobbing)—No little John, I'm just so lonely without you. I came home and hoped they'd be proud of me. I've been drawing.
Twin: I know. I've been with you the entire time. Who do you think has been watching over you? I was scared when you got caught in that cloud burst between Newport and Cosby, TN. And I made sure you found that deserted trailer to sleep in way up the North Caroline mountain. Don't worry, brother. And stop your tears!
(Twin gives Mickey his orange hankie)
And blow your nose.
Mickey: Thanks little buddy.
Twin: Midge, I'm tired of you always being such a rag. You always wear Barbie's hand-me-downs. When is Midge gonna to get rid of her freckles and stop being such a cry-baby?
Mickey: (more confident) Listen, Barbie, that's easy for you to say. You had cancer from age three until you died a week before our fifteenth birthday. I'm a chicken shit, I'm afraid of my own shadow. I am always afraid that I'll get cancer too.
Twin: Listen Midge, a nuclear bomb can go off tomorrow and baby, that's a lot easier than eating Darvons and painkillers for twelve long horrible years. Now stop whining and stop reminiscing. I can't come back right now to help you out. But I'm always gonna be there when you really need me.
Mickey: Wait Fred Flintstone!
Twin: Whatta want Barney Rubble?
What about my drawings, my design instead of medical school?
Twin: Mickey, do what is right for you. You're not gonna single handedly find the cure for cancer. And let's face it, if you do, it's too late to help me. Just do what your soul tells you to do. Just do it with love and God in your heart. Now, I'm getting sleepy, I have to go!
Mickey: Wait, Barbie, let's switch belts and I've dirtied your hankie so its now mine.
(They exchange belts and hankies)
Musical notes play and get louder.
See you later gator.
In a while, Crockie.
Boy, I'm tired. Tomorrow is another day. The sun's gonna rise and shine. I better head back to my parents place. (stage break)
Morning in the sitting room, sun is beaming bright, Mama Ann is sitting on the couch looking at sketch books, birds are chirping, Mama Ann is visibly pleased at what she is looking at. She is in a fancy dressing gown.
Mama Ann: My goodness, these sketches are so beautiful. I wonder if Mickey will let me have the one of the dogwood blossoms. That would look so pretty matted and framed in my dressing room. (sighs) And these pencil studies of these country folks. They are so quaint. They look like they just want to talk to you. I bet I could have them matted on a raw silk and frame them in walnut. Then Papa John would have something new for his office. I'm so tired of his Leroy Neiman prints.
ENTER: PAPA JOHN IN A SILK ROBE, OVER VERY NICE P.J.'s
Papa John: Good morning Mama!
Mama Ann: Morning darling, how did my man sleep?
Papa John: Restlessly
Mama Ann: I know. I got up because you were tossing and turning too much.
Papa John: I have an upset tummy this morning.
Mama Ann: Well honey, take some Malanta® or Malalox®
Papa John: I did, but I'm upset because I'm worried about Mickey.
Mama Ann: John, have some coffee first. (She pours him a cup and prepares it the way he likes it.)
Papa John: (sipping) Mmm that's good. What are you looking at?
Mama Ann: Oh nothing,—just some of Mickey's drawings, look how well he sketches.
Papa John: So what!
Now honey, it is important that he expresses his feelings too.
Papa John: I agree that he needs to draw well for his medical charts and diagrams.
Mama Ann: Pshaw, Papa. These are so nice I'm going to ask him for one.
Papa John: I'll buy one for you Mama ... I'll give Mickey a quarter ($.25)
Mama Ann: Don't be cruel Papa. Even you enjoyed the Louvre in Paris and St. Peter's in Rome.
Papa John: Oh Mama, but that's great art by real artists. You got to be dead to be a real artist. I really liked those Michelangelo things.
Mama Ann: And those churches are so magnificent. I want to go back again.
Papa John: Someday Ann, but next week I have a trip scheduled for Pittsburgh with lots of important meetings at Group W. You can come.
Mama Ann: Maybe honey, we will talk about it later. Anyway, let's talk about Mickey.
Papa John: Don't you mean tricky Mickey?
Mama Ann: Now John, be Christian
Papa John: First re-fill my cup, Mama. (Mama Ann pours more coffee) Did I tell you about his horrible grades last semester, Mama? Mickey made 2 B's.
Mama Ann: And what else John?
Excerpted from BABY CRIB by Michael JP Williams Copyright © 2011 by Michael JP Williams. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
excellent book! easy to follow and a good story!! michael jp williams, you are my new favorite author!!