Scene Detail

From: Bethesda
2 Characters
Gender Age Character Name
Either Adult: Any Age DENNIS
Either Young Girl or Boy MIRANDA
 
Setup:
THE SET UP
This is the full play, from the beginning. Read on...

(Note: the dialogue is gender-neutral, so that the roles could be played by the opposite sex, with changes in the names to Denise and Michael.)
 

Scene

copyright 2000 by Matthew A. Everett


An individual room in the locked psychiatric ward of Bethesda Lutheran Rehabilitation Hospital in the year 2000.


DENNIS, a nervous man in his thirties, sits on his bed in a hospital gown, his knees tucked up under his chin, his arms wrapped around his legs. He rocks himself, the movement just barely perceptible. His eyes dart around the room as he mutters to himself.


DENNIS

3...6...9...12...15...18...21...24...27...30

As he launches into another string of numbers and is looking the other direction, MIRANDA, a 13 year-old girl dressed in white, suddenly appears on the opposite side of his room.


DENNIS (continued)

4...8...12...16...20...24...28...32...36...40

MIRANDA

44...48...52

DENNIS whirls around, startled, and emits a little yelp at finding her in his room.


MIRANDA

What? I got it right.

DENNIS

You're not a nurse.

MIRANDA

That's right.

DENNIS

You're too young to be a nurse.

MIRANDA

I'm not arguing with you.

DENNIS

Who are you?

MIRANDA

You don't remember me?

DENNIS

Should I?

MIRANDA

It was a long time ago.

DENNIS

Can't be too long ago, you're only, what, twelve?

MIRANDA

Thirteen.

DENNIS

Still, my brain isn't exactly -

MIRANDA

Working properly?

DENNIS

Lately.

MIRANDA

Why do you stop at ten?

DENNIS

Ten what?

MIRANDA

Ten times three, ten times four, ten times whatever.

DENNIS

It's a nice round number.

MIRANDA

Twelve's a dozen.

DENNIS

You didn't stop at twelve.

MIRANDA

No, I stopped at thirteen.

DENNIS

Why did you stop at thirteen?

MIRANDA

I wonder that myself sometimes.

DENNIS

Why did they let you in to see me?

MIRANDA

They didn't let me in. They didn't have to. I have the run of the place.

DENNIS

How do I know you exactly?

MIRANDA

I was here the last time you were here. I visited you.

DENNIS

I've never been here before.

MIRANDA

Not on the psych ward, no.

DENNIS

But it hasn't always been a psych ward.

MIRANDA

Now you remember.

DENNIS

This hospital's changed a lot.

MIRANDA

Yes, it has.

DENNIS

I was born here.

MIRANDA

Me, too.

DENNIS

I had my tonsils out here.

MIRANDA

I still have mine.

DENNIS

They don't hurt?

MIRANDA

Nope, I was lucky that way.

DENNIS

They don't do tonsils anymore, huh?

MIRANDA

They don't do babies anymore either.

DENNIS

Just crazy people.

MIRANDA

And people who need help learning to walk. And people who need help learning to breathe. And people who need help learning to think and speak. And people who just need a rest.

DENNIS

Like me.

MIRANDA

Like you.

DENNIS

5...10...15...20...25....30...35...40...45...50...

DENNIS & MIRANDA

55...60...65.

DENNIS

I didn't see the other parts of the hospital. I just woke up in this room. In this thing.

MIRANDA

Someone'll bring you clothes from home.

DENNIS

I don't think the folks at home want to deal with me anymore.

MIRANDA

They just want you to get better. They can't help you. But the doctors and nurses can.

DENNIS

Will they come to visit?

MIRANDA

'Course they will.

DENNIS

How do you know?

MIRANDA

I'll bug 'em til they do.

DENNIS

I'm not just making you up, am I?

MIRANDA

No.

DENNIS

Imaginary friend?

MIRANDA

No.

DENNIS

Psychotic delusion?

MIRANDA

You're not psychotic.

DENNIS

Just checking.

MIRANDA

I'm real.

DENNIS

I didn't know they let kids in here.

MIRANDA

Who you calling a kid?

DENNIS

Sorry.

MIRANDA

You try hanging out in this place for a couple of years.

DENNIS

Didn't mean it as an insult or anything.

MIRANDA

You should have been here when they still had surgery and an emergency room. Not pretty.

DENNIS

Wait a minute.

MIRANDA

What?

DENNIS

They shut this place down, they remodeled -

MIRANDA

In 1987.

DENNIS

So, OK, you could have been born here at, like, the last possible minute, but I had my tonsils out WAY before -

MIRANDA

So what's your point?

DENNIS

You can't be only thirteen.

MIRANDA

I've been thirteen a long time.

DENNIS

Are you, like, a midget or something?

MIRANDA

Are you trying to tick me off?

DENNIS

No.

MIRANDA

Calling me a midget.

DENNIS

Well, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

MIRANDA

I'm stuck at thirteen 'cause that's when I died.

DENNIS

Argh!

DENNIS curls up in a corner.


MIRANDA

What's your problem?

DENNIS

You're dead.

MIRANDA

So?

DENNIS

You lied to me.

MIRANDA

No, I didn't.

DENNIS

You said you were real.

MIRANDA

You asked if you made me up. You didn't. I was real. I still am. You didn't ask if I was alive.

DENNIS

You're a ghost.

MIRANDA

Boo.

DENNIS recoils further.


MIRANDA (continued)

Relax.

DENNIS

You're haunting me.

MIRANDA

If I was haunting you, you'd know it.

DENNIS

This isn't haunting? You're a ghost, you're dead. I'm alive, you're here. This is haunting.

MIRANDA

Haunting would be if you couldn't see me or hear me and I moved the furniture around, or lifted your hospital gown or something.

DENNIS grabs his gown and holds it down.


DENNIS

Hey.

MIRANDA

Please. You're not my type. You're way too old for me.

DENNIS

Hey.

MIRANDA

All I'm saying is, you can relax. I'm a casper.

DENNIS

Casper?

MIRANDA

Friendly ghost.

DENNIS

Oh.

MIRANDA

Don't you watch cartoons?

DENNIS

The Simpsons.

MIRANDA

Well,there's hope for you yet.

DENNIS

You like the Halloween episodes?

MIRANDA

What do you you think?

DENNIS

Oh. Right. So - ?

MIRANDA

So?

DENNIS

Why are you here?

MIRANDA

You knew me. I figured you'd like a visitor.

DENNIS

Are there - a lot of you, around?

MIRANDA

Oh yeah. If we die here, a part of us stays here, you know, to help out.

DENNIS

Help what out?

MIRANDA

The patients. Calm 'em down. Keep 'em company. It sucks when nobody visits.

DENNIS

Yeah.

MIRANDA

And this can be a creepy place. It's hard to visit, to see all this.

DENNIS

But you're used to it.

MIRANDA

Yup. I've seen it all. Where you are right now, it isn't so scary.

DENNIS

That's good to know.

MIRANDA hold up a deck of cards.


MIRANDA

Game of cards?

DENNIS

Like when I had my tonsils out.

MIRANDA

You do remember.

DENNIS

I'm starting to.
Go fish?

MIRANDA

What are you, a preschooler? We're playing poker.

DENNIS

When did you learn to play poker?

MIRANDA

You pick up a lot at the nurses

© Matthew A Everett
matthewaeverett.com