send Email  copyright 2013

 

Born Again

copyright 2001 Gripper Products

If you will be performing this show without charging admission and without paying cast or director, you may perform it for no royalties.  Just contact the authors at cormo@juno.com and make arrangements.  If you will be charging admission and / or paying actors or director, then write cormo@juno.com to arrange for appropriate royalties.

 

Reincarnation is supposed to give you a second chance. Maddie never got along with her daughter-in-law. Then she died under mysterious circumstances and reincarnated as her own great grand-daughter. This time, can she break up the marriage?

 

Cast:††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††

 

Charlie: 60's, grandfather of Emily Madeline, father of Laura.

Bonnie: 60's, wife of Charlie, grandmother of Emily Madeline, mother of Laura

Emily Madeline: 15, granddaughter of Charlie and Bonnie, daughter of Laura, dressed in low-cut blouse, tight jeans

Sunshine: a social worker, mid 30's, dressed in long hippie skirt, long earrings, long hair, gypsy blouse, gaudy belt.

 

 

Setting: Bonnie and Charlieís living room.†† A door at the back leads to the kitchen.† Door at the right side leads to bedrooms.† Front door is on left.† This house is in Northern California.† Lots of hanging plants, Indian bedspread curtains, the place looks like an aging hippy pad.† There is a striking floor candelabra, an ornate wooden coffee table in front of a couch.† An armchair is to the left of the couch.† At the back is a fireplace with a mantle.† On the mantle is a picture of Laura. On the table is a vase of fresh-cut roses.† A buffet is on the left wall near the back.

 

Scene 1:

 

Charlie stands near mantle, holding cardboard box.† He is alternately lifting out an object (toy, drawing, clay sculpture,) putting it back, and taking another.† He is crying.

 

Emily comes out from bedroom door carrying CD, tries hiding it in buffet, under a magazine, finally takes it to kitchen (back of stage) where she proceeds to open drawers and then make chopping sounds of knife on cutting board.

 

Bonnie: (pacing, enters from bedroom hallway, wiping tears from face) Where is that genealogy CD?† I want to print out our family tree for the ceremony.

 

(She puts black shroud on Lauraís picture on the mantle.)

 

Bonnie: (to picture) It wasnít supposed to end like this.† LllaurrraaaaaH!

 

(Charlie puts down box and hugs Bonnie.)

 

Charlie: Itís okay, dear.† We can have our ceremony without the chart.† Itís our words that matter, Bonnie.† Theyíll help us feel better.† Remember, God only gives.† He gave us a lovely


daughter and a beautiful granddaughter.† We should be thankful...

 

Bonnie: But I left it in the CD drive, Charlie.† I know I did.

 

(Charlie hugs Bonnie, pulling her toward the box..)

 

Charlie: Look, I found some of Lauraís drawings from elementary school, and a clay sculpture.

 

Bonnie: She was so artistic, such a fine sense of color, even as a child.† No wonder she became a decorator.

 

Charlie: Do I smell something burning?

 

Bonnie: Oh no!

 

(Bonnie rushes to kitchen)

(Sound of casserole being placed on stove top.)

 

Bonnie: (wailing from kitchen) Itís the sweet potato dish. Lauraís favorite.† I made some in her honor.

 

(Bonnie re-enters living room, face tear-streaked.)†

 

Bonnie: (continues) The timer says thereís still ten minutes to go.† Itís ruined. No chart. No sweet potatoes.† I know Emily is behind this.

 

Emily: (entering living room, approaching Charlie, carrying bowl.) Thatís okay.† I never liked sweet potatoes anyway. (Pause) Look, Iíve made your favorite dessert, Grandpa.† Bananas with chocolate sauce.

 

(Bonnie returns to kitchen.)

 

Charlie: I havenít had that since I was a boy.† How did...

 

(Emily cuddles her body against Charlie, and starts spoon-feeding him.)

 

Emily: Sit down, Grandpa.† You have to eat that while itís warm, and the chocolate is still gooey.

 

(Emily escorts Charlie to couch, feeding him spoonfuls of dessert en route.)

 

Charlie: Shall we start the memorial service?† Bonnie?

 

(He sits.† Emily sits close beside him. He eats the bananas she is feeding him.)

 

(Bonnie comes from kitchen, fusses with the picture of Laura.)

 

Bonnie: I donít think Iíll ever be ready.

 

(She sits close on Charlieís other side.)

 

Charlie: Iíll start.† Laura was a talented artist, even when she was a little girl. She loved seeing her artwork on our refrigerator.

 

Emily: If weíre going to commemorate our dead, we should put Great Grandma Maddie up there. Iím named for her after all.† Emily Madeline.

 

(Emily stands, and goes to bedroom hallway door.)

 

Bonnie: We had a memorial service for her when she died.† And we remember her every time we cut the roses where we scattered her ashes, like she asked in her will.

 

(Bonnie indicates roses.)

 

Emily: I want to commemorate her again.†

 

(Emily opens bedroom hallway door.)

 

Charlie: Our Laura named you Emily Madeline as a living commemoration to her.

 

(Emily enters bedroom hallway.)

 

Bonnie: (whispering)† Maddie was the mother-in-law-from hell! She was always stealing Laura from me.† Canít we have Laura without Maddie for one day Ė for her memorial?

 

Charlie: I loved my mother. I thought you respected that.

 

Bonnie: Youíre a saint to love her.† I canít think of anything nice to say about Maddie.

 

Charlie: Today is a day to commemorate our dead Ė not to speak ill of them.† If it makes Emily feel better we can commemorate Maddie and Laura together.† Theyíre both family.† We have to try for Emilyís sake.† Sheís got to be hurting. Laura was her mother.

 

(Emily returns with picture of Madeline in her 20's, topless, posing as a mermaid in a Rolex ad.)

 

Emily: Here she is.† This was her favorite picture of herself, and mom always said I resembled her.

 

(Emily places the picture beside the one of Laura and arranges the shroud over both pictures.)

 

Bonnie: Please not that picture.† Bring one with clothing on.

 

Emily: This is how I want to commemorate her.

 

Charlie: She lost her figure when she had me, but she never blamed me for it.† She said she loved me anyway.

 

Emily: I love you, too.†

 

(She walks over to Charlie, sits beside him and tongue kisses him.)

 

(Charlie spits, horrified.)

 

Charlie: Youíre too young to do that even with a boyfriend!

 

Bonnie: That kind of kissing is for a husband and wife.

 

Emily: Everybody kisses that way now.

 

Bonnie: Not in my house!

 

Emily: What! Are you going to throw me out, like you threw out Maddie?

 

Charlie: Weíre here to remember the good about our dead.† Particularly your mother, our Laura.

 

Bonnie: Laura, your mom, was so good with dogs.† They always came up to her and licked her hands.

 

Charlie: And she was good with math.† She could always figure out a way to save money.

 

Emily: She was cheap.† Her idea of saving money was to buy last yearís fashions.

 

Bonnie: Weíre here to say nice things about your mother.† She was also our daughter.† We loved her.

 

Emily: Thatís not what she said.† She told me how mean you were to her.

 

Bonnie: Honey, parents discipline their children.† Itís not the same as being mean. Now that you live with us, weíll do the same for you.

Emily: You hate me, too!

 

Bonnie: We love you and we loved your mother.

 

Emily: What for?† She was a mean mother. Maybe you raised her to be a mean mother. Maybe you were a mean mother.† Maybe your mother raised you to be mean.

 

Charlie: Thatís enough.† Teenagers rebel against their parents.† Thatís normal.† But today, we are here to remember what we liked about your mother.† This ceremony is supposed to help us grow closer as a family and remember what we love about each other.

 

Emily: Thatís hypocritical, and phony.

 

Bonnie: If you donít want to commemorate your mother today, you donít have to sit here with us.

 

Emily: I want to commemorate Madeline.

 

Charlie: What would you like to say about your great grandmother?

 

Emily: She was a good cook.† And she always made nice things for you, like bananas with chocolate sauce.

 

Bonnie: How do you know this?

 

Emily: Like duh! I was Madeline in my last lifetime.

 

Bonnie: Thatís nonsense.† Thereís no such thing as reincarnation.

 

Emily: Mom wouldnít let me talk about it. But now sheís dead, nobody can stop me.

 

Charlie: Emily, honey, can you think of any way in which Great Grandma Madeline and your mom were alike?

 

Emily: They were both women who raised children alone.

 

Charlie: Great Grandma Madeline was married to Great Grandpa Eddie.

 

Emily: She only had room in her heart to love one, and she chose you.† She never loved Eddie.† She only used him to get a baby, to get you Ė only a baby can love you completely!

 

Bonnie: Where did you get an idea like that?

 

Emily: Everybody knows that.† Thatís why you love Charlie and hate Laura and me!

 

Charlie: Bonnie and I love you, and we loved Laura.

 

Emily: Youíre lying! You never loved anyone but Bonnie!

 

Charlie: Weíre family. We love each other.

 

Emily: Maddie only loved you.

 

Charlie: Great Grandma Maddie also loved your mom, her granddaughter.† She spent a lot of time with your mom. She would have loved you if sheíd lived long enough.

 

Emily: Maddie didnít love Laura.† She used Laura to punish you for not loving her enough.

 

Charlie: This is giving me the creeps.† Letís talk about Laura.† I remember the day Lauraís hamster died, and she buried him in our yard.† She made him a gravestone. She got out the property engraver and carved a lovely design in a stone.† Itís still out there in our yard.

 

Emily: Thatís more than you have for Maddie!  You have to go across town to see Maddieís plaque.† Thereís nothing for her here in your yardĖ the yard you paid for with her money, but I know her ashes are here, at least some of them.

 

Bonnie: She wanted some of her ashes in a† rose garden.† We planted some for her.† See how healthy the roses are. She loved roses.

 

(Bonnie indicates roses in vase on table.)

 

Emily: She only wanted that because Charlie loves roses.† She loved Charlie so much that she even gave her ashes to make him happy.

 

(She pets Charlieís knee.† He pushes her hand away.)

 

Charlie: Keep your hands off me!† Go, sit over there.††

(Indicates chair beside couch.)

 

Emily (continues, not moving): Thatís right.† Push me away like you pushed Maddie away.† I only want to make you happy, Charlie, I mean Gramps.

 

(She stands, leans over,† feeds him another spoonful of bananas with chocolate.)

 

Bonnie: Letís put Lauraís artwork up on the mantle.

 

(Charlie and Bonnie rise and begin taping childish art to the mantle.)

 

Emily: Arenít you going to finish the bananas?† I made them specially...

 

(Emily gets up with a marker in her hand and draws a mustache and horns on Lauraís picture.)

 

(Bonnie grabs Emilyís hand and pulls it away from the picture)

 

Bonnie: Go to your room!

 

Emily: You canít make me!

 

Charlie: Tell Grandma youíre sorry.

 

Emily: Why should I be sorry?† I hated Mom.† She hated you.† This whole thing is disgusting!

 

Charlie: Youíll be staying with us until you go to college.† We have to get along.† What would you like to do to honor our dead?

 

Bonnie: I donít think I can take four more years of this.

 

Emily: I want to talk about Maddie.  Tell me the nice things you remember about Maddie.

 

Bonnie: If you remember being Maddie in your last lifetime, you tell us.

 

Charlie: Letís play along. If we tell her nice things about Maddie, maybe sheíll remember nice things about her mom.

 

Emily: Iíll start. Maddie gave you candy when Eddie sent you to your room.

††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††

Charlie: (surprised) Yes, she did.† How did you...

 

Bonnie: Is that why Maddie went to your momís room when she was being punished?† To give her candy?

 

Emily: You are so dumb!† Maddie didnít just go into Lauraís room.† She snuck Laura out and took her to the ice cream shop.† Laura used to be bad on purpose so Maddie would take her to the ice cream shop.

 

Bonnie: See, Charlie Ė sheís not remembering another lifetime.† Sheís remembering what her mother told her.

 

Charlie: Maddie was a great story teller.† Before she married Eddie, she was a story lady at the libraries, and she rode bareback through the streets to draw a crowd.

 

Emily: And she was gorgeous.† She posed for this topless mermaid picture when she was pregnant with Grandpa Charlie, just so she could show off how big her breasts had grown.

 

Bonnie: That picture has always made me uncomfortable.† I wish youíd get one with clothes on.

 

Emily: You never looked at the picture properly.

 

Bonnie: I really donít want to look at my mother-in-lawís naked breasts.

 

Charlie: I thought we were going to tell happy stories.

 

Emily: You didnít like it when she taught Laura how to masturbate in the bathtub, either. Youíre such a prude, I donít know why Charlie loves you!

 

Charlie: Your mom told you about that!

 

Emily: No! I remember.

 

Bonnie: You couldnít.

 

Emily: Iíll prove it.† Charlie, remember how I kept your secret about the broken saw blade so Eddie wouldnít make you pay for it out of your allowance?† Iím sure thatís something you never told Laura or even Bonnie.†

 

Charlie: Yes.† I do remember.† This is getting spooky.

 

Emily: And that melted bowl in your oven that you blamed Laura for Ė I did that, so youíd send Laura to her room, so I could take her out for ice cream.

 

Bonnie: You could have made that up.

 

Emily: I wanted Charlie to love me.† I tried being nice.† I bought him things.† I preferred him to my husband.† I kept his secrets.† And he just used me.† It was always, ďMom, can I have money? Mom, can you pick me up after school? Mom, I need new shoes.Ē† Never, ďMom, I love you.Ē† Never, ďMom, lets go somewhere, just the two of us.Ē

 

Bonnie: (To Emily) Did you ever say those things to your mom?

 

Emily: Laura didnít deserve it.† But Maddie did. I did!† I even bought nice things for you to inherit.† That table. That candelabra.† And Bonnie, I bought you that ivory necklace you never wear.

Bonnie: That necklace was pure cruelty.† It was cruel to kill the elephant to steal its ivory.† And you knew I belonged to the Save the Elephants society.† You bought that necklace to insult me.

 

Charlie: Madeline did that. Not Emily.

 

Emily: You didnít even say thank you for the gift or thank you for the thought.† You threw that necklace in the trash.† But I saved it.† I snuck it into your drawer.† And you found it there and you didnít throw it away again.† I know because I checked.

 

Charlie: You have no business in our bedroom.

 

Emily: Why?† Because thatís where you had sex right after you killed me?

 

Bonnie: Emily, youíre talking crazy.† Youíre not dead, and nobody killed Maddie.

 

Emily: (to Bonnie) Did he tell you how Maddie died?† I know you werenít there, you hated her so much you wouldnít even go see her in the hospital.

 

Bonnie: She had a heart attack.

 

Emily: He lied to you.

 

Charlie: Maddie drank too much.† She smoked too much.† She ran around with a motorcycle gang and slept with most of them.† One night they dumped her at a bar, where she drank herself into a stupor and had a heart attack.† She slumped over her table for about half an hour until the bar owner noticed her and called the medics.† The medics got her heart started again and took her to a hospital, where she had another heart attack and died.

 

Bonnie: This is ridiculous.† Letís speak well of the dead.† Thatís why weíre here.

 

Emily: Charlie killed me.† But I loved him and I forgave him and I came back to be your granddaughter so I could be with him again.† He loved Laura when she was tiny and drew cute pictures and wore frilly dresses.† So I wore frilly dresses and drew cute pictures for him and climbed in his lap.†† But he always preferred you to me.† He preferred you when I was his mom.† And he prefers you now. But Iím the one who deserves the love.† Iím the one who does everything for him!

 

(Bonnie walks around Charlie and hugs Emily. Emily struggles.)

 

Bonnie: Husbands are supposed to love their wives.† Thatís normal.† Charlie loved you as his mom, and he loves you as his granddaughter.†

 

(Emily throws Bonnie off her and hugs Charlie.)

Emily: Love me!† I deserve it!† I dedicated my life to you twice!† I kept your secrets. I didnít let your dad dock your allowance.† I didnít turn you in to the police for killing me.† I can get the hospital records.† They show my eyes still dilated to light when you unplugged me. There is no statute of limitations on murder!

 

Bonnie: Emily, honey, youíre talking crazy.

 

Emily: All I have to do is call the cops.

 

(Pause)†

 

Emily: Or you could love me as I deserve!

 

Charlie: We do love you.

 

(Emily picks up the phone. She dials.)†

 

Emily: Thereís been a murder. I want you to send a squad car with lots of police and guns and clubs and handcuffs, and cart this monster away...

 

 

Scene 2.

 

(Gentle knocks at the door.)

 

Emily: Thatís the police Ė come to arrest you.

 

Charlie: Fine. Open the door.

 

(Emily goes to door. Opens it.† Sunshine enters.)

 

Sunshine: Iím Sunshine, from the Alameda County Family Support Division.† I understand thereís been a death in the family.† Death is such an important passage Ė a moving on for all of us.† I feel so privileged to work with people who are making this passage along with their families.

 

Emily: This is my Grandpa Charlie.† He killed his mother.† And this is Gramma Bonnie.† She tortured and abused my mother. I want you to arrest them and take them away.

 

Sunshine: Nice to meet you.

 

(Sunshine extends her hand.† Nobody takes it.)

 

Bonnie: Emily is upset.† Her mother died in that plane crash.

 

Sunshine: I see two photos on the mantel piece.† Who are those attractive women?

 

Emily: Are you listening to me?† These people are killers.† Arrest them.

 

Charlie: The one on the left is my mom, Maddie.† And the other is our daughter, Emilyís mom, Laura.

 

Sunshine: Theyíre both lovely.† They must have been beautiful spirits. How recently did they die?† I might still be able to contact their souls.

 

Charlie: Maddieís been dead for over twenty years. Laura just died yesterday in a plane crash. She was on a business trip to pick out new items for her decorator showroom.

 

Sunshine: How sweet of you to celebrate them together.† Now, if youíll make a pot of tea with plenty of loose leaves in it, Iíll do what I can to contact them.† Here, I always bring my favorite mixture Ė camomile and peppermint with just a pinch of sage...

 

(Sunshine offers bag to Bonnie.)

 

Bonnie: May I see your ID to prove that you were sent here by the State of California?

 

Sunshine: Oh dear, did I forget to give show you my badge?† Actually, I donít like to show it Ė it seems so official, and I do like to make these visits as soothing as possible.† Could you start the tea?† Thatís usually soothing.

 

Bonnie: No ID, no tea.

 

Emily: I donít want tea.† I want you to arrest them and cart them off to jail Ė separate jails!† If it werenít for Bonnie, Charlie would have loved me!

 

(Sunshine fishes in her huge purse, and finally pulls out an ID card on a beaded chain.)

 

Sunshine: Hereís my ID card. †The picture doesnít capture my aura very well.

 

(Bonnie looks closely at it.)

 

Bonnie: Okay thatís you.† Iíll make the tea.

 

(Bonnie takes the bag and goes back to the kitchen.)

 

Charlie: Emily is taking the death of her mother rather hard.

Emily: No, Iím not.† Iím glad sheís dead!† I hated her.

 

Sunshine: Are you afraid that maybe your thoughts killed your mother?† Lots of children feel guilty when a parent dies because they worry about their angry thoughts.

 

Emily: Have you listened to anything Iíve said?† I hated my mother.† Iím glad sheís dead.

 

Sunshine: You want me to arrest your grandparents.† And youíre glad your mother is dead.† I hear you.

 

Emily: I hated her!† She deserved to be dead.

 

Sunshine: Everybody dies.† Why did your mom deserve to be dead?

 

Charlie: You donít want to stir her up.

 

Sunshine: Itís bad to suppress our emotions, and worse to deny them.† She needs to let it all out.

 

Charlie: Are you new at your job?

 

Sunshine: Are you angry about Lauraís death, too?

 

Charlie: She was my daughter.† I dreamed of being with her into my old age.† Children are supposed to outlive their parents.

 

Emily: Is that why you killed Maddie?† So she could die first?

 

Sunshine: Which of these women is Maddie, again?

 

Emily: The beautiful one on the left.

 

Sunshine: And you say your grandpa here, killed her?

 

Emily: He killed her so he could take her stuff.† See, itís all around you Ė the table, the candelabra, that photo of her as a mermaid.

 

Sunshine: How did he kill her?

 

(Bonnie re-enters with the pot of tea and cups and a sliced apple with a knife on a tray, which she places on the table.)

 

Bonnie: Why are you encouraging her to say such horrid things?

 

Sunshine: Sheís thinking them Ė so she may as well say them here, in a safe environment.

 

(Bonnie pours the tea, using a strainer.)

 

Sunshine: Donít use the strainer.† I want to read our leaves. (Pause) Now, Emily, you were about to tell us how Grandpa Charlie killed Maddie.

 

(Bonnie re-pours the tea, distributes cups to every one and begins drinking her cup.† Charlie and Emily also take sips.† Sunshine does not.)

 

Emily: He unplugged her at the hospital.

 

Sunshine: All by himself Ė he unplugged her Ė just like that?

 

Emily: She was on a breathing machine.† He convinced the doctors she was dead, so they unplugged her.

 

Sunshine: Thatís horrible.† Was she awake and talking when he did it?

 

Emily: No, she was just quietly watching Ė testing him to see what heíd do.† And he killed her.

 

Sunshine: How long had she been watching?†

 

Emily: At least a week.†

 

Sunshine: Could she eat? Did she look around?

 

Emily: She just lay there.† She wasnít really in her body.† She was up on the ceiling watching to see what everybody would do.

 

Sunshine: How do you know all this?

 

Emily: I was Maddie in my last lifetime.

 

Bonnie: She just started this fantasy today. Maybe pretending to be Maddie is part of her grief process.

 

Sunshine: You must really love your family to come back to be with them again.

 

Charlie: Why are you encouraging this nonsense?

 

Sunshine: Itís not nonsense.† Iím sure she believes everything sheís saying.† Emily, you must have loved Charlie very much to come back to him in this lifetime.† Why do you want me to take him away?

 

Emily: I want him to love me above all others. When he was my son, I was a fat old lady. So of course he left me for Bonnie.† Then he had Laura.† And he loved Laura when she was a small, cute little girl. So, I came back as a small, cute little girl.† But Charlie didnít hug me and cuddle me like he did Bonnie. Even when I was small and cute, he preferred Bonnie.† If he wonít love me, he doesnít deserve to live!

 

Sunshine: I would arrest him and take him away if he sexually abused you.† Did Charlie do that to you?

 

Emily: He tongue-kissed me earlier today.

 

Sunshine: Is that true?

 

Charlie: She tried to kiss and fondle me. I pushed her away.

 

Sunshine: Sexual aggressiveness is often a sign of grief.† Thatís a good thing.

 

Emily: You donít understand.† Look closely at the mermaid picture.† Then youíll see.

 

(Emily gets picture from mantle. Shroud falls on floor.)

 

Bonnie: She thinks thereís something special about the picture of Maddie as a mermaid.

 

Emily: Maddie had a gypsy bewitch this picture. If you look Ė I mean really look Ė at her nipples youíll fall in love with her.† She paid the gypsy $200 for that spell Ė her entire fee for making this ad.

 

(Sunshine looks flustered.)

 

Emily: Itís okay.† I know youíre gay.† I can always tell.† I know youíll look.† And then youíll understand.

 

(Bonnie takes a draining gulp of her tea and puts the cup down in front of Sunshine.)

 

(Sunshine looks deeply into her teacup.)

 

Sunshine: The leaves are still swirling.† I canít contact the dead yet. They are perturbed.

 

Bonnie: Here, read my tea leaves. Iím finished.

 

Charlie: Honey, are you sure you want to do this?

Bonnie: Maybe if Emily sees sheís not the only one suffering here, she might calm down.

 

Emily: Call me Madeline.† My full name is Emily Madeline.† Laura knew who I was. But she didnít treat me right.

 

Sunshine: Iím reading your Grandmaís leaves now.† If youíre quiet and watch, youíll learn how to do it, too.

 

(Sunshine peers into Bonnieís cup.)

 

Emily: I donít believe in tea leaf reading.

 

Sunshine: Your belief is not necessary.† Watch and learn.

 

Sunshine: I see two distinct groups of leaves here.† You loved Laura Ė those are the leaves on the right.† And you hated Maddie.† Those are the leaves on the left Ė just like the pictures.

 

Emily: You got that right.

 

Sunshine: Iím reading for Bonnie now.† She needs your silence so she can talk.

 

Bonnie: Yes, I hated Maddie.† She was the mother-in-law from hell.† She never let me discipline Laura.† She was always criticizing me.† My cooking wasnít good enough.† My cleaning wasnít good enough. Nothing I said was good enough.†

 

Sunshine: That must have been rough.† Did you stand up for yourself?† Tell her this was your home and you like it the way you make it?

 

Bonnie: I could never do that.† Charlie loved her.† And Laura loved her.† And they wanted her around.† I couldnít risk making her angry and sending her away.† Then Charlie and Laura would have hated me.

 

Sunshine: But you had the right to live the way you want in your own home.

 

Bonnie: (crying) I should have. I should have done so many things. But she was always testing me.† And they were always tests designed for me to fail. One time the three of us, Charlie, Maddie and I, went for a walk in the mountains, and she hid in the bushes.† I figured maybe she needed to go, so I didnít look at her.† I just kept walking.† Later she caught up with me and said sheíd been hiding Ė to see if Iíd notice she was missing.† And I didnít do anything, so I failed.

 

Emily: She could at least have offered me some paper to wipe myself.† Sheís so self-centered.

 

Sunshine: Bonnie is talking now.† Go on Bonnie.

Bonnie: This is silly.† She was a horrible woman. She started fights, she tried to get between me and Charlie. She stole my stuff and hid it. She melted my plastic dishes in my oven. She rewarded Laura for disobeying me. She deprived me of motherhood.† She ran my home. Sheíd have been in my bed if she could.

 

Sunshine: Thatís right.† Let it out.

 

Charlie: Come on, honey.† She wasnít that bad.† She may have gotten on your nerves a bit, but she was trying to be nice.

 

Emily: And she was better at everything than you are!

 

Sunshine: Bonnie is entitled to her emotions.† Sheís just saying how she felt things.† Go on Bonnie.† Tell us how you saw it!

 

Bonnie: (crying) Maddie took it all.† And when Laura got pregnant and moved out, she said it was because she missed Maddie.† She didnít want to be around me Ė she wanted Maddie.† She said Maddie loved her and I didnít. She thought the baby would love her.

 

Sunshine: But you loved Laura.

 

Bonnie: Laura was my daughter. Of course I loved her. When Maddie wasnít around we had fun together.† Laura was talented, and clever.† I enjoyed hearing her stories at the end of every day, watching her grow.† Itís so hard for me to believe Iíll never see her again.† We even started to grow closer when Emily became a teenager.† She started to appreciate some of what I went through.

 

(Bonnie wipes more tears from her face.)

 

Emily: Thatís not true.† She didnít love Laura.† Not like she should.†

 

Sunshine: Let Bonnie talk about Laura.† Youíll get your turn.† Bonnie needs to talk to help her heal, just like you do.

 

Bonnie: Never mind.† Read Emilyís leaves now.† Sheís getting impatient.

 

Emily: See, she never reveals herself.† She never makes herself vulnerable.† She always has to be perfect.

 

Sunshine: I see your leaves are divided into two groups, also.† You loved Maddie. And you hated Laura.

 

Emily: Thatís what Iíve been telling you.† Maddie was wonderful Ė the sort of mom everybody wants to have.† She danced and rode motorbikes and horses.† She was always doing fun stuff.

 

Charlie: She never knew Maddie.† Maddie died before she was born.

 

Emily: You never listen to me! Itís my turn. You have to be quiet. My leaves are being read.

 

Sunshine: And what about Laura?

 

Emily: Laura was a drudge.† She worked hard.† She took trips without me Ė leaving me with these two murdering drudges. She made me do my homework before I could go out and have fun.† After all the times I rescued her Ė this is how she repaid me!

 

Sunshine: Do you think Laura, your mom, was trying to be mean to you?

 

Emily: She only had a baby so she could have somebody to make miserable like she was! She should have gone partying with me.† Instead she tried to turn me into a drudge.

 

Sunshine: Do you really think that you shouldnít do homework?

 

Emily: I think I should party and have fun.† Itís bad enough I have to go to school.† The teachers shouldnít take up any more of my time once the bell rings.† The whole point of life is to have fun!† School is just free babysitting for mom so she can run her business without looking after me. And the only reason they give homework is so you wonít have time for fun.

 

Sunshine: Have you loved anybody in this lifetime?

 

Emily: I love Charlie.

 

Sunshine: And thatís why you came back to this family?† So you could love Charlie?

 

Emily: Thatís what Iíve been saying.† But he doesnít love me!

 

Sunshine: I think itís time to read Charlieís tea leaves.

 

Emily: Iím not done yet!

 

(Sunshine takes Charlieís cup, and peers into it.)

 

Sunshine: Charlie loved both these women.† What a happy man!† What a loving man!

 

Emily: Youíre lying.

 

Charlie: Iíve never understood why the women I love donít notice.† (Pause) Bonnie excepted.

Emily: Maybe because you kill them!† Laura was only on that plane to please you. She only became a decorator to please you. You killed her, too.

 

Sunshine: Emily, letís do an exercise to help you heal.† Something to help you separate your lifetime as Charlieís mother from your lifetime now as his granddaughter.

 

(She picks up an apple slice.)

 

Sunshine: See this slice.† This is your spirit, whole and clean and pure as it continues from life to life.† But in different lifetimes, we take on different roles.† Last time you were Charlieís mom.† This time you are his granddaughter.† Now, take the knife and cut this apple slice in half, to separate the two lifetimes.

 

Emily: I remember being both.† I will always be his mother.

 

Sunshine: Thatís just a memory.† Do you know what a memory is?

 

Emily: Memories are how I know things.† Are you dumb?

 

Sunshine: Memories lie.† Everybody remembers things that never happened. You canít judge the present by the past because your memories might be wrong.

 

Emily: My memories are true.

 

Sunshine: Even if your memories are true, they are keeping you from living this life Ė you are still wrapped up in the last one.† You have to let go, or there was no point in your coming back.† You donít want to waste this lifetime, do you?

 

Emily: Remembering who I love is not a waste!† I called you here to arrest them. Are you going to do it or not?

 

Sunshine: Just try this experiment.† You be the judge.† Go ahead cut the apple slice.† Live this life with a fresh beginning.

 

(She hands the knife to Emily.† Emily takes the blade, and cuts the apple slice.)

 

Sunshine: See!† You did it!† Youíre free now.† The past canít attach itself to you any more.† When you remember being Madeline, thatís just a memory. Itís not attached to you.†

 

(Sunshine picks up half of the apple slice, and hands it to Emily.)

 

Sunshine: Go ahead Ė eat it, chew it, swallow it. Itís in the past.

 

Emily: Look at Maddieís nipples.† Really look at them.

 

Sunshine: I didnít come here to...

 

Emily: I did your experiment. Now you do mine!† Look at them!

 

(Sunshine looks.)† (Emily cuts up more apple slices.)

 

Bonnie: I canít do four more years of this.† Can we give her to an orphanage?

 

(Sunshine looks back and forth between the mermaid picture and Emily.)

†††††††††††††††††††††

Charlie: Youíre upset about Laura.† Itís not fair to take it out on Emily.

 

Bonnie: I mean it.† Iím willing to give up custody.

 

Emily: Sheís always tried to get between us.† Now you see the truth!† Iím the one who really loves you!

 

(Sunshine puts down the mermaid picture, puts arm around Emilyís shoulders.)

 

Sunshine: You donít deserve her.† Iíll take her home with me.† Sheís such a beautiful spirit!† Sweet Maddie, dearest Maddie.† Get your things and come with me.† Iíll never let these horrid people hurt you again.

 

Emily: No! No!

 

(Emily grabs Charlie.)

 

Emily: I want Charlie to love me.† Donít take me away from Charlie!

 

Sunshine: Tell him that, to his face. Tell him you love him, and he can come with us. Say everything thatís in your heart.† Youíre safe now, you beautiful spirit!

 

(Emily pushes Charlie down on the couch, still holding knife.)

 

Emily: I want you to love me!

 

Charlie: I do love you, Emily.

 

Emily: Love me like you should!

 

Sunshine: More, Maddie!† More!

(Emily stabs Charlie repeatedly while she shouts.)

 

Emily: Love me!† I want you to love me!!!† Love me! Love me!† I want you to love me!

 

Sunshine: (simultaneously): More, Maddie, More!

End.