Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Scene 4: First Draft

(everybody comes into the dining room and sits down at the table, except for Cousin 5)

...needs small talk as people get to their seats: 

Dad: Where's you're daughter? Her aunt made her Matzoh Ball soup especially for her!

Aunt: She won't eat it. 

Dad: What an idiotkeh (idiot).

Aunt: (shouting so the next room can here her) Ms. Frummette, you're a member of this family so you're going to sit with every heretic at this table and you're going to like it!

(Cousin 5 comes in with a downcast look)

Cousin 3: Come on, we're not so bad. 

Cousin 5: I just don't understand why I have to be here.

Cousin 3: Because you're one of us, whether you like it or not. 

Brother 1: I don't know what the big deal is, I don't like it either but I show up because I don't have anywhere better to be. 

Cousin 5: But I do.

Brother 1: No, you really don't. 

Cousin 5: (seething) I'm so mad I have to be here.

Brother 1: So much for religious tolerance. 

Cousin 5: (gasps, inarticulately fuming as adolescent girls do) You're so annoying!

Brother 1: That's the nicest thing you've said to me since you were a little girl. 

(everybody laughs) 

Cousin 5: Don't take this personally, but I really don't like you. 

Brother 1: How can I take that personally? That's the least surprising news I've heard in years.

Cousin 5: Why do you always have to be like this???

Brother 1: This might come as a shock to you, but even if you can't stand me I really like you. You're a rebel and you've got spirit, you're not just a Jewish American Princess like my sister. 

Mom: Oy, here we go...

Brother 1: (ironically) Sorry, I'm just trying to get it out of my system before she gets here.

Mom: Wait. She's actually coming? (Cousin 5 looks down to read at her book again)

Brother 1: Oh yeah,... sorry, she told me to tell you she's coming with the Podiatrist and his daughter, I forgot... (realizing he did something bad) Sorry...

Dad: (gets up) Of course you did. (to Brothers 2 and 3 who are nearer to the door) Now help me get three more table settings. 

Brother 1: I'll get them.

Dad: It'll go faster if we get them.

(Uncle and Cousin 3 leave the room. Nobody else notices.)

Son 1: Sit down. I'll get them.

Dad: What's the big deal?

Son 1: If you get them it'll just be another guilt trip later.

Dad: We're closer to the door so we'll get them.

Son 1: You always do things everybody should do and then you complain how ungrateful we are because you do everything!

Dad: Why are you getting angry at me?

Son 1: Why do you have to say 'of course you did.'

Dad: I know, I know, I'm a horrible father, one day soon I'll be dead and you can complain to everybody else about how much I made you suffer.  

Son 1: (over this) Oh my god...

(Uncle and Cousin 3 emerge with three chairs)

Uncle: Here, we have them. 

Dad: What about the plates? (looks at son #1) 

Son 1: Alright, you go get the plates and utensils since serving your children gives you so much pleasure. 

(Dad leaves the room, noticeable pause)

Aunt: Well, I was waiting for a lull in the conversation to tell you all about our special guest tonight.

Brother 2: Oh shit...

Aunt: Helga Bernheimer is coming to eat with us tonight.

Brother 2: Oh fuck. Not that old sow. (Brother 3 laughs) 

Aunt: What are you talking about?

Brother 2: She used to come in at Schechter and Beth Tfiloh once a year to talk about the Holocaust. Every year it was the same thing. 

Brother 1: (says in mock German accent, increasingly screaming as it goes on and banging on the table) "In Auschwitz I vas sent to ze gess chembahs feefteen times everrry day! And feefteen times a day ve zaw how prrrechious life eez. Now you vill give deine money to ze Shtaet of Isrrrael und marry anderer Juden und macht schnell mit ze Jewvish babies...!!" (Brother 2 goes into fit of hysterial laughter)

Uncle: (slightly raised voice) I don't think that's funny.

Brother 2: I know you don't. 

Uncle: The Holocaust isn't a joke. 

Brother 2: Yes, if we make fun of Hitler, Hitler wins. 

Uncle: You wouldn't be here to make fun of him if he did win. 

Brother 2: Well then Thank God he lost and that people like you are here to protect us from Yassir Arafat annexing the Sudetenland. 

Brother 1: (to Brother 3 who's sitting on his other side) Well there goes the next five hours... (Brother 3 chortles) 

Uncle: Why are you making this personal? All I said was that I don't think this is funny. 

Brother 2: You were the one who started yelling.

Uncle: I wasn't yelling. 

Brother 2: This is what you do every time. You overreact when somebody offends your precious religion and then accuse everybody else of overreacting!

Uncle: It's your religion too!

Brother 2: It's my choice whether or not it's my religion and I'm not a horrible person if I decide it isn't. 

Uncle: All I said was that I don't think it's funny.

Brother 2: You spend an hour a day making Schvartzeh jokes and this is the joke you don't think is funny?

Brother 1: (to uncle) Well he is right, you do froth at the mouth about liberals like it's your job and then get offended when people might take offense to it. It's a very Nixonian tactic. 

Dad: I've told him and his father that for decades. 

Brother 1: (to Dad) Shut up Tricky Dick. 

Aunt: (Yells) May-I-Continue-Please?!

Brother 2: By all means you Bernheimer collaborator!

Aunt: Stop it! Mrs. Bernheimer is a very poor woman with no family! Her husband dropped dead forty years ago and since then she's made her living for three months every year in Ocean City selling donuts. 

Dad: I remember her donuts from when we were kids. She only had one flavor donut.

Mom: What flavor was it?

Dad: Glazed. It was the greatest treat I ever had because Mom wouldn't let me eat a donut from anybody who wasn't a Holocaust Survivor. 

Aunt: Do you mind?

Dad: Sorry, I know Mrs. Bernheimer doesn't deserve the life she had.... (under his breath) Even if she is a bitch. 

Mom: Will you just let her talk!

Aunt: I don't know if you've ever heard her speak, but we had her at a school assembly for Yom HaShoah last year, and she was just amazing. All the teachers were crying, all the girls were crying too. 

Brother 3: What about the boys?

Aunt: Well you're all little shits at that age so of course you didn't care. 

Dad: Glad to hear you were so respectful my son. 

Brother 3: I wasn't there this year, remember?

Dad: Oh, that's right. I took you down to Washington for the 50th anniversary. I never asked you, what did you think?

Brother 3: It was OK...

Dad: Just OK?...

Brother 3: It was OK.

Dad: Were you even paying attention?

Brother 3: ...I dunno...

Dad: Ladies and Gentlemen, this is what a Jewish Day School education gets you...

Mom: I dunno, it seemed like you were interested when you went. You were telling me one day all these details about the camps. 

Brother 1: He probably got those from me. I remember when I was a little kid, I read as much as I could about the camps. 

Uncle: (complimenting) Well you were always interested in Jewish History.

Brother 1: (with mischief) And I remember that I would fantasize about how I would have fought the war differently if I were Hitler. 

Uncle: Oy vavoy...

Cousin 3: Relax Dad. It's just a joke. 

Brother 1: No, I really thought about it. 

(door opens, in walk Cousin 4 and Cousin 3-wife)

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