16A Vane Attempt

"Don't Need a Weatherman To Tell Which Way the Wind Blows" 

A Series of Innocuous Blogs for Vainglorious Edification.

October 26,2007  
"Every breath you take, And every move you make
Every vow you break, every step you take
I'll be watching you." Sting

"Suffer The Children"
A Short One Act Play

Fletcher - 45, Nanny
Det. Foster - 50, NYPD Detective
Dr. Burke - 40,  MD
Sharon Baylor - 35, a mother
Capt. Jarvis - 40, NYPD

Lights up on a schematic  family nursery.  Fuzzy animals, hanging alphabet mobiles,  a music box nursery rhyme tinkles softly.   A pastel colored crib sits downstage center in highlight.  Enter FLETCHER, the Nanny, humming to the music.  She busies herself picking up and putting away.  She works with an air of quiet confidence and authority.   She carefully lays a baby blanket out on the floor.  She goes to the crib, picks up the baby and coddles it for a few moments.

Fletcher: (sweetly) Hello there little jewel.  How are you tonight?   A little sleepy are we?  Oh, shshh, I know, I know… It is a little late to wake up isn’t it?  We’ll just wait a minute and we’ll go back to sleep…

She puts the baby back into the crib.   Goes offstage for a moment, returns with a folding step stool.  She opens the stool upstage of the blanket.  Returns to the crib, removes the baby again. 

Fletcher:  (sweet) Oh oh, shhh shhh… Hush little baby don’t you cry…

Fletcher cradles the baby and carefully climbs the step stool.   She steadies herself on the top step and gently rocks the baby in her arms.

Fletcher: Oooh, aren’t we something tonight?  Look at how high we have gotten?  Isn’t it pretty up here?  Look little jewel, we’re almost as high as your alphabet… When we’re up so high it let’s us feel the grace of God himself now doesn’t it?  Can you feel it?  Can you feel the grace of God little one?

She kisses the child, holds it out in front of her and  then drops it to the floor.  There is no sound for a long beat.  Then, a muffled cry, choking, not wailing, not screaming, a hushed, quiet gasping.  Fletcher looks down at the crumpled infant.

Fletcher: (sorrowfully) I know little one.  I know how hard it is.  It is a burden to be a child of God.  It is a burden to carry that weight.  And the suffering is born by us all, little jewel.  By us all…

She climbs down slowly.  Carefully picks up the  baby, rocks it gently.

Fletcher: It’s almost over little one.  Almost over…

She carefully puts the baby back in its crib.  Folds the step ladder, puts it aside.  Then folds the baby blanket and returns it to its place.  As she finishes, the baby begins to cry.  This time louder, with more strength, growing more aware of the pain it is suffering.

Fade to Black

Scene Two

Lights up on enough set pieces to suggest an official office.  Fletcher, Sharon, Foster and Dr. Burke are here.   Sharon is utterly distraught, shaking with anger.

Foster: You called nine-one-one at what time Ms. Fletcher?

Fletcher: At twelve thirty seven.  The minute I saw the blood on baby Christian’s ear I…

Sharon: (furiously) DON”T you call my child baby Christian!  DON’T you speak of my child you sick, sick psychopath!!

Foster: Ms. Baylor, I am going to ask that you do not interrupt while we try to understand what went on here.

Sharon: You don’t have to understand!  What went on was this vicious bitch disguised as a human being attacked my innocent child!! 

Beside herself with rage, Sharon picks up and throws the nearest object she can find (pencil holder, etc).  Foster restrains her.

Foster: Do NOT make me call in a policeman Ms. Baylor.  We all want to get to the bottom of this and we will, but you are going to have to help us.  I’ll have you restrained if you are going to behave this way.

Sharon: This vicious bitch is the one who should be restrained!!  I never should have trusted her!  I was a fucking idiot to have hired her in the first place!!  A fucking idiot… (she bursts into tears)

Foster: Dr. Burke, the emergency room showed what level of injury?

Burke: The child had suffered some kind of severe trauma to the left side of the skull around the temple and upper jaw. 

Foster: You r report says the trauma was consistent with blunt force trauma??

Burke: Or a fall.

Foster: If it was a fall Dr. Burke, from what height would you say it might be?

Burke: From the fracturing and the contusions and judging the baby’s weight, I would say it would have to be more than three feet.

Sharon: (crying) Vicious, vicious bitch!

Foster: Ms. Fletcher, when you found the child where was Ms. Baylor?

Fletcher: She was upstairs in her bedroom. 

Foster: Did you notify her before calling nine-one-one?

Fletcher: No I didn’t.

Foster: And why not?

Fletcher: Because I knew it would only delay the process.

Foster: What do you mean?

Fletcher: Well, I knew that Ms. Baylor was, pre-occupied and that she would probably react the way she is right now.  My intention was to get help to the child as quickly as possible.

Sharon: Vicious, lying cunt!

Foster: Ms. Baylor, don’t make me call the officer... It won’t help anything.  (to Fletcher) Ms. Fletcher, when you say Ms. Baylor was “pre-occupied” what do you mean?

Fletcher: I mean that she had been out last night, and had come home with a guest.  Knowing Ms. Baylor’s habits it would have been fruitless to call her before calling emergency.

Foster: And why did you think that?

Fletcher: Because I know her pattern.

Foster: And what pattern is that?

Fletcher: She would have been intoxicated. 

Sharon: Liar!

Fletcher: Ms. Baylor has a habit of drinking in the evening.  And I imagine she doesn’t limit herself to alcohol if you know what I mean.

Dr. Burke: What do you mean?

Fletcher:  Ms. Baylor has prescription pain medication, anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication. I believe she mixes them with her alcohol intake.

Foster: And this led you to believe that she would have been unable to respond to an emergency with her baby?

Fletcher: Yes it did.  And I had to consider that it was probably Ms. Baylor that last saw the child before I discovered him.

Sharon: Filthy lying bitch!

Foster: Did Ms. Baylor visit the nursery late last night?

Sharon: Of course I did!!  I always kiss my child good night.  She knows that.  I am a good mother.  I love this child more than anything in… I love this child!  I would NEVER do anything to harm my son!

Foster: When did you say good night to your son last night Ms. Baylor? 

Sharon: Around midnight when I had gotten home. 

Foster: Were you alone.

Sharon: Yes.

Foster: Alone with your son?

Sharon: Yes.

Foster: Did you have a guest in the house?

Sharon: (hesitating) I don’t know what the hell that has to do with anything.  I was out at a party, I left my son in the care of my Nanny, I came home and after I tucked him in, I went to bed.

Foster: Did you have a guest in the house Ms. Baylor?

Sharon: (pause) Yes, I did.

Foster: Did your guest ever enter the nursery?

Sharon: No he did not.

Foster: Did you notice anything wrong with your son when you kissed him good night?

Sharon: Nothing.  He was sleeping normally… Sweetly (breaking down) He is the most beautiful thing in my life!  He is what I live and breathe for…

Dr. Burke: (gently) Sharon, did you take any medication last night?

Sharon: What?  No.  I had… A few drinks at the party.  Another when I got home. 

Fletcher: Her pattern is to drink and then take Xanax or Elavil.  It causes her to behave erratically.  I have seen her this way with the child and she nearly dropped him.  She endangers the child.

Sharon: You lying fucking bitch!!  I have never endangered my child except by hiring you!  Mr. Foster, this woman is responsible for what happened to my child last night.  She is lying about me.  She is lying about what happened and she is lying to you right now!

Foster: Ms. Fletcher, you are a registered nurse?

Fletcher: Yes.  And I am a certified and bonded child care professional.  I have twenty years experience in child care and unfortunately I have seen this kind of thing before.

Foster: What kind of thing?

Fletcher: Irresponsible parents.  Single parents.  High society people with more money than a sense of duty.  They hire me to cover for their failures.  Failed marriages.  Fancy careers.  They use drugs and drink alcohol and think it won’t catch up with them one day.  And it always does.

Dr. Burke: It always does what, Ms. Fletcher?

Fletcher: Catch up with them.  They blaspheme.  They disrespect their station in life.  It’s pathetic and sinful and it always catches up with them.

Sharon: You self-righteous, selfish psychopath!  If I had only known what you are!   Can’t you see what she is?  She’s been hiding it from me.  For six months she’s been full of kindness.  ‘Let me do this, let me do that, I’ll take care of everything, don’t worry.’  And look where it’s gone.  This woman nearly killed my child!

Sharon rises as if to attack Fletcher, but Foster and Burke both restrain her. 

Burke: Sharon don’t make it worse. 

Foster: Ms. Baylor, your last warning.  (speaking into phone) Trevor… Have we got the digital yet?  (pause) What is it?  Right.  Okay.  Send him in.

Sharon: (quieting down) I’m going to be calm.  I’m going to be calm…

Police Captain Jarvis enters.  He has a notebook computer in hand.  He hands it to Foster who sets it down so that all can see.

Foster: Ms. Fletcher according to agency records two years ago when you were working for Rothman family in Rye, New York their infant child died of what is known as SIDS.

Fletcher: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. 

Foster: And four years ago you were fired by the Davis family in Mamaroneck New York after their two year old was scalded by hot water…

Fletcher: The mother failed to check the water temperature before bathing her child.  Another lush druggy who paid the price.

Foster: And just last year you had to change agencies because Pemberton dropped you. 

Fletcher: (defensively) They no longer met my standards.  They tried to send me to homes with parents that avoided their responsibilities.  They wanted a Nanny who would clean up after their filthy habits.

Foster: Which is why by court order we have this,  Ms. Fletcher.

Jarvis: Just hit the space bar to start it…

Foster punches the keyboard and a video begins to play.  We hear familiar words from the computer’s speaker.

VO: “Oooh, aren’t we something tonight?  Look at how high we have gotten?  Isn’t it pretty up here?  Look little jewel, we’re almost as high as your alphabet… When we’re up so high it let’s us feel the grace of God himself now doesn’t it?  Can you feel it?  Can you feel the grace of God little one?”

Sharon, devastated, puts her head in her hands and cries.  The lights slowly fade during the following.

Fletcher: (long pause) The child suffers the sins of its mother.  The sins demand redemption.  If the mother had not sinned, the child would be healthy.  (rising desperation) If the parents did not wallow in evil, their children would be safe.  It is the evil that curses the child.  Evil destroys their protection!  The good lord said, ‘Suffer the children,’ and so they have… So they have!  Suffer the children… Suffer the children!  Suffer the children…


The End