TR (ANNC): And now, the story of one man, his mother, and the 8.6 miles of copper wire that separates them. (REVERB) Duane--The Chosen Son.
(PHONE RINGS, PICKUP)
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): Is that you, Duane? It's your mother calling.
GK: Hi mom.
SS (ON PHONE): I hope I'm not getting you at a bad time.
GK: Well, it's six in the morning.
SS (ON PHONE): I wanted to call before my arthritis starts acting up. You know why I'm calling, don't you?
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): Now I don't want you to get upset, Duane, but I'm calling about the holidays. Your dad and I were thinking that maybe we shouldn't do gifts this year.
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): It's just that we always try so hard to get you the right thing and it never is the right thing and it's so painful, Duane, to see you so disappointed that we decided that we wouldn't even try anymore.
GK: You're referring to the melon baller you gave me last year?
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): It was a very expensive melon baller, Duane. It was adjustable. It cost twenty-five dollars. Twenty-five dollars, Duane. It was not cheap.
GK: Mom, I know-it was very nice.
SS (MIDWESTERN, ON PHONE): Well your face didn't say it was nice. Your face said what the heck is this-get it out of my sight!
GK: I was just confused, is all, mother.
SS (MIDWESTERN, ON PHONE): You were horrified. It's okay, you can say it.
GK: I wasn't horrified-
SS (MIDWESTERN, ON PHONE): You were and I am sorry but we're just trying, Duane. It's all we can do in this life, is to try, and try, and try, even though we fail, over and over and over and over and over again-kind of like you and that play of yours, Duane.
GK: Thanks for bringing that up, mother.
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): The one about the guy who locks himself in the bathroom and won't come out-
GK: I've revised it quite a bit-
SS (MOM): You've been working on that one for about fifteen years, Duane, and let me tell you ---- I am grateful that it never was produced.
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): I mean, I could just see it ---- the lights come up and there's polite applause and then a wine and cheese reception afterward and your father and I sit there humiliated because everyone knows who those monsters in the play are based on, that's pretty clear, so we have to scurry out like a couple of rats.
GK: Mom, it's not based on you.
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): I mean we are just doing the best we can, Duane, but you make it really hard, you know that?
GK: Oh, please.
SS (MIDWESTERN, ON PHONE): We had the best intentions with that melon baller, and to see your face fall like it did-(SOBS) It's just too much-I can't stand it--
GK: Then we won't do gifts, mother. It's fine.
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): We just have to stop. Gift giving is dead to me. If you have to buy me something, buy me an urn for my ashes.
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): It doesn't have to be new. It can be a used urn. I'm fine with that.
GK: All right, well, thanks for calling mom-
SS (MIDWESTERN, ON PHONE): Now hang on just a second, Duane, your dad is here. You wanna talk to him?
GK: Sure, if he wants to.
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): Well it's not about him, Duane. It's about you. He's right here.
GK: Sure. Put him on.
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): Okay, here he is. (YELLS, OFF) Hank! (A BEAT) Hank!
TR (DAD, OFF): Yeah.
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): Hank, it's Duane. Your son. He's on the phone.
TR (DAD, ON PHONE): Hello son.
GK: Hi dad. (A LONG BEAT) Dad? You still there dad?
TR (DAD): Yep.
GK: You okay?
TR (DAD): Yep. Everything's fine. You?
GK: Fine dad, I'm fine.
TR (DAD, ON PHONE): Okay then. Carry on.
GK: Nice talking to you, dad. TR (DAD, ON PHONE): Yup. (OFF) Here he is.
SS (MIDWESTERN, ON PHONE): It means so much to your dad, Duane. I hope you know. A lot of people don't have that kind of relationship with their father. It's a special thing.
GK: Yes, it feels special.
SS (MIDWESTERN, ON PHONE): Was that sarcasm, Duane? Because I can hear it, you know. I'm not tone deaf.
GK: I'm just working, mother. I'm writing--was there something else you wanted to talk about?
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): Well don't get all short with me, Duane.
GK: I'm not short, I'm just busy---
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): You've got a real anger problem, do you know that?
GK: I do not.
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): You do and it's none of my busineSS but I just wish you'd get help for it. I mean the hostility that just pours out of you-it's astonishing Duane.
GK: I'm not hostile, I'm just sleepy-
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): It just shoots out of you like a red-hot laser pointed right at my chest.
GK: There's nothing shooting out of me like a laser, mother. I'm just sitting here, in bed--
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): You're just finished with us, aren't you Duane?
GK: Oh, please. Not this.
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): You're finished with us, and I can tell, and you know what? I might as well just go leap into a volcano.
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): Go to Hawaii and take that long hike up a volcano and stand there at the edge, looking at your baby pictures, and then do a swan dive into the hot lava.
GK: Mother, please.
SS (MIDWESTERN, ON PHONE): (CRACKING) No need to buy a coffin for me. It's hot lava, Duane. It takes everything with it.
GK: Mother, will you just calm down?
SS (MIDWESTERN, ON PHONE): It only hurts for a second, Duane-which is nothing compared to what you have put me through for the past thirty years-
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): The best gift I can give you is to spare you the expense of my funeral. Gone. Incinerated. (SOBS)
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): What.
GK: Mom, we'll do gifts.
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): Don't say it Duane. We don't have to.
GK: Mom I'll make you a list of what I want, and you make me a list, and we'll exchange the lists and then we'll avoid all this heartbreak, okay?
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): I can't bear it, Duane. I mean what if we get it wrong again?
GK: We won't.
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): (SNIFFLING) Really?
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): How soon could you have this list to us, Duane?
GK: I'll do it later today. I'll print it out.
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): Okay. If you want me to come over and show you how that melon baller works, I can do that.
GK: That's okay. I've gotta go, mom. I'll talk to you later. How are you, by the way?
SS (ON PHONE): My legs hurt but I'm okay.
GK: I'm sorry to hear that.
SS (ON PHONE): Varicose veins. It's a living hell.
GK: Isn't there something you can do?
SS (ON PHONE): Forty-seven hours in childbirth, Duane. Forty-seven hours. And when it's over, it's never over. You live with varicose veins.
GK: Okay. Well, put your legs up.
SS (MOM, ON PHONE): Okay then. Bye now Duane. Love you.
GK: Love you mom.
TR (ANNC): Will Duane continue working on his play? Or will he go to the store and buy a cantaloupe? Find out next time, on (REVERB) Duane: The Chosen Son.