Pray to Willy.

A one act play about the vicissitudes of a resource class in Euless, Texas.

Mrs. Country. Teacher. Blond. Healthy. Attractive. Forties. Texas accent.

Dramatist Personae

Miss. Evlyn Black………………………. Personal assistant to Zeno. Black female. Forties. Big lady. Largely obese. Looks like the lady on the cover of the Aunt Jemima breakfast syrup bottle. Talks like her too. Real to life southern black lady.

Pony………………………………….. Thin. Buzzed hair. Seventeen. Mentally retarded. Extreme case. Drools in thick sporadic streams. Nicknamed "old faithful." Mumbles in speech. Only speaks in vowels. Doesn't finish consonants. Once suffered from malnutrition. Dresses poor. Looks like he's in Junior High. Always says, "baiiiii." Sneaks up on the assistants. Likes to touch. Sits like a fop. Poor finger motor skills. Hands loose touch with dexterity. Has a effeminate nature. Sits crossed legged like a lady. Walks with a delicate east, grace and beauty. Moves in poetry.

Zeno………………………………. 18 year old boy. Diagnosed with Autism and Prader-Labhardt and Willi syndrome. Black. Heavy set. Not as big as most Prader Lamphardt Willi children. Never speaks, but is vocal. Constantly slaps his neck and bangs his knuckles together. Slaps his knuckles two or three times and then slaps his neck and grunts. He does this constantly. He also prances around like a boxer. Eats any food that is in his reach. Aggressive as a shark. Wears an adult diaper. Dresses in a sweat outfit. Has a nest in the corner of the room. It is important that he explodes after food. When Zeno takes off for food he jumbles his movements like an out of control fighter wrestling for the knock out. Paces, swings, bites his hand, swings and darts after. A little over three hundred pounds.

Matti…………………………. Very quiet. Girl. Wheel chair bound. Works on the computer. Intravenously fed.

Leady………………Girl. Sixteen. Sits in a wheel chair and hums. With out notice, she will croon out a rhythmic melody.

Talla……………………………….. Girl. Sixteen. Blind. Sits in a titanium wheel chair with side guards. The wheel chair has side guards., straps and a seat belt for safe keeping. With out notice, she will open her mouth really wide, extending the jaw, protruding the tongue. She will crackle in a fairly long serious of short sudden vocal spurts, mixed with a clicking of her tongue. At times she will scream in a high pitch voice that sounds like a mermaid song; and at other times it sounds like a siren. Also, she will open and close her hands and repeat "ch, ch, chg" with the speed of machine gun fire. Very vocally expressive.

Antony…………………………. Black. Sixteen. Retarded. Wears a red skateboard helmet for protection at all times. Epileptic. Slow. Dresses nice. Temper. Curses. At times, bites people.

Chino………………………. Sixteen. Black. Big boy. Talks too fast. Rhythmic. Stutters and talks like a jazz artist. Slow. Has a brother that was a famous rap artist in Cali. Has the attitude of a kind boxer. Stubby hands and bald head. Glasses. Hard to understand. Dominant but gentle. Dresses rich.

Mikel Jackson……………………. Assistant. Black. Twenty nine. Hefty. Deep voice. Sings. Plays ball.

Jona…………………….. New guy. Mid twenties. Irish decent. Tall. Thin. Ghostly voice. Thinker. Well read. Dresses like a undergrad Professor. Caring soul.

Officer Tong. …………………………….Medium build. Strict. Quiet voice but authoritative.

Matti's helper……………………………… Lady. Mid thirties.

Nurse………………………... Mid Thirties. RN. Bright. Happy but with sad eyes. Hefty.

Note

Zeno has a nook adjacent to his work desk. It should be in the corner of the room. The desk sticks out three feet from the corner creating a recess for the nook. Parallel to the desk is a wood board which allows the alcove to exist, thus polishing the sides of the nook. In the center of the nook is a mat and blanket. Also, there is an exercise machine a feet or so from the mat. Zeno doesn't know how to use it. The exercise machine (Ab/hip thruster) is located before the Zeno's recessed area. It is a motion machine that is shaped like an exercise bike but has no peddles. One will sit on it and thrust hips forward; going from a seated position to a stretched position. The board and desk (nook) hide him from the other kids. Zeno goes to this nest to escape the confusion of the room. Zeno's desk has three blinder walls. This allows him to work in private. On the front wall is four Velcro symbols: Work skill symbol (Hammer and nail), food symbol (Apple banana and orange), Bus symbol, Paint brush symbol.

Note on Jona's bicycle: The bike can be similated by using an exercise bike and lighting. I would prefer a spot. The spot, can be filtered, or angled, and it should only reveal the handlebars and Jona's upper torso. A fan can be used for wind. Also, sound effects and theatrical lights can represent the car.

A large work table. Three large study desk. Screen. Teachers desk. Zeno desk, boarded wall. Board covering hole in the wall where Zeno has punched. Computer desk. Game shelf. Work skill shelf. Tape recorder shelf. Changing bed. Locker shelf. Coat hanger on wall. Mats. TV/VCR. Small Christmas tree. Books on chalk board.

Next to the Miss. Country's room is a small parking lot. The school bus should pick them up here. The bus has a wheelchair lift.

Time:

A week before Christmas.

Lights up.

5:00 AM. Daylight is breaking.

Jona is on his bicycle on the sidewalk near an overpass.

Jona

Day one. January, uh, something. Two thousand

and three A.D. Somewhere near DFW airport.

(Jona speeds up on his bicycle. He heads against the wind.)

A submarine is defined in the American Heritage

Dictionary as "A ship capable of operating

submerged. Boy its cold. That's an Alaskan

wind blowing but I'm in Texas. Hm.. God

you think that wind could stop? Never mind then..

(Wind increases. Jet flies over head.)

I said, never mind then. Second definition.

"A large sandwich on a long split roll filled with

layers of meat, cheese, tomatoes,

Lettuce, and. . ." your choice of condiment.

I've become a submarine. A sub, sub submarine.

It so cold out here it feels like underwater.

(Car lights are cast behind him.)

Don't share my lane. Don't share my lane.

(Car passes close.)

Don't. . .You idiot. I said. . .don't share my. . .

(Truck passes. Splashing water.)

You know what you did. Oh, forget em.

You don't deserve the bird.

(Sound of crickets. Owl hoots. Jet flies over his head.)

Day one. Resource. Well, Resource number one.

Whatever number one means. Assistant to teacher.

Substitute teacher. A sub. Hence. . .well, you get it.

Lights down.

Lights up.

The room rises in a light blue. Miss. Country arranges her desk and turns on her computer. She types. The white van pulls up to the school bus zone. Wheel chair lift lowers and beeps. Matti sits in her wheelchair. Her tongue rest out of her mouth. She tastes the air with her tongue. Matti is lowered to the concrete and her assistant, Lady, wheels her to Miss. Country room. The helper knocks on the door, opens it. The Lady assistant, the helper, rolls Matti inside the room. Mattie wears her snow-jacket backwards and hums and scream loudly like a siren.

Miss. Country

She's early.

Helper

Is it early?

Miss. Country

I have to drop her off early . I hope you don't mind.

I am glad you're here.

(She takes a moment to get close to Matti's, face to face.)

Miss. Country

We don't mind at all do we Matti?

(Matti moans and licks her lips.)

. . . .she had breakfast.

Helper

Yogurt. Right, Matti?

(Matti moans.)

Helper

Say, "Hello Matti!" Say "hello" to Miss Countries,

Matti!

(Matti moans.)

Helper

She'll take the bus home today. Is that okay?

Miss Country

Yes it is. Isn't it Matti?

Helper

Need to get going. Thanks.

Bye Matti.

(Helper leaves. Matti moans. She has moaned throughout their short conversation. Miss Country takes her jacket off and hangs it up.)

Lights down.

Lights up.

Mrs. Country sits at her computer and types. Miss Black sits in a single chair next to Zeno. Zeno is barricade behind a large students desk on a beanbag and mat. It is his nook, sheltered by walls of cardboard and wiry toddler gates. There is a large wooden plywood that is set up adjacent to the desk to prevent Zeno from being distracted. His head rocks out and back from the board in a constant motion. Zeno bangs his knuckles together, hums, grunts, and shakes his head side to side. Zeno slaps his neck and bangs his fists. Grunts. He hits the cardboard like an ape would hit the glass wall at the zoo. He grunts again, hums and grunts some more.

Pony sits at the worktable next to Antony. Pony begins to drool in a thick continuous streams. The streams rarely stop, ever. Pony laughs maniacally and long. He fits soft puzzle pieces into a puzzle game.

Antony sits adjacent to Pony. Antony circles a large orange marker on a work sheet. He is a little more concentrated than his neighbor Pony.

The first bell rings.

A helper wheels Leady in; just in time. Leady hums and protrudes her tongue into the air like a serpent. It is if she is smelling something with her tongue. She presses her forearms against the wheelchair's arms. She is wheeled to a corner and left for Mrs. Country.

As she leaves, the Helper takes off Mattie's coat, caresses her cheek, and waves goodbye to Miss Country.

Miss Black hands Zeno some play dough and lets him mush it up. Time passes. Everyone works. The school day has begun.

Lights down.

Bike segment.

Before dawn. Jona wears an AM/FM headset radio. He peddles like wildfire. Jona fastens the headphones tighter to his ears. We hear the announcer.

Radio Announcer

Welcome back to this early, early good morning

on KRP3, your Classical needs. Guess what? A recent

poll was giving asking who would be the number one

dead person to be clone for today's world, results

came in. The number one clone nominee was

Albert Einstein. Einstein beat out Jesus Christ,

Gandhi and Elvis Prestley.

Jona

God help us. Day two. Too early.

Always too early. Catch that worm.

Lights down.

Lights up.

Everyone continues to work. Jona walks in. He is dressed in business slacks, button up shirt and tie. Sweaty.

Jona wears a name tag that says, "Substitute."

Jona

High. I'm the new helper. Sorry, uh, I smell like

sweat. I biked about six or seven miles, maybe. . .

Miss Country

Whats your name?

Jona

Jona. No, H.

Miss Country

Hi. Jona, with no H. This is my class.

Do we have an H in any ones name?

(No one answers. A grunt is heard; or two.)

Mrs. Black

Well, Jona. Welcome. Everybody say

Good Morning, Jona with no H.

(Zeno bangs his hands together, screams and laughs. Still rocking back and forth like a rocking chair. Everyone grunts and a few screams. Zeno yelps violently.)

Mrs. Black

Don't worry about em. Hee fine.

Thid iz Zeno he's autistic and loud as hell.

Jona

Hey, Zeno.

(Zeno laughs and slaps his again.)

. . . .feisty.

Mrs. Black

Hiz a tigah.

(Mrs. Black tries to get up, but gravity implies that she points instead.)

Mrs. Black.

Thiz iz Pony and Antony.

Jona

Hey Pony and Antony.

Antony

(Quietly)

Heheh. Hiee.

(Pony drools in a long, fast stream. It spills on his stained shirt)

Mrs. Country

Boy he's got the "Old Faithful" going.

Mrs. Black

He'll do dat. Here ged a rag.

(Mrs. Black points at a desk drawer, still urging to get up, but can't.)

And there you'll find a rag with clothes pins.

Take em and pin id to em. Oh, Pony. Ged a few of

Em. He drool like a fountain. "The Old Faithful"

(Jona walks over to the desk, retrieves two clothes pins and a hand towel. He walks back.)

Jona

Do I just pin it to him.

Mrs. Black

Yep. Just pin 'id arouwd he'z neck.

(Jona pens it around Pony's neck. Pony drools everywhere. He turns to Pony and drools like crazy. Jona just wipes and talks to him with encouragement.)

Jona

That'll help ya. Your piece of cake.

Easy as pie. A two dollar bill. One of a kind.

How bout it, sonny.

(Pony points at Jona's nametag. Slobber glides off Pony's fingertip and onto Jona's name tag. Jona wipes it off with a rag.)

Jona

Boy howdy, buddy. You know how to drool.

(Pony laughs as more drool pours out. As Pony guffaws things change. His laughter sets off a chain reaction of mad laughter around the room. Jona swishes his head side to side catching the laughing room. Mrs. Country rings her bell and things calm down. Antony approaches Jona.)

Antony

What's youh name?

Jona

Jona. I'm the new helper. Member, no H?

Antony

Can you get me a game, Mr. H?

Miss Country

Na uh Antony. No no. Don't listen to em, H.

I mean Jona. Antony you get your own games.

Jona isn't here to get yer work for you. Jona,

they have to get the work skills for themselves.

Jona

What are their work skills?

Miss Country

Oh. All the toys and games up there

(Pointing at the shelves along the wall full of games and puzzles.)

. . .all are their work skills. They can put together

puzzles, play with blocks or whatever; but they

have to put them up for themselves and take em down.

That's what they need to learn to do. For themselves.

Jona

Okay, Antony. You can. But you have to get it yourself.

All by yourself. Okay?

(Antony goes to shelf and removes a set of Alphabet blocks on a string. He returns and begins arranging the blocks on the desk. Jona follows him and sits with him to study.)

Jona

Can you say A?

(Jona grabs an "A" block.)

A for apple. A. Can you say A?

(Antony buries his head in his arm.)

Antony

A fer abble..

Jona

Very good Antony. AAAAPPLE.

(Antony goes quiet.)

Jona

Why does he wear the helmet?

(Antony buries his head in his arm and lays his head on the desk.)

Miss Country

Hang on. I'm checking e-mails. Parents.

I get these unknown e-mails every once and awhile.

Jona

Oh.

(Antony spills onto the floor headfirst. He goes into a seizure. Chino walks in and sets down at the end of the worktable and glances at the seizure. )

Chino

Hey guys. Looky.

Miss Country

(Calmly, routinely)

Is he having a seizure.

(Antony urinates on himself as he spits and twitches.)

Jona

Antony. Oh no.

Miss Country

Oh dear, don't worry. Everyday thing.

(Antony goes tight and begins to vibrate. Piss runs onto the floor.)

Miss Country

You timing this Evlyn?

Miss Black

Five seconds so far.

(Antony kicks and squirms for ten more seconds. Everyone watches silently for twenty more seconds.)

Miss Country

I think that's it. Twenty big ones.

Jona

You want me to wipe it up?

Miss Black

Nah he hit around thirty secondz.

(Jona looks for a rag for the urine. Antony winds down to a resting sleep.)

Miss Country

No. I'll get it. I need to call his mom.

That was thirty seconds.

(Antony goes into snore.)

Jona

He's okay, right?

Mrs. Black

He'll be okay. He do dhat. He'z gots seishahs.

Jona

Seizures. Wow. He's okay, right?

(Zeno claps his hands and slaps his neck. He hums and scream in a odd melody. Matti and Leady hum and siren. Talla crackles in short burst and screams in a unique melody. It sounds like a funky symphonic build made by mad sirens and bells.)

Jona

He's a brave kid.

Lights down.

Lights up.

10 AM.

Mickel Jackson comes in. He wears an expensive sports leather and brown corduroy slacks. Jona helps Pony put together a puzzle. Antony rests on the floor behind a screen.

Jona

Hey Pony. Are you listening. Look before

You make a decision. Look at the piece

Than make the decision.

(Pony puts a piece in the wrong spot. He is unaware.)

Look before you make the decision. Don't just

Make the decision.

(Unaware he misplaces the puzzle piece.)

Try again. You got that one upside down.

(Mikel walks over to the other side of the work desk.)

Jona

Hi how are you. Whats your name?

Mikel

Mikel Jackson.

Jona

OH. Really.

Mikel

Yep.

Jona

How long has he been one of your students.

(Mikel leaves the room to go to lounge.)

Miss Country.

He's not. He is a helper. Like you.

Jona

Oh. I thought he was a student. Is his

Name really Michael Jackson.

Miss Country

Mikel Jackson. He just pronounces Michael.

Jona

Really. That's funny. I thought he was. . .

(Zeno screams out. Slaps his neck.)

Mrs. Black

Now. Now. Zeno. No. Play with the

Play dough. See. He know it bout to

Be lunch.

Lights down.

Lights dim up.

Day breaking. Bike Segment. Jona wears head phones. Rock music plays.

Car lights pass him.

Jona

Well, here I am. Before dawn. Way before dawn.

And I'm off to pursuer it all. These kids aren't

Your regular crest smiling folk. The belch, burb,

Spit. Scream. AHHHHH. Scream. Loud.

Hey buddy don't share my lane.

(Car passes. Truck passes. To automobiles.)

Hey. Hey. You know what your doing.

NO. Thanks a lot buddy.

These kids are unique, the better than us.

Way better than will ever see. In King Lear

It ends with, "We that are young shall never see so

much, nor never live so long." These kids

have seen more. Have lived more in one day,

than we will ever know.

Lights down.

Lights up.

Close to lunch.

Pony and Antony sit at the work desk. Pony plays with a rubber band game. He must stretch rubber bands onto pegged board of nails and wood. The board has a left and right arrow symbol, and up and down arrow symbol on it. It is rubber band work skill game for his motor skills. The goal to the game is to stretch rubber bands over pegs in a wooden board in order to make rubber band design. Antony puts a snowman puzzle together. Zeno sits still. He is concentrating on humming. Mrs. Black watches over him. Miss Country watches Zeno and checks her e-mail. Zeno goes to his nest and sits close to the exercise machine. Mikel Jackson comes in.

(Mikel reenters.)

Mikel

Jona help me with the desk.

(Mikel begins to scoot the desk in front of the door way. Zeno gets up and eccentrically shadow boxes at his feet.)

Mikel

This is so Zeno doesn't escape.

Mrs. Black

You don't know do you, Jona.

Zeno got Prata Willi syndrom.

Jona

Pray to Willy. Whats that?

Miss Country

Prater Willi means he can't resist food.

Me must have it. So he gets a little

Restless sometimes.

(Mikel finish the blockade. The desk blocks of the entrance doorway.)

Mrs. Black

See that plywood board on the wall. We had to

cover that after Zeno smashed it out with

his fist and afterwarz' he ate some sheet rock.

(Mikel walks out in the hall, and returns with three cafeteria trays of food. He walks around the desk.)

Mikel

This is for Matti.

(Miss. Country opens Matti's milk and breaks the end of her French garlic bread off. Zeno breaks past Mrs. Black and jots off to the Matti's lunch tray. He grabs Matti's bread and shoves the whole piece in his mouth. He walks back to his desk, humming and chewing. Anger on his face.)

Mrs. Black.

ZENO SIT DOWN. DAMN IT. ZENO.

Spit it out. NO, no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no,no.

(Zeno chews and swallows a wad of the Matii's bread..)

Miss Country

That's what Prater Willy does. He can't resist it.

(Mikel runs over and shoves Zeno against the wall. Zeno hums and swallows the bread.)

Mikel

Spit it out.

(He gets Zeno in a choke hold with his hand. Zeno continues to chew. )

Spit it out.

Mrs. Black

No use in doing that. Zeno done swallow id.

Mikel

Zeno sit down.

(Mikel sits on Zeno. Zeno swallows some of the bread.)

No more. He got to wait until the others finish.

(Zeno squats in the corner in his nest.)

Mrs. Black

If you didn't know he do that. He also bid over weight.

Prader Willi is a tough on em. He eaten too much.

He'll steal food from oder kids and he might

hurt ya to get it, so beware, he'll charge ya.

Miss Country

OH, now. He'll hurt himself before he hurt you.

Don't worry.

Jona

So, he can't resist food.

Miss Country

No. If you have a plate full of whatever

in front of him. It won't be there for long.

He has to eat. All dee time.

Jona

That's very human.

Miss Country

No. That ain't human. He's an animal.

(Jona throws Miss Country a dirty look. Zeno gets up and charges to the door. Mikel gets in his way and pushes him back. Zeno goes for the trash can, knocking it over and digs in the paper. Zeno whines. Pony sneaks up behind Jona. Pony gleefully sticks his fingers in Jona's face. Jona pulls back. Pony smiles and laughs at Jona.)

Pony

Paaaiiii. Paiiiiii. Baiiiiii. Baiiiiiii.

Mikel

Stay outa der. See he'll dig through the trash

for food.

Miss. Country

One time he rushed the office and returned

with handful of cake.

Mrs. Black

Cake trails all behind him. Just trailing him.

He shoved handfuls of cake in his mouth.

Jona

That's why he leaves the room. To go

to the office?

Mrs. Black

For food. He love food.

(Zeno goes to his nest.)

Mrs. Black

We won't feed him till later. Wait for

the kids eat and go back to work.

Once he gets his food, he'll want more.

It gets him started. And he don't know

how to stop.

Jano

There is an ah, uhm. What do you call it.

Its in the brain. Two parts. Under the thalamus.

Its called the Hypothahlamus.

It controls anger, rage, food and sex.

It fires sensory ah, codes to the cortex. . .top of the

spine. . .this may not be firing after he takes

in food. So it feels as if he's hungry all the time.

It singles the autonomic systems which control

hunger, tells him to stop eating. Its also related

to rage. Maybe its mutated.

Mrs. Black.

He eat all de time. Don't know how to stop.

Anything, sheet rock, crumbs on the floor

pebbles. He been kicked out of a lot of schools.

The last one he'd run out in the street.

Hold dat hand at his cheek. Like this.

(She demonstrates.)

They let him go there. His a big kid.

Worry dem.

Miss. Black

He uses his weight. How are you supposed

to drag him away when a kid weighs that much.

They know what their doing. They know how

to get their way. The use their armor.

Jona

So, he eats after everyone else is finished.

Mrs. Black

He'll steal der food if he do eat when dey eat.

He gotta wait. Boy gotta wait. That de key.

Look at em Jona. He fixen to get up.

Tremble like dat.

(Zeno kind of trembles in place.)

He tremble like dat when eh fixen to eat.

Want dat food. See.

(Mrs. Black pulls a large bag of macadamia nut cookies from the teachers file cabinet. She hands Zeno a cookie. Zeno stuffs it in his mouth.)

Mrs. Black

Don't eat id ahll ad once nohw. Liddle bites Zeno.

See how he stuck id all in his mouth at once.

Not good dat way.

Jona

So he's never full.

Mrs. Black

Never fuwld. Eat all de time.

(She hands him another cookie. Zeno eats half. Chews. Then shoves the rest in his mouth. Mrs. Black nibbles on a cookie. Next, Mikel hands Mrs. Black a plate of Alfredo Pasta and fried Chicken. Mrs. Black snacks on it. Zeno trembles but does not charge her.)

Jona

Why do they call it Pray to Willy?

Does it have anything to do with

a prayer and whose Willy?

Mrs. Black.

Willy? Oh, it's a name. Someones. . .

Miss Country

Its based on someone's name. What did

you call it.

Jona

Pray to Willy.

Miss Country

No. Its Prader Willi.

Jona

Prader? Oh. Praaayder. The name. I see.

Miss Country

Prader. Like the name.

Jona

I thought you said Pray to Willy.

(The other kids begin finishing up lunch. Leady is spoon fed by the teacher. Mikel watches over Zeno. Antony finishes his last chip from the chip bag. The kids are now sipping on High C or chocolate milks. Zeno hums and slaps his self in the head. Jona stands up. Heads to the front door. Zeno chews on his hand and gets up. He paces back and forth like a boxer about to fight.)

Lights down.

Lights dim up.

5:00 AM. Before dawn. Bike segment. Going up hill. Peddling hard. Peddling real hard.

Jona

Prader Willi Syndrome, according to the internet,

site at the www dot Prader Willi association dot com

is defined as, "A chromosomal disorder resulting

in a syndrome characterized by infantile hypotonia,

hypogonadism and obesity." I don't know what

hypotonia or hypogonadism is at the present moment,

well the gonad part I get, but that's just common sense.

Well, you know. Uhm. Most Prader Willi

Folk are in a subtype with autism, or mentally retarded.

And in many cases they have an uncontrollable

urge to eat any food on site. They see the food, food goes

in the mouth. And they will fight for it. Trust me,

I've seen it. Lunch time there is like a Olympic sport.

Pony takes out a cracker, Zeno steals it. Runs

Off. Antony takes picks up his French roll,

Zeno is pined by Mikel. Its wrestling, hundred yard

Dash and relay race on in a ball. Its not hard understand

his obesity. Zeno does do good. He can be quiet the

angel at times. To reward such a case, with a snack

of food would defeat the purpose of the reward. Food

is there problem. Why would you reward someone

with feeding them their problem. It would be like

giving a drug addict illegal drugs and asking them to

quit. So, Zeno has it tough.

When he's good he gets a cookie. When he's

bad he punches holes in the wall. If he doesn't

punch a hole in the wall, the cookie.

Gets the cookie, eats it, he bites his hand. If he doesn't

bite his hand he gets the cookie again.

It's a cycle of nonsense. Then, this reward

sets him off and he wants more, he can't quit.

He can't say when. So, what about a hug instead

of a treat. Then, at the end of the day they have

him get on his exercise machine. Its like our

life but a little more intensified. No, much more

intensified. I never thought this work would be

so challenging. Oh, you wanna know about me. Okay.

You want the truth. I went to New York city last year

to be an actor. I had to go home for aggressive

behavior and psychological help. Ironic eh.

Long way from Broadway.

Lights down.

Lights down.

Lights up.

Pony plays with a windup circular bell toy. It spins on a pole and rhythmically rings a bell. The bell sound rapidly rings over and over again. Matti sits near the teacher's desk in a wheel chair and sporadically cries out. She is intravenously fed by a nurse. The nurse chats with the teachers. The teacher checks her e-mail. Jona reads Chicka Chicka Boom to Pony. Pony laughs and points his finger in Jona's space. Antony colors on a worksheet. Mikel brings a Styrofoam lunch plate full of corn, French fries and a hamburger. He sets it down to Mrs. Black. Zeno trembles.

Miss Country

Time for Zeno's food.

(Mikel goes outside and brings in Mrs. Black's and his food. Jona passes on lunch.)

Mikel

Yo shore yo ain't hungry Jona.

Jona

I'm saving it for the holidays.

Mikel

Okay. Zeno. Lunchtime. Ding, ding.

(Mrs. Black pulls a Velcro symbol stuck to Zeno's inner side of his desk.)

Mrs. Black

What do you want Zeno? You want

hamburger or work skills?.

(Zeno points at the work skill symbol with his left hand. Then, he points at the food symbol with his right. She rips another work skill Velcro.)

Mrs. Black

He point at booth. Which one Zeno. You want the

Hamburger or work skill. He want dat burger.

Jona

Why do you do that?

Mrs. Black

See, if you don't know, he heavy. So, see, we see if

he'll work more. Instead of eat. He gotta work for it.

(Zeno points at the food.)

Miss Country

Cut it up.

(Mrs. Black halves the burger for Zeno. Hands it to Mikel.)

Mrs. Black

Give em half.

(Mikel puts half the burger on a separate plate and gives it back to Mrs Black.)

Mrs. Black

See he point at boo'th. I gib him half.

(She feeds Zeno half the burger and a few of the fries. Zeno gobbles it up.)

Antony

(Smiling.)

He hungreeeyys.

Mrs. Black

Eat yo food Antony.

(Antony takes small bites from his potato chip bag.)

Mrs. Black

Zeno you want a work skilb. Hey Zeno.

(Mrs. Black takes a big bite from her burger.)

Zeno you want work skilb or foo.

(Zeno jumps up runs past Mrs. Black in mid bite. Mrs. Black jumps up. A tomato lands in the breast of her blouse. Mikel runs after Zeno.)

Mikel

He can't get out Jona. We gotta move.

(Mikel and Jona run after. He breaks free from Mikel. Zeno runs out the classroom door.)

Jona

OH, shit.

Mikel

Come on. He go to the principal office.

Jona

Why?

(Mikel runs out the room. Jona follows him.)

Mrs. Black

(Finish her bite.)

They gonna be out der for while.

(Mrs. Black composes her self. Miss Countries finishes feeding Leady crackers. She smiles. Kyle goes to the work shelf to retrieve a geometric block and keyhole game. Antony colors and snacks on his chips.)

Antony

He hugriesss.

Miss Country

Hurry up Antony Lunch is almost over.

Antony

I finished.

(He empties his chips on the floor. Pony laughs at him and drool all over his shirt.)

Miss Country

All this excitement. Must be the holidays.

One more bite Leady.

Lights down.

Lights up.

After school. Bike segment. Riding down hill.

Jona

The shit, the diapers, the shoelaces,

the screaming, the screaming, I hear

it as a fall asleep at night. The banging

of fist, picking of noise, eye burgers,

restroom breaks, smells like dung,

burp, fart, yell, waaaa… a mouth opening

taking buttery oatmill in and oozing it

out onto chin, cheek and bib. . .But you know

what it is. Its beauty. Its music at its best,

mad beautiful music out to send you,

to gracefully transcend you into the now,

into the truth of it all.

(He pedals faster and faster.)

Lights down.

Lights up.

Pony spins the circular bells. It rhythmically rings in a circle. Antony has his head down on the work skills table. Pony slobbers on the bells in thick drooling messes. Jona wipes his mouth with a rag. He has a rag clothes pinned to his shirt. Mrs. Black feeds Zeno macadamia cookies and Miss Country checks her e-mails. Leady hums, Matti drools and wiggles, and Talli dozes off. The bells stop. Silence take over the room. Jona nods off.

Mrs. Black

Jona.

(Jumping.)

Jona

Yeah.

Mrs. Black

Go to the desk.

(Jona goes to the wrong desk.)

No. That one oder der.

Jona

Where?

Mrs. Black

De one oder deer. By the door.

First drawer. Rags and clothes hangers.

Get em out. Dee clothes pins.

Get em and pin dat rag to Pony's neck.

(Jona does so.)

Mrs. Black

Work skill or snack Zeno.

(Zeno ignore her. Pouts a face.)

See dat. See how he do that with

His hands like dat.

Mikel

See how he do dat.

(Mikel puts his hand up to his cheek bone making a gun symbol, places his thumb under his chin.)

See he making ya feel sorrow for em.

Jona

Really. Na.

Mikel

Yeah.

(Zeno gets up charges through MRs. Black. Mikel gets him in a headlock and drags him back to the desk. Heavy breathing. Mikel pushes Zeno. Zeno's back hits the wall. Zeno slides down in his corner, sitting cross legged. Mikel sits on him.)

Mikel

Noooo no no. Zeno no.

Be good Zeno or no cookie.

Jona

You think he has had enough cookies.

I mean he don't know the difference.

Mikel

Well.

Mrs. Black

Behavior conditioning. No Zeno.

Why you act up. Huh Zeno.

(Zeno takes off for the door, trotting off for his big escape to food. Jona panics. Zeno zigzags through the desks. He passes Mikel, Mrs. Black and heads toward Jona. Jona takes in a huge scarred breath, steps back and picks up a single chair to fend Zeno off; as if he was a great lion. Zeno ignores Jona's attempt. Jona remains in his lion tamer poise. Zeno does not charge in further. He remains in place but jerks nervously around. Mikel grabs Zeno's shirt and yanks him back.)

Mikel

NO ZENO. NOOO.

(Mikel wrestles with him. Zeno grunts and runs back to his corner. He falls to his knee.)

Mrs. Black

Now why did you do that?

Jona

He gets mad when he eats.

Miss Country

That's what Prader Willi does.

Mrs. Black

Once he get started he ain't stopping

(Pony drools a puddle on the floor. Antony squirms around, throws his crayon and messes up the alphabet block game.)

Jona

Antony don't do that. Get a work skill.

(Miss Country stands.)

Miss Country

Mrs. Black I'm calling Officer Tong.

Mrs. Black

Go to time out.

(Antony rises, throws his book bag down, stomps to the time out desk and sits with his head down on the main work skill desk.)

Mrs. Black

Visitor's coming Antony.

Mikel

Now why did you throw your crayon sunny.

Antony

I'm not talking to you.

Mikel

Whyz that.

Antony

Its not fair.

Mikel

Whats no fair.

Antony

Its no fair.

Mikel

Lot things ain't fair Antony.

Antony

It not fair.

(Lays his head down. Covers his face. Pony drools on himself. Jona fastens his clothes pin.)

Jona

You guys got Pony so worked up he's

Drooling up a storm.

Mrs. Black

He drool dat storm no matter dis or dat Jona.

Jona

Yeah I've caught on.

(Zeno bangs the wall and claps loudly. Antony falls asleep, or pretends, the teacher gets back on her email, Mrs. Country chews on some cookies, Mikel reads a magazine, Leady wiggles and giggles, Matti cries her siren song, Talla slobbers and hums, and Jona stares into space. Clock ticks loudly.)

Lights up

Officer Tong is in a squat position. He talks softly to Antony. Zeno snacks on mini cookies fed to him by Mrs. Black. Miss County arranges the chairs and the wheel chairs in a circle. Leady, Matti and Talla sit in a semi-circle. A lady comes in with a guitar and sits down.

Officer Tong

Hey Antony. Whats wrong tiger. You upset.

(Antony burries his hands in his arm.)

Some one said you bit some one today.

Mrs. Black

He do. He bit me. Didn't you Antony.

Officer Tong

No biting Antony. You know better.

Miss Country

Time for music. Monday is music day.

Lady with a guitar.

Hi everyone.

(Zeno is lead over to a chair. Antony says goodbye to officer Tong. Officer Tong goes out of the room. The rest of the kids sit in the circle. Jona sits back and watches.

Lady with a guitar

Okay. Today where going to sing Christmas songs.

But first lets have an introduction.

(She plays the guitar.)

OOOOH I'M SO HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY TO SEE

YOU. OOOH YES I AM. HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY TO

SEE YOU.

(She pulls out a keyboard. Plays.)

Hellooooooo. Zenoooo. Aren't you glad to be here.

Zenooooo. Clap your hands…..show your love.

(Zeno claps and blushes.)

Helloooooooo. Oh, Poneeeeeeeeey Aren'ty you glad to be here.

Poneeeeeeeeeeey. Claps your hands and show your love.

(Pony drools a thick stream onto his lap.)

(She plays louder.)

Helloooooooo. Oh, Antony. Aren't you glad to be here.

(Antony claps his hands)

Good Antony. Oh, Leadeeeeeeeey. Aren't you glad to be here.

Oh Leadeeeeey. Good. Oh, Mattiiiiiiii. Aren't you glad to be

Here. Clap your hands and show your love.

Ohhhh Class. Aren't yall glad to be here. Clap your hands

To show your loooooove. Yeah.

(Everyone claps there hands.)

Lights out.

Lights up.

After school. Bike segment.

Lights down.

Lights up.

Jona sits with Pony and plays the rubber band game with him. He helps Pony stretch and exercise his fingers in extending the bands over pegs. The pegs are nailed to a simple, square board. Anthony remains on the floor asleep. The wheel chair girls listen to a tape of cartoon music. Zeno plays with alphabet blocks. Mrs. Black snacks on a noodle dish and watches over Zeno. Micheal has taken his break.

Jona

Come on Pony. Come on guy. Stretch em.

I know you can do three pegs. Wrap it around

Three. No that's two. No two. That's two.

Try three. Three Pony.

(Holding up three fingers.)

THREEE. Come on three. Try three. You got it.

Nope two. Wait. Stretch em. Stretch those fingers.

Three. Yeah. You got three. Three Pony.

Miss Country

He likes that rubber band game.

Jona

It's a good work skill for him. Motor nerves in all.

You know, it's the emotion that matters.

Its showing him he has it and give it to him.

Emotion heals.

Miss Country

Its moments that count with these guys.

Jona

Moments all they have.

(Pony wraps the rubber band around three pegs.)

Pony

Yeahhhh. Baiiii baiiiii. Baiiiii.

Jona

Baiiii? Whats Baiiiii?

(Pony claps his hands together and yells in victory. Pony puts at him and drool pours from his lower lip in a thick, circular string.)

Pony

YEAAAAAAAH. YEAH. Baiiiiiiiii.

Yeeee. Baiiiiii.

Jona

Whats baiiii Pony?

Miss Country

Whats baiiii Pony?

Jona

Does he say that a lot?

Miss Country

Well, yes. He says a lot of things.

Jona

It sounds like Bad. But with out the "d."

Miss Country

Mmh.

Jona

I wonder what he means.

Miss Country

Pony is severely mentally retarded. He may not know

himself.

(A moment passes. Pony hums. He points at Jona.)

Pony

Baiiiiiiiii. Baiiiiiiiiii. Ehw Baiiiiiiiiiii. Ehw baiiii.

(Pony laughs.)

Jona

Pony would you like to get another work skill.

(Pony gets up and walks over to the work skill shelf. He returns some puzzles. Pony moves with delicate grace and concentrated speed. Pony sits back down at the worktable. Pony crosses his legs like a lady.)

Lights out.

Lights up.

Officer Tong speaks to Antony. Spot on them.

Officer Tong

Antony why did you bite Mrs. Black?

Antony huh. Why? Hey. Are you okay?

You wanna go home.

Antony

No.

Officer Tong

You wanna be good. Huh, Antony.

Huh. How about it? No more biting.

We can't have you bite. What if

some one bit you? How would you

Feel.

Antony

Nooo.

Officer Tong

Now come on. Don't be that way.

Antony

Noo.

Officer Tong

Whats no for. I haven't asked you anything?

Antony. What if some one bit you?

Antony

No.

Officer Tong

No. Is that what happens when some

One bits you. No. No's you answer.

Now come on. Antony. Don't

Just sit there. No more biting.

You promise.

Antony

Ahk. Okay.

Officer Tong

Okay?

Antony

Ahk. Oh. K.

Officer Tong

You sure?

Antony

I sure.

Officer Tong

Okay. I'm going now. You be good now.

(Officer tong exits the class room.)

Lights down.

Lights up.

Room is decorated with Christmas ornaments. Zeno, Officer Tong, Mikel, Jona, Mrs. Black, Miss Countries, Antony, Pony Chino, Leady, Malli, Talla, and the nurse all dance in a circle. The dancing should be as normal and fun as regular people dance. A single spot takes it turn illuminating each person.

Talking Heads play on the radio. Everyone is joyful. The celebration goes on for a few minutes.

Lights down.

Lights up

The entire class works quietly on work skills. The wheelchair girls sing and hum. Leady cries like a siren. Matti is out with Miss Country. Mrs. Black returns with Zeno and two tired assistants. She leads Zeno into the room by his shirt. Mrs. Black holds Zeno up against the wall near the door. Mikel walks in. He rushes to him and helps her brace him. Zeno has chocolate cake running down his chin. He chomps in large bites. She attaches two hefty clothespins to his nipples and ear lobs. Zeno rocks his head side to side and twists from the pain. He hums and grunts. She pinches on the paper clips and leads him to his nest. Mikel follows. Chocolate cake drips to the floor. Zeno wipes his chocolate cake infested hands on the desk. Mikel wraps his fingers around his throat and tries to get Zeno to spit his cake out. Zeno grunts and shakes his head "no." He is quite angry.

Mikel

Spit it out. Zeno. Spit it . . .

Mrs. Black.

Come awhn Zeno shpit her out.

Spit it out Zeno.

Mikel

Spit.

Jona

Where did he get the cake.

Mrs. Black

Office. Down the hall. He runs in there.

Got the birth day cake.

Jona

Whose birth day.

Mrs. Black

His.

(Mikel smiles.)

Jona

Mikel's.

Mrs. Black.

No. His.

Jona

Zenos. Why didn't you just give him a slice.

Mikel

He knows things.

Jona

Knows things?

Mikel

Knows things.

Mrs. Black

He knew whered dee cake wahad.

Mikel

He just knows.

Jona

He knew where the cake was?

How?

(Mikel touches his nose.)

Jona

He smelled it.

(Miss Country walks in with Matti.)

Miss Country

Somebody spoiled their birthday cake.

Jona

Spoiled it?

Mikel

He saw it when you brought it in this morning.

Miss Country

Gaw. Its near lunch. I can't believe. . .

Mikel

Wow. Kids got smell.

(Mrs. Black sprays a canister of Glade in the air. Mikel pinches the clothespin that hangs from Zeno nipple. Zeno whines and grunts. )

Mrs. Black

Boy, pew wee, Zeno. Zeno stinks up

a charm.

Mikel

Boy just was about to have a good lunch too.

Went and ruined it. You see that Jona.

Gotta watch him.

(Pinches clothespin.)

Mrs. Black

Set him in his desk.

(Mikel seats Zeno in his desk. Zeno whines and hollers. He causes Pony to laugh. Antony begins to mumble and whimper. Leady sings softly. The room is afire with noisy voices. Jona tries to read a children's book to cover it up.)

Jona

All in a days work, eh.

Lights down.

Lights up.

Bike segment. Jona peddles on a side walk. Sun is rising. AM/FM radio plays Bach.

Jona

You are a Doctor. A child, a teenager, and an adult are all

brought into your office. They are all dying and you have

no time to ask questions. Who do you help first? Why?

You are taking an important test and you don't know any of

the answers. Your smart friend is sitting next to you.

What do you do? Why? You are doing an art project in

The corner of the room with some classmates. You accidentally

spill your red paint—it goes on the projector—Turn it in here.

You may go to the rest room, but no talking. No talking.

NO TALKING. HUSH. Read. Read. Read. Quiet now. Read.

You don't know how lucky you are. How lucky you are.

Eyes on board. Youth eyes on the board. Eyes, eyes

Eyes, eyes. No more whys, whys, whys, whys.

Eyes, eyes, eyes on board. On the board. Eyes on me.

Shhhhhhhhh.

(Car passes. Honks.)

Shhhhhhhh. You didn't have to honk buddy.

Lights down.

Lights up.

Zeno, Antony, Pony, the girls and Chino watch the television set. Miss Countries hits the play button on the VCR. Cartoon music plays. Jona and Mikel spray down the tables and occasional watch. Mrs. Black snacks. Cartoon music blares over the TV/VCR speakers.

Lights down.

Lights up.

Same situation.

Jona

What is that spray? It smells odd.

Miss Country

Pine and Vinegar.

Jona

Yeah. I can't get that smell off at home.

Mrs. Black

You use dee glove. Ovar der.

Jona

Where?

(She points to the cleaning shelf. Various paper towels and rubber disposable medical gloves rest in boxes. Jano gets one.)

Jona

Pine and what? What is that smell?

Mikel

Yep. Strong smell. Covers it up.

Mrs. Black

Break time coming

Lights down.

Lights up.

Jona and Pony are before stage. They are on a walk. Pony drools on a rag and does not speak. Jona walks next to him. They stop at a picnic bench in a alcove in the school.

Windy day.

Jona

Windy.

(Pony drools.)

Jona

I messed up. I had a shot. I lost control.

You seem to be in somewhat control Pony.

(Pony drools.)

So, when I got back from the Big Apple,

I filled out an application, just the other day.

For 7-11. They hired me. Then, they fired me.

To much of a individualist. Insurbornation.

I remember on the W-2 Form. Something

You may be blessed not ever being introduced to.

Work form. Anyway, it had an option for

Exempt. Exempt. Or you could fill out, or

I could fill out, one. Exempt or one.

That's my category. Family. Success equals

Family. Whats a family Pony.

(Pony drools in thicker slobbering pools.)

Family is when you stick together. Thick or thin.

You got it. Your always family Pony.

To all of us. You can't fail. Will stick it out for ya.

We won't let you go. If we do fail you; indivisible will fall to shatter into an endless amount of pieces.

(Pony drools.)

Wind.

Lights down to gusting wind.

Lights up.

Bike segment. Sun rising.

Jona

Sending out an Sos. Sending out an SOS.

Sedning out an SOS. Waaooeeeooeooeoe.

(Car passes.)

Don't share my lane buddy. Hey you hear me?

God sends you all over this great creation to

Learn. Share life with his people, or children.

Every type. One minute you're in a melting pot of

a city, buildings fall, people scatter. Jobs ripped from

you. And you run. Sometimes, to faraway places. You wake

up. . .And kids are all around you, touching you,

hugging you, smiling. Life is re-introduced.

And you feel this power from with in. The true you,

warming inside, lifting you out of the pain and into

now.

(Car honks.)

No honking. Come on watch it.

Its not where your are in society, its not your

stature that matters. It's the obstacles that you

overcome along the way. This determines your

greatness. With these kids, it's every moment

that counts. Their journey is measured in minute

seconds, moment to moment connections. A breath,

a hug, a balancing act with a walker, a wheel chair

on the playground, a reach of the hand, a tiny

second of recognition, a touch of hope. This is how they

join us. This is their greatness. See them travel in delightful smiles.

(A child in a walker appears in a dim spot. )

. . .Its starts with one foot step, large or small, it's

still a step. It's special quest.

(The child takes a step.)

Lights down.

Lights up.

Lunch time. Next day.

Miss country is working at her computer. She pulls out a calculator. Mrs. Black is snacking on Oreos and helping Zeno with a work skill game. Antony is napping. Leady, Matti and Talla are listening to a soothing musical audio cassette. The TV/VCR is playing the a cartoon. Jona reads from a children's book named Saint George and the Dragon. He reads quietly to Pony. Pony drools and hums. Zeno bangs on the wall.

Miss Country

(Reading the back of her calculator.)

Well we have enough to go to the mall

next week. I think we need to buy Zeno

his birthday present.

Mrs. Black

He better eenmpronv dat behavior.

Miss Country

He will, won't you Zeno.

Jona

Nice day out.

Mikel

Want me to get Chino.

Mrs. Black

We id he.

Mikel

He outside. Breaking.

Mrs. Black

Breakdancing.

Mikel

Ha, ha. No, he went on a walk.

Sitting by himself on the bench.

I go get him.

(Mikel leaves. Miss Country reads the back of her calculator.)

Miss Country

Listen to this. This is what it says on

this little machine. "This device complies

with Part 15 of the FCC rules. Operations

is subject to the following two conditions:

Mrs. Black

What object?

Miss Country

This one. "Number one. This device may

Not cause harmful interference, and number two

This device must accept any interference received

Including interference that may cause undesired

operations.

Mrs. Black

Dat a math calculator. What can dat do?

Jona

It took math to build the bomb.

Mrs. Black

Ain't dat dee truth.

Miss Country

FCC and Part 15 take this thing too seriously.

Jona

Hm. Maybe it wants you to use math

in a kind way.

Miss Country

Math is math. What do they think I'm gonna

Shoot someone with it. Bad operations.

Part 15. Come on.

(Zeno jumps up and heads out. Mrs. Black looks at Jona. Jona jumps up and block him. Mikel runs in with Chino. Chino sits down. Mikel and Jona push Zeno back.)

Mikel

Not today big boy.

Jona

BACK.

(Zeno runs back to his nest giggling.)

Mrs. Black

See he think it funny.

Jona

You going home for Christmas?

Mikel

Maybe. My girls wanting me to go see her kin.

Miss Country

My husbands cooking turkey.

Mikel

Your not cooking de Turkey.

Miss Country

Nope. He wants to this year. Bought a book

on it and everything. He thinks his gonna be

chef.

Jona

All I know is I get nervous around my folks.

Especially my Dad's side. My problem is too

Much holiday. I got my mom's side, step father's side

Fathers side and step mother. Got to go to

Like four dinners through out this week.

Mrs. Black

Your parents are divorced?

Jona

Lucky, lucky me.

Mikel

That must be hard.

Jona

Really, indeed.

Miss Country

Okay girls. Time to get changed.

Mikel, Jona you wanta help me with em.

(Mikel sets up a mat around a changing table. Jona and Miss Country lift Leady up and carry her around the mat.)

Miss Country

Ready. One, Two and three.

(They sit her down on the mat. Mikel returns back to the work table. Jona takes a sit.)

Lights down.

Bike segment. Jona bikes uphill. Night.

Jona

Tired of peddling. Peddling what I don't know.

Reading a lot of everything. Can't get enough

words in me around here. Reading up on

mysteries. Theologian fighting philosophers, fighting

atheism, spiritualist fighting bestiality, fighting logos

and art boxing it out with law and so on and exedra.

The baby still cries and monks in faraway temples hum.

(Steeper hill.)

Still peddling. Uphill. Gliding down in a few.

Still going forward in motion. Logos or notta.

God, or shadows. I'm here. Observing. Mistakes

And perfect actions. Exedra. Looked under the definition

of Apolo. Skipped down a few words on the A list.

I have become the third definition of apology in

the American Heritage. Interesting huh.

Lights up.

Soaps play on the TV. Mikel sits at the work table. Pony, Zeno, Antony work on games. The wheel chair girls hum to music. Miss Country has left. Mrs. Black snacks.

Jona

(Showing a picture from a interior decorators magazine.)

See I like that look. A house of glass in

a forest. Its very post modern.

Mikel

Better not toss rocks. I wanted to get me

a house with an indoor court. When I had

my NBA dream.

Jona

A basket ball court in your house?

Don't stop dreaming the dream.

Mikel

Well, I got drafted to one college with hell of

a team, mid western, but I turned it down. Join the army,

moved to Germany.

Jona

Germany? What was that like?

Mikel

Good beer. Don't drink the water their.

Just beer. The water over there, boy howdy,

give you the runs.

Jona

Never been to Germany. Been to France.

Mikel

Its nice.

Jona

So your going NBA huh.

Mikel

Not yet. Need to work off this.

What you studying?

Jona

Art in motion. Kiddin'

Mikel

In college?

Jona

Yep. Well, it was, I'm embarrassed to say.

Mikel

Come out with it.

Jona

Well, its hard to say.

Mikel

What is it like art or poetry.

Jona

Well, its something most can do

with out studying, studying just

keeps you keen. Lets just say

I studied everything.

Mikel

Everything, huh. What's the dream?

Jona

Private.

Mrs. Black

Come ohn now, you can let us know.

Jona

No, its private to me.

Mikel

What you wanna be some type of star or

something?

Jona

Come on people. Its my own thing.

Mrs. Black

Watch out Mikel, honey, you got that NBA star dream.

Jona

We all have stars to reach. Don't we all.

(Pony claps his hands and laughs. Antony shoves him. Zeno gets up and hollers. The wheel chair girls hum, cry and guffaw. Mrs. Black cracks up at the sudden noise. Pony rings the circular bell game. Mikel leans back. Jona stars at the Soaps on TV.)

Lights down.

Lights up.

They are at the mall. Mikel pushes Leady and Jona pushes Talla. They stop to look at calendars.

Mikel

You got a girl.

Jona

No.

Mikel

Why not?

Jona

Well, some men are chosen to have women.

And some aren't. Christ said that.

Mikel

My girls nagging me. Christmas is coming,

Nephew presents, children, I got two.

Girl and boy. You got any.

Jona

Well that comes with the women huh.

Mikel

Package deal with some.

Jona

Lucky man.

Mikel

Same to you. Kids can be hell.

Jona grabs a post card from the tray. He holds it up to Talla face.

Talla

Look Talla a kitty.

Talla laughs.

Mikel

She like them kitties.

Tall guffaws.

Jona

She's a good one ain't she.

Lights dim.

Lights up.

They are on the school bus. The bus driver is a brunette foxy lady named, Alex. All the kids sit in the back. Jona sits up front and stares out the window. Pony, Antony, Talla, Leady, Chino, Zeno, Mrs. Countrys, Miss Black, Mikel sit in the back section. They laugh and chatter. Jona stares out the window. The bus rattles.

Lights down.

Lights up.

Bus stop. After school. Leady gets rolled onto the bus lift. It beeps and lifts her wheel chair inside the bus. Antony gives Mikel a high five. Zeno gets on the bus. All the kids have left. Cold out.

Mikel

Hey met the gal yet.

Jona

No. I'm not ready. I got a plant. Need to take

care that for awhile. Gave it away. Looking

for a pet. Dog, cat something. Take care of that

for awhile. See how I do. Than maybe a chick.

Mikel

Hey, you like flying squirrels? I got a cage

full of em. Man I got an entire zoo at home.

Tropical fish everything.

Jona

Flying squirrels. I'z thinking about something

eccentric, raccoon, baby tiger, but I don't know.

I want something that doesn't shed.

Mikel

Flying squirrels are clean.

Jona

I had to fill in for a kindergarten de other day. I don't know

if you know this, but kindergarteners are a hard breed to

tame. This one class was like a tornado and a half. All over

The place, taking toys apart, piling them up in the corner,

They wouldn't sit down, they wouldn't listen, the teacher

In the neighboring room had to come in a yell at them more

than once, I didn't know. I don't have kids of my own yet. So, I

can't control the little tykes. So, I get to the point where I'm nearly

dizzy. My heart was racing, this kid kept touching me. They were

like little cute gremlins. The other one yanking my arms, sneezing, crying,

wanted water every five seconds, getting up to use

the restroom, "Can I have water, I need to go to

The bathroom." Then, I had to do the Alphabet,

pictures with the A and the apple to Z the zebra

and then numbers one to twenty. Couldn't find the number

flashcards so I drew them on the board. I draw number

One and ask the first kid, "He says, L." Oh, by the way

It's a bilingual Spanish class. I can only say somboto

And Seeyellow. . .Shoe and Sky. Beside yes and no.

I worked at a Mexican café in College. But some could read,

actually read sentences and in English. At that age, I was

impressed. One girl was really reading word for word with out

a real pause. So, after we did "See Ron run to Nan" five or six

times, and after I quizzed their reading by going to table

to table pointing at the story book and shh ing and be-quiting

them over and over. Shh be quiet okay. Shh be quiet okay, I finally

decided to quit. The kids had overcame me. They tore the room up.

Empty all the games on the floor, broke crayons, tore Klenex

tissues into a microscopic pieces, and shredded worksheets into

confetti, and when I was looking for those flashcards a kid had

climbed by the chalk board and a tripped over him, I stood up and

said, "See what happens when you don't listen to the Teacher, you

hurt them. I got hurt. I fell down cause you wouldn't listen"

and I just sat there and zoned. Something caught me.

It was like this inner alarm went off in my head. No they couldn't

take me yet. I still had more. I jumped to my feet, clapped

my hands and screamed, "SIT DOWN. BE QUITE. I AM THE TEACHER TODAY. AND THE TEACHER SAYS

TO HUSH UP" As loud as I physically could. Everyone went

Quite. Hushed up. Like I said. You could here a kindergartener's hair

drop. Then, I decided to read Pinocchio. By then my voice

was horse from yelling and teaching, or filling in, and

I decided to read in one voice, cause I couldn't change my

intonation, inflections, you know, my characterization around between Pinocchio, Geppotto and Limpwick, anyway, the class got uninterested and went back to anarchy BUT this one kid. He was so cute. Brown hair, two eyes like coal and chubby cheeks. So good. It was a young boy.

He sat next to me and listened to every single word. Every word. He'd nod his head after I'd turn the page and quickly flash the pictures of the

Walt Disney characters. I could of hugged him. But I didn't want

the class to let on that I was being soft. What respect that kid had.

He'll go far. I tried my best to change voices from Pinocchio and the

Others for him but we focused on context and theme. He learned the lessons of running away to be a star, the outcome of eating candy over

real food and significance of honesty. Well, I finished the book with ten minutes to spare. I had to con the class with candy to clean up every toy

and every tissue paper. Then, I lined them up, they got

their coats on and I handed out pencils and candy. Most of them

wanted pencils. I hated it and loved it. It was one the most frightening

and rewarded days in a long time. It was real work.

Lights up.

Bike segment. First ray of sun.

Jona

These kids know something we don't. It may not

be on an intellectual level but its something not all of us are

fully familiar with. I believe they are on a higher spiritual ground.

One day I looked at one of em, and they say back, "God

knows your there and He hasn't looked you over, He loves you too."

And then they throw a smell ear to ear at ya and go on with there "Wows and Heck yas and Really. Tell me more teacher."

Sometimes I catch them with this keen look in their eyes.

Like they are trying to teach me something I haven't picked up on yet.

But it is ah expression I have seen before, perhaps, from an senior citizen,

or shaman, or a wiser blood. They are apparent and implicit eyes. Clear.

At times even Heavenly. Mikel told me they are close to what we can't see. Closer to the sky, to the spirit. And perhaps the highly intelligent

are closer to the earth, the physical body of mind and existence.

Who knows more? Who is the guide? Who is the better one?

The normal ones, and my father always told me "normal is just a setting on a washing machine," have no need to cast critical judgment.

But the academic and public world do need to observe and learn from

every type of student. See, these special children, are a perfect reminder to the true definition of distinguishing individuality. They are a uniqueness to our human race. Like it or not, Mrs. Country's class is a part of this functioning system, just like every classroom. And what we call earth and what we experience in our personage, is connected to them. We feed them, they feed us, we take, we give, they take, they give, and the circle lives on.

You know what, if you look hard enough at these particular kids

you'll find yourself being sent upwards and back to what we remember as home. And nothing but everything arrives and for a slight second we are in the full and the clear.

Lights down.