Conjunctions:25 The New American Theater

The Adoption
MR., a Caucasian man in his late thirties or early forties
MRS., a Caucasian woman of about the same age
X, male or female, of any mature age
NABBO, a child
NADBO, a “twin” of NABBO


(Setting: An adoption agency office. Sterile surroundings, merely functional furnishings. Prominent on the wall facing the audience is a large clock with a minute hand of the kind that visibly “jumps” from minute to minute. At the start, the clock measures real time; by subtle degrees, it begins to accelerate.

Time: The present.

Lights up. We have been hearing bright, cheery music (“It’s a Lovely Day Today”), which now subsides. 
MR. and MRS. are seated side by side, gripping hands; they appear excited and apprehensive. They are conventionally well-dressed, as if for church, and do indeed exude a churchy aura. MR. has brought a briefcase; MRS., a “good” purse. A large bag (containing children’s toys) close by.

To the left of 
MR. and MRS. is a door in the wall; to the right, behind them, is the clock. With lights up the clock begins its ticking, the time at 11:00.)

MRS. I’m so excited—frightened!

MR. It’s the day we’ve been waiting for—I’m sure.

MRS. Oh, do you think—? I don’t dare to hope.
MR. They were encouraging, last time—

MRS. Yes, they were!

MR. They wouldn’t send us away empty-handed again—would they?

MRS. Well, they did last time, and the time before last—

MR. But this is going to be different, I’m sure. They hinted

MRS. No, they all but said—promised

MR. —um, not a promise exactly, but—

MRS. It was, it was a promise!—almost. In all but words.

MR. Yes. They hinted—today is the day.

MRS. (On her feet, too excited to remain seated.) The day we’ve been awaiting—for so long!

MR. (On his feet.So long!

MRS. I feel like a, a bride again! A—virgin! (Giggles.)

MR. (Touching or embracing her.) You look like a madonna.

MRS. It’s a, a—delivery—

MR. (Subtle correction.) A deliverance.

MRS. (Euphoric, intense.) We can’t just live for ourselves alone. A woman, a man—

MR. (Emphatically.) That’s selfish.

MRS. That’s—unnatural.

MR. Lonely.

MRS. (Wistfully.So lonely.

MR. A home without—

MRS. —children—

MR. —is empty.

MRS. Not what you’d call a “home”—

MR. But we have means, we can afford to “extend our boundaries.”
MRS. Thank God! (Eyes uplifted, sincerely.)

MR. (Glance upward.) Yes, indeed—thank you, God. (Pause.) Of course, um—we’re not millionaires. Just, um—comfortable.”

MRS. —”comfortable Americans”—

MR. —of the “educated” class—”middle class”—

MRS. Oh, dear—aren’t we “upper-middle”? Your salary—

MR. (Finger to lips, stern.) We are not millionaires.

MRS. Well—we’ve “paid off our mortgage,” we have a “tidy little nest egg,” we’ve made “sensible, long-term investments”—

MR. (Cautioning.) We are what you’d call medium comfortable. We can afford to extend our boundaries, and begin a—family.

MRS. (Almost tearful.) A family! After twelve years of waiting!

MR. (Counting rapidly on fingers.) Um—thirteen, darling.

MRS. (Belatedly realizing what she has said.) I mean—twelve years of marriage. Not just waiting. (Glances at MR.) Oh—thirteen?

MR. (Defensive.) We’ve been happy, of course. Our marriage hasn’t been merely waiting

MRS. —for a, a baby—

MR. —a family—

MRS. (Cradling gesture with her arms.) —a darling little baby

MR. —a strapping young son

MRS. (Emphatically.) We’ve done plenty of other things!

MR. Certainly have! Hobbies, travel— (A bit blank.) —paying off our mortgage—

MRS. (Grimly.) We’ve been happy. We love each other, after all.

MR. Sure do! Sweetest gal in the world! (Kisses MRS.’s cheek.)

MRS. (Repeating in same tone.) We’ve been happy.

MR. Damned happy.

MRS. We have snapshots to prove it—
MR. Albums of snapshots to prove it!
(A pause. MR. and MRS. glance nervously at the clock.)

MRS. (A soft voice.) Of course, every now and then—

MR. —in the interstices of happiness—

MRS. —between one heartbeat and the next—

MR. —in the early, insomniac hours of the morning, maybe—

MRS. —in the bright-lit maze of the food store—

MR. —like fissures of deep, sharp shadow at noon—

MRS. —we have sometimes, for maybe just a—

MR. —fleeting second—

MRS. —teensy-weensy fleeting second

MR. —been a bit lonely. (Pause.)

MRS. (Sad, clear voice.) So lonely. (Pause.)
(The door opens, and X appears. X is a bureaucrat, in conventional office attire; may wear rimless glasses; carries a clipboard containing numerous documents. He/she is impersonally “friendly.”)

X. (Bright smile, loud voice.) Goooood morning! (Consults clipboard.) You are—Mr. and Mrs.—?

MR., MRS. (Excited, hopeful.) That’s right! (MRS. quickly straightens MR.’s necktie, which has become crooked.)

X. (Making a production of shaking hands.) Mr.—! Mrs.—! Soooo glad to meet you.

MRS. (Flushed, hand to bosom.) So g-glad to meet you.

MR. Is this the— (Fearful of asking “Is this the day?”) —the right time?

X. No time like the present! That’s agency policy.

MRS. An—excellent policy.

MR. (Nodding.) Very excellent.

X. And you’re punctual, Mr. and Mrs.—, I see. A good sign.
MR. Oh, we’re very punctual.

MRS. (Breathless.) Always have been!

MR. We’ve been here since 7:45 A.M., actually. When the custodial staff unlocked the building.

MRS. We came to the c-city last night. We’re staying in a hotel.

MR. —a medium-priced hotel!—

MRS. We were terrified of missing our appointment—

MR. (Chiding MRS.) We were not terrified, we were—vigilant.

MRS. Yes, vigilant—

X. It is wise to be punctual. Such details in prospective parents are meticulously noted. (Mysteriously taps documents.)

MR. (A deep breath.) And is today the d-day?

MRS. (A hand on MR.’s arm, faintly echoing.) —the d-day?

X. (Beaming.) Yes. Today is your day, Mr. and Mrs.—. Your application to adopt one of our orphans has been fully processed by our board of directors, and approved. Congratulations!

MRS. Oh—! Oh!

MR. Oh my God!
(MR. and MRS. clasp hands, thrilled. X strides to the door, opens it with a flourish and leads in NABBO.)

X. Here he is, Mr. and Mrs.—your baby.

MR., MRS. (Faintly.) “Our baby!”
(NABBO is perhaps eight years old. He wears a mask to suggest deformity or disfigurement, but the mask should be extremely lifelike and not exaggerated. His skin is an ambiguous tone—dusky or mottled, not “black.” He may be partly bald as well, as if his scalp has been burnt. He has a mild twitch or tremor. MR. and MRS. stare at NABBO, who stares impassively at them.)

X. (Rubbing hands together.) So! Here we are! Here we have “Nabbo.” (Nudging him.) Say hello to your new mother and father, Nabbo. (NABBO is silent.)

MR., MRS. H-Hello!

X. (A bit coercive.) Say “hello” to your new mother and father, Nabbo. “Hel-lo.”

(NABBO is silent.)

MR. (Hesitantly.) He isn’t a, an actual—baby—is he?

X. (Consulting document.) Nabbo is eight months old. To the day.

MR. Eight months—?

MRS. Oh but he’s—so sweet. So—

X. Our records are impeccable.

MRS.childlike. So—

MR. (A bit doubtful, to X.) What did you say his name is?

MRS.trusting. So—

X. “Nabbo.” “NAB-BO.” (Equal stress on both syllables.)

MRS. —needful of our love!

(X pushes NABBO toward MR. and MRS. He is weakly resistant.)

MR., MRS. “Nab-bo”—?

X. (Brightly urging NABBO.) “Hel-lo!”
(NABBO remains silent. Visible tremor.)

MR. Maybe he doesn’t know—English?

MRS. Of course he doesn’t, that’s the problem. (Speaking loudly, brightly.) Hel-lo, Nab-bo! You’ve come a long distance to us, haven’t you? Don’t be frightened. We are your new Mommy and your Daddy— (Points to herself and to MR.) We’ll teach you everything you need to know.

MR. We sure will!
(MR. has taken a camera out of his briefcase and takes pictures of MRS. posing with NABBO. NABBO is rigid with terror of the flash.)

MR. Beau-ti-ful! The first minute of our new life. (Takes another picture.)

MRS. This is a holy time. I feel God’s presence here.

MR. (To X, hesitantly.) Excuse me, but is Nabbo a, um—little boy, or a little girl?

MRS. (Gently poking MR.) Dear, don’t be crude!

MR. I’m only curious.

X. (Checking document, frowning.) You didn’t specify, did you? You checked “either sex.”

MRS. (Eagerly.) Oh yes, oh yes! “Either.”

MR. (Protesting.) Hey, I was just curious. I’m Daddy, after all.

MRS. (Fussing over NABBO, squatting beside him.) He’s “Daddy,” dear, and I’m “Mommy.” We’ve waited so long for you! Only for you, dear. Can you say “Daddy”—”Mommy”?
(NABBO remains silent, twitching slightly.)

MR. (As if NABBO is deaf.) “DAD-DY”—”MOM-MY”—

MRS. (Her ear to NABBO’s mouth, but hears nothing.) Of course, you’re shy; you’ve come such a long distance.

MR. (Solemnly.) From the “dark side of the Earth.”

MRS. (To MR.chiding.) Don’t be so—grim, dear. That isn’t the right tone. (To NABBO; singing.) “Little Baby Bunting! Daddy’s gone a-hunting! Gone to get a new fur skin! To wrap the Baby Bunting in!”

MR. (Joining in.) “—wrap the Baby Bunting in!” (Laughs, rubs hands happily together.) I can’t believe this is real.

MRS. (To NABBO.) Now, Naddo—

MR. “Nab-bo”—

MRS. That’s what I said: “Nad-do.”

MR. Dear, it’s “Nab-bo.”

MRS. “Nab-bo”? That’s what I said. My goodness! (She turns to the bag, removing a large doll from it.) Look, Nabbo darling—just for you. Isn’t she lovely? (Urging NABBO to take the doll, but NABBO is motionless, not lifting his/her arms.)

MR. (Taking a shiny toy firetruck out of the bag; in a hearty “masculine” voice.) Nabbo, look what Daddy has for you. Cool, eh? (Running the truck vigorously along the floor, making “engine” noises deep in his throat.) RRRRRRRMMMMMMMM! Cool, Nabbo, eh?

X. (Holding out the clipboard and a pen.) Excuse me, “Mommy” and “Daddy”; please sign on the dotted line, and Nabbo is yours forever.

MRS. Oh, yes!

MR. Of course!
(As MR. takes the pen to sign, however, X suddenly draws back. As if he/she has just remembered.)

X. Um—one further detail.

MR., MRS. Yes? What?

X. It appears that—Nabbo has a twin.

MR., MRS. (Blankly.) A—twin?

X. From whom Nabbo is said to be inseparable.

MR., MRS. “Inseparable”—?

X. They must be adopted together, you see.

MR., MRS. (Trying to comprehend.Twin—?
(The minute hand of the clock continues to accelerate.)

X. Yes. An identical twin.

MR. Identical? Like our c-child?

X. Frequently, our adoptees are from large lit- (About to say “litter,” changes his/her mind.) —families. (Pause.) The term “twin” is merely generic.

MRS. I don’t understand. Isn’t our Nabbo one of a kind?

X. Nabbo is indeed one of a kind; we are all “one of a kind.” But Nabbo also has a twin, from whom Nabbo is inseparable.
MR. But—what does that mean?

MRS. “Inseparable—”?
(Pause. MR., MRS. stare at each other.)

MR. (Suddenly, extravagant.) Hell, I’m game! (Throws arms wide.)

MRS. (Squeals with excitement, kneeling before NABBO.) You have a twin, Nabbo? Another just like you?

MR. (Recklessly.) Two for the price of one, eh?

MRS. (Faint, laughing, peering up at MR.) Oh, but—”Daddy”—are we prepared? We’ve never had one, and now—two?

MR. Isn’t that the way twins always come—in twos? Surprising Mommy and Daddy? (Laughs.)

MRS. (Dazed, euphoric.) Oh yes oh yes oh yes! (Pause, voice drops.) I’m afraid. (Pause.)

MR. I’m afraid. Gosh.

X. I regret to say, Mr. and Mrs.—, that our agency requires, in such a situation, that adoptive parents take in both siblings. For, given the fact of “identical twins,” there can be no justification in adopting one instead of the other.

MRS. That’s ... so.

MR. (Wiping face with handkerchief.) You got us there ... yes!
(X takes NABBO’s arm as if to lead him back through the door.)

X. (Somber voice.) There are so many deserving applicants registered with our agency, you see. Our waiting list is years long.

MRS. (Desperate.) Oh—oh, wait—

MR. Hey, wait—

MRS. (Hugging NABBO.) We want them both—of course.

MR. (Wide, dazed grin.I’m game! —Did I say that?

X. (Severely.) You’re certain, Mr. and Mrs.—?

MR., MRS. Yes! Yes!

X. (Goes to the door, opens it and leads in NADBO, with some ceremony.) This, Mr. and Mrs.—, is “Nad-bo.”

MR., MRS. (A bit numbed.) “NAD-BOO.”

X. “NAD-BO.”

(NABBO and NADBO, twins, stand side by side. They exhibit identical twitches and tremors, cowering together.)

MRS. (Voice airy, strange.) What a long long distance you have come to us—Nab-bo, Nad-bo! Yet we were fated.

MR. From “the dark side of the Earth”—from “the beginning of Time.”
(MR., MRS. behave like doting parents, fussing over the twins.)

MRS. We’ll teach you the English language—

MR. American English language—greatest language on Earth!

MRS. We’ll bring you to our home—

MR. Your home, now—

MRS. We’ll love love love you so you forget whatever it is—(Pause, a look of distaste.) —you’ve escaped.

MR. That’s for sure! No looking back.

MRS. No looking back, you’ll be American children. No past!

MR. We’re your new Mommy and Daddy—know what that means?

MRS. (Pointing.) He’s “Daddy”—I’m “Mommy”—

MR. (Overlapping, hearty.) I’m “Mommy”—he’s “Daddy”—

MRS. (Lightly chiding.I’m ”Mommy.”

MR. (Quickly.) I mean—I’m “Daddy.” Of course!

MRS. (Taking out of the bag a cap with bells.) I knitted this myself, for you! (Pause.) Oh dear—there’s only one. (MRS. fits the cap awkwardly on NABBO’s head; takes out a sweater.) Thank goodness, I knitted this, too— (NADBO takes the sweater from her, puts it over his head.)

MR. You’ll have to knit matching sets, dear. From now on everything must be in duplicate.

X. (Smiling, but with authority.) Hmmm! I do need your signatures, Mr. and Mrs.—, before the adoption procedure can continue.
(MR. wheels in a tricycle. Both children snatch at it, push at each other. The child who gets it, however, has no idea what it is, and struggles with it, knocking it over, attacking the wheels. MR. pulls in a wagon. Similar action.)

MRS. Oh!—I nearly forgot. You must be starving—having come so far! (Takes fudge out of bag.) I made this chocolate-walnut fudge just yesterday!
(NABBO, NADBO take pieces of proffered fudge; taste it hesitantly; begin to eat, ravenously; spit mouthfuls out.)

MRS. Oh, dear! (With a handkerchief, dabbing at their faces.) You mustn’t be greedy, you know. There’s plenty to eat here.
(NABBO, NADBO snatch at the rest of the fudge, shoving pieces into their mouths, though they are sickened by it, and soon spit it out again. NADBO has a minor choking fit.)

MR. (With camera.) O.K., guys! Everybody smile! Say “MON KEE!”
(MRS. embraces the children, smiling radiantly at the camera. The children cringe at the flash.)

MRS. This is the happiest day of my life. Thank you, God.

MR. This is the happiest day of my life. (MR. hands X the camera so that he/she can take a picture of the new family. MR., MRS. smiling broadly, NABBO and NADBO cringing. NADBO tries to hide under the sweater, and MRS. gently removes it.) Thanks!

X. (Handing camera back to MR.) Lovely. Now, we should complete our procedure. Your signatures, please—

MR., MRS. Yes, yes of course ...
(Again, X draws the clipboard back out of their reach, at the crucial moment.)

X. Ummm—just a moment. (Peering at a document.) I’m afraid—Nabbo and Nadbo have a third sibling.
(MR. has taken the pen from X’s hand, and now drops it.)

MRS. (Faint, hand to bosom.) A third ...?

MR.... another twin?

X. (Hesitant.) Not “twin” exactly. With these high-fertility races, the precise clinical term is—too clinical. Let’s say “identical sibling.”

MR. Tri-tri-triplets?

X. Not “triplets,” exactly. (Evasively.) “Identical sibling” is preferred.

MRS. (Vague, voice strange.) Oooohhh another of you!—how, how—how wonderful. Your mother must be—must have been—(Draws a blank.) —if you had one, I mean. Nab-bo, Nab-do—I mean, Nad-do—?
(NABBO, NADBO poke each other, but do not speak. Cap bells jingle. One shoves at the shiny firetruck, or the wagon. The other finds a piece of fudge and pops it into his mouth.)

MR. (Awkward, dazed, to X.) B-But I’m afraid—we really can’t, you know. Not three. We’d only prepared for one.

MRS. When we left home yesterday—to drive here—we’d only prepared—enough diapers, a single bassinet— (Pause; a kind of wildness comes over her.) A third? A third baby? Is it possible? I did always want a large family....

MR. But, darling, not in five minutes!

MRS. We can buy a new house. More bedrooms! Bunk beds! A bigger family room! (Pause, breathing quickly.) I was so lonely in my parents’ house—just the one of me. And everything done for me. Never a moment’s want or deprivation ... (Pause.) My mother was from a large family—eight children. Dozens of grandchildren.

MR. But not in five minutes!

MRS. (Turning on him, cutting.) What difference does that make? We’ve been infertile—sterile—for fourteen years. We’ve got a lot of catching up to do!
MR. (Wincing.) Thirteen years ...

MRS. (Laughing, trying to hug NABBO and NADBO.) Here is our—deliverance! These “tragic orphans”—”from the dark side of the Earth.” Human beings can’t live for themselves alone....

MR. (Gripping MRS. by the shoulders.) Darling, please! You’re hysterical. You’re not—yourself.

MRS. (Shrilly.) Who am I, then? Who am I, then?

MR. Darling!—
(NABBO and NADBO have been cringing fearfully.)

X. (With authority.) Mr.—, Mrs.—? I’m afraid your allotted time has nearly transpired. Even as you dally— (X indicates the clock.) —this past hour, 110,273 new “tragic orphans” have been, as it’s said, “born.”

MRS. (Hand to bosom.) How many?—My goodness!

MR. I think we’ve been cruelly misled here. I strongly object to being manipulated!

X. If you had troubled to read the agency’s restrictions and guidelines handbook, Mr.—, more closely, you would not affect such surprise now.

MR. I did read it! I’ve practically memorized it! We’ve been on your damned waiting list for a decade!

MRS. (Vague, intense, to X.) There is a—a third sibling?—identical with our b-babies?

X. Identical DNA, chromosomes—identical faces and bodies. But, you know, not “identical” inwardly. In the soul.

MRS. “The soul—!” (A strange expression on her face as of radiance, pain.)

MR. (Awkward, flush-faced.) Darling, it’s just that we—can’t. We don’t have room

MRS. Of course we have room!

MR. We don’t have resources—

MRS. Of course we have resources! MR. (Tugging at his necktie, panting.) We’re practically in debtpaupers

MRS. (Extravagantly, arms wide.) We’re wealthy!—We have infinite space—inwardly.

MR. Inwardly?

MRS. The soul is infinite, isn’t it? Mine is, isn’t yours?

MR. (Baffled.) My—soul? Where—?

MRS. (Tugging at X’s arm.You tell him! The soul is infinite, isn’t it? “The Kingdom of God is within”—space that goes on forever!
(MRS. has been working herself up into an emotional state; NABBO and NADBO are frightened of her. They cast off the cap, sweater, etc., shove away the tricycle; begin to make mournful keening sounds and rock back and forth, their small bodies hunched. X scolds them inaudibly; they make a break for the closed door, and X grabs their arms to stop them.)

MRS. What?—where are you going? Nab-bo—no, you’re Nad-bo—I mean Nab-do—Nab-boo—come here! Be good! You’re ours, aren’t you? Mommy loves you so much— (Tries to embrace children, who resist her.)

MR. (Blank, dazed smile.Daddy loves you so much! (Pushes the tricycle back.) Since the beginning of Time!

MRS. Since before the beginning of Time—
(NABBO and NADBO cower, hiding behind X, who is annoyed at the turn of events, surreptitiously slapping at the children or gripping their shoulders forcibly. The mourning-keening sounds seem to be coming from all over.)

MRS. (Hands to ears.) Oh, what is that sound! It hurts my ears—

MR. Nab-boo! Nad-doo! Bad boys! Stop that!

X. (Threatening children.) It’s just some village dirge—nothing! Pay no attention!

MRS. It’s coming from here, too— (Impulsively rushes to the door and opens it, steps through; X immediately pulls her back.)
X. (Furious.) Mrs.—! This door can only be opened by authorized agency personnel! (X shuts the door.)
(MRS. has recoiled back into the room. Hand over her mouth, she staggers forward as if about to collapse.)

MR. (Rushing to help her.) Darling? What is it?

X. That door was not to be opened. I could call a security guard and have you arrested, Mrs.—! Taken out of here in handcuffs!

MRS. (Eyes shut, nauseated.) Oh ... oh ...

MR. Darling, what did you see?

X. (Loudly.) Mrs.— saw nothing. There was nothing to be seen.

MR. Darling—?

MRS. (Feeble whisper, leaning on MR.’s arm.) Take them back. We don’t want them.

MR. What did you see, darling? What’s behind that door?

MRS. (Trying to control rising hysteria.) Take them back. We don’t want them. Any of them. I want to go home.

X. Hmmm! I thought so. Poor risks for adoption.

MR. Darling, are you certain? We’ve waited so long ... prayed so long ...

MRS. (A small scream.) Take them away! All of them! (Hides eyes.) We’re not strong enough—

X. (Coldly.) You’re certain, Mr. and Mrs.—? You can never again apply with our agency, you know.

MRS. Take them away!

MR. (Trying to speak in normal voice.) We’re sorry—so sorry—
(X marches NABBO and NADBO out, and the door is shut behind them.)

MR. (Weakly, belatedly calling after.). Um—so sorry—
(The mourning-keening sound grows louder. MR. and MRS. freeze; lights dim except on the clock face, where the minute hand continues its accelerated progress. 

Lights out. Mourning sound ceases.

Lights up on 
MR. and MRS., who have come forward. Darkness elsewhere. (The clock is no longer visible.) MR. and MRS. speak in a duet of agitated rhythms, overlappings, a strange music that should suggest, though not too overtly mimic, the mourning-keening sound. This conclusion should be elegiac, a barely restrained hysteria; but it is restrained.)

MRS. (Hands to her face.) What have we done!—

MR. It was a, a wise decision—

MRS. —necessary—

MR. —necessary decision—

MRS. Waited all our lives— Oh, what have we done—

MR. It was your decision—

MRS. Our day of birth—delivery—

MR. Deliverance

MRS. —weren’t strong enough—

MR. You weren’t— was— (Pause.) —wasn’t

MRS. What have we done!—not strong enough—

MR. Who the hell is strong enough I’d like to know—

MRS. God didn’t make us strong enough—

MR. —rational decision, necessary—

MRS. —necessary— (Clutching at her womb.) Oh! Oh what have we done! My babies—

MR. (Anguished, strikes chest with fist.) I’m only human! What can I do! Who can forgive me? (Pause, peers into audience.) Who isn’t human? You cast the first stone!

MRS. (Hands framing face.) That corridor!—that space!—to the horizon!—so many! And the smell. (Nauseated.)

MR. (Reasoning.) There isn’t room in the heart—I mean the home—the house! no matter how many bunk beds. We’re not paupers!—I mean, we’re not millionaires. Who’s been saying we are?
MRS. (Confused.) Bunk beds?—how many?

MR. How many? (Rapidly counting on fingers, confused.)

MRS. (A soft cry.) Our home—house!—empty!—

MR. (Protesting.) Hey: there’s us.

MRS. So lonely!—

MR. Rational, necessary decision—no choice.

MRS. So lonely—

MR. Look, I refuse to be manipulated, to be made guilty

MRS. So many years waiting, and so lonely—

MR. (Pleading.) Who the hell isn’t human? I ask you!

MRS. (Has found the knitted cap on the floor, picks it up lovingly, bells chime.) God knows, God sees into the heart. Forgive us, God—

MR. We had no choice.

MRS. —no choice!

MR. And we’re not millionaires!
(Lights begin to fade.)

MRS. (Waving, tearful and smiling.) Goodbye Nabbo!—Nadbo!—Nabdo?—dear, innocent babies! Mommy loved you so!

MR. (Waving, ghastly smile.) Goodbye, boys! Sons! Your Daddy loved you so!

MRS. Don’t think ill of us, don’t forget us! Goodbye!

MR. Goodbye, sons! Be brave!

MRS. (Blowing kisses.) Mommy loved you so! Goodbye!

MR./MRS. Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye!
(Lights out.)

JOYCE CAROL OATES is a recipient of the National Medal of the Humanities, the
National Book Critics Circle Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award,
and the Jerusalem Prize. She is the author of the forthcoming novel Butcher (Knopf) as
well as the national bestsellers We Were The Mulvaneys, Blonde, The Falls, The
Gravedigger’s Daughter,
and The Accursed. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished
Professor of the Humanities emerita at Princeton University and has been a member of
the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.