Coffee Therapy — the play

SCENE 19
Enter Aileen, Howard, Judy, and James.

AILEEN
to WINKERBLOOM
With the influence you have over Darnell, could you make him return to school?

DARNELL
Mom, I’ve already withdrawn!

AILEEN
angry
You could still get credit for this semester if you buckled down to it!

DARNELL
It’s too late.

AILEEN
It’s only a week.

JUDY
Just go to the library a lot. Catch up. A week is nothing.

HOWARD
It’s nothing compared to a semester’s tuition, which we paid – money down the drain.

JAMES
Not to mention the cost of the books.

AILEEN
And the cost of this counselling session.

HOWARD
Along with the cost of the trip here, and the restaurant bill.

DARNELL
The restaurant was your idea. I didn’t want to go.

HOWARD
We had to eat somewhere.

DARNELL
I told you I had already eaten, and I could have brought pimento cheese sandwiches for you.

HOWARD
He’s nuts.

AILEEN
to DARNELL
Don’t worry about the the restaurant. We needed a place to talk.
to HOWARD
Don’t worry him about the restaurant.

HOWARD
Who’s worried? I’m just telling you this fiasco is expensive.

JAMES
Mark Twain said if you empty your purse into your brain, you…

HOWARD
Shut up, James.

JUDY
Let him finish. That’s a great quote.

AILEEN
Shut up, Judy.

WINKERBLOOM
To answer your original question, Aileen – I can’t make Darnell do anything.

HOWARD
What are we here for?

WINKERBLOOM
You tell me, Howard.

HOWARD
Ask her.

WINKERBLOOM
Aileen?

AILEEN
We’ve come to the end of our rope.

JAMES
Let me try.

AILEEN
to James
Be quiet.

HOWARD
to James
Zip it.

WINKERBLOOM
Maybe Judy would like to say something.

JUDY
I think Darnell is weird. He’s always been a problem. Since he was born.

WINKERBLOOM
And who is his problem with?

JUDY
What do you mean?

WINKERBLOOM
Who…is…his…problem…with?

JUDY
He has a problem with everybody. Everything. When he was a little, he had this imaginary friend – Mrs. Beetlebugger! Remember her? He had to wait for her before he’d do anything. It took him half an hour to put on his socks.

WINKERBLOOM
So that was a problem for you?

JUDY
It was a problem for everybody. A half hour for his socks!

WINKERBLOOM
His socks?

JUDY
It slowed everybody down.

WINKERBLOOM
So there’s a sock issue.

HOWARD
What does this have to do with anything?

DARNELL
Dad, this is how therapy works.

JAMES
to Darnell
Shut up.

HOWARD
to James
You be quiet. This doesn’t involve you. And that brings to mind a question I have.

WINKERBLOOM
What’s that, Howard?

HOWARD
Why did you suggest we bring these two? This doesn’t involve them and they’re doing just what I thought they would do – interrupting everything with a bunch of know-it-all nonsense.

WINKERBLOOM
I just thought that if they were here, they would know what is happening with the family.

DARNELL
This is a family issue. I’m a scapegoat for all your problems. Isn’t that right, Dr. Winkerbloom?
Pause.

WINKERBLOOM
Is it?

DARNELL
I am carrying the weight of every problem in the family – and it’s too much. I need my independence or I’ll crack.

JAMES
to DARNELL
You’ve already cracked, but it’s your own fault.

AILEEN
to WINKERBLOOM
I’m going to crack too.

JAMES
to DARNELL
And now look what you’re doing to her.

JUDY
I agree.

HOWARD
I do too. Aileen can’t sleep at night she’s so worried.

WINKERBLOOM
And you’re concerned.

HOWARD
Of course I am.

DARNELL
If everyone would just leave me alone I’d be fine.

AILEEN
See? See? That’s what he always says. There’s no communication.

WINKERBLOOM
It sounds like everybody is on pins and needles.

AILEEN
Exactly.

WINKERBLOOM
How do you feel about communication in the family, Darnell?

DARNELL
Shit.

AILEEN
See? See? Now how can a mother respond to that? Dr. Winkerbloom, we never spanked our children because Dr. Spock said not to. I’ve always talked to my children…

JAMES
That’s not true!

JUDY
You spanked us all the time!

DARNELL
They didn’t spank me that much.

HOWARD
We could start now.

AILEEN
Stop!

WINKERBLOOM
Let’s try something.

HOWARD
I’m leaving.
He gets up.

DARNELL
Dad, if you leave this way it will always feel unfinished.

HOWARD
Good.

WINKERBLOOM
I’d like you all to try one thing, and then come back next week.

HOWARD
Nope. I’ve had enough.
He goes to the door.

AILEEN
Howard, let’s hear what she has to say.

HOWARD
Then say it. But I’m still leaving. And I’m not coming back.

JAMES
Me either.

JUDY
Me either. It’s a waste of time.

AILEEN
What is it, Dr. Winkerbloom?
Pause.

WINKERBLOOM
I was going to suggest you all go out and have some fun. Why not go to a restaurant together? Fun helps.

HOWARD
I’m sure it does and I’m not having any. And I’m not coming back here.
Pause.
And I just came from a restaurant!
HOWARD exits.

AILEEN
Howard, please.
AILEEN follows him out. At the door, she turns to DARNELL…
Now look what you’ve done! Before you come home again, you better call, apologize, and get permission!
AILEEN exits.

JUDY
Good idea.

JAMES
Yeah, warn us. That way I can leave.
JAMES and JUDY exit, leaving DARNELL and DR. WINKERBLOOM alone with each other, in their usual chairs.

DARNELL
So. How do you like my family?

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