Saturday, September 5, 2015

Life with Pets: Flea Baths - A One-Act Play

Back in the quaint little awful place known as Small Town, TN, JUJU sits in her living room, scratching at her legs and swatting at phantom bitey creatures, while ZOLA occasionally jumps and barks at her own ass. BITSY sits high in the former window now kitty ledge that leads into Juju's office, biting at her tail, and BINA's and KITKAT's bodies twitch with every itch, having given up on ever being bite-free. 

It is the Great Flea Infestation of 2012. 

THREE strides confidently down the stairs into the living room, holding in his hand a small box. 

THREE: I return victorious. 
JUJU: Thank Gawd. So it's safe to go up there now? 
THREE: Yep! But ... uh ...

All the animals eye him suspiciously.

THREE: You know, we'll need to, uh, give the animals ... b-a-t-h-s before we put them up there and before we bomb down here. 
JUJU: Dammit. I forgot about that. Shit
ZOLA: Mommy, are you upset? (barks at ass) Do you need kisses?
JUJU: It's okay, Zola. I just need to ... uh ... I need to go do something really quick, okay?
ZOLA: (oblivious) Okay! 

The cats squint their eyes and watch Juju as she makes her way offstage toward the bathroom area. Zola is unaware of anything, except the nagging flea bites. Kitkat jumps down from the couch* and cautiously looks at the box that Three is carrying. 

KITKAT: (sniffs) What is that?
THREE: The little assholes who are eating you alive? Well, this box will kill them. 
KITKAT: Good. 
BINA: It smells funny? 
THREE: It's okay, Bina. (scratches Bina's head) You won't be down here when we set it off. 
KITKAT: Will we leave the small furry to be killed, as well? 
THREE: NO. 
KITKAT: FINE. 
BITSY: I don't want to come down from my spot. 

The sound of running water causes all of the animals to freeze. Bina and Kitkat scamper underneath the couch, and Zola skulks into a corner, where she hopes no one can see her (even though everyone can). 

BITSY: I AM NOT COMING DOWN FROM MY SPOT NOW. 
KITKAT (under couch): NO MORE BATHS. I HATE BATHS. 
BINA: Noooooooooooooo nonononononononononono?
ZOLA: Do they hate me? I just had a bath two days ago!!
THREE: Come on, guys, you always feel better once we've given you a flea bath. 
ALL ANIMALS: I DON'T CARE. 

Three throws up his hands. 

THREE: They're all hiding! (looks at Zola) Mostly!
JUJU: (offstage) Greeaaaaaaaat. Well, can you grab Zola? She's the easiest. 
THREE: (sighs) Alright, Zola Bean. Come here, sweetie. 
ZOLA: (whines) But I don't wanna. 

Zola struggles as Three carries her offstage, where the audience hears violent splashing. The cats spastically look around the room, frantically trying to find a place where Three or Juju can definitely not reach them. Three returns to the living room and plops on the couch, waiting for further orders. 

JUJU: (offstage) ZOLA I AM NOT TRYING TO KILL YOU. 
ZOLA: (offstage) I'M DROWNING!!!
JUJU: (offstage) NO! YOU WILL NOT SHAKE RIGHT NOW. 
ZOLA: (offstage) WATER IS BAD!!!
JUJU: (offstage) GODDAMN IT ZOLA THIS WOULD ALREADY BE DONE IF YOU'D JUST. STOP. THRASHING. 
ZOLA: (offstage) I DON'T WANNA DIE!!!

After a few more minutes of splashing and various grunts from both Zola and Juju, the audience hears Juju stomp upstairs to let Zola into the flea-free zone and then back downstairs. 

JUJU: (offstage) Next victim please!

Three sighs and pulls Kitkat out from under the couch. Kitkat struggles but within a few seconds just gives up on life. Three takes her offstage while stroking her little black head. No splashing can be heard from offstage, but Kitkat's mournful cries start nearly immediately.

KITKAT: (offstage) NOOOOOOOOOOOO.
JUJU: (offstage) See, Kitty, it's not that bad.
KITKAT: (offstage) NOOOOOOOOOOOO.
JUJU: (offstage) We're almost done.
KITKAT: (offstage) NOOOOOOOOOOOO.
JUJU: (offstage) Alright, see? Look at all the little dead fleas in the water!
KITKAT: (offstage) NOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Juju's footsteps up the stairs are not nearly as frustrated as they were with Zola, and the audience can hear her cooing at the older cat. Knowing what's coming next, Three drags Bina out from under the couch, and Bina pees on him as a defense mechanism. 

THREE: Dammit, Bina!
BINA: I'm scared?

Juju peeks around the corner and takes Bina from Three, who storms offstage in the other direction toward the kitchen/laundry room to change shirts. Bitsy triumphantly sits on her perch and licks her paw. 

BITSY: They'll never get me.

Offstage, Bina occasionally meows plaintively, but it's the fastest bath yet. Three returns to the stage, pulling his pee-free shirt on and begins his attempts to get Bitsy down. He stands on a chair that was sitting in the corner of the room. 

BITSY: (hissing) NO!
THREE: Come on, Bitsy. The sooner we get started, the sooner this will be over.
BITSY: NO!

Bitsy swats at him, but Three manages to grab her by the scruff and cradle her in his arms. She's a squirmy little thing, though, and he grits his teeth as she digs her claws into his arms. 

THREE: (as he is walking toward offstage) Next time, I wash the animals and you are on retrieval detail.
JUJU: (offstage) Fine by me! Bina's upstairs now, so it's Bitsy's turn!

Three comes back to sit on the couch, thankful for at least a little peace now. Suddenly, the audience can hear splashing that is even more violent than Zola's was. 

JUJU: (offstage) Bitsy! Stop bouncing!
BITSY: (offstage) NO!! I DON'T LIKE BATHS.
JUJU: (offstage) Good God, you have sharp claws.
BITSY: (offstage) I AM DEFENDING MYSELF!!
JUJU: (offstage) FROM WHAT??! IT'S THE FLEAS THAT ARE BITING YOU!!
BITSY: (offstage) LET GO!!
JUJU: (offstage) BITSY!! NO! STOP!! AUUGHHH!!

Bitsy comes tearing back onstage, soaked from head to tail and covered in flea soap. Her eyes are wild, and, as she makes her way to the kitchen, she leaps on top of Three's lap and slaps her tail on his face. She stops in front of the doorway leading to the kitchen to see if anyone is chasing her. Juju follows Bitsy's trail, equally drenched and with clenched teeth.

JUJU: BIT. SY. COME. BACK. HERE.
BITSY: (emphatically) NO!!

The little cat bounds into the kitchen with resolve, and Juju runs after her. 

JUJU: (to Three) So you really want to give them baths next time??
THREE: Yeah, I may pass on that.

Juju storms offstage, and an epic battle occurs in the kitchen: hisses, random expletives, clanging pots and pans. Juju emerges, carrying a wiggly, wet Bitsy at least two feet out in front of her. 

JUJU: (as she is walking back toward the bathroom) Don't you even think about biting me!
BITSY: (bites her) I DON'T LIKE YOU.
JUJU: (gritting her teeth) I DON'T LIKE YOU.
BITSY: GOOD!!

Offstage, Juju slams the door to the bathroom closed and proceeds to finish Bitsy's bath. Plenty of cursing from both Juju and Bitsy can be heard clearly. Bitsy is heard scampering up the stairs, followed by Juju's footsteps, and the upstairs door slams shut. Juju returns to the living room, her hair in a drippy ponytail and her clothes soaked, and plops down on the floor. They sit in silence for a few moments before Three pipes up. 

THREE: So ... do you want me to give you a bath?
JUJU: (looking up at him) I will kill you.

The End.

* The "couch" was actually our bed. We'd given our couch to charity because 1) we didn't really need it and 2) we didn't really want to move it. By the time the flea issue came around, we'd already shut off the upstairs area because it was less expensive to heat during the winter and had moved nearly all of our furniture downstairs. Hence bed = couch. It actually worked out quite nicely. 
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