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“Results”

Last Tuesday my one-act play, Results, was included as part of the ongoing reading series Under Rehearsed, sponsored by the Rising Sun Performance Company in Brooklyn, New York.

Cast:

Andrea CordaroMrs. Ferguson

Trey K. BlackburnMr. Ferguson

Larry GutmanDr. Gladstone

Directed by Kathleen Schlemmer

Casting & RSP InternMichael Witkes

As the kids are wont to say, it went swimmingly (actually kids never say that…no one ever says that). Since I have been somewhat delinquent is posting, and in honor of yesterday’s announcement that Sherlock Holmes is now part of the public domain, I thought I would post the play.

 

Results
__________________________
A play in one-act.
By Keith R. Higgons

SETTING:
Interior of Doctors office. Stage can be furnished with simple desk and two chairs.

TIME:
The present.

MR. And MRS. FERGUSON are seated on the two
opposing chairs in front of a desk.

MRS. FERGUSON
I’m not sure all of this was entirely necessary.

MR. FERGUSON
What were we supposed to do?

MRS. FERGUSON
I dunno.

MR. FERGUSON
He’s already been kicked out of two schools. (Beat) Honey, my boss said this guy was the
best diagnostic pediatrician in the city.

MRS. FERGUSON
So what? Besides, being kicked out of school doesn’t mean anything.

MR. FERGUSON
Sweetheart, they were public schools. Those are typically pretty hard to get kicked out of.
(Mrs. Ferguson crosses arms across her chest and
exhales.)

MRS. FERGUSON
Well still. (Beat) Maybe they were shitty schools.
Mr. Ferguson glares at her.
What? (Beat) I’m just sayin.

MR. FERGUSON
Look, I just want to eliminate all the possibilities before we make a final decision about
what we should do.

(Mrs. Ferguson exhales and unfolds arms.)

MRS. FERGUSON
I know. I know. (Beat) You’re right. I just don’t want to think about having something be
wrong with him…or worse, having to send him away to school. (Beat) I mean, he’s only
seven.

MR. FERGUSON
Exactly. But it’s better to figure all of this out now and get it under control before it gets out
of hand.

MRS. FERGUSON
I guess. (Beat) Maybe we could move?

MR. FERGUSON
To where? (He grabs her hand.) We’re better off here in the city. There are better schools,
public or private, better places for treatment if something is seriously wrong. Besides, we
both know that now is not the best time to move.

MRS. FERGUSON
I guess, it’s just…

She is interrupted as DR. GLADSTONE enters.
The Ferguson’s don’t move.

DR. GLADSTONE
No, no. Stay seated. (He sits.) Well, I’m happy to say that we’ve finished running the tests
on your son and if you don’t mind, I’d like to go over the results with you.

The Ferguson’s look at one another.

MRS. FERGUSON
Well, yes, we were hoping for that too.

DR. GLADSTONE
Terrific then! (He opens the manila folder in front of him.) Now, before we get started let
me just say that your Taylor…

Mrs. Ferguson interrupts him.

MRS. FERGUSON
Tyler.

DR. GLADSTONE
What happened?

MRS. FERGUSON
What? (Beat) Nothing happened. You got my son’s name wrong. It’s Tyler, not Taylor.

Dr. Gladstone looks down at folder.

DR. GLADSTONE
Yes, yes. I see. Tyler, not Taylor. (Looks back up without apologizing.) Well, from our
intake this morning, I understand you were concerned about your sons behavioral
problems. Specifically, his temper tantrums and the way in which he lashes out and treats
others around him.

MRS. FERGUSON
Umm, yes, that is correct. He’s already been kicked out of two schools.

DR. GLADSTONE
I see, I see. Well, let’s hop right into these results. Now, as you know, one of our first tests
is to run some simple hearing tests. Sometimes a sensitivity to hearing or a loss of hearing
can cause certain degrees of frustration in a child that can often manifest itself in
misbehavior and anger.

A couple beats as Dr. Gladstone shuffles some
papers around. The Gladstone’s look at one
another.

MRS. FERGUSON
And?

DR. GLADSTONE
Yes, yes. Tyler’s (Beat) hearing is probably right where it should be.

MR. FERGUSON
Probably?

DR. GLADSTONE
Well, yes. These kinds of tests are never definitive.

MRS. FERGUSON
Honey, he’s a doctor. Doctors don’t typically deal in certainties.

Dr. Gladstone stares at her.

DR. GLADSTONE
That’s not entirely true. (Beat) Nonetheless, after the hearing test, we drew a little blood to
check for any abnormalities or inconsistencies. Ya know, even today, lead poisoning and
asbestos are still a concern.

MR. FERGUSON
Really?

DR. GLADSTONE
Yes, it seems hard to imagine after all the studies and such.

MRS. FERGUSON
(Sarcastically.) Fascinating.

DR. GLADSTONE
(Picking up on the sarcasm and looking right at Mrs. Ferguson.) AND, left undiagnosed,
exposure to these toxins can sometimes show up as bad behavior, among other things.
Often times children don’t know how to process what they feel physically and it can come
out in their behavior.

MRS. FERGUSON
(Sarcastically.) Really? You don’t say.

DR. GLADSTONE
You’d be surprised. Nonetheless, in these sorts of situations we like to rule everything out.

MRS. FERGUSON
Ah. Of course you do.

The Ferguson’s look at one another and shake
their heads as Dr. Gladstone looks at folder.

DR. GLADSTONE
As I suspected, there were no abnormalities with his blood results.

MR. FERGUSON
Well, that’s good news.

DR. GLADSTONE
Indeed. After the hearing and blood results were both negative, we ran Tyler through a
series of physical and mental exams to look for any sign of ADD or ADHD.

The Ferguson’s grasp hands.

DR. GLADSTONE (CONT’D)
I have to say that your son has a fair amount of stamina. Even for a seven-year old. He
exhausted two therapists running through the physical part of the examination. And his
mental acuity is well beyond his years…as is his attention to detail.

MR. FERGUSON
Yea, it makes for a pretty good soccer player.

DR. GLADSTONE
I should think so. Anyway, after those tests we honestly could not see any sign of
attention deficit disorder.

MR. FERGUSON
Well, that’s a relief.

DR. GLADSTONE
Yes. Also, you should note that Tyler’s IQ currently stands at about 130. I wouldn’t
necessarily enroll him in Harvard just yet, but he’s a pretty smart kid.

MRS. FERGUSON
Duly noted Dr. Gladstone. Look, this is all great news but you still haven’t told us why our
son is behaving so poorly.

DR. GLADSTONE
Well, have you considered possession?

The Ferguson’s are taken aback.

MR. FERGUSON
Are you serious?

DR. GLADSTONE
Absolutely not. (Beat as he chuckles.) Just a little doctor humor we have when we can’t
really explain this sort of stuff.

MRS. FERGUSON
That’s not funny doctor. This is our son.

Dr. Gladstone ignores her.

MR. FERGUSON
What about Aspergers Syndrome?

DR. GLADSTONE
Well, there are no solid diagnostic tools for Aspergers or Autism, but we did run some
additional tests that help us understand whether those are things to consider. (Beat) We also
ran some tests to help diagnose any sort of anti-social or sociopathic patterns.

Mr. & Mrs. Ferguson gasp.

DR. GLADSTONE (CONT’D)
Yes, I know. That’s tough to hear. (Beat) Usually, when I administer those kinds of tests
I generally like to consult with someone so I asked one of our behavioral specialists to sit
in for a few hours and observe while we studied Tyler’s interaction with other children and
how he handled himself alone.

Fair amount of silence as Dr. Gladstone looks at
his folder and shuffles papers and the
Ferguson’s look at one another. Mrs. Ferguson
is silently motioning for Mr. Ferguson to say
something to the Dr. Gladstone.

MR. FERGUSON
And? Did he play well with the other children?

DR. GLADSTONE
We did see some signs of unwarranted aggression, but certainly nothing abnormal for a
seven-year old. There was also no real outright physical abuse towards others or himself.
We even had him play with some kittens and saw no signs of any sort of sociopathic
behavior. (Beat) He seems to really like cats. (Beat) We did notice that he doesn’t share
very well. (Beat) He also has a very comprehensive grasp of foul language.

MRS. FERGUSON
Uhh, yes. We’ve been working on those.

DR. GLADSTONE
He has a genuinely colorful way of putting words together and insulting others.

MR. FERGUSON
Yes, so we’ve heard from the schools he’s been kicked out of. But are those signs of any
sort of physiological or psychological disorder?

DR. GLADSTONE
(Leaning back and staring up at the ceiling.) Typically no. I would say it’s something to
watch out for and take corrective measures as you encounter them. But the behavior itself is
certainly not anything to worry about over the long-term. (He leans in and is genuinely
perplexed.) That language though, you know, I’m not even sure what a motherfucking
cun…

Mrs. Ferguson interrupts him right as he is about
to say cunt.

MRS. FERGUSON
Doctor, please! We know all of this. What we’re really looking for a little understanding
about Tyler and perhaps maybe even a little guidance.

DR. GLADSTONE
Right, right. I’m sorry. I just had never heard such…

MRS. FERGUSON
DOCTOR!

DR. GLADSTONE
(Flustered.) Right, right. After all the tests, I sat down with a couple of colleagues and
conferred with our behavior specialist. (Beat) We all seemed to came up with the same
diagnosis.

Dr. Gladstone closes the folder and leans back.
A few beats go by as the Ferguson’s look at one
another.

MR. FERGUSON
Would you care to share Tyler’s diagnosis with my wife and I?

DR. GLADSTONE
(Taking his time drawing out this sentence.) Mr. And Mrs. Ferguson it is my professional
opinion, based on all the tests and conferring with our behavioral specialist, that your son
(He pauses for a few beats).

Mrs. Ferguson breaks the silence.

MRS. FERGUSON
Jesus Christ Doctor! What the fuck! Will you PLEASE stop dicking around and just tell us
what the fuck you discovered!

DR. GLADSTONE
(Taken aback.) Well, I can see where Tyler’s temper and colorful language comes from.

MR. FERGUSON
Doc, come on. Tyler has been here for close to seven hours and we’ve been pretty patient.
We just want to help our son.

DR. GLADSTONE
(Staring intently at Mrs. Ferguson.) Well, it would seem that your son…now keep in mind
there is nothing medically wrong with your son, he’s just…well, there is no easy way to
say this. (He leans in.) Your son is (Beat) well, he’s just an asshole.

The Ferguson’s gasp.

MRS. FERGUSON
He’s seven! (Beat as it sinks in.) FUCK! Are you certain?

DR. GLADSTONE
Well as you pointed out, we doctors are typically reticent to speak with complete certainty,
but yes, I can say conclusively that your son is…(Sighs) an asshole. (Beat) A jerk. (Beat) A
dick.

MR. FERGUSON
(Right on top of Dr. Gladstone’s line preventing him from using any other words.)
We get it doc. What do we do?

DR. GLADSTONE
There’s not a whole lot you can do, really. (Beat) I guess just keep an eye on it.

MRS. FERGUSON
(Looking at her husband and motions towards Dr. Gladstone.) The best in the city?
Really?

DR. GLADSTONE
Mrs. Gladstone, I understand no one likes to hear these things about their child. And trust
me, I don’t like saying them. And I certainly would not say that unless I had clearly
excluded any physiological or psychological abnormality. (Beat) I must tell you that in all
my years of practicing medicine, I have only made this diagnosis once before.

Dr. Gladsone taps on his folder as the
Ferguson’s look at one another and a few beats pass.

MR. FERGUSON
(Sarcastically) And…

DR. GLADSTONE
And what?

MRS. FERGUSON
(Completely frustrated.) What the fuck happened to the other patient that you had
diagnosed as just being an asshole?!

DR. GLADSTONE
OH! (Waving his hand nonchalantly.) He went on to start a hedge fund and raised a lovely
family in Darien, Connecticut. (Beat)I don’t think you have anything to worry about.
(Beat) But I might suggest a private school.

Curtain.

 

2014 Keith R. Higgons
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