Where Corn Don’t Grow
A drama in 1 act
By Eric Goudie
2nd Draft © April 2010
Time: The present. An afternoon in winter.
Place: The kitchen of a farmhouse in rural Ontario.
The Smyth family’s kitchen is old, poorly cleaned and heavily used. A door at right leads out to the barn, and an opening left leads to the rest of the house. There is a table and chairs pushed up against a wall, with seating for three. The floor is peeling linoleum, and a large window offers a view of the barnyard beyond.
At rise, Samuel is sitting at the kitchen table drinking a beer and reading the newspaper, while in the background the Travis Tritt song “Where Corn Don’t Grow” is playing. Samuel is about 50, unshaven, and wears dirty, faded overalls, a ball cap, and work boots.
After a moment we hear the sound of a car pulling up, and then a moment later Cedric and Michaela enter. Both are high school students, with Cedric in Grade 12 and Michaela in Grade 11. They drop their school bags and remove their coats and boots in silence, then Cedric picks up his bag and exits to the rest of the house, barely casting a glance at Samuel. Michaela goes over to the sink and starts doing the dishes.
After a moment, Samuel looks up at her, then turns off the radio.
SAMUEL: What are you doing?
MICHAELA: The dishes.
SAMUEL: Why are you doing the dishes?
MICHAELA: Can’t I do the dishes?
SAMUEL: You sure as hell can, hon. How was school today?
MICHAELA: It was fine Dad. And don’t call me hon.
SAMUEL: Why not, Michaela?
MICHAELA: Because you used to call Mom that.
MICHAELA: So I’m not Mom.
SAMUEL: You look a lot like her, you know, hon.
SAMUEL: Oh, okay – hon.
MICHAELA: Dad! Knock it off!
SAMUEL: Can’t you take a goddamn joke?
MICHAELA: Who asked you to try and be funny.
A pause. Eventually Michaela goes back to doing the dishes.
SAMUEL: Why are you doing the dishes, Michaela?
MICHAELA: Since when do you care about dishes?
SAMUEL: I’m usually the one who does them, so I’m wondering why you’re feeling so generous today.
MICHAELA: Maybe I felt like doing them.
MICHAELA: Fine then, don’t believe me.
SAMUEL: I don’t. And what’s up with Cedric?
MICHAELA: What about him?
SAMUEL: He just waltzed in here and walked through without saying a word to me.
MICHAELA: And that’s different from every other day how?
SAMUEL: He wasn’t saying anything to you either.
MICHAELA: Maybe he’ll have something to say to the both of us later. After supper.
SAMUEL: After supper?
MICHAELA: I don’t know. I’m just saying he might.
SAMUEL: Okay, what the hell is going on here?
MICHAELA: What do you mean?
SAMUEL: You’re hiding something from me. So is Cedric. It’s something bad. Something bad happened today at school, didn’t it? One of you did something. Which one of you was it? Am I gonna get a phone call? Did they get the cops out?
MICHAELA: Dad, it’s nothing like that. Nothing like that at all.
SAMUEL: No cops?
MICHAELA: No Dad, nobody called the cops.
SAMUEL: Then which one of you is in trouble?
MICHAELA: Why do you think one of us is in trouble?
SAMUEL: Because you’re always getting into trouble, both of you, and usually they have to call the cops.
MICHAELA: We’re not always getting into trouble, and they only called the cops a couple of time because a couple of people over-reacted.
SAMUEL: Your brother was dealing drugs. And he set that fire in the girls change room, remember? They called the cops both times.
MICHAELA: That was a long time ago. He was in Grade 9.
SAMUEL: Well you’ve been in hot water since then. Remember when you got caught cheating on that exam?
MICHAELA: They didn’t call the cops.
SAMUEL: But they did when you beat the shit out of the girl who ratted you out. You damn near killed the little bitch.
MICHAELA: Now you’re over-reacting.
SAMUEL: And now one of you has gone and done something else bone-headed. Come on, no more stalling – I want to know what happened, and which one of you needs their ass kicked.
MICHAELA: I’m telling you the truth Dad – we’re not in trouble. It’s… it’s… it’s something different. I’m going to go up to my room now – until dinnertime. I have a lot of homework to do.
SAMUEL: Like hell you do. Sit down and tell me what happened.
MICHAELA: I really should get to work. I may not even have the time to come down for dinner.
SAMUEL: Sit, down, Michaela…
MICHAELA: Dad, I –
SAMUEL: (violently) SIT DOWN!
MICHAELA: Yes sir.