ABIGALE

I don’t get why my grandmother doesn’t just pick up the phone and ask Jeffrey what she needs to know about him and Lizzy instead of going through my mother. And, if my mother needs me to call her, why doesn’t she tell me she needs me to call her instead of telling my grandmother? Or, why doesn’t she just call me herself? This is ridiculous, I can’t just sit by and not say anything about this anymore.

JEN


Now you’re talkin’. This is even better for our radio show. We’ll do call-out instead of call-in! It’s revolutionary and full of guts.

(Abigale rummages through desk drawers.)

JEN


What are you doing?

ABIGALE

Looking for some decent stationery.

JEN

For what?

ABIGALE


To write my mother and grandmother.

JEN

You’re going to write them?

ABIGALE

Yes.

JEN


I thought this was about being direct.

ABIGALE

Oh, it’ll be direct.

JEN

In a letter?

ABIGALE

I’m a writer. I’m going to write. My crafted use of language will get the point across in a very compelling way.

JEN

Abigale!

ABIGALE

Jen, I’m not going to leave what I want to say to normal conversation on a phone.

JEN

What’s wrong with normal conversation?

ABIGALE


It’s too one-dimensional.

JEN

It works fine for everybody else.

ABIGALE

Not for me.

JEN

What do you want? All you have to do is pick up the phone and do what you want your mother and grandmother to do–call and tell them what you need.

ABIGALE

It’s not that simple.

JEN


Have you ever tried it?

ABIGALE


Have you ever grown up in my family?

JEN


What do you need from your family?

ABIGALE

Nothing.

JEN

Oh.

ABIGALE


I mean, I just want people to be direct. If they need something from me, tell me?

JEN

So tell them!

ABIGALE

I will.

(Abigale starts writing)

JEN


I mean call them and tell them you need that!

ABIGALE

I don’t need that.

JEN


You don’t need what?

ABIGALE

I don’t need to call them. That’s what they need. I don’t need that. I mean, I need more than that.

JEN


So you do need something!

ABIGALE

I need a certain approach, a certain awareness of things.

JEN


So ask for it. Pick up the phone.

ABIGALE

Right, okay. I’m going to do it. I’m going to call my mother and grandmother and I’m going to say: “Hey Mom, hey Gram, I invite you to wake up. I invite you to be aware of yourselves and your long history of never quite learning how to recognize what you need because you were never allowed to have needs much less ask for what you need outright, so, hey, it’s not your fault. And oh, incidentally, I want you to know that lack of need-fulfillment, due to that lack of need-recognition, has resulted in a very tragic inability, on your parts, and consequentially on my part and Jeffrey’s part, to figure all of our needs directly into the equation which has resulted in a kind of social engineering in this family that has kept us all trapped in an outrageous communication system whereby we, all of us, never quite really know how to steer our efforts directly into getting our needs met so we kind of limp along sideways re-cycling half-met needs, dashed expectations and undigested grief and I find that an outrage so I want us all to stop that right now!” I’ll just call them and say that!

JEN

Okay! Here. Here’s your phone.

ABIGALE

Right, the phone.

JEN

The phone, yeah.

ABIGALE

All right. I’m dialing, I’m dialing now.


(Phone begins to ring.)

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“Who Needs What” scene excerpt from radio/television pilot: The Goodies: Looking for Emotion Literacy
painting: Jennifer Johnson

©2009 PAMELA SACKETT
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED