Survival skills

 

Scene I 

Interior of suburban home where a stressed-out mother is opening bills and attempting to balance the family budget. Mom opens the monthly cell phone bill.  There is a loud scream, followed by the pounding of footsteps down a hall leading to a teenage girl’s bedroom.

MomZombie: You exceeded your minutes last month, to the tune of $500. Unless you can cough up the overage fees, we’ll have to confiscate your phone for one month.

Girl from the West: But mom! This is totally not fair. People keep calling me!

MomZombie: You don’t have to take the calls ….  

The argument abruptly ends, as the teen girl realizes she is out of options. Her bank account is empty, the funds withdrawn earlier this year to cover the last big overage. She hangs her head in defeat and hands over the device. It is as if she has reached into her chest and yanked out her own  beating heart. For the next few days the teen is a husk of her former self.

Scene II:

Pre-dawn inside same suburban home. A coffee maker gurgles in the kitchen, spitting liquid energy into a glass pot as a tired and impatient mom prepares breakfast and steels herself for an hour’s drive in the dark. Wondering why teen daughter isn’t awake, mom darts down the hall and throws open the bedroom door, flips on the light switch. 

MomZombie (shouts to the form under the heap of quilts): “Get up! You’ve overslept by 30 minutes!”

Girl from the West: But mom! You took my phone away. It’s my alarm clock. How am I supposed to get up?

Mom points to the clunky rectangular object perched near the teen’s headboard.  It has a curious arrangement of illuminated numbers, letters, buttons and a dial. In some museums, such objects are labeled as ALARM CLOCK/RADIOS.

Girl from the West: But mom! You know I don’t know how that thing works.

Scene III:

Entrance of suburban mall on a weekend afternoon. Mom is surrounded by two teens about to embark on a sport known as shopping. Both teens want to separate from the chauffeur/wallet in order to gossip in privacy.  But there is a logistical issue.

Girl from the West:  How are we going to do this without phones? How will we find each other?

MomZombie: Here’s an idea. We agree to meet in an hour at the food court.

Girl from the West: But Mom! How am I supposed to know what time it is? You took my phone away. It has a clock on it.

Mom points to a unusual object encircling her wrist. At the center of the wristband is a round piece with numbers and lines. Apparently early humans used these tools to tell where the sun was in the sky. Mom urges the teens to search for similar objects, often found on walls.

Miraculously, the parties manage to navigate the large building and reunite at the appointed hour. Somehow, the world continues to rotate on its axis. Meanwhile, a small rectangular beating heart ticks quietly in a sock drawer in a suburban home.