copyright © 2003 Jeff Goode

Baby, No!

by Jeff Goode

(A MACHINE GUN on a table.)


EMCEE: Ladies and Gentlemen!  A small child...  and a gun.

(Enter the CHILD.)

SCIENTIST: In a recent survey, a majority of Americans (87%) believed their children would "know better" than to touch a gun if they found one.

(The CHILD spies the gun.  Hesitates.)

(Lights up on the a PARENT.)

PARENT: We've spoken to him about guns, and he understands that if he ever finds one, he should leave the room immediately and go find a grown up.  I'm sure he would never touch one or pick it up.  He knows better.  He's too smart for that.

(Meanwhile, the CHILD has already picked it up and started playing with it.)

SCIENTIST: Overwhelmingly, they were wrong.

(The CHILD giggles as he plays with the gun, pointing it at the audience.)

CHILD: Stick 'em up!

(The PARENT suddenly notices, and instinctively lunges toward the CHILD.)

PARENT: Baby, no! 

(The PARENT freezes in mid-lunge.)

(PARENT unfreezes and exits.  ANOTHER PARENT takes their place.)

SCIENTIST: In November of 2000, an election was held, in which a near-majority of Americans (49%) believed that it was safe to elect a president with no experience in foreign affairs, and a childlike understanding of international politics, because he would "know better" than to play with foreign     policy.

PARENT: We spoke to him about it, and he understands that we don't want him involved in nation-building in global hotspots.  I'm sure if he found himself in that situation, he would leave the room   immediately and find a grown up.  He wouldn't even touch it. 

EMCEE: Ladies and Gentlemen!  Saudi Arabian billionaire Osama bin Laden!  And an Afghani cab driver!

(Enter OSAMA and a CAB DRIVER.)

(The CHILD points the gun at them.)

CHILD: Stick 'em up!

OSAMA: Fuck you.

(CHILD rat-a-tats them both.  Only the CAB DRIVER dies.)

OSAMA: Shit. 

(OSAMA runs away.)

(CHILD shrugs and rat-a-tats the dead DRIVER some more.)

(PARENT hears the gunfire.)

PARENT: Baby, no! 

(The PARENT lunges toward the CHILD -- FREEZE)

(PARENT unfreezes and exits.  TWO NEW PARENTS take their place.)

SCIENTIST: In September of 2001, a majority of Americans (89%) believed that
letting their president wage a limited war (broadly defined) on terrorism (also, broadly defined) would not result in the senseless deaths of civilians, children, or Canadians.  And in this case, "senseless deaths" were defined as:

PARENT 1: Hey, listen!  We are at war.  All death makes sense.

PARENT 2: We spoke to him about this and we made it very clear that we don't want this conflict to escalate or spread to other parts of the region.  He knows better than that.

EMCEE: Ladies and Gentlemen!  Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein!  And a Baghdad street vendor!


(The CHILD points the gun at them.)

CHILD: Stick 'em up!

SADDAM: Why?  Why should I?

(CHILD rat-a-tats them both.  Only the STREET VENDOR dies.)

SADDAM: I'm outta here!  (He runs away.)

(CHILD fires after him, but Saddam gets away.  So he shoots the dead VENDOR again.)

PARENTS: Baby, no! 

(The PARENTS lunge toward the CHILD -- FREEZE.  They exit and a NEW COUPLE  takes their place.)

SCIENTIST: In February of 2003, an overwhelming majority of Americans (80%) opposed a unilateral, unprovoked war with Iraq.  But many of them (55%) believed that letting their president start one anyway would not lead to a larger catastrophe, world war, or nuclear holocaust.

PARENT: We spoke to him about it and I'm sure he knows better than to listen to his military      advisors from the Cold War era and Vietnam.  He would never get involved in something like that.

EMCEE:   Ladies and Gentlemen!  North Korean strong man and, until recently, a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to reduce tensions on the Korean peninsula, Kim Jong Il!

(Enter KIM JONG IL with a nuclear weapon under one arm.)

(The CHILD points the gun at him.)

CHILD: Stick 'em up!

(KIM JONG IL grins and puts his hands over his head, still holding the nuclear weapon.)

KIM:  Okay.  They're up.

(CHILD grins at the audience.)

SCIENTIST: In a recent survey, 87% of parents believed that their child would "know better" than to play with a gun if they found one.  They believed that if their child were left alone in a room with a gun, he would immediately leave the room and not even touch it.

(CHILD points the gun at the audience.)

CHILD: Stick 'em up.

PARENT: Baby, no!

SCIENTIST: Overwhelmingly, they were wrong...

(In the background, slowly fading...)

EMCEE: Ladies and Gentlemen, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro!...Palestinian Authority president Yasser Arafat!...Reform-minded Iranian president Mohammad Khatami!...Ladies and Gentlemen, Vladimir Putin and those damned Russians!...Ladies and Gentlemen the French!...Ladies and Gentleman, fucking Germans!  Talk about your Axis of Evil!...Ladies and Gentlemen, Spain!

(CHILD rat-a-tats the entire audience, giggling maniacally, as the LIGHTS SLOWLY FADE.)