United States

When Homes Aren't Safe in the United States

June 22, 2016

                                                                                             SCENE 1
SETTING: A living room - the DOW just crashed, beginning the Great Recession of '08. Downstage right lay a table and three chairs, upstage left lay a TV. At rise, KASKA, a 30-someting mother, watches TV and drinks a beer. She hears something intriguing, and leans in. HENRYK, her husband, a 30-something, enters.) 
KASKA: Henryk?
(The door slams.)
Henryk - my God! What they say about the market -- is it true, kochanie?
HENRYK: Turn it off, please.
(She turns the TV off.)
KASKA:The housing market crashed, didn't it? Henryk --
HENRYK: I've never -- it's never failed before, kochanie - it was stable. I'm sorry --
KASKA: Don't apologize to me. You thought it was secure, it's all right --
HENRYK: It's not all right, Kaska! People lost their jobs, homes -- everything!
KASKA: Do people know yet?
HENRYK: Of course they know! It's total anarchy! Help me move the TV, will you?
KASKA: They’re not going to break into our home, kochanie -- 
HENRYK: Kaska, I have clients who lost everything. They want my head!
KASKA: Henryk, they won't blame you. 
HENRYK: There’s no one else to blame, Kaska! Please, I don’t want to die tonight! 
KASKA: You're not...
(She grabs the bottle, and thrusts it towards him)
(He pushes the drink away)
Drink, kochanie!
Just drink the beer, Henryk.
HENRYK: Me being drunk isn’t going to help anything when they break into the house, Kaska. 
KASKA: They’re civil human beings, they won't --
HENRYK: They threw me to the ground when I left the firm. Do you think that’s civil?
KASKA: How much harm is a swig going to do you, kochanie? 
(Enter NADZIA, their thirteen year old daughter)
NADZIA: If he’s not going to drink it, then I will. 
KASKA: I'm let ting her. Drink, or your thirteen year old will. 
(He takes a swig.)
NADZIA: He’s not going to. Can I have a swig, Mama? You said - 
KASKA: Fine.
(HENRYK swallows. NADZIA steals the bottle.)
HENRYK: What are you doing, young lady? 
NADZIA: Mama said yes, Tata.
(She takes a sip. Then another, and then a giant swig. KASKA takes the bottle.)
KASKA: You've had your share!
(She drinks.)
HENRYK: Can someone help me move the TV, please?!?
NAZIA: What's the matter, Tata?
HENRYK: Tata screwed up and now people want to kill us. 
KASKA: Henryk! 
HENRYK: If you don’t want to die Nadzia, help me move the TV. 
NADZIA: What did you do?
KASKA: Tata did nothing. The housing market collapsed --
HENRYK: My clients lost everything they’ve ever worked for, and they’ll take that from me too!
NADZIA: How will the TV stop them, Tata? 
HENRYK: The TV's a barricade, and it'll protect us until we move to Sweden.
NADZIA: I don’t want to go to Sweden, Tata! 
KASKA: We’re not going anywhere. It's too hard to become an American to just leave. 
HENRYK: Fine. Stay here and die, Kaska. I’m taking her with me! 
NADZIA: Mama, I don’t want to go! Everything's here, Mama! Don't let him take me, please! 
KASKA: You're not going anywhere. I promise. Henryk, table, now! 
HENRYK: You're going to kill us all, Kaska --
KASKA: No. I'll make sure they only kill you. Table, now. 
HENRYK: Only if someone moves the TV. 
KASKA: If someone's angry enough, they'll just push past it. 
NADZIA: Mama, just move the TV, please, so he'll let us stay! I don't want to start over! I can't!
KASKA: You’re not going to -- Henryk! Table. Now. 
NADZIA: Please, Mama...
KASKA: (To HENRYK) Sit, now. 
(He sits.)
(She pushes the TV. HENRYK stands.)
No! Bad Henryk! Bad! Sit! 
(He whimpers, and sits. KASKA crosses to NAZIA, comforting her.)
KASKA: Shhh, Robaczku. Don’t worry. We’re not going anywhere. They’ll take Tata first, okay? 
(NADZIA looks up.)
Kocham cie, Nadzia. Dobranoc. 
NADZIA: Kocham cie, Mama. Dobranoc. 
Good night, Tata. 
(She exits. KASKA crosses to the table)
KASKA: Heel, Henryk.
HENRYK: I'm offended, Kaska.
KASKA: What did I do?
HENRYK: You undermined my authority in front of Nadzia. I'm only trying to protect you both, and now she won't even say she loves me. 
KASKA: How can she? You threatened to take her out of the only home she’s ever known, to a place she's never even heard of, Henryk! She's afraid of losing everything! 
HENRYK: Like we weren't, when our parents forced us here -
KASKA: We lived in the Soviet Union, Henryk! The threat was real. We would've die if we stayed!
HENRYK: We'll die if we stay here too, Kaska! I’m an investment broker. I’m responsible for this crash! I've endangered your lives!
KASKA: No, you haven't. You’re not a big enough deal to have endangered us. Be happy that you don’t make enough for once.
HENRYK: It doesn't matter how much I make, Kaska. Americans shoot anyone they think did them wrong. Give me a fucking break.
KASKA: Not while Nadzia’s awake.
HENRYK: Shut up! I need to relax!
KASKA: You need to relax? You should've drank more. Listen to me. This is our home, Henryk. I am an American, not a Pole, not anymore. We belong here. We earned our rights, and our daughter was born with them! Do you remember the Union?
HENRYK: I don’t want to.
KASKA: We don’t have to here. Why give that up?
HENRYK: Because I can't protect you both from the anarchy here!
KASKA: Anarchy isn't the worst thing in the world, Henryk --
HENRYK: They're going to kill us if we stay, Kaska, and we're not good enough to get into Heaven! We can start over - we have before!
KASKA: I can't. I feel at home here, Henryk, and so does Nadzia! We're Americans now, this is our Heaven. We've gotten into it. I'm not leaving. If you go, you'll go to Hell alone.
(She crosses behind Henryk, and hands him a beer bottle.)
(She exits. He drinks.) 



Kochanie - Polish slang for "my love"
Tata - Polish (affectionate) term for "Father" - like "Dad" in English
Kocham cie - Polish for "I love you"
Dobranoc - Polish for "good night."
Robaczku - Polish for "little bug" or "little worm."

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