This is the script of a fine story told by the Atlanta Radio Theater Company. http://www/artc.org/index.html


Narrator

Kyle

Kyle's mother

Social worker

Agent Ramirez

Doctor

Benny

for The Atlanta Radio Theater Company
Version (Manuel’s Tavern) 27 Feb. 2003

NARRATOR
A few days before Kyle's tenth birthday, his mother took him out of school and kept him at home. She did not go in to her office. Instead, she stayed in her room and though she played Kyle's favorite videos for him all day, he could hear her, moaning and often crying. She came out only to fix him meals or to put him to bed, her eyes puffy and red. Even a nine-year-old boy knew this could not go on forever.

MOTHER
(Muffled, on other side of door)
(Dry, despairing sobbing)

KYLE
Mom? (A little louder) Mom? (Louder yet) Mom?

MOTHER
(Crying stops)

(SFX: Muffled footsteps. Door opening.)

MOTHER
(Exhausted)
What is it, honey? Are you hungry? Is it lunchtime already?

KYLE
Are--are you okay, Mom?

MOTHER
Mama's all right, honey. (Deep breath) Mama's gonna be all right, and so are you. What is it you need?

KYLE
I want to watch a video, but I can't reach it.

MOTHER
That's no problem. I'd rather get it for you than have you climbing on a chair or something.

(SFX: Footsteps)

MOTHER
Now which one is it?

KYLE
That 'un, Mom. The purple one.

MOTHER
(Searching)
Uh--the purple one--

KYLE
It's my Benny disk--

MOTHER
(Cold, strained)
No.

KYLE
--the one they gave me at school--

MOTHER
No "Benny"!

KYLE
"Benny Goes to Tap Day--"

MOTHER
(Out of control)
No Benny! No more Benny--ever!

KYLE
Mom--!

MOTHER
Do you hear me? No watching Benny!

KYLE
(Deeply frightened, crying)
Mama, you're hurting my arm!

MOTHER
No more--! No--! Oh, God, what am I doing? Mama's sorry, baby. Please forgive Mama. I didn't mean to do that.

(MOTHER begins to cry as KYLE's crying ends.)

(SFX: Knock on door)

SOCIAL WORKER
(Muffled, on other side of door)
Ms. Lewis? Amanda Lewis? Please open up, I'm from Social Services.

MOTHER
Go away. We're all right.

SOCIAL WORKER
Ms. Lewis, is Kyle there with you? He hasn't been to school all week.

MOTHER
Yes, Kyle's right here. He's just fine. We both are.

SOCIAL WORKER
Ms. Lewis, you haven't been to work all week either.

MOTHER
Kyle was sick. I was nursing him. But we're better. You can go.

SOCIAL WORKER
If Kyle was sick, Ms. Lewis, why didn't you take him to Medical Services? It's your obligation under the law to provide your child with medical care.

MOTHER
It was nothing serious and he's fine now, just the way he is. Now will you please leave?

SOCIAL WORKER
Can I see Kyle?

MOTHER
(Beginning to break down) No! Can't you leave us alone?

SOCIAL WORKER
Ms. Lewis, I have to see Kyle. And if you won't let me in, I'll have to get a warrant. It's for Kyle's sake, please understand.

MOTHER
(Crying) No!

SOCIAL WORKER
(Lower voice)
I know what it is. It's the drugs, isn't it, honey? But it'll be all right, you'll see. We'll take care of you. Please just let me in.

(MOTHER continues to cry, under until NARRATOR)

SOCIAL WORKER
I'll have to get the Drug Enforcement people, Ms. Lewis. You don't want that, do you? (Pause) Please stay where you are, Ms. Lewis. And please don't do anything to Kyle.

NARRATOR
Kyle's mother took him in her arms, very tightly, and sat on the couch with him. They sat like that, looking out the window, for an hour. Two hours. Three. While the sun crept across the floor and the room grew warm and Kyle fell asleep in her arms.

(SFX: Hammering on door)

AGENT
(Muffled, on other side of door)
Amanda Lewis! This is Agent Ramirez, Drug Administration Enforcement. Please open this door.

KYLE
Ow! Mom! Too tight--

MOTHER
Go away!

AGENT
Ms. Lewis, I have a warrant. I am authorized to use force if necessary to get thru this door. Please don't make me use it.

MOTHER
Leave us alone!

AGENT
Ms. Lewis, I must charge you with violation of the Drug Administration Act. If you do not open this door by the count of three, I will break it down. One. Two--

MOTHER
I have a gun! If you come in here, I'll--

KYLE
(Whispered)
Mom! You don't have a--

MOTHER
(Whispered)
Shush!

AGENT
There is no way on earth that you could have a gun, m'am. We both know that. But on the off chance that you do-- (Off-mike) Sergeant. (Normal) Ms. Lewis, let's talk about this before you get yourself in serious trouble.

MOTHER
Why can't you just leave us alone?

AGENT
Because it's the law, m'am. The law has to look after Kyle's well-being.

MOTHER
He's only nine! And he's just fine--he's happy. Why wouldn't I look after my own boy? We're both just fine.

AGENT
No, you're not, Ms. Lewis.

MOTHER
I'm a lot better. I'm getting over it.

AGENT
You've got the shakes right now, don't you, m'am? I can hear 'em in your voice. And I bet you're sweating in there. You can't keep playing around with your drugs like this. Please open the door.

(SFX: A hissing noise begins, very low, and rises without becoming particularly loud.)

MOTHER
(Starts out strong, rapidly becomes slurred) No! You get away from my door and leave us be. If you don't, I swear I'll-- No... Gas! How could I be that-- C'mon, baby, we've gotta get to--

(SFX: Body slumping to floor. Door being broken down.)

KYLE
(Sleepy)
Mom? Mama?
(Pause, five seconds)

(SFX: Office and hospital background, under for--)

DOCTOR
(Warm and smooth)
Kyle? Kyle Lewis? Are you awake, son?

KYLE
Unh?

DOCTOR
(Chuckles)
I think you're coming out of it just fine. Here, let's get you sitting up.

(SFX: Mechanical purr. [Powered recliner rising from supine to sitting position.])

DOCTOR
How are you feeling, Kyle? Up to a little talk?

KYLE
Where's my mom!?

DOCTOR
You're mother's just fine. She's in another wing here at the hospital. I think you'll be able to see her this evening and I expect you can go home in about a week--both of you. (Chuckles) You're going to miss two weeks of school, I'd have given anything for that at your age.

KYLE
She's okay?

DOCTOR
She's going to be. She's having a rough time of it right now--the same sort of rough time she's been having for--oh, I'd guess the last week?

KYLE
Yeah, about like that.

DOCTOR
I thought so. She'd act like she was cold, then hot? Cried a lot? Acted like her stomach ached? Snapped at you sometimes and turn right around and cry over you?

KYLE
(Very quiet)
Yeah.

DOCTOR
It's okay, son. That's why we need to have this little talk. Did your mother ever talk with you about drugs?

KYLE
No. But the teachers talk about 'em at school. And I talked to the other kids. I know a lot!

DOCTOR
Then you probably know people used to take all sorts of drugs.

KYLE
All sorts? Uh--no...

DOCTOR
Oh, yes. Things you've never heard of. Alcohol--which always gave you a headache, and could give you cancer or rot your liver. Raw cocaine--that 'un could stop your heart. Caffeine--better not take that one if your blood pressure's high. Marijuana--they burned that and inhaled the smoke. Bad for the lungs, just like tobacco.

KYLE
Wow!

DOCTOR
And more. Some drugs might have no effect on one person, but give it to someone else and his body would crave more and more until they'd-- Well, they'd do terrible things to get just one more dose.

KYLE
Didn't they know?

DOCTOR
No one knew what drugs were bad for them or right for them. And they couldn't just try drugs out, because they were illegal. That means they were against the law--most of them. You had to deal with criminals to even get drugs.

KYLE
Why didn't the police stop them?

DOCTOR
Oh, they tried. But there was so much money in drugs that the criminals could just buy the police, pay them to look the other way.

KYLE
They weren't very good police, were they?

DOCTOR
Well, they were just people, Kyle. Some good, some bad. That was their problem: trying to treat everyone alike. People aren't alike. Most of 'em have trouble doing the right thing or running their own lives. And it's like that with drugs, too. Everyone is different.

KYLE
Oh! So that's why--

DOCTOR
You're beginning to see, aren't you? Smart boy. Now--there's somebody here who'd really like to meet you. And I think you'd like to meet him, too. Look behind you.

(SFX: Cheery music)

BENNY
(Sings. Tune: approximately "Deutschland Uber Alles".)

We are one big family,
We all live in harmony.
Won't you join us?
Be one with us!
Come and be part of Benny's family!

KYLE
Benny! Benny the Happy-saurus!

BENNY
Hi, there, Kyle! Gosh, I'm so gla-a-a-ad to meet you! And have you been having a nice talk with my old friend Doctor Michaels?

KYLE
Yeah, we were talking about right drugs and wrong drugs.

BENNY
Doctor Michaels sure knows what he's talking about! There's a right drug for everybody. One that won't hurt you. One that makes you feel good--but not so good you can't go to work or to school.

KYLE
(Quiet) My mom doesn't feel good.

BENNY
That's because she quit taking her drug. After your body gets used to its drug, and then you stop taking it, you get a sickness. We call it "withdrawal". That's what was making your mother feel bad.

DOCTOR
I don't expect you've ever seen a withdrawal case before, have you, Kyle?

KYLE
No.

BENNY
And you may never again. That only happens to people who break the law. Or don't work. Or don't pay their taxes. Or try to move without getting permission to have their prescriptions transferred.

DOCTOR
The government feels that--well, if someone is being bad why should they feel good?

KYLE
(Very quiet)
Is my mom bad?

BENNY
No, no, not at all! Just a little misguided, that's all. She stopped taking her drug on her own. She was worried--about you. I think you can guess what she was upset over. Have the other boys and girls been talking about what happens when you turn ten?

KYLE
Oh, yeah! They do it right at school--

BENNY
That's right. And it's such a little thing. See, we did yours while you were asleep. Look at your right arm.

KYLE
Hey, it's-- Ow!

BENNY
(Chuckles)
It's still a little sore. Let's get the band-aid off. Doctor Michaels, would you do it for me? My hands won't reach.

DOCTOR
Happy to.

(SFX: Band-aid being pulled off.)

BENNY
See, that's Kyle's own tap in Kyle's own arm. It's right over a vein. Those stitches will dissolve out over the next coupla weeks and it'll be just like part of you.

KYLE
Aw, neat!

BENNY
And that barcode tattooed next to it is Kyle's own national ID number. And Doctor Michaels has something else of Kyle's here. Doctor?

(SFX: Drawer opening)

BENNY
Can you read what it says on the side?

KYLE
"Lewis, Kyle A." That's me! "Two-five-seven-nine-four-five-zero-three- nine..."

BENNY
Your ID.

KYLE "One-two-four-C-four-one". And a "plus" sign.

BENNY
It's Kyle's very own injector of Kyle's very own drug. See, the nose fits right into your tap--Doctor?--and...

(SFX: Short, sharp hiss)

BENNY
There now. Isn't that nice?

KYLE
(Orgasmic)
Ohhh!

NARRATOR
And suddenly Kyle understood what some very grownup words meant. Words like "ecstasy". And "magnificence". And "omnipotence". And he knew that he would always-- always-- always! -- be a good boy.

BENNY
(Sings.)
We are one big family,
We all live in harmony.
Won't you join us?
Be one with us!
Come and be part of Benny's family!

"Kyle" by Jerry Burge - "Benny" by Jim Garrison