5X5: Happy Talk

By Ron Kampeas

Voice over
Woman newsreader
Man newsreader

A TV news set. Two news readers, a woman and a man, are chatting silently. As rapidfire news music begins, they swivel and look toward the “camera,” the audience.

This is the 6 p.m. I Told You So.

(All of the following is delivered in a flat, serious newsroom tone.)

This is the 6 p.m. I Told You So, and I’m your mother.

(Glances at notes.)

Of course there are bullies. You thought because it was private there won’t be bullies? I told you there would be bullies.

He’s sensitive. You can see by the way he plays the guitar. Of course he’s sensitive. I told you so.

Crush half a clove of garlic. A clump of parsley to take the stink away. Of course it’s bland. Without the garlic, it’s bland. I told you so.

(Swivels to another camera.)

Who buys retail? I told you not to buy retail. If you want to burn money, here’s a match.

Subprime? What were you thinking?

I told you so.

(Swivels back)

He’s fickle. By me, he eats chicken. I squeeze a little lemon into it. I’ve told you a hundred times about the lemon. At least.

He’s been fickle since he was born. I told you then. Of course you don’t remember. You were on morphine. You weren’t listening. Not that you ever listen.

I told you so.

Leave him alone. He knows what’s good for him.

What did I say? A shmuck. An arrogant shmuck. I said it years ago. Like your uncle. Ex-uncle. Thank god.

Exactly. I told you then. He’s funny, you said. I know what’s behind those jokes. He jokes and then breaks something and won’t fix it. He won’t listen.

A leader, you said. A leader thinks, I said. He stops and thinks. Did you listen?

I told you so.

How many are dead? Three thousand four hundred.

More. And that’s just our boys and girls. How many Iraqis are dead?

I see the mothers.

And the babies.

(Breaks a little; Composes herself.)

This I never foresaw.
And now for a word from your father.

(Looks toward Man Newsreader.)

(Resigned, with an unobtrusive sigh:)

And now for the weather.

(Swivels again.)

It isn’t a raincoat. It’s a shmatta. I told you it would be like this. Look at him cough. You want to kill him, do it quick, with mercy. I’m going to buy him a raincoat. A real one.

(Swivels back.)

Wrapping up, get him a new guitar. He broke it by mistake. He didn’t mean it. If you don’t, I will.

Children are all we’ve got. Such naches. But a pain, I told you so.

You’re a good mother. I knew you would be.

Listen to that cough. I told you so.

Get him the guitar.

This has been the 6 pm edition of I Told You So. I’m your mother and I’ll be back at 11 with an update.

(Rapidfire news music.)

This has been the 6 p.m. I Told You So, with your mother.