Pre-show sound track – recorded sounds of warm-up rally. At curtain, official’s preliminaries: linesman ready, players ready, play. Sound track of tennis match during the match. Mom and Dad are watching a match between their son and his opponent in a junior tournament.

Dad:                Why didn’t he rush the net? God damn it! He oughta be
                        putting those hangers away.
Mom:               He was right to stay back. He’s got to build sound ground strokes.
Dad:                There you go again. As if I didn’t know that! But if he hangs around the
                        baseline all the time, he’ll get to be one of them specialists, and
                        they never make it big.
Mom:               Borg did.
Dad:                That was long ago and he was an exception. He was relentless on the court. He reminds me of this movie I saw once. It was a foreign picture in another language and I couldn’t understand a word of it. It had English words at the bottom of the screen that didn’t make much sense. It was real boring….
Mom:               Then why tell me about it?
Dad:                ‘Cause just as I was getting ready to walk out, this army started to march
                        towards these other guys, who were waiting for them. They had these
                        big old-fashioned guns with bayonets, and they were crossing a field to
                        get at the other guys. These other guys were shooting the shit out of
                        them, but they just kept coming. They didn’t look around, they didn’t
                        look scared, and they didn’t curse or yell or anything. They just kept
                        getting closer. And when they got close enough for the other guys to
                        see their faces, the other guys started running away, ‘cause they knew
                        these guys were animals and they were just gonna keep coming until they
                        stuck their bayonets in them real deep. They were Swedes. Real brutes.
Mom:               So what?
Dad:                Borg’s a Swede.
Mom:               What does that have to do with anything?
Dad:                I don’t want my kid being an animal on the court.
Mom:               You’re the one who’s always telling him that he’s got to be a killer out
                        there, or he won’t get anywhere.
Dad:                Sure he’s got to be a killer. But not an animal.
Mom:               What’s the difference?
Dad:                There’s a big difference. A killer wants to win at all cost and does
                        everything he can to beat his opponent. An animal won’t stop until he
                        grinds the other guy into the dust.
Mom:               They sound exactly the same to me.
Dad:                No. They don’t.
Mom:               Yes. They do.
Dad:                Aw. You don’t understand.
Mom:               Then explain, mister tennis expert.
Dad:                There you go again.
Mom:               What?
Dad:                You know.
Mom:               No. I don’t.
Dad:                Being sarcastic when I’m trying to have a serious conversation with you.
Mom:               If you didn’t yell all the time when I disagree with you I wouldn’t be
Dad:                Ha. You admit it.
Mom:               What?
Dad:                You insult me, instead of being reasonable.
Mom:               I can’t be reasonable with you. Every time I try, you either yell at me or
                        call me names.
Dad:                That’s not true.
Mom:               Yes. It is.
Dad:                No. It’s not, you dope.
Mom:               See what I mean.
Dad:                What?
Mom:               Name calling, instead of discussing.
Dad:                Aw. You twist everything around. I was just trying to make a point.
Mom:               By insulting me?
Dad:                I was talking about junior’s net game, when you started this argument.
Mom:               You mean I dared to ask a question?
Dad:                It’s how you ask it. You’ve always got an attitude.
Mom:               I wonder who I got it from.
Dad:                Well, you didn’t get it from me. (He ignores her disbelieving stare.)
                        Can we get back to junior’s game?
Mom:               Yes. Can I ask a question?
Dad:                Yeah.
Mom:               Why do you think you know enough about tennis to coach junior? You
                        never played.
Dad:                I watch it on tv all the time and I’m reading a strategy book.
Mom:               If you’re serious about his becoming a tournament player, shouldn’t we
                        get him lessons from a tennis pro?
Dad:                I know enough to start him off. If it turns out he has talent and the will to
                        win we’ll get him some lessons.
Mom:               Are you qualified to judge those things?
Dad:                Why not? I’m as smart as the next guy.
Mom:               Shouldn’t a professional assess his potential?
Dad:                I can do it.
Mom:               Well I guess there’s no sense going further with that.
Dad:                What does that mean?
Mom:               Your mind is made up.
Dad:                What’s wrong with that?
Mom:               Nothing. If you know what you’re doing.
Dad:                Well I do.
Mom:               Did you ever ask junior what he wants?
Dad:                What would he know? He’s only a kid.
Mom:               It’s his life you’re deciding.
Dad:                You’re blowing this out of proportion.
Mom:               Am I?
Dad:                Yes. It’s only a game.
Mom:               But you behave like it’s life or death.
Dad:                It is, if you want to be a champion. You gotta steam roller anything
                        that gets in your way. Crush it. Pound it into the ground….
Mom:               Like an animal?
Dad:                Whatever it takes…. Aw. You know what I mean.
Mom:               Yes. Now let’s sit down with junior tonight and find out what he wants
                        to do.
Dad:                Aw…. All right.
Mom:               And don’t try to influence him.
Dad:                I wouldn’t do that!
Mom:               (She ignores his indignant protest.) Then it’s settled.
Dad:                Yes, dear.


Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director. His chapbook 'Remembrance' was published by Origami Condom Press, 'The Conquest of Somalia' was published by Cervena Barva Press, 'The Dance of Hate' was published by Calliope Nerve Media, 'Material Questions' was published by Silkworms Ink, 'Dispossessed' was published by Medulla Press and 'Mutilated Girls' was published by Heavy Hands Ink. A collection of his poetry 'Days of Destruction' was published by Skive Press. Another collection 'Expectations' was published by Rogue Scholars Press and 'Dawn in Cities' is being published by Wintergoose Press. His novel 'Acts of Defiance' is being published by Trestle Press. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry has appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City.