Cobwebs, Bed Bugs and Teenage Sacrifice…A Halloween Confessional

A forlorn, middle aged mom walks out from stage left.  Her eyes are cast down onto the floor.  She slowly shuffles in wearing old sweats with paint on them, an over sized t-shirt and her hair just-right-messed up with bedhead product.

In the middle of the stage is a large box with velvet curtains drawn closed to conceal the little room.  On stage right, just next to the room is a  desk with a computer, candle and incense on it.

The mom walks slowly over to the desk and strikes a match to light the candle, then the incense.  She pauses for a moment.  She leans over and turns the computer on.

She slowly turns around and proceeds to draw the curtains back from the doorway.  She enters into the small room and slumps into the computer chair that is inside.

Mom: “It’s been about a year since I’ve truly confessed.”

“You see, I’ve been too embarrassed to come here.  I was afraid of what you’d think.  I was afraid of your judgment.  I mean, what mom does this to her kid?  What mom puts her teenager at risk, night after night…offering him up as the bait?”

Mom lets out a little gasp and puts her head in her hands.  She sits quietly crying.  She slowly sits up and dabs her eyes with the edge of her t-shirt.

Mom: “All along, I was deceiving you!  I’m so sorry!  I painted you pretty pictures of happy people eating nice meals. I mean, they were nice, and the food was delish!  I shared stories of NY escapades! I shared pieces of poetry about heaven. And parties about “Men Gone Wild”.  I gave you glimpses of LoveFeast rehearsals and weddings and cute pictures of happy kids!  But, meanwhile there was something more…something lurking in the shadows.  I can barely whisper the name.  I shutter to even think about it…about me, and what I did.”

The woman leans closer to the wall next to the computer.

Mom: (in a whisper) “Bed bugs.” (a little louder) “Bed bugs.” (louder still) “That’s right, I said it! Bed Bugs!!”  We had them.  Those nasty little creatures, that multiply faster then you can say Terminx!  We didn’t notice them at first.  Most people don’t.  You can barely see them, I can tell you that…except in your nightmares!  Our teenage son, Drama Boy, began to wake up in the morning with welts the size of half dollars all over his body.  Sometimes they were on his face, or in a line down his arm.  We thought at first it was an open window allowing mosquitoes in…that his blood was sweeter than our other kids.  See, no one else had these welts.  Just him.  Let me paint a picture.  Three of our boys share the upstairs “flat” in our house.  Drama Boy has his own little room, really the size of this confessional.  He has a bed in it, a small table with a lamp and stacks of books…oh, and since I’m confessing…dirty socks on the floor, scraps of paper and shoes heaped in piles.  So, he was the only one coming downstairs with these disease looking bumps.  My husband and I looked at each other after this went on for two weeks and said, ‘Bed Bugs?’.  A phone call later, our suspicions had been confirmed.”

Mom starts crying again, this time a little louder.

Mom: (in between sobs) “It was the beginning of a four month saga from hell!  That’s right! On the outside our life went on.  We hosted, we cooked, we entertained.  We drove kids to sporting events and school.  We wore a great big smile on the  outside, but were dieing on the inside.  We had bed bugs!  I can’t tell you how many times I stripped the whole upstairs of all fabric, pillows, bedding, curtains, sofa covers and rugs.  I can’t tell you how many times I filled my suburban and lugged it all to the laundry mat, to wash and tumble it all on high heat.  I also packed all of Drama’s boys things away and wrapped them in plastic bags.  His room was sterile.  No cobweb was left unturned.  But, it’s worse!”

Mom stands up and begins to pace in the small room.

Mom: “We made him be the sacrificial lamb!!  Our Drama Boy…we kept leading him straight to the slaughter.  Yeah, we’d give him a break and let him sleep on the sofa downstairs, after he had stripped and changed his clothes before leaving his room.  He’d have a break for a few days, after the exterminator had come.  But, then, someone had to sleep up there to see if the bugs were gone.  Someone had to do it.  Each time the bug guy sprayed…and when I say spray, I mean spray!! (I asked him to do anything short of three mile island.)  We’d think to ourselves, ‘This is it.’  Drama Boy would perk up, look hopeful and climb the stairs.  Once or twice, he’d come down without any new bites.  But, inevitably within two or three days, they’d return.”

Mom begins to pull her hair…but, kind-of in a “fix-the-bed-head-way“.

Mom: “We were losing our minds!  The hope of ever ridding ourselves of these creatures was dwindling, knowing they can live up to a year and a half without a host.  What is that?!  I was frazzled.  I put duck tape around every crack and crevice.  The bug guy gave us our own bottles of spray (he was beginning to get too close to the situation.)  I kept my facade up.  My readers were never going to know, the pain and agony I was going through.  I know, some of them are brave.  Some are brave enough to confess right away and lighten their burden.  But, not me. I’m super mom!  Yeah, right.  I began to fall apart…there was only one thing I had not done.  I had all the boys in the house drag the bed frame outside.  We sprayed and bleached it.  We aired it out.  We returned it.  I put fresh sheets once again on the bed.  I tucked Drama Boy in and said a prayer of protection.  I left, feeling utterly defeated.”

Mom sits down again and leans her head back.

Mom: “The next morning he came down.  There was no new evidence.  The next day, the same thing.  Still we held our breaths. I can say that it’s been 6 months since we’ve seen any bites or bugs.  Drama Boy is back in his room amongst his piles and stacks.  He has pillows on his bed again.  Shew!  What a load.  I can’t believe I’ve carried that around for so long.  It feels good to unpack it.  Thanks for listening.”

Mom stands up, leaves the room and walks out stage right.