Compromise

INT. DINING ROOM - DAY

               Estelle furiously mashes potatoes in the kitchen. The door
               is open into the dining room. Mark Larson enters the dining
               room from the living room wearing the coveralls and grey
               striped hat of a CNR train engineer.

                                          MARK
                              Do we have any bicarbonate of soda
                              dear? I have the worst heart burn.

               He puts his hat on a hat rack that is standing by the door,and
               walks to the table rubbing his chest in discomfort.

                                          ESTELLE
                              Yes we do, I'll bring it in.

               As Estelle pours water into a glass from the faucet,
               Charlotte brings in a bowl of salad and puts it on the
               table.

                                          MARK
                              Well, this is a surprise.
                                     (to Charlotte)
                              It's been awhile since you had
                              dinner with us.

               Estelle brings in a fizzing glass of bicarb, and sits it on
               the place mat in front of Mark. Charlotte runs past her to a
               downstairs bathroom. She vomits into the toilet.

                                          MARK
                              What's wrong with Charlotte?
                              What's going on?

               Estelle sits across the table from him as Charlotte rinses
               out her mouth at the kitchen sink. She joins her parents at
               the table.

                                          ESTELLE
                              Charlotte is pregnant, and she
                              wants to get an abortion. I've tried reasoning
                              with her, but she won't listen. I told her that we
                              would adopt the baby if she woulld agree not  to
                              have an abortion. She could have it in Vancouver
                              so no one around here would know. She
                               just won't budge!


                            

              Estelle leans her chin on one hand, elbow on the table.She
               speaks tiredly in exasperation.

                                          MARK
                              That is not going to happen!!

               He glares at Charlotte, and raises his voice. He rises
               halfway out of his chair, and leans forward, hands flat on
               the table.

                                          MARK
                              I'll lock you in the basement till
                              the baby is born if I have to, but
                              I am not going to let you murder
                              our grandchild!

               Charlotte moves her salad around in its'
               bowl, disinterestedly. She looks up wearily at her father,
               her jaw set with determination.

                                          CHARLOTTE
                              That won't be necessary dad, I'll
                              go to Vancouver to have the baby.

                                          MARK
                              You will? Would you be willing to let
                              us adopt the baby?
                          
                                     (warily)
                              why the sudden change of
                              heart? What's the catch?

                                          CHARLOTTE
                              The catch is, that I want to go to
                              Los Angeles after it's born. I'll
                              need at least fifty thousand
                              dollars to live on, and take
                              acting lessons while I go to all
                              the auditions. I've had the
                              female lead in all the plays
                              since I  started high school. My
                              drama coach says that I'm a
                              natural star. You give me the
                              money, and I'll give you the
                              baby. It's as simple as that.

               Charlotte pushes her salad bowl aside and stands.

                                          CHARLOTTE
                              I'm not hungry. I'm going up to my
                              room to take a nap. Let me know
                              what you decide when I come down.

               Charlotte gets up from the table and exits through the
               living room door.

                                          MARK
                              The house is paid for, so we can
                              take out a mortgage for twenty
                              five thousand.

               Mark gets up and takes a bank pass book out of a drawer in
               the buffet.

                                          MARK
                              We'll give her the entire contents
                              of the education fund that we
                              opened the day she was born.We
                              put all of her baby bonuses in
                              it, plus we added to it on every
                              birthday.

               He flips through the passbook, and opens it flat. He reads
               the entries.

                                          MARK
                              There is twenty seven thousand
                              dollars in it, that should
                              be enough. I know that you wanted
                              to retire now that Charlotte is
                              finished high school, but if we
                              take out a mortgage now, we're
                              going to be in debt for awhile.
                              You'll have to put off
                              retirement. Are you alright with
                              that, dear?

               Estelle gets up and begins to gather the remains of the
               barely eaten dinner.

                                          ESTELLE
                              If that's what it takes, then
                              that's what it takes. We'll never
                              have another grandchild that we'll
                              ever know about. If she gets
                              pregnant again, she most likely
                              will get an abortion. She'll be
                              on her own by then, so we won't
                              have any say in it

The End

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