DOCTOR, DOCTOR, THERE IS TIGER BALM IN MY SOUP! (PART 2)

On October 20, 2013 by Kunle Barker

A play in one act.

Cast:

PAPA BEAN – Idris Elba

MUMMY BEAN – Claire Danes

 

Act 1 Scene 1:

A large bay fronted bedroom in North West London. It’s a sunny morning and the curtains are ajar letting in a small sliver of sunshine. The room is tastefully decorated, although not quite finished, with artwork propped against the wall and two shoe boxes rammed full of cassettes and trinkets on the stripped wood floor.
 
Against the right wall of the room there is a reproduction French bed in keeping with the ‘shabby chic’ fashion of the time. In the bed are Papa Bean, who is lying on his back and beginning to snore, and Mummy Bean who is lying on her back (silently) with the duvet pulled up high over her face so that only her eyes are visible. 
 
As usual at 7:05am Radio 4 begins to play through the Sonos system which is their usual wake up call. It’s a Tuesday morning.

PAPA BEAN:

(Stirring) Morning, looks like a nice day.

Think I can definitely ride to work today.

Are you awake?

(Turns his head to face Mummy Bean) Are you crying? What’s the matter?

MUMMY BEAN:

I haven’t slept, I’m so worried, I can’t stop thinking that I’ve hurt the baby.

PB:

Don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with Kidney Bean, the baby is fine.

MB:

How do you know?

PB:

Why would there be something wrong?

MB:

I’m worried about sunbathing on holiday, and what I was told about it causing brain damage.

PB:

Don’t worry about that, it’s nonsense.

MB:

But I remember thinking that I was really hot when we were by the pool, and then there was that day we did the bike ride, I was exhausted afterwards. That can’t be good for the baby.

PB:

Of course you were hot, we were sitting by the pool in Fuerteventura. That’s actually why we went there. Anyway, you wouldn’t have been hot enough to damage the baby.

MB:

I wish you would stop saying that, how do you know how hot I was? I’m telling you I was really hot.

PB:

Yes, I know, but what does really hot mean? How hot do you have to get to hurt the baby? 30 degrees, 50 degrees? I bet your friend didn’t tell you that when she said you shouldn’t have been sunbathing.

MB:

So you think she was lying? You think she made it up?

PB:

No, I just think that people say a lot of things that are  based on elements of truth but ultimately are taken out of context.

MB:

Context? What Context?

PB:

Well who told her this anyway?

MB:

A friend at work.

PB:

A doctor friend?

MB:

No, you know it wasn’t a doctor.

PB:

Exactly! What the hell do they know? At least talk to someone who knows what they are bloody going on about. Maybe a qualification or two wouldn’t hurt either.

MB:

Why do you always have to be like that, it’s not their fault, I’m just really worried that I’ve been careless and now I’ve hurt our baby.

PB:

I wish you would stop saying that, you have not hurt our baby. The baby is fine. What about women in Africa who are not only in the sun all day but have to walk miles and miles to get clean water, they still have babies, healthy babies.

MB:

Yes, but you would not choose to walk miles in the sun to get water when you are pregnant. It’s not recommended, it’s just what they have to do.

PB:

Yes but the point is they have healthy babies. Which, if what you have been told is true, shouldn’t be the case. In fact, now that I think about it, African countries have the highest birth rates in the world, so sunbathing must actually be good, you should have done more!

MB:

That’s not helping.

(Papa Bean gets out of the bed and walks over to the dressing table and picks up his Iphone)

PB:

Just so I’m clear what exactly are you worried about?

MB:

How many times do I have to say it, I’m worried that I’ve hurt the baby!

PB:

By sunbathing?

MB:

Yes, by sunbathing, by getting too hot, and doing those breathing exercises in Yoga and using the tiger balm.

PB:

Oh, my god! I can’t talk to you about tiger balm again. THERE-IS-NOTHING-WRONG-WITH-IT, it’s basically cinnamon and oils and spices, add some sugar and you got a tasty desert.

MB:

Don’t speak to me like that.

PB:

Like what?

MB:

Like that. With that tone. This is not a joke, it’s serious.

PB:

Ok, fuck it, you’re right, you killed the baby.

(Mummy Bean starts to cry)

Sorry, I didn’t mean it, I was joking.

MB:

How is that funny?

PB:

It’s not. I mean… I was being sarcastic… I mean there is nothing wrong with the baby, stop beating yourself up. I wish you would not talk to your friends about things like this. They are just repeating things they heard from idiots, who heard them from idiots, and now you think our baby has brain damage.

MB:

You think everyone is an idiot.

PB:

No, I just think they don’t know what they are talking about and just shouldn’t say stuff like this.

MB:

(Still crying) I’m late for work, I don’t want to talk about this anymore.

PB:

Look, I’m sorry, don’t cry. There is nothing wrong, I know it.

MB:

It’s too upsetting I don’t want to talk about it, I’ve got to get ready for work.

(Mummy Bean leaves the bedroom and goes down stairs)

 

Act 1 Scene 2

Papa Bean enters the dining room.
 
Mummy Bean is standing in front of the fireplace and applying make-up to her wet face, staring into a mirror above the mantelpiece.

PB:

What shall we have for dinner tonight?

I’m thinking sausage and mash. I can go to Sainsbury on the way home.

Are you not talking to me?

MB:

No, I am talking to you, I just need to get ready for work.

PB:

Okay, but I don’t want you to worry.

MB:

But I am worried, I can’t stop worrying, I can’t stop crying,  I just wish I had done more research, everyone else seems to know more than I do.

PB:

No they don’t, all they have done is heard a story and repeated it. That’s not knowledge, that’s gossip.

MB:

You always say things like that, but you don’t know if they are right or wrong, you won’t even read the book I bought.

PB:

Err, so I need to read a book to have common sense? Okay, I will read the book…

MB:

You said that before and haven’t even picked it up.

PB:

Okay, I will read the book. But this isn’t about reading a book, it’s about people repeating stupid bloody stories and what’s worse, you believing them.

MB:

They’re not stupid.

PB:

Yes they are, how can sunbathing hurt your baby? Yeah, if you baked yourself all day in the sun that would hurt the baby, but you would know about it.

MB:

How? How would I know?

PB:

Cause you would be bloody dead from heat stroke.

Look, it can’t be that dangerous, hundreds of thousands of pregnant women must go on holiday and sunbathe every year. I know things can happen, but 99% of pregnancies are just fine.

MB:

Great, just what we need, another made-up statistic from you.

PB:

Better than a made-up story.

MB:

I’m really late for work, I’ve got to go, I can’t stand here and listen to you say the same things, it’s not helping. Can’t you see that I’m just really worried and just wish that I had…oh I just wish I had thought about it more.

PB:

Thought about what? Sunbathing?

MB:

Just get out, you don’t care, you just think everyone is an idiot. But you don’t know, you have no idea if the baby is hurt, you can’t even be bothered to read the book.

PB:

How dare you say that to me, say that I don’t care, of course I care, I worry too, but if I listen to every story it would drive me mental, look what it’s doing to you. You’re right, I don’t know about sunbathing but I know that you getting yourself so upset, and us arguing like this is causing even more stress, that’s what’s going to hurt the baby. Don’t say I don’t care, you’re the one who has worked yourself up into a state, you’re the one who is going to hurt the baby, you, not the bloody sun.

Papa Bean slams the dining room door and walks up the stairs.
 
By the third step he realises that he has just left his wife in floods of tears. He feels ashamed, this is the women he has been with for fourteen years, the women that he loves, and is carrying his baby.
 
He has let his frustration get the better of him and is disappointed that he has done nothing to actually help his wife, to help Kidney Bean.
 
By the sixth step Papa Bean turns around and walks down the stairs to re-enter the dining room. 
 
Mummy Bean is still applying make-up but is in floods of tears, not just normal tears that trickle down your face but the type of tears produced by uncontrollable crying that takes over your whole body.

PB:

Babe, I’m really sorry, I didn’t mean that. We need to sort this out, what can we do?

Mummy Bean still crying leaves the room without saying a word and runs upstairs.
 
Papa Bean sits at the table and is disappointed with himself, he knows he has let Mummy Bean down. It must be so difficult for Mummy Bean, she is actually carrying our baby, and no matter how much Papa Bean worries it can’t compare with what Mummy Bean must be feeling. To know that every single thing you do (or don’t do) could have an affect on the health of your baby is a huge burden and one which Papa Bean will never fully understand.
 
Papa Bean sits at the table and tries to figure out a way to help Mummy Bean. He tries to think what he would do if this was a work problem, and a solution comes to him immediately. They are arguing about something that may, or may not be true. Step one – find out the facts!
 
He goes upstairs in search of Mummy Bean.

 

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Act 1 Scene 3

Mummy Bean has returned to the bedroom and is in bed and lying in the same position with duvet pulled over her head, still crying.
 
Papa Bean enters the room.

PB:

Babe, really sorry, I didn’t mean what I said downstairs.

MB:

Just leave me alone, I’ve got to go to work.

PB:

You can’t go to work like this, why don’t you ring in sick?

MB:

I can’t, I’ve got a meeting at 12.

PB:

Well look, I was thinking that we really don’t know what’s wrong or not wrong so maybe we should try and find out.

MB:

How can we find out?

PB:

A scan.

MB:

Well we have our 20-week scan in two weeks.

PB:

Darling, we can’t do this for another two weeks, I mean a scan today. I’m going to call Harley Street and see if there is someone who can do a scan for us today.

MB:

I’m really worried about the sunbathing and if it caused brain damage. Can they scan the brain at this stage?

PB:

I don’t know, but if I can get someone to do a full scan, to tell us categorically if there is something wrong then either way we will know and we can deal with it together.

MB:

Yes, that sounds good.

PB:

Okay, wait here, let me make some calls.

Papa Beans leaves the room to makes the calls.
 
Mummy Bean stays in bed but for the first time in 48 hours is not consumed by fear. She is not sure why but for some reason she is not scared anymore, well not as scared.
 
As she lies in the bed, she feels a sense of reassurance and remembers why she loves Papa Bean so much.

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image25787584

Act 1 Scene 4

Mummy Bean is still lying in the bed and is visibly better, not back to her old self but visibly calmer and happier.
 
Papa Bean returns to the bedroom and stands over the bed.

PB:

I found someone, a specialist on Harley Street who can book us in for a scan at 3pm today.

MB:

Will they be able to tell if there is any brain damage?

PB:

Yes, he said he can do a full abnormality scan and check the development of the brain.

MB:

Really, this early?

PB:

Well, he said it’s better at 20 weeks as the fetus is more developed but he should be able to tell us today if things are okay.

MB:

Did you tell him why I’m worried?

PB:

Yes.

MB:

What did he say?

PB:

You don’t want to know.

MB:

Come on, tell me.

PB:

Well, he said, and I quote, your wife’s friends are idiots.

MB:

No, he didn’t.

PB:

Yes he did, he said they are idiots and should not be allowed to speak to other people.

MB:

A doctor said that?

PB:

Yep. He also said that he thinks your friends were confused, as its true pregnant women should not go to saunas and steam rooms, but normal sunbathing is perfectly safe.

MB:

Oh, but I think I may have got as hot as I would do in a sauna.

PB:

I knew you would say that, so I asked him that exact question.

MB:

What did he say?

PB:

He said that it’s different and that sunbathing presents no risk, no risk at all.

MB:

But that’s exactly what you said.

PB:

I-KNOW, anyway you can hear it all for yourself later.

MB:

What do you mean?

PB:

Well I said that you would think that I made it up, so I made him promise to tell you in person, what he said to me over the phone. Word-for-word. Especially the bit about your friends being idiots.

MB:

Oh, my god, are you mental?

PB:

No, but the doctor thinks I am.

Mummy Bean and Papa Bean laugh. It doesn’t normally take this long for them to laugh in the morning but it feels great. They both feel so much better and share the distinct feeling that everything will be just fine.
 
Papa Bean climbs back into bed, puts his arms around Mummy Bean and gives her a kiss. It’s their first kiss of the day.
 
Lights down.
[Notes to Audience: The 18-week abnormality scan showed no defects and the specialist consultant was able to confirm that all fetal development (including the brain) was normal and as to be expected at that stage of pregnancy. He also confirmed sunbathing is fine for pregnant women, and that they can also cross their legs. However, he did not think tiger balm would make a good dessert.]

Our healthy scan/video of Kidney Bean at 18 weeks.

3 Responses to “DOCTOR, DOCTOR, THERE IS TIGER BALM IN MY SOUP! (PART 2)”

  • This sounds exactly like my husband and me!! I love how husbands can be!

  • Looks like a girl! I have a boy and girl so I know what there private parts look like in a sonogram, and your sonogram video showed right between the babys legs and that was a GIRL!

  • Christoph

    Christ on a bike. I’m already feeling like a stalker as I’ve commented on 90% of the posts I’ve read, and have said the next line far too much, but my god it’s exactly how it is with my wife. She’s always listening to her idiot friends, who by the way have never even been pregnant let alone have any kind of training or qualifications in a doctoral kind of form. My wife went for a jog with me once while very early pregnant, before we actually knew she was, and boy did I not hear the end of that one for a while!

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