Sunday 28 April – Cry Baby

by Emilie Collyer

In a child care centre, a bunch of babies are hanging out and talking.

B1:             I’m thinking silk nappies. I’m thinking double ratio, like two of them to every one of us. I’m thinking private pools, gold plated sipper cups.

B2:             What are you talking about?

B1:             Didn’t you hear? A 4 billion dollar package for child care. We are in the money baby!

B3:             That’s not for us, you idiot.

B1:             We are children, being cared for – who the hell else would it be for?

B3:             It’s for our parents.

B1:             Well shit, but all right then. They can buy the silk nappies, the private pools the gold.

B4:             Nup. It’s not money to give to them. It just means it’s going to cost them less to send us here.

Beat.

B1:             Like 4 billion dollars less?

B4:             Yeah.

B1:             Whistles. I did not realise it was that frigging expensive to send us here. I’ll stop complaining. Sorry Mum and Dad!

Beat.

B3:             So no real change for us or them?

B4:             Nup.

Beat.

B5:             Hey, who remembers that Leunig cartoon?

B2:             What’s a Leunig cartoon?

B5:             From a few years back. It showed a little baby lying on its own having all these thoughts about being put in child care by its mother.

B4:             Bloody hell, that wasn’t a few years ago, that was 19 bloody 95.

B2:             What’s 19 bloody 95?

B3:             It’s a year, idiot.

B2:             How should I know what a year is? I’m a baby.

B3:             You gotta pay attention. Can’t slack off in this world. Gotta know what’s going on.

B1:             Hey, did any of you see his sister’s book that came out recently?

B2:             Who’s sister?

B1:             Leunig. He has a sister.

B2:             You know who Leunig is and who his sister is? How do you know all this? How do you know what years and cartoons are? We’re babies. Are you guys all in like some kind of advanced group that I’m not aware of?

B3:             Oh yeah she kind of went him, didn’t she? Like: ‘Ooh my famous brother …’

They all laugh except for B2 who is still confused.

B1:             It was great. Pretty full on though. She also wrote about being estranged from her own kids.

B2:             What’s estranged?

B3:             Yeah, yeah, copped some flack for being a ‘bad mother’.

B2:             Bad? They can be bad? Is mine bad? Do we have bad mothers? How would we know?

B3:             Always a hot topic. Babies. Children. Mothers.

B1:             Oh yeah well they reckon it could be a vote winner for the ALP.

B3:             Political football.

B2:             They use us as a football?!

Beat.

B1:             Do you think … I mean is there a chance our parents think the 4 billion dollars is going to be given to them? Like, should we warn them? Let them down gently?

B2:             What do you mean there are bad mothers???!!!!! Starts to cry. Is mine bad? Is that why I don’t know what Leunig is and what a year is?

B1:             Um. No. I’m sure that’s just …

B4:             Look, some parents know more than others and pass on more info to their kids and have more money to pay for education and stuff – that’s just how it is.

B2:             What???!!!!

B1:             Oh jeez (does a ‘cut it out’ sign to B4 then comforts B2). It’s okay. Ssh. Ssh.

B2:             Aren’t we all the same? We’re friends right? Doesn’t that mean we’re all the same?

B1:             Of course it does. We’re all friends and our parents are all good and we all have enough and it’s all going to be okay.

B2 calms down a little but now they are all a bit dissolute.

B5:             Sound pretty empty when you put it like that doesn’t it.

B4:             Yep.

Beat.

B3:             That 4 billion would sure come in handy wouldn’t it. Spread it round, we each get a bit.

B4:             Yep.

B1:             It’s okay. We’re all okay. We’ve got each other – yeah?

Beat.

B3:             I think you’re right though. We should tell them. It’s the least we can do.

B5:             I hate it when they’re sad.

B4:             Me too.

B3:             Can’t protect them forever though.

B4:             Yep. That’s true.

B3:             Better they know than live with the illusion.

B1:             So when they get here today, we’ll all tell them, yes? Cruel to be kind.

ALL:          Yep.

B2:             And like you said, we’ve got each other. They’re not so lucky.

B4:             That’s right. Love you guys!

ALL:          Love you.

They chatter on and it transforms to the sound of babies crying in a way they might if they were gently breaking the news to their parents that the 4 billion dollars was not literally for them, but that they’ll be okay. We’ll all be okay.

End of play.

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