AMERIKIN

Available in Library

As part of his initiation into a white supremacist group, Jeff Browning's taken an ancestry test... and gotten an inconvenient surprise.

Read Sample

Some context: Jeff's been having major problems with his wife, Michelle, who's suffering from violent postpartum.

POOT
(a little too enthusiastic)
Hey! She’s up! How you doin’? You feelin’ okay? Still tired? Husband treatin’ you alright?

(He winks at Jeff with that last little bit. Jeff is
not amused.)

JEFF
That’s a lotta questions, man.

MICHELLE
It’s fine. I’m glad somebody’s askin’.

(A loaded beat.)

MICHELLE (cont.)
I feel a little better today. Took a shower.

POOT
That’s… (“Fuck, that’s what counts as a win these days?”)... that’s great. You look good.

JEFF
You do look… better.

MICHELLE
…Thanks.
(beat)
You know, I got some text messages from some people. People I didn’t even know still knew I existed… Amber Lynn Snead. Erica Dinwiddie. Even Kim Hoffenberger. Who you know don’t want nothin’ to do with me since… what happened with her brother.

JEFF
Okay…

MICHELLE
Yeah, they were all just writin’ to congratulate me and welcome me to the Knights family and find out if there was anything special I wanted for your party on Fry-dee.

JEFF

MICHELLE
So. You got in.

JEFF
…Yeah.

MICHELLE
I thought were just going to talk about it more before you just up and joined. And hell, Jeff, even if I didn’t take no issue with ninety percent of the people associated with that group, didn’t ya think that’s somethin’ your wife might like to know?

JEFF
(irritated)
You haven’t seemed to care about much o’ nothin’ lately, so… under the circumstances, no. I did not think that, Michelle.

MICHELLE
Well, maybe if anybody around here cared about me, I could care, too. Did anybody ask me how I was feelin’ after squeezin’ a damn bowlin’ ball out of my vagina?

POOT
(muttering)
I did…

MICHELLE
Did any of those bitches call after Hunter was born or send over a card? A onesie? A damn baby toy from the Dollar General? I didn’t even throw a baby shower ‘cause I knew none of ‘em woulda showed up.

JEFF
Maybe they woulda if you hadn’t fucked all their husbands at some point.

(A pause during which Michelle just stares at Jeff.)

POOT
Wellllll, I should probly /get goin’…

MICHELLE
Why’d you marry me?

JEFF
What?

MICHELLE
Why’d you pick me to settle down with? I mean I’m sure you knew all about me.

POOT
He loves you, Michelle. He’s just—

JEFF
No, I don’t.

POOT
You don’t mean that. (to Michelle) He don’t mean that.

JEFF
Naw, I do. And she knows I do.

MICHELLE
So why me, Jeff?

(All is still while Jeff considers this. Then:)

JEFF
I guess I married you ‘cause I knew you’d be grateful. And… I needed that after… after Alma. After she found out I was messin’ with you and… and aborted my baby… I needed someone to...(big breath)... I needed somebody to think I was worth settlin’ down with. I needed somebody to look at me and go, “Yeah, I wouldn’t mind havin’ his baby.” And there you were. Already standin’ there. Lyin’ there. Wide open. And nobody else would have ya, so I knew you needed me, too. We needed each other. More than we loved each other. We both had so much need. Still do. Thing is, ain’t neither of us been in a position to deal with the other one’s needs. We just reachin’ and reachin’ and ain’t nothin’ there to grab. But that stops today. From today on, we are gonna be there for each other, help each other. We are gonna look each other in the eye, we are gonna talk honest, and we are gonna listen real good. I’m gonna be a husband and a father. You’re gonna be a wife and a mother. And now that we got community we can count on, we are gonna make this shit work. We are gonna fuckin’ function. With dignity. You hear? We are gonna build something our son can be proud of. And then… maybe we can find our way to lovin’ each other.

(Michelle takes all that in. A moment.)

MICHELLE
Gimme the baby.

(Jeff balks big-time.)

MICHELLE (cont.)
I WANT TO HOLD MY SON.

(Jeff reluctantly, carefully hands Hunter to
Michelle. For a moment, they actually resemble
a family.

Suddenly:)

POOT
Can I—?

JEFF
Go home, Poot.

(Poot beelines to the door.)

POOT
Thank you.

(End scene.)

Cast Requirements

2 white women (30's)
3 white men (30's/40's)
1 black man (50's)
1 black woman (late teens/early 20's)

Set Description

Various, but mostly in a lower middle-class living room.

Production and Development History

Developed in large part at Delaware REP and Primary Stages.

Roundtable reading at the Lark.

Public readings at Forward Flux (Seattle), Salt Lake Acting Company, City Theatre (Pittsburgh), and Primary Stages (NYC).