The Big Sprain
Written by Tam Spiva
While Carol is out of town, Alice sprains her ankle. This causes disarray in the Brady household. Hope you enjoy the script.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
SAM THE BUTCHER
(The episode begins with Alice in the kitchen, putting away dishes she just washed. Mike comes in to help her out.)
Mike: Give you a hand, Alice?
Alice: Oh, no thanks. Everything’s under control. Was that Mrs. Brady on the phone?
Mike: Oh yeah, she said she arrived safely.
Alice: How long will she be staying?
Mike: Well, until her Aunt Mary recovers from whatever it is Aunt Mary’s recovering from.
Alice: She’s always coming down with something.
Mike: Right, you name it. And Aunt Mary’s had it, has it or is about to get it.
Alice: Well, I just hope Mrs. Brady can have a little fun this trip.
Mike: Yeah, I hope so too. I also hope that running this place single handed isn’t going to be too much for you, Alice.
Alice: A breeze, Mr. Brady. Less than that, a zephyr.
Mike: Yeah, well, six kids and me and Tiger all adds up to work.
Alice: What work? Vacuuming, dusting, making the beds, cooking the meals, washing the…, you’re right, it all adds up to work.
Mike: You see.
Alice: Well, nothing one able bodied female can’t handle. Oh.
Alice (suddenly realizing): Oh, the apple pie. I left the rest of it on the dining room table, and I want the rest of it to go in the lunchboxes tomorrow, not in the kids tummies tonight. (She goes out to the dinner table) I can take care of this household standing on my (She slips on some Chinese checkers left on the floor) HEAD!!!.
Mike (rushing out to help her): Alice, Alice, Alice! Are you all right?
Alice: I’ll live. But I’m not the able bodied female I was a minute ago, Mr. Brady. My foot played a game of Chinese checkers and lost.
(The scene fades.)
(The next scene has the kids in the family room. Mike comes in to lecture them.)
Mike: Okay, I called this unusually late evening meeting to issue a medical bulletin. The doctor says that Alice’s ankle is only sprained. But it’s a bad sprain and she’s gonna hafta stay off of it for a while and that’s gonna be very hard on Alice.
Bobby: We’re sorry we left our Chinese checkers on the dining room floor.
Mike: Yes, you violated a strict family rule about leaving your toys spread all over for other people to trip over.
Greg: I don’t think we should all be blamed.
Marcia: At least we should all tell Alice we’re sorry.
Mike: Alice is resting. But, what you can all tell me is who is going to do the cooking, and the cleaning, and the washing, and all the other housework around here, while Alice is grounded and your mother is gone, huh? (The kids all look at each other with doubt) Well, I’m going to tell you, while Alice is grounded, you are all going to assume the job of running this house, that’s starting tomorrow and right after school.
Greg: But Dad, our team has workouts all this week, so we can stay in shape for the next game.
Mike: I’ll guarantee your coach you will stay in shape.
Marcia: What about my music lessons?
Mike: You can hum a lot while you work.
Jan: No dance class?
Mike: That’s right, no dance class.
Peter: Dad, would you believe that I was going to spend every afternoon studying in the library?
Mike (laughing): Good try, Peter, and I would like to believe that, but it would boggle my mind. Anybody else.
Bobby: I give up.
Cindy: Me too.
Mike: Good, now that we understand each other, hit the sack. Starting with breakfast tomorrow, we get to work.
(The next scene has Alice in her room wearing her bathrobe. She struggles to get up. Mike knocks.)
Alice: come in.
Mike (entering the room): Hey, Alice, you’re supposed to stay off that ankle.
Alice: Well, I, (she sits down) Okay, I’m off it.
Mike: See? Listen, if there’s anything you want, I’ll get it for you.
Alice: Oh, in the closet. The last one on the end.
(Mike goes in her closet and gets Alice’s yellow dress.)
Mike (checking it out): Hey, that’s very pretty.
Alice: It’s the first long dress I’ve had since high school. (Pause) Same color, if not quite the same size.
Mike: What are you gonna do with this dress tonight?
Alice: Put it in mothballs?
Mike: You’re losing me, Alice.
Alice: Mr. Brady, Saturday night is the annual meat cutter’s ball. Sam was going to take me and I was going to wear this dress.
Mike: Oh, Alice, I’m sure sorry about that. I don’t know what else to say.
Alice: Well, why don’t you say what you came in to say. I’ll have plenty of time to feel sorry for myself.
Mike: I talked to the kids. Tomorrow, they’re going to take over all the household chores by mutual agreement.
Alice: Mutual agreement?
Mike: Well, with a little persuasion. But they agreed. They’re a family unit, Alice, and this is their job.
Alice: I hate to think of the mess I’m gonna have to face when I get well.
Mike: Alice, there’s going to be no mess. Believe me, starting with breakfast tomorrow morning, everything is gonna run like clockwork.
(The next scene starts with a bell ringing. Marcia and Jan are in the kitchen arguing over dishes and other things.)
Jan: I’m not going to wash all these dishes, I won’t live that long.
Marcia: Well, I’m certainly not, I did the eggs.
Jan: You mean you dropped the eggs.
(They give each other angry frowns and Marcia goes to collect pots form the stove. Cindy is waiting for toast to pop out of the toaster.)
Cindy: It’s stuck. (She taps the toaster with a wooden spoon) Come out! Come out!
(The boys are over at the staircase leaving for school. Mike meets them at the bottom of the stairs.)
Mike: You finished breakfast already?
Greg: Take my advice, Dad. Stay out of the kitchen. Breakfast isn’t worth it.
Peter: The girls are taking perfectly good food and making garbage out of it.
Bobby: Poison garbage.
Mike: You have to have something to eat.
Greg: We’ll settle for the cafeteria at noon.
Mike: Listen, you can’t go to school on an empty stomach. Why don’t you have some milk.
Peter: Not in there. They’ll probably try to fry it.
Mike: Suit yourselves. (He gives each of them money to buy breakfast) There. I’ll be the guinea pig.
(The boys leave while Mike goes into the kitchen.)
Marcia (to Jan): Here it is, only the first breakfast, and I had to do everything. Absolutely everything!
Jan: If everything means dropping the frozen orange juice on the floor, then you’ve done everything, all right!
Mike: Good morning, everybody.
Marcia: Good morning, Daddy. (to Jan) I’m sorry about Alice, but I don’t see why I had to do absolutely everything!
Jan: Stop that absolutely everything stuff! I’m the one who had to…
Mike: Whoa, whoa, whoa, don’t attack before I had my coffee. (He turns to Cindy) Hi, Cindy.
(He sits down and Marcia and Jan give him eggs and coffee. He takes a sip and gives a sour look.)
Marcia: Is it all right?
Mike: It’s a little strong.
Jan (to Marcia); I told you not to let it perk for an hour!
Marcia: It only perked for 45 minutes.
Mike: Now, calm down, both of you, what is the furor?
Jan: Well, in the first place, the boys are supposed to wash the dishes.
Marcia: But they said, if they weren’t going to eat, they didn’t have to clean up.
Jan: And second!
Mike: Forget the second, Jan. We’ll work this all out tonight. (He goes to examine the eggs and notices how dirty and messy they are.) My, my. A lot of them, aren’t there.
Jan: All we could scoop up after Marcia dropped them on the floor.
Marcia: Not on the floor.
Jan: That’s where she dropped the orange juice.
(Mike was just about to take a sip but balked at that statement.)
Mike: Uh, listen, I’ll just settle for a piece of toast.
Jan: Cindy, where’s the toast?
Cindy: In the toaster, I’m still waiting for it.
Mike (looking at his watch): My gosh, I didn’t realize it was this late. I better rush. Remind the boys, straight home from school, and on housework detail. And don’t bother Alice, because she needs the rest.
Marcia: All right, Daddy.
(Mike gets up to leave and the toast finally comes out.)
Cindy: Daddy, here’s your toast.
Mike: Cindy, I don’t think I can eat another bite.
(Mike almost burns his hand while taking the toast out. He leaves.)
Cindy: Bye, Dad.
(Next, Alice is in bed reading a book. Greg knocks on the door.)
Alice: Come in.
Greg: Sorry Alice, I couldn’t find it.
Alice: The mop isn’t in the service porch?
Greg: Only Tiger’s in the service porch.
Alice: What’s Tiger doing there?
Greg: I left the sprinklers on too long and flooded his doghouse.
Alice: Well, try the upstairs hall closet.
Greg: Okay. (He leaves)
Alice (to herself): Flooded the doghouse?
(She then hears a rambling noise. Jan comes in with soap suds on her clothes.)
Jan: Hi, Alice.
Alice: Hi, Jan. Too much soap in the washing machine.
Jan: How did you know?
Jan: Well, it’ll be all right. Peter’s gonna vacuum up the soap suds in the dining room.
Alice: Got that far, didn’t it. (She starts to get up) Want some more help?
Jan: Oh no, I just came by to see how you were. Well, I better go find the wash.
Alice: Find the wash?
Jan: Yeah, it just floated off somewhere.
(She leaves. The next scene has Mike down at Sam’s butcher shop.)
Sam: Oh, hi Mr. Brady.
Mike: Hi, Sam.
Sam: What can I do for you?
Mike: Well, something for dinner that can be fixed in a hurry, Sam. I understand that the roast we were gonna have has been burned to a crisper.
Sam: Oh, well, how about some chops. I have lamb chops, pork chops, veal chops, or you could take some of each and make chop suey.
(He laughs but Mike scoffs at his joke.)
Mike: Listen Sam, I’ll take eight of your lamb chops.
Sam: Okay. Say, how come Alice burned the roast? She’s a better cook than that.
Mike: Alice didn’t do it, the girls burned it.
Sam: Isn’t Alice with you anymore?
Mike: Oh, that’s right. You didn’t know. No, Alice is in bed. She had a fall.
Sam: Oh, bad?
Mike: Well, she sprained her ankle.
Sam: Gee, that’s a shame.
Sam: Well, it could be worse. At least it wasn’t her short ribs. (He laughs but Mike scoffs even more) I’ll take a dime off that last joke.
Mike: Could you take a quarter? (They both laugh)
(Next, Mike is at home ready to put the lamb chops in the oven.)
Mike: There they are. Eight lamb chops ready to be broiled.
(He puts them away and notices something burning.)
Mike: What’s burning?
Jan: Must be Marcia’s peas. She didn’t put any water in them.
(Mike takes the lid off and notices the peas burning.)
Marcia: How about those potatoes you put in the oven three hours ago.
Mike: Three. (He looks over to the oven and notices something else on the stove burning) Listen, let’s throw everything into the sink except the lamb chops.
Cindy: And my salad, it’s not burning.
Mike: Okay. (The phone rings. it’s Carol calling to say hi.) Hello. Carol! Hi, darling.
Carol: Hi, honey. How are you?
Cindy: Oh, mommy, Mommy, let me talk to her! Oh, please! (She runs over to the phone but drops the salad.) Mommy! Oh, please, let me talk to her! Please!
(Mike sends Cindy away.)
Mike: Yes, sweetheart. Of course we miss you.
Carol: How are all the kids?
Mike: Oh, honey, we’re fine. We’re just fine. (Pause) Except for Alice. She took a little spill and she sprained her ankle.
(Marcia and Jan run up to him.)
Marcia: Dad, the sink’s stopped up.
Mike (struggling to ignore them): Uh, yes sweetheart.
Carol: If Alice hurt herself, maybe I should come right back.
Mike: Oh honey, there’s no reason for you to come home. None whatsoever. The kids have everything under control.
Greg (coming up to him): Dad, I hate to bother you when you’re on the phone.
Mike: No, no, honey, listen. I mean it. I really mean it. You wouldn’t know the house.
Greg: Peter’s T-shirt is stuck in the vacuum cleaner.
Carol: What’s all the commotion?
Mike: Uh, the kids and I are just having a little fun here, honey.
Greg: But Peter’s in his t-shirt.
Mike (to Greg): What?
Carol: Tell Alice I hope she feels better.
Mike: Yeah, yes sweetheart. I’ll tell Alice.
(Carol’s Aunt Mary calls for her.)
Carol: Well, Aunt Mary’s calling, so I better run. I’ll talk to you soon. Okay? Bye, honey.
Mike: All right. bye, honey.
(He hangs up and starts to yell at Greg as the scene fades out.)
NOTE: During the phone conversation between Mike and Carol, We can hear Jan repeating her previous line: “I’m not going to wash all these dishes, I won’t live that long”.
(The next scene has Sam visiting Alice.)
Alice: Sam, this is the sweetest thing you could’ve done. Coming to see me and bringing me candy and flowers. It’s almost worth spraining my ankle for.
Sam: Could I take a look at it?
Alice: Why not? everybody else has. Although I have never heard of a butcher who was a doctor.
Sam: Well, I’ve known plenty of doctors who were butchers. (he looks at Alice’s ankle) Boy, that does look pretty bad. I wouldn’t put meat like that on my counter.
Alice: Sam, you always know just the right thing to say.
Sam: Right now I have to say good-bye, because this is my bowling night. Besides, you need rest and quiet. Try to enjoy it, Alice.
Alice: I’ll enjoy it, all right. Especially Saturday night.
Sam: Oh, boy, that’s right. With that ankle, you won’t be able to go to the meat cutter’s ball.
Alice: No, Sam, I won’t.
Sam: Well, gee Alice, would your feelings be terribly hurt if I went anyway? I mean, being on the entertainment committee and all?
Alice: Oh, my feelings wouldn’t be hurt at all, I want you to go and have fun. Who will you take?
Sam: Um, I’ll think of somebody. Well, I got to run now, Alice. Take care of yourself and ta-ta.
Alice: Ta-ta, Sam.
(Alice gets depressed as Sam leaves. Mike comes in.)
Mike: Hey, Alice, I saw Sam arrive with the flowers. Can I get you a vase and some water to put them in?
Alice: No thanks, Mr. Brady. I think I’ll be able to water them myself.
(Alice starts to cry into the flowers as the scene fades out.)
(The next scene has Greg playing basketball and Marcia comes by to speak to him.)
Marcia: Greg. (Greg ignores her and keeps playing) Greg! (Greg continues to play and doesn’t respond) Hey, you dazzling basketball star.
Greg: Dazzling did it. But if it’s about the dishes, forget it. We made our decision, you girls make the mess, you girls clean it up.
Marcia: You heard last night, when Dad was talking to Mom on the phone.
Marcia: You heard him tell her what a great job we were doing, taking care of the house, so she wouldn’t worry and come home.
Greg: That’s right.
Marcia: No, it’s wrong. We’re doing a terrible job.
Greg: You mean about the mess in the kitchen and the washing machine flood?
Marcia: That and everything else. (Pause) We’re trying, but we’re not trying together.
Greg: Well, I guess you’re right. Even a dazzling basketball star needs to feel he’s part of a team.
Marcia: Dad shouldn’t have to make excuses to Mom.
Greg: Yeah, you go get Jan and Cindy and I’ll round up the men.
Marcia: Then what?
Greg: Teamwork, with a capital “work”.
(The next scene has all the kids going to clean the family room, with brooms and other cleaning devices in hand.)
(Mike and Alice come out and watch in admiration. Next, they tidy up the garage while Mike looks on, albeit with disbelief. Then, Alice watches them go down the stairs with clothes to wash. Then Mike watches them go up the stairs with their clothes clean.)
(Next, Bobby and Cindy greet Mike and Alice at the bottom of the stairs for dinner.)
Cindy: Boy, have we ever got a terrific surprise .
Mike: You do.
Bobby: Come on, Alice.
(He takes her by the hand and leads her to the table. Cindy does the same to Mike.)
Cindy: You sit here, Daddy.
Bobby: And you there, Alice, you’re our special guest.
Mike: What is all this?
(The other kids come out with dinner, which they made.)
Marcia: Dinner is served.
(She, Greg, Peter and Jan pass off the meal and count 1,2,3,4 until everything is on the table)
Mike: What kind of miracle is taking place here, anyway?
Alice: Mr. Brady, if a miracle happens, don’t question it. Just lean back and accept it.
Mike: Thank you. (He takes an olive and eats it)
(Next, Alice is in Mike’s den talking on the phone with a friend.)
Alice (laughing): What do you mean “interior motives”, Sally? I don’t have ulterior motives… much. Long as you’re going bowling on Saturday night, that answers my question. Bye. (She hangs up the phone and Mike walks in.) Well, that does it.
Mike: Does what, Alice?
Alice: I called every girl I now that Sam knows, Mr. Brady. And not one of them will admit that he’s taking her to the meat cutter’s ball.
Mike: Maybe he’s going stag.
Alice: Sam? Stag? The only time he’s heard that word is when somebody brought a dead deer into the butcher shop. He’s taking somebody, I know it. But, oh well, what difference does it make anyway? The dance is tomorrow night. 24 hours from now, Sam will be on the dance floor, under the twinkling lights, violins sighing, the air heady with perfume, and he’ll be stomping around the floor like all the other butchers.
(The next scene has Mike paying another visit to Sam’s butcher shop.)
Mike: Hey Sam, you still open.
Sam: Sure, Mr. Brady. Why should I be closed so early?
Mike: Well, tonight’s the big night, isn’t it? Meat cutter’s ball?
Sam: Yeah, tonight’s the night. What can I do for you?
Mike: Well, eight of your best steaks, Sam.
Sam: Oh, celebrating something?
Mike: Yeah, well, it’s more like a reward for a hungry army.
Sam: Ah, the kids are still doing housework. Alice is still sidelined?
Mike: Well, she’s up and around a little, Sam. But I don’t know, her ankle’s still giving her a little trouble and then, unfortunately…
Sam: She can’t make it to the party, is that it?
Mike: That’s it.
Sam: So I have to take somebody else, is that it?
Mike: That’s it.
Sam: Boy, you must think I’m an all time heel, Mr. Brady.
Mike: Sam, it’s none of my business.
Sam: You gotta understand, when you get to be a big man with the union, like I am, you know, on the entertainment committee and all, well, the union expects big things from big men. Like showing up at parties.
Mike: Listen, Sam, I understand.
Sam: Yeah, but women don’t, not women like Alice, anyway. She probably thinks I’m 185 pounds of rejected rump roast.
Mike (laughing): I’m sure she doesn’t.
Sam: I’m sure she does, Mr. Brady. Oh, she probably thinks she’s resigned to staying home tonight, but who knows what’s really going on in that cute little head of hers, huh.
Sam: Yes, Mr. Brady.
Mike: Listen, I think you’ve got more than eight steaks there.
Sam: Oh, (He checks) You’re right. Such is the fate of an amorous butcher.
(Sam removes some steaks as we cut in the next scene. The kids are in the family room when Mike comes in to talk to them.)
Mike: Okay, once again kids, I’ve called a late evening meeting, but this time, it’s not to issue a medical bulletin or to lecture you about carelessness. It’s to tell you how proud I am and how pleased that you’ve gotten together and you’ve worked as a team.
Greg: We’re glad your pleased Dad, because we really tried.
Marcia: But there’s another thing we did, when Alice sprained her ankle.
Marcia: We sprained Alice’s love life, too.
Greg: And all the team work in the world doesn’t look like it’ll fix that up.
Mike: Well, you know, there are some things we have control over, and some things we don’t. I honestly don’t know what we can do about Sam and Alice and the meat cutter’s ball. But anyway, you’ve earned a little rest and relaxation so come on, enjoy yourselves until bedtime, but keep it down because I have work to do. (He leaves)
Jan: There must be something we can do abut Alice.
Marcia: I don’t know. It’s pretty hard to fix a broken heart.
Bobby: Yeah, even with splints and a first aid kit.
Greg: Dad’s probably right, just forget about it.
Marcia: That’s it.
Marcia: Make Alice forget about all the dance.
Bobby: It’s gonna be hard.
Cindy: No it isn’t. Forgetting’s easy, it’s remembering that’s hard.
(Alice is in her room reading when Marcia and Jan come in to see her.)
Marcia: Hi, Alice, what’s up?
Alice: Well, I’m reading a book, if that’s what you mean.
Jan: Any good?
Alice: If you like love stories.
Marcia: We’re about to have a feast in the kitchen. Why don’t you come on in and join us.
Jan: I’m going to make my famous peanut butter and pickle sandwiches. I can’t burn those, they’re too soggy.
Alice: It does sound tempting but I’ve been on this ankle a little too much today. I better stay here.
(She and Marcia leave. Peter and Greg come in.)
Peter: Come on, Alice, quick, or you’ll miss it.
Alice: Miss what?
Greg: A great wrestling match on television. A championship bout.
Peter: Rotten Otto is challenging Dirty Destiny.
Alice: Wow, that does sound like a challenge, all right. I appreciate the invitation, but I’m afraid Rotten and Dirty are going to have to do without me tonight. I’m staying put.
(They leave and then Bobby and Cindy come in.)
Bobby: Hi, Alice, wanna play come cards with us?
Alice; What kind?
Cindy: Old maid.
Bobby: That was dumb.
(They leave and Alice starts to get suspicious.)
Alice (to herself): A feast in the kitchen, a wrestling match, a game of cards? I wonder just what’s up.
(She starts to get up. Marcia and Jan are in the living room.)
Marcia: All six of us tried, and all six of us failed.
Jan: Maybe Daddy can talk to her.
Marcia: He’s in his den working. We can’t bother him.
Alice (entering the living room): No girls, you can’t. (She sits down) Anyway, there’s no reason for him to talk to me. I know what you kids were trying to do, and I…
Marcia (defensive): We weren’t trying to do anything, Alice.
Alice: Oh yes you were. You were trying to get me interested in something else so I wouldn’t feel so sorry for myself.
Jan: How in the world did you figure that out?
Alice: ESP again, Jan? And it’s sweet of you to care so much, but quit worrying about old Alice. Where’s the rest of the gang?
Marcia: They went to bed.
Alice: Well it’s late, you better go up too. And let old Alice worry about old Alice. Hmm, go on.
(Marcia and Jan get up and kiss Alice good night.)
Alice: Good night kids.
Marcia and Jan: Good night.
(The doorbell rings and Alice answers it. Sam comes to visit.)
Sam: It’s me, Alice.
Alice: That’s what I said, Sam. (They laugh) How come you’re not at the ball?
Sam: Oh, come on, Alice, you know I couldn’t go with my best girl. It just wouldn’t be any fun. Here, I brought you a little nosegay.
Alice (pleased): Oh, Sam, a nosegay is just what I need. Right now, I got the gayest nose in town. (She checks it out) Sam, it’s just beautiful. It’s just the right shape for my robe.
Sam: Can I come in?
Alice: Oh, sure, sure, Mrs. Brady is still out of town, Mr. Brady is in his den, the kids have gone up to bed.
Sam: Well, Alice, even if me miss the ball, I thought we could make some music together.
(They head outside while Mike watches and notices the kids watching from upstairs. He cautions them to keep quiet.)
Sam: Alice, would I be getting fresh if I suggested that we take a step out on the patio and look at the stars?
Alice: Sam, are you going to kiss me under those stars?
Sam: I’m sure going to try.
Alice: One good thing about butchers, they make no bones about it.
(They walk arm-in-arm out to the patio as the scene fades out.)
(The final scene is where Carol finally arrives home. Jan runs in to inform the family.)
Jan: Mom’s back! He’s coming in the driveway now!
(The other kids cheer and run outside to greet her.)
Cindy: Hey Alice, did you hear that?
Mike (coming from the den): Hey, hey, hey, wait for me.
(Alice, who is back in uniform and vacuuming the living room, goes to join them. However, she trips over the vacuum cleaner. Mike stops and looks back.)
Mike: Alice? Alice, you hurt again?
(Alice is down on the floor with her hands on both sides of her face, but not hurt.)
Alice: No, I just dented my dignity.
Mike (yelling out to the kids): All right, who left the vacuum cleaner out in the middle of the floor?
Alice (raising her hand): I’m afraid I did, Mr. Brady.
(She puts her hand back up on the side of her face.)