A Fistful Of Reasons
Written by Tam Spiva
A bully named Buddy Hinton teases Cindy because of her lisp. Peter tries to stop him but gets a black eye instead. Hope you enjoy the script.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
MR. HINTON, Buddy’s father
MRS. HINTON, Buddy’s father.
(The episode begins when Cindy comes home and wipes a tear from her eye. She goes through the kitchen to go upstairs. Alice is in the kitchen.)
Alice: Hi, Cindy, did Bobby come home with you? (Cindy walks by without answering) Where’s Bobby? Did he stay at the playground?
(Carol comes in the kitchen.)
Alice: You know, I think I just got snubbed, by Cindy.
Alice: Mmm hmm.
Carol: Oh, that’s not like her, Alice.
Alice: No, I guess she’s got something else on her mind.
Carol: Oh, I’m sure that’s it.
(Cindy goes to her room and cries as the scene fades out.)
(The next scene has Carol calling the kids for dinner.)
Carol: Come on everybody, dinner’s ready! Come on.
(Peter comes down the stairs first. Bobby follows and then Marcia.)
Mike (to Carol): Maybe we ought to stick a traffic light in there.
(Marcia starts passing by them.)
Carol: Where’s Jan and Cindy?
Marcia: Jan’s getting washed and Cindy won’t come down.
Mike: Won’t come down, why?
Marcia: She won’t say. In fact, she won’t talk at all.
(Mike and Carol go upstairs to see Cindy. She’s laying on her bed sideways. When they knock, she gets up and pretends she is studying.)
Carol (coming in the room with Mike): Cindy, aren’t you coming to dinner?
(Cindy shakes her head no.)
Mike: Don’t you feel well, sweetheart?
Carol: You didn’t hurt yourself, did you?
(Again, she shakes her head no.)
Mike: You angry with one of your sisters? (She again gives the no gesture) One of your brothers? (Again she motions no)
Carol: Cindy, honey, won’t you tell us what’s the matter?
Mike (sitting on the bed): Cindy, you know, whatever the trouble is, we can’t help you if you don’t talk to us.
(Carol sits on the bed with her and Mike.)
Carol: Honey, what is it?
Cindy: They said I talk funny.
Mike: They what?
Cindy: They said I talk like a baby.
Carol: Who said?
Cindy: The kids at school, especially that mean old Buddy Hinton. He always teases me because I lisp.
Mike: Well, that shows you what they know. Did you know a lot of children lisp?
Cindy: They do?
Mike: Why sure? I think in your case it’s just a lazy s.
Cindy: A lazy s.
Mike: Mmm hmm.
Carol: Listen, I used to lisp when I was a little girl, but now I say things really swell.
Mike: You know, I bet we can do something to help you get over that lisp.
Mike: Well, you know those tongue twister books of Bobby’s? We can pick out some with a whole lot of s’s in them, and you can practice them. All right?
Cindy: Sure, let’s do it now.
(Mike laughs and they go downstairs for dinner. The next scene has Cindy practicing with Mike and Carol in the family room.)
Mike: Silly Sammy Skunk sat on a stump.
Cindy: That’s an awful lot of s’s.
Mike: I know, that’s the point, now you try.
Cindy: Silly Sammy Skunk sat on a…
(Cindy looks discouraged.)
Carol: Let’s try this one, honey. Seven silver swans swam silently seaward.
Cindy: Seven silver swans swam silently… it doesn’t sound any better.
Mike: Well now, honey, you can’t expect a change right away.
Carol: That’s right. Listen, I think you had enough for tonight. Why don’t you go upstairs and get ready for bed, okay?
(She kisses Mike good night.)
Mike: Now listen, Cindy, now don’t give up now. You keep practicing, hmm?
Cindy: Okay, and soon I’ll speak swell.
Carol: Good night, honey.
(Cindy kisses her good night and goes upstairs.)
Mike (to Carol): Say, did you really lisp as a child?
Carol: I sure did. Only it was worse for me.
Mike: How come?
Carol: Well, I grew up in Swampscott, Massachusetts.
(She and Mike laugh. Alice is going over a few tongue twisters with Cindy in the next scene. Alice, however, has a harder time with the s’s than Cindy.)
Alice: Umm, all right, now let’s try this one. She sells seashells by the seashore.
(Cindy gets them all wrong.)
Alice: That’s not quite right. Listen again, honey. She shells sh… Sea sells… She shells… Well, you know Cindy, I’m really kind of busy. I have to get ready for shupper.
(Next, the boys are helping Cindy.)
Greg and Bobby: Sss
Greg; All right, now, say the word.
(The boys look disappointed. Cindy is next in her room practicing, with Marcia doing her homework.)
Cindy (in her lisp): She sells seashells by the seashore. She sells seashells by the seashore. She sells by the seashore.
Marcia: Cindy, would you mind practicing somewhere else? Arithmetic is kinda hard.
Cindy: So are s’s.
(Marcia gives a frustrated look. Cindy resumes practicing. We cut into the next day, with her continuing to practicing at school.)
Cindy: Seven silver swans swam silently seaward. Seven silver swans swam silently seaward.
(Buddy Hinton is standing at a tree stump.)
Buddy: Baby talk, baby talk, it’s a wonder you can walk.
Cindy: You stop that, Buddy Hinton.
Buddy: Stop that. Aw, witty bitty baby talk. Let’s hear witty bitty baby talk say something. Come on, say something.
(Peter gives an angry look and rushes to Cindy’s defense.)
Peter: Cut that out, Buddy!
Buddy: Baby, baby, what did you say?
Peter: Quit teasing my sister!
Buddy: You want me to quit, then you make me! Come on, make me! (He pushes Peter) Come on, scaredy cat, make me!
Peter: Well… just stop teasing, that’s all. (He walks away) Come on, Cindy. just don’t pay any attention to him.
Buddy: Baby talk and scaredy cat. Hey chicken, hey Peter chicken.
(Later on, Peter is in his room, sulking over what Buddy said, while Cindy is trying to console him.)
Cindy: Some chickens are nice, Peter.
Peter: Come on, Cindy.
(Greg and Bobby come in the room.)
Greg: Cindy, do you mind? We have to talk to Peter, and it’s man’s business.
Bobby: Yeah, man’s business.
(Cindy leaves the room and closes the door. Greg takes Peter aside.)
Greg: We heard all about what happened in school. That goon, Buddy Hinton. He’s been shooting his mouth off all around your school.
Bobby: He says you’re chicken.
Greg: Well, what happened.
Peter: What did he say happened?
Greg: He said you chickened out of a fight.
Peter: I didn’t chicken out of any fight. I just didn’t feel very much like fighting, that’s all.
(Greg and Bobby look at him with disbelief. Mike comes home.)
Mike (to Carol): Hi, honey.
Carol: Mike, would you go right up and talk to Peter?
Mike (setting his briefcase down): That’s one nice thing about having six kids, you can always come home to a crisis.
Carol: Well, Peter’s really feeling low.
Mike: What happened?
Carol: Well, you know that boy, Buddy Hinton, who’s always teasing Cindy.
Carol: Peter told him to stop and, well, the boy wanted to fight and Peter didn’t. So the boy called Peter a chicken, and…
Mike: And I better go up and talk to Peter.
(He takes some dishes Carol just washed and gives them to her to put away. He takes his briefcase and goes upstairs, where Greg and Bobby are trying to encourage Peter to fight.)
Greg: You got to, Peter, you got to fight him.
Peter: Have you guys taken a look at Buddy Hinton lately? He’s big.
Greg; He’s not so big.
Peter: Maybe not to you, but he’s big to me.
Bobby: He looks kind of big to me, too.
(Mike walks in the room.)
Greg: If you don’t fight him, everybody’s gonna call you a coward.
Peter: Dad, does it make me a coward if I don’t fight a guy?
Mike: No, of course not. Are you kidding?
Greg: Well, if he bothers her again, I know how to handle him.
Mike: Oh, just a second, Greg, this is Peter’s problem, and fighting isn’t the answer to everything. If it were, why, the biggest and the strongest would always be right. That doesn’t make any sense, does it? (to Peter) Did you try reasoning with Buddy Hinton? Explaining to him why she shouldn’t tease Cindy?
Peter: He wasn’t exactly in a talking mood.
Mike: You might have tried, anyway. Reasoning, calm, cool reasoning. That’s a lot better than violence, and it’s the only sensible way to settle differences, okay. (he turns to leave the room) Clean up before dinner.
Peter: Dad’s right. If Buddy starts teasing Cindy again, I’ll just reason with him.
(The next day at school, Peter and Cindy run into Buddy again.)
Buddy: Well, if it isn’t baby talk and her big brother, chicken.
Cindy: You leave us alone.
Buddy (to Peter): What about you, chicken, have you learned how to cackle yet?
Peter: Cut it out, Buddy.
Buddy: Baby talk, baby talk.
Peter: I told you to stop teasing.
Buddy (moving closer to Peter): make me!
Peter: Fighting’s dumb, Buddy.
Buddy: Oh, is that so?
Peter: Yeah, let’s try reasoning together.
(The next scene has Peter at home in the kitchen with Mike, Carol and Alice, sporting a black eye.)
Peter: Buddy isn’t much on reasoning.
Mike (checking his eye): You mean he took a poke at you while you were still talking to him?
Peter: I didn’t get very far.
Carol: Well, I think that’s terrible. Just what kind of a boy is this Buddy Hinton?
Peter: Well, he’s a good hitter.
(Alice goes to the refrigerator and gets a raw steak.)
Alice: Here, put this on your eye.
Peter: What is it?
Alice: Well, it’s Tiger’s dinner, but I think it’s going to do you a little more good than it will him.
(Peter puts the steak over his eye. Mike gives an angry look.)
Mike: That settles it!
(He starts to walk toward the door.)
Carol: Wait a minute, Mike! Mike! Where are you going?
Mike: To talk to Buddy Hinton’s father. We can’t have this going on all the time.
Carol: Now, you’re not going over there to get into a fight.
Mike: Of course not. I’m just going to reason with him. Reasoning, calm, cool reasoning.
(Mike arrives at the Hinton house. Mr. Hinton is outside working on the barbecue.)
Mike: Mr. Hinton?
Hinton: That’s right.
Mike: Hi, I’m Mike Brady, I’m Peter’s father.
(They shake hands.)
Hinton: Oh, how’s your kid’s eye?
Mike: Well, he’s got a real shiner.
Hinton: Too bad your kid don’t know how to fight.
Mike: Yeah, well, that’s what I’m here to talk to you about. (Pause) I suppose you know what’s been going on.
Hinton: Sure, my kid tells me everything.
Mike: Did Buddy tell you that he hit Peter when he was just trying to talk to him?
Hinton: He’s just sore because he doesn’t know how to fight.
Mike: Did Buddy tell you the whole thing got started when he was teasing my youngest daughter?
Hinton: So what, kids are kids, they’re always picking on each other.
Mike: Well, you don’t care if Buddy picks on little girls, I mean, little, little girls.
Hinton (defensive): Look, I don’t tell my kid who to pick on?
Mike: Maybe you ought to tell him not to pick on anybody.
Hinton: What are you trying to do, preach to me?
Mike: No, no, I’m just trying to discuss this in an adult manner.
Hinton: Well, don’t tell me what to do. Buzz off. off my property. Or would you like to be helped.
Mike: You think you can do that? I’m not a little girl, you know.
(Mr. Hinton gets up and Mike finds he is a few inches taller than him.)
Hinton: You, I can handle.
Mike: You, I’d like to see try. (Mike hears his inner voice repeating his claim of just going to reason with Mr. Hinton. Mike looks up) Oh, shut up.
(Mike walks away in disgust. He comes home and tells Carol about his encounter.)
Mike: No wonder Buddy Hinton acts like that, his father’s twice as bad.
Carol: What happened?
Mike: He couldn’t care less if his son beats up on people, or teases little girls. That’s just fine with him.
Carol: Oh, Mike, he couldn’t be that unconcerned.
Mike: From now on, Peter has my permission to defend himself.
Carol: You mean you want the two boys to fight?
Mike: No, honey, I don’t want them to fight, but if Buddy Hinton starts pushing Peter around, then he doesn’t have to stand there like a,a,a, sitting duck.
Carol: Stand there like a sitting duck?
Mike: Sit there like a sitting duck. What’s the difference? The point is, from now on, Peter can defend himself.
Carol: You’re as bad as Mr. Hinton.
(She gets up.)
Mike: Where are you going?
Carol: To talk to Mr. Hinton.
Mike: What good will that do?
Carol: You men are always fighting, it’s your make ego. Woman are different. We’ll just sit calmly and work everything out, you’ll see.
(She winks and goes out. Later on, she is having a talk with Buddy’s mother.)
Mrs. Hinton: You are so right, Mrs. Brady. I couldn’t agree more.
Carol: Oh, I knew you would, Mrs. Hinton. I’m sure we can settle this little misunderstanding very simply?
Mrs. Hinton: How would we do that?
Carol: Well, you could just talk to your husband about your son.
Mrs. Hinton: Oh, I couldn’t do that.
Carol: Why not?
Mrs. Hinton: Well, that’s man’s business. If I poke my nose in in hat, Ralph would be terribly upset.
Carol: You men you won’t talk to your husband?
Mrs. Hinton: Ralph has very strong opinions about raising boys.
Carol: Yes, I’m aware of that.
Mrs. Hinton: If I try to talk to him about Buddy, he tells me, buzz off, and of course, I buzz off.
Carol: Well, uh, Mrs. Hinton, I…
Mrs. Hinton: Whatever Ralph thinks is fine with me.
Carol: Well, surely, you must have some feelings on the matter, Mrs. Hinton.
Mrs. Hinton: Oh, I listen to Ralph. And I think you’d be well advised to listen to what Ralph has to say too, Mrs. Brady.
Carol: Frankly, I don’t care what Ralph has to say, Mrs. Hinton.
(Mrs. Hinton gives Carol a mean look. Carol’s conscience repeats back what she said about them sitting calmly and working the matter out. She looks up.)
Carol: Oh, shut up.
(She gets up and leaves and goes home. Mike is laying on the living room couch when she gets there.)
Carol: You’re right, Mike. You’re absolutely right. From now on, if Peter has to, then let him defend himself.
Mike: Didn’t you have your little woman to woman talk with Mrs. Hinton?
Carol: Oh, I tried, but she’s as bad as her husband.
Mike: I take it negotiations fell through.
Carol: Negotiations, I was the only one negotiating. It was absolutely terrible. It was Ralph this, Ralph that, she couldn’t say anything for herself, everything was Ralph.
Mike: Honey, listen, wait a minute, I’ll negotiate with you anytime.
(He puts his arms around her.)
Carol: Well, I don’t care. I can’t understand a woman being that dependent on her husband.
(Upstairs in the boys’ room, Peter is showing Greg and Bobby some punches he’d wish to give to Buddy Hinton.)
Peter: Pow! Right in the kisser! That’s what I’d do to Buddy Hinton, too bad Mom and Dad are patching things up.
Greg: Yeah, Buddy could stand a good licking. It might stop him from being such a bully.
Bobby: You sure you could lick him?
Peter: Are you kidding?
Bobby: Last time he gave you a black eye.
Peter: That was just a lucky punch.
Greg: How many punches did he throw?
Bobby: Boy, how lucky can you get.
(Peter pretends to throw some more punches.)
Peter: Twist and roll, twist and roll! Boom, boom, boom.
Bobby (throwing a punch): Boom, Buddy Hinton!
Peter: If I could just get another crack at him, I’ll wipe him out.
Mike (coming in the room): Hi, fellas.
Greg: Hey, Pete’s just showing us how he’s going to take Buddy Hinton.
Bobby: Pete could wipe him out.
Mike: That’s what I’m here to talk to Peter about. Listen, um, your mother and I haven’t been able to get very far with Buddy’s parents, and, well, if Buddy starts a fight again, I think you have the right to defend yourself.
Bobby: Hurray, that’s great!
Greg: Hey, that’s great, Pete. You’re going to get your big…
Mike: I want you to try to reason with him, if that doesn’t work, and he starts something, well (Pause) That’s different.
(Peter looks discouraged and sits on the bed.)
Greg: What’s the matter, Pete.
Mike: Uh, listen, you fellas excuse me for a minute. I want to talk to Peter. I want to make sure he understands.
Bobby: Oh, Dad. We don’t have to do, oh please, Dad, come on.
Greg: Come on, Bobby.
(He and Bobby leave the room while Mike has a talk with Peter.)
Mike: Well, uh, I just thought maybe you might have, uh, something you want to talk to me about. (He sits down besides Peter) Go on, you can talk.
Peter: I guess not.
Mike: Huh, nothing?
Peter: You know, Dad, I guess I really, I guess I really am a coward.
Mike: Why? You mean because you’re a little bit frightened? Ah, the bravest men in the world get frightened. Heroes get frightened, Peter.
Mike: Why, sure they do. You know, standing up for what you believe is right, and knowing you may have to defend it, that can scare anybody, adults included.
Peter: There’s something else, Dad. I’m really not a very good fighter. I’ve never been in a real fight.
Mike: Well, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. (Bobby starts peeking through the door) You get out of here. There comes a time when you have to learn to defend yourself.
Peter: Can you teach me?
Mike: Yes, yes, I… well, I could if you want me to.
Peter: Yes, please.
Mike: All right, okay, look, from now on, from now on, you’re gonna be in training. And in a couple of weeks, Buddy Hinton’s not gonna be able to lay a glove on you.
Peter: You think so?
Mike: I’m positive.
(Peter starts to look worried.)
Peter: What if Buddy starts training, too?
(Mike laughs and pats Peter’s head. The next scene starts with a fight bell ringing and has Peter and Greg practicing boxing. Mike and Bobby are sitting down while is coaching Peter.)
Mike: That’s it, Peter. Jab and move, jab and move.
Peter: It’s not working. Every time I jab, he moves, and every time I move, he jabs.
Mike: Don’t get discouraged, it takes practice.
Bobby: It might help if Peter kept his eyes open.
(Mike looks over at Bobby and raises his hand as a warning signal. This allows Peter to get a jab at Greg. Next, we hear another bell ring as Peter is jumping rope and Marcia goes to join him.)
Marcia: Can I play, too?
Peter: It’s not a game.
Marcia: We skip rope in gym class all the time. (She starts to jump) Cinderella, dressed in yellow, went upstairs to kiss a fellow. How many kisses did she get?
(She jumps and counts up to eight while Peter stops and looks at her annoyed.)
(Next, the bell rings again and Peter is in the kitchen with Alice. She’s wearing boxing gloves and showing Peter some moves.)
Alice: Keep moving. At all times it’s very important to keep moving. It’s very difficult to hit a moving target. Remember that. (She moves around the kitchen showing him more moves) You watching? You watching? Now, this is called the old buzz saw defense. Don’t tell me you never saw that before.
Alice: The trick is, the trick is to get their attention on this fist, and then, see, like that? (She punches with the other fist) Watch, got it? Okay. (She throws around some more punches, then looks in the pot to make sure it was all right) Keep moving, to get their attention on this hand.
(Mike comes out and Alice accidentally punches his stomach. He walks away in pain.)
(Next, another bell rings and Peter is practicing again with Greg.)
Mike: That’s it, Peter. you got it.
Bobby: That’s great, Pete.
Mike: Yeah, you got it, now. Keep your chin tucked in. Jab, jab, cross! Cross with the left! Yeah, yeah, keep moving, keep moving.
(The bell rings one final time as Cindy is on the staircase and Peter goes down the stairs.)
Cindy: Seven silver swans swam silently seaward. Seven silver swans swam silently seaward. Seven silver swans… (Peter passes by) Are you going to the kitchen again?
Peter: All this training makes me hungry.
(Peter passes by and heads to the kitchen.)
Cindy: Oh, Peter.
Cindy: You don’t have to fight Buddy Hinton for me. I’m not afraid of his teasing anymore.
Peter: How come?
Cindy: I’ve been practicing, now I speak really swell.
Peter: Well, don’t worry. If he starts any trouble, I can handle him.
Cindy: Are you sure?
Peter: Sure I’m sure, I think.
(The next day at school, Peter and Cindy are walking with a bunch of other kids in tow.)
Peter: What are all these kids following us for? They don’t walk home this way.
Cindy: I guess they wanted to watch.
Peter: Watch what?
Cindy: The fight.
Peter: How do they know there might be a fight?
Cindy: I guess maybe I mentioned it.
Peter (annoyed): Ah, Cindy.
(Peter, Cindy and the other kids walk by Buddy, who’s hanging out at his tree stump.)
Buddy: Well, if isn’t baby talk and the chicken again. Hey chicken, let’s hear you cackle.
Peter: Let’s not start this again, Buddy.
Buddy: I want to hear you cackle chicken, come on.
(Buddy makes chicken sounds to him.)
Peter: That’s dumb, why don’t you just cut out all the teasing.
Buddy (to Cindy): Hey, baby talk. Itsy bitsy itsy bitsy baby talk.
Peter: Cut it out.
Buddy: What are you going to do about it?
Peter: Let’s reason, let’s talk about it.
Buddy: Shut up or fight.
Peter: Don’t you want to talk about it?
Buddy: You heard me, shut up or fight.
Peter: Okay, if that’s the way you want it. (He gives Cindy his books to hold and raises his fists) I’m ready.
Buddy: You asked for it.
(He goes to hit Peter but he ducks, then Peter punches Buddy in the mouth and knocks him down.)
Peter: Gee, Buddy, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you. I really didn’t.
Buddy (crying): You knocked my tooth loose.
Peter: I did what?
Buddy: It’s loose, it’s loose, see how it wiggles?
Cindy: Sure talk funny.
(All the other kids laugh.)
Buddy: Stop it! It’s not funny!
Cindy (mimicking Buddy): Baby talk, baby talk, it’s a wonder you can walk.
(All the kids laugh some more and an embarrassed Buddy gets up and runs away.)
Peter (to the laughing kids): Don’t do that. It’s not funny. Go on, get out of here.
(All the kids go home and Peter gets his books back from Cindy.)
Cindy: Why shouldn’t we tease him?
Peter: For the same reason you didn’t like him teasing you.
Cindy: I guess you’re right. You know Peter, you’re very brave.
Peter (smiling): I am? Aw, come on. Let’s go home.
(The scene fades.)
(The final scene has Mike and Carol in the living room when the doorbell rings.)
Mike (getting up): I’ll get it, I’ll get it.
(He goes to answer the door and it’s Buddy Hinton.)
Buddy: Mr. Brady.
Mike: Uh huh.
Buddy: Can I come in, please?
Mike: Um, well, sure.
Carol (giving a surprised look): Hi, I don’t believe we know you, do we?
Buddy: Yes, ma’am, I think maybe you do. I’m Buddy Hinton.
(Carol looks at him astonishingly.)
Mike: Well, um, what can we do for you Buddy?
Buddy: I want to see Cindy.
Carol: May I ask why you want to see her?
Buddy: Well, I wanted to know if I wanted to borrow her tongue twister book. I thought it might help me with my loose tooth.
Carol: Of course, you can see her, and I’m very glad you’re all friends now.
Mike: Well, Buddy, have you learned anything valuable from this experience?
Buddy: Sure have, Mr. Brady, Peter’s got a good left hook.
(Mike and Carol laugh.)
Mike: Yeah, he has.