The Birthday Caretaker

A Pinter play in one act.

Scene: Two rooms, divided by a wall. The room to the left is the governor’s inner office in the Texas Statehouse. This room is sparsely furnished, mainly with baseball paraphernalia, a poster that reads, “Jesus Is My Campaign Manager,” and a blown-up photograph of George H.W. Bush on which someone has scribbled a mustache, bushy eyebrows, a pair of glasses, and the words, “What a joke!” The room to the right is a living room furnished in an aggressively feminine manner—pink walls, large, poofy pillows on the sofa, and a tall pile of Cosmos neatly arranged on the coffee table. On the walls are several poster-sized photographs of George W. Bush and one medium-sized photograph of Nathan Hecht.

In the room to the left, DUBYA is seated at his desk. He appears slightly uncomfortable, suggesting that he doesn’t spend much time there. In the room to the right, HARRIET is seated on the sofa with a coffee-table book propped up on her legs. DUBYA and HARRIET are both engaged in the process of writing.

HARRIET: You are the best governor ever—deserving of great respect. At least for 30 days, you are not younger than me.

DUBYA: Thanks for the card and a happy 52nd to you. Never hold back your sage advice.


No more public scatology. Happy birthday to a fine Texan and a great friend.

HARRIET: Hopefully Jenna and Barb—

DUBYA: (He narrows his eyesmenacingly and leans forward) Yes?

HARRIET: Hopefully—



HARRIET: Hopefully Jenna and Barb recognize that their parents are “cool.”

DUBYA: (He relaxes) All right.

HARRIET: Keep up all the great work.

DUBYA: All right.

HARRIET: Keep up all the great work.

DUBYA: I will.

HARRIET: The state is in great hands. Thank you for all you and Laura do for the people of this state. Thank you for the privilege of serving the state of Texas.


BUSH: You’re welcome. Have a great life.


HARRIET: You are the best.


BUSH: No more public scatology.

A long silence, as they both sit stock-still, staring forward.

The curtain falls slowly.