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Perfect (1st ed. - 07.21.

06) - perfect4jr
Copyright © 2006 Alan Haehnel


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Cast of Characters

Production Notes
In this script, I have omitted stage directions indicating en-
trances and exits because they would be superfluous and
would interrupt the flow of the reading. In general, characters
enter to speak their line(s) and exit after their scenes are over.
Where they enter from or exit to doesn’t matter, either, since
we never get a sense of one distinct setting. In fact, to enhance
the sense of influence the characters have over the central fig-
ure, Bethany, a director might want to keep them all onstage
throughout the play.

by Alan Haehnel

(The stage is bare but for a few platforms and, center, the frame of a
full-length mirror. At rise, BETHANY stands in front of the mirror
frame, speaking as if she is seeing and talking to her reflection.
Though a teen-ager, BETHANY begins the play speaking as if she is
four years old. As the play progresses, she ages.)
BETHANY. Hello, Mirror Girl. You’re me and you look just like me
and you know what else…you’re perfect! You know how I know
that? Because Mommy and Daddy told me that.
MOM. Bethany, you know something? You’re perfect.
DAD. You certainly are, Sweetheart.
BETHANY. They love the way you color and the way you talk and
the way you walk and even the way you eat. They even take pic-
tures of you doing all that stuff, you know that?
MOM. Walter, Walter, get her eating her squash. Look at how she
squinches up her face. (MOM and DAD face out, DAD pantomiming
running a video camera. BETHANY makes faces in the mirror, as if she is
eating her squash as an infant.) Look at her tongue when she eats,
Walter! Are you getting this? You’ve got to be getting this!
DAD. Karen, I’m getting it! I am! Oh, would you look at that look!
That’s great!
BETHANY. You can’t do anything wrong, Mirror Girl!
(BETHANY makes a raspberry into the mirror.)
DAD. Oh, she spit right on the lens!
MOM. She did! Oh, that’s going to look great on the movie! Good
job, Bethany!
BETHANY. You spit your squash just perfect! (To MOM:) Lookit,
Momma, I wrote a letter. You wanna read it?
MOM. Oh, Bethany, that is so nice. That is wonderful! Walter, come
see this that Bethany made!

6 Alan Haehnel

DAD. Hey, nice job, Bethany.

BETHANY. It’s a letter, Daddy. To you and to Momma.
DAD. Well, I can see it’s a letter. You worked hard on this, didn’t
BETHANY. Uh-huh. It took me, like, forty-eleven minutes, even.
MOM. Forty-eleven? Wow!
BETHANY. You want to read it?
DAD. Oh, well…hm. You see, Bethany, those aren’t actually wor…
MOM. Bethany, this is your very first letter to us. And it is perfect.
Would you please read it to us?
DAD. Right! Right, that’s what you should do! Let me get the video
camera! (He runs and grabs “the camera”—everything is pantomimed—
and comes right back.) Okay, Honey. Read it.
BETHANY. Okay. Um, Dear Mommy and Daddy, I want to have a
tiger for my room, a real, live one, but I think it might rip up my
blanket with its claws because I don’t think it would be very careful
because real, live tigers aren’t careful at the zoo because I saw one
chewing on a ball and putting its claw in the ball and it would do
that to my blanket. And…I can’t remember the rest of what I wrote.
MOM. Bethany, that was the most beautiful letter I have ever
heard. May I keep it?
BETHANY. Yes, you may. (To the mirror:) And you know what else,
Mirror Girl? Mom and Dad aren’t the only ones who think you’re
perfect. People say it all the time! At the grocery store…
WOMAN. Aren’t you the sweetest little thing?
BETHANY. And at the library…
LIBRARIAN. You must be very smart to pick out all those books.
BETHANY. And even at the church!
REVEREND. Bethany, I heard you singing, and I do believe you
are one of God’s angels.
Perfect 7

BETHANY. Mirror Girl, angels are really holy. God won’t let you
be one if you’re not perfect. So that’s another way I know that you
MOM. All right, Bethany, it’s the big day—the first day of school.
Are you ready?
BETHANY. I’m ready!
MOM. You’ve got your lunch?
MOM. Your pencils?
MOM. And most important, have you got my love for you in your
pocket right next to your heart?
BETHANY. Double check-check, Momma!
MOM. You’re going to be wonderful, you know that?
MOM. Who are you?
BETHANY. Bethany.
MOM. Who else?
BETHANY. Bethany the perfect girl who wears a coat of love, love,
MOM. That’s right! I’ll see you this afternoon!
BETHANY. ’Bye, Mom! (To the mirror:) Mirror Girl, today you went
to school and you did great! You met your teacher, Mrs. Butterman.
MRS. BUTTERMAN. Bethany, right?
MRS. BUTTERMAN. Well, you certainly looked prepared, young
BETHANY. I am. I’ve got my lunch and my pencils and my love
from my Momma. I’m ready. (To the mirror:) You colored and you
8 Alan Haehnel

pasted and you even got to do some cutting with the scissors, which
you had to be careful about.
LISA. You aren’t cutting right, you know.
BETHANY. You also met Lisa. That wasn’t so good. (To LISA:) I am
LISA. No you are not! You’re not supposed to cut on the dotted
lines; you’re supposed to cut on the black lines and fold on the
dotted lines.
BETHANY. How do you know?
LISA. ’Cause I do. I saw Mrs. Butterman do it that way, so there.
You don’t know what you’re doing. Mrs. Butterman, she’s not do-
ing it right!
MRS. BUTTERMAN. What’s the matter? Oh, Bethany, you cut on
the dotted lines.
LISA. I told her not to!
MRS. BUTTERMAN. Lisa, why don’t you start coloring yours
now? I’ll talk to Bethany.
BETHANY. Did I do it wrong?
MRS. BUTTERMAN. Well, a little bit, but that’s all right. We can
fix it.
LISA. Told you!
BETHANY. Mirror Girl, you’re a bad cutter.
DAD. So, Sweetheart, how was school? Did you like your teacher?
BETHANY. It was good, Daddy. Yes, I liked my teacher a lot. She
smells like a pumpkin pie.
DAD. Mmm.
BETHANY. But I’m a bad cutter.
DAD. Oh, you are?
Perfect 9

BETHANY. Yeah. I cut on the dotted lines. The dotted lines are for
folding, not cutting. Lisa cuts better than me.
DAD. Well, I bet someday you’ll be a better cutter than old Lisa, if
you practice enough.
BETHANY. I don’t want to practice. I don’t like cutting. I’m bad at
MRS. BUTTERMAN. Bethany, that’s a beautiful job of coloring
you did. You stayed in the lines almost everywhere. Now why
don’t you cut it out and we can paste it next to the tree you drew.
BETHANY. Can you cut it for me, Mrs. Butterman? I don’t like to
MRS. BUTTERMAN. No, Bethany—you need to practice.
LISA. I don’t need to practice. I’m good at it! I’m better than you
BETHANY. (To mirror:) Lisa’s better than you are, Mirror Girl. She
cuts easy.
MOM. Bethany, it’s time for school!
BETHANY. I don’t want to go, Momma.
MOM. Don’t want to go? Bethany, you love school.
BETHANY. I don’t like to use the scissors. I’m a bad cutter. Lisa
cuts better.
MOM. You know something, Bethany? You’re a perfect cutter.
BETHANY. No I’m not. I cut on the dotted lines sometimes and
Lisa never does.
MOM. You’re a perfect cutter and Lisa is a perfect cutter, even
though you both cut differently.
BETHANY. Yeah, but, I don’t do it right.
MOM. You do it differently, but how you do it is perfect. Now, it’s
good to try new ways of doing things to see how you like them,
10 Alan Haehnel

MOM. So you can try Lisa’s way…
BETHANY. It’s Mrs. Butterman’s way, too.
MOM. And Mrs. Butterman’s way and see how you like it. If you
like that way of being perfect better than your old way, then you
can switch. That’s called learning; it’s why you go to school.
MRS. BUTTERMAN. Why, Bethany, I like how you cut and folded
that flower. Did you do that all by yourself?
BETHANY. Yes, Mrs. Butterman, I did! Mirror Girl, you’re still per-
DAD. Okay, Slugger, you ready for some baseball?
BETHANY. Ready, Daddy.
DAD. All right! Go on out there and slam that ball into next Tues-
(BETHANY pantomimes walking up for her turn at bat. A crowd
comes in, cheering for her team. An UMPIRE stands behind
CROWD. (Ad-libbing:) That’s the way, Red Devils! Slam a home
run, Bethany!
DAD. Keep an eye on the ball, Bethany! Swing hard!
(BETHANY concentrates on the ball coming in, then swings. She
UMPIRE. Strike one!
DAD. That’s all right, Honey! (The CROWD starts cheering again.)
Watch the ball this time. Swing straight!
(BETHANY misses again.)
UMPIRE. Strike two!
Perfect 11

DAD. You’re not concentrating, Bethany! Get your head in the

game! Watch that ball! Come on, now!
BETHANY. Mirror Girl, you’re a bad baseball player. You know
what Momma would say.
MOM. You’re a perfect baseball player, Bethany.
DAD. Remember what you practiced, Bethany! Focus, now, focus!
You can do this!
BETHANY. I don’t think Daddy agrees.
(She steps away from the mirror and takes her stance with the bat.
The CROWD cheers, urging her to hit the ball. DAD is yelling the
loudest, stressing focus and determination and technique. BETH-
ANY narrows her eyes as the ball approaches, then swings mightily.)
UMPIRE. Strike three! You’re out!
DAD. Oh, Bethany! Come on!
TEAMMATE. Thanks a lot for losing for us, Bethany.
BETHANY. Mirror Girl, you hate baseball.
DAD. Come on, Bethany, we’re going to go practice your swing.
BETHANY. Daddy, I don’t want to.
DAD. Well, you’re going to, Bethany. You’re not a good hitter, but
you could be. You’re strong enough. It just takes practice. Come on.
DAD. (Pantomiming pitching to BETHANY:)All right. Get that bat up
a little higher. That’s it. Here it comes. (BETHANY swings and
misses.) No, no, no.
MOM. What a swing! That was perfect!
DAD. It was not perfect. She didn’t hit the ball.
MOM. That’s beside the point.
12 Alan Haehnel

DAD. That is not beside the point. That is precisely the point. In
baseball, you swing the bat to hit the ball.
MOM. Well, Bethany swung that bat and it cleverly went right un-
derneath the ball.
DAD. You are not helping, Karen! You’re coddling!
MOM. Walter, I think you need to examine your motivation here.
DAD. Just what is that supposed to mean?
BETHANY. (To the mirror:) You really, really hate baseball, Mirror
Girl. You stink at it.
JENNY. Hey, Bethany!
BETHANY. What, Jenny?
JENNY. Do you want to come over to my house after school? Me
and Lilly and Morgan are going to have a Mega-Girl party.
BETHANY. What’s a Mega-Girl?
JENNY. You don’t even know what Mega-Girl is? Don’t you even
watch T.V.?
BETHANY. Sometimes I do. I do!
JENNY. Mega-Girl is on T.V. at 4:00. I watch her every day over at
daycare after school and I have all five Mega-Girl action figures and
my parents bought me the ‘cessories packs, too. Hey, Lilly! Hi,
LILLY. Hi, Jenny.
(The three of them put their fists together.)
LILLY, JENNY, & MORGAN. Mega-Girl Club—one, two, three—
burst into mega-action! Pow!
MORGAN. Know what I got yesterday? I got the six-pack Mega-
Girl workout kit.
JENNY. No way! My mom looked all over the place for that!
MORGAN. My dad sent it from California in the mail.
Perfect 13

LILLY. You are so lucky!

BETHANY. Mega-Girl Club—one, two—three, burst into mega-
action! Pow!
(The three girls look at BETHANY as if she has sprouted a second
LILLY. What are you doing, Bethany?
BETHANY. I’m just…can I play?
JENNY. She hasn’t even seen Mega-Girl. She doesn’t even have one
action figure.
MORGAN. She’s such a loser.
BETHANY. (Into mirror:) Mirror Girl, you’re a loser if you don’t
have a Mega-Girl.
T.V. COP. Mega-Girl, the entire city is threatened by the evil Doctor
MEGA-GIRL. That’s all right, Officer. I’ve been doing my six-pack
workouts every day, plus I come fully accessorized and ready to do
battle. Doobad will be no match for me!
T.V. COP. Mega-Girl, watch out!
(DOOBAD shoots the T.V. COP and grabs MEGA-GIRL. They
MOM. Hi, Honey—what are you watching here?
BETHANY. Mega-Girl.
MOM. This looks awfully violent. Is that Mega-Girl? That is a
skimpy outfit she has on.
BETHANY. I need the action figure. See that accessory belt she has
on? I want one of those, too.
DOOBAD. Ha, ha, your crime-stopping days are over, Mega-Girl!
Once I kill you, no one will stop me from total world domination!
MEGA-GIRL. Think again, Doobad. You’re forgetting about
something, aren’t you?
14 Alan Haehnel

DOOBAD. What’s that?

MEGA-GIRL. My accessory belt includes a posterior-shooting sti-
letto blade!
(DOOBAD suddenly doubles over, as if stabbed.)
DOOBAD. Aargh! Curse you, Mega-Girl.
MOM. Okay, I think you’ve seen enough of this.
BETHANY. Aw, Mom, it’s almost over.
MOM. It’s over now. I don’t like it.
BETHANY. When can we go get a Mega-Girl action figure, Mom?
And they have these really cool accessory packs…
MOM. Wait, wait, Bethany. What’s the sudden craze over Mega-
Girl? You never even mentioned her before.
BETHANY. Yeah, but Lilly and Jenny and Morgan have these
Mega-Girl club parties at Jenny’s house and I want to go.
MOM. You can go to Jenny’s house.
BETHANY. I have to have a Mega-Girl to go!
MOM. Bethany, anyone who says they’ll only be your friend if you
have a certain thing—they’re forgetting what friendship is about.
It’s not about stuff. You’re perfect without any stuff, remember?
Who are you?
BETHANY. Bethany the perfect girl who wears a coat of love, love,
love, but Mom…!
DAD. What’s the trouble? How’s my angel?
BETHANY. I want a Mega-Girl action figure and accessory pack,
DAD. Mega-who?
MOM. It’s this violent cartoon character that’s very popular with
her friends, Walter. I don’t think we should…
DAD. Hey, I used to have a collection like that—G.I. Joe! I had the
jeep and the guns and everything.
Perfect 15

MOM. Walter…
BETHANY. Can we get a Mega-Girl, Daddy? Can we?
DAD. I don’t see why not.
MOM. Thank-you so much, Walter.
DAD. What?
BETHANY. (To mirror:) You’ve got Mega-Girl and the six pack
workout accessory kit and her three outfits, Mirror Girl! You are so
cool! (To LILLY:) Hey, Lilly, want to come to my house for a Mega-
Girl club party?
LILLY. You’re still playing with Mega-Girl? Oh, please.
(LILLY, MORGAN and JENNY laugh and walk away.)
BETHANY. (To mirror:) Mirror Girl, you are so out of it. Nobody
plays with Mega-Girl anymore. Duh!
CELIA. Did you see Mindy’s shirt?
BARB. Yeah, that is so hot! I’m getting one tomorrow!
BETHANY. Mom, I need a shirt like Mindy’s.
MOM. You don’t need it.
DAD. Let’s get it.
MOM. Walter.
LUANNE. Terry, those sneakers are great! Those are just like the
ones Bella Boobsy wears in that movie.
TERRY. I know. I love them!
BETHANY. Mom, I need sneakers like Terry’s.
MOM. You don’t need them.
DAD. Let’s get them.
MOM. Walter!
JACK. Mikey, what is that thing? That is so cool.
16 Alan Haehnel

MIKEY. I know. You can download like three thousand songs and
two hundred DVD’s on the thing plus take pictures plus even use it
like a calculator.
BETHANY. Mom, I need a computer thing like Mikey’s.
MOM. You do not need it!
DAD. Let’s get it.
MOM. Walter, Bethany, that’s enough! Every time I turn around,
Bethany, you’re asking for something new.
BETHANY. I need stuff, Mom!
MOM. You do not need it. You want it because you see the other
kids with it.
DAD. Karen, I work hard. We have enough money to buy her these
things. I don’t want her feeling left behind. This is the way the
world works.
MOM. But she’s defining herself by things!
DAD. No, she’s not; she just wants to keep up. That’s completely
MOM. Normal, maybe, but not healthy.
DAD. It’s the way it is, Karen, and, to tell you the absolute truth,
I’m not going to have my daughter feel inferior because we’re
MOM. Is this really about Bethany feeling inferior?
DAD. Yes, it’s about Bethany! I don’t work like a fiend for my
health, you know!
BETHANY. Mirror Girl, if you were perfect, Mom and Dad
wouldn’t fight about you. You’re really making a big mess.
CLAIRE. Oh, yeah, my parents used to scream at each other all the
time. They couldn’t be in the same room more than two minutes be-
fore they started arguing. It’s a lot quieter now that they’re di-
Perfect 17

MELINDA. Yeah, same here. But you know what? I really clean up
at Christmas. I go to my dad’s house for three days and he gives me
presents, then I go back to Mom’s and she has more for me…
CLAIRE. Not me. They’re both broke. They didn’t get as much for
the house as they thought they would. You should see Dad’s
apartment—it’s falling apart, and he is such a slob!
(BETHANY sinks down, crying. MOM comes to her.)
MOM. Bethany, what is it?
BETHANY. Nothing.
MOM. Honey, what’s the matter? You can tell me.
BETHANY. You and Daddy are always arguing and you’re going
to get a divorce. You’re always fighting about me. If I move away,
will you and Daddy stay together?
MOM. Oh, Bethany.
BETHANY. Where’s Dad?
MOM. He had to work late, Sweetheart. Bethany, I need you to un-
derstand something, okay? Are you listening?
MOM. What have I always, always told you to remember?
BETHANY. Buckle up.
MOM. That’s true. But what else? About yourself?
BETHANY. That I’m perfect.
MOM. Yes.
BETHANY. But if I was perfect, you and Dad…
MOM. When your father and I have discussions, Bethany, even
discussions about you, we’re just trying to work things out between
us. You’re our perfect daughter. We both love you so much and
want so many wonderful things for you, we practically tie our-
selves into knots trying to figure the best way to help you have
what you need. That’s what parents do, Honey. You could be the
18 Alan Haehnel

most perfect girl in the world—and you are—and we would still

argue now and then.
BETHANY. You’re not going to get divorced?
MOM. Never.
BETHANY. Promise?
MOM. I promise. Now, who are you?
BETHANY. Bethany.
MOM. Who else?
BETHANY. Bethany the perfect girl who wears a coat of love, love,
DAD. (From offstage:) Karen?
BETHANY. (Looking into the mirror, whispering the following during
the next dialogue between MOM and DAD:) Mirror Girl, you’re per-
fect. You’re a perfect girl who wears a coat of love, love, love. They
only argue because they’re all tied up in knots. They’re not going to
get divorced. Momma promised they wouldn’t. You’ll always have
Christmas at home, Mirror Girl, with the tree and with the lights
and just like always, and you’ll wake up in the morning and run
down to open the presents and Dad will be there and Mom will be
there and then you’ll have French toast with the powdery sugar and
maple syrup on it just like always. They only argue because they
love their perfect girl. You’re perfect, Mirror Girl. You’re the perfect
girl who wears a coat of love, love, love.
MOM. Walter, where have you been?
DAD. At work. Where else would I have been?
MOM. Did you forget about Bethany’s band concert?
DAD. Was that tonight? Why didn’t remind me?
MOM. I left you messages. Why didn’t you call back?
DAD. Listen, I’m working when I’m at work. I don’t need you
checking up on me.
Perfect 19

MOM. Who’s talking about checking up? That sounds like a guilty
conscience to me.
DAD. Guilty…
MOM. Your daughter was very disappointed that you didn’t see
her playing her trombone.
DAD. I can’t be everywhere at once!
MOM. I’m not asking you to be everywhere, just one place—at
Bethany’s concert!
DAD. You know what? I’ve had it with you and trying to make me
feel like a bad father! That’s it!
MOM. Well, maybe the guilt doesn’t come from me, Walter! Maybe
it comes from you knowing you’re not doing what you should be!
DAD. I’m out of here!
MOM. Fine!
BETHANY. (Still looking in the mirror, continuing the monologue:)
They’ll never leave you, Mirror Girl. They’re just doing what par-
ents do because they…
MOM. Bethany?
DAD. Sweetheart?
MOM. We need to talk to you about something very important.
DAD. First, we want you to know that we both love you very
MOM. More than anything in the world.
DAD. But things need to change in our family, Honey. You see,
sometimes, Moms and Dads…
BETHANY. (Into the mirror:) Mamma lied, Mirror Girl. She prom-
ised we would always be together—Mom, Dad and me. She lied.
You can’t believe her anymore, Mirror Girl.
MOM. Bethany, how are you feeling?
20 Alan Haehnel

MOM. I hope you’re feeling perfect.

MOM. I hope you know that what happened between your father
and me isn’t…
BETHANY. My fault. I know. You told me. Many times, Mother.
MOM. Hm.
MOM. Oh, I just wonder if the way you use the word “Mother” in-
stead of “Mom” means the same thing it used to when I was a kid.
BETHANY. What’s that?
MOM. I only called my mom “Mother” when I was angry with her.
BETHANY. (To mirror:) Listen up, Mirror Girl: Trust no one.
MICHELLE. Know who that guy is over there, in that hot car?
STUART. With the blonde chick in the passenger seat?
MICHELLE. Yeah. Know who that is?
MICHELLE. Bethany’s dad.
STUART. Whoa—is that her mother with him?
MICHELLE. No way. He’s trading up.
BETHANY. (To mirror:) Trust…
DAD. (From offstage:) Bethany, I want you to meet someone.
BETHANY. No one.
DANNY. Bethany, right?
DANNY. I’m Danny.
Perfect 21

DANNY. So…I…that’s it. I’m just Danny.
BETHANY. And I’m just Bethany.
DANNY. Maybe I’ll see you sometime.
BETHANY. Maybe you will. (To mirror:) Mirror Girl, he is so cute!
DANNY. Remember me? Danny?
BETHANY. Mmm, I sort of remember you.
DANNY. Really. I’m glad.
BETHANY. I’m glad you’re glad.
DANNY. So, you think you might want to hang out sometime?
BETHANY. I’ll think about it.
DANNY. You do that.
BETHANY. (To mirror:) I think he likes you, Mirror Girl.
MOM. You’ve seemed a bit distracted lately, Bethany. Is everything
MOM. Bethany.
BETHANY. (Looking at Danny, talking to Mom:) What?
MOM. I said you’ve seemed…
DANNY. You know what I think?
MOM. …if you’re all right?
DANNY. Come here and I’ll tell you.
MOM. Bethany!
22 Alan Haehnel

BETHANY. What, Mother? What’s the matter?

MOM. That’s what I’m asking you.
DANNY. Come here.
BETHANY. (To MOM:) Leave me alone. I don’t have time for this!
MOM. Bethany! What have I always told you?
BETHANY. (To mirror:) She lies, Mirror Girl.
DAD. (Off:) Hey, there, perfect girl? How long has it been? Let me
introduce you to somebody.
BETHANY. (To mirror:) You can’t trust him anymore, Mirror Girl.
DANNY. I have to tell you something.
DANNY. I think you’re perfect.
BETHANY. (To mirror:) You want to believe him, don’t you?
DANNY. You’re absolutely perfect, Bethany. Do you believe me?
BETHANY. (To mirror:) Do you believe him?
DANNY. Do you?
BETHANY. (To mirror:) Believe him. (To DANNY:) Yes.
(They kiss. As they kiss, the following dialogues goes on.)
MOM. Bethany, where have you been? Bethany?
MARSHA. Who, Bethany? No way—she won’t go.
LAURA. Oh, no—she’s got to stay home and wash Danny’s socks.
MARSHA. She’s gone.
LAURA. Totally.
DAD. (Off:) Haven’t heard much from you, Sweetie. Come take a
ride in my new car.
MOM. Bethany, you don’t need a boy to make you feel complete.
Don’t fall into that trap.
Perfect 23

(DANNY pulls away from the kiss.)

BETHANY. What’s the matter?
DANNY. Nothing.
BETHANY. What did I do?
DANNY. You’re fine. I’ll be right back.
BETHANY. (To mirror:) Mirror Girl, you can’t lose him. He’s getting
distant. You’re not perfect for him any more.
COMMERCIAL 1. Want to hold on to that man?
COMMERCIAL 2. Is he looking around for someone else?
COMMERCIAL 3. You need the perfect summer look.
COMMERCIAL 4. You need the perfect sexy outfit.
COMMERCIAL 5. Be perfect for him and he’ll never want to stray.
BETHANY. (To mirror:) Look at you! You look terrible! No wonder
he doesn’t want you!
BETHANY. Danny! Where’ve you been?
DANNY. Just around.
BETHANY. I’ve missed you. Don’t leave again, okay?
DANNY. Don’t worry about it.
BETHANY. (Kissing him desperately:) Did you like that?
DANNY. (Surprised:) Yeah. Yeah, that was nice.
BETHANY. I can be perfect for you.
(She kisses him again as the dialogue continues.)
MOM. Bethany, I need you to sit down and talk to me. Please!
COMMERCIAL 6. The perfect recipe for “Keep-that-guy” pie!
DAD. (Off:) Bethany, you mother tells me you’ve been spending a
lot of time with this Dan character. Are you being careful?
24 Alan Haehnel

COMMERCIAL 7. He’ll go wild if you smell like this.

MOM. Bethany.
COMMERCIAL 8. He’ll stay with you if you look like this.
MOM. Bethany!
COMMERCIAL 9. Are you thin enough?
COMMERCIAL 10. Sexy enough?
COMMERCIAL 11. Flirty enough?
MOM. Bethany, come home. Where are you?
(DANNY breaks away from BETHANY.)
DANNY. I got to go.
BETHANY. When are you coming back?
DANNY. Look, you don’t own me, all right?
BETHANY. (To mirror:) You’re losing him, Mirror Girl.
DANNY. I need some freedom.
BETHANY. (To mirror:) You weren’t good enough to keep him.
DANNY. I want to see other people, do other things.
BETHANY. (To mirror:) You failed. He doesn’t want you. You’re a
DANNY. Don’t call me anymore.
MOM. Bethany? Bethany, remember—you’re my perfect girl. You
always will be.
MOM. I’m glad you’re home. I feel like I haven’t seen you in ages.
BETHANY. Leave me alone.
MOM. I think, maybe, you’ve forgotten to go out wearing your coat
of love, love…
BETHANY. Stop it! Stop it! You don’t love me! Nobody does!
Perfect 25

MOM. How can I not love you? You’re my perfe…

BETHANY. Liar! Get away from me! I’m not perfect and you know
it! If I was perfect, Daddy never would have left and Danny never
would have left!
MOM. Bethany, that’s not true. You know…
BETHANY. Get away from me, you liar! (Into mirror:) You’re fat.
You make me sick. No wonder they all don’t want you.
SARAH. Hey, Bethany, try this. It’ll take your mind off things.
BETHANY. (To SARAH:) Do you think I’m perfect?
SARAH. Sure. Have one.
(BETHANY pantomimes taking pills from SARAH, swallowing
BOB. Bethany, hey, Bethany! You want to party?
BETHANY. (To BOB:) Do you think I’m perfect?
BOB. That’s what I heard. You want to party?
BETHANY. I’ll be right over.
(BETHANY stares into the mirror at herself during this next dia-
TEACHER. Her grades are slipping.
MOM. I know.
TEACHER. I’ve heard rumors.
MOM. I know.
TEACHER. Perhaps some counseling…
MOM. I know.
TEACHER. I’m sorry.
MOM. I know.
TEACHER. None of us is perfect, of course.
MOM. She is. She just doesn’t know it anymore.
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