Licorice Whips

Grandmother knows best, as an adult grandson is shown -passing dreams have magic consequences..! One evening ahead of his own son’s fifth birthday, CHARLIE intends to confront his eccentric grandmother, ENID, about her mad behavior. But his demands turn into unexpected revelations, as ENID reaches into his deepest, unexpressed fears.. agitating memories of CHARLIE’S own fifth birthday – and the magic they shared together.. Real magic, that terrified his own father.. CHARLIE realizes just how ever present ENID has been in his life.. even unseen, she’s been there whenever his magic got out of hand.. and the night turns into a special celebration of the secrets only a grandmother and grandchild can weave between them!

Author's Note: 

This 10 minute work is a fantastical romp in an adult’s startling discovery that magic does exits, and is not to be dismissed..



ENID / 60’s

 CHARLIE / 20’s



 LOCATION: The action takes place at Night, in the ENID’s living room, to include: a comfortable chair and small side table.




ENID: Door’s open.

(The doorbell rings.)

CHARLIE: (outside) Enid, it’s Charlie.

ENID: (sighing) Door’s still open.

(CHARLIE enters. He just looks at her for some moments.)

ENID: ..-oh- I’d meant to take those off.

CHARLIE: ..what?

ENID: My three heads. That’s what you’re staring at, right?

CHARLIE: ..-no. Staring? Thinking. I mean.. uh.. –ok. -I’m sorry. -I know it’s late, and uh.. recently I’ve not come by as often as I’d, uh ..-

ENID: Thought to. But you’re here now.  


CHARLIE: -every birthday I’m caught between you two. This time I am not going to play out some ancient grievance that neither you or my father seems to want to specify, or move on from. A birthday, is just a birthday. That’s what my son’s going to learn.

(-the sound of “pacing” returns, but it is as an ‘echo’ of something earlier –awkward – as “worry”..)

ENID: -..all day.. Something, needling.. 

CHARLIE: Stop it!

ENID: It’s not me prickling you..

CHARLIE: -what is it then?

ENID: -.. Just.. listen..-

(-ambient sound of the humming.)

CHARLIE: My son will never be in your presence. Ever. If one more sound comes out of your-..


CHARLIE: -..I don’t care what you do when you’re alone. 

ENID: Oh please!

CHARLIE: Even if I did care-

ENID: Oh you could stop me. I know you practice.

CHARLIE: What about ‘I don’t want you to talk like this’, do you not get?

ENID: was because I would talk about this. Remember? You were five. You were doing things your father-

CHARLIE: My father is a good man. He is a good man. 

(-the sound of flames is an ambient “memory”.)

ENID: What does that have to do with anything?

(-the flames “rage”-)

CHARLIE: Say it.

ENID: Your father is a good- -..ah..- (-the sound stops abruptly!) Just like, you. 


ENID: As a father. At your son’s fifth- 

(ambient sound of a child a far distance; sadness.. ENID looks hard at CHARLIE as if sensing this ‘moment’ for the first time..)

ENID: -Charlie..-

(-there is the sobering and haunted sound of a “five year old” CHARLIE, breathing the words, “I hate you”.. over and over..)

ENID: -..What is it you think happened that birthday?


CHARLIE: Grandmother..

[ENID points at the ceiling; suddenly, it is engulfed in roiling flame!]

ENID: Put it out. -Put it out, Charlie. -Put it out now!

[CHARLIE concentrates; the fire diminishes, but does not go out.]

CHARLIE:  -it won’t. –it won’t.

[ENID moves to touch CHARLIE with great affection, and support. The fire goes out.]

CHARLIE: See? ..I can’t.

ENID: Charlie. Dear.. That wasn’t me. It was all you. All I did was stand beside you. That’s all you need to do. Whatever your son gets himself into, you can get him out of, or control things so that there’s no damage. He’s perfectly safe. 


ENID: Between the two of us. Between the two of us, Charlie. 

(-softly: ambient humming again; but more playful –joyful..)

CHARLIE: -.. back then, when I tried burning down the house..

ENID: I knew. And it went no farther.

CHARLIE: ..Then, what about the dog? 

ENID: Well ..It was always kept in the backyard. Where you two were alone. It wasn’t going to hurt anyone. 

CHARLIE: I loved playing with that dog.

(-a child’s laughter mixes in as well- then-)

ENID: ..honey, you loved making that dog grow scales, and horns, and big teeth, and (sound of a barking dog-) ..well,you know (-morphs into a fire breathing monster.) the whole fire breathing thing excited you. (laughter of a child’s delight) -It was ..lovely to see you having such fun in that ..dull of your father’s.

CHARLIE: He’s a-

ENID: Yes.

ENID/CHARLIE: -good man.


CHARLIE: (mischievously) ..can I? Let me.

ENID: Not too sweet.

(CHARLIE hums; ambient humming is a duet, melodic, and masculine. GINGERBREAD MAN enters with a pot of cocoa, and pours some for CHARLIE.)

ENID: ..A Gingerbread man? Really, Charlie..? Do we need to have a conversation about not supporting stereotypes..?