Bob Flicker



  What’s in a name? Some newborns are given names that bring them unending grief and embarrassment each waking hour. This short play is about two such people who have been burdened with names that have brought them nothing but misery and unhappiness all of their lives.



FLORENCE........a young MAN

GEORGE.............a young WOMAN




The waiting room of a psychiatrist’s office. A large, muscular, young woman is sitting nervously at one end of a leather sofa. The door leading from the outside, opens slowly and the head of a timid, young man peeks into the waiting room. He sees the girl and appears to be startled by her presence. There is a moment of hesitation before he enters.


FLORENCE:      (Standing at the far end of the sofa, near the door.) I didn’t expect to   

                                find anyone here.


GEORGE:          (Looking uncomfortable.) He’s running late. I should have seen him 

                               fifteen minutes ago.


FLORENCE:       (Still standing. He looks at his watch.) I’m early. I hate to be late and 

                                 always end up being early. (Ill at ease.) Do you mind if I sit down?


GEORGE:          (Shrugs her shoulders.) Why not?


FLORENCE:       (He sits down on the opposite end of the sofa.) This is my first visit to a 

                                 shrink—ever. (He fidgets, nervously.)


GEORGE:          Mine too. (She is obviously very nervous and uncomfortable. She 

                              continues speaking but not to him.) I don’t know why I ever let Big 

                              Bertha talk me into coming here.  


FLORENCE:       (A nervous response.) Who’s Big Bertha?


GEORGE:          (She attempts to hide her nervousness and appear hard and self-

                               controlled.) My wrestling coach.


FLORENCE:      (Taken aback.) Wrestling coach?


GEORGE:          I’m a professional wrestler.


FLORENCE:       (Impressed and a bit shocked.) You are? I guess it helps to be so big. 

                                (He realizes he made a social blunder.) I’m sorry!I shouldn’t have said 


GEORGE:          (Acting as if the comment didn’t bother her.) Said—what?


FLORENCE:       (Embarrassed.) You know. About being so big.


GEORGE:          (Rising defiantly to her feet.) Noth’n to be sorry about. I’m six feet tall 

                               and weight 175 pounds. I bench-press 300 pounds! Do you know I’m 

                               undefeated in my first six matches?


FLORENCE:       (Intimidated.) I’m five feet six inches and weight 145. I have trouble 

                                 lifting my groceries. I hate violence! It makes me throw up!


GEORGE:          (Suddenly feeling self-conscious sits down again.) My name is George.


FLORENCE:       George?


GEORGE:          (Another situation to be dealt with.) It wasn’t my idea! The name was 

                               my mother’s doing! She was a writer except she never wrote anything. 

                               She always told me it was a man’s world and it was just too tough for a 

                               woman to get her work published, no matter how good it was.


FLORENCE:       Women get published.


GEORGE:          Oh, there were exceptions, she would say. I guess she was hoping that I 

                               would grow up to be one of those exceptions. I tried. I really tried but I 

                               wasn’t any good. But Ma, she never gave up on me.  She wanted me to 

                               be a writer so bad—That’s why she named me George.


FLORENCE:      (Apologetically.) I don’t think that I understand. 


GEORGE:          I was named after George Sand—The French, woman novelist. My poor 

                               mother must have thought that it would help to become a good writer. 

                              (Pauses.)  Nothing helped! I used to practice and practice. There was lots 

                               of time for that.  All through high school -- (She hesitates, upset by 

                              the recollection.) I was bigger than all of the boys. I could lick them all 

                               too! I guess that’s why none of them ever asked me out on a date. 

                              (Sighs) So, I practiced to be a writer.


FLORENCE:       (Moved by her story.) I’m sorry.


GEORGE:          (Puts on a big smile.) Nothing to be sorry about. Hey! Enough about me.

                               What’s yours?


FLORENCE:       What’s my (Swallows)—what?


GEORGE:           What’s your name? You know mine. What’s yours?


FLORENCE:       (Obviously uncomfortable.) What difference does it make?


GEORGE:          (Aggressively curious.) I wanna know. You gotta have a first name don’t 

                               you?  (Florence nods his head.) Well? What is it?


FLORENCE:       (Embarrassed, passes his hand over his mouth so that his name is 

                                 muffled.) Florence.


GEORGE:          (Not sure she heard correctly.) Florence? (Florence looks away and 

                               nods his head.) Florence?


FLORENCE:       (Angrily) That’s right (Pauses for emphasis.) GEORGE!—        



GEORGE:          (Realizing her lack of tact.) I’m sorry.


FLORENCE:       (Less angry.) You’re sorry! How do you think I feel?


GEORGE:          Why in the world did your folks name you Florence?


FLORENCE:       (Sighing with resignation.) My grandmother is the one I have to blame. 

                                 It was her deathbed wish, the night before I was born


GEORGE:          (Extremely curious.) What did she do that for?


FLORENCE:       My grandmother—that’s my mother’s mother—moved in with my 

                                 parents when they were first married. I think that's why my father left 

                                 home on my first birthday.  He probably couldn’t stand her. I know I 



GEORGE:          I guess your grandmother wanted your mother to have a girl. That’s 

                               why she wanted you named Florence. Right?


FLORENCE:       Wrong. She wanted me named Florence because she was a Ziegfeld 

                                 Girl in the Follies. She had this secret love for Ziegfeld and wanted her 

                                 daughter to have a son that could be named after him.


GEORGE:          But—his first name was Florenz, with a Z at the end.


FLORENCE:       My grandmother didn’t know that.


GEORGE:          If it bothers you so much, why don’t you change it.


FLORENCE:       Because, it was my grandmother’s deathbed wish and you don’t fool 

                                 around with deathbed wishes. She never let me forget it, right up until 

                                 the day she died on my fifteenth birthday.  


GEORGE:          (Bewildered) Wait a minute! First you said it was her deathbed wish 

                               that you be named Florence—before you were born. Now, you are 

                               saying that she died on your fifteenth birthday. Which way was it?


FLORENCE:       Both.


GEORGE:            Both?


FLORENCE:       That’s right. You didn’t know my grandmother. The night before 

                                 my mother went into labor, my grandmother had what she thought                                                        

                                 was a heart attack. She told my mother that she was about to die. Her 

                                 deathbed wish was that the baby—meaning me—should be named   

                                 Florence.  She made my mother swear on a bible that had a lock of 

                                 Ziegfeld's hair pasted in it.

GEORGE:          A lock of Ziegfeld’s hair?


FLORENCE:       Yeah. She paid his barber ten dollars for it.


GEORGE:          But she didn’t die.


FLORENCE:       (Shaking his head.) No! It was heartburn from eating black radishes 

                                 dunked in chicken fat.


GEORGE:           I don't get it.  If she didn't die, then her deathbed wish wasn't a   

                                deathbed wish after all. 

FLORENCE:       It would seem that way, wouldn’t it. With my grandmother, a promise 

                                 was a promise. She held my mother to it and my mother held me to it. 

                                 My grandmother never let me forget who I was named after, right up 

                                 until the night she died.


GEORGE:          Old age finally killed her, huh?


FLORENCE:       No. It was black radishes dunked in chicken fat.


GEORGE:          That was dumb. If black radishes dunked in chicken fat nearly killed her 

                               once before she shoulda known better not to eat that stuff.


FLORENCE:       I’m going to tell you something that I never told anyone  before. 

                                 Something has been eating at me for all these years since she died. It’s 

                                 the reason why I’m here. (Swallows  hard.) I gave her the black 

                                 radishes dunked in chicken fat. I knew she wouldn’t be able to resist it.


GEORGE:          (Sympathetically) It served the old biddy right! (George slides along the 

                               sofa towards Florence.).


FLORENCE:       (Relieved) Do you really think so? (George nods her head.) You don’t 

                                 know how good that makes me feel. (He slides toward George.)


GEORGE:          (Warmly) I’m glad Florence.

FLORENCE:       (He rises to his feet, smiling down at George and takes her hand.) Call 

                                 me Bronco. Come on; let’s get out of here  George.  


GEORGE:          (Getting to her feet, hand in hand with Bronco.  She smiles down at 

                               him.) Call me Buttercup. You know, I feel better too—Bronco.


                         Bronco and Buttercup exit, smiling at each other and holding hands.




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 © robert 2014