Posted May 16, 2013 by in Creative Writing

The Long Goodnight by: Thomas Kling

The Long Goodnight

By: Thomas Kling

{AT RISE:  Jonathan and his father are sitting on the boy’s bed at night reading a book together. Jonathan is dressed in his favorite Mantis Man pajamas. His father is just coming to the end of the story which the boy knows so well from repetition, that he recites it along with him.}

Dad and Jonathan: …and they NEVER…ate beans….AGAIN! 

Jonathan: That’s my favorite story, Daddy.

Dad: {rubbing his temples} Yes…I know. We’ve read it many, many…MANY times.

Jonathan: Can we read it again?

Dad: No, no. It’s time for little boys to get their sleep.

Jonathan: Awwwww!

Dad: {gets up off bed and tucks boy under covers}: Okay, come on, you’ve had your story, now it’s time for bed.

Jonathan: Oooooookaaaaaaaay.
Dad: Goodnight, Buddy, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite…{he kisses him on the forehead.}
Jonathan: OH! Daddy! I didn’t say my prayers yet!
Dad: Oh, right!  Okay, let’s say the prayers. {They both get down and kneel before the bed with hands crossed to pray.}
Jonathan: Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
Keep me safe all through the night,
And wake me with the morning light.
Dad: Amen. {starts to get up, but kneels again as Jonathan continues.}
Jonathan: …and God bless Mommy, Daddy, my baby brother, Uncle Charlie and Aunt Lucy, Grandma and Grandpa…Amen
Dad: Amen {Begins to get up from kneeling, but is once again stopped.}
Jonathan: …oh, and all my teachers, my bus driver, my babysitter, that guy down the street that walks funny…
Dad: Okay, okay. Let’s save some of the people for tomorrow night okay?
Jonathan: Oooooooookaaaaaaaay. {climbs back into bed and under the covers.}
Dad: All right, Buddy. Have a good sleep, Number One Son!
Jonathan:  {giggles}  You too, Number One Daddy!
{The lights go out and his father begins to walk out.}
Jonathan:  Oh! Daddy!
{Dad comes back into the room and turns on the light.}
Jonathan:  Before I forget, I think I decided on what kind of cake I want for my birthday…
Dad:  But your birthday is 6 months away?
Jonathan:  I know, but Grandma said I should start thinking about what kind of cake I want and she’ll make it for me…
Dad:  Grandma did, huh…
Jonathan:  …ANY kind I want, can you believe that?
Dad:  Any kind you want?  Yep, that sounds like Grandma.
Jonathan:  Well of COURSE I told her Mantis Man but she doesn’t know who Mantis Man is and she wasn’t really sure if she could MAKE a Mantis Man anyways, so she suggested a lady bug…
Dad:  So that’s what you want now, a lady bug, is that it?
Jonathan:  No way Jose!  Ladybugs are for girls and for babies, I know that, Daddy, I AM six you know!
Dad:  Well, pssht, yeah you are!
Jonathan:  Of course!
Dad:  {heading for the light switch again} Tell you what…you keep working on that one some more, okay?  {Flicks the light out and starts through the doorway again.}
Jonathan: Daddy, were you afraid of things when you were a boy?
Dad: {Sighs, then turns on the light and comes back into the room}  Sure I was, Buddy.
Jonathan: Like things at night?
Dad: Yes, things at night.
Jonathan: Like what?
Dad: Well, I was afraid of the dark for a long time. I had to sleep with a night light.
Jonathan: {Laughs} Really? Can I have a night light?
Dad: {appears to think hard}  Hmmm…I don’t think they make them anymore.
Jonathan:  {frowns disapprovingly} That doesn’t sound right.
Dad:  {aloud, but more to himself} It HAS to be…
Jonathan: But what if a..a..JAG-u-lar tries coming in my window and I don’t see him?
Dad: Buddy, I’ve lived here all my life and have not ONCE seen, heard, or heard of a “jag-u-lar” living here. Besides, if there was, Scruffy would bark and scare him away. He’s a great protector, you know.  {Starts quickly toward door} Sweet dreams!
Jonathan: But Daddy…
Dad: {Stops quick and looks up at the ceiling} Money?  Is it money you want?  {pulls out his wallet}  ‘Cause I could give you, say…five dollars, right now…
Jonathan: I was wondering…how are airplanes made?
Dad: {Puts his hands up} Alright. That’s e-nough! It’s time for bed and that’s it.
Jonathan: Not yet, Daddy…I didn’t even brush my teeth yet!
Dad: Yes you did!  Right before our story, remember?
Jonathan: {Looks up thoughtfully then smiles sheepishly} Oh yeah, I forgot.
Dad: {Forces a smile}  Very good. Sleep tight. {Flicks the light switch.}
Jonathan: {Excitedly} DADDY!
Dad: {Clearly getting annoyed} WHAT??
Jonathan: I need a drink of water because I feel like I can’t swallow!!
Dad: You will be FINE!!  GOOD…NIGHT!!
Jonathan: But Daddy…
Dad: {Raising his voice a bit}  Jonathan, you can swallow JUST fine!!
Jonathan: No, that’s not it.  Thinking about a drink of water makes me have to go to the bathroom…
Dad: {Finally losing his patience} LISTEN!! You’ve brushed you teeth, you have your pajamas on, you’ve had your story, and said your prayers!! You’re getting a plain ROUND cake for your birthday, airplanes are made in a HUGE factory, and there is no such thing as a JAG-U-LAR!!  You DON’T need a drink, you DON’T need to go to the BATHROOM!!YOU…NEED…TO…GO…TO…
{He turns to leave, flicks out the light and makes it to the doorway when he stops.}
Jonathan: {sniffling; weakly} But…Daddy…
Dad: {Stands in the doorway feeling guilty and bangs his head against the door frame} 
Yes, Jonathan?
Jonathan: {still sniffling} Daddy..I…I love you, Daddy.
Dad: {Takes a deep breath} I know, Buddy, I love you too.
Jonathan: And Daddy…
Dad: What son?
Jonathan: I…
Dad: {Calmly} What is it?
Jonathan: I…I don’t want you to die.
{Dad goes over to sit on the bed and gives Jonathan a huge hug}
Dad:  Don’t worry…I’m not going to die ANY time soon if I can help it.
Jonathan:  Good, ’cause Mommy would never put up with ANY of this…


See the rest of the Pregnancy and Children Short Stories

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William Y.

Marketing manager, editor, and author. I am a bookkaholic who stays up into dawn reading, wakes up groggy and grabs another book to make myself feel human again. I am an avid outdoors-man, but find myself behind a computer more than outdoors these days. I try not to tell many people this, but I really liked the Star Wars book series... Check out all my articles.