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IDEOLOGUES
The waiting room of the principal’s office in a middle school, spring, 2016.
PAIGE, 12, is direct, dogmatic, precise and uncompromising. She sits up straight, patiently braced for whatever fate awaits her.
JONAS, also 12, is a kid. He squirms restlessly in his chair, grunting and groaning, wishing to be anywhere else than where he happens to be.
After some grunts and groans from Jonas, and one, big, final groan, Paige speaks.
PAIGE
You know, you’d be better served thinking about what you did that got you sent to the prinicpal’s office.
JONAS
I know what got me sent to the principal’s office.
PAIGE
Good. What?
JONAS
You. 
PAIGE
Me?
JONAS
You. You got me sent to the principal’s office.
PAIGE
Oh, I think not.
JONAS
(grunts)
Why do you talk like that?
PAIGE
Like what?
JONAS
Like...
(mimics)
“I think not.” Why don’t you just say “No” like a normal person?
PAIGE
I am a normal person.
JONAS
Oh, I think not.
PAIGE
If you had maintained your composure instead of reacting the way you did, we wouldn’t be here now.
JONAS
I had no choice.
PAIGE
You didn’t have to stand on your desk, point at me and scream “Informer!”
JONAS
You didn’t have to call me a...what did you call me?
PAIGE
A philistine!
JONAS
(energized)
Yeah! That! We were fourteen seconds from getting out of school free and clear. Fourteen seconds. I was watching the clock. Tick, tick, tick, tick. I’m holding my breath. Because I know you. I knew you would do something to screw it up. And you did. Fourteen seconds left before the bell, and you had to open your mouth.
PAIGE
You’ll thank me someday.
JONAS
(imitates)
“Sister? Sister? Did you forget to give us homework?”
PAIGE
Well, she did.
JONAS
OF COURSE SHE DID! SHE’S A HUNDRED AND FOUR YEARS OLD!
PAIGE
Ssh!
JONAS
She’s the last living nun.
PAIGE
Stop.
JONAS
Sister Saint Senile.
PAIGE
Be quiet!
JONAS
(beat)
I thought we had it made! That’s why I was looking at the clock with my fists holding on to the sides of my desk like I’m in a Titanic lifeboat or something. 
Paige tsk-tsks and shakes her head.
JONAS (cont’d)
What? What are you...
(imitates her tsk-ing)
PAIGE
Too soon.
JONAS
Too soon for what?
PAIGE
For a Titanic reference.
JONAS
What?
PAIGE
Maybe not for the actual event, but for the movie.
JONAS
(beat)
FOURTEEN SECONDS!
PAIGE
And it only took me six seconds to ask. Giving Sister Louise eight seconds to respond.
JONAS
And in eight seconds, she gives us three chapters to read and a book report. Only a nun could do that.
PAIGE
Well...
JONAS
Lucky she didn’t remember the math she forgot to give us yesterday.
PAIGE
Well...
JONAS
Extremely late onset Alzheimer’s...
(Paige grunts; he looks at her)
Too soon?
PAIGE
You are incorrigible.
JONAS
Hey...don’t call me anything I can’t spell.
PAIGE
You’re just like the rest of your people.
JONAS
My people? What do you mean, “my people?”
PAIGE
Liberals! All you want is for everything to be easy. All you want is free stuff. You don’t want to work for anything.
JONAS
I have no idea what you’re talking about.
PAIGE
Of course you don’t. You’re part of the dumbing down of America.
JONAS
I am?
PAIGE
Yes.
JONAS
Dumbing down...from where?
PAIGE
From the lofty intelligence of our founding fathers. Do you think Thomas Jefferson or John Adams or John Hancock would want a night off from homework?
JONAS
Are they in our class?
PAIGE
They are the authors and signers of the Declaration of Independence!
JONAS
(beat)
Yeah, but are they in our class?
PAIGE
(disgusted)
I can’t...I can’t...I just...can’t.
JONAS
Can’t what?
PAIGE
Talk to you anymore.
JONAS
Good. I’ll just sit here and keep dumbin’ down.
(beat)
Duuuhhh.
(beat)
Duuuuuuuuhhhhh....
PAIGE
(explodes)
Oh, I can’t believe I’m here again!
JONAS
Again? You got called to the principal before?
PAIGE
Last week.
JONAS
Me too! What did you do?
PAIGE
(shrugs in disgust)
I suggested to my teacher that her extreme left wing philosophy was undermining the educational paradigm established by our class and that I thought she should spout her radical socialist ideology outside the walls of the school.
JONAS
You said that in a class?
PAIGE
Yes.
JONAS
What class?
PAIGE
Spelling.