FRUIT OF THE WOMB
By Kate MacCluggage
We open with the end of a PBS-style cooking show, Leah addresses the audience.
LEAH: (holding up a casserole dish of vegan tofu kugel) I hope you join me in a healthier, more responsible celebration this year. By choosing more consciously and adopting the vegan lifestyle, you’ll help prepare a beautiful world for generations to come. So like I always say:
Whether Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Passova
Or the week I’ll wish you L’Shana tova
You can always be smart
Eat with your heart
Choose vegan and live ever in clova!
I’m Leah Feldman and thank you for watching Hebrew Homecooking the Vegan Way. Till next time!
LEAH: (wiping her hands on a dish towel) Great guys, give me just a bit and we’ll move on to episode 4.
Rachel has been watching, pleased and excited. Maybe a little too pleased and excited.
Leah looks over at her, squints (her eyes are weak, after all). She walks “off set.” She is polite but confused.
RACHEL: Leah, that was wonderful. So original. I loved how you rhymed with Passover! That’s adorable! Really! You were always brilliant.
LEAH: Oh, thanks, well… actually, the writers wrote that. I’m just the recipe girl.
RACHEL: (beaming) Oh, but the WAY you delivered it!
An awkward pause.
LEAH: I’m sorry, do I know you?
RACHEL: Leah! (she hits her playfully, though probably a bit too hard) You know who I am!
LEAH: … sorry. My brain’s a bit on the fritz, been working long hours getting in the big episodes for the high holy days, and… (she lightly touches her belly, but then thinks better of sharing) I’m really having a hard time placing you.
RACHEL: Leah Feldman, I am surprised at you! But I guess I can forgive you this ONCE, with a bun in the oven and all!!! (Rachel rubs Leah’s belly)
LEAH: …wow! um…
RACHEL: It’s Rachel Eisenberger!!! (maybe she jumps up and down)
LEAH: Rachel—oh my gosh, from Hyannis Beth-el?
RACHEL: Yes yes yes!!!! I was almost gonna have to punish you there for a minute, but you came through in the end. I knew you would! (Rachel throws her arms around Leah)
LEAH: (punish me?) Wow! (ending the hug) Rachel… What are you doing here?
RACHEL: Oh, Leah, we have so much to catch up on! It has been far too long away from my best friend! Not to mention… you’re a total genius, Leah, but not the greatest at keeping in touch, am I right? (slightly dangerously) I’d give you a REAL piece of my mind for ignoring all my emails, but (laughs) not with little Baby Feldman along for the ride! (she coos loudly at Leah’s tummy)
LEAH: (low and urgent) Hey, um, Rachel? Could you not talk about my pregnancy? I haven’t told my producers yet, and… I’d like to – wait a minute. How do you even know? I haven’t told anyone.
RACHEL: Boy, I’ll be sure not to pass that along to your mother! Mrs. Feldman, not anyone?? Boy oh boy, Leah.
LEAH: Mom! (she could’ve seen this coming and it’s annoying but also slightly endearing) I told her not to tell anyone.
RACHEL: Oh, Leah, I wouldn’t worry about it. She only told my mom. And my mom told me. And we’re practically family. (she giggles with the news) And not so practically, pretty soon!!
LEAH: I’m sorry?
RACHEL: Ok, so I have to be honest. I was a little shocked when I first heard. Leah Feldman went to a sperm bank? (Leah squirms) But then I thought—hey, it’s the modern era! You know! You’ve never been great with men, it’s nothing to ashamed of! It’s a blessing that you have the money to pay for the baby you want!
LEAH: (regaining her footing and pushing back a bit, producers be damned—this is a tender subject that she’s thought a LOT about and has an airtight defense for) Yeah, I’m feeling pretty good about my decision, actually.
RACHEL: Good for you!
LEAH: There’s even a part of me that thinks this is a better option than getting married.
RACHEL: Go girl!
LEAH: Because when you think about it, you can’t trust your heart to make a good genetic decision for your children. What diseases are you setting your kids up for because Mr. So-and-So turns you on?
RACHEL: I’m with you!
LEAH: I’m making an informed, responsible and conscious decision by taking the emotional roulette out of the picture!
RACHEL: That is exactly what I thought!
LEAH: Well… good. I’m glad you can see where I’m coming from.
RACHEL: Oh, Leah. I do so much more than see. I think you’ve got it all figured out, I really do. Which is why I came to see you. I have great news.
LEAH: You do?
RACHEL: I’ve always felt that we were like sisters. I know you felt the same way, even though you’ve been a little distracted for the last 25 years (laughs). So I’ve been thinking: how can we be sisters again? And then it came to me: the sign!
LEAH: The sign?
LEAH: (grabbing back her hands, trying not to show her alarm) What do you mean?
RACHEL: Your birthday, silly! And your donor number! Your mom told us it was a sign from God—finding a 6’2 Jewish musician donor with a flawless health history AND your birth date as his donor number?! And like I’m going to forget your birthday! (breath, she lays her hand on her belly with great significance) So I chose him, too.
LEAH: (she puts this together) You what??
RACHEL: You think I was going to let you go through her first pregnancy alone? I moved right down here to Boston and got inseminated, first thing! Now you’ll have to answer my emails! We’re blood family!
LEAH: Rachel, this… having a child is not an overnight decision! Are you prepared? What do you even do for a living?
RACHEL: Leah, Leah, little minx, you’re missing the point! We’re having the same sperm’s kid together!! When’s your due date? They wouldn’t tell me at the office—or even admit you were a patient which DUH I knew you were!!
LEAH: Rachel. You have got to calm down. I am not having a pregnancy with you. I don’t know you. We went to pre-school together!
RACHEL: Leah, careful now.
LEAH: No, Rachel, listen. I’m… I guess I’m flattered, but… this is my life, not ours… and maybe this is rude of me to say, but I’m super creeped out that you chose your donor because I chose him.
RACHEL: I love you.
LEAH: (pause—what the fuck do you say to that??) I’m really sorry, Rachel. I have to start taping the apple cake segment. You’re… you’re going to have to go. (she walks over to her “kitchen”)
RACHEL: (after a beat) You are changed, Leah. Boston has changed you. You’re mean. Spiteful.
RACHEL: (addressing the whole studio) This woman stole my life!
LEAH: (hush) Rachel…
RACHEL: This woman is denying me my child!
LEAH: What are you talking about?
RACHEL: Did you think you could win, Leah? You thought you were better than me?
LEAH: I DON’T KNOW YOU!
RACHEL: How can you say that???
(two grips from the show—it’s PBS so they’re not that impressive—step in and start hauling Rachel out. As best as they can—it’s not clean and she doesn’t go easily)
RACHEL: (this is her martyr speech) God has vindicated me! He has heeded my plea and given me a child! He has taken away my disgrace! I have prevailed! I have prevailed! I have prevailed! (she’s gone by now)
LEAH: (go ahead and have a diva fit) Who the fuck is in charge of security here????
END OF PLAY
 note: this is a terrible rhyme, and Leah can know it, but sell it