Naughty or Nice – Southampton High School (2012)

Toby Zheng and Sean Noonan perform in Bryce Krzenski’s play, “Naughty or Nice.” Photo by Star Black.

Naughty or Nice by Bryce Krzenski

Click here to watch a video of this performance.


*Chris enters the toy shop, nick is ruining the shop*

Chris: “Nick! What are you doing??!!”

Nick: * nick throws a toy as he says “I’m so tired of all of this shit!”

Chris:  putting his hand on nicks shoulder “What are you talking about??!! Are you drunk?”

Nick: he swats Chris’s hand away “So what if I am?”

Chris: “So what? Your better than this, Dad is not going to look the other way this time, you’ve ended up on the naughty list way too many times, he can’t keep pulling strings for you.”

Nick: “Whatever”

Chris: “Talk to me, what going on with you? You come home drunk almost every night, I don’t remember the last time you asked how I was, I don’t know where you are half the time. And now you have ruined all of those rocking horses?! Have you even started working on your college applications?”

Nick: “I’m tired. I’m tired of our whole lives revolve around one day, and we aren’t even a part of it. We don’t matter.”

Chris: “What’s do you mean we don’t matter? We get to be a part of one of the world’s biggest holiday, kids look forward to this all year, and were the reasons for their smiles. What is your problem?”

Nick: “My problem? My problem is that we’re made out live in this magical place but it’s not. It’s full of tired little elves who do nothing but make toys, it gets pretty repetitive after each year. Its beyond freezing no matter how long you live here.”

Chris: “Can you just stop? Talk to me for a second. What isn’t magical about giving gifts to billions of children all over the world?”

Nick: “Ughh, that’s not what I’m saying! Its nice and everything, but do we ever get credit for any of it? No. Dad does, and the elves. If I had a dollar for every book, movie or song written about dad, I would be a millionaire. There’s no mention to us, not ever. Even Mom gets some credit, and all she does is bake all year then wave goodbye on Christmas Eve.” 

Chris: “Come on, you know that’s mom and dad’s choice, they don’t want us to be under any pressure to become anything like them, there’s already so many people trying to get a glimpse of Dad, if they knew that he had kids that would risk our chances of having a normal life down south if we choose to. Who knows, maybe someday we will want to see what life is like in a big city.”

Nick: “I know…. I know, I just want at least a pat on the back for all of our hard work.”

Chris: “So this is about not getting praise for all the work that we love doing?”

Nick: “No, this is about not getting thanks for it, no appreciation.”

Chris: “Dad thanks us all the time, he appreciates us….. You know that!”

Nick: “Yeah okay, bullshit.”

Chris: “Oh come on”

Nick: “A quick thank you as he’s watching endless infomercials trying to find the best new toys is not what I want, that doesn’t count. I mean give a number for him to call on the infomercial, but no he makes us learn to replicate the thing that we could easily order.” 

Chris: “Count for what? What do you want? A gold star? Were seventeen, not seven.  It’s about time we start helping out around here and getting ready for our future. ”

Nick:  “No its not. You know what I want?”

Chris: “What?”

Nick: “I want to go back to him to tell us stories about all of his adventures like he did when we were little. Don’t you remember that? Those nights where we would all sit by the fireplace while he told us the greatest stories. Clearly he has been everywhere and seen so many things, I want to know about all of that, because I’m sure that he has experienced things that we will never get to…” (he pauses for a second, gets annoyed again) “….But you know what, forget that, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be experiencing them. Shouldn’t now be the time that he should want us to be learning all about what he does, doesn’t he want us to have something to strive for?  You know that if he wanted to he could easily take us on one of his research trips, but he doesn’t care. He gets to travel all over the world undercover, seeing what each continents children are up to, and what the newest coolest toys are. But its more than that, I miss just having him around.”

Chris: “You don’t think I want that? You don’t think I miss him? I do, I’m just not selfish like you are, what he does is bigger than both of us. He travels to countless countries and houses, in one night, and all he gets in return in satisfaction”

Nick: “Selfish? Me?”

Chris: “Are you kidding me? Yes you! Look what you’ve done! Do you know how long it takes for the elves to make those rocking horses? They’re like the size of them, and you ruined them. Do you know how hard it is for them to reach the ears?”

A look of guilt appears on nicks face

Nick: “Fuck, you’re right, what if we just threw them in the lake, maybe they will forget they made them?”

Chris: “Throw them in the in the lake… the wood rocking horses, yeah sure”

Nick: “What? What’s wrong?”

Chris: “Wood floats you idiot, let’s just fix them quickly, you said it yourself were just as good as them, we can do it.”

Nick: “I guess your right”

They start picking up the pieces of the smashed rocking horses and grab a few tools, an awkward silence fills the room as they try to franticly put them back together

Nick: “This sucks, I don’t want to do this.”

Chris: “you think I want to, it’s your drunken ass’s fault.”

Nick: “Whatever.”

They continue to try to put them back together; it doesn’t seem to be working.

Nick: “I’m not dealing with this, let’s just do it in the morning.”

Chris: “It’s three in the morning, let’s do it now, then you can go to bed”

Nick: “I’m tired, I just want to go to sleep, let’s just do this in the morning, I don’t want to mess it up an ruin some kids day of Christmas when he sits on his new rocking horse and it breaks.” 

Chris: “Oh please, you don’t care about that, you’re just too lazy to ruin your own good night of sleep, if you hadn’t be out all night drinking we wouldn’t have this problem in the first place. How did you end up here anyway? This isn’t exactly a place people go to rave, it’s a toy shop.”

Nick: “I don’t know, I was out with a few of the elves, they were making their annual candy cane moonshine, I started to realize that I don’t fit in with them, there my closest thing to friends that I have here, it’s not like their teens walking all over the place. I needed to experiment somehow, I tried it and it made me feel a little better. It made me feel not as lonely. I told them that I wanted to give a bottle to Dad because I knew he really liked it. Then I didn’t know where to go to drink it so I came here, I knew that they would never think to come here. I got to thinking and realized that I’m not going anywhere, I’m going to be stuck in this toyshop for me whole life, let’s face it only one of us can take over dads just and it’s not going to be me.” 

Chris: “How do you know that? We don’t know what’s going to happen, Santa has never had two boys before, let alone the same age. But you’re older than me, maybe it’s going to be you”

Nick: “This isn’t taking a royal thrown, its taking on a job. The 120 seconds extra of life that I have isn’t going to guarantee a spot for me on that sleigh.”

Chris: “Where is this coming from? I’ve never really even thought of this before, were seventeen, not seventy, we have so long before anything will have to change.”

Nick: “Yeah but were almost finished with the Elfcademy, what’s next?”

Chris: “I don’t know, college? Traveling? Staying here? You know Dad wants us to get a feel for the world down south.”

Nick: “You don’t understand Chris, I’m nothing compared to you and most importantly I’m nothing to Dad. He spends three hundred and sixty four days out of the year planning on what to give other children, billions of children but his own. Then on that special day, the world’s biggest holiday, “Christmas” he’s nowhere to be seen. He’s either sick to his stomach from all of the cookies he shouldn’t have been eating the night before, or he’s too bruised up from too sliding down all the chimneys. He doesn’t want to see anyone or do anything; he spends the rest of the week sleeping of his long night. He never thinks “oh maybe my kids will want to see their dad on Christmas.” You know why? Because he doesn’t care about us. The only time he ever asks how I’m doing is when my name ends up on the naughty list. And it’s not even like he’s asking, he’s just telling me what I’ve done wrong. Let’s be real here, I’m not as smart as you, I never have been. There is no where I can become an engineer like dad. I’m so sick of literally every child coming before his own. I’m so done the only thing that he’s ever been proud of me for is winning the final rounds in the snowball tournaments.”

Chris: “See that’s what you don’t understand. I feel pressure too. I miss dad too. I’m nervous about my future; I have applied to so many colleges and universities that specialize in engineering. My dream since I was little was to work alongside dad, especially as he’s getting older. I want to be able to do his route with him and if something goes wrong with the sleigh for me to fix it, I don’t want him in any danger, and the older he gets the more dangerous his job can get. I know that the reindeer are always so careful, but I get nervous for him just as much as I’m nervous for myself. Unlike you, I’m proud of who our dad is. You must not understand how much everyone looks up to him. He is the most generous person; he cares about everyone but himself. And he gets no gratification for it, he’s in books and movies sure, but personally he never gets thanked; face to face he gets no praise for what he does. Maybe if you made more of an effort then he would let you help him out a little. Well, maybe not after this. You messed up pretty bad this time; I don’t know how you’re going to recover from this one.

Nick: “Still..”

Chris: “No wait, let me ask you something”

Nick: “Okaay..”

Chris: “If Dad just stopped on day, stopped doing his job. He stopped everything. What do you think would happen?”

Nick: “I don’t know”

Chris: “No, think of this. There’s no way for him to tell the world that he gives up. So everyone finds out on the morning of December twenty-fifth. They all rush downstairs past all of the decorations that they put up, and under that big tree they bought and decorate so well was no presents. What do you think they would do?”

Nick: “I don’t know”

Chris: “I’m not saying that the world would end or anything, but there would be a lot of disappointment. There would be a lot of crying children. Even adults who have woken up on Christmas morning year after year, they wouldn’t know how to react.”

Nick: “I know what you’re saying, I know that it’s what he has to do, but can’t he just give the job to another family, until it’s our turn.”

Chris: “Come on, you have known Dad all your life, do you think that anyone would be able to his job as good as him? And don’t you think that he had been waiting his whole life to take over from his father, making sure he knew everything. This has been the family business for hundreds of years; he wouldn’t just give that away. He loves what he does, he loves helping whoever he can, and I’m sure he doesn’t think that his kids would resent him for his generosity.”

Nick: “I never thought of it like that before”

Chris: “Yeah I’m sure you haven’t, your ridiculous, I don’t know why I even bother helping you.”

Nick feels embarrassed.

Nick: “I guess your right”

A smart ass smirk appears on Chris’s face.

Nick: “Hey do you think it’s too late to start applying to colleges?”

Chris: “No, most deadlines aren’t even till January first, I just wanted to get a lot of it out of the way before the Christmas season started. I was hoping that dad would give me bigger responsibilities this year and if I didn’t have applications to worry about then I could do more around here.”

Nick: “I wish I had thought of that sooner.”

Chris: “Il help you.”

Nick: “Really?”

Chris: “Sure, you think I’m going to want to be half a world away from you next year? I couldn’t last by myself I don’t think.”

Nick: “Thanks”

Chris: “Sure.”

Nick: “What am I supposed to do now? I’ve messed up so bad. There’s no way Dad is going to forgive for this, at least not in time for Christmas.”

Chris:  “You want to try?”

Nick smiles, and they get to work.

A few seconds later they hear a rattling at the door. And a deep voice of grumbling.

Nick: “That must me Dad!!! He’s back from his research trip! He must have flown over the shop and wondered why all the lights were on! What are we going to do? He’s gonna kill me.”

Chris: “Come on we can just say we saw an animal sneak in here because someone forgot to lock the door.”

Nick: “You know he’s not going to believe that! He’s going to smell the alcohol on my breath!”

Chris: “No, he’s not because you were never here, Go!”

Nick: “Go where?”

Chris: “Back to the house, come on, run!”

Nick: “No he’s never going to believe you did this, I can’t let you”

Chris: “Trust me he’s going to be a lot less mad at me then he is going to be mad at you! Can you just go?!”

Nick: “If you’re sure”

Chris nods

Nick starts to run for the back entrance

He turns back and looks at Chris

Nick: “If the time ever comes, I think you’d make a really good Santa.”

Chris smiles and waves at him to leave, the door opens, Curtain lowers.

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