"The District of Columbia"

Trying to enjoy their lunch at Jean Louis' by the Watergate Hotel, Lydia and Penelope Renselier speak with a prominent "Beltway" socialite.

Mrs. Wembley: Lydia, I can't tell you how much my husband is looking forward to having George step up with the real power elite

Penelope: (Under her breath) A step up or a kneel down?

Lydia: (Casting her daughter a harsh glance) Why, thank you, CeCe - George absolutely adores the Senator and is looking forward to their golf game

Penelope: (Munching on some flat bread) Actually, he's really looking forward to the locker room

Mrs. Wembley: (Sipping her tea) I'm sorry, dear?

Lydia knocks Penny under the table with her crutch.

Penelope: (Saccharine smile) I do hope they have a smashing match today!

Mrs. Wembley: I need to correct you, Penelope - it's referred to as a ROUND of golf, not a match

Penelope: OH... ROUND... as in your LARGE, ROUND ASUMPH

Lydia quickly stuffs a scone in her daughter's mouth.

Lydia: So, CeCe, tell me more about your work with the Smithsonian?

Mrs. Wembley: I'd love to, but first, I need to take a quick trip to the ladies' room - if you'll both excuse me

The two Renselier ladies watch the older woman flit across the room. Penny hurls something after her.

Lydia: (Grabbing her hand) Penelope... do not use the pecans from your muffin as projectiles - either you eat them or set them daintily aside on your plate

Penelope: (Huffing and folding her arms) At least give me her teacup so I can drool in it

Lydia: (Winking) Sorry, Honey, that's my department

This elicits a slight laugh from her daughter.

Lydia: It won't be much longer, we just have some museum business to chat about and then we'll go meet your father

Penelope: Did you hear what she said about my hair?

Lydia: Well, whatever did you expect? - you have red, white, and blue streaks in it - you look like Betsy Ross' nightmare!

Penelope: I was doing it to honor my father

Lydia: And he appreciates your attempt at patriotism, Sweetie, but, next time - how about wearing a simple lapel pin?

Penelope: (Shrugging) I could wear it through my nose

Lydia: (Finishing her sandwich) Excellent

Penelope: By the way, what makes you think I was being patriotic to THIS country? - England has red, white, and blue as well

Lydia: Yes, but your father is not looking to become a member of parliament

Penelope: He might be happier there - you know what the say about Englishmen

Lydia: Hush up, that old bitty is returning - we need to make a nice impression - and stop slurping your salad

Penny makes a face and silently mocks her mother's words.

Mrs. Wembley: (Taking her seat) Oh Pippy - I just thought of something for you...

Penelope: (Biting her lip) Penelope

Mrs. Wembley: Right - my granddaughter goes to an exclusive tanning salon in Alexandria - I could give you her number and she'd be more than happy to help you rid yourself of that ghostly pallor

Penelope: It takes me about an hour each day to achieve this ghostly pallor - why would I want to get rid of it to look like every other Barbie bimbo sporting a shade of bronzed poo?

Lydia: I WOULD LOVE SOME MORE TEA, PLEASE

Mrs. Wembley: Lydia, I wanted to mention earlier how amazed I was by your presentation concerning your little museum in Duquesa Bay

Lydia: Yes, the Chumash heritage display is a cornerstone of our... little museum - we're quite proud of it

Mrs. Wembley: And you wrote all of the material yourself?

Lydia: (Now becoming agitated) Yes - my brilliant daughter assisted me with the legwork - hee hee - but I indeed wrote it... word for word!

Mrs. Wembley: (Applauding) Why Lydia, you can write, I am so impressed!

Lydia: (Deepening her tone) Mrs. Wembley, Multiple Sclerosis is not synonymous with Mental Retardation - not only can I read AND write, I can do it better than 99.9% of the so-called healthy population out there, so, if you are done with your well-meaning condescension, Penelope and I will be on our way

Now riding in the back of a limousine, the two Renseliers remain silent for a moment.

Penelope: (Finally breaking it) Did you have to be so mean to her, mom?

Lydia: I'm just sick and tired of all of these people treating my brain like an invalid when it's only my body that deserves the reputation

Penelope: (Playing with her bracelets) They just don't get it and they never will... until it happens to them or someone close to them

Lydia: They're adults with an education supposedly past sixth grade, they should be able to grasp this rather simple concept

Penelope: (Patting her mother's hand) Nothing with you is ever simple, mom

Lydia kisses her on the head.

Penelope: Did you take your pills today?

Lydia: Not yet

Penelope: (Raising an eyebrow) Can I have them, then?

Lydia: (Wrinkling her nose) Don't be snarky - ooh, look, there's your father waiting for us!

With a slight grin and golf bag on his shoulder, George waves.

George: (Getting inside the limo) Did you two have a good lunch with Senator Wembley's wife?

Lydia: (Trying to reposition her cramping leg) Typical

Penelope: I threw pecans at her

George: That's not nice, Pen... did you hit her?

Penelope: Nicked her shin

George: Good girl!

Penelope: How was your ROUND of golf?

George: Strategic - I met a lot of power players today - they think I have a realistic shot at a congressional seat in a few years

Lydia: That's terrific, Geo

Penelope: What's so great about here, anyway? - California is bigger than most countries - why can't you be happy there?

George: I am happy there, but this is the progressive step that needs to be taken

Penelope: Needs or wants?

Lydia: Penny

George: (Scratching his head) A couple of the men I spoke with today are really interested in your brother's new venture

Lydia: Douglas has been so secretive about it, I'm not even sure what it involves

George: It involves money and it involves power - the perfect combo for this town

Lydia: True enough

George: (Hesitant) And... as a result... I have been invited to one of their private clubs later

Penelope: DAD - THAT'S NOT FAIR

George: I'm sorry, Honey

Penelope: (Pouting) You promised me a tour of the National Cathedral and the Oak Hill Cemetery - those were the only reasons I came on this stupid trip!

Lydia: Don't forget about getting out of your classes

George: I promise to make it up to you both - we'll do something fun tomorrow for sure

Lydia: You have a heavy schedule of fund-raising meetings tomorrow

Penelope: (Staring out the window) You two can go to hell

Lydia: (Pinching her daughter's leg) Already there, Darling

George tells the driver to pull over.

George: Listen, I'll catch a cab from here - you two go on and have a wonderful time, I'll meet you both for dinner

Lydia: (Kissing his cheek) Good luck, George

George: (Trying to kiss Penny's cheek) Daddy loves you!

Penelope: (Turning away and sighing) Sure

The limo resumes its course. Penelope pulls out a small pad of paper and begins to scrawl wildly on it.

I wanna be anesthetized
Don't wanna look into your eyes
Don't wanna listen to your cries
I wanna be anesthetized
So tired of believing in your lies
So tired of being mesmerized
So your life can be sanitized
I wanna be anesthetized

Lydia: (Wringing her hands) You know, while we're out here - why don't we check out Georgetown and George Washington University?

Penelope: (Wiping away a tear) Why would I want to go to college, especially a college that is on the other side of the country... who would wipe your ass?

Lydia: Penelope, don't be crude

Penelope: It's a valid question and it CERTAINLY wouldn't be dad

Lydia: We'll cross that bridge when we come to it

Penelope: (Softly) You can't even cross the street

Lydia: With a little luck and the HARD WORK your father is doing now, hopefully, he'll be here in a few years - so, it only makes sense for you to go to school here

Penelope: And where will you be?

Lydia: Most likely in the ground

Penelope: I wish you wouldn't talk like that

Lydia: But it is the eventual reality

Penelope: It's ALL of our eventual reality - why can't we enjoy just one goddamn trip as a family?

Lydia: This is what your father wants in life and I expect you to support him in this, whether I am here or not

Penelope: What my father wants is that fucking faggot back at SCU

Lydia slaps her daughter hard across the face. Both are momentarily stunned.

Lydia: OH GOD, PENNY, GOD, I AM SO SORRY - HONEY, PLEASE

Penelope: (Pulling away) It's OK - I guess I deserved that

Lydia: (Tears rolling down her face) No, no you didn't

Penelope: (Unable to keep from crying) WHY DO YOU LET HIM GET AWAY WITH IT? - WHY DO YOU LET HIM TREAT YOU LIKE THAT? - WHY DO YOU LET HIM TREAT US LIKE THAT?

Lydia: It's complicated, Baby

Penelope: NO, IT ISN'T - HE EITHER LOVES US OR HE DOESN'T

Lydia: (Trying to hug her daughter) He DOES love us, Penelope, HE DOES... just not in the way we want him to

Penelope: (Low whisper) He loves himself more

Lydia: I won't attempt to argue with that

Penelope: How in the hell did you ever fall in love with him?

Lydia: (Bemused smile) Honestly, I don't really know... but I did

Penelope looks to her mother and reluctantly pats her hand.

Lydia: I was always considered to be "damaged goods" by men, your father was the first one to treat me with respect... to actually regard me as a sexual person

Penelope: I'm not sure I want to hear this

Lydia: You need to hear this - when I first met George, it was very obvious to me that he was bisexual but we still fell in love, we hid behind... and within each other - do you hate me for bringing you into this mess?

Penny is momentarily stunned by the question.

Lydia: You know, if you ever wanted to find your natural parents, I wouldn't blame you in the least

Penelope: No and no... no, I don't hate you - it's not your fault, I suppose it's not anyone's fault - and no, I have no need to find my DNA donors - for all of your fucked-up-ness, you and dad ARE and always WILL BE my real family

The two share a long, warm embrace.

Lydia: Heh, here I was thinking I could save this darling little baby they put in my arms and she is the one who ultimately ended up saving me

Penelope: (Kissing her mother's cheek and smiling) An indentured servitude of 18 years

Lydia: (Playful tone) That's right, slave, now BUFF MY NAILS

Penelope: Yes, master - can we still go to the cemetery later?

Lydia: Of course, but how about we go shopping first... ON YOUR FATHER'S CREDIT CARD

Penelope: YAY

.

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