Thursday, July 22, 2021

Bedrock Buried Child

While watching reruns of The Flintstones on MeTV, I realized that we never found out the secret of Bamm Bamm's origin. He just showed up in a baby basket on Barney and Betty's doorstep one night after they wished on a star for an infant of their own after enviously cooing over their neighbors' darling Pebbles. Where did Bamm Bamm really come from? This deep dark secret reminded me of Sam Shepard's Buried Child and Tracey Letts' August: Osage County. So here is a parody imagining the ultimate reckoning. With apologies to Sam Shepard, Tracey Letts, Joseph Hanna and William Barbera.

The scene is the living room of the Flintstone house. It is dark and gloomy, though it is early afternoon. All the shades are drawn. Fred Flintstone is seated in is favorite comfy rock chair, asleep in front of a TV set. The sounds of a rerun of The Prize is Price can be softly heard. Fred snores loudly and is surrounded by bones from a brontosaurus steak. The decaying carcass of Dino the dinosaur is one corner. A long-

What if Sam Shepard and Tracey Letts
wrote an episode of the Flintstones?

billed bird on its last legs is perched above a dusty hi-fi set, ready to play records with its beak. Wilma Flintstone, heavily made-up to cover her age and wearing an inappropriately revealing dress, staggers into the room, leaning on a wooden cane.

Wilma: Fred! Wake up, you old ton of guts!

Fred (struggling to wake, mumbling): What, what is it? (Sees Wilma) Oh, it's you. I was dreaming of Gina Lolabrickita and here you are, like a nightmare. Why did you have to wake me up?

Wilma: To tell you I'm going out. I didn't want you to panic if you saw I was gone.

Fred: Panic? Are you kidding? I'd probably be so happy, I'd give myself a heart attack.

Wilma: Very funny.

Fred: Where you are going all dolled up, anyway? Who'd want to see an old buzzard like you?

Wilma: Give it a rest, Fred. I'm going to meet Reverend Rockbury to discuss your final arrangements.

Fred: Final arrangements? I ain't dead yet, goddamnit. (He tries to rise but can't) You already got me dead and buried, why you scheming hussy. I'll bet you and that Bible shaker are plotting to steal all my money--- (he flops back into the chair).

Wilma: Don't make me laugh. What money? After 50 years at Slate Gravel what do you have to show for it? This dump? A dead dinosaur we can't afford to have buried. A broken-down hi-fi set that can't even play CDs? Ever since you started seeing that little green man from outer space, you've just fallen apart. You sit in that chair and watch old game shows and wrestling matches all day while I try to put food on the table. I tell you, Fred Flintstone, I am glad our daughter ran away. Glad, do you hear! 

Fred: Don't you mention that disloyal girl's name in this house.

Wilma: Pebbles! Pebbles! 

Fred (Covering his ears): Stop. Stop.

(Wilma pulls a pill bottle out of her purse and takes two capsules. She takes several deep breaths)

Fred: You keep poppin' those happiness pills, you're gonna end up like Judy Garland-rock.

Wilma: Alright, I don't want to fight with you, Fred. But you're on the way out and I'm the one who has to deal with the mess. Your dinner, such as it is, is on the stove. I will be back, maybe in one hour, maybe two, maybe three. What's the difference? I'm going to have a nice visit with the reverend. I think he likes me and I kind of respect him. It will be a nice change after decades of vulgar behavior. (after a pause) I need to think of my future. 

Fred (from a different mood): I put those pearls on your neck, you know.

Wilma: I know, Fred. 

Fred: I gave you this house. I got you away from that crazy mother of yours.

Wilma (tiredly repeating a mantra that keeps her husband happy and quiet): Yes, Fred. You set me up in the lap of luxury. I am forever grateful. I will be back. (She kisses the top of his head.) Try not to choke on your own vomit till I get back. (She exits)

Fred (yelling after her): You're a regular riot, Wilma! (To himself) Choke on your own vomit. What a wife! (Fred falls back asleep. Sound of a car pulling up. The door opens and Pebbles and Bamm Bamm Rubble in their early 30s enter.)

Pebbles: There he is. Daddy (she runs to the chair and attempts to shake Fred awake) Wake up, daddy. It's me, Pebbles.

Fred: What? Pebbles. No. You're not Pebbles, you're not my little girl.  

Pebbles: Yes, it is. Bamm Bamm and I ran away, I know, I'm sorry. But we had to. 

Fred: No, Pebbles is dead. She died a long time ago.

Bamm Bamm: I told you there was no point in coming back. 

Fred (seeing Bamm Bamm): No, go away! No, no. Get outta here, you demon. 

Bamm Bamm and Pebbles in happier days

Pebbles: Daddy, what's the matter? This is Bamm Bamm. He's my husband now. You've known him all his life. Why are you acting this way?

Fred (Screams in horror and falls out of his chair as Bamm Bamm comes towards him): No, no (he attempts to crawl away)

Bamm Bamm: What's the matter, Uncle Fred? 

Fred: Go away, take what you want. There's nothing left, but take whatever you want and then get out of here.

Pebbles: What is wrong with you, daddy? 

(Barney and Betty Rubble, aged and disheveled enter from next door)

Barney: Fred, we heard yelling and came to see what's the matter (sees Pebbles and Bamm Bamm) Who are you? What do you want here?

Betty: Barney, call the police. It's a couple of hippie punk kids trying to hurt and rob Fred.

Bamm Bamm: Mom, dad, what's going on here? Don't you remember me? I'm Bamm Bamm.

Barney: Bamm Bamm? (slaps Bamm Bamm) There is no Bamm Bamm. I have no son. (he runs out)

Betty: What do you people want here? There's nothing for you here. If there was something, it's all gone now.

Bamm Bamm: Mom, what are you talking about? I'm your son!

Betty (after a moment, she sits in Fred's chair, looks at Fred cowering in the corner, huddled beside Dino's corpse): I don't know what you mean. I never had a son...Barney couldn't....I couldn't.

Fred (touches Betty's leg): Betty, kiss me. Please. I'm alone and afraid.

Betty (touches Fred's head gently): That's all gone now, dear. 

Pebbles: There's something very strange going on here. Maybe we should leave.

(Barney re-enters, carrying giant vegetables)

Barney: I found these growing in the backyard. (He throws the vegetables at Betty) Maybe there's a symbol of something, I don't know. I was never very good at this sort of thing.

(Wilma enters with Rev. Rockbury who is really the Great Gazoo in disguise)

Wilma: Fred, we need to talk. The reverend has some very good ideas about my...I mean our future. (Sees Pebbles and Bamm Bamm, Betty and Barney) Oh, a party. (To Pebbles and Bamm Bamm) I don't think we've met. Are you friends of Fred's? Well, there's almost nothing in the house to eat. (Sees the vegetables) Oh, someone did bring some crudities, though they seem a little big to fit on a plate.

Fred (pointing to the Reverend): I know you. All the trouble started when you showed up.

Barney and Fred when they first met
the Great Gazoo

Rev. Rockbury/Gazoo: What is he talking about, Wilma? What a dum-dum!

Fred: Ahh, that voice (He attempts to lunge at the reverend but falls down. Barney continues to throw vegetables at Betty)

Pebbles: Stop it, everyone. STOP! (The action ceases) Please, please. What is happening? What happened to the wonderful, funny world I knew as a baby? What vile corruption stained and ruined the beautiful world of Bedrock?

(Everyone stares at Pebbles like she's nuts. A moment of silence. Then Betty speaks)

Betty: I suppose it's my fault. I wanted a baby so much. I never told you, Barney. But remember when we found the baby on our doorstep that night? I wasn't entirely surprised. I knew who the baby was. (She turns and slowly looks at Fred) A few months earlier, Wilma was away and you were out at the Water Buffalo lodge. Fred had slipped away. I had too many drinks and so did he. I wore big house dresses after that to hide the pregnancy. (looks at everyone) I'm sorry.

(Bamm Bamm looks at Pebbles, screams and runs out. Barney picks up the corpse of Dino and slowly goes up the stairs.)

Wilma (turns to Fred): You've really done it this time, Fred, haven't you? (Pebbles slowly walks towards Wilma and the Reverend laughs behind his hand, snickering "Earth dum-dums" as the curtain falls.)

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