The Census Taker
SCENE opens on an 18-year-old girl, Beth Coleman, rushing to answer the door - 'coming!' she shouts asthe doorbell chimes a second time. She opens the door to find a meek man in glasses and a somewhatnerdy-looking suit, holding a leather messenger bag under his arm. He greets her nervously andintroduces himself as Milton James, and holding up an ID on a lanyard across his neck he explains thathe's a census taker - her parents failed to fill out the latest census and so by law he's required to come inperson to interview someone from the household. Beth looks wary - her parents aren't home for theday and she doesn't know anything about this census stuff. He says it's quite alright, anybody over theage of 15 can be interviewed for the household. He looks her up and down - she is over 15, right? Bethanswers yes, she just turned 18 a couple of months ago. Milton adjusts his glasses and says perfect, thenhe can interview her in her parents' stead, it should only take about fifteen minutes or so. Beth is stillreluctant, now's really not the best time and she'd rather he come back sometime when her parents arehome. She apologizes and goes to close the door but it doesn't close all the way - Milton has put hisshoe in between the door and the frame. 'I'm afraid I must insist,' he says in a nervous attempt tosound menacing. 'Answering the United States census is required by law. To put it simply, Miss Coleman,you don't really have a choice in this matter.'