MAISIE’S DEAD: Act Two, SCENE 2

Maisie’s  Dead: A Comedic Tale of Love and Marriage

Copyright © 2007 by William D. Coffey, All rights reserved

 

Act Two, SCENE 2:   Friday evening, the barn guest room

 

The barn guest room.  Assumed door location is right end of upstage wall.  A couch of hide-away-bed length sets against left upstage wall.  A rug is centered on floor.  Two chairs are randomly placed. A bookshelf and other props are optional. Clyde, Smokey, Preach and Herb flop in relaxed postures.

 

SMOKEY

You reckon John and Frieda ever eat anything besides tuna fish?

 

PREACH     [looking around]

Don’t seem like it.  You know, this is right comfortable quarters for a barn.

 

HERB

I’ve slept in a whole lot worse.

 

CLYDE

Ain’t this just somethin’.

 

HERB

You mean the barn?

 

CLYDE

Naw, I mean us.  Four of us here never seen each other before.  Never heard of each other before, but we’re all sleepin’ in the same room and we all been married to Maisie.

 

SMOKEY

Well… yeah.   Strange bedfellows and all that.  Specially you and Preach.  [chuckles]

 

CLYDE

Thing is…  we all got somethin’ in common, which is Maisie.  But we don’t know each other.  It seems like… aw, I dunno…   It just seems like to me that if we’re gonna do this thing right for Maisie, then we ought to get to know each other…  at least, just a little…  like how it was when each one of us was married to her…

 

SMOKEY

You might have something there.  But you might not.  I mean, I don’t care to hear you telling all about your happy squeezes with Maisie.  What else have you got to tell about?  Like, for starters, what do you do for a living?

 

CLYDE

Me?  I was a diesel mechanic in the Navy.  I been the mechanic on a lot of ore boats up on the Lakes.  And, I been pretty well in-vested in the oil industry.  I worked around as a roughneck on the oil drillin’ rigs, see.  That’s what they allus called us, roustabouts and roughnecks.  I’m in between things right now.  How ‘bout you, Herb?

 

HERB

Oh, I’ve just about always been in politics.

 

SMOKEY

Politics?  Dirty work, ain’t it?  Whadda you do?

 

HERB

What I did is better’n what I do.  I worked for my third cousin Reuben, who was Justice of the Peace.  I was the Assistant JP, see.  That went along real good for some years.  But then along come a new judge and Reuben got put out, so I had to look elsewhere.

 

PREACH

So did you stay in politics?

 

HERB

You bet!  I  been a deputy jailor, on and off.  Then I run for dog catcher.  Didn’t get the votes to win, but I got on anyway because it was my brother-in-law that won the election.  He hired me the next day as Assistant Dog Catcher.  I been a school crossin’ guard sometimes.  Pays to be friends with the magis-trates, you know.  And, then, my goal is someday to win the election – legal majority of the votes, y’know – to be mayor of Iuka!

 

CLYDE

Top job, huh?  I dunno…   this playin’ politics sounds purty “iffy” to me.

 

HERB

How ‘bout you preacher?  Everbody knows you preach, but we don’t know nothin’ about your politics?  You got ambitions?  Favorite foods?   Let’s get to know you a little better!

 

PREACH

Well, lordy!  Where to start.  I been around a while, you know.

 

CLYDE

Ain’t we all.

 

PREACH

Lessee.  Politics.  I’ll start off by admittin’ I voted for Nixon.  [raises palm]  With God as my witness, I been seekin’ forgiveness ever since.  Then what?  Goals.  Yeah!  I done told you I do gospel rock and roll.  I have got me an ambition to hold a gospel rock and roll missionary fundraiser concert in the Houston Astrodome!  Oh, wouldn’t that just be somethin’, praise the Lord!  Then I would retire, see.  Haven’t been able to, just yet.

 

SMOKEY

Well I’ll give you this, you don’t shoot at low targets.

 

PREACH

Yeah, the Houston Astrodome.  Reckon these dad-blame televangelists would notice that, boy!   Just kills me the way the good old tent revival is bein’ pushed out by these mega-churches and their televangelists!  There ain’t nothin’ more re-freshin’ to the soul than a good old-fashioned tent revival meetin’Yeah!  They’re getting rare as hen teeth these days.  …Now lessee…  My most prized possession is my old beat-up collection plate.  Me and that pan has been through a many a holy offering together.  Favorite food?  I’d vote for fried chicken and Hawaiian Punch.

 

CLYDE

Hawaiian Punch!?  Yuck!

 

HERB

What’s your politics, Smokey?  You gotta fess up too if we’re gonna get to know you.

 

SMOKEY

I don’t have no politics, so I’m not responsible for the mess in Washington.  But I did get hired once to sky write this politician’s name.  I did it too.  Then the sucker refused to pay me.  Claimed I misspelled his name.   I didn’t misspell his damn name.

 

PREACH

What was his name?

 

SMOKEY

Smit.  Like Smith, but without the “h.”   Piece of cake to sky write it.  But I wasn’t no more’n back down on the ground before here he come, hoppin’ and hollerin’ and pointin’ at the sky.  Well, I think he might’ve paid me anyway if I hadn’t laughed.

 

HERB

Why’d you laugh then?

 

SMOKEY

I wrote his name perfect.  But while I was glidin’ back down a little puff of wind got a’hold of that smoke and made the “m” in Smit look like an “h.”

 

CLYDE         [well and truly tickled]

Hee hee hee!  I wouldn’ta paid you neither!

 

SMOKEY

I reckon it was the worst thing could happen to a politician.  Anyway, the best piece of sky writing I ever did was Maisie’s name.  Hollywood people get theirs up in lights, I put Maisie’s up in smoke.  Way high in the bluest prairie sky you ever saw. It was fifteen minutes before it drifted off.  She was so proud. That was my masterpiece for sky writin’!

 

HERB

You still do it?

 

SMOKEY

Naw.  They won’t renew my pilot’s license.  Say I’m too old.

 

PREACH

How old are you?

 

SMOKEY

Seventy five.  Not enough time left to reach my life’s ambition.

 

HERB

What ambition is that, Smokey?

 

SMOKEY    [as if it’s nothing ]

To sky write with a jet.

 

            [pause – they all look at him]

 

PREACH

Those guys won’t renew your license…  May be you oughtta send them a thank you note.

 

SMOKEY

Yeah.  Well Clyde, did that satisfy you?  We sure know each other better now.

 

CLYDE

It was all right.  I just didn’t want to go in there tomorrow with a bunch of strangers.

 

PREACH

How you think this me-morial service will go?  Me, I’ve preached a good many funerals in my time, but this memorial thing is a new one on me.  Most gen’ly I just belt out a pretty good sermon but cut it a little short.  I mention the dearly departed a couple times and then get on to the cemetery.  But this is different.  Not even a casket.

 

CLYDE

John, he’s all intent on doin’ this thing right.

 

PREACH

Yeah.  Have you noticed how ever time somebody says the word “funeral,” ole John he right quick like says “memorial service.”  Never seen a fella more hung up on words.

 

SMOKEY

Might be that’s why none of us is in charge of getting it up and he is.

 

CLYDE

Hell, I wouldn’t wanta get it up.  All them phone calls, and findin’ a decent place and all…   I mean — I was Maisie’s last husband, but…    [glum]     I just wouldn’t feel right gittin’ up a funeral or a memorial service.  I cain’t believe Maisie’s dead…  [he droops]

 

PREACH

Speakin’ of getting it up, hadn’t we better all be thinkin’ ‘bout what we’re gonna say at this thing tomorrow?  If we’re supposed to celebrate Maisie’s life, like she wanted in her will, why we’d better plan on tellin’ a few stories about her.

 

CLYDE

Now I gotta think about that one. I got lots of stories, but I ain’t so sure I wanta tell ‘em in front of other men that’s been married to the same wife as I was!

 

PREACH

Now, that’s just bein’ too sensitive.  The holy book says not to have false pride, and I say not to have false sensitive either.  Fact is, all of us here has been married to Maisie.  She chose each one of us at one time or ‘nother.  That’s a kind of a compli-ment, if you see what I mean.  We don’t have to tell ever’ little detail, now do we?  Let’s just skip over them details and pick out some nice little story that’s sweet like, and tell it.  We just need to practice, that’s all.  Man don’t want to get up there tomorrow and stand on his tongue.

 

SMOKEY

Okay.  Just tell a good Maisie story.  Who wants to go first?

 

[silence.  They look around at each other]

 

CLYDE

Why don’t you go first.  I would be all ears to hear about Maisie flyin’ that airplane.

 

SMOKEY

Well, okay, I guess.    [fingers together, gathering his thoughts]    Maisie was the fastest learner I ever saw.  Learned to fly that biplane twice faster’n I did.  After three weeks she knew everything I knew and had started takin’ the plane up by herself.  She’d try this and she’d try that.  Every time she went up she would teach herself some new way of flyin’.  One of those new ways soon came in handy.

 

CLYDE

Like what?

 

SMOKEY

Hold on.  I forgot to mention how I met Maisie in the first place.  It was at a race track. I was at the track by myself that day, and here she came strollin’ by on the arm of this big hairy lunk of a guy.  Pretty little thing!  She must have seen me starin’ cause she looked straight at me, and smiled.   Biggest, friendliest smile you ever saw!  Smile that would melt a ball-peen hammer.  The hairy lunk noticed this and didn’t like it, so he hustled her on by.  But that didn’t stop anything, because pretty soon we were seeing each other and a couple weeks later we were married.

 

A little time went by.  Then one Saturday she was taking people up for sky rides, and the hairy lunk shows up.  Says he wants her to fly him up for a ride.  I was against it, but Maisie just smiled her sweet smile and says, quiet-like, “Leave him to me.”  So up they go.  In just a few minutes here they came back down.  Old hairy lunk didn’t hang around, he made straight for his car and left out of there raisin’ a cloud of dust till he was clear out of sight.  Maisie looked like a cat that just ate a rat.

 

Naturally I asked her what happened.  She said she had hardly got up to altitude when hairy lunk started pawin’ her from behind and yellin’ about how she better take up with him again, or else.  Well, one of the new techniques she had taught herself was barrel rolls.  When hairy lunk kept on, she just turned that biplane upside down.  He couldn’t fall out, because we always tied in our payin’ passengers with a seat belt and a harness, but he thought he was a goner.

 

She flew him balls up for a mile or two, then she put the plane into a tight corkscrew.  By this time he was screamin’ and she figured he had wet his pants, so she went on into a loop-de-loop.  That’s where you fly straight up and keep leanin’ back till the plane stalls.  Then you fall over backward and loop on down into normal forward flight again.  Only she didn’t go into normal forward flight.  What she did was, she cut off the motor.  You ever been two thousand feet up and heard your motor quit?  There is no doubt old hairy lunk sucked his privates up into his gizzard.  Maisie wasn’t done with him, though.

 

She put that plane into a straight-down dive – a real screamer —  and she didn’t pull out till the last hundred feet or so.  By this time hairy lunk had got to moanin’ and prayin’.  She thought he might pass out, so she just glided on in to a perfect three point landing, rolled right up to the passenger area, unhitched herself, stood up and smiled sweet as Mary Magdalene, and said “Next passenger, please.”

 

CLYDE

Maisie done all that!!!

 

SMOKEY

Never saw the hairy lunk again.  How about you, Clyde?  How did you meet Maisie? …

 

…to be continued…

*          ©          *

…a new posting will follow in one week…

 SHARE THE BLOG:  If you enjoy contents of this blog

please invite your friends to see

The Fixy Populist     …at…    fixypopulist.com

READERS COMMENT is invited below

Share

Leave a Reply