MAISIE’S DEAD: Act Two, SCENE 3

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

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

 

Act Two, SCENE 3:   Friday afternoon again, the senior apartment (continued)

 

…continuation of ACT TWO, Scene One.

 

 

 

JESSIE

Might be awful?  What do you mean it might be?

 

FRIEDA

Mama, your and Daddy’s wedding anniversary was the fifteenth of October, wasn’t it?

 

JESSIE

Yes, that’s right.

 

FRIEDA

This man Herb came here on a bus from Iuka, Mississippi.   That’s where you and Daddy got married, isn’t it?  In nineteen fifty-four?

 

JESSIE

Yes we did.  Go on.

 

FRIEDA

You got your marriage license there, and… everything…  isn’t that right?

 

JESSIE

Y-e-e-s…

 

FRIEDA

Well…  Herb said he worked for the justice of the peace. Who was his cousin.  Who married a lot of people there. It was an appointive job, and every few years he had to be re-appointed by a judge.  You see?

 

JESSIE

Yes, I see.

 

FRIEDA    [minor anguish]

But one year the judge went off on a long trip, but he forgot to reappoint the cousin before he left.  But the cousin kept right on marrying people – while the judge was gone – for two whole months.  But he had not been legally reappointed.  So all those people he married – while the judge was gone…  they weren’t really married.

 

JESSIE

Frieda dear, do you really think your daddy and I might not have been legally married all these years?  What were the two months this man was not supposed to marry people?

 

FRIEDA

Herb doesn’t remember!  But he says the year was nineteen fifty-four.  But the story didn’t get out till ten years later.  But they didn’t tell everyone even then – they just sent a few letters to a few of those people…   but they didn’t even tell all the rest!

 

JESSIE

My, that’s a lot of buts.  Sweetie, my advice is don’t worry about it.  Your father and I were married more than fifty years.  We had one of the best and happiest marriages I’ve ever known of.  Now a half century later your father has passed on, and there certainly is no reason for you to be concerned about this man’s silly story.

 

FRIEDA

I made him promise he’d find out which were the two months.  Mama… what if one of them was…  October…?

 

JESSIE

Now what difference would that make?  Anyway, October is not going to be involved, you can be sure of that!  Why don’t you just put this silly little worry out of your mind and help John get through this week.  You have plenty enough going on at your house.

 

MAUD

I’ll second that.  Just keep on being our happy Frieda.

 

GERMAINE

Right!  Don’t conjure up things to worry about.

 

FRIEDA

I didn’t exactly conjure this up, but you all do make me feel better.

 

JESSIE

There!  And you thought I was going to get all upset! Would you like some tea?

 

FRIEDA

No thanks, I have to go buy more tuna fish.  And a large can of coffee!

 

GERMAINE

You’re too good, Frieda.  You should make those bums feed themselves.

 

FRIEDA

Turn them loose in my kitchen?  No thanks!  And I certainly don’t want them cooking in the barn – they’d burn it down!

 

JESSIE

Well, just go home and take care of John.

 

FRIEDA

John is doing just fine!  Please, pray that Saturday comes and goes quickly.  Bye!

[she exits;   Jessie, Maud and Germaine sit in silence a moment]

 

MAUD

There went your chance.

 

JESSIE

I know it.  Poor thing.  I just could not tell her that Albert and I were one of the few unlucky couples who received one of those wretched letters.

 

GERMAINE

You’re not gonna tell her you lived in sin for over fifty years?   [chuckles]

 

JESSIE

Germaine!  That is hardly helpful just now!  Anyway, Albert and I had sort of a second wedding.  Our twenty-fifth anniversary was a big to-do where we renewed our vows, preacher and all. Not to mention our fiftieth anniversary — it was a big deal too.

 

MAUD

Sounds legal to me!

 

JESSIE

I’m fine except for this queasy déjà vu feeling.  Frieda’s like a bloodhound.  You heard her!   She’s made this fellow Herb promise to find out and tell her which months that idiot went on marrying people. If he does the secret’s out and there’ll be no calming her!

 

MAUD

Well, you’ve avoided it all these years.  What do you plan to do now?

 

JESSIE

What can I do?  My concern was always to keep Frieda from getting all upset – I just wanted to spare her that pain.  But she’s already upset.  If she finds out the truth on her own – well…   Facing hard little truths is not such a bad thing, it seems to me.

 

GERMAINE

Still, why let it rain if you can blow the clouds away? It’s already stormy enough around Frieda’s house.  Think you might put a bug in the ear of this Mississippi boy?

 

JESSIE      [pause, she looks at Germaine]

What an interesting thought…

…to be continued…

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