MAISIE’S DEAD: Act Two, SCENE 4

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

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

 

 

Act Two, SCENE 4:   Friday evening again, the barn guest room (continued)

 

…continuation of ACT TWO, Scene Two.

 

 

SMOKEY

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

 

CLYDE

Funny thing, it was at the track, just like you.      [Herb reacts again]      I was at the window puttin’ my money down.  Turned around and almost walked straight into her.  ‘Course I ex-cused all over myself, but she just smiled and said “That’s quite all right, sir.”  Now in all my life, there ain’t never been a woman said a word to me that was anything like when Maisie said “quite all right.”    Put a little upturn on that “quite”…   y,know…   [he grins idiotically]   Never heard a woman put so much promise in “quite.”

 

I couldn’t think straight;  lost my seat.  Couldn’t concentrate on horses the rest of the day.  Lost fifty dollars.  Then it’s all over, I’m headin’ out in the parkin’ lot and guess who!!  There she was with her hood up, lookin’ like she didn’t know what to do.  Well, me bein’ a mechanic, I soon had her runnin’, you bet.  And she told me how grateful she was.

 

HERB    [leering]

How grateful was that?

 

CLYDE

Cut that out!  You know damn well how…   …She was grateful...   So we got married…   And that’s how I met Maisie.

 

HERB

Y’know, Maisie did like to bet on the horses.  I’ve just sorta  been noticin’…     You two   [he points at Clyde and Smokey]  met her at the racetrack.  So did I.   How ‘bout you, preacher man?  Didn’t she ever get you to take her to the races?

 

PREACH

Well, yeah, but just farm boys doin’ rodeo tricks at the county fair.  I done told you, I met Maisie at a proper tent revival meetin’!  And we sure never went to no gamblin’ horse race, no sir-ree!  I cain’t believe Maisie ever bet good money on horses!

 

HERB

She must have been “fastin” while she was with you.  Y’wanta hear how I met Maisie?

 

SMOKEY

I thought you was holding back.

 

HERB     [he gazes distantly]

She was in that green shiny dress… real high heels, dangly earrings…  She come sid’lin’ along — right past the box I was in with some other guys.  She was leaned up on the arm of some old tall Jack who looked like he didn’ know how to strop his razor.  Little moustache, big sideburns, greazy spots on his shirt.  Dumber’n dirt, I think to my self.  Maisie was laughin’ like she does … like she did …  I’m damn if she didn’ steer into the box right next to mine.  Well!  Right a’way she gets real interested in the horses — askin’ Dumb Dude how she should place her bets, which horse is better’n t’others, and so on.

 

I see he don’t know beans from Shinola, he’s guessin’.  Maisie lays her two dollars down three races in a row and three times it walks away, and she is not pleased.  She’s still havin’ a hell of a time, laughin’, keep the drinks comin’ — bein’ herself, y’know — but you can tell she’d rather win money more than lose it.

 

Tall Jack finally has more beers than he can hold and goes off to the pissery.  Now mind, Maisie is settin’ right next to me — just over that little wall that only comes up to my shoulder.  I could just turn my head and look her right in the eye, see.  I imagine her and me havin’ a friendly conversation while Jack’s at the john.  So I politely say, “Ma’am, if you’d like a little friendly advice on the next race, put ten on Claim Jumper to win and five on Last Chance to place.  I’ll never forget them horses’ names.

 

Well!  She looks me over and says “How much confidence you got in that?”  I just smile and make a little in-vestment.  I says “If it don’t work out like I say, here’s your money back before you start,” and I hands fifteen bucks right over the wall.  Well, Maisie is im-pressed.  She don’t often shoot her eyebrows up, but that done it.

 

Make a long story short, tall Jack comes back lookin’ relieved, my horses come in right on cue and Maisie collects big time at the window.  After that, I notice Maisie is watchin’ out of one eye to see how I’m doin’.  They had twelve races that day, and I didn’ miss on but two. Walked away half rich for once.

 

When ever’body’s gettin’ up to leave, I feel a little touch on my hand, where it’s layin’ on the wall.  It’s just an instant, mind you — by the time I turn my head to look it’s already gone.  But there slid under my thumb is this little ticket, and on the ticket is Maisie’s phone number.  I don’t know when she wrote it on there so Jack wouldn’ see, but she done it!  And baby, it was all uphill from there!!!

 

[they all reflect a moment]

 

CLYDE

Boys…   I ain’t exactly superstitious, but I am gonna tell you somethin’.

 

HERB & PREACH

…Yeah what?…  …What’s that Clyde?…

 

CLYDE

Seven.

            [silence]

 

PREACH

Seven?

 

CLYDE

Seven.

 

HERB

Are you all right?  Seven what?

 

CLYDE

Seven years.  That’s what!

 

SMOKEY

What are you getting at?

 

CLYDE

I was married to Maisie for seven years.  Smokey, you said you was married to her for seven years, too.  Ain’t that right?

 

SMOKEY

Uh… yeah…   right…

 

CLYDE

Preach, twice now I’ve heard you say you was married to Maisie for seven years.  Right?

 

PREACH

Uh… right.

 

CLYDE

Herb, how long was you married to Maisie?

 

HERB

…Seven years.  What are you gettin’ at?

 

CLYDE

John in there, he was married to her only seven months, so he don’t count.  What does count is that she disappeared on him too!  Same as me – just went in to buy bread and beer and she disappeared!  Has anybody besides me been listenin’ since we got here?

 

HERB

Why, she disappeared when she left me too!  What about that!

 

CLYDE

What about you Smokey?

 

SMOKEY

Yeah…  that’s how it happened…

 

CLYDE

Preach?

 

PREACH

Why, yes!  She just disappeared one day!  What in heaven’s name…?

 

CLYDE

I person’ly don’t b’lieve it was heaven got into her.  Now when you guys first showed up yesterday, did you notice that thing about thirty-five years?

 

HERB

What thing?

 

CLYDE

You wasn’t here yet.  It come up that John had married Maisie thirty-five years ago.  Then it come up that Smokey had also married her thirty-five years ago.  So how did that work out, somebody asked?  John he says he married her in Feb’y’wary, she lasted seven months and then took off.  Smokey he says he married her in October.  So ever’thing worked out.  Maybe.  Then I got to thinkin’ some more.

 

HERB

That might not be a real good thing.  What are you thinkin’?

 

CLYDE

Smokey, how many years ago was it when Maisie took off from you?

 

SMOKEY

It was twenty-eight years ago.

 

CLYDE

Preach, how many years since Maisie married you?

 

PREACH

[pause]    …twenty-eight years…

 

CLYDE

How long since she pulled out on you?

 

PREACH

…twenty-one years…

 

CLYDE

Who did she marry twenty-one years ago?

 

HERB

Why, me, of course…I mean…

 

CLYDE

And after bein’ married seven years, how many years is it since she took off on you?

 

HERB

Fourteen years ago.  What the…

 

CLYDE

Now listen up.  Here we go through John, Smokey, Preach and Herb.  Except for John’s seven months, Maisie is married to each guy exactly seven years a’fore she gets the seven year itch and disappears.  Next thing you know she turns up, married to the next guy, in the same year she left the previous guy.  You guys getting’ what I’m sayin’?

 

HERB

Actually you’re disturbin’ hell out of me.  When was you married to her?

 

CLYDE

Seven years ago.  Then come seven happy years of wedded bliss and look out, Maisie is gone again. It has now been seven months since she disappeared on me, early this year.

 

SMOKEY

Hold on a minute.  Clyde, you got a kind of a “seven” thing goin’ here, but it’s got a hole in it.  Herb, you say it’s been fourteen years since she left you?

 

HERB

Yep.

 

SMOKEY

And Clyde, she married you seven years ago?

 

CLYDE

Yeah, that’s right.

 

SMOKEY

Where do you reckon she was between fourteen years ago and seven years ago?  That just happens to be another period of exactly seven years.

 

PREACH

Well now.   Considerin’ Maisie’s habits – as they have just been revealed to us all – that would seem to leave just the right amount of time for another husband.

            [all pause, looking at each other]

 

HERB

Number SIX ?!!

 

PREACH

Seems like a definite maybe.  What would you say?

 

CLYDE

What I say is Maisie was real hung up on this number seven.  You guys ever notice that when she was married to you?

 

HERB

Yeah, I did.  She used to put exactly seven gallons of gas in the car.  Not a drop more nor less.  Even if it was near empty.  Used to drive me nuts.

 

PREACH

She always wanted me to have seven hymns in every church service.  Said it was in the Old Testament somewheres, but I never saw that!

 

SMOKEY

She always had to wear seven pieces of jewelry, startin’ with the earrings.  After I finally noticed, I got to countin’ ever’ time we’d go out.  I asked about it once, but she just said it was a “natural” thing and I shouldn’t be watchin’ her so close.

 

CLYDE

Well, you see what I mean!  And there’s another little thing I ain’t mentioned yet.

 

SMOKEY

Mygod man, where else you gonna go with this?  Say it and get it over with!

 

CLYDE

Well now, John in there, he says how after Maisie walked out on him, he went to see a lawyer and he got a divorce from her.

 

SMOKEY

So?  That just means she was free and clear when she married me.

 

CLYDE

Does it?  If a gal leaves a man in a certain year and marries another man that same year, why that don’t leave a whole lotta time in between the two men, does it?  Tell me, Smokey — how much time is it between her leavin’ John some time in August and her marryin’ you the first of OctoberHow long does it take to get a divorce?

 

SMOKEY

[pause]   Jee-zus!

 

PREACH     [arm & finger up, righteous  prophet]

You better stop takin’ the lord’s name in vain there, mister!

 

CLYDE

I hate to ask this Smokey, but…  Do you reckon Maisie was still married to John when she married you?

 

[silence, as they all look at each other, mouths open, thinking…]

 

PREACH     [arm still raised, finger still up]

Holy shit.

 

 

…to be continued…

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