Maisie’s Dead: A Comedic Tale of Love and Marriage
Copyright © 2007 by William D. Coffey, All rights reserved
Act Two, SCENE 5: Saturday morning, the senior apartment
SATURDAY MORNING. Jessie’s apartment. She, Maud and Germaine are in collusion.
You both know what to do. Don’t give it away!
Just get your business over with quick before someone comes knocking on your door.
Germaine, are you sure you can keep them preoccupied while Maud brings him up here?
I’ll do the hokey pokey in the doorway if that’s what it takes to keep them down there.
Maud, be careful how you lure him out. It must be discreet, so the others don’t notice!
You just leave that to me.
Okay, I guess we’re ready… Off you go, on with the plan.
I’ll be back with the man in a flash. [Maud and Germaine exit]
…Now listen here, Mister Stoll. You know perfectly well that my husband and I got one of those dumb letters that stupid cousin of yours sent out! …that won’t do…
…Good morning, Herb. I hope you slept well. Is the barn comfortable? You know, I really need to talk with you about something… …that sounds dumb…
…Mister Stoll, when you were in the justice of the peace office, and those non-legal marriages took place… no… [knock on door; she whirls to face it]
Come in…. [Herb enters. Maud sticks her head in briefly]
Jessie, Mister Stoll said he could meet with you for a few minutes. I’ll see you later.
[she exits, closing door]
Hello Mister Stoll.
Good mornin’, ma’am. I reckon you and your husband got one of them letters, huh?
Well, you come straight to the point! Yes, you’re quite right. The letter said in so many words that we hadn’t really been married in the first place. We received it eleven years after the fact! Our daughter was ten years old!
And that’s your daughter who is now all grown up, and is real suspicious that her Momma and daddy got caught in the pinch, and you don’t want her to know, right?
Well… Yes. Right!
Don’t worry, ma’am. I picked up on the direction of things when she started askin’ all them questions the other night. You and I know them two months were September and October. But when I give your daughter my report this evenin’, the two months is gonna be June and July. That’ll be okay with you?
Oh, thank you! Bless you! I so much don’t want to see her hurt and upset.
Yes ma’am. Just how I feel too. Best not to beat a horse that’s layin’ down.
What? … Never mind. How can I ever thank you.
‘Preciate you askin’. As a matter of fact, after this memorial service is all done with, I got to pay for a bus ride back down to Iuka…
Yes, I see…
And the bus people, they’ll want me to pay them for the ticket, see.
Yes, I see…
Not sure you do, ma’am. See, it took about all I had just to get a one way up here…
Oh! I see! Would it help if I pay for the ticket?
That’d be mighty Christian of you, ma’am.
Uh…how much will the ticket cost?
It’ll cost the better part of a hunnerd bucks, ma’am, and it will cost a full hunnerd if I eat a little bite of somethin’ along the way, y’see?
Yes, I see. A hundred dollars would help out, then?
It damn sure… Uh, yes ma’am, it surely would. You appreciate June and July, I appreciate a hunnerd bucks.
I see. I didn’t know politics could be so simple!
Simplicity is the heart of politics, ma’am. Always has been, still is.
JESSIE [picks up her purse, fumbles inside]
Hold on just a minute here, and I’ll do my part…
[she hands him money; he reaches; as they both grasp the money…]
[…the door bursts open and Clyde barges in, followed by Maud]
Hullo! What’s this here? I knowed somethin’ was goin’ on!
Jessie! This OAF would not be stopped! He nearly knocked Germaine down!
[as he smoothly palms and pockets the cash]
Take it easy, cousin. No need for you to be bustin’ in here all suspicious. Is there some reason why you might mistakenly think my private business is any business of yours?
Well, why’d you disappear? We was all needed to set up chairs, and…and straighten up!
[Germaine enters, confronts Clyde with her fist in his face]
GERMAINE, JESSIE, MAUD ALL AT ONCE:
GERMAINE: Young man, how would you like a bust in the snoot? Have you no respect for old ladies? Forty hells!
JESSIE: Mister, didn’t you ever learn how to knock on a door before you barge in?
MAUD: Who do you think you are, buster!! A bull in a china shop?
Sorry. Sorry! I’m sorry! [he sits down, palms up and out defensively]
I would’a knocked but the door was wide open. We lost two of our men downstairs, so I came to find ‘em. [he looks around, notices the tension] Everything okay?
Everthing’s fine. Clyde here was just tellin’ me how his nose — I mean his back — is all out of joint. He needs a little of your chiropractorin’.
PREACH [to Clyde; enthusiastic]
Well now, you have just found the right man! Which part of your back is it that hurts?
I don’t need no…
JESSIE, MAUD, GERMAINE
Yes you do!
PREACH [to Jessie]
Can I just move these three chairs around, ma’am? Can I borrow a pillow?
[Preach sets 3 chairs side by side, a few inches between each]
Just got to set up here… Won’t take a minute…
[Jessie brings a pillow which he lays on one end chair]
Now Clyde, I want you to just lay yourself down, right across these chairs.
No, man! I really don’t think….
JESSIE, MAUD, GERMAINE [menacing]
Yes you do!
[Clyde submits, reluctantly lays across the chairs, chest on the pillow]
Steady now. Face down. Let your head hang over here. That’s right!
[Preach places his straightened arms on Clyde’s back, right hand atop left]
Are you comfy? Hold still, now — here we go…
[Preach feigns an exaggerated downward push on Clyde’s back]
CLYDE [Clyde’s feet fly up]
Hold still, Clyde! You messed me up! Hold his feet down there, somebody!
[Herb, feet apart, firmly grips Clyde’s ankles]
No! My back is okay, I tell ya!
Here we go again. Stop tensin’ up like that! You got to re–lax!
[He pushes down on Clyde’s back again]
HUNHH!! [waving his arms, getting up quickly]
That done it! I can feel it’s fixed! Don’t do no more or you’ll mess me up!
You sure? You was bad out of shape! I c’n do it again!
No, no, no. It’s fixed! I swear it is! [he wiggles] Oh, yeah, that’s a lot better!
[He keeps backing until he is far away from Preach]
Might be somebody else here needs your chiropractorin’, now you’re warmed up!
PREACH [fully enthused]
Yeah! I’m all loosened up for sure, praise the Lord! Anybody else need a good thrust?
GERMAINE [steps forward]
How could I turn down an offer like that!
MAUD & JESSIE
I remember you! You’re the lady said your back hurt ever’ time you get up out of a chair.
It’s killing me right now. I had to jerk my back to keep Goofus there [ points at Clyde] from running me down. How should we do this?
Depends on where it hurts! Is the pain in your upper back or your lower back?
It’s always down here. [she rubs her lower back] Can you help that?
He’p it? Why, ma’am, I can fix it. Can’t do a ordinary down thrust like I did on Clyde, though. Got to lay you on your side and do a lum-bar ro-ta-tion.
A what? Germaine, are you sure you’re in your right mind?
Hush! My back has been killing me all day and I certainly want to see what this lum-bar rotation is like! Besides, it’s been twenty years since a man offered me a good thrust.
Here, just sit down on this middle chair, see… Yeah, that’s right….
Then you just sorta lean over till your head is on the pillow… and your feet is up on that other chair… Yeah, that’s good, that’s just right! You comfortable?
Mister, I’m eighty years old and I can hold this position for about forty seconds. Get on with whatever you’re going to do.
[the others watch as if entranced, mouths agape]
Now we got to rotate your lum bar, see… Make your lum-bar turn right while the rest of you turns left… Got to get this leg up here, see…
[he pulls her top leg into a bent-knee position, he then straddles the other leg]
[As Preach gets in position, John and Smokey walk in; they halt and stare…
Now this won’t hurt a’tall. You ready?
[…and Frieda immediately enters…]
Okay I’m ready. Do it, Preacher!
Mama, I heard… [she sees, halts abruptly] WHAT IN THE WORLD???!!!
…to be continued…
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