Author: johnpaulporter (Page 2 of 3)

Eulogy for My Brother Quillin

He was handsome, he was affable, when he had a hundred dollars he felt like he had a thousand. When he had a thousand he felt like he had a million. He was always certain that in the very near future it was all going to work out great. It almost never did. But he was always a fascinating guy to have as an older brother.

Because Quillin, starting with his very name, no middle name, was different.

It was my sister Jan, a conduit of all sorts of interesting information in my youngest days, who told me all the way back on Armstrong, that Quillin had a different Daddy than the one we knew.  I once asked Mom, “What was he like, his dad?” She thought a moment and said, “Quillin is a carbon copy of his Dad, both inside and out.”  It would make an enormous difference in his life and it could and would explain certain things.

When grown Quillin tracked him down, his biological dad, a man named Ford, and convinced his progenitor to meet him at the Los Angeles airport.  When he walked toward him Quillin said, “He looked just like me. It was like meeting myself.”  The first words out the man’s mouth were, “Kid, I don’t need this.”  They spent maybe a half an hour together.

Quillin told me he came back from that trip and put his arms around Dad and told him that he loved him, and that Dad, James L., was his real Dad.  Which was true.  He was a Porter.  But he was also a little bit different, and oh, what a character.

When we were young and went camping, you best believe he met every young woman in that campground. There was the time when a whole gaggle of girls taught Quillin to water ski in the frigid waters of a lake in the Rocky Mountains.  His brothers and sisters stood on shore, laughing when he fell, cheering when he held his balance and skied.

An indelible image of that day, besides Scott laughing so hard he lost his balance and nearly fell into the lake, giving Grandpa Porter an attack of laughter that made him wheeze, was the crowd of adoring girls, wrapping Quillin up in blankets as he emerged from the freezing water, triumphant.

Then there was the trip to California, driving there in a white Chrysler station wagon pulling a green trailer.  It was the trip where the camera got left on the kitchen table, which is a shame because it might have recorded an astonishing event.

On that trip our brother Quillin met and fell in love with, and more importantly she fell in love with him, Hayley Mills. She was a movie star of the time, young, blonde, beautiful and famous.  How she lost her heart to a young man from Kansas, only in California a few days, how he slipped away from his parents, how he swept her off her feet, in San Diego of all places, well, it is truly a shame a camera was not around.

Hayley was so smitten with Quillin she wrote him letters and signed her name a special way, a way she only did for ones she truly loved.  I know all this because my sister Jan told me.  Quillin showed her the letters.  He never showed me the letters.  So I had to scrounge through his desk for weeks, reading all his love letters, sent to him by all sorts of women in Kansas, Colorado and other places, but I was looking for that one letter from Hayley.

It was never found.

But as it turned out there were pictures.  Yes, an eight by ten glossy signed “To Quillin with love, Hayley” and a second eight by ten glossy, a contact sheet with twelve pictures, one with a man’s arm around the adorable young blonde.  You could not see the man, just his arm, and in our one and only passing conversation upon the subject my brother assured me, “That’s my arm.”

He was seven years older which is a lot when one is five and he is twelve, or ten and seventeen, and so forth.  For awhile Quillin told me he had been a football star in college.  Many a time I pored over that Emporia State yearbook, looking for his picture on the team and those great games he played. Maybe he was gone the day the pictures were taken.

There is a story that has floated around for some fifty years that Chuck Connors is our uncle.  No, he isn’t and he wasn’t.  We had an uncle who looked a little like Chuck Connors. But when Quillin told the story around school while in the 8th grade The Rifleman became a blood relative and ssshhhh, no one’s supposed to know this, so don’t tell anybody, so only about seven thousand people ever believed this to be true.

All of us have a dream life.  Quillin was a dreamer.  If he could sell you his dream then it might be true.

It was Quillin who broke the unplowed ground with Dad, and you did not bend Dad’s will easily, about playing sports on Friday nights.  He threw a fit and said he was going to play football no matter what.  So Dad relented, and for the first time the start of the holy day could be profaned by the playing of a game, a victory that was a benefit to each of his siblings.

Grandpa Porter took me to one of Quillin’s football games.  His opinion was, “Your brother runs like a coyote.”  I remember going with Dad to the stadium at WSU and watching Quillin run in a big track meet.  He won his race that day and I was proud to be his brother, and was envious of the medals he wore on his letter sweater.

He was a much better athlete than any of the rest of us.  The game he loved was football.  In the great football games at Porterville, Jan and Whitney were on his team, Scott and Kimberly on my team.  Every game he would lay a ferocious block or tackle on a certain younger brother, which would send me tumbling into a nearby wheat field.

So when he went away to college me and my team practiced.  Oh, how we practiced, working on plays my older brother had taught me. Thanksgiving was the big game and it was the only game in about a hundred my team ever won.  And boy did that make him mad, because Quillin loved to win. In the grudge re-match over that one victory, that was the game Scott broke his collarbone in a collision with Quillin, and for the most part the football games ended, for which I was secretly grateful.

Now I will tell you, I think Quillin was a better big brother to me than I ever was to my little brother Scott. I can catch a baseball because Quillin hit and threw them to me for hours. He let me spend a week with him in bachelor splendor in a sprawling top floor of a Victorian house in Coffeyville, giving me a copy of the book Candy, which I devoured in one day, then going out to look for me when I stayed out too late prowling the streets of a strange big city.

On a later trip to Coffeyville he lent me his brand new Buick, a company car from whatever company he was with at the time, and I drove it much too fast, the only time I ever had a car almost up to a hundred and twenty, with a pretty girl on the front seat, a girl Quillin had introduced to me only a few hours before.  I was fifteen.

He was reckless and he was a lot of fun.

He was an encyclopedia salesman, a sports writer, an insurance adjuster, an advertising man, several times a hustling entrepreneur, and ended his business life as a stock broker and investment manager.

When I heard the words Quillin and stock broker in the same sentence I knew there was going to be trouble.  Because our brother, the dreamer, the reckless one, always wanted to go from A to Z and never mind those pesky little steps in between like B, C or D.  He wanted it now, he could dream it couldn’t he, and for as long as we knew him Quillin wanted to be rich.

A couple of times he got close. For a few months I was an eyewitness at XMG.  It was a good product, a Teflon motor oil that actually seemed to work, giving a car better gas mileage.  The first week I noticed the highlight of the day was lunch. Quillin and his partner would adjourn to a restaurant across the street and order two and on occasion even three rounds of double scotches.  Along about the second drink the burning question would arise, “Why kind of company jet do we think we should get?”

Not being wise in the ways of business but being a wise acre, I would point out that they had not, as of that moment, sold ten thousand dollars worth of product.  “Paul,” my big brother explained to me patiently, “you just don’t understand business.  You need to plan for these things.”

The funny thing about Quillin is that he did know great luck in his life.  There was Dad, a man who adopted and loved him as his own child.  There was Mom.  But maybe his best luck was that he married Yolanda, who was and is beautiful in all the important ways.  Together they had Lexi.

One of my memories of XMG was the day she was born.  Quillin was on the other side of town when Yolanda went into labor, labor that was far too early, and he made the hour’s drive across the length of Kansas City in twenty minutes.  The child born that day was no bigger than your hand and survived in part because her father loved her.

He loved all his children, Traci, Chad, Kenneth, Tiffany and Lexi.  He loved you, he was proud of you, and he regretted that he did not spend more time with you.  One time he said to me, “Dammit Paul, I never knew my own dad, and now my own children grow up without me.”

He knew many defeats.  All of us know defeat.  Few of us wind up spending ten years in prison because of one.  Our brother would spend about one out of every seven days of his too short life behind bars, on parole, or on the run, events which started after he turned fifty. The man who once drove two different Lincoln Continentals, who arrived at our Father’s funeral in new Jaguar, who once gave thought to a company jet, now hid out on the Mexican border sleeping under bridges, becoming a day laborer, happy if he made enough to buy one meal a day.

He learned to speak flawless Spanish, went by foot and horseback for great distances along the Mexican border, working in cantinas as a bartender, and after being out of touch with everyone for four or five years, sneaked back into this country to see Mom.

My Mother told me, “He looked ragged, more like a migrant worker than an American.” Tired of life on the lam, of being out of touch with his family, he turned himself in and from everything I heard was relieved.

It is wrong he is gone only three years after Mom.  He lived long enough to outlive jail and to know again a few years of freedom.  He lived long enough to put to paper his earliest memories of Mom and tell us a story about Dad none of us ever could have guessed.  He lived long enough to reconcile with his beautiful wife, with Lexi, and I hope his other children.

It was fascinating to have him as a brother.  It was also too often sad.

Age plays tricks on you, so I don’t know if it was six months or two years ago that Quillin and I were on the phone.  He told me that he had a hell of life and that he wouldn’t trade it for anybody else’s.  I always told him if he could write the true story of his life it would be a good book, maybe a great book, and he might finally make that million dollars he always wanted.  Not so long after he sent me 150 typed pages.  Some parts I know to be true, some parts I know to be lies, and other parts I just don’t know.

This much is true:  Quillin’s life was an adventure.

There was always something about him that made you forgive him. I knew him to be foolish, but I never knew him to be malicious.  We loved him in the ways us Porters always love each other, both unreservedly and with the judgment of our own strong opinions, Christian or otherwise.  Other than Mom and Dad, he affected my life more than any other single person I ever knew, a fact I did not appreciate until I began to compose these remarks.  Three small examples:

Because he was a Yankee fan, I became a Dodger fan.

Because he was a business man, I became an artist.

Because he was a sports writer I began my own sports column while in high school. It was my first consistent attempt at writing.

One more story.

His first real car was a 1959 red Ford Fairlane convertible, the first in a long line of eye catching cars Quillin would drive.  I shot baskets on the court at Porterville, winning the NCAA championship a remarkable number of times, and I would roll the cars off the drive to enact this miracle.  One day I coasted his red convertible down the cement and the driver’s side door caught on the car next to it and was bent back double.  And did my big brother yell at me for messing up his nice car?

No, he didn’t.

We are a more interesting family because he was our brother.  To my remaining siblings I say no more eulogies for now.  Take care of yourself and get home safely from this day when we remember Quillin, who was, as each of us are, different from all the others, though he was a little bit more so.

Thank you.

Wichita, Kansas
8 August 2010

Eulogy for My Father

I will remind you here at the beginning that it is all right to laugh, and of course it is all right to cry.

I think my father had a good life.  In many ways he was very lucky. Anyone married to our mother for nearly 50 years would have to be considered lucky.  For many of those years he lived in a fine, handsome house — his house — on three of the most beautiful acres of land as could be found anywhere on earth — his land.

Now his children may have been a more mixed bag of luck.  Some of us may not have turned out exactly as he might have wanted.  But there was never any doubt that he loved us, and never any doubt he treated each of us equally, not favoring the righteous over the not so righteous, the loud over the more quiet, the obnoxious over the less than obviously obnoxious.

He and Mom raised good children, and in the end he showed a parent’s greatest love, by letting us go on to become exactly who we wanted to be, never meddling, always pulling for us in our struggles, loving us regardless, and always, always praying for us.

A man starts out as a son, and today for a moment we remember his parents, Grandpa and Grandma Porter as well.  It was Grandpa who taught Dad how to fish, and he was always happy with a pole in his hand and a hook in the water, a love he passed on to two of his six children, and in baseball three hundred is a good average.

Grandpa taught Dad how to fix and tinker and fool with, the same as Dad taught me and others, the fruits of which have adorned and plagued our various houses for years.

Dad went to college and became a geologist, and from there to war as a pilot, nearly being killed three different times in training accidents, a fact he told me once that began his religious search.

After the war he married Mom and us kids, one-two-three-four-five-six came along, nearly as fast as that, and after a life time of not being a church going man, Dad decided there was something missing and thus began his spiritual journey, a journey that was a key to his life.

Dad began to read the Bible, not just to read it, but to study it, not just to study it, but to devour it, and in the end he would breathe its words as naturally as a man would walk.  And he decided that God wanted him to keep the Sabbath.

Now at this time Dad worked for Shell Oil and at this time people worked six days a week.  But Dad didn’t want to work on the Sabbath.  So he left, or they fired him.

At this same time Dad picked a doctrinal difference – not the last time this would happen – with the church we belonged to, and they kicked us out and cursed us, and told my Mother she would soon be a widow.

And in this time we were poor, and lived often on what we grew in the garden, and one hard winter when my brother’s shoes were accidentally put in the trash and burned and there was no money for new ones, my Mother wept.

But Dad would not go back to Shell Oil and he would not go back to the church that threw us out, and he felt if he stayed true to what he believed then God would bless him.

And God did.

I remember his clothes that Mom showed us, that were covered with oil from a well that had finally come in, and soon we moved to that handsome house on those fine three acres, and he had the three things that most marked his life:  his family, his home and his spiritual journey.

Now Dad was not particularly playful.  Jokes and wise cracks were not his forte.  He was reserved and he had a presence.  Even if he did not speak you knew he was in the room.  But he did make two of the most outstandingly playful toys imaginable: a bag swing and the monorail.

Now there are other bag swings, but surely none more perfect than the one we had, swinging down the steep hill and back to its stand.  And for those of us who were there, we cannot forget the sight of our father, all two hundred and ten pounds of him then, stretched prone on that tree limb, twenty-three feet above the hard ground, while Mom stood below, wringing her hands and crying, “Be careful, Jim.”

There might be one or two bag swings that are better.  But the monorail, ah, the monorail.  There was a feat of engineering and whimsy, of playful uniqueness, a one of a kind wonderful back yard toy never duplicated, and it was Dad who made it.  What a shame we didn’t have camcorders then, so we could prove it was every bit as wonderful as we remember.

Now there are other stories I could tell you of Dad, of the camping trip to Colorado when he urged Mom from her warm sleeping bag early one cold morning.  So she finally got up, none too happy, saying, “What? What?”

“Just look at how that fog hangs on the water, honey.”  She could have smacked him one.

Or the time, as all of us watched from the front picture window, when he killed a coyote at a hundred yards with a single shot.  Years later he told us, “You know, I was as surprised as that coyote by that shot.”

But mostly I think we will remember Dad for his great passion for the Bible, for his endless study of its words, his journey to get closer to God, to understand what God wanted him to do, and how he became filled with the Spirit of the Lord.

There were many people who would go see Dad, to be prayed over, to be taught, to be healed. There is no counting the number of pilgrims and refugees who passed through our house.  Whenever I came home from my various travels there would be new ones and he my Mother would always welcome them.  To my knowledge, they never turned anyone away, and there were scores of them.

I sometimes tell people I never heard my father use a single swear word, and never once heard him raise his voice to my mother, and they are astonished.  But it is true.

Now he was not a saint.  I’m not trying to tell you he was.  But he was a good man, a man of great character and integrity, and most difficult of all, he was a righteous man.

Perhaps the best measure of a man’s life can be found in how many days he gets to spend doing exactly what he wants with his time. When I think of Dad I will remember him on the patio, the sunlight slanting from across the river and through the trees, in that serene and beautiful place that was his home, the Bible open on his lap, as evening was coming on.

Faith is the measure of the hopefulness of man, that his deeds on earth will let him know peace, now and through the ages. I think my father had a good life. I think he is now in a place of peace.

February 15, 1997
Valley Center, Kansas

Eulogy for My Mother


Before I begin there are a couple of things I need to cover. Last night my sisters looked at me…horrified…not the first time this has happened…and said in one voice, practically in unison, “You’re not going to your Mother’s funeral tomorrow dressed like that, are you?”

So I had to tell them a true story, about one of my last conversations with my Mother. There toward the end I got to spend a week with her and I asked her, I just flat out asked her.  I said, “Mom, do you want me to go to your funeral dressed in a three piece wool suit on a hot summer’s day?”

Now you have to understand, it is from my Mother I get my highly developed and rather original sense of humor. So now Mom, bless her heart, she looked at me and said, “Why no, son, don’t go to my funeral dressed in a three piece suit on a hot day. Go there in a t-shirt and flip flops, because afterwards you might want to go swimming.”

So as I stand before you here today, I am dressed better than my Mother expected.

There is one other thing I would like to mention before I truly begin. I would like to thank my sister Jan and her husband Steve, for all the love and comfort they gave our Mother in the difficult last months of her life. Before that my brother Scott and his wife Kirsi opened up their hearts and their home to our Mother in her declining years. Before that my sisters Kimberly and Whitney, and their husbands Randy and Bob, gave so much comfort and joy to both Mom and Dad in the sunset years they lived in Texas.

Their behavior is a testament to our parents. May we all be so fortunate to have such devoted and loving children when our own end approaches. I thank each of them.

* * * * * * *

Our Mother was beautiful every single day of her life. When she was young, she was movie star beautiful. Now some of you might say, “Well, of course he’s going to say that. And on a day like today he’s even allowed.”  So I brought pictures to prove that what I say is true. Now it would please me and make me proud if you took the time to look at these pictures and to ooh and aah.  But if any of you steal these pictures, I will hunt you down to the ends of the earth.

Some of you may remember Jackie Mackay. When he was about ten he told Mom, “Mrs. Porter, you sure are pretty.”

“Well, thank you, Jackie.”

“You sure don’t look like you’re fifty.”

“Well Jackie, I’m not. I’m forty.”

“Oh. Well you sure don’t look like you’re forty either.”

And when she was she didn’t. She was one of those rare people every bit as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside, which is better than almost any movie star you could name.

She was born Virginia Beth Quillin, a last name so unique and full of history and one she loved so well, she would give it as a first name to her oldest son.

For a moment today we remember her parents, Granny and Grandad Quillin, who lived such hard lives and produced such good children. For a moment we also remember her four brothers – Frank, Dale, Rob and Paul – each of whom proceeded her to heaven, each of whom fought in World War II, some with heroic distinction.

She was brought up on a ninety acre cotton farm in Konawa, Oklahoma.  Except in the most remote corners of the world, no one picks cotton by hand anymore, not even slaves.  But our Mother did.

The house she grew up in did not have electricity, and she read her books and learned her lessons by the light of a kerosene lamp. This was not unusual on the small farms of the 1920’s and 1930’s.  But I hope you young ones, and you not so young ones, think about this when you step outside and flip on that cell phone, or click through the hundred channels on the remote tonight, because life was not always so easy or flip, and it could be argued, quite well I believe, that the very hardness of that time produced a better quality of people.

She started school at a one room school house when she was five years old.  At the end of the first week she was promoted to the third grade. One of her older brothers complained to their mother about her class room ability. “Make Jenny stop answering all those questions. She’s embarrassing me!”

She graduated from high school when she was fourteen. She graduated from college when she was seventeen. While in college she appeared as Emily in a production of Our Town.  She told once about being in that play, “I really wasn’t very good.” But I bet she was.

During World War II Mom worked at the Douglas aircraft plant in Oklahoma City. It was during these years she learned to fly and got a pilot’s license, and actually flew alone, soloed.  There is a picture of her as a young woman in her aviator’s outfit, one foot on the wing of a plane, looking every inch like Amelia Erhardt’s cousin.  How I wish I could put my hands on a copy of that picture.

After the war her younger brother brought around this guy he knew, a young petroleum geologist named Jim Porter, who was destined to become one of the luckiest men on the face of the earth, for he was to be married to our Mother for nearly fifty years.

She told me when she first met Dad, “He smoked like a chimney and every third word out of his mouth was a cuss word.”  But pretty soon he quit smoking, and she must have had a good effect his language too, because I never heard Dad use a single swear word in all the years I knew him. They were best friends and made a great and happy couple, and of course on this day we remember Dad, too.

They had six children and she became what those of us who knew and loved her best will always remember her as:  Mom.  When we were very young and our family very poor and television so new we didn’t even own one yet, Mom ended each day by reading us a chapter from a book.  Tom Sawyer. Huckleberry Finn.  Alice in Wonderland.  The Pickwick Papers.  What a treat to gather around our beautiful Mother at the end of the day and listen as she read to us great books.

When Dad found religion and began teaching each week from the New Testament, it was Mom who taught us the stories from the Old Testament.  Now Dad had an engineer’s mind and a pedantic way of thinking and speaking and teaching, and I will be honest here, he could drone on. [nervous laughter from the audience] I see a few of you spent a Saturday afternoon or two with my father.

But never for a moment was I – or anyone else – bored when Mom held the floor, and told and acted out the great stories from the Old Testament.  Abraham, Joseph, Moses. Joshua, Gideon, Samson.  Saul, David, Solomon. To this day I can remember those stories because she told them so well.  It is a shame video cameras did not then exist so there would be a record of Mom in her prime, entertaining us to the point of enchantment, and teaching us the Bible.

She did not like to sit and do nothing.  When quite advanced in years, as President of Women’s Aglow, she flew all over Alaska, giving speeches in remote towns and Eskimo fishing villages and loved every minute of it, and if given a chance would have done it again.

When she finally did sit still, she read.  It is no accident two of her children are published playwrights, one is a novelist, one just wrote his first screenplay. Another is a doctor. Now I don’t mean to slight the last one by not giving a label to her life, but she is probably the best looking of the bunch, and for that she can also thank our Mother.

For us, the six of her children, it is the greatest deal of the cosmic deck that we could call her Mom, for no one could ask for one better. Twenty-one others could call her grandma. Twelve more could call her great grandma. Now my math may be a fuzzy on these last two figures.  But I can guarantee you she knew the exact number, and she knew all of their names and their birthdays as well.

And in this large tree of her descendants, if you find that you are smart and witty and love to laugh, if you smile easily, if even on your death bed your smile makes you beautiful, if your idea of a great day is when the whole family and guests and friends and relatives sit down together for a good and big meal, and after that meal you sit with your family and friends to play Liverpool Rummy or Twixt or Boggle or Thunder on Your Neighbor, so that you could compete, laugh and have fun with each other, if you are fair of face and have few if any enemies, if you are wise and warm, if you are a good and great parent to your children and love them no matter how far they wander, if you are made of good character, if you love to read and have a good mind and are more interested in ideas and thoughts and history than you are in mere gossip, then remember to thank our Mother, your Grandma and your Great Grandma, for you are in part these things, because of her.

If there is a heaven she is there.  As another playwright wrote, “May flights of angels sing you to your rest.”  Amen.

7 July 2007
Valley Center, Kansas

The Last Time I Saw My Son

The last time I saw my youngest son, Sam, he was wearing a ridiculous haircut.  He was such a handsome fellow and it was the worst haircut ever, one that made him look goofy. Thank God I didn’t say anything about the hair.  Maybe that’s why he smiled at me, because I didn’t say anything. That is my last clear image of him, giving me a happy mischievous smile, his face sunny for a moment.

He came by to drive me to the garage where I had left my truck. That was a good drive because we talked and it could be hard to get Sam to talk.  I left him laughing with a story about moving a piano.  Both boys had been by a couple of weeks before to help move the piano to have new carpet put down.  It was a huffing, puffing experience for the three of us and Sam as always more than held up his end.

I got him to laugh because I told him about the two Mexican laborers, here to lay the carpet and who helped me move the piano back. Both were five six one forty and “they picked up that piano like it was a kitchen chair and I just had my fingers underneath the thing.”  He laughed and I thanked him for the ride and closed the door to his black Camry.  That was the last time I saw my son.

In the last two weeks of his life he remembered Mother’s Day and his Mother’s birthday.  Only days ago Annie was driving home, thinking to herself, “When I get there I’ll ask Sam to put the air conditioner in the kitchen window.”  When she arrived he had just finished doing that very thing.

On a Saturday morning in late June our beautiful son Sam chose to take his life.  This has left me in such a state of shock I cannot say the words “my son is dead” without boiling into the hottest tears I have ever cried. “This is so unnecessary,” I keep telling him, “you didn’t have to do this, son.”  But that handsome young man, so intelligent, so full of light once, who kept so much of his inner life unspoken, is gone.

I thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

1 July 2013



The West Texas Waltz


Synopsis: The richest, meanest man in a little West Texas town brings home his third wife, who tries to seduce the youngest son into the murder of his dad.

* * * * * * * * * *


A half finished house, the wind BLOWING dust through it’s skeleton frame, which stands alone in the endless emptiness of the great brown prairie. HOLD for a moment…


Fresh cement pours down and around rubber soled boots – creating an odd sense of entrapment.

Camera RISES on a handsome young man, COLIN, stripped to the waist, spreading the wet goo with a rake. It’s back breaking work beneath a hot sun. The young man is joined in the work by his older brother, CLAY. They are both tan, muscular, in the prime of their youth — and at the moment deeply unhappy with their lot in life.

Ain’t nothing can kill a man like pouring a hundred yards
of this shit.


I hope the old man is having fun. What do you bet he’s
chasing some old gal around them crap tables, while we’re
out here busting a gut.

Bet you’re right. But I bet she ain’t old.

Humph. Got that straight.

They stop to wipe the sweat from their faces and gaze up at the high hot sun.

Hey, stop that goldbricking and bend those backs!

The brothers are pouring a basement foundation, and so look up at UNCLE LUKE – fat and unfriendly – who stands above them at ground level.

I don’t know who’s worse. Daddy, or Uncle Luke.

They start back to work.


The brothers approach Uncle Luke’s truck to get their pay. When Clay opens his envelope, he immediately sets up a howl.

What’s this two hundred dollar deduction?

Paint job on that truck you wrecked.

I didn’t wreck it. That’s just a scratch! Look! Look!

Clay crosses to truck that has Freed Construction stenciled on the door, as well as a small dent. He SLAPS the dent.

CLAY (cont’d)
That look like two hundred dollars worth of damage to
you? This ain’t coming outa my pay!

Take it up with your daddy, boy. I’m just the help.
(spits stream of tobacco)
Just like you.

Uncle Luke walks away from the seething Clay.


A dusty piece of asphalt. On either side miles of rock and mesquite. In the distance a small town. A battered pickup powers by, HEAVY METAL MUSIC pounding out the open window.  Camera PICKS UP a beat up road sign

Texas Highway – 115


The heart of the West Texas town of Pomeroy. It ain’t much. A couple of blocks of low slung buildings, weather beaten by years of wind and dust, hunkered down in the vast emptiness.

The brothers drive down Main Street in their worn out truck and park in front of the Café.  Mercifully, the HEAVY METAL MUSIC stops.


A spare and dusty place. Colin is hunched over jukebox trying to decide. Something about this decision makes him nervous. He works up his courage and selects. An Emmy Lou Harris love song, sweetly melodious, fills the room.

He joins his brother at booth in front window. Clay has all his money, coins and bills. spread on the table, counting them. It’s a measly pile.

I’ll have to work twenty years for that bastard fore
I ever get me a stake.

One of these days it’ll all come to us.

You don’t know that. Why do you always stick up for

I ain’t sticking up for…

You don’t even know how to stick up for yourself.

(quietly stubborn)
Yes, I do.

Now me…I got plans. I got better things to do than
get treated like trash while I wait around for him to
kick off.

What plans?

Clay smirks. In the pause that follows, the sweetly melodious music can be more distinctly heard.

And why you play this candy assed music?

(again, quietly stubborn)
I like it.

Jesus, boy. You’re gonna turn out pussy for sure.

Colin SLUGS his brother’s shoulder. Clay just smiles.

CLAY (cont’d)
Okay. My turn.

This is a ritual between them. Colin turns, exposing his shoulder.

Through the window Colin sees the Sheriff’s car pull up. From passenger side steps DELORES HUNGERFORT – in her 40’s, blonde, blowsy, full of brass. She charges out of the car and by the window as…

Clay punches his brother’s shoulder.

Skeeter bite.


Behind them the door BANGS open and Delores advances under a full head of steam.

You tell that sonofabitch father you got he’s two
months behind in his alimony.

What’s the matter, Delores? You need more nail polish?

Shut up you snot nosed brat. Least you could do is
call me mother.

You ain’t our mother.

Close as you’ll ever get.

Something catches Colin’s eye out the window.


SHERIFF FRANK – tall, thin, rawboned tough – is writing out on ticket for the boys’ pickup.

CLAY (v.o.)
What are you doing in here anyway, Delores? They
don’t serve gin in here. You lose your way?

Clay.  Clay!  Look!


The brothers emerge from the cafe, Clay in the lead.

What the hell you think you’re doing?

(taps it)
Meter’s expired.

These meters ain’t been used in twenty years.

Wordlessly, Sheriff Frank tears out ticket, stuffs it in Clay’s shirt pocket.

CLAY (cont’d)
For a first cousin, you’re a first class asshole, Frank.

Clay rips up ticket, throws pieces to the ground. Calmly, the Sheriff takes out ticket book and resumes writing.

CLAY (cont’d)
Whattaya doing now?

Looks like littering to me.

Clay starts for the Sheriff, but Colin grabs him in a bear hug and dances him away.

C’mon, Clay! C’mon!

He still has his arms around his brother as Delores emerges from cafe and passes, licking an ice cream cone.

Lookee here, Frank. Got us a couple of queers,
right here in Pomeroy.


Clay again tries to break the grip of his brother, this time to go after Delores. But Colin holds fast.


The pickup ROARS down a long dirt drive and parks in front of a big white house. The house, once proud, is now in a state of disrepair. Overgrown weeds and abandoned farm/ranching equipment dot the front yard. A second beat to hell pickup is on the cement part of the drive.

Clay SLAMS out of the truck, heads through “breezeway” to the back yard, ranting.

I can’t take it anymore! I can’t fucking take this!


The phone is RINGING as Colin comes up the stairs. Through open window Clay is seen below on a half finished patio that surrounds an empty swimming pool. There are piles of dirt about and the empty pool is filthy.

This room is over a detached garage or pool house. In far b.g. is a broken down barn with board fence corral.

(answering phone)
Hi, dad.


Clay picks up a shovel on the half-finished patio and starts throwing dirt into the air and into the empty, filthy pool. Dogs start BARKING.

No more! No more! No fucking more!

(on phone)
Oh no, everything’s fine.
You what?


Clay BEATS the shovel against the kennel fence near the pool and patio. The two hunting dogs inside are GOING CRAZY.

Shut up! Shut up, you fucking dogs!


The two brothers, slightly drunk, sit on a pile of dirt by the empty swimming pool, each sipping a beer. After a few moments…

He even tell you her name?


Heh. Wife number three. Can hardly fucking wait.

You’re supposed to get him at the airport. Something
about the Caddy acting up.

Let him fucking walk. Tomorrow morning I am gone,
boy.  Alaska.

What’s up there?

Ain’t no Jesse Freed up there. That’s good enough
for me.

Clay finishes beer, throws the bottle far into the night. It CRASHES with a distant TINKLE of glass.

CLAY (cont’d)
(an after thought)
You wanna come along?

Colin considers, shrugs.

CLAY (cont’d)
I knew you wouldn’t.
You ask him something for me someday, will ya?
Cause I ain’t ever had the guts.
(Colin doesn’t respond)
You promise to ask?


You ask him how our real mother really died. I wanna
hear what he’s got to say to that.

A drunk Clay stumbles off into the dark.

REACTION Colin – surprised, confused, uncertain.


Outside the sun is barely up. Inside, Clay is packing. The phone starts RINGING. Colin starts for it.

Let it ring!

Colin stops. The phone keeps RINGING. Clay continues packing.


Colin watches Clay throw his stuff into the back of the pickup.

Why don’t you just go away for a coupla weeks, like
you did last spring?

Nope. Going for good.
Let me give you one last piece of advice, little brother:
don’t ever trust a single damn one of our relatives. Got me?

In far b.g. a Yellow Cab turns into the dirt drive. Colin catches sight of the cab.

Bet that’s him.

(leaps into truck, fires it up)
Good luck! And remember, you promised to ask!

Clay PEELS OUT just as the Yellow Cab SCREECHES to a halt and out hops JESSE FREED – an enormously vital man in his 50’s, imposing, a legendary conniver, a man so hungrily alive it’s hard not to be fascinated, even if you are repelled.

Where the hell is he going?

(doesn’t know how to lie)


That’s what he said.

Well he ain’t going in my truck he ain’t. He can’t steal
that truck. I’ll have him arrested!

He bought that truck from you, daddy.


Last year.

For what?

Year’s wages.

(considers this)
I probably didn’t charge him enough.

The CAB DRIVER – a sorrowful string bean of a fellow – has opened trunk and taken out several packages and boxes, booty from a department store somewhere. Vaguely seen in the back seat, packages on her lap, is the new bride.

That will be ninety-seven dollars and fifteen cents, sir.

Why in San Fucking Hell weren’t you at the airport?

Clay took the truck, sir.

Bad luck to him anyway.
What’s it say when I’m related to half this county and
can’t get a ride home from the airport?

Probably says you don’t have many friends.

Jesse gives the man a withering look. This is one Cab Driver who’s going to have a hard time collecting his fare.

Pay the man.


You were supposed to be there. I ain’t gonna make
good your mistakes.

I don’t have that kind of money.

Wanna flip me for it? Double or nothing on your wages?




I think one of you had better shut up and help me outa
of this here car!

Suddenly cavalier, Jesse hustles over to help out his new bride. ENID PICKNEY is a smoldering blonde, juicy as ripe fruit. She’s got a few miles on her but is only hard around the edges, not hard through and through. Not yet.

Thank you.

Son…this is Enid. She’s your new step mom.

She crinkles up her nose at him – almost a conspiratorial wink and sashays by headed for her new house – hungry anticipation in her eyes.

Jesse watches her pass with pride, Colin and the Cab Driver with open mouthed appreciation.  It’s the Driver who snaps out of it first.


Pay the man.

But daddy…

But Jesse has already loped away after his new bride.


If the outside of the house is in disrepair, the inside matches and exceeds that condition. The rooms are large but horribly dirty. The furniture is decrepit junk. Enid’s lips curl into a practiced pout as she inspects the premises.  A nervous Jesse hovers nearby.

Got 18 rooms in this house. Course, only use the
kitchen and bedroom mostly. And my office. Hell,
rest of the house hain’t hardly been lived in. Good
as new.

How dare you insult me like this, Jesse Freed.


This is not going to do.

Colin enters with a double armload of suitcases and packages, which he drops to the floor with a CLATTER. The Cab Driver is right behind him with another double armload.

ENID (cont’d)
I will not live in a pig sty!


She picks up the dusty cushions from the broken down couch and begins throwing them.

This stuff goes out. Out! It’s garbage, you hear me?
Trash! I won’t have trash in my house!

Jesse is at a loss for words, as is Colin. He has never seen anybody speak like this to his dad, and looks worriedly from him to her and then back again. A moment of tense silence passes.

I hate to interrupt the happy couple. But I need ninety-seven
dollars and fifteen cents. Then I’ll be right on my way.

Pay the man.

I didn’t ride in no dang cab.

(to Driver, meaning Colin)
Keep after this dead beat. He’ll be good for it.


Oh pay him, you old tightwad. And give him a big tip, too.
Brought us all the way from that damn airport.

All right, honey. Don’t get your drawers in a bunch.
(to Colin)
Can I borrow fifty bucks?

I don’t have fifty bucks!

And Colin leaves the room, casting a nervous but much interested look at this new woman.  Jesse, knowing he’s whipped for the moment, finally takes out his wallet, fingers up some bills, smiles at the Driver and can’t help but ask…

Now are you sure instead of this here fare, you
wouldn’t be interested in a good deal on a couch?

Jesse smiles at the worried Driver. In b.g. through the dirty windows, Colin is seen staring into the house, staring at Enid.

One Act Plays


Marx, Lenin and Stalin find themselves as stockbrokers in New York City. (three men, simple set)


A brief encounter with a legendary figure (two men, simple set)


A paid male escort comes between two old friends (two women. one man)


Plans are made to mate the husband of a recently deceased friend (two women)


Three one acts.

MISSISSIPPI JADE – a white rock and roller meets up with the gate keeper of Hell, an old black bluesman;

AUGIE ABRAMS – a man steals a truck and tries to change his life and his luck in Las Vegas; and

SAINT GEORGE – a lonesome man and a ravaged hooker meet on a street in Hollywood at two a.m., trying to connect.  Three plays about loneliness and ambition.  (4 men, 1 woman, simple sets)


The 1960’s meet the 1970’s meet the 1980’s simultaneously in a theatrical piece of cubism about truth being a matter of perspective (3 men, 3 women, simple set)


A gay man and black woman meet in an emergency room, fall into a violent argument, then suddenly, unexpectedly, touch
(1 white male, 1 black female);


Three one acts.

THE GIRLS IN THE OFFICE, I’VE GOT MINE and ONE DAY IN HELL explore a day in the life of a big city law firm; a study in envy, ego, back biting bitchiness, ambition, and barely repressed insanity; a Samuel Beckett world where everyone wants to leave, but no one can.  (5 women, 4 men, simple sets)


A Wasp, a Jew and a black man share their unspoken and terrified
thoughts on a late night train ride from Grand Central to White Plains (3 males).


Manhattan Story


Six people are swindled into renting the same studio apartment in a city we all know  and love.  Chief among them is a fast talking, over weight and homely dress designer, who will find love for the  first time.  A romantic comedy about keeping faith in the face of hopeless odds.  

5 men, 2 women, single unit set.

Madman King


A once prominent politician, now fallen to the level of street person, a brother to the richest two men in the state, is visited by them and by people from his past, who try to talk him out of his delusion that the President of the United States is coming to town to give him a job.   

7 men, 3 women, single unit set.

Co-written with Joe Paradise.

Two Ladies at Evening

Synopsis: Three inter-connected one acts.  In FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND plans are made to mate the husband of a recently deceased friend. In A NIGHT ON THE MOON a hired male escort comes between some ladies during a night on the town.  THE LADIES AT A LATE LUNCH are the two “old friends” speaking their innermost thoughts while never speaking to each other.  2 women, 1 man, simple sets.

* * * * * * * * * *

               (quiet organ music; lights up; ELEANOR and LIDDY are seated in a church pew)

ELEANOR:  Don’t you think Henry looks good?

LIDDY:  Oh no. Not today. He looks rather pale.

ELEANOR:  Well sure. He’s in mourning. But even so, he is still a striking man.

LIDDY:  Henry has kept his looks, yes.

ELEANOR:  Yes. Even with that sad face. So handsome.

LIDDY:  Eleanor, I think it’s really bad form to ask the husband out at his wife’s funeral.

ELEANOR:  I wasn’t going to do that. Certainly not!

LIDDY:  Sssshh. Then please, curb your enthusiasm for the bereaved.

ELEANOR:  Don’t sssshh me. I have never asked a man out in my life. They do the asking. I’m very old school that way.

LIDDY:  Good.

ELEANOR:  I wouldn’t even know where to start. Ask a man out.

LIDDY:  Fine.

ELEANOR:  I’m here to pay my respects.

LIDDY”  We should think about Joselle today.


LIDDY:  And only good thoughts.

               (pause; ELEANOR has to consider this for a few moments, then…)

ELEANOR:  She was a beautiful woman.

LIDDY:  Yes she was.

ELEANOR:  Of all our friends, she was the most beautiful.

LIDDY:  Without question.

ELEANOR:  Wonderful taste in clothes.

LIDDY:  Impeccable taste in clothes. The best. Always knew how to dress. Set the standard.


ELEANOR:  I wonder who she left all those clothes to?

LIDDY:  No idea.

ELEANOR:  She only has the one daughter. Monica.

LIDDY:  Monica doesn’t even like dresses.

ELEANOR:  All these years, I’ve never seen her in one. Oh, how Joselle used to complain about that.

LIDDY:  That’s true. It wouldn’t surprise me if Monica showed up today, wearing pants.

ELEANOR:  So Monica doesn’t want the dresses.  (pauses)  Did she have any nieces?

LIDDY:  I think I met a couple of them once.

ELEANOR:  Are they her size?

LIDDY:  I don’t remember.

ELEANOR:  Mmm. All those closets. Full of those exquisite clothes.

LIDDY:  When it came to clothes, she spent like the Queen of France.

ELEANOR:  Now all those dresses are just hanging there. Going to waste.

LIDDY:  Maybe Henry will give them away.

ELEANOR:  To who? A thrift shop?

LIDDY:  Probably.

ELEANOR:  Oh! If those clothes don’t go to someone who appreciates them, it’s like…

LIDDY:  What?

ELEANOR:  It would be like she died in vain.

LIDDY:  I didn’t think she died for anybody’s sins, Eleanor.

ELEANOR:  All I’m saying is, it wouldn’t be right.

LIDDY:  Well. You are about her size.

ELEANOR:  It’s true. I mean, I would need to lose a couple of pounds, sure. But…

LIDDY:  It would seem something of a waste.

ELEANOR:  Exactly. I mean, it wasn’t something I could bring up while she was on her deathbed.


ELEANOR:  “Could I have that black Versace after you’re gone?”

LIDDY:  A horrid thing to ask.

ELEANOR:  Terrible manners. Wouldn’t have dreamed of it.


ELEANOR: But we were awfully close, she and I.

LIDDY:  You two had made up? After the big tiff?

ELEANOR:  The bridge game? Oh, certainly. We patched things up a long time ago. You know that.

LIDDY:  In that situation, you should never bid no trump.

ELEANOR:  Oh fiddle. It was just cards.

LIDDY:  She took her cards seriously.

ELEANOR:  Too seriously. It’s probably what gave her the…oh, that’s a terrible thing to say. I’m sorry.

LIDDY:  Only think good thoughts about Joselle today.

ELEANOR:  Absolutely.

LIDDY:  And Henry.

ELEANOR:  I always have good thoughts about Henry.  (pauses)  What if we took some food over to him afterwards?

LIDDY:  I don’t think he’s doing that.

ELEANOR:  It’s traditional.

LIDDY:  On the Upper East Side?

ELEANOR:  Of course.

LIDDY:  Taking over food after a funeral seems so…Grand Rapids.

ELEANOR:  I know people who have done it.

LIDDY:  In our neighborhood?

ELEANOR:  Yes, in our neighborhood.

LIDDY:  You mean to tell me, at Fifth Avenue and 86th, after a funeral, people bring over little Tupperware dishes
filled with meatloaf?

ELEANOR:  I didn’t say anything about meatloaf. We’ll order something from Dean and DeLuca’s. Haven’t you done this

LIDDY:  I’ve been very lucky. Very few deaths in my family.  A few who should have gone, but they just keep
hanging around.  (pauses)  If there’s a get together after, I’m sure Henry will have it catered.

ELEANOR:  Of course he will.  (pauses)  Is there a get together? After?

LIDDY:  I haven’t heard.

ELEANOR:  Were we invited?

LIDDY:  We’ll ask around.

ELEANOR:  We weren’t invited?

LIDDY:  I don’t know, Eleanor.

ELEANOR:  That’s some nerve. Not to invite us.

LIDDY:  I don’t know if we weren’t invited.

ELEANOR:  We’re among her oldest friends.

LIDDY:  It wouldn’t seem right if we were left out of a gathering, no.

ELEANOR:  No, no, no. If there is a “do” after, I will see to it that Henry invites us. End of story.

LIDDY:  Good.

ELEANOR:  It will give me a good reason to speak to him. Like I need a good reason. He should be comforted.

LIDDY:  And you’re just the girl for the job?

ELEANOR:  Maybe.

LIDDY:  He won’t be alone long. Not with all those millions.

ELEANOR:  You’re so cynical sometimes.

LIDDY:  I’m cynical all the time.

ELEANOR: It’s not Henry’s money that makes him attractive.

LIDDY:  It doesn’t hurt.

ELEANOR:  No, it doesn’t hurt. But it’s the way he carries himself.  He has such an air of distinction. And I know Henry.
He’s got far too much class to…

LIDDY:  To what?

ELEANOR:  To take up with someone unsuitable.

LIDDY:  Who would you consider unsuitable?

ELEANOR:  Any woman under fifty.

LIDDY:  That would narrow down the field a bit.

ELEANOR:  Yes, it would.

LIDDY:  And to certain people’s advantage.

ELEANOR:  One can only hope. He’s got far too much class to take up with some trollop. Some tart. Some twinkie
in a tight blouse. That’s just not him.

LIDDY:  I wouldn’t get my hopes up too high about Henry, dear.

ELEANOR:  You know something?

LIDDY:  I know he’s a man. And he’s going to be very popular.  Look around the room. Over there is Bonnie. In a red
dress. Who wears red to a funeral?

ELEANOR:  Did she have to dress like a slut today? It’s not even noon yet.

LIDDY:  She has no breeding.

ELEANOR:  She just puts herself out there like a common street walker. Ever since the breast surgery. Nothing but low cut dresses.

LIDDY:  She’s trying much too hard.

ELEANOR:  It’s pathetic really. It is, and I don’t use this word lightly, it is tacky.

LIDDY:  Exactly.

ELEANOR:  Like she is the only woman who ever had breast enhancement.

LIDDY:  On the Upper East Side?

ELEANOR:  Who is she kidding?  Henry would never go for someone like her.

LIDDY:  Ssshhhh.

ELEANOR:  Don’t ssshhhh me.  When does this thing start?

Men and Women Talking Love and Sex

A relationship is followed from its giddy beginning to its bitter end, replete with a running commentary from a peanut gallery of friends. 3 men, 2 women, simple set.

Time: Somewhere between 1980 and 2005. New York City.

Setting:  A bar, a bedroom, a park, but mostly inside the imagination and memory of the people present. A bare stage save for black boxes.

* * * * * * * * * *

PETE:  Now I’ve read that a man who is attracted to breasts, is an exhibitionist. Outgoing. And if you’re attracted to legs, you’re socially conscious. An altruist. And if you’re attracted to the butt, that means you’re stingy. Self centered.

TOM:  What if you’re attracted to long legs in lingerie?


PETE:  I believe that makes you a socially conscious transvestite, Tom.

CLARINDA:  Looks looks looks. Always hung up on looks.

PETE:  And women aren’t?

CLARINDA:  Not like men.

TOM:  Well if that’s true, what’s the difference between me and Brad Pitt?

(all stare at TOM)

PETE:  Gosh, Tom. I can’t think of a thing.

TOM:  I can. I’m taller.

CLARINDA:  Women are not as hung up about looks.

TOM:  Oh sure. Why do you spend all that money on makeup?

CLARINDA:  The makeup is for other women.

PETE:  That’s true. There’s not a straight man in the entire country who cares a thing about eye shadow.

CAYLOR:  So if women aren’t looking for looks…

TOM:  Which, don’t fool yourself, they are.

CAYLOR:  ..what are they looking for?

TOM:  Money.

CLARINDA:  They’re looking for feelings.

TOM:  Oh yeah. A beautiful babe, a wrinkled old man.

PETE:  He opened his wallet and there she was.

CLARINDA:  If you fall in love for money, you’ll get misery.

TOM:  And a good divorce settlement. Maybe a house on the beach.

CLARINDA:  It’s a perversion of the heart.

TOM:  The world is full of perverts.

CLARINDA:  Of every stripe.

PETE:  A crooked heart is not the sole province of either sex.

CLARINDA:  Here here.

CAYLOR:  So what is it, that people fall in love with?

(they sip their drinks and ponder)

TOM:  Let’s say I was Mick Jagger.

PETE:  We will stretch our imagination.

TOM:  Why do all the women want to make it with Mick?

CLARINDA:  I don’t. I want nothing to do with the guy. Skinny little body and those rubber lips that make you wonder where they’ve been. And an attitude to boot.  And he’s old now, too.  Hello?

TOM:  All right, why did lots of women want to make it with Mick.  Why do guys in bands get all the chicks?

PETE:  I see. We are into cosmic questions here.

TOM:  Absolutely deep stuff.

CAYLOR:  Okay. Women want to make it with Mick for the same reason men want to do Playboy centerfolds or cover girl models.

TOM:  Which is…

CAYLOR:  For the same reason women buy makeup or men buy a brand new Corvette.

PETE:  Oh, tell us Obi Wan Kenobi.

CAYLOR:  Beauty is the promise of happiness. And we all believe if we can only possess something outside of ourselves — that beauty, the thing that makes the music, the car, that famous person with a perfect life so superior to our own — if we could just have that or have them, then we’d be magic, too. Happy and beautiful. Immortal. But it doesn’t work that way.

PETE:  But it doesn’t stop people from trying.

TOM:  And if I ever get famous, I will do my best to spread my magic around.

CLARINDA:  The world will be so lucky. Probably full of unspeakable diseases, but so lucky.

PETE:  I’d be careful about sleeping with a lot of strange women these days, Tom.

TOM:  How many would you consider a lot?

CLARINDA:  We got derailed here. We are speaking of love, not sex.

TOM:  There’s a difference?


PETE:  So you met this woman.

TOM:  Who you didn’t think was your type.

CAYLOR:  No, not at first. But…

ANNIE:  (enters)  Oh, Beethoven. Definitely Beethoven.

CAYLOR:  And Chopin.

ANNIE:  Oh yes. So dramatic.

CAYLOR:  And Dylan. Are you one of those people who like his voice? Or you one of those people who thinks he whines?

ANNIE:  (considers this a trick question)  I like his voice.

CAYLOR:  Good! Good! That’s good!

(ANNIE and CAYLOR stroll US carrying on an animated conversation

CLARINDA:  Ah, the get acquainted period. The honeymoon.

PETE:  Nothing is greater in life than hope.

TOM:  Or more false.

CLARINDA:  To think that you have found someone.

PETE:  Or they you.

TOM:  And all he really wants to do is to get his bologna buffed.

CAYLOR:  I guess that’s a long story and I should start at the beginning:  (strikes a pose)  I am born.

ANNIE:  (rolls her eyes, but remains good humored)  Fascinating.

(CAYLOR and ANNIE continue their animated conversation)

PETE:  You know, I think I married my first wife just so I wouldn’t have to tell the story of my life any more.

TOM:  Huh?

PETE:  It’s true. I got tired of telling the damn thing. Breaking my arm on the bike, burning down the garage. I figured I would tell it one more time to one more woman and that would be it. We’d get married, and I’d never have to tell the damn thing again.

TOM:  There are worse reasons to get married I suppose.

PETE:  Probably, but not many.

CAYLOR:  Cats. Oh, definitely a cat person.

ANNIE:  Me too.

CAYLOR:  Dogs…?

ANNIE:  Forget it.

CAYLOR:  Especially mean dogs.

ANNIE:  People who keep mean dogs…

CAYLOR:  They’re making up for some psycho-sexual deficiency.

ANNIE:  Some sort of inadequacy.

CAYLOR:  In another part of their life.

ANNIE:  Mmm-hmm.

CAYLOR:  Yeah.

(they lock eyes for a moment, then turn to their respective friends, excited)

CAYLOR (cont’d):  I met this girl!

ANNIE:  I’m seeing this guy!

CAYLOR/ANNIE:  And we can talk!

PETE:  Down boy, down.

TOM:  Out to the park.  You need some baseball.

(MEN exit; ANNIE sits with CLARINDA , who pours two glasses of wine)

CLARINDA:  You like him?

ANNIE:  I like him.

CLARINDA:  So why do you look so confused?

ANNIE:  I feel like I’ve been through a battery of tests.  Okay, I have been through a battery of tests.

CLARINDA:  You passed?

ANNIE:  Who knows? He only hears whether or not I agree with him. Guess he figures the rest he’ll have to teach me.

CLARINDA:  Why do we let them do that to us?

ANNIE:  I don’t know.  (pause)  I like him. I like being with him. He’s intelligent, he’s funny.  Man, he can make me laugh.  And mostly I do agree with him. It’s like we were born on the same wave length. But I can feel myself…going under, you know.  (pause)  Half my life I spend telling other women how strong and independent I am. The other half I spend searching for a man to blend with. Blend…not lose myself in.  Blending feels less like a betrayal of myself. Is this insanity?

CLARINDA:  It’s called a dichotomy. When you’re split in two.

ANNIE:  Hmmm.

CLARINDA:  But your guy, a nice guy?

ANNIE:  So far.

CLARINDA:  Good looking?

ANNIE:  Good looking enough.

CLARINDA:  Good job?

ANNIE:  Decent job.

CLARINDA:  Not psychotic? Insanely jealous? Wouldn’t beat you?

ANNIE:  Don’t think so.

CLARINDA:  Not hung up on his mother, ex-wife, old girlfriend?

ANNIE: Well…

CLARINDA:  Not secretly gay? Not addicted to porn, football, x-box?

ANNIE:  All to be discovered.

CLARINDA:  Not obnoxiously self centered?

ANNIE:  Not anymore than the usual man.

CLARINDA:  Wouldn’t lay around the house in his socks and underwear eating barbecue sauce and crackers?

ANNIE:  Gross. This happened to you?

CLARINDA:  Sylvester. Would pee in the sink because the bathroom was up the stairs.


CLARINDA:  Know your man!  Know him before you lose your heart!

 ANNIE:  Now you got me worried.

CLARINDA:  Your world is open.  You could have anything.  You could have a career.

ANNIE:  I could.

CLARINDA:  You could be a lawyer.

ANNIE:  Oh, wretched.

CLARINDA:  Boring?

ANNIE:  Have you ever opened a law book?  Unendurable.

CLARINDA:  All right then.  An anthropologist.

ANNIE:  There’s no money in that.

CLARINDA:  The research you do?

ANNIE:  Part time at best.

(a beat, a sip of wine

CLARINDA:  (sip of wine)  But you were seeing that guy.  He had a penthouse on Central Park West.

ANNIE:  He was a complete ass.

CLARINDA:  He had a Calder mobile hanging from his living room ceiling.

ANNIE:  He was still an ass.

CLARINDA:  Or the doctor.  No, no, no, he was a dentist, right?

ANNIE:  We didn’t have a thing in the world in common.

CLARINDA:  What about the baseball player?

ANNIE:  Oh God, I go out with him one time and the whole world knows?

CLARINDA:  He was a New York Met.

ANNIE:  I’m not going to spend the rest of my life pretending I am dumber than he is.  Mission impossible.

CLARINDA:  You had three chances to marry rich.

ANNIE:  Don’t you think I should love the guy?  Even just a little?


ANNIE:  I won’t settle for a man I don’t love. I won’t get married just to get married.

CLARINDA:  I almost did.  I almost got married for that whole Queen for a Day Wedding Deal.

ANNIE:  You never told me this.

CLARINDA:  A two hundred thousand dollar destination wedding, Cancun, Mexico.

ANNIE:  Wow.  And you didn’t do it?

CLARINDA:  And marry Sylvester?  I don’t think so.

ANNIE:  All that money and he peed in the sink?

CLARINDA:  He was raised by pigs.  And that’s a slander to pigs.  (scans audience)  Now I’m back looking around for a Mister Maybe.

ANNIE:  Oh my God.

CLARINDA:  (to audience) Every once in a while a guy comes along who…. if you squint a little…

ANNIE:  (to audience)  If you cut your expectations off a little…say…at the knee.

CLARINDA:  I was hoping for higher.  Maybe to… (indicates waist) …here.  Because maybe I want the whole package.

ANNIE:  If he just can get above here… (indicates breasts) …to maybe here…(touches head) …is this too much to ask?

CLARINDA:  Is he breathing?  He doesn’t stink?  Okay, maybe!

ANNIE:  Because after you have weeded out the weird and the dim…

CLARINDA:  …the goof balls and the meatballs there is… (waves hand at men [or man] in Audience)
…like you, a Maybe.  Not George Clooney, but okay.

ANNIE:  So you put on that low cut off the shoulder spaghetti strap clingy thing…

CLARINDA:  …that you keep around for just such an occasion…

ANNIE:  …and the high heels that hurt like hell.

CLARINDA:  It’s foot bondage, ladies.  They want to cripple us.

ANNIE:  They want to bankrupt us.

CLARINDA:  But you get all dolled up and go meet this Mister Maybe.

ANNIE:  And after five minutes…

CLARINDA:  Even with a drink, and you will need a drink, because after five minutes you’re thinking…

ANNIE:  You’re not him.

CLARINDA:  You’re not even close to him.  (to Audience)  It is not that we can’t get dates.

ANNIE:  We’ve had dates.

CLARINDA:  It’s just frankly…the field is not impressive.

ANNIE:  The field is more like a pasture.

CLARINDA:  The pasture is a wasteland.

ANNIE:  Seven billion people on the planet and half of those are men.

CLARINDA:  Deduct ten percent for gay.

ANNIE:  Maybe more in certain cities.

CLARINDA:  Okay, that’s still a lot of men.  But somehow…

ANNIE:  Somehow it seems the gene pool is drying up.



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