Shootout at Garsen's Saloon
Cast of Characters
Joe Garrett, leader of the homesteaders
Marian Garrett, Joe’s wife
Grandma Garrett, Joe’s mother
Johnny Garrett, dim-witted 16 year old son
Bonnie Garrett, 12 year old daughter
Cannonball Stone, fiery-tempered homesteader
Opal Stone, 16 year old daughter
Rocky Stone, 14 year old son
Svede Svenson, Swedish homesteader
Ebenezer Erp, town preacher
Alley Erp, Ebenezer’s wife
Hannah Erp, bad-breathed 16 year old daughter
Big Bill Wretcher, cattle boss of the valley
Rachael Wretcher, flirtatious 16 year old daughter
Kurt Jergens, Big Bill’s German, bully-boy foreman
Garsen, owner of Garsen’s Saloon
Tina Tintinnabulation, saloon girl
Digger Phelps, undertaker and barber
Widow Winslow, man-hunting, 35 year old widow
Shane, gunfighter trying to escape his past
Stark Verisimilitude, gunfighter
Place: Shoshone Hole,
(In the den of Reverend Ebenezer Erp. Rev. Erp is seated behind a desk reading a sermon he has just written)
Erp: “And so I say unto you. Beware the intrusion of evil into your life. It will come stealthily, like a coyote in a chicken-coop, to seize the goodness of you, and carry it off into the night!” (to himself) I write so beautifully! “We must smit the intruder! Drive a wooden stake through its …” Smit? Smote? Smitted? Alley, come here!
Mrs. Erp (entering left): What is it this time? Can’t you write one sermon without my help?!
Erp: Alley, my sermons are always His message! My vocabulary, alas, is not!
Mrs. Erp: What is it this time? I’m working on Hannah’s dress!
Erp: Listen. “We must smit the intruder.”
Mrs. Erp: That’s smote.
Erp: Thank you, my dear. Do you see how easy that was? (He goes back to studying his sermon)
Mrs. Erp (after a pause): But why not just say, “kill the intruder”?
Erp (looking up): What?
Mrs. Erp: Kill! Kill!
Erp: Alley, my dear. You must not let your inability to hem a dress control your emotions.
Mrs. Erp: I’m not talking about that!
Erp: Then surely it is the choir. It was most unfair of me to expect you to improve the singing of two eighty-year-old women, and a deaf mute baritone. (He goes back to reading his sermon)
Mrs. Erp (with strained sweetness): Ebenezer, dear. I was not thinking of killing anything or anyone, until right now.
Erp (looking up again): Good. (pause) It is time now for me to practice my delivery before your full length mirror. Is Hannah decently attired?
Mrs. Erp: You may go in, Ebenezer. Ask Hannah to join me here. (Erp exits left) At times he is such an airhead!
(Hannah enters excitedly left)
Hannah: Oh, Mother, I’m so excited! Johnny’s birthday party and no more bad breath! I’m going to win him, Mother! I’m going to be his wife! (She starts to jump up and down)
Mrs. Erp: Not without a good fight!
Hannah (having stopped jumping): You mean … Rachel Wretcher?
Mrs. Erp: Hannah, your father is a saintly man. He must never know I said this. (pause) Just between you and me, when you’re alone with Johnny, … show him a little leg!
Hannah: Mother! I am shocked!
Mrs. Erp: Don’t be. How do you think I got your father?!
Hannah: Are you saying Father was attracted to the sight of your exposed leg?!
Mrs. Erp: He couldn’t keep from snapping my garter.
Hannah: Oh, how shameful! And even worse is that you allowed it!
Mrs. Erp: Listen, honey. When you’re twenty-nine and you’ve finally hooked a man – any man, which is the category your father fell into – you’ll do almost anything to land him!
Hannah: You mean … you didn’t get married at sixteen?! (Mrs. Erp shakes her head) Well, I’m not going to listen to such scandalous talk another minute! I would never do any such thing with Johnny!
Mrs. Erp: But Rachel Wretcher would!
(Long pause as Hannah reflects on this)
(Rev. Erp enters left. He walks over to Hannah)
Erp: Hannah, my dear. What a lovely dress, even though the hem is uneven. (He looks at Mrs. Erp)
(Mrs. Erp frowns.)
Hannah: Shameful, Father! You … you … you garter snapper! (She rushes out the left exit.)
Erp (bewildered): What did I say?
Mrs. Erp: Pay her no mind. Her head is filled with worry.
Erp (after a confused look): Would you check my delivery? I believe I hold my fist too high when I invoke His wrath!
Mrs. Erp (a bit wearily): All right. Into the other room. (They exit right)
(The Garrett homestead. In the yard. Johnny Garrett enters left with Rachel Wretcher and Hannah Erp)
Johnny: I never knew my folks and you were gonna give me a surprise birthday party! I’m so surprised!
Rachel: Now that we’ve eaten the ice cream and cake, Johnny, … (romantically) … let’s play games!
Hannah: Oh, let’s. My father taught me a good one!
Johnny: What is it?
Hannah: I’ll name something someone did in Old Testament days.
Johnny: And we have to name who did it?
Johnny (after a reflective pause): Hannah, there is something definitely different about you today.
Hannah: I know. You haven’t seen me in a week. Something happened!
Rachel: You haven’t seen me in a week either! And I know a game you’ll just love!
Johnny: Oh yeah? (turning to Rachel) What’s it called?
Rachel (smiling): Spin the bottle!
Johnny: Oh. I like bottles. I’ve got a great big collection. Pretty red ones. Shiny brown ones! How do you play?
Rachel: Well, you find an old bottle …
Hannah: And you spin it?
Rachel (to Hannah, coldly): Let me tell it, Maggot Mouth!
Hannah (offended): Maggot mouth?! That’s not nice!
Rachel: Sorry! How about Bile Breath! Do you have to get so close?!
Johnny (after a look of discovery, to Hannah): That’s it! I know what’s different about you!
Hannah (pleased): You finally noticed.
Johnny: Your breath! It no longer smells like month-old meat!
Hannah (demurely): It was a bad tooth, Johnny. I had it pulled.
Rachel (sarcastically): Wonderful. May I finish explaining the game?!
Johnny: Oh yes. Go ahead.
Rachel: Everyone who is playing sits in a circle.
(Bonnie Garrett enters right.)
Bonnie: A game? Eeew, can I play?!
Johnny: Yes. Certainly.
Rachel (not pleased): Johnny, this game is a bit … mature for her.
Bonnie: You mean I’m too young?! I’m playing!
Johnny: Now, Bonnie, if Rachel says this game is too mature for you, you should believe her.
Rachel: You wouldn’t like it. (smiling at Johnny) But Johnny would!
Bonnie: Yes, I would! I’m not as little as you think!
Rachel (to Bonnie): All right. I’ll prove it. (pause) Do you like to kiss boys?
Bonnie (making a face): Yuck!
Rachel (to Johnny): Do you like to kiss? I bet you do!
Johnny (after a thoughtful pause): I can’t really say. I’ve never kissed a boy.
Bonnie: Oh brother!
Johnny (turning to Bonnie): Yes?
Bonnie (shaking her head): Dense!
Rachel (smiling): But cuddly!
Johnny (again a look of discovery): Oh! Were you talking about kissing … girls?!
Bonnie: I still want to know how to play!
Rachel (after a sigh): First we need a bottle.
Johnny: I’ll get one! (He rushes off-stage left.)
Bonnie: What do I do with the bottle?
Rachel: You spin it.
Bonnie: What happens when it stops?
Rachel: You do something to the person it’s pointing at.
Bonnie: If it’s Johnny, do I get to kick him?!
Rachel: No, you have to kiss him!
Bonnie: Double yuck! I’d rather kiss a potato bug! I’m leaving! (She gets up and exits right.)
(Johnny enters left with a bottle.)
Johnny: Well, that just leaves … you two and me. (Rachel and Hannah both smile.) What do we do with this?
Rachel: Spin it.
Johnny: Oh, how fun!
Hannah (tentatively): I don’t think my father would want me playing this game.
Rachel: Good! Go away!
Hannah: On the other hand, … what does he know?! I’ll go first!
Rachel: No, I will!
Hannah: No, you won’t!
Rachel: It was my idea!
Hannah (grabbing the bottle away from Johnny): But I’ve got the bottle!
Johnny: Hey, I thought I got to spin it! (to Hannah) I bet I can make it turn more times than you.
Hannah: That’s not the object of the game.
Johnny: It’s not? Oh, shucks!
Hannah: You spin the bottle, and when it stops …
Johnny (seriously): Yes?
Hannah: Whoever it points to, … you kiss!
Johnny: Oh. (pause) And who all is playing?
Hannah: Just you, Rachel, and me!
Johnny: So if I spin it, … then … (big smile) … Oh!
Rachel: I’m going first!
Rachel: I’ll scratch your eyes out!
Hannah: You just try!
Johnny: Girls! Girls! (They stop glowering at each other and look at him.) Just because I’m … seventeen now … and very good-looking, … (He makes his ferret face) … that’s no reason to fight over me!
Hannah: Well …
Rachel: Then what do you suggest?
Johnny: Let me spin the bottle … once! The girl who loses … can go play with my sister.
Rachel: All right, go spin it! Once we start kissing, I’m not quitting!
(Johnny spins the bottle. They watch it intently. If it points at Hannah, the following scene takes place.)
Rachel (standing up angrily): Ferret Face! (She stalks off left)
Johnny: Gee, everyone calls me ferret face!
Hannah (rising): Maybe we’d better stand up. (She places her hands on his shoulders)
Johnny: You’re kind of tall. You sure your breath is okay now?
Johnny: I wouldn’t want you having a relapse at the last minute!
Hannah: Well, it you’re worried, we’d … better get started right now!
Johnny: Okay. (He raises up on his tip-toes.)
(Joe Garrett enters left.)
(If the bottle points at Rachel, the following scene takes place)
Hannah (rising and looking skyward): First the bad breath! Now this! Why can’t a minister’s daughter have any fun?! (She exits forlornly left)
Rachel (grinning): Come here, Ferret Face!
Johnny: Everybody calls me ferret face!
Rachel: But I like your ferret face! I’m going to kiss it and kiss it!
Johnny (standing): Well, once or twice maybe.
Rachel (placing hands on his shoulders): Or twenty.
Johnny (nervously): Oh boy. (He shuts his eyes tightly.)
(Joe Garrett enters left,)
To be concluded next week