Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Shootout at Garsen's Saloon
Part Three, Scenes Three and Four
 
Cast of Characters
 
            Joe Garrett, leader of the homesteaders
            Marian Garrett, Joe’s wife
            Grandma Garrett, Joe’s mother
            Johnny Garrett, dim-witted 17 year old son
           
            Opal Stone, 16 year old daughter of Cannonball Stone
           
            Svede Svenson, Swedish homesteader
 
            Ebenezer Erp, town preacher
            Alley Erp, Ebenezer’s wife
            Hannah Erp, former bad-breathed, 16 year old daughter
 
            Rachael Wretcher, flirtatious 16 year old daughter of Big Bill Wretcher
           
            Tina Tintinnabulation, saloon girl
 
            Stark Verisimilitude, hired gunfighter
           
Time: 1880s
Place: Shoshone Hole, Wyoming
 
Scene Three
 
(Twenty minutes later.  The Erps’ parlor.  Reverend Erp enters at the right)
 
Erp: Alley, it that you?!  (He looks about the empty room)  You have returned to repent but in your shame you are hiding.  I am a magnanimous man, Alley.  You may ask for forgiveness.  (He strikes a righteous but patient pose.  Five seconds pass.  He looks about doubtfully)
 
(Tina Tintinnabulation enters left)
 
Tina: Reverend Erp.  You have time for saloon girl?  Si?
 
Erp (taking the wrong meaning): I … (grins) … I have time for all of His children.  (pause)  Some more than others.
 
Tina: You nice man.  All men nice men.  Why all men nice to me?
 
Erp: Heh!  Heh!  Heh!  Heh!
 
Tina (after glancing about): Where you wife?  We all alone here.
 
Erp: I know!  (pause)  You asked about having time, Miss Tintinnabulation.  (He grins)
 
Tina: Tina.  You call me Tina.
 
Erp: Only … Heh, heh, heh, heh!    only if you call me … Ebenezer.
 
Tina: You cute preacher.  Perezoso eyes.  Carrumba!
 
Erp: Before divinity school, they used to call me … well … Heh, heh, heh!    We  won’t go into that.
 
Tina: No, no, no, no, no!  You say what you want!  Tina good listener!
 
Erp: I … wish only to answer your question.
 
Tina: What question that?
 
Erp: Why, why all men like you.
 
Tina: Si.  Why they do that?
 
(Svede Svenson enters left)
 
Erp: You are a ravishingly beautiful woman!
 
(Tina impulsively tickles Erp under his chin)
 
Tina (tickling): Couchie!  Couchie!  Couchie!
 
Svede: Yumpin’ Yimminy!
 
Erp (surprised and embarrassed): Mr. Svenson!
 
Tina (pleasantly surprised): Svede!  (to Erp)  He fun hombre.
 
Svede: If I fun hombre, what you then call him?
 
Tina: I call hem Ebenezer.  Handsome preacher.  Chihuahua!
 
Svede (after glancing from Erp to Tina and back to Erp): I tink I better go now.
 
Tina: No, no, no, no, no!  Ebenezer help me with problem.  He help you, too.
 
Svede: Ya!  That is why I come here.
 
Erp (irritably): Tell me.  Make it quick!
 
Svede: No.  She can go first.
 
Erp: You go first!
 
Svede (after glancing at Tina and then at Erp): I am a big liar.  I no tell Cannonball I see Opal on German foreman’s knee.  Hankie pankie.
 
Erp: A wise decision!
 
Tina: Si.  Cannonball be mad.  Kurt Jergens plug him in stomach.  Cannonball bleed all over floor!
 
Erp: Indeed.  Comparatively speaking, hankie pankie is harmless.
 
Svede: Then I not tell Mrs. Erp what I saw here?
 
(Erp steps back alarmed)
 
Tina: Here?  What you see here?!
 
Svede: Whoopie.  Couchie couchie.  Hankie Pankie.
 
Tina: I no do that!  That not why I come here!  (to Erp)  Ebenezer.  Every man like me.  Want hankie pinkie.  What I do?
 
Svede (after a five second pause): I tink you stop couchie couchie everybody but me.
 
Tina (impulsively tickles Svede under his chin): Couchie, couchie, couchie!
 
Erp (striking a knowing pose, with an authoritarian voice): That is the solution!  You must leave the saloon forever and direct your attentions toward one man only!  Forthwith!
 
(Mrs. Erp enters left)
 
Tina: Si.  Chihuahua!  You make Tina so happy!  (tickles him under his chin)  Couchie, couchie, couchie!
 
Mrs. Erp (aghast): E-ben-e-zer!
 
Erp (taken aback): Alley, my dear!
 
Mrs. Erp: Ebenezer Erp!  You … you … you garter snapper!
 
Svede: I tink I better go now.  (He exits unobtrusively left)
 
Tina: I do what you say!  Pronto!  (She blows Erp a kiss and dances out left)
 
(Mrs. Erp, hands on hips, glares at Erp)
 
Erp: This is not what you think!
 
(Mrs. Erp taps her right foot)
 
Erp: If you don’t believe me, you may ask Mr. Svenson!  (pause)  On second thought, you had better not!
 
Mrs. Erp: Ebenezer, we have much to talk about!  After we are finished, I may still go home to Mother!
 
Erp: Then I shall begin!  (striking a pose)  When you assumed that I, a righteous man of the cloth, ---
 
Mrs. Erp (interrupting, sternly): Ebenezer!
 
Erp: Yes, my dear woman?
 
Mrs. Erp: Shut thy trap!  (Erp is silently shocked)  That’s right, Ebenezer!  Pipe down!  I will do the talking for once!  In the other room!  You will do the listening!  (She motions toward the right exit)  Move!
 
Erp (heading toward the exit, Alley following): Well, I never!
 
(They exit right)
 
(Rachel Wretcher enters left.  She looks about the empty room and then at the slip of paper that she is holding)
 
Rachel: What is it that Bile Breath wants to talk to me about?  (pause)  Johnny Garrett, of course.  She knows she doesn’t have a chance with me around!  (She smiles and smoothes down her hair and sits)  Oh, Rachel, Rachel, Rachel!
 
(Stark Verisimilitude enters left.  He sees Rachel, stops, and studies her with appreciation.  He steps forward.  She hears the movement and turns about)
 
Rachel (startled): Oh!  (getting a good look at him.  With appreciation) Oh!
 
Stark: You the preacher’s daughter?
 
Rachel: Hah!  (She stands, turns away, and looks at him over her shoulder)  Do I look like a preacher’s daughter?
 
Stark (with appreciation): Does a collie look like a pit bull?!
 
Rachel (smiling, taking a step forward): You have a way with words, stranger.  Just passing through?
 
Stark: If I was, I might just stay a week!
 
Rachel (coyly): Just a week?  (smiles)
 
Stark (under her spell): Two weeks.  Maybe two.  What the heck, a month!
 
Rachel (after a pause): Somehow … you don’t look like a churchman.  You have business with the Reverend?
 
Stark: Superstition.  In my line of work, I like to look in on the preacher before I do a job.
 
Rachel: And just what is your line of work?
 
Stark: Troubleshooter.
 
Rachel: Mmmmmm.  I like trouble.
 
Stark: You look like trouble!
 
Rachel: Thank you.  You’re not so bad yourself.
 
Stark: The best!
 
Rachel: Maybe.
 
Stark (with a macho voice): Who are you?!
 
Rachel: Rachel.
 
Stark: Rachel what?
 
Rachel: That’s for me to know and you to find out.
 
Stark (acting cool): If I have the time.
 
Rachel: Somehow, I think you’ll … find the time.
 
Stark (abruptly): Reckon the preacher’s not here!  Widow lady over at Garsen’s.  Think I’ll give her some time!  (He strides for the left exit)
 
Rachel: Careful, troubleshooter.  That woman’s man-hungry!
 
Stark (after stopping, turning about): Aren’t you all?  (He strides out left)
 
Rachel (confidently): He’ll be back.  (pause – thoughtful look)  What am I doing here?  Oh yes.  Hannah.  And Johnny Garrett.
 
(Hannah Erp enters left, sees Rachel, nods, looks about hastily, and then, looking off-stage left, motions for Opal Stone to enter)
 
Hannah: It’s all right.  My parents are gone.
 
(Opal Stone enters left)
 
Rachel (to Hannah): What’s this all about, maggot-mouth?!
 
Opal: Hannah, my mother is going to meet me at the general store in thirty minutes!  Let’s make this quick!
 
Rachel (to Opal): Oh?  So you can be alone with my daddy’s foreman again?!
 
Opal: What’s wrong with that?!  Kurtie’s my beau.  At least I don’t go chasin’ after every boy, any boy in this valley … like some people I know.
 
Hannah: Girls!  We have important matters to discuss.  Let’s not get personal.
 
Rachel (to Hannah): You’re doing this just to get Johnny!
 
Hannah: Oh, shut up, hussy!
 
Opal (after a pause): If this is about that Johnny Garrett, count me out.  I’m leaving.  (She heads toward the left exit)
 
Hannah: Wait!  It’s not just … Johnny!  It’s the shoot-out!
 
Opal: What shoot-out?
 
Hannah: Johnny’s father … against (to Rachel) your father!
 
Rachel (after a pause): So?
 
Hannah: Aren’t either of you concerned?!
 
Opal (after a pause): No.  I could care less.
 
Rachel: Me neither.  Daddy never does his own dirty work.  (to Opal)  He has “Kurtie” do it.  (She smiles nastily)
 
Opal (worried expression): Now I’m concerned!
 
Hannah (to Rachel): So you should!  Do you think Johnny’s going to want you after your father’s had his father killed?!
 
Rachel (looking concerned): You’re … right.
 
Opal: Of course, Kurtie can outdraw any man in this valley.  I know it!  (She smiles to reassure herself)
 
Hannah (after a pause): Can he outdraw Shane?
 
(Opal’s smile dissolves to a look of fear)
 
Hannah: Don’t you see?  We all have got to do something!  We can’t let our men get killed!
 
Opal (after a pause, with determination): No, we can’t!
 
Rachel (intently): I know what I’ve got to do!
 
Opal: So do I!
 
Hannah (after a pause): What?!
 
Rachel: I don’t have a minute to lose!  (She heads for the left exit)
 
Hannah: Where are you going?
 
Rachel: No time to talk.  (She exits hurriedly left)
 
Opal: I’ve got to go, too!  (She heads for the left exit)
 
Hannah: Where?
 
Opal: Home!  Fast!  (She exits left)
 
Hannah (after a pause, paces): Oh, I hope they can stop it!  Rachel and her father!  Opal and hers!  Oh, Johnny!  Johnny!  Johnny!  If we are to be man and wife, I must not let your pa die!  (Pause)  Now to tell Father!  (She exits right)
 
 
Scene Four
 
(The Garrett kitchen.  Marian Garrett is stirring something in a pot.  Grandma Garrett enters right)
 
Grandma: Well, dearie.  Tonight’s the big night, isn’t it?
 
Marian (smiling): Oh yes.  At seven o’clock guns will blaze!
 
Grandma (after a pause, looking inside the pot): What are you mixing, girl?
 
Marian: Flannel cake batter.  When Joe comes back after all that shooting, he’s going to be hungry.
 
Grandma: And if that clumsy klutz don’t come back?
 
Marian: Shane will eat them!  Oh, Shane, Shane, Shane!  (She twirls about like a school girl)
 
Grandma: Stop that sashayin’ about!  ‘Tisn’t right ‘n’ proper.  (Marian stops)  ‘Tisn’t right, you havin’ two men!
 
Marian: But it’s sure a lot of fun!
 
Grandma: ‘Tisn’t  right!  When I got none!
 
Marian: Oh, Grandma Garrett!  (consoling tone)  Yes, you do.  You’ve got … George Garsen, and Digger Phelps, the undertaker.
 
Grandma: You call those two men?!
 
Marian: Well, from all appearances they seem to be.
 
Grandma: George Garsen’s so short he needs a periscope to see over his own bar.  And Digger Phelps – he’s about as lively as one of his stiffs!
 
Marian: Well, …when you’re living out in the territories, … you just can’t be choosy!
 
Grandma” Don’t mince words with me, girl!  I want Shane!  (softer tone)  Had my eye on him the minute he first rode up.
 
Marian (aghast): Shane?!  You?!
 
Grandma: You heard me!  Shane!  (She spells the name)  S-H-A-N-E!
 
Marian: But … you can’t have ---
 
Grandma (interrupting, pointing her cane at Marian): And why not?!  (pleased tone)  Happen to know he likes me.  Always teasin’ me.
 
Marian: But, …  (emphatically) ... you’re an old lady!
 
Grandma (shaking her cane at Marian): You call me that again and you won’t have any toes!
 
Marian (after a pause): But … if Joe doesn’t come back …
 
Grandma: It’ll serve the dummy right!
 
Marian: Shane will marry me!
 
Grandma: Don’t count on it, dearie!  You and me may have our own shoot-out!
 
Marian: Grandma Garrett!  (shakes her head in disbelief)  A mother and daughter-in-law shouldn’t quarrel.  If you’re so upset, find someone else to take your anger out on.
 
Johnny Garrett enters right)
 
Johnny: Hello, Ma.  Hello, Grannie.  (looks closely at her face)  Is that a new wrinkle I see?
 
Grandma: Don’t you “Grannie” me, you ferret-faced fool!  (She jams the end of her cane onto one of Johnny’s shoes.  He reacts in pain, hobbling around the room.  After a pause, smiling at Marian) You’re right, dearie.  I feel much better now.  (She exits, pleased, left)
 
Johnny: Ma, why doesn’t Grannie like me?
 
Marian: Because you’re a Garrett.
 
Johnny: But … but she’s a Garrett, too.
 
Marian: No, she married a Garrett.  She’s been mad ever since.
 
Johnny (after a pause): I don’t understand.  There’s so much I don’t understand!
 
Marian: That’s because you’re the last of the male Garretts, which have been going downhill like a runaway wagon!
 
Johnny: Like … girls, Ma!  I don’t know anything about them!
 
Marian: Go ask your father.
 
Johnny: I did, but he just said something about birds and bees, and I wasn’t interested about that.
 
Marian: Oh, all right.  Who is it you’re sweet on, Opal Stone?
 
Johnny: Oh, I like Opal all right, but she doesn’t like me and for the life of me I cannot figure out why!
 
Marian (nodding her head knowingly): Smart girl!
 
Johnny (preoccupied): Huh?
 
Marian: Nothing.
 
Johnny (after a pause): Anyway, I’m not worried about Opal.  I’m worried about Hannah, who no longer has bad breath and likes Spin-the-Bottle, and Rachel Wretcher, who carries a bottle around with her and likes Spin-the-Bottle a lot!
 
Marian: So what’s the problem?  You afraid of germs?
 
Johnny: No.  Who to choose?  I’m so bad making choices.
 
Marian: I have a feeling they’ll work that out between them.
 
Johnny: Oh, good!  Then I have nothing to worry about.  (He gives a dumb smile)
 
(Marian goes back to stirring the contents of the pot)
 
Johnny (face changing to a confused look): … Except …
 
Marian (wearily): Now what?
 
Johnny: When Rachel was leaving at the end of my birthday party, … she whispered to me something about playing post office.  (pause)  What’s that?!
 
Marian: Go ask your father.  No.  He wouldn’t know.  Go ask Shane.  (She smiles)  He’d know!
 
Johnny: Okay, I will.  (to himself)  Post office.  Hmmm.  (heads for the right exit)
 
(Joe Garrett enters left)
 
Joe: Marian, I’m leaving!
 
Johnny (passing Joe): Where are you going, Pa?
   
Joe: To Garsen’s.
 
Johnny: Oh, then don’t have more than one drink.  You have two and you’re always on the floor.  (He waves and exits right)
 
Joe (reflecting): “On the floor.”  (nods his head.  To himself) I’ve got to remember what Cannonball said.  Be tough.
 
Marian (tenderly): Joe?
 
Joe (savagely): What?!
 
Marian (hurt): I just wanted to wish you luck.
 
Joe: Oh.  Sorry.  I’m trying to psych myself up.
 
Marian: Well, … good luck.
 
Joe (with bravado): I’m not going to need any luck, Marian!  When I come back, there will be three notches on my gun!
 
Marian: Oh, Joe.  You’re so brave.
 
Joe: But if I don’t, tell Digger Phelps I prefer cedar wood to pine.  (He exits emotionally right)
 
(Marian watches him leave and remains thoughtfully silent for five seconds)
 
Marian: I wonder what Shane would like better in his flannel cakes, strawberries or plums.