A very short play


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SCENE: This is a kitche with a table and three piece setting. A woman (Alice) is serving foot to a boy to the state right side of the hospital. She is dressed in a simple, patterned house dress and holds a skillet from which she is dishing food onto the plate. The boy (Kenny) looks several times at Alice (who is is aunt) then proceeds to eat.


ALICE: (calling to her husband off stage) Ed-ward! Supper. Iím not going to call you again.


(she looks at Kenny who is scoffing up his meal, then mumbles to herself.)


ALICE: Lord, sometimes it feels as if Iím married to a child.


(sounds come from off stage: a door creeks a man grumbles. Then a door slams and the grumbling grows lounder. A tall, wide shouldered man enters dressed in greese statined coveralls. His face has a smudge of greese. But his hands are literarly covered with greese, more black than white. He seems to be looking for something, lifting the cover to one of the metal serving dishes on the table)


ALICE: Get those grimmy hands out of there!


GEORGE: Damn it, woman (still nudging the silverware on the table. Canít you see that Iím looking for something?


ALICE: I donít care what the matter is with you. I donít want you sitting at my table looking like that. Go get washed up.


EDWARD: (looks at his hands absently) Washed. Why the hell should I care about washing. I told you Iím looking for something?


ALICE: Well, whatever it is, isnít here (puts the skillet down on a heat pad on the table) What are you looking for anyway?


EDWARD: (mumbles something)


ALICE: I didnít hear what you said.


KENNY: (looks up nervously from where he is sitting at the table. But goes back to eatting).


EDWARD: Forget about it. I didnít lose anything.


ALICE: Thatís not what you said a moment ago. What did you lose?


EDWARD: I just took it off for a moment. Thatís all. One moment and then it was gone.


ALICE: Gone? Whatís gone? Did you lose you wallet again?


EDWARD:† Woman! Why do you have to start hounding me. I didnít lose anything. I got my wallet right here. You want to see it? (he pulls a ragged piece of worn leather from his pocket that might once have been a wallet, but has long ceased looking like one)


ALICE: If you didnít lose anything, why are you going on about it? Go get yourself washed before the food gets cold.


EDWARD: I canít eat until I find it.


ALICE: But you just said you didnít lose anything


EDWARD: I said I didnít lose my wallet.


ALICE: Then what did you lose? Tell me that.


KENNY: (drains his glass of milk, wipes his mouth with his sleeve and slides up out of his chair) May I be excused.


ALICE: No, you may not. Youíve not finished your greens.


KENNY: Come on, Aunt Alice. I ate some of them. Canít I go?


ALICE: No. Sit down and finish.


KENNY: †(stares at his aunt, then at his uncle, sighs, and sits back down in his chair, picks up his fork, and plays with, rather than eats the greens).


ALICE: (pulls Edward around by the shirt sleeve) Now, Edward tell me whatís so important that youíre turning supper into a treasure hunt?


EDWARD: (squirming in much the same way as Kenny): Iím sure it didnít get far. I pue it down on the shelf over my work bench Ė right above the motor fixies between the silcone and the drive shaft. I always put it there. I canít get my hand down into the drive shaft with it on.


ALICE: What? Just say what, Edward. And skip the stories.


EDWARD: My ring.


ALICE:† Are you telling me you lost your wedding ring? Please donít tell me that.


(she sags into one of the kitchen chairs, still shaking her head.)


Youíve done a lot of foolish things, Edward, but this is the worst.


EDWARD: And Iím telling you I didnít lose it. I know where I put it and it wasnít there when I went back to get it. Thatís all.


(looks over at Kenny)


Ask the boy. He was right there when I did it. Werenít you, boy?


KENNY: (Squirms, but says nothing)


ALICE: I canít believe you lost your ring. I can understand about the rake you lost, maybe even the wheel barrel. I can even understand you losing the car, because the mall is a big place.† But the ring? I thought it meant more to you than that.


EDWARD: (shouting) Will you be silent, woman! (looks to Kenny) Tell youíre aunt to stop this, boy.


KENNY: (Looks up with a startled look)


ALICE: But you lost your wedding ring, Edward. Doesnít that mean anything?


EDWARD: All right, so I lost the ring. I didnít do it on purpose.It vanished like magic. One minute it was there, the next minute it was gone.


KENNY: (suddenly inspired gobbles up the rest of his greens, then hops down off the chair and speaking with his mouth still full) Can I go now, please?


ALICE: (waving her hand in a despairing gesture) Go. But donít get lost. You have home work to do.


KENNY: (rushed off stage)


EDWARD: †(mumbling) Like magic


ALICE: Like magic Ė you mean like everything else.


EDWARD: It was right there on the shelf. Ask the boy. He was there.


ALICE: Go wash your hands, Edward. Weíll talk about it later.



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