The Ghost of Red Baron Tavern
( A Suburban Misfits tale)
SCENE 1 Tavern
(Bar keeper is cleaning up after closing, when he sees a beer mug move. He scratches his head and mumbles)
KEEP: Tommy, youíre working too hard.
(He continues to wash, then sees another mug move. Then another, and finally sees the ghost of Hank Sterns in the mirror.)
SCENE 2† Ken in bed
(Telephone ring waking Ken from sleep. He fumbles for the phone then grunts into it)
KEEP: You got to get down here, Kenny.
KEN:† Itís four in the morning
KEEP:† I know what time it is.
††††††††††† But your friend Hank is causing havoc in my tavern.
KEN:†† Thatís impossible. Hankís been dead for going on two years.
KEEP: I know that!
††††††††††† But heís your friend. So youíd better get him out of here.
KEN: Iíll be there tomorrow after work
SCENE 3: The tavern
(Ken and Pauly settle at a table in the busy tavern. The barkeeper comes up to the table)
KEN:† I donít see anything here.
KEEP: I did. And thatís what counts
PAULY:† And you were sober?
KEEP: Donít give me any guff, Garley.
††††††††††† I saw what I saw and I donít need nobody else seeing it.
PAULY:† Donít you think a ghost would lend a little character to this place?
KEEP:† It donít need character.
††††††††††† I got a buyer who wants to build condos on the property and that last thing I need is for Hank or any ghost to scare him off.
KEN:† You think thatís why Hank came back?
KEEP:† Hank spent more time here than he ever did at home.
††††††††††† He once threatened to haunt me if I ever did what Iím doing now.
PAULY:† So what do you expect us to do.
KEEP:† Get rid of him.
(Barkeeper leaves and goes back behind the bar to handle the customers there. Pauly shakes his head)
PAULY:† I donít know what you dragged me here.
††††††††††† I hate this place
KEN:†† So did Hank.
PAULY: Yeah, thatís why he came here every night
KEN: He came here because he had no place else to go
††††††††††† Although he talked a lot about finding some place else and a better circle of friends.
PAULY:†† Thatís pretty rich since you and me were his only friends.
KEN:†† Thatís why I brought you here.
††††††††††† If anybody can talk him into leaving, we can.
PAULY:† This isnít like the good old days, Ken.
††††††††††† Weíve not here to drive him home because he had too much to drink.
††††††††††† Heís dead. He doesnít need a designated driver.
KEN: † I know itís complicated.
††††††††††† But if we canít help him nobody can.
PAULY:†† Help him do what?
KEN: † Escape.
††††††††††† Hank felt trapped here in life
††††††††††† Do we want to see him spend an eternity here, too?
PAULY: He wonít have to.
††††††††††† The ownerís going to make condos of the place
KEN: And so heíll haunt those instead.
PAULY:†† All right, enough whining. What do you want me to do?
KEN: † Buy him a drink to start.
PAULY:†† Buy who a drink?
PAULY:† For Christís sake, Kenny.
††††††††††† Do you want to make us look like fools?
††††††††††† In public?
KEN:† Just do it, will you.
††††††††††† You know what he drinks.
PAULY: Yeah, I know.
KEEP: (comes over) What will it be?
PAULY:† A rum and coke for our invisible friend.
KEEP:† (Frowns) I sure hope you two know what youíre doing
††††††††††† (He goes off and comes back bearing the drink, then leaves again.)
PAULY: Okay, what now?
KEN: † We wait.
PAULY: For what?
KEN: For that
††††††††††† (he points to the moving glass)
PAULY:† Stop kicking the table, Ken
KEN:† Iím not.
PAULY:† Look, I put up with the farce long enough. You are not going to convince me Hankís ghost is really here.
KEN:† Canít you smell his cologne?
PAULY (sniffs): My God!
††††††††††††††††††††††† Iíd recognize that heap stuff anywhere.
††††††††††† (the glass rattles violently)
KEN: I wouldnít make any of your usual rude remarks, Pauly.
PAULY: (looking around) All right. Iím behaving myself. Honest.
††††††††††† (then to Ken) What does he want?
KEN: † Iím not sure I know.
PAULY: ††††††††† So how do you propose to find out?
††††††††††††††††††††††† Or did you intend to hold a sťance in here?
KEN:†† If heís here with us, heíll find a way to talk with us.
PAULY: ††††††††† Why doesnít that comfort me?
KEN:†† Maybe because we didnít talk with him enough when he was still alive.
PAULY:†††††††††† Talk with him?
††††††††††††††††††††††† How could we?
††††††††††††††††††††††† All he ever did was go on and on about that girl -- whatís her name -- who dumped him.
KEN: † Peggy.
††††††††††† Her name was Peggy
††††††††††† Hank loved her deeply.
††††††††††† He never got over her taking off with another man
PAULY:†††††††††† For 20 years, we had to hear about it.
††††††††††††††††††††††† Night after night, he ranted on.
††††††††††††††††††††††† It was enough to drive a man to drink.
KEN:†††††††††††††† It did.
PAULY: ††††††††† Donít blame me for his kidneys failing
††††††††††††††††††††††† I didnít steal his girl
††††††††††††††††††††††† And I didnít put the drink in his hand
††††††††††††††††††††††† And I certainly didnít make him stay in this dump night after night.
KEN:†† I know. I know.
††††††††††† But somethingís keeping him here.
††††††††††† And if we two canít work it out, nobody can.
PAULY:†††††††††† Maybe we can go get whatís her name and have her come here.
††††††††††††††††††††††† Maybe she can tell him how sorry she was for running off like she did.
KEN:†††††††††††††† I havenít seen her in years, and even if I had, she wouldnít come.
††††††††††††††††††††††† Hank scared her in life, his ghost would only terrorize her all the more.
PAULY:†††††††††† Can you blame me?
††††††††††††††††††††††† With all his drunk howling outside her door?
††††††††††††††††††††††† How many times did she move before she finally shook him?
††††††††††††††††††††††† Why isnít he haunting her instead of this place?
KEN:†† God knows.
††††††††††† Maybe he spent so long here mourning the loss of her, his spirit canít leave.
PAULY:†††††††††† So what do we do?
††††††††††††††††††††††† We canít burn the place down so that Hank can go off to Never-Never Land.
KEN:†† Maybe weíre doing it already.
PAULY:†††††††††† Doing what?
KEN:†† Missing him.
††††††††††† Caring about him.
††††††††††† We didnít talk much after the funeral
PAULY:†††††††††† What was there to say or remember?
††††††††††††††††††††††† That he was a class A drunk?
KEN:†† There was more to Hank than alcohol.
††††††††††† He had dreams, too.
††††††††††† He liked to sing.
††††††††††† I remember when I worked with him as an usher
††††††††††† He kept singing Born Free at me.
PAULY:†††††††††† You were lucky.
††††††††††††††††††††††† Hs sang John Denver songs at me.
††††††††††††††††††††††† If I hear ďTake me Home Country Roads,Ē one more time.
††††††††††††††††††††††† I swear I might have killed him.
KEN:†† Maybe thatís what he wants
PAULY:†††††††††† Heís already dead, Kenny.
KEN:†† Maybe he wants us to sing to him.
PAULY:†††††††††† Here and now?
††††††††††††††††††††††† Youíre crazy!
KEN:†† Iím serious.
††††††††††† The more I think about it, the more I think Iím right.
PAULY:†††††††††† No way, Iím going to sing John Denver
††††††††††††††††††††††† Even for Hank.
KEN: † Born Free will do.
PAULY:†††††††††† Thatís just as bad.
KEN;†† Come on, Pauly.
††††††††††† We didnít do enough for him when we were alive.
††††††††††† The least we can do is see he gets off to the next world right.
PAULY:†††††††††† Youíre as batty as he was.
††††††††††† But Iím the guy who stole his girl, remember?
PAULY:†††††††††† Yeah, I remember
††††††††††††††††††††††† You sing, Iíll hum along
††††††††††††††††††††††† This is your penance, not mine.
KEN: † We both sing or it wonít work.
PAULY:†††††††††† All right, all right, Iíll sing.
††††††††††††††††††††††† (To Hank)
††††††††††††††††††††††† You near me, Hank?
††††††††††††††††††††††† Iím doing this for you.
(Scene fades with both of them singing.)