by Alan Stolzer
Setting: bare stage, takes place in any large city in the USA
Character: WOMAN, African-American, late 60 to early 70s
WOMAN stands behind a table heaped with merchandise, brandishing a baseball bat.
Now, I have some books and I have some earrings. I have anything you want—but you’re the one who has to speak up. Cause no matter how insightful I am—and I am insightful—I’ve yet to make a sale—to you.
Don’t be shy and don’t be bashful. Come closer and inspect my wares. Trinkets, flower seeds, various forms and types of clothing. I had incense before most people knew what it was. I see you looking at my assortment of pottery—but don’t touch the merchandise unless you ask me first—as I’d be forced to call on Mr. Harmon Killebrew here… (waving baseball bat) to settle up.
Mr. Killebrew is not for sale. I repeat—not for sale. He is my main source of protection in this most dubious of worlds and I guarantee any evil-doer harboring the slightest evil-doing will have Mr. Killebrew’s autograph tattooed across his forehead—for life if he’s not careful. Yessir. I have done it before and will do it again—if I have to.
(Waving bat at customer.)
Both hands off the harmonicas, Young Man—or next time we will strike without warning… As I was saying, everything you see’s for sale. And all prices are negotiable. Trouble with most people is lack of flexibility—you won’t find that the case with me. I could be here today and one thousand miles away tomorrow—with a whole new line of goods. It’s not hard—if you’re flexible. That’s what keeps me going—in case you hadn’t noticed.
Do you believe I’m 85? Do you believe I’m 75? Anyone can choose a number but what I’m trying to say—and pay attention (waving bat) is it don’t matter cause it’s none of your damn business. If I were to release information like that—why, my career would be jeopardized faster than Harmon here could crush a fastball. And Harmon could hit—make no mistake about it. Why, he was one of the greatest right-handed sluggers of all time—that’s all.
Harmon Killebrew? Shoot. You have never seen a pitcher soil his pants faster than when Mr. K came striding up to the plate. And he didn’t make a big show of it neither—no sir. He was stocky, see. Kind of purposeful, head down, all business. But when he looked up it was every man for himself. Then he cocked his namesake like this—a wide, slightly open stance—and didn’t move an eyelash. Pure, unadulterated, midwestern American menace, I’m tellin ya. Oh, that man about sent me to heaven when he rode one into the leftfield bleachers. Thrills? Honey, you had better not have been within fifty feet of me when he hit one out—cause I was letting the world know all about it—in case it already didn’t. Not too many people got to me like Mr. K did. No sir. (Waving bat)
I’m not sleepin’ here, Young Man. I warned you already. That there harmonica is now two dollars and seventy five cents instead of two fifty. I’ll teach these young puppies a thing or two about sellin’—yes, I will. Just because I look away one thousandth of a second they think I’m fair game. Shoot. I was selling goods long before the poor creature who brought that punk into the world was born… Now, where was I?… Oh, yes—Mr. K and his personal reign of terror. Used to give me reassurance—that’s right—reassurance—to see someone conduct himself as he did. Didn’t need nobody. Speak softly and carry the biggest stick you can find and the world will find other doors to break down—but not yours. Stands to reason don’t it? You don’t see no oak trees dripping and whining like Weepin’ Willows. Or no Redwoods doing the same over a lost branch or two. Put your name on something—anything… (caressing bat) …don’t have to be Mr. K—but find a corner, a spot in this life or you got no right to call it your own… Now, I like you—you listen and don’t jabber away or try to get my prices down—although I do wonder about that. So, me and Harmon’ll do what we can with you. Does jasmine strike your fancy? Here’s some nice amulets or are you more practical minded today?
copyright © 2010 Alan Stolzer. All rights reserved. ___________________________________________
Alan Stolzer studied with playwright John Ford Noonan. Served as dramaturg, St. Clements Theatre, New York, NY. Productions by Bakers Union Local #3 Theater Three, American Theater of Actors and Inner Space Theatre, Lovecreek Productions and South Camden Theatre. Invitee to 2006 Great Plains Theatre Conference Pre-Conference Writer’s Workshop and 2007 Last Frontier Theatre Conference Play Lab. Scripts Up! workshop production of The Undetermined Soldier at Shetler Studios in July, 2008. Member of Dramatists Guild.