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Parched

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Act 1: SCENE 1
SETTING: We are in a house that has seen better days. The set is one big room that is a living room, kitchen, and dining room combined. The walls are plastered in sallow, dry, floral paint. The floor is a dusty grey wood. There is one window in the kitchen, which is quite clean but ragged with cracks. Bluegrass music trickles onto the stage from a rusty record player. RANDOLPH MUNDY sits in the living room reading a book and smoking a pipe. Randolph Mundy is an old man with a receding hair line and a large belly which has begun to shrink with the coming of hard days. He rocks lazily. VIRGINIA MUNDY is in the kitchen, expertly crashing together pots and pans. Virginia is a sturdy woman, with curling grey hair and crinkling wrinkles around her eyes. The hardwood table in the center of the stage is set for five people.
Virginia Mundy: I’m glad you asked everyone over for dinner. I just wished we had something better to offer them than Spam and canned spinach. I spiced it up and—
Randolph Mundy: Hush! Can’t you see I’m reading?
Virginia Mundy: Old man, you stop reading and come and help me. Dinner’s almost finished and they’ll be over in half an hour. The sun’s setting, anyway. Reading in the dark is bad for your eyes.
Randolph Mundy: I’ll turn on the light.
Virginia Mundy: You know we haven’t had electricity in years.
Randolph Mundy: grumbles inaudibly
Virginia Mundy: Randy—
Randolph Mundy: (interrupts her) Listen to this. (clears his throat) “A lake is a landscape's most beautiful and impressive feature. It is Earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” That’s Walden, honey, by Henry David Thoreau.
Virginai Mundy: Well that’s nice. (sighs) Lucky man with a lake… I wish--- (There is a knock on the door) They’re here!
There is a bustle of movement as Randolph slams the book shut and makes for the door. His wife beats him to it and they open the door together. NICK FERRIS and LILY FERRIS come in. Both are old people, with faded clothes but warm expressions. There is a great amount of greeting and hand pumping.
Randolph Mundy: Well, come in, come in, folks!
Virginia Mundy: Dinner’ll be ready in a minute.
Lily Ferris: Why, how nice! What with food being so hard to come by, I thought you’d just invite us over for coffee.
Virginia Mundy: (laughs) Not feed my oldest and dearest friend? Why, I’ve been sharing food with you ever since grade-school.
Lily Ferris: Can I help you in the kitchen?
Virginia Mundy: Why that’d be right nice. I’m almost done. I thought while we waited for Theo, I’d make some pudding. I think I have a packet somewhere….
(The two women leave)
Nick Ferris settles down into a chair.
Nick Ferris: How you been, Randolph.
Randolph Mundy: Right as rain (realizes what he’s said) well… I guess I’d be much righter if there was rain.
Nick Ferris: Lily has this crazy idea that if we do this Indian dance for rain, it might actually work. I’m ready to try anything at this point.
Randolph Mundy: (laughs) That’s for children, Nick. Anyway Virginia would have a fit if we all started doing pagan dances, you know she would. Speaking of children, heard from yours?
Nick Ferris: Got a postcard from Emily right before the mailman quit coming. Haven’t heard from Andy, though since he left.
Randolph Mundy: Well don’t let it get to you. I sure do miss ‘em though—all the young uns. And Virginia too. She’s meant to have young ones around—grandchildren to bounce on her knee, and such. And she set such a high store by those kids.
Nick Ferris: But they’ve all gone. Like a group decision never discussed they all left home to choose a new fate.
Randolph Mundy: Ah.. well.. There was nothing left for them here…not even water. I wonder now, if we did the right thing filling in that well. At the time, there was no drought, and we had running water. It seemed like the best thing to do after the Maroney’s kid fell in…But now I think….if we had a well….
Nick Ferris: Nothing to about it. Say, did I hear Virginia say Theodore was coming over?
Randolph Mundy: (nods) She insisted on it, says it was only polite. After all, when there are only five people left in town, the odd one out is sure to take notice if you don’t invite him.
Nick Ferris: True… But I never thought I’d be stuck in a town with my best friend (that’s you Randy) and my worst enemy.
Randolph Mundy: Well, all that’s a thing of the past. This is the time when men have to overlook their differences and come together if they want to survive.
There is a knock on the door. Virginia and Lily come out, shouting “Coming” They open the door and Theodore Lee Stanley enters. He is a quivering, brittle man whose only concern in life is himself.
Randolph leaps up, determined to show Nick how put his best face foreward.
Randolph Mundy: Hey, there, Theo! Good to see you, man! I’m glad you could come over.
Theodore Lee Stanley nods. He suddenly sees Nick and flinches
Theodore Lee Stanley: (to Nick) Oh…you.
Nick Ferris: (looks up at Randolph as if to prove that being nice to Theodore is a lost cause.) Hullo, Theo.
Virginia Mundy: (clears her throat) Well, have a seat with the men, Theo! Lily and I are almost done with dinner—we’re having Spam and spinach and pudding. And just think! I found an old bottle of pop on the back porch. It may be a little flat, but its better then the nasty old stuff we’ve been drinking lately.
Theodore stares at her. Lily Ferris laughs nervously. Finally Theodore speaks.
Theodore Lee Stanley: I didn’t come here for dinner. I was just coming to tell you that… that I was looking over my ‘tatoe fields, seeing if anything could be salvaged—it couldn’t—(he adds bitterly) and I saw a truck up the road. There’s someone coming.
Virginia Mundy: Oh, Randolph… no one comes… I’m afraid…
Randolph jumps up.
Randolph: What do you mean someone’s coming? This is no time to scare the womenfolk, Theo.
Theodore Lee Stanley: I mean someone’s coming. That’s what I said.
Nick Ferris: Well, who? No one comes here anymore…
Virginia Mundy (gasps excitedly) It could be one of the kids! Why, think, Randolph, maybe they’ve come to visit!
She runs to a mirror which is hanging on the wall of the living room and begins to straighten her hair.
Randolph Mundy: (gently) Honey, it’s not the kids. They would have called ahead…
Virginia Mundy: How could they have? Maybe they tried, but since the electricity’s out… Oh, darn this drought! What’ll I serve them? They won’t wanna drink--
Theodore Stanley: (curtly) No. It was a man, I think.
Virginia Mundy: (interrupts) My children are grown and—
Theodore Stanley: Ma’am, it was not one of your children.
Virginia Mundy: (petulantly) Well it could be!
Nick Ferris: How far away was he?
Theodore Stanley: Not far—
Randolph Mundy: Whoever it is, we should go out to wait for him. If it’s a federal agent, I’d like to give him a piece of my mind. What with this drought and no electricity for six months, Virginia hasn’t even been able to take a bath!
Virginia Mundy: (gasps) Oh, Randy! How could you? (to Lily Ferris) He’s quite wrong. I keep very clean. You don’t need much water to—
Randolph Mundy: I’m sorry, Virginia. I didn’t mean to imply—
Nick Ferris: Hey! Can you hear the car engine?
They all pause and listen. There is indeed the sound of a car engine rattling.
Randolph Mundy: By golly…I haven’t heard the sound of a truck in…well…
Theodore Stanley: Shall we go see who it is, or shall we all just sit here. (he starts for the door)
Nick Ferris: Good idea, Theo. C’mon Randolph.
Randolph: (to Virginia and Lily) You stay here. Just in case (they nod)
The men exit. Lily and Virginia stare at each other.
Virginia: Well I guess no one’s interested much in dinner now, are they? Never mind, it wouldn’t have been very good anyway. I think I added too much chili to the Spam.
Lily: I’m sure they’ll like some once they come back.
Virginia: (suddenly) Lily, is it just my old brain acting up, or are you scared?
Lily (laughs): Afraid? No. I’m not afraid.
Virginia: Well, then I’ll try not to be either. But I feel as if something bad is coming, as if something is gonna change for the worst.
Lily: (laughs again) Well nothing could get worse than it is now.
Virginia: That’s true. All the same… I worry…
END SCENE



Act 1: Scene 2
Setting: We are still in the little old house where we left off. It has grown darker now, and several candles have been lit. VIRGINIA and LILY sit in the darkness. Virginia is knitting. Lily is reading Randolph’s book.
Virginia Mundy: How long have they been out there now?
Lily Ferris: (It’s obvious she’s told Virginia already several times.) About two hours.
Virginia Mundy (her voice rising into a crescendo) What could they possibly be—
The door opens and RANDOLPH MUNDY, NICK FERRIS, and THEODORE LEE STANLEY come in, accompanied by AARON ROSS. AARON is a slick haired, self-confident man with a quick tongue. He is wearing a suit and carries a brief case.
Virginia Mundy: (bursting from her seat) Oh, Randolph, where have you---? (sees Aaron and suddenly goes from being petulant and angry to being charming) Why, hello? And who is this?
Aaron Ross: Hello, Ma’am. My name is Aaron Ross. I’m an RWR agent.
Lily Ferris: RWR?
Nick Ferris: (bursts into the conversation excitedly) It stands for Rural Water Recovery, sweetheart. He’s here to see about getting us a well.
Randolph Mundy: (to Virginia) I’m sorry we were out so long, he wanted to test for potential locations right away.
Aaron Ross: (smiling at the women) If I had known there were such lovely ladies waiting for their husbands, I would never have—
Virginia Mundy: (interjecting warmly) No worries, Mr. Ross. Why, a well just might make everything down here better again, wouldn’t it, Lily?
Lily: Sure would!
Virginia Mundy: We were just sitting down to supper, Mr. Ross. You must have driven a long way. I know we’re so far away from… but, do sit down, and I’ll warm up the… she bustles away into the kitchen, Lily trailing after her. The men sit down.
Aaron Ross: You have lovely wives, Mr. Randolph, Mr. Ferris. Are you married, Mr…
Theodore Stanley: (stiffly) It’s Stanley. Theodore Stanley. And I’m not married. Never have been, never will. Now, as no one else seems to be getting around to it, how soon can you start building this well? Our crops are past redemption, and we barely have enough water to flush our toilets.
Aaron Ross: (unperturbed) Why quite soon…there’s just a little bit to get out of the way and then I can text the foundation and… Well, I guess you don’t have telephone service out here do you?
Randolph Mundy: Nope, haven’t had it in years.
Aaron Ross: Must be hard. Being so far away from society. I admire you folks.
Randolph Mundy: Naww. It ain’t too hard. We’ve got our wives and besides…
(he stands up and picks up his well worn copy of Walden, fingers through the pages until he finds the one he’s looking for)
As Henry David Thoreau said, “I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
Aaron Ross: Wise words.
Randolph Mundy hmphs in agreement, pats his belly and sits down.
Theodore Stanley: As you were saying… Before we could get the well…
Aaron Ross: Well, there’s a small matter of filling out forms and collecting the $200 dollars, but that’s about it.
Nick Ferris:(in great shock) $200 dollars! What makes you think we have that kind of money, man! Our crops have failed! We can just barely keep things together as it is. I thought you were supposed to help us, not ruin us!
Randolph Mundy: (calmly) Now, Nick, I know none of us are well off, but surely, we could all scrape the bottom of the barrel and…
Theodore Stanley(tightly) I have $155 dollars.
Randolph Mundy: Theo, there’s no need to give your last…
Theodore Stanley: We need a well.
Randolph Mundy: (a grin spreading across his face) Well, that’s mighty, good, Theodore. (thumps him vigorously on the back) I’m sure Nick and I can pitch in the rest. I know Virgie’s got some dough in her little pink piggy jar (chuckles)
Nick Ferris: (beginning to calm down) Well, now, I’m sure Lily and I could chip in. It’d be all we’ve got, but I guess we’ll get back from it, ain’t that right, Randy?
Randolph Mundy: (comfortingly) Sure is right, Nick, sure is right.
Aaron Ross: (clears his throat) Well, I’m glad we’ve got that all settled. I know it’s bit much to ask from you folks, but my organization can’t do everything on its own. And think! You’ll have a reliable source of water when you’re through.
Virginia Mundy (coming into the room) Dinner’s ready. It isn’t much, but it’s all we got--and to think that soon we’ll be drinking crystal clear water with our suppers! Come with me, Mr. Ross. I’m sure you’ll want to wash up before dinner. Oh, and Theo—would you help me with something? I can’t seem to lift the gasoline jug, and the oven is quite out of gas.
Virginia, Aaron Ross, and Theo leave.
There is a heavy silence in the room, thick as Virginia’s pudding. Finally Nick Ferris breaks it.
Nick Ferris I don’t like this, Randolph. I don’t like this at all.
Randolph Mundy Nick, the well could be our salvation. We need water more than we need air at this point. And anyway, Ross seems like a trustworthy man. He seems knowledgeable and a good enough fellow.
Nick Ferris: It’s not the well that I don’t like. It’s how we’re getting it.
Randolph Mundy: How do you mean, Nick?
Nick Ferris: I mean I don’t like that Theodore Stanley is paying for almost half of it. That man has never lifted a finger to help someone else in his life. I don’t know why he would start now.
Randolph Mundy: Maybe he’s decided to turn over a new leaf.
Nick Ferris: Randy, you’ve know that man for 50 years, and he has shown no inclination to be anything other than a selfish, pessimistic boar. Why in hell would he change now?
Randolph Mundy: Well, Nick. I believe in hope. I believe that the rain will come again. I believe that the children will come back someday. So what’s to keep me from believing Theo’s had a change of heart. Let’s give the man a chance. After all, it’s our only chance.
END SCENE
Act 1: Scene 3
Once again, we are in the little house. It is morning, and the table shows the evidence of a recently eaten breakfast. RANDOLPH MUNDY, VIRGINIA MUNDY, and AARON ROSS stand in the living room.
Aaron Ross: Well, it was very kind of you two to let me spend the night here. And the pancakes were delicious, Mrs. Mundy.
Virginia Mundy: Why thank you, I used my grandma’s recipe. I used to make it for my kids every Saturday morning. Anyway, it was no trouble at all. Come back any time.
Aaron Ross: I’m sure I will, ma’am. Well, I’ll be going now. You can expect our team in a little under a month. Do you think you’ll be alright until then?
Randolph Mundy: Why, sure, sure. We’ve been here a long time. Ain’t nothing gonna change. Thing’s are only gonna get better now, right, Virgie?
(Virginia nods)
Aaron Ross: Well, that’s good to hear. I’m so glad we can make this possible for all of you.
Randolph Mundy: You better get going. Where did you say you’re from again?
Aaron Ross: RWR’s located in New York City. I live close by.
Virginia Mundy: Well, it was so kind of you to drive so far out here.
Aaron Ross: That’s my job, ma’am, and I love it. Well, I’ll get going.
Virginia Mundy: (holds up a paper sack) Don’t forget your lunch. There’s a tuna fish sandwich in there and some cookies. I hope you like it… And I put the $200 dollars in there too. (she is uncharacteristically shy)
Aaron Ross: That is very kind of you, Mrs. Mundy. I love tuna fish.
He picks up the bag, smiles, and walks to the door.
Aaron Ross: Well, goodbye. I’ll see you very soon.
Randolph Mundy: We’ll be waiting. Have a safe trip back.
Aaron Ross opens the door and leaves. Randall Mundy settles down into his chair and picks up his book.
Virginia Mundy: (hesitantly) Well, it was mighty fine having company, wasn’t it, Randolph.
Randolph Mundy: (looking up from his book) Sure was. It did me good seeing you happy, dearheart.
Virginia Mundy: Well, I suppose it’s best just to go back to things like nothing’s changed. It will make the waiting easier, I suppose.
Randolph Mundy: You’re probably right, honey. Say, would you fetch me my pipe?
Virginia Mundy: Of course. (she does. He lights it.)
There is silence for a moment, and then there is a frantic knock on the door. Virginia rushes to get it. LILY FERRIS is there, red-faced and breathing hard.
Virginia Mundy: Why, honey, what’s the matter?
Lily Ferris: Virginia, Theo came over to our house earlier this morning (she gulps). He said he wanted to talk.
Virginia Mundy: (briskly, as if she can cover up all the trouble if she is motherly enough) Well, what did he want to talk about?
Lily Ferris: He said he wanted to talk to Nick. I left them in the parlor, because I had to clean the kitchen. (wrings her hands) Oh! I should have stayed!
Randolph Mundy: (gently) Go on, Lily.
Lily Ferris: When I came back, they were shouting at each other. Nick all but chased Theo out of the house. Now he won’t talk to me. I think Theo did something terrible.
There is a knock at the door but before anyone can open it, Nick pushes it open. He is wild-eyed.
Randolph Mundy: What’s happened to you, friend. Are you alright?
Nick Ferris: (shouting, veins bulging) I TOLD YOU NOT TO TRUST THAT BASTARD!
Randolph Mundy: Calm down, Nick, and don’t use that language in front of the women.
Nick visibly deflates.
Nick Ferris: I’m sorry, Randy. That damned Theo—Oh, excuse me ladies—that Theo, he--.
Randolph Mundy: Sit down, Nick. (he complies) Now we’ve been friends a long time. Whatever it is happened, we’re in it together. Just take a deep breath—that’s right. Now tell me what Theo said.
Nick Ferris: Theo came to our house today, a little after breakfast. He said he wanted to talk to me before he talked to you because he said…
(There is a knock on the door. Virginia opens it and it is Theodore Stanley)
Randolph Mundy: Hullo, Theo. I see you’re making the rounds.
Theodore Stanley: I didn’t expect him to be here.
Nick Ferris: (snarkily, to Randolph) I didn’t expect him to be here.
Theodore Stanley: Well, I won’t be here long, Nick. I just came to tell Randolph what I told you—so we could all be on the same page, but I see you already have.
Randolph Mundy: Actually, he hasn’t.
Theodore Stanley: Very well. I simply told Nick that that Aaron Ross and I had a little talk of our own. Because I paid for more than half of the it, Aaron has agreed to allow me full control of the well. It’s quite reasonable. I will allot—
Randolph Mundy: (slowly, plaintively) You can’t mean this, Theo. The well was to be for all of us. We all chipped in what we could…
Theodore Stanley: Randolph, we’ve lived together a long time. I won’t say that you are my friend, but we are most certainly neighbors. I assure you that—
Randolph Mundy: (interjecting loudly, quivering with rage) I assure you that you are no longer welcome in my home. Go and live with your damned well and keep it all to yourself. But I don’t ever want to see your face again. Go! Go!
Randolph forcibly pushes Theodore Stanley out of the house. There is a long moment of awkward silence. Finally…
Virginia Mundy: That was the last of our money.
Lily Ferris: Ours too, Virginia…. Well, I reckon there’s nothing to be done.
Virginia Mundy: Honey, why don’t you come into the kitchen?
Lily Ferris: (petulantly) I don’t want to go anywhere.
Silence
Randolph Mundy: I’m sorry, Nick. I owe you an apology.
Nick Ferris: (tiredly) You don’t owe me an apology, Randy. What’s done is done.
Virginia Mundy: (quietly) I was so excited for a moment… thinking about…but…well… (starts to cry quietly)
Lily goes over to Virginia and begins to comfort her.
Nick Ferris: So what do we do now?
Randolph Mundy: I guess we go back…back to just surviving. We were doing fine before that Aaron Ross ever came.
Nick Ferris: But we were only just holding on… And after Ross came, I think I realized just how badly off we were. Did you see the look in his eyes?
Randolph Mundy: I don’t know, Nick. What I do know is that man stayed in my home and ate my food, all while he was double-dealing us. I don’t understand…
Virginia Mundy: Randy, I’ve been thinking. Maybe Theo is lying. After all, Mr. Ross never left our house…
Lily Ferris: Unless he made a deal with Theo before he ever met us...
Virginia Mundy: He didn’t seem like the kind of person that would do that!
Lily Ferris: Well, he obviously did.
Nick Ferris: Well, we don’t know that, honey. Maybe Virginia’s right. Maybe Theo is lying.
Randolph Mundy: But why would he?
Nick Ferris: Because he’s a---
Randolph Mundy (interjecting) Nick!
Nick Ferris: Sorry, Randy. Well… I guess I’ll be going. C’mon Lily. There’s nothing more to be said.
Lily Ferris nods. Nick and Lily silently leave. Virginia and Randy stand there for a moment. Then slowly, Randolph falls into a chair. There continues to be a heavy, syrupy silence. It stretches like a piece of gum being pulled longer and longer until it snaps.
Virginia Mundy: I can’t stand it in here! These old walls are suffocating me like a sweater that’s too tight. I’m going for a walk.
Randolph Mundy: You want me to go with you, Virgie?
Virginia Mundy: Naw… I just need some fresh air to clear this head of mine. I’ll see you in a little while. If you get hungry…
Randolph Mundy: I won’t get hungry, sweet-heart. Those pancakes you made sure were filling. You know you’re the best wife in the world?
Virginia Mundy: Aw.
Randolph Mundy: No.. really. I love you…so much.
Virginia Mundy: Well, I do too, Randy. I’ll see you soon.
She puts on her hat, and walks out the door. Randolph sighs and picks up Walden.
END SCENE
Act 1: Scene 4
Once again, we are in the little house. Randolph Mundy is alone, smoking his pipe and reading. There is a moment of protracted peace, but then the door explodes open, pushed suddenly by the panicked hands of Virginia Mundy. She is crying.
Virginia Mundy: Oh, Randy! (pauses to catch her breath. )
Randolph jumps up, throwing down his book.
Randolph Mundy: What’s happened, honey.
He gently leads her to a chair, and tries to get her to sit. But she won’t.
Virginia Mundy: Nick went and shot Theo and I think he’s dead.
Randolph Mundy: (in alarm) What do you mean, Nick shot Theo?
Virginia Mundy: I mean he shot him.
Randolph Mundy: (jumping up) Whall this is bad… Very bad. Where’s Nick now?
Virginia Mundy: (tearfully) I don’t know! I just saw him shoot, and I ran---
Randolph Mundy: Shhshh…It’s ok, Virgie. Do you know why he shot him?
Virginia Mundy: Theo…Theo was out talking to Lily for some reason…making her cry…and…and…Nick came out…and he took one look….and he just went back in the house and got his rifle, you know the one he used to hunt with …and…
Randolph Mundy: This is bad, Virgie. This is bad.
The door opens and NICK FERRIS comes in.
Randolph Mundy: What have you done, Nick? What have you done? I told you we could… But you didn’t have to…
Nick Ferris: I done shot the man, Randy. Forty years, I’ve been itchin’ to, and I finally done shot the man.
Randolph Mundy: You can’t just shoot people, Nick. They’re gonna send you to jail. We could have resolved this…
Nick Ferris: He was makin’ Lily cry. He was telling her about how he was gonna keep the well to ‘imself. It was the last straw. I just couldn’t take it any more.
Randolph Mundy: (pleading, as if he can raise the dead if he only asks nicely enough) Oh…Nick…
There is a tight, horrible silence, broken only by Virginia’s muffled crying.
Nick Ferris: (plaintively) We can share the well now…
Randolph Mundy: You just shot a man, Nick. His body is still lying in the dust. How can you say that we can all share the well? Where’s your wife?
Nick Ferris: I-I think she’s in the house.
Randolph Mundy: Virginia, go see to Lily. I need to talk to Nick.
Virginia Mundy: (composing herself) Alright Randolph.
She leaves.
Randolph Mundy: Nick. Look at me.. No, look me in the eyes. YOU JUST MURDERED SOMEONE. What were you thinking?
Nick Ferris: I wasn’t thinking.
Randolph Mundy: But what are we going to do now?
Nick Ferris: I-I don’t know.
Randolph Mundy: I’ll tell you what we’ll do. We’ll just bury him somewhere. No one will ever know you shot him. I can’t just let you go to jail.
Nick Ferris: It’s alright, Randy. I don’t want that kind of guilt on your shoulders. You’ve never been a lying man and I don’t aim to make you one. What is that you always quote? “Be true…”
Randolph Mundy: (numbly) “Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.” Henry David Thoreau.
Nick Ferris: That’s it. If I remember right, Lexington is only forty miles off. They must have a police station, or something. I’ll go turn myself in.
Randolph Mundy: But, Nick…
Nick Ferris: Just see you take care of Lily, won’t you?
Randolph Mundy: I will but, Nick…
Nick Ferris: There’s nothing else to do, Randy. I done murdered a man. I gotta own up to it.
END SCENE
Act 1: Scene 5
Once again we are in the little living room. But time has passed and it has been a year now. RANDOLPH MUNDY is sitting, reading as usual. VIRGINIA MUNDY and LILY FERRIS sit at the kitchen table. There are packing crates surrounding them.
Virginia Mundy: (cheerfully) Well it’s hard to believe that tonight’s our last night here. I wonder what our new home will be like. The kids said they’d set us up with something real fine.
Lily Ferris: It was awfully kind of you folks to take me in.
Virginia Mundy: You really should leave too! You can come live with us. C’mon, Lily. How do you think you’re going to manage out here all by yourself. There’s nothing to lose. The droughts not going anywhere. There’s nothing left here.
Lily Ferris: No, thanks. It’s sweet of you, Virgie, but I’ve been an imposition long enough.
Virginia Mundy: Nonsense!
Lily Ferris: And anyway, if I don’t stay here, Nick won’t know where to find me. When…if… Well, you know today’s the day.
Virginia Ferris: What day, honey?
Lily Ferris: The day that man came a year ago. What was his name?
Virginia Ferris: Ross…Amos Ross…no, maybe it was Adam.
Randolph Mundy: It was Aaron. Aaron Ross.
Lily Ferris: (bitterly) Well this is the day he came a year ago. Tomorrow a year ago, he said he would come back with a team to build a well. Well, I guess he just went and cheated us. Cheated us to give up our last money. Cheated my Nick into killing. I wonder how Nick is… I wonder where he is….
Virginia Mundy: It’s no good thinking about it.
Lily Ferris: It may not be, but I still am going to.
Randolph Mundy: Now, Lily, you know its not true about him cheating us.
Lily Ferris: No, I don’t.
Randolph Mundy: Well…I..uh.. spoke without thinking.
Virginia Mundy: What do you mean, Randy?
Randolph Mundy: Well, do you remember how in March, the mailman finally came?
Virginia Mundy: Sure do! That was a great day! Why, how many letters did we get from the kids? Fifteen, maybe? It was good to see that they had been writing to us all along. And if the mailman had never come, we would never have known that they’d gotten a little house for us, and we’d never be leaving this dusty place behind.
Randolph Mundy: Well, I didn’t want to tell you ladies, but when the mailman came, I got a letter from Aaron Ross.
Lily Ferris: Oh? Well, why didn’t you tell us?
Randolph Mundy: I didn’t want you to think…to think… to think that Nick did what he did for nothing. But now that we’re leaving, it seems only fair to tell you, Lily.
Virginia Mundy: (gently) What is it Randy? What did the letter say.
Randolph Mundy: The letter said…uh…it said…well, I guess I’ll just read it to you.
He gets up and leaves the room for a moment. When he returns, he is holding a creased letter.
He sits back down.
Randolph Mundy: It says
“ Dear Mr. Mundy, Mrs. Mundy, Mr, Ferris, Mrs. Ferris, and Mr. Stanley. I was looking forward to meeting with you again and in better times, but I am afraid a letter will have to suffice. I regret to inform you that RWR will not be building your well. I apologize personally and from my heart. This is not how I wanted things to go. But shortly after I returned from my visit with you, I was informed of sever budget cuts that forced us to cancel many of our projects. I know this looks bad—that I came and took your money, and never returned. I know you were all looking forward to sharing the well. But I am hoping I can make things right. Enclosed is your $200 dollars, and all my deepest respect. Regretfully, Aaron Ross.”
Virginia Mundy: Why, wasn’t that kind of him to write to us. I don’t see why you didn’t tell us though.
Randolph Mundy: (softly) I didn’t want you to lose hope.
There is a long silence.
Lily Ferris: Well, what did you do with the money?
Randolph Mundy: (startled) Why, it’s right here. (he takes it out and hands it to Lily) Here. You keep it. Our children are going to take good care of us now.
Lily Ferris: No, you keep it. What would I do with money out here? Take it as something to remember me by.
Virginia Mundy: Well, we should be getting to bed. The kids are coming early in the morning.
Randolph Mundy: True
Lily Ferris: I guess I’ll say goodbye to you now. You always were a good friend to me and Nick.
Randolph Mundy: You too. Couldn’t ask for better friends. I’m just sorry it all had to end the way it did.
Lily Ferris stands up.
Lily Ferris: Wait a second! I Just thought of something. Randy, let me see that letter again.
Randolph stands up and gives it to her. Lily scans it excitedly.
Lily Ferris: (excitedly) That’s what I thought! See this line here “I know you were all looking forward to sharing the well. “
Randolph Mundy: Yes?
Lily Ferris: It means Theo was lying.
Again, there is silence.
Virginia Mundy: I’m so sorry, Lily.
Lily Ferris: (resolutely) I’m not. There’s nothing to be done. Nick did what he thought was best. (primly) Well goodnight.
Virginia Mundy: (sighs) Goodnight.
Lily walks out the door. Virginia begins to put away the dishes. Randolph takes his old seat. Suddenly, the door opens again. LILY FERRIS re-enters.
Lily Ferris: I’ve changed my mind. I’ll come with you.
Virginia Mundy: (shocked) Really?
Lily Ferris: Yes. I won’t stay with you long…just until I can get my bearing.
Virginia Mundy: You can stay with us as long as you want, honey. But why?
Lily Ferris: (meditatively) Why? Because there’s nothing left for me here. I don’t want to die alone and be buried, centimeter by centimeter by the dust. The crops are gone. My husband’s gone. If my friends go what will I have left?
Randolph Mundy: Hope, Lily. I like to think you would have hope left. Even if you don’t have Nick…
Lily Ferris: But don’t you see, Randolph, it’s hope that makes me want to leave. There’s nothing left for me here. But there are new beginnings out there. I can almost see them…spread out in front of me like a long, green field. A flowering field, that has just been watered. And I will have Nick. Nick will come back. I know it. Randy—Randolph, I know I’ve asked a lot of you and Virginia but will you do one last thing for me?
Randolph Mundy: Anything, Lily.
Lily Ferris: Will you write Nick a note—to leave behind? So that when he come back… You know I can’t write very well…But tell him where I’ll be. Tell him I’ll be waiting for him. Because I have hope.
Randolph Mundy: I’d be honored to.
Lily Ferris: Thank you. I appreciate it….Well, I’ll see you in the morning. Goodnight.
Randolph Mundy: Goodnight
END SCENE
Act 1: Scene 6
Once again, we are in the old Mundy house. But there are no occupants. The room is dusty and abandoned. The window is broken. A heavy silence is the only furniture in the room. For a moment, we leave the audience to linger in the depths of the silence. We remember the lives that have come and gone, until we are almost in a trance. But that trance is broken by a knock at the door. The door knocks several times, and then finally the door is pushed open. NICK FERRIS enters the room.
Nick Ferris: (plaintively) Hello? Lily?! (desperately) Randy? Anyone home?
There is only silence.
Nick Ferris: (to himself) They’ve left. (with heartbreak) She left me. She’s—
He sinks to his knees, and holds head in his hand. For a moment, he is a broken man, but then he sees a scrap of paper on the floor. Slowly, tiredly, he unfolds it and reads it softly to himself.
Nick Ferris: Dear Nick, Lily wanted me to leave a note behind for you, in the event of your returning. She wanted you to know that she will be with us. Our new address is posted below. Come and find us! I know she will be missing you, her husband, and I will be missing you, my good friend. Remember Nick, as Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.” I hope that hope is living inside of you. I am full of hope, and am sure to see you soon. Your friend, Randolph

END SCENE?




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This article has 3 comments. Post your own!

AugustSummerFlingThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
yesterday at 10:23 pm:
Hey, Irene :) sorry for the late response! This was the first script that I read on TI n it was really good :) I was thinking how people take things like water n food granted... N patience is very important! If you had spaced it out, it would have been easier to read. Good job ;)
 
AugustSummerFlingThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
yesterday at 10:24 pm :
For* granted
 
IrenieThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
today at 5:56 am :
Hi! I'm glad you liked it. Originally, I did space it out, but teenink destroyed my formattiing :( Thanks for reading!
 
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