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Title: De Turkey and De Law - A Comedy in Three Acts
Author: Hurston, Zora Neale, 1901?-1960
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "De Turkey and De Law - A Comedy in Three Acts" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

produced from images generously made available by the
Library of Congress)

[Transcriber's Notes: This play transcribed from an original
typewritten manuscript at the Library of Congress in the Zora Neale
Hurston collection. There are pencilled notations probably by Ms.
Hurston herself. These pencilled edits have been transcribed as [Note:
(text)] Any other questionable transcription is similarly noted.
Nothing in the dialect has been changed. Occasional obvious typos in
the stage directions have been corrected. There are inconsistencies in
both bracketing and punctuation, which have been left as in the
original manuscript. There seems to be an irregularity in the spelling
of "Simms"; "Sims" seems randomly substituted.]






Jim Weston             A young man and the town bully (A Methodist)

Dave Carter            The town's best hunter and fisherman (Baptist)

Joe Clarke             The Mayor, Postmaster, storekeeper

Daisy Blunt            The town vamp

Lum Boger              The Marshall

Walter Thomas          A villager (Methodist)

Lige Moseley           A villager (Methodist)

Joe Lindsay            A villager (Baptist)

Della Lewis            A villager (Baptist)

Tod Hambo              A villager (Baptist)

Lucy Taylor            A villager (Methodist)

Rev. Singletary                   (Baptist)

Rev. Simms                        (Methodist)

Villagers, children, dogs.


SETTING: A Negro village in Florida in our own time. All action from
viewpoint of an actor facing audience.

PLACE: Joe Clarke's store porch in the village. A frame building with
a false front. A low porch with two steps up. Door in center of porch.
A window on each side of the door. A bench on each side of the porch.
Axhandles, hoes and shovels, etc. are displayed leaning against the
wall. Exits right and left. Street is unpaved. Grass and weeds growing
all over.

TIME: It is late afternoon on a Saturday in summer.

Before the curtain rises the voices of children are heard, boisterous
at play. Shouts and laughter.

Naw, I don't want to play wringing no dish rag! We gointer play chick
mah chick mah craney crow.

Yeah, less play dat, and I'm gointer to be de hen.

And I'm gointer be de hawk. Lemme git myself a stick to mark wid. (The
curtain rises slowly. As it goes up the game is being organized. The
boy who is the hawk is squatting center stage in the street before the
store with a short twig in his hand. The largest girl is lining up the
other children behind her.)

(looking back over her flock) Y'all ketch holt of one 'nother's
clothes so de hauk can't git yuh. (They do.) Y'all straight now?

Yeah. (The march around the hawk commences.)

     Chick mah chick mah craney crow
     Went to de well to wash my toe
     When I come back my chick was gone.
     What time ole witch?

(making a tally on the ground) One!

Chick mah chick etc.--(While this is going on Walter Thomas from the
store door eating peanuts from a bag appears and seats himself on the
porch beside the steps.)

(Scoring again) Two!
                       (Enter a little girl right. She trots up to
the big girl.)

(officiously) Titter, mama say if you don't come on wid dat soap she
gointer wear you out.

Chick mah chick etc. (While this is being sung, enter Joe Lindsay and
seats himself on right bench. He lights his pipe. The little girl
stands b by the fence rubbing her leg with her foot.

(scoring) Three!

(insistent) Titter, titter! Mama say to tell you to come on home wid
dat soap and rake up dat yard. I bet she gointer beat you good.

(angrily) Aw naw, mama ain't sent you after me, nothin' of de kind!
Gwan home and leave me alone.

You better come on! I'm gointer tell mama how 'omanish you actin
cause you in front of dese boys.

(makes a threatenin' gesture) Aw don't be so fast and showin' off in
company. Ack lak you ain't got no sense!

(starts to cry) Dat's all right. I'm going home and tell mama you down
here playing wid boys and she sho gointer whup you good, too. I'm
gointer tell her you called me a fool too, now. (She walks off, wiping
her eyes and nose with the back of her hand) Yeah, I'm goin' tell her!
Jus' showin' off in front of ole John Wesley Taylor. I'm going to tell
her too, now.

(flounces her skirt) Tell her! Tell her! Turn her up and smell her!
(Game resumed) Chick mah chick etc.

Four! (He arises and imitates a hawk flying and trying to catch a
chicken. Calling in a high voice.) Chickie!!

(Flapping her wings to protect her young) My chickens' sleep.


My chickens' sleep.

I shall have a chick.

You shan't have a chick.

I'm going home. (flies off)

There's de road.

I'm comin' back.

(During this dialog the hawk is feinting and darting in his efforts to
catch a chicken and the chickens are dancing defensively.)

Don't keer if you do.

My pot's a boiling.

Let it boil.

My guts a growling

Let 'em growl.

I must have a chick.

You shan't have nairn.

My mama's sick.

Let her die.


My chicken's sleep.

(Hawk darts quickly around the hen and grabs a chicken and leads him
off and places the captive on his knees at the store porch. After a
brief bit of dancing he catches another, then a third who is a chubby
little boy. The little boy begins to cry.)

I ain't gointer play cause you hurt me.

Aw, naw, I din't hurt you.

Yeah you did too. You pecked me right here. (points to top of his

Well if you so touchous you got to cry every time anybody look at you,
you can't play wid us.

(smothering sobs) I ain't cryin'. (He is placed with the other
captives. Hawk returns to game.)


My chickens sleep!

Titter! You Titter!!!


If you don't come here wid dat soap you better!

(shakes herself poutingly, half sobs) Soon's I git grown I'm gointer
run away. Everytime a person gits to havin' fun, it's "come here,
Titter and rake de yard." She don't never make Bubber do nothin. (She
exits into the store.)

Now we ain't got no hen.

(in a clamor) I'll be de mama hen! Lemme be it! (Enter Hambo left and
stands looking at the children.)

Can't dese young uns keep up a powerful racket, Joe?

They sho kin. They kin git round so vi'grous when they whoopin and
hollerin and rompin and racin, but just put 'em to work now and you
kin count dead lice fallin' off of 'em.

(Enter Tillie from the store with the soap. Hambo pulls out a plug of
tobacco from his hip pocket and bites a chunk from it.)

De way dese chillun is dese days is,--eat? Yes! Squall and holler?
Yes! Kick out shoes? Yes! Work? No!!

You sho is tellin' de truth. Now look at dese! I'll bet everyone of
'em's mammies sent 'em to de store an' they out here frollickin'. If
one of 'em was mine, I'd whup 'em till they couldn't set down. (to the
children) Shet up dat racket and gwan home! (The children pay no
attention and the game gets hotter.)

(off stage) You Tit-ter!! You Tit-Ter!!

Titter, don't you hear yo' ma callin' you?

Yessuh, I mean naw suh.

How come you can't answer, then? Lawd knows de folks just ruins
chilluns dese days. Deys skeered tuh whup 'em right. Den before they
gits twenty de gals done come up wid somethin' in dey arms an' de boys
on de chain gang. If you don't whup 'em, they'll whip you.

Dat sho is whut de Lawd loves. When I wuz a boy they _raised_ chillen
then. Now they lets 'em do as they please. There ain't no real
chestizing no more. They takes a lil tee-ninchy switch and tickles em.
No wonder de world is in sich uh mess.

You Tit-ter!! Aw Titter!!

(stops to listen) Yessum!!

If you don't come here, you better!

Yessum! (to her playmates) Aw shucks! I got to go home. (She exits
right, walking sullenly. The game has stopped.)

(pointing at Essie) You see dat gal shakin' herself at her mammy? De
sassy lil binch needs her guts stomped out. (to Essie) Run! I'm comin'
on down there an' tell yo' ma how 'omanish you is, shakin' yo'self at
grown folks. (Essie walks slower and shakes her skirt contemptously.
Lindsay jumps to his feet as if to pursue her.) You must smell
yo'self! (Essie exits.) Now de rest of you haitians scatter way from
in front dis store. Dis ain't no place for chillen, nohow. (gesture of
shooing) Gwan! Thin out! Every time a grownperson open they mouf y'all
right dere to gaze down they throat. Git! (The children exit sullenly
right. In the silence that follows the cracking of Walter's peanut
shells can be heard very plainly.)

Walter, God a' mighty! You better quit eatin' em ground peas de way
you do. You gointer die wid de colic.

Aw, taint gointer hurt him. I don't b'lieve uh cord uh wood would lay
heavy on Walter's belly. He kin eat mo' penders than Brazzle's mule.

(laughing) Aw naw, don't throw me in wid dat mule. He could eat up
camp-meetin, back off scociation and drink Jurdan dry.

And still stay so po' till he wuzn't nothin atall but a mule frame.
(Enter Lige Moseley right) Taint never been no mule in de world lak
dat ole yaller mule since Jonah went to joppy.

(Lige seats himself on the floor on the other side of the steps. Pulls
out a bone toothpick and begins to pick his teeth)

Y'all still talkin bout Brazzle's ole useter-be mule?

Yeah. Memeber dat time Brazzle hitched him to de plow and took him to
Eshleman's new ground?

And he laid down before he'd plow a lick. Sho I do! But who ever seen
him work? All you ever did see was him and Brazzle fightin up and down
de furrows. (all laugh) He was so mean he would even try to kick you
if you went in his stall to carry him some corn.

Nothin but pure concentrated meanness stuffed into uh mule hide. Thass
de reason he wouldn't git fat--just too mean.

Sho was skinny now. You could use his ribs for a washboard and hang de
clothes up on his hips to dry. (all laugh)

Lige, you kin lie [Note: "like" crossed out] lak cross ties [Note
inserted text: from Jacksonville to Key West.]. But layin all sides to
jokes, when they told me dat mule was dead, uh just took and knocked
off from work to see him drug out lak all de rest of de folks, and
folkses dat mule wuz too contrary to lay down on his side and die. He
laid on his raw-boney back wid his foots stickin straight up in de air
lak he wuz fightin something.

He wuz--bet he fought ole death lak a natural man. Ah seen his bones
yistiddy, out dere on de edge of de cypress swamp. De buzzards done
picked em clean and de elements done bleached em.

Everybody went to dat draggin out. Even Joe Clarke shet up his store
dat mornin and went (turns his head and calls into the store) didn't
you, Mr. Clarke?

Didn't I whut? (enters and stands in door)

Shet up yo' store and go to de draggin out of Brazzle's ole mule.

I, God, Yeah. It was worth it. (sees Hambo) I didn't know you was out
here. Lemme beat you uh game of checkers.

Lissen at de ole tush hawg! Well, go git de board, and lemme beat you
a pair of games befo' de mail gits in.

(to the others) Beat old me! (to Hambo) Come on here, youse my fish.
(calls into store) Mattie bring me dat checker-board and de checkers!
(to men on porch) You got to talk to wimmen-folks lak dat--tell 'em
every lil' thing-do she'd come rackin out here wid de board by itself.

(Enter Mrs. Clarke with homemade checker-board and coffee can
containing the much-used checkers. Clarke sits on a keg and faces
Hambo. They put the board on their knees and pour out the checkers)

You want black or red?

Oh, I don't keer which--I'm gointer beat you anyhow. You take de
black. (they arrange them. The others get near to look on. Hambo sits
looking at the board without moving.)

Who's first move?

Black folks always go to work first. Move! (Hambo moves and the same
proceeds with the spectators very interested. Enter Lum Boger [Note:
Handwritten correction: Bailey] right and joins the spectators. A
woman enters left with a market basket and goes on in the store. The
checkers click on the board. A girl about twelve enters right and goes
into the store and comes out with a stick of peppermint candy.

Naw you don't Hambo!--Don't you go in dere! Dats a trap--(pointing)
come right here and you got him.

Back dat man up (pointing) Hambo do he'll git et up.

(there is the noise of the checkers for a half minute then a general
shout of triumph)

You got him now, Hambo! Clarke, he's sho got you.

(Chagrined) Aw, he aint done nothin! Jes' watch ME.

(Jeering) Yeah, gwan move! Ha! Ha! go head and move.

Aw, he got you, Bro. Mayor--might as well give up. He got you in de
Louisville loop.

Give up what? He can't beat me? (peeved) de rest of y'all git from
over me, whoopin and hollerin! I God, a man can't hear his ears.

(The men fall back revealing the players clearly)

Aw, neb mind bout them, Joe, go head and move. You aint got but one
move to make nohow--go head on and take it.

(moving a checker) Aw, here.

(triumphant) Now! watch me boys whut Ahm gonna do to him. Ahm gonna
laff in notes, while Ah work on him. (he lifts a checker high in the
air preparatory to the jump, laughing to the scale and counting each
checker he jumps out loud) Do, sol, fa, me, la! One! (jumps a checker)
la, sol, fa, me, do! Two! (jumps another) Do, re, fa, me, do, Three!
Me, re, la, so, fa! Four! (the crowd is roaring with laughter) Sol,
fa, me, la, sol, do! Five! Ha! Ha! boys I got [Note: "the" x-ed out]
de ole tush hawg! I got him in de go-long. (He slaps his leg and
accidently knocks the board off his knee and spills the checkers.)

Too bad you done dat, Hambo, cause Ah was gointer beat you at dat (he
rises and starts towards the door of the store as the crowd roars in

You mean you was gointer beat me to de door, not a game Of checkers.
Ah done run de ole coon in his hole.

Well, Hambo, you done got to be so hard at checkers, come on less see
whut you can do wid de cards. (He pulls out a soiled deck from his
coat pocket and moves toward the bench at the left of the porch) You
take Lum and me and Walter will wear you out.

You know I don't play no cards.

We aint playin for no money, just a lil Florida flip.

Y'all can't play no Florida flip. 'Fore Ah joined de church there
wasn't a man in de state could beat me wid de cards. But Ahm a deacon
now, in Macedonia Baptist--Ah don't bother wid de cards no mo". (He
and Joe Lindsay go inside store)

Well, come on Lum. Walter, git yo'self a partner.

(Looking about) Taint nobody to git (looks off right) Here come Dave

You can't do nothin wid him dese days. He useter choose a game of
cards when he wasn't out huntin, but now when he ain't out huntin
varmints he's huntin' Daisy Blunt. (Enter Dave right with a shot-gun
slung over his shoulder.)

Come on, fish, lemme bend a five-up over yo' head. You looks just like
my meat.

Ahm on mah way to kill me a turkey gobbler, but if you and Lum thinks
y'all's tush hawgs Ah'll stop long enough to take you down a
button-hole lower. (He sets his gun down and finds a seat and draws it
up to the card table)

Naw, Dave, we aint going to fool wid no button-holes we gointer tear
off de whole piece dat de button-holes is in. (They all get set) All
right boys, turn it on and let de bad luck happen.

(Probbing the deck) My deal.

Watch yo'self Dave, don't get to worryin bout Daisy and let 'em ketch
yo' jack.

(Winking) What you reckon he gointer be worryin' bout Daisy for? Dot's
Jim's gal.

Air Lawd, a heap sees but a few knows. Deal de cards man--you
shufflin' a mighty lot.

Sho is--must be tryin' to carry de cut to us.

Aw, we ain't gonna cheat you, we gonna beat you. (He slams down the
cards for Dave to cut) Wanna cut 'em?

Nope. Taint no use cuttin' a rabbit out when you kin twist him out.
Deal 'em! (Lige deals and turns up Jack of spades.)

Yee-ee! Did you snatch dat Jack?

Man, you know I ain't snatched no Jack. Whut you doin'?

I'm beggin!

Go ahead and tell 'em I sent you.

Play just like ahm in New York, partner. (scratches his head) We
oughter try to ketch dat Jack.

Stick out yo' hand an' you'll draw back a nub.

Whut you want me to play for you, partner?

Play me a baby diamond.
                   (Walter plays, then Lum, then Dave)

(Triumphant) Looka pardner, they doin all dat woofin on uh
queen--sendin' women to do uh man's work. Watch me stomp her wid mah
king (He slams his card down and collects the trick.) Now come un
under dis ace! (They all play and he collects the trick.) Now whut you
want me to play for you, pardner?

How many times you seen de deck.


Pull off wid yo' king.

(Lum plays the king of spades. All the others play.)
Look at ole low pardner. Ah knowed ah wuz gointer ketch him! Come
right back at 'em.

(stands up and slams down the ace) Pack up, pardner. Ahm playin' mah
knots, now all play now. Ho! Ho! Dere goes de queen'. De Jack's a
gentleman! (Lige takes the Jack and sticks it up on his forehead in
braggadocia.) Here comes de ten spot, pardner, ahm dumpin to yuh!

(as he plays the Jack) Everybody git up off it and dump. High, low,
Jack, game and gone from de first four.

Gimme dem cards! Y'all carried de cub to us dat time. (riffles the
cards elaborately) but de deal is in de high, tall house now. Dis is
Booker T Washington spreadin his mess. (offers cards to Lige) Cut?

Yeah, cut 'em and shoot 'em. I'd cut behind mah ma. (He cuts and
Walter deals.)

Well, whut sayin'?

I'm beggin.

Get up off yo' knees. Youse dat one.

Walter, you sho stacked dese cards.

Aw, stop cryin' and play, man. Youse too old to be hollerin'

Dis ain't no hand, dis is a foot. What you want me to play for you

Play yo' own hand partner--I ain't nobody. Lead yo' bosses. (He leads
the ace of clubs. Play goes round to dealer and Walter takes the card
off the deck and slams it down.)

Get up ol' deuce of diamonds and gallop off wid yo' load. Pardner, how
many times you seen de deck?

(Two times--(they make signals.)

Watch dis ol' queen. Less go! (He begins to sing--Dave joins in.) When
yo' card gits lucky, oh pardner, you oughter be in a rollin' game. (He
speaks.) Ha! Ha! Wash day and no soap! (He sticks the Jack upon his
forehead. He stands up and sings again.) Ahm goin' to de 'Bama Lawd.
Pardner don't want no change. (He collects that trick and plays again.
Dave also stands.)

Here come de man from de White House--ol' king of diamonds. (Sings,
all join.) Ahm goin' back to de Bama, Lawd. Pardner won't be worried
wid you. (He collects the trick.) Never had no trouble, Lour pardner,
till I stopped by here.

(They all stand hilariously slam down their cards.

Aw, wese just too hard for you boys--we eats our dinner out de
blacksmith shop. Y'all can't bully dis game. (He solemnly reaches over
and takes Dave's hand.)

(to Walter) Mr. Hoover, you sho is a noble president. We done stuck
dese shad-moufs full of cobs. They skeered to play us any mo'.

Who skeered? Y'all jus' playin ketch up nohow. Git back down and lemme
wrap uh five-up round yo' neck.

(looking off right) Squat dat rabbit an' less jump another one. Here
come Daisy.

Aw Lord, you ain't no mo' good now. But Ah don't blame you, Dave, she
looks warm.

(Enter Daisy right with a scarlet hibiscus over each ear and smiling

(jumps down and takes Daisy by the arm) Come on up here, Daisy and
ease Dave's pain. He's so crazy 'bout you his heart 'bout to burn a
hole in his shirt. (She steps up on the porch)

(Bashfully) Aw, y'all gwan. Ah kin talk.

(Arms akimbo, impudently) Oh kin you? (She gets up close to Dave)

(Pleased) You better git way from me fore Jim come long.

(Coquettishly) Ain't you man enough to cover de ground you stand

Oh, Ah can back my crap! Don't worry 'bout me. Where you headed for?

Where _you_ goin? (Audaciously)

Out by de cypress swamp to kill us uh turkey. Its uh great big ole
gobbler--been slurring me fer six months. Ahm gointer git him today
for you, and yo' mama gointer cook him.

Ah sho would love the ham of turkey.

(Patting his gun barrel) Well me an' ole Hannah sho gointer git you
one. Look here, Daisy, will you choose uh bag of ground peas?

I jus love goobers

(Sticking out his right elbow) You lak chicken?


Take uh wing. (She locks arms with him and they strut inside the

Ah blieve dat fool is got some gumption. Jim Weston better watch out.

Oh I ain't never figgered Dave was no fool. He's uh bottom fish. Jim
talks all de time but Dave will run him uh hot--here he come now.
(Looks off left. All look the same way.)

Lawd, don't he look mean? (She chuckles) Ah bet he know Daisy's here
wid Dave. Ah wouldn't take nothin' for dis.

(Enter Jim Weston left with a guitar looking very glum. He stops
beside the step for a moment. Takes off his hat and fans with it.)

Howdy do, folks.

Howdy do, Jim.

Don't do all they say. (He sees the gun leaning against the rail) Who
gun dat? (Points at the gun)

You know so well whose gun dat is. Ah jus' heard him say he's goin out
to git his gal uh ham of a turkey gobbler out round de cypress swamp.
He's inside now treatin her to penders and candy. (He winks at the
others and they wink back)

(Turns and calls into the store) Say, Dave! Don't try to keep Daisy in
dere all day. Her feller out here waitin to scorch her home.

DAVE (from inside store)
Let him come git her if she want him.

Umph! dere now, de mule done kicked Rucker! (Calls inside to Dave) I
hear you crowin, rooster. I know yo' nest aint far.

(From inside store) Yeah, dis rooster must know something--he's gittin
plenty grit in his craw.

(General laughter)

(There is a gay burst of laughter from inside the store. In a moment
Dave enters from the store with Daisy on his left arm. With his right
he is stuffing shells into his pocket. The air is tense. Lindsay,
Hambo and Joe Clarke all enter behind the couple)

(Releases Daisy and steps to the edge of the porch right in front of
Jim and looks up at the sky) Well, sun's gettin low--better git on out
to de swamp and git dat gobbler. (He turns and picks up de gun and
breaks it)

Lo Daisy. (Sullenly)

(Brightly) Hello Jimmy (She is eating peanuts) Ain't Dave smart? He's
gonna kill me uh turkey an' ah kin eat all ah wants.

He aint de onliest person kin shoot round here.

Yeah, but he's best marksman just de same. Taint no use talkin, Jim.
You can't buck Dave in de woods. But you got de world beat wid uh
git-fiddle. Yessuh, Dave is uh sworn marksman but you kin really beat
de box. Less have uh tune.

Oh I ain't for pickin no box. I come to git some shells for my rifle.
Sorta figgered on uh wild turkey or two. (He comes up on the porch and
starts in the store)

If Dave go git me dat big ole turkey an' you go git me one too--gee!
Wont I have uh turkey fit?

Lord, Daisy, you gointer have dese boys killin up every turkey in
Orange County.

You mean _Dave_. Jim couldn't hit de side of uh barn wid uh brass

(Hitching up his trousers) Who can't shoot? (to Clarke) Come on an'
gimme un box uh shells. I'll show yuh who kin shoot! (He exits into
store with Clarke behind him)

(To Daisy) You wait here till ah git back wid yo' turkey.

Ahm skeered.

Whut you skeered of? Jim? He aint no booger boo, if his ears do flop
lak uh mule.

Naw. Ah aint skeered uh no Jim. Ah got tuh git back tuh de white folks
an Ahm skeered tuh go round dat lake at night by myself. (Enter Jim
from store and stands in door with box of shells in his hand)

No girl look like you don't have to go home by yo' self, if it was

(Gun in hand and ready to exit) Naw, cause Ahm right here--

Daisy don't you trust yo'self round dat lake after dark, wid dat
(points at Dave) breath and--britches. You needs uh real man to
perteck you from dem 'gators and moccasins.

Let somethin happen and she'll find out who got rabbit blood and who
aint. Well, Ahm gone. (He steps down off the steps but looks back at

Ahm goin too--git you uh great big ole turkey-rooster. (Dave takes a
step or two towards left exit).

Jim, aint you gointer knock off a li'l tune fo' you go? Ahm lonesome
for some music.

(Dave stops in his tracks and looks wistful. Jim sets down the shells
on the bench and picks up his box with a swagger and tunes a bit.)

Georgy Buck!

(Plays the air thru once then starts to sing. Dave leans his gun
against the fence and stands there.)

  Georgy Buck is dead, last word he said
  I don't want no shortenin in my bread.

  Rabbit on de log--Aint got no dog
  How am I goin git him, God knows.

(Dave walks on back near the step, and begins to buck a wing. Daisy
comes down the step admiring both the playing and the dancing. All the
men goin in singing and clapping)

  Rabbit on de log--aint got no dog
  Shoot him wid my rifle, bam! bam!

  Oh Georgie Buck is dead, last word he said
  Never let a woman have her way

(The tempo rises. As Dave does a good break he brings up directly in
front of Daisy. He grabs her and swings her into a slow drag. The
porch cheers. Jim stops abruptly. (Enter two women, right and hurry up
to the porch)

Don't stop, Jim! Hit dat box a couple mo' licks so some of dese men
kin scorch us in de store and treat us.

Aw, I dont feel lak no playin.

(Grinning triumphantly) Ahm gone dis time to git dat turkey. Daisy run
tell yo' ma to put on de hot water kittle (He exits left with gun on

Oh lemme see if I got a letter in de postoffice (She exits into store)

He better git for home fore ah bust dis box over his head.

2nd WOMAN (Jenny)
(Grabbing Lige) Aw, don't worry bout Dave Carter. Play us some music
so I kin make Lige buy me some soda water. (She is playfully dragging
Lige towards the door). Jenny you grab Walter.

(Walter makes a break to jump off the porch and run. The woman catches
him and there is a very gay bit of tussling as the men are dragged
towards the door)

1st WOMAN (Miss Lulu)
I bet if this was Daisy, they'd uh done halted inside and toted out
half de store.

Yeah. (gets Walter to the door) Everything you hear is Daisy, Daisy,
Daisy! Just cause she got a walk on her like she done gone crazy thru
de hips! (Yanks Walter into the door) Yeah, y'all goin treat us. Come

Yeah, but Daisy's uh young pullet and you gittin gray headed.

Thank God I aint gray elsewhere! Come right on. You gointer buy me
some soda water nigger. (to Jim) Play us some music, Jim, so we kin
grand march up to de counter.

I can't play nothin--mad as I is. I'm one minute to boilin and two
minutes to steam. I smell blood!

You don't want to fight, do you?

Sho do. You aint never seen a Weston yet dat wouldn't fight, have you?

Thats whut they all got run outa town for--fightin. (Calls into store)
Hey, Joe, give Jenny and Lulu some soda water and ground peas on me so
they'll turn us loose. (to Jim) Yeah, y'all Westons blieves in

Ahd ruther get run out for fightin than to be uh coward. (He slings
the guitar round his neck an' picks up his box of shells.) Well, Ah
reckon Ah'll go git Daisy her turkey cause she sho wont git none less
Ah go git it. Here come Elder Simms anyhow now taint no mo' pickin de
box. (to Daisy) Don't git lonesome whilst Ahm gone.

(Enter Daisy from the store smiling, and walks down to where Jim is

Whuts all dis talk about fightin?

Lige throwin it up to me bout all my folks been run outa town for
fightin. But I don't keer!

Mah mouf done got lonesome already. Buy me some chewing gum to keep
mah mouf comp'ny till y'all gits back wid dat turkey.

Don't hafta buy none. (reaches in his pocket and pulls out a stick)
What it takes tuh satisfy de ladies, Ah totes it. (He hands her the
gum tenderly) 'By, Daisy. (He walks to left exit)

(Coyly) Bye, till you come back.

(Enter Elder Simms right)

Good evenin' everybody.

Good evenin', Elder Sims.

(Getting up from his seat on the porch) Have mah seat, Elder. Sims
takes it with a sigh of pleasure. Lum steps off the porch and sets his
hat over one eye) Say, Daisy, you aint goin to sprain yo' lil mouf on
dat tough chewin gum, is yuh? Not wid de help _you_ got. Better lemme
kinda tender dat gum up for yuh so yo' lil mouf won't hafta strain wid
it. (He places himself exactly in front of her. She glances up coyly
at him)

Ain't you crazy, now? (Lum tries to snatch the gum but she pops it
into her mouth and laughs as he seizes her hands.

You don't need no gum to keep yo' mouf company wid me around. Ahm all
de compny yo' mouf need. Ahm sweet papa chewin and sweetness change.

Tell dat to Bootsie Pitts, you cant fool me. (turns right) Guess Ah
better go home and see mama. Ah ain't been round since Ah come from de
white folk. You goin walk round there wid me?

Naw, Ah aint gointer _walk_. When Ahm wid de angels ah puts on mah
hosanna wings and flies round heben lak de rest. (He falls in beside
her and catches her elbow) Less go! (to the porch) See you later and
tell you straighter.

Don't stay round to Daisy's too long, Lum, and get run out from under
yo' hat!

Who run?

Taint no use in you hollerin "who". Yo' feet don't fit no limb.
(General laughter) (Exit Lum and Daisy right)

Lawd! Daisy sho is propaganda. She really handles a lot of traffic. Ah
don't blame de boys. If Ah was uh single man Ah'd be round there

Ahm willin tuh serve some time on her gang as it is, but mah wife
won't lissen to reason. (Laughter) Ah tries to show her dis deep point
where taint right for one woman to be harboring uh whole man all to
herself when theres heaps uh po' young girls aint got no husband
atall. But Ah just can't sense her into it.


Now take Jim and Dave for instant. Here they is, old friends, done
fell out and ready to fight--all over Daisy.

Thass me all over. I don't want no partnership when it comes to my
women. Its whole hawg uh none. Lawd, what wimmen makes us do!

What is it dey don't make us do. Now take for instant Jim Weston. He
know he can't hunt wid Dave--Dave is uh sworn marksman, but jes' so as
not to be outdone here he go trying to shoot turkeys--wild turkeys
mind you, 'ginst Dave.

I God, I hope he finds 'em too. If he get to killin turkeys maybe
he'll stay way from my hen house. I God, I done lost nine uh my best
layin' hens in three weeks.

(General Laughter)

Did Jim git em?

I ain't personatin' nobody but I been told dat Jim's got uh powerful
lot uh chicken feathers buried in his back yard. I know one thing if
I ever ketch his toe-nails in my chicken yard, I God, he's gointer
follow his pappy and his four brothers. He's got to git from dis town
of mine.

(Enter a little girl right, very neat and starchy. She runs up to Rev.

Papa, mama say send her dat witch hazely oil she sent you after right

Whuss matter wid Sister Sims--poly today?

She don't keep so well since we been here, but I reckon she's on
de mend.

Don't look like she never would be sick. She look so big and portly.

Size don't mean nothin'. My wife is portly and she be's on de sick
list all de time. It's "Jody, pain in de belly all day. Jody, pain in
de back all night.

Besides, Mrs. Simms ain't very large. She wouldn't weigh more'n two
hundred. You ain't seen no big woman. I seen one so big she went to
whip her lil boy an' he run up under her belly and stayed up under
dere for six months.

(General laughter)

You seen de biggest ones. But I seen uh woman so little till she could
go out in uh shower uh rain and run between de drops. She had tuh git
up on uh box tuh look over uh grain uh sand.

Y'all boys better read yo' Bibles 'stead of studyin foolishness. (He
gets up and starts into the store. Clarke and the little girl follow
him.) Reckon Ah better git dat medicine. (The three exit into store)

Well, y'all done seen so much--be y'all ain't never seen uh snake big
as de one Ah seen down round Kissimnee. He was so big he couldn't
hardly move his self. He laid in one spot so long he growed moss on
him and everybody thought he was uh log layin' there; till one day Ah
set down on him and went to sleep. When Ah woke up ah wuz in Middle

(General laughter. Two women enter left and go in store after
everybody has spoken to them)

Layin' all sides to jokes now, y'all remember dat rattlesnake Ah kilt
on Lake Hope was 'most big as dat one.

(Nudgin' Lige and winking at the crowd) How big did you say it was, Joe?

He mought not uh been quite as big as dat one--but jes' bout fourteen

Gimme dat lyin' snake! He wasn't but fo' foot long when you kilt him
and here you done growed him ten feet after he's dead.

(Enter Simms followed by the girl with an all day sucker. Simms has a
small package in his hand.


(Gives the package to the child and resumes his seat.)

Run 'long home now. Tell yo' ma to put on uh pot uh peas.

(Child exits right trotting and sucking her candy.)

They's some powerful big snakes round here. We was choppin' down de
weeds in front of our parsonage yistiddy and kilt uh great big ol'
cotton mouf moccasin.

Yeah, look like me or some of my fambly 'bout to git snake-bit right
at our own front do'.

An' bit by uh Baptist snake at dat.

How you make him out uh Baptist snake?

Nobody don't love water lak uh Baptist an' uh Moccasin.

(General laughter)

An' nobody don't hate it lak de devil, uh rattlesnake an uh Meth'dis.

(General laughter. Enter Joe Clark from store. Stands in door)

Dis town needs uh cleanin' in more ways than one. Now if this town was
run right, when folks misbehaves, they oughter be locked up in jail
and if they can't pay no fine, they oughter be made to work it out on
de streets--chopping weeds.

How we gointer do all dat when we ain't got no jail?

Well, you orta _have_ uh jail. Y'all needs uh whole heap of
improvements in dis town. Ah ain't never pastored no town so way back
as this one here.

(Stepping out before Simms) What improvements you figgers we needs?

A whole heap. Now for one thing, we really does need uh jail, Brother
Mayor. Taint no sense in runnin' people out of town that cuts up. We
oughter have jails like other towns. Every town I ever pastored had
uh jail.

(Angrily) Now hold on uh minute, Simms! Don't you reckon uh man dat
knows how to start uh town knows how to run it? You ain't been here
long enough to find out who started dis town yet. (Very emphatic,
beating of his palm with other fist) Do you know who started dis town?
(Does not pause for an answer) Me! I started _dis_ town. I went to de
white folks and wid _dis_ right hand I laid down two hundred dollars
for de land and walked out and started dis town. I ain't like some
folks--come here when grapes was ripe. I was here to cut new ground.

Well, tain't no sense in one man stayin' Mayor all de time, nohow.

(Triumphantly) So dat de tree you barkin' up? Why, you ain't nothin'
but uh trunk man. You can't be no mayor. I got roots here.

You ain't all de voters, tho, Brother Mayor.

(Arrogantly) I don't hafta be. I God, it's my town and I kin be Mayor
jes' as long as I want to. (Slaps his chest) I God, it was _me_ dat
put dis town on de map.

What map you put it on, Brother Clarke? You musta misplaced it. I
ain't seen it on no map.

Tain't on no map, hunh? I God, everytime I go to Maitland de white
folks calls me Mayor. Otherwise, Simms, I God, if you so dissatisfied
wid de way I run dis town, just take yo' Bible and flat foots and git
younder cross de woods.

(Aggressively) Naw, Ah don't like it. You ack lack tain't nobody in de
corporation but you? Now look. (Points at the street lamp) Tain't but
one street light in town an' you got it in front of yo' place. We pays
de taxes an' you got de lamp.

I God, nobody can't tell me how to run dis town. I 'lected myself and
I'm gonna run it to suit myself. (Looks all about) Where is dat
Marshall? He ain't lit de lamp?

Scorched Daisy Blunt home and ain' got back.

I God, call him there, some of you boys.

(Lige steps to edge of porch left and calls "Lum! Lum!" Lum's voice at
a distance: "What!" Lige: "Come on and light de lamp it gittin dark.")

Now, when I pastored in Ocala you oughter seen de lovely jail dey had.

Thass all right for white folks. We colored folks don't need no jail.

Aw, yes we do too. Elder Simms is right. We ain't a bit bottern white
folks. (Enter the two women from the store.) You wimmen folks been in
dat store uh mighty long time.

We been makin' our market.

Looks mighty bad for some man's pocket. But y'all ain't had no treat
on me. Go back and tell Mrs. Clark tuh give you some candy.

Have somethin' on me too. Money ain't no good lessen de women kin help
you use it. (Hollers inside) Every lady in there take a treat on me.

Ain't y'all comin' in tuh help us eat de treat. Come on, Elder Simms!

(Getting up quickly. Lindsay and Joe Clarke also get up. They go
inside laughing.) Here, lemme git hold of somebody. (Grabs one of the
women by the arm as they exit into the store.)

(Pointing his thumb after the women) Ah wouldn't way lay nothin' lak
dat. Too old even tuh chew peanuts if Ah was tuh buy it.

Preach it, Brother. But they's all right for mullet heads like Lindsay
and Hambo. (Sings)

  When they git old, when they [Note: corrected missing space.] git old
  Old folks turns tuh monkeys
      When they git old.

(Looks off right) Lawd! They must be havin' recess in heben! Look at
dese lil ground angels! (Yells off right) Hello Big 'Oman, an' Teets
and Bootsie! Hurry up! My money jumpin' up and down in my pocket lak
uh mule in uh tin stable. (Enter three girls right, dressed in cool
cotton dresses. They are all locked armed and giggling)

Hello, folkses.

(Coquettishly) Hello yo'self--Want uh piece uh corn bread look on de
shelf. (Great burst of laughter from inside the store)

(Catching Bootsie's arm) Lemme scorch y'all inside en' treat yuh.

(Looks at the other girls for confirmation) Not yet, after while.

Well, come set on de piazza an' les' have some chat.

We ain't got time. We come tuh git our mail out de postoffice.

Youse uh Got-dat-wrong! You come after Dave an' Jim an' Lum. But Daisy
done treed de las' one of 'em. She got Jim and Dave out in de swamp
where de mule was drugged out huntin' her uh turkey. An' she got Lum
at her house. Thass how come de light ain't lit.

Oh, Ah ain't worried 'bout Lum. Ah b'lieve Ah kin straighten him out.

Some wimmen kin git yo' man so he won't stand uh straightenin'.

Don't come rollin' yo' eyes at me an' gittin' all mad cause y'all
stuck on de boys and de boys is stuck on Daisy. (makes a sly face
at Walter)

Who? Me? Nobody ain't studyin' 'bout ole Daisy. She come before me
like a gnat in a whirlwind.

(in mock seriousness) Better stop dat talkin' 'bout Daisy, do I'll
tell her whut you say. I think I better call her anyhow and see
whether you gointer talk dat big talk to her face. (Makes a move as if
to call Daisy)

(keeping up the raillery, grabs Walter) Don't do dat, Walter. We don't
want no trouble round here. But sho nuff, [Note: corrected missing
space.] girls, y'all ain't got no time wid Daisy. Know what Lum say?
Says Daisy is a bucket flower--jes' _made_ him to set up on de
porch an' look pritty. I ast him how 'bout de rest an' he says "Oh de
rest is yard flowers jes' plant them any which a way.

I don't b'lieve Lum said no sich uh thing.

You tellin' dat flat--Ah knows. (Looks off left) Here come Lum, now,
in uh big hurry jus' lak he ain't been gone two hours.

Less we all go git our treat! (They start up on the porch. At that
moment Hambo, Lindsay, Clarke, Simms, and the two women enter from
the store.)

(to Lige) Looks here, I God! Ain't Lum lit dat lamp yet? (Enter Lum
left hurriedly. Clarke stands akimbo glaring at him. Lum fumbles for a
match, strikes it and drops it. Gets another from his pocket and goes
to the lamp and strikes it.) Somebody reach de numbskull uh box.
(Walter hands Lum a box of the porch and he gets up on it and opens
the lamp to light it.)

(to Clarke) Reckon Ah better put some oil in de lamp. Tain't much in

(Impatiently) Oh, that'll do! That'll do. It'll be time tuh put it out
befo' you git it lit, I God.

(Lum lights the lamp. The men have resumed their seats and the women
are on the ground and near right exit. Walter and Lige and the three
girls are at the door about to enter the store. Lum has the box in his
hand and is still under the lamp. He walks slowly towards the step,
box in hand. At the step he looks off left.)

Here come Dave. (All look left. Walter and Lige and the girls abandon
the idea of the treat and wait for Dave)

But ah ain't seen no turkey yet. Dat ole gobbler's too smart for Dave.

(Enter Dave with gun over his shoulder and holding his head. A little
blood is on his shoulder. He pauses under the lamp a moment then comes
to the step)

Whuss de matter, Dave? Dat ole turkey gobbler done pecked you in de
head? Whut kind of a huntsman is you?

(General laughter)

Naw, ain't no turkey pecked me. It's Jim. Ah wuz out in de woods and
hand don squatted down before he got dere. Ah know jus' where dat ole
gobbler roost at. Soon's he hit de limb an' squatted hisself, Ah let
'im have it. He flopped his wings an' tried to fly off but here he
come tumblin' down right by dem ole mule bones. Jim, he was jus'
comin' up when Ah fired. So when he seen dat turkey fallin', whut do
he do? He fires off his gun an' make out he kilt dat turkey. Ah beat
him tuh de bird and we got tuh tusslin'. He tries tuh make _me_ give
him _mah_ turkey so's he kin run tuh Daisy an' make out he done kilt
it. So we got tuh fightin' an' Ah wuz beatin' him too till he retched
down an' got de hock bone uh dat mule an' lammed me over de head an'
fore Ah could git up, he done took mah turkey an' went wid it. (to
Clarke) Mist Clarke Ah wants tuh swear out uh warrant ginst Jim
Weston. Ahm gointer law him outa dis town, too.

Dat wuz uh low-down caper, Jim, cut sho nuff.

Sho its uh ugly caper tuh cut. Come on inside, Dave, an Ah'll make out
de papers. He ain't goin' to carry on lak dat in _my_ town.

(Exit Dave and Clarke into de store)

(Jokingly to Sims) See whut capers you Meth'dis niggers'll
cut--lammin' folks over de head wid mule bones an' stealin' they

Oh you Baptist ain't uh lot better'n nobody else. You steals an'
fights too.

(still bantering) Yeah, but we done kotched dis Meth'dis nigger an' we
gointer run him right on outa town too. Jus' wait an' see. Yeah, boy.
Dat Jim'll be uh gone gator 'fore tomorrow night.

Oh, I don't know whether he's gointer be gone or not. We Meth'dis got
jus' as much say-so in dis town as anybody else.

Yeah. You Baptis run yo' mouf but you don't run de town. Furthermo' we
ain't heard nothin' but Dave's lie. Better wait till we see Jim an'
git de straight of dis thing.

Will you lissen at dat? Dese half-washed Christians hates de truth lak
uh bed-bug hates de light. God a' mighty! (rising) Ahm goin' in an'
see to it dat de Mayor makes dem papers out right. (He exits angrily
into the store. Simms and all the men rise too)

Come on Walter, you an Lige. Less we go inside too. Dat po' boy got
tuh git jestice. An' 'tween de Mayor an' dese Baptists he ain't got
much chance. (They exit into the store)

Come on you young gals, whut y'all wanta be hangin' round de store an'
its way after black dark. Yo' mammies oughter take an frail de las'
one of yuh! Come along! (The girls come downoff the porch and join the
women. Loud angry voices inside the store)

Lawd, lemme git home an' tell my husban' bout all dis. Umph! Umph!
(The women and girls exit as the men all emerge from the store. Lum
comes first with the warrant in his hand. Clarke emerges last.)

Can't have all dat fuss an' racket in my store. All of you git outside
dat wants tuh fight? (He begins to close up)

But Brother Mayor, I said it, an' I'll say it agin, tain't right--

(turns angrily) I God, Clarke [Hand written correction: Simms], Ah
don't keer whut you say. 'Taint worth uh hill uh beans nohow. Jim is
gointer be 'rested for hittin' Dave an' takin' his turkey, an' if he's
found guilty he's goin' way from here. Tain't no use uh you swellin'
up neither. (to Lum) Go get him, Lum, an' lock 'im in my barn an' put
dat turkey under arrest too. I God, de law is gointer be law in my
town. (Exit Lum with an important air.)

Where de trial gointer be, Brother Clarke, in de hall?

Nope, it's too little. It'll hafta be in de Baptist Church. Ah reckon
dat's de bigges' place in town. Three o'clock Monday evening. Now,
y'all git on off my porch tuh fuss. Lige, outen dat lamp for Lum.

(The stage goes black. The crowd is dispersing slowly. Angry voices
are heard. The curtain is descending slowly. Off-stage right the voice
of Lum is heard calling Daisy.)

Oh Daisy! Daisy!

(at a distance) What you want, Lum?

Tell yo' mama to put on de hot water kittle. I'll be round there
before long.



Scene I

SETTING: Village street scene. Huge oak tree upstage center. A house
or two on backdrop. When curtain goes up Sister Lucy Taylor is seen
standing under the tree trying to read a notice posted on the tree.
She is painfully spelling it out. Enter Sister Thomas--a younger woman
(in her thirties) at left.

Evenin', Sis Taylor.

Evenin'. (returns to the notice)

Whut you doin'? Readin' dat notice Joe Clarke put up 'bout de meetin'?
(approaches tree)

Is dat whut it says? I ain't much on readin' since I had my teeth
pulled out. You know if you pull out dem eye teeth you ruins yo' eye
sight. (turns back to notice) Whut it say?

(Reading notice) The trial of Jim Weston for assault and battery on
Dave Carter wid a dangerous weapon will be held at Macedonia Baptist
Church on Monday November 10, at three o'clock. All are welcome--by
order of J. Clarke, Mayor of Eatonville, Fla. (turning to Sister
Taylor) Hit's makin' on to three now.

You mean its right _now_. (looks up at sun to tell time) Lemme go git
ready to be at de trial--cause I'm sho going to be there and I ain't
goin' to bite my tongue neither.

I done went and crapped a mess of collard greens for supper--I better
go put em on--cause Lawd knows when we goin' to git outa there--and my
husband is one of them dats gointer eat don't keer whut happen. I bet
if Judgment day was to happen tomorrow, he'd speck I orter fix him a
bucket to carry long.

(She moves to exit right)

All men favors they guts, chile. But whut you think of all dis mess
they got going on round here?

I just think its a sin and a shame before de livin justice de way dese
Baptis' niggers is runnin' round here carryin' on.

Oh they been puttin out they brags ever since Sat'day night bout whut
they gointer do to Jim. They thinks they runs this town. They tell me
Rev. Singleton preached a sermon on it yesterday.

Lawd help us! He can't preach and he look like 10¢ worth of have-mercy,
let lone gittin' up dare tryin' to throw slams at us. Now all Elder
Sims done was to explain to us our rights--Whut you think bout Joe
Clarke running round here takin' up for those ole Baptist niggers?

De puzzle-gut rascal--we oughter have him up in conference and put him
out de Meth'dis' faith. He don't blong in there--Wanta run dat boy
outa town for nothin'.

But we all know how come he so hot to law Jim outa town--hits to dig
de foundation out from under Elder Sims--

What he wanta do dat for?

Cause he wants to be a God-knows-it-all an' a God-do-it-all and Simms
is de onliest one in this town whut will buck up to him.

(Enter Sister Jones, walking leisurely)

Hello Hoyt, Hello Lucy.

Goin' to de meetin'?

Done got my clothes on de line and I'm bound to be dere--

Gointer testify for Jim?

Naw. I reckon--Don't make much difference to me which way de drop
fall--Taint neither one of 'em much good.

I know it. I know it, Ida. But dat ain't de point. De crow we wants to
pick is, is we gointer set still and let dese Baptist tell us when to
plant and when to pluck up?

Dat _is_ something to think about when you come to think about it.
(starts to move on) Guess I better go ahead--See y'all later and tell
you straighter. (Enter Elder Simms right, walking fast, Bible under
his arm, almost collides with Mrs. Jones. She nods and smiles and

How you do, Sister Taylor, Sister Thomas.

Good evenin', Elder

Sho is a hot day

Yeah, de bear is walkin' de earth lak a natural man.

Reverend, look like you headed de wrong way. It's almost time for de
trial and youse all de dependence we got.

I know it. I'm trying to find de Marshall so we kin go after Jim. I
wants a chance to talk wid him a minute before court sits.

Y'think he'll come clear?

(proudly) I _know_ it! (shakes the Bible) I'm going to law 'em from
Genesis to Revelation.

Give it to 'em, Elder. Wear 'em out!

We'se liable to have a new Mayor when all dis dust settle. Well, I
better scuffle on down de road.

(Exit Sims left)

Lord, lemme gwan home and put dese greens on. (looks off stage left)
Here come Mayor Clark now, wid his belly settin' out in front of him
like a cow-catcher. His name oughter be Mayor Belly.

(akimbo) Jus' look at him! Trying to look like a jigadier Breneral.

(Enter Clarke hot and perspiring. They look at him coldly.)

I God, de bear got me! (silence for a moment) How y'all feelin'

Brother Mayor, I ain't one of these folks dat bite my tongue and bust
my gall--Whuts inside got to come out! I can't see to my rest why you
cloakin' in wid dese Baptist buzzards ginst yo' own Church.

I ain't cloakin' in wid _none_. I'm de Mayor of dis whole town.
I stands for de right and against de wrong. I don't keer who it kill
or cure.

You think it's right to be runnin' dat boy off for nothin?

I God! You call knockin' a man in de head wid a mule bone nothin'?
'Nother thing--I done missed nine of my best-layin' hens. I ain't
sayin' Jim got 'em--but different people has told me he buries a
powerful lot of feathers in his back yard. I God, I'm a ruint man! (He
starts towards the right exit, but Lum Rogers enters right.) I God,
Lum, I been lookin' for you all day. It's almost three o'clock. (hands
him a key from his ring) Take dis key and go fetch Jim Weston on to de

Have you got yo' gavel from de lodge-room?

I God, that's right, Lum. I'll go get it from de lodge room whilst you
go git de bone an' de prisoner. Hurry up! You walk like dead lice
droppin' off you! (He exits right while Lum crosses stage towards

Lum, Elder Simms been huntin' you--he's gone on down bout de barn.
(She gestures.)

I reckon I'll overtake him. (Exit left)

I better go put dese greens on--my husband will kill me if he don't
find no supper ready. Here come Mrs. Blunt. She oughter feel like a
penny's worth of have-mercy wid all dis stink behind her daughter.

Chile, some folks don't keer. They don't raise they chillen, they
drags 'em up. God knows if dat Daisy was mine, I'd throw her down and
put a hundred lashes on her back wid a plow-line. Here she come in de
store Sat'day night (acts coy and coquettish, burlesques Daisy's walk)
a wringing and a twisting!

(Enter Mrs. Blunt left.)

How y'all sisters?

Very well, Miz Blunt, how you?

Oh so-so.

I'm kickin' but not high.

Well, thank God you still on prayin' ground and in a Bible
Country--Me, I ain't many today. De niggers got my Daisy's name all
mixed up in diss mess.

You musn't mind dat, Sister Blunt. People just _will_ talk. They's
talkin' in New York and they's talkin' in Georgy and they's talkin' in

Chile, if you talk after niggers they'll have you in de graveyard or
in Chattahoochee one. You can't pay no tention to talk.

Well, I know one thing--de man or woman, chick or child, grizzly or
gray that tells me to my face anything wrong bout _my_ chile--I'm
going to take _my_ fist (rolls up right sleeve and gestures with right
fist) and knock they teeth down they throat. (She looks ferocious.)
Cause y'll know I raised my Daisy right round my feet till I let her
go up north last year wid them white folks. I'd ruther her to be in de
white folks kitchen than walkin' de streets like some of dese girls
round here. If I do say so, I done raised a lady. She can't help it if
all dese men get stuck on her.

You'se telling de truth, Sister Blunt--that's what I always say--Don't
confidence dese niggers, do they'll sho put you in de street.

Naw indeed. Never syndicate wid niggers--do--they will distriminate
you. They'll be an _anybody_. You goin to de trial, ain't you?

Just as sho as you snore, and they better leave Daisy's name outer dis
too. I done told her and told her to come straight home from her work.
Naw, she had to stop by dat store and skin her gums back wid dem
trashy niggers. She better not leave them white [Corrected missing
space.] folks today to come praipsin over here scornin her name all up
wid dis nigger mess--do, I'll kill her. No daughter of mine ain't
going to do as she please long as she live under de sound of my voice.
(She crosses to right.)

That's right, Sister Blunt--I glory in yo' spunk. Lord, I better go
put on my supper. (As Mrs. Blunt exits right, Rev. Singletary enters
left with Dave and Deacon Lindsay and Sister Lewis. Very hostile
glances from Sisters Thomas and Taylor towards the others.

Good evening, folks.

(Sister Thomas and Sister Taylor just grunt. Sister Thomas moves a
step or two towards exit. Flirts her skirts and exits.)

(Angrily) Whuts de matter, y'all? Cat got yo' tongue?

More matter than you kin scatter all over Cincinnatti.

Go head on, Lucy Taylor, go head on. You know a very little of yo'
sugar sweetens my coffee. Go head on. Everytime you lift yo' arm you
smell like a nest of yellow hammers.

Go head on yo'self. Yo' head look like it done wore out three
bodies--talking bout _me_ smelling--you smell lak a nest of grand
daddies yo'self.

Aw, rack on down de road, 'oman. Ah don't wantuh change words wid yuh.
You'se too ugly.

You ain't nobody's pretty baby yo'self. You so ugly I betcha yo' wife
have to spread uh sheet over yo' head tuh let sleep slip up on yuh.

(Threatening) You better git 'way from me while you able. I done tole
you I don't wants break a mouth wid you. It's a whole heap better tuh
walk off on yo own legs than it is to be toted off. I'm tired of yo'
achin round here. You fool wid me now an' I'll knock you into doll
rags, Tony or no Tony.

(jumping up in his face) Hit me! Hit me! I dare you tuh hit me. If you
take dat dare you'll steal a hawg an' eat his hair.

Lemme gwan down to dat church befo' you make me stomp you.
(He exits right.)

You mean you'll _git_ stomped. Ahm going to de trial too. De nex trial
gointer be _me_ for kickin some uh you Baptis niggers around.

(A great noise is heard off stage left. The angry and jeering voices
of children. Mrs. Taylor looks off left and takes a step or two
towards left exit as the noise comes nearer.)

Tell her! Tell her! Turn her up and smell her. Yo' mama ain't got
nothin to do wid me.

(Hollering off left) You lil Baptis haitians, leave them chillun
alone. If you don't, you better!

(Enter about 10 chidren struggling and wrestling in a bunch. Mrs.
Taylor looks about on the ground for a stick to strike the children

Hey! Hey! He's skeered tuh knock it off. Coward!

If y'all don't git on home!

(Standing akimbo) I know you better not touch me, do my mama will tend
to you.

(Making as if to strike her) Shet up, you nasty lil heifer, sassing
me! You ain't half raised.

(The little girl shakes herself at Mrs. Taylor and is joined by two or
three others.)

(Walking towards right exit) I'm going on down to de church an' tell
yo' mammy. But she ain't been half raised herself. (She exits right
with several children making faces behind her.)

(to sassy girl) Aw haw! Y'all ol' Baptis ain't got no book case in yo'
church. We went there one day an' I saw uh soda cracker box settin' up
in de corner so I set down on it. (pointing at sassy girl) Know whut
ole Mary Ella say? (jeering laughter) Willie, you git up off our
library! Haw! Haw!

Y'all ole Meth'dis' ain't got no window panes in yo' ole church.

(Takes center of stage and hands akimbo shakes her hips.) I don't keer
whut y'allsay. I'm a Methdis' bred an' uh Methdis' born an' when I'm
dead there'll be uh Methdis' gone.

(snaps fingers under other girl's nose and starts singing. Several
join her.)

  Oh Baptis, Baptis is my name
  My name's written on high
  I got my lick in de Baptis church
  Gointer eat up de Methdis pie

(the Methodist children jeer and make faces. The Baptist camp make
faces back for a full minute there is silence while each camp tries to
outdo the other in face making. The Baptist makes the last face.

Come on, less us don't notice em. Less gwan down to de church an' hear
de trial.

Y'all ain't the onliest ones kin go. We goin' too.

Aw Haw! Copy cats! (Makes face) Dat's right, follow on behind us lak
uh puppy dog tail. (They start walking toward right exit switching
their clothes behind.)

(Baptist children stage a rush and struggle to get in front of the
methodists. They finally succeed in flinging some of the Methodist
children to the ground and some behind them and walk towards right
exit haughtily switching their clothes.)

(whispers to his crowd) Less go round by Mosely's lot and beat 'em

All right!

(Yelling to Baptists) We wouldn't walk behind no ole Baptists! (The
Methodists turn and walk off towards left exit switching their clothes
as the Baptists are doing.)




SETTING: Interior of Macedonia Baptist Church, a rectangular room,
windows on each side, two "Amen Corners", pulpit with a plush cover
with heavy fringe, practical door in pulpit, practical door in front
of church, two oil brackets with reflectors on each side wall with
lamps missing all but one, one big oil lamp in center.

ACTION: At the rise, church is about full. A buzz and hum fills the
church. Voices of children angry and jeering heard from the street.
The church bell begins to toll for death. Everybody looks shocked.

Lawd! Is Dave done died from dat lick?

(to her husband) Walter, go see. (He gets up and starts down the aisle
to front door. Enter Deacon Hambo by front door.)

Who dead?[Note: correction to e]

(laughing) Nobody--jus' tollin' de bell for dat Meth'dis gopher dat's
gointer be long long gone after dis trial. (laughter from the Baptist

Y'all sho thinks you runs dis town, dontcher? But Elder Simms'll show
you somethin' t'day. If he don't, God's uh gopher.

He can't show us nothin' cause he don't know nothin' hisself.

He got mo' book-learnin' than Rev. Singletary got.

He mought be unletter-learnt, but he kin drive over Sims like a
road plow.

Aw, naw! Dat's a lie!

(Enter Rev. Simms by front door with open Bible in hand. A murmur of
applause arises on the Methodist side, grunts on the Baptist side.
Immediately behind him comes Lum Boger leading Jim Weston. They parade
up to the right Amen Corner and seat themselves on the same bench, Jim
between the Marshall and the preacher. A great rooster crowing and hen
cackling arises on the Baptist side. Jim Weston jumps angrily to his

(Enter by front door Rev. Singletary and Dave. Dave's head is
bandaged, but he walks firmly and seems not ill at all. They sit in
the left Amen Corner. Jeering grunts from the Methodist side.)

Look at ol' Dave trying to make out he's hurt.

Everybody know uh Baptis' head is hardern uh rock. Look like they'd be
skeered tuh go in swimmin', do they heads would drown 'em. (general
laughter on Methodist side)

(Enter Bro. Nixon with his jumper jacket on his arm and climbs over
the knees of a bench full of people and finds seat against the wall
directly beneath empty lamp bracket. He looks around for some place to
dispose of his coat. Sees the lamp-bracket and hangs up the coat,
hitches up his pants and sits down.)

(rising and glaring at Nixon) Shank Nixon, you take yo' lousy coat
down off these sacred walls. Ain't you Methdis' niggers got no
gumption in de house of Wash-up!

(Nixon mocks her by standing akimbo and shaking himself like a woman.
General laughter. He prepares to resume his seat but looks over and
sees Deacon Hambo on his feet, and glaring angrily at him. He quickly
reaches up and takes the coat down and folds it across his knees.)

(Sister Taylor looks very pointedly at Sister Lewis then takes a dip
of snuff and looks sneering at Lewis again.)

Some folks is a whole lot more keerful bout a louse in de church than
[Note: corrected missing space] they is in they house. (Looks
pointedly at Sister Lewis.)

(bustling) Whut you gazin' at me for? Wid your pop-eyes looking like
skirt ginny-nuts.

I hate to tell you whut yo' mouf looks like. I sho do you and soap and
soap and water musta had some words.

Talkin' bout other folks being dirty--yo' young 'uns must be sleep in
they draws cause you kin smell 'em a mile down de road.

Taint no lice on 'em though.

You got just as many bed-bugs and chinches as anybody else, don't come
trying to hand me dat rough package bout yo' house so clean.

Yeah, but I done seen de bed-bugs munchin' out yo' house in de
mornin', keepin' step just like soldiers drillin'. An' you got so many
lice I seen em on de dish-rag. One day you tried to pick up de
dish-rag and put it in de dish water and them lice pulled back and
tole you "Aw naw, damned if I'm going to let you drown me." (Loud
laughter from the Methodist side)

(furious--rises akimbo) Well, my house might not be exactly clean, but
there's no fly-specks on my character! They didn't have to sit de
sheriff to make Willie marry _me_ like they did to make Tony marry

(Jumping up and starts across the aisle. She is pulled back out of the
aisle by friends.) Yeah, they got de sheriff to make Tony marry me,
but he married me and made me a good husband, too. I sits in my
rocking cheer on my porch every Sat'day evening and say "here come
Tony and them--

Them what?

Them dollars. Now you sho orter go git de sheriff and a shot-gun and
make some of dese men marry yo' daughter Ada.

(Jumping up and starting across the aisle. She is restrained, but
struggles hard.) Lemme go, Jim Merchant! Turn me go! I'm going to
stomp de black heifer till she can't sit down.

(Also struggling) Let her come on! If I get my hands on her I'll turn
her every way but loose.

Just come on out dis church, Lucy Taylor. I'll beat you on everything
you got but yo' tongue and I'll bit dat a lick if you stick it out.
(to the men holding her) Turn me go! I'm going to fix her so her own
mammy won't know her. She ain't going to slip _me_ into de dozens and
laugh about it.

(Trying to free herself) Why don't y'all turn dat ole twist mouth
'oman loose. All I wants to do is hit her one lick. I betcha I'll take
her 'way from here faster than de word of God.

(to men holding Mrs. Taylor) I don't see how come y'all want let ole
flat-behind Lucy Taylor aloose--make out she so bad, now. She may be
red hot but I kin cool her. I'll ride her just like Jesus rode a

(They have subsided into their seats again, but are glaring at each
other. Enter Mayor Clarke thru the pulpit door and is annoyed at the
clamor going on. He tries to quell the noise with a frown.)

Dat ain't nothin' but talk--You looks lak de Devil before day, but you
ain't so bad--not half as bad as you smell.

Order, please. Court is set.

You looks like all hell and de devil's doll baby, but all I want _you_
to do is to hit de ground and I'll crawl you. Put it where I kin git
it and I'll sho use it.

(feeling everywhere for the gavel) Lum Boger! Where's dat gavel I told
you to put here?

(from beside prisoner) You said _you_ were going to git it yo'self.

I God, Lum, you gointer stand there like a bump on a log and see I
ain't got nothin' to open court wid? Go head--fetch me dat gavel. Make
haste quick before dese wimmen folks tote off dis church house. (Lum
exits by front door)

(to Lewis) Aw, shut up, you big old he-looking rascal you! Nobody
don't know whether you'se a man or a woman.

You wimmen, shut up!

(to Taylor) Air Lawd! Dat ain't _yo_ trouble. They all _knows_ whut
_you_ is--eg-zackly!

Aw, why don't you wimmen cut dat out in de church-house! Jus' jawin'
and chewin' de rag!

Joe Lindsay, if you'd go home and feed dat raw-boned horse of yourn
you wouldn't have so much time to stick yo' bill in business that
ain't yourn.

You ain't got nairn to feed--You better go hunt another dead dog and
git some mo' teeth. Great big ole empty mouf, and no cheers in de

I kin git all de teeth I wants--I'd ruther not have no cheers in my
parlor than to have them ole snags you got in yo' mouf. I'd ruther gum
it out.

You don't _ruther_ gum it out, you _hafta_ gum it out. You ain't got
no teeth. Dey better send out to dat ole mule and git you some

Joe Lindsay, don't you know no better than to strain wid folks ain't
got sense enough to tote guts to a bean? If they ain't born wid no
sense you cna't learn 'em none.

You sho done tole whut God love now. (Glaring across the aisle) Ain't
got enough gumption to kill a buzzard.

(Enter Lum by front door with gavel in one hand and mule bone in the
other. He walks importantly up the aisles and hands Clarke the gavel
and lays the bone atop the pulpit.)

(rapping sharply with gavel) Here! You moufy wimmen shut up. (to Lum)
Lum, go on back there and shut dem wimmen up or put 'em outa here.

(Lum starts walking importantly down the aisle towards Sister Taylor.
she almost rises to meet him.)

Lum Boger, you fresh little snot you! Don't you dast to come here
trying to put _me_ out--Many diapers as I done pinned on _you_! Git
way from me befo' I knock every nap off of yo' head, one by one.

(Lum hurries away from her apologetically. He turns towards Mrs.

Deed Godknows you better not lay de weight of yo' hand on _me_, Lum.
Here you ain't dry behind de ears yert and come telling _me_ what to
do. Gwan way from here before I kick yo' clothes up round you' neck
like a horse collar.

(Lum goes on back and takes his seat beside the prisoner.)

(glaring ferociously) This court is set and I'm bound to have some
order or else. (The talking ceases. Absolute quiet)

Now less git down to business. We got folks in dis town dat's just
like a snake in de grass.

Brother Mayor! We ain't got no business going into no trial nor
northin' else 'thout a word of prayer--to be sure de right spirit is
wid us.

Thass right,--Elder Simms, give us a word of prayer. (He rises

This is a Baptist Church and de pastor is settin' right here--how come
he can't pray in his own church?

Y'all done started all dis mess--how you going to git de right spirit
here? Go head, Rev. Simms.

He can't pray over me. Dis Church says one Lord, one faith, one
Baptism--and a man that ain't never been baptised atall ain't got no
business praying over nobody.

(rapping with gavel) Less sing! Somebody raise a tune.

(VOICE ON BAPTIST SIDE begins "Onward Christian Soldiers" and the
others join in.)

(VOICE ON METHODIST SIDE begins "All hail the power of Jesus name" and
the Methodists join in. Both shout as loud as they can to the end of
the verse.)

(Mayor Clarke raps loudly for order at the end of the verse and lifts
his hands as if to bless a table)

(praying) Lord be withus and bless these few remarks we are about to
receive, Amen. Now this court is open for business. All of us know we
came here on serious business. This town is bout to be tore up by
back-biting and malice. Now everybody that's a witness in this case
stand up. I wants the witness to take the front seat.

(Nearly everybody in the room rises. Brother Hambo frowns across the
aisle at Mrs. McDuffy, who is standing.)

Whut _you_ doing standin' up for a witness? I know you wasn't there.
You don't know one thing about it.

I got just as much right to testify as you is. I don't keer if I
wasn't there. Any man that treat they wife bad as _you_ can't tell
nobody else they eye is black. You clean round yo' _own_ door before
you go sweeping round other folks.

(to Nixon) What you doin' up there testifying? When you done let yo'
hawg root up all my p'tater patch.

Aw shut up woman--You ain't had no taters for no pit to root up.

Who ain't had no taters? (To Lige) Look here, Lige, didn't I git a
whole crokus sack full of tater slips from yo' brother Sam?

(reluctantly) Yeah.

Course I had sweet p'taters! And if you stand up there and tell _me_ I
ain't had no p'taters I'll be all over you just like gravy over rice.

Aw shut up--We ain't come here to talk about yo' tater vines, we come--

(to her husband) Joe! What kind of a husband is you? Set here and let
Nixon 'buse me out lak dat!

How is he going to give anybody a straightening when he needs
straightening hisself. I bought a load of compost from him and _paid
for it in advance_ and he come there when I wasn't home and dumped a
half-a-load in there and drove on off wid my money.

Aw, you ain't got no right to talk, Walter, not low down as you is--if
somebody stump their toe in dis town you won't let yo' shirt-tail
touch you till you bolt over to Maitland and puke yo' guts to de white
folks--and God knows I 'bominates a white folks nigger.

Aw you just mad cause I wouldn't let your old starved-out cow eat up
my cow-peas.

(triumphantly) Unhumh! I knowed you was the one knocked my cow's horn
off! And you lied like a doodle-bug going backwards in his hole and
made out you didn't do it.

I didn't do no such a thing.

I say you did and belong to Macedonia Baptist Church and I can't lie.

Yo' mouf is cut cross ways, ain't it? Well then, yo' mouf ain't no
prayer-book even if yo' lips do flap like a Bible. You kin lie and
then re-lie.

Walter Thomas talk dat biggity talk to me, not to my wife. Maybe you
kin whip her, but if you can't whip me too, don't bring de mess up.

(rapping) Y'all men folks shut up before I put you both under arrest.
Come to order everybody.

I just wants say this before we go any further. Nobody bet not slur my
wife in here--do I'll strow 'em all over de county.

Aw, youse de nastiest threatener in three states but I ain't seen you
do nothin'. De seat of yo' pants is too close to de ground for you to
be crowin' so loud. You so short you smell right earthy.

De seat of yo' husband's britches been draggin' de ground ever since I
knowed him. Don't like it dontcher take it, here's my collar come and
shake it. (She puts the palms of her hands together and holding the
heels together, flaps the fore part of her hands like a gator opening
and shutting its mouth. This infuriates Mrs. Nixon.

Shut up! We didn't come here to wash and iron niggers. We come here
for a trial. (raps)

(to Clarke) I ain't going to shut up nothin' of de kind. Think I'm
going to let her low-rate me and I take it all? Naw indeed. I'm going
to sack dis female out before we any further go.

Aw, I done dished you out too many times. Go head on and try to keep
yo' lil squatty husband away from down on de lake wid wimmens and
you'll have _all_ you can do. How does old heavy-hipted mama talk?

(snaps her fingers)

Nobody wouldn't have you if he could get anybody else.
(She makes a circle with her thum and first finger and
holds it up for Mrs. Lindsay to see.) Come thru--don't
you feel cheap?

Sister Nixon, shut up!

You can't shut me up, not the way you live. When you quit beatin Mrs.
Mattie and dominizing her all de time then you kin tell other folks
what to do. You ain't none of my boss. Don't let yo' wooden God and
corn-stalk Jesus fool you now. Now de way you sells rancid bacon for

Aw, honey, hush a while, please and less git started.

(A momentary quiet falls on the place. Mayor glowers all over the
place. Turns to Lum.)

Lum, git a piece of paper and a pencil and take de names of all de
witnesses _who was dere while de fight was going on_.

(Pulling a small tablet and pencil out of his coat pocket) I brought
it with me.

Now everybody who was at de fight hold up yo' hands so Lum can know
who you are.

(Several hands go up. Sister Anderson puts up her hand.)

You wasn't there, Sister Anderson, not at that time.

I hadn't been gone more'n ten minutes 'fore Dave come in from de

But you didn't see it.

It don't make no difference--my husband heered every word was spoke
and told me jes' lak it happen. Don't tell _me_ I can't testify.

Nobody can't testify but de two boys cause nobody wuz at de fight but

Dat's all right too, Brother, but I know whut they wuz fightin' about
an' it wudn't no turkey neither. It wuz Daisy Blunt.

Just you take my chile's name right out yo' mouf, Becky Anderson. She
wuznt out in dat cypress swamp. Leave her out dis mess.

You ain't got no call to be so touchous bout yo' girl, but you sho
said a mouthful, Sister Blunt. Dis sho is a mess. Can't help from
being uh mess. (glares at Mayor) Holdin' a trial in de Baptist Church!
Some folks ain't got sense enough todo 'em till four o'clock and its
way after half past tree right now.

Shet up, dere, Simms! Set down! Who ast yo' pot to boil, nohow! Court
is de best church they is, anyhow, cause you come in court. You better
have a good experience and a strong determination. (raps vigorously)
Now lemme tell _y'all_ something. When de Mayor sets Court--don't keer
when I sets it nor where I sets it, you got to git quiet and stay
quiet till I ast you tuh talk. I God, you sound lak a tree full uh
blackbirds! Dis ain't no barbecue, nor neither no camp meetin'. We
'sembled here tuh law uh boy on a serious charge. (A great buzz rises
from the congregation. Mayor raps hard for order and glares all about
him.) Hear! Hear! All of us kin sing at de same time, but can't but
one of us talk at a time. I'm doin' de talkin' now, so de rest of you
dry up till I git through. I God, you sound lak uh passle uh dog
fights! We ain't here for no form and no fashion and no outside show
to de world. Wese here to law. (to Lum) You done got all de witnesses
straight--Got they names down?

Yessuh, I got it all straightened out.

Well, read de names out and let de witnesses take de front seats.

Mr. Clarke, I done found out nobody wasn't at dat fight but Jim and
Dave and de mule bones. Dere's de bone Dave got hit wid up on de
rostrum and deres Jim and Dave in de Amen Corners.

(rising excitedly) Mist' Clarke! Brother Mayor, I wants to ast uh
question right now to git some information.

All right, Dave, go head and ast it.

Brother Mayor, I wanted to know whut become of my turkey gobbler?

I God, Dave, youse in order. Lum! I God, I been layin' off to ast you
whut you dont wid dat turkey. Where is it?

(A burst of knowing laughter from the house)

(very embarrassed) Well, when you tole me to go 'rrest Jim and de
turkey, I took and went on round to his ma's house and he wudnt dere
so I took and turnt round and made it t'wards Daisy's house an' I
caught up wid him under dat China-berry tree jest befo' you gits tuh
Daisy's house. He was makin' it on t'wards her house wid de turkey in
one hand--his gun crost his shoulder when I hailed 'im. I hollered
"Jim, hold on dere uh minute!" He dropped de turkey and wheeled and
throwed de gun on me.

I God, he drawed uh gon on de City Marshall?

Yessir! He sho did. Thought I was Dave. Tole me: "Don't you come
another step unless you want to see yuh Jesus." I hollered back "It's
me, I ain't no Dave Carter." So he took de gun offa me and I went up
to him and put him under arrest, and locked him up in yo' barn and
brought _you_ de key, didn't I?

You sho did, but I God, I ast you whut become of de turkey?

De turkey wasn't picked or nothin', so I put him under 'rrest too,
jus' lak you tole me. (general laughter)

I God, Lum, whut did you _do_ wid de turkey after you put him under

Jim, he didn't want to come wid me till he could make it to Daisy's
house to give her det turkey but, bein so close up on him till he
couldn't draw his rifle, I throwed my 32:20 in his face an' tole him I
said "Don't you move! Don't you move uh pig do I'll burn you down! I
got my burner cocked dead in yo' face and I'll keer you down jus' lak
good gas went up. Come on wid me!" So I took his rifle and picked up
de turkey and marched him off to yo' cow-lot. Ast him didn't I do it.
I tole him, I said "I know you Westons goes for bad but I'm yo' match.
I said you may be slick but you kin stand another greasing. Now sir! I
ain't skeered uh nobody. I'll put de whole town under 'rrest.

I God, Lum, if you don't tell me whut you done wid dat turkey, you
better! (draws back the gavel as if to hurl it at Lum) I'll lam you
over de head wid dis mallet! Whut did you do wid dat gobbler turkey?

Being as he wasn't picked or nothin', I know you didn't want to be
bothered wid it, so I took and carried it over to Mrs. Blunt's house
and she put on some hot water and we set up way Sat'day night pickin
de turkey and fixin him so nex' day she cooked him off--just sorta
baked him wid a lil stuffin an' such, so he'd keep.

Didn't you know my wife knowed how to cook? Go fetch dat turkey here,
and don't let no dead lice fall off of you on de way.

(extremely embarrassed) I don't speck he's dere now, Mist' Clarke.

(ferociously) How come?

I passed by dere on Sunday and et a lil piece of shoulder offa him,
an' being everybody else was eatin' turkey too, I et some breast meat
an' uh mouf ful or two of stuffin' an' uh drum stick wid de ham part
of de leg hung on to it wid a lil gravy. (general laughter) I thought
I was doin' right cause [Note: corrected missing space] de turkey was
kilt for Daisy anyhow. So I jus' took it on to her. Dave was all hurt
up and Jim was locked up so--

Dat'll do! Dat'll do! Dry up, Suh! (turns to Dave) Stand up, Dave.
Since youse de one got hurted, you be de first witness and tell me
just whut went on out dere.

(Dave rises slowly.)

Dat's right, Dave. Git up dere and lie lak de cross ties from New York
to Texas. You greasy rascal you! You better go wash yo'self before you
go testifying on people.

I'm just as clean as you.

(jumping to his feet) Wait a minute! Taint none of y'all got no call
to be throwin' off on dis boy. He come here to git justice, not to be
slurred and low-rated. He ain't 'ssaulted nobody. He ain't stole no
turkeys _nor_ chickens. He's a clean boy. He set at my feet in Sunday
school since he was so high, (measures knee height) and he come thru
religion under de sound of my voice an' I baptized him and I know he's

It'll take more'n uh baptizin' to clean dat nigger.

I goes in swimmin' nearly every day. I'm just as clean as anybody

(Mayor begins rapping for order. She shouts out) Swimmin! Dat ain't
gointer clean de crust offa _you_. You ain't had a good bath since de
devil was a hatchet. If you ain't been parboiled in de wash pot and
scoured wid Red Seal lye, don't bring de mess up.

I'm goin' to have order here or else! Gwan, Dave.

It's just lak I tole you Sat'day night.

Yeah, but dat wuz at de store. Dis is in [Note: corrected missing
space] court and it's got to be tole agin.

Just uh minute, Brother Clarke, before we any further go I wants to
ast de witness uh question dat oughter be answered before he open his

Whut _kind_ of a question is dat?

Dave, tell de truth. Ain't yo' heart full of envy and malce 'gainst
dis chile? (Gestures towards Jim. Dave shakes his head and starts to
deny the charge but Simms hurries on.) Wait a minute now! Wait till I
git thru. Didn't y'all used to run around everywhere playin' and
singing andeverything till you got so full of envy and malce and
devilment till y'al broke up? Now, Brother Mayor, make him tell de

Yeah, I useter be crazy bout Jim, and we was buddies till he tried to
back bite me wie, wid my girl.

Never _was_ yo girl. Nohow I ain't none of yo' buddy. I ain't got no
buddy. They kilt my buddy tryin' to raise me. But I did useter lak you
till you acted so low down tryin' to undermine me and root me out wid
my girl.

Aw, table dat business an' less open up new business. We ain't here to
find out whose girl it is. We wants to know 'bout dis fight and who
hit de first lick and how come. Go head on Dave and talk.

Well, jus lak I tole yuh, Sat'day night, I been watchin' dat flock uh
wild turkeys ever since way last summer roostin' in de edge of dat
cypress swamp out by Howell Creek, where Brazzle's ole mule was
dragged out. It was a great, bit ole gobbler leadin' de flock. So last
time I seen him I said I was gointer git him for my girl if it taken
me uh year. So Sat'day, kinda late, I grabs ole Hannah, my gun, I
calls her Old Hannah, and come to de store to buy some shells. Y'all
know whut went on at de store. Well, it made me feel lak I wuz
gointergit dat ole gobbler if I had to follow him clean to Diddy war
Diddy or slap into Ginny-Gall. But I didn't have to do nothin'. When I
got out by de ole mule bones, I seen 'em flyin' round lak buzzards. So
I loaded both barrels, squatted down on uh log where I had dead aim on
dat big ole cypress pine where they roosts at. Sho nuff, soon's de sun
had done set, here dey come followin' de leader'. He lit way out on de
end of de limb kinda off from de rest and I eased ole Hannah up on
him. Man! I got so skeered I wuz gointer miss him till I got de all
overs. He gobbled two three times to see if all his fambly was safed
den he settled down and bam! I let him have it! He spread his wings
lak he wuz gointer fly on off an' I _cried_ lak a chile! But I got him
alright and down he come floppin, and me grabbin him before he quit
kickin. Gee, I was proud. He felt lak he weighed forty pounds. Whilst
I was kinda heftin him in my hands I heard uh rifle fire and I looked
and dere was Jim firin into de turkey flock dat was flyin round
skeered. He didn't hit a God's thing, but he seen me wid my gobbler
and come runnin up talking bout give him his turkey. I ast him "who
turkey you talkin bout?[Note: missing double quote?] He says dat one
of hisn I hed done grabbed. I tole him he must gone crazy in de head.
He says, I better give him his turkey before he beat my head off. I
tole him I wasn't gointer give nobody but Daisy Blunt dat turkey.
Otherwise, if he wanted to try my head, I wasn't runnin uh damn step.
Come on. So he jumped on me and tried to snatch de turkey. We fit all
over de place. First we was just tusslin for de bird, but when he
found out he couldn't take it he hit me wid his fist. Den I ups wid my
African soup bone and I bet I plowed up uh acre uh bushes wid his
head. He hit ker-bam! right in dat pack uh mule bones and I turnt and
started off, when lo and behold, he gits up wid dat hock bone and lams
me in de head and when I come to, him and my turkey was gone. So I
come swore out uh warrant aginst him cause didn't fight fair. I ain't
mad. I always lakted Jim, but he sho done dirty--lammin me wid uh mule
bone and takin' [Note: corrected missing space] my turkey.

(Dave resumes his seat and Jim drops his head for a moment, then
snatches it up arrogantly and glares at the Baptists. The whole place
is very silent for a moment. Then Mayor Clarke clears his throat, raps
with his gavel and looks sternly at Jim.)

Jim Weston, stand up suh! (Jim rises sullenly.) Youse charged wid
'saulting Dave Carter wid uh dangerous weapon and then stealin his
lawful turkey gobbler. You heard de charge--guilty or not guilty?

(arrogantly) Yeah, I hit him and I'll hit him agin if he crowd me. But
I ain't guilty uh no crime. (He hitches up his pants and sits down

(surprised) Whuts dat you say, Jim? (raps sharply) Git up from there
sir! Whuts dat you say?

(rising) I say, heah, I lammed ole Dave wid de mule bone, but I ain't
guilty uh nothin.

(There is a stark silence for a few seconds. Then Clarke raps

How come you ain't guilty?

(Jim sits down amid jubilant smiles of Methodists. Simms chuckles out
loud and wipes his face with his handkerchief. He gets to his feet
still gloating.)

(to Jim) Set down, Jim, and lemme show dese people dat walks in de
darkness wid sinners an' republicans de light.

You just as well tuh hush up befo' you start, then, Simms. You can't
show nobody uh light when you ain't got none tuh show.

Ain't dat de gospel?

Aw, let de man talk. Y'all sound lak uh tree full uh blackbirds. Go
head on, Elder Simms.

Yeah, you can't teach 'em nothin' but talk on. We know whut you
talkin' about.

(raps once or twice) I God, tell it. Whut ever tis you got tuh tell.

An yeah, hurry up and tell it. I know it ain't goin' tuh be nothin'
after you git it told but hurry up and say it so yo' egg-bag kin rest

Aw shut up an' give de man uh chance.

My shetters ain't workin' good. Sposin' you come shet me up, Walter.
Den you'll know it's done right.

Aw, whyn't y'all ack lak folks an' leave de man talk.

(rapping repeatedly) Order in dis court, I God, jus' like you was in
Orlando! (Silence falls.) Now, Simms, talk yo' chat.

(glances down into his open Bible then looks all around the room with
great deliberation. It is evident he enjoys being the center of
attraction. He smiles smugly as he turns his face towards the pulpit.
He speaks slowly and accents his words so that none will be lost on
his audience.) De Bible says, be sho' you're right, then go ahead. (He
looks all around to collect the admiration he feels he has earned.)
Now, we all done gethered and 'sembled here tuh law dis young lad of
uh boy on uh might serious charge. Uh whole passle of us is rarin tuh
drive him way from home lak you done done off his daddy an' his

We never drove off his pappy. De white folks took an' hung him for
killin' dat man [Note: corrected missing space?] in Kissimmee for

Dat ain't de point, brother Hambo.

It's jes' as good uh point as any. If you gointer talk--tell de truth.
An if you can't tell de truth, set down an' leave Rev. Singletary

Brother Mayor, how come you let dese people run they mouf
lak uh passle uh cow-bells? Ain't I got de floor? I ain't no
breath-and-britches. I was _people_ in Middle Georgy befo' I ever come
to Floridy. Whut kind of Chairman is you, nohow?

(angrily) Heah! Heah! Don't you come tryin' show yo'self round me! I
God, I don't keer whut you wuz in Georgy. I God, I kin eat fried
chicken when you [Note: corrected missing spaces] caint git rain water
tuh drink. Hurry up an' say dat mess you got in yo' craw an' set down.
We needs yo' space more than we needs yo' comp'ny.

Don't let him skeer you, Elder Sims. You got plenty shoulders tuh back
yo' fallin.

Well, each an' every shoulder kin hit de ground an' I'll git wid 'em.
Don't like it dontcher take, here my collar come an' shake it.

Hambo, everybody in Orange County knows you love tuh fight. But dis is
uh law hearin'--not no wrassle.

Oh you Methdis' niggers wants tuh fight bad enough, but youse skeered.
Youse jus' as hot as Tucker when de mule kicked his mammy. But you
know you got plenty coolers.

Aw, taint nobody skeered uh you half-pint Baptists. God knows Ahm
ready an' willin'. (She glares at Mrs. Lewis.)

(Sister Lewis jumps to her feet but is pulled back into her seat.
Mayor Clarke raps for order and the room gets quiet.)

Aw right now, Simms. I God, git through.

(pompously) Now, y'all done up an' took dis po' boy an' had him locked
up in uh barn ever since Sat'day night an' done got him 'coused uh
assault an' stealing uh turkey an' I don't know whut all an' you ain't
got no business wid yo' hands on him stell. He ain't done no crime,
an' if y'all knowed anything 'bout law, I wouldn't have tuh tell you so.

I God, he is done uh crime and he's gointer ketch it, too.

But not by law, Brother Mayor. You tryin' tuh lay uh hearin' on dis
boy an' you can't do it cause he ain't broke no law--I don't keer whut
he done so long as he don't break no law you can't tetch him.

He committed assault, didn't he? Dat sho is breakin' de law.

Naw, he ain't committed no 'sault. He jus' lammed Dave over de head
an' took his own turkey an' come on home, dat's all. (triumphantly)
Yuh see y'll don't knoww whut you talkin' 'bout. Now, I done set in de
court house an' heard de white folks law from mornin' till night. (He
flips his Bible shut.) I done read dis book from lid tuh lid an' I
knows de law. You got tuh have uh weepon tuh commit uh 'sault. An'
taint in no white folks law an taint in dis Bible dat no mule bone is
no weapon. I

(after a moment of dead silence) I God, whut's dat you say?

(sitting down and crossing his legs and folding his hands upon his
Bible) You heard me. I say you ain't got no case 'ginst dis boy an'
you got tuh turn him go.

(jumping up) Brother Chairman--

(raps once and nods recognition) You got de floor.

I ain't book-learnt an' I ain't rubbed de hair offen my head agin no
college wall, but I know when uh 'sault been committed. I says Jim
Weston did 'sault Davie. (He points at Dave's head.) An' steal his
turkey. Everybody knows Jim can't hunt wid Dave. An' he 'saulted Dave

(arrogantly) Prove it!

(Singletary stands there silent and puzzled. The Methodist side breaks
into a triumphant shout of "Oh Mary, don't you weep, don't you moan,
Pharaoh's army got drownded." Singletary sinks into his seat. When
they have shouted out three choruses, Simms arises to speak.)

I move dat we sing doxology and bring dis meetin' to uh close. We'se
all workin' people, Brother Mayor. Dismiss us so we kin gwan back to
our work. De sun is two hours high yet. (looks towards the Methodist
side) I move dat we adjourn.

I second de motion.

(arising slowly) Hold on there uh minute wid dat motion. Dis ain't no
lodge meetin'. Dis is uh court an' bofe sides got uh right tuh talk.
(motions towards Simms' Bible) Youse uh letter learnt man but I kin
read dat Bible some too. Lemme take it uh minute.

I ain't gointer do it. Any preacher dat amounts to uh hill uh beans
would have his own Bible.

I God, Singletary, you right here in yo' own church. Come on up here
an' read out yo' pulpit Bible. I God, don't mind me being up here.
Come on up.

(A great buzzing breaks out all over the church as Singletary mounts
the pulpit. Clarke raps for order. Simms begins to turn the leaves of
the Bible.)

Brother Mayor, you oughter let us outa here. You ain't got no case
'ginst dis boy. Don't waste our time for nothin'. Leave us go home.

Aw, dry up, Simms. You done talked yo' talk. I God, leave Singletary
talk his. (to Singletary) Step on out when you ready, Rev.

(Reading) It says here in Judges 18:18 dat Samson slewed three
thousand [Note: corrected missing space] Philistines wid de jawbone of
an ass.

(on his feet) Yeah, but dis wasn't no ass. Dis was uh mule, Brother
Mayor. Dismiss dis meetin' and less all go home.

Yeah, but he was half-ass. A ass is uh mule's daddy and he's biggern
uh ass, too. (emphatic gestures) Everybody knows dat--even de lil

(standing) Yeah, but we didn't come here to talk about no asses,
neither no half asses, nor no mule daddies. (laughter from de
Methodists) We come to law uh boy for 'sault an' larceny.

(very patiently) We'se comin' to dat pint now. Dat's de second claw uh
de sentence wese expoundin'. I say Jim Weston did have uh weepon in
his hand when he 'saulted Dave. Cause y'all knows if de daddy is
dangerous, den de son is dangerous too. An' y'all knows dat de further
back you gits on uh mule de more dangerous he gits an' if de jawbone
slewed three thousand people, by de time you gits back tuh his hocks,
its pizen enough tuh kill ten thousand. Taint no gun in de world ever
kilt dat many mens. Taint no knives nor no razors ever kilt no three
thousand people. Now, folkses, I ast y'all whut kin be mo' dangarous
dan uh mule bone? (to Clarke) Brother Mayor, Jim didn't jes' lam Dave
an walk off. (very emphatic) He 'saulted him wid de deadliest weepon
there is in de world an' while he was layin' unconscious, he stole his
turkey an' went. Brother Mayor, he's uh criminal an' oughter be run
outa dis peaceful town.

(Great chorus of approval from Baptist Clarke begins to rap for

(attending) Brother Mayor, I object. I have studied jury and I know
what I'm talkin' about.

Aw dry up, Simms. Youse entirely out of order. You may be slick, but
you kin stand another greasing. Rev. Singletary is right. I God, I
knows de law when I hear it. Stand up dere, Jim.

(Jim rises very slowly. Simms rises also.)

Set down, Simms. I God, I know where to find you when I want you.
(Simms sits.) Jim, I find you guilty as charged an' I wants you to git
outa my town and stay gone for two years. (to Lum) Brother Marshall,
you see dat he gits outa town befo' dark. An' you folks dats so
anxious to fight, git on off dis church grounds befo' you start. And
don't use no knives and no guns and no mule bones. Court's dismissed.



Scene I

SETTING: Curtain goes up on a stretch of railroad track with a
luxurious Florida forest on the backdrop. Entrances left and right. It
is near sundown.

ACTION: When the curtain goes up there is no one on the stage, but
there is a tremendous noise and hub-bub off stage right. There are
yells of derision, shouts of anger. Part of the mob is trying to keep
Jim in town and a part is driving him off. After a full minute of
this, Jim enters with his guitar hanging around his neck and his coat
over his shoulder. The sun is dropping low and red thru the forest. He
is looking back angrily and shouting back at the mob. A small missile
is thrown after him. Jim drops his coat and guitar and grabs up a
piece of brick and threatens to throw it.

(Running back the way he came and hurls the brick with all his might.)
I'll kill some of youole box-ankled niggers--(grabs up another piece
of brick) I'm out yo' ole town--now jus' some of you ole half-pint
Baptists let yo' wooden God and Cornstalk Jesus fool you to hit me!
(Threatens to throw. There are some frightened screams and the mob is
heard running back.) I'm glad I'm out yo' ole town, anyhow. I ain't
never comin' back no more, neither. You ole ugly-rump niggers done
ruint de town anyhow.

(There is complete silence off stage. Jim walks a few steps then sits
down on the railroad embankment facing the audience. Jim pulls off one
shoe and pours the sand out. He holds the shoe in his hand a moment
and looks wistfully back down the railroad track.)

Lawd, folks sho is deceitful. (He puts on the shoe and looks back down
the track again.) I never woulda thought people woulda acted lak dat.
(Laces up the shoe) Specially Dave Carter, much as me an' him done
proaged round together goin' in swimmin' and playin' ball an'
serenadin' de girls an' de white folks.

(He sits there gloomily silent for a while, then looks behind him and
picks up his guitar and begins to pick a tune. It is very sad. He
trails off into "You may leave an' go to Halimuhfack." When he
finishes he looks back at the sun and picks up his coat also.)

I never woulda thought people woulda acted lak dat. (laces up the
shoe) Specially Dave Carter, much as me an' him done proaged round
together, goin' in swimmin' and playin' ball an' serenadin' de girls
an' de white folks. (He sits there gloomily silent for a while then
looks behind him and picks up his guitar and beings to pick a tune. It
is very sad. He trails off into "You may leave and go to Halimuhfack."
When he finishes he looks back at the sun and picks up his coat also.)
(He looks back again towards the village.) Reckon I better git on down
de road an' git somewhere, Lawd knows where. (stops suddenly in his
tracks and turns back towards the village and takes a step or two.)
All dat mess and stink for nothin'. Dave knows good an' well I didn't
mean to hurt him much. (He takes off his cap and scratches his head
thoroughly, then turns again and starts on down the road towards left.
Enter Daisy left walking briskly.)

Hello, Jim.

Hello, Daisy.

(Embarrassed silence)

I was just coming over town to see how you come out.

You don't have to go way over there to find dat out--you and Dave done
got me run outa town for nothin'.

(Putting her hand on his arm) Dey didn't run you outa town, did dey?

(Shaking her hand off) Whut you reckon I'm countin' Mr. Railroad's
ties for--just to find out how many ties between here and Orlando?

(Hand on his arm again) Dey _cain't_ run you off like dat!

Take yo' hands off me, Daisy! How come they can't run me off wid you
and Dave an'--_everybody_ gainst me?

I ain't opened my moff 'gainst you, Jim. I ain't said one word--I
wasn't even at de old trial. My madame wouldn't let me git off. I wuz
just comin' to see 'bout you now.

Aw, go 'head on. You figgered I was gone too long to talk about. You
was haulin' it over to town to see Dave--dat's whut was doin'--after
gittin _me_ all messed up.

(Making as if to cry) I wasn't studying 'bout no Dave.

(Hopefully) Aw, don't tell me. (Sings) Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,
show me a woman that a man can trust.

(Daisy is crying now.)

Whut you crying for? You know you love Dave. I'm yo' monkey-man. He
always could do more wid you that I could.

Naw, you ain't no monkey-man neither. I don't want you to leave town.
I didn't want y'all to be fightin' over me, nohow.

Aw, rock on down de road wid dat stuff. A two-timing cloaker like you
don't keer whut come off. Me and Dave been good friends ever since we
was born till you had to go flouncing yourself around.

What did I do? All I did was to come over town to see you and git a
mouf-ful of gum. Next thing I now y'all is fighting and carrying on.

(stands silent for a while) Did you come over there Sat'day to see me
sho nuff, sugar babe?

Everybody could see dat but you.

Just like I told you, Daisy. I'll say it before yo' face and behind
yo' back. I could kiss you every day--just as regular as pig-bracks.

And I tole you I could stand it too--justa s regular as you could.

(Catching her by the arm and pulling her down with him onto the rail)
Set, down here, Daisy. Less talk some chat. You want me sho
nuff--honest to God?

(coyly) 'Member whut I told you out on de lake last summer?

Sho nuff, Daisy?

(Daisy nods smilingly.)

(Sadly) But I got to go 'way. Whut we gointer to 'bout dat?

Where you goin', Jim?

(Looking sadly down the track) God knows.

(Off stage from the same direction from which Jim entered comes the
sound of whistling and tramping of feet on the ties.)

(Brightening) Dat's Dave! (Frowning suspiciously) Wonder whut he doin'
walking dis track? (Looks accusingly at Daisy) I bet he's goin' to yo'

Whut for?

He ain't goin' to see de madame--must be goin' to see you. (He starts
to rise petulantly as Dave comes upon the scene. Daisy rises also.)

(Looks accusingly from one to the other) Whut y'all jumpin' up
for? I....

Whut you got to do wid us business? Tain't none of yo' business if we
stand up, set down or fly like a skeeter hawk.

Who said I keered? Dis railroad belongs to de _man_--I kin walk it
good as you, can't I?

(Laughing exultantly) Oh yeah, Mr. Do-Dirty! You figgered you had done
run me on off so you could git Daisy all by yo'self. You was headin'
right for her work-place.

I wasn't no such a thing.

You was. Didn't I lear you coming down de track all whistling and

Youse a big old Georgy-something-ain't-so! I done got my belly full of
Daisy Sat'day night. She can't snore in my ear no more.

(Indignantly) Whut you come here low-rating me for, Dave Carter? I
ain't done nothin' to you but treat you white. Who come rubbed yo' ole
head for you yestiddy if it wasn't me?

Yeah, you rubbed my head all right, and I lakted dat. But everybody
say you done toted a pan to Joe Clark's barn for Jim before I seen

Think I was going to let Jim there thout nothing fitten for a dog to

That's all right, Daisy. If you want to pay Jim for r knockin' me in
de head, all right. But I'm a man in a class--in a class to myself and
nobody knows my name.

(Snatching Daisy around to face him) Was you over to Dave's house
yestiddy rubbing his ole head and cloaking wid him to run me outa
town--and me locked up in dat barn wid de cows and mules?

(Sobbing) All both of y'all hollerin' at me an' fussin' me just
cause I tries to be nice--and neither one of y'all don't keer
nothin' bout me.

(Both boys glare at each other over Daisy's head and both try to hug
her at the same time. She violently wrenches herself away from both
and makes as if to move on.)

Leave me go! Take yo' rusty pams offen me. I'm going on back to my
work-place. I just got off to see bout y'all and look how y'all
treat me.

Wait a minute, Daisy. I love you like God loves Gabriel--and dat's His
best angel.

Daisy, I love you harder than detthunder can bump a stump--if I
don't--God's a gopher.

(Brightening) Dat's de first time you ever said so.


Whut you hollering "who" for? Yo' foot don't fit no limb.

Speak when you spoken to--come when you called, next fall you'll be my
coon houn' dog.

Table dat discussion. (Turning to Daisy) You ain't never give me no
chance to talk wid you right.

You made _me_ feel like you was trying to put de Ned book on me all de
time. Do you love me sho nuff, Daisy?

(Blooming again into coquetry) Aw, y'all better stop dat. You know you
don't mean it.

Who don't mean it? Lemme tell you something, mama, if you was mine I
wouldn't have you counting no ties wid yo' pretty lil toes. Know whut
I'd do?

(Coyly) Naw, whut would you do?

I'd buy a whole passenger train and hire some mens to run it for you.

(Happily) Oo-ooh, Dave.

(to Dave)

  De wind may blow, de door may slam
  Dat whut you shootin' ain't worth a dam.

(to Daisy) I'd buy you a great big ole ship--and then baby, I'd buy
you a ocean to[Note: corrected missing space] sail yo' ship on.

(Happily) Oo-ooh, Jim.

(to Jim)

  A long train, a short caboose
  Dat lie whut you shootin', ain't no use.

(to Daisy) Miss Daisy, know what I'd do for you?

Naw, whut?

I'd like uh job cleanin out de Atlantic Ocean jus for you.

Don't fool me now, papa.

I couldn't fool _you_, Daisy, cause anything I say bout lovin' you, I
don't keer how big it is, it wouldn't be half de truth. Y

I'd come down de river riding a mud cat and leading a minnow.

Lawd, Dave, you sho is propaganda.

(Peevishly) Naw he ain't--he's just lying--he's a noble liar. Know
whut I'd do if you was mine?

Naw, Jim.

I'd make a panther wash yo' dishes and a 'gator chop yo' wood for you.

Daisy, how come you [Note: corrected missing space] let Jim lie lak
dat? He's as big a liar as he is a [Note: corrected missing space]
man. But sho nuff now, laying all sides to jokes, Jim, there don't
even know how to answer you. If you don't b'lieve it, ast him

(to Jim) You like me much, Jim?

(Enthusiastically) Yeah, Daisy, I sho do.

(Triumphant) See dat! I tole you he didn't know how to answer nobocy
like you. If he was talking to some of them ol' funny looking gals
over town he'd be answering 'em just right. But he got to learn how to
answer _you_. Now you ast _me_ something and see how I answer you.

Do you like me, Dave?

(Very properly in a falsetto voice) Yes ma'am! Dat's de way to answer
swell folks like you. Furthermore, less we prove which one [Note:
corrected missing space] of us love you de best right now. (To Jim)
Jim, how much time owuld you do on de chain-gang for dis 'oman?

Twenty years and like it.

See dat, Daisy? Dat nigger ain't willing to do no time for you. I'd
_beg_ de judge to gimme life. (Both Jim and Dave laugh)

Y'all doin' all dis bookooing out here on de railroad track but I bet
y'all crazy 'bout Bootsie and Teets and a whole heap of others.

Cross my feet and hope to die! I'd ruther see all de other wimmenfolks
in de world dead than for[Note: corrected missing space] you to have de

If I was dead any any other woman come near my coffin de undertaker
would have to do his job all over--cause I'd git right up and walk
off. Furthermore, Miss Daisy, ma'am, also m'am, which would _you_
ruther be a lark a flying or a dove a settin'--ma'am also ma'am?

'Course I'd ruther be a dove.

Miss Daisy, ma'am, also ma'am--if you marry dis nigger over my head,
I'm going to git me a green hickory club and season it over yo' head.

Don't you be skeered, baby--papa kin take keer a _you_. (to Jim)
Counting from de finger (suiting the action to the word) back to the
thumb--start anything I got you some.

Aw, I don't want no more fight wid you, Dave.

Who said anything about fighting? We just provin' who love Daisy de
best. (to Daisy) Now, which one of us you think love you de best?

Deed I don't know, Dave.

Baby, I'd walk de water for you--and tote a mountain on my head while
I'm walkin'.

Know whut I'd do, honey babe? If you was a thousand miles from home
and you didn't have no ready-made money and you had to walk all de
way, walkin' till yo' feet start to rolling, just like a wheel, and I
was riding way up in de sky, I'd step backwards offa dat airyplane
just to walk home wid you.

(Falling on Jim's neck) Jim, when you talk to me like dat I just can't
stand it. Less us git married right now.

Now you talkin' like a blue-back speller. Less go!

(Sadly) You gointer leave me lak dis, Daisy?

(Sadly) I likes you, too, Dave, I sho do. But I can't marry both of
y'all at de same time.

Aw, come on, Daisy--sun's gettin' low. (He starts off pulling Daisy.)

Whut's I'm gointer do? (Walking after them)

Gwan back and hunt turkeys--you make out you so touchous nobody can't
tell you yo' eye is black thout you got to run git de law.

(Almost tearfully) Aw Jim, shucks! Where y'all going?

(Daisy comes to an abrupt halt and stops Jim)

That's right, Honey. Where _is_ we goin' sho nuff?

JIM (Sadly)
Deed I don't know, baby. They just sentenced [Note: corrected missing
space] me to go--they didn't say where and I don't know.

How we goin' know how to go when [Note: corrected missing space] we
don't know where we goin'?

(Jim looks at Dave as if he expects some help but Dave stands sadly
silent. Jim takes a few steps forward as if to go on. Daisy makes a
step or two, unwillingly, then looks behind her and stops. Dave looks
as if he will follow them.)

Jim! (He stops and turns) Wait a minute! Whut we gointer do when we
git there?


Where we goin'?

I done tole you I don't know where it is.

But how we gointer git something to eat and a place to stay?

Play my box for de white folks and dance just like I been doing.

You can't take keer of me on dat, not where we hafta pay rent.

(Looks appealingly at Dave, then away quickly) Well, I can't help
_dat_, can I?

(Brightly) I tell you whut, Jim! Less us don't go nowhere. They
sentenced you to leave Eatonville and youse almost a mile from de city
limits already. Youse in Maitland now. Supposin' you come live on de
white folks' place wid me after we git married. Eatonville ain't got
nothin' to do wid you livin' in Maitland.

Dat's a good idea, Daisy.

(Jumping into his arms) And lissen, honey, you don't have to be
beholden to nobody. You can throw dat ole box away if you want to. I
know where you can get a _swell_ job.

(Sheepishly) Doin' whut? (Looks lovingly at his guitar)

(Almost dancing) Yard man. All you have to do is wash windows, and
sweep de sidewalk, and scrub off de steps and porch and hoe up de
weeds and rake up de leaves and dig a few holes now and then with a
spade--to plant some trees and things like that. It's a good steady

(After a long deliberation) You see, Daisy, de mayor and corporation
told me to go on off and I oughter go.

Well, I'm not going tippin' down no railroad track like a Maltese cat.
I wasn't brought up knockin' round from here to yonder.

Well, I wasn't brought up wid no spade in my hand--and ain't going to
start it now.

But sweetheart, we got to live, ain't we? We got to git hold of money
before we kin do anything. I don't mean to stay in de white folks'
kitchen all my days.

Yeah, all dat's true, but you couldn't buy a flea a waltzing jacket
wid de money _I'm_ going to make wid a hoe and spade.

(Getting tearful) You don't want me. You don't love me.

Yes, I do, darling, I love you. Youse de one letting a spade come
between us. (He caresses her.) I loves you and you only. You don't see
_me_ dragging a whole gang of farming tools into us business, do you?

(stiffly) Well, I ain't going to marry no man that ain't going to work
and take care of me.

I don't mind working if de job ain't too heavy for me. I ain't going
to bother wid nothin' in my hands heavier than dis box--and I totes it
round my neck 'most of de time. I kin go out and hunt you some game
when times gits tight.

Don't strain yo'self huntin' nothin' for me. I ain't goin' to eat
nobody's settin' hen. (She turns to DAVE finally.)

Whut ole sittin hen? Ain't you and Lum done et up de turkey

You might of brought it, but Dave sho kilt it. You couldn't hit de
side of uh barn wid uh bass fiddle.

Course I kilt it, and I kilt it for you, but I didn't kill none for
Lum Boger. De clean head hound!

(Daisy turns to Dave finally)

Well, I reckon you loves me the best anyhow. You wouldn't talk to me
like Jim did, would you, Dave?

Naw, I wouldn't say whut he said a-tall.

(Cuddling up to him) Whut would _you_ say, honey?

I'd say dat box was too heavy for me to fool wid. I wouldn't tote
nothing my gun and my hat and I feel like I'm 'busing myself sometie
totin' dat.

(Outraged) Don't you mean to work none?

Wouldn't hit a lick at a snake.

I don't blame _you_, Dave (looks down at his feet) cause toting dem
feet of yourn is enough to break down your constitution.

They carries me wherever I wants to go. Daisy, you marry Jim cause I
don't want to come between y'all. He's my buddy.

Come to think of it, Dave, she was yourn first. You take and handle
dat spade for her.

You heard her say it is all I can do to lift up dese feets and put 'em
down. Where I'm going to git any time to wrassle wid any hoes and
shovels? You kin git round better'n me. You done won Daisy--I give in.
I ain't going to bite no friend of mine in de back.

Both of you niggers can git yo' hat en' yo' heads an' git on down de
road. Neither one of y'all don't have to have me. I got a good job and
plenty men begging for yo' chance.

Dat's right, Daisy, you go git you one them mens whut don't mind
smelling mules--and beating de white folks to de barn every morning. I
don't wanta be bothered wid nothin' but dis box.

And I can't strain wid nothin' but my feets and my gun. I kin git mo'
turkey gobblers, but never no job.

(Daisy walks slowly away in the direction from which she came. Both
watch her a little wistfully for a minute. The sun is setting.)

Guess I better be gitin' on back--it's most dark. Where you goin, Jim?

I don't know, Dave. Down de road, I reckon.

Whyncher come on back to town? Taint no use you proagin' up and down
[Note: corrected missing space] de railroad track when you got a home.

They done lawed me way from it for hittin' you wid dat bone.

Dat ain't nothin'. It was my head you hit. An' if I don't keer whut
dem ole ugly-rump niggers got to do wid it?

They might not let me come in town.

(Seizing Jim's arm and facing him back toward the town.) They better!
Look here, Jim, if they try to keep you out dat town we'll go out to
dat swamp and git us a mule bone a piece and come back and boil dat
stew down to a low gravy.

You mean dat Dave? (Dave nods his head eagerly.)

Us wasn't mad wid one 'nother nohow. Come on less go back to town. Dem
mullet heads better leave me be, too. (Picks up a heavy stick) I wish
Lum would come tellin' me bout de law when I got all dis law in _my_
hands. An' de rest of dem 'gator-face jigs--if they ain't got a whole
set of mule bones and a good determination they better not bring de
mess up.


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "De Turkey and De Law - A Comedy in Three Acts" ***

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