The picture here is my front yard — and what it will look like, briefly, in a couple of weeks.
MAN: (answering the phone) Yellow!
WOMAN: (on phone) I saw your listing on Craigslist. I’m calling about the yard sale.
MAN: Yes Ma’am. What do you need to know?
WOMAN: Well, how long have you had it?
MAN: Forty-nine years.
WOMAN: How big is it?
MAN: She’s two thirds of an acre, and of course there’s the house.
WOMAN: I’m not looking for a house.
MAN: No ma’am. We live in the house. Just selling the yard.
WOMAN: How big is the yard?
MAN: It’s right around half an acre.
WOMAN: Does it include any trees?
MAN: We’ve got some trees.
WOMAN: How many?
MAN: Let’s see, it’s got some old shrubs. Of course, a shrub is not a tree. It’s got three beautiful dogwoods. Five or six pines, and there’s a maple tree.
WOMAN: I’m just trying to visualize how much shade it has. I’d like to have a garden.
MAN: You could have a garden. I don’t know if it would suit you. You’re more than welcome to take a look and see for yourself.
WOMAN: I might do that. When could I come over?
MAN: I’m home now.
(They walk around the yard.)
MAN: We used to have a garden. Right there.
WOMAN: That’s all shade. What did you grow?
MAN: Mostly tomatoes. We used to love tomatoes. Tomatoes and cucumbers. One time I tried beans but that got out of control.
WOMAN: Did they get enough light?
MAN: It was before I planted that maple tree. Dumbest thing I ever did. But if you cut it down, you could have a nice vegetable garden right there. That’s good dirt. I promise you that.
WOMAN: You wouldn’t mind if I killed a tree you planted?
MAN: Lady — I’m selling the yard. Whoever buys it can do anything they want.
WOMAN: I’d like a garden.
MAN: Is that why you’re looking to buy a yard?
WOMAN: That and some other things. I just like the space of my own yard. I like sunbathing. I also like to sit outside and read. So some trees are good. I could get a hammock. But mostly, it’s for my dog. I’ve got an apartment and we’re happy there — but she needs more room to play.
MAN: What kind of dog?
WOMAN: She’s a mutt.
MAN: Big dog?
WOMAN: She’s sixty-three pounds.
MAN: That’s a big dog.
WOMAN: Not so big. She’s friendly. Do you like dogs?
MAN: Sure I do.
WOMAN: She loves people. You don’t have to worry about her.
MAN: If it’s your yard, you’re free to do whatever you want in it. You can have a dog, cat, chicken, camel — whatever you want.
WOMAN: So I could put in a fence, for the dog?
MAN: You can build a ladder to the sky if you want. I’m selling the yard in its entirety.
WOMAN: Why are you selling?
MAN: We’re retired and we have some medical expenses. The house is perfect, but keeping up with the weeds and the grass is more than I can handle. One thing about a yard — it never stops growing. In fact, I’ll tell you a little secret. I’m not trying to discourage you — but just to be straight. You don’t have a yard. A yard has you.
WOMAN: I understand. It’s a big decision.
MAN: Yes it is.
WOMAN: My dog would love this.
MAN: What’s your dog’s name?
MAN: That’s ‘cause of her color.
WOMAN: Yep. With a little dark brown on her paws and white patch under her chin.
MAN: I had a little beige dog. Named Stranger. Best little dog you ever saw. Buried her right there.
(He points at where she’s standing. She steps back a little.)
MAN: Right there.
WOMAN: When was that?
MAN: Sometime back in the 70’s or 80’s. I also buried a few cats over there. And some other dogs. Fru Fru, Kellie, Ding Bat. My daughter’s mouse. That cockatiel. Come to think of it, your standing on quite a little graveyard right there.
WOMAN: I was kind of thinking about putting the hammock there.
MAN: It is a good place.
WOMAN: Not if it’s a graveyard.
MAN: It’s been a long time. It’s just a yard. Dust to dust, as they say.
WOMAN: I wish you hadn’t told me that.
MAN: You know what that is?
(He points up)
WOMAN: That piece of wood?
MAN: Yep — know what it was?
WOMAN: A birdhouse?
MAN: Nope. That’s what’s left of a tree house. I’d say it’s about forty years old.
WOMAN: Did you build that?
MAN: My children did.
WOMAN: How many children do you have?
MAN: Two. They used to take a lot of food up there. What is it about kids and a tree house that makes them want to eat in it?
WOMAN: I don’t know.
MAN: I guess when there’s food in there it makes it like a real house.
WOMAN: Maybe that’s it.
MAN: They got to where they’d take their dinner up there rather than eat in the kitchen. And they’d sleep in there too. Now right over there, they had a playhouse. I built that. They never woulda’ ever thought to eat or sleep in the playhouse. And believe me, it was a lot nicer than the tree house. We had this swing set over there. Two swings, a slide, monkey bars. I guess you could say that’s why I don’t need this yard anymore.
WOMAN: They grew up.
MAN: Grew up and now they’ve got their own yards.
WOMAN: It’s a nice yard. I’m gonna go home and think about it.
MAN: Do that. It’s a big decision to buy a yard. It’s not going anywhere.
WOMAN: Somebody else could buy it.
MAN: They could. But most people are looking for a house with a yard — not just a yard by itself. You don’t want to rush. By the way, that strip right there is not for sale. We’ll need a way to come and go.
WOMAN: If I buy it, I won’t mind you walking through my yard.
MAN: Oh no. I wouldn’t want to impose. We just won’t be selling that little strip there.
WOMAN: Is there anything else I should know? Anything underground you haven’t told me about?
MAN: There’s a water line, of course. And gas and electric. You can’t move those.
WOMAN: Of course. Anything else?
MAN: That’s it. That’s the yard.
WOMAN: I’ll call you.
MAN: Okay. Bring Ginger back if you want. Let her have a sniff.
WOMAN: I might do that.
MAN: Oh — there is one more thing.
WOMAN: What’s that?
MAN: That little patch we wanna keep — to get in and out of the house.
WOMAN: That’s fine with me. If I buy it.
MAN: My wife and I — we want to be buried there. That kills two birds with one stone. Access while we’re alive, and then a final resting place. It won’t be on your yard, but I thought you should know.
WOMAN: You want to be buried there?
MAN: Just that one spot. The rest of it will be yours.
WOMAN: I don’t want you buried there.
MAN: It won’t be on the part we sell you.
WOMAN: I want a yard, not a cemetery.
MAN: Same difference.
WOMAN: I don’t think so.
MAN: Well, you can go home and think about it.
WOMAN: I’ve thought about it. I don’t want it.
MAN: Because we’ll be buried there?
WOMAN: Yes! I don’t want that.
MAN: Then it’s a good thing I told you.
WOMAN: Why can’t you get a plot in the cemetery?
WOMAN: Because that’s where everybody else is!
MAN: You think it looks better?
WOMAN: Of course! That’s weird, being buried over there like that.
MAN: I’ll be dead, so I don’t care how it looks.
WOMAN: Okay — I thought this was an actual yard sale.
MAN: It is.
WOMAN: Not when you plan to put yourself in it.
MAN: Hopefully that won’t be for while.
WOMAN: Never mind. I don’t want it.
MAN: Ma’am, everybody’s gonna die and end up somewhere.
WOMAN: That doesn’t mean I need a daily reminder.
MAN: What reminder?
WOMAN: You being buried next to my yard!
MAN: You can’t ignore it.
WOMAN: I most certainly can. Forget it.
MAN: That’s fine.
(as she leaves)
WOMAN: Nice meeting you.
MAN: I’d like to meet your dog.
WOMAN: No thanks.
End of play