Yard Sale

I wrote this little play for the Lee Street 10 minute play festival. The guidelines requested a comedy with the theme Yard Sale. Alas, the period of suspense has ended and this script was not picked. Which gives me the opportunity to share it here 🙂

The picture here is my front yard — and what it will look like, briefly, in a couple of weeks.


 

Copyright 2015. Samuel M. Post.yard

SCENE 1

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.

SCENE 2

(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?

WOMAN: Ginger.

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.)

WOMAN: Here?

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?

MAN: Why?

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.

(She exits.)

End of play

Poor Jud is Daid

I wrote this short play or the Lee St. Theatre upcoming evening of 10 minute plays on the theme “6 feet under.” Comedies about death. Alas, it wasn’t selected by Lee Street, so I thought I’d share it here!

Poor Jud is Daid

Last modified on 2012-05-07 05:32:20 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Poor Jud is Daid.
Copyright 2012. Samuel M. Post.

Note: If you’d like to produce this play, on stage or in a class — please email me and ask permission. It will be granted, but I’d really like to know about it.

 

TEENAGE DAUGHTER, sits on the couch, texting with a friend. Enter DAD. He looks at her, stands around, steps into her space, and begins to sing ‘Poor Jud is Daid’ from Oklahoma. It’s a big voice.

DAD: (singing)
Poor Jud is Daid.
Poor Jud Fry is daid.
All gather round his coffin now and cry.

DAUGHTER: Dad!

DAD: What?

DAUGHTER: Stop that.

DAD: Stop what?

DAUGHTER: What? You know what.

DAD: What?

DAUGHTER: That singing!

DAD: I like singing.

DAUGHTER: That?

DAD: It’s from Oklahoma.

DAUGHTER: Dad, please — it’s awful.

DAD: It’s funny.

DAUGHTER: It’s not funny.

DAD: If you knew the show, you’d know how funny it is. It’s from Oklahoma! Very funny.

DAUGHTER: Poor Jud is Daid? You call being dead funny?

DAD: That’s why it’s funny. Nobody’s dead. It’s about a guy telling another guy how great it would be IF HE were dead. He wants him dead, so he’s trying to convince him that killing himself would be a good idea. He’d get sympathy. People would like him more. You know…

DAUGHTER: That’s not funny.

DAD: I was in the play. I sang that on stage. Everybody laughed. Believe me, it’s funny.
(singing)
Poor Judd is dead.

DAUGHTER: Dad!

DAD: Did I ever tell you about that show?

DAUGHTER: Yes.

DAD: Our high school had the best drama department in the state.

DAUGHTER: You told me.

DAD: (he sings)
Poor Jud is Daid.
Poor Jud Fry is daid.
All gather round his coffin now and cry.

DAUGHTER: Dad! Stop it!

DAD: You know — this is my house. A man should be able to sing in in his own house if he wants to.

DAUGHTER: I live here too. And I was sitting in here minding my own business. You’re at home more than I am. Can’t you sing when I’m not here?

DAD: Okay, okay.
(She goes back to texting. He watches her for a moment.)

DAD: That was such a great show.
(He sings — softly now.)
He had a heart of gold
And he wasn’t very old.
Oh why did such a feller have to die?

DAUGHTER: Dad! Shut the fuck up!

DAD: Don’t talk to me that way.

DAUGHTER: Don’t sing to me that way.

DAD: Singing is the joy of life.

DAUGHTER: Did I do something to you?

DAD: Do what?

DAUGHTER: I mean — did I do something to you? Something that makes you want to torture me? Are you trying to get me back for something?

DAD: You didn’t do anything.

DAUGHTER: I must have done something.

DAD: You didn’t.

DAUGHTER: You mean you are just this annoying? Just generally. For no reason?

DAD: I guess so.

DAUGHTER: What’s that like, Dad? Annoying the shit out of people all the time?

DAD: I don’t do that.

DAUGHTER: Why else would you walk in here and sing that song?

DAD: It’s a good song. It’s Rogers and Hammerstein. It represents a time in my life when I was young … and … you know, a pretty decent singer.

DAUGHTER: You were my age then, right?

DAD: Almost exactly.

So what about this time in my life?

DAD: You have a great life.

DAUGHTER: What about this moment, right now? I’m trying to have a peaceful time here and you bust in on me with that song! It’s irritating.

DAD: Okay.

DAUGHTER: So stop. Please.

DAD: All right.

DAUGHTER: I mean it.

DAD: I stopped.

DAUGHTER: It’s a stupid fucking song.

DAD: C’mon.

DAUGHTER: What?

DAD: Don’t talk like that.

DAUGHTER: What?

DAD: That language.

DAUGHTER: What’s the matter with it? It’s a stupid fucking song and your singing is bullshit. That’s the language I’ve got for that.

DAD: You can’t talk that way here.

DAUGHTER: Why — does that intrude on something?

DAD: Yeah!

DAUGHTER: See! See? That’s what your song does. It intrudes. I was in a good mood and now I’m sitting here thinking about a dead fucker named Jud.

DAD: Stop that!
(pause)

You need to see Oklahoma!

DAUGHTER: I don’t give two fucks about Oklahoma! It makes me wonder about you, always singing that death jingle. You’re obsessed with death.

DAD: I’m not obsessed with anything.

DAUGHTER: Then why do you want to sing that?

DAD: I was in that show.

DAUGHTER: It’s got other songs. Why do you have to sing Poor Jud is Daid?

DAD: It’s catchy.

DAUGHTER: It’s not catchy. Dad — you’ve got to come to grips with it. You’re stuck on death and that’s how it comes out.

DAD: I’m not stuck on death.

DAUGHTER: You are. Why are you so proud about giving money to that no-kill shelter.

DAD: It’s a no kill shelter!

DAUGHTER: So what?

DAD: That’s a great cause.

DAUGHTER: You gave them more than you did to our band uniforms.

DAD: I don’t think the school should spend that much on band uniforms.

DAUGHTER: It has nothing to do with uniforms. Do you know how embarrassed I was that you only gave ten dollars to my band? If somebody in the band were dying you’d probably give money. It’s death, Dad. You’re having issues with your mortality.

DAD: That’s crazy.

DAUGHTER: It’s true.

DAD: So what if it is?

DAUGHTER: It’s not good for you.

DAD: Everybody thinks about death. It’s natural.

DAUGHTER: No they don’t, Dad. I don’t.

DAD: People my age do.

DAUGHTER: No they don’t.

DAD: They do. Your just a girl.

DAUGHTER: Yeah, I am a girl. And girls die too. It doesn’t have anything to do with age. You’re just scared, so you deal with death like it’s a joke. Or like you can make it go away. But it doesn’t make it go away.

DAD: It never goes away.

DAUGHTER: Death doesn’t. But you don’t have to be afraid of it.

DAD: You don’t know. You’re too young.

DAUGHTER: That has nothing to do with it. If you’re afraid of dying, then you’re afraid. Just get it, Dad. You’re gonna die.

(She stands up and sings.)
Poor Jud is Daid.
(speaking)
I mean, you know, when you sing that, it’s like it comes from you — really, Dad — like it comes from your heart. Like you wrote the song. It’s not just something you sing. It’s like… it’s you.

DAD: Spare me the psychology.

DAUGHTER: No — I’m tired of this. It’s like this broken record that’s become who you are, Dad. Do you get that? You can’t resist that song because it’s like it expresses your existence in the world. And, I mean. You’re my Dad. Deep down, I care about you and all. It’s upsetting.

DAD: That’s crazy.

DAUGHTER: Yeah, it is. When did you get hooked on death, Dad?

DAD: I’m not hooked on death.

DAUGHTER: You totally are! Who’s the first person that died on you?

DAD: Died on me?

DAUGHTER: Yeah — somebody died on you.

DAD: Nobody died on me.

DAUGHTER: Somebody did. When you were a little kid.

DAD: A lot of dogs died.

DAUGHTER: I mean a person! Somebody died and it was a big problem. Otherwise you wouldn’t have that song in your head all the time. If you had had a surrey with a fringe on top you’d be singing that.

DAD: I guess my grandmother died when I was eight.

DAUGHTER: That’s it! And you’ve had this gigantic fear ever since. Where were you when you found out she died?

DAD: My parents didn’t even tell me. They went on this trip for a for a week.

DAUGHTER: You missed the whole thing.

DAD: Well, I remember when they left on that trip, the way they were packing, not saying anything about where they were going.

DAUGHTER: Nobody said anything.

DAD: Not really.

DAUGHTER: They could have at least told you where they were going.

DAD: They could have.

DAUGHTER: So get over it, Dad. They didn’t tell you.

DAD: No they didn’t.

DAUGHTER: They could have sung a song
(she sings)
Poor Grandma is dead.
We will tramp upon her head.
DAUGHTER AND DAD: (they sing together)
All gather round her coffin now and cry.

(pause)

DAUGHTER: (speaking)
I’ve seen Oklahoma.

DAD: No you haven’t.

DAUGHTER: I’ve seen the movie a couple of times. Curly has plenty of other numbers.

DAD: I guess he does.

DAUGHTER: (singing)
There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow

DAD: (singing)
There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow

DAUGHTER AND DAD: (singing together)
The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye,
An’ it looks like its climbin’ clear up to the sky.

End of play

Hype for my new book of plays

cover of An Actor's Dozen
cover of An Actor's Dozen

This is the cover of a book I’m publishing.  Consider this the pre-publication publicity hype.

These days, with print-on-demand, self-publishing can be remarkably easy, and cheap.

It’s also possible, of course, to pay editors and graphic artists, etc.

But it’s nearly free if you do your own editing, typesetting, and design — and upload the files yourself.

Of course, then you get book covers that look like…this.

In a few days, this book will be available on Createspace.com, Amazon.com, the local bookstore (Literary Bookpost), the store at The Looking Glass Artist Collective, and from the trunk of my car.

The media blitz will be minimal — but so was the risk.

It didn’t cost me anything but missed sleep.

I seriously doubt any traditional publisher would have been interested in the least.  The cost is high and the market is small.

If nobody buys it — so what?  It’s stored on a computer and printed only when somebody wants a copy (except for the ones I buy, that will be in the trunk of my car).

If people do buy it, good for me.  I make a few dollars profit per book (instead of the tiny royalty a hypothetical traditional publisher would hypothetically pay, if they would hypothetically publish it ).

If anybody wants to read the plays for free — they’re all here, on the website.  Lots of people do every day.  There’s nothing new in the book other than the more portable form and a little more editorial scrutiny.

This is just to state the obvious:  publishing is really changing.