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.
MAN:Â (answering the phone) Yellow!
WOMAN:Â (on phone) I saw your listing on Craigslist. I’m calling about the yard sale.
MAN:Â Yes Ma’am. What do you need to know?
WOMAN:Â Well, how long have you had it?
MAN:Â Forty-nine years.
WOMAN:Â How big is it?
MAN:Â She’s two thirds of an acre, and of course there’s the house.
WOMAN:Â Iâ€™m not looking for a house.
MAN:Â No ma’am. We live in the house. Just selling the yard.
WOMAN:Â How big is the yard?
MAN:Â It’s right around half an acre.
WOMAN:Â Does it include any trees?
MAN:Â We’ve got some trees.
WOMAN:Â How many?
MAN:Â Let’s see, it’s got some old shrubs. Of course, a shrub is not a tree. Itâ€™s got three beautiful dogwoods. Five or six pines, and there’s a maple tree.
WOMAN:Â I’m just trying to visualize how much shade it has. I’d like to have a garden.
MAN:Â 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:Â I might do that. When could I come over?
MAN:Â I’m home now.
(They walk around the yard.)
MAN:Â We used to have a garden. Right there.
WOMAN:Â That’s all shade. What did you grow?
MAN:Â Mostly tomatoes. We used to love tomatoes. Tomatoes and cucumbers. One time I tried beans but that got out of control.
WOMAN:Â Did they get enough light?
MAN:Â 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. Thatâ€™s good dirt. I promise you that.
WOMAN:Â You wouldnâ€™t mind if I killed a tree you planted?
MAN:Â Lady — Iâ€™m selling the yard. Whoever buys it can do anything they want.
WOMAN:Â I’d like a garden.
MAN:Â Is that why you’re looking to buy a yard?
WOMAN:Â 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:Â What kind of dog?
WOMAN:Â She’s a mutt.
MAN:Â Big dog?
WOMAN:Â She’s sixty-three pounds.
MAN:Â That’s a big dog.
WOMAN:Â Not so big. She’s friendly. Do you like dogs?
MAN:Â Sure I do.
WOMAN:Â She loves people. You don’t have to worry about her.
MAN:Â If itâ€™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:Â So I could put in a fence, for the dog?
MAN:Â You can build a ladder to the sky if you want. I’m selling the yard in its entirety.
WOMAN:Â Why are you selling?
MAN:Â 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. Iâ€™m not trying to discourage you — but just to be straight. You don’t have a yard. A yard has you.
WOMAN:Â I understand. It’s a big decision.
MAN:Â Yes it is.
WOMAN:Â My dog would love this.
MAN:Â What’s your dog’s name?
MAN:Â Thatâ€™s â€˜cause of her color.
WOMAN:Â Yep. With a little dark brown on her paws and white patch under her chin.
MAN:Â 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:Â Right there.
WOMAN:Â When was that?
MAN:Â 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:Â I was kind of thinking about putting the hammock there.
MAN:Â It is a good place.
WOMAN:Â Not if it’s a graveyard.
MAN:Â It’s been a long time. It’s just a yard. Dust to dust, as they say.
WOMAN:Â I wish you hadnâ€™t told me that.
MAN:Â You know what that is?
(He points up)
WOMAN:Â That piece of wood?
MAN:Â Yep — know what it was?
WOMAN:Â A birdhouse?
MAN:Â Nope. That’s whatâ€™s left of a tree house. Iâ€™d say itâ€™s about forty years old.
WOMAN:Â Did you build that?
MAN:Â My children did.
WOMAN:Â How many children do you have?
MAN:Â 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:Â I donâ€™t know.
MAN:Â I guess when thereâ€™s food in there it makes it like a real house.
WOMAN:Â Maybe thatâ€™s it.
MAN:Â They got to where theyâ€™d take their dinner up there rather than eat in the kitchen. And theyâ€™d sleep in there too. Now right over there, they had a playhouse. I built that. They never wouldaâ€™ 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:Â They grew up.
MAN:Â Grew up and now theyâ€™ve got their own yards.
WOMAN:Â Itâ€™s a nice yard. Iâ€™m gonna go home and think about it.
MAN:Â Do that. It’s a big decision to buy a yard. It’s not going anywhere.
WOMAN:Â Somebody else could buy it.
MAN:Â 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:Â If I buy it, I won’t mind you walking through my yard.
MAN:Â Oh no. I wouldn’t want to impose. We just wonâ€™t be selling that little strip there.
WOMAN:Â Is there anything else I should know? Anything underground you haven’t told me about?
MAN:Â There’s a water line, of course. And gas and electric. You can’t move those.
WOMAN:Â Of course. Anything else?
MAN:Â Thatâ€™s it. Thatâ€™s the yard.
WOMAN:Â I’ll call you.
MAN:Â Okay. Bring Ginger back if you want. Let her have a sniff.
WOMAN:Â I might do that.
MAN:Â Oh — there is one more thing.
WOMAN:Â Whatâ€™s that?
MAN:Â That little patch we wanna keep — to get in and out of the house.
WOMAN:Â Thatâ€™s fine with me. If I buy it.
MAN:Â My wife and I — we want to be buried there. That kills two birds with one stone. Access while weâ€™re alive, and then a final resting place. It wonâ€™t be on your yard, but I thought you should know.
WOMAN:Â You want to be buried there?
MAN:Â Just that one spot. The rest of it will be yours.
WOMAN:Â I donâ€™t want you buried there.
MAN:Â It wonâ€™t be on the part we sell you.
WOMAN:Â I want a yard, not a cemetery.
MAN:Â Same difference.
WOMAN:Â I donâ€™t think so.
MAN:Â Well, you can go home and think about it.
WOMAN:Â Iâ€™ve thought about it. I donâ€™t want it.
MAN:Â Because weâ€™ll be buried there?
WOMAN:Â Yes! I donâ€™t want that.
MAN:Â Then itâ€™s a good thing I told you.
WOMAN:Â Why canâ€™t you get a plot in the cemetery?
WOMAN:Â Because thatâ€™s where everybody else is!
MAN:Â You think it looks better?
WOMAN:Â Of course! Thatâ€™s weird, being buried over there like that.
MAN:Â Iâ€™ll be dead, so I donâ€™t care how it looks.
WOMAN:Â Okay — I thought this was an actual yard sale.
MAN:Â It is.
WOMAN:Â Not when you plan to put yourself in it.
MAN:Â Hopefully that wonâ€™t be for while.
WOMAN:Â Never mind. I donâ€™t want it.
MAN:Â Maâ€™am, everybodyâ€™s gonna die and end up somewhere.
WOMAN:Â That doesnâ€™t mean I need a daily reminder.
MAN:Â What reminder?
WOMAN:Â You being buried next to my yard!
MAN:Â You canâ€™t ignore it.
WOMAN:Â I most certainly can. Forget it.
MAN:Â Thatâ€™s fine.
(as she leaves)
WOMAN:Â Nice meeting you.
MAN:Â Iâ€™d like to meet your dog.
WOMAN:Â No thanks.
End of play