The front porch of an old house in a
well-populated neighborhood of an
eastern Massachusetts mill town. The
porch is spacious and features three
comfortable chairs, all facing the
street. There is a small table between
two of the chairs. There is a screen
door leading into the house (with a
full open wooden door inside the screen
door). There are two windows looking
out onto the porch, with curtains and
blinds. The blinds are raised at the
top of the show.
We can see part of the sidewalk in
front of the house. On one side of the
house, the sidewalk winds around the
street corner, where a bus stop and a
bench are located. On the other side
of the house is the approach to the
It is mid-afternoon, the day before
Labor Day, 2004. The day is bright and
GERT sits in one of the chairs, poring
over Bill Clinton's autobiography. She
is skirting around the age of seventy,
and is more than happy to speak her
mind at all times. She wears a
comfortable running suit in which she
has never run in her life. At one
point, she holds the book up to the
sunlight to get a better look and to
show us the cover. She opens the book
to a random page near the end, and
reads again, encountering a
particularly jarring passage.
Holy Mother of God.
(reads some more)
No wonder his arteries clogged.
Through the screen door comes MARJORIE,
who is approximately Gert's age.
She is more tastefully (though equally
comfortably) dressed than Gert. She is
a pleasant, intelligent, sane human
(holds up book)
(with not a little disdain)
How's she doin' in there?
Well, she said she was gonna do it and she's doin' it. I
give her credit.
(sloughing it off)
Oh, credit...He's been dead five years.
Still, this is a big thing for her...havin' the cookout
again. Labor Day. Without Tom.
(into book again)
She got us to help. MARJORIE
Yeah, you're a big help.
I'm takin' a break!
The screen door opens and ALMA appears.
She is also in the same age ballpark as
Gert and Marjorie.
She may dress a little better than both
of them, but she, too, makes sure what
she's wearing is comfortable. She's a
bit hard of hearing and on the
Well, the bacon's wrapped around the little scallops and
they're in the fridge so we can take a break.
(sits in middle chair)
You said everybody gets here tomorrow at noon?
Around there, yeah.
(to Gert; indicates book)
What is it?
The book? The one on him.
(shows it to her)
You gonna sit or you gonna stand there till Labor Day, 2005?
(as she sits)
I'll sit till Alma gives me somethin' else to do.
Gert puts the book on the table. All
three sit comfortably and stare
straight ahead. After a moment, Gert
begins to laugh, with insidious joy.
He can't park there, you know.
He can't park there.
Him. There. With the car. Sister Bernadetta'll be outa the
convent before he gets outa the car. You watch. She don't
want anybody parkin' in the school parkin' lot. Since they
got the new lines drawn and all the new spaces so it's easy
to park, she don't want anybody parkin' there.
It's like all her life she's been waitin' for her own parkin'
lot or somethin'. She's 12, her mother says whatdya wanna
be, she says a nun or a parking lot attendant. She's like
Mussolini with the parkin' lot. Look. Here she comes.
(beat, as they watch)
Look at 'im. "Yes, Sister. Yes, Sister. Sorry, Sister."
You'd think she was carryin' a gun.
She has a gun?
(loud; directly to Alma)
No. You'd think she was.
I didn't see a gun. Did you?
(loud, so Alma gets the point)
It was a joke, Alma. Gert told you a joke.
(beat, stops chuckling)
I guess I don't get it.
(looks to parking lot)
There he goes.
(longer beat; then, to Gert)
What's his name? Mussolini?
Never mind about Mussolini.
Alma, pass me that book, please?
(she does; to Gert)
You didn't buy this, I hope.
You kiddin' me? Lib'ry.
Is it all in here? What he done?
I didn't get that far. I'm about two and a half inches from
It is a big book.
Well, you know what they say when you got a big book...
What? If you got a big book, what?
Then you got a big...
Never mind, Alma. Stop it, Gert.
...When you got a big book...
Alma! Forget it!
(thumbs book again)
So, can they put that in there? What he done?
Sure they can! They wanna sell the books, don't they?
Well, I suppose they'd sell more books if they did.
Put it in.