Weep No More Today
(a two act drama)

Writing Sample: 
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ACT TWO, SCENE TWO:

MISS MAY

All these wedding presents will have to be returned, if you’re not careful.

BUDDY

Is Jenny in the back?

MISS MAY

She’s walking.

BUDDY

Walking?

MISS MAY

I used to walk too. When I was… distraught. Which was quite often. Your father was not easy to get along with from time to ….

BUDDY

Where the hell is there to walk to in Clover?

MISS MAY

I asked myself that too, so I took the train all the way to Memphis. Left you with your Aunt April. Now she put a ribbon on her present.

BUDDY

Where do you think she walked to?

MISS MAY

Spent the night at the Peabody Hotel. They have ducks in the lobby, you know. But Memphis just wasn’t far enough away…for me to stay there. And you were here. And your father promised me…well. I came back. Family and children are important, you know. More important than let’s say…the boys.

BUDDY

(Slams the glass on the counter.)

For God’s sake.

(Starts to exit through porch.)

You going to make me walk this whole town looking for….

MISS MAY

(Quickly)

You said you didn’t know where Shelby was off to last night. Well, he came here and got Rosa.

BUDDY

What for? Where’d he go? He’s not at the jailhouse…

MISS MAY

That’s where he said he was taking her. Said…he was going to draw the boy to her. Catch him that way.

BUDDY

Then he may have the boy by now. I may… have missed him.

MISS MAY

(Pause)

John Marshall used to laugh and tell that story about that slave woman in Kentucky?

BUDDY

What does that story….?

MISS MAY

The grandfather of that bourbon maker owned this woman. And used her. Like a wife.

BUDDY

I remember the damned story!

MISS MAY

One day when she wouldn’t take his advances any more. He sold her child.

BUDDY

That’s not true!

MISS MAY

Of course it is.

BUDDY

I mean about Shelby. He would never….

MISS MAY

(Sings as she unwraps another present.)

JOHN BROWN’S BODY LIES A MOULDRIN’ IN THE GROUND

BUDDY

(Overriding her song.)

That would never happen. That’s…that’s against everything that… that…

MISS MAY

That John Marshall taught you?

BUDDY

Shelby, of all people, would never …

MISS MAY

Well, what have I taught you? And Rosa, what has she taught you? You used to dote on her so much. I thought she was your best friend with all the time you spent telling her everything…and here she needs a hero to….

BUDDY

I am no hero.

MISS MAY

You are a hero. Good Lord, Buddy, you just came from a war to…

BUDDY

I am not! I just followed orders. And…and Shelby would never….

MISS MAY

Because it’s against orders? Don’t be a fool. I’m sure people break rules in war, just like in everyday life. So don’t think that Shelby is above all that.

BUDDY

(Starts to exit.)

I’m gonna go find Jenny and….

MISS MAY

Don’t you dare walk out on me. Don’t you dare.

(BUDDY stops.)

I … I have put up with enough of your….childishness since you have been home. If you’re not a hero, Robert John Marshall Delaney, then you better learn to be one right now. You…you are not like your father. Never have been. So…so stop trying to make yourself into something that…that you’re not. And he was not a hero.

(Pause)

He was a monster. Before he died he had no one to push around, to guide in his …ways after you all left, so he drank himself to death. Almost lost the business, the house, everything that my family had given us. Is that the man you want to model your life around?

(Pause)

I was left with nothing, but Rosa to look after me. Build me up. Make me sane again. She gave me confidence that I could put that business right back on it’s feet for when you came back. It gave me hope that you would come back. And Rosa gave us both that gift. You can’t just destroy someone that precious. You have to sign a statement telling the truth. And, Buddy, you can have it all. All of what you fought for, we worked for can be yours.

(ROSA enters porch unnoticed. She puts her apron over her dress and listens to BUDDY and MISS MAY.)

BUDDY

One man can’t make any difference. Signing a piece of paper isn’t going to…

MISS MAY

(Holds out the next present, an embroidered lace doily.)

You see this doily that your Aunt April made for your wedding present? Feel it! Take it in your hands and feel it! It’s strong, isn’t it? Isn’t it?

BUDDY

Yes!

MISS MAY

Cut one thread and the whole thing will unravel. That’s what one can do.

BUDDY

(Pause)

Daddy always said we have to hold to what we are. And he was right. We just fought a war to keep things as they are. Just like they are. We may have new eyes to see through, but …. (some things will never change.)

MISS MAY

(Interrupts)

…But not everybody wants things to be this way any more. Not everybody in Clover wants…

BUDDY

I sure didn’t hear their voices last night, mama.

(ROSA enters kitchen, MISS MAY makes to go to her, but stops as ROSA is determinedly ignores them as she busily takes vegetables from the baskets and carries them into the kitchen.)

ROSA

I’ll let them beans soak a while before I cook up some lunch. Give life back to ‘em. Them linen’s from yesterday I’ll get on to washing them. It’s important you don’t let them stay….soiled for too long. They’ll ruin that way.

BUDDY

(Gets up. Simultaneously)

I should go find Jenny and…

MISS MAY

(Simultaneously)

I’ll go find Jeannine and tell her you’re home.

(Gives a meaningful look to ROSA.)

I’m sure she’s not far. You just stay here. Won’t be long.

(MISS MAY exists out the back porch. BUDDY gets up to go to the back rooms.)

BUDDY

Well, then, uh…will you wake me when Jenny and mother…

 

ROSA

You still write them poems?

BUDDY

What?

ROSA

Them poems.

BUDDY

No.

ROSA

I figured. Cause you ain’t been back there since you been home.

BUDDY

Back where?

ROSA

Behind that board in your closet.

BUDDY

You know about that?

ROSA

Course I know about that. I’m the only one in this house that dusts. And it ain’t been touched since you been back.

BUDDY

No point.

ROSA

Why?

BUDDY

Pardon?

ROSA

Why you leave all them poems there to rot like they had no worth?

BUDDY

Maybe …the…need to write them…died.

ROSA

Maybe.

(Pause)

Them poems ….was like…music. Like songs that make pain fly away. Let’s see now… That fall when you was just outta being a boy…. your daddy brought you back from…deer huntin’. You couldn’t look me in the eye for a week. And one day, I was standing right about here, cookin’ like usual and you come up behind me and I heard… Let’s see…

(Thinks.)

“And the autumn….swept through my soul…the color of blood , the smell of charred leaves… reaching for a fragile breath of spring…choked by…..

(Can’t go on.)

BUDDY

Choked by the winds of a winter mind.”

ROSA

I wish I could write them words inside of me. Put ‘em down on paper. Look at ‘em. Get ‘em out into the air. Into the clean air.

(Pause)

My pappie died plowing fields for another man’s crops. My mama, she embroidered all them cushions in Miss Mary Ellen’s mama’s house and she ain’t had nothing to show as her own. My sister, Judith…well, her first husband bought him some land off Bret Culver’s daddy. And then was hanged and fired up by them men, you know. He looked like…charred leaves.

(Pause)

Next I heard from Judith, she was up in Detroit, Michigan. To this day she don’t talk about that time. She wants Daniel and me to come up there. She say, there ain’t nothing here for no colored folks. But our family worked these fields for more’n two hundred years. Hunted these hills and pinewoods. This land is a big part of me and mine. And every season of the year I see all the beauty coming on, no matter who the land belong to, we all share it. In one of your poems, you called it a….”a sight freely given.”

(Pause)

But they’s only words, Mr. Buddy. Ain’t no use for nobody. As empty as an old well in late summer. ‘Less them words is tended and put to good use.

(Goes back to work. Sings quietly, ignoring him. Negro Spiritual.)

NOW LET ME FLY, NOW LET ME FLY,

NOW LET ME FLY INTO MOUNT ZION,

LORD, LORD, LORD

(BUDDY exits to the bedrooms. ROSA continues preparing the food. She makes sure BUDDY goes all the way to the back, then she goes to the porch, motions it’s safe. Goes back to working with the vegetables.)

ROSA (continued)

(Use only as many lyrics as it takes for the action)

WAY DOWN YONDER IN DE MIDDLE O’ DE FIEL’,

ANGEL WORKIN’ AT DE CHARIOT WHEEL,

NOT SO PARTIC’LAR ‘BOUT WORKIN’ AT DE WHEEL

BUT I JES’ WAN-A SEE HOW DE CHARIOT FEEL.

NOW LET ME FLY, NOW LET ME FLY,

NOW LET ME FLY INTO MOUNT ZION,

LORD, LORD, LORD

MISS MAY

(Entering from porch.)

Well?

(ROSA shakes her head no. MISS MAY touches her arm.)