Dramatic Texts >> William Saroyan >>Jim Dandy (Fat Man In A Famine)

JIM DANDY (Fat Man In A Famine) A Play by William Saroyan (1947)

ďHe knew the truth and was looking for something better.Ē

 

 

JIM SMITHER

LITTLE JOHNNY

LITTLE MOLLY

FISHKIN

FLORA

TOMMY SINGH

MOLLY

THE MAHARAJAH

GIBBON

JOHNNY

A RUNAWAY GIRL

JOCK

JIM CROW

THE POSTMAN

JACK ADAMS

ACT 1

Scene 1

JIM DANDY takes place in all or part of a transparent egg shell which is broken and open along one side. Inside the shell are miserable and majestic ruins. These ruins represent immemorial and immediate reality, s thrown together by time, nature, art, religion, labor, science, invention, plan accident, violence of war, and wear and tear of weather.

The play happens as if everybody in it had survived pestilence, famine, ignorance, injustice, inhumanity, torture, crime and madness. In short, as if everybody in it were human. Prolonged suffering has given everybody in the play dignity, humor and simplicity. Everybody in the play is a miracle.

A large copper plate on the librarianís work counter names the ruins The Public Library. They are given their place in time in the engraving in stone at the base of the Doric column, broken in half by lightening or explosives, deep in a corner of the egg: Now or Never, 0123456789, which appears thus:

NOWORNEVER

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 89

A slender but strong tree with one strong branch stands across the stage from the Doric column. Near it a rose-tree standing in a patch of dry grass struggles for life with rocks and cement. The rose-tree has leaves but no flowers

There is a disengaged stairway of nine steps near the tree.

Falling brick has made a large Gothic arch directly beneath the jail window, which leads to a dark cave inhabited by a small boy and a small girl, LITTLE JOHNNY and LITTLE MOLLY. Hugging, they stand at the edge of the cave, looking out. They wear clothing made of scraps of fur and clusters of tree leaves. In her hair the girl wears a wild rose. The children are as shy and fearful as animals, and their eyes are enormous with love, hope, alarm, and anxiety.

A small circle-shaped platform with three steps all around is a little to one side of the center of the egg. On the platform is a chair with a high carved back and handsomely carved arms and legs. A king might have sat in the chair at one time, but now sitting on the edge of it, uncomfortable and tense and out of place, is a lean man in the depths of despair whose name is FISHKIN. Resting on his knees is a large book bound in white leather. He is out-at-elbow but as neat as possible in a cheap suite of clothing. His face is like a hatchet, his neck and fingers long and thin.

Reclining on a divan of faded purple velvet which rises three feet off the floor is FLORA, a woman no longer young but still beautiful, who wears a preposterous tight-fitting gown of red silk. Over her left breast is a spangled star. Her arms and shoulders are bare. Around her neck is a tight collar of silver. High on her right arm is a plain flat bracelet of gold, with one jewel set in it. Her long black hair is combed straight back and tied in two braids. Near the end of each braid a small white ribbon is tied. She wears shining black stockings, and elevated shoes of silver. Her round full face has been covered with cream, powder and paint. Her chin is cupped in one hand, as if she were Cleopatra on an open boat on the River Nile. She is voluptuous, dreamy, desperate, wasted, pathetic, batty, and a delight to behold.

Before her is the librarianís work counter, upon the fare end of which rests and enormous cash register. The counter is about the same height and length as the divan, but it stands a foot or two deeper in the egg. Near the far end of the counter is a large water jar on a metal frame, and attached to the end of the counter is a glass container of paper cups.

TOMMY SINGH, in uniform, stands with rifle at parade rest beside a vertical house the size of a telephone booth. The house has a pointed roof in which is set a flag on a pole. The house or booth is open on one side. It stands deep in the shell. In it is a bench or shelf on which TOMMY sits now and then to smoke a cigarette. On the bench is a stringed instrument of ancient design. TOMMY thrashes the length and breadth of the stage at regular intervals; halts; brings his rifle from his shoulder to parade rest; salutes; rests; returns the rifle to his shoulder; about-faces; and thrashes again. When he rests he does so as if he were still keeping time. He thrashes about as is he were guarding the St. James Palace in London. His marching is authentic, impressive, ridiculous, but good to see. He is a tall wiry man of middle years with a sternly-fixed boyish Asiatic face. At odd times he puts his rifle away in the small house, takes up the stringed instrument, strums upon it softly, and sings native tunes.

A glass revolving door, of the sort and size used by hotels and department stores, stands out in the open, deep in the egg. The glass around this door is stained and designed into the principal Biblical themes, including A Child Shall Lead Them. On top of the door is a glass globe of the world which lights up when the door is turned, revealing the blue of oceans and the brown and green of islands and continents. To the outermost edge of each of the doorís four partitions is attached a wire-metal-and-glass sculpture, each of a man and a woman, each different is sized and design. These sculptures move and bend when the door is turned. Beyond the sculptures, inward along the partitions, small bells of all sorts and sizes and tones, including sleigh bells, and clusters of strips of thin colored glass, hang from wires, and ring and tinkle when the door is turned. The partitions are glass of red, yellow, blue and green.

MOLLY, who might be an old Russian peasant woman in black rags and black shawl, moves slowly around the outside of the glass door, studying the pictures of animals and men and grass and plants and trees and water and fish and sun and moon and stars. Now and then she stops suddenly, as if in terror, looking back and all around. Finally, she discovers the entrance into the door (which is also the exit). She gives the door a trial push, hears the music of the bells and glass, and stands back until silence returns. She enters the door, pushes once around, and gets out, apparently frightened. She enters the door again and slowly pushes around in it, gradually increasing her speed until the door is almost whirling and the music of the bells and glass is wild and a little mad.

And old circus wagon with only one front wheel intact has been propped up on apple boxes on which names and initials and hearts and arrows and nudes and numbers have been drawn. The other front wheel lies under the wagon. Over the sign of the wagon which formerly identified the animal in the cage a long piece of cardboard has been tacked and on the cardboard has been printed: Jim the Maharajah, Secrets, 5Ę. THE MAHARAJAH, a tall young man, wears a turban of white silk in which a large star and crescent of imitation silver set with imitation rubies is pinned. He wears a prize-fighterís robe of light green, on the back of which has been sewn in white cloth: Kid Jim. In his wagon he has an assortment of small hand drums and a tambourine, one or another of which he takes up now and then and drums upon with his fingers. In his wagon he also has a triangle, several toy flutes, and whistles of several kinds.

GIBBON, in a cheap three-piece suit, but without hat or shoes, sits under the wagon. His face is not unlike the face of a man, but he has no forehead, his nose has no bridge, and his hands and feet are covered with coarse hair. He is smoking a large curved pipe. When GIBBON is at ease, he walks on his hind legs, his trunk bent forward and his long arms dangling, but when he hurries he goes on all fours. If he is frightened he runs to the tree and tries to hide behind it, moaning.

An old upright piano with its front boards gone stands near swinging doors made of wood and glass under an arch of Gothic design which leads to a street. The arch is slim and high and would appear to contain bells. The swinging doors might have belonged to a saloon when the accident or miracle which threw everything together in Jim Dandy took place.

Seated at the piano, staring at its insides, is JOHNNY, a man in his early thirties who wears a black turtle-neck sweater under the black coat of his suit. He resembles a young priest. He is deeply relaxed in face and body, and when he moves he does so easily and gracefully, yet swiftly, as if he had all the time in the world and yet must hurry a little, or as if he did not want to disturb a meaningful rhythm he had discovered in time, and yet must keep the rhythm lithe and supple and perhaps purposeful. He speaks in the same way that he moves, but it is always as if he were restraining laughter.

Beside the piano is a broken-down couch on which a runaway Eurasian girl of seventeen or eighteen with long disheveled black hair is trying to rest. She is a pretty girl, but grim and bewildered. She wears a boyís blue jeans with the legs rolled up almost to her knees, red boots, and a boyís white shirt with two buttons open at the collar. The shirt falls over her trousers. A clean white cloth, the size and shape of a dish-drying cloth, now tied around her neck, she sometimes uses as a covering for her head.

When the play begins the bells and glass of the revolving door are heard as the door is turned very slowly, then swiftly, but the door itself is not seen.

Next, the man in jail is heard whistling, and gradually he is seen standing at the window.

Now, the Maharajahís drums are heard in accompaniment, and gradually he is seen in his wagon.

Next, Tommyís strumming is heard, and he is seen putting down the stringed instrument and taking up his rifle and thrashing nine paces, halting, facing about, and thrashing back.

Now, a girlís weeping is heard, and the runaway girl is seen sitting on the couch. After a moment, she lies back on the couch.

Beginning softly the prisoner sings ďCareless Love,Ē as FLORA is seen reclining on the divan.

GIBBON is seen smoking his pipe, which he takes out of his mouth as he just barely mans.

The children of the cave step a little out of the cave, dance half a minute or so, but grow frightened and run back silently.

When the prisoner stops singing the runaway girl sits up again and sobs bitterly, her face in her hands. LITTLE JOHNNY and LITTLE MOLLY tiptoe out of the cave toward her, but soon run back very swiftly. GIBBON is frightened by the weeping and moves to the tree and moans. JOHNNY stands and reaches out to the girl. She gets to her feet, and then wanders off through the swinging doors, as if asleep.

Now, the whole scene is dimly visible, including the revolving door, around which MOLLY is moving, looking at the pictures in stained glass. She is going around inside the door when JOCK, a wild little man in a zoot suit, comes in through the swinging doors. His entrance is an enormous leap which delights GIBBON, who comes from behind the tree to be near him. JOCK leaps again, runs, halts, hoofs, slides, and halts again. He looks around at everybody, then shouts:

JOCK

Papaís in jail!
Mamaís on bail!
Babyís on the corner
Shouting pussy for sale!

GIBBON

Hey! Bobareebob! (JOCK collapses and GIBBON bends over him) Whatís the matter, Bob?

JOCK opens the book he has brought with him and tries to read. GIBBON crowds him to get a look at the book. Suddenly JOCK slams the book shut, gets to his feet wearily, and goes to the librarianís counter. He throws three kisses to FLORA, and GIBBON throws three kisses to her. FLORA gets off the divan and stands behind the counter.

FLORA

Mustnít throw kisses in the public library.

JOCK

Well, all right, but give me another book! This bookís about kings and queens. I never met a queen in my life and I know Iím not a king, but I saw a king once in a newsreel. What a phony! They guy didnít even know how to dress. The king had no class, so give me another book. Give me something about bacteria! Give me something that wonít make me feel so inferior. Give me something to make me proud of my family, my name, my size and weight, my clothes, my birthplace, my country, my religion, my Wassermann negative.

FLORA

Mustnít yatatata, yatatata, yatatata in the public library.

JOCK

Well, all right, but take this imitation book and give me the real article. (He leans forward to glance behind FLORA) Give me a book about cave drawings. (He sneaks another look) Give me a book about Egyptian sculpture. (His right hand trembles with longing to hold her as he makes a staccato sound of controlled passion, half grunt, half whistle, after which he looks longingly into her face) Oh woman, woman! Give me something bout the trials and tribulations of the first eye-witness! (Suddenly, wearily) No. Iím tired. Just give me a book about roses, and let me rest. How did roses ever happen?

FLORA (Stamping the book and Jockís library card)

Very well, but this book is two days overdue. The fine is two cents, one cent a day.

JOCK (Wearily)

O.K., O.K., my name is Jock Arimathea. And Iíll pay. (He flips a coin into the air, catches it in the palm of his right hand, smacks it onto the back of his left hand, and looks at it) Tails! Another war, no doubt. (He slaps the coin on the counter)

FLORA

Mustnít throw money around in the public library.

JOCK

Call that money? A jitney? A nickel? How did money ever happen? Whatís it mean? Whatís it for? (He examines the coin) Now hereís the Indian and hereís the buffalo. Hereís moolah, cash, and dough, but what does it mean? And why the hell doesnít it grow on trees? O.K., sister, take my last nickel, to pay my fine. (He drops the coin on the counter) Now, give me my change.

FLORA

Very well, sir.

FLORA presses down on one of the keys of the cash register whereupon the machine groans painfully, and old-fashioned automobile horn honks, all sorts of metal parts in the cash register click and clash and mesh and shift about, and finally the drawer comes out.

GIBBON

Ha ha ha! Is that all that happens?

FLORA

Mustnít laugh at the cash register in the public library.

GIBBON

Yes, maíam. Would you please give me a book about people?

FLORA

Have you a library card?

JOCK

Just a minute, please. One customer at a time. Iíve got change coming.

FLORA

Very well. Hereís your change. You gave me five cents. Your fine was two cents. (Counting and dropping pennies one at a time into Jockís outstretched hand) Two and one is tree, and one is four, and one is five. (She reaches behind her and takes a book from a shelf) And hereís a book about roses. (She stamps the book and JOCKíS library card, and hands the book to him) Thank you, and come again.

FLORA

I donít mind if I do. (He collapses and GIBBON bends over him)

GIBBON

Whatís the matter, Bob?

JOCK

My nameís Jock Arimathea and Iím tired, thatís whatís the matter. (He opens the book and looks into it and speaks slowly) How did books ever happen? (He sprawls on his back)

FLORA(Leaning over the counter, to GIBBON)

Have you a card, sir?

GIBBON

No, maíam.

FLORA

Canít borrow books from the public library without a card.

GIBBON

Iíve got to borrow books. Iíve been around people all my life, but I canít understand them. Why arenít people decent animals? Why are people proud? How can I get a card?

FLORA(Handing him a long white sheet of paper with printing on it)

Fill out this questionnaire and have it signed by three members of the public library in good standing.

GIBBON

Yes, maíam. (He bens over JOCK again) Whatís the matter, Bob?

JOCK

Iím tired, tired!

GIBBON

Will you sign this piece of paper for me, so I can borrow books about people?

JOCK(He puts his arms around GIBBON)

Listen, Gibbon! Take my advice and donít start reading. Forget books. Forget people. Leave them alone. Reading makes a man sick and tired.

GIBBON

Iíve got to find out about people. I want to read every book ever written about them.

JOCK

Donít do it, Gibbon. Take my advice and stay unconscious. You donít have to find out about people. Be yourself, Gibbon. Donít be a fool like me. (GIBBON sniffles and moans) Now donít cry. I guess Iíve read half the books in this public library, but what good has it done me? No good at all. Take my advice as a friend and donít start reading.

GIBBON

Youíre no friend of mine, Jock Arimathea. Youíre like all the others, and I hate you all. I hate you because you give me dirty looks all the time. You act as if you know more than Iíll ever know, but Iíve forgotten more than youíll ever know. Youíre snobs, too. Every man Iíve ever met has been a snob. You donít have to be a snob, too, do you? Please sign this piece of paper, so I can be a member of the public library and read books and find out about people. I donít want to hate you, I just canít help it. Please put your name on this piece of paper.

JOCK(Getting up)

No. Iím not going to put my name on that piece of paper because I donít want you to make a fool of yourself.

GIBBON

Why donít you want me to make a fool of myself? Iíll tell you why. Because you are a snob. Because you think making a fool of myself is too good for me. Well, let me tell you something. It isnít. I can make as big a fool of myself as any man in the world.

JOCK

Ah, poor Gibbon! (JOCK climbs the disengaged stairs and sits and reads)

GIBBON

Donít poor Gibbon me! Iím just as rich as you are. (He goes to the circus wagon and looks in at THE MAHARAJAH) Hereís a nickel. Give me a secret, please. (THE MAHARAJAH takes the nickel and clangs the triangle in his wagon to attract attention, then shakes the tambourine)

THE MAHARAJAH(Shouting)

Oyla, shoyla, boyla! (He beats a drum) Ooban, dooban, doo-loo-loo-loo, loo! The Maharajah gives the world another secret! (He hands GIBBON a sealed envelope. GIBBON goes to one side, tears open the envelope, takes out a folded sheet of paper unfolds it and studies it)

GIBBON(Reading)

Love. Love. Love! Three times. Whatís that mean? What kind of secret is that? (Suddenly shouting) Love? Love who? Love what? How? Why? (To THE MAHARAJAH) This secretís a lie. Give me another secret, or give me my money back.

THE MAHARAJAH

One nickel, one secret. No exchanges, no refunds.

GIBBON

Love! Do you love me? Why donít you practice what you preach? I hate you! I hate everybody!

JIM SMITHER

Hey, Gibbon! I love you!

GIBBON

Oh no you donít! Youíre a criminal in jail. How do I know what terrible crime youíve committed?

JIM SMITHER(Crushed and lonely)

Iím innocent. As Godís my witness, Iím innocent. I love everybody. Iíd hug everybody in the world if I could get to them. Iím innocent.

GIBBON

Ah! Thatís what they all say. If you were innocent, you wouldnít be in jail. (He lies down in front of the circus wagon and studies the secret)

(JIM SMITHER sings ďNobody Love a Man in JailĒ)

Nobody loves a man in jail:
Nobody loves a man whoís caught;
Nobody knows what innocence is
Until heís been taught.


Nobody loves the poor outlaw;
Nobody loves the man who fell;
Nobody knows what heaven is
Until heís been in hell.


Nobody knows what freedom is
Until itís taken away;
Nobody knows what living is
Until his dying day.


Innocence is guilt undone;
Heavenís hell put back in place;
Freedomís bondage broken from;
Livingís death in dirge disgrace.

(He sings very slowly. He pauses sometimes for so long that one imagines he has stopped singing, but he takes that one imagines he has stopped singing, but he takes the song up again. MOLLY comes out of the revolving door and stands looking up at him and listening. THE MAHARAJAH accompanies is singing on one of his toy flutes. This singing continues as counterpoint to the main action on the stage. It stops a moment or two before JIM SMITHER speaks again.
GIBBON makes a paper airplane out of the questionnaire. He sails it, and it falls near JOHNNY who picks it up and after a moment sails it in the direction of FLORA, and follows its flight.

FLORA

Mustnít throw paper airplanes in the public library.

JOHNNY

Why not?

FLORA

Mustnít disturb the readers in the public library.

JOHNNY
(Looks around at the readers: JOCK, sitting at the top of the disengaged steps reading the book about roses; GIBBON under the circus wagon reading the five-cent secret; and FISHKIN on the platform, on the edge of the big chair, poring over the big book. His eyes rest of FISHKIN a moment, then he turns back to FLORA)

Him? That imposter of a man? Do you call him a reader? (Suddenly, shouting) Hey, you! Impostor! (FISHKIN slips off the edge of the chair)

FISHKIN(His voice high-pitched)

Who? Me?

JOHNNY

Yes, you. What are you reading?

FISHKIN(Picks up the book and gets to his feet)

Iím reading The Bible. The Book of Genesis.

JOHNNY

The Bible? (He takes the book from FISHKIN)are you to read The Bible?

FISHKIN

My name is Fishkin, and I donít need your friendship.

JOHNNY

Well, youíre going to get my friendship whether you need it or not. Iím your friend, see? Iím the best friend youíve got.

FLORA

Mustnít argue in the public library.

FISHKIN

This man has taken my book.

JOHNNY

Your book?

FISHKIN

Yes, my book.

JOHNNY

How do you figure?

FISHKIN

Iíve read the book from cover to cover three times. Sometimes I almost believe I wrote it. Somebody wrote it, and it was surely somebody who knew me. I know most of the book by heart. Thatís how I figure.

JOHNNY

Thatís very interesting. Why do you keep reading the book all the time?

FISHKIN

I donít know. At any rate, I canít tell you. Just give me back my book, please. (suddenly, his voice pathetic with pleading) Librarian, please ask the thief to give me back my book.

FLORA (To JOHNNY)

Mustnít make the readers cry in the public library.

JOHNNY

Why not? Whatís wrong with a little crying?

FISHKIN (Almost sobbing)

Iím not crying. Why do you say Iím crying? Iím not crying. Iím not!

JOHNNY

Watch your manners, please. Donít make a liar out of the librarian. You are crying, but even if you werenít, common courtesy would forbid your saying so. You are crying, and Iím all for it because Iím your friend, see? Just donít tell the librarian youíre not crying when he says you are. Itís not nice. Mustnít be discourteous in the public library.

FISHKIN

Iím sorry, librarian. Perhaps I was crying and didnít know it. If so, Iím sorry. Can I help it if Iím miserable?

JOHNNY

What are miserable about?

FISHKIN

None of your business.

JOHNNY

Thatís not a nice way to talk to a friend.

FISHKIN

Youíre not my friend. Youíre an enemy.

JOHNNY(Almost amused)

Listen, you! When I tell you Iím a friend. Iím a friend, see? So donít try to tell me Iím an enemy. Donít try to tell me whose friend I am and whose friend Iím not. Let me choose my friends in my own way. (Almost laughing) Iíd give up my life for you.

FISHKIN

I donít want to give up his life for me.

JOHNNY

Is that so? Why not?

FISHKIN

Because Iím not worth it.

JOHNNY

Oh, youíre worth my life, donít worry about that, Iíve got one foot in grave already.

FLORA(FISHKIN)

Hereís another book, sir. The Oxford Book of English Poetry.

FISHKIN(His voice pathetic again)

Please do not ask a Welshman to read The Oxford Book of English Poetry. I despise Oxford. I despise the English. I despise their poetry. All I want to do is sit down and read The Bible and think.

JOHNNY

Think? What the devil do you mean?

FISHKIN(Softly)

I meanóthink!

JOHNNY

What the devil with?

FISHKIN(Swiftly)

My head!

JOHNNY(Swiftly)

Oh, yes. (Slight pause) What do you think about?

FISHKIN

I think Ė (Slight pause, suddenly, swiftly) I wonít tell, thatís all. I donít have to. Why should I tell you what I think?

JOHNNY

Because Iím your friend. On my word of honor, Iím your friend.

FISHKIN(Slowly)

Well, I think Why am I alive? Why is such a nothingness alive? What is the sense of it? Who am I to be alive? Who am I to know the things I know? Why do I breathe? What is the meaning of this body I inhabit? Why is my voice so ridiculous? Why is my countenance so stupid? What am I supposed to do to make a little sense? Why do I dream Iím great when Iím nothing? Why am I proud and happy sometimes? Oh, yes, I have laughedólaughed as if I were a lord. What is the meaning of such nonsense? Iím nothing! Why am I alive?

JOHNNY

Well, Iím your friend, see?

JIM SMITHER

Iíll tell you why youíre alive, brother. Youíre alive to suffer.

JOHNNY

How do you know?

JIM SMITHER

I know, thatís all, and Iím your friend whether you like it or not.

FISHKIN(Standing and shouting to JIM SMITHER)

All right, so Iím alive to suffer, so what good is it? Youíre his friend whether he likes it or not and heís my friend whether I like it or not, and you love everybody, so what good is it? All right, so Iím alive to suffer, so Iím suffering.

JOHNNY

Well, stop suffering and read The Oxford Book of English Poetry.

FISHKIN(Almost chanting)

It wouldnít help!

JOHNNY

Would it help if you read this book? The Bible?

FISHKIN(Nods)

A little.

JOHNNY

All right. Here. Read it.

(He hands FISHKIN the books. FISHKIN sits on the edge of the big chair and opens the book again)

FLORA

Mustnít stand around in the public library making confusion and asking questions. Please sit down and read.

JOHNNY

No, thanks. I donít enjoy it any more.

FLORA

Then why do you come to the public library?

JOHNNY

Oh, I donít know. I guess I come to the public library because I came here every day many years ago. I came in search ofówell, the Holy Grail, letís say.

FLORA

Mustnít look for the Holy Grail in the public library.

JOHNNY

Perhaps not, but itís here if itís anywhere at all, and I come here in the hope of witnessing the arrival of someone so pure in heart that it will be revealed to him. The weeping girl who tried to rest on that couch not long ago Ė perhaps it will be revealed to her. Or to the man in the cage there. Or to the soldier thrashing about. Or to the prisoner. It must be revealed to someone again. I come to the public library to see the Holy Grail revealed.

FLORA

Mustnít expect miracles in the public library.

She returns to the divan and stretches out on it.

JIM SMITHER goes back to whistling ďCareless Love.Ē JOHNNY sits at the piano and looks at everybody. He suddenly plays the piano.

While he is playing, JIM CROW, a young Negro, comes in through the swinging doors and takes the center of the stage. He is wearing an old red circus coat and a red cap with green braid. Slung around his neck is a battered bugle, which he lifts to his lips. He blows a long and solemn call on the bugle.

JOCK (Shouting at the top of his lungs, absolutely delighted)

So have I heard on Africaís burning shore

The noble lion give the noble roar!

(To JIM CROW) Welcome, noble lion! Whatís the meaning of the noble roar?

JIM CROW(As if he were announcing the entry of a king)

Make way for Jim Dandy!

JOCK

Never heard of him.

JIM CROW(Holding the swinging doors open)

Mr. Jim Dandy Ė hisself!

JIM DANDY comes in. He is an enormously fat man, pouting like a hurt child, and looking like a tramp with manners. When JIM CROW reaches the center of the stage he kneels. JIM DANDY touches him elegantly on the shoulder with his walking stick, recently cut from a tree, and JIM CROW rises to his feet. In hiss left hand JIM DANDY holds a cricket, a metal device which makes a sound when pressed: clickety-clack. He studies the scene, notices the chair in which FISHKIN is seated, and presses the device as if to say something absolutely final, if incomprehensible. JIM CROW leaps onto the platform and gently escorts FISHKIN up and out of the chair and off the platform, and then escorts JIM DANDY onto the platform and into the chair. FISHKIN Is in a rage.

FISHKIN (Whispering)

Get back into your mother! Who are you to be so high and mighty?

JIM DANDY presses the cricket: clickety-clack. JIM CROW brings a white heart-shaped rock out of his coat pocket and places it at the center of the chairís back cushion, which JIM DANDY hands to him. JIM CROW places the cushion with the heart-shaped rock on it on the platform. JIM DANDY waves his stick over and around about the rock in a meaningless-meaningful way, and then presses the cricket again.

MOLLY steps out of the revolving door and in a twinkling of an eye bursts out of her black rags and is beautiful girl in a ballet costume. This happens as if a flower had burst into bloom, or a butterfly escaped its cocoon. She dances a ballet while JIM CROW sings on.

JOHNNY plays the piano.

TOMMY SINGH comes out of his booth strumming on the stringed instrument.

THE MAHARAJAH makes an appropriate rhythm on the tambourine, and there is much merriment and fun, as if something were being celebrated.

GIBBON stares up into JIM DANDYíS face and back at the sheet of paper he holds, and says, Love. Love. Love.

LITTLE JOHNNY and LITTLE MOLLY come out of the cave and look up at JIM DANDY and are not afraid and do not run back.

The runaway girl comes in through the swinging doors, kneels, and holds her arms out to the children of the cave.

JIM DANDY (Waving his cane)

Children, run to loving arms!

The children run to the runaway girlís arms, then go to JIM DANDY and stand before him.

The runaway girl stands over the heart-shaped rock.

FISHKIN is dumbfounded, slapping his forehead with amazement and chagrin.

JOCK is altogether taken by the beauty of MOLLY. They dance together, with the little girl of the cave dancing around them.

JOHNNY leaves the piano, goes to FLORA and lifts her off the divan into his arms and dances with her, while the boy of the cave tries to hug them both.

JIM SMITHER(Suddenly shouting and stopping the music and dancing)

Why do you dance? Theyíre going to hang me in the morning! For Godís sake, somebody tell them Iím innocent!

JIM DANDY turns and looks up at the prisoner in an agony of pity and helplessness.

The children of the cave become frightened and run to the cave and hide.

TOMMY SINGH puts away the stringed instrument and takes up the rifle and begins thrashing about again.

GIBBON moans pathetically.

JIM CROW stands beside JIM DANDY as if to protect him.

MOLLY notices herself and is filled with shame and tries to hide in the revolving door.

The runaway girl sits on the couch and weeps bitterly.

JIM CROW, followed helplessly by GIBBON and JOCK, moves toward the prisoner, as the curtain begins to come down very slowly.

FISHKIN (stands over the heart-shaped rock and bursts into evil, nervous laughter.)

Iím innocent! I swear to God, Iím innocent! I swear on my mother, Iím as innocent as any man in the world! I love everybody! For Godís sake, somebody tell them Iím innocent. Somebody speak up for me. Donít let them hang an innocent man. I have given money to the poor. Iím innocent! Iím innocent!

The curtain is down.


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