ACT ONE, Scene 1
(Lights up on a small room, which includes a large hospital bed with bedside commode at the down stage the foot, a dresser near the head of the bed also being used as a night stand and shelf for a mini-fridge. Upstage is a table full of mail, books, potted plants and cards left scattered after solitaire, with one chair, a large window or two with more potted plants covering the sills, an elegant older couch littered with decorative pillows and parts of newspapers neatly folded open to the daily crossword. At the upstage end of the couch there is an end-table with a lamp and telephone. Down stage there is a china cabinet displaying assorted family treasures, also with potted plants on top. Framed family pictures cover most other available spaces. Also coating the room are sticky notes and home made signs and reminders to Cleilda and the staff. The room is comfortable and very ‘grandma’s house’ making the bed and toilet look supremely out of place.
In a wheelchair facing the window, very much blending into her surroundings, sits Cleilda Heller in a bright floral day-dress, cardigan sweater and large orthopedic sneakers. Her head has fallen to one side, sleeping. After a long questionable moment, she startles awake and turns herself around. She moves intently but is held back slightly because of her age. She quickly surveys the room and checks her watch, which may or may not actually be there.)
CLEILDA Leonard?… Leonard?!… LEONARD!?… Leonard, get the potato salad and pull the car around; we’re gonna be late! I swan! That man is half past crazy- I bet he doesn’t even have the keys. I’ll find’em. (She wheels herself upstage to the table and starts rummaging through things, looking for keys.) Oh! Leonard, don’t let me forget my sweater! They keep that church like a derned icebox. I told that preacher- I told Gruver! I said, ‘You know, I know we are trying to keep the fire of the devil out of our lives, but I don’t think we can literally freeze him out. Besides, I am sure Jesus doesn’t have a tolerance for that kind of cold either. He’s from the desert…it ain’t in good people’s nature anyway…AND! It makes it so hard for the ladies to keep all the potluck food hot. I guess it’s good for them jello salads, but no one likes those gunky things anyway. Where are those dumb keys?! Leonard?!… LEONAAARD!!!
(She is head back, mid yell, when a young nurse, Medina, hurries in. Cleilda again facing upstage at the table, hears the door behind her, and throws her arms up but does not turn.)
CLEILDA (cont’d) Well, thank the Lord, Leonard. I hope you have the keys cause I sure can’t find’em here. The potato salad is already out on the counter, warm as a kitten’s belly now…
(As she turns around to point out the door to the potato salad, she sees Medina and slowly trails off. There is a long awkward pause as both, surprised and unsure, size the other up. Cleilda takes the glasses hanging from around her neck and shoves them rather directly on her face. Medina smiles; Cleilda blinks.)
MEDINA Mrs. Heller?
CLEILDA Why are you here?
CLEILDA Where’s Leonard?
MEDINA I heard you calling from down the hall, Cleilda. Now I might be able to scrounge up some potato salad, but I just don’t know what to tell you about that Leonard of yours.
CLEILDA That’s what my mother said about him too. You don’t make any more sense than her. Now look, I need to get out of here; Leonard and I are gonna be late for the covered-dish.
MEDINA Sorry, Ms. Heller, I can’t let you leave here.
CLEILDA Hog waller! I don’t know who you are, or who you think you are, but no one keeps Cleilda Heller from church so long as the doors are open. I am just going to need my sweater.
(Cleilda wheels around and begins to look for her sweater on the bed, the table and in various drawers, getting increasingly more aggressive. She mumbles at varying levels throughout the following. Medina goes upstage to the phone, checks the number on one of the many posted sticky notes, then looks upstage out the window and up over to Cleilda. We hear a cell phone ringing from off stage. Friona then enters from the farthest possible entrance furiously digging in one of several large bags she is carrying, looking for the phone. Medina does not yet notice her.)
FRIONA (As she walks into the room.) Hello?!
MEDINA (Turns around keeping the phone to her ear.) Oh! Ah-ha! Hi, Friona.
FRIONA (Covering her mouth piece.) Not now Medina! I am on the phone… Hello? Hello? I can’t hear you! (Looking at screen.) I’ve got bars in here? HELLO?!
MEDINA (Into the mouth piece of her phone) Friona. . .
FRIONA Oh. . . oh!
CLEILDA Ya’ll need to stop raising s’much racket and help me find my dad gum sweater! Has Leonard pulled the car around yet? We can’t forget that potato salad. It’s warm as baby diapers now.
FRIONA What’s she talking about?
CLEILDA Y’all can getcha some if you want though.
MEDINA I think she is having another of those heavier episodes.
FRIONA I told you to call me when she gets like this!
MEDINA I was calling you.
FRIONA Well, call me before I get here! Jeez…
(The room is now a terrible mess, clothing strewn, drawers out, bedding off; the cards have fallen to the floor. Cleilda has slowed down almost entirely, and now appears very confused.)
CLEILDA Where are. . . is . . . ?
(Friona gets right up into Cleilda’s face; she speaks insultingly loud to her mother.)
FRIONA Mother?! It’s your daughter, Friona!
CLEILDA (Without recognition) No need to yell darlin’.
MEDINA Do you know where you are right now, Ms. Heller?
FRIONA I got it Medina. Mama! Do you have any idea what is goin’ on?!
(Cleilda looks bewildered from one to the other. She looks up into her daughter’s face, and after a long, visible searching, she recognizes it. She then looks to Medina who is smiling warmly.)
FRIONA (cont’d) You were having another episode, Mother!
CLEILDA A what?
FRIONA An episode!!!
(After a revealing moment of shame and frustration, Cleilda smiles and recovers herself.)
CLEILDA Wasn’t either. I was just testing you, like one of them alert button necklaces. I reckon you made pretty good time, and a good thing too. If not, I could have torn this whole room apart.
FRIONA What?! The room is a mess, Mother!
(Friona immediately begins to straighten and replace. She cleans all throughout the scene. When the room is re-ordered again, she begins putting away things she has brought in her bags such as clean laundry, snacks and more newspapers.)
MEDINA Oh, I can do this, Friona.
(Goes to assist her but has trouble working around Friona’s high pace.)
CLEILDA Well, I’ve got to give you something to do.
MEDINA If that was a joke, it wasn’t a very nice one, Ms. Heller.
CLEILDA Made you look.
FRIONA No. Mama knows how to tell a good joke, and that has both people laughing at the end.
CLEIDA Oh, don’t be such a stick in the mud.
FRIONA Mama, you’re shucking everything off like there wasn’t anything wrong with you.
CLEILDA Well, you can laugh too. I mean if I’m laughing, certainly you can laugh. . . I’m the one who’s falling all to pieces.
FRIONA And that’s not funny, Mama.
CLEILDA Well, baby. . . You know, you’ve got two ways of handling these sorta things. You can find a way to laugh or you can just cry. Otherwise you’re just sitting on it, and that’s how you end up with a real something up your butt.
FRIONA I just hope you’re taking it seriously, Ma, cause you’re scaring the be-jeezes out the rest of us.
(Cleilda waits a moment. Friona and Medina are both absorbed in tidying tasks, not looking at her.)
MEDINA Oh my Goodness!
(Cleilda erupts with laughter at the startled Medina, a wheezy cackle, that turns into coughing.)
FRIONA Lord, there’s a lot of rattle in that cough. You know, I always said you shouldn’t have smoked. How are you feeling today?
CLEILDA Never better. You just don’t understand how popular it was, or how cute a girl can look with a cigarette.
(She strikes a little pose.)
MEDINA I got to say, that is pretty cute.
(Cleilda lets out another wheezy cackle.)
FRIONA Do not encourage her! Quit it, Mother. (Anticipates Cleilda’s rebuttal without looking.) I know, I know, they didn’t tell you it would kill you till later.
CLEILDA That’s right! And by then pretty much everyone liked it too much to care.
FRIONA Well, I am glad you cared.
CLEILDA I didn’t care! You made me quit. I haven’t been allowed to have any fun since I moved in this place.
FRIONA That is not true; you have bingo…
CLEILDA (Sarcastically.) Ooooh! I’m a gambler.
FRIONA And they gave you all champagne on New Years.
CLEILDA Oh, yes, that was nice. You know, I had never had any ‘bubbly’ before.
MEDINA Really?! You smoked like that but you’d never drank?
CLEILDA Church of Christ- somehow that worked. Well… it certainly didn’t work for everyone, but you know I was always a rebellious church lady.
MEDINA Well you looked pretty comfortable with it- getting on like that. I saw you kiss Mr. Dimmit at midnight.
MEDINA Oh, I am sorry Ms. Heller. I didn’t know we were keeping that one from her too. Oooh. You know, I better see if they need me up front anyway. I’m sure I’ll see you later, though. (To Cleilda.) Don’t you torture her too bad now.
CLEILDA Don’t you worry. I just keep her on her haunches.
FRIONA Bye Medina.
(Medina exits. Cleilda picks up yesterday’s cross word and finishes it up as they speak.)
FRIONA (cont’d) Were you really kissing Mr. Dimmit on New Years? I can’t believe you sometimes.
CLEILDA Relax, honey. He’s harmless. Anyway, I’m sure it was just the bubbly.
FRIONA You know I go back and forth. Sometimes I feel bad, and then sometimes I am really glad you are in this home.
CLEILDA So I can fraternize with spry young men like Mr. Dimmit?
FRIONA No! So that you can’t fraternize with any spry young men.
CLEILDA Well, I wouldn’t be much for them now anyway. Probably break my good hip.
FRIONA Or give you a heart attack— speaking of, have you taken your medicine today?
CLEILDA It would be nice to die that happy though.
FRIONA Mother! Disgusting. Have you taken your blood medicine?
CLEILDA (Gesturing to her wheelchair and the toilet.) Baby, I don’t even remember to move from this chair to that one every time my pucker string breaks. How am I supposed to know? The girls take care of that.
FRIONA Well, have you eaten today? How’s your blood sugar? Maybe that’s why you had another episode. Did you go to lunch?
CLEILDA Oh, I don’t know.
FRIONA Well, how do you feel?
CLEILDA Oooh, stop your fussin’. I’m happy ain’t I. I feel fine. Heck. I feel like sunshine.
(Cleilda grins and Friona laughs knowingly. Cleilda breaks into song, and Friona joins in on the refrain. Cleilda sings
ACT Two, Scene 2
FRIONA Well, then we were talking about y’all coming to visit next weekend, and she got real confused.
CLAUDE Like she forgot?
FRIONA Well, yes, she did, but no. Like a different kind of confused. A lot worse. She mentioned Daddy. And then she just sort of slumped over. And I could see… she just sort of left herself. Like a sitting doll you let all the sand pour out of.
TULIA That sounds peaceful. At least it was peaceful. Peaceful for her, I mean.
(There is a long uncomfortable silence. They have run out of things to say.)
TULIA (cont’d) Friona, can I make you a sandwich?
CLAUDE Ooh! I‘ll take one.
TULIA Sure thing, baby. Fri?
FRIONA No thanks. I’m alright.
(As she speaks, Tulia begins to move the cooler over to the couch with much difficulty. She tries to bend over to pick it up, but with her enormous belly it turns into more of an awkward squat-and-tug motion.)
TULIA You sure? When was the last time you ate something? Ages ago, I bet. You been too nervous. Well, we got a whole mess of stuff in here. All the fixin’s. Everything you could think of is in here. Well, for sandwiches anyway. We don’t got a kitchen sink or nothing. (Laughs.) Etter, are you gonna give me a hand with this or what? Come on now.
CLAUDE Come on, Etter. Can’t you see your Mama’s pregnant.
TULIA Claude, don’t say ‘pregnant’ in front of your Mother.
CLAUDE Oh, sorry. Can’t you see your Mama’s in the midst of child.
FRIONA With child.
CLAUDE Yeah, Etter is here. That’s why I’m asking her to help.
TULIA No, ‘with child’. Instead of ‘pregnant’- it’s ‘with child’.
CLAUDE Oh. Well, that don’t sound right.
TULIA It’s ok, baby. (With Etter’s help, Tulia is now on the couch. She begins pulling everything out so she can use the cooler top as a table. She naturally begins to set things up and make sandwiches, which she continues to do for possibly the whole rest of the play.) Alright. We got tuna salad, turkey, ham, bologna- oh, and pimento cheese, if you like that. We got lettuce and tomato and some of them pre-sliced pickles. I got a couple of cheeses. I know you don’t like the wrapped cheese, Fri.
CLAUDE Ooh, pass me one of them.
(Without even looking Friona throws the Single to him across the room like a discus. He unwraps it and eats it childishly. She continues as if uninterrupted.)
TULIA So I got the block kind too. We got mayo, and mustard, and Miracle Whip. Oh and I even got wheat bread too. Course, we got white; that’s all these two will eat, but I know you like to be healthy, Fri, and I tell you, that’s a good practice, real good practice, That’s why I got some of the baked-y chips too, besides the ruffles and shoe-strings and cheesy-puffs. And Diet Coke! I really been trying to switch to Diet Coke. You know, for health’s purposes. You sure you don’t want something? Here, Etter, open the cheesy-puffs.
CLAUDE You got Ho Hos?
TULIA Course I got Ho Hos. Fri, you want a Ho Ho?
ETTER I want a Ho Ho.
TULIA You can’t have one.
ETTER Why not?
TULIA Cause you ain’t eaten a real something, a supper something. Don’t want all that sugar in your stomach without some salt to sit on. You know, for health’s purposes.
(She defiantly begins to eat the cheesy-puffs.)
TULIA Fine. Oh! And I almost forgot. We got cups too! Apple sauce, pudding cups, cups of fruit cocktail, jello cups, and jello cups with fruit cocktail. It’s just in the bottom though. You can’t get it half and half. Isn’t that funny.
(Laughs at herself again.)
Here you go, baby.
(Hands Claude a sandwich. He grabs a fancy decorative pillow from the couch and puts over the hole of the bedside toilet and has a seat, he can continue to eat the various chips, desserts, and other sandwiches where appropriate in the rest of the play.)
CLAUDE Thank you, darlin’.
TULIA So, Friona, what’ll it be?
FRIONA Nothing, really.
TULIA Oh, come on. Look at all this stuff! We gotta have something you want—
FRIONA No! I don’t want any of your STUFF!
(Pause. Friona tries to keep from crying, as the rest stare at her in shock.)
CLAUDE What’s wrong, Fri?
(She is not angry. She is just frantic, and overwhelmed, and may even begin to realize her lack of logic as she speaks.)
FRIONA I just cleaned. You lot haven’t been here but five minutes and look at this place. Do you know how hard I work on this place? My whole life has turned into dealing with Mama’s stuff! Coming to this room and dealing with stuff. I’ve been trying so hard to make this room hers, to make her feel at home, with her stuff. Trying to keep home-things around her that are hers, but having to make it smaller and smaller and smaller, every time something happens. From the old house to the apartment when daddy died, to the one-room when she couldn’t walk, and now to here cause of her mind going. I keep having to let go of more and more stuff, when we’re not ready. I’m not ready. But it’s like, life just keeps getting smaller on us. I’ve been trying– hanging on to things for her. Trying to keep it right in here. Cause now every little thing that’s left is so important. I’ve just been trying to hang on to things, to her, to a home, that’s her. . . but. . . it’s not the same without her really living in it. And now y’all bring in all this stuff. . . it’s just too much. . . stuff. . .
TULIA (Slow and sincere.) Friona, you know we wouldn’t do nothing to step on what you done. You made a beautiful thing here. Even on her bad days, Cleilda was happier than most anybody I know.
FRIONA I know. I know. I’m sorry. It’s not the food. You know it’s not the food. I just can’t stand this, is all.
CLAUDE Do you want us to move out into the hall?
FRIONA No, no, of course not. It’s fine. Lord knows what kind of mess I’d be in by now if I was here by myself. I’d just be cleaning till there wasn’t any paint left on the furniture. I’m- I’m glad you’re here. All of you. I’m sure Mama’s happy too.
(Friona looks at her mother in the bed. Claude goes to hug her. She welcomes it, closing her eyes and relaxing, letting herself be the little sister. When they finish, he puts his sandwich up to her face so she can take a bite. She looks up at him sheepishly and does- a big one. He wipes mustard off her face. She smiles.)
FRIONA (With her mouth full.) Can I have a Diet Coke?
TULIA (Handing it to her.) Anything you want, Fri. Anything we got. Mi sustento es su sustento.
FRIONA Thanks. (Finally sitting down.) I think I just forget to breathe some times.
TULIA I understand that, sister. Let me tell you, I understand that. The boys must all think their Mama’s crazier that a cat caught in a paper bag. Cause I tell you, I can hold my breath all day, run’em here and there, doing this and that, keeping the house and helping the farm, till round about eight o’clock when one of them just tugs at my shorts the wrong way. Then that’s it. All bet’s are off. I just lose it.
ETTER She’s right. It ain’t pretty.
TULIA I jump straight out of my skin and send every one of ‘em to their room. Sometimes you just can’t help it. You got to breathe. You got to make some room for yourself so you can breathe.
ETTER Make room for yourself. You just make a whiskey-water for yourself.
(Friona and Etter laugh.)
TULIA Etter! Respectful. Respectful and pleasant.
FRIONA Oh, I don’t know, that sounds pleasant enough.
ETTER See, she gets it.
(Etter goes to high-five her, but Fri doesn’t get it. This creates a very awkward moment- followed by an even more awkward silence, in which characters sigh, and search for a topic of conversation that could possibly be appropriate.)
CLAUDE So. . . I guess we should get comfortable.
(Another pause as Tulia comes to the horrifying realization that her husband is sitting on a toilet.)
TULIA Claude?. . . Why are you sitting on a toilet?
CLAUDE There ain’t any other chairs. Besides, this has got a nice lumbar support for you. (Tulia continues to stare at him.) What? It’s clean. . . It is clean right, Fri?
FRIONA I mean, I guess so, yeah. I feel pretty sorry for that pillow.
CLAUDE Ok fine. Y’all quit looking at me like a tree full of owls.
(He takes the pillow out from under him and tosses it back toward the couch. Etter and Tulia move out of the way and let it fall. Tulia pinches the very corner with her nails to lean it onto the leg of the couch.)
TULIA We’ll just leave this right here.
ETTER Gross Dad.
CLAUDE Well, I don’t really see any other immediate options. Do you? So I’m just gonna sit here until somebody finds a better chair. . . Like your tushes are too great to grace a toilet. Toilet’s my favorite chair in the house. Can’t think of any chair more functional. . . Hey, what ever happened to them chairs Mama made?
FRIONA They finally broke.
FRIONA Yup. It hurt real bad, but I finally had to put them out with the trash. Those things were ugly as sin.
TULIA What chairs are y’all talking about?
CLAUDE The ones Mama made.
FRIONA We had this old paisley couch at the big house, and somewhere in the process of redecorating things, Mama decided it would look better as two chairs.
TULIA So she had them reuse that old paisley upholstery?
(She laughs at her own idea, but Friona abruptly cuts her off.)
FRIONA No. She just sawed the thing in half.
CLAUDE Clean in two with a chain saw.
TULIA Oh. Well that don’t sound like it would work.
CLAUDE It didn’t.
ACT TWO, Scene 2 & 3
(Medina exits. Claude eats the other sandwich. Reminiscences like the following, while mostly said for the speaker, are directed at Tulia and Etter.)
FRIONA Every one of the nurses has got a story like that— wait staff too, about Mama making her own fun.
CLAUDE She was good at that.
ETTER Seems like you’d have to be, to keep any signs of sanity in this place.
ETTER What?! It’s the crazies wing!
FRIONA Well, you get good practice making a life on the plains. Some women went crazy in the wind; Mama made wind socks.
CLAUDE A whole lot of wind socks.
FRIONA I guess some people saw that as crazy- the house with a hundred windsocks. (Laughing at Claude.) And the boy runnin’ track around it all day.
CLAUDE People thought we were crazy?
FRIONA In an endearing sort of way, I think. They understood. Mama was prone to aesthetic outbursts. She had to say something. It was always good, just came out different than most people’s ways of expressing things.
CLAUDE I don’t think she was that different in her thinking. I think what made her different was that she wasn’t afraid.
ETTER Afraid of what?
CLAUDE Afraid that her ideas were silly, or stupid, or crazy. Afraid that other people might think that. That’s much braver than it sounds. Especially in her day.
TULIA I reckon it is. (Pause.) Oh! I am dumber than a bucket of hair. I should’ve given her a Coke. Etter, run this down to Medina.
(Etter takes the Coke and jogs out the door. Almost immediately re-enters.)
ETTER Can I take the wheelchair?
(Directed to Tulia, who looks to Claude, who looks to Friona.)
FRIONA Sure. Why not? See if any of the ladies in the hall will play bumper cars with you.
ETTER Sweet. Thanks.
TULIA Don’t you break any old people knees!
(Etter sits in the chair with the Coke between her knees and pops a wheelie out the door.)
CLAUDE Wow. Where’d she learn wheelies like that?
FRIONA Mama taught her a couple of Christmases ago.
TULIA Oh, Lord. I better watch her.
(She gets up and follows her out; re-enters, hurriedly grabs the cheesy puffs, another Diet Coke, starts to leave but stops, whirls around, and picks off a pickle from the open jar and exits again.)
ACT II,Scene 3
(Left alone Friona and Claude exchange looks and naturally gravitate towards their Mother. There is a long silence.)
CLAUDE What should we be doing? For her I mean. I don’t want to talk about legal stuff.
FRIONA I know. . . I don’t know. I don’t know, Claude.
CLAUDE I tell you what. . . I feel like a kiddie on the first day of school. . . What am I gonna do without my mama?
FRIONA Oh, Claude. You ain’t really needed your Mama for awhile now. You got Tulia. Seems to take pretty good care of you.
CLAUDE Yeah. It’s a short tether, but a comfortable cage. That’s not what I mean, though. Kids at school don’t need their Mama. That’s not why they cry. Something different. I— I just wasn’t done with her, is all.
FRIONA No, Claude, I don’t reckon any of us are. She’s the kind of person that it’s hard to get enough of.
CLAUDE Yeah. . . God don’t let you choose these things.
FRIONA No. She’s been called out.
CLAUDE Called home.
FRIONA Yeah. . . You think daddy’s coming to get her?. . . I’d like to think he’s coming to escort her.
CLAUDE Escort her to Heaven?
FRIONA I guess so. Something like that. . . I just hope it’s not frightening for her. I wouldn’t want her to be scared.
CLAUDE Well, Daddy always took care of her as much as he could, as much as she’d let him. And the Heller men are always gentlemen.
FRIONA Always slow as pouring molasses too.
CLAUDE Yeah. What’d Mama say?
FRIONA She said his speed button got stuck on Sunday.
CLAUDE Yeah. Well, if that’s the case, who knows how long we’ll be waiting here.
FRIONA Yeah. (Almost inaudible as she tears up.) Hurry up Daddy.
(There is a long, painful stillness.)
CLAUDE You reckon she’s ready to go?
FRIONA What do you mean?
CLAUDE She done living? Don’t seem like she’s had a hurrah in a long time now.
CLAUDE Don’t you remember Daddy using that word for something new or something fun, like an adventure. . . or a- an exciting something. I guess anything that’d make you say ‘Hurrah’. I guess it’s as simple as that.
FRIONA Of course I remember. “Let’s go have a hurrah!” I think she even used that word yesterday.
FRIONA You think Mama’s done living?
CLAUDE I don’t know. I don’t like talking over her like this. (He does not move except to touch her foot, as if to embrace her into the conversation. He hesitates to speak again.) I don’t think Mama was ever unhappy. Just bored, real bored. . . and tired. You look tired, Mama. It isn’t anybody’s fault, but it don’t seem right to see her like this. . . just ain’t like her to be stuck. . . stuck in chair, stuck in a room, and a bed. . . I reckon she’s just stuck in her body now, the one last thing. . .
FRIONA You’re making it sound like she doesn’t have anything to live for.
CLAUDE Well, she don’t, Fri. Not on this Earth. Husband’s gone, most her kin’s gone, home’s gone, mind’s going. . . her body’s . . .
FRIONA What about us?
CLAUDE No. . . That’d be selfish of us, to ask her to stick around just to watch our hurrahs. That’s not a life worth living. A life of watching.
FRIONA It’s still not fair though.
CLAUDE No. Not at all. It’s all real natural, but they’re not always the same thing are they. Don’t mean it’s any less sad, just a little less confusing. . . Easier on the brain, not the heart. . . (sings)
Down in the valley, valley so low
Hang your head over, hear the wind blow
Hear the wind blow, dear, hear the wind blow
Hang your head over, hear the wind blow.
Roses love sunshine, violets love dew
Angels in heaven know I love you
Know I love you, dear, know I love you
Angels in heaven, know I love you.
Throw your arms round me, before it’s too late
Throw your arms round me, feel my heart break
Feel my heart break, dear, feel my heart break
Throw your arms round me, feel my heart break.
FRIONA That was beautiful Claude.
CLAUDE I ran out of my own words. Thought I should make up for all that ugly talk.
FRIONA Wasn’t ugly talk Claude. She’d be real proud of how you’re handlin’ this. And I’m sure she’s real grateful for that song.
CLAUDE Thank you, Fri. . . Thank you.
FRIONA I’m real glad you’re here too.
CLAUDE Of course. (Etter wheels back in with Tulia walking behind her.) What took ya’ll so long?
TULIA We were just watching an old Price is Right with the nurses.
ETTER I won the whole showcase— a car, a luggage set, and a trip to Micronesia!
TULIA You really landed the fish on that one, baby! Did real good. We really ought to get you on there. I don’t know where the heck Micronesia is but, you know, I sure would like to …..