Sweet Tooth

SWEET TOOTH                                                                   Ron Campbell         1

soarfeat@gmail.com

CAST OF CHARACTERS:

Henry

LuLu

Mr. Mumford

 

SETTING:

Mumford Brothers Mausoleum and Funeral Supply

 

(Lights up on the showroom at the Mumford Brothers Mausoleum and Funeral Supply. There are several models of funeral urns on tables. There is a counter. A fishbowl filled with assorted candies sits on the counter.

HENRY, 30’s, pokes his head in, looks around.)

 

HENRY

Hello? Anyone here? Hello…

 

LULU

(Yelling from offstage, behind counter)

I’ll be right with you. Feel free to look at any of our floor models. You’ve caught us in the middle of our Fall Sales Extravaganza so pretty much everything is priced to just go go go.

 

HENRY

Yes. Well, I called earlier… I talked to a Mr. Mumford?… I’m here to pick up my grandmother’s remains. She was cremated here last week.

 

LULU

(Offstage)

I’m sorry to hear that.

 

HENRY

Well truth is  I never really-

 

LULU

You can have some.

 

HENRY

What?

 

LULU

The candy. In the bowl. On the counter. You can have some.

 

HENRY

Uh, no thanks. I just-

 

LULU

The cherry ones are delicious. A little tart, but delicious. Were you close?

 

SWEET TOOTH                                                                   Ron Campbell         2

soarfeat@gmail.com

 

HENRY

To what?

 

LULU

The deceased. Were you close to the deceased?

 

 

HENRY

Well not really. (a beat) I’m adopted, you see.

 

 

LULU

Unh Hunh.

 

HENRY

My birth parents died when I was less than a year old so I didn’t even know I had a birth grandmother until I got the call from the administrator at the Illyria Grove Convalescent Hospital here in town  to tell me that she had died.

 

LULU

(Still offstage)

You must have been devastated.

 

HENRY

Well I’m not really-

 

LULU

Name?

 

HENRY

Henry. Henry Phillips.

 

LULU

Not you. The deceased. What is the name of the deceased?

 

HENRY

Oh. Margaret. Margaret Dunlop.

 

LULU

(Still offstage)

Driscoll, Dempster- ah, here we are. Margaret Dunlop

(LULU, 30’s, enters. She’s a drop dead gorgeous redhead dressed in a sassy skirt in the style of the 1940’s. She is carrying a simple stainless steel urn.)

Well here’s your grandma.

(She clunks the urn down on the counter)

So you really don’t know anything about her? That makes it difficult.

 

 

SWEET TOOTH                                                                   Ron Campbell         3

soarfeat@gmail.com

 

HENRY

Difficult?

 

LULU

Her final resting place should reflect who she was in life. We have several attractive theme packages available. It would help if you knew something about her.

 

HENRY

Well I could find absolutely nothing online.  A few clippings from old newspapers. I did find out she was married seven times. All her husbands died. Seems every time one of her husbands died she’d take all the inheritance and go on some kind of world tour or a cruise or something. Oh, she worked in the library ‘til she retired a few years ago.

 

LULU

Married seven times? She sounds like quite the woman. A bit of a black widow, but quite the woman.

(She starts touring him around the showroom like a used car salesman)

Perhaps you’d like to consider this model. The 2007 Farewello Bordello in burnished brass with crushed velvet swag and peek-a-bo screw on screw off top for easy access in case you want to spread her ashes at the various gravesites of her departed husbands.

 

HENRY

Well-

 

LULU

You say she liked to travel? Took cruises? Consider this: The Davey Jones Locker Neptune Society Submergible. Guaranteed water resistant imitation teak handrails. Comes factory equipped with a non-skid topside and patented dyno keel to keep your loved one vertical even when they’re horizontal. Guaranteed up to full fathom five.

 

HENRY

I don’t really-

 

LULU

You say she was a librarian? Howabout the Rossetta Headstone Final Rest Palimpsest with Shroud of Turin wrap and Dead Sea scroll now-you-see-it-now you-don’t tabula rasa faux Sanskrit detailing.

 

 

 

 

 

SWEET TOOTH                                                                   Ron Campbell         4

soarfeat@gmail.com

 

HENRY

(Referring to the stainless steel urn on the counter.)

Couldn’t I just use this one?

 

LULU

Absolutely not. This is just a receptacle.  They reuse this one. All the cremations go in this receptacle before the bereaved selects from our catalogue of custom urns.

 

HENRY

I just want something dignified. You see, I also need to take some of the ashes and scatter them into the Grand Canyon.

 

LULU

(Suddenly girlish)

You’re kidding. I love the Grand Canyon!

 

HENRY

It was in her will.  I have to fulfill the parameters of the estate to receive my inheritance. She left me some money. I’m her only surviving kin. So I guess I’m going to the Grand Canyon.

 

LULU

What do you think of the Grand Canyon as a whole?

 

HENRY

Hunh?

 

LULU

Never mind.

 

HENRY

You see, it was a provision of her will that half her ashes be thrown into the Grand Canyon.

 

LULU

One Problem.

 

HENRY

What’s that?

 

LULU

Updrafts.

You don’t want to drive nine hundred miles to Arizona with your dear birth grandma’s remains in the ashtray, pull up to the vista spot, march right past the snack bar and WOOF! You’ve got a face full of grandma.

 

SWEET TOOTH                                                                   Ron Campbell         5

soarfeat@gmail.com

 

HENRY

Look, I just want to fulfill the parameters of the estate. I’m leaving tomorrow. My hotel’s paid up for tonight. I could-

 

LULU

You’re not from around here. Where are you from?

 

HENRY

San Francisco.

 

LULU

San Francisco… California?

 

HENRY

That’s the one.

 

LULU

Hunh. (She looks him up and down.)

 

HENRY

Look, I was hoping I could at least take some of the ashes out of the urn here and take them to Arizona and the rest I’ll leave here in the mausoleum.

 

LULU

Do you have something to take her in?

 

 

HENRY

What? Oh, just this candy jar.

(He pulls a small cut glass candy jar out of his pocket.)

 

LULU

A candy jar? You want to put your dear departed birth grandmother’s earthly remains in a candy jar?

 

HENRY

It was hers’. She apparently had a sweet tooth. She left a bunch of stocks to her dentist.

 

LULU

It’s against the rules.

 

HENRY

Please? It was her dying wish.

SWEET TOOTH                                                                   Ron Campbell         6

soarfeat@gmail.com

 

LULU

Probably not.

 

HENRY

What?

 

LULU

Her dying wish was probably not “Stuff me in a candy jar and then scatter my ashes into some desert sinkhole national monument.”

 

HENRY

It wasn’t?

LULU

No. Her dying wish was probably “Let me be young again. Give me back my vivaciousness, my vitality, my certain je ne sais quoi that attracted my seven- Count ‘em- seven husbands and get me out of this goddamn rest home and get me back to a time when I could head direct to the airport after one of those seven funerals and jet my way to Florence for a tour of the Uffitzi, a shopping spree on the Via Veneto and an affair with an Italian.  I want to be young and sassy and ready to splurge. That was probably her dying wish.

 

 (HENRY looks at the urn, says nothing.)

 

You don’t  care. You’re just trying to “fulfill the parameters of the estate.” Right? But there was a person there.

(She gestures to the urn.)

And you can’t just sweep it under the rug or sprinkle it off a scenic overlook like it was just some flotsam from her lifetimes’ lint trap.

 

HENRY

Wow. Well when you put it that way…

 

LULU

Well, let’s get on with it.

 

HENRY

Hunh?

 

LULU

Let’s put some of grandma in the candy jar.

 

HENRY

I thought it was against the rules.

 

 

 

 

SWEET TOOTH                                                                   Ron Campbell         7

soarfeat@gmail.com

 

 

LULU

Fuck the rules. We’re talking about your inheritance here. How much did she leave you anyway?

 

HENRY

Fifty.

 

LULU

Fifty bucks? Fifty bucks ain’t gonna get you to Arizona these days.

 

HENRY

Fifty thousand.

 

LULU

(whistles)

Wow. Thanks grandma.

 

HENRY

It’s hard for me to believe myself. I’ve never-

 

LULU

What are you gonna do with all that money?

 

 

HENRY

I don’t really know. I’ve never really had that kind of money. I mean, I’m comfortable, I have a good job in California. And I’m good at what I do-

 

LULU

What is it you do?

 

 

HENRY

I’m in data retrieval. When people think they deleted something they shouldn’t have or their computer crashes or they erased their hard drive they come to me. And I always find it.

 

LULU

(stifling a yawn.)

Fascinating.

 

 

 

 

 

SWEET TOOTH                                                                   Ron Campbell         8

soarfeat@gmail.com

 

HENRY

It can be. It can be quite thrilling. Picking up the traces. It’s like unearthing buried treasure. Sniffing around the circuitry until I get a whiff of a forgotten download, a random kilobyte. And then I’m on it. Like a dog on a bone.

It can be frustrating too. But in a good way.

 

LULU

Frustrating in a good way?

 

HENRY

(Warming to his subject.)

Yeah. Sometimes you’re just paddling against the current in the data stream. And pretty soon you find yourself lip deep in the cyber-sediment, sifting through the digital noise; the ads and the porn and all the other viral junk, But you keep digging,

And just when you think your eyes will start bleeding if you have to keep staring at the computer screen for another second, you find what you’re looking for. And all the digital detritus slides away and you finally see what you’ve been paid to hunt down. The Information. Gleaming fresh and holy and immaculate. It was hiding there all the time, camouflaged amongst all the ones and zero’s. It was there the whole time. You see, nothing can be erased. Everything can be retrieved.

 

LULU

Wow.

 

HENRY

And now I’m here. To retrieve some of my grandmother’s ashes. Will you help me or not?

 

LULU

(A decision)

I will. You want to pour? I’ll hold the candy jar.

(They carefully pour out some of the ashes into the candy jar. Suddenly a loud clink as something solid lands in the jar.)

 

HENRY & LULU

Oh my god.

 

LULU

What was that?!

 

HENRY

I don’t know. It looks like… Oh my god. It’s her bridge. For her teeth. Her bridge.

 

 

 

SWEET TOOTH                                                                   Ron Campbell         9

soarfeat@gmail.com

 

LULU

I’m so sorry- The cremation process. It doesn’t always…

 

HENRY

It’s okay. It’s just information.

 

LULU

I’m so sorry.

 

HENRY

It’s okay. Really.

(A pause as they look at the candy jar full of ashes.)

 

LULU

What about the rest of it?

 

HENRY

To tell the truth, I don’t think I want any of the urns you have here. Isn’t there something- and money is no object- isn’t there something , I don’t know, a little more personal?

 

LULU

I’ve got an idea.

(She dumps the candy out of the fishbowl that has been sitting on the counter.)

I think your grandma might appreciate being able to see out. What do you think?

 

HENRY

I think you’re right.

(They begin to pour the remaining ashes into the fishbowl together.)

Isn’t this against the rules?

 

LULU

Don’t worry. The guy who runs this place is kind of uptight,  but I’ll make sure it’s not disturbed.. Your grandma will be fine here.

(LULU picks up the fishbowl.)

 

HENRY

Thank you. I’m sorry, I never got your name.

 

LULU

It’s Maggie. But you can call me Lulu.

 

 

HENRY

Well, thank you, Lulu.

(He gestures to the fishbowl in her arms.)

Thank you both.

SWEET TOOTH                                                                   Ron Campbell         10

soarfeat@gmail.com

 

 

LULU

Have fun in Arizona. Watch out for the updrafts.

 

HENRY

I will.

(LULU exits behind the counter with the fishbowl filled with half a grandma. HENRY puts the candy jar filled with the other half in his pocket, starts to exit. MR. MUMFORD, 50’s, enters from behind the counter.)

 

MR. MUMFORD

Sorry to keep you waiting. How can I be of assistance?

 

HENRY

Oh I’m fine. Maggie, the girl back there, she helped me.

 

MR. MUMFORD

Maggie? (A blank.)

 

HENRY

Or Lulu. I’m not sure…

 

MR. MUMFORD

There is no one named Lulu working here, I assure you.

 

HENRY

No one named Lulu? Are you sure?

 

MR.MUMFORD

Quite sure. Is there something I can help you with?

 

HENRY

No, it’s allright. I was just leaving.

(Goes to door. Stops.)

Actually, I would like one of those candies. A cherry one. Have you tried them? They’re delicious. A little tart, but delicious.

 

(HENRY pops the candy into his mouth, chews, makes a “sour” face, exits. MR.MUMFORD  looks after him quizzically as the lights fade to black.)

 

END OF PLAY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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