Jan and Marsha

 [Plays], Jan and Marsha  Comments Off on Jan and Marsha
Jul 082020
 

Comedy of twin sisters’ hi-jinks and envy.

FIRST SCENE

[JAN AND MARSHA’S APARTMENT. JAN IS ALONE, STARING AT THE PHONE.]

JAN
Ring. Ring…. Ring.

[PHONE RINGS. JAN STARTS VIOLENTLY.]

JAN
‘Lo. No, no. Marsha’s my sister. Yes, I’ll tell her. You thank her. A thousand thanks. Yes, yes. Got it. G’bye.

[PHONE RINGS.]

JAN
Hello. Expecting a call, actually. I have a life of my own too, y’know. Hmm. Yes, yes. What’s that, sultan? A limo to the airport, free tour of the United Arab Emerates? Great, great. I’ll tell her immeadiately when she comes in. Where’s she now? Oh, ah, binding feet in China, that sort of thing. I know, she seems so nice. Not everything is quite what it seems, is it?

[PHONE RINGS.]

JAN
No, no. Marsha’s my sister. Always likes to insert a helping hand, doesn’t she? You thank her. Yes, well, that’s very generous of you. Look, all she did was change a flat. Get over it.

[PHONE RINGS.]

JAN
No, no, I’m not. Well, she’s my sister, actually. Shared a womb at one time. Very cozy. Low rent, young kids on our own, that sort of thing, you understand. Twins, actually. Always being mistaken for each other. Zygote split, long long ago in the dim dark past, etc. Quite a nasty charade at times, really. Expecting one sister when, whoops, you get the other. Ha, ha, universe has played a quick joke on you. No, not everyone in the same family gets the same amount of niceness. You have me there. Must agree. What’s with this third degree, anyway, some sort of survey? With the census, are you?

[JAN listens to dial tone, looks at PHONE; hangs up.]

[PHONE RINGS.]

JAN
Hello. Oh, the Bronx Zoo, that’s very nice, you’ve got all those nasty beasts hunkered down in prisons or cages over there, haven’t you? Good job. Can’t help you myself. I’m a people person, you understand. What? Oh, you want to speak to

MARSHA
It’s Marsha that you want, is it? Well, I’m not Marsha, though, am I? So, get to the fucking point! You would like to thank her. Thank her. Yes, I get it. I’ve got it. Writing it all down, aren’t I? [JAN “WRITES” A NOTE ON THE AIR WITH HER FINGER.] “Thanks for reading the Chinese fables to Lingling and Yingying. Makes them feel right back at home among the swaying bamboo groves.” Got it, got it. It’s all down here on the Rosetta stone. Lovely, lovely. Yes, her Cantonese is perfection. Y’know, she had a pack of those greasy Tienammin Square exiles camping out here for about six months. Nothing quite as maddening as an apartment full of freedom-fighting computer nerds.

[PHONE RINGS.]

JAN
No, no. Got my own life, haven’t I? Expecting a rather important call, you know. So, buzz off. Thanks, that’s a good buddist. Free tibet with every meal. Yes, yes. Spin a prayerwheel for me then? Drop dead.

[DOORBELL RINGS. JAN PICKS UP THE PHONE.]

JAN
Hello, hello?

[DOORBELL RINGS AGAIN.]

JAN
Oh! [ANSWERS DOOR. BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS ARE DELIVERED.] Sign here? All right, then, off you go. OLR

[JAN LOOKS AT THE CARD ATTATCHED.]

JAN
Prince Charles! That Marsha doesn’t where to draw the line, does she? Damn well rebelled from Britain two-hundred years ago, didn’t we? Still, they’re lovely flowers just the same. [READING.] “In recognition of your outstanding services in re-uniting the Free State of Ireland.” Well, I’ll be. Quite the little diplomat, that

MARSHA
And I was under the impression that all she did was serve tea tuesdays and thursdays at the United Nations. The girl really has no sense of proportion.

[PHONE RINGS. JAN ANSWERS THE DOOR. PHONE RINGS AGAIN.]

JAN
Oh! [ANSWERS PHONE.] Hello? At last! What did you wait so long to call for? The line was busy. Yeah, well, I’m the sister of mercy’s answering service. Is everything set? It’s all go, then? Four p.m. The parade grounds. Two minute timer. Got it. Yes. [HANGS UP.] I’ve got to get changed.

[JAN EXITS. MARSHA, HER IDENTICAL TWIN, ENTERS THROUGH FRONT DOOR, HAULING A HUGE BAG OF ALUMINUM CANS. MARSHA STUTTERS.]

MARSHA
J-Jan? I’m h-home.

JAN
I’m in here, getting changed, apparently into a contender for the World Wrestling Federation chunky-butts championship throwdown, if this mirror can be trusted.

MARSHA
D-did I get any m-m-messages?

JAN
No. Nothing. Not a one. Been a real drop off in your popularity ’round here, sis. A gratitude abyss.

MARSHA
Kind of a r-relief, r-really.

JAN
I’m sorry, Marsh, what did you say? It’s been so quiet around here today, I’ve sort of lost the habit of listening. An innundation of silence. Don’t know how those monks ever readjust.

MARSHA
I’m still n-not used to this eye p-patch Jose Feliciano had sent over for Nat-tivitad.

JAN
Yeah, well, it’s a bit premature, don’t you think? Don’t they make braille calenders in Mexico?

MARSHA
If I d-don’t break it in , what will Jose say the next time he s-sees me?

JAN
That’s a puzzler, but, that’s what you get for donating your eye to a blinded seeing eye dog, dearie.

MARSHA
You d-don’t understand. L-little Joselita is s-so c-cute! I-I just c-counldn’t not.

JAN
God, this thing makes my tummy look like a beachball. Why I ever agreed to help you out with this…OLR, specify help.

[AS MARSHA SORTS HER GIANT STACK OF THANK YOU NOTES.]

MARSHA
So, Jan, how’s your boyfriend?

JAN
Spunkenstein? He’s all right.

SCENE TWO

[SAME. LATER. MARSHA is sorting cans by brand.]

MARSHA
Jan, I’ve got an awfully big favor to ask of you.

JAN
Favor? What makes you think you’ve got the right to ask me any favors?

MARSHA
Nothing. Of course, you’re right. I don’t know how I could’ve asked, really.

JAN
Marsha, you’re such an ass. Go ahead and ask me. I was being sarcastic. I couldn’t really turn down St. Teresa, now could I?

MARSHA
Oh, has she called again?

JAN
Hasn’t stopped. Not since you got her that cellular last Easter.

MARSHA
Well, I was wondering…. I know you like to gainsay all these charities and things….

JAN
Collecting sperm from endangered elephants? How could I mock something as solemn, and huge, as that?

MARSHA
Anyway, I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind…. The thing is, I just know you’ve got a heart of gold in there under all that yakety shellack and those barbed comebacks. You’re my sister, after all, and you couldn’t hide your true nature from me.

JAN
No, of course not. Not after all the childhood anxieties and proms dates we’ve swapped. All the teachers we tricked. Get on,

MARSHA
Gee, this is so edgy and real….

MARSHA
Well, you know how untidy people are at parades….

JAN
Do I LOOK like a maid, Marsh?

MARSHA
No. That’s not it at all. But….

JAN
But I do look great in a frilly apron, right? You sound like Spunkenstein.

MARSHA
They’re always imbibing their favorite brands of deliscious refreshing brand name carbonated commensibles…?

JAN
Yes, yes. All the old horses with their schnozes at the diet cola trough; little ones rotting away their dental inheritance with the sugar-loaded type. Big booming business selling us what we don’t need with ads that we don’t like so that we can go on being NOT happy in our very own very special American way. Happy capitalism day! Hooray! And your point….

MARSHA
A lot of those aluminum cans wind up sloppily discarded on the sidewalk; doing no one any good and creating a minor traffic hazard.

JAN
How dare they! I already asked you if I looked like anybody’s maid, didn’t I?

MARSHA
Yes. And you don’t, really, except maybe Fran Drescher a little. And of course, that means I look like her too, doesn’t it?

JAN
Just like I look like her. Right.

MARSHA
You know, that’s a great deal of top notch aluminum just going to waste.

JAN
And just what are we going to do with it?

MARSHA
Oh, Jan!

JAN
Hypothetically.

MARSHA
Well, since we’re going to the parade anyway….

JAN
Ye-ees.

MARSHA
We could just collect the stuff…. Hypotheically.

JAN
For what conceivable purpose? Another Sputnik? Tidyness’ sake?

MARSHA
Well, same reason I’ve got these. For Jerry’s kids. For crutches.

JAN
Those drooling dolts you have to stare at on Labor Day telethons? Marsha! Get lucid!

SCENE THREE

[THE PARADE. MARSHA picks up and deposits a can in her nearly full sack. JAN’s is empty, except for one or two passing parade viewers have tossed in instead of using the garbage can.]

MARSHA
Clank! A good strong can there. American aluminum.

JAN
Kiddies well on their way to tin limbs, are they? Almost makes me wish I was short a limb.

MARSHA
Well, you are slightly clubfooted,

JAN
That’s how mom always was able to tell us apart..

JAN
Thanks for reminding me, bionic eye. All my life, I’ve been able to slip on my special shoes, and as long as I didn’t mix up my left and right feet, I was OK. Didn’t think of my hanicap at all. Thanks for reminding me of my stature, compared to you, dear dear Marsha.

MARSHA
[recalling.] Big L and big R; mom drew them on your feet with indelible ink once a month like clockwork.

JAN
Like a pediopheliac tattooist, you mean. She used to do that in my sleep. I was ten before I found out that R and L weren’t birthmarks. I still have nightmares about the Tickle Monster… eeuagh!

[MARSHA clinks another can in her sack.]

MARSHA
Look. You’d better get on the ball. I’m getting way ahead.

JAN
[squinting at MARSHA.] The ugly head of competitive spirit, slowly raising its fanged countenance….

MARSHA
It’s what makes America great, isn’t it?

JAN
Oh yeah. It’s what Thanksgiving is all about, really. Corporate pilgrims smashing the competitive daylights out of the Indians on the Maize stock exchange.

[A line of mimes goes by, pulling themselves on an invisible “rope.”]

MARSHA
Oh, mimes! I just l-love mimes.

JAN
I’d like to hear your impression of one about now.

MARSHA
Oh, look. They’ve hauled themselves over to the P-pepsi stand.

JAN
Mimes. Make enough noise when they slurp that stuff down.

MARSHA
Oh, J-

JAN
They’re off duty. Let’s s-see if we can go get their cans.

JAN
[Going along.] Maybe they can shut you up in one of their invisible boxes. And soundproof it.

SCENE FOUR

[LITTLE GIRL SCENE— THE PARADE GROUNDS. The LITTLE GIRL in this scene is indeed one of Jerry’s Kids, and has crutches of aluminum.]

MARSHA
This is a once in alifetime opportunity. Pepsi is sposoring the parade this year. Just think of the discarded cans!

JAN
[to LITTLE GIRL] Are you done with that yet?

LITTLE GIRL
What?

JAN
[Imperious.] Can.

LITTLE GIRL
Can?

JAN
What?

LITTLE GIRL
What?

JAN
Not what, can.

LITTLE GIRL
Can I what?

JAN
Can you give me that can?

LITTLE GIRL
Can I give you what can?

JAN
That can in your hand. Milk-besotted youth… rocknroll is making them all deaf.

LITTLE GIRL
There’s a machine right over there.

JAN
I don’t want a machine, I want that can.

LITTLE GIRL
It takes bills.

JAN
Do I look like a duck?

LITTLE GIRL
Duck?

JAN
Duck, duck! Quack, quack! [flaps arms, etc.]

LITTLE GIRL
You’re a strange duck.

JAN
Look, will you give to me for a buck?

LITTLE GIRL
I said you were a strange duck.

JAN
Do I look like Donald Duck, is that it? There’s Donald, quacking his way through the stratosphere.

LITTLE GIRL
Oh, Donald Duck! Hello, Donnie D!

JAN
Look… just… here’s the dollar. Now give me the can.

LITTLE GIRL
A dollar! Is it real?

JAN
Is it real! Of course its goddamned real…. Who would go to the trouble of etching and printing up a fake… oh, nevermind.

LITTLE GIRL
It certainly looks real.

JAN
It is real. Now give me that soda can.

[LITTLE GIRL pockets dollar, drinks from can.]

JAN
aren’t you done with that yet?

LITTLE GIRL
Donnie D! Donnie D! [she waves furiously.]

[JAN takes the can, dumps it out, clanks can loudly into the bag with the two others, and looks over at MARSHA with a prideful smirk.]

LITTLE GIRL
…Mommie!

MARSHA
Hmm. Well, I guess that’s one more can than we had.

JAN
Look, you might just try thinking of me for a change.

[MARSHA makes “Hmm” thinking sound.]

JAN
What are you doing?

MARSHA
Trying to think of you.

JAN
Well?

MARSHA
Turn around.

JAN
Turn around?

MARSHA
Well, I can’t very well think of you with you looking at me, can I? Don’t you have to be absent or something? Isn’t that the usual way? Dear Fondly-Recalled-in-a-Distant-Land and all that?

JAN
Try harder. I mean, how do I feel for christssake? Hmm? How does neglected and bedraggled two minutes younger, clubfooted Jan feel? Ever ask yourself that? Maybe if you were just a shade more selfish, I could stand the unbearable fact that you are as giving as your are. But, no! Not a chink in your buffed and polished aluminium armor, is there! What a blinding shame! Here comes Marsha the invincible princess, driving her nice new Nice-CBM missle right down the sunny side of the street! All hail princess Nice!

MARSHA
W-would t-that r-really help you out, s-sis? If I w-were m-more like you, t-that is? More b-brutish and s-s-selfish, a female Donald Trump?

JAN
Well, yes. It might; it just might. But not is you’re selfish to me, personally. Try it out on strangers first.See how it feels. Snub a Vietnam vet, or kick a puppy….

MARSHA
I-I s-sup-pose I could try it. F-for you….

JAN
Don’t be all smarmy about it. That would sort of ruin the whole experiment, wouldn’t it? Sheer ruin, that’d be; the whole lab up in napalm. Don’t be selfish for me, be selfish for yourself. Nit.

MARSHA
I g-guess….

[LITTLE GIRL and MOTHER re-enter. MARSHA waves sweetly to her while JAN struggles with selfishness similies.]

JAN
Oh, look. It’s easy; it’s so easy. It’s like… like stealing candy from a baby. [Seeing who MARSHA is waving at.] Great! See that rotten little harridan with the soda-fixation? Figured she’d be in psychotherapy by now with all the fuss she raised.

MARSHA
All right. Right. What do I do now?

JAN
You are a pathetic creature, aren’t you?

MARSHA
My thespian instructress in sixth grade said pathos was a very valuable, as well as evanescent, dramatic trait.

JAN
Just shut it. God! …What do you do? What do you do?

MARSHA
Yes. How do I be selfish?

JAN
If you have to ask others of to be, to be…. Argh! I feel like Lucy being licked by that insufferable beast, that dog, what’s-his-name!

MARSHA
Pathos!

JAN
Was that the dingo’s monniker?

MARSHA
No. You were just such a good example of pathos just then.

JAN
[Going on from before.] Must’ve been named by an out of work actor…. How would you like to be a good example of a cruxifiction, Marsha?

MARSHA
[Going on from before.] Oh. Don’t you just love Snoopy? And, and….Look, there he is! It’s the Snoopy float just rounding the c-corner at the ta-taysachs clinic!

JAN
Yes. That’s the one you’re always bleeding at, isn’t it?

MARSHA
Someone has to be the guinea pig. Science would never advance without a few useful deaths.

JAN
Well, just remember that when you go over to that little girl over there….

MARSHA
Remember what?

JAN
[Lost in thought.] A useful death…. Hmm….

MARSHA
But how am I to be selfish?

JAN
[Flinching from habit.] I am not being selfish,

MOM
Why’re you always on my back. Look, Mother, you can just….[Realizes she is addressing Marsha.] I, I wasn’t being selfish,

MARSHA
I was just lost in thought. [Recovering her self-possession fully.] You do think, don’t you? Can’t serve crumpets at the UN completely without a stinking brain, can you? Perhaps one pickled in formaldehyde?

MARSHA
No, no. You can’t. I mean, yes, I do. I do have a brain. But I still don’t know how I am to be selfish.

JAN
If I told you how, it would hardly be selfish on you’re part, now would it? [Gives a friendly shove while MARSHA is still trying to unpuzzle the logic of her last statement.] Off you go….

[MARSHA goes toward the LITTLE GIRL]

JAN
A useful death, useful death….

SCENE FIVE

[PARADE GROUNDS– MARSHA AND THE LITTLE GIRL]

LITTLE GIRL
Eek! Mommie, it’s that horrible lay. And now she doesn’t gots one eye!

MARSHA
A h-horrible lady? Where?

LITTLE GIRL
[Pointing at MARSHA.] There! there!

MARSHA
T-there? Oh, but you’re pointing at me!

LITTLE GIRL
You took my can of soda.

MARSHA
I’ve got a lot of soda cans here. Now, which one was yours? We’ll fish it out.

LITTLE GIRL
[Taken off guard by MARSHA’s wacky tack.] I-I don’t know.

MARSHA
Well…. Do you know which brand of sodapop it was?

LITTLE GIRL
It’s not the can….

MARSHA
N-not the can? But, all I’ve got are cans. See? [MARSHA shakes bag. Cans clank.]

LITTLE GIRL
I want the soda back. You poured it all out on the dog.

MARSHA
On the d-dog? You mean that c-chia-h-hua-h-hua?

LITTLE GIRL
Chi- wha-…. What?

MARSHA
W-what?

LITTLE GIRL
[Making fun of MARSHA’s stutter.] Wh-w-what?

MARSHA
P-p-poor th-thing! You’ve g-got a st-st-stutter t-too, haven’t you? Well, I know what it’s like growing up with that af-af-fliction.

LITTLE GIRL
[Guiltily.] Pretty tough…. I b-bet.

MARSHA
Well, I can’t tell you anything about it that you d-don’t already k-know. However, don’t let them get you d-down. Just pretend you’re humming your words. Like a little song. [Hums.] I’m a yankee doodle d-dandy… a real live niece of my Uncle Sam….

LITTLE GIRL
Dandy? What’s a dandy?

MARSHA
[Stops humming.] Candy? [Aside.] From a baby! [Aloud. Narrowing her eyes.] You haven’t got any candy, have you?

LITTLE GIRL
Candy!?

MARSHA
I’m afraid I haven’t g-got any candy,

LITTLE GIRL

LITTLE GIRL
…candy?

MARSHA
[Aside.] Selfish. Be selfish. [Alound.] No, I definately do not have any candy…. And, and if I did, well you can be d-darn s-sure I would give you any. [Proudly, conspiritorially.] I’m selfish.

MOM
[Not even turning around to see what’s going on.] Hush, hush, darling. What do you mean, we don’t have any candy? [Pulls a whole bag of candies from her purse.] Now, here, you and your little friend shre this equally. I don’t want any selfishness in my children. And pay attention to the grand parade! the enthusiasms of youth cannot be duplicated! Oh, look, there’s Snoopy and that chittery sidekick of his, what’s-its-name! The yellow feller!

LITTLE GIRL
[Morosely giving half.] That’s half. I’m Melissa.

MARSHA
And I’m M-

MARSHA
Thank you. [To herself.] Maybe this selfishness thing is going to work out.

MOM
[Humming.] Seventy-six trombones in the big parade….

MARSHA
These Cracker Jacks are sure drying out my throat. [Coughs. Opens purse for change.] Wanna grab us a couple of Pepsis?

LITTLE GIRL
[Face lighting up.] Sure!

[LITTLE GIRL gets sodas. They lift them to their lips.]

MARSHA
Well, Melissa, as my friend from the UN, Sven Sorensen, says: skoal!

[MOM turns around, instantly alert]

MOM
Sven Sorenson! I haven’t heard that name in thirty years. Have you heard of him?

MARSHA
Why, I should think so, I gave him a crumpet and a vodka-spiked herbal tea just yesterday, around fourish.

MOM
Did you know that he and I… Well, I haven’t seen Sven in thirty years.

MARSHA
Well….

MOM
My dear woman, Sven and I were affianced all those years ago… We met on a pleasure cruise amongst the great and scenic iceburgs of the North Sea when… when…. [MOM begins to break down.]

MARSHA
When your ship smacked against one, and went all hands down!

MOM
Yes, yes. Greatest disater since the Titanic. I thought Sven… Well, they never found him, nothing at all. And yet you say he’s… he’s….

MARSHA
Alive and in New York. Yes he certainly is. Is your name Morainia?

MOM
Yes! Yes, it is.

MARSHA
Well, he talks of nothing else. He’s been a bachelor these thirty years, and taken to vodka and tea on a regular basis. Sad and proud in a drunken Icelandic way.

MOM
Does he… does he ever mention me?

MARSHA
Talks of nothing else by his third tea, although the tea’s a bit thin at that point. “Morania, Morania dearest.”

MOM
Oh, darling woman, you’ve changed my life!

MARSHA
[to LITTLE GIRL] You’d think he was singing an anthem to a country named Morania, practically….

MOM
I see you like candy. Here, here’s a bagfull. I’ve just divorced the wretch that that makes these Crunch ‘Ems, this girl’s father. But what ever happed to Sven? I mean, they never found….

MARSHA
Caught in a thermal stream. Probably the same one that make the iceberg crack off the glaciers you were touring. That, and the Greenhouse effect. Sven’s the head of head of an international panel I volunteer for on that subject, bye the bye.

MOM
But what happened? Why couldn’t they find him?

MARSHA
Very strange really. I’ve heard the story a thousand times! “AAnd ssen, aafter I scramble oop onto se ledge ov an ice-cave, insiide de iceberg…. I begin to shaake, like de deviil has my soul on a rope, it is so cold. So, soo cold! I tell you.” Oh it was an adventure right enough.

LITTLE GIRL
But then what happened, Marsha?

MARSHA
Well, it gets kind of bloody then.

LITTLE GIRL
Bloody? Oooo….

MARSHA
Yes. Evidently, this fat walrus waddled onto the ice ledge. Sven slayed it, and crawled inside to keep warm. An illegal Japanese whaler found him three days later, howling and hallucinating in a dancing walrus-skin. They almost speared him.

MOM
Oh no!

MARSHA
Oh, yes! He had a case of Arctic amnesia pretty bad for the next ten years, off and on. Signed up with the Japanese deligation to the UN, and got his memory back when he met his first Icelander here in New York. Since then, it’s been nothing but Morainia this and Morainia that.

MOM
Sven!

MARSHA
Told me the whole story over a tuna sandwich we split at a global warming conference in St. Moritz.

STREET HAWKER
Videos of the parade! Sign up for yours today! Only 19.95! Rewind and relive the enthusiasms of youth! Video! Video!

MOM
Oh, I must sign up for one of those. Come along, Melissa, we’re off to the UN. But first I want to hear the gallidet marching band. You have my eternal gratitude,

MARSHA

MARSHA
Well, all in a day’s…. I must run too, my sister’s expecting me.

MOM
[to LITTLE GIRL] Come along!

LITTLE GIRL
‘Bye!

MARSHA
‘Bye-‘bye, Melissa. [looks at candy bag.] Maybe this selishness thing is going to work out after all. Like taking candy….

[MARSHA GOES back to JAN.]

MARSHA
Well, p-pretty g-good, huh?

[JAN, speechlessly angry, strides over behind the LITTLE GIRL and takes away her crutches. But the LITTLE GIRL… can walk! A miracle!]

JAN
She’s only clubfooted! Like me!

MOM
Melissa’s never set foot in a club. She can’t possibly be club-footed.

SCENE SIX

[THE PARADE. JAN has tied MARSHA to the Barney float, along with a bundle of high explosives on a timer.]

JAN
Your pain, your suffering, your desperate eye searching for an escape route. Darling, I’m in heaven! What’s that? Can’t hear you, darling. The gag, you know. Would you like a final word with your darling, evil sis? Well, maybe…. No, better not. You might just stutter out a scream or some such thing. Can’t understand you half the time anyway, stuttering like a woodpecker on speed…. Better yet, I’ll do it for you. I will perform your final words for you. About time you were out of the spotlight, doll. Even Glinda the good witch took a day off once in a while to polish her crown. Here, give me that damned glitzy eye patch. What were you, doing the Pirates of Penzanze for political prisoners on an Amnesty International road show? I’ll give you a dose of your own medicine, Dr. Feelgood.

[JAN pulls off eyepatch, puts it on, and begins to do a mincing, savage impersonation of MARSHA.]

JAN
I-I j-just l-love d-d-doing g-good d-d-deeds all d-day! That’s you,

MARSHA
T-Think I’ll fly to R-Rome and give the P-Pope a b-b-blow job! He hasn’t had it in God know’s…. Here comes the man for the float now. Now you be good…. Just keep up the habit. You’ll keep lonely-wonely Barney company, won’t you? You’re slung just about where his testicles would be, if the purple monstrosity had any. Not too diff from most males, really….

[BARNEY FLOAT begins to rise, taking MARSHA away.]

[ENTER the MOTHER.]

JAN
[Not yet noticing MOTHER.] H-hope I can get the loan of the sc-schoolbus to trot that gang of orphans over to the rerelease of M-mary P-p-p-poppins!

MOTHER
Marsha?

JAN
[Surprised out of her wits.] M-m-mother! [Moves down stage to distract MOTHER from seeing the real MARSHA, who is struggling frantically.]

MOTHER
Oh, good. It is you,

MARSHA
I never could tell you and your sister apart. I was just wondering when you’d show up. There’s been an accident involving the Momeschanch mime troop.

JAN
Oh, g-golly! Nobody done-in, I h-hope.

MOTHER
Just down the street on Two Rivers Ave. A sewage truck and a float. Talk about parting the waters.

JAN
W-what h-happened? [Aside.] The old stinker really has a nose for a story.

MOTHER
Well, the mimes were all miming away like windmills, and apparently the Chippawah-Peaceful-Way-and-Holistic-Vegan-Veggies-Incorporated float driver and that sewage truck driver thought they were a patrol of traffic cops giving directions. Ran ’em all down.

JAN
How h-hor-rend-dous! The whole troop?

MOTHER
To a man. Or whatever they are under those leotards.

JAN
T-terrible!

MOTHER
I’ll give this to them, though, they stayed mum through it all. Not a man-jack of of ’em screamed or bleated. Silent as the grave.

JAN
Well, they a-are p-p-p-…. p-professionals.

MOTHER
And, dear, I’ve got to tell you. Your father has just turned me out. I’ve nowhere to stay. You’re Mommy’s homeless!

JAN
W-well, I guess….

MOTHER
I can stay with you! Oh, darling, thanks! Where else would I go, an old bag of bones like me? Unloved, alone in the whole world…. We’ll never be apart again, MARSHA. From this day forward until the day I die! We’ll be the dynamic duet!

[JAN begins to weep. Almost.]

JAN
I’ll w-wipe your b-b-bum, Mum, when you’re old. [Wails out the word ‘old.’ Aside.] I’m stuck! I’ve become what I hate… someone good!

[Explosion sounds offstage.]

MOTHER
Good heavens, what’s that? Oh no… Looks as if the Barney float’s just done a Hindenberg right into FAO Schwartz! What mayhem!

JAN
[Aside.] And not a scrap of evidence.

MOTHER
What’s that? What did you say dear? You could roast all the Thanksgiving Day turkeys in New York in that inferno!

JAN
I j-just thought…. A-all th-those un-un-un-unhappy children!

[JAN smiles.]

[END]