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Welcome to SENTINEL LITERARY QUARTERLY

Vol.3. No. 3. April - June 2010

 


CONTRIBUTORS

DRAMA

SECTIONS

Barrie Darke
Bruce J. Berger
Chad Norman
Christian Ward
Chuma Nwokolo Jr
Claire Askew
Colin Gallant
Davide Trame
Gary Beck
Ivor W. Hartmann
Katie Metcalfe
M C Hardwick
Michael Conley
Minna Salami
Pete Court
Roger Elkin
Warren Paul Glover
George Freek
 

 

JUST SAY WHAT YOU THINK

(A Short Comedy)

by

GEORGE FREEK

 

The Characters

 

ELSIE FRANK, A retired person, 70

CARL FRANK, Her son, 40s

HELENA BEARD, A social services employee, 30

 

The Place

ELSIE’s modest livingroom

 

The time

Recently

 

(ELSIE FRANK’s livingroom. ELSIE is sitting at a table left, playing a game, perhaps solitaire, with a deck of cards. CARL opens the door to admit HELENA)

 

CARL

Please… come in, er… Ms. Beard…

 

HELENA

(Formally polite) Thank you. (As she enters she trips over something) What the…

 

CARL

Oops! I’m terribly sorry. (He lifts a small barbell, embarrassed) I was wondering where I’d put that. (Quickly) Would you like a cup of coffee?

 

HELENA

No thank you… I don’t trust caffeine.

 

CARL

Boy, I probably trust it too much! Whatever that means… (He laughs. She does not).

 

HELENA

(Gesturing towards ELSIE) Yes, and now, perhaps we should…

 

CARL

Um, just a minute, I’d like to ask you, if I may… Who reported to you that I’d been…um, shouting at my mother?

 

HELENA

You probably know I’m not allowed to give out that information.

CARL (Muttering to himself) Like the Nazis…

 

HELENA

Excuse me!

 

CARL

Oh… I was just thinking that anyone with a grudge could report someone to the authorities for an offense against the Nazis and that person would be protected, while the poor fellow he reported could be hounded forever. Not very nice…

 

HELENA

I don’t find that very funny.

 

CARL

Oh, believe me, I didn’t mean it to be funny. But I was thinking that maybe I could spare you some time and some trouble if it was Sally Morgan. You see she was caring for mother in the afternoons, but we had to let her go when things began to turn up missing.

 

HELENA

I assure you, this is no trouble at all. It’s my job. And I think we should speak to your mother now. (They approach ELSIE, who pays no attention, absorbed in her card game).

 

CARL

Um, mother…

ELSIE

(She jumps slightly) Oh! Carl! Are you here? (To HELENA) He’s always sneaking up on me! It reminds me of my husband! Of course, he thought it was funny. Oh, Milton was a real practical joker. But I remember one time Ed Gordon got angry with one of Milton’s jokes and nearly knocked Milton’s block off. (She chuckles).

 

HELENA

(A strained smile) Well now, how are you, Mrs. Frank?

 

CARL

Um, mother, this is Ms. Beard.

 

ELSIE

Oh? (Smiling, not impolite, just curious) What do you want?

 

CARL

She’s here to make sure I haven’t been beating you up.

 

ELSIE

(Before HELENA can say anything) Beating me up! Why would you do that? Of course Bert Masters used to beat Freddy up. But Freddy usually deserved it. He was always stealing things. (To HELENA) Did you know Freddy Masters?

 

HELENA

No. No. (With a thin smile) I think your son is trying to be funny, Mrs. Frank. I’m simply here, just to make sure that everything is going well for you.

 

ELSIE

How nice of you! Well, you’re lucky you didn’t know Freddy. He was a very nasty piece of work! He pushed me into a snowdrift once! It was pure maliciousness! He was angry because I wouldn’t give him my whistle. You remember those little tin whistles we used to have? We got them at Maynard’s store over on Elm Street. Now that Maynard was another s.o.b. If you’ll excuse my language—

 

CARL

(Quickly) Mother, I don’t think Mrs. Beard came to talk about Maynard.

 

ELSIE

I don’t blame her! (Smiling sweetly) What’s your first name, dear?

 

HELENA

It’s Helena, Mrs. Frank, and I am here—

 

ELSIE

Helen! That was my mother’s sister’s name. (To CARL) She doesn’t look much like Aunt Helen, does she? But Aunt Helen was a good deal older. When she finally died, she was ninety-seven! Of course Uncle Herbert always claimed she lied about her age! Uncle Herbert had a wonderful singing voice, you know. He always sang the solos at the Sunday service… if he didn’t have a hangover, that is. That was at the old Presbyterian Church on Eighteenth Street. Oh, that was a wonderful old church. Why they decided they had to build that modern monstrosity on Lexington Avenue, I have no idea—

 

CARL

Look, mother, um, why don’t we get down to business? (To HELENA) Would you like a seat, Ms. Beard? (He gestures to a chair).

 

HELENA

(Reluctantly sitting, growing uncomfortable) It’s Helena, by the way, Mrs. Frank. My name is Helena with an A. (She smiles as if she had reestablished control of the situation). Now then, tell me, Mrs. Frank, are you getting along all right. Are you having any… problems at all? (With a glance at CARL) Please speak freely.

 

ELSIE

No! I’m not getting along all right!

 

HELENA

No! Well… would you tell me what the trouble is?

 

ELSIE

Why, it’s those dogs!

 

HELENA

(Confused) Dogs?

 

ELSIE

The Martin’s dogs… They bark all night long!

 

HELENA

(Slightly disappointed) Oh I see.

 

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April-June Index
COMPETITIONS
DRAMA
FICTION
POETRY

 COMPETITIONS

April 2010 (Poetry)

Judge's Report

April 2010 (Short Stories)

Judge's Report

July 2010 (Poetry)

Enter now.

July 2010 (Short Stories)

Enter now.

April-June Index / COMPETITIONS / DRAMA / FICTION / POETRY

 

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