Jitney by August Wilson
YOUNGBLOOD, jitney driver and Vietnam veteran-mid-late twenties
TURNBO, jitney driver who is always interested in the business of others
FIELDING, jitney driver and former tailor, with a dependency on alcohol
DOUB, long time jitney driver and Korean War veteran
SHEALY, numbers taker who often uses the jitney station as his base
PHILMORE, local hotel doorman, recurring jitney passenger
BECKER, well-respected man who runs the jitney station-in his sixties
BOOSTER, Becker's son, recently released from prison-in his early 40's
RENA, Youngblood's girlfriend and mother of their young son
(The time is early fall, 1977. The setting is a gypsy cab station in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The paint is peeling off the walls, and the floor
is covered with linoleum that is worn through in several areas. In the middle
of the wall stage left sits an old-fashioned pot-bellied stove that dominates
the room. Upstage of it is a blackboard on which is written the rates to different
parts of the city, and the daily, marginally illegal policy numbers. Next to
the blackboard a sign reads "Beckers's Rules:
1. No overcharging; 2. Keep car clean; 3. No drinking; 4. Be
courteous; 5. Replace and clean tools." Downstage on the wall is a pay
telephone. The entire right wall is made up of the entrance down right and a
huge picture window. Along the upstage wall is a sofa, with several chairs of
various styles and ages scattered about to complete the setting.
As the scene opens, it is mid-morning. YOUNGBLOOD and TURNBO sit
facing each other on folding chairs in front of the sofa. They are playing
checkers, with the checkerboard on their knees in front of them. FIELDING
sits in a chair down left.)
YOUNGBLOOD (agitated) Naw! You can't do
that! How you gonna take my man?
TURNBO I'm gonna jump him, fool!
YOUNGBLOOD How you gonna jump him with the man sitting there! I got a
man sitting there! Is you blind?
TURNBO Well, put him where he belongs then! I ain't seen him sitting
there. I thought he was on the other square.
(He studies the board and makes his move. YOUNGBLOOD jumps his man.)
YOUNGBLOOD Don't you know I was the checker champ of 'Nam.
TURNBO Boy, ain't nobody studying you. (He
moves.) There! Champ that!
(FIELDING eases a half-pint bottle of gin from under the cushion of the
chair. Discovering it is empty. He eases it back.)
YOUNGBLOOD (studying the board) I done told you who you playing with
now. Can't nobody beat me. I'm like Muhammad Ali.
I'm the greatest!
FIELDING (gets up suddenly) Youngblood, let me have four dollars. I
got to go.
TURNBO (does a double jump) Come on and move, checker champ! What's
the matter now? Huh?
YOUNGBLOOD I ain't got it, Fielding. If I had it, you know I'd give it to you.
TURNBO Come on and play. Checker Champ.
FIELDING Turnbo, let me have four dollars.
TURNBO (to YOUNGBLOOD, agitated) Will you come on and move,
FIELDING Let me have the four dollars.
TURNBO Fielding, you know better than to ask me for anything.
(YOUNGBLOOD moves, and TURNBO jumps two of his men.) King me!
King me! Come on, Checker Champ, let me beat you again.
(The phone rings.)
you cheat old man.
(FIELDING answers the phone.)
FIELDING Car service. (pause) East Liberty? Whereabouts in East
Liberty? (pause) That'll be four dollars. (pause) Lady, I don't
care what nobody else charge you that's a four dollar trip. (pause) All
right. Green car. What's the address again? (pause) I'll be right
(He hangs up as DOUB enters.)
FIELDING Doub, let me have four dollars.
got to make a run to East Liberty. Give me four dollars,
I'll give it back to you.
nigger, I ain't no bank.
give me the four dollars. I got to get some gas.
TURNBO If you
don't go out and drink up your money you'd have four dollars and wouldn't
have to be asking nobody.
nobody ask you what I do with my money.
(to DOUB) Let me have
the four dollars, I'll give it back to you.
DOUB (going into his pocket) Here ... here ... don't ask me for
nothing else. This is your one time in life to ask me for something. (He hands him the money.) You bring my four dollars back here
too. (FIELDING exits.)
TURNBO Fielding ain't gonna do nothing but drink up that money. He going right out there to the State Store.
(The phone rings. YOUNGBLOOD answers it.)
YOUNGBLOOD Car service. (pause) Giant Eagle? Wait a minute, you gotta get somebody else.
TURNBO Here ... I'll take it. (He takes
the phone.) Yeah? Which Giant Eagle? (pause) All right. Be right
there. Brown car. You already checked out and ready to go cause
I ain't gonna be waiting. (pause) Okay.
(TURNBO exits. DOUB watches YOUNGBLOOD.)
YOUNGBLOOD What you looking at me for?
DOUB I ain't said nothing to you.
YOUNGBLOOD I ain't gonna mess up my car hauling people's groceries around.
DOUB What you telling me for? I don't care about your business. Becker's the
one you ought to be telling what you is and ain't gonna do.
SHEALY How's everybody in here?
YOUNGBLOOD Hey Shealy.
DOUB I see your boy down the street got a brand new car.
YOUNGBLOOD Who? Who got a new car?
DOUB Pope who own that restaurant down on Centre.
YOUNGBLOOD What'd he get?
DOUB He got a brand new shiny Buick Riviera. How much did he hit for, Shealy?
SHEALY You know me, Doub.
I don't be putting nobody's business in the street. First thing you know
somebody be done got killed talking about "Shealy
said ... " I ain't gonna have that on my
conscience. I don't know nothing.
DOUB I know he hit big. He been playing that 261 every day for years.
SHEALY I don't know nothing about it ... but I do
know he's closing up his restaurant. The city's tearing it down.
DOUB They gonna tear it down before it fall down.
YOUNGBLOOD I didn't know you and Pope was tight.
SHEALY We ain't tight. I don't know why Doub wanna tie me up with him.
DOUB Oh now ... I remember when you all used to be tight.
SHEALY Must be when he had that little yellow gal working for him. That's the
only time you ever see me down there.
DOUB What ever happened to that gal?
SHEALY She married to one of them boys that drive a bus. That's what I hear.
DOUB She wasn't the one, huh?
SHEALY Naw she wasn't the one. I thought she was
but then I believe Rosie done put a curse on me. She don't
want me to have no other woman. But then she didn't want me. I told her baby,
just tell me what kind of biscuits you want to make. I'm like the mill-man I
can grind it up any way you want. She knew I was telling the truth too. She
couldn't say nothing about that. She say you a poor man. What I need with a poor man? I told
her say if I make a hundred I'll give you ninety-nine. She didn't trust me on
that one but I went down to the crap game, hit six quick licks, left with a
hundred and sixty-three dollars. I went on back up there. She let me in. I
lay a hundred dollars down on the table and told her, "Now, if I can
just get one of them back I'd be satisfied." She reached down and handed
me a dollar and I went on in the room and went to bed. Got up and she had my
breakfast on the table. It wasn't soon long that ninety-nine dollars ran out
and next thing I knew she had barred the door. I went on and left but I never
could get her off my mind. I said I was gonna find me another woman. But
every time I get hold to one ... time I lay down with them ... I see Rosie's
face. I told myself the first time I lay down with a woman and don't see her
face then that be the one I'm gonna marry. That be
my little test. Now with that little yellow gal used to work down at Pope's I
seen Rosie's face ... but it was blurry. Like a cloud or something come over
it. I say, "I got to try this again. Maybe next time I won't see nothing." She
told me she didn't want to see me no more. She told me come back same time
tomorrow and if she changed her mind she'd leave the key in the mailbox. I
went up there and there was one man in the house and two others sitting on
the doorstep. I don't know who had the key.
(The phone rings. YOUNGBLOOD answers it.)
YOUNGBLOOD Car service. (pause) Yeah. Shealy.
(SHEALY takes the phone.)
SHEALY Shealy here.
(He takes out a pad and pencil and begins writing.)
YOUNGBLOOD I'm going next door to Clifford's.
SHEALY (into phone) Six seventy-one straight. Four
sixty-nine boxed for a dollar. I got it. I'll see you down Irv's later
(He hangs up the phone.)
You ain't seen Becker have you?
DOUB He was by here earlier this morning. I think he had to make a run to
take care of some business.
SHEALY You know his boy getting out of the
penitentiary next month. (The phone rings. DOUB crosses to the
DOUB No kidding.
SHEALY After all them years.
DOUB Time go along and it come around.
SHEALY It don't never stop.
DOUB (into phone) Car service. (pause) Where? (pause)
Be right there. Blue car.
(DOUB hangs up the phone.)
DOUB Shealy give me a dollar on
that six seventy-four, I'll give it to you when I get back.
(DOUB exits. SHEALY sits in a chair and goes over
his number slips. PHILMORE enters.)
SHEALY Hey, Philmore.
PHILMORE Ain't no cars here?
SHEALY Doub just left ... he be back in a minute.
PHILMORE I got to get home. I been
out all night and half the morning. My old lady gonna be mad at me.
SHEALY You been out all night, huh?
PHILMORE I went down the Working Men's Club. They had Kenny
Fisher down there. You couldn't hardly get in. I ain't never seen so many people. You used to have to have
a job to get in there.
SHEALY I know they glad they changed that rule. Wouldn't nobody be down there.
PHILMORE I'd be down there. I got me a job.
SHEALY I know. You work down the hotel. You
been there a while.
PHILMORE Six years. I been down
there six years. Started May sixteen, nineteen seventy-one. Been down there
six years and ain't never missed a day. And I ain't never
been late. I'm supposed to get a raise. My old lady told me when I get my
raise she was gonna ...
SHEALY There go Youngblood.
PHILMORE Come on, take me home. I got to get home. My old
lady gonna be mad at me.
Where you live at?
PHILMORE You know where I live at.
Everybody know where I live at. I live out there
above the Frankstown Bar.
YOUNGBLOOD That's a four dollar trip. You got four dollars?
PHILMORE Look here ... let me show you something. Watch
(He builds a pyramid out of dollar bills, then blows them over.)
Now when my old lady tells me I been out blowing my money .
. . you can tell her it's the truth.
YOUNGBLOOD (laughing) You see this, Shealy?
PHILMORE Shealy done seen me do that before.
Go on, Philmore!
(YOUNGBLOOD and PHILMORE exit. The phone rings,
and SHEALY answers it.)
SHEALY Yeah? (pause) Who? (pause) Naw, Mr. Becker ain't here. Who? (pause) Let me
see if I got this. Mr. Pease. Pittsburgh Renewal Council. Yeah, I'll tell
TURNBO Boy, I don't know what this world's coming to. You
know McNeil don't you?
TURNBO McNeil! McNeil what live up on Webster. Old Lady
McNeil, got them two boys and work cleaning up down at the courthouse.
SHEALY (trying to recognize the name) McNeil? I don't
TURNBO (agitated) You know who I'm talking about!
McNeil! Use to be Brownie's old lady. You know Brownie was staying up there
trying to help her raise them two boys. One of them got an old funny shaped
SHEALY Oh, yeah. Yeah, I know who you talking about now.
TURNBO Well, the boy come by here a
little while ago this morning. The oldest one, can't
be no more than sixteen or seventeen at the most. Come by here and asked me
to carry him on a trip to the Northside. Then he say he got to make a stop up on Whiteside Road. I carried him up there and he go into one of them houses and
come on out carrying a television. He ain't said nothing
about no television now. I told him it was gonna cost him two dollars
more for me to be hauling around a television. Had me carry him over on the Northside to the pawnshop.
Now, I know the boy done stole the television, but I ain't
said nothing. I just want my money-- Come on back and
stopped at Pat's Place to get me some tobacco, and the fellows standing
around just happened to mention the name of this woman who done had her
television stolen. Don't you know that boy done went and stole his grandmama's television! Name is Bolger. Miss Sarah
Bolger. That's old lady McNeil's mother. I used to carry her to church before
she got too old to go. Steal his own grandmother's
SHEALY That ain't nothing, Turnbo. I seen worse than that.
TURNBO Yeah, I have too. But what would make someone want to
steal their grandmama's television? I can't figure
it out. Becker, you know McNeil what live up on Webster used to be Brownie's
old lady ... work cleaning up at the courthouse . ..
got them two boys ... one of them got an old funny shaped head ...
BECKER I don't want to hear that, Turnbo. I got other things
on my mind. (to SHEALY) Here's Lucille's
numbers. I hear Pope done hit.
SHEALY Yeah. He hit pretty big. Say Becker, I been meaning
to ask you. I got a nephew that's trying to make something of himself. You reckon you be able to get him on down at the
BECKER I don't know if they hiring. But I'll check into it.
I know some people down there will be able to take care of him if they
hiring. I can't promise nothing but I'll talk to
them for you.
SHEALY Thanks Becker. His name is Robert Shealy.
He's trying to straighten himself out and I told his mama I'd check around
and see what I can do. Thanks again. Here go your message.
(SHEALY hands BECKER a piece of page, then exits.)
TURNBO You don't know nothing about
Shealy's nephew, I can tell that. Boy's the biggest
rogue ... what you call a thug ... you ever seen. He done been down there in
the work house. Him and Jenkin's boy is the one's
what broke into Taylor's bar.
BECKER Turnbo, ain't nobody asked
you nothing. You just like an old lady, always gossiping and running off at
TURNBO I'm just talking what I know. (The phone rings. DOUB
DOUB Say Becker, I see you got some new tires.
(BECKER goes to answer the phone.)
BECKER Yeah, I got two. Gonna get two more next week. (into
phone) Car service. (pause) Wooster Street. (pause) Yeah I
know where it's at. Black car.
(YOUNGBLOOD enters as BECKER exits.)
YOUNGBLOOD Cigar Annie standing up
there in the middle of Robert Street cussing out everybody.
DOUB Oh, yeah. Who she mad at now?
YOUNGBLOOD She started with God and went on down the list.
She cussing out the mayor, Doc Goldblum, Mr. Eli, her landlord, the light
man, gas man, telephone man, and anybody else she can think of. They got her
furniture and everything sitting out on the sidewalk.
TURNBO I knew it was gonna come to that. Everybody else done
moved out of that place two months ago. The building been condemned for two
YOUNGBLOOD She standing up there in the middle of the street
raising up her dress.
TURNBO I bet she ain't got no
YOUNGBLOOD She had traffic backed up ... almost got hit by a
milk truck ... the cars trying to go around her but she won't let them.
Standing there just throwing up her dress.
TURNBO I don't know what she doing that for. She ain't got
nothing nobody want. Now if Pearline get out there
and raise up her dress ... that be another thing. You have a riot on your
hands. They ought to put Cigar Annie in Mayview.
Her and Stool Pigeon both.
DOUB Ain't nothing wrong with Cigar
Annie. They had her down in Mayview two or three
times. They figure anybody cuss out God and don't
care who's listening got to be crazy. They found out she got more sense than
they do. That's why they let her go. She raising up
her dress cause that's all anybody ever wanted from her since she was twelve
years old. She say if that's all you want ... here it is.
TURNBO She sending out an S.O.S. That's what she's doing.
DOUB Turnbo, I don't know why I try and talk with you. Next
time remind me to shut up.
YOUNGBLOOD Say Doub, Peaches been
DOUB I ain't seen her.
YOUNGBLOOD I'll be over at Clifford's if she comes.
DOUB When you gonna work on my car? I thought you was gonna
take a look at my car.
YOUNGBLOOD I can't do it today. I'll take a look at it for
TURNBO If you going next door bring me back a cup of coffee.
YOUNGBLOOD I ain't your slave. Walk over and get you own
That boy ain't got no sense.
DOUB He all right. He's just young. Got a lot to learn. That
gal keep after him, he'll be all right.
TURNBO He don't need that gal.
Don't know how to treat her. Treat her like the kind of class he is.
DOUB You don't know what nobody
need. Let that boy alone to live his life. Ain't nobody told you what you
need. Always talking about somebody.
TURNBO That ain't what I'm saying. You know that gal gonna
see past that boy and go on to somebody got some sense to treat her right.
Somebody that got more respect for her than to be messing around with her own
DOUB You don't know what you
TURNBO You see he be asking about
her. I seen her riding
around in his car here lately. She come by here and
they go off running around together. Don't even try to hide it.
DOUB That don't mean nothing cause
she was riding in his car.
TURNBO He be calling her on the
telephone too! I know what I'm talking about You watch. That gal is gonna see
right past him.
DOUB Well let him find that out. He's got his own way to
come to things. That's all I'm saying. Let the boy alone.
TURNBO I ain't messing with him. I just say he ain't got no sense. I believe he got shell-shocked over there in
DOUB Turnbo, you mess with anybody you get the chance to put
your nose in their business. Let the boy live his life.
TURNBO Remember that boy that used to be around here? What
was his name ... Jasper! That's it. Fool went crazy and jumped off the Irene
Kaufman Settlement House? I told you about him when I first seen him. I told
you then he ain't had no sense and I'm telling you about this boy now, and
you wanna call it putting my nose in folk's
business. But you mark my words. I just live and let live, but damn if I can't
talk to express an opinion same as everybody else, without folks accusing me
of being tied up in folk's business. I just talk what I know. Just like I
told you Fielding wasn't coming back with your four dollars. He out somewhere
getting drunk. I told you not to give it to him.
DOUB See, there you go, messing in people's business.
(The phone rings.)
I ain't give him nothing. I loaned
him four dollars and you done already got you nose stuck up in it. That's my
business about when he pay me.
TURNBO I just say ...
DOUB Yeah, well just say it to yourself.
(DOUB exits. TURNBO answers the phone.)
(into phone) Car service. (pause) Where? (pause)
All right. Brown car. You be ready cause I ain't
(TURNBO hangs up the phone as YOUNGBLOOD enters
carrying a cup of coffee.)
What's that for?
That's your coffee, nigger. Give me thirty cents.
You told me to get my own. How you know I ain't sent somebody
Aw, nigger, take this coffee and give me thirty cents.
I got a trip.
(TURNBO exits. YOUNGBLOOD sets the coffee down on
the stove. The phone rings. YOUNGBLOOD answers it.)
YOUNGBLOOD (into phone) Car service. (pause) Where
you at? I thought you was going down to the
furniture store with me. (pause) What's wrong with your hair? Ain't
nothing wrong (pause) with your hair. Rudy say something was wrong
with your hair? (pause) Naw, I ain't told
her. I'm gonna wait till everything's settled. What time you gonna be done? (pause)
All right, I'll pick you up at three o'clock.
(He hangs up the phone and dials again.) Mr. Harper,
please. (pause) Darnell Williams. (pause) Mr. Harper? This is
Darnell Williams ... I'm calling about the house under the GI Bill ... you
said to call and get a closing date. (pause) A title search? I thought
they had the title. (pause) No I can understand that but I thought all
of that was taken care of by the down payment? (pause) Well, how much?
(pause) That's all I have to do? Ain't nothing else gonna come up? (pause)
Two weeks! It take that long? (pause) No,
there's no doubt I'll have it for you tomorrow. Yes sir, I'll have it.
(He hangs up the phone. He takes out his notebook,
looking to see how much money he has. It is obvious he does not have enough.
He sits thinking when suddenly an idea occurs to him. He gets up and exits.
The lights go down on the scene.)
(The lights come up on the jitney station, early
afternoon. BECKER sits at his desk reading a newspaper. TURNBO sits
downstage of him, reading a Playboy magazine. He holds the magazine up
for BECKER to see.)
TURNBO Look at this one, Becker.
(BECKER barely looks up.)
TURNBO Boy, what a man wouldn't do with that! If I get up to
heaven and she ain't there, I'm gonna ask God to send me straight to hell.
YOUNGBLOOD Turnbo, give me my thirty cents.
TURNBO What thirty cents you talking about?
YOUNGBLOOD For the coffee. You know what I'm talking about.
(TURNBO motions to the coffee on the stove.)
TURNBO There it is. I ain't touched it. That's your coffee.
YOUNGBLOOD I know you better give me my thirty cents.
TURNBO Boy, I ain't studying you.
YOUNGBLOOD (in disbelief) You asked me to get you
some coffee and now you ain't gonna pay me?
BECKER Give the man his money, Turnbo.
TURNBO I ain't giving him nothing.
BECKER I ain't gonna have that dissension in here. Give the
man his money!
(TURNBO goes into his pocket.)
Here. Here's your thirty cents.
(He throws it on the floor. YOUNGBLOOD crosses and
stands over TURNBO, angry.)
YOUNGBLOOD Pick it up!
TURNBO It's yours. You pick it up.
YOUNGBLOOD I ain't threw it down there.
Well, let it lay there then. I'm through with it.
(TURNBO goes back to reading his magazine. YOUNGBLOOD
YOUNGBLOOD Well, let it lay there
then. But before this day is over you gonna pick up my thirty cents.
(TURNBO suddenly jumps up and picks up the money.)
TURNBO Here! Here! Here's your thirty cents. You satisfied?
(They stare at each other for a beat. The phone rings,
and YOUNGBLOOD moves to answer it. TURNBO moves behind him.)
TURNBO That's my trip!
BECKER You know that's his trip,
TURNBO I thought he just come back from a trip.
YOUNGBLOOD (into phone) Car service.
BECKER He had to go downtown to take care of some business.
You know everything else I'm surprised you didn't know that.
YOUNGBLOOD Yeah, okay. Red Chevy.
TURNBO That boy ain't got good sense.
BECKER If you leave it to you, ain't nobody got no sense.
TURNBO They ain't! What sense it make for that McNeil boy to
steal his grandmama's television? What sense it
make for Shealy's nephew to break in Taylor's bar?
What sense it make for that boy to run with his girlfriend's sister? Half
these niggers around here running on empty and that boy at the top of the
(BECKER throws the newspaper down on the sofa and starts
for the door.)
BECKER Turnbo, sometimes you act like a kid. If Lucille call, tell her I'm picking up the groceries. If you pass a
car wash you might want to stop in and get your car washed. What sense it
make to haul people around in a dirty car?
(BECKER exits. TURNBO goes back to reading his
magazine. The phone rings.)
TURNBO (into phone) Car service. Youngblood? He ain't
here. Who's this? Peaches? (pause) Yeah, I thought that was you. Naw, Youngblood ain't here. Is there anything you want me
to tell him? (pause) Pick you up at four o'clock instead of three.
Okay I'll tell him.
(He hangs up the phone. RENA enters.)
RENA Mr. Turnbo, Darnell around here?
TURNBO He went on a trip.
RENA He say when he's coming back?
TURNBO He'll be back in a minute. You may as well wait on
him. How you doing? You don't come by too much no more. I remember you used
to come by and see Youngblood. , . get some money to
buy the baby some milk. He getting big I bet. How old is he now?
RENA Two. Going on three. Running around, trying to talk.
TURNBO Time just keep going. It
don't wait on nobody. Everything change.
I remember when you was wearing diapers. Your mother
did a good job of raising you. You can tell that right off. Your mother can
be proud of you. It ain't easy these days to raise a child. I don't know
what's in these young boys' heads. Seem like they don't respect nobody. They don't even respect themselves. When I was
coming along that was the first thing you learned. If you didn't respect
yourself ... quite naturally you couldn't respect nobody
else. When I was coming along the more respect you had for other people ...
the more people respected you. Seem like it come back to you double.
These young boys don't know nothing about that ... and it's
gonna take them a lifetime to find out. They disrespect everybody and don't
think nothing about it. They steal their own
grandmother's television. Get hold of one woman ... time another one walk by
they grab hold to her. Don't even care who it is. It could be anybody. I just
try to live and let live. My grandmother was like that. She the one raised
me. She didn't care what nobody else done as long as
it didn't cross her path. She was a good woman. She taught me most everything
I know. She wouldn't let you lie. That was just about the worst thing you
could be. A liar didn't know the truth and wasn't never gonna find out. And
everybody know it's the truth what set you free. Now
I ain't trying to get in your business or nothing. Like I say I just live and
let live. But some things just come up on you wrong and you have to say
something about it otherwise it throw your whole life off balance.
I know you don't want to hear this ... but you don't need no hot-headed young boy like Youngblood. What you need is
somebody level-headed who know how to respect and appreciate a woman ... I
can see the kind of woman you is. You ain't the kind of woman for Youngblood
and he ain't the kind of man for you. You need a more mature ... responsible
RENA I don't think so.
You just wait awhile. You'll see that I'm right. I done seen
many a young girl wake up when it's too late. Don't you be like that. You go on and find yourself a man
that know how to treat you. You don't need nobody run the streets all
hours of the day and night. You ain't that kind of woman.
RENA Darnell don't run the streets.
I don't know what you talking about.
TURNBO Oh, I see him ... running around with other women. I
see him with your sister all the time. (The phone rings.) Day and
RENA Your phone's ringing.
TURNBO I ain't trying to get in your business now. I'm
telling you this for your own good. If you was some
other kind of woman, I wouldn't be wasting my time.
RENA I got to go. Tell Darnell I was by to see him.
(RENA exits. TURNBO goes to answer the phone.)
TURNBO (into phone) Car service. (pause) Becker? Oh, hello Lucille. He's not here right now.
He said to tell you he was going to pick up some groceries. Okay, I'll tell
(He hangs up the phone as DOUB enters.)
DOUB Fielding been back here?
TURNBO I ain't seen him. I told you he laid up somewhere
drunk on your four dollars. You ain't gonna see him till he sober.
YOUNGBLOOD Man, these white folks is slick. (The phone
rings.) They think of all kind of ways to get your money.
DOUB If you just now finding that out ... then God help what
you don't know.
RENA Darnell, I want to see you.
YOUNGBLOOD What you want to see me about. I'm working,
woman. I told you about coming by my work.
DOUB Your trip, Turnbo.
TURNBO Naw it ain't!
DOUB I just come back, nigger, take this trip! (TURNBO reluctantly
takes the phone.)
TURNBO Car service. (pause) Okay. Brown car. You be
ready now, cause I ain't gonna wait.
(TURNBO hangs up and exits, followed by DOUB.)
RENA Darnell, I don't understand. I try so hard. I'm doing
everything I can to try and make this work.
YOUNGBLOOD What? What's the matter?
RENA I’m working my
little job down there at the restaurant ... going to school ... trying to
take care of Jesse ... trying to take care of your needs . . . trying to keep
the house together ... trying to make everything better. Now, I come home
from work I got to go to the store. I go upstairs and look in the drawer and
the food money is gone. Now you explain that to me. There was eighty dollars
in the drawer that ain't in there now.
YOUNGBLOOD I needed it. I'm gonna put it back.
RENA What you need it for? You tell me. What's more important
than me and Jesse eating?
YOUNGBLOOD I had to pay a debt. r m
gonna put it back.
RENA You know I don't touch the
grocery money. Whatever happens we got to eat. If I need clothes . . . I do
without. My little personal stuff ... I do without. If I ain't got no electricity ... I do without ... but I don't never
touch the grocery money. Cause I'm not gonna be that
irresponsible to my child. Cause he depend on me. I'm not going to be that.
Irresponsible to my family. I ain't gonna be like that. Jesse gonna have a
chance at life. He ain't going to school hungry cause
I spent the grocery money on some nail polish or some Afro Sheen. He ain't
gonna be laying up in the bed hungry and unable to sleep cause his daddy took
the grocery money to pay a debt.
YOUNGBLOOD Aw, woman I try and do what's right and this is
what I get.
RENA You know what you be doing
better than I but whatever it is it ain't enough.
YOUNGBLOOD What you talking about now? I told you I'm gonna
put the money back.
RENA It ain't all about the money, Darnell. I'm talking
about the way you been doing. You ain't never home no more.
YOUNGBLOOD I be working. You know
I'm out here hustling. I got two jobs looking for three.
RENA You be out half the night. I
wake up and you ain't there.
YOUNGBLOOD That's what time the people say come to work! Two
A.M. to six A.M. I can't tell UPS what to do! What time to have people come
to work. I told you that when I took the job. I told
you that I wouldn't be home. You said okay. Now you wanna
come with this about me not being home. You know where I'm at.
RENA You say you working at UPS but
I don't never see no UPS money.
YOUNGBLOOD I had some debts to pay. I told you that too. I
told you I wouldn't see no money for a while.
RENA What kind of debt?
YOUNGBLOOD Look baby, just hang with me awhile. That's all I
ask. Just for a minute.
RENA I been hanging with you! That's what you said last
time. "Hang with me and it'll all tum around." When's it gonna tum
YOUNGBLOOD Soon, baby. Soon. Just hang with me.
RENA I just want you to know I ain't no fool, Darnell. I
know you been running around with Peaches and her crowd all hours of the
night. Doing whatever you be doing. I may not know
everything but I know something's going on. I know you all doing something.
YOUNGBLOOD Who told you that? Me and Peaches doing what?
RENA She's my sister, Darnell. Don't you think I can tell
she's trying to hide something from me.
YOUNGBLOOD Hide what? What you talking about? Hide what?
What she trying to hide?
RENA Ain't no need in you bothering to come home cause I just might not be there when you get there.
(RENA exits. The phone rings. YOUNGBLOOD starts to
go after her, changes his mind and comes back and stands in the middle of the
room perplexed. Suddenly he takes his notebook from his pocket and throws it
on the floor. He regains his composure, picks up the book and exits. BECKER
enters on the fourth ring.)
BECKER (into phone) Car service. (pause)
Shealy don't work here! (BECKER slams the
phone down as DOUB enters.)
I was just talking to Clifford next door. He say
the man is gonna board his place up next month.
BECKER Yeah, I know. The man from the city was by here two
weeks ago, too. They're gonna tear it all down, this whole block.
DOUB The man was by here and you ain't told nobody! What he say?
BECKER They're gonna board the place up first of next month.
DOUB Why in the hell didn't you tell somebody!
BECKER I'm telling you now.
DOUB Fine time to tell me, two weeks later. It ain't like
that's a small piece of news. I got rent to pay. Doctor bills. Every man in
here depending on this station for their livelihood. The city's gonna board
it up ... you've known for two weeks ... and you ain't bothered to get around
to telling nobody. That ain't like you Becker. What we gonna do now? In the
two weeks we got.
BECKER I don't know. I kinda
figured we'd all just go in together somewhere else. Find another place. But
I don't know now. I'm just tired, Doub. Can't
hardly explain it none. You look up one day and all you got left is what you
ain't spent. Everyday cost you something and you don't all the time realize
I used to question God about everything. Why he hardened Pharaoh's
heart? Why he let Jacob steal his brother's
birthright? After Coreen died I told myself I
wasn't gonna ask no more questions. Cause the answers didn't matter. They
didn't matter right then. I thought that would change but it never did. It still don't matter after
all these years. It don't look like it's never gonna matter. I'm tired of
waiting for God to decide whether he want to hold my hand. I been running
cars out of here for eighteen years and I think I'm just tired of driving.
DOUB I been with you for twelve of them eighteen years and I
would have thought you would have told me we was gonna have to move cause
they boarding up the station.
BECKER I'm telling you now.
DOUB That ain't what I mean, Becker. It's like you just a
shadow of yourself. The station done gone downhill.
Some people overcharge. Some people don't haul. Fielding stay drunk. I just
watch you and you don't do nothing.
BECKER What's to be done? I try to keep cars running out of
here and keep everybody happy. I post the rates up on the board. If somebody
charge extra and people complain, I give them the difference and tell the
driver about it. I ain't gonna put nobody out unless they totally
irresponsible. As for Fielding, I don't let him drink in here, but I can't
tell the man about his personal business unless people start to complain.
DOUB Complain? Hell, they don't do no
complaining. They just call somebody else. Somebody ask them for a number,
they don't give them Court 1-9802. They give them somebody else's number.
Complain? You think they're gonna call you up and complain? Nigger, they
don't even know you're alive.
BECKER I just-- do the best I can do.
DOUB Sometime your best ain't enough.
DOUB Turnbo, they boarding up the station the first of the
month. Becker talking about quitting, so we ought to start thinking about
moving somewhere or getting on with somebody else.
TURNBO Who's boarding up the station?
The city. They fixing to tear down the
whole block. Clifford and everybody done got their notices. The man was by
here two weeks ago.
TURNBO So that's what they was
doing! I seen them snooping around here. Told me
they was conducting a survey. Well, what we gonna
do? Becker, you quitting?
BECKER I ain't said I was quitting.
That's what you told me.
BECKER I said I was thinking about it.
(The phone rings.)
We ought to have a meeting and figure out one way or another
what we gonna do.
TURNBO They never could leave well enough alone. (TURNBO answers
the phone.) Car service. (pause) Oh hello Lucille, he's here. Just
a minute. Becker! (He hands BECKER
the phone.) They won't be satisfied until they tear the whole goddamn
BECKER (into phone) Becker here. (pause) Yeah,
I know, Lucille. (pause) Tomorrow? I thought it wasn't until next
month. Who called? (pause) Are you sure? (pause) Yeah, well
okay. I'll talk to you.
(BECKER hangs up the phone.)
TURNBO They gonna board up the place tomorrow!
BECKER My boy's getting out tomorrow.
(The lights go down on the scene.)
(The lights come up on the jitney station, early the
following morning. It is obvious YOUNGBLOOD has spent the night there.
He sits on the couch figuring in his notebook.)
TURNBO You seen Becker this morning?
YOUNGBLOOD He ain't come in yet.
TURNBO You know his boy's getting
YOUNGBLOOD Yeah. Getting out of where?
TURNBO You don't know about Becker's son?
YOUNGBLOOD Know what?
TURNBO Becker's boy been in the penitentiary for twenty
years. He's getting out today.
YOUNGBLOOD I ain't even knew Becker had a son.
TURNBO Been in the penitentiary for
twenty years! Right down there at the Western State Pen, and Becker ain't never been down there to see him once!
TURNBO I think it's a shame, Becker just wrote him off his
YOUNGBLOOD Yeah. Well, that's his business, I guess.
TURNBO Hell! That's his own son and if he ain't gonna stand
by him, who's gonna? He ain't got nobody
else. It killed his mama. Lucille ain't none of his
mama. His mama died about a month after he went in. When the judge sentenced
him to the electric chair, his mama just fell dead away. They brought her
home and put her in the bed, and she laid right up there till she died.
YOUNGBLOOD Gave him the electric chair?
That's right. Sure did. I was there! He later got it commuted
YOUNGBLOOD What he do to get the electric chair?
TURNBO See, Becker's boy ... Clarence is his name but
everybody call him Booster ... See now, Booster he liked that science. You
know the science fair that they have over at the Buhel
Planetarium every year where they have all them science experiments where
they make the water run uphill and things like that? Booster won first place
three years in a row. He the only one who ever did that. I can't even count
how many times he had his picture in the paper. They let him in to the
University of Pittsburgh. You know back then they didn't have too many
colored out there, but they was trying to catch up to the Russians and they
didn't care if he was colored
or not Gave him a scholarship and
everything. Becker was just as proud as he could be. Him
and Booster was always close. Becker used to take him hunting down around
Wheeling West Virginia They go hunting and fishing. Becker didn't have but
the one boy. After he was born the doctor told his wife that if she had
another one it was liable to kill her. Say she was lucky to have the one.
Anyway, Booster goes out to Pitt there and he meets this old white gal. Young
gal ... about eighteen she was. Of course Booster wasn't about nineteen
himself. Now her old man was some kind of big shot down there at Gulf Oil.
Had a lot of money and had done bought the gal a car for her birthday.
Booster and that gal ... they just go everywhere together. She ride him around like she was his chauffeur. Of course, she
let him drive it too. I believe he drove it more than she did. That gal was
crazy about Booster, and they was just sneaking around and sneaking around,
you know. She didn't want her daddy to know she was fooling around with no
colored boy. Well, one day see her father was up here in the neighborhood
looking for one of them whores. He find one and she
tell him to drive up the dead end street there by the school, so she can tum
the trick in the car. Don't you know they pulled right up in back of this
gal's car where her and Booster done went to fool
around! Her father recognizes the car and he goes over and looks inside and
there's Booster just banging the hell out of his daughter! Well, that cracker
He just couldn't stand the sight of Booster screwing that
gal and went to yanking open the car door. Booster didn't know who he was.
All he knew was some crazy white man done opened the door and was screaming
his head off. He proceeded to beat the man half to death. To get to the short
of it ... the police come and the gal said that she was driving downtown on
her way home from a movie, and when she stopped for a red light, Booster
jumped into her car and made her drive up there on the dead-end street ...
where he raped her. They arrested Booster and Becker got him out on bail cause he knew the gal was lying. The first day he was out
... the first day! ... he went over to that gal's
house and shot her dead right on the front porch.
YOUNGBLOOD Served the bitch right!
What you talking about! I knew you ain't had no
sense. I don't know why I try and talk to you.
YOUNGBLOOD Served her right for lying!
(The phone rings.)
That ain't no cause to kill nobody! I don't care if she was
lying. See, that's what's wrong with you young folks. Don't take time to stop
and think before you speak. "Serve the bitch right!" That's all you
YOUNGBLOOD It does!
Fool! What is you talking about? That
boy ain't had no right to kill that gal!
YOUNGBLOOD She lied on him, didn't she?
That gal you got have a right to kill you cause you lyin' to her?
YOUNGBLOOD We ain't talking about me. Stay out of my
TURNBO Your business is already in the street. Everybody
know how you misuse that gal, keeping her tied up in the house with that baby
while you run around with her sister and don't give her two pennies to buy
the baby no milk.
(YOUNGBLOOD, enraged, rushes TURNBO and grabs him
in the collar.)
YOUNGBLOOD You stay the fuck out of
TURNBO Now you wanna beat me up
for telling the truth. Well, go ahead, I'm an old man. Go ahead,
it'll make you proud to hit an old man.
(YOUNGBLOOD tries to restrain himself.)
YOUNGBLOOD You stay out my business, Turnbo. I'm warning
I done told you your business is in the street.
(YOUNGBLOOD loses control and punches TURNBO
in the mouth. The blow knocks TURNBO to the floor and bloodies his
mouth. TURNBO gets up and glares at YOUNGBLOOD. TURNBO starts
out the door just as BECKER enters.)
YOUNGBLOOD You just stay the fuck
out of my business!
BECKER What's going on?
(BECKER notices TURNBO'S bloody mouth.)
BECKER What happened, Turnbo?
YOUNGBLOOD You tell him to stay out of my business and
everything will be straight. I don't get in his business and I don't want him
You know what I done already told you.
(YOUNGBLOOD tries to get to TURNBO, but BECKER
is in between the two of them.)
BECKER Hold it! Hold it! What's going on here?
(YOUNGBLOOD strains to get at TURNBO.)
YOUNGBLOOD This motherfucker ... got his nose ... all up in
TURNBO Let him go, Becker. I ain't scared of him. All I did
was tell him where his business was. In the gutter!
(YOUNGBLOOD starts toward TURNBO. BECKER grabs
him. YOUNGBLOOD struggles to get free.)
YOUNGBLOOD Let me go. Becker! Let
BECKER Hold it, Youngblood! There ain't gonna be no more
fighting in here! Go on, Turnbo. I'll take care of him. You go on.
BECKER What done got in you, boy. Hitting
an old man like that. I can't have you fighting and causing trouble. You and
Turnbo don't get along ... just don't speak to him.
YOUNGBLOOD I don't want him talking and speaking rumors
about my business. That's all! That's all I want!
(TURNBO kicks open the door and throws
a pistol on YOUNGBLOOD. He is very excited.)
TURNBO You don't believe your
business is in the street! Is that right! Is that right!
TURNBO Come on! You young punk! Come on! Hit me again! You
don't believe that your business is in the street. I'll tell you something
else. I done had that gal of yours.
YOUNGBLOOD You lying motherfucker!
BECKER Put that gun up, Turnbo!
TURNBO Yeah. Come on! Jump at me! And I'll blow your ass to
YOUNGBLOOD You lying motherfucker!
TURNBO You think I'm lying, huh!
I'll tell you how much I'm lying.
(BECKER moves in between them.)
BECKER Yeah, you lying. Why you wanna
tell that boy that lie? That gal ain't give you the
time of day.
TURNBO Stay out of this, Becker!
BECKER Don't lie to the boy like
that. (He moves toward TURNBO.) Come on now, put the gun up.
YOUNGBLOOD Just because you used to them lowlife women don't
mean everybody else is.
(TURNBO cocks back the hammer.)
TURNBO You keep it up! You keep it up!
BECKER You don't want to do that now; it ain't worth all
that. Come on, Turnbo. The boy ain't meant nothing.
He just young and foolish. I'll straighten him up. He just young. He don't
know no better. Come on, put that gun up.
TURNBO Boy, you got one more time to mess with me again!
Just one more time!
(TURNBO puts the gun back in his pocket. BECKER guides
TURNBO to the door, and they exit together. YOUNGBLOOD stands
motionless in the middle of the room. BECKER enters.)
BECKER Goddamn! If it ain't one thing it's another.
Youngblood, you stay away from Turnbo! Just stay out of his way!
YOUNGBLOOD I ain't studying him. That gun
don't scare me.
BECKER I ain't asked you was you studying him.
When they made one gun they didn't stop making them.
BECKER Just stay clear of him and
don't say nothing to him. You can't go around hitting everybody that don't see eye to eye with you. Turnbo carry that gun in his
car and if you push him far enough he'll run out there and get it. That ain't
the first time. One of these days he's gonna use it. (The phone rings.) So
you just stay clear of him. The less words you have
with Turnbo the better.
(BECKER answers the phone.) (into phone) Car service.
(pause) Where you going? (pause) All right. Red Chevy.
Youngblood. Becker, what happened to Turnbo? He's sitting out there in his
car cussing up a blue streak.
BECKER (to YOUNGBLOOD) Eighteen forty-five Bedford. They're going to
the bus station.
YOUNGBLOOD I ain't carrying no suitcases in my car, Becker.
BECKER You are if you want to jitney out of here.
(FIELDING gets the drift of what is happening.)
FIELDING What's the address? I'll make the trip.
BECKER It's Youngblood's trip and he's gonna pull his weight around here.
YOUNGBLOOD What you mean pull my weight? I pull my weight. I just don't want
to mess up my car.
BECKER How in the hell is putting somebody's suitcase in your trunk gonna
mess up your car? That's what it's designed for! I done it for eighteen years
and ain't never messed up my car. You talk like a fool.
FIELDING Let me go, Becker.
YOUNGBLOOD What's the address?
BECKER Eighteen forty-five Bedford.
FIELDING Why you wanna force that boy to haul
things when he don't want to?
BECKER Stay out of this, Fielding. It ain't none of
FIELDING I just asked cause I don't see much sense in it. If the boy don't want to haul people's things, he's got a right
not to haul them, the way I see it. I ain't getting into nothing.
TURNBO Becker! You better straighten up that young fool before I be done
killed him! I told you all along that boy ain't got no
sense! Punching me in my mouth!
BECKER I done talked to him, Turnbo.
FIELDING Youngblood hit you? You all been fighting? What was
you all fighting about?
TURNBO He's got one more time! I'm telling you, Becker! Damn fool gonna hit
me cause I tell him the truth. He is fooling around with that gal's sister
and everybody knows it!
FIELDING Who, Peaches?
TURNBO I done seen him and her sister riding around
here more than one time. He leave that gal at home
to take care of the baby while he run around in the street with her sister.
How many times you seen her come by here to try and track him down so she can
get some money to buy that baby some milk? How many times you seen her?
(FIELDING opens a bottle and begins to drink.)
FIELDING Oh, I seen her by here before.
BECKER Turnbo, you might come out better if you stayed out of people's
TURNBO I ain't in nobody's business. We was having a conversation and it come up. I just speak my
mind. I ain't never been one to bite my tongue about
expressing an opinion and I ain't gonna start now. The only thing is, you better get that boy straightened out
(BECKER notices FIELDING drinking.)
BECKER Fielding! Goddamn it! I done told you about drinking in here!
FIELDING I was just having a little nip, Becker.
BECKER Well, that's it! I can't have you drinking and running jitneys out of
here! That's it, your time is up! You done run you last jitney out of here!
FIELDING What you talking about?
BECKER You heard me. I know I speak clearly enough.
FIELDING (apologizing) I ain't done nothing. I just had a little nip.
BECKER I told you time and again about drinking in the station. That's it! I
ain't got no more conversation for you.
FIELDING You see this, Turnbo?
BECKER (to TURNBO) Fielding is out! I don't want him running no more
trips out of here. I told him time and again about that drinking.
FIELDING What is you talking about? (The phone rings.) I paid my
monthly dues and the month ain't up yet. I ain't going nowhere!
(BECKER takes some money out of his pocket.)
Here's your money.
(FIELDING doesn't take the money. and BECKER lays it down on top of
BECKER There's your money. Take it and get out of here.
FIELDING I ain't taking nothing. I paid for two more weeks, and two more
weeks is what I get.
BECKER There's your money. Now we straight.
(BECKER answers the phone.) (into phone) Car service. (pause) Twenty-seven
nineteen Francis Street Projects? Be right there. Turnbo, take that trip.
(TURNBO starts to exit.)
FIELDING That's my trip, Turnbo!
BECKER I done told you, you ain't running no more
trips out of this station. Take your money and get out.
FIELDING Who the hell do you think you are? You ain't running over me,
BECKER Take your money and get out. Go on, Turnbo.
don't want to get in the middle of this. I don't want to be in nobody's
BECKER I'll take it. (to FIELDING) You just be gone when I get back.
(BECKER exits. FIELDING calls after him.)
FIELDING This is a free country! I'm a free man! You can't tell me what to
do! This is the United States of America.
(He takes another drink.)
You see that, Turnbo? You see that?
(The lights fade to black.)
(The lights come up on the jitney station a half-hour later. TURNBO and
FIELDING have been joined by BOOSTER, who stands looking out
the window. He is dressed in his prison-issued suit, and wears a white shirt
without a tie.)
I know your daddy real good. I've been driving jitneys with him for eight
years now. And I worked off and on with him when he was down at the mill too.
That's when I was younger. Here, get yourself a nip.
(He drinks from the bottle and offers it to BOOSTER, who declines.)
thanks. You say he should be back in a minute?
just went out on a short trip. He'll be back in no time. Things done changed
since the last time you seen them, I reckon.
tearing everything down around here. All along Wylie there. You see they done
tore everything down. They gonna tear this building down. They gonna board it
up first of the month. We're gonna have to move. Either that or
got to have somebody you can count on you know. Now my wife ... we been
separated for twenty-two years now ... but I ain't never loved nobody the way
I loved that woman. You know what I mean?
BOOSTER Yeah, I know.
FIELDING She the only thing in the world that I got. I had a dream once. It
just touched me so. I was climbing this ladder. It was a solid gold ladder
and I was climbing up into heaven. I get to the top of the ladder and I can
see all the saints sitting around ... and I could see her too ... sitting
there in her place in glory. Just as I reached the top my hand started to
slip and I called out for help. All them saints and
angels. .. St. Peter and everybody ... they just sat there and looked at me.
She was the only one who left her seat in glory and tried to help me to keep
from falling back down that ladder. I ain't never forgot
that. When I woke up ... tears was all over my face, just running all down in
my ears and I laid there and cried like a baby ... cause
that meant so much to me. To find out after all these years, that she still
BOOSTER That's some heavy drama, my man.
FIELDING Oh, she love me all right. I know she do. I ain't seen that woman in twenty-two years ... but I
know she loves me.
(FIELDING takes another drink as BECKER enters and stands in the
doorway glaring at FIELDING.)
FIELDING Hey Becker. I was just talking to your son.
BECKER I thought I told you not to be here when I got back.
(FIELDING staggers to his feet.)
FIELDING All right, Becker. You win. I'm gone.
(FIELDING starts toward the door. BECKER crosses to the stove and
picks up the money.)
Take your money with you.
(FIELDING takes the money and starts to exit. He stops.)
FIELDING Let me work the two weeks. I'll be sober in the morning. It's almost
over, Becker. It's almost over.
BECKER Go on home, Fielding. I'll see you tomorrow. You be sober when you
come in here.
(FIELDING starts to exit. BECKER holds out his hand for the money. FIELDING
gives it to him and exits. BECKER turns to face BOOSTER.)
you doing. Pop?
(BOOSTER holds out his hand. BECKER takes it awkwardly. )
BECKER Fine. Fine. How you doing? You look good.
BOOSTER I feel pretty good. Lucille told me you'd be down here.
BECKER Turnbo, go next door and tell Clifford to send me one of them fish
sandwiches, will you?
(TURNBO exits reluctantly.)
BECKER So you doing all right huh?
BOOSTER I don't know. I been looking around. I don't
know what to think. People going everywhere. All up and down. Dogs and cats.
Airplanes. It's gonna take me a while to get used to things.
BECKER So what you gonna do with the rest of your life now that you done
BOOSTER Hey, Pop ... I just stopped by to say hi. See how you doing.
BECKER Can't get no job. Who's gonna hire you? You
got a mark on you a foot wide. They can see you coming. You just took your
life and threw it away like it wasn't worth nothing.
BOOSTER I don't want all this. I don't want to hear about my life being
ruined. I just stopped by to say hi. I don't want this. I done paid my debt.
BECKER You don't even know where your debt begins.
BOOSTER I know where it ended. It ended after I did them
twenty years. I don't owe nobody nothing. They tried
to give me that parole five years ago and I turned it down because I didn't
want to owe nobody nothing. I didn't want nobody looking after me telling me what to do ... asking
me questions about my life. I walk in here to say hi and you start telling me
my life is ruined. How I'm gonna get a job ... I don't want that, Pop. I'm a
grown man. I'm thirty-nine years old. I'm young. I'm healthy. I ain't got no complaints ... and I don't carry no grudges. Whatever
was between us these twenty years I put aside. I
don't hold no grudge.
BECKER Who the hell care what you hold? I'm the one got to walk around here
with people pointing at me. Talking about me behind my back. "There go
his father. That's him." People trying to sneak a look at me out the
corner of their eye. See if they can see something wrong with me. If they can
see what kind of man would raise a boy to do something like that. You done marked me and you walk in here talking
about you ain't got no grudge!
BOOSTER I'm just saying I don't have no hard feeling that you didn't come to
see me, Pop. I been thinking about my life and all the things you did for me
... all the things you gave me… all the things you taught me. All the things…
BECKER Everything I give you ... you threw away. You ain't got nothing now. You got less than the day you was born. Then
you had some dignity. Some innocence ... You ain't got nothing
now. You took and you threw it all away. You thirty-nine years old and you
ain't got nothing.
BOOSTER Naw Pop, you wrong. I may have lost some
things. I may have missed some things ... but that don't mean I ain't got
BECKER You ain't got nothing boy!
BOOSTER Well, since we talking about what we got ... what you got, Pop? You
the boss of a jitney station.
BECKER I am the boss of a jitney station. I'm a deacon down at the church.
Got me a little house. It ain't much but it's mine. I worked twenty-seven
years at the mill ... got me a pension. I got a wife. I got respect. I can
walk anywhere and hold my head up high. What I ain't got is a son that did me
honor ... The Bible say "Honor thy father and thy mother.” I ain't got
that. I ain't got a son I can be proud of. That's what I ain't got. A son to
come up behind me ... living a good honest decent
life. I got a son who people point to and say, 'That's Becker's boy. That's
the one that killed that gal. That's Becker's boy. The one they gave the
electric chair. That's Becker's boy."
BOOSTER I did what I had to do and I paid for it.
BECKER What you had to do! What you had to do! What law is there say you have
to kill somebody if they tell a lie on you? Where does it say that? If
somebody tell a lie on you, you have to kill them?
Who taught you that? It was a lie! The gal told a lie! If it was the truth
then go ahead and kill yourself. Go on and throw your life away. But it was a
lie! We could have fought the lie. I'd already lined up a lawyer ... together
we could have fought the lie.
BOOSTER A lawyer wasn't gonna make no difference. I wasn't going to
the penitentiary for nothing. I wasn't gonna live a
BECKER I taught you two wrongs don't make a right.
BOOSTER Sometime they do. Sometime you got to add it up that way. Otherwise
it's just one wrong after another and you never get to what's right. I wasn't
gonna hang no sign around my neck say rapist.
BECKER You gonna hang one say murderer? That's better?
BOOSTER That's honest.
BECKER That gal lying didn't make you wrong in the world. A
lie don't make you wrong in the world.
BOOSTER It don't make you right either. Right is
right and right don't wrong nobody. You taught me
BECKER I taught you to respect life. I taught you all of life is precious.
BOOSTER Yeah Pop, you taught me a lot of things. And a lot of things I had to
learn on my own. Like that time Mr. Rand came to the house to collect the rent
when we was two months behind. I don't remember what
year it was. I just know it was winter. Grandma Ada had just died and you got
behind in the rent cause you had to help pay for her funeral.
I don't know if you knew it Pop, but you were a big man. Everywhere you went
people treated you like a big man. You used to take me to the barbershop with
you. You'd walk in there and fill up the whole place. Everybody would stop
cussing because Jim Becker had walked in. I would just look at you and wonder
how you could be that big. I wanted to be like that. I would go to school and
try to make myself feel big. But I never could. I told myself that's okay...
when I get grown I'm gonna be big like that. Walk into the barbershop and
have everybody stop and look at me.
That day when Mr. Rand came to the house it was
snowing. You came out on the porch and he started shouting and cussing and
threatening to put us out in the street where we belonged.
I was waiting for you to tell him to shut up ... to get off your porch. But
you just looked at him and promised you would have the money next month. Mama
came to the door and Mr. Rand kept shouting and cussing. I looked at mama ...
she was trying to get me to go in the house ... and I looked at you ... and
you had got smaller. The longer he shouted the smaller you got. When we went
back to the barbershop you didn't seem so big no more. You was
the same size as everybody else. You was just
another man in the barbershop. That's when I told myself if I ever got big I
wouldn't let nothing make me small.
Then when I met Susan McKnight and found out her daddy was the vice-president
of Gulf Oil ... that's when I got big. That made me a big man. I felt like I
was somebody. I felt like I could walk in the barbershop and fill it up the
way you did. Then when she told that lie on me that's when I woke up. That's
when I realized that I wasn't big from the inside. I wasn't big on my own.
When she told that lie it made me small. I wanted to do something that said I
wasn't just another nigger ... that I was Clarence Becker. I wanted to make
them remember my name. And I thought about you standing there and getting
small and Mr. Rand shouting and Susan McKnight shouting out that lie and I
realized it was my chance to make the Beckers big
again ... my chance to show what I had learned on my own. I thought you would
understand. I thought you would be proud of me.
BECKER Proud of you for killing somebody!
BOOSTER No, Pop. For being a warrior. For dealing with the world in ways that
you didn't or couldn't or wouldn't.
BECKER Boy, you trying to say I had something to do with you pulling that
trigger. You trying to say that it's all my fault
because I didn't knock Mr. Rand on his ass so I could keep a roof over your
head. So you wouldn't have to sleep in the street, in the cold and the snow.
BOOSTER No Pop, I did it.
BECKER You gonna knock Mr. Rand on his ass for me by killing that gal.
BOOSTER No Pop, it was for me. I did it for myself. But it didn't add up the
way I thought it would; I was wrong. I can see that now.
BECKER You could have been something. You had every advantage . . . I tried
to fix it so you didn't have to follow up behind me ... So you could go on
and go further. So you could have a better life. I did without so you could
BOOSTER Hey Pop, you took your road ... you made your choices, you done what
was right for you. I made my choice. I took my road and I did what was right
for me. I paid the consequences. Now that's over and done. Let's just say I stopped
by to say hi and leave it at that.
(BOOSTER starts to exit.)
BECKER You want to know why I never came to see you?
BOOSTER No, I don't want to know. That's your business.
BECKER I kept
seeing your face at your mother's funeral. How you just stood there and never
shed a tear. Stood there with a scowl on your face. And now you want to come
in here and ridicule me cause I didn't knock Mr.
Rand on his ass. You wanna know why? I'll tell you
why. Because I had your black ass crying to be fed. Crying to have a roof
over your head. To have clothes to wear to school and lunch money in your
pocket. That's why! Because I had a family. I had responsibility. If I had
knocked him on his ass you would have went hungry. You wouldn't have had
clothes on your back or a roof over your head. I done
what I had to do. I swallowed my pride and let them mess over me, all the
time saying, "You bastards got it coming. Look
out! Becker's boy's coming to straighten this shit out! You're not gonna fuck
over him! He's gonna grow big and strong! Watch out for Becker's boy!
Becker's taking this ass whipping so his boy can stride through this shit
like Daniel in the lion's den! Watch out for Becker's boy!"
(BECKER has worked himself into a frenzy and is now near tears.)
And what I get, huh? You tell me. What I get? Tell me what I get! Tell me!
What I get? What I get, huh?
(BOOSTER moves toward him.)
BOOSTER Pop ...
BECKER Stay away from me! What I get, huh? What I get? Tell me? (BOOSTER is
silent.) I get a murderer, that's what. A murderer.
BOOSTER Pop, look ...
BECKER And the way your mama loved you. You killed her! You know that? You a
BOOSTER I ain't killed her, Pop. You know that.
BECKER What you call it? That woman took sick the day that judge sentenced
you and she ain't never walked or said another word
or ate another thing for twenty-three days. She just laid
up in that room until she died. Now you tell me that ain't killing her. Tell
me that ain't killing her!
BOOSTER Every day Mama came to that courtroom by herself. Where was you? Anybody could see how it was wearing her down.
Where was you when she needed somebody to hold her
hand ... when she needed a shoulder to cry on ... somebody to talk to? Where was you ... not for me ... but for her ... the woman you
loved? When she fainted in that courtroom I tried to get to her . . . but I
had six deputies holding me back. What was holding you? Where was you them twenty-three days when she was dying?
BECKER I was trying to keep her alive. Trying to get her to eat something . .
. trying to get her ...
BOOSTER It wasn't about eating, Pop. That's not what she needed ... a bowl of
soup. She needed to know that you were there for her. That you would be there
for her when she got up. That she could count on you to support her. But you
turned your back. Clinging to your rules ...
BECKER Don't you say nothing to me about turning my back!
BOOSTER What you call it?
BECKER I was there! I was holding her hand when she died. Where were you?
Locked up in a cage like some animal. That's what killed her. To hear the
judge say that the life she brought in the world was unfit to live. That you
be “remanded to the custody of the Commissioner of Corrections at Western
State Penitentiary and there to be executed in the electric chair. This order
to be carried out thirty days from today.” Ain't that what the judge said?
Ain't that what she heard? “This order to be carried out thirty days from
today.” That's what killed her. She didn't want to live them thirty days. She
didn't want to be alive to hear on the eleven o'clock news that they had
killed you. So don't you say nothing to me about turning my back when I
nursed that woman, talked to her, held her hand, prayed over her and the last
words to come out of her mouth was your name. I was there! Where were you Mr.
Murderer? Mr. Unfit to Live Amongst Society. Where were you when your mama
was dying and calling your name?
(BECKER stops and takes a moment to gather himself.)
You are my son. I helped to bring you into this world. But from this moment
on ... I'm calling the deal off. You ain't nothing
to me, boy. You just another nigger on the street.
(BECKER exits. BOOSTER stands looking down at the floor. The phone
rings. The lights go down to black.)
(The lights come up on the jitney station. It is the next day. DOUB sits
in one of the chairs reading a newspaper. TURNBO looks at a magazine.)
here's another something I don't understand. Lena
Horne. How come everybody say she pretty? I even hear some people say
she's the prettiest woman in the world.
DOUB I ain't
gonna say all that. But if she ain't, she right up there.
TURNBO She ain't as pretty as Sarah Vaughn.
DOUB Naw. Naw. We talking about Lena Horne. Some things just ain't open
to debate. Lena Horne being pretty is one of them.
Vaughn got more nature than Lena Horne.
that supposed to mean? Even if she do ... how you gonna measure it? It ain't
like saying she got more hair or something.
TURNBO She got a prettier smile too. A lot of people sleeping on Sarah
DOUB How you know how many people sleeping with her?
TURNBO I said sleeping on her, not with her. Everybody talking about Lena
Horne and people sleeping on Sarah Vaughn. People don't know Sarah Vaughn got
more of everything than Lena Horne. They just believe what they hear. But
Sarah Vaughn got more nature ... got a prettier smile ... got more
personality ... and she can sing better.
DOUB We ain't said nothing about that. We ain't said
nothing about singing. You said Lena Horne wasn't
ain't. She ain't as pretty as people think. People just think she's pretty.
DOUB Oh, I see ... people just think dogs bite. People just think if you cut
yourself you'll bleed.
Hey Fielding ... Turnbo say Lena Horne ain't pretty.
FIELDING Some people say shit don't stink. Sooner or
later they gonna find out otherwise. It's them
pretty women like Lena Horne get a man killed.
ain't got to be pretty to get a man killed. Any woman will get a man killed
if he ain't careful. Am I right, Doub?
DOUB You right. That's why I don't talk about women. I don't talk about money
either. Them is the two things you never hear me
talk about too much. Them is the two things that get
most people killed.
FIELDING Women and money will get a preacher killed.
DOUB I seen
it happen. You go and ask one of them fellows, say "Why you do
that?" You have to catch him after he cooled down. You have to get him
down there in jail after about six or nine months and you ask him why he
killed so and so. And he'll tell you. He'll tell you he had a woman stay on
his mind and he couldn't think right. Then when he seen somebody else talking
to her seem like they was the cause of all his
trouble ... wasn't nothing left to do but kill him. That's why if you see me
talking to a woman you can bet it's my sister or my aunt.
TURNBO You right. The first thing a man do when he get a
woman he don't want nobody else to have her. He say
this is mine. I'm gonna hold on to this. I'm gonna go over and see Betty Jean
but I'm gonna hold on to this. If I catch anybody sneaking around her
sniffing ... I'm gonna bust his nose and break both of his legs ... if I
don't shoot him with my forty-four. He say that and
then he go on over to Betty Jean. He don't know some
fellow done said the same thing about catching somebody around Betty Jean.
That fellow ... he go over to see Betty Sue while
this other fellow sniffing around his Betty Jean. Sooner or later . . .
somebody gonna get their wires crossed. Somebody gonna see Betty Jean when he
should have been seeing Betty Sue and that'll be all she wrote for him. The
only thing left to do is write it on his tombstone. ''Here lie Bubba Boo. Was
caught with Betty Jean instead of Betty Sue."
DOUB They got that on a whole lot of tombstones.
(The phone rings. FIELDING answers it.)
FIELDING Car service. (pause) Yeah, sure I'll tell him. Turnbo, that was Aunt Lil. She say
you supposed to pick her up at the doctors.
TURNBO (exasperated) You know she done joined the Jehovah Witness.
When I come back I'll be able to tell you anything you wanna
know about the Bible.
(TURNBO exits. The phone rings.)
FIELDING Car service. (pause) Yeah, I'll be right there. Green car.
DOUB No, wait a minute. I thought Becker put you out.
me and Becker straight.
(FIELDING exits. YOUNGBLOOD enters carrying tools.)
YOUNGBLOOD I cleaned the flywheel and replaced the belt. Another ten thousand
miles and you gonna need a new alternator.
YOUNGBLOOD Hey, Doub, what's this I hear about the
DOUB You just now finding out? They fixing to board
up the whole block. Tear it down and build some houses.
YOUNGBLOOD Damn! What they wanna do that for?
DOUB I'm glad to see them do it. It's about time they done something around
here. They been talking for years about how they was gonna fix it up.
YOUNGBLOOD White folks ain't got no
sense of timing. They wait till I get in the position to buy me a house and
then they pull the rug out from under me!
DOUB That white man ain't paying you no mind. You ought
to stop thinking like that They been planning to tear these shacks down
before you was born. You keep thinking everybody's
against you and you ain't never gonna get nothing. I seen
a hundred niggers too lazy to get up out the bed in the morning, talking
about the white man is against them. That's just an excuse. You want to make
something of your life, then the opportunity is
there. You just have to shake off that "White folks is
against me" attitude. Hell, they don't even know you alive.
YOUNGBLOOD They knew I was alive when they drafted me and sent me over to
Vietnam to be shot at. They knew I was alive then!
ain't the only one they sent. They sent a whole lot of other folks too. Some
of them wasn't lucky enough to make it back alive.
You ain't the only one been in the army. I went into the army in nineteen
fifty. Looking to make something of myself. That was after the war. I didn't
know they was gonna pull out a map, stick a pin in it and say "Let's go
kill some people over here." I wasn't in the army but four months and
they had me in Korea. Second Division. Company B. Fourth Battalion. It was a
detail company. I think at that time the only dead body I had seen was my grandmama when Foster buried her. That's all I knew about
a dead body. But I was meant to find out quick. The third day they put us on
some trucks and drove out to the front lines. I was scared as I could get.
The last words I remember my mama saying to me was how she was praying I
didn't get sent to the front lines. I wasn't in Korea but three days and here
I was on the front lines. Got out there and everything was quiet. The
sergeant told us to get down off the trucks. We got down and started walking.
Got near about two hundred yards when we saw our first body. Then another
one. Then three more. The sergeants say “All right boys, we gonna clean up. I
want you to stack the bodies six high.” I never will forget that. “I want you
to stack the bodies six high.” Not five. Not seven. Six high. And that's what
I did for the next nine months. Clean up the battlefield. It took me six
months before I got to where I could keep my supper down. After that it
didn't bother me no more. Never did learn how to do nothing else. They was supposed to teach me but they never did. They just never
paid me no mind. There was a whole bunch of us they
never paid no mind. What I'm trying to tell you is the white man ain't got no
personal war against you cause you buying a house and they gonna tear down
this block. You too young to be depending on driving jitneys. Is that what
you want to do all your life?
YOUNGBLOOD Naw, but where else am I gonna make
fifty dollars a day tax free? Where else am I gonna get the advantage of not
DOUB How old are you? Twenty-four? Why don't you go
to school under the G.I. Bill? Become something. Make something of your life.
You can be anything you want. Be a pilot or a engineer or something. Like I tell my boys, the world's opened up to you. When I was your age, the only
thing you could get a job doing was busing dishes, running elevators and
cleaning out toilets. Things like that. It ain't like that now. You can be
anything you want. You're young, act kinda crazy,
but you got some sense. You don't waste your money. You got sense enough to
buy a house. Go on to school, Youngblood. You too young to be counting on
YOUNGBLOOD I'm worried about right now. How I'm gonna get
me some furniture and pay that three hundred dollar a month mortgage.
DOUB Why don't you try to get on with another station.
YOUNGBLOOD They all filled up. If Ace hadn't died I wouldn't even have got on
DOUB Talk to Becker. See if he can get you on down at the mill. He got some
pull down there.
YOUNGBLOOD I don't want to work in no mill. I done seen what the mills do to
people and I swore I'd never work in no mill. The
mills suck all the life out of you. That's not for me. I don't want that.
I'll do anything but I don't want that.
(The phone rings. DOUB goes to answer it.)
DOUB It ain't all the time what you want. Sometime it's what you need. Black
folks always get the two confused. (into phone) Car service. (pause)
Naw, he ain't here right now. I'll tell him.
(He hangs up the phone.)
Somebody named Glucker from J & L Steel wants
Becker to call him back.
YOUNGBLOOD Hey Doub, what you gonna do when the
DOUB I don't know. Becker talking about quitting. I wanted to get together
and see if we can find a place to move the station. If that don't work, I
guess I'll just run the bus line till something else comes up. I ain't too
worried. I got my railroad pension, and I ain't got nobody
but myself, so I'll be all right.
FIELDING Hey, Doub. Youngblood. We ain't got but
two more weeks, huh?
DOUB Yeah, that's right. They gonna board it up first of the month.
FIELDING What you gonna do?
DOUB I don't know, Fielding.
FIELDING Well, it's a shame. That's all I got to say about it. You see
Becker's boy yesterday?
DOUB Naw, I ain't seen him. Did he come by here?
FIELDING Oh, yeah, he come by. Me
and Turnbo was here. Good looking boy. He come by to
see his daddy. Big, strong boy. Youngblood, you and Turnbo get straightened
YOUNGBLOOD We okay. As long as he stay out my business.
FIELDING You all ain't gonna be okay long. Turnbo's
just like that. He get in everybody's business. You
can't pay him no mind. You got to ignore what he say.
DOUB What ... you and Turnbo had some words?
FIELDING Turnbo pulled a gun on him.
DOUB He did what?
FIELDING Pulled a gun on him.
DOUB That nigger's crazy. He's gonna kill somebody one of these days with
that damn gun. Either that or somebody's gonna kill him. That makes the
fourth or fifth time he done pulled that gun on somebody. One time he pulled
that gun on a man for fifty cents. Man took a trip and told him he'd pay him
later. Turnbo seen the man sitting next door eating breakfast. He went in
there ... kicked open the door ... waving that gun around. Talking about
killing somebody over fifty cents. The man ain't had a penny. He done talked
the waitress into letting him owe her too, and
Turnbo wanna go in there and shoot the man.
Somebody had to give him fifty cents to keep him from getting killed. You
mark my words. One of these times he's gonna end up killing somebody.
(TURNBO enters and everyone falls silent as they look at him.)
TURNBO You all want me to go back out so you can finish.
DOUB I don't care what you do.
TURNBO You all got quiet ... like you was talking about me.
FIELDING Naw, we wasn't ...
DOUB Yeah, we was talking about you. We was talking about how you gonna pull
that gun on the wrong person one of these days.
TURNBO You ain't got nothing to do with that, Doub. I ain't gonna let nobody take advantage of me, that's
all, and that boy ain't got but one more time.
DOUB Yeah, you right. I ain't got nothing to do with
it. Let me shut up.
(DOUB crosses to the door.) Youngblood, if you see Becker don't forget
to tell him that Glucker from the mill called.
FIELDING Somebody called Becker from the mill?
TURNBO Must be about Shealy's
nephew. That boy broke into Taylor's with old man Pitt's son. Becker's trying
to get him a job at the mill.
FIELDING Oh, well he can do that. He's got a lot of pull down there. He done
got a whole lot of people jobs. What you gonna do Turnbo when the station
TURNBO Oh, I'm set. I talked to Lewellen down on
Centre. I'm gonna take Jim Bono's place. Bono's in the hospital with cancer.
FIELDING No kidding. That's a shame.
you gonna do?
FIELDING I don't know. Doub say something about
finding another place. I'm gonna wait and see what Becker say.
TURNBO What about you, Youngblood?
YOUNGBLOOD I ain't got nothing to say to you.
TURNBO If that's the way you want it.
YOUNGBLOOD You just stay clear of me, old man. Next
time you gonna get hurt for real.
ain't gonna let nobody do nothing to me.
FIELDING Don't you all start now. Come on and be friends.
TURNBO I ain't
started nothing. I tried to talk to the man, willing to let bygones be
bygones and he wanna
(The phone rings.)
YOUNGBLOOD I done said all I got to say to you.
TURNBO Well all right then. If that's the way you want it. Good! (TURNBO goes
to answer the phone.) Car service. (pause) Fielding. (He hands
him the phone.)
FIELDING Hello? Oh, hi, Miss Mayberry. (pause) Sure, I'll take you
shopping. Are you ready now? (pause) I'll be right there.
(FIELDING bumps into SHEALY as he exits. SHEALY enters. He
is dressed up.)
SHEALY Did I get any calls this morning?
YOUNGBLOOD Not that I know.
SHEALY That gal say she was gonna call me at ten o'clock; I knew she was
lying when she said it. Becker been here yet?
TURNBO I ain't seen him. I hear Becker's upset about you using the phone to
always upset about something. (The phone rings, and TURNBO goes to
answer it. BOOSTER enters.)
TURNBO (into phone) Car service. Shealy.
(TURNBO hands the phone to SHEALY.)
BOOSTER Hey fellows. My old man been around here?
TURNBO I ain't seen him all day. I just got here though. Youngblood, Becker
been by at all?
YOUNGBLOOD I ain't seen him.
SHEALY (into phone) Yeah. Three forty-seven ...
TURNBO He should be back in a minute.
SHEALY ... and six seventeen boxed for fifty cents ... nine twenty-nine
straight for a dollar. (He takes
out his pad and writes.) Yeah. Okay.
(He hangs up the phone.)
BOOSTER You take numbers?
TURNBO Yeah. Shealy, this is Becker's son. That's Shealy. He the number man.
me three dollars on three nineteen, straight. (SHEALY writes the number
and gives BOOSTER his slip.)
BOOSTER If you all see my old man, tell him I was by to see him.
YOUNGBLOOD Shealy, I'm going next door to clean up.
If Becker comes, tell him I got a message for him.
SHEALY I ain't gonna be hanging around here all day. I'm gonna give that gal
five more minutes.
TURNBO Go on, I'll tell him.
YOUNGBLOOD That's all right, I'll be right back.
TURNBO That boy ain't got good sense.
SHEALY I hear you all had a go at it.
TURNBO He's a damn fool. (The phone rings. TURNBO answers it.)
(into phone) Car service. (pause) Shealy.
SHEALY Shealy. (pause) Hey baby! (pause) Sure.
That's what I told you. Where you at? (pause) Don't move. Stay right
there. I'll be there in five minutes.
(He hangs up the phone.)
Come on, Turnbo. Give me a ride down to the Ellis Hotel.
This might be the one! If I don't see Rosie's face, I'll give you five
dollars for the trip! (The phone rings.)
(TURNBO and SHEALY exit. Presently, YOUNGBLOOD
enters carrying a cup of coffee. He takes out his book and begins to
figure in it. RENA enters.)
YOUNGBLOOD What you want around here?
RENA I want to see you. You didn't come home last night.
YOUNGBLOOD That's right. What for? You tell me, huh? What I'm gonna come home
for? Being as how you might not be there.
RENA Where did you go?
YOUNGBLOOD What you care about where I went? I stayed here, if you got to
know. I slept on the couch. What I'm gonna come home for with you making all
them stupid accusations?
RENA I ain't made no accusations. I just said I knew
about you and Peaches.
YOUNGBLOOD Somebody tell you they seen your sister in my car and you jump to
conclusions. You don't know what I'm doing.
right. I don't know what you doing. That's what I'm saying. It ain't like you
ain't got no track record. If I remember correctly,
you was leading the parade.
YOUNGBLOOD I'm here. That should be enough. If I didn't want to be here I'd
be somewhere else. Why can't you just take that?
RENA Because it's not enough. I don't want somebody that think just cause
they there, that's enough ... they don't have to do nothing else. I want
somebody who's gonna share with me ... not hide things from me.
YOUNGBLOOD You want to know what I was hiding from you?
I'll tell you. I been hustling… working day and night . . . while you accuse
me of running the streets ... and all I'm trying to do is save enough money
so I can buy a house so you and Jesse have someplace decent to live. I asked
Peaches if she would go with me to look at houses, cause
I wanted to surprise you. I wanted to pull a truck up to the house and say,
"Come on, baby, we moving." And drive on out to Penn Hills and pull
that truck up in front of one of them houses and say, ''This is yours. This
is your house baby." That's what she was trying to hide from you. That's
why Turnbo seen her riding in my car all the time. I found a house and I come
up a hundred and fifty dollars short from closing the deal, and I come and
took the eighty dollars out the drawer.
RENA A house? A house, Darnell? You bought a house without me!
YOUNGBLOOD I wanted to surprise you.
RENA You gonna surprise me with a house? Don't do that. A new TV maybe. A
stereo ... a couch ... a refrigerator ... okay. But don't surprise me with a
house that I didn't even have a chance to pick out! That's what you been
doing? That's the debt you had to pay?
YOUNGBLOOD You always saying you don't want to live
your whole life in the projects.
RENA Darnell, you ain't bought no house without me.
How many times in your life do you get to pick out a house?
YOUNGBLOOD Wait till you see it. It's real nice.
It's all on one floor ... it's got a basement ... like a little den. We can
put the TV down there. I told myself Rena's gonna like this. Wait till she see I bought her a house.
RENA Naw, you bought a den for Darnell ... that's
what you did. So you can sit down there and watch your football games. But
what about the kitchen? The bathroom? How many windows does it have in the
bedroom? Is there some place for Jesse to play? How much closet space does it
have? You can't just surprise me with a house and I'm supposed to say,
"Oh, Darnell, that's nice." At one time I would have. But I'm not
seventeen no more. I have responsibilities. I want
to know if it has a hookup for a washer and dryer cause
I got to wash Jesse's clothes. I want to know if it has a yard and do it have
a fence and how far Jesse has to go to school. I ain't thinking about where
to put the TV. That's not what's important to me. And you supposed to know,
Darnell. You supposed to know what's important to me like I'm supposed to
know what's important to you. I'm not asking you to do it by yourself. I'm
here with you. We in this together. See ... house or no house we still ain't
got the food money. But if you had come and told me ... if you had shared
that with me ... we could have went to my mother and we could have got eighty
dollars for the house and still had money for food. You just did it all
wrong, Darnell. I mean, you did the right thing but you did it wrong.
YOUNGBLOOD No matter what I do it's gonna come out wrong with you. That's why
you jump to conclusions. That's why you accused me of running around with
Peaches. You can't look and see that I
quit going to parties all the time ... that I quit running with Ba Bra and Earl
... that I quit chasing women. You just look at me and see the old Darnell.
If you can't change the way you look at me ... then I may as well surrender
now. I can't beat your memory of who I was if you
can't see I've changed. I go out here and work like a dog to try and do
something nice for you and no matter what I do, I can't never do it right cause all you see is the way I used to be. You don't see
the new Darnell. You don't see I've changed.
RENA I know people change ... but I know they can slip back too.
YOUNGBLOOD No, Rena ... people believe what they want to believe ... what
they set up in their mind to believe. I know what it looked like when I was
gone all the time and not bringing home any money. But you could have noticed
that I was tired . . . you could have said, "Darnell ain't talking too
much cause he's tired." You could have noticed that I didn't act like
somebody running the streets ... that I didn't come home smelling like
alcohol and perfume ... that I didn't dress like somebody running the
streets. If you had thought it all the way through, you could have noticed
how excited I was when I got the UPS job ... how I asked you if I could take
it ... you would have noticed how I was planning things ... that I wasn't
sitting around drinking beer and playing cards ... how I would get up early
on Sunday and go out to the airport to try to make a few extra dollars before
the jitney station opened. But you ain't seen all that. You ain't seen the
new Darnell. You still working off your memory. But the past is over and done
with. I'm thinking about the future. You not the only one who thinks about
Jesse. That's why I'm trying to do something different. That's why I'm trying
to buy a house. Maybe I should have told you about the house. Maybe I did do
it wrong. But I done it. I tried to show you I loved
you, but what I get for it?
RENA Okay, Darnell ... you right. I could have seen all that. But what you
ain't looking at is I changed too. We are both different people than we were
. . . than when we first fell in love. I still love you, Darnell. But love
can only go so far. When we were in high school that was enough. That was the
world. That was everything. But it ain't everything no more. I don't have all
the answers ... sometimes I don't even have the right questions, but I do know
it takes two to find them. All I know is we got somebody, a little two
year-old boy, counting on us.
YOUNGBLOOD But I know when you place your hand in mine you got to say,
"Darnell's not gonna let me down ... he loves me." I don't want to
make no more mistakes in life. I don't want to do nothing to mess this up. I
don't want to get old and be talking about I had me this little old gal one
time ... but I ain't seen her in twenty-two years.
RENA If that's not what you want then you got to let me know, Darnell. If we
don't know what's important to one another and learn to share that then we
can't make it. We can't make it with each other.
YOUNGBLOOD I want you baby ... I told you that. You already my pride. I want
you to be my joy. Cause there ain't but one thing I
done wrong ... stay away from you one night too long.
(They kiss for a long moment.)
RENA Where's this house at?
YOUNGBLOOD Penn Hills. It's got a nice kitchen too. Got a little yard. Got a
nice bedroom. Got a real nice bedroom.
RENA Oh, yeah. I can't wait to see it.
YOUNGBLOOD Where's my boy?
RENA At my mother's house. I got to go to my accounting class.
YOUNGBLOOD You wanna ride?
RENA I'll walk. I need the exercise.
YOUNGBLOOD Naw I'll give you a ride. I don't want
to let you out of my sight. Matter of fact you might have to miss that
RENA What? You got something to teach me? (They kiss
again as BECKER enters.)
BECKER Hey ... Hey ... You all got to take that home.
RENA How you doing, Mr. Becker?
BECKER Oh, I'm all right. How you all doing?
YOUNGBLOOD Well, Becker ... I done bought me a house.
BECKER Oh, yeah. Where'd you buy it at?
YOUNGBLOOD Penn Hills.
BECKER Good! They got some nice houses out there.
That's a smart move, Youngblood. I'm glad to see you do it. Ain't nothing
like owning some property. They might even call you for jury duty. Most young
men be on the other side of the law. How old is the
RENA Two. He look like he's three. Big as he is.
BECKER Ain't nothing left to do now but to get married. Come November it'll
be seventeen years that me and Lucille been together. Seventeen years. I told
her say, ''Work with me." She say okay. I
wasn't sure what it meant myself. I thought it meant
pull or push together. But she showed me one can push and the other can pull
... as long as it's in the same direction. You know what I mean? It ain't all
gonna flow together all the time. That's life. As long as it don't break
apart. When you look around you'll see that all you got is each other. There
ain't much more. Even when it look like there is ...
you come one day to find out there ain't much more worth having. Now I ain't
getting in your business or nothing Youngblood, but the next time you feel
like you want to spend the night apart ... do like I do . . . go sleep on the
couch in the living room. Don't put your business in the street. You put your
business in the street you'd be surprised how many people wanna
have a hand in it.
YOUNGBLOOD I found that out. Even if it ain't in the street people wanna put it there.
BECKER See you're learning. Soon you gonna know as much as I do. You and
Turnbo getting along all right? He been in here?
YOUNGBLOOD Yeah. We all right. Some man from J & L called here for you.
He wants you to call him back. Name of Glucker, I
think. Something like that.
BECKER If you see Doub or Turnbo or Fielding, tell
them we gonna have a meeting tonight at seven o'clock. See what we can do
about them boarding up the place.
YOUNGBLOOD Okay, I'll tell them. Come on, baby, before you be late for class.
(YOUNGBLOOD and RENA exit. BECKER crosses to the phone and
BECKER (into phone) Mr. Glucker in
Personnel. (pause) Jim Becker. (pause) Mr. Glucker?
Becker here. (pause) When? (pause) Sure I'll be glad to do it
for you. (pause) All right. That's no problem. You can count on me.
Say, Glucker, I got a young man that's trying to do
something with his life, trying to straighten himself out. I wanna send him over to see you. (pause) Well, that'll
help. Even something temporary let him show you what kind of worker he is.
Thanks. I'll send him over to see you. His name is Robert Shealy.
All right now. Thanks again.
(BECKER hangs up the phone and busies himself with
straightening up the station. BOOSTER enters.)
The station's closed. Ain't no
cars here. You might go up on Webster, corner of Roberts. Maceo Brown got a
station up there.
BOOSTER I been thinking about what you said. So many things to think about.
After twenty years I thought I got good at thinking ... but there's so many things you miss. I went out and visited
(BECKER ignores BOOSTER. He gathers up his papers and things and
exits the station. BOOSTER is stunned. He gathers himself together and
stands to exit when FIELDING enters.)
FIELDING I just saw your daddy. He must have went on
a trip. How you doing?
BOOSTER Fine. I'm doing fine. Just trying to figure out what to do.
FIELDING If you in the treetop you can’t do nothing but jump to the ground.
But first you got to know how you got up there. Did you climb up to get some
apples or was you run up by a bear? You got to know
that cause you might have to start running when you
hit the ground. If you trying to figure out what to do ... you got to first
figure out how you got in the situation you in. That's something simple. But
you be surprised how many people can't figure that
(FIELDING looks at BOOSTER's suit.)
Is that what they give you? They
ought to be ashamed of themselves. That cheap-ass wool ain't but a dollar
ninety-nine cents a yard. They could have give you a nice wool gabardine. A good-looking
young man like you.... they could look at you and tell you a connoisseur of
(FIELDING looks at the suit again with the experienced eye of a tailor.)
I could open up them armpits ... add some new shoulderpads
. . . move them buttons . . . lay a double-cross top stitch on that lapel ...
everybody don't know that doublecross top stitch.
Ain't but so many fellows can make a double-cross top stitch. At one time in
the whole city of Pittsburgh there wasn't but two. Me and Jimmy Green. And he
couldn't make it but so good.
BOOSTER I see you know something about it.
FIELDING I used to make suits for Billy Ekstine. I
used to make all his clothes. He wouldn't let
nobody else make them. He get
out there on the road and them fellows in the bands be jealous of him. They
used to try and outdo each other you know. Used to try and keep the name of
their tailors secret. Count Basie found out I was Billy Ekstine's
tailor ... come through here and wouldn't leave till I had made him a suit.
Fucked up his whole tour. Had to cancel Cleveland and Cincinnati while he
waited them ten days for that suit. Cost him twenty
thousand dollars in lost revenue but he say he
didn't care. He tried to steal me away from Billy, but Billy was from
Pittsburgh and that made us have more of a bond. Even though I must say I
liked Basie cause he paid well. But that wasn't
enough to tear me and Billy apart.
(He pulls out his bottle and takes a drink.)
The only thing that could do that was this here bottle. That tore a whole lot
of things apart. It don't always turn out like you
think it is. You don't always have the kind of life that you dream about. You
know what I mean?
BOOSTER I thought I was gonna be the heavyweight champion of the world. Be
the next Albert Einstein. But I forgot you can't live in your dreams. I found
that out when I was seven. I dreamt I had a bicycle. I went all over on the bicycle.
I rode it around in circles. I rode it everywhere. I rode it to the store. I
rode it to school. I went all over on the bicycle. Red bicycle. Had a
coonskin tail hanging from the handlebars. Had a little bell on the
handlebars. Anybody get in your way you just ring that. Had real nice
reflectors. Big old seat seem like it too big for you, but then again it seem
like it was just big enough. Had fenders in the back ... a little seat back
there in case you want to give somebody a ride they could sit back there.
That was one of the nicest bicycles anybody ever wanna see. I woke up and went looking for it. I had
to go to school? Where the bike? Why don't I just hop on that? I looked all
over for it. I looked in the back yard. The neighbor's yard. Where the
bicycle? That's when I decided right then that dreams didn't mean anything in
this world. You could be the president or a bishop or something like that.
You can dream you got more money than Rockefeller. See what happen when you
FIELDING You can dream lucky and wake up cold in hand. That's what my daddy
used to say.
(FIELDING drinks from the bottle.)
I ain't supposed to do this. I can't let Becker catch me. That's against
Becker's rules. I guess you know something about that, huh?
FIELDING I say you must know something about Becker's rules.
I guess I do. Becker's rules is what got me in the
FIELDING I ain't gonna carry it that far.
(FIELDING takes a drink and offers the bottle to BOOSTER, who takes
a swig and hands the bottle back to FIELDING. He crosses to the door.)
BOOSTER I'll see you around.
(BOOSTER exits. FIELDING takes another nip. PHILMORE enters.
He carries a duffle-bag. He looks closely at FIELDING.)
PHILMORE Do I know you?
FIELDING I know you. I know you live out in Homewood above the Frankstown Bar cause I done
carried you out there a couple times.
PHILMORE I used to live out there. My old lady put me out. She don't know but
she gonna be missing me. Come next week she gonna be begging me to come back.
FIELDING I don't doubt it.
PHILMORE I went to my sister but she wouldn't let me stay there. Now I got to
go to my mama's.
FIELDING Mama will take you in.
PHILMORE How much you charge to go out to East Liberty?
FIELDING That cost three dollars.
PHILMORE Look here I ain't got but two dollars. Carry me out there I'll give
it to you. I work down there at the William Penn Hotel. I
been working down there six years. Never missed a day. Let me owe you
a dollar. I'll give it to you next week.
FIELDING All right. Come on.
PHILMORE Mama don't like to see you coming ... but
she will take you in.
FIELDING You got to have somebody you can count on. Now you take my wife. I
ain't seen that woman in twenty-two years. I had a dream once ...
(FIELDING and PHILMORE exit as phone rings. Lights go down on the
(The lights come upon the scene. It is early evening. TURNBO, FIELDING,
YOUNGBLOOD, and DOUB sit in a circle listening to BECKER The
lights and postures of the men convey the idea of a clandestine meeting.)
BECKER All right ... you all know
why we're here. You all know what's happening. The city's fixing to board up
the place come the first of the month. They gonna tear it down. They gonna
tear the whole block down.
YOUNGBLOOD They gonna tear the whole neighborhood down.
DOUB They supposed to build some houses. That's what they need to do.
TURNBO They supposed to build a new hospital down there on Logan Street. They been talking about that for the longest while. They
supposed to build another part to the Irene Kaufman Settlement House to
replace the part they tore down. They supposed to build some houses down on Dinwidee.
BECKER Turnbo's right. They supposed to
build some houses but you ain't gonna see that. You ain't gonna see nothing
but the tear-down. That's all I ever seen.
YOUNGBLOOD That's 'all there is to see.
FIELDING They built that Senior Citizen highrise on
YOUNGBLOOD We ain't talking about no one building. We
talking about the neighborhood.
BECKER All right. Since they boarding up the place we got to figure out what
we gonna do. I talked to Tanenhill about renting
that place down on Centre what used to be Siegal's
egg store. We can do that. Or we can try to get on with another station. We
can go on and play by their rules like we have been. When I first come along
I tried to do everything right. I figured that was the best thing to do. Even
when it didn't look like they was playing fair I
told myself they would come around. Time it look like you got a little
something going for you they would change the rules. Now you got to do
something else. I told myself that's all right my boy's coming. He's gonna
straighten it out. I put it on somebody else. I took it off of me and put it
on somebody else. I told myself as long as I could do that then I could just
keep going along and making excuses for everybody. But I'm through making
excuses for anybody ... including myself. I ain't gonna pass it on. I say we
stay here. We already here. The people know we here.
We been here for eighteen years ... and I don't see no reason to move. City
or no city. I look around and all I see is boarded up buildings. Some .of
them been boarded-up for more than ten years. If they want to build some
houses that's when they can tear it down. When they ready to build the
houses. They board this place up the first of the month and let it sit
boarded-up for the next fifteen ... twenty years.
just how they put Memphis Lee out of business.
BECKER And if we don't do something they'll put Clifford out of business. Put
Hester out of business. Put us out of business. Let Clifford go on and sell
his fish sandwich till they get ready to build something. Let Hester go on
and sell her milk and butter. Cause we gonna run jitneys out of here till the
day before the bulldozer come! Ain't gonna be no boarding up around here! (the
men give cries of approval) We gonna fight them on that. Let them go
board up somewhere else.
FIELDING Sounds good to me.
TURNBO Come to think of it ... what they gonna do about it? If we say no we ain't moving. What they gonna do about it?
FIELDING If everybody stick together they can't do nothing.
BECKER We gonna have to raise the dues ten dollars a month
BECKER To help pay our legal fees. We gonna get us a lawyer. We going in with
Clifford and Hester and get us a lawyer. Do it legal. There's ways to fight
them. If we gonna be running jitneys out of here we gonna do it right. We get
us a lawyer he can go down to the court and file a petition. Now there's a
couple things that come up we need to take care of. I want all the cars
inspected. The people got a right if you hauling them around in your car to
expect the brakes to work. Clean out your trunk. Clean out the interior of
your car. Keep your car clean. The people want to ride in a clean car. We providing a service to the community. We ain't just
giving rides to people. We
providing a service. That's why you answer the phone "Car
service." You don't say Becker's Cabs or Joe's Jitney's. Part of that service is providing people
with a way to get their groceries home or to get their suitcase down to the
bus station or the airport so they can go home to visit their mama or whoever
it is they want to visit. I want everybody to pull their weight and provide
the service that's expected of us. (BECKER looks at his watch) Time
getting away. I got to go down and work at J & L ... they got caught
shorthanded and need somebody who knows how to operate them machines ... I'll
be over there every night this week. But remember ... come next week ... come
Tuesday ... ain't no plywood going up around here.
Ain't gonna be no boarding up this station! Youngblood ...
(He takes a dollar out of his pocket.)
Run over Hester's and get us a light bulb for that lamp.
DOUB Hey Becker, what lawyer we gonna get?
BECKER I don't know, Doub. I ain't thought too much
TURNBO We ought to get Wendell Freeman. He the one who won
that suit for the NAACP when they wouldn't let no
colored in them houses out there in Shadyside. As much money as he made on
that ... he ought to work for free.
FIELDING How you figure he ought to work for free? Who you know work for
free? Go ahead ... name anybody. Who you know work for free?
wasn't talking to you, Fielding.
DOUB Whoever it is ought to be on our side. Half the time they be worried
about what the city gonna say or think about them. I seen that happen.
BECKER Yeah, I have too. You can bet whoever we get gonna be on our side. We
ain't going through all of this for nothing. Let me
get on over to the mill before the shift start. Say Doub
... oh, never mind. I'll see you tomorrow.
going over and see what Clifford has to say about them boarding up his place.
DOUB Here ... I'll go over with you.
(He crosses to the door.)
You coming Fielding? (FIELDING indicates a lack of interest.) Come
on, I'll buy you a fish sandwich.
FIELDING Oh yeah . . . since you put it like that. (DOUB and TURBO exit.
FIELDING takes a bottle of whiskey from his pocket and starts to take
a drink, then changes his mind.) A little lemonade never killed nobody.
(FIELDING exits. The lights go down on the scene.)
(The lights come up on the station the following day. DOUB and TURNBO
sit in chairs. FIELDING leans against the wall by the phone.
Everyone is silent and in a solemn mood. The silence swells. FIELDING breaks
FIELDING Becker was all right by me. We had our run-ins and all, but he was
all right by me. (The phone rings. FIELDING answers it.) Hello?
(pause) Yeah.(pause) All right. Be right
there. (He hangs up the phone.) I got a trip. (FIELDING exits.)
TURNBO When is the funeral, you know?
DOUB It ain't been set yet.
TURNBO I wonder if he had any insurance.
DOUB What you care whether the man had any insurance!
TURNBO I was
just wondering. I'm allowed to wonder. I got something on my mind I just say
it. Ain't nothing wrong ...
DOUB Turnbo, shut up!
TURNBO Ain't no sense in me staying here and trying to
talk to a damn fool!
(TURNBO gets up and exits. DOUB sits staring at the wall. The phone
DOUB (into phone) Ain't no cars here today.
(He hangs up the phone as YOUNGBLOOD enters.)
YOUNGBLOOD Hey, Doub.
YOUNGBLOOD Where's everybody?
DOUB Fielding went on a trip.
YOUNGBLOOD I seen Turnbo out there sitting in his
DOUB He was
in here running off at the mouth. (YOUNGBLOOD and DOUB sit for a
moment in silence.)
YOUNGBLOOD You couldn't find a nicer man than Becker. You know? Always
keeping things straight. Always worried about somebody else. Always looking
out for you.
SHEALY Hey, Doub. Youngblood.
DOUB You heard?
SHEALY Yeah, I heard it on the news last night. Man work all them years down
there and ain't nothing happened. Retire ... and go
back to work one day ... and that's the day the bolt decides to break. I
can't understand it. It don't make no sense to me. I
went to see Lucille and take her some money. She hit for a quarter a couple
of days ago.
DOUB How's she taking it?
SHEALY She's taking it pretty good. Considering how it happened. Sudden and
DOUB I'll have to get by and see her.
(PHILMORE enters. He is sober and somber.)
SHEALY Hey, Philmore.
PHILMORE I'm sorry about Mr. Becker. I heard he got killed in an accident down
at the mill. He was a nice man.
DOUB Yeah. Thanks.
PHILMORE You all need any pall-bearers?
DOUB As soon as the arrangements are made, I will let you know. Don't nobody know too much right now.
PHILMORE If you do ... let me know. I'll take off work.
(DOUB shakes PHILMORE'S hand.)
DOUB Thanks Philmore. Thanks for coming around.
(PHILMORE exits. SHEALY goes into his pocket.)
SHEALY Here go ten dollars for flowers.
DOUB All right.
YOUNGBLOOD Here's mine.
SHEALY You know that boy hit for three dollars
SHEALY Becker's boy. Hit on that three nineteen.
DOUB Anybody seen him?
SHEALY Lucille say she ain't heard from him.
DOUB I wonder do he know?
FIELDING Hey, Shealy.
taking ten dollars for flowers, Fielding.
(FIELDING goes into his pocket and counts out eight dollars to DOUB.)
FIELDING Loan me two dollars, Youngblood.
DOUB Here, I'll put it with the four dollars you owe me.
FIELDING What four dollars I owe you?
know you borrowed four dollars off the man the other day. See, Doub, that's why I wouldn't loan him nothing.
FIELDING I don't know nothing about no four dollars.
DOUB That's all right, goddamn it! I know! You just give me six back. Give me
ten dollars Turnbo.
TURNBO Ten dollars for what?
flowers. Everybody's putting in ten dollars.
FIELDING How the hell you figure I owe you six dollars?
DOUB I ain't studying you.
TURNBO Oh, all right. Did Youngblood give you his?
why don't you mind your business! For one time, huh?
FIELDING Hey, Doub ... what I got to give you six
is my business. I want to make sure everybody pay.
DOUB Let me take care of that.
YOUNGBLOOD You ain't got to worry about my business.
TURNBO I ain't worried about your business. I just say ...
(The door opens and BOOSTER enters. Everybody
BOOSTER Hey fellas, my old man around? (BOOSTER notices something is wrong.)
Hey, what's the matter? (BOOSTER notices everybody looking at him.) What
you all sitting around looking at me for?
TURNBO Ain't you heard?
BOOSTER Heard what?
DOUB Boy, don't you know your daddy's dead? (The phone rings. BOOSTER moves
BOOSTER Hey man! What you talking about? Huh? What you talking about? (He
turns toward FIELDING.) What's he talking about my daddy dead? (He
moves toward DOUB.) What you talking about man?
DOUB He got killed down at the ... (BOOSTER punches DOUB in the
face. YOUNGBLOOD, TURNBO, and SHEALY grab BOOSTER.)
BOOSTER What you talking about nigger! (They wrestle BOOSTER to the
ground.) Let me go! Let me go! Let me go! That nigger
tell me my daddy's dead! Let me go. That nigger tell
me my daddy's dead.
(The lights go down to black.)
(The lights come up on the stations. It is three days
later. DOUB, YOUNGBLOOD, TURNBO,
FIELDING, and SHEALY sit around the station. They have just come
back from the funeral.
DOUB When you
SHEALY I hear you bought a house in Penn Hills.
SHEALY They got some nice houses out there. Some of them boys play for the
Steelers got houses out there. Them some nice houses.
TURNBO They ain’t as nice as the houses in Monroeville. Most people don’t
even buy houses in Penn Hills no more. They go out to Monroeville.
SHEALY Let me
see now…. Where you say your house was again? Which one did you buy? I keep
YOUNGBLOOD Reverend Flowers preached a pretty funeral.
FIELDING Sure did. Made me want to join the church. Have somebody preach over
me like that.
only thing he can say about you is you an alcoholic.
FIELDING I ain't studying you. Sure I drink. Everybody drink. You ought not
to go around calling people names.
DOUB Why don't you all hold up on that bickering
back and forth. Don't nobody wanna
hear that today.
all still gonna stay here? You gonna fight them on boarding up the place, Doub?
you worried for? The only thing is you won't have no
place to take numbers. That's all you worried about.
SHEALY I was
talking to this man right here.
DOUB I don't know, Shealy. It just wouldn't be the
same without Becker.
FIELDING Naw. Sure wouldn't.
YOUNGBLOOD I'm ready if everybody else is. If not I'll find a job somewhere.
Go to school. Raise my family. Do whatever I have to. You know…
was all right by me. We had our run-ins. But he was all right by me.
(The door opens, and BOOSTER enters.)
just wanted to stop by and thank you all for everything you done.
(He crosses to DOUB, shakes his hand, and puts his arm around
DOUB Sure. Ain't a man here wouldn't have done anything he could for Becker.
BOOSTER Yeah, I know.
right. You can be proud of your daddy. He was all right by me. I ain't knowed him to have an enemy in the world. Ain't that
BOOSTER I never knew him too much, you know. I never got to
know him like you all did. I can't say nothing wrong
by him. He took care of me when I was young. He ain't run the streets and
fuss and fight with my mama. The only thing I ever
knew him to do was work hard. It didn't matter to me too much at the time cause I couldn't see it like I see it now. He had his
ways. I guess everybody do. The only thing I feel
sorry about ... is he ain't got out of life what he put in. He deserved
better than what life gave him. I can't help thinking that. But you right ...
I'm proud of my old man. I'm proud of him. (The phone rings.) And I'm
proud to be Becker's boy.
(He stops and catches himself.)
I didn't come here to preach no sermon.
(He starts toward the door. He stops and turns around. The phone continues to
ring. He crosses to it and picks up the receiver.)
(into phone) Car service.
(The lights go down to black.)