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[2 of 5] Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Act One, Scenes 2, 3, & 4, by August Wilson

Author: August Wilson

Wilson, August. "Act One, Scenes 2, 3, & 4," Joe Turner's Come and Gone. Signet, 1988.

Source: Joe Turner’s Come and Gone Full Vimeo Uploader: Anna Bean Uploaded: Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 8:11 PM


It is Saturday morning, one week later. The lights come up on the kitchen. Bertha is at the stove preparing breakfast while Seth sits at ihe table.

SETH: Something ain’t right about that fellow. I been watching him all week. Something ain’t right, I’m telling you.

BERTHA: Seth Holly, why don’t you hush up about that man this morning?

SETH: I don’t like the way he stare at everybody. Don’t look at you natural like. He just be staring at you. Like he trying to figure out something about you. Did you see him when he come back in here?

BERTHA: That man ain’t thinking about you.

SETH: He don’t work nowhere. Just go out and come back. Go out and come back.

BERTHA: As long as you get your boarding money it ain’t your cause about what he do. He don’t bother nobody.

SETH: Just go out and come back. Going around asking everybody about Martha. Like Henry Allen seen him down at the church last night.

BERTHA: The man’s allowed to go to church if he want. He say he a deacon. Ain’t nothing wrong about him going to church.

SETH: I ain’t talking about him going to church. I’m talking about him hanging around outside the church.

BERTHA: Henry Allen say that?

SETH: Say he be standing around outside the church. Like he be watching it,

BERTHA: What on earth he wanna be watching the church for, I wonder?

SETH: That’s what I’m trying to figure out. Looks like he fixing to rob it.

BERTHA: Seth, now do he look like the kind that would rob the church?

SETH: I ain’t saying that. I ain’t saying how he look. It’s how he do. Anybody liable to do anything as far as I’m concerned.

I ain’t never thought about how no church robbers look … but now that you mention it, I don’t see where they look no different than how he look.

BERTHA: Herald Loomis ain’t the kind of man who would rob no church.

SETH: I ain’t even so sure that’s his name.

BERTHA: Why the man got to lie about his name?

SETH: Anybody can tell anybody anything about what their name is. That’s what you call him . .. Herald Loomis. His name is liable to be anything.

BERTHA: Well, until he tell me different that’s what I’m gonna call him. You just getting yourself all worked up about the man for nothing.

SETH: Talking about Loomis: Marthas name wasn’t no Loomis nothing. Martha’s name is Pentecost.

BERTHA: How you so sure that’s her right name? Maybe she changed it.

SETH: Martha’s a good Christian woman. This fellow here look like he owe the devil a day’s work and he’s trying to figure out how he gonna pay him. Martha ain’t had a speck of distrust about her the whole time she was living here. They moved the church out there to Rankin and I was sorry to see her go.

BERTHA: That’s why he be hanging around the church. He looking for her.

SETH: If he looking for her, why don’t he go inside and ask? What he doing hanging around outside the church acting sneakly like?

(Bynum enters from the yard.)

BYNUM: Morning, Seth. Morning, Sister Bertha.

(Bynum continues through the kitchen and exits up the stairs.)

BERTHA: That’s who you should be. asking the questions. He been out there in that yard all morning. He was out there before the sun come up. He didn’t even come in for breakfast. I don’t know what he’s doing. He had three of them pigeons line up out there. He dance around till he get tired. He sit down a while then get up and dance some more. He come through here a little while ago looking like he was mad at the world.

SETH: I don’t pay Bynum no mind. He don’t spook me up with all that stuff.

BERTHA: That’s how Martha come to be living here. She come to see Bynum. She come to see him when she first left from down South.

SETH: Martha was living here before Bynum. She ain’t come on here when she first left from down there. She come on here after she went back to get her little girl. That’s when she come on here.

BERTHA: Well, where was Bynum? He was here when she came.

SETH: Bynum ain’t come till after her. That boy Hiram was staying up there in Bynum’s room.

BERTHA: Well, how long Bynum been here?

SETH: Bynum ain’t been here no longer than three years. That’s what I’m trying to tell you. Martha was staying up there and sewing and cleaning for Doc Goldblum when Bynum came. This the longest he ever been in one place.

BERTHA: How you know how long the man been in one place?

SETH: I know Bynum. Bynum ain’t no mystery to me. I done seen a hundred niggers like him. He’s one of them fellows never could stay in one place. He was wandering all around the country till he got old and settled here. The only thing different about Bynum is he bring all this heebie-jeebie stuff with him.

BERTHA: I still say he was staying here when she came. That’s why she came … to see him.

SETH: You can say what you want. I know the facts of it. She come on here four years ago all heartbroken ’cause she couldn’t find her little girl. And Bynum wasn’t nowhere around. She got mixed up in that old heebie-jeebie nonsense with him after he came.

BERTHA: Well, if she came on before Bynum I don’t know where she stayed. ‘Cause she stayed up there in Hiram’s room. Hiram couldn’t get along with Bynum and left out of here owing you two dollars. Now, I know you ain’t forgot about that!

SETH: Sure did! You know Hiram ain’t paid me that two dollars yet. So that’s why he be ducking and hiding when he see me down on Logan Street. You right. Martha did come on after Bynum. I forgot that’s why Hiram left.

BERTHA: Him and Bynum never could see eye to eye. They always rubbed each other the wrong way. Hiram got to thinking that Bynum was trying to put a fix on him and he moved out. Martha came to see Bynum and ended up taking Hiram’s room. Now, I know what I’m talking about.

She stayed on here three years till they moved the church.

SETH: She out there in Rankin now. I know where she at. I know where they moved the church to. She right out there in Rankin in that place used to be a shoe store. Used to be Wolf’s shoe store. They moved to a bigger place and they put that church in there. I know where she at. I know just where she at.

BERTHA: Why don’t you tell the man? You see he looking for her.

SETH: I ain’t gonna tell that man where that woman is! What I wanna do that for? I don’t know nothing about that man. I don’t know why he looking for her. He might wanna do her a harm. I ain’t gonna carry that on my hands. He looking for her, he gonna have to find her for himself. I ain’t gonna help him. Now, if he had come and presented himself as a gentleman–the way Martha Pentecost’s husband would have done–then I would have told him. But I ain’t gonna tell this old wild-eyed mean-looking nigger nothing!

BERTHA: Well, why don’t you get a ride with Selig and go up there and tell her where he is? See if she wanna see him. If that’s her little girl … you say Martha was looking for her.

SETH: You know me, Bertha. I don’t get mixed up in nobody’s business.

(Bynum enters from the stairs.)

BYNUM: Morning, Seth. Morning, Bertha. Can I still get some breakfast? Mr. Loomis been down here this morning?

SETH: He done gone out and come back. He up there now. Left out of here early this morning wearing that coat. Hot as it is, the man wanna walk around wearing a big old heavy coat. He come back in here paid me for another week, sat down there waiting on Selig. Got tired of waiting and went back upstairs.

BYNUM: Where’s the little girl?

SETH: She out there in the front. Had to chase her and that Reuben off the front porch. She out there somewhere.

BYNUM: Look like if Martha was around here he would have found her by now. My guess is she ain’t in the city.

SETH: She ain’t! I know where she at. I know just where she at. But I ain’t gonna tell him. Not the way he look.

BERTHA: Here go your coffee, Bynum.

BYNUM: He says he gonna get Selig to find her for him.

SETH: Selig can’t find her. He talk all that . .. but unless he get lucky and knock on her door he can’t find her. That’s the only way he find anybody. He got to get lucky. But I know just where she at.

BERTHA: Here go some biscuits, Bynum.

BYNUM: What else you got over there, Sister Bertha? You got some grits and gravy over there? I could go for some of that this morning.

BERTHA (Sets a bowl on the table): Seth, come on and help me turn this mattress over. Come on.

SETH: Something ain’t right with that fellow, Bynum. I don’t like the way he stare at everybody.

BYNUM: Mr. Loomis all right, Seth. He just a man got something on his mind. He just got a straightforward mind, that’s all.

SETH: What’s that fellow that they had around here? Moses, that’s Moses Houser. Man went crazy and jumped off the Brady Street Bridge. I told you when I seen him something wasn’t right about him. And I’m telling you about this fellow now.

(There is a knock on the door. Seth goes to answer it. Enter Rutherford Selig.)

Ho! Come on in, Selig.

BYNUM: If it ain’t the People Finder himself.

SELIG: Bynum, before you start . .. I ain’t seen no shiny man now.

BYNUM: Who said anything about that? I ain’t said nothing about that. I just called you a first-class People Finder.

SELIG: How many dustpans you get out of that sheet metal, Seth?

SETH: You walked by them on your way in. They sitting out there on the porch. Got twenty-eight. Got four out of each sheet and made Bertha a coffeepot out the other one. They a little small but they got nice handles.

SELIG: That was twenty cents apiece, right? That’s what we agreed on.

SETH: That’s five dollars and sixty cents. Twenty on top of twenty-eight. How many sheets you bring me?

SELIG: I got eight out there. That’s a dollar twenty makes me owe you …

SETH: Four dollars and forty cents.

SELIG (Paying him): Go on and make me some dustpans. I can ..use, all you can make.

(Loomis enters from the stairs.)

LOOMIS: I been watching for you. He say you find people.

BYNUM: Mr. Loomis here wants you to find his wife.

LOOMIS: He say you find people. Find her for me.

SELIG: Well, let see here … find somebody, is it?

(Selig rummages through his pockets. He has several notebooks and he is searching for the right one.)

All right now … what’s the name?

LOOMIS: Martha Looms. She my wife. Got married legal, with the paper and all.

SELIG (Writing): Martha … Loomis. How tall is she?

LOOMIS: She five feet from the ground.

SELIG: Five feet … tall. Young or old?

LOOMIS: She a young woman. Got long pretty hair.

SELIG: Young … long … pretty . .. hair. Where did you last see her?

LOOMIS: Tennessee. Nearby Memphis.

SELIG: When was that?

LOOMIS: Nineteen hundred and one.

SELIG: Nineteen . .. hundred and one. I’ll tell you, mister. you better off without them. Now you take me Rutherford Selig could tell you a thing or two about these women. I ain’t met one yet I could understand. Now, you take Sally out there. That’s all a man needs is a good horse. I say giddup and she go. Say whoa and she stop. I feed her some oats and she carry me wherever I want to go. Ain’t had a speck of trouble out of her since I had her. Now, I been married. A long time ago down in Kentucky. I got up one morning and I saw this look on my wife’s face. Like way down deep inside her she was wishing I was dead. I walked around that morning and every time I looked at her she had that look on her face. It seem like she knew I could see it on her. Every time I looked at her I got smaller and smaller. Well, I wasn’t gonna stay around there and just shrink away. I walked out on the porch and closed the door behind me. When I closed the door she locked it. I went out and bought me a horse. And I ain’t been without one since! Martha Loomis, huh? Well, now I’ll do the best I can do. That’s one dollar.

LOOMIS (Holding out dollar suspiciously): How you find her?

SELIG: Well now, it ain’t no easy job like you think. You can’t just go out there and find them like that. There’s a lot of little tricks to it. It’s not an easy job keeping up with you Nigras the way you move about so. Now you take this woman you looking for . . . this Martha Loomis. She could be anywhere. Time I find her, if you don’t keep your eye on her, she’ll be gone off someplace else. You’ll be thinking she over here and she’ll be over there. But like I say there’s a lot of little tricks to it.

LOOMIS: You say you find her.

SELIG: I can’t promise anything but we been finders in my family for a long time. Bringers and finders. My great-granddaddy used to bring Nigras across the ocean on ships. That wasn’t no easy job either. Sometimes the winds would blow so hard you’d think the hand of God was set against the sails. But it set him well in pay and he settled in this new land and found him a wife of good Christian charity with a mind for kids and the like and well… here I am, Rutherford Selig. You’re in good hands, mister. Me and my daddy have found plenty Nigras. My daddy, rest his soul, used to find runaway slaves for the plantation bosses. He was the best there was at it. Jonas B. Selig. Had him a reputation stretched clean across the country. After Abraham Lincoln give you all Nigras your freedom papers and with you all looking all over for each other . .. we started finding Nigras for Nigras. Of course, it don’t pay as much. But the People Finding business ain’t so bad.

LOOMIS (Hands him the dollar): Find her. Martha Loomis. Find her for me.

SELIG: Like I say, I can’t promise you anything, I’m going back upriver, and if she’s around in them parts I’ll find her for you. But I can’t promise you anything.

LOOMIS: When you coming back?

SELIG: I’ll be back on Saturday. I come and see Seth to pick up my order on Saturday.

BYNUM: You going upriver, huh? You going up around my way. I used to go all up through there. Blawnox. . . Clairton. Used to go up to Rankin and take that first righthand road. I wore many a pair of shoes out walking around that way. You’d have thought I was a missionary spreading the gospel the way I wandered all around them parts.

SELIG: Okay, Bynum. See you on Saturday.

SETH: Here, let me walk out with you. Help you with them dustpans.

(Seth and Selig exit out the back. Bertha enters from the stairs carrying a bundle of sheets.)

BYNUM: Herald Loomis got the People Finder looking for Martha.

BERTHA: You can call him a People Finder if you want to. I know Rutherford Selig carries people away too. He done carried a whole bunch of them away from here. Folks plan on leaving plan by Seligs timing. They wait till he get ready to go, then they hitch a ride on his wagon. Then he charge folks a dollar to tell them where he took them. Now, that’s the truth of Rutherford Selig, This old People Finding business is for the birds. He ain’t never found nobody he ain’t took away. Herald Loomis, you just wasted your dollar.

(Bertha exits into the bedroom.)

LOOMIS: He say he find her. He say he find her by Saturday. I’m gonna wait till Saturday.

(The lights fade to black.)


It is Sunday morning, the next day. The lights come up on the kitchen. Seth sits talking to Bynum. The breakfast dishes have been cleared away.

SETH: They can’t see that. Neither one of them can see that. Now, how much sense it take to see that? All you got to do is be able to count. One man making ten pots is five men making fifty pots. But they can’t see that. Asked where I’m gonna get my five men. Hell, I can teach anybody how to make a pot. I can teach you. I can take you out there and get you started right now. Inside of two weeks you’d know how to make a pot. All you got to do is want to do it. I can get five men. I ain’t worried about getting no five men.

BERTHA (Calls from the bedroom): Seth. Come on and get ready now. Reverend Gates ain’t gonna be holding up his sermon ’cause you sitting out there talking.

SETH: Now, you take the boy Jeremy. What he gonna do after he put in that road? He can’t do nothing but go put in another one somewhere. Now, if he let me show him how to make some pots and pans … then he’d have something can’t nobody take away from him. After a while he could get his own tools and go off somewhere and make his own pots and pans. Find him somebody to sell them to. Now, Selig can’t make no pots and pans. He can sell them but he can’t make them. I get me five men with some tools and wed make him so many pots and pans he’d have to open up a store somewhere. But they can’t see that. Neither Mr. Cohen nor Sam Green.

BERTHA (Calls from the bedroom): Seth… time be wasting. Best be getting on.

SETH: I’m coming, woman! (To Bynum) Want me to sign over the house to borrow five hundred dollars. I ain’t that big a fool. That’s all I got. Sign it over to them and then I won’t have nothing.

(Jeremy enters waving a dollar and carrying his guitar.)

Source: Joe Turner’s Come and Gone Full Vimeo Uploader: Anna Bean Uploaded: Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 8:11 PM

JEREMY: Look here, Mr. Bynum . . . won me another dollar last night down at Seefus! Me and that Mattie Campbell went down there again and I played contest. Ain’t no guitar players down there. Wasn’t even no contest. Say, Mr. Seth, I asked Mattie Campbell if she wanna come by and have Sunday dinner with us. Get some fried chicken.

SETH: It’s gonna cost you twenty-five cents.

JEREMY: That’s all right. I got a whole dollar here. Say Mr. Seth . .. me and Mattie Campbell talked it over last night and she gonna move in with me. If that’s all right with you.

SETH: Your business is your business … but it’s gonna cost her a dollar a week for her board. I can’t be feeding nobody for free.

JEREMY: Oh, she know that, Mr. Seth. That’s what I told her, say she’d have to pay for her meals.

SETH: You say you got a whole dollar there … turn loose that twenty-five cents.

JEREMY: Suppose she move in today, then that make seventy-five cents more, so I’ll give you the whole dollar for her now till she gets here.

(Seth pockets the money and exits into the bedroom.)

BYNUM: So you and that Mattie Campbell gonna take up together?

JEREMY: I told her she don’t need to be by her lonesome, Mr. Bynum. Don’t make no sense for both of us to be by our lonesome. So she gonna move in with me.

BINUM: Sometimes you got to be where you supposed to be. Sometimes you can get all mixed up in life and come to the wrong place.

JEREMY: That’s just what I told her, Mr. Bynum. It don’t make no sense for her to be all mixed up and lonesome. May as well come here and be with me. She a fine woman too. Got them long legs. Knows how to treat a fellow too. Treat you like you wanna be treated.

BYNUM: You just can’t look at it like that. You got to look at the whole thing. Now, you take a fellow go out there, grab hold to a woman and think he got something cause she sweet and soft to the touch. All right. Touching’s part of life. It’s in the world like everything else. Touching’s nice. It feels good. But you can lay your hand upside a horse or a cat, and that feels good too. What’s the difference? When you grab hold to a woman, you got something there. You got a whole world there. You got a way of life kicking up under your hand. That woman can take and make you feel like something. I ain’t just talking about in the way of jumping off into bed together and rolling around with each other. Anybody can do that. When you grab hold to that woman and look at the whole thing and see what you got. . . why, she can take and make something out of you. Your mother was a woman. That’s enough right there to show you what a woman is. Enough to show you what she can do. She made something out of you. Taught you converse, and all about how to take care of yourself, how to see where you at and where you going tomorrow, how to look out to see what’s coming in the way of eating, and what to do with yourself when you get lonesome. That’s a mighty thing she did. But you just can’t look at a woman to jump off into bed with her. That’s a foolish thing to ignore a woman like that.

JEREMY: Oh, I ain’t ignoring her, Mt. Bynum. It’s hard to ignore a woman got legs like she got.

BYNUM: All right. Let’s try it this way. Now, you take a ship. Be out there on the water traveling about. You out there on that ship sailing to and from. And then you see some land. Just like you see a woman walking down the street. You see that land and it don’t look like nothing but a line out there on the horizon. That’s all it is when you first see it. A line that cross your path out there on the horizon. Now, a smart man know when he see that land, it ain’t just a line setting out there. He know that if you get off the water to go take a good look . .. why, there’s a whole world right there. A whole world with everything imaginable under the sun. Anything you can think of you can find on that land. Same with a woman. A woman is everything a man need. To a smart man she water and berries. And that’s all a man need. That’s all he need to live on. You give me some water and berries and if there ain’t nothing else I can live a hundred years. See, you just like a man looking at the horizon from a ship. You just seeing a part of it. But it’s a blessing when you learn to look at a woman and see in maybe just a few strands of her hair, the way her cheek curves. to see in that everything there is out of life to be gotten. It’s a blessing to see that. You know you done right and proud by your mother to see that. But you got to learn it. My telling you ain’t gonna mean nothing. You got to learn how to come to your own time and place with a woman.

JEREMY: What about your woman, Mr. Bynum? I know you done had some woman.

BYNUM: Oh, I got them in memory time. That lasts longer than any of them ever stayed with me.

JEREMY: I had me an old gal one time.

(There is a knock on the door. Jeremy goes to answer it. Molly Cunningham enters. She is about twenty-six, the kind of woman that “could break in on a dollar anywhere she goes.” She carries a small cardboard suitcase, and wears a colorful dress of the fashion of the day. Jeremy’s heart jumps out of his chest when he sees her.)

MOLLY: You got any rooms here? I’m looking for a room.

JEREMY: Yeah . . . Mr. Seth got rooms. Sure . . . wait till I get Mr. Seth. (Calls) Mr. Seth! Somebody here to see you! (To Molly) Yeah, Mr. Seth got some rooms. Got one right next to me. This a nice place to stay, too. My name’s Jeremy. What’s yours?

(Seth enters dressed in his Sunday clothes.)


JEREMY: This here woman looking for a place to stay. She say you got any rooms.

MOLLY: Mister, you got any rooms? I seen your sign say you got rooms.

SETH: How long you plan to staying?

MOLLY: I ain’t gonna be here long. I ain’t looking for no home or nothing. I’d be in Cincinnati if I hadn’t missed my train.

SETH: Rooms cost two dollars a week.

MOLLY: Two dollars!

SETH: That includes meals. We serve two meals a day. That’s breakfast and dinner.

MOLLY: I hope it ain’t on the third floor.

SETH: That’s the only one I got. Third floor to the left. That’s pay up in advance week to week.

MOLLY (Going into her bosom): I’m gonna pay you for one week. My names Molly. Molly Cunningham.

SETH: I’m Seth Holly. My wife’s name is Bertha. She do the cooking and taking care of around here. She got sheets on the bed. Towels twenty-five cents a week extra if you ain’t got none. You get breakfast and dinner. We got fried chicken on Sundays.

MOLLY: That sounds good. Here’s two dollars and twenty-five cents. Look here, Mister . ..?

SETH: Holly. Seth Holly.

MOLLY: Look here, Mr. Holly. I forgot to tell you. I likes me some company from time to time. I don’t like being by myself.

SETH: Your business is your business. I don’t meddle in nobody’s business. But this is a respectable house. I don’t have no riffraff around here. And I don’t have no women hauling no men up to their rooms to be making their living. As long as we understand each other then we’ll be all right with each other.

MOLLY: Where’s the outhouse?

SETH: Straight through the door over yonder.

MOLLY: I get my own key to the front door?

SETH: Everybody get their own key. If you come in late just don’t be making no whole lot of noise and carrying on. Don’t allow no fussing and fighting around here.

MOLLY: You ain’t got to worty about that, mister. Which way you say that outhouse was again?

SETH: Straight through that door over yonder.

(Molly exits out the back door. Jeremy crosses to watch her.)

JEREMY: Mr. Bynum, you know what? I think I know what you was talking about now.

(The lights go down on the scene.)

Source: Joe Turner’s Come and Gone Full Vimeo Uploader: Anna Bean Uploaded: Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 8:11 PM


The lights come up on the kitchen. It is later the same evening. Mattie and all the residents of the house, except Loomis, sit around the table. They have finished eating and most of the dishes have been cleared.

MOLLY: That sure was some good chicken.

JEREMY: That’s what I’m talking about. Miss Bertha, you sure can fry some chicken. I thought my mama could fry some chicken. But she can’t do half as good as you.

SETH: I know it. That’s why I married her. She don’t know that, though. She think I married her for something else.

BERTHA: I ain’t studying you, Seth. Did you get your things moved in all right, Mattie?

MATTIE: I ain’t had that much. Jeremy helped me with what I did have.

BERTHA: You’ll get to know your way around here. If you have any questions about anything just ask me. You and Molly both. I get along with everybody. You’ll find I ain’t no trouble to get along with.

MATTIE: You need some help with the dishes?

BERTHA: I got me a helper. Ain’t I, Zonia? Got me a good helper.

ZONIA: Yes, ma’am.

SETH: Look at Bynum sitting over there with his belly all poked out. Ain’t saying nothing. Sitting over there half asleep. Ho, Bynum!

BERTHA: If Bynum ain’t saying nothing what you wanna start him up for?

SETH: Ho, Bynum!

BYNUM: What you hollering at me for? I ain’t doing nothing.

SETH: Come on, we gonna Juba.

BYNUM: You know me, I’m always ready to Juba.

SETH: Well, come on, then.

(Seth pulls out a harmonica and blows a few notes.)

Come on there, Jeremy. Where’s your guitar? Go get your guitar. Bynum say he’s ready to Juba.

JEREMY: Don’t need no guitar to Juba. Ain’t you never Juba without a guitar?

(Jeremy begins to drum on the table.)

SETH: It ain’t that. I ain’t never Juba with one! Figured to try it and see how it worked.

BYNUM (Drumming on the table): You don’t need no guitar. Look at Molly sitting over there. She don’t know we Juba on Sunday. We gonna show you something tonight. You and Mattie Campbell both. Ain’t that right, Seth?

SETH: You said it! Come on, Bertha, leave them dishes be for a while. We gonna Juba.

BYNUM: All right. Let’s Juba down!

(The Juba is reminiscent of the Ring Shouts of the African slaves. It is a call and response dance. Bynum sits at the table and drums. He calls the dance as others dap hands, shufle and stomp around the table. It should be as African as possible, with the performers working themselves up into a near frenzy. The words can be improvised, but should include some mention of the Holy Ghost. In the middle of the dance Loomis enters.)

LOOMIS (In a rage): Stop it! Stop!

(They stop and turn to look at him.)

You all sitting up here singing about the Holy Ghost. What’s so holy about the Holy Ghost? You singing and singing. You think the Holy Ghost coming? You singing for the Holy Ghost to come? What he gonna do, huh? He gonna come with tongues of fire to burn up your woolly heads? You gonna tie onto the Holy Ghost and get burned up? What you got then? Why God got to be so big? Why he got to be bigger than me? How much big is there? How much big do you want? (Starts to unzip his pants.)

SETH: Nigger, you crazy!

LOOMIS: How much big you want?

SETH: You done plumb lost your mind!

(Loomis begins to speak in tongues and dance around the kitchen. Seth starts after him.)

BERTHA: Leave him alone, Seth. He ain’t in his right mind.

LOOMIS (Stops suddenly): You all don’t know nothing about me. You don’t know what I done seen. Herald Loomis done seen some things he ain’t got words to tell you.

(Loomis starts to walk out the front door and is thrown back and collapses, terror-stricken by his vision. Bynum crawls to him.)

BYNUM: What you done seen, Herald Loomis?

LOOMIS: I done seen bones rise up out the water. Rise up and walk across the water. Bones walking on top of the water.

BYNUM: Tell me about them bones, Herald Looms. Tell me what you seen.

LOOMIS: I come to this place. . . to this water that was bigger than the whole world. And I looked out . . . and I seen these bones rise up out the water. Rise up and begin to walk on top of it.

BYNUM: Wasn’t nothing but bones and they walking on top of the water.

LOOMIS: Walking without sinking down. Walking on top of the water.

BYNUM: Just marching in a line.

LOOMIS: A whole heap of them. They come up out the water and started marching.

BYNUM: Wasn’t nothing but bones and they walking on top of the water.

LOOMIS: One after the other. They just come up out the water and start to walking.

BYNUM: They walking on the water without sinking down. They just walking and walking. And then . .. what happened, Herald Loomis?

LOOMIS: They just walking across the water.

BYNUM: What happened, Herald Loomis? What happened to the bones?

100MIS: They just walking across the water. . . and then . . . they sunk down.

BYNUM: The bones sunk into the water. They all sunk down.

LOOMIS: All at one time! They just all fell in the water at one time.

BYNUM: Sunk down like anybody else.

LOOMIS: When they sink down they made a big splash and this here wave come up.

BYNUM: A big wave, Herald Loomis. A big wave washed over the land.

LOOMIS: It washed them out of the water and up on the land. Only. . . only. . .

BYNUM: Only they ain’t bones no more.

L00MIS: They got flesh on them! Just like you and me!

BYNUM: Everywhere you look the waves is washing them up on the land right on top of one another.

LOOMIS: They black. Just like you and me. Ain’t no difference.

BYNUM: Then what happened, Herald Loomis?

LOOMIS: They ain’t moved or nothing. They just laying there.

BYNUM: You just laying there. What you waiting on, Herald Loomis?

LOOMIS: I’m laying there. . . waiting.

BYNUM: What you waiting on, Herald Loomis?

LOOMIS: I’m waiting on the breath to get into my body.

BYNUM: The breath coming into you, Herald Loomis. What you gonna do now?

LOOMIS: The wind’s blowing the breath into my body. I can feel it. I’m starting to breathe again.

BYNUM: What you gonna do, Herald Loomis?

LOOMIS: I’m gonna stand up. I got to stand up. I can’t lay here no more. All the breath coming into my body and I got to stand up.

BYNUM: Everybody’s standing up at the same time.

LOOMIS: The ground’s starting to shake. There’s a great shaking. The world’s busting half in two. The sky’s splitting open. I got to stand up. (Attempts to stand up) My legs … my legs won’t stand up!

BYNUM: Everybody’s standing and walking toward the road. What you gonna do, Herald Loomis?

LOOMIS: My legs won’t stand up.

BYNUM: They shaking hands and saying good-bye to each other and walking every which away down the road.

LOOMIS: I got to stand up!

BYNUM: They walking around here now. Mens. Just like you and me. Come right up out the water.

LOOMIS: Got to stand up.

BYNUM: They walking, Herald Loomis. They walking around here now.

LOOMIS: I got to stand up. Get up on the road.

BYNUM: Come on, Herald Loomis.

(Loomis tries to stand up.)

LOOMIS: My legs won’t stand up! My legs won’t stand up!

(Loomis collapses on the floor as the lights fade to black.)

DMU Timestamp: August 19, 2023 16:30