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August Wilson

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real nice . . . and then didn't want nobody to come in it! A Negro go in there and can't get no kind of service. I seen a white fellow come in there and
order a bowl of stew. Pope picked all the meat out the pot for him. Man ain't had nothing but a bowl of meat! Negro come behind him and ain't got
nothing but the potatoes and carrots. Talking about what numbers do for people, you picked a wrong example. Ain't done nothing but make a worser
fool out of him than he was before.

ROSE Troy, you ought to stop worrying about what happened at work yesterday.

TROY I ain’t worried. Just told me to be down there at the Commissioner's office on Friday. Everybody think they gonna fire me. I ain't worried about

them firing me. You ain't got to worry about that.

(Pause.) Where's Cory? Cory in the house?

(Calls.) Cory?

ROSE He gone out.

TROY Out, huh? He gone out 'cause he know I want him to help me with this fence. I know how he is. That boy scared of work.

(GABRIEL enters. He comes halfway down the alley and, hearing Troy's voice, stops.)


(continues): He ain't done a lick of work in his life.

ROSE He had to go to football practice. Coach wanted them to get in a little extra practice before the season start.

TROY I got his practice . . . running out of here before he get his chores done.

ROSE Troy, what is wrong with you this morning? Don't nothing set right with you. Go on back in there and go to bed ... get up on the other side.

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TROY Why something got to be wrong with me? I ain't said nothing wrong with me.

ROSE You got something to say about everything. First it's the numbers . . . then it's the way the man runs his restaurant . . . then you done got on
Cory. What's it gonna be next? Take a look up there and see if the weather suits you ... or is it gonna be how you gonna put up the fence with the
clothes hanging in the yard.

TROY You hit the nail on the head then.

ROSE I know you like I know the back of my hand. Go on in there and get you some coffee . . . see if that straighten you up. ’Cause you ain't right
this morning.

( TROY starts into the house and sees GABRIEL. GABRIEL starts singing. TROY'S brother , he is seven years younger than TROY. Injured in World
War II, he has a metal plate in his head. He carries an old trumpet tied around his waist and believes with every fiber of his being that he is the
Archangel Gabriel. He carries a chipped basket with an assortment of discarded fruits and vegetables he has picked up in the strip district and which
he attempts to sell.)


(Singing.) Yes, ma'am, I got plums You ask me how I sell them Oh ten cents apiece Three for a quarter Come and buy now ’Cause I’m here
today And tomorrow I'll be gone

(GABRIEL enters.) Hey, Rose!

ROSE How you doing, Gabe?

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GABRIEL There’s Troy . . . Hey, Troy!

TROY Hey, Gabe.

(Exit into kitchen.)


(To GABRIEL.) What you got there?

GABRIEL You know what I got, Rose. I got fruits and vegetables.


( Looking in basket.) Where's all these plums you talking about?

GABRIEL I ain’t got no plums today, Rose. I was just singing that. Have some tomorrow. Put me in a big order for plums. Have enough plums
tomorrow for St. Peter and everybody.

(TROY re-enters from kitchen, crosses to steps.)

(To ROSE.) Troy's mad at me.

TROY I ain't mad at you. What I got to be mad at you about? You ain't done nothing to me.

GABRIEL I just moved over to Miss Pearl’s to keep out from in your way. I ain’t mean no harm by it.

TROY Who said anything about that? I ain't said anything about that.

GABRIEL You ain’t mad at me, is you?

TROY Naw ... I ain’t mad at you, Gabe. If I was mad at you I’d tell you about it.

GABRIEL Got me two rooms. In the basement. Got my own door too. Wanna see my key?

(He holds up a key.) That's my own key! Ain’t nobody else got a key like that. That's my key! My two rooms!

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TROY Well, that's good, Gabe. You got your own key . . . that's good.

ROSE You hungry, Gabe? I was just fixing to cook Troy his breakfast.

GABRIEL I'll take some biscuits. You got some biscuits? Did you know when I was in heaven . . . every morning me and St. Peter would sit down
by the gate and eat some big fat biscuits? Oh, yeah! We had us a good time. We'd sit there and eat us them biscuits and then St. Peter would go off
to sleep and tell me to wake him up when it's time to open the gates for the judgment.

ROSE Well, come on . . . I'll make up a batch of biscuits.

(ROSE exits into the house.)

GABRIEL Troy . . . St. Peter got your name in the book. I seen it. It say ... Troy Maxson. I say ... I know him! He got the same name like what I
got. That's my brother!

TROY How many times you gonna tell me that, Gabe?

GABRIEL Ain't got my name in the book. Don’t have to have my name. I done died and went to heaven. He got your name though. One morning
St. Peter was looking at his book . . . marking it up for the judgment . . . and he let me see your name. Got it in there under M. Got Rose's name ... I
ain't seen it like I seen yours ... but I know it's in there. He got a great big book. Got everybody's name what was ever been born. That’s what he told
me. But I seen your name. Seen it with my own eyes.

TROY Go on in the house there. Rose going to fix you something to eat.

GABRIEL Oh, I ain't hungry. I done had breakfast with Aunt Jemimah. She come by and cooked me up a whole

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mess of flapjacks. Remember how we used to eat them flapjacks?

TROY Go on in the house and get you something to eat now.

GABRIEL I got to go sell my plums. I done sold some tomatoes. Got me two quarters. Wanna see?

(He shows TROY his quarters.) I'm gonna save them and buy me a new horn so St. Peter can hear me when it's time to open the gates.

(GABRIEL stops suddenly. Listens.) Hear that? That's the hellhounds. I got to chase them out of here. Go on get out of here! Get out!

(GABRIEL exits singing.) Better get ready for the judgment Better get ready for the judgment My Lord is coming down
(ROSE enters from the house.)

TROY He gone off somewhere.


(Offstage) Better get ready for the judgment Better get ready for the judgment morning Better get ready for the judgment My God is coming down

ROSE He ain't eating right. Miss Pearl say she can't get him to eat nothing.

TROY What you want me to do about it, Rose? I done did everything I can for the man. I can't make him get well. Man got half his head blown away
. . . what you expect?

ROSE Seem like something ought to be done to help him.

TROY Man don't bother nobody. He just mixed up from

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that metal plate he got in his head. Ain't no sense for him to go back into the hospital.

ROSE Least he be eating right. They can help him take care of himself.

TROY Don't nobody wanna be locked up, Rose. What you wanna lock him up for? Man go over there and fight the war . . . messin' around with
them Japs, get half his head blown off . . . and they give him a lousy three thousand dollars. And I had to swoop down on that.

ROSE Is you fixing to go into that again?

TROY That's the only way I got a roof over my head . . . cause of that metal plate.

ROSE Ain't no sense you blaming yourself for nothing. Gabe wasn't in no condition to manage that money. You done what was right by him. Can't
nobody say you ain't done what was right by him. Look how long you took care of him . . . till he wanted to have his own place and moved over there
with Miss Pearl.

TROY That ain't what I'm saying, woman! I'm just stating the facts. If my brother didn't have that metal plate in his head ... I wouldn't have a pot to
piss in or a window to throw it out of. And I’m fifty-three years old. Now see if you can understand that!

( TROY gets up from the porch and starts to exit the yard.)

ROSE Where you going off to? You been running out of here every Saturday for weeks. I thought you was gonna work on this fence?

TROY I'm gonna walk down to Taylors'. Listen to the ball game. I'll be back in a bit. I'll work on it when I get back.
(He exits the yard. The lights go to black.)

Act 1 , Scene 3

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Act One Scene Three

The lights come up on the yard. It is four hours later. ROSE is taking down the clothes from the line. CORY enters carrying his football equipment.

ROSE Your daddy like to had a fit with you running out of here this morning without doing your chores.
CORY I told you I had to go to practice.

ROSE He say you were supposed to help him with this fence.

CORY He been saying that the last four or five Saturdays, and then he don't never do nothing, but go down to Taylors'. Did you tell him about the

ROSE Yeah, I told him.

CORY What he say?

ROSE He ain't said nothing too much. You get in there and get started on your chores before he gets back. Go on and scrub down them steps
before he gets back here hollering and carrying on.

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CORY I'm hungry. What you got to eat, Mama?

ROSE Go on and get started on your chores. I got some meat loaf in there. Go on and make you a sandwich . . . and don't leave no mess in there.

(CORY exits into the house. ROSE continues to take down the clothes. TROY enters the yard and sneaks up and grabs her from behind.) Troy! Go
on, now. You liked to scared me to death. What was the score of the game? Lucille had me on the phone and I couldn't keep up with it.

TROY What I care about the game? Come here, woman.

(He tries to kiss her.)

ROSE I thought you went down Taylors' to listen to the game. Go on, Troy! You supposed to be putting up this fence.


(Attempting to kiss her again.) I'll put it up when I finish with what is at hand.

ROSE Go on, Troy. I ain't studying you.


(Chasing after her.) I'm studying you . . . fixing to do my homework!

ROSE Troy, you better leave me alone.

TROY Where's Cory? That boy brought his butt home yet?

ROSE He's in the house doing his chores.


(Calling.) Cory! Get your butt out here, boy!

(ROSE exits into the house with the laundry. TROY goes over to the pile of wood , picks up a board, and starts sawing. CORY enters from the house.)

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