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August Wilson

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LYONS Here you go, Rose. If you don’t take it I'm gonna have to hear about it for the next six months.

(He hands her the money.)

ROSE You can hand yours over here too, Troy.

TROY You see this, Bono. You see how they do me.

BONO Yeah, Lucille do me the same way.

(GABRIEL is heard singing offstage. He enters.)

GABRIEL Better get ready for the Judgment! Better get ready for . . . Hey! . . . Hey! . . . There's Troy's boy!
LYONS How you doing, Uncle Gabe?

GABRIEL Lyons . . . The King of the Jungle! Rose . . . hey, Rose. Got a flower for you.

(He takes a rose from his pocket.) Picked it myself. That’s the same rose like you is!

ROSE That's right nice of you, Gabe.

LYONS What you been doing, Uncle Gabe?

GABRIEL Oh, I been chasing hellhounds and waiting on the time to tell St. Peter to open the gates.

LYONS You been chasing hellhounds, huh? Well . . . you doing the right thing, Uncle Gabe. Somebody got to chase them.

GABRIEL Oh, yeah ... I know it. The devil's strong. The devil ain't no pushover. Hellhounds snipping at everybody's heels. But I got my trumpet
waiting on the judgment time.

LYONS Waiting on the Battle of Armageddon, huh?

GABRIEL Ain't gonna be too much of a battle when God get to waving that Judgment sword. But the people's

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gonna have a hell of a time trying to get into heaven if them gates ain't open.


(Putting his arm around GABRIEL.) You hear this, Pop. Uncle Gabe, you alright!


(Laughing with LYONS.) Lyons! King of the Jungle.

ROSE You gonna stay for supper, Gabe. Want me to fix you a plate?

GABRIEL I'll take a sandwich, Rose. Don't want no plate. Just wanna eat with my hands. I'll take a sandwich.

ROSE How about you, Lyons? You staying? Got some short ribs cooking.

LYONS Naw, I won't eat nothing till after we finished playing.

(Pause.) You ought to come down and listen to me play, Pop.

TROY I don't like that Chinese music. All that noise.

ROSE Go on in the house and wash up, Gabe . . . I'll fix you a sandwich.


(To LYONS, as he exits.) Troy's mad at me.

LYONS What you mad at Uncle Gabe for, Pop.

ROSE He thinks Troy's mad at him cause he moved over to Miss Pearl's.

TROY I ain't mad at the man. He can live where he want to live at.

LYONS What he move over there for? Miss Pearl don't like nobody.

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ROSE She don't mind him none. She treats him real nice. She just don't allow all that singing.

TROY She don't mind that rent he be paying . . . that's what she don't mind.

ROSE Troy, I ain’t going through that with you no more. He’s over there cause he want to have his own place. He can come and go as he please.
TROY Hell, he could come and go as he please here. I wasn't stopping him. I ain't put no rules on him.

ROSE It ain't the same thing, Troy. And you know it.

(GABRIEL comes to the door.) Now, that's the last I wanna hear about that. I don't wanna hear nothing else about Gabe and Miss Pearl. And next
week . . .

GABRIEL I'm ready for my sandwich, Rose.

ROSE And next week . . . when that recruiter come from that school ... I want you to sign that paper and go on and let Cory play football. Then
that'll be the last I have to hear about that.


(To ROSE as she exits into the house.) I ain't thinking about Cory nothing.

LYONS What . . . Cory got recruited? What school he going to?

TROY That boy walking around here smelling his piss . . . thinking he's grown. Thinking he's gonna do what he want, irrespective of what I say.
Look here, Bono ... I left the Commissioner's office and went down to the A&P . . . that boy ain't working down there. He lying to me. Telling me he
got his job back . . . telling me he working weekends . . . telling me he working after

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school ... Mr. Stawicki tell me he ain’t working down there at all!

LYONS Cory just growing up. He’s just busting at the seams trying to fill out your shoes.

TROY I don't care what he's doing. When he get to the point where he wanna disobey me . . . then it's time for him to move on. Bono'll tell you that. I
bet he ain't never disobeyed his daddy without paying the consequences.

BONO I ain't never had a chance. My daddy came on through ... but I ain't never knew him to see him ... or what he had on his mind or where he
went. Just moving on through. Searching out the New Land. That's what the old folks used to call it. See a fellow moving around from place to place .
. . woman to woman . . . called it searching out the New Land. I can't say if he ever found it. I come along, didn't want no kids. Didn't know if I was
gonna be in one place long enough to fix on them right as their daddy. I figured I was going searching too. As it turned out I been hooked up with
Lucille near about as long as your daddy been with Rose. Going on sixteen years.

TROY Sometimes I wish I hadn't known my daddy. He ain't cared nothing about no kids. A kid to him wasn't nothing. All he wanted was for you to
learn how to walk so he could start you to working. When it come time for eating ... he ate first. If there was anything left over, that's what you got.
Man would sit down and eat two chickens and give you the wing.

LYONS You ought to stop that, Pop. Everybody feed their kids. No matter how hard times is . . . everybody care about their kids. Make sure they
have something to eat.

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TROY The only thing my daddy cared about was getting them bales of cotton in to Mr. Lubin. That's the only thing that mattered to him. Sometimes
I used to wonder why he was living. Wonder why the devil hadn't come and got him. "Get them bales of cotton in to Mr. Lubin" and find out he owe
him money . . .

LYONS He should have just went on and left when he saw he couldn't get nowhere. That’s what I would have done.

TROY How he gonna leave with eleven kids? And where he gonna go? He ain't knew how to do nothing but farm. No, he was trapped and I think he
knew it. But I'll say this for him ... he felt a responsibility toward us. Maybe he ain't treated us the way I felt he should have ... but without that
responsibility he could have walked off and left us . . . made his own way.

BONO A lot of them did. Back in those days what you talking about . . . they walk out their front door and just take on down one road or another and
keep on walking.

LYONS There you go! That's what I'm talking about.

BONO Just keep on walking till you come to something else. Ain't you never heard of nobody having the walking blues? Well, that's what you call it
when you just take off like that.

TROY My daddy ain’t had them walking blues! What you talking about? He stayed right there with his family. But he was just as evil as he could be.
My mama couldn't stand him. Couldn't stand that evilness. She run off when I was about eight. She sneaked off one night after he had gone to sleep.
Told me she was coming back for me. I ain't never seen her no more. All his women run off and left him. He wasn't good for nobody. When my turn
come to head out, I was fourteen and got

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to sniffing around Joe Canewell's daughter. Had us an old mule we called Greyboy. My daddy sent me out to do some plowing and I tied up Greyboy
and went to fooling around with Joe Canewell's daughter. We done found us a nice little spot, got real cozy with each other. She about thirteen and
we done figured we was grown anyway ... so we down there enjoying ourselves . . . ain't thinking about nothing. We didn't know Greyboy had got
loose and wandered back to the house and my daddy was looking for me. We down there by the creek enjoying ourselves when my daddy come up
on us. Surprised us. He had them leather straps off the mule and commenced to whupping me like there was no tomorrow. I jumped up, mad and
embarrassed. I was scared of my daddy. When he commenced to whupping on me . . . quite naturally I run to get out of the way.

(Pause.) Now I thought he was mad cause I ain't done my work. But I see where he was chasing me off so he could have the gal for himself. When I
see what the matter of it was, I lost all fear of my daddy. Right there is where I become a man ... at fourteen years of age.

(Pause.) Now it was my turn to run him off. I picked up them same reins that he had used on me. I picked up them reins and commenced to
whupping on him. The gal jumped up and run off . . . and when my daddy turned to face me, I could see why the devil had never come to get him . . .
cause he was the devil himself. I don't know what happened. When I woke up, I was laying right there by the creek, and Blue . . . this old dog we had
. . . was licking my face. I thought I was blind. I couldn't see nothing. Both my eyes were swollen shut. I layed there and cried. I didn't know what I
was gonna do. The only thing I knew was the time had come for me to leave my

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daddy's house. And right there the world suddenly got big. And it was a long time before I could cut it down to where I could handle it. Part of that
cutting down was when I got to the place where I could feel him kicking in my blood and knew that the only thing that separated us was the matter of
a few years.

(GABRIEL enters from the house with a sandwich.)

LYONS What you got there, Uncle Gabe?

GABRIEL Got me a ham sandwich. Rose gave me a ham sandwich.

TROY I don't know what happened to him. I done lost touch with everybody except Gabriel. But I hope he's dead. I hope he found some peace.

LYONS That's a heavy story, Pop. I didn't know you left home when you was fourteen.

TROY And didn't know nothing. The only part of the world I knew was the forty-two acres of Mr. Lubin's land. That's all I knew about life.

LYONS Fourteen's kinda young to be out on your own.

(Phone rings.) I don't even think I was ready to be out on my own at fourteen. I don't know what I would have done.

TROY I got up from the creek and walked on down to Mobile. I was through with farming. Figured I could do better in the city. So I walked the two
hundred miles to Mobile.

LYONS Wait a minute . . . you ain’t walked no two hundred miles, Pop. Ain't nobody gonna walk no two hundred miles. You talking about some
walking there.

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BONO That’s the only way you got anywhere back in them days.

LYONS Shhh. Damn if I wouldn't have hitched a ride with somebody!

TROY Who you gonna hitch it with? They ain't had no cars and things like they got now. We talking about 1918.


(Entering.) What you all out here getting into?


(To ROSE.) I'm telling Lyons how good he got it. He don't know nothing about this I'm talking.

ROSE Lyons, that was Bonnie on the phone. She say you supposed to pick her up.

LYONS Yeah, okay, Rose.

TROY I walked on down to Mobile and hitched up with some of them fellows that was heading this way. Got up here and found out . . . not only
couldn't you get a job . . . you couldn't find no place to live. I thought I was in freedom. Shhh. Colored folks living down there on the riverbanks in
whatever kind of shelter they could find for themselves. Right down there under the Brady Street Bridge. Living in shacks made of sticks and
tarpaper. Messed around there and went from bad to worse. Started stealing. First it was food. Then I figured, hell, if I steal money I can buy me
some food. Buy me some shoes too! One thing led to another. Met your mama. I was young and anxious to be a man. Met your mama and had you.
What I do that for? Now I got to worry about feeding you and her. Got to steal three times as much. Went out one day looking for somebody to rob . .
. that’s what I was, a robber. I'll tell you the truth. I'm ashamed of it today. But it's the truth. Went to rob this fellow . . . pulled out my knife . . . and he
pulled out a gun. Shot

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