Above is the trailer for the 2008 Chicago production.

"In a dusty town in New Mexico 
salvation is a stranger."

Represented by Paul Thain
For licensing rights contact: 

Flowers out of Season was developed at Circle Repertory Company in NYC and was presented by the Director’s Lab under the direction of Michael Warren Powell on November 9, 1990.  After undergoing another developmental phase at Denver’s Changing Scene in June of 1993 under the direction of Jeremy Cole, it had its official world premiere produced by The PEOPLE*S Theater of Chicago under the direction of Madrid St. Angelo at the EP Theatre in Chicago, IL on January 11, 2008 with the following cast:   
BUCK: Gerardo Cardenas
DAWN: Kristina Klemetti
DAISY: Remy O’Brien
Assistant Director: Jason A. Fleece
Set Design: Jorge Felix
Dance Choreography: Alka Nayaar
Fight Choreography: Sarah Pitard
Light and Sound Design: Tim Reibeling
Muralist: Patricia Perez
Music: Annah Zaman

"[Flowers Out Of Season] throws together sex, religion and suicide in a fresh, original and transcendent way . . . I think I have just seen the future of American Theatre.”
—Michael Bourne, Circle Repertory Company

“Spiritually barren lives given meaning by fundamentalist religion. Comfortable lifestyles devoid of passion. And the finality of the gun. All reflect what happened to American values . . . and they form the subject of Edward Crosby Wells’ challenging new play, Flowers out of Season . . . one of the best things this theatre [Changing Scene, Denver] has done.”
—Jeff Bradley, Denver Post

“Powerful stuff . . . riveting . . . thought-provoking . . . Flowers Out of Season is a production that promises revelations regarding working rural poverty, American health care, and religion as well as a healthy dose of dangerous eroticism . . . the show delivers on all of these promises – brilliantly at times. . . .”                                                                                                                                                                                     —Randy Hardwick, THE CHICAGO CRITIC

“Edward Crosby Wells' play hails from the Nick Cave School of magic realism: set in the same sort of vaguely southwestern, vaguely antediluvian, lightning-driven flood plain of the mind, it has a Murder Ballads-style hero who may literally be the devil in disguise. The expressionism and outright fantasy of Wells' audacious, borderline supernatural scenario are well matched by director Madrid St. Angelo's stylized, sensual staging . . .”                                                                                                                                       —Brian Nemtusak, Chicago Reader 

“Something significant . . . be advised that this is the show that will soon make the journey worth the effort.”
— Mary Shen Barnidge, Windy City Times

DAWN ROSE – Early to late-twenties.
BUCK ROSE – Early to late-twenties.
DAISY WINTER – Mid-forties to mid-fifties.

1/M, 2/W, 2 simple sets easily changed out, full-length drama.
A young couple, Buck and Dawn, in Southern New Mexico have fallen on hard times. They are America’s working poor—lost in a faltering social and healthcare system. We meet them early one morning on the day that will change their lives forever. Their conversation reveals the political, religious and social underpinnings of the disenfranchised in America. Later that same day Buck meets Daisy, a much older woman. They come together for a stormy, dangerous and frightening afternoon encounter.  The tension erupts into the unleashing of Nature’s fury, perhaps brought about through the power of magic.  Sensuous and seductive, the plot twists and turns leading to a shattering conclusion.

ACT ONE begins at 4:30 AM on a Thursday in October.  
ACT TWO is later that same day. 
The TIME is the present.
The SETTING is Hobbs, a small city in southeastern New Mexico, a mile from the West Texas border.


AT RISE – The living room of the Rose residence; a sad tumbledown adobe. Clothes in piles scattered here and there.  An ironing board holds yet more clothes belonging to their three children (an eight month old boy and two girls, ages four and six) and on the floor beneath the ironing board there is a woven-plastic laundry basket, cracked, torn and bulging with yet more laundry. Food-stained dishes, empty soda and beer cans fill those places where knick-knacks, in a more traditional home, might be found.  Sheer, rust-stained curtains hang unevenly over a window where a strip of black electrical tape mends a crack in its dirt and smoke-stained pane. There is but one piece of art to be seen and that is of Jesus painted on black velvet and it is hanging on the wall for all to plainly see. Somewhere a child's tricycle is parked along with other toys belonging to their children. DAWN enters from the bedroom. She is dressed in a pink chenille bathrobe, time-worn and faded. She wears no visible make-up and her hair is pinned back and in disarray. Tired and drawn, appearing older than her years, one senses that under the best of circumstances DAWN'S mirror would reflect little more to enhance the uncomely image we now have of her.  She walks in her worn-thin scuffs with heavy, dragging-steps, switches on the living room lights and then scuffs off into the kitchen. A rattling of pots is heard.

DAWN: (From offstage, over the SOUND of the water running from the kitchen faucet.)  Git!  You give me a headache!  Go on!  Git outta here!  (Pause.)  GIT! You hear me?  (Pause.)  Go ahead and drown, you stupid know-nothing!  What do I care, huh? (Pause.) You want an aspirin?  Go ahead!  Take it. Take them all! Gimme two and you can have the rest.  Won't be needing them no more.  Not after today.  Go ahead.  Take them!

(BUCK, shirtless, enters from the bedroom with a cigarette in his mouth, wearing cowboy boots and jeans. He zippers the fly on his jeans leaving the belt unbuckled, sits on the couch and pulls at some of the stuffing exploding through the threaded-fabric of its arm.  BUCK is ruggedly attractive and often displays a boyish grin.  He is a chain-smoker.)

DAWN: (Con’t.) What the hell!  You want the Sno-Ball?  Take it!  (The SOUND of the water running from the kitchen faucet stops.)  Here.  Have a cyanide Tylenol.  Good for you.  No?  How about a little Comet cleanser on your Sno-Ball?  Huh?  Draino?  Boy, that'll do you good.  Do me good. (A short laugh.) Here.  Have a little Draino on your Sno-Ball.  (Pause.)  Ugh, ugh, ugh!  He's eating it!  Oh, God, he's starting to bubble! 

BUCK: Shouldn't have left the Sno-Balls out. 

DAWN: Didn't.  Jessie did.

BUCK: There's some fresh packages in the fridge.

DAWN: Pink or white?

BUCK: Don't matter.

DAWN: All we got is pink.

BUCK: I'd rather have pink.

DAWN: Good. (A beat.) Why don't ya'll just high-tail it?

BUCK: You talkin' to me?

DAWN: Why would I be talking to you?  (She enters with two mugs of hot water with a spoon in each mug.  She puts the mugs down on the coffee table and withdraws from a pocket of her bathrobe two cellophane-wrapped cream-filled chocolate cupcakes covered with a sticky pink marshmallow coating sprinkled with grated coconut.)  Roaches. I was talking to the roaches.  There's a big ol' fat one who’s gonna have one bad plumbing problem— (Handing BUCK the package of cupcakes.)  Pink, right?

BUCK: Right. (Tears open the package and begins to eat.) Good.

DAWN: Junk.

BUCK: Right. Bad.  (With a full mouth.)  But good.

DAWN: A thing can't be bad but good.                                                 
BUCK: Course it can. 
DAWN: (Searching about the room, lifting clothes here and there; in the drawer of the telephone table, one place and then another; everywhere she searches.  Exasperated.)  Garbage.

BUCK: Well, I got this here theory and that ain't garbage.

DAWN: 'Bout what?

BUCK: Junk food.

DAWN: (Still searching.) What about the Maxwell House?  Got a theory about that?

BUCK: On the shelf over the kitchen sink.

DAWN: No. (A beat.)  Well, maybe.  (Exits into kitchen and returns with jar of instant Maxwell House coffee.)  Well, how'd it get there?  Don't tell me!  Jessie.

BUCK: Nope.  Can't reach.  Me.  Ain't that where it belongs?

DAWN: (Enters with jar of instant coffee.)  Mammaw says that sill over the sink ought to hold Ivory soap and Comet cleanser and stuff like that.  Some people says to keep your coffee in the fridge to keep it fresh, don'tcha know. (NOTE: Mammaw is pronounced ma'am-ah.) 
BUCK: Sounds good to me. 

DAWN: (Dumping huge spoonfuls of instant coffee into the mugs.) Maybe it does. Maybe not.  When all's said and done that's a body's business, isn't it?  (Exits into kitchen.)

BUCK: I hear that.

DAWN: (From kitchen.)  'Though plants always did look nice in a kitchen window.  (Returns from kitchen with sugar bowl and proceeds to dump five large spoonfuls of sugar into each mug.)  Well, what's your theory?

BUCK: 'Bout what?

DAWN: How do I know?  It's your theory, ain't it?

BUCK: Naah, you don't want to hear it.

DAWN: Probably not, but tell me anyway.

BUCK: You sure you want to hear it?

DAWN: Nope.
BUCK: Then, what are you asking for?

DAWN: 'Cause you'll bust if you don't tell it.

BUCK: I ain't gonna bust.

DAWN: Tell it!

BUCK: Eat all the junk food you can.

DAWN: (After a pause to ponder.) That's it?

BUCK: That's it.

DAWN: You do.  (Remembering.)  You know they got a theory about evolution, but that's the workings of the anti-Christ, don'tcha know.  And then there's that theory about relatives, but you got to be an Einstein to understand it. But I never heard one about junk food except to say that it's junk food and junk is junk.
BUCK: Forget it. If I was a doctor you'd listen.

DAWN: If you was a doctor you'd still be talking silly.

BUCK: You're just mean as all get-out this morning. You wouldn't know a good theory if it came up and bit you on the . . . (Sneaks up and pinches her on the buttocks.)


BUCK: Or on the . . . (Playfully goes to pinch her breasts.) Beep! Beep!

DAWN: Buck Rose, you are sinful!

BUCK: Just having some fun, darlin'.

DAWN: (Glances at painting of Jesus.)  Well, not in front of Jesus.  It ain't right to have fun in front of Jesus.  You just sit back down there and behave yourself. (Hesitant.)  You changed your mind?

BUCK: No.  You?

DAWN: Nope.  I'm ready.  In fact, I picked out something real special to wear just for the occasion. 

BUCK: What?

DAWN: You'll see.  It's a surprise.

BUCK: What kind of surprise?

DAWN: The kind that surprises!  Gonna wear make-up, too. Got it in a going-out-of-business sale in the mall.  Seems like everybody's going out of business nowadays.  Want more Sno-Balls?

BUCK: Beer nuts.

DAWN: (Indicates beer nuts on the coffee table.)  In front of you.

BUCK: (Picks up package of salted peanuts from coffee table—opens them and begins to pop them into his mouth.  Sips coffee.) Coffee's cold.

DAWN: I let it run.
BUCK: Not long enough.  (Takes a long drag on his cigarette and then puts it out by pinching it between his fingers.)

DAWN: As long as it takes.

BUCK: Takes longer.

DAWN: It don't.  You turned it down.

BUCK: When?

DAWN: When they turned the gas back on.

BUCK: (Sips coffee.)  Should've boiled the water.

DAWN: Should've left the thermostat where it was.

BUCK: Maybe.

DAWN: Ain't no maybe about it!  All has to do with money anyway, don't it?

BUCK: Money or bullshit.  (Going through pile of clothes.)  These clean?

DAWN: Ought to be.  Jessie was here when I did them, if you need a witness.

BUCK: (Finds shirt and puts it on.  Buckles belt.)  She'd get around better if she had new braces.

DAWN: Insurance went up too high after that last operation.

BUCK: They didn't pay up.

DAWN: Welfare won't buy her braces.

BUCK: I make too much.

DAWN: Crippled.

(A long SILENCE.)

BUCK: (At imaginary downstage window.)  She’s a good kid.  Jenny and Josh too.

DAWN: Yeah.  Mammaw wanted to know where we was going.  I don't mind telling you it was difficult.

BUCK: What did you tell her?

DAWN: We was going to a junk food convention in Dallas.

BUCK: Believe you?

DAWN: I don't think so.  But, you know how she loves those kids.  Spoils them to death, don'tcha know.

BUCK: Yeah, I know.  (Looking out window. After a pause.)  That flare—never really saw the flame before.

DAWN: You see that old oil patch flare every day.

BUCK: Not the flame.  Not like today.

DAWN: It's the same.  Every day it's the same.  Nothing changes.

BUCK: Everythang changes.  Sooner or later—everythang changes.

DAWN: Maybe.

BUCK: (Watching the flame.)  It just licks up that there dark piece o' sky like it was the tongue o' Satan.

DAWN: Satan brings darkness to where there's light.  He don't put light where there ain't none.

BUCK: I wouldn't be too sure 'bout that.

DAWN: It's in the Bible, don'tcha know.

BUCK: Maybe some thangs are best left in the dark.

DAWN: Like what?

BUCK: Dark thangs.  Evil thangs.  Thangs no God-fearin' soul ought to see.

DAWN: We got Jesus.  Jesus will save us.  (She crosses to the painting of Jesus, kisses her fingertips and then presses her fingertips to the lips of Jesus.)  Now we're safe.  Satan can't enter a house where Jesus lives. He can't cross the threshold without being invited.

BUCK: (Turning from window.)  I thought that was vampires.

DAWN: Vampires?  What's vampires got to do with anything?

BUCK: You got to invite them in or they can't enter.

DAWN: Sure they can.

BUCK: Nope, not unless you invite ‘em.

DAWN: They come at night through the bedroom window.  Nobody has to invite them.  They come in all on their own and that's why you need Jesus and garlic.

BUCK: That's right, but not the front door. They can't come in through the front door.  Least, not unless you invite them.

DAWN: Well, who is gonna invite a vampire into their house?

BUCK: Somebody who don't know it's a vampire.

DAWN: Well, you can't go around asking everybody who comes to the door whether he's a vampire or not.

BUCK: Guess not.

DAWN: Ain't no guess about it. (Remembering.)  Mammaw had a run-in with a witch.

BUCK: What?

DAWN: When she was livin' down in Eunice.

BUCK: There ain't no witches down in Eunice.

DAWN: Not anymore, but in the old days there was a whole coven of them.

BUCK: So?  What happened to them?

DAWN: Mammaw run them off.

BUCK: How?

DAWN: With the help of Jesus.  You can do anything when you got Jesus.

BUCK: Amen.

DAWN: Praise the Lord.

BUCK: When?

DAWN: When she was carrying my mother.  Lived in the next house over.

BUCK: The witch?

DAWN: The whole coven.

BUCK: Lord Almighty.

DAWN: Said they was Roman Catholic.

BUCK: Well . . . that was a sign right there.

DAWN: And they put a mark on my mother right there in Mammaw's womb.

BUCK: Powerful.

DAWN: Telepathic, don'tcha know.  Big and purple.  Right on her head.  Covered her right eye.  Or, maybe her left.  It wasn't givin' birth to me what killed my mother.  No sirree.  It wasn’t me.  It was 'cause she was marked before she was ever born.  A big purple mark of the devil.

BUCK: That'll do it.  What about the run-in?

DAWN: After my mother was born and Mammaw saw that big ol' purple mark she knew who it was put it there, 'cause in the night she could hear them chantin' Latin.

BUCK: Ain't that what Catholics do?

DAWN: Yeah, but not backwards.  They was chantin' Latin backwards, don'tcha know.  That's what gived them away.

BUCK: How'd she know?

DAWN: What?  It was Latin?

BUCK: It was backwards.

DAWN: Who are you?  Judge Judy?  She knew, that's all.  Mammaw has a way with just knowing things.  It's a gift . . . like second vision and stuff like that.

BUCK: Stuff like that sure comes in handy, don't it?

DAWN: You bet it does.  Anyway, Mammaw prayed and prayed to Jesus until he finally appeared to her and told her what to do.

BUCK:(Incredulous.)  Jesus appeared to your Mammaw?

DAWN: Sure.  Why not?

BUCK: In the flesh?

DAWN: Well, no.  Not exactly.  He was wearing a white robe.  All shiney and vibrating.  Blinding, don'tcha know.

BUCK: What did he say to her?

DAWN: Burn 'em out!  What else do you do with witches?

BUCK: She burned their house down?

DAWN: In the night.  Whiles they was sleeping.

BUCK: Your Mammaw?

DAWN: Yessiree.  Burned every one of them.  The whole coven.  Cat too.

BUCK: Cat, too?

DAWN: Possessed.

BUCK: But, that's arson . . . and murder.

DAWN: No it's not.  Not when you're dealing with witches.

BUCK: She could've been mistaken.

DAWN: Mammaw?  Don't be silly.

BUCK: She could've gone to prison.

DAWN: I ain't gonna tell if you don't.  'Sides, Jesus told her to do it.  You don't think Jesus is gonna tell a body to do something and then go and let 'em go to prison, do you?

BUCK: Guess not.

DAWN: There ain't no guess about it.

BUCK: Powerful.

DAWN: Sally-by-the-pump-jack said she saw Satan in the all-you-can-eat last Thanksgiving.

BUCK: Eatin'?

DAWN: Standing in line whiles she was getting herself checked out at the register.

BUCK: What did he look like?

DAWN: Just your everyday-person.  'Though she said he did remind her a bit of a Hollywood movie star.

BUCK: Satan's from Hollywood?

DAWN: No, the movie star.  Anyway, Satan can just pop in and out of everyday-people whenever he wants. Just like . . . (She snaps her fingers.) . . . that!

(A flash of LIGHTNING.  The SOUND of THUNDER.  The painting of Jesus falls to the floor.  BUCK and DAWN stare at each other with wide-eyed wonder.  In the ensuing SILENCE, BUCK hangs the painting back in its place.  DAWN shudders.)

BUCK: You better watch that.

DAWN: Well . . . anyway, she and the other Sally was on their way out with the whole clan from Lovington when Satan came up and whispered in her ear.

BUCK: Sally-with-the-ranch's?

DAWN: Sally-by-the-pump-jack's.  He told her that if she didn't bow down and worship him right then and there—right there in the all-you-can-eat—disaster would befall her on the Lovington Highway.

BUCK: Did she?

DAWN: Bow down?  Course not!  She ain't as big a fool as all that.

BUCK: Did it?

DAWN: Yup.  Disaster befell all right.  That's how she lost her teeth. They all piled into that old Mercury of Sally-with-the-ranch's brother-in-law and hit a chuck-hole headin' out for Lovington.  Knocked her teeth out.  Chuck-hole big enough to bury a horse in.

BUCK: Powerful.  Terrible thangs happen when you least expect 'em.

DAWN: It was all for the best. She got herself new teeth from J.B.'s insurance and she found Jesus.  New teeth and Jesus.  What more could a body ask for?

BUCK: Praise the Lord!  (Looks out window.  With urgency.)  Be dawn soon. Time to go.

DAWN: No!  I'm not ready.  (Searches about the room.)

BUCK: What are you lookin' for?

DAWN: Dawn Marie Rose ain't goin' no place without her make-up!  (She finds the paper bag containing the make-up—foundation, lipstick, mascara, eye shadow and blush.)  And you ought to put on clean underwear, Buck Rose.

BUCK: Ain't wearin' none.

DAWN: That'll be a fine howdy-do.

BUCK: The shirt's clean, ain't it?

DAWN: Ought to be.  Jessie was here when I washed it, if you need a witness.

BUCK: Nope.  Take your word.  Shoe box under the bed?


BUCK: Well?

DAWN: Top of the closet.  Jenny plays under the bed.  Practically lives there if you ask me.  Hope Mammaw can do somethin' about that shyness of hers.  When the gas man came she hid out under your dirty clothes and I couldn't find her for the longest time and when I did I kept smellin' somethin' foul—like an armpit.

BUCK: Poor Jenny.  (Exits into bedroom.)

DAWN: Poor nothin'!  She seemed to like it.  (She hunts down a hand mirror, then sits and dumps the contents of the paper bag onto the coffee table.)  I sniffed and sniffed for hours trying to figure out where that armpit was comin' from.  Checked Josh's Pampers.  You know what big ones he can lay . . . but, it wasn't him.  God knows what the gas man thought!  (She begins to apply make-up foundation.)  He kept lookin' at me like I went and laid a big fart or somethin’.

(BUCK enters with a shoebox, places it on the coffee table and removes a handgun.)

BUCK: Sweet Jesus, ain't she a beaut?

DAWN: They're supposed to have something to do with your penis.
BUCK: Who's supposed to have something to do with my penis?

DAWN: Guns.

BUCK: Now where'd you hear that?

DAWN: I don't know.  A long time ago.  It’s psychology.

BUCK: That explains it.

DAWN: When a man holds a gun he's supposed to be holding his penis.

BUCK: Psychology.

DAWN: Yup.

BUCK: You mean like this?  (Cups his crotch with one hand while holding the gun in the other.)

DAWN: No, I don't mean like that!  Men who play with guns like to play with their penis.

BUCK: That's sick!

DAWN: I'm only telling you psychology. They got studies about that sort of thing.

BUCK: You're tellin' me that this here gun is really my wacker?

DAWN: Course it ain't your wacker!

BUCK: You bet it ain't.  I ought to know my own wacker.

DAWN: It's your ersatz.

BUCK: My ersatz?  What the hell's a ersatz?

DAWN: It's your penis. 

BUCK: My penis ain't no such thang!  And this here gun ain't my wacker!  I don't care what psychology says!

DAWN: Do you wanna learn something or not?

BUCK: I know I don't keep my wacker in a shoebox!

DAWN: You don't keep it in your pants half the time.

BUCK: (Starts to undo his pants.) You wanna see the difference for yourself?

DAWN: Stop it—not in front of Jesus.  You're not wearing any underwear.

BUCK: (Lays gun on end table, crosses to painting of Jesus and removes it from the wall, places it on the floor, facing the wall.) There.  Now he can't see.

DAWN: (Jumps up and rushes to painting.) That's a terrible thing, Buck Rose.  You could burn for that. (Hangs painting back in its place.)

BUCK: It's as natural as pie, darlin'.

DAWN: (Crosses back to couch.) We're not talking about baking.  (Begins to apply eye shadow.)

BUCK: Who was the one talkin' 'bout my wacker?

DAWN: I was referring to that there pistol. I was telling you what that there doctor said.

BUCK: What doctor?

DAWN: On the TV.  He made a study of it.

BUCK: Wackers?  Some doctor made a study of wackers?  You been watchin' too much television, if you ask me.

DAWN: What else am I supposed to do while you're off delivering your junk food?

BUCK: It ain't junk food.

DAWN: What else could you call it?

BUCK: Candy, crackers, chips, jerky—but it ain't junk food.  (Shrewdly.) Must be somethin' wrong with that doctor’s wacker.  Probably got a little one.

DAWN: Nope.  It’s a real big one.

BUCK: You seen it?

DAWN: Everyday I look for it and I see it.  Big as day!  He’s got the biggest, best wacker on TV!  Need one of them big screens to see it all.  Now.  Will you shut up about it and let me get this here make-up on straight?

BUCK: (After a pause to consider.) Dawn?

DAWN: Yes, Buck?

BUCK: (Snuggles up to her.  Boyishly.) Did you really see the doctor’s wacker?

DAWN: (Playfully.) Yup.

BUCK: Yup?

DAWN: Plain as day.

BUCK: Big as . . . me?

DAWN: Bigger.

BUCK: Go on.  They don't show wackers on TV.

DAWN: They do now.

BUCK: Since when?

DAWN: All the time. Saw one last week.

BUCK: Go on.

DAWN: Ask Sally.  She saw it, too.

BUCK: Sally-by-the-pump-jack?

DAWN: Sally-with-the-ranch.  She got cable.  They show wackers all the time on cable.

BUCK: That's a fine thang. While I'm off tryin' to make a buck you're over at Sally's watchin' wackers!

DAWN: Yeah . . . but, you know what?

BUCK: What?

DAWN: It's like they say: There ain't nothin' like the real thing.

(DAWN tickles BUCK playfully.  BOTH laugh while playfully wrestling until they roll off onto the floor and laugh some more.  Suddenly, DAWN jerks her head violently and lets out a terrible shriek.  Her body begins to convulse with an epileptic seizure.  BUCK jumps to his feet and frantically searches the room for the hard rubber device to put in her mouth).

BUCK: (In a panic.) Oh, Jesus! Jesus, Jesus!  Don't let this happen!  (Searching.)  Where is it?  Oh, God!  Where is it?  (Ad lib, etc.  He cannot find it and rushes back to DAWN and inserts the side of his hand into her mouth.  He cries for her and he cries in pain.)  Baby, baby, it's okay.  It's okay.  Oh, please, Jesus.  Please— (DAWN continues to convulse.)  Oh, Jesus! Stop it! Stop it!  (Then, conspicuously, he raises his free hand and snaps his fingers.)  NOW!

(A flash of LIGHTNING. The SOUND of THUNDER.  Suddenly, DAWN'S body goes limp and there is a long SILENCE.

BUCK: (Continues.  Removes his hand from her mouth.  Cradling her head in his arms.)  Baby, baby. Daddy's here.  Daddy's not gonna let this happen no more.  No more, baby.  Ah, Jesus—(He gathers her tightly into his arms.)  No more, baby—no more.  (Looking Heavenward.)  This is the last time, Jesus.

(DAWN slowly regains consciousness.)

BUCK: (Con't.) Shhhh . . . it's okay.  Everythang's okay.  Shhhh—

DAWN: Buck?

BUCK: Shhhh—

DAWN: How long?

BUCK: Not long.  A few seconds, that's all.  Not long at all.  You'll be good as new in no time. 

DAWN: I went to see my Pappaw.  (Pronounced pap-pah.)

BUCK: (Comforting her.) Shhhh—

DAWN: He was in the garden.  "Plantin' taters," he said.  "Watch those bare feet, Dawn Marie!  You're up to your ankles in earth and you'll be growin' taters 'tween your toes, child!"

BUCK: That sounds like your Pappaw all right.

DAWN: And there was angels.  Beautiful angels all around him.  God, they were beautiful.  All shiny—like the light was inside them, don'tcha know.

BUCK: Shhhh—

DAWN: And he said he was waiting for me.  He's been waiting for me all this time.

BUCK: That's 'cause he loves you.

DAWN: Oh, he does, Buck.  He really does.

BUCK: Course he does.  Just like me, darlin'.

DAWN: You know what else he said?

BUCK: What else?

DAWN: He said that if I stayed with him we'd go and get Mammaw and the kids.  He'd teach us all how to fly, he said.  Then, he rose up off the ground and spun around a few times while all the time the angels sang the most beautiful song I ever heard.  It reminded me of you.

BUCK: Did it?

DAWN: Oh, yes.  It reminded me of you all right . . . beautiful . . . from the heart—kind of country, you know.  And I told Pappaw that Buck Rose loves me, too.  And that I couldn't stay until my husband was at my side.

BUCK: And what did he say to that?

DAWN: He said he'd wait.  He said that he's got all the time in the world.  And he said the end is coming.  The end of the world is coming and there ain't no immunity to that.
BUCK: There is to death though.

DAWN: How can you be sure?

BUCK: Like your Pappaw said, we'll have all the time in the world.

DAWN: What are we going to do with it, Buck?

BUCK: We'll think of something.

DAWN: I want to leave now.

BUCK: Not yet.

DAWN: Yes.  Now . . . please.

BUCK: Soon.  "Dawn Marie Rose don't go no place without her make-up."  Remember?

DAWN: I remember.  (She picks up her mirror and begins to apply some blush.)  Why couldn't I be pretty?

BUCK: But, you are pretty.

DAWN: No.  You're just saying that.

BUCK: I'm not.  It's the truth.  You're the prettiest gal I ever set eyes on.

DAWN: Buck Rose, you could burn for lying so.

BUCK: Honest.

DAWN: I know what I look like.  You don't have to lie for me, Buck.  It's all right.  I accepted the way I look a long time ago.  I'm not pretty and we both know it.

BUCK: That's just not true, darlin'.

DAWN: (Hesitantly.)  Buck, can I ask you a real serious question?

BUCK: Sure.

DAWN: You'll tell me the truth?  The absolute truth?

BUCK: Of course.

DAWN: Swear it.

BUCK: I swear it.

DAWN: Swear it on Jesus.

BUCK: I swear it on Jesus.

DAWN: Would you have married me anyway—even without Jessie on the way?

BUCK: Yes.  I would.

DAWN: And if you knew that Jessie was going to be born crippled, would you still have?

BUCK: But, I didn't know.

DAWN: But if you did?

BUCK: If I did, I'd still have married you.

DAWN: Is that the truth?

BUCK: Yes.  (A beat.)  That is, if you would've had me.

DAWN: Of course I would.

BUCK: Then, it's settled.

DAWN: Thank you.  (She begins to apply mascara.)  The drugstore in the mall's going out of business.

BUCK: So you said.

DAWN: Sally bought a load of make-up, too.

BUCK: Sally?

DAWN: By-the-pump-jack.  J.B. finally got himself some work.

BUCK: I thought he already had work rough neckin'.

DAWN: He lost that months ago when that there sink-hole liked to take him and the rig clear to China.  'Sides, Sally said he never liked rough neckin'.

BUCK: There's big money in the oil fields.

DAWN: Sometimes there is and sometimes there ain't.  Too much of a see-saw, if you ask me.  Now he's working for Hobbs Parks and Recreation.  That's civil service, ain't it?

BUCK: Don't rightly know.

DAWN: Yeah, that's what it is.  Civil service.  Government work.

(BUCK withdraws to the imaginary downstage window and stares out at the flare and the pre-dawn darkness.)

DAWN: (Continues.) Ol' J.B. the civil servant.

BUCK: (To himself.) Black as sin.

DAWN: I have a great idea.

BUCK: (Still at window and speaking to himself—into the distance—until further noted.)  Satan's tongue.

DAWN: (In her own world.)  Why can't all the parks be filled with fruit and nut trees?  Wouldn't that be nice?

BUCK: Maybe God needs Satan.

DAWN: Just like in the Garden of Eden.

BUCK: Maybe Satan is really doin' what God had planned for him all the time.

DAWN: I mean, they got to pay J.B. to do whatever it is he does anyway.

BUCK: I mean, God is all-powerful.  That's the nature of God.  He could make Satan disappear like . . . (Conspicuously, he snaps his fingers.) . . . that!

(LIGHTNING strikes somewhere outside the window.  The LIGHTS inside flicker off and then back on again.  A distant rumble of THUNDER.)

DAWN: It can't be that much more trouble to have him plant a few fruit and nut trees.

BUCK: Maybe Satan has a purpose.

DAWN: Maybe some beans and squash, too.  No . . . I don't like squash.

BUCK: Maybe Satan is really God when He wants to teach us somethin'.

DAWN: Maybe, corn and carrots and pinto beans—

BUCK: One and the same.

DAWN: Instead of going to the store, you just walk on over to the park and pick what you need.

BUCK & DAWN: I wonder.

BUCK: God, is that You lickin' up the darkness?

DAWN: Wouldn't that be nice?

BUCK: (Turning from the window.  To DAWN.)  What?

DAWN: Planting stuff in the park for everybody to eat.

BUCK: Naah.  People will pick 'em all 'fore you got a chance to get any for yourself.

DAWN: No they wouldn't.  Not if you filled all the parks and lined all the streets.  There'd be enough for everybody.  Why?  If everybody in Hobbs planted just one thing wherever there was space we could turn Hobbs, New Mexico into the Garden of Eden.

BUCK: Wouldn't work.

DAWN: Course it would.  And before you know it, Eunice would do it.  Lovington would do it—and Jal and Tatum.  Pretty soon all America would be covered with good things to eat and nobody would ever go hungry.  Wouldn't be no trouble at all once everybody set their minds to it.

BUCK: What about the farmers and the canners and the stores you'd be puttin' outta business?

DAWN: Well, they could all find work doing something else.  'Sides, think of all the money people would be saving on groceries. Might even do away with money altogether.

BUCK: That's called communism, Dawn.

DAWN: Then Jesus was a communist.

BUCK: That's a terrible thang to say.

DAWN: Since when has the truth been a terrible thing to say?

BUCK: You're confused.

DAWN: Am not.  All I’m saying is, if planting fruit and nut trees all over for every body to pick from is wrong, then America ain’t never been Christian at all.

BUCK: Then what is it?

DAWN: I don't know.  Something else.  Just a bunch of poor souls who call themselves Christians, but don’t know a thing about the mercy and the love of Jesus.  They just wanna tell other people what to do.  That's all.

BUCK: Ain't nothin' new in that.  Everybody likes to tell everybody else what to do.

DAWN: That don't make it right.

BUCK: It’s the American way.

DAWN: Well, that's about as sad a thing as I ever heard.  The end of the world is coming.

BUCK: The end of the world ain't coming.  Anyway, not anytime soon.  That's somethin' you dreamed.

DAWN: Pappaw showed me.

BUCK: Your Pappaw's dead, Dawn.

DAWN: I know that.  But, that don't stop him from showing me things.  He showed me how it all ends and it was awful.  The sky was all gray.  Trees and grass were black and brown and there was this terrible silence.  It was like all the sounds you never think to listen to just up and disappeared.  That's an awful sound—that silence.   And those who were not yet dead just sat quietly staring up into that gray sky . . . starving to death.  Oh, God, it was painful.  Starving and dying in the streets.   The stench!  Oh, God, the stench was awful.  And, you know, I don't think it was from anything God did.  No.  It was something worse.  Something we did to ourselves.  The pollution and the nasty atmosphere.  Everything just stopped growing.  The oceans just kept rising.  Nothing to eat or drink.  The beaches covered with dead fish.  And all because of something we did.

BUCK: Has nothing to do with me, Dawn.  Maybe your Pappaw was just showing you what might happen.

DAWN: It'll happen.  The Kingdom of God is at hand.  And what's the Kingdom of God if it ain't the Garden of Eden?  Don'tcha see it, Buck?

BUCK: I guess.

DAWN: Ain't no guess about it.  God helps those who help themselves. 

BUCK: It ain't that simple, Dawn.

DAWN: It could be.

BUCK: (Angry.) Yeah?  Well, what could be and what is is two different thangs!

DAWN: (Visibly shaken.) It was just an idea.  Just a nice idea.  You don't have to yell at me.

BUCK: All the nice ideas in the world ain't gonna change a thang!

DAWN: I don't wanna believe that.

BUCK: Believe what you will!  It don't change a fucking thing!

DAWN: No. (Breaking down.) It don't got to be that way.

BUCK: Well, it is!  And the sooner you see it the better!  Shit!  Fucking shit!  Ain’t nothin’ but shit!

DAWN: Stop it!  Stop it!  You're hurting me.

BUCK: The world's a evil place, Dawn!

DAWN: (Covering her ears.) No. I don't want to hear it anymore!

BUCK: Pain and suffering everywhere you look.  LOOK!

DAWN: (With eyes tightly closed, in obvious pain.)  NO!  No, no, no—

BUCK: Yes, yes, yes!  LOOK!  Look at you!  You're dyin', Dawn.

DAWN: I know.

BUCK: You heard what the doctor said!

DAWN: I know—

BUCK: Kidney won't last another six months!

DAWN: Oh, God!  Why do you want to hurt me?

BUCK: I don't want to hurt you.  I want you to see.

DAWN: I see.  I see all right.

BUCK: Then look!  Look at me!  A nothing!  Nobody!  A goddamn nobody.  Wake up for Christ’s sake!  We’re both fucking nobodies and nobody gives a shit!

DAWN: That ain't true!

BUCK: Look at little Jessie fallin' over, bangin' her head against the floor!

DAWN: (Crying with pain.) She needs new braces, that's all.

BUCK: And your Mammaw—burnin' out a family in the dead of night whiles they was sleepin'!

DAWN: They was witches!  What else was she supposed to do?

BUCK: Plantin' fruit trees ain't gonna do nothin’!  MONEY!  Money's what does it—what makes the heart beat!  The crippled walk!  The kidney work!  MONEY!  Without it you're nothin'!  Nothin' but a great big pile of shit!

BUCK: NOTHIN'.  Without money they leave you in the street to die!

DAWN: There's good people, Buck.  You know that.  There's plenty of good people and they care.

BUCK: All in business for money.  Without it you can rot in hell for all they care.

DAWN: No.  Oh, God!  I can't take the pain anymore!  (A mournful cry.)  Love!  Some people care because they love! 

BUCK: Bullshit!  (Grabs her and shakes her.)  Wake up for Christ’s sake!

DAWN: Love!

BUCK: There ain't no love!

DAWN: Stop it!  You're hurting me!

BUCK: Wake up!  (Shakes her harder.)  People cover each other in shit and call it love!

DAWN: No.  (Breaking free.)  Some people would die for love.

BUCK: That's right.  There's people dyin' for love everyday.

DAWN: They ain't hurting anybody.  There's people killing for money everyday, too.

BUCK: That's right.  Everyday there's people dyin' for love and people killin' for money.  What's the difference?

DAWN: Big difference.

BUCK: Ain't no difference.

DAWN: Yes.  There's gotta be.

BUCK: Nope.  There don't gotta be, at all.

(DAWN breaks down in tears.)

BUCK: (Continues in a more quiet, soothing tone.) Either way there's people dyin'.   It’s shit, Dawn.   Don't you see it?   Ain't nothin' but shit.  That's the price you pay for gettin' yourself born.

DAWN: (Crosses to couch and sits.) I didn't get myself born.  It just happened, that's all. 

BUCK: (Staring into the distance beyond the window.  Sotto voce.)  You’ll be back.  (Crosses to Dawn, picks up hairbrush and carefully begins to brush DAWN'S hair.) Thangs don't just happen, Dawn.

DAWN: Yes.  They do.  Lots o' things just happen and it ain't nobody's fault.

BUCK: Nope.  There's a plan to everythang.  (Slowly brushes her hair.)  Be dawn soon.  Time to go.

DAWN: I want to call my Mammaw.

BUCK: Too early.

DAWN: I want to say goodbye.

BUCK: Too late.

DAWN: (Puts on lipstick. After an anticipatory pause.) Maybe she'll call me.

(LIGHTNING flashes outside the window, followed by the dull rumble of THUNDER.)

BUCK: (Warning.)  Dawn—don't even think it.

DAWN: (She raises her hand and is about to snap her fingers.)  Just maybe—

BUCK: Don't!

(DAWN snaps her fingers and they stare at each other in SILENCE.  Then they look towards the telephone.  Suddenly, the SOUND of the telephone ringing.)

BUCK: (Continues.)  You shouldn't have done that.  Everythang was just fine the way it was.  Be dawn soon.  Not much time.
DAWN: (Crossing to telephone.)  I just want to talk to Mammaw before we leave.

BUCK: Sky's startin' to lighten up.

DAWN: I know.  I'll just be a minute.  (Picks up phone.)  Hello, Mammaw.  I had a feeling it was you . . . Well, of course I know what time it is . . . Yes, Mammaw, I know it's early.  You called me, remember?

(BUCK crosses to tricycle and sits on it.)

BUCK: (To no one in particular.) Be dawn soon.

DAWN: Yes. We're both up. Had our coffee already. How are the kids? No, I don't. I don't, Mammaw . . . I know. I've tried to break her of it. I don't know why she likes to bury herself in dirty clothes! No, I don't think Doctor Spock does, either. She just does, that's all. Keep them in the hamper . . . Oh. In that case, I don't know what to tell you. You'll figure something out. Right here—on Jessie's tricycle.

(BUCK pedals tricycle around the room.)

DAWN: (Continues.) I know she's crippled. Sally thought it might be good exercise . . . No. Sally-with-the-ranch . . . For her birthday . . . No. The one coming up. (To BUCK.) Would you get off that before you break it! (Into phone.) No, Mammaw. I was talking to Buck. That's what I told him . . . Dallas. In a few minutes . . . No, Mammaw. There's no girls jumping out of cakes. Mammaw, it's not that kind of convention. What? Okay. Let me talk to her. (To BUCK.) Would you please get off that tricycle before you break it! (Into phone.) Jenny? Slow down, honey. Mommy can't understand what you're saying . . . Well, because . . . because . . . just because. Because it makes you smell funny, Jenny . . . I know you do. But, other people don't like to smell poop, baby. (To BUCK.) Get off! (Into phone.) Jenny . . . Oh, Mammaw. Well, just—just—just wash it off for God's sake! Okay. Let me talk to her . . . Jessie? Did you give Jenny Josh's dirty Pampers? I know she does, honey, but you hadn't ought to do that. I love you, too, sweetheart. Daddy does, too. You be a good girl, okay? Do as your Mammaw says. Okay? Now, let me talk to Mammaw . . . Soon, baby. I love you . . . Bye bye. (After a pause.) Mammaw? Listen. I got to go now . . . Yes—yes, I will. We know the way. I love you, too. (After a pause.) Goodbye, Mammaw. (She slowly places the receiver back in its cradle.)

BUCK: Everythang okay? 

DAWN: The usual.

BUCK: I told you not to.

DAWN: I just wanted to say goodbye.

BUCK: Happy?

DAWN: Yes.

BUCK: Scared?


BUCK: (Extremely solemn.) Dawn's breaking. Sun’s rising.

DAWN: So soon?

BUCK: Yes.

DAWN: (Also solemn. A long sigh.) Red?

BUCK: (Looking out window.) Yes.

DAWN: Sailors take warning.

BUCK: (Still looking out window.) Be light soon—time to go. (Crosses to end table and picks up the gun.)

DAWN: Yes . . . Wait! I almost forgot.

BUCK: The sun's startin' to break through. Dawn’s passing.

(DAWN crosses to where she has a pair of bright red high heel shoes hidden. She kicks off her scuffs and puts on the shoes. She removes her robe. She is wearing a bright blue one-piece bathing suit with a white sash that reads: MISS CONGENIALITY. Suddenly, she is radiant. She is beautiful. She is America.)

DAWN: Surprise. Like it?

BUCK: Yes. "Miss Congeniality." 

DAWN: Kept it all these years.

BUCK: I remember that night.

DAWN: So do I. Like it was yesterday. Knew I wasn't gonna win.

BUCK: I thought you was.

DAWN: Well, maybe for a moment. For a moment, I felt pretty.

BUCK: You always was.

DAWN: Well, it doesn't hurt to try.

BUCK: No, it doesn't hurt to try. (After a pause.) Dawn, I . . . I . . .

DAWN: (Not letting him finish.) No. No goodbyes. I'll see you on the other side.

BUCK: (Looking around the room.) Where?

DAWN: (Indicates couch.) There—on the couch.

(DAWN crosses to one of the piles of clothes and uncovers a large plastic bag and removes a bouquet of dead and dried roses. She then crosses to the couch and sits.)

BUCK: (Placing a throw-pillow behind her head.) Here.

DAWN: Thank you, Buck. Would you sing for me?

BUCK: (Places the point of the gun directly on the pillow, aimed directly at her head.) What do you want me to sing?

DAWN: "Here She Comes."

BUCK: I don't know that one.

DAWN: Yes you do. (Sings.) Here she comes, Miss America—

BUCK: Now?

DAWN: Yes. Now.
(BUCK leans over and kisses her gently.)

BUCK: (Sings.) Here she comes, Miss—

(BUCK pulls the trigger. DAWN's body jerks forward with the SOUND of the gunshot.)

BUCK: (Continues. There is a disturbing mix of sadness and anger in his voice. He speaks.) America.

(LIGHTNING strikes somewhere outside the window. A distant rumble of THUNDER. The LIGHTING slowly dims to BLACK OUT.)



AT RISE – BUCK is standing behind the sofa exactly as he was last seen at the end of Act One. Only his face is illuminated. Slowly, the LIGHTING rises to show us that we are now in another living room on the other side of town. BUCK stretches, looks around the room and then examines the gun for a moment or two before placing it under a cushion of the sofa. Then, BUCK takes a cigarette from out his shirt pocket and moves about the room searching for some matches. After a while, he picks up DAISY'S purse and removes a gold lighter, puts the purse back on the coffee table and lights his cigarette; putting the lighter in his pocket, casually – not the deliberate act of a thief. DAISY is offstage preparing tea in the kitchen and will remain there until noted.

BUCK: Do you hear me?

DAISY:  Yes. I do now.  Go on.

BUCK: Gotta eat.  Three kids.  Mind if I take m’ boots off?

DAISY: Not at all.  Make yourself comfortable.

BUCK: (Sits on sofa – removes boots.)  One, boy—eight months.  Girl, four.  Don't be ashamed to tell me if you smell somethin' ripe.  Ain't had these here boots off in nearly two years. (Sniffs his boots and puts them back on. Once on, he rises and cases the room.)
DAISY: Two years?

BUCK: Just joking.  The other, six.  Crippled.  Had two operations.  Needs another.  Can't walk too good without her braces.  Needs new ones.  Out-growed 'em.  Insurance canceled.  If I was to disappear, welfare might kick in—

DAISY: I can't hear you.

BUCK: Wife . . . gets these here headaches, you see.  And fits.  Terrible fits.    Only one kidney and that's gone bad.  All over now.

DAISY: How sad.  I'm sorry to hear that.

BUCK: No need.  Nope.  Gotta eat.  Know what I mean?  (Looking at watercolors.)  Four-thirty in the morning comes early, you know.  Gotta eat.  Three kids.  You?


BUCK: Kids?

DAISY: One.  He and his wife live in California.  He's studying to be an architect.  She's a social worker.

BUCK: That's like welfare, ain't it?

DAISY: She works for the Department of Welfare—or Social Services—if that is what you mean.

BUCK: Givin' handouts to the wrong people.

DAISY: You'll have to speak louder.

BUCK: He’s in college, right?

DAISY: Berkeley.

BUCK: Pretty smart, huh?

DAISY: He certainly thinks so.

BUCK: And what do you do?

(DAISY enters from the kitchen with a tray of tea things. She is dressed plainly, yet smartly – skirt, blouse, practical shoes. Not unattractive, DAISY is a haunting and haunted woman with that kind of quality that always leaves one wondering whether she is younger than her age seems to be or does she simply look older than she is.)

DAISY: (Placing tray on coffee table.) Oh, keep house.  Do my watercolors.  Read.  Volunteer at the hospital on Mondays.  That sort of thing.  (Crosses to imaginary downstage window and looks out.)  Looks bad.  Looks like we got inside just in time.

BUCK: In time?

DAISY: For the storm.

BUCK: Yeah.  We're due for a good one.

DAISY: A bad one, you mean.

BUCK: Right.  That's what I was fixin' to say.  Bad.  Somethin' wicked.

DAISY: Not too wicked, I hope.

BUCK: Wicked enough.

DAISY: Enough?

BUCK: To be exciting.

DAISY: Oh, well, I can handle that.

BUCK: Maybe.  Terrible thang—tornado.  And rain—hard and heavy rain.

DAISY: (Looking out window.)  Oh, my!  Look at those clouds.  Brown. Brown as brown can be.

BUCK: That's good ol' West Texas dirt sneakin' over the New Mexico border.  Probably rain mud all over Hobbs.  (Referring to the watercolors.)  Those yours?

DAISY: (Turning from window.)  Excuse me?

BUCK: Them paintin's—you do 'em?

DAISY: The watercolors.  Yes, I did.

BUCK: Nice.  Flowers.  Sunset on the mesa.  More flowers.  An artist.  Nice.

DAISY: Thank you.  (Indicating tea.)  Strong?

BUCK: Yes.

DAISY: Then, we'll just let it steep.  (A long, uncomfortable SILENCE.)  Where did you park?

BUCK: Around the corner.

DAISY: (Nervously.) Good.

(A fidgeting SILENCE.)
BUCK: How old are ya—if you don't mind m' askin'?

DAISY: (She does mind.  A forced smile.)  No.  No, I don't mind.  I don't mind at all.  Forty—something.

BUCK: Don't look it.

DAISY: Thank you.

BUCK: Naah, I'da taken you for 'bout thirty—somethin’.

DAISY: (Flattered.)  Thank you.

BUCK: Twenty—somethin’.  Would be havin’ a birthday in two weeks.

DAISY: Happy birthday.  (A beat.)  Would be?

BUCK: If I was to live that long.

DAISY: Of course you'll live that long.

BUCK: Will I?  You don't know that.

DAISY: Well, no—but, I think it's safe to assume—

BUCK: It ain't safe to assume nothin'.  Ain't safe no way.

DAISY: I only meant—

BUCK: I know what you meant.  (After a pause .)  I'm what you call your Libra.   You?

DAISY: Aquarius.

BUCK: Put much stock into that kind o' thang?

DAISY: I suppose there may be something to it.  I don't know, really.

BUCK: Yeah, I feel the same way.  I don't know . . . really. (After a pause - sings.) This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius Age of Aquarius Ahh-quar-ree-us. (Speaks.)  That's an old hippy song.
DAISY: Not so old.  (A nervous attempt at making conversation.)  You sing.

BUCK: All my life.  You?

DAISY: No.  Like to though.

BUCK: Then, why don'tcha?

DAISY: Can't.

BUCK: Course you can.  Everybody can.

DAISY: But not well.

BUCK: Well . . . that's a whole other matter.  Sing somethin'.

DAISY: No.  Really.  I can't.

BUCK: Come on.  There's nobody here.

DAISY: (Embarrassed.)  No.  Please.

BUCK: Come on.  Ain't nobody to hear you now.

DAISY: There's you.

BUCK: Ain't nobody, I say.  Sing.

DAISY: No.  I can't sing.

BUCK: Sing.

DAISY: (Firmly.)  I don't want to.

BUCK: That's different.  If you don't want to, I understand.  (After a pause – with a big, boyish grin.)  You sure?

DAISY: (Softening.)  As sure as sure gets.

BUCK: That won't fill a thimble, ma'am.  (He shrugs.)  Suit yourself.  (Sings.) This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius Ah-quar-ree-us AHHH-QUAAA-REEE-UUUS (A beat. Speaks.)  Like movies?

DAISY: Used to.

BUCK: Don't make 'em like they used to, huh?

DAISY: I mean, I don't get out much.

BUCK: Should.  There's more out there than the eye can see.

DAISY: Is there?

BUCK: Worlds and worlds.

DAISY: Really?

BUCK: You'd be surprised.

DAISY: Would I?

BUCK: Guarantee it.

DAISY: (Uncomfortable.  Guarded.)  I don't like to go alone.

BUCK: What about your ol' man?

DAISY: My husband?  He doesn't like to go out much—anymore.

BUCK: Sick?

DAISY: No.  He works long hours.

BUCK: I don't get out much myself. 'Cept to make my deliveries.  Junk food, she calls it.


BUCK: The ol' lady.  Never know when one o' those fits is gonna come upon her.  (He lights a cigarette with the gold lighter, but DAISY does not notice it.  He pockets the lighter.  After a pause.)  Almost forgot.

DAISY: What?

BUCK: Nothin'.  She went to live with her Pappaw this mornin'.

DAISY: Left you?

BUCK: We had this arrangement.

DAISY: I hope it works out for you.

BUCK: It will.  (Another uncomfortable pause.)  Three kids make you older.  Know what I mean?

DAISY: I know one does.

BUCK: How's that?

DAISY: Well . . . ah . . . on birthdays.  On his birthday, I mean.  My son's.  They always seem more traumatic than my own.

BUCK: Traumatic?

DAISY: I feel my age more . . . my youth . . . or rather, lack of it.

BUCK: I wouldn't worry 'bout that, ma'am.

DAISY: I'm not exactly worried.  (Indicating tea.)  I think it's about ready.  (Pours tea.)

BUCK: Your husband . . . what does he do?

DAISY: Insurance.  House, car, life.  You know.

BUCK: Yeah, it don't always pay up.

DAISY: Well, I'm sure if you had a policy with my husband . . .

BUCK: You're right, ma'am.  (A beat.) He's uptown, right?

DAISY: His office is on North Dal Paso, if that's what you—

BUCK: (Cutting her off.)  Thought he was in the oil business.

DAISY: Oil?  Good heavens, no.  Insurance.  (Indicating the tea.)  How would you like it?
BUCK: Honey.  Bees make it . From flowers.  (Referring to a watercolor of daisies.)  Like them in the paintin'.  (A beat.)  He older than you?

DAISY: I beg your parden?

BUCK: The ol’ man—he older than you?

DAISY: Yes . . . twenty years . . . older.

BUCK: Twenty years.  I figured somethin' like that.

DAISY: How?  How did you figure something like that?

BUCK: I've a nose for people.  A natural gift.  What's 'is name?

DAISY: Phil.  Philip.  Philip Winter.

BUCK: Yours?

DAISY: Daisy.  Daisy Winter.

BUCK: (Indicating watercolor of daisies.)  Like them flowers in the paintin'.

DAISY: Actually, they're watercolors.

BUCK: Watercolors . . . right. Jessie has a little box of—(A reflective pause.)  Daisy Winter.  Alone among the scrub pine and the cactus in a field of dying pump jacks.

DAISY: Excuse me?

BUCK: Daisy Winter.  She holds her head high in the desert where she leans into the sun—this flower, this blossom—alone among the scrub pine and the cactus in a field of dying pump jacks.  Daisy Winter.  Your name . . . and you.

DAISY: And me?
BUCK: You give me that impression.

DAISY: I never thought—   How beautiful . . . yet sad.

BUCK: Yes.  (After a pause.)  Buck.

DAISY: I beg your pardon?

BUCK: Buck.  That's m' name.  Buck Rose.

DAISY: Nice to meet you.  (A conservative laugh.)  That's really silly. I mean, after all this time.  It's like, "Have a nice day," isn't it?  (Stiffening.)  I'm sorry.  (Relaxes.)  Buck Rose.  That's a flower, too.  I mean, the Rose is.

BUCK: That's it then!  We're two flowers all alone . . . holding our heads high into the sun . . . wondering whether we've blossomed too soon or too late.  Daisy  Winter and Buck Rose . . . slow dancing in the winter desert.

DAISY: (After a pause.)  Oh, my. That's very poetic—beautiful really.

BUCK: (After a pause.)  So, he's twenty years older.  Works long hours. (A pause.)  Nice house.

DAISY: (With renewed caution.)  Yes.  Thank you.

BUCK: When's he get home?

DAISY: About five, six, seven, sometimes later.  (She looks at her watch and in the process she spills tea in her lap.)  Damn.  (With a vengeance she goes at the spot of spilled tea with her napkin, just above her knee.)

BUCK: Burn yourself?

DAISY: It'll be all right.

BUCK: (Places his hand just above her knee.)  Can't never be sure.  (Rubs the spot, sensuously.)

DAISY: (Nervously.)  No . . . one can never . . . be.  (A pause as BUCK's fingers caress her leg just above her knee.)  I'm always so afraid. . . .

BUCK: Of getting burned?


BUCK: It could smart real bad.

DAISY: Yes. You'd think I would have learned by now.  Clumsy me.

(BUCK raises her skirt and leans over, pressing his lips against the place where she had spilled the tea.  DAISY releases a long sigh – then, nervously, pushes him away.)

BUCK: I can make it feel better.

DAISY: All the years. . . ?

BUCK: Now—just now.

DAISY: I'm sorry. I 'm really not certain that we—

BUCK: (Putting a finger to her lips.  Not letting her finish.)  Shhh.  Don't say anything that you won't have a way out of later on.  (After a pause.)  You ain't from these parts, are you, Daisy?

DAISY: No.  We came down from Madison, Wisconsin . . . just after Phil Junior was born.

BUCK: Been a long time.

DAISY: Over twenty-two years.

BUCK: Almost a native.  You oughta be talkin' like one o' us by now.

DAISY: Yes.  (A beat.) You mean, I don't?

BUCK: Hell no!  Excuse me, ma'am.  Don't mean to go cussin' in your house.

DAISY: (Amused.)  It's all right.

BUCK: Is it?

DAISY: Really, it is.

BUCK: (After a pause.)  Like the great Southwest?

DAISY: It's all right, I guess.

BUCK: You guess?

DAISY: I'd prefer it better upstate, I think.  Maybe Albuquerque. Santa Fe, perhaps.  I don't know.  Philip has his business and—

BUCK: Insurance, right?

DAISY: Winter Insurance Agency, yes.

BUCK: Winter Insurance Agency.  Sounds like it means somethin' different from what it says.  But then . . . a lot does, don't it?

DAISY: I'm sorry.  I don't follow you.

BUCK: Some hear one thing—some another.

DAISY: I'm afraid . . . I'm really confused.

BUCK: I was makin' a joke, ma'am.  I mean, there's fire insurance, life, health, theft . . . but, whoever heard of insurance against winter?

DAISY: Oh, yes.  (Chuckles.)  A lot of claims to pay there.

BUCK: That's the spirit!  (A beat.) I'm a vendor.  Candy.  Crackers.  Chips.  Jerky.

DAISY: That sounds interesting.

BUCK: It is.  You get to meet a lot of interesting people.  Take you, for instance.


BUCK: Very interesting.  (A beat.)  You’ll be needing a honey dip for that honey jar.

DAISY: (Remembering.)  Isn't that a coincidence?  That's what I was doing just before we met.

BUCK: Fixin' to buy yourself a honey dip?

DAISY: (Rises – goes to get paper bag.)  I did.  I went to that little health food store on Turner to get just that.  A honey dip.  (Returns and takes the honey dip out of the bag and plunges it into the jar of honey.)  Oh, dear!  I should've washed it first.

BUCK: It's just fine.  'Sides, ain't nothin' compared to what the bees must've walked through collectin' their honey.

DAISY: (Laughs.)  You're probably right.

BUCK: It's a fact.  Bees ain't as clean as you might think.  No way!  Uncle Kirby used to keep bees and the thangs they got into around the ranch just ain't fittin' to say.  That there honey dip ain't seen the places Uncle Kirby's bees been!

DAISY: (Laughs.)  And then, of course, there's all those flowers covered with  God knows what.

BUCK: Yes.  There's all those flowers covered with God knows what.

DAISY: Well, it is a coincidence, isn't it?  (She looks to BUCK for a response and gets none.)  I mean, two things happening at once.  You know, you mentioning the very thing that was the very reason for my being out today . . . what brought us together.

BUCK: The honey dip.  (Pause.)  You into health food?

DAISY: No.  Not really.  Although, I was a vegetarian once.  (BUCK stares at her blankly.)  I mean, I didn't eat meat.

BUCK: Why?

DAISY: I don't know, really.  (Pause.)  Well, I suppose I do.  I mean, there's the obvious—the price of meat nowadays.

BUCK: The price of meat.  (He stretches his legs out in front of him.)  I hear that.

DAISY: It’s very easy to tell yourself you're doing something for some great and noble principle when, in fact, you're doing it out of necessity.

BUCK: (Glancing around the room.)  Necessity?

DAISY: We had hard times, struggles.  Don't think we didn't.

BUCK: Times change.

DAISY: Yes.  Times change.

BUCK: (Arches his back, stretches, lets his hands rest in the vicinity of his thighs – smiles.)  No meat, huh?

DAISY: (Watches BUCK, nervously.)  No.

(BUCK stiffens his legs, arches his back, runs his hands, palm down, along the outer seam of his jeans, then back along the inner seam until his thumbs come to rest hooked over his belt buckle.  DAISY watches nervously.) 

BUCK: Ain't never knowed nobody what didn't like a taste of meat every now and again.

DAISY: (Aware of BUCK's body language, but too nervous and too insecure to acknowledge it in an overt way.)  Well, I do . . . now. But, then . . . I asked myself what I would do were I stranded on an island and actually had to kill for a meal.  Would I do it?  No.  You go to the supermarket and you pay somebody else to do it for you—your killing.

BUCK: It ain't murder to kill if you got a good cause.

DAISY: At the meat case you don't really make the same connection.

BUCK: What connection is that?

DAISY: The one you'd make if you were stranded on an island.

BUCK: Or, in the desert.

DAISY: Yes.  Or in the desert . . . face to face with the thing whose ground flesh you just threw into the shopping cart without question.

BUCK: Sounds serious.  (Hooks his thumbs over his belt buckle, letting his fingers dangle over his crotch.)  Powerful serious.

DAISY: Well, I suppose if there were no alternatives . . . I mean, eat meat or die—I owe it to myself to survive.

BUCK: That's the bottom line, ain't it?

DAISY: It seems that way.

BUCK: There's a killer in all of us.

DAISY: Perhaps, to a certain extent. Something carried over from the old days.  But, I couldn't do it for pleasure.  Not like some hunters seem to do.

BUCK: Not for sport, huh?
DAISY: I see nothing sporting about it.  (A beat.)  Anyway, I gave it up.

BUCK: (Running his hands down his thighs, then back to his belt buckle.)  Meat.

DAISY: No.  I gave up giving up, so to speak.  I realized that my giving up meat wasn't going to stop the slaughter of livestock, was it?

BUCK: S'pose not.  But, when you got five mouths to feed, you'd kill.  A rabbit here, there—and any man that tries to keep you from it.  You'd kill.  I promise.

DAISY: Surely, you don't mean that?

BUCK: When a man gets hungry he gotta eat.

DAISY: Nothing is so important that I'd kill another human being for it.  I'd rather die first.

BUCK: You think so?

DAISY: I believe so, yes.  I couldn't hate that much.

BUCK: Hate?  Off the ranch altogether!  Hate ain't got nothin' to do with it.  People who hate don't kill nothin', 'cept maybe themselves.  You gotta love to kill, Daisy.

DAISY: I don't see the sense of that.

BUCK: No?  You gotta love yourself enough when you're hungry.  You gotta protect the thangs and the people you love, don'tcha know.  When somebody you love is in pain and dyin' right before your eyes, you gotta kill and take the misery away.

DAISY: Ah, you mean euthanasia.

BUCK: I mean knowin' what love is all about—really about.

DAISY: (Shivers. Crosses to window.)  I'm cold.  You frighten me with this talk.

BUCK: Don't mean to.

DAISY (At window – looking out.)  All heaven is about to break open.  Strange.  All that sand and water up in those clouds.  You wonder how it all stays up there.  My God, the sheer weight of it!

BUCK: It don't.

DAISY: (Turning from window.)  What?

BUCK: It don't.  When all that sky gets heavy enough it just busts open and lets loose.  Like widow's tears at a funeral.  Pourin' down to beat all.  'Fore you know it, the rain and a little bit o' Texas will come down a-pourin'.

DAISY: (Sotto voce.)  A little bit o' Texas.

BUCK: It's 'cause o' all those cotton farmers and peanut farmers turnin' up all that land 'cross the border, and the wind whippin' it up into the skies.  'Fore you know it, there's a little bit o' Texas here, there.  Why, darlin', I bet there's a little bit o' Texas comin' down on Wisconsin right this minute.

DAISY: (A long, wistful sigh.)  Wisconsin.  (After a pause.)  We just take what comes along and we make the best of it.  At least, we should, shouldn't we?

BUCK: What else is there?

DAISY: Something better.   There must be something better.

BUCK: There's magic.

DAISY: Not in my life.

BUCK: It ain't over, yet.

DAISY: No, not over.

BUCK: Maybe magic is all around you hidin' in plain sight.

DAISY: I don't see it.

BUCK: (Moving in on her, facing her.)  That don't mean it ain't there.  You gotta have faith.  And then you gotta reach out and grab it.  Take it in your hands, Daisy.  Go ahead.  Grab it, Daisy.  Make it yours.  It's right in front of you waitin' to be touched.  Come on.  Touch it, Daisy.  Touch it.

DAISY: (Confused. After a pause.)  What exactly are we talking about?

BUCK: Magic.  Magic, darlin', magic.

DAISY: Oh . . . I thought . . . never mind.  (After a long, reflective pause.)  You know, there's something hypocritical about it all.
BUCK: Hypocritical?

DAISY: My not eating meat.  After a year of vegetarianism, I ended it with a hot dog in the lobby of K-Mart.  That's a laugh, isn't it?  No, I'm not much into health food.  I was all over Hobbs looking for a honey dip and ended up at that little store on Turner where, sure enough, there were honey dips—and you.


DAISY: In Allsup's parking lot.

BUCK: Makin' my last delivery.

DAISY: Coincidence.

BUCK: Two thangs happenin' at once. 

(BUCK snuffs out his cigarette between his index finger and thumb, then drops it into the ashtray.)

DAISY: You'll burn yourself!

BUCK: (Showing her his thick, dark-stained fingertips.)  Callused.

DAISY: (Sitting – sips tea.)  Strong.

BUCK: Yes.

(In the SILENCE that follows, BUCK starts to light another cigarette using the gold lighter he had earlier removed from DAISY'S purse.  DAISY recognizes it, but checks her purse to make certain.  The cigarette doesn't get lit.

DAISY: How did you . . . that was in my . . . look, I think you'd better—

BUCK: (Cutting her off.  Putting on his charm.) Wait a minute!  Now, hold on. 
It ain't how it seems.

DAISY: Oh, it's how it seems, all right.

BUCK: No, ma'am.  You're jumping the gun.


BUCK: Yes, ma'am.  Thangs ain't what they seem.  I promise.  Thangs ain't at all what they seem, ma'am.

DAISY: I know that lighter was in my purse because I just picked it up from being repaired at the jeweler's.  That lighter belongs to my husband, Mr. Rose.

BUCK: I wasn't gonna keep it.


BUCK: You thought I was . . . well, shame on you, darlin'.  I was just lookin' for a light, that's all.  And you was in the kitchen busy as a bee . . . makin' all this nice tea, and I couldn't find a match to save my life.  So, I took a little peek (Picks up her purse and takes a playful peek.) . . . as little as that . . . and lo and behold!  What do you think I saw?

DAISY: (Amused by his boyish manner.) The lighter?

BUCK: Plain as day.

DAISY: I'm sorry.

BUCK: No.  I'm the one who's sorry, ma'am.

DAISY: Really, it's all right.

BUCK: Oh, no.  It's not all right.  Not by a long shot. (Handing her the lighter.) Take it.  I'm sorry.  My mother brought me up better than that. I'm really, truly sorry.

DAISY: I'm sure you didn't mean to—

BUCK: No, ma'am. (After a pause.) I don't suppose you have a book o' matches around?

DAISY: (Handing him back the lighter.) Here.  Use this.  It was really very silly of me.

BUCK: Weren't silly at all.  Thank you, ma'am.  (Lights cigarette, and with an obvious gesture, he places the lighter on the coffee table.)  If ever I took somethin' what didn't belong to me, may God cut my hands off as quick as (Raises his arm.)  . . . that!  (Snaps his fingers. A great bolt of LIGHTNING flashes just outside the window.  In a moment – THUNDER.)

DAISY: (Startled.)  Oh, my.

BUCK: (Moving closer to her.)  It's all right, darlin'.

DAISY: (Recovering.)  Oh, dear.

BUCK: Just a coincidence.  Two thangs happenin' at once.

DAISY: Oh, my.  (Takes a deep breath.)  One would think you were Thor himself.

BUCK: Thor?

DAISY: A god in Norse mythology, dealing out lightning and thunder with a snap of his fingers.

BUCK: Powerful.

DAISY: Indeed.  In fact, today is Thor's day—Thursday.

BUCK: Thursday . . . Thorsday.  That's a new one on me.  That goes back a ways, don't it?

DAISY: A long way.  Are you interested in things mythological?

BUCK: What do you mean?

DAISY: Myths, creation stories.  Like Genesis in the Bible.

BUCK: I believe in Jesus.

DAISY: Yes, of course.  But, there are other cultures, civilizations.  Some with as many gods as—

BUCK: (Cutting her off.)  I believe in Jesus.

DAISY: But, before Jesus there was—

BUCK: (Stopping her - firmly.)  I said, I believe in Jesus.   Jesus is for sinners.

DAISY: (Uncomfortable.)  Sinners—yes.  (A pause to collect herself.)  I was only making reference to the lightning when you snapped your fingers.

BUCK: Like this?  (Snaps his fingers.)


DAISY: (Frightened.)  Stop it!  Stop it!

BUCK: (Comforting.)  It weren't nothin' but one o' them coincidences.


DAISY: (On the verge of tears.)  It frightens me. You—

BUCK: Shhh.  Buck's here.

DAISY: Frightens—

BUCK: Just a little ol' lightnin' and thunder. Mother nature havin' herself a little hissy-fit.

DAISY: It just frightens me—

BUCK: (Comforting.)  Ain't nothin'.

DAISY: I know.  I know I'm silly.  I've always been like this.  I feel I'm connected to it.

BUCK: To what?  Thunder and lightnin'?

DAISY: To the weather in general.  It's like the weather outside and I, in here, are one.  Does that sound crazy?

BUCK: Is it the truth?

DAISY: I don't know.  It's my truth, I guess.

BUCK: Do you know how you feel?
DAISY: How I feel?  Yes.  I know how I feel.

BUCK: (Reassuring.) That's it then.  That's all you need to know, Daisy.  That's all there is to know.

DAISY: (After a thoughtful pause.)  Do you really think a tornado is coming?

BUCK: Yup.  There's a tornado comin' all right.

DAISY: Then, you see, I feel responsible.

BUCK: How's that?

DAISY: That it's my fault somehow.  My doing.

BUCK: Don't seem possible.

DAISY: I know it doesn't.  But, that's how I feel.

BUCK: Shhh— You just got worked into a state.

DAISY: Sometimes, I'm in the supermarket, or just walking in the mall when it happens.  I'm connected to them.  All these people and events.  They're pieces of me and I'm a piece of them.  Connected.  Deep inside.  And, I'm thinking that they can hear what I'm thinking!  And, I'm hearing what they're saying as what I'm thinking.

BUCK: (Comforting.) It's all right, darlin’.

DAISY: No!  It's not all right.  I'm connected to the whole of everything.  We all are.  And I can't free myself of it.

BUCK: Then, why try?

DAISY: I want my own will!  Don't you understand what I'm saying?

BUCK: Sure.  You're scared o' bein' alone.

DAISY: No.  I want to be alone.

BUCK: That's a lonely place to be, darlin'.

DAISY: Yes.  Yes, it is.

BUCK: Best you relax.  (Comforting.)  Shhh.  Buck's here.

DAISY: And when I try to talk to somebody I hear—no, feel—feel an exchange of information which has nothing to do with the actual words themselves.  God!  I don't know what I'm saying anymore. What are you doing to me?

BUCK: Ain't doin' nothin', darlin'.  Honest. 

DAISY: Honest?

BUCK: Injun.

DAISY: (Takes a long, deep breath.)  I suppose you're not afraid of anything.  You've got youth, looks, strength, charm.  Afraid of nothing and nobody, right?

BUCK: That's not true.  Ain't true at all.

DAISY: (Teasing.)  What's a strapping young man like you afraid of?

BUCK: Lots o' thangs.

DAISY: What kind of things?

BUCK: Dark thangs.  Evil thangs.  The devil's thangs.

DAISY: The devil's thing?  (Unsure.)  You're joking—

BUCK: No, ma'am.  There ain't nothin' funny 'bout the dark powers.  That's why I accepted Jesus as my Savior.  I am born again.

DAISY: Born again?  What exactly do you mean by that?

BUCK: What I mean is what I say.

DAISY: You needn't be defensive.

BUCK: I'm not.

DAISY: It's just that I've heard that phrase—born again—used so often, so loosely, I don't have a sense for it.  I don't know what it means.

BUCK: I guess you gotta be to know.  Before I was born again I was a dead man walkin' the Earth without the breath of Jesus.  I was a dead man walkin' in the darkness.  (After a pause.)  I know somebody who ran into the Satan when he was pretendin' to be some big Hollywood movie star.  He's real all right.

DAISY: Surely, you mean that figuratively.

BUCK: No ma'am.  He's real.  And you never know whose eyes he's gonna show up behind next.

DAISY: You make it sound so frightening.

BUCK: It oughta frighten you, ma'am.

DAISY: Oh, my—

BUCK: I wouldn't worry though.  Buck's here.  You'll be safe.  Bein' born again has its advantages. If you was to be born again, what would you do with your new life?

DAISY: I don’t know.  (Beat.)  A park ranger.

BUCK: You?  A lady park ranger?

DAISY: Why not?  I’d be a good one.  Taking care of the plants and animals.  Planting fruit and nut trees wherever I could so everybody would have something good to eat.  Wouldn't that be nice?  You wouldn't have to bring your picnic to the park.  You could just pick it right off the trees.  Wouldn't that be nice?

BUCK: (Thinking he is hearing the voice of Dawn.) What?

DAISY: Why can't all the parks be filled with fruit and nut trees?  Just like in the Garden of Eden.  Wouldn't that be nice?

BUCK: Yes, nice.

DAISY: Everybody could just pick whatever they wanted.  I planted a pecan tree in the park across the way last year, but someone from the Parks Department dug it up no sooner than it began to take root.

BUCK: (Sotto voce.)  I’m sorry.

DAISY: I wrote a letter to the city council, but I'm still waiting for a reply.  Got them on the phone, they put me on hold and then disconnected me. 

BUCK: (Sotto voce.) I'm truly sorry.

DAISY: Said they'd get right back to me.  Left me holding a disconnected phone, waiting . . . and then it went dead. 

BUCK: Did you wait . . . long?

DAISY: I'm still waiting.

BUCK: I'm sorry.

DAISY: Waiting for some kind of satisfaction.  They don't kill you with kindness, that's for sure.  They might as well take a gun to your head.  Know what I mean?

BUCK: I'm sorry.

DAISY: It seems there is a law against people planting anything in the city parks.  Sharing is not encouraged in our society.  People are starving and there's no Earthly reason for it.

BUCK: I'm sorry.  I'm really, truly sorry.

DAISY: Stop saying you’re sorry.  It's not your fault.  It's the system.  It lacks Humanity.   Surely, you'd agree with that.

BUCK: I can’t rightly say.

DAISY: Saying one thing, doing another.  People seldom live up to their promises.  Well, there's a better world coming, you'll see.  (Pauses to take him in.)   You're not drinking your tea.

BUCK: (Sips tea.) Nice.

DAISY: (Sips tea.) Yes.  Nice.

BUCK: (Remembering.)  Transmigration of spirit.

DAISY: What?

BUCK: Just somethin’ I heard.  Had this here radio talk show on whiles I was parked over by Allsup's.

DAISY: While I was in the health food store.
BUCK: Right. (A beat.)  Coincidence?  (He snaps his fingers – a sudden flash of LIGHTNING.)  Two thangs happening at once!

(The LIGHTING from the lamps go out.  This should not affect the LIGHTING too much, as it is still mid-afternoon.  It is, however, darker outside than would otherwise be normal for this time of day – this time of year.  Every so often throughout the remainder of the play, the SOUND of gusts of wind can be heard howling, accompanied by the SOUND of a tree's branch scratching against the windowpane.)

DAISY: (Rises.  Crosses to window.)  Oh, my!  The electricity's out!

BUCK: (Rises and follows her.)  It'll be back on in no time.

DAISY: (Looking out window.)  I don't think—

(Suddenly, the LIGHTS flash back on, followed by the SOUND of THUNDER.)

DAISY (Continues. Startled.)  Oh, dear!

BUCK: (Looking out the window from over her shoulder.)  They come in hard and fast.  Go out the same way.  (While standing behind DAISY, he has unbuttoned his shirt.  As he turns from the window, he pulls his shirt out of his jeans.  His chest is bare.)  You don't mind if I get comfortable?

DAISY: (Turning from window.  Getting a good, hard look at him and liking what she sees.)  No . . . not at all.  (Moving away, nervously.)  More tea?

BUCK: Take tea and pee.  (Removes his shirt.)

DAISY: What?

BUCK: Just somethin' I heard once.  Five o'clock.  (He unbuttons her blouse.)  He comes home.


BUCK: Storm's makin' it dark out there.

BUCK: There's a lot of lonely out there.


BUCK: Yes.  (Lifting away her blouse.)  All the time in the world.

DAISY: Time?

BUCK: Still time.


BUCK: Yes.

DAISY: I never did anything like this before.

BUCK: Before?


BUCK: Like what?  (Facing her, cupping his hands on her buttocks.)

DAISY: This.

BUCK: This?

DAISY: You know.

BUCK: Yes.  I know, Daisy.

DAISY: I never asked a stranger home before.

BUCK: I ain't no stranger.  We been gettin' on 'bout all kinds o' thangs all afternoon.

DAISY: You know what I mean.

BUCK: Yes.  I picked myself a daisy.

DAISY: I don't know what possessed me.

BUCK: A beautiful daisy.  Lovers make wishes on daisies.

DAISY: Yes, by tearing off their petals.
BUCK: That's how it's done, Daisy.  (Running his hands down along her arms.  After a pause.)   Do you hate him?

DAISY: (Shudders.)  Him?

BUCK: Your husband—the old man.

DAISY: No. I love my husband.  Do you love your wife?

BUCK: Love's funny.  It comes.  It goes.  Is he bald?

DAISY: (A bit put-off.)  No.

BUCK: Gray?  (He undoes her skirt and it drops to the floor.  DAISY is wearing a slip.)


BUCK: He's sixty-something, right?


BUCK: (Running his hands down along her body, slowly.)  Do it much?

DAISY: (Sadly, expectantly.)  No.

BUCK: Been a long time—

DAISY: Yes.  A very long time.

BUCK: Yes.

DAISY: (Having second thoughts.)  Your wife—

BUCK: Dawn.

DAISY: Dawn.  That's a pretty name.  Pretty.

BUCK: Was.


BUCK: There's some question about us gettin' back together.
DAISY: I hope it works out for you.

BUCK: It will . . . like Miss America.

DAISY: Excuse me?

BUCK: Beautiful like Miss America.  (Sings.)  Here she comes, Miss America  (After a pause. Speaks.)  Like music?

DAISY: Yes.  Would you like to hear some?

BUCK: I wouldn't mind.

(DAISY turns on the radio and it is most likely tuned to the station she usually listens to—FM easy listening—and the MUSIC is a slow, sensuous tango.)

DAISY: How's this?  It's the Roswell station.

BUCK: (Moving close to her.)  Not bad.

DAISY: Want to hear something else?  I can change it.

BUCK: No. Leave it on.  (A pause to listen.)  It's one o' them tangos.

DAISY: Yes.  Yes, it is.

BUCK: Can you do it?

DAISY: The tango?  (BUCK nods "yes.")  I haven't danced in years.

BUCK: Me neither.  Wanna try?

DAISY: It's been a long time.

BUCK: I'm game.

DAISY: (Hesitant.) Yes.  Why not?

(BUCK and DAISY begin to dance a slow, sensuous tang o. Their dialogue should be stretched out over periods of dancing.  The passion of the dance and the dialogue should be both evident and erotic—as though this were sexual intercourse itself.  To quote a phrase used by a director friend, "It should burn a hole in the stage!")

DAISY: (Continues.)  Oh, my.  You've done this before.

BUCK: Never.

DAISY: It's been years.  Wherever did you learn . . . to dance . . . the tango?

BUCK: Just picked it up . . . somewhere.  Just picked it up.

DAISY: It's a kind of . . . passion . . . dancing . . . the tango.

BUCK: Yes.


BUCK: A kind of . . . passion . . . dancing—


BUCK: Yes.

DAISY: Dangerous . . . mysterious . . . seductive . . . precise.

BUCK: Powerful.


BUCK: The tango.

DAISY: The tango.

BUCK: Yes.


BUCK: Dangerous.

DAISY: Yes . . . yes.

BUCK: Seductive.
DAISY: Yes . . . yes.

BUCK: Precise.

DAISY: Yes . . . yes.

BUCK: Powerful!



DAISY: (Continuing.)  Yes!  Yes!

BUCK: Yes!


BUCK: (Continues.)  Yes!  Yes!


BUCK: (Continues.)  YES.



DAISY: (Continues . Screams as though she were reaching sexual climax.)  YEEEESSS . . . AAAAHHHHHHH. . . .

BUCK: (Ibid.)  YES!  YES!  YEEEESSSS . . . The tango.

DAISY: The tango.

(The SOUND of THUNDER.  The MUSIC and the LIGHTS go out.  A long, passionate kiss.)

DAISY: (Continues.  Breaking away.)  The electricity—

BUCK: Shhh—

DAISY: (Crosses to window.)  The storm—

BUCK: That was nice, darlin'. Real nice.  (Goes for a cigarette.)  Sweet Jesus, that was beautiful
DAISY: (Disturbed.)  How can you say such a thing?

BUCK: (Lighting a cigarette, slipping the lighter into his pocket.)  Such a thang as what, darlin'?

DAISY: (Reluctantly.)  "Sweet Jesus."

BUCK: Ain't he sweet?

DAISY: I don't know.  I just don't think it's appropriate.  (Realizes that BUCK has, once again, pocketed her husband's lighter.)  Please give me the lighter, Mr. Rose.

BUCK: Huh?

DAISY: The lighter.  You just put it in your pocket.

BUCK: (Feeling his pocket.)  So I did.  Why don'tcha come on over here and get it?  Just reach your hand down in there and lift it out, darlin'.


BUCK: Your warm hand—


BUCK: Slidin' hot.  Slippin' it out.

DAISY: Stop it!

BUCK: C’mon.  (He extends his arms outward from his sides, pushing his pelvis forward.)  Slip your little hand down there and feel around for it.

DAISY: (Standing firm.)  Give me the lighter, Mr. Rose.

BUCK: Buck.  Nobody calls me Mister Rose.  That's m' daddy.

DAISY: (After a pause.)  Buck, please.  It's getting late.  Please give me the lighter and leave.

BUCK: Leave?  Just like that?  (He snaps his fingers.)


DAISY: (Panicked.)  Oh, my God!

BUCK: Yes, Daisy.  Yes.


DAISY: Oh, God!  (Backing away.)  Don't hurt me.  Please don't hurt me.

BUCK: (Moving toward her.)  Ain't nobody gonna hurt you, darlin'.

DAISY: (Backing away.  On the verge of tears.)  You can have the lighter.  Keep it.  Just leave me alone, please.

BUCK: (Grabbing her hand, forcing it to his pants' pocket.)  You want it?  Huh?  Dig for it!


BUCK: I said, dig for it!

DAISY: (Pulls away.  Slaps him hard on the face.)  Get out!


BUCK: It ain't polite to slap a gentleman, ma'am.


DAISY: (Frightened.)  Oh, my God.  Please.  I'm sorry.  Please.  Look, if it's money you want—

BUCK: I don't want none o' your money, lady.  I just saw a woman gettin' old. Nothin' but old.

DAISY: Shut up.

BUCK: And lonely.

DAISY: Shut up!

BUCK: Ain't had a real time in years.

DAISY: Stop it!

BUCK: So, I says to myself, "Buck boy, we're gonna show this ol' gal some real time."  Real time, Daisy.

DAISY: Please—

BUCK: (Removes the lighter from his pocket.)  Here!  Here's your lighter.  (Extends it to her.  She backs away.)  Here.  Take it.  Go on now.  Take it!  Take it!  (Following her as she backs away.)  You wanted it.  Now take it.  It’s yours, Daisy.  All yours.

DAISY: (Grabs it out of his hand.)  Thank you.  Now, please put your clothes on and leave, Mr. Rose.

BUCK: Buck.  Say it.

DAISY: What?

BUCK: I said, say it!

DAISY: What?  What do you want me to say?

BUCK: BUCK. BUCK.  My name is Buck.  Say it, woman.  Say it!

DAISY: (With renewed fear. Sotto voce.)  Buck.

BUCK: Again!

DAISY: (A little louder.)  Buck.


DAISY: Buck!

BUCK: That's better.  Again.

DAISY: Buck!  Buck, Buck, Buck!  All right?

BUCK: (A big, boyish grin.)  That's m' name, darlin'.  That's m' name.

DAISY: (Regaining composure. Truly alarmed.)  Yes.

BUCK: Yes?  Yes what?

DAISY: Yes, Buck.

BUCK: Yes . . . that's nice, Daisy.  My little flower . . . all alone.

DAISY: (Placating.) Yes, Buck.  Your little flower all alone, Buck.

BUCK: All alone.  Without love.  (Sadly.)  There ain't no love. (Forcefully.)  Y'all better leave now.

DAISY: (Stunned.) What?

BUCK: I said, it's time for you to go.

DAISY: Go?  Go where?

BUCK: Git!

DAISY: What are you talking about?  You're the one who needs to leave.

BUCK: (Sternly.)  Git outta this house.

DAISY: (Dumbfounded.)  What?

BUCK: (Resonating in a deep, threatening voice.)  GET . . . OUT . . . OF . . . THIS . . . HOUSE.

DAISY: This is my house, Mr. Rose!


DAISY: Buck, this is my house.  You don't order me about in my house.

BUCK: Does he?


BUCK: Ol' man Winter.  Does he order you about?

DAISY: That's none of your business!

BUCK: No.  I bet not.  I bet he don't got three words to say to you.  Not three!  Not the three you want to hear.

DAISY: That's none of your—

BUCK: (Cutting her off.)  Old.  Old.  Old nothin' man.  Git out!

DAISY: No!  This is my house!

BUCK: This ain't your house.  It’s his house.  Ol’ man Winter's house.  You're just a daisy hangin' on the wall like in one o' them watercolors.  (He pulls a watercolor off the wall and throws it to the floor.)  Dead!  No more!  All over! 

DAISY: Stop it!

BUCK: Dead, Daisy.  All your petals plucked.

DAISY: Stop it!

BUCK: Buried in here with your dead flowers.  Roses from a lost beauty contest.  Cold, dead, brittle.  (He snaps his fingers.)  Go!



BUCK: You ain't nothin' but a dead thang hangin' on the wall.  His wall.



BUCK: A trophy!

DAISY: (Breaking down, realizing that there may be some truth to this—a truth she does not want to hear—much less, face.)  No!  That's not true!  Not true at all!

BUCK: Dead and stuffed and still walkin'.


BUCK: You gotta be born again!

DAISY: No!  I don't want to be.  (Pause.)  It's a lie.

BUCK: What is?  What's a lie, Daisy?

DAISY: You . . . Jesus . . . everybody!  It's all a lie.  My—

BUCK: What, Daisy? What?

DAISY: My life, goddamnit!  My life!

BUCK: He owns you.


BUCK: (Softly.)  It's time to leave, Daisy.

DAISY: No.  You have no right. I'm calling the police!  (Crosses to telephone.)

(BUCK crosses to sofa and removes the handgun from where it was hidden.)

BUCK: (Crossing to DAISY.)  Run, Daisy.  (Rips cord off telephone.)

DAISY: (Sees gun.)  Oh, my God!

BUCK: Run.  You don't love him.

DAISY: (Backing away.)  I do!  I do love him!

BUCK: You're trapped, Daisy.  Trapped.


BUCK: Like a flower without sunshine.

DAISY: I love him!  I love him!

BUCK: Bullshit!

DAISY: Don't hurt me . . . please.

BUCK: You're trapped, Daisy.  M' little flower is trapped.

DAISY: Please, don't kill me.

BUCK: Run while you can, Daisy.  Git away from him.   He's old man Winter.

DAISY: No!  He's my husband.  (A cry of agony.)  He's my husband and I love him.

BUCK: Bullshit!  He's dark.  He's evil.  The son o' Satan.

DAISY: Stop it!  You're crazy!

BUCK: You never know whose eyes Satan’s gonna show up behind.

DAISY: You're crazy!

(BUCK grabs her.)

DAISY: (Continues.  Struggling.)  Let me go!  Leave me alone!

BUCK: You're a flower, darlin'.  A flower.  Run!  Run!  Run while ya still got a chance. 

DAISY: (Struggling, breaks free and falls to the floor.)  HELP!

BUCK: (Straddling her.)  Shhh.  You've been alone too long.

DAISY: (On her back, resigned.) Shoot me!  Shoot me!  Go ahead. S hoot me you sonofabitch!  Shoot me if you're going to.  Shoot me.

BUCK: (Tracing her face with the barrel of the gun.)  I'm sorry, darlin'. It's time for you to leave.


BUCK: It just is.  (Sticks the gun in her mouth.)  Now it is time to get the fuck out of here.  You don't love him.  (He removes the gun from DAISY’S mouth.)

DAISY: (Resigned.)  No.  No, I don't love him.

BUCK: You should’ve left while you had the chance, darlin'.

DAISY: I have nowhere to go.  Oh, God.  Help me.  I'm trapped.  I have nowhere to go.  Help me.  Help me.

BUCK: (Resigning.)  Me, too, darlin'.  Me, too.  Two flowers in the desert.  All alone. Trapped.  Trapped and nowhere to go.  (Pauses to listen.) Listen.

DAISY: What?

BUCK: Shhh .  Listen.  (He kneels beside her.)

(The SOUND of the TORNADO, like a freight train, moving slowly toward the house.)

BUCK: (Continues.)  Listen.

DAISY: (Rises to her knees.)  What?  What is it?

BUCK: The voice of God.  Tornado.
DAISY: Oh, my God!

BUCK: He's coming, Daisy.  He's coming to wash away the sins of the world.

DAISY: Stop it!  Stop it!

BUCK: I can't.

DAISY: Yes!  Yes, you can.  I know you can.

BUCK: No, Daisy.  Only you can stop him now.

(The SOUND of the TORNADO grows louder.)


BUCK: Here. (He offers her the gun.) Take it.


BUCK: Take it!

DAISY: (Grabs the gun and points it at him.)  Please.  Please leave. I'm afraid—

BUCK: Me, too, darlin'.  Me, too.  Shhh.  Listen.

(The SOUND of the TORNADO grows louder.)

BUCK: (Continues.  Sings.)  Here she comes, Miss A-mer-i-ca.  (After a pause. Speaks.)  You’re a beauty, Daisy.  Like a Miss America.

DAISY: Thank you, Buck.

BUCK: Sweet Jesus!  Save these poor servants.  Trapped with nowhere to go!  Save us, Lord!  Save us!  Show us the way, Sweet Jesus!  Show us the way!

DAISY: Stop it!

(The SOUND of the TORNADO grows louder.)

BUCK: Show us the way!  Show us the way!

DAISY: We're going to die!

BUCK: We're all going to die!

DAISY: I don't want to.

BUCK: Are you born again!?

DAISY: I don't believe!

BUCK: We're here, Lord!  Come and get us!

DAISY: No!  You can stop it.  You can stop the tornado now.

BUCK: Too late.  (Backing away from where DAISY kneels on the floor, stretching out his arms as if crucified.)  Dear Lord, there ain't nothin' on this ol' planet of yours but sinfulness and shit, Lord.  Evil and shit!

DAISY: Please.

BUCK: Can you love?


BUCK: You hear that, Lord?  She can love!

DAISY: Yes, yes!

BUCK: Love me!  Kill me!


BUCK: Let me fly, Daisy!  Let me fly!

DAISY: I can't!

BUCK: Show her the way, Sweet Jesus.  Show her the way!

DAISY: Oh, God! Help me!

BUCK: (Wails.)  Do you hear me, Lord?  (He turns toward DAISY with his arms outstretched as if crucified.)  I said, do you hear me?

(The TORNADO has reached the house.  The SOUND is a deafening rumble.)

BUCK: (Continues.)  DO YOU HEAR ME?

(DAISY pulls the trigger.  SILENCE.  The TORNADO is gone.  BUCK stands stunned with a contented look on his face—blood splattered on his t-shirt.)

BUCK: (Continues.  Softly.  At peace.)  The world is yours, Daisy.  (He falls to his knees.)  Sweet, sweet Daisy.  (He keels over, dead.)

(LIGHTNING and the far off rumble of THUNDER. The electricity returns and the LIGHT of the lamps and the MUSIC of the tango resumes.  DAISY kneels paralyzed in place, horrified with the realization of what she's done.  The SOUND of a gentle rain beginning to fall.)

DAISY: Oh . . . my . . . God.

(The LIGHTING slowly dims to the MUSIC of the tango.  BLACK OUT and CURTAIN.)