The Rita Hayworth Fan Club
by Maaike Davidson
Marjorie an old lady.
Ted a very old man.
Fred a very, very old man.
Attendant from the home.
Mailman (same actor as Attendant).
Mrs. Littleton (no lines).
In an Old Folks home. One side of the stage will represent the entrance to the home, the other side the free world. Fred (Scottish accent?) is sitting on a bench, he has a walker (or, if that is unavailable a cane). Ted–who has his glasses sitting on top of his head–walks in and sits next to him.
Fred: (To himself) Where is that stupid mail man?
Ted: Fred, have you seen my glasses.
Fred: Are you daft I haven’t seen anything since 1992.
Ted: I’ve got to find my glasses.
Fred: What do I care about glasses. I haven’t crapped since Tuesday.
Ted: (Sitting down next to Fred) Tuesday? (Thinking) What did we eat Tuesday?
Fred: I don’t know...something (beat) round.
Ted: A pancake?
Fred: Don’t think so.
Ted: An orange?
Fred: I don’t know what it was.
Ted: Did you eat the plate?
Fred: May’ve done, the stuff they give us here lacks all actual qualities of food.
Ted: I’ve got to find those glasses
Fred: Why’s it so important (Thinking, then...) It’s not bingo night is it?
Ted: No. (Leans in conspiratorially) I was just walking past the lounge when I overheard Estell say that Francine is at the shop getting her hair dyed red.
Fred: Red? Ah that ain’t nothin’.
Ted: No, she dyed it red.
Fred: I’m blind. Not deaf.
Ted: No, it’s RED, like a crayola.
Fred: Granola’s not red.
Ted: Cray-ola. You know, a crayon. Red like that.
Fred: You need your glasses to see colors?
Ted: I just want to see her in focus. Ooo, that Francine gets my blood racing!
Fred: Even if it races it ain’t gonna do much once it gets to the finish line.
Ted: What does that mean?
Fred: Around here, the only way any of us get erect is with the help of a walker (or cane, whatever he has) and even then we still look like a parenthesis. In fact, get me and old man Withers face-to-face and you’ve got the set.
Ted: (Looking at him, imagining the scene, but then returning to his original thought) RED hair. Not “I Love Lucy” red or even Rita Hayworth, but fire-truck red. Like a comic book super hero.
Fred: A super hero?
Ted: Like Wonder Woman.
Fred: Do you think she’s gonna fly in here and sweep you away to another world?
Ted: (Dreamily) She’s fantastic!
Fred: She’s an octogenarian! If there’s any flying it’ll end in hip replacement, mark my words. Look, I don’t care about any of that hoop-dee-do, I’d be more excited about a momentous bowel movement.
Marjorie walks in.
Marjorie: Hi Ted. (Nods) Fred.
Ted: Hi Marj.
Marjorie: (Ted scoots down the bench to make room for her) You guys hear about Tony?
Fred: (Disgusted by the rumor-mongering, he grunts.) Huh.
Marjorie: He went to the Funeral home this morning for Nancy’s viewing and now he’s refusing to leave.
Ted: I didn’t know he and Nancy were that close.
Marjorie: They’re not. He just keeps shouting, “I’m 96! What’s the point of going home?”
Fred: He’s got a point.
Ted: (To Marjorie) Did you hear about Francine?
Fred: (Loudly to no one) When is the mailman coming today?
Marjorie: What’s that hussy up to now?
Ted: She’s dying her hair red.
Marjorie: So what? She’s had red hair ever since it turned gray.
Ted: This time she dying it real red.
Fred: (rejoining the conversation) Like Granola.
Ted: CRAY-OLA. Get with it Fred, don’t you have grand children?
Fred: How the hell would I know
Marjorie: (to herself) More like great-GREAT grand children.
Ted: RED hair. I just can’t get over it.
A little old woman in a housecoat and slippers goes by in front of them. She is shuffling as quickly as she can, it’s a slow pace, but she is determined and has a look on her face as if she is winning the hundred-yard-dash. Ted and Marjorie watch, Fred leans his head to listen. They sit in silence as she passes.
Fred: (After she is gone) Was that Mrs. Littleton?
Marjorie: (Impressed) Look at her go
Ted: She is spry, isn’t she?
Fred: That’s why she keeps escaping. She’s wiry, that one.
Marjorie: (Shouting support, standing waving her arm) Go, Mrs. Littleton, Go!
Fred: It’s not a holiday is it?
Marjorie: I don’t think so.
Fred: I was just wondering about the post...
Ted: (His mind always on Francine’s hair) It’ll be a holiday once Francine gets back from the salon.
Fred: Oh, is it “Idiots on Parade” Day already? And here’s me without my hat.
Ted: (Ignoring him) It’ll be Valentine’s Day. I’ll have the courage to walk right up to her...
Marjorie: Those aren’t her real legs, you know.
Ted: (His mind back to it’s only thought) RED hair I can’t believe it!
Marjorie: Her son paid for the varicose vein surgery... She’s not really a red-head, and there’s a half dozen men here who can vouch for that.
An attendant from the home walks out.
Attendant: Have you folks seen Mrs. Littleton?
Ted: Not this morning.
Marjorie: I think she’s in the TV lounge.
Attendant: And you Fred?
Fred: (pointing to his face) Still blind.
Attendant: Well, if you see her, let me know.
He turns to leave.
Fred: Hey, today’s not a holiday is it?
Fred: Is it Sunday?
Attendant: Nope, Friday, Mr. Boyd.
Fred: Ok, just wondering. I’ll keep an eye out for Mrs. Littleton. (Beat) So to speak.
The attendant leaves the way he came in.
Marjorie: It’s their own fault, you realize.
Fred: How’s that?
Marjorie: They started it with bringing in those yoga instructors. Mrs. Littleton was happy sitting in her chair, but they got her all excited about moving again.
Marjorie: Did you guys hear about Tony?
Fred: He’s still sitting at the funeral home.
Marjorie: What about Francine?
Ted: RED HAIR!
Marjorie: Well, it sounds like you’re up on all the latest gossip. (She stands) I’m off to the rec room.
Fred: Hey, Marjorie, the mail hasn’t come yet, has it?
Marjorie: Nope, not yet.
Marjorie leaves. Ted watches her go and while he is looking into the building he sees Francine inside. He is very happy to see her.
Ted: There she is
Fred: Who? Mrs. Littleton?
Ted: No, Francine. (he says the name with deep admiration and awe.) She looks fantastic
Fred: Did she bring the granola? I’m already backed up.
Ted: I wish I’d found my glasses Oh well, I’m going in. (He stands then turns to Fred to say...) RED HAIR
He exits. Fred sits quietly on the bench. Mrs. Littleton shuffles by in the background carrying a flower in a pot*. Pause. The mailman, carrying a handful of mail, walks up to him.
Mailman: Hi Fred How are you feeling?
Fred: Feeling? You tell me.
Mailman: Sorry, Fred, no letters today. Maybe tomorrow.
Fred: (Obviously saddened) Then how I’m feeling is like I stole Fate’s woman and am being severely punished for it.
Mailman: (trying to be helpful) Maybe tomorrow.
Fred: Yeh, I guess.
Mailman: (holding up the mail for the home) I’m going to go drop these off. I’ll talk to you later. (He exits).
Fred sits on the bench, shifting slightly, uncomfortably. Ted re-enters. Giddy. Sits down next to Fred.
Ted: I did it I talked to her.
Fred: Who? The hussy?
Ted: Francine’s going to sit by me tonight when we watch The Wheel.
Fred: How’s her hair?
Ted: Red as passion! (He points to his chest) I can feel it moving inside.
Fred: I can feel it, too. (Smiling) Something’s moving inside of me. Tonight’s the night I get rid of Tuesday’s dinner
Ted: (beat) You don’t care about anyone but yourself, do you, Fred. Can’t you just be happy for me? I’ve been sitting here all day trying to work up the courage to talk to her and I did and all you can give me in an update on your digestive tract. I’m going back inside.
Fred: Sorry, Ted. Good luck with Francine.
Ted: Thanks. (Beat) I’ll talk to you tomorrow.
Ted exits. Mrs. Littleton walks behind him again carrying the flower pot and a mannequin leg.
Fred: I hate this place.
Fade out. Or whatever.
* The items carried by Mrs. Littleton can vary by what is available as props or directors/actors needs.