Written by Joe Janes
34 of 365
(Lights up on a prim and proper Edna counting money from a cash box. Her hair is held up with chopsticks. Doris is packing boxes while Mart is folding chairs and stacking them. Mart is keeping an eye on Edna.)
DORISI am so glad that my handmade knitted wool potholders were the first thing to sell at this year’s rummage sale. The whole set. I put so much time into them.
MARTDon’t they sell every year?
DORISI bring them every year. This was the first year I sold any. But, who knows? Maybe it will be the start of something.
MARTYou might want to try something different next year.
DORISIf it works, don’t fix it.
MARTWool may not be the best choice for a potholder. (Doris clearly doesn’t get it) If you had to pick up a hot pot off your stove and you happened to be out of potholders and you reached into your closet, would you grab a wool sweater or heavy cotton sweatshirt?
DORISI’d use my potholders. Which have pigs on them.
(Edna finishes counting and looks concerned. She quickly recounts and checks it against a clipboard.)
EDNAMart. Count this.
MART (taking money)Something wrong?
EDNAProbably just my tired eyes.
DORISIf my potholders didn’t sell, I was going to just give them to St. Jehoshaphat’s. They’re doing their rummage sale next week. Maybe they could sell them. I’m glad I didn’t have to do that. They’re Catholic. Not that that’s a big deal, but they’re just too Catholic for me. Who goes to church on a Wednesday night? Sunday morning’s all you need.
DORISThat’s good, right? Sounds better than last year.
EDNAShould be 202. We’re fifteen dollars short.
DORISOh, my heavens.
EDNAI checked the dollars against the sales sheet. Fifteen dollars is missing.
MART (looking at clip board)Maybe the sales sheet is wrong. Maybe something got checked off that shouldn’t have.
EDNAI have been running the St. Bart Rummage Sale for fifteen years in a row.
DORISExcept for that one year.
EDNAExcept for that one year.
DORISWhen you had your eyes worked on.
EDNAThey needed it. The doctor recommended it.
MARTCarrying a lot of baggage, were you?
EDNAThe point being, in all my years in charge of the rummage sale, the books have always balanced to a penny. To a penny.
MARTWell, I don’t know what to tell you. It’ll probably turn up. (She puts on her coat) I have to go home and put dinner on for Ned. If I don’t, he’ll eat all the ribbon candy and then fuss with his dentures all night.
(Edna blocks her from exiting)
EDNAYou’re not leaving. No one is leaving. Not until find the culprit.
EDNAFifteen dollars doesn’t just get up on its own and do a jig out the door.
MARTOkay. Fifteen minutes and then I’m out of here.
DORISShe said fifteen.
EDNAInteresting number of minutes you happened to pick, Mart. Is that number on your mind? Are you feeling guilty about anything?
MARTYeah, it’s on my mind because we keep talking about it and it sounded like a decent number of minutes. But if it makes you feel better, okay, 12 and a half minutes and I’m out the door. Do you want my help or not?
EDNASure. Help away.
MARTWell, did you do anything different this year from all the other years?
EDNAThe only thing different this year is that Althea Kuzman got a gopher-sized goiter and passed away and you replaced her.
DORISPoor Althea. Poor goiter.
MARTEdna, do you really want to accuse me of stealing money? Fifteen dollars? From a church rummage sale?
EDNAI’m just saying you are the only thing different this year. You said all the rest. Hadn’t really considered it, but now I certainly am.
DORISI saw you put money in your purse!
MARTYou did not!
DORISYes. I did. When you were talking to Rod Libben about the rooster toaster cozy, you took money from him and out it in your purse.
MARTI was making him change. The cash box was all $20s. He gave me a twenty and I gave him a ten and two fives back. If I hadn’t, we’d have lost the sale.
EDNAGood answer, Mart. Too good. Sounds like you may have committed the perfect crime.
MARTI volunteered because you needed help, Edna. And you’re repaying me by treating me like a criminal.
EDNAOh, I forgot to mention one thing that is definitely different this year, There’s a new policy. To help thwart thievery. No one leaves without me checking their purse.
(Edna grabs at Mart’s purse. They have a low-key no-win tug of war.)
MARTYou will do no such thing.
DORISSounds like something a guilty person would say. You can check my purse, Edna.
EDNAOne purse at a time, Doris. I’m interested in finding out what Mart here has to hide.
MARTYou want to check, fine.
(She lets go and Edna stumbles back a bit. She starts going through the purse.)
EDNAUsed Kleenex…Several balls of wadded up used Kleenex…several loose cough drops…A wallet!...with a twenty dollar bill in it…
DORISIf I were a crook, the last place I would hide the money is in my purse. That’s the first place anyone would look.
EDNASometimes, Doris, you say the most brilliant things.
EDNAYou do. Mart…strip.
MARTI have had enough of this. (Mart grabs back the purse; Edna retains her hold on it.)
EDNAIf the money’s not in the cashbox and not in your purse, then where is it?
MARTHow should I know?
DORISShe has an accomplice.
MARTYou watch way too much TV, Doris.
DORISI only watch Cops!
(She also grabs the purse)
EDNAWhat do you mean she had an accomplice?
DORISRod Libben! I saw them giving each other the googlie eyes. There was something going on there. Bet Ned would be interested to know. He’s probably down at the Piggly-Wiggly throwing that fifteen dollars around like a drunk sailor on shore leave…in a grocery store. Buying meat. Good meat. Not “on sale” meat. For shame, Mart. For shame!
MARTLet go of my purse!
(Doris jumps on Mart and all three get tangled up and end up on the floor. They all three jump back up as quickly as they can brandishing weapons. Edna holds her chopsticks like a dagger, Mart has her purse, holding the straps like she might strangle someone, and Doris makes karate chop hands and says “Hi-Ya!” She realizes her hand are ineffective against their weapons. She looks around for something else and pulls off one of her shoes and says “Hi-Ya!” As Doris holds out the shoe, fifteen dollars falls out. )
EDNADoris, how could you?
DORISWhat? That? That’s for emergencies.
EDNA (picks it up)Exactly fifteen dollars. For emergencies?
DORISVery small emergencies?
MARTYou were setting me up, Doris?
DORISI’m sorry, Mart. I was just trying to keep the heat off of me. Go ahead. Make a citizen’s arrest. (She goes down to her knees and puts her hands behind her head.) I’ll go quietly.
EDNA (going down to Doris)Why, Doris? Why did you do it? If you needed fifteen dollars, I would have probably given it to you.
DORISI just wanted to finally sell my potholders. Every year I bring them, I even make new ones, every year, they just go back home and I end up using them coasters and little towels.
EDNAYour potholders sold this year. It’s checked off the sales sheet.
DORISNobody bought them. I bought them. I checked them off. (She pulls them out of her bra). If I was just going to end up taking them home with me, at least I could do it knowing you all thought they sold. Nobody wants wool potholders with smiling pigs on them.
EDNA (looking)Oh, those are pigs.
MARTI thought it was Charles Durning.
EDNABut why steal the fifteen dollars?
DORISI was going to give them to St. Jehoshaphat’s for their rummage sale next week and if they didn’t sell, I needed the money to buy them back.
MARTToo bad for St. Jehoshaphat’s.
EDNAYou’re not going to be able to give them the potholders.
DORISYou mean, because they’re evidence?
MARTNo, because I want to buy one.
EDNAMe, too. I think Charles Durning is sexy.
MARTI can use them to set my candy dishes on. Ned’s ribbon candy denture drool tends to leave a ring.
DORISYou’re both very sweet.
EDNA (helping her up)Just trying to be a Good Samaritan. I’m sorry I got rough with you, Mart.
MARTI didn’t appreciate the accusations, but you found the fifteen dollars.
DORISEdna always gets her man.
(Doris hands them the potholders. Edna puts the fifteen dollars back in the cash box and adds five bucks. Mart puts in her twenty and Edna hands her change.)
DORIS (continuing)I’m sorry I caused so much trouble. Good night. And God bless you. Both of you.
(She exits. Edna and Mart put on their jackets.)
MARTYou were right. Something was fishy when her potholders sold.
(Edna hands her a black ski mask. They both put masks on.)
EDNALet’s go teach that bitch a lesson.
(They pound their fists and exit. Blackout.)