SHAKING THE EARTH

 

--- On Thu, 4/15/10, eva bakalekos <adgirlarkansas@yahoo.com> wrote:

 

 

    From: eva bakalekos <adgirlarkansas@yahoo.com>

    Subject: Shaking the Earth

    To: adgirlarkansas@yahoo.com

    Date: Thursday, April 15, 2010, 12:21 PM

 

Opening Music: “Smoking in the Boys Room”

First verse has students’ in the 60’s getting caught smoking in the bathroom

Second verse has students in the 70’s getting caught smoking in the bathroom

And the smoking hole is born by the stadium

3rd verse has students from the 80’s getting caught smoking in the bathroom

the last verse has students from the 90’s out by the smoking hole to keep from getting caught smoking in the bathroom.

 

    Scene 1 opens: Header: North Little Rock, Arkansas, circa 1980 Fade in(Dark/shadowy hall or alley look) Woman crying with baby .  Person singing:  " On a cold and gray North Little Rock morn, a hungry little baby boy is born - in the city.... (In the city)  and his momma cries....Cause if there's one thing that she don't need, it's another hungry mouth to feed - in the city...(In the city)...and the baby cries....." Fade out

 

    Scene 2 opens: Header: Malvern Arkansas, circa 1985…camera over town,  as the Granny poem by George and the one by Aaron about her biscuits voice overs. Zoom in to a neat brick home in Malvern.

    Henri-lu and Jim Ingram, ages 70.  Henrilu is bustling around putting food on the table and singing/humming "What a friend we have in Jesus"... Jim Ingram stretched back on recliner or couch, snoring, mouth open.

 

Henrilu – “Jim, It’s time to eat!”

Jim snores louder

HEnrilu –louder  “ Jim! Wake up and eat lunch!”

Jim continues to snore

Henrilu (gets close to his ear) - yells  “JIM!!””

 

Jim jumps up , wild-eyed – “Huh?! What’s going on?! Is someone trying to steal my watermelons? Get me my shoes! Get me my gun!! –“

 

Henri-lu – “Oh, hush, you old fool! You were dreaming!  We haven’t had a watermelon patch in 25 years!”

 

Jim sits down at table, and rubs his eyes, “I was dreaming that we moved back to the farm in Texarkana.” 

 

Henri-lu – “Well, that’s probably because we are fixing to move to Willow House in North Little Rock.”

 

Jim: - “ Yes, about that….I have decided that I want to move back to Texarkana”

 

Henri-lu – “TEXARKANA?!?! We can’t move back to Texarkana! Don’t you remember the doctor told us, you are in the early stages of lung cancer, and we have to be close to the doctor and hospital so we can fight this thing!”

 

Jim – “ No, I’ve made up my mind – I am going back to Texarkana.”

 

Henri-lu:  “You’re crazy! We have to move to the Willow House in North Little Rock!  Don’t you want to be closer to Ouida and George and the kids?”

 

Jim – “No- Texarkana.”

 

Henrilu – “NORTH LITTLE ROCK!”

 

Jim – “TEXARKANA!

 

Music begins playing “Green Acres theme” (Doo, doo, do-do-do dum-dum)

Jim singing – “TEXARKANA is the place to be!  FARM livin’ is the life for me!

LAND spreading out so far and wide – Darlin’ I love ya but gimme that countryside!”

 

Henri-lu – “NO-RTH Little Rock is where we need to be! 

YOU”ll need to see the doctor EVERY WEEK!”

(clasps hands adoringly) “I just adore that 3rd floor view….”

(mean,  finger in Jim’s face) “Gimme that high-rise on Pershing avenue!!”

 

Jim – “The chores!”

 

Henri-lu – “Drug Stores!”

 

Jim – “Fresh Air!”

 

Henri-lu – “Health Care!”

 

Jim : “You are my wife!” (Henrilu grabs him by the ear and starts dragging him towards the door, Jim: “GOODBYE, country life!”

 

BOTH:  “North Little rock, we are THERE!”

Scene 1 closes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scene 2: North Little Rock (in the city)  circa 1990

 

Fade in to dark alley or hall, woman and young boy about 10, man staggers in the door mumbling.

 

Woman:  “Where have you been all night? You left 10 hours ago to go get us some food!”

Man tries to hug her and she pushes him away,

Woman - “You’re drunk!”

Man (slurring) – “Yeah, well, you’re high on crack! That’s why you been up all night! Give me some!  I said, GIVE ME SOME! ”

Man strikes at the woman and the boy shrinks back.  All of them freeze frame.

 

Music begins

Singer: “ On a cold and gray north little rock morn a hungry little boy sees his dad hit his mom – In the city…  (In the city…) and  his momma cries” (woman starts rocking and crying holding her hand over her eye)

Singer: “People don’t you understand?  This child needs a helping hand  -

He’s gonna grow up to be an angry young man someday –

Talking bout you and me – Are we too blind to see? To turn our head and look the other way…And the young boy cries….”  (Boy wipes his eyes with his arm, hangs his head and goes out the door)…

 

North Little Rock (willow house, in Jim and Henri-lu’s apt)

Jim  dances carefully around her, irritating her and he sings…

“I wish I were an apple a-hanging from a tree…and every time my Henri passed she’d take a bite of me…get along home…Henri, Henri, get along home…Henri, Henri, get long home, Henri, Henri, I’ll marry you someday...”  He wards off the dish towel she is waving and settles into the recliner, falling aleep almost immediately.

Henri-lu bustles around in the kitchen singing “Amazing Grace”.  Jim is asleep snoring.

(Knock on door) Henri-lu opens the door.  Enter neighbor Emma in wheelchair, waving a blouse with her one good arm
Emma - “ Mrs. Ingram? Can you iron this shirt for me?  I tried but I just can’t do it with one arm..”  (Jim continues to sleep)

Henri-lu: “Sure, Emma, I will have it for you a little later.”

Emma: “Oh, thank you – I don’t know what I would do without you.  You know, they keep trying to put me in a nursing home…Mrs. Ingram, I don’t EVER want to go to a nursing home.  I keep telling them They will have to drag me kicking and screaming!”   Henrilu pats her one hand and smiles tiredly…Emma exits.

(Knock on door) Henri-lu opens the door.  Enter neighbor Mr. Earl Washington, holding a can,

Earl: “Mrs. Ingram, someone gave me this can of pork and I just don’t know what to do with it. Do you?”

Henri-lu -
“Sure, Earl – One things you can do,  just toss it in a pan with some B-Q sauce and cook it till it cooks down, and then you can make sandwiches with it or anything! “

Earl (stares at can like it’s a bomb) “cook it….Down?

Henri-lu -  takes can from him, “Oh, just give it to me and let me do it.  I’ll bring it to you a little later.”

Earl: (looks relieved and smiles a mile wide) “That’d just be FINE.. tha’d be Fine. Thank you SO much, I don’t know what I would do without you!”

(Jim continues to snore, and Henri-lu goes back to getting dinner on the table)

 

 

Knock on the door –Henri-lu answers,  Enter neighbor “Ilene” in a wheelchair. 

Ilene:  “Mrs Ingram, when you walk down to Kroger, could you get me a couple of things? You know how hard it is for me to get to the store in this wheelchair, and my daughter won’t come till next week…”

Henri-lu -  “Sure, Ilene… What is it you need?”

Ilene – “Oh, just a few things…” Irene pulls out a list about 2 feet long, and hands it to Henri-lu – Henri-lu’s eyes get wide –
Henri-lu – “O-o-o-oK, I’ll try to get those for you a little later.”

 

Jim is still snoring.  Henri-lu puts down the shirt, the can of pork and the grocery list, and goes to balcony and looks over.  She sees the school in the background, with a group of kids gathered around the stadium door, and smoke rising from the group. 

 

She shakes her head and begins talking to Jim…who is still snoring:

Henri-lu - “Look at all those poor kids over there,  they look so cold and lonely, with nothing for breakfast or lunch but a cigarette…I bet some of them never get a hot meal.   If only there was something I could do for them… But what?  Jim?  Are you listening to me?  Jim?”

Jim still snores.

Henri-lu – “Jim! Do you hear me? (she gets close to his ear)  JIM!!!!”

 

Jim jumps up from the couch, but slower than before…

“HUH?   What’s going on?  Are those kids in my watermelon patch  again!?!  Get me my boots – get me my gun!”

 

Henri-lu – “Oh, hush, you old goat! You were dreaming again!  We haven’t had a watermelon patch in 30 years!! And you NEVER owned a gun!  I was SAYING, look at those poor kids at the school, smoking!!  I WISH there was SOMETHING I could do to help them!”

 

Jim: (rubbing eyes) “OH – Goodie, Goodie! You already help everyone in the building!!  You started the 4’ x 4’ garden rows down in the lawn area , and work ½ of them for the other people that can’t or won’t “

 

Henri-lu interrupts him., “I’m Share-cropping!!  They give me some of the food after it grows!”


Jim ignores her and keeps going “and organized Bible studies in the chapel, plus you babysit your own great-grandkids,  And now you want to take on a bunch of ruffians?  Have you looked at those kids?  Half of them look like they should have graduated 10 years ago and the other half look like they just got off parole! And the other ½ look scared of the first 2 halves”

 

Henri-lu – “ Well, that’s why they need to hear about the Lord!! How are they going to know if someone doesn’t tell them?”

 

Jim – “Well, send them an invitation to the school to come to our  Bible study in the Willow House Chapel next week!I’m not saying they don’t need help…. But don’t hold your breath – Please – DON’T go down there – it’s TOO dangerous!”

 

Henri-lu pretends not to hear him, and starts singing., “Just as I am”

 

Jim: “I give up –  I’m going downstairs to shoot some pool!” He grabs his pool cue and heads out the door.

 

Henri-lu – yelling behind him…”Be back by 2: 30  - you have a doctor’s appt at 3:30!!”

 

Henri-lu grabs her garden tools and goes out the door, singing “Bringing in the Sheaves…”



Close scene 2

 

Music

Well the world turns
And a hungry little boy with a runny nose
Plays in the street as the cold wind blows
In the city


 

 

Scene 3: North Little rock circa 1991  (group of rather rough looking kids walking by the high school, meets up with  a  young boy is about 12 or 13 now, looks pretty rough, dirty wrinkled clothes, matted hair, although the others look better, but not by much.

 

Girl 1:  “ Hey, Elias, where’d you come from?  You sleep out in the ditch again all night?

 

(all the kids laugh)

 

Guy 1 :  “Yeah, looks like you combed your hair with a greasy pork chop!”

 

(all the kids laugh)

 

Elias scowls and throws them a hand-up. 

 

“ I slept on the porch! My mom’s new stupid boyfriend locked me out again, so they could sit in there and smoke crack and who knows what else all night! If I HAD a greasy pork chop, I wouldn’t be combing my hair with it, I’d be EATING it!  Does anyone have anything to eat?” 

 

One of the girls finds  a tootsie roll in her jeans and hands it to him….

 

Elias: “Thanks….I’ll be glad when I get in High School and get my driver’s license.  I’m gonna get me a job and I’m gonna leave that place, I tell you that for SURE!  Things weren’t much better when I lived with my gramma but at least I had something to eat and a bed to sleep in.”

 

Girl1:  “Why don’t you tell your teacher or somebody?”

 

Elias laughs ironically.  In a girlie voice: Elias:

“Why don’t I tell the teacher?  Oh, teacher, won’t you SAVE me?”  Back to his real voice: “Girl, wake up! No one cares about us!  All those teachers care about is getting us out of class as quick as possible and getting their paycheck and getting to summer vacation.  I think ½ of them on drugs too!  Yeah, I’ll be glad when I get to high school next year , and I can start to get on my own.  That’s when things will start getting better…”

 

The bus comes and all the students get on, but an older hoodlum (Jake) saunters up from the High School alley and calls Ellias out. 

 

Jake:  “Hey, Elias, come here a minute!”

 

The bus pulls off without Elias.  

 

Elias: “What do you want, Jake?  I got to get to school, man! You made me miss my bus!”

 

Jake:  “Hey, man, did I hear you say you need to make some money?”

 

Elias (warily) “Yeah, I said that. So what? You got any?”

 

Jake:  “Not me, man, but I know someone who does – All you gotta do is….

(he starts talking low a few sentences to Elias, who is steadily shaking his head “no”)

 

Elias:  (Backing away)  “No way, man! No Way!!  I don’t NEVER need money that bad…I can’t do that.  Leave me alone, man! I done missed the bus, now I have to walk to school…. This day just gets better and better….”

Elias walks on by himself.

 

Jake: (yelling after him)… “ don’t come runnin’ to me when you starve to death! I’m offering you a CHANCE, here, man!  How many chances you think you gonna get?”

 

Elias raises his arm…never looks back ”Tell it to the hand, man, tell it to the hand…” 

 

 

1 year later - Cut to the willow house, Jim and Henrilu’s Apartment.  Jim is stretched out in the couch or chair as usual.  But this time we don’t hear the snoring.

 

Henri-lu comes in the door with a basket of freshly picked tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, the basket is almost as big as she is.

 

“Jim, look at what I got out of my garden!!  And you said I couldn’t grow anything in a 4 foot by 4 foot patch!!”

 

Jim  remains quiet.

 

“Jim, did you hear me?  I said, Look at all the fresh things from the garden!! Aren’t you excited?  Jim?  JIM??

Jim doesn’t move

Henri-lu sighs and gets by his ear like usual:

“JIM!!!!!” 

Jim still doesn’t move. 

 

Henrilu (Softer this time) “Jim?”

She shakes his arm.

Jim barely opens his eyes and looks past Henrilu – he slowly raises his hand and shakily, he points toward the ceiling – and whispers:

“Goodie, Goodie.”

Henrilu – “What? What, Jim?” She looks up “Is there something on the ceiling?

Jim’s eye’s grow brighter for a moment, then fade and he still points up:

“Goodie, Goodie” still whispering, he points toward Henrilu, “Goodie for you – “

and then he points towards himself, “And Goodie for ME”. His eyes close and his mouth opens.  His arm falls off the couch.

Her voice gets louder: “Jim??  JIM????  Oh, no!!  Jim!! NO!! No…Lord, please no,  no, Jim, you can’t leave me… Jim, wake up…. Jim…..”

Henrilu starts sobbing  and grabs the phone dials 911,

“Yes?  I need an ambulance to apt 302 of the Willow house?  I think my husband just died…” 

She holds Jim and sobs as the lights and sounds of ambulance begin, then fade out.

 

Song fades in….we see a dark shot of the troubled young man….

And his hunger burns
So he starts to roam the streets at night
And he learns how to steal
And he learns how to fight
In the city….

SCENE 4: Willow house 1 year later – Henri-lu sits out on the balcony of room 302 staring mindlessly into space.

Henri-lu – “Things sure are lonely around here since Jim passed away.  Even when there are lots of people around, I am lonely.”

  Her eyes find the smoking hole and all the kids standing around.  Henri-lu sighs, and she sings a verse of “Search me, Oh God”

“Search me, oh God, and know my heart today.  Touch me my Saviour, and know my heart I pray, see if there be any wicked way in me, Cleanse me from every sin and make me free”

Henri-lu stands up, and shakes off the blues. 

Henri-lu – “I know what I have to do now.”

She moves into the kitchen, starts putting flour into a pan, and starts making biscuits.

(music to Shakin the earth)



SCENE 5: (that same day) At the smoking Hole:

Jake and a really scary guy staring at the Willow House:

Jake: “What’s up with that old lady up there? She just sits there and STARES at us, every day.  Gives me the creeps, man!”

Scary Friend: “What are you talking about?”

Jake: “See up there on third floor balcony, Clean out your eyes and LOOK, man!”

Scary Friend: “I don’t see nobody”

Jake: (turns and points, mad) “THERE!” he stops, seeing the balcony vacant, “Well, she WAS there!”

Scary friend takes a long drag off his cigarette and gives him one of those “Sure” looks.

Jake: “What’re you lookin’ at me that way for? I ain’t crazy, man, she was there! She sit there every day staring at us – gives me the creeps, tell that old bat to mind her own business!”

Scary friend remains silent and looks away, rolling his eyes where Jake can’t see them.

 

Elias, now 16 and in High School, marches up to his friends, also now in High School.  He looks very sharp, clean, neat,  black slacks, red shirt.  He high-fives two or three kids.

Shawna: “What happened to you Elias, did you get a MAKEOVER? Or did you just win the lottery?”

Elias: “Not quite, but I am on my way!  I got a job at Taco Bell!  I got it figured out – if I work and save my money for 6 months, I can buy a cheap car, and head for St. Louis to live with my Aunt Sara!  She don’t have enough money to get me there, but once I get there, she will help me.  She’s a nice lady, I know she will come through for me.  All I got to do is get through the next 6 months, and I am home free!!”

Shawna, Delores, Dwight and Jordan all give him another high five.

The bell rings, As the other students move towards the  school,  Elias Spots Jake, now a senior, but looks considerably older,  pulling hard on his cigarette and decides to give him a hard time.

Elias: “Hey Jake, I’m surprised to see you here.  They aint figured out how old you are yet? Most guys your age done got a family!!”

Jake scowls at him  - “Oh, I got the family, man. I got 3 kids by 2 different girls. They just don’t live with me.  At least I ain’t no loser working at Taco Bell!”

Elias: “Yeah, you’re a loser who earns his money the old fashioned way – you steal it!”

Jake: “Yeah, well, you talk real big now.  You’ll come running to me when you’re desperate! And that won’t take long” He takes a final tug on the cigarette and thumps the butt onto Elias and walks off.

Elias looks a little disgruntled, but shakes it off and rushes towards the school.

 

SCENE 6:  At the smoking hole before school, all the regulars are gathered, including Elias, Shawna, Delores, Dwight and Jordan.  Jake is there accompanied by another really scary looking guy.  Elias is not so energetic this morning.  He is in his Taco Bell uniform, but this time his hair is not combed, his clothes are wrinkled, like he slept in them all night.  All his friends stare at him but are afraid to ask. Finally Dwight speaks up:

Dwight: “What the heck happened to you?  You pull an all-nighter at Taco Bell?”

Elias grabs a cigarette from Dwight –

Shawna – “What are you doing? You don’t smoke?”

Elias – (Coughing on the smoke) – “I just started! Gotta do something! I got locked out again last night!  I am so hungry I could eat a horse!  In fact I think I am delirous! I smell my gramma’s rolls and she’s been passed away for 6 years!”

Jake starts to comment, but something else catches his eye – He sees a little woman (Henri-lu)  in jogging clothes wearing an apron coming towards them carrying a basket.  He and Corey (his scary friend) laugh uproariously.

Jake: “Hey, Gramma! Did you lose Little Red Riding Hood?”

Cory – “Yeah!  Or, are you just running from the BIG BAD WOLF!”

Henri-lu walks right up to the Jake, completely unafraid. She is half(or less)  his size. Jake can’t help but sniff the delicious smells coming from the basket.

Henri-lu:  “My name’s NOT Gramma, I am Mrs. Ingram.  And if you are NICE, you may have a home made biscuit.”

Jake takes out a knife and opens it, giving Henri-lu a mean look. Then turns and walks off, offended.

Jake, looking back, says, “I don’t need your charity, GRAMMA! Come on, Corey – we’re leaving.”

Corey hesitates, looking at the basket anxiously, but Jake comes back and drags him off.

Jake: “I SAID, Come ON!  We got work to do!”

They both walk out of the alley and completely away from the school.

Elias rushes right up to Henri-lu and bids her welcome.

Elias: “Don’t mind him, Mrs. Ingram, he got problems.  ME, now, I know a good biscuit when I see one, and I for sure ain’t gonna turn that offer down!  Can I have one?”

Henri-lu:  “You certainly may, young man, and there is plenty for your friends, too.”

She drags out some paper cups and pours some Hot Cocoa from a Thermos.  All the kids gladly take the food and drink.

Shawna: “Oh, these biscuits are good!!  Don’t you think so, Elias?”

Elias has his mouth full and can’t speak, but his expression says he is in heaven. Finally he swallows. 

Elias: “Oh, man, these are even better than the rolls my Gramma used to make! Can I marry you?”

Henri-lu gives him a grin- “Well, I don’t know, Can you fix a car?  I always said if I get married again, it has to be to a man who knows how to fix a car!”

Elias:  “I’ll learn!”

Henri-lu laughs: “No, son, if we did that, we would both be doing it for the wrong reasons – You would be marrying me for my cooking and I would be marrying you for fixing my car.  I am afraid it just wouldn’t work out!”

 

Jordan: “Mrs. Ingram, We appreciate the food and everything, it’s wonderful.  But why would you come down here and give total strangers food?  Why would you do that for us?”

 

Henri-lu:  “I am so glad you asked!!” She pulls out a Bible. “Does anyone know what this is?”

Elias: “That’s a Bible! My Gramma had one of those”

Henri-lu: “Well, in this Bible, it tells about someone who loves you very much.”

Elias laughs: “someone loves US?  You got to be kidding!”

Henri-lu: “Listen to this – John 3: 16, “For God loved the whole world SO much, that he gave his ONLY son to die for them, so that whoever believed on HIS son, would live forever!”

Elias: “I remember my Gramma reading that! I didn’t know what it meant.”

Dwight: “I still don’t!”

Henri-lu: “ Did your Grandmother pray?”

Elias laughs, still chewing on a biscuit – “Oh, yeah, she prayed!  I prayed too – but mostly I prayed that she wouldn’t kill me before breakfast!”

Shawna laughs: “Elias, do you have ANY happy memories from your childhood?”

Elias ignores her comment as he finishes his biscuit, “Yeah, these biscuits taste just like Gramma’s rolls – Man! Those were the best 6 months of my life….” He drifts into a dreamlike state,


SCENE 6 – Elias’ Grandmother’s home, about 8 years ago. Elias is asleep in bed, his grandmother knocks and opens the door. She sighs loudly in disgust when she sees him still in bed.  She puts her hands on her hips in the doorway.

 

Gramma:  “Elias!! Elias!! Well, Bless the Lawd!!  Don’t you know the day’s abroad?

If you don’t get up, you scamp, there’ll be trouble in this camp!!

Think I’m gonna let you sleep, while I makes your board and keep?”

 

(Elias pulls the cover over his head and groans)

Gramma: “Well, that’s a pretty howdy-do! Don’t you hear me? ‘Lias! You!!

Bet if I come across this floor, you won’t find no time to snore!

Daylight all a-shinin’ in , while you sleep! Why, It’s a sin!”

She picks up the candle and blows it out.  Elias rolls over to face the wall.

“Ain’t the candle light enough, to burn without a snuff?

But you go the morning through, burnin’ up the daylight too!!

‘Lias! Don’t you hear me call? No use turnin’ towards that wall!

I can hear that mattress squeak!! Don’t you hear me when I speak?”

She picks up the clock on the dresser.

“This here clock done struck off 6!!  Caroline!! Bring me dem-a sticks!!”

A little girl about 5 slowly brings her Gramma a big switch and hands it to her.

Ellias peeks out, and seeing the switch, quickly jumps out of bed to his feet.

GRamma, waving the stick: “Oh! You down, huh?  You down?  Look here! Don’t you DARE to frown!

:Elias quickly forces a tiny smile.

GRamma shoves him towards the bathroom

“Now make yourself and wash your face! Don’t you splatter all the place!

I got somethin’ else to do – ‘sides just cleanin’ after you!”

Elias tries to walk out of the bathroom, ignoring her, but she shoves a comb in his face.

GRAMMA – “Take that comb and fix Yore HEAD! Looks just like a feather bed!”

(Elias grabs the comb and rolls his eyes while combing”

GRAMMA “ Look here, boy! I let you see – you WILL NOT ROLL yore eyes at ME!

You done felt yoreself too strong – and you SHORELY got ME wrong!”

GRAMMA: (calling down the hall)”Caroline! Bring me that-a STRAP! Boy, I’ll whup you till you DRAP!”  Caroline slides up beside her with a belt.  Gramma takes a few misses at Elias, barely connecting with one hit, then looks sorry then looks mad and sorry at the same time when he yelps.

GRAMMA – (toddling off to the kitchen with her hands in the air, Elias following her)

“Every morning on this place, seems like I must LOSE MY GRACE!!

(She scowls to Elias, pointing at the chair) “Set down at that table there!  Jest you whimper – IF YOU DARE” (Elias plops into the chair at the table, Caroline is already there, and the table is already set up with Biscuits, butter, jelly, gravy.  Gramma sits down daintily by Caroline and folds her hands, and slaps at Elias, who is reaching for a biscuit)

GRAMMA: “Fold Yore hands and bow yore head! Wait until the blessings said!”

(she folds her hands, closes her eyes, and smiles sweetly towards heaven…)  “Dear Lord, Have MERCY on our souls…” She opens one eye to see Elias reaching to sneak a biscuit. She hisses

“Don’t you DARE to touch them ROLLS!” (she closes her eyes, folds her hands again, and smiles sweetly….  “Bless this food we going to eat…” she opens one eye again, for some reason Elias has one foot on the table to hide his hands reaching for the rolls…she hisses, and points at him….”You set STILL!! I see them feet!!(with her meanest look)  Jest you try that trick agin….”   After a few seconds of “the look” she folds her hands, closes her eyes and smiles sweetly towards heaven….
“Give us peace and joy…. A-MEN!”

Everyone freezes.

(Scene closes – Elias snaps out of it back at the smoking hole, with everybody laughing at his story, especially Henri-lu)

Henri-lu – “Well, it sounds like your Grandmother was one the right track – but her nerves were a little short!  You know, that’s kind of like God – he loves us, he gives us good things, but he corrects us when we do wrong, if we are his children!”

She reads the verse out of the Bible “Who the Lord loves he also chastens”

DWIGHT: “Well, how does God know the difference, how does he know WHO HE LOVES and WHO HE DOESN’T?”

Henri-lu: “That’s a very good question!! I am glad you asked that! God loves us all, but we are not all his children -  It says in the Bible, “I knew my children before they were even born or concieved.  He KNOWS who believes on him, and KNOWS who believes that he sent his son to die for us! He says that not everyone who says his name actually knows him!!”

SHAWNA -             “But Mrs. Ingram, I still don’t understand how you get to know him?”

DWIGHT – “Yeah, what do you do, just stick out your hand and say, ‘Yo, God! This is Dwight! Pleased to meetcha?”

Everyone laughs, including Henri-lu.

 

Henri-lu – “You wouldn’t believe how close you are! All you have to do is…”

 

The bell rings and all the kids wave goodbye and start heading for the school. Elias walks a few steps, then he runs back and gives Henri-lu a quick hug, then rushes off for class. The Scene closes with Henri-lu walking back toward the Willow House.

 

SCENE 6:  The kids are gathered at the smoking hole again, with Henri-lu in their midst.  Elias is dressed down again…looking depressed.  Henri-lu hands him a biscuit, which brightens him up a little.

Henri-lu: “What’s wrong, Elias?”

Elias: “My mom made me lose my job, Mrs. Ingram.  She came in high and drunk last night, wanting money.  I didn’t have no money, she took all of my last paycheck! She says I got to pay for my keep, but she ain’t keepin’ me! I barely ever even get in the house unless I just got paid! Anyway, she made a big scene and wouldn’t leave, and the police got called…and here I am, job-less and BROKE!”

Henri-lu looks very sad, thinking of what to say,she takes Elias’s hand.

“Elias, I don’t have anything but some advice for you… the truth is, people here on earth- even the ones who are supposed to take care of us – will disappoint you.  If you are God’s child, he will always take care of you.  He has promised right here in his word,” (She points right at a verse in the Bible)…”I will NEVER leave you or forsake you... God has a PLAN for you, Elias, a very special plan for your life… you have to accept Jesus and no matter what happens, He will NEVER leave you or forsake you…”

Elias: “How do I do that?  How do I “accept him” ?  Are you sure He will accept ME? I’m NOBODY,  Ms, Ingram!!  I don’t know of one thing I can do for Him!”

Henrilu- smiles and squeezes his hand…”Pray after me…say this prayer– Dear Lord, I admit that I am a sinner and I need you….”

Elias: “Dear Lord, I admit that I am a sinner and I need you….”

Henrilu- “And I believe that you sent your only son Jesus to pay for all my sins…”

Elias: “And I believe that you sent your only son Jesus to pay for all my sins…”

Henri-lu: “and that he died to give me ETERNAL life…”

Elias: “and that he died to give me ETERNAL life…”

Henri-lu – “and that YOU, God, raised your son, Jesus up from the grave to seal the deal, and make it official,”

Elias - – “and that YOU, God, raised your son, Jesus up from the grave to seal the deal, and make it official,”

Henri-lu – “that I am YOUR child”

Elias opens one eye “I am his – CHILD?”

Henri-lu – “Yes, that’s right – now say it – “

Elias: “That I am YOUR child”.

Henri-lu – “In the name of Jesus, amen”

Elias – “In the name of Jesus,amen”

 

Elias opens his eyes – Henrilu is grinning ear to ear.  Elias starts to grin, too.

Elias – “wow – I never had a real Father  before.”

Henrilu – “Well, you have one now, and He has promised that He would never leave us or forsake us, no matter what happens.”

Elias, skeptical – “But – Ain’t God…Rich?  Or something?”

Henrilu – “Oh, yes – he owns everything – and you should SEE Heaven – It has everything – gold, pearls, mansions – And His, son, Jesus, who gave up his own life for us to be joint heirs with him – “

Elias – “Wait – joint hairs? What, Jesus has weaves?”

Henri-lu”What? – NO!! I mean, you are ADOPTED by God your Father, which makes you equal brothers with Jesus, and everything Jesus inherits, YOU inherit too!!”

Elias  jaw drops – “You’re kidding! Really? When do I get it?”

Henri-lu – “Well – you get the things up in heaven when you die.  Down here on earth he takes care of you,and gives you some gifts money can’t buy,, like love and patience and then when you die, you inherit Eternal life, and ALL the things He has in store for us in Heaven.”

Elias – “I think I understand.  Thanks, Mrs. Ingram!”

Elias starts dancing off to class, rap-singing – “I got a sugar Daddy in the sky when I die….I got a sugar daddy in the sky when I die…Boy, I gotta tell somebody about this!”

 

NEXT SCENE: Music over, “A child of the King” modern style.

Elias is talking to his friends at lunch, between classes, animated, pointing to himself, pointing to the sky, some of the kids seem enthralled, some are looking at each other and doing the “Crazy point”, doing a circular motion with their forefinger around their temple. 

 

NEXT SCENE: Mrs. Ingram is shown praying with different ones, all of Elias’ friends, and Jake and his scary friend skulking over in the corner, smoking and laughing, making fun of the ones praying.

 

 

After Praying, Henrilu tells them – “Now – you are children of the KING, so you have to act like it.” She gives them all small Bible.  “ This is God’s word, it is his “textbook”

just like your Math Book and your English and History book – this is “GOD’s” book – Read it, and listen to what God is telling you through His “Word”.  This is God’s “Word”

And it is your job to learn it and tell everyone else about it.  It won’t be easy, because some folks will hear you, but won’t believe you, some won’t even listen to you – But some will – and all of them will be WATCHING you, to see if you mess up, to see if you really mean it, or if it is just a phase with you.  Some will even get very mean with you about it – and the day is coming, later – when you won’t even be able to TALK about it, except in private, or you will get in big trouble.  So the time is short, you have to tell everyone as soon as you can.”

 

SHAWNA: “But, Mrs. Ingram, what do we do when they laugh at us, and kick dirt in our face, and stuff? What do we do then?”

 

Henrilu:  “Well, the Bible has a verse for that” she opens her Bible to:_______

“And when you pass through a town that will not receive you, just shake the dust of that town off of your shoes and go on, and let this be your testimony” – then go to the next person  and tell someone else – you have done your job.  Maybe you can come back later when they are more “receptive” to you.”

 

SHAWNA: “Oh, OK. So, we have to Shake them off,  That makes sense.  Do we have to do that till we get to heaven?”

 

Henrilu – “Well, yes – that’s the idea.   Bring as many people with you as you can. Bring the ones you love – and the ones you don’t love.  They are all the same to God.”

Henrilu shuts her Bible – “Now – listen, I won’t be here for the next few weeks”

(Everyone groans, “No…etc”

“ – I am making a trip to Tennessee to see some of my grandchildren.  But I will be back after Christmas, and I will see you then. Remember when you celebrate Christmas, now, is is not about gifts and presents –

 

Elias interjects: “Heck – it never was for me, anyway. “

 

Henri-lu – “Yes, but now, it is about giving a Birthday party for your brother!”

 

Elias, Shawna both say at the same time –“We don’t have a brother – only sisters”

 

Henri-lu smiles… “Oh, yes you do now – JESUS is you brother – BLOOD kin, because you have received and believed on him!  So you treat him like one – and the only thing He wants for Christmas is, - Your heart.  He just wants you to be like Him.  Read the Bible – it will tell you how”

 

The kids don’t look real happy at not seeing Mrs. Ingram for a month, but the bell rings and they all hug her and tell her good-bye.

 

.NEXT SCENE – Now it’s February. It is cold in the smoking hole, and Shawna runs up, breathless  -

“I went over to the Willow House and asked about Mrs. Ingram. She should have been back by now – They said she had a heart attack!! And she is in the hospital.” Everyone says “Oh, No ! (Bummer, etc)”

Shawna: “Her neighbor says she might be home later this week, she is going to be OK!”

Then they all huddle around, whispering and Shawna starts taking up money from them, of course they don’t get much between the 8-10 kids.

 

NEXT scene: Shows a delivery person knocking on Mrs. Ingrams’s apartment door, Mrs. Ingram opens it, looking weak and in her bathrobe.   There are 10 daises surrounding one perfect red rose.  She opens’ the card, and it reads “You are our rose – and we are your daisies.  Love, from all your kids at the “Smokin’ Hole”…

Mrs. Ingram smiles and wipes a tear from her eye – she goes to her balcony with the flowers and steps out – Sure enough, they are all down there, below her balcony, and when they see her, the kids all start waving and yelling, “We Love you Mrs Ingram!!”

 

Dwight sets down a boom box and Elias yells to Mrs Ingram:

“Hey Mrs. Ingram , we wrote a song and dance about you!! Shawna plays the keyboard and the music teacher recorded it! ” He turns to Dwight:

“Hit It!” Dwight turns on the music to “Shakin the Earth”

The kids lip sing and dance to the first verse, through the “So what if the world don’t believe you…..you just brush the dirt off of your shoulders, shake the earth off your shoes…”

 

NEXT Scene: - Henrilu-s apartment.  All of her daughters are there. Henrilu is dressed in her jogging clothes, garden shows and her hoe in hand.

 

Ouida: “Is it my turn to take mother to physical therapy?”

Claire: “I can take her!”

Sherry: “No, it’s my turn. I’ll take her”

 

Henri-lu starts doing a little jog, shuffling her feet, a sort of jiggy tap-dance.

 

Ouida and Betty eye Henrilu, and whisper to themselves. They look a little confused and worried.

 

Ouida: “Mother, what are you doing?”

 

Henrilu – “I’m shaking the garden dirt off my shoes!  I don’t want the doctor to think I wear dirty shoes!!”

 

Ouida, Betty, Sherry and Claire all give each other a look….  “OK…….

NEXT SCENE:

Sherry is driving Henrilu to rehab.  They reach a busy intersection and the light turns green so Sherry picks up a little speed, but within 20 feet, the SUV just before them, stops on a dime to turn left into Burger king, But  Sherry can’t stop in time Her vehicle slams into the SUV before them, and you hear crashing and metal twisting, and airbags going off.  When they all come to a stop, Sherry is cut on her forehead, and holding her arm, but her first thought is for her little mother, who is buried in a sea of airbag.

 

NEXT SCENE:

The family is gathered around Henri-lu in the ICU room.  Sherry is standing but her arm is in a sling. Henri-lu is able to whisper a few remarks, and recognizes her grand-daughter….(me) and says weakly…”
Eevie, Peevie Weevie Deevie Do…” (her nickname for her “Eva”)

Next the doctor comes in:

Doctor: “I am afraid that her shoulder was broken and ribs were crushed. Her lung is collapsed,  and the chest tube is not helping enough.  We are going to have to put a tube down her throat and put  her on a machine to help her breathe… This may last a few days, but hopefully she will get strong enough to breathe on her own.  We will monitor her progress, and will keep you informed.  You can visit her, and talk to her, but we will also be giving her pain medication so she may not be able to open her eyes, and she won’t be able to talk at all. With luck, she may recover, if she can begin to breathe normally on her own”

 

 

Music Then one night in desperation
A young man breaks away
He buys a gun, steals a car,
Tries to run, but he don't get far
And his mama cries
As a crowd gathers 'round an angry young man
Face down on the street with a gun in his hand
In the city…

 

NEXT SCENE: smoking Hole: The kids are holding the newspaper clipping of Henri-lu’s crash, they can’t believe it. 

Shawna: “I tried to call the hospital but they wouldn’t let me talk to the nurse – and all the family was back In her room.  But they said she was in critical condition.  That doesn’t sound good…”

Everyone kind of hangs their head, except Jake, who has a funny look on his face, but snickers, grabs his side-coot and moves away a bit.

Elias – “I sure miss Mrs. Ingram. Things just ain’t the same out here.  I mean,  I am trying to do the right things, but it was easier when she was here every day.  And I am still broke.  It seemed like I had some hope when she was around. Things are worse at my house than ever. “

 

Dwight) : I miss her too.”

 

Jake is skulking over in the corner and the bell rings, everyone drifts off but Elias and Jake.  Finally Elias starts towards the building but Jake calls him back.

JAKE: “Hey, Elias! Come here a sec – I need to talk to you “

Elias turns: : “Man! I can’t get rid of you for NOTHING IF I come back, will you leave me alone?”

JAKE: I just want to talk…”

Elias: “Man, I got to get to class – make it quick!”

 

JAKE: “I just need a favor from you, and I will pay you for it.”

Elias: “I told you, ,man, I ain’t interested in none of your ‘favors’! Uh – for some crazy reason, I sort of always pictured myself growing up – OUTSIDE of bars!”

 

JAKE: “this ain’t nothing’ like that, man, this is something for..my grandmother, you know her,”

Elias : Warily, “Your grandmother – what she got to do with this?”

Jake stares up the in  sky, down at the ground, side to side.  In a lower voice  he says:

“She wants me to take a birthday package to her friend’s daughter…”

Elias: “so WHAT? What do you need me for? You could do that much”

JAKE: “Well – that’s just it man,  I got a, like, “Reputation” to uphold.  I can’t be seen carrying a package with a bow on it! Nobody’ll respect me!  I could lose all these years of work making people afraid of me…”

ELIAS: “Oh, come on – Nobody respects you, anyway, man?! No one who counts, anyway!  Heck – even Mrs. Ingram knows, you a troublemaker – that’s why no one don’t have nothing to do with you, trouble and you,  you’re like…this (holding up two fingers side by side) You go way back.”

JAKE is visibly bristling, but maintains control: “Thanks – I’ll take that as a complement.” Then he gets more….real. “Look – I know this sounds hard to believe, but my grandmother has been trying for three days to get me to deliver this package to her friend.  I keep making excuses, but she is about on to me.  She’s my meal ticket, man, I gotta get this done.  I’ll pay you 20 bucks, man, $20 bucks just to go give it to her.  My grandmother just won’t shut up about it.  She about to drive me nuts, man.”

Elias still seems unconvinced.

 

ELIAS: “So, All I gotta do, is, I take this pretty package that you are so sure is going to scar you for life, I take it up to this “friend?” of your Gramma’s, -and that’s it? That’s ALL I gotta do.”

 

JAKE: “that’s IT, man, I swear.  That’s it. $20 bucks. Just like that.”

ELIAS: “I don’t know…something’ don’t seem right…”

JAKE acts like he is getting mad – “FINE “ He turns to leave, “I was just trying to help you out, man, you might not believe it, but – uh….well, what Mrs. Ingram was saying was starting to make sense, and….well… you know.. it’s rubbing off on me…”

ELIAS: “Really – you sure got me fooled.”  Then he thinks for a long second….

“20 bucks?”

JAKE: “Right”

ELIAS: “and that’s ALL I gotta do?”

JAKE: “that’s it.”

ELIAS slowly nods his head. “OK.  I’ll do it.  For your grandmother.  Not for YOU. But I will take your $20.  In fact, I’ll take it now!”

JAKE: “That wasn’t the deal, man, you do it, THEN you get the $20”

ELIAS: “I ain’t no fool, man, you gotta pay first.  Or else I’ll go start spreading it around that you startin’ to get soft, running around deliverin’ flowers for your Gramma”’

JAKE Curses too soft to hear. “That’s blackmail.  But OK – here” he digs a $20 bill out of his pocket and hands it to Elias, but before Elias can take it, Jake snatches it back.”

JAKE: “I need you at the Superstop Grocery at FIVE o’clock this afternoon. Don’t be late.”

ELIAS: “The Superstop?  I’m taking it to the Grocery store?”

JAKE: “Yeah, she goes down there every Thursday afternoon to shop. That’s close to my house.  I can carry it right to the side of the store without being seen,, and you can take it in to her.”

ELIAS: “How will I know who she is?”

JAKE: “I’ll tell you, she’s real easy to recognize, and that ain’t no big place. And this package is kind of big, so you will need to carry it to the car for her.”

ELIAS : “Hey, wait a minute – before I just had to just give It to her – now I have to carry it to her car?  Is there anything else you are forgetting? Do I gotta take it home and assemble it too?”

JAKE is getting visibly impatient. “NO, man, that’s it – just carry it to her car for her. I thought you were supposed to be a nice guy now… a CHRISTIAN, and all….see..that’s what I am trying to avoid looking like…”(he looks around again to make sure no one is watching)

ELIAS: (gives up -) “Oh, OK, man, whatever.  I’ll take it to her car, but give me the $20.”

JAKE: OK. Deal” He hands Elias the $20 and tries to shake, Elias  slaps Jake’s hand away, shoves the $20 In his pocket and moves towards the building.

JAKE: “Don’t let me down, man!”

ELIAS waves  him off from behind and keeps going. Jake turns and laughs silently with an evil look on his face.

 

NEXT SCENE: (Superstop Grocery) Jake is hanging in the shadows with a huge fancily wrapped present, complete with bows. Flowers, ribbons. Elias walks by and spots him, turns and walks towards him…clasping in hands trying not to laugh at the sight of the huge ruffian with the girlie bows.

ELIAS: “Oh, Jake, that looks so CUTE on you….I can just see one of those bows in your weaves….”

JAKE hisses: “Shut UP, man! Someone might hear you – Now listen – this lady’s already in the store.   That’s her SUV parked out front.  He looks towards a nice black Land Rover parked in front of the store.

ELIAS whistles… “Nice Ride…”

JAKE: “Yeah, Whatever –Now, listen, she’s in the store, she’s wearing  a black leather coat, a fur black hat, and black boots.  And – she got a kid with her.”

ELIAS: “OK, well, she shouldn’t be too hard to find in that little place – so, what do I tell her? You don’t know me, but I have a present for you?”

JAKE: “Just tell her her AHNT sent her this as a surprise and hired you to deliver it.  Then be a gentleman and take it out to her car for her! Dang, man, you supposed to be a sharp dude, making decent grades and stuff – can’t you do this one little thing?”

ELIAS (offended): “Just give me the present” He grabs the big box from Jake. It is lighter than he expected. “OK” he says, “I guess you won’t be here when I get back.”

He turns and leaves,  Jake mutters lowly under his breath…too low to hear… “Oh, I’ll BE here, all right. He takes a gun from under his jacket and keeps it in his hand, hiding it between his hand and his jacket.   He moves to the corner and peeks around after Elias, who is already in the store.

Elias is in the store now, and spots the black-coat lady at the check-out, having trouble corralling the kid and picking up her sack.  He walks up to her,, and she looks at him quizzically,

Elias: “Ma’am – this is for you, from your aunt. She paid me to deliver it to you.”

The woman is all smiles – “From my AUNT? How sweet! It’s not my birthday or anyting, did she say what it’s for?”

ELIAS Shifts uncomfortably – “Uh - no, I was just asked to deliver it.  So, your hands are full, let me carry it out, for you – you are parked right in front?”

WOMAN: “sure, that would be so nice of you.  Timmy, come on…Aunty needs to get her groceries in the car.”

KID:”Oooh, pwetty…”

Elias walks behind the woman to her vehicle, and she punches the remote and unlocks the doors, lifts the hatchback, throw’s the present in, then the woman walks to the passenger side and puts the child in the booster seat, Then waves goodbye to Elias, who waves back and turns to walk away as she circles around to her driver’s side and goes to enter the vehicle, when out of no-where, Jake appears with his gun, and punches her in the side with the gun,  she screams a little but he claps his hand over her mouth – then speaks:

“Don’t make no noise and you won’t get hurt, ” He looks around to make sure no one is watching. Elias has not noticed, he is still walking.

She whimperingly complies. Elias looks back for a second stands in shock.

JAKE “Give me the keys

She gives him the keys, shaking. Jake pushes her in the door, snarles.

“Scoot Over!”

The woman cries out a little but she is already in the passenger seat an d Jakes pushes the master lock and starts the car.  Elias starts to run towards the car but Jake takes off while Elias is beating on a window before the car leaves him. Elias runs in the store and tells the storeowner:

“Call the police! There’s been a kidnapping and car snatch!”

 

Cut to Jake who is driving staring through slit eyes, making sure not to go too fast, while the woman pleads for her and the child’s life.

“Please let us go! You – you can keep the SUV and take whatever you want. Just don’t hurt that baby. Please just drop us off…we won’t tell anything, I promise….”

Jake interrupts her and waves the gun at her.

“Shut Up, lady! I need to think! You weren’t supposed to have no kid with you…” He bangs the steering wheel as terrified woman shakes.

Woman: “I keep him sometimes…”

Suddenly he hears a familiar voice from the back seat.

“Jake, what in the world are you doing?”

Jakes’ eyes get really big as he stares straight ahead.

“Lady  - please tell me that kid just said that.”

The terrified woman looks at Jake like he is crazy

“What? I didn’t hear anything”

Jake looks in the rearview mirror and sees the child in his seat, and next to the toddler, Mrs. Ingram.  He jumps almost to the roof of the car, and clenches the steering wheel with his left hand and his gun with the right. Not nearly so arrogant now.

Jake: (in low shaky voice): “Mrs Ingram?  Wh-Wh-Wha-How’d you get back there?”

Terrified woman: “Who are you talking to?”

Jake ignores her. 

Henri-lu: “Jake, now you know this is not what you should be doing. You need to stop this car, get out and let this nice woman alone! I am ashamed of you, scaring her ½ to death this way!”

Jake: (Eyes bigger) “Mrs. Ingram, IF that is really you and I ain’t crazy, what am I supposed to do? Life made me this way! I don’t know this JESUS you’re always talking about!” He looks at the terrified woman and tries to look mean…..the woman raises her hands: (and ½ boldly)

“Hey – I don’t know WHO you’re talking to but you just keep listening to her! She sounds like she’s making sense!”

Jake clenches his teeth.

Mrs. Ingram: “Well, Jake, to be honest, both of us don’t have much time right now – I’m laying in a hospital bed, ready to go home, and you – you’re about to be surrounded by about a dozen police cars armed and ready to take  you down…So, here’s what I recommend: You say this prayer, right now, right this minute and I promise you, you are a child a of the KING, and you won’t need to steal cars, you won’t need to worry about where you will spend the life AFTER your life..God ALWAYS watches out after his children.  But you have to say this prayer:

 

– Dear Lord, I admit that I am a sinner and I need you….”

Jake bangs his hands on the steering wheel again, and hangs his head down, but when he lifts it he whispers: “Dear Lord, I admit that I am a sinner and I need you….” To himself he whispers (“why am I doing this?”)

(Cut to police cars, sirens, close and en route) Back to car:

Henrilu – “And that you sent your son, JESUS, to die for my sins”

Jake: “You sent your son JESUS, to die for my sins”

Henrilu – “and now I am YOUR child”

Jake: “That I am YOUR child”.

Henri-lu – “In the name of Jesus, amen”

Jakes pulls up and looks back “I GOTTA say “Amen?”

Henri-lu – “SAY it!”

Jake quickly: “In the name of Jesus, amen”

Terrified woman: “Amen”

Jake looks in the rearview – Mrs. Ingram is gone, just child remains. Jake pulls up the vehicle, shoves the gears in park, and gets out and runs as police cars w/sirens blaring

cars overtake him. Patrol car stops and officers jump out and order him to the ground.  Jake turns towards the officers, forgetting the gun still in his hand as he raises his hands. Officer fires on him, shooting him in the chest. Jake  falls and begins to die.  His face turns peaceful as he drifts away.  Cut to officers helping the shaken woman out of the car,  and making sure child  is OK. Woman: “He kept talking to someone who wasn’t there…”

The officer nods: “Schitzophrenic. Probably off his meds. You are one extremely lucky woman,”

Woman squeezes the child closely: “It wasn’t luck – it was God – Pure and simple! I don’t think he meant to hurt anyone…he was talking to God right before you shot him”

Officer: “Now, you’ve been through a lot…sometimes extreme stress can make you see things…and he was…well-” twirls finger around his temple. The woman rolls her eyes.

Ambulance pulls up.

Elias is watching from the sidelines, since the police would not let him near Jake.as the woman catches sight of him

Officer: “That’s the boy who alerted 911…” Woman looks confused. She has forgotten all about the “present”

Elias walks up: “Ma’am are you OK?” She nods.

“Did you say he was talking to someone who wasn’t there? Did he say who?”

Woman: “He called her…Mrs… Ingram! Mrs. Ingram – does that mean anything to you?”

Elias looks down, trying not to cry… “Yes – that means a lot.  That means a WHOLE lot…” He walks over to the policeman –

“This is all my fault….But Jake lied to me….he told me I was just delivering a present…”

The policeman starts writing on his tablet and asking Elias questions.  Fade away to far above the crowd.

 Music to 3rd verse…Shaking the earth”

 

SCENE:  Hospital ICU

 

Henri-lu’s room is filled with relatives around the bedside coming and going, mostly serious or crying or expressionless, as she flatlines.  Her granddaughter, “EEVIE PEEVIE” suddenly sees a motion as Henri-lu’s spirit, in the blink of an eye, raises and flies toward the upper corner of the room.

EEVIE to cousin next to her, who is staring out the window: “Did you see that?”

The cousin looks at her with a glazed expression.

“See what?”

Eva: “Never mind – I saw something…I will tell you later”…

More sobbing and crying from the family as camera fans away from the room.

In a few rooms down lies Jake with Dr. over him stating…  “Time of death…”

There is no one there to cry for him.  That seems to trouble the Dr. who, out of character, reaches and pats Jake’s hand although he looks puzzled as to why.  Then he turns and leaves.

 

SCENE: Above the hospital, in a cloudy surroundings, Henri-lu and Jake stand, Henri-lu beaming as she faces him!

“Now THAT was a smart decision you made back there! Now I am new here myself, so I know we’ll know what to do soon.  I just want you to know how PROUD I am of you for making the right decision!”

Jake: “Me too.  I am not sure, why, but me too.  Mrs Ingram?”

Henri-lu: “Yes?”

Jake: “Thank You.  Thank you for Giving. To me.  Thank you for giving to the Lord.”

They turn to face the light coming towards them.  Jim appears and runs to Henri-lu and a big man comes sauntering towards Jake

Man: “Jake!”

Jake: (whispering): “Granddaddy? You have both legs now! ”

Man gives Jake a bear hug, smiling from ear to ear.

“I KNEW you would come along! I always told your grandmother, That boy is going to turn out right in the end!”

Jake laughs and they all walk towards the light, arm in arm.

 

Song starts….(thank you for giving to the Lord)

Fade to:…Casket as song is singing, each of kids from the smoking hole, drops a rose on Henri-lu-s casket in funeral home.  The huge family is in the background.  In another cemetery across town, another burial is taking place.  There is no one there but a pastor reading from the Bible and one elderly woman crying, until the kids from the smoking hole come wandering in, and take their places around Jake’s grave, each dropping in a Rose, and Elias and Shawna get on either side of the elderly woman, and console her as the pastor finishes up.

Shawna tries to console her: “He’s in a better place now…” 

Elderly woman:

“I don’t know, he was always in so much trouble…”

Elias: “Ma’am, I know this – there was a woman who kept coming to school and preaching to us, and Jake was listening.  He might not act like it, but he was! He told me so right before this happened! And  - this may sound crazy…but I know that he talked to God right before he died.  It sounds like he got saved. ”

Elderly woman  break down and cries and hugs Jake.

Woman: “You know? His grandfather always told me, “that boy will turn out right in the end, just you wait and see!”

She cries some more, but this time she mixes with a smile.

 

Cut to finish Shakin the Earth….etc

 

Postlude:

No charges were filed against Elias. He got a job at the convenience market as a clerk when the owner was impressed with his heroics.  He saved up enough money to get to St Louis to move to St Louis and  live with his Aunt where he finished High School and later got a nursing degree. His mother eventually entered rehab and Elias led her to the Lord.

 

All of the members of the smoking hole gang joined a local church and attended an active youth neighborhood outreach program.  Some went on to be counselors.

 

Shawna and Dwight finished High School and got married, and Dwight attended a local seminary and became the pastor of a church in a low-end area.

 

Ilene passed away in her sleep 3 years later.

 

Emma went to a nursing home where she threw such continual fits,  she became the first person in Willow House history to get kicked out of the nursing home and back into the Willow House, where she passed away a short time later.

 

Earl was so Distressed by Mrs. Ingram’s death, he learned to cook down his own can of pork and served the world’s first “Mrs. Ingram B-Q Burgers” to other people on 3rd floor in her honor. 

Henri-lu was honored post-mortem by the city of North Little Rock for her work in the Willow House gardening project. 

 

We do not say much about her family in this feature. This is based on actual events in Mrs. Ingram’s life, but some names and characters have been changed or embellished.

A lot of it actually happened.  The rest  COULD have happened!    However, her family’s sentiments are largely summed up in this work of art by her Granddaughter Carla Smith…

 

“As Nearly to perfect as a grandmother can be”…

 

This play is Dedicated to Granny, my mom and all the rest off her girls, and all of my sisters and my brother.  Alice, who gave me the idea in Granny’s ICU room, Carla and George, and son, Aaron, who wrote the poems, along with my dad, also to my sister Jamie, who went on to meet Granny in 2003, but always encouraged me to share my story, no matter how bizarre it might seem.