||Work In Progress Flesh And Blood
by Don Hannah
CAST Loretta Estabrooks Bobby Estabrooks, her brother Mildred Estabrooks, their mother Norman Estabrooks, their father Philippe Chaisson, Loretta's husband Mickey Chaisson, Loretta and Phil's son Nancy Hebert
Flesh and Blood is set on a beach in southeastern New Brunswick. The beach is not realistic, but it must have elements of the real and should be adaptable for all scenes. The events of the play span the mid-'50s to the present. Flesh and Blood is happening within Bobby and Loretta.
ACT ONE Bobby and Loretta are children and they are hiding in a pile of old canvas.
LORETTA Bobby, they catch us, what'll we do?
BOBBY They ain't gonna catch us.
LORETTA What, we're gonna live here now? In a shack on the wharf?
BOBBY Ya said ya wouldn't be a baby. (Beat) We just took some chips.
LORETTA Six jumbo bags.
BOBBY Ya dint even take Barbecue.
LORETTA An ten O'Henrys. An two giant Pepsis, king size.
BOBBY Ole man Bourgeois'll forget all about it.
LORETTA His ole witch wife woan, she'll phone Mom. An Mom's waitin for us with the hairbrush I bet.
BOBBY We're too big.
LORETTA I'm ascared. (Beat) I should n't a ate so much.
BOBBY Ya wanted to.
LORETTA I doan feel so good. I wanna go home.
BOBBY Quiet, will ya?
LORETTA I doan wanna puke here.
BOBBY Quit whinin.
LORETTA Mrs. Bourgeois, she woan let us buy stuff in her store again ever. I'll hafta get Nancy to buy chips and pop fer me. (Beat) I'll never get a whole set a Sic Valentine Bubble Gum Cards.
13OBBY Quiet, or I'll hafta tickle ya again.
LORETTA No one's gonna let me inside anywhere no more. Mrs. Hebert woan let Nance an Jimmy play with us again ever.
BOBBY Suits me fine. He's a lil fairy.
LORETTA Is not!
BOBBY Is too!
LORETTA Is not! (Beat) My life is over! You ruint everythin an my life is over!
BOBBY Tickle Man's comin.
He tickles her sides, she laughs.
BOBBY Coochy coochy coochy coochy coochy.
LORETTA Quit it. Bobby. Quit it. They'll hear us. Stop it er I'll be sick.
He stops tickling her.
BOBBY All better?
LORETTA No. Tickle Man's fer babies. I started school now. I ain't a baby no more.
BOBBY Yes you is, a lil baby.
LORETTA No I ain't! I ain't a baby, not no More.
Bobby looks at her. Their parents appear on the beach behind them. Mildred is holding a large hairbrush, and Norman is blocking her way.
BOBBY Retta? Loretta?
Loretta does not look at him. A beat, then she shoves him off the canvas. She begins working at the canvas, turning it into a tent.
NORMAN Now, Mother ...
MILDRED Don't you Now Mother me! That Hebert boy was lookin fer a fight!
Lights begin to fade to twilight.
NORMAN Mother -
MILDRED Jimmy Hebert was down there looking fer a fight! Damn him! Juss damn that Jimmy Hebert! Damn his soul!
Mildred and Norman disappear. Bobby stands apart from his sister who works on the tent, ignoring him. The sound of waves.
Quiet, then there is the sound of boys shouting in the distance. Loretta stands very still, listening. She and Bobby look at each other. The voices offstage are loud, fighting. Bobby looks towards the voices then to his sister who has turned away. He walks quickly offstage towards the fight, as we hear the roar of a car with a Hollywood muffler. A police siren sounds over this and both fade into the distance as Nancy runs on.
NANCY Ain't ya finished the tent yet?
LORETTA No, you can gimme a hand. Ya get some?
NANCY Yeah, finally. Stupid bootlegger must a asked about a million questions, but I jus lied to im. Hey, there's somethin happenin down at the beach, juss pas the Blue Circle.
LORETTA I know. Sounded like a fight. Help me with this, will ya?
Nancy helps Loretta with the tent. But she talks more than she works.
NANCY I seen yet Dad there.
LORETTA At the bootlegger's? Oh, jeese.
NANCY But he dint see me. He's out back havin a drink with ole Romeo. (Beat) I thought yet gonna get Bobby ta help with this.
LORETTA Bobby help me, thas a laugh. (Beat) Ya sure he dint see ya?
NANCY Ya think I'm lyin?
LORETTA No, jeese.
NANCY Less get Bobby ta help us.
LORETTA He's out somewheres, an he woan help us anyway.
NANCY Might help me.
LORETTA Dream on. Where's Jimmy tanight?
NANCY He tole Ti-Pop he's goin fer a walk er somethin. Look, I broughta radio. It's live tanight from Dance-a-Rama, Gerry an the Gemstones is playin.
Nancy turns the radio on loud.
LORETTA Turn it down! We gotta hear or Mom'll sneak up on us an catch us drinkin an they woan let us sleep out no more all summer. Woan even think bout lettin me go ta Expo with ya.
Nancy turns radio down a bit.
NANCY Dar ain't Gerry and the Gemstones.
LORETTA It's Peter an
Gordon's "World Widout Love."
NANCY I know. (Beat) Muss be intermission er somethin.
LORETTA (Beat) Ya gonna help me or ya wanna sleep in a tree all night?
They work together on the tent.
NANCY Indians must be nuts ta live in these things alla time. (Beat) Ya gotta sleepin beg fer me?
LORETTA Yeah, I got Bobby's.
NANCY Yeah? Ya tell'm it's fer me?
LORETTA I dint tell'm nuthin.
NANCY Ya think that was Bobby's car with a siren chasin after it?
LORETTA Dunno. Serve'm right he gets a speedin ticket. Actin big alla time. Thinks he invented how ta spit fer jeese sakes.
NANCY He's a hood.
LORETTA He is not!
NANCY Ya said so yerseif.
LORETTA I never said my brother's a
NANCY Ya did so, lass week when we was down at the beach an he walked by with Gordy an Bozo.
LORETTA I said they was hoods. Juss cause he acts like a jerk doan mean he's a hood. (Beat) I think yet brother's cute.
LORETTA No, yet invisible brother from China. Ya gotta admit he's cute.
NANCY Then so's Waldo Procter.
LORETTA Jeese, whadda crummy think ta say.
NANCY I saw mental Waldo taday. He wrote our names down in his lil book fer when he gets to be premier a New Brunswick, he's gonna put a ban on us.
LORETTA My mom says he's stupid enough ta be premier someday.
NANCY She juss says that cause she doan like Premier Robichaud cause he's French.
LORETTA Ja see Expo 67 on TV lass night?
NANCY I ast my mudder again bout if ya can come wit us when we go an she says ya could maybe cause there's extra beds at my Aunt Clemence in Montreal, but there ain't room in the car so ya can't. If my stupid brother'd stay home, then ya could come. Cept that's where he wants ta go ta "university" so I doan tink so.
LORETTA My mom an I had a big fight bout it cause she said all Centennial Year is a excuse to be stupid.
NANCY My mudder says that yours'd bitch about the Blessed Virgin if she came over.
LORETTA She sure would Virgin Mary's a Cathlick.
NANCY (Beat) Y'ever think it's funny us bein bess friens when our mudders get along so bad?
LORETTA When I have kids, I swear ta God I woan make'm mental.
She finishes the tent.
LORETTA There, thassit.
NANCY Less have a drink.
LORETTA This wine need a corkscrew er anythin?
NANCY A corkscrew? Jeese, I bought it from the bootlegger, not the friggin King a France.
NANCY Ya think Expo's really as good as they make it look on TV?
LORETTA Course. (Beat) I got the map of it memorized. (Beat) Juss think. Famous people are probly there right now.
NANCY Ole man Bourgeois tole me he seen famous people here.
LORETTA Big deal. Kate Smith was here once on er way Overseas in World War Two. Some ole fat lady on "Ed Sullivan," old enough ta be dead. Real famous people never been here.
NANCY The Fadders a Confederation was on the Point Wharf once.
LORETTA That makes Kate Smith soun good. Look, I betcha the Beatles'll be at Expo. Ya might see'm.
NANCY They'd have guards against us.
LORETTA I wanna go. (Beat) If I tell ya somethin, promise ya woan laugh at me.
LORETTA Ya gotta promise.
NANCY Okay, I promise.
LORETTA No, really really promise.
NANCY Okay, okay, I promise I woan laugh at ya or it'll be a sin.
LORETTA (Beat) I really like Jimmy.
NANCY Not my brudder?
NANCY Yet kiddin.
LORETTA Swear ta God.
NANCY Jimmy? Yet kiddin.
LORETTA Oh, come on, even you can see that he's not like the other jerks around here. I mean, even his hair's like some body's from Away. The way it comes down cross his forehead.
NANCY When did you go all Love Mental?
LORETTA I ain't Love Mental, it's juss ... It's like he's somebody I never looked at before cause he was allays there, an then, alla sudden, I see him for the firs time real. More real lookin than some body who ain't famous. I feel like he knows things -- like he's got things ta tell me that I wouldn't know except fer him.
NANCY Jeese. You're more'n Love Mental. Yer sick in the head.
LORETTA Ya promised ya wouldn't laugh.
NANCY It's too freaky ta laugh at. (Beat) Jimmy, jeese. Look, ya dunno him fer real. Come on over an lissin ta the stupid music he likes. All at shit from Quebec an friggin Edith Piaf screamin bout bein broke up.
LORETTA He lissens ta something diffrent so everybody makes fun a him.
NANCY Y'ever heard Gilles Vigneault? Can't carry a tune in a bag dat guy.
LORETTA Ya think Jimmy'd be inner ested in me?
LORETTA Can ya find out witout him suspectin nuthin?
NANCY I'll juss ask'm.
LORETTA If you tell'm this, I'll die.
A siren wails very loud and very close
NANCY It's goin down ta the beach -- less go see!
LORETTA You wanna?
Another siren, followed closely by a third.
LORETTA Cops an ambulance too.
NANCY An the Mounties!
LORETTA You think maybe one a them lil kids went swimmin at night, got drownded?
NANCY Less go find out.
LORETTA You really wanna?
NANCY Doan you?
LORETTA I thought we was celebratin passin an everthin.
MILDRED (Off) Loretta?
LORETTA Oh oh. Ssh.
LORETTA S'my mom. Get ridda the wine, fast!
They take the wine into the tent.
NANCY What's she doin out here?
LORETTA You gotta Cert or sumthin?
NANCY Eat some grass.
MILDRED Loretta? Could you girls come here, please?
LORETTA (In tent) Whasamatter, Mom?
MILDRED Retta, is Nancy there with you?
LORETTA What do you want, Mom?
MILDRED I asked you to come here! Do it now!
LORETTA Oh, okay.
The girls come out of the tent.
NANCY Hi, Mrs. Estabrooks.
MILDRED Hi, Nancy.
LORETTA What is it, Mom?
MILDRED Nancy, I think you'd better go home now.
MILDRED Retta, hush up. Nancy, there's been some kind a trouble and you better go home till things get straightened up.
NANCY What trouble?
MILDRED You better hurry home, yer folks'll be lookin fer you.
NANCY Oh jeese, what is it?
LORETTA Whasamatter, Mom?
MILDRED Nancy, you got anything in the tent?
NANCY Juss my radio an my bag wit my brush an stuff.
MILDRED You better go get them, dear.
Nancy goes back into the tent.
LORETTA What is it, Mom?
MILDRED Ssh! (Whispers) You juss wait. (Louder) Nancy, you got everythin? Evry lil bit?
Nancy comes out.
LORETTA I'll walk ya home, Nance.
MILDRED You'll do no such thing. Yet comin inta the house this instant! There's been enough carryin on fer one night.
LORETTA Oh, Mother, jeese.
MILDRED Loretta, say good-bye to
LORETTA Mom, can't I walk her part
NANCY It was my fault, Mrs. Estabrooks.
NANCY I bought it, not Loretta.
MILDRED Bought what?
NANCY The wine we was drinkin.
MILDRED What? Oh, Nancy girl, fer godsakes juss go home now.
NANCY Okay. Night.
LORETTA I'll call ya tomorrow. We'll go swimmin.
LORETTA Night, Nance.
Nancy exits. The lights start to fade, isolating Loretta and Mildred in a small pool of fight.
MILDRED (Beat) Get your stuff outta that tent an get inside the house this instant.
LORETTA We hardly drank anythin, ya know.
LORETTA It's no fair.
MILDRED Loretta Estabrooks!
LORETTA Mom? What's goin on?
MILDRED Oh, Retta, somethin real bad's happened.
MILDRED Nancy's brother Jimmy got himself killed in a fight down at the beach, an the cops is lookin fer Bobby.
LORETTA Jimmy got killed. He's dead?
LORETTA An they're lookin fer Bobby?
MILDRED They're lookin for our Bobby.
Two sirens begin wailing, growing louder and louder. Mildred and Loretta exit and Bobby sneaks up unseen behind the tent. He violently pulls it down and starts kicking it. He kicks and kicks and kicks. Then he falls exhausted on top of the pile of canvas. He lies rocking. As the sirens disappear into the distance, Norman is standing over Bobby, looking down at him. They are in the town jail. Both men are terrified.
BOBBY We's juss friggin roun, juss dinkin roun down there. Juss talkin, ya know, juss tellin jokes an... tellin jokes.
NORMAN (Beat) Who all was down there?
BOBBY There was me an Gordie and Bozo -- but maybe he wen home already -- an Bucky.
NORMAN What about the Hebert kid?
BOBBY He weren't with us. He juss come by. We's juss mindin our own business an he juss come by.
NORMAN (Beat) Now Bobby, did he say anythin er do sumthin?
BOBBY He's laughin at us.
NORMAN How come?
BOBBY I dunno. Cause he thinks he's better. I dunno.
NORMAN Whad'd he say?
BOBBY I dunno. Stupid stuff.
NORMAN Like what, boy?
BOBBY Like we's all a buncha jerks fer sayin U de M's fulla shit.
BOBBY Says we's all stupid. He's actin like summer people, ya know. Figgur they's better'n we are cause they own sail boats off the wharf an we doan. Says we probly stay home Wednesday nights watch Don Messer on TV.
NORMAN Now Bobby -
Loretta is standing apart from them looking towards the Blue Circle.
BOBBY I dint do nuthin.
NORMAN Bobby, cops say maybe some body holds that boy down an somebody else kicks'm in the head.
BOBBY Cops is crazy as the birds.
NORMAN They say his head smashed up pretty bad. Gonna be closed coffin.
BOBBY I dint do it! Dint do it! Dint do nuthin!
NORMAN They say ya did. An ya been
in trouble before -
BOBBY Yeah, but
NORMAN Fer stealin an breakin inta cottages that time an fightin -
BOBBY But -
NORMAN Raymond Bannister, he says yet best ta say yet guilty a manslaughter.
BOBBY But I dint do nuthin!
NORMAN Look now! They found ya all covered with that boy's blood. Cops found yer shoes in the ditch out by Ring's Corner. Bannister says one a them's got so much on it, looks like it dyed red. (Beat) So he says ta plead guilty ta manslaughter ya might be okay. He says if they charge ya with second degree, they could send ya up fer Life.
BOBBY Life? But I dint do nuthin! Swear ta God!
NORMAN Bobby, lookit! Now I dunno anythin bout these things, but I trust Bannister. His father was Overseas with me.
BOBBY (Beat) Life! Jeese!
NORMAN He's comin in ta see ya in the mornin.
BOBBY You comin too?
Lights up on Loretta.
LORETTA You kilt him! You kilt him! You kilt him an I hate you!
Nancy walks slowly across the beach.
LORETTA Nance! Nancy! Nance! Nance?
Nancy ignores her.
NANCY Loretta ain't my frien, she woan ever be my frien. I always hated her guts.
NANCY We're movin away.
Nancy walks slowly up the beach and away Loretta looks at her father and her brother.
LORETTA It's your fault cause yet drunk!
NORMAN I doan drink that much. You been lissenin to yer mother.
LORETTA I doan wan nuthin to do with you! None a you!
She runs after Nancy.
LORETTA Nance! Wait up!
She stops, stands watching after Nancy
NORMAN (Beat) Yer mother wants ta see ya. She's waitin.
BOBBY An Retta. Is Retta here too?
Mildred joins Bobby and Norman.
MILDRED I'm sendin her off fer the summer. She can stay up country at Uncle Simpson's, then go ta Myrtle an Lawson's till school starts. I doan want her around fer none a this.
Lights fade on Bobby, Mildred and Norman. The parents exit slowly. Bobby wraps himself in the canvas and lies still. There is a light on Loretta.
LORETTA My Jimmy who art in heaven ... hello. I hate Bobby. I know you're someplace where they say ya gotta love yer enemies, but I can't love him no mores. I doan ever wanna see him. An this means I can't love my famly no more neither cause they think I'm a traitor. Soon as school's over nex year, I'm leavin home, goin ta work. I'll get Uncle Bert ta find me a job at the Railway, an I woan even take a chair from their house ta sit in -- not even a cup an saucer. They are dead fer me. But not you. I feel so bad that I never tolt you how happy I was that time I went over an your Mom an Dad was in Moncton with Nancy buyin her shoes, and I stayed an we talked an stuff. Bout the teachers at Moncton High an at the French school you go to an the Separatists an that. J'ever notice yet hans? That souns stupid, I know, but I think about yer hans. They were never dirty like Bobby's allays stuck in some ole car, they were like ya played the piano er sumthin -- even though ya doan I know. But they was like that. That day when yet whole famly's out buyin shoes, I kept lookin at em. Thinkin bout how much I wanna walk ta the end a the wharf with ya some night in summer. I wouldn't tell nobody but you that I practised kissin my own hand later, pretendin it was you. Stupid, eh? Like Venus Procter when she used ta give herself hickies on the arm an say a boy did it. (Beat) But it weren't like that. (Beat) I woan ever love no guy much as I love you, Jimmy. I'm divorcin my famly for you. No guy woan ever be you. Nobody else woan ever be you.
An earlier version of this play was broadcast
on CBC radio last year. Don Hannah is
currently reworking it for the stage.