send Email  copyright 2013

 

copyright 1999, Gripper Products


Mugged 

 

This play may be performed royalty-free if you are charging no admission fee. Please send a videotape of your performance. If other arrangements are necessary, please write.

 

Cast:
Augusta, muggee
Dan, Augusta's husband
Jerry, Town Watch
Miller, African-American police officer
Carl, an elderly neighbor, real estate agent

 

Act 1, Scene 1

[Dan holds a door for Augusta to enter. Carl is already in the kitchen of a house that is artificially neat for sale. Augusta kisses Dan as she goes through the door.]

Carl

 

See the spacious kitchen.

Augusta
I'm not much of a cook.

Dan
But you'll love a big kitchen.

Carl
Big kitchens are hard to find in older city homes. If that's what you want, you'd better grab this house.

Dan

I really want a safe neighborhood -- for Augusta here.

Carl

Oh this is a safe neighborhood. I live next door on your right. [opening the oven, which contains a bowl of cinnamon sticks in water, simmering] And look how clean the oven is. The current owners take really good care of this place.

Augusta

I've read about that trick. Sellers are supposed to put cinnamon and maybe a little vanilla in the oven on low, so the house will smell homey.

Carl

Does it work?

Dan

I like the smell.

Augusta

Hey -- if that's all you need...

Dan

You know I need real cinnamon cookies. They're a basic food group.

Augusta

Maybe the people who own this house don't like to cook either.

Dan

[to Augusta, patting her shoulder] You're a fine cook.

Carl

The woman who lives here is a saint. She has three children who are always neat and clean. And she takes care of the garden for the old woman who lives on the left.

Augusta

I want to be close to my job at the junior college. I like to walk to work.

Carl

CCP is about 2 miles that way. [pointing] Can you walk 2 miles? Most city folk don't.

Augusta

I can walk 2 miles. I'm not delicate. @newpage

Dan

Is there a bus nearby -- for bad weather days or if she gets tired?

Carl

There's a bus stop on the corner. [He opens the microwave] Look how big the microwave is. [Looks at a piece of paper] Oh -- this doesn't come with the house.

Dan

That's okay. We can buy our own microwave.

Augusta

I want a big livingroom, so I can have my students over for chatting and tea.

Carl

Maybe they do things like that where you're from. Here the students just go to class and get their degrees and get better jobs. They don't go in for that chatting stuff.

Dan

They just haven't met Augusta yet. [puts a hand on her shoulder.]

Augusta

What do the students do for amusement?

Carl

Philadelphia is a city. With nightlife. Plays, bars, jazz ... action!

Augusta

I like to be in bed before midnight. My first class is at eight.

Carl

Well. This house has the two bathrooms, 3 bedrooms, and that big kitchen you wanted. And it's in a safe neighborhood.

Augusta

I don't want a big kitchen. I want a big livingroom. @newpage

Dan

Maybe you can reserve your classroom for an extra hour and have your tea and chatting at school.

Augusta

The point of the tea and chatting is to give the students a chance to socialize with their teacher -- get to know me as a human, and get to know each other as more than competitors for grades. You can only do that in a nice big comfy livingroom.

Carl

You couldn't find a safer part of town. And this house is in good repair. The kitchen cabinets look nearly new. [He opens a cabinet, revealing neatly stacked dishes.]

Augusta

I really don't want to stare at all their stuff.

Carl

She keeps things really clean.

Dan

Safe is important. Augusta's from a small town in Iowa. She doesn't know city ways.

Carl

She'll be safe here. And she'll love the kitchen. Do you want me to place a bid for the house?

Dan

I like it. [to Augusta] What do you say, honey?

Augusta

I really want a big livingroom.

Dan

We'll take it.

Carl

[handing big white envelopes from his briefcase to Dan and Augusta] Here are voter registration forms. You can mail them as soon as you move in. You are Democrats aren't you? I'm your Democratic Committeeman. Welcome to the neighborhood.

Act 1, Scene 2

Off stage screaming. Running. The deadbolt unlocks. Augusta, wearing a business slacks torn at one knee, and tailored blouse, breathing rapidly, enters a dark stage from the left, through an exterior doorway, turns on the lights. Her hands are bloody and dirty. She relocks the deadbolt. Then goes to the sink and washes her hands. We can hear pebbles hitting the metal sink. The radio is on: ``Democrat William G. Stinson may not be in Harrisburg long, as the interim state senator from Philadelphia's Second District. But he ought to decorate his new office anyway. A framed absentee ballot would be a nice touch. And how about a leather-bound copy of the state election code for the reception area? ``Mr. Stinson, who must run for a full term next November, owes his election to the crafty use -- some would say abuse -- of the absentee ballot and the state's cumbersome election procedures.'' [Dan enters from right, an interior doorway, pulling up his pants. He is bare chested. He turns the radio off.]

Dan

Did you hear screaming?

Augusta

That was me. I got mugged.

Dan

I'll put in for another transfer at work. We can't live in a city where you get mugged.

Augusta

We can't leave! We just moved here! It's the beginning of the school year. I worked hard to get that job at CCP so you could move here. I signed a contract.

Dan

Philadelphia is a city of lawyers. Surely one of them can get you out of that contract.

Augusta

I don't want to break the contract.

Dan

I can't let you stay here after you got mugged! I heard you screaming. I want to protect you!

Augusta

You heard me screaming -- and then what did you do? How did you protect me?

Dan

I was naked upstairs working on the computer. I heard screaming so I went for my pants.

Augusta

That's useless! They had guns. They'd have shot you! You should have called 911!

Dan

Do you want to call the police now?

Augusta

What for?

Dan

Maybe the police can catch them.

Augusta

[turns off water]
They came up behind me. I can't identify them. And I don't know which way they ran.

Dan

Maybe the police can catch them anyway. @newpage

Augusta

Look -- the only limit on crime is the ingenuity of the criminals. The average mugger gets 500 people before he's caught. Let it go.

Dan

Are you hurt?

Augusta

Just my hands. I can't see any skin left on the palms. That sidewalk acts like sandpaper.

Dan

We can't let them get away with that!

Augusta

We just did.

Dan

And you don't want to move? Aren't you scared?

Augusta

My adrenals are on overdrive. I feel like I've got little mice taking bites out of my kidneys.

Dan

You're in pain. You're scared. I'm supposed to protect you.

Augusta

By what rules?

Dan

 

[takes her hands]


Your ring! It's gone! You've got to call the police so we can make an insurance claim and buy you another.

Augusta

They took my bag of homework problems, too. The students will be furious!

Dan

I think your ring is more important than some homework problems that the students can do again. [Doorbell rings.] Augusta goes to the door, followed protectively by Dan. She doesn't peep out the peephole before opening the door.

Jerry

[Jerry is clearly enjoying the evening drama] I'm Jerry from Town Watch. I saw you get mugged, and I called 911. I followed them for 8 minutes until the police came, talking on my cellular. I talked to the police the whole time ... they're crossing the parking lot, they're turning left, they're crossing the street.... They caught them about a mile from here. Now the police are coming to take you to headquarters. [Carl comes to the door.]

Carl

I thought the screaming was just teenaged girls trying to see how loud they could be. Then I heard you two talking through the wall. If I'd known you were being mugged, I'd have come out and hit them with the shovel.

Augusta

It's a good thing you didn't. They had guns.

Carl

Are you hurt?

Augusta

Just my hands. [She shows him her hands.]

Carl

That's bad. And I thought this knick from staking the tomatoes in my garden was bad. [He shows his hand to Augusta.]

Jerry

[looking out the door] The police car is here.

Carl

As long as you are going to the police station, register to vote. Your names aren't on the polling list yet.

Act 1 Scene 3

[Stage goes dark. We are now in the police station. Miller is using a laptop computer at a cheap desk. Augusta, Dan, and Jerry sit on old folding chairs.]

Miller

I'm Officer Miller. What is your name? [to Augusta]

Augusta

I'm Augusta Lee.

Miller

Can you identify your assailants?

Augusta

No. I was coming back from teaching my physics class. I was thinking about my lecture on biomechanics. I know I passed three large men blocking the sidewalk. I guess they're the ones who mugged me.

Jerry

I can identify them. I followed them for eight minutes. I'd be a good police officer.

Miller

[to Augusta] Can you describe them? @newpage

Augusta

This is such a cliche. Small middle-aged white woman gets mugged by three large young black males.

Miller

Okay -- what happened?

Augusta

I was walking up the hill from teaching my night class at the junior college. I saw three men walking shoulder to shoulder blocking the sidewalk. I stepped over beside a stoop to let them pass.

Jerry

You stepped up against a wall? You're lucky they didn't smash your skull in! Don't you know enough to cross the street when you see black men coming?

Augusta

Why should I cross the street?

Miller

Please continue describing what happened.

Augusta

They went by and I resumed walking up the hill. The next thing I knew one of them had his hand over my face and something -- maybe a gun, but it wasn't cold -- pushed into my back.

Jerry

It was a gun. I reported an armed robbery in progress. I saw a gun.

Miller

[to Augusta]
Please continue.

Augusta

I was captured. I couldn't move. I screamed several times.

Dan

You were scared enough to scream. I've got to get you out of here!

Augusta

I wasn't scared. I just figured you're supposed to scream in situations like that. I thought maybe it would scare them. Maybe someone would call 911.

Miller

Please continue.

Augusta

Somebody pushed me down [shows her hands] -- that's how my hands got wrecked.

Miller

Both hands?

Augusta

[holding hands toward him.] Yes. Both hands.

Miller

Both hands. Please continue.

Augusta

I was on the sidewalk. There were hands everywhere. Hands in my pockets. Hands taking my wedding ring. Hands grabbing my bag of homework problems. I screamed the whole time. [pause] Look -- if you've got them did you get the homework back? My students really need to have me correct their problems.

Miller

Don't worry. We'll get it back.

Dan

Get the wedding ring, too. That cost me over $2000.

Augusta

And I had $17 in my pocket. [Miller reaches into a paper bag and gets out keychains, a pocket knife, other trinkets.]

Miller

Recognize any of these?

Augusta

They're not mine. Is that all you got from them? That's not even minimum wage for the evening. Are you sure you got my muggers? [Miller reaches into the bag again and pulls out a plastic gun.]

Miller

Recognize this?

Augusta

I can't recognize the men and you expect me to recognize a gun? No offense, but all guns look alike to me. [Miller glares at her.] And I only felt it -- I didn't see it. I couldn't pick it out of a line-up. [Miller continues to glare] No, I don't recognize the gun.

Miller

It's plastic, but it looks convincing.

Augusta

Plastic would explain why it wasn't cold.

Jerry

As they ran, I heard one of them ask, ``Who's got the gun?'' I think there's a real gun in addition to that one. I think I saw two guns.

Miller

We caught one of them putting this [shows the plastic gun] under a car.

Jerry

One of them got away while you were arresting the first two. Ask the third guy about the real gun.

Dan

Is that it? Can we go now?

Miller

We need to set a court date. How does next Friday sound?

Augusta

Okay with me. I don't teach Friday. But I really want that homework back.

Dan

And the ring.

Miller

[reaching under his desk for another paper bag.] Here's more stuff. [He pulls out a cloth grocery back full of homework problems, a handful of cash, and a wedding ring.]

Augusta

That's them. Can I have them? I've got to correct them and get them back tomorrow.

Miller

No, you can't have them. The state needs them for evidence.

Augusta

Then can I have a photocopy? [She points at the photocopy machine across the office.]

Miller

That will cost you twenty-five cents each.

Augusta

They got my money -- or did you get that back, too?

Miller

Can you prove you had $17?

Augusta

No. But if I were making it up, why would I claim so little?

Miller

I don't know. I work for the state. I have to follow the rules.

Augusta

Can you take some of the money you found on the muggers and use it to pay for the photocopies so I can take the homework home?

Miller

No, but I can hold the papers for you and you can come back later with the money.

Dan

I've got some money. Just get the copies.

Augusta

[grabs Dan's hand and kisses it.] Thanks!

Dan

And what about the ring? That's her ring! I want her to wear the ring!

Miller

We need the ring for evidence. Can you identify the ring?

Dan

Of course. It's got our names in it and the date we were married -- with a typo -- it looks like a stardate without the hyphens.

Miller

You can have it back after the trial.

Dan

She can have copies of the homework, but not her ring back?

Augusta

Why can't we have the trial right now while everybody's here?

Miller

There's no night court in Philadelphia, and the law says we don't have to have the first attempt until 10 days after the arrest.

Jerry

[to Dan]
Notice he said attempt. It won't happen. There will be delays. They never have the trial the first time.

Miller

It's not a trial. First we have to have a hearing. Then if the judge holds it over then we get a trial.

Dan

See -- we have to move. The police catch your criminals and you still can't have your ring back. I don't want to live in Philadelphia where you get mugged on our own block!

Miller

You can't leave town if you're pressing charges. We'll set the trial date as soon as possible.

Jerry

I'll need a subpoena so I can get off work. [Miller presses some keys on his computer]

Miller

[groans] A message just came in. One of them's a juvenile. We can't set the dates when there's a juvenile involved. Juvenile has to do it, even though the other two are adults.

Jerry

They never punish juveniles. You watch. The juvenile will plead guilty and they'll give him home detention. The the adults will say the juvenile did it all on his own, and they'll get off too.

Miller

This is felony robbery -- taking something by force.

Jerry

You've seen it before.

Miller

I'm not allowed to comment on that.

Augusta

Don't you want see my I.D.?

Miller

Do you have any?

Augusta

No.

Miller

So why did you ask?

Augusta

You wanted me to I.D. the gun and the men. I just thought you might want some proof that I am who I'm telling you.

Miller

We don't need that unless you want to drop the charges.

Dan

Can we take the ring home if she drops the charges?

Miller

Not unless she's got I.D.

Act 1, Scene 4

[back in the kitchen.] The radio is on: ``The election forms for one potential voter said she had a heart condition. She didn't. The form for another said she had to use an absentee ballot because of her high risk pregnancy. Trouble was, she wasn't pregnant. Sound familiar? The bag of hustles and tricks used to steal an election in Philadelphia ...'' [Dan turns radio off.]

Dan

We're moving out of Philadelphia.

Augusta

You worked hard for that promotion. I worked hard to get a teaching job here. I can't get another until next school year at the earliest. We can't just pick up and move.

Dan

I can get transferred next week. I'm willing to wait until this trial is over, so the muggers can get locked up. Then we're moving.

Augusta

You could learn to pick up the phone to dial 911.

Dan

That's not the John Wayne way to do things. I want to protect you.

Augusta

Next time you hear screaming, call 911.

Dan

When I hear screaming, I want to jump into the action and stop the thugs.

Augusta

You're alive. If you'd come out there, you might not be. They had guns. They were afraid. One was a teenager. Teens with guns are deadly.

Dan

He actually touched you. Were his hands dirty?

Augusta

No. They were clean, like he washed his hands before he went out mugging. They didn't smell of beer, or pizza, or even cigarettes. They didn't smell of soap, either, but they were clean. And soft. [looks at her own hands] I've got scabs and callouses and his hands were soft. There's something wrong with that. [pause] I've got blood on my hands.

Dan

I think the older guys must have been training the younger one.

Augusta

Great! Male bonding in Philadelphia means older muggers train the younger ones. That's guy culture for you!

Dan

How am I supposed to argue with that. I'm a guy. Of course I believe in guy culture.

Augusta

I could get mugged anywhere. You didn't insist on leaving Berkeley when our apartment got robbed.

Dan

I started locking the door.

Augusta

You still forget to lock the door. Look -- Earth is not a safe place. I'm willing to live with that. You can too.

Dan

Do your hands still hurt?

Augusta

Yes, they still hurt! I can't even hold a screwdriver, yet. I don't know how I'm going to lecture on simple machines. But that's not making me quit my teaching job.

Dan

But you can't teach if you can't demonstrate the tools. See -- you can't teach here -- you've got to move.

Augusta

I'll let the kids do the demonstrations. They can follow instructions.

Dan

And how will you get home from teaching without being mugged again?

Augusta

This isn't a big problem. I can take a cab to and from class.

Dan

I don't want to live like that.

Augusta

You already do.

Dan

These muggers will be put away for at least 5 years. That's the minimum sentence in Philadelphia.

Augusta

Five years! How stupid! And then what? They come out angry and just as unskilled as they were when they went in. And they pick up criminal tips from the other inmates. I don't believe in short term incarceration.

Dan

What do you want to do? Drop the charges? Or take justice into your own hands and shoot them?

Augusta

I want to get them all into the Job Corps and find a mentor for the juvenile.

Dan

You actually want to help them? Has Carl's talking about the woman who used to live here being a saint rotted your brain? I want to move far away from them.

Augusta

No matter where we live, these men will still be on the planet. Do we want them to hurt more people or do we want them to live crime-free lives? [Lights out]

Act 1, Scene 4

In the kitchen. Augusta is wearing a business dress. Dan wearing slacks and an oxford shirt. They are setting the table and making dinner together. We hear thumping of large objects being dragged up against the wall at Carl's.

Dan

Do you know what's going on at Carl's?

Augusta

Sounds like he's moving furniture. Maybe he got new stuff. I've been gone all day in court.

Dan

How did the hearing go?

Augusta

Jerry didn't show. And they scheduled it in the juvenile courtroom, so even if he had been there, they'd probably have postponed it.

Dan

So, when's the reschedule?

Augusta

They don't know. But they'll send me a subpoena. It will be at least 6 weeks. They only have to have the first attempt within 10 days of the incident. Reschedules can be any time.

Dan

Did they give you the ring back? [Doorbell rings Augusta lets Carl in.]

Carl

How'd the trial go?

Dan

It wasn't a trial. They have to have a hearing before they can have a trial when it's a felony.

Carl, genially

Okay, how was the hearing?

Augusta

Jerry didn't show and they scheduled it in the juvenile courtroom, so it's postponed.

Carl

Till when?

Dan

We don't know. They're going to send her a subpoena.

Carl

You tell me when and I'll make sure Jerry is there. If I'd known it was you I'd have hit them with my shovel. I keep it right by the door.

Augusta

[gestures with her hands while she talks.] I'm glad you didn't. They had guns. If you hear screaming, call 911.

Carl

Maybe I should get a gun.

Augusta

Is this the wild west? I thought Philadelphia was a city with night life.

Carl

How are your hands? And where's your ring? My wife has always admired that ring.

Augusta

The hands are better. I can hold a screwdriver now. But the police are keeping my ring for evidence. How's your garden?

Carl

I cemented it over. Got tired of taking care of it. [Doorbell rings Augusta lets Jerry in.]

Augusta

We were just getting ready to eat. [looking at both men] Want to join us?

Jerry

I just wanted to know how the hearing went.

Dan

It's been rescheduled because you weren't there.

Jerry

It's always like that. They reschedule and reschedule, and eventually they throw it out and everybody goes free.

Augusta

They might have had the hearing if you'd been there. It's important to let criminals know that this neighborhood prosecutes.

Jerry

It's important to know how to stay out of their way. I can't believe you didn't cross the street to get out of their way!

Augusta

The entire block is lined with row houses. How is one side of the street safer than the other?

Jerry

Criminals are lazy. Too lazy to cross the street. If you'd crossed the street, you could have saved us all a lot of trouble.

Augusta

You stood me up in court today and now it's my fault because I didn't cross the street?

Carl

I'll get him there next time. You let me know when.

Jerry

Nothing will happen. You'll see.

Dan

Why did you call the police and chase them for 8 minutes when you knew they were armed and dangerous, if you don't want to go through with the legal process?

Jerry

At least they got detained for one night. I'm sure they didn't like that.

Augusta

Court inconveniences them too.

Jerry

And now they'll have to show up twice. They're not going to be sentenced, but I'll make sure they get inconvenienced. If I'd had my gun that night, I'd have shot them. And I'd get away with it, too.

Carl

That's right.

Augusta

I feel like I've been mugged twice. First by these strangers, and now by you. I go to court and waste all day there waiting for you to show up. I lose a day of teaching, my students get behind in their studies, and I have to listen to the DA talking about throwing the case out and letting them go because you aren't there.

Jerry

Nothing will happen to them. It's like that. You'll see.

Augusta

If nothing happens to them it will be because you don't show up and they throw the case out. Do you only like justice when it's playing cops and robbers chasing the bad-guys around at night?

Dan

How can you just come over hear and ask about the hearing when it's your fault it didn't happen?

Jerry

You're the one who didn't have his pants on. She's the one who didn't cross the street.

Augusta

Why do I have to do everything? First I get mugged. Then I waste the evening at the police station while they photocopy my students' homework. Now I have to drag the witness to court so the hearing can happen. And for what? So they might put the muggers in jail for 5 years -- which is something I don't believe in.

Carl

Do you want to drop the charges? You'll get your ring back if you do.

Jerry

Wait a minute! You don't believe in jail. You don't want them punished. Then why are you doing this?

Augusta

I'm seeing this through. You caught them. The system seems willing to try them. I live here and I want to do my bit to make Philly safe.

Carl

He's got a point. How is Philly safe if they don't lock up the criminals?

Augusta

Haven't you heard of rehabilitation? job training? ankle bracelets to make sure they stay home at night?

Jerry

Philly doesn't have that softie stuff. We caught those criminals fair and square. They should do time.

Dan

Carl -- you sold us this house. Start working on another buyer. After this is over we're leaving town.

Augusta

You can't sell this house out from under me.

Dan

You can't pay the mortgage by yourself -- you don't make enough.

Augusta

Neither do you.

Carl

Dan, you're just upset. I'll get him there next time. [to Jerry] Come -- let's go get a drink. [to Augusta] I hope you get your ring back.

Augusta

You can't sell this house without my permission. We signed the papers jointly.

Dan

You can't decide where we live.

Augusta

Why not? We've moved 6 times already for your career. How about staying put for mine?

Carl

Let me know if you want to sell the house. I'm sure I can find you a buyer within three months. (lights out

 

Act 1, Scene 6

[in the kitchen. Dan is making a salad. Augusta enters.]

Dan

How did the hearing go today?

Augusta

Jerry was there. Carl brought him. [pause] But one of the defendant's lawyers wasn't there. And one of the defendants wasn't there. And the state left our file in the juvenile courtroom, so they couldn't have the hearing anyway.

Dan

Now what? Is it over? Did they throw it out? Did you get the ring back?

Augusta

They're issuing a bench warrant for the missing mugger, and they're rescheduling the hearing again. [We hear more thumping from Carl's.]

Dan

Is he moving more furniture?

Augusta

I'm sure he'll be over later. You can ask him then.

Dan

Did you ask them to give your ring back?

Augusta

Of course not. We can't have it back until after the trial. [doorbell rings. Augusta gets the door. Jerry enters.]

Jerry

I told you so.

Augusta

Last time you didn't show. This time one of them didn't show. Now you're even. And if you hadn't been there, they'd have thrown the case out.

Jerry

It's a game. Everybody can be absent once. I did it. Each of their lawyers can do it. Each of them can do it. That makes 5 postponements. They're hoping we'll give up.

Dan

Are you?

Jerry

I'm not sure I can recognize them. I don't want to look stupid on the stand.

Augusta

I wish they'd had the hearing the night of the arrest when everybody was there.

Jerry

And I still remembered what they looked like.

Augusta

The longer you put off the hearing, the more time you'll have to forget what they look like. You saw one of them down there today -- in the sweater with the numbers on it. He answered the roll call.

Jerry

Yeah -- I recognized him. But I'm not sure about the others. I'm not wasting another day down there. And look. [He pulls subpoenas out of his pocket.] Now I'm being subpoenaed for the juvenile's trial. How does he get a trial without a hearing anyway?

Augusta

He had a hearing. I was there. They only let me in the room for setting the trial date. The judge barked at me like it was all my fault. Juvenile justice is designed to protect the mugger from the victim.

Jerry

I don't know if I'll go. Those courtrooms are all full of black people. The crime in this town is black on black. The police are black. You'll have a black jury. It's a waste of time.

Augusta

I'm not arguing with you. Let's go talk to Miller.

Act 1, Scene 7

[at the police station. Miller still at his portable computer.]

Augusta

I'm sick of this. I've been to 3 hearings now and nothing has happened. [grabbing Jerry's sleeve] And now he doesn't want to come to any more hearings. And I can't blame him.

Miller

[to Jerry] I can have you put in jail for not cooperating with the state.

Augusta

I'll drop charges before I let you do that.

Miller

Then what do you want?

Dan

I want her ring back.

Augusta

[to Dan] Not now!

Jerry

I want you to get everybody else there and have the hearing ready to go -- file folders and all -- then call me and I'll come.

Miller

Okay. I can put you ON-CALL. You'll get a call the night before to remind you about the hearing and then you'll get another call about 11 in the morning GO or NO GO. You can even have a ride to the courthouse in a squad car if you want it.

Jerry

All right!

Dan

Now can I have her ring back?

Miller

Not unless she drops the charges.

Jerry

You may as well drop them. Nothing will happen. They don't punish children in Pennsylvania.

Augusta

I've asked them to let him join Job Corps. I can't stop now.

Jerry

That's like rewarding him for mugging you.

Augusta

Mugging me was asking for help. I talked to the DA. This kid has quite a record. He's had gun offenses at school. Lots of other crimes that he's managed to get what she called adjusted. He wants help. So he pulled a crime where he could be caught and punished -- not adjusted.

Jerry

You don't know these guys. He's already decided to spend his life as a criminal.

Augusta

Are you doing what you planned at 14?

Jerry

Yes. And I'm still living with my mom, still taking care of her, just like I planned.

Augusta

This mugger's mom is taking fine care of herself. [pause] I think the only way he's going to be able to give up crime is if he goes home at night with money in his pocket, and too tired to go out mugging. If he doesn't have the energy or the motive, he won't mug anybody ever again. Job Corps can do that for him.

Jerry

I'm not sure I can recognize him.

Augusta

If you can't you can't. I'm not asking you to lie or guess. Just be there and try. And maybe if we're lucky, he'll plead guilty.

Miller

And if he walks, he'll definitely walk back to the life of crime. So, will you come to the trial?

Jerry

If they come get me I guess I have to go.

Dan

Would you like some salad? I've got plenty back at our place.

Jerry

I'm a racist, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I should have shot them.

Augusta

I'm not a racist. I just want to make sure none of them ever mugs anybody again.

Jerry

You new people just don't understand.

Augusta

You just stood by and watched me get mugged. Now you're saying I should drop the charges. Do you only like playing cops and robbers when you can chase black men into the hands of the police?

Jerry

Your husband was inside putting your pants on. At least I called 911.

Augusta

Do you want some salad? I'm hungry.

Jerry

No, I'll be going. [pause] I might be there for the juv's trial. [lights out]

Act 1, Scene 8

[In the kitchen. Augusta making salad. Dan spooning out cookie dough onto a sheet. ] Radio on: ``While improper absentee ballots were cast from all over the North and Northeast Philadelphia district, the criminal investigation found that fraud was perpetrated most extensively in minority areas.'' [Augusta turns radio off.] [Doorbell rings. Dan opens door. It's Jerry.]

Dan

I hear you won at the trial today.

Jerry

The young perp pled guilty. Good thing too. I couldn't have I.D.'d him. But now that he's pled guilty, I'm sure they got the right guys. And if he's guilty the other two must be, too.

Augusta

If you can't recognize them, you don't have to lie.

Jerry

[to Augusta] What did you talk to him about after the trial?

Augusta

I told him he wouldn't like it if anybody did to his mother or his grandmother or anybody in his family what he did to me.

Jerry

And then what?

Augusta

Then some woman -- I think it was his aunt -- pulled his mother over and said to me, ``This is his mother.'' We stared at each other for a while, and she looked near tears. She didn't apologize to me for her son knocking me down and taking my stuff. She looked like she needed a hug. [more thumping from Carl's.]

Dan

I think Carl's been taking crime into his own hands. I'll bet that thumping is bodies of criminals he's killed.

Augusta

They'd stink up the neighborhood. That would lower property values.

Dan

He told you he cemented it over. He's turned that yard into a graveyard.

Augusta

And you think I'm crazy to try to stop criminal behavior?

Dan

You didn't hug the mugger's mom did you? I'll never understand women hugging.

Augusta

No, I didn't hug her, but I did commiserate with her. I told her it must be rough for her too. After all, her son is a convicted felon now, and he's only 14, or maybe 16 depending on when he's talking.

Jerry

He looked at least 30 to me when I was chasing him down the street.

Augusta

He looked 30 this morning, too. But his school records say he's a teenager. It must be rough looking so much older than you really are.

Jerry

I hate it when you sympathize with the muggers! You made nice with the mugger's mom? This is unbelievable. Did you do anything else stupid?

Dan

What did the mugger's mom say?

Augusta

The mom said, ``Yes, it is rough.'' And then the aunt, or whoever she was, told the kid, who is over 6 feet tall, that next time he could get killed. And she ordered him to drop those guys he went mugging with, whoever they are -- like she didn't know and he hadn't told.

Jerry

That's right. He could have been killed. I'd have shot him if I'd had my gun. I'm taking that gun on Town Watch patrol from now on. That aunt was talking sense -- unlike you. I can't believe I rescued you.

Dan

You can't just shoot them. Think about property values!

Augusta

You didn't rescue me. You stood by and watched me get mugged.

Jerry

That's what Town Watch does. They watch and observe. They don't get involved.

Augusta

Fine. But don't say you rescued me, when you didn't.

Jerry

Don't make nice with the enemy when you don't have to.

Dan

How did you get to talk to him? I thought you said the purpose of the justice system was to protect the criminals from the victims.

Augusta

First I asked the DA. She said I had to get the juvenile's permission. So I asked him, ``Is it okay if I talk to you?'' and he said, ``Okay.''

Dan

How degrading. I'm with Jerry on that one. I didn't think I married Sally-Do-Gooder.

Augusta

I wanted him to see me as a human being with a voice -- not just a moving target he can grab and topple and take stuff from like in a computer game.

Dan

It's over with, so I won't argue it with you. Did they do anything about putting the kid into Job Corps?

Augusta

The kid said he wanted to go and the Judge said it was okay with him, and the DA said she'd called the Job Corps and they'll still take him even though he's a convicted felon.

Jerry

And I heard you talking to the DA about a mentor? What is this? Be nice to muggers week?

Augusta

I found a mentoring program for black youths. I want him in it -- he needs a positive male role model in his life. He's been choosing the wrong mentors -- the kind who take him mugging.

Dan

They made him wash his hands first.

Augusta

Maybe his mom made him wash after dinner.

Jerry

Maybe he's just fastidious, like a queer.

Augusta

Don't tell me. You're not only a racist, you've also got a prejudice against gays.

Jerry

That's not all. You want the whole list?

Dan

No thanks. We don't need to hear it.

Jerry

I don't like Jews or Polacks...

Augusta

I'm Jewish.

Jerry

And I've been helping you? I don't believe it!

Augusta

Helping me? You just showed up because they gave you a ride in a fancy squad car and they said they'd throw you in jail if you didn't go.

Jerry

You're the one who wants to prosecute. It's all a waste of time! Nothing will happen. They aren't punishing the perp. He's going in the Job Corps, just to please you. What gives you the right to order the rest of his life?

Augusta

I've got to be better at it than he is. I'm not a convicted felon and he is.

Dan

Plenty of people smarter than you have thought prison was a good idea.

Augusta

Right -- like that Eastern State Penitentiary where they were supposed to be penitent so they never got to go outside their cells for anything. That prison got toilets before city hall. Look smart men may like to meditate in little cells all day, but muggers don't. I don't have to be a smart man to figure that out.

Jerry

You're a stupid woman who got mugged and can't even identify the perps, so you go dragging me to court, making me miss work.

Augusta

You get paid anyway. It's my students who are suffering -- not getting their physics lessons because I'm in court so much.

Jerry

I never learned anything worthwhile in school. You're totally worthless.

Augusta

I'm your neighbor. I do Town Watch duty, just like you do.

Jerry

You're no good. You can't even identify the guys who mugged you. You may as well as stay home instead of patrolling the neighborhood.

Dan

Would you like some raw cookie dough.

Jerry

I don't want to eat Jewish food! [Jerry exits.]

Dan

What are you doing? Turning this kid into a crusade?

Augusta

I don't want him to mug anybody ever again. He mugged me. He was asking me for help.

Dan

Don't get melodramatic on me.

Augusta

If he gets a mentor and gets into the Job Corps, then he'll have the moral background and the skills he needs to live a crime-free life. And if the Job Corps teaches him something exhausting, like brick laying, he won't have the energy to go out mugging at night either.

Dan

Just don't get obsessed with it.

Augusta

This is my legacy. My grandfather campaigned for a separate justice system for juveniles. Now we've got one. I need to make sure it works.

Dan

What? Your grandfather was never in Philadelphia.

Augusta

No. He was in Chicago where it all started.

Dan

Just don't go inviting the kid's family over for dinner. [lights out]

Act 1, Scene 9

[In the kitchen. Dan and Augusta are washing dishes. Doorbell rings. It's Carl.]

Carl

I went to court. Where were you guys?

Augusta

We were on call. The DA called me and said one of the defendant's lawyers couldn't make it, so it's postponed again.

Dan

At least Augusta and Jerry didn't have to waste their time today. Sorry you did.

Carl

Well, next time, when you do get a call, if you do get a call, come knock on my door on your way down there.

Augusta

Okay. [Doorbell rings. It's Jerry.]

Jerry

I told you so! The other lawyer didn't show. They've only got one more delay they can pull. The mugger who was there the first time can be missing.

Augusta

I really can't blame them. If you think about it -- they're out on $500 bail. It's probably not even their own money. If they are convicted that's a minimum 5 year sentence. Hey -- in their place, I'd leave the state before I got convicted of anything.

Jerry

That's why there are over 45,000 bench warrants in Philadelphia. It's easy to hide here.

Dan

You mean they might never come to trial? And she might never get the ring back?

Carl

They usually don't go to trial. My house got robbed. The guy couldn't make bail and they stored him in Pittsburgh. When it came time for his hearing, they couldn't find a bed for him in Philly, so they had to let him go. If the state can't make a trial happen twice they have to let the criminals go.

Dan

When you sold us this house, you said this was a safe neighborhood. Now you say you've been robbed?

Carl

That can happen anywhere! You said yourself -- you were robbed in Berkeley.

Dan

I don't care about the muggers any more. I want Augusta to have her ring back. It's been 3 months now. I don't want her students getting the idea that she isn't married.

Augusta

I don't want my students getting the idea that they don't have to do their homework because I'm spending so much time in court.

Jerry

Can't you get a substitute?

Augusta

This is college. There are no substitutes.

Carl

What do you teach?

Augusta

Physics. My mugging made a great lesson in biomechanics. See, when you fall, your body twists, like you did when you were planting that tomato stake. You took the impact on one hand. And if you are too far off balance, your hip hits the ground, too. When you fall, it's a one-sided landing.

Carl

I did hit my hip. It was a nasty fall.

Augusta

But when someone pushes you down, like my muggers pushed me, you land on both hands. The heels of the hands take the brunt of the hit. In my case one knee hit, too, so it was a stable 3-point landing.

Jerry

Can you tell from the amount of damage to your hands how much force they used?

Augusta

I can guess a range between 200 and 500 pounds. It's impossible to be more precise unless a ligament tears or a bone breaks. The textbook is full of data on how much force is needed to do that kind of damage.

Dan

200 lbs. Then he fell on top of you. You're lucky you didn't get a broken arm.

Augusta

I know -- the DA is upset about that, too. She'd have a better case if I had a broken bone.

Jerry

I thought middle-aged women broke bones all the time.

Augusta

Nothing broke. Let's just get this hearing behind us and hope the state doesn't schedule the trial during exam week.

Jerry

You can get off work. All you need is a subpoena.

Augusta

That's not the point. I'm a teacher. I want my students to learn. And I want the muggers to learn, too.

Dan

They'll be convicted. They were caught with the homework on them.

Carl

It doesn't matter if they are convicted. They won't be punished. A guy broke into my car and took about $500 worth of stuff -- all he got was a $125 fine and a suspended sentence.

Dan

Your house was robbed. A guy broke into your car. And you told us this was a safe neighborhood?

Carl

It is a safe neighborhood. According to the police log, there's only about one mugging per month here. It's worse than that in almost every neighborhood of Philadelphia.

Dan

When I said I wanted a safe neighborhood, I meant safe -- not safe-for-Philadelphia!

Carl

I live here. I wouldn't live here if I thought I'd be mugged.

Augusta

You're crazy! Of course you could be mugged!

Carl

I don't carry anything valuable.

Dan

She can't wear a wedding ring in Philadelphia?

Carl

I don't. And -- she hasn't been mugged again since it got stolen.

Augusta

The other people they mugged that night didn't have anything valuable. I saw the bag of junk. Until they got me, they weren't even making minimum wage for the evening. I think they were out for sport.

Carl

Well, I've lived here all my life and I've never been mugged -- at least not since I was ten. Some teenagers mugged me for my pocket money.

Dan

Didn't the judge order guy who broke into your car to make restitution?

Carl

Sure. But who's going to make him? You think he'd come back to court if I complained? You folks really are from out-of-town.

Dan

That's why you sold us the house, remember?

Carl

You're lucky they caught them muggers. According to statistics, the average Philly mugger commits 500 crimes before he's caught. If they'd escaped you'd never get your ring back.

Dan

If they'd escaped, the insurance company would have bought her a new ring by now.

Jerry

Is that ring all you care about?

Dan

No! I care about Augusta's safety. That's why we're moving when this is over.

Augusta

We're not moving.

Carl

Maybe you should. You aren't a city type of person. You never go to the bars...

Augusta

If this city is safe enough for you, it's safe enough for me.

Dan

So that's the definition of a low-crime Philadelphia neighborhood? A little robbery, a little car break-in, and only one mugging a month? And that's what gets reported. We almost didn't report Augusta's mugging.

Carl

It might have been better if you hadn't. It lowers property values when crimes like this get reported.

Jerry

We had to catch them. We caught them in the act.

Dan

When will this all be over?

Jerry

They're setting another court date. We're still on call. I bet we get the hearing next time.

Augusta

You sound like you're starting to get interested.

Jerry

I got a call from the DA's office. They said it's important to let the criminals know that this neighborhood prosecutes. And they said it would be easy to identify the muggers. They'll be sitting at a bench in the courtroom beside their lawyers. It won't be a line-up or anything.

Augusta

You still don't have to lie if you don't recognize them.

Jerry

The DA gave me some other good news. It took them a year, but they just got that guy that held up the old couple coming home from the bar with their bag of leftovers. It was his third felony, so he's locked up for life.

Augusta

Now there's a sentence I can support. Lock them up forever if they can't be rehabilitated. No messing around with stupid 5-year sentences that just aggravate the problem.

Dan

[to Jerry] Do you plan to be there the next time they call you for the hearing?

Jerry

I'm not making promises.

Act 1, Scene 10

[Dan and Augusta are eating breakfast in the kitchen. Augusta is wearing slacks and a business-style blouse.] radio on: ``Before the November 2nd, Second District election, scores of Latino voters were told of una nueva forma de votar -- a new way to vote -- from the comfort of their homes. That tactic helped make the Second District race the city's worst vote fraud scandal in recent history. It generated enough bogus absentee ballots to tip the state Senate race, so many phony ballots, in fact, that stacks of them allegedly were left over and burned after the election.'' [Dan turns radio off.]

Dan

Will you get the ring back today?

Augusta

If they have the hearing, and if the judge decides to hold them over for trial, they'll need to keep the ring for evidence. We only get it back if the judge decides there isn't enough evidence for a trial.

Dan

Suppose I buy you another ring... [doorbell rings. Augusta gets up and lets Miller in.]

Miller

The DA called the lawyers. Everybody will be there today. I'm here to give you and Jerry a lift. [we hear thumping from Carl's house.]

Dan

That sounds like dead bodies to me.

Augusta

Shh. The police are here.

Dan

Okay. It's probably just Carl moving furniture around again.

Miller

Are you ready to leave?

Augusta

Let me finish my juice.

Dan

Is she dressed okay. Shouldn't she look more delicate -- maybe wear a dress?

Miller

A dress would make her look more delicate. Might get a little sympathy from the judge. [pause] What's that noise?

Dan

I don't know. I think Carl likes to move furniture.

Augusta

I didn't shave my legs. The pants cover them up.

Miller

You decide. I've got time.

Augusta

The fact that I was mugged and you have a witness and my homework and my ring isn't enough? You want sympathy, too? [she gulps the last of the orange juice] Look I'm ready. Let's get this over with. Maybe I'll get back in time for my afternoon class.

Miller

If one of your guys has a public defender you'll be in the afternoon. The private attorneys go first.

Augusta

Then why do I have to be there in the morning.

Miller

For roll call.

Dan

See. You've got time to change.

Augusta

Where's Jerry? [doorbell rings. Augusta lets Carl in.]

Carl

I heard shouting. What's going on over here?

Dan

What do you think? Shouldn't she wear a dress to look more delicate?

Carl

It might help get you some sympathy from the judge. You should look as helpless as possible. You're a tiny woman -- take advantage of it.

Augusta

Three men with 2 guns. I don't need to be helpless to be mugged by them. Let's get Jerry and get on with it.

Carl

How long can it take for you to change? My wife has a pretty dress she's outgrown. I can go get it for you. [doorbell rings. Augusta lets Jerry in.]

Carl

[to Jerry] What do you think? Shouldn't she be wearing a pretty dress?

Jerry

A dress would look good. Might get some sympathy from the judge. We want to win this one. [Augusta looks around at the three men.]

Augusta

I'm being mugged by three men again. Okay, I'll change. [Augusta exits]

Dan

After this is all over, we can move out of town.

Augusta

[from off stage] I'm not moving.

Carl

Let me know if you want to list the house. I'll get you a buyer within 3 months. [pause] By the way, when you are at court, you should register to vote. [lights out]

Act 1, Scene 11

[Dan is in the kitchen, spooning out more cookie dough. Augusta opens the door. She is wearing a dress.] Radio on: ``Yesterday, the State Attorney General's Office indicted Josue Santiago, a central player in the race, on 258 misdemeanor counts of vote fraud, the most brought against any of the 20 defendants thus far indicted in the scandal.'' [Dan turns radio off.]

Dan

How did the trial go?

Augusta

It was a hearing. We won. They are being held over for trial.

Dan

Hurray! It won't be long 'til we have the ring back. [pause] What did Jerry say on the stand?

Augusta

I didn't hear him. They wouldn't let us hear each other's testimony.

Dan

It must have been good. Next time we'll get the ring back.

Augusta

Is that all you can think about?

Dan

I think about other stuff. Like moving us out of here. And how good you look in that dress.

Augusta

What about the muggers? Don't you think about them -- their futures -- the future of this community?

Dan

After this trial, we're moving out of this community. And after we're gone, I don't care what happens to it. [doorbell rings. Augusta lets Jerry in.]

Jerry

We did it! I recognized them both! That was fun! Did they tell you what happens next?

Augusta

The lawyers and muggers and DA's have a meeting and the muggers decide if they want to plead guilty. If they plead guilty we're done. They decide on a sentence and it's over.

Jerry

I hope they plead innocent. I want to be on the stand again. [doorbell rings. Jerry lets Carl in.]

Carl

Jerry was great on the stand today. They tried to shake him, but they couldn't.

Jerry

They tried to get me to say I'd taken my eyes off them and then followed some other guys. They tried to say I hadn't seen their faces -- that the street lights were too dim. But I stuck by my story.

Carl

He was really good.

Dan

You need a witness that the street lights are bright -- call me. I'll testify.

Carl

Me too.

Augusta

They asked me about the street lights and the porch lights. They tried to make me look dumb because I don't know how many street lights there are on this block.

Dan

You don't know, and you want to stay here?

Carl

I've lived here all my life and I don't know.

Augusta

Okay -- I'll go count them. [she steps outside]

Jerry

I really liked being on the stand. I liked answering their questions. They kept trying to put words in my mouth, but I didn't let them.

Carl

You were really good. [Augusta enters]

Augusta

There are five street lamps. And one of them is right in front of Carl's. Those idiots mugged me right under a street lamp.

Dan

So when's the trial?

Augusta

We don't know. If they plead innocent, we'll get subpoenas.

Jerry

I want to be on the stand again. They tried to put words in my mouth and I didn't let them. I'd be a great police officer. [lights out]

Act 1, Scene 12

[empty kitchen. Augusta enters, wearing her dress.] Radio on: ``A federal judge, funding that Stinson's 476 vote victory had resulted from phony absentee ballots, overturned the Second District election and ousted Stinson from the state Senate.'' [Augusta turns radio off.]

Augusta

[more thumping from Carl's.] Dan? Dan? Anybody home? [she opens the refrigerator and gets out a pot of soup that she carries to the stove. She stirs the soup.] [doorbell rings. Augusta lets Carl in.]

Carl

How was the trial?

Augusta

Jerry didn't show.

Carl

I'll tell him to call you next time if he's not going so you don't have to waste your time either.

Augusta

The judge didn't show either. The DA said he hadn't been there all week.

Carl

I don't understand Jerry not showing. I thought he wanted to be on the stand. [Dan enters shirtless, pulling up his pants.]

Dan

How was the trial? Did you get the ring back?

Carl

Jerry didn't show. And the judge wasn't there.

Augusta

And that's not all. One of the muggers wasn't there at roll call. But defendants are allowed to be two hours late. After he got there, one of the defense attorneys was missing. The DA called him on the phone. And when he got there he came in yelling about some papers he'd requested that he didn't have. He demanded a postponement.

Dan

And you got one.

Augusta

Barely. The DA told the attorney that Jerry wasn't there, so the attorney demanded a trial immediately. The clerk almost gave it to him, but the DA convinced him to make a joint request for the postponement.

Carl

This is starting to sound like a comedy.

Augusta

Starting? [doorbell rings. Jerry enters.]

Jerry

How'd it go?

Augusta

Same way it went last time you weren't there. I thought you wanted to be on the stand.

Jerry

[glances at Carl] I was sick.

Dan

All right -- what's going on here? I've been hearing the thumping next door. And now you two are acting conspiratorial. You both talk about guns and getting away with murder. And Carl -- you cemented over your garden. Are you hiding dead bodies at your place?

Carl

Is that what you think of me? Dead bodies? Hey, I wouldn't hide dead bodies. I'd display them on pikes, like in the old days -- warn criminals away from here.

Augusta

Right. Dead bodies on pikes would be great for property values. What's going on here?

Jerry

Shall we tell them?

Carl

Probably not. They're out-of-towners. [Carl gets some papers out of his briefcase. Shows them to Dan.] I've written up a description of your house and sent it to the multilist. I can start showing your house next week.

Augusta

I didn't sign a contract with you! I haven't agreed to sell this house! And I certainly haven't decided to hire you!

Dan

I signed the documents. I'm half-owner of this house and I've accepted a transfer to Denver next month. We have to sell the house.

Augusta

You signed my name?

Dan

Sure! You weren't home and we had to list the house.

Augusta

But I don't want to move to Denver.

Carl

It's for the best. You'll see. I'll get you your money back on this house -- most of it anyway.

Augusta

You knew he forged my name?

Carl

It's no crime. You'd have signed if you understood about the transfer.

Dan

Like all the forged ballots we keep hearing about on the radio.

Jerry

Carl wasn't indicted for those.

Augusta

Is that what the thumping was all about -- bags of forged ballots?

Carl

Better than dead bodies, isn't it?

Augusta

Just a dead system of government.

Dan

It was dead long before he forged your name on that ballot. You see how they can't bring your muggers to trial. You didn't care enough to vote. So he forged your name. Which is worse -- you not voting or him voting for you? It's all the same to me.

Augusta

Why vote when nobody's going to count them anyway? They don't have government here. It's like Dr. Doolittle's mail boxes. He got everybody to write letters, and put them in mail boxes. But he didn't build a postal system to collect and deliver the mail. Form without substance or function. We talk about that in physics class all the time.

Jerry

At least he voted.

Augusta

And if I had, it wouldn't have been counted. Just like my desire to stay in this house doesn't count. My desire to try the muggers doesn't count. And the three of you knew about this! [doorbell rings. Dan lets Miller in.]

Miller

I just dropped by to let you know your trial is scheduled two months from now -- I got you a female judge who usually shows up. And she's tough, too.

Augusta

Two months. These guys are selling this house out from under me. I won't be here in two months.

Miller

Are you saying you want to drop the charges?

Dan

If she does, will she get the ring back?

Jerry

I want to be on the stand again. I want to see them get convicted and sentenced.

Augusta

So why weren't you there this morning?

Jerry

I told you -- I was sick.

Carl

He was helping me bury the ballots.

Dan

You're admitting this in front of a police officer?

Miller

I know about the vote fraud -- that's not my job. I take care of felonies. Vote fraud is a misdemeanor.

Augusta

Don't you care that he forged ballots? He forged my name.

Miller

He wouldn't have if you'd bothered to vote. Don't blame me that you were too lazy to vote.

Jerry

Besides, we can't let the Republicans win. There's just too much at stake.

Augusta

Like my marriage, and my job, and my students' education, and the democratic way of life where each ballot counts.

Carl

You are definitely from out of town. None of that matters. Power is what matters.

Augusta

Does my marriage matter?

Dan

Of course. I took the transfer to Denver to save our marriage.

Augusta

I don't want to move to Denver. I like my job and I like my home.

Carl

Your home is for sale.

Dan

You haven't been acting like my wife since the muggers got your ring.

Augusta

What does that mean?

Dan

You've spent more time worrying about the muggers' future than mine!

Augusta

I didn't know your future needed worrying about. Are you heading down a life of crime?

Miller

If you are, please make it misdemeanor -- so I don't have to be involved. [lights out]

Act 1, Scene 13

[Carl and Augusta in the kitchen, packing dishes into boxes.]

Augusta

I want in -- how do I join real Philadelphia?

Carl

You have to grow up in it -- you can't just join.

Augusta

I want to keep this house -- there has to be a way to do it. If you can stuff a ballot box, surely you can rearrange a mortgage.

Carl

No can do.

Augusta

Why not?

Carl

I'd make you a personal loan if I could. But I can't, and you're not good for it anyway. Besides, I've got a buyer. [Augusta looks disappointed]

Augusta

There has to be a way.

Carl

You didn't want this house. You wanted a big livingroom.

Augusta

And you can get me a house with a big livingroom? Near CCP?

Carl

It can be arranged. Mary, your other neighbor, is moving into a nursing home. She bought the house for $2000 when she got married -- she doesn't know what it's worth. She'll be happy to get half what you paid for this one.

Augusta

You set the price by what the person expects?

Carl

When it's convenient. I can tell you now -- you overpaid for this one -- I owed the former owners for taking care of Mary's yard.

Augusta

And what do I owe you for getting Mary's house for me?

Carl

The mayor needs someone on his education commission -- someone who will get more money for our neighborhood -- someone who will vote to get supplies from the right people.

Augusta

And you'll get me on this commission.

Carl

Not directly. Look -- you're from out of town. You can't be trusted with the details. But I can arrange it. You do your part, I'll get you the house. At the right price. [doorbell rings. Augusta lets Miller in.]

Miller

I see you're packing. Does this mean you want to drop the charges?

Augusta

Never. I'm staying to the end.

Miller

That could be years from now. The perps havejumped bail. Their lawyers couldn't find them for the pretrial consultation. I was just coming by to tell you that the trial's off for tomorrow.

Augusta

Is that it? Is it over?

Carl

They'll pull another crime. When they do, the computer will pop up with your crime and then they'll stand trial for both.

Miller

But that could be years from now. We just caught a guy last week who jumped 25 years ago.

Augusta

Twenty-five years. I've never lived anywhere for twenty-five years.

Carl

You'll be here -- all right. I can tell. But you might want to drop the charges to get your ring back.

Augusta

Enough with the ring already!

Miller

Anything else I can tell you?

Augusta

Did the juvenile ever go into the Job Corps?

Miller

Nope. He didn't go to that mentoring program you found for him, and he didn't keep his appointments with his probation officer, so he's locked up in the juvenile justice center.

Augusta

Bringing a gun to school isn't a punishable offense. Mugging me isn't a punishable offense. But breaking an appointment with his probation officer lands him in the poky?

Carl

That's the Philly system. You'll learn.

Miller

Are you adopting her?

Carl

We need her on the Mayor's education commission.

Miller

For the contracts? [pause] Are you sure she understands?

Carl

I'm getting her Mary's old house.

Miller

I think I lost that ring at Mary's house. I went over there right after the mugging, to let the priest in.

Carl

What about the $17?

Miller

I donated that to the orphans fund.

Augusta

Is it always like this?

Carl

If you're smart enough to teach physics, you'll figure it out.

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