Dogstar by Greg Freeman


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This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author's PRIOR consent


An 'Old West' saloon bar - not in these parts, nor in these times

DOGSTAR - a man in a cowboy hat and wearing a long black coat - sits at
the bar sipping a drink from a glass

The back of the coat is peppered by visible bullet holes.

JED, who wears a name badge, which reads "Porter", urgently enters
through the double doors and looks over at DOGSTAR

CLAY, a prosperous man, stands outside the doors.

CLAY: JedJed.

JED: What?

CLAY: You forgetting something?

JED goes back outside. CLAY enters first, followed by Jed.

CLAY: You probably think I am being difficult. But protocol demands I
go first. I am the first to eat. The first to drink. The first to enter a building.
The First Citizen goes first. Tradition Jed. What is our tradition Jed?

JED says nothing

CLAY: Cat got your tongue?

JED: No, I was waiting for you to answer first.

CLAY: (narrows his eyes) Don't try and be smart Jed, you ain't no
good at it. Is that him?

JED: That's him. Says he's got no money.

CLAY: What's his business?

JED: Says he's just passing through.

CLAY: A drifter.

JED: That's what I reckon.

CLAY: Drifter's are a curse Got no purpose other than to
freeload and spread disease. Don't like the look of him.

JED: Didn't think you would.

CLAY: Did you tell him we are not a charity?

JED: I did. Told him he had to pay.

CLAY: You told him.

JED: I told him. And he just shrugged his shoulders.

CLAY: Shrugged his shoulders? That is disrespectful. That is saying I
got no money, what are you going to do about it?

JED: Or he ain't got no answer.

CLAY: Don't try interpreting gestures Jed, you ain't no good at
it. Shrugging of the shoulders is disrespectful.

JED: If you say so.

CLAY: I do say so, I just said it. Now I will talk to him and should
he refuse to be co-operative(with meaning) you get him to step
outside.

JED: If that's what you want.

CLAY: That is what I want. What do I want Jed?

JED: You want him to step outside.

CLAY: Why do I always feel you are arguing with me, even when you are
agreeing with me? (calls) You Sir.

DOGSTAR ignores him

CLAY: You! I'm talking to you.

DOGSTAR: Talking to me?

CLAY: Yes, I am talking to you. Pay for your drink.

DOGSTAR: Drinking water

CLAY: So?

DOGSTAR: Water is free.

CLAY: Not in this town. So kindly pay your bill.

DOGSTAR: Got no money.

CLAY: Then why did you order a drink?

DOGSTAR: I was thirsty.

CLAY: So pay for it

DOGSTAR: Did you make it?

CLAY: Did I make what?

DOGSTAR: The water. Did you make it?

CLAY: No. I did not make the water. But I drilled the hole, I pumped
it out of the ground, I filtered it, boiled itI put it in a jug and
I sell it in my bar to
cover my expenses.

DOGSTAR: So you didn't make it.

CLAY: You got a name. (pause) Have you got a name?

DOGSTAR: Dogstar

CLAY: Dogstar. Is that hyphenated?

DOGSTAR reaches inside his coat alarming CLAY and JED. DOGSTAR appears
to look at something inside his coat. Then..

DOGSTAR: No.

CLAY: You're a stranger in these parts

DOGSTAR: I'm a stranger in most parts.

CLAY: Where you from?

DOGSTAR: The last place I've been.

CLAY: Where's that?

DOGSTAR: Don't matter where I've been or where I'm heading.
I'm here and when I ain't here. I'll be over here.

DOGSTAR takes his glass and moves away to a table.

CLAY: What's he got under his coat?

JED: It could be a purse.

CLAY: You really think so?

JED: No. You see his coat?

CLAY: Bullet holes.

JED: In the back.

CLAY: They'll be a few more if he don't pay.

CLAY moves across to DOGSTAR

CLAY: Do you know who I am?

DOGSTAR shrugs his shoulders.

CLAY: I own this saloon. I own the town. Step outside and look left
and right, up and down. Look as far as you can see and further and
I own it. I own it all. Own..it..all.

DOGSTAR: Everything.

CLAY: Everything.

DOGSTAR: All the land.

CLAY: The land, the buildings, the people, the horses, the roads, the
bridges, the desert, the water

DOGSTAR: Do you own the justice system?

Pause

CLAY: This is a peaceful town. We don't want drifters, drifting in
and causing trouble.

DOGSTAR: No.

CLAY: No we don't.

DOGSTAR: Trouble begets trouble.

CLAY: Pay for the water and move on.

DOGSTAR: Water was put on this land, so all the world's creatures,
the big, the small, the good, the bad, (looks at CLAY) the
greedycould drink for free.

CLAY: Free? Free? What planet are you on?

DOGSTAR: Beginning to think the wrong one.

CLAY: I have overheads. I have costs, pumping equipment, labor,
(points at JED) you think he works for free. You want free water? Go
out and get it out of the ground yourself.

DOGSTAR: Got a shovel I could borrow?

CLAY: No.

DOGSTAR: Do you bury your dead?

CLAY: Yes.

DOGSTAR: Then you got a shovel.

CLAY: Don't be difficult. We do not like drifters who are difficult
in this town.

DOGSTAR: Ever buried seven men?

CLAY: Never

DOGSTAR: Have to dig a deep hole. I'll find water if you lend me a
shovel.

CLAY: Any water you find in the ground will still belong to me.

DOGSTAR: Does it rain? (pause) Does it rain here?

CLAY: God may send rain down, but when it hits my landit's
mine.

DOGSTAR: Your land or God's land?

CLAY: Do you know who you are talking to?

DOGSTAR: Well I know, you ain't God.

CLAY: You think I'm not God. Well maybe I'm not. But I tell you
what Sir, if
I decide I don't like someone, they usually live to regret it.

DOGSTAR: I believe you.

CLAY: Believe me.

DOGSTAR: I believe you.

CLAY: Believe me.

DOGSTAR: I do.

CLAY: You better. (squeezes finger and thumb together) Because I am
this close to not liking you.

DOGSTAR: Do you own the light from the sun?

CLAY: Oh. I see where this is going. (turns on JED) You told him we
charge for opening the shutters.

JED: There is a charge.

CLAY: There is a 'nominal' charge, to cover the cost of the
glass, should the shutters be open when a fight breaks out.

CLAY and JED are alarmed as DOGSTAR brings his hand out from inside
his coat. He is holding a large stone.

CLAY: There is no need to threaten me with a stone.

DOGSTAR: I want to pay for my water.

CLAY: With a stone?

DOGSTAR: Yup.

CLAY: Mister, you've been out in the sun too long. In these parts
you pay with money.

DOGSTAR: Stone's got a value

CLAY: A stone is a stone.

DOGSTAR: Water is water.

CLAY: A stone is useless to me.

JED: You can kill a man with a stone.

JED slams his hand on the bar.

CLAY: Did I ask for your opinion?

JED: No

CLAY: You ain't no good with opinions Jed. What's your opinion
Jed?

JED: I got no opinion

CLAY: Good. Did you bring him here to raise my ire? Because he has
raised my ire. (to DOGSTAR) Sir, you have raised my ire.

DOGSTAR: You want my coat?

CLAY: It's damaged.

DOGSTAR: Coat's a coat. Still keeps the chill off at night.

CLAY: No one wants a coat with bullet holes.

DOGSTAR: Take the stone.

CLAY: I got holes in the road that need filling. Do one hour's work
and we will consider your debt settled.

DOGSTAR: If I shovel in the hot sun, I'll be thirsty again.

CLAY: Then you'll have to do another hour's work. And then
another.

DOGSTAR: Work to drink. Drink to work.

JED: (mutters) We all got lives like that.

CLAY: You think I got an easy life Jed?

JED: I got no opinion

CLAY: You think I got an easy life? Why some days I can't even go
to the latrine without someone like you banging on the door wanting my
attention, with some problem or another. I got problems all over
town. I got problems
up at Jackson's Creek. Do not tell me I have an easy life.

JED: If you say so.

CLAY: I do. I do say so.

JED: So you do.

CLAY: I do. So don't argue. (to DOGSTAR) And you Sir, I'll get
you a shovel.

DOGSTAR: Don't want any shovel. Should be able to collect a heap of
earth yet be sharp enough to slice off a man's ear.

CLAY: I got one just like that. Give me a couple of minutesand then
step outside.
(looks meaningfully at JED) Two minutes.

JED unseen by DOGSTAR, acknowledges with a nod.

CLAY: (to DOGSTAR) We'll be waiting for you.

CLAY exits. Lights fade.

SCENE 2

Ten minutes later. DOGSTAR stands by the double doors squinting. JED
looks anxiously at his watch

JED: It's been ten minutes.

DOGSTAR: Yup.

JED: Ten minutes.

DOGSTAR: You the timekeeper or the barkeeper.

JED: I only say that in case you are in a hurry to get the shovel.

DOGSTAR moves slowly away from the doors and sits at the bar.

DOGSTAR: No rush.

DOGSTAR helps himself to a pretzel.

JED: None of my business, but

DOGSTAR: What?

JED: Well if I were you.. Iwouldn't eat those.

DOGSTAR: Add it to my bill.

JED: They're free, but salty. Makes you drink more water.

JED pours him some more water.

JED: But I'll add this to your bill. You a farmer?

DOGSTAR: No.

JED: Prospector?

DOGSTAR: No.

JED: You got any business in town?

DOGSTAR: Lost my shovel

JED: You come looking for a new shovel?

DOGSTAR: Yup.

JED: So it's lucky you got one waiting for you outside.

DOGSTAR: Yup.

JED: Yup.

DOGSTAR: Step outside and get it for me.

JED: What?

DOGSTAR: Step outside and bring me the shovel.

There is panic in JED's eyes.

JED: I'm not sure I can do that.

DOGSTAR: You got a bad leg?

JED: No. But.

DOGSTAR: But what?

JED: But, well.it would not be prudent for me to step outside

DOGSTAR: Prudent?

JED: No Sir, it would not be prudent. It would not be wise.

DOGSTAR: Why?

JED: Why?

DOGSTAR: Why?

JED: Well it would not be prudent toleave you inside with a till
full of money. You being a desperate man.

DOGSTAR: You think I'm desperate?

JED: You got no money, so you may rob the till.

DOGSTAR: Got no intention of robbing your till.

JED: I only have your word for that.

DOGSTAR: You don't value my word?

JED: You are a strangerand a stranger's word has no value.

DOGSTAR: Is that so?

JED: I am sure you are an honest stranger, but even the righteous get
tempted.

DOGSTAR: By what?

JED: A till full of money.

DOGSTAR: I only have your word it's full.

JED: True.

DOGSTAR: That could be an empty till.

JED: Could be.

DOGSTAR: You stepped out earlier to get the First Citizen. Could've
already cleaned it out.

JED opens the till. It still has cash.

DOGSTAR: But I didn't. So go get my shovel.

JED goes to step outside but then can't bring himself to do it.

JED: I would like to oblige but I am not paid to fetch and carry
tools. I am not a porter.

DOGSTAR: Badge says you are.

JED: That's my name, not my status. Your name is Dogstar. That
doesn't mean you're from the skies.

pause

DOGSTAR: Just get the shovel.

JED goes to leave but hesitates.

JED: In this town we value our selves and our time. I cannot fetch
and carry for free. I would have to charge.

DOGSTAR: Tell me, is there a charge for taking a leak?

JED: There is. So should you feel inclined, I will add it to your bill.

DOGSTAR: Should I feel inclinedyou'll be paddling in it.

JED: I admire your candor Sir.

DOGSTAR: Don't seem right. No creature should pay for water inor
water out.

JED: I am sympathetic to your predicament. So should you wish to run
out of that door, without paying. I will turn my back.

JED is concerned about turning his back.

JED: I will turn my back.

DOGSTAR: Are you going to turn your back?

JED: I am not actually going to turn my back, I am just not going to
stop you running away.

DOGSTAR helps himself to more water

JED: Can I give you some friendly advice?

DOGSTAR: How much will that cost?

JED: Friendly advice is free.

DOGSTAR: Why aren't you charging?

JED: Normally I would charge. I value myself and my words and words
got no value unless you charge for them. But this is friendly advice.

DOGSTAR: So it's worthless.

JED: Not entirely.

DOGSTAR: Then why is it free?

JED: He is coming back to kill you.

DOGSTAR: Say that again.

JED: He is coming back to kill you.

DOGSTAR: And again.

JED: He is coming back to kill you.

DOGSTAR: I hear what you are saying, but I hear no advice.

JED: Run.

DOGSTAR: Run. That ain't a word I am familiar with.

JED: If you don't high tail it out of town, he will shoot you. He will.

DOGSTAR: And why would he do that?

JED: Because he can. In these parts he has the power to take life
without retribution. To kill just because you can. That's a wonderful power.
You see a spider and bammm!

JED slams the bar with his hand as if killing a spider.

DOGSTAR suddenly reaches inside his coat

... spooking JED.

DOGSTAR: Did you just kill a spider?

JED: No Sir.

DOGSTAR: If you kill a spider, you should eat it.

[end of extract]




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