I've never been sure about this, so I never sent it out. But, who's sure about anything? I pray it's worth your time.
SAMSON and DELILAH
A 10-minute play by
Edward Crosby Wells
1M/1W. A bed and a small vanity with chair, 10 minutes.
Set in New Orleans, this is the story of two outcasts suffering the consequences of the hustle in the time of Katrina.
AT RISE: SAMSON is stretched across the bed. He is wearing underwear or nothing at all. DELIAH is brushing her hair at the vanity. She is wearing a slip or a bra and panties or nothing at all. New Orleans. A summer's morning in late August, 2005. SOUND of howling wind and rain.
DELILAH: (Stops brushing her hair.) Get yar lazy bone-ass outta bed. (A pause to see if he moves. Slams down her brush.) Don’t pretend yar still asleep—‘cause I knows ya ain’t. Ya can hustle da ballers down ta Funky Bo’s, but yar ain’t gonna hustle Delilah.
SAMSON: Ah been awake all night.
DELIAH: I s’pects ya have. Ya only come home two hour ago, drippin’ wet and smelly likes a mongrel. Get up. We got things ta do.
SAMSON: And ah got things ta figure.
DELILAH: (Rises. Crosses to SAMSON. Playfully.) Ya don’t get outta dat bed, ya’ll be lookin’ at the meanest piece ya ever laid—
SAMSON: Fa Shiggety.
DELILAH: Ain’t no other way ta say it. (She rubs her breasts, runs her hands down along her body, enticing him.)
SAMSON: O mama. Fine dinin’.
DELILAH: Wanna taste?
SAMSON: Too much goin’ on fa dat.
DELILAH: When’s there ever been too much goin’ on fa dat? Ain’t never been too much on. (She straddles his body and goes as far as the traffic will bear.)
SAMSON: Ah told ya, I got things to figure. (Pushes her off.)
DELILAH: (Getting up. Confused.) Ya one bad motha fucka. Ya figure. Ya figure, and when yar done figurin’ we gonna buy me the finest ruby-red dress ya ever saw.
SAMSON: Sure, babe. Da finest. There’s a hurricane. Katrina—
DELILAH: Katrina, Katrina! Ya see one ya seen ‘em all.
SAMSON: Ain’t a good time.
DELILAH: You promised—soon as ya made some bones.
SAMSON: Ah did, did ah?
DELILAH: Wid shiny red beads dat’ll blind ya.
DELILAH: On the dress ya gonna buy me.
SAMSON: S’pose ah don’t want ta be blinded?
DELILAH: Not ya, just da gawkers and da coon ass. Wear yar sunglasses.
A flash of LIGHTNING followed by the SOUND of THUNDER .
SAMSON: (Alarmed.) We gotta take da Chevy and—
DELILAH: Well I ain’t ridin’ in no street car, not in this rain.
SAMSON: Ah know, but—
DELILAH: Ain’t no buts. Dinner in da Quarter and jazz all night—like a coupla high ballers. Where’s da bones?
SAMSON: Don’t ya listen to nothin’ I say?
DELILAH: Not when I don’t want ta hear it.
SAMSON: Ya got that right. Da Quarter will be boarded up by night. I told ya, there’s a wicked storm comin’. Besides—
DELILAH: Besides, besides. There’s always a besides.
SAMSON: Delilah, there’s this deal went down bad—
DELILAH: (She reaches over and tickles him.) C’mon now.
SAMSON: Delilah, ah told ya—
DELILAH: Where ya hid dem?
SAMSON: (Gives in.) Uner the bed. (DELILAH reaches under the bed.) Looka here. Before ya go ta openin’ that, ah gotta tell ya somethin’.
DELILAH: (Retrieving shoe box from under the bed. Removes the lid.) Hoooly Shit! Dim ain’t mudbugs, I can tell ya dat!
SAMSON: That's just what I brung in in ma pockets, dawlin'. That's what ah was fixin' to tell ya.
DELILAH: (Removing handfuls of money.) Where’d ya get alla dis?
SAMSON: Playin’ boo ray with some coon ass.
DELILAH: Fo True?
SAMSON: ‘Cept ah didn’t actually win it.
DELILAH: Ain’t seen nuthin’ so pretty. Nuthin’ so pretty—‘cept maybe ya. (She runs her hands along his body, sensuously. She licks his chest and slowly moves toward his crotch.) Dat sure a lotta money.
SAMSON: (Pushing her away.) Ahm down bad, baby.
DELILAH: Ya down good—real good.
SAMSON: Did ya hear me? Ah was playin’ boo ray—
DELILAH: Ya musta took alota tricks.
SAMSON: Ah took every one.
DELILAH: God musta dealt dem cards. He sure musta.
SAMSON: Delilah, we gots ta leave fo up north. Somethin’ bad’s comin’.
A flash of LIGHTNING followed by the SOUND of THUNDER and the increasing WIND.
DELILAH: Da fuck?
SAMSON: We gots ta get outta here. She's comin' in.
SAMSON: Hurricane Katrina. Wicked thing.
DELILAH: Look at all dis green. What ‘bout ma new dress? And some jazz ta dawn? Ya got da bones.
SAMSON: Won’t be no jazz tonight.
DELILAH: Course there will.
SAMSON: They boardin’ everything up. We got to get in the Chevy and go. Didn’t ya hear me?
DELILAH: I heard ya. I heard ya all right, Samson, but I ain’t goin’ nowheres. I’m goin’ down Bourbon in ma ruby-red dress, sparklin’ like fireworks and get me some jazz.
SAMSON: Dey wasn’t the dumb coon ass ah thought. Dey musta figured it by now. Da cards—
DELILAH: (Sudden interest.) What cards?
SAMSON: Ya know—
DELILAH: Ya didn’t use dem cards, did ya?
SAMSON: Ah told ya. Ah took dem fo coon ass.
DELILAH: Ya used dem cards?
SAMSON: Yeah, but dey never figured it.
DELILAH: Den there ain’t no problem. We can go get me dat dress—
SAMSON: Ahm down bad, babe. Real bad.
DELILAH: Ya said dey never figured it.
SAMSON: Not whiles we was playin’, but—
DELILAH: But, but?
SAMSON: Ah left dem there.
DELILAH: (Cautiously.) Left what there?
SAMSON: There was all those bones. Biggest pot ah ever saw. Ah been playin’ boo ray a long time and ah ain’t never seen nuthin’ like it. There’s mo hidden in da Chevy.
DELILAH: Mo what?
DELILAH: Mo money?
SAMSON: Mo money than ya ever saw.
DELILAH: We be struttin’ down Bourbon.
SAMSON: We gotta get outta Nahlins.
Howling WIND, LIGHTNING, THUNDER.
DELILAH: What ya talkin’?
SAMSON: Ah told ya. Ah left dem there.
DELILAH: Tell me. Tell me exactly what ya left there?
SAMSON: Ah told ya. Da cards. Ain’t ya been listenin’? Did ya hear a word ah said? Ah was in such a hurry to get outta there—ah went and left da cards.
There is a long fearful SILENCE except for the howling WIND.
DELILAH: Ya think dey figured it?
SAMSON: Had to.
DELILAH: What about ma dress?
SAMSON: We’ll get you dat dress, but not now.
DELILAH: Ya promised.
SAMSON: Ah know ah did, babe.
DELILAH: I told ya dem cards would get ya down bad one day. Get on some clothes.
SAMSON: (Putting on his trousers.) Ah gotta get those bones.
DELILAH: (Digging in her heels.) Ya might s’well leave dem in da Chevy ‘cause I ain’t goin’ wid ya.
SAMSON: Ya be getting’ yar things together, Delilah. Ya ain’t stayin’ here.
DELILAH: Samson, now ya ain’t listenin’. Take dem what ya got in da Chevy. I got plenty right here.
SAMSON: But, babe—
DELILAH: You heard me. Get on out.
SAMSON: Ah ain’t goin’ nowhere widout ya.
DELILAH: Get out ya sonabitch! (She beats him with closed fists. He stands and lets her hit him.) Sonabitch! I told ya ‘bout those cards. I told ya! I told ya! (She continues beating him until she can’t hold back her tears.)
WIND, LIGHTNING, THUNDER.
SAMSON: Ah know, babe.
DELILAH: Git out! I don’t wanna see ya sorry ass ever again.
SAMSON: Ahm sorry, babe. Please come wid me.
DELILAH: Don’t babe me, just get da fuck out!
SAMSON: Ya don’t mean dat. Ah know ya don’t.
SAMSON: Ahm sorry. (In the SILENCE he dresses, then slowly walks towards the door.)
DELILAH: (Breaking the SILENCE.) And don’t ya come back! Hear?
SAMSON exits to the SOUND of howling WIND.
DELILAH sits on the edge of the bed and begins to count the money. She stops and throws the money across the room and then openly sobs. After awhile, the distinctive SOUND of a single GUNSHOT rips through the bedroom. DELILAH freezes in terror, looking toward the door. Shortly afterward there is the SOUND of two more gunshots in quick succession. DELILAH puts on an old ragged dress. She stands unmoving while staring at the front door, perhaps hoping that SAMSON would soon walk through it. He doesn’t. Slowly and tentatively she walks towards the door as the LIGHTING dims to the SOUND of howling WIND.
On a personal note: My brother-in-law and his family lived with us for a year because they had to flee - post-haste - Katrina. He had lived there for 30 years and knew the rivers and the weather. His business partner's family had lived there for 200 years on the bayous. They both knew they had to get out much sooner than most. Even before they announced the evacuation.
He, his wife and 7 year old son each quickly packed one bag. They got here to Chicago after a straight-through 18 hour drive, and he realized he had quickly put on two different pairs of shoes. That is how quick they left.
Chicago opened their arms to all evacuees. He went to a school in our 'hood for free as did many, many, many children. Clothing, and other necessities were donated. They did not want for food with us, but it was offered to them. It was a harrowing, astonishing, noble, grateful, sorrowful time for so, so many.
And we got to live with a 7 year old for a year!
They returned to New Orleans.
Thanks, edd for your play. It is a sad, sad play.
But, there is no place like New Orleans. It is the Northernmost Carribean Country.
I love it when I am there. It has the best and the worst and everything in-between. Always did. And actually it has now become a young persons' town. However, so many, many people will be displaced forever because of it. I can not imagine growing up in New Orleans and having to move and live forever in...Houston. UGH! Or anywhere else other than NO.
It is kind of like dancing on a graveyard. Of which New Orleans has many.
Thank you. You may be the only person who ever read that play. Still, I haven't sent it out anywhere, except here.
"Dancing on a graveyard." How fucking cool is that. When I was a kid graveyards were, along with another friend, a favored place to spend many a summer night, sleeping in and other things. Actually, a couple graveyards. It felt spiritual. And, no one ever bothered us.
How are you? Are you up to doing a marathon? Probably not. All I care about is that you and your wife are well and happy.
P.S. Who would want to live in Houston! Maybe that's my NY coming out. But I think there are a few places I would avoid and Houston is one of them. Hot, muggy and, of course, in Texas. xo
I would like to offer my two cents on this if you are interested? Please bear in mind my near complete ignorance, when it comes to drama, and take my thoughts with as many grains of salt as you feel applicable. First off, I love the premise. And I love the setting, New Orleans has a magical air about it. In my mind it always elicits a haunted quality to it, and the pending arrival of Katrina only adds to the menacing air. Also, I am a sucker for anything southern! The ethnic lyricism of the dialogue transports my mind to familiar and comforting places. The interaction between the characters is genuine, felt thoroughly authentic, and enjoyable. The only thing I have to say, even remotely critical is some of your word choices. I am an old man, hardly up to date on the slang and euphemisms of modern (Post 1980's) youth.
DELILAH: You promised—soon as ya made some bones.
'Bones', In particular has a older, 1960's to 70's ring in my ear. Unless the character are older? Though I assumed they were mid to late twenties.
Your choice of names for the characters was, in my mind, a great one. Samson and Delilah, the biblical reference adds to the scene magnificently.
I guess I should be jealous, but to be frank, I am too much in awe to be anything but impressed. I have tried to write 10 minutes plays before, but could never be succinct enough to pull the trick. Anyway, great write! I was both entertained, and inspired.