July 28, 2003
© 2003 Fried-Cassorla Communications, Inc.
All rights reserved. Not available for commercial or community theater use without permission from the author.
7408 Woodlawn Avenue
Melrose Park, PA 19027
This play takes place in and about an old Victorian home that has been decaying for some years. At Stage Right, the house's front door and a bit of the front yard are visible. A pull-chain near the front door attaches to a bell that rings inside the house.
The interior of the house consists of one very long central living room and an anteroom just near the front door. The back of the house, at Stage Left, has a back door that opens onto an unseen backyard and outhouse. A door near the end of the living room leads down towards the basement. A staircase in the living room leads to a second floor, which is suggested by a staircase and a small section of second story landing. The landing is made of plasterboard and is pre-scored so that it will break easily. The back door has a window, and sun gleams through.
The living room was once grand. Now it features threadbare furniture, some of it covered by sheets, old portrait paintings, tables, chairs, and sofas. Broken lath shows through on the walls here and there.
Helen Midthassel-Kazarnowicz - mother, wife, homebuyer, working
person; sweet, but jaded
Hubert (Hubie) Midthassel- - father, husband. homebuyer,
Kazarnowicz person; played with boundless
energy and cheer
Hermione - their twin daughter, age 6
Gingold - their twin son, age 6
Portia Portico - a cunning Realtor,
who exudes false
charm; her voice rises and falls in a
Ted Tedesco - house inspector hired
by the couple;
he has a dense, guttural Brooklyn accent but manages to speak some complex lines; uneducated, he has great pride in his profession and talents
Late on a Saturday morning. Portico and the Midthassel-Kazarnowicz
family are gathering at the house's front door, outside.
(GINGOLD tugs at HUBIE's trousers
while Mrs. PORTICO fumbles for the
correct front door key. She speaks
with great enthusiasm.)
I'm so glad that you two are people of vision .. because that's what it takes. That's definitely what it takes.
Could I ring the bell? Could I ring the bell, please?
(HERMIONE tugs at HUBIE's other leg.)
Me first! Me first, Dad!
Now Gingold did ask first, Hermione.
(HELEN raises an arm, as if to
(HERMIONE shuts up. HUBIE
picks up GINGOLD.)
As the Bible says, "Where there is no vision, the people shall perish." Hm-hm! Some of my favorite scripture. Now I know it's here somewhere.
(GINGOLD rings the bell-cord,
and the bell sounds.)
Hubie, the Lord helps those who help themselves. And I think we're helping ourselves into a serious malfeasance of judgment.
Aw Helen, yu know that malfeasance is in the eye of the of the malfeasor.
Listen how loud I can ring it, Ma!
(HELEN holds her temples as GINGOLD
rings bell incessantly.)
My temples. Oh, my temples.
(Unseen in the darkened house, the bell
crashes to the floor.)
Yes, it's only five blocks to the nearest synagogue. Ah, here's the key at last. And don't worry about that old bell.
(PORTICO opens the door and turns on a light.
HERMIONE and GINGOLD rush in.)
I don't believe it!
A haunted house!
Ha! Ha! Ha! The only haunting here is the ghost of your old rent payments.
HERMIONE and GINGOLD
(HERMIONE and GINGOLD leap onto some curtains near
a window and swing wildly. They soon start climbing
up them. The curtains are reinforced with built-in
ropes for support.)
That's right. Right now, we pay a thousand-fifty a month . . .and for what?!
For a two-bedroom in Society Hill, that's what. Near civilization.
Near boutiques we can't afford -- yet.
Near the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Which is all subscribed out for the next three years, dear.
(HERMIONE and GINGOLD let go and come crashing
down, sending the curtains flying on top of them. Then
they use the curtains as ghost costumes, covering
themselves and parading around making "oooo" sounds
until they bump into things. When they bump,
they laugh riotously.)
Such darling little imps -- uh -- angels! Now if it's music you two want, when you move here you'll be near more than you can shake a baton at. You've got the Lower Brogenberg Marching Band's concert season in the park. That's FREE. And although I don't know your financial situation, I'm sure you'll have more disposable income once you're in this house.
We know how to dispose it, all right. Say, uh, that reminds me -- where's your john around here?
(PORTICO escorts the group to the back door,
then points HUBIE towards the outhouse,
which is outside on the back porch.)
The outhouse is straight ahead, and the pump's on the right.
My god!...Well, I suppose we should be thankful the pump works.
The vandals stole the handle. But that'll come to an end once this house is lived in. Besides, good basic plumbing costs pennies these days, what with inexpensive PVC pipes. And I'm sure Mr. Midthassel-Kazarnowicz is very handy, isn't he?
(HUBIE is embarrassed, shuffles.)
Well, let me put it this way -- the last time he tried to unstop our toilet, three apartments below us needed new ceilings.
(Exit HUBIE to the outhouse. HERMIONE follows
to get a peek at it and soon returns, ecstatic.)
HERMIONE (to GINGOLD)
You won't believe the great clubhouse Dad's hiding in!
(HERMIONE and GINGOLD rush outside to check it
out. Their voices are heard from offstage.)
This is really decent!
(HERMIONE and GINGOLD rush back into the
house. HERMIONE brandishes a broken wooden
old toilet seat, joined together with hinges.)
HERMIONE (to HELEN)
Look at this horse-holder I found. Mom! Where do the reins attach?
That clubhouse is great, Mom! There's even a dark hole in the floor
where we can hide secret messages!
(HERMIONE holds the seat sideways.)
And look, it's "C" for cat!
(HERMIONE puts her face in the middle of the seat and
giggles. GINGOLD grabs the seat and holds it, open
No it isn't -- it's a "U" for underwear!
(HERMIONE retrieves the seat and continues this game.)
No. it's a "C" for carrot!
(This conversation continues as
background dialog. HERMIONE and
GINGOLD repeat their last lines.
substituting these words at the
end of each:
cafe au lait undertaker
catamaran umbilical cord
(As in, "No, it's 'C' for carpet.")
Mrs. Portico, may I take this moment to set something straight?
Of course, my dear! There's no need to suffer in the dark -- isolation is worse than bad insulation, I always say. Ha! Ha!
Yes... Well, you see, this house is sort of Hubert's idea. And he's a wonderful man. I've never regretted having married him, not for an instant. However, he is sometimes, uh...easily taken.
Taken?! Certainly I've never even presumed to flirt with a man, a married man no less, and one of my customers -- not it's--
No, no! He's easily taken by ideas, don't you see? By enthusiasms whose consequences he doesn't understand, by passions for impractical, unrealizable dreams that lead to--to--to--
To places like this?
(HELEN embraces PORTICO, who is
nonplused and soon takes her distance.)
Yes! I'm so glad you sympathize!
My dear Mrs. Midthassel-Kazarnowicz, how well I understand your dilemma. I too was once an ignorant boob when it came to real estate. But you'll make progress, just as I did.
What!? Lord give me strength. Lord give me an account balance.
But don't worry your beautifully coifed head over matters in which you're an utter and total ignoramus.
I beg your PARDON!!
PORTICO (still smiling)
I understand one hundred percent! And believe me, your first true step will be towards self-knowledge.
(PORTICO steps over to a cobweb-
covered mirror and looks into it.)
You've got to look at yourself in the mirror and say, "Helen, you're a big blamed fool when it comes to points and parcels, so you might as well keep your stupid face out of the negotiations and be happy about it."
Exactly how long have you had your real estate license?
(HUBIE returns from the outhouse
and takes the toilet seat away from the kids.)
HERMIONE and GINGOLD
Unfairzies! You said you liked educational toys. Unfairzies!
Go!...Go play in the basement if you want. But be careful.
(The kids look at each other in amazement.
As they say the next line, they crouch and
rise, culminating in an elaborate hand-clap/
tap-in routine, followed by a leap.)
HERMIONE and GINGOLD
(The kids head downstairs via a door off the living
room. PORTICO turns on the basement lights. HELEN
holds her own head. HUBIE shows immense satisfaction.)
PORTICO (sighing grandly)
Ahh, there's such a life of adventure ahead in this house for your beautiful family. How I must envy you!
Then you buy the place!... That is, if they grant mortgages to felons these days.
Helen, I think you owe Mrs. Portico a bit more consideration than that. Let's not forget that she's showing us this house at my request.
HELEN (slightly contrite)
And no one forced her to lay down those timbers for us over that sinkhole on the walkway.
And no one had to prod her to pick up that dead mongoose in the yard, spray it, and bag it.
I was only too happy -- even if you decide not to buy the house.
She did it because she has heart.
I do so care about you and wish to see you happy...here.
(HELEN lights a cigarette.)
You're right. I misperceived her generosity...Now pardon me, while I take an anxiety break.
(HELEN retreats to from the group and gives
them her back. Abruptly, she screams.)
(HELEN lights a cigarette.)
HUBIE (to PORTICO)
She's just about over it now...
Let me show you around a bit, until your house inspector arrives.
(PORTICO walks over to a portrait and removes
it from the wall, exposing a fuse box.)
Here's your electrical service -- a full 20 amps, suitable for most needs.
I bet it could easily handle two nightlights and an RM radio.
Ha, ha, ha. Even an electric chain saw, my dear.
(HUBIE squints at the fuse box and comes
closer to it.)
So I guess those are fuses, not circuit breakers. And what's that... in that hole?
(PORTICO shines a flashlight on the hole.)
Oh, a penny,
Indeed. And, hm -- isn't that a 1944 double-dye obverse? It's hard to tell. I've heard they're worth up to two hundred thousand dollars these days. And you know? -- it yours with the house.
Good! Let's take it and buy a mansion in Martinique.
(HUBIE angles closer to the fusebox.)
Looks like a 1937 to me.
(HUBIE picks up a table knife and approaches
the fusebox quickly. PORTICO karate-chops his
hand, sending the knife to the floor.)
Ha-YAH...I don't think you'd like a toasted arm, Mr. Midthassel Kazarnowicz. (sing-song voiced) I see you've a bit more to learn
about home ownership. All in good time...All in good time.
(PORTICO steps over to the kitchen sink.)
Here you have your --
(Muffled shouts are heard from HERMIONE
and GINGOLD below.)
HERMIONE and GINGOLD
Mom! Mom! Dad! Dad!
Hubert, please rescue your children. They're being consumed by giant water leeches.
(HUBIE bolts downstairs, shouting.)
Don't worry! I'm coming!
(HUBIE's voice from downstairs.)
Where the hell ARE you!
HERMIONE and GINGOLD
We're over here! Cone quick! This stuff's getting high!
Do ya haveta ask a thousand questions, Dad? Get us out of this stuff!
I'll thank you to keep a civil tongue and -- ouch!
Even when we're dying?
Especially then. Oof! Christ, what is this stuff? Here, hold onto me.
(HUBIE ascends the steps and emerges, carrying
a child on each arm. All are blackened by coal dust.)
God, what won't those kids get into, given half a chance.
Mom, what a fantastic sandpile we have down there! All we need is a little more light.
Yeah, it's neat and -- scaaarrrr-eee!
(HERMIONE and GINGOLD giggle and run to the backyard)
That's just some leftover coal dust from the days before the Behemoth.
What is the Behemoth and what does it like to eat?
Oh. I guess that's the quaint old oil furnace with those big, funny
asbestos-covered arms sticking out like it's going to graaaaab
(HUBIE pretends to grab HELEN, who
backs off with fright.)
Don't you dare touch my Pierre Cardin jumpsuit. Not until after your fourth shower. (smiling maliciously) And just what do you plan to do with the oil furnace - - donate it to the Home for Quaint Old Behemoths?
Sharp!... Nope. Encase it. Wrap it in plastic. Vacuum-seal the baby, and that's that.
(HUBIE rubs his hands together, as if washing
himself of the subject.)
We won't need it once we've got the biomass converter going full blast.
(The doorbell rings, and HUBIE shows in TEDESCO.)
Ah, Mr. Tedesco! Pardon my appearance. I've been, uh, cleaning the hibachi. Come on in! Hope you didn't have any trouble finding the place.
Nah! Just like you said -- past the three broken porches on the left, around the oil slick and just across from the red abandoned car.
HUBIE (pointing and smiling)
With the "I Can At Cancun" bumper-sticker!
See? Didn't I tell you the people around here have class? Mr. Tedesco, this is Mrs. Portico, our Realtor.
How do you do?
Pretty good right now -- my busy season's good fer a grand a week.
And of course, you've met my wife, Helen.
And where are the little angels, might I axe?
Oh, they're out in the yard being kids.
(PORTICO peeks out the back window, gasps, and
blanches, holding a hand to her mouth. Then
she camouflages her reaction with a pasted smile.)
I see they're already playing Shopping Cart Smash-Up! (crashing sound) Whoops! Ha, ha! That was a doozie! Such imagination, so precocious and smart.. But then, look at their parents.
(HUBIE shuffles and smiles.
HELEN gives a look that could kill.)
Now, Mr. Tedesco, where would you like to commence your examination?
Woodwork. A house gotta have legs. (pulls up his belt) Kinda like people, if you'll pardon the anachronism.
(TEDESCO inspects some woodwork, feeling at
boards and trim, high and low, finds disagreeable
evidence of bugs.)
They used nothing but solid oaken beams back in `95 when this little palace was built.
Well, the palace's got a few-a what we in da trade call your Uninvited Guests.
Nope. Basic hole-in-the-house household termites. You know -- Nature's Coal miners. The place is shot through with `en. Here, check out the little buggers.
(TEDESCO breaks off a chunk of woodwork with his
hand and puts it under PORTICO's nose. PORTICO
backs off in fright and disgust.)
Used to be your basic death warrant. But nowadays, we can lick almost anything that crawls, flies or skitters. I also fumigate, by the by. From what I see, I'll be knockin' off bugs here for a few weeks.
A few weeks? Why don't you use one of those bombs that takes care of everything in one day?
Like we say in the--
In the trade, I know, I know.
TEDESCO (mildly insulted)
Well, I may not be a high-tech software professional like you, Mr. Big-Hassle-Kazarnoberg, but I do have a trade, and I do have my pride!
(HUBIE holds two fingers to the bridge of
his nose and closes his eyes, feeling
sorry and exasperated.)
Yes, I didn't mean.. I'm sorry.
(TEDESCO goes to his supply box and pulls
out bottles and cans to match the needs
Like I said, ya need one treatment for ya termites. One for your carpenter bees. One for your silverfish, another for your conventional waterbugs 'n roaches, one for your centipedes. And then we get into your phylum arachnid. You got--
HELEN (storming away)
Please! I don't want to hear another word about bugs. And I may not want to hear any more about this house -- or insect park, or whatever it is.
(The back door comes crashing open
as HERMIONE and GINGOLD enter, with
GINGOLD inside a shopping cart and
HERMIONE pushing it at breakneck speed.)
HERMIONE and GINGOLD
(HERMIONE stops the cart abruptly, sending
GINGOLD flying onto a sofa. He lifts his head up
with great joy. TEDESCO, who has been watching,
This place is great!
HERMIONE (to HELEN)
Yeah! Could you buy it for us?
Sure -- as soon as Mr. Tedesco can napalm it for us. Now that's a good old Philadelphia tradition. (with a semi-deranged laugh) Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
Helen, do you see what your ill humor has spawned?
And why shouldn't our children learn about napalm, if we plan to move here? Don't you want them to help when we tidy up the backyard?
GINGOLD (clapping his hands)
Hermione! I've got a great idea! Let's go out back and push barrels into the sinkhole!
Yeah! Then we can take turns hittin' `em with those gasoline cans! Come on!
(HERMIONE and GINGOLD gleefully rush
out through the hack door.)
Don't fret about the twins -- I'll keep them out of harm's way, while you two ponder one of life's major decisions.
(PORTICO heads towards the back door and registers
shock at what she sees the twins doing.)
Not on the derrick, children! Not on the derrick!
(PORTICO exits in a run, with tiny mincing steps.)
I'll be examining your exterior flashings -- major and minor -- for carbonic acid corrosion.
Yes, do check all those flashers, large and small.
Thanks, Mr. Tedesco.
(TEDESCO heads towards the back door carrying
his supply box, then registers alarm at what he
Hey! Stay offa those joist-beam overhangs!
(Exit TEDESCO. His voice is heard from outside.)
They're of dubious integrity!
(A creaking, cracking noise is heard,
followed by a loud crash. HUBIE and HELEN hold
their heads. PORTICO speaks sing-song from offstage.)
Just some minor scratch-es!
(HUBIE rests his arms on his hips and gazes
around the place with satisfaction.)
Yup. This place could really be something.
A toxic waste dump?
Oh, it'll take some work and'll cost a few shekels.
(HELEN approaches HUBIE.)
Hubie, tell me why. Why?
You really want to know?
Of course I want to know. Why should we take our precious savings and put it into a wrecked house in a questionable neighborhood?
(HELEN paces, rubbing her forehead.)
An up and coming neighborhood.
Honestly now, darling! Have you taken a serious look at the work involved?
There're a few million repairs needed. And we won't be able to contract out
all of it.
(HUBIE paces and puffs with exasperation
Well, sweetheart. To be honest with you -- and I've always been honest
(HELEN hugs HUBIE from the side.)
I know you have.
To be honest, I don't know sometimes... have these...doubts.
Don't you see? We can nourish then together.
There's a voice I hear in the back of my head at the oddest times -- like when I'm shaving. (in a hissing whisper) "Hubert! If you buy this house, you're a stupid ass!"
(HELEN is thrilled. But HUBIE's
mood switches to jollity.)
But soon after like if I read a juicy real estate article -- my head fills with dreams! DREAMS of floor sanders... (makes a whirring sound)... and shop-vacs (makes a vacuum sound) whipping this great old house into a genuine Renaissance! Don't you see it, cupcake?
(HELEN sits, HUBIE parades and struts.)
Hubie, did I miss an issue of Philadelphia Magazine? Is this the smart thing to do these days? I don't know -- is Lower Brogenberg the next South Street?
Helen, once we have this baby in shape, our lifestyle'll be incredible. The mortgage is only two-eighteen a month! The money we'll save'll make all the difference. Think of it -- membership in the Philadelphia Cricket Club, box seats at the symphony and opera, Givenchy dresses for you -- five or six at a time!
Oh-ho! And that's not the half of it -- there's a lot in it for all of us...You know how much you like quail eggs and lobster tails?
Well, with the money we're gonna save on rent, you'll be eating them so often, you'll retch!!
HELEN (smiling, still doubtful)
And that magenta Lanborghini you fell in love with at that Cherry Hill
We'll take delivery in April,
Then there'll be those weekends we'll share in Monte Carlo, and the chateau in the south of France that we'll buy. Oh, if you don't mind, I'll splurge for that five thousand dollar TV projection system with quadraphonic Dolby I've seen wanting for the living room.
Our living room? Come on now, you know we don't admit to television.
Silly! We'll hide it with our retracting Picasso mural.
(HELEN is at first thrilled, then torn.)
But isn't all this so... so crass and material? Honey, what's becoming of us?
We're simply upgrading our values.
I didn't know you could upgrade values!
Of course, These days you can trade in a VCR, refinance a mortgage...honey,
where've you been? This isn't 1969.
I know. Lord, I know. But did we ever talk about money so much before?
HUBIE (standing back, arms akimbo)
How many times've I told you!
Oh, I keep forgetting. Money is spiritual.
That's right. Now do you remember how I explained it to you?
(HUBIE pulls up a seat or carton and sits next to HELEN.)
HEL-LEN - helen - helen - helen - helen.. All right. When you transfer funds
from savings to checking at the banking machine, do you see anything move?
No. But there are electrons flowing, and--
(HUBIE pulls a $5 bill from his wallet.)
Forget that. Look. What can this five dollar bill buy?
Oh, I don't know -- nail polish?
Okay, But is this nail polish itself? Or does it just represent future nail polish like a soul represents a body, see? They're both insubstantial, abstract, but very, very real.
Well, I do feel better about it now.. But still, this house?
Yes, this house. Will you trust me?
(HELEN strolls away, contemplating, HUBIE seems defeated.)
Do you know what I'm thinking?
Sweetheart, after fifteen years I still haven't mastered that trick.
I'm thinking that when I wanted to put our IRA in Oppenheimer Growth
and you wanted Southern Utilities, you went along with me.
I suppose I did.
(HELEN starts massaging HUBIE's neck from behind him.)
And when I wanted to quit hospital administration and open that Sensuous Sushi Bar down on South Street, you encouraged me.
(HELEN kisses HUBIE on the cheek.)
How could I deny your self-actualization?
You couldn't, you doll.
Hell, if you can't self-actualize what can you do in this world?
(HELEN kisses HUBIE on the cheek again.)
And even after I realized that sushi makes me nauseous and changed my mind, I was really impressed. I mean -- you supported me.
Hey, remember that display tank? The sea cucumber?
And that randy anemone. God, Jacques Cousteau would've blushed! And it's not just that. Like last Christmas, do you remember how well you took it when I asked you to return my gift?
That hurt. I'd always dreamed of you in a lace teddy with a snap crotch.
(HELEN drapes her arms around HUBIE.)
But darling, you know I'm allergic to Velcro!
(HUBIE kisses HELEN's hand.)
I know it hurt, but you were so good about it. So maybe. -
(HELEN strolls about, on the brink of a decision.)
Just maybe I owe you this -- now DON'T hold me to it. I'm just thinking
(TEDESCO and PORTICO storm in, riding in
the shopping cart, which is pushed by HERMIONE
and GINGOLD. All are grinning. PORTICO and
TEDESCO emerge from the cart.)
Lotta fun ya got back there. Lotta liability, but lotta fun.
(HERMIONE and GINGOLD begin playing "Superman,"
by jumping off a table or sofa onto the floor, and back
onto chairs. They play through the following dialog.)
HERMIONE (to HELEN)
This place is fresh `n exciting, Mom. Could you buy it?
GINGOLD (to HUBIE)
Yeah, Dad. Mr. Tedesco says we could have a swell tine arc-welding those... those...things out back. (to TEDESCO) What do you call them?
TEDESCO (handing a report to HUBIE)
Tractor-trailer chassis. Here's my report, by the way -- and my repair estimates. Like my Dad used ta say, "With enough dough, there ain't nothin' can't be fixed."
(HUBIE takes the estimate, scans it,)
Looks fine to me.
Hubie, you know you can't do any of that work yourself! Honestly, honey,
can you even repair plaster?
It may surprise you to know that I've already subscribed to the Time-Life
Handyman videocassette series. They even teach you how to patch and speckle.
May I see that estimate?
(HUBIE hesitantly turns it over to HELEN.)
Thirty-five thousand dollars in repairs!!
Don't forget how little the house will go for.
(HELEN sits, takes a hit of whiskey from a
flask she pulls from her purse and rests her
head in her hand.)
Thirty-five-thousand of our spiritual dollars. Hubie, help me. I'm getting cold feet, frozen feet.......
(HELEN stretches out her legs on a nearby chair,
tries to massage some life into them. HUBIE comes
over and assists.)
...and arms...and head.
Remember our relaxation response...Breathe out...Yves. (ee-yuh)
HELEN (breathing audibly)
HUBIE (exhaling heavily)
HELEN (breathing heavily)
TEDESCO (suddenly recalling something)
Oh! `Scuse me. I forgot to test that load-bearing member.
(TEDESCO goes to the second floor.)
PORTICO (to HELEN)
What you're going through is natural whenever we face one of life's big moments, dear. Now there are a few things we should all discuss together, if you don't mind, especially since you've never bought a home before.
(TEDESCO leaps as high as he can.)
(TEDESCO comes crashing down on the 2nd story landing
floor, smashes through it partially, leaving his
leg dangling in the living room.)
Not bad, not bad.
(TEDESCO has trouble extricating his leg and makes
grunting noises as his leg flails wildly.)
How did you say Mr. Tedesco was recommended to you?
Frank Malone, down at the office. He said he was even better and inspecting and exterminating than he was at his main job.
(HELEN slumps back in her seat, holding her forehead.)
I feel a migraine coming on.
He is a bit rococo, isn't he.
Ya got some structural weakness up here, but I think I caught it in time.
(PORTICO pulls up a seat. TEDESCO removes his leg
from the bole, continues inspecting. HERMIONE
whispers in GINGOLD's ear. Then GINGOLD runs upstairs
and begins playing peek-a-boo through the hole
in the floor with HERMIONE, who laughs each time.)
Now at settlement, there are a few trifles to take care of. There's your recording fee, title insurance, realty transfer tax, notary fee, mortgage application fee, credit report fee--
(The kids pile up chairs and climb them,
playing King of the Mountain.)
But we have good credit.
I'm sure. But is the bank! Ha! HA! Ha! You know how suspicious bankers are! Then there's the appraisal fee, the year's real estate tax in escrow, the private mortgage insurance, and the conveyance fee. But there's a silver lining in all of this.
(GINGOLD descends, runs towards the couch,
shouting to HERMIONE:)
Beat ya to the couch!
It's a divan!
(HERMIONE and GINGOLD fly
into the couch and rebound off. )
HELEN (to PORTICO)
Now what's that silver lining -- free burial?
Ha! Droll! The conveyance fee, you see, already includes your title insurance ordering fee, your deed preparation charges and termite and chinch-bug inspection certifications. So you don't have to worry about those any more.
Mom, what's a chinch-bug?
Heavens if I know! But they do appear every 13th year except at the turn of a century...and this is Numero 13!... And that's all. Not so bad now, was it?
(TEDESCO descends to the first floor.)
If by reason of temporary insanity we decide to go through with this will the bank approve our loan? What if I get caught first holding up a liquor store?
All of my clients are approved. I have a direct tie-in with the good folks down at Honeydew National Bank. It's by computer. I punch you in in the morning, and by evening they punch you out!
Oh, the best. Plus, I can get preferred rates for you.
(PORTICO winks. HUBIE holds HELEN's hand.)
Honey? Those doubts...you still have them? Even itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny
Does Mike Schmidt think about his doubts when he's up against Dwight Gooden? No! He takes his cuts. And I feel like swingin' for the fences!
HELEN (relenting, but feeling weak)
Well...if you're sure...
Then we'll take it! Well kids, like your new home?
(HELEN faints. HUBIE fails to notice.)
HERMIONE and GINGOLD
(HERMIONE and GINGOLD link arms
and dance around and around in a circle,
We can play in the du-ump! We can play in the du-ump!
Honey, they love it! Honey? Honey?
(HUBIE shakes HELEN. GINGOLD checks her pulse.
HERMIONE gets behind HELEN and grasps her around
I'll Heimlich her, just like Bert did to Cookie Monster!
What could she be gagging on?
(PORTICO finds a smelling salt capsule in her
pocketbook and snaps it under HELEN's nose,
I usually save these for closings.
(HELEN continues to come to. TEDESCO crouches,
holds one of her hands and shakes it enthusiastically.)
Let me be the first ta extend my heartfelt congratulations. As Father
Baldicci (Bal-DEE-chee) used to say, "Novun osculatum naturem hoc
Your Latin sounds so lovely! I'll have to say that to all my homebuyers, if you'll pardon the larceny Mr. Tedesco. What does it mean, exactly?
There's a sucker born every minute. (slaps his knee) Love that Father Baldicci. Just kiddin', by the way. A excellent property is what ya got here. They's all got a few DEE-fects, let's face it. But ya know? It just adds up to money an' time. Money an' time's all it is. (preparing to leave) Good luck to ya's.
My God, how are we going to handle this, Hubie? Aren't you the teeniest
Scared? Ha! Ha!..(suddenly serious) Sweetheart, I'm scareder than
an albino in Aruba.
But you can handle your fear. Not me.
We can handle it. Come here, darling.
(HUBIE places his arm around HELEN's shoulders,
drawing her to him. Both face the audience. HUBIE
gestures broadly with his free arm.)
There cones a time in the affairs of men and women when Courage, Sobriety, and Sheeer Pluck join together to form a new, unstoppable force...
And what's that, dear?
Chutzpah. And we've got it!
(HERMIONE and GINGOLD look at each other in
wild-eyed merriment, getting in a crouch.)
HERMIONE and GINGOLD
Chutzpah? (throwing back their heads) Ha! Ha! Ha!
(HERMIONE and GINGOLD link arms and
dance around and around in a circle, singing:)
We ha-ave chutzpah! We ha-ave chutzpah! We ha-ave chutzpah!