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Act Two

December 3, 2019

Act One is here

 

Scene: Harper, Alex, Will, and Amy Ray sit around Menetre's dinner table, which is set with Thanksgiving dinner. She enters with the turkey on a platter and sets it in the center in front of Will. He begins to carve. 

 

ALEX: Everything looks delicious, Ms. Delahoussaye. 

 

AMY RAY: Nobody calls her "Ms. Delahoussaye," Alex. The proper form of address down here is "Miss Menetre."

 

HARPER: Mama's been up baking since 4 AM. Her coffee shop downstairs sells enough homemade cinnamon rolls on Thanksgiving and Christmas mornings to keep her bookstore in business all year. 

 

Amy Ray and Will exchange glances.

 

ALEX: Well we'll have to take some of those back to D.C. with us then, won't we!

 

MENETRE (passing stuffing to Alex): Oyster dressing? 

 

Alex forces an uncomfortable smile as he accepts the serving plate, then passes it on. 

 

MENETRE: Does Harper Lee cook for you, Alex? 

 

HARPER: We mostly order in, Mama. The hours we work don't leave much time for things like cooking dinner. 

 

AMY RAY: Well don't let her fool you, Alex. Harper Lee's a very good cook. 

 

MENETRE: Taught her everything I know. 

 

ALEX (to Harper): Ohh, you can make me some of those cinnamon rolls then! 

 

HARPER: Will, is your office closed tomorrow? 

 

WILL: Thanks to this one. (head nod to Amy Ray)  She insists on a long holiday weekend and she knows I'm helpless to run the place without her. 

 

HARPER: Well good for you, Amy Ray. You'll turn my brother into a well-rounded human yet! So what are everyone's plans for tomorrow? 

 

WILL: I'm going to help Mother around the shop. 

 

ALEX: You do a big Black Friday business? 

 

MENETRE: Well I don't have people rioting for Ernest Hemingway, if that's what you mean, but folks around here get out for some holiday shopping. Southerners love to buy Christmas gifts for literally everyone they've ever met. 

 

ALEX: And books? Are southerners still buying actual books? 

 

Everyone sits stunned for a second, unsure what to say.

 

HARPER: Of course, Alex. We're...traditionalists. And we support each other around town. 

 

ALEX: That whole "buy local" effort was made for shops like yours, eh Miss Menetre? 

 

WILL: We don't need a marketing campaign to teach us how to treat our neighbors, Alex. 

 

AMY RAY: Harper Lee and I are going to engage in some neighborly support of our own tomorrow. (To Harper:) I thought maybe we could stop in at Sugar Cane's? 

 

HARPER: Sugar Cane's? I thought that was just baby clothes?

 

Amy Ray and Will look at each other and smile. 

 

AMY RAY: Exactly. 

 

Aaaah! Everyone hugs and congratulates Will and Amy Ray. 

 

********

Scene: Black Friday morning. Harper and Amy Ray are browsing in a baby boutique. The bell on the shop door tinkles and a man enters. 

 

BEAU: Well if it isn't Harper Lee Delahoussaye. Don't tell me the politicos took the holiday off and let you come home for Thanksgiving. 

 

HARPER: Beau? Beau Bergeron? Or am I supposed to call you "Coach" now? 

 

BEAU (indicating the baby clothes): You doing some Christmas shopping for someone or you got an announcement you've come home to make? 

 

HARPER: No, no announcements from me. Christmas shopping. (She rolls her eyes toward Amy Ray.) I'm not sure my brother and Amy Ray are ready to make their announcement either. I just found out last night. 

 

BEAU: Well congratulations, Auntie! 

 

HARPER: What about you? Are you picking something up for Beau Junior? 

 

BEAU: Haha no. Mother had some dresses monogrammed for Delta's twins. I'm just picking them up for her. 

 

HARPER: How old are your nieces now? 

 

BEAU: They're three. 

 

HARPER: Oh, I bet they're precious. 

 

BEAU: Well I'm biased but yeah, they're pretty much the most adorable little girls ever. 

 

HARPER: Well don't let me hold you up. Far be it from me to keep Miss Tommie from her grandchildren's smocking. It was nice to see you, Beau. 

 

BEAU: Good to see you, too, Harper Lee. You look good. Merry Christmas. 

 

HARPER: Merry Christmas. 

 

********

 

Scene: Black Friday afternoon. Harper and Amy Ray enter Miss Melba's diner carrying shopping bags. Will is sitting alone at a table. He stands as they approach and they place their bags in an empty chair. 

 

HARPER (sitting): Well this is fun! Thanks for coming out to have lunch with us! Where's Alex? 

 

WILL: He was working upstairs back at Mother's when I left. Which is better, really, because I wanted a chance for us to talk. 

 

Harper looks back and forth between Will and Amy Ray. 

 

HARPER: What is it? Something's wrong. Something's wrong with the baby??

 

WILL: No, no. Amy Ray and the baby are both great. It's not that. 

 

HARPER: Well what is it then? Is it Mama? 

 

AMY RAY: It's your mama's shop, Harper. 

 

HARPER (groans): Oh no...I knew this had to be coming. Is she broke? 

 

WILL: No, not broke. But business is...flat. She's been conservative with her savings, and along with Daddy's insurance money, she has enough to protect her. Mostly, I think she's just tired, Sissy. Like Miss Melba...she just doesn't want to do it anymore. 

 

Harper looks deflated. 

 

HARPER: This is not the news I wanted to come home to at Thanksgiving. 

 

WILL: I know, but she's been talking about this for a while and I couldn't keep you in the dark any longer. 

 

HARPER: She's not closing down Sound & Fury, is she? We grew up in that shop. It'd be like getting rid of our childhood home. I couldn't stand it! 

 

WILL: I'm not sure she could stand that, either, Sissy. She really wants to sell the place if she can, so that it can live on. 

 

HARPER: Does she have a buyer? 

 

WILL: We...don't have any offers yet. 

 

HARPER: But there's interest, right? 

 

Harper looks searchingly back and forth between Will and Amy Ray. 

 

WILL: Harper, I have my own business to run. I can't take over Mother's shop. And Amy Ray will barely be able to help me part-time once the baby gets here. 

 

HARPER: Well I have my own career, too! And it is not in Delphine Parish, Will! 

 

WILL: Harper Lee, Mama's gonna close down the shop if she can't sell it by the end of the year. 

 

End scene on Harper's face. 

 

Fade to black. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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