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Strange Snow

Strange Snow premiered at The Manhattan Theatre Club in 1982. It was directed by Thamos Bullard. The film, JACKNIFE, with Robert De Niro and Ed Harris, is based on the play.

Dawn. A porch, a kitchen, a living room. The sense of a house. Stairs lead to a second floor.
Megs enters onto the porch. He looks in the window for signs of life. Nothing. He bangs on the door.
MEGS
Riuse and shine, you sweet bear! It’s time! The fishy-wishies are waitin’ for us like whores in heat and we’re the drunkest sailors on the block! Hah!? Hah!?
Nothing. He comes off the porch and looks upstairs.
MEGS
Wake up you great fool, we’re going to dance on Charlie the Tuna’s grave!
Nothing. He moves back to the porch. He tries the door. It’s open. He quietly enters.
MEGS
Davey? You up or what, big guy? Hello? Rise and shine. Bed is for lovers or invalids, huh? Davey? Yo, Davey, you awake?
Martha comes down the stairs. She is carrying an old golf club. They see one another at the same time.
MARTHA
Ah!
She swings the club. He dodges and retreats to and out the door.
MEGS
Hey! Hey!
MARTHA
Stop it! Stop that noise! Stop it!
She locks the door and glares at Megs through the panes of glass in the kitchen door.
MARTHA
If I have to come out there, you’ll be sorry. I know how to use this.
He grins.
MEGS
Well, hey there, little lady. Nice mornin’, huh? Kinda cold for golf though. Dark too. You always go golfin’ in your p.j.’s? You got mudcleats in them slippers?
She moves to the phone.
MEGS
Hey, who you callin’? You’re going to wake’m up.
MARTHA
I’m calling the police.
MEGS
Why you callin’ the police, woman?
MARTHA
I suggest you run. The police will come and they’ll arest you.
MEGS
Why would they want to do that?
MARTHA
Yes, hello, is this the police?
(for Megs’ benefit)
I’d like to report a disturbane.
MEGS
Hey, come on, I’m no disturbance. I’m a friend of Davey’s!
MARTHA
David?
MEGS
Dave Flanagan. This is his place, isn’t it?
MARTHA
David is in bed. At this hour most people are. You’d have a very good reason for making such a raquet.
MEGS
(grinning)
I wake you?
MARTHA
Of course you woke me, you scared me to death.
MEGS
I’m a buddy a’ Davey’s.
MARTHA
I’ve never seen you before.
MEGS
I’ve never been invited. But I’m a friend. Honest.
MARTHA
Yes, hello, are you still there? Could you please send a squad car to -
MEGS
No, wait, listen! You must be Davey’s sister, Martha.
MARTHA
I don’t know you!
MEGS
I feel like I know you! Davey talked about you all the time. Said you’re swell.
MARTHA
(a moment)
Nevermind.
She hangs up the phone. She moves to the door, unlocks it and opens it a crack. Megs stikcs a hand in.
MEGS
Joe Megessey. Everybody calls me Megs.
MARTHA
(as if it’s a bad taste)
Megs.
MEGS
That’s my name, don’t wear it out!
MARTHA
It’s a riciculous name.
MEGS
Ain’t it.
HE PUSHES THE DOOR OPEN JUST A LITLE.
MEGS
Your brother and me, see, we’re goin’ fishin’.
MARTHA
Fishing.
MEGS
It’s opening day!
MARTHA
Riciculous. The sun’s not even up.
MEGS
(entering a little more)
Exactly! See, those trout’ll be so bleary-eyed, they’ll think our nightcrawlers are filet mignon. They’ll go for’m. Pow! And you know what we’ll do, Martha? We’ll bring them home here and cook’m up for your dinner. What do you think a’ that?
MARTHA
I think you’re an absolute fool.
She retreats, allowing him to fully enter. She turns on lights.
MEGS
No-o! It’s opening day! The luck is rollin’ off me in waves. Smell! Perfume, huh?
MARTHA
Don’t come near me, you smell like dirt.
MEGS
No! Nightcrawlers!
He displays a plastic baggy filled with worms.
MEGS
Hey, Martha. You want to come?
MARTHA
What? Where?
MEGS
Fishin’! I bet there’s a rainbow that long just waitin’ with your name on it. M-A-R-T-H-A!
MARTHA
Riciculous.
MEGS
No! Listen. What say you go upstairs and give your brother a poke in the breadbasket. Get him on down here.
MARTHA
I will not. I’ll have youknow I was until two in the morning correcting papers.
MEGS
Hey, no you weren’t. On a Friday night?
MARTHA
Every night.
MEGS
Hah! I bet you was out hellaballooin’ under the moon! I bet you got home five minutes ago and threw on that robe to fool me!
MARTHA
You are preposterous!
MEGS
Ya can’t fool me, woman! Ya got moonburns on your cheeks like roses!
MARTHA
I do not!
MEGS
Do!
MARTHA
Be quiet!
MEGS
Openin’ day, Martha!
He grabs her up and dances her around the furniture.

He twirls Martha into a chair and ends up on top of her.
MEGS
Skip to the lue, my darlin’!
He rises. She leaps up.
MEGS
Uh - thank you, mam! Dancing with the Stars better look out! Yeah... Uh, you think Davey’s up yet?
MARTHA
Joseph. I don’t think Davie remembered he made a date to go fishing with you.
MEGS
Opening day!?
MARTHA
He wasn’t home when I wqent to bed at two.
MEGS
Naw, he musta remembered.
(yelling upstairs)
C’mon guy! I got my waders in the car.
(then:)
God, it’s good to meet you, Martha. Davey, he talked about you all the time, said you’re swell. Hey, has he ever metnioned me to you?
MARTHA
I’d remember if he had.
MEGS
(grinning)
Yeah.
(then, as she yawns)
Would you look at me keepin’ you up! You oughta be in dreamland, restin’ up for goodl ol’ Saturday night! Don’t you worry about me. I’ll sit right here and wait. Go. Go back to bed.
He sits. He “waits”. Pause.
MARTHA
All right. I’ll tell him you’re here. He won’t like it. He hates being woken up.
(pause)
He throws alarm clocks though windows.
Pause. She turns comes back with the intention of asking Megs to leave.
MARTHA
I’m not going to do it. He’ll take it out on me the rest of the day -
There is the sound of a toilet flushing upstairs. Megs leaps up.
MEGS
Somebody’s up! I heard something flushin’ down the drain. Let’s hope it’s not last night’s dinner.
(calling)
Bout time, dude! Let’s get a move on! I’m boring your poor sister to death!
MARTHA
(shaking her head)
Why don’t I get coffee on. You’ll probably both need it.
MEGS
Hey, I’m fine.
MARTHA
Let me put it this way. David is going to need it.
MEGS
Don’t go to any trouble.
MARTHA
I assure you, I won’t. I’m up. I’m an early riser.
She moves to the kitchen. He follows.
MEGS
Hey, know something? Me too. Up With the milkman every day.
Martha prepares coffee.
MEGS
Listen, you do coffee and then Davey and I’ll go. I got food and drink in the car. I planned ahead. We are gonna eat better’n turkeys on the first of November. Osmosis, see. The trout are gonna feel it in the air that we are fat and happy and they’re gonna be so jealous they’ll be chompin’ on air bubbles. Hey! Look at this.
He takes what looks like a large, brightly colored dustball from his pocket. He puts it ceremoniously on the table.
MARTHA
What is it?
MEGS
It’s a fly. I tied it myself. Ya like it?
MARTHA
It’s colorful.
MEGS
Oh, goddamn, it is that, ain’t it. I figure it’ll either drive a fish mad with passion or scare’m half to death. Lotta hair and all of it cowlicks. Sorta like you.
MARTHA
(hands going to her hair)
What? Oh... it’s a mess, isn’t it.
MEGS
Oh, no, Martha. It’s fine, just fine...
(a moment)
I wonder what’s keepin’ that big guy. Think I oughta go bounce on his belly?
MARTHA
I don’t think that would be a wise idea. Joseph... there are beercans in the wastebasket. David’s discards. From last night. Before he went out.
He nudges the wastebasket. Cans rattle.
MEGS
From last night? He forgot, didn’t he.
MARTHA
I’m afraid so.
MEGS
Yeah, well... it’s okay. My fault. My dumb mistake.
He starts towards the door.
MARTHA
Joseph -
MEGS
No! Davey’s a busy guy, here there and back again. Who has time for fishin’.
(then:)
Hey, it’s been real good to meet you, Martha. I’m sorry I woke you up. I’ll let myself out.
He starts to exit.
MARTHA
Joseph... This is ridiculous but... he’s had hangovers before.
(and then:)
DAVID!? DAVID! GET UP THIS MINUTE! YOU’RE GOING FISHING!
MEGS
You think he heard?
MARTHA
I’m sure the whole neighborhood did.
MEGS
GET YOUR BUTT IN GEAR, GUY! PULL ON SOME DRAWERS AND PUT SOME DOUBLE KNOTS IN YOUR SNEAKERS! WE’VE GOTTO CATCH A TROUT FOR MARTHA’S DINNER!
MARTHA
YOU’VE GOT TO CATCH A TROUT FOR MY DINNER!
MEGS
You like trout, do ya?
MARTHA
I’ve never had them.
MEGS
I’ve never caught’m but there’s a first time for everything.
MARTHA
I’m sure there’s a recipe in one of my cookbooks.
MEGS
You fry’m! You dump’m in corn flower ande then whip’m into bacon grease and they come out brown and tasty!
MARTHA
If you catch them - and clean them - I’ll cook them.
MEGS
Ho! You’re on, Martha! There’s one sittin’ under a log waitin’ for us and you know what? It’s got your name right across the rainbow. M - A - R - T - H - A!
And he sweepts her up and they dance again.

And she breaks into helpless giggles. Dave enters. He is in boxer shorts and is horribly hung over. Martha and Megs stop at the sight of him.
DAVID
What in hell is goin’ on?