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       Neighbors - The Lawyer and the Pig Farmer, p.1
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           David Heyman
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Neighbors - The Lawyer and the Pig Farmer
Neighbors

  The Lawyer and the Pig Farmer

  ~

  David C. Heyman

  Copyright 2010, David C. Heyman

  Table of Contents

  Synopsis

  Cast of Characters

  Act 1, Scene 1

  Act 1, Scene 2

  Act 1, Scene 3

  Act 2, Scene 1

  Act 2, Scene 2

  Act 2, Scene 3

  Act 3, Scene 1

  Act 3, Scene 2

  Act 3, Scene 3

  Act 3, Scene 4

  Synopsis

  Neighbors is a three-act play suggested for presentation on a raised stage in front of the audience. The scenes are inside the lawyer Desanto's home, and one scene inside the farmer Solomon's home. One scene, involving a couple, takes place in a pick-up truck in the woods on a nearly-dark stage.

  Duke and Gretchen Desantos, with their two teen-aged children, Lisa and Greg, are city people turned rural, who have lived for six years on a twenty-acre lot surrounded by rich woodland and wild animals. As a practicing attorney, Duke boasts of his accomplishments protecting the environment, while in reality he furthers his own selfish interests. Gretchen loves her home, but her husband rarely thinks of anything but his work. She misses city life and suffers from loneliness.

  Thirteen-year old Lisa loves deer, especially the fawn that sleeps next to the garage. Greg is fifteen and his spirits rise, when he finds out Holly Solomon, a 'hot' girl in his classes is coming to see the deer with Lisa.

  Holly is the daughter of Billy and Esther Solomon who live in an older home next door situated on 500 acres. The two families have not been friendly, probably because Duke forced the Solomons to quit raising pigs. Duke has a plan for the entire neighborhood to deal as a unit with gas exploration companies. All he needs is for the Solomons to join the corporation which he expects to head.

  Dina, Gretchen's sister and previously Duke's sectretary, and her husband, Fred, come to visit. A neighborhood meeting, with politicians included, takes place at the Desantos' home. The Solomons put off joining the group, but Gretchen becomes enamored by Billy, who is handsome and intelligent. Esther appears nice, but plain. Fred, too, is an attorney and Duke enlists him in his causes, including a project he has been working on for windmills on Bear Mountain. He claims that with Fred's law association representing Bear Mountain Township, and with him working for Oakstone Electric Corp., there would be no conflict of interest.

  The subject of safety from animals and robbers comes up at the meeting. While jogging, Duke and Fred see a black bear and a large road-killed snake. Fred decides to buy a rifle for protection. He pays no attention to warnings that he should get safety lessons from a qualified person and he cannot wait to try out the rifle. He fires it into the woods from his doorway. Lisa is afraid the deer will be frightened. Duke's shoulder is in pain from the recoil of the rifle. Billy, Dina, and Gretchen try to help.

  Gretchen says she has never seen the herd of deer along the access road to both properties, and Billy offers to take her to spot the deer at night. Dina sees the offer as a bid for Billy to be alone with Gretchen. Knowing Duke, she advises her sister to go ahead. The encounter takes place in Billy's truck on the dark access road while spotting deer. The stage is set with headlights only and the voices seem to come from an intercom.

  Holly is visiting Lisa, when she hears her father disparage Billy. She feels indignant and furious and runs home crying with Greg chasing her through the woods. Gretchen follows, hoping to make Holly feel better. A little later, Duke and Fred follow, with Duke taking his rifle for protection. Duke trips in the woods and he accidentally fires his gun into a window of the Solomon's house. Esther calls the police.

  The confrontation with the police ends with Duke, Fred, and Dina being taken to the police station. However, they are soon released. At home, Duke finally faces his own ego.

  Cast of Characters

  1. Duke Desantos - a lawyer politician who represents green causes

  2. Gretchen Desantos - Duke's wife, 39 years old

  3. Greg Desantos - Desantos' 15-year-old son

  4. Lisa Desantos - Desantos'' 13-year-old daughter

  5. Mark Silverstein - County Commissioner

  6. Lester Leonard - President of Homesteader's Association

  7. Billy Solomon - the farmer next door

  8. Esther Solomon - Billy's wife

  9. Jesus Hernandez - Solicitor

  10. Honey Solomon - Solomons' 15 year-old daughter

  11. Dina Already - sister of Gretchen Desantos

  12. Fred Already - Dina's husband

  13. Farmer one

  14. Farmer two

  15. Policeman 1

  16. Policeman 2

  17. Homeowner

  ACT 1, SCENE 1

  A modern suburban home. The lighted stage front is a view of the Desantos' living room. The main outside entrance is at the right front. It is kept dark until the doorbell rings. Then the light comes on. There could be a ramp or a short set of steps to the front entrance. (To save stage space). At the darkened right rear is the door to the attached garage. At upstage left are two large French doors opening into the kitchen garden. On the right, next to the garage entry is a stairway to upstairs bedrooms.

  At mid-stage is a free-standing fireplace with a flue rising to the peak of the beamed ceiling. At rear are two living room walls, through which daylight can be seen, and modern windows with rich drapes. In front of the right wall are a contemporary sofa and chair and a coffee table. Two similar chairs are in front of the left wall. Duke's desk is down stage with enough space for him to pace back and forth.

  The front door chime sounds again, the front outside light turns on, (motion detector) and there is a figure at the door. Lisa, a skinny thirteen-year old dressed in short shorts and a T-shirt runs across the stage to the door.

  Lisa: “I'm coming, Honey!”

  Greg: Appearing from the kitchen backstage. “Honey? The girl next door? She's here?” He sweeps his hair back with his hand. “Wow!”

  Lisa: “We're going to look for the fawn that sleeps behind our garage with his mother.”

  Greg: ”Dad doesn't like the Solomons very much. Too bad, because Honey is on of the hottest girls in my class.”

  Lisa: “Stop drooling! She's a nice girl. I talked to her in school. And she loves deer, just like I do. Who says we have to like the same people our parents like? I told Honey about the fawn and she wanted to see it.” The front entranceway (motion detector) brightens as she opens the door.

  “Hi, Honey. Come in.”

  Honey is a gorgeous fifteen-year-old blonde in short shorts and a T-shirt.

  Honey: “Thanks for inviting me. I'd love to see the fawn.”

  Greg: Gets up the nerve to interrupt. “Hi, Honey!” he says.

  Honey: “Hello, Greg. Haven't I seen you in school?”

  Greg: With a shy smile. “Of course. We're in the same geometry class.”

  Honey: “Are you good in geometry? I could use help with my homework.”

  Greg: “Yes. I'm great at geometry.” He thinks it over. “Maybe, not great, but I'll be glad to help you.”

  Honey: 'Good. It would be nice to have somebody to study with.”

  Greg: Smiles happily, and Honey turns back to Lisa.

  Honey: “What a beautiful home you have! It's so bright and cheerful - and so modern! With a white fireplace in the center of the room. How cool!”

  Lisa: “Our house is six years old. My Mom designed everything on the inside.”

  Honey: “It must be nice to have modern parents. My parents are OK, but they're old-fashioned. Our house is a plain old far
m house. And my Dad built most of the furniture himself. Our fireplace is brick and covered with soot. What does your Dad do?”

  Lisa: “He's a lawyer, and he's very important. He protects the environment.”

  Honey: “From what?”

  Lisa: “From nasty big companies, like the ones that wanted to scrape the top off Bear Mountain to put up windmills. He had to work hard to keep Bear Mountain green. My Dad should have been in that movie we saw in school, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ by what’s-his-name, who used to be Vice-President.”

  Honey: “That's one of those old guys, Al somebody or other. My Dad thinks some of what the environmental people say is not logical, and that we should wait for better evidence.”

  Lisa: “But ‘Global Warming’ is true, and my father thinks we have to do something about it!”

  Honey: “My Dad reads a lot, and some weather people say there is a chance that the earth is going into a cooling period. But you are really lucky to have a father who knows about those things. My Dad is just a farmer. In fact, we used to raise pigs.”

  Lisa: “I've heard that before. Some day you will have to tell me more about raising pigs. Are they fun?”

  Honey: “Not exactly.”

  Lisa: “Come on. Let's look for the fawn.” Lisa reaches for a wall switch. The entranceway dims and the door to the garage brightens.

  Greg: Re-entering the room smiling. “I'll go with you. I want to see the fawn, too.”

  Lisa is ready to lead them through the right rear door to the garage. But they hesitate as Duke enters and paces back and forth at front stage, in an agitated manner. He keeps his eye on the children, and when they are gone, he speaks to the audience. He looks as though he is rehearsing an address to a jury.

  Duke: Clears his throat. “It's my job to protect the environment. It's your job to help me! Do I not express what you feel and know to be true? Your concerns are my concerns. Some of you have been part of the green movement and know what we have accomplished together. Think of what would have happened on Bear Mountain, if we had not united and fought the evil corporation that threatened to destroy it! The same thing that happens in West Virginia now, when they dynamite the tops of mountains to get to the coal below! And they fill the valleys and river beds with mountain debris! But you are lucky. You have me!”

  Duke looks out at the audience. “Some of you have read about me in newspapers, like the ‘Daily Webb.’ My photo has been sent all over the country. And I don't mean on a ‘Wanted Poster’--- (He laughs to himself) -but as a ground-breaking environmentalist. Pardon the pun. I wouldn't be surprised if the Governor picks me to head a state agency, like the EPA, or the Watershed Society, or the Minerals and Resources Department, or the State Park Commission, or the Department of Energy, or the State Department of Energy Resources. There's a wonderful group of bureaucracies, and I know how to tweak them! A dream job. I'll be able to do what I'm trained to do: investigate polluters, reprimand big companies, and scare the hell out of people I find are evil doers—because that's what you want me to do!”

  The phone rings. Greg walks back in to answer it.

  Greg: “It's for you, Dad.” He hands the phone to Duke and walks back out the garage door.

  Duke: Makes sure the children are gone. He answers, “The last 500 acres are as good as ours. The owner, whom I know a little, is a pig farmer. Pig farmers may know how to raise pigs, but not much else. He's clueless.

  “And I mean that. Without-a-clue! You will meet him at my place. (Pause as he listens).

  “I plan to keep my proposal simple. I don't want to bewilder our guests, but if I have to, I'll baffle them with bullshit. No. No. Office meetings are no good at all for this sort of thing. They attract reporters and secretaries who can't keep secrets, or other riff-raff. You can't do anything at Town Hall anymore.” He looks up as Lisa and Honey enter.

  Duke: “Silverstein. I'll talk to you later. Don't forget our meeting tomorrow morning.” He turns to the girls. “Who is this?”

  Lisa: “This is Honey. She lives next door.”

  Honey: “Hello, Mr. Desantos. Nice to meet you.”

  Duke: “You must be Solomon's daughter!”

  Lisa: Interrupting. “Of course. She's Honey Solomon.”

  Duke: “Nice to meet you. How is your father?”

  Honey: “He's fine.”

  Duke: “What is he doing these days?”

  Honey: “He's farming. He grows corn.”

  Duke: “And your mother?”

  Honey: “She's fine, too. She has a garden. She cooks and preserves vegetables and fruits.”

  Duke: “You must have a large freezer.”

  Honey: “We don't have a freezer at all. She preserves food in glass jars.”

  Duke: He strokes his chin. “Really?”

  Honey: “Really, Mr. Desantos.

  Duke: In a patronizing way. “It sounds interesting—storing food in glass jars. One doesn't have to worry about the electricity going off. Maybe, if someone told Mrs. Desantos about it, she might get interested in jarring food.”

  Honey: “We call it 'canning' - -even if we use jars.”

  Duke: “Maybe, when your parents come to our breakfast meeting tomorrow, your Mom can tell Mrs. Desantos about it. I'm sure she will be interested.”

  Honey: Turning to Lisa. “It's too bad the deer weren't here today. But I am glad I saw where they sleep.”

  Duke:”What deer are you talking about?”

  Lisa: “Our deer. The doe and her fawn that sleep next to our garage.”

  Duke:”We can't allow that. They are like big rats. They eat everything!”

  Honey: “I don't think they will eat your flowers, Mr. Desantos. They prefer my father's corn.”

  Duke: “Why doesn't he just shoot them?”

  Honey: “Shoot them? Why would he do that? He's got plenty of corn. We used to raise pigs and feed the corn to them.”

  Duke: “I know. You can bet that I know.”

  Greg: Noting that his father and Honey are becoming antagonistic. “Girls, let's go out and look at the garden.”

  Lisa: “Come this way, Honey” Bright sunlight shines through the French doors into the family room.

  Duke: Listens to the children's voices as they leave.

  Voice #1: “The fawn's bed is amazing! It looks so comfortable!”

  Voice #2: “It's easy to see where the flowers and the bushes are bent over.”

  Voice #3: “Isn't it cute?”

  Voice #1: “They must think they are safe from the coyotes there.”

  Duke: Still at center stage, talking to himself. “Deer? Coyotes? In my yard? I'll have to get a gun! Why, I might even join the NRA! I should do that. Find out how they do business, so I can sue them if I have to.” He laughs and begins to pace slowly.

  From the left side of the stage a truck engine roars loudly, twice. And a horn sounds a 'Ba-whoop!'. We can hear the truck pull away. Gretchen runs in from the kitchen garden. She's wearing very short gardening pants and a remarkable tight T-shirt. With her ash-blonde hair, she appears younger than she is. She prances in and gives a smug smile to her husband.

  Gretchen: “He blew his horn at me! And raced his engine!”

  Duke: “What were you doing?”

  Gretchen: “Hoeing. Just hoeing. The children were walking up the access road, but the driver was smiling at me.”

  Duke: “Just how were you hoeing?”

  Gretchen: “Like this.” She bends over, pretending to hoe. Her rear end is high.

  Duke: “You are bad! Really, bad! I can see why he honked.”

  Gretchen: “At least he noticed. That's a lot more than you do. And you know you can play in my garden anytime.”

  Duke: Fending her off, “Can't you see. I'm busy—that I'm preoccupied?

  “Besides, I notice. But I'm not the type who would blow a horn at a woman. I wouldn't want to embarrass her. Maybe you should stop wearing those clothes in the garden.”

  Gretchen: “I was in my own
garden. Shouldn't I be able to dress the way I want to? Really it's not an expressway. It's just a driveway to our property and the Solomons’ fields.”

  Duke: “I would not be surprised if traffic increases on our road.”

  Gretchen: “Yes, our neighbor's crops will have to be harvested.”

  Duke: “That's not what I mean. Keep your eyes and ears open tomorrow, and you may learn about some big changes that will happen around here.

  “And stop showing off to truck drivers!”

  Gretchen: “The driver wasn't our neighbor. It was some other guy who looks like a farmer. And he had a cute smile.”

  Duke: “I'll bet! Why don't you work a little further from the road?”

  Gretchen: “Then I won't be able to see who is driving, or honking.”

  Duke: “Why do you want to see them?”

  Gretchen: “You never know. Aren't you curious about who is using our driveway?”

  Duke: “It's not a driveway. It's an access road. It seems to me that there has been a little more traffic out there than usual. Pick-up trucks, mostly. That pig farmer next door must be up to something!”

  Gretchen: “They are probably just farmers. And at least one of them has a nice smile. Why don't we take a walk out back and see what is going on—if anything?”

  Duke: ”Do you know that I have never walked he entire length of the road? I will do it, but not today. I have important phone calls to make.”

  Gretchen: ”When we moved here, you talked about starting a small farm. Do you remember? You talked about growing crops in a green way - without weeding and without pesticides. And you started writing poems about farm life, as though you were going to be another Robert Frost. You quoted Frost, saying, “Something there is that doesn't love a wall, that wants it down,” and said you would never allow any stone walls, on your property.”

  Duke: “It's just like Robert Frost wrote. We don't need walls. Our neighbor's trees are not going to attack the trees on our property. “

  Gretchen: “Of course. The trees know how to get along. But there is a path through the trees to our neighbor's lot. The deer keep it open. But it's not easy to find when the leaves are out.

  “Why didn't we start a little farm?”

  Duke “Because I didn't know how bad a farm could smell.”

  Gretchen: “It didn't smell every day. “

  Duke: “It depended on which way the wind was blowing.”

  Gretchen: “Why don't you just admit that you’re city-born and bred? You're afraid of animals and trees. Until we moved here, you never lived in a building that didn't have an elevator.”

  Duke: “I'm not afraid of anything. Anyway, I'm too busy to farm. You know how much time I spent on that Bear Mountain case. That was important. If it were not for me, there would have been dirt roads and trucks up there, and birds being chopped up by windmill blades. And a lot of unlucky animals, that I'm supposed to be afraid of, would have lost their homes.”

  Gretchen: “I've heard all of that before. But I've never heard you say why using the wind to produce electricity might not have been a good idea?”

  Duke: ”Not up there. Especially since Oakstone Electric wouldn't compensate the Bear Mountain township fairly. Oakstone offered a mere pittance to the Township, while they would have raked in a fortune.”

  Gretchen: “I asked if windmills might have been a good idea? And all you talk about is money.”

  Duke: “I haven't told you the rest of the story. We are going to see windmills up there anyway. Oakstone Electric wants me to represent them in a new deal with the locals.”

  Gretchen: “But I thought you were working for the locals!”

  Duke: “I am. But it's a complicated subject. It's not easy for an inexperienced person like you to understand.”

  Gretchen: “Why is it complicated? Aren't you supposed to represent one side or the other?”

  Duke: “Why should either side care, as long as they end up with a deal that is advantageous to both of them? And besides, I have a solution to the little problem you mentioned. I've run it by the people at Oakstone, and they don't mind - and the public really doesn't care.“

  Gretchen: “Well. I do see that there are no windmills on Bear Mountain, just like there is no pig farming in River Valley.”

  Duke: “And there is no swine flu here, either. Think of what I saved everyone in River Valley from. Doesn't that show you that I am far ahead of everybody else? I'm not only protecting the environment, but I'm saving humanity?”

  Gretchen: “It shows me that you know how to slow things down or stop them.”

  Duke:”Isn't that what a lawyer is supposed to do?”

  Gretchen: “But you still can't represent both sides of a dispute.”

  Duke: “Didn't I say that I have a solution to that problem? You haven't forgotten about our guest, have you?”

  Gretchen: “You don't mean you want to involve Fred, my brother-in-law, in this situation, do you?”

  Duke: “I've phoned him, and he's agreed. It's funny. Fred is all ready to go!” He laughs. Gretchen becomes serious.

  Another noisy truck rumbles past the garden door.

  Duke: “I am going to have to do something about that racket. There must be another road for them to use.”

  Gretchen: “I like the traffic. It keeps me from feeling alone out here in the woods. Speaking about being alone, are you still going to need me at your meeting here tomorrow?”

  Duke: “Yes. I'm counting on you to welcome our guests. You do a fantastic job as hostess, and make visitors feel welcome. I want this meeting to be perfect. And you can do that.”

  Gretchen: She closes in on him, smiling. “So, you're calling in the heavy artillery. Is there going to be some kind of battle? A confrontation?”

  Duke: “I wouldn't say so, but it's the last step in a lot of planning. We are going to have an outstanding meeting. It's cozy here, and we can get to know the people we are working with. And, best of all, I didn't invite any reporters. We could use some deli, rolls, and coffee. And maybe something special, because the Solomons are coming. Something you think pig farmers would like.”

  Gretchen: “How am I supposed to know what pig farmers would like for breakfast? Besides, I thought you didn't care for the Solomons.”

  She gives him a look of disdain. “I've never met the Solomons, but I wave to them when we are all in our front yards. They seem like nice people.”

  Duke: “You should be careful who you wave to. First, it's the pig farmers. Now, it's the truck drivers.”

  Gretchen: “I didn't wave to the truck driver! And stop calling the Solomons ‘pig farmers'. They are ordinary people just like we are!”

  Duke: “I know what I'm talking about. I know just who he is. I had to deal with him in court. He didn't know what to say, or realized he was in the wrong, but he didn't say much.”

  Gretchen: “Did he get a chance to say anything?”

  Duke: “He had his day in court. What else could anyone expect?”

  Gretchen: “Justice.”

  Duke: “You have been reading too many John Grisham novels.” He walks offstage. The lights dim and brighten again in the Desantos living room.

 
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