Like It Or Not: Act 2: Scene 5

Scene 5:  [Town-square market. Peachsellers and Customers are selling and buying. Health Workers are helping people. Everyone wears rubber gloves, some green, some blue, some with one color on one hand and the other color on the other hand. Some also are wearing swim goggles and nose plugs and everyone is wearing one of the new ‘Juice Buddy’ head-gear trays. Grandpa Sammy and Talia are sitting on the steps eating peaches, wearing only their ‘Juice Buddies’. Many people have ‘I support swim-gear while eating!’ shirts on. Jace and Matilda Hawkins enter wearing ‘Juice Buddies’ and shirts.]

Matilda Hawkins:  Harmony really is a model town, mister Mayor. I have to admit I never would have imagined such community support and participation with many of these measures which you and the council have implemented.

Jace:  I’ve never been prouder, Miss Hawkins. If I were a more sentimental man, I might be crying.

Matilda Hawkins:  How long do you expect these protocols to stay in place?

Jace:  Tough to say, we may just keep some of them forever. Look at the spirit everyone is displaying. Besides that, the Health Workers informed me that article 22 of the state health code was recently enacted by them, so it’s out of my hands now.

Matilda Hawkins:  That sounds vaguely familiar. That gives them authority over health protocols during public health emergencies, is that right?

Jace:  I can’t say I mind it. Takes the blame off me, we just have to go along with whatever they tell us now. The nice thing about it is that nobody has to be accountable. It lowers the risk for all of us.

Matilda Hawkins:  That is convenient.

Jace:  Very. Makes my job a whole lot easier.

[Tommy and Duncan Collins are sitting at Tommy’s stand wearing ‘Juice Buddies’, goggles and nose plugs.]

Tommy Collins:  Oh, these things are driving me nuts! Why can’t we stop all of this? Heck, I started it all. There aren’t even any pesticides or fungus, we just made that all up!

Duncan Collins:  It’s ironic isn’t it? We started it, but everyone else is running with it. And they like it now.

Tommy Collins:  But there isn’t a threat! There never was. We made it all up to get rid of those apple people. And then to jack up the prices for Jolene and Penelope. Heck, now we aren’t even going to win that contract with the fancy dresser. Nobody has any idea where his wife got that peach. What’s the point of it all? It’s depressing.

Duncan Collins:  Like it or not, we all have to live with it now. It’s out of our hands.

Tommy Collins: It’s damn annoying!

[Jolene McCue and Penelope Lind are wearing rubber gloves and selling their peaches. They also have ‘Juice Buddies’ on.]

Jolene McCue:  Penelope dear, doesn’t it warm your heart to see everyone looking out for each other like we are? It just proves to me that people are good.

Penelope Lind:  Yes, people are certainly good at all sorts of things. And some are better than others.

Jolene McCue:  Oh, that’s a horrible thing to say. You better watch out, you’ll get us in trouble!

Penelope Lind:  I just mean that some of us are better at getting our own way. Some people are good at looking out for themselves, but also making it seem they are looking out for others.

Jolene McCue:  Oh, hush! That’s just living life. We all have to get by, like it or not. We did what we had to, don’t go getting a conscience on my now. If we didn’t force Tommy to sell those silly goggles, he’d have run us out of business. Besides, they protect people’s eyes from peach juice! That can really sting. We did everyone a favor.

Penelope Lind:  You’re right. Things do seem safer now. It turned out to be what we all needed.

Jolene McCue:  We live in Harmony, remember that dear. We look out for one another.

[Jean Arnaut and the other Visitors arrive and set up their apple stand. Everyone watches in surprise, frozen and waiting to see what will happen.]

Jean Arnaut:  Good people of Harmony! We’re back! Come and taste the best apples in the world, if you dare! Come enjoy a crisp, refreshing alternative to your peaches. And we have rubber gloves, for those of you so inclined. We have gloves for your every hand! You may even wear them on your feet, if you like. We won’t judge!

Jace:  Friends! I thought I was very clear, we’ll have no apples here in Harmony. Now, you need to pack your stand back up and skedaddle. We don’t want to make a scene.

Jean Arnaut:  We’re only interested in making a living, mister Mayor.

Jace:  And nobody is stopping you. Just not here. Now let’s pack it up. Just a little misunderstanding, folks! Don’t worry. They’ll be moving along now!

Jean Arnaut:  This isn’t right, mister Mayor.

Jace:  Come on now, what do you have to prove, Jean Arnaut? Why would you even want to stay where you aren’t wanted? Isn’t it better for everyone if you go?

Jean Arnaut:  It may not be better for the people who want apples. But I have nothing to prove, mister Mayor. I just want to live.

Jace: And you’re free to live, Jean Arnaut. Just not here.

Jean Arnaut:  Is anyone free to live anymore, here in Harmony, mister Mayor?

Jace:  Life is good, my friend. Life is good in Harmony. We all like it here. But it’s not for everyone.

Jean Arnaut:  I think I understand that now. You’re right, mister Mayor. It’s not for me. We’re leaving! Good people of Harmony, you win! We will go!  [He motions to the others and they pack up and exit. Hugo returns and runs up to Talia. He is carrying wildflowers.]

Hugo:  Talia!

Talia:  Hi Hugo!

Hugo:  We’re leaving Harmony. I didn’t expect it. But we’re going to break up camp now, and leave. I wanted to get you something. I just picked these. I’m sorry they aren’t nicer. [Hands the flowers to her.]

Talia:  Thank you! They’re so pretty.

Hugo:  They aren’t much. I’m sorry. I have to go. Don’t forget me! [He kisses her, turns and runs offstage.]

Grandpa Sammy:  It looks like you have an admirer, Talia.

[She sits, smiles at Grandpa Sammy, and happily examines the flowers.]

Grandpa Sammy:  I’ll bet good money that you haven’t seen the last of Hugo. He’ll be back to find you again someday. I’ve seen this story before.

[Terrence Cobb enters with his wife, Olivia Cobb. They are both very well dressed.]

Terrence Cobb:  Matilda, I would like to introduce you to my wife, Olivia. Olivia this is our brilliant scientist, Matilda Hawkins, who has helped us tremendously in our search for your peaches.

Matilda Hawkins:  I’m so pleased to finally get to meet you Mrs Cobb. Please forgive me that I haven’t been able to find a match between the peach you had, and any of these at the market. Your peach simply wasn’t from any of these vendors.

Olivia Cobb:  It’s so odd. I’m sure I got it here. It was such a busy day though. I can’t really remember. [She looks around the square at the various stands.] I remember these, I think. [Walking to Tommy’s stand.] Yes, I remember you.

Tommy Collins:  Hello, ma’am.

Olivia Cobb:  But I didn’t buy peaches from you. I remember now. I was walking towards those stands over there. [She sees Talia and Grandpa Sammy sitting on the steps.] Wait a moment! Little girl. Hello. Do you remember me?

Talia:  Yes.

Olivia Cobb:  Did we sit together right here?

[Talia nods.]

Olivia Cobb:  Yes, that’s right. I remember. I saw you as I was walking across the square, just like I did now. And you were eating a peach. I sat down with you.

Talia:  My grandpa’s peach!

Olivia Cobb:  Oh, really?! Is this your grandpa? I don’t think we met last time I was here.

Grandpa Sammy:  Glad to meet you. Sammy. And this is Talia.

Olivia Cobb:  A pleasure. Do you mind if I sit down with you again?

Talia:  Sure!

[Olivia sits beside Talia.]

Olivia Cobb:  Did you give me a peach?

[Talia nods.]

Olivia Cobb:  Yes, you did! Of course you did. You and I ate right here, and you told me all about your animals. You have a cat.

Talia:  Billy!

Olivia Cobb:  That’s right. Billy the cat! You know, I’ve been trying to remember where I got that peach, it was so delicious.

Talia:  Would you like another one? Here. [She reaches into a bag next to her grandpa.] We grow them ourselves.

Olivia Cobb: Thank you very much!

Health Worker #2:  Um, miss. If you are going to bite into that, could you please put this on. [Hands Olivia a ‘Juice Buddy’.] Thank you. Sorry for the inconvenience.

[Olivia dons the Juice Buddy and tastes the peach.]

Olivia Cobb:  Oh, yes. Yes, this is it. Terrence, this is definitely the same peach I had here before!

Terrence Cobb:  You found it!

Olivia Cobb:  Yes, I think so! I’m sure of it. Oh, Talia. I like your grandpa’s peaches very much, thank you for sharing them with me.

Talia:  You’re welcome.

Grandpa Sammy:  We have a lot more where that came from. We don’t sell much anymore. I’m getting too tired for all that. But we used to sell a whole bunch of them back when I was younger.

Olivia Cobb:  What if my husband and I were able to supply you with all the labor that you need? Would you sell your peaches to us? You wouldn’t have to do a thing. We’ll take care of everything. Just name your price, and we’ll do the rest.

Grandpa Sammy:  That’s very generous of you. It would be a good thing. It could set up Talia the right way. I’m not going to be around forever to take care of her. She’ll need to take care of herself.

Olivia Cobb:  She’s just a little girl. She can’t take care of herself.

Talia:  Yes, I can!

Grandpa Sammy:  She’s pretty resourceful. You’d be surprised!

Olivia Cobb:  But still, how old are you honey?

Talia:  Six and three-quarters. Almost seven.

Olivia Cobb:  Almost seven? You are a big girl. I stand corrected. Still, even seven year olds need help sometimes. I even need help sometimes.

Talia:  How old are you?!

Olivia Cobb:  Older than seven!

Talia:  I like you.

Olivia Cobb:  Oh! How darling. Thank you. I like you too, very much. I can tell you are a very smart, and pretty girl.

Talia:  I am.

Olivia Cobb:  I can tell that you and I are going to be very good friends. I’m going to learn a lot from a clever girl like you!

Talia:  Yes. I’ll teach you everything I know.

Olivia Cobb:  Wonderful! I can’t wait!

[End of Scene.]


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