The Iron Mountain Review Vol. XXXII

56 Robert Gipe and Higher Ground Company

FRANK: I got it. On three. GROVER: One. FRANK: Two. GROVER and FRANK: THREE!

GOSSIP 3: I thought Beth was gone. GOSSIP 4: She should be. LYDIA: There she is. Hey, Beth. Hey, Julia. TRISH: Julia, where is Roger working these days? JULIA: Black Oak. GOSSIP 1: I heard Black Oak was shutting down. JUNE [ showing alarm ]: Who told you that? TRISH [ staring down GOSSIP 1]: I heard they weren’t . Awkward silence . TRISH: How’s Gertie doing? DELANEY: I heard she’s doing all right. GOSSIP 1: I heard she’s moving to town— FANNIE [ butting in before the other GOSSIPS get going ]: Y’all remember when Gertie got Grover to put in that two-seater outhouse? The action plays out elsewhere on stage . *** Scene Six: The Two-Seater FANNIE: Gertie and Grover grew up using outdoor toilets; and when they first married, they had an outhouse. GERTIE: When Grover was young, they used corn cobs for toilet tissue. Red ones and white ones [ holding up one of each ]. You used the red one then the white one to see if you needed to use the red one again. So, we had an outhouse. And we had to move it. [ Two men enter, begin to dig. ] Dig a new pit. When they get . . . full of . . . well . . . you must dig a new pit, filling up the old one with the soil from the new one. So Grover and our neighbor had to dig out our toilet. [ The men finish digging. ] Then you lift the whole building, move it over the new hole. Our neighbors at that time, Fannie and Frank, helped us dig the new pit, and then Fannie and I would have the honor of initiating the two-seater. GROVER [ Pantomiming preparing to move great weight .]: You got it, Frank?

They pantomime moving the house over the newly dug pit. Once it is settled, the men with much feigned dignity, bow and gesture to the door. GERTIE [ to Fannie .]: After you. FANNIE: No, please. GERTIE: I insist. FANNIE: We’ll go together. They sit together on a bench, pantomiming the toilet sit. Each holds a corn cob. Or they rip a page from the catalog . GERTIE: So there we were, taking care of business, when suddenly, the earth shook. [ Bench shakes. ] We were overwhelmed with violent motion. Everything became dark! FANNIE: It’s the second coming! It’s the second coming! GERTIE: Fannie was much more spiritual than me. I thought it was an earthquake. Motion stops. All settles . GROVER: You girls all right down there? GERTIE: It seemed that the new opening was quite a bit bigger than the old one—and the ground on the edge of the pit was not so firm. So the ground gave way, the toilet fell in with us in it. The good thing is the new pit, but the bad thing was climbing out after Frank and Grover removed the roof. The gentlemen help the ladies out . Lights fade. GOSSIP 2: I reckoned she wanted company out there. GOSSIP 3: When Grover’d go out on Friday night. GOSSIP 4: Making his “joy.” GOSSIP 1: Maybe come back Sunday night. GOSSIP 2: Or Monday morning. BETH gets up to leave.

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