Then and Now


THE CURTAIN RISES: ( We see a mean, bare, cabin. The wind is howling outside and  snow is sifting through the cracks. Priscilla Pure is wrapped in a blanket with only her curly, blond head showing.  She is huddled in front of a cold fireplace, and is shivering. )

“Oh, Woe is me. Life has been so cruel, since Father and Brother Ben were killed in that mine cave in. Now I’m am penniless, and at the mercy  of that evil Simon Legree.”

( The cabin door is flung open. There, is Simon Legree, dressed all in black. )

“Tis I! Simon Legree! I’ve come to collect the mortgage. You had better pay up, or else!”

“But I have no money to pay you.” ( Priscilla stands up  in a tattered blue dress. )

“Well, if you will not pay, I’ll throw you out in the snow.”

“But, Mr. Legree, if you throw me out in the snow, I shall freeze to death”.

“Tis true. But I will save you. If you give yourself to me, I will forgive the mortgage”.

“No! No!  A thousand times no! I’d rather freeze than say yes”.

“That’s what they all say. Well, a frozen girl is better than no girl at all”.

( Simon Legree twirls his black mustache, as he backs Priscilla into a corner.)

“I will soon have your virtue, my pretty one. Then I’ll abandon you to your fate.”

“Oh, Mr. Legree, please don’t, please don’t. Help! Help! Won’t someone help me?”

( The door bursts open. There stands Stanley Strongarm, a handsome lumberjack.  He enters, carrying a log and an ax. He throws the log in the fireplace. It flares up. )

“Stop! You mangy cur. I have come with the mortgage money. HERE! it is! Touch  not a hair on that golden head, or I shall slice you in twain with my razor sharp ax.”


(  Simon Legree slinks out the door. )

( Priscilla Pure falls into Stanley’s outstretched arms. )

“Oh Stanley!  You saved me from a fate worse than death. I love you.”

“I’ve always loved you too, Priscilla. Come, let us get married. We can move to sunny  California. I will chop down the Redwood  Trees, and we will have six children.”

“Oh Stanley, you golden tongued Lumberjack. Take me with you.”

( They face the audience, hand in hand, and sing in perfect harmony; )

 “With someone like you, honest and true.

I’d leave this all behind.

And build a sweet little nest, out in the West,

and let the rest of the world go by.”

THE CURTAIN FALLS to wild applause and sobs. There’s not a dry eye in the house.



( The door chime sounds, in a New York apartment. The walls are covered with amateur art work. Dolly Madison answers the door. She has a small paint brush in her hand, and a smudge of blue paint on her rosy cheek. )

( In the doorway, in a neatly pressed uniform, stands a handsome sheriff)

“I am sheriff Nathan Nottingham. Are you Miss Dolly Madison?”

“Yes,  I’m Dolly Madison.”

“Well Miss Madison, I’ve come to serve you with an eviction notice. The owner of the

building, Mr. Simon Legree, says that you are six months behind in your rent.”

“Oh, but Sheriff Nottingham, I’m a struggling artist, and my paintings don’t seem to be selling very well. They’re the only source of my meager income.”

“I can see where that might be a problem. There must be something  a pretty young girl like you can do to make money?  I’ll be back in a week, with a ‘pay, or quit’ demand.”

“Oh, Sheriff, what’s a girl to do?”

( A week later, the door chimes. Fifi, the new French maid answers. )

“Bon jour?  an’ who iz zhis?”

“I’m Sheriff Nottingham. Ive come with a ‘Pay or Quit’ demand.”

“Oh, wee wee. Mademoiselle Amanda, she ees waiting.”

“Oh, Sheriff. I’ve been expecting you. Here’s a certified check for the full amount “ “What’s going on, with this ‘Miss Amanda’ business?”

“I’ve changed my name to ‘Amanda Beautiful.’ It’s a big help, in my new business. If things keep going the way they are, Fifi and I will be moving to the French Rivera.

“The apartment seems to be fresh, and redecorated. What happened to your paintings?”

“Oh, I burned all those old things. Who wants to be a painter, anyway?”

“I wish you all the success in the world, Miss. Mad… er, I mean, Miss Beautiful.”

“You know Sheriff,  in that uniform, you’re a good looking man. You can stop by anytime. If I’m not here, Fifi can take care of you. Right Fifi?”

“May wee, miz Amanda.”

( The Sheriff leaves. Amanda locks the door, then turns and gives Fifi a long, passionate kiss.)

“Well Fifi, that went fine.”

“You know it, babe. Let’s go to bed.”


Originally written  04/ 3 2016

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