Mary's Boarding House and the Art of War, Episode One for Podcast

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Episode one for a pod cast, adapted from the original script of the same name. Looking for voice over actors to cast in a radio-podcast drama. If interested, comment below.

Submitted: May 03, 2016

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Submitted: May 03, 2016

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Mary’s Boarding House and the Art of War (podcast script)

Adapted for radio or a podcast from the original series of the same name by Jim Pack

Original Copyright date February 24, 2015

(Episode One)

As the Radio play begins the tune “Shamanistic” by Kevin Macleod is heard in the background.  It’s on YouTube. Then “Running Dog the narrator” speaks: 

Ryan Running Dog (the narrator)

Mary’s Boarding House, and the Art of War, Episode One by Jim Pack.

My name is Ryan Running Dog.  I am your host and narrator.  You need a host and narrator to explain things to you that you cannot see because this is a podcast and not a live action drama.  Duh.  I am an Indian, a Western Shoshone Indian, of the Cedar Valley Goshute Band.  I know the PC crowd will be wanting me to refer to myself as “Ryan Running Dog the Shoshone Native American”.  This I will not do.  I have been calling myself “Running Dog the Shoshone Indian”, or “Running Dog the American Indian” since I first learned to speak English as a small child.  My mother would often call me “Ryan Running Dog you little rotten American Indian!!”, but only when I was in trouble.  Nevertheless, this is how I have always referred to myself and I’m not about to change now.  Don’t send angry emails because I won’t read them. 

This is the story about a white woman named Mary, who runs a boarding house full of interesting white people; some nice, some not so nice.  None of them are Indians. Which makes me wonder why I was picked to narrate this story? There is an Apache who shows up later on, in another episode, but he doesn’t live in her house.  I was once punched in the nose by an Apache, but I digress. 

Now try to picture the following.  A young white man, named Mortimer Spangle, enters a dinning room in the boarding house were he lives as a tenant and confronts the long knife named Harry Landers, a fellow tenant and notorious bully.  The long knife Harry Landers is presently sitting down at the dinning room table, trying to eat his breakfast.  Mary Thornberg, the white woman who owns the establishment, is also present and is serving coffee to a quiet young white woman, named Joni.  Well, sometimes she’s quiet, but I digress again.  Joni is sitting at the other end of the table; the furthest she can manage to sit, away from the long knife bully himself. 

Mortimer (speaking to Harry)

I have decided to accept your challenge.

Harry (annoyed at the interruption of his meal)

“What?!!”

Mortimer

“Three years ago, a few days after you moved into Mary’s house, you challenged me to a fist fight outside on the front lawn.  I declined the offer.  You then called me a coward to my face and you were absolutely right in doing so, for it was very cowardly of me not to stand up against you.  However, since that day of utter humiliation I have endeavored to get myself into fighting condition, loosing 73 pounds of excess weight in the process by eating right, and employing of a rigorous training regimen; which also included training in a mixed martial arts program.  Now, after three years of hard work, I feel ready to accept your challenge.  So if you please, after you have finished eating your breakfast of course, be so kind as to meet me outside on the front lawn and there we will commence with that long awaited and over due appointment with destiny

Narrator

After hearing this belated challenge acceptance, Mary’s and Joni’s eyes widened with wonderment and joy as they both fear, hate and detest the long knife Harry Landers just as much as Mortimer Spangle does, if not more so.  Now finally, they hope, they will witness his undoing and the end of his tyranny. 

Mortimer

You sir are a bully and now it is high time for you to receive the comeuppance that is so richly due you.  Please don’t rush on my account however and enjoy your meal, as it will also be your last.

Harry (still annoyed and now incredulous)

My “last meal”?  Are you planning to kill me?  Good luck with that. 

Mortimer

No.  I’m planning to drive you out of this establishment once and for all.  I meant your last meal here in Mary’s dinning room.  Oh, and one more thing, before we begin this combat, I feel it only fair to warn you that I also intend to use my feet, as well as my fists.  So please feel free to do likewise yourself, if you can manage it.

Harry

Bug off twerp.  I have no time for this right now.

Mortimer

Oh I’m sorry.  Should we doing this at a more convenient time for you?  Are you expected somewhere else after you finish your breakfast?  Are there some weak, defenseless elderly persons in the near vicinity perhaps, that you need to be knocking over the head right about now, so that you can rob them with even more ruthless efficiency?

Harry

You know punk, you are really starting to annoy me. 

Mary

You know what you two boys need?  You both each need to appoint a second.

Harry

A what?!

Mary

You know, a second.  It’s like a go between.  A friend to help arrange the duel between two combatants and enforce the rules of said duel, in this case a fist fight.  Mortimer I would be happy and honored to be your second.

Harry

Him?  What’s wrong with me.  Why don’t you want to be my second?

Mary

Because Harry, unlike Mortimer, who is a perfect gentleman, you are an insufferable villain.  Seriously, why would anyone want to be your second?

Harry

How about you Joni, want to be my second?

Joni

No, but I should be more than happy to squat down and piss on your grave, should things go very amiss for you. 

Mary

You need to find someone who doesn’t actually hate and despise you Harry; now that is going to be a tall order.  By the way, do you have any friends?  Pardon my asking, but I have never seen anyone come by the house to pay you a social visit.  Not even at Christmas time.  And thank God for it too.  One can only imagine the type of riffraff that would want to associate themselves with you.

Harry

You had better watch the way you talk to me Mary.  And since you’re interested, I’ve got plenty of friends.  Just not any nearby. 

Mary

Why, are they all presently doing time upstate?  Seriously, you actually have friends?  I’m sorry but I find that very difficult to believe.

Harry

Why do you find that so difficult to believe?

Mary

I don’t want to be cruel Harry, not to anyone, not even to a lout like you, but you don’t have any friends here in my boarding house, so why would you have any on the outside, near or far away.  If you did have any, they would all need to be bullies, just like yourself.  You have done nothing but make enemies with everyone living under my roof since you arrived here.  In fact, you have frightened and driven away some of my best customers.  On top of that, you break things in the house and you never pay your rent on time, or sometimes not at all.  You are presently 10 weeks in arrears with me.  I would have evicted you long ago, but frankly and I hate to admit to this, you frighten me Harry; which has always made me wonder what you might try to do, if I ever attempted to serve papers on you.

Harry

And don’t you forget that lady.

Mary

You see, that’s what I mean Harry.  Only a bully would threaten a woman like that.  Now on the other hand, Mortimer here is my most favorite and most dependable of all of my tenants.  No offense Joni.

Joni

None taken.

Mary

You, darling Joni, are my second most favorite.  (Mary then continues to address Harry)  Mortimer is sweet and kind and always willing to help do the extra chores here and there that need doing; for free I might add.  And do you know something else Harry?

Harry

What?

Mary

He always pays his rent on time.  And do you know why he always pays his rent on time?

Harry

Because he’s an idiot?

Marry

No he is not an idiot.  He’s honest and good.  And he is a very clever young man and he has something else that you do not have.

Harry

What?

Mary

A regular job.  Which reminds me Morty, do you need me to drive you to work?  Aren’t you going to be late?

Mortimer

No Mary.  I took the day off.

Mary

Why?

Mortimer

So I so I could spend my time today cleaning Harry’s clock.

Mary

Oh, right.  Very good. 

Harry

You seriously think this little twerp is going to beat me up?

Mary

He may be two inches shorter than you Harry and possibly seventy pounds lighter, but yes, I do.  In fact, I’m hoping he will beat you to a bloody pulp and drive you away, out of my house, never to return, ever again; saving me the trouble of having a deputy sheriff serve you with eviction papers.

Harry

Dream on lady. 

Mary

Have you looked into a mirror lately, Harry? 

Harry

Sorry, I don’t spend a lot of my time preening myself in front of mirrors, like you do.

Mary

When you first arrived here, when I foolishly talked myself into thinking that you were a decent human being, you were a good 50 to 60 pounds shy of what you presently are at the moment.  Do you mind if I ask what your present weight is?

Harry

I don’t know.  Maybe 200 lbs.

Mary

Maybe 230 lbs., I’d say.

Harry

So what if it is?

Mary

What is your weight Mortimer?

Mortimer

This morning I weighed in at 154 lbs and 4 ounces.

Harry

I rest my case.  If we fight, he’ll be pounded into the ground like a tent peg.

Mary

Then how is it you seem so reluctant to fight him Harry?  You weren’t three years ago, when Mortimer was a chubby little butterball.  No offense Morty.

Mortimer

None taken.

Mary

I think I know why you are so reluctant.

Harry

Why?

Mary

You are a bully Harry.  And like all bullies, you are also a coward.  Three years ago, when Mortimer was a fat little weakling, you felt emboldened to push him around.  Just like you push everyone else around you think are weaker than you are.  You knew he wouldn’t accept your challenge.  Had he actually done so, I’m almost certain you would have backed down.  But you knew he wouldn’t.  So you pressed the point and greatly humiliated him.  You were trying to mess with him and break his spirit.  Ironically, you went and did exactly the opposite.  You incentivized him to prepare for battle at some future date.  So he really wasn’t quitting the field.  He was making a tactical retreat, until a time when he was ready; a time of his choosing and not yours.  Sun Tzu would be very proud of Mortimer if he were in this room right now.

Harry

Who?

Mary

“He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious”, Sun Tzu, the Art of War.

Harry

You’re really starting to creep me out Mary.

Mary

Am I really?  Good.  Interestingly enough, after that day you continued to bully Mortimer, but only for a few more months then you stopped, when like everyone else in the house, you started to notice the beginnings of some rather drastic changes in Mortimer.  He was starting to get leaner and more healthy.  He was loosing weight all the while you were gaining weight.  He was getting slimmer, while you were getting fatter.  No doubt due to all the beer and junk food you eat.  When you were consuming all that crap, he was exercising and eating right.  We’ve all seen him eat at my dinner table every night.  I’ve been giving him fresh vegetables from my garden, which he helped plant and then harvest.  We’ve all seen him work out too on the exercise bars I let him install in the backyard.  We’ve all seen him while he practiced his punches and kicks on that heavy bag, I let him hang from the porch rafters.  We’ve all watched as he worked out, without his shirt on I might add.  Now the boy is not only in good shape, he is ripped.  And when I say we, I include you.  You must have been noticing these changes in him, just as we have. 

Joni

I definitely have!!  You look good Morty.

Mortimer

Thank you.

Joni

No, thank you.

Mary

Now getting back to you Harry, that’s a lot of extra added weight to be dragging around the ring by someone of your height; even given the limited duration of three round amateur pugilistic match.  You are going to get very winded, very quickly. 

Harry

Pugilistic match?

Mary

Marquess of Queensbury Rules, Harry.  Remember, I am Mortimer’s second.  Therefore I insist that the proper rules be observed.  Marquess of Queensbury.  I don’t want Mortimer going to jail for assault, or even murder.  This is to be a fair contest and legal. 

Harry

What the hell is that?!!  Marcus of??

Mary

“Marquess Of Queensbury”, they are rules Harry, rules for boxing.  This is going to be a refereed boxing match; one that I am going to arrange in a real boxing ring.  Don’t worry, I won’t be refereeing it.  That wouldn’t be fair to you.  We will need to find an objective third party to do that.  Nevertheless, as his second I will also be Mortimer’s cut man, or woman as it were and his coach.  We will have to search far and wide to find a similar person to perform these same functions for you.  Everything is going to be strictly on the up and up, nevertheless I am operating under the assumption that the bigger, or as in your case, the fatter they are, the harder they fall.  That being said, I expect my boy Mortimer here, to drop you like a sack of rotten potatoes; after he has worn you out in the ring of course. 

Harry

Like I said, I’m going to pound this little punk into the ground like a tent peg.

Mary

You won’t be pounding anyone into the ground Harry.  Remember what I just said?  You won’t even be standing on the ground.  This fight will commence on an elevated boxing ring.  You’ll both be squaring off against each other on canvas mats.  Needless to say Morty, I’m sorry but since this match will be adhering to the rules of Marquess of Queensbury, we can’t allow for mixed martial arts.  No kick boxing.  Only fisty cuffs.  Again, I’m sorry, I love to see you kick the living daylights out of this piece of trash using your feet, but those are the rules.  Do you accept them?

Mortimer

All right.  If you say so Mary.

Mary

Good boy Morty.  I knew I could count on you.  All right, that all being said, we’ll find Harry a second and arrange the details.  Hopefully, the fight will occur sometime tomorrow at the gym you go to Morty.  Can you arrange for the ring to be made available?

Mortimer

Yes, since that’s where I work.

Mary

Excellent.

The tune “Shamanistic” by Kevin Macleod is again in the background until the end of the episode.

Narrator

Now try to picture the very next morning:  Mary is pouring coffee for Mortimer and Joni.  The long knife Harry Landers is absent from the table.

Mortimer

I wonder where Harry is?

Mary

It appears that he moved out of the house in the middle of night, when everyone was asleep.  I fear there will be no opportunity for Harry to receive his long overdue comeuppance in the ring today.  You’d better call your employers to let them know about the cancelation. (Then Mary quotes the following):

“Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting”.

Joni

“Sun Tzu, the Art of War?”

Narrator

Mary neither confirms, or denies, in answer to Joni's question, but simply smiles as she silently pours her coffee.

Now picture somewhere else, also that very same morning:  The now homeless long knife Harry Landers is walking down the side walk, pushing a stolen shopping cart, presumably filled with all of his worldly belongings.  He is holding his cell phone to his ear and talking on it.

Harry

Donny?  Did I wake you up?  I need some place to crash for a few nights.  I’ll be staying with you. (pause, while he is listening)  I don’t care what your landlady says.  Tell her to mind her own business!!!  No, you listen to me!!  This is the way its going be!!  (pause) Hello!!  Hello!!  BASTARD SON OF A BITCH HUNG UP ON ME!!! 

Narrator

The long knife Harry Landers then throws down his cell phone in a rage of anger.

Harry (after he is more composed)

Mary you are so going to pay for this, you and your little buffed out, beefcake boy!

Narrator

End of Episode One of Mary’s Boarding House and the Art of War, by Jim Pack.

All rights reserved.

End credits run, accompanied with a second reprise of the instrumental "Shamanistic", by Kevin Macleod on the soundtrack.

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2017 Jim Pack. All rights reserved.