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

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Romance
Podcast script for Episode Four of the series. A humorous and romantic audio play, within a play, involving many interesting people from very different backgrounds. Narrated by a wise cracking Shoshone Native American, by the name of Ryan Running Dog.

Submitted: May 30, 2016

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Submitted: May 30, 2016

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

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

Original Copyright date March 14, 2015

(Episode Four)

Mary Thornberg (reading)

“Regard your soldiers as your children and they will follow you into the deepest valleys.  Look upon them as your own beloved sons and they will stand by you, even unto death”.

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

As the episode begins the intro instrumental “Shamanistic” by Kevin Macleod is heard in the background.  Then “Ryan Running Dog the narrator” speaks: 

Ryan Running Dog (the narrator)

Mary’s Boarding House, and the Art of War, Episode four by the long knife writer Jim Pack.

My name is Ryan Running Dog.  I am your host and narrator.  I should also get a writer’s credit, because I improvise a lot instead of always reading from the script.  But will I be getting a writer’s credit? No. My brilliant improvisations are never appreciated.

Smith

Excuse me for interrupting your brilliant improvisation, (background music stops abruptly) but you are not supposed to be improvising in the first place.  You are supposed to be reading the narration as written.  In fact, you have been warned repeatedly not to improvise.

Narrator

Aren’t you improvising right now?  What you’re saying at this moment is not scripted. 

Smith

I’m just trying to set the record straight.  Please continue, with the written narration. 

(The intro music begins anew.)

Narrator (with some irritation)

As I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted by a very minor, insignificant, member of the cast, you need a host and a narrator to explain things to you that you cannot see because this is a podcast and not a live action drama.  My name by the way is Ryan Running Dog.

Smith

You already told everyone your name.

(The intro music stops yet again.)

Narrator

I’m forced to repeat myself as a result of your continual interruptions, insignificant bit player long knife. 

Smith

I admit my character, as of yet, is not yet prominent in the storyline, but wait until episode five.  You can’t call me a bit player by the time that episode runs.  But I imagine you haven’t even bothered to read ahead to that point, have you?

Narrator

I’ve glanced here and there into some of the future episodes, imaginary Mormon long knife.  Perhaps I missed your big scene. 

Smith

“An Actor Prepares”.

Narrator

So what if I don’t prepare, what do you intend to do about it pinky white long knife, complain to the director?  He is standing right over there.

Smith

That’s the title of a book about acting, by Konstantin Stanislavsky, “An Actor Prepares”.

Narrator

Oh, so you’re one of those.

Smith

One of what?

Narrator

Method actor types.

Smith

What if I am, are you going to complain to the director.  He is standing right over there.

Narrator

In future long knife make your personal sly observations, veiled innuendos and obnoxious interruptions on some other Indian’s time.  I’ve got Johnny Aquas Caliente breathing down my neck to hurry the show along, so he can get to his part and he won’t be wanting you to be gumming up the works with your continual interruptions.  He is an Apache.  A real one.  Not a phony method acting one.  You might want to keep that in mind. Apache’s are not as easy going and forgiving as we Shoshones when it comes pinky white, know it all, long knives slowing down the shows their in.  So pipe down and wait your cue, pinky face, imaginary Mormon, long knife. 

Smith

How do you know he is really an Apache? 

Narrator

Because he has that certain arrogance about him that only Apaches have.  Then again he could be a Sioux.  Nevertheless, for the last time pinky white long knife, pipe down.  Where was I?

Wesson

Your name is Ryan Running Dog.

(Shamanistic instrumental intro starts up again and continues until it ends.)

Narrator

My name is Ryan Running Dog.  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”.  But I won’t do that and you all should know why by now, if you have listened to any of the previous episodes and possess an attention span equal to that of a gnat.  

This is the story about a white woman named Mary, who runs a boarding house full of interesting long knives. None of whom are any snarky know it all method acting Mormons, talking out of turn.

The title of this episode is “Nosey Parker”, written by the long knife Jim Pack, except for the stuff I, Ryan Running Dog, from the Cedar Valley Goshute Band of the Western Shoshone Indians, makes up on the spot, just because I can. 

I’m getting more angry hand signals from the director again.  Evidently he doesn’t like it when I veer off script.

I am suddenly experiencing déjà vu.  Have I repeated anything in this episode?

Entire Cast in Unison (those that are present). 

YES!!!

Narrator

In the beginning of this episode we see the good looking female long knife owner/operator of the boarding house, Mary Thornberg, once again pouring coffee into the good looking male long knife, Henry Larond’s, coffee cup as he, Mortimer and Joni are sitting down at the dinning room table partaking in a midday meal.

Joni

What about me?

Narrator

What about you?

Joni

Aren’t I good looking too?

Narrator

Sure, why not?  I’m feeling generous today.

Mortimer

What about me?

Narrator (now annoyed)

Why don’t I just stipulate that everyone, presently sitting at the table is good looking.  Okay?!!

(pause)

Observe as, the other good looking female long knife, Joni, always the direct one, begins the table conversation.

Joni

Henry, Christians do not believe in having sex do they?

Narrator

The long knife Mortimer Spangle is so surprised by Joni’s brazen remark he chokes on his coffee. (Mortimer does not choke on cue).  Chokes on his coffee.(Mortimer still does not choke on cue). Choke on your coffee long knife, before I reach over and choke you myself!!

Mortimer

Oh, sorry.  (Mortimer then pretends to choke on his coffee)

Henry

That doesn’t seem too likely miss.  Otherwise there wouldn’t be so many of them trying so hard to obey God’s commandment to be fruitful and multiply.

Joni

I mean out of wedlock?

Henry

Yes miss.  That particular practice is generally frowned upon.

Joni

When you say “generally”, that must mean there are some who don’t frown upon that practice.  Correct?

Henry

Well, there are always some who tend to bend the rules a might. 

Joni

What’s your opinion on this subject?

Henry

No offence miss, but I’m not too comfortable with the direction this conversation is taking. 

Narrator

There is now one of those very long and awkward silences, so common among these long knives when they are eating at Mary’s dinning room table.  Almost as if everyone in the room were frozen in time, until…

Mortimer

Say, what about those Yankees?

Henry

I’m an Angel fan myself, Mr. Spangle.

Mortimer

Oh, I’m very sorry to hear that.  My most heart felt condolences. 

Joni

I don’t think I could ever be a Christian; at least, not a good one. 

Henry

Why is that miss?

Joni

I don’t presently have a husband, which would make this no sex out wedlock thing very problematic for me; especially if I were a Christian.  However, if on the other hand, I were to find some nice, young, attractive Christian man, one who wanted to marry me and make me into an honest woman, then maybe I could get on board with this no sex out of wedlock rigmarole.  What do you think of my chances in finding such a man?  Do you think I’m an attractive woman, Mr. Henry Larond?  Hmm?

Narrator

Now there is another very long awkward silence in the room.  You could almost hear a pin drop, as the long knife, Henry Larond and the female long knife, Joni, are now blankly staring at each other.  The room is thick with sexual tension; so much so, one could cut it with a knife. Mary, in fact, is standing still, as if she were now a statue; still holding onto her coffee pot.  Then other male long knife, Mortimer, chimes in again, obviously to break the tension.  (pause, then to Mortimer) That would be your line long knife.

Mortimer

What?

Narrator

It’s your line.

Mortimer

Oh, sorry.  So Henry, what do you think the Angels’ chances are for winning American League Pennant this year?

Narrator

The scene now changes to late afternoon that same day.  The female long knife Mary Thornberg is now alone in the parlor when she hears the door bell ring.  (No door bell sound is cued.  Narrator shakes his head in disgust.  He then repeats the cue line, but louder this time).  … when she hears the door bell ring!!!.  (Then door bell sound effect is heard).  And all these long knives think that I’m the screw up in this production.  She then opens the front door and is greeted by a uniformed deputy sheriff.  He is an older long knife, perhaps in his late fifties.  His name is Parker Lawrence.

Parker

Howdy Miss.  My name is Parker Lawrence.  Does a Henry Larond happen to live in this boarding establishment?

Mary

Yes.  Is he in some kind of trouble?

Parker

None that I’m aware of miss.  No legal trouble anyway. His daddy might be a bit miffed at him.  Please forgive my uniform.  I’m presently off duty and I haven’t had a chance to change into my civies yet.  I’m an old family friend.  Henry’s daddy and I go way back.  In fact, I’ve known Henry since he was knee high to grass hopper. 

Mary

Please step into my parlor and make yourself at home.  So nothing bad has happened?

Parker

No Miss.  I assure you this is only a friendly visit.

Narrator

Mary shows the affable long knife cop to a large easy chair in her parlor and he sits down and makes himself comfortable. 

Frankly, I would never let a cop into my wikiup unless he had a warrant, but what do I know.  I’m only a ignorant Shoshone who has had his rights violated more times than you can…..  I’m drawing a blank,…  shake a coup stick at.  Needless to say, never trust a long knife cop; especially, when they’re affable. And if they happen to be a reservation Apache or Navaho cop, then you really don’t want to trust them; affable for not.  I don’t even trust Shoshone cops.  And don’t even get me started on the Southern Cheyenne.  Crows aren’t so bad.  Crows get a bad rap, cop or no cops. Crows and Pawnees.  I actually feel sorry for some of the Pawnee cops.  But I digress. 

Mary (to the Narrator)

Are you quite finished?  Because if you are, I would like to read my next line.

Narrator

Knock yourself out impatient actress.

Mary (to Parker)

I’ll go get….  Oh, never mind.  He’s right here.

Henry

Parker.

Parker

Howdy Henry.

Henry

What brings you out this way, so far from Lone Pine?

Narrator

At this point, the long knife cop looks reluctant to talk in front of Mary.

Henry

It’s all right Parker.  You can speak freely in front of Mary.  Have you two been introduced?

Parker

Half way introduced.  I forgot to ask the kind lady what her name was.

Henry

The lady is Mary Thornberg, Parker.  She runs the place; owner and operator. 

Parker

Pleased to make your acquaintance, miss.

Mary

Thank you for calling me “miss” instead of “ma’am”.  I’ve been meaning to cure Henry of that habit.  Every time he calls me “ma’am” I feel 20 years older than what I actually am.  I might be older than Henry, but not by much.

Parker

Well miss, I don’t know how old that would put you, but you look as young and fresh as a daisy in springtime from where I’m sitting.

Mary

Thank you that is very kind of you to say so.

Parker

What were we just talking about Henry?  Didn’t you just ask me a question?

Henry

I asked you what brought you all the way here from Lone Pine?

Parker

Oh, that’s right.  You know I heard a rumor that you don’t want to be a Mormon anymore?

Henry

It’s no rumor.  You heard right.  Are you here to talk me back down from that decision?

Parker

No, personally I don’t really care; being the old Jack Mormon that I am.  I was just surprised to hear that.  I know this is none of my business to ask, but have you talked with your daddy about this?

Henry

No, but as you just said.  You’re an old Jack Mormon.  So why should an old Jack Mormon, like you, be concerned about my present religious affiliations?

Parker 

Miss, you wouldn’t happen to be a Mormon would you?

Mary

Heavens no.

Parker

Well, that’s just as well.  I don’t want to inadvertently say anything that might be taken the wrong way.

Mary

I’m an agnostic.

Parker

Then you and I might have more in common than you might think.

Mary

What exactly is a Jack Mormon; if you don’t mind my asking?

Parker

Well, I can’t speak for all the other Jack Mormons on this little blue marble of ours, but what makes me a Jack Mormon is this: when I’m not on duty as a sheriff deputy, I’m more than likely to be found bending my elbow in some local saloon, rather than looking down in a hymnal in some local Mormon chapel.  I can’t remember the last time I have attended a priesthood meeting, or a regular chapel service for that matter; been years and years.  Now the devout temple Mormons back at the ward don’t much mind the occasional Jack like me here and there.  But they will take a dimmer view of Henry here, as it looks as if he has gone and jumped ship and joined the other side; making himself into a “Son of Perdition”.  That would be their opinion of course, not necessarily mine. 

Mary

A “son of perdition?”

Henry

A traitor to the church.

Mary

Is he in any danger because of this?

Parker

Mormons are sensible folk.  I suspect there will be some home teachers zeroing in on Henry to try to convince him to come back.  Don’t worry miss.  They’re a kindly bunch.  They won’t be rude about it, but they won’t be giving up on him right off either.  Henry is a big fish.  One they won’t want slipping through the net. 

Mary

Why are you here, if you’re not one of them?

Henry

My thoughts exactly. 

Parker

My first name is “Parker” Henry, you know that.  What word often proceeds the name of “Parker?”

Henry

“Nosey”?

Parker

That’s me, Nosey Parker Lawrence.  I used to be an elder in the LDS church and now I’m just a deputy sheriff for the county.  So that makes me doubly nosey, I suppose.

Mary

You were an elder?

Parker

Well, technically I still am, even though I’m a Jack Mormon too at the moment. 

Mary

Is that a high office?

Parker

Being in the LDS priesthood is not as highfalutin as it may sound.  Even 12 year old boys are in the Aaronic Priesthood.  They call them deacons at that age. 

Mary

I see.  What do they call the 12 year old girls?

Parker

Judy, Betty or Janie Sue; depending on what their given names are, I imagine. 

Henry (to Mary)

Only male members of the church may hold the priesthood.

Mary

No nuns allowed? 

Parker

No Miss, we don’t have any of those.  Or at least, not since the last time I attended a Sunday meeting.  We do have the relief society and the women folk pretty much run the show there.  And there are some missionaries that happen to be female. 

Mary

No leadership roles for women though?  No positions of power over men?

Parker

Not per se.  No. 

Mary

That hardly seems fair.

Parker

Well Miss, I’m not entirely in agreement with everything that comes down the pike from Salt Lake either.  For instance, I personally wish they didn’t frown upon drinking an occasional whiskey.  Nevertheless, I’m not really here to defend LDS Church policy.  I’m just paying a friendly visit to my almost godson.

Mary

Almost godson?

Parker

I was first runner up in the godfather category when Henry was born.  The fellow who won out on that competition really didn’t work out.  Did he Henry?

Henry

No.

Parker (to Mary)

Let’s just call me, Henry’s godfather by default; long story about that.  Perhaps we should save that tale for some other visit. 

Henry

Who told you that I don’t want to be a Mormon anymore Parker?

Parker

Two boys lately arrived from Provo Utah.  Missionaries they be.

Henry

Smith and Wesson?

Parker (laughs)

The very ones!!  Just a couple of pistols them two (then he laughs again).

Henry

Isn’t Lone Pine a little far out of their jurisdictional assignment?

Parker

I don’t live in Lone Pine anymore son.  I just work there.  I live in the same exact neighborhood that we’re all standing in right now.  Or sitting I should say.  Small world, isn’t it?  Oh, one more thing before I forget.  The sheriff wanted me ask you if you wanted both your horses back?

Henry

Don’t they belong to the county now?

Parker

Yes they truly do.  But he is willing to sell them back to you, if you want them.

Henry

Of his own volition? 

Parker

Don’t worry son, the sale has been cleared with the board of supervisors. 

Henry

Mary is your property zoned for horses?  I can pay you extra if it is. 

Mary

Well, as it so happens, horses are allowed on my property, if they are properly corralled and sheltered.

Henry (suddenly very eager, like a little boy at Christmas)

I’m good with my hands and I can construct all of that.  I will be more than happy to pay for all the building costs.  You have at least three aches in the back.  I will even build an exercise ring, if you will allow it.  It should increase the value of your property quite considerably.  Will you let them be on your land?

Mary (laughs)

Only if I get to ride one.

Narrator

Long knife Henry Larond then grabs the generous long knife landlady and picks her up and twills her around in a circle.

By the way, on a side note that is going to be a lot of fly attractant, i.e. horse shit to shovel up.  I bet she hasn’t considered that aspect of their newly formed arrangement.  Then again, this is a fictional story.  In which case, fictional horses don’t actually shit. 

Henry 

Thank you Mary!!

Mary

My pleasure.

Henry 

Parker, how much does the county want for them?

Parker

I am authorized to sell them back to you for the princely sum of one dollar.

Henry (stunned)

One dollar?!!

Parker

That’s one dollar for each horse.  It appears that you still have some friends in the county government.  They would have pinned a medal on you for taking out that bucket of trash you tracked way up yonder into the Sierras, but that wouldn’t look good politically.  So they are quietly giving you a break on the sale of the two ponies.  They would be giving them back to you for free, but that’s not legal.  If you want, I’ll loan you the two dollars, so long as you pay me back by Thursday.

Narrator

Now picture this long knife listeners and/or the one or two Indians who might actually be listening, Joni the other good looking long knife female and Mortimer “the buffed out beefcake boy”, according the disgraced long knife bully, Harry Anderson of a previous episode, are both sitting at the dinning room table again.  Mortimer is trying to eat his lunch in peace; a virtual impossibility with the nosey long knife female present.

Joni

So have you heard the news?

Mortimer (pausing before biting into his sandwich)

What?

Joni

We’re going have horses on the property.

Mortimer (still tying to concentrate on his sandwich)

I know, I’m helping Henry erect the stalls and the corral.

Joni

I didn’t know you were a carpenter?

Mortimer

I’m not.  Don’t need to be.  The individual construction units are not even made out of wood.  All the parts are prefabricated metal components; which is good, because horses like to chew on wood.  We just have to assemble all the fittings together from a kit.  We don’t even have to lay down a concrete foundation.  All you need is a nice piece of level ground to erect all the metal fixtures; including the corrugated roofing material.

Joni

I like horses.  Do you like horses Mortimer?

Mortimer

Don’t know.  I’ve never been around any.

Joni

I wonder if Henry will let us ride them.  May I ask you a personal question, Morty?

Mortimer (still trying to eat his sandwich)

What?

Joni

Do you think Henry finds me attractive?

Mortimer

I don’t know.  Why don’t you ask him?

Joni

I did, but he didn’t answer.  Do you think he finds Mary attractive?

Mortimer

I don’t know.  Why don’t you ask him?

Joni

What do you two boys talk about?  When you’re off together helping each other with the chores; you know, behind our backs?

Mortimer

Well, there is one thing we do talk a lot about, behind your backs.

Joni

What?!!

Mortimer

How well the Yankees and the Angels are doing in spring training.

Narrator

After hearing that evasion the female long knife punches Mortimer in the arm. (no response from Mortimer, so the Narrator directs his next line to Joni).  I think you are going to need to actually hit him.  (So she then she really punches Mortimer in the arm).

Mortimer

Ow!!

Narrator

That’s better.

Joni

I’m serious!  What do you boys talk about; anything about me or Mary?

Mortimer

Nothing comes to mind at the moment.

Joni

Do you think I’m forward?

Mortimer

Yes.

Joni

Really?

Mortimer

Really.

Joni

Too forward?

Mortimer

Sometimes.

Joni

Do you think I’m too brazen; as in too brazen like a hussy?

Mortimer

Well, before I answer that question, may I ask you a question?

Joni (intently leaning over to listen)

By all means, go ahead.

Mortimer

What do you think the Yankees chances are for taking the American League Pennant this year?

Narrator

Hit him again, harder this time.  It’s in the script, un-improvised.

(Joni punches Mortimer in the upper arm again; this time a little harder).

Mortimer

Ow!!!

(Shamanistic musical reprise starts)

Narrator

End of Episode Four.

You have been listening to Episode Four of Mary’s Boarding House and the Art of War, by the long knife writer Jim Pack, with special adlibs from your host, me, Ryan Running Dog from the Cedar Valley Goshute Band of the Western Shoshone Indians. 

Then he reads the end credits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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