THE LEGEND OF THE ROGUE
written by Scott Cherney
(The curtain opens on the Clayfoot Indian reservation, a tribe of desert dwellers. SINGING CROW, a rather dowdy squaw with a bad temper sits with mortar and pestle angrily preparing corn meal before her teepee. CHIEF BOYARDEE enters dragging his feet and carrying a big rock.)
CHIEF: (drops rock, exhausted) Oh, my aching feathers…
CROW: Look what cougar drag in.
CHIEF: Leave me alone, woman, I am too tired to try to kill you today.
CROW: Tired? You talk of tired? This one tired…sick and tired! This one slave over hot campfire all day!
CHIEF: Stick a moccasin in it! I am not in the mood.
CROW: Bad day at office?
CHIEF: It is a jungle out there. Oh. woman, I do not know how much longer I can put up with what is happening to the Clayfoot tribe.
CROW: Then why Chief do nothing?
CHIEF: (mocking) Then why Chief do nothing? What am I to do? We are a peaceful tribe. These men have guns. We have sticks. Do the math! I do not know the answer. Maybe the Indian agent will know what to do.
PERCIVAL (off-stage): Knock knock knock! Percival P. Pestt, your friendly Indian agent calling!
CHIEF: Good timing.
(PERCIVAL P. PESTT, a sniveling cockroach of a man, enters wearing a too-tight tweed suit. He carries a briefcase and an Indian phrase book.)
PESTT: Good afternoon, Chief…or should I say… (reading book) “Walla walla he ha ha!”
CHIEF: You just asked me if you could sleep with my horse.
PESTT: I did? Land sakes! What a silly goose I am. Well, Chief, I have come as you have requested. I understand you have had some trouble as of late?
CHIEF: Nobody knows the trouble I seen. Our land, the Clayfoot Valley, has been taken from us by a man with a black heart. His name…Randolph Hitlear. He and his men force us work for him digging a hole in the mountain. He seeks the treasure of our people…the Tomb of Gold where the ancient ones are buried. That is sacred ground and it belongs to the Clayfoot!
PESTT: I already know the whole story and I’m afraid my hands are tied.
CROW: What that mean?
PESTT: What that mean? That mean no can do. I can’t help you.
CHIEF: But the Clayfoot have treaty with the Great White Father!
PESTT: You know, I thought so too until I checked. (removes document from briefcase) Apparently you signed the wrong form. This is really going to knock your tomahawk off…
CHIEF: What is this paper?
PESTT: It’s an immigration form. You are now an American citizen. (pulls small American flag from briefcase and hands them to CHIEF, then sings) “You’re a Yankee doodle dandy, Yankee doodle do or die!”
CHIEF: I do not understand.
PESTT: What this means is that you have no legal right to this land. It was up for grabs and it was taken. I just had a very enlightening conversation with the new owner.
CHIEF: (scowling) You mean…Randolph Hitlear!
(RANDOLPH HITLEAR enters smoking a big cigar followed by ASHLEY and RHETT. HITLEAR appears as though he just stepped off the plantation while his men still wear Confederate gray, but their uniforms have seen better days. So have they.)
HITLEAR: That’s my name. Don’t wear it out. A good day to one and all! Hello, Chief. Sorry to interrupt you during Happy Hour. Is this the “little” woman? (CROW hisses at him) Has she had her shots? (to ASHLEY and RHETT) If she moves any closer, shoot her. (to CHIEF) What a charming little trash heap you have here.
FAWN: (enters) Father, Mother, who is…oh, it is you.
HITLEAR: And dear little Fawn or shall I call you Awatay?
FAWN: You can call me never.
HITLEAR: Don’t sass me, honey child. You may find yourself working on the mountain with your dear old daddy.
CHIEF: No, Randolph Hitlear! We are not your slaves! We are Clayfoot! We will work no more forever!
HITLEAR: You work no more, you live no more. Savvy that, Chief?
FAWN: (to PESTT) How can you let this happen?
PESTT: Mr. Hitlear has explained to me that the tribe is under his employ. (to CHIEF) He pays you a wage, does he not?
CHIEF: He gives us rocks!
PESTT: But a wage is a wage and as long as he pays, you work for him. Besides, I’m with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, not the Department of Labor.
HITLEAR: You heard the man. The law is on my side.
FAWN: What kind of Indian agent are you? You are supposed to look after our best interests.
PESTT: Well, I am, you ninny. Look on the bright side. Unemployment is down, isn’t it?
HITLEAR: So everything is settled. We shall continue as we have been. You work, we supervise. Nobody leaves until the job is finished. Otherwise…boys? (ASHLEY and RHETT light matches) There’ll be a hot time in the old tribe tonight. Savvy that, Chief? Good. Then we’ll see you bright and early tomorrow morning. If you’re late, I’ll deduct some gravel from your pay. (exits chuckling with the boys)
PESTT: Well, that’s my cue to leave as well. Oh, look at those long faces. You act as though your whole world is caving in. Chin up, people or should I say…(reads book) “Ooh ah ah, ee ah ah!”
GHIEF: You just said you have the face of a jackass.
CROW: And tongue of jackass too that this one cut out with knife and make soup! (grabs knife, lunging after Pestt who runs off)
FAWN: Mother, no!
CROW: Nobody let this one have any fun.
FAWN: Father, what are we to do?
CHIEF: I do not know, my child. There must be some sort of justice somewhere…
FAWN: Justice…yes. Father, I know of someone who might help. We must go into town and get the Sheriff. I hear he is an honest man. Mother and I can slip out before the morning sun rises.
CHIEF: But what if the Sheriff cannot help us like the Indian agent? If he cannot, then your journey will be in vain.
FAWN: We must try, father. We are Clayfoot. We cannot look down to the ground face defeat. We must look up to the heavens and beyond. After all, tomorrow is another day.
CROW: This one hear that somewhere before.
Copyright 2014 by Scott Cherney