The legacy

 
 


                                                                                                      

                                                   

                       

Dramatis Personnae:

Brother John Reilly: 27 year old High School Civics Teacher

Sister Olivia Hampton Tevington: 32 year old - wealthy homemaker.

Jim Wilson: 27 year old Real Estate Agent


Opening scene: The funeral ceremony and breakfast are over. A brother and sister are sorting out things in the living room of their recently deceased parent’s home. Their parents have just died tragically in an auto accident, while returning from a vacation.


John: Well the funeral was the expected pageant of Celtic keeners. Mom would have liked that. She always liked a good cry.


Olivia: They did like their funerals, didn’t they? I think Aunt Maeve cried for the entire hour. I guess it’s her way. She always was the emotional one.


John: Well Maeve was closest to Mom and the most dramatic of the crowd. I am just glad the whole thing is over. I don’t think Uncle Charley could have downed one more bloody mary at the breakfast without falling over. And then none of them wanted to go home. There is the grand irony of the Irish for you. They throw a huge party for you on the one day they are certain you won’t be there.


Olivia: I know! And I don’t think I could take one more person telling me how sorry they are. I was about ready to scream. I think for some of them there isn’t much difference between a wedding and a wake.


John: True,True Olivia. (smiling) Dad used to say that. He also said that the biggest difference between the two was that at the wake there was one less drunk. (thinks for a few seconds and looks around room) I wonder if mom and dad were thinking of us at the end?


Olivia: Of course they were John. Who else would they be thinking of?


John: Well, I don’t know. Sometimes they seemed to like our Kids more than they liked us. I suppose that is natural enough. After all, look how you turned out.


Olivia: (annoyed) What do you mean by that John? You think they were doing handsprings over the way you ended up?


John: “ended up?” What, like I am ancient already?


Olivia: No I meant the marijuana bust in college and your divorce.


John: ( sheepishly)Oh, those. (more aggressively) Well I don’t think they were too pleased about you running off with your ski instructor that time either.


Olivia: Touché! I guess maybe they expected more from us.


John: Yeah, maybe. But then dad wasn’t exactly the model husband either. And mom’s drinking was getting to be a challenge for all of us.


Olivia: Well I guess all of us have things we would rather not talk too much about. Maybe every family goes through this after a tragedy, when

emotions and feelings are stretched so tightly.


John: Yeah, you got a point sis, sorry about bringing things up. Maybe we all need some time to recover. Well, what do you want to do about all this stuff? (waves arms around room indicating furniture.)


Olivia: (sighing softly) Oh, I don’t know John. Most off it is kind of old and

tired. It wouldn’t really fit in my place in Lexington Common and it’s not plastic or vinyl enough to fit in yours.


John: Yeah, your place is a bit highbrow for our family.


Olivia: (huffily) What do you mean, highbrow? I never put on any airs about Brad and my financial success. I can’t help it if Brad makes a boat load of money and we live well. I think you are being snotty!


John: (sneering ) Hit a nerve have I ?


Olivia: John sometimes you can be a real shit, you know that?


John: Yes, my ex wife used to tell me that. Sorry sis, I didn’t mean to be a pain. Force of habit I guess.


Olivia: Well thanks for that anyways. Now what do we do about all this? (stands and walks to a table with a lamp) Look at this Victorian lamp mom loved so much. Her Aunt Gretchen claimed that she had bought it for her in Tiffany’s in New York City. I think it came from a rummage sale at the Good Will! God it’ s ugly!


John: Well I have an idea if you are open to it?


Olivia: (warily) What’s that?

John: Well, we could split up mom’s jewelry and any other personal things and then hire an estate auctioneer to sell off everything else.


Olivia: (skeptically)What, you mean like a flea market or something?


John: No, no no. It’s not like that! A professional comes in and arranges for an estate sale. They advertise in the paper and buyers come by to pick things out and buy them.


Olivia: I don’t know John, it all seems kind of tacky. I mean these things

did belonged to mom and dad. It feels sort of cold just casting them off to strangers. And what would the neighbors think?


John: (exasperated) Well then what do you want to do Olivia? Build a small museum and house the stuff for future generations to come and visit. You can certainly afford it! I can’t!


Olivia: (coldly) Stop acting like a bratty child. It doesn’t help things.


John: I have always been the bratty younger brother to you, haven’t I? You are never going to forgive me for telling mom and dad that I saw you and Dave Collins doing it in the back seat of his new Toyota are you?


Olivia: (smiling to her self) Well I did want to wring your neck at the time! Now I look back and smile. Mom was furious and dad, well I don’t think he knew what to say. But, I have forgiven you, you shit!


John: Well,okay, sorry to bring it up. Guess I am still a little tense.


Olivia: Yeah, I guess, we both are. But what do we do about all the money from the estate?


John: We split it down the middle of course.


Olivia: And what about the $50,000 you borrowed from them to settle your divorce and get a new condo?


John: (surprised) They told you about that?


Olivia: (smugly) yes, Dad mentioned it over dinner a few months back. I think they were pleased that they could help you out so much when you really needed it.


John: Well it was a godsend at the time. (annoyed)But what has that to do with you?


Olivia: Well that type of loan is usually considered part of the estate, isn’t it?


John: (animatedly) No way! It was a gift from mom and dad to help me out. They never mentioned anything about paying it back.


Olivia:(sadly) Oh John, of course they wouldn’t. You are their son.

(thinking for a few seconds) Well, look. I never mentioned the loan to Brad. What he doesn't know wont’ hurt him and we don’t need any of that money. Let’s forget about the loan?


John: (surprised) really? Wow, that’s mighty nice of you sis. Maybe I have you and ole Brad figured out wrong.


Olivia: (peevishly)I think you have a lot of things figured out wrong John.


John: What’s that supposed to mean?


Olivia: (exasperated) Well, look at you. You are twenty seven years old, living in a horrid bachelor pad, getting drunk on weekends and screwing

every college girl who shows you her boobs.


John: (slyly) Do I detect a note of envy there? You and ole Brad not doing the dirty deed too often lately?


Olivia: (furious, stands up) John, you are an absolute asshole sometimes. Do I have to start talking about all the awful things you did while you were still married to Peggy? Or the sluttish rampage you made through four years of college that even your best friends are still embarrassed talking about?


John: (soft and placating) Whoa, Olivia. Easy. Sorry. I didn’t mean to be so crass. I know I have been a real jerk at times. And I always appreciated the support you gave me. I am sorry, okay? I guess mom and dad’s death has me more strained than I realized.


Olivia: ( still miffed) Well maybe so John, but you might want to reign in that mouth of yours. Sometimes you can be so hurtful.


John: (penitent) Sorry, sis. I didn’t mean to hurt you.


Olivia: (poutily) Well, you did! Maybe you should just call that auctioneer person and have them dispose of these furnishings. (looking around room) I don’t think there is a lot of real valuable stuff here anyways.


John: Yeah, mom and dad were pretty modest in their lifestyle. I guess we never realized how much they gave to us and went with out themselves.


Olivia: (haughtily) Well I did, (stops in mid sentence, shrugs) Yes, John you are right. They left us that legacy and it is a valuable one. Maybe we ought to think more about what memories they left us than what things!


John: (quietly) You know sis, I always admired the way you handled yourself. I was proud to claim you as an older sister to the kids in the neighborhood.


Olivia: (skeptically) Really? I would have never have guessed that from all the bratty things you did. Maybe I misjudged you too.


John: (reflectively)Well I guess it is times like these when we sort out what we really feel about people.


Olivia: (bemused) My baby brother the philosopher!


John: (exasperated) Olivia!


Olivia: Just kidding John, Just kidding!


John: What do you say we go down to Smitty’s and knock back a few

beers in salute to the ole parental units?


Olivia: (frowning) But that place is such a dive! Oh, okay John I guess I can manage a few drinks there. And we can leave all this stuff for a few

days. Let me give Brad and the kids a call first. (dialing her cell phone)

Hi Brad. (listens) Yes, it’s going okay. John and I are just trying to figure out what to do with al the house furnishings. (listens to Brad) Yes, that’s what John said. He knows an estate auctioneer too. (listens) Okay, I will let John call him for a meeting in the morning. The real estate people will be here tomorrow morning as well. How are the kids doing? (listens) No, I told Kathleen that she could not spend the night with Vicky and her family. (stops) Oh what the heck, tell her it’s okay, but remind her to finish her homework and not stay up too late. (listens) Love you too babe, see you in a bit.


John: Everything okay at home?


Olivia: Yes, they are all fine. Brad is a rock at times like these.


John: (sarcastically) Yeah, that’s how I always think of him too. Dense as

stone and with lots of rough edges.


Olivia: (sternly) John! Zip it! Or we can revisit the issue of the $50,000 loan if you like?.


John: (stand and holds out hands placatingly) Okay, okay, Olivia, I surender. Brad is a warm human being deserving of the Mother Theresa Medal for kindness.


Olivia: (wrinkling her face) You are such a snot! Now what about a drink at this dive of yours. I am sure the social experience of rubbing elbows with troglodytes will be an educational experience for my Garden Club when I tell them about it.


John: (rolls his eyes)I am sure Smitty will be honored at having such a grand dame visit his dive! They don’t get royalty in Smitty’s too often.


Olivia: Did I ever tell you that you can be a real asshole sometimes.


John: (smile) Yes, Olivia, I think you mentioned that once or twice. Now let’s go before you have second thought about your legacy.


Olivia: (sighs to herself, puts her arm in John’s and smiles)) Oh John! Don’t you realize that you and I are the legacy that mom and dad left to each of us?


John: (laughing) Yeah, you are right sis. You are all I have. (hugs her) Mom and dad always did have an odd sense of humor.


Olivia: (punches John in the arm and laughs resignedly) C’mon you, before I am tempted to strangle mom and dad’s legacy.

(lights dim as John and Olivia leave room for Smitty’s Bar.)



Act II: John & Olivia’s Parents living room, the next morning. John is drinking coffee and reading the local paper as Olivia enters.


Olivia: Morning John, got any more of that coffee?


John: (bemusedly) Got a little hangover have we?


Olivia: Is that what you call the state of being dehydrated, with an enormous migraine, a stomach twisted into knots and extreme sensitivity to light and loud noises?


John: That sounds like the sucker all right. After a few hours your hands will stop shaking and we can get some aspirin and tums into you. I have visine for those blood shot eyes too. We will have you fixed up in no time.


Olivia: Gee Thanks. What the hell happened last night?


John: well, you were doing okay with the first few beers. I think it was the sixth or seventh Alabama slammer that did you in.


Olivia: (dully) Alabama who?


John: (smiling)Slammers. You know that colored stuff in the small glasses that you were belting back like a long shoreman.


Olivia: Oh those. Whose bright idea were they?


John: Well it wasn’t me who hollered out “ bartender, you pussy give us some real drinks like Alabama Slammers in stead of this warm as spit draft beer.”


Olivia:(stammering) I didn’t.


John: (smiling) you did.


Olivia: John, how could you let me make such a complete ass of myself?


John: You didn’t need any help from me Olivia. Besides, the guys thought it was cool when you started dancing on the pool table and took off your blouse and bra. (laughing)


Olivia: (coloring) John tell me you are putting me on. You are aren’t you?


John: (laughing)Relax, sis, would I ever let you act like such a jerk? After you told Alderman Max Reiner that he was a puffed up douche bag, I figured you had had enough for the night, I put you in a cab for home.


Olivia: (appalled) Did I really call Mr. Reiner a douche bag?


John: (smiling)Yep, you sure did. It’s the only time I have seen him speechless in twenty years. My sister, the great political leveler. The guys at Smitty’s will be talking about that scene for years.


Olivia: (sighing) Well it’s not like I am ever going into that den of troglodytes ever again. And Alderman Reiner doesn’t really interact with our social set, the peasant.


John: (smiling) You know sis I could actually grow to like you if you keep this up.


Olivia: (sarcastically) Sure, then we could both make fools of ourselves every weekend. Mom and dad would be so proud. And of Course Brad would be so pleased with you, like he is now.


John: Ole Brad didn’t much like you coming home with a load on did he?


Olivia: Oh he was absolutely delighted. He really enjoyed carrying me from the cab to our house. He said Mrs. O’Neil, across the street saw the

whole sordid episode. The nasty old bitch will be heating up the phone

wires all day giving everyone in the garden club the ugly lowdown. I think I might have to do a few weeks in Cabo San Lucas until this all dies down.


John: Gee, the travails of the wealthy. This sounds like something from that T.V series Housewife Hookers or something!


Olivia: (annoyed)One more crack from you and we start talking about loans again.


John: Oops!So what else did ole Brad have to say.


Olivia: Brad never says anything when he is annoyed. He left me a note this morning telling me that he would have my Halston Pants Suit sent to the Cleaners to see if they could get all the vomit stains removed from it.


John: Ouch! He is not a happy camper then. Public vomiting, after riotous drunken behavior was never something that Brad or his family ever understood.


Olivia: No they only were prepared to accept one drunken Reilly who enjoyed making an absolute fool of himself at family weddings, remember?


John: Hmmm, er did I tell you that the real estate agent was coming by at 11:00 A.M. this morning and the Auctioneer at Noon?


Olivia: No you didn’t and don’t try and change the subject. I owe you big time for last night’s debacle. It will take me forever to get Brad to forget about it.


John: Well you could always plead muddled awareness and diminished capacity, engendered by extreme emotional trauma and exacerbated

psychic trauma caused by the untimely and tragic demise mom and dad.


Olivia: Huh? Where did you get that?


John: I was pre law in college, remember?


Olivia: Oh yeah, then pre-med, pre- architectural studies and a dozen others fields that dissipated over your illustrious educational career.


John: Hey, I am a Renaissance kind of guy with lots of interests.


Olivia: Yeah and most of them are female. Now what do we have to do to get ready for these people this morning?


John: Well, first we are going to get some coffee into you so you don’t look like such a warmed over Zombie.


Olivia: Screw you John, we can start talking about some of your more illustrious escapades in college if you want to get shitty with me.

John: No, that's all right thanks. My ex used to perform that proctological service for me regularly. I never liked it much. Here, drink this coffee (hands her a cup) You will feel better. Then we can sort out and box up Mom and dad’s personal things. I brought some cartons from the super market.


Olivia: Okay John, let’s get to it. Maybe it will take my mind off last night.

(scene fades to black as Olivia and John start packing boxes)



Act III : (John & Olivia in Parent’s living room 11:00 A.M. later that morning) ( sound of door bell ringing)


John: I ‘ll get it. It should be Jim Wilson from the Real estate office. (walks to door, opens it) Hi Jim. Thanks for coming by. (ushers him into living room) This is my sister Olivia Tevington.


Jim: Hi Olivia. NIce to meet you. My deepest sympathies on your parent’s passing. They were fine people.


Olivia: You knew them?


Jim: Sure, I used to hang out with Brad in HIgh School and come by the house all the time. You had gone off to college by then. Your mom could sure make a great apple pie.


Olivia: Yes, she loved to bake. John and his friends used to descend on the place like a pack of starving wolves. You were one of that gang?


Jim: Guilty I am afraid.


John: Mom really loved Jim. Fed him all the time. Dad just called him the family’s extra mouth.


Olivia: (straightening her blouse) Well what do you think Jim. Will this old place fetch anything in today’s market?


Jim: I think you might be pleasantly surprised Olivia. This whole area of Town started becoming gentrified a few years back. It is very popular with the younger set. Good schools and shops nearby, good access to public transit. I think we can move this property fairly quickly for you.


John: How much do you think we should ask Jim?


Jim: Well I had our staff run a comparative sales analysis for the block over the last six months. Then I had a bank appraiser give me his preliminary analysis. I think we might be able to get $700,000 for this property.


Olivia: You are kidding right? Mom and dad paid less than $100,000 for the place.


Jim: Yes, but that was over 35 years ago Olivia. Values in the area have soared.


John: (sitting down says quietly) $700,000! Wow, That’s incredible.


Jim: Well nothing is certain of course and the place is what a buyer is willing to pay. But I am pretty confident about the ball park price.


Olivia: Well what do we have to do next Jim?


Jim: For now Olivia, nothing. Let me draw up a sales contract and get some paper work ready. We will have to wait until Probate Court clears everything of course. They did have a valid will on file didn’t they?


John: Of course they did. I was pre law in college, remember?


Jim: Oh yeah I forgot about that. Well let’s get that started too. Ray Lawley is our corporate attorney. Should I have him give you a call or will you be able to handle it John?


Olivia: I think you can have Mr. Lawley call me Jim. (reaches into her purse) Here is my card with my husband’s business address and phone and our home number on it.


JIm: OKay, well let me leave you folks to your affairs. Olivia It was nice meeting you. John, I will give you a holler later in the week for lunch.


John: (standing and walking Jim to the door) Okay Jim and Thanks for coming by and helping us out.


Olivia: Yes,Thanks Jim. We appreciate your help. It is nice to know John has a few civilized friends. (John and JIm exchange looks)


Jim: No problem, glad to help out. I will be in touch. (leaves stage)


John: ( Turns to Olivia smiling ) Not for nothing sis, but Jim was in Smittys last night too.


Olivia: Jesus , anyone not there last night?


John: (laughing) Well it was quite a crowd. You had both a large and fascinated audience. They don’t get Grace Kelly types knocking back Alabama Slammers and calling politicians douche bags too often in Smitty’s


Olivia: Just great, another Reilly adds to the family’s tarnished reputation.


John: Oh, I think you polished up our name real good last night, sis.

Olivia: I bet. I can imagine the conversation my garden club is having this morning. My ears are already ringing. Now what about this auctioneer person.


John: He will be by shortly. But I can take care of him if you like. You look a little green around the gills. I can cart those boxes of mom & dad’s personal things out to your home later in the week, maybe some time when ole Brad isn’t around.


Olivia: For now that might be a good idea. And thanks John, I think I

could use a nap right now. Maybe I will head on out. (Turns to leave, then stops) You know you really can be sweet baby brother, when you are not

being an absolute asshole.


John: Gee Thanks sis, I think.

(scene fades to black as Olivia leaves room)

(narrow spot reveal s John sitting and talking on the phone later that afternoon.)


John: Hi Olivia, it’s your favorite brother.

(second narrow spot illuminates Olivia on the phone at her house)


Olivia: You are my only brother John, not my favorite one.


John: Details Olivia, just details. Wanna hear what the appraiser said?


Olivia: Sure, what do we have to pay him to take the furniture down to Good Will?


John: Noo, he thinks he can get a few thousand dollars for most of the stuff. With one exception that is.


Olivia: What’s that?


John: Do you remember that ugly lamp from Great Aunt Gretchen?


Olivia: Do I ever.


John: Well, it turns out that it is not only a Tiffany original, but from one of their best examples of Victorian era craftsmanship. He thinks he can get $15,000 for it.


Olivia: ( emphatically) No Way!


John: Yes, God Bless the old biddy for giving mom the lamp.


Olivia: Boy it’s true, you never know what something is worth or how

much it means to you until you get to know more about it.


John: I guess that is what I was thinking too Olivia. Maybe we should go out to dinner and have ole Brad come along too. Maybe we would all get along a little better if we got to know each other more.


Olivia: John, are you not feeling well? I thought I just heard you say something incredibly sweet and decent.


John: Aw Olivia, just trying to be a decent baby brother. By the way, do you think you could get Brad to stop by Smitty’s for a few beers first?

(scene fades to black)


                                             Finis


Joseph Xavier Martin