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Stu’s America Sides


Page 10-13  Gloria, Stu, Marge, Sally, Henry, Sofie


GLORIA: Are you going to be okay?


STU: Yes. I’m fine. 


GLORIA: So about tonight. Can you miss one rehearsal, please? Mrs. Fulton wants to make it a special evening. 


STU: Widow Fulton and I tend to get on each other’s nerves. It’s a mother-in-law, father-in-law kind of thing.


GLORIA: You can just mind your manners, and be a gentleman.


STU: Easier said than done.


GLORIA: I have faith in you, Daddy.


(Marge and Sally enter. Stu quickly takes off his hat and hides it away.)


SALLY: Hello, Mr. Parker. 


MARGE: Hi, Stu.


STU: Widow Fulton. Sally.


MARGE: Have you got any sugar? I have ration tickets.


STU: Sorry. Nothing’s come in yet. 


MARGE: Oh. Last week you said you‘d have some in by this week.


STU: I wish I had a crystal ball for sugar, but I don’t.  


MARGE: My late husband, Tyler, always said that a man’s word is his bond. 


STU: I’ll keep my word on sugar just as soon as the German U-boats leave our shipping imports alone.


MARGE: I was hoping to bake Henry a going-away pie for his last night at home.


SALLY: Apple pie. And we need sugar to make ice cream, too. 


STU: I wish I could help you.


MARGE: Are you joining us tonight for supper?


GLORIA: (answers for Stu) Daddy is delighted to join us for Henry’s last night before going off to war.  


STU: I guess that settles it. 


MARGE: Good. (to self) Now let’s see what else is on my list. (Looks over list.) 


STU: Don’t be surprised if you don’t find everything.


SALLY: (confidentially to Stu) I’m keeping my eyes peeled for spies.


STU: Spies in Bremerton?


SALLY: Yes. With our navy shipyard, they’re bound to be snooping around here.  


STU: How can you spot them? 


SALLY: For starters, I look for people who wear big overcoats and dark glasses.   


STU: Shady characters, huh?


SALLY: Yep. They could be Japanese, German or Italian. Or Fifth Column agents of the Axis Powers. (looks all around)


STU: What’s a fifth column?


SALLY: It’s a group of subversive sympathizers with the enemy.  


MARGE: Sally, you have an overactive imagination. 


SALLY: Mom, we’ve got to stay alert. The Japanese have already attacked California and Alaska. We know spies were involved. Bremerton, Washington could be their next target.  


STU: Sally, how do you know so much about spies and fifth columns? 


SALLY: Cause I’m a member of the Junior Citizens Service Corps. 


HENRY: (enters in Marine uniform) Hi, Mr. Parker.  Gosh, everyone’s here. (greets) Mom, Sally.  Hi, Sweety. (Gloria and Henry embrace.)


STU: One more night, huh Henry?


HENRY: Yeah. 


STU: Have the Marines told you where they’re sending you?


HENRY: Tomorrow I ship to Hawaii. The rest is classified. 


SALLY: Because of spies. 


STU: Well, do what you can to send the Japanese back to their own island. 


HENRY: I’ll do my best. 


GLORIA: Daddy, remember I’m leaving early today so Henry and I can spend the afternoon together.  


STU: That’s fine. Your little brother can help me.     


GLORIA: (to Henry) Let me finish with this and I’ll be ready. (Gloria straightens some items on shelves.)


SOFIE: (enters wearing a big overcoat, dark glasses, carrying a camera) Hello. (Sally stares with suspicion.) Do you have any sugar?


STU: I’m afraid not. 


SOFIE: I’m new to town, and I was told your store was the most likely to have some. 


STU: Sorry. Waiting for sugar has become a regular pastime here in Bremerton.


SALLY: (Looking her over suspiciously) You have dark glasses.


SOFIE: (takes off glasses) Yes. It’s bright outside. 


SALLY: And a big overcoat.


SOFIE: In case of rain.


SALLY: (aside to self) But it’s bright outside. (to Sofie) And a camera. 


SOFIE: Yes, I’m a photographer.


SALLY: (suspiciously) Hm. What do you take pictures of? 


MARGE: Sally, don’t be so nosey.


SOFIE: It’s all right. I take pictures of all kinds of things. Sunsets, landscapes, people.


SALLY: Navy ships and submarines?


SOFIE: Occasionally. They’re quite impressive.


SALLY: (raises eyebrows) Aren’t they? Hmm. 


MARGE: Welcome to Bremerton, Miss…um


SOFIE: Smith…Sofie Smith.  


MARGE: I’m Marge Fulton. Sally is my daughter. 


SOFIE: Pleased to meet you both. 


STU: And I’m Stu. The grocer with no sugar.


MARGE: Where are you from?


SOFIE: Oh…back east. 


SALLY: How far east? Like Germany?

MARGE: (embarrassed) I’m sorry. Sally has– 


SALLY: An overactive imagination.


MARGE: She thinks people with overcoats and dark glasses could be spies. 


SOFIE: (laughs) Well it’s good for young people to use their imagination. 


(Mel enters with a delivery of groceries. Sofie exits moves away to shop. Sally lingers to eavesdrop.)


MEL: (loud & jovial) Hi, Stu. 


STU: Hi, Mel. Did you bring me any sugar? 


MEL: No sugar. 


STU: That stinks. What did you bring?


MEL: I brought some bad news. A Japanese submarine fired on Fort Stevens in Oregon yesterday. 


STU: That stinks rotten. What was the damage?


MEL: Not much. They shelled the hillside and missed the fort. 

STU: Thank goodness. 

Pages 16-19  Gloria, Stu, Fred, Wesley, George, Mel


GLORIA: Daddy, we’re leaving now. George is in the back somewhere and he can help out up front if it gets busy.


STU: That’s fine.


GLORIA: (exiting) We’ll see you tonight for supper, okay? (Stu acts evasive.) You’ll be there, right?


STU: (sighs) Yeah. (Gloria and Henry exit. Mel is getting ready to leave.)


MEL: Henry’s last evening at home, huh? Looks like you’re not gonna be able to sing tonight. We were gonna rehearse our barbershop quartet. 


STU: What do you mean, “quartet”? We’re a trio. Who’s the fourth guy?


MEL: His name’s Julius Kleiner. He’s the new pastor at the Lutheran church and he’s looking for ways to connect with people.  


STU: A minister, huh? 


MEL: Yep. A good singer, too. Well, if you can’t make it, we’ll have to get together without you.


STU: That stinks.


MEL: Can we still meet in your backroom? It’s so convenient since you gave me a key.


STU: Yeah, sure. Hey, wait a minute. What if you fellas stop by the Fulton’s house, where I’m having supper? You can say goodbye to Henry, maybe we can sing a few bars there. 


MEL: Hm. Great idea. We’ll make it happen. So long. (Mel exits leaving Stu alone in his store.)


STU: (to audience) Mel, he directs our singing. He writes and arranges some of his own music, too. Pretty impressive for a delivery man, don’t you think? It’s funny how singing can brighten things up.  (puts the knit hat back on) My wife, Rachel, and I used to sing together in church. …Then the cancer took her …and I stopped going … (sighs) Well, back to work.


(Stu looks into the stockroom.)


STU: Georgie? Georgie Boy, are you back there? 


GEORGE: (steps out from a hidden place in the stockroom) Dad, I asked you to stop calling me Georgie.


STU: Sorry, Georgie. 


GEORGE: Dad! (Wesley steps out.)


STU: Oh, hi, Wesley. I didn’t know you were here.


WESLEY: Hello, Mr. Parker.  I just stopped by to say hi.  


STU: Through the back door, I see.  


WESLEY: I like your hat. Aren’t you hot?


GEORGE: Mom made it. (Stu takes off the hat and hides it away again.)


STU: (suspiciously) Say, have you boys been reading comics behind the freezer again? 


GEORGE: Well, er… 


STU: Hand it over. (George gives Stu a comic book. He reads the title.) Captain America. 


WESLEY: It’s my fault. I brought it. 


GEORGE: Dad, we wanna fight the Axis Powers, like Captain America and Bucky. 


STU: You have to wait until you’re old enough.   


GEORGE: Me and Wesley are starting up a weapons business.  


STU: (getting impatient) Nice idea, Georgie, but you were supposed to be cleaning up the stockroom. 


GEORGE: Dad, stop calling me Georgie. Gee whiz.


STU: Okay, Mr. George Alexander Parker, you make cleaning up the stockroom your business. 


GEORGE: Can Wesley help?


STU: (skeptically) I dunno. (Both boys give a pleading look.) Well, I guess it’s okay, if you keep Captain America packed away until you’re finished. 


GEORGE & WESLEY: (saluting) Yes, sir! (Boys follow Mel into the stockroom to work.)


FRED: (enters with mail) Mornin’, Stu. Got any sugar?


STU: Sorry, Fred. No coffee either. 


FRED: Shucks. I’d walk an extra mile for some coffee with sugar. After work, of course. Stu, did you know that I walk nearly ten miles every day on my route. 


STU: That’s impressive, Fred. 


FRED: Yep. Rain, or shine. Hot or cold. (hands Stu the mail) When are you gonna get some in? My wife has ration stamps for both. 


STU: I wish I knew. Mel didn’t bring me any. By the way, he says he recruited a new guy to sing with us. 


FRED: Yep. You’ll meet him tonight.  


STU: I’ll be having supper at the Fulton’s house tonight, but Mel said you fellas might be able to stop by for a moment and say farewell to Henry. 


FRED: That works for me. Say, I hear Henry’s mother is an excellent cook. 


STU: (evasive) Maybe she is.  


FRED: She has a fine reputation down at the post office as a mail sorter.


STU: Glad to hear it. She must be organized. 


FRED: (raising eyebrows) Yeah. And wears her hair in that fancy new style.

STU: (Annoyed) Fred, does your wife know you pay so much attention to Widow Fulton?


FRED: Widow Fulton, my granny’s ankle. Her name’s Marge, and you know it. She could be pleasant company for a bachelor like you.


STU: I’m not a bachelor.  I’m a widower.  And you can stop right now with the matchmaking schemes.  


FRED: Just had to get it out. Friends that sing together, bring together. (gestures with hands)


STU: Not interested.


FRED: Stu, now that Henry and Gloria have wedded, you’re already related by marriage. 


STU: Give it up, Fred. (to divert attention) Hey, did you know that Wesley is here?


FRED: What? (calls out) Wesley?


WESLEY: (from stockroom.) Hi, Dad. I’m helping Georgie.


GEORGE: Not Georgie. George. Gee whiz!


FRED: Wesley, does your mother know you’re here?


WESLEY: Yeah. 


FRED: Well. If it’s okay with her, it’s okay with me. (George & Wesley show themselves at the stockroom door.) You boys make sure to work hard for Mr. Parker, and stay away from those comic books ‘til your work’s done, you hear me?


GEORGE & WESLEY: Yes, sir! (They salute and return to the stockroom.)


FRED: Stu, feel free to send him home if he gets to be a nuisance. His mother can put him to work pulling weeds out of our Victory Garden.  (checks his mailbag) Well, it’s time to march. See ya. (Fred exits. Music starts.)



Pages 21-22 Zuke and Sofie

(The two spies slyly meet.)


ZUKE: Agent S, did you make contact with the target?


SOFIE: Yes, Haupt Zuchinschtopen. I met with Stuart Parker, but he did not respond to the code. 


ZUKE: So he didn’t take the Austrian strudel bait. Hmm. Our intelligence says he’s a Nazi sympathizer, and willing to help…for a fee.


SOFIE: Can we trust our intelligence? 


ZUKE: Of course. Just because we are not A grade spies, does not mean our operations are any less accurate. Did Stuart Parker know anything about Project Y?


SOFIE: No. But he said he carried Preparation H. Is that a code name?


ZUKE: (scowling) It’s a cream for hemorrhoids, you numbskull.


SOFIE: Sorry, Haupt Zuchinschtopen. 


ZUKE: Hmm. He may be playing us for a higher price before he sells his information. Did anyone see you speak to him?


SOFIE: Yes, Haupt Zuchinschtopen. Einege Jungen. 


ZUKE: Some boys, eh? Agent S, from now on we must use only English. Someone may hear us. (looks around) Address me as Agent Z. 


SOFIE: Yes, Agent Z. And there was a young girl who thought I was a spy.


ZUKE: Was? Du dummkopf!  


SOFIE: You’re speaking in German.


ZUKE: Don’t correct me when I’m correcting you, you idiot! 


SOFIE: Sorry.


ZUKE: How did you blow your cover on the first contact?


SOFIE: I think it was my camera. But I convinced her I was a normal photographer. I think. 


ZUKE: We must proceed carefully. Hm. You will make contact again, and arrange a private meeting where Stuart Parker can talk more freely. 


SOFIE: A private meeting at the store?


ZUKE: No. Ask him to meet you at the park next to the navy base. This is where he will give you a map of the shipyard and information on Project Y in exchange for cash (holds up stack of bills). This should suffice, but this (holds up another stack) is if he insists on more. Do you understand?


SOFIE: Yes, Agent Z. 


ZUKE: If we are successful in our mission we may both get a promotion.


SOFIE: Into the A grade spy unit?


ZUKE: Yes! We have to prove our competence, and this is our chance. Now, our intelligence says that Stuart Parker is a lady’s man. You are authorized to use special persuasion to your advantage. 


SOFIE: I hope you are not referring to…


ZUKE: Yes, Agent S. Get his attention.  


Pages 28-29 Shirley, Patricia, Adeline, Wesley, Stu, Ashley, Alissa, (Amy one line)


WESLEY: (to Shirley) Hi, Mom. George and I are thinking up ways to advertise our business.  


SHIRLEY: You two are just brimming with ideas. Do you have a sign? 


WESLEY: No. But that’s a great idea. (George agrees) Moms are so smart. (Wesley hugs her)


SHIRLEY: Wesley, I’m starting supper when I get home from shopping, so don’t be long. 


WESLEY: I won’t. (George helps himself to the marker and extra paper Stu was using. He and Wesley huddle together to work on a sign. Sally stands nearby waiting.)


PATRICIA: So Stu, do you have any coffee or sugar? 


STU: Strike one and strike two. You should know that, because your dear husband delivers my dry goods. 


PATRICIA: I thought I’d ask anyway. Mel doesn’t always talk about work when he gets home. 


STU: I’ll bet he’d talk about coffee and sugar if it came in. 


SHIRLEY: Did Fred tell you I’ve got a whole ration book ready to use? 


STU: Yes, he did. 


SHIRLEY: Don’t you think the wives of your singing buddies should be put on the short list for using their ration stamps? 


STU: Absolutely. Hey, I happen to have something new in the store. Pickled beets. They’re sweet and tangy.


PATRICIA & SHIRLEY: Ooh. (AdeIine and her three girls enter)


ADELINE: Did I hear you say pickled beets?


STU: That’s right. 


ADELINE: We love pickled beets, don’t we, girls?


ALISSA: (reluctantly) They’re okay. (The other girls are also unenthusiastic.)


STU: (to Shirley and Patricia) The beets are next to the baked beans.  You can’t miss them. I’ll be right in to help you find anything. (Patricia and Shirley enter the store. Adeline looks over some of the produce Stu is arranging.) 


AMY: Hi, Sally. (she waves). Whatcha doin?


SALLY: I got roped into being an audience for their advertisement. (gestures to George and Wesley) Wanna join me? (the Kleiner girls are all suddenly interested, but stand patiently by their mother waiting)


ADELINE: Julius says he really enjoys being a part of your singing group. 


STU: Oh, he’s a wonderful addition. He has a great voice.  I’ll bet he’s a good pastor.


ADELINE: I think so. But, of course, I’m a little biased.


STU: How are you settling into Bremerton? 


ADELINE: Just fine. We’re glad it doesn’t rain quite so much in the summer. The girls love it, and the people are so friendly. Do you go to church, Mr. Parker?


STU: Well, I used to, but I lost interest in religion when my wife died. Plus I’ve usually got work to catch up on, and things at home, and at the store…and stuff.


ADELINE: I see. Well, Julius and I would love to have you visit our church any time you can. 


STU: Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind. Here, come on in and I’ll lead you to those pickled beets. 


ASHLEY: Mommy, can we wait outside and watch George and Wesley’s advertisement?


ADELINE: (pauses to decide) That will be fine. I won’t be long inside.  (Stu and Adeline enter the store. George stands on the crate. Wesley stands beside him, hiding the sign. The girls step back to watch)


GEORGE: Okay, here’s the scoop. Wesley and I are starting our own company to help with the war effort. Right Wesley?


WESLEY: Yep. We’ve decided to get into the weapons business. 


ALISSA: Weapons?


WESLEY: Uh huh. We’re hoping for explosive growth.


SALLY: Very funny.  (Music starts.) 


GEORGE: And we’ve composed a little jingle for advertising. 


WESLEY: Aaand we’re going to give a little demonstration.


ASHLEY: Ooh! What kind of demonstration?


WESLEY: Just wait and see.


Pages 30-32 George, Wesley, Ashley, Amy, Alissa, Sally, (Adeline, one line)


GEORGE: Now Wesley and I realize that people might be concerned about Bombs R Us being owned and operated by kids, so we decided to start off with non-lethal weapons.  


ASHLEY: What does non-lethal mean?


SALLY: Lethal means deadly, so non-lethal means not deadly.


WESLEY: It means it can hurt you, but not kill you.


AMY: Like a snowball?


ASHLEY: Or a dirt clod?


GEORGE: No, that’s kid-stuff-non-lethal.  We want industrial-grade non-lethal. 


ALISSA: Like what?


GEORGE: I’m glad you asked. Wesley, show our audience the prototype of our first non-lethal weapon. 


WESLEY: (holds up canister) Ta da. It’s the Drop Dead Stink Bomb. 


ALISSA: I thought you said it was non-lethal.


WESLEY: It is. 


ASHLEY: But you said “drop dead.” 


WESLEY: It’s a figure of speech. 


SALLY: Does it smell like something dead?


GEORGE: No. But you’ll wish you were dead if you smell it. 


AMY: Wowww.


SALLY: I don’t believe you.


GEORGE: Oh, ye of little faith. This little canister contains a gas that smells worse than sixteen skunks on a rotten egg diet.  


SALLY: You can keep your bad gas to yourself. 


WESLEY: We invite you to take the sniff test. Then you can give us feedback for quality control. 


AMY: I want to smell it. 


ASHLEY: Me, too. 


ALISSA: Me, too. 


GEORGE: That’s the spirit.  Wesley, give them a teeny weeny little dose of the Drop Dead Stink Bomb. (Wesley opens the valve and out sprays a gas) Ta dah! (The children sniff the air with sour expressions, wave the air.) Well?


AMY: Pew. It does stink a little.


ASHLEY: I smell dirty socks.


ALISSA: I can’t smell anything.


SALLY: Ha. I think your demo is a failure.


WESLEY: We haven’t failed. We’ve just discovered another way to not make a stink bomb. 


GEORGE: I think we need more ammonia and more sulfur. 


ADELINE: (exits the store) Come on, girls. Let’s go home for supper. (They ad lib farewells as they exit.)


STU: (Stu flips the “Closed” sign and steps outside) Why do I smell a whiff of rotten eggs out  here?


GEORGE: It was just a little experiment that went so-so. 


STU: No experimenting outside the store. George, I’ll be sticking around here to rehearse with the guys for a bit. I’ll see you when I get home. 


SALLY: Oh, Mr. Parker, may I buy some jelly babies before I go?


STU: That shouldn’t take long. Come on in. (George and Wesley walk off mumbling about the stink bomb. Sally gets her candy.)


SALLY: I saw a person in a fishing boat near the shipyard today who looked like a spy.


STU: How could you tell? 


SALLY: The whole time I watched him he didn’t catch a single fish.


STU: Sounds like my fishing trips.


SALLY: There were other telltale signs. He was looking through binoculars. Who uses binoculars to fish?


STU: Maybe he was looking for signs of fish. 


SALLY: Maybe he was looking for military secrets. And another thing was very suspicious. He had on colorful clothes instead of regular fisherman’s clothes. 


STU: What’s suspicious about that?


SALLY: Oh, spies sometimes over-dress so they can be under-noticed. It must be a psychological thing. 


STU: How strange. 


SALLY: If a spy wears a trench coat one day, then the next time you see him he’ll have on something different, like a fancy suit.  Or a fancy dress and makeup if it’s a woman.  


STU: It must be a psychological thing.


SALLY: Exactly. I haven’t reported anything to the Junior Citizens Service Corps yet.  But I’m on the alert. 


STU: Glad to know it. By the way, the jelly babies are on the house today.


SALLY: Gee, thanks, Mr. Parker. I don’t know why my mom says you’re grumpy.  I think you’re A okay.


STU: Thanks, Sally.



Pages 44-45. Mel, Stu, Fred, Julius


MEL: Singing is good for the soul.


STU: Mel, can I ask you something? 


MEL: Sure.


STU: Aren’t people supposed to appreciate life more, when it gets threatened? 


MEL: I guess.


STU: Well, how come I don’t feel grateful? 


MEL: I don’t know. 


STU: I keep thinking about Rachel. And I don’t understand why I got to keep my life and she didn’t. Where’s the justice in that?


MEL: I don’t know, Stu. (Stu sighs deeply.) It still hurts, doesn’t it? 


STU: I miss her, Mel. 


MEL: Rachel was a fine woman. 


STU: I wonder what she thinks, looking down from heaven, to see her stupid husband duped by a lady spy. (shakes his head in shame)


MEL: Don’t be so hard on yourself. 


STU: I won’t make that mistake again. You can lock me in a root cellar and throw away the key if I ever have eyes for another woman.


MEL: If you say so. 


STU: I’m serious. 


(Julius enters.) 


JULIUS: Hi, Stu. I’m so glad you’re safe and sound. 


STU: Thanks, Julius.  


JULIUS: Mel, thanks for giving me the music in advance. I’ve been practicing.


MEL: Wonderful. I appreciate you joining us to fill the quartet. 


JULIUS: My pleasure. My wife is pleased to hear me singing love songs all around the house. 


STU: Ah, love songs are overrated. We should do more patriotic stuff like Yankee Doodle Dandy and Grand Old Flag. 


MEL: Stu, love songs are soothing to the soul. Especially in times of war. 


STU: Speaking of war, I’ve got a question for you, Julius. Why does God allow evil to happen?

Why does He let some people die and other people keep living? I’m confused about that. Especially when the good people go and the bad people stick around.


JULIUS: Well, Stu, one way to look at it is that the people who die early get to see God sooner, and the people who live longer get to see Him later. But they all see Him. I believe God is good and just. The bad people must answer for their crimes. And since there’s a bit of bad in everybody, it’s a good thing that He is merciful and forgiving. I think He makes all things right in the end. (Stu nods with satisfaction.)


MEL: (Teasing) Gee whiz, Stu. You’re making the poor pastor preach when he’s off work. Maybe we should pass an offering plate. (Stu, Mel & Julius chuckle.)


STU: Thanks, Julius.


(Fred enters.) 


FRED: Hey, guys. Sorry I’m late. I got distracted looking at the clouds. The weather forecast calls for thunderstorms tonight. Stu, can I just hug you for being alive? (hugs Stu, to his embarrassment)  I’m glad I didn’t lose a singing buddy. 


STU: Yeah, well you’re about to suffocate me with your bear hug, you brute. 


FRED: Did you guys hear the news from Brookings, Oregon?


STU: No. What?


FRED: The Japanese dropped fire bombs from a plane to set the forest on fire. 


JULIUS: Oh, no. 


FRED: Fortunately it was wet from an early rain, so the fire didn’t spread. 


STU: How can they get away with that? 


MEL: Did they send an aircraft carrier right up to the Oregon Coast?


FRED: No. It wasn’t a carrier plane. It was a small pontoon plane carried by a submarine. 


STU: Sneaky rascals.   


MEL: How about we drop a few more bombs on Japan, like we did with B-52s back in April?


STU: If this keeps up the military might start letting the old guys do some fighting. (Fred & Mel agree.)


MEL: All right, fellas. May I turn our attention to music? We need to practice, just in case we get asked to sing at the USO event. Let’s go over “Missing You.” 


STU: (with dread) Oh boy. That one. 


MEL: You gonna be okay?


STU: I guess so. I’ll sing it for Rachel.

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