Originally developed from a series of writing exercises in Greg Romero’s Summer Playwright’s Workshop.


    The farmhouse is rugged and beautiful in the morning light. FRANK, badly s          

    scratched and still bleeding, comes on from somewhere outside carrying a

    small pail filled with ripe blackberries. He sits on the steps and takes out    

    a handful of the fruit. He eats them with messy enjoyment. He closes his

    eyes, thinking only of the taste.

    MINA, clearly a farming woman, enters from the house. She sees Frank eating        

    and allows the door slam behind her. He opens his eyes, and lets his head     

    lull back to look at her upside down. She wears a scowl and mourning


MINA Not much time left for you to change.

FRANK Change?

MINA Ain’t the day to be smart with me, Frank.

FRANK Ain’t. ... [We’ll] Make a Jessel outta you yet.

MINA Already have. Mouth just took some time to catch up.

FRANK Suppose that’s right. ... Sit. Eat.

MINA No time to.

FRANK Just a second, these’re busting ripe, lookit ‘em.

MINA I said there’s no time for-

FRANK Would you just calm down a minute? ... Just a minute.

MINA ...

FRAK ...

MINA Besides, you’re a mess. Bleeding into the berries like that.

    Frank takes out a handful of blackberries and eats them in the same messy        

    and joyful manner as before.

FRANK (with his mouth full) Better that way. Sweeter for the blood.

MINA Look at yourself. That any way to bury your sister? Scratched raw, a disgrace. Going to Elizabeth’s funeral like that is a-

FRANK Who said I was going?

MINA ...


MINA Told you already, no day for getting smart. Now would you get dressed?

FRANK After the way she-

MINA She. What?

FRANK Dragged the family name straight through the mud. Doing that.

MINA How dare-

FRANK S’true. Had no right to-

MINA ...


MINA To. What.

FRANK You know what she-

MINA If I can pay her respects-

FRANK Then you’re actin’ a fool.

MINA I found her. I cut her down.


MINA So you don’t have rights to say a damn thing.


MINA ...

FRANK You gonna have any blackberries? I got ‘em for you.So you ain’t gonna-

MINA Then you wasted your time.

FRANK So you ain’t gonna-

MINA An’ what’ll you tell your Momma when she sees you ain’t there? How’ll you explain it to Junior that his Daddy couldn’t be bothered to␣come to Aunt Eliz-

FRANK I’m goin’. Ain’t to pay my respects to Bethie. I’m going for you an’ this family.

MINA Elizabeth.

FRANK ... I’m goin’.

MINA Then why’re you belly-aching?

    Frank starts to exit.

FRANK Ain’t gotta stay here an’ explain myself to you, Mina. You damn well know why I-

MINA An’ maybe I don’t give a damn what you’re feeling today, you ever think on that?

FRANK You don’t give a damn any day. Don’t pretend like you’re a doting wife all’a the-

MINA Frank, I- Wait. I.


MINA Maybe I forgot myself some. It being such an. Emotional day and all. Maybe I- ... You. You want me to have some of your blackberries?

FRANK Thought you didn’t have-

MINA Do you?

FRANK I got them for you, didn’t I?

MINA ...

FRANK I did. Was walkin’ an’ saw ‘em and thought you’d like somethin’ sweet.

MINA Trade you. Yeah, you certainly have become a Jessel, I’d say.

FRANK Something I want from you and blackberries seem like a pretty good deal for it.


    Mina shows Frank a handkerchief.

MINA I want to bury it with her.