A Ghost in Love by Michael Dean

 

Brad and Jerry are nineteen, and they are in Britain on holiday. It is an unhappy time for Brad: his father died last month. His father was Dick Davis of Davis TV and when he goes back to America, Brad is going to be Brad Davis of Davis TV: One hot day, Brad and Jerry stop at a hotel in a village, and some strange things happen there ...


Michael Dean


BRAD SEES A GHOST

Brad and Jerry come into the hotel room and put their bags down. It is a hot day and they are wearing summer shirts. Brad sits on a bed.
 
JERRY
Man, I want a drink. Twenty miles in one morning! Are the bicycles OK, in the street?
 
BRAD
In this little village? Oh yes! Nobody steals bicycles here.
 
JERRY
How do you know? This is your first time here. First time in England. Or am I wrong?
 
BRAD
No, you're right. But - I remember this village. I was here before, Jerry. I can feel it.
 
JERRY
Oh, come on! We were out in the sun for five hours. You need to drink some cold water, my friend!
 
BRAD
This hotel opened in 1853, right?
 
JERRY (He gets a book about Britain out of his bag and looks in it.)
Right. Brad, you looked at this book before.
 
BRAD
No, I didn't. Hey, you know something? (He looks at his watch.) It's one-fifteen. My dad died at this minute, on this day last month.
 
JERRY 
Oh, Brad. I'm sorry.
 
BRAD
No, no. It's OK. I'm going to go back to New York next week, after our three weeks in England. And I'm going to be 'Brad Davis, of Davis TV'. Dad wanted that.
 
JERRY
Yeah. Hey, come on! Let's go out in the sun. Let's see the village. Have a drink. Find some girls.
 
BRAD 
No, you go. I like it here. Here in the room.
 
JERRY
OK. Let's stay in the room. Hey! There's a television. (Jerry puts the television on but nothing happens.) Hmm.
 
BRAD 
Not working? Oh, forget it.
 
JERRY
No! You're Brad Davis of Davis Television, the biggest in America. You must have a television! Look, shall I go down and ask Mrs Finch? You stay here. You look tired.
 
BRAD
Yeah, thanks, Jerry. I am tired. (Jerry goes out. Brad looks at the book about Britain.)
 
BRAD (Reading from the book)
'In 1760 the hotel was a house. A family called Bannister lived in the house. One day, the nineteen-year-old daughter, Ellen-' 
 
ELLEN (The ghost of Ellen Bannister comes in. She ts wearing a dress from 1760.)
I was never nineteen. I died at eighteen.
 
BRAD 
Yes, I remember you. Hello, Ellen.
 
ELLEN
Hello, Matthew. Why does your friend call you Brad? Is that a name?
 
BRAD 
Yes. It's an American name.
 
ELLEN
But you are Matthew and I'm going to call you Matthew. Always. Oh Matthew. I waited and waited and waited for you. I love you so much. Do you love me?
 
BRAD
Yes. I think - Yes, I do.
 
ELLEN
You think! Is that an answer? After all these years? Oh Matthew! Matthew, do you remember everything?
 
BRAD
No, not everything. I remember our love. And you died, I remember that. I wanted to die too. And again last month, I wanted to die.
 
ELLEN
Oh Matthew! Don't say that! Oh Matthew, I'm so happy to see you again.
 
BRAD 
Ellen. Can I see you? Can we talk?
 
ELLEN
Oh yes. I want to talk to you about
(Jerry comes in with Mrs Finch. Ellen runs out.) 
 
MRS FINCH 
Are you OK, love? You look white.
 
JERRY 
This is not a happy time for Brad.
 
MRS FINCH 
I'm sorry, love. Do you want some dinner? I make the best dinner in the north of England.
 
BRAD (Smiling) 
No, thank you.
 
MRS FINCH 
Talk to me later, then. Right, the television. (She hits the television.) It's OK now. Bye-bye, Brad. Bye, Jerry. Have a nice time in our village. (She goes to the door.)
 
BRAD
Mrs Finch! Wait, please. Do you know about the Bannister family?
 
MRS FINCH 
Did you see the ghost? Ellen Bannister? 
 
BRAD 
Yes.
 
JERRY 
What? Brad, you saw a ghost? Oh, come on! 
 
MRS FINCH 
Oh, Ellen's always here. She likes young men. She's always looking for her boyfriend. Matthew's his name, I think.
 
BRAD 
Mrs Finch, what happened? How did she die? What happened to Matthew?
 
MRS FINCH 
You're interested, love, I can see that. There's an old woman in the village. Her name is Maud Anscombe. She knows about Ellen. You ask Maud. (She goes out.)
 
JERRY 
Brad, this ghost - What did she say?
 
BRAD (Not looking at Jerry) 
She - she didn't speak, Jerry. She said nothing at all.

BRAD AND JERRY WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ELLEN

Maud is a very old woman. Her hair is white. Brad and Jerry are sitting at a table with her in her house.
 
MAUD
Ellen Bannister? A bad, bad girl. When she looked at someone, the next day they were ill. 
 
JERRY 
So she was a witch?
 
MAUD
Yes. She looked at animals too. Then all the cows in the village had no milk in them.
 
BRAD (Angrily)
Do - do you know this? How do you know? How can you know?
 
MAUD
Oh, it's in all the books. Our village is famous because of bad Ellen Bannister.

WAS ELLEN A WITCH?

Brad and Jerry are in Mrs Morgans village shop. There are two men and three women in the shop and Mrs Morgan.
 
MRS MORGAN 
Yes? Are you next?
 
JERRY 
Yes. Two cokes please. And two of those sandwiches.
 
BRAD 
I'm not hungry.
 
JERRY
Man, you must eat. You can't sit in your room all day and wait for a ghost. (Mrs Morgan gets the cokes and the sandwiches.) 
 
MRS MORGAN 
That's six pounds, please. (Jerry gives her the money.) What ghost's this? Ellen Bannister? 
 
BRAD (Angrily) 
Yes!
 
JERRY 
Do you know about Ellen Bannister?
 
MRS MORGAN 
Oh, people in our village had no money then. Of course, they stole things. And Ellen Bannister sold them. She only wanted to help. 
 
JERRY 
Was she a witch? Some people say that.
 
MRS MORGAN 
A witch? (Laughing) No, of course not. The men loved her. She helped them, you see. The women didn't love her so much. She was beautiful, you see.
 
WOMAN 1 
Her boyfriend was the bad one, that Matthew. It wasn't her.
 
BRAD (Drinking his coke) 
Oh. What did he do? 
 
WOMAN 2 
He stole things from rich people. Then she sold them and he took all the money. He took all her money, too. But she loved him.
 
BRAD 
Did he love her?
 
MAN 1
 No. He had two or three women.
 
WOMAN 3 
No, he didn't! He loved her. He lived for her. 
 
MAN 2 
Who are you talking about? That witch Ellen Bannister? She ate cats for breakfast.
 
WOMAN 3 (To Brad and Jerry) 
Oh, don't listen to him. 
 
MRS MORGAN (Laughing) 
Don't listen to these people, you boys. What happened to Ellen Bannister? You want to know that? Matthew killed her.

WHERE IS ELLEN NOW?

It is night time. Jerry is sitting on the bed. Brad is walking up and down.
 
BRAD 
Seven hours. We waited seven hours. Where is she, Jerry?
 
JERRY 
I said this before. I don't know. Just wait.
 
BRAD 
She isn't coming, because you're here.
 
JERRY
Brad, I say again. One. I sleep here. This is my room. Two. I am your friend and I am not leaving you like this.
 
BRAD 
Jerry, is this all a big laugh for you?
 
JERRY
No. Not now. I want to see Ellen, too. I want to help.
 
BRAD
OK. Thanks, Jerry. Sorry. Hey, here she is. (The ghost of Ellen comes into the room.)
 
BRAD 
Ellen, Ellen. It's me, Brad, Matthew.
 
JERRY 
Man, oh man! It's all true!
 
BRAD 
Ellen, please. Tell me, what happened, in 1760? 
 
ELLEN 
You must remember!
 
BRAD 
No.
 
ELLEN
We sold things, you and me. Rich people's things. You stole them, remember?
 
JERRY
Wow! Brad, you were Robin Hood! Sorry!
 
ELLEN
The rich people didn't like me. They said bad things about me. 'Ellen Bannister is a witch.' They said that, but it's not true.
 
BRAD 
Of course not.
 
ELLEN 
Then, one day, they came for us. Twenty men. 
 
BRAD 
What happened?
 
ELLEN
We ran away. You found a ship. A ship going to America. You said, 'See you at one-fifteen. At the harbour. We can go away, you and me.' 
 
BRAD 
And then what happened, Ellen?
 
ELLEN 
The ship went early. I wasn't there in time. You went on the ship. You didn't wait for me.
 
BRAD
Oh no!
 
ELLEN
When I arrived, there were a lot of ships there. I didn't know the name of our ship. I looked for you. I waited and waited and waited.
 
BRAD 
Ellen! Oh Ellen, I'm sorry.
 
ELLEN
Then the men came. They put me in prison. I died three months later. And then I came back home. Here. And I waited again. I waited for you.
 
BRAD 
I love you, Ellen.
 
ELLEN
I love you too, Matthew.

WHAT IS BRAD GOING TO DO?

It is dark. Brad is standing at the window of the room. Jerry comes in. Brad always has his back to Jerry in this scene.
 
JERRY 
Do you want to die? Do you want to go to Ellen? 
 
BRAD
Before today, the answer was 'Yes'. Matthew wanted to die and go to be with Ellen. Do you understand that?
 
JERRY 
Yes.
 
BRAD 
But Matthew is dead and I am Brad now.
 
JERRY 
And what does Brad want?
 
BRAD
I don't know. I'm thinking. Is there a train from here to London tomorrow?
 
JERRY
Yes. We can put our bicycles on the train. We can get the next plane back to America. Do you want to do that?
 
BRAD
I don't know. I'm going to tell you tomorrow.

IN LOVE WITH A GHOST

The next day. Brad and Jerry are in the street. Jerry has two bags. Mrs Finch is there too.
 
MRS FINCH 
You must leave, then? A week early? 
 
JERRY 
Yes. I'm sorry. (Mrs Morgan conies past the hotel.)
 
MRS MORGAN 
Oh hello. It's the American boys. Are you going home to America?
 
BRAD 
Jerry's going home, Mrs Morgan. I'm staying here, at the hotel. I'm going to live here. Always. 
 
JERRY 
Brad, do you want to do this? Think about Davis TV. What are you going to do, here in England?
 
BRAD 
I don't know. But, yes, Davis TV needs a good man. My dad worked for years for Davis TV. But now it has a good man, Jerry. You.
 
JERRY 
Me? Oh! Thank you, Brad.
 
BRAD 
That's OK. I'm happy. I'm in love. She waited for me and now I'm here. I'm never going to leave her again.

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