One Ghost for the Day One Ghost for the Night by Michael Dean

 
Richard Little is at home on a dark night in 1653. Two years ago, his sister Beth's husband, James, died. She found a new husband. But the man at the window in the dark night is James Heston. And he is angry with Richard ...

Michael Dean


A GHOST COMES TO RICHARD LITTLE

The year is 1653. It is a cold, dark winter night and Richard Little, a man of forty, is sitting in his chair. He is reading a book. He hears something. He goes to the window, looks out and then goes back to the chair. His wife, Mary, comes in. She is making a dress. She has the dress in her hand.
 
RICHARD Mary, I can hear something outside.
 
MARY There's nothing there. Read your book, Richard.
 
RICHARD Come and sit with me.
 
MARY No. I'm making a dress. I'm going upstairs.
 
RICHARD Mary, please. There's something out there.
 
MARY Oh, Richard!
(Mary goes out and James Heston s ghost comes in.)
 
HESTON Hello, Richard.
 
RICHARD Aaaagh! You! James! James Heston! But you - you're dead!
 
HESTON Yes. I am dead. But I can't find peace because of you.
 
RICHARD Because of me? Why - why because of me?
 
HESTON Beth had a new husband after me. That animal, Keech.
 
RICHARD Yes. Beth was a good woman. And a good sister to me. I said to her, 'Don't go with Keech. Think of James. He's dead now.'
 
HESTON She was Keech's wife for only three months. Then she died. And now Keech has my son. And he has my son's money.
 
RICHARD Ah. I understand now.
 
HESTON Oh, you remember now? Before I died, I said to you, 'My boy gets my money at twenty-one and not before'. He is eight now. Eight. And Keech has his money.
 
RICHARD I'm sorry about that, but what can I do?
 
HESTON You must get my boy's money. Get it from Keech.
 
RICHARD No! Keech can kill me with one hand. He's big - he always has a knife in his pocket. Last year he killed a man with that knife. I'm afraid of him, James.
 
HESTON Are you afraid of me?
 
RICHARD No. Oh! Yes, a little. You're a ghost!
 
HESTON Only a little, eh? Look at the table.
 
RICHARD (Looking at the table) Oh no! The table is moving! (He stands up and walks to the table.) Oh no! Oh, the chair is moving now! And now my chair is moving! James! Don't do this to me!
 
HESTON At this minute, Keech is building a new home in a village near here with my son's money. Stop him!
 
RICHARD I'm sorry, James. I can't. (He gets a book and throws it across the room.) I didn't want – that was my hand but - James, can you get in my head? Can you tell my hand (He looks at his hand and at the book)
 
HESTON (Laughing) Yes, Richard. And your answer is going to be 'Yes'. Or you are going to do this again and again and again and (Richard gets a book and throws it across the room again. Then he runs across the room. Then he moves the table, the chairs and his chair. Heston laughs. Richard stops.)
 
RICHARD I'm going mad! Why does my hand throw a book, when I don't want to? Can all dead people do this? Can they get in a man's head, so he moves a chair or throws a book?
 
HESTON Oh yes. Now, I can do it to you again or you can say 'Yes' and get my son's money. Which?
 
RICHARD But how? How can I get the money from Keech?
 
HESTON Sit down. I'm going to tell you.

DAVID KEECH IN COURT

In the court we can see Judge Timms, Keech, Barker, Reynolds, Richard and Mary. There are six women and six men behind Keech. They are from the village and they are watching the trial. Judge Timms is in a big chair in front of the court.
 
BARKER (Standing) My name is Oliver Barker. And I speak for Richard Little here today. (He sits. Reynolds stands up.)
 
REYNOLDS Judge Timms. I speak for David Keech here today. My name is Philip Reynolds. (He sits.)
 
WOMAN 1 That Keech took the boy's money. You can see it in his face.
 
WOMAN 2 Oh Lil, we must listen to Oliver Barker and Philip Reynolds first.
 
MAN 1 Keech is the boy Tom's father now.
 
MAN 2 A good father doesn't take his son's money and build a new house with it.
 
TIMMS Be quiet in my court!
 
WOMAN 1 Sorry!
 
TIMMS Oliver Barker. You can begin.
 
BARKER (Standing) Judge Timms. Before James Heston died, he said this to Richard Little. He said, My boy gets my money at twenty-one and not before.'
 
TIMMS (Writing) 'At twenty-one and not before ... '
 
BARKER Yes, judge. But Keech has this money now. The boy's money. He is building a big house with it. We all know that.
 
MAN 1 (Starting to eat something) Put Keech in prison, I say.
 
MAN 6 (Eating) Five years.
 
WOMAN 6 (Eating) No, ten.
 
TIMMS You! Don't eat in my court! Philip Reynolds. Speak.
 
REY OLDS (Standing) Judge Timms. Yes, there is a house in a village near here. And, yes, it is Keech's house. But the money for it is not young Tom's money.
 
TIMMS (Writing) Not Tom's money.
 
REYNOLDS No, Judge Timms. It is David Keech's money. (Reynolds sits.)
 
BARKER (Standing) So one day Keech is not rich and the next day he is rich? He has money for a house? (Men and women laugh. Barker sits.)
 
REYNOLDS (Standing) Call David Keech. (Keech stands in front of Judge Timms.)
 
REYNOLDS David Keech. Where is the boy Tom's money? Do you have it at home?
 
KEECH No.
 
WOMAN 3 Keech took the money! It was Keech!
 
WOMAN 6 I said, 'Keech took the money!' I said that yesterday!
 
KEECH I have the money here. In this court.
 
MEN AND WOMEN 1-3 (All talking) No! Never! Keech didn't take the money then! The money's here! Here in this court!
 
KEECH The money is under my chair. You! Woman! Bring me the money!
 
WOMAN 1 Me?
 
KEECH Yes, you! 
(There is a bag under Keech’s chair. Woman 1 takes it and gives it to Keech.)
 
WOMAN 1 Here you are. 
(She sits down again.)
 
KEECH (Opening the bag and taking out money) Here! Judge Timms! Here! Richard Little! Here! Look, everybody! Here is the money! So I didn't take it from the boy! You hear me, Richard Little?
 
RICHARD (Afraid) Yes.
 
TIMMS One minute! Richard Little.
 
RICHARD (Standing, looking afraid) Yes, Judge Timms?
 
TIMMS You said, 'Keech took the boy's money'. You said that. Why? Why, man, why? Why say that?
 
RICHARD Because - because. Because James Heston came to my home. James Heston said it to me.
 
MEN AND WOMEN 4-6 (All talking) James Heston? Did he say 'Heston'? Heston's dead. A ghost came?
 
TIMMS Richard Little, James Heston is dead. He died in 1651.
 
MEN AND WOMEN (All laughing and talking) He talked to a dead man! James Heston! Oh, that's a laugh!
 
MARY (Standing) Judge Timms. My husband is ill. In our house he talks to people and there is nobody there. Can I take him home now, please? (The men and women are all laughing.)
 
RICHARD I am not ill! Stop laughing! Be quiet, all of you! Sit down, Mary. (Men and women stop laughing. Mary sits down.)
 
RICHARD Thank you! (It is quiet in the court now.) Yes, James Heston is dead. And yes, James Heston spoke to me. I want James Heston here. Now. He can tell you.
 
MAN 4 He is ill!
 
MAN 5 He's mad!
 
WOMAN 4 Let's listen to him.
 
WOMAN 5 Yes, we can listen to him.
 
TIMMS Be quiet! Call James Heston! I say, call James Heston to this court!
 
KEECH Heston is dead, man! And Richard Little is mad!
 
TIMMS Call James Heston! (For a minute, we can hear nothing. Then we hear James Heston s voice, but we cannot see him.)
 
HESTON's GHOST I am James Heston.
 
MEN AND WOMEN Aaaaaagh! Oh! Oh, but he's dead!
 
KEECH No! No! Oh please no!
 
MEN AND WOMEN (All talking) It's Heston! Is Heston dead, then? Aaaagh! Oh I'm afraid! Oh please!
 
TIMMS James Heston? Is it you? Did you speak to Richard Little?
 
HESTON's GHOST Yes.
 
TIMMS What did you say?
 
HESTON's GHOST I told him, Keech took my boy's money. And then Keech killed a man in the next village. He was a rich man. Keech took his money. You see the money now. Here. In this court.
 
KEECH Aaagh! I can't kill Heston. Heston is dead. But you! You, Richard Little! You brought me to this court. I'm going to kill you next! (Keech runs out of the court.)
 
TIMMS Stop him! Stop him!
 
MEN AND WOMEN (All talking) It was Keech! Keech took the money! I said that! I said, ' Keech took the money!'
 
TIMMS This court says, 'Keech took the money. And Keech killed a man.' Now find David Keech and bring him to me!
 
Sit down. I'm going to tell you.

KEECH FINDS RICHARD LITTLE 

Richard is sitting in his chair at home.
 
RICHARD What's that? Can I hear something? Mary, is that you? Oh no, it's not James again! James, is that you? (He looks at the door very afraid.) Aaaagh! Oh no! (David Keech comes in. He has a knife.)
 
RICHARD Oh no! Keech, please! No! (Keech kills Richard then runs away. Mary comes in and sees Richard.)
 
MARY Oh no! Not Richard. Not my darling, darling Richard. Keech killed him. You're going to go to prison for this, Keech.

A VISIT FOR KEECH IN PRISON

Keech is in prison. He is sitting on his bed. He has a table, a chair and a book there, too.
 
KEECH Hello? What's that? Is there someone there? Aaagh! My table! My table is moving. (He stands.) Aaagh! Now the bed's moving. Am I ill? Oh my head! (He puts his head in his hands.) Oh! Now the chair is moving. What's happening? (He takes the book and throws it across the room.) Why did I do that? Am I mad? It was my hand but- (The ghost of Richard comes in.)
 
KEECH Aaaaghh! You're dead! I killed you!
 
RICHARD Yes. I'm dead. And you killed me. But I'm not going away. I'm staying here, in prison with you. (Keech wants to hit Richard's ghost, but he cannot. Richard laughs.)
 
RICHARD You can't hit me now. You can't hit a ghost. And you can't kill me again. But we can talk. We have time for that. We have all day. (Keech throws a book across the room.)
 
RICHARD And you can do that all day too.
 
KEECH All day? All the time?
 
RICHARD Yes. (He lies on the bed.) Now throw the book across the room again. (Keech does it.) And again and again and again.
 
KEECH (Throwing the book again and again) Oh no! Please! Are all my days going to be like this?
 
RICHARD Your days, yes. And for your nights - I have a friend here. (James Heston’s ghost comes in.)
 
HESTON Hello, Richard. Hello, David.
 
KEECH You! You here too!
 
HESTON (Smiling) Yes. David, throw the book across theroom, please. (Keech does it.) Thank you. I'm going to be here at night, David. And you have Richard here every day. All right?
 
KEECH Oh no! No!
 
HESTON One ghost for the day, one ghost for the night. (Now throw the book across the room again. Keech does it. Richard and Heston laugh.)

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