Follow the Flying Fish

Uncle Charley and the Steam Women

The first five pages.


UNCLE CHARLEY:An older black man wearing a worn suite and holding a cane.

CHILD 1: Preferably an Asian female.

CHILD 2: Preferably a Black female.

CHILD 3: Preferably Latina.

CHILD: If no number is given, it doesn’t matter which of the three children is speaking.



Uncle Charley sits in a chair, alone on stage facing the audience. He’s speaking to the audience as if they are all children. The other actors are sitting in various places in the audience as they speak to Charley.


Child: You can tell us, Uncle Charley!

Child: We ALWAYS believe you!

Charley: All right, you’re a decent group, you never called me a liar before, so here it is. It was like a wall cracked open, except there wasn’t a wall. It was just a crack, hangin’ in the air. It was an openin’ in somethin’ I couldn’t see.

Child: I don’t understand.

Charley: Well… you ever had a hole in a wall in your house?

Child: Yea.

Charley: So you know how you’re on one side, and you can see people in the other room through the hole?

Child: Yea.

Charley: You can see though, into the other room. You can see through the wall. But I’m telling you there was a hole but no wall.

Child: What was the hole in?

Charley: I told you, it was just hangin’ in the air! It was like a hole in the air.

Child: What was on the other side of the hole? Was it a room?

Charley: It wasn’t a room, but there was people in there! They didn’t seem to be made of nothin’ though, like they was steam over a pot! And it looked like they had to be, because the place they were, the place on the other side of the hole, wasn’t really a space. They were comin’ from inside a solid thing, like inside a tree.

Child: They were in a tree?

Charley: They was in somethin’ like a river, flowin’, like a river. But it wasn’t a river, it was thick, but looked like red steam.

Child: People made of white steam inside a river of red steam?

Charley: That’s exactly it! Did you see it too?

Child: No.

Charley: Well that’s what it was! And next thing I knew, one of ‘em, steps out on the ground. And the steam is just porin’ off, fillin’ the street and the doors and the trash cans and the drains. Then three more step out.

Child: What happened to the hole in nothing?

Charley: They sort’a closed it behind ‘em, like a curtain. When they closed it, it disappeared.

Child: Did the steam things look like people Uncle Charley?

Charley: They had arms and legs, and a body and a head, but other then that they didn’t. They were thin as sign poles, and real tall, twenty feet tall.

Child: Did the steam things notice you Uncle Charley?

Charley: Well, ya know, just then they did. Of course it seemed like they knew I was there the whole time. They turned, walked over to me real slow, and every step they took they got shorter. And as they got shorter they seemed to get more solid. By the time they were standin’ in front of me they were only six feet tall, but they had got solid, and I could see a body inside.

Child: Inside the steam?

Charley: Yea, only jus then I noticed, it wasn’t steam, it was light.

Child: The steam was light?

Child: How can steam be light?

Charley: I don’t know that myself, but that’s how it was.

Child: And the people were made of light?

Charley: I think they were. That’s the only way I can explain it.

Child: They were light people, traveling through a river of light?

Charley: That’s exactly it! How did you know that? Did you seen ‘em before?

Child: No.

Charley: Well that’s how it was. I couldn’t ‘a put it better myself.

Child: What about the steam people….

Child: (interrupting) Light people.

Child: What about the light people Uncle Charley? What did they do?

Charley: One reached out to me and put it’s hand on my cheek, and as it did it’s body turned solid, and it was a beautiful young woman.

Child: What was she wearing?

Charley: It was somethin’ like you see in those fashion magazines. Not the kind of stuff you get in my neighborhood. This girl had 5th Avenue clothes.

Child: Was it Prada?

Charley: I don’t know, it was some kind of skirt suite, but it looked real good on her. She looked like the secretary in one of those TV shows where the secretary ain’t supposed to talk, just look pretty.

Child: Were the other light people pretty women too?

Charley: They sure were. A white girl, a black girl, a Latin girl, and a Asian girl.

Child 1: What was the Asian girl wearing?

Child 2: Which one touched your cheek?

Charley: The black girl touched my cheek. I thought maybe she did it because I’m black and they thought that would make me more comfortable.

Child 3: Was the Latin girl pretty?

Charley: They were all real pretty. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever been near so many girls that pretty ever in my life.

Child 3: Was the Latin one wearing sunglasses?

Charley: Yea, she was.

Child 3: What did they look like?

Charley: I don’t remember exactly, she had ‘em up on top of her head.

Child 3: Did she look mean or nice?

Charley: Why, they all looked really nice and friendly.

Child 1: What was the Asian girl wearing?

Charley: The Asian girl was wearing jeans and a little T-shirt with a cat face on it.

Child 1: Was it Hello-kitty?

Charley: Yea, she had Hello-kitty on her shirt.

Child 1: Was it a cute shirt?

Charley: Yea, it was.

Child 1: Was the Asian girl skinny?

Charley: Well she was the skinyest of ‘em.

Child 2: What did the black one do?

Charley: She put her hand on my cheek, and she looked me so deep in the eyes I felt hypnotized. I couldn’t see nothin’ around me but those four girls. And then they all started talkin’, only they were talkin’ with one voice, and they weren’t talkin’ with words, they was tellin’ me somethin’ straight into my heart.

Child: What were they saying, Uncle Charley?

Charley: They was sayin', ‘We bring you the gift of love.’



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