Slaves – Episode 103
White slave James Cooper and black slave Michael Booker are plotting to escape their Mississippi plantation in order to reunite Michael with his eleven-year-old daughter Mae in Philadelphia..
Episode 103 – The Big Dance
Cooper: This is gonna be awesome!
(James and Michael are sweeping out an old abandoned barn near the back of the Dukesbury plantation, clearing out cobwebs and overgrown weeds..)
Booker: I’m just surprised Mrs. Dukesbury agreed to let us have a dance here tonight.
Cooper: Well, you did solve the whole cow thief case. She owed you. We work our ass off for them white folk. It’s the least they can do.
Booker: You white too, Cooper.
Cooper: Can’t wait for this slave dance. Slave dances rule!
Booker: (chuckles) Yeah, it will be nice to blow off a little steam.
Cooper: And I’m bringin’ the steam-blowin’ special ingredient.
Booker: (stops sweeping, stares at James in terror) Oh no.
Cooper: Oh yes. Cooper Wine!
(Confederate foot soldiers Stanley and Harrison are dragging a heavy covered ox cart down a back road miles south of Magnolia..)
Harrison: Stupid jackass.
Stanley: I told you that mule wasn’t strong enough to lug all this!
Harrison: We gotta find a place to hide this thing. There could be Union spies out in these trees.
Stanley: Oh, you think there’s Union spies everywhere.
Harrison: There is! That’s why we losin’!
Stanley: We ain’t losin’ shit. I told you we was just playin’ opossum.
Harrison: I tain’t never seen no opossum play like this.
Stanley: Once we get this baby up and runnin’, we gonna be just fine.
Harrison: I hope you right, Stanley.
(Harrison turns back and sees he’s the only one dragging the cart..)
Harrison: (shaking his head, muttering) Stupid jackass.
(Michael and James are taking their time, moseying back to the slave quarters..)
Booker: Didn’t Cooper Wine kill somebody once?
Cooper: Yeah, my grandpappy cooked a bad batch back when we lived in Tampa. That’s why we had to move to Dade County.
Booker: Wasn’t it like a lady? Like a schoolteacher?
Cooper: Yeah, she just collapsed. Right in the middle of class. But, to be fair, have you ever been surrounded by a room full of kindergarteners? I couldn’t imagine dealing with that sober.
Booker: A lady schoolteacher. What’s the matter with your grandpappy?
Cooper: Think he used too much hops.
Booker: I ain’t drinkin’ no lady-killin’ tub wine.
Cooper: Relax, Mikey. I’ve refined the recipe. It’s now a risk-free booze adventure. And I don’t make it in a tub anymore.
Booker: What do you make it in now, Mr. Chardonnay?
Cooper: No matter. On a completely unrelated note, do we have any extra horse troughs laying around?
Stanley: Well, I’m stumped.
(Soldiers Stanley and Harrison are stranded in the middle of a field with their covered ox cart, glancing around at the endless green pastures and trees surrounding them..)
Harrison: You’re tellin’ me we’re lost, Stanley?
Stanley: I ain’t never been in this type of country before.
Harrison: Consarnit, Stanley! You’re from Mississippi!
Stanley: Yeah, Harry. North Mississippi. Southern Mississippi’s a whole ‘nother animal.
Harrison: We gotta get this thing to Gen. Lowery by Sunday. That’s the day after tomorrow.
(Stanley leans down and kicks the sand in a dry sandy river bed running through the brownish-green field..)
Stanley: This drought certainly ain’t helpin’ matters. I’m gettin’ thirsty.
Harrison: Whaddya expect? Ya ate all the dang hardtack.
Stanley: I was hungry!
Harrison: There’s gotta be civilization around here somewhere. Some place we can stash this thing until we catch our bearings.
Stanley: Let’s just follow this riverbed north for a ways. You don’t got anymore water in your canteen?
Harrison: Nope. All we’ve got left is whiskey.
(Stanley and Harrison glance at each other and smile..)
(James is busily stirring a troughs-full of thick brown liquid with a short rake as Michael looks on..)
Booker: Tell me you at least cleaned the trough.
Cooper: (glances sideways nervously) Scrubbed it down real good.
Booker: (pointing into the murkiness) Is that a horse hair?
Cooper: (squinting, picks it up and flings it) Probably donkey.
Booker: We drinkin’ out of a donkey trough?!
Cooper: Oh, so now donkeys can’t drink water? You are such a horse-racist. Donkeys have rights too, goddammit!
Booker: You already had some Cooper Wine, didn’t you?
Cooper: What? Gotta make sure I’m mixing it right.
(A fellow slave wanders over..)
Rodney: Ooh you makin’ that crazy white folk wine, Cooper? Lemme get a little taste.
Cooper: It’s Cooper Wine. And you wait ’til the dance like everybody else, Rodney. Now, shoo!
Rodney: (storms off, grumbling something about “honkeys”)
Cooper: (shaking his head) Shouldn’t have ever taught him that slur. So offensive.
(Stanley and Harrison stumble — literally — upon the Dukesbury plantation’s abandoned barn..)
Stanley: Lesh just put it in here.
Harrison: (poking Stanley’s face) Whadjoo call me?
Stanley: I say lesh put the cart in this barned. We hided it.
Harrison: (throws a finger into the air, stumbling backwards) Hidey-go-seekey!
Stanley: You pull. I’ll push.
(Stanley and Harrison get on both sides of the cart and push from both ends..)
Harrison: It’s heavier than I remembering.
(Tafford is driving Mrs. Dukesbury back from town..)
Tafford: Still don’t know why you lettin’ all them coloreds have themselves a hootenanny.
Darla: It’s called being a good employer, Tafford. There have been a rash of escapes from surrounding plantations over the past couple months. We do something like this every now and again, keep their spirits high and they’ll be less inclined to attempt to leave.
Tafford: You want me to go police the dance?
Darla: I trust Booker. He’ll keep everyone in control.
Booker: Man, this dance is gettin’ outta control.
Cooper: (raising a mug) Whooo! Cooper Wine!
(The slaves raise their mugs and holler as they boogie around the barn floor..)
Booker: (chuckles, takes a sip) Yeah, it’s alright. And I ain’t seen nobody croak yet. Looks like you made a good batch this year, Jim.
(Michael slaps James on the back..)
Cooper: (smiling) I am totally getting laid tonight. Slave sex rules!
Booker: (grabs Cooper’s mug) Maybe you oughta slow down.
Cooper: (claps a hand over his mouth) I gotta hurl.
Booker: (grabs James’ arm, leads him outside and around the barn) C’mon, ain’t sweepin’ this place down twice.
(James puts a hand on the covered cart and lets loose in the same spot Stanley had thrown up earlier that afternoon..)
Cooper: Ew, I puked on puke.
Booker: (kicks the cart) What the hell is this thing?
Cooper: (mops his brow) Maybe there’s one of them vaudeville showgirls under there. She’s gonna pop out and dance for us at the party. Ooh! Maybe it’s a cake.
(Michael grabs the sheet and pulls it off the cart, revealing what the Confederate soldiers had been dragging around for days..)
Booker: Holy smokes.
Cooper: (wipes a vomit chunk off his chin) That ain’t cake.