Slaves – Episode 105
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 105 – Men For All Seasons
Stanley: We oughta shoot you where you stand!
Cooper: But we’re lying down!
Harrison: Then stand up!
Cooper: No! I’m scared!
Booker: Do as the man says, Cooper.
Stanley: That was a very important ship you absconded with.
Cooper: We know, we know. You’re from the Moon. Look, I’m really sorry fellas.
Harrison: We’re not from the Moon!
Stanley: We are officers in the Army of the Confederate States of America. We were on our way to Ft. Haggerty to turn over the CSS Marigold to Gen. Lowery in order to secure the Mississippi for the Confederacy.
Cooper: Marigold. That’s not a very intimidating name for a warship.
Stanley: And now, because of your bullheadedness, we have no ship. How do you think that’s going to go over with the General?
Harrison: You’re got dang right, not well!
Stanley: The General expected us to deliver the Marigold today. Now, we have no choice but to stay behind until you build us another ship and hope that he buys our story about bandits or something causing the delay.
Harrison: Wait, what? I’m not staying here with a bunch of smelly slaves.
Stanley: Well, Harrison. It’s either that or go be executed by Gen. Lowery’s men. Which do you choose?
Harrison: (stroking his chin) Hmm.
Booker: We’re not exactly expert shipbuilders, Officer.
Stanley: You don’t really have a choice, do you? Either you build us another ship or we kill you. Which do you choose?
Cooper: (frowns) Your choices suck.
(Agreeing to Stanley’s demands, the slaves stow the Confederates in the abandoned barn and make their way back to the cotton fields where Overseer Tafford is waiting angrily, whip in hand..)
Tafford: Where in the hell have you niggers been?
Cooper: None of your beeswax, Tafford.
(The overseer whips Cooper on the arm..)
Cooper: Ow! Cut it out!
Booker: We was prayin’ for my dead wife, boss.
Tafford: (flummoxed) Oh. Very well. But that should really only take one of you.
Booker: Won’t happen again, boss.
Tafford: Enough chit-chat. Git to pickin’.
(Michael and James find a quiet row, start picking cotton and tossing it into their baskets..)
Cooper: Playing the “Dead Wife” card. Nice.
Tafford: (wandering over) Oh. Before I forget, fellas. We’re gettin’ some new slaves in today for the summer months. Three of ’em. Should be arrivin’ in from town in an hour or so.
Cooper: (claps his hands) Oh goodie, new friends!
Cooper: (lowers his head) I mean…oh, slavery…how terrible.
(On their lunch break, Michael and James make their way back to the abandoned barn and update the Confederates..)
Booker: We know a Professor in town who should be able to supply us with some iron sheet metal.
Cooper: Yeah, and we’ll have plenty of time to ship-build now that we’re getting those new slaves.
Stanley: What’s that? New slaves?
Cooper: Yeah. Three of ’em.
Stanley: (pondering) Make that five.
Stanley: We’re gettin’ on that wagon and joinin’ your plantation. It’ll be the perfect way to blend in and get this project finished as soon as possible.
Harrison: Stanley, how are we gonna blend in with the rest of the slaves?
Booker: Oh, Lord.
(Hours later, a wagon pulls up in front of the Dukesbury plantation and the slaves line up to see five Africans pile out and stand in line in front of Overseer Tafford..)
Tafford: Everyone. I’d like you to meet your new colleagues. Thomas, from Nigeria. Tommy, from Tunisia. And Tom, from Ghana. And, whoops– (checks his receipt) Looks like they sent us some extras. You are?
Stanley: (dancing back and forth, smiling and waggling his hands) Why, my name’s Ollivander Jones!
Booker: (buries face in hands) Oh, sweet Jesus.
Cooper: Damn, that Tom guy’s a beefcake stud. Looks like I’m gonna have to step my game up if I still wanna be the hottest slave on the plantation.
Tafford: Nice to meet you, Ollivander. You’re certainly a breath of fresh air.
Stanley: Why, thank you Mastah!
Cooper: Wow. This is racist even for Civil War times.
Tafford: And you are?
Harrison: (grins widely through the thick blackface) My name’s Harrison.
(Stanley/Ollivander shakes his head..)
Tafford: Alright, everyone. Show ’em to their bunks. And be nice.
Stanley: (approaching Michael & James) How’d I do? Am I believable?
Booker: Boy. You unbelievable.
Cooper: (narrows eyes at Tom as he makes his way to the slave quarters) I got my eye on you, Tom. Right on your chiseled pecs and your firm round buttocks.
(Michael and James ride into town and meet with Professor Rollins at his science lab/barn..)
Rollins: Here’s that sheet metal you boys wanted.
Booker: We really appreciate this, Professor. Say you don’t know anything about building boats, do you?
Rollins: Can’t say that I do, Michael. Wish I could help you boys; but I’ve been ever so busy working on my latest invention. A time machine!
Cooper: Oh, wow. So you can, like, go back and play with dinosaurs or meet Leonardo Da Vinci or something?
Rollins: (frowns) No. A time machine. It’s a machine that tells you what time it is.
Booker: You mean…like a clock?
(The Professor stands in silence for a moment..)
Rollins: Alright, out. Out, boys. Much work to do. Much work to be done.
Cooper: (being shoved out the door) ‘Cause you know they already have those, right?
(Back in the fields, Michael and James sidle up next to the blackfaced Confederates..)
Booker: We dropped the sheet metal off at the barn. Now we just need to find somebody who knows how to build a ship.
Stanley: It sho is hard bein’ a slave, or my name isn’t Ollivander Jones!
Booker: (frowns) Stop that!
Stanley: A colored man like myself could damn near dry out under this hot African sun!
Booker: We ain’t in Africa, stupid.
Stanley: Why, all this heat and humidity might dry the black right outta me. Turn me into a white man, like ‘ol Overseer Tafford here. Ain’t that right, Overseer Tafford?
Tafford: (chuckling) You’ve just got a great attitude, Jones. You fellas could learn a lot from Ollivander, here.
Booker: I’m ’bout to smack you, Ollivander.
Stanley: Oh, lordy!
Tom: Did I hear you guys sayin’ you need a shipbuilder?
Booker: Yeah, you know a thing or two about it?
Tom: (nods) That was my job back in Ghana. I could help you guys out.
Cooper: (eyes narrow) Oh you’d just love that wouldn’t you, you big beefcake hunk stud?
Tom: Yes, I would.
Cooper: Well…good, then.
(That evening Michael, James and the Confederates watch as Tom bangs away on the sheet metal with a hammer..)
Cooper: So, where’d a stud like you who thinks he’s so hot learn to build ships?
Cooper: Were you, like, the most handsome guy in Ghana? ‘Cause I’m the resident handsome guy on this plantation, just so you know. I don’t know if they told you when you got here.
Tom: That must be nice for you.
Cooper: Yes, it is. Thank you for noticing.
Booker: Dammit, Cooper. Will you let the man work? You creepin’ everybody out.
Stanley: (bandying about) Anybody wanna see me bojangle?
Harrison: Maybe chill out with that stuff for a little bit, Stanley.
Stanley: Stanley? I don’t know no, Stanley!
Cooper: (screaming) I’M NOT THREATENED BY YOU, TOM.
(The next morning down at the creek, the slaves push Tom’s brand-new ironclad into the river and the Confederates climb in..)
Stanley: (slapping the side of the boat) That good-lookin’ slave did a fine job.
Cooper: Thank you.
Booker: He talkin’ ’bout Tom, doofus.
Cooper: Oh, you think he’s good-lookin’? I hadn’t noticed.
Stanley: Well, I s’pose we oughta take this baby out to the Mississipp and see what she can do.
Booker: You thought up a story for the General, yet?
Stanley: (shrugs) We’ll probably just blame the Injuns like we always do. You boys are alright. Wish we could take you with us. Little snug in here. I hope y’all get outta this place some day.
Booker: Thank you, Officer Stanley.
Stanley: (squints at Michael)
Booker: (grins) I mean Ollivander.
Stanley: Safe travels, friends. But now we must bid you adieu.
Harrison: (sticks a hand out the porthole) Bye, y’all.
(The ironclad’s engine starts and the ship descends under the surface. A cloud of smoke bursts out of the water, followed by a loud rumble and — moments later — a large air bubble..)
Booker: (stares at the creek in horror)
Cooper: (shrugs) Sucks for them.