Slaves – Episode 111
White slave James Cooper and black slave Michael Booker have escaped from their Mississippi plantation in order to reunite Michael with his eleven-year-old daughter Mae in Philadelphia..
Episode 111 – Easy Come
(Michael, James and Eloise lay motionless on the floor of the smoke-filled prison cell of the Confederate Ft. Haggerty in Northern Mississippi. As the flaming fort crumbles, a figure bursts into the cell and drags the three bodies out into the open interior of the fort, near a number of fallen soldiers; rousing them back to consciousness..)
Cooper: Whuzza? Hoozat? Momma?
Tubman: I ain’t your momma, boy!
Booker: (glares up at the Underground Railroad founder) You again!
Tubman: No time for that. Ya’ll three better strip down and get into these Confederate unis if you wanna live.
(Eloise glances around at the fort engulfed in flames, its soldiers fleeing out into the surrounding fields. The three quickly change into Confederate soldier uniforms and briskly make their way out of the fort with Harry S. Tubman..)
Booker: (scratching at the Rebel grey) This don’t feel right.
Cooper: Yeah, mine’s too snug in the crotch.
Acorn: (glancing at James as she tucks her ponytail up under her hat)
Cooper: (kicking the dirt) Alright, fine. It’s not.
Booker: So what’s your plan, Tubman?
Tubman: Well, I felt just awful about the way we left things. I remembered you saying you want to get to your daughter in Philadelphia and I wanna help.
Acorn: How do you expect us to get there?
Tubman: I was going to take a ferry up the Mississipp.
Cooper: I bet you were.
Tubman: The river’s just over this rise. We take the steamboat up the Mississippi and connect with the Ohio which will take us into Western Pennsylvania. From there you can make your way to Philadelphia.
Booker: Dressed like Johnny Reb?
Tubman: Well, you might have to change along the way. But for now, this is the garb you wanna be in.
Cooper: Yeah, my slave clothes were getting itchy anyway. Think I got fleas.
(Hannibal and Kid Curry are concealed in shrubbery near the front of the collapsing fort as soldiers pile out..)
Curry: I don’t see them.
Hannibal: Me neither, Kid.
Curry: Do you believe they have perished?
Hannibal: (sighs) Afraid that might be the case. Guess we’re gonna have to break the bad news to Mr. Dukesbury. This is always the toughest part of the job.
Curry: I thought you once said the toughest part of the job was defecating in the woods.
Hannibal: No. I said “shitting”, Kid. Shitting in the woods.
(Harry S. Tubman, Eloise Acorn and the slaves board the S.S. Murdoch..)
Capt. Ray Sandman: Afternoon officers, I’m Capt. Sandman and this is my steamboat. Where y’all headed?
Tubman: Pennsylvania, Captain. These men are meeting their comrades on the fields of battle and I’m along for their support.
Sandman: You don’t sound like you’re from Mississippi.
Cooper: He’s not. He’s a Yankee. Arrest that man!
(Two Confederate soldiers seize Tubman and drag him downstairs..)
Tubman: You lousy sonuvabitch!
Booker: What the hell’s the matter with you? That rich asshole was our ticket outta here!
Cooper: (shrugs) I didn’t like the cut of his jib. Besides, we got the costumes; we’re on the ship; we’re headin’ north. What could possibly go wrong?
(One of the soldiers comes back upstairs with a grin, his face one large tuft of hair..)
McSideburns: Got that lousy Yankee taken care of for you boys. Good work. Headin’ to Gettysburg with us, are ya?
McSideburns: Great. We could use the help. I hear the Union’s setting up there for quite a fight. But we’ll give ’em what-for, eh?
McSideburns: (holding a hand out to James) The name’s Lt. Burnside McSideburns and I got the biggest, bushiest muttonchops in the Confederate States of America.
Cooper: Cool, bro.
McSideburns: (smiling at Michael) Can’t say I’ve seen many colored Confederate soldiers before.
Booker: Yeah, I’m a rarity.
McSideburns: (turning to Eloise, eyes light up) And you. Not sure why, but I like you.
Acorn: (voice cracks) Thanks.
McSideburns: Come come, boys. We’ve got quite a steamer trip ahead of us. Let’s sit and share war stories.
(The three “soldiers” follow the lieutenant towards the front of the ship..)
Booker: (whispering in James’ ear) You gonna get us killed, boy.
Cooper: Relax, I got it under control. Say, if he says he’s got the biggest muttonchops in the Confederate states, does that mean there’s someone with even bushier ‘chops up north?
(Hannibal and Kid Curry are standing in front of a telegraph machine in the general store of a small town near Ft. Haggerty..)
Curry: I thought we were going to inform Mr. Dukesbury in person.
Hannibal: Something I’ve learned about slave-owners over the years, Kid. They don’t take bad news well. Which is why we’re just gonna send him a telegraph here. (picking up a doohickey) Now, how do you work this thing?
Curry: That’s an egg-beater, boss.
Cooper: And so then I was like, “Blam! Blam! Blam!” And he was all, “Ahh, I’m from the north and I’m dying! I support the emancipation of slaves! Blah, Lincoln!” And then he died.
McSideburns: (fanning himself with his hat) That’s one humdinger of a story, Mr. …?
Cooper: Baloney. Jim Baloney. And these are my associates Mike Vandersnot and Englebert Humperdink.
McSideburns: Well, those certainly are some interesting names.
Booker: (glaring at James) They sure are, Burnside.
(Three masked men suddenly burst over the side of the ship, guns drawn..)
Robber: Everybody on the ground! This is a steamboat robbery!
Cooper: (dropping to the deck) Aw, I hate steamboat robberies.
McSideburns: (lying down next to James) So what’s the plan, Baloney?
Cooper: Uh, sit here quietly?
McSideburns: C’mon, Baloney. We can take these guys. Use some of those heroics you showed in Chancellorsville.
Cooper: Chancellorsville, right. About that–
Robber: (shoving a rifle in James’ face) What did I say about staying quiet!
Cooper: You didn’t say anything, actually. You just kinda jumped on the ship and said, “Duh, this is a steamboat robbery!”
Robber: Shut up!
Cooper: Fair enough.
Robber: (turning to Eloise, grabs her face) What do we have here? You’re a pretty little fella, aren’t you? Little young for the Army. What’s your name, soldier?
Acorn: (glancing at James) Englebert Humperdink.
Robber: Well Englebert, what you got for me? Any Confederate gold in them pockets?
(The robber reaches for Eloise’s breast pockets and is confused with what he feels..)
Robber: What the? Hey guys, I think this soldier’s a–
Cooper: (red-faced, leaps up from the deck) RAHHHHHHHHHHH!!
(The robber turns just as James is barreling toward him and is pushed overboard. Michael and Burnside quickly move on the other two robbers, grabbing their guns and forcing them overboard to the cheers of the other passengers..)
McSideburns: Smooth move, Baloney. Smooth move.
Acorn: (getting up and adjusting her uniform) Yeah, thanks…Baloney.
Cooper: (tips his cap) Just doin’ my job, ma’am.
McSideburns: (gives James a peculiar look)
Cooper: Uh…man, it’s good to be rid of those steamboat robbers.
McSideburns: (smiles) You can say that again, Baloney.
Cooper: Man, it’s good to be rid of those steamboat robbers.
McSideburns: (chortles) You can say that again, Baloney.
Cooper: (chortles) Man, it’s good to be rid of those steamboat–
Booker: (grabs Eloise by the arm) Let’s see if this steamboat’s got a bar.
(Overseer Tafford makes his way to the back porch of the Dukesbury Estate, where Mr. Dukesbury is enjoying one of Carol’s rum-lemonades..)
Tafford: Got a telegraph message from the bounty hunters, sir. They say Ft. Haggerty burned to the ground with Cooper, Booker and Ms. Acorn inside. They’re gone, sir.
Dukesbury: Oh, dear. Those damn Yankees. And that poor little girl in Pennsylvania, lost her daddy.
Tafford: You want me to send a message up north?
Dukesbury: (shaking his head) Fetch the wagon. We’re going to Philadelphia.
Tafford: (turns, pumps his fist) Yes, cheesesteaks!