Slaves – Episode 114
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 114 – Bait
(The Union officers pull up in front of a sprawling Washington D.C. mansion early that morning, and Harry S. Tubman and his captives pile out..)
Cooper: (squints up at the estate, points with his shackled hands) Isn’t this..?
Tubman: (smiling) Yup.
(A tall bearded man leans out one of the upstairs windows, waving..)
Lincoln: Heyyy, Harry!
(Rusty is steering Mr. Dukesbury’s now two-horsed carriage through Southern Virginia as Mr. Dukesbury and his white-hooded friend converse in the back cabin..)
Dukesbury: So Karl, tell me more of this club you belong to.
Karl: Oh, it’s fun. We have all sorts of activities and events and parades.
Dukesbury: I love a parade.
Karl: We’re really a civic community society. We’re for the people.
Dukesbury: It sounds like a marvelous group. How does one join?
Karl: Why, I could get you all signed up right now. I brought some extra robes and hoods.
Dukesbury: (leans forward, whispering) Between you and me, I love robes.
(Harry Tubman has led his captives into the White House’s mural room and unshackled them..)
Tubman: Mr. President, these are the men I was telling you about.
Lincoln: (sashays into the room, hands on his hips) Oh, they’re perfect.
Cooper: (voice cracking) Pleasure to meet you, Mr. President.
Lincoln: Aw, Harry! Look at how nervous he is.
Booker: (holding out his hand) It’s an honor to meet you, President Lincoln. That Emancipation Proclamation was a remarkable document.
Lincoln: (taking Michael’s hand limply) Well you’re just a tall glass of mocha, aren’t you?
Lincoln: Play your cards right and I just might.
Acorn: Hi, Mr. President.
Lincoln: You I don’t care for much. Little chubby in the waist.
Cooper: (whispers in Eloise’s ear) Burned.
(A handsome mustachioed gentleman wrapped in a towel passes by in the hallway..)
Booth: I’m gonna hit the bath, Abe.
Lincoln: (rolls his eyes, throws a thumb toward the hallway) Actors. Such a ditz. So Harold, how’s the slave train? (putting a hand on Michael’s shoulder) Ooh, can I say slave train?
Booker: That’s fine, sir.
Tubman: Stonewall Jackson stopped it.
Lincoln: Well how’d he do that?
Tubman: Put a stone wall on the tracks.
Lincoln: Oh, that is so him.
Tubman: But I figured out how to get him back.
Lincoln: I’m on the edge of my seat.
Tubman: We use these slaves as bait.
Booker: (holding up a finger) Um…
Lincoln: (claps his hands together, squealing) Ooh, I love it! Listen, I have to hit the baths. You delicious men get comfortable and we’ll discuss all of this over brunch.
(President Lincoln sashays out of the room and James turns to Michael and Eloise, smiling..)
Cooper: He seems nice.
(The carriage is pulled off to the side of the road in a small Virginia town. Karl pops a white hood on Mr. Dukesbury and he, Rusty and Tafford adjust to their new looks..)
Dukesbury: Not a lot of peripheral vision in this get-up.
Karl: That’s because the Klan only looks straight ahead. Toward the future.
Tafford: Something weird about this, boss.
Dukesbury: Is it the robes? You’ll get used to it. Why should girls have all the fun?
(An older black woman ambles up the street, sees the four men, shrieks, drops her things and runs off in the other direction..)
Dukesbury: Ooh, she got spooked.
Karl: That’s respect. It’s what these robes demand. You’ll be seeing a lot more respect in these garbs.
Dukesbury: Well, I do like respect.
(A younger white woman walks by, glares at the men and screams, “Hatemongerers!”..)
Tafford: What did she mean by that?
Karl: It’s German for, “Love the robes”.
(James is picking at the table of food spread in front of them..)
Cooper: Mmm, what are these? Scones?
Lincoln: (sashaying into the room) Now there’s a man who knows his pastries.
Cooper: (chortles) Guilty.
(President Lincoln and James enjoy a hearty laugh, while Michael and Eloise look on in utter confusion..)
Booker: So what was all this about using us as bait?
Lincoln: (sits down across from Tubman, crosses his legs daintily) Yes. Please Harry, do tell.
Tubman: Well I know for a fact that Stonewall Jackson is always looking for an advantage. I say we station these three just outside the city and have them pose as illegal gunrunners. I know a guy who invented a new kind of gun that Stonewall won’t be able to resist. He comes for the buy and boom! We snatch him.
Lincoln: Delicious. I love intrigue. Can Johnny and I come watch?
Tubman: Of course, Mr. President.
Booker: Let’s say we do go along with your little plan. If we succeed and you capture Gen. Jackson, will you let us go?
(Tubman turns to Lincoln, who shrugs..)
Lincoln: Works for me.
Tubman: Very well. Shall we go see the gun?
Lincoln: We shall. And I must say I love that blouse on you, Harry.
(Eloise and the slaves follow the President and the Underground Railroad founder outside and into an awaiting carriage..)
Cooper: (shaking his head, grinning) Man, President of the United States. He must get all the babes.
(The Dukesbury carriage veers wildly down a dirt road entering Maryland..)
Rusty: Can I take this hood off? I can’t see where I’m driving.
Karl: Sure you can, if you don’t wanna be in our club.
Dukesbury: (frowning under his hood) Yeah, Rusty.
Rusty: (sighs) Fine. (runs over cat)
Cooper: Prof. Rollins?
Rollins: James, my boy! And Michael! And Ms. Acorn, what a delightful surprise! I was expecting illegal gunrunners.
Tubman: These are them, Professor. Where is this newfangled gun of yours?
(Prof. Rollins rips a sheet off a giant contraption full of pulleys and levers and various mechanisms with a small rifle on the end..)
Rollins: It’s called a “machine gun”. You just pull this cord, and…
(The machine proceeds to go through a series of complicated operations involving all the various gears and cranks, until it eventually ends with the rifle emitting a puff of smoke and a pile of buckshot dribbling out the end of the barrel..)
Rollins: (chuckling nervously) Heh heh, sometimes it takes a while to warm up.
Booker: (shaking his head) Same old Professor.
(Tubman squints down the long country road on the outskirts of town at a cloud of dust on the horizon..)
Tubman: Here comes Stonewall. Mr. President, Mr. Booth, Professor, quickly. Behind these bushes.
Lincoln: (elbows Booth cheekily) Wouldn’t be the first time.
Cooper: What are we supposed to do?
Tubman: Just wing it. We’ve got this net when you’re ready to trap him.
(The four men duck behind the bush as Gen. Stonewall Jackson rides up on horseback, flanked by two Confederate soldiers..)
Jackson: Are you the gunrunners?
Cooper: (smiling) Yup, we’re the illegal gunrunners.
Jackson: (narrows his eyes) You look familiar.
Booker: All us gunrunners look the same.
Jackson: S’pose so. Whaddya got for me?
Cooper: You’re gonna love this, Stonewall. It’s called a machine gun. You just pull this lever..
(The contraption immediately catches on fire and Michael’s shoulders slump..)
Cooper: Heheh, then you just…push it into the enemy and they…catch on fire and stuff.
Cooper: So, do you want it?
Jackson: We’re done here. (turns to leave)
Cooper: Not so fast, bucko!
(James charges Stonewall and punches his horse hard in the face, before dropping to the ground in agony..)
Cooper: Ow, my hand!
Jackson: What the hell’s the matter with you, son? My horse never wronged you.
(Stonewall steps down off his nonplussed horse to check on James and Harry Tubman comes tearing around the bush, net in hand. He stumbles and becomes entangled..)
Tubman: (rolling) Aah! Trapped!
Rollins: (watching his machine gun go up in flames) My invention!
Jackson: What in God’s name is going on here?
Lincoln: (bursts up out of the bush) I am the President of the United States and you sir are, oh there he goes.
(Lincoln and the rest watch helplessly as Gen. Jackson and his men gallop off into the distance. Michael and James help untangle Tubman..)
Tubman: Well that was a bust. Lotta help you slaves were. Looks like it’s Federal prison for you after all.
Cooper: Aw, c’mon. We tried. Besides, you can’t imprison a pregnant woman.
Tubman: Fine, then. Just you two.
Cooper: Well that’s…not fair either.
Booker: My daughter. Mr. President, she’s all alone. She needs her father.
Booth: Let them go.
Booth: You’re a man of the people, Abraham. It would do wonders for your public image to let this poor colored man go free to reunite his family and live happily ever after.
Cooper: (frowning) Aren’t you, like, a Confederate sympathizer or something?
Booth: (shrugs) I like drama.
Lincoln: (puts an arm around the famous actor) It’s how we keep things interesting.
Acorn: What are you guys going to do after the war ends and all the excitement is gone?
Booth: I’ll probably shoot him in the head!
Lincoln: (playfully slaps Booth) Johnny, you bitch!