Microphone Plays‎ > ‎

Three Pills in a Bottle

Three Pills in a Bottle

as it might have been performed on Station KGW

April 09 1923



CAST:

ANNOUNCER

TONY

WIDOW SIMS

GENTLEMAN

1ST SOUL

GRINDER

2ND SOUL

WOMAN

3RD SOUL




ANNOUNCER: In early 1923, Station KGW of Portland, Oregon, was among the first radio stations in the American West to broadcast drama on a regular basis. On April ninth of that year, a play by author Rachel Lyman Field was presented -- a one-act fantasy from 1917 called "Three Pills in a Bottle." What follows is a modern audio adaptation of the stage play "Three Pills in a Bottle" as it might have sounded over the radio in 1923.


-----


MUSIC: FOR AN INTRODUCTION 


SOUND: CREAKING DOOR OPENS


TONY: (MURMURS, YAWNS)


WIDOW SIMS: (REGRETFUL) Dear, dear, 't is a pity that squeakin' door should'a waked you, Tony. I thought you'd be sleeping all the morning while I'm out workin'. 


TONY: Oh, I'm not sleepy, mother, only hot -- and all the houses over there are making faces at me! I guess it's because I've been staring out this window at them.


WIDOW SIMS: What a child! Never mind, Tony, the Doctor's just been giving me a fine cure for your fever -- three days now, and you'll be well. 


TONY: Three days? That's a long time to wait! 


WIDOW SIMS: It's a very wonderful cure he said. Three pills, one for each day. 


SOUND: SHAKES BOTTLE OF PILLS AND POURS THEM OUT


TONY: Yes, I can see them, but what will they do to me? 


WIDOW SIMS: He said the yellow one will take away all the pain from your head.


SOUND: DROPS PILL INTO BOTTLE 


WIDOW SIMS: Heaven be praised for that! The red one will make you grow tall and strong.


SOUND: DROPS PILL INTO BOTTLE 


TONY: Tall enough to reach the moon, mother? 


WIDOW SIMS: When you take the brown one your eyes will no longer ache and the near things and the far things will both look very clear. 


SOUND: DROPS PILL INTO BOTTLE 


TONY: When can I take them? Now? 


WIDOW SIMS: No, no, I'm to give you one each night the fever lasts -- first the red, then the yellow, and then the brown. They're very grand pills, Tony, and I paid two pounds for them. That's a great deal for a poor woman like me to pay! 


TONY: Is it? 


WIDOW SIMS: Three years I've been saving that, but you don't get much sewing all day, when you've never a man to come home after a day's work with the silver in his pockets. Well, well, I must be off now. 


TONY: Where are you going today? To the big house that is so high up you can see the hills humping themselves up on top of each other, and farther away the sea that stops just where the sky begins? 


WIDOW SIMS: (HALF TO HERSELF) Was ever such a boy for remembering? (TO TONY) No, it's not there I'm going. And what'll you be doing while I'm gone? Do you want your picture-book? Or your glass marble? Or your tin whistle? 


TONY: (SLEEPILY) No, I don't want any of them. I'd rather play with my friends. 


WIDOW SIMS: Friends? 


TONY: I have so many friends. 


WIDOW SIMS: (TO HERSELF) Out of his head again. (SIGHS) It's the fever makes him so queer. Oh, well, the pills will soon be setting him right! (MOVING OFF) I'll be back in time to get your dinner. Good-bye, Tony.


TONY: Good-bye, mother. 


WIDOW SIMS: (OFF) I'm locking you in! Mind you keep the coverlet wrapped round you! 


SOUND: SQUEAKY DOOR CLOSES ... KEY TURNS IN LOCK ... WIDOW'S FOOTSTEPS WALK OFF


TONY: (PAUSE, EXCITED) Oh, someone's coming down the street -- someone with a cane. 


SOUND: APPROACH OF MAN'S FOOTSTEPS AND TAPPING OF HIS CANE ... OUT WITH--


TONY: (TO GENTLEMAN) What a beautiful cane! And the sun shining on its gold top! (REMEMBERS HIS MANNERS) Good-day to you, sir. 


GENTLEMAN: (ANNOYED) Good-day, yourself. 


TONY: Won't you come in and play with me? I'm all by myself, no one would disturb us. 


GENTLEMAN: Most extraordinary young rascal! Do you think I can stop and chat with every impudent little boy I meet? Indeed, no, I have a great deal of business on hand!


SOUND: GENTLEMAN STARTS OFF, BUT STOPS WITH--


TONY: What do you have to do? 


GENTLEMAN: I have to settle my accounts. 


TONY: What does that mean? 


GENTLEMAN: Well, counting my money for one thing. That takes a long time, let me tell you! 


TONY: You must have a lot of money -- as much as two pounds? 


GENTLEMAN: Two pounds? Two pounds, indeed! Two thousand, and more --


TONY: How did you find it all? 


GENTLEMAN: I didn't find it. I worked for it -- worked hard all day long. When the lazy fellows were out dancing on the green, or lying on their backs in the meadows, I stayed indoors and added long columns of figures, and now, when they have hardly a copper in their pockets, I have nothing to do but count my money!


TONY: Please come in and play? 


GENTLEMAN: Certainly not! God bless my soul, I have other things to do! 


TONY: (SURPRISED) Your - your soul? Why, your soul wouldn't be busy counting the money, too, would it? 


GENTLEMAN: (TO HIMSELF) God bless my soul, is the boy crazy? (LAUGHS, TO TONY) I'm afraid I don't possess such a thing! 


TONY: Oh, but you do. You said so -- twice. You said-- (IMITATES HIM) "God bless my soul." 


GENTLEMAN: That was merely an ejaculation.


TONY: I never heard of an ejac-- An ejac-- But mother says everyone has a soul. 


GENTLEMAN: Rubbish! 


TONY: Oh, if you only would let me play with it. You won't be using it, you know! 


GENTLEMAN: (CHUCKLES IN SPITE OF HIMSELF) 


TONY: I'll promise not to keep it long. 


GENTLEMAN: Well, yes, yes, yes, then, but I say frankly I don't know what you mean by all this, and what's more, I don't believe you do, either! Good-day to you. 


TONY: (CHEERFUL) Good-bye. 


SOUND: DEPARTURE OF MAN'S FOOTSTEPS AND TAPPING OF HIS CANE ... PAUSE, THEN A KNOCK AT THE DOOR


TONY: (SURPRISED) Come in.


SOUND: DOOR SQUEAKS OPEN


1ST SOUL: (BEAT, QUERULOUS) Well? Aren't we going to play? (NO ANSWER) Well, what are you going to do with me, young man? (RELIEVED) I've gotten away from that cane-wielding grump anyway. (COUGHS MISERABLY THROUGHOUT SCENE)

 

TONY: (ASTONISHED) I say, you don't belong to the gentleman who just passed by? The one who has all that money? 


1ST SOUL: I should say I do, and if ever a soul had a stingy, cross, cantankerous-- 


TONY: But you can't be his Soul! He was big, and he carried the most beautiful cane with a gold top, and you -- why, you're all in rags and tags like a beggar. You're so little and twisted, your knees knock together, and you're very pale.


1ST SOUL: Well, whose fault is it if I'm not handsome? I can't help that! 


TONY: I'm sorry, but you did surprise me so! Won't you sit down? 


1ST SOUL: Gladly! (EXHALES WEARILY) Oh, you don't know the suffering I undergo with that man! Why, you'd scarcely believe it, but he hasn't given me anything to eat for days. Consequently, my whole system is in a state of collapse. If you hadn't happened to invite me in today, I think, I really think, I couldn't have kept on being his Soul any longer! 


TONY: It must be very hard. Can't you make him do anything for you? 


1ST SOUL: I used to try -- when we were younger -- before I got in this run-down condition, but he was always thinking of his investments -- whether to buy this, or sell that, and adding up one column and then down it again! Even in my younger and healthier days, I couldn't distract him, and now -- (SOBS BROKENLY) 


TONY: And your clothes aren't a bit like his! 


1ST SOUL: I guess I know that! If you had to wear them, you'd realize what I endure! When they first began to get shabby, I begged him to make me some new ones, but instead he began patching them. See? That was bad enough, but now he hasn't touched them for so long they're all worn out. I shall be indecent soon! 


TONY: I'm so sorry. Can't we make him do something? Doesn't he ever notice you? 


1ST SOUL: Never! I'm going into a decline. (COUGHS CONSUMPTIVELY) All for lack of food and clothes, and - and encouragement! 


TONY: You wouldn't be so bad if you could just grow a little. 


1ST SOUL: Ye-es, but I'm getting thinner and weaker every day. 


TONY: (AN IDEA!) If you got bigger and stronger than he is -- then he'd have to notice you! 


1ST SOUL: Oh - oh, when he was a boy, we were just the same size and we had the pleasantest times together. That was before he took to making money. 


TONY: What did you do? 


1ST SOUL: He let me show him things out of doors -- squirrels playing in and out of the branches and the silk inside chestnut burrs, and pictures in the frost at the roadsides. We could always tell stories, too -- not on paper, you know, but in his head. Oh, those were delightful days! 


TONY: Now if you grew to be his size, you and he could be like that again. 


1ST SOUL: What's the use? Look at me! 


TONY: There ought to be some way. There's doctors. They make people well -- they give them pills to take. (CATCHES HIS BREATH)


1ST SOUL: Well, a lot of good that does me, when I haven't any pills. 


TONY: But I have! I have a pill that makes people big and strong! 


1ST SOUL: Are you sure? 


TONY: Mother told me it would. You'll grow so tall that at night you'll be able to reach up and pick the stars that have caught in the branches of trees! Oh, I'm glad I remembered. You'll have to climb on a chair to reach them -- they're way up there in that glass bottle. 


1ST SOUL: Well, I'll try.


SOUND: SCRAPE OF CHAIR ... SOUL CLIMBS UP, OPENS BOTTLE


TONY: A red one she said.  


1ST SOUL: Yes, here it is! 


SOUND: SOUL CLIMBS DOWN


1ST SOUL: You're a very kind little boy. 


TONY: You're welcome to the pill, and thank you for talking with me. 


1ST SOUL: Perhaps, when I've got my growth, and he's all nicely trained again, we'll be coming by to pay you our respects. 


SOUND: DOOR SQUEAKS OPEN AND CLOSED


TONY: Good-bye. 


1ST SOUL: (MOVING OFF, COUGHING) Good-bye!


SOUND: PAUSE ... APPROACH OF A RINGING BELL AND A BUZZING, GRINDING NOISE MINGLED WITH--


GRINDER: (APPROACHES) Knives to grind! Scissors to grind! (CLOSER) Knives to grind! Scissors to grind! Bring out your knives and scissors! Make'em nice and sharp for you! 


SOUND: GRINDING NOISE OUT WITH--


GRINDER: (SIGHS WEARILY) Good-day, young man.


TONY: Good-day to you. What a funny wheel, it goes so fast! I wish I could make things all sharp and shiny! Oh, Mr. Scissors Grinder, couldn't you come in and see me? 


GRINDER: Do you think I can waste time where there's nothing for me to do? I must be moving on, hunting for knives and scissors to grind.


TONY: It must be fine to see so many places! 


GRINDER: It's not so bad jogging along out in the country, but there are too many houses here, and the pavements are hot and hard. Hard on shoe leather, too! 


TONY: But there's lots of people here, and they've all got knives and scissors. 


GRINDER: They don't make friends of their knives and scissors -- just throw 'em away when the blades get dull! Well, if you haven't anything for me to sharpen, I must find someone who has! 


TONY: (QUICKLY) If you're so busy grinding, couldn't you let your Soul come in and play with me? 


GRINDER: Why, kid, I'm nothing but a tramp, without a whole shirt to my back, or a piece of silver in my pockets! 


TONY: Oh, that doesn't matter. 


GRINDER: You're the strangest fellow I ever met! (GOOD-NATUREDLY PLAYING ALONG) My Soul? That's hardly my line of trade -- not much call for it, you 

know! 


TONY: Oh, but you're going to--? 


GRINDER: (BUSINESSLIKE) Yes, to be sure. Now who shall I say wants it? 


TONY: Tony Sims, if you please. 


GRINDER: Well, Tony Sims, where would you like it put, sir? A trifle bulky he is, you know! 


TONY: Oh, put him in here, please! 


GRINDER: Perhaps he'd best choose his own place. He's a strong-minded Soul, I warn you, sir, quite unmanageable at times, and who knows that better than I do? (MOVING OFF) Knives to grind! Scissors to grind! Bring out your knives and scissors! 


SOUND: DEPARTURE OF RINGING BELL AND BUZZING, GRINDING NOISE ... DOOR SQUEAKS OPEN AND CLOSED ... SLIGHT TINKLE OF JESTER'S BELLS AS 2ND SOUL ENTERS


2ND SOUL: (WHISTLING HAPPILY, THEN STOPS) Well, my fine gentleman. You're looking at me so strangely. Is there something the matter with me? 


TONY: Nothing -- that is, I mean, I'd no idea you'd be like this! 


2ND SOUL: 'T is a bit of a surprise at first. Shock, I might almost say! Honestly, though, I'm not so bad. 


TONY: I should say not! 


2ND SOUL: Of course, my suit is rather striking, but you see there were two kinds of material to start with -- some bright and some dark, and so, since neither was enough for a whole dress, I put first a patch of yellow and then a piece of black. That was my idea, and don't you like the effect?


TONY: It's beautiful, and your bells sound the way birds do very early in the morning. Where did you get them? 


2ND SOUL: Whenever I make somebody laugh I can have one. They're not so easy to get as you'd think, when Souls so seldom have a chance to show themselves. Not that I've any objection to my master, though once in a while he does get in my way! On the whole we're very happy together. 


TONY: You're much taller than he! 


2ND SOUL: (LAUGHS) I should say I am! I tell him I may be outgrowing him one of these days! 


TONY: Your bells shine so! 


2ND SOUL: That's because I polish them every night with the sunlight I catch during the day. 


TONY: Sunlight? 


2ND SOUL: Oh, sometimes I use bits of star-dust that have strayed down here. It's a little harder to find, but it keeps them brighter. 


TONY: I've often tried to take hold of sunshine, but it was so slippery! 


2ND SOUL: Yes, I know. 


TONY: And I never saw any star-dust at all. Where do you find it? 


2ND SOUL: In all sorts of places: on window sills; behind shutters; in flower pots; and once, I found some in an ash-barrel in the crookedest alley that ever you saw! 


TONY: Do you suppose I could ever find any? 


2ND SOUL: Perhaps, but you have to learn how. 


TONY: How? 


2ND SOUL: It's quite an art. You must really always be on the lookout for it, but you mustn't ever seem to be! 


TONY: I'm going to try. (THOUGHTFULLY) Do you like being a Scissors Grinder's Soul? 


2ND SOUL: I wouldn't belong to anyone else! We're such friends. 


TONY: But he - he wasn't like you? 


2ND SOUL: Of course, we are different, but variety, you know -- spice o' life and all that! When he goes out with his machine strapped on his back, I run ahead -- up all the hills -- 


TONY: What do you do that for? 


2ND SOUL: (LAUGHS) Why, to see what's on the other side, of course! 


TONY: And then what? 


2ND SOUL: Oh, then, I look for another hill to climb! 


TONY: Aren't you ever tired? 


2ND SOUL: I should say not! Besides, I have other things to do. Whenever I go by an orchard, I must blow on the apples. People wonder and wonder what makes them so red! In the farmhouses where there are little boys and girls, I take care to give the trees a shake, so the children will find plenty on the ground. They never guess who makes the apples fall! 


TONY: But I know now! And what does your master do? 


2ND SOUL: Oh, he laughs at the things I tell him. Sometimes I make him songs from the things I see, and he hears them all the time he's grinding people's knives and scissors. 


TONY: Won't you sing me one? 


2ND SOUL: You heard him when he passed just now; what was he singing? 


TONY: I didn't hear him sing anything. He just called out, (IN IMITATION) "Knives to grind! Scissors to grind!" Just like that! 


2ND SOUL: Oh, you couldn't tell that inside he was really singing a song -- my song! I'll show you what he sang! (SINGS "THE SCISSORS GRINDER'S SONG") 


All the flowers and all the grass, 

All the stir of wings that pass, 

Crisp, green leaves that clap their hands, 

Winds that blow from other lands. 

Warm, brown moors and stars that shine, 

Belong to me, yes, each is mine, -- 

On the streets I travel-O! 


All the house-roofs in the town 

Flat or pointed, gray or brown. 

All the watchful window-eyes. 

All the gilded spires that rise. 

Little folk who follow me, -- 

Mine they are, -- Will always be. 

On the streets I travel-O! 



TONY: (APPLAUDS) Sing me another, do! 


2ND SOUL: (IN PAIN) Not - just now. 


TONY: What's the matter? 


2ND SOUL: (WITH EFFORT) Nothing much. 


TONY: Have you got a pain? 


2ND SOUL: It's just my head - that's always aching. 


TONY: I'm so sorry. Why, I didn't think Souls ever had headaches. 


2ND SOUL: (APOLOGETIC) I never did in my younger days, but just lately the constant z-z-z of the machine grinding the steel blades has, well, got inside my head, and I can't get it out. 


TONY: But I thought the best part about being a soul was that you didn't have to stay with your master all the time! Anyway you don't have to grind things just because he does! 


2ND SOUL: You're right about that, but even souls forget sometimes! Once I let myself listen to nothing but the grinding, and then some of that buzzing got into my head, and there it stays. Serves me right, I suppose, but it is unpleasant. 


TONY: It's lucky you told me -- look here! 


2ND SOUL: What's that? 


TONY: Just the thing to cure you. See that yellow pill? It will take all the ache out of your head! 


2ND SOUL: If I thought it really would! 


TONY: It will; the doctor said so.


2ND SOUL: But you've only got two! I say, you'd better keep it! 


TONY: No, you take it. I guess I don't need it so very much. Besides, there's one left! 


2ND SOUL: I'll make you the happiest song anyone ever heard! 


TONY: Oh, Mr. Scissors Grinder's Soul, thank you for playing with me. I loved your song, and I'm going to look for star-dust everywhere! 


2ND SOUL: Oh, I should be thanking you, little boy. When my head is clear again, I shall make a new song, and my master and I will come and sing it to you! 


SOUND: TINKLE OF BELLS AS 2ND SOUL MOVES TO DOOR WHICH SQUEAKS OPEN AND CLOSED


TONY: Good-bye! 


2ND SOUL: (MOVING OFF) Good-bye! 


TONY: (SINGS SOFTLY TO HIMSELF) "On the roads I travel-O." 


SOUND: PAUSE ... APPROACH OF WOMAN'S SHUFFLING FOOTSTEPS (AN ODD FLAPPING NOISE FROM HER SHOES)


TONY: Good-day to you. 


WOMAN: Good-day to you. 


TONY: Where are you going? 


WOMAN: To my work. 


TONY: What do you do? 


WOMAN: Oh, sometimes I scrub people's floors, and clean their windows, or wash their clothes. I've got to scrub today. 


TONY: That's pretty hard work on a hot day like this! 


WOMAN: It is, indeed -- down on my knees slopping soapy water over the floors, and then rubbing it off again! (SIGHS) But when you've done it as many years as I have you get used to it! 


TONY: I wish you'd stay here with me instead! 


WOMAN: Dear me, boy, do you think I've got time to waste in foolish talk? I've got my work to do, else where'd I get the money to buy my bread and tea? 


TONY: You'll send your Soul anyway, won't you? 


WOMAN: What was that you said? I must be losing my hearing! 


TONY: Your Soul -- 


WOMAN: (TO HERSELF) Wants my Soul, does he? 


TONY: If you please.


WOMAN: (CHUCKLES) Indeed, if that's all you want, you're welcome to it! Only don't be forgetting to send it back to me! Good-day to you! 


SOUND: DEPARTURE OF WOMAN'S SHUFFLING, FLAPPING FOOTSTEPS ... PAUSE ... A VERY GENTLE HARP GLISSANDO


TONY: (GASPS) You - you aren't hers? 


3RD SOUL: (GENTLE LAUGH) Yes, I am, don't you like me? 


TONY: Why, why, I think you're the most beautiful Soul I've ever seen! No one would ever have thought you belonged to her! 


3RD SOUL: That's the delightful part about Souls -- people can never tell what we are like! 


TONY: I'm sure she can't dance -- her feet were so big, and in such queer, flapping shoes! 


3RD SOUL: Of course she can't! She hasn't got dancing feet; hers are much too clumsy. But she's got a dancing Soul -- that's me -- and I'm far more satisfactory! When she's down on her knees on those wet floors, or scrubbing the dirty clothes, she just has to call and I come and dance for her! 


TONY: How she must love you! 


3RD SOUL: She says she couldn't live without me! I leave her sometimes, though never for very long! 


TONY: Where do you go then? 


3RD SOUL: Oh, I go back to visit the place where she lived when I first came to be her Soul -- far away, over the great green hills where the pastures go down to the sea. 


TONY: I saw the sea once from a high window. Oh, I'd like to visit that country! What do you do there? 


3RD SOUL: First, I kiss the tips of all the little fir trees, to make them grow, and I find the tiny fairy houses she and I built once. Then I run and skip in the dew, and I hunt for little yellow mushrooms. They are really gold buttons if people only knew and wouldn't swallow them! 


TONY: I'll remember not to! 


3RD SOUL: Sometimes I lie down by little slate-gray pools hidden among tall grasses, and I push the grass aside, so the sky can reach those little pools and make them blue again.  


TONY: Are there any people there? 


3RD SOUL: I was just coming to them. There's a small village higher up above the downs, where she used to live. I go there sometimes, and then I can tell her what all the people she knew are doing: how Phillip's and Kate's rose-bush has climbed to their roof; how Dick and Molly have a new, blue-eyed baby to sleep in the little yellow cradle by the doorway; how Nancy keeps on gathering herbs for the sick ones; and old Peter still sits on his bench watching for the herring to come back to his weirs. (IN PAIN) Oh!


TONY: What's the matter? Why are you rubbing your eyes? You're not crying, are you? 


3RD SOUL: My eyes hurt me; that's all. 


TONY: Is it because the day's so warm, or because you're staying here instead of going to her country? 


3RD SOUL: No, they're always aching. 


TONY: But what makes them? 


3RD SOUL: (EMBARRASSED) Well, you see, once when she was scrubbing floors, she asked me to dance for her, but I felt lazy and wouldn't. Then some of the soapsuds flew in my eyes, and I can never wash them all out! 


TONY: That's too bad, I don't like to see your eyes get all red, and the soap must make them smart. 


3RD SOUL: It does! 


TONY: Maybe the pain'll go away. 


3RD SOUL: Oh, you don't know those soapsuds -- they're in to stay! 


TONY: Do they hurt a whole lot? 


3RD SOUL: Yes.


TONY: (SLOWLY) I've got a pill that would take the pain right out. 


3RD SOUL: Do you mean that? 


TONY: (WITH EFFORT) My mother brought it to me -- here it is. You - you can have it. 


3RD SOUL: But you haven't any more! I couldn't take your last! 


TONY: (DECISIVE) No, you take it. Perhaps I'll get another! 


3RD SOUL: I'll never forget what you have done, and the next time I go to the country over the hills, I shall bring you back a whole bunch of harebells full of dew! Good-bye.


SOUND: A VERY GENTLE HARP GLISSANDO 


TONY: (UNHAPPY) Good-bye.


SOUND: APPROACH OF WIDOW SIMS' FOOTSTEPS ... KEY TURNS IN LOCK ... DOOR SQUEAKS OPEN AND SHUT


WIDOW SIMS: Hello, Tony.


TONY: Hello, mother.


WIDOW SIMS: Did you go to sleep the time I was gone? 


TONY: I should say not! I had such a lot to do. 


WIDOW SIMS: Why, whatever do you mean, Tony? 


TONY: All the ones who came in to play with me. 


WIDOW SIMS: Came right in, did they, when I locked the door myself? 'T was only dreams came in to you! 


TONY: They sat right there, on the edge of the bed. 


WIDOW SIMS: (WORRIED) Then it's high time you took the first pill. (GASPS, TO HERSELF) I'd have sworn I put it here with my own hands. 


SOUND: RUMMAGES AROUND


WIDOW SIMS: Tony, you've not seen the bottle the Doctor gave me? 


TONY: (GUILTILY) Here it is, mother. 


WIDOW SIMS: (TO HERSELF) He couldn't have reached it, not even on a chair, he's too weak. (TO TONY) Come, dear, give it to me. (GASPS) They're gone. (UPSET) Tony, Tony, what have you done with them? 


TONY: (NERVOUSLY) I - I - 


WIDOW SIMS: You never were one to meddle or play tricks. Have you hid them or swallowed--?


TONY: (SIMPLY) I - I gave them away to three friends of mine. 


WIDOW SIMS: (AGHAST) Gave them away! Tony, Tony, what is it you're saying? 


TONY: I'm sorry, but they did need them. 


WIDOW SIMS: What have you done? They would'a cured you of the fever. It'll be burning you all up now, and where'll I ever get another two pounds to buy you more? Oh, what shall I do? What shall I do? (SOBS DESPAIRINGLY)


TONY: I don't mind, mother, and you should have seen how grateful they were! 


WIDOW SIMS: There he goes again; oh, deary me, what's to become of him now? 


SOUND: APPROACH OF GRINDER'S RINGING BELL AND BUZZING, GRINDING NOISE


GRINDER: (APPROACHES, HAPPIER THAN BEFORE, PRACTICALLY SINGING) Knives to grind! Scissors to grind!


TONY: (THRILLED) Do you hear that, mother? 


GRINDER: (CLOSER) Knives to grind! Scissors to grind!


TONY: Listen, he's singing his thanks for the pill! 


GRINDER: Knives to grind! Scissors to grind!

 

TONY: I knew it would cure his headache! 


GRINDER: (TRIUMPHANTLY) Bring out your knives and scissors! 


TONY: Oh, mother, isn't it a fine song? 


WIDOW SIMS: (STILL SOBBING) Whatever do you mean, Tony? I can't hear a thing but that old Scissor Grinder's ugly noise! 


TONY: But you're not listening. He said he'd make me the happiest song he could, but I never thought he'd be well so soon! 


GRINDER: (MOVING OFF) Knives to grind! Scissors to grind! Bring out your knives, and scissors! 


SOUND: DEPARTURE OF GRINDER'S RINGING BELL, ET CETERA


WIDOW SIMS: (SOBS QUIETLY)


SOUND: APPROACH OF SHUFFLING, FLAPPING WOMAN'S FOOTSTEPS


TONY: Mother, it's the scrub woman! And she's carrying a bunch of flowers in her hands.


SOUND: FOOTSTEPS OUT WITH--


WOMAN: Hello again, little boy. Look what I brung ye. 


TONY: Oh, I know where they came from! They grew in your country over the hills in the pastures by the sea! 


WOMAN: What a queer boy! How did you guess? 


TONY: Did you think I'd forget so soon? 


WOMAN: (TO WIDOW SIMS) Hope you don't mind, ma'am. My sister sent them to me from my old home. I've brought some for your little boy. 


TONY: Here is a harebell. I knew she'd bring me one! 


WIDOW SIMS: You're very kind to him. Thank her for them, Tony. 


TONY: And there is! There is -- a drop of dew on it! 


WOMAN: Well, now-- But I suppose that was just a drop from my soapsuds. 


TONY: Oh, I know better than that! She said it would be full of dew! 


WIDOW SIMS: (TO WOMAN) Just listen to him, will you? Talks like that all day, he does. 


TONY: I'm glad the pill took the pain out of her eyes. Now she can go back to your country, and dance for you all the time, and her eyes won't ever smart any more! 


WOMAN: Well, I hope you'll be feeling better in the morning. (TO WIDOW SIMS) Queer how the fever makes them act. 


SOUND: DEPARTURE OF WOMAN'S SHUFFLING, FLAPPING FOOTSTEPS


TONY: See, mother? It can dance just the way her Soul did!


WIDOW SIMS: (WEAKLY) Yes, dear.


SOUND: APPROACH OF MAN'S FOOTSTEPS AND TAPPING OF HIS CANE ... OUT WITH--


TONY: Oh, here comes the fine gentleman with the cane. I hope his soul's grown very tall and strong by now. (CALLS) Good-day, sir! Is your Soul big and strong?


SOUND: FOOTSTEPS AND CANE OUT WITH--


GENTLEMAN: God bless my--! You again!


TONY: You will play with him sometimes, and not count your money all the time? 


GENTLEMAN: Forgive me, madam, but is your boy crazy? 


WIDOW SIMS: No, sir, it's the fever makes him talk so. The pills would'a cured him; now he'll die of the fever. (WEEPS) Oh, what shall I do-o? They're lost, lost.


GENTLEMAN: What's lost? Speak up, woman. 


WIDOW SIMS: Some pills, sir. 


TONY: They're not lost. I gave them away. (TO GENTLEMAN) Your Soul took one himself, don't you remember? 


GENTLEMAN: Rubbish! Go to the Doctor's for more of those confounded pills. 


WIDOW SIMS: But I've got no more money. 


GENTLEMAN: Pshaw! You're a lazy, good-for-nothing, thriftless-- 


WIDOW SIMS: Oh, no, sir, I work hard all day, but I'm a poor widow. (CONTINUES TO SOB)


GENTLEMAN: (TAKEN ABACK) A wha--? Oh. I, er-- That is-- (CLEARS THROAT) Well, let me see.


SOUND: PAUSE ... THEN HE SLAPS A BILL ON THE WINDOW SILL


GENTLEMAN: There. A five-pound note. Take that. And for Heaven's sake -- teach your little boy to stop harassing people in the street! (MOVES OFF, GRUMBLING AND HARRUMPHING)


SOUND: DEPARTURE OF GENTLEMEN'S FOOTSTEPS AND TAPPING CANE 


WIDOW SIMS: (GASPS) Oh, thank you, sir! God bless you, sir! (HAPPY, TO TONY) Tony, Tony, now I can buy you three more pills! 


TONY: (SMILING) Hmmmm. You know something, mother? His Soul must have grown very big! 


MUSIC: FOR A FINISH


-----


ANNOUNCER: You've been listening to "Three Pills in a Bottle," an audio drama based on a one-act play by Rachel Lyman Field that was first produced by The 47 Workshop on November 16th and 17th, 1917. A version of the play was presented over Portland radio station KGW on April 9th, 1923.

        

Tony Sims was played by ____________________. 


His mother, the Widow Sims, was played by ____________________. 


Others in the cast included: _____________, _____________, _____________, _____________, ____________, and ________________. 



From the April 10, 1923 Portland Oregonian


Comments