Coon Dogs, Lesbians, and Love
CHARACTERS (in order of importance)
Katie, Ron's daughter, a shy 27 year old woman
Tracy, in love with Katie, 29
Diana, Barbara's daughter, 26
Mamaw, mother of Barbara and Ron, 79
early January, 2000
1:30 on a Sunday afternoon
Mamaw's house: a rural Ozark foothills town
It is after Sunday dinner. The family has gathered at Mamaw's house as
usual. There is a large dining room table with bowls of food still on
it. There are glasses of iced tea and a large pitcher from which the
characters keep their glasses filled throughout the play. As stories are
told the characters should nibble on the food remaining on the table.
The dining room is adjacent to the living room, where MAMAW sits alone
watching TV. She can be seen but is too hard of hearing to participate
directly in the scene going on in the dining room. When the lights come
up, DINAH and DIANA are seated at the table with BARBARA and RON.
And then he trapped me and Diana in the hallway. He was pretty damn
drunk. It would have been fun except I'd already met the hottest guy
there, Craig, or Greek god, as I was still calling him at that point--
So anyway, of course it wasn't just Mr. Drunkass with us in the hallway.
Dr. Irwin came over and there were already some guys standing there, so
there was a crowd, you know. Me and Dinah'd been dancing onstage with
the band, so everyone had seen us--
Mr. Drunkass has us backed up against the wall, and he starts--Well, he
can't remember my name, because Ann, one of the lesbians, was trying to
do me a favor and she gave him a fake name for me. I didn't care if he
knew my name or not. It wasn't like I was going to give him my
number-could you pass the okra, Uncle Ron?
Boiled, pickled, or fried?
Fry?diddly?ied and here you go!
(RON passes DINAH a heaping plate of fried okra. She takes a large
Now, Dinah, which one was Craig?
Craig's the one from the other club, you know, the Greek god one. The
really hot one.
But not as hot as Tracy.
Well, duh. No one is as hot as Tracy-even with that ear thing. Anyways,
we left because we thought the Greek god was married.
Well, thank the lord for small favors.
Mama, can I have some tea? And sugar. (BARBARA passes the pitcher and a
sugar bowl to DIANA. She continues to spoon sugar in her glass
throughout the rest of this speech.) So Mr. Drunkass has us cornered in
the hallway. Since Ann gave him a fake name for Dinah, he can't remember
her real name, so every time he tries to talk, Dinah corrects him on her
name, so he can't get out whatever brilliant drunken wisdom he has for
us, and we're just laughing at him.
And he finally can't stand it any more and he throws back his head and
starts yellling-- and he meant this as a compliment, that's the best
part-- "You two are the prettiest sons of bitches in this
DINAH and DIANA
"You two are the prettiest sons of bitches in this place!"
Which of course we were! (Finishes stirring in sugar and drinks.)
Well, you two beat the dickens out of just about everything I've ever
DINAH and DIANA
I'm gonna go out and get anotherjar of Mamaw's pickled okra. And then
I'll tell you about this girl I used to date, Nancy. She was a honey if
I ever had one... (RON exits.)
Ooooh! By the way, Tracy called yesterday and said he might stop by
because he wants to see-
No way! I thought he went back to Harvard already.
He's still here?
A Harvard man. I bet he's gonna be rich someday. He's coming over? Do I
(DINAH turns for DIANA to inspect her teeth for food and her nose for
He's coming to see Katie. He said he wanted to talk to her about
something before he went back to school, and I for one am glad. That
girl needs a nice young man. I think
something may be up with those two.
Tracy may have something up, but I don't think Katie's interested.
(DINAH and DIANA giggle. A knock is heard and TRACY enters, smiling)
Hello, everybody! Hey y'all! (DINAH and DIANA rush to hug him.)
Tracy! Let me get your coat.
How are you? How's Harvard? Are you still pre-med?
Well, I'm fine. Thank you for taking my coat, and no--I dropped pre-med.
I've decided to major in creative writing instead.
Oh. I'm sure the future in that is just as bright as can be.
Well, are you still in that fraternity?
(Calling from living room.)
Well, who is that? Is that Tracy? Did somebody come in?
Yes, ma'am, it's me. I'm home for Christmas break from Harvard. How are
Oh! Fine. I'm fine; I can't complain. Now go on in there and fix you a
plate. If there's not enough okra, I'll make some more, I know how you
Well, thank you, ma'am, but I'm allergic to okra. Maybe you have me
mixed up with somebody else--
Now I don't want to hear a word of that! You can't come into my house on
a Sunday without eatin' you some dinner. You hear me? Go in there and
get you a plate. We just help ourselves over here. And I want to know if
there's not enough okra!
And you better just bring me that plate in here so I can make sure you
got some of everything.
(TRACY moves toward the dining room.)
Tracy! You better give me a hug too. I couldn't hardly get to you for
all those girls 'aswarmin you like bees after honey.
(BARBARA hugs TRACY.)
It's good to see you, Barbara. Listen, I-need to talk to you. I came
here to see Katie. Is she around?
She's outside messin' with one of her coon dogs. It's gonna have puppies
or something, so she thinks she's got to be takin' care of it every
(At the mention of the dog, TRACY begins to get nervous. It is subtle,
but it prevents him from speaking until his next line.)
We barely even see her at dinner anymore. She's always been so shy, but
now she seems even more withdrawn, like she has a secret. Her coon dogs
are her best friends nowadays.
Except for that one new friend she met. Lisette. Nudge, nudge, wink,
Nudge nudge wink wink?
Don't listen to these silly girls. I'm gonna have to dunk their
hung-over heads in the water trough. Katie will be as happy as a coyote
in a chicken coop when she finds out you're here.
The rumors are flyin' all over town. I'm surprised he hasn't heard--
Now Dinah, just hold on a minute. You don't even know if it's true or
not. You don't need to be spreading rumors about your own cousin.
Especially not to a man that might be interested in her--
Mother, men are interested in her every day of the week. She's broken
more hearts than you can shake a stick at. I mean she's been engaged and
she just broke it off.
She steals all the quality guys.
That's enough! Tracy certainly doesn't want to hear about Katie's
romantic encounters of the past. What they need to do is put all that
behind them and let love blossom anew-
Oh, she's finding a whole new take on the dating thing.
(in an outburst) I can't hold it in any longer: I'm going to ask Katie
to be my wife!
You haven't even seen her since the accident-the dog-your ear.
She's-changed a little.
What we mean to say is that .... Well ... people are saying...
Diney, Daney? "The Dukes of Hazzard" are on!
(DINAH and DIANA look at each other dramatically.)
(Squeals of excitement as they run into the dining room.)
They haven't changed any. Now, what were they trying to tell me?
No, no. Never mind about that. Listen. You just sit right down here-fix
you a plate, we've got some goo-o-o-od okra--boiled, pickled, and
fried--and I'll go down to the dog pen and get Katie. She'll be runnin'
up here like a hen after a beetle when she finds out you're here.
I'm allergic to okra!!! But if it will bring Katie nearer to me I'll eat
a bushel of it, even if my eyes swell shut and I break out in hives.
(TRACY grabs handfuls of okra and shovels it in.)
Do you think I have a chance with her-with my ear like this? Tell me
Oh, well then have some corn then. She'll be very happy you're here.
Very happy. And you can't even hardly notice the ear compared to your
lazy eye. I'll be right back.
(BARBARA exits and TRACY begins to head toward the kitchen, but RON
enters with a gallon jar of pickled okra.)
Well, if it ain't Tracy bum basey teeidigo Tracy. Tee-legged,
Tracy! How are you doin, son?
(They shake hands.)
Ron bum barles teeidigo Ton! Tee-leaged, tie-legged, bow-legged Ron! You
been doing any good coon hunting lately? I know you've got a story for
me this time.
Well, did I ever tell you about the time me and Reba were running coons
down in the Grassy Creek Bottoms and the coon turned out to be a bobcat?
TRACY I don't think so--
Well this is a good one. See Reba's got the prettiest voice--stands out
from all the rest. On a cold clear night like that one her yell just
floats out over all the other dogs'. It's a beautiful sound. Course I
guess you have a different opinion of coon dogs since old Rocket tried
to bite off your ear. I sure am sorry about that-me and Katie both just
felt so bad about it. Don't know what came over him. And just as you
were gonna propose, too. What a shame.
(Still twitching mildly.) Oh, see it's all healed. Katie wrestled that
chunk of my ear out of his mouth before he could swallow it and rushed
me to the hospital, and they sewed it right back on.
Yep, Katie sure turned out to be a hero that night. She's my daughter,
That she is, which is actually why I'm here. You see, Ron, my feelings
for Katie haven't changed since that fateful night out by the dog pen--
Tracy, she's on her way! I'm so excited. There aren't any coon dogs
around this time!
(BARBARA and RON laugh.)
TRACY (The twitching increases noticeably and continues to increase
until he exits. He begins to grunt and moan.)
Oh! I, I--
Son, are you ok?
You don't look so good.
I'm fine. It's just that now that the moment is finally upon me I'm
somewhat overcome with nerves. Okra! My head! My ear! Oouh! It's all
coming back! Down, Rocket, down! AHHH! (TRACY runs offstage just as
KATIE enters wearing a ball cap and old jeans with dirty boots and a camouflage
Dad, have you been down to see Reba today? She looks big enough to pop.
My guess is she'll be having those pups any time now. Where was Tracy
goin'? I thought he wanted to talk to me. I don't like to leave Reba for
long, she looks like she might have a hard time.
Do we need to call Doc Williams?
No, I don't think she's gonna need a vet, but it might be good to-
BARBARA (Taking off the cap, fluffing her hair, pinching her cheeks,
Katie. Maybe you could go wash your hands before Tracy comes back. I've
got some perfume in the van, oh, and a new lipstick that would bring out
the blue in your eyes. I can run out and get them while you're
What for? Lisette isn't coming over till later.
Oh. She's a friend of mine. See, I know this girl Ann who introduced me
(Grabbing KATIE by the shoulders.)
Ann! Did you say Ann!
(KATIE nods. BARBARA recovers her composure and release KATIE.)
I'm going to go check on Tracy. Don't you go away, you hear?
(BARBARA exits. DINAH and DIANA enter and hear the following speech from
What's got into Aunt Barbara? She's as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a
room full of rocking chairs; she's runnin' around like a chicken with
its head cut off. Anyway, Lisette's somethin' else. She's really into
hunting and fishing. I'm going to teach her my turkey call today.
(KATIE gobbles loudly.)
She's coming over to help with Reba. Her coon dog, Red, is gonna be
having her first litter in a couple of weeks, so she wants to get some
experience birthing pups.
I'm going to go on down and check on Reba. Hurry down there, Katie, Reba
needs you with her.
All right, Dad.
(Turns to DINAH and DIANA.)
Hey, do y'all know what Tracy wants? I haven't talked to him in a
while, but last time we were together I think he was gonna propose, but
I'm just really not into men-
What did you say?
Him--I said I'm not into him.
Right. Katie, we need to talk to you.
Ok, but make it quick. Reba's gonna have puppies, and I can't leave her
for long. You don't have any idea what he wants? Maybe I should--
(The yelp of a dog in labor is heard in the background.) Reba!
(KATIE runs off as BARBARA, TRACY, and MAMAW enter at separate
Where did she go?
Her dog went into labor. She had to go help with the birthing.
(TRACY hangs his head.)
But I'm still here. I'd never leave you for a coon dog.
Neither would I. You look like you could use a massage.
Stop it! Can't you see he's upset?
Those damn dogs! They always come between me and my one true love. If I
could only know why, if I could only know why!
I'll tell you why: that girl's a lesbian!
She likes girls. If I was you I'd go after one of them two; they're as
horny as a couple a' bullfrogs.
DIANA and DINAH
Now everybody just go on and fix you a plate. Eat! I said eat!
(MAMAW exits shuffling toward the kitchen as the lights fade.)
She's a coon dog…No, she's a lesbian…To Harvard! To Harvard! To
END Of PLAY.