Scene 1

The Parlor

Thief:

(aside) I grew up poor. I always dreamed of being rich, living in a beautiful mansion. (Angrily) I had to work so hard! All my old man ever did was drink, so I had to run the house! That damn man got sick, and I had to pay the bills for when the doctor came around.

He died, the damn man, right before I turned eighteen. And you know what, I had to pay for the damned funeral! At eighteen!

That's when I got my first taste of it: thievery. It was glorious, and it filled me with adrenaline! Ever since, I've taken thousands of items from the recently deceased. (smirks) God, how I love being a thief and a con man! The thrill of it! I take them precious jewels from their fingers and from around their necks, and then I sell them to the pawn shops.

Aw now! Don't look at me that way! You're wondering how I could manage it without anyone noticing. Easy as pie, darlin'. I have to do it quick, it's true. But I don't just leave their necks cold n' bare, or them fingers without jewels. Naw, I replace them with fakes. Pretty enough but cheap, you know?

(Turns to the coffin, and reads the sign next to it- he still doesn't notice the woman.)

Looky, here, another stiff. Let's see...this used to be a gal called Miss Edna Mist. Interesting name, there. She ain't no picture of beauty though. Wrinkled face, sagging skin in places..(with disgust)..uh! Thin lips, that probably weren't kissed often...at all. But lordy, would you look at those jewels she's got! My, my! Rubies and diamonds, topaz and amber rocks- all on rings! My, what a catch this'll be! And..oh. That necklace- such a beauty that is! An emerald, boy! Such a lovely stone will sell for such a grand prize!

(he takes a couple of rings from the body, as well as the necklace. Nervously glances around) Ah, let's see now. What have I got: no need to replace the rings- she's still got plenty. Ah the necklace- what to do with the necklace? (fumbles around, looking for a substitute.) Here! Bigger, but not as shiny- a jade stone will do it. Now, let's put it gently around the neck…. (footsteps can be heard off stage)

Shit! Someone is coming! Better get on my knees. Yup, yup. I'm just payn' my respects to this dear old lady, taken from us too early.

(Lights dim- end scene)

Scene 2

A Ghost Alive

(still in the funeral parlor)

Ghost of Miss Edna Mist:

(angrily) He took my jewels! My precious jewels! He took them right from my body and replaced them with, what is that, costume jewelry? And he even tried to cover it up by paying his respects to me! Heavens above, a thief in the funeral parlor!

Why can't anybody hear me! I'm shouting here. I've just been robbed!

(With a sudden realization) Damn! I'm a ghost! No one can see me, no one can hear me! What will I do? I want my jewels back! And no one in this damn funeral parlor can hear me, let alone see me… I will have to do something about it...myself!

But what to do, what to do?! Ah! That's bloody it! I've got to do what all ghosts with vengence do! I've got to give him a proper haunting!

(Lights dim- end scene)

Scene 3

Fireside Chat

(A large armchair sits off to the right of the stage. The thief sits there, smoking a pipe.)

Thief:

(happily) What a great day! I've successfully robbed a dead body, again!

(The door squeaks suddenly)

Thief:

Who's there? Molly, darling, is that you?

The Ghost of Miss Edna Mist:

Who's Molly? Is she someone special to you? Is she the one you're going to give my beautiful jewels to?

The Thief:

(is able to see the ghost now- shocked) Molly...Molly- she's uh- just a friend! What jewels? Who the hell are you?

Ghost of Miss Edna Mist:

I am the ghost of Miss Edna Mist! You stole from me! I want my jewels back! Give them to me.

Thief:

I..I can't. You're just a ghost. You're just made of air! The jewels won't stay in your...your...hand.

Ghost of Miss Edna Mist:

Don't you be smart with me! If you "can't" give them to me now, return them to my body. Off you go, get on with it. They're burying my body in the morning- I checked their logs. I imagine I gave them quite a fright when the pages started to turn on their own. Ha!

Would you just get going?

Thief:

No. I'm selling these. Besides you can't make me do anything- you're just a ghost!

Ghost of Miss Edna Mist:

Just a GHOST! How dare you? Just because I'm a ghost, doesn't mean I can't have power over you!

Thief:

What are you going to do to me then? Annoy me with your post mortem banter for the rest of my life? Are you going to annoy me to death? Huh?

Ghost of Miss Edna Mist:

Shut your foul mouth, you senseless villain! I WILL hurt to you, you saucy, tickle-brained, foot-licker!

Thief:

I'm a what?

Ghost of Miss Edna Mist:

You heard me! (quieter) It's a Shakespearean insult I heard once. Don't ….judge me.

Thief:

Listen- I'll cut you a deal, ghost. I return most of the jewels, but I get to keep one thing. I'll even go, and attend your little burial, okay?

Ghost:

No! You will return ALL of my jewels, you will go to my burial, at which I will stand next to you, the entire time. And...you WILL beg, I repeat, BEG, for forgiveness. And if you do not- I will throw you into my grave.

Thief:

Nice try, ghostie. The men at your grave site will get me out! Ha!

Ghost:

Not so fast, thief. Your fall will be fatal. Obey me, and I will spare your life.

Thief:

I ain't gonna die today. And I sure as hell ain't gonna die tomorrow!

(Lights dim- end scene)

Scene 4

Graveside

(At Miss Edna Mist's grave)

Thief:

(Throwing the jewels into the the grave) Here, Edna Mist. Here are your jewels- I hope you're happy.

Ghost:

I am happy. Everything is as it should. Pray for me, and yourself, now.

Thief:

I ain't the prayn' type.

Ghost:

Pray for your soul, thief. It's the least you can do.

Thief:

(sarcastically) Dear God- have mercy on my little soul. I did wrong. I stole things from this ghost woman-but I gave it all back. I get brownie points for that right?

Ghost:

Absolutely not.

(Light dims around the ghost- she "disappears")

Thief:

(pulling something out of his pocket) Well, well, well. I conned her. I threw everything back but the necklace. I know Molly will like it. That's right, folks- the ghost didn't get it all; ghosts- they're so stupid.

Fin.