Sorry this is so late. I split it into smaller paragraphs so that it’s easier to read.
OLIVE – 75
OLIVE’S APARTMENT BUILDING. THE YEAR IS 1985.
Lights up on Olive.
E’erbody dyin’. (beat) Maybe that’s a exaggeration. But just last week Mabel in the hospital, and she cryin’ on the phone to me. I says ‘Mabel, you get up and you’s walk ‘fore they send ya to the Maple House.’ That’s what them doctors and nurses do to us old folks. You’s hip broken? They send ya to the Maple House. You’s fallin’ too much? They ship ya there with a shiny bow. Ain’t no comin’ back once they send ya there. (beat) They ain’t never gonna get me in there. My daughter, she tryin’ though. They gonna have to drag my cold dead body out a these here apartment ‘fore I let them put me in there. Ooo Lawdy. Just a thought a that place gives me shivers.
I ain’t never had a friend last more than a year in there. That place sucks a life outta e’ery person, even the workers. You done believe me? Why, three months ago my good friend Tessa Ann went to the hospital with a broken foot. They send her to the Maple House, and she gone. Dead. The week ‘fore her accident we’s just chattin’ over coffee in a fit a life. She decline so fast I bet they poisonin’ her food. That place be the death a old people like me. I ‘spect my daughter want me someplace safe with all them prostitutes and drug addicts they lettin’ in this apartment, but I tell her ain’t nothin’ more dangerous to Olive than the Maple House. She cryin’ ‘Mama, please’ but I won’t have it.
(The telephone rings. Olive answers.) Jeanie? Ah, naw. Law, ya din’. Tell me ya din’. Jeanie how many times I gots to tell ya stay away from that steppin’ stool. They sendin’ ya for surgery? Naw, Jeanie you know I gots my cortisone injections tomorrow. My back be hurtin’ for weeks after them. I be lucky if I can walk outta the clinic. Call Mabel sweetheart, she come visit ya. Mhm. Law, Jeanie, you make sure you walkin’ ‘fore they start talkin’ ‘bout you know what. You know Tessa Ann din’ last more an a month. Mhm. You take care now, ya hear me? (Olive hangs up the phone.) Way was I? Right, right, them prostitutes. You know just the other day I’s comin’ home from the supermarket, and they’s standin’ right in the doorway. This ‘sposed to be a apartment for us old folks, and now they lettin’ all kinds a ruffians.
I hear ‘em down the hall comin’ and goin’ all night. Back in my day they’s a different standard for white womens. Too busy plannin’ them fancy DDR meetin’s. Now they’s runnin’ all over the place, at all hours in they short skirts. I says to Luella, she my neighbour two doors down, ‘Yo mama know you down here dressed like that?’ You know what she says to me? She tell me to mind my own damn business. Law, I’s about slap her. Ain’t got no respect for themselves or others. I says to Mabel I gots too many health issues to be runnin’ ‘round this place chasin’ all them white girls in they undergarments. Why, just last week the doc says I got—was he sayin’? Congestive heart failure or some like that. No wonder with all them scanty womens runin’ ‘round here, practically give me a heart attack.
Why, Frankie say some young fella name Jimmy gone died a a overdose couple weeks back. Maybe suicide, I dunno. Sometimes it’s hard to tell who gone kill ya first. All them medications, or that old folks home. It’s like they just tryin’ to kill me. It’s no wonder with my back the way it is how I even get outta the house. It just can’t take all the walkin’ no more, but you know I do. Law, and these knees a mine seen too many floors to count. I even had one replaced ‘bout five years back. Now I be creakin’ and bowin’ like ain’t nobody’s business. But I ain’t leavin’ this here apartment, no ma’am. I be here ‘til I die, or they drag me outta here kickin’ and screamin’. Ain’t much I gots to choose in my life. I ‘spect where I die be the only thing, and ain’t no one gone take that away from me. Nuh uh.