Teresa: a bag lady. Over 65.
Travis: a janitor, any age
Martha: a bag lady. Over 55.
Bench. Teresa sits, throwing bread to pigeons, a shopping cart filled with clothes next to her. Elizabeth enters, carrying a clipboard and looking around. Sees Teresa, stops. Looks at clipboard, looks at Teresa. Quickly tucks clipboard in brief case.
TERESA: (looks up briefly, then picks up new loaf and begins tearing it into small chunks)
TERESA: You talking to me?
TERESA: It’s Wonder Bread. Builds strong bodies eight ways. Or is it ten ways? Whatever.
TERESA: Pigeons look healthy to me.
TERESA: Birds got to shit someplace.
TERESA: So? Birds got a right to eat.
TERESA: Better here than someplace where the hawks’ll get them.
TERESA: I’m supporting them, not the ekko-what’s-its. Pigeons are God’s creatures.
TERESA: Of course not. I’m an old lady. All I do is feed poor helpless birds.
TRAVIS enters, with broom. He exchanges glance with
TRAVIS: Jesus Christ, lady. Get the fuck out of here with those goddam crumbs.
TERESA: Language! Is that any way to talk to a lady who’s old enough to be your grandmother?
TRAVIS: My grandmother doesn’t feed fucking pigeons when she’s been told not to. Where I got to clean up their shit and her bread. And deal with the rats.
TRAVIS: Rats. This old nutcase brings so much bread the birds can’t eat it all. So we got rats as well. Hundreds of rats. Plus the Health Inspectors.
TRAVIS: They say the birds and the rats and the bread are a safety and health menace. So the
TERESA: God hears you. And God wants me to feed the birds. Otherwise they’d starve.
TRAVIS: Christ, are you fucking nuts? This is a city overflowing with trash cans. It’s a fucking bird banquet out there. They don’t need your stupid Wonder Bread. Look how much of it they leave—for the rats!
TERESA: The birds need help. They can’t survive on garbage.
TERESA: Elvira fed them. The previous bird lady. She fed them here when I was younger. And Nellie did it before Elvira. And all the bird ladies before her.
TRAVIS: I don’t care how many bird ladies there were. Get off this damn bench and go home. (Glances at shopping cart.) If you have one.
TERESA: This is public property. I can sit here if I want.
TRAVIS: And I can grab your fucking bread if I want. (He grabs bag of loaves of bread)
TERESA: Give that back! Thief! Thief! You shouldn’t steal from a helpless old lady!
TRAVIS: Watch me. (He takes bag of bread into the building.)
TERESA: The birds ! The poor birds! They’ll starve! I have to go buy more bread!
TERESA: Well, I don’t know. They’re used to the bread I give them.
TERESA: NO! (She pushes
TERESA: How do you know my name?
TERESA: I won’t go! I’ve seen that place. Worse than a jail.
TERESA: You can’t take me any place without my permission!
TRAVIS: I’ll put out the poisoned birdseed when I get back. Now that we can stop her feeding them, it’ll be easy to get rid of them.
ELIZABETH exits, followed by TRAVIS, who drags TERESA. After a short pause, MARTHA enters, carrying a bag of bread.
MARTHA: Oh! There’s no bread here for the birds! I wonder what happened to Teresa, that old lady who’s always here. Maybe she’s sick. I better feed them. I can always pick up more bread for my feeding places.
(She tears bread into pieces and throws it into the street, whistling for the birds as she does so. Pigeons coo happily. Curtain.)