Burden of Winter


(first two pages)


Cast of Characters

SAM – Young woman in her mid twenties. New Jersey accent.

JOHN – Homeless man in his sixties. Southern accent.

BARISTA – Woman in her early twenties Southern accent.














Scene I


At Rise


JOHN is talking on a pay phone outside a coffee shop in the French Quarter of New Orleans. It’s an early afternoon in mid-November. As he talks, he taps a rolled piece of paper against the wall of the phone booth.



I’m callin’ ‘bout a poster I saw askin’ ‘bout someone named Sally. Is this the right place? Are you the one I need ta talk to?


Let me talk ta him, then. (Pause)


Hell no, I can’t call back. I had to dig up seventy-five cents to make this call. (Pause)


Well, I guess I’ll just tell you. If she still looks pretty close to how she did in that picture, I know where she is right this very minute. Sooner I get my hands on that reward money, sooner I’ll tell ya what ya need ta know.


Sam Neal? Okay. Tell Sam I’ll meet him at the Bean Me Up coffee shop tomorrow mornin’ just before six. Corner o’ Decatur and Ursuline. Make sure he brings the money.


Early morning light. Bean Me Up coffee shop is empty with the exception of the BARISTA who is behind the front counter stocking in preparation of morning rush. JOHN walks through the front door and a bell clangs.




Mornin’, John. Wanna try somethin’ new today?



JOHN pulls change from his pocket and begins to count out the correct amount.


Naw. Just my usual.




Haven’t seen you for a few days. You holdin’ up all right? I mean—it’s been really cold.


She sets a cup of black coffee on the counter. JOHN drops the change into her hand, picks up the cup and the customer’s copy of the morning paper.



This weather ain’t goin’ nowhere. Not for awhile, anyway. No sense worryin’ ‘bout somethin’ you can’t do nothin’ about.


Smells his coffee and turns to walk away.




First customer gets a pastry—no charge.  Want me to heat it up?




JOHN turns and walks around the corner.


BARISTA watches him. When he’s out of sight, she pulls a pastry out of the display case and puts it in the oven to warm. She rings up the sale and pays for it out of her own pocket.




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