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Home » Stories, True and Otherwise

The Famous Ghost Monologues, No. 23: Stephanie Anne Shipley

Submitted by on May 3, 2004 – 8:47 AMNo Comment

[Stevie walks forward from the back of the stage. She has a straw cowboy hat pulled down low on her head, leaving only her mouth and chin visible. She is singing Schumann's "Traumerei."

Just before the bridge, her voice begins to falter. The song is beginning to come apart, and partway through the bridge Stevie stops and begins to cry instead.

Louise Wallace enters at the back of the stage. She pauses for a moment and shakes her head before walking up beside Stevie. Stevie turns to face her.

Helen Alton and Dot Ayers enter at the back of the stage, exchange a look, and walk up beside Stevie and Louise.

Helen and Dot stand behind and to the left of Stevie and Louise. Louise moves to hug Stevie, then stops, draws back, and slowly takes Stevie's hat off. Stevie starts to stop her, then stands still; she cries even harder when the hat comes away from her head. Louise involuntarily flinches.

The damage done to Stevie's face in the accident is extensive. The left side of her face is nearly split open from hairline to jaw along a fault line that crosses her eye; the hair on that side of her head is matted and snarled with blood.

A long pause.]

Helen: Does it hurt, dear?

Stevie: [nods]

[Dot takes Helen's arm and begins to cry herself. Helen pats her hand.]

Stevie: It hurts.

[Louise starts to reach for Stevie's forehead. Stevie shrinks back. Louise drops her hand, then extends it to Dot and Helen.]

Louise: [glances at the ground] Ladies, some help here.

[Helen takes Louise's hand. With her other hand, Louise takes Stevie's arm and lowers herself to the ground. She stretches her legs stiffly out in front of her and smoothes her skirt over her lap.]

Louise: Come now. Come on and sit with me.

[Stevie hesitates, then kneels down, curls up, and rests her head in Louise's lap. Helen and Dot arrange themselves around Louise, Helen to the left, Dot behind Louise and to the right.]

Stevie: [whispering] It hurts…it hurts.

[Louise begins "Traumerei" again, quietly. Helen puts her arm around Louise's shoulders and begins to sing also. Dot leans her head on Helen's arm where it rests on Louise's back, and reaches down for one of Stevie's hands. The three of them sing, slowly. Louise strokes Stevie's forehead and combs the tangled hair with her fingers.

After the bridge, the lights dim until, on the last bar, the stage is in darkness.]

Stephanie Anne Shipley died in a car accident January 29, 1990.

May 3, 2004

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