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HOMESICK: A PLAY IN TWO SCENES /Joyce Carol Oates "PINKTOES" LIGHTS UP. A young woman wrapped loosely in a coarse stained blanket, bare-legged, wearing only bloodstained pink wool socks on her feet, speaks. (With chüdlike hurt, reproach, staring out into audience): Momma! (Pause) You see what happened to me. Ifs your fault. (Pause) Wouldn't never of left home if. . . you know, you needed to love me better. (Angrily wipes at eyes) Now, happens nobody even knows my name where I am. Where I ended up. A long way from home___ (Pause) Jane Doe "Pinktoes" is my name, 'cause all I was wearing when the Texas cops found me, was these socks Gramma knitted for me. AU filthy by then, yanked down my ankles and half off my feet. Like whoever it was undressing me— after he'd raped me, and strangled me, and battered my head till blood leaked out my ears, nose, mouth like a burst tomato—was too rushed to finish the job, or scared off too soon. (Her voice rises to a faint scream) I DON'T REMEMBER HIS FACE I COULDN'T IDENTIFY HIM! Just these tattoos up and down his arms___ (Regains composure; ironicaUy matter-of-fad) They judged me between eighteen and twenty, so TU always be that age. Sprawled face down in the weeds in a drainage ditch. Ten yards from the highway. I was dying maybe three, four hours hearing traffic go by Uke thunder, God telling me how bad I was to run away from home. Okay, now see what happens! What you deserve___ Texas Interstate 1-35 two mUes east of Roscommon. Where Td never been, and had no connection with. 1-35 runs from Salina, Kansas, to Laredo, Texas, on the Mexican border, 750 miles. Long stretches just empty, desolate Uke the moon. Where you find us, off 1-35, ifs never where we're from—only where we're dumped. (Defensive) No I never knew any of them other girls that was kiUed along there. If it was the same guy or somebody else kiUed 46 · The Missouri Review them. (Bitter satisfaction) Their mommas feeUng Uke shit, too, I bet! (She walks about wrapped in the blanket, almost preening, an arrogant, adolescent tone to her voice; no self-pity) Happened to be HaUowe'en morning they found me, cops out patrolling "Devü's Night" damage. This naked dead girl a truck driver saw and pulled over to the side but didn't come too close. (Pause) JANE DOE "PINKTOES"—TEXAS INTERSTATE 35—ROSCOMMON-10/31/94. Dead only about forty-eight hours, decomposition just beginning. (Waves away flies, vehement, ironic) God damn, GET! (Pause; chagrined) Holey old handknit socks yanked half off my feet, and the feet filthy, not washed in weeks. (Remembering) Yeah I asked him could I take a bath . . . wanted to wash my hair. He said he'd get a motel room. (Pause; goes blank, glancing down at herself) Flecks of old grape-colored nail poUsh on my toenails and dirt lodged soüd beneath. Except for the missing teeth—sweUing and discoloration—I was stall "good-looking." (Laughs scornfully) That's what the cops said. Or maybe always say. Out of pity. Like they got their own daughters and sisters. Funny how you're in your body so you know it's just this kind of vehicle God gave you to use. Where the spirit abides. (Sings) "This Uttle Ught of mine, Tm gonna let it shine ..." (Voice traUs off) Gramma taught me that. (Pause) Once you're dead, though, in folks' eyes, the body is aU you are. AU that's left for folks to deal with. (Glances at herself in the blanket, wincing) Jesus! AU these scars, scabs, bruises, bites—and so skinny, my damn ribs showing, my coUarbone—ninety pounds at the end. Some of the injuries fresh and some of them years old. Like this weird rip Uke a zipper, purpUsh-brown, here— (Indicates her left thigh) Cut myself up running from a cop behind a 7-Eleven store in Tulsa. Ran into some barbed wire—bleeding Uke a stuck pig in the back of the squad...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 46-55
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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