Act 1. Scene 1.
Character: Autumn M. (Some names have been changed…but not Jason’s because he should be found and walloped at least $300-worth)
Autumn lives two doors down (in the house Daniel and I fixed up in 2003). She is 23. She is expecting her first baby any day. Autumn is single. She and her boyfriend Jason were “living in sin” her mother told me. I guess that means they weren’t going to church every Sunday. (He’s a black boy, but that’s not why we don’t like him is also what she told me.) Jason couldn’t get a job because he doesn’t have a driver’s license because his dad used his (they look alike) and got pulled over drunk driving so there’s a warrant out for Jason in Florida and he can’t get a license here and he can’t get a job but he can work under the table and he’s really good at plenty of things but no one will give him the time of day because he doesn’t have ID. Jason helped Daniel take down some of our rotting trim and asked to be paid in Budweiser. Jason stole Autumn’s rent money and hit the road back in November. So now she’s single. Autumn used to work at the Gas-N-Go near here. She is a hard worker but doesn’t have any vision for how life could be different. She worked for $6.25 an hour but was able to work 10-15 hours overtime each week her mother told me with raised eyebrows, indicating this was good pay and good fortune. But they made her work extra shifts when she had the flu. When she was pregnant. So she interviewed and got a job at Krystal. There she makes $6.50 an hour but doesn’t have the option of overtime. Autumn can only afford to take off about 3 weeks when the baby is born, but her manager said she has to take 6 (liability). Autumn will most likely end up having a C-section, so it’s good they’re holding her to 6 weeks. A new mother needs time with a new baby anyway (and vice versa), no matter how much she needs the money. I asked Autumn’s mom what the childcare situation was like…. She shrugged and got huffy about some case manager. She wants to ring her daughter’s neck and tells her all the time what trouble she’s in. What shame she is to the family. How her sin has marked them all now. Autumn wants her parents to understand that things are different outside of their “narrow way” and that she doesn’t know how she’s going to do this without their support and love.