There was a woman named "Mrs. Nash," who was a laundress in the Seventh Cavalry in the late 1860s. She always wore a heavy veil and went through a succession of soldier-husbands. But she was a good woman; she married each one and never lived in sin. Only in the event of an untimely, tragic death would she find someone new with whom to cohabit. In a few instances, the marriage would end when the soldier was discharged, and Mrs. Nash's melancholy over the break-up was profound and would require intense spiritual comfort from the Cavalry's minister. Then in the summer of 1878, while married to a corporal at Fort Meade in the Dakota Territory, the corporal accompanied his unit on an extended campaign. While the corporal was gone, Mrs. Nash passed away. The garrison ladies went to lay out Mrs. Nash, and discovered a shocking truth: Mrs. Nash was a man.
(a covered corpse on a table---either actually present or mimed; ANNABELLA SUE is pacing around the corpse, wringing her hands or fanning herself; REV. HYRUM enters)
Thank you so much for coming!
I wasn't sure you'd take my note seriously!
I didn't quite understand your note,
But I could tell by its tone that you were upset.
the apocalypse is coming.
That's what I didn't quite understand in your note.
Miss Clark, what makes you think--
All right, maybe not the apocalypse,
but figuratively it is coming.
Something is happening.
I don't understand what's going on in the world anymore.
you must slow down and tell me what's wrong.
Let's go back to the rectory
and have some tea
and you let the ladies finish preparing Mrs. Nash.
Reverend, don't don't don't
say that name!
And don't let the ladies come back in here.
Not after it's been cleansed.
Something has to be done.
I sent for Miss Chambers.
She's coming to take you home.
No, you must keep Kitty away from here.
Don't let her be tainted by being in the building!
I understand how distressing it can be to lay out a friend
It's quite an ordeal.
This has developed far beyond
what one would endure
as a typical corpse preparation ordeal!
Send notice that Kitty isn't to come here!
Do it or I'll, I'll,
I'll hold my breath!
No, don't do that!
I'll be right back.
Don't go anywhere.
(HYRUM exits and reenters)
I've been thinking it over,
waiting for you,
I've been trying to understand
and I think it could be one of three things:
one: the apocalypse,
two: I'm stupid and uneducated and completely ignorant,
or I'm going insane.
I'm voting for the apocalypse.
you have to slow down and tell me what's going on.
You won't believe me if I tell you.
You have to see for yourself.
It's Mrs. Nash.
Go on---look under the sheet.
(HYRUM looks under the sheet, then again, and again)
That's a penis.
I'm sorry, Annabella Sue,
I shouldn't have said--
No, no, Reverend, we must face it
and by facing it we must say it:
Yes, Reverend Hyrum,
that is a penis.
A real penis,
therefore you are not going insane.
I appreciate that, Reverend.
Mrs. Nash has a penis.
Mrs. Nash also has no bosom.
Mrs. Nash has a penis---
and a substantial one---
and has no bosom.
having witnessed this together,
you may call me
are you sure, that is Mrs. Nash?
It's impossible to be anyone else.
Are you sure---
what if Mrs. Nash's husband--
What if Broderick Nash,
what if that is Broderick Nash.
And Mrs. Nash killed him.
And put him in her clothes to hide her crime
then escaped and is now on the run.
How does that sound?
I thought of that, too!
But this body has no signs of violent death.
She could have poisoned him.
I thought of that, too,
the one flaw that is inescapable
is that switching the bodies would not hide anything.
We discovered it within hours of the death.
Besides, Broderick has already been telegraphed
and his commanding officer
replied that he's been released to return for the funeral.
we have to face the fact:
Mrs. Nash has a penis.
And no bosom.
And no bosom.
What are other possible explanations?
As much as I wish to believe that is the case,
nothing in the Bible says
that those we believe are women
or have known as women
will be discovered as men.
Though that is a good sign of the apocalypse.
Isn't it a good, frightening detail!
Why didn't God think of such a thing?!
Forgive me, Reverend,
I'm not myself, you know,
and I'm so breathless and lightheaded.
You really shouldn't be here right now---
No, it's my responsibility to be here.
I was chosen to discover this.
No one else has to know.
It's my cross to bear.
And yours, too, but I assume that's why you became a Reverend,
to deal with things of this nature.
I assure you,
I received no instruction
about these things.
we must accept the possibility
that this is evidence of vice.
That Mrs. Nash and Broderick,
that all these years they have been enjoying
a relationship based on
Not, Mrs. Nash!
She was in our sewing circle!
She delivered babies and made candied sweet potatoes
for church dinners!
These things do happen in the world,
Maybe it isn't vice at all!
My second possibility,
that we are simply ignorant.
as shocking and disturbing as it is,
this is a round earth.
For hundreds of years,
people thought the Earth was flat,
that it was the center of the universe,
even the solar system.
But that's not true.
Maybe that is what Mrs. Nash it to us:
that not all women are really women.
all this time,
that Broderick knew Mrs. Nash
was not a woman.
And they've lived as man and wife
all these years,
knowing full well,
and enjoying her
like a husband is allowed to enjoy his wife,
in the privacy of the boudoir.
That is not acceptable!
That is not possible!
you must go home immediately,
you are obviously not in your right mind.
No, I'm lightheaded,
but I've been thinking about this very carefully.
Maybe our town,
the world even,
is a little queerer than we can imagine.
The possibility is actually quite frightening but also exciting!
you've lived you cannot possibly understand
the sin behind this.
You've lived for years with Miss Chambers,
and ladies such as yourselves
aren't educated in terms of sodomy.
you didn't know Mrs. Nash as I did---
Obviously, no one really knew Mrs. Nash,
except for Roderick.
But everyone will.
The town must be informed.
That's only going to create hysteria.
You think this is an isolated incident?
If there is one act of sodomy,
it breeds a second and a third,
exponentially until a town
I know for a fact.
Mrs. Jones?! Mrs. Hightower?!
Someone needs to take Miss Clark home
and call a physician.
She's undergone a terrible shock.
When Broderick returned for the funeral, he suffered such unmerciful scorn and ridicule from not only the townspeople but his own unit, that he committed suicide with his revolver.