In the early moments of the play, Charlie is telling the audience how
With me it was a woman. Hattie Pearl Massey. Hattie taught me a little how to read, how to add, subtract and multiply. (remembering back:) I knew I was losin’ her. To this goddamn deacon of the New Hope church. (thoughts returning to the present:) The reason I was ridin’ rails was that last night, standin’ on a bridge where I'd gotten her to take a walk. Up high over the river, I was feelin' somethin’ like I ain't ever known, when all of a sudden she says... (conveying her sense of shock:) “Are you gonna kill me, Charlie?” (a beat) Hattie Pearl Massey. She brought out the best in me...and she brought out the worst. (then:) I ran. I just turned from her and ran.
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