An old man.
Looks, moves, and talks
like he's just stepped out of a Western film.
Early 40's, or 50-ish.
A businessman from Back East.
TOMMY KNOCKERS is a two-character, one-act play set in the American desert.
Businessman ROBERT TAPLEY arrives to take possession of the Bull Dog mine, which he and his partners have just purchased. Tapley and his associates don't have much experience with mines. Shopping malls are more their speed.
But they got the Bull Dog for a song because it's rumored to be haunted by the spirit of its former owner, Ben Madison.
And they know a good deal when they see one.
Outside the mine, Tapley encounters a grizzled old PROSPECTOR who looks like he's just stepped out
of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and who clearly doesn't want Tapley (or anyone else) going into the mine.
Tapley can't decide if the prospector is just a crazy old fool who's spent too much time in the sun, or a genuine threat...
But he's mesmerized as he listens to tales of the desert and stories of "strange, fearsome critters" like the hoop snake,
cactus cat, flitterbick (a flying squirrel that moves at eye-blurring speed), and mine-dwelling creatures called Tommy Knockers.
Finally, Tapley comes to believe that the prospector is himself one of these creatures of the desert.
The old man may even think he's Ben Madison's ghost. Or is it Tapley who believe he's a ghost? Or is he actually a ghost?
Or the spirit of the Old West?
East meets West, and history careens headlong into "progress", in this collision of two disparate parts of the American dream that's part folklore and part supernatural comedy.