Three Hots and a Cot ~ Homelessness, Addiction, AIDS

homelessness - volunteers share food and water with a homeless manHave you or someone you know ever faced homelessness, addiction, or AIDS? It can happen to anyone, as most Americans live “paycheck to paycheck” and cannot handle a major emergency. Never was this more evident than during the worldwide COVID pandemic!

Financial ruin leads to all kinds of coping behaviors when people become destitute. And how does that happen? The reasons are endless ranging from house fires to acquiring AIDS and from divorce and abandonment to job loss.

I scripted the stories of people in a huge shelter in Washington, D.C., and we performed the monologues for religious, civic, educational, and governmental organizations all over the D.C. Metro Area (and beyond) to raise awareness and funds. Below are details, as the playbook is still available for those who would like to mount productions, and the book is available for all who want to help or to better understand.

Who Can Benefit From Learning

About Homelessness, Addiction, and AIDS?

Man in silhouette against an orange sky = book cover picture for Three Hots and a Cot"

NOW A Book and a Playbook Recommended for Use By:

Sociology | Psychology | Drama Classes

Medical, Health Care Providers, and First Responders

Book Clubs, Conferences, Panel Discussions

Civic Groups & Non-Profits on Affordable Housing or Homelessness

Awareness Projects re Hunger, Addiction, AIDS, and Trafficking

And for people who want to learn and understand!

Destitution and Dangers

“THREE HOTS AND A COT…” explores issues of poverty, divorce, addiction, AIDS, sex trafficking, tests of faith, and some of the many other dangers facing homeless children and adults. That sounds awful, but the people were/are wonderful! I met them. If you think it’s too scary or depressing a topic, you can see reviews by some enthusiastic readers on GoodReads below.  

Before we go on, given the seriousness of the issues, I just want to share this Help Hotline link for people struggling with addiction, regardless of whether they have become homeless.

In addition, many of my addicted friends got their help through “Twelve Step Programs.”  Learn More Here.

“Three Hots And A Cot”

homeless man with cup for change…is an expression that homeless people may use to refer to the endless hours they spend in trying to reach their (often unmet) goal of finding food and shelter every day. Shelters, prisons, and the military are the three most likely places to provide three hot meals and a cot on which to sleep. However, most shelters do not provide food (hot or cold), so people “dumpster dive” and go to “soup kitchens.” Homeless people usually are hungry people and might be in constant pain from muscle cramping and other physical symptoms brought about by poor diet, sleeplessness, and adverse weather conditions.

Silhouette of a man praying on his knees Three Hots and a Cot inside coverThis book contains monologues that depict life stories, bravery, vulnerabilities, religious faith, and love among people who actually experienced severe life challenges and shared their biographies with me.

Goodreads reviews for Three Hots and a Cot Stories of Courage from People Struggling with Homelessness, Addiction, and AIDS

Learn Whether Your Academic Theories

And/Or Personal Preconceptions

Comport With The Reality Of

Who Destitute People Are and How They Got There

“Three Hots…” is not about theoretical models. However, teachers, economists, government workers, and altruistic organizations have an opportunity, by using the book, to demonstrate to their students how theoretical models do and do not readily apply to real-life events. Thus, “Three Hots…” is highly recommended as an assigned reading (or performance) for high school and college-level classes in sociology, psychology, and drama, as well as for book clubs, and for civic and other action-oriented groups.

The material has proven invaluable for fund and awareness-raising activities for non-profit and religious organizations. In fact, I still perform the dramatic readings as a One-Woman Show for that purpose.

Three Hots and a Cot,

Stories of Courage from People Struggling with

Homelessness, Addiction, and AIDS

 Comes in These Formats

A Playbook | License to Use (Purchase Here Only)
Signed Paperback Copies PLUS 
Discounted Bulk Rates for Book Clubs | Class Assignments
(Available Here Only) 
and a Kindle or Paperback Book on Amazon

Go to my Amazon Author’s Page to find this and future publications.

Why Buy Here, Instead of on Amazon?

Originally, Three Hots and a Cot, Stories of Courage from People Struggling with Homelessness, Addiction, and AIDS, was solely a playbook, used in the performing arts to raise awareness about how any person or family can fall into difficult circumstances, resulting in homelessness, addiction, AIDS, and more. One script also addresses the societal consequences of these social issues. The real homeless people and I performed the scripts extensively throughout Northern Virginia and beyond, and I won many awards for this volunteer work. See below.

Now, the playbook has been converted into a paperback and a Kindle book which you can find on Amazon. However, this page of my website gives you multiple options for purchase, some of which include discounts that you won’t find on Amazon or other platforms. 

  • SUNFLOWER SMILEY FACEIf you purchase the paperback here, you can get signed, individual copies.
  • You also can get discounted prices, which are applied only to bulk purchases for book clubs, classroom assignments, etc.
  • Your purchase here helps me keep more of the purchase price which helps me meet expenses associated with this publication. (Thank you for caring.)

gold theatrical masks comedy tragedy

  • This is where you can purchase the playbook. It is available only through direct purchase from me.
  • If you buy the playbook scripts, you can select just a few or all the scripts, depending on the venue and purpose of the intended event.

Go to the bottom of this page for details about purchasing the book and/or the playbook. Look for the title, Paying by PayPal or Directly to Me for Signed Copies.”

Of course, you still can get the Kindle or paperback copy available on Amazon. All purchases are greatly appreciated, as are reviews of the book.

Before we go further, ….

Click Here to see an example of one of the scripts.

dirty homeless man with one tooth about to take a giant bite of a red apple

It is called “Reader’s Digest” and starts like this. “How many of you have ever read Reader’s Digest – that section where people write about their “most unforgettable character?” I should write one of those articles, ‘cuz I met some truly unforgettable characters while living in the shelter!….”

You can see summaries of the scripts and pictures of my homeless actors below. However, if you already know you have questions or want to book me to write your story, please contact me for details.  Let’s talk first in a free, initial consultation called a Sip & Share Session on Zoom.Sip & Share Logo

purple email Us sign for Presenter GuidebookTo schedule that chat or to ask me questions, write to and put “Writing Inquiry” in the subject line.

Once Upon a Time, We Looked Like This! There is Addiction, But There Also Is RECOVERY!

(Note: not everyone in the group was an alcoholic or drug addict, nor did everyone suffer from addictions.) Here is a picture of some of the group when we were performing other works about homelessness with Voices From the Streets. (I’m the one with “the legs.” I was a volunteer at the shelter. The blond seated on the floor is the late Suzy Goldman, who first conned me into becoming a Producer and Director.)

Nancy Wyatt with homeless people rehearsing for performance

VOICES FROM THE STREETS Photo by Rick Reinhard (

Where Did We Perform Three Hots and a Cot…?

The homeless people and I performed them throughout the Washington, D.C. Metro Area, as far away as Richmond, VA, and Kansas City, MO. We did this under the umbrella of my non-profit, Variety Pack, which I formed to help the homeless after leaving Voices From the Streets.

We performed for a multitude of educational, religious, civic, and governmental organizations, including members of Congress and a Governor’s Conference on Housing and Homelessness.

Our performance also was recorded by the National Archives. Congressman Tom Lantos entered one script into the Congressional Record after we performed before Congress.

Several scripts were part of a cable television show which ran for many months in Northern Virginia.


Nancy Wyatt receiving Governor's Gold Medal Award from Governor Wilder in Virginia

Nancy Wyatt receiving Governor’s Gold Medal Award from Governor Wilder in Virginia

I received a number of unsolicited awards for this and related volunteer work. Among them were:

  • The International Woman of the Year Award
  • The Who’s Who of International Business and Professional Women’s Hall of Fame Award
  • The Who’s Who of American Women Award
  • The Governor’s Gold Medal Award (for work with homeless and addicted people)
  • The WDC*TV Women Making A Difference Award (for my work with homeless and addicted people)
  • The One and Only Channel Nine (WUSA-TV) Award, 1990 (for work with homeless and addicted people)
  • Empire Who’s Who Among Executives and Professionals
  • Who’s Who of International Business & Professional Women – Hall of Fame Award (twice)
  • The American Jefferson Award, 1990 (for work with homeless people)

How Good Were These Homeless “Actors?”

These then-homeless “actors” were shelter residents sharing about their own lives, except in one case in which we told the story of one of the children whose whole family became homeless. These homeless folks got so good that an audience member once accused me of having hired actors to pretend they were homeless!

Variety Pack players photo by Rick Reinhard

The Book and the Playbook Have the Same Content

 But the Playbook Format is Very Different

screen shot with line numbersThe Manuscript
  1. In playbook format, you get the double-spaced manuscript on 8.5 x 11 pages with line numbers next to every line of dialogue and with room for notes. The line numbers are used during rehearsals by actors and directors who are staging the production. (“Do it again starting from page 27, line 1, please.”) 
  2. Playbooks customarily contain staging directions and scene descriptions. Since these scripts were performed as dramatic readings, staging is left to the preference of the producers.
  3. I adjust the price according to your for-profit or not-for-profit organization status. (I must have proof in the form of the IRS letter bestowing non-profit status in order for the non-profit discounted price to be applicable.)
  4. The playbook is available only on my website where you can select some or all the scripts. We shall discuss licensing provisions, which are customized for each client. They include agreements on how many copies may be reproduced and for what duration the material may be used. I still solely own the copyright. I’m just giving you permission for use for a specific purpose and time (which could be “in perpetuity.”)
    1. The pertinent provisions will be included with your copy of the playbook.
    2. It is good to let us know the purpose for which you intend to use the scripts, as there is a potential for loosening the copyright restrictions.

Why Dramatic Readings?
  • The stories are in monologue format, so they may be performed as dramatic readings – either as single pieces or in their entirety.
  • Initially, we chose that format, because we never knew who would be dead, ill, MIA, or some other thing on the day of a performance.
  • In addition, as proven by the actual cast, the biographies can be presented by actors, but also by people with no theatrical training, and have equal impact.
  • They can be used as a full production, or in panel discussions, or as introductions to other presentations, depending on time and venue constraints and the purpose of a gathering.

 Producers Ask, “How Long Does It Take To Tell These Stories About Homelessness, Addiction, and AIDS?”

classy_stick_figure wearing a top_hat_lelaning on a caneDuring a full-length show (1 – 1 1/12 hours), a Narrator introduces each account.  But, the monologues may be performed singly, or in small groups when 10 – 20 minutes is the time limit. See below for script summaries and rough timing estimates.

The cast sometimes contained singers and musicians, so music often was added, based upon the availability of talent.

The troupe conducted a Question and Answer session after the performances.

We still miss those whose lives already have ended.  Happily, most of the performers who survived ultimately found new jobs and homes, or were reunited with their families and children; some went back to school, and most have their addictions under control.

 Playbook Script Summaries: Homelessness, Drug and Alcohol Addiction, AIDS

Biographies as told to Nancy Wyatt by gay folks, straight folks, men, women, children, shelter operators, and a volunteer

picture of 8 homeless "actors" telling their stories

Some of the VARIETY PACK Players   Photo by Rick Reinhard (

Three Hots and a Cot – Stories of Courage From People  Struggling with Homelessness, Addiction, and AIDS ~ Script Summaries and Timing of Individual Monologues



A young man is laid off from his ‘good government job.’  His wife takes their baby and goes to live with her mother, and the landlord evicts him. Brokenhearted, he describes living in starvation on the streets, while still trying to find employment.  The two focuses are a)  how a typical, working American citizen can become homeless, and b)  homeless people are hungry people.  It describes what the typical emotional and physical symptoms are like.  Script:  6 – 9 minutes


A young woman’s husband leaves her with their four children.  This script follows her as she gets a minimum wage job; moves in with grandma; gets fired and arrested for shoplifting (she didn’t make enough money for rent AND food), and tracks her into the alleyways where she becomes a prostitute to make food money.  Eventually, she becomes a drug addict, who winds up in jail.  Later, she comes to the shelter for help.  But, there is no room at the inn.  The story is told from the point of view of the shelter operator who has to turn her (and hundreds of others) away.  Script:  7 – 9 minutes

homeless girl eating banana -pouting but no voice PLEASE, GOD

This story presents a newly homeless child’s viewpoint on homelessness.   She describes the shelter, the soup lines, the fear, and seeing ‘all these homeless people who look just like the ones she saw on t.v.!’  Unwittingly, she is being seduced by a drug pusher, even as she watches her own family life disintegrate, making her more vulnerable.  Script:  5 minutes

Nancy kissing her favorite panhandler "Old Conti"YOU CALL HIM ‘DERELICT.’ I CALL HIM “DARLING.” 

This is a loving portrait of an old alcoholic panhandler, as he is viewed by a volunteer at the shelter. It is an attempt to humanize and give dimension to a homeless person who DOES fit the stereotype.  Script:  11 minutes  (performed by Nancy Wyatt)


This is the story of a young man from a Muslim Household.  He proceeds from the streets of Harlem to the military, to college, to a job as a police officer, and then to the shelter as he becomes lost in drug addiction.  While homeless, he acquired his Master’s Degree (Howard University) and became employed as a drug counselor.  He now has multiple advanced degrees, and he uses his strict upbringing, education, and experience as an addict to live his life constructively and to help others learn the same.  Script:  9 minutes


This script is the story of a young, upper-middle-class man who became homeless and, consequently, became sympathetic to the panhandler and the old woman pushing a grocery cart containing all her earthly possessions.  It is a call to action in the war on homelessness.  Script:  2 minutes


One of the things that became clear while working with homeless populations was that, at Christmas, the shelter residents and street people cared only about whether they could “scrape up” a gift for their children or parents. They had little interest in receiving presents themselves. In fact, if they were given a gift, they were very likely to give it to a family member. The next story gives us insight into their feelings.  Script: 2 minutes


(Pronounced “ring” “go.” The “D” is silent.) This is a revealing portrait of the many contradictory facets of a Black ex-convict, who was married to a minister and has great faith in God.  This person is a diabetic amputee and a drug addict.  The story addresses the issue of whether homeless people are lazy and unwilling to work.  And, it ends on a heartwarming note when he speaks of his volunteer work with homeless children.  Script:  8 – 10 minutes


homeless person with shop cartThis is a fairly light-hearted script which talks about the speaker’s ‘Most Unforgettable Characters’ at the shelter.  It describes a clown, an undercover agent, and some other colorful folks, ending with memories of Mitch Snyder.  Script:  6 minutes


This story traces the history of a former cast member from his life as a child prodigy “from the projects,” who sang with the National Children’s Choir for a Pope and two American Presidents, to his present state as a recovering drug addict with AIDS.  Script:  3 minutes


This monologue makes the point that homeless people are not just statistics.  It homeless man receiving food and watertells the story of an 80-year old man who walked from New York City to Washington, D.C., during the Housing Now March on Washington, even though he has brain damage and often cannot walk 2 blocks; the story of a doctor who masquerades as a bag lady and was refused admittance to a conference on “health care for the homeless” at which she was the keynote speaker, etc.  Displays humor and describes how homeless people help homeless people.  Script:  4 minutes


This story begins with an attempted suicide and traces the life circumstances which led up to that point, including the speaker’s suffering from sexual abuse as a child, through a drug overdose by his spouse in adulthood.   This story is very harsh, but it is beautifully executed by the actor/singer.  It is not for the weak-hearted.  Its importance lies in the fact that these things are happening to thousands of people all over the United States every day of our lives.  It also ends on a positive note.  Script:  6 minutes


This is a short, but hard-hitting script, describing conditions in a typical family shelter and then asking what kind of adults these children will become.  How can they support our tax base, if they grow up semi-literate or illiterate, succumb to the drug pushers, etc.?  The script may be used as an introduction to PLEASE, GOD; it may be used as a stand-alone monologue; or, it may be part of the Narration.  Script:  2 minutes       

Variety Pack Players Photo by Chris Keeley

Variety Pack Players Photo by Chris Keeley

COPYRIGHT INFO: Three Hots and a Cot – Stories of Courage From People  Struggling with Homelessness, Addiction, and AIDS

These scripts about homelessness are copyrighted by the author,  Nancy Wyatt,  with all rights reserved.  They may not be copied, distributed, or performed without the written permission of Nancy Wyatt.  When you purchase them, My Persuasive Presentations, LLC will be notified by email that payment has been received.  However, you will need to email, to tell us which scripts you chose.  (We offer the flexibility of choice, if you purchase scripts individually, so they may best suit your needs.) 

Happily and typically, I get 5 stars and lots of wonderful compliments on my reviews. Check here for those available online as of 9-22-19.


  1. Again, you may purchase these stories as a paperback or Kindle book, online at Amazon.
  2. If you would like to give less to Amazon and more to me, you may purchase signed paperbacks or reduced-price bulk shipments only via this webpage and directly from me. See link below.
  3. You may purchase the manuscript here, as a playbook, if you want to stage a performance of some or all of the 13 monologues plus narration, which introduces each script and ties the stories together.
  4. A lot of hard work and expense was involved in creating these stories; so please abide by good ethics, as well as the law, and do not distribute, post, or otherwise share the scripts without permission and payment. 
  5. Thank you, and I hope you find them illuminating and enjoyable!  They are offered in LOVE on behalf of the brave men and women who have experienced homelessness

 Paying by PayPal or Directly to Me for Signed Copies

For signed copies of small quantities of paperbacks, you can pay me directly by transferring money to my email or phone address, snail-mailing a check to me, or through PayPal.

Bulk Shipments

Bulk shipments also are available here at discounted prices. See options below.

Playbook Pricing ~

PDF via Email or Loose Leaf Book Form?

We shall assume that you want your playbook to be transmitted via PDF and email. That is how we save you money. If you choose to receive a hard copy in a binder, there are additional costs for printing, packaging, and shipping.

A little Something About PayPal We Learned the Hard Way


We learned this when a person wanted me to send the playbook (to a distant location), but she checked “Bill Me Later” on PayPal. Please note:  if you choose the PayPal option “Bill Me Later,” your payment to me will be delayed. PayPal first must do a credit check on you and then connect to whatever account you link to it to make the payment. PayPal will not pay me until it has finished that process. We do not send the scripts or playbook until My Persuasive Presentations has received your payment. 

Payment Options

  1. The easiest way to pay is to have me send you the email address or phone number that you can use to send money directly to me from your credit card or bank account using Zelle or PayPal.
  2. You also can pay right here, using the PayPal links below.
  3. I accept checks, payable to My Persuasive Presentations, LLC. In that case, I will send the book or playbook after the check clears.

Below are the categories and prices.

Reminder: Prices Differ for Non-Profits vs. For-Profits
Script Options

Purchase a Signed Copy of the Paperback about Homelessness from Me Here

The paperback book for the reading public also is available here at $10 + $3 shipping. If you want a specific inscription, along with my signature, please give me the details. Keep it short and simple, please and thank you.

The easiest way to do this is to send the $13 from your bank or other financial institution to me at this email address: or to the following number: 1-540-692-0101.

Discounts for Bulk Purchases

Discounted rates are available for book clubs, teachers who use this book as reading assignments, etc. 25 copies at $9 ea | 50 copies at $8 ea. | 100 copies at $7 ea. plus shipping. Those discounts apply only if you are buying directly from me here. Once we determine the shipping cost for these large orders, you can make that payment by sending money from your financial institution to an email or phone address that I’ll give you, or you can do it by check, payable to My Persuasive Presentations.

Bulk Orders | classes/groups

Go to my Amazon Author’s Page to order or to learn more about additional books, as they are published.

Do You Need New Stories About Homelessness or Addiction?

  1. You can book me to write new stories after interviewing folks in special circumstances.
    1. Typical examples are stories about veterans, people who have lost their homes because of government shutdowns, fires, bankruptcies, etc., people who are struggling with illness, or people facing other challenges of life, like Alzheimer’s disease or domestic violence.
    2. Please contact me for details.  Let’s talk first in a free, initial consultation called a Sip & Share Session on Zoom.Sip & Share Logo

purple email Us sign for Presenter GuidebookTo schedule that chat or to ask me questions, write to and put “Writing Inquiry” in the subject line.

 Break the Chain (of Domestic Violence)

I also authored a one-act play, called “Break the Chain,” which is about domestic violence. Domestic violence also can lead to homelessness, so it is important to recognize the symptoms and cycles involved. That predictable cycle of abuse is what this play demonstrates. To my surprise and delight, it received loud applause and compliments from both abused and abusers who were in the shelter audience where I first staged a performance. 

Click Here for details about the play, Break the Chain.

purple email Us sign for Presenter Guidebook Write to me at and put “Writing Inquiry” in the subject line. Contact me now for more information, to purchase scripts, or to have me create original scripts for you! Let’s talk first in a free, initial consultation called a Sip & Share Session on Zoom.

Sip & Share Logo

The Occasional Poet – Has Nothing to Do with Homelessness smiley face girl blushing and smiling

I write primarily for pragmatic purposes and projects. Consequently, I’ve not been one to participate in contests and other opportunities to get my work published. Nevertheless, a few of my poems have been included in independent publications.

See The Occasional Poet link for poetry projects in which I’ve been engaged. I love doing the From One Line and #VSS365 poetry challenges on Twitter!

Samples of my poetry also have been published in NOVA Bards and two anthologies published by Write by the Rails, a Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club.

See Also – an anthology for which I did some of the editing. 


Do It The Write Way! Let My Fingers Do Your Talking!

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