Spinach For Short Stories

The last story I shared on my blog was one that ate all of its greens and grew up to be a big, strong stage play that people actually paid their hard-earned money to come and see! It is, to date, the Popeye of my writing…

Back when it was a short story it had many names, the most constant is Tough but as a stage play it is known as The Good Sister. I have adapted prose into scripts on a few occasions and it is always a challenge but ultimately a bit of a thrill…

THE GOOD SISTER

A Play In One Act.

First Performed and Produced in 2014

CAST OF CHARACTERS

MAGGIE – Woman in late thirties, recently widowed.

SALLY – Her older sister, early forties.

The scene is set in a modern house in Ireland in 2008. Split stage into kitchen and living room. The kitchen has a small counter, kitchen table and the back of a television facing the audience. the living room has a couch and one other chair. There is a window in both rooms with closed curtains.

Music suggestion to begin and link scenes Andy Williams “Can’t Get Used To Losing You…

Scene 1

(Open into living room where Maggie sits in her pyjamas pouring herself a glass of wine. She is talking to her dead husband. Her speech is slightly slurred)

MAGGIEYou hated this wine, remember? I was never allowed buy it when our friends came over… Of course, back then it was the only time your Maggie actually drank wine. Not anymore!

(sniggers)

Nope… Now I drink it all night long…every single night! There’s a name for that, isn’t there, Pat? We call them DRUNKS!

(She fills her glass again to the very top)

We don’t call them lonely or lost souls… They’re just drunks! Who wants to be married to a drunk anyway? Looks to me like you got away just in time my poor love… Just in time…

(puts her glass on the table and looks upwards)

I wonder what you’d say if you could see me now? IF! IF! FUCKING IF! 

(She gets up slowly and looks out the window)

I bet the whole neighbourhood is talking about me. The best person to gossip about is the one nobody sees anymore.  Sometimes I just keep the curtains closed to give them a nudge in the right direction.

(Maggie sneers at the window and closes the curtains again. she returns to her space on the floor)

Can you see me? Is that part of the deal, that you can stay with your loved ones until they drink themselves to death? And If I did, would you be the one to come and say, collect me? It’s certainly tempting, I wonder who came to collect you… 

(Maggie straightens herself up. She is preparing for something)

Okay, Pat. Give me a sign or something. Let me know you’re here and if you do that I won’t drink anymore tonight. I’ll go to bed… Just give me a sign. Bang something! Move something! Slap me!

(There is a loud bang out in the hall. Maggie jumps and crawls on her hands and knees in terror to the sitting room door.Maggie is sitting crouched by the door and there is deafening silence in the house. Suddenly the sitting room opens violently knocking her over. She has her head in her hands in terror. Sally enters.)

SALLYGood lord, Maggie, what on earth are you doing on the floor? Here, get up!

(Sally helps Maggie to her feet. She is unsteady and speechless)

MAGGIE Sally! Wha… What are you doing here at this hour? Why didn’t you call me first?

SALLYI tried to call you but your phone was engaged. Who were you talking to?

MAGGIEEr… Pat.

SALLYYou were on the phone to…Pat?

(Sally feels her sister’s forehead looking very concerned. Maggie shrugs her off in annoyance.)

MAGGIEOf course I wasn’t on the phone to Pat! How the hell would I manage that? He’s dead, remember?

SALLYYes deary, i know that… sorry. So who wereyou on the phone to?

MAGGIEI wasn’t on the bloody phone, Sally! I don’t have it on the hook. I thought you meant who was I talking to before you came in.

(frustrated and embarrassed)

Look, forget it! I wasn’t talking to anybody. Everything is fine. I am not a loon, and you can go home now. Okay?

SALLYDon’t be silly Margaret. I just got here! I was just finished dinner so I thought I would pop over and see you.

(She takes off her coat and sits down on the couch. Maggie stands defeated)

I have something for you.

(She hands Maggie a book)

MAGGIE What the hell is this?

SALLY Well, look at it!

MAGGIE(reading)Fighting Through Phobia. (mockingly)It’s very pretty Sally, did you make it yourself?

(throws it back at her)

SALLYMargaret, don’t be petulant. It took me a long time to find that one.  Well, Andrew found it for me. He has such a great eye for books… (nervously)Andrew is my… friend. He runs the new bookshop you see. (Smiles to herself)

MAGGIE(sarcastic)Marvelous!  

(reaches for her wine glass and takes a few long gulps)

SALLYI just felt that after our talk the other day, you know, about you being afraid to go outside, that maybe this book  might just change your life!

MAGGIEYou think I’m afraid to go outside?

SALLYWell, that is kind of what you said, isn’t it? But really, it was only when I went back home and chewed it over with Johnathan…

(Maggie rolles her eyes and pours more wine)

– He pointed out to me that, in hisexperience, people like you are most likely afraid of germs. I think he called it… ostium-tracto-phobia. Yes, that was it… Which to a lay person like you, means, fear of door handles. If you need help remembering the name just think of Uncle Jimmy’s dirty old tratcor… Everyone was afraid of that filthy old thing…

(Sally giggles, extremely pleased with herself)

MAGGIESally, Johnathan is an insurance broker. How exactly can he have any experience with phobia’s? And I didn’t say that I was afraidto go outside or that I was afraidof my germ infested door handles. I SAID that I just wasn’t ready to leave here yet. I don’t want to face people.

(Sally attempts to speak)

AND! That doesn’t mean that I am afraid of faces either! Why can’t you ever just listen to me?

SALLYI do listen to you! It’s not my fault, Maggie. I’m only trying to help! And anyway, you are hard to understand when you have been… drinking.

MAGGIEAgoraphobia.

SALLY  Pardon me?

MAGGIEIf I was afraid of going outside. I would have Agoraphobia.

SALLYOh… I see… (Gently)Are you ready to talk about it then?

MAGGIE(Explodes)I am not agoraphobic! I’m just saying Johnathan was wrong.

SALLYOh, yes well Johnathan can certainly be wrong sometimes… He never admits it of course. I hardly bother to correct him anymore.

  (Pause)

Aren’t you going to at least offer me my own drink?

MAGGIENope. I am going to bed. You can sit here if you like. I don’t care.

SALLY (Checks her watch) Don’t be ridiculous! I have ages before I meet… I mean, you have no intention of going to bed yet. it’s only eight o clock! Go and get your big sister a glass… 

MAGGIEThey’re all filthy. Here, take a swig of this if you want.

(She takes the glass)

SALLYI’d actually prefer red.

MAGGIEYes, well I’d actually prefer to be left alone.

SALLY  Hmmm… this looks like quite a crisp white! This will be fine. Thank you.

MAGGIEGreat.

(Awkward silence)

SALLYDon’t you want to turn on the television?

MAGGIENope. It’s all shite at this hour.

SALLYYes, you’re right. Let’s just chat shall we? Television can be so anti-social anyway.

(Maggie quickly reaches for the remote control. Sally snatches it off her)

SALLYOh Margaret, stop it! I came over especially to spend some time with you.

MAGGIEI’m not in a very chatty mood,

SALLYOkay, well then lets do something else. (Checks her watch again)Have you any cards? We could play Gin Rummy or something.

MAGGIEThe only cards I have are the tarot ones you got me when i had my appendix out. They said I was losing something in life. Very accurate…

SALLYWhere are they?

MAGGIEI lost them. (sniggers)

SALLYNo you didn’t! Actually, come to think of it I remember seeing them at Pat’s wake. Hang on. I bet they are still in the powder room…

(She exits)

MAGGIE Sally, I don’t have a powder room. I have a downstairs toilet. (To Pat) I don’t understand that girl, one minute she says I need a psychiatrist and then she decides I need an exorcist!

(Sally returns holding up the deck of tarot cards.)

SALLY  Ha! See? I knew I saw them there!

MAGGIE Oh,that’s right… I left them beside the dream catcher you got me after my back operation and the healing crystals you got me when i was made redundant.

SALLYI keep telling you, Margaret, if you don’t learn to use those things I will simply stop giving them to you.

MAGGIE Promises, promises…

SALLY Oh stop it! You know I always have your best interests at heart. Now…

(She spreads the cards out on the coffee table)

I think we’ll start with the four card spread. Doesn’t take too long…

MAGGIEI really don’t want my cards read, thank you. I am depressed enough.

SALLYOh come on… This will lift your spirits. Just shuffle the deck and give them back to me.

(She sighs and shuffles the cards)

MAGGIEHere.

SALLY Great! Now take a deep breath and exhale and ask one specific question. Ask something that will give a yes or no answer only.

MAGGIEWhy? Are the cards stupid?

SALLYMargaret! Stop making fun of this. You could use a little guidance. Come on now, deep breath…

( Sally closes her eyes reverently. Maggie lights a cigarette)

Now exhale…

(Maggie exhales a plume of smoke)

Now clear your mind…

(Maggie gulps her wine)

Now ask your question and pick four cards from anywhere…

MAGGIEFine! One… two… three… four. Now, Psychic Sally Amazeme!

SALLYOkay, let’s begin…

Okay… the first card is The Fool. Ooh, and I’m afraid it’s upside down… This represents your past. It means you’ve made some bad decisions in the past. You have behaved irrationally or carelessly… Well, you obviously have some regrets!

MAGGIEI do at the moment, yes…

SALLYNext… The Magician. Hmm, this one is upside down too… this shows that you have a certain lack of drive or a weakness in will right now. Well, you have been living in your pyjamas so i see that’s fairly accurate.

MAGGIEGet on with it… And maybe turn the bloody deck upright while you’re at it… We wouldn’t want you spilling the wine…

SALLY Margaret, if the cards are upside down that is just the way they are meant to be!Now your future… Well now, Oh! this is a relief! It’s The Wheel of Fortune andit’s facing upright! So that means you’ll have unexpected gains coming your way! Isn’t that exciting?

MAGGIEVery exciting!

SALLYNow, the final card. this one indicates the outcome to your question. Ready?

MAGGIE Yeah… go on then… (paying attention)

SALLYAh Ha! Yes! The Chariot! Lovely! Oh and this one is upright too! Isn’t that great?

MAGGIEThat’s great.

SALLYIt is great… I see a journey ahead! See? We’ll get you out of this little house yet! Does this answer your question?

MAGGIE Actually I think it does… Okay, let me just be sure I’ve got this right. The past was the fool and the bad decision thingy…

SALLYYes.

MAGGIEThe present card was the Magician fella and that had something to do with a lack of willpower, yes?

SALLYThat’s it!

MAGGIEThis one here, the…Wheel Of Fortune? That had to do with my luck changing for the better or something,  right?

SALLYYes! Yes!

MAGGIEAnd finally, this last one was the outcome and it said something about a journey?

SALLY That’s right. So go on… What was your question?

MAGGIEI asked the cards if you would ever just piss off. The past said I shouldn’t have given you a key. That was obviously my bad decision. the second said I don’t have the energy to fight with you, which I don’t.

And my two favorite… The future showed hope and a change in luck which says maybe you’ll be going soon and my absolute favorite is the chariot! Which means your chariot awaits! Those cards are bloody accurate after all. Fancy that! Good night Psychic Sally. I am going to bed. (stands up)

SALLY  (embarrassed. Checks her watch again and taps it)Well, yes… I suppose I’d better be going then… Hadn’t I?  I’ll leave the book with you, though. it’s no good to me. See you tomorrow then… Night. (Walks to the door)

MAGGIEHang on. What about my key?

SALLY It’s my key.

MAGGIEWhen did I give it to you?

SALLYEr… the … other night.

MAGGIE I don’t remember that…

SALLYOh yeah. you said I should have a key for emergencies. You insistedon it! 

MAGGIENo… I definitely didn’t…

SALLYWell, that is okay, you had been drinking quite a bit. Not to worry!

MAGGIE Well, I have since changed my mind. You can give it back to me now.

SALLY But I don’t want to.

MAGGIEWhy not? It’s my key to myhouse.

SALLY I paid to get it copied. So, it’s mine.

MAGGIE Oh just keep the bloody thing then. You’d always find a way in anyway.

SALLY Here…you take it back… I have three more copies at home! Night deary!

(She exits and Maggie sits and fills her glass again Lights fade.)

Scene 2

Lights go up onto messy kitchen. Maggie enters with a bag of groceries. She empties them. There are six bottles of wine and six packets of cigarettes. She lays them out slowly. She walks over to the cupboard stepping over a large pile of clothes on the floor. She makes no attempt to move them. She is wearing the same pyjamas.

MAGGIE (To Pat) God bless Tesco’s delivery man. The widow’s saviour! 

(Maggie sits down at the kitchen table and fiddles with the remote control before eventually turning on the television. Theme music from Frasier can be heard)

Good old Frasier. That was your favorite one, Pat! Last time I watched that was with you… It was on the last night. Remember that? You were so weak and I begged you to eat so off I went and made you boiled eggs and toast… Then when I came back upstairs I rushed to get the food over to you and what happened? I tripped over the fucking telephone cord and sent the whole lot flying into your sock drawer…. You laughed at me.But I didn’t laugh. I just felt like clumsy useless idiot! And then when I came back up the stairs you were asleep. And that was it. You went so soon after that… They all said that was a good thing… Ha! A good thing indeed… That was the first time you ever left this house on an empty stomach… I suppose it doesn’t really matter.

(turns television off and wipes her eyes)

ANYWAY! Sally was trying to call me earlier. I didn’t bother answering. I wonder what the all mighty Johnathan said about me when she went home last night. i suppose I should be grateful that he has the sense to make his ridiculous comments at a safe distance. God, he is a plonker. Always was! Remember the time he took you golfing and when you came home your nine iron was snapped in two? I think it was because he kept correcting your swing… Funny how an insurance broker doesn’t know a serious risk when he sees one! I would have decked him one, but you just took it out on the club… You were a good man… I really miss you… 

(She is startled by a loud knock at the kitchen window.)

MAGGIE Pat, I swear to God, if she brings a book this time I’m going to ram it down her bloody throat!

(Sally enters)

SALLY Yoohoo Only your big sister! Oh for goodness sake, Maggie! This kitchen is a complete mess! I can’t believe I didn’t notice last night!

MAGGIE  There, there! You were too busy certifying me last night.

SALLY Well, we’re just going to have to give this place a good clean and that’s all there is to it.

(Sally rolls up her sleeves and looks around. She walks around slowly and changes her mind. Taps her watch)

Er…I really should have my housekeeper take care of this… disaster. Yes, that makes much more sense.

MAGGIE (Amused) See Sally? I told you I have no problem with germs. All ten million of us live here quite comfortably!

SALLY Well, yes… I really think we should have my Maya sort this place out. obviously I’ll pay her. You don’t need to worry about anything.

MAGGIE That won’t be necessary, thanks. I was planning on giving the place a clean today. Not that I didn’t enjoy your disgust but I suppose it is getting a bit out of hand. (Sighs)

SALLY Would you like some… help, deary?

MAGGIE No, don’t worry. I can manage. it’s my house after all… Although it hasn’t been as clean since Pat was alive. He used to do the cleaning. I’ll have to get used to doing it… Do you want a coffee or something?

(Sally looks nervously around and decides not to sit down)

SALLY Eh, no deary, that is alright. I can see you’re busy. I just wanted to give you something.

MAGGIE (threateningly)Sally, if you hand me another book on phobia or some shitty pop psychology i am going to completely lose it! I’m warning you…

SALLY It isn’t…(spelling) s h i t t y pop psychology. This one is about coping after the death of a loved one. It’s very useful. Please read it… Andrew gave it to me…

(She hands her the book)

MAGGIE (reading)“In Loving Memory”…  Ah for fuck sake Sally! STOP WITH ALL THIS! Actually, here… I believe I filed the last one under yesterday’s black pudding…

(Maggie goes over to the kitchen bin and sorts through it. She produces the first book covered in slime and shoves it into Sally’s hands)

Here, take this and let’s have no more bloody books. I don’t need any books or DVDs or anything. I ‘m just… grieving. I miss Pat… (tearful) IT’S NORMAL to miss Pat! I AM NORMAL!

SALLY I never said you weren’t normal deary!

MAGGIE What? You thought I had some exotic, weird phobia! You go home and talk about me as if I was a filthy lab rat!

SALLY (offended)I most certainly do not! I come over here and see you’re in pain and I try to find ways to help you! I’m trying to be a good sister! You always make fun of me but I’ve always been there for you! And THIS (she holds up the slimy book)IS THE THANKS I GET?

MAGGIE You always get it wrong. You don’t listen!

SALLY (cutting her off)I DO LISTEN!

MAGGIE Well then, listen to this… GET THE HELL OUT OF MY HOUSE!

SALLY No!

MAGGIE See? Not listening!

SALLY I didn’t come here to fight with you, Margaret…

MAGGIE  And that’s another thing, stop calling me Margaret! You are the only person to call me Margaret in twenty years. Why? Because YOU DON’T FUCKING LISTEN! IT’S MAGGIE! MY NAME IS MAGGIE!

(Silence)

SALLY Richard still calls you Margaret. So does Alice…

MAGGIE I don’t want to talk about Richard and Alice.

SALLY They know about Pat.

MAGGIEI am sure they do.

SALLY I called them. (Pause) It should have come from you though.

MAGGIE We haven’t spoken in four years. Why would I call them now?

SALLY Because they are your family and they love you.

MAGGIE Ha! They loved accusing my husband. That was all.

SALLY What happened, Mar… Maggie? Why don’t you see them anymore?

MAGGIE Oh please! Don’t act like you have no idea. I know you talk to them all the time. I am sure they bitch away about me.

SALLY They just said it was something to do with…(whispers)money… What happened?

MAGGIEI don’t want to talk about this, Sally. Drop it.

SALLY They want to see you… They have been asking about you. You’re their son’s Godmother!

MAGGIE Ha! So it’s still about (whispers mockingly)money? They want back payment for all the birthday’s I missed!

SALLY No! It’s not like that. And shame on you for even thinking…

MAGGIE How the hell do you know what it’s like? I don’t want to see my brother or his family again.

SALLY Why not?

MAGGIE Because I said I don’t! They said things that they can’t take back. They hurt my husband and now he’s gone… It’s much too late for apologies.

SALLY Well then I suppose I’m all you have,  aren’t I? And yet, you don’t appreciate my gifts…

(The two women stop and stare at each other. Sally takes the two books, looks at her watch again and exits. Maggie stands for a moment and then goes to follow her)

MAGGIE (Sighs)Sally, I do appreciate… Wait!

(The door slams shut. Maggie stands in the kitchen alone)

I’m sorry…

(Lights fade)

Scene 3

(Lights up into the sitting room. Maggie is standing folding men’s shirts and placing them on the sofa. She is listening to classical music and she is in a different pair of pyjamas)

MAGGIE Pat, I know you probably think I’m being a bitch. It’s just so typical of her to parade in uninvited to a crisis and completely miss the point. She has never ONCE shown any concern about my drinking. I have been drunk every night she has been here and she has been here every God damn night this week. She can be such a bloody idiot! Andshe stole my key!

(She walks from the living room into the kitchen which is now tidy. The curtains are open and she has put moved the pile of clothes)

I can’t believe the nerve of Richard and Alice! I bet they told Sally all sorts of terrible lies. Don’t you worry, they won’t enter this house again. They accuse you of stealing and they expect me to support them! Yeah, they lost a few bob on that stupid investment, but we almost lost the house! They still had savings. We had nothing! You worked all the hours to get us out of that. And it killed you…And now I’m left behind… Alone…

(She opens a bottle of wine)

Between you and me, I don’t particularly like drinking. I never did much of it before… I’m certainly making up for lost time, aren’t I? Sorry Pat. What you must think of me… I just hate all this time I have. It’s like a curse.

(drinks)

Sally annoys the hell out of me. She always pushes my buttons but… I think if I’m honest… deep down I kind of keep hoping that she’ll come over one of these days and actually… save me.. or something..  She’s my only hope, God help me!  (Pause) Maybe one of these days she will invite me over for dinner or bring her kids to see me.. I’d nearly even tolerate Johnathan for twenty minutes… I don’t want to go out unless I absolutely have to. I think I want her to push me out. I can’t face it alone. But I won’t admit that to her. 

(She goes back to the sitting room and continues to fold men’s clothes)

She wasn’t there to help me when you were ill. I’m not complaining, really but it was such a frightening time… I was terrified you would die and then at the same time… terrified you’d live too long and suffer, I have never felt like that before…(Pause)

Although, she has been here every single day since… Maybe she’s just very bad in a crisis and doesn’t know what to do… I suppose that’s fair enough… You know, she looks a bit different these days. Better than she has in years, actually. Or maybe I’m just not used to seeing normal looking humans anymore. It’s funny. She calls over late, and then as soon as she gets here she seems eager to leave again. Always checking her bloody watch… Why come and see me if she doesn’t really want to? 

Maybe I should just call her… (reaches for her phone and dials) No, To hell with that! I won’t grovel… She was in the wrong… Not me. 

(Lights down)

Scene 4

( Lights up onto the sitting room. The door bangs offstage and Sally enters)

SALLY Hello deary! I just thought I would pop in on my way to the shops. Do you need anything?

MAGGIENo thanks. You’re earlier than usual…

SALLY (Peeking into the kitchen)You seem a lot brighter today! The kitchen is almost sparkling! Almost!

MAGGIEYeah, well. I was half thinking of getting dressed today, maybe. 

SALLY Okay. Good for you! Well, I just wanted to call over now because i won’t make it over tonight. We’re having a little dinner party, you see.

MAGGIE (Hopeful) Really?

SALLY Yes, it’s for my book club. Just the ladies, though. Nice girly evening. Poor Andrew isn’t invited…

MAGGIE (Meekly) That sounds lovely. I can’t remember my last dinner party… Who is this Andrew again? 

SALLY Actually it’s my first time to host one. Very stressful task! Oh, Andrew? he’s nobody you know… just in my book club. Runs the book shop…

MAGGIEOh… What are you cooking?

SALLY Oh well, we are starting with some beef carpaccio, followed by my very special homemade consomme… Then we’ll be having a beautiful rack of lamb with stir fried vegetables and a nice creamy mash, and I have also whipped up a chocolate tort for desert. Nothing too over the top.

MAGGIE That sounds amazing, Sal. You’re making me hungry…

SALLY Oh it’s just a simple menu… No fuss.

MAGGIE Well…I’m sure it will be a lovely evening… Do I know any of the women going?

SALLY Actually you do, Jackie your neighbour will be there. She is a pleasant enough lady I suppose. Although, she does like swear quite a lot. A little bit crass for my liking…

MAGGIE Yeah…. (Pause) I get on well with Jackie. She called to the door a few times last week but I wasn’t really up for company. I hope she calls again sometime…

SALLY Oh I’m sure she will dear. Don’t worry. Anyway, I’ll be off then, if there’s nothing else. So that’s me going for the wholenight… (Pause) I won’t be back…It will be tomorrow night before you see me again… Okay?  (She pauses waiting for Maggie to stop her. She exits)

MAGGIE (To Pat)Well, no luxury dinner party for Maggie then… Not even a fucking invitation that I could reject… But  not to worry…I do have plenty of wine! (She grabs the bottle and exits.)

(Lights fade)

Scene 5

(Dim lights up in the kitchen. It is late at night. A person dressed in black is rushing around making a mess and putting things into a black bag. As lights increase slightly we see a person in a short skirt and a baliclava)

SALLY (To Pat) Okay, that’s it! I am going to get your wife out of this house if it kills me. You know Margaret, she is so stubborn. I don’t know how you lived with her. I’m sure you never won an argument.

(She pauses)

See, that’s where myself and Johnathan differ. At least I have the sense to let him live his own life and he lets me live mine… We both know the passion is gone, but that’s just the way it goes…  Oh sugar, I only have half an hour before I have to meet… Andy… And you can stop judging me wherever you are! 

I refuse to let her wallow any longer. It’s embarrassing!  Tow months you’ve been gone…The whole neighborhood is talking about my poor odd sister. I can’t come up with any more lies. They almost believed the holiday story, if it wasn’t for all her bloody deliveries. She has absolutely no tact! Her crazy behavior upsets people. If the Anderson’s in number 22 ever manage to sell their house it will be no thanks to your Margaret, that’s for sure! Your lawn is nothing short of a jungle! Disgraceful…

I try to get her interested in my dinner party and she hasn’t even the decency to ask for an invite! I give her books and she mocks me! I try to get her talking to Richard and she insults me! I know that stupid investment was all your fault, but not to worry, I’m not one to hold a grudge against a dead man. 

(She opens cupboards and drawers and empties contents into a black bag)

So this is it. This is where we are. She is forcing me to take drastic measures. I’ll have to frighten her out! Sometimes it takes a small mess to clean up an even bigger one, as our poor Mother used to say, (she blesses herself)Lord rest her. And my sister is one big mess! Maybe she needs a new man in her life… Well, maybe it’s a bit soon…

(She knocks a glass and it smashes loudly.)

Oh Sugar Sugar! Don’t wake up, Maggie! I’m almost done!

(She trips over something and knocks an empty bottle of wine. She panics. The lights come on and Maggie enters terrified with a bottle of wine as a weapon)

MAGGIE Whoever you are get out of my house! How dare you…  I have a weapon! (Pause… she looks closer)

Sally? What the hell are you doing?

(Sally stands stunned for a moment and runs for the door. Maggie grabs her)

 For Christ sake I know it’s you! What is going on? Why are you… robbing me? Are you wearing my shoes!

SALLY (Out of breath and embarrassed) Don’t be so dramatic I wasn’t robbing you.

MAGGIE You’re in my house at one in the morning putting all my stuff in a black bag. You’re robbing me! 

SALLY I was just…pretending… to rob you.

MAGGIE You scared the hell out of me! Why would you do that?

SALLYI… I wanted to get you out of the house…

MAGGIE What?

SALLY I… I thought if you woke up and saw you were robbed… you would want to stay with me.

MAGGIE This is ridiculous, Sally! Why are you going to such stupid lengths? You could have just asked me to your fancy dinner party. I wanted to go! 

SALLY  Oh I gave you every opportunity to ask to come. I wanted you there!

MAGGIE I shouldn’t have to beg you!

SALLYWell, I wasn’t going to beg you either!

MAGGIE (She looks inside the black bag)This is what you were stealing?

(She takes out the tarot cards, dream catcher, wine and cigarettes)

 Okay, I understand the fags and booze but why are your gifts in here?

SALLY I don’t know… I thought maybe they would mean more to you if they were stolen… Don’t be mad at me, Maggie… I’m sorry. I feel a bit silly…

MAGGIE I’m not mad, Sally… I’m confused… Mostly by your getup! Why are you all dressed up for a robbery? 

SALLYI’m sorry… I’m not thatdressed up…  I had the dinner party…

(awkward silence decides to change the subject)

MAGGIE Okay…Oh! here, I almost forgot! I got you something…

(She goes to the cupboard)

I added a nice bottle of red to the shopping list yesterday. I can’t believe you didn’t think to check ALL the cupboards for the wine! You only scratched the surface, you know! (She laughs)

SALLY But I thought you were mad at me yesterday!

MAGGIE  I was… You shouldn’t have interfered with me and Richard… I know you were only trying to help… But still… don’t do it again. It’s not your business… Listen, why don’t you just stay here tonight?

 SALLY  (Looks at her watch)  I don’t think so…It’s not the best night for me to stay…

MAGGIE Because of the kids? I am sure Johnathan can hold the fort for one night. You’lll be back early in the morning.

SALLY No, it’s not that…

MAGGIE (concerned) What’s wrong? 

SALLY  Nothing! I should probably just go on home. 

MAGGIE  What’s your hurry? I’m sure your lot are all in bed. Stay here for another while at least.

SALLY No, Maggie. I really can’t. 

MAGGIE Sally, what is wrong with you? You seem very edgy these days… Always checking your watch. You call over and seem anxious to leave just as quickly… I know I am not much company but still.

SALLY No, it’s nothing to do with you. I’m sorry if I seem a bit… distracted. I don’t have to go home but well, I do have somewhere else to be…

MAGGIE It’s One in the morning!

SALLY Yes I know… (Chews her fingernails)

MAGGIE Sally, is there something you want to tell me?

SALLY No. I can’t… You wouldn’t understand.

MAGGIE (Pulls out a chair and motions for Sally to sit)Try me…

(Pause. Sally sits down)

SALLY  It’s terrible really.  I don’t even know how I let it happen. It’s just… Well… Johnathan barely knows I exist anymore. Except when he’s hungry or looking for his golfing shoes…

MAGGIE Okay… Sally, are you seeing someone else?

SALLY (Puts her head in her hands)Yes.

MAGGIE A… man?

 (Sally Nods and reaches for the wine)

MAGGIE Are you having an affair?

END OF SNIPPET!

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