By Nadine Laughlin
For Gwyneth Sauer, my mentor, with much love.
Catherine decides to arrange her own marriage of convenience to Richard, a widower who has vowed never to remarry. Audrey falls in love with Rob, who has commitment issues. Friendship, love, marriage, loss, and betrayal are touched on in the relationship of four friends. How much do past events affect our present lives? Can the redemptive power of love break the chains that bind us? The marriage relationship is symbolic of the relationship God wants to have with us.
The play takes place in a city (Vancouver, specifically), over several months of the present year, though by the time we get to Scene Six, it should be in fall.
Scene One: Church: Ladies' Washroom and Church Hall
Scene Two: Catherine and Audrey's Apartment
Scene Three: Catherine and Audrey's Apartment
Scene Four: Catherine and Audrey's Apartment
Scene Five: Catherine and Audrey's Apartment
Scene Six: Richard's Balcony/or Rooftop
Scene Seven: Catherine and Audrey's Apartment
Scene Eight: Catherine and Audrey's Apartment
Scene Nine: Richard's Balcony/or Rooftop
CATHERINE: Popular thirty-something who owns a small catering business.
RICHARD: Rich dot.com businessman and amateur astronomer.
AUDREY: Catherine's roommate and employee in catering business.
ROB: Friend of Richard.
[OPTIONAL CHARACTERS FOR SCENE SEVEN}
HARRY MORLEY: Apartment manager.
MELBA MORLEY: His wife.
(The stage is set to indicate a 16th birthday party, e.g. streamers and a helium balloon with Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen written on it.)
LIGHTS DOWN: BLACKOUT (Removal of party items)
SOUNDSCAPE: A terrible car crash, sirens, etc.
LIGHTS: A police light fills the room for a few moments.
(THE LADIES' WASHROOM AT CHURCH)
Catherine: Life isn't easy, is it Audrey? (PAUSE) Good hair day, bad face day; good face day, bad hair day.
Audrey: I see the sermon really impacted you, this morning.
Catherine: Are you suggesting I'm a spiritual midget, Audrey? Well, don't assume. I drank in every word. Every point. I need a lifestyle makeover, Audrey. The vernal equinox of my life has come and gone, and the solstice is hard upon me. What's the meaning of my life? Why am I on planet Earth? What do I really want?
Audrey: I want Mr Darcy. Colin Firth.
Catherine: He's mine!
Audrey: Right. Let's face it, everyone wants to be married to Dr Phil.
Catherine: Did you ever notice that the Dr Phil's of this world are always already taken?
Audrey: Yes. Why didn't God make more Dr Phil's?
Catherine: Audrey, God spoke to me this morning in that sermon. He said Catherine, what you really need now is to get married. A house, a car, kids, the whole schmeer.
Audrey: Debt, divorce, teenagers.
Audrey: And isn't a husband meant to figure somewhere in the mix? Two become one and all that. Anyway, Cathy, you already have all the single guys in church flocking around you. You just take it all for granted.
Catherine: No, I don't.
Audrey: I'm just ordinary Audrey.
Catherine: Not true!
Audrey: You know what I was like in high school. Scrawny, thin and flat.
Catherine: Sounds right in fashion.
Audrey: No one wanted to be seen with me, male or female. You were always teacher's pet, weren't you?
Catherine: It's not all it's cracked up to be. Ready to take a turn around Pinder Hall and see what's up? Don't hunch. Shoulders back, head up, Audrey. Never just walk into a room. Stride in, like this, stride. And don't swing your arms. A lady….
Audrey: I know, I know, a lady never swings her arms. I'm seeking coffee, not world domination. You're leaning backwards. You look like Mussolini.
(THEY WALK INTO PINDER HALL, GETTING TWO CUPS OF COFFEE ON THE WAY, TALKING AS THEY GO. THEY WAVE AND SMILE AND GREET PEOPLE.)
Audrey: "Hello, Mrs. Cuthbert. How's the leg? Oh, that's too bad. God bless you." (TO CATHERINE) You've had seven proposals. What was wrong with Eddie anyway?
Catherine: Mother fixation. An advanced case of momism. Hey, Kim. What's up? Sure, we'd love to help. Give me a call during the week.
Audrey: I hate it when you volunteer me. We're not joined at the hip, you know. Oh there's that new guy, Rob, with the long hair. Don't look.
Catherine: Long hair all right. The only problem is it's coming out of his nose and ears.
Audrey: He could be groomed after marriage.
Catherine: After marriage? And what are you supposed to do with him in the meantime? Audrey: Have you seen my father lately? Positively Neanderthal. It gets worse as they get older. Mum has to trim him up every few weeks with the whipper-snipper.
Audrey: You know. Men's personal grooming tool. Those $10 nose clippers that look like a fountain pen. And who says you have to have Mr Right. Mr OK would suit me fine. I'd take a few nose hairs at this stage of the game.
Catherine: Why don't you make a play for him then?
Audrey: Oh come on. Rob doesn't notice me. He's gaga over you. Hey, that guy from Colombia's behind you. You can't say he's not groomed. Take a look at his hands? He smells great. Mmm, that cologne, just delish.
Catherine: Gucci Rush, darling, and I never trust a man with a manicure. I want hands that are calloused from holding ski poles, reining in horses, pruning trees….
Audrey: I believe Prince Charles is taken.
Catherine: Anyway, he's wearing a weave, I can always tell.
Audrey: Prince Charles?
Catherine: No. The Latin Lover. He's a Hair Club for Men customer. I can always tell.
Audrey: Shush, he'll hear you. At least it's not a comb-over. You might be right about the manicure, but you're far too picky. I could put up with hair in the wrong places as long as I was adored. You take for granted all the attention you get. All the guys are in love with you.
Catherine: But how can I tell who really means it?
Audrey: I thought you could always tell everything. Anyway, if God told you to get married, did he happen to mention anyone in particular?
Catherine: As a matter of fact, yes, someone did come to mind. But I'm not interested in love anymore, Audrey. Love just gets in the way. I meant what I said about the car and the house. Maybe those arranged marriages aren't such a bad idea. I'd be quite content to marry for money.
Audrey: Well, who came to mind?
Audrey: Richard. Richard who?
Catherine: Richard Knight, over there in the corner behind my left shoulder, talking to your friend, Rob.
Audrey: He's not my friend Rob.
Catherine: We've barely spoken, he keeps a low profile, but darling, he's dripping, I've already checked.
Audrey: Already checked? I thought you just got the word from on high this morning.
Catherine: Well, he was one of several options.
Audrey: It's just interesting that you would feel directed to the most eligible man in church.
Catherine: I think he goes to Alpha with Mr. Nosehair.
Audrey: Don't say that, it's disgusting. And you can forget about Richard Knight. He's a widower, and has vowed never to remarry, or something like that. Self-made man. Into waste management, whatever that is. Never dates, even though all the single women, and their mothers are after him. For his money, of course.
Catherine: Well, you know what they say, when a woman won't marry again, it's because she adored her first husband. When a man won't marry again, it's because he detested his first wife.
Audrey: They're headed this way!
Catherine: Quick, have you got any breath mints?
Audrey: False alarm. They've been waylaid by the Sullivan sisters.
Catherine: All this talk of men has made me hungry. Let's pop on down to Robson for lunch. My treat.
(THEY MAKE MOVES TO GO, PUTTING ON JACKETS, DOING UP BUTTONS.)
Audrey: On one condition. You don't touch my food.
Catherine: Touch your food? Whatever are you talking about?
Audrey: Whenever we go out to eat, you don't order anything because you're on a diet. Then you grab a fork and ask for a taste of mine. Then before I know it, you're taking great forkfuls of my food. You do it to everyone.
Catherine: I do not!
Audrey: Do too.
Catherine: Well, I'm honest about love. I would never pretend to love someone if I didn't. As I said, I've given up on love.
Audrey: Try pretending you don't love someone.
Catherine: That bad, eh. I have to warn you, Audrey, I don't know where Rob's coming from.
Catherine: I mean, you want to be careful about being yoked with a non-believer, you know.
Audrey: You're pretty legalistic this morning. Anyway, I've never been in danger of being yoked with anyone, believer or non-believer. Look, here they come. Rob's making a beeline for you.
Catherine: Tell the whole church, why don't you? Hey, what about you inviting them to our Thursday night bible study?
Audrey: Me invite them!
(CATHERINE'S APARTMENT. A FEW WEEKS LATER. CATHERINE IS GETTING HOME AFTER A DATE WITH ROB. IT IS LATE AT NIGHT.)
Catherine: I had a lovely time, Rob.
Rob: Me too. (ROB LEANS FORWARD TO KISS HER, BUT SHE AVERTS HER FACE AND HE MAKES CONTACT WITH HER CHEEK.)
Catherine: Sorry, Rob. It's just that I never kiss on the first date….one of my rules…well, it's late, I had a lovely time, thanks for dinner and everything, goodnight and all.
Rob: I'd better be off then.
Catherine: Night. See you Thursday. I love your new haircut! (LAST LINE SPOKEN IF ACTOR PLAYING ROB HAS SHORT HAIR)
(SHUTS DOOR AND ENTERS LIVING ROOM . AUDREY ENTERS.)
Audrey: How was your date?
Catherine: Frankly, terrible, and it just got worse. Rob got all slobbery at the door and I gave him the brush off.
Audrey: You probably wounded his ego.
Catherine: The male ego can be fragile, but I think it would take a lot to wound Rob's. He's probably the type who enjoys the hunt. He probably thinks I'm playing hard to get.
Audrey: Are you?
Catherine: No, of course not. Rob's just a friend.
Audrey: He obviously doesn't think so, from the sounds of it. Maybe you're leading him on.
Catherine: Don't be absurd.
Audrey: Did you pay your own way tonight?
Catherine: Well, no…oh, why does life have to be so complicated?
Audrey: What'd you guys do?
Catherine: Oh, dinner and a movie.
Audrey: What movie?
Catherine: Spiderman. I saw it twice in one day!
Catherine: You know I won't go to a movie with a man unless I've previewed it first to make sure there's nothing embarrassing, so I went to the matinee today. I don't like any surprises on a date. And then we went for a late dinner. It's so awkward eating in front of someone for the first time. You try and order something easy to eat like boneless chicken. But boy, can that man eat! And at the movie he got the jumbo pop and the jumbo popcorn. I mean it was so big it was blocking his view. Oh, I hate dating, so stressful.
Audrey: I wouldn't mind a date. An old-fashioned date.
Catherine: I hate the whole concept.
Audrey: Really. You'd never guess from the way you flung yourself at Rob.
Audrey: You know how I feel about him.
Catherine: You said you didn't care if I went out with Rob. It was just a platonic outing. Look I didn't even buy new clothes. You know if it had been a real date I would have bought a new outfit. It's just one of my rules, never say no to a date. I mean I put in a good word for you.
Audrey: Aren't you the thoughtful one. I thought you liked Richard.
Catherine: I do.
Audrey: Some friend you are!
Catherine: Oh, here it comes!
Audrey: You always do this!
Audrey: I don't want to talk about it.
Catherine: Just what is it I always do, Audrey?
Audrey: I'm not talking about it.
Catherine: Yeah right. You just made sure you stayed up long enough to lecture me.
Audrey: You and your dumb rules! What good do they do you? Isn't it time you grew up?
Catherine: Where did this all come from?
Audrey: It's OK to have morals and principles and ethics, but you have all these dumb rules. (SHE IMITATES CATHERINE.) "I never wear white shoes in wintertime."
Catherine: I've never said that!
Audrey: (STILL IMITATING CATHERINE.) "I never go to a movie with a guy unless I've previewed it first." Why don't you let yourself be surprised for once? Live in the moment.
Catherine: I don't like surprises. Anyway, you're the one sitting at home in your pajamas!
(PHONE RINGS. CATHERINE ANSWERS IT.)
Catherine: Hello. Oh, hello Mrs. Morley. Sorry. Yes, I know what time it is. Yes, we'll keep it down. (HANGS UP.) We're waking the neighbours up.
Audrey: I'm going to bed.
Catherine: I don't know how you do it, Audrey.
Audrey: Do what?
Catherine: You get me in a position where I feel like I have to apologize to you.
Catherine: Well, I'm not apologizing this time!
(PAUSE AS CATHERINE TAKES OFF EARRINGS, WATCH, SHOES, ETC., OR PICKS UP HER CATERING PLANNING DIARY, ETC. AND THINKS.)
Catherine: I'm sorry, Audrey!
(PHONE RINGS. LIGHTS DOWN.)
(A FEW MONTHS LATER. CATHERINE'S APARTMENT. KNOCK AT DOOR. CATHERINE OPENS THE DOOR. RICHARD ENTERS TALKING ON HIS CELL PHONE, BRUSHES PAST CATHERINE, FINISHES CALL, AND TURNS TO HER.)
Richard: You said you wanted to talk business with me. Something to do with your catering company, I assume. What do you call it, "Wine, Women, Song and Dancing Catering?" I do admire you single women who take on the challenge of the business world.
Catherine: How …admirable of you. Actually, it's "A Jug of Wine and A Loaf of Bread Catering."
Richard: A lot of women your age are married with a bunch of kids.
Catherine: Actually, that's kind of what I wanted to talk to you about Richard, but first let me point out that women do 75% of the world's work, produce 45% of the world's food, receive only 10% of the world's income, and only own a measly 1% of the world's property.
Richard: I detect a feminist.
Catherine: It's not feminism, it's fact.
Richard: Maybe we should begin again. How can I help you?
(THEY SIT DOWN.)
Catherine: I have a business proposition for you, Richard. Now, you have been coming to Thursday night bible study for several months. And we've become friends. Is that right? (PUTS HER HAND ON HIS LEG.)
Richard: (LOOKING ASKANCE AT HER HAND) Yes, I'd say we were friends.
Catherine: So we can be truthful, correct?
Richard: Uh oh. When people ask if they can be truthful, it's usually something you don't want to hear, otherwise they'd just tell you. Do I need to mentally gird my loins?
Catherine: No, no it's nothing bad. It's just that you have all these women pretending to be in love with you, but they really only want to marry you for your money.
Richard: Ah! That's it. Well, thanks for looking out for my interests, Catherine.
Catherine: But that's not it, Richard.
Richard: No? Oh. I'm beginning to catch your drift. You really are in love with me, and don't want to marry me for my money.
Catherine: No, no, no. I do want to marry you for your money, but I'm not going to pretend to be in love with you. It would be like a business partnership. You see Richard, you could provide what I want: a large house for entertaining, a car, a lifestyle.
Richard: I see. And what would I get?
Catherine: Well, Richard, you must know I don't lack for male company.
Richard: Oh yes, that guy who lives with his mother. You know, for the longest time I thought they were husband and wife.
Catherine: I am considered quite a catch.
Richard: And the bloke who's doused in Aqua Velva. You know, I think he wears clear nail polish. Have a look next Sunday.
Catherine: You're making fun of me.
Richard: And a wig.
Catherine: It's not a wig, it's a weave. There's a difference.
Richard: There is?
Catherine: Nevertheless, I am considered quite a desirable woman, and you should be honoured to, to…
Richard: …receive such a proposal.
Catherine: It is not a proposal. It's a business proposition.
Richard: I have a question for you. What about Rob?
Catherine: What about him?
Richard: You went out with him.
Catherine: Once. One dinner and one movie. And confidentially, I wish I hadn't. It's caused such a fuss with Audrey. I'm not being frivolous, Richard. I have researched this matter as I would any business venture. I view marriage as a life-long commitment. I would provide heirs to carry on the family name.
Richard: Well, your research should have told you that I have an older brother.
Catherine: But that's perfect dynamics! The birth order, I mean.
Richard: Sounds kind of new age to me.
Catherine: You're a younger brother, and I'm an older sister with a younger brother. We should get along perfectly.
Richard: Why don't I get along with my older brother, then? No, I don't need an older sister.
Catherine: Who's older?
Richard: One older sibling's enough to handle. Quite frankly, between you and me, I've always considered myself an only child.
Catherine: I'm not older than you.
Richard: I don't care how old you are. Anyway, my elder brother's already provided heirs to carry on the family name, not that I consider that important in the least. Five sons. Nasty brats. Break the china and pee on the Persian carpets. He's in the family home too. Inherited everything, in fact.
Catherine: Why was that? Did you commit some unforgivable sin and get expunged from the family tree?
Richard: That's what I'm told.
Catherine: Well, what was it?
Richard: Beats me. Parents are a strange species, Catherine. You can't live with them, and you can't shoot them. Let me know if your research turns anything up. Anyway, I live in a small apartment in Yaletown.
Catherine: Yes, I wondered about that, why you live in rental when you could buy a great condo. (RICHARD LOOKS AT HER) Just part of my research, Richard.
Richard: It suits me fine. No room for a wife and kids.
Catherine: I would provide heirs to take over your wealth, run your company.
Richard: What are you, a brood mare? Let me see your teeth.
Catherine: Get away from me!
Richard: That doesn't sound very promising to the guy you've just proposed to.
Catherine: You could entertain. I would be a gracious hostess. And naturally I'd sign a prenup.
Richard: To be truthful Catherine, I had rather thought I would never marry again. And you're quite right in thinking that one reason is I can't always be sure if a woman likes me or my money.
Catherine: Well, my plan makes sense. The men would quit chasing me, and the women would quit chasing you. We could get on with our lives. And we are friends, we're both Christians. Perfect sense. It's an arranged marriage, except we do the arranging. It's kind of biblical. Kind of New Testament. Positively scriptural. I mean you don't think Mary and Joseph met somewhere and fell in love, do you? Obviously their marriage was arranged, and it worked out.
Richard: I'd say so.
Catherine: Please consider my plan.
Richard: Let me recap. You get a lifestyle, and I get a hostess and heirs.
Catherine: Now, we need to meet again. I thought dinner at my place, say, this Saturday.
Richard: Great! It'll give me a chance to observe your hostessing skills.
Catherine: You're teasing me. It'll give us a chance to get to know each other.
Richard: But you've already researched me. I'm at a disadvantage.
Catherine: I thought I'd invite Rob too, you know, for Audrey. She really likes him, you know.
Richard: The whole church knows. It's like Mayberry there. (HE MOVES TO LEAVE.)
Catherine: (LAUGHS) I know. Oh, there's one more thing.
Richard: I rather thought there might be.
(RICHARD EXITS. SHE CALLS AFTER HIM.)
Catherine: I'd have to have a huge diamond ring, bristling with carats, positively sprouting with carats. The Canadian kind with the polar bear. And it would have to cost heaps and heaps of money. And you couldn't try and trick me with cubic zirconia, because I can tell.
(CATHERINE'S APARTMENT. SATURDAY EVENING. ROB ARRIVES CARRYING A PLASTIC PAIL. RICHARD HAS ALREADY ARRIVED. HE IS SEATED DOING THE CRYPTIC CROSSWORD.)
Catherine: Hi, Rob, come on in. Richard's already here. He's doing battle with the cryptic crossword, and I think it's winning. Maybe you can help him.
Robert: I'm not the man. The secret to those things is to have a devious mind.
Catherine: (LAUGHS) Let me take your coat and hat.
Rob: (He bows gallantly) Robert Bunting, Bon vivant, scholar, champion of the downtrodden and oppressed, comforter of the afflicted and afflictor of the comfortable, at your service.
Catherine: Why Robert, that's charming, thank you…What's that you've got there?
Rob: Oh this, this is my whey.
Robert: Protein powder. $80 worth. A week's supply.
Catherine: I am making dinner, Rob. It's not a potluck.
Rob: Hey, no, I was just walking by the health food store on my way here, and I picked some up because I've run out.
Catherine: (READS LABEL) 'Super Nitro Thermo Nuclear Whey. The Training Powder Arnold Uses. Stir two scoops into a glass of water. One scoop 600 calories. Drink four glasses a day.' Rob, I think this stuff could do serious damage.
Rob: Nah. You want to build muscle, you gotta give the body something to work with.
Richard: Hi Rob. I think you're going to blow a gasket. I prefer to get my protein the old-fashioned way.
Catherine: We could all sit around and drink protein powder, or would you prefer something more traditional?
Audrey: Hey Rob, nice to see you. Wow, you been working out or something?
Rob: Yeah. Kinda. Nice to see you too. Hey, Catherine, I think we got something in common.
Catherine: And what would that be, Robert.
Rob: I noticed the sign on the back of your car. I'm a Pisces too.
Catherine: What? Oh you mean the sign of the fish. That's not a zodiac sign Rob, it's a Christian symbol. The Greek word for 'fish' is an acronym for the phrase 'Jesus Christ, God's Son, Saviour'. I don't believe in astrology.
Rob: (OGLING CATHERINE) What about tides and stuff. The force of attraction of one body for another.
Audrey: Gravity is actually a very weak force, Rob.
Rob: (LOOKING AT CATHERINE) What? Compared with magnetism.
Richard: In my opinion stars are created objects. They're born, they live, they die.
Catherine: Yes Rob. I love the beauty and the power and the mystery of stars, but as natural objects only.
Richard: Are you interested in astronomy, Catherine?
Catherine: I am. All those stars burning up their fuel and dying. And the distances! Did you know that the light we see from Andromeda left there over 2 million years ago? And it's travelling at the speed of light.
Catherine: Six trillion miles a year. But I mean if you're going to believe in astrology you may as well believe in a burning log of wood or the combustion engine, or a hydrogen bomb for that matter.
Audrey: 'Those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you…each of them goes on in his error; there is not one that can save you.'
Audrey and Richard Together: That's Isaiah.
Rob: Is there someone who can save me from people who quote bible verses at me. (AUDREY LOOKS HURT) Hey, Audrey…I didn't mean it like that. I think it's great to memorize verses. Sorry.
Audrey: Don't worry about it.
Rob: (LOOKING AT CATHERINE) Speaking of celestial bodies, did you know that the first meal eaten on the moon was a turkey dinner?
Rob: Yep. The Eagle has landed….
Audrey: Let's eat turkey. How are you making out with the cryptic, Richard?
Richard: I confess I've ground to a halt, temporarily, I trust.
Audrey: The secret is knowing that words can have more than one meaning.
Richard: I think the secret is to get into the mind of the compiler, then away you go. At least that's what usually works for me.
Audrey: Catherine solved the cryptic this morning. (PICKS UP SAME COPY OF GLOBE AND MAIL AND FLASHES SOLVED CRYPTIC AT HIM.) She's really good at it.
Richard: Oh? What's your secret, Catherine?
Catherine: What are you stuck on?
Richard: One down. Eight letter word. Definition is "I'm an angry person upset by the declaration of the royal couple." The fourth letter is an 'R'.
Catherine: Well, I'm not going to tell you the answer and spoil your fun.
Richard: Fun? It's mental torture.
Catherine: Ah…Why don't you make yourselves at home. Rob, maybe you'd like to look at today's paper if you haven't read it yet. (HANDS ROB THE PAPER WITH THE SOLVED CRYPTIC CROSSWORD IN IT.) Here's a London Drugs flyer too. They've got a great sale on men's small appliances, you know, electric shavers and all that.
Rob: Is that right?
Catherine: Well Valentina and I will see to dinner. Now make yourselves comfortable.
Richard: Do I dare? Rob might afflict me.
Rob: Who's Valentina?
Catherine: Valentina is Audrey. She's decided to go by her middle name.
Rob: What's wrong with Audrey?
Audrey: Catherine says Valentina has more oomph and sparkle.
Richard: Gotta have oomph.
Rob: Audrey Hepburn had oomph and sparkle.
Richard: He's gotcha there, Catherine.
Rob: Audrey Hepburn didn't change her name to Valentina Hepburn.
Catherine: Maybe that's because her middle name wasn't Valentina. Come on, Valentina, I need help with dinner.
Richard: Bon vivant? Scholar? Champion of the downtrodden and oppressed?
Rob: Yeah. Howdja like that, eh. Made it up myself. Put it on my letterhead too. (HE READS ANSWER TO CRYPTIC TO HIMSELF.) Well, even knowing the answer to One Down, I still can't figure out how you get it. And I'm not going to tell you. Wouldn't want to spoil your fun.
(SIMULTANEOUSLY AS RICHARD SPEAKS CATHERINE ENTERS)
Richard: Let me see that.
Catherine: I'll just take this section. Wouldn't want to tempt you, Richard.
Robert: So, Catherine's invited me over for dinner. I thought she didn't like me. When I took her out that time, she was a real freeze. Guess she was playing hard to get. Guess I was wrong. I think I'll ask her to my Christmas staff party.
Richard: What about Audrey? I think she likes you.
Rob: She's okay, just not my type. (PICKS UP NEWSPAPER) Hey, listen to this letter to Rhona: Dear Rhona, I am in love with a friend of mine who wants to be just friends. How can I tell him I love him without scaring him off. I know the woman isn't meant to say she loves the man first. Signed, How can I tell him I love him?
Richard: And what does Rhona say?
Rob: Dear How Can I Tell Him, Introduce the 'L' word by telling him the things you love ABOUT him, e.g. I love your smile, I love the way you're nice to everyone. Good luck, Rhona. Here, have a Tic Tac.
Richard: No thank you. Not good for the palate.
Rob: And whatever you do, avoid any garlic or onions. Murder on the breath. Here's the other one: Dear Rhona, There's a guy I'd really like to get to know, but he ignores me. What should I do? Dear Ignored, What about getting a couple of tickets to an event you know he'd enjoy, and inviting him to accompany you. You have nothing to lose. Good luck, Rhona. Hmmph! As if a guy'd fall for that ploy!
(AFTER DINNER. THE LIVING ROOM.)
Rob: Wonderful dinner. Can we have the same thing tomorrow night?
Catherine: Sure, if you cook.
Richard: Yes, very delicious, thank-you, Catherine and Valentina.
Audrey: Coffee and dessert won't be a minute.
Richard: You know, we could start a trend. We could all go by our middle names. What's yours, Rob?
Rob: Oliver. What's yours?
Richard: Alistair McDougal.
Catherine: Two middle names. How posh.
Richard: What's yours?
Catherine: Don't have one.
Rob: Oh, you probably do. You're just being secretive again.
Rob: Haven't you noticed how secretive Catherine is.
Catherine: Am not.
Rob: Are too. You know all about me, but I know nothing about you.
Catherine: Rubbish. We're friends. We're in the same small group.
Audrey: You are secretive, Catherine.
Catherine: I just got audited for crying out loud. How secretive can I be? And I call it being private.
Rob: I don't even know how old you are.
Catherine: That's your fault. You should have peeked in my wallet at my driver's licence when I wasn't around. Have I taught you nothing?
Richard: Shame, shame, Rob. A gentleman should never ask a woman's age.
Audrey: And a woman who tells her age, will tell anything, as Oscar Wilde said.
Rob: Seriously, you have no traces of a former life. Are you in the Witness Protection Program or something?
Catherine: My cover is blown!
Rob: Do you have any old photos, your high school year books…
Catherine: I had a huge garage sale before I moved out here.
Rob: Who'd want your old year books?
Catherine: I wondered why they didn't sell. What a bad investment. $25 bucks each and no return.
Rob: You didn't want to keep them to show your children?
Catherine: Definitely not! The past is best forgotten as far as I'm concerned. And I'm starting to dislike this conversation. Maybe you're just too nosey, Rob.
Richard: Ooh, you'd better watch it, bud.
Rob: I'm just a person who'd like to be your friend.
Catherine: I thought we were good friends.
Audrey: You're a wonderful friend to everyone you meet, Catherine. Everyone wants to be your friend. You're vivacious, fun to be with, caring-you never forget a birthday or special occasion-I don't know how you do it, it's a gift-you're amazing, but at the same time you can be kind of distant with people. You're like a butterfly that can't be pinned down. There's a level where things stop.
Catherine: I'd hardly say that's true for you and me, Audrey. You're my best friend. You've known me longer than anyone, I think. But I'm not one to sit around and meditate on my navel.
Rob: That's not what I mean. It's just that you never mention your childhood or your parents or anything. It's kind of strange. You've purged your past. But you know all about me and my family.
Catherine: Well maybe you talk too much, Rob.
Rob: So I'm nosey and I talk too much.
Richard: Okay now guys…
Catherine: My mother thought three syllables were enough.
Robert: There's only two in Catherine.
Catherine: Not the way she said it. Cath-er-ine. She always wanted a daughter called Cath-er-ine.
Robert: Well, she got one.
Catherine: The problem was, I wasn't the daughter named Cath-er-ine she wanted. She wanted a ballet dancer with red hair.
Richard: Did you do ballet?
Catherine: Till I was thirteen. Mother was mad for ballet. When she was a kid, her father, my grandfather, was given tickets to see Margot Fonteyn, but he wouldn't take her. He went and gave the tickets away to someone else. It was the defining moment of her childhood.
Richard: I think what Catherine needs is a middle name. How about Prudence, after my dear grandmother?
(CATHERINE MAKES A FACE AT HIM)
Richard: Did I tell you, dear Prudence, I love the way you've done your apartment.
Catherine: Thank you, Richard.
Rob: You've only seen it every second Thursday for months. Nothing's changed.
Richard: All the same, I love it. And I love the way there's lots of parking around your building.
Catherine: Yes, it's very convenient for guests.
Richard: I love the way you cooked your noodles.
Catherine: Thank you. I boil them in water. Boiling water, of course, a little salt, some olive oil. That's a moot point of course, the olive oil, purists say no.
Richard: I never use olive oil myself, but…I love that you do. I'll have to try it.
Catherine: The olive oil?
Rob: The noodles. You ladies having a catering business and all.
Catherine: Oh no. Packaged. I mean I do make from scratch for special occasions…I mean… I don't mean that this isn't a special occasion…I…well, anyway, I bought them myself.
Richard: This was a friends dinner. We're just friends, aren't we.
Rob: Yeah. Pals for life.
Richard: Packaged is great. I love packaged. And I loved your sauce. It's so…red, but not too dark browny red, you know, the colour of…
Rob: dried blood…
Richard: it's bright red…like the colour of…
Rob: fresh blood.
Richard: Delicious. I loved the taste. What's your secret?
Catherine: Oh you liked the bear meat did you? Some people find it too fishy.
Rob: Bear meat?
Catherine: Sure. Ground bear meat. We get it off a local hunter.
Rob: I'm gonna hurl.
Catherine: Oh, don't be silly. We get a lot of requests for game. It's very popular.
Audrey: It's not silly.
Rob: You should warn people. I only eat meat ya get the old-fashioned way.
Richard: Hunting is the old-fashioned way.
Rob: I mean from the supermarket.
Catherine: I thought it would be a treat. Next time I'll go hunting at the Safeway meat counter. To answer your question Richard, I use lots of onion and loads of garlic.
Audrey: A whole head. Now we'll just bring the dessert in here. Coffee everyone?
(CATHERINE AND AUDREY EXIT)
Rob: Who would have thought? You never speak to the woman, and now….you two have probably had this little thing simmering on the back burner all along. And I was going to ask Catherine to my Christmas staff party. (ROB AND RICHARD ENGAGE IN A CUSHION FIGHT WITH THE SOFA CUSHIONS DURING THESE LINES.)
Richard: Well, in light of the fuss you made about the bear meat, that might not be wise. I think Audrey really really likes you, though.
Rob: I might give her a whirl. (Rob spills Tic Tacs. He's trying to pick them up as Catherine returns with three desserts, Audrey with four forks. He scoops Tic Tacs into his pocket.)
Rob: Mmm. Yum. Did you make it, Catherine?
Catherine: It's Diplomat cake from the Bon Ton.
Audrey: She bought it herself.
Rob: Do you two really run a catering business, or is it just a front for the Mafia or something?
Audrey: We contract out most of the food preparation.
Rob: Is that right? Well, this is delish. Aren't you having any Catherine?
Catherine: I never eat dessert. (AUDREY HANDS HER A FORK SIMULTANEOUSLY AS SHE SPEAKS.) Maybe just a little taste. Mmm, Audrey, this is yum.
Catherine: Rob, I believe you have quite a lot in common with Audrey's father.
Richard: More research Catherine?
Audrey: (sotto voce) Catherine!
Rob: Is that right? Like what?
Audrey: Well, he loves hockey.
Rob: Loves hockey? Wow! Hey, didn't Canada rock at the Olympics? (PUMPS AIR)
Catherine: What a coincidence! Two Canadian men both love hockey!
Rob: I don't believe in coincidence.
Catherine: You're right, Rob. I'm sure it's meant to be.
Audrey: Actually, I have tickets to the game this week if you'd like to go.
Rob: Yeah, sure. Love to. Why not?
(RICHARD'S BALCONY. ABOUT A WEEK OR SO LATER. )
Richard: How did you make out with the cryptic today?
Catherine: Oh, had it solved before my second cup of coffee. You?
Richard: I've been having trouble with thirteen across.
Catherine: Yes, that is a tricky one, isn't it?
Richard: Uh huh. Now, where do you take a woman who doesn't like to date, won't go for dinner, won't go to a movie she hasn't previewed?
Catherine: Who told you that? Have you been talking about me behind my back?
Richard: Of course. Research. Voila! (HE UNVEILS TELESCOPE)
Catherine: A telescope.
Richard: We're going to take a trip. We'll start out on the moon.
Catherine: You're not getting romantic on me, are you?
Richard: Then wander around Andromeda.
Catherine: You are, aren't you?
Richard: Astronomy is a science, Catherine. I am getting scientific. (POINTING UP) Then I thought we could take in some planets. It's a perfect night.
Catherine: It must be minus 2 or something.
Richard: Drink your hot chocolate. The conditions are perfect. Very clear. (Fiddles with telescope.) What are you afraid of?
Catherine: Freezing to death on your balcony.
Richard: I'll make you a hot toddy next time.
Catherine: There's going to be a next time, is there?
Richard: What are you afraid of? Why not approach marriage the traditional way? Why the business proposition thing? I mean your real reasons. Let's be honest with one another.
Catherine: Men break your heart.
Richard: Is that what happened to you?
Catherine: They're not to be trusted.
Richard: Some things are worth the risk. I mean, even things like sharing about yourself.
Catherine: (STRUGGLES TO FIND WORDS) What I feel like sometimes is Andromeda, chained to her rock, waiting for the sea monster to come up and devour her. I always have this feeling that something bad is going to happen, and that it'll be my fault. My father…he left when I was in Grade 7… he deserted the family. Said he had to get in touch with himself. He took off around the world. Every so often we'd get a postcard. I was devastated….but I was never allowed to show it. "She's handling it well," they'd say. Mom could cry for hours in her room, that was OK, but I had to handle it well. I got straight A's that year. A pluses, in fact. I was practically running the household, getting my brother ready for school, making dinner. If Dad could only see what a great kid I was, he'd come home. I handled things well, all right. We were poor after that. We used to live in these big old rooming houses. You know the type-your living room used to be the dining room and your bedroom used to be a pantry, and they've squeezed in a makeshift kitchen and bathroom. We were on welfare. I woke up one night, and my little brother was standing next to my bed, I mean it was the middle of the night, and he said, "Cathy, are we a family?"
Richard: What did you say?
Catherine: I said, yes, of course we're a family. But I didn't know, I didn't really know, and I had no one to ask. Every so often Dad and some girlfriend would whizz into town and take me and my brother out to some fancy restaurant-we could have bought groceries for the whole month for what he spent. Then we'd go to a movie, then he'd whizz off again. Sometimes he'd get creative and we'd go bowling or play mini-golf. Then one day, one Saturday I got ready for him to pick us up, and I waited, and I waited, and I waited, and I wanted to die there waiting so he'd feel sorry for what he'd done.
Richard: He didn't come.
Richard: Where is he now?
Catherine: Oh, shacked up in Toronto with some woman, younger than me even. That's why I had to leave and come out west.
Richard: It wasn't your fault Catherine.
Catherine: That's not the worst. There was a girl in my grade that year. I mean she was my best friend. We'd gone to each other's birthday parties, gone trick or treating together….It started slowly, hiding things of hers, ripping up her artwork, gossiping about her, all kinds of lies. Everyone wanted to be my friend, so no one talked to her. Her parents took her out of school for two weeks, and the teacher and the school counselor got involved, but only because the parents kicked up a stink. Anyway, the damage was done. She was completely ostracized. And all the time I enjoyed her suffering. I took pleasure in her pain. That's the kind of person I am, Richard. Not very nice, huh?
Richard: What happened after?
Catherine: We went to different high schools for Grade 8, but we met up again years later. We laughed about how silly we were. She came to my 16th birthday party. She was so happy that day. She'd just got her licence and her parents had let her have the car. I was so jealous of her. It was like she had everything and I had nothing.
Richard: God's forgiven you, Catherine. You need to forgive yourself.
Catherine: She drove home after the party, and, and there was a horrible accident. She drove into a parked truck.
Richard: She died?
Catherine: No. Miraculously, no. Her three passengers did though. And it was touch and go with her for the longest time. Some people said she'd be better off dead because they thought she'd never be the same. After the accident everyone was nicer to each other for a few days. Except to our family. Everyone said it was my mother's fault because she let us have alcohol. I felt so guilty, like it was all my fault. If I could have swapped places that night with her, I would have, Richard. That's when I started to go to church, and make all kinds of bargains with God, if only he'd heal her.
Richard: And did he?
Richard: What about your bargains? Have you kept them.
Catherine: I've tried to. It's not easy.
Richard: What about your bargains if she hadn't recovered? What would you have done then?
Catherine: I don't know.
Richard: Magic is a great temptation, but the Bible isn't magic, Catherine.
Catherine: What do you mean?
Richard: Your friend's accident brought you face to face with the living God, and that gives the accident some meaning; perhaps the only meaning there is in affliction is that it can bring us to our knees before our Creator. We can't presume to say that it was good for her, or what the meaning was for her, but for you it had meaning. It's so easy to make an idol, a false god out of a sick person. Don't I know it. Trust me. We think our thoughts and actions can change things, influence the response of the idol. We start to pray to the person, instead of to God about the person. We give ourselves credit for the power to influence events, instead of giving it to God. God can free you from your bargains, Catherine. Just give them to him. I don't know what else to say, except our only hope is in God. Nothing is too difficult for him. (PAUSE) What are you afraid of?
Richard: Marriage is about surrender.
Catherine: I know.
Richard: Being a Christian is about surrendering.
Catherine: I know.
Richard: All men aren't like your father.
Catherine: I know.
Richard: What are you afraid of?
Catherine: Not being in control.
Richard: What are you afraid of?
Catherine: Losing control.
Richard: What are you afraid of?
Catherine: I want to go home. I'm going home.
Richard: Tell me.
Catherine: Where's my coat.
Richard: Tell me, Catherine.
Catherine: (PAUSE) I'm afraid that I'll love you and you'll leave me, and that one day I'll find myself waiting and waiting and waiting for you to come home, and I can't do that ever again, but if I don't love you, I won't care if you leave me, I just won't care.
Richard: (PAUSE) Let me tell you about Marie, my wife. We were high school sweethearts, you know. We married soon after Grade 12-we were so young. We thought we knew all about love. We thought we knew about everything. Ha. Then we grew up and became different people. Sometimes I felt like she was some stranger. But not coming home was never an option for me. And thank God for that, because she became terribly ill, and needed me. And I needed her. Her funeral…it was like a big party…over 300 people. All the kids were there, running around free. She wanted that. My youngest nephew had puked down the front of my suit before the ceremony even started.
Catherine: I think you really like those kids.
Richard: Shssh! They'll hear you. Marie wanted kids, but I kept saying, 'We can't afford a family', and she really wanted to travel, and I said, 'No, my business needs me here, and then she got sick, and children and travel were out of the question. I went to see her earlier, the day of the funeral, to put her wedding ring back on. They'd got me to take the ring at the hospital or they said they were going to cut it off. The next day I went back to the cemetery by myself, and I couldn't believe it, I realized she was head to head with old Grimsby, this vice-principal we both detested. He had me in his office once when I was in Grade 12. I remember him looking at me saying, 'Mr. Knight, you will never walk across our stage.'
Catherine: And did you?
Richard: Graduate? Yes…just. Old Grimsby died that spring and I stayed out of the way of the new V.P. Anyway, I had a good laugh at the absurdity of it, Marie and Grimsby lying there head to head, and I kept thinking, 'Wait till I get home and tell Marie. She is gonna get such a kick out of this…and that's when I realized ….
Catherine: Do you miss her?
Richard: Every day.
Catherine: Do you wish she were here?
Richard: Instead of you? That's unaskable.
Richard: It's unanswerable. (PAUSE) During those last years and months we were closer than we'd ever been, and I learnt a little something about love. The sea monster didn't get Andromeda, Catherine. Perseus broke her chains and rescued her, and they were married and lived happily ever after, when he wasn't off slaying gorgons. Catherine, if you love me, I promise I'll always come home.
(CATHERINE AND AUDREY'S APARTMENT. A FEW MONTHS LATER. CATHERINE IS DOING THE CRYPTIC.)
Catherine: Dead on arrival. What a fuss! Three letters. Well that's easy. Ado.
Audrey: I'm just so totally in love with Rob.
Audrey: I used to think he was kind of nerdy looking.
Catherine: Yes… I mean, but he's not.
Audrey: But now…I could just stare into those big brown eyes forever. Sometimes we just forget to talk, and we just gaze into each other's eyes.
Audrey: And sometimes his eyes get all kind of misty…and then it makes me emotional and then…oh, he's just so deep.
Audrey: He's so perfect. I was feeling kind of grumpy last night and he said 'You need chocolate' and he went out and came back with a tub of Ben and Jerry's and a spoon. I mean in the middle of the hockey game. Isn't that romantic?
Catherine: So you were at Rob's again.
Audrey: Uh, huh. He's perfect. I can't think of one flaw. Can you?
Catherine: Yes. I mean, no.
Audrey: Of course, Richard's romantic too, isn't he?
Catherine: Uh huh.
Audrey: What does he say when you're out on the patio stargazing? "We don't need the moon, Catherine; we have the stars."
Catherine: No, Richard doesn't say that. (DOING CRYPTIC) 'Old style Muslim sounds like a body-builder.' Mussulman. Speaking of which, I haven't seen much of Rob lately. He's quit bible study, and he hasn't been coming to church. Do you ever have a real date, or do you just hang around his place?
Audrey: You've never liked Rob. Don't think I don't remember. Well, I think he's terrific. And I love him.
Catherine: Don't sell yourself short, Audrey.
Audrey: Sell myself short!
Catherine: I mean, are you acting wisely? Think about what you want out of life.
Audrey: Don't lecture me. Get off your holy high horse. You have no right to tell me what I want. You were the one who said to go for Rob in the first place. Don't I deserve to be happy?
Catherine: When Rob was at bible study he just wanted to bait people and argue.
Audrey: I hate it when you get in your superspiritual Mother Theresa mood.
Catherine: I want the best for you, Audrey; I hate to think you're being used. Remember what you went through with Simon?
Audrrey: Mind your own business. Maybe it's time I moved out.
Catherine: Maybe it is.
Catherine: When we moved to Vancouver and started sharing, I didn't think it was going to go on this long. It's hard for me to say 'no' to you, Audrey. I've always felt responsible for you. You know that. There's something I've never told you, and don't take it the wrong way because I really appreciate your friendship, and I came to know the Lord through you. It's that when you had the accident, and you were lying in intensive care, in that coma, I promised that if you got better, I would be your best friend in the world. I promised to put you first before all other friends, because, because…
Audrey: Because it was the second time I'd lost all my friends, wasn't it Cathy?
Catherine: I just wanted you to be happy. I did it with my mother too. I do it with everyone. If they're happy, I'm happy. I've turned into a people pleaser, Audrey. Richard says maybe it's time that all changed.
Audrey: I was the one driving the car that night. I was the one whose friends died. And bully for Richard. Rob wants me to move in with him.
Catherine: Oh, don't Audrey. Please listen to me. You're better than that.
Audrey: And maybe it's time you got yourself a new assistant too. You've already got a new best friend. EXITS
Catherine: What? Oh, Audrey, don't do something you might regret. (PAUSE) The wedding season's coming up…you can't quit! I need two weeks' notice! In writing!
[OPTIONAL ENDING TO SCENE SEVEN]
(KNOCK AT DOOR. CATHERINE OPENS IT. IT'S THE APARTMENT MANAGERS. AUDREY RE-ENTERS.)
Catherine: Oh, hi Mr. Morley, Mrs. Morley. Come in.
Mrs. Morley: I've been putting off doing this, but the time has come. (HANDS HER A DOCUMENT.)
Catherine: An eviction notice!
Mrs. Morley: The neighbours have been complaining, haven't they, Harry.
Mr. Morley: Yes, they have. When we rented you the apartment we thought you were two nice quiet ladies from the First Baptist Church, but there's all this domestic squabbling, isn't there, Melba?
Mrs. Morley: Yes dear, and there's all those parties.
Catherine: Parties? We don't have parties.
Mr. Morley: Just every Thursday night. Strange characters coming into the building. Singing, live music, isn't there, Melba?
Mrs. Morley: Yes, dear.
Catherine: That's not a party, that's our Thursday night bible study. And there's just a guitar.
Mr. Morley: Sometimes we hear two guitars, don't we Melba? What do you do up here? Are you two holy rollers, or something?
Mrs. Morley: We don't want any of that in our building, do we Harry?
Mr. Morley: No, dear. And you keep late hours, coming home at all hours of the night. When you do come home at all. (LOOKS AT AUDREY)
Audrey: Are you spying on us?
Mrs. Morley: And there's the strange smells, all spicey and weird. Kind of like rotten fish. The other tenants have complained. I said to Harry, I don't know what they're cooking, but it sure isn't roast beef.
Catherine: We've had some game, some bear meat.
Mr. Morley: Bear meat. Where are you two from?
Mrs. Morley: They're from Ontario.
Mr. Morley: Ontario. (PAUSE) The eviction date's on the notice. Keep it down until then.
Audrey: I guess if we're already on eviction notice, we can make all the noise we want. (SLAMS DOOR)
(CATHERINE AND AUDREY'S APARTMENT, SEVERAL DAYS LATER. ROB BREAKS UP WITH AUDREY. AUDREY IS ALONE IN LIVING ROOM. KNOCK AT DOOR. SHE LETS ROB IN.)
Audrey: Hey, Rob
Rob: Hey, Audrey.
Audrey: I wondered where you'd got to. Have you been out of town, or something?
Rob: No, I haven't.
Audrey: You haven't answered my e-mail. I left messages on your cell.
Rob: Yeah, I know. Look, I don't want to come off sounding defensive…but, I don't want to give you any wrong impressions.
Rob: Well, you kinda came of sounding pretty upset in your e-mail, and I totally understand why you'd be upset with me.
Audrey: You do.
Rob: Well, yeah.
Audrey: Is there someone else?
Rob: No, no, no, there's no other girl taking up my time, it's just I've been busy at work, and, well, to tell the truth, Audrey…I've just been kinda selfish lately, I've lost touch with almost everyone, and not by accident-in an effort to get in better touch with myself. I know it sounds kinda crazy, but I really am in a process of, you know, purging a lot of my past and trying to figure out which parts I want to keep.
Audrey: Oh, and I'm something to be purged?
Rob: No, no, I changed a lot in the time I spent with you. I mean, we had some fun, didn't we Aud.?
(SHE TURNS HER BACK ON HIM.)
Rob: Hey, don't think for a second that you mean any less than a lot to me. You helped me see a side of life and stuff I'd never seen before. But part of that is learning how easily I can, you know, get attached, and…and, well…
Audrey: How easily you can totally write someone out of your life? You're talking in riddles. What do you mean? I either mean a lot to you or I don't.
Rob: Look, I'm sorry if I've hurt people at the church, but it's just not for me right now. There's too much talk and not enough insight, if you ask me. I don't like all that sharing and stuff. I don't want to think about the past, or worry about the future. I want to live totally in the present. I'm just a guy who's committed to the good old here and now.
Audrey: Well, I'm glad you're committed to something!
Rob: Organized religion…I mean I'm not putting it down or anything, it's fine for people like you....
Audrey: So you gave God a whirl and he didn't work out. Is that how you get through life Rob, you give things a whirl and then toss them aside?
Rob: Things don't always work out, Audrey. Deal with it. (AUDREY SLAPS ROB ACROSS THE FACE. PAUSE) Look, I'm not good at this kind of talk and stuff.
Audrey: Oh give me a break!
Rob: Try to understand where I'm at. I'm sorry I can't be there for you as much as before…I'm sorry if the way I go about things hurts you. I'm sorry if you want something more…but friendship is all I have to offer.
Audrey: That's what Spiderman says to Mary Jane at the end of the movie. Sheesh Rob. Say something original, at least.
Rob: Look, I'd better go Audrey, take care.
Audrey: Will I see you again?
Rob: Sure, sure, maybe in the summer I could swing by and we'll chill at the beach in the afternoon, or something. I just need some space for a while. The timing's not right for a relationship.
(ROB EXITS. CATHERINE ENTERS)
Catherine: I couldn't help overhearing , Audrey. Pretty shabby.
Audrey: So it sounded like I was getting dumped to you too. He can't figure out if I'm something to be kept or got rid of! I'm insulted.
Catherine: And well you should be. He doesn't deserve you.
Audrey: Get in touch with himself! That's not Rob talking. He's like a completely different person. I guess I'm something to be purged. What happened to 'pals for life?'
Catherine: Sorry, Audrey.
Audrey: Rob lied to me, Cathy. I feel like an idiot. What you said was true about love.
Catherine: Hey, don't listen to me. I'm the last person to give advice to anyone. Sometimes I think I go through life making a hash out of things.
Audrey: You've been bossy ever since I met you. You know, I can still remember Thanksgiving when we were in Grade Three, and we did pictures of turkeys, and I painted mine blue, and you came over and said, "No, turkeys aren't blue; they're brown." And I looked around, and sure enough, everyone had a brown turkey except me.
Catherine: You shouldn't have listened to me then and you shouldn't listen to me now.
Audrey: I don't know what to do. I'm numb.
Catherine: I gather Rob doesn't know you're pregnant.
Audrey: You heard him. Not exactly good timing. I'll have to tell my parents. I'm the one who's made a mess of things this time, aren't I?
Catherine: We both need a fresh start, Audrey.
Audrey: I'll never get over Rob.
Catherine: Yes, you will. Did he ever say he loved you?
Audrey: No. Not in so many words. We skirted the 'L' word. But he acted like it. "You're so amazing, Audrey. You're so awesome, Audrey. No one can hold a candle to you, Audrey. You've taught me so much about love, Audrey. You're my angel, Audrey." (TO HERSELF) You're a fool, Audrey. At least he told me in person. Did you hear about poor Trevor? His girlfriend broke up with him by e-mail.
Catherine: I've just e-mailed Richard saying I need to pull back from him.
Audrey: What? Are you crazy?
Catherine: Richard deserves the best.
Audrey: I thought you always said that's what you were.
Catherine: I'm a conniving, manipulating schemer. Richard would never know if I loved him or his money.
Audrey: What do you really love most about Richard?
Catherine: I can tell him things. Everything. My feelings, my thoughts, my needs.
Audrey: Catherine, don't pull back from Richard. And certainly not because of me. I'm still going to move out. We've been evicted, remember. If any two people need space between them it's you and me…you don't need to feel responsible for me anymore. Or guilty. The accident wasn't your fault. You're not that powerful. If I was old enough to have a licence, I was old enough to know better than to drink and drive…and I wasn't even meant to have friends in the car with me. I promised my parents that night I wouldn't give anyone a ride…
Catherine: I'll always be there for you, Audrey, you know that. Pals for life?
Audrey: You bet. Permission to live, Catherine. Now, I wanna put on my flannel pajamas and get into bed and cry till New Year. I hope you've got shares in Kimberley Clark.
Catherine: You can only cry till morning. I need you at work tomorrow. There's that big vegetarian banquet. I've worked my butt off over the menu. We're having my vegetarian specialty.
Audrey: Oh, no!
Catherine: The crowning achievement of my culinary endeavours…roast gluten…
Catherine: It was either gluten, or TVP.
Audrey: What on earth's that? Some kind of vaccine?
Catherine: Textured vegetable protein. And I've made gravy from nutritional yeast…
Audrey: Sounds disgusting…
Catherine: Indonesian style tofu…
Audrey: Are you getting paid for this?!
Catherine: Mock Russian Dressing Dip…it's made from nonfat soy yoghurt…
Catherine: Sir Paul and Heather had a vegetarian feast.
Audrey: Somehow I don't think they served roast gluten. Don't tell me anymore. I'm queasy.
Catherine: Audrey, you said you think you're pregnant. Does that mean you don't know for sure? Have you seen a doctor yet, or anything.
Audrey: No, not yet. And please don't tell anyone, promise me.
Catherine: Of course I promise, silly. Do you know you'd be stoned to death in Nigeria.
Audrey: Well it's a good thing I'm not in Nigeria, then.
Catherine: I'm gonna go to the drugstore and get one of those home-testing kits. You might be worrying over nothing. (PICKS UP NEWSPAPER) Here, take the paper, and I'll make you cocoa and crumpets and honey. A broken-heart needs sugar. (NOTICES SOMETHING) Hey Audrey look at this. Richard's picture's in the paper.
Audrey: Richard's in the paper?
Catherine:(READS) 'Melt-down of the dot coms.'
Audrey: What's that mean in plain English. Sounds like a grilled cheese sandwich.
Catherine: 'Dot-Com Millionaires Go Belly-Up. West Coast Waste Wonderboy Winds Up Wasted.'
Audrey: What does that mean?
Catherine: I think it means Richard's broke.
Audrey: Oh, that's too bad.
Catherine: No, Audrey. It's wonderful!
(RICHARD'S PLACE. EVENING. RICHARD AND CATHERINE ARE ON THE BALCONY.)
Richard: Too bad about Rob and Audrey. It's not just her though. None of his old friends have seen him much lately. He was always a bit of a player. I think he might be back, though. Rob's a good-hearted guy. He's just got a bit of commitment phobia at the moment.
Catherine: Audrey's devastated. She gave her heart away too easily.
Richard: Not something you'd get caught doing.
Catherine: At least she's not pregnant.
Richard: No. I'm glad you came over tonight, Catherine. It's crystal clear up there.
Catherine: Yes, it sure is. Richard, I've read the papers. "Meltdown of the Dot-Coms." "Dot-Com Instant Millionaires Go Bellyup." Is it true?
Richard: Sadly, yes. I've had to lay off the staff. And I have to pay them. My brother was a major investor, so he's pretty frosted.
Catherine: And you're broke. I'm sorry Richard. Any experience as a banquet waiter? The wedding season's coming up and I'm booked solid. Oh Richard, I don't understand how one day you can have $200 million dollars, and the next day you don't.
Richard: Being worth $200 million dollars and having $200 million dollars are two different things.
Catherine: The next time you're worth $200 million dollars, try getting some of it in cold hard cash. Gold-bricks or artwork-- something tangible so it doesn't get swallowed up out there in cyberspace or the stock-market, or where ever it goes. I just don't understand.
Richard: I don't understand the e-mail you sent me.
Richard: You were the one who approached me, remember. I think I can sue you for breach of contract. You'll never serve another hors d'oeuvre in this town.
Catherine: It never felt right.
Richard: It felt all right to me. Couples meet all kinds of ways, Catherine. It's not how you meet, but how you end up that matters. I had my eye on you all along, you know.
Catherine: You did not. I don't believe you.
Richard: Did too. You just sped things up, that's all.
Catherine: There goes my diamond ring, I suppose.
Richard: Aha, my dear Catherine, my mercenary Catherine. Perhaps you're far too ethereal a creature for something as base as a rock.
Catherine: I am?
Richard: Yes. I've been talking to God, you know, the creator of the universe? Personal friend of mine. I said, "God, what should I offer Catherine. He said, "All I want from anybody is just themselves." So I thought, right, I could offer you myself, if you'll have me.
Catherine: Oh, I will Richard. You are all I want.
Richard: But I wanted something to symbolize this moment, something worthy of you, so I've taken out a lease of sorts. You see that bright star up there? The twinkly one?
Catherine: I see it.
Richard: It's over there Catherine.
Catherine: I see it.
Richard: Well, it's not really a star. It's a planet. Here, have a look. (MOTIONS HER TO TELESCOPE. SHE LOOKS THROUGH TELESCOPE.) Do you see it?
Richard: That's Saturn. See the rings?
Richard: There's diamonds in those rings, you know.
Catherine: It looks so little and cute. Like a tiny pearl.
Richard: Little. It's over nine times the diameter of Earth, and ten times as far from the sun as us. That's why it looks small. Do you know that in your whole lifetime so far it's only made one revolution around the sun?
Catherine: It's beautiful, Richard.
Richard: It's been up there your whole life, Catherine. Every time you've looked up at the night sky, it's been there.
Catherine: But I've never seen it until now.
Richard: Because you're looking with new eyes.
Catherine: It's the most beautiful thing.
Richard: I Richard, Cosmic Explorer, claim the rings of Saturn in the name of Catherine, for her use and pleasure during her lifetime. By these rings shall all mankind know of my undying love for you. If you will accept them, to you they belong.
Catherine: I Catherine, accept these rings, to be displayed in perpetua for the joy of all peoples, as a symbol of my unfailing love for Richard. And now Richard, I have a proposal for you. It's true the catering company is booked solid. I can't keep up with the demand. I want to invite you to come on board, and I want to change the name to A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread, And Thou Catering Company." Richard?
Richard: Yes, Catherine.
Catherine: I know astronomy is a science, but I'm not feeling the least bit scientific.
Richard: Actually, at this moment, I am, dear Catherine.
Richard: Quite geological, as a matter of fact. Now for your third gift: I've been rock hunting. (PRODUCES A RING) I love you, Catherine…(KNEELS) will you marry me?
Catherine: Yes, yes, of course…but I can't see…(LOOKING INTENTLY AT RING)
Richard: Don't worry, he's there.
Richard: The polar bear.
Catherine: Oh. I was going to say I can't see how I can accept it. I mean I accept your proposal, but this ring…the sapphires are breath-taking.
Richard: Not just any sapphires for my Catherine. These are called starstones.
Catherine: I like that.
Catherine: 'My Catherine." But Richard, you're all I need.
Richard: That's why I love you.
Catherine: I can't keep this ring when you're so broke, and you need to pay your employees and everything.
Richard: Who's broke?
Catherine: It doesn't matter to me if you're not rich anymore, Richard. I love you anyway.
Richard: I'm not broke.
Catherine: But you said you were.
Richard: I didn't say that, you did.
Catherine: The newspaper said it.
Richard: Well it's true that the dot-com thing's a bust and all, but I have other assets. Even this apartment building where I live, I own it, for now anyway. I think your polar bear will be quite happy here. Is it so important that I'm not broke?
Catherine: My Richard.
Richard: What's your secret?
Richard: Your cryptic crossword secret. Whenever I talk to you, you've already done the cryptic, while I'm struggling away.
Catherine: No secret. I just phone up the 1-900 number, you know, the cryptic crossword help line and ask for the answer.
Richard: No way!
Catherine: Anybody can phone. I mean, it's just the Globe and Mail has it.
Richard: But that's ridiculous. It's cheating.
Catherine: That's no way to speak to the woman you've just proposed to.
Richard: Well tomorrow morning we're going to sit down together with no help line and see how you do.
Catherine: Maybe I shouldn't have told you. I think every healthy relationship needs a few secrets, a little bit of mystery. Now let me look at Saturn again. Tonight is a perfect night.
Richard: For stargazing?
Catherine: For everything.
Copyright NADINE LAUGHLIN 2002, All rights reserved. This play may be performed free of charge on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium. The playwright would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is being performed. The playwright may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org