to Greater Anthropology


STONES

by Eric Pettifor

Act II

[Tableau as at the end of Act I. Characters all in the same positions. JOHN proceeds to eat the sandwich. DEBBIE is shocked. ALEX is surprised and intrigued. There is an uncomfortable silence as JOHN sits on a rock and finishes the sandwich. Finally DEBBIE speaks.]
DEBBIEMy name is Debra Danylo and this is my friend Alexandra Schlemmer.
[JOHN looks up and nods.]
We're from Canada.
JOHNWondered why you weren't in church.
ALEXToday is our last day on the island.
JOHNPity.
ALEXWe wanted to see the stones.
DEBBIEWe are, we are going to church, though, we were just going.
ALEXTo see the local customs and such. You know, colour.
DEBBIEAnd to, to...
JOHNTo take his photograph?
DEBBIENo, no, I don't think so.
JOHNJust as well. They're not so fond o'tourists taking snaps, you know, colour. Nice set up you got though. Very professional.
DEBBIEI'm a professional, I am... photographer, you know.
JOHNI know.
ALEXThis 'pro' here forgot the film. I can't get any of this now, not unless we spend another day, which would mean...
JOHNNo, she didn't.
ALEXWhat?
JOHNShe didn't forget the film.
DEBBIEYes, uh, yes, actually, I did.
JOHNDeb, a professional doesn't forget the film. Either you're not, or y'haven't.
DEBBIEAre you, uh, calling me a liar? I don't even know you.
JOHNBeen on the island long?
ALEXArrived yesterday.
JOHNAnd you like these old stones.
DEBBIENo.
ALEXI have a serious interest in ancient monuments. And Scotland in general. I'm a journalist.
JOHNOh. I'm still a bit hungry. Do you have any more food?
DEBBIENone.
ALEXThat was the last of it.
JOHNNever mind. I have a sandwich in my bag. It's just over there. Shall I fetch it, then?
ALEXYes, actually, that would be very...
DEBBIEWe're just leaving just now. So we've got to go. Nice meeting you. Good-bye.
[DEBBIE starts towards her bike.]
ALEXYes. Debbie was thinking of leaving. But I've come a very long way to see these stones.
JOHNTurusachan.
ALEXWhat?
DEBBIEAlex, aren't you coming?
JOHNTurusachan. It's a name for these places. It means 'place of pilgrimage'.
DEBBIEAlex?
ALEXPlace of pilgrimage.
JOHNShall I fetch the sandwich, then?
ALEXYes, please. That would be nice.
[JOHN smiles and goes to fetch his bag from behind the stone. DEBBIE comes back to ALEX who is smiling curiously after JOHN.]
ALEXUh, I thought we were about to, um, to leave.
ALEXNo. Maybe he can tell me something worth putting into the article. You go though. I'll meet you back at the bed and breakfast.
DEBBIEI can't, I shouldn't leave without you.
ALEXWhy not?
DEBBIEIt might not be safe. What do we know about, about this guy? He could be some sort of a Scottish rapist or something.
ALEXI'll take my chances.
DEBBIENo, it's okay, I'll stay.
ALEX(not very thankfully) Thanks, Deb.
[JOHN returns with his satchel and his flute.]
Hey, you play the flute.
[JOHN nods]
I play the tin whistle. Well, actually, I play the piano, but I couldn't bring it with me, obviously, so there was this music store in Orkney that sold tin whistles so... I bought one.
JOHNThe flageolet.
ALEXWhat's that?
JOHNAnother name for it.
[JOHN looks in his satchel for the sandwich.]
ALEXIs it?
JOHN(affirmative) Mm.

[JOHN takes the sandwich from his satchel and begins to unwrap it.]
DEBBIEHey, where did you get that?
JOHNI stole it.
DEBBIEYou what?
JOHN(naturally) I stole it. I'm a thief.
DEBBIEYou're a what?
[JOHN looks at her trying to determine if she is stupid or just deaf.]
ALEXI think he said he is a thief.
JOHNThat's right. I steal things.
ALEXYou're a kleptomaniac?
JOHNNo.

[They look at him. He looks at them.]
It's my occupation.

[ALEX and DEBBIE look at each other.]
ALEXMaybe you're right, Debbie, maybe we should be getting on our way.
DEBBIENo, I want, I have a question. From whom did you steal that sandwich?
JOHNYou.
DEBBIEI knew it! That's my sandwich!
JOHNWhen you were praying.
DEBBIEWhat?!
JOHNIs that a Canadian expression?
DEBBIEThat was private!
JOHNI thought it very nice. These stones don't get much worship these days.
DEBBIEI was praying to God!
JOHNSo I heard. Would you share this sandwich with me now, Debra Danylo?
DEBBIENo. No, I don't want to share my sandwich with you. I want it back! It's my sandwich!
[JOHN looks at the sandwich a moment, then slowly hands it to DEBBIE who grabs it from him.]
You hungry?

[JOHN nods.]
Good. Alex, you want half? You gave me half of yours so you can have half of mine if you like.
ALEXMaybe we should just go?
DEBBIEThis, this, this 'thief' stole my sandwich and he can watch me eat it if he's so hungry.

[DEBBIE begins unwrapping the sandwich.]
JOHNBegging your pardon, Debbie.

[She ignores him.]
Debra.

[DEBBIE stops and looks at him.]
I ask you to move from these stones before you eat. You can eat in front of me, I've endured worse, but please move from those stones.
DEBBIEWhy should I?
JOHNWell, you don't have to, of course, it's up to you. I was just thinking of a day in the future, a day when Christian churches are like this, silent, mute, stone ~ listening, remembering choirs and sermons, remembering a god forgotten, a son who never returned, a mighty holy ghost reduced to just another haunt in a country full of haunts.
ALEXAnd forgotten gods.
JOHNAye. And were once the altar stood there'll be just a stone, once sacred, reduced by time and elements to a lunching ground for tourists.
[DEBBIE looks at him a moment. He has gotten to her. Without saying anything, as if it were her own idea, she takes a few steps down stage. ALEX and JOHN go with her. She sits. They sit. She begins to eat her sandwich. JOHN watches her. ALEX watches the both of them. It is uncomfortable. DEBBIE is not even enjoying her revenge.]
ALEXDebbie, he's really hungry.
[DEBBIE gives JOHN a piece of the sandwich. The two munch in silence. JOHN finishes before DEBBIE. ALEX picks up her whistle. She looks at it. She smiles. She raises it to her lips and plays the opening bit of 'Dueling Banjos', the signature tune of the movie Deliverance. JOHN smiles, grabs his flute and plays the other part. How far they go into it depends on the skill of the actors. One of them eventually stops, perhaps after a fumble, and they all laugh, including DEBBIE.]
ALEXSo why are you a thief?
JOHNPays the bills.
DEBBIEAny job would do that.
JOHNAye, but it's not so easy for me to get a job here. I'm not too popular.
DEBBIEMaybe if you stopped stealing people's stuff they'd like you better.
JOHNMaybe.
ALEXThat's grand. A thief who admits he's a thief, sort of fits into the whole scheme of a complete community where everybody knows their lot and contributes, uh,... Well, you know, it's sort of like the cosmic dance, a holistic...
JOHNOnly five days a week. I take my weekends off.
DEBBIEYou stole my sandwich.
JOHNYes, but that was on my own time.
DEBBIEWhat's, um, what is your name?
JOHNJohn.
ALEXJohn the weekday thief?
JOHNNo, I've a last name.
[Pause]
I'm not going to tell it.
ALEXBecause you're a thief?
JOHNBecause I don't know you well enough. (As an afterthought, looking at ALEX) Yet.
DEBBIEWhy aren't you in church?
JOHNMe? In church?
ALEXYou're not a regular there I take it.
JOHNNot everybody is a church-going Christian on Lewis.
ALEXSeems like it. (Laughs) You should have seen this one old woman, a part of that morning parade to church. She looked so sour I thought I would shout a cheery hello to her as I rode by.
JOHNYou didn't.
DEBBIEShe did.
ALEXI did. I shouted, "Hello!"
DEBBIEYou should have seen the look she got.
ALEXI felt like Malchus looking into the eyes of Simon Peter as he came at him with a sword to defend Jesus.
JOHNThat from the Bible?
ALEXUh, the Gospel according to Saint So-And-So, chapter such and such, verse four.
JOHN(to ALEX) You a Christian too?
ALEXJust because I happen to know a bit about the Bible... I also happen to know the physiology of the male erection. That doesn't make me a male.
JOHNI don't know the physiology, but I know what to do with it when it happens.
ALEXI'm sure you do.
DEBBIEYou still haven't answered the question.

[JOHN looks at her as if to say "What question?"]
Why aren't you in church?
JOHN(suddenly slightly vicious) To go to church when you know you don't really believe, isn't that a little bit hypocritical?
DEBBIEI... see. I'm, I'm sorry.
JOHNThough today, they say, is a good day to be in church if you've any doubts.
ALEXWhy today?
JOHNIf you've been up here as long as you say, then you know that the Scottish, especially the small town and country Scots, are very devout. And very superstitious. The word is out, or so I hear, that something evil is going to happen today.
DEBBIESomething... evil?
JOHNSomething evil.
ALEXHow exciting. Do you think it will happen here?
JOHNAs like as not. So maybe the look that woman gave you was not so much dislike, as... warning?
DEBBIEAlex, maybe we should go.
ALEXNo! This could be a great hook for the article! That is, if anything happens.
DEBBIEWhich it won't, right? It's just superstitious... just superstition.
ALEXProbably. Unfortunately.
[JOHN suddenly blows a note on his flute.]
JOHNBut when, my lovely ladies, does superstition become religion, or religion superstition? What did they worship?
DEBBIEWho, who worship?
JOHNThe ancient folk who built this circle.
DEBBIEAlex, uh, you told me, you said that these stones were some sort of arrangement to tell seasons?
JOHNAye, certainly, a calendar, and, yes, a symbol of the power of the tribe that built it, and a navigational marker, and certainly at one time a crematorium, and most certainly, without doubt... A temple.
DEBBIE(almost reverently) A temple.
ALEX(skeptically) To what?
JOHNDo you know the physiology of stone? Say, this one?

[JOHN gently, sensuously strokes the tall central stone.]
This stone is the Callanish Phallus by name, so called for obvious reasons. They worshipped fertility, their own and the crops and all nature. The weather today is strange for here, but four thousand years ago it was like this often. (Seductively) Look around, imagine it, can you see the naked bodies twisted together in ecstasy, rolling about on this lovely day amidst a garden of the greatest hard-ons you've ever seen in your life?
[DEBBIE is looking around and imagining it. She is not as disgusted as one might expect a devout Christian to be. ALEX too is tickled. JOHN goes to her and gently massages her neck. She is a little surprised at first, but relaxes under his touch. DEBBIE watches this uncomfortably.]
It is said that the Goddess of the Moon dances here every 19 years or so. And tis true. I've seen it.
ALEXCome on.
[JOHN stands up. ALEX happens to glance over at DEBBIE. They make uncomfortable eye contact for a moment.]
JOHNThe astronomers will tell you that it's an astronomical phenomenon to do with orbits and our location so far north, but I think the ancient astronomers were probably a tad more poetic. They worshipped a dozen and one things; the moon, phalluses... And old long forgotten gods that have not died, for gods do not die, but sigh and remember an Isle of Lewis when they were worshipped and there were a lot more trees.
ALEXThere used to be trees here?
JOHNSo they say.
ALEXSure aren't any now.
JOHNNo.
[JOHN is lost in remembrance of a time long before he was born when there were trees on the island. ALEX is quiet and trying to think what she should think. DEBBIE finds her camera and quietly snaps a photo of JOHN. The shutter clicks. JOHN looks up at her. She clicks off two more shots.]
JOHNSo, you're a pro after all.
ALEXDebbie, you have no film.
DEBBIEOh... that's right. Oh well. So much for that I guess.
JOHNSpeak the truth and shame the devil, Deb.
ALEXYou do have film, don't you. You lied when you told me you didn't have any film.

[DEBBIE doesn't say anything.]
You lied to me on the Sabbath. Admit it!
DEBBIEOkay, I admit it. I lied to you, I admit it, okay? I didn't want to take pictures of your stones anymore, I have rolls and rolls of Stonehenge, of Avebury, of the Ring of Brogar, of, of all, all of those others. But I want... I want to take pictures of these now, okay?
ALEXHey, easy Deb, it doesn't matter.
DEBBIENo, I want to. I WANT TO!

[She goes around snapping pictures of the stones.]
(points camera, clicks) There, there's one. And here, here's another, and another, and another huge stone...
[DEBBIE ends the picture taking rampage by doing a quick circuit of the circle, power winder engaged.]
And click and click and click and click and click and click and click and click!
ALEXYou didn't have to do that.
DEBBIEI wanted to.
ALEXI was just a little miffed because, you know, you did give me the distinct impression that you were out of film.
DEBBIEI wanted to go to church this morning. We should have gone to church. I just know, we should have gone.
JOHNI have a camera. I have three in fact. One is a Leica.
DEBBIE(lifting her head) You have a Leica?
JOHNThey tell me it's a very good camera.
DEBBIEIt is.
JOHNYou can have it if you like.
DEBBIESeriously?
JOHNIf you want it. I'll give it to you. A gift.
DEBBIEIt's stolen, isn't it.
ALEXStill a nice offer.
JOHNWell, I've not much use for it. I'm no pro. I just take pictures. Records of the past. Bits and pieces, odds and ends of once upon a time. Beautiful, yet a bit sad too.
DEBBIEI, I know, I think I know what you mean. Some old photographs and a mirror show you the years.
JOHNThat's a bit like poetry.
DEBBIEThank-you.
[ALEX goes over to JOHN and, taking him by the arm, leads him away while talking to him.]
ALEXYou're a poet, aren't you. You're not really a thief at all. You're too literate.
JOHN(a bit haltingly, making it up as he goes along)

The literate lady has touched on my grief,
That I'm only a poet on my own time.
Five days a week I'm an illiterate thief
Condemned to a cruel life of crime.

ALEXNot bad. Have I read any of your stuff?
JOHNI doubt it. It's not been published.
[They begin to caress subtly, ALEX guiding JOHN's hand. He is amused and somewhat aroused.]
ALEXYou could, you know. Publish. I really think you could.
DEBBIE(voice in wilderness) I think so, too. I think you could.
JOHNBut I don't want to.
ALEXYou could make money at it. Make a living.
JOHNI make a good enough living stealing things.
ALEXYou wouldn't have to.
JOHNBut I like it.
ALEXYou just finished saying it was your grief.
JOHNI needed a rhyme for thief.
DEBBIEHave you ever used the Leica?
[JOHN breaks from ALEX and makes his way over to DEBBIE.]
JOHNA bit. But I've a pocket instamatic I like a lot better. It does the lot. I don't even have to focus.
DEBBIEYou know, as a photographer, as a professional photographer, I think, I think I should think that was horrible, but, really, well, if you don't need a Leica, why use a Leica?
JOHNYou want it then?
DEBBIEIs your place far?
ALEXDebbie! It's stolen! It could be traced. If it's as shit hot as you seem to think, whoever lost it wants it back.
DEBBIEBut Alex...
ALEXNo 'buts'. I don't want any hassles coming through customs. "Anything to declare?" Just this expensive camera, but it's stolen, so it doesn't count."
DEBBIEYou're right. Thanks anyway. Thank-you.

[JOHN shrugs his shoulders.]
JOHNHave you any pictures from your trip so far?
DEBBIE(nervous) No. No, I don't. I send the film back to the, to the magazine. They have a darkroom, they process it for free. So, I don't know how they'll turn out until I get back, when I get back to Canada. There's probably some problem or something, you know, with the camera and none of them will turn out or something (laughs nervously).
ALEXThere's no problem with the camera. I have some photographs.
DEBBIEAlex, no...
ALEXThey're of Debbie. And a man.
JOHNAre they dirty?
DEBBIEPlease, Alex...
ALEXAnd several children.
JOHNReally.
ALEXThey're not so much obscene as a documentary photographic record of what could amount to a political incident between our two countries.
DEBBIEOh, god...
JOHNCan I see them?

[ALEX hands him the pictures. He looks through them, amused.]
What is all this?

[DEBBIE grabs the pictures from him and tears them up.]
Ah, now that's a shame.
ALEXIt's okay. The negatives are safe.
JOHNBut what was all that going on?
ALEXWe were at Caernarvon Castle in Wales...
DEBBIEI am so embarrassed...
ALEX...when we came across a group of school children and their teacher in the courtyard. Now, this teacher was scolding them mildly for some minor...
DEBBIEScolding them mildly! He was screaming, screaming at them, I mean really screaming like people who, who, who aren't school teachers get locked up for! And he was threatening them, saying that the police, that they would come and get them and take them all to jail, and he also, he also lied, this school teacher was lying, saying that this was the property of the Queen, and that they were just guests, for god's sake. It was gross, so gross they were just huddled there taking all this from that, that maniac like he was some sort of god, like he had some sort of real authority or something.
ALEXDebbie let them know the score.
DEBBIEDamn right I did. Caernarvon Castle is the property of the people, it belongs to all, all the people of Britain, not just the Queen, and it is their birthright and they have every right to enjoy it, and no reason to be afraid.
ALEXSuch choice words she bestowed upon the teacher. And then she became quite the revolutionary calling down the system, and telling the children they didn't have to put up with that kind of authoritarian bullshit. What was it that you said? I think it was something like, "You, you, you have nothing to lose but your chains!"
DEBBIEFuck off, Alex.
ALEXSomething like that. Finally she incited a revolt. Several of the little monsters physically assaulted the teacher, and last we saw him, he was being chased by a mob of his most enthusiastic students. Needless to say, we left quickly.
DEBBIEIt got out of hand. I hope that poor guy is okay.
JOHNI'd have done the same thing.
ALEXTaken pictures?
JOHNNo. Spoken out.
DEBBIEYou would?
JOHNAye.
DEBBIESo you think I did the right thing?
JOHNI think you have great courage.
[DEBBIE looks pleased. ALEX isn't sure what to think, for a moment. Then she quietly places DEBBIE's camera just out of sight behind a small stone.]
ALEXDebbie, where is your camera?

[DEBBIE looks around but can't see it.]
DEBBIEWhere is my camera?

[They both look at JOHN.]
Did, did you steal my camera?
JOHNNo. I didn't.
ALEXThat's a terrible accusation to make.
DEBBIEWell, he said, he admitted he is a thief. I... Look, John, I need that camera. I've sweated and bled, and wept for that camera. So give it back!!
JOHNI didn't take it.
ALEXI'd believe him. I trust him. Just talking this short time I don't think I would ever doubt him for a second.
DEBBIEThen where is it? (To JOHN) You... you stole it. And I, I want it back. This isn't some stupid sandwich we're talking about, you know, it's not.
JOHNDeb, I offered you a Leica. Why would I want your camera?
DEBBIEBecause you're a thief! You steal things! It's your job, remember? You get some sort of kick out of it, only I don't think it's so funny and I'm getting a little tired, just a little tired of it and I want my camera back!

[ALEX 'finds' the camera behind the rock.]
ALEXOh, look, here it is, it must have fallen behind the rock. It seems to be alright.
[DEBBIE, still standing accusingly before JOHN, looks, and feels, pretty stupid.]
DEBBIEHmmm... I, I guess I owe you an apology, eh.

[JOHN smiles and nods.]
I'm sorry?
JOHNApology accepted. I am a thief, after all. (Looking at ALEX) Strange how that camera could have fallen and us not heard it.
ALEXYes, it must have been when we were talking about Caernarvon Castle.
JOHN(still looking at ALEX) Aye... Who wants to hear a story?
ALEXI would.
DEBBIEI think... I think I'll just sort of crawl beneath one of these stones.
JOHNYou may find that space already taken.
ALEXThere are people buried under them?
JOHNIf you believe the legends. But the tale I'll tell is not about burials.
DEBBIEI'd like to hear it.
[JOHN uses ALEX and DEBBIE as his models for the story, speaking directly to each of them as their parts come up.]
JOHNThere was a bachelor living in Callanish a hundred years ago, who was much desired by the available women, and, truth be told, by some of the not so available women. But none desired the man so much as two young, and lovely, maidens, competitors for his attentions. The more wicked of the two went to a witch, for, yes, there were witches then as there are witches now. She exchanged thirteen drops of her virgin blood for a magical belt. Said the witch, "Take ye this belt and girdle it round the waist of your rival, and the infernal lord whom I do serve shall fetch her away unto his domain and trouble ye no more." Now, despite her fierceness and love for the man, and despite the blood she had paid, the girl could not find it in her heart to so dispose of her rival, and instead conceived of a plan to dispose of the belt. One still summer evening she took the belt to the stones and there wrapped it round one.

[He mimes wrapping a belt around a near by standing stone.]
No sooner had she fastened the buckle than the stone was engulfed in flame! There were horrible sounds of great leathery wings beating the air, and screams and howls, and the clanking of great chains no mortal man could move! She ran home and fainted in her father's arms. The next day the villagers visited the stones. The one she had wrapped with the belt lay broken in half. Twas scorched and blackened where the belt had been.

[Pause]
ALEXSo we're to believe that the witch was in league with Satan?
JOHNBelieve what you will. I just report the events.
ALEXThe legend.
JOHNThe events of the legend, or the legend of the events.
ALEXIs that supposed to be true?
JOHNCan you say it's not?
ALEXWhere is the stone that was broken?
JOHNUp the double avenue, the short one with the rough edges. Looks as though its been broken, doesn't it.
ALEXA farmer looking for stones for a stone fence.
JOHNNot here, not this place. The farm folk have always thought of this place with respect, reverence, or dread, but never, never as a quarry.
ALEXSo how did it get broken?
JOHNYes.
ALEXOh come on.
DEBBIEWhich of the maidens got the man?
JOHNI don't know. The legend doesn't tell.
DEBBIEI thought that was the point of the legend.
ALEXI don't believe in... in any force of evil. I don't believe in a devil, I don't believe in a god.
JOHNSo your interest in these stones is purely academic, then?
ALEXPurely. Just because a primitive bunch of people had some fears or don't know how the universe works they build a bunch of stones and then pretend it's a protection or some sort of temple to some rustic deity... It isn't real. No gods, no devils, just old ghost stories. I'm present tense, I don't carry those prehistoric notions of malevolent forces hiding in every shadow just waiting pounce, so you're wasting your time trying to scare me with it. You know, Deb, I think I'm actually getting bored of all the stones we've seen. I've worked it out of my system, we don't need to see any more.
DEBBIENo! I mean, no, I'd like to see more, you know, I think I would. I didn't know they were so... What? So... I thought they were... well... just a bunch of old stones.
ALEXWhen you get right down to it, that's all they really are.
JOHNI wouldn't dismiss the gods of old so quickly.

[Very faintly from this point the sound of wind begins to grow.]
DEBBIEThey're even in the Bible you said.
ALEXThere's a lot of stuff in the Bible. And the oldest surviving Biblical texts are just bad copies. After all that time, all those scribes fucking up and getting their two cents in, if there ever was any truth in them, which there wasn't,...
JOHNOld gods don't just die, Alexandra.
ALEXOnce a god's been forgotten, it may as well have never been.
JOHNI haven't forgotten.
DEBBIEJohn, do you really believe...
JOHNThere is still power in these stones.
ALEXBullshit.
JOHNGreat power.
ALEXDouble bullshit.
JOHNBlasphemer! Just what do you believe, Alexandra? You don't believe in anything. Who are you, what are you, and where did you come from? Do you think you are your own god?
ALEXYah, something like that.
JOHNYou think you determine your own destiny, that the stars and the sun and moon and seasons are mere coincidences that only affect the way you dress, that everything beyond your grasping little paws is incidental or somehow just doesn't exist. It is time you were taught a lesson.
[The wind is quite audible now. JOHN may have had to fight a little against it during his last lines. JOHN takes strong central position elevated upon some stones. He raises his arms and commands in a strong clear voice.]
Gods of millenniums past, who have always been, who are, who will always be, it is I, John, High-Priest of the Circle that do summon thee. The world is full of unbelievers, and those who do believe pay worship to a single false god they say is mightier than all of you. It is time to arise and restore the old order! By the power of the Circle and the Seasons I command you to arise and swallow the sun, render the earth dark and void and without light!
[Slowly, but not too slowly, the stage fades to black. The wind is howling.]
Alex, Debbie, if you would ever have the world see the light of day again, kiss me! Kiss me!
ALEXJesus! Jesus!
[Slowly, but not too slowly, the light returns. It reveals ALEX on her knees with her eyes turned to heaven. DEBBIE is kissing JOHN.]
JOHNThis wind'll die down soon.

[DEBBIE is in awe of JOHN. He is her high-priest.]
DEBBIECommand it to!
JOHNHow?
DEBBIEBy the power of the Circle and the Old Gods!
JOHNThat wasn't really the doing of the Old Gods, Debbie.
DEBBIEWhat do you mean?
JOHNThe Old Gods live in our minds, they're memories from an older time, a better time. Shadows.
DEBBIEBut the sun!
JOHNAn eclipse. A marvelous eclipse. For a moment, the shadows stirred.
DEBBIEBut... How did you know?
JOHNThe stones can predict eclipses. But, truth be told, I heard it on the radio.
DEBBIEThe wind?...
JOHNWeather report. A bit of a squall. It's dying down now.
DEBBIEWhy the act?
JOHNTwas more than an act. It was a little piece of another place, another time, that was once right here, a little reality that could not last.
DEBBIE(short laugh) Huh. Quite a ceremony. Quite the show. I was taken in, oh, I was, I was, I am, I'm just, I'm just ultimately a silly, silly little person.
JOHNYou were a part of it, Debbie.
DEBBIEA part of what? A reality that could not last? That's nothing to be a part of. I can't even pretend now, can I. Sold out, betrayed, betrayed by a kiss. Oh, that's good, that's really, really good.
[DEBBIE breaks down and cries. Both ALEX and JOHN watch her a moment. JOHN walks upstage, his back to DEBBIE. ALEX goes to her.]
ALEXDeb? You want to go to church?
DEBBIE(angry) No!

[Long pause]
ALEXI... I wanted to believe in Santa too... but...
DEBBIEBut what.
ALEX(looking around circle) Cold stone. Just stones, Deb.
DEBBIELeave me alone.
ALEXOkay. I'm going. I'd like it if you came with me. Come with me?
[No response from DEBBIE. ALEX sighs and walks over to the bikes. She looks at JOHN. He looks at her. She looks quickly away. She picks up her bike and looks at DEBBIE. Pause.]
Meet you at the bed and breakfast?
[DEBBIE looks at her but gives no indication. ALEX maintains the eye contact a moment and then, mounting her bicycle, crosses the stage and exits. DEBBIE and JOHN watch her go. DEBBIE has forgotten JOHN's presence. She shakes her head and looks up to an empty sky. She looks around at the stones and notices JOHN watching her.]
JOHNI'm going for a little walk up the double avenue, and over the hill, to my cottage. Would you walk with me, then?

[DEBBIE smiles and shakes her head.]
DEBBIEGood-bye, John. It was nice meeting you.
[JOHN smiles sadly, then turns and goes. DEBBIE sits for a moment. Flute music begins, much the same tune as at the top of the play. DEBBIE picks up her camera and puts it in her pack. ALEX's whistle is lying on a stone. DEBBIE picks it up, looks at it. The lights fade around her and to black.]

END OF PLAY

1989 Eric Pettifor


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