Posted in Of Writingly

Meeting: A Play

urn2
Urn (Courtesy: Pixabay)

Scene: On a deserted road

Lady: Did you bring it?

Man: Greetings (said with some irony, emphasizing Lady’s lack of manners). Yes, I did.

Lady: Where is it?

Man: Here. (fidgets a little and shows a nondescript plastic bag)

Lady: Did you bring all of it?

Man: Yes. As you requested.

Lady: All of it? In an air-tight bag?

Man: Yes, ma’am. I scooped it all and kept it in one.

Lady: Scooped it? What do you mean ‘scooped it’?

Man: Means I scooped it. Couldn’t be carrying a giant vase without anybody noticing now, could I? Took it to a corner when the lady wasn’t looking. Put it all in a bag, special kind. And then put it back with nobody noticing. Clean job.

Lady: You were supposed to bring the urn! There might still be a lot in it.

Man: I tell you ma’am, I wiped it clean. There’s nothing there.

Lady: Did you? Did you wipe it clean? With a handkerchief? Is it with you?

Man: No, I mean…it’s all here. Believe me.

Lady: It’s not! You were instructed to bring the entire urn. Oh, God! What will I do?

Man: You didn’t specify the, uh, urn. You said you need the ashes. All of it. I brought you ashes. All of it.

Pause.

Man: What do you want with someone’s ashes, anyway? What will you do with it?

Lady: That’s none of your business.

Man: You see, it is my business. I’ve never kidnapped the dead before. Unless they were fresh and someone needed to harvest their organs.

Lady: You talk too much. I was told you could be relied upon to be discreet.

Man: I am discreet. There is nobody here. I am allowed to ask questions about the job to my employer.

Lady: Did you spill?

Man: Sorry?

Lady: Did you spill any? While you were putting it in the bag?

Man: No! I don’t think so. I…transferred, nice and clean. Always neat, that’s what my ma used to say. And when your ma says you’re neat, you know she means it.

Lady: But, there might still be some left. You should have wiped it clean. I should have told you to wipe it clean, and bring the wipes.

Man: Hey listen, why do you need all that?

Lady: Can you go back and wipe it? Or just bring the urn this time?

Man: Hey, this is getting to be a bit too much. You first tell me, ma’am, what you need with some dead guy’s ashes.

 

Lady: None of your concern, as I’ve said before. Now, can you do it?

Man: I can’t go back uninvited. It was a lot to get invited to the party and do it all so…discreetly. Man, my wife will be proud. She’s always trying to get me to do the crossword, saying I should improve myself and not sound like someone who’s fresh off the boat. But, I tell her…

Lady: So, you can’t do it?

Man: What?

Lady: Get the rest of the ashes?

Man: Look, lady, I got you all. Here’s the bag. But, not before you give me my compensation.

Lady: Huh, is that another word your wife learnt doing crossword? No compensation for you. Not before you bring me the urn.

Man: Hey, you can’t do that! You can’t cheat me like that. I went on a limb for you. I risked my life.

Lady: By being invited to a marriage anniversary party? What a gripping life you lead.

Man: Really? Why didn’t you go then? Especially since you’re so pally with the lady…

Lady: Who told you that?

Man: Why, I told her I’m your husband.

Lady: What?

Man: Yeah. Why else would she let me in?

Lady: Oh God! Why do I have to suffer such fools!

Man: Hey, who’re you calling a fool?

Lady: What would you prefer I call you? An idiot? A stupid fuck?

Man: Language, madam! Looks like you aren’t so fine after all.

Lady: What did she tell you? After you told her who you were?

Man: Nothing. Nothing special. She was all nice and ladylike. Polite. Affable. (Lady snorts at the last word)

Lady: She didn’t ask you when we, I mean I got married?

Man: No. She just said she was sorry you couldn’t come.

Lady: Wait a minute. How did you get invited? I mean, if you told her you’re my husband, didn’t she, I mean, it’s not like she invited me to her anniversary dinner.

Man: Oh, it wasn’t a dinner. Just the tiniest snacks.

Lady: Never mind that. How did you get in?

Man: I told you.

Lady: And she let you in?

Man: Yes. Easiest job ever. I didn’t even have to bring my gun. Or look for a knife. Just buy a bag. By the way, that will cost you extra.

Lady: Did you talk? What did she say?

Man: Look, lady, this is too much. I don’t have time to waste, you know. I have another job to do, in an hour. If you give me my money, I’ll be on my way.

Lady: But, the job isn’t over yet. You still have to bring the urn.

Man: I can’t do that! It’s on the fucking mantelpiece! I can’t steal it without anybody finding out.

Lady: Oh really? You mean to say that you can kill all these people but you can’t steal a stupid urn?

Man: It’s not valuable! If I steal it, they will know it’s your husband stealing it. She probably knows anyway. She was looking at me all the time when I was inspecting the mantelpiece.

Lady: You weren’t supposed to do that! Don’t you know the meaning of being discreet? Or is it something your crossword-loving wife…

Man: Hey, I’ve had enough of this, okay? Now, give me my money or good day to you.

Lady: I need all of it. All. Of. It.

Man: Why?

Lady: I can’t tell you why.

Man: First you tell me why. Or you don’t get it. I am not a God-fearing man, miss, but I know there’s something unholy about all this.

Lady: He was my husband.

Man: Who? This? (clutching the bag tighter)

Lady: Yes.

Man: And?

Lady: It’s complicated.

Man: If he was your husband, what was he doing in her house? His ashes, I mean.

Lady: He was married to her.

Man: I’m confused. I saw her husband. Why was she celebrating her twenty-fifth, and how can this be both your and…

Lady: He married me while he was still married to her.

Man: Oh.

Lady: I was married too. But, we decided to get married. In spirit.

Man: Oh. Isn’t that illegal?

Lady: Yes. In the eyes of the law, we couldn’t be married.

Man: But, I saw her husband. How could he be alive, and dead…

Lady: She obviously remarried, didn’t she?

Man: And got to keep the ashes of her first husband?

Lady: She killed him. I know she did.

Man: Look, this is getting to be too weird. Too weird and confusing.

Lady: Oh, don’t you want to know anymore? Don’t you want to know the story of my life?

Man: Sigh. Fine. Madam. Tell me. I can do the job later. It’s only a hit and run at a precise location and time, but I guess I’ll do it another day.

Lady: What? Oh, anyway. The story of my life.

Man: Yes?

Lady: She cursed me.

Man: O. K.

Lady: She said we will always be together. My husband and I.

Man: Hmm.

Lady: He will haunt me. As long as I live, and even after I’m dead.

Man: Spooky.

Lady: This is serious! She is a witch. She killed him. And held on to his ashes so that he could keep haunting me.

Man: Now, madam. There are no witches. Just as there is no God.

Lady: Yes, there is. I know it. I’ve seen him.

Man: You’ve seen God?

Lady: No. I’ve seen him, I mean my dead husband. He comes unannounced. And just looks at me. Does anybody ever look at you Mister…

Man: Look, ma’am?

Lady: Yes. Look. Watch. Stare Intently.

Man: My wife does.

Lady: I mean really stare. As if he could see your soul. As if he could see you were lying. Or that you were afraid.

Man: I don’t know.

A long pause.

Man: I better get going. I might make it on time for the job after all. Here’s your, uh, bag.

Lady: I still need the urn.

Man: Look, lady, I have no time for this. You obviously have some issues. Get it sorted, OK? I can give you the number of an excellent doctor. My wife says he works magic, and…

Lady: So, you do believe in magic?

Man: I mean…

Lady: You haven’t once asked me what I want to do with this.

Man: I guess you want to keep them. In memory and all.

Lady: I want to burn them.

Man: You can do that? I mean, aren’t they burnt already?

Lady: I want to purify them. Let his memory go completely. Eliminate his existence. Get my life back.

Man: O. K.

Lady: Don’t say OK like that! It’s not OK. Can you believe, completely obliterating a person?

He looks confused. Lady guesses he doesn’t understand what obliterating means.

Lady: Someone gone. Completely. As if they never existed. Just so I can start my life again.

Pause.

Lady: He can’t haunt me forever. We’re not bloody Heathcliff and Cathy! That is why I need the urn. Some of him must be left, sticking to the walls. All of him needs to go, for me to be free.

Man: Alright. I’ll get you the urn.

Lady: You will do it?

Man: Yes. I’ll get my nephew to do it. He’s a door-to-door encyclopaedia salesman. But, he can sure charm the ladies.

Lady. Oh. OK.

Man: But, you have to promise me something.

Lady: What? I mean, of course I will pay you in addition…

Man: I mean something else.

Lady: OK.

Man: You have to promise to let go of this. And do something else with your life.

Lady: Am I to take advice from you?

Man: Yes. If you still want the urn.

Lady: You’re an impertinent man. You know what that means?

Man: I don’t need to, ma’am. I may not have education, but I do know what is right and what is wrong.

Lady: Ah, all this is unholy, as you put it.

Man: No, all this is useless. And deep down, you know it.

Lady: I’m not paying you for your wisdom.

Man: But, you are expecting me to listen. Which I have. No one else will believe your lunacy.

Lady: Get out of here! And you won’t be paid until you finish the job.

Man: Good day to you ma’am. Take care of yourself.

He walks away. She stands irritated. He shouts back.

Man: And don’t mess with the dead! Or the alive!

The End

Author:

Writer, Blogger, Kate Bush Fanatic

7 thoughts on “Meeting: A Play

    1. Thank you so much! It came to me at 5:30 am this morning when I was trying to get back to sleep. I thought the idea was too weird, and should not be passed. I’ve actually been delving into the Absurd for work lately, so that might have something to do with it.☺
      Thank you again. It means a lot!😁
      Btw, did you know Paul Auster’s 4321 has been longlisted for the Booker? I think you mentioned he was one of your faves. I’m tempted to read him.☺

      1. Haha..delving intot the absurd. Well whatever it was it sure worked! I did not hear about that and have yet to read 4321 but you are correct that he is one of my most favorite writers. Most people seem to start with The New York Trilogy, which is fine. But I’d start with Travels In The Scriptorium or Man In The Dark. It is actually hard to decide! Some of his books have fleeting references to previous books. Almost like people bumping into one another on the street.

      2. Thank you again. I used to be into all that a lot when I was in college – the absurd, existentialism, nihilism etc. Very predictable for someone that age huh?
        I’m drawn to the idea of 4321, but it’s a massive 900 page novel, so I don’t know if I have the courage to start it as yet. I will take your suggestions, and maybe look for something doable!😁

      3. Yes I’m a bit daunted by its length too. Especially since I still read books and not Ebooks, so carrying something that large around is not so appealing! I’d actually suggest Travels In The Scriptorium first now that I think of it. It is actually a novella, but his brilliance is on full display, and it actually has elements of absurdity, existentialism, etc. For me that is a nice place to visit, but I don’t want to live there if you get my drift!

      4. What appeals to me most about that sort of stuff is the playfulness. Just because you’re talking about something big and real, doesn’t mean you have to be dry and dreary about it. I’m liking the Booker’s trend of awarding funny books, like The Sellout last year, and the International prize this year for A Horse Walks Into A Bar. Funny can be important and complex too!
        4321 has a gorgeous cover. I’m partially drawn to it because of that. I might get the ebook, or I’ll hopefully get a library copy and just read it in short bursts at home – something I usually do with bulky affairs like that.☺

      5. Indeed it can be funny, which is probably why I mentioned Godot. I don’t really follow the Booker awards (or any awards for that matter) but that is good to hear. Funny can indeed be very complex. P.G. Wodehouse’s stories were funny, but were also very well crafted. Obviously a different type of humor but the point is the same. I’m an all or nothing type of reader. When I begin reading, I just read only that book. I cannot shift between!

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