If Itís Not One Thing, Itís Another

(Excerpt)
By Laurel Archer
(Performed at the Saskatoon Fringe Festival, July 1999)

Scene Six

(CBC morning radio cut fades in and out as lights come up on whole set and shed.)

(Margot and Billís house.† Thursday, August 12, 1998.† 10:00 a.m.)

(Margot is looking out the kitchen window.† There is a KNOCK on the door and Margot opens it to greet Elaine.† Elaine has a box of crackers in her hand.)

ELAINE:††††††† Good morning!† What a beautiful day it is, Margot!

MARGOT:†††† (Under her breath) Just be calm Margot, the truth will set you free.

(Elaine sits down on the couch.)

ELAINE:††††††† You said you needed to see me?† Are you going to order from the catalogue?

(Margot sits down beside her gingerly.)

MARGOT:†††† Well, no, um maybe later, but I just wanted to Ö talk.

ELAINE:††††††† Well sure, whatís up?† A new writing project?† You know Iíve thought that maybe I wouldnít mind trying my hand at poetry.† Iíve had this idea for a poem for a while and I thought you might help me with it.† It starts something like thisÖ

MARGOT:†††† ElaineÖ

ELAINE:††††††† Love is like a rose that never diesÖ

MARGOT:†††† ELAINE!† (Full stop.† Elaine looks surprised.)† Oh, dear.† But, really, Elaine, canít you tell somethingís wrong?

ELAINE:††††††† Oh, well.† You always look great, Margot.† I wish I could look that good withoutÖ

MARGOT:†††† Oh for Christ sake, Elaine, stop it!† God, nobody has any idea, everybody is so wrapped up in their puny little livesÖ.† Elaine, something terrible has happened, and I donít know what to do!

ELAINE:††††††† OhÖ um, sorry Margot, you can tell me anything.† I have always appreciated your support and advice.† If I could do anything to repay thatÖ† I should have told you before how much our friendship means to me.† You are such a gifted person, so compassionate, soÖ

(Margot starts grabbing her hair in frustration.)

MARGOT:†††† SHUT UP!† Fuck!† Iím a horrible person, you have no idea.† Iíve scorned you and your breeding, your nicey nice attitude while your husband and kids walk all over you.

ELAINE:††††††† ButÖ†

(Elaine starts nervously eating from her box of crackers.)

MARGOT:†††† I hate everything, everyone.† I despise myself!† All I ever wanted was to feel real, to do something that matters.† But Iím just as trapped as you are, Iím a bloody hypocrite, Iím a coward!† Iím a slave to my body, and Iím so angry Iím losing my mind.

ELAINE:††††††† ButÖ (Elaine keeps eating.)

MARGOT:†††† How could I be so stupid.† Why did I think it would be different?† I should never have married Bill no matter what he said or did, I shouldnít have done it.† He shouldnít have done it, then he wouldnít be dead.† Do you hear me?† Billís dead!† Iíve killed Bill!

ELAINE:††††††† ButÖ† But, MargotÖ† Oh, youíre just practising for one of your feminist plays again.† Itís great!† (Elaine claps excitedly.)

MARGOT:†††† Oh God, Iím so trapped.† You donít even fucking believe me!† Itís true, you stupid cow!† I killed Bill with a frying pan.† The one my grandmother gave me, you know!† I killed him yesterdayÖ oh oh ohÖ

ELAINE:††††††† YouÖ you did?

MARGOT:†††† YES!

ELAINE:††††††† Oh Margot! Ö† Are you sure?† You two are so happy, youíve been such an inspiration to us allÖ

MARGOT:†††† AHGGGGGGH!† Hu, hu, huÖ (Margot holds herself and rubs her arms.)

ELAINE:††††††† Oh, Iím really sorry, Margot.† I just canít believe this is happening.† I donít know what to say, sometimes I just donít know what to say to you.† Sometimes youíre a little hard to ahÖ understand, but Iíll do anything to help you, I really will.† Itíll be OK.

MARGOT:†††† But, Iíve killed him.† What are you going to do?† Call the police?

ELAINE:††††††† Well, where isÖ Bill?†

(Elaine looks around nervously.)

MARGOT:†††† I put him in the garden shed, where I store the potatoes.† I didnít even put him in a bag.† There will be blood all over the garden tools.† (Rubbing herself.)† OohÖ† I never even thought about that.† I must be really losing it!

(Pause.† Margot gets out some Kleenex.)

ELAINE:††††††††††††††††††† Uh.† UhÖ

MARGOT:†††† Come on, Iíll show you.† I have to face this.† I have to do the right thing and then everything will be OK.† Iíll be all right if I just face this.

(Margot drags Elaine out the kitchen door to the shed.† She throws open the door of the potato shed and looks at Elaine triumphantly.)

MARGOT:†††† There!

(Elaine looks in the shed, and then at Margot blankly.)†

ELAINE:††††††† Er.† Margot, thereís nothing in here but potatoes.

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