A SHOW THOZE FASCISTS SHOW!
I met Lady Catherine Osborn, a veteran of repertory theatre, when I was giving a filmmaking course at The University of The Third Age. Upon watching "A Show for Myself" she was more than receptive to joining that cast of women stunt fighters in a mini-series that we had begun writing at the time. Her inclusion persuaded us that we had what any successful indie production (and they are few and far between) must have: a hook.
In our show the cast of "A Show for Myself " have seriously bonded and formed a clandestine society that serves to settle irksome scores that fall outside The Law. They meet in a storeroom in the back of The Bubble & Dumplings Café where one of the women minds the counter and where their clients present themselves with a secret code. Each episode opens and closes with Lady Osborne’s contemplation of the peculiar twists and turns of human intrigue that our crew dependably untangles.
Lady Osborn's response upon reading the first episode might just as well have popped straight out of the show itself :
Dear Eric - Read the draft, and impressed with the snappy, modern dialogue. I found it, though, a bit confusing and I'm not sure that I understood the story or that I liked the very rude bit towards the end. I dare say I'm behind the times and getting a bit slow in my old age! Perhaps I'd get a different impression if I actually saw it acted out - Catherine
Bubble and Dumplings - Episode I
Lady O. reclining on the balcony of her London flat with a glass of port.
“All things being equal ... ”
What on earth is that supposed to mean?
If they were ...?
People say the silliest things.
“Oh, boys will be boys.”
Do they still say that today?
“And girls must be prudent,” they should have said.
“You have so much more to lose.”
All things being equal?
Oh, we’d either die of boredom or kill each other first.
It is our differences - and our settling them
That provide us with the stories
That make life worth living. After all.
Chrissie: Barroom... Blues? Barrelhouse? Ragtime? No, you tell me. I can’t see your fucking screen, can I? Oh, Minstrel! Gospel. Why didn’t you tell me? This is your show not mine.
Tickling the keys all along this little monologue and settling into a Holy-Rolling rendition of “Just a Closer Walk with Thee” that slides into the next scene and drifts through this show.
SCENE ONE – THE AGENCY
The back pantry of “Bubbles and Dumpling” - The Chinese Café in Limehouse where Sam is presently working - with a back door that opens onto the janitor’s closet, the dustbins on the steps and the back alley. Angel, Dezzie, Dot and Clo are gathered to suck on Bubble Tea, to wrap-up their the last Settlement and negotiate a new one.
Angel: “Sign!” Right? That’s all I’m asking him. “Sign, you little sneak.” Like he’d agreed. Like I thought I’d heard him agree. I’d had to crank up the old half-nelson to get that much cooperation. Right? Like this (quick as a whip, Angel has Clo bent over the table and demonstrates) But now he stifles. Mute as a newt. And so I’m about to start getting a little bit persuasive when he drops the pen and I notice he’s drooling, no fooling. (demonstrates). I let up to give the bleeder a breather, get down to pick up the pen and hear what he’s blathering and – are you ready for this? – he splutters in my ear, “I’m left-handed!”
Angel hands an envelope over to Dot who opens it, unfolds a page and sets a bundle of bills, a watch, a betting ticket, Oyster card and an iPhone to one side as Angel receives a round of applause as she takes a bow, picks up her Courier bag and is getting ready to wheel her bike out the back door.
Meanwhile, Olivia has entered unnoticed and remained excluded from the entertainment. Dot now sees her and directs her associates’ attention towards their guest, spreads her hands as they all wait – attentive and curious.
Olivia: Mike Hunt? ... Is Mike Hunt here? ... What’s going on here? Who are you? Have any of you seen Mike Hunt...
They almost all almost burst out laughing and then Olivia gets it.
Dot: I’m sorry dear. This is Clo’s silly experiment to find out how many times clever ladies can laugh at the same stupid joke...
Clo: (indistinct and totally disregarded on account of the Hijab she is wearing) …an anthropological investigation of ...?
Angel: (in doorway, helmet on head, in the very act of leaving) That’s how brilliant they are. The twits are so busy pissing their knickers they forget to count.
Clo: (Tilts down her shades to look out) And you?
Angel: (pushing off with a dismissive gesture of farewell) I am not amused.
Dezzie: “We are not amused.”
Clo: (Lifts up her veil and hollers after Angel) So, what’s the count, Ms. Fit?
Angel cycles on, just shaking her head and giving them the finger behind her departing back. There is a general admission that their entertainment is over and seriousness settles over the agency.
Dot: You must be Olivia.
Ol: Yes I am. Olivia Fos... (Dot stops her in her tracks)
Dot: Glad to meet you, Olivia. Please present us with the score you have to settle?
O: Oh, I don’t really have a score to settle. Nothing quite as exciting as that. Just an awful problem that I simply must solve. A rather big blunder.
Dez: (super posh) “Oh Gosh, Ollie! A rather big blunder, what!”
Dot: Yes, we know, my dear, “It was all my fault, all my fault...”
Clo: “I was so foolish...”
Dez: “Strike me blind...
Clo: ... I should have seen it coming.”
Dot clicks her fingers. Silence. They all wait for Ollie to tell her story.
Ol: (Nervous to begin with but growing bolder and even enjoying the spotlight once she gets a response and knows she is in good hands)
It was just a crazy fling, you know, just one of those things...
Sam: (Sam waltzes in with a bowl of dumplings - singing Cole Porter)
One of those bells that now and then rings
Just one of those things...
Ol: And he was rather – Edward, that’s the chap in question – he was ‘hot’ – if you can you say that about a fellah? Hot?
Clo: Only when you’re hot, honey. The glow is in the eye of the beholder.
De: Peter Tosh was hot.
Clo: Tosh was just Tosh, Sweetie. Dezzie was hot.
D: Shhh, Guys. Ollie, go on.
Ol: Well, hot or not, the bells were still ringing when I had to leave for Strasburg - a girlfriend was getting married. I promised to Skype Eddie every night and it must have been the first night or maybe the next that he asked me to tease him terribly, and what with a bottle of Chablis and some smoochie music– well I got pretty carried away. Do you know what I mean?
In unison they all act totally clueless, shake their heads and then they crack up laughing. Sam and Clo get up and do some dirty dancing to Dezzie’s beat and the next thing Dezzie takes Ollie by the hand and draws the guest into their burlesque.
O. Oh Gosh! What fun. (catching her breath and looking around in wonder) What a rum bunch you are! (mopping her brow with her sleeve and straightening her dress) Where was I? (splutters with mirth) Oh yes. (slips into the shadow) That should have been that. In fact, that was that because this amazing Armenian actor, Kal ... (Dot stops her. Olivia falters and suddenly sinks into a perilous place she hasn’t been until now.) Oh Crikey! He is going to be in London tonight!
S: Olivia? Edward was history, right?
O: Totally. For me at least. And I thought ... You see, I staid an extra week and I let Edward know that our little liaison was passé. I said it ever so nicely. And quite sincerely. I never heard back from him. Which felt odd, I admit, but ...
Isn't that the way they say it goes?
Well, let's forget all that...
O: Oh Yes! That’s exactly what I was telling myself ... until last night when he called. “Hi Edward,” I said. “Welcome back,” he replied, “my little laptop dancer?“ Do you know that feeling? When you don’t want to know what you do know? He was real sweet and said he understood but I knew what was coming. Mummy says I am gullible but I’m not. I can’t help it, I act innocent ... and I am. But I’m not simple. I’d got the drift. And when it started to get ugly, I wasn’t totally surprised. I just didn’t know...
Clo: (muffled) Gender memory...
Sam: What’d she say?
Clo: (angrily lifting her veil a little) Women’s collective unconscious, you stunned bunnies. The deepest secret ... (slaps the veil back down) Fuck!
Dot: Did he stay the night, Ollie? That’s what interests me, or did he just grab the booty and run?
O: What? How do you know? Did I tell you what happened? You all know? How do you know?
Clo: That’s exact...
Do: Well? Did he...
O: Well, if you must know, he really dragged out the performance – and I mean ‘performance’. Then he left. Just left.
S: Without a word?
O: Without a word ... Why? Why? Do you think he’ll be back?
De: Why are you here, Love? ... Or do you want to find out? (Dezzie shows her the door.)
The agency slowly fades and reopens on shots of the individual agents’ daily lives with fleeting glimpses of home and work. Their mundane existences. Against a soundtrack taken from an improvised discussion of strategies for a settlement and their squabble as to who would be best-suited to conduct this particular operation – Sam.
A brief interlude of Chrissie (Bacardi + cigarette & head-phones) checking-out the finished theme.
Return to the agency as they are settling down to The Day’s Settlement, capturing little details of their mingled whispered interaction as they suck on their Bubble Teas (And Dot adds a shot of Sloe Gin into hers and Dezzie’s) and munch on Dumplings (Clo tries to stuff her face under her hijab but loses patience – “Fuck it!” - and throws the veil up and over her head) against a soundtrack of Sam letting everybody know how she trapped Edward into the web in which she now connects and leads him through the shoot, getting him to give her “A Teazer” just like he had got Ollie to do. Performing blind. She promises to do him afterwards. Close to the computer, she provides the dramatic sighs, exhortations, declamations and heavy breathing, much to everyone’s amusement and irrepressible contributions.
Our camera is behind the laptop on which they watch Skype ‘live’.
Dez: Is this toff what you’d call hot, Ollie?
Clo: An Upper Class Twit of the…
Dez: Come on. Give me Tosh.
Dot: He’s a low-life imposter…
O: He was hot ...
Dez: ... before he ransomed your twat!
Dot: ...ransacked more ...
Clo: See, Girls, it’s like I told you. The shaft is in the eye of the beholder.
Dez: More like the splinter in your knickers, sister.
Dot: What the fuck …?
Sam: Oh, the old butt plug number…
Dez: Fifty shades…
Ol: He loved that movie. We…
Ol: And what’s with…
Sam: The candle is all mine. Nice, eh.
Clo: Teddy the Tosser in The Temple of Doom!
Dot: Well, this isn’t taking long, Ollie. Your Edward isn’t dragging this one out.
Dez: He wants to watch not whank.
Clo: Fuck, the dirty dork is coming all over the keyboard! Get the Kleenex. That’s fifty quid!
De: Pretty handy, this laddy...
Dot. ... and left-handed at that.
General laughter and applause as Ollie clicks on to “Camera”.
Sam: “Bravo, Darling.” That was just what we wanted. Suits us down to a tee, doesn’t it girls? And I think that our score is settled. Is it not? Fair and square. what? And now’s all said and done, we won’t hear from you and you won’t hear from ... What’s her name? ... Ah yes! Your Laptop Dancer.
Ol: Forget her.
Dot: Forget everything, Teddy… everything except for the little matter of expenses. You will be receiving our invoice in the mail. Services rendered for the relief of distress inflicted upon Miss What’s Her Name by Edward Whoever in recognition of their settlement, Sir.
LADY OSMOND’S EPILOGUE
“People always like to believe that they live in times like no other. And it would certainly appear that the trouble our young lass brings to us belongs to our times - and so it does, my dears - just as Eve's trouble in Eden belonged in her times which were - or so we are told – “ ’In the beginning...’ "
Until we meet again my friends, Love, Peace and Good Vibes.
Bubble and Dumplings - Episode II
Lady O on her balcony with a glass of Sherry. Listening to a radio program with her ear-phones plugged into her iPhone:
... we have no future. There might be a tomorrow,
but we have no future about which we can say
anything, about which we have any power…
“Oh, don’t look so gloomy, Lass ... It’s not the end of the earth.”
That’s what Mother told us.
But those were Other Times ... Now?
You’d be a fool to not look gloomy.
And the children ...?
How do they feel? What do they think when they are told to put their plastic bags and bottles in the proper bin to “Save The Planet”
- whilst trains and planes and automobiles ... Oh, dear me.
Chrissie: Salvation Army? Brass Band ... revival music! My oh my, it has been a while. And what’s that? Gospel again, with a swing. “Sign of Judgment ... (sings) Yes, Sign of Judgment, yes...” No problem, my dears. Love it! (sounds the chords – banjo, accordion cornet…)
Bubble & Dumpling Agency. Angel, Dot, Orphie and Dez + Clo who is a bearded Yeshivabocher this week. All sucking on their bubbly teas – the usual flask of spirits next to Dot’s.
Or: Shelley Showenburg. Bum-rap, folks.
Dot: Wasn’t she ‘Shirley’?
Or: That’s what I said, diddle I?
Ang. Cheryl, Shirley, Shelley – Who gives a damn. She gave me the creeps.
Dez: Well Honey, you’ve left it a bit a bit late for another “I told you so.”
Dot: Well, we aren’t learned to heed our instincts, are we now. That’s why we always learn too late, in’it?
Dez: Thank you, Father, but...
Clo: Priests are ‘Father’, we are “rebbi”
Ang: For the sweet love of Moses, Clo, just wear your dumb fuckin’ disguise and shut your goddamn gob...
(Clo squeezes her lips together behind her bushy beard and mumbles a muted ‘mishnah’. Nobody is amused.)
Or: Look, just to wrap this up, if anyone deserves to get settled it’s Sherry Shoobug, not her ex who did himself a major favour when he d-d-dumped the cunt.
Dot: And you gave him the key-code, right?
Or: Actually he asked...
Dot: Surprise, surprise. L’il Orphelina to the rescue again. Hallelujah!
Or: (shouldering her back pack and lighting a smoke as she leaves) Just presenting my report, Guys. Ciao.
Dez: You mean your P.O.V.
Or: And what’s that’s supposed to mean, Sergeant?
Dez: A ‘report’ is a matter of fact, Ma’am; a POV is an opinion – and like assholes, everybody has one.
A brawny middle-aged working woman with a floppy hat on her head and an enormous shoulder bag bustles up to the counter and orders a Dozen Dumplings from Sam who nods her on to the pantry. From the counter we then hear the usual intro and uproar and although it’s totally muffled Sam utters the punch line and bursts into one of her hoots of laughter. A customer looks puzzled.
In the pantry
Linda: I’m in London to visit me Dad. Probably be for the last time. He’s on his last legs an’ dwindling. Doesn’t know who he is, let alone who I am. Won’t be missed. But it was sad saying ‘Good Bye’ for a’ that. An’ Lord only knows, I got enough on my mind, what with power of attorney, and the flat, his cat and me sister Patricia to look out for. So, like after I meet the real estate agent I drop in on Trish, not that I ‘d be missed if I didn’t, but just to make sure she’s managing, like I’ve always done since Mum’s been gone. And like I wasn’t surprised to find her preparing for The End Times – she’s always on some gimmick or other – pagan, Wiccan, Gaian, Mormon, Born Again – you name it. I’ve read up on Asperger’s and that’s what they do. ‘The Truth’. In a very sort of mental way, if you know what I mean?
Clo: mumbles another Mishnah.
Sam slips in with the dumplings.
Dez: If you ask me, that’s what religion is, mental.
Sam: Thought it was spozed to be spiritual.
Dez: (picking up Dot’s flask) Spiritual is what you got in a bottle. Right, Dot?
Clo: I will drink wine in the kingdom of God.
Dez: Got you Rebbi! That’s Christian shit! Mark, 14…
Lin: (composes herself) Well, now she’s into “Global Disaster” and all that Green parrafinally. But that don’t worry me - not the tent – no, not a tent, “It’s a yurt,” she tells me like I should know - planted in the living room. Spirit stove and water bladders. Everything but the bleedin’ camel. And you might freak but I’m used to it. It was a shrine last time and a rubber dinghy before that and… It’s all ducks off my back. It’s her neighbour what bothers me. This Beatrice bitch. The fuckin’ Planet Fanatic what got Trish into this shit. Beatrice this, Beatrice that. But I reckon I caught her by surprise. You see, Asperger’s can’t keep secrets ... no, they can’t tell lies. That’s more like it, but...
Dez: Jeez, I’m glad I’m not Asparagers.
Ang: So’s your husband.
Clo: another Mishnah
Lin: You are a rum bunch. You girls should be on telly!
Dot: We are. (Linda looks around for the hidden camera and everyone cracks up)
Lin: Well, one way or another, me sis, Trish, let things slip which I would not have considered significant except for how quick Beatrice was to hush her up. “Nobody’s interested in that Trish!” “Show Linda the pictures of you in the papers.” So I was getting suspicious of this Beatrice bint - but didn’t want her to be getting suspicious of me. I waited for her to leave us alone together...
Dot: ...and she didn’t did she?
Sam: And you suspect...
Dez: What exactly?
Clo: Can’t you guess?
Sam: Oh, we’re cutting to the chase. Right? Love it!
Lin: It was all the “We this” and “We that” what Trish was giving me. “…get off the grid,” and, “… a cottage on the coast.” But what really grabbed me (she clenches a fist) was when Patricia was saying, “Just as soon as...” and that’s when Beatrice stopped her dead.
Sam: “ ‘Dead’ like Dad, huh?”
Clo: (can’t resist a Shakespeare quote now that her cover has been blown.) …………………
Fade into Chrissie singing, swinging:
I don't like old Satan,
Nothing he say or do.
Tell one lie to hurt us all,
Then two to make it true
Yes, the sign of judgement, yes...
Trish & Bea are squatted cross-legged within the smoky candle-lit Yurt that fills up the entire studio flat. Trish is eating bulgur rolled up in kelp, they are both drinking fair-trade organic Chianti from the bottle, Bea is rolling and smoking home-grown weed - all to ghastly Gaelic folk music.
Behind this video we hear Dot asking Linda to wait outside. The agents establish their feelings about this case, invite Linda back in and discuss stratagems for settling it which fail to achieve a conclusion until:
Clo: (Peeling off the beard but leaving the peyos and hat which just so happen to make her look delightful) Sorry to inform you guys, but this job’s for me. Please leave it to me.
Dez: First, Rubby, tell us your plan.
Clo: No plan. I’m just trusting to intuition...
Ang: And my intuition tells me to trust Clo...
Clo: “And after the earthquake a fire; and after the fire a still small voice.”
Dez: (in a still small voice) Oo-oo! Holy Ghosties!
Sam: (Twilight zone narrator) And this was the moment when dialogic communion ended at Bubble & Dumpling and intuition ruled!
Ang: Hey, chill fellahs! Remember ... Bruce Lee: “Don’t think ... feewl!”
Sam: Yeah! Go for it Clo!
Back at Bubble & Dumplings for The Report. The Crew. Clo with her iPhone.
Clo: Listen up, guys Catch a picture of this: I got on my bike with my iPhone on my selfie-stick and my trusty instinct smack on track and I shot (video of B. at Steak & Grill) Ms. Orthodox Organic taking a break from Beans & Greens to feast on the Meat of Dead Animals. Savages can’t resist! Then I followed her to work. (video of Bea distributing Evening Standard @ Charing Cross) So, double-quick, I doubled-back, and double-cross the duplicitous dyke. I knock on Trish’s door. Now, you have to be pretty darn lonesome to welcome a Jehovah’s Witness into your home, but who wouldn’t be intrigued by a Yeshivabocher with a “Jews For Jesus” sticker (selfie of Clo in Hassidic gear with the sticker on her hat) on your doorstep? Not our poor Patricia, the perennial lost sheep - clever and clueless - longing for The Shepherd who’ll show her The Way. And with a flip of the wrist, I whip out the old iPhone and initiate our simple savant to the prophecy of our modern messiah – Zosima Zizek.
(Clip of Trish spellbound by Zizek -
on her laptop from the closing door of the flat)
She didn’t notice me leave ... and then there was my masterstroke El, Eloah! I wait on the stairway. I wait. And when Beatrice comes bounding up I waylay her (youtube video of Bea eating meat).
Dot: I have no truck with intuition, Girl, but this is brilliant shit. Mazel Tov! Girls?
(a mixed and begrudging round of applause)
Dez: And what about the money, Rebbi? Who gets the gelt?
Clo: Tell them about the chattels, Honey.
Lin: Trish don’t trust me with the Truth, but when it comes to the practical crap? No sweat. She’s only too happy to let me manage the money... so I get to be executor of the Old Man’s will. Split 50:50, and trustee for me sister. We had a little bone to pick over her wish to give her share to The Jews for Jesus, but I got her to reconsider and hold on to it for a rainy day - The Hebrews have had their share - and to give a nice slice of the pie to you guys who showed her the way.
Yes, the sign of judgment, yes
Sign of judgment, yes
Sign of judgment time ain't long.
I can remember our saying Grace on Sundays and looking up to catch my Daddy’s eye - winking mischievously at me.
What a sweet conspiracy. Us laughing at the nonsense of it all.
How I wish I could do the same now.
You know, wink at a little one brooding over this doomsday brouhaha
... and see them smile.
Oh my Dears, what I wouldn’t give for that.
Of giving something back.
(ruminates, slips the ear phones back and sets the iPhone to play)
We are radically powerless, and engage in conversation because we want to find ways of extending
our budding friendships to others who with us can enjoy the experience of powerlessness.
I have only one way how to transform us – ‘us’ meaning always those whom I can touch and come close to –
let’s celebrate, really celebrate, enjoy - consciously - ritually, openly, the permission to be alive at this moment.
Bubble and Dumplings - Episode III
THE ANGEL & THE DEVIL
Lady O. :
Did you ever meet somebody who was good without trying?
I have. And it felt beautiful. Like being with an angel.
Most of us make an effort to be decent. And some don’t even bother.
Those are the rotters. Mean and moody. You don’t want to bother with them.
And just once or twice in my life I have run into a character
who is downright evil and chilled me to the bone.
SCENE TWO (TITLES)
“Lost Souls?” Can’t say as I’ve ever heard it. Is that Carter Family?
Oh, Doc Watson. Marvelous. How does it go…?
B&D pantry. Dot, Angel, Dez, Orphie + Clo (Very American Ivy League academic)
Dot: Well, our Wilbur settled swiftly it seems. Right, Angel?
An. Short shrift more like it.
Dez: And is our Super-Hero going to tell us how she whipped this one off?
An: You guys seem to like my little settlements, so - let’s show not tell, huh? Dez, over there, buddy. You’re Wilbur and I’m about to settle a score. Act macho.
Dez: (Does a big Brit black dude dick-diddling deal and Brother mumble-grumble) Hey Babe, who are you screw-tin-eyesing? Huh? (Angel doesn’t budge or blink and he swangles over towards her.)
Clo: (whispers to Dot) Dez has got to put this dude in her stand-up act, man.
Dez: You wanna sit on this!
Dot: (to Clo) She is goood.
Clo: That bitch is bad.
An: I wouldn’t sit on your limp dick for a ring-around-your-rosy red asshole that’s had more pricks up it than your dumb Mamma can count! (pause) Dah...
(General hilarity at this rap-battle that stops dead when Dez blows and stages that man’s rage. She lunges for Angel who, with breath-taking alacrity pitches ‘him’ into a spin, delivers a swift kick to his guts followed by an elbow-blow to the head that floors him. She holds him down with her cowboy boot pressed to his throat. Dez over-dramatises his gurgling, eye-popping gasps much to everyone’s amusement.)
An: And if you think that you can take some sad-sack mugly for a sucker-ride again, you’ll have me to reckon with. Get my drift? (presses down on Dez’s neck) Yeah, dig it? So, Little Willy Wilbur, let’s settle and hope to never meet again. (Gesture of starting up a car and a click of her fingers.)
(Dot holds up the car keys to a round of applause to which Angel fails to respond as she just swings her backpack over her shoulders, checks her phone, gets on her Courier bike and is gone ‘sans adieu’. )
Crew: an assorted chorus of gay good bye’s which get the proverbial farewell finger from behind Angel’s back.
B&D pantry. The Agents + Pia, awkward and unadorned young Asian woman with a hair-lip. Instantly adorable.
Dismayed blank faces of the agents...
Dot: … It’s Mike. OK, not Mickey…
Dez: She just killed our joke...
Dot: And you are ...
Clo: And why, girls?
Dez: Why what? What’s...
Clo: Why did she kill our joke? Tell me. (Clo taps her temple in mock exasperation at the prevailing mindlessness.)
Dez: Who gives a fuck, Clo?
Clo: You are?
Pia: My name is Pia.
Clo: We are very glad to meet you, Pia. I am Clo and I want you to say after me, “I am looking...”
Pia: P “I am looking...”
Clo: “I am looking for Mike Hunt.”
Pia: “I am looking for my cunt.”
Clo: Thank you Pia. Anybody laughing? (Sam comes in with bowl of dumplings and her bubbly tea) Hah! And why not?
Dez: Because you killed the fucking joke all over again, Perfesser.
Dot: Thank you, girls...
Clo: But aren’t you all fascinated by...
Sam: I am.
Dot: By what, Sam? You only just got here…
Sam: …and I’m fascinated by what’s so fascinating.
Dot: Stop. Chill. (brief silence until...)
Clo: (Clo hums the mantra, Sam joins in and then Pia too.) Ommm!
Dez: Where the fuck am I?
Sam: (Asian voice) Bubbles and dumplings, Ma’am. (everyone laughs. Released.)
Dot: Well Clo, you happy? You got your laugh. (raises a hand to hush the Prof. And our guest appears to feel perfectly at home.) Pia? Tell us a story.
Pia: I am from Malaysia on a work visa and I will be deported if I lose my job.
Dot: Go on...
Pia: Three years ago, Lady Gigi, he choose me for Nannie because of this. (indicating her hairlip) She is from Singapore. Land of Look. She not so young but she think she is most pretty woman in the world – sing and dance, paint picture and write poem - but everybody love me and I love them especially my Baby Nina just born when I began. But Sir Duckworth and Master Darcy and even Martha - sad little sister - I am mother now. How can I leave? You see?
Everyone looks puzzled until...
Sam: “Magic mirror on the wall ... (everybody) who is the fairest one of all?”
Clo: In the mirror … or in the eye of the beholder? Hah!
Sam: (The wizard in the mirror) “A lovely Maid I see. Rags cannot hide her gentle grace...”
Clo: (triumphant) We be as we be perceived!
Dot: So Pia, you got too popular for the Evil Queen...
Sam: “Alash for her!”
(Nonchalantly, Pia acknowledges that they have got the drift, the whole drift and nothing but the drift.)
Dot: Yes, Pia, we see. And what did Lady Gigi do to you?
Pia: Jewelry is missing. First pearl earring. She say, “Maybe it fell somewhere.” But then pendant, jade, taken off gold chain. And Martha she say to me she see her Mummy visit me in my room but I am not there. And I know...
Dez: And you found the jewelry in a shoe ...
Pia: Behind them, in a shoe box. (embarrassed) I keep them ...
Dot: So do I, Pia ...
Dez: And will another gem go missing or will she strike?
Pia: What can I do? I can’t...
Dot: Ah ha. It’s not what you can do Pia, it’s what we can do.
Clo: We are performing a Miracle Play. Troubadours of olde.
VO’s from B&D as Pia provides the details of the where’s & when’s in her domicile. She then leaves, graciously thanking the agents and trusting to the miracle of Grace. Strategies are thence dramatically discussed and a decision reached as to who is going to handle this job.
Images of Georgian homes in Kensington and of immigrant women sweeping steps, tending infants in the park, wheeling shopping carts and walking dogs.
A few days later. B&D, Pia and all the agents.
Dot: Thanks for coming, Angel. I think that this might be … instructive...
Clo: And entertaining?
Ang: For who?
Clo: For you. Is not laughter the food of fellowship and fellowship the font of knowledge?
Dot: Whatever. Dez! On with ... the show?
Dez: Well, her Ladyship couldn’t resist the killing blow and lost a Cartier broach which showed up in the shoe box. (She holds it up for voluble admiration) So I caught her as she was getting out of her Lamborghini with her sparkling diamonds in the palm of my black hand and told her (takes a breath and says, ever so posh) “My foreign friend loves her English family and would really rather not get deported. We think that the jade pendant would pretty-well cover the pain and suffering – unless you are inclined to believe that the broach would be more appropriate? - as a foreigner herself, I feel sure that Her Ladyship could (looking boldly at Clo) empathize.”
Sam: And ...
Dez: You had to be there. You would’ve heard her cheeks squeeze as she smiled at this Babe, pocketed the bling and buggered off. It was gorgeous.
Sam: “Snow white still lives, the fairest in the land. It’s the heart of a pig that you hold in your hand.”
SCENE SEVEN (CREDITS)
Chrissie sings with a cigarette and a tumbler of Bacardi on the rocks:
What an awful day
When the judgment comes
And the sinners hear
Their eternal doom,
At the sad decree
they’ll depart foray,
And to end this doom
They’ll depart foray.
Ever since I can remember I have heard words wasted
on the why’s and wherefore’s of what it is that makes us better or worse,
but I don’t give a fig for those theories.
All that matters is how we muddle through.
Say, “Thank God for Human Goodness,”
and “Get thee behind me Satan.”