PLAY #312: SAMHAIN (OCT 31)

Ireland.

FERDINAND is setting up a small table.

Candles, incense, rosemary.

TOM looks on.

 

TOM

What’s all the rosemary for?

 

FERDINAND

Remembrance. And smell. Ritual is forty per cent music, twenty per cent food, and fifty per cent smell.

 

TOM

That doesn’t add up to one hundred.

 

FERDINAND

The numinous won’t be confined by numbers.

(beat.)

You’re supposed to put a spring of rosemary under your pillow every Samhain. So you dream of your one true love.

 

TOM

I’ll be appearing in your dirty dreams so.

 

FERDINAND

You’ll have to fight off Gael Garcia Bernal.

 

TOM

Maybe I’ll just burn some of this stuff (incense). It would clear any room.

 

FERDINAND

I’m sure Gael will appreciate it.

 

TOM

It reminds me of Church. Except more…

 

FERDINAND

Pagan?

 

TOM

Yeah.

(beat.)

You know my Gran died on November 1st. She was supposed to die today, Halloween, but she held out for All Souls Day. That was the kind of woman she was, stubborn everything, even death.

 

FERDINAND

I think I would have liked her.

 

TOM

Yeah.

 

FERDINAND

Do you want to put her photo on the shrine?

 

TOM

Beside your Dad?

 

FERDINAND

Sure. Maybe she can chat to the dinosaurs.

 

TOM

Maybe. I’m not sure she even believed in them. She never liked that I had my head in the books. Worried that I’d never get a girlfriend.

 

FERDINAND

Well, I’m sure she’ll be comforted by the fact that your head now regularly rests up my anus.

 

TOM

I don’t think you need to open the window. Gran will smash it if you keep talking like that.

 

FERDINAND

You have to wait until the right moment. Sunset. Ritual is sixty per cent timing.

 

TOM

And 100% waffle.

(beat.)

Gran used to leave the candle by the window though. Especially on All Souls. She’d open it a crack. Wait for the spirits to come through. Used to scare the bejaysus out of me, but sure it was just the cold.

 

FERDINAND

That’s my scientist. Anyway, I’m heartened that your Gran and I were such kindred spirits in Samhain celebration.

 

TOM

We’ll see. So what do we do when people come?

 

FERDINAND

We share stories about the dead. We drink. We sing. We celebrate life.

 

TOM

Seems a bit callous.

 

FERDINAND

No. It’s to share it with them. Those who have passed. We crack open the window and let those that are usually forgotten be here with us, laughing and arguing and believing and not-believing.

 

TOM

I’m pretty sure that if Gran comes she’ll be giving out.

 

FERDINAND

I like a good fight.

 

TOM

I think I’m going to need more whisky for this.

 

FERDINAND

Me too.

(beat.)

I hope they come. I like the idea of them watching us.

 

TOM

Spirits?

 

FERDINAND

Everything. Dad. Your Gran. The dinosaurs.

(beat.)

Sometimes it feels as if everything in the world is vanishing. As if we are living at the time when everything is lost. The rainforest, the rhinos, the snow leopards. The insects – so many little creatures that we don’t know about until we make them extinct. We’re eroding the planet of all forms of life and to stop it feels so huge, so insurmountable, because we’re stripping away everything, the commons, parks, the social safety net, freedom…We need them. We need them standing beside us on the front line, fighting for the hill.

 

TOM

You’re not going to talk about the pipe tonight, are you?

 

FERDINAND

I can’t not talk about it now. Everything’s about it.

 

TOM

I know.

 

FERDINAND

I imagine them beside us. All the spirits of the underworld. Chanting in support of preservation, of life. We can’t dig up their graves so that we can power more cars. When you think about it, all the layers of life stacked up inside the earth, the complexity of each piece of coal, each drop of oil…when you think about what we do, it’s obscene.

 

TOM holds FERDINAND by the window.

 

TOM

You think they’ll come?

 

FERDINAND

Yes.

 

They open the window and wait.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PLAY #311: GHOSTS, WE WELCOME YOU (OCT 30)

Paris, 2015.

An enormous march to demand action from the U.N. on climate change.

 

PROTESTORS

our steps

would not be possible

without the strides of our ancestors

our voices could not cry for justice

without those who first shouted those syllables to the skies.

we march as those in present peril

facing future uncertainty

but bolstered with the power of the past.

ghosts:

we welcome you.

 

PROTESTORS wait.

Energy passes through protestors like wind: the sense of the crowd doubling.

PROTESTORS start to march.

PLAY #310: FUTURE GHOSTS ARE RISING UP (OCT 29)

A fossil fuel company.

BOSS sits at desk facing ASSISTANT.

 

BOSS

I want the Board on the line. No, make that the Chief of Police. No, the Mayor! No, make it the President!

 

ASSISTANT

Okay.

 

BOSS

Or all of them on different lines. Just get me somebody to shout at!

 

ASSISTANT

Happy to do my job.

 

BOSS

Wait! Is there any more news?

 

ASSISTANT

Another five rigs are-

 

BOSS

Don’t tell me. I can tell by the way the phone is lighting up. It’s not good.

 

ASSISTANT

It couldn’t be termed that, no.

 

BOSS

Has anybody sensible said anything about the situation yet? Any practical cause for the blocking of the wells?

 

ASSISTANT

The same theory-

 

BOSS

No more of this ghost nonsense! I want to ban the word.

 

ASSISTANT

Noted.

 

BOSS

I mean, how can there be ghosts stopping the flow?

 

ASSISTANT

What we don’t know about the supernatural is considerable.

 

BOSS

You don’t believe this, do you? Don’t tell me: I’d have to fire you.

 

ASSISTANT

You’ve already fired me three times today.

 

BOSS

Well, soon somebody will fire me and then we’re all done.

 

Pause.

 

ASSISTANT

Would you feel better if you had somebody important to shout at?

 

BOSS

Yes. But wait…you don’t believe that there are ghosts, do you?

 

Pause.

 

ASSISTANT

You’ve heard them.

 

BOSS

What!?

 

ASSISTANT

That’s why you’re asking. Because you’ve heard the ghosts.

 

BOSS

I’ve said I wanted that word banned. And I won’t support this theory: how on earth could ghosts stretch themselves across pipes and derricks, it bears absolutely no relationship to anything else we’ve known and it’s just scare-mongering and ridiculous, really, when we haven’t even harmed that many people in the past.

 

ASSISTANT

They’re from the future. The ghosts are from the future.

 

Pause.

 

BOSS

No.

 

ASSISTANT

Who did you hear?

 

BOSS

Ghosts can’t be from the future.

 

ASSISTANT

Your son?

 

BOSS

This isn’t a Dickens story.

 

ASSISTANT

Your daughter?

 

BOSS

And ghosts aren’t real, anyway.

 

ASSISTANT

Kimberly, it was Kimberly.

 

BOSS

Don’t say her name!

 

ASSISTANT

I heard Joe. For sure. That’s what he’ll sound like in twenty years time. No doubt.

 

Pause.

 

BOSS

Was he angry at you?

 

ASSISTANT

Future Joe?

 

BOSS

Yes.

 

ASSISTANT

Yes. Kimberley?

 

BOSS

Yes. Did you tell him?

 

ASSISTANT

No.

 

Pause.

 

ASSISTANT

They’re intervening. That’s what people say. It’s not as if there aren’t people in the present who are affected by what we do. Not like you can’t see climate change out of every window in the world. But it’s not enough. That’s why the ghosts are coming.

 

BOSS

It’s not too late for us to fight them.

 

ASSISTANT

No.

 

BOSS

There must be scientists with ways. Whatever these forces are: ectoplasmic rays, there must be a way to stop them.

 

ASSISTANT

You want me to call the Ghostbusters?

 

BOSS

There’ll be a way. It isn’t too late.

 

ASSISTANT

It’s not.

 

ASSISTANT stays looking at BOSS who looks at the flashing phone.

 

 

 

PLAY #309: SMOKE (OCT 28)

Edwardian London.

A plush living room with a fireplace at the centre.

Two maids, MAUD and MARY enter.

 

MAUD

I will not abide any of this nonsense any longer.

 

MARY

It’s the truth.

 

MAUD

You are too old for fairy tales.

 

MARY

It spoke. I swear.

 

MAUD

A lump of coal, that’s all it is.

 

MARY

It spoke.

 

MAUD

And what did it say? That Mary Murphy is to be due an extra holiday or spoon of sugar in the tea?

 

MARY

It wasn’t a human sound.

 

MAUD

I see.

 

MARY

A growling. Like something from years and years ago. Something angry.

 

MAUD

You probably heard some dog on the street.

 

MARY

It was the coal. I know it. It started to glow. And it spoke.

 

Pause.

 

MAUD

Things are always difficult your first time away from home. Perhaps we can arrange an afternoon off.

 

MARY

I’m not inventing this.

 

MAUD

I’m trying to do you a kindness, child, it won’t happen often.

 

MARY

I’m not a child. I don’t believe in fairy tales. But I believe what I heard.

 

MAUD

Well, perhaps you can charm this piece of coal to speak to you now? No? I thought as much.

 

MARY

They used to be creatures, that’s what Master Harry said. Giant beasts that roamed around this country.

 

MAUD

They’re stones, that’s all they are. The only thing alive here is your imagination. And I won’t support any more of my day being wasted in such a fashion.

 

MARY

I’m not cleaning this room.

 

MAUD

You’ll do as you’re told.

 

MARY

I’m sorry. But nothing could make me stay in this room.

 

MARY walks out.

MAUD sighs, starts to clean.

MAUD cleans the room.

 

MAUD walks over the fireplace, picks up a lump of coal, puts it to her ear.

Nothing.

She tosses it back onto the fireplace.

 

MAUD goes back to cleaning but before she can, she hears an enormous roar from the fireplace.

MAUD looks over to see a piece of coal burning brilliantly.

Another huge roar.

MAUD turns white with terror, backs away from the room.

The coal glows.

PLAY #308: THE KNOCKING, or THE PAW PART TWO (OCT 27)

A kitchen in Ireland, a few days after the events of play #307.

A ruined cake sits on the table.

SINEAD enters, starts to clear it.

NORA enters, all in black.

 

NORA

Leave it, Sinead.

 

SINEAD

It’s gone bad.

 

NORA

Please.

 

SINEAD

I’ll put it in the fridge.

 

NORA

You can throw out some of the other stuff. I don’t know why people keep bringing stews.

 

SINEAD

They mean well.

 

NORA

I don’t want a stew. I want my daughter.

 

SINEAD puts the cake into Tupperware, finds a place for it in the fridge.

 

NORA

Eileen Barker gave us some thing full of mushrooms, pouring out through the spuds they were, and I was thinking this won’t do because Brenda’ll never eat that, you remember how she always had an aversion to mushrooms, such a picky eater, not like you, and I thought are we going to do about this and…

 

NORA starts to cry.

 

SINEAD

It’s okay.

 

NORA

How can you say that?

 

SINEAD

I don’t know.

 

SINEAD comes over to NORA, rubs her shoulder.

Pause.

 

SINEAD

You’re sure you still don’t want anybody over.

 

NORA

Positive.

 

SINEAD

Should I put the telly on for a bit? Or the radio?

 

NORA

I don’t want to hear the news.

 

SINEAD

No.

 

Pause.

 

NORA

A freak accident. They said it was safe.

 

SINEAD

There are always dangers.

 

NORA

Well. You’ve been proved right. I hope you’re happy.

 

SINEAD

We shouldn’t be getting at each other now.

 

NORA

No. Plenty of time for that.

 

SINEAD breaks away.

 

SINEAD

I’ll heat up one of the stews.

 

NORA

I’m not hungry.

 

SINEAD

You should eat.

 

NORA

I don’t want anything.

 

SINEAD

Fine. I’ll have it all.

 

SINEAD gets a stew from the fridge, a complicated operation involving much reshuffling.

 

While SINEAD is busy, NORA takes out a shriveled paw from her pocket and holds it.

NORA stares at the paw.

SINEAD catches her, NORA puts it away quickly.

 

SINEAD

Mam-

 

NORA

Leave me alone.

 

SINEAD

I think you should-

 

NORA

I don’t know why you’re using a microwave to heat that up, it’ll never cook properly and it’s not as if you don’t have time to use the oven and-

 

SINEAD

Mam!

 

Pause.

 

NORA

You’ve been proved right. Isn’t that enough for you?

 

SINEAD

I never wanted to be proved right.

 

NORA

That’s all you’re ever after.

 

SINEAD

I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that.

 

NORA

Do as you please.

 

Pause.

 

SINEAD

You said you’d destroy it.

 

NORA

I will. Don’t think I’ll be keeping it now. Not after…

 

SINEAD

It’s alright.

 

NORA

No, it’s not alright, can’t you fucking see that?

 

SINEAD

Yes.

 

Pause.

 

NORA

There’ll be compensation, they say. Enough to fix the roof. Pay off the mortgage. Everything I wished for.

 

SINEAD

You can’t think about it, Mam, it’ll make you mad.

 

NORA

Should have left it in the ground.

 

SINEAD

What’s done is done. But it’s not too late to do something about it now.

 

NORA

No. It’s not.

 

NORA strokes the paw lovingly.

Pause.

 

SINEAD

What do you mean?

 

NORA

I had to do something.

 

SINEAD

What did you do?

 

NORA starts to cry.

 

 

NORA

She was so young. And lovely. And funny. It should have been me.

 

SINEAD

Don’t say that.

 

NORA

That would have been a blessing. Money for the two of you. Security.

 

SINEAD

Mam, don’t talk like this.

 

NORA

And now, here we are, secure in our unhappiness.

 

SINEAD

This isn’t your fault.

 

NORA

She would have loved to look after this place. Once she settled. Found a nice…partner, or whatever you want to call it. Once she found somebody to have a life with. She was so funny and brilliant and…I want her back.

 

SINEAD

I know.

 

NORA

She shouldn’t have left us.

 

SINEAD

No.

 

NORA

I want her back.

 

A knock against the window.

NORA almost jumps against her skin.

 

SINEAD

Is that more people with food? I don’t know what they’re doing this late.

 

NORA

Wait.

 

Another knock, much louder.

 

NORA

It’s her!

 

SINEAD

What?

 

NORA

It’s Brenda. She’s back. I knew it would work.

 

Knock.

 

SINEAD

Mam, what did you do? You said you’d destroy that thing.

 

NORA

And that would have been a foolish thing, with two wishes left.

 

SINEAD

Oh God.

 

Knock.

 

NORA

Brenda!

 

NORA drops the paw, runs to the door.

 

SINEAD

Mam!

 

Knock.

NORA comes back from the door.

 

NORA

Brenda? Where are you?

 

SINEAD

Mam, what did you do?

 

Knock.

NORA runs to the window, SINEAD following.

 

NORA

It’s too dark, we need a torch or something. Brenda, it’s okay.

 

SINEAD

Mam, this is-

 

Knock, knock, knock.

NORA shines a torch against the window.

A horrible bloody half-decomposed figure is illuminated.

NORA drops the torch and screams.

 

NORA

Oh, God.

 

SINEAD

Mam.

 

NORA

Brenda, my baby…

 

Knock. Knock. Knock.

 

SINEAD

That’s not Brenda.

 

NORA

It is. Just a bit of soil. She’s been buried for a week, sure. Let her in.

 

Knock.

SINEAD runs to the door, dead-bolts it.

 

NORA

Don’t mind your sister, Brenda, come in!

 

SINEAD

Mam, sit down.

 

Knock.

 

NORA

I just got a shock when I saw you.

 

SINEAD

Go to your room.

 

Knock.

 

NORA

Where’s that torch? I want to see her again.

 

SINEAD

Lie down.

 

NORA

The explosion was bad, of course there was damage, but we’ll fix you up, don’t worry, Brenda, we’ll make it right.

 

SINEAD

Take a tablet.

 

Knock.

 

NORA

Let me go! Brenda, I’m coming, once I break free of your bitch of a sister.

 

NORA breaks free, SINEAD runs after her.

 

NORA

Let me go!

 

SINEAD slaps NORA in the face.

NORA stops stunned.

The knocking intensifies, rattling against the window.

SINEAD picks up the paw from the floor, turns it over in her hands.

 

NORA

Brenda! Brenda? Brenda?

 

The knocking stops.

 

NORA

Brenda? Brenda! Brenda?

 

Pause.

NORA looks at SINEAD holding the paw.

 

NORA

What did you do?

 

Pause.

 

SINEAD

Mam, go to bed. Get some sleep. It’s over.

 

NORA stares at SINEAD, at the paw.

 

NORA

You’re going to bury it again?

 

SINEAD

I’m not going to tell you.

 

NORA

No.

 

NORA exits slowly

PLAY #307: THE RINGING, or THE PAW PART ONE (OCT 26)

A kitchen in Ireland.

An enormous cake in progress on the table, in the shape of a rig.

Lots of licorice and spun sugar work.

BRENDA and SINEAD, two sisters in their twenties enter.

 

SINEAD

Oh, God, she did make it.

 

BRENDA

Impressive.

 

SINEAD

She’s lost it.

 

BRENDA

It’s sweet.

 

SINEAD

Probably sweet enough to send you to the hospital.

 

BRENDA

You’re just jealous because she hasn’t made something for you.

 

SINEAD

I think I can do without a cake in the shape of a nursery.

 

BRENDA

She might do a nappy if you’re lucky.

 

SINEAD

No less disgusting than fossil fuels.

 

BRENDA

I’m not due another lecture am I? Because I’m actually late for work.

 

SINEAD

I’m behaving.

 

BRENDA

I should hope so. I can still give a mean razor burn you know.

 

SINEAD

I haven’t forgot.

 

BRENDA

Mmm, this is good.

 

SINEAD

She’ll kill you if she catches you eating it.

 

BRENDA

No, she’ll kill you.

 

BRENDA eats a bit more.

 

SINEAD

You’re not worried about her?

 

BRENDA

Mam?

 

SINEAD

How she’s been the last while.

 

BRENDA

She’s just excited about the pipe.

 

SINEAD

I’ll say.

 

BRENDA

It’s been a hard year on her. With Dad and-

 

SINEAD

I know.

 

BRENDA

And it’ll be good to have a bit of money. Nice to know the land isn’t completely worthless.

 

SINEAD

Dad never thought it was worthless.

 

BRENDA

You’re going to look after the sheep are you?

 

SINEAD

I just don’t think this is the only option.

 

BRENDA

Well, it isn’t our decision anyway.

 

BRENDA takes one last bite, gets ready to go.

 

SINEAD

There’s something else.

 

BRENDA

I have to get to work.

 

SINEAD

It’s important.

 

BRENDA

Okay.

 

Pause.

 

BRENDA

Well?

 

SINEAD

It’s a bit weird.

 

BRENDA

Oh God, if it’s anything to do with Mam’s sex life I don’t want to know-

 

SINEAD

It’s about the paw.

 

Pause.

 

BRENDA

What? Is that some sort of move? I thought I said I didn’t-

 

SINEAD

It’s something she got a few months back.

 

BRENDA

A paw?

 

SINEAD

It’s a talisman or charm or something. It gives you three wishes.

 

BRENDA

God, I really don’t have time for this.

 

SINEAD

I think she wished for this to happen. For the gas to be found. For a windfall.

 

BRENDA

So what if she did.

 

SINEAD

That thing has bad energy.

 

BRENDA

Are you sure you’re not the one who’s losing it?

 

SINEAD

Think about how quickly everything turned around after she went to the city. The letter coming offering money to pipe through the land. You miraculously getting a job on the rig-

 

BRENDA

Miraculously?

 

SINEAD

She thinks that she made this happen-

 

BRENDA

I think you’ve been spending too long reading fairy tales to kids. I didn’t expect this: I didn’t think you’d begrudge me a career.

 

SINEAD

I’m not but-

 

NORA enters.

 

NORA

What are you shouting about? Brenda, I thought you’d gone. Sinead, can you not leave that cake alone, it’s not finished.

 

BRENDA

It’s a thing of beauty, Mam.

 

NORA

Ah, it’s a mess.

 

BRENDA

It’s a masterpiece. It should be put in a museum!

 

NORA

Ah. I’m still experimenting with the ingredients. Your Dad’ll be turning in his grave. He’d nearly run riot if I put too much salt in the scones but well, I thought it would be good to try something different. And I know how you are with your flavours.

 

Brenda takes another bite.

 

BRENDA

It’s gorgeous.

 

NORA

Ah.

 

BRENDA

It’s lovely, Mam.

 

NORA

I’m not sure you should be eating with your figure, Sinead.

 

BRENDA

Anyway, I gotta go.

 

NORA

You want to take a lunchbox?

 

BRENDA

I’m grand.

 

SINEAD

I’m sure Mam could fish out your favourite Thomas the Tank engine one.

 

BRENDA

I’ll see ye. Can’t wait to try that when it’s finished.

 

SINEAD

You’ll have to see if they’ll let you taste it at the museum.

 

NORA

Ah, ignore her. Bye love.

 

BRENDA

Bye.

 

BRENDA leaves.

 

 

NORA

A masterpiece, she says! Don’t think Van Gogh’ll be too worried yet.

 

SINEAD

Some of the back might give Pollack a run for his money.

 

NORA

Maybe if you took your hands off it there’d be some chance of the icing setting.

 

SINEAD

You’re right, I’d better back off, I might get fat just looking at it.

 

NORA

Ah, do you have to be so sensitive? I put up with whatever my mother said to me.

 

SINEAD

You’re a saint.

 

NORA

A saint and a genius. All this praise will go to my head. You’ll have a cup?

 

SINEAD

I suppose I’ll be having one whether I say ‘yes’ or not.

 

NORA

Aren’t we very smart today?

 

NORA makes the tea.

 

NORA

A masterpiece, she says! But sure a cake in a museum, it would only go bad.

 

SINEAD

It would.

 

NORA

It’s good to see her happy again, though. This job has been great for her.

 

SINEAD

It has.

 

NORA

You shouldn’t be getting at her.

 

SINEAD

I wasn’t.

 

NORA

I heard you fighting, I may not be a genius but I’m not deaf. Yet.

 

SINEAD

Only when you want to be.

 

NORA

What’s that supposed to mean?

 

SINEAD

I was telling Brenda about the paw.

 

NORA drops the tea-cups to the ground.

They smash.

She does not pick them up, stays looking at SINEAD.

 

NORA

What are you talking about?

 

SINEAD

You know.

 

NORA

Sinead…

 

SINEAD

Mam…

 

NORA stoops down to pick up the crockery.

 

NORA

Look at the mess you’re after making. No – let me do it, you’ll only make it worse.

 

SINEAD

Mam, I don’t think that thing is any good-

 

NORA

And what do you know about it? What do you know about anything?

 

SINEAD

I know that you haven’t been the same since you got it.

 

NORA

And how do you know I have anything at all? What have you been doing snooping in my room?

 

SINEAD

I was looking for some of the papers about the garden-

 

NORA

Digging into something that’s not your business-

 

SINEAD

You did it often enough when were younger.

 

NORA

And wasn’t I entitled to! Brenda never tried to pull have the tricks you did.

 

SINEAD

Brenda just didn’t get caught because you didn’t want to know what she was up to.

 

NORA

Jealousy is not a very attractive emotion, Sinead.

 

Pause.

SINEAD collects herself.

NORA fusses with fresh cups.

 

SINEAD

That thing is bad news.

 

NORA

You don’t know anything about it.

 

SINEAD

Fine. Where did you get it?

 

NORA

I don’t need to tell you.

 

SINEAD

On sale at Dunnes was it?

 

NORA

I don’t need to answer to you.

 

SINEAD

St. Vincent de Paul sale?

 

NORA

Don’t need to answer to anybody.

 

SINEAD

Maybe the gas company gave it to you. A paw for a garden, not a great trade, but who needs land when there’s money to be made.

 

NORA

I will not brook conversation on this topic any more.

 

SINEAD

I’m worried, Mam.

 

NORA

Ah, don’t be silly. It’s just a trinket I picked up.

 

SINEAD

Throw it away then.

 

NORA

I thought you were the environmentally friendly one. Waste not want not.

 

SINEAD

I don’t see what use a shriveled paw in your drawer is doing.

 

NORA

Just a trinket, that’s all it is.

 

SINEAD

Burn it then. If we do want to make it useful, that’s what we should do, isn’t it. That’s the way round here now isn’t it, turn everything into a fuel?

 

NORA

I’m tired of this argument. And I wish you hadn’t said anything to Brenda. You shouldn’t be upsetting her, not when she’s after getting back on her feet.

 

Pause.

 

SINEAD

Only bad will come of it. I’m sure of it.

 

NORA

Fine. I’ll throw it into the bin. It can keep the crockery company.

 

SINEAD

Great.

 

NORA

You’ll let me finish the cake first?

 

SINEAD

Of course.

 

Pause.

 

NORA

You’re going to stand here and watch me?

 

SINEAD

I’m worried about that thing. Whatever you wish for, it never comes out the way you expect.

 

NORA

And when did you become an expert on all this?

 

SINEAD

I know where you got it.

 

Pause.

 

SINEAD

Dad told me.

 

NORA

You don’t know what you’re talking about.

 

SINEAD

He told me the trouble he’d had with it. Said he’d destroyed it.

 

NORA

He shouldn’t have been saying anything.

 

SINEAD

But he’d only buried it. And that’s what you were doing when you said you went into the city. That’s why your nails had dirt in them.

 

NORA

You’ve been watching too many detective shows. No wonder you’re putting on weight if all you do is sit at home and come up with conspiracy theories.

 

SINEAD

That thing is evil. You have to destroy it before something terrible happens.

 

NORA

I’ve told you. I will.

 

The phone rings.

Ring.

 

NORA

God, nobody uses the landline since poor Mother passed.

 

Ring.

 

NORA

Brenda. It’ll be Brenda. She must have forgotten something.

 

Ring.

SINEAD goes to answer the phone.

 

NORA

No!

 

SINEAD

What?

 

Ring.

 

NORA

Don’t answer it!

 

SINEAD

You don’t have voicemail.

 

Ring.

 

NORA

Leave it!

 

SINEAD freezes.

NORA looks at the phone, terrified.

 

NORA

Nobody uses the landline. It can only be…

 

Ring.

 

SINEAD

Mam…

 

NORA

It can’t be…Oh, God.

 

Ring.

NORA’s mobile on the table starts to ring.

 

SINEAD

Mam….

 

Ring.

Ring.

SINEAD and NORA look at each other, the phones continuing to ring.

PLAY #306: I’M NOT VOLDEMORT (OCT 25)

JOURNALIST types.

SHADOW hovers behind.

 

JOURNALIST

Why are you always looking over my shoulder?

 

SHADOW

I’m your shadow. Where else am I supposed to look?

 

JOURNALIST

I don’t like people looking at me like that.

Scrutinizing.

 

SHADOW

That’s supposed to be your job?

 

JOURNALIST

Exactly.

I’m not doing anything wrong.

 

SHADOW

I didn’t say that you were.

 

JOURNALIST

You never say anything

You just hover behind me

watching

breathing

thinking dark thoughts

 

SHADOW

I’m your shadow, what am I supposed to do?

 

JOURNALIST

Of the hundreds of stories we covered last year

Only a handful were about them.

 

SHADOW

Impressive.

 

JOURNALIST

It’s naïve to think that other journalism is objective

that corporations aren’t pulling the strings

that Murdoch doesn’t have things he wants covered

at least with this there is clarity:

they pay for the newspaper

I produce the content.

The things people say

it isn’t fair

you’d swear I was Voldemort.

 

SHADOW

You shouldn’t read internet comments

and Voldemort’s not so bad

just misunderstood.

I’d pick Slytherin over Griffyndor anyday

all those pesky heroes and team spirit

irritating.

 

JOURNALIST

I don’t want to be Slytherin

I want to be Hufflepuff

I’m just a regular journalist trying to do my job.

 

SHADOW

Just a regular hufflepuff huffling along.

 

JOURNALIST

They’re who I write about

for the most part

Stories about regular people

Local news that the national media

Who has no problem pissing all over me for selling out

Would never feature in their paper.

We need local news

the government won’t fund it

why shouldn’t corporations?

 

SHADOW

There is your son.

 

JOURNALIST

I care about my son.

That’s why I do this.

I was laid off

Everybody in journalism was laid off

I do this to support my son.

 

SHADOW

There is the question of what your son will do

in thirty years time.

The question of climate change.

 

JOURNALIST

I care about global warming

I worry about it

but I have to make a living

I’m no Voldemort.

 

SHADOW

You don’t have to tell me

I’m your shadow

not your conscience.

I’m just a follower

there’s nothing I can do about anything.