The Caress of Delphi

It's a repost. Hopefully, i'll add some more to it

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5. Act I, Scene 3

Scene 3.

 

 

 

In BREE’s mind bedroom.

 

She is seated on the floor, cross-legged, in her unitard.

 

NIGEL is leaning against a wall – looking bored as always, listening to BREE rant.

 

 

 

BREE [angrily]: …Othello, Hamlet, Macbeth – all over-ridden by human flaw. All swerved to err. All destroyed by their desire to meet fatality. Such is the end of all lives!

 

NIGEL: You mean, besides the fact that they are all fictional characters?

 

BREE: What does it matter? Same was for Julius Caesar, and Mark Antony, and Cleopatra! What does it matter, fiction or fact? You are not fact, Nigel – do I disregard you?

 

NIGEL [sounding hurt]: But I am fact. I am real.

 

BREE: Yes. Just keep telling yourself that.

 

NIGEL: And anyway – not all humans succumb to some evil and die there. Look at the righteous men of old.

 

BREE: We are not speaking of those that may or may not have been divinely inspired. We are referring–

 

NIGEL: Bree, I’m sick of this anti-people nonsense you keep rambling about. You don’t even live with people anymore. You live by yourself, in your room – with little but ‘non-existent’ me.

 

BREE: Well, I have to live myself, don’t I? I don’t exactly like being what I don’t like! And then there is you, imagination though you might be. You annoy me to my wit’s end.

 

NIGEL [nonchalant]: Well, maybe I wouldn’t – if you liked what you currently don’t.

 

 

 

There is a knock.

 

The scene changes back to the padded-cell, with BREE in a strait-jacket and a fencing mask.

 

Enter JOHNSON and LEWIS.

 

 

 

BREE: Oh, shut it, Nigel! [Pause] Make me, Bree. [Pause] Stick a sock in it! Real people are here to see me!

 

[She takes notice of JOHNSON and LEWIS] Oh, Hello.

 

JOHNSON: Um… Hello.

 

LEWIS [aside to JOHNSON]: Smooth.

 

JOHNSON [ignores him]: I am Detective Inspector Johnson. I am here to ask you a few questions.

 

BREE: Regarding?

 

JOHNSON: The Murders of Merrick House.

 

BREE: Merrick House? Where I used to live? [pause] Nigel, I cannot talk to you now. Go away! [Pause] But I haven’t finished talking to you! [Pause] I don’t care! You aren’t real. [Pause] Well, are your real people decent enough to let us finish? [Pause. BREE looks expectantly at JOHNSON.]

 

JOHNSON: Er… of course. [Draws LEWIS to one side]

 

LEWIS: Blimey, Inspector, you look mighty shaken.

 

JOHNSON: Hush, [whispers] this may take more time than I thought.

 

LEWIS: Or no time at all, given we leave now.

 

JOHNSON: But questioning–

 

LEWIS: Oh, stuff questioning. She’s bleedin’ bonkers, she is! Won’t get a single scrap of decent information out of her without playing Twister whilst singing nursery rhymes!

 

JOHNSON: Lewis, old chap, up you manners!

 

LEWIS: For what purpose, eh? She probably couldn’t tell you the good from the bad. She’s a loony.

 

JOHNSON [looking offended]: Yes, well, this here ‘loony’ would have been held in higher regard in another time and place.

 

LEWIS: What the blazing hell are you on about, Inspector?

 

JOHNSON: In Ancient Greece, such people were regarded to be touched by Delphi (or Apollo, whichever you fancy). Divinely inspired by a god. People used to pay them heaps to read their fortunes.

 

LEWIS: You don’t believe in ghosts, but you believe in Greek gods? Perhaps they ought to enroll you here too. Might just work out for you.

 

JOHNSON: Lewis! [He catches himself and coughs lightly] I did not say I believed it, I’m merely mentioning a historical point of view. This poor dear should be held with some respect – if not as a fortune-reader – and not some animal that you despise.

 

LEWIS: Yeah, well, maybe if I was an Ancient Spartan king, I would’ve considered it. But I’m not, you see, so I’ll continue my despisin’. You’re not going to get an inkling of something useful from here.

 

JOHNSON: Yes, [he sighs] you certainly aren’t a king. [To BREE, who appears to be muttering to herself and rocking from side to side] Hello? Are you quite finished, dear?

 

BREE: [to JOHNSON] Are you a parrot, sir?

 

LEWIS [aside]: More than he knows.

 

JOHNSON: No.

 

BREE: Your speech is much attuned to parrot-fashion, sir. Like you’ve orchestrated it aforehand.

 

JOHNSON [dropping the subject]: Anyway, the Murders of Merrick House. The incident took place about twenty years ago. What do you know about them?

 

BREE: What is there to say, sir? Murders happened in Merrick House, by a murderer – who I assume has not as yet been caught or discovered for about twenty years – and you have come asking me – who no-one dares ask anything for fear I may run in circular speech – and that is that.

 

LEWIS [aside to JOHNSON]: Told you.

 

JOHNSON [ignoring him]: But–

 

BREE: But I have a feeling that – if she’s still alive – Sally might know. She was always getting herself into trouble – if my memories aren’t as corrupted as my mind.

 

JOHNSON: Sally Kink?

 

BREE [singing]: To what should I owe the favour,

Dear darling buds of spring?

That I should never see you ever,

But of you I ever sing?

Never, never show your bloom,

For fear I might pluck you;

And then you might quickly wilt,

And quickly turn black and blue.

 

LEWIS [suppressing laughter]: I think she’s lost interest in you, Inspector.

 

JOHNSON: I think so. [He sighs] Let us go to meet this Sally Kink, then. Perhaps she has some answers that our poor Enlightened Mind does not. [Exits]

 

LEWIS [shaking his head]: How, on God’s green earth, did a people like the Greeks miss that these ‘enlightened minds’ were senile? [Smiles sadly in BREE’s direction and follows JOHNSON out]

 

 

 

END OF Scene 3.

 

 

 

- END ACT ONE -

 

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