The Caress of Delphi

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


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.






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.




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.






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