fbpx

 

JOHNThis whole charade. This… this… debacle of a week-end. (Rises) It’s time we left.
ARTHURDebacle? Well, I’m sorry you feel that way about our
hospitality. I know we’ve had the odd set-back, but Mary’s put a lot of work into this week-end….
JOHNI’ve nothing against Mary. Thank you for all your efforts,
Mary. But I think, in all honesty, we should stop beating
about the bush, and call it a day now.
ARTHURYou feel that?
JOHNYes, I do. In fact…
ARTHURCarol? Do you feel that?
CAROLWell….
ARTHURIn all honesty? To be quite honest? I mean… honestly?
CAROLNo. I’ve quite enjoyed myself actually.
ARTHUROh, well that’s a relief.
CAROLI’ve enjoyed myself rather a lot in fact.
ARTHURWendy? Have you in all honesty enjoyed yourself?
WENDYYes. Honestly.
 (SHIRLEY sniggers)
ARTHURWell, two out of three. Not too bad, eh John?
JOHN(to CAROL) I don”t know how you can do it.
CAROLWhat?
JOHNPander to this man. Play his outrageous games.
ARTHURGames? I’m not playing games. This is life, John. The real thing.
JOHNIt may be life to you, but it’s not our sort of life, I can assure you.
ARTHUROh. And what is your sort of life? No, really, I’m
interested.
JOHNYou wouldn’t understand if I told you.
ARTHURWell I might. But so far I haven’t had the chance. I
mean, to be quite honest myself, John, I’m at a loss to know what it is you want from life. I’ve learnt a lot this week-end about what you don’t want – about all the things you disapprove of – but not very much about what you’re for.
JOHNI’m for a great deal, Arthur. Moral standards, a code of
behaviour, Christian beliefs. But I’m certainly not going to
try and explain my philosophy to you now! Come along, Carol. We’re going to get packed.
 (He marches out of the saloon. CAROL pulls a wry face to the others and follows JOHN to their cabin.)
ARTHUROh dear. Well I’m sorry the trip has been a bit of a trial
for you, Wendy.
WENDYOh, but it’s been the best week-end I’ve had for years, Mr
Bullhead. I think I’ll always remember it.
ARTHURYes – well I hope it doesn’t leave you with too much to remember it by.
MARY(sharply) Arthur!
ARTHUR

Sorry.

(Next door, JOHN has opened the suitcases and is throwing things into them. CAROL helps, more calmly.) 

 JOHN(suddenly bursting out) I can’t understand it! I just can’t
understand it, Carol.
 (In the saloon, ARTHUR and MARY hear the sound of his outburst, and look at each other. ARTHUR sneaks to the wall to listen.)
JOHNHow could you do it? You were positively condoning that
dreadful family’s attitudes. You’ve been practically a
conspirator in all their appalling machinations.
CAROLMachinations?
JOHNWell, what else would you call them? This whole week-end has been one long subterfuge designed to undermine our entire way of life. They’re the most amoral bunch of people I’ve ever come across.
CAROLOh, I wouldn’t say that.
JOHNOh, you wouldn’t, eh?
CAROLNo.
JOHNAnd what would you call them? Eh?
CAROLJust a fairly ordinary family trying to muddle through like the rest of us.
JOHN(appalled) Like the rest….!
MARY(next door) I don’t think we should listen to this, Arthur.
ARTHUR(gesturing at her) Shhhh. I can’t hear.
JOHNCarol, they have threatened my livelihood; they’ve attempted to blackmail me into what amounts to criminal procedures; they’ve destroyed the years of ethical teaching we’ve instilled into Wendy, and compromised her chances of making a good marriage…
CAROLOh don’t be ridiculous!
JOHNRidiculous? What do you mean, ridiculous? She’s…
CAROLAre you trying to tell me that, in this modern day and age, no-one who isn’t a virgin has a chance of making a good marriage?  You’ve just disqualified ninety five per cent of the unmarried population.
JOHNLook, this conversation’s getting off the point. I’m talking
about us!  The decent, caring example our family has always stood for….
CAROLThe stuffy, pompous, holier-than-thou example, you mean.
It’s no wonder we haven’t any real friends. It’s no
wonder nobody asks us to anything except church coffee mornings and ban the by-pass meetings!
JOHNOh, I suppose you’d rather they invited us to local wife-swapping parties….?
CAROLYes! Yes, I would!
JOHNCarol!
CarolAnything to bring a bit of reality, and spontaneity, and… and…  fun into our existence!
JOHNFun! Carol, what are you saying? After all these years
of happy married life….
CarolWho says it was a happy married life? Eh? When have
you ever asked me if I’ve been happy in our married life? When have you ever given me anything I’ve wanted?
JOHNWanted?
CarolYes – wanted, desired, hungered for? (Strides up and down)  I haven’t realised it myself up to now, I’ve been so
indoctrinated by your prissy moral posturing – but this week-end has really opened my eyes. I’ve seen life as Wendy must see it – as I used to see it when I was her age – with all the chances, and the excitement, and the romance ahead of her…
JOHNBut we’re not Wendy”s age any more, Carol. We’re mature,
responsible adults, with…
CarolDoes that mean we’ve got to stop living? We’ve got to forget passion, and joy, and adventure…?
JOHNPassion for what? Adventure where?
CarolAdventure here and now – like having a boat, and sneaking off for naughty week-ends on it…
JOHNNaughty week….!
CarolPassion for good food and wine and all the other nice things that are supposed to be bad for you. Joy in…. in sex!
JOHNSex?
CarolYes.
JOHNWe enjoy sex.
CarolNo, we don’t.  We go through the dutiful motions of it, like
cleaning our teeth, and washing the car on Sundays. I’m
talking about real, glorious, gutsy, bonking!
JOHN(almost fainting) Carol!
CarolD’you know, John, I’m really seeing you… no, not you – us, for the first time.
JOHNWhat do you mean?
CarolAll these years I’ve gone along with the charade. I’ve
thought, how lucky we are. What an example of all that family life should be. What a wonderful husband – standing for everything that is strong, and sensible, and right. And what a perfect wife I must be, to be able to live up to him. Yugh!
JOHNWhat would you have preferred?
CarolWhat would I have preferred? I’ll tell you. Deep down,
all I really wanted was to be part of one of those corny T.V. commercials, where the almost naked girl strides dripping out of a tropical sea, to the strains of Mahler, to where a bronzed gorilla waits on the beach for her with a Bacardi in each hand, and a bathing costume about to split at the seams with lust!
 (Long pause)
JOHN(eventually) I can’t think of anything to say.
CarolGood. You talk too much anyway.
image_print
Close Menu