Weekend at San Basilica
A guest house of
the sprawling, opulent castle, San Basilica, somewhere along the California
coast. On the right of the stage is one bedroom; on the left another---the
two separated by a white, octagonal-tiled early 20th century
bathroom with connecting doors to the bedrooms. Both bedrooms are decorated
in outlandishly extravagant taste, combining authentic antiques with heavy
Grustarkian junk. Through the upstage windows one has the feeling of wondrous
space: immaculate gardens and perpetual sunlight.
At rise, a pleasant-looking,
compactly-built young man, KEVIN KOSHKARIAN, is in the bedroom to the left.
HE is dressed in subdued Ivy League style and is in the process of taking
a personal inventory of the room on a laptop.
Bedspread: one cherub with
harp, one diamond with leaf scroll---one cherub without harp---one diamond
with leaf scroll and set of roses---one cherub with harp, etc. Bedpost:
dark wood, grape vines, grapes. Canopy: same as bedspread---
Shit, thatís the bus! Wait!
Wait for me. Damn it, theyíve taken off! I never heard of such a thing---the
tour going off and leaving someone behind. Donít they keep a count, for
Christís sake! I can hear Phyllis now in her own soft, sweet, understanding
way. "People donít just get left behind, Kevin. Could it be you didnít
really want to come home? If it is, you must tell me, dear. Iím sure a
great many people get left behind at San Basilica."
starts upm outside and the sound of a large vehicle is heard. HE
stops dead in his tracks in disbelief, then rushes to the window.)
(sitting on the bed)
Well, what do I do now,
Dr. Bellagio? Do I go down to one of the service people and start complaining?
A lot of good thatíll do. Thereíll be another tour in less than an hour,
and itíll give me a chance to take more notes, and the more notes the more
accurate my report to Mr. Christiansen, and the more accurate my report
the better the reproductions. Supposedly. But, boy, Iíd love to have that
tour guide fired! There was something really arrogant about him from the
beginning. I think it was the way he kept swiveling his hips when he walked
almost like he had an imaginary motorbike between his thighs. I bet he
makes out like gangbusters. I should try walking like that. I can just
see Phyllis when she asks me what I was doing for three hours. Learning
to walk like this, sweetheart. Then sheíll say something like, "Oh, Kevin,
you look like you have hemorrhoids."
(back to the notepad)
One desk---sort of Louis
Quartorze---exotic wood inlay---
(As HE continues
his inventory, a small Asian houseboy appears stage right carrying a large
valise. HE enters the bedroom on the right followed by a pretty blonde
YOUNG WOMAN dressed in the style of a flapper. SHE smiles at the houseboy
as HE sets the suitcase down and indicates for him to place it on the bed.
HE bows and exits. SHE gazes about the room, sighs ecstatically. SHE opens
the valise and begins unpacking a collection of organdy and silk period
creations. As SHE trails the fluttering clothes to the closet, SHE eyes
herself in the mirror above the dresser, now and again winking at her reflection.
Through all of this, SHE sings "Ramona". Although the tune is relatively
accurate, the lyrics are not.)
I hear the mission
Theyíre singing out
our song of love!
(Entering the bathroom,
singing with even more fervor, SHE lets her dress slip to the floor in
a graceful narcissistic gesture. KEVIN hears her through the door, cannot
believe his ears.)
When day is done I
hear your call---
Weíll meet beside
a garden wall!
I bless you,
And pray the day I
taught you to care---
Iíll always adore
The rambling rose
you wear in your hair,
I need you,
(KEVIN listens incredulously,
gradually working up enough courage to slowly turn the door handle and
to peek in. Seeing YOUNG WOMAN in the process of removing her slip, HE
gasps and slams the door shut. But rather than embarrassment, SHE appears
(A smile of contentment
crosses her lips, and SHE sashays toward the door leading to his room,
smoothing her slip back over her trim figure, patting her hair in place.
SHE opens the door gradually, coquettishly, looking to both sides as if
afraid there may be another person besides Kevin. Then, seeing the coast
clear, SHE leans against the jamb and crinkles her nose.)
(KEVIN says nothing,
just gapes at her dumbstruck. SHE waits a few moments, then since he remains
horrified and mute, SHE returns to the bathroom, a trifle deflated. SHE
observes herself in the mirror again, this time critically. But what she
sees reassures her there must be something wrong with him. SHE shrugs,
turns on the shower, pulls her slip over her head and reveals a flattening
bra and vintage panties, SHE stops pensively, then irritably, then turns
the shower off. In a thunder of decision, SHE marches back to the door
and throws it open.)
You a pansy or something?
(KEVIN simply blinks at her, still frozen to the spot.)
Well? Are ya?
(KEVIN opens his mouth, but not a syllable emerges.)
Donít be ashamed. If
youíre a pansy, then youíre a pansy. Iím very broadminded. If youíre a
goddamned pansy, then youíre a goddamned pansy.
(HE still cannot bring himself to speak. Finally SHE turns in disgust.)
(SHE reenters the bathroom, slamming the door behind her.)
My first invite and just
my luck to be quartered next to a purple pansy!
(Again she regards herself in the mirror and again she is pleased with
what she sees.)
What you need, sugar,
is a drinky-winky. But itís still only afternoon, and Mr. Huomo doesnít
allow more than one cocktail before dinner. But, Mr. Huomo, thatís just
unfair to a poor widdle lamb who has lost her way---baa---baa---baaÖ
(In a petulant little gesture, SHE opens the medicine cabinet to deposit
toothbrush. There inside are two bottles of champagne and two champagne
Oh, Mr. Huomo!
(holding her hand against her heart)
I promise! I won't
tell a soul. Oh, Mr. Huomo, you're jusy peachy-keen!
(removing one of the bottles and one of the glasses and pouring herself
Itís just like I dreamed
(toasting herself in the mirror)
Iím in heaven when I see you smile,
Smile at me,
Oh, Lena, youíre the
Well, how do you know
heís a pansy? Just because you stood there in your scanties and couldnít
get a rise out of him? Maybe heís just old-fashioned. Remember what Madame
Spinoza predicted. She sat in her little tent at the Solvang Fair wearing
her little turban of black stars and red moons and she said, "Soon, soonÖin
the smaller house near the great house, you will find your heartís desireÖa
strange dark man."
(lifting her glass toward the closed door)
So no matter how strange
you are, strange dark man, thereís nothing we can do about it, because
(returning to the bedroom, champagne glass in hand, dancing as she does)
Ja-da! Ja-da! Ja-da-ba-da-boom-de-ay!
(Quickly, SHE slips
into her demurest dress, a little navy blue affair with a jumper and a
red and white anchor on the jumper. Still singing her own version of "Ja-Da",
she pads back to Kevinís room, playing innocent and girlish, the champagne
bottle in her hands. KEVIN is still sitting on the edge of the bed, speechless.)
(when there is no response)
(SHE pours him a glass.)
Youíd better drink it
now because when weíre in front of all those people weíre only allowed
one itty-bitty cocktail. Forgive me. I seem so bold at times. Itís just
a cover up. You see, I was the oldest of fifteen children, and when my
father ran off and my mother had to go to work in the sewing machine factory,
I was left to bring up my fourteen brothers and sisters.
(HE continues to gape at her and doesnít touch the glass.)
Oh, all right.
(SHE reaches down, removes a shoe and fills it with champagne.)
Here. What the hellís
the matter with you anyway? What is it---you donít speakee the English?
Jesus, any man I know would go wacky over drinking champagne from a pretty,
seductive young womanís slipper! Why, I had this beau once---and he was
pretty important, let me tell you---a big, big man on Wall Street---when
I say big, I mean the biggest! No, I wonít mention his name, because whatís
doneís done, and anyway his wife has it in for him. But just let me say
heís about the biggest thing there is in tungsten! Whatever the hell that
is. He got such a thrill---such an absolute wicky-wacky thrill out oí drinking
champagne from my slipper, why he wouldnít drink out oí anything else but
my slipper! Bicarbonate of soda, even! I had to keep leaving the slipper
at his house and walking home hobbling on one heel.
ThisÖthis is all make believe.
What make believe?
This? You think that swimming
pool down there is make believe? That swimming pool encrusted with Indian
opals and Persian sapphires forming a seventy-five foot bas-relief of Mr.
Huomo and his mother! And over there---the main house---Casa Imperioso---do
you think thatís make believe? With its thirteen sterling silver turrets
and its thirteen fourteen carat gold cannons? Make believe? Why, do you
know what I had to go through before I could get an invite to this "make
believe"? I had to sign with Thomas Ince, fly non-stop from Cincinnati
to Orange, New Jersey and murder my second husband!
Bellagio warned me. He said
the more I refused to cope the more Iíd retreat into a world of fantasy.
But I never dreamed it would be like this!
Bellagio Bellagio. My shrink.
Well, if ya ask me, he should
shrink his name. One Bellagio is enough. And he sounds like a wop.
Itís one Bellagio---Aaron
Bellagio. And he happens to be Jewish.
Oh, a hebe.
Wop! Hebe! Pansy! This
canít be my fantasy---Iím a liberal, for Christís sake!
Please donít take the Lordís
name in vain.
Donít take the Lordís nameÖ!
Iím hallucinating. Iíve got to be hallucinating.
I never met anyone like you
I bet itís the "e" Harlene
Hoyer gave me at the Christmas party. She swore by it, says she takes it
all the time. I got sick the next day. Wait a minute! At the office. Danny
Crumpler. He hates me. He wants my job. He could have slipped acid in my
diet Pepsi. There must be something I can do. There must be something I
Have you tried an enema?
I mean, now and again itís
good. Not as a steady diet, but now and again. Cleans you out.
I donít need an enema! I
need Dr. Bellagio!
Maybe he needs an enema,
Jesus, Iím losing my mind
and all you can think of is enemas.
All right. I was only trying
to help. If itís all that bad, I mean something really bad---what you need
is a session with Mr. Huomo. He can cure anything.
Huomo? Claudius Julian Huomo?
What other Mr. Huomo is there?
Heís been dead for years.
Mr. Huomo? Heís in the
main house right now---right this moment.
There! Casa Imperioso! Up
there in one of the silver turrets---counting his money.
I was just kidding, Mr. Huomo.
Can you see him?
Of course you canít see him!
Itís too far away. But heís there.
How do you know heís there?
Everybody knows heís there!
(KEVIN shakes his
head tolerantly, takes her face in his hands.)
My God, what am I doing?
I mustnít be drawn further into this acid trip. Iíll destroy myself. Yet
you feel so---alive.
Of course Iím alive!
Your skin---itís so smooth
and warm and real---
Hey, your palms are all sweaty!
What a rotten thing to say!
But they are---theyíre all
sweaty. I bet you messed up the rouge.
(viewing herself in a mirror above the dresser)
See, what did I tell
you? You made the rouge all splotchy.
I canít even dream up a woman
whoíll accept me the way I am.
Whatdya talking about---dream
Even my dream women bear
the seeds of Phyllis.
(looking up to heaven, the way Lena had done before)
No, Phyllis, I was just
kidding. I didnít mean that.
You know what? You give me
Why the hell doesnít the
next tour bus arrive?
You canít say I didnít try,
Madame Spinoza. I did my duty and thatís that. He may be a strange dark
young man for some other dame. Not for little Lena.
(SHE moves to the bathroom door.)
I met some queer birds
in my time, but you, bimbo, you take the cake!
(SHE slams the door
behind her, moves through the second door, slamming it also, and is back
in her bedroom pacing angrily. At last SHE lights a cigarette and sits
on the edge of the bed as the lights dim temporarily on her side of the
This has to be an acid trip.
But I had a few of those in college, and they were nothing like this. I
mean, they were all jumbled and incomprehensible and Lucy in the Sky with
Diamonds-ish. This is incomprehensible, too, but not in the same way. I
mean, that oversexed flapper with a brain the size of a microbe---sheís
real. I touched her---sheís real flesh and blood. I mean, flesh at least.
I wouldnít know about the blood unless I dismember the cunt. Murdered her
second husband, my ass! Am I in some sort of time warp? But thatís impossible.
That kind of thing only happens in the Star or the Globe. YOUNG REAL ESTATE
EXECUTIVE VISITS SAN BASILICA AND SCREWS 1925 FLAPPER! Thereís got to be
some rational explanation. Wait a minute! Wait a Goddamned Minute! Itís
the guys at the office. They all got together and planned this---they knew
which bus Iíd be on and what room I planned on copying and made sure the
bus would leave me here. No wonder I couldnít find my cell phone. They
hid it on me. In the meantime, they hired this hooker and had her dress
up in a whatdyacallem hat? Kloche---thatís it! And slip into the other
bedroom! Of course, itís a practical joke---and they want to see how long
it takes me before I go screaming down the corridor and try to drown myself
in the Indian opal encrusted swimming pool! Well, fellas, have I got news
(All at once the
phone on the desk rings---the ancient phone on the desk with a ring not
at all like the phones of today. KEVIN jumps. The phone continues to ring.)
Uh-oh! I guess thatís gonna
be someone pretending to be Claudius Julian Huomo! I bet thatís it, isnít
(in a much smaller voice, staring at the instrument, but afraid to raise
(The phone has stopped ringing.)
I shoulda answered it.
I shoulda said I'm Calvin Coolidge.
(A long pause. HE
glances about the room with a certain confusion. Suddenly we hear sounds
of people. HE jumps from the bed.)
It's the next tour!
Thank God, they've come---and I can get out of this place.
(HE makes a dash
for the door, swings it open and enters the hallway. The lights dim in
his room and rise in Lenaís room. SHE has heard the sounds, too. SHE rises,
douses her cigarette. FIVE PEOPLE---TWO YOUNG MEN and THREE YOUNG WOMEN---enter
the hallway from the left. THEY are all dressed in sports clothes of the
20s, the Young Men in white ducks, the Women in pleated skirts. The Young
Men are ARCHIE WEATHERBY and LESS FARNSWORTH. The Young Women: ADELE ALLEN,
MILLICENT CARSTAIRS and INEZ GOUTERMAN. Inez is the only unattractive one
with a hooked nose, horned-rimmed glasses and short straight hair, Kevin
hastens toward them.)
Thank God, youíveÖ
(Seeing their clothes,
HE stops dead in his tracks.)
Is there something wrong?
I---I thought you were the
(KEVIN cannot bring
himself to answer.)
Weíre all going over to the
game room to play a little mahjongg before dinner. Why donít you join usÖMrÖ?
(LENA has opened
her door, leaning against it forlornly, longing to have them ask her. Now
and again, SHE clears her throat, but the Others are too absorbed in Kevin
The mahjonggís a bore, but
the scotch is great. Itís hidden in one of the pool table pockets.
Stop that, Inez. The whole
idea is that the winnings go to Mr. Huomoís favorite charities.
Donít be a ninny. C.J.ís
charities, my ass.
I hate when you say things
like that. And stop calling Mr. Homo "C.J."!
Itís better than some of
the names I can think of.
Hush, Inez. Do come. If you
donít like mahjongg, thereís always bridge or billiards.
(KEVIN stares at them, then rushes back in the room and slams the door.)
Well, of all theÖ!
Queer duck. I wonder who
(laughing, directing her remark toward Inez)
Probably some Bolshevik.
In Mr. Huomoís home?
Why not? We're all Bolsheviks
under the skin, arenít we?
(THEY all laugh,
except Inez. THEY begin to exit.)
I say, did you see the clothes!
(LENA gazes after
them, then slowly retires in her room, closes the door behind her. Lights
dim and rise in Kevinís room. HE is sitting on the bed shivering.)
Itís no joke. I know that
now. Theyíre too cheap to hire six people! But if itís not a joke, and
if Danny Crumpler didnít spike my diet Pepsi with acid, then what the hell
from stage left, padding to Kevinís door and rapping. KEVIN jumps in terror.)
Who---who is it?
(KEVIN tiptoes to
the door opening it just enough to peek out with one eye.)
Daza long since you been away,,,
(HE bursts into joyous
laughter. Lights rise in Lenaís room. SHE moves to the door and tries to
listen. KEVIN opens the door further and eyes Houseboy with contempt.)
Daza long since you been away,
I think of you most all of the dayÖ
Will you stop that and tell
me what you want!
Mr. Huomo---he try to call
Huomo? He tried to call me?
Yes, sahib. He say you come
to dinner seven-thirty sharp.
Moreorless what? That it
was Mr. Huomo, or that it was me he was calling?
Who can say? If Mr. Huomo
believe it you, then it you. If you believe it Mr. Huomo, then it Mr. Huomo.
(KEVIN is more confused than ever as HOUSEBOY glides to Lenaís door and
Who is it?
(Smiling and opening the door)
By the telephoneÖ
(THEY BOTH burst into laughter.)
Before---when I first arrived---you
Ohshie got rings on her fingers
And bells on her toes---
(HE begins to dance and LENA joins him.)
Elephants to ride upon
Her little Irish nose!
Ohshie got rings on her fingers
And bells on her toes---
Elephants to ride upon
Her little Irish nose!
Now thatís really stupid.
sings along---the same lyric since that is all either can remember. KEVIN
watches them, a scowl on his face.)
(LENA and HOUSEBOY stop.)
(bowing and exiting)
You hurt his feelings.
Heís only a poor little Chinkie.
Mr. Huomo employs a great
many little Chinkies. After all, Chinkies are a White Manís Burden.
Youíre a goddamned racist!
I never raced in my life!
I canít even drive!
(SHE goes back to
her room slamming the door and KEVIN goes to his room. HE begins pacing.)
This isnít happening. This
just isnít happening. Is it, Dr. Bellagio?
(HE grabs the telephone.)
to make a person-to-person call to Dr. Aaron Bellagio in Westwood VillageÖWhat?ÖItís
in Los AngelesÖItís right past Bel AirÖHow do you what?ÖB-e-l-A-I-rÖOf
course, thereís such a place!ÖLook, the area code is 310. The number is
874-3211. I know itís a lot of digits. Take that up with SBCÖSBCÖthatís
the telephone companyÖLook, just try dialing it and see what happensÖWhat
is dialing?ÖNever mind.
(HE slams the phone down and races to the window.)
Iíve gotta get out of
this place. But itís miles to the entrance and who knows what Iíll find
if I can get out---Pierce-Arrow Billboards and trolley tracks?
(collapsing on the bed)
This has got to be a
dream! One of those dreams where you wake up and say, "Thank God, that
was a dream"ÖOnly to find itís still a dream. Iíve got to do something
to awaken myself, to know Iím Kevin Koshkarian, and itís the 21rst century
and I work for the R.K. Christiansen Development Company. I know! Iíll
think of something pleasant---think of the pleasantest thing I can think
(after a moment)
Iím fifteen again, and
Iím in love. Judy Ginser. Oh, Judy, Judy Ginser! From Highland Park. There
I am in the old white frame house after Dad lost all his money---for the
third time. Sheís supposed to come over to study together---algebra---she
was terrible in algebra. I can hear the squeaky brakes of the bus on the
corner. It passes every fifteen minutes, and every fifteen minutes my ears
go up like a Dobermanís. Each time the bus stops, I hold my breath waiting.
I look out the window to the corner, but no Judy Ginser. She never came.
Judy Ginser never showed up. Why is that what I think of? If Judy Ginser
never came, why is that the pleasantest memory of my life?
(A long pause. Outside
we hear shouts of people playing in the swimming pool, but HE does not
bother to go to the window.)
I see all kinds of things
now---flashes of things---shooting a water pistol from the second story
window of the apartment in Milwaukee, then running for cover---swimming
in the Caribbean and praying Phyllis would be called home so I could have
access to every gorgeous thing on the beach---the day the twins were born
and all I could think of was the responsibility---all kinds of things.
But isnít that supposed to happen when you die---your whole life flashes
before you? Oh, my God! Is that what I am---dead? And God is an Asian houseboy?
Oh, Christ! I want my Mama!
(He bursts into tears.
LENA, who has been dressing for dinner, stops instantly and runs in through
the bathroom doors.)
What is it? Whatís the matter?
(Kevinís face is
in his hands. LENA goes to him with great compassion.)
Oh, please. If thereís something
thatís that wrong, please see Mr. Huomo. Please.
(SHE sits beside
him, caressing his shoulder, involuntarily pushing her thigh against his.
HE responds, instinctively, sensually. Their lips meet passionately. Then
HE jumps up from the bed.)
Thatís how I got this way.
Too much masturbation. Before
the bus pulled out, I was working on my laptop and must have keeled over
I ainít never seen nobody
who needs Mr. Huomo as bad as you do.
No, thank you. I can do quite
well without your---Mr. Huomo.
Well, if not Mr. Huomo, I
still say an enema.
And I can do quite well without
you and your high colonic fetish. My God, do you realize you could be my
Iíll be nineteen next week!
Nineteen next week!
Whatís so funny about that?
Stop laughing at me!
(slapping him across the face)
You lousy lemon-sucker!
(bursting into tears)
All right, so Iíll be
24 in November.
(hitting him with her fists)
I hate you, you crummy
(HE seizes her wrists
to ward off the attack, falling onto the canopied bed on top of her. The
fighting turns into wild passion. Then SHE frees herself, sits up and straightens
That was wonderful.
I canít be dead.
If you are, youíre a pretty
Look. I donít know if youíll
believe me, but I donít belong here. I mean, not like you or the others
before in the hall. You see, I was here on a tour. Thereís no such thing
as San Basilica anymore. I mean, itís here, but itís only a place people
visit like a museum. It belongs to another age---as does Mr. Huomo and
his mother. I was here because Iím involved in a real estate project for
"robust, active senior citizens." Itís called Versailles Village, and you
can have your choice of homes: Hampton Court, Hadrianís Villa and San Basilica.
Not the real things, of course. Just upscale three or four bedroom homes
named after them. But the main hall---thereíll be certain replicas
of some rooms in these places. And so I came here to jot down a few of
the pieces and duplicate them in a reasonable facsimile---with synthetics,
You mean you wasnít invited?
No. I wasnít invited.
I donít see how you could
get past the gate if you wasnít invited.
Thatís what Iím trying to
tell you. I came on a tour.
But there ainít no tours.
Not in your time, but in
Your time is my time
And my time is your
No wonder my generation is
so screwed up.
Will ya stop talkiní about
your time and your generation! For cryiní out loud, you make me feel like
I was dead!
Well, you could be, you know.
Yeah, but I ainít! Gee, I
donít see why we gotta fight all the time. We just met, and itís been one
battle after another.
Hey! Give me your name and
If I ever get out of here,
I can look you up. Go right through the records---home town, parents, everything.
I could make a fortune! REAL ESTATE EXEC RETURNS FROM PAST WITH INDISPUTABLE
PROOF! Now come on.
I think weíre gonna fight
No, honestly. Look. My nameís
Kevin. Kevin Koshkarian.
You a Polak?
Never mind that. Whatís your
Is that for real?
Well, it was originally Martine
with an "e"---my father was French---somewhere he was related to the Dukes
of Burgundy, but I never had the time to trace it back that far. When I
got into films, I changed the "e" to an "a".
(suddenly aware of the laptop)
Itís called a laptop. Think
of it as a large notebook.
Ainít never seen nothiní
Iím not surprised.
I gotta stop saying ainít.
Especially here at San Basilica.
Where were you born?
Wichita. Thatís in Kansas.
I know itís in Kansas.
Well, who knows where they
mighta moved it in your time.
You said films. Have you
done any? These can always be checked.
I done quite a few. With
big stars, too.
Like Thomas Meighan and Wallace
Reid and Richard Barthelmess, thatís who.
You go to movies a lot?
Well, no---I mean, not these.
are poised on the keyboard.)
(HE looks up skeptically.)
Runaway Wives broke
Blue Desert. Blossoms
I can check all these when
I get back. Wait! I can check them right now on Google.
Whoís Barney Google?
Whoís your Google?
Itís not logging on. I get
a blank screen. Okay. Tell me more about yourself.
Well, I flew non-stop from
Cincinnati to Orange, New Jersey, and I murdered my second husband.
Then thatís true? I mean,
it wasnít just my hostility.
You had nothing to do with
it! I only just met you.
Why the hell are you always
in the picture?
I said never mind. Now where
did you murder your second husband?
They donít call it Ceylon
anymore. They call it Sri Lanka.
They didnít care what they
called it when they arrested me.
So where was this?
On his rubber plantation---only
God knows what they call it now.
What was his name?
Edmund. Edmund Carlton. He
would have been Sir Edmund Carlton had he been born before his older brother.
But I didnít care if he was Sir or not. He cared, but I didnít.
How did you meet him?
London. I was there in a
I was in the chorus. And still married to my first husband. You see,
thatís why I ran away and went on the stage. To get away from Hunky.
Thatís not a name---thatís
Hunky was a coal-miner in
Pittsburgh. Six foot five with arms like ham hocks. He could break a manís
neck like that.
He beat you.
He wouldnít dare!
So why did you leave him?
I got sick of him belching
and picking his teeth with his fingernail.
(Romantic music begins in the background.)
I met Edmund at a private
club in SoHo. He was so handsome---so classy. It was him who began my education,
turning me from a raw, naïve American chorine into a lady of sophistication.
His barristers handled the divorce from Hunky. And so Edmund and I were
married, and he brought me to the plantation. Ceylon. Ceylon with its sultry
moonlit nights and swaying palmsÖ
I asked for facts.
These are facts.
Well, of all the crust! May
I drop dead on the spot if what I tell you isnít the Lordís honest truth!
Sounds pretty fictional to
Fictional! I donít have to
tell you things I ainít---I mean I never told a soul.
Of course this could
be true. This is another era, and people didnít do all their living on
a shrinkís couch or in front of a TV set. Things happened to them.
Go on with your story.
(Romantic music resumes.)
Ceylon. Ceylon with its sultry
moonlit nights and palm trees and smell of jasmine. Ceylon with its orange
sunsets and emerald morningsÖ.
Never mind that. Get to the
I had everything. Everything
but a husband.
How was I to know he was---
(SHE makes an incomplete
gesture below the waist.)
What does that mean?
(SHE repeats the
A war injury.
Itís conceivable. A lot
of men had war injuries like that in those days. I read Hemingway.
Never mind. Go on.
He could have told me. I
would have understood. I wouldnít have married him, but Iíd have understood.
I tried to bear up, or, as Edmundís family would say, "Keep a stiff upper
lip. But I couldnít. Not with Edmund drinking the way he did and humiliating
me in front of the Guvínor. The nights became unbearable, and the days
even worse. And then I met Hans.
The overseer. He was Dutch
and big and blond with arms like ham hocks. At first he was just someone
to cry to. But soon it was love---love as Iíd never known it---love with
water lilies and burning passion. Maybe I could have resisted him had Edmund
not been drinking from sunup to sundown. But Edmund drank. And Hans barely
touched seltzer water.
Hans and I would meet
secretly, taking our love on the wing whenever we could snatch a bit of
sweetness, a taste of beauty. But it was not to last. Not that I was afraid
of Edmund discovering. No, Edmund was too busy drinking and going to doctors.
No matter what there was between Hans and me, I was still married to Edmund.
He was my husband, and I was his wife. And I had to break with Hans. But
I couldnít face him. Instead I sent him a letter with my jade ring in it---a
letter he never received.
(shaking her head)
Edmundís Eurasian housekeeper.
She hated me from the moment I stepped foot onto Carlton Manor. She intercepted
the letter and brought it as proof of my infidelity to Edmund. My houseboy
told me. He hated Anna Sing as much as Anna Sing hated me. I flew out of
the house to tell Hans---to the rubber shed behind the nativeís quarters.
I begged Hans to take me away---I didnít care where---what did it matter?
He took me in his great strong arms and held me tenderly. Then the door
flew open. It was Edmund---drunk, disheveled. Before I could speak he shot
Hans in the stomach. I ran to get the gun away. I didnít know it was too
late---that Hans was dead. We struggled, Edmund and I. The gun went off
again. Edmund fell to the ground. Dead like Hans.
But it wasnít your fault.
So the jury decided.
It was obviously post-traumatic
(raising one eyebrow, then beginning to cry)
But how? How does one
live with this behind them?
(taking her in his arms)
No. Donít. Whatever you
did, you mustnít feel guilty. Guilt is the worst.
Where does one go when one
has been responsible for the deaths of two human beings? From one broken
down club in Singapore to another broken down club in Pago-Pago.
Did you sing in a broken
down club, too?
Of course not. But I know
And then I found Mr. Huomo----
Iíve never been through anything
like youíve been through, but you see I live in a different time. Not that
it isnít a violent time, mind you. But itís a different kind of violence---an
impersonal violence. Itís like---well, a maladjusted war vet who grabs
his old army M-1 and takes pot shots at innocent civilians---or a maniac
who gets hold of a flame-thrower and starts shooting it off in an elementary
You remind me of Hans. Of
moonlit nights and bamboo reflected in black pools and soft music and the
scent of jasmine in the air.
(THEY sink to the
floor, kissing passionately.)
Maybe---across the sands
of time, this was meant to be!
(HE kisses her neck.
SHE opens her eyes, glancing toward the ceiling.)
Dance, dance, dance,
Youth is fleeting
To the rhythm beating
In your heart!
(KEVINís mouth falls
on hers. More passion.)
I should call Phyllis. Phyllis
(Suddenly there is
the sound of a gong. KEVIN continues kissing her.)
Oh, Lena! I mustnít get involved!
Involved in what? Thatís
the dinner bell!