LEFT HIGH AND DRY
A Thriller in two-acts by Alfred Vassallo

SYNOPSIS 

Cynthia Bellows is a frustrated wife of John, she knows he is having an affair with Sheila, his secretary. Fed up with this situation she concocts a very dangerous plan.

CHARACTERS 

JOHN BELLOWS…………………..Middle-aged Man
CYNTHIA BELLOWS………………Middle-aged woman John’s wife
SHEILA MURDOCK………………..John's secretary in her '30s                 
DAVID BLAIR………………………Friend of the Bellows
BEVERLEY…………………………David's wife
INSPECTOR JONES
CONSTABLE SMITH

SCENERY

The action takes place in the summer house of Mr John and Mrs Cynthia Bellows. The house lies in the isolated countryside, miles from anywhere inhabited

TIME

The present

ACT ONE - The Lounge of the Bellows -  One late summer evening
ACT TWO - The Bedroom of the Bellow -  Two weeks later Morning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACT ONE

 

(The Bellows are entertaining their friends the Blair and Sheila is John’s secretary. David and Connie are seated on the sofa, while Cynthia and Sheila are seated on armchairs. John is standing. They all have a glass filled with wine.)

 

CONNIE

You have made a superb dinner Cynthia. It was fantastic.

 

DAVID

(RAISING HIS GLASS)

Here! Here!

 

CYNTHIA

Thank you, I do try.

 

JOHN

And you always succeed, darling.

 

CYNTHIA

You’re not said much, Sheila? As a matter of fact you’ve been quiet all evening.

 

SHEILA

Just a slight headache. I don’t want to make a fuss.

 

JOHN

Shall I get you something for it?

SHEILA

No thanks, it will pass.

 

DAVID

I always like coming here, John. The little gem of a house is magnificently built and placed. Do you come here often?

 

JOHN

I know what you mean about the location. It’s beautiful isn’t it.

 

CONNIE

Not half.

 

JOHN

We try to come here as often as we ca, David. Especially in the summer.

 

CYNTHIA

It is not as comfortable and as beautiful as our main house, but it is private. No one bother us!

 

JOHN

Except for the twittering of the birds early in the morning and some wild dogs barking.

 

CONNIE

Apart from that?

 

SHEILA

It’s perfect. John has got an office here too, so when they come for a rest here, I come too.

(She laughs)

CYNTHIA

(Indifferent)

Yes, she always does.

 

SHEILA

(Defending herself)

You see what Cynthia means, even on vacation John cannot stay out of work business. And we have got everything here. So, it is handy to handle contracts as quickly as we can. Some accounts cannot be left to wait.

 

DAVID

You’re lucky John to have a secretary like her.

 

CYNTHIA

Very lucky, indeed.

 

JOHN

She’s my right hand man to tell you the truth.

 

SHEILA

Enough about m, please.

 

CYNTHIA

(Digging)

You’re not embarrassed, are you dear?

 

SHEILA

None at all.

 

JOHN

(Takes a bottle of wine)

Let’s have another drop, shall we?

(He goes round and fill the glasses. He pours Sheila’s last and he sit beside her on the arm of the chair. He lifts the glass.)

Cheers!

 

(They all respond)

 

CYNTHIA

(Changing the subject)

Did you hear about John’s cousin?

 

JOHN

Not that please.

 

CONNIE

Which one is that?

 

CYNTHIA

The doctor!

 

CONNIE

What happened then, I like a bit of gossip.

 

DAVID

I know you do my dear, but a bit I think you stretching it to far.

 

CONNIE

So what, what harm is there?

 

SHEILA

Oh, come Cynthia, do tell!

 

CYNTHIA

I thought you already knew?

 

SHEILA

No, I did not. Your husband doesn’t tell me everything, especially family matters.

 

JOHN

Come on, change the subject, please.

 

DAVID

Is it going to embarrass you, John?

 

JOHN

No, not at all.

 

CONNIE

Come on then, We’re all ears.

 

CYNTHIA

Right, he had a young female patient…..

 

JOHN

A very young female patient.

 

CYNTHIA

He left his wife and children for her….

 

SHEILA

Really! That’s disgusting!

CONNIE

Oh my God, is that allowed?

 

JOHN

What do you mean, Connie?

 

CONNIE

I mean, a doctor and his patient, is it allowed? It’s very inappropriate.

 

JOHN

Well……

 

CONNIE

I bet she’s twenty-years younger than him?

 

CYNTHIA

It’s pathetic.

 

JOHN

And you know2 what? My cousin, his ex-wife wasn’t his true love after all. It happens.

 

CYNTHIA

You know about that, Sheila. I suppose you approve too?

 

SHEILA

I don’t approve at all. No, but it could happen I suppose…..

 

DAVID

You said they have kids?

JOHN

Yes. Two young daughters.

 

DAVID

It must have been love then. Otherwise, why would they have a family, over their marriage?

 

SHEILA

Maybe, he became wiser…..

 

CONNIE

What? After he had two children?

 

SHEILA

Do you think children are an exclusive manifestation of love?

 

CYNTHIA

No, I don’t think so.

 

CONNIE

What do you mean?

 

CYNTHIA

Children are the unfortunate liabilities of us adults who desires to make love.

 

CONNIE

Nonsense! Absolutely nonsense. Do you know how many years David yearned for children? Didn’t you David?

(David doesn’t answer)

I told him he can have a dog instead!

DAVID

I always found that hurtful. Your spiteful comparison with dogs and children is cold blooded. She knew I always wanted a child, and she has the audacity to joke about it.

 

JOHN

(Showing the bottle)

More wine, anyone?

 

DAVID

(Presents his glass)

And why not….

(John fills David glass and go through the others he fills glass according to their response)

 

CONNIE

If one is that desperate for children they should adopt one. That’s what I say.

 

SHEILA

Well the poor haven’t got much food but they surely know how to make babies.

 

CONNIE

Having a baby changes one’s life. It gives you another appearance on why you wake up every day with a headache.

 

DAVID

There's nothing better than having a baby. I've always loved children.

SHEILA

Having a baby will put a marriage through the turmoil of nappies and breast-feeding, and if a mother is lucky, she'll will not have any more.

 

CYNTHIA

How do you know what a mother feels?

 

SHEILA

I don’t, I am just stating my opinion.

 

CONNIE

My sister was the first time I've seen a woman tormented about her weight she had put on while having her baby. She was terrified she would stay the same.

 

JOHN

Did she?

 

CONNIE

I’m afraid she did, not only that she had four more. God bless her. Rather her than me.

 

DAVID

You’re disgusting Connie, why don’t you tell them that you had also betrayed me?

 

CYNTHIA

Connie? Unfaithful? You must be joking.

 

 

DAVID

Yes, she betrayed all right. Not with another man or women. Oh no, not that. She betrayed me wholeheartedly because when we were engaged to be married she never told me the truth, about her cannot conceived.

 

CYNTHIA

Is this true Connie? How did you know?

 

CONNIE

(She doesn’t answer and there is a long pause)

Cynthia, do you agree about what had been said?

 

CYNTHIA

I don’t understand. agree to what?

 

CONNIE

Revealing intimate and personal details to friends?

 

JOHN

We’re not here to judge?

 

CONNIE

You should though, because our marriage is a farce. Do you know why we were late coming here this evening? He had the urge to make love, well, I refused of, course.

 

 

DAVID

Of course, you didn’t want to mess your make-up and your outfit.

 

SHEILA

In other words you had a fight.

 

CONNIE

What do you think? Look at me all dressed up and the make up on…..

 

JOHN

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that; when things are spontaneous they give better pleasure.

 

CYNTHIA

HA! That’s the best joke I heard this year.

 

CONNIE

I think it’s disgusting at his age?

 

JOHN

My age?

 

CONNIE

No, not you, him, my dear husband.

 

DAVID

(stands, drinks his wine fast)

That’s it. I have had enough of this.

(He exits)

 

JOHN

Wait David, come back!

(he goes after him)

 

(Connie stands too.)

CONNIE

I better go after him. He’ll be OK. I think he drank too much.

 

(They all stand and kisses all over. Connie exits)

 

SHEILA

That’s a turn up for the book.

 

CYNTHIA

What do you mean? The argument?

 

SHEILA

No, no. That she cannot have children. It’s not my place , I know, but I don’t think she was right in not telling David about it.

 

CYNTHIA

Probably she thought he would end his engagement.

 

SHEILA

True, but to betray a man of his fatherhood? What I mean she knew she couldn’t have children, it’s different if she didn’t know in the first place; it would have been acceptable.

 

CYNTHIA

I wonder what happens after tonight?

 

SHEILA

You mean if they divorce?

 

CYNTHIA

Oh no, not that. They are devoted to each other, if though they don’t show it. He would have left her the day he found out.

 

(John comes back in)

 

JOHN

That’s a turn up for the book?

 

SHEILA

Are you reading my mind?

 

JOHN

Why?

 

CYNTHIA

She just said the same words to me.

 

JOHN

I see.

 

SHEILA

Cynthia, do you agree with what Connie said?

 

CYNTHIA

I see her point, though!

SHEILA

You do?

 

JOHN

You see Connie That way?

 

CYNTHIA

I know marriage is built on love. That’s the point of it. How could one live with someone and don’t love them at all?

 

SHEILA

Yet, marriage can turn in lots of things. Like a of loneliness?

 

CYNTHIA

Loneliness?

 

JOHN

I didn’t know you hoarded such thoughts, Cynthia? You astound me sometimes.

 

CYNTHIA

I am not talking about myself, John. But for some marriages it feels like that. And what of the joy of marriage?

 

SHEILA

In the sex department you mean?

 

JOHN

I’m quite smooth tat that.

 

CYNTHIA

(Shouts)

Shut up John. You always have to turn conversations into jokes.

 

JOHN

I tell you what the joy of marriage is. I call it matrimonial palaver. If one thinks of being monogamous, is it natural instinct for human beings? Or do we correct it each time, as we do with wrong spellings? Do we believe in monogamy, or true love? Is it really blessed by the God? I tell you, for some men, monogamy, can be hard work, it doesn't apply to everybody, not a lot of people can do it, even though, they preach it so boldly.

 

SHEILA

I have never heard you talk like this before.

 

CYNTHIA

Neither did I?

 

JOHN

Marriage has no natural relation to love, it belongs only to society, in fact, it is a social contract, only to look good, and be customary. Love, is always in perpetual strife with monogamy, and commitment, seems to resembles a very good crystal glass, very beautiful, and incredibly expensive, but once chipped, it will instantly stop being blissful.

Being married, will become a monotonous life, like reading the same book, over and over again.while fidelity, will become impossible for both sexes, no matter; the trying life will become full of strain.

 

CYNTHIA

I think now you’re going to far!

 

JOHN

(Ignoring her)

Do we truly know anyone who's faithful, or who remotely, wants to be devoted? The very mention of the word, marriage, has poisoned love, and made it sordid. Are we expected to believe, that if a person has an affair, God, is

really going to be pissed off? Will it be so bad,

to have a bit on the side?

 

SHEILA

John, what are you saying?

 

JOHN

I tell you, we, most of us  believe, in thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Thou shalt not kill, and thou shall not steal, but do we really believe, in thou shalt not commit adultery? Or does a sexual adventure makes more appeal? We have to remind ourselves, with adultery, without two persons to execute it, is not completely, and entirely impossible,

 

SHEILA

True, it takes two to tango, and we dance to fit.

 

CYNTHIA

(Sarcastic)

Do we Sheila?

 

JOHN

(Continues with his philosophy)

Romantic love, is a misapprehension, we are being tricked, and definitely conned? Marriage, is a simple contract a plain promise, and when we feel trapped, we quickly abscond. We will discover, romantic love is delusional, these false emotions, will lead us into marriage, a nuptial commitment that we begrudge later, causing quarrels, hoping for an instant breakage.

 

SHEILA

In my opinion,. I think there is not one heterosexual man in a world, who does not look at another man’s wife with a degree                             of action.

 

JOHN

But we should not leave the indisputable opposite, you girls; because woman does the same, but with extra caution!

 

SHEILA

(Stands)

I think it’s time to hit the bed.

JOHN

(Displaying the bottle)

One for the road?

 

CYNTHIA

Yours is more like a motor-way.

 

SHEILA

No, thank you, my road happened to be just two minutes away around the corner. Good night Cynthia, night, night John.

 

CYNTHIA

Good night!

 

JOHN

Have a good sleep.

 

(Sheila exists)

 

(John pours wine in Cynthia glass and his)

Why do you have to speak like that in front of her?

 

JOHN

In front of whom?

 

CYNTHIA

Sheila, of course.

 

JOHN

What did I say?

 

CYNTHIA

(Imitating him)

I’m smooth in that department.

 

JOHN

Well, I haven’t grown impotent yet, which unfortunately won’t satisfy you.

 

CYNTHIA

If you’re that desperate take care of your sex life on your own.

 

JOHN

(Lifts his glass)

Let’s toast our private hell! Cheers. You know sometimes I feel like supporting my cousin. It is very easy for us to judge him for leaving his family. What if he did fall in love for real?

 

CYNTHIA

It’s still adultery.

 

JOHN

Yes true. But what if he suddenly realised he was living a lie?

 

CYNTHIA

It is still adultery!

 

JOHN

You keep repeating yourself. Is it really adultery? Isn’t he following his heart and doing the right thing?

 

CYNTHIA

Is this what you’re thinking about?

 

JOHN

Who says it is wrong? Maybe after his separation, they get back together stronger than ever, probably with their love strengthen. There is more to life than breaking a good affair and passionate romances.

 

CYNTHIA

There is much more in marriage than love.

 

JOHN

Such as?

 

CYNTHIA

Security! Stability! A smooth running of everyday life. The basic simple things in life.

 

JOHN

That is childish.

 

CYNTHIA

Tell me what makes you happy?

 

JOHN

What do you mean?

 

CYNTHIA

Passion and security?

 

JOHN

Suddenly your turned this conversation towards me. Why are you pointing the finger at me again?

 

CYNTHIA

What good is security without love?

 

JOHN

One thing doesn’t rule out another. Isn’t it the right suburban thing to say?

 

CYNTHIA

I’m shocked tonight.

 

JOHN

Why?

 

CYNTHIA

I suddenly realised you do understand adultery?

 

JOHN

Understanding isn’t practising.

 

CYNTHIA

The thought that counts. As for me I have never practised it or even considered it.

 

JOHN

Can you tell me please why are we discussing this?

 

CYNTHIA

Isn’t it an important thing in marriage to be faithful?

 

JOHN

The hell it is.

 

CYNTHIA

To sum it all up. You think that your cousin did the right thing by leaving his why and go and live with the dolly bird?

 

JOHN

If it made him happier, yes I do.

 

CYNTHIA

Happier to cheat on his wife and finally leave her?

 

JOHN

Let’s stop this and go to bed. I have had enough of this ridiculous conversation.

 

CYNTHIA

I hate it when you avoid my questions and change the subject. Why is it in the middle of an important subject you want to go to bed?

 

JOHN

Not to make love , that is for sure.

 

CYNTHIA

I should hope not too. You see I am content with my life as it is. I m content…..I am not ashamed with it….

 

JOHN

Thank you. I am reassured that being in a happily family is to become celibate. That is great….

(Exits)

 

CYNTHIA

(Angrily)

What does he expect from me?

 

BLACK OUT

 

Act one - scene two

In the lounge - Next Day afternoon

 

CYNTHIA

(On the phone )

The thing is I know what to do…….

 

JOHN

(Enters)

Do what darling?

 

CYNTHIA

(Still on the phone without looking at him)

I have to go, Bev, big bad wolf just left his cage…..Yes….I’ll see you in an hour then? Cheers.

(Puts the receiver down)

That was Beverley inviting me for an outing for shopping and a drink….

 

JOHN

That’s is nice. When is this special outing?

 

CYNTHIA

This afternoon….In fact in an hour…Is there a problem?

 

JOHN

No, no….not at all. I have some important things to finish.

 

CYNTHIA

An where is Sheila?

 

JOHN

She is away. She wanted to go and visit her sister in Norfolk.

 

CYNTHIA

That’s a long way from here?

JOHN

She had not seen her for a while and since we finished the current contracts there was no reason that I couldn’t let her go. In fact I insisted that she goes.

 

CYNTHIA

Insisted?

 

JOHN

Yes. I thought we have a couple of days just me and you. What do you think?

 

CYNTHIA

That’s a wonderful idea. For a brief moment I though you had some other woman in mind.

 

JOHN

What?

 

CYNTHIA

I said for a brief moment. Why you heard me didn’t you? Then tell…

 

JOHN

Tell you what? Don’t be stupid.

 

CYNTHIA

Answer me?

 

JOHN

No I have no other woman. Last night I defended my cousin trying to see it his way. Why do people always trash adulterers? At least my cousin is not a hypocrite, he did something about it.

 

CYNTHIA

Sounds like you’re considering it?

 

JOHN

Don’t talk nonsense.

 

CYNTHIA

Did you ever think about going with another women?

 

JOHN

Many times but I have self control.

 

CYNTHIA

Self-control my arse Why did you get married then?

 

JOHN

I thought I’ll be happy ! And besides most man, or come to think about it even women don’t plan to be unfaithful. It just happens.

 

 

CYNTHIA

And that is justifiable? Why then do you criticise our sex life?

 

JOHN

I have no complaints.

 

CYNTHIA

None?

 

JOHN

No. Once is week is just about right. It brilliant!

 

CYNTHIA

Brilliant? You sound like a food critic.

 

JOHN

Tell me Cynthia, don’t you ever want to do something? Something else without holding back?

 

CYNTHIA

Like what?

 

JOHN

Don’t you dream about anything. Desiring something?

 

CYNTHIA

No not at all. Definitely not.

 

JOHN

You don’t think there is more things in life than this?

 

CYNTHIA

More than what?

 

JOHN

This, what else? Look around you.

 

CYNTHIA

All this is what is keeping you wealthy and with great business prospects.

 

JOHN

Don’t start with is again.

 

CYNTHIA

It is my money that made you what you are, and don’t forget that. I am a very tolerated woman, but if you make one mistake, if you take one false step you’ll find yourself out with the rubbish.

 

(There’s a long pause. Silence)

 

Tell me John what are you missing in life?

 

JOHN

Please Cynthia take away these morbid thoughts and think positive for once. Believe please there is no-one else. No, come on why don’t you go and prepare yourself for Bev? Did you forget that?

 

CYNTHIA

No, I ready to go already!

 

JOHN

Good. I tell you what I will prepare a scrumptious dinner with candles and champagne.

 

CYNTHIA

(Laughs)

We’re too old for that….

 

JOHN

Speak for yourself….

 

CYNTHIA

(Grabs her bag)

OK then. A romantic dinner for two later on. You have persuaded me… See you later John….

(She exists)

 

JOHN

Bye dear…

(He waits a bit and exit through another door, after a few seconds he enters carrying an opened bottle of beer. He sits and drinks from it. Takes out his mobile and taps on it.)

Hi, she has gone. I thought I was never going to get rid of her.

(Puts his mobile back into his pocket and continues to drink his beer. From the garden door Sheila enters eating a piece of fruit, Johns gets up and kisses her on the lips.)

 

SHEILA

I was bored sitting in the shed.

 

JOHN

Sorry. You know she threatened me again with her money and the business.

 

SHEILA

In a way you cannot blame her. You are the only weapon she has got, apart from that boring, what’s her name…?

 

JOHN

Beverley! And I don’t like her. I’m sure she’s brainwashing her against me.

 

SHEILA

Why do you say that?

 

JOHN

She had her eyes on her when we met about fifteen years ago. She was jealous of me being with her….

 

SHEILA

You mean she is…

 

JOHN

Exactly.

 

SHEILA

Why didn’t you tell me this before?

 

JOHN

It was not important.

 

SHEILA

You don’t think Cynthia and her are…..

 

JOHN

Oh no,no,no. I don’t think that, I am sure. Besides she absolutely hates intimacy.

 

SHEILA

So that is why you turned to me.

 

JOHN

No exactly, but you do have great hunger for sex…

 

SHEILA

(Shakes her body sexually)

And why not?

JOHN

Come and sit beside me. I have to tell you something important. Come on, you’re so fidgety you make me lose my concentration. Come and sit.

 

SHEILA

(Sits beside him)

Happy now? Tell me what is so important?

 

JOHN

Us! Why do we have to meet secretly? Always on tender hooks so she won’t catch us?

 

SHEILA

That is how it is. What else can we do? Kill her?

 

JOHN

(Stares at her)

It crossed my mind.

 

SHEILA

(Stunned)

You’re not serious, are you?

 

JOHN

(There’s a long pause)

If we plan it right…..

 

 

SHEILA

(She stops him)

Shissh John! I don’t want to listen.

 

JOHN

You know I can’t divorce her. I lose everything, doesn’t that bother you? The way I keep you in fashion and style, you’ll be in the same boat like me. How the hell can I support you then?

 

SHEILA

But murder?

 

JOHN

If we plan it right, like a robbery gone wrong. You see I’ve already informed her that you are away visiting your sister in Norfolk.

 

SHEILA

Am I?

 

JOHN

Of course nor, why do you frustrate me? Concentrate.

 

SHEILA

 

JOHN

 

SHEILA

 

JOHN

SHEILA

But why did you tell her that?

 

JOHN

So that she won’t become suspicious….

 

SHEILA

About what?

 

JOHN

(Explodes)

The the fuck up with all these questions and let me think….

 

SHEILA

No need to shout like that.

 

JOHN

Well……

 

SHEILA

OK my mouth is fucking shut.

 

JOHN

(He caresses her)

Don’t be like that Sheila. You know how much I love you. I want to spent the rest of my life with you.

 

SHEILA

I know.

 

JOHN

Nut not as a pauper….Do you understand?

 

SHEILA

I’m sorry. I really am.

(She pauses)

I wonder if in prisoner they let me wear the designer clothes?

 

JOHN

There you go again. Don’t be absurd.

 

SHEILA

It’s a joke for Christ’s sake.

 

JOHN

Listen, this is what we do….

 

BLACK OF

END OF ACT ONE

ACT TWO

Scene one

Two weeks later - Morning

The bedroom of John and Cynthia.

 

(CYNTHIA is in her dressing gown sitting on the bed on the landline phone to Beverley.)

 

CYNTHIA

You’re not listening to me, Bev. I don’t know exactly. I have no proof yet. Yes…Those little things……What do mean such as? You know what I mean….Those secret smiles….The little petty everyday emotions they have…..When your lover was cheating on did you not notice a change in her?…. Why did I bring it up? Because I am in the same situation. That’s why…..What? (Laughs) I am ashamed of you. And apart from that? There….That’s exactly my point. I know John is up to something….Well, the way he’s behaving now….he’s giving me a lot of attention….No……No I don’t think he’s got the courage to do that. He won't. He will lose all the business right away. I tell he won’t even dare. He likes his comforts too much. The money is all-important to him, and the business gives him that and plenty……Why? Because I will make sure he’ll be out in the street in a second. You know I can do that without hesitation. No, I am not cruel I a very sensible clever woman who won’t stand for any unfaithfulness. I don’t care if I stay by myself till I die. He is mine…..Yes. Of course, I love him? Why do you think I married him in the first place?…. Him, I don’t know….He used to once…..Don’t be naive….I cannot come and live with you. You are a good friend and I love you, but not like that. No, I have never tried it…..What?…..What did you say it’s the fashion today? What do you mean?…… You don’t say. Women sleep together because it is fashion? How ridiculous? It is….I don’t believe it. I tell you I don’t understand what the world is coming too?……(A long pause and listens) Truly I am not fond of sex any more….I find intimacy a bit awkward…..I know there’s him to consider. Yes, it is the problem, I know that….I know he is a man for Christ's sake….Well if he has to he always can masturbate in the bathroom to his heart content.….. What do you mean it is not fair….I am not a doll to play with. It is not my fault that I have changed. I used to like having sex as any woman did? Enough of that and listen to me very carefully. Yes, please listen to me. I have a plan that will shock him and he will not dare leave me….Of course not, I won’t have an affair, why should I make him jealous? I tell you that will make it easier for him…..No, I am going to commit suicide….Yes but not a real one….I will pretend….Yes, pretend. What is wrong with you? I take some sleeping pills every night. Yes, I have a prescription for them…..I won’t overdose myself….Do you think I’m stupid? That is how I will shock him when he thinks I am unconscious? True. You are right there….I did not think about that….Will he leave me to die? I know I won’t but then I realise truly how he feels about me and know the truth. It is a painful way to find out…..That is why I want to do it….If I had the proof I don’t need to risk my life?… I don’t know where they meet and do it? Not in the office, how could they risk it with me hovering about the place….What do you mean it only takes a minute…..Not with John….He is very patient in that department………OK Bev that is enough now. Forget the details….Of course, I’ll be careful. Anyway, it is only a thought at the moment…..Yes, I will tell you first, don’t bother about that….At what time? Yes, that is quite the time I had in my mind. I am getting ready anyway….OK see you soon. Bye. (Hangs up)

 

(Enters John, Obviously, he was looking for her)

 

JOHN

Here you are. I thought you already went out for some reason.

CYNTHIA

(continues to do her make up)

I decided to have a long lie in bed reading a book. I wasn’t going to do anything.

 

JOHN

And now?

 

CYNTHIA

Now I’m preparing myself to go out.

 

JOHN

Shopping again?

 

CYNTHIA

No, I am going to spend some of my money in the new restaurant that opened last week. You know the Italian one.

 

JOHN

Am I coming?

(There’s no answer from Cynthia)

Obviously not!

(Disappointed)

You’re not going by yourself, are you?

 

CYNTHIA

Are you jealous all of a sudden?

 

JOHN

Don’t be ridiculous. You don’t usually go out by yourself unless you’re going with your gay friend Beverley.

CYNTHIA

She is not my gay friend, just a girlfriend.

 

JOHN

I didn’t mean it that way.

 

CYNTHIA

Oh yes, you did.

 

JOHN

Well, it’s fashionable today….

 

CYNTHIA

You too!

 

JOHN

What do you mean?

 

CYNTHIA

Beverley just told me that. That women nowadays are sleeping with each other because it is the fashion. I find it disgusting!

 

JOHN

So do I. I rather they sleep with me instead.

 

CYNTHIA

You have one-track mind.

 

JOHN

Only wishful thinking I’m afraid.

 

 

CYNTHIA

And that is all you should do, otherwise….

 

JOHN

I know, I’ll become a beggar.

(Pause)

Listen Cynthia while you’re in town can you do me some errands?

 

CYNTHIA

Sheila can do that for you!

 

JOHN

No, she’s very busy in the office. I don’t want to disturb her. She’s is typing some important documents. She’s very fussy about that.

 

CYNTHIA

Do I have a choice then?

 

JOHN

Thank you, darling.

(He kisses her on the cheeks as she’s sitting)

 

CYNTHIA

What do you want?

 

JOHN

I have a list here.

(He hands her a note)

The ones underlined with red ink are important, if you can’t get a hold on them, please phone.

 

CYNTHIA

Why not go yourself and have a break too. You’re always locked up in the office with her.

 

JOHN

I thought about that, but I woke up a bit dizzy and I don’t wish to drive when I’m like this.

 

CYNTHIA

Probably is all that red wine you drink. It is far too much.

 

JOHN

You had some too.

 

CYNTHIA

Yeah, two glasses!

(She is ready and gets up)

 

JOHN

You look great!

 

CYNTHIA

I feel great.

 

JOHN

Good on you, that’s how I like to see my girl. Lively and….

 

CYNTHIA

Don’t spoil it, John.

(Sarcastic)

You’re not hinting at something, are you?

 

JOHN

God forbids, no.

 

CYNTHIA

Well, I might be in the mood too, you know…….

 

JOHN

(Surprised he starts unbuttoning his shirt)… Well….

 

CYNTHIA

Not now John…. When I come back, after lunch.

 

JOHN

It is my lucky day then?

 

CYNTHIA

Well, maybe it is.

 

JOHN

If you say so.

 

CYNTHIA

Let’s go for a walk around the garden. We don’t do it often and it is huge enough for nothing. It might clear your dizziness…

JOHN

That’s a good idea.

(They walk out together)

 

BLACKOUT

 

Scene two - 2 weeks later - The bedroom

 

(We find Cynthia sleeping. On the bedside dresser beside the lamp and the phone, we see a bottle of red wind opened, half-full,

And an empty glass stained with wine. Three boxes of sleeping pills opened and emptied, with the sleeves on top of them.

There is also a note standing by the bottle.)

 

(Enters John and sees Cynthia sleeping. He goes closer and sees the evidence of suicide. He lifts the note)

 

JOHN

(Shouts)

Sheila, Sheila come in here at once….

(He picks the packets of pills and examine them, picks the glass of wine and smells it.)

(Sheila comes in quickly)

 

SHEILA

What’s wrong?

 

JOHN

She’s trying to kill herself….

 

SHEILA

What do you mean?

 

JOHN

Look at this…

(He gives her the note)

And these are empty.

(He shows her the pillboxes)

 

SHEILA

(She moves to the dressing table and picks up the phone)

I’ll phone an ambulance.

 

JOHN

Oh no you don’t. This opportunity hell into our laps.

 

SHEILA

What do you mean?

 

JOHN

If she tried to kill herself, why wake her up? This Way we don’t have to commit murder.

 

SHEILA

I see what you mean.

 

JOHN

So we let her die.

SHEILA

Just like that!

 

JOHN

Just like that. What do you say?

 

SHEILA

Are you sure she’s not hearing us? You’re sure she’s unconscious?

 

JOHN

(He goes and examine her)

Definitely!

 

SHEILA

So we phone the ambulance after she dies?]

 

JOHN

No. We do not want to create a scandal because it may harm the business. You know what I mean. There’ll be asked a lot of questions, and most of my clients know her well and know that she’s behind the financial backing.

 

SHEILA

So what do we do?

 

JOHN

We get rid of the suicide note, the pills, everything that suggests a suicide. We tie her to the bed and make it look like she was having perverted sex with somebody and went wrong.

 

SHEILA

But she never went out with other men.

 

JOHN

You and I know that, nobody else. We could blame Beverley, her fingerprints are all over this house including this room.

 

SHEILA

You must be out of your mind?

 

JOHN

Well, it happens you know. And besides, have you got a better idea.

 

SHEILA

Yes. We make it look like a robbery went wrong.

 

JOHN

Why will a robber tie her to the bed?

 

SHEILA

Rape? We make them think she was raped.

 

JOHN

You’re very clever you are. What about the DNA? They will only find mine!

 

 

SHEILA

Maybe they don’t find any, maybe the robber, and him the rapist was very clever.

 

JOHN

True. It will be perfect. We were outright and people saw us together especially in the bank. At the restaurant, the waitress can confirm that we were having lunch. You see everything is to our advantage.

 

SHEILA

Are you sure it will work?

 

JOHN

I am sure, we have to take this chance. And we should live happily ever after.

 

SHEILA

Let’s do it then!

 

JOHN

Go to the garage and there you find some rope and bring a sharp knife with you.

 

SHEILA

You’re not going to stab her, are you?

 

JOHN

It’s to cut the rope. Ho on and be quick.

 

(Sheila exists running. John grabs the evidence and puts it in his pocket. Picks the wine glass and leaves it to the on-suite bathroom. He returns with a clean glass and a wet cloth. He goes and wipes the dresser lifting the bottle and keeps it in his hand. He smells it and smiles and tastes it.)

(Sheila enters with a rope and a knife. She gives them to him)

 

JOHN

Good.

(He takes the rope and gives the bottle of wine which is in his hands to Sheila. He let loose the rope to see what size he’s to cut it and does so twice. He goes to the bed and ties one piece to the wrist of Cynthia and ties it to the headboard post. He goes to the other side and does the same.)

 

Look at her…I’m afraid I have to be cruel now….

 

SHEILA

Why?

 

JOHN

We have to show that she was performing sex otherwise it won’t work….

 

SHEILA

I need this first….

(She puts the bottle onto her mouth and drinks a good gulp)

Here John finishes it we both need it.

 

JOHN

And why not.

(He takes the bottle and point to Cynthia)

Cheers Cynthia

(He finishes the bottle gives it back to Sheila as he jumps over the bed and starts undress Cynthia and the lights go out.)

 

BLACK-OUT

ACT TWO - SCENE THREE

(about an hour later)

The bedroom.

NOTE:- if possible in this act the position of the scenery changes. Before the bedroom was sideways that is the headboard of the bed was laid by the left wall. If that was the case  in this act the bed should be facing the audience for better effect.)

 

(We find Cynthia tied to the bedstead asleep nearly naked. The body of Sheila is on the floor by the exit door and John’s body lies by the dressing table. It is important too that under the bed are hidden David and Connie While Beverley is standing in the wardrobe)

(Now we see Cynthia waking up slowly. Realising she is tied up and but doesn’t see the bodies yet. This should not take long as her senses and tries to release herself from the ropes. She fails. Now she sees the bodies.)

 

(Calls-out)

John…John….What’s happening? John, Sheila answer me? What is wrong with you? Come on….Is this a joke? It’s not funny….Come get up from there and untie me now.

 

(She tries to free herself from the ropes she fails again. (The phone on the bedside table rings….it keeps ringing until it stops and an automated message comes in…..Few seconds the message ends her mobile phone rings…..and after a while it stops too.)

 

John this joke has gone far enough. Please get up and untie me. Come lets have a drink and laugh it off. I only wanted to scare you with my face suicide attempt.

(Pause)

Come on don’t be like that, Sheila please tell him to stop this ridiculous farce. Sheila get up I said.

(Once again she tries to free herself. She bangs her legs on the mattress aggressively. Stops as she looks around she sees the bottle of wine on the dressing table where John is on its side.)

 

Oh no it can’t be. Oh shit! I’ve killed them….I’ve killed them. How the hell did I know they were going to drink the wine I spiked with the sleeping pills? Oh no. Why did I put all the pills in the wine? There was no reason for that…..

(Pause)

(Realises)

What are they doing in the bedroom? Both of them? Why did they drink the wine?

(Pause and ponders)

What am I to do? Am I all alone? What time is it?

(She wriggles her hands hard)

Am I dreaming? It must be a dream, my husband lies dead with his secretary.

(She counts from one to ten quickly)

That’s what they say count to ten then…..Oh no, this is not a dream.

(She tries to look at her wristwatch but it is difficult to see the time. )

Oh shit, I am all alone and tied to the bed? Why am I tied to the bed?

(Realises she half-naked)

What happened to my clothes. Oh shit, this is embarrassing….

 

(What happens next is an illusion from Cynthia’s mind. (Appropriate background music will be a help))

 

Who tied me like this?

 

(John stands up quickly on his feet)

 

JOHN

I did my dear….

 

CYNTHIA

Thank God you’re alive.

 

 

JOHN

Am I? Am I alive?

(Moves to her)

Are you sure I am alive after I have drunk your wine?

 

CYNTHIA

That wasn’t meant for you….It was only to scare you. I didn’t want you to be with her….Scare you that is all I wanted….

 

JOHN

You did more than scare us. You killed us.

 

CYNTHIA

You are not dead. How can the dead speak to me?

 

JOHN

Think Cynthia, think hard, and use your imagination.

 

CYNTHIA

(Pauses)

A ghost? It can’t be. Ghosts doesn’t exist.

 

JOHN

Are you sure about that?

 

CYNTHIA

I’m not sure about anything. I am confused and I’m tied to the bed. Untie me, please….

 

JOHN

How can I?

 

 

CYNTHIA

Use your fucking hands. That’s how.

 

JOHN

I cannot use them,. I cannot touch anything solid. I am only a spirit, my dear….

 

CYNTHIA

If you are a ghost what the fuck are you doing here?

 

JOHN

Guess?

 

CYNTHIA

Stop playing games!

 

JOHN

But you like playing games. Suicidal games, don’t you?

 

CYNTHIA

That was a mistake….

 

JOHN

Yes and a big one too. Now you’re paying for it.

 

CYNTHIA

You did not tell me why you are here?

 

JOHN

To haunt you, of course. Tease you…..Want any more reasons?

 

CYNTHIA

No.

(Now and again she tries to release herself from the rope)

Why did you tie me up?

 

JOHN

When I realised you tried to kill yourself I made sure you did and made it look like robbery and rape….

 

CYNTHIA

But why? Why did you want to get rid of me?

(PAUSE, looks at Sheila)

Not because of her, surely?

 

JOHN

Perhaps!

 

CYNTHIA

Or because of my money and the business, you thought you will inherit everything….

 

JOHN

Yes that is true.

 

CYNTHIA

Not it is not. Yet again you failed in your calculations. I have got the upper hand.

 

JOHN

Have you? In that position? How long can you last tied to the bedstead? Without water, It is nearly dark outside, and nobody is going to come here to help you.

 

CYNTHIA

You bastard.

 

JOHN

No names, please….

 

CYNTHIA

Why don’t you go where ghosts go and let me die in peace at least.

 

JOHN

And spoil the fun?

 

CYNTHIA

Was I not a good wife to you?

 

JOHN

(Laughs hysterically)

Good wife? In the beginning perhaps; You gave me a son, I admit you were a joy to look at, to speak to, we used to enjoy making love…

(Pause)

Yes, we definitely did. Then like a magician you managed to disappear everything. The son got married and went to Australia, you became paranoid. I could hardly touch and that was once a week. Do you think you treat me well?

 

CYNTHIA

Is that really how I treated you?

 

JOHN

Yes. You damn well did.

 

CYNTHIA

And Sheila how did she got mixed up into this?

 

SHEILA

Gets up quickly on her feet and goes closer to John. Remembering they cannot touch each other)

I gave him what he wanted most. Good tender, succulent sex….

 

CYNTHIA

I thought so. You couldn’t be with him for his manly hood. He can hardly last two minutes. For my money, for gifts?

 

SHEILA

That’s right! Exactly.

 

JOHN

What. What are you saying, Sheila.

 

SHEILA

You didn’t think I enjoyed touching you did you?

 

JOHN

I don’t believe this.

 

SHEILA

You were a lousy employer and a lousy lover.

 

CYNTHIA

Now it’s my turn to enjoy the situation.

 

JOHN

Enjoy it. We are dead and you’re about to die too.

 

CYNTHIA

At least I know the money will go somewhere else.

 

 

JOHN

(Moves away from Sheila)

I really don’t believe this Sheila. You hooked me less than a week after you started. Was that your intention all the time?

 

SHEILA

Of course. My partner knew this and we were living comfortably because of you two. Now you spoiled everything you bitch.

 

CYNTHIA

Oh, I am so sorry about that.

 

SHEILA

Why did you put the pills in the bottle? Usually one swallows them instantly.

 

CYNTHIA

I am not experienced in suicide matters.

 

JOHN

At least our son will be happy with the situation. He doesn’t have to work anymore.

 

CYNTHIA

I am not dead yet!

I wonder what Connie and David make out of this situation?

 

(David and Connie come out from under the bed. One from the left and the other from the right)

 

DAVID

Did somebody call our names?

 

CONNIE

You called us and we obeyed.

 

CYNTHIA

Am I going mad? What were you doing under the bed?

 

DAVID

Under the bed? Were we under the bed? You must be kidding. Don’t you forget you invited us for dinner?

 

JOHN

But that was three weeks ago.

 

SHEILA

That’s right I remember.

 

CONNIE

You wanted to discuss with us where we were going on holiday this year? Did you forget?

 

DAVID

I remember we had a serious discussion about adultery, remember John?

CYNTHIA

You are part of my imagination. I am hungry, thirsty, and tired. That’s what it is, an illusion.

 

CONNIE

Come to think of it David, how did we arrive here, just now?

 

DAVID

Well, we came….

(Hesitates)

You know, I can’t remember.

 

CYNTHIA

That what it is, I created you in my mind. I wanted some help, and here you appeared…You do not exist. Like John and Sheila.

 

CONNIE

What do you mean like John and Sheila?

 

SHEILA

We are dead…..

 

DAVID

Dead?

 

JOHN

Yes but it’s a long story.

 

CYNTHIA

You see all of you, this is my vivid imagination and you are not here.

 

DAVID

But we are!

 

CYNTHIA

If you are then for fuck sake come and untie me from this bed.

 

DAVID

Of course, I will.

(Moves towards her hands. He tries to untie her but cannot touch the rope.)

This is weird. I can see the robe but cannot touch it.

 

CONNIE

Are you sure?

 

DAVID

Of course, I’m bloody sure.

 

CONNIE

Let me try.

(She tries to untie the rope from the other hand and she fails)

I cannot….This is absurd.

 

DAVID

Come to think of it John, what are you doing here with Sheila?

 

JOHN

(Shows him the bottle of wine)

The bitch poisoned us.

 

CYNTHIA

No, I didn’t, they bloody killed themselves.

 

CONNIE

Really Sheila?

 

SHEILA

In a way yes. She left the bottle of wine by the bedside table, and we drank it. We didn’t know she put her sleeping pills in it.

 

DAVID

Were was Cynthia in the meantime?

 

SHEILA

There, where she is in bed, sleeping!

 

CYNTHIA

I was unconscious.

 

SHEILA

When we came from town we found her lying in bed unconscious. She tried to fake a suicide. At least that’s was she told us.

 

CONNIE

So why didn’t you call the hospital?

 

SHEILA

We wanted to get rid of her.

 

CONNIE

Cynthia, why did you pretend to kill yourself?

 

CYNTHIA

To prevent John from leaving me for that bitch there. So instead of saving me, they tried to kill me. They tied me up in the hope I die without anyone to help me.

 

CONNIE

That’s disgusting John.

 

JOHN

I’m disgusting? What about you pretend to be a paragon of virtue, while all the time you pretending that you cannot have children because you never wanted any and David did. Cynthia told me everything. You are worse than a bitch.

 

DAVID

(Move closer to John)

Don’t talk to my wife like that you arsehole!

JOHN

OH piss off!. You too are not genuine. How many times did you tell that you used escort girls because Connie did not satisfy you?

 

CONNIE

What?

 

SHEILA

David that’s too low.

 

DAVID

What about you fucking me behind John’s back?

 

JOHN

You do like riding different horses, don’t you Sheila?

 

CYNTHIA

So everybody knew about John except me. Well not Beverley, of course, she would have told me.

 

JOHN

Don’t worry she knew all right. I was being blackmailed by her not to expose me.

 

CYNTHIA

With Money.

 

JOHN

Precisely.

 

SHEILA

Oh, fuck! What a tangled web we are living in!

 

CYNTHIA

You can talk, you hussy! I kill you of you weren’t dead already.

 

BLACKOUT

 

ACT TWO - SCENE THREE

THE NEXT DAY

STILL THE BEDROOM

 

(Cynthia is still tied to the bed. The body of Shiela is on the floor and John’s body lies by the dressing table as they were in scene two)

 

CYNTHIA

(Knowing her fate she doesn’t struggle anymore. She is weak.)

I wonder how long have I been tied up. I know it’s been a long time. I’m very thirsty.

(She cries)

I wet myself and fortunately, I don’t need to do the other….One thing for sure John was right. I won’t survive. Nobody comes here….With them dead on the floor, I have no chance to get any help. So I here I am drowning in my piss, thirsty and hoping for the best.

But did I really had a conversation with them? What about David and Connie? Did I imagine that too? It seemed so real……

 

(There is a long pause and for the last time but tiredly she tries to release herself.

There is a crash of broken glass from downstairs)

Oh Lord, some help…let be be some help please!

(She shouts hysterically and jumps on the bed several times)

Help! Help! Help!

 

(From a distance we here Footsteps)

 

BEVERLEY

(Voice only)

Cynthia, Cynthia are you there?

 

CYNTHIA

(Relieved)

Beverley, up here in the bedroom…Come….help me…

 

BLACKOUT

END OF THE PLAY