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The Devil You Know- a play- Part 2
The Devil You Know
A Play by Tony DeLorger © 2011
The scene opens in Rita’s flat. It is basically the same layout as Andy’s flat but has a separate bedroom. On the rear wall to the right of a round table and four chairs near the window, are large chests and boxes filled with theatrical props and costumes. In front of the kitchenette sits a threadbare three-seater sofa with a single chair opposite. Rita is seated on one of the dining chairs, while Véga is pacing up and down impatiently.
Rita- For God’s sake Véga, will you relax?
Véga- (Stopping dead and looking scathingly at Rita)
They’re late! They’re always late!
Rita- We have over a week to get it right, and we’ve all done it a thousand times before.
Véga- (Pacing once more) That’s not the point. There must be discipline a.. (Being interrupted by Rita)
Rita- And commitment, otherwise there’s no plausible perception etc, etc. Yes, we’ve all heard it before.
Just then the door chimes sound and Véga rushes to the door and opens it.
Véga- (Said angrily) You’re half an hour late!
Moose- Sorry, Boss.
Tito suddenly tumbles through Moose’s long parted legs and jumps to his feet with his arms stuck out triumphantly.
Véga- (Looking down at him, unimpressed) Save it for the performance.
Tito slowly relinquishes his pose and Samuel and Gladys follow Moose into the room.
Scripts are on the table. I’d like to try and get through the sacrifice scene, end of Act 2.
They all go to the table and collect the scripts, realising that Végais in no mood to be crossed. Rita rises reluctantly to her feet and goes to one of the open trunks and pulls out some hooded capes and starts handing them out. Tito cheekily snatches one and quickly puts it on. It is obviously Moose’s and he shuffles around looking like someone drowning in a mound of fabric.
Véga- Doesn’t anyone take this seriously? This is our living; we are professionals. The public expects some level of expertise from us, some value for their money. If you all think you’re beyond rehearsal, then perhaps you’d like to find some other troupe. Is that what you want?
They all hang their heads, feeling a little guilty.
Tito- I..I’m really sorry Boss, I’m just in a good mood today that’s all. I’ll stop now, I promise.
Véga- (With a deep sigh) All right, top of page 14, Morgana speaks.
They all adjust their hooded capes and stand in a circle, Rita with a golden dagger in her hand, stands at the head of the circle. They all do different, rather amusing vocal warm-up exercises, shaking their hands and stretching their necks to limber up. Rita is about to speak when there is a knock on the door.
Shit! I just can’t win. (Storming to the door and opening it)
Andy stands there, his expression one of total shock. Just like his dream, these people are standing in a circle dressed in hooded capes. He tries to speak.
Andy- Ah, I..I..have y..?
Véga- What do you want? We’re kind of busy.
Andy- (With eyes darting around the room, he sees Rita smiling cheekily at him. He nervously snaps back and looks at Véga) Have you..ah, seen Butch, my cat?
Véga- Your cat? Why the hell would I have seen your cat?
I didn’t even know you had a cat. Look, we’re busy,
all right with you?
Véga slams the door in his face and goes back to his rehearsal.
Rita? From the top.
Rita- (Holding the dagger with both hands, she holds the dagger above her head) In the name of the dark one, and the glory of.. (Interrupted by Tito)
Tito- But there’s nothing to sacrifice, no body?
Véga- (Exasperated) Use your imagination. This is a rehearsal. Can we get on with it?
Tito- (Gingerly) Sorry.
Rita- (Resuming her position) In the name of the dark one, and the glory of the underworld, I..
The dagger suddenly slips from her hands and clatters on the floor.
Véga- For God’s sake!
Rita- It’s my moisturiser, that’s all. It made the handle slippery.
Véga- (Flopping down on the sofa, coming to terms with all the frustration) All right, I can take a hint, no more scenes with props, not this morning. Get rid of it all. We’ll do Gloria’s scene in the church, Act 1.
The other players replace their capes in the chest and Gladys steps forward to play Gloria in the church. Samuel stands by the table, ready to play the priest and Rita sits at the table while Moose and Tito sit on the sofa, Véga stands up next to it.
From the top!
Gladys- (Kneeling down, facing left stage as if facing an altar, with hands together in prayer and speaking in the most melodramatic manner)
Lord give me strength to face this human corruption, this dark and vile creature of the night, so bent on destruction and debasing this mortal world.
Samuel steps forward and genuflects as if approaching the altar, then stands next to Gladys.
Samuel- (Said with compassion) Would it help to talk, my dear?
Gladys- (Looking up with tears in her eyes) I cannot drag you into this, you’ve already done more than anyone could ask of you.
Samuel- That is why I’m here. We are all in God’s hands, under his protection.
Gladys enthusiastically leaps into the priest arms for consolation.
Véga- No! No! (Waving his arms around in frustration)
You’re not supposed to rape him, he’s a priest for God’s sake. (Moving over to them to explain)
You are distraught, at your wit’s end. You want comfort, direction- don’t smother him. Let him console you, gently fall into his comforting arms. Understand?
Gladys- Yes, all right. We’ll do it again.
Véga- (Turning and returning to his position by the sofa)
Give me strength. From Samuel’s line, again.
Samuel- We are all in God’s hands, under his protection.
Gladys slowly approaches Samuel and nestles into his comforting arms.
Véga- Better, much better. Continue.
Gladys- You will not want to hear this, Brother.
Just then the door chimes sound and everyone looks up.
Véga- Not again! What is this place, Central Station?
(Briskly going to the door and opening it. Mrs Biggs from downstairs is standing there)
Mrs. Biggs- Sorry to disturb you, but I thought Andy might be here, it’s about his cat.
Véga- What is it about this damned cat? The boy’s not here, why would he be? And who the hell are you?
Mrs. Biggs- Well there’s no need to be rude.I just asked a simple question and look what I get. That’s a fine way to great your new neighbour, a fine way indeed. Well, I never!
Véga- (With a bored look on his face he rudely shuts the door in Mrs Biggs face and sighs deeply)
Will this day ever end?
Then Andy’s voice echoes from the laneway downstairs.
Andy- Butch? Where are you Butch?
Véga turns to Rita and shakes his head.
Véga- Why did you choose this flat, in this building? The place is filled with nutcases. Why am I continually surrounded by such incompetence? (Going to the kitchenette and leaning forward with his arm over his forehead, against the wall)
Moose- Let’s have a break and make some coffee?
Véga- (Laughing sarcastically) Yes, of course, we’ve achieved so much this morning, why not.
Moose, not getting the sarcasm at all, smiles and goes to the kitchen to make the coffee.
I’m going to the theatre to talk to the lighting technician. I’ll be about half an hour.
Vega heads for the door.
Tito- Can you get some of those custard tarts from that little bakery on the corner?
Véga- (Stops dead and growls then continues without looking up and leaves the room, slamming the door)
Don’t go anywhere, any of you! (Echoes through the door)
The lights slowly dim and the curtain comes down on Act 1, Scene 2.
The curtain comes up to find Andy back in his flat, pacing up and down nervously.
Andy- (Mumbling to himself) This can’t be happening. Who are these people? Witches, demons, some satanic cult- my God, why did they have to move in next to me?
(Stopping dead in the middle of the floor)
The police! I have to call the police! (He rushes to the phone on his bedside table and picks up the receiver)
No, I can’t. They’ll just think I’m a nut or something.
He replaces the receiver and sits down on the side of his bed, trying to think it all through.
Perhaps there’s an explanation? It can’t be my imagination, can it? Surely not, there’s no body; they haven’t done anyone in, that I know of..yet. No, I’m being silly. I’m just freaking out. (Standing up)
Deep breaths, that’s what I need. (He takes a few slow deep breaths)
Yes that's better, feeling better now. No need for doctors. Calming down now. (Continuing his deep breathing)
Suddenly there is a loud knock on his door and he startles.
God, no! (Hesitantly approaching the door, he looks apprehensively through the peephole)
Thank you. (Sighing with relief and unlocking all the locks and bolts, then opening the door)
It’s only you Mrs. Biggs. Please, come in.
Mrs. Biggs enters, looking obviously disturbed. Andy quickly re-locks and bolts the door without his usual chanting and knocking.
Is everything all right?
Mrs. Biggs, takes Andy’s hand and hangs her head,
trying to find the words, then looks sadly up at him.
Mrs. Biggs- I’m afraid I’ve found Butch. Andy..
Andy- (Realising its bad news) Oh, no, not Butch. Was it a car? (Holding back the tears)
Mrs. Biggs- Well no, I’m not exactly sure.
Andy- What do you mean?
Mrs. Biggs- He was in the lane, behind a garbage can. ..It wasn’t an accident, Andy.
Andy- Why would anyone hurt a cat? What did they do to him? (Anger rising from within him)
Mrs. Biggs- (Hesitantly)He was cut, with a knife or something like that.(Hanging her head, appalled) His front paws were tied, and he was hanging against the wall.
Andy- My God! Who could do such a thing?
He suddenly turns to the audience, as if his question had been answered.
It’s them, next door. She hates cats and they’re all a part of some strange satanic cult. (Rushing to the phone and dialling)
Mrs. Biggs- (With eyes the size of two saucers) Satanic cult! (Looking around nervously, feeling insecure)
Andy- Hello, is that the police? Yes, I want to report a murder. The body is in the lane behind 48 Burgess Street, corner of Wicker. Please hurry, I know who did it! ..Yes I do..Unit 5. Hurry!
Mrs. Biggs- (Approaching Andy) Was that wise, Andy? I mean a person hasn’t been murdered. Butch was only a cat.
Andy- He was a person to me, and they’re not getting away with it.
Mrs. Biggs- I know you loved Butch, but how can you be certain it was them? I mean they look a little odd and that older ‘icky’ man is certainly rude, but
Andy- (With a look of determination on his face)
I just know. You could say I’ve seen them at work.
Suddenly outside, the sounds of sirens approaching take their attention. They get closer and then stop, the flashing police lights are visible through the window. Andy goes over to the window and looks down into the lane.
Mrs. Biggs- (Unable to hold back, and not wanting to miss out on any of the excitement) I’ll go down, then.
Mrs. Biggs rushes to the door and then looks back to Andy expectantly. He walks over and unlocks the locks and bolts, then opens the door to let her out. She slips away, but before he can close the door a police detective arrives.
Detective Mason- Detective Mason, you make the call, son?
Andy- Yes, I did. Come in. (The detective enters the room and Andy closes the door, locking all of the locks and bolts. The detective just stares at him, realising he has a ripe one)
Detective Mason- Name?
Andy- Andrew Knowles. Look, what about Butch?
Detective Mason- (Having written down some details on a small notepad, he then replaces his pad and pen in the inside pocket of his trench-coat and sighs)
Where’s the body, son?
Andy- (Frustrated) In the lane, behind the garbage cans!
Detective Mason- That’s a cat. A cruel joke, but a cat.
Andy- Yes a cat, my cat, Butch.
Detective Mason- You called us to report the murder of a cat?
Andy- (Indignantly) Yes! Are you a bit slow or something?
Detective Mason- I wouldn’t be taking that attitude, if I
were you. You know making a false report to the police is an offence?
Andy- (Willing to take no more) It’s not a false report!
Someone mutilated my cat. This was no accident!
The detective removes a two-way radio from his coat pocket and calls down to the other police downstairs.
Detective Mason- Regus, come in?
Regus- Reading, over?
Detective Mason- No body, just the cat. Do you read, over?
Detective Mason- See you back at the station, over. (Replacing the two-way in his coat)
Now, you think you know who did this to your cat?
Andy- Yeah, it’s those people next door. They’ve just moved in.
Detective Mason- And what makes you think these people would do such a thing, and to your cat? They got something against you?
Andy- Well, maybe. (Leaning forward and whispering)
They’re doing unnatural things in there, some cult of some kind. I think they worship Satan.
Detective Mason’s mouth is now gaping, knowing he really has got a ripe one.
Detective Mason- Well, if that’s the case, I should have a little talk to these demons next door. You stay right here. I’ll want to talk to you when I’ve finished. (He moves toward the door and looks back at Andy, who immediately unlocks and unbolts the door and lets him out, then closes it, re-locking and bolting everything)
Andy- (Beginning to pace nervously again) I can’t believe he’s gone. My Butch is gone. (Wiping the tears from his face)
They won’t get away with this- I won’t let them.
Andy waits for a moment and then there is a knock on his door. He goes and looks in the peephole, then unlocks everything and opens the door.
Andy- Well? (Detective Mason enters)
Andy goes to secure the locks and bolts and the detective holds him back.
Detective Mason- Please, I’ll only be a moment.
Look Mr Knowles, I’ve spoken to your neighbours and there’s absolutely no evidence or motive for any of them to do such a thing. It was probably some sick kids, taking out their aggression.
Andy slumps, suddenly thinking that perhaps he has read this all wrong, imagined the whole thing.
Do you want us to take care of the cat?
Andy- (Said dismally) No, I’ll do that. I..I’m sorry for bothering you.
Detective Mason- (Realising that Andy is truly upset and didn’t mean any harm by calling them) Look son, try to get on with your neighbours and forget all this Satan stuff, OK? Get yourself another cat.
Andy- Yeah, OK.
Detective Mason leaves and Andy goes to a kitchen cupboard and gets an old shoe box in which to put poor Butch, to bury him. He then sadly goes to the door and leaves to collect Butch’s body.
The lights slowly dim and the curtain comes down on Act 1, Scene 3.