The Devil You Know- a play- Part 4- final
The Devil You Know
A play Tony DeLorger © 2011
The scene opens in Andy’s flat. It’s the next morning and Andy is dressed, ready for work. Being away from the flat suddenly seems like a good idea and he wants to be far away from Rita and Véga, and throw himself into his work. As the curtain opens, he is brushing his hair next to the bed. He finishes and replaces the brush in the bathroom, then goes to his bed and bends down straightening a few wrinkles across the cover. He goes to the table and picks up his briefcase ready to leave, when there is a knock on the door.
Andy- Oh, God! (Looking at his watch nervously, dropping the briefcase and apprehensively going to the door)
A more emphatic knock on the door echoes through the flat. Andy looks through the peephole.
Véga- Open up! I just want to talk, OK? (Pausing, waiting for some response) I promise I won’t hurt you, please?
Andy- (Deciding to give him the benefit of the doubt, he opens each lock and bolt and hesitantly opens the door) I don’t want any trouble.
Véga- (Entering the room) I never wanted trouble, either. That wish doesn’t seem to have made a difference.
Andy- (Shutting the door, but leaving the locks and bolts) What do you want? I have to go to work.
Véga- Look, about yesterday- and everything. I know it’s not your fault.I’m not normally a violent man. Its just Rita, she drives me crazy. Maybe I’m crazy for thinking that she’d stay with me, she’s so attractive and me? Well it’s just not a match, is it?
(Sitting on the arm of the lounge chair) You see, a long time ago I helped her to get off the streets, she was completely homeless, no hope or place to go. I was so drawn to her. I stupidly thought that if I took her into my world, took care of her, she’d love me forever- just like a fairytale. I guess I was wrong.
Andy- (Feeling strangely guilty) I didn’t ..I mean she just.. Nothing happened. I didn’t mean to cause any trouble, really.
Véga- You just happen to live next door. Look, you may not understand what we do, but this is our life, what we’ve always done. Perhaps it would be best for both of us to just keep away from each other. I’ll promise to keep our little gatherings next door as quiet as possible, if you promise to not pound on the walls or call the police. Is it a deal? (Standing up and offering his hand to Andy)
Andy’s not sure what that has meant. Has Véga allayed his fears or confirmed them? Either way he’s been asked to leave him and Rita alone to get on with it, to keep silent.
Andy- (Reluctantly, but feeling it necessary, he shakes Véga’s hand and nods) OK.
Véga- I knew you’d understand, get things into some perspective. Thank you.
Véga heads for the door and as he opens it, Rita unexpectedly enters.
Rita- What have you done to him? (Rushing to Andy, who is stepping backwards, Rita being the last person he wants to see)
Véga- Nothing at all, it’s all sorted out. God, Rita! Can’t you just leave well enough alone?
Rita- (Looking at Andy and placing her hand on his shoulder) He didn’t threaten you did he?
Andy- (Feeling most out of place, he shakes his head)
Véga- Rita, it’s over! I think that after all these years of what we’ve been doing it’s finally over. We’ve caused enough pain and anguish, don’t you think?
Rita- You can’t let everything go like that, all that work. Not when we’re finally mastering the art.
Véga- I just can’t keep up with your unquenchable thirst. Must our relationship leave a continuous trail of strewn bodies, like some sad record of conquest?
I just can’t do it any more.
Véga leaves the room while Rita bursts into tears and rushes after him. Andy is somewhat shocked at this blatant admission of guilt and feels as if he is in an episode of the Twilight Zone. After a moment, trying to get himself together, he decides to go to work and heads for the table to get his briefcase. He picks it up and notices the bottom window open, an old habit he’d kept from having Butch around. He looks at the window and decides to shut it.
But as he locks it he looks down into the lane and almost has a heart attack. There, below next door’s balcony, he sees Mrs. Biggs laying on her back next to the paper recycling bag. She appears to be dead, a large bloodstain at the centre of her chest as if she’d been stabbed and on the ground around her, a circle of white paint.
Andy- Shit! It’s Mrs. Biggs, and she’s been stabbed. The white circle, everything. (He turns toward the audience, leaning against the table)
My God, I was right. The dream was right! (Whipping himself up into a frenzy) This is not my imagination, this is actually happening. (Turning back to the window and looking down to verify the reality)
Shit! What to do? Must call police. (Running around frantically) They can’t get away with it, call Mason. Yes, call Mason. (Rushing to the phone and dialling)
Hello! Detective Mason, quickly! (Pausing) Of course it’s urgent. There’s been a murder! Yes. Hurry!
(Waiting) Detective Mason? They’ve done it, a real murder. Come quickly! (Pause) I can’t calm down; they’ve killed Mrs. Biggs, her body’s in the lane. They’ve sacrificed her, stabbed her to death, just like I dreamt. (Pausing) The woman is dead I tell you, blood and everything. For God’s sake, you have to believe me, they were just here, admitted everything. They’ve done this before. Bring everyone, guns, everything. They’re next door right now. Hurry!
Andy, in a complete panic, drops the phone on the floor, rushes to the door and bolts it. He waits for the police to arrive pacing up and down, mumbling incoherently, nervously twitching and basically falling apart. Moments later several sirens sound in the distance, moving closer and closer, until a swag of police cars screech to a halt in the laneway below, the police lights visible through the window. Andy goes to the window and then seeing the police gathered around Mrs. Biggs body, he rushes out the door to see them.
The lights dim and the curtain comes down on Act 2, Scene 2.
Scene opens in Rita’s apartment. The troupe is gathered to rehearse, but Véga and Rita’s rift has put a damper on things, until the police’s dramatic arrival draws them to the window.
Tito- What are they doing down there, I can’t see anything. The balcony is in the way!
Moose- I can’t see a thing either. (Samuel pushing him to the side)
Samuel- Let me see!
Suddenly there is an almighty thud against the front door and as the door flings open, six police burst in armed and pointing their guns at the players.
Policeman 1- Don’t move a muscle!
The players reel back in shock and raise their hands above their heads nervously, completely taken by surprise. Then Andy bursts in pointing accusingly toward them.
Andy- They did it! They sacrificed her..to Satan. Stabbed the poor woman to death.
Véga- What the hell are you talking about?
Andy- Don’t you try and deny it, you unholy creature!
Rita- What’s he talking about?
Moose- I have no idea.
Tito- The man’s obviously crazy.
Policeman 2- Shut up, the lot of you! The Detective will soon sort you out.
Moments later Detective Mason steps into the room.
Detective Mason- Put those damned guns away. These people haven’t done a thing. (Looking to Andy) You’ve got a lot to answer for, son.
Andy- What are you talking about? They’re here in front of you, guilty as sin!
Mason looks to the police officers and nods his head, inferring that they should leave immediately. They, look back confused, but slowly re-holster their weapons and make their way out of the room.
Detective Mason- (As they leave) Seal off the scene downstairs and keep people away. I’ll be down momentarily. (Looking back to Andy, who’s completely dumbfounded unable to understand what’s happening)
Andy- You have your body. They admitted to me that they do this sort of thing all the time. (Looking to Rita and the troupe, and them looking back just as confused as he is)
Detective Mason- Do you even know who these people are? You live next door to them.
Andy- (Exasperated) That’s what I’m trying to tell you!
Detective Mason- Andy, they’re actors, a travelling troupe who are putting on a production here in town.
Andy- Noo! (Shaking his head) What about the circle, the hoods and the chanting, the sacrifice?
Detective Mason- It’s all part of a play, they’ve been rehearsing it, that’s all.
Andy’s eyes are darting back and forth, trying to come to terms with this revelation, but not yet getting it. The players suddenly feel very sorry for Andy, who’s now looking particularly pathetic.
Andy- But Mrs. Biggs, she is dead, isn’t she?
Detective Mason- She is, but that appears to be an accident.
Andy- Are you blind? She’s been stabbed to death, and in a circle, just like in my dream.
Detective Mason- (Feeling embarrassed for Andy) It seems that Mrs. Biggs was painting her windowsill. She must have slipped and landed on her back in the lane. There was one of those hooks they use to pick up the recycled paper bags left on the ground. The poor soul landed on it, and it went right through her.
Andy- But the circle?
Detective Mason- It’s just paint Andy. She must have knocked over the paint tin when she fell. I guess it just spilt in an arc that’s all.
Andy finds the sofa and sits down, unable to fathom what he has put himself through. Rita leaves the troupe and slowly approaches him.
Rita- God Andy, no wonder you’ve been so freaked out. I had no idea you thought this about us. I thought you knew who we were, everybody else in town knows about the plays.
Andy- (Looking up at Rita soulfully) I don’t do the entertainment section.
Rita- (Crouching down with her hand comfortingly on his knee) Maybe you should get out once in a while?
Andy raises his eyebrows in agreement, feeling very sorry for himself and more than a little embarrassed.
Detective Mason- Look Andy, we’ll just forget about the call. I mean there is a dead body, even though it was an accident. I think perhaps you’ve got a lot to consider, particularly giving up reading all those fantasy books you love so much.Maybe it’s time to start living in the real world.
Come on! I’ll walk you back to the flat.
Andy slowly rises to his feet and lethargically strolls to the door, with all eyes on him. As he and Detective Mason leave the flat the lights dim and the curtain comes down on Act 2, Scene 3.
The scene opens back in Andy’s flat. He is prying off all the bolts and extra locks on his door with a screwdriver, when someone knocks on the door. He opens the door and Detective Mason stands before him in casual clothes, holding a cardboard box.
Andy- I didn’t make a call, truly!
Detective Mason- It’s Saturday Andy, this is a social call. Can I come in?
Andy- Sorry. Yeah, Yes of course.
Mason walks over to the table and places the box down, then turns to Andy.
Detective Mason- You’re taking off all the locks?
Andy- Yeah! I figure that if can get into so much trouble with them on the door and it didn’t make a difference, removing them won’t change a thing.
Detective Mason- I’m glad you’re doing it. Sometimes we create more of a prison with our minds than with the walls around us. Maybe you’ve learned something from all this.
Andy- (Tussling with a lock on the door) I’ve learned to be more selective with my reading list and above all, don’t call the police.
Detective Mason- (Frowning) Now Andy..
Andy- (Turning with a smile on his face) Just joking!
You moving or something? (Looking at the box, then having another go at a lock)
Detective Mason- No, the box is actually for you. I thought you could do with one.
Andy drops his screwdriver and walks over to the table, inquisative.
Detective Mason- Go on, open it!
Andy opens the flaps on the box and reaches in with a big smile on his face, lifting out a tabby kitten.
Andy- It’s just like Butch, the same colour and everything. Gee thanks! (Cuddling it)
Detective Mason- (Smiling broadly) Thought you’d like that. A new friend, a new beginning.
Andy- Thanks, thanks a lot. (Going to the fridge and retrieving some milk, finding a saucer and pouring some milk in it then placing it on the floor. The kitten drinks)
Detective Mason- So, what are you going to call him?
Andy- Mm? I should call him Devil, then every time I look into those soft brown angelic eyes, it’ll remind me how easy it is to see what you want to see and not what’s actually there.
Detective Mason- The Devil you know?
Andy- Exactly! I guess if you really look for something, you’re bound to find it, whether it’s true or not.
Detective Mason- (Smiling in agreement) Well, it’s a beautiful day. I’m not going to waste it. (Offering Andy his hand)
Andy- (Taking his hand and shaking) Thanks for everything.
Mason nods, smiles and leaves the flat, while Andy picks up the kitten and cuddles it as the lights dim and the final curtain comes down.