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April 2017

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Writer Gal

Selkie in New York: Goal 1 Reached!!!

Goodness Gracious, GREAT BALLS OF FIRE!

Ladies and gentlemen, DEAR everyone, it has been less than 24 hours and Paypal informs me that we're more than a third of the way to THE GOAL! This is SO SPLENDID and joyous!

This means I must put up a wee play for you, doesn't it?




***

SELKIE

Dramatis Personae

DYLAN, a land-locked selkie who suffers dangerous hallucinations
SIMON, her husband, a human
MEREDITH, one of Dylan’s courtiers, come to fetch her back



There is a single tree on stage. From its branches hang many empty plastic pill bottles, like wind chimes. A woman sits near it. She has a golden ribbon wrapped around her wrist leading offstage, and a blue ribbon tied around the tree. She is unaware of them.


DYLAN
Round and round the mulberry bush
The monkey chased the weasel
The monkey thought ‘twas all in fun…

Enter Simon. One hand is in his coat pocket, clutching something there. His eyes never leave Dylan’s face.

SIMON
Good afternoon, sweetheart.

DYLAN
How many?

SIMON
Indulging her.

How many what?

DYLAN
How many pecks?

SIMON
As many as you desire. Here and here.

(He kisses her twice.)


DYLAN
One peck.

SIMON
Just one? How about two? Three?

He kisses her cheek.

A dozen more where those came from. Are you sure you don’t want another…

He tries to kiss her lips. She moves.

DYLAN
Picked a peck of pickled peppers. How many pecks of pickled peppers? One peck. A single peck.

SIMON
We can do better than that. Just call me Peter Piper.

DYLAN
No. You are the Pied Piper. Pied Piper with your panpipes, and your promises, leading me like a crippled child.

SIMON
Well.
He pats her hand.

Well, well. I have brought you your noon dose, my dear. Open up.

She opens her mouth. He lays a single large pill, like a pearl, on her tongue. It is a kind of Eucharist.


SIMON CONT’D
To your health.

DYLAN
Amen.

SIMON
Ah! Bottle’s empty again. Tomorrow, I’ll go into town and have it refilled.

DYLAN
Let me have the bottle, Sir Husband.

SIMON
Whatever would you do with it, sugarplum?

DYLAN
I will bottle up the wind. To bring the sailors home safe. Our sons, far away at war. Our navy blue sailor sons walking at the bottom of the ocean.

SIMON
There is no excuse for that, Dylan.

DYLAN
Give me the bottle, Sir Husband.

SIMON
You have plenty of bottles. And besides, what would I tell your doctor?

DYLAN
Tell her I lost it in the river.

SIMON
She wouldn’t swallow that, Dylan. You’re not allowed near the river.

DYLAN
I have a very long arm.

SIMON
She won’t be very happy with you. You’ll have to tell her at your next appointment…

DYLAN
The bottle.

Simon gives her the bottle.

SIMON
I thought you and I could have lunch outside today. Right here. I’ll just go inside and pack a basket, shall I?

DYLAN
Perhaps.

SIMON
A picnic. All the fruit of the sea. Tuna salad. Crab cakes. Shrimp cocktail. A little white wine, chilled. I’ll bring a nice big blanket, soft and blue. We can lie under your tree. For dessert, grapes, figs, chocolate…


DYLAN
And a pudding pie. Kissed the girls and made them cry.

SIMON
That was uncalled for.

DYLAN
Oh, go away, Simon. Simple Simon. Simon the Pie Man. Go away and leave me alone.

SIMON
Your medicine will make you calm. I’m leaving, and when I come back, we’ll eat a nice lunch, and be polite to each other. Meanwhile, Dylan, consider. Would you want your sons, our boys – may they rest with the angels – to see you treat their father so rudely?


Dylan walks to the tree unsteadily and begins tying her new bottle to one of the branches. Simon exits. When he is gone, Dylan sways and must support herself on the branches.

DYLAN
I’m sorry.

Meredith enters. She is winding a spool of golden thread as she walks. Her head is bent down. She is following the thread trail without looking up. She winds it all the way to Dylan’s wrist, she stops, astonished. Dylan’s hand closes over the spool.

DYLAN CONT’D
What an extraordinary thing! Hello, you!

Meredith, unable to accept she is real, touches her face, kisses her. When they pull apart, Meredith takes a large white pearl out of her mouth.

How did you draw that out? It dissolves so fast.

MEREDITH
Not fast enough.

DYLAN
Still. You should ask, you know. I had no time to prepare. Usually, there are flowers, cards, a phone call. The first date, informal, movies. Then a dinner by candlelight. Only then, once you’ve met father and mother, achieved their consent, then, you kiss me.

Besides – I’m married.


MEREDITH
Married. A human skinned you, that’s what I heard.

Going over to the tree

But what is this poetry?

DYLAN
Mine. My music box.

MEREDITH
Then you haven’t forgotten.

DYLAN
Not exactly. It’s just that I don’t remember what I remember. It’s hard. Look at all those years. My face has changed.

MEREDITH
Lady, you are still beautiful.

DYLAN
You look so strange. Like there’s a moon shining on you through dark water.

MEREDITH
Lady, I will murder whoever did this to you.

DYLAN
No, no. I am all the death there is. I could kill many people with my little tree...

Drive the skiffs against the cliffs.
Clip the clipper ships.
Lay the fishing boats to waste.
And all the mighty Men of War
Will be no more.
Bone to stone and stone to sea.
Isn’t that so, little tree?

MEREDITH
Yes. As you say. Show none of them mercy. They showed none to you.

DYLAN
I am well-loved.

MEREDITH
Love.

DYLAN
What else should I call it?
You came all this way. For what?

MEREDITH
For you. I was tracking you.

DYLAN
For me! But that’s for whom. I asked for what – why did you come?

MEREDITH
Lady, I was never clever with your riddles. You used to mock me for that. I was the least of your lovers. But I am the one who followed you.

DYLAN
Poor creature. Faithful hound. I deserve my wounds. I was wicked.

MEREDITH
As cruel as you were wonderful. And so beautiful to my eyes…

DYLAN
Close your eyes. Don’t look at me.

MEREDITH
Why did you leave us? I would have walked on fire for you.

DYLAN
All fire is quenched in the sea, my love
Unless thou the fire be.

I don’t know why I left. I don’t remember. Everything’s a fog. See those bottles? Fog and wind, white and thick, it rolls right through me. I can’t find my way.

Meredith kisses her again. She kisses Dylan until Dylan starts coughing, falling to her knees. She vomits up a string of pearls. Meredith takes it from her, hangs it on the tree. Dylan begins to remember more of her past.

DYLAN
I was dancing on the shore. I had slipped my skin, hid it beneath some rocks. I was dancing, and the sun was burning through me. And then, there was a storm, and my skin was gone. And there he was.

Simon enters, running. Meredith steps behind the tree.

SIMON
What’s wrong? I heard you choking.

DYLAN
She was trying to drown me.

SIMON
You’re so flushed.

DYLAN
She was going to drag me under. My sons sent her. They gave her a trail to follow. It led her right here. She wants me to return with her.

SIMON
You spat up your medicine again, didn’t you? Dylan?

DYLAN
No! She was just here.

SIMON
Nobody is here but you and me.

DYLAN
She stepped into the tree.

SIMON
The doctor told us these hallucinations would start again if you didn’t take your medicine.

DYLAN
You never believe me.

SIMON
Like last time? A voice from the river. A black horse that stepped out of the river, you said, and sang to you sweetly. You were about to jump into the freezing water when I found you…

DYLAN
That was different. I was very sad. That was the day we heard about our boys…

SIMON
Dylan, you have to calm down. I’ll bring you back to the house…

DYLAN
Simon, she is going take me down to my birthplace. A dreadful house of ice where I must sing. All men call me monster, and I am, and I sing to them, and their bones pour over me, always hungry.

SIMON
There’s not talking to you when you’re like this.

DYLAN
She’s tied to me. Can’t you see my chains?

SIMON
Come back with me to the house. I’ll call the doctor…

DYLAN
Don’t touch me! I’ll knock down the tree. Don’t you know what I am? I have hurricanes inside me!

Simon raises his arm to hit, to subdue her, but Meredith steps behind the tree and puts a knife to his throat.

MEREDITH
You must be the bastard who cut the heart out of my queen.

DYLAN
Stay your hand!

MEREDITH
You show grace? He stole your skin, kept you twenty years, got children on you! Look at him, growing older every day while you live forever. When he dies, what then? Will he pass you on to his next of kin? Or will he burn you on his pier, his trophy wife?

SIMON
I rescued her!

MEREDITH
You ruined her!

SIMON
The sea was poisoned. Oil spills, sewage, radioactive waste. She was dancing mad and naked on the beach when I found her. There were carcasses everywhere, sea birds and dolphins, sharks and shellfish. I saved her. I gave her children.

MEREDITH
Those half-things, bred against nature, belonging to neither world. You think they died in combat? You stupid man! The sea drove them mad! They dove off their ship, one after another. They thought they could breathe underwater!

DYLAN
My little ones!

MEREDITH
Look at your handiwork! She is a shipwreck. You’ve made her crazy. Now let her go.

SIMON
She belongs to me. You’ll have to use that knife, because I’ll never let her go.

MEREDITH
One way or another.

DYLAN
Meredith.

Meredith is silent for a long moment.

I remember you, Meredith.

MEREDITH
Oh, Lady.

DYLAN
Meredith, I can’t go with you. I lost my skin.

MEREDITH
I won’t leave without you.

DYLAN
You must. You’re barely a shadow of what you were.

MEREDITH
Go back without me. I will give you my skin.

DYLAN
I need my own. I need it back. Simon. Simon, please. If you love me, if you ever did, please.

SIMON
What will I have when you’re gone?

DYLAN
Nothing.

SIMON
The tree.

DYLAN
My tree?

SIMON
What I found that day by the seashore, I buried beneath those roots. Why do you think the tree is dead?

DYLAN
Oh.
I feel it now. It’s waiting for me.

MEREDITH
The tree will have to come down.

DYLAN
It will be such a storm! Every bottle broken. Twenty years in the building. A wave like a wall. Oh, Simon. Poor little monkey. You should go away now. Run. Take to the trees. I can’t promise you’ll be safe. But it will be some protection.

Simon refuses to move.

MEREDITH
She will not tell you twice.

Simon ignores her. Dylan snaps one of the bottles from the tree, starts unscrewing the lid. The sound of wind, a darkening of light.


DYLAN
The North wind doth blow, and we shall have snow
And what will poor robin do then, poor thing?
He'll sit in a barn and keep himself warm
And hide his head under his wing, poor thing


BLACKOUT

***


I'm only $60.00 away from having to write A REFLECTION for you all. Having to do with IBSEN, no less, and SQUAWKING upon finishing Lady from the Sea.

Notice how I avoided the word "essay"? That dignified, that elegant, that most EXPOSITORY of words? I noticed.









Comments

Friday. Promise.
Your well-wishes are enough, you know. I know where you are. I'm there too.

Did I take you over the next threshold?

I hope, I hope, I hope!

Re: Did I take you over the next threshold?

I just crossed it a few minutes ago!

Oh, gosh. Now I have to write a REFLECTION!

Ibsen, here I come.
I would like to contribute to your day of glory, but I don't have a Paypal account. I can send you a check if you PM me and let me know where it should go.

P.
Oh, Pamela! Thank you! That is VERY kind!!!
Oh, wow, I love that!

Edited at 2011-08-02 09:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading it! THANKS!!!
I've had selkies on my mind, of late.
Dare you to write a poem about 'em!
I will! I have something in mind, but I'm at work right now, so am trying to keep the selkies at bay for now.
My soul barks like a seal.

ONWARD!
I can see them swimming in the bay at which I'm trying to keep them, and hear them calling, "Come, play, swim with us, you KNOW you WANT to."
dear girl, dearest ocean girl, you enchant me. <3
SOOJ! You used your PIRATE ICON!!! I am SOOO HEPPY!!!

Glad to enchant. Enchantée enchanter! For the feeling is ENTIRELY MUTUAL!

SMOOCH!