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The Blood of My Husband’s Mistress: A Play in One Act by Garett Socol

The Blood of My Husband’s Mistress: A Play in One Act by Garett Socol

Drama, Vol. 4.2, June 2010

CHARACTERS
Lauretta Frost
– 40, elegantly dressed.
Ben Frost – 43, her husband.

SETTING

The lovely home of Lauretta and Ben Frost in the heart of American suburbia. Front and center is the kitchen which leads directly into the living room. Both rooms are neatly kept and clearly visible.

Lauretta stands in the kitchen, unpacking groceries. Three full bags sit on one of the counters. Ben sits on The sofa, engrossed in a newspaper.

Classical music plays in the background —a light, airy piece by Vivaldi.

There’s silence as Lauretta removes a few canned goods from one of the bags and places them in a cupboard. Then she freezes for a moment as if she just recalled something important.

LAURETTA

I forgot what I remembered to tell you.

BEN

(after a beat)

What was that?

LAURETTA

As I was leaving the grocery store, I remembered something I’d forgotten to tell you, and I meant to mention it as soon as I got home. But now that I’m home, I forgot what it was.

BEN

It’ll come back.

LAURETTA

Not after it went away. It rarely comes back after it goes away.

BEN

It always comes back to me, usually at the most unexpected time. Like the middle of

the night.

(Lauretta pulls two large tomatoes from a bag.)

LAURETTA

Look at these heirloom tomatoes. They’re the size of somebody’s fist.

(Ben doesn’t look up. Lauretta places them

in the refrigerator.)

BEN

What was the subject matter?

LAURETTA

Can’t remember. But it wouldn’t matter if I did.

BEN

Of course it would. It would help you remember what you forgot.

LAURETTA

It wouldn’t. Let’s say the subject was Daniel. Or Dartmouth. Knowing that wouldn’t help me one bit…Granny Smith apples were on sale but I prefer the Fuji so I bought four Fuji. I also like the Johnagold and the honeycrisp. I hate the Pink Lady. I hate the Pink Lady with a passion.

BEN

Was it about Daniel?

LAURETTA

I told you I don’t recall.

BEN

No, you told me you forgot what you recalled. So you did recall at a certain point.

LAURETTA

Well, not at this point. At this point I have no recollection. But I don’t think it had anything to do with Daniel or Dartmouth.

BEN

Was there something at the store that bothered you? Did you have an unpleasant encounter at the counter?

LAURETTA

Actually I did encounter a rather unpleasant situation. I was in the Under Fifteen items line, and the blowsy, bleach blonde battle-ax behind me had the gall to count my items which were still in the cart. She came up with sixteen. But she was counting each apple and each orange separately. Isn’t that ridiculous?

BEN

Were the oranges the same kind?

LAURETTA

Both were blood. I didn’t really want the blood, but they didn’t have one stinking Valencia left. Only blood. Not even a navel.

BEN

Is that what you wanted to tell me?

LAURETTA

If I remembered something that I’d forgotten to tell you, and the last time I saw you was hours prior to my trip to the grocery store, nothing that took place in the store holds any significance.

BEN

Fine. I won’t mention the store again.

(Lauretta pulls out a two-pound calf’s liver in butcher paper.)

LAURETTA

The calf’s liver was on sale. I thought we might have it tomorrow.

(She puts it in the cabinet above the oven. As she

reaches, she strains her back.)

You don’t think of me as forty, do you?

BEN

Of course not.

LAURETTA

Thank you, Ben.

BEN

I think of you as forty-one.

LAURETTA

But…I look ten years younger, don’t you think? I hear that all the time, how much younger I look. My dress size hasn’t changed in a decade.

BEN

What’s important is how old you feel.

LAURETTA

Absolutely. And I feel thirty. One.

(Very softly, almost to herself)
I honestly didn’t remember putting that cherry blossom pink scarf in my jacket pocket at Saks. I remembered seeing it, feeling it, even thinking it would be the perfect splash of color with my slate gray blouse and black skirt. But I could’ve sworn I put it back on the shelf with the other steaks.

(Pause)

Will you go shopping with me next time, Ben?

BEN

If that’s what you want. As long as we don’t go to that health food factory. I’m not the least bit interested in sprouts or greens.

LAURETTA

Greens. Good for optimum health. I think it had something to do with greens.

BEN

What did? The thing you wanted to tell me but forgot?

LAURETTA

Yes.

BEN

Ah, then it couldn’t have been very important. I mean, how urgent can bib lettuce or broccoli spears be?

LAURETTA

Chopping. Chopping greens, chopping celery. She was chopping celery, that’s right.

BEN

Who was chopping celery?

LAURETTA

In her lovely new kitchen. Valerie du Plexis Rose.

(The pleasant classical piece on the radio comes to an abrupt end, allowing the mournful moan of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto #3 to fill the air. Ben suddenly comes to nervous, jittery life. Alarmed, he tosses the newspaper down, focuses on Lauretta.)

BEN

You saw Valerie du Plexis Rose chopping celery?

LAURETTA

Yes.

BEN

When did you see Valerie du Plexis Rose chopping celery?

LAURETTA

Earlier today.

BEN

Where did you see Valerie du Plexis Rose chopping celery?

LAURETTA

At her house. On Swansdown Drive.

BEN

I know where her house is.

LAURETTA

Yes, I’m aware that you know the location of her lovely house. Are you familiar with that unique smell of water on the sidewalk? Her sprinkler was going at full blast, hitting more cement than grass, and in light of our impending drought, I became angry. What a waste of water. I thought it was terribly irresponsible of her to let this happen. The front door was unlocked so I wandered in to tell her to turn the darn sprinkler off.

BEN

You entered her house.

LAURETTA

Yes. I followed what sounded like chopping. Sure enough, Valerie du Plexis Rose was chopping celery on a wooden block in her lovely, cerulean-colored kitchen. I really don’t know what you saw in her, with that frosted hair and those artificially plumped lips. She had a plastic sheen, like processed cheese…I devoted myself to you Ben, every day for twenty years. We raised a son, and now that he’s in college I thought we’d have time for ourselves. Instead, you made time for Valerie du Plexis Rose.

BEN

Lauretta, please…

LAURETTA

She was terribly surprised to see me. Stunned, one might say. So she put the knife down and asked what I wanted.

BEN

You told her about the sprinkler?

LAURETTA

I told her I wanted a cup of coffee. A pot was brewing and it smelled so intoxicating. You know how I love the smell of coffee. I almost love its scent more than its taste. ‘All right’, she said in that throaty voice. “I’ll pour you a cup.” That was nice of her, don’t you think?

BEN

Very cordial.

LAURETTA

I thought it was exceedingly nice, considering the circumstances.

BEN

It was phenomenal. Extraordinarily nice.

LAURETTA

Well let’s not get carried away. It was nice, not deserving of a Nobel Prize.

BEN

Of course.

LAURETTA

At that point, she turned away from me with those colossal breasts on exhibit, like an avant-garde piece of art. She turned toward the cabinet to fetch a coffee cup, and I grabbed the knife which was heavier than it looked. Then she turned to me quickly, and came closer. In her speed, she accidentally impaled herself on the sharp blade of the knife…Then something awful happened Ben, something I’m not terribly proud of. You’ll think it was positively thoughtless of me and I wouldn’t blame you.

BEN

Tell me. Now.

LAURETTA

Valerie was standing inches away from me, with the sharp blade firmly in her stomach, an inch or so to the left of her navel. Or Valencia. Instead of pulling the knife out, I turned it clockwise, one complete rotation. And then I pulled it out. She was staring at me with an odd, confused expression. Quizzical, but slightly impressed, as if she admired me for having the guts to do such a thing. She couldn’t speak, but I’m sure that’s what she was thinking—that she admired me for having the guts to do such a thing. You won’t believe what happened next, Ben. What happened next was truly tragic and amazing.

BEN

What happened next, Lauretta?

LAURETTA

The poor bitch was losing blood quickly. It came gushing out of her, like an oil well. Not spurting, but gushing. Not cascading. Closer to surging. But gushing is what it was. The blood was gushing as if it couldn’t wait to exit her skinny body. But that’s beside the point. Here’s what happened next, Ben. Next, Valerie du Plexis Rose took the deepest breath she could muster, gathered every ounce of her remaining strength in her weakening body, and punched me in the stomach. Hard. She wanted to knock me on my ass. Unfortunately for her, I didn’t fall to the floor. I certainly didn’t want to get blood all over my pale pink Zac Posen summer dress, especially her blood, the blood of my husband’s mistress.

BEN

What did you do then, Lauretta?

LAURETTA

I poured myself a cup of coffee and opened the refrigerator to get some milk, but the only thing the aging whore had was a half-filled container of Half & Half, and you know I don’t care for Half & Half. However, I did find a pint of vanilla bean ice cream in the freezer. So I grabbed a spoon and put a scoop of it in my coffee cup. Wasn’t that resourceful? I took a few sips, and then I drove home. The knife is in the back seat, so there’s blood in the car. (Eyes light up like lanterns.) That’s what I forgot to tell you, Ben! The car needs washing!

BEN

Oh God.

LAURETTA

What time does the car wash on Witch Hazel close?

(Ben gazes at Lauretta in disbelief. He reaches for his cell phone, races out the front door.

Lauretta stands perfectly still, dazed but oddly content, enjoying the surge of adrenaline her body produced.

She doesn’t realize she has one more item to unpack, a fist-size fist, until its blood began seeping through the paper bag and dripping on the white-tiled floor, like thick raindrops splashing on a windshield.)

THE LIGHTS FADE OUT.


-END OF PLAY-

What Are We Getting At? by Patterson Willis

A Conversation with Danny Collier, creator of An Abbreviated Family Dictionary

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