Splattworks continues its presentation of Bombardment, a two-act drama by Steve Patterson. The author will attempt to post an installment each day, but, if events intercede, installments may occur a day or so apart. So please be patient.
ARETHA: Is this is how you want me to be? Or is this how you want to be? I can be anything required. Rich. Beautiful. Bathed in seals’ milk. Sipping the blood of a freshly slain virgin from a Midori martini glass. My breath scented with opium. Underarms of honeysuckle. A kiss that can lift you to Valhalla, a whimper that can drop you to Siberia. Able to have anyone and anything. . .but you. (ARETHA sits.) My God. What I wouldn’t do for a knife to carve the features from my face. I won’t lecture you on the burdens of nobility. Any disadvantages we experience are more than compensated. Despite our pretensions, we understand this, particularly those who have experienced vicissitudes in attaining one’s position. In exchange, all I relinquish is control of my appearance, speech, public behavior. Otherwise, I am free. Further, in compensation I am granted control of all behavioral codes within these walls, this world. Not just for the footmen, serving maids, culinary technicians, but for all whose adherence to the rules insures the seamless, untroubled continuation of our. . .. Ones’ servants do not lay hands upon ones’ person! Not without invitation! And, in exchange, one lays ones’ hands upon ones’ servants with utmost discretion. One does not whisper in thy servants ear at table! One does not surreptitiously tease thy servant’s thigh with spouse so close as to hear thy servant’s breath quicken! One does not corrupt thy servant in the boudoir of thy wife! He had to be disciplined! Do not think I do not suffer for this decision! His very absence emphasizes the nature of his violation! The thought of his hands upon her skin cooks the very eyes within my skull! He betrays his place! My station! The very boundaries of reality have been violated! My double, carved of the same hard fruit. We cannot fit swelling to hollow with others. Not with the same exquisite perfection, flesh to flesh, soul to soul. But if he cannot be brought to rein, and all cannot be set as it was, I will sacrifice him! Not in vengeance, o sweet, sweet drug. For order. Stability. Such as he taught me.
PLACID enters. Carries a bag. Sets down the bag and opens it.
PLACID: But I do the sacrificing? Right?
ARETHA: On my order.
PLACID: Yeah, but chopping him, opening him up. I get to do that?
ARETHA: If I didn’t want him dead, I wouldn’t pay you. If I didn’t pay, you wouldn’t do it.
PLACID: Babe, I do it for you. For your love. Your love is my money. Your lips my municipal bonds.
ARETHA: Body. It’s either cost or commodity. Do your job. You’ll be compensated. Understand the nature of the transaction. What matters is Corno’s fate. Not yours. Death matters. When he’s dead, he’ll know what love means.
PLACID: It’ll look like love backed right over him. Repeatedly.
[To be continued]