Daily Archives: August 7, 2011

Bombardment, Episode 9: Oozing and Open

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.

[EPISODE 9]

ARETHA: You what?
CARMELITA: You were so unhappy! So weary! To help, to ease your suffering, I…put them in your brandy, Aretha.
ARETHA: Do not speak my name!

Slaps CARMELITA hard.

CARMELITA: As you wish. Ma’am.
ARETHA: My question. You are here. In my bed. Now. Barely dressed. Explain this.
CARMELITA: Yes. After the…in the. . .night. You try to sleep, your eyes closed. Your head side-to-side. Your breath fitful. All you can do is call Corno. Mr. Corno. Come home. Finally, sleep descends, easing round the castle. Servants sigh. Dab their eyes. Prepare their own beds. Then the cook says, the phone! If the phone rings! So we run to your room, and your head is thrown back, your mouth is open, your skin is blue! Behind your eyelids, your eyes flicked back and forth! Panicked. Searching. Dreaming. She’s dreaming, says the cook! She’s dreaming of Mr. Corno! She’s chasing him in her dreams! Chasing after love! Quiet her, Carmelita. Quiet her before her heart bursts. How do I do this? What do I do? The servants, they grab me. They pull from me my uniform. Force me into bed. Beside you. I say this is wrong! I am soiled! But you are cold! Frozen cold! The touch–my touch–does something. Warms you. Calms you. Quiets you. Your breath turns to fuchsia. Your spirit to green. Stars return. Here. At this intersection of dream and desire. Your sweat blending with mine. Our tears. Our breath. For a moment…peace.
ARETHA: I see. How very creative of you. But I know. Why you’re here. Who you wait for. You exploit my confidence, poison me with your drink and medicines, and your perfect tales of selflessness. Then have the gall to wait, an orchid, oozing and open, for him. Blooming beside my rapidly cooling corpse.
CARMELITA: No, ma’am. I would never–
ARETHA: You already have. Remove your oily stench from my bed. And conceal your hideousness. At once.

CARMELITA rises.

CARMELITA: As you command, ma’am.

[To be continued]


Bombardment, Episode 8: Terms and Conditions

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.

[EPISODE 8]

CARMELITA: Exposed to unrelenting cold, the body’s spring unwinds. Heat slips from the head and limbs to maintain the essential machinery of the torso. Fingers and toes freeze first, so solid they can be snapped like dry twigs. Hold them over an open fire, they cook. That’s why rescue teams work with the safest source of heat they carry: their own bodies.

ARETHA moans.

CARMELITA: They strip naked and lie with their stricken companions until the warmth passes from one body to the other, forming a reciprocal circuit. Life ensnaring life. Reeling it back. A wet kite, drawn home on a fraying thread.

ARETHA cries in pain and begins coughing. CARMELITA shifts so she cradles her. Above, a star field appears.

CARMELITA: Feel the air, sharp, filled with glass? I tried to warn you.

ARETHA coughs hard, coming to consciousness as CARMELITA rocks her.

ARETHA: It’s so cold.
CARMELITA: Not now.
ARETHA: I can’t feel my limbs.
CARMELITA: Then feel mine.
ARETHA: I’m floating.
CARMELITA: We call that life.
ARETHA: There are pinwheels. Sparklers.
CARMELITA: Good blood from our hearts.
ARETHA: Weight. Heaviness.
CARMELITA: Terms and conditions.
ARETHA: Who are you?

CARMELITA becomes subservient. She sits up, concealing herself with the coat. The stars fade.

CARMELITA: Just the maid, ma’am.
ARETHA: Speak up.
CARMELITA: The maid, ma’am. Your lady in waiting.
ARETHA: What are you doing in my bed?
CARMELITA: The phone ma’am–I shut the phone off. I didn’t want you disturbed.
ARETHA: I requested this?
CARMELITA: You asked for sleep.
ARETHA: So you took the initiative, on your own, to remove the phone from its cradle. Genius. Suppose the call came? Suppose Corno called, asking for…for…needing help. Needing coffee? Pipe tobacco? You know what it means, should he run out of pipe tobacco? What could happen? Driven from the castle. Lost in the storm. Tracked by assassins, some maniac with a tire iron. Enemies hide everywhere. In the faces of children. The whispers of innocents.
CARMELITA: Ma’am…you were so…tired.
ARETHA: You presume!
CARMELITA: Dead tired. You must remember.
ARETHA: Of course, I…. I need not remember every little thing. That’s we have staff. Report!
CARMELITA: Mr. Corno, gone, as you say. Gone in the cold. And you unable to sleep, unable to rest. All the household hears you pace. We try not to listen, but your heels ripple like drums.
ARETHA: You were…concerned? For me?
CARMELITA: All were! The butler chews his nails. The footman paces. The cook sniffles. Trying to hide it, he blames the onions. And me, most of all! That’s why. . ..
ARETHA: Why? (ARETHA touches CARMELITA’s lips.) You love me. Oh. Carmelita.
CARMELITA: The red capsules. I took them from the medicine cabinet.

[To be continued]