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Document 483

Refuge

Author(s): Janet Paisley

Copyright holder(s): Janet Paisley

This document contains strong or offensive language

Text

Peggy Ramsay Memorial Award 1996
first performed by
Stellar Quines Theatre Company
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
13 March 1997


CHARACTERS

Agnes - working class, about sixty five

Carolanne - middle class, about forty

Sadie - working class, mid thirties

Gordon - schoolboy, sixteen, Sadie's son

Maggie - refuge worker, early thirties

Beth - doctor's wife, about twenty three


Writer's Note: Refuge

Falkirk, my home town, has a motto. Touch Ane, Touch A'. Harm done to any one of us is done to us all. Yet, in 1989, the district council closed our local women's refuges. I helped campaign against that decision. Some battles, though already lost, must still be fought. But I wrote Refuge because I'm angry that such safe houses are necessary, that we need, accept, even applaud, the existence of places for women and children to hide. I wrote it for the women no-one hears. For the men who violate, for men who don't. I wrote for children who witness, who are abused, whose perceptions of love become warped. I wrote for my sons, for all our sons. They need to value their manhood, deserve a model to become. The characters in the play are fictional. Their experiences are not. I offer no solution to the brainwashing and torture prevalent in our society. Almost fifty percent of all homicides are women killed by a current or ex-partner, two violent deaths every week. We are all involved. As I write this note, my older sister, a woman of fifty, spends the night sitting awake in a refuge ready to protect a young woman and her children from a determined, dangerous man. Once, many years ago, she took the same risks for me. This play is for Joan, for half a century of genuine love.

Janet Paisley



ACT 1


(SITTING ROOM, FURNISHED WITH MISMATCHED SOFA, COMFY ARMCHAIR, TV, PAY PHONE, BOOK SHELVES, MAGAZINE RACK. A LARGE WINDOW IN ONE WALL OVERLOOKS A STREET. IN FRONT OF IT SITS A TABLE WITH TWO CHAIRS. A DOORWAY OPENS TO HALL AND STAIRS LEADING TO BEDROOMS. THROUGH IT THE FRONT DOOR CAN BE SEEN. IT IS CHAINED, BOLTED TOP AND BOTTOM, LOCKED WITH A HEAVY KEY. A SECOND DOOR IN THE OTHER WALL LEADS TO KITCHEN. AGNES, A PLUMP WOMEN OF SIXTY, SITS KNITTING IN THE ARMCHAIR. CAROLANNE, MID-THIRTIES, SLIM WITH WELL CUT HAIR AND SMART CLOTHES, IS CLEANING THE WINDOWS AND HAS A CIGARETTE BURNING IN THE ASHTRAY. SHE APPEARS SELF ASSURED YET IS NOT RELAXED. STOPPING TO SMOKE, SHE RIFLES THROUGH HER BAG, LOOKING FOR MONEY SHE KNOWS IS NOT THERE. SADIE, THIRTY FOUR, FAIRLY BRASH IN MANNER AND APPEARANCE, ENTERS FROM THE KITCHEN WITH AN IRONING BOARD AND IRON. CONFIDENT THOUGH ON EDGE, SHE IS ANNOYED TO SEE CAROLANNE LOOKING THROUGH HER BAG, AND SETS UP THE IRONING BOARD NOISILY)


CAROLANNE: Can't you do that in the kitchen.

SADIE: Yip. In the kitchen. In the lobby. In the bedroom. In the bathroom. Even under the stairs if the mood takes me. That's the beauty of ironing, see. Portable.

CAROLANNE: Why don't you then?

SADIE: Variety.

CAROLANNE: You're deliberately being obtuse.

SADIE: No me. Nope. Obtuse? Widnae know the meanin of the word, faur less the practise.

CAROLANNE: Ironing should be done in the proper room. And since we don't have a laundry room, the proper room is the kitchen not the sitting room.

SADIE: You've been it that book again. Chapter nine, a place fur awthing. Caw it the bedroom an go tae bed in it. Caw it the dining room an dine in it. Caw it the kitchen an - well, this isnae the sitting room. It's the livingroom. Live and let live, right? See that supposed tae book, dis yer heid in.

(SADIE SWITCHES ON THE TV, CAROLANNE STUBS HER CIGARETTE OUT AND GATHERS HER CLEANING THINGS)

CAROLANNE: And soap operas don't? I'm making coffee. Anybody want some?

SADIE: You're a sweetie.

CAROLANNE: Agnes?

AGNES: Tea fur me, seein ye're oan yer feet. Coffee'd just gie me the jitters.

(BOTH SADIE AND CAROLANNE GLANCE AT AGNES, THEN AT EACH OTHER. CAROLANNE EXITS TO KITCHEN)

AGNES: She goes fur an abortion, you ken. An then he gets aw lovey-dovey wi hur again but she gies him the cauld shoudder cause ae whit she's been through. An then she starts seein Greg again cause he disnae haud Kevin against hur.

(SADIE HAS MOVED TO LOOK OUT THE WINDOW)

SADIE: Pay weel, dae they?

AGNES: What?

SADIE: TV. (LOOKS AT AGNES) Scriptwritin.

AGNES: Read it in ma magazine. She's been a while.

(SADIE GOES BACK TO TURN OFF TV)

SADIE: Too long just tae pick somebody up.

AGNES: Things kin happen.

SADIE: No tae Maggie?

AGNES: No. Shoppin. Sortin claes. Likely she'll have stopped by the office.

SADIE: (BACK IRONING) Well, Gordon'll be in fae school furst, it this rate.

AGNES: You shouldnae wind Carolanne up like that.

SADIE: She shouldnae crank up sae readily.

AGNES: (STRETCHES, RUBS HER SIDE TO EASE PAIN IN HER RIBS) Still an all. Same boat, ye ken.

SADIE: Different bloody river, but. (BANGING WITH THE IRON) Aye, aye, I know. Still an all.(PAUSE) You aw right?

AGNES: Just ma lumbago playin me up.

SADIE: Athritis. Ye should say athritis. Naebody says lumbago these days.

AGNES: Ah like lumbago. (SLOWLY) Lumbago. Soonds better. Like dirty dancin.

SADIE: Lambada. (DANCING WITH THE SWEATSHIRT SHE'S IRONING) Dirty dancin. The Lambada. Oh, hey, I could get intae this. Give us a smoochie wan, handsome. (MOCK KISSING)

(CAROLANNE ENTERS WITH 3 MUGS ON A TRAY, STOPS, IRRITATED BY SADIE'S NONSENSE. SADIE GRINS AT HER)

CAROLANNE: Could you go suck your washing somewhere else?

SADIE: (TO SWEATSHIRT) Hey, pal, you got an ugly friend for ma ugly friend?

CAROLANNE: As long as he's not legless like yours. (HANDS OUT TEA MUGS)

SADIE: Legless? (CHECKS SWEATSHIRT TO SEE) Ach well, so much fur the lambada.

AGNES: (TO CAROLANNE) You wur quick.

CAROLANNE: The kettle never gets a chance to cool down.

SADIE: Didnae take time tae put a cloth oan that tray, but.

CAROLANNE: (FREEZES, TERRIFIED) Oh.

SADIE: Joke. Joke. Look, I was - okay, bad taste. But a tray, fur god's - fur three mugs? (BANGS THE IRON DOWN) Jees, I didnae mean it, right? Och, hell. (LIGHTS A CIGARETTE)

(CAROLANNE IMMEDIATELY EMPTIES THE ASHTRAY)

SADIE: Wid you please no dae that? Everytime I light up.

CAROLANNE: You'll need an ashtray.

SADIE: I kin yaise a dirty ashtray. What's the difference. Ash, mair ash. It's aw fag ash. Let it alane till it's full, kin ye no?

CAROLANNE: (PUTS ASHTRAY BESIDE SADIE) It won't hurt you to use a clean ashtray.

SADIE: Naebody's coontin the fag ends.

CAROLANNE: It's just habit.

SADIE: My eye. Like yer supposed tae book?

AGNES: Hard to gie up, habits.

(SADIE TIPS ASH FROM BIN BACK INTO ASHTRAY)

SADIE: Trainin, that's aw it takes. Trainin an will power. Whit dae you think, Agnes? Am I no right?

AGNES: Weel, ah never kent dirt get annoyed, however much ye ignore it.

SADIE: See. One fag end already in ashtray. Noo watch this. (WITH CEREMONY, TAPS ASH INTO ASHTRAY) Nae lightenin (LOOKS). Nae thunder (LISTENS). Noo I'll just ignore it and (RESTS CIGARETTE IN ASHTRAY) get oan wi the ironin.

CAROLANNE: Why are you doing that?

SADIE: It gets the wrinkles oot the clothes.

(SADIE BANGS AWAY, IRONING. THEY ARE ALL UNCOMFORTABLE, ESPECIALLY CAROLANNE)

SADIE: Och, go oan. (PICKS HER CIGARETTE UP)

(CAROLANNE TAKES THE ASHTRAY, EMPTIES IT, REPLACES IT)

SADIE: Feel better?

CAROLANNE: (GOING BACK TO HER COFFEE) Makes no difference to me.

AGNES: This is a nice cup ae tea, hen.

(CAROLANNE IS LOOKING IN HER BAG AGAIN)

CAROLANNE: You're welcome.

AGNES: Husnae turned up yet?

CAROLANNE: No. I can't think.

AGNES: Maggie'll have put it awa, maist likely.

CAROLANNE: I expect so.

SADIE: Fur goodness sake. Gordon widnae touch your money.

CAROLANNE: I never said...

SADIE: (CUTTING IN) He's no that kind.

CAROLANNE: I know. I just can't remember...

SADIE: A fiver. I mean, what would he want wi a fiver? I'd know if he was spendin money he didnae huv.

AGNES: Naebody said...

SADIE: No, but you're baith thinkin loud enough.

AGNES: Least said.

CAROLANNE: Maggie probably picked it up before she left.

SADIE: An if she didnae?

AGNES: It'll aw come oot in the waash.

SADIE: No fae Gordon, it willnae. I'd stake ma life oan that laddie. Huv done. (BANGS IRON DOWN AND GOES TO WINDOW) Oh, see this place.

CAROLANNE: Mistakes happen.

SADIE: An that's aboot aw. Naebody visits. Naebody comes tae the door. There's a phone there an it never rings. Even the postman walks past. What aboot ma hoose?

CAROLANNE: Maggie will bring that. When it comes.

SADIE: It's like we're no here.

AGNES: But we're no here.

SADIE: Still, the postman could come, the phone could ring.

(THE PHONE RINGS. ALL THREE STARE AT IT)

AGNES: The phone's ringin.

CAROLANNE: What did you do?

SADIE: Do? I didnae do anythin.

CAROLANNE: Answer it, then.

SADIE: Me?

AGNES: It wis your idea.

SADIE: I'm no touchin it.

CAROLANNE: You answer it, Agnes.

AGNES: Aw naw, it'll no be for me.

SADIE: It cannae be for oney of us.

CAROLANNE: Well, we can't just let it ring.

SADIE: (TO AGNES) What ur we supposed tae dae?

AGNES: S'never done that afore.

CAROLANNE: Somebody should do something.

SADIE: You get it, then.

AGNES: Aye, go oan.

CAROLANNE: What if it's the school?

AGNES: Mibbe Gordon's no weel.

SADIE: They'd ring the office.

AGNES: Weel, it's gein me the jitters.

CAROLANNE: Oh, I'll get it.

SADIE: No, wait. Maybe it'll stop.

(PHONE STOPS RINGING)

AGNES: It's stoapt.

SADIE: See.

(THEY RESUME THEIR ACTIVITIES)

AGNES: Wisnae fur us, then.

SADIE: Naebody knows we're here.

CAROLANNE: Maybe it was Maggie.

AGNES: Maggie widnae ring us.

SADIE: No, she'd phone the main office. Same as we would. If we were oot an needed tae.

CAROLANNE: This phone hasn't got a number anyway.

AGNES: Course it hus. Maggie taen it oot.

CAROLANNE: Took what out? The number?

AGNES: The bit aff the dial wi the number oan it. Pit it through there, in hur desk.

SADIE: Oneywey, whit would she want us fur?

CAROLANNE: I didn't think it took incoming calls.

AGNES: Probably a wrang number.

SADIE: Definitely a wrang number. Unless (PAUSE) unless, of course, it was Mel Gibson wantin me tae accompany him tae a film premiere. He was a bit pit oot that I was too busy last time.

AGNES: Ower busy daen what?

SADIE: Och, the usual, you know. Interviews. Photo sessions. Flyin oot tae St Tropez at a moment's notice.

AGNES: Modellin assignments fur page three?

SADIE: Playboy centrefold. Nothin less.

AGNES: Awthing less.

SADIE: Yup. That's who it would be. Mel Gibson.

CAROLANNE: A wrong number, then.

SADIE: Yup.

CARLANNE: Not Maggie.

AGNES: Still an all, she's been a while.

CAROLANNE: I'll go see if she left any messages on the board.

SADIE: Aye. You dae that.

(CAROLANNE EXITS)

SADIE: Whit is she on? She kens whit's on the board.

AGNES: So she needs tae check.

SADIE: Checks too many things.

AGNES: Still an all, better'n she was. Here, you could run that ower ma smalls while it's hoat anyroads.

SADIE: Smalls? An that'll be a while ago. Wanderin doon memory lane, are we?

AGNES: Never had smalls then either. Knickers an vests, just. Knickers tae yer knees, vests ower yer behind.

SADIE: Nae liberty bodice?

AGNES: Nae liberties, either. Stays, just. By the time ye had em aff, he'd drapped aff.

SADIE: So you never hud it aff.

AGNES: Oh, aye. Got rid of the stays, didn't we.

(THEY LAUGH)

SADIE: I'm gettin rid of the stays an all. The stay-ins. I'm down the pub the night, couple of gills and a wee shufty at the talent. Might just pick up a wee pick-me-up. Fancy a jaunt?

AGNES: Me? Nae wey. Nail ma feet tae the flair furst sooner than go back oot there. Oneyroads, ah'll be ready for turnin the heel by then.

SADIE: The heel? Thought it was a scarf.

AGNES: It's a blanket. Fur Oxfam.

SADIE: A blanket wi heels?

AGNES: Dinnae talk daft. I just like sayin that - turnin the heel. Soonds like I ken what I'm daen.

(CAROLANNE ENTERS)

CAROLANNE: Nope. No messages.

SADIE: Surprise us.

(CAROLANNE SLIPS A PIECE OF PAPER FROM HER HAND INTO HER BAG AND SITS TO CONTINUE READING)

AGNES: There's Carolanne wid go wi ye.

SADIE: (HORRIFIED) Carolanne?

CAROLANNE: Go where?

AGNES: Doon the pub. Sadie's aff lookin fur a lumber the night.

CAROLANNE: I could use a night out.

SADIE: Ye could?

CAROLANNE: I feel a bit shut in. Trapped or... or wound up. As if I need to do something. Those kitchen cupboards..

AGNES: Naw, naw. Ye turnt them oot last week. Ah still huvnae fund ma bottom teeth. (WIGGLES HER JAW ABOUT) An this spare set shoogles. Naw. Keep Sadie company. A wee treat.

SADIE: Oh aye. A rare treat.

CAROLANNE: If you wouldn't mind.

SADIE: Mind? Och, come if ye like. It'll be a laugh. Plenty ashtrays tae empty.

CAROLANNE: Don't know if I can afford it though.

SADIE: (ANNOYED) I'll lend ye the money.

CAROLANNE: It's not the five pounds.

SADIE: (GETTING HER PURSE) I'll give ye the money. See, here. Five pounds, right?

CAROLANNE: I don't want your money, Sadie. I want my own money.

(BOTH FREEZE AS FRONT DOOR KNOCKS)

AGNES: That's the door.

CAROLANNE: It must be Maggie.

SADIE: I'll get it.

(SADIE EXITS. THE FRONT DOOR IS UNBOLTED AND UNLOCKED
HEARD BUT UNSEEN, PEOPLE ENTER AND GO UPSTAIRS. THE TENSION OF WAITING DISSIPATES. CAROLANNE HAS GONE TO CLOSE THE LIVINGROOM DOOR AND HAS A QUICK LOOK INTO THE HALL AS SHE SHUTS DOOR)

CAROLANNE: She's got children.

AGNES: Wee yins?

CAROLANNE: Toddler and a baby, it looks like.

AGNES: That'll be nice. No hud oney weans in since afore you came.

(UPSET, CAROLANNE COLLECTS THE CUPS ONTO THE TRAY)

AGNES: Och, lassie. Ah didnae think. Ye must be missin yer ain twa.

CAROLANNE: It's not just that. Other people's children.

AGNES: It cannae be far. He does aw wur messages, an nae problems.

CAROLANNE: Till now. You can deal with your own.

AGNES: Aye. Well, no tae worry, Maggie'll sort things oot. (GETTING UP) Ah'll get oan the cooker afore she comes doon.

CAROLANNE: They'll want tea.

AGNES: (TAKING TRAY) Nae bother. Ah'll mash it while ah'm boilin my egg.

(AGNES EXITS. CAROLANNE EMPTIES THE ASHTRAY AND CHECKS HER BAG IS FASTENED. MAGGIE ENTERS)

MAGGIE: Oh hi, Carolanne.

CAROLANNE: Maggie. It went all right then?

(MAGGIE COLLAPSES IN THE ARMCHAIR)

MAGGIE: Well enough. (TRIES TO HIDE TEARS THAT COME SUDDENLY)

CAROLANNE: Oh here. What is it? (SHE GOES TO MAGGIE)

MAGGIE: I thought I'd seen it all.

CAROLANNE: (KNEELING, COMFORTS MAGGIE AS IF SHE WAS A CHILD) There now. There now.

MAGGIE: She tried to jump out of the taxi. I had to hold onto her. She'd have... She had no shoes, you know. No shoes. He locked them up so she couldn't go out. I said she could come with just her socks on but no. We took ages, going round the house. She didn't even know where... Oh, I'm sorry. Look at me. It's just...

CAROLANNE: Is she hurt?

MAGGIE: (WIPING HER EYES) Nothing you can see. (LOOKS AT CAROLANNE FOR A LONG SECOND THEN, INDICATING) But, marks on her neck. I thought he'd... It was the dog collar. It was there, on this long metal chain, in the room, welded to the fireplace. I thought they had a dog, a big dog.

CAROLANNE: Oh Maggie.

MAGGIE: What are we living with, Carolanne? (PAUSE, WITH GROWING ANGER) The wee boy's two, and the baby, six months. He'd put them in the room with her when he left for work. Food and water. A bucket for a toilet. This house is a (SHE INDICATES BIG) - he's a doctor! She said he'd padlock the collar. Padlock the fucking collar. (PAUSE) She phoned. Said she needed help. When we got there, she wouldn't open the door. We thought he'd locked her in. But she had the key. If he didn't chain her, she'd to keep the door locked. Took her ages to unlock it. He won't let me, she kept saying. He wasn't even there.

CAROLANNE: You should've phoned the police.

MAGGIE: Her word against his? And I can't do that. Unless she wanted them. I couldn't even ask if she'd ever called them, the state she got in...(CRYING AGAIN) She tried to jump out the taxi. Said he'd be angry. Said he'd punish her if she wasn't there. She couldn't understand not being there. (PAUSE) I had to hold onto her.

CAROLANNE: Of course you had to. She might have hurt herself.

MAGGIE: No. I should have made the taxi pull over.

CAROLANNE: And then she'd have gone back. Come on, you did the right thing.

MAGGIE: I did the same as him. Held onto her. Didn't let her choose.

CAROLANNE: Fear isn't choosing. Tied up like a dog.

MAGGIE: She made a choice when she phoned. God knows how she managed that. But it was a start. She might have phoned again, another time.

(AGNES, HOBBLING PAINFULLY, ENTERS WITH FOOD & TEA)

AGNES: Cup of tea for you, hen. Ye'll be needin it.

MAGGIE: You're a gem, Agnes. But you shouldn't have, you're not fit.

AGNES: (LOWERING HERSELF INTO A SEAT) It's nae bother. Kettle's never cauld oneywey. An you cheer up. Think oan yer ain man. He's a guid yin, isn't he?

MAGGIE: He is. He adds to me, he doesn't take away. (SMILES) I know. (MIMICS AGNES) Only wee men need tae cut their wimmin doon. (PAUSE) Did you fill out that sheltered housing form?

AGNES: (RUBS HER 'ATHRITIC' HANDS) Och, ma hauns willnae even haud a pen some days.

MAGGIE: Well, try to get it done soon or you'll miss the chance again. You don't want to be in here forever.

AGNES: No. Widnae want that. Nae wey. Eh, is Sadie helpin wi they weans? Ah'd gie a haund but...

MAGGIE: I know you would. It's all right. Sadie's putting them down for a sleep.

CAROLANNE: Have they eaten?

MAGGIE: I took them to the office first. They had something there. Beth, her name's Beth, she wouldn't eat. She was too agitated.

CAROLANNE: She's okay now, isn't she?

MAGGIE: I don't know. She just stopped. Like I'd wiped her out.

(SADIE ENTERS, CARRYING BETH'S SHOES, WITH BETH. BETH'S FACE IS BLANK, HER ACTIONS ROBOTIC)

MAGGIE: (STANDS) Beth. Here, you can have this seat.

(BETH WALKS, AWKWARDLY TO STAND BESIDE THE ARMCHAIR)

AGNES: (TO BETH) You huv a wee seat, hen.

MAGGIE: Is there something else you want, Beth?

SADIE: (SIGHS THEN, TO BETH) Beth, sit.

(BETH SITS)

MAGGIE: (TO SADIE) What are you doing?

SADIE: You wanted her tae sit.

MAGGIE: She's not a ... It's what she wants. If she wants.

SADIE: There's naebody hame.(HOLDS OUT THE SHOES) She took these aff. Gave them tae me.

MAGGIE: So you would hide them. That's what he did.

CAROLANNE: To stop her going out.

SADIE: Then she should weer them.

AGNES: No. She micht leave.

SADIE: I'm no hidin her shoes. As if he was here tae.

MAGGIE: Put them by her.

SADIE: (PUTS SHOES DOWN) Raither pit them oan her.

MAGGIE: This way she can choose. (TO BETH) You can put them on if you want to.

SADIE: There's naebody hame, Maggie.

CAROLANNE: (TO SADIE) Sadie, it's your go in the kitchen.

SADIE: Right. Will I fix her somethin?

MAGGIE: Sadie's asking if you'd like something to eat, Beth?

SADIE: Will I fix her somethin?

AGNES: Aye, go on, she'll mibbe eat if it's under her nose.

SADIE: She'll eat if we tell her tae.

CAROLANNE: Sadie, the kitchen!

MAGGIE: (TO SADIE) You ask. You don't tell.

SADIE: You don't say.

(SADIE EXITS)

MAGGIE: Beth, you're safe now. Timothy and Kerry are asleep upstairs. You can do what you like here.

(THERE IS NO RESPONSE FROM BETH)

MAGGIE: (TO AGNES AND CAROLANNE) Look, I should be back at the office now. It's my stint on the helpline.

CAROLANNE: But what if she tries to leave?

MAGGIE: The phones have to be answered.

AGNES: Look, thur's three of us. Ah micht no be able but you an Sadie'll kin watch hur. She'll no get oot.

CAROLANNE: No, we'll stop her. We won't let her go.

MAGGIE: You can't do that.

CAROLANNE: We can't let her go back.

MAGGIE: That's up to Beth.

AGNES: She disnae ken whit she wants.

CAROLANNE: She needs looking after. Protection.

MAGGIE: (SHOCKED) From herself?

CAROLANNE: Till she's well again.

MAGGIE: We don't take prisoners.

CAROLANNE: Why not? They do.

MAGGIE: Oh, Carolanne. (PAUSE) Look, do you remember when you first came here.

CAROLANNE: I couldn't sit.

MAGGIE: Right. I came in one day and you were up there, standing on the table, disinfecting the curtain rail.

AGNES: Aye. Gied us nae peace. A fair whirlwind wi a brush. Polished ma knitting needles, ye did. Everytime ah cast oan, it slid back aff.

MAGGIE: You scrubbed the coal cellar, with bleach.

CAROLANNE: It wouldn't come clean.

MAGGIE: And if we'd stopped you?

CAROLANNE: I had to keep moving. Somehow, it was worse, not knowing what he was thinking anymore. I was in the dark. Didn't know what he'd do. I had to keep moving to keep myself here. It would have been easier to go back.

MAGGIE: You see? Beth thinks she'll be punished even more for breaking his rules. If she feels safer going back, we have to let her. Right? (PAUSE) Alright?

CAROLANNE: (RELUCTANT) Right.

MAGGIE: Alright. It takes time to learn you can escape. And, sometimes, several attempts. (TO BETH) Beth, I have to go now but I'll be back in the morning. If you need anything ...

(THERE IS NO RESPONSE FROM BETH. AGNES STRUGGLES TO HER FEET)

AGNES: Awa an get oan wi it.

MAGGIE: (NODS, THEN CALLS THROUGH TO THE KITCHEN) I'm away, Sadie. See you tomorrow.

SADIE: (FROM OFF) Aye, right.

MAGGIE: Aye. Right. Somebody lock up after me?

AGNES: Ah'll get it. S'easier walkin aboot at times.

(MAGGIE EXITS. AGNES, HOBBLING, FOLLOWS. CAROLANNE CHECKS THE ASHTRAY IS EMPTY AND LIGHTS A CIGARETTE. WE HEAR THE DOOR BEING LOCKED AND BOLTED. SADIE ENTERS FROM KITCHEN WITH A PLATE OF FOOD AND TEA)

SADIE: (TO CAROLANNE) Kitchen's free.

CAROLANNE: Right.

(SADIE PUTS THE FOOD AND TEA ON THE SMALL TABLE BESIDE THE ARMCHAIR)

SADIE: (MIMICKING MAGGIE) It takes time tae learn ye kin escape. Mibbe we shoulda aw be carted aff in straightjackets as a danger tae oorsells.

CAROLANNE: Did you ever want to go back?

SADIE: Efter I left?

(CAROLANNE NODS)

SADIE: I was never that suicidal. (TO BETH) You hungry? (TO CAROLANNE) Look, if she ate it she'd maybe come oot the coma.

CAROLANNE: She's not deaf, you know.

SADIE: She's no listening, but. If I tell her... (TO BETH) Och, suit yersell. (GOES BACK TO THE IRONING BOARD AND FOLDS IT UP) God, I hate ironing.

(AGNES ENTERS, HER EXAGGERATED PAINFUL HOBBLE GONE)

AGNES: Nae smalls, then?

SADIE: I'll catch them for you efter. If Maggie disnae catch ye furst. She's no daft, ye know. (TO CAROLANNE) We still for the pub later oan, then?

CAROLANNE: What about (NODS TO BETH), you know.

SADIE: The bother she's causin? Get real. She's definitely no here.

CAROLANNE: He kept her chained up.

SADIE: So's she widnae run awa. But she did. She just husnae arrived oneywhaur yit.

CAROLANNE: The children might need things.

AGNES: (SITTING) Ah'm here. An the laddie'll be in.

CAROLANNE: Well, I would like a change of scenery.

SADIE: You're on, then. Here, how aboot we dae the works. Facials, make-up, hair-doos. You're good wi hair. If you dae mine, I'll dae yours, aw right?

CAROLANNE: (DOUBTFUL) Right.

SADIE: Okay, okay. You can dae yer ain as well. Get ourselves tarted up good and proper. Think aboot it. Right noo, oot there, some unsuspectin guy disnae know his wildest dream could come true the night. That's if - hey, Agnes, which wey up dae ye dae it again?

AGNES: (KNITTING) I dinnae think it makes much never mind these days.

CAROLANNE: Want to borrow my green top. You'd look great in it.

SADIE: Ooh, swankie. Need tae try it, but. It's a bit on the low side.

CAROLANNE: You'd fill it out more, right enough. I'll go get it.

(SHE EXITS TO BEDROOMS)

SADIE: Oh, I really am up for this. (TO AGNES, REFERRING TO THE DEPARTED CAROLANNE) She aw right aboot the weans, you think?

AGNES: Och, aye. Her ain are big noo. Ages wi your Gordon the laddie?

SADIE: Near 'nuff. The lassie's only thirteen, but. (PAUSE) I couldnae have left. No withoot them.

AGNES: Mibbe she hud tae.

SADIE: She managed tae pack her make-up, aw the gear. Priorities, or whit?

AGNES: Nae law says ye huv tae stey wi yer weans.

SADIE: Laws tae say ye're mairried, but. Daft, in't it? Tied tae yer man but no tae yer weans. Ye kin dump them withoot a divorce.(PAUSE) Still. Sair yin, eh?

(CAROLANNE ENTERS WITH GREEN TOP)

CAROLANNE: Here it is.

BETH: (LEAPS OUT OF CHAIR, SHOUTING) I didn't do it. I didn't do it. I didn't do it. I didn't do it. I didn't do it.

AGNES: Help ma god.

(SADIE REALISES THE OUTBURST HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH CAROLANNE AND WAVES TO HER TO HIDE THE TOP.
CATCHING ON, CAROLANNE STUFFS IT UP HER JUMPER. BETH STOPS SHOUTING AND BECOMES DIFFERENTLY AGITATED, PACING AND MUTTERING - SHE IS TRYING TO SORT OUT AND CORRECT HER SITUATION, TO GET IT BACK TO HOW IT SHOULD BE. GRIPPED BY A TERRIBLE FEAR AND LOOKING FOR THE WAY OUT, SHE PUSHES PAST CAROLANNE AND FRANTICALLY TRIES TO OPEN THE FRONT DOOR)

SADIE: (TO CAROLANNE) Stop her. She'll get oot.

CAROLANNE: What do I do?

SADIE: (MOVING TO DO IT) Get a haud ae her.

(BETH IS SLIDING THE BOLTS BACK, TURNING THE HANDLE)

AGNES: (FIRMLY) Leave the lassie be.

SADIE: We just let her go?

CAROLANNE: That's what Maggie said.

SADIE: She's nae shoes oan.

CAROLANNE: She won't go out without them.

(FROM HER SKIRT POCKET, AGNES PULLS A LARGE HEAVY KEY AND HOLDS IT UP FOR THEM TO SEE. BETH IS BANGING ON THE FRONT DOOR, TURNING THE HANDLE FRANTICALLY)

AGNES: She'll no be gaun oneywhaur.

CAROLANNE: Oh, Agnes.

SADIE: You devious bessum.

(IN THE HALL, BETH HAS STOPPED TRYING TO OPEN THE DOOR AND RETURNED TO HER CATATONIC STATE)

CAROLANNE: What will Maggie say?

AGNES: She'll no know.

(AGNES SLIPS KEY BACK IN HER POCKET. CAROLANNE EXITS)

SADIE: You can move when ye like, then?

AGNES: Insurance. Ah like insurance. No the stuff they sell ye. Hoose insurance fur whin ye've nae hoose. Health insurance whit ye only get when ye're no weel. Life insurance whit peys oot when ye're deid. Naw, real insurance, the kind whit guarantees yer peace an quate. That's whit ah like.

(CAROLANNE STEERS BETH IN TO STAND BY THE ARMCHAIR)

CAROLANNE: It's all right, Beth. You're safe now. It's okay.

SADIE: Oh aye, it's just great. Three cardiac arrests and a wrecked door. No bad. Dae ye think ye could see yer wey tae a wee warnin furst, next time. I mean, ring a bell or somethin, gie a wee cough. I mean, dinnae work up tae it, like, just you dive in.

(CAROLANNE STARTS TO LAUGH)

SADIE: Something funny?

CAROLANNE: (THROUGH THE FIT OF GIGGLES) A wee warning first. (HELPLESS LAUGHTER) Work up to it. (ALMOST HYSTERICAL)

SADIE: (NOW ALSO LAUGHING) Well, whit wis that? A green flag tae a bull? Start at the top?

(BOTH ARE NOW CRACKING UP, HANGING ONTO EACH OTHER. AGNES, KNITTING, IS ALSO SHAKING WITH MIRTH)

CAROLANNE: Ring a bell or something.

AGNES: The grave taen a guid loup furrit there. See ma heart.

SADIE: Maggie comes in the morra and we're aw stiffs and she's (WAVING AT BETH) fine, huvin tea. (PLAYACTING BETH'S RESPONSE) Oh, I don't know what happened.

CAROLANNE: (JOINING IN) They were like that when I woke up.

(THE LAUGHTER BEGINS TO DIE AWAY)

SADIE: Oh dear. (RECOVERING, TO BETH) Beth, sit.

(BETH SITS, SADIE PICKS UP THE IRONING BOARD TO TAKE TO KITCHEN. UPSTAIRS A BABY CRIES AND A WEE BOY CALLS MUMMY, MUMMY. BETH DOESN'T REGISTER THE CHILDREN)

CAROLANNE: What now?

(AGNES PUTS HER KNITTING DOWN)

SADIE: It's aw right. I'll go.

AGNES: (TO SADIE) They'll be bottles?

SADIE: Aye. Maggie was there to mind the important stuff.

(SADIE EXITS)

AGNES: (TO CAROLANNE) It fair cuts your world doon tae size. Ah was that prood ae ma wee hoose. Every bit an piece hud cost that dear mibbe. See when ah looked roon. There was nothin there ah needed. Ye hear ae them divorcin, fightin ower every stick. Coort case efter coort case aboot stuff. An when it comes tae the bit, whit ye staun up in will dae.

(CAROLANNE HAS GONE OVER TO THE TABLE AND IS RUNNING HER HAND OVER HER BAG)

AGNES: We forgoat tae ask her.

CAROLANNE: What?

AGNES: Maggie. Aboot yer money.

CAROLANNE: Oh. Right.

(CAROLANNE EMPTIES THE ASHTRAY. AGNES IS WAITING FOR HER TO GO HELP SADIE.)

AGNES: (GETTING UP) Och, I'll away up and gie Sadie a haun. Here, (HOLDS OUT DOOR KEY) you best huv this. Case the laddie's back afore we're done.

(CAROLANNE TAKES KEY. AGNES EXITS. CAROLANNE STARTS TO LIGHT A CIGARETTE. STOPS. TAKES THE SLIP OF PAPER OUT OF HER BAG AND LOOKS AT IT. SHE LOOKS AT HER WATCH, THEN AT BETH. CHANGING HER MIND, SHE CRUMPLES THE PAPER TO PUT IN THE BIN, CHANGES HER MIND AGAIN, TAKES A COIN FROM HER BAG, SMOOTHS THE PAPER, PICKS UP THE PHONE AND DIALS, GLANCING AT BETH TILL IT'S ANSWERED)

CAROLANNE: Susan? Oh, Susan, it's your mum. No, don't say it's me. Are you on your own? (PAUSE) I know. I miss you too. I'm trying to get something sorted out, so we can be together again. (PAUSE) No, David can't come here. They won't let him because he's sixteen. (PAUSE) It's - it's a safe place. Are you okay? (PAUSE) No, I can't come home. I love you too. You know I do. Look, look I can give you (LOOKS AT THE DOOR, THEN AT BETH) I can give you a phone number. Where you can reach me. But only for emergencies. (PAUSE) No, real emergencies. You can tell David but not - (PAUSE) Right. Have you got a pen? Alright. It's five two five, seven double one three. Did you get that? Good girl. Now, you hide it somewhere safe. Really safe. (PAUSE) Yes, that's a good place. (PAUSE) No, no. Only if you really really need to. I'll phone you. Did you get my letter. No? Well, never mind. I'll write again. (PAUSE) Daddy's car? Right. I better go then. You must hide that now. Right away. (PAUSE) Good girl. Tell David I love him. Love you too. Bye, sweet. Bye.

(SHE HOLDS THE DEAD PHONE, STROKING THE EARPIECE WITH HER FINGERS. THE FRONT DOOR KNOCKER KNOCKS. BETH JERKS UPRIGHT, TERRIFIED. CAROLANNE HANGS UP, PUSHES THE PAPER INTO HER OPEN BAG, GRABS THE KEY AND HURRIES OUT. THE DOOR IS KNOCKED AGAIN AND BETH IS OUT OF THE ARMCHAIR, BACKING AWAY FROM THE SOUND)

BETH: (QUIET, SHOCKED, BELIEVING IT'S HIM) Andrew. (LOUDER, FOR CAROLANNE) Don't let him in.

CAROLANNE DRAWS BOLTS BACK, BETH SLAMS LIVINGROOM DOOR SHUT, LOOKS FOR SOMETHING TO BARRICADE IT WITH

BETH: No. Don't let him in. Oh, please. I didn't do it. It was the machine. The washing machine. I didn't mean...

FROM OFF, THE LOCK TURNING

BETH: Oh, god... (FRANTIC) He'll do it. Don't. You don't know... (LOUDER) He can get a new one.

FROM OFF, THE MURMER OF VOICES, THE DOOR CLOSING. BETH HIDES HER HANDS BEHIND HER BACK

BETH: Please. Not that. I can't... I'll learn, Andrew. I'll learn. I promise. Don't. Andrew.

THE LIVINGROOM DOOR OPENS

BETH: (ALMOST A SCREAM) I didn't do it.

(GORDON ENTERS. BETH FREEZES, RIGID, STARING AT HIM. CAROLANNE IS LOCKING UP. GORDON STOPS, STARING BACK.)

GORDON: Eh, hello.

(CAROLANNE ENTERS, WITHOUT KEY)

CAROLANNE: Oh dear. It's alright, Beth. This is Gordon. Beth. I mean. This is Sadie's son. He's not...he won't. Oh, Gordon.

(SADIE ENTERS WITH THE DOOR KEY IN HER HAND)

SADIE: (TO GORDON) Hi, pal. You get later every day ye know. (HOLDS KEY OUT. TO CAROLANNE) Ye furgot thi... (TAILS OFF AS SHE SEES BETH) Oh, fur oney sake.

(CAROLANNE GUIDES BETH'S UNSTEADY WALK BACK TO THE CHAIR)

SADIE: Beth, sit.

(BETH SITS)

SADIE: (TO GORDON) That's Beth. Been hanging out wi your new pals then?

GORDON: Fancied a walk that's all. (INDICATES BETH) She all right?

SADIE: Right as rain. She's got a wee boy, and a bairn.

GORDON: Oh great. I'll get to play in the playroom now.

SADIE: Big wean. There's burgers for your tea.

(GORDON HEADS FOR THE KITCHEN)

GORDON: Great. I'm starving.

(GORDON EXITS. BETH'S SLUMP HAS RETURNED)

SADIE: (TO GORDON) I don't know. Ye've been packin it away this last wee while, and no an ounce of spare oan ye.

GORDON: (FROM OFF) I'm a growing lad.

SADIE: Did ye eat yer breakfast? (TO CAROLANNE) Bet he never hud oney lunch. School dinners. Snacks, is all. (TO GORDON) Did you huv a decent lunch?

(CAROLANNE, REALISING HER BAG IS STILL OPEN, STUFFS THE PAPER FURTHER IN AND SNAPS IT SHUT. THIS ANNOYS SADIE)

SADIE: Gordon?

(GORDON ENTERS, A BISCUIT IN HIS HAND, HIS MOUTH FULL)

GORDON: I had lunch, right.

SADIE: No that. Dae ye mind there was a fiver in Carolanne's change last night?

GORDON: Was there?

SADIE: When you went tae the shop.

GORDON: Right. Right, so there was. I put it on the table.

SADIE: She didnae get it.

GORDON: Well, I left it right there.

SADIE: Did you see it this mornin?

GORDON: I don't know. I was rushing.

SADIE: Late as usual. What have I told you?

GORDON: (AS HE GOES BACK INTO KITCHEN) I was there for the bell.

SADIE: Aye, just. (TO CAROLANNE) By the skin of his teeth, just. What a laddie. All right?

CAROLANNE: Thanks for asking him. Things like this. They make everybody feel bad.

SADIE: Well. Wee curer the night, but. I'm warning you though, see if there's a karioke.

CAROLANNE: No, not My Way.

SADIE: (USING KEY AS A MICROPHONE, SINGS I Will Survive) I should've changed that stupid lock, I should've thrown away the key if I'd thought for just one second you'd be back to bother me. Go on now go, walk out that door, just turn around now cause you're not welcome anymore.

CAROLANNE: (REMINDING HER ABOUT BETH) Sadie.

(AGNES ENTERS)

AGNES: Party starting early then?

SADIE: Karioke, Agnes. (TOSSES THE KEY) Your go.

AGNES: Oh jings. Don't know if I can mind oneything.

CAROLANNE: Can you sing?

AGNES: Used tae sing doon the club. Fore I goat mairrit.

(AGNES SLIPS INTO A SLINKY RENDERING OF The Harlem Shuffle. SADIE COAXES CAROLANNE UP TO DANCE. AS THEY CATCH ON TO THE WORDS, THEY JOIN IN. DURING THIS GORDON ENTERS TO LISTEN WHILE HIS FOOD COOKS)

AGNES: (SINGS) You move it to the left. Yeh, and you go for yourself. You move it to the right. Yeh, if it takes all night. Now you fake it kinda slow, with a whole lot of soul. Don't move it too fast, make it last. (TO CAROLANNE) You know you scratch just like a monkey, yeh you do, real, yeh. (TO SADIE) You slide into the limbo, how low can you go. (TO GORDON) Oh come on baby, I don't want you to scuffle now. You just groove it right here to the Harlem shuffle.

SADIE & CARO: Yeh, yeh, yeh. Do the Harlem shuffle.

AGNES: Do the monkey shine now.

SADIE & CARO: Yeh, yeh, yeh. Do the Harlem shuffle.

AGNES: (TO CAROLANNE) Hitch, hitchhike baby, across the floor. Whoa whoa whoa, I can't stand it no more. (TO GORDON) Now come on baby. Now get into your slide. (TO SADIE) We're gonna ride, ride, ride, little pony, ride. Shake, shake, shake. (TO GORDON) Shake a tail feather, baby. Shake, shake, shake. Shake a tail feather, baby.

(AGNES COLLAPSES INTO HER CHAIR, RUBBING HER RIBS)

GORDON: Hey Agnes, you could've been big.

AGNES: Son, ah um big. Whit's mair, ah've ayewis been big

GORDON: Oh oh, my burgers.

(AS HE EXITS TO KITCHEN)

CAROLANNE: You sang in a club?

AGNES: Clubs, pubs, concerts. Oh aye, ah hud whit ye'd caw a full an active social life. (BITTERLY) Till ah fund oot whit the price wis.

SADIE: Nae show withoot Punch, eh? Except fur the nicht. (TO CAROLANNE) Are we gettin ready or whit?

CAROLANNE: What's first, then? A facial, a manicure, or will I make a start on...

(BETH STANDS, WALKS TO THE DOOR. AGNES HURRIEDLY SHOVES KEY IN HER POCKET. SILENT THEY WATCH BETH EXIT)

SADIE: She is seriously spookin me.

CAROLANNE: What do you want? Please may I leave the room?

SADIE: Yes. Eh, excuse me but it's time fur ma nightly twilight ghost walk so, beggin yer pardon like but I'll just float aff wi'out a word. Noo, she only needs tae start howlin again an I'll no be needin your tongs tae curl ma hair.

AGNES: She's gaun upstairs.

SADIE: Aye, we know that. Totally gone upstairs.

CAROLANNE: You've got no compassion, have you?

SADIE: Sympathy never solved nothin for nobody.

CAROLANNE: I'll see she's okay.

(CAROLANNE EXITS)

SADIE: (CALLING AFTER HER) Bring your make-up and stuff doon wi you. (TO AGNES) Time we were renovating the old facade if we're gaun out. (PAUSE) She should be in the hospital, ye know. Bloody shoes lyin aboot. An if she's gaunnae stoat aboot like that, sure you'll be aw right?

AGNES: Nae bother. The bairn's sound. And wee Timothy's demolishin the playroom.

(GORDON ENTERS WITH HIS FOOD ON ROLLS)

GORDON: Can I take this up?

SADIE: Aye, oan ye go.

GORDON: (HESITATING) Will he be all right?

SADIE: The wean's fine.

GORDON: I mean with me. If I just go in. She looked scared.

AGNES: Ach, she jist wants a week or twa.

SADIE: He's two. So dinnae bring oot oney wee things.

AGNES: Aye. Nothin he can eat, swally or choke oan.

GORDON: Right. Oh, listen, Mum, I'll need extra money for home eekies tomorrow.

SADIE: Thought you didnae get that noo?

GORDON: Filling up my timetable. You get to pick. Computers or cooking. I changed my mind.

SADIE: How much?

GORDON: Three pounds.

SADIE: Whit? Whit are ye makin, gold plated buns?

GORDON: Is that too much?

SADIE: Oh, if you need it.

GORDON: I need it.

SADIE: Aye, all right, I suppose.

GORDON: Great. (TO AGNES) What's the wee boy's name?

AGNES: Timothy.

GORDON: Right.

(HE EXITS. SADIE LIGHTS A CIGARETTE. AGNES WATCHES HER)

AGNES: That's no right. (PAUSE) That isnae right. (PAUSE) Aw right, it's nane ae ma business.

SADIE: An that's the truth.

AGNES: If you dinnae waant...

SADIE: I want you tae mind yer ain. Is that too hard?

AGNES: Well, if ye're gaunnae be like that.

SADIE: Will ye stop. It's bad enough stuck in here, day efter day, night efter night, wi her ladyship emptyin ashtrays and polishin the door chain, withoot you punting yersell as judge an jury ower us aw.

AGNES: Shuttin yer een disnae make oneything disappear.

SADIE: (COVERS HER EYES) Who said that?

AGNES: Ye're no blund.

SADIE: An you're no deef!

AGNES: Ah was only tryin tae help.

SADIE: When I want help I'll help masell. Cause that's somethin I huv learned. Ye kin shout and keep shoutin. But nae buggar'll help ye oneywey. He dragged me doon the high street, ye ken. By ma hair. Kicked and punched me fae wan end ae the toon tae the ither. Streets were mobbed. Men and women, gettin oot the road, aw lookin the ither wey. But the worst thing is, even if somebody hud stepped in, I wouldnae have left him then. I was in love wi the man. Sick in the heid. Truth is, we're aw naebody's problem but oor ain.

AGNES: No in here.

SADIE: Especially in here.

(CAROLANNE ENTERS WITH MAKE UP AND CURLING TONGS)

CAROLANNE: She went to the toilet and then to her room. She's having a lie down.

SADIE: On the bed? (PAUSE) No hoverin above it?

CAROLANNE: On the bed.

SADIE: Hey, she did somethin normal. Noo that really is worryin.

AGNES: She's no sae bad. Ye'll see worse wance ye've been in here near a year.

SADIE: A year? I'll be long gone.

CAROLANNE: (TO AGNES) Why haven't you been re-housed?

AGNES: (DEFENSIVELY) I'm no waitin fur a hoose.

SADIE: (EXPLAINING TO CAROLANNE) You need to apply first. Ye know, fill in the forms.

CAROLANNE: (TO SADIE) Oh, come on, she knits like a train. There's nothing wrong with her hands unless Maggie's here. (TO AGNES) Why do you do that? Why don't you apply? Don't you want out of here?

AGNES: (DEFENSIVE) Ah am out. Aw the out ah want tae be.

CAROLANNE: But in your own place you wouldn't have...

SADIE: (ANNOYED) What would she no have?

AGNES: Who'd go ma messages? Get ma pension?

CAROLANNE: You could. I don't understand. Why don't you go to the shops? For a walk, even? Don't you want fresh air, at least?

SADIE: Draughty enough in here at times.

CAROLANNE: What?

SADIE: Your gums are flappin.

CAROLANNE: (REALISES AGNES' DISCOMFORT) Oh. I'm sorry, Agnes. I was just curious. Didn't mean it to sound like interrogation.

AGNES: (RELAXING AGAIN) Dinnae get intae a hair shirt ower it.

SADIE: I yince asked ma man if he wanted a torch. Tae shine in ma eyes. Where ae ye gaun? Roond the shop. Where huv ye been? Roond the shop. What are ye aw dressed up for? These are ma auld jeans. Why have ye got make-up on? I always wear make-up. Who did ye talk tae? The wummin in the shop. (SUSPICIOUS VOICE) Ye were talkin tae a man, weren't ye? Must've been in drag then. You think this is funny? Bang!

CAROLANNE: (AMAZED) He sounds just like mine.

AGNES: They've aw learned the same routine. How tae cross-examine the wife, lesson wan.

SADIE: (TO CAROLANNE) Tatty jeans, roond the shop? Your answers would be different, but.

CAROLANNE: Didn't change the outcome. He never listened to the answers anyway.

SADIE: They dinnae want answers. Just an excuse tae thump ye.

AGNES: And if ye dinnae gie them wan, that's excuse enough.

CAROLANNE: I know. I tried.

AGNES: We aw tried. Too hard. See ye're brocht up tae think tellin the truth'll work. But naebody wants the truth. (TO SADIE) Cause the truth needs dealin wi.

SADIE: Still, ye learn tae think quick. (TO AGNES) Sometimes, ye even learn hoo tae haud yer wheesht.

AGNES: Ye cannae out-think truth. Ye kin run roon in circles but it'll aye catch up wi ye some wey.

SADIE: Aye. An it'll huv an OAP perm and likely stab ye in the back wi knittin needles. (TO CAROLANNE) Look, how aboot we get this show oan the road.

CAROLANNE: All right. What's first?

SADIE: My nails, I think.

(SHE OFFERS HER HAND AND CAROLANNE STARTS TO MANICURE AND POLISH HER NAILS)

CAROLANNE: Nails?

SADIE: Bit of a mess, huh?

CAROLANNE: Well, you haven't been soaking your cuticles.

SADIE: Aw naw. Am I supposed tae?

CAROLANNE: (ANNOYED) Do you want me to do this?

SADIE: Oh yes. I want the hale scarlet wummin bit.

AGNES: Ye huvnae goat the frock fur it.

SADIE: Or the hair. But the body's daen aw right, eh? Long as I keep it under wraps. Here what if I meet Mel the look-a-like?

CAROLANNE: Go somewhere dark.

SADIE: Ha ha.

AGNES: Blindfauld him. Tell him losin wan sense sherpens the ithers.

SADIE: He'll think I'm kinky.

AGNES: Oh, an that'll no be right.

CAROLANNE: I suppose we're all a bit kinky.

AGNES: Noo, oneyroads.

CAROLANNE: Would you really do that?

SADIE: What?

CAROLANNE: Pick up a man?

SADIE: Aye. Course. Only wey tae live. Nip in quick. Grab whit ye want. Run like the clappers. Love oan the never-never, see? Nae hingin aboot. Dinnae worry, but. I'll make share he's got a pal for you.

CAROLANNE: Oh no. I couldn't.

SADIE: Why no?

AGNES: Sadie'll be there.

CAROLANNE: No, I don't mean that. I'm not frightened.

SADIE: What then?

CAROLANNE: Well. (PAUSE) I'm married.

(PAUSE, THEN SADIE AND AGNES LAUGH HELPLESSLY)

SADIE: (LAUGHING) Mairried!

AGNES: (LAUGHING) Mairrit! Oh, dear.

(PUZZLED, CAROLANNE CAN'T HELP SMILING. AGNES RAKES IN KNITTING BAG AND PRODUCES TWO CANS OF SPECIAL BREW)

AGNES: Oh here, we'll need tae drink tae that.

SADIE: Special brew. Fae a knitting bag! What a honey you are, Agnes.

(SHE GOES TO GET IT)

CAROLANNE: What if Maggie catches you with that?

AGNES: She'll no be back noo. Want wan?

CAROLANNE: No thanks. Beer fills me with gas.

SADIE: As opposed tae hot air? Mairried?

AGNES: We're aw that. (RAISING HER CAN AS A TOAST) The love ae a guid man, eh?

SADIE: Aye. (TOASTING) The love ae a guid man. Shoved oantae the bed, airm twistit up yer back while he takes whit he wants. Oh, an ma 'guid man' favoured takin it wey the brush haunle, the poker, an wan time, jist fur a laugh, a screwdriver. Talk aboot erotic aids? Fair cuts ye up, that love. (TO CAROLANNE) Mairried? Dinnae gie me that.

AGNES: You didnae ken when tae quit.

SADIE: An you did?

AGNES: Oh aye, nae bother. (GETS UP).

CAROLANNE: But you stayed married a long time.

AGNES: (DISTRESSED) A fool tae masell, just.

(AS SHE EXITS TO KITCHEN)

CAROLANNE: (TO AGNES) How long was it?

SADIE: (ANNOYED) Aboot as long as it takes tae get yer hair done in here. Want tae get stuck in wi they tongs insteed ae yer tongue?

CAROLANNE: Oh, I was doing it again. wasn't I? (CALLS) I'm sorry, Agnes. (TO SADIE) So how do you want it?

SADIE: Big. Ivana Trump Hollywood big.

CAROLANNE: These work on electricity, not magic.

SADIE: (IMPRESSED) Oh, hey, catch oan! (RESIGNED) Just dae the best ye kin.

CAROLANNE: I'm looking forward to this. A night out. And not having to watch what mood he's in.

SADIE: Well, there'll be nothin tae ruin this yin. Drink what you want, laugh if ye feel like, talk tae whoever. Chat them up even.

CAROLANNE: I can't imagine.

SADIE: Just watch this space. This is wan hot wummin headin oot tae play. I'll show ye style.

(AGNES ENTERS WITH A PLATE OF SANDWICHES)

AGNES: Weel, if ye end up wi a bagfu, bring a wee yin back fur me.

SADIE: What would you dae wi a tiddler, Agnes?

AGNES: Huv him fur ma tea.

(THEY LAUGH. GORDON ENTERS. HE IS STUNNED AND JUST STANDS, STARING AT HIS MOTHER. THEY ALL STARE BACK)

GORDON: Mum...

SADIE: What?

GORDON: She...

AGNES: Whit is it, son?

GORDON: It's Beth.

SADIE: Whit's wrang?

GORDON: She's...

SADIE: For god's sake what?

GORDON: She's got no toes.

CAROLANNE: What?

GORDON: Timothy ran into the room. I didn't think. Went to get him. She was changing her socks. Mum. She's got no toes.

SADIE: Don't talk daft.

GORDON: Somebody's cut them off. One of them... She's still got stitches where one... (STARTS TO RETCH AND GOES INTO THE KITCHEN)

SADIE: Gordon? Oh, I'll go up and see.

(SHE EXITS)

CAROLANNE: No toes? He must be wrong. I mean, why would anybody need... their toes amputated. Gangrene? At her age. And even if she did smoke.

AGNES: Need'll no come intae it. (CALLING) You aw right, son? Get a wee drink ae watter doon ye.

CAROLANNE: Agnes, what are you talking about? How can he be all right, this place is crazy. We're in a nightmare.

AGNES: (ANGRY) Naw. An you mind this good. In here is the only sanity oneywhaur. Oot there, oot there - that's whaur the nightmare is. Your man, ma man, Sadie's man. Beth's man. They're no monsters.

CAROLANNE: They're sick.

AGNES: If only. Seek ye kin cure. They're normal, oardinary men. An they're oot there. They've learned whit tae be. They fit in. We dinnae. We're in here.

CAROLANNE: What are you saying. We're sick?

AGNES: Naw, hen. Privileged. Civilised society they caw it. Bit we've seen its ugly face. We ken.

(GORDON ENTERS FROM KITCHEN)

GORDON: Agnes.

AGNES: Och, come here, son.

GORDON: She got a fright. When I went in her room. She was scared.

AGNES: There noo, there noo. She wisnae scared ae you. Ye're a big laddie. She jist forgoat, fur a meenut. Thinkin ye wur hur man.

GORDON: I didn't mean it.

CAROLANNE: It's not your fault.

GORDON: I shouldn't be in here.

AGNES: Noo dinnae be daft.

GORDON: Why did she look at me like that?

(SADIE ENTERS)

SADIE: Oh, fur oney sake. (TO GORDON) Look, she's aw right. She's fine. You're in a state an she's right as rain. Go wash yer face an get your homework done. I think you got a bigger fricht than she did.

CAROLANNE: Is she really all right?

SADIE: Nae different tae whit she wis half an hour ago.

AGNES: That guid then?

SADIE: Nae worse. (TO GORDON) Go oan. An nae TV till it's done, mind.

GORDON: But I'll have to go upstairs again.

AGNES: (GETTING UP) Ye kin chum me up then. I'll maybe gie they weans a bath, settle them doon.

(THEY EXIT. SADIE SINKS INTO A SEAT, HEAD IN HER HANDS)

CAROLANNE: She's that all right then.

SADIE: How'd ye fancy a quiet night in. Fur a chainge. T.V. (RISES TO SWITCH IT ON) Must be somethin oan worth watchin. A film. (CHANGES CHANNELS) Whit aboot a film. Here we go. Oh great. Sleepless in Seattle. That'll just dae the job. Not. (CHANGING CHANNELS) A quiz show. How aboot that. We kin sit here and no know the answers. I don't think so. (CHANGING CHANNELS) The news. (SWITCHING OFF) Whit dae ye want me tae say? She wullnae speak. She tried tae hide her feet. Gordon wis richt. She's goat nae taes. Nane. Ma best guess is they wur cut aff at different times. They're aw healed. Aw bar the last wan. An it's knittin up just fine. (PAUSE) I mean, she'll never be a ballet dancer but then...

(SADIE PICKS UP BETH'S SHOES AND SITS LOOKING AT THEM. CAROLANNE GETS UP AND EMPTIES THE ASHTRAY)

SADIE: (QUICKLY, HARD) Dinnae dae that.

CAROLANNE: Don't you care about anything?

SADIE: I care that you're playin his gemme in here.

CAROLANNE: I want to smoke. (LIGHTS CIGARETTE)

SADIE: So smoke. But dinnae drive me daft daen it.

CAROLANNE: I have to empty the ashtray.

SADIE: Bloody hell.

CAROLANNE: Bloody hell. She's out of her mind. With her toes cut off. And you're still going on about the ashtray.

SADIE: (PUTS SHOES DOWN) I cannae fix hur feet. (STANDS) Nae mair than I can fix (TOUCHING HER BREASTS) these burns. Bilin watter. In the dark. I wis asleep. (JOKES) Oneybody asks, I tell them they spontaneously combust. Scalding passion, whit? (ANGRY) But I cannae change it. Or Beth's feet. Or Agnes' ribs. They're done. Finished wi. But I can maybe stop you fae emptyin the bloody ashtray.

CAROLANNE: I wanted to empty the ashtray.

SADIE: No, ye didnae.

CAROLANNE: Why would I do it if I didn't want to?

SADIE: Because ye dae it tae stop him gettin annoyed. (FORCEFULLY) He's no here! (PAUSE) Go oan. Annoy him some. Yaise a dirty ashtray. Learn tae fight fur yer freedom. Look. (THROWS A CUSHION ON THE FLOOR) Cast oaf yer conditionin. (TIPS BIN OUT) Make a mess.

CAROLANNE: You're being ridiculous.

SADIE: Throw away yer supposed tae book. (CHUCKS NEWSPAPER AROUND) Dinnae tidy up.

CAROLANNE: I'm not going to.

SADIE: Good, good.

CAROLANNE: You did it. You can clear it up.

SADIE: Well done. But wid ye say that tae him?

(PAUSE DURING WHICH WE KNOW CAROLANNE WOULDN'T)

SADIE: Aha. See.

CAROLANNE: Go on then.

SADIE: What?

CAROLANNE: Clear it up.

(TO FURTHER ANNOY CAROLANNE, SADIE LIGHTS A CIGARETTE)

SADIE: No.

CAROLANNE: You're doing that on purpose.

SADIE: Weel, blow me.

(SADIE DELIBERATELY FLICKS ASH IN CAROLANNE'S ASHTRAY)

CAROLANNE: You know that makes me nervous.

SADIE: Whey is that?

CAROLANNE: Because you're perverse.

SADIE: Why dis me yaisin the same ashtray make you nervous?

(CAROLANNE GRINDS HER CIGARETTE OUT, EMPTIES THE ASHTRAY AND PUTS IT BACK BESIDE SADIE. AS THEY TALK SHE CLOSES THE CURTAINS, PUTS LIGHT ON AMD TIDIES UP)

SADIE: Ye never talk aboot it.

CAROLANNE: I should get a job.

SADIE: We aw ken what he did.

CAROLANNE: Something to occupy me.

SADIE: When ye came in here, you wur a mess.

CAROLANNE: If I had a place of my own.

SADIE: Hardly recognisable.

CAROLANNE: If I could support them.

SADIE: Whey don't ye talk aboot it?

CAROLANNE: I could apply for custody.

SADIE: (SHOUTS) Whey don't ye talk aboot it?

CAROLANNE: (SHOUTS BACK) I did something wrong.

SADIE: (AMAZED) You did somethin wrang?

(CAROLANNE STOPS TIDYING UP AND SITS)

SADIE: What did ye dae? (PAUSE) What did ye dae?

CAROLANNE: (FAST) The time before, he came in from work, looked round the room and said 'I suppose you think this house is clean' and he walked over to the cupboard, opened the door, wet his finger, ran it along the top and showed me. It was dirty. So he beat me for not keeping the house clean. This time, I knew, don't ask me how, I just knew he was going to do it again so, before he came home, I went round the whole house with a damp cloth and cleaned the tops of all the doors, rooms, cupboards, even the outside doors. When he came in, he looked round the room, snorted, and said 'I've told you before what clean is', went over to the cupboard, opened the door, wet his finger, ran it along the top and showed me. It was clean. So he tried the kitchen door, the kitchen cupboards, the back door, the conservatory doors, the cat flap even - every door we had in the whole house.

SADIE: (AWED & FASCINATED) Whit a noddy!

CAROLANNE: Then he beat me for taking the piss. Slapped me, punched me, grabbed me by the throat and beat my head on the floor, strangling me till I passed out. When he went to work the next day, I left. Came here.

SADIE: So, what did you dae wrang?

CAROLANNE: I was taking the piss. (PAUSE) When he gets like that, he just seems so ridiculous. Like some pathetic demented puppet in a bizarre comedy. I wanted him to see how stupid it all was.

SADIE: He'd thank ye fur that.

CAROLANNE: If I hadn't cleaned the doors, I could've said sorry. Apologised. Told him I forgot. I might have been able to calm him down. I handled it badly. Did the wrong thing.

SADIE: Clean or durty, he was gaunae hit ye oneywey.

CAROLANNE: I miss them, Sadie. David and Susan. Miss him too. The good things. When he's happy, laughing, normal.

SADIE: Normal includes him batterin ye.

CAROLANNE: That can't be normal. I know. Maggie says. The whole man. But I keep thinking, if we can fix that bit. It could still be good.

SADIE: You still think his violence is a sick bit. Whit if it's no. Whit if his mister nice guy side is the sick bit?

CAROLANNE: I miss my children, Sadie. I should be with them.

SADIE: Everything you say is erse fur elba. They should be wi you. Here.

CAROLANNE: I couldn't bring them. David's sixteen. They wouldn't let him come here. A boy that age counts as a man. And men aren't allowed. I couldn't bring Susan and leave David behind.

SADIE: Who wis gaunnie know he was sixteen. Ye shoulduv lied.

CAROLANNE: Like you did. About Gordon.

(CAUGHT OUT, SADIE IS ALMOST EMBARRASSED)

SADIE: Sometimes ye huv tae lie.

CAROLANNE: I couldn't.

SADIE: And look where it got ye.

CAROLANNE: They've got rules in here.

SADIE: Rules? There are nae rules oneywhere. Ye'll fund that oot in coort at yer custody hearing. You'll tell the truth. He'll say whitever will win.

CAROLANNE: He can't say anything bad about me.

SADIE: He wull. You'll be a slovenly housekeeper, neglectin yer weans, a secret drinker, a slut. You left them.

CAROLANNE: I left him.

SADIE: That's no how he'll tell it. And wha will they believe? Him. The pillar of the community wha's wife walked oot wan day withoot a word. Long sufferin guy wha's struggled tae look efter a hoose an twa weans an dae his ain job tae. I kin see the tears fillin his een awready. Please, yer honour, I love my wife. We want her hame. Will they spot hoo sick the mister nice guy act is? Naw. They'll aw be reachin fur their hankies. But, you greet an you'll be a hysterical wummin. Dinnae an ye'll be heartless, a cauld bitch. Whaur will yer truth be then?

(GORDON ENTERS, FRIGHTENED, CARRYING A LARGE CARVING KNIFE)

CAROLANNE: Mother of god!

SADIE: Gordon, what the hell ur ye daen?

GORDON: I heard a noise.

SADIE: Where ur ye gaun wi that?

GORDON: I heard a noise. Outside.

SADIE: A noise?

GORDON: Outside. Out the back.

CAROLANNE: At the bins?

SADIE: What did ye hear?

GORDON: A noise.

CAROLANNE: Like somebody out there?

GORDON: Mum!

SADIE: Aw right. Aw right.

(SHE GETS UP TO LOOK AND HE FOLLOWS)

SADIE: Whoa, no. Ye cannae come behind me wi that.

GORDON: What if it's him?

SADIE: (STOPS MOVING, AFRAID) Don't be daft.

GORDON: I heard a noise, Mum.

CAROLANNE: You better have a look, Sadie.

SADIE: Oh, I'll look. Right, aye. Me.

GORDON: Mum!

CAROLANNE: Somebody should.

SADIE: Who'd be out there?

GORDON: I heard a noise.

SADIE: Aw right. Gie me that. (TAKES KNIFE) Just keep oot the road.

(SADIE MOVES TOWARDS THE KITCHEN, GORDON & CAROLANNE BEHIND HER. AS SHE REACHES TO OPEN THE DOOR, A FAINT CLATTER IS HEARD FROM OFF. THEY ALL FREEZE. AGNES ENTERS FROM UPSTAIRS, LOOKING FOR HER KNITTING TO TAKE UPSTAIRS)

AGNES: Ye hear them cats at they buckets. Damn pests.

CAROLANNE: Cats?

AGNES: Huntin fur scraps. Ye'd think they wurnae fed.

SADIE: Cats. (TURNS AND HUGS GORDON) Daft lump.

AGNES: Somethin up?

SADIE: Naw. Naw. Just gettin oor cocoa.

AGNES: (INDICATING THE KNIFE) Wid it no be easier yaisin the whisk?

CAROLANNE: Eh, the door was stuck.

GORDON: An we were just...(DRIES UP)

SADIE: Threatenin tae stab it?

AGNES: Aw, right. Weel, I widnae mind some cocoa.

CAROLANNE: I'll get it. (TO SADIE) Will I put that back?

(SADIE GIVES HER THE KNIFE. CAROLANNE EXITS)

SADIE: (TO GORDON) Where'd ye get that oneywey?

GORDON: Under my mattress.

SADIE: What wur ye daen wi a knife like that under yer mattress? It could take yer leg aff.

GORDON: I thought there was somebody out there.

SADIE: Hey, come on. We're safe here. Huh?

GORDON: Aye. I know.

SADIE: Well then. (JOKES) Worst thing that could happen is you'd come doon the stairs wi that an get wan ae us by mistake.

GORDON: Aye. Right.

SADIE: Ye okay?

GORDON: Aye.

SADIE: Away tae yer bed then. It must be yon time.

GORDON: Okay. Night, Agnes.

AGNES: Aye, son.

GORDON: (CALLS) Goodnight Carolanne.

SADIE: Away wi ye.

(GORDON EXITS)

SADIE: Good night? Anything but.

AGNES: No much knittin done, oneyroads.

SADIE: See ma heart. Up, doon, up, doon.

AGNES: Ye want somethin else tae think aboot.

SADIE: I try. I dae try.

AGNES: (PICKS UP CAN OF BEER) Notion weers aff, eh? Whit a waste. (SITS BEER ON THE TABLE)

SADIE: Weans go doon aw right?

AGNES: Nae bother.

(CAROLANNE ENTERS WITH TWO CUPS OF COCOA)

CAROLANNE: Just a couple of cats, right enough.

AGNES: That ma cocoa? Yer a wee lamb.

(THEY SIP COCOA, SADIE DRINKS HER BEER. PAUSE. ALL THREE HAVE DIFFERENT BAD STUFF IN THEIR HEADS. OUTSIDE, A DISTANT ICE-CREAM VAN CHIMES. WHEN CAROLANNE SPEAKS IT BURSTS OUT OF HER)

CAROLANNE: (ANGRY) We should call the police.

SADIE: Fur two cats?

CAROLANNE: For Beth. He shouldn't get away with that.

AGNES: (GENUINELY INNOCENT) Whit wid the polis dae?

SADIE: (AFFECTED INNOCENCE, PRETENDING TO COUNT HER TOES) And this little piggy cried we've been oot lookin fur ye aw the wey hame.

CAROLANNE: (FURIOUS WITH SADIE) They'd arrest him.

SADIE: Fur whit? Tootsie's no talkin remember? (COUNTING ON HER FINGERS) An furst, ye need an accusation. Then ye need independent witnesses. At least twa. Baith of whom need tae huv seen it happen. Nane of whom should be a freend, relative, stupit, biased ur capable uv oney collusion. Then ye need dates, times, places, aw accurate tae the nth degree. (MOCKING) It'll be in her diary, eh? Gubbed oan Monday. Tied up Tuesday. Sliced up Wednesday..

CAROLANNE: Stop it! We're talking about assault, grievous bodily harm. He should be charged, locked up.

AGNES: It disnae work that wey, hen.

CAROLANNE: It would if they knew.

AGNES: They know. Look, furst year ah wis mairrit, ah hud ma man charged. He goat a hunner pound fine. Stoapped it aff ma hoosekeepin. Came hame fae coort an kicked ma ribs in. As a warnin. Hoaspital cawed the polis. Same twa. He wis sittin right there, by ma bed, in the hoaspital. Smilin.

CAROLANNE: (HAPPILY) And they arrested him.

AGNES: Ah telt them ah fell doon the stair.

CAROLANNE: But they'd have locked him up then, surely?

SADIE: An whit wid she huv goat if they didnae?

AGNES: It wis me that did time. Forty blissful years. Wance a man like that's goat ye, there's nae wey oot.

CAROLANNE: Then how did you get out?

AGNES: (PAUSES TO THINK) Valium addiction. Ma doctur wis worrit aboot it so he stopped ma prescription.

SADIE: An ye woke up, realised ye wur a soporific punchbag just, an left.

AGNES: Naw, no quite. See ah never took thum oneyroads, the valium. Tae let ye understand, ah wis near crackin up. So ah went tae the doctor. Well, you ken. Ye dinnae tell oneybody yer man's beatin ye up.

CAROLANNE: Because you feel ashamed.

AGNES: Right. An the doctur disnae ask.

SADIE: Because he kens.

AGNES: Course he kens. Oan ma notes, in't it? But he just says ye need tae relax, try this. In an oot, twa meenutes flat. Valium.

SADIE: Just keep takin the medicine, eh?

AGNES: Well, it wis a Friday nicht. Noo, his nib's usual wis hame fur his tea, get hissell prettied up and aff doon the pub tae fill up. Time he's fu he's wantin tae fight wi his shadda an seein he disnae waant tae get hurt in the process, ah'm fair game. So ah thought, Valium. Right. An ah gied it tae him.

CAROLANNE: And he took it?

AGNES: Naw, naw. He didnae ken. Ah pit it in his dinner. Take with or efter food, it said oan the label. So ah cracked open the capsule, tipped the pooder intae his mince an gied it a steer roon. See efter he ett, slept like a wean.

SADIE: Right on, ya beauty!

AGNES: While he's snoring, ah huv a wee can. Sprinkled some ower him, so's if he woke up he'd think he hud awready been it the pub. Never minded a thing aboot it oneywey. Even pit some broth an soor milk doon the toilet so's he'd ken he did huv a guid time. Ah made oan it an all. Hud tae take his hale pey oot his pocket. Else he widda wondered, like. Jist left him his usual chainge. Whenever he moved, ah gied him a cup ae tea, wi anither dream oan steered in. Same oan Seturday. A hale weekend, he never hut me wance. See the peace?

CAROLANNE: But you might have poisoned him.

SADIE: Wi oney luck.

AGNES: Naw. Efter a wee bit ae practise, ah kent just hoo much it taen tae keep him freendly aw weekend an still get him oot fur his work the full week.

SADIE: Man management or what.

AGNES: Did it fur five year and then did they no start getting oan aboot valium addiction. The risk. Ma doctur says, ye better come aff them, Agnes. Ah said, bit they're really relaxin me, doctur. Ye widnae believe hoo much help they ur. (PAUSE) He widnae gie me oney mair, but. So ah went hame, packed ma bag. An here ah um.

CAROLANNE: Maybe he'd have been alright by then. Five years?

AGNES: (RUBS HER RIBS) An whit if he wisnae? He'd five year ae doins saved up. (PAUSE) Weel, if that's ma cocoa, ah've hud it. (STANDS UP, TAKES KEY OUT OF HER POCKET) Whit aboot this?

SADIE: I'll be up furst, fur Gordon. I'll pit it back.

AGNES: (HANDS KEY OVER) Ye'll put they cans right oot in the bins tae, afore Maggie comes?

SADIE: Soon as there's licht tae see by.

AGNES: I'm awa up then.

CAROLANNE: Goodnight.

(AGNES EXITS, CAROLANNE STARTS TIDYING UP)

SADIE: God, I could yaise anither drink.

CAROLANNE: Oh, did you want cocoa?

SADIE: No unless it's seventy percent proof.

CAROLANNE: We'll go out another night.

SADIE: It's oot ae here I need. Permanently.

CAROLANNE: It might not be much longer. Your house.

SADIE: I had a hoose. Till he found out where it was. Three o'clock one mornin. Paid us a visit.

CAROLANNE: Did you get the police?

SADIE: Noo, whey didn't I think ae that? Maybe because he was comin through the front door wi an axe. Call me feartie, but we just ran. Oot the back windae. Doon tae the railway station. Oan the first train oot. And here I am, back in a refuge. Second time roon.

CAROLANNE: He must have found out where you were.

SADIE: That wis ma guess.

CAROLANNE: But how?

SADIE: Dae ye know, I never stopped tae ask. Remiss, huh? I'm probably over-attatched tae the idea ae ma heid bein oan ma shouders. Ye know. I quite like the natural arrangement of airms an legs.

(PAUSE. CAROLANNE CONTINUES TIDYING UP, PICKS UP BETH'S SHOES)

CAROLANNE: Do you really think Beth's would do that? A doctor?

SADIE: I know he wid. Furst he stops her wearin shoes. Then he cuts the feet aff her.

CAROLANNE: Mine was bad enough. (PUTS SHOES BACK BESIDE ARMCHAIR) But, compared to that.

SADIE: Suddenly an angel, huh? (STANDS) I'm away up. Dinnae put this light oot, will ye?

CAROLANNE: (BECAUSE IT'S HARD FOR HER) Sadie?

SADIE: Just chuck away yer supposed tae book. I'm up first. I cannae walk intae a dark room.

CAROLANNE: Even here?

SADIE: We're only safe fae what's ootside. An only then cause naebody kens whaur we are.

CAROLANNE GLANCES GUILTILY AT THE PHONE

SADIE: (CONT) But we're no safe fae what's in here. (TAPS HER HEAD) Ever.

CAROLANNE: All right. Goodnight.

SADIE: That's anither rule ye should break. Goodnight it's not.

(SADIE EXITS. CAROLANNE IS ABOUT TO ADD Sorry BUT THE DOOR IS SHUT. INSTEAD SHE LOOKS OVER AT THE PHONE. SHE TAKES THE SLIP OF PAPER OUT OF HER BAG. KNOWING SHE SHOULD NOT HAVE GIVEN THE NUMBER TO SUSAN, SHE TEARS THE PAPER, ANGRILY, TO PIECES AND DROPS IT IN BIN BEFORE EMPTYING THE ASHTRAY. AS SHE EXITS, SHE REACHES TO SWITCH OFF THE LIGHT AND STOPS. IT TAKES A FRACTION TOO LONG FOR HER NOT TO SWITCH IT OFF BUT SHE LEAVES IT ON AND EXITS. A PAUSE. FROM OUTSIDE, A DISTANT AMBULANCE SIREN RISES AND FADES AS THE PHONE RINGS ONCE AND CUTS OFF AS THE SECOND RING BEGINS. THERE IS A NOISE FROM THE HALL AND THE DOOR OPENS. BETH, IN DRESSING GOWN, ENTERS. SHE IS AFRAID, CONFUSED, WANTING TO ESCAPE, UNABLE TO BELIEVE SHE'S SAFE. AS SHE TRIES WINDOWS, NOISES AND ODD WORDS ESCAPE FROM HER.

BETH: Oh, please. I can't. (CHECKS LOCKED WINDOWS) Get out. Won't. (TRIES FRONT DOOR) Got to. Oh, don't. (TAKES BOTTLE OF PILLS FROM HER POCKET) Don't cry, Beth, don't cry, don't cry. Crying's not allowed. (GOES TO KITCHEN, RETURNS WITH GLASS OF WATER. OPENS PILLS, TIPS OUT ONE, TAKES IT. PUTS BOTTLE AND GLASS ON TABLE. ABOUT TO EXIT, SHE BREAKS DOWN, CRIES, SITS HEAVILY, CRYING AND ROCKING) Shh. Hush, Beth. Hush. S'not allowed. Crying's not allowed. (SLOWING DOWN, BECOMING QUIETER, PICKS UP BOTTLE OF PILLS, REALISES THIS IS THE WAY OUT, OPENS IT, TIPS PILLS ONTO TABLE) Hush now. (PICKS UP PILL) Hush. (SWALLOWS PILL, WASHING IT DOWN WITH WATER) S'alright. S'alright. (REACHES FOR ANOTHER PILL)

(FROM OFF, SADIE SPEAKS BEFORE WE SEE HER)

SADIE: (QUIETLY) Gordon?

(SHE ENTERS)

SADIE: Gordon?

(BETH DOES NOT REGISTER SADIE AND CONTINUES SLOWLY PICKING UP THE PILL)

SADIE: Oh great. Wha needs a man whin ye kin dae it fur yersell.

(SHE MOVES TO WHERE SHE CAN SEE WHAT BETH IS DOING. BETH PUTS THE PILL IN HER MOUTH, LIFTS GLASS. SADIE MOVES AS IF SHE MIGHT STOP HER, THEN AS IF SHE MIGHT LEAVE, THEN CHANGES HER MIND)

SADIE: Just keep takin the tablets.

(SHE WALKS OVER AS BETH SWALLOWS, SITS OPPOSITE AND INTERRUPTS BEFORE BETH CAN TAKE ANOTHER)

SADIE: Okay, wan tae you (QUICKLY, PICKS ONE UP) Wan tae me. (PUTS IT IN HER MOUTH, TAKES GLASS FROM BETH, DRINKS, SWALLOWS)

(BETH IS REACHING FOR ANOTHER PILL)

SADIE: Now, wan tae you.

(BETH SWALLOWS PILL)

SADIE: Wan tae me. (TAKES A PILL, A DRINK, SWALLOWS)

(BETH REACHES FOR ANOTHER BUT HER HAND HESITATES, THEN CONTINUES, DRINKS, SWALLOWS)

SADIE: Wan tae me. (TAKES PILL, DRINKS)

(BETH GLANCES TOWARDS SADIE AS SHE DOES THIS)

SADIE: (ENCOURAGING) Wan tae you.

(THE NEXT PILL IS A DIFFICULT ONE FOR BETH TO PROCEED WITH BUT SHE SUCCEEDS, DRINKS, SWALLOWS)

SADIE: And wan tae me.

(AS SADIE PICKS IT UP, BETH'S HAND MOVES AS IF TO STOP HER. BETH IS NOW LOOKING DIRECTLY AT SADIE, SADIE IS LOOKING RIGHT BACK AS SHE DRINKS, SWALLOWS. BETH NOW CANNOT PICK UP ANOTHER ALTHOUGH SHE TRIES. THE TWO WOMEN SIT STARING AT EACH OTHER. FINALLY BETH CRUMPLES, HEAD ON HER ARMS, SOBBING. SADIE GOES TO HER)

SADIE: Ye stey alive wan day at a time, Beth. Wan hour at a time. Minute by minute whin ye huv tae. Come oan noo. Up tae yer bed.

(SADIE SUPPORTS BETH AND THEY WALK OFF)

SADIE: By god, we'll sleep the night but.

(LIGHT SHRINKS TO FOCUS ON BETH'S SHOES. BLACKOUT)

CURTAIN


ACT 2

(MIDDAY - TWO WEEKS LATER. FROM BLACKOUT, LIGHT ON BETH'S SHOES, OPENS OUT TO: CAROLANNE ENTERS FROM KITCHEN WITH COFFEE AND TOAST. SHE IS NURSING A HANGOVER BUT HER ATTENTION IS ON THE TELEPHONE. SHE IS ABOUT TO GO TO IT WHEN SADIE ENTERS FROM UPSTAIRS)

SADIE: Oh, great, up in time fur lunch, then? No, dinnae tell me, let me guess. Eh, a generous wedge of ripe camembert, deep fried, served with cranberry sauce and crispy salad. Or, the freshest of fresh mussels cooked to perfection in a creamy white wine and garlic sauce. Or - would that be toast?

(BEFORE CAROLANNE CAN THROW UP, BETH ENTERS FROM KITCHEN WITH A BOWL OF FOOD WHICH SHE PUTS DOWN TO COLLECT TOYS THE CHILDREN HAVE LEFT BEHIND. SADIE AND CAROLANNE FREEZE AS SHE ENTERS, WATCHING BETH'S PROGRESS AS SHE JUGGLES TOYS, COLLECTS THE BOWL AND HEADS FOR UPSTAIRS.)

SADIE: Nae bletherin noo, there's work to be done.

(BETH EXITS. SADIE SHUTS THE DOOR)

SADIE: Right wee chatterboax, isn't she? Racket dis ma heid in.

CAROLANNE: She's working though.

SADIE: At hauntin the place. A fortnight an she's still creepin aboot wi nae shoes oan. We should hire her oot. Rentaghost.

(CAROLANNE MAKES A FACE AND TURNS TO HER COFFEE)

SADIE: Must be catchin. You look gey peely wally.

CAROLANNE: Headache.

SADIE: The mornin efter, huh?

CAROLANNE: Don't know. I never had one before.

SADIE: Bet you never hud a bit ae rough before either.

CAROLANNE: (LOOKS UP TOO QUICKLY) I never. Oww.

SADIE: I don't know sae much. You couldnae huv slid a razor blade between yeese withoot cutting aff something vital.

(SADIE GOES ON INTO KITCHEN)

CAROLANNE: We danced. That's all.

SADIE: (FROM OFF) Hey, never heard it cawed that before.

CAROLANNE: Oh, come on. He had (WINCING) tattoes.

SADIE: (FROM OFF) On his teeth.

CAROLANNE: Did he have teeth?

SADIE: (FROM OFF) Mostly. (COMING BACK IN WITH COFFEE) I think he left them in yer neck.

CAROLANNE: You're having me on. Is that lunch?

SADIE: A wee kick-starter, just. Good night, but. Dae ye mind chattin up the lamppost oan the wey hame?

CAROLANNE: Now I know you're exaggerating. Because I remember that lamppost.

SADIE: So ye should. A sudden but intense attraction. Ye made a big impression there.

CAROLANNE: I was holding it up.

SADIE: Oh aye.

CAROLANNE: Aye. I mean yes. It was leaning over.

SADIE: Nope. Straight as a die.

(THE FRONT DOOR KNOCKER GOES. CAROLANNE WINCES. NEITHER OF THEM MOVE)

CAROLANNE: That'll be Maggie.

SADIE: Unless it's lover boy fae last night wantin his urges satisfied.

CAROLANNE: Shouldn't you get it?

SADIE: No much chance ae that wi you fur competition.

CAROLANNE: The door.

SADIE: Agnes is gettin it. (SHOUTS) Agnes, you gettin that?

(THE KEY IS TURNED AND THE BOLTS DRAWN BACK AS AGNES LETS MAGGIE IN)

CAROLANNE: Ohh, keep it down.

SADIE: An you keep it straight. Mind noo.

CAROLANNE: What?

(MAGGIE ENTERS. AGNES LOCKS UP)

MAGGIE: Thanks, Agnes. Oh, Carolanne, you look rough. Good night out, then?

SADIE: Was it? Whit a he-haw. Pub wis stapped fu of spare. We hud oor pick. I never guessed Carolanne wis such a raver. See efter we got flung oot, we grabbed a coupla ae likely lads an brought them back fur an all-nighter. Agnes went daft. Amazin whit a year of sensory deprivation does fur ye. We hud tae haud her back, Maggie. An haudin Agnes back takes a bit ae daen.

(AGNES ENTERS, BENT AND HOBBLING PAINFULLY)

AGNES: Haudin me back?

MAGGIE: You didn't bring men here?

SADIE: Gien it big licks, she wis. Big licks. Great whit a wee bit ae rejuvination kin dae fur lumbago. Is there oney word aboot ma hoose?

AGNES: (TO MAGGIE) An did ye bring that wool fur me?

MAGGIE: Did you bring men back here?

SADIE: Just a couplae wee yins. Tae practise oan.

CAROLANNE: (TO MAGGIE) Is that the papers I wanted?

MAGGIE: Come on, Sadie, I'd have to report that.

SADIE: Oh whit. We huv tae keep oor hand in.

AGNES: Auld jumpers tae rip doon wid dae, Maggie.

MAGGIE: (HANDS AGNES THE WOOL) Rip down? With your hands?

AGNES: (SHEEPISH) Och, it comes an goes.

MAGGIE: At the same rate as sheltered housing dates, maybe?

SADIE: Worry aboot gettin Agnes a place. Whit aboot me?

MAGGIE: If you're telling me the truth, Sadie, you'll be asked to leave.

SADIE: Get me a hoose an I'll go.

CAROLANNE: Did you bring the papers, Maggie?

MAGGIE: (GIVES CAROLANNE THE PAPERS) Of course.

SADIE: (TO CAROLANNE) Oh, the guid papers. Ye'll want a table tae spread them oan then. Maybe a hale hoose. (HOLDS HER HAND OUT, TO MAGGIE) Word of?

MAGGIE: It's not funny, Sadie.

SADIE: See me no laughin. See me no gettin.

MAGGIE: If you brought men in, you broke the rules.

(BETH ENTERS, TAKING DIRTY DISHES BACK)

MAGGIE: Beth, wait.

(BETH STOPS)

MAGGIE: (TO SADIE) Now look, Sadie...

SADIE: Whit's wrang wi huvin men fur fun? We've hud them fur everythin but.

MAGGIE: (TO SADIE) Not here. What if one of them recognised Beth? Or any of you?

CAROLANNE: Maggie. We didn't bring anyone back.

SADIE: Great. Some mileage that.

MAGGIE: You didn't?

CAROLANNE: No.

SADIE: I could huv kept that gaun for an hour yet.

MAGGIE: (TO SADIE) Why are you always winding me up?

SADIE: It keeps me fae gaun daft. Whit aboot ma hoose?

AGNES: Whit's happenin wi Beth?

SADIE: S'cuse me bit I was only speakin so's tae be interrupted again.

AGNES: Lassie's staunin there like a stookie.

MAGGIE: We phone for you every week, Sadie. Have a seat, Beth.

(BETH SITS)

MAGGIE: (TO SADIE) You could try going to the housing office yourself.

SADIE: Would that help?

MAGGIE: It wouldn't hurt. And you'd find out where you are in the queue.

SADIE: Queue!

MAGGIE: Sorry about that, Beth.

SADIE: I'm in a queue!

(MAGGIE TAKES AN ENVELOPE FROM HER POCKET)

MAGGIE: Sadie, please. Listen, Beth. Did you tell anyone they could contact you through us?

SADIE: Course she did. Semaphore fae the windae. Dinnae talk daft.

MAGGIE: Beth?

(BETH SHAKES HER HEAD)

MAGGIE: (UNSURE ABOUT PASSING IT ON) Well, this letter came to the office. It's for you.

(AS SHE HANDS OVER THE LETTER, BETH FREEZES, STRUCK WITH FEAR, STARING AT THE ENVELOPE)

AGNES: It's fae her man.

CAROLANNE: But he can't know.

MAGGIE: Don't worry, Beth. He's only guessing.

SADIE: She disnae want it.

MAGGIE: That's up to Beth. Sometimes a message is important.

SADIE: Like whit? The dug chain's awfy empty withoot ye?

MAGGIE: Like one man who phoned us needed to find his wife because her mother had died.

CAROLANNE: You didn't tell him where she was?

MAGGIE: Of course not. We said we'd never heard of her. But we did pass the message on and she phoned to check.

SADIE: And her mither answered the phone.

MAGGIE: And her mother answered the phone.

SADIE: What price the ressurection, eh? Stick that in the bucket, Beth.

MAGGIE: Will you stop telling her what to do?

SADIE: Okay, okay. (TO BETH) Open it. (PAUSE) Then stick it in the bucket.

(BETH OPENS THE LETTER BUT THE EFFECT OF HER HUSBAND'S HANDWRITING IS TOO MUCH. SHE BEGINS TO CRY)

MAGGIE: It's all right, Beth. He can't get to you. (SITS BESIDE BETH AND HOLDS HER) Not in here.

SADIE: Just bloody did.

CAROLANNE: It's only a letter, Beth.

(FORGETTING HER UNFIT ACT, AGNES JUMPS UP)

AGNES: Aye, a bit ae paper, just. Lassie, lassie. Look, see, gie's it here. (TAKES THE LETTER) Ye kin dae whit ye like wi it. Ye kin (PUTS IT ON THE FLOOR AND STANDS ON IT) staun oan it. (JUMPS) Ye kin jump up an doon oan it.

MAGGIE: (AMAZED) Agnes!

SADIE: (TO AGNES) Daft ape. Oot the road.

(GROANING AND REMEMBERING HER INFIRM ACT, AGNES MOVES. SADIE PICKS LETTER UP)

SADIE: See, Beth. Ye kin screw it up. (CRUMPLES IT) Ye kin chuck it away.

(SHE THROWS IT TO CAROLANNE)

CAROLANNE: You can send it back.

(SHE THROWS IT BACK TO SADIE)

SADIE: Ye kin (LIGHTS HER LIGHTER) set fire tae it.

MAGGIE: Sadie, don't! It might help if she reads it.

SADIE: Reads it? Whit fur?

MAGGIE: To see what it says.

SADIE: She disnae need tae exercise her een tae find that oot. Want tae know, Beth?

(BETH LOOKS UP AS SADIE SMOOTHES LETTER OUT)

SADIE: It says... (LOOKING AT BETH NOT THE LETTER) Dearest Beth, I couldnae believe it when I came hame an you wurnae there. I didnae realise you'd be that upset. Efter aw, everbody has arguements.

(CAROLANNE GETS UP AND READS OVER SADIE'S SHOULDER)

SADIE: (STILL LOOKING AT BETH AND NOT READING) But I forgive ye fur leavin. I love ye. I ken it hasnae been easy. I'm no the maist patient man.

CAROLANNE: (READING) Tolerant.

SADIE: (TO CAROLANNE) Close, but. (TO BETH) I've been under terrible stress at work. But that will aw chainge.

CAROLANNE: (TAKES THE LETTER, READS) Alter. (TO BETH) He promises.

SADIE: We've hud guid times.

CAROLANNE: (READING) A good life.

SADIE: The hoose is empty withoot ye.

CAROLANNE: (READING) And the children.

SADIE: I miss ye. Believe me, things will be different. Please come hame.

CAROLANNE: (READING) Call me. I'll come and fetch you. Anytime. Please, Beth. Please come home.

SADIE: (TO BETH) See. Read it, then weep.

AGNES: No much cop wi the messages, is he?

CAROLANNE: (TO BETH) There's a bit about having a holiday. But, basically, that's the gist of it.

AGNES: Write back. Tell him we waant somethin mair entertainin.

SADIE: Aye. Ask whit bit he wants tae slice aff next.

(BETH RAISES HER HAND AND SPREADS OUT HER FINGERS)

MAGGIE: Oh, Beth.

SADIE: Christ well. Ye'll need fingers. Twa ae them anyroads.

(UPSTAIRS, THE BABY CRIES. BETH GETS UP TO GO. CAROLANNE HOLDS THE LETTER OUT TO HER. BETH STOPS, STRUGGLING WITH HER INNER THOUGHTS. THEN)

BETH: No. (PAUSE) No. I don't want it.

(SHE EXITS. THE OTHERS STARE AFTER HER)

SADIE: Way tae go, Beth. (TO OTHERS) Hey, how aboot that?

MAGGIE: Well done, Sadie. I better go up, keep her company for a bit. Maybe she's ready to talk it out now. Oh, and Agnes, better watch you don't put your back out next.

(AGNES IS DUMBSTRUCK. MAGGIE EXITS. CAROLANNE SCREWS THE LETTER UP, DROPS IT IN THE BIN AND GOES BACK TO HER NEWSPAPERS)

SADIE: Well done, Sadie, huh?

AGNES: Pit ma back oot. (STARTS KNITTING)

CAROLANNE: That man is seriously sick.

SADIE: Nae mair than yer ain.

AGNES: She kens.

CAROLANNE: No. I think it's slightly different. Using a knife like that. In cold-blood.

SADIE: Sensible, but. Nae chance ae it slippin. Or endin up wi hur deid by accident.

AGNES: Whit am ah gaunnae dae?

CAROLANNE: Sensible? You think you can make sense of it?

SADIE: As much as you kin. Ah mean, whit ur you workin oan, a sliding scale - sick, sicker, sickest? They're aw the same.

CAROLANNE: Indeed they're not. Cutting people up. What kind of punishment is that?

AGNES: Ah'll huv tae fill the form oot noo.

SADIE: You goat a zip up the back ae yer heid? Punishment? There are nae reasons.

CAROLANNE: (ANNOYED) Anger is the reason.

SADIE: My eye. They switch it oan fur nae reason, an they switch aff again if the fitba starts or the door goes. It's pit oan. They know exactly whit they're daen.

AGNES: Sheltered housin.

CAROLANNE: (SCATHING) Oh right. The calculated application of pain.

SADIE: Damn right. It's aw planned. Bein nice, lyin tae ye, huvin moods, callin ye names. It's aw aboot him gettin whit he wants.

AGNES: Sheltered fae whit?

(CAROLANNE AND SADIE ARE NOW ARGUING)

CAROLANNE: My husband wants me.

SADIE: Crippled. Same wey Beth's man wants her.

CAROLANNE: Duncan would never use a knife.

SADIE: Oh-ho, a better class ae thug.

CAROLANNE: Or an axe.

SADIE: Haud oan. Are you sayin ma man's worse than yours?

CAROLANNE: Mine doesn't drink.

SADIE: Disnae even yaise that as an excuse then?

AGNES: You twa ur spilin ma knittin. Ah cannae mind if I'm purl or plain.

CAROLANNE: (TO AGNES) She thinks she knows it all.

SADIE: (TO AGNES) She thinks she's a cut above us.

AGNES: Kin yeese no dae somethin useful wi aw that energy?

CAROLANNE: I was trying to find a job.

SADIE: A job. Noo there's an idea. You could poalish brasses somewhaur. The top brasses, of course.

CAROLANNE: I was an accountant.

AGNES: (IMPRESSED) Accountant?

SADIE: (UNIMPRESSED) Turf?

CAROLANNE: Chartered.

AGNES: Ye'll get somethin nae bother then.

SADIE: I widnae bet on it.

(THE PHONE RINGS. THEY ALL STOP AND STARE AT IT)

AGNES: It's daen it again.

(CAROLANNE MOVES TOWARDS THE PHONE)

SADIE: Leave it alane.

AGNES: It cannae be workin right.

CAROLANNE: Look, I'll answer it.

SADIE: An whit will ye say?

CAROLANNE: Hello?

AGNES: Oh, I dinnae think that's a guid idea.

SADIE: Pick it up an pit it back doon again.

AGNES: Aye. That'll stoap it.

CAROLANNE: No. It might be...

(MAGGIE ENTERS, INTERRUPTING CAROLANNE)

MAGGIE: No panic. It'll be a wrong number.

(SHE GOES TO THE PHONE AND PICKS IT UP)

MAGGIE: Hello. (PAUSE. STARTLED BY WHAT SHE HEARS, SHE TURNS AND LOOKS AT CAROLANNE) No, I'm sorry. There's nobody of that name here.

CAROLANNE: Is it Susan? (UNABLE TO CONTAIN IT) Maggie, let me speak to her.

MAGGIE: (ON PHONE) I can't help you.

CAROLANNE: Please, Maggie. There must be something wrong.

MAGGIE: (ON PHONE) Would you hold on. (COVERS THE MOUTHPIECE. TO CAROLANNE) It's not Susan.

CAROLANNE: David?

MAGGIE: (SHAKING HER HEAD) No.

CAROLANNE: Who, then?

MAGGIE: Your husband.

(AS IF THE THREAT WAS IN THE ROOM, SADIE AND AGNES TURN PROTECTIVELY TOWARDS CAROLANNE. CAROLANNE, WHO WAS MOVING TO TAKE THE PHONE, STOPS AS IF STRUCK)

CAROLANNE: Something's gone wrong. It should be Susan.

(MAGGIE HOLDS OUT THE PHONE. TENTATIVELY CAROLANNE TAKES IT. MAGGIE MOVES AWAY AND STANDS ALONE, WAITING, IN THE CORNER)

CAROLANNE: Hello. (PAUSE) Yes, it is. (PAUSE) Why, what's happ... (LONG PAUSE) No, I... (PAUSE) Are you? Are you really? (PAUSE. HER HAND, HOLDING THE MOUTHPIECE, DROPS TO HER SIDE AND SHE LOOKS AT SADIE, THEN AT AGNES) Susan's ill. He says even if I don't care about him, I should care about her. And come home.

(AGNES GOES TO HER, TAKES THE MOUTHPIECE, HANGS UP THE PHONE. THEN SHE GUIDES CAROLANNE INTO A SEAT)

AGNES: Whit did he say wis wrang wi the wean?

SADIE: Nuthin's wrang wi the wean. Tell her, Maggie.

MAGGIE: How did he get that number?

SADIE: Aw naw, get the rule book oot furst.

MAGGIE: How did he get the number, Carolanne?

CAROLANNE: I gave it to Susan. She needed something. He wasn't giving them my letters.

MAGGIE: Do you know what you've done?

AGNES: The wean wouldnae mean any herm.

MAGGIE: There's an area code in that number.

CAROLANNE: One phone call.

SADIE: Area code. Here, hang oan. Is he gaunnae find us?

MAGGIE: (TO CAROLANNE) We have to move you. Now. Today.

SADIE: (TO MAGGIE) Is he gaunnae come here?

MAGGIE: Eventually. What were you thinking, Carolanne?

CAROLANNE: It was for Susan.

AGNES: Ye'll need tae shift, hen.

SADIE: An whit aboot us?

CAROLANNE: Don't you understand?

SADIE: (TO CAROLANNE) Don't you?

MAGGIE: (TO CAROLANNE) They'll have to face him if he comes here.

CAROLANNE: I should never have left her.

SADIE: (TO MAGGIE) I'm facin naebody.

AGNES: (TO SADIE) Maggie'll shift hur.

SADIE: Whit'll that solve? Efter bullyin his ain wean, gettin nae joy fae his phone call, spendin hoors trackin doon this hoose, kickin the door in, he's gaunnae believe we dinnae ken whaur she is? He's jist gaunnae turn aroon an say 'eh, sorry fur troublin yeese, shame she's no in, ah'll awa hame then?' Gie us peace, eh?

CAROLANNE: I'm going home.

MAGGIE: What?

AGNES: Lassie, are ye daft?

CAROLANNE: I have to go back.

SADIE: Course ye dae. Wan stupit thing'd no be enough.

MAGGIE: We can phone the doctor first. See if he's been in. See what he says.

CAROLANNE: No. You don't understand. Any of you. He's sorry. He didn't realise I'd leave him. He was crying.

AGNES: The wey a crocodile greets.

CAROLANNE: No. Duncan's not a monster. Illness frightens him. When David had measles, he sat up all night, sponging him down.

SADIE: No whit ye'd expect fae a faither, eh?

CAROLANNE: He was there, Sadie. Right there beside me when they were born. He held my hand.

SADIE: An rubbed yer back. Probably hud tears in his een when they drew braith. An brought ye flooers in hospital.

AGNES: Same kind he furst gied ye.

SADIE: (SORE) Blue violets, mine wur.

CAROLANNE: But I thought...

SADIE: (CUTTING IN, FIGHTING TEARS) You thought I'd never been loved so I widnae miss it. Mibbe ye thought I steyed cause I like gettin ma face punched in. Or that I deserved it. Or that ma kind widnae ken any better wey tae live. Maybe it disnae hurt me. Is that it?

(MAGGIE MOVES TO COMFORT HER)

MAGGIE: Oh, Sadie.

SADIE: Leave me alane. (TURNS AWAY, DISTRESSED)

CAROLANNE: You never said.

AGNES: Sayin only makes it sair, hen. Ye huv tae fight against whit ye need, fur ye'll no get it fae him. Dinnae let hope drag ye back.

CAROLANNE: I have to go back, Agnes. After all these years, everything we've shared, and suffered. All the pain and hurt it's cost. How can I give up? We've put in too much to throw it all away. It has to work.

MAGGIE: Can it work, Carolanne? How can he change when he blames you for what he does, for making him hit you?

CAROLANNE: I know he's weak. But he's not evil. Sadie's wrong. Duncan doesn't plan these things. He loses his temper sometimes, that's all.

SADIE: Nae fuckin wonder.

MAGGIE: Sadie! Carolanne, you've come this far...

CAROLANNE: To what? I want my family back, Maggie. All of us. The way it should be.

(SHE MOVES TO EXIT. SADIE BLOCKS THE DOORWAY)

SADIE: Look, mibbe ye're right. It should work. Bit it disnae. Ye're no supposed tae git battered cause ye didnae empty the ashtray.

CAROLANNE: Let me out, Sadie.

SADIE: No. Yaise yer heid. That's whit he hates, yer brain. He gits in yer heid. Mixes ye up. Whin he hits ye, he tries tae crack yer skull open. Think, Carolanne. Think while ye still kin.

CAROLANNE: Will you move.

SADIE: He's lyin tae ye, Carolanne.

CAROLANNE: You'll know about lies, Sadie. My son isn't here.

(KNOWING SHE'S BEATEN, SADIE MOVES. CAROLANNE EXITS)

AGNES: (CALLS AFTER HER) There's nae help oot there, hen. (TO MAGGIE) She wis safe in here.

MAGGIE: Not anymore, she's not. I'll go with her. Maybe she'll change her mind before she gets there.

AGNES: But he micht huv a go at you.

MAGGIE: Better me than Carolanne.

SADIE: (TAKEN ABACK) Whit rule number is that?

MAGGIE: (SNAPS) One I'm breaking. All right?

AGNES: Naw, here, come oan. Get the polis.

MAGGIE: He hasn't done anything wrong.

(PAUSE. THEY ALL LOOK AT EACH OTHER)

MAGGIE: I'll go and help her pack.

(SHE EXITS)

SADIE: He husnae done oneythin wrang. How come, Agnes? How come they've never done oneythin wrang.

(TOO DISTRESSED TO SPEAK, AGNES PICKS UP HER KNITTING AGAIN AND STARTS TO KNIT)

SADIE: Wis that me?

(AGNES KEEPS ON KNITTING)

SADIE: Is that ma fault? Somethin I said?

(HEAD DOWN, AGNES KNITS. SADIE LIGHTS A CIGARETTE)

SADIE: (TO HERSELF) You'll know aboot lies, Sadie. (TO AGNES) I was telling her the truth. (PAUSE) Truth is if he was caught treatin a dug that wey, it'd be taen aff him. He'd never get tae keep a dug again. (PAUSE) The polis could've charged him. Whey dae they leave that up tae us? (PAUSE) If a boxer is gettin battered, somebody else stoaps it. Naebody says he asked fur it by gettin in that ring. (PAUSE) If oneybody takes a hostage, the polis or the army are straight in. They dinnae wait fur the hostage tae phone up wi a complaint. Eh, 'scuse me but this guy's goat a knife it ma throat. Wants hauf a million, a helicopter tae Barbados an his dinner made. Gaunnae dae somethin? (CHANGES VOICE) Are you making a complaint, madam? Do you know this man? Has he done this before? You do realise our presence could exacerbate the situation? (ANGRY) Naebody's expected tae rescue thersells except us. An even when we try, whit help dae we get? The coort gied me a bit ae paper. Says he's no tae come near me again. Matrimonial interdict. Geid it tae me. Fur protection. A bit ae paper. It's aboot this big. (INDICATES) A bit ae paper tae stop a man wi murder in his hert an an axe in his haun. Mibbe fifteen year ae brainwashin an torture hus wasted ma heid. But I cannae figure oot how it's supposed tae work.

(AGNES, HEAD BOWED OVER HER KNITTING, LOOKS UP AS CAROLANNE AND MAGGIE ARE HEARD COMING DOWN THE STAIRS AND GOING OUT. BEHIND THEM, BETH LOCKS UP)

SADIE: (DESPERATE) Whit is she daen, Agnes?

AGNES: (WIPES HER FACE) At least she'll be wi hur weans.

(BETH ENTERS, SHE LOOKS APPEALINGLY AT AGNES)

AGNES: It's aw right, hen. It's aw right.

(AGNES PUTS DOWN HER KNITTING AND BETH GOES TO HER, PUTTING HER HEAD ON AGNES LAP)

SADIE: Oh fur heaven's sake. Want a mop? Ye could dae the flair while ye're at it. (STUBS CIGARETTE) Gaunnae stoap. I'd raither huv yer ghost impression. (PICKS UP ASHTRAY AND EMPTIES IT IN THE BIN. REALISES SHE'S EMULATING CAROLANNE) Whit am I daen? (PUTS ASHTRAY DOWN)

(AGNES ROCKS AND PATS BETH AND QUIETLY HUMS Bold & Strong. SADIE PICKS UP BETH'S SHOES)

SADIE: It'd fit better if ye'd make her pit her shoes oan. Still daen whit he wants. He micht as weel be here. (DROPS SHOES BESIDE AGNES) They micht as weel aw be here. The hoose is full ae them. Och, I'm gaun oot. A walk'll maybe clear ma heid. Dinnae git up. I'll pit the key back through the letterboax.

(SHE EXITS. DOOR UNLOCKS, OPENS, CLOSES, LOCKS. KEY CLATTERS THROUGH. STILL HUMMING, AGNES BENDS OVER, PICKS UP SHOES AND GUIDES BETH TO HOLD HER FEET UP)

BETH: I make people sick.

AGNES: Naw. It's nothin you did. (SLIPPING SHOES ON BETH'S FEET) Be prood ae yer feet. You walked oot oan them. Pit yer shoes oan whin ye want tae go oot. Tak them aff when ye want tae stey in. Afore ye ken whaur ye are, ye'll be nippin in an oot tae the shops withoot gein it a thocht.

BETH: (TAKES A FEW STEPS, STOPS) I couldn't.

AGNES: Gie it time. (GETS UP, TAKES BETH'S ARM, WALKS WITH HER, SINGING) Bold and strong, she goes on and on and on. She is like a mountain. She is like a river. Bold and strong,

(FALTERING, BEWTH JOINS IN)

AGNES: ... she goes on and on and on.

(AGNES SITS, WATCHING BETH WALK)

AGNES: She is like a mountain. She is like a river. Bold and strong.. (QUIETER) She goes on and on and on.

(DOOR KNOCKER KNOCKS)

AGNES: Shoart walk. Mustae chainged hur mind. (PICKS UP HER KNITTING) Kin you get it, hen?

(BETH EXITS. AGNES SITS BACK, KNITTING. GORDON ENTERS)

AGNES: Aw, it's you, son.

GORDON: Eh, Agnes, Beth got the door.

AGNES: She'll dae aw right.

GORDON: Right.

(BETH ENTERS, SKIRTING GORDON TO GO TO THE KITCHEN)

GORDON: Right. Mum upstairs?

AGNES: Oot fur a walk. She'll no be long.

GORDON: Oh. Well, I'll get something... (TURNS FOR THE KITCHEN AND STOPS, RELUCTANT TO GO THROUGH BECAUSE BETH IS IN THERE)

AGNES: Ay hungry, eh?

GORDON: Aye. Yes. Is my mum alright?

AGNES: Sure, she's fine. (PAUSE) Naw. That's no right. She wis a wee bit upset. Carolanne went hame.

GORDON: Because of me?

AGNES: You? Dear lord, awbody in this hoose is jist dyin tae take the blame. Furst yer mither, then Beth. Noo it's yersell. Whit herm did you dae Carolanne?

(GORDON CAN'T ANSWER)

AGNES: Come oan, spit it oot. Nuthin soarts fur bein kept in. Whit did you dae? (GENTLE PROMPT) Weel?

GORDON: Took her money.

AGNES: (CORRECTING HIM) Stole her money.

(GORDON BECOMES AGITATED, AS IF A DAMN BURST)

GORDON: I was going to pay it back. I didn't mean... She didn't need to go home. I didn't think she'd miss it. Now she'll get... that wasn't meant to happen. I would've paid it back, Agnes.

AGNES: Here, steady oan, son.

GORDON: I just didn't know what else to do.

AGNES: Noo look. Ye taen mine tae an I'm still here. Gied me ma pension short last week. Didn't ye?

GORDON: I'm sorry, Agnes. But you wouldn't leave. You never go outside. Does my mum know? Where is she?

AGNES: She's aw right. Calm doon noo. Yer mum kin look efter hersell.

GORDON: No, she can't. You don't know. The things my dad...

AGNES: I know aboot yer faither.

GORDON: No, you don't. She never tells. Only bits. She doesn't want you to know how bad I am.

AGNES: It's no your shame, son.

GORDON: She can't have a bath because of me. Only has a shower or washes at the sink. He held her under, one night. I tried to stop him. He was too big.

AGNES: You wur a wean.

GORDON: I was fourteen. When we left. The night before, he... he went crazy. Tore her clothes off, in the livingroom. Said terrible things...called her... names. Said she was an ugly cow and... and stuff. He made me sit...on the sofa, stay...and listen. He walked round and round and round, sneering. She tried to cover... up. He... slapped her, made her stand... made me stay. Even when she needed... the toilet. Wouldn't let her. It ran down ... He wouldn't let me leave. My mum... I didn't know what to do. The way she looked at me. Her face all... I hate him. Wanted to... make him stop... wanted to smash his face in... hurt him back and and... I didn't... move... do anything. I was... scared, Agnes. I was too scared.

(BETH ENTERS WITH A BABY'S BOTTLE AND STOPS)

AGNES: It was yer faither daen wrang, son. No you.

GORDON: I hate him. Soon as I'm old enough I'm going to get a gun and go find him. Then it'll be his turn. Then he can be the one who's scared.

(FRONT DOOR KNOCKER KNOCKS)

AGNES: That'll be yer mum. (TO BETH) Wid you go, hen?

(BETH SITS BOTTLE DOWN AND EXITS)

AGNES: Listen, son. There's a road fur you tae go an hatin yer faither isnae it. Hate is haudin oan tae whit we're feart fae. Let it go. Let him go. Fund yer ain road.

GORDON: I will. When I shoot him. Once he's dead.

AGNES: He's deid awready, son. Think aboot it. Whit kinna life is he livin? Wid you want tae be inside his hert, inside his heid?

(BETH COMES BACK INTO THE ROOM CARRYING A BOUQUET OF FLOWERS. SHE IS TERRIFIED)

AGNES: Oh, hen.

BETH: Take them off me. Take them off me. Take them off me.

(GORDON TAKES THE FLOWERS. BETH SINKS TO HER KNEES BUT HER ARMS STAY OUT, STILL HOLDING THEM)

AGNES: Whaur did they come fae?

GORDON: (TO AGNES) Her husband?

AGNES: (GETTING UP) No at the door?

GORDON: No. It's shut. They must have been delivered.

AGNES: Ye shouldnae huv opened the door, lassie.

(THE DOOR KNOCKER AGAIN. IT FRIGHTENS THEM ALL)

BETH: (A WHIMPER) Oh please.

(GORDON GIVES THE FLOWERS TO AGNES)

GORDON: I'll go.

AGNES: Dinnae open it.

(HE EXITS. AGNES DOESN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH FLOWERS)

BETH: I didn't lock the door.

AGNES: Aw, jees. (DUMPS FLOWERS ON HER CHAIR)

BETH: I didn't lock the door.

(AGNES RUSHES TO SHUT LIVINGROOM DOOR, PRESSING HERSELF AGAINST IT. BETH HIDES BEHIND SOFA, REPEATING SHE DIDN'T LOCK THE DOOR AS AGNES, AFRAID, SPEAKS OVER HER. UPSTAIRS THE BABY STARTS TO CRY)

AGNES: Aw, hey, Gordon'll no let him in. Nuthin'll happen. Nae danger. (GOES TO STAND IN FRONT OF BETH, SHIELDING HER) We'll be aw right. We'll be aw right.

(SADIE ENTERS)

SADIE: Whit the hell's aw the racket fur?

AGNES: Sadie!

SADIE: An the door no even locked. Whit's up wi hur? Somebody been wavin their nick-nacks aboot again? I thought she'd huv shut up by noo. Cannae go oot fur five meenutes but...

(HER VOICE TAILS OFF AS SHE SEES THE FLOWERS)

AGNES: (TO BETH) It's Sadie, hen. It's only Sadie. Look, look.

(GORDON ENTERS)

GORDON: Mum. It was the flowers. They're from...

SADIE: (CUTTING IN, IN PANIC) Who? Who ae they from? (GRABS FLOWERS) He cannae know we're here. In the name of god. (FINDS THE LABEL) Who ur they fae? (RIPS LABEL OFF, READS, TO GORDON, RELIEVED) Andrew. (THEN, AS COMPREHENSION DAWNS, LOOKS OVER AT BETH. ALMOST SOUNDLESS) An...

(BETH IS STILL WHIMPERING, HANGING ONTO AGNES)

SADIE: Oh whit. (HESITATES THEN RIPS THE LABEL INTO PIECES. BRIGHTLY) Whit a relief.

AGNES: Relief?

SADIE: Aye. Fur a minute I thought they were fur wan ae us. The noise gaun oan. And here they're fur... fur... Carolanne! (TO AGNES) Fur Carolanne.

(BETH STOPS WHIMPERING AND LOOKS UP)

AGNES: (PUZZLED) Carolanne?

GORDON: But she's gone home.

AGNES: (TRYING TO CORRECT SADIE) An hur man...

SADIE: (CUTTING IN) Wid huv ordered them this morning. Before he phoned.

BETH: But the man... the man said...

SADIE: (CUTTING IN) The delivery man disnae know there's umpteen women steyin here. Whit did he say? Flooers fur ye, hen? Ye open the door, expectin me an see a man. Didn't ye get a fricht?

(CONFUSED, BETH NODS AGREEMENT)

SADIE: See? A helluva fricht. Widnae hear whit name he said. Look, your man disnae ken whaur ye are. Ye could be oneywhere. It isnae easy tae fund oot this address. Carolanne's man hud the phone number fur a while before he phoned. He'll huv been scourin the area till he fund the right hoose.

AGNES: Right an all. Furst the phone call. Then the flooers. An if that hudnae worked...

SADIE: (CUTTING IN) An anither thing. Carolanne's man ayewis geid hur flooers efter he duffed her up. (TO BETH) How often did your man gie you flooers?

(BETH SHAKES HER HEAD. UPSTAIRS, THE BABY SHRIEKS)

SADIE: There ye are then. (TOSSES THE FLOWERS ONTO THE TABLE) Whit a fuss ower somedy else's flooers. Gaunnie get up. I cannae staun seein a wummin oan her knees. An that wean's daen ma heid in.

(AS BETH GOES FOR BABY'S BOTTLE, GORDON HOLDS IT OUT AND BETH MEETS HIS EYES BEFORE ACCEPTING IT. ABOUT TO EXIT, BETH TURNS AS IF TO SPEAK. SADIE CUTS HER OFF)

SADIE: Dinnae say yer sorry. Sorry's no allowed in here.

(BETH EXITS. SADIE LEANS ON TABLE. AGNES WATCHES HER)

GORDON: Will I make tea?

SADIE: Put yer books away furst, will ye?

GORDON: (HESITATES, KNOWING SOMETHING ISN'T RIGHT) Mum?

SADIE: Just put yer books away.

GORDON: (SIGHS) Right.

(GORDON TAKES HIS BAG OF SCHOOL BOOKS AND EXITS. SADIE LOOKS UP AT AGNES. THE TWO WOMEN STARE AT EACH OTHER.)

AGNES: Whit ur we gaunnae dae?

(SADIE TURNS AND BEATS THE FLOWERS TO SHREDS AGAINST THE TABLE. WHEN HER FURY'S EXHAUSTED, SHE PUTS HER HANDS ON THE TABLE, BACK TO AGNES, HER HEAD DOWN)

AGNES: Ye didnae like the flooers then?

SADIE: (TURNS) What are we gaunnie dae, Agnes?

AGNES: Phone the helpline.

SADIE: They'll no move her noo till the morra. If they kin fund anither place even then.

AGNES: They kin get the polis tae step up their patrols.

SADIE: A caur drivin past wanst every couplae hours?

AGNES: Mibbe they'll be a worker free tae come an stey?

SADIE: Aye. An she'll be six feet twelve an armed tae the teeth. You ken thur isnae. Maggie's worked tae a frazzle as it is. I'm no daen it, Agnes. Sittin waitin fur somethin tae happen. No again. I'm goin, Agnes. Me an Gordon. First bus or train oot.

AGNES: Look. That man's no gaunnie risk gettin luftit by the polis. He's a doctur. He's goat his reputation tae think aboot. He'll be the persuasive type. Mair likely tae arrive wi a section order than spilin fur a fight.

SADIE: Sectioned? Ma man tried that yin - wi an axe. I huv tae go, Agnes.

AGNES: If oneybody chaps the door, we kin act dumb. Dinnae answer it an they'll no git in.

SADIE: If oneybody chaps oneythin the night, I'll no hear cause I'll no be here.

AGNES: Whit aboot Beth?

SADIE: Whit aboot Beth? If he says jump, she'll jump.

AGNES: An if she cannae staun up tae him, wha will?

(SADIE DOES NOT ANSWER. SILENCE)

AGNES: Look efter yer ain skin, then?

SADIE: Aye. There's no much ae it left hale but I'm kinna attached tae whit is. (MORE KINDLY) Shut yersell in yer room, Agnes. Look the ither wey, same as awbody else. Battlin Bertha? It's just no me, pal.

AGNES: (LOOKING AT THE FLOWERS) Aye weel, at least ye gied the flooers a fricht.

(GORDON ENTERS)

GORDON: Somebody take a radge?

(AGNES WAITS FOR SADIE TO SPEAK. SADIE TURNS HER BACK)

AGNES: (TO GORDON) Beth bathing the weans yit?

GORDON: I think she was running the water.

AGNES: Ah'll leave yeese tae it then. Cannae settle tae ma night's knittin till ah've sunk some rubber ducks.

(SHE EXITS)

GORDON: Mum?

SADIE: Beth's man sent the flooers. We huv tae leave.

GORDON: What?

SADIE: We need tae go. Huv you got oney money left?

GORDON: Go where?

SADIE: Does it maitter?

GORDON: But he might come here.

SADIE: That's whey we're leavin.

GORDON: What will Beth do?

SADIE: Oh, fur goodness sake. Have you got oney money?

GORDON: No.

SADIE: But you taen extra this mornin. Oot ma purse. Ye cannae have spent it aw. We need that money, Gordon.

GORDON: I haven't got it.

SADIE: Why no?

GORDON: I can't tell you.

SADIE: Cut the crap, eh? Ma heid's gaun roon enough withoot you steerin it some mair. I ken ye've been stealin. Fae Carolanne, fae me. Fur aw I ken fae Beth an Agnes tae.

GORDON: Not from Beth.

SADIE: Gaunnie tell me whit fur? Fags? Booze? Somethin worse?

GORDON: Hash isn't worse than booze or fags.

SADIE: You're smoking dope?

GORDON: No! Mum, we can't leave.

SADIE: Whit then. Gamblin? Is it they fruit machines?

GORDON: I'm giving it to somebody.

SADIE: Ma money? Stealin fae ither folk? This better be good, Gordon.

GORDON: These boys. They hang about outside the school.

SADIE: So?

GORDON: They take money off everybody. Especially me. Cause I don't belong here.

SADIE: Bullies? Whit dae they dae, hit ye?

GORDON: Shove me about. Call me... things.

SADIE: But you're nearly seventeen. Yer no a wean.

GORDON: I try to avoid them. I jump the fence and take the long way. Or I wait in school till they've gone.

SADIE: Runnin an hidin.

GORDON: They still get me.

SADIE: An they ayewis will. Runnin away is no the answer.

(THEY LOOK AT EACH OTHER, BOTH KNOWING THAT IS WHAT THEY'VE ALWAYS DONE)

SADIE: I should huv dealt wi it, you stealin. But I couldnae. Did whit I did wi yer faither. Hoped it wid stoap.

GORDON: I'm sorry.

SADIE: Dinnae. Hoo many times did we hear that word? Before he stopped botherin tae say it.

GORDON: I won't do it again.

SADIE: Till the next time.

GORDON: No. It's not the same.

SADIE: No. It's no the same. Naebody seriously hurts in thur pocket. But it's wrang the same wey. Ye cannae sort your problems by passin them oan tae ither folk.

GORDON: I know. It didn't sort. They just wanted more.

SADIE: Well then?

GORDON: I'll try to pay it back. I'll get a job. Something. But that won't stop them. I don't know how to do that.

SADIE: Me neither, son. No oan yer ain. Talk tae the school mibbe. The ither weans. If yeese aw say?

GORDON: The school can't stop them.

SADIE: Bit they can git the polis involved. (PAUSE) Aye, well. Look, there's nae pint worryin. Ye'll be in a different school the morra. We'll no be here.

GORDON: No.

SADIE: What?

GORDON: We can't leave Beth on her own. I don't want her to think I'm...

SADIE: Thinkin you're whit?

GORDON: Like you did. When I didn't help you. Ashamed.

SADIE: Ashamed of me. I was ashamed of me.

GORDON: Don't. You always lie, mum. I couldn't stop him. Don't you know how I feel inside? I want to die.

SADIE: Don't say that.

GORDON: I hate myself. I don't want to be a man. Like my dad. Like those boys. But then I get picked on. I'm scared all the time. It never stops.

SADIE: But we cannae just give up. Dinnae gie up, son. I don't think I kin dae this by masell.

GORDON: Leaving won't help us. Or Beth.

(BETH ENTERS, SEES THE MESS OF FLOWERS AND STOPS. SADIE STARTS PICKING THEM UP)

SADIE: Eh, I was gaunnae pit them in the bucket an they fell tae bits. Cheap flooers, see, fae a cheap guy. Wilted. Just like that. Must hae been the heat.

GORDON: There's no point, mum. We'd only be helping him.

(SADIE STOPS PICKING UP THE FLOWERS)

GORDON: If we're not here. He could do anything he likes then. (PAUSE) Don't make me do that, mum. Please.

SADIE: Och, son. (PUTS THE FLOWERS DOWN, TO BETH) Look, I lied tae ye. Your man sent the flooers. He knows ye're here.

(VISIBLY DISTRESSED, BETH CLUTCHES THE EMPTY BOTTLE TIGHT TO HER AND GLANCES WILDLY ROUND THE FLOWERS)

SADIE: Noo if ye're gaunnae greet, dinnae staun ower them. Case ye revive thum.

(BETH CRIES OUT, SINKS TO THE FLOOR, ROCKING)

SADIE: Oh well. That fairly helped. (TO GORDON) Oney mair bright ideas?

(AGNES ENTERS)

AGNES: Weel, that's the ducks aw drooned fur anither nicht. (TO BETH) You aw richt, hen?

SADIE: She kens.

AGNES: She kens? S'no enough ye're gaun, ye hud tae frichten the lassie furst? (TO BETH) Dinnae you worry, hen. We'll dae fine. Efter whaur we've been? Monumental. That's us. (TO SADIE) Thanks fur nuthin. Youse best be gettin oan yer wey.

SADIE: Dinnae say that twice.

GORDON: We're staying, Agnes.

AGNES: Steyin?

SADIE: Lumbago finally reached yer ears then? Steyin. Unless you'd raither we left?

AGNES: No me, no. You please yersell.

SADIE: I will. I will indeed.

AGNES: Come oan, lassie. (TAKES THE BABIES BOTTLE FROM BETH) Gordon, son, you want tae pit this ben the kitchen?

GORDON: (TAKES BOTTLE) Sure.

(HE EXITS TO KITCHEN)

AGNES: (TO BETH) Ye need tae move, hen. Ye'll catch yer daith there. (HELPS HER UP) Come oan, let's get you comfy.

SADIE: She is no gaunnae make it, Agnes.

AGNES: Wheesht. She's gaunnae be fine. (TO BETH, SETTLING HER ON SOFA) Gaunnae be fine, hen. Just fine. (TO SADIE) Chances are he'll no come. He's no gaunnae want witnesses, is he?

SADIE: Dinnae waste yer braith. This yin'll be sherper than a scalpel. He only needs tae turn up wi the polis lookin fur his pair disturbed wife. An they'll hand her ower. He's smart. He'll huv it aw sussed.

BETH: (MOANS) He'll come and get me.

AGNES: It's aw right, hen. Me an Gordon an Sadie'll be mair'n a match fur him. Money oan it.

SADIE: Noo just haud oan. I'm here fur Gordon's sake an that's aw. There is nothin we kin dae. Oneything happens, nuthin's whit I'm gaunnae dae.

(GORDON ENTERS)

GORDON: I've put the kettle on.

SADIE: Right. Right, I'm gaunnae dae an ironin. An I dinnae want tae hear another word aboot oneythin. Okay?

(SADIE EXITS TO KITCHEN)

AGNES: Ironin? (TO GORDON) Does your mither only iron when there's somethin wrang?

GORDON: (NODS) She hates it. I'd come in from school and she'd be banging away. Sometimes it was just the telephone bill had come. Sometimes, it was... something else. The smell makes me feel sick.

AGNES: Dis it? Weel, it minds me ae bein wee, an bein looked efter, awthing in it's place, bein hame an warum an safe.

BETH: (MOANS) I can't go back. He'll make me go back.

GORDON: (TO BETH) It'll be all right. Won't it, Agnes?

AGNES: Course it will. Long as we stey in here an keep that door shut. (TO BETH) Wheesht, lassie. Ye'll be fine.

GORDON: We can stay up. All night. I hardly sleep anyway.

AGNES: Nae bother. Dae it in shifts, if need be.

(SADIE ENTERS WITH THE IRONING BOARD & IRON)

AGNES: Whit we want is somethin tae pass the time.

GORDON: Aren't you going to knit?

(SADIE BANGS THE PLUG FOR THE IRON IN)

AGNES: Ah drapped a couplae stiches earlier. (HOLDS UP HER HOLEY KNITTING) Widnae make a decent fishing net. No the days.

GORDON: It would so, Agnes. For catching tuna. Dolphin friendly.

(SADIE THUMPS THE IRON DOWN, IRONING NOISILY)

GORDON: Will I put the TV on?

AGNES: Naw. Their repeating repeats ae repeats. S'like sufferin fae chronic deja vu. Naw. Somethin tae luft oor spirits. Oh, here, ah ken whit.

(SHE TAKES 2 CANS OF SPECIAL BREW OUT HER KNITTING BAG)

SADIE: Mary Poppins strikes again.

AGNES: Magic, eh?

SADIE: How dae you dae that when ye never go oot?

(AGNES AND GORDON EXCHANGE GUILTY LOOKS)

AGNES: Eh, whit aboot your kettle, son? An ye huvnae hud oneything tae eat yet. Fact, ne'er huv we.

GORDON: Oh, right. I better make dinner then. You want something, mum?

SADIE: Efter.

GORDON: Okay.

(HE EXITS. WITH EVERY SPEECH, SADIE THUMPS THE IRON)

SADIE: That laddie's no supposed tae be sixteen yit. (BANGS IRON)

AGNES: Big fur his age, but.

SADIE: Still no big enough, but. (BANGS IRON)

AGNES: Want wan?

SADIE: Nope. (BANGS IRON)

AGNES: Suit yersell. (OPENS CAN)

(SADIE BANGS IRON)

AGNES: It'll be a long nicht.

SADIE: Aye. (BANGS IRON)

AGNES: Just gaunnae iron then?

SADIE: Yip. (BANGS IRON)

AGNES: Mibbe ye'll get word ae a hoose the morra.

SADIE: Will ye stop? (BANGS IRON)

AGNES: Will you? Ye're gein me a sair heid.

SADIE: (STOPS IRONING) How else am I tae handle this? Dae ye understand, Agnes? I want tae run away.

AGNES: An whit aboot me? Whaur dae ah go, Sadie? This wis the only safe place there is. Noo, it's aw comin here.

(THE FRONT DOOR KNOCKER IS KNOCKED LOUDLY MAKING ALL THREE WOMEN JUMP. THEY WAIT, FROZEN. DOOR KNOCKS AGAIN. GORDON ENTERS FROM THE KITCHEN AND STOPS)

SADIE: Damn. Damn. Damn.

AGNES: Shhh! If he thinks there's naebody in, he'll go awa.

SADIE: No. No, we dinnae want him thinkin Beth's here oan her ain. Make a noise. Gordon, pit the telly oan. Sing, talk. Make like there's a hunner o us. Come oan, come oan.

(DOOR IS KNOCKED LOUDER)

SADIE: I'll go.

BETH: (REACHING TO STOP HER) Oh, please!

SADIE: I'll no open it. I'll just shout through I've never heard ae ye. (TO AGNES) You make a noise. (TO GORDON) Make a noise.

(SHE EXITS. GORDON KNEELS BESIDE BETH'S SEAT, BETWEEN HER AND THE DOOR. HE AND AGNES RAISE CAIN, BANGING, SINGING, YODELLING. SADIE ENTERS)

SADIE: Here, keep it doon a bit. Ah cannae hear wha's oot there.

(SHE EXITS)

AGNES: A racket wi volume control? Aw right. Nae bother. Aboot here, then?

(SHE CONDUCTS GORDON IN A QUIETER RACKET. MAGGIE ENTERS AND STANDS, BEMUSED WATCHING THEM. FOR BETH, WATCHING THE DOOR, RELIEF IS INSTANT. SADIE ENTERS)

SADIE: Wheesht. Wheesht! (TURNS TV OFF) Shush! It's Maggie.

(EMBARRASSED, AGNES AND GORDON, STOP THE DIN)

GORDON: We were... just...

(AGNES COVERS HER BEER CAN WITH THE KNITTING)

AGNES: Maggie. You're late oan the road, hen.

MAGGIE: I was passing anyway.

SADIE: (TO MAGGIE) Why?

AGNES: Whit's wrang.

MAGGIE: It's Carolanne. He was waiting for her. All smiles. But he shut the door in my face. Locked it. I could hear. I tried to kick it in but... By the time I got the police...

BETH: Is she hurt?

MAGGIE: She's in the hospital. Intensive care.

SADIE: That bad?

MAGGIE: She might not last the night.

(A SILENCE. GORDON BURIES HIS HEAD IN HIS HANDS. HESITANTLY, BETH PUTS HER HAND ON HIS SHOULDER)

MAGGIE: She's on her own. You know how it happens. No contact with her own family for years. What friends she had are long gone. He's in custody. The children are alone. I'm still tryin to find somebody who cares.

(AGNES GETS UP, GIVES MAGGIE'S ARM A SQUEEZE)

AGNES: Take the weight aff yer shoudders, hen. Sit doon.

(MAGGIE SITS)

AGNES: I'll be back the noo.

(SHE EXITS)

SADIE: He's in custody. Fur how long?

MAGGIE: He says she fell. Going in the door. Cracked her head on the wall. Says that's what I heard. Him trying to catch her, break her fall, bring her round.

SADIE: He'll be oot in a hour or twa then. (PAUSE) Whey did she dae it, Maggie?

MAGGIE: Don't. She wasn't wrong. Her own home? Where should she be safer? At work? In the street? She's not responsible for what he does.

GORDON: (DISBELIEF) You took her back there?

MAGGIE: No! I went with her. To help.

GORDON: Help? She's in the hospital now.

MAGGIE: I couldn't stop her. I tried everything.. (UPSET) What else could I do? Tell her she was wrong, stupid, out of her mind? Certifiable? Maybe I should've locked her in or tied her up or knocked her down?

SADIE: Like him? Come oan. You chucked the book awa tae try an help her. Ye did aw right.

GORDON: (ANGRY) You should be angry.

MAGGIE: (ANGRY) I am angry, Gordon. Angry that I don't have all the answers. Angry that thousands of women have to hide like this. Carolanne's neighbours don't talk to her. But they talk to him, work beside him, drink with him in the pub - and isn't she a funny bird, putting up with it. She must be mad. Not him. Not him. All the time making out he's acceptable and she's not. Teaching the next lot it's okay really. So I have to keep on, always, only ever mopping up.

SADIE: (PAUSE, WRY SHRUG) S'a job fur life, but.

MAGGIE: Oh, Sadie.

(AGNES ENTERS WITH HER COAT ON)

AGNES: That's me ready then.

SADIE: You're gaun oot?

AGNES: Ah'm gaun tae sit wi Carolanne.

GORDON: (TO AGNES) But you don't go out, ever.

AGNES: If you an yer mam kin staun still, ah kin shift. (TO MAGGIE) The lassie'll need a hand tae haud. I'll stey till somebody else turns up.

MAGGIE: You're a mountain, Agnes.

AGNES: (EMBARRASSED) Aw here, insult me then.

MAGGIE: I never did. Right, I'll take you there. Everything okay here? Gordon? (PICKS UP A FLOWER HEAD) Sounded like you were having a party.

GORDON: We were trying to...

MAGGIE: (CUTS IN, REALISING WHAT THE FLOWER MEANS) Sadie?

SADIE: Ye better see tae Carolanne furst.

GORDON: We were trying to stop it happening to Beth.

MAGGIE: Beth? (TO SADIE) They're from Beth's husband?

SADIE: (NODS) Aye.

MAGGIE: Then he knows this address.

AGNES: A doctur. He'd huv contacts.

(BETH HAS FROZEN AGAIN. MAGGIE GOES TO HER)

MAGGIE: Beth? (TURNS BETH'S FACE TO LOOK UP AT HER) It's alright, Beth. It's okay. I can take you and the children out of here right now. Do you understand? You don't need to be afraid. We can leave right away.

AGNES: Aye, go oan, hen. It micht already be too late fur Carolanne.

GORDON: We'll be all right, Beth. You go. He won't touch us.

(BETH, FRANTIC, IS UP, PACING)

MAGGIE: Beth? (PAUSE) It's too late, now, to find another refuge place but I can get you into homeless housing. It means coping on your own. Just for one night. Can you handle that?

SADIE: Fur goodness sake, Beth. Say somethin. Speak.

BETH: (STOPS PACING) I don't want to go.

SADIE: Whit?

BETH: (IN PANIC) He'll know if I go. Said he'd get me. Nobody could stop him. A doctor. He said. Next of kin. Why doesn't he come? Writing a letter. He wants to scare me. Sending the flowers. He wants me to leave. I'd be on my own then. They're my hands. (TUGS RING OFF, THROWS IT ON FLOOR) They're my hands. Not touch my baby? Not hold my son? Please, he's trying to scare me. (PAUSE) I want to stay here.

SADIE: Oh, great.

BETH: (CRYING) I'm sorry.

MAGGIE: No, you've got nothing to be sorry for. Sadie only wanted you to say.

SADIE: Wanted her tae say the opposite, but.

(AGNES GOES TO COMFORT BETH)

AGNES: It'll be aw right, hen.

MAGGIE: (TO SADIE) Better if she stays here tonight. Tomorrow, I'll find a refuge place somewhere else and take her there.

SADIE: An whit if he does come? The state she's in.

MAGGIE: Look. I'll take Agnes to the hospital. Once I track down Carolanne's parents, and get someone to stay with her children, I'll come back and sleep here. I won't be long. A couple of hours just?

GORDON: We can do that, mum. He can't get in.

SADIE: Unless he breaks in. Or Beth lets him in.

GORDON: She wouldn't, would she? Would she do that, Maggie?

MAGGIE: (PAUSE) Look, the quicker I'm gone, the sooner I'm back. Let's just get it done.

SADIE: Okay, okay.

GORDON: I'll get the door.

(GORDON EXITS TO UNLOCK THE DOOR)

MAGGIE: Coming, Agnes?

(MAGGIE EXITS. AGNES RUFFLES BETH'S HAIR)

AGNES: (TO SADIE) See ye efter. (TO BETH) Be here, mind.

(SHE EXITS. BETH CURLS UP IN HER CHAIR)

SADIE: Tell Carolanne...

(THE DOOR IS BEING LOCKED AND BOLTED)

SADIE: ... I was right. (PAUSE) An I wish I wisnae. (SHOUTS THROUGH TO HALL) Gordon, run up an check they upstairs windaes, wid ye? (TO HERSELF) Somethin feels wrang. (TO BETH) Whit is it, Beth? Whit huv I forgotten?

(BETH, CURLED UP, IS RUBBING AT THE SHOES ON HER FEET)

SADIE: Damn it tae hell, Beth, I cannae speak fur ye. No this time. If he comes here, wi the polis, an a section order, ye'll hae tae speak fur yersell.

(BETH ROCKS, SHAKING HER HEAD, AFRAID)

SADIE: Great! Noo's the time tae be struck dumb again. Oh, furget it. I'll no open the door. Warrant or no warrant. I'll tell them ye're no here. An fur once, I'll no be tellin oney lies.

(GORDON ENTERS WITH DOOR KEY)

GORDON: I've got the key. And the windows are all locked shut upstairs. Will I check the kitchen and make sure the back door's locked and bolted right?

SADIE: Aye. Somethin's ootae place an I cannae pit ma finger oan it. No, here, wait. I ken what it is. (PICKS UP AGNES' CAN OF BEER) Pit that oot in the bin, afore Maggie comes back and funds it. We've enough trouble withoot Agnes gettin flung oot.

(BETH HAS BEGUN TO REALISE HER MISTAKE, IS HIDING OUT OF SIGHT OF WINDOW. GORDON AND SADIE MOVE AWAY FROM HER TO TALK)

GORDON: Do you really think Beth would let him in?

SADIE: Could you face yer faither an tell him tae get lost?

(GORDON SHAKES HIS HEAD)

SADIE: (GENTLY) Me neethur, pal. An if Beth's man kin still pull her strings.. (PAUSE) Oneywey wan worry at a time, eh?

GORDON: Will I make tea while I'm at it?

SADIE: Aye, dae that. We could aw yaise a cup.

(GORDON EXITS. SADIE GOES TO BETH, TAKES HER HAND)

SADIE: Right, minute by minute. Maggie'll ken how tae haundle him, and the polis. We're fine. Place just feels empty withoot they knitting needles gaun. Withoot... (GOING TOWARDS WINDOW) Carolanne ay made share we hud the curtains shut afore... (ABOUT TO CLOSE CURTAINS)

BETH: (STANDS, SHOUTS) Sadie!

SADIE: (TURNS, AGAINST WINDOW) What? What is it?

BETH: (STRUGGLING WITH IT) He watches.

SADIE: Watches?

BETH: Pretends. To go to work. Stops. Down the drive. Watching the house. To see if I do... what he wants.

SADIE: He’s oot there? (TURNS SLOWLY, THEN WHIPS THE CURTAINS SHUT. BACKS AWAY FROM WINDOW) I knew there wis somethin. (TO BETH) You said he wid ken if ye left. Watchin. (PAUSE) Then he’s no bringin the polis.

BETH: (FALTERING) He won’t let me tell, what he’s done. He’d be in trouble. Doctor’s aren’t allowed to… (INDICATES HER FEET. PAUSE) He has to take me home.

SADIE: Tae shut ye up.

(BETH SITS. SADIE TRIES TO ASSESS THE DANGER)

SADIE: If he’s oot there, he kens the letter an the flooers didnae work. Kens ye’re still here. (PAUSE) He’d see Carolanne leavin. An Agnes. (PAUSE, LOOKS AT BETH) He’ll ken Maggie isnae here.

(BETH IS TAKING HER SHOES OFF)

SADIE: Whit ae ye daen? Keep them oan. We’ll git the weans doon, sneak yeese oot the back wey. Ye kin go, Beth. Get ootae here. I’ll phone a taxi. Go whaurever it will take ye.

(BETH STANDS UP)

SADIE: Go tae the hospital. Whaur Maggie is. Ye’ll be safe there. No, no there. He’s a doctor.

(BETH HOLDS HER SHOES OUT TO SADIE)

SADIE: I’m no takin thum. If he comes, I’ll phone the polis. We’ll get a lawyer fur ye. Tell awbody. Pit yer shoes oan. Ye micht need tae run.

BETH: I can’t run.

SADIE: (ALMOST IN TEARS) Pit them back oan, Beth.

BETH: Hide them. Please. If I don’t know where they are, I can’t go.

SADIE: (DISTRESSED) I cannae dae it his wey.

BETH: I’m frightened…of his voice… his orders… making me do. (DESPERATE) I can’t go back. Take them, Sadie. Help me stay here. (PAUSE) Please.

(PAUSE. THEN SADIE TAKES THE SHOES AND THE TWO WOMEN STAND LOOKING AT EACH OTHER)

SADIE: Nae soft shoe shuffle the night, then?

(THEY MIGHT RELAX BUT DOOR KNOCKER THUDS LOUDLY, SCARING THEM. SADIE HIDES THE SHOES BEHIND HER BACK)

SADIE: It’s aw right. We’ll be aw right. (SHOUTS) Gordon, you got that back door shut? (TO BETH) We’re aw thegither. Jist dae nuthin. Right?

(DOOR KNOCKER THUDS AGAIN)

SADIE: (GOES TO KITCHEN DOOR, CALLS) Gordon, get in here.

(BETH STARES AT THE DOOR. BOTH DOOR AND SHE ARE CAUGHT IN AN INCREASING BEAM OF LIGHT. AS GORDON ENTERS, SADIE KEEPS HIM BESIDE HER. DOOR KNOCKS.)

SADIE: (TO BETH) Ye’re no goin back. Right?

(EVERYTHING FADES EXCEPT BETH AND THE DOOR, THE KNOCKING BECOMES CONTINUOUS, ECHOING LOUDER AND LOUDER AS BETH LOOKS DOWN AT THE BACKS OF HER HANDS, TURNS AWAY FROM THE DOOR TO FRONT CENTRE STAGE, STARING AT THE BACKS OF HER HANDS. SHE STOPS, RAISES HER HANDS, TURNS THEM OVER PALM UP, STARES AT HER FINGERS. THEN SHE LOOKS UP. A LONG MOMENT. KNOCKING AND LIGHTS CUT)
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APA Style:

Refuge. 2018. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved December 2018, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=483.

MLA Style:

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Information about Document 483

Refuge

Text

Text audience

General public
Audience size 1000+

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 1996
Word count 22040
General description Script won the 1996 UK Peggy Ramsay Memorial Award for Best new British play.

Text medium

Theatre

Text performance/broadcast details

Where performed/broadcast Traverse, Edinburgh and on tour.
Performed/broadcast by Stellar Quines, in March-April 1997

Text setting

Leisure/entertainment
Work

Text type

Script (film, play, radio, tv etc.)

Author

Author details

Author id 103
Forenames Janet
Surname Paisley
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1940
Educational attainment College
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism and Paganism
Occupation Writer
Place of birth Ilford
Region of birth Essex
Country of birth England
Place of residence Falkirk
Region of residence Stirling
Residence CSD dialect area Stlg
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Factory Processor
Father's place of birth Balloch
Father's region of birth Dunbarton
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Dnbt
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Nurse
Mother's place of birth Avonbridge
Mother's region of birth Stirling
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Stlg
Mother's country of birth Scotland

Languages

Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes Work, home, social, public
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes Work, home, social, public

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