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Monologue Mania July 10, 2014 Day # 148 by Janet S. Tiger
Last Will (c) by Janet S. Tiger © all rights reserved
firstname.lastname@example.org (A woman of many years makes an entrance, she is perfectly dressed and made up, carrying an umbrella and purse. Her British accent is faint, but still there)
Hello, my dear Mr. Barker. It has been so long since we have seen each other in person, I feared you would not remember me, nor I you. But I see neither of us has changed that much, either that, or I need new glasses.
Whatever the case, I imagine this will probably be the last time you see me. At least that's what the doctors say. Oh, no, please do not be upset, I have lived a very long life and I have absolutely no regrets.
As my barrister.....excuse me, attorney, you will be overseeing the finale of my life, or would it be the denouement? I will have to check with some of my theatrical friends if they still breathing and can recall details such as that.
Whatever the correct word, you certainly comprehend what I am saying, and I only have one small codicil for my will to be completed.
(She opens her purse, and fishes out an envelope, hands it over.)
To clarify a few things between us only, I am correct in that anything I tell you is held in confidence, until such time as I am no longer alive?
Good. Many people have wondered why I did not have children of my own. When I was younger, they actually had the gall to ask me to my face, but because I had no need to share, I merely informed these ill-mannered folks that it made me very uncomfortable to discuss these matters, and everyone complied. My husband was under strict instructions to do the same, and I am glad to report it appears as if he was a good husband in that regard, as well as many others.
To satisfy any final questions. Yes, I could have had children, with my husband in the biological way so many do. But I never understood the urge to do so. It was very much the same with gardening. Why start with seeds when you can buy the entire plant? Why wait for the fruit for twenty years, when you may purchase something that you can inspect, and you can see already has buds for fruit in just a few months.
You can examine the pedigree of the tree or bush or flower that you can see - the seeds are pitifully tiny, and they need so much attention! Watering, feeding, pruning....diapering.
So much easier to adopt the older child, which, as you know I did. Four times......
Oh, yes, five. Horatio. I often would like to forget Horatio. He was the tree that fooled me. His leaves looked very nice, and when he was planted with us, I mean placed...... I had great hopes for him. But there was no way I could know that, at the root, was a fungus that would turn those beautiful green leaves into spotted, diseased, sickly, shriveled.......disgusting foliage. Foliage that would rot, and stink, and bring shame to our illustrious family name.
But I go on for too long. Perhaps I helped - perhaps changing his name from Charles...Charley they called him in the orphanage to Horatio, a fine, strong name, made it more difficult for him. Perhaps Horatio was not the best name for him - I thought it would give him a distinction. But Horatio never understands anything, not the ghosts, not philosophy.
Perhaps if I'd called him Antony, he would have conquered kingdoms. Or even Hamlet. His death would not have been in vain.
Oh, yes, I am hear to tell you that Horatio is quite dead. How do I know? Because I am the one responsible. And, having received nursing training during World War II, there was no mistake. Horatio is no more.
Why? I thought I made that clear! He was not to receive any more money from me following my death than he already has during my life.
He is not...excuse me, was not worthy of being funded for his incredibly horrid schemes. His last cost me a small fortune, paying back the investors in his Ponzi scheme to develop a solar powered television set. Not a bad idea on the surface, in fact, it makes an enormous amount of sense. The sad part was that there was no such invention. He showed people a device that a friend of his - another reprobate - concocted in his garage. But people were convinced - or, I should say, fooled. And he had another, newer idea, and that would not be fair to all those who would invest - and to Horatio's four siblings, all of whom are upstanding citizens.
Excuse me? Oh, no, I believe that the way this works is that you can only go to the police if I am about to commit the crime, but once I have actually performed the illegal act, you cannot reveal anything to them, until my death.
(Reaches into her purse and brings out a handkerchief, hands it to him)
My, I can see this has been a bit of a surprise for you! I realize this puts you in an uncomfortable situation. I am truly sorry for that.
But if you receive an extra stipend in my new codicil, will the funds act as a lovely anesthesia for your conscience?
I thought so......
Why did I tell you about rooting out Horatio? That's an interesting point. You are not in any way related to Horatio, are you? So his demise would mean nothing. And if I never told you, and Horatio turns up tomorrow, the victim of a very sad overdose of medications he over misused, you would never know, nor would you care, would you?
(She takes a deep breath)
Or would you?
Horatio was in a different orphanage than the one I usually frequented, where the other four children I adopted had been splendidly prepared for life in the real world. In fact, Horatio was in a place that, as I recall, you recommended, Mr. Barker.
Am I remembering correctly? I think so. I have refused the doctors therapies in order to retain my clarity of mind, hopefully to the end. Which will be soon, I assure you.
Are you sweating, Mr. Barker? I don't recall ever seeing you sweat. Except one other time. When you suggested I adopt Horatio.
You had found him by being his...what do they call it here?....his Big Brother. You thought he would benefit from the love and caring and proper nurturing that you saw I had given my other lovely bushes and trees.
And I did. Horatio had everything money could buy him - fine clothing, schools, friends, cars, everything except his own biological parents.
He always wanted that. And he did because I think he sensed he had had actually met one of them. You Mr. Barker, are his father.
And you thought that I would never discover those schemes were your ideas, built upon your years of jealousy and hatred for me and my family.
My, you do sweat a great deal when you are nervous!
Could you please repeat that? You never intended to hurt anyone? Well isn't that lovely of you! You may not have intended hurt, but you certainly knew about the theft......I believe the television idea was all yours!
How interesting, Now that you hear from me that your son is dead, things are different. Did you care for him? ....... Love him?
So, are you going to turn me in? Or just ....take the extra money to forget all this? What a dilemma! If you reveal what I have told you, you must also confess as a thief. A dead son will not be reborn, and you will not only lose the extra money, but possibly go to jail yourself.
My, my, you would actually think of killing me!
My dear Mr. Barker, wait a few weeks and avoid the trouble!
I think though, this is all that's necessary. I do want my last time on earth to be spent usefully. So you can stop the thought of hitting me over the head or doing something that would leave me as an ugly picture in tomorrow's papers. Or worse, an online virus!
(She shudders at that thought, then opens her purse, holding out a small machine)
The police said this phone I have here is all that was needed to get the entire conversation we just had......
You never did listen well, Mr. Barker. I never said I killed your son. I said Horatio is no more. And Horatio is...no more. When it was determined you were his father, and you were cheating both of us - I was responsible........for changing his name back to Charley.
So, Horatio is gone, and so, Mr. Barker, you will be, also, to a lovely institution where you can spend many hours thinking about your life.
(She turns her head.)
That sounds like the police arriving. Such a nice detective. He has such beautiful green eyes. Just like new leaves.....There's something in the eyes.....
(She stands and walks to a photo, touches one of the characters)
This is how I knew........ You put up this photo only a couple of years ago. In this.....
(She indicates the spot)
...... you were somewhere in your 20s I imagine, but your eyes ......your eyes have the sun shining in them, very clear.......I have a photo of Horatio....Charley....where he had exactly the same look of great happiness...He may be a con artist, but heaven knows he is a pleasant chap.....You rarely smile, Mr. Barker.....but here, in this long ago photo, you did. And when you.....or your wife..... decided to put this photo up here, I knew.....and I needed no DNA for proof, although I did get one, just to be sure............That wasn't difficult actually, you drink those Starbucks coffees, and then drop them in garbage pails. That's all they need.
Goodbye, Mr. Barker, it has been a pleasure.
(She stands and starts to walk out, hears something, turns back)
Oh, no, Mr. Barker, I never lie. It has been a pleasure doing business with you all these years, especially now! Why? Because if my life has to end now, at least it ends with good story!
(She exits. The end.)