SOLO

Curtains open on a small flat. To stage right is a door leading to outside. To stage left is a door leading to a bedroom. Between the two runs a kitchenette with stove and oven, a sink, small cupboards. A fridge stands next to the bedroom door. Above the kitchenette is a double window with net curtains. In stage front is a couch facing towards audience. A small coffee table is positioned in front of couch.

Scene One:

Daylight through window, flat furniture is covered with dust cloths.

Door opens. Woman in early to mid-20s enters carrying suitcase. She pauses, looks around, and then lugs the suitcase through the room to the bedroom on the other side. She audibly drops the suitcase.

Woman re-enters, looks around as if reacclimatising, wanders a little, eventually sitting on a couch. She looks bored.

Fade Out

Two:

Night, furniture uncovered.

Woman is sitting on couch talking on phone.

Woman

Well of course it’s nice to be home

Johan? No I still haven’t heard anything yet.

I didn’t have a number for him, so I sent a letter. Prolly hasn’t got it yet.

Mum… Don’t be like that. Johan’s a good man and you guys just don’t get on, that’s all.

He has not done a runner.

(beat)

That’s just your own prejudices talking.

Mum… Mum… Mum… Will you stop going off like this?! It’s not his fault and you blimmin’ know it!

Well you’ll change your attitude when Johan’s back and Mark’s back and everything is cool again.

Mum… Mum… Mum!!

She slams down phone.

Ah for Christ’s sakes…

Fade out

Three:

MidDay, direct light through windows

Woman standing at kitchen sink in room. She’s looking past the net curtains and out the window. She balances on her hands by leaning on the sink. She turns away from the window and looks towards the audience. Pauses, but quickly looks out the window again.

Fade out

Four:

MidDay, direct light through windows

A squeal comes from the bedroom. Woman runs from bedroom door through to front door and outside. There is a brief pause, and she re-enters carrying a swaddled baby and a large bag of baby gear. She drops the bag and waves past the net curtains to the outside.

Woman

Welcome home, Mark.

Fade out

FIVE:

Night, direct light through windows

Woman is on couch talking on the phone.

Woman

When can you come home?

Won’t they give you the visa?

But they said it was being signed on account of the deal I made.

Customs did. They said they’d make sure you got a visa if I went through with it.

Well of course they wouldn’t lie Johan… Chris… Don’t raise your voice… The visa must just be slow getting to you.

Johan! Stop shouting!

Baby begins to cry from the bedroom

Christ Johan… I gotta go, Mark is crying.

Slams down phone

Fade out

Six:

Morning light through windows

Woman is sitting on couch knitting and watching TV. Baby is in rocker next to her. She pauses and looks over. She smiles gently. A faint bicycle noise sounds, growing slightly louder. Short time passes, and she looks up as if hearing the bicycle, stands, walks to the window to street. She sees something and jumps up in the air.

Woman

The postie!

Immi-gra-shoin…

She runs out the front door. When she returns to the room she is reading a letter.

What?

Fade out

Seven:

Daytime, direct light through windows

Woman has phone in hands, is pacing behind couch and talking loudly.

Woman

Constable Smith… I was told that if I cooperated with the operation my husband would be given a visa and this has not happened.

What do you mean that’s not how it works? I was assured that it wouldn’t be a problem!

No I am not making this up. I was given a verbal guarantee by Senior Sergeant Brown that my cooperation would not go un-rewarded.

There were four officers present at that meeting. Are you telling me that none of them will confirm what I’m saying?

But… But… I have to go.

Slams down phone.

Fade out

Nine:

Night, Room is dark except for street-light through windows

Woman sitting on couch. Weeping. Baby crying in background.

Fade out

Ten:

Night, Room is lit, small amount of ambient light through windows.

Woman lying on couch under a blanket. Baby swaddled lies next to her. She talks on the phone.

Woman

I know I need to eat Dad, but I just don’t want to talk to Mum.

Of course I don’t blame her, and I don’t blame you either.

I know you did your best to stop it happening.

It’s because of the way mum is. An entire ten months and she never came to visit me.

It was hard on her?! Does she even know where I was? She’s ashamed of me, isn’t she?

Don’t be like what?! I’m the one who went through all this but she’s the one who suffers?

Thanks for the invite Dad, but I don’t feel like it… Love you see you bye.

Hangs up.

Fade out

Eleven:

Morning light through windows

Woman leaning on bench, talking on phone.

Woman

Thanks for agreeing to speak with me Mr. Gulliver.

Well, I was wondering where I stood in relation to promises me to me by the police as to why they can get away with what they did.

Yeah, I know that once it’s all be through the courts it’s all said and done, but I was given a verbal guarantee that if I cooperated I’d be rewarded.

Wait, so you think that what happened was the reward? Surely they can’t be that bad?

Well I know that they gave me a verbal guarantee.

Well how can I hold them to that verbal contract?

But the only witnesses were the police officers present

So it’s my word against theirs?… Are you suggesting it’s hopeless?

But surely… You’re my lawyer, can’t you do something?

Fade out

Twelve:

afternoon light through windows

Woman sitting on floor next to bedroom door, crying. Baby strapped into a car-seat on couch is also crying. Woman stops, looks up. Stands, walks to see baby. Turns, walks to kitchen sink, grabs plates and smashes one against the floor.

Woman

(Screams, glaring at child.)

Why do you constantly have to cry and be, so, fucking stupid!?!

Fade out

Thirteen:

Night, Room is lit, small amount of ambient light through windows.

Woman leaning against bench, talking on phone.

Woman

Yeah, everything is OK.

Nah, not needing anything.

Mum, Dad put you put up to this call, didn’t he?

Well I say that because you don’t seem all that interested in talking about anything real.

“Real” means “real” Mum, if you have to pretend you want to call then you just shouldn’t bother.

I’m not being like anything! It’s your bloody fault I’m in this damn mess and all you can do is pretend everything is fuckin sweet as and offer to make me fuckin biscuits!

Baby begins to cry from bedroom.

Yes it is your damn fault! You and your fake heart attack bringing us back home when you damn well knew Johan wouldn’t get a visa!

You know I can’t go back there after what’s happened they won’t let me.

Well that’s not our fault Johan couldn’t find work!

God… Why do you even bother calling if all you’re going to do is fight with me?!

I’ll blaspheme all I goddamn want to goddamn it and you can just fucking live with it!

Slams down phone.

Fade out

Fourteen:

morning light through windows

Woman standing in flat. She has longer hair, and is carrying the slightly bigger baby on hip. Is walking to and fro, trying to get baby to burp and/or go to sleep. The telephone rings.

Woman

Hello? Yes. Ah, Mr. Gulliver, how are you? Me? Yes, good thanks.

Sorry, you’ve been talking to who? Oh, isn’t he the radical guy?

Right, so what’s happening with that? Does this mean we might be able to get Johan a visa?

Not yet? What does it mean then?

Really? Who are we taking this to? The Department of Justice? But aren’t they the one’s who got me in this pickle in the first place?

Oh, so it’s not immigration? Why Justice? Is that because of the Police connection?

Ah, got it now. So you’re pushing for what?

Preparations? Oh, [laughs] sorry, reparations.

Fade out

Fifteen:

Afternoon light through windows

Unnerved woman is standing looking at the front door, which is closed. She walks across to couch and sits down, picks up remote and switches on TV. Phones rings.

Woman

Hello…. Dad! Glad you called, they’ve been round again.

They only just left.

Two officers this time, they said they wanted to come in and talk to me.

No, I didn’t let them in. They even threatened to bring back a search warrant, but I told them to F-off.

Well, they started really reasonably, but they kind of started to get a bit hyped up when I wouldn’t let them in.

They can’t honestly expect me to trust them after what they’re done to me and Johan. I mean, really…

Really, you think they’re a bit spooked? Who is Gulliver talking to?

Listens, nods agreement, mumbles, listens.

So you’re saying that this reparations thing is going to look that bad on their records?

Surely there must be more to it than that? They were after Johan for ages before we left the country, so wouldn’t it be better to give him a visa then try to arrest him when he gets here?

Well, this is the thing, Johan was always to smart for those small town country bumpkin Police.

Yeah, Mark will be waking up soon, so I’ll go check on him now. Thanks for calling.

OK, I’ll be careful. Love you.

Fade out

Sixteen:

Mmorning light through windows

Baby sleeping in car-seat on couch. Woman sitting on couch staring out window of flat. Plays with hair, glances at TV, glances to check if baby still asleep. Gets up and walks through to bedroom door, walk in. Pause, sound of toilet flushing. Walks back into room, sits on couch. Picks up magazine, flicks through it. Glances at TV, looks back to window.

Fade out

Seventeen:

Night, Room is lit, small amount of ambient light through windows.

Woman talking on phone. She is jumping up and down and squealing with delight.

Woman

God it’s SO GREAT to hear from you! Mark is doing OK, started teething a little, but is otherwise an angel. Dad is being great and Mum is being a bitch, but hey, ain’t she always!

How’s things there?

Oh, the visa, yeah, it seems to be coming along well, Gulliver has been ‘shaking some branches’ in Wellington if that means anything to you, and he reckons that we could be given some kind of word soon.

Nah, dunno what kind of word, but he reckons a visa is an option they’re looking at.

Mmmmm, that’s the thing. On account of the police actions they think that they will be forced to try to make some kind of repayment to me for loss of well-being or something.

No, I’m not sure what the details are but… geez, bad cough there darling, you OK?

Yeah, you should have given up the smoke years ago… Wow, bad cough alright.

Johan, you aren’t sick or anything are you? You sure? Because I’d get that cough checked out if I were you.

And yes, that is a wifely order. Get to it, chop chop! [Laughs]

OK, um, so what are you doing with yourself over there?

Fade out

Eighteen:

Morning light through windows

Rattle of key in lock and woman bursts into room carrying baby. She slams the door behind her and yells through net curtains.

Woman

FUCK YOU YOU FUCKING SHIT ASSHOLES!!!

Baby has begun to cry and she begins to console him. A car starts and drives away outside. She picks up the phone and dials.

It’s me put Dad on.

No I don’t want to talk put Dad on.

Look for fucks sakes I just had two cops try bail me up in the street outside my flat so FUCKING PUT DAD ON!

Woman walks to bench and puts on kettle, begins to console baby, who starts to cry a lot less.

Yeah it’s me.

I’m OK but two big cops just tried to hassle me outside the flat.

They kept saying we should drop the case against them.

Something else about them never making any promises to a little whore like me.

She begins to cry a little.

Nah, I’m OK, it’s not as bad as when they had me bailed up in the cells last year. Spooked me a little that’s all.

Yeah, they’ve been round a fair bit lately, sorting through my rubbish looking for something, dunno what.

Yeah, one did go through a pooey nappy, that was pretty funny [laughs a little].

Well I’ve got nothing to hide, have I?

Yeah, maybe he did just like pooey nappies [laughs a little more].

Dad, when’s this going to end?

She begins to cry a little more. Puts baby in car-seat, finishes making cup of tea. Sits on couch.

Dad, I’d better come clean.

Well, about what actually happened.

Well, I told you that the cops had made a bust on the place where I was staying when I was just home and pregnant with Mark.

Yeah, the place over on Hamilton Street.

OK, actually… [Pause] I wasn’t just caught up in a bust and charged illegally.

Look, I haven’t told you any of this because the cops said if I told anyone they’d ‘have me’.

I know I know it was stupid of me not to tell you everything, but I thought I had it all under control, you know?

The truth? The truth is that a couple of detectives came to me and told me that if I cooperated in an operation they’d give me a visa for Johan.

Well why shouldn’t I believe them! They are the Police and they can do things like that.

Look I know you’re getting angry with me but just hear me out, please Dad?

These detectives said that if I helped them with their operation in that house, they’d make sure I wasn’t prosecuted, and that in return Johan would be given a visa to come back.

Yes, I’ve told all this to my lawyer.

It didn’t come up in the case because the lawyer didn’t show up in court, remember?

She begins to cry again.

God, ten months in jail because that bastard got leaned on by the cops…[sobs]

They ruined my life, and all for a little pay-back… I can’t get work, I can’t walk in the street without people whispering about me…

I’m sorry Dad, I know I should have told you, but I couldn’t. I kept thinking that they’d come good on their promise but they never did, and once I was inside, there was nothing anyone could do.

So I waited till they released me, and now here we are.

She finishes cup of tea, sniffles, wipes nose.

Gulliver is onto it. He’s taken up the case and is looking into getting this recognised.

Johan? He knows.

He’s got this persistent cough but seems to be fine, and says he’s looking forward to coming home.

I didn’t think it was more than a bad cold, but his mum says he’s in the hospital recovering.

Fade out

Nineteen:

Afternoon light through windows

Woman walks from bedroom to living room to pick up phone.

Woman

Hello? Ah, Mr Gulliver, how are you?

Yes, good thanks. Do you have any news for me?

Really?! Good news! What is it?! [listens, mumbles understanding]

Let me see if I’ve got this right, they’re accepting that the case against me was false, but they’re wanting to settle out of court? What are they offering again?

The choice between the value of the state house I’m living in, and a visa for Johan?

The choice should be obvious shouldn’t it?

When do you expect it to be issued? [pause] That soon! Unbelievable! I’m soooo happy! Thank you thank you thank you! I’ve got to go, need to make calls. Yes yes yes call me if anything changes.

Hangs up phone and immediately makes another call.

Dad! You won’t believe it!

Fade out

Twenty:

Night, Room is lit, small amount of ambient light through windows.

Woman is dialing phone, and looks expectant. Baby is in car-seat on couch. When the phone is answered she speaks slowly and deliberately.

Woman

Hel-lo can I speak with Johan please.

Yes. This is his wife.

Where is he? Does someone there speak good English?

Ing-lish… Yeeees… Ing-lish

Hi! Hello! Yes! Is Johan there?

Yes, Johan.

Yes, I am his wife.

What do you mean sorry? Why sorry?

He… what? What do you mean?

What? He… He…. died? Wh-wh-when?

Woman drops phone, falls to knees, begins weeping.

END

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