Wild Roses by David Mauriello


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POP enters carrying teapot - crosses to table

HILDA stands upstage left leaning towards the doorway as if trying to hear something in the next room.

      POP:  (singing) Autumn leaves are falling down, falling down.

      HILDA:  Shssss.

      ROSIE enters

      POP: …. My fair lady

      ROSIE:  I’m back.

      HILDA: (stamping her foot) Shhhsss.

      POP:  How many times has she gone pottie since she got out of bed?

      HILDA:  Who knows? Five or six.  Six.

      POP pours himself tea.  ROSIE takes a cup, spoons heaps of sugar into
      it.

      POP:  Tsk, tsk, all that sugar.

      ROSIE: Pop. Just pour.  I’m drinking it, not you. I’m exhausted.

      HILDA: Where were you all night?

      ROSIE: What?

      HILDA: You came in at three o’clock.

      ROSIE: Mama. For God’s sake.

      HILDA: Well you did.

      ROSIE: I was walking, thinking.

      POP: And talking on the phone.

      ROSIE: Everyone knows everything around here.

      HILDA: Walking, thinking. Kids today. And this morning too.

      ROSIE:  I am not a kid.

      HILDA: Younger generation, I mean.  Walking. Thinking. Your father and
      I told you, “go back to your husband and daughter”. Just up and
      leaving.

      ROSIE: I didn’t just up and leave. This has been brewing. I told
      you. He tore up my manuscript to shreds and the smaller he shredded it
      the more he seemed to enjoy it.

      HILDA: Manuscript? Is that what you call it?

      ROSIE: Why? What would you call it?

      HILDA:  “Paper”, or…but “manuscript?” Sounds like the
      Declaration of Independence or something.

      ROSIE:  Well?

      HILDA:  I don’t know about this animal rights thing anyway. The
      Bible says “subdue the earth”.

      ROSIE: And it also says “Do unto others as you, etc.” And
      “others” Mother, “others” means every living thing. Every.

      ROSIE and HILDA stare at each other. ROSIE gulps her tea.

      POP: How can you drink that liquid sugar?

      ROSIE: Someday you’ll be on a diabetic’s diet like your father.

      POP:  I never ate so much sugar.

      POP butters a cracker

      HILDA:  Wait for the meal.

      POP:  Do you want me to have a shock?  A diabetic has got to eat.

      HILDA:  I am watching the time.  You don’t have to eat yet. Do
      That over a plate. Look at the crumbs.

      POP: I have to live.

      ROSIE: And Mama has to clean up after you.

      POP: That’s between her and me.

      A toilet flushes off.

      HILDA:  There!  She flushed again.

      POP: What a water bill.

      ROSIE: What’s going on?

      POP: Six times. I think she knows.

      HILDA:  Stanley. Quiet.

      POP: Sure. Quiet.  How long can we be quiet?

      HILDA: She knows? How? She remembers? She forgets everything else. She
      remembers this? All of a sudden she remembers?

      POP: You want me to be quiet. Listen to you.

      ROSIE:  What are you two talking about?

      POP and HILDA stare at her.

      HILDA: You popped in so suddenly yesterday.

      HILDA looks at POP

      POP: (backing away from the problem) Pshewww.

      ROSE enters from upstage door.  There is a brief moment when she
      stands and they stare at her.

      ROSE: (as if for the first time) Good Morning.

      HILDA: You’ve already said “good morning” Rose. And it’s
      almost noon. We’ll be eating in about half an hour. Something
      special for you.

      POP: Do you remember where we went last week Rose?

      HILDA:  Shsss.

      ROSIE:  Mama? What?

      ROSE:  Where we went?

      POP: What do you mean “shsss?’  (to Rose) And where we went a few
      days before that?

      HILDA: I feel like a cracked egg.

      ROSE: No eggs for me. Rosie. Did you know I never eat eggs?

      She sits at the table.

      ROSE: Ahh, isn’t this nice?

      The phone rings.

      HILDA: Oh my God!

      POP: What?

      HILDA: The phone.

      POP: It’s just the phone.

      ROSIE picks up the phone

      ROSIE:  Hello.  (coldly) Hello Tony. (listens) I can’t tell you when
      I’ll come home. I’m sorry. (listens) Allright, I’m not sorry.
      If you say I’m not, then I’m not sorry.  (listens) What? (listens
      then cuts in) That’s not fair. THAT’S NOT FAIR!.  I will have to
      hear that from her, from her do you hear? (listens, then breaks in) I
      want to talk to my daughter.
      (stops, shocked) Honey, that you? Oh, you’re on the bedroom phone.
      Honey your daddy says, (she listens) I see.  (listens)
      You hang up now honey and let me talk to your daddy alone. Tony?
      (listens) Give me a chance to talk….(she is cut off)
      Is that an ultimatum? Are you daring to give me an ultimatum?
      (listens) I may not be here at one o’clock. No, I may not.

      SHE bangs the phone down.  There is silence. Rosie gets her cup of
      tea, adds more sugar)

      HILDA:  Meat’s not quite done.

      ROSIE: Meat?

      ROSE: (crossing to sofa) I’ll read the paper until it’s ready. Did
      you pay the paper boy?

      ROSIE: Mama.

      HILDA: Not that again Stanley.

      POP:  I paid him.

      HILDA: (reprovingly) Stanley!

      ROSIE: What are you cooking?

      ROSE: Then I owe you.  Where’s my purse?

      ROSE looks around sofa.

      ROSE: Can’t find my purse.

      HILDA:  There. To the right of the sofa.

      ROSE looks left

      ROSE:  Where?

      HILDA: There.  There on the floor!

      ROSE: I don’t see it.

      HILDA: This side. THIS side.

      ROSE: Oh yes.

      ROSE reaches down for the purse only to discover it is tied to the
      sofa’s leg with a long rope.

      ROSE: It’s caught.

      POP:  I tied it.  So you’d know where it is.  What’s this tea?

      HILDA:  What do you mean?  “What’s this tea?”

      POP: Don’t snap.  Where’s the little tag with the slogans?

      HILDA: What?

      POP: The tea bags, with the slogans.

      HILDA: This is a different brand.  That’s Salada.

      ROSIE: Pop just drink it why don’t you?

      ROSIE helps Rose retrieve some coins from the purse and puts them on
      the coffee table. ROSE sits with paper.  ROSIE paces with her teacup.

      POP:  What’s this? (looks at the tag)  Red Rose.

      ROSE:{her attention in the paper) Yes?

ROSIE: Pop just drink it. I don’t believe this. I suppose you
still read the cereal cartons every morning. What do you expect? Some
different headline?

POP: That’s why I liked the slogans. They were different. I made
one up. How high is up. Twice the difference between the bottom and
half way. (looks at tag) All this says is Red Rose.

ROSE: (still in her paper) Yes?

HIDLA: No. Rose, no.

ROSE: Yes?

HILDA: Rose! He did not call you! He’s asking it it’s Red Rose
Tea.

ROSE: NO thank you, I’ll have mine with my meal.

HILDA: Oh my God. See! If you had been firmer with your brothers I
wouldn’t have had this all these years.

POP: Psheww.

HILDA: Sure, sure, easy for you.

ROSIE sits at table and leans forward as if in pain

HILDA: What the matter?

ROSIE: (softly) Tony wants a divorce. He’s calling back at one.

[end of extract]



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