Act I Scene II
Three men sit around a circular table bathed in a dull glow of orange which comes from the candle placed in the table’s center. The wooden carvings of the table make it seem moderately expensive. Glasses of water sit huddled together next to the candle, two full and one empty. A thin sliver of a man who called himself Bert sits in front of the empty one having an expression that is hard to deduce to excitement or fear. They have already been talking for about an hour but it seems as if this is the moment they have been waiting for.
Bert: So it’s true then? Heston’s daughter dead? Who’d have imagined?
Dames: Heston surely would’ve!
Bert: Now Dames…Don’t think me a fool.
Dames: Certainly not.
Bert: You think Heston’s done it?
Dames: Heston’s done it again. A second kill is much easier than the first, by all means. Practice is what makes men perfect some say. What amazes me is that Heston was let out in the first place.
Bert: But I passed his house before I came here. His cries emanated from the walls of the house! I cannot even begin to describe it, let alone imagine it as I heard. It seemed even the flowers in his garden have drooped to the news.
Dames: Heston can make a jolly-good racket alright. Every tear is as false as his heart, I bet. The flowers could not have taken it up well.
Bert: Nonsense! Not even the worst men can smile over the death of a child if it happen while he lives.
Dames: [a dry laugh] But you forget Heston is not like men. Do you need reminding of what atrocities he’s done?
Bert: I have the facts clear as water---
Dames: You water must be well muddied down.
Bert: --- but there is no way Heston could have killed Melinda. What has she done anyway? Aren’t I right, George?
Dames: A man’s motives can sometimes be clouded and with Heston, the fact stands more fair. Moreover, we are frogs in the well of Grillion Creek, there are men in oceans beyond with intentions that are right foreign to us all. It is well to remember that. Right, George?
George: [more ready this time] Oh, yes!
Bert: I cannot believe it.
Dames: Then until I prove it to you, at least believe that Heston had an accomplice to finish the job.
Dames: [a child about 3 years of age pushes the creaky door open and leans her head in] Papa, dinner’s ready!
Rosie: We’ll be up in a minute dear!
Bert: When is the funeral?
Dames: The body has not been found, but the funeral is---
Bert: Well, what is this? How do you know that Melinda is dead if they haven’t found her body?
Dames: It is a prevailing and probable theory.
Bert: Prevailing and probable? What is this, the weather forecast?
[From without] Rosie: Papa!
Bert: Coming dear, just give us a few minutes.
Rosie: Mama says she’ll feed the dogs with your dinner if you don’t come up this instant.
Bert [standing up quickly]: Well, up we get, I guess, men. We shall see who’s right after a full belly.
Dames: Actually, I think I’ll skip the offer tonight. I have some business on the other side and it is one I cannot back out of.
George: Alright, double the supper then. I am not against.
[exit Dames laughing]
Bert: Has Dames ever turned down a supper?
George: I don’t really notice whose around me when there’s food.
Bert:[thoughtfully glazed] I don’t think he ever has. He used to say he had a certain liking for Frida’s food.
George: Maybe he’s really up for a drink with some other friends. You do know that we are not the only faces he is acquainted with?
Bert:[smiles] I wouldn’t doubt that Dames knows the entire town. You’re probably right. “Business” is the excuse of all elderly men, right?
George: So off to dinner now. [gesturing towards the door] Shall we?