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Stuck

Evelyn and Gail grew up together they used to be best friends, but an act of betrayal has destroyed their friendship. They have not seen or spoken to each other for nearly 3 years.

Evelyn has entered the lift and the doors are closing before she realises Gail is already in there. Gail smiles broadly as she recognises Evelyn and opens her mouth to speak. Evelyn turns her back to face the door. Gail’s smile fades and she bows her head. The lift stops abruptly Evelyn tuts and starts tapping her foot. 

Evelyn: Typical

Gail: Have you got somewhere to be….you look really well.

(Ignoring her Evelyn opens the small flap where the phone is enclosed, picks it up and starts dialling the emergency number)

Evelyn: Hello, hello is there anyone there? Hello, hello I’m…we’re stuck.

(pause)

Gail: We’ve not really had a chance to speak since…

(Evelyn turns to look straight at Gail) 

Evelyn: Since you stole my husband, no, funny that, somehow I just wasn’t that interested in you anymore.

(pause)

Gail: We’ve got to talk about it sometime…

Evelyn: I don’t think so…

(Evelyn turns her attention back to the phone and faces away from Gail)

Helpdesk: Hello, hello is someone there?

Evelyn: Yes, hello… it would be in everyone’s best interest if you got us both out of here as soon as possible.

(Evelyn gives Gail a quick backwards glance, Gail sighs and shakes her head)

Gail: Or we could have a civil conversation?

Evelyn: Ssh, I can’t hear her.

Helpdesk: Is anyone hurt?

(under her breath) 

Evelyn: Not yet.

Helpdesk: I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch that. Is anyone hurt?

Evelyn: No.

Helpdesk: How many people are there in total?

Evelyn: Two.

Helpdesk: Any children, elderly or anyone with special needs?

Evelyn: No.

Helpdesk: Okay, thank you and what’s your name? 

Evelyn: Mrs Faber, Evelyn, just call me Eve.

(Gail looks surprised and mouths Faber)

Helpdesk: Thank you, Mrs…Eve, the lift engineer has been notified and dispatched to your location. He’ll be with you shortly, thank you for your patience.

Evelyn: Any idea how long?

Helpdesk: Sorry…Eve, he’ll be there as soon as he can.

(Gail sits, removes her stilettos and starts massaging her feet. Evelyn turns around exasperated wanting to pace up and down. Instead, she resigns herself to the furthest corner away from Gail carefully kneeling and sitting on her haunches) 

Gail: So you married Ronnie, I hadn’t heard.

Evelyn: Some of us don’t like to make a big show of ourselves, besides it’s no one else’s business.

Gail: Of course…I wasn’t trying to pry. Just surprised that’s all. He never seemed like your type.

Evelyn: People change, I’ve been forced to adapt, haven’t I?

(Gail gives a short sigh)

Gail: I’m just glad you’ve moved on.

Evelyn: Why so you don’t have to feel guilty anymore?

Gail: No, I just….look we were friends once I still care.

Evelyn: Such a funny way of showing it, casually shagging my husband behind my back.

Gail: Okay, I’ve said sorry a million times, but just how long do I have to keep paying for it? It’s not as if I planned it.

Evelyn: You were my best friend, just put yourself in my shoes for a minute how long would it take you, to forgive me?

(pause)

Gail: I don’t know… a couple of months? What does it matter we’re different people? You were always more level-headed than me and generally just…more ‘with it’. I’ve made some… mistakes…especially with…with, you…and the whole Brandon thing. But you and Faber…you are so much better than that.

Evelyn: I’m perfectly happy.

Gail: Married to dickhead Faber somehow I don’t think so!

Evelyn: Well he’s rich, dickhead Faber now.

Gail: Faber, rich! How?  

(slightly smugly) 

Evelyn: As it goes, he’s got a logistics company that’s doing really well.

(pause)

Gail: Unbelievable, you hated him! At school he was a complete idiot, he used to smash cans against his head.

Evelyn: Like I said, people change.

Gail: Or people get desperate! 

Evelyn: Yes, so desperate for a husband they go stealing other people’s.

Gail: That’s not fair! I know it’s easier for you to believe that I made all the moves with Brandon, but the truth is I didn’t. 

(pause)

Evelyn: You could have said no.

Gail: I never say no, life’s too short, remember? 

(pause)

Gail: We were going to set up a business together, open up a hippy bar, have open mike nights for new talent. 

Evelyn: We were just kids, struggling same as everyone else, with big dreams, doing and saying anything to distract us from the horrifying fact that one day we were going to grow up and have to do grown-up things, like our parents. 

(pause)

Evelyn: Let’s face it we were far more interested in boys and going out. How was that ever going to translate into being dedicated enough to run a business? 

Gail: What happened to us? When did we become these people?

(pause)

Evelyn: I met Brandon, got pregnant and realised that life isn’t a fairytale, you’ve got to do what you can to keep yourself going. It’s human nature, eventually, you just stop fighting it and give in. I wanted my baby and I wanted Brandon, so I had to get on with. But it’s hard work. 

Gail: Well it didn’t look like hard work, I was there remember…well, for most of the time.

Evelyn: Not all the time.

Gail: Whenever I came around Matthew was always clean, fed and the house was spotless. Brandon…well he was still Brandon. You looked like you were coping.

Evelyn: Yeah, maybe a little too well…

(Evelyn trails off and looks wistful. Voices are heard outside the lift)

Male voice: I don’t think it’s working, we’ll have to take the stairs.

(returning her thoughts to the present and standing up) 

Evelyn: Hello, hello are you the engineer?

Male voice: No, sorry, have you called for help?

Evelyn: Yes, the help desk said someone would be here as soon as possible.

Male voice: Are you alone?

Evelyn: No I’m with a …there are two of us.

Male voice: Okay, we’ll let them know at reception so they can put some signs up, good luck.

Evelyn: Thanks

(pause)

Gail: I’m sorry our friendship had to end, I miss it. 

Evelyn: Too bad you weren’t thinking about that while you were shagging my husband?

(pause)

Gail: I admit it, I got in over my head, carried away with those big dreams we…I created for us. What started out as…well it should never have started…but it did…and I think we just wanted to break up the boredom of life and like you said try not to be our parents. I never wanted to be a grown-up and I suppose Brandon…well you know what he’s like. Then shit got real, everyone knew about us and I got stuck… stuck wanting something that wasn’t mine, but in desperate need of it anyway, because I couldn’t face being alone. 

Evelyn: You were never alone! There was always someone there for you. Whenever you got yourself into trouble, into debt, into a fight, someone always came to your rescue. If it wasn’t me, it was your mum, you even convinced a whole church to start praying for you at one point! But that wasn’t enough you, you had to have my husband as well. I was working here, working there, drop-offs, pick-ups, scouts, football, trying to do the best I could for Matthew’s sake. So that maybe, one day he could do better than all of us put together. Then you…you turned my life into a joke! I felt like…like I was on reality television. I was humiliated, laughed at. I wanted to kill you. Matthew was the only thing that kept me sane. 

(pause)

Gail: At least you had Matthew. Once you blew your stack and told everyone who would listen there was no one else I could turn to. Even my mum went chilly on me for a few weeks. It was just me and Brandon. I was so relieved when he got that job up North. 

Evelyn: Yeah, you got to leave your mess behind. I had to stay here and make the best of it.

(pause)

Gail: Eve, I’m so sorry… I never wanted to hurt you or Matthew or Brandon even… 

(pause)

Evelyn: Brandon?

Gail: Supervised visits with his son, seriously Eve what were you thinking?

(defiantly) 

Evelyn: I am not the ‘bad guy’ for wanting to protect my son.

Gail: Protect him from his father, oh come on. More like your hatred and bitterness got the better of you.

(wearily Evelyn sits)

Evelyn: It wasn’t like that, not exactly. Yes, I was angry, but that wasn’t it. I didn’t want Matthew to be in the middle of it but…

Gail: But what?

Evelyn: Once I found out about you two, obviously I was devastated, Matthew was to he absolutely idolised Brandon. It was confusing for him, plus he was getting stick at school. Matthew could handle himself, I wasn’t worried about that but the whole situation was still a bit difficult for him. He tried not to show it, but I knew. So, regardless of everything I didn’t want Matthew to lose the bond with his dad. I thought it would be better all round if Brandon explained to Matthew why he had to leave. I insisted on it.

Gail: But Brandon didn’t want to leave, you kicked him out.

Evelyn: What was I supposed to do?

Gail: You could have worked it out?

(Evelyn stares at Gail in disbelief shaking her head, then calmed)

Evelyn: Brandon’s actions caused the break-up of our marriage, our family, it was not my responsibility to explain that to Matthew. 

Gail: That was a risky move, you know Brandon.

Evelyn: I know, I know, but I was all over the place, hindsight and all that. 

Gail: So?

(pause)

Evelyn: The day Brandon was finally moving all his stuff out, I left him and Matthew together so they could say their goodbyes with me out of the way. I came home and went straight upstairs, they were having a kick about in the back garden. They couldn’t see me, so I just watched them for a while and remembered there were some good times.

(banging on the lift door)

Engineer: Hello, hello is there anyone in there?  

Gail: Yes, yes we’re in here.

Engineer: Are you both okay?

Evelyn & Gail: Yes we’re fine.

(pause)

Evelyn: Look, I was all for shared custody of Matthew…I just 

(Evelyn shakes her head)

Evelyn: I was under a lot of stress.

(pause)

Gail: What happened?

Evelyn: I overheard Brandon talking to Matthew, I didn’t mean to…..the window was open. 

(deep sigh)

Evelyn: Matthew asked him why he was leaving. At first, it was all fine, Brandon was reassuring Matthew that it wasn’t anything to do with him and that he would always be there… and I was about to leave. Then Matthew asked him if he loved you more than me… and if that was the reason he was leaving. 

Engineer: I should have you both out soon, I just need to check the mains downstairs. If I didn’t know better I would say this was deliberate, but that can’t be right. Don’t worry I’ll figure it out. Won’t be long now.

(Evelyn eyes Gail suspiciously, but Gail ignores her, shouts at the engineer and hurries her on)

Gail: Okay, great! (to the engineer)

Gail: What did Brandon say?

Evelyn: He said, shit happens son when you’re a man you’ll understand.

Gail: And that’s it! That’s why he can’t see his son without a stranger present.

Evelyn: What do you mean? That’s it! That’s not an explanation, it’s a weak arsed excuse for Brandon to do exactly what he wants and think it’s okay. That is not the conversation you’re supposed to have with an impressionable 10-year-old boy!  

Gail: What did you expect?

Evelyn: I expected him to be a grown-up for a change, for the sake of his son. I thought that regardless of the marriage break down that Brandon could own up to what he’d done. That he wasn’t just casual charm and swagger. 

Gail: So… it was about what you wanted Brandon to say to you?

Evelyn: Yes…no…I suppose …I just wanted him to be different for Matthew and he wasn’t. 

Gail: But Brandon wasn’t talking to you, he was talking to Matthew. If you really wanted to know what little, was going on in Brandon’s head then you should have listened instead of flying off the handle. 

Evelyn: Yeah, but instead, I was straight on the phone to the divorce lawyer telling her that I didn’t want Brandon anywhere near Matthew.

Gail: That’s pretty harsh.

Evelyn: I know.

(long pause)

Evelyn: So you didn’t know about me and Faber getting married. Brandon must have been overjoyed now he’s only paying alimony for Matthew. 

(pause)

Gail: No he didn’t mention it.

(pause)

Gail: I think he might be cheating on me.

Evelyn: No surprises there. What are you going to do?

Gail: I don’t know, but we’ll figure it out.

(Gail looks down and pats her stomach) 

Evelyn: You’re pregnant!

(Gail nods)

Evelyn: I didn’t think you wanted to, or could even. 

(realisation hits Evelyn)

Evelyn: You tampered with this lift on purpose didn’t you! 

(pause there is a clanking sound outside the lift)

Gail: Ssh, keep your voice down. How else was I going to talk to you?

Evelyn: Typical, this is about you being pregnant, nothing else. I should have known.

Engineer: Okay ladies, I think it should be moving any minute…now.   

(the lift starts to move, they both stand and Gail puts her shoes back on)

Gail: Like it or not, Matthew’s going to have a brother or sister. We have our differences of opinion. I’m not saying we have to be friends again,  but for the children, we have to try and get along, that is…if you mean what you say about wanting a brighter future for Matthew… that’s only what I want for this little one.

(Gail pats her stomach again)

Evelyn: Same old Gail.

Gail: Less of the old! Look I’m having a baby for god’s sake I haven’t got a clue what to do!   

Evelyn: Is that why you’re here, are you and Brandon moving back?

Gail: No, just me as soon as I find a place to stay?

(Evelyn is shaking her head vehemently)

Evelyn: No, no, no!

Gail: Come on Eve, you know it makes sense. You owe it to Matthew.

(pause)

Evelyn: You haven’t told Brandon, you’re pregnant or that you’re moving, have you?

Gail: Easy does it, one step at a time.

(Evelyn is open-mouthed and Gail is smiling when the lift doors finally open to applause from everyone waiting and watching).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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