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Blood and Bones Theatre. Fairy Tales

Please let me know if you own this Let’s talk about fairy stories.   Let me think about some of the narratives that others have ...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cliff Fall - (From Cafe Conversations)

THE MAN
Two teas and a plate of rock buns please.....
The Woman
You nearly pushed me over, you know.
The Man
I know.  Nearly pushed you over.
The Woman
Did you see all the rocks below?
The Man
Must have been, what, hundred feet down.
The Woman
Straight down onto the rocks.
The Man
Did you see the surf?  Crashing over the rocks.
If you’d have survived the fall you would’ve been washed away by the surf.
The Woman
That’s for sure.  And there’s a nasty current there.  You wouldn’t have got me back.
The Man
I’d’ve called the coastguard.
The Woman
They wouldn’t’ve been able to do anything.  Not with that current.
The Man
You’d’ve been well out to sea.  It would’ve been a job for the lifeboat.
The Woman
Would you’ve known what to say?  “I’ve just pushed someone over the cliffs.”?
The Man
Clumsy.
The Woman
Very clumsy.  Still you didn’t.
The Man
What?
The Woman
You didn’t push me over.
The Man
No, I caught you just in time.
The Woman
That was lucky.
The Man
Very lucky.  I could’ve been looking the other way.
The Woman
You were.  That’s why you nearly had me over the edge.
The Man
That’s right.  I was watching that peregrine.  And I just backed into you.
The Woman
That was it.  I was standing on the edge.  On the very brink...
The Man
And I turned to say “Look at that.  Is that a peregrine or a kestrel?”
The Woman
And you just caught me.
The Man
Lucky.  You didn’t tell me what you thought it was.  Peregrine or kestrel.
The Woman
That was because I was nearly halfway down the cliff towards the rocks below.
The Man
So what do you think?
The Woman
What?
The Man
Was it a peregrine or a kestrel?
The Woman
Didn’t get a good enough look.  Mind you, another two seconds and I could have asked it.
The Man
Perhaps I shouldn’t’ve grabbed you, then.
The Woman
It would’ve made a bit of a mess.  I would’ve made a bit of a mess.
The Man
The sea would’ve cleared it up.  A couple of waves and that would be it.
The Woman
You’d have had a lot of questions to answer.
The Man
Like what?
The Woman
Like “why did you push me over the edge of the cliff onto the rocks below”.
The Man
That’s only one question.
The Woman
Well?
The Man
I didn’t push you over.  I was trying to stop you but you missed your footing.  I stood there dumbfounded as you hurtled down the cliff face twisting and turning, bouncing from outcrops like a rag doll until you smashed onto the jagged teeth of the storm lashed rocks below.  I was too horror struck to move.  I knew there was nothing to do.  I couldn’t drag my eyes away from the spot where you had fallen.
The Woman
Pushed more like.  It was a definite shove.
The Man
 Eventually I found the strength to dial the coastguards on my mobile
The Woman
Then what happened?
The Man
Nothing.  I couldn’t get a signal so I had to set off inland leaving the reddened surf to wash the pulp that had been you away.
The Woman
Were you sobbing?
The Man
No.  No.  I was trembling.  With the shock. There may have been tears later.
The Woman
Of the crocodile variety entirely.
The Man
There was a definite prickling behind the eyelids.
The Woman
What happened when the coastguards arrived?
The Man
Oh, they did what they could.  It was all a blur.  The helicopter hovering low over the waves.  The Lifeboat.  I don’t really remember.  And then I was sitting in the coastguard van drinking hot sweet tea out of a thermos.  It tasted metallic.
The Woman
I expect the police would have wanted to ask questions.
The Man
Oh, they were very good.  Very understanding.  The left it for a few days for me to begin to get over the shock and to make the arrangements.
The Woman
Arrangements?
The Man
The funeral.  Of course there would be no grave.  Perhaps a small memorial plaque in the chapel above the cliffs.  Sometimes I return there at this time of year.....  I like to be alone with my thoughts.
The Woman
And the police investigation?
The Man
Inconclusive.  I think they had their suspicions.
The Woman
It was an accident, surely they could see that.
The Man
There was talk in the neighbourhood.  Someone had seen the incident with the washing up gloves.
The Woman
And the shopping trolley?
The Man
Oh, God yes.  The shopping trolley incident.  I couldn’t cover that up.  But there was no actual evidence.  And I wasn’t going to confess.
The Woman
Would you have done?
The Man
In a police state.  In America there would have been extraordinary rendition and unspeakable torture in an eastern European prison camp hidden deep in the forests of Silesia.  I would have cracked. Eventually.  They would have returned me, broken in body and mind to face a lifetime of A-wing confinement and self-reproach.
The Woman
As it was...?
The Man
The Coroner brought in an open verdict and there was shaking of heads in the public gallery.  After that there was no rest.
The Woman
The press...?
The Man
Hounded me unmercifully.  I could have sold my story many times over.  I could have retired to live a life of comparative ease with occasional personal appearances on the Jonathon Ross show.  It would only when I was alone at night in some anonymous hotel room that the memories would have come flooding back.
The Woman
But celebrity of that sort doesn’t last long.
The Man
Thank God.  No, but I still get occasional letters from Phd students researching the great unsolved crimes. 
The Woman
Aha.  Crime!  You let it slip.
The Man
They were students. What could they know?
The Woman
A definite Freudian slip
The Man
And once or twice I’ve been approached for the film rights.
The Woman
So who’s pencilled in for the main part?
The Man
I don’t keep up with the cinema these days.  Barely venture out.  And I don’t have a television.  I like to be alone with my thoughts.  I’ve let my hair and beard grow.  And, I’m afraid to say, my personal hygiene is not what it should be.  My finger nails are so long they curl back and pierce the palms of my hands.  They are my stigmata.  I keep piles of newspapers in the hallway and there is talk that the council will evict me.  Because of the rats.
The Woman
I expect if you had your life over again it would be so different.
The Man
We would have danced and been gay.  Attended parties in the great houses driving home through the darkened lanes in the open top Bentley and picknicked at midnight on the clifftops with the windup gramophone playing charlestons and black bottoms.  The harvest moon would have been big and bright and smiling down on us.  And you would have said...
The Woman
I love you.  I always have loved you and I always will.  We were meant to be.
The Man
The irony is that this is the place, the very place where, in another reality, you plunged to your death.  If I hadn’t caught you just in time.
The Woman
I’m glad you did, though.
The Man
Yes, I’m glad I did.

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