College of the Crones- revised

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Chapter One- Funeral Part 1

Erin looked over her shoulder, shivering at the icy cloud of death surrounding the somber villagers as they silently filed into the council chamber. She smoothed down her long black dress elegantly trimmed with black crocheted lace and pearl buttons. Her ageless face was hidden behind a veil that cascaded over the brim of a black feather-trimmed hat. She adjusted the hat so that it sat correctly on top of her dark braided hair.  Then she pressed her dress smartly down over her knees and crossed her hands in her lap to ensure no one could see them shaking.

I can’t believe I’m here. She closed her eyes with a sigh, and then opened them expecting to see her husband enter the room, rushing over to comfort her. I can’t believe he’s really gone. When Mikel had first disappeared, she clung to the hope that he would be found somewhere in the hills, injured but still alive. She left early that night from the prince’s ball, with some of their friends. Mikel told her he needed to finish up some business at the castle and would return the next day. He had kissed her hastily, neither imagining this would be their last kiss.

But it was their last kiss, as well as their last embrace, last glance, last smile together. Even now she dared not gaze at his face in her memories. The sharp knives of loss waited in ambush. Instead she took a deep breath and smoothed her dress again. She must remain poised and beautiful, despite her grief. After a few moments, her discipline failed, and her mind returned to that day.

Frantically she had appealed to the prince concerning her husband. The prince and his agents swore they sent Mikel home the next morning on one of the royal stable’s finest horses, but the animal returned to the castle riderless that evening. In response to Erin’s plea, their ruler had sent out his best trackers to scour the surrounding countryside.

No trace of her husband was ever found.

Six months later, she realized that her identity had disappeared on that horse as well. After a childhood spent learning how to become “Mikel the blacksmith’s beautiful wife,” she wasn’t sure who she was supposed to be now. Her husband was different from most of the men in Beautiful. He truly loved her for who she was, regardless of her beauty. Memories of him forced their way to the front of her mind: dancing at her sixteenth birthday ball, riding away in their wedding carriage a few months later, cuddling together by the fire, whispering dreams to each other… The searing pain stabbed her without mercy. Without Mikel, she was a delicate crystal goblet after a party. Stunning but empty.

 

 

The Problem with Meghan

Another story from the world of The College of the Crones:

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“I don’t care if Mother forbids us to speak her name!” Bridgette snapped at her sister, Mary. “Meghan was our cousin! We played dolls with her. We played in the fields together.” She stamped her foot on the wooden stool on which she stood, sounding a boom with her silk slipper. The dressmaker’s other patrons, milling around bolts of fabric in the outer room, looked in at the young woman to see what was causing the disturbance. One didn’t scream like a little girl at a fitting. It was a time for stillness and quiet, unless one wanted to get poked with pins. The dressmaker herself, Mrs. Pincer, frowned at her, a task made more difficult by the pins in her mouth.

“She was our cousin, and a dear friend, but don’t blame Mother.” Mary gently took her younger sister by the hand, their green eyes reflecting each other. “Be reasonable,” she continued, using her most soothing voice. “Think about it. The broken engagement, poor Harold the baker, the birthday party. Everything was perfect- the flowers, the music, the cake. The only thing missing was the birthday girl. Think about how Aunt Margaret and Uncle Edmund felt.”

“Excuse me, ladies,” Mrs. Pincer interrupted. “I’ve finished marking the hem. If you could carefully take off the gown, I’ll take it. It should be finished by weeks end.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Pincer,” Bridgette replied, calmer now. Mary smiled up at her, and walked to her back, unlacing the pale green gown and helping Bridgette out of it. It sat on its layers like cupcake icing on the circular wooden pinning stand. The dressmaker pulled it up by the fitted bodice and gently pushed the full skirt through the fitting room doorway.

“But that doesn’t mean she never existed!” Bridgette said through clenched teeth. Her long bouncy blonde curls shook with conviction.

“Let’s get out of here,” her sister insisted, dragging her out of the shop. “I’m dying of thirst. Let’s go get some tea.”

The main street in Riversedge was bustling with fine ladies, some on foot and others in carriages that slowly pushed their way through the crowds. The sisters shook the summer dust off the bottoms of their dark blue silk dresses after they crossed over to the other side of the street. Both sides of the street were full of shops—dress shops, hat shops, bakeries, floral shops, jewelers, and one special shop.

The storefront itself was inconsequential, smaller than the shops on either side of it. It had a bright red door and no windows. A wooden sign hung over the door read, “The Royal Tonic Shop.” Every woman knew its exact location, yet none of them had ever crossed its threshold. Only men were allowed.

Bridgette shuddered slightly as they passed it on the way to the tea room. Was it the tonic that caused Meghan, their usually compliant cousin, to run away in the night?

            Mary glanced at her sister, and took her arm, steering them through the maze of horses, carriage wheels, and giggling girls. “Bridgette, you couldn’t have done anything. You know how closed Meghan could be. No one knew this treachery was in her heart.”

“But why, Mary? Why did she do it?” Bridgette shouted over the noise of the street, her eyes welling up with tears. Mary quickly took out her lavender scented hankie and dabbed her sister’s eyes.

“Now, now, Bridgette,” she said, putting her hankie away in her small jewel encrusted bag. “You’re going to make your eyes puffy. Forget about that sad business. It was a tragedy, that’s all.” She sighed, pulling her sister out of the path of oncoming horses.

“I can’t forget about it,” Bridgette insisted, her dainty nose turned up. “Our cousin left her betrothed, her family, and her entire future, content instead to crumble into a hideous crone. Even though all she had to do was get married to be cured.”

“It was her choice,” Mary sniffed, as she adjusted her tiny velvet hat perched on her elaborately braided tawny hair. “Every woman must choose when she becomes eighteen. Marry and take the tonic to remain beautiful, or fall to the crone curse. Meghan knew what she was doing. Obviously living with hunched over, wart-crusted crones was preferable to society life with her family.”

“But what if she knew something?” Bridgette said, stopping as they approached the tea room. “Meghan was always thinking, always reading, even though as a woman it was not her role to do either. What if she made the better choice?”
“Ridiculous!” Mary scoffed. “What woman in her right mind would allow herself to transform into an ugly old woman? The right choice, the only choice, is to marry. That way your husband is allowed to buy the prince’s tonic.”

“That was our choice,” Bridgette agreed. “Even though we were practically forced into it by our parents. Not that my Richard is hard to live with. He gives me everything I desire.”

“And the parties!” Mary sighed. “With my Robert I have invitations to dances and feasts every night. Who would want to miss the prince’s balls? I dance so much I can’t wake until evening the next day. We have the perfect life.”

The women entered the tea room and found an empty table in the back of the large room. Since the inns were considered unsavory for the local nobility, the tea room had opened exclusively for ladies. The establishment had many tables covered with white tablecloths and fresh flowers in exquisite crystal vases. The windows were large and well cleaned, allowing women passing by on the street to see who was sipping tea within. The light was cheerful, and the buzz of women’s conversations droned on throughout the day like contented bumblebees.

After they ordered their tea, Bridgette took a deep breath. Mary could see that her sister needed to unburden her heart, so she resolved not to dismiss her concerns. Instead she settled into her cushioned chair patiently as she waited for the rest of it.

“Meghan’s been on my mind, all these months since she left,” Bridgette shared. “Do we truly know what happened to her? What if some robber beat her and left her for dead? Has anyone even tried to follow her trail?”

“I don’t know,” Mary admitted. “Since no one in the family talks about her, I don’t know what has been done. I can’t imagine Uncle Edmund not trying to find his only daughter. He spent much more time with her than Aunt Margaret ever did.”

“But don’t you think she probably went to the College?” Bridgette asked. A crone dressed in a grey dress with a crisply pressed apron brought them a silver pot with a spicy aroma and two dainty ceramic cups in saucers. The crone’s thinning white hair was pulled back under a white cap. With gnarled hands she poured their tea, and bowed out of their way.

Mary took a tiny sip, mindful of the steaming liquid. “Meghan might have gone to the College of the Crones,” she agreed. “After all, she could read, and she loved to sing. Maybe we’ll see her someday, performing at the prince’s castle.” She sighed as the tea soothed her throat.

Bridgette set down her cup after tasting the sweet, spicy brew. Her flawless face showed rare furrows as she struggled to find the right words. Suddenly she was aware of her action and quickly smoothed her face. “I wonder what it would be like. Choosing your own future, apart from parties and dresses and jewels. Instead of pleasing your husband, serving others with your vocation learned at the College. The crones are healers, actors, singers, and artists. Maybe Meghan knew better than we did, sister.”

Her sister’s eyes widened in alarm. She looked around to see if any of the other women had taken notice of their conversation. But the rumble of laughter and conversations full of hairstyles and wine selections passed by them, unaffected by Bridgette’s heresy.

“Don’t speak that way!” she gasped, reaching for Bridgette’s trembling hand. “We live to serve beauty. Our prince demands it. Beauty is our mother, covering us with her favor. Any other way of life is pure ugliness.”

A crone servant passed their table at that moment, struggling with a tray of tea and cakes, and seemed to gaze at the young women with pity, but Bridgette couldn’t be certain.

Plain Old Lucy- Scene Five

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Back at O’Connell’s Pub in New York. The buyers are at the bar.

CANDY

Here we are, one month later. Lucy, I’m so glad you changed your mind about coming here. Of course, if you want to go somewhere else, we can. But this place is fabulous!

LUCY

It’s okay, guys. You don’t always have to choose the place I want to go to. There’s just something about it. It’s old and a little creepy.

SUSIE

Creepy or not, this pub has been good luck for you, girl. Ever since we came here  last month, your business has been through the roof! Not to mention all your orders come in on time. You even designed 2 new styles of jeans that were approved with only one fitting! You’re golden now.

CANDY

All my vendor friends are talking about you, Lucy. All the men want to take you out and all the women want to look like you.

LUCY

Thanks, guys, but we’re all a team. And I can’t really say I’ve had good luck today. When I called the office, Sean didn’t answer. It isn’t like him to be out of the office when we are all in New York.

DAVID

(To Lucy) Cheer up, Lucy. I know you’re used to working with that boy, but you’re going to get a real executive assistant when we get back. You’ll need one. (To their group)Now that we’re all here, I want to make an announcement. Our business at Lucky 17 has grown considerably this past year. We’ve opened 10 new stores on the west coast. I’m going to need some help with those stores. Starting now, Lucy will be my lead buyer and Junior Vice President of Lucky 17.

LUCY

Wow! David, I don’t know even know how to thank you. Didn’t see that coming. Umm, I need to speak with you, privately. You may have to rethink your decision.

 

DAVID

You’re scaring me! Did Next to the Beach call you in for an interview? I’ll double whatever they’re offering you. But I’d love to talk to you privately. I have another proposal for you.

Just then, Mr. Green enters the bar. He sits down at the booth. The bartender brings him a beer.

LUCY

(looking determined, to David) I’ve to speak with someone first.

She walks over to Mr. Green.

LUCY

I told you already. You can take the glamour back. I don’t need your beauty! I should have listened to my assistant a long time ago. Now I only have one year left. If that’s all I have, I want to make the most of it. Even without the glamour.

MR. GREEN

Well, lassie, that’s why I’m here. I’ve accepted your alternate form of payment, and I’m willing to take back your glamour.

LUCY

Really? I don’t have to give you my life?

  1. GREEN

Not any more.  Come sit with me while I undo the magic.

Lucy sits down at the booth. Mr. Green reaches over to the top of her head and yanks an invisible sheet off her.

LUCY

Thank you so much, Mr. Green. Even though the glamour made everyone notice me, I still knew it was fake. Susie and Candy don’t really respect me. David only spent time with me because of the enchantment. I admit it was fun for a while. Now that I only have a short time left, I want to find someone who likes the real me, even if I am plain.

MR. GREEN

(Chuckling) Humans! Think they see everything and they’re so blind! Pity you did not see him while he worked by your side. It’s hard to believe that your faery friend would stand up for a human. He must have cared deeply for you.

LUCY

(Shocked) It was Sean who paid for me

MR. GREEN

Oh, he paid all right. He volunteered to pay your debt with 100 years of service, effective immediately. The way he looked when he realized he was giving up being with you for the last year of your life. Such sacrifice for a faery? Unheard of, at least in the past century. Makes the deal even sweeter.

LUCY

(Almost to herself) He took my place?

MR, GREEN

Well, miss, I must be going. Fare thee well.

Lucy walks over to the bar. She’s still in shock. Everyone ignores her. Her phone rings, and she picks it up.

LUCY

Hello? Yes, this is Lucy Mason. (She listens) What do you mean there’s been an error in processing my lab work? (She listens) Of all the incompetence! (Listens) Of course I’m relieved. Wouldn’t you be? (She hangs up)

(To David) David, the doctor’s office called. There was a mix-up with my blood samples! I’m not sick, just a vitamin deficiency! I’m going to live!

DAVID

(Ignoring her) Candy, let’s toast to your great business! One of these days, I’m going to promote you to lead buyer. (Finally realizing Lucy is talking to him)

Lucy, what did you need?

LUCY

Never mind. (To herself) It was all fake. Oh well, everything is back to normal.

(To herself and audience) I can’t believe you did it, Sean. How could I not see you, listening to me and caring about me- just the way I really was. One hundred years is a very expensive price to pay. (She pauses.) But I think I can do it now. It’s the only way to live a real life. From now on, I’ll be myself, plain old Lucy.

Plain Old Lucy- Scene Four

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Back in the buying offices one week after the New York trip. Susie, Candy, and David are on their phones. Sean is inputting orders on his computer.

Lucy walks in. She looks upset.

LUCY

(Putting his call on hold immediately) Lucy, already back from your doctor appointment? Sean’s got your orders under control. Why don’t you take the rest of the day off? After your successful week in New York, you probably need to relax.

LUCY

(To herself) Leave early, coming  out of David’s mouth? This whole thing is getting scary. (To David) Thanks, David. I just have to take care of few things. After that, maybe I’ll leave early.

CANDY

(Looking over the partition.) Hi, Lucy! That sweater you’re wearing is fabulous! Did you get it in New York?

LUCY

(Listlessly) It’s a sample they gave me at Hot Jeans.

SUSIE

Hot Jeans giving away their samples? That’s a first. You’ve excellent taste! I didn’t see that style when I was there. Can I write down the style number and call Anna about it?

LUCY

(With a sigh) Sure, Susie. (She goes over to Susie’s cubicle, and Susie looks inside her back neckline.)

Then Lucy sits down in her cubicle. She looks overwhelmed. Slowly she turns on her computer and takes a few papers out of a tray on her desk.

SEAN

(Looking up from his computer, he sees her distress, and turns his chair toward her) What happened?

LUCY

(Trying not to cry) Sean, I don’t know what I’m going to do. How could this be happening now- right when my life is finally going great!

SEAN

(Goes over and gives her a hug) You were fine yesterday- what happened at your doctor appointment?

LUCY

I was just feeling tired. I thought all the attention I was getting was wearing me down, and I caught a bug or something.

SEAN

A lot of attention! You’re the new superstar! Ever since your last New York trip, you and David have been working together nonstop. For a whole week, everyone in the office is following you around like you’re the Queen of England. There is something different about you. What is this all about?

LUCY

It’s so strange that it doesn’t affect you. You’re still my best friend. It’s funny. When they started fawning all over me in the office, I was embarrassed to tell you the reason why. But now it’s too late, too late even for shame.

SEAN

Lucy, what do you mean about “too late?” Tell me what happened in New York. You know you can tell me anything.

LUCY

I knew I shouldn’t have trusted him. Something about him was creepy, but he was so polite, and somehow knew a lot about me. This is really Mr. Green’s fault.

SEAN

(Suspiciously) Mr. Green- what did he look like?

LUCY

It’s funny- I’m usually so good with faces, but I can’t remember. I know he had a black hat, and wore a dark green wool coat. He saw me at O’Connell’s. He called me over to his table, and told me he could get me noticed by everyone. Even David.  I never told anyone my feelings for David.

SEAN

Oh no. Lucy, tell me you didn’t make a deal with this rascal!

LUCY

He seemed like he really cared about my situation. He didn’t even want my money.

SEAN

(Disgusted) Of course he didn’t want your money.

LUCY

How did you know? Do you know this Mr. Green?

SEAN

I know enough to know that “Green” is not his true name! Always meddling with mortals. Can’t mind his own business. Running around stirring up mischief.

LUCY

Sean- what are you talking about?

SEAN

Lucy, I’ve worked by your side for four years. I came here to have a normal life. I would never hurt you.  But making deals with our kind is highly dangerous. Tell me you didn’t promise him anything.

LUCY

(Standing up and moving away from him) What “kind” Sean? I don’t understand.

SEAN

(Sighs) Well, we’re not supposed to talk about it. We walk around in the human world every day, blending in. But there are other kinds of beings than just humans, Lucy. My kind, my kindred, humans call them faeries.

LUCY

Seriously? I’ve unknowingly worked next to a faery for years without noticing it? If this is a prank, Sean, I am not amused.

SEAN

Please, Lucy, let it be our secret. I just wanted you to know that I understand what you’re dealing with. It sounds like he sold you a glamour. I smelled magic, but there’s always residual magic in New York, so I just thought it rubbed off on you when you were there.

(He takes Lucy by the shoulders and looks into her eyes) What did you promise Mr. Green?

LUCY

(Dazed and fighting back tears) That’s the problem, Sean. I promised him one year of my life in exchange for glamour. I thought at the time, “What’s one year out of my whole life?”

(She sits back down in her chair and starts to chuckle to herself) It’s a joke really, a horrible terrible joke.

(She looks up at Sean) When I went to the doctor this morning, they ran some tests, and then the doctor pulled me immediately into his private office. I’ve got some rare blood disease, so rare there’s not even a name for it yet.

SEAN

(Reaches over to hug her) Lucy, I’m so sorry. This is what I dread the most about having human friends.

LUCY

The doctor thinks I only have one year left at the most. There is no treatment for it. Will Mr. Green really take away the last year I have?

SEAN

There are certain rules in my world, and they’re never broken. Mr. Green will collect on your debt to him.

(David walks by Lucy’s cubicle)

DAVID

Lucy, are you still here? Please go home. You look exhausted.

LUCY

(Wiping her face quickly) I’m leaving in a few minutes. Thanks for the time, David.

 (Lucy’s cell phone rings. She answers it.)

LUCY

Hello. (She listens.) Mr. Green, how did you get this number? (She listens) I see. But things have changed. You need to take your glamour back. (She listens.) You didn’t say anything about “no returns.” I’ve had some horrible news. (She listens.) How did you know? Well, I don’t even want to know the answer to that. (She listens.) I’m not giving you my last year, do you hear me? It’s my last year- it belongs to me! (She hangs up and starts crying.)

SEAN

(Looking serious and determined) Lucy, calm down. I want you to listen to me. You don’t deserve this. I’ll fix this. Trust me, okay?

LUCY

What can you do? He said the deal was unbreakable.

SEAN

He doesn’t know you have a faery friend. Our rules may be unbreakable, but there is always a way for a faery to bend them backwards.

(Fade to black)

Plain Old Lucy- Scene Two

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Setting- O’Connell’s Pub in New York. The buyers, except Candy, are sitting at a long bar on stage left. There are a few tables stage center stage. Mr. Green is sitting by himself at one of the tables. There is a bartender behind the bar.

SUSIE

Where is our socialite? I called the office, and Lucy’s dimwit assistant said Candy’s last appointment was at 4:00.

DAVID

Relax, Susie. This is supposed to be team building time. Have some peanuts.

(Candy walks in with huge shopping bags. She’s dressed all in black with a pale pink knit cap.)

CANDY

The party’s on! I’m here!

SUSIE

Oh goody.

CANDY

Sorry. I wasn’t planning on shopping, but Angie told me about this sale at Macy’s and I couldn’t resist.

LUCY

Hi, Candy. How were your appointments?

(Everyone ignores Lucy’s question.)

DAVID

How was our fabulous buyer’s day in market?

CANDY

Fabulous, of course!

LUCY

I found some new jeans at Hot Jeans for the Back to School catalog. They have zippers on all the pockets.

SUSIE

I was at Hot Jeans looking at the Back to School sweaters. They showed them with some new zipper pocket jeans. I worked a great price with my friend Anna. Could be a great outfit for the catalog.

DAVID

Awesome, Susie! That’s what I’m talking about- teamwork! I’ll send Lucy over there tomorrow.

LUCY

Hey, I saw them first! Is anyone listening to me?

(No one reacts to Lucy’s protest. Instead they talk amongst themselves.)

(To herself) I can’t take this anymore. It’s like I don’t even exist! I wish I could be beautiful!

(She notices a man sitting in a booth. He looks at her, and beckons her over to him. Lucy hesitates, but gets up and joins him at his booth.)

Are you a jeans vendor?  I’m with my buying team right now. I can’t really talk.

MR. GREEN

No, I work in a very different business. I came over when you called.

LUCY

Sir, I’ve been sitting with my co-workers. I haven’t used my phone since we arrived.

MR. GREEN

Oh I heard you loud and clear. Especially the part about your wish. Came straight away, I did.

LUCY

(embarrassed and confused) You heard my wish? That’s ridiculous. No one usually listens to me, well, except my assistant.

MR. GREEN

That’s where I come in, Miss Lucy. It’s my profession, you see. Granting wishes.

LUCY

How do you know my name? (She looks around the pub suspiciously.) Where are the cameras? Is this one of those makeover shows? Did Sean put you up to this?

MR. GREEN

(chuckling) Makeover? My services are much more powerful than hairstyling and makeup. My colleagues think I’m foolish to deal with humans, but I find it rewarding. I sell glamour.

LUCY

You’re a magazine editor? I don’t understand.

MR. GREEN

Long before fashion magazines, Brazilian blow outs, and mascara, I’ve been transforming women into irresistible beauties. Glamour doesn’t just change your looks- it changes how others look at you.

LUCY

You can change how other people look at me? Without a makeover? That doesn’t even make sense. Look, mister, there must be a catch. I’ve been a buyer too long to not recognize when something sounds too good to be true.

MR. GREEN

My customers are always satisfied with the results.

LUCY

(She sits and stares at Mr. Green. Then she looks over at her co-workers, who are deep in conversation and don’t even realize she’s gone. Then she turns back to Mr. Green.)

Even if I believe you, which I’m not sure that I do, how much does this “glamour” cost? My credit cards are all maxed out.

MR. GREEN

Not a problem, miss. I don’t want your money.

LUCY

How can I pay you then?

MR. GREEN

I always find that if customers really want your product, they’re willing to pay anything. You’re a healthy young woman. As short as human lives are, you still have at least 50-60 years ahead of you. All I require for payment is one year of your life. It’s a small price to pay for continual success and the adoration of everyone you meet. Even David will notice you.

LUCY

How do you know about David? (She looks over at David at the bar who is listening attentively to Candy.) One year of my life? What kind of a payment is that? Are you crazy or something?  (She stands up.) I’m going back to my group. You’d better be gone before I rejoin them, or I’ve have the bartender throw you out.

MR. GREEN

Calm down, my dear Lucy. There’s no need to get worked up. You called me, after all. Sit down, and think this through. (She reluctantly sits back down.) I know this is a big decision. Take your time. Glamour is a big step. Think about what it would be like to the center of attention. How successful you could be. Everything you ever wanted- fame, romance, power.

LUCY

How would I put on this “glamour?” Do I need to drink something foul, or have an operation? I hate hospitals!

MR. GREEN

Relax! All I will need is a few strands of your hair.

LUCY

Hey, you’re not making a clone of me, are you?

MR. GREEN

(chuckling again) Don’t worry, my dear.  I don’t believe in that test tube stuff! That magic’s too risky! Now, are you willing to pay my price, or are we done here? I’ve got other customers to see.

LUCY

(Still not really believing him, she pulls out a few strands of her hair and hands it to him.) Not sure I really believe you, but I’m just desperate enough to give you a chance. What’s one year anyway?

MR. GREEN

(He rubs the hair between his palms, mumbles a few words, and then extends his hands toward Lucy.) There, it’s done.

LUCY

But I don’t feel any different. (She pulls out a mirror out of her purse.) I look exactly the same! Are you a con man?

MR. GREEN

I’ve dealt sincerely with you, my dear. Go over and rejoin your friends. You will see the fruit of my labor.

LUCY

You’re a strange man, Mr… I don’t even know your name.

MR. GREEN

(rising to his feet and taking his hat) You can call me Mr. Green. I’ll be in touch.

(He leaves)

LUCY

(to herself as she walks back to the bar) Mr. Green, really? In an Irish pub? Sounds like some kind of faery alias or something. Why did I even talk to him?

(Suddenly, the rest of the buyers stop talking amongst themselves and turn to stare at Lucy like they have never seen her before.)

LUCY

(Feeling uncomfortable) Why are you guys staring at me? Is there something on my face? (She starts rubbing her face.)

DAVID

Excuse me. I didn’t mean to stare. May I ask you to join us?

LUCY

(sarcastically) Very funny, guys. I’m plain old Lucy, remember? The one you always ignore?

CANDY

(Surprised) Lucy? Wow! What a makeover! You look as fabulous as me!

SUSIE

(With respect) There’s something different about you. Not only the way you look, but there’s a fierceness about you. No vendor would have a chance against those piercing eyes.

LUCY

(To herself) Mr. Green was right. (To the others) Come on, everybody. It’s still the same old me. You’re just seeing me differently, that’s all.

DAVID

Please join us! We were just talking about the Back to School catalog. We’d all like to hear your ideas.

(Fade to black)

Plain Old Lucy- A Modern Faery Tale

nc-food-and-beverage-pub  Here is the first scene from my one act play about deals with faeries:

Scene 1

Setting: the buying offices of Lucky 17. Grey cubicles, open side to the audience, separate the buyers from each other, but when they stand up, they can see each other. When the characters are talking to each other, they are standing up, and when they are talking to themselves and the audience they sit down. Inside the cubicles, there are desks, chairs, and computers. Each cubicle also has a rolling rack with samples of clothing on it, except Candy, who has purses and belts hanging on hers.

The scene opens with all the buyers in place, all on their phones. From stage right to stage left you have Candy, Susie, Lucy and Sean, and then David. David’s desk is fancier than the others.

SUSIE

(On the phone) I don’t care if there was a labor uprising, the boat sunk in the harbor, and there was no paperwork at the dock for customs! Those tees better be in my warehouse by tomorrow morning at 7 am or the entire three orders are cancelled! (She listens for a reply) And stop that whimpering! I’m running a business, not a support group! (She slams down the phone)

CANDY

(On the phone) You’re so funny, Angie! I want to place a reorder on those earrings. I sold them out in the first week. Of course, that’s not surprising- I told you they would be hot! (She listens) You can ship them today? That’s so cool! (She listens) Of course I’d LOVE to see that new musical when we are in New York this Friday. I thought no one could get tickets. (She listens) Front row center- how awesome! See you Friday then, bye bye honey. (She hangs up, jumps up and does a happy dance)

(To Susie, standing up looking over the cubicle) Guess what, Susie?

SUSIE

(Standing up to look over the cubicle, with a sigh) What now, Candy? You dyed your poodle purple again?

CANDY

No, it’s better than that! Angie from Angie’s Things is taking me to see that new musical             when we’re in New York this week! Isn’t that crazy?

SUSIE

Personally, anyone who would choose to associate with you in public would have to be crazy.

CANDY

You’re just a crabby kitty because your catalog order is late.

SUSIE

It’s not my fault! Those importers we use are idiots! They can’t even keep their workers under control for one important order. I’m never buying anything from them again.

LUCY

(Standing up to join their conversation) Maybe you should check into the source I found   for jeans. I know they have a knit line that seems well priced.

(They totally ignore her and go back to work)

CANDY

Hey Susie, maybe you should check out the source Lucy found for jeans. They also have   a knit line that looks cute and well-priced.

LUCY

(Sits down in frustration) That’s what I just said. They never listen to me.

SEAN

Ignore them, Lucy. You don’t need to do their work for them.

LUCY

I know, but I’ve worked here for 5 years, longer than Candy, and I know things! My jeans business has been decent. I just wish someone would notice me.

SEAN

By someone, you really mean David.

LUCY

 Shhh! Sean, not too loud. His desk is right over there. Of course, I’d love to have a           real conversation with our boss, who wouldn’t?

(David walks in, papers in hand, purposely.)

DAVID

Attention everyone! Here are your plane tickets and hotel confirmations for New York. Tuesday morning we’re meeting at the fashion office at 8 am sharp, no excuses. Make sure you bring your fall plans and assortments. (He passes out papers to each of the buyers.) Also, there is a mandatory meeting at O’Connell’s Pub at 6 pm.

CANDY

What fun! But what if I already have plans for dinner?

DAVID

I know you have a very busy social life, Candy, but our team needs some bonding time. After 8 you’re free to do as you wish.

SUSIE

 I’m not sure I want to be bonded to anyone on this team.

CANDY

Don’t be a party pooper! It sounds like fun. Lisa from Tinkles told me that O’Connell’s is an “in”place right now. An old-fashioned tavern with gourmet food, all the right people will be there.

LUCY

 It will be great to hang out with each other outside of work.

(They all ignore her.)

CANDY

 It will be great to hang out with you guys outside of work!

DAVID

That’s the spirit, Candy! You’re our Lucky 17 cheerleader!

SUSIE

(sarcastically) Go team go!

 

LUCY

(sitting down and talking only to Sean) Everything I say- someone else gets the credit for it!

SEAN

 Now, now Lucy- you’re getting upset over nothing.

LUCY

What about the pencil jeans from last year’s Back to School catalog? I found them first,   but Susie brought in the sample to the catalog meeting. Everyone was so excited that David demanded that I order 5000 pairs. They sold out to the last pair at regular price!

SEAN

Well, that was your idea first, but it all worked out, didn’t it?

LUCY

And what about the corduroy jeans for the Christmas catalog? I wanted to shoot the pink color for the cover. I tried to convince everyone but no one listened. Then Candy showed her pink knit scarf at the Monday meeting, and David asked for the pink corduroys to shoot with her scarf.

SEAN

But those are only isolated incidents. Come on, Lucy. You are a talented buyer. No one can take that away from you. If people don’t listen to you, they just don’t know what they are missing.

LUCY

They don’t listen to me because I don’t stand out, that’s all. I am plain and boring. My ugliness prevents everyone from noticing me.

SEAN

If you were really that hideous, I think they would notice. You’re beautiful, in your own unique way. They just don’t take time to really see you.

LUCY

 I’m not even remarkably ugly! I wish I was as glamorous as Candy, and or as assertive as Susie- then David would notice me!

SEAN

I’d be careful what you wish for, my friend. Wishes have an awful way of coming             true.

(Black out)

Rain in the Mirror (A College of the Crones short story)

Boom! Unexpected thunder caused Yvette to jump, resulting in a black line down her cheek.

“Sunne, you’ve ruined my makeup!” she shouted at her crone servant who had been carefully outlining her eyes with a black stick.

“So sorry, my lady, but you moved,” the hunched over, wrinkled old woman insisted as she carefully sponged off the errant line. A flash of lightning blinded them both for a moment.

“I hate thunder storms,” Yvette complained for the tenth time that day. She sighed and fidgeted with her corset. Her reflection in the large mirror on the wall behind her dressing table showed a beautiful young woman being tended by an ugly old woman. In the land of Beautiful, unmarried women over the age of eighteen transformed into hideous crones. But Alfred rescued me from that fate. Her marriage was prerequisite to buying the tonic. But the beauty she saw reflected in her face became marred on days such as this one.

Rain made her life impossible. Her sleek, waist length hair became fuzzy and resistant to the straightening iron. Her face powder clotted into lumps, and her eyeliner refused to dry properly. And that was just getting dressed! Getting into her carriage was an ordeal. Carpets had to be laid from her doorstep to the carriage. Two crone servants had to carry a canopy held up with rods to cover her as she walked outside. One servant walked behind her, lifting up Yvette’s skirts so they didn’t brush against the wet steps. When they finally arrived at the prince’s castle, the canopy came out again as she carefully walked down the carpets provided by the prince’s staff. Dressing rooms just inside the castle provided a final chance to check makeup and hair. A great deal of trouble, even for the prince’s parties.

            “You are finished, my lady,” the crone announced as she stepped back to admire her work. Even though the beauty tonic changed Yvette’s appearance, most of the wives felt that makeup and hair styling were still required. The wife twirled around in her dress, a pale pink blossom of lace and satin. She checked to make sure her golden combs holding back her perfectly straight hair were tight enough. She inspected the tiny pink flowers fastened into the braids using her mirror. Upon her long neck were displayed a set of perfectly matched pearls. Her mouth smirked back at her as she remembered her husband’s uncomfortableness when she received the necklace as a gift from the prince. With a nod to herself, she smoothed down her full skirt and reached for the lace gloves offered to her by her crone servant.

“Not a moment to spare,” Yvette grumbled as she swished out of the room. Sunne replaced the lids on the makeup jars and put them away in the jewel encrusted box on the dressing table. Her stiff curled fingers made the task more difficult than it should. Carefully, she hung the other dresses that had been rejected by her mistress back into the large closet that adjoined the dressing room. Then she walked to the large ceiling to floor window, opening one shutter to glance out at the storm.

Swirling in the wind, the trees surrounding the manor house seemed to hold their vivid green leaves up to gather the drops. The rose garden below her washed their red, yellow, and orange heads in the shower. Gleaming white, the crumbled stone driveway looked like snow. “The rain renews the earth,” she said out loud to no one. No one listened to a crone.

Another grumble of thunder hailed her from the distance. She counted to ten before the answering flash of lightning. The storm was almost past them now. Even though her life was dedicated to service, her mistress sometimes irked her with her petulance. Rain brings beauty. Not the false beauty provided by the tonic, but the real beauty of life. The God Who Really Sees gives rain freely to those who thirst.

raindrop