I would like to add a disclaimer before sharing the second scene of the play with you. When it comes to use of language on this blog, I keep it clean. I find that using swear words – when writing about political issues or when engaging in discussions with other bloggers – is simply not necessary to get one’s point across, and may even detract from the message.
Unfortunately I can not always use the same level of censorship when it comes to creative writing, as whatever language I may prefer to use, sometimes characters seem to demand otherwise. The F-word appears repeatedly in this instalment of Smoke. I considered using asterisks instead, but thought it may detract from the text. Having made my choice, I’m curious to know what you think of it. Does it serve its purpose or not? Would the effect of the scene be diluted or improved without the swearing? Look forward to your views.
ACT I / SCENE 1: SMOKE…
ACT 1/ SCENE 2
A small room, a door at the back, the empty space towards the stage has a large window-frame hanging from the rafters. Emma (thirty-two) and Fred (twenty-six) are alone in the room. Emma is sitting on a chair, Fred is on the bed.
Emma. Fred… we need to talk about this.
Fred. We have talked about it. You know my position. You’ve known it from the start.
Emma. Stands up from the chair, takes one step towards the bed, then changes her mind and sits back down.
Emma. Time is running out for… I thought –
Fred. That I would change my mind? Well. I didn’t. And I won’t.
Fred. Takes his eyes off the game he was playing on his iPhone for a moment and looks at Emma’s distraught features.
Fred. Oh! For Christ’s sake. Don’t cry, Emma. This is a cheap trick. You KNEW that I didn’t want to have children. Not before. Not now. Not ever.
Emma. Fine. Fine. (She breathes in. Breathes out. Clenches her fists.) Then get out. (louder) Get the fuck out!
Fred. Gets off the bed and moves towards the back door. Opens it. Holds it for a moment and takes a final look at Emma who remains seated in the exact same position on the chair.
Fred. Is this what you want? Is this really what you want, Emma? If I get out of this door I’m never coming back again.
Emma. Promises. Promises.
Fred. I mean it.
Emma. Read my lips: Get out. Get the fuck out!
Fred. Oh. Fuck you, Em.
Fred exits. Emma sits in silence for a moment, listening to the sound of his steps dying out. She raises herself from the chair, with more difficulty this time and walks towards the window. She sparks a cigarette and smokes, looking towards the imagined horizon.
The light dims and then brightens again in quick successions to indicate the passing of time, several days’ worth. Emma continues to stand at the window smoking throughout.
The back door opens tentatively. Fred pokes his head through.
Emma. Does not turn. Continues at the window, smoking.
Fred. May I come in?
Emma. No response. Fred. Steps back into the room, closes the door behind him, but remains standing by it. He reveals a bunch of flowers.
Fred. Em… I brought you these. I’m sorry.
Emma. Puts the cigarette out in an ashtray on the windowsill and half-turns towards him. Fred looks remorseful. Emma starts laughing.
Emma. What a bloody cliché you are!
Fred. Holds the flowers tentatively towards her. She appears to consider taking them. She steps towards him, takes the flowers and puts them on the table. They embrace. Fred takes her to the bed and they start making love.
The lights go out.