A couple of days ago I wrote about writing and jotting notes as ideas, thoughts observations occur to me, but how I’m blighted by appalling, careless handwriting. To get round this I’ve started jotting notes on my phone, but a combination, of flat thumbs, rushing and yes, carelessness, sometimes even those jottings, though legible are difficult and sometimes impossible to interpret and understand.
I shared some examples, and a friend challenged me to write something including these mysterious messages! I wrote the first part and yesterday the second. Some friends in an amateur dramatic group are getting ready for their next production. They are going to be performing ‘The White Clock’ by a writer they haven’t met before, Martin Furber.
So, here is the final instalment:
Afterwards, once the publicity had died down, and the police had closed their investigation, and when a new amateur dramatic society had been formed, called The Therma Dudgeon Players in memory of the late artistic director of the Angles Mort amdrams, people did begin to talk about the strange things which had happened. Nobody mentioned the name Silkman, or Furber, and although Maeve was sometimes spoken of, usually as ‘poor Maeve’, or as Max would have it ‘that-weirdo-Maeve-and-thank-god-I escaped’, most of the conversation was more about how bloody odd it had all been.
“Bloody being the key word,” said Max and Jessie thumped him on his arm, quite hard, and frowned fiercely.
As rehearsals had progressed – although later they all agreed there had been very little progression, it became clear that Furber, if not in love with Maeve certainly favoured her. Several members of the cast quit, which meant others doubled up, taking two parts which would involve lightning costume changes and much use of Velcro and wigs. Jessie and Lissa wanted to support Therma, even while admitting she was indeed an eccentric woman – Alex murmured ‘batshit crazy’ luckily out of anyone but Max and Phil’s hearing. Phil insisted that his part should be renamed Schaeffer and there was an uncomfortable confrontation between him and Furber, which continued in the Gents. Afterwards Phil was very shaken; Alex and Max took him to The Squirrel’s Dray and persuaded him to stay on, and they would call him Schaeffer on stage.
Maeve’s role as Silkman was combined with Max’s and he became Wandlebury the optician as Dave was one of those who’d abandoned ship.
This, they all agreed was where it went wrong. Maeve, or rather Silkman became the arms dealer, and Furber who had insisted on supplying all the props, arrived at rehearsal with a variety of somewhat realistic firearms. They were so realistic that Sally said she didn’t approve, and left – not just the rehearsal but the play and the AmDramCo, so Jessie also took on an extra role. She went round muttering red wig Chantelle Chamberlayne, blond wig Lady Drinksworth, red wig Chantelle Chamberlayne, blond wig Lady Drinksworth, red wig Chantelle Chamberlayne, blond wig Lady Drinksworth.
Tensions were simmering more than usual, but again, afterwards, when interviewed by the police, no-one could really say why or what had been the cause. None of the remaining players had been jealous of any of the others; they were the core of the group and good friends. Even Maeve was not really disliked, she was just very annoying.
It was the scene where she was showing Schaeffer, i.e. Phil, the weapons she had for sale. Everyone agreed that the scene was badly written, that Maeve wasn’t right for the part, that Phil was nervous after the toilet confrontation with Furber. The scene – their conversation was stilted and awkward, they moved like robots, but no doubt it would have been alright on the night.
“Come, come!” exclaimed Therma, clapping her hands. “A little less conversation, a little more action, please!”
Afterwards in his interview Max, white and clearly in shock kept saying “I didn’t know Therma was an Elvis fan,” looking at his hands as if he could hypnotise them into stopping their tremor.
Strangely, or maybe because they were such close friends, Alex said much the same. He couldn’t stop crying – he’d been stripped of his blood spattered clothes and was wearing some police issue tracky bottoms and a t-shirt, “All this aggravation ain’t satisfactioning me – I thought she was going to say that, I didn’t realise Therma was an Elvis fan…”
Phil could say nothing, he was sedated and in hospital, his clothes bagged and ready for the CSI. Jessie, who had been sick several times, fortunately not on the crime scene, was the only other person on the stage at the time who had seen what had happened. Fortunately for them, the backstage crew had been sorting props and had only heard and not seen the horrific event.
“There was nothing out of the ordinary,” Jessie said in a low controlled voice. “It was just normal. Therma made some comment to Maeve about her acting, and Maeve just turned and shot her, shot her, shot Therma… we didn’t know it was a real gun, we didn’t know it was loaded…” and she could add nothing more.
Where was Furber? Where had he gone? No-one knew. Who was Furber? No-one knew anything about him except his first name was Martin, or so he said. Ask Therma… a couple of people said before realising, remembering…
Later, much later, many months later, as Max, Jessie, Lissa and Alex stood in the garden of the Squirrel’s Dray, watching fireworks burst in the sky, and the poor guy wilting and sagging as the flames leapt up around him, for some reason, Max said “‘Does anyone know why the play was called ‘The White Clock’? It’s been bothering me – a white clock was never mentioned, was it? it never featured, did it? Why ‘The White Clock’?”
Here’s the list of words and phrases I was challenged to include:
- spitball not spiritual
- angles mort
- porpoise dissection
- Therma Dudgeon
- weapon repairs,
- the white clock