I. Jacky……………..the wife to the sick husband
II. Husband………boyfriend to Jacky. He’s been I’ll for fifteen years and in bed
III. Dan……………..Jacky’s workmate and a friend to Kevin
IV. Kevin…………. Dan’s friend and a second boyfriend to Jacky.
i. Sharon……. Dan’s wife
ii. Police………the man conducting the investigation on Jacky’s’ Husband’s death
iii. Officer……the man helping the police in conducting investigation
iv. Operator…Mobile operator at the station
THE BEAUTIFUL WIFE
(Early in the morning, Birds are chirping as the sun rays penetrate through the window curtains of the living room and the sitting room. Jacky is at the sitting room, relaxing in front of the TV, as she sips her drink gratefully)
Jacky: For God’s sake, can’t I just have a moment to myself?
(Irritated, Jacky heads up the stairs and opens the bedroom door. The husband groans and gurgles immediately)
Jacky: An hour a day, all they have to do is make sure you keep clean and they leave it all to me.
(Jacky removes the bed covers, gags and heads into the bathroom. She then pours water into a bucket)
Jacky: (Exasperated). Why do I pay all that money, when I end up doing it myself anyway? It’s disgusting. Why can’t you hold it? You know how much it stresses me out.
(Husband’s gurgles become erratic)
Jacky: Oh stop it, you pathetic bastard. It’s always about you, isn’t it selfish?
(Jacky slaps and punches him several times while he grunts and gurgles in panic)
Jacky: (Panting) Look what you’ve made me to do. Now I’ll be awake all night worrying about how you’re feeling. You do this deliberately.
(It is the living room, there’s some soft music playing from the radio set at the corners of the house)
Jacky: Finally, I get a moment to myself.
Dan: Thanks for inviting me around
Jacky: I’ve always got time for a cup of tea and a chat. Just one rule, we don’t talk about work
Dan: Well, I’ll try. We’re here so much these days it’s so difficult to think about something else.
Jacky: Overtime is always a good time in my book.
(The television gurgles, grunts and groans into life then is cut off abruptly as Jacky turns it off. An awkward silence)
Jacky: Best not have any disturbances eh.
Dan: Quite. How is he?
Jacky: Time as always. Gets everything done for him, hasn’t got a care in the world. Not like us, eh, Dan.
Dan: (Chuckles) Isn’t that a little unfair?
Jacky: I’ve taken care of that man for the past six years. I feed him, clothe him, clean him up…
Dan: I am sorry, Jacky. I didn’t mean to…
Jacky: No. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have gone off at you like that. It just…just…really gets to me sometimes.
Dan: Hey…hey. You’re stressed. I think you need a night out. Let your hair down a bit.
Jacky: I couldn’t leave him for long.
Dan: Surely he’ll be ok for a few hours. You go to work, as you said the nurse is only here for an hour a day.
Jacky: Maybe just one drink would be ok
Dan: That’s the Jacky I know. So we have a date?
Jacky: Well, er…
Dan: Of course.
(Dan and Jacky are in a bar, glasses clank in a muted background conversation. Drinks are brought to their table by a bar tender)
Dan: I took the liberty, I hope you don’t mind.
Jacky: (Surprised) Another? I did say just one.
Dan: We’ve only been here an hour. Seemed a little discourteous just buying myself one. If you don’t want it, I’ll drink it.
Jacky: (Chuckles) Well, I suppose one more won’t hurt. Be a shamed to waste it.
Dan: (Chuckles) So what do you think?
Dan: The evening?
Jacky: It’s been great. Really enjoying myself so far. You’re good company, Dan.
Dan: The color is back in your face. You should do this more often.
Jacky: Maybe I should. I have to admit it’s good to be out again
Dan: I’m really glad you asked me to come around.
Jacky: Well, you told me about your wife and I felt sorry for you sitting at home, alone.
Dan: Me too, in regards to your own husband. Thank you for reaching out to me. I want o be around for you Jacky.
Jacky: (Suddenly tense) Don’t do that
Dan: I think we get along really, really well.
Jacky: Please take you hand off my leg.
Dan: We should take things to the next step.
(Jacky slaps Dan, gets up and leaves)
Dan: Jacky! Wait.
(Doors open, muted sounds from inside the bar, door closes then swings open again)
Dan: Jacky wait! I am sorry.
Jacky: Just forget it, Dan. I am calling a taxi.
Dan: Please Jacky; I just want to talk to you.
Jacky: You’re hurting me. Let go of me!
Dan: You can tell me that pathetic thing you call a husband can still wake up.
Jacky: Please, stop.
(Dan approaches Jacky and starts ripping off her clothes)
Dan: I love you so much, Jacky.
Jacky: No, no, just stop!
(Dan kisses her profusely despite her panicked struggles)
Dan: We’re meant to be together.
Kevin: (Cool, calm, collected) I’d let her go if I were you.
Dan: (Panicked) It’s…it isn’t how it looks, it’s just a domestic…we are er…couple
Jacky: That’s a lie!
Dan: Now darling, tell the truth.
Kevin: You have about five seconds before I call the Police.
Dan: OK, OK. I’m going. Jacky, will you be… I’m gone. I’m really sorry Jacky. I really am.
(Dan walks away)
Kevin: Jacky. I heard about your boyfriend. Calm down. Do you want me to call the Police?
Jacky: No…no, I’m…ok. I just want to go home.
Kevin: Want me to walk you?
Jacky: If you don’t mind?
Kevin: Wouldn’t offer if I didn’t.
(Back at Jacky’s over coffee. Music plays gently)
Kevin: I can’t believe you work with him. He really had me fooled with the domestic thing.
Jacky: Good job.
(Cups clank, cheers)
Kevin: So what are we going to do about it?
Kevin: The rapist?
Jacky: (Chuckles) Oh, he’s harmless. He just got a little excited. I probably gave off the wrong signals.
Kevin: Hey! Don’t you dare go there, girl. He ripped your clothes. If I hadn’t have come along when I did he would have gone all the way. You know that, right?
Jacky: I don’t know, Kevin. I just wouldn’t want to cause a fuss. He’s married, with kids. I couldn’t do that to him.
Kevin: He doesn’t deserve any of that. We should tell his wife.
Jacky: No, please, let’s just…
(A baby groan is heard from the bedroom)
Kevin: I didn’t realize you had kids. There are no pictures.
Jacky: (Embarrassed) No…that’s, er… it’s my husband.
Kevin: Oh. Is he ill?
Jacky: Severe arthritis. He got it just after we were married fifteen years ago. Confined to a wheelchair almost straight away and from there he’s gotten steadily worse.
Kevin: That must be horrible for you.
Jacky: Yes, yes it is. Thank you.
Kevin: What for?
Jacky: Nobody ever think of me. It’s always about him.
Kevin: Well he’s on drugs, right. What relief do you get?
Jacky: I…I better go and see what he needs.
Kevin: Of course.
(Jacky is taking care of husband in the bedroom. Occasional gurgles and grunts from the husband)
Kevin: Do you need a hand?
Jacky: (Startled) Oh.
Kevin: Sorry, I heard you struggling up here and thought I’d see if you need any help.
Jacky: Well, it’s not very pleasant.
Kevin: Poor you. How do you cope on your own?
Jacky: I really don’t know. I pay a nurse to come in for an hour weekdays, but for all the good she does I might as well cancel it.
Kevin: You should complain. Get her fired.
Jacky: I’ve never been very good at taking care of myself. My own problems always come last if they ever get dealt with at all.
Kevin: Well, I’m here now. Things are going to be a lot easier for you.
Jacky: How do you mean?
Kevin: You need me. While you’re at work, I can take care of him.
Jacky: But why? I can’t afford a live-in nurse.
Kevin: I will only help during the day. Night is your affair. For that, just give me a roof over my head.
Jacky: If you need a place to stay, you don’t have to bargain for it.
Kevin: It’s the least I could do.
(Mild traffic noises, Kevin opens a garden gate, strolls to the front door and rings the doorbell, the door opens)
Sharon: Can I help you?
Kevin: Hi. I am here to talk about your husband.
Kevin: It’s something you really want to know.
Sharon: Come to gloat have you?
Kevin: I’m just a messenger.
Sharon: Ok, you better come in.
(Jacky arrives home)
Jacky: Only me.
Kevin: Hi, how was your day?
Kevin: Was Dan there?
Jacky: He avoided me. I think he’ll be fine. Just wants to forget it ever happened.
Jacky: Yes, please.
(Jacky relaxes on the sitting room and sighs contentedly, sounds of tea being made in the background)
Jacky: Why isn’t the monitor on?
Kevin: Oh, is it off?
Jacky: Oh my God.
(Jacky gets up in a panic)
Kevin: Calm down. I checked him like, two hours ago.
(Jacky runs up the stairs. Kevin chuckles. Jacky struggles to lift her husband off the floor. Occasional grunts, groans and gurgles from the husband)
Jacky: Kevin! Kevin!
(Cigarette is lit)
Jacky: You can’t smoke in here. How did he end up on the floor?
Kevin: Maybe he’s trying to escape?
Jacky: Are you going to help me?
Kevin: I noticed bruising on his body when I changed him earlier.
Jacky: He… he does it himself.
Kevin: Come on.
(Kevin and Jacky heave the husband back into bed)
Kevin: All this is too much for you.
Jacky: I sometimes wonder how I do it every day. Some days I just want to give up, lie in bed and to hell with everything.
Kevin: You poor thing. It’s a terrible situation for both of you.
Jacky: There’s nothing else I can do. If I don’t do it, nobody else will.
Kevin: Till death do you part?
Jacky: Sounds silly.
Kevin: No it doesn’t. I understand perfectly. What would people think if you put him in a home?
Jacky: I know exactly what they’d think.
(Husband groans in pain. Jacky rummages around looking for something)
Kevin: What is it?
Jacky: He’s out of morphine. He’s in pain.
Kevin: Sounds like he’s in agony.
Jacky: I don’t know what to do, the doors are closed.
Kevin: I can help. How could you possibly do that?
Jacky: You mean? No, no. I couldn’t.
Kevin: Is it better that he lays there in agony?
(Kevin and Jacky relax over coffee, watching a film)
Kevin: What did I tell you? Not a murmur from him in over an hour.
Jacky: It certainly seems to have done the trick.
Kevin: Wouldn’t want to repeat it.
Jacky: Thank you, Kevin
Kevin: Don’t mention it. I’m here to help. Her to tell you all the things nobody else ever will have the guts to.
Jacky: How do you mean?
Kevin: Have you heard of those places that help move people on?
Jacky: I think so.
Kevin: When an animal is in pain they put it down. It’s called being humane. Yet we allow humans, people we love, to suffer. How humane is that?
Jacky: What are you talking about?
Kevin: Come on Jacky. Do I really need to spell it out for you?
Kevin: I know you’ve thought about it lots of times.
Kevin: You’d be helping him. It’s in his eyes. He wants you to help him.
Jacky: I am not selfish. I’m…
Jacky: Look. This is just getting silly now. I am tired.
Jacky: You’ll still be here after work tomorrow?
Kevin: Of course
(Front door knocks, door opens)
Dan: Who do you think you are?
Kevin: What are you talking about?
Dan: Don’t play games with me.
(Dan pushes past Kevin into the house)
Kevin: Hey, where are you going?
Dan: I can’t believe you’d do that to me.
Kevin: She’s at work.
Dan: I know it was you. No point in denying it.
Kevin: Did you really think I was going to let you get away with it.
Dan: It was a mistake. I was drunk.
Kevin: She has to know.
Dan: You’ve destroyed my life, do you know that?
Dan: You hateful bitch.
Kevin: (Chuckles) You do have a way with words. Charm the birds from the trees.
Dan: What about my children?
Kevin: You should have thought of that before you tried to rape my friend.
Dan: Your friend? I thought we were friends?
Kevin: Your wife had to know what sort of monster she was living with. You’re lucky we didn’t call the Police.
Dan: It doesn’t matter, my life is over now. Who cares?
Kevin: Ah, Dan. Poor, poor little rapist.
Dan: Stop saying that!
Kevin: Rapist, rapist, rapist!
Dan: Why are you being like this? I am sorry, I really, really am.
Kevin: Sometimes sorry isn’t enough.
Dan: What do you mean? What’s that in your hand?
(They start quarreling)
Dan: Put down the knife!
(Dan gasps in pain)
Dan: (in great pain) What…what have you done?
Kevin: Like you said, your life is over. Let me help you with that.
(Front door opens and closes)
Jacky: Kevin, I’m home.
(Silence as Jacky removes her coat and shoes)
Jacky: Kevin? (Jacky walks into the kitchen. The back door opens and Kevin walks in.)
Kevin: Hi. You are back a little early today.
Jacky: (Laughing) Look at the state of you, you’re covered in…what is that?
Kevin: Thought I’d do a little weeding for you.
Jacky: Allow me, you look shattered.
Kevin: Those weeds can be tough little buggers.
(Running water into kettle, teacups clang)
Jacky: How is he?
Kevin: Don’t worry, he is fine. I took the television outside with me, and it was turned on this time.
Jacky: Thanks Kevin, these past couple of days has gone a lot easier since you’ve been around.
Kevin: Will you stop saying thank you.
(Kettle boils; Kevin pours water into the cups and stirs it)
Jacky: Sorry, it’s just…
Kevin: I’m your friend. You’ve let me stay here rent free, fed me…the least I can do, come on. Stop embarrassing me.
Jacky: You’re right here.
Kevin: (Sips from the tea)Just what I needed, cheers.
Jacky: Oh, has anyone called around today?
Jacky: Dan phoned up work looking for me, but the Rota didn’t have me as being in. I thought he would show up here.
Kevin: Nope. Not seen anymore. He may have knocked while I was in the garden.
Jacky: Good. He probably just wants to apologize.
Kevin: Typical man.
(Middle of the night, husband is grunting and groaning in pain. Jacky isn’t coping well)
Jacky: Please stop. There isn’t any left.
(Cigarette lighter ignites, inhale and exhale)
Jacky: It’s the middle of the night
Jacky: Do drug dealers sleep?
Kevin: I don’t normally visit them. I was doing you a favor, remember.
Jacky: Please, Kevin. He needs it.
Kevin: I’m going back to bed. Turn off the monitor and you’ll hardly hear him.
(Kevin walks out)
Jacky: No! Kevin! Please!
Jacky: I just can’t cope anymore.
(Jacky sobs uncontrollably. After a while, Kevin reenters, still smoking)
Kevin: Look at the state of you, you’re falling apart.
Jacky: I just want to stop. I can’t take it anymore.
Kevin: How much better would it be if he wasn’t in pain? No more crying out in agony. No more waiting to die just so that he can rest. I imagine how much better things will be softer for you.
Jacky: Yes, I see it now. You’re right. It’s the best thing for him…for us.
Kevin: Place a pillow over his head.
Jacky: No, I…I couldn’t do it like that. Not with my own hands.
Kevin: How can you stand him screaming like that?
Jacky: I’ll use the stuff?
Jacky: I’ve got money. How much would it cost to buy enough?
Jacky: Stop playing games, Kevin. You know what I mean.
Kevin: You want to overdose him?
Jacky: Yes, I have heard that heroine is peaceful.
Kevin: It’s going to take money.
(Music plays in the background as Jacky opens the front door)
Jacky: Oh my God. I was so worried.
Kevin: Worried that I’d leave you alone
Jacky: That’s not true.
Kevin: I had to go through a lot to get this. You better appreciate it.
Jacky: I… (Front door closes. Muted grunts and groans from husband upstairs)
Kevin: He’s still screaming?
Jacky: I have been listening to music. Just blanked him out. Like background noise now, a boiler, or…
Kevin: How much longer are you going to let him suffer?
Jacky: I’m not sure…
Kevin: Don’t you dare bottle out again, Jacky.
Jacky: It’s just…
Kevin: Look, it’s simple. Your pour the contents of this bag into the syringe and inject him like normal. Easy!
Jacky: It hardly looks like there would be enough.
Kevin: It’s plenty.
Jacky: What if they suspect something?
Kevin: Why would they? You’ve taken care of him all this time. Come on, stop making excuses. He needs your help one more time, don’t fail him.
Jacky: I’ll have a cup of tea first.
Jacky: Honestly. I just need to settle my nerves.
Kevin: Fine. I’ll prepare the syringe for you.
(Husband is screaming in agony)
Kevin: I’ll hold him down. (Scuffling) now Jacky!
Jacky: I don’t think…can you do it?
Kevin: No. it has to be you. Come on, you’re making this worse than it needs to be. In the vein!
Jacky: (Stressed) Yes, I know what I am doing.
Kevin: Quickly, I think he knows what’s going on.
Jacky: Hold him properly!
Kevin: That’s it.
(Husband screams, then a soft snoring noise, then quiet)
Jacky: I’m sorry, I’m sorry. (Jacky sobs softly for a while). Where are you going?
Kevin: You don’t need me anymore.
Jacky: Don’t leave me on my own. (Kevin walks down the stairs, and slums the door as he leaves)
Jacky: No. I can’t cope on my own. Please, please come back.
(Birds singing, sound of a phone connecting)
Operator: Which service, please?
Jacky: Ambulance…please. I believe my husband has passed away.
Operator: Putting you through.
(Sound of muffled Police radios while Jacky sits on the sitting room confronted by a CID)
Jacky: But I don’t understand, I called for an ambulance.
Police: Standard procedure upon report of death. Toxicologist will give us a better idea, but for now we just have a few questions.
Police: Yes, is there a problem with that?
Jacky: I’d rather you don’t cut him open.
Police: (Laughs) No. just blood test.
Jacky: Oh, well…
Police: Just a few things. I understand he was on prescribed medication for the pain?
(Another Officer comes in)
Officer: Sir, you better take a look.
Police: What is it?
Officer: In the garden, sir.
Jacky:I… I just need some air. All this is too much.
Police: Don’t go too far.
(In the garden, birds singing from a distant)
Officer: Over here, sir. It’s been freshly dug.
Police: Oh…oh. Yes. I can smell it.
Officer: Should we dig, sir?
Police: It’s probably just a family pet… but I can’t help thinking something is awry her.
Officer: Couple of shovels just over there, sir.
Police: Yes, let’s get to work. Pass me one.
(They dig for a while)
Officer: Sir, I’ve hit som…oh. It’s a human hand, sir!
Police: Come with me.
(In the living room)
Officer: Where is she?
Police: I…I let her go outside.
(There a sound of screeching tires, then a bang and silence)
(In the hospital. Monitor beeps casually and then slightly intensifies. Jacky gurgles and grunts)
Kevin: Hello, Jacky. You were hit by a car. Doctors say you’re paralyzed from the neck. You’ll never walk, nor get out of bed again. You can’t even look out of the window. (Jacky gurgles,heart monitor beeps faster). Somebody is going to take care of you for the rest of your life. (Heart monitor beeps extremely fast. Jacky gurgles and grunts in panic)
Kevin: (Chuckles) You poor, poor thing. What did you think he was like?