Scene one: Miscommunication
Joanne is all dressed up in her finery (A floral cupcake dress, her hair is in a beehive, not a hair out of place.) she’s waiting for husband Jack to come home from is a business trip in Wales. The dining room has a soft glow thanks to the candles she’s placed on the table. There is also a trail of roses leading from the hallway to the kitchen.
Joanne: (Flits around the room straightening knives and forks, constantly patting her hair and twisting her wedding ring on her finger. Her hands shake slightly. She goes to the radio and flicks on a classical radio station.)
The front door opens and Joanne rushes forward to greet her husband. Richard is a tall man wearing a grey pinstripe suit and shoes with not scratch on them. His tie is uninformed straight and he wears diamond cufflink. His black hair now has silver streaks is neatly combed and his mouth his set into a thin line.
Joanne: Hello darling! (her voice has a nervous ring to it. She takes his suit jacket and hangs it on the stand. Two sets of slippers are by the side of the umbrella stand, Richard puts his pair on. Joanne goes in to give him a peck on the cheek. then suddenly remembers that he doesn’t like the feel of lipstick. she awkwardly pats his hand.) Good day at work? How was your trip?
Richard opens his mouth to answer but he lifts an eyebrow when he sees that she is wearing her new heels on the cream carpet. Joanne realises what he’s staring at and hastily puts on her own pair of slippers, blushing and not reaching his eyes.) Oh silly me! It’s just these are new heels and I just wanted to show them off with my due-
(Richard points to the needle pointed sign that hangs over the umbrella stand. It reads: PLEASE REMOVE SHOES. Joanne looks down at the floor.)
Richard: You know very well Joanne, that I don’t like to be accosted about work as soon as I walk through the front door. (He looks down at her with disdain.) I assume that you’ve prepared supper and not played dress up all day?
(Richard starts to move towards the kitchen where the delicious smell of lamb chops, is coming from. As Joanne is shuffling behind him, his slippers catch on the trail of rose petals on the floor. His eyes narrowed, he did not like a mess and his wife knew it.)
Joanne: (Quiet voice as she begins to pick up the petals like an anti flower girl): I just thought I’d push the boat out for you my dear, stupid of me obviously.
Richard: Your right there.
(He sits himself down at the kitchen table, he pointed to his plate as an indication to serve him. Like a sparrow she flits around the room, putting things on his plate. He had a kings supper portion in comparison to her pauper one. She pours him a large brandy whilst she had half a glass of water and before she sat down, she tied a long linen napkin around his neck. They eat in stony silence with only the tragic opera offering any kind of conversation. Joanne’s eyes keep flittering towards her husband to see whether he is enjoying the meal.)
Richard: Delicious as always Joanne. (he lets out a burn as he stands up from the table.)
(Joanne looks relieved at the compliment and her shoulders lower slightly.): Thank you, dear, would you like anything else? (She was hopeful for a kiss at least.
(Richard considers this for a moment. His appetite for food was sufficient. But he was hungry of her. He licked his lips and began to mentally undress her in his head. Suddenly he remembered the note in his breast pocket, the moment gone.): I shall just return to my study thank you and I do not want to be disturbed. (he turns swiftly on his heel and strides out of the room): Goodnight.
(Joanne is standing in the kitchen looking as if she might cry. All her efforts to please him wasted. She began to clear up the plates. At least she was grateful that she didn’t have to endure his ‘passions’ tonight. After she tided away she turned off the radio after finally snuffing out the romantic ambience. her shoulders sag as she walks into her bedroom and began to take off her makeup; her shield was down. She didn’t have to pretend anymore (A bruise is covering her left eye and her arms) She went to bed a broken woman.
Scene two: King in his counting house.
Richard is now in his study sitting in an ornate chair at a dark ebony desk. He is surrounded by stacks of files and letters. But, it is the letter in his breast pocket that he studies in depth.
(Camera pans over his shoulder so the audience can see what’s written.): I AM GOING TO BE NEEDING A RING ON MY FINGER. – M XX
(Richard looks dishevelled now compared to earlier. The air of authority was gone. His tie is crooked and loose, his cream shirt now showing sweat patches. Wrinkles line his forehead and his dark circles more prominent. He glances down at the letter in his hand): What have I done? What have I done?! (He glances toward the bedroom door where his dutiful wife lay. He breaks into sobs, cradling his head in his hands.
Outside a thunderstorm rumbles, the air feels charged.
Fade to Black.
Scene three: Spring Cleaning
Joanne wakes up on Sunday morning to find that Richard has disappeared to golf. His club is absent from the corner of the plush bedroom, his weekend clothes are still neatly hung up in the open wardrobe in favour of his golf slacks. The skies outside the window were overcast and it seemed as if trouble was brewing.
(Joanne gets up and begins to write in a small notebook about last nights dinner. [camera pans so the audience can see it,] Last night was awful! I tried especially hard to be romantic last night but it was thrown back in my face by his rigid ways. Sometimes I feel like house help more than his wife and god help me if I’m wrong or else I’ll feel the thwack of his fist. Wednesdays bruise still hasn’t faded. Mummy keeps telling me I must try harder. I can’t seem to tell anyone about the beatings… I so wish I could leave him but, that isn’t ‘the done thing’! Well, neither is forcing your wife to have sex or hit her!
(Joanne sighs as she hides the notebook underneath the shelf of her jewellery box. She then paints on her ‘shield’ and begins to start on chores after her breakfast.
She begins to vacuum and dust everywhere looking at it with an eagle eye to spot any dirt. She notices that Richard’s study door is ajar. Not having the chance to clean it often she hesitantly steps in and sees the mess. Three empty whiskey bottles lay smashed on the floor, the desk chair not tucked in and piles of paperwork on the floor. She puts the whiskey bottles aside, gathering up all the papers she puts them back on the desk. A scrap of paper lies crumpled in a ball. thinking it may have been a mistake she tucks it into the pile. But, this time curiosity peaks her and she reads it. Her hand’s flying to her mouth in shock.
Scene four: Pressure.
Richard is busy working at his desk at his office because of the nagging thoughts in his head. His senses heightened; he could hear his colleagues mindless chatter, the ticking of the clock and the drip of the water fountain.
(He twisted his wedding ring, his fingers were tight and the band burned in his hot clammy skin. He threw it off and tucked into his pocket)
Richard is standing outside the smoking shelter with a few colleagues on his break, puffing a cigar as if it could puff away all his problems. He kept hearing snippets of chatter.
Group on; (munching sandwiches in suits and trilby hats): Did you hear about-
Group two: It’s not going to be easy!
Richard walks back inside as the heavens opened. Usually being the top dog at work he was usually calm and composed. But now he felt like he couldn’t breathe! [Richards thoughts: Does everybody know my shit?!] He glances at the gossiping typists eying him suspiciously. He scurried away to his office but stopped when he saw her.
(Irene Wood was a receptionist at a local law firm. Richard made business there once or twice. Her swollen ankles were stuffed into court shoes. Her raven hair curled loosely around her face, her facing having an innocent glow.
Richard: softly Irene?!
(Irene turns around a smug grin on her face when she sees the panic in her eyes. In her arms she has an infant in her arms no more than a month old)
Irene: [in a sing-song voice, cooing at the baby] Look Rose! There’s daddy! (tone turns smug) When can I get to pick out my ring? (Richard looks stunned)
(Suddenly the main doors burst open making everybody look up in alarm. Joanne is soaking wet in a rain mac, makeup has gone from her face and her hair is soaked so those little droplets from a puddle on the carpet. Her voice Thunderous): SAVE YOURSELF THE BOTHER! YOU CAN HAVE MINE! (FLINGS THE RING AT IRENE. SLAPS RICHARD ACROSS THE FACE): HOW DO YOU LIKE IT HUH?!
Scene four: Happy endings
(Richard is taken into his bosses office along with the two women. Richard can be seen to be fired from his job and the boss pointing towards the door with the two security officers hauling Richard out. his colleagues stare incredulously.)
Irene (Aghast): He didn’t tell me he had a wife! I wouldn’t of-
Joanne: Yep. I am – was that sad sap. (Encloses the ring in her hand. voice hard with venom): Good luck sweetie. (She turns and makes her exit.)