Biding Time

Biding Time
Written by Claire McArdle

A play in two acts.

Characters;
Marie
Agnes
Louise

Act One.

In a filthy basement kitchen three women chat. Its lunchtime. Its dark inside and raining outside.

Marie opens the first drawer of the kitchen dresser and shows Agnes what’s inside. She opens the second drawer underneath. Showing Agnes again. Louise is sitting at the table in the middle of the room.

Marie: Hey look, its glowing!
Agnes: (smiling softly) Yes it is.
Marie: It’s really glowing inside. I can see oranges and yellows and blues. It’s beautiful. Can you see it too?
Agnes: Yeah sure. (Turning to sit at the table with Louise).
Marie: What do you mean, yeah sure? Can you really see it? (Sullen) I think it’s amazing. It’s like a new world in here I want to touch but I should leave alone. How can something this beautiful live in such a disgusting hole.
Louise: Clean it then.
Marie: (staring at the wall, turns sharply to look at them both) it’s not my job.
Louise and Agnes laugh together.
(Marie stares down at the drawer, smiling, in awe, quiet.)
Louise: You know I once knew a man who had a spotless kitchen, I swear immaculate; he must have spent hours bleaching and scrubbing every day. And there was nothing in there.
Agnes: Well (pause) and?
Louise: Well he kept everything in the garden. The pots, pans, cutlery, plates. And his food, all open, nothing sealed or contained, everything just scattered around the garden. The cats in the neighbourhood used to come and piss all over everything. And of course, with no fridge, his food was rotten.
Marie: What a pig!
(Agnes and Louise laugh together.)
Marie: I could stare at this all day. I’d get dizzy though. I feel a bit sick now actually.
Agnes: Come away from there then you silly girl.
Louise: Leave it alone will ya. And make some tea. (Pointing to the kettle on the floor, a pair of baby’s pumps shoved in the top).
Marie: (annoyed, replies sarcastically, picks up the kettle) Oh, I’m sorry. With this then? And, would you like a dirty nappy sandwich too? I can make those, there’s plenty to work with in the cupboard.
Louise: Don’t be ridiculous. Just take the shoes out, it’s clean. Just fill it up in the sink.
Marie: You stupid cow. It’s full of crap in there. I can’t even see the taps.
Louise: God, you’re so lazy sometimes.
Agnes: (Stands up and pulls Marie gently to sit in her chair). Calm down the pair of you. I’ll do it, like I always do.
(Marie and Louise laugh together.)
Louise: It’s so cold in here. Can we put the heating on? I think I’m catching something.
Marie: Well you are, but it’s got nothing to do with the temperature. There’s a family of mutant rats in here that want us out!
Agnes: (Trying to make room in the sink to fill up the kettle) we don’t have any, heating I mean.

(Marie sitting at the table rests her head down on her folded arms).
Louise: This makes me so mad. (Marie looks up at her for a moment and laughs quietly) Stop it will ya. I’m freezing my arse off here and I’m so bloody hungry too, I’m gonna eat one of those rats. Where are they? (Smacks her hand down on the table several times, looking around at the floor).
Come over here you little bleeders.
Agnes: (moving things around on the kitchen worktop) ooh, I think we have cakes. (Trying to look in the cupboards that are barricaded with heavy bin bags). Just mini victoria sponges, but if I could just find them that’d be a treat. (Tries to open one of the bin bags) Maybe they’re in here.
Marie: (Sits up) are you kidding me? Why are you going through a rubbish bag looking for cakes?
Agnes: You said you were hungry. You’ll eat from a rubbish bag then.
Marie: No I bloody didn’t, and no I bloody won’t.
(Agnes and Louise laugh together.)
Louise: You are such a spoilt child. I’ll have whatever is edible Agnes. Which means if a scabby dog runs through here right now I’m diving on it. You’ll have to catch your own Marie.
Marie: (Leans back on her chair) be my guest ya dirty mare.
(All laugh together).
Louise: (scratches her head and back repeatedly) Oh gawd!
Marie: Stop scratching please, you’re so annoying. Why do I have to sit here and watch this?
Louise: Get lost! (pauses) I have to look at your face.
Agnes: (staring at the mess on the worktops, trying to rearrange things) Why? …Hmmpf
Marie: (Looking up at Agnes) What?

(They remain quiet in the kitchen. Louise and Marie wait and watch Agnes)

Agnes: Why? Why do I always buy underwear too tight for me?
Louise: Oh here we go. You’re getting fatter my dear.
Marie: When was the last time you bought any? I always buy new ones every month. Nice and fresh.
Louise: You mean you used to.
Agnes: (Turns to look at the women) Erm, I don’t know. My birthday? I was given some new ones then. Or maybe, I made them.
Louise: Ha! It’s your birthday next month Agnes. So that’s nearly a year of over-stretched grey brown holey knicks you’ve been wearing. Every single day!
Agnes: Hey! I’ll have you know that’s not the case.
Louise: Oh yeah?
Agnes: Yeah! Cos I’m always wearing yours. So there.
(Agnes and Marie laugh together)
Louise: Hey you cow! Well, I know that’s not true.

(Silence in the Kitchen. The three women stare at the walls and the mess all around them)

Agnes: Honestly, I don’t mind the mess. Well, I do but it’s a losing battle. It falls on my shoulders all the time so I just think, what the hell.

(Silence)

Agnes: I had a dream the other night, well it was just a god damm nightmare. I can’t tell if I’m having the same dream over and over again. Or, if I slip in and out of dreams and reality. The only difference is you two bickering, that’s how I know I’m awake. You’re always bloody here. With me. And I can’t escape.
Louise: Really? That is not the dream. It’s happening. Right now. And we are all in this bloody nightmare together, so get used to it.
Agnes: But my dream.
Louise: At least you have a decent bed…Elder privileges I guess.
Agnes: But in my dream…I was constantly cleaning and cleaning and cleaning. My skin, my body was a part of this kitchen. Scrubbing my legs that became the floor, the skin on my arms sewn into the seats of the chairs. I could see all the disgusting microscopic filth built up on my stomach and arms; my skin crawling with creatures. I felt tired and red raw constantly. Like I wanted to strip away the layers of my skin to make it clean. Scrubbing and scrubbing.
(Marie giggles to herself)
Louise: Okay. Alright. Well, that’s only natural. I’m sick of this place too, but what can we do. You feel trapped like this shithole is growing all around us.
Marie: I swear it’s got a life of its own. I can feel it moving.
Agnes: Oh don’t be silly. I know it was just a dream but it drives me crazy. Things don’t change.

(Silence)

Louise: Where’s that tea Agnes? (She turns to Agnes who has her back turned to them; staring down at the worktop).
Marie: I can’t remember the last dream I had. I don’t really have nightmares. I’m a very peaceful sleeper.
Louise: That figures. You don’t have a care in the world so why take them to bed.
Marie: You heartless cow, you don’t know anything about me. Not really.
Louise: I know enough. You’re a spoilt little child who dramatises every little thing. (Pauses) Totally unimportant things that only affect you because you’re bored. And you’re stupid.
Agnes: That’s harsh. (Turns around and leans on the worktop)
Marie: But you agree Agnes? … Thank you very much.
Agnes: I didn’t say that. But (Pauses) we do tend to look after you a lot.
Louise: Yeah, and at your age Marie it’s sad.
Marie: Talk about turning on me, you two need sex asap. And. You’re just jealous cos my tits aren’t scraping my knees yet. Like you.
(Agnes and Louise laugh together)
Louise: You make me laugh, when was the last time you had sex?… Plus, you’re not that much younger than me.
Marie: Everything changes when you hit your thirties Louise. Just look at Agnes, and she’s nearly forty.
Agnes: (Laughing) Your tits will fall to the floor. Your hair will fall from your head and start growing out of your chin.
Marie: Kill me now.
Agnes: Save yourselves now ladies. Get out of here now while you can. Find the nearest single man, even if he looks like the ultimate pig man because that’s all you’ll be able to get when your beard starts growing. Marry that pig man.
Louise: I’m not getting married.
Marie: Certainly to no pig man.
Louise: Let me guess. Prince Charming will come looking for you whilst you sit around slothing like a lazy mare. Did your mother only ever read fairy-tale books to you?
Marie: She never read to me. Anyway, I just don’t think I should settle. I’m prettier than that. You two can.
Louise: With your typical blonde hair and blue eyes…
Marie: They’re green actually.
Louise: …And only slightly longer legs. You wear way too much make-up Marie I’ve told you that before. Go ahead, sit around and think about love for the rest of your days, whether you find it or not. No man will save you. (Pause) Anyway, the tea? Agnes?
Marie: Its jealousy Louise, total jealousy. Do you want me to start on you?
Agnes: (Turning to switch the kettle on) It’s not about saving or settling. Just do what makes you happy.
Louise: (Sarcastically) Wise words my dear.
Agnes: (Laughs) What do I know. I’ve been stuck here with you two miseries for way too long. I’ve become invisible. We’re all becoming invisible.
Marie: Don’t say that Agnes please (getting upset).
Agnes: You’re an optimist Marie. Maybe things will change for you, but you’ve got to make things happen.

(They wait in silence. The switch clicks as the kettle boils)

Agnes: Anyway, it’s not about age, it’s about attitude. I’ve had too many bad experiences in my life, and now this. (She points to the walls around her) I’m tired now.
Louise: Oh Agnes you’re not dead yet. God help us (She stands up and looks in the cupboards for cups and tea bags. She finds three stained cups and an unopened box of cheap teabags two years passed their sell-by-date. She smiles at the women and pours the tea without milk or sugar, placing them on the table slowly).
Marie: Erm, I can’t drink this without sugar.
Louise: Fine. But, I dare you to look for some in here. Go on I dare you. That bit on the floor there, that could be some if you’re lucky (laughs) But, ya know it looks like rodent shit.
Marie: You’re a cow do you know that.
Louise: I don’t want to be here.
Agnes: Neither do we. Now drink.

(The women drink their tea in silence.)
(Agnes walks over to the small bed in the corner, stepping over the two dirty bare mattresses to get to it. She lies down on her side with her back to the women).

Marie: (staring at Louise who is now sitting at the table opposite her) You know, you have quite small eyes. It’d do you good to wear some eye make-up at least. The trick is to make them look bigger.
Louise: (Sighs) Really?… Why do I need to make them look bigger. What’s wrong with small eyes? When did small eyes become unattractive?
Marie: Honestly Louise, small eyes make you look older.
Louise: Ha! Being miserable makes you look older, and right now I couldn’t give a shit. There is no one looking at us. No one to admire your looks and be disgusted by mine.
Marie: Maybe. In the drawer?
Louise: What in the drawer?
Marie: You know. Maybe it’s an elixir? It will give us eternal life and beauty.
Louise: And what a perfect waste of time that would be. On us. Here. In this filth hole. You’ve got to remember we are not getting out of here Marie. The only saving elixir is when we die.
Marie: (starts to gently weep) Oh god.
Louise: I used to really care what people thought of me. I used to cake my face in make up till I was unrecognisable. I hated my face. You don’t know. I must’ve died my hair about twenty five different colours. I dunno, it’s funny now I guess. (Pauses) Did you know I was anorexic for five years as a teenager?
Marie: (Still crying quietly) No.
Louise: Yeah, big time. I was sectioned.
Marie: Oh god.
Agnes: (Raises her voice from across the room) Please don’t tell her that story. It’ll frighten her.
Louise: It’s my story. Besides she’s an adult. Why do you insist on smothering her from real life? Especially after what has happened to us, all of us. It’s ridiculous.
Agnes: (Sits up in bed, shaking, still raising her voice) It was horrible. Horrible Louise. You’d do well to put it right out of your mind and move on. You can’t change what happened. (Pauses) Look at her, she’s already upset, and tired. Let her sleep.
Louise: No.
Marie: (wiping the tears off her cheeks and calming down) I want to hear.
Louise: Good. So (Long Pause)…You know I had no idea what they did to people in there.
Marie: Where?
Louise: They thought I was stupid, thought I was confused because I was ill. You were lucky if you just got left in the corner.
Marie: What are you talking about?
Louise: In the hospital.
Marie: I wanna know, tell me. If it doesn’t hurt too much.
Agnes: (Lies back down on the bed) You don’t want to know.
Louise: Maybe I was a stupid bitch.
Marie: What?
Louise: I think I’m warped because it turns me on to think about it now (smiles, leans back on her chair).
Marie: Oh god.

(Louise gets up out of her chair and moves slowly around the kitchen. She begins quietly, murmuring in parts as she appears to talk to herself.)

Louise: He left me hanging there.
Marie: Who did?
Louise: Exhausted. Crying slightly. I could feel the tingling sensation run through my arms and legs. If I thought about it I was cold. But I hated being cold so I didn’t think. You stupid bitch. I heard a woman laugh. (Long pause)
Marie: I don’t understand.
Louise: I thought about my feet catching fire. The slow motion of burning flesh. The smell. Would make me sick but I wouldn’t think. I’d hold my breath. I’d count as the fire took forever to creep up my legs and devour my naked body.
Marie: Why were you naked? I don’t get it.
Louise: I would hold myself so still. To feel every moment of the heat penetrating me, in every way. In every way. (Laughs) I’d be warm. I’d forget that I was hanging there.

(Silence as they all looked around the dark kitchen.)

Louise: (Still moving slowly around the kitchen, showing no emotion) I didn’t know how long it would be until they dropped me down. I felt comfortable. Not in pain anymore. Just bored. And numb now. (Pause) And then a laugh, from two people I think. I couldn’t turn around so I stared at my naked body through the mirror in front. I hadn’t looked in a mirror for months. It was dark but the shards of light from the open door lit up parts of my body. I looked okay. I was beginning to like my body again. Good lighting though.
Marie: Ha! See.
Louise: (Looks over at Marie confused) I looked at my feet. Big toes touching the floor. The more I looked at everything the more I hated it. That wasn’t me. I was disgusted with the animal decaying in straps and ropes. Tied up clumsily, rushed, kicking and screaming. Some parts bones sticking out. Other parts, bulges and lumps mangled together through the struggle. (She makes her way over to one of the mattresses on the floor and lies down on her back looking to the ceiling). I am rested now but there are red marks all over my body. The mark of a hand on my face. I am a toy for them to play with. I know that now. If I leave my body. This shell. I loved so much, god no, I hated, they can’t reach me. Not like they want to anyway. (She pauses and closes her eyes for a moment.)
Marie: What’s going on?
Agnes: (Sits up, replies quietly) Ssh, Listen… I don’t know.
Louise: (Opens her eyes talking softly) I felt someone coming over to me. I could hear them shuffling along, closer, in slippers? (Smiling) I started to masturbate by rubbing my inner thighs together.
Marie: Urgh, what?
Louise: I had no hands to use. I moved my body slowly and lifted my legs up gently to cross them. Rubbing still. And quietly moaning.
Marie: That’s dirty.
Louise: That’s what she said, “You dirty whore!” she said. “What are you doing?” she said. I just ignored her and carried on (Laughing louder to herself) “I asked you a question you dirty girl”. I started to moan a bit louder than before.
Marie: Ah Jesus.
Louise: I was enjoying myself. It felt so nice. (Pause) Then that troll came round to face me. Her disgusting, bloated, hairy face too close to mine. She stared into my eyes, took a step back and spat on my chest.
Agnes: I think that’s enough now Louise.
Louise: (Sits up on the mattress and stares at them both with her legs crossed, hands on her knees. Starts to talk in an exaggerated ‘old witches’ voice) “Dirty girls don’t get any dinner. Remember that. I know how much you like your bread balls. And if I speak to Ken, which I’ll definitely have to do now, he’ll tell me to up your dose. We need to be able to trust you”. (Long pause) So I stopped.
Marie: Good for you.
Louise: I felt angry. But why? Now I don’t care. They did everything to me.
Agnes: I think this is plenty close now. You need a rest, but first, errm tea? Both?
Louise: (Ignoring them, she lies back down and carries on talking as if to herself) I became very aware of my breasts. (She reached her hands up inside her top and began caressing her breasts gently) The pathetic acid phlegm was sliding down onto my stomach. I wanted to wrap my arms around my chest. To be hugged by someone.
Agnes: (Stands up quickly, walks over to the kitchen worktop trying to ignore Louise) Oh god. I’ll make everyone tea. Tea, yeah? Maybe I can find sugar too.
Marie: Shit! (Looks over at Louise confused and anxious, stands up with Agnes) I’ll help you find that sugar.
Louise: Only a person that knows how I feel. With my chest bare it’s the most exposed I’ll ever feel and she knew that. (Starts to gently cry) I should of spat in her face but she would’ve probably rammed that stick up my bum again.
Marie: (Talking quietly to Agnes on the other side of the room) Ah Jesus Christ. Will you make her stop.
Agnes: (Whispering) I don’t think I can. She seems to be somewhere else now. She doesn’t know we are here anymore.
Marie: That’s ridiculous. I’ve heard enough. Go and shake her.
Louise: Doctors all around me. For my own good. Right? They don’t know me. Or anyone. They weren’t doctors. Patients that killed the doctors. Banging my head against the wall. I didn’t have a headache. Amah liars.
Agnes: (Whispering still, pretending to make tea) what’s she saying now?
Marie: Something about doctors. I don’t like her touching herself like that.
Agnes: Ignore it. She needs space. I don’t know what to do.
Louise: (Laughing loudly) They wouldn’t like it if I enjoyed myself.
Agnes: (Speaking loudly to Louise) What’s that love? I’m making you a tea.
Louise: They gave me baths. Like a baby. After the pills yeah. I think I was their favourite. (Crying quietly, starting to unbutton her trousers and slip her left hand down inside them) The hands caressed my nipples and my stomach, a sweaty hand on my leg. I was air. Surrounding everyone. They took my body from me. I wanted to feel pain just so I knew I still existed somewhere. I must have passed out so many times. I would wake up to screams from other patients. I liked that.
Agnes: I’ve had enough (She walks over to Louise, buttons up her trousers and fixes her top. She lies down next to her and cradling her in her arms she strokes her head gently) It’s okay love. I swear it’s okay now.

(Lights go down. Break for next act)

Act Two

In the Kitchen, it is early morning. It is dark inside and out, the rain has stopped. Louise is asleep on the mattress on the floor, Marie is standing up staring out of the window. Agnes enters the room carrying two loaves of bread and a dollop of jam wrapped up in tissue.

Marie: (With her back to the room) Bah bah dum. She said I was dumb. She’s a fool and I’m a fool (Laughing) Oh the poor cutie come and hold my hand.
Agnes: (Looking over at Marie and Louise, waiting a moment and then setting the food down on the table) Right so, the nice woman upstairs said we could have this. She wanted to keep the jam jar so I wrapped enough in a bit of tissue for us.
Marie: (Ignoring Agnes) Sssssstroke…sssssstroke…mmmm…uuummmm…mmmmaaarrrddyy (Tapping her head several times with her palm and then tapping the window, repeatedly back and forth).
Agnes: (Looking for a knife to cut the bread) You know, there are so many women in here now. I just met five more arriving. I don’t know how they are going to fit. And another eight of them last week. Really, I mean they need to go somewhere else. Especially the older ones, I mean they should have an age limit or something. (Raising her voice to get their attention) I mean they should have an age limit, we should stop this turning into a kennel. Throwing any strays in here.
Marie: (Still tapping her head and the window. Looking at her reflection, making funny faces with pouty lips) I’m a model now. Look I’m a model now Agnes. Oooh yeah, take my picture Agnes. Now Agnes look.
Agnes: Yeah dear. You could be.
Marie: No. I am.
Agnes: Come and eat breakfast.
Marie: I’m off bread.
Agnes: You can’t be off bread. You don’t get a choice.
Marie: Then I’ll starve. I should probably do that for a bit now anyway. I’m getting a double chin.
Agnes: (Laughs) Is this about being a model?..I think you’ll have to wait a little longer. So in the meantime you can eat some bread and jam.
Marie: (Turns around to look at Agnes, becoming angry and upset) I fucking wont.
Agnes: Hey! Don’t talk like that to me.
Marie: Who are you anyway? I could kill both of you.
Agnes: Here we go.
Marie: No here we go.
Louise: (Still lying down, in a drowsy state of waking up turns on her side to face them) Can you do it now please while I’m still kinda asleep.
Marie: Yep don’t worry you’ll get it first. You don’t understand. This isn’t me, I’m here by mistake.
Agnes: I think we can all say that Marie. Its more about the situation out there than the individual. It turns us all crazy. If that’s a good enough word to use.
Marie: Of course you can use it. About yourself. When I look at you two I feel sick.
Louise: (Laughing) Thanks very much.
Marie: Its true. You’re both so different to me. I don’t know how to talk to you. I don’t love you.
Louise: I don’t love you either.
Marie: You try your hardest to though.
Louise: What are you talking about you silly cow?
Marie: I hear you talking about me.
Louise: Right okay.
Marie: I was just in the kitchen and I heard you. I was standing right there doing the dishes. You were telling Agnes how beautiful I was and that you were feeling something for me.
Louise: You’re on one.
Agnes: Dear I was out getting the bread, and Louise was asleep.
Marie: What? When?
Louise: And why is there still a massive pile of dirty dishes in the sink?
Marie: (Looking over at the sink, getting very angry) You bitch!
Agnes: Hey!
Marie: I spent all morning cleaning up. (Starting to cry) I can’t believe you did that, I even washed some on your clothes with mine, you heartless bitch!
Louise: (Standing up and making her way over to the table in the middle) Calm down you or I’ll do something. (Pauses) I’m ready for breakfast, thanks for the jam too Agnes.

(Louise and Agnes sit down and start tearing up the bread and spreading the jam on with their fingers to eat)
Agnes: (To Louise) do you feel rested now? You had quite an episode yesterday.
Louise: Yeah, sorry. I mean I’m sorry. I can’t really remember now what I was saying. Did I scare you?
Agnes: Nothing shocks me anymore.
Marie: (Still standing up, looking over at them both, disgusted and upset) I thought you were filthy.
Agnes: Stop now you.
Marie: Yeah, I think you’re disturbed. But I think you bloody love being the victim.
Agnes: How can you say that? You have no idea what she went through.
Marie: Everyone loves a bit of drama.
Agnes: I think you need to stop. I don’t know what you’re doing but you need to pipe down. Go and rest on the bed over there if you’re not going to eat with us. You didn’t get any sleep last night.
Marie: (Shouting and pointing accusingly at Louise) Yes! Because of her! You selfish bitch! What about me?!
Louise: I’d shut it right now Marie or I’ll swing.
Marie: (Shouting, enraged) I want you to. I want a big fucking scar right across my face. So I can show everyone I’m a victim too. Yeah, fucking do it!
Louise: (Laughing uncontrollably, shouting) You’d love it wouldn’t you? Secretly wanting to be punished?
Marie: I want you to.
Louise: Do you think you deserve to be hit?
Marie: I think you need to hit someone.
Louise: (Calm and quieter) oh, and you’re offering yourself to me? How kind.
Marie: Yeah (screaming) Fucking do it.
Louise: (Laughing, continues to eat her bread and jam) Calm down you or I will and you wouldn’t like it. I’d ruin your pretty face.
Marie: (Slumps and sits down on the floor facing out of the window again. Speaks quietly but loud enough for the others to hear) Agnes said I wasn’t pretty enough to be a model anymore. So I want the most harm.
Agnes: (Wiping her mouth with the back of her hand) Oh for goodness sake. It’s like we take it in turns to be drama queens.
Louise: Of course, women together. It can’t be helped.
Agnes: I hate that. Sometimes I wish I was a man.
Louise: Don’t say that. I love being a woman. A man’s body is nothing but functional.
Agnes: (Laughing) don’t be so naïve. But, you know what I mean. They laugh at us for being so hysterical. And look at us.
Louise: They envy us for it too.
Agnes: Maybe. But they still think we are over-emotional and think too much into things.
Louise: Well so what, Jesus I would rather be like that than feel nothing. Why is that a negative anyway?
Agnes: When it turns into that one over there (Moving her head to the side gesturing towards Marie who is ignoring them).
Louise: She’s just having her moment. Actually, she hasn’t been like that for a while. I was beginning to miss her like that (laughs to herself). I’m so sick of this. So what if we’re highly emotional. It’s fucking living. (Shouts) I’m alive!
Agnes: (Laughing) I don’t feel like that in here.

(Louise climbs up onto the table and jumps up and crouches down, mimicking a monkey waving her arms and legs around. Agnes is laughing grabbing the remains of the food on the table and leans back on her chair)

Louise: (Shouting and screaming) I’m alive you fucking bitches! Oooo ooo aaaa aaahhh aaaaaaaaahh!
Agnes: (Laughing) you’re nuts!
Marie: (Looking over her shoulder at them, still sulking) Great we are animals now.
Louise: (Still jumping up and down behaving like a monkey) Oooo ooo aaaa aaahhh ggaaaaa gaaaaa gaaaa uuuummmmm rrraaaaahhhh uummmm hahahahahah.

Marie: (Whispering to herself then speaking louder for the others to hear, looking out of the window) I think the bus will be here soon.
Agnes: (Laughing at Louise who is still performing, not really paying attention to Marie) What Bus love?
Marie: The bus to take me back obviously.
Agnes: There is no bus kid. There’s no bus coming.
Marie: (As if daydreaming out of the window) But I need to go back. There’s someone I need to see, she’s waiting for me.
Agnes: Your mum love?
Marie: No not her. Never her. And stop calling me love.
Agnes: Come over here and I’ll give you a hug, you look cold.
Marie: I’m not cold, see (she then takes her trousers, jumper and t-shirt off till she is standing in her underwear).
Agnes: Ah, great.
Louise: (Looks around at Marie) excellent idea! (She takes her trousers, top and bra off and throws them across the room). Yeay!
Agnes: (Laughing) you always have to go one more don’t you.

(They all laugh together)

(Marie climbs on the table with Louise. They jump up and down together laughing and behaving like monkeys. Agnes stands with her back against the kitchen worktop, laughing at the pair. She then looks up at the ceiling and stares for a while quietly.)

Agnes: I can see us in the ceiling.
Louise: (Still jumping and laughing) There’s no mirror up there Agnes, what are you talking about?
Agnes: (Looking confused but smiling) No, not like that. But I can see us.
Marie: Like what then? (Distracted with Louise.)
Agnes: We look so beautiful and happy. It’s amazing. We are all glowing. Dancing in coloured light.
Marie: The orange light? Oh my really? (She looks up, staring, concentrating but confused) I can’t see it. I can’t see it. Where is it Agnes?
Agnes: It’s there. Oh my god, beautiful all over the ceiling.
Marie: (Standing still, becoming upset) I missed it. Fuck. I can’t see.
Louise: Calm down. I can’t see it either. I’ve never been able to see it.
Agnes: What do you mean?
Louise: (Standing still) the few that were in here before saw it all the time. I never saw it.
Marie: Describe it to us Agnes.
Agnes: Its very strange. It’s like a mirror of us three as we are right now. Except we are so beautiful. Few differences of course. You two are holding hands, your hair is gorgeous and long. And there is no messy kitchen, it’s all gone.
Louise: What are we surrounded by then?
Agnes: It’s more like a forest. Like a bloody rainforest. I can almost hear the birds.
Marie: That’s crazy.
Agnes: Yeah I know. But I can see it. The sky is pale blue and lilac and pink. The trees are a gorgeous rich green, such a deep rich green. And we have amazing gorgeous skin.
Louise: Yeah you said that.
Agnes: We are naked.
Louise: Nice.
Agnes: I look good naked (Laughs)
Louise: Hey! We all look good naked (smiling at Agnes)
Agnes: It looks like an amazing place. So real. I mean the roots of the trees and the branches are connected, it’s so overgrown. If there was a kitchen or a home there these trees have taken over. It’s so strange because it feels like right now. We are in it right now. But I know we are not. Marie, wave your arms.

(Marie waves her arms frantically, Louise joins in.)

Agnes: Its bloody happening. They are you. They are copying you.
Louise: Its us alright.
Agnes: What do you mean? What do you know?
Louise: I don’t know anything.
Agnes: The colours are amazing though. I can’t believe how much they are glowing. I feel like I haven’t seen real colours like this before. Ever.
Louise: What I do know is. Every time we are happy in here, which isn’t that often.
Agnes: Probably why I haven’t seen it till now.
Louise: What I’ve noticed is that when people are happy in here they see amazing things.
Marie: (Climbing down off the table and sitting on the chair) Does it upset you that you’ve never seen it?
Louise: (shrugging her shoulders, smiles at her and climbs down off the table) I guess. Maybe it means that I’m never truly happy. I dunno. Sometimes I think I really am, but then I still never see it.
Agnes: Maybe it’s not that simple.
Louise: Yeah.