Cleansing Justice, Scene I
edited: Monday, March 25, 2002
By Amy H Peterson
Posted: Monday, March 25, 2002
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Emma finds cold water splashed on her steamy life with one bizarre cell phone call.
The lights come up on a large clawfoot bathtub, stage left. It is
surrounded by antiques and an elegant oriental rug sits in front of it. The
tub is filled with sudsy water, and on opposite ends sit EMMA and
WARREN, each with a cellular phone sitting on a shelf behind the tub.
WARREN's phone rings and he picks it up.
WARREN: Hello. (pause) Hi. No, he's getting a ride home with the Sullivans
today. (pause) Yeah. I'm still waiting for the order to come in. It might be
another couple of hours. (quieter) No, no, I should be home for dinner.
Okay. Yes. Me, too. Bye. (hangs up)
EMMA: Everything okay? (picks up a handful of suds and runs it over her
WARREN: Yes, yes. Just checking up on me I guess.
EMMA: And well she should. (starts rubbing WARREN's knee and grins)
WARREN: Anyway, I need to go in about an hour, Love. (picks up EMMA's
foot, which is right beside him, and begins to kiss her ankle)
EMMA: Oh, my! Well if we have an hour -- (EMMA's phone rings) Dammit!
(picks it up and sighs) Hello. No, I signed all the releases. What? (pause)
Well they can't move the date back any more. It has to be in stores for
the holidays. (pause) Well, I know that. Look. It's already been delayed
six months. (pause) Now? Well, I'm in a meeting. (grins at WARREN) I
should be out in about an hour. (pause) I know, Tony. See what you can
do. Bye. (hangs up) I should never have agreed to this book deal. It's
more trouble than it's worth.
WARREN: Oh. In the end when you're rich and famous it will all be worth
it. I can't wait to attend some gala booksignings.
EMMA: And who will you be? My cousin from Atlanta?
WARREN: I thought a beautiful artist could get away with causing a stir,
having her lover accompany her to a gala instead of her husband.
EMMA: (splashes water at WARREN) Oh? I'm sure your wife would enjoy
reading that in the paper. Sweetie, I've always been good about keeping
things discreet with you. Why ruin it with a big splash.
WARREN: Well, if we're going to ruin it, I say it should be with a big
splash. (splashes water at EMMA)
(EMMA shrieks playfully and leans across the tub to kiss WARREN)
(EMMA's cell phone rings)
EMMA: Shit! (answers cell phone) Hello. Oh. Hi. How's it going? (pause) I
think I put them in the freezer. Did I forget to set them out? (pause) I
know. Well there should be twenty dollars in the desk drawer. You can
order a pizza tonight. (pause) No, I think this meeting will last almost
another hour and then it's a two hour drive home you know. Yeah.
(pause) It will be fine. Put in a movie. They don't need baths tonight; I'll
get them tomorrow night. Hey. I'll pick up some fried clams and 'shrooms
on the way home and we can watch a movie tonight. (pause) Me, too.
(pause) Water? Must be something on the line. (pause) Okay. Bye. (hangs
WARREN: I wish you could bring me fried clams late at night.
EMMA: Well, we are more of an afternoon couple I guess. And not really a
WARREN: Now, Love. You know I'm enamoured with every single inch of
you and that I want no other.
EMMA: Sweet talk from a naked man.
(WARREN's phone rings)
WARREN: Hello. (pause) Hi. No, I haven't left yet but I will be leaving in an
hour or less. (EMMA begins to kiss his chest) Or maybe a bit more.
(pause) I'll be home for dinner. (pause) Okay. Bye.
EMMA: Wow, she keeps you on a short -- (EMMA's phone rings)
Goddamnit. This is insane! (answers phone) Hello.
(Audience hears voice-over of recorded message from Emma's phone)
MESSAGE: You are instructed not to hang up. The purpose of this
message is to send Greetings and Salutation from the United States
District Court for the Eighth District.
(EMMA's eyes widen and jaw drops)
WARREN: (whispering) Who is it?
EMMA: (whispering) A telemarketer I think.
WARREN: (whispering) Hang up then.
EMMA: (whispering) I don't think I'd better.
(WARREN begins to speak but EMMA holds up her hand to shush him)
MESSAGE: At this time you are not under arrest. Therefore there is no
reason for you to request an attorney. However, you are a suspect in a
Federal Criminal Case (EMMA gasps) and you are wanted for questioning.
If you understand this message, press 1. If you require an interpreter,
press 2. If you wish to request a federal public defender at this time,
press 3. If you wish to speak with an operator, press the pound key.
(EMMA nods and presses the pound key.)
MESSAGE: All of our operators are on strike at this time. However, this
call is extremely important to us and to you. Please stay on the line for
WARREN: (whispering) Who IS it???
EMMA: (whispering) I don't think it's a telemarketer anymore. It's kind of a
WARREN: (whispering) What???
EMMA: (whispering) Love, I have something to tell you.
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