Written By John S. Badger
CATHERINE (dub): My hands fumbled for the doorknob to the hotel room. As soon as I opened the door and entered, I let out a breath I didn’t realize I had been holding. I went straight to the bathroom, my own thoughts screaming at me – even the rain hammering on the window wasn’t enough to drown them out. Before daring to look at my own reflection, I turned on the tap and began to scrub at my hands furiously, adding more and more soap until it became a thick layer. But it was not enough to wash the blood off my hands. Even when my hands looked clean, I could still feel it on them, no matter how hard I scrubbed. ‘Your face!’ My mind was screaming at me. Finally, I forced myself to look in the mirror, and stared at the wreck I had become. My hair was a mess, my cheeks were red, my eyes were puffy, but most importantly there was a dab of blood above my jaw. My eyes widened in horror. Before I had the chance to clean myself up, I heard a hard knock on the door. That was enough to silence the thoughts raging in my head.
CLERK: Ma’am? Are you in here? Could you open the door, please?
CATHERINE (dub): I had to tell you my predicament that I’m in, but this is how I got here, in this situation.
SCENE: inside hotel. Rain outside.
SFX: Door opens. Rain outside. Rain ceases upon door closing. Minor dripping on floor.
CLERK: Good evening ma’am. Quite the storm we’re having. Can we get you a towel?
SFX: double finger snaps
CLERK: Right away. Are you checking in?
CATHERINE: I’m staying in the room with my husband, GEORGE Hamblin.
CLERK: Of course. Do you have any bags, ma’am?
SFX: someone walks up. Towel. Walks away.
CATHERINE: Thank you, No bags. They should already be in the room.
CLERK: Ah. He… is expecting you. If there is absolutely anything we can do for you, do not hesitate to call me at this desk. Dial zero for the desk. Room 707. Beautiful view of the skyline. Bellhop?
SFX: quick toss and catch of key
CLERK: If you follow the bellhop, he will escort you there. Have a good night, Ma’am.
CATHERINE: You as well.
SFX: old elevator (lift) closes. Ascends.
CATHERINE (dub): (talking while elevator ascends) The elevator took us to the 7th floor. As we ascended, I could see across all the halls, and out the windows. Sure enough, the view got more magnificent as we got higher up. *ding*
SFX: Ding. Elevator stops. Door opens.
CATHERINE (dub): We got to the 7th floor, walked down the hall, and there it was. Room 707.
INTRO: Follow on Twitter
BELLHOP: Here is your key, ma’am. If there is anything we can do for you, or you need to request room service, just dial zero.
CATHERINE: Thank you, kindly.
CATHERINE (dub): The bellhop left. I took a breath.
CATHERINE: (deep breath in, and out)
CATHERINE (dub): It had been 12 years since I had last seen GEORGE in person. It was like I had never left. Same room as the last time. It had truly been too long since I last saw him.
SFX: key inserts. Door opens. Door closes.
GEORGE: The truest love of my life. Shiraz?
CATHERINE: (admiring) You know me too well.
SFX: glasses clink. Wine pours.
GEORGE: Why have you turned me down these last 12 years?
CATHERINE: GEORGE, you know I couldn’t leave my home. My son is 11 years of age. I couldn’t leave him with STEWART.
GEORGE: Let’s not talk of our homes.
SFX: glasses “tink.” Sips taken.
GEORGE: I have you now, and that’s all that matters. Would you like to skip the formalities, and get straight to… (suggestive) business, and then we can resume our wines?
CATHERINE: (seductive) You haven’t changed a bit, GEORGE.
SFX: glasses set on table. Kissing begins. Fade out
CATHERINE (dub): It truly was just like we had never left each other those 12 years ago. He was the man I had always loved, even after having two children with my husband. He was out on business at the time, and the children were with my parents. As far as I was concerned, I was finally a free woman, and the throes of passion swept me off my feet. George was everything - and more - that Stewart wasn’t.
SCENE: in bed
SFX: match strikes. Inhale with cigarette. Crackles. Breath out.
CATHERINE: My first smoke in 12 years.
GEORGE: Someone must be a bad influence on you.
CATHERINE: I wonder who that may be.
GEORGE: Should we order in?
CATHERINE: (pleading, pouting) No, GEORGE. Let’s get out. There was a diner just down the lane. I’m never in the city anymore.
GEORGE: While it’s raining?
CATHERINE: (pleading) Yes, GEORGE. Please?
GEORGE: If we are to go out, there is a special place I’d like us to go.
SFX: rotary phone pick up. Winds.
GEORGE: Arrange us a cab, will you? (pause) Room 707. (pause) Splendid.
SFX: phone hang up
GEORGE: (mischievous) I hope you brought a dress.
CATHERINE (dub): With Stewart’s hand on the checkbook, I couldn’t possibly afford to go to a place as grand as this. Especially not since the wedding. George, on the other hand, was doing everything I wished I could do, with no expense spared. Our cab dropped us off at Emerald Restaurant and Lounge.
SFX: Rain. Car door closes.
CATHERINE: It’s still here!
GEORGE: It’s still here. Shall we?
SFX: Door opens. Rain quiets. Jazz playing.
DOORMAN: Allow us to take your umbrella, and your coats.
SFX: Wet garments removed
GEORGE: Thank you, gentlemen.
CATHERINE (dub): The restaurant was beautiful. The tables still had gorgeous candles on it, placed in these golden candlesticks, just as I remember it from years before. George, being the romantic he was, didn’t hold back. He gave me everything I needed - everything I had craved for so long. Attention. Touch. Romance. (longingly) Oh, the romance.
Interrupt: Back at hotel room
SFX: knocking at door
CLERK: Ma’am! I’m going to need you to open the door right now.
CATHERINE: I’ll be right there! Let me put my clothes on!
SFX: fumbling. Drawer slams closed.
CATHERINE: (to herself) where is iiiit?
Interrupt: Back at restaurant
CATHERINE: The music here is wonderful.
GEORGE: You’re wonderful. It has been too many moons since I last gazed into your eyes like this. I can’t remember the last time I have been so happy.
CATHERINE: Have you gotten married yet, GEORGE?
GEORGE: I thought we agreed; no talking about home.
CATHERINE: We can’t keep our entire lives secret from one another. Is there a Mrs. GEORGE Hamblin?
GEORGE: There is no mrs. at home. (regretfully) There was . But, she’s out of the picture.
CATHERINE: What happened? Where did she run off to?
GEORGE: She learned about us.
CATHERINE: You were still talking about us?
GEORGE: 12 years ago.
CATHERINE: You… were… married 12 years ago?
GEORGE: Our agreement has always been not to talk about home, CAT. Do you mind dreadfully if we go back to that? The breast of chicken a la rose is too delicious not to savor.
CATHERINE: Would you excuse me? I need to use the powder room.
CATHERINE (dub): I couldn’t fault George. We had always agreed that we would keep our families and home lives separate from the equation. He would never be able to take the news that my son wasn’t just my son. George was more forthcoming than I ever had been. There was a certain charm about him that was so alluring in every way that mattered to the two of us. I washed up, and returned to the man I had been dreaming of for these past twelve years. I chose to throw aside any concerns that didn’t pertain to us. We enjoyed the Venetian ice cream and danced late into the night together. The next morning, we were graced with the most beautiful sunrise.
SCENE: in hotel
SFX: curtain draws slowly
CATHERINE: I remember this. You, me, and the sun rising over the skyline. Absolutely stunning. All of it.
GEORGE: No more stunning than you look right now. You should probably put something on, before breakfast arrives.
SFX: distant door knock.
GEORGE: Speak of the devil, and ‘round the corner he’ll be.
CATHERINE: Indeed. Can you grab the door? I’m a little indecent.
GEORGE: That, you are. (pause)
SFX: door opens in distance
GEORGE (distant): Good morning to you too. This looks right. Thank you. And, here’s a little something for you. No no. Not at all. I’ll take it in to the… mrs. Good morning.
GEORGE: Here we are.
SFX: lid removed from plate
CATHERINE: My stars! It looks delicious.
GEORGE: There is a reason this is our hotel, every time we see each other. The only one deserving of housing. The only you.
CATHERINE: Shall we?
SFX: silverware against plate
SFX: beating on door
CLERK (behind door): Ma’am. We’re coming in.
SFX: key inserts and door opens.
CATHERINE: (stressed but acting relieved) Oh thank god. I couldn’t unlock the door for some reason.
CLERK: Ma’am? Are you alright? My bellhop informed us at the desk of your… situation. Do you mind if I take a look around?
CATHERINE: (nervously) Not at all. Feel free.
SFX: looking around noises. What does that even sound like?
CLERK: My bellhop tells me you looked right afraid for your life. Is there anything we can help you with?
CATHERINE: No. I appreciate your concern, sir. But, I seem to be doing just fine on my own.
CLERK: Your husband?
CATHERINE: My husband?
CLERK: Yes. Your husband. GEORGE? Do you know where he is?
CATHERINE: Yes. GEORGE. He’s at CP park. He wanted to take a stroll.
CATHERINE (dub): GEORGE was at Captain Pritchard Park. I made certain of that. The CLERK was getting quite meddlesome, and I was not in the mood for questioning.
CATHERINE: (annoyed) Will that be all, mister?
CLERK: I apologize, ma’am. I assure you that this is not customary treatment of our guests.
CATHERINE: (indignant) I should hope not! I expect you will be compensating us for the harassment?
CLERK: Of course. Last night’s bill is taken care of. Entirely compliments of the hotel. Check out will be at 11am. Unless, of course, you need another night’s stay?
CATHERINE: Not at all. We’ll be out by then.
CATHERINE (dub): It was as the CLERK left, that I realized I needed to pack GEORGE’s luggage as well. I packed my clothes. My dress. The dress I went with GEORGE to Emerald Restaurant. Where I learned of the other woman. GEORGE was always mine. He was my dream. Sure, I was always aware he knew other women, but I never knew he was… (through teeth) married. This morning, we had breakfast at the diner, and it was a 12 year dream come true.
SCENE: Tea at diner
GEORGE: I will have a coffee, black. And, CAT will have a tea. Peppermint.
CATHERINE: You’re such a gentleman. Did you order for your wife, too?
GEORGE: (irritated) I thought we agreed not to go on about our home lives. I don’t ask about your (whisper) husband.
CATHERINE: I would like to break the rule for just a moment, if we may.
SFX: mugs set and coffee poured.
GEORGE: (mildly condescending) Thank you, sweetheart.
CATHERINE: What made you decide to take a woman’s hand in marriage? What was wrong with me? Was I not good enough?
GEORGE: We discussed never wanting to get married. We were never to be. We were too passionate, and we knew we would never work out. We have entirely different lives.
CATHERINE: But your wife… She lived the same lifestyle?
GEORGE: Too much so. I couldn’t share her with anyone, and I wasn’t one to stay in one place either.
CATHERINE: Are we going to see each other again? I mean, after today?
CATHERINE: But, you’re sharing me.
GEORGE: But, you aren’t my betrothed. Mind you, we met after I was wed. You have no claim to me, any more than she ever had. Can we not speak of this any longer?
CATHERINE: Were… you married when we first… knew each other?
GEORGE: What difference does it make?
CATHERINE: (annoyed, dismissive) It doesn't make a difference.
CATHERINE (dub): His double standard for he and his wife upset me, for some reason. Perhaps because if I knew STEWART was traipsing around with another broad, I don’t know what I would do. Maybe STEWART was with another woman. At right this very moment. I shoved the rest of GEORGE’s belongings into his suitcase. He wasn’t about to miss it. I stopped. A framed picture of a woman I did not recognize. I flipped it over, and saw her name. CASSIDY McMillan 1913-1932. I didn’t know who CASSIDY was. Or, why she died so young.
GEORGE: CATHERINE. I want to show you something.
SFX: walking on path. Birds chirping. Woodpecker.
CATHERINE: It is just as beautiful in the spring as I ever remember it. Do you hear that? (long pause) That’s the yellow bellied sapsucker.
GEORGE: Astounding. How do you know that?
CATHERINE: It’s that one right there. Bright red head. My father taught my sister and me all about birds native to the area when we were children. BELINDA didn’t care too much, but I loved the outdoors. I would take one of our horses out, and go camping on our land.
GEORGE: It just so happens that I too rode horses as a tyke. I still do, on occasion. I have a couple quarterhorses, and I take them around, whenever I stay at my summer home in Pennsylvania. They don’t race, but they will do short hurdles.
CATHERINE: I had no idea you had horses.
GEORGE: Oh yes. The resident housekeeper, GREGORY maintains them when I’m not there. There’s nothing like waking up before the sun, saddling up, and riding through the mist.
CATHERINE: I would love to visit. Why do we not ever meet in Pennsylvania?
GEORGE: Our timing is never right. Perhaps we can, sometime.
CATHERINE: When will I see you next, GEORGE?
GEORGE: Are you already dreading this afternoon?
CATHERINE: I am. I can’t bear knowing I have to go back to STEWART, when you’re wherever you are, so distant from my embrace.
GEORGE: I try not to think about it. I like to savor every moment while it lasts, not dwelling too much on the future. Speaking of. Would you care to take a ride with me?
CATHERINE: I would!
SFX: Horse and carriage
GEORGE: Do you remember the first time we met, CATHERINE?
CATHERINE: You ask me this every time.
GEORGE: I don’t want you to ever forget, CAT. Do you? Do you remember when we first met?
CATHERINE: Yes, GEORGE. We met in this park 17 years ago… I was 17, come to think of it. I was wearing that baby blue dress I just got with my mother across town. You were standing across the crowd. The first thing I noticed was your fancy French mustache and three piece suit. You were so suave. You were the most handsome man there. You looked out of place, among all the dirty men.
GEORGE: You can’t look as filthy as the men who work below you. It commands respect.
CATHERINE: Indeed. And, you commanded mine with your eyes. I immediately knew something was different about you.
GEORGE: The 47th story of the Fielding Building was completed that day, and I had given the fellas a night on the town, just so we could be together, alone.
CATHERINE: You paid all of them off, just so I could be with you?
GEORGE: I did!
GEORGE: Well what?
CATHERINE: Was I worth it?
GEORGE: Of course! If I had to do it again, every day of my life, I would.
CATHERINE: Then why didn’t we?
GEORGE: We agreed we were headed in different directions with our lives. You wanted to settle down, and have kids. I didn’t.
CATHERINE: But then you still got married.
GEORGE: (Upset) I was always married, CATHERINE. I was always married, alright? We met that first time, and there was a wife waiting for me in Pennsylvania.
CATHERINE: (shocked) Is there one waiting for you in Pennsylvania now?
GEORGE: (defensive) I am not married anymore, if that’s what you’re asking. It wasn’t in the cards for me. I thought it was, and then I realized I don’t live monogamously. I can’t stay faithful to one woman, and I can’t take a woman going off for other men. You can’t fault me for that, CAT. (changing subject) Look at us. This is everything we’ve been trying to avoid. We kept our other lives where they belonged, so we couldn’t get jealous. You and I were perfect for each other because we were distant, and we burned with passion. Always staying at the same hotel. We had routine. I think that has passed. We had a good run.
CATHERINE: What are you saying? Are you saying you’re calling us off?
GEORGE: Coachman. Can you drop me off here?
SFX: horse and carriage stop. Dismounting carriage.
CATHERINE: You don’t get to walk away like this never happened, and that this was none of your fault.
SFX: horse and carriage away. Walking.
GEORGE: I’m not saying it’s none of my fault. I take full responsibility, but because I want to keep our memory good, I’m going to walk away. And, I beg of you, CAT, to let me.
CATHERINE: You are the only one who was ever allowed to call me CAT. You can’t just leave me here, in tears.
GEORGE: There were never going to be tears.
CATHERINE: (getting mildly emotional) There was always going to be tears.
GEORGE: I don’t know what to say CAT… CATHERINE. I’ll be out of the room in 30 minutes.
CATHERINE: What happened to your wife, GEORGE? Why did she leave you?
GEORGE: (angry) CASS didn’t leave me.
CATHERINE: CASSIDY McMillan 1913-1932
CATHERINE: But your wife… She lived the same lifestyle?
GEORGE: Too much so. I couldn’t share her with anyone, and I wasn’t one to stay in one place either.
GEORGE: There is no mrs. at home. (regretfully) There was. But, she’s out of the picture.
GEORGE: I didn’t give her an opportunity.
CATHERINE: (shocked, hesitantly) You... didn’t.
GEORGE: (evil, through teeth) You should have left, CAT. I begged you to go back home, but you crossed the line. We kept our home lives where they belonged- at home.
CATHERINE: (angry, sad) Don’t touch me, GEORGE. I said don’t touch me!
SCENE: leaving hotel
CLERK: Checking out, ma’am?
CLERK: Excellent. Thank you for your patience, with our… misunderstanding, this morning.
CATHERINE: Is there anything else you need, then?
CLERK: I have the $48.20 refund for your husband.
CATHERINE: I appreciate it. Thank you.
CATHERINE (dub): Flying on the plane back to home, back to STEWART, I can’t help but reminisce on the times GEORGE and I had together. I always wanted GEORGE. He was right- we were right never to get married. We were right to keep our homes out of conversation. We had too much to lose. GEORGE is lying in the park, covered in branches and leaves, with the knife I took from that diner, in his gut. I couldn’t let him threaten me.
CATHERINE (old): I know this story undoubtedly comes as a surprise to you, and for that, I apologize. After nearly 50 years since my final weekend with GEORGE, I finally lay on the bed where I too will breathe my last breath. When GEORGE was found in the park a week later, I was already back at home tending to you and the man who has been a good father to you, STEWART.
I realize I haven’t been a very loving mother to you, the way you have deserved. Perhaps this is because you always reminded me greatly of your father. The mischievous smile of yours, your nose, or the way you laugh with authority. It was never your fault, GEORGE. Forgive me. I always loved you.