Scene: On a deserted road
Lady: Did you bring it?
Man: Greetings (said with some irony, emphasizing Lady’s lack of manners). Yes, I did.
Lady: Where is it?
Man: Here. (fidgets a little and shows a nondescript plastic bag)
Lady: Did you bring all of it?
Man: Yes. As you requested.
Lady: All of it? In an air-tight bag?
Man: Yes, ma’am. I scooped it all and kept it in one.
Lady: Scooped it? What do you mean ‘scooped it’?
Man: Means I scooped it. Couldn’t be carrying a giant vase without anybody noticing now, could I? Took it to a corner when the lady wasn’t looking. Put it all in a bag, special kind. And then put it back with nobody noticing. Clean job.
Lady: You were supposed to bring the urn! There might still be a lot in it.
Man: I tell you ma’am, I wiped it clean. There’s nothing there.
Lady: Did you? Did you wipe it clean? With a handkerchief? Is it with you?
Man: No, I mean…it’s all here. Believe me.
Lady: It’s not! You were instructed to bring the entire urn. Oh, God! What will I do?
Man: You didn’t specify the, uh, urn. You said you need the ashes. All of it. I brought you ashes. All of it.
Man: What do you want with someone’s ashes, anyway? What will you do with it?
Lady: That’s none of your business.
Man: You see, it is my business. I’ve never kidnapped the dead before. Unless they were fresh and someone needed to harvest their organs.
Lady: You talk too much. I was told you could be relied upon to be discreet.
Man: I am discreet. There is nobody here. I am allowed to ask questions about the job to my employer.
Lady: Did you spill?
Lady: Did you spill any? While you were putting it in the bag?
Man: No! I don’t think so. I…transferred, nice and clean. Always neat, that’s what my ma used to say. And when your ma says you’re neat, you know she means it.
Lady: But, there might still be some left. You should have wiped it clean. I should have told you to wipe it clean, and bring the wipes.
Man: Hey listen, why do you need all that?
Lady: Can you go back and wipe it? Or just bring the urn this time?
Man: Hey, this is getting to be a bit too much. You first tell me, ma’am, what you need with some dead guy’s ashes.
Lady: None of your concern, as I’ve said before. Now, can you do it?
Man: I can’t go back uninvited. It was a lot to get invited to the party and do it all so…discreetly. Man, my wife will be proud. She’s always trying to get me to do the crossword, saying I should improve myself and not sound like someone who’s fresh off the boat. But, I tell her…
Lady: So, you can’t do it?
Lady: Get the rest of the ashes?
Man: Look, lady, I got you all. Here’s the bag. But, not before you give me my compensation.
Lady: Huh, is that another word your wife learnt doing crossword? No compensation for you. Not before you bring me the urn.
Man: Hey, you can’t do that! You can’t cheat me like that. I went on a limb for you. I risked my life.
Lady: By being invited to a marriage anniversary party? What a gripping life you lead.
Man: Really? Why didn’t you go then? Especially since you’re so pally with the lady…
Lady: Who told you that?
Man: Why, I told her I’m your husband.
Man: Yeah. Why else would she let me in?
Lady: Oh God! Why do I have to suffer such fools!
Man: Hey, who’re you calling a fool?
Lady: What would you prefer I call you? An idiot? A stupid fuck?
Man: Language, madam! Looks like you aren’t so fine after all.
Lady: What did she tell you? After you told her who you were?
Man: Nothing. Nothing special. She was all nice and ladylike. Polite. Affable. (Lady snorts at the last word)
Lady: She didn’t ask you when we, I mean I got married?
Man: No. She just said she was sorry you couldn’t come.
Lady: Wait a minute. How did you get invited? I mean, if you told her you’re my husband, didn’t she, I mean, it’s not like she invited me to her anniversary dinner.
Man: Oh, it wasn’t a dinner. Just the tiniest snacks.
Lady: Never mind that. How did you get in?
Man: I told you.
Lady: And she let you in?
Man: Yes. Easiest job ever. I didn’t even have to bring my gun. Or look for a knife. Just buy a bag. By the way, that will cost you extra.
Lady: Did you talk? What did she say?
Man: Look, lady, this is too much. I don’t have time to waste, you know. I have another job to do, in an hour. If you give me my money, I’ll be on my way.
Lady: But, the job isn’t over yet. You still have to bring the urn.
Man: I can’t do that! It’s on the fucking mantelpiece! I can’t steal it without anybody finding out.
Lady: Oh really? You mean to say that you can kill all these people but you can’t steal a stupid urn?
Man: It’s not valuable! If I steal it, they will know it’s your husband stealing it. She probably knows anyway. She was looking at me all the time when I was inspecting the mantelpiece.
Lady: You weren’t supposed to do that! Don’t you know the meaning of being discreet? Or is it something your crossword-loving wife…
Man: Hey, I’ve had enough of this, okay? Now, give me my money or good day to you.
Lady: I need all of it. All. Of. It.
Lady: I can’t tell you why.
Man: First you tell me why. Or you don’t get it. I am not a God-fearing man, miss, but I know there’s something unholy about all this.
Lady: He was my husband.
Man: Who? This? (clutching the bag tighter)
Lady: It’s complicated.
Man: If he was your husband, what was he doing in her house? His ashes, I mean.
Lady: He was married to her.
Man: I’m confused. I saw her husband. Why was she celebrating her twenty-fifth, and how can this be both your and…
Lady: He married me while he was still married to her.
Lady: I was married too. But, we decided to get married. In spirit.
Man: Oh. Isn’t that illegal?
Lady: Yes. In the eyes of the law, we couldn’t be married.
Man: But, I saw her husband. How could he be alive, and dead…
Lady: She obviously remarried, didn’t she?
Man: And got to keep the ashes of her first husband?
Lady: She killed him. I know she did.
Man: Look, this is getting to be too weird. Too weird and confusing.
Lady: Oh, don’t you want to know anymore? Don’t you want to know the story of my life?
Man: Sigh. Fine. Madam. Tell me. I can do the job later. It’s only a hit and run at a precise location and time, but I guess I’ll do it another day.
Lady: What? Oh, anyway. The story of my life.
Lady: She cursed me.
Man: O. K.
Lady: She said we will always be together. My husband and I.
Lady: He will haunt me. As long as I live, and even after I’m dead.
Lady: This is serious! She is a witch. She killed him. And held on to his ashes so that he could keep haunting me.
Man: Now, madam. There are no witches. Just as there is no God.
Lady: Yes, there is. I know it. I’ve seen him.
Man: You’ve seen God?
Lady: No. I’ve seen him, I mean my dead husband. He comes unannounced. And just looks at me. Does anybody ever look at you Mister…
Man: Look, ma’am?
Lady: Yes. Look. Watch. Stare Intently.
Man: My wife does.
Lady: I mean really stare. As if he could see your soul. As if he could see you were lying. Or that you were afraid.
Man: I don’t know.
A long pause.
Man: I better get going. I might make it on time for the job after all. Here’s your, uh, bag.
Lady: I still need the urn.
Man: Look, lady, I have no time for this. You obviously have some issues. Get it sorted, OK? I can give you the number of an excellent doctor. My wife says he works magic, and…
Lady: So, you do believe in magic?
Man: I mean…
Lady: You haven’t once asked me what I want to do with this.
Man: I guess you want to keep them. In memory and all.
Lady: I want to burn them.
Man: You can do that? I mean, aren’t they burnt already?
Lady: I want to purify them. Let his memory go completely. Eliminate his existence. Get my life back.
Man: O. K.
Lady: Don’t say OK like that! It’s not OK. Can you believe, completely obliterating a person?
He looks confused. Lady guesses he doesn’t understand what obliterating means.
Lady: Someone gone. Completely. As if they never existed. Just so I can start my life again.
Lady: He can’t haunt me forever. We’re not bloody Heathcliff and Cathy! That is why I need the urn. Some of him must be left, sticking to the walls. All of him needs to go, for me to be free.
Man: Alright. I’ll get you the urn.
Lady: You will do it?
Man: Yes. I’ll get my nephew to do it. He’s a door-to-door encyclopaedia salesman. But, he can sure charm the ladies.
Lady. Oh. OK.
Man: But, you have to promise me something.
Lady: What? I mean, of course I will pay you in addition…
Man: I mean something else.
Man: You have to promise to let go of this. And do something else with your life.
Lady: Am I to take advice from you?
Man: Yes. If you still want the urn.
Lady: You’re an impertinent man. You know what that means?
Man: I don’t need to, ma’am. I may not have education, but I do know what is right and what is wrong.
Lady: Ah, all this is unholy, as you put it.
Man: No, all this is useless. And deep down, you know it.
Lady: I’m not paying you for your wisdom.
Man: But, you are expecting me to listen. Which I have. No one else will believe your lunacy.
Lady: Get out of here! And you won’t be paid until you finish the job.
Man: Good day to you ma’am. Take care of yourself.
He walks away. She stands irritated. He shouts back.
Man: And don’t mess with the dead! Or the alive!