Keeping up Appearances.
by Bridgette Burton
Characters - a married couple. Vera late forties early fifties - wealthy Frederick late fifties – wealthy
A parlour which has seen better times. There is a type of disarray that suggests that the owners do their best. V/O The sounds of a struggle. A mindless groaning and gurgling – zombie style and an angry sounding woman. Vera V/O: For Goodness sake, that is a Balenciaga! There is a loud whumping sound and then the distinct noise of a body falling to the floor. Vera enters, she is dressed very nicely. There are splashes of blood on her face and clothes and some bits of matter in her slightly dishevelled hair. She carries a large colourful handbag in one hand and a green shopping bag in the other. She puts both down and adjusts her hair. Frederick enters, he also has various blood spatters on him and holds a very sharp looking kitchen knife in one hand. Frederick: Hello Twinkle! Trouble on the way to market? Vera sees the knife. Vera: Freddie not my Honyaki! Frederick: Sorry Poppet had to check the mail. Couldn’t find the axe. Vera: It will lose its edge! Frederick: Bubbly? Vera: What’s the time? Frederick: No clue
©Bridgette Burton 2013
Vera: Yes please. Frederick busies himself with pouring a glass of expensive bubbles. Vera: Any mail? Frederick: No. Vera: I think that’s pretty poor of Bayside City Council you know. Frederick: Agreed, Kitten. Vera: I would have thought that our local council could pretty much overcome any obstacle – given what we pay in rates. Frederick: Quite true, although the roads are very good. Vera: Well, it’s annoying at any rate, I had just told Estelle before this business that we had the best local council in Melbourne and that they were capable of managing even the worst crisis. And she thought she was so clever saying “even in a zombie apocalypse?”. Ho ho ho. Frederick: I heard that Stonnington stopped picking up the rubbish 2 weeks ago. Things could be worse. Did you get water crackers? Vera: They only had home brand left – honestly the looters are appalling the way that they take the name brands first. Frederick: We all have to pitch in Waffle, our part is eating home brand crackers. Vera: And killing 12 of those wretched undead in the car park. Vera takes a small axe out of her handbag. Frederick: Ah yes, that’s where it went to. Vera: Honestly it’s worse than St Kilda out there, all that mindless groaning and falling all over the nature strip. Frederick: I saw a big group of them getting on a train, I tried to tell them that they wouldn’t have any luck getting brains in Frankston, but you can’t tell them anything. They both laugh. Vera: Do you think perhaps that they’ve been having brains on water crackers? Frederick: I shouldn’t think so love, it seems to me to just be the brains that they’re after. I’d suspect that a good crisp accompaniment wouldn’t interest them. Vera: I popped by Allegra Lawson-Leighton’s place to say hello. ©Bridgette Burton 2013 Page 2
Frederick: To say hello eh? Well hasn’t this adventure made strange bedfellows of us all. Did you two bury the hatchet? Vera: Well I did. Frederick: Oh, really. That’s a shame. Vera: Mmm. That’s the one enjoyable thing about all this mindless killing and day in day out struggle for existence. Frederick: What’s that Pumpkin? Vera: Getting to kill a few of the neighbours that you really couldn’t stand. I have to say that braining Roger Patter-Jenkins and his wife with my Vuitton beauty case was just so... satisfying. That man was a boor and a fool and I was absolutely sick to the teeth of their garden parties. Frederick: Yes they were frightful. Not surprising how quickly they became the walking dead was it? He’s been in search of a brain for years. They laugh. Vera: Shall we have some cheese? Frederick: You didn’t? Vera: Well, I know how much you love it. I took the Hummer to Richmond Larder. Frederick: it’s much too dangerous driving to Richmond for cheese! It’s over the river sweetheart. It’s positively crawling with the hipster dead. Vera: Well they were all dead in the cheese shop, but it’s a professional crew and I got my cheese and only had to decapitate one of them. Frederick moves close to Vera and takes her hand. Frederick: From the moment I laid eyes on you at the Henley Annual Rowing Regatta I knew that you were the one for me. “Taste and backbone”, I said to myself. And was I wrong? I was not. What a woman you are Vera Turnbull-Wisesmith. Vera produces a cheese from the bag. Frederick: What a smell on that eh! Vera: Oh, that might be this. She pulls out a hand and throws it over her shoulder. Vera: Some filthy guttersnipe tried to get into the car. ©Bridgette Burton 2013 Page 3
Frederick: The undead aren’t getting our cheese! Vera: Yes, I was pretty sure she was dead. They eat a piece of cheese with the crackers. Frederick: I feel almost human again. Vera picks up the axe immediately. Frederick: Oh no petal I’m fine, not bites on me, I just meant – you know. Good to see that you’d have no hesitation though, if need be. Good to see. Vera: And you for me Freddie. Frederick: Quite, dearest one. Honyaki to the temple. Vera: I wish that you wouldn’t use that knife though dear, it’s for filleting. Frederick: Very sharp. Vera: Exactly. Take the cleaver. It’s better for blunt force trauma and the heads come away more cleanly. Frederick: I don’t bother taking the whole head off any more, I just put a knife through the brain. Vera: Well darling that’s not very thorough of you. Frederick: Well I haven’t got all day to stand about beheading dead people. I’ve got a life to lead. They stay down, that’s good enough for me. Vera: I just encountered next door’s pool boy on the front lawn. Marvellous torso. Anyway that’s pretty much all that’s left of him now. I know for a certainty that he won’t be getting back up with half a head and trotting in here tonight to eat our brains. Can you say the same for the last few that you killed? Frederick: I feel good about the ones that I’ve dispatched, I’m not worried. Vera: Well then darling, I’m sure we’re fine. Delicate pause. Vera: I do sometimes wish that we still had Titan. Frederick: Yes he was a fine animal. Vera: That was the first day, do you remember? I went to get my nails done and when I get home Sarah C-J-C was on the lawn eating the dog. The first thing I thought, after screaming and ©Bridgette Burton 2013 Page 4
hitting her with the sprinkler, was that red really quite suited her. I’ve never seen her in anything except wheat and cobalt grey. Frederick: I was just glad that Titan didn’t turn into one of them, he really was an enormous breed. Vera: Yes, Great Dane crossed with a cougar, not entirely legal, but what a guard dog. Frederick: And, as it turned out, delicious. Vera: Yes, that too. Mmm, now you’ve made me hungry! They eat cheese. Frederick: So is it time for some research? Vera: Oh yes, I suppose so. What is it tonight? Frederick holds up “28 Days later”. Frederick: This is meant to be a sort of anger sickness, but it’s the same thing basically. Vera: Are they fast or slow? Frederick: Fast I believe. Vera: Well darling that not very realistic is it? They shamble, darling. Frederick: Things can change love. They might start to mix it up. Vera: “Mix it up” good grief, it is the end of the world. Frederick: Anyway this has been valuable – let’s not forget Janet and James and their invitation to the island. No way on or off except by plane. Except... Vera: Zombies can swim. Frederick: Yes! And we wouldn’t have known that without the film “Zombie”. Vera: Or that they fight sharks. Frederick: Well, granted that seemed a bit unlikely. But still, Janet and James got eaten a month ago. And it would have been us and them on that tiny island and all of us dead. Vera: Would have been bad enough if we were alive. There is a thump off stage.
©Bridgette Burton 2013
Frederick: Are we expecting company love? Vera: Darling, we haven’t expected living company for 6 weeks now. They both get up and get their respective weapons. Frederick: You know that is the other nice thing about the dead rising and laying waste to the population. Vera: What’s that Freddie? Frederick: Getting you all to myself these past 6 weeks. It’s been like a fourth honeymoon. Vera: Oh, you old romantic. They kiss. Frederick: After you my love. Vera: Thank you Frederick. And Freddie? Frederick: Yes Fairy Floss? Vera: Will you cut the whole head off darling? Frederick: Alright then Possum, seeing as you got me the cheese. Vera: Thank you love. They raise their weapons and run yelling off stage.
©Bridgette Burton 2013