ARTHUR- GENTLEMEN HUSBAND
VANESSA- ESTEEMED WIFE
BOY- HOPEFUL SERVANT
(A very well decorated living room. ARTHUR is strangling the BOY on the floor. VANESSA enters.)
VANESSA- Oh Arthur, what are you doing dear?
ARTHUR- I’m strangling the boy.
VANESSA- You didn’t wait for me?
ARTHUR- You were gone awhile. He got quite dull very quickly. It was clear he wasn’t going to get the job.
VANESSA- (Taking a seat.) Oh I’m sorry darling. I was just preparing dinner for our evening.
ARTHUR- Yes? What did you make?
VANESSA- Drinks. But I left them in the kitchen.
VANESSA- I couldn’t find a tray. Or even a large enough plate.
(ARHTUR grunts as he tries to tighten his grip on the BOY’s neck.)
ARTHUR- You’ve never carried three glasses before without a tray?
VANESSA- (Laughing daintly.) Three? Oh silly, I only made two. Why waste our liquor on him?
(Pointing to boy.)
VANESSA- He would have messed our carpet with it eventually anyway.
ARTHUR- You have a point. The maid is gone until Monday. That would smell-(Grunt.) -awful.
VANESSA- Nevertheless, finish it dear. I’m getting bored.
ARTHUR- I’m trying Vanessa. He’s a young man. His neck muscles are probably in their biological prime.
VANESSA- Perhaps he took a large breath right before you grabbed him?
ARTHUR- Even so, this is a quite a feat, his surviving.
VANESSA- Aw, I’d almost like to let him go.
ARTHUR- Are you sure you aren’t drinking my dear?
VANESSA- (Laughs again.) Oh you’re bad. Speaking of though, I think I’ll attempt to bring them out without a tray.
ARTHUR- (With no sarcasm.) Two glasses. I have faith in you.
ARTHUR- I would almost show you respect for this fight you’ve put up boy.
(Grunt, struggle more.)
ARTHUR- But to show you respect, I’d probably have to stop.
(Struggles fiercely for a moment.)
ARTHUR- That would be silly of me. Of course, I don’t know you well enough to trust your keeping this a secret.
ARTHUR- Oh you say that now.
(VANESSA enters. She has one class in each hand. Being very careful not to spill, she gently places them down on the table.)
VANESSA- (Observing her work.) Hmpf. Perfect.
ARTHUR- Dutifully handled dear.
VANESSA- (Notices BOY again.) Oh Arthur! Quit playing. This has gone on quite long enough.
ARTHUR- Believe me. I’m not enjoying this any longer either.
VANESSA- Should I get a gun?
ARTHUR- Don’t be silly. We could use the variety.
VANESSA- I rather like the guns.
ARTHUR- Of course you do, they keep your hands clean.
VANESSA- (Exaggerated smile.) One must remain ladylike.
ARTHUR- That’s the way I like you dear.
VANESSA- (Looks over ARTHUR’s shoulder while he strangles BOY.) I would have named him Benjamin.
ARTHUR- Why Benjamin?
VANESSA- He looks like a Benjamin.
ARTHUR- Might that be his real name?
VANESSA- Oh I’m not sure. Who could tell?
ARTHUR- (Seems to be at last overwhelming the BOY.) Ah! I think I’ve got him.
VANESSA- Wonderful! Careful not to snap his neck now.
ARTHUR- I won’t Vanessa.
(BOY goes limp.)
VANESSA- He’s done!
ARTHUR- (Without releasing his hands from the BOY’s throat.) Wait for the spasm dear, always wait for the spasm.
(BOY spasms once more, then goes limp. ARTHUR removes hands. Wipes them as he stands up.)
ARTHUR- There it is. All in all, that was rather successful.
VANESSA- You still could have waited for me.
ARTHUR- You didn’t miss much dear, his yelp of surprise was minimal. It was as if he never saw death descend on him before.
VANESSA- (Evaluates the BOY.) I don’t like his coat. I think I’ll change it.
ARTHUR- (Going to sit down.) Now now, that would be very rude. Let the Boy wear what he’s got on. Be a gentle host.
VANESSA- (Pouts slightly.) Oh fine. But it looks awful on him. He had no taste at all.