Alexandrina Delova in PlovdivLit

 

CLOUDLET  5.00 / 5

Contemporary Bulgarian play in two acts

 

The actors:

1. Enyo, worker, returned to his native village Cloudlet;

2. Tsranka, the hostess of the pub in Cloudlet, of indeterminable age;

3. Stavri, elderly retired teacher in Cloudlet;

4. Valko, elderly resident of Cloudlet, stubborn by nature;

5. Tsvetan, elderly retired postman in Cloudlet;

6. Kosta, elderly resident of Cloudlet, backgammon player during since the WWII;

7. OldMac, elderly Scot settler in Cloudlet;

8. Despina, shrew British maiden, granddaughter of OldMac;

9. Horatio, butler;

10. The Lawyer, OldMak’s attorney and old friend;

11. Grandma Tsona, Velko’s wife, Danche, OldMac’s wife, Kosta’s mother and wife - dead, shadows of their former selves. They have no problems to appear in the world of the living, but look like dusted with white dust. Oh, and they are quite silent.

You may not believe in fairy tales. They help regardless of your faith in them. Sometimes, just because of it. Cloudlet is a tiny village somewhere above a large road, from where the Bulgarian capital Sofia is not visible. There live some old people and some ghouls.

ACT I

Scene I

Village pub in Cloudlet. Four old men are sitting at a table. Behind the counter an old woman is polishing glassed. The door opens and Enyo enters carrying a knapsack.

ENYO: Good day!

TSRANKA: Welcome, Entcho! You haven’t been back in, what, two, three years, we missed you! Are you staying longer? Now tell me what you want to drink, fist have a sip, talk later! There are stuffed peppers ready, vegetarian ones, I will get you some, with yogurt, but there is goat one only, today the sheep one is all eaten!

STAVRI: So if you let him open his mouth, he may even tell you! Entcho, come sit with us!

Enyo looks around. There are only three tables at the pub altogether. He sits with the old men.

ENYO: A lemonade, if there is some, I am driving.

VALKO: Ha, what was that! New tricks! Would drink lemonade! Tsranka, don’t you listen to him – his grandfather will turn in his grave about this lemonade! If it goes like that he will ask you to brew him a cup of tea!

The other old men give conspiratorial laugh. Tsranka brings a plate with peppers and the ordered lemonade.

TSVETAN: Well, as you have decided not to drink, then we will say cheers! For wellcome back. So do you come to visit, or to do some work and will be going again?

ENYO: I do not know. If it works, I’ll stay altogether, my luggage is in the car. I came to buy grandfather Andrey’s house. I heard that his grandchildren are selling.

KOSTA: You are late Entcho. They sold it three months ago to one Scotsman with a skirt like your grandma’s and he already moved in. The house sat abandoned for three years; we thought that it will collapse all by itself but it had pulled some luck. He is a sturdy old guy all day hammering and nailing something, putting the house back together. Last week he started redoing the tiles in the yard.

ENYO: Damn it! I went a long way for this house! Will have to convince the man to sell it to me! But maybe he will leave all by himself, if I'm lucky.

 

VALKO: Won’t sell. This one is serious. Every week he goes to town and drags back stuff. If you wait a little, he will come, every night he comes to the pub to dine. It would have been easier if we could understand each other, but tough, I studied French in year thirty-eighth, "bonjour" and "merci" is all that stayed.

STAVRI: And “Quel heure est-il”, but who will remember, and the grandpa has a watch. Don’t you worry, Valko, he the OldMac is studying Bulgarian, isn’t he!

ENYO: His name is OldMac?

STAVRI: Nope. His name is MacSomething, some old noble name that one cannot read from the first time without the benefit of a good drink. It is not easy on the hundredth try either, he was explaining something about “old” and “big”, but somewhat older than bigger, as much as we got, so that stuck, OldMac. Entcho do finish your meal and let me bring you home with me, sonny, you look somewhat ill, you are not good for travel.

ENYO: I don’t want to impose on you, Uncle Stavri.

STAVRI: Who are you going to impose on, since Grandma Tsona died, at home there are the hens, Sharo the dog and me.

ENYO: What about the goblins? Grandma Tsona was always warning me not to climb to the attic as they would grab me.

STAVRI: By the looks of you, you have better chances to be grabbed by the fairies rather than by the goblins, what would they do with you? Even if they exist, they should not be very heavy as my attic beams are all rotten and would have fallen by now otherwise. Or maybe they are already old and don’t move around very much. When I get to change the beams if I find them I will let you know. Let’s go as since the post fell there is no electricity in our neighborhood and you are a city boy, not used to the dark.

VALKO: He, when did he got unused to? Wasn’t it him still in shorts that I was getting down from the cherry tree at three in the morning, let me ask! Who was telling what he had seen in the dark Entcho do you remember?

ENYO: What I had seen, I remember not. I remember you telling me that the elephants are hiding in cherry orchards, as their eyes are red and they cannot be seen behind the cherries, such camouflage pattern. I must have seen some of the hidden elephants I guess.

VALKO: This part I have forgotten. In fact you claimed that your elder brother Vantcho sent you to stand on guard lest the bogeymen come. You were the first watch; he would come to replace you later. Sure, would come, but who would be then seeing off your future sister-in-law to her home? He probably had forgotten about you. You, however, were standing like a brave toy soldier, en guard to spare us from all the demons. And you have climbed up the cherry tree because one can see further from there.

The old men start laughing.

ENYO: (puzzled) Why, is it not true?

KOSTA: For being true – true it is, but it is now that Valko’s cherry tree is three stories above the roof, then it was a little one, if you could climb it, probably one could not see over the stone fence. That is why we had so much trouble finding you, oh, brave warrior! Valko said then that he would award you with a cherry medal as all the leather has gone for something. But it passed you by as until the cherries ripened, the story was forgotten. You seem offended, did I say something wrong?

ENYO: No, no.

VALKO: Don’t you worry! Stay for few more days, the cherries are almost ripe, elephant’s eye by elephant’s eye, medals all over hanging. And we will let you climb the same cherry tree, to have a look around; safe some bogeymen have slipped secretly!

STAVRI: Entcho, do not listen to these teasers! What bogyman will come in our lands? I still cannot fathom how the guy with the skirt found us, let alone a bogeyman. Boys, when our man comes let him not miss his class, hey! Letter by letter – an entire alphabet!

Stavri stands up and Enyo follows.

 

Scene II

Stavri's kitchen. On the table there is tablecloth, a candle is burning between two small brandy glasses and a carafe of water. Above the table hangs an old-fashioned wedding portrait in a simple frame.

STAVRI: If we go to bed now, we will perk up both as bogeymen tomorrow morning. Or you are tired? Your bed is ready in the other room.

ENYO: I am not tired. The road to here is, what, a stone throw distance.

STAVRI: Well so why then you look to me like you have been ridden hard and put away wet? Because of the house, is that it?

ENYO: Because of the house. Grandpa always said that my belly button cord was thrown there, so there is my luck. And here comes a Brit. From all the houses he chose exactly this one.

STAVRI: Your belly button cord was not thrown there, it was lost there, let me tell you. When you came into the world Ando was going to Sofia so your grandpa brought the cord in a tiny piece of cloth for Ando to throw it in the big city. But your grandpa also brought a big bottle and it was full in the evening and empty in the morning when we came along and we could not find your umbilical cord anywhere. It may be there, but it may also not be, as we went to lots of places that night with the bottle and it is murky where it was dropped. I wouldn’t tell you all the curses that your grandma uttered!

ENYO (smiles): They did not tell me this.

STAVRI: Sure they did not, or else their sister-in-law would scratch the eyes of both.

ENYO: Come on, Grandma Vena was not like that bad, going after the eyes of both, (laughs) Although…

STAVRI: In her young days, maybe not, but since Rayko fell ill, God rest his soul, she could teach a wicked witch some new tricks. See, your mother did not run away from home from good. How is Maria?

ENYO: She is doing well, thank you. My elder brother takes care of her; she is helping with the children as much as she can. Mom turned to worse after Dad died, we thought that she would follow him soon. But then my sister-in-law fell ill and there was no one to stay with the little ones, so Mom went and stayed since. Ivan did not remarry, all the time the children this, the children that. Now they are big men, Rady will soon have to shave his mustaches.

STAVRI: What about Georgy? Is he still in Vidin?

ENYO: Still there, visiting Ivan once in a blue moon, I have not seen them recently. You know, from where your wife comes, there is your family. And I was not around anyway…

STAVRI: Where were you?

ENYO: Working abroad. Saving for a house.

STAVRI: So you travelled the foreign lands… Well, you will tell us a story, to the pals in the pub, as many people go, but nobody comes to tell.

ENYO: Um, there is not a story to tell.

STAVRI: There is no shame in working, Entcho.

ENYO: Depends what one is sent to do. If you want, tomorrow morning I may go up the attic to see these beams that we talked about today. I mean, I can also look for some bogeymen.

STAVRI: Deal, but you should be careful. I doubt any of the bogeymen still remains there – so many years no one has dusted there. You don’t get this as an invitation to dust, understood? I know how serious you can be, if the bogeymen ever return they will be stuck to the beams like back then at school. It took me two days to wash it clean your blackboard that you have primed with sugar syrup with honey for safety.

ENYO: This was a result of too much analytical thinking.

STAVRI: Never doubted that. Pray share now as then I could not pry a word from you.

ENYO: Here we are, down with chicken pox the three of us, Ivan, Georgy and me. Grandma bakes a round bread and for the chicken pox to be sweet to us she then dabs the loaf with honey, and it becomes shiny. Then comes my turn to clean the blackboard, I decide that sugar water is not enough and put honey for luster.

STAVRI: An then?

ENYO: Then… Who could have told me that I face a competition from my own brother! Georgy asked Grandpa what he put on the wood to polish it, Grandpa said “wax” and here we are, the blackboard is primed with honey and then coated with wax. But it was shiny!

STAVRI: No kidding! Come to think of it, I was lucky Ivan did not take part in it, he would have lacquered it!

ENYO: With car enamel! He does it up to now, you just have to say so, will make it as shiny as a new penny! See, my clunker does not remember when it was made, but looks like a doll, he put it back together.

STAVRI: If you move here, you'll need another transport. You can ride, right? When winter comes, the road turns to an ice rink and by car you will probably won’t get past the first ravine. Here nobody ploughs. I will have to see who still has a long-eared Mercedes left. They are phased out here after Tsvetan’s jenny-ass died. Shall I look for one or for two?

ENYO: One is enough. There is not much that a single man needs. Let the bogeymen fend for themselves, right? They seem not to be fending all right if they have left Aunt Tsona’s attic!

STAVRI: You need a company Entcho! For you it is too early for bogeymen!

ENYO: For the moment I only think of getting some rest, then we will see.

STAVRI: True, you look tired and I am keeping you up, go to bed!

ENYO: Good night!

Enyo goes out. The door opens again and Grandma Tsona comes in dressed in her wedding finery but dusted all in white. She sits on Enyo’s chair and clasps her hands over the table.

STAVRI: Seems to me, not only the attic needs mending, but so does Entcho. Looks like all right, tall and standing, but he is not. At his age he should be chasing the maidens not the bogeymen. What will he do here all alone like a dog? Oh, well, it is already time to lie down.

 

Scene III

 

Village pub in Cloudlet. Three old men are sitting at a table and teaching the fourth old man in a kilt how to read Bulgarian. The company is in great mood for which the little demijohn at the table is essential. Tsranka is looking at the back of the bar plot from where a muffled muttering and some creaking can be heard.

TSVETAN: Oh, come on, how is the man to remember them when they are both the same and different. Let us draw him pictures, would be easier. Yesterday when I drew the balloon with the thread he instantly learned the letter “B”.

VALKO: This is not your nursery, Tsoke, for we to draw.

TSVETAN: Why not to draw? Here on the ABC book are drawing and letter, drawing and letter.

VALKO: This is because the primer is for our children, the ones that know that “A” stands for “apple”, and “C” stands for “cabbage”. Otherwise how would they remember? Do you know how “cabbage” in English is? (pulls closer a big dictionary and starts looking up.) Cabbage, cabbage, where is this cabbage… Nobody has been found in the cabbage here recently, it should be hidden somewhere, so that…

KOSTA: Forget the cabbage, let us try words that he knows. (He goes to the blackboard and wrote a big letter "V") Here, this is “V” for “Velko”, here are his two hands, here is his body. Is it OK, OldMac?

OLDMAC: V – Valko, yeah, yeah!

VALKO: Get lost, I am taller than you pictured me!

KOSTA: Ha, you are taller! Stand up here at the wall and we will see!

(Valko stands up next to the wall and lifts his hands as if preparing to dance. Kosta comes with a piece of chalk in hand.)

KOSTA: Stand tall, don’t spoil the good letter, come on! (Draws an outline of Velko. He moves away.) See, you are a spitting image!

VALKO: That was easy with me, now go found how to show the “G” if you are that smarty pants. But show it so that the Old Mac to get it and without cheating! Show your colors you all teachers! Go ahead, “G” like what? (goes to the blackboard and writes a big letter “Г”.)

TSVETAN: Gutta-percha? (Valko moves his head in adamant “No”, OldMac shows he is not getting it.) Grozde? (incomprehension) Pass me the dictionary, there is no way I cannot find something.

(From under the counter Enyo comes out with a wrench and some rags in his hands. He looks at the blackboard, takes the chalk and draws a hangman under the letter. )

ENYO: "Gallows." Gallows. First it is similar in shape, second it is easy to remember. And if you put two of a kind facing each other and attach them to the base (draws), you get "D" for "door" which is a door in his language. Which brings us right to the "E", "eternity". Shall I continue?

OLDMAC: (dissolve in smiles) The gentleman speaks the noble tongue of Shakespeare? What a pleasant surprise!

ENYO: The gentleman had to.

OLDMAC: If the gentleman does not consider my invitation uncomfortable, I would be pleased to have an educated talk over some issues whose formulations escape me at the moment. We could find a common ground, especially with someone who knows the meaning of the word "gallows" and the word "door" to infinity, metaphorically speaking.

KOSTA: Entcho, but why did you stay silent that you talk his language, sonny! After Stavri died, I was like a ventilator with this dictionary trying to explain something.

VALKO: You have as much wits as that ventilator, honest! Remember Entcho wasn’t here then, he went away to bury his mother! It should be springtime but it is hot, the people are dying like the Black Death had come, darn it, like it is wartime, as the war is also starting with a similar letter!

TSVETAN: Well, well, you and the war are two of a kind, merciless ones! Only when you are dancing you are somewhat bearable as you are silent! I long for the old days: your wife would come in, invite you to dance, you would get up and follow! We would get a respite, and enjoy the scene, as she was a beauty that perished early.

(The door opens. Enters a young woman dressed as in the early fifties who like Grandma Tsona is covered with white powder. She holds in her hand a handkerchief and dances to music that probably only she hears. From the people in the pub only Tsranka and Valko can see her. Tsranka puts a hand on her mouth and makes the sign of the cross. Valko stands up and dances against the woman. At first his movements are stiff, but gradually he seems to shed years off and smiles. Kosta, Tzvetan, Enyo and OldMac are staring at Valko mesmerized. Gradually he follows the young woman dancing away)

Картина четвърта

OldMac’s parlor, in the style of a poor village house. On the table there is a spirit lamp, aluminum kettle and two metal soldier’s mugs. OldMac and Enyo are seated on two rickety chairs.

OLDMAC: I'm glad you accepted my invitation. Sometimes it is a diversion to talk to someone without using a library of dictionaries.

ENYO: I guess there are many places where this diversity is routine.

OLDMAC: There are, but they don’t come close to Cloudlet. Extraordinary place. Here time and place are relative. Pray tell me, which one you think is close to reach – the Moon or Sofia? (chuckles slyly).

ENYO: Sofia, of course.

OLDMAC: But from here you can see the Moon and cannot see Sofia. So it is easier to get to the Moon.

ENYO: This is only an illusion.

OLDMAC: No, it's not. When my good friend Stavri died, that evening I sat at the window and watched the village. No electricity, nothing to distract me. And I saw him, all silver, climbing to the moon on silver stairs, and with him a woman I do not know went up. It seemed as though she was persuading him about something and he was gesturing. Up and up they went until they reached the Moon and there in its glow they disappeared, first he, then she. So, from Cloudlet to the Moon one can walk up stairs that even a woman can negotiate.

ENYO: Must have been his wife, Grandma Tsona. They argued about all since I can remember, but otherwise got along fine. He had come here as a young teacher, they fell in love, got married and he never left.

OLDMAC: Have you ever contemplated marriage yourself young man?

ENYO: And be a breeder of sinners? I am somewhat honest… (watching defiantly OldMac)

OLDMAC: “I say, we will have no more marriages: those that are married already, all but one, shall live; the rest shall keep as they are. To a nunnery, go.”* That explains why you are here, you are taking your own medicine. Oh, well… It may be for the better. I am curious, why are you hiding here?

ENYO: I am not hiding. I have nothing to hide from.

OLDMAC: (fatherly) You are lying. I suspect you are lying to yourself in first place and after that you are trying to convince the others to trust you on this. Cloudlet is a place to hide.

ENYO: This is why you are here? You are also hiding?

OLDMAC: Yes. You guessed it right. This is why I guessed why you are here.

ENYO: How did you guess?

OLDMAC: By your tan. These tan and accent can be acquired in one country only, and I know this because I have been there. On the same dirty work as you were. Only, before you were born. That does not change at all the work’s dirty nature, or what we have seen, you and me.

ENYO: Then, you know, isn’t it a bit late to hide?

OLDMAC: About this you are right. But I am hiding from something else. From the inevitable.

ENYO: From the tax collector or from the Lady-with-the-Scythe?

OLDMAC: My attorneys are dealing with the tax collector and I have met the Lady-with-the-Scythe so many times that we may consider each other well acquainted. Nope, I am hiding from another lady.

ENYO: At your age you should be immune.

OLDMAC: She is my only weakness. And my only granddaughter and heiress.

ENYO: Who is not respecting your aristocratic traditions? Chasing the ghosts of your castle? Wants to cut down Sherwood Forest and sow genetically modified corn in its place?

OLDMAC: Quite the contrary! Positions herself as guardian of ancient traditions. Stubbornly imagines that we live in the Middle Ages. The last straw was when she dug out of a barn an old cab and insisted that it was a coach. When it got broken, she cried a river because nobody wanted to fix it.

ENYO: (laughs) She should have called the Misfortune.

OLDMAC: Even more miss Fortunes? No, thank you, one is more than enough; she does not need any more ladies friends of the kind!

ENYO: No, this is an old tale about three brothers who went to gather wood, overdid it, and when their cart broke down, first they cried their voices hoarse to attract the Misfortune as road assistance. Nobody appeared, and they themselves repaired their transport. Later they complained to their father that the Misfortune did not hear them, and he said, but of course it heard you and it came and it taught you what to do.

OLDMAC: Interesting point of view. In fact you are right young man. And this is what should be done.

ENYO: You will send a letter to Misfortune go pay your granddaughter a visit?

OLDMAC: Even better! I will send you to bring it! (rubs his hands contently ).

ENYO: As Rosencrantz and Gildenstern?

OLDMAC: No, why, I need you safe and sound.

ENYO: I did not agree to anything.

OLDMAC: This is not a problem. I am asking you for a small favor and I am ready to pay for it.

ENYO: There are courier services. They even come to Cloudlet. I think the nearest branch is in Sofia.

OLDMAC: Won’t do. Damn it, why had I not thought of this before! You hinted that you are going to the city. Do you mind an extra company?

ENYO: Why do I think that I will pay for this trip through the nose?

OLDMAC: Because you're a smart man and also know that with or without it, you are already in the game. Will you give me fifteen minutes to muster?

Scene V

The village pub. At one of the tables Tsvetan and Kosta are playing backgammon. At the other table Stavri and Valko are playing backgammon, but they are like dusted in white and no sound comes from their table. Tsranka brings two glasses of wine to the first table, goes back and brings two more glasses which she puts at the table before Stavri and Valko.

TSVETAN: Come on, one point and I would have won without you bearing off a single chip! Would have sent you to Mars but you managed to get away, damn, with one only chip but did get away!

KOSTA: This is the real master’s skill, to slip away. Now you just beat me but did not send me into the space!

TSVETAN: You are one song to fly to the stars! (starts putting the chips back into the backgammon case) Are we starting the Tapa or it is late?

KOSTA: Not too late. Tsranka had not yet begun to sweep, we have time. Tsranka, are you going to chase us with a broom already?

TSRANKA: Come on, how would I sweep you away, such mighty handsome heroes! Go on, finish this tapa game, but it is your last!

TSVETAN: What do you mean, our last? See, tomorrow we get up, cut the grass, feed the sheep and sit to play. Until I beat him three times in a row we are not getting up!

KOSTA: When was the last time you beat me three times in a row, do you dare tell us? Well, dare you may, but do you remember?

TSVETAN: Get lost, I am not that senile, I remember it as if it was yesterday when we met in the trenches at the front line! Lice, hunger, we could not sleep and rolled the dices all night, but in the morning I beat you with a double same as the one you stole under my nose five minutes ago.

KOSTA: Ha, so you remember even if you are an year older than me, even more than a year!

TSVETAN: I remember. I remember that your commander then came and said that even if we were birds, we would not get out alive as that Nicephorus at Varbitsa that was besieged in the ravine. Yet you and I both got out in the fog. It held just long enough for us get out, as though for us it has descended.

TSRANKA: And so it was.

KOSTA: Hm, you were not yet born Tsranka! How would you know what was what, even if you are an old woman?

TSRANKA: What I know, I know. Do you know why Cloudlet is called Cloudlet and not ThreeHuts or say Fireflyville?

KOSTA: So the people decided so they named it. And it is anyway bigger than ThreeHuts, that one is a hamlet if I have seen one.

TSVETAN: Fireflyville is a better match. Especially now, when we don’t have electricity, it is exactly Fireflyville.

TSRANKA: Have you ever thought why our village’s chapel is down at the road and not at the cemetery above the village, as in all other villages? Why would you think of such things - they are not what man thinks. The chapel was built by women and dedicated to one. Once upon a time my grandmother told me the men were still abroad or with the herds, but gone, only women and children were left. The children were playing up in the high hills from there one can almost see the road to the big road. A horde started on the road to the village, bad men. The children quickly sent the fastest one of them down to warn the women to run. Sure enough, one of young women was in labor at that time, and she prayed to Mary, said, "Holy Mother, your Son, He ascended you straightway to Heaven in a cloud, if you no longer need this cloud, cover us with it for the bad men neither to see nor to hear us! " She barely crossed herself and a cloud dropped obscuring the village so the evil men passed by it and never saw it. With the foes gone, the women and children kneaded some clay, made bricks which they baked in the sun and built a chapel. Since then, Mary has been helping the people from our village. Men have gone to war, have not miss a single one, and mothers and wifes came together to pray to God’s Mother to protect their children and men. You all came back, to the last one, didn’t you? And now Entcho came back.

KOSTA: Entcho, what about Entcho, he had not gone to war? He said it was work. You the womenfolk get scared of everything, mourning something or other all the time! Why did you put those two glasses there?

The pub door opens and two women come in. One is old, leans on a cane. The young one is supporting her and carrying a tray with small twisted breads. A semi transparent icon of the God’s Mother ascending in a cloud comes down from the ceiling. The icon is between the women and the table where Kosta and Tsvetan sit. The third table is like an altar in front of the icon. The young woman puts the tray in front on the table and stands next to the old woman. Tsranka makes the sign of the cross. Stavri and Valko close the backgammon, stand behind the icon and make the sign of the cross. The light fades until the only thing lit is the icon of Mary on a cloud.

Scene VI

OldMac’s parlor. The table is bare, next to it there is an old worn out knapsack. OldMac sits on his chair and reads some documents. Enters Enyo.

ENYO: I closed the top gate and barred it. Is this all your luggage?

OLDMAC: Where I am going they will be waiting for me. (puts the documents in the kanpsack) We still have time. Take a sit here, I hate hanging around airports.

ENYO: Then you should call when you are coming back and I will pick you up.

OLDMAC: I will never return here.

ENYO: I thought you liked it. You just fixed up the house.

OLDMAC: The house was fixed by you, I just did not stand in your way.

ENYO: And now you don’t need it. Sell it to me!

OLDMAC: I did not say I don’t need it. Just the opposite.

ENYO: That means that you want to sell it for more. Tell me how much it is worth, I may be able to afford your price.

OLDMAC: As a storyteller once said the people now know the price of everything but have no idea of the value of anything. Here you have served for three years to gather the money for this castle.

ENYO: I served, I gathered.

OLDMAC: So what, I came here a little bit before you and paid the price that those two young lads asked for. Their eyes were shining at the prospect of getting rid of their grandpa’s hut. For them the equivalent of this house is few ringing coins, for them it has a price but does not have a value. Now you come and want to give me few coins. For me they have no value. But we may come to an agreement…

ENYO: I doubt I can give you something else. I am not famous, I will not be covered with glory, I have no family three for sixty generations back. I am a part time economist, more of the time unemployed. I doubt I can fetch a hefty price on the market. (smiles)

OLDMAC: The question is not at how much you are priced but for how much and with what you can be bought.

ENYO: Why would you need me? (laughs) I will drive you to the airport anyway and after that you don’t need me.

OLDMAC: About this we will see. Tell me, are you ready to slave for another three years? I may consider selling the house to you but I want you to pay me with time. It is not going even to be like Jacob who slaved for nine years per wife. Don’t jump, I have not lost my marbles completely. I would like to offer you a deal. For three years.

ENYO: Three years are a lot of time.

OLDMAC: You have served it once.

ENYO: Then I was younger and less clever.

OLDMAC: Exactly. Now with the luggage of the wisdom gathered you will do two good things. I am providing you a decent salary, good lodging and few other perks. After three years you are free if you want to be.

ENYO: It will be interesting to read the small script in this offer. I bet there will be surprises in it. (looks at his wristwatch) Time to go!

OLDMAC: (laughs) About the surprises you can take this to the bank sonny. (they get up)

Scene VIII

The stage is hidden by a semitransparent curtain creating the illusion of castle ballroom. OldMac in full Scottish attire comes out from one side of the stage in front of the curtain. On the other side young woman comes out dressed equivalently to his costume, with bridal veil, but sprinkled with white powder the same as Grandma Tsona and Valko’s wife. Somewhere invisible bagpipe is playing. OldMac and the young woman dance. When they leave the stage still dancing, the curtain rises).

 

The village pub is deserted. The radio continues to play the bagpipe tune. At one table Tsranka is kneading dough. She has rolled her sleeves and one can see she is not at all old.

TSRANKA: I won’t manage, I won’t, help me, Holy Mother, the dough will not rise and there will be no bread for memorial service. Not that so much was needed, but as I know it from the old days the same I mix, and now there is nobody to eat it, there is only Tsvetan and he is going today. He will come, will utter “What’s the rush Tsranka?” Tsranka, Tsranka, as if I have no name, as if I am not named after you and to you am I given to, to keep that chapel. And alongside all the work has to be done, work, work, work, the woman’s work is never done. Help give birth, baptize, teach, marry, help give birth again, this time to their children, read the last rites, bury and then all over again, like a domestic spirit. If it were yarn, one would have untangled it, if it were water, one would have brought it, if it were grain one would have milled it, but no it isn’t… If everyone goes, I will remain, because the children will return and if not the children, their grandchildren will return and there should be fire live in the fireplace and bread on the table. Or else if the fire is gone they may not find the road back. Fireflies are not enough by themselves.

(Tsvetan enters carrying a big postal envelope.)

TSVETAN: Oh Tsranka, come see what I brought! What's the rush Tsranka, come see, since when we have not received letters in our village!

TSRANKA: (continues to knead the dough) Since Kosta died and the state wanted some money for his health insurance after we buried him. Now what do they want?

TSVETAN: It is not the state. At least not ours, I would guess!

TSRANKA: To get to here it should be written for whom it is.

TSVETAN: (puts his glasses on) It is written, everything is written! Here, it is written that it is for Entcho but personal and confidential. Hm, personal, that young little postman had left it in front on the window, everyone could have snatched it. When I was the postman – there were no such outrageous cases!

TSRANKA: Come on, who will take it here in our village where there are only you and me left.

TSVETAN: Don’t you even talk to me about it! I am hitting the road tomorrow, will go catch the bus to Sofia and give it to Entcho hand in hand!

TSRANKA: (smiles) And you don’t forget to put the uniform hat like in the old days! Who knows, a fair lady may like you, like Dantche once upon a time. She was laughing that she married you because of that hat alone.

TSVETAN: It was not only because of the hat! Dantche first met me when I had all my decorations and medals on. So what if I am on the short side, but my boots were polished, you can see your face in them, the belt at the last hole, the medals were shining. I was a ringing bachelor. If she agreed to come here I should have been, right!

TSRANKA: Sure, ringing... That is what medals are for, ringing. How typical of men, when you start recalling who what and where, you are all heroes, and the ones that had to plow and dig while you were at it – they never get a medal. Let it be! (covers the tub with dough with a cloth and goes around the counter to wash her hands.)

TSVETAN: Yeah, we let it and it went without a trace. I don’t need medals for me, I thought they were for the children to remember who their grandfather was. Slavka, she is a girl, does not need medals, but I was thinking about Tsvetish, he to get them. His mother said that in their lands these medals are not cherished, that is it, they bring back bad memories. They will go with me my medals. I wish I knew where Dantche put them. Since she passed away, I have not taken them out... So what if I pull them out, who will recognize them since Kosta’s gone? He still remembered which ones I had and which ones we both had and which only he had.

TSRANKA: Entcho also knows, but is keeping mum about it. This letter to him, it looks rather big to me.

TSVETAN: Who knows what is in it? Ha, who writes letter any more, may be only the OldMac. Every week he was writing to someone, such fat envelopes as this one. May be it is from him. Looks like he got lost our pal, I hope nothing bad happened to him, I hoped he would be back by now. But if he were back, he would have called, he would have come to the pub to get a shot of shlyokavitsa. He just learned “vicious”, said it reminded him of Valko. (shakes head) “S” for “Stavri” and “salad”, it was easy to remember, he said. Listen Tsranka, leave this bread to get a rest and rise by itself, I need a salad and a shot of vicious brandy, as I do feel down. Gosh, where did my entire company go, one after the other all gone…

(Tsranka brings three plates, three glasses of brandy and three forks and puts them on the table silently)

TSVETAN: What, are guests coming that you put the table for three?

(Tsranka silently wipes her eyes, takes the letter and leaves. Enter Grandpa Kosta and Danche both sprinkled with white powder. Grandpa Kosta is dressed in soldier’s uniform, on which his medals glitter and brings a small cushion with Grandpa Tsvetan’s medals. Danche holds in her hands his postman’s hat. They smile and sit on both sides of Tzvetan. He frownes a little at first, shrugs, forks an appetizer, drinks a sip of brandy. He put the glass on the table, looks around and smiles too.)

Scene IX

(Enyo stands alone against the background of translucent curtain depicting Chillon Castle. Beside him on a high table lays the envelope of the letter that Grandpa Tsvetan was planning to bring him. Enyo reads aloud.)

ENYO: My dear Enyo, although this letter is written by me, it will be forwarded to you by my lawyers. They are waiting for you at the address below with the contract we talked about. You go, you find them and you start. I will not be there, but it does not change anything.

(Enyo lowers the page and looks into the audience) Sure, sure, “does not change a thing”, I go, I kick the door and become the boss as a grandma said so, in fact a grandpa in a skirt. (continues reading) As we agreed, you will bring a letter to my granddaughter Despina. You can open it, to avoid any kind of Hamlet’s doubts, it contains only the following: "Caelum, non animum, mutant, qui trans mare currunt." ** That means “He who goes across the sea changes only the sky and not his soul.” I hope it is the same with you. For more, see Horace.

Sincerely trusting you…

(Enyo folds the letter and puts it back in the envelope.)

ENYO: Also verbose as always, also eloquent, also putting all dots on “i”-s and crossing all “t”-s…

(takes out second envelope and reads the name of the addressee)

Despina Mac ... Mac ... No, this is unutterable in any language. Let it be, Despina OldMac. So what, if nothing else, at least I will learn her grandfather’s name and the documents about Cloudlet are certainly there. (shrugs) I guess OldMac might have been right altogether, from Sofia to Cloudlet is longer than from Cloudlet to the moon.

ACT II

Scene I

Law Office. On both sides of a table covered with papers sit the Lawyer and Enyo.

ENYO: I'm no expert on legal jargon. So I would like to repeat. Sir Alex has bequeathed all his property to his great-grandson, who has to be borne by Miss Despina and me.

THE LAWYER: Only if you are the father legally married to the mother and the marriage lasts at least three years. The only exception is the immovable property in the Cloudlet, which is bequeathed to the mother personally and cannot be transferred before the expiration of the third year from the beginning of your marriage. I can not tell you why Sir Alex insisted precisely on three years. For me and my colleagues it remains a mystery.

ENYO: And if I do not marry Miss Despina?

THE LAWYER: Then you have the right to live in a castle and manage it as you deem proper during the same three years, then you get a certain remuneration for your work and your mission is complete. If you refuse to marry Miss Despina, the immovables in Cloudlet become inaccessible to you. Along with everything else it goes under the control of the trust fund, which will manage the property until the family heir comes of age, and this property cannot be sold before ninety-nine years end.

ENYO: If the mademoiselle the Mom of the Heir is half as headstrong compared to her grandfather, I am not surprised she needs a husband to be bought for her. What does she think of the situation, by the way?

THE LAWYER: She does not know yet. I am instructed to tell you first. From the moment you exit this door, the three days began until the end of which you are obliged to report to the castle and begin manage it and she has to decide what she will do. I have to inform her about your decision.

ENYO: When do my three days of reflection start?

THE LAWYER: You have to decide on the spot.

ENYO: I presume you know Miss Despina. Please, do tell me is she really so horrible that in the entire United Kingdom a husband cannot be found for her and an import is required?

THE LAWYER: I assure you she is nothing like that! Miss Despina is highly educated, exquisitely looking young woman! A rare pearl that could adorn any crown.

ENYO: Of thorns.

THE LAWYER: Depends on you whether the rose will give you thorns or blooms.

ENYO: I cannot recall bypassing a queue of people impatient to try their gardening skills.

THE LAWYER: You rightly mentioned Miss Despina’s grandfather. I understand you had certain rapport with him.

ENYO: On quite a few questions, yes.

THE LAWYER: That means that you are one of the rare few who have accomplished this task. Supposedly this is why he chose you. As you can see, the choice comes well heeled.

ENYO: He could have hired a qualified tamer for less money. Someone with experience, desire, qualification, degree in psychology of domestic ... um, domestics. I'm an amateur, so to speak.

THE LAWYER: “He that knows better how to tame a shrew,

Now let him speak: 'tis charity to show.”*** Few attempts ended in disaster. The last one to an extend that Alex chose to hide away from everyone in the inaccessible Cloudlet.

ENYO: Why inaccessible? It has its road, it has everything.

THE LAWYER: He was convinced that it was inaccessible, hidden from the peoples’ eyes. My client believed in fairy tales a tad more than is customary. On the other hand, several attempts have been undertaken for he to be found, none of which was crowned with success.

ENYO: They have not been persistent enough?

THE LAWYER: On the contrary, on the contrary, but none scored any luck. Perhaps the luck there is distributed locally and there is not left for strangers.

ENYO: Maybe. Or maybe there is no luck left.

THE LAWYER: See, you as a local succeeded where many have failed. The Fortune pointed at you.

ENYO: Bet it was an obscene gesture. I guess in this contract the exact finger that the Fortune use to point is described in details… (sighs) It was not an index one, I am positive.

THE LAWYER: Let us assume that it was a thumb up. Will you use a thumbprint or will you sign?

ENYO: With blood?

THE LAWYER: No, no, please keep it as much as you can. I am sure you will need it. We have good ink here. For some mysterious reason Alex wanted you to sign with a duck quill. Here! (takes out an inkwell and a quill and puts them before Enyo. A head pops through half opened door and asks the lawyer to come out for a moment.) Please excuse me! (goes out)

ENYO: What mysterious reason? I just have to get used to a duck and it starts with homeopathic doses. (takes the quill. In a deep armchair at the background of the stage OldMac is sitting dusted in white, a glass of brandy in his hand. Enyo looks in the general direction of the armchair.) Old man, if your granddaughter is eccentric one third of what you were, I will need not three, but trice thirty-three years. Never mind! (signs. OldMac raises his glass in silent toast.)

Scene II

 

Exquisite classic study. Behind the desk sits a young woman reading a big ledger. The Butler enters and brings a cup of tea. He puts the cup on a small table with two chairs.

THE BUTLER: A young gentleman has just arrived and is asking for you. The gentleman insists that he carries a letter for you personally which letter should be transferred from hand to hand. The letter is addressed to you in your late grandfather’s handwriting.

DESPINA: I am in no mood for courier services today. When he tires of waiting, the gentleman will go away.

THE BUTLER: The gentleman insists he had brought camping equipment and will sleep in front of the mansion until you grant him an audience as he is instructed. The gentleman insists that a police intervention will result in ultimately unpleasant consequences to your image and will not affect his decision.

(The phone on the desk rings. Despina picks it up and after a short welcome freezes with the handset to her ear. Her face shows increasing astonishment. The conversation ends on her part with "Yes, yes, of course!")

DESPINA: Horace please bring the gentleman in. And bring tea for him.

(Enter Enyo and the Butler. The Butler puts a second cup of tea at the table and leaves.)

ENYO: (gallantly kissing young woman’s hand) It's my pleasure to meet you.

DESPINA: Far from me to say the same.

ENYO: That means that your grandfather’s lawyer has managed to talk to you and has explained the legal situation.

DESPINA: It is illegal situation! I will dispute! I'll sue you for ... for ... for organizing my wedding!

ENYO: Your grandfather’s attorney confirmed that the will is completely legal. Unusual – absolutely; immoral – maybe; but certainly not illegal. To the contrary it is very traditional in spirit. You are not obliged to marry me - this is left to your own choice. You are free to opt out.

DESPINA: What does it mean to "opt out"? To leave to the arbitrariness of fate those who depend on me because of my grandfather’s whim?

ENYO: I am flattered to be elevated to the arbitrariness of fate. As you already know, if you refuse to marry me, the estate goes under my full control for three years anyway. And you may move to the house in Cloudlet. Exceptional place as your grandfather used to say.

DESPINA: So you are interested in this mansion?

ENYO: I do not need at all. I am interested in Cloudlet house which your grandfather bought under my nose.

DESPINA: Why do not you ask for it then and there? Or you did not have enough money?

ENYO: I guess your grandfather thought I would pay way too much if you are not included in the deal.

DESPINA: Should I understand that you are ready to marry anyone just because of a pile of bricks and boards?

ENYO: Well as far as "anyone" - no, I am not. If your grandfather had a grandson, things would be placed in different perspective.

DESPINA: But I could turn to be lame hunchbacked one-eyed shrew!

ENYO: So far we bravely dismiss lame, one-eyed and hunchbacked, unless you plan something about it.

DESPINA: I hope you remember that the fate of your precious house is on the tip of my tongue.

ENYO: That's why I say "so far".

DESPINA: My lawyers will start working on the issue immediately.

ENYO: In vain. Your grandfather has paid the best.

DESPINA: There should be an escape clause! It remains only to be found! God, what a horror! I was hoping to marry someone who shares my views!

ENYO: Glad to hear that. In your opinion, highborn maidens of marriageable age have always been able to count on not remaining spinsters as clans have always found their way to arrange their marriages. Our case exactly.

DESPINA: We don’t have our case!

ENYO: As you wish. You have two days to look around. Meanwhile, I'm staying here. While waiting for your answer, I will fix that coach of yours which had broken.

DESPINA: You can repair carriages all by yourself?

ENYO: If I cannot I will call Misfortune.

DESPINA: (snatches a bell from the desk and starts ringing frantically. The Butler enters.) Horace, the gentleman should be accommodated and should be shown the stables. I mean, he should be accommodated in the castle and then shown the stables. He is likely to invite his friend Miss Fortune to accompany him. Please arrange for the dinner. (leaves almost running)

THE BUTLER: The gentleman may not worry, Sir Alex had a penchant for long letters. He recently sent me a detailed fairy tale from your home country. If I'm not mistaken, Miss Fortune will not attend the dinner but figuratively. It is already dark in the stables; would you prefer to start with the accommodation? (both leave)

Scene III

Carpenter workbench is sharing the foreground with several bales of straw. Enyo has rolled up sleeves and planes down something. Few meters aside an old carriage can be seen upped with the wheels in the air. Despina enters dressed for a business meeting.

DESPINA: Good morning! I hope I don’t not interfere with your work together with the lady you mentioned last night. Did you not leave her close enough for her to drop for dinner? Or company was not to her liking because I'm confident in Hortensia’s roast beef.

ENYO: Oh no, the lady is just on call, but in the given situation I think I can handle it myself. Unless you're in a mood to help me.

DESPINA: Oh no, I'm not on call, but today I am in a great mood. You said that you would fix my carriage, and I sorted your problem.

ENYO: Which of my problems?

DESPINA: You want to get that wreck in Cloudlet?

ENYO: It is not a wreck, but yes, I want to get it. However your grandfather’s will ties your hands as well as mine!

DESPINA: Grandpa is my relative, though. He and I, we are probably more alike than I thought. Sir Alex may have been knaggier than what you are planing, but he was a good grandfather. One of his favorite pastimes was to teach me to decipher riddles. Today it served me well.

ENYO: You found a way to circumvent the provisions of his will? So quickly? I salute you!

DESPINA: Well, his attorney has to confirm it, but I'm virtually certain. Look, the will states that I can transfer the house in Cloudlet after three years of marriage. Nowhere it states that the said marriage should be, how to put it delicately, productive, this only applies to the remaining family assets. As you insist you are not interested in them, I see no problem. I will marry you tomorrow, after three years you can pack up your luggage and go home with your cloudy real estate in your pocket. We divorce amicably, then the grandfather’s great-grandson can get all the other heritage and the father that I chose for him.

ENYO: As you have a candidate in mind, I can pack up now. It is not worth poisoning each other’s life for three years over a house. I do not want to disturb your choice. I regret if I sounded like that last night.

DESPINA: No, no and no! You already agreed to marry me. On top of it you promised to repair my carriage. You are not going to back out, are you?

ENYO: I can repair your carriage just like that, I don’t need to marry you for it.

DESPINA: Your requested my help.

ENYO: Yeah, someone shall sew a new top. This one is completely shredded. Probably the roof is leaking and it has been wet all the time.

DESPINA: So we can be mutually beneficial - you may start managing the estate from the repair of the stables’ roof, and I will focus on the carriage top. By the way, do you have a formal suit?

ENYO: You want me to fix the roof in a formal suit?

DESPINA: Not in the slightest. Please give it to Horace. He was personally responsible for my grandfather’s wardrobe and will prepare the suit for tomorrow. The taxi is ordered for a quarter to twelve, signing the marriage documents is exactly at noon, dinner is at one. I'm going to discuss the menu with Hortensia. Do you have any preferences?

ENYO: I begin to see your kinship with Sir Alex. Since you were kind enough to ask me - if the cake is chocolate one, I would like an additional tier for me personally.

DESPINA: But you play fair – we are tossing a coin who gets the bottom and who get the top!

ENYO: It will be fair only if you make sure there is the same amount of butter cream on both tiers. The cherries I will count myself. I love sweets.

DESPINA: I begin to see the reasons for Sir Alex’s choice. Had he ever mentioned to you about ... It does not matter!

ENYO: Wait! May I decide whether it matters or not?

DESPINA: You are probably aware that every castle has its own ghost. This one is no exception. (stops and waits for the effect of her words)

ENYO: Please do tell me, go on!

DESPINA: The local ghost is a bit odd.

ENYO: Oh, the others have classics? So what is your ghost’s oddity? The chains do not rattle in the right tonality? The shroud is not trimmed with the family tartan?

DESPINA: You do not take my words seriously!

ENYO: On the contrary; I do not doubt them at all! Just trying to guess the worst details to figure out if I have to run immediately or after the afternoon tea. I am listening to you.

DESPINA: Rumor has it that the ghost is a fine connoisseur of dance. Every year the castle hosts a grand ball to which traditionally all the neighbors are invited. Lore is that a great misfortune will befall the district if the ball is not started with cotillon and the ghost does not like the dancing.

ENYO: A ghost with a refined taste for ballroom dancing is not really common. How did it go last year?

DESPINA: Nightmare! It was the Plagues of Egypt!

ENYO: The water turned red, the frogs came, got dark or it was up to the death of the firstborn? A domestic ghost cannot be so ferocious because of only a few missteps!

DESPINA: That was such a shame!

ENYO: Don’t get upset, all have long forgotten about it. Just forget about it as well.

DESPINA: Forgotten? Forget? Forget that my own fiancé was so knock-kneed he ran into Horace, Horace’s tray flew out of his hands smack into the large mirror and transformed it into shards? That my practically husband was dumb enough to keep trying to dance until he hit the table and the cake fell right on me! That the neighbor's daughter came with dessert spoon in her hand and said, O my sweet, this is probably not a man for you, shall I help you a bit!

ENYO: I'm afraid to imagine what you answered.

DESPINA: I offered her to take him, if she thought he was right for her.

ENYO: You presented him to her on a platter, I hope the whole, not just individual parts. I guess she prudently refused, the cavalier doing the same. What happened to them after that? Where did you hide the remains?

DESPINA: Married and expecting in few days. If I'm lucky, this year's ball will coincide with the birth and they will not drag themselves but let it be. They said that they would do everything possible to come. If that happens, I hope they will be the only trouble, everything is arranged. No improvisations. From London a ballroom dancing champion is coming.

ENYO: Not coming.

DESPINA: What do you mean “not coming”?

ENYO: Horace said your champion called while you were gone. With the excuse that he had broken a leg and could not come. Unfortunately he could not offer suitable replacement on such short notice. Horace asked me if I could lead a cotillon.

DESPINA: Can you?

ENYO: Not yet, but there is time till Saturday.

DESPINA: You will learn cotillon until Saturday?

ENYO: How about you?

DESPINA: I ... I only need to dust mine. But I will not prevent you from attending classes. Just curious, who you would invite for a teacher, that friend of yours?

ENYO: No that butler of yours.

DESPINA: But he is a butler, not dance teacher.

ENYO: It is prerogative of the management is to assign additional tasks to staff depending on their qualifications. By the way, Hortensia says that you have fantastic skills in pastry, like your mother and your grandmother.

DESPINA: Ghost loves sweets. There should always be sweets.

ENYO: Oh, gods, no ghosts around you that love whiskey for a change? Or at least a gin and tonic.

DESPINA: My grandfather claimed that ours was exactly the type. For ever promised to show it to me. I think they were acquainted.

ENYO: Pity he did not do it. However, if I keep talking to you, I will not be able to fix your coach. I hope that tomorrow it will be sunny.

DESPINA: What is the connection between the two?

ENYO: Do not want to go to your wedding in a carriage? No time for sewing top, so I hope it's sunny. Although in my home country it is considered a happy omen for the bride to get under the rain on her wedding day.

DESPINA: (hastily gathering the top) There is time. May be it will not be completely up to the nines, but there is time. Do you drive a carriage?

ENYO: Yes, I do

DESPINA: Well, at least we have something in common! Are you coming for dinner?

ENYO: Absolutely! Your choice of pecan pie is wonderful. Your home ghost probably approves it too.

DESPINA: Indeed, an old family recipe! It's very quick. See you tonight! (grabs the top and hastily disappears)

ENYO: Interesting, is the ghost making do on the sweets and whiskey only or is on the castle’s payroll? I need to have a look at it.

Scene IV

(The stage is divided by translucent curtain giving the illusion of a castle ballroom. In the left half Enyo stands alone and practices some dance steps. The right half is empty and dark. Enter The Butler, who carries two chairs and wears a long ball gown on top of his suit.)

ENYO: Horace, pray tell me that it is not mandatory dress code for the ball!

THE BUTLER: Of course it is not! But how else you would learn not to tread on your partner's dress? There is nothing more horrible than the sound of a tearing hem. Not to mention that it can lead to dramatic consequences. The year before last the count who was partnering Mrs. Despina, slipped on her train and had most unfortunate fall demonstrating such lingerie that is still spoken about in some circles, I would prefer not to specify which ones.

ENYO: Now it is clearer to me, why I should attend in my full set of combat medals. This ball starts to look more like a battlefield and less like a moveable feast.

THE BUTLER: That depends on you alone. Behold, today we will study the dance "Eight", you and I would dance around these two chairs, I'll draw on the floor the sign for infinity. (draws) Your task is not to deviate too far from the line and step on you toes. Leave your lady wife dance around you. It will be beneficial.

ENYO: My lady wife’s character is more in sync with the dance “Train” – and this only because that at those days the dance “Bulldozer” was not yet invented. You know her for a long time – was she like this as a child or?

THE BUTLER: No. Before her parents perished she was a spoilt little girl who can pull any trick without consequences. But when only she remained Sir Alex changed the strategy in her upbringing. He was adamant that the young lady has to be self-sufficient and may be overdid the independence. Speaking in clichés, the Sleeping Beauty turned out Mowgli dressed in Chanel suit. While her grandmother was around it was not that obvious as the old lady was able to smooth some edges. After she passed away the two sharp stones collided and Sir Alex decided not to meddle while the young lady makes some mistakes of her own.

ENYO: Without supervision? It is hard to follow such a mercury drop from Cloudlet.

THE BUTLER: What do you mean without supervision? What about the family ghost? (laughs) Let us begin or otherwise we will not manage with the infinity, and then there is more.

(A quiet music starts. The Butler and Enyo dance cotillion. Gradually the left half of the stage gets darker while the light is almost completely off and the audience can see only two dancing silhouettes. The right half of the stage gets lighter. There Despina is dancing with the Butler. She is clad in the same ball gown that the Butler has been wearing at the beginning of the scene. He is dressed in formal suit. The cotillion ends with Despina sitting on one of the pair of chairs, identical to the ones in the scene with Enyo.)

DESPINA: Great! Thank you, Horace, I think I remembered everything. You're not even winded, as if your legs do not touch the floor!

THE BUTLER: What a great compliment! Do not forget to tell it to your husband tomorrow night!

DESPINA: Do you think he will do?

THE BUTLER: Of course! He is very observant and industrious young man.

DESPINA: Let's hope that he is observant enough not to show up in slacks and shirt. Remember that fiasco of a candidate for my hand in marriage dressed in the wrong tartan?

THE BUTLER: Who could forget such a scene! Your grandpa grabbed a knife and declared: “Such squares may have come into this home but never left it whole!” The gentleman in tartan ran way before realizing that it was actually the cake knife.

DESPINA: Indeed some quick thinking would have allowed him to defend himself with the cake spatula. Is there any chance that you may have some idea about the suit that our manager will wear tomorrow night, if course if he had confided in you?

THE BUTLER: You need not to worry, your husband will wear the colors of your clan, as is customary. I personally polished the family silver and I may even whisper to you that everything else will be according to tradition.

DESPINA: Horace, you make me blush.

THE BUTLER: But I noticed that there is no cake on the menu. Is that a casual omission of a kind?

DESPINA: I… Well… Probably I have missed it. But it will be rectified immediately. I will take care personally.

THE BUTLER: I remember your grandmother’s sweet towers. What grace, what self-confidence! Sometimes I miss those times, but do not listen to nostalgic mutterings of an old man.

DESPINA: You mentioned you have polished the silver. Any chances you may find that old cake multi-tiers stand? I cannot remember seeing it out recently.

THE BUTLER: It is waiting for you in the kitchen. I had such a premonition that it might be needed.

DESPINA: I will need some staples. I should make a list!

THE BUTLER: Please do! (hands her a notebook and a pencil)

DESPINA: (starts writing) Let me see, flour we have, sugar, cherries for the top of the cake, actually I had somewhere hidden a jar of cherries in whiskey ...

(Light on the right half of the stage goes down. Despina continues to write something grumbling about various products. Horace goes out unnoticed. The left half of the stage becomes lighter. There Enyo and Horace still wearing a dress make the last few steps around the chairs. The Butler gracefully bows and closes his fan. Enyo slumps heavily on one of the chairs. The Butler fans him.)

ENYO: You're in great shape, Horace, you're not even winded.

THE BUTLER: What a wonderful compliment, do not forget to tell it to your wife tomorrow night.

ENYO: As long as we live to see the evening. She and I need to discuss some changes to the sewer system; hopefully the lady will not resort to physical arguments.

THE BUTLER: Devotion to authentic can sometimes play a practical joke on us, even if it is motivated by the best feelings. Perhaps some of the changes might be postponed until a later date.

ENYO: Sound idea! The lady's apartments can be updated in last place, but I personally prefer to have running hot water when shaving in the morning. What thoughts come to you while looking in the mirror in the morning, Horace?

THE BUTLER: Depressive mainly. And to you?

ENYO: That the mirror needs to be replaced. Actually, you know it is noteworthy that there ar

 

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