The Wax Conspiracy

The Frighteners [a fragment]

Warily, Ruth opens the door.
Lumley is sitting in the kitchen eating kimchi from a takeaway container. The cat is on his knee. He is smiling at Ruth.
It is then she realises that he is not the mild-mannered pathetic articled clerk she thought he was.

RUTH. Quietly, almost imperceptive. What fresh hell is this?


How did you get in here?

Lumley shifts in his chair. He points the fork at her.

LUMLEY. What do you mean?


What do you mean? Where should I be?

Ruth makes her way to the other side of the kitchen. She keeps her back to the wall and keeps as far a way from Lumley as possible. She doesn’t realise that there is a second person in the kitchen. This is Reed.

RUTH. We’re not... Becoming hysterical. I don’t know you!

LUMLEY. Becoming irate. Listen! I’ll chop your spine off, you talk to me like that! You understand? You don’t...

Ruth is on the other side of the kitchen. She reaches for the telephone and as she does she brushes past an ambigram on the wall that reads “HOME SWEET HOME”.

RUTH. I’ll call the police! You get out of here or I’ll call the police!

Ruth takes a knife from a holder and waves vaguely it in Lumley’s direction. Lumley isn’t concerned. He could take that knife off Ruth and he knows it.

LUMLEY. The police? Who do you think let us in here?

RUTH. What do you mean?

LUMLEY. Who do you think let us in here?


Never mind that. This is what we are going to do. I’m going to tell you what we know and you are going to confirm whether we correct or not. I’d be completely honest I were you – put the knife down – because we know some of the answers to the questions we are asking, and we do not like to be lied to. This isn’t some chickenshit operation we are running here. We can make you disappear – your bones, your blood, your lymphatic tissue. Everything. Do you understand?


Do you understand?


Do you...

RUTH. Yes. I understand.

LUMLEY. OK, put the knife down.

Lumley waits until Ruth puts the knife down before continuing. As soon as Ruth puts the knife down Reed steps in and picks up the knife. Ruth is too shocked to react.

LUMLEY. We know that you have been subpoenaed to appear before the Commission. We know that you have offered testimony regarding the shredding of certain documents in the Senator’s office; that, having helped prepare those documents, you know what is in them; and that this shredding took place in the presence of certain high-ranking policemen.


Is that correct?

RUTH. Yes.


LUMLEY. That is what we know. What we do not know is where the phone came from, the phone that someone slipped into your pocket three days ago in church. We also don’t know whether you have been contacted and, if you have been contacted, by whom.


Belvedere Jehosophat

Written on Saturday, 3 July 2010

The Wax Conspiracy

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