Death by Stabby Stab
(Phyllis, a delightful looking woman in her forties in a flower dress and perfectly quaffed hair, sits across from Flora who would be Phyllis’s mirror image except that she is disheveled, bloody, and tied to a chair. She does, however, seem to be in good spirits.)
Flora Well, if this isn’t a pickle.
Phyllis You’ve got that right sister.
(They both laugh.)
Flora What time is it, by the way?
Phyllis You know, it wouldn’t be torture if there wasn’t a little time depravation now would it?
(They both laugh.)
Flora I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind clarifying a few things for me.
Phyllis Well, I don’t know…
Flora Think of it as a last wish, unless you aren’t going to kill me. I suppose I shouldn’t assume.
Phyllis When you assume you make an ass out of me and “u”.
(They both laugh.)
Flora Dear, I think we’ve reached the point where we can generally say that they might not be a return, am I correct?
Phyllis I suppose I should give you some false hope, but I just like you so darn much.
Flora I appreciate that.
Phyllis So, why not. Go ahead. I’ll give you five questions and I’ll answer each one as truthfully and honestly as I can. Firstly: It’s a quarter after two. You have four questions left.
Flora I hate to be a bother, but you didn’t really answer the question. I mean, how am I supposed to know if it’s AM or PM?
Phyllis Oh dear. You’re right. Well, it’s AM. Three more to go.
Flora Not to nit-pick, but I think you could have made that one a freebie.
Phyllis I could have, but I didn’t.
Flora How did you get into this business?
Phyllis Are you interested in applying?
Flora Oh, no, but that’s sweet of you to ask. I just wonder because what little we’ve spoken to each other I can tell that you and I share some darn nice qualities. It seems a little odd that while I applied myself as a homemaker and a volunteer and a singer in the church choir, you’ve become quite the career woman.
Phyllis You know, I hate to be rude, but I’m sensing a little judgment there.
Flora Oh, no. I didn’t mean that. I mean my path is surely no better or worse than any other. Why if I had had my way ten years ago I probably would have been an art teacher, but things being the way they were it was just easier for me to stay home. It was surprising to find that I liked being a mom very much. No. I just mean that you and I are so seminar that it seems strange we didn’t move along more similar trajectories.
Phyllis Well, let’s see here. Where to begin? I suppose I could start off with my childhood and a particular fondness I had for eviscerating animals. At first I thought they would all be little clockworks, running around ticking and clicking. I thought I’d find little gears that I could adjust and toggle to make the little thing go faster or slower. Turns out they are much more interesting on the inside then that. I had found a rusty scalpel on the side of the road one day. Thinking back on that day makes me a little teary eyed. I was so young. That little object became my imaginary friend. I call him Stabby Stab. Isn’t that silly? My two year old daughter has a blanket she calls Blankety. Children. So adorable. Anyway, so Stabby Stab and I would go on grand adventures through the forests and people’s backyards. Pets were the best. Less work to catch. That isn’t my job now, by the way. I don’t catch anyone. I’m brought it after they’ve been caught. Anyway, it turned out if I wasn’t careful with Stabby Stab; I would kill them too quickly to find out anything interesting. Of course, that’s not something you can put on your resume! So during high school I started working at the local dinner in my hometown to earn my keep at the foster home. George and Mabel were very good to me in their way, but that didn’t mean I got a free ride. Anyway, that’s where I met CIA agent Tennison and we just hit it off right away. Turned out I fit the profile! I traveled the world. I saw the most amazing things. And I got to put my tinkering skills to use. Turns out humans aren’t much different than squirrels, of course this time I was doing it for God and Country. I ascended the ranks pretty quickly and I’ve been near the top of the Research team ever since. That’s what we call it. Couldn’t have a “Torture Team” on the payroll could we? Anyway, it’s been a wonderful ride. Not many people get to do what they love in life. It’s earned me my houses, a beautiful family, friends I adore, and the chance to see the world. I’ve been told more than a few time that when God made me, he broke the mold. Or, at least, he should have. No matter. We’ll correct that little mistake won’t we? Well, that leaves two more!
Flora How did you find me?
Phyllis Flora. Come on there. That’s an easy one. I already told you I worked for the CIA.
Flora No, I mean, what put it in your head to even look.?
Phyllis Well, that’s a much better question.
Flora I’m sorry for being confusing.
Phyllis Oh no, not at all. I should have taken that as your meaning. I’m sorry for being a little snide.
Flora Not at all. You know, I’ve been in these restraints for I don’t know how long, so my mind isn’t working the way it normally does.
Phyllis I wish I could do something about that, but you know how it is. Any who, I suppose we should keep going. The thing is, Flora. When you work for the government there are some weird things you have to put up with. Sexual harassment courses, for example. But the weirdest was a new law that says after you kill so many people you have to go on leave. So, here I am, on forced paid leave. I’ve never taken a vacation in my life. I just don’t know how to do it. So I figured I would do some studying up and hone my skills a little bit. So I thought I should look for the parents that abandoned me as a child. I figured they wouldn’t be likely to just come right out and tell me why they left me, but I could…make them. What a disappointment it was to find out they were dead already; though it was an equally large shock to find out that I had a twin sister. A twin sister they loved. And kept.
Phyllis I’m sure you can see the pieces all coming together now. Do you have one more question dear?
Flora I suppose it might be wiser if I saved it.
Phyllis This isn’t Arabia and I don’t have 1000 and one nights.
Flora I always wanted a sister.
Phyllis You always had one.
Flora But I didn’t know it.
Phyllis And now you do. Flora. Do you have a question or are you ready to continue?
Flora I know why you want me dead. I think I can understand that. What I don’t know is why you want to hurt me so much.
Phyllis You and I are so similar. When I walked into your house a few days ago it was like walking into my own. The same cookbooks on the shelves, the same Restoration Hardware furniture. Our husbands are even about the same coloring. Our children could be siblings. I always knew I was going to kill you, Flora, on principle. And the fact that you understand that makes me love you just a little bit. And I don’t want to hurt you, I really don’t. Why I bet we’d make a great little duet team on church on Sundays. But I’ve always been curious what makes people tick, and pain is such a great measuring tool. Oh Flora, by looking at you, really looking at you, I get to see inside myself a little bit.
Flora Well, I hadn’t thought of it that way.
Phyllis You know what? You didn’t really ask me a question. It was more of a statement, wasn’t it?
Flora Well what do you know. It sure was.
Phyllis Tell you what, go ahead. Ask another.
Flora Well gee, I think I’ve gotten about as much out of you as I need to know. I think I understand the futility of my situation pretty thoroughly right now.
Phyllis Is that what you were doing? Trying to gage your own power?
Flora I sure was.
Phyllis Well, I’ll be darned. You are good too. Well done. But, in the end, I have experience on my side.
Flora If we were going head to head at trivia night down at Pete’s Bar I think I would have shown you a thing or two.
(They both laugh.)
Phyllis Well, I guess we’ll just have to take that on faith.
Flora Oh, I do have one question.
Phyllis What’s that?
Flora How will you kill me, in the end?
Phyllis You know what’s funny? I’ve saved this little guy since those first days. I carry him with me where ever I go, but I only use him for special occasions.
Flora Mr. Stabby Stab?
Phyllis No need to be formal. He’s just Stabby Stab.
Flora Can we go ahead and get on with it? I think I’m starting to get some strength back and I’d rather I didn’t.
Phyllis You know what, that sounds like a fine idea.
(End of Play.)