Two Tiny Plays for Ireland: 'Soul Mates' and 'Slanesman'
The house seems very big for me but there you go.
Rose: Charlie left shrugging his shoulders, carrying all his belongings in one bag. No fuss, no rows. Only mystification that I actually liked reading things that never happened, old stories, old made-up things.
Kevin: God that girl across the waiting room must be learning the pattern on the carpet off by heart. Hasn’t she a book beside her and a stack of magazines on the table. Of course, she could be going blind or something. She has a kind sort of face.
Rose: That fellow with the Billy Bunter glasses over there has a nice face, bet he’s a vet or something kind. Of course those kind faces often turn out to be desperate things like bankers. Or drop-outs like Charlie who don’t believe in taxes, or working all day, or anything like that.
Kevin: I could talk to her but . . . I mustn’t do that. Not any more.
Rose: I could ask him if he comes here often. Or something a bit less silly. But then he mightn’t want to talk, he’s been reading that soccer gossip magazine since I came in. He’s content the way he is, he doesn’t want to be bothered. I’m so used to starting conversations because I do that all day in the hospital. I should be glad of a bit of peace here and I would be glad, if only I could read.
Kevin: I only wish I had asked her for a loan of that book. She wasn’t reading it, I’d be well stuck into it now rather than this stupid magazine about soccer players and their wives.
It could have been a peaceful half an hour. But then the risk, the sheer risk . . . At least I’ve learned not to do that any more.
Oh yes, he’s ready for me, good.
Kevin smiles at Rose.
Kevin(To Rose): “I won’t be long in there, just choosing new frames actually.”
Rose: “The ones you have are fine.”
Kevin(To himself): That’s funny. No one ever said that before.
She’d be really bad news. Just sitting there fidgeting and looking uneasy. Why have a book if you’re not going to read it. I couldn’t take another three years of that, even if she were interested.
Kevin(To Rose): “Good luck now.”
Rose(To herself): Pity he’s really up himself about the bloody frames. Nothing wrong with his glasses. I wouldn’t want to be within a mile of him, him and his football and the Wags and the whole culture. Let him go. No, Rose, no more smiling at him or the likes of him. Soon I’ll have nice big glass eyes and can read properly. That’s what I will do, until I fall over a soul mate somewhere along the line.
Head down now, no more eye contact. Okay, breathe again.
by Colum McCann
Lights up. In the centre of the otherwise bare stage, a man, C, sits at an empty work desk, his feet propped up, looking out at the audience. He is dressed in a contemporary businessman’s suit, open tie, polished shoes.