Mel and Mona
Cast: 2 sisters. Ages 35 - 55.
Two dutiful sisters plan a birthday celebration for their mother. Unfortunately, the present the women give her does not come wrapped in pretty paper.
In the pale light of morning, MONA walks toward, MEL, who stands at the edge of a dock next to a large lake. MEL peers out toward the water wears rubber boots and rubber gloves. MONA, barely awake and a tad hung over, tries to see what MEL is looking at. Throughout the play the sisters often pause silently looking toward the water.
Mona: (From off stage.) Mel? (Entering.) What are you doing out here?
Mel: I got hot. Cleaning in rubber gloves does it every time.
Mona: It’s barely light. What time is it?
Mona: Little chilly.
Mel: Morning air smells sweet doesn’t it?
Mona: Suppose. I could use some aspirin.
Mel: An entire bottle of wine does that. You see that?
Mona: When this mist burns off it’ll be a gorgeous fall day. See what?
Mel: Look. Out there. What do you think?
Mona: (Squints and looks into the distance.) Maybe a boat? Remember when Dad thought someone stole the rowboat? But you really forgot to tie it up and it had floated out to the middle of the lake?
Mel: Don’t remind me. Don’t miss that piece of crap.
Mona: The boat or dad.
Mona: You ever dream about him?
Mel: (Intense unexpected anger.) What are talking about? Why would I ever fucking dream of him?
Mona: Good question.
Sorry. No I’m not sorry. It’s always right under my skin, you know.
Mona: Got it. Understand.
Mel: It’s not personal. (Beat.) You dozed off early last night.
Mona: I was relaxing. Yesterday was busy day, remember? Nothing worse than a reformed smoker or drinker, stop judging.
Mel: More relaxed than melted butter.
Mona: Who cares and shut up. You’re making my headache worse.
Mel: Wine, Tylenol P.M. and one of my special pot brownies. You were nearly comatose.
Mona: You do you, and I’ll do me.
Mel: You’re still wearing your clothes from yesterday.
Mona: What!? Gross! I wouldn’t. (Starts stripping to her bra and panties.) Really? How could you? How could you let me sleep in these?
Mel: You’re so cute sleeping and drooling. I started cleaning as soon as I got up. You talk to mom yet?
Mona: No. Obviously, I just woke up.
Mel: I’ll call her.
Mona: What are you going to say?
Happy Birthday! We got you the best present ever.
Funny. What are you really going to say?
Mel: I got it covered. You going to stand there in your undies?
Mona: Sure. Shivering in my underwear is loads of fun and it burns those extra wine calories.
Mel: Old man Watson probably has his binoculars on you right now.
Mona: (Does a quick crazy dance.)
This is for you old man Watson. Wait, I thought mom said he died a couple years ago.
Mel: Oh, that’s right. He was a creepy perv anyway. So?
Mona: This dancing is making me warm and it’s a good stress reliever.
Mel: Get dressed and bring back the binoculars and a cup of coffee.
Mona: Stress, can make a person super bitchy and no fun. (Beat.) Just saying.
Mel: This is, focus, not stress. This is me executing a challenging plan.
Mona: Okay, okay, don’t get your rubber gloves all twisted. This is, me, reminding you, the binoculars broke, when he, who can’t be named, hiked last. Someone dropped them when, someone, was doing a their own dance.
Mel: Why would I keep broken binoculars?
Mona: Why do we do anything we do? That, sweet sister, is the real question.
Mel: (To MONA off stage.) t’s dumb to keep worthless stuff around.
Mona: (From off stage.) Remember to call mom.
Mel: I got it. (To herself.) What I do for you mother. (Dials cell phone, waits while it rings.) Hey mom happy birthday. Yea Mona and I made it to the cabin last night. (Beat.) No, Randy isn’t here yet. He texted me he planned to spend the night in Mooresville, the place with the casino. I guess the project ran long. (Beat.) Anyway, let me know when you get on the road. Oh, can you bring a bottle of wine? Mona needs a new one. Hugs.
Mona: (Returns wearing a robe, with two cups of coffee.) I threw my clothes in the fireplace. It’s getting closer.
Mel: You light it?
Mona: No, thought we might have a more things to add. (Beat.) I saw a bloated moose floating in this lake once. It was coated with black flies and boy did it stink. What if… You don’t really think, do you?
Mel: There is no what if. (Beat.) I don’t remember any moose
Mona: It was that year you started school at Grandma’s house.
Mel: He made me miss a stinky bloated floating moose?
Mona: It wasn’t a big deal. Just another dead animal.
Mel: I bet it was cool.
Mona: Sort of. (Pause) When you were gone I became a ghost. Things weren’t so bad if dad didn’t see or hear me. (Beat.) We have to keep looking forward. Right? We’re protecting mom now.
Mel: We can’t let monsters and three-timing sons of a dirty dog bitches get away with it.
Mona: It doesn’t always feel right, you know? Sometimes I wonder -
Mel: Stop! It is the right thing! Mona think, what dad did, what Randy was doing? It was the only thing to do. It is always the right thing, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t “feel right”.
Mona: How many makes one a serial, you know what.
Mel: You cannot act weird when she gets here.
Mona: I’m not an idiot.
Mel: We stick to the plan and move on.
Mona: Quick review?
Mel: Text sent from his cell to mine at ten thirty pm, then destroyed his phone.
Reservations made at Little Fork Casino Hotel with his credit card under the name Linda Smith, aka, affair number three.
Mona: What else?
Mel: My train ticket was for nine pm.
Mona: I got gas at O’Malley at nine thirty pm.
Mel :Perfect alibis. What did mom see in Randy?
Mona: Perhaps she was lonely after dad’s accident.
Mel: (Creepy forced pleasant tone to voice.) A real shame dad tripping when he was so close to that ledge.
Mona: We should buy her a dog. (Beat, looks at water.) It’s moving again. What do you think?
Mel: Yea, a sweet little lap dog she can take everywhere.
Mona: Maybe two so she has no time for more losers.
Mel: Busy is good. If mom had discovered Randy’s affairs instead of you. She may have done something stupid.
Mona: What? Like dye her hair, get a boob job, forgive him?
Mel: Slit wrists or sleeping pills more likely. You know she’s weak.
Mona: Jelly for a backbone. That’s why we love her.
Mel: And, we, are not that.
Mona: Those binoculars have been hanging by the back door, broken, for like, four years. Can you believe he’s been gone so long?
Mel: (Closing in on being angry again.)
You want to bring the dead up again? Now?
Mona: Nope. No. Thinking out loud.
Mel: I used weight tested nylon rope and cement blocks.
Mona: (Becoming worried.)How is this even possible? What are we going to do if those heavy cement blocks didn’t work?
Mel: Calm down.
Mona: I have a potluck at work on Tuesday. Oscar and I are thinking about taking the kids to Hawaii in February. I will calm down when I know, this, is not what we hope it isn’t.
Mel: How is Oscar?
Mona: Good. Great.
Mel: He better be.
Mona: Mel knock it off. I want him by my side for a very very long time. Understand?
Mel: It’s not like I’m a monster and plan to gobble him up.
Mona: What the hell are we going to do if? Can fish eat nylon rope?
Mel: I don’t know Mona! I’ve never done it like this before.
Mona: Me either!
Mel: We can row out and pull it in if necessary. (Beat.) Is that something new sitting on it?
Mona: Wait. Wait a minute that looks like a Dovekie. They’re somewhat chunky for a bird.
Mona: A black and white bird, short bill.
Mel: You know bird names?
Mona: The year you were gone I hid out in my room with grandma’s Audubon books. It would be unusual to see one this far south, but with climate change, it could happen.
Mel: Sometimes you surprise me Mona. Is that part a tree?
Mona: That’s the nicest thing you’ve said to me in a long time.
Mel: Yea. It could be.
(Pause as they look at the object.)
Mona: Probably washed in during that big rainstorm. See, that far end looks like roots sticking up. It’s a tree stump.
Mel: Thank you, Jesus! Our nice weekend can continue now. Just a tree.
Mona: Just a tree. Who needs that freak out first thing in the morning. (Beat.) Got any more pot brownies?
Don’t go anywhere without them.
(Pulls folded paper from her bra. Both sisters look over the list.) I finished washing the kitchen floor with soap and bleach this morning.
Mona: I’ll dust and vacuum. Mom will appreciate a clean cabin.
Mel: I’ll burn these boots and gloves with your clothes and leaves in the fire pit. Job well done Mona.
Mona: Well done indeed Mel. (High five each other.)
Mel: You want to make the lasagna or birthday cake?
Mona: I want to try a new cake recipe I saw on America’s Test Kitchen; it’s supposed to be incredibly light and fluffy, like butter and love with sour cream frosting.
Mel: Sounds yummy.
Mona: An excellent day for a birthday celebration.
(Heading off stage together.)
I’m going to have mom pick up some champagne.
Best present ever.