|Happy Birthday Martha by Elixeo Flores
Martha – 60ish. She is wealthy and well poised and normally in control.
Arthur – 60ish. It is in his nature to be passive. He finds strength in fits and starts but it really isn’t in his nature.
Sides for Martha. In this scene Arthur believes he is in control. Martha has let her façade down to let Arthur think he is in control while she attempts to find out what is really going on:
Arthur – now, now, my dear. It’s not that bad really.
Martha – oh Arthur I am so sorry. Whatever it is I’ve done please forgive me.
Arthur – oh come now Martha, you know you don’t mean that. We have been together for more than forty years now, so I think I know you better than that.
Martha is a bit perturbed by this.
Martha – That’s not fair Arthur…of course I’m being insincere. It’s my life after all. If one can’t feign sincerity in the face of death then when can one? I don’t want to die Arthur, I really don’t.
Arthur – why is that Martha? Is there some unfinished plan that God has for you that you jut must fulfill? Were you planning on devoting your life to the care for the sick, the poor?
Martha – don’t be ridiculous, we both know they can’t be helped. No, it’s very simple Arthur, I don’t want to die because I enjoy living.
Arthur – but you don’t Martha. All you ever do is complain about how miserable other people make you. You go on and on about how stupid I am and how inadequate I am. You make our children miserable, our son and daughters in-law miserable, our broker, our accountant, your friends, my friends, I could go on and on.
Martha – oh no you don’t! If they are so miserable then why don’t they just go away? I’ll tell you why, it’s because of my money. All those phonies are just hanging around waiting for me to drop dead so they can have my money. Well I won’t stand for it Arthur. If they are going to pretend to like me then I am not going to make it easy for them.
Arthur – you’ve got that wrong Martha. Money is all they have to look forward to. Can’t you see it? Our son? Our daughter? They desperately wanted your love and when they couldn’t have it, they settled for the money.
Martha – well too bad for them and too bad for you, because I didn’t leave anything to any of you. I don’t know what clever little plan you have hatched Arthur, but I can tell you this, you will not get a single cent from my estate. And you know why that is Arthur? Because I left it all to Michael! That’s right! Michael! At least he had the balls to stand up to me and walk out the door when I tested him. That man really loved me Arthur! And he couldn’t stand to sit by and watch me waste my life on someone as pathetic as you. So the hell with you Arthur! The hell with you!
Arthur – I guess this is where I am supposed to be shocked and angry that you had an affair with your Yoga instructor. Did you really think I didn’t know about that?
Martha – no of course you knew about it. And I suppose I am to think better of you knowing that you did nothing to bring a stop to it. Apparently your husbandly duties didn’t include growing a set of balls Arthur. If I had known better I would have written that part into our vows.
Sides for Arthur. All of Arthur’s manipulations up to this point have been so he can force Martha to listen to how much he loves her. What seems sinister and yet somewhat harebrained suddenly becomes poignant.
Martha – what are you talking about Arthur?
Arthur – about four months ago you accidentally left your computer on. No big deal really except that you had been spending so much time on it of late and I was just curious. I found your password folder and the sites you frequent. At first it was just morbid curiosity. What on earth could a 68 year old woman be doing frequenting one of those sites? I knew the likelihood of you leaving your computer on again were slim so my best option would be to write down the sites and see if I could observe you anonymously. When I first joined one of the groups, I was just another guy on line. I would watch you but then you would move to private sessions. To tell you the truth, at first I didn’t really want to know all the details. But eventually my curiosity got the best of me so I subscribed under a female alias and befriended you.
Martha – hotcherry242?
Arthur – no, sexycougar119.
Martha – you bastard. If I wasn’t dying, I’d kick your ass.
Arthur – we became friends and you shared with me more than I had known before but still not enough so I changed my alias again. My new profile was male. You had your age as 50 so I made myself 55 and I became the widower Douglas. And that was when it became unbearable.
Martha – Arthur…
Arthur – shh. It doesn’t matter now. I don’t know how I expected to feel. Everything I had imagined revolved around sex and passion. But when you let me in and we had our private sessions, and you were soft and funny, and the little girl I had fallen in love with so long ago, it broke my heart. And then I found myself being different. Exchanging messages at all hours of the day. Rushing to my computer to see if there was anything new from you. It was then that I realized that I had changed too. Whatever it was that had happened to push us apart, I had played a role in that too.
And then we fell in love. At least I think we did. I know I did. And I felt so sad. I could see how your love for Douglas made life with Arthur so unbearable. I tried being the other me but it wasn’t the same. That’s when I decided that we couldn’t go on doing this to one another. It had to end so here we are.