exorcising the dog : part ii
Excorcising the Dog
an unusually short play
by yours truly
The Players : Madison Cartwright: Madison speaks with a Southern drawl. Her bawdy attire, slow colloquial speech, and winsome smile mask an acute perception. She’s about twenty-nine.
Phillip Smith: Phillip is a rookie attorney dressed appropriately in a suit and tie. He considers Madison a bawdy con-artist and treats her accordingly. Madison is brighter than he is, something he’s vaguely aware of, but unwilling to acknowledge — this makes him prone to outbursts, which he attempts to control for George’s benefit.
George Davies: George is also an attorney, albeit an older, wiser attorney. Somewhat stocky, and very calm, he takes the ensuing conversation in stride — investigations are a matter of form for him. Unlike Phillip, George is careful.
The Set : The players sit at a wooden conference table. They may have cups of coffee or tea. A tape recorder sits on the table, recording the conversation for the attorneys’ benefit.
part ii : the pope, the senator, and the lonely guys
George: Then you do not, as a business practice, perform exorcisms?
Madison: Why no. I just go over to people’s houses with my dog. Sort of a social visit.
George: But you do charge money for these visits?
Madison: No, I don’t. You see, these people call me, and I’m not charging them anything. I just say, well, if you want me to bring Fred over —
Madison: My dog. That’s his name. Fred.
George: Please proceed, Miss Cartwright.
Madison: Well, I say, if you want me to bring Fred over, that’s fine. But I’m going to have to stay in a hotel, and that costs money. And I’m going to have to miss a little work, and that costs money too. So you see, I don’t charge people money. I just think, if I’m going to be missing work and staying in some hotel, someone else should pay for it.
George: I see. And how are you employed when you’re not performing these. . . “social visits”?
Madison: I work for the Lonely Guy Escort Service.
Phillip: Lonely Guy?
Madison: That’s the one.
Phillip: You’re a. . . ?
Madison: Escort. You know. Guys on the road, traveling, lonely. I show them around, make them feel to home. It’s a service we provide. Well, I used to, but lately I don’t seem to have time.
George: And why is that, Miss Cartwright?
Madison: Well, these people keep calling me up. Traveling around like that cuts into my availability.
George: Miss Cartwright, do you understand who we represent?
Madison: The Pope I guess.
George: [raising a hand to placate Phillip] We’ve been retained by the local Arch Diocese to investigate claims being made by yourself.
Madison: I haven’t made any claims.
Phillip: It seems someone has.
Madison: Not me.
George: The Church is somewhat. . . astounded at the presumptuous nature of your claims.
Madison: I don’t claim anything.
George: Then you do not claim your dog performs exorcisms?
Madison: No I don’t.
George: What, exactly, do you claim Miss Cartwright?
Madison: Just what I said. People call me up and ask me to bring him over, and I do. That’s about it.
George: How exactly did you get into this . . . How exactly did you and your dog become involved in this round of “social visits”?
Madison: About a year and a half ago, there I was at the park. I was just walking my dogs, minding my own business, when this woman starts sort of floating through the air. Well, my dogs were exited. I mean, who could blame them? They’d never seen a person floating two feet off the ground before. I was sort of excited myself. So the dogs start barking, and here this woman is, zipping through the air like a flying pumpkin or something, and Fred runs up, barking like crazy, and sort of jumps the woman. Nothing vicious or anything like that. He just thought she was playing. Anyway, boom! The woman’s head starts spinning like a top! She’s spitting green stuff all over the place! And I’m just trying to get my dog out of there. I mean, it’s already obvious Fred is going to need a bath right away, which is no picnic, I can tell you. And suddenly, kapow! The woman’s exorcised! She’s got this nurse with her, who’s just about to pass out, what with all the excitement. And the woman’s kid is going crazy, crying and yelling, and the nurse shouting all over how it’s a miracle. So I decide that’s enough exercise for the day, and take my dogs on home.
George: As I understand it, you were in a rather affluent neighborhood at the time.
Madison: I don’t know about that, but it was a nice park, yes.
George: How did you come to be so far from home on that particular day?
Madison: I own a car.
Phillip: What Mr. Davies is trying to ascertain is, why did you choose that specific park?
Madison: Because it’s a nice park. What, you think I’m going to take my dogs to a crummy park?
Phillip: But why that park in particular?
Madison: It wasn’t that park in particular. It was that park in general. I go there a lot with my dogs, but I go lots of places with my dogs.
George: All right. So you took your dogs to the park, and an incident occurred. But that wasn’t the end of it.
Madison: Well I thought it was. But then the calls started.
George: What calls are those, Miss Cartwright?
Madison: Like I said, I was sort of disgruntled about the bath thing. I was glad for the lady, if my dog helped her out, but that was it. But then this woman called me up. I explained my dog didn’t do exorcisms. But this woman —
George: [Checking his notes] That would be Mrs. McClellan?
Madison: That’s the one. Well, she just wouldn’t give up, so finally I packed up Fred, and off we went, just to humor the lady.
George: And what happened then?
Madison: Well, there was this little kid strapped to the bed, which looked very uncomfortable to me, but not as uncomfortable as that tongue. I mean, the kid’s tongue was stretched way out, shooting all over and doing these loop the loops. Well, Fred just jumped right up on that bed, which, by the way, he isn’t supposed to do. Usually, he’s a very good dog, but I guess all the excitement, what with stuff flying around the room and all, just sort of overcame his good manners. So Fred jumps up on the bed and sort of plants his front paws on the kid. The kid’s tongue is going crazy, whipping all over and knocking stuff off the night table, but Fred doesn’t care. He just gives that kid a good lick and a few barks, and Boom! The kid’s exorcised. Can you believe it? Fred. I mean, he’s just a dog, not even ordained or anything.
George: How do you suppose Mrs. McClellan got your phone number?
Madison: Well, I’ve wondered about that myself.
George: You ascertain that you have at no time advertised yourself as an exorcist?
Madison: Certainly not.
George: Miss Cartwright, did you tell anyone your dog had performed an exorcism?
George: Not at any time?
Madison: I might have told some of the girls at the service about that sick woman in the park.
Phillip: The service?
Madison: The escort service. I mean, it was kind of unusual, what with her flying around like that, but I didn’t say Fred exorcised her. I mean, she was in a wheelchair, so I didn’t even know she could walk, let alone fly. I didn’t even know what had happened till someone else explained it to me.
George: And who would that be?
Madison: Who would who be?
George: Who explained to you that Fred exorcised — performed an exorcism, on the woman in the park?
Madison: That would have been the Senator.
George: The Senator.
Madison: The lady’s husband. You know. Senator —
George: Yes, I know the Senator.
to be continued….