Authors: Nicole Moeller
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #World Literature, #Humanities, #Literature, #Kidnapping, #Truth, #Ownership, #Journalism, #Media, #Story, #celebrity, #Nicole Moeller, #Thriller, #Mystery, #Public and Private
An Almost Perfect Thing
Â© 2014 by Nicole Moeller
Playwrights Canada Press
202-269 Richmond Street West, Toronto, ON, Canada M5V 1X1
No part of this book may be reproduced, downloaded, or used in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher, except for excerpts in a review or by a licence from Access Copyright,
For professional or amateur production rights, please contact the publisher
Cover design and illustration by SÃ©bastien Thibadeau
Book design by Blake Sproule
Author Photo Â© Fred Katz Photographic
The Alegreya serif typeface used was designed by Juan Pablo del Peral. The Source Sans Pro sans serif typeface was designed by Paul D. Hunt. The typefaces are used under the SIL Open font license version 1.1.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Moeller, Nicole, author
Â Â Â An Almost Perfect Thing [electronic resource] / Nicole Moeller.
Electronic monograph in multiple formats.
Issued also in print format.
ISBN 978-1-77091-208-3 (PDF).--ISBN 978-1-77091-209-0 (epub)
PS8626.O4325A64 2014Â Â Â C812'.6Â Â Â C2013-907999-8
We acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council (OAC)âan agency of the Government of Ontario, which last year funded 1,681 individual artists and 1,125 organizations in 216 communities across Ontario for a total of $52.8 millionâthe Ontario Media Development Corporation, and the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund for our publishing activities.
For Jared and Tracy
A Note About the Style of the Play
The scenes in which the characters address the audience directly are indicated throughout the play. In these scenes, each character is telling his/her individual story. They are not interacting with each other, but it is important to note that often one character's line informs or affects the next character's line. The scenes should bleed into each other quickly without solid blackouts. This is especially true of act one, scenes two through nine, which should almost be treated as though they were one.
An Almost Perfect Thing
was first produced by Workshop West Theatre at La CitÃ© Francophone, Edmonton, Alberta, in March 2011. It featured the following cast and creative team:
Chloe: Tess Degenstein
Mathew: David Ley
Greg: Frank Zotter
Directed by Michael Clark
Dramaturgy by Tracy Carroll
Set and costume design by Daniela Masellis
Lighting design by Itai Erdal
Composition/sound design by Darrin Hagen
Movement coach: Marie Nychka
Stage managed by Lester Lee
Special acknowledgement: Michael Peng
Mathew: in his forties
Chloe: twelve to eighteen
Multiple settings are used throughout, with Mathew's house and Greg's condo often used on stage at the same time.
To the audience.
Once upon a timeâ¦
There was a girl.
A woman I guess you could call her by now.
CHLOE bursts onto the stage gasping for air.
She falls from the sky it seems.
Out of nowhere, really.
She appears like an angel.
Clinging to some sort of hope. Like she did for thousands of days before this one.
CHLOE tries to catch her breath.
âto be saved.
Oak. Pine. Crab apple.
She races past the houses that once meant something.
Searching, hoping, praying.
Past that same brown Ford truck that's been rusting in front of thatâ
âsince she was a little girl. And then she sees it. Like a piece of heaven and hell all mixed in one. She sees it.
Beat. They all breathe together.
Shift. Martini Bar. To the audience.
I'm at this party. Opening of a new martini bar downtown called Martini Bar. I know four things about most people here:
Accomplishments or lack thereof.
Where they sit on the political spectrum.
And their preferred alcoholic beverage.
Other than that I know as little about them as they do about me.
Beat. He looks around the bar.
Feel the beat of the music in my chest.
Drink burning my throat.
Search the barâ¦
Police station. To the audience.
(said at the same time as GREG)
My dad takes me to the police station. They put me in a small room andâ
The sound of a heavy door slamming.
Why am I here? Am I in trouble?
Don't cry. Bite my cheeks. Dig my fingernails into my hands.
(imitating police officer)
"Sorry for the wait there uh, Miss Evans. My name is Constable Peterson, but I want you to call me Ann, okay? We're going to get ya to the hospital in a bit here. But first, how 'bout we retrace your steps. How did you get to your dad's?"
Her voiceâ¦ her body, her smile, the way she holds her hands together like thatâ¦ She's nervous. I'm not in trouble. I can tell.
(to police officer)
I have to go. I have to go to the dentist. My teeth hurt. My teeth hurt so bad. Please. I have to go. I have to go NOW! I HAVE TO GO NOW!
MATHEW's house, upstairs. To the audience.
My head isâ¦
He reaches for her.
Fell asleepâ¦ I fell asleepâ¦
He looks around for her.
The door isâ¦ open.
HeyâI was hoping I'd see you. How've you been? I've missed you.
Alicia. Alyssa? Alyssiaâ¦
So. You feel like getting outta here? For old time's sakeâ¦
"Didn't you just turn forty? Aren't you getting a little tired of the one-night stand? Greg."
(acknowledging someone across the bar)
(to the audience)
We work together. He's youngâyounger than meâand he's already moved his way to the top. Traffic report to front page to "number one news blogger." Apparently his Twitter account has about five billion followers.
This, my friend, is for you. I figure it's time that Iâ
He takes it and hands me the empty he's holding.
Asshole. Why do they all love him? Why did he get promoted? Why do I have toâ
The hospital. To the audience.
(cutting GREG off, as if continuing his line)
Why do I have to stay at the hospital?
Why are the police holding my dad? Why won't he stop crying?
"Chloe! My baby! My baby! Chloeâ"
Why don't I feel anything?
They make me share a room.
I lock myself in the bathroom.
I think about him.
I breathe deep 'cause we have a connection and it'll make him breathe deep.
He'll get crazy if he doesn't. Fiveâ¦ fourâ¦ threeâ¦
MATHEW's house. To the audience.
Search every room.
Through the houseâ
Under the beds.
Grab my gun.
Grab my gun.
Finger on the trigger.
She said she'd never leave me.
Sweat dripping. Eyes burningâ
wipes sweat from his forehead. To the audience.
I hate when I sweat. Drips from my forehead. Burns my eyes.
Beat. He looks around the bar.
I'm sick of this shit.
He hails a cab.
I grab a cab and head home.
My neighbours don't talk. Not even when spoken to.
We ride the seventeen floors in silence.
Turn on the TV.
Make myself a drink.
Rye and ginger.
Go out on the balcony.
Look down on the people below.
There are three million people in this city.
If I jumpedâ¦ if I fellâ¦
Would any of their lives be disruptedâ¦ alteredâ¦ changed?
I imagine, like everyone does sometimes, standing on the railing, looking down on the people below, and then just falling.
Beat. Lights up on MATHEW.
I see it.
Evans. Chloe Evans.
A note. Her writing.
Evans. Eighteen. Missing since she was twelve.
Weâ Iâ Weâ Thought she was dead.
This was my story. Six years ago this wasâ
To the audience.
I need air. I need to feel fresh air in my lungs.
The sound and lights of flashing cameras.
It hasn't even been a whole dayâ¦ Their lightsâ
She shields her eyes.
They push past each other, trip over each other to get to me.
Microphones in my face.
Tape recorders at my mouth.
More cameras, flashing and clicking.
I need toâ¦ I want toâ¦ I don't know how toâ
And then I see it.
Lights on MATHEW and GREG.
Turn on the
Turn up the volume.
My reflection in the camera.
Remember your strength.
Remember my strength. Dig my fingernails into my hands. Bite my cheeks. Breathe. They look like animals.
Hair messy. Sweater crooked.
Face changed. Eyes the same.
Someone tries to pull me inside.
I lock eyes with all of them. Smile. And say nothing.
I'll go back to the beginning.
Smile and say nothing.
This is my story.
Because this is
is my story.
Shift. To the audience.
âis a bit of a blur.
They push me from hospital to police to my dad to psychologists to my dad to police.
The picture of her smiling is in every newspaper, every news website across the country.
Ever since my mum died, I like to go to the library. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. It's a Wednesday when I first see her. The little girl.
Immediately my editor tells me someone else is assigned to the story.
She sits alone in the corner. Eight feet from where I am.
It's him I need to talk to.
That leaves her here.
He doesn't have a clue what to say to me.
Of course he's not talking.
I watch him leave her here alone. For weeks he does this.
For weeks we hear nothing. The police keep saying the investigation is ongoing.
She's so well behaved. Barely moves a muscle.
We find out she's refusing to work with the police. They can't force her. She's done nothing wrong. They leave it up to the team of psychologists butâ
No one can make you talk.
The story goes from national to international.
People follow me everywhere.
They say she was a runaway in Vancouver, Seattle, Winnipeg, Toronto, New York, London, Beijing. Men take credit for taking her. Women take credit for taking her.
The way she bites her fingernails and sticks her tongue out just a bit when she's writingâ¦ the way she smiles whenever she catches me looking at her.
Media from around the world park outside of her house. Still she says nothing.
I open the curtains. I stand at the window and I stare at them.
I'm drawn to her.
Lots of people wrote about her six years ago, but not like me. I was in the right place at the right time. For some reason I got exclusive interviews with her father. I sat with him as he cried. He showed me her bedroom, toys, video games. I interviewed her teachers, her friends. It wasn't just a story. I cared about her. About finding her. About catching the person who took her.
No one found me. For six years no oneâ
So I feel like I deserve this.
I feel like we're connected.
But just because you deserve something doesn't mean you'll get it. Because who am I, right? Nobody. Nothing. The words echo through my mind as I drive past her house two, three, four times a day. Follow her as she's driven around the city. Waiting forâ¦ something. Anything. A picture. Chance to talk to her. Some new information. You are so pathetic, Greg. I'm about to give up andâ
It's a random night. A not so random 7-Eleven.
Shift. A 7-Eleven.
enters. He checks her out, and she notices.
Go with cinnamon. Always a good choice.
Thank you for the recommendation. But I like spearmint.
She looks at him. He recognizes her. She walks away. He follows.
It's just gum, Mr. Kalowitz.
You know who I am?
I read your stuff. You're okay. A little boring sometimes.
Uh, rightâ¦ Uhâ¦ look, I know you're probably getting a lot of requests forâ
Can I have some of your Slurpee?
He hands it to her. She takes a very, very long sip.
You shouldn't drink this, you know. It's bad for your teeth.
Yeahâ¦ right. Soâ
I've seen you in here before. I recognized you from the paper. You didn't recognize me. I was in my disguise. Scarf, sunglasses. It's stupid. They make me do it.
Where's your disguise now?
Do you live around here?
But I do, right? Lots of people want to talk to me.
Why should I?
Beat. She stares at him.
I have to go. He's getting impatient.
âbodyguard. Thanks for the Slurpee. Nice to finally meet you.
(to the audience)
I get in my car. Don't think. Just write. What have I got to lose?
I dedicate this column to you, Miracle Girl. I'll try not to make it too boring. It's a random meeting on a random night. It's hot, muggy, suffocating almost. I run inside a store to grab a drink. Cue left. You enter. We chat about gum. You say you read my column, so I know you're reading this. You've piqued my interest, Miracle Girl. And after talking to you, it's not just your story that's got me hooked.