I don’t want realism. I want magic!
Yes, yes, magic! I try to give that to people. I misrepresent things to them. I don’t tell truth, I tell
what ought to be truth. And if that is sinful, then let me be damned for it!–Don’t turn the light
[Mitch crosses to the switch. He turns the light on and stares at her. She cries out and covers her
face. He turns the light off again.]
MITCH [slowly and bitterly]:
I don’t mind you being older than what I thought. But all the rest of it–Christ! That pitch about
your ideals being so old-fashioned and all the malarkey that you’ve dished out all summer. Oh, I knew you weren’t sixteen any more. But I was a fool enough to believe you was straight.
Who told you I wasn’t–‘straight’? My loving brother-in-law. And you believed him.
I called him a liar at first And then I checked on the story. First I asked our supply-man who
travels through Laure. And then I talked directly over long-distance to this merchant
Who is this merchant?
The merchant Kiefaber of Laurel! I know the man. He whistled at me. I put him in his place. So
now for revenge he makes up stories about me.
Three people, Kiefaber, Stanley and Shaw, swore to them!
Rub-a-dub-dub, three men in a tub! And such a filthy tub!
Didn’t you stay at a hotel called the Flamingo?
Flamingo? No! Tarantula was the name of it! I stayed at a hotel called the Tarantula Arms!
Yes, a big spider! That’s where I brought my victims.
[She pours herself another drink]
Yes, I had many intimacies with strangers. After the death of Allan–intimacies with strangers
was all I seemed able to fill my empty heart with…. I think it was panic, just panic, that drove me
from one to another, hunting for some protection–here and there, in the most–unlikely places–
even, at last, in a seventeen-year-old boy but–somebody wrote the superintendent about it–“This
woman is morally unfit for her position!”
[She throws back her head with convulsive, sobbing laughter. Then she repeats the statement,
gasps, and drinks.]
True? Yes, I suppose–unfit somehow–anyway… So I came here. There was nowhere else I
could go. I was played out. You know what played out is? My youth was suddenly gone up the
water-spout, and–I met you. You said you needed somebody. Well, I needed somebody, too. I
thanked God for you, because you seemed to be gentle–a cleft in the rock of the world that I
could hide in! But I guess I was asking, hoping–too much! Kiefaber, Stanley and Shaw have tied
an old tin can to the tail of the kite.
[There is a pause. Mitch stares at her dumbly.]