Black Widow. <The Rewrite.> 

by Will Hogg.

    This play is about a woman who resorts to crime.
    It is set in the early nineteen-eighties in Queensland, Australia.
    It is fiction based on fact. A murder happened. Though not like this. Fiction.
    It is about a black dress. A dress a widow might wear to her husband's funeral.
    Then again, it's not that kind of dress, and the husband isn't dead. Yet.

Dramatis Personae. 

Sue.  Dan.  Mum.  Jeff.  Pete.  Pam.  Dress Shop Assistant. 

Sue married Dan in her late-teens. Soon the trouble began. One child later it is still going on and Mum does a lot of babysitting. Dan and Jeff run a small business and move drugs; with Pete as mechanic and off-sider. Sue's mate, Pam, would like to help more.


Act 1. Scene 1.

(The stage is set up as the kitchen. Dark. A frosted glass door is backlit. Offstage Dan marauds. Torch flashing. Sue is hiding front of stage in the dark.)

Dan: Slut! -  Bitch! -  I'll find you. I always do. I always do. Ha ha. Search and destroy, bitch. Search and destroy. Should not be running and hiding. Oh no no no. There's no running and hiding.  I'll find you. Hear me woman? Yeah, you can hear me. 'Cos you're my little geek. You're my little geek. And I'm comin ta get ya! (Dan smashes the frosted glass and steps through into the kitchen. Bright spot on Sue for a second then black. Sue exits. Dan stands in Sue's spot. He's dressed in his army gear with a gun. He is spot-lit and his torch light searches the audience.) Now where the fuck are you hiding this time?


Act 1. Scene 2.

(The kitchen. Late-morning. The door has white-goods boxing fitted. Sue and Jeff are having a couple of B&Cs.)

Sue: I can't take any more, Jeff. No more.
Jeff: Ar. (A sort of hung-over noise.)
Sue: He'll kill me soon. - You know what I mean. It's quiet now because he's gone. That's what I mean.
Jeff: Yeah yeah.
Sue: Bloody "Yeah yeah" me, Jeff Shaw. I have had enough. I'm not taking any more.
Jeff: Ahm.
Sue: You know what he does. You've had to stop the maniac. Had to hold him off. When he let you. You know what he's like.
Jeff: OK. I know.
Sue: Yeah. And he's your mate, hey. Your mate.
Jeff: Sue. I said I know what he's like.
Sue: He's your mate.
Jeff: Yeah.
Sue: Can't run. Can't hide. Can't do anything. Fuck it. It's getting worse. Worse. You know it. The only time I get is when he's on a bloody drug run. Two days here. Three days there.
Jeff: It's no good.
Sue: No bloody good? No good? I'm not takin' this any more. You just sit there saying "It's no good.", Jeff.  Great.
Jeff: 'E's gone mongrel.
Sue: What did you say?
Jeff: You heard.
Sue: Say it out loud like a man then.
Jeff: You heard.
Sue: Yeah well take 'im out for me.
Jeff: What?
Sue: You heard. Bump him off for me. I'll pay.
Jeff: Sue. You're serious.
Sue: Been saving. I'm serious.
Jeff: Um.
(Phone rings. They look at each other. Jeff gets up to answer.)
Sue: If that's him I'm not here. I'm with Pam.
Jeff: (At the phone. Mum talks a lot.) City dump?.  - Yeah  how yer goin' Marge? -  Yeah not bad not bad. -  Yeah she's right here. -  Here she is. -  Here she is. - See ya then Marge. -  Yep. See ya.
Sue: (At phone.) Lo.  - I'm alright, Mum. - Just talking. How's the boy? - Well I don't know what to do about that. How would I know? - No. He's off on business. - Sydney. Sydney, Mum. - We're just having a quiet drink. - Yeah. Tomorrow. - From Sydney. - How would I know? He'll be back tomorrow. - What. This afternoon? - Alright. - Yeah. Alright. - OK Twenty minutes. - I'm alright.- Mum. We're just talking business. - Give him a kiss from Mummy. - Yeah. I know. I know. - Alright. Twenty minutes. Bye. - Yeah. Bye. (Hangs up.) Nosey old bitch.
Jeff: She cares about you.
Sue: She wants to go shopping.
Jeff: Mm.
Sue: There's a sale on at Myers.
Jeff: Ah. Well. Mm.
Sue: I mean it. What I said before. I'll pay.
Jeff: I'll think about it, Sue.
Sue: Yeah well don't take forever. He's back tomorrow. I'm not going through this again and again any more.
Jeff: I said I'll think about it. OK?
Sue: He will never piss on me again.
Jeff: I'm thinkin' about it. Alright?
Sue: Y' know you could do with a new pair of jeans.
Jeff: Whaddaya mean? No way.
Sue: I mean it. Look at you. Wearing through all over.
Jeff: Right. That's it. I'm off.
Sue: I might just pinch you a pair for fun. I know your size.
Jeff: Oh ho ho. Now I'm really off.
Sue: I need to know tonight. Your thinking.
Jeff: Alright. Tonight. Don't send Myers broke, will  ya.
Sue: Ha!  Fat chance. Tonight, Jeff. OK? 



Act 1. Scene 3.

(A department store dress shop. Pam/Assist here. Sue and Mum at racks.)

Sue: Check this one out. Woo! (Sexy silver number.)
Mum: You're too flashy. That's what you are. - Ohh. They must be here somewhere.
Sue: You still looking for floral prints, Mum?  I told you. They are out. O. U. T. Out.
Mum: What's that - item - you have there.
Sue: It's beautiful. Don't say it, Mum.
Mum: It's black.  Sue.
Sue: Shock. Horror. It's black.
Mum: Well. It doesn't suit you.
Sue: It's such a yummy cloth.
Mum: At least it's not as short as some of the others. I still say it looks like you're going to a - Den of Iniquity - or a Funeral.
Sue: What if I am?
Assist: Can I help you ?
Sue: I'm trying this on. (Exits for quick-change.)
Mum: A Den of Iniquity.
Assist: Can I help you, madam?
Mum: I hope you don't flaunt about in things like that, dear.
Assist: Madam?
Mum: I don't know. Maybe you can help me.
Assist: I'm sure I can. Now.
Mum: Only I'm looking for something like this frock, you see.
Assist: This is a nice dress. I think it would suit you.
Mum: Do you? Only I'm trying to find this in your floral prints, you see.
Assist: Ah. Yes. Well. We don't actually have any florals this season.
Mum: No floral prints. At all?
Assist: There are some lovely colour patterns here. This one would fit you well.
Mum: Lovely colours, dear, but it's not floral is it.
Assist: Well, not exactly. But you really should try it on for feel. It suits your complexion.
Mum: Do you think so?
Assist: Oh yes. It's the style.
Mum: Well I might.
(Enter Sue in the dress.)
Wow. It feels - gorgeous.
Makes you look like a jazz vampire.
A "jazz" vampire, Mum?
The fit is very good.
A Jezebel.
It feels great.
A Woman of the Night.
Mum. Are you going to just stand there getting worked up, or try on that -  thing.
And it's not even the dress. It's the way you wear it. I don't know. (Exits.)
It is a beautiful dress. Are you thinking of a special occasion?
You could put it that way.
(Feigning grief.) It's for a funeral.
Oh dear. Someone close was it? (Sue indulges in holding back some tears.) Um. Look. I take it you're buying this one. (Nods and more grief.) Oh dear. Why don't I find you a veil and gloves to go with it while you change.
Thank you. Thank you.
Assist: (Helping Sue to towards change-rooms.) Still. It's the living who suffer, isn't it.


Act 1. Scene 4.

(Sue's kitchen. Early evening. Jeff is arranging a couple of B&C's. Sue enters modelling the dress.)

Sue: You can look but don't touch.
Jeff: Woh. Hold me back. Hold me back.
Sue: "Makes you look like a jazz vampire."
Jeff: (Reaching to feel.) Real soft and pretty.
Sue: Don't touch this dress! It's for the funeral.
Jeff: Ah.
Sue: Yeah. "Ah." - Well?
Jeff: Hadn't thought about the funeral.
Sue: Tell you something, Jeff. I think about the funeral all the time. I can't wait for the funeral. - Well?
Jeff: Nice dress.
Sue: You wouldn't know, boy. Stop it.
Jeff: What's a "jazz vampire" do for kicks?
Sue: Stop playing around, Jeff. Are you doing it or not.
Jeff: You sure about this, Sue?
Sue: Gee. No Jeff I'm not sure now. I wonder what I must have been fucking thinking of. Of course I'm sure. This is to finish everything. For good. -  So tell me. Yes or No.
Jeff: Yes.
Sue: Right. - How much?
Jeff: Ten grand.
Sue: Ten thousand dollars? Ten thousand dollars? -  Ten thousand dollars?
Jeff: You're like a bloody cracked record you are.
Sue: It's too much.
Jeff: Be less if I didn't need help.
Sue: Christ. It's men's work or I'd do it myself. - What do you mean you need help?
Jeff: You know what he's like, Sue.
Sue: Shit! Ten thousand dollars so someone can hold your hand while you squeeze the trigger. I should do it myself.
Jeff: If you want a good alibi you can't be doing it yourself.
Sue: Yeah. Right. Ten thousand dollars.
Jeff: Job lot. Going once. - Ten big ones. Twice.
Sue: It's too much, but I'll pay.
Jeff: Sold. To the lady in black
Sue: Half now. Half later.
Jeff: OK.
Sue: And don't stuff up. I'd have to find someone else before he got me.
Jeff: No worries. I'm onto it.
Sue: And I'm sick of this lolly-water. We need a bottle.
Jeff: Got one. In the car.
Sue: Well don't just stand there. I'll go change. We're going out.
Jeff: Ah yes. A dance and a drink with the merry widow to be.
Sue: (Hands Jeff the jeans.) Here. Try these on and get that bottle.
Jeff: Anything you say, sweetheart. (Sue exits.)  - You might call me a widow maker. Ha ha.





Act 2. Scene 1.

(The next day. Dan and Jeff at a beer-garden finishing first beers. A silence.)

Dan: So. She's broken the perimeter. Eh?
Jeff: Ar. How the fuck would I know.
Dan: Sluts mate. Gotta keep em in a cage.
Jeff: Yeah.  So. The run.
Dan: She's around with that dumb bitch. Pam.
Jeff: Yeah yeah. - Now. Sydney, mate. The run.
Dan: Don't push me, mate. (Pete turns up with the beers.)
Pete: Here we go. Cheers. (Drinks.) Ah. Beer.
Dan: I find her. She stays found.
Jeff: Yeah yeah.
Pete: Who? - Ah yeah. - Well I'm Colonel Klink on that one.
Jeff: Schultz, Pete. Schultz.
Pete: Whoever. I know nothing. - Nothing but beer. (All drink.)
Dan: A couple of fuckin know-nothings.
Jeff: What about telling us how the run went.
Pete: Yeah. How'd she go, Dan?
Dan: The car, Peter, was dangerous.
Pete: Told ya.
Dan: Ran like a charm.
Pete: Beaudy.
Jeff: Yeah. Beaudy.
Dan: Something the matter, Jeff?  You're a bit touchy.
Jeff: (Drinks up.) Not touchy. Thirsty.
Dan: A bit edgy.
Jeff: It's your shout.
Dan: Right. He's thirsty. And edgy.
Pete: I'm feeling a bit parched myself.
Dan: Yeah. Right. (Exits for beer. Pause.)
Jeff: Gotta talk later, Pete. Private. You and me.
Pete: OK. Takin the Torana out later.
Jeff: Pick me up. Serious and private, Pete.
Pete: No worries.
Jeff: OK. No worries. (Dan returns with beers.)
Jeff: Cheers.
Pete: Yeah. Cheers.
Jeff: Game of Pool, Dan?
Dan:  Yeah. Rack em up, then. (Jeff exits. Dan pays Pete.) Here's your cut from the run. Now piss off and get busy at the shop.
Pete: No worries.
Dan: Keep an eye on Jeff, will you, Pete.
Pete:  Ay? Yeah right. See ya then. (Pete exits.)
Dan: I'm surrounded by wandering sluts and know-nothing wimps.


Act 2. Scene 2.

( Outdoor. Late morning. Sue and Pam. Walking. From stage to rear/side auditorium.)

Pam: You partied on later last night. I can tell.
Sue: He's back in town. I can feel it. I'm not going home.
Pam: You can stay at my place.
Sue: He knows your place, dummy.
Pam: Oh. Yeah.  So.  Where?
Sue: I don't know, Pam.
Pam: Some place that's really nice. Secluded and peaceful. With a horse. A long way away.
Sue: He's found me in Perth, Coolangatta, Mudgee. Lancefield.
Pam: Well I don't know. There's got to be something we can do.
Sue: Take it from me, Pam. I do know. There's nothing we can do. - But I'm not going near him ever again. Unless it's to look down into his grave. To say, "Good riddance Danny Field. Good riddance to bad rubbish."
Pam: Shouldn't speak ill of the dead, Sue.
Sue: I'm not.
Pam: You were. You did.
Sue: Pam. He's not dead. He's alive and dangerous.
Pam: Oh. Yeah.
Sue: And I'll be whispering.
Pam: I don't get you. - Anyway. There's got to be somewhere you can go. The refuge. No.
Sue: No. Not after last time.
Pam: I remember.
Sue: Yeah.
Pam: But it was Viet Nam, hey. He is damaged.
Sue: Fuck Viet Nam. - Fuck Viet Nam. -  Sorry, Pam, but I mean, Viet Nam or not, I should never have gotten into this in the first place.
Pam: You weren't to blame, Sue. How could you know? How could anyone know?
Sue: I knew, Pam. I knew but I didn't care.


Act 2. Scene 3.

(Afternoon sun. Pete and Jeff in the Torana. Driving hard. They do a lift-off and land.)

Pete: Yee Haa!
Jeff: Shit. Keep it on the fuckin road, Peter.
Pete: No paddock bashin, hey?
Jeff: Just keep it on the bloody road, mate.
Pete: Bit nervy today, mate.
Jeff: Came along for a run. Not a flight.
Pete: Life's full of surprises.
Jeff: Yeah. Right.
Pete: So what's up.
Jeff: There's a job for us. You and me. - Don't know what you'll make of it.
Pete: A job's a job. What's the money like?
Jeff:  Yeah, the money's good. It's the job. -  Murder.
Pete: Aha. No kidding.
Jeff: Yeah. So maybe you won't like it.
Pete: Nah nah. You know me, mate. Into anything. If it pays.
Jeff: Four thousand.
Pete: Not bad. Not bad. Who do we shoot?
Jeff: That's the problem, mate.
Pete: Yeah yeah. -  Look. I'm in, Jeff. So bloody tell me.
Jeff: It's Dan. (Pete pulls up sharply.)
Pete: Funny. Thought you might say that. - Dan the Man. Ay? Dan the fuckin Man. 
Jeff: Yep. Dan the Man.
Pete: Do Danny boy, eh? - Alright.
Jeff: And we're doing it tonight. (Pete takes off screaming tyres.)
Pete: Tonight? What's the fuckin rush?

(Short black-out.)

Act 2. Scene 4.

(Pam and Sue in Pam's car. Sue is driving. A swerve/recovery.)

Pam: Oh my God. Oh my God.
Sue: (Out window.) Idiot! Some people!
Pam: Oh my God.
Sue: Pam.
Pam: Can I look? Is it alright?
Sue: It's alright.
Pam: I really thought we were going to die, Sue. I thought that was it.
Sue: Sorry. It wasn't that close.
Pam: I didn't want to die. You know? It was as if I wasn't ready.
Sue: "She's not ready, Lord."-"Oh well. Never mind then."
Pam: No really. Phew!
Sue: It wasn't that close, Pam. (Sudden braking. Silence.)
Pam: Oh my God. (Sue restarts car and drives on.)
Sue: We're nearly there.
Pam: Oh my God, Sue.
Sue: Sorry. Once again, not my fault. - Here we are. The motel. (They stop and get out.)
Pam: The Alpha Rest Motel. It's new!
Sue: Almost brand new. Your car keys. Thanks, Pam.
Pam: I'll help you with your things. (Picks up box with black dress which slips open.) Sue! What a beautiful dress!
Sue: (Repackages dress hastily.) It's supposed to be a surprise, Pam.
Pam: For what?
Sue: For later! -  It's not fair! (Sue storms off.)
Pam: Well I didn't know.  (Pam follows.)


Act 2. Scene 5.

(A nice motel room. Sue is wearing the dress. There is a dressing table with a mirror. On it is a line of mini liquors.)

Sue: It'll all be over soon. - That's all that matters now. Is that soon it'll all be over. (She chooses one of the miniature bottles and opens it. To mirror.) So pretty. So ugly. So what. ( Sue drinks. Braces.) Where are ya Satan you evil old - devil. Thought I might see you tonight. ( Chooses another bottle. Opens it.) Maybe you've got my name on a list down there. ( Drinks. ) Dripping blood. ( Chooses another bottle.) Look out for old mate Danny, Satan. Watch yer back. - If I'm going out, this ( Replaces unopened bottle. ) must stop. (Sue composes herself.) Enough is enough.
( She studies her funerial appearance. ) If I'm going out I'll have to change.

( Black-out. )

Act 2. Scene 6.

( A Disco. Sue is at a barstool. The barmaid/Mum treats her like an friend. The LOUD music is "I can't stand the Rain." by Precious Wilson. The music drowns out most of the conversation. A slide show of the script is projected with the action. ( a la old picture shows ) Some way into the song, two detectives (D1/Dan. D2/Jeff.) enter, locate Sue and proceed to her.)

D1: Susanna Field?
Sue: What?
D1: Are you Susanna Field?
Sue: I think you already know that.
D1: Do you know of your husband's whereabouts. Mrs. Field?
Sue: What's going on?  What's happened? What are you doing here!!?
D1: It is my duty to inform you that your husband, Daniel Field is dead.
Sue: Oh God. Dead. ( Sue begins wailing and keening. She refuses to be touched. )

( Blackout. The music finishes with The End projected. Followed by credits. The curtain call.)


Copywrite Will Hogg Friday 13th July 2001 Zenwatt cyber-studio Nimbin.
If you wish to produce this play in your part of the world, please contact me.