Image © Rose Cullis 2020
|by Rose Cullis||March 23, 2020|
MA: An Amazon in their early fifties. 5’10” and 170 pounds of muscle. They have a surprisingly gentle voice and a resting killer face.
DC: An older man in his mid-sixties. A nerd who dresses meticulously with good style. Somewhat robotic in his delivery.
RC: Me. In my early sixties. A playwright seeking material everywhere and anywhere.
TB: (An unfortunate acronym, under the circumstances.) The youngest at 44. A high-spirited, hot tempered red-head who’s trying to find an alternative to capitalism.
Eating dinner together. / indicates when someone begins talking over someone else.
Note. At first, the folks didn’t want me to record the conversation. At second, no one gave a fuck.
MA: No! I don’t want you to record this.
DC: Rose Cullis! I was about to record you talking to your grandchildren for “Story Hour” and you said you didn’t want me to do that.
RC: (mildly) That’s true.
DC: And I didn’t do it.
RC: Because that would have been goofy.
MA: So here are the house rules that I wonder…
These are our house rules during our…
Pause. MA sighs.
MA: Unfortunately, it’s not solitary confinement.
MA: So….because of that, we have to consent to bullshit that everybody should be consenting to. For example,
One. We don’t bring anybody in our house. If we’re gonna visit somebody we do it outside, we do…whatever…
I don’t want anybody…
DC: (proudly) I did that today.
MA: …brought into our home. So. /Yeah…
RC: Congratulations DC.
MA: …And the other thing is…shopping. Let’s have one person shop at a time. Why should all of us go out shopping and go into it…and we have double the…the chances to get —
DC: Quadruple! Cause there’s four of us —
MA: So if it’s like…tomorrow…I’m gonna go to the market. I’m gonna go in. You tell me what we need — if you have anything you need — and I go in.
How does that sound for everybody?
RC: I love this idea.
DC: That’s handy. Actually it’s / handy
MA: And we all take turns. Before we used to divide the labour and say, “Well, I’ll go here, and you go there,” How about one person risk their fucking lives…
DC clears his throat.
MA: …for everybody else?
RC: And then –
MA: Bring it (the virus) in!
No. I’m just saying –
RC: And then we’ll just divide the cost –
MA: Well, we’ll figure…we’re not going to worry about that.
RC: In fact, I owe you money!
MA: Would you stop rubbing your nose!
RC: How do I love thee?
MA: That’s the number one rule! Get your arm out of your shnoz! –
DC: Put a length of rope on her wrist.
RC: (to her phone) Did you catch that?
DC: It’ll only let you lift your arm this high…
MA: Rose Cuntface, would you please report to the face-touching department?
DC: Those are good suggestions.
MA: (feigning a loudspeaker.) Rose Cuntface…calling Rose Cuntface —
Pause. Rose Cuntface says nothing.
MA: So. Those are the only two rules I was talking about.
TB: And everybody: when you come in the house we’re all washing our hands…
MA: Tanya is coming / around.
TB: Vinegaring all the / handles.
TB: Right on!
MA: She’s washing all the surfaces /
DC: Will vinegar do it?…to the virus? I’m not…I don’t know one way or the / other.
TB: I don’t actually know / but I’ll look it up.
DC: I’ll double check / what will?
TB: But I know vinegar…hydrogen peroxide…
DC: Cause I just don’t know.
TB: Yeah, I’m gonna do that. Everyday. I’m gonna…whatever…we’ll find out what it is. But I’m gonna do all the door handles every day.
MA: They say soap and water is amazing, so using soap and water / on the handles. They say —
DC: Yeah maybe just soap and water on the handles, so yeah.
MA: So — cause alot of people are using hand sanitizer, and people want hand sanitizer, but hand sanitizer only is effective washing your hands if you wash your hands…frequently enough.
It loses its effectiveness / in terms of taking germs off.
DC: Yeah, you can’t/ just use it —
TB: (reading from her phone) Here we go: There are many bad things about the CoronaVirus, but there’s one good thing. It’s not very hardy. It’s easily destroyed by most disinfectants.
Regular cleaning with normal cleaning supplies does a great job of removing all germs, not just Corona, from surfaces. Focus on high touch areas: faucets, handles, door knobs, stair rails, counter tops, things that you put your hands on. Best practice is to disinfect these surfaces several times a day.
OK. I can do it twice.
RC: That’s alot!
MA: I think we’ll get in the habit of doing it, and before you know it we’re doing it more frequently.
TB: Here’s what you need to know…
RC: …You mean, we’ll get used to going a little bonkers…
TB: …In what will and won’t work against the CoronaVirus…
(to RC) I’m cool to be over cautious at this point. I don’t wanna get…like, I’m a fucking hypocondriac on a good day, so I’m gonna be over cautious.
DC: (from his phone) Oh Rose! Someone from your old neighbourhood. Police got a call there at 6:30 today about fireworks being let off from inside a moving vehicle.
TB: (whispers) Fucking hilarious.
DC: Someone driving a van along Orton Park and firing off fireworks.
That’s your old neighbourhood.
RC: I remember it with great fondness.
MA: You still have food on your mouth, you know. Senior woman.
RC: It’s all here. I’m taping everything you’re saying.
TB: (still reading) Rubbing alcohol: seventy percent alcohol will kill the virus. Um. Don’t dilute it. Don’t discount distilled white vinegar or vodka. Many people clean with vinegar. It’s cheap and natural.
TB: Oh! But Consumer Reports cautions there’s no evidence it protects you against the virus.
TB: Yeah OK. So soap and water. Or…they’re talking about bleach. I’m not making this house smell like bleach…
RC: …No. That’s so grotesque…
TB: Don’t worry. I’m with you on that. So rubbing alcohol and good old fashioned soap and water.
DC: Good plan.
The sound of chewing. A thump against the wall next door where a family with young children lives.
Rose Cullis is a queer playwright/educator whose last play, The Happy Woman was produced by Nightwood Theatre and shortlisted for a national award. She has had short stories, short plays, and monologues published in a number of theme-based anthologies and has written text for dance performances. She recently completed an MFA in Creative Writing at Guelph University where she wrote a new play called, The Amazing Grace Jones Spaceship, which is slated for production at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in 2022.
Read her story The House on Robinson Street previously published on Leopardskin and Limes here.