(MRS WALPURGIS' house. Monologue of MRS WALPURGIS to a group of RESIDENTS who enter as ANGEL and CLIENT exit in previous scene.)

MRS WALPURGIS:  There's something in the static,
     in the dots on the television screen
     between channels, before the test
     pattern. And God speaks
     between the notes
     of Kenny G, I hear him,
     it's not a cliché.
     Christ was a handsome man
     and loved all his children.
     He redeemed that slut Mary,
     but I know she was the only one.
     Since my husband's death
     I've kept my body intact —
     it doesn't embarrass me
     to talk about it. I wear
     a bra to bed and my breasts
     are firm and sharp.

     They're all connected,
     these papers. A photo shoot
     for the community rag —
     a stepping stone
     to the holy grail.
     A moral paper, this is not
     a sacrilege. See, I think about
     every implication.

     In the beginning was the word.
     The state paper is dedicated
     to prising out evil
     in the public interest.
     It takes a stout heart.
     It sees the brilliant aura
     of our leader,
     his Christian spirit
     shining through
     every tough decision.
     It never lets them go.
     That harlot looking innocent
     on the front cover!
     It's not long before
     I replace her: from darkness
     to light. My dark hair
     is not a hindrance,
     it still has lustre.

(MR CLIPBOARD enters and gives each RESIDENT a 'plate' before exiting.)
MRS WALPURGIS:  Would you like some sponge?
     A muffin or two?
     Thank you, do.

RESIDENTS (they share these following lines — sung):
     Carbohydrates dampen ardour
     make your will and temper harder
     set your mind to stamp out evil
     every nook and every cranny
     squeaky clean and sharp and canny
     no more slut or handsome devil
     everything is on the level

MRS WALPURGIS:  No! It won't harm your ulcer, it's quite bland.

     Cooking keeps idle hands
     from temptation

     everyone in the area knows me,
     the butcher keeps the best cuts
     behind the counter, a signifier
     in any community

(RESIDENTS, with fixed smiles, giggle.)
     the youngest lambs
     grace the plates
     of my guests,
     more tender
     than what they serve
     at receptions
     and festivals.

 (RESIDENTS, with fixed smiles, giggle.)

     It is essential
     we set the standards —
     right down to what we eat,
     how we groom
     and deport ourselves.
     This is for the children
     I saw that slut Angel
     near the school
     the other day.
     Heading for Smith Street.
     She makes her way
     right past the playground —
     back from Oaken Park
     where she takes her clients.
     They let her place her mouth
     around their appendages
     without protection.

     We now have a new law
     to stop that.
     Aids is everywhere.
     Smith Street
     is full of it,
     I don't doubt.
     We've more than
     our fair share
     of homosexuals here.
     But first things first.
     little by little.
     step by step.
(RESIDENTS exit. ANGEL appears upstage behind MRS WALPURGIS. She is watching MRS WALPURGIS. She isn't spying, she's just there, hovering. She sees everything, but it's as if she stares right through MRS WALPURGIS, deep into the audience.)
     Well, that was a great success,
     though I wish Mrs Hymenie
     would eat her cake
     over her plate,
     she leaves such a mess.

     I can see
     they're all thinking
     my way. They just needed
     a spark. A leader.

     It's like herding cattle.
     I shouldn't laugh.

     Time to relax
     With serepax!

 (She turns to exit upstage and starts, and screams, upon noticing ANGEL.)
ANGEL:  Lovely dress you're wearing.

MRS WALPURGIS:  A Grace Brothers special.

(To audience, as ANGEL exits.)
     The try-on wear-out
     kind of shopping!
     I deserve it. If they
     ever found out, they
     couldn't touch me. I do so much
     for the community.

Smith Street | Mudlark No. 19
Contents | Act 1, Scene Four