02. Playaday: An Ultimatum

Number Six:  An Ultimatum

Characters:

Carol, a Good Witch

Betsy, a Bad Witch

Hansel and Gretel, non-speaking

Setting:  The inside of a small cottage. The witches sit at a table, drinking tea.

CAROL

All I’m saying, Betsy, is that you’d best be careful. One thing leads to another, if you don’t watch out.

BETSY

But frightening children is so much fun, Carol. You know that.

CAROL

There’s a big difference between lurking in the forest and cackling at the kids and luring them into a cottage and threatening to eat them, is all I’m saying.

BETSY

Oh come on. I’d never eat them. Children are so.  .  stringy. If I were to eat anybody, it would be an alderman.

CAROL

What do you mean, if  you were to eat anybody? Have you seriously considered it?

BETSY

Well yes. Haven’t you? It’s part of the lore, after all. Baba Yaga and so forth.

CAROL

I think you’ll find, my dear, that the Baba Yaga did not eat people. It was rumored that she did. It was part of the reputation that she maintained. But she was a good witch. She helped people.

BETSY

Helped people. Bah. What kind of witching is that?

CAROL

The right kind. Scare the bejeezus out of them and help them. That’s what we do.

BETSY

I don’t know about that.

CAROL

I’m worried about you, Betsy. I truly am. That gingerbread cottage is one thing, but the cage outside, and the big oven. . .

BETSY

All right, Carol. I’ll level with you. I’m tired of being a good witch. I’m tired of playing a role. I want to know what it’s like to be bad. My whole life I’ve been a goody two-shoes. Haven’t you ever wanterd to be bad? Really bad?

CAROL

No. No I haven’t. Scary, sure. That’s fun. But bad? Hurting people? No.

BETSY

So you are a goody two-shoes.

CAROL

Of course not. But I would never act on my worst imaginings.

BETSY

Have you ever imagined eating children?

CAROL

No. I have not. 

BETSY

What are your worst imaginings then?

CAROL

Using the full force of my wrath on people who hurt children. 

BETSY

But you wouldn’t eat them?

CAROL

No. And I’m not going to tell you what I’ve imagined doing to them. But Betsy—if you go through with this plan of yours and actually hurt some children, you will find out.

BETSY

I will, eh? And what will you do to me? If you’re a sissy “good witch” you don’t know what wrath is like.

CAROL

Oh, that’s what you think. Beware, Betsy, beware. It’s been building up inside me for a hundred years, this wrath, this raging at all the injustice on the earth and in the world. If it is unleashed it won’t be pretty. And believe me, it will be unleashed on you, if need be.

BETSY

Well, I don’t believe it. My power against yours? No contest. I’m off.

(Stands.)

I have to finish the gingerbread house. I won’t invite you to the feast.

CAROL

(Stands.)

One more chance, Betsy. If you don’t stop it, now, you will be consumed by the very fire you prepare.

(Betsy exits, cackling.)

CAROL

(Calling.)

Gretel, Hansel.

(The children enter.)

Go to the cottage. Remember all that I have taught you. Go with my protection. All will be well.

(The children bow, and exit.)

(Carol picks up her broomstick and follows.)

 

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