.          all rights belong to Tanis Harms, © 2016
.             refer to

THE BIDDING – written by Tanis Harms

PREMISE:     A girl born into debt, finds her
.            experiences as a slave more and more trying,
.            until she discovers freedom; but even after
.            her debt is paid, she struggles with trust
.            and her feelings of worthlessness
STYLE:       allegorical drama (like Pilgrim’s Progress)
TOPIC:       bondage to sin, salvation
SCRIPTURE:   Romans 8

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SCRIPT:                  ACT 1
.                     STAGE RIGHT

(It is not obvious yet, but KELLY and her mother, BARB,
are chained to a hitching post at the side of the room.  
Even though they’re both dressed in servant’s uniforms,
KELLY and BARB lounge on the sofa, sipping drinks.)

BARB         (sighs)  Isn’t this the life?

KELLY        (looking around)  It’s okay...
.            (defensively with a shrug)  What?...
.            What did you want me to say?

BARB         Something like, thank you, Mom,
.            you’re the greatest.
.            I don’t know where I’d be without you...
.            and maybe...
.            I only hope to be as successful as you-

KELLY        Mom, seriously.  I know there must be
.            more to life than just this...
.            WHAT is your big concern?

BARB         Kelly, you will be coming of age soon...
.            This is serious.  Do you really think
.            you’re ready for that?
.                                                   2
KELLY        You have taught me what my lot
.            in life is.  And because of you-

BARB         I have done the best I can.
.            It’s because of my parents,
.            and their parents before them!  and so on!
.            That is why we have a lifetime of debt,
.            which cannot be undone, so you may as well
.            make the most of it – do the best you can.
.            There’s nothing more to life than this,
.            so don’t go getting any grand illusions.

(Spectacularly dressed, MRS. GREEN enters grandly.)

MRS. GREEN   Listen to your mother, Kelly!

KELLY        (coyly)  Good morning, Mrs. Green.
.            You look fabulous, as usual.

MRS. GREEN   (poses to show off her dress)
.            You like?  We got it yesterday.

KELLY        (dryly)  You’re going to have to build on
.            another room just for your clothes.

BARB         (ignoring KELLY’s comment)
.            I think you look simply glowing.

MRS. GREEN   Well, I’m sure the extravagant
.            spa-weekend and chemical peel paid off.
.            (touches her face lightly, then suddenly...)
.            But not a word to anyone!  Especially
.            that whiny neighbor – what’s her name?

BARB         Pert?  You’re worth way more than her.

KELLY        (dryly)  And as far as we know,
.            your beauty is completely natural.

(MRS. GREEN sits down in the chair lightly and primly,
then turns sarcastic and demanding.)

MRS. GREEN   Well– don’t get too comfortable over there,
.            Barb!  Where is my morning tea?
.            You know I don’t like to wait.
.                                                     3
(BARB anxiously motions for KELLY to follow as
they quickly get a tray of tea ready at the side,
their chains now obvious, but they maneuver easily enough
as if they are used to them.  MRS. GREEN keeps talking.)

MRS. GREEN   You must remember – you are - a - SLAVE,
.            and that is all you ever will be.
.            But if you work hard and keep me happy,
.            then you will be happy.  Understand?

KELLY        But - I’m coming of age soon.

(MRS. GREEN notices the warning glance that
BARB throws at KELLY.)

MRS. GREEN   You do not want to keep working for me?
.            You’d be a fool not to keep working
.            for me!  You MUST keep working for me!
.            I need you!

BARB         This is what I keep telling her.

(BARB finally gives MRS. GREEN her cup of tea.)

KELLY        If I understand things correctly,
.            I do have some control over my destiny.

(KELLY watches MRS. GREEN slowly sip at her tea,
wishfully waiting for some sign of hope.)

MRS. GREEN   I would be quite upset if you did not keep
.            serving me.  You do such a thorough job.
.            So let us hear no more of this sort of talk.
.            You will simply keep doing what you
.            were raised to do.  So what are you doing
.            just standing around?  This estate
.            is not able to look good all on its own.

(BARB talks as she and KELLY quickly get to dusting
and fluffing pillows and rearranging things.)

BARB         ONE of the grandest estates in the region.

MRS. GREEN   ONE – of the grandest???!!!
.            (taps her forehead, fretting)
.                                                    4
BARB         But definitely the nicest!

MRS. GREEN   I cannot even forget you just said that.
.            We need to do something to fix this.
.            Maybe buy a few more - home accessories?

KELLY        Doesn’t there come a time when
.            you have enough?

MRS. GREEN   You can never have enough!...
.            (attempting to calm herself)
.            I’m thinking crystal!  Crystal figurines!

BARB         (melting)  Oh, I love crystal figurines.

MRS. GREEN   Good, that settles it.  We shall all
.            go shopping this afternoon –

KELLY        Why?  Just so you can say you have things?
.            Just so there are more things to dust?

BARB         No-no.  She doesn’t mean that.
.            We love to dust pretty things.

(BARB gives KELLY an angry, warning glance.  And when
KELLY shrugs defiantly, BARB asks her bitingly...)

BARB         I thought you wanted more out of life!?

KELLY        Not just more things.  I want - MORE!

(MRS. GREEN glares.  Then there is a knock at the door.)

BARB         You can get that!  I’m too busy
.            making pretty things look prettier!

(As BARB dusts a knick-knack, she admires it and shows it
to MRS.GREEN to admire.  Meanwhile, even while attached
to the hitching post, KELLY can circle around and
reach the door.  Opening it, MR. MAGNUS steps in.
MRS. GREEN is fairly pleased to see MR. MAGNUS,
as she likes anyone who might do something for her.)

MRS. GREEN   Why, Mr. Magnus!  I’m just having tea.
.            Do you care to join me?
.                                                    5
KELLY        Won’t you come in?

(MR. MAGNUS steps in, removing his hat, and as he hands
it to KELLY, he takes a moment to study her.  MR. MAGNUS
bows slightly at MRS. GREEN before sitting on the sofa.  
KELLY then gets busy preparing a cup of tea for him.)

MRS. GREEN   And what brings you here today?

MR. MAGNUS   I am looking for an assistant, and was
.            wondering if you knew of anyone capable.

(KELLY eagerly hands the tea to MR. MAGNUS.)

KELLY        I can do it! Whatever it is–I can do it!

MR. MAGNUS   I like your enthusiasm.

MRS. GREEN   No! She cannot!  She does too much for me!

KELLY        Maybe I could – do both?  Please!
.            You would not lose me.   I promise.
.            I can do both!

(KELLY looks pleadingly to MRS. GREEN, who sullenly
sips at her tea, thinking.)

BARB         Careful, dear, do not be too hasty.
.            You should first hear what is required.
.            I doubt I could pick up the slack
.            if you are too busy elsewhere.

KELLY        That’s SO like you - to just think
.            about yourself!  What about my happiness?
.            Ugh, you sound like you should be working
.            for that whiny neighbor – Pert!

MRS. GREEN   Do not even joke!  Now enough of this!
.            Just so that I am not short-changed
.            on the deal, what will the arrangement be?

MR. MAGNUS   I need someone from nine to five.
.            Maybe some overtime.  And perhaps a bit
.            on the weekends...

KELLY        (to MRS. GREEN)  I will work for you     6
.            every evening and through the night.
.            (to MR.MAGNUS)  And, I can start right now!

(KELLY hands MR. MAGNUS his hat with excitement.)

MRS. GREEN   Just as long as I benefit!  Well?
.            Go ahead.  She’s yours for the day.
.            (to KELLY) But remember, Kelly, YOU OWE ME!

(Worried what this might mean, KELLY studies MRS. GREEN,
while MR. MAGNUS unhitches the chain and starts to
lead her out, like on a dog leash.  BARB tries to
hide her concern by keeping busy tidying.)


(BARB is now polishing the teapot when there’s
a knock at the door.  MRS. GREEN rushes in to check.)

MRS. GREEN   Is Kelly back?  Who is it?
.            Barb, answer the door, will you!

(Entering, MR. MAGNUS has a tight grip on the chain.
KELLY holds a gift behind her back.)

MRS. GREEN   It’s about time!

(MR. MAGNUS struggles to hand over the chain.
MRS. GREEN finally grabs the end and does it herself.)

MR. MAGNUS   See you tomorrow. (exits with a nod)

KELLY        I cannot wait.

MRS. GREEN   (spinning around)  You cannot wait?!
.            What about me?

(KELLY quickly holds out the gift to MRS. GREEN who now
suddenly gushes and puts pleased hands up to her mouth.)

MRS. GREEN   Oh, a gift for me?  Of course for me.
.            After all, I most certainly deserve it!
.            Oh, what can it be?
.            (eagerly unwraps and holds up a lipstick)

KELLY        It’s the latest color for              7
.            this fashion season.

BARB         (doubtful)  Why not a crystal figurine?

MRS. GREEN   I love it, but... (looks in box, irked)
.            You did not get me the eyeliner!?

KELLY        The lipstick cost a fortune.
.            It’s that top name brand you prefer.

MRS. GREEN   I suppose it’ll do for now...  Except-
.            no – I really want the eyeliner right now!
.            It’s the least I deserve.
.            Come on!  We’re going shopping.

(MRS. GREEN unhitches both KELLY and BARB.  Grabbing
a purse, MRS. GREEN shoves it into KELLY’S hands,
then leads KELLY and BARB “out”.)


.                      STAGE LEFT

(MR. MAGNUS monitors the area as if in charge, but
the brightly dressed SALESGIRL doesn’t seem to notice him
at all.  SALESGIRL stands alert, holding a container
of blush when MRS. GREEN enters leading KELLY and BARB.)

MRS. GREEN   Mr. Magnus, always recruiting, I see.

MR. MAGNUS   Mrs. Green, it is not shocking
.            to see you here.

(MR. MAGNUS continues to lurk and listen in
as SALESGIRL looks at KELLY and BARB with a smile.
SALESGIRL also never really looks at MRS. GREEN, as
SALESGIRL holds out some blush for KELLY to see.)

SALESGIRL    (politely)  How are you today?  We are
.            promoting your brand of blush, tonight.

MRS. GREEN   I need to have the eyeliner.

KELLY        Nice!  But do you HAVE the eyeliner?

SALESGIRL    I can get that for you, if you wish.     8

MRS. GREEN   Well, now I want both.

(Sighing, KELLY takes the blush from SALESGIRL to study.
MR. CARY, dressed nicely but not flashy, is followed by
the alert BODYGUARD.  Both stop behind them and watch.)

KELLY        (to SALES GIRL) Let me think about this...

MRS. GREEN   Think about it?  I NEED to have both!

(KELLY glances back to MRS. GREEN with a knowing look,
then casually hands the blush to BARB while pretending
to think then suddenly goes into her purse.)

KELLY        (to SALESGIRL)  While my mom looks around,
.            I may as well pay for that right now.
.            JUST the eyeliner.  I don’t care that
.            it’s not on sale. When you need something-
.            you just need it!  Isn’t that right?

(KELLY pulls out a credit card to give to SALESGIRL.)

SALESGIRL    I’ll be right back with your merchandise.

(SALESGIRL exits.  MR. MAGNUS has seen everything,
and gives a mild look of being impressed.  Grimacing,
KELLY quickly grabs the blush away from BARB and turns
to stick it into her purse.  As she does,
she notices MR. CARY’s look of disappointment.
Ashamed and scared, KELLY quickly turns to look away.
Indignant, MRS. GREEN strikes an arrogant pose.  
BARB has seen KELLY looking at MR. CARY and
quickly holds an aside conversation with KELLY.)

BARB         Whatever you do, never look at that man.

KELLY        (slyly, suspiciously glances back at MR. CARY)
.            I heard someone say that he was nice.

BARB         Ugh!  No!  Not really.  You see,
.            I’ve spoken to him a few times.
.            But he never gives me what I ask for.

KELLY        Why would you ask him for anything?
.                                                    9
BARB         Because he’s rich...  And yes, some say –
.            he’s supposed to be kind and generous.
.            (indignantly)  Ha!  That’s a laugh.  So,
.            anyway, just pretend you do not see him.

(MR. WARDEN enters at the other side of stage and
closely keeps an eye on things, glaring at MR. CARY
from time to time.  KELLY now notices MR. WARDEN,
but keeps glancing back at MR. CARY.)

KELLY        I hope I’m not in trouble.

MRS. GREEN   You’re fine, dear.  If anyone says anything,
.            just deny it.  And if you must,
.            just say that you bought it yesterday
.            and forgot to remove the sticker.
.            You buy so much at this store –
.            that by now - they owe you something.

MR. MAGNUS   It’s nice to see just how far you’ll go
.            in order to get what you want.
.            That’ll get you far in life.

KELLY        (peering back at MR. CARY again)
.            Seriously, why is he still there?

BARB         He seems to ALWAYS be there.
.            Just ignore him.  See?  In my mind,
.            he really does not exist.

(As KELLY nods knowingly, MR. CARY and BODYGUARD
exit solemnly and silently.  KELLY is now self-conscious
about MR. WARDEN’S steady gaze on her.  
BARB waves timidly at MR. WARDEN.)

KELLY        And just who is THAT?

BARB         Ah, now, you really want to treat him nicely.
.            He’s the one who can make things
.            happen for you.  And, I mean, you do not
.            want to make him angry, either.

MRS. GREEN   (stamps her foot)  What is taking that girl
.            so long?  Seriously, I want to leave.

(MRS. GREEN sees MR. WARDEN and nods a bow.          10
As MR. WARDEN exits, SALESGIRL hurries in.  She holds
a tiny shopping bag and the credit card out to KELLY.)

MRS. GREEN   Well, it’s about time!

SALESGIRL    Sorry, and thank you.  Oh, and where did you
.            put the blush?  You were just looking at it?

KELLY        What blush?  Oh that, no, we decided -
.            it was the wrong color and put it back.

(SALESGIRL nods cautiously and slowly exits.
MR. MAGNUS sidles up to KELLY.)

MRS. GREEN   (to KELLY)  Come on, I saw something else
.            that would look great on me.

MR. MAGNUS   I can see a lot of overtime in your future,
.            unless you use more of that creative and
.            clever talent of yours.  Am I right?  

(KELLY gives MR. MAGNUS a worried look.  SALESGIRL enters
again and crosses the stage, still “working.”)

MR. MAGNUS   Now, I’ve got other things to do.
.            I’ll see you tomorrow.
.               (follows SALESGIRL off stage while talking,
.                but SALESGIRL still does not notice him)
.            If you’re interested,
.            I can help you climb the corporate ladder.
.            You’re just the kind of person
.            we’re looking for.

(As MRS. GREEN starts to lead BARB and KELLY out,
MS. SPILT coyly approaches, studying MRS. GREEN,
then looks KELLY up and down.)

MS. SPILT    Mrs. Green! I LOVE your look!  And, I love
.            your slave.  Are you tired of her yet?
.            You have to know, I can offer a life
.            that is full of pleasure.

KELLY        I already have that.

MS. SPILT    But do you feel desirable?
.                                                     11
BARB         Enough of this nonsense.  I did not
.            raise a daughter who would even think
.            about throwing herself at strangers.

MRS. GREEN   AND, I have a lot of things!  More than
.            you have, anyway.  (squints at MS. SPILT)

MS. SPILT    Oh please.  Why just desire things
.            when you could be the thing that is desired?
.            Are you curious?  Or just jealous?
.            Hope to see you around, Kelly.

(MRS. GREEN braces herself, and quickly exits,
pulling KELLY and BARB behind her.
MS. SPILT exits, very pleased with herself.)


.                     STAGE RIGHT

(BARB busies herself with tidying when MRS. GREEN enters
the room while putting on a dazzling pair of earrings.)

BARB         Oh pretty!  Here, let me help you with that.
.            So what are the plans for tonight?
.            (rushes over to put on the earrings)

MRS. GREEN   I’m thinking I need to focus on myself.  
.            If you could bring me
.            the most recent magazine.
.            There were a few things in there
.            that I think I really need to have.

(As BARB fetches a magazine for MRS. GREEN, KELLY enters
with MR. MAGNUS, who holds the end of the chain up,
daring MRS. GREEN to take it from his hand.  
KELLY finds it amusing, as MRS. GREEN saunters over
and snatches it away to secure to the hitching post.)

MR. MAGNUS   See you tomorrow, bright and early!

(MRS. GREEN notices the shopping bag in KELLY’s hand.)

MRS. GREEN   What’s that?  What did you get me?

(KELLY takes out a crystal figurine and holds it up    12
in front of BARB’S face, then purposefully sets it onto
the end table.  BARB gushes over it like it’s hers.)

BARB         It’s SO beautiful!

MRS. GREEN   Is that it?

KELLY        That was not cheap.

MRS. GREEN   But – that is more for the house –
.            I mean, I know how much Barb loves
.            to clean pretty things, but I also
.            have to look good.

KELLY        I’m just trying to keep everyone happy.

BARB         (to KELLY)  Is this a gift, then,
.            or just a way to manipulate me?

KELLY        I can always take it back.

BARB         No-no!  Whatever.  It’s very nice!
.            in fact, I’m going to polish this right now.

MRS. GREEN   What - about - me?

KELLY        There’s suddenly a lot of things
.            I have to think about.

(There is a slow, ominous knock at the door.  
Getting a feeling of dread, KELLY just stands there,
staring in the direction of the door, afraid to answer.)

MRS. GREEN   You have to answer the door, Kelly.

(KELLY opens the door without a word, and
MR. WARDEN steps in with great authority.  
MRS. GREEN quickly stands up and nods a bow.
BARB also stands at attention, slightly in awe.)

MR. WARDEN   It is time.

(MRS. GREEN nods, sullenly.  MR. WARDEN sets
his eyes on KELLY, who starts to shrink as
he begins to unhitch her chain.)
.                                                     13
KELLY        For what?  Who are you?

BARB         He’s the one who owns you, dear.

MR. WARDEN   You don’t have to be afraid.  Or...
.            be VERY afraid.  (curtly to MRS. GREEN)
.            If you are coming, bring HER with you!

(Motioning to BARB, MR. WARDEN then leads KELLY out.  
MRS. GREEN quickly unhitches BARB to exit.)

BARB         No, please - I want to stay.
.            Can’t I just stay here with everything?
.            Someone should stay here to
.            protect everything.


.                      STAGE LEFT

(Leading KELLY, MR. WARDEN slowly walks into the square.)

KELLY        Where – where are you taking me?
.            What’s happening?

(MRS. GREEN rushes in to catch up, leading BARB.)

MRS. GREEN   Don’t worry, dear.  I’ll try my hardest
.            to get you back.  Isn’t that right, Barb!?

(MR. WARDEN motions for KELLY to step onto the
auctioning block.  KELLY steps up and slowly looks around
as people start to appear:  MR. MAGNUS, MS. SPILT, WILLIAM,
SCHLOW, GALE, and PERT.  Annoyed, MRS. GREEN keeps
shuffling over, while keeping a tight hold on BARB’S chain.)

MR. WARDEN   Looks like all the serious bidders are here.
.            In case anyone forgets the rules: you can bid,
.            but she gets to choose.  Her name is Kelly.
.            And unless there are any questions -

KELLY        Wait!  I don’t understand.

MR. WARDEN   When you come of age, I own you outright.
.                                                     14
KELLY        Because of the family debt?

MR. WARDEN   Exactly.  It’s all THEIR fault, so it is
.            what it is.  And now – I can lease you out.
.            But I will always own you.

KELLY        I thought you just said I could choose?

MR. WARDEN   And if you choose wisely, you might serve
.            someone who fills your heart’s desire.
.            (to ALL)  So – if everyone is ready -
.            Let the bidding begin.

(MRS. GREEN quickly but nervously raises her hand.)

MRS. GREEN   I would like her back.  I bid – as you
.            already know - a lifestyle that has it all.

MR. MAGNUS   Mrs. Green, are you trying to cut me
.            out of our deal?  Without my bid,
.            that lifestyle can only go so far.
.            (to ALL)  So I bid a corporate position
.            with riches and power, which -
.            in combination with Mrs. Green’s bid –
.            includes a fabulous looking lifestyle.

WILLIAM      (steps forward with a prayerful bow)
.            My bid goes beyond your power, Mr. Magnus.
.            (earnestly to KELLY)  Kelly, come with me,
.            and you will experience real power –
.            It just requires a religious dedication –
.            a kind of - losing yourself-

MS. SPILT    But if you’re willing to go to that extent,
.            you may as well accept my bid, darling,
.            which at least allows you to get close
.            to other people, without that bothersome
.            dedication-thing.

WILLIAM      You did not let me finish.  When you
.            lose yourself, you can find yourself.
.            Kelly, if you accept my bid –
.            there is serenity.  Wisdom of the ages.
.            Whatever you want to do – you can do it –
.            because you would control your own destiny.
.                                                     15
(KELLY is becoming intrigued with WILLIAM’S bid,
until MR. CARY enters with BODYGUARD and interrupts.)

MR. CARY     You thought you could start
.            the bidding without me?

MR. WARDEN   (glibly)  Although, I do not know why
.            you even bother.  You have nothing
.            of interest to offer.

MR. CARY     I will remind you of my firm bid.

KELLY        What is that?

MR. CARY     Your freedom.  Freedom from your debt.

KELLY        You mean – my family’s debt.
.            I personally do not have any debt.
.            I have done nothing wrong... oh.

(KELLY suddenly remembers stealing and keeps quiet.)

MR. CARY     Yet you can STILL have your freedom.

(KELLY is still upset, but curious.)

GALE         Ha!  Impossible!  The debt owed is way
.            beyond anything that anyone could ever pay.
.            No one has THAT MUCH.

PERT         You do realize- THAT amount is way more
.            than what she is worth, or could
.            ever work off in her entire lifetime.

BARB         You would not be interested, dear.

KELLY        (to BARB)  Why?  I want to know my options.

BARB         It's not a good deal.  It just doesn't work.

MRS. GREEN   Kelly, dear, you would not like it, at all.
.            It would be a complete change from everything
.            you know.  You’d soon have a whole bunch of
.            restrictions that you’d have to worry about.
.            Please, just stay with me – and Mr. Magnus.
.                                                     16
MR. WARDEN   Come on, everyone, I know you can do better
.            than this.  Look at her, she shows potential.

MR. MAGNUS   That’s right.  Especially under my guidance,
.            I have seen you work very hard.

SCHLOW       Although, I could break her of that.

KELLY        NEVER going to happen.

SCHLOW       Never say never.  And when you’re ready,
.            you’ll know where to find me.
.            Everybody does.  I’m just around the corner
.            from nothing.

(SCHLOW saunters away.)

MR. CARY     Kelly- you can be free-

MRS. GREEN   (puts a hand out to MR. CARY)  Shhhhhh...

MR. WARDEN   Kelly, you’re wasting your time just
.            thinking about it.  And you’d only
.            wind up being disappointed.

KELLY        (to MR. CARY)  I – I – don’t know you.
.            So, how could I even trust you?

MR. WARDEN   (gleefully)  That’s right.  Exactly!
.            Accepting his bid requires that you
.            trust him.  While, with all the others here,
.            you just have to trust in yourself – which
.            is something you are still able to control.
.            So... you reject his offer then?

KELLY        Y-yes.  I do.

MR. WARDEN   You heard her.

(MR. CARY gives one solemn nod and exits, with
BODYGUARD following.)

MR. WARDEN   Let us continue, shall we?
.            (looking at GALE and PERT)
.            Gale?  Pert?  Are you not interested?
.                                                     17
GALE         Eh, maybe later.  (smug-like taunting)
.            I don’t think she’s ready
.            for what I have to offer.

KELLY        And what is that?

GALE         If you have to ask, you’re not ready.
.            And if you ever reach that point,
.            I will find YOU.

(GALE [pretend] spits on the ground and swaggers away.
PERT rolls her eyes, then quickly forces a smile,
putting a hand to her chest, preparing her speech,
finally issuing forth a very weak, hopeless sigh.)

PERT         I’m sorry. I’m just not ready for this.
.            And I don’t think Kelly is, either.
.            Maybe one day, but – certainly - not now.
.            It’s not that I don’t want her to serve me,
.            it’s just – that – ah – I’m sorry-
.            it’s just too sad to even think about.

(PERT’S hand shakes as she puts it up to her eyes
to dab away at the invisible tears.  She then rushes out,
sobbing dramatically.  MRS. GREEN rolls her eyes.)

MR. MAGNUS   If Gale were still here, she’d hunt
.            her down and beat the snot out of her.
.            (chuckles, then quickly)  Am I right?

MR. WARDEN   Are all the bids in?

WILLIAM      I wish add something to my bid.

Mr. MAGNUS   Yes?  And what might that be?

WILLIAM      Having something to believe in.
.            Enlightenment- and finding TRUE freedom.

(This gets KELLY’S attention and she stares intently
at WILLIAM as if trying to read his sincerity.
MRS. GREEN largely waves that off.)

MR. MAGNUS   That is work - without a payoff.

WILLIAM      (always maintaining serene disposition)  18
.            The payoff is the feeling of freedom.

MR. WARDEN   Kelly?  Have you made a decision?

KELLY        I will choose to go - with –

(MRS. GREEN is hopefully pleading, until...)

KELLY        William.

(WILLIAM looks stoically proud and fierce.
MRS. GREEN’S mouth drops open and she freezes in shock.)

MR. WARDEN   A very wise choice indeed, Kelly.
.            The bid is closed.

(MR. WARDEN hands the end of the chain to WILLIAM,
who gives KELLY a hand to take, so she can step down
from the box.  MS. SPILT touches KELLY’S cheek softly.)

MS. SPILT    If you ever find yourself lonely,
.            remember, I’m always around.

(MS. SPILT struts off slowly, sultry-like.
MRS. GREEN suddenly comes out of her shock.)

MRS. GREEN   WHAT?!  WHAT?!  How could she?

(MRS. GREEN turns to BARB, who shrugs helplessly.)

MR. MAGNUS   Well, I did not see that coming.

KELLY        Mom, did you want to join me?

BARB         (shaking her head without seeing)
.            I need to get back to the house.

(MRS. GREEN reluctantly exits, leading BARB out.
MR. MAGNUS stops to say a word to KELLY.)

MR. MAGNUS   I could have taken you places, Kelly.

WILLIAM      (with smug, fake piety to MR. MAGNUS)
.            She chose a higher calling.  It’s just sad
.            that you are too proud to see it.
.                                                     19
(MR. MAGNUS shakes his head with disbelief and exits.)


.                        ACT 2
.                      STAGE LEFT

(WILLIAM and KELLY sit on the ground, chain is hidden.)

KELLY        I don’t quite understand how ringing bells
.            is going to set me free.  But I did find
.            serving at the soup kitchen and hospital
.            very fulfilling.  It made me feel- so good.

WILLIAM      You have experienced the first step
.            towards gaining enlightenment.
.            When you lose yourself in serving,
.            you can gain status to outweigh the debt.

KELLY        So my good deeds are worth more than money,
.            which will help to pay my debt.

WILLIAM      Ahhhhh, you already grow in wisdom.

KELLY        So, does Mr. Warden know about this?
.            Is it like a point system?
.            Like, when I serve soup to homeless people,
.            how much of my debt is taken away?

WILLIAM      You are becoming too literal, which
.            actually takes AWAY from your freedom.
.            Come, it is now time to meditate.
.               (gets into a lotus position)
.            First, you must sit like this.
.            The legs form an intertwined illustration
.            of unity. (purposefully positioning arms)
.            Holding your arms out like this,
.            represents the openness to receive.
.            Putting your fingers up, to a point,
.            demonstrates your willingness
.            to catch whatever comes to you.
.            (closes his eyes)  Now empty your mind.

KELLY        EMPTY my mind?  I thought meditation
.            is to ponder and think through things.
.                                                     20
WILLIAM      Again, too literal.  You are missing
.            the point, because you are still
.            not enlightened.  You will know you have
.            reached enlightenment - when you are able
.            to understand whatever it is I teach you.  
.            Enlightenment - is having nothing there
.            to hinder you.  Which – is the freeing
.            of the mind.  Then - it becomes whatever
.            you make it to be.  Now relax and meditate.

KELLY        If it’s whatever I make it,  
.            then why do I need you?

WILLIAM      You are the most difficult servant
.            I have ever come upon.

KELLY        (sincerely)  I just want to understand.

WILLIAM      Okay.  Good.  Ah... I - am very necessary
.            to this process.  I am your spiritual guide.
.            You need to be serving OTHERS, not yourself.
.            You need to always be working off your debt.
.            Now, meditate – (KELLY tries again)
.            on what nothingness means.
.            Feel the nothingness...  this - is what–
.            will set you free.

(KELLY smiles gently, then opens her eyes.)

KELLY        I do feel free.

WILLIAM      Good, you have reached the higher state
.            of feeling free.

(KELLY tries to happily go back to meditating, but
suddenly finds the chain around neck itchy and pulling.
KELLY finds and adjusts the chain, then studies it.)

WILLIAM      What is it now?

KELLY        I am not free!  I’m not free at all!
.            I’m still a slave.  And for days now,
.            I have been a slave to all these rules,
.            and procedures, magic chants, and
.            ceremonies that do not make any sense.
.                                                     21
WILLIAM      Because you are not enlightened yet!

KELLY        No!  Stop with the word games!
.            And the mind games!  This is empty.
.            I still feel empty.  Do you know
.            what I gave up in order to pursue this?

WILLAIM      Do you forget so quickly?
.            You were empty while doing those things.

KELLY        I feel empty doing this.
.            I may as well get something out of it.
.            So!  I demand to be taken back
.            to Mrs. Green at once!

WILLIAM      You are just speaking out of weakness.
.            You are so close to reaching utopia.

KELLY        With a chain still around my neck?

(MS. SPILT. walks by and sees KELLY.)

MS. SPILT    Why hello, Kelly.  How are you, my dear?
.            Sounds like your service with William
.            is not what you expected?

KELLY        Hardly!  And he just about to return me
.            to Mrs. Green-

WILLIAM      Kelly, what about your obligations?

KELLY        Do you mean, my debt?  I’ve just realized
.            that I can never work off that debt.
.            And all you’re trying to tell me is that
.            I can trick myself into ignoring my debt.
.            The amount is just - way - too - much.
.            There is nothing that can be done about it.
.            I may as well enjoy myself as best as I can.

MS. SPILT    And I most certainly can help you with that!
.            Come with me, and I will teach you
.            the art of enjoyment.  It will be
.            your quickest and easiest way of escape.

KELLY        Yes!  Done!  Fine by me!
.                                                     22
MS. SPILT    (to WILLIAM)  You heard her.

WILLIAM      (hands end of the chain to MS. SPILT)
.            Big regrets come from hasty decisions.

KELLY        Maybe I need to do something hasty.
.            Maybe that will set me free?  

(WILLIAM arrogantly shakes his head and exits.)

MS. SPILT    Quite right, my dear.  Now!
.            It’s time to party the night away.

KELLY        It’s still daylight.

MS. SPILT    Oh, honey!  You really do need to loosen up.
.            Anytime is the time to party your LIFE away.
.            There, that’s my real motto.  And THAT -
.            is true freedom. Having fun, and taking things
.            that will alter the feeling of your existence
.            WITHOUT having to go through all of that
.            dreary religious rigmarole.
.            THIS is your new religion!  
.              (turns KELLY around to face away, holds
.              her shoulders and sways her side to side)
.            Do what feels good.  Whatever feels good,
.            must be good.  Right?  Now, come on, let’s
.            find a party.  And if we cannot find one,
.            we will get one started.

(MS. SPILT gently pushes KELLY out, while still
holding onto the end of the chain.)


.                      STAGE LEFT  

(KELLY enters, with MS. SPILT following behind, still
holding the chain.  They both stagger and collapse.
MS. SPILT laughs quietly but out of control.)

KELLY        What did I all do last night?-Don’t tell me.
.            I don’t think I really want to know.
.            I already feel worthless as it is.

MS. SPILT    (catching her breath)  You had fun.     23

KELLY        I did?  I can’t even remember,
.            and I have to trust you to tell me
.            that I had fun.

(SALESGIRL walks by and MS. SPILT points her out,

MS. SPILT    Hey, more fun than that poor soul,
.            who slaves away every day.
.            NOT for me!

(SALESGIRL only sees KELLY and approaches slightly.)

SALESGIRL    Hi.  It’s Kelly, isn’t it?

KELLY        Yeah.  Good memory.

SALESGIRL    I heard that MR. CARY bid for you.
.            Why did you not accept?

MS. SPILT    Ugh, that stuff is for wimps!

KELLY        It’s really not for me.  It’s nice
.            to be wanted, though, isn’t it?

(MS. SPILT and KELLY laugh at the inside joke.
SALESGIRL is a little uncomfortable with the comment.)

SALESGIRL    Well, I should be going now.
.            Nice – to see you again.  Take care.
.            You know, if you ever want to talk.

(MS. SPILT and KELLY break into laughter again,
as SALESGIRL exits.)

MS. SPILT    If you ever want to talk!  Ha-ha-ha!

KELLY        What a loser!

(SALESGIRL looks back as if she heard that, then exits.

KELLY        So now what?  What happens after
.            the party’s over?

MS. SPILT    The party is never over, sister.         24
.            We have places to go, and people to see.
.            And – we need things – you know –
.            to keep the feeling alive and well.

(SCHLOW casually struts in.)

SCHLOW       You called?

KELLY        How did you know?

SCHLOW       Just a sense I have.

MS. SPILT    We need what you got.

SCHLOW       Awesome, man.  Of course, it’s
.            going to cost you.

MS. SPILT    We can make some other deal, right?

(SCHLOW sits down next to them.)

SCHLOW       That might take the price down a bit.
.            There comes a point when I do need
.            cold hard cash.  THEN we can do nothing
.            but sit here all day, and feel the rush.

(MS. SPILT swings her head toward KELLY and stares.
It’s a question, but she assumes KELLY should
figure it out very quickly.)

MS. SPILT    Any ideas?

KELLY        For what?

MS. SPILT    To get the money.  Come on, you’re smart.
.            Think of something.  I need what I need –
.            and soon.

KELLY        I hear what you’re saying, but, no... and...
.            all my money is gone now.  And I kind of
.            cut all ties with anyone who COULD help-

MS. SPILT    Are you sure?  You don’t think you could
.            sweet-talk your mom into giving us something?
.            Or use blackmail, or do the guilt-trip-thing?
.                                                     24
KELLY        No.  She has only ever cared about herself.
.            It’s all about working for Mrs. Green.

MS. SPILT    But you’re my girl, right?  I need you.
.            I need you to come through for me.
.            Whatever it takes!  That IS what you say.
.            Wait, I know a way.

KELLY        I said “no”.  I’m not doing that again.

MS. SPILT    But why not?  You’re nothing but trash,
.            anyway.  You are spoiled goods.
.            Worthless and damaged.

KELLY        Stop it!

MS. SPILT    Only stating the truth.  What?
.            You’re going to try to deny it?  You are
.            nothing, and you’re even less without us.

KELLY        Shut – up!

(GALE approaches, intense and ready to fight.)

GALE         Hey!  You telling me to shut up?
.            Are you picking a fight?

KELLY        Why would we want to fight?

GALE         ‘Cause I feel like picking a fight.

KELLY        You know, I’m almost angry enough.

GALE         Come on then, what are you waiting for?

KELLY        Just leave me alone.

GALE         Scared, Huh?  Are you scared of me?
.            You should be.  Because I don’t care
.            (pointing)  about you – or you – or you-

KELLY        Do you care about yourself?

GALE         Not really.  No!

KELLY        That’s kind of sad.                      34

GALE         And - I don’t care.  See how simple that is?

(GALE kicks KELLY.)

KELLY        Stop it.

(GALE kicks KELLY again.)

KELLY        What are you doing?

GALE         I hate you.  And I’m going to kill you!

MS. SPILT    (warning)  Psst.

(BODYGUARD enters, and ALL quickly act innocent.
GALE glances behind her.  KELLY also notices.)

KELLY        Who is that?

GALE         (spitefully)  I guess he’s the one
.            who just saved your life.
.            I was going to kill you.

SCHLOW       He’s a bodyguard.  Works for MR. CARY.
.            He’ll report us and take us right
.            to the authorities – so - just be cool.

GALE         (to KELLY)  Don’t even think about
.            ratting on me.  If you do, I’ll kill you.
.            Even if I’m locked up, I’ll find a way
.            to kill you.

SCHLOW       Don’t you dare, Kelly.  If you rat on Gale,
.            we’ll all get in trouble.  Meaning, you too.

KELLY        Okay-okay- I’m cool.

(BODYGUARD gives them one more suspicious look
then moves on.  GALE gloats over KELLY.)

GALE         I hate you so much.

KELLY        I hate you, too.  But, just - pick on
.            someone else.
.                                                     27
GALE         Who you do have in mind?

KELLY        I don’t have ANYBODY in mind.

GALE         Yes you do.  Who is it?  Who are you
.            really mad at?  Come on, tell me.
.            Or I’ll keep kicking you.

MS. SPILT    If you damage her looks, she’s not going
.            to do me much good anymore.

GALE         Good!  (kicking KELLY)

KELLY        (standing up)  You really are a case.

GALE         Come at me, then.  I dare you.

MS. SPILT    I’m leaving.  I can find better trash  
.            to hang with.  (to KELLY)  Coming?

KELLY        No!  Not after how you treated me.

(GALE grabs the chain away from MS. SPILT, while MS. SPILT
and SCHLOW cautiously but quickly help each other up.)

MS. SPILT    You’ll be back.  Especially when you start
.            to withdrawal.

(GALE yells after MS. SPILT and SCHLOW as they exit.)

GALE         She can kick it on her own!
.            Just get out of here.  Leave us alone!
.            (to KELLY)  Now, you still haven’t told me
.            who you want to hurt.

KELLY        No one.

(GALE mock punches KELLY to provoke her)

GALE         Come on, Kelly, it’s called revenge.
.            Everyone is angry at someone.
.            I can feel the hate boiling up inside you.
.              (KELLY turns away to stew about it)
.            It’s your mother, isn’t it?

KELLY        How did you know?                      28

GALE         Let’s just say it – parents are not perfect,
.            and they deserve what they get.
.            So, what did she do to you?

KELLY        Nothing!

GALE         She must have done something.

KELLY        That’s what she did – nothing.  It was
.            always about where she wanted to serve.
.            She never made any choices that helped me.
.            And if I wanted to do something, then
.            she was sure to let me know that she was
.            against the idea.  Never anything for me–
.            all she ever wanted was to serve Mrs. Green.

GALE         I hate that woman!

KELLY        And after everything I gave her.

GALE         We should get all that stuff back.
.            We should just break in and take it.
.            After all, you were the one
.            who gave it to her in the first place?

KELLY        True.

(GALE leads KELLY out.)


.                      STAGE LEFT

(MR. WARDEN holds the end of the chain as he drags KELLY
onto the stage and back up on the bidding block.)

KELLY        I’m sorry.  Why?  Why are you doing this?

MR. WARDEN   Look, I do not care what you do, or how
.            illegal it is, but you cannot get caught.
.            Especially if you cannot lie your way out
.            of it.  It reflects badly on me.  Understand?
.            I need to look good so people can trust me.

KELLY        You’re going to bid me out again?        29

MR. WARDEN   I must try to get you out of this mess
.            so that maybe you can claw your way back up.
.               (looks around for bidders)
.            Just don’t expect the same people to be
.            interested in wanting you to serve them.
.            You have made a real mess of things.

KELLY        I’m sorry.

MR. WARDEN   That’s not going to cut it with me.

KELLY        But – I am sorry.  I know I’ve done
.            some horrible things.  And I want to change!

MR. WARDEN   Shhhh, okay-okay- not so loud.

KELLY        But I feel so guilty.

MR. WARDEN   No-no-no... I was not trying
.            to make you feel guilty.  You are fine –
.            just the way you are.  You – just got caught.
.            Maybe William would take you back.  MAYBE.

KELLY        I just want to get rid of the guilt.
.            And I’m so tired of being a slave.

MR. WARDEN   But there’s NOTHING that can change that!
.            I own you!

(MR. CARY appears.  MR. WARDEN and KELLY are scared.)

MR. CARY     Only Kelly can make that choice.

KELLY        What is he talking about?

MR. WARDEN   I have no idea.  Come on, I need
.            a serious bid.  (looking around again)
.            WHERE IS EVERYONE?!!!

MR. CARY     Kelly, I made the arrangements
.            a long time ago to pay your entire debt.
.            All you have to do is accept the bid,
.            and you will be set free.

KELLY        (to MR. WARDEN)  You’ve been lying to me?!

MR. WARDEN   Don’t believe it.  You’re better than that.
.            Besides, it’s all about what you WANT to hear.

KELLY        Everything has just been about serving you.

MR. WARDEN   You’ve gotten material things, attention,
.            fun...

KELLY        Not worth it!  I want to be set free!
.            I ask that you set me free.

MR. WARDEN   It’s not going to happen...

MR. CARY     He does not have the key.
.            I paid the price.  The key is mine.

KELLY        (turns to MR. CARY)
.            I... I- want to be set free.  Please?

(MR. CARY removes the chain from KELLY’S neck and
lets it drop to the floor – but keeps the key with him.
KELLY discreetly, quickly takes off servant’s uniform top to reveal
something like a colorful blouse.  Meanwhile,
BODYGUARD enters and walks between them and MR. WARDEN.  
MR. WARDEN throws an angry glare at BODYGUARD before
slinking away.  BODYGUARD exits.  KELLY feels her neck
and looks around at the chain’s end, then at MR. CARY.))

KELLY        Could I keep the key?  That way I’d know
.            that I’d be safe and no one else could ever
.            lock me up again.

MR. CARY     I keep the key.  To keep you safe –
.            from yourself.

KELLY        Why would I ever lock myself back up?

MR. CARY     There are those who try.

KELLY        Well, not me!  I would never think about
.            doing anything like that. Anyway, thank you.
.            Really.  Thank you so much.  Wow –
.            so many questions.  Where to start?
.            Ahhhh, what do I owe you?
.                                                     31
MR. CARY     Nothing.

KELLY        But I need to work, so I can pay you back.

MR. CARY     It’s a gift.

KELLY        Sure, but, I mean, shouldn’t I prove
.            that I was worthy of saving?

MR. CARY     Were you?

KELLY        No.  I was a slave with a huge debt.

MR. CARY     And now I want you to enjoy your freedom.

KELLY        But – there must be something I have to do?

MR. CARY     You do not HAVE to do anything.  

KELLY        Oh. Okay, what SHOULD I do? Any suggestions?

MR. CARY     There, that was a great question.  Well,
.            you can get a job at one of my companies.
.            I have companies everywhere, which have
.            on-the-job training courses, and support.
.            And all employees are supplied benefits and-

KELLY        I really don’t deserve any of that.

MR. CARY     But I want you to have all of that.

KELLY        Well, if I don’t ever see you again,
.            I just want you to know how grateful I am.

MR. CARY     You can come by and see me anytime.
.            I’m always around, if you need direction,
.            encouragement, or help with anything, or -
.            just to chat- catch up on how you’re doing-

KELLY        I’ll definitely keep that in mind.
.            Thanks again.

(MR. CARY nods knowingly and exits.  KELLY starts to walk
across the stage and does a bit of a dance,
spinning around freely.  SALESGIRL enters.)
.                                                     32
SALESGIRL    Hi.  Kelly.

KELLY        Oh, hi.  Ah.  About the last time I saw you,
.            I want to apologize for that.
.            I was at a really low point in my life.

SALESGIRL    I could see that.

KELLY        I’m sorry.

SALESGIRL    I forgive you.  So, I haven’t seen you
.            around the store in a while.

KELLY        I haven’t been serving Mrs. Green
.            for a while.  Whatever!  That doesn’t matter
.            anymore.  I am free!  Wait, I’m just now
.            realizing, you are also free.  So why do you
.            serve at Mr. Magnus’ department store?

SALESGIRL    Mr. Magnus?  He does not own the
.            department store.  MR. CARY does.

KELLY        But I saw him there.  Ohhh, Mr. Magnus
.            was trying to recruit you.

SALESGIRL    I confess, I was momentarily tempted; but then
.            I remembered MR. CARY!  Why would I do that
.            to Mr. Cary?  He paid my debt, after all.  

(MS. SPILT enters so KELLY can see her, and beckons.)

KELLY        (to SALESGIRL)  Hey, want to go to a party?

SALESGIRL    Depends!  When you say ‘party’ –
.            what exactly are you talking about?

KELLY        PARTY!  Let loose.  

(KELLY motions to MS. SPILT.  SALESGIRL briefly glances.)

SALESGIRL    Oh.  No thank you.

KELLY        Why not?  I mean, we can now do exactly
.            what we want.  And we’ll still be free.

SALESGIRL    We should still be careful.            33
.            Don’t even look at her.

KELLY        Wait.  Why?  Would they capture me again
.            and make me a slave?

SALESGIRL    No, they cannot do that.  But they can
.            make you think that you are.
.            And make your life miserable again.
.            Why would you even want to go and
.            do the same things that made you miserable?

KELLY        You’re right.  I was JUST a slave to all that.
.            Why WOULD I want to go back to that again?

(KELLY waves that thought off, and MS. SPILT exits.)

SALESGIRL    Exactly.  So, have you told your mom, yet?

KELLY        I was going to put that off – for now.

SALESGIRL    She is your mom.  Don’t you want
.            to let her know about this choice?

KELLY        Yeah, I guess.  Yeah, you’re right – again!
.            I should let her know.  Well, see you around.

(SALESGIRL exits in one direction, KELLY in another.)


.                     STAGE RIGHT

(MRS. GREEN is sitting, reading.  BARB is dusting when
there’s a knock at door.  BARB answers.  KELLY enters.)

BARB         Kelly...

MRS. GREEN   Kelly.  You’re back!

KELLY        I came to – visit you, Mom.

MRS. GREEN   What!?  She just stole from us,
.            and now she’s here to visit,
.            and NOT do what we want.

KELLY        (to BARB)  Do you want to sit down       34
.            and talk a bit?

BARB         You know I can’t just do that.
.            I – have things to do for Mrs. Green.

MRS. GREEN   That’s right.  It’s time for my morning tea.

KELLY        Mom, what are you afraid of?
.            Let’s just sit down and talk.

MRS. GREEN   My morning tea?!

KELLY        Forget about her.  She does not own you!
.            Just for once.  Listen to me.  Let’s have
.            a conversation.  I need to apologize.

BARB         Ahhhh, okay.

(MRS. GREEN gets up and stomps out.  BARB is worried,
but KELLY acts like she now doesn’t see her.  
BARB then looks at KELLY, wondering...)

KELLY        I am so very sorry for what happened
.            last week.  It was very wrong of me.
.            I had started serving Gale, anger took over
.            my life, but that is not an excuse.
.            It was my choice to be so vengeful.
.            Please forgive me.

BARB         What’s up?  There’s something different
.            about you.

(KELLY walks and spins around, then sits on the sofa
with a smile.)

BARB         Well, what is it?

KELLY        Mr. Cary set me free...  Can’t you see?
.            My chains are gone.

BARB         No they’re not.

KELLY        Mom, you’re not even really looking.
.            Look, it was very simple, actually.
.            And nothing to be afraid of.
.                                                     35
BARB         You are only going to be disappointed
.            when things don’t turn out your way.
.            I’ve seen it happen so many times before.

KELLY        But you don’t understand.  I’m free.

BARB         You’re delusional.  You always have been.

(MRS. GREEN comes around the corner and
stands behind BARB.  KELLY still acts like
she doesn’t see or hear her.)

KELLY        Mom, it’s still not too late for you.  
.            You can just go to Mr. Cary and ask-

MRS. GREEN   There must be strings attached.

BARB         Ooohhh, you think you’re so good, but -

KELLY        Actually, I had to realize - I was NOT good.
.            That there was no way I could ever work off
.            my debt.  Ever.  But Mr. Cary made
.            the arrangements to pay the debt completely!
.            All he wants for me is to enjoy my freedom.

MRS. GREEN   Well, aren’t we all Miss High-And-Mighty!

BARB         See?  And so now you think you’re
.            better than everyone else.

KELLY        No, I don’t.  I’m just trying to share
.            with you-

MRS. GREEN   Oh! Share? Interesting way of putting that.

BARB         You were never one to share!
.            Oh sure, you give gifts every so often –
.            but I see through your manipulation tactics.
.            You just want to have things your way.

KELLY        Where do you think I learned that?

BARB         Certainly not from me.  I deserve so much
.            more than this.

KELLY        Unbelievable!  It’s still all about you.  36
.            I’ve got to get out of here.  (stands up)

MRS. GREEN   I wonder if Miss High-and-Mighty
.            is going to replace the things she stole?

BARB         I don’t care for your apology,
.            I just want those things back.

KELLY        (to BARB)  I plan to replace everything.

MRS. GREEN   Sure she does.

BARB         You know what, you can keep the stuff.
.            That way you can never say -
.            I’ve never done anything for you.

MRS. GREEN   Such a thief and a liar.  AND ungrateful.

BARB         Just a worthless thief.  You always will be.
.            You make it so difficult to trust you –
.            or LOVE you.

(KELLY wants to say something, but cannot.
Instead, KELLY turns and storms out.)

BARB         And there she goes.

MRS. GREEN   You are better off without her.
.            Now, where’s my morning tea?


.                      STAGE LEFT

(KELLY marches onto the stage and sees the bidding block
and her chains laying on the ground.  MR. WARDEN enters
and comes up behind KELLY, then stops to talk.)

MR. WARDEN   You know you’re not good enough
.            to deserve freedom.
.              (KELLY spins around to face MR. WARDEN)
.            It’s only a matter of time before
.            you come crawling back to me,
.            so why not just come back now?

KELLY        You – you don’t have the key.           37

MR. WARDEN   You underestimate me.  But most importantly,
.            you overestimate yourself.  You’re nothing
.            but a slave, and you know it.

(BODYGUARD enters and steps in between KELLY and
MR. WARDEN, giving MR. WARDEN a threatening look.
MR. CARY stands on the other side, behind KELLY.)

MR. CARY     Kelly, I care about what happens to you.

KELLY        But – I don’t deserve that.  And,
.            I’m even a little angry with you.  
.            My own mom hates me more now
.            than she ever did.  So... sorry, no!
.            Whatever you do, it’s not going to help.

(KELLY looks back at MR. WARDEN.  BODYGUARD still stands
there as MR. WARDEN backs away, giving one last word.)

MR. WARDEN   That’s right.  No one can help you now.

(MR. WARDEN exits.  As BODYGUARD exits, PERT is entering.
Seeing BODYGUARD, PERT walks way around him in fear, then
seeing KELLY alone, brooding, PERT nods and approaches.
KELLY is just about to walk away, but PERT is there.)

KELLY        Out of my way.  (begins to listen to PERT)

PERT         Your mother has hurt you – again?
.            I totally understand your pain.
.            You know, I’ve never seen your father around.
.            Although, that cannot feel good!
.            But what else could you
.            possibly expect from your mother?
.            She’s always been that way.  And it’s
.            not likely she’s ever going to change.
.            She certainly doesn’t deserve having
.            you as a daughter, that’s for sure.
.            Why, I’ve heard - that back in the day -
.            she was nothing but trouble.
.            It’s no wonder your father never
.            stuck around.  If I were you,
.            I would put all the blame on her.

(KELLY sits on the bidding block.  PERT sees the      38
chain on the ground and picks it up to wear like a boa
or a stole, as if it gives her comfort or confidence.)

KELLY        Funny, she would put all the blame on ME.

PERT         Of course she would.  That’s what they do.

KELLY        And she keeps blaming me – for everything.
.            And then, all I feel is guilt.

PERT         Of course, but you do not deserve that.
.            And you should definitely not feel guilty.
.            You have done nothing wrong.
.            Trust me, I know what it feels like
.            to be a victim.  There is not much
.            you can do about it, that’s for sure.

KELLY        So this has happened to you?

PERT         That – and so much more.  You cannot  
.            trust anyone.  And it’s so hard to find
.            good friends who can understand.

(PERT sits next to KELLY, to pout and see
by KELLY’S expressions if she’s buying into it.)

KELLY        Well, maybe there are others who can
.            understand.  The trick is - finding anyone
.            who actually cares.

PERT         (feigning weak sobs)  Exactly!
.            You totally get me.  And - I’m here for you –
.            Unlike your mother, I compete understand.

KELLY        I don’t want anything to do with
.            my mom, ever again.

PERT         Of course.  How can you NOT – HATE - her?
.            She deserves it.  And so much more.
.            The things she has done...
.            You definitely cannot forgive
.            what she’s all done to you.
.            What she has done – is completely
.            unforgiveable.  And she should know that!

(PERT coyly holds the end of the chain in one hand as   39
she puts that arm around KELLY’S shoulder to console her.  
The chain hangs over KELLY’S shoulder.)

KELLY        That sounds rather extreme.  I mean,
.            I’ve done wrong things too, and I would want
.            to be forgiven and given another chance.

PERT         What you have done is nothing to compare!
.            What you have done is probably a result
.            of everything she has done.
.            Who needs her!  We can do without them!
.            And if we must, we can make their lives
.            miserable.  They need to see how much
.            they have made us suffer.

KELLY        What - are you actually suggesting?

PERT         There are so many options.  But they
.            need to know what monsters they are.

(PERT can sense that KELLY is not so sure.
PERT takes her arm off KELLY’S shoulder and leaves  
the chain there, then starts to cry and sob.)

PERT         Take it from me, it feels so much better
.            to see justice taking place.  When the people
.            who have hurt us deeply - are suffering,
.            just as much as us, if not more.
.            Otherwise, they will just keep hurting us.
.            So– so you’ll do this with me? Right?  We’ll
.            help each other?  We don’t need anyone else!

(PERT starts to stand up, taking the chain from
the front now, so she can kind of reign KELLY in
to go with her.  BODYGUARD walks by, breaking
KELLY’S concentration.)

KELLY        What is happening?

PERT         It is you showing me your support.
.            How much we care about each other.

KELLY        I do not think this is – caring.
.            Actually – I think it’s quite the opposite.

PERT         (crying again)  Why are you angry      40
.            with me?  What have I ever done to you?

KELLY        Stop!  Just stop!  Go away – now!
.            I need help with this, but not from you!

(KELLY pushes PERT away.  As PERT starts to turn away,
MR. WARDEN enters and motions for PERT to go back.)

KELLY        I’m so pathetic.

(PERT starts to tighten the chain around KELLY’s neck.)

PERT         Yes, yes we are.  Perhaps hating others
.            is not the answer – but we should at least
.            hate ourselves.  No one else loves us.
.            Why else would people not want to help us?

KELLY        I’m thinking Mr. Cary might help,
.            no matter what.  

PERT         Mr. Cary?  No, he does not really care.

KELLY        But I’m not so sure.  I’m so confused.

(MR. CARY enters.)

MR. CARY     Kelly, you’ve been listening to lies again.
.            Why have you gone back
.            to being a slave again?

(PERT is shocked and terrified, and rushes out toward
MR. WARDEN’S side to exit.  MR. WARDEN stays leering.)

KELLY        What else am I to think?

MR. CARY     Did you not tell me that there was
.            no way you would ever try to chain
.            yourself up again?

(KELLY realizes that the chain is still draped
around her neck.)

KELLY        I did not do this.
.            Someone else did this.

MR. CARY     So, not only are you are NOT going to take
.            responsibility for your own actions,
.            but you are also going to give yourself
.            an excuse to remain in that situation?
.            It’s your choice.  You’ve always
.            had the freedom to choose.  You chose
.            to have freedom.  And then, in your freedom,
.            you chose to do things their way-
.            but look where that got you.

(Realizing, KELLY quickly takes the chain off and
moves away from the chain, but also away from MR. CARY.)

MR. WARDEN   That’s it, come back and work for me.

KELLY        (looking back to MR. CARY)
.            I just keep making a mess of things.
.            So until I figure everything out-

(KELLY turns back to MR. WARDEN and takes a step
toward him, but freezes to listen to MR. CARY.)

MR. CARY     Kelly!  I paid the full price
.            for your freedom.  Why would I not help you
.            live successfully and experience joy
.            in your freedom now?

KELLY        (still facing away from MR. CARY)
.            It just sounds - too easy.

MR. CARY     You mean, easier than paying all your debt
.            and setting you free?

(KELLY turns to MR. CARY.  MR. WARDEN scowls and exits.)

KELLY        I do need help...  Having this freedom
.            is not as easy as I thought.

(KELLY skips to catch up to MR. CARY who starts to walk.  
MR. CARY holds a conversation with KELLY as they exit.)

MR. CARY     You know, Kelly, everyone is here
.            with a purpose – but that purpose is NOT
.            to be a slave.  There’s a much better way!