NEW SCENE- TOM: Birth of a Legend, November 21, 2019

by admin on November 21, 2019

FINAL SCENE OF ACT ONE: TOM: Birth of a Legend 

To view previous 8 scenes scroll back through earlier blog posts beginning in September.

SCENE 9. THE CANOE LAKE LODGE VERANDA. DAY.

(The platform structure is now the lodge veranda with rustic sign above: ‘CANOE LAKE LODGE’. TOM and EDIE are painting together at two makeshift easels. Her husband, FITZ, sits reading behind them with a blanket over his lap and crutches beside him. EDIE stops painting to look at TOM’s canvas.)

EDIE:                                                                 We’re painting the same scene, Tom but mine doesn’t look anything like yours. Why have you painted that melting snow under the trees blue?

TOM:                                                                  Because it’s blue.

EDIE:                                                                             Don’t be silly, it’s white. Isn’t it Fitz? Over there – by the lake.

FITZ:                                                                             Looks white to me, my love. But I don’t know what it looks like to a painter. Maybe that’s how Tom sees it.

EDIE:                                                                                Next thing, you’ll be telling me the lake’s red, Tom.

TOM:                                                                                   It is, sometimes. At sunset. After a storm. At dawn.

EDIE:                                                                                  Well it’s blue to me, the trees are green and the snow is white. And that’s how I’ve painted them.

TOM:                                                                          Because you’re seeing them with your mind’s eye. Just use your eyes.

EDIE:                                                                 I thought that’s what I was doing –

TOM:                                                               Look, Nature changes her colours constantly, like a chameleon, from one minute to the next. You have to learn to see all over again if you want to paint, Edie.

EDIE:                                                                        How?

TOM:                                                                It’s like getting to Carnegie Hall – practise, practise, practise. To catch her mood. See? Right now, that strip of snow is blue because of the light and shade on it. Isn’t it, Fitz?

FITZ:                                                                 If you say so.

EDIE:                                                                               I can see it’s not exactly white. Kind of gray. When the sun shines on fresh snow it’s blinding white. Brilliant.

TOM:                                                                                         I read somewhere the Eskimos have a hundred different words for snow.

EDIE:                                                                 Maybe you’re part Eskimo, Tom, so you think that’s blue snow.

FITZ:                                                                               And I think that’s enough painting lessons for today. I’m starving. Edie why don’t you go and order us all some lunch. I want to have a chat with Tom.

(EDIE exits into the lodge and Tom begins packing up the easels)

TOM:                                                                                Your wife is an amusing woman, Fitz. This is more like playing than teaching. I feel I should be paying her, not her paying me. It’s like taking candy from a baby.

FITZ:                                                                                    You’re good value for money, Tom. Edie loves the company as much as the lessons. And it keeps her occupied when you’re off in the woods. She misses Winnie since she’s gone back to school.

TOM:                                                                  It must be lonely for an educated city woman around here. I hope the painting will be enough for her.

FITZ:                                                                                     That’s what I want to talk to you about. I guess she’s told you how much she’d love to have children.

TOM:                                                                  I gathered there was a problem of some sort.

FITZ:                                                                               There is a problem. Me. After they removed the shrapnel from my groin at the military hospital, the doctor told me I was impotent.

 

TOM:                                                                                  I’m sorry, Fitz. Christ – that’s terrible…

FITZ:                                                                                       The shrapnel severed some major nerves in my legs so I may never walk without crutches. It also did other damage…

TOM:                                                                                   You mean you can’t…

FITZ:                                                                –get it up? That’s right. Even if I did, I’d be firing duds, so to speak.

TOM:                                                                                        Christ…

FITZ:                                                                                I’m afraid if I can’t give her a child, Edie will leave me.

TOM:                                                                                   Why are you telling me this, Fitz… you’re not suggesting I…?

FITZ:                                                                                     I’m not suggesting, I’m asking. You like Edie, I know she likes you. I like you. We both trust you.  No one need know anything. I haven’t told anyone else about my problem, except you.

TOM:                                                                     But why me? We hardly know each other.

FITZ:                                                                    Enough to know we can trust you.

(EDIE re-appears carrying a tray of drinks. She sets it down on the table.)

EDIE:                                                                                You boys been having a nice chat? Settling the problems of the world?

FITZ:                                                                 – not the world, no.

EDIE:                                                                 Anything that might interest me?

FITZ:                                                                                 I think so.

TOM:                                                                                      We were just talking about the war.

EDIE:                                                                   And Fitz’s war wound, perhaps?

FITZ:                                                                                 Tom seems a little shocked by our proposition, Edie.

EDIE:                                                                                           I thought artists were supposed to be bohemian and unconventional?

TOM:                                                                                   You mean this was not just Fitz’s idea?

FITZ:                                                                                      Does that make a difference?

TOM:                                                                  I’m not sure. Maybe.

EDIE:                                                                         Maybe you will or maybe you won’t? Are you playing hard to get?

TOM:                                                                                        I meant I didn’t like the idea of seducing a friend’s wife.

FITZ:                                                                                          Your reluctance does you credit. Doesn’t it, Edie?

EDIE:                                                                                     But you’re not opposed to seduction otherwise, according to Winnie.

TOM:                                                                  Winnie? Why, what did she say?

EDIE:                                                                                       Only that local gossip has it, you were a typical artist. Actually, she was defending you. She said most men like to boast of their conquests but you were different. Was she right, Tom?

TOM:                                                                                   People up here like to gossip. I make sure I don’t give them anything to talk about. So they make stuff up.

FITZ:                                                                                   I told you our trust in Tom was not misplaced.

EDIE:                                                                                    He still hasn’t said yes, though.

TOM:                                                                                Supposing I did agree. How would it happen? Not here at the lodge. The owner’s wife is always spreading tales about someone or other. Including me.

EDIE:                                                                             Maybe she has a reason. A woman scorned?

FITZ:                                                                                     Whatever. We’ve already decided against here. Too risky. Will you tell him our plan, Edie or shall I?

 

EDIE:                                                                                    A canoe trip. You’re always going off for the day, in your canoe with painter friends…

FITZ:                                                                                   And people know you’re teaching Edie to paint – they see us here on the veranda, so…

EDIE:                                                                               So, you and I go out in your canoe for a painting lesson – to a local landmark.

FITZ:                                                                          – land the canoe to explore for a good spot…

EDIE:                                                                                     And find time – after – for both of us to paint a sketch to show back here at the lodge.

FITZ:                                                                                What do you think?

TOM:                                                                                              I think you’re both forgetting something. What if nothing happens?

FITZ:                                                                                     You mean if she doesn’t get pregnant?

TOM:                                                                                      Yes.

FITZ:                                                                                   ‘If at first you don’t succeed…’

EDIE:                                                                           (slow wink at TOM) Try, try, again.

BLACKOUT.

END OF ACT ONE.

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