You didn't use your intuition to get to them on the right
wavelength. If you had you would have found that their
destiny was exactly how I said!
But they failed!
I think they are more popular now than they ever
were. Mmm. She takes a bite on one.
You have to see it on a different level.
They've faded from the public memory.
I don't agree. The Women's Institute just ordered three
hundred of them.
RUTH picks up the cup-cake dish to pass to BRIAN.
Well, try a raspberry one then.
"M" takes the cup-cakes and instead of passing them straight onto BRIAN (RUTH'S favourite conjuring trick) She begins to waltz round the room with them to the music. RUTH stares in horror. BRIAN
(Trying to make light of it) It's just a trick, darling.
She runs out of the room screaming. BRIAN holds his head in his hands. Blackout. Later. SCENE NINE. BRIAN'S BUNGALOW.
Next evening. BRIAN, again in dressing gown and pyjamas. He stands downstage in spotlight and speaks to audience. RUTH lies on the sofa in a trance. BRIAN
The Queen gave a zombie-like Xmas speech on TV. I'm
sorry for the woman. When will people grow up and
scrap the Monarchy? Ruth has spent a lot of time in
bed. A lot of leg pain. I saw in the New Year with "M"
but things weren't quite the same. Oh well, we're into
another year. Yesterday I treated Ruth's rheumatic
knee. Well, she will eat meat. She's been gorging on
that Turkey for the last fortnight…. Strange happenings
last night made me fear that she was breaking up…
After tea she said she heard singing coming from next
It sounds like hymns. And they are singing beautifully.
Not a sound was perceptible to me.
Is there a church near here? The bells are so loud.
Now! Can't you hear? They are singing Hallelujah
She next joined the phantom voices in "Abide with
me". Then later, in her bath, she heard the singing as if
it was coming from the Braddock's next door. At
bedtime she claimed it was still going on. At 1.15 in the
morning, she raced out of bed to the window.
It's outside. It's coming from over the road. It's a
lovely singing too. There must have been a party.
Children carrying lights are coming out of the houses
and walking down the pavement. People are watching
them from the windows.
I looked out. Not a soul to be seen, nor a sound to be
There's a policeman at the gate. Charles and Diana
must have arrived and the children are there to
Still nothing outside. Prince Philip is due in Carlisle
soon and a few weeks ago Princess Diana was here on
a visit but…(To Ruth) Back to bed now. There is
nothing in the street.
Of course there is!! You'll read about it tomorrow in the
I persuaded her back to bed and eventually we got
some sleep, but this morning….
There it is again… It's very lovely music…But I wish
they'd stop! One doesn't want it all the time.
Apart from this she is absolutely normal. Old people
who've lived out their lives are known to become
super-normally receptive. Is it indeed a sign that her
end is imminent? ….This evening she started hearing
Jazz. She thought it came from the Braddock's. To me
no sound broke the stillness. Later we heard that
Braddock next door had passed away during these
phenomena but I wouldn't have thought his
background was so special as to evoke such astral
recognition. These cosmic charges certainly take it out
on you. Ruthie is fine now, but I'm utterly exhausted.
He goes. JESS enters with phone. Light comes up on her.
SCENE TEN. JESS'S FLAT.
JESS on the phone to ALBERT.
Pigeons? You're taking pigeons? As if! Oh, carrier
pigeons. I see. What's wrong with a mobile phone?…
Ah, you're broke. I'm not surprised. I heard Brian is
very ill. He's having tests in hospital. I'm just on my
way up to visit him…. Because he called and said he
had a soft spot for you. That he regretted his brutal
behaviour and would I keep him in touch with your
progress. Oh, dear. Nothing changes in the Fawcett
Saga…Yes. I had a great time in L.A. Ida is going
ahead with the Fawcett movie as a musical. So the
world can enjoy a facile yarn while the real secret story
stays sacrosanct. That's good isn't it? Well, just chill
out and enjoy yourself out there…Yeah, I stayed with
her. She's fantastic…. I'm not callous and cold-hearted!
Don't be so dramatic. You'll be alright. You just want
re-assurance all the time….Oh, how can you say that
after everything you've done to me?…(exasperated) O.K. Good-bye!
She sighs, irritated. Blackout.
SCENE ELEVEN. HOSPITAL.
BRIAN in bed. He speaks to audience. He is very weak. BRIAN
Thought my time had come last night and woke up
Ruth who was deeply shocked. Got up feeling like
death. Nose bleeds. I had to devise a method of
holding up my enormously distended scrotum before I
could dress this morning. But the doctor had fixed up
some tests. So I'm at least being monitored. But I feel
worse than ever. My scrotum is almost down to my
knees. There is something very wrong. Joan
recommended some zinc tablets to open the urethra
and these gave a little relief but…
There is a knock and JESS enters. JESS
Ah. Come in dear.
Are you alright? What is it exactly?
Valdenstrom macroglobulen aenemia, merely.
(Joking) Oh, in that case you'll be out in no time.
They both laugh. She opens her bag and hands him a bag of fruit. BRIAN
Fruit. How lovely of you.
Anyway…To the point. If anything happened to me,
thirty volumes of secret diaries, not to mention much
of my father's highly confidential writing, would be left
in my cupboard for anyone to gawp over. The Royal
Geographical Society would have a field day. They
accused him of being a mystic and dreamer and these
papers certainly reveal that and very much more which
the gross material world is just not ready for. Here's
the key. (He hands it to her) Ruth knows you are
coming on an errand. I said something to do with
publishing. You see, heaven knows who my family
might show these papers to once I'm gone. I can't
trust their discretion.
Sure. I'll get them. Then what?
I want you to burn the lot. Burn them thoroughly won't
you. You've always thought the mystery was a load of
bollocks, so I thought you were just the right person to
consign it to the flames.
I'll happily do that. It's ruined enough lives. Not to
mention Albert's. He's somewhere in Mato Grosso with
six carrier pigeons in a canoe can you believe. Heading
for lost cities! He's cut his own throat as far as a career
is concerned. You men and your childish illusions! What
a waste…Well, good luck with the tests. .I'll visit again
She starts to go.
Bye... Oh, ask the nurse to pop in, would you. I need
She exits. A moment later "M" enters. A cold chill replaces their usual rapport. BRIAN
Ah. 'Wondered where you'd got to. The afterlife. Tir-
nan-og. Will I feel at home there?
It's what you make of it, dear. It's a subjective land of
the imagination. It's peopled by the mind's own
creatures and is entirely what you choose to make of
it. Anyway. You're not there… yet.
He lies back and she kisses him. Blackout. Music. SCENE TWELVE. HOSPITAL. JESS speaks to audience.
I surprised myself. I hesitated in carrying out my
promise to Brian. My curiosity got the better of me. I
started reading. There was certainly a message in
those papers…Their time will come. Or perhaps it
won't…. Brian was in and out of hospital and after
some weeks I heard the news about Albert so I went
on another visit.
She walks from the spotlit area into BRIAN'S hospital bed area. To BRIAN.
He got these carrier pigeons from a missionary nun,
would you believe. She agreed to pass on news to the
consul in Sao Paolo who was given my address….. He
set off alone in a canoe… down the Juruena River. Only
one pigeon got back with its message. Pigeon number
three. She gets the tiny scrap of paper out of her bag and hands it to BRIAN
who reads it. JESS stares out of the window for a few frozen seconds.
SCENE THIRTEEN. AMAZONIA
ALBERT revealed in a spotlight, lying down on his stomach. He looks extremely feverish. ALBERT
I think…it's malaria. I'm so cold. It's very dark. But I
saw the ruins!! There's no doubt about it. I saw
Fawcett's city. Co-ordinates; 13 South, 60 West. 'Lost
the camera, damn it…I can't move…I just can't…Jess,
could you kindly do me a favour?…I ordered a
book…"Mysteries of South America" by Harold
Wilkins…from the little book shop. Would you…pick it
up for me…I'll pay you back… later…
SCENE FOURTEEN. HOSPITAL.
(Carrying on impassively) He says that he'll be
sending the exact co-ordinates and a sketch map of the
location of the city on carrier pigeon "number four".
Predictably "pigeon four" never arrived. His claim
seems a bit crazy.
Because the consul writes to me that it sounds like an
invented story and that there are absolutely no lost
cities to be found there. And also that he's heard
recent rumours that Albert's canoe was found by
prospectors with him in it dead and discoloured.
BRIAN is shocked as JESS continues unaffected.
It's rumoured he was poisoned by Indians and set
afloat, as this is their favourite way of dispatching
unwelcome visitors into their lands. Ah well, rumours.
You seem so detached. I thought you and he…
Oh, that's long ago. Well, he had only himself to
blame. He was obsessed. I did my best to wean him off
Fawcett mania, but it was pointless. He had a
chequered career. Never fulfilled his potential. Always
wanting re-assurance. Always dramatising. Never
learned to chill out. I got fed up with it.
She starts to leave.
I don't think he has a next of kin.
(Grasping at a straw)..But… do you think he found
The light fades on them but stays up on the face of the dead ALBERT for a moment and then fades. Weird piano chords tinkling. Light fades up on BRIAN who sits on the edge of his bed.. JESS moves into a separate light on the other side of the stage as if arriving back at her flat. SCENE FIFTEEN. HOSPITAL.
Coming back to me like in a dream are those spacious
days at Waterside. Mother so much on top of life.
Daddy just arrived back from one of his expeditions
and still charming to everybody even Joan. Jack
tinkling on his piano - so happy - the treasured first
born, destined to vanish in unknown Amazonia.
He stands up in his pyjamas and bare feet. He is frail. "M" appears in the shadows behind him.
Life begins with such an impetus…Then, slows up -
perhaps even stops and slips back. Reminds me of a
motorcycle doing a freak hill climb. There's the same
tempestuous, confident, racing start - the same
slowing as the steepness of the hill is felt.
Waterside…the container of childhood memories. Will
one of the last flashes of memory to pass through my
dying brain be a recollection of what exactly it was that
I so often searched for, or dreamed I searched for at
Waterside? In the lumber-room, that butler's pantry off
the hall, where the great safe is?…. I wanted it so
badly, but…I couldn't find it.
BRIAN stands dead still in his pyjamas. "M" takes a white hospital pillow case and covers his face with it. She then walks slowly to arrive silently behind Jess who sits at her table with documents spread out.
SCENE SIXTEEN. JESS'S FLAT.
Back home I faced the secret archives still all over my
desk. I'm becoming very intrigued by their strange
hold. I get a feeling that I'm just not going to be able
to burn those damn papers.
A strange eerie silence. She becomes aware that someone is in the room behind her. She turns and is terrified. JESS
Who are you? …(In a hoarse whisper) WHO ARE YOU?
"M" walks to JESS who is frozen to the spot, movesbehind her slowly and puts her arms round JESS'S neck.
It's alright….It's alright…
A pause. JESS is terrified and then calmed by the woman's warm smile. "M"
(Jauntily) I think… I've got you….