The Thief or Three in the Bedroom

The Thief or Three in the Bedroom

by Radu Țuculescu

Translated from the Romanian by Mihaela Mudure

Volume 7, Issue 2 (Fall 2018)

The one-act play The Thief or Three in the Bedroom is a dynamic comedy inspired from the Romanian realities after December 1989, the year when the Communist system dismantled through a violent popular uprising. A burglar breaks into a rich house in a residential neighborhood in the middle of the night. This event will uncover the corruption and the immorality in the Romanian political high life. The wife of a VIP sleeps with her husband’s chief secretary but is also eager to offer her charms to the intruding thief. She has always been attracted to the man who has more power. After all, don’t all these men have something in common? They are all enticed by goods that do not belong to themselves, in other words, they all steal. Consequently, the thief, the most “innocent” of them all because—at least—he practices the craft in the open, will be invited to join the party. His skills might get more refined. As political phariseism is everywhere the same, the play can be associated with the realities from other societies as well.

The basic structure of the play is the famous (erotic) triangle. There is first the triangle of the Wife, her Husband (who is only heard on the telephone), and the Hunchback. Then there is the second triangle which is formed during the burglary night: The Wife, the Hunchback, and the Thief. They interfere according to changing dynamics that adds a lot to the humour of the play. The power balance between characters is in full swing according to a symbolic motility that has significant gendered connotations. In both triangles the woman holds the reins but she is not visible in the public limelight. Ţuculescu uses here a very famous stereotype in Romanian comedy: the powerful woman behind the scenes.

The text can be inspiring both for actors and directors. One of its assets: it can be played in non-conventional spaces. Last but certainly not least, in Ţuculescu’s play political aromas mix with the culinary ones. Food can make the most different people stick together. Just like similar political interests…

—Mihaela Mudure

 

Radu ŢUCULESCU (born in 1949 in Tg.Mureş, Romania) is a novelist, playwright, director, and translator from German into Romanian. He was born into a family of Romanian intellectuals, his father Dumitru Ţuculescu being a well-known physician. He graduated from the Music High School of Cluj-Napoca (Romania) in 1967 and studied violin at the “Gheorghe Dima” Conservatory of Cluj-Napoca (1972). He worked for the Cluj Studio of the Romanian Television and Radio Company from 1972 till he retired. One of the most important contemporary Romanian playwrights and novelists, Ţuculescu has been awarded prizes of the Writers’ Union in Romania, grants and creative residences in Switzerland, France, and Austria. He has lectured on his literary creation in Paris, Viena, Torino, Haifa, and Tel Aviv. His novels and plays have been translated into English, Italian, German, French, Hebrew, and Hungarian. Since 2010 he has been president of the jury at “Stage,” the International Theater Festival for Youth.

Mihaela MUDURE (born in 1954 in Cluj-Napoca, Romania) is a Professor in the English Department at “Babes-Bolyai” University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. She has been guest professor in Turkey and the Czech Republic and a member of the Beatrice Bain Research Group at the University of California at Berkeley (2015-2016). Dr. Mudure is interested in ethnic studies, the intersection of gender and ethnicity, and the British Enlightenment. Her publications include books as well as numerous articles in Romanian and international journals. Dr. Mudure has edited several issues of the journal Studia Philologia and three collections of articles. She is also a versed translator from English and French into Romanian and from Romanian into English. Dr. Mudure’s next project is a collection of articles on the racial phenomenon known as passing.

 

THE THIEF or THREE IN THE BEDROOM

Characters:

Thief (Shopi)

Hunchback (Adi)

Wife (Evi)

The bedroom is plunged into obscurity. The darkness is not quite complete; the shy, pale light of the neon lamps from the street can pass through the drawn curtains. For some time, one can hear the deep breaths of Wife and Hunchback who are sleeping in bed. The tick of an alarm-clock or a wall clock. Silence dominates all beings and things.

All of the sudden one can hear from beyond the door of the bedroom the banging noise of the bottles that were knocked over or even broken and Thief’s indistinct swearing.

Wife (scared, confused, whispering):  What is this?! Am I dreaming? (again, noise of bottles.) Oh, no, I am awake! Good Lord! Adi… Adi, open your eyes!

Hunch (confused because not completely awake):  Did you say something?

Wife:  Did you hear that?

Hunch:  You…

Wife:  In the kitchen. There’s someone there.

Hunch:  Who the hell? At this time?

Wife:  I heard bottles breaking… someone is there.

Hunch:  A bottle may have toppled over… You forgot to put them away.

Wife:  Be quiet! Can you hear? Steps…

Hunch:  I don’t hear anything.

Wife:  You are deaf, on top of it all. They will kill us.

Hunch:  Who the hell? Evi, you’ve gone mad.

Wife:  Not so loud.

Hunch:  If you say so…

Wife:  We have no gun, no knife…

Hunch:  Not even a grenade!

Wife:  Do you feel like mocking me?

Hunch:  I think you’ve been dreaming, kitty. After all our efforts from last night.

Wife: Did I forget to lock?

Hunch:  I’ll bet you did, kitty.

Wife:  Oh, no! I do remember well, Adi. We both checked the door, we also put the chain.

Hunch:  Indeed! Yes… it looks like a huge watch chain.

Wife:  Who?

Hunch:  The chain.

Wife:  They are experts. They’ve opened everything: the Yale lock, the chain, the other lock.

Hunch:  I think you have been dreaming, Evi.

Steps can be heard beyond the door. The planks of the inner stairs creak gently.

Wife:  Now? How about that?

Hunch:  You are right… Somebody is climbing the stairs.

Wife:  I’ll die without even having had any kids.

Hunch:  I’m sure he’ll let you live if you mention this to him.

Wife:  Could there be more than one?

Hunch:  According to the footsteps… I don’t think so…

Wife:  He’s by the door.

Hunch:  Let’s hide under the bed and get him by the ankles.

Wife:  This is a couch… how the hell can we hide underneath?!

Hunch:  Let’s hold our breath.

Wife:  I’ll hit him with the bedside lamp.

Hunch:  Good idea. So will I!

The door opens slowly. Feeble creaking. Some swearing whispered through teeth.

Thief:  This house creaks like hell… Ah, ah, oh my, woe… what a mess! (One can hear a tumble, a huge smash, Thief’s cry.) Fuck!

Complete silence for few seconds.

Wife:  What can that be?

Hunch:  He fell, I think.

Wife:  He’s watching us.

Hunch:  I’ll turn on the bedside lamp.

Wife:  Wait. Let us listen.

Lugubrious silence.

Hunch:  Nothing.

Wife:  He seems to have stopped breathing.

Hunch:  Let’s turn on the bedside lamps at the same time.

Wife:  I count one, two, three.

Hunch:  Where the hell is the switch?

Wife:  Under the bulb, genius.

Hunch:  I’ve found it.

Wife:  One… two… three!

They turn on the bedside lamps. Strong light. Thief lies on the floor, at the end of the couch and the two cannot see him.

Wife:  I don’t see anyone.

Hunch:  Me neither… I’ll get off the bed.

Wife:  I’m afraid.

Hunch:  Leave it. I’ll have a look.

He gets off the bed and discovers Thief:  Hunchback cries out.

Wife:  Is he there?

Hunch:  Yes… I hope he’s not dead (laughs).

Wife:  Why the hell are you laughing?

Hunch:  Do you know what the oaf stepped on?

Wife:  How would I know?

Hunch:  Your little barbells… ha… ha… the small ones which weigh only half a kilo. It’s good that you practice sport, kitty.

Wife:  Is he dead?

Hunch (looking carefully at him):  I’m not sure.

Wife (gets off the bed):  It’s always me who has to find things. (She bends over the Thief:) Honestly speaking, he seems a bit still.

Hunch:  Head blows are the most dangerous.

Wife:  What on earth shall we do, I mean, if he’s dead?

Hunch:  Try mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Wife:  Maybe you.

Hunch:  We’ll… bury him.

Wife:  Where?

Hunch:  In the cellar.

Wife:  Impossible. The floor is cemented.

Hunch:  We could find some space on the lawn.

Wife:  Are you mad? What if someone sees us?

Hunch:  Let’s throw him into the garbage can.

Wife:  This guy is enormous.

Hunch:  He has to weigh about a hundred kilos.

Wife:  We’ll have to tumble him down on the stairs.

Hunch:  He seems to be breathing.

Wife:  Is he?

Hunch:  Fetch me a mirror.

Wife:  You want to see how handsome you are?

Hunch:  No, to put it in front of his mouth to see if he’s still breathing, smart-ass!

Wife:  I see. (She fetches the mirror and holds it in front of Thief’s mouth.) It’s covered with steam!

Hunch:  So he’s not dead, then.

Wife:  There’s no blood on the carpet.

Hunch:  He hit his head and fainted.

Wife (scared):  Adi, look, he’s moving! What do we do if he wakes up? This guy can kill us both with just one blow.

Hunch:  He is still quite dizzy, he doesn’t have any strength.

Wife:  Let’s stifle him with a pillow… let’s tie him up with what? Damn…

Hunch:  Maybe I should hit him in the chin.

Wife:  Hit him!

Hunch:  It is a bad idea. We’d rather convince him to leave.

Wife:  You’re right. Let him leave on his own feet.

Thief gets up on his elbows, groans loudly, and opens his eyes. He sees Hunchback, screams, and faints again.

Hunch:  He’s fainted again.

Wife:  When he saw you! No wonder! He may have thought he was in hell.

Hunch:  If he had seen you first…

Wife:  He’d have thought he was in heaven, I know. Do we still have some ice?

Hunch:  Are you having hot flashes?

Wife:  I’m not, you blockhead! We’ll put ice on his head, wake him up and then leave him in the street. He’ll be grateful that we didn’t call the police, and then make himself scarce, quickly. Let him vanish back into thin air!

Hunch:  You are right.

Wife:  As usual.

Hunch:  I am going to fetch the ice.

Wife:  I hope you’ll find it.

Hunch (sings):  Hope never dies… (gets out.)

Thief is about to wake up. Wife looks at him scared. Thief opens his eyes, he sees her, and he is astonished. He rubs his eyes and then the nape of his neck. A few groans of pain.

Thief:  Am I dreaming? Before I saw a monster. A Hunchback dwarf… It’s clear. I got hurt and now I’ m having hallucinations.

Wife:  Don’t hurt me.

Thief:  The monster turned into an angel.

Wife:  You feel like playing jokes after entering my house like a murderer!

Thief:  Woman, I am a Thief, not a murderer.

Wife:  Mind your words.

Thief:  Aha. Still, I am hallucinating. In fact, you are that scarecrow who changed its appearance in order to take me in.

Wife:  I am no scarecrow.

Thief:  Tempt me, stun me, and then hit me. An angel’s face hiding a demon!

Wife:  You’re talking nonsense.

Thief:  Who the hell uses these small barbells, good only for dwarfs?

Wife:  They’re mine.

Thief:  I could have broken my head and stayed in a wheelchair for the rest of my life, my mouth crooked and one of my hands paralyzed.

Wife:  Such things happen to those with bad intentions.

Thief:  I didn’t come here for you to lecture me. This is a robbery, if you know what I mean.

Wife:  You’d better leave, quietly and peacefully.

Thief:  I am making the decisions around here, woman!

Wife:  Give up that stupid word!

Thief:  You’re right. Woman is a stupid word (laughs).

Wife:  You find yourself laughing.

Thief:  First you hit me in the head, then you make a fool out of me!

Wife:  Do not shout, please, and calm down.

Thief:  Shut up! (He takes out a gun, upon which the Wife stifles a scream.) Do you see this little gun?

Wife:  Yeah… It is so big!

Thief:  When I have it in my hand, I decide what’s what. Got it, woman? Or rather… she-devil?

Wife:  I’ve got it.

Thief:  In bed.

Wife:  Why?

Thief:  No comments. I’m gonna sit in the armchair until my pain goes away. And you’re gonna tell me where I can find… (Hunchback can be heard singing: “Hope never dies…”) Damn, am I hearing things now? Who’s that?

Wife:  You’ve seen him already.

Thief:  The monster? Damn him! Does he really exist? I’ll tan his hide even better (points his gun to the door).

Wife:  Don’t shoot, please. He went to fetch ice.

Thief:  Ice?

Enter Hunchback. He discovers Thief in the armchair. Thief’s gun is pointed at him. He is not afraid.

Hunch:  Hi!

Thief:  My goodness, you are so ugly!

Hunch:  I got some ice for you to put on your head.

Thief:  Aha, yes! Very good! Give me the bag. Slowly, no quick movements. If you try to do anything, I’ll blow your brains out.

Hunch:  Of course. Some people only dream holes. Here you are.

Thief:  Now go to bed. (Hunchback gets into bed, obediently, near Evi.) My God… by her side you look even uglier. You’re like Beauty and the Beast! Do you know it? It’s a cartoon that I like very much.

Hunch (ironically):  Did you read it?

Thief:  You look worse than the devil but you play the ironical guy. You think you’re smart. Yes, little monster, I only read cartoons.

Wife:  One can see that…

Thief:  How can one see that?

Wife:  Sorry. It’s just words don’t get angry.

Thief:  Do you think I am a muttonhead?

Wife:  Not at all.

Thief:  In order to be a successful burglar, one must think thoroughly.

Hunch:  Namely. Did you think a lot before breaking in?

Thief:  You guys aren’t suffering because of the heat? Of course, you aren’t, because you are naked. Still you’ve disturbed my reasoning.

Wife:  You mean?

Thief:  I saw the windows were closed, the curtains drawn, as well as the draperies, no little window left open for a gust of wind. Pitch dark all over the house. No noise, no bedside lamp on, no music in a low tone. The TV set was not on!! These guys must be away on holiday, I told myself. Correct?

Hunch:  Right.

Thief:  It is hardly eleven o’clock. How the hell can everybody in the house sleep at this time and in such heat?! You would have judged the same.

Wife:  It sounds… comical in your mouth…

Thief:  Which word?

Wife:  The word “judged.”

Thief:  Really? It’s laughable, is it? I have nothing against it. Laughter is healthy.

Wife:  You’re a Thief who has the sense of humour.

Thief:  Correct. With humour and a gun. Ha, ha! And I feel like laughing… when I see you side by side.

Wife:  You’ve said it before. It is ridiculous to repeat the same thing over and over again.

Thief (barking out):  I repeat what I want, as often as I want, woman! (He agitates his gun.) I am the boss, now.

Hunch:  You’re right. Take care lest it should fire.

Thief:  No rush movements. I’m an expert.

Wife:  Have you shot a lot?

Thief:  Me? Well… that’s a professional secret.

Hunch:  Evi, stop asking questions. It looks like a cross-examination.

Thief:  Right! You’re a smart guy, a Hunchback one. Are you called by any chance, Adam?

Wife (sulky):  No, his name is not Adam.

Hunch:  Adrian.

Thief:  Close enough. A and E.

Wife:  What’s your name?

Thief:  Won’t you ask me where I live, when I was born, my ID card number…? You’re playing the smart one.

Wife:  Sorry…

Thief:  Eve was a very smart woman, too. She fooled poor Adam and he tasted the apple and when the stupid one took a bite he was damned. Ha, ha!

Wife:  You’re astonishing me!

Hunch:  Stop it, Evi.

Wife:  Well you do know a lot of stuff.

Thief:  Aha! You are mocking me.

Wife:  I wouldn’t dare.

Thief:  You’d better not! I’ve also seen some paintings with Adam and Eve! But they were beautiful. Their naked bodies were OK; they had shapes pleasant to the eye. And the serpent.

Wife:  Looked like you.

Hunch:  Evi, stop it!

Thief (laughs, amused):  I like the idea. Why not? But it would be even better if… the two of you were Adam and Eve! Painted on each side of the apple-tree. Naked. Oh my! How amused the beholder would be! Eve, the fairy queen and Adam, the Hunchback dwarf with a hideous face. They would roll in the aisles! Madness!

Wife:  Do you feel any special pleasure when you make fun of us?

Thief:  This is the truth, Evi. My friends call me Shopi. Would this nickname be good for a serpent, as well? You, what do you call little Adi when you caress his hunched back? My swollen one or my wild hillock?

Wife:  You can play the smart guy with a pistol in your hand.

Hunch:  Forget it, it doesn’t bother me.

Thief:  You see, Adi is wise… unlike Adam who took a bite. What a pity that I don’t have a painter’s talent. I’d sell the painting at the auction and get a nice sum of money plus fame.

Wife:  True believers would not buy such blasphemy.

Thief:  You are wrong, my precious. One is attracted by whatever is more hideous, more shocking, more disgusting and this becomes a commodity. And what does it matter who buys it? And you do not seem to be believers. Your bedroom is not endowed with any icon.

Wife:  Do you have one?

Thief:  Of course, I do. I have one right here, in my wallet.

Hunch:  To protect you from thieves.

Wife:  You took the words out of my mouth!

Thief (laughs heartily):  Good cue, you… Quasimodo! The icon does protect me!

Wife:  Did you say Quasimodo?

Thief:  Why are you so surprised? The Hunchback from Notre Dame, that church from Paris where he used to ring the bells and then he fell in love with a beautiful woman. Rather like the two of you, the only difference is that the Quasimodo Little Adi is wooing you.

Wife:  Don’t tell me that you read books?!

Thief:  No, dear, I watch movies and read comics! Are you satisfied? I stare at the pictures… (an idea comes to his mind.) Pictures? Ha, ha. That’s it. Why didn’t I think of this sooner? Oh, my, what an idea! (He takes the mobile phone out of his pocket.)

Hunch:  What are you doing?

Thief:  Taking pictures. Some pictures with both of you in different positions. I’ll be tremendously successful with them.

Wife:  No!!

Hunch:  I don’t think it’s a very good idea.

Thief:  It’s brilliant. Come on, turn a little, in profile, your hump must be visible.

Wife:  I beg you, no! I have a lot of jewellery over there, in that drawer from the mirror. Take them all! Take everything you want!

Thief:  I’ll take them, I’ve plenty of time. This telephone makes short movies as well, but… I do not know how. (To Hunchback) Are you good at this?

Hunch:  No.

Thief:  Her, I will ask nothing. Even if she is good at it, she wouldn’t help me. Come on, Eva, don’t make such faces. You’re spoiling the picture.

Wife (almost screaming):  I am not sitting for pictures. You’re a scoundrel. Kill me, but I am not sitting for pictures! (She disappears under the blanket.)

Thief (furious):  Fuck, get out from under the blanket!

Wife:  I won’t.

Thief:  I’ll put a bullet in you head.

Wife:  Shoot! The neighbours will hear and call the police.

Thief:  Aha! I have a silencer, too. Bloody hell! But I don’t feel like attaching it. Get out, fucking shit, out! (He snatches the blanket from Wife and throws it in a corner of the room. Wife groans loudly and starts crying. She wriggles.)

Hunch:  Evi, calm down.

Wife:  I don’t want pictures!

Hunch:  Maybe we can make a deal.

Thief:  Woman, stop wriggling like this, fuck you! (He slaps her hard and throws her into the arms of Hunchback.) Now listen to me. If you don’t calm down, I’ll beat you to death, leave you toothless and you’ll need several plastic surgeries to redo your nice face. A few pictures and it’s over. Who the hell can recognize you? You are not some actress or singer.

Hunch:  She is not…

Wife:  I beg you…

Thief (starts taking pictures):  Adam, my darling, touch one of her breasts with your hand. Like this. Grand. Now kiss her on the neck. Bravo! Caress her thighs gently. Good Lord! What a contrast! I could have you both naked and in different positions. I don’t like pornographic pictures. It’s better like this, there’s more mystery… but also some comic elements. Very funny. Kiss one of her knees, bend… like this… the hump is so big, and above it rises… brilliant… her angelic face! Now on top of her. Come on, just pretend I’m not here… Ha, ha! How interesting. Your head only reaches her breasts. Well, that’s not a bad place, after all. Excellent… Eva, do not lie on your belly. You, Quasimodo, put your face on her buttocks. Wow! How nicely they can be seen through the nightie! Close your eyes. You’re in an ecstasy. Wonderful… It’s over! I’ve finished. (He raises the blanket and throws it over the two people.) Now you can cover yourself with the blanket. Well, was that so hard? So much fuss over nothing! Sorry I had to slap you, Evi. There won’t be any traces… I had to calm you down somehow, otherwise I could have shot, God forbid, a bullet…

Wife (in a weak voice):  You’ve ruined me…

Thief:  You’re exaggerating. Calm down, I won’t post the pictures on the internet.

Wife:  I’m undone.

Thief:  You’re repeating the same thing and getting on my nerves. And when I am nervous I do crazy things.

Hunch:  A glass of brandy might help. What do you think?

Thief:  Alcohol? What exactly are you plotting, you ugly dwarf?

Hunch:  Nothing inappropriate.

Thief:  Don’t tell me! You think I’m stupid, don’t you?

Hunch:  Not at all.

Thief:  Now you’ve started plotting. You want to get me flustered, even drunk, so I’ll be less perceptive, and then, boom, you’ll hit me over the head.

Hunch:  You’re wrong.

Thief:  You can drink, if this calms you down. I… I am a little hungry.

Wife:  I am going to fix something for you…

Thief:  You stay where you are. He’ll go. Let me think. When you live in such a lavish house, you must have some salmon fillets in your fridge, no?

Hunch:  We actually still have some.

Thief:  I knew it. So, something simple. Slices of thinly buttered bread and salmon fillets with a little bit of lemon. Or maybe you don’t have lemon?

Hunch:  We do.

Thief:  And some still water, in which you won’t try to dissolve any powder…

Hunch:  Don’t worry. I’m off.

Thief:  Farewell and don’t slip on the stairs.

Hunch:  Do you worry about me.

Thief:  When you return with my sandwiches nicely set on a plate, it would be a pity to drop them… (he laughs)

Hunch:  It’s OK. (exit)

For several moments, Thief stares at Wife and smiles vaguely while shaking his head.

Thief:  Curiosity is gnawing me like a fat worm. How the hell did you mate with Quasimodo? This must be his house, he must have a big bank account, and he must be a successful businessman. (Wife looks at him without making any gesture.) Hmm! He may also have a big… I heard that the short ones are better in bed, more capable, aren’t they? At least nod if you do not want to answer me verbally… You keep silent. Stubborn and a little angry! You’re staring at me like a rattlesnake. Ha, ha! You married him for money, didn’t you? Only for money… (ironically) Or was it love at first sight?

Wife:  Do you think I am beautiful?

Thief:  I thought you had lost your speech.

Wife:  Tell me.

Thief:  You’re wonderful. Even when little Adi is missing.

Wife:  What?

Thief:  With him by your side, a strong conflict appears… to your advantage.

Wife: Of course.

Thief (hits his forehead with his hand):  That’s it. The law of contrasts which attract each other.

Wife:  Everything is natural with me.

Thief:  I suspected as much. You’ve never thrust a syringe anywhere, not even into your lips, is it?

Wife (rises and sits on her knees):  No. You can see by yourself.

Thief:  Stay still, I believe you.

Wife:  My breasts have no trace of silicone. Look, they are not too big, but they are firm and elastic. Come on, touch them and see for yourself.

Thief:  What are you thinking about?

Wife:  My belly is flat, I have never had any liposuction.

Thief:  I believe you. You look like a sportswoman. I realized this from the beginning… when I stepped on your barbells.

Wife:  And my buttocks.

Thief:  I noticed them, too! Your nightie is quite a see-through.

Wife:  If you don’t like it, I can take it off.

Thief:  I mean, what are you up to, woman?

Wife:  Come closer, sit on the bed.

Thief:  Stop with these temptations, damn woman. Do you think I am an idiot?

Wife:  You are tall and strong…

Thief:  Exactly! I’ll clobber you again.

Wife:  Beat me if it turns you on!

Thief:  Have you gone mad? Get back into bed, bloody hell! (He takes a silencer out of his coat pocket and starts screwing it onto the gun.)

Wife:  What are you doing?

Thief:  What do you think I am doing?

Wife:  That is a silencer.

Thief:  You’re beautiful and intelligent. (He gets angry.) And you think you’re smart. You’re getting on my nerves, tempting me like that. Aren’t you ashamed? Like a common whore.

Wife:  You’re exaggerating.

Thief:  You are overdoing it.

Wife:  And what about the silencer?

Thief:  Well, well… if you don’t stop it, I’ll plug a bullet in your kneecap! Got it, Evi? And you’ll be lame for the rest of your life. And you’ll make a wonderful couple with little Adi. The criple and the hunchback!

Wife:  You’re… horrible! A horrible Thief!

Thief:  More horrible than you wanting to me to touch you and showing me your breasts and your bottom? And what is all this show for? If you say that all of a sudden you’ve fallen in love with me, I swear I’ll shoot!

Wife (falls on bed and starts crying):  For the pictures.

Thief:  What pictures?

Wife:  The pictures from your cell phone…

Thief:  I’ve already forgotten about them. You’re ready to sell yourself for nothing?

Wife:  I beg you, delete them…

Thief (angry):   This is the last time that ever you beg me for this stupid thing. You got it?! A woman’s whining and whimpering voice… driving me nuts! And I want to tell you something: I’m gonna take some more pictures now when little Adi shows up. You’ve stirred me up, like a fool!

Wife (resigned):  What do a few extra pictures matter?

Thief:  Some pictures with both of you dancing. Ha-ha! The difference should be very obvious. And I’ll enjoy myself whenever I stare at them. Whenever I’m in a bad mood, I’ll have a look at your pictures.

Enter Hunchback. He is carrying a large big plate on which salmon fillet sandwiches have been arranged artistically. In his other hand, he has a bottle with still water.

Hunch:  Good food has arrived.

Thief:  Are you talking to me?

Hunch:  We’ve eaten, had enough.

Thief:  You talk to me as if I were three years old.

Hunch:  I wouldn’t dare.

Thief:  Come on and take your spouse and dance.

Hunch:  Dance? That’s a good one.

Thief:  You made me angry again and now I have to calm down. I am taking some pictures.

Hunch:  That’s right, it’s dangerous to eat when you’re upset.

Thief:  You’re smart, Quasimodo, I already told you.

Hunch:  There’s no music.

Thief:  You’re going to sing.

Hunch:  We don’t exactly have an ear for music.

Thief (angry):  Is that so? Fuck you. Come on, give me a tango. (Hunchback and Wife sing a wordless tune that resembles a classical tango. Thief also hums, growing more and more amused, going around them, cell phone in hand.) Good. Well done. You do have an ear for music… And you look… marvellous! Come on, more movement, try some tango dance figures. You should hold a carnation between your teeth, Little Adi! Ha, ha, ha, ha! Evi should bend very low in order to take it from between your teeth! Come on, more sentimental, as sentimental as possible. Pum-pum! The Waves of the Danube! Pirouettes! Tum-tum-tum! Turn around, Evi, swing… and lift your little lover off the floor… like a little doll… Tum-tum-tum! As if we are at the circus… Bravo! I could win a photo contest at a humour festival… Done! In bed, both of you, I am hungry.

Wife:  Have you calmed down?

Thief:  Of course. You should calm down, as well.

Wife:  Are you happy?

Thief:  Not yet… Let us see what meal Adi has fixed here. (He holds his hand to take a sandwich, then he changes his mind, takes the plate, goes to the bed and gives it to Wife.) Help yourself, Evi, a sandwich.

Hunch:  Don’t you trust me?

Thief:  I don’t. (to Hunch.) And you will have a sip from this bottle with water.

Wife takes a bite from the sandwich. Hunchback drinks from the bottle of water.

Wife:  Now, are you happy?

Thief:  Yes. Oh, Lord, I am as hungry as a hunter. (He eats slowly, taking delight in every bite.) The salmon fillet, very tasty. It’s not bad to be rich and have everything in your fridge.

Hunch:  Right.

Thief:  Do you know what Evi tried to do while you were out?

Hunch:  Steal your phone.

Thief:  Seduce me!

Hunch:  That’s a good one.

Thief:  Don’t be surprised. Anyway, I look better than you, much better.

Hunch:  I agree.

Thief:  But a married woman must take care of her house and her family.

Wife (ironically):  The moralizing thief!

Thief:  It seems you don’t have children.

Hunch:  We don’t…

Thief:  For a loose woman, it doesn’t matter anyway.

Wife:  You pretend to be brave when you have your gun with you and you dare offend me.

Thief:  I’ll be calm once my stomach is taken care of.

Hunch:  A normal reaction.

Thief:  My Wife made me the laughing stock of the world. The wretch!

Hunch:  Of the world? This means you should be famous.

Wife:  You should thank her.

Thief:  Enough with your stupid remarks! A worthless whore!

Hunch:  Your Wife?

Thief:  My Wife, even if we didn’t have the official papers. What does that piece of paper mean, anyway? We had been living together for many years. And then I caught her.

Wife:  You caught her?

Thief:  She used to post pictures of herself lying nude, on the internet. She wrote to several wankers who showed her, in return, how big their penis was. She had lewd dialogues even on the phone, under the blanket, at night. When I heard about it and confronted her, she was the one who actually shouted at me saying that I was backward and blockheaded, and that it was a very modern and innocent practice. This word stirred up a hurricane in me…

Wife:  Which word?

Hunch:  Innocent, my dear.

Thief:  Innocent… She was a thin being, beautiful, and frail, you could have sworn that she was the embodiment of virginity and innocence. I beat her until I got dog tired and she was in hospital for many weeks. They did their best to restore her face, but her beauty and her tender expression were lost for ever. Her real face came out, hideous…

Hunch:  And you got sent to the cooler.

Thief:  So what? I am not sorry. That’s where I learnt the trade.

Wife:  And what a great trade!

Thief:  It’s like any other trade if you practise it with passion and talent.

Hunch:  As if you were in class, reading life lessons from books.

Wife:  Soap opera talk.

Thief:  I only steal from the rich. I prefer the upstarts.

Wife:  You probably also give to the poor, like Robin Hood.

Thief:  Bedtime stories. A writer’s fantasy. Do you think you could ever satisfy the have-nots?

Wife:  Children?

Thief:  What about them?

Wife:  Did you two have any?

Thief:  “I am too young,” she would tell me, “we have plenty of time.”

Wife:  I think I can understand her, in this respect. There’s no need rush things.

Thief:  She looked like you.

Wife:  Like me?

Thief:  Yes. The same angelic face, the same graceful body.

Wife:  Now I can see why you hate me.

Thief:  You exaggerate.

Wife:  So you’re taking revenge on her by destroying me.

Thief:  What are you talking about? That’s nonsense!

Wife:  Yes, posting my pictures on the Internet for the whole world to see me dancing almost naked and lying in bed in embarrassing positions…! And to top of everything, you pretend that such practices revolt you. You’re a hypocrite, a liar, you behave just as you claim your undocumented wife did…

Thief:  Enough! I’m still digesting, woman! at this moment, I could shoot you without a second though!

Wife:  Shoot me!

Hunch:  Evi, stop it. The gentleman is not a murderer, he is a Thief:

Wife:  The gentleman?

Thief:  Exactly.

Hunch:  It is indelicate of us disturb his siesta.

Wife (staring at him):  Am I hallucinating?

Thief:  You might. It is sweltering. How is it that you don’t have air conditioning in this villa?

Hunch:  It is not healthy.

Thief:  But to sweat like a pig, is healthy?

Wife:  I’ll open the window a little.

Thief:  You’ll open nothing. You want to draw attention from someone outside.

Wife:  I’ll do it for you… to breathe the fresh night air.

Thief:  Bravo! You’ve returned. You’re pulling my leg. You’re being funny.

Wife (continues the game):  I mean it, you are breathing heavily, anyone can see it, it’s this crystal clear…

Thief:  Am I?

Wife:  And your forehead is dripping in sweat… you’re panting, you may have problems with your heart…

Thief:  Am I panting?

Wife:  Your chest is wheezing like a lawn mower.

Thief (very astonished):  A mower?

Wife:  Maybe I should call an ambulance.

Thief (bursts into laughter):  Hunchback, don’t you burst into laughter when you hear what she’s saying?

Hunch:  Yes, it’s comical.

Thief:  She thinks I am really quite stupid, like, mentally defective. I’ve blown my brains out.

Hunch:  You are not stupid, but you did get a blow to the head.

Wife:  You’re not stupid, you are a Thief.

Thief:  A classy one, my love! Even when I’m being mocked.

Wife:  I made a proposal to you for your own good.

Thief:  You see, Quasimodo, this is your woman!

Hunch:  I can see.

Thief:  Frivolous and insincere.

Hunch:  Depending on the situation.

Thief:  First she makes a pass at me, then she flatters me, she fawns over me, she pretends she wants to do me good! Luckily, I have eaten. When I have had my fill, I am much calmer.

Hunch:  Nor is it healthy to get mad at any trifle.

Thief:  Are you a doctor?

Hunch:  I am not.

Thief:  Are you? I forgot to ask you. What is your job when Eva lets you free?

Wife:  He is a programmer. An IT expert. A brilliant mind!

Thief:  An expert, and brilliant. I suspected as much. Judging by all of the brilliant products one can see all around…

Wife:  Highly qualified work must be paid accordingly!

Thief:  You are entirely right.

Wife:  Why are you so enthusiastic?

Thief:  I also do highly qualified work.

Wife:  And… who’s paying you?

Thief:  I am my own employer.

Hunch:  Simple and efficient. Only one employee who’s also the employer.

Wife:  Now you can sleep in peace. This is your big hit.

Thief:  Of course! I shall leave with a very rich load. You’re not wearing cut-price jewellery.

Wife:  Stop pretending.

Thief:  I don’t get it…

Wife:  You’ll have a monthly income without lifting a finger. You can lie in bed all day long, watch television, go on exotic trips by yourself or even in company.

Thief:  You’re talking nonsense.

Wife:  And if you are a smart boy, you’ll take care not to fritter the money too quickly.

Thief (to Hunchback):  Did she drink something?

Hunch:  Last night. But she has turned the corner.

Thief:  Can you understand what she’s hinting at?

Hunch:  I think so…

Wife:  You are playing this comedy in front of us. Well, dear Thief… by the way, what is your name?

Thief (amused):  You’ve already asked me this. I can only give you the number of my shoes, my shirt, trousers, and…

Wife:  And the money, where do we have to bring it?

Thief:  What money?

Wife:  You’re a miserable pretender.

Thief:  I am a miserable man who had his fill eating salmon fillets.

Wife:  The blackmail!

Thief:  What kind of blackmail?

Hunch:  She’s talking about the pictures.

Wife:  Exactly. That’s why you took the pictures. Now you can blackmail us as you like. You can milk like cows.

Thief (angry):  I’ve found a stupid cow! Dumb cow! Unable to understand the others. Ready to offer her body to any new comer. (He walks all over the room, agitated.) Blackmail? Do you think everybody thinks like you? Blackmail is for the impotent, for guys who have no character. For those who are able to step even on their own mothers’ corpses just to reach their goals.

Wife:  You make me laugh, really you do!

Thief:  You laugh stupidly. The blackmailer is an ordinary crook, a little grain, a nothing!

Wife:  You’re such a smart one!

Hunch:  Evi, it’s no use provoking him. I believe him.

Thief:  Normally. You’re a man…

Thief (rushes to Wife, and gets her by the throat):  I will not blackmail anybody, woman. If you go on with this madness.

Wife:  What will you do? Will you stamp me out the way you did your sweetheart?

Wife:  I did not stamp her out… I only wiped that expression off her face that she was a frail and honest woman. I already told you.

Wife:  You’re a choleric. You lose your temper, too damn quickly!

Thief:  It’s because of you and the heat in this house!

Wife:  She may have had enough of your hysterics and then looked for some consolation, an alternative.

Thief:  How well women can defend each other even when they’ve never met.

Hunch:  Especially when they’ve never met.

Thief:  Apparently, you might be right.

Wife:  Apparently?

Thief (walks again all over the room):  Finally, she admitted that she had been practising that pornographic sport, apparently, only virtually since the first months that we lived together when we billed and cooed. I had no idea that we’re billing and cooing on a pile of shit.

Wife:  And you found this out… after breaking some of her ribs.

Thief:  Something like that… (Suddenly, he puts his right hand on his belly.) Oh, God!

Hunch:  Is something wrong?

Thief:  It’s not good. I feel bad…

Wife:  If you feel like throwing up, do it in the bathroom, not on my rugs.

Thief:  I don’t feel like puking. What the hell was in those fillets?

Hunch:  Nothing. They were fresh, I assure you.

Wife:  I ate as well. You obliged me. But I’m fine.

Thief:  I feel my stomach churning all of a sudden.

Wife:  I can hear it…

Thief:  Where’s your toilet?

Hunch:  That door.

Thief (grabs the pistol):  You must come with me!

Hunch (smiling):  That’s an idea.

Wife:  Have you gone mad? Maybe you want us… to hold you by the hand?

Thief:  If I leave you alone… you can call… call the police… Oh, my, what pains!

Wife:  Shall we come with you? Shall we watch you while you relieve your stomach? You’re a psycho.

Thief:  I’m logical. Stop talking, I feel I can’t take it any more… damn those fillets!

Wife:  I will not enter the toilet with you even if you kill me.

Thief:  I must see you… what the hell!

Hunch:  You could leave the door open.

Thief:  OK, little Adi! There is still somebody thinking in this house. I leave the door open and you will sit in front of it. Here, on the carpet… so that I can see you… I was greedy, damn those fillets!

Wife:  You mean we sit as if we were at the theatre and stare at you… while you are labouring to get rid of your load! While you’re straining!

Thief:  You turn your back to me, damn you! And stop talking or I’ll hit you in the head. You’ll get dizzy, you’ll faint, and no more talking!! (He pulls her by the hand and drags her in front of the bathroom where he throws her down. Amused, Hunchback sits down by Wife.)

Wife:  You feel like laughing. As if he were your relative, this guy stuffed with salmon fillets!

Thief:  You whistle and clap your hands… (He opens the door of the bathroom, leaves it wide open, and enters.)

Wife:  You’ve gone mad, it’s clear.

Thief:  Lest… you should hear…

Wife:  Embarrassed, are you?

Hunch:  Of course, dear. He is a classy Thief. He has principles. Let’s start… as well… (He claps and whistles.)

Wife:  Take care of your little gun. Maybe you drop it into the water and your ammunition will get wet.

Thief:  Aaaa…

The two clap and whistle. At a certain moment they even synchronize and sing a fashionable tune. After a while, Thief reappears in the doorframe. He listens to them, an expression of supreme relief spreads on his face. He nods and marks the rhythm of the tune.

Thief:  You’re gifted, indeed you are. You can form a duo. Concerts, tour, lifestyle!

Hunch:  You look like another man.

Thief:  Indeed. I feel like another man!

Wife:  What if we formed a trio?! You beat the drum with the silencer! Wonderful life!

Thief:  Back in bed! You were good and obedient.

Wife:  This is how people are when they are threatened.

Hunch:  Evi, really, it’s no use stirring up the hornets ‘nest. Now the man has got rid of his pain, he’s OK.

Wife:  And we’re ecstatic! You have such black humour, Adi.

Thief:  You’re exaggerating like any other woman. There’s nothing macabre in this.

Wife:  You got rid of your upset stomach and now your appetite for life has returned. You feel like flying.

Thief:  To the contrary. I feel like sitting in an armchair, breathing freely and relaxing.

Wife:  It’s only us that you wish to keep under duress.

Hunch:  I am not at all under duress.

Thief (to Wife):  But relax, dear Evi. Stress deepens wrinkles. It forms dark circles under one’s eyes. And it would be a pity…

Wife (to Thief):  Might you suggest some naturist recipes for my skin and some ideal diets? You may happen to be a great nutritionist without even realizing it.

Thief:  If I had such talents, I would not have swallowed, like a simple-minded man, all of those fillets.

Wife:  You finally speak the truth!

Hunch:  You could have a glass of still water with some drops of lemon now.

Thief:  I risk nothing.

Hunch:  It is advisable. Maybe even a glass of water where you dissolve a spoonful of clay. Guaranteed disinfectant.

Thief:  I read about clay as well. It seems to have a lot of qualities.

Wife:  But you are a real reader. Amazing!

Thief:  This amazement of yours is because there aren’t too many books here. I can even say that I don’t see a single one. At least on the night table, under the bedside lamp, there should be a book.

Wife:  They’re in the library, where they belong.

Thief:  And the library, where is it?

Wife:  As you can see, this is a big house; consequently, no one sleeps in the library.

Thief:  You’re right. (didactic) One sleeps in the bedroom and reads in the library. But the library, where is it?

Wife:  Next door. See for yourself.

Thief:  This time, I believe you. It would be complicated for me to go there. You should come with me and … I don’t feel like bringing you. I feel a bit exhausted.

Wife:  The stomach churning.

Thief:  Do you have old books?

Wife:  How old?

Thief:  Hundreds of years old.

Wife:  What would we do with them? Who knows how many unwashed hands could have used them?! How many germs could live among those pages, even viruses of some disease from another century?

Thief:  Theoretically, something like that could happen. But old and rare books are very valuable. They are worth the risk.

Wife:  Have you taken such risks?

Thief:  A thick-headed guy I accidentally saw in a programme on a local channel inspired me.

Hunch:  How did he inspire you?

Thief:  He bragged about the old and rare books that he had acquired, alongside numerous paintings and other artefacts. All of them were hoarded in his villa, which the cameraman kept shooting very thoroughly throughout the show. I got angry at the man’s arrogance and his aggressive mediocrity.

Hunch:  Look who’s talking! As if he were on a podium!

Thief:  He bragged that he had never read a book in his entire life, and that neither did he intend to. That he had become rich without having much education, only the compulsory classes. Schooling and reading: a waste of time! The guy was obviously on his soapbox, but he was an individual who knew what do with their money and where to invest it. His impertinence both angered and challenged me. Consequently…

Hunch:  You robbed that villa.

Thief:  Yes, I did. I did it with utmost pleasure and thorough preparation. Such a villa has all sorts of alarms.

Wife:  We’ll have to set up an alarm as well.

Thief:  After I’m leaving…

Wife:  You’re funny. I am sure you are good at alarms. An expert. Maybe you will set a new one for us.

Hunch:  And?

Thief:  And I made off with all his books. All his shelves were emptied.

Hunch:  How many shelves?

Thief:  Two. A whole fortune. He did not announce the theft. During that TV programme he had also bragged about the invincible alarm system his home was endowed with.

Hunch:  And the books, did you sell them?

Thief:  Some of them. I spent the money with my beloved, my honest Wife:

Wife:  Whose ribs you lovingly broke afterwards…

Thief:  Such rarities can be sold only one by one, at well calculated intervals. Lest you should become a suspect. I’m very careful with every detail, at every peculiarity.

Wife:  You’re a perfectionist.

Thief:  Thank you.

Wife:  I also have a cooking book.

Thief:  A cooking book. I have a dozen.

Wife:  Mine is from 1830.

Thief:  Really? I’ve never seen such an old cooking book. It’s fascinating to find out what people used to eat centuries ago. It makes my mouth water… You’ve made me very curious.

Wife:  You can take it… next to the jewels.

Thief:  This will happen, be sure.

Hunch:  Do you like cooking?

Thief:  Cooking is my great passion.

Wife:  Besides thieving…

Hunch:  And mine.

Thief:  I would cook at home even when I was living with my beloved Wife. That is why she had time enough to get bored and gallivant. I would bring her food tray to bed while she was writing to several wankers.

Hunch:  I cook to jazz music.

Thief:  Me, too! What a coincidence!

Wife:  You, you are relatives, admit it!

Hunch:  Do you cook the eggplant salad with mayonnaise?

Thief:  Not at all. It takes away its real taste, its eggplant taste.

Thief:  Right. I’m also not an adept of putting mayonnaise in everything.

Hunch:  It shows lack of creativity and taste.

Thief:  I scrape a little bit of parmesan and mix everything until it melts into the freshly baked and peeled eggplants while they are still hot. This gives the salad a special taste and doesn’t take away its flavour.

Hunch:  I get the point. I don’t cut the onion very thinly. I want to feel it when I eat it. I also squeeze a few lemon drops.

Thief:  I use lemon, too. It is obligatory in mayonnaise.

Hunch:  Stuffed eggs swimming in the mayonnaise.

Thief:  Delicious! It is a delight to cook them.

Hunch:  I thin down the mayonnaise with the runny, not fatty kind of sour cream, and then I spread freshly cut dill on everything.

Thief:  A great idea! I also add some very thin slices of raw mushrooms.

Hunch:  The flavour of the champignon is stimulating.

Thief:  Next… the stuffed eggs! I remove the hot yolk and mix it with butter and Mediterranean herbs. Not with pork pâté…

Hunch:  Extraordinary! I also use only butter and spices.

Wife:  Rubbish!

Thief:  I like to have fun with the halves of the stuffed eggs. My imagination runs wild.

Hunch:  I imagine little boats… floating on a yellowish sea…

Thief:  Little ducks… with eyes made of black olives…

Hunch:  …beaks and wings made of pickled red pepper…

Thief:  A fat fish…

Hunch:  or a… half yellow submarine!

Suggestion for the director. In this moment, seized with culinary enthusiasm, the two men could sing together a musical phrase from Yellow Submarine by The Beatles while Wife looks at the two guys who went completely berserk…

Thief:  I also tried swans!

Wife:  Haven’t you tried… storks, crows, little serpents?

Hunch:  But what about cabbage? The cabbage! The carefully stewed cabbage!

Thief:  Raw cabbage thinly cut. Cutting the cabbage is the only moment that I do not like.

Hunch:  Neither do I.

Thief:  Then I scald it well, I let it drip, and then I put it in a big heatproof pot without any drop of sunflower oil.

Hunch:  No drop?

Thief:  No drop. I add two thin slices of fat bacon, two glasses of white dry wine, I squeeze two lemons, thyme, black pepper, a bit of salt.

Hunch:  I also pour wine and a few slices of tomatoes and onion…

Thief:  Of course, and slices of onion. Everything cooked on a small fire for about an hour and a half.

Hunch:  Patiently, so that everything gets tender…

Wife:  I’m getting dizzy.

Hunch:  And now let me present my personal contribution.

Hunch:  Your secret.

Thief:  Exactly. I grate a big, long white radish. Inside the cabbage I thrust an apple with the core removed, and in that empty space… I pour honey.

Hunch:  Extraordinary! I suspect everything disappears in the end, except the cabbage.

Wife:  Of course. Everything melts except the cabbage. The cabbage has a divine taste! There are also some bacon leftovers which are thrown away…

Wife:  A genuine cooking lesson.

Thief:  You could have taken notes.

Wife:  I’m just stunned listening to you.

Thief:  If little Adi can cook, you don’t waste too much time in the kitchen.

Wife:  You got it! I would only disturb him.

Thief:  Are you keen on the… internet, as well?

Wife:  No, the internet, no? But I got interested in taking pictures.

Thief:  Taking pictures?

Hunch:  This is a surprise.

Thief:  Are you talking about something precise or generally?

Wife:  Passions can appear all of a sudden, too…

Hunch:  And so do some ideas.

Wife (to Thief):  Have you ever appeared in newspapers or on TV?

Thief:  Me? Back then, after the beating, there was a short piece of news on some programme or another… I wasn’t an important person, a VIP and I did not even kill her, so why would the media have paid much attention to me?

Hunch:  You remained a nobody.

Thief:  Normally. In my trade, anonymity is vital.

Wife:  So… nobody has seen your face.

Thief:  You’re the first. In such heat, at a reasonable time, everything was closed, the curtains drawn, the lights off, no TV, no movement… I was tempted, I admit.

Hunch:  According to what we saw in the movies, you ought to shoot us.

Wife:  Annihilating eye-witnesses.

Thief:  Theoretically, yes. Practically it would be a stupid thing to do.

Wife (takes her cell phone from the bedside table):  I thought I should take a picture of you, as well.

Thief:  What are you talking about?

Wife:  You took so many pictures of us… I am taking one picture of you, too. A souvenir.

Thief:  Sit still and forget about the phone.

Wife:  To look at you in my moments of sadness.

Thief:  Stop it.

Wife:  I may even print it.

Thief:  I felt so good and now you are destroying everything with your stupid ideas.

Wife:  Hang your face on a wall or on the street! Yes, hang it on posts, in metro stations, or in gas stations.

Thief (makes a real jump to the middle of the bed):  Stop it, woman! I’ll hit you over the head with this gun, did you hear me? You will be unconscious until I finish my job here. I don’t want to hear your voice anymore!

Hunch:  Evi, be more reasonable.

Wife:  The cooks’ coalition!

Wife’s mobile phone rings. Some moments of confusion.

Thief:  Don’t answer. It’s midnight.

Wife:  On the contrary. I will.

Thief:  It’s a mistake. Or some psycho. Or some intoxicated young people are playing dialling numbers at random!

Wife:  I have to answer.

Thief:  You are sleeping sound at this time or do you want me to punch you in the mouth?

Wife:  It’s my husband.

Thief (as if thunderstruck):  Husband? Husband!?

He stands up from the bed and sprawls himself into the armchair, astonished, and mumbling some indistinct words.

Wife (on the phone):  Yes, love, you did not wake me up! I was watching a movie… well, an older thriller… you know I like them… you, too… with a Thief… and one of those big guns… what about you? Yes? I told you to be careful what you eat at those receptions… I’ve been on a diet… only yoghurt and cereals… they didn’t have yoghurt and cereals? (laughs) you make me laugh… you also drank something… I can feel it… well, how can I scold you? you must be up to the requirements… I know, you have to smile at all those stupid guys… and the result? yes… yes… come on, cut it short, I am dying with impatience… well done, love! I was sure you would succeed… you can convince anybody… why should you apologize? It’s good that you called… I was looking forward to finding out… are you coming back tomorrow? already? wonderful, why should you waste more time over there? I’m glad… by the 12.30 flight… I’ll wait for you at the airport… of course… good night, love… I love you, too…

She puts her mobile on the bed night table and looks at Thief, a huge smile on her lips. Several moments of silence.

Thief (low voice):  Love… (he looks at Hunchback in deep amazement,shrugs, sighs noisily.) Love… I’ve made a fool of myself. I told you my life… I sermonized to you like an idiot. I criticized fallen women… the whores… I opened my heart in front of whom? In front of some people who…

Wife:  You did not exactly open your heart.

Thief:  What a fool I was! How ridiculous! How pathetic! How pitiful!

Hunch:  You’re exaggerating.

Wife:  You should look for the comical side of the situation.

Thief:  Comical? What the hell do you see comical? You are a harlot, this what you are, nothing else. And you, you are pathetic. With… Quasimodo? Evi? Don’t tell me that you met in childhood… that you grew up on the same street… that you used to hold hands when you were children. Bla, bla, bla. He may be your husband’s boss. But… I am not interested. I am sick. I am fed up with all and everything.

Wife:  The Thief a philosopher! Thieves will be thieves.

Thief:  At least I still have my pride, though who knows what good it’s for? How the two of you must have been laughing to yourselves while I was severely condemning my Wife and playing the moralist.

Wife:  I did not feel like laughing very much.

Thief:  What disillusionment, what a disappointment, what perplexity!

Wife:  Maybe you’re going to cry.

Thief:  I feel sick.

Hunch:  Also the salmon?

Wife:  Do you still need to go to the toilet?

Thief:  Enjoy yourself, you have all the right. Make fun of me. You’ve pulled my leg, you’ve taken me in…

Wife:  Nobody told you that we were married.

Thief:  I’m going to leave… It was the most embarrassing night in my whole life. I don’t feel like taking anything from here. It would remind me of the whore with whom I lived.

Wife:  Time cures everything.

Thief:  Is that so? I had no idea.

Wife:  You’re taking something with you, stop pretending.

Thief:  What should I take? Maybe these barbells I almost broke my neck with…?

Wife:  The pictures.

Thief:  Ah, the pictures. I should delete them, now, since they’re no longer funny to me. They’ll remind me of my whore, whenever I looked at them.

Wife:  Then shall we delete them?

Thief:  Well, yes… (all of a sudden another thought crosses his mind.) By the way, I want to see your “love,” your beloved husband, how does he look, that you cheat on him with… sorry, Adi, I do not want to hurt you, but…

Hunch (amused):  It’s OK. My sense of humour is very well developed.

Thief (to Wife):  Show me a picture. You must have some albums with the places where you travelled, where you spent your holidays full of love.

Wife:  OK, I got it. (She pushes the bed drawer and takes out a picture.) Look at a picture. Stare!

Thief (looks at the picture, then at Hunchback, then again at the picture):  Well, your love looks well… very… very… well… even… if… he’s… obviously… older… grey hair… poise… he practises sports… maybe swimming… maybe rides horses… tennis… stuff…

Wife:  Then do we start deleting?

Thief:  This face is familiar to me! Where from? Clarify this for me.

Hunch:  He is a senator.

Thief (explosive):  Senator?! Senator! Yes, senator. Now I know! Strong party, VIP… So he’s a senator (to Wife)… so you are the senator’s wife! It’s you who accompanies him to official dinners and meetings, and whom he shows off in public as the virtuous Wife:  The senator’s wife!

Wife:  You can give me the cell phone, I am good at deleting, too.

Thief:  So then are you the senator’s cook?

Hunch (laughs):  Well, not exactly. I am his chief secretary.

Thief:  His chief secretary! Why am I not surprised? With your mind it is normal.

Wife:  Maybe the two of you can still exchange culinary recipes. In the meantime, I can delete the pictures…

Thief:  Quick-witted! (He walks around the room while holding the picture in front of his eyes.) Senator and chief secretary… Party… Leadership… the senator’s Wife… (to Wife) Evi, you used to say I look wonderful!

Wife:  Of course.

Thief:  Better than the Senator! At least I am younger, I have no grey hairs, a nice, even attractive face, no? Look at me, face up, profile!

Wife:  Do you want to participate in a beauty contest?

Thief:  I am not stupid either. I’m even quite sly.

Wife:  In your trade… well. (insinuating) Maybe you still want me to take a picture of you!

Thief (enlightened):  You will take pictures of me, Evi! You will take pictures of me and we’ll spread them all over the city. Everything in due time. Adi, get dressed quickly. I have an idea! We’re going to discuss it, we have all the night at our disposal. You have finished your job here for the moment, haven’t you?

Hunch:  I’m getting dressed.

Wife:  Are you going out for a drink? This beats everything!

Thief:  I would invite you as well but you must rest and meet your beloved husband at the airport tomorrow, with a fresh, serene complexion without dark circles under your eyes…

Wife:  What are you thinking of?

Thief:  I’ve made up my mind to give up my shady dealings and enter politics.

Wife:  Politics?

Thief:  Yes, you’ve heard well. Join your party. And the two of you will support me! No comments.

Wife:  Then… will you give up deleting the pictures?

Thief:  For the moment, yes.

Wife:  And you’re talking about dignity!

Thief:  My dignity as a Thief. I shall give it up. Once a Thief…  no longer…

Wife:  Like the snake that sheds its skin.

Thief (amused):  Exactly, Evi. You’re a beautiful, attractive woman… even intelligent. Suddenly, I think I like you. Very attractive. Even dear…

Hunch:  A normal reaction for a future member of our party.

Thief:  A potential one.

Wife (sighs deeply and loudly):  That’s it. In fact, why not?

Hunch:  I am ready.

Thief:  I know a night bar with discreet booths.

Wife:  Take care do not get drunk!

Thief:  Tonight, it is out of the question. I have a lot to learn.

Wife:  Adi is a very good teacher.

Thief:  I have intuitively felt his potential from the first moment.

Wife:  Then I wish you fruitful debates.

Hunch (laughs):  Well done, Evi, you spoke as if you were at a meeting.

Wife (also laughs):  Do I get a little kiss from you when we say good-bye?

Thief:  What about me?

Wife:  From both of you.

Both men kiss her on a cheek.

Thief:  Your skin is like a peach…

Wife:  And you… a very subtle observer.

Hunch:  And a violet perfume…

Wife:  No more flattering! To work!

Thief:  We’re gone. If you want, I can leave you the gun. To defend yourself from… thieves.

The three of them laugh.

Hunch:  The little barbells… are enough for her. Sleep well!

Thief:  Rosey dreams.

Wife:  Get lost!

Thief:  OK!

The men get out. Wife takes the barbells in her hand and makes some movements with them while singing a song. Then she leaves them in the middle of the room and gets back into bed.

Wife:  How was that recipe with cabbage? First you cut it thinly, then you add two glasses of wine… you squeeze a lemon… and oil… no, not oil… fat slices of bacon… you scrape a long and white radish… and an apple with honey… onion… tomatoes… spices… thyme…

While Wife remembers the recipe, the light gets dimmer. Happy, rhythmic music is heard. The two little barbells start jumping to the music. They will turn into two puppets taking after Thief and Hunchback.

End

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