Tim Marks
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"Raises important, powerful issues, and holds them up to scrutiny."


"They totally control us, you know that? They don't need to police us—we do that ourselves with fear."

 

locating the plant | pearldivers | eve's barette | the judas ballot | the cleric | the naz

the english crew | the tradition

An Excerpt from Locating the Plant, by Tim Marks

© 1993 Tim Marks. All rights reserved.

Act II, Scene Five

(The House. Present are Cathy and Kieran. They are lying on the couch. Cathy's blouse is undone as Kieran attempts to make love to her.)

Cathy

Will you stop it, for Christ's sake?

Kieran

I thought you were in the mood!

Cathy

I was, but now I'm not. Is that alright with you?

Kieran (getting up)

Have I a choice!? Why did you come over then?

Cathy

To see your Ma. I just let this get out of hand. I don't want to be grabbing quickies on your Mammie's couch. All you have to do is come and see me at my place.

Kieran

I thought if I just showed up it would look like all I was after was the ride.

Cathy

What else were you wanting!? C'mon Kieran. We went into this with our eyes open.

Kieran

Yeah, but I think more of you than that.

Cathy

Than what? A woman who likes sex? That's all it is, but like every other Catholic man in this province, sex has to mean more than sex. God forbid a woman wants a little nookie! That's when you all decide she must be a hoor or a nympho.

Kieran

I didn't call you either. (laughing) And its a long time since anyone called me a Catholic.

Cathy

Oh sorry I forgot! You're a Marxist! Equality for everyone - unless you're a horny woman!

Kieran

I wanted you to know I respected you! (laughs)

Cathy

So you jump me in your Mammie's house! What would she say if she knew?

Kieran

She doesn't know and I don't want you telling her. Jesus, she's enough to contend with.

Cathy

Ashamed of me, are you, Kieran? You know - the woman you wouldn't fuck out of respect.

Kieran

Jesus! You can be a hard bitch when you get going. I'm just trying to protect her is all. It's not like it matters to you, is it? After all, you don't want it going any further.

Cathy

Where could it go, Kieran? Do you see me and you changing nappies and going to Bingo? Don't worry, I'll not tell your Ma. Will she be long, you think?

Kieran

She's doing a bit of shopping with Barry.

Cathy

Yeah! She's dead pleased he's home.

Kieran

Little things make her happy these days!

Cathy

Is that a bit of jealousy I hear?

Kieran

Fuck no! You should see the cut of him. Suit and tie and a fucking briefcase. He looks like one of them Mafiosi on the telly!

Cathy

Nothing to be jealous of, then?

Kieran

Don't take the piss! He thinks he's fooling people, with his flash clobber and all his talk about changing Belfast. The people here are not so easily fooled.

Cathy

What's he up to?

Kieran

He's supposed to be bringing work to Belfast. Two thousand jobs. I'll believe it when I see it.

Cathy

You don't think he can do it, then?

Kieran

He's a con man. Always has been. People are buying it, though. There are people knocking at the door all the time, wanting to say hello to my Ma. These are the same people who haven't knocked the door since my Da died. Bloody fools, he's bound to let them down.

Cathy

Why are you so sure?

Kieran

A leopard don't change its spots. Don't worry, he'll find some way so that when it fails, he won't be responsible, so he can keep being a saint to the community. I hate to see him manipulate their hopes like this.

Cathy

Maybe hope is all they have.

Kieran

Yeah, but it's got to be hope for the right thing.

Cathy

Meaning the IRA?

Kieran

Meaning freedom from British rule, and that does mean the IRA.

Cathy

Don't start preaching the cause at me. I've lost enough to it.

Kieran

We all know your contribution, but you know it was worth it, don't you? Pete's death brings us one step closer to getting the bastards out.

Cathy

You are adequate in bed, but stone useless outside of it! How did my husband's death advance the cause? He killed himself and three innocent people. He's a punchline to the British! How many Paddies does it take to blow up a street? Two - one to hold it, the other to set it off! He didn't die a glorious death. He was ripped apart. There was barely enough left to fill the coffin! With him went my hopes... my hopes of getting out of this town, my hopes for a family and a decent crack at life. To you Pete's death was a romantic abstract. To me it was stark fucking reality!

Kieran

I don't see anything romantic in a man's dying. I've seen enough death to sour me to that. But his death did serve a purpose. It showed the British our commitment to getting them out.

Cathy

Do you not think the hunger strikes did that? The Brits let ten men die in the full glare of the media! I think they are well aware that we don't want them here. That does not replace the family I lost.

Kieran

You stayed here after Pete's death. You could have got out.

Cathy

I am the widow of an Irish own goal bomber. Where could I go where that would be acceptable?

Kieran

That's bollocks, you could go anywhere! The IRA would have helped.

Cathy

Maybe my faith in the IRA's ability to organize things was less than one hundred percent. They did, after all, send my husband out with a faulty bomb!

Kieran

That was five years ago. Maybe it's time you got over it?

Cathy

Only a man could say something so stupid. You presume that because I enjoy sex with you that I've forgotten my husband! That I should get over it on some timetable you or the IRA have dreamed up! Losing my husband was bad enough. Learning he died because you idiots bought faulty detonators was insult to injury. How in the name of Christ do you expect to create something here when you can't even destroy something properly? I stopped believing in the republican movement the day my husband died. That was also the day I stopped being afraid of it. People think that because I like a bit of a laugh that I have forgiven and forgotten. I haven't! I've been warned that I'm a little too mouthy. Maybe not supportive enough of the movement. I don't know how long it will be before I stop being Pete's widow and start being that loud mouthed hoor who's disloyal to the cause. When the time comes, will it be you who delivers the headshot, or will you be the one who orders the young 'uns to tar and feather me?

Kieran

No one has said you are in danger. No one will hurt you. Just be careful who you slag the movement off to. Just keep your thoughts to yourself, or, if you must speak, talk to my Ma. She would never say a word against you.

Cathy

No, she wouldn't, but what about you, Kieran? Here I am, making treasonous remarks about the Provies, and you're listening without acting - why is that?

Kieran

Out of respect for all you have been through, but even my patience has limits. I don't always agree with the IRA, but I pledged my life to supporting it. Look, my Ma will be home soon, I think I would like it if she doesn't see us together.

Cathy

No I think I would rather it if we were not seen together!

Kieran

You want out?

Cathy

I have always wanted out. But for now I'll settle for being on my own!