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"Grace Gets Even"
From the Play "Beyond Measure"

By G. L. Horton
copyright © 1998 Geralyn Horton

Grace, Richard's first wife, finally has her long delayed revenge on the younger woman her husband Richard married after he divorced her.  Grace has just destroyed the telephone and threatened to karate-kick her hated rival over the moon, so Paulette-- who thinks her marriage to Richard is stable and happy-- is struck speechless with terror as this crazy older woman stages a scene in Paulette's tidy living room.

GRACE: Does Richard still keep his socks in the left-hand drawer?  Ah ha!  He does.  How boring and predictable that man is. You can't imagine how much I'm enjoying this.  From the moment I saw it coming.

From that blessed moment, every nasty little dig, every smug little wifey pifey bit of psychological dog turd you tossed at me, became a source of amusement.  Oh, what a relief it is-- after all these years, to be able to laugh at you!

You'd have seen it coming too,  you fool, if you hadn't been so smug.  The evidence was all here.  (Holds up lacey bra.)

This isn't yours, is it?  Size 32 C?

(GRACE tosses the bra at PAULETTE, and  laughs)

You never noticed a pattern to Richard's excuses?  The boring familiarity of those alibis for his one night stands? The Case of the Missing Dick. Next come the longer flings, the ones where somebody hangs up if you answer the phone.  Ones where there's a mysterious rash of car trouble, ones where Daddy volunteers for committees at  Marnie's school, committees with just one member and long frequent meetings. To back him up on this Richard turns Daddy's little girl into Daddy's little liar, naturally. Then comes the final stage, the really frightening part: the suddenly devoted spouse.  Richard's always on time, now, yes?   Concerned for the family schedule, taking over chores.   An apparent advocate of abstinence, never mind catting around.   I don't see his bathrobe.  Is it in the laundry? Or the other bathroom?

With Richard that's the big giveaway-- apparent abstinence.  Of course I never noticed, back when I was young and foolish. But then,- --I didn't have the example of a first dump to learn from.

But you're too stupid to learn, Paulette.  Too smug and too stupid.  A dense little Dolly who can't even do the math.  Desire plus a decade equals Dump, Paulette. Randy old Richard? Though rapidly approaching half a century, Dickiekins is still convinced he's Prince Charming. Charm as in boyish.  Boys belong to girls, not old witches. A woman who's pushing forty is far too old for a perpetual twenty-something like Dickie-boy. Isn't that how it went before, Paulette? Back when you were a girl? You do remember?  Richard, sexy Dick, tricky Dick that he is, is barely aging at all. Time cannot wither him. But our boy has noticed that the stupid woman he married is past repair and ripe for the junkyard.  She, of course-meaning blind old Grace, meaning me-- notices no such thing.  All old Grace notices is that first her husband seems to be screwing around and then he seems to have stopped.  Hubby seems at the moment to be sticking to the rules and working toward time off for good behavior.  Poor fool, the wife never knows what time it is. Time for a new model. Someone fresh, unspoiled, and close at hand - someone like Olga.

Never saw it coming, did you?

Olga's a child.  Younger than our daughter, Marnie.

In fact, Olga's as much younger than you are as you were younger than I was. All those years ago. Perfect, isn't it? Oh, I saw it coming, all right.  Savored all the signs.  And I knew if I wanted to be here and enjoy this look on your face, this perfect moment when you realize you've been dumped, I'd better make up with old Dicky-boy.  Let bygones be bygones.  And do you know, he was eager!  More than willing to pour all your spousal shortcomings into my sympathetic ear.   Amazing man, Richard-- such confidence in his own charms that it never occurred to him to wonder why after all these years I would want to be his friend.


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