Tea Party, Act 1, Scene 2

Scene Two: Calvin’s backyard. A square table is set up surrounded by hedges.

Amelia: (sighs dramatically) Another tea party, another death. Who will die today?

Patience: No one’s going to die, Amelia. Beatrice’s death was a once in a lifetime sort of thing. No one will die today.

Rupert: Did Amelia bake cookies again?

Amelia: Of course not! Actually, Calvin did.

Rupert: (looking around) Where is he?

Calvin: Behind you.

Enter Calvin. He is holding a plate with a dark brown cake covered in slightly dark, white frosting and a pile of sprinkles in the middle. He sets the cake down in the middle of the table.

Patience: (staring at the cake) What is it?

Calvin: (sounding proud of himself) It’s a white cake with vanilla frosting.

Amelia: No, it’s not. It’s a sickly chocolate cake with burnt honey frosting.

Calvin: (indignant) Well, it looks better than your cookies did. And this was the first time I’ve ever baked a cake!

Rupert: And the last. This doesn’t even resemble a cake, Calvin! At least we knew what Amelia had made. Are you sure this is a cake.

Calvin: Very sure, Rupert. I’ll never invite you to another tea party!

Patience: Okay, that’s enough. Let’s just settle down and have a nice tea party. (mutters to herself) One of these days we’ll have a perfect tea party.

Amelia: Did you say something, Pat?

Patience: (smiles) No. Nothing.

Rupert: (takes a large gulp of tea) You know, I don’t know why we bother having tea parties. Something always goes wrong.

Patience: Then we’ll keep trying.

Amelia: Easy for you to say, Pat. But I think we’re all getting tired of all these mishaps. It’s terrible now that Beatrice is gone.

Calvin: Beatrice died a year ago. Let’s not dwell on what happened back then!

Amelia: Okay! So, what do you want to talk about?

Rupert: (looking as though he was lost in thought) Oh, I don’t know. How about…birds.

Patience: Birds? All I know is that they fly.

Rupert: That’s about all I know, too.

Amelia: You’re the one who suggested it!

Rupert: I know that! I just saw a bird up on that pole and said birds. Well, if you don’t like it, you suggest something.

Calvin: Let’s talk about my cake.

Rupert: (patting Calvin’s shoulder) Cal, face it. Your cake looks dreadful. Next time, buy the cake.

Calvin: (glaring at Rupert) Next time, you make something.

Rupert: (sitting up straighter) All right. Next time we’ll have a tea party at my house and I’ll make some brownies.

Amelia: (mutters) Bricks. We’re going to have bricks.

Rupert: They will not be bricks!

Amelia: Yes, they will, Rupert! You can’t bake any better that Calvin and I can. One of us should have become a pastry chef.

Patience: (standing and waving her napkin around the table, capturing everyone’s attention) Shoo! Go away, birds! I said, go away!

A large crow lands on the cake and begins to peck at it. More birds fly down onto the table and several try to pick up and take away the teacups. By now, all of them are standing to try to get rid of the birds.

Calvin: Anyone here know about how to get rid of birds?

Rupert: (viciously swinging his napkin around) Sorry, no.

Amelia: (swiping at the birds with a fork) Go away, bird, before I poke your eyes out. I’m warning you, go away!

Suddenly, a soft whistling fills the air. Amelia falls over the table, her face in the cake, dead with a knife sticking out from the back of her throat. The birds scatter as she falls. Patience screams and Calvin rushes off to get the assailant. He dives after the man and both tumble into a trench where they begin to fight each other.

Rupert: I’ll call 911!

Patience: Hurry!

Rupert runs into the house. Calvin finally manages to knock the man unconscious and drags him to the table. Rupert enters.

Rupert: They’re on their way.

Patience: (nearly hysterical) Should we remove the knife?

Calvin: I don’t think so. We’ll let the paramedics do that. Besides, what good will it do? Amelia’s already dead.

Sirens are heard and Rupert rushes out to meet the police and paramedics. Rupert enters a few minutes later with two paramedics and two policemen. The paramedics take Amelia away with Patience. One of the policemen nudges the murderer awake and handcuffs him. The other gets the whole story from Rupert and Calvin.

Exit all.

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