Whale is counting down the time to when he will see Hot Dog again. He already misses his pet dog muttering around the house and doesn’t know what to do really with the time that she is with his mother. He supposes the two are having fun over the weekend. Sighing heavily under his breath, he turns his television on. It is time for the eight o’ clock news and he doesn’t want to miss it. Just then, the bell to his front door chimes…
Whale: Huh? Who is visiting at this hour?
He goes from his living room to open the front door. It’s Fat Pig and Jack.
Whale: Oh! What are you two doing here? Hot Dog is with her grandmother for the weekend.
Jack: I know! May I talk to her over the phone? I really miss her.
Whale: Um, why don’t you come back tomorrow? I can ring her for you in the morning. It’s quite late already. I don’t want Hot Dog to be talking over the phone now with her friends.
Fat Pig: Sure, Mr. Whale! We’ll come back tomorrow! Have a pleasant evening!
Whale slams the door shut and goes back to the living room to catch his evening news. Channel Two has got adverts on already and Whale notices something that gets him very excited – an advert scripted by his boss Bart is airing, and it has a young and pudgy boy talking about a bookshop.
Young and Pudgy Boy: This is my favourite bookstore in the whole world! It is in the perfect place in Kent and it stocks the greatest range of biographies, fiction novels, and other kinds of books ever. It might not be really huge but that’s not what you are looking for from this village bookshop. Everytime I really want to find out about a celebrity and who he is dating at the moment – an actress, a supermodel, or his superfan…I just come to this bookstore. It tells me everything I want to know. I have never been not pleased with the books they stock in that biography department. Why don’t you also come down to Kent soon and join me? It is the perfect place to learn about a millionaire’s love affair with a lady who will do anything to date him, or simply a woman that has demonstrated in every possible way that she is meant to be with him. It is so difficult to navigate the world of Hollywood romances like those: a heartthrob’s girlfriend will still be his typical kind of girl – I like to dream that it will be his superfan, in the end . She might not have it in her to handle being with him and so might act otherwise or disinterested at first, but deep down inside, she is still that girl who a) has met him b) wants to date him but will act not interested around him because she likes him too, too much. Ah! That is called true love!
Blau and Kahaan are inside the French house. The floor tiles are no longer made of marble – they are the colour of a traditional domino piece, and it looks even more polished than before. Kahaan tells Blau that his room is on the first floor and Blau notices for the first time that the house only has that one floor. The staircase strangely is still built of marble and has an enormously thick handle, painted white, to hold onto while climbing. Kahaan shares with Blau that his room has a thick wooden door, with a gleaming-green doorknob that is different from all the doorknobs in the house, which are the shade of gleaming-golden-yellow.
Blau: Why is yours different?
Kahaan: Because I am different from everyone else in my household.
Blau: You live with your parents here?
Kahaan: Yes, their room is right next to mine actually!
Blau: Do you know Abigail?
Kahaan: She is my sister.
Blau: Really? I don’t remember Abigail telling me about you at any point in my life.
Kahaan: She does not speak of me.
Kahaan: She does not like me.
Kahaan: She is very nasty.
Blau: You think Abigail is nasty?
Kahaan: She has always been nasty…what is your name?
Blau: I’m Blau. I’m from Berlin.
Kahaan: I think that Berlin is nice.
Blau: You don’t sound sincere.
Kahaan: Why don’t I?
Blau: I don’t know. Maybe because you are from close to Paris, that’s why.
Kahaan: But I really like Berlin.
Blau: That’s good to hear! Can you please take me to Abigail’s room?
Blau: I am supposed to meet her. I received a telegram from a lady asking me to meet her.
Kahaan: What is the lady’s name?
Blau: I cannot remember to be honest. But I will definitely let you know later.
Kahaan: Will you? Really? I really want to know.
Kahaan: I want to feel…like I know about this lady’s name.
Kahaan: I know about Abigail’s mother.
Blau: Do you?
Kahaan: Yes. She loves cheese and vegetables a lot. What is inside the telegram?
Blau: Something about the lady’s daughter and asking me to come meet her. I did not want to because I had a lot of work but the telegram looked like it would tie-up some centuries old loose ends.
Kahaan: You know this family for centuries?
Blau: No! I just knew not that long ago.
Kahaan: Everybody knows them for centuries. No one knows me, but in this part of Paris, this family, I don’t really understand how, rules.
Blau: That’s not possible. This town belongs to one of my French ancestors.
Kahaan: Then how come you weren’t here when I was growing up?
At that moment, a lady descends the staircase, on which Abigail had met Blau twelve years ago. She is wearing a white dress and it has really long sleeves. She’s wearing some kind of blue heels that are hard to makeout over her long gown. The lady, in her late forties, seems over-dressed, with a lot of makeup and Blau does not recognize her.
Kahaan: Blau…that…is…Charlotte. She is my cousin.
Blau: What? Is she? How is she your cousin?
Kahaan: I met her when I was only twelve years old and I don’t know how. But mother tells me she is related to me from my mother’s side – my mother and her mother usually spend time together on evenings.
Blau: Then how you don’t know about her yet?
Kahaan: I don’t spend most of my time with my mother alone because I now have my own room upstairs.
Blau: Okay! That’s good to hear!
Kahaan: I think Charlotte was just coming down the stairs looking for something. Why don’t I take you upstairs?
Blau: I shouldn’t say something to Charlotte? Kahaan, I think she noticed me…
Kahaan (with a strange look in his eyes): Charlotte does not talk!
Kahaan and Blau go up the staircase to Abigail’s room. The door is coloured purple with bright yellow roses and it looks like something out of a fantasy. Kahaan knocks on the door four times, and waits with Blau infront of it.
Blau: That is the most elaborate door I think I have ever seen.
Kahaan: Oh! This is nothing! Abigail is planning on adding yellow-coloured glitter and white-sequins, to it.
Blau: That brightness won’t blind people?
Kahaan: I already need a pair of glasses when I read because of this family’s love for bright colours, and I am not even old.
Blau (laughs): I think it is already…Kahaan?
Kahaan: No one is answering the door. I don’t think Abigail is in. Do you want to go back to your carriage?
Blau: Oh! But I can’t wait…
Kahaan: You can tell me what you want to tell her, and I will let her know on your behalf.
Blau: That won’t be necessary! Abigail’s mother asked me to protect her daughter’s secrecy.
Kahaan: Secrecy in what?
Blau: Ah…I cannot tell you. Kahaan, I already told you I must protect the secrecy.
Kahaan: I don’t know much about Abigail. Do you want to come see my room?
Blau: Sure! But I can’t stay long.
Kahaan: Oh it won’t take long at all! Come! Let’s go to my room!
Kahaan opens the door to his room. Blau goes inside it and sees that it is decorated with purple curtains, and it has a small orange bed. He has a very messy table and on it sits several pieces of paper, all scribbled on in a language Blau does not recognize.
Blau: What language is that?
Kahaan: That is…nothing. Why don’t you sit on my bed?
Kahaan: So, I spend most of my time here. And I love to write novels.
Blau: You are an author?
Kahaan: Yes! I only have thirteen books in print so far.
Blau: That is a lot of books!
Kahaan: It is not. I want to do more.
Blau: What was your first book about?
Kahaan: It was a book about a young woman called Brooklyn who is a really big romantic. Brooklyn travels across Rome once to find the love of her life. But then tragedy meets her because she meets the man she thinks she is supposed to be with, a very renowned cook, but he already loves someone else. Brooklyn spends most of the time trying to win his heart, even though the separation from him and the lack of love for her from his side is too tough to even get off bed and do something.
Blau (quietly): Oh! Did you like writing it?
Kahaan: I loved it!
Blau (even more quietly): It sounds rather familiar to me somehow, I can’t understand why.
Kahaan: Maybe you have heard of it already? My first novel was a bestseller soon upon it’s release. It is called ‘The Lady With The Blue Hat’.
Blau: Yes, I have! Abigail introduced it to me, twelve years ago!
Blau is at a Parisian house. It is very long, and densely covered in fog. Blau has returned to the present era, with the help of her emerald serpent locket and it is no longer the forties. But after witnessing Natalie murder a man, Blau dispatched a soldier to get help from French authorities because an innocent life got barbarously killed. The French home looks strange to Blau – it stretches out what seems like miles in length and then suddenly stops. There are empty grounds all around it with a road infront, and another ground right opposite the road, where nearly all grass has been weeded out.
Blau remembers visiting this home as a child. She was only a young teenager when a daughter of a friend of her mother’s, Ella wanted her to accompany her there. Blau had no interest to travel all the way from Berlin to Paris for it but Ella’s best friend lived there and she really needed another person to travel with her, because without it her mother would not have allowed her to visit her friend in Paris.
Blau agreed to go with her because it was Paris and she had never been to that part of Europe in her life and the trip was long and very quiet for her. It suited Blau very much because even as a child the eerie journey to Ella’s friend’s home seemed so strange to her – that morning the sky was crystal clear but it was still grey enough. Blau has no idea if anyone lives in this house anymore, and as she waits for her friend Raj to appear in a black-and-golden chariot that brought her to the house, she begins to remember the past.
Twelve years ago…
Blau is sitting in a small carriage. It is colourfully adorned and has lush velvet seats in red. Ella is outside speaking to her friend’s relative, James. Blau can hear the two getting chatty very loudly, and it sounds like they are really happy to see each other after such a long time. She remembers her childhood friend Elijah at that point and how hurt he would feel when he would know that he cannot be there with her this moment in Paris. Elijah, to Blau has always been a funny boy, and she befriended him in school; the two often hang out after school is wrapped up, playing various kinds of board games and such but here during the weekend Blau is with Ella in Paris and she didn’t even get the chance to tell him all that before leaving.
Blau (thinks to herself): I think my favourite part about the journey is the carriage. It looks very nice!…Why am I always out meeting people, so young? I think it is like the perfect opportunity to daydream again. But really of all the interesting things I could be doing today. I could have even stayed at home and read a good book. That is what I really feel like I should be doing this young, no mater what on the weekends. I just don’t get how I keep getting myself into all these travelling episodes to meet my Mum’s friends and their kids and their friends, one after another. Maybe I shouldn’t have wrapped up my homework during the week. I…
Ella then pops her head in through the carriage window and introduces James to Blau. One thing leads to another, and before you know it Blau is inside a yellow-walled home. It is so enormous, it looks a bit crazy to Blau. Blau goes up a long stretch of marbled stairs thinking to herself that the house isn’t really pretty because the effect that it’s going for is grandoise rather than pretty. Before she can think to herself anymore, a lady greets her and Ella. She is dressed in a long cream dress, which she has paired with an embroidered sleeveless black jacket. The girl has long curly hair, she’s bespectacled and smiles in a very intriguing manner. She looks very innocent and happy to have guests. Ella tells Blau the lady is her friend, Abigail.
Abigail: Pipe down Ella! We have a new guest today! Are you Ella’s friend?
Abigail: Wow! I am so happy to meet you! I have heard so much about you! Why don’t you come up? We can chat more in my room.
Blau follows Abigail to her room and it looks like the room of a typical teenager – there are plenty of posters all around, her desk is very neat and tidy, and there is a small simple bed upon which Abigail tells Blau to sit and make herself comfortable. Blau feels like this is going to be another of those boring visits she often makes because of her politeness working up again, when Abigail starts to speak to her instead of Ella.
Abigail: So, your Blau? Am I right?
Blau: Yeah, I am!
Abigail: Ella is just going to be going up and down the corridor meeting my family! It’s been some time since she came for a visit!
Blau: Oh! Really?
Abigail: Yes! I wish there was a way that we could see each other more often but Ella lives so far away. I mean her home is in another French town, which I am pretty sure you would know already. It’s really hard to always come visiting for things like that.
Blau: I guess it is, yeah!
Abigail: Do you like listening to music?
Blau: I do, yeah!
Abigail: Really? Wow! What kind do you like?
Blau: I like mostly nineties-stuff!
Abigail: Oh! Do you? I love the nineties as well! I mean it’s a whole different scene out there these days for music!
Blau: It’s what?
Abigail: A whole different…it’s a little bit more fun these days than before!
Blau:…………………….yeah, I don’t get you!
Abigail: You don’t? Really? Are you…talking about…world music…there?
Blau: World Music? Gosh! No! I was talking about like music from the West! You know, like the whole MTV crowd and everything, with music videos and……….everything?
Abigail: I do understand what you are talking about yes! Have you seen my music album collection – it is so big I really don’t know what to do with it!
Blau: Ah! No, I haven’t seen it, no!
Abigail: Really? I will show them to you. It is made up of mostly world music. I am not sure if there is anything there that you would be familiar with but they are like classics to me!
Blau cannot remember anymore. Her memory is having trouble recalling what happened afterwards during the visit. She is trying hard to remember but to no avail. Some twenty minutes later Raj appears by the chariot-side. He is dressed in his usual white silk turban, with an all-white ensemble of a jacket and a churidar, which he has paired with a pair of brown leather chappals.
Blau:…Raj! What took you that long?
Raj: My dear! It will not happen again. It is a very busy day in Paris in other places around the town. It is hard to get here in the middle of crowds. It takes so much time!
Blau: Right! Do you know if the telegram we received in Berlin stated if a lady called Abigail still lives in this house?
Raj: Yes, it did! I think…
Just then, Blau notices a young boy is standing only a few feet away from her chariot and on the ground opposite the road infront of the French house. He is wearing a pair of faded and dirty jeans, and a long white pullover, which has an edgy belted design.
Raj: Who is that?
Blau: I don’t know!…ummm, who are you? You boy, who are you? Are you from here?
Boy: No I am not from this town! My name is Kahaan.
Blau: Your name is Kahaan?…where are you from?
Kahaan: I am from a village close to this town.
Raj: Do you know the French house there? The white one, right behind us!
Blau: No, he just said he isn’t from here!
Raj: No I know that! But why is he here all of a sudden? Do you, boy?
Kahaan: I don’t really know what you are talking about!
Kahaan: I have the keys to the white house behind you. I can take you there!
Raj: Do you work there?
Kahaan: No! I am…they are my relatives.
Blau: Oh right! That’s brilliant! I have been daydreaming just at the thought of visiting the house again. Maybe you can take me in? Raj, you wait in the chariot for some time. I should…Kahaan?
Kahaan: Yes, I am here up on the rooftop. I will come and open the front door for you very fast. I was just checking if the plants in the house have been watered already. You are a guest. The house should be looking proper.
Blau: Wha? How did he go from here to the French house’s roof this fast? That looks physically impossible!
Raj (shudders under his breath): I know! It’s all getting so eerie!
It’s almost late evening. Whale parks his car next to an old house, which bears a rusty yard sign “Mrs. Jennifer Lamb”, and it’s covered with enveloping botanicals. Hot Dog jumps out of the car and runs to the front door of the house, to gently knock announcing their arrival, as Whale gets busy offloading Hot Dog’s luggage from the trunk of his car. The front garden of the house is very messy and unkempt – it looks like a who’s who of the jungle-plants world has set up base there without Mrs. Lamb’s permission, and there’s no pruning through them ever, no matter how much you would want to. Indeed, this is a house that has let gone of itself over the years…
Whale: Knock louder Hot Dog, Mrs. Lamb told me she would be in!
Hot Dog (knocks thunderously): Mrs. Lamb!…Mrs. Lamb! It’s Hot Dog! Is Mother Potato in?
Just then, the front door of the house opens, and a very thin lady, with very long blonde hair greets them. Hot Dog can make out Mother Potato is listening to the evening news inside her house – there’s some report about a cyclone happening somewhere that has wrecked havoc to a lot of homes.
Mrs. Lamb: Good evening, Hot Dog! I am Jennifer! How was the trip here?
Hot Dog: Long…
Mrs. Lamb: Is that Whale with your luggage? Oh, it’s so tiny!
Hot Dog: Tiny? I’ve got my basketball and three board games with me…
Mrs. Lamb: But still that’s very tiny…I can sense you must have stuffed in all of your clothes for the weekend in those two mini suitcases.
Whale: Yes, she has!…So, I think I am going to drive back home now! I don’t want to be driving too late…is Hot Dog’s nan in?
Mrs. Lamb: Yes, she’s watching the six o’clock news! You don’t want to come in and say “Hi” to her?
Mother Potato (screaming from the living room): That’s quite alright, honey! Whale just help Hot Dog out with the luggage and drive back home, soon!
Whale: Yes, mother!
Whale puts his baby’s mini-luggages in the tea room, kisses Hot Dog goodbye (on her forehead) for the weekend, and drives back to Chelsea. Hot Dog is shown to her bedroom – it’s upstairs and she shares it with Jennifer’s daughter, Kim. Kim Lamb is a petite sixteen-year-old girl, who is four months into her pregnancy – given her misfortune, she’s oddly jolly, and happy to have a roommate for a change. After saying a few introductory words to Kim, Hot Dog moves to take a look at the house since it’s her first time here. There are two bedrooms (Mother Potato is staying in Kim’s bedroom), a kitchen so tiny there’s barely any room to stand, a crooked living room, one bathroom, and many windows around and they are all shut very tightly.
Hot Dog (mutters to herself, under her breath): Spooky! Wonder what happens around here daily?
Act III Scene II
Mother Potato is busy cooking up a storm, because she is so happy to see Hot Dog visit her. She is making tortillas, spicy one-pot beef and lemonade, for all.
Mother Potato: Don’t worry, baby! I am making enough for you to have as much as you want!
Hot Dog: Thank you, nan!
Mother Potato: So, what to chat about at first? Ahhh..yes! Mrs. Jennifer Lamb…she and I have been friends since college! She use to work as a jewellery designer for some store in town but now she’s retired like me as well. You can find some of her designs pop up in flea markets sometimes, I don’t even know how but I am going to guess she’s pretty talented that way, yeah?…so many nice, nice things these flea markets in Birmingham sell sometimes!
Hot Dog:…yeah! So, she never went to university?
Mother Potato: Oh no! She’s nothing like our family, Hot Dog! She quit college a few semesters before graduation and went looking for a job to support herself. Her father had deserted her the moment she was born – it was just her and her mother, and she never recovered from her husband running away, with another woman. She was too ill to work anymore as a baker, when Jennifer was seventeen – it was arthritis that did that to her, so Jen then had to go get a job!
Hot Dog: Was she married to a man anything like Kim’s boyfriend…you know, because he ran away with another woman?
Mother Potato: No! Hot Dog, she was married to a great fellow but he had lost total interest in married life, in his middle-ages, so ran away with his secretary.
Hot Dog: What was the secretary like? I bet she was fat!
Mother Potato (laughs): This was the seventies, and Kim’s grandfather was looking to settle down in Minnesota, for a very long time!
Hot Dog: In the United States? Really?
Mother Potato: Yes! So, then he really couldn’t find any way to do so, at first! But after a point in time he met Sylvia – she was American, and very…
Hot Dog: Loose?
Mother Potato: Yes, I think that’s the word! He took an instant liking to her and after knowing each other for four years, the two ran away, after he fell in love…
Hot Dog: Like with her loose ways?
Mother Potato: Yes! Tragic, yeah?
Hot Dog: Yeah!…Did Jennifer’s mother ever meet Sylvia?
Mother Potato: No! She heard of her only when she couldn’t find James Lamb (her husband). A year passed, and then she heard of him through a letter from his mother, who didn’t endorse James’ relationship with Sylvia but didn’t care much for his wife: Julia, either.
Hot Dog: So, Julia was totally lost in that era of protests, and world-peace-loving crowd for one whole year before she heard from her husband’s mother through a letter?
Mother Potato: James had taken his mother to Minnesota, with him. She described in her letter that Sylvia actually pronounced to her she can’t do housework, or cook for her son, and only wants to drink sherry and enjoy her life with James!
Hot Dog (laughs): Sylvia is such a brilliant misfit! It’s better than if she was fat, I think!
Mother Potato: Yes, I suppose!…oh look! The beef is done!…it’s time to dig in!
Whale and Hot Dog are visiting Grandmother Potato today. It’s one of Hot Dog’s favourite things on Earth – visiting Mother Potato, because she’s Whale’s mother and a lady who always gives her so many very delicious candies, and knitted goods, she has crafted herself during her spare time. Most of the time Mother Potato (that’s what Hot Dog was taught she should call her grandma, apart from “nan” of course) is busy cooking, gardening, reading several newspapers, writing her diary entries, and spending time with her friends, a majority of which weren’t fortunate enough to escape living in homes after retirement because their kids (after they grew up and everything) and grandchildren, never really cared much about them.
Whale: Just look at the traffic this weekend! I think it will take us a whole day to drive to Birmingham!
Hot Dog(laughs): Where is nan staying in Birmingham?
Whale: With her friend Jennifer – her granddaughter just became a teenage mom, so Jennifer’s very distraught about it!
Hot Dog: What for?
Whale: She’s only a teenager, she shouldn’t be having kids! But her horrible boyfriend simply knocked her up and left her, so she’s quit her day job and holed up with Jen!
Hot Dog: Where did she use to work?
Whale: Oh that girl had a very bright future ahead of her but she totally ruined it…she use to work at this Mexican restaurant, like serve food and everything there!
Hot Dog: Wow! What a story!
Whale: Yeahhh…but you’ll be there with nan this weekend so she won’t totally lose her cool in all that drama!…poor Jen, she’s really freaked out about all of it!
Act II Scene II
It’s been flipping three hours and Whale and Hot Dog are still on the road, merely inching close to Birmingham. Whale stopped by at a gas station for a couple of minutes, in the middle, to get some soda for Hot Dog and chocolate for himself; he really can’t understand why the road is so badly jammed…
Whale:…so, Hot Dog! How was the circus? I feel last week was too much of a whirlwind and we couldn’t really properly catch up! Did you have a grand ball, with Fat Pig and Jack?
Hot Dog: I did, yeah! It was really, really fun! But we’ll catch up on that subject later…why don’t you tell me how work’s been?
Whale: Mmmm, work has been boring, first. Then it got interesting because I got to have tea with my boss, Bart, and I remember talking to her about moms and everything.
Hot Dog: Oh! Does she know I am visiting nan this weekend?
Whale: Yup, I did tell her! She told me that she hasn’t been able to have that kind of a-whole-week-of-fun for plenty of work, for ages, which is still cool because she frequently visits her grandmother and mother, for like a couple of hours.
Hot Dog: Why do they live a short drive away from her?
Whale: No! They live in Belfast!
Hot Dog:…OMG! That’s in Ireland!…this all sounds so much like the Spice Girls’ song “Mama”!
Whale: What’s the Spice Girls, honey?
Hot Dog: It’s this British band, I like!
Whale:… you do, honey? That is so amazing! I just know I will simply love everything you love…
Whale is sunbathing at Hyde Park today. The summer has gotten unusually hot, so he is sipping on some cold beer and lounging around the park with his childhood friend, Jack Sr.
Whale: It’s so hot. I am glad I have this mug of frosties with me to make me feel really cool!
Jack Sr: I know! I don’t know what I was thinking when I said “Yes” to dropping off Jack with the kids, and Mr. Brown, at the circus this weekend! In my mind, just picturing the long walk to pick them up later on is making me sweat…
Whale: Yeah? Why did Brown’s car break down all of a sudden?
Jack Sr: I think it had something to do with the tyres, and he just couldn’t find any time over the week, to fix it for the weekend!
Whale: Was that all? Wish I had been at the circus with Hot Dog…her friend Fat Pig kept screaming all the way about cotton candy at the circus, and maybe we could have seen all the fun sitting underneath a tree, and in the shade if we had gone with them!…ahhh the frosties!
Act I Scene II
Hot Dog, Jack and Fat Pig are at the circus for the weekend. They want to enjoy a trapeze show, but so far they are stuck at the enormously long queue to buy tickets to it. It has been fifteen minutes and the four of them are thoroughly bored.
Hot Dog (exasperated): Ohhhhh! How much longer Mr. Brown?
Mr. Brown: Not very long, honey!
Fat Pig:…Dog…I saw Moja Bleu yesterday!
Hot Dog: Where?
Fat Pig: At the supermarket! I was there to get some peanuts for our kitchen cupboard!
Jack: You like peanuts?
Fat Pig: Yeah, they are pretty good snacks!
Hot Dog: Yeah? Was Moja Bleu shopping as well?
Fat Pig: No! He was there to return Moti Pasteur’s munsell-yellow jumper he had bought the week before, with a pair of lemon chiffon socks for himself – the jumper unexpectedly shrank in the wash!