The Olde Loch

Scene 1:
(1970s. Scotland. 6-year-old Jake is sitting in row boat and his father, Frank, in his 30s, is standing alongside it, putting oars into the oarlocks. In the distance, up on the shore, is a large, old, rambling, two-story stone house, somewhat dilapidated but being renovated. There is scaffolding around the large, arched door facing the lake. A large new sign reading, “The Olde Loch” has been hung above it.  )
 
Jake
 (Watching his father with the oars, and becoming increasingly impatient) Da! Are we ready to go now? Let’s go! C’mon it’s time now, right? Da, can we go now!? When are we gonna see the monster? How long will it take us to get there?
 
Frank
(Laughing and ruffling Jake’s hair) I dunno! Soon, I hope. (Pausing to think) It’s gotta be before tea. Mum made me promise to get us back in time to get cleaned and slicked up for that (waving fingers around dismissively)  art show at – now…was it Highland Church, or St. Columba’s? They all look the same…Well, Mum’s got some sort of painting in the show. She’s all excited. You know how Mum fancies herself an artist. I don’t see it, to tell you the truth. But Mum hasn’t been too excited about anything much since we left Edinburgh. So we can humor her a bit, by taking a look, huh?
 
Jake
 We can do that!  Da, Yeah!
 
Fiona
(The door of the Inn opens and Jake’s mother, Fiona, comes out and walks down the hill to the boat. She is in her late 20s. She is holding some paint brushes and a rag that she’s using to clean them. She looks at Jake and smiles. When she gets to the boat, she gives Frank a kiss on the cheek and Jake a pat on the head.)So, where are the two of you headed today?
 
Jake
(Very excited) We’re going to the middle of the lake to get snaps of Nessie, Mum! And we’re gonna get a million pounds from the paper for ‘em.
Fiona
(Laughing)   Oh really! And what are you going to do with all that money?

 
Jake
We’re going to get a big boat !(Jake gestures with arms to show exactly how ginormous his dream boat will be) And (pretending to kick an imaginary ball) I’m going to start my own soccer club and I’m going to be striker, and the captain too. And Da’ll be the manager. And (raising his hand high) we’re gonna be at the tippy top of the league! (Looking at his mother, who seems to be waiting for him to say something else) Oh, and Mum…. you can make the team sandwiches! (He looks to Frank for approval and Frank smiles back at him)
 
Fiona
You think the whole team will like my sandwiches?
 
Jake
Of course! (standing on his tippy toes and spreading his arms) They’re the best sandwiches in the whole wide world!
 
Fiona
Hmmm. Well, can I design the jerseys for your championship club, too?
 
Frank
(coughing softly and looking uncomfortable)Well,… why not, Jakey? 
 
Fiona
(looking hurt, begins walking back up to the Inn) Well. OK, then. I’ll see you at the show. Remember, St. Columba’s. Three PM. (pause) And please (glancing at Frank) — don’t be late. It means a lot to me.
 
 
 
Jake
(Watches his mother walk part of the way to the Inn) Da! Are we ready now? You have the camera, right? So we can get snaps of the monster?
 
Frank
Yes I do! (picking up the camera – it’s strapped around his neck – and waving it back and forth before dropping it back down onto his chest) So… what’ll we get if we get a good photo, Jakey?
 
Jake
(quickly recites from memory) A million pounds, Da! A million pounds from the Daily Record!
 
Frank
Smart lad!  Here we go!

 
Scene 2:
(Eleven years later. 17-year-old Jake and his father are standing in front of a 15-passenger cruise motorboat docked on the same shore. Frank is holding a clipboard that he checks periodically.  Jake drives a small pickup loaded with boxes of supplies down the rocky beach to the boat and starts handing them to Frank, who begins loading them in the boat. The side of the boat reads, “The Olde Loch; Luxury Loch Ness Tours”)
 
Frank
C’mon Jakey, let’s get moving!
           
Jake
I’m Jake. Jake. OK, Da? “Jakey” is for little kids. I’m 17-years-old.
 
Frank
(Rolls his eyes) Well, whatever your name is, the guests’ll be here in about 15 minutes. Do you have everything? The water for the tea and coffee? And …oh, right, we have a bunch of Americans — we need Cokes, then… and lots of ice, too. How’s Mum doing with the fancy sandwiches?
 
Jake
(Looking concerned, but also annoyed with his father)She’s cutting crusts as fast as she can, Da. She said she’d have ‘em done in just a minute.
 
Frank
She’d better hurry it up. When Mum’s feeling sorry for herself she’s almost no help at all.
 
Jake
Here she comes now (waves to mother who has just come out of the Inn and is walking to the boat with a large box containing sandwiches. She looks unhappy).
 
 
Fiona
(Jake smiles at mother and tries to sneak his hand into the box to grab some food; Fiona smiles and playfully slaps his hand away) Not for you – at least not now, (with pride) Mr. Scholarship-Winner. (Jake and Fiona smile at one another again)
 
Frank
(Impatiently taking the box from her ) Are you sure you’ve got enough in there? Lemme see. (Looking in and giving her an angry look) You think this is enough for eleven, and Jakey and me? Whadaya have here…twenty sandwiches? For thirteen people? C’mon , Fiona. You’ve got to get yourself together. I can’t do everything on my own. And… what…? Sausage and onion! I told you – this is a bunch of Americans. And you made sausage and onion? How many Americans do you know who eat sausage and onion sandwiches? I thought you knew all about Americans with all your new “artsy” connections in the States. You’d think they’d be able to tell you something useful now and then…
 
Fiona
(Surprised and hurt) What? They’re not all sausage and onion. There’s plenty of variety here — chicken, tuna, ham and cheese.  I’m doing the best I can. (Turning to Jake) Jake, look, I’ve got to get to Sandy’s in the next fifteen minutes to give her the two watercolors I’m entering in the Edinburgh Art Festival. Can you be a dear and get the biscuits I made and take ‘em to Da?  I put ‘em in a tin on the long kitchen table. (Smiling) There are a few extras for you…
 
Jake
(Smiling) Sure, Mum. Are you entering the one that looks like fireworks? I’m not sure what it is, but I like the colors!
 
Fiona
(Smiling at him, then looking briefly at Frank)Thanks a million! Yes, that’s one of them. And don’t forget your life jacket, it’s blustery on the lake today! (Leaves without saying anything more to Frank)
 
Frank
(Checking his watch) Jake! Let’s get a move on!  (pauses) As usual, everything falls to me. If it weren’t for me, this place would be a pile of rubble in a mud puddle. It was a pile of rubble when I picked it up from old man McCormick twelve years ago.
Everyone thought I was mad. I was the only who believed we could make a go of it. And I did. I worked until my hands bled, fixing (gesturing toward the hotel) this place up. Hard work. Twelve years later it’s still hard work. But that’s what it takes. Do you know what I’m talking about, Jake?
 
Jake
(Looks as though he’s heard this a million times) Yes, Da. Everyone knows.
 
Frank
Everyone, Hm? Everyone knewthat no one in their right mind would pay 20p to stay the night at McCormick’s old heap. I worked my arse off rebuilding that wreck. And now it’s in the tour books. Berlitz! Three stars in Berlitz! What at about thatEveryone knows nothing. You have a lot to learn.
 (Looks at his clipboard) Back to business… So… we’ve got eleven — almost a full ship, with you and me. Not bad –but we gotta do better given what she cost us (patting the boat).  
 
Jake
Y’know Da, I was thinkin,’ what if we tried-
 
Frank
The cameras! ! We can’t forget those cheapee, disposable cameras we just bought!  See, we make a big deal about giving these cameras out as gifts (demonstrating, bowing to pretend tourist and offering imaginary camera). “And here’s a camera, with our complements, Mrs. Porkbellies–  I have a feeling someone on this trip is going to be the lucky one who snaps the first photos confirming that our Nessie is still well and paddlin….’.”
 
Jake
Da, I have a great ide-
 
Frank
Remember Jakey –(pauses) uh, Jake – givin’ guests something free makes ‘em feel special. It’s good for business. Hey! Have ya put the “The Olde Loch” stickers on each camera?  Those Berlitz stars are on each and every one, so our guests won’t forget. Let’s see… we should have one camera for every passenger an’ some extras – we’ll need (pausing to calculate) Fourteen. Seems there’s always someone who drops the bloody thing overboard. 
 
Jake
Da, I was just tryin’ to say that maybe if-
 
Frank
Aye! What’s that ? Eh? (squinting at someone near the Inn)  Ah. Just that Colm again, running wild. I’ve told him a million times to stay away from this boat and every time I look he’s creeping around. Those layabout parents of his just let him run wild. And let everything run to hell. Can you believe they still have that wreck of a rowboat that on the shore. It’s an eyesore,(pauses… loses his trains of thought.. ) Were you trying to tell me somethin’?
 
Jake
Never mind, Da. (pause) Actually…
 
Frank
Jake! Pay attention! Biscuits! Cameras!  Fourteen of ‘em! Remember – we need extras. Last time, we were short and that man from Quebec…
 
Jake
Yeah,(annoyed) I remember. The guy who didn’t get one and had such a fit he choked on his stinkin’ cigar. I don’t even know what they’re so busy photographing. Nothing out there but old logs and trash from cruise boats like ours (Frank scowls. Jake pauses, looks at the sky). Gosh, it’s a beautiful day, though. First sunny day we’ve had in weeks. (looking over his shoulder)All my mates at the futbol pitch. And, (sighing) once again, I have to be out here … with a bunch of ignorant tourists looking for a “monster” that doesn’t exist…
 
Frank
(whispering furiously and grabbing Jake by the arm) What did you say? Do you want our guests to hear that? These people are comin’ here and paying good money to stay at our inn – mentioned in Berlitz for five years running now, thanks to my working my fingers to the bone — because they want an adventure.
They want to believe that they might, at any moment, run into Nessie — who the whole bloody world knows about but they’ll be the lucky few to see. That makes it an adventure. They come here because they want to get away from their boring lives. They want to believe in monsters, and in knights fightin’ dragons and all that. Without these “ignorant” tourists, we’d be on the street, Mr. SmartEnoughToWinaScolarshipButNotMuchElse . (Whispering more quietly) Yes, you and I may think it’s rot, but our guest are never going to hear that from us. You understand (threatening) ?
 
Jake
I understand.  I understand everything!  Just let me go – I need to get the last of the stuff. (walks back to the hotel, but stops and steps aside when door of inn opens and tourists exit inn and  head to the boat laughing and talking to one another.)
 
Frank
(Holding out his arms in welcome) Welcome! Welcome and congratulations to you, Mr. and Mrs. Cauldron! Wonderful weather you ordered up! I’ve never seen a sunnier day. Musta brought it with you from sunny…
 
Mrs. Cauldron
Seattle, Washington
 
Frank
(Looking a little confused) Ah, yes! A beautiful place! Please, everyone, step aboard, relax, and help yourself to tea… Uh, and Cokes. We have plenty of ice!
(As the group  climbs aboard, Colm, a  little boy of about seven, runs up to the boat
 
Colm
(panting and pointing at Frank) I heard what you said! I heard it!
 
Frank
(quietly) What’s that? (whispering) No need to be so loud, son. Uh. It seems you may have misunderstood something you heard…
Colm
I didn’t! I heard what you said… about the monster. I heard what you said –(panting)– that it’s not real, that it’s just…
(The guests turn to listen)
 
Frank
Whoa. Whoa , lad. I…I don’t think you heard correctly. I would never say …
 
Colm
Yes ! I heard you. You said it! You said that tourists… were just stu- (Frank covers his mouth so he can’t continue)
 
Frank
Oh, no! (forced laughing) Oh, you’ve got it all wrong, son.  Jakey and I were …. I think you misunderstood what I told Jakey. What I was telling him is that there are SOME people who don’t believe there’s a monster out there. Not us. Some people. That’s what’s what I said.
(louder, so the tourists can hear) And then I said those people are downright wrong. I believe in Nessie for good reason, my boy. Because people have seen her and people have taken photos of her. There are photos showing that there’s a monster in this lake alright. They’re not the greatest photos, but you can still see that she’s there.(Leans in and whispers) But she’s a very secretive monster. Only the crafty will see her. You have to be clever. She’s out there,(gesturing toward vague areas of the lake), for sure, and anyone who snaps some good photos to prove she’s there is going to make a lot of money selling ‘em to the Daily Record, my young man.
 
Colm
Really? Like how much money? A million pounds? Cuz I could use that!
 
Frank
At least a million pounds, I’d guess. And since you’re such a clever boy, I imagine you have as good a chance as anyone to get some good photos. Now… I’m busy with these nice people here (waves to tourists on boat) we’re leaving now. But here, since you’re a sharp one, (handing the  boy a disposable camera) here’s a special camera for you so you can keep an eye out and, when you spot her, get those photos.
 (Colm smiles, snatches the camera and runs off)

 
Scene 3
(Fiona and her friend, Sandy, are loading suitcases and boxes into Sandy’s station wagon. Fiona is wiping tears from her eyes. Frank is standing nearby watching disapprovingly, his arms crossed over his chest. Jake, looking miserable, is on the other side of the stage, watching from a distance)
 
Frank
(Looking disgusted, speaking to Fiona in a condescending way)   As if you could manage on your own. You can barely handle the little you do at the inn. You know what’s going to happen ? You’re going blow all your money on (sneering) your paints and brushes. But don’t figger on comin’ back to me when it’s all spent and gone, and asking me to continue financing your expensive little hobby.  
 
Sandy
(Putting an arm around Fiona’s shoulders) You’ll do fine without him. Don’t listen to him. He’s just trying to scare you — and hurt you. 
 
Fiona
(Puts her hand on Sandy’s shoulder, attempting to calm her down) Please, Sandy. (Pauses, turns to Frank) Frank, I’m sorry, but I just can’t stay here anymore. This was the last straw. I can’t go on living right next door to them — after what happened Saturday. I can’t bear seeing them. Especially Karen.  Oh, God. I can’t look her in the face.
 
Frank
Would you listen to yourself? You’re making a mountain out of a molehill.   What do you have to be ashamed of? It’s not our fault. (Nervous laugh) Is that what you’re thinking — it’s my fault? I didn’t do anything. How could I have known he’d head out all alone like that? If it’s anyone’s fault it’s his parents’. Irresponsible! Letting him run like a wild animal. Never paying attention. But it doesn’t matter anyway — because he’s going to be fine. Absolutely fine. Just you watch. He didn’t get hurt that bad.
But Jakey? That's another story. You’re hurting him.
 
Fiona
( Gently) Frank… I don’t want to hurt Jakey — or you. I’ve asked you so many times over the last few years to move back to Edinburgh, sell the inn – you know can get a good price for it – and go back to a job that doesn’t take up every minute of every day. Remember how much fun we used to have in the city? If only you could have let go of the inn…
 
Frank
I’ll never do that. I’ll never do that. And you know taht.  After all those years of slaving to fix this place up, it’s finally paying off, and I’m not going to give up now.

And don’t you even think of trying to talk Jakey into going with you. You’ve torn him in half, breaking up the family this way.(Fiona begins to cry again, silently, ) He was cryin’ in his bed like a baby. I need him here. Enough about that nonsense about him going to the states on that scholarship. He’s going to stay here with me and learn what he needs to take over the Olde Loch when the time comes. He knows a good deal when he sees it. He wants to stay.

 
 
Scene 4
(Fifteen years later. Jake is now in his early 30s, and his father, Frank, is now in his mid 60s. Jake is walking to the door to the inn. The paint on the sign above the door, “The Olde Loch” is chipping. Closer to the shore there is a picnic table with chairs. On top of the table are a tea pot, two cups, a pitcher of milk, spoons, napkins and a bowl of sugar). Jake goes up the steps and knocks on the door. Footsteps are heard coming toward him.)
 
Frank
(Calling through the door) Jakey! Is that you?
 
Jake
 (accent less pronounced, but obviously still there)Yeah, Da! (brushing off his jacket and  his pants legs) It’s me!
(Frank opens the door. He is still muscular, but somewhat hunched over. He hugs Jake and slaps him on the back. Jake hugs his father back awkwardly).
 
Jake
(Stepping back slightly, putting his hands on his father’s shoulders) Da, it’s great to see you. You’re looking good.
 
Frank
Jakey, you’ve …(trying to take in the changes in his son, takes him by the shoulders and turns him around) grown up so. You remind me of myself when we bought this place. A man. Look at you.
 
Jake
I can’t believe it’s been so long, Da.(nervously) I never should have… waited so long to come back. The time just goes so quickly, doesn’t it?
 
 
 
Frank
(Laughing nervously, gesturing for Jake to follow him toward the  table and chairs closer to the shore) Come, sit down.(They reach the table and sit) Sit down. I thought we might have some tea and biscuits here on the porch.
 
Jake
Actually Da I would (laughs) kill for a cup of coffee right now. Do you have some? No worry if you don’t…
 
Frank
Of course we do. (smiling) But wouldn’t you really rather have a Coke, Mr. American?
 
Jake
(Laughing) Actually, on second thought, tea sounds just perfect. I haven’t had a good cup of tea in ages. They don’t know how to make tea in the states.
 
Frank
(Pouring tea) So, remind me how many days you’re going to be here. I have a lot planned.
 
Jake
( hesitating, looking uncomfortable, then speaking very quickly) Um. Da, I have to tell you something, but don’t get upset, OK? (Pausing and looking at his father) I have to tell you  something I just found about when I got off the plane.
 
Frank
(sounding worried) What is it? What’s going on?
 
 
 
Jake
Well… (watching his father’s face) I just found out that I have to go to Edinburgh on Wednesday – (quickly) for just a couple of days — for a very important meeting.  I have to be at this meeting, Da. I can’t do anything about it. See, we’re just about to sign the Rangers’ manager to be our spokesman. It’s a two million pound deal. I‘ve been working on it for months. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep for a week.
This could be an important turning point in my career. Do you understand Da? You understand, right? I’ll only be away for two days and then I’ll be right back and we can have the rest of the week together…
 
Frank
(Clearly hurt) Oh, Jakey! I’ve…I’ve been looking forward to this for so long. You know that. (Stepping back, shaking his head )
Out of the blue, you ran off to that fancy scholarship school in the states– right after your Mum left. And you never came back. And now, after fifteen years, you finally make it over here and decide one of your never-ending business trips is more important than time with your Da? Can’t ya even give me a solid week after all this time? (hurt and angry) How many months did you say you were going after that Mr. Big Shot with the Rangers?
 
Jake
Da! (throwing his arm around his father’s shoulder) Listen!  I just need to be in the city for a couple days. Then I’ll be back, OK? (feeling guilty; trying to stop his father from crying ) Look, we have two days together now. Right? And I’ll come down as soon as the  meeting’s over and I can stay for the rest of the week. (pleading) I’m sorry Da, but I can’t reschedule.
(Frank sits down on the stoop, and Jake crouches, facing his father, watching his face.)
 
Frank
(Sadly) So you’ll reschedule me. (Pauses, sighs, is unhappy but resigned)  We’ll, it looks as though you’ve made your mind up. So I’ll just have to live with that.
 
Jake
(Feeling guilty) Da, remember, I’ll only be away two days. We’ll have all the rest of the time together ….

 
Scene 5
(Morning, a sunny day later in the week. Jake is in an excellent mood , his meeting was successful. He is whistling to himself. Jake walks down to the shore, where his father is waiting with the old row boat, still in good shape.
 
Jake
Da! (Frank holds out his hand, Jake embraces Frank.)
 
Frank
Oh, Jake! So you’re back. (picking a fight) How was your oh-so-important meeting?
 
Jake
(Laughing it off) It went well Da. Thanks for asking. It looks as though we’ve got Murray. But I don’t want to talk about work. So… what do you have planned for us?
 
Frank
 (Pausing, then smiling with excitement)   Well, Jakey, I have a big surprise for ya.
 
Jake
(apprehensive) Oh, yeah?  What kind of surprise?
 
Frank
Well, remember how, when you were a little boy, we used to go out on the lake in our rowboat with the camera, looking for the monster? Remember? Before we bought the cruise boat? Well, I thought that we’d go out again, just like old times. See (gesturing toward boat), I got the old row boat all ready to go. She was in the shed all these years and not a bit of rot in her. I’ll do all the rowing since you’re so tired after working so hard.
 
 
 
Jake
(Putting his head in his hands) Oh, Da! You can’t be serious!  You can’t row around in that lake! It’s too dangerous.  After you had that heart attack Dr. Mukherjee told you that you have to be careful.
 
Frank
(Suddenly insulted and angry) Let me tell you something: I don’t have to get permission from you to go out on the lake. You understand? Who do you think you are? I could pin you with one arm. (Getting so upset he can’t speak clearly) And Dr. Mudjerkee, too.
 
Jake
Ok, Da. Ok. We can go. Just let me share the rowing with you.
 
Frank
Hmph. I’ll think about it.
 
Frank
(Begins to row, calms down, happy to have Jake in the boat) There’s a good spot just a little further out. It’s deep there and there’s something we might be able to see.
(Pauses, then asks nervously) So… how’s Mum doing?
 
Jake
She’s doing really well, Da. She just had a big show in New York, at a big-time gallery. And she got good reviews. She sold quite a few paintings.
 
Frank
Oh. (pause) Well. Well, good for her. (awkward silence)
 
 
 
Jake
(uncomfortable pause) Hey, uh,… Da, who are you working for these days?  Does the inn still belong to The Wiley Group? They have some nice hotels in the city — I mean, New York…
 
Frank
Naw. They sold it to a company in Singapore. Leong Hong Holdings, LTC. Sounds Scottish, aye? But they’re a decent enough bunch. Old Peet’s daughter, Evelyn, remember her – used to twirl the baton in the parade ? — is in charge here and we have a good crew. The company’s got billions, ya know. And they don’t mind spending when they have to. Replaced (pointing) the roof last February.
 
And (looking at inn) to think I did it all myself, slaving every minute of every day, breaking my back. I did it all on my own – well, with a little bit of help from you and your Mum now and then.
 
Jake
What? Da! What are you talking about “a little bit”? I worked right alongside you day after day. And so did Mum. You always talk about it as though you’re the only who did any decent work. I spent more of my childhood on a cruise ship taking care of fussy tourists than playing futbol or hanging out with my friends. 
Frank
(Annoyed) Playing futbol, aye? How many of your friends are making a living playing futbol  now? What’s the use of futbol? I built up this hotel from near-rubble and you and your Mum gave me a little bit of help. Was it a crime to ask for that help?  I sold the Inn for a pretty penny and when I’m gone, there’ll be something for you. All those parents who spent their time coaching futbol, what’ll their kids get? A pair of old cleats? When I’m gone, you’ll be set. So you didn’t play as much futbol as you wanted.  What’s the big deal?
Jake
(getting increasingly angry)What’s the big deal? The big deal is that I spent my childhood slaving away, with hardly a compliment or thanks from you — that’s a big deal. And Mum slaved away too, without a single, “That’s nice.”
What Mum really wanted was a little time to paint and you never could accept that — you begrudged her every minute.  All you could say was that (imitating a bratty child) Americans don’t eat sausage and onion sandwiches. You never had a good word to say about her work.  You never acknowledged what a good painter she was – even when she won a first-place at the Edinburgh Art Festival. And you never once said a thing about how well I did in school  – even after I won (louder) a full, four-year scholarship!
 
Frank
(shaken up) I didn’t? I thought I said something. I must have said something about your good marks. I don’t remember saying anything about sandwiches and even if I did, I didn’t mean anything by it. If I said that, I must have just been under pressure. I was working my fingers to the bone. I had to blow off steam now and then. ..
 
Jake
(Angry) But we weren’t allowed to blow off any steam. We always had to be on our best behavior. (Talking faster and faster, and louder)  It’s was always “Here’s whatever you want Mr. Rich Fat American.” “Wonderful weather you ordered up” and “Yes, Da!” “Right away, Da!” And you (stopping to catch his breath) went on and on about how much you, and you alone, had to do, and begrudged me every futbol match and Mum every little tube of paint and every brush.
(Jake, panting, and Frank, shocked,- look at one another trying to figure out what to do or say now that this has been said.)
 
Frank
(quietly; shaken up) So… was that why Mum left, and you left right after?
 
Jake
(Quietly) Well… that was part of it. (Pauses, then begins speaking even more quietly) The last straw was what happened to poor Colm. Mom couldn’t stand to stay after that. She begged you to sell the place and move back to Edinburgh. But you said you couldn’t, that the inn was finally paying off after all your years of hard work. And when she left, well, I couldn’t stay either.  I needed to get away– and start my own life… I couldn’t have passed up the scholarship. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  And moving to New York was the right thing for me. I’m successful in New York. My career is really taking off.
 
Frank
(Quieter but still upset after what’s been said) Successful? Huh? You call selling overpriced futbol balls and trainers to children successful? That’s success? Renting a tiny, rat trap apartment in New York City? No place of your own. And you could have had the Inn. But you said, “No.”
 
Jake
(furious again, talking quickly) Ok, Da! OK! I’ve heard that before. I could’ve had the inn. But I didn’t want the inn. I hated the inn. I always hated the inn. All I ever did was slave for you and the inn. Mom, too. Maybe we didn’t work as hard you did, but we worked hard – and you always belittled it. And anyway, how could I have stayed there after Colm…  
 
Frank
(Extremely upset) Stop! I don’t want to hear about that again! No! (takes a breath, tries to calm himself)  Let’s just… quiet down. Look! (surprised, gesturing at a point in the audience, then getting excited) We’re at the spot I mentioned! This is the place!
 
 
Jake
(calming down as well) What place, Da?
 
Frank
The place where we have the best chance of seeing Nessie,
 
Jake
Oh, Da! (Putting head in hands) you know that’s just a myth! There’s no monster in the lake! It’s a story for tourists and manufacturers of souvenirs in China. You said so yourself.
 
Frank
(alarmed) What!? I never said such a thing in my life. Never! I’ve always known the monster’s here. I’ve always known it’s real. And that’s what I’ve told people—because I’ve always believed it.
(talking  faster) Haven’t you seen the magazine articles about Nessie? (getting agitated) There have been scores of ‘em.  Articles about scientists using sonar to check the lake and finding evidence that giant creatures – that look just like Nessie in the photos – are down there. You don’t know about this? (Jake shrugs shoulders) How could you miss it, Mr. Know-it-All? You haven’t been paying attention, have you?
She’s here, just like I’ve always said.
 
Jake
(Concerned and confused) But Da, I don’t get it. You always said Nessie was … Don’t you remember, that day? That morning? (getting angry) How could you have forgotten that morning? I just can’t fathom your forgetting that—after all that happened.
You and I were packing the supplies for a tour of the lake, don’t you remember? And we were  talking about how Nessie was just a bunch of nonsense for ignorant tourists who wanted to believe it because their lives were so dull. (increasingly upset) And Colm ! He overheard and ran over and started to repeat what you said – in front of the guests. Remember? And because the tourists where there you gave him this song and dance… and… you..  you FORGOT all that?
 
Frank
(desperately) Stop it. Stop! You’re wrong. You’re remembering it all wrong! That’s not at all what happened. I always believed Nessie was real.
You got it wrong, just like Colm. He heard it wrong. I…I was telling you that some people didn’t believe in Nessie, not that I didn’t. I told him Nessie was real because she was, and is, real.  I never said there was no monster. (Becoming more and more upset) I always believed. Always. I couldn’t have lied to those tourists — or anyone. I believed it. I meant what I said.
(Breaking down and sobbing) I’ve always believed it. (Sobbing harder) Why else would I have told poor old Colm (on verge of tears) about her if I didn’t believe it myself? Why would I have lied to him? I believed it. I never thought he’d go out that very day to find the monster, in that wreck of a rowboat his parents left on the shore. 
How could I have been expected to know? (Crying hard) I never would have imagined it. It wasn’t my job to keep track of him. But I told him straight about Nessie. I never lied about that.
(Jake moves next to Frank and puts his head on his father’s shoulder, and holds his father)
 
Frank
(Quietly, to himself) Forget that morning? I could never forget that morning. I think of it every day. ..
 
Jake
(Stunned) Oh, Da.  I never knew, Da. You never said anything …
 
Frank
I believed it and I still do. (crying a bit but  calmer) I visit him – Colm — you know.  At that home in Inverness where he lives. It’s a nice place. He can talk pretty well, you know. And understand you. He seems happy, Jake. It was only part of his brain that was affected. They gave him mouth-to-mouth as soon as they got him to shore.
You know, whenever I find an article about Nessie I bring it and I read it to him. And one day I’m going to get a snap of her and I’m going to take it straight to The Daily Record and sell ‘em the photo. And I’m going to give Colm all the money I get. Every shilling. That’s all going to be his. He’ll be set, then. All set. He’ll be set (whispering to himself) and I’ll be able to stop worrying about him. (holds his head in his hands)
 
Jake
Oh, Da. I never knew. I’m so sorry – I”m so sorry, Da. I thought you just moved on and never gave it another thought. Oh my god. How could I have thought such a thing!  Da, forgive me. …. It’s just that… I  thought … you’d forgotten all about it.  I  didn’t realize. I had no idea you visited Colm, Da. (pauses) He must like that. Right? (trying to cheer up his father) Right? He always liked you.
Da, listen to me:  no one could have known what Colm was going to do that day. No one. You know that’s true, don’t you, Da? 
(Jake embraces father. They hold one another for a minute and cry)
 
Jake
Whoa!, Da! Did you feel that? It felt like something massive just passed under the boat. Did ya feel it? And … now… where’s this mist coming from? It’s so thick, see…
 
Frank
 I’m not sure what it is; it’s like we’re floating on a grey cloud.
(As they drift out of the cloud, Jake sees, thirty feet away, a massive, rope-like thing, two feet in diameter, rise above the water)
 
Jake
(Shouting) Da! (pointing) Da! Do you see what I just saw? There’s something out there! It’s just a few meters ahead of us – it … it looks like a vine, but a meter in diameter… Da! It’s moving! Can you see it? (Pointing to the audience) Right over there!
 
Frank
(peering out into the mist) It’s her! (gasping) Good God, Jakey! She’s right here  in front of us! (Happily) She’s here! (catches his breath) Just like I knew all along. Just like I said! (excited)   .. Wait ‘til I tell Colm. Just wait ‘til I show him! (pauses momentarily, realizes he needs the camera and gets excited) Where’s the camera!? .. (fumbling for the camera around his neck) Here! I’ve got it! (he opens the lens cap and raises the camera to his eye. All lights on then all lights off– with sound of camera shutter- as he snaps a photo of what he sees.)
 
 
End of Play

Malcolm Elder
Age 12, Grade 7
MS 51 William Alexander
Gold Key

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