SCENE 1 . ULOMA’S RESIDENCE-COMPOUND – MORNING
beautiful and casually dressed with cornrow hairstyle. She is carrying a heap of clothes as she heads to a corner of the compound. An old woman rushes out of the house.
MAMA 70 wearing a long dress with her eye glasses perched on her nose.
Oma! Come, come Nne, bring those clothes. Uloma stops, confused. Mama goes through the pile of clothes she is carrying and removes two.
I wore this one only once and you want to wash it?
Uloma playfully takes the clothes back.
Mama are my complaining? I Want to wash it. I don’t like it when you wear your clothes more than once.
MAMA (insist) I only wore these two briefly. Give me. Go and read for your exam stop looking for house chores to do when your sisters are doing nothing.
I have read enough Mama.
Are you sure?
(playful frown) .Don’t you trust me again? Mama takes in with warmth.
I trust you my dear. Let me go and cook for you.
Uloma starts to walk away and adds over her shoulder, laughing.
I have cooked Mama.
Mama is shocked.
Chineke mu! When?
Mama watches her leave with fondness, she shakes her head and goes in.
SCENE 2. ULOMA’S RESIDENCE-COMPOUND – DAY
Mama is seated outside the compound.
GERTRUDE 24 comes out to answer Mama, she is dressed like a tomboy.
Mama takes her in with a frown.
Mama you called?
MAMA (eyes her)
Have you done the newspaper publication?
What newspaper publication?
The newspaper publication for
change of name from Gertrude to Elizabeth. Gertrude starts to laugh.
But Mama I was close by and decided to answer in her place.
As what? Place holder? Body double
or identical twins? (snaps) Go and call Elizabeth for me osiso.
Gertrude is uncomfortably, she scratches her head, smiles to cover up.
No need to call her again since I am here al…
Gertrude! MAMA (CO NT’D)
She is startled, frowns.
Trudy mama, Trudy! Mama laughs.
Whatever you choose to call
yourself . Just disappear from here and call Elizabeth for me.
Gertrude goes away murmuring.
SCENE 3. ULOMA’S RESIDENCE-BACKYARD
Gertrude meets Uloma washing beside the house. She smiles as she approaches her.
Oma baby. Our doctor in the making. Our beauty and brain.
Uloma smiles innocently.
Let me help you wash.
Gertrude pretends to be hurt.
Why are you shocked. It seems I
have not been a caring big sis of late…
Sister it’s not like you have not oh. It’s just sometimes you and sister will be making grandma…
GERTRUDE (cuts in)
It’s okay, you are right.
And it’s not good that…
GERTRUDE (cuts in)
Ah Ah Uloma it’s Okay. I have heard.
An awkward silence ensures. Gertrude looks around.
Oma, it’s like grandma called you
Uloma quickly drops the cloth she is washing.
I did not hear, who knows if she has been calling for long.
She runs to the front of the house. Gertrude laughs and slowly follows her.
SCENE 6. ULOMA’S RESIDENCE-COMPOUND – CONTINUOUS
Uloma nearly runs into Grandma. Who is headed towards the back of the house.
Easy! You are always running this girl. Do you want to push me down?
Sorry mama. I didn’t see you coming.
Mama eyes her., Wondering why she was standing there staring at her. Mama gives Uloma a questioning look.
You called mama.
Have you also changed your name to Elizabeth?
Sister Gertrude said…
The gate opens. They all watch Elizabeth late 20s sneaks in. She looks around and jumps on spotting Mama.
Oh! So you were not even at home.
No wonder your evil twin was covering for you.
Hold your greeting!. If you don’t start telling me where you are coming from now i will break your legs into four sizeable portions.
ELIZABETH (stutters i fear)
I was, I went to…
Behind mama Gertrude gives her signal on what to say. Gertrude touches her neck.
ELIZABETH (CONT’D) (stuttering)
I went to see my sick friend, yes, I went to see my friend that her mother put to bed.
All three women are shocked, Gertrude covers her mouth to stifle laughter.
Ehh, you went gini Elizabeth? How come it was not your friend’s late father that put to bed.
No mama I…
Mama throws her slippers at her
Thunder fire you! You have grown so big that you know come and go as you like.
Mama rushes towards her, Elizabeth runs inside, Mama runs after her screaming. Uloma and Gertrude run after them. Uloma tries to stop mama so she doesn’t fall.
Mama stop, you will injure
Gertrude is amused. She follows behind laughing.
SCENE 7. ULOMA’S RESIDENCE -LIVING ROOM – MORNING 6
In an ancient and scantly decorated living room. Mama reading a verse from the bible with her glasses perched on her nose bridge.
This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Mama pulls her glass down and peeps at Elizabeth and Gertrude from the top. Elizabeth is sleeping and Gertrude’s face is covered with a bible.
They both wake up with a start.
ELIZABETH / GERTRUDE
Amen! And Amen!
Mama and Uloma look at them. Mama eyes them both and turns to Uloma with sweet smiles.
Take the next passage my princess.
Matthew 11 from verse 1-6 Uloma starts to read from her bible.
Elizabeth sleeps off again, nodding. Mama sneaks up to her and gives her a knock on her head. She wakes with a start, yawing.
On your feet.
She stands grudgingly. Gertrude widens her eyes to prevent it from closing.
SCENE 8. IN THE CORRIDOR – MORNING 7
Mama seated with her granddaughters. Uloma is dressed casually in T-shirt and jeans, she is dressed to go out.
But Mama you promised to give me the money today.
I know I promised, but as you can
see the pension I was expecting didn’t come as I planned. Sorry my dear.
What about my exam?
Don’t worry, I have already spoken
to my friend about lending me the money tomorrow.
Mama what if she doesn’t give you the money? If I don’t pay my school fees it means no exam for (tearful, she rest on the That’s an extra year.
She will give me . Let’s does.
Relax Oma, you too worry. me will arrange your school fees,
If not for mama’s sickness that made me sell my sewing machine last month, I would have helped raise your school fees.
Mama looks worried, she smiles bravely to cheer the girls up. Elizabeth gives Uloma a hug.
Stop worrying, you will write that exam. I will call my friend Chichi she might help.
Mama sighs. Changes the topic.
Hope you even ate this morning before leaving?
Uloma nods. Elizabeth tickles Uloma, she smiles wearily.
We all shared that leftover yam.
We left some for you.
Mama that food was too small.
Uloma! After I gave a portion of myown?
You eat too much for someone your size.
Mama laughs, Uloma frowns.
Leave this girl alone, you don’t
know she is the baby of the house. Ngwa nne go and carry my own and.
Uloma rushes to door. Elizabeth and Gertrude run after her.
Mama said it’s for only me.
GERTRUDE AND ELIZABETH
It’s a lie.
Mama smiles as they leave. Her face clouds with worry. She supports her jaw with her hand.
SCENE 9. ULOMA’S RESIDENCE-ROOM
In a scantly furnished room, Elizabeth is on the phone. Gertrude watches her with keen interest.
Okay, No problem Bye.
She cuts the call and sighs heavily on the brink of tears.
Chichi said she doesn’t have money. What do we do? I don’t want Oma to miss her exam.
She won’t, grandma will come up with something. She always does. Elizabeth shakes her head in despair.
Not this time. Most of her friends are also owed pension. Who will she borrow from? Government is not even saying anything about paying them.
I wish there was something left to sell.
Uloma enters. Give Elizabeth a questioning look. She shakes her head. Uloma tears up. They hug her. Elizabeth wipes her tears.
Sister? I don’t want to miss my exam (sniffs)
Maybe I should just drops out.
I am scared of telling grandma that I haven’t even paid my departmental dues. I don’t want her blood pressure to rise. (crying) Why did mummy and Daddy leave us in this world to suffer.
Oma, have we not survived for this long? It’s been 21 years but we are here, alive. I promised you that you will go to school. Gertrude and I missed out but you won’t. Who knows Mama might get the money. (laughs) That woman has hidden places in her room where she hides money because at the end of the day, she provides all we need even it looks like no help is coming.
I don’t think she has any other
options, she owes too many people.
Oma I don’t like seeing you like this. (thoughtful) You know what? I ask for an advancement payment at my work place. Don’t worry. You will pay your school fees.
Uloma nods. Sniffs back her tears.
Did you finish that food?
Uloma smiles through her tears and nods. Gertrude and Elizabeth burst into laughter.
SCENE 10. RUFUS’S RESIDENCE-COMPOUND – DAY
In a big mansion, A car door opens, a man comes down and heads towards the front door RUFUS 50s. Walks with an air of superiority. He is wearing a long sleeve shirt with a sweater and supports himself with a walking stick.
His phone rings. He looks at the caller ID, hisses and answers.
Do you have good news for me or more stories?.(brief pause. He smiles) Splendid!
Send me the address and expect your balance within the hour.
He smiles as he cuts the call, whistling as he heads in.
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