Mrs. Purkapile, Revisited

Prompted again! For the final assignment in an acting class,  teacher  Terry Martin asked us to choose and memorize a poem from Edgar Lee Master’s classic “Spoon River Anthology.” Terry also asked us to write a character biography, and to construct a monologue that paralleled the Spoon River character’s experiences, and was also true to our own life/experience.

I chose the long-suffering Mrs. Purkapile, who is as ridiculous as she is tragic.

You can read her story here:

All apologies to poor Mrs. Purkapile, I had a ball writing the “parallel” monologue. My husband has never disappeared, nor claimed to have been kidnapped by pirates. My first-ever boyfriend, however…. 

He left.  He left. He was gone for a year, right? So, I move on. And then, he comes back. He comes back with this asinine story. God, such a-

He came back with a story about being kidnapped. By pirates. On Lake Lewisville. They kept him locked up below deck, so he couldn’t escape. Oh, he did manage to get loose – once – and he tried so hard to get to a computer and send an SOS, but they caught him, and from thereon, he was tied up 24-7.

Anyway. He comes back. And he’s telling me this stupid story. And I pretend to believe him. Even though I know — thanks to “good” friends who couldn’t wait to tell me that they’d seen him at The Three Teardrops, the Caravan of Dreams, the Knox Street Pub….

I let him come home. I pretended to believe him, and I let him come home.  Marriage is marriage, ’til death us do part. I believe that. I still believe that.

He came home very late one Friday night, drunk, and confessed to me that he had not been at his job at the used car lot, that in fact, he’d been fired a month ago, and that all this time he’d been pretending to go to work but instead he was going to the bar, every day, all day, until he could work up the courage to confess. To me. He was so drunk, he was nearly incoherent, weeping, and, and, smelling…like her.  He fell to his knees, begged my forgiveness, and I forgave him.

I warmed up his supper, and drew him a warm bath, and made him a cocktail. And then I went to bed. So, how could I know that he had fallen asleep in the tub, and that his fat head had slipped down under the water?

Accidents, you know. They do happen. Especially in one’s own home. Especially when one is a notorious alcoholic.

A promise is a promise, and marriage is marriage.

‘Til death us do part.


About Vicki Caroline Cheatwood

Writerly. Rebooting. Evolving. Searching for great chicken salad.
This entry was posted in Plays and Playwriting. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Mrs. Purkapile, Revisited

  1. dehelen says:

    ooh, chilling. And now the pirate is sleeping with the fishes …

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