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Akinlabi Peter
Amanda Sington-Williams
A M Gatward
Ayat Ghanem
Bobby Parker
Chuma Nwokolo, Jr.
Dike Okoro
E C Osondu
Katie Metcalfe
Laura Solomon
Mandy Pannett
Michael Larrain
Oge Anyahuru
Terri Ochiagha
Uzor Maxim Uzoatu










KATHLEEN: Corporate high flyer, dressed accordingly




WOMAN (direct address): By anybodyís standards it was an expensive duvet.  It was the best, a leader, a king amongst quilts.  It was different from the rest.  It was the fluffiest, the warmest, the finest.  Fifty percent down and fifty percent large feather, it was not dressed up to the nines, like many of the others, the show-offs, in their gaudy coloured prints and their florals and their tartan covers.  It was plain, naked, but it shone with potential.  Once inside the cover he had designed, it would knock the competition into a cocked hat.  It was a diamond in the rough.


Lights up on MAN and WOMAN walking together hand in hand.  Sign up on far wall ĎBennyís For Bedsí.  MAN and WOMAN walk past duvet after duvet, fluffing and plumping, shaking their heads in dismay as candidate after candidate fails to measure up.  Finally, they find one duvet on its own, apart from the others. 


WOMAN (picks up duvet that is by itself): Here it is.  The one.  All by itself.  Aw, poor little thing.


WOMAN snuggles her face into the duvet.  MAN looks at duvetís price tag.


MAN: Jesus Christ!  Thatís exorbitant. 


WOMAN: Come on, darling.  Donít be stingy.


MAN: Thatís three days wages, gone in an instant, on a duvet.   


WOMAN: Not just any old duvet.  The duvet. 


MAN (sceptically): Whatever. 


MAN and WOMAN walk with duvet to counter.  Check out duvet.  Lights out.


Lights up on MAN and WOMAN in bed together, under duvet.  The duvet starts to glow.  WOMAN props herself up on one elbow and looks around for the source of the light.  Is it the moon, or a street lamp?  MAN wakes up and puts one arm around WOMAN.


WOMAN: Whereís that light coming from?


MAN (patting duvet): Itís this thing.  Itís glowing. 


WOMAN: Weird.  Maybe somebodyís put some of those awful glow sticks in there.  Like people take to dance parties.  Or maybe somebodyís implanted something electronic and cellular in there, that can be switched on from a distance. 


MAN: Hey, maybe itís genetically engineered.  Like those fish with the phosphorescent jellyfish genes.  


WOMAN (awed): Spooky.


Woman picks up one corner of the thing that covered them and fluffs it about, as if the incandescence could be shaken out.  


MAN: I know.  Maybe if we switch on the overhead light we can stun it into submission.


WOMAN: Yea, give it a try.


MAN walks over to light switch.  Tries switch.  Duvet dims a bit.  Tries switch again.  Duvet dims more.  Tries switch for third time.  Light dies in duvet completely.


MAN: Ha!  That sure showed the damn thing whoís boss!


Lights out.  Lights up.  Man is holding a feather.


MAN: Another bloody feather!


WOMAN: Whatís wrong?


MAN: The duvetís been moulting.  Itís got a plumage retention issue.  The feathers donít even confine themselves to the boudoir, they migrate.  Iíve found feathers displayed amongst a bouquet of blooms in the living room, neatly curled around a lemon in the fruit bowl, spiked into a pound of butter which had been stored in the door of the fridge.  How come theyíre never just on the floor?  Why do they always have to show off? 


WOMAN: Theyíre not doing it on purpose.  Itís just coincidence that they come to rest in such strange places.


MAN:  Itís like theyíre trying to spite us.  I wish Iíd never screen-printed that cover for it.  All that work, you can tell that it doesnít appreciate anything. 


WOMAN: O donít be so ridiculous.  Itís as warm as toast.


MAN: How many duvets get covers made for them by a top-notch, talk of the town up and coming artist.  ĎA painter of rare talent!í  Thatís what the Nelson Evening Mail called me.  Pause.  I think we should take it back to the store. 


WOMAN: We canít do that, itís happy here.


MAN: Happy?  How the hell can a duvet be happy?  You think the little fucker has feelings?


WOMAN shrugs.


WOMAN: You know what I mean.  Itís full and fluffy.


MAN: And that in itself is unnatural.  How can it lose so many feathers and still be fluffy?


WOMAN: Itís special.  Itís not like the others.


MAN: No good can come of it. 


MAN turns his back on WOMAN, picks up paintbrush and begins working on his painting. 


WOMAN (direct address): The cupboards that lined the walls of his studio were filled with his creations.  In the early days, heíd painted only me, from the side, from the front, from the rear.  Nudes, mostly.  When weíd lived in different cities Iíd flown up to see him one weekend and flown back with one of his versions of myself tucked under my arm.  The stewardess had made me put the painting in the overhead locker and something had fallen on it, crushing my right buttock, so that it looked like Iíd had a bad dose of liposuction.  Iíd been his subject for six months and then I had grown tired of posing for him; told him that he needed new material.  As if out of spite, he had started painting other women instead.  Bank tellers, mutual friends, a thirteen year old girl heíd paid five bucks to take off her clothes so he could render her immortal.  He thought he was doing her a favour. But I was what he kept returning to.  I was the default. Although I had stopped posing for him, he had not stopped attempting to render me in paint.  He didnít show his work to anyone, not even me.  I was forbidden from his study.  Occasionally I would rescue a painting from the garbage and get a glimpse of his interior world.  Once, after a fight, heíd painted me as a six headed monster, holding him up in a massive claw, mouth open, ready to devour.  In another he had shown me giving a faceless man a blow job in a seedy bar.   He signed and dated nothing.  These pictures could have been made by anybody.  Or nobody at all. 


Lights out.  Lights up on MAN and WOMAN lying together under duvet.  WOMAN is lying on her side with her back to MAN.  MAN props himself up and examines WOMANís back. 


Page 2 >




Laura Solomon has an honours degree in English Literature (Victoria University, NZ, 1997) and a Masters degree in Computer Science (University of London, 2003) and currently works in IT.  She has published two novels in New Zealand with Tandem Press: 'Black Light' (1996) and 'Nothing Lasting' (1997).  Her novel ĎAn Imitation of Lifeí (working title) is to be published by Solidus, UK in early 2010.  She has published various other poems and short stories online and in various literary magazines.






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