Maud's Kitchen


Oh, it's spotless now. You'd never know that just a few hours ago Maud was serving an elaborate brunch to a gathering of her and Elizabeth's oldest friends. Elizabeth's about to pour them each a glass of that lovely red wine so that they can sit down and rehash the gathering. Here are some of the highlights they'll likely discuss, since one or the other of them witnessed the following or heard about it from one of their guests--
Dennis is still carrying a torch for Melinda
Dylan protected Karen from his father
Anais' recommends the new hairdresser
Short takes on lots more gossip


Alice checks to make sure her child is nowhere nearby before she accepts the joint that Dennis offers her. After several deep tokes, she returns it and asks the Chief to remain as open-minded as possible to whatever happens. She goes on...

ALICE
After all, there are so many old friends involved. I know not even you want to destroy relationships over nothing...
Dennis interrupts with an angry tirade...
DENNIS
Nothing?! That sonuvabitch stole the woman I loved from under my nose, broke her heart, abandonned her and their son, and now he marches in here NOT to apologise to either of them, but to fawn over Karen! You call that "nothing"?! I expected more from a woman with several doctorates in matters of communication.
ALICE
Apparently all undeserved, considering the level of this misunderstanding... I'm not talking about what a shitheel Tom is, Dennis. I meant that the brouhaha over the mysterious corpse isn't worth blowing old frienships over-- at least not until we know what's really going on. Jeez, like I'd defend that whining loser?! I never even thought he was an adequate poet, let alone a decent human being!
DENNIS
'Atta girl, Alice. Of course, you could just be buttering me up so that I'll cooperate more on the Sayers thing...
ALICE
I could be. I could have been anticipating this moment for 25 years, plotting and planning an elaborate deception just to convince you to cave in to me because I knew there was a corpse under the dorm. Because it's someone we know and because the murderer is in this room and because all I care about is protecting the murderer and the good name of the school. Or I could just be trying my damnedest to get through an unpleasant assignment that has me negotiating between you and Lizzie and Charlotte and Carlotta. Gee, I wonder which it is?
DENNIS
You've lost your tolerance for dope, Alice.
ALICE
No... just my tolerance for dopes. Speaking of which... I think Dylan's about to punch out his father...
DENNIS
Think he wants some help?
ALICE
I think you should go help Anais with those mimosas. Now.
Alice sneaks one last hit from Dennis' joint before pushing him across the room.
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Dylan Atkins has pushed his way between his father, Tom, and Karen Archibald whose laughter in response to some witticism of Tom's stops mid-peal. All eyes are on the threesome as Dylan turns on his father:

DYLAN
It's bad enough that you showed up here and ruined the day for Mom and me, can't you leave Karen alone?! Everyone knows that she's just been too kind to cut you off for the past 25 years, though god only knows why anyone would waste kindnes on you.
TOM
I don't know what crap your mother's been telling you about me all these years, but...
DYLAN
Of course you don't, that would have meant being there for me now and again...
TOM
Fine. I'm a crummy father. And I was a lousy husband. I admit it. But that doesn't give you any right to try to come between me and my best friend.
DYLAN
Your only friend, so far as I can tell. And just because you haven't hurt Karen yet, doesn't mean that you won't. And I'm not going to permit that!
TOM
You're not going to permit it?! Who the hell are you to permit anything?!
DYLAN
I'll tell you who... I'm Karen's...
KAREN
Boss. And a very protective one at that. I've never worked for a director who took his paternal responsibility for cast and crew so seriously. (She takes Dylan's arm and leads him away from his father and towards Melinda) Only the very best kind of mother could raise such a sincere and gentlemanly young man...
MELINDA
(her voice tinged with suspicion) Thank you, Karen. I appreciate the praise. And the intervention. Especially from you...
KAREN
I hate to cause trouble... unless I've had the pleasure of planning it. And this wasn't anticipated at all...
MELINDA
I understand.
DYLAN
I don't.
KAREN
Nor are you supposed to, young man. Now go play with the other children...
Reluctantly, Dylan heads over to join Carly and Anais and Rad and Charlie, all of whom are participating in a cupcake decorating effort organized by Maud. Tom stares at his son and then at his beloved, Karen, chatting and laughing with his ex-wife. He is startled when, at his shoulder, he hears:
McGEORGE
What was that all about?
TOM
That's what I'm trying to figure out. The boy's very dramatic, I suppose he was just putting on a show for his mother's benefit.
McGEORGE
The theatrics are unarguable. I just wonder who the audience really was...
McGeorge catches Karen throwing a smile across the room to Dylan who, despite having his arm around young Carly's shoulder, returns the older woman's smile with a besotted grin of his own.
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Maud and Lizzie had been pleasantly surprised by Anais' new look when she showed up today-- their daughter had never before had so stylish a look, certainly thanks to the wonderful new haircut she was sporting. As the day went on and nearly everyone complimented the young woman on her new coif, they began to wonder at the enthusiasm with which Anais was recommending Cliffton's new hairdresser, that rather thuggy-looking young man who had recently arrived from Las Vegas. Indeed, the curiosity of almost everyone present was so piqued by the goofy-grinned reaction of Anais to the mere mention of the Elvis look-alike, that Mr. Genevisiano could well expect a flurry of appointments from among the ranks of the Sayers Gangsters.

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Charlotte told Lizzie that Rad seemed to have been distracted from his gambling for the past few weeks. Everyone hoped he had met someone wholesome and intelligent, but according to Carly, he was just holing up in his room by himself, staying up all night watching TV and playing on his computer.

Maud heard Charlie tell Dennis that the fifth grade grapevine maintained that there would be a casino and amusement park on newly-claimed tribal ground by summer vacation, 1997. Dennis refused to confirm or deny the elementary gossip.

Alice reported that Adam Simpson claimed that
Carlotta said that she wangled McGeorge his tenure when Virgil was supposed to get it, back in '72 and that she was planning on calling in that I.O.U. over the Sayers Corpse affair.

The second key to Melinda's room wasn't on its hook and Dennis had parted from his first (and, to the best of their shared knowledge, only) love with, "See you later." Concidence? Maud and Lizzie think not. And, agreeing to make it as easy for their old friends as possible, they retire to their room, leaving the coast clear for Dennis to "sneak" up to Melinda's room. But first, Maud makes sure that there are two clean glasses and a bottle of wine on the counter... just in case.

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