(This is a monologue written for St Andrew’s Night at The Georges West Church c. 2005. It was originally performed by Gabriel Quigley as Veronica)
Veronica sits at her laptop wearing an expensive silk dressing gown.
Is it ‘dear’?
I’m sorry I’m new to all this. This praying.
If it is praying.
I don’t even know to start.
How do you address a saint? ‘Dear’, ‘Your Holiness’. ‘Sir.’
I ought to make it clear I’m not one of your actual believers. I’m not even a Christian. Not as such. I love the Watch night service and I always light a candle in a catholic church and when I drive up through the Cowal peninsula and the Autumn colours are out I must admit I do get a sort of melty feeling about just how nice the world and how we’re all connected in a great big one-ness but no – I don’t – I’m not – I can’t… believe.
I’m guessing you know this.
I’ll cut to the chase. You’re a busy man. I have a proposal to put to you.
A business proposal.
Put it this way, you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.
You get Gavin up here now.
And I will make your life Con. Sid. Erably easier.
Let me explain.
My name is Veronica Frost.
I run a wee boutique in Milngavie just of the A82 – ‘Frosty Looks’. You may have heard of it.
I’m guessing not.
Well, anyway, I’m writing this email from a bedroom in a hotel in the town which bears your name. We’re staying in In the Old Course Hotel. Gavin’s on a pilgrimage. Golf. Every year he goes to the Dunhill cup. Me, I can’t stand golf. Normally I’d stay at home or maybe nip down to London for a bit of shopping with the girls but – and this is the point of the email – I’m fertile just now.
I told Gavin to book us a double – just on the off chance.
No chance tonight, of course, Gavin’s in the pub. Which he persists in calling – with no sense of just how not funny I find it – ‘the nineteenth hole.’ He’s drinking with the boys.
He was due back ages ago.
I’ve spent the last two hours lying on the bed in a state of appropriately wanton deshabille listening for the soft knock at the door just waiting to be ‘caught’ relaxing. But no soft knock has came.
About twenty minutes ago he texted to say he was sorry he was late and that I should go down and have dinner and he’d meet me up here later. ‘Norwich’ he texted. That means – you know what that means.
So here I am dolled up in my best Victoria’s Secret with a gin and tonic from the minibar so I get out the laptop thinking I might do the accounts but in fact the hotel has wi fi so…
I find myself idly googling. Just surfing the web to see what there is to see. At first I just go through my favourites. I watch a couple of old bros videos on You Tube. I bid for a pair of vintage legwarmers on Ebay and I spend five minutes reading my favourite fruity blog from a woman in Idaho who’s having an affair with the local police chief. She’s not posted anything new for a week. I hope she’s not been arrested.
Well anyway … you know the way it is with goodle… sooner or later you start googing the big questions.
Should I wear legwarmers?
Where the hell is Gavin?
What is the point of golf?
What is the point of…
What is the point?
That’s the thing about the internet. If you’ve got google and broadband then you can get an immediate answer to any question you decide to type in. Do you do that?
I’m guessing saints don’t google.
So now the second gin us kicking in (I know I know) I find myself typing.
Am I a really bad person?
Am I a bad person dot com. They’ve got a questionnaire.
Yes yes yes no no yes no no no yes
You are quite a bad person.
Another gin. Won’t do any harm now.
Will I conceive in St Andrews?
And that’s how I came upon your site.
St Andrew. Dot. Com.
Here’s the back story Andy. Gavin doesn’t technically, actually, know I’ve come off the pill. The thing is Gavin says he doesn’t really want kids – yet. He says we’re young, we’re making acres of cash, and – as he says – there’s still a lot of Maldives left to go snorkeling in. That’s Gavin to a T. He’s not a bad man. He’s really really… generous with his money and he’s… easy to get on with, popular, you know. We’ve been going out since we were at college. He’s just a bit emotionally disorganized. You know. I’m on a schedule and time is ticking away.
So I’m thinking that if I was to fall pregnant ‘by accident.’ Then it’ll jolt him, you know, give him a prod – push him into the pool.
He’d make such a lovely dad.
If it was a boy he could take him to the rugby and the golf and… snorkeling in the Maldives.
So it’s not really deceitful I’m just bringing the schedule.
So I came upon your Website and I couldn’t help but notice that you are quite a busy man. According to your publicity people you are the patron saint of:
Amalfi; Anglers Berchtesgaden; Burgundy; the diocese of Constantinople; fish dealers; fish mongers; fishermen; people with gout; the diocese of Grand Rapids, Michigan; maidens; old maids; Patras, Greece; Plymouth, England; Russia; Scotland; singers; people with sore throats; the Spanish armed forces; the University of Patras; unmarried women;
And this is the one which caught my eye:
women who wish to become mothers.
You, it turns out, are my patron saint.
I wish to become a mother. But Andy! It’s not happening. And I’ve been asking myself why? Is it me. Is it him. But reading this it’s all become very clear to me. It’s you.
How can you expect to focus on unmarried women when you’ve got all those other responsibilities on your plate? I have seen it so many times before. This is a very typical situation some chief executives find themselves in. They burn out because they will not delegate.
Tired all the time.
Complaints coming in from all departments.
Phone never stops ringing.
And so you just start to shut it all off. You pretend it isn’t happening. Things start to slide.
I don’t imagine the university of Patras is happy do you? And what about all those singers with sore throats?
So this where I come in. I’ve sketched out my proposals on the back of a napkin here. It’s simple enough.
One – focus on your core business – That’s unmarried women and women who want to have babies.
Two – The fisherman and fish dealers makes quite an attractive package on its own and I suggest you offload that on to one of the less glamorous saints in exchange for another thirty something woman based portfolio – say patron saint of chardonnay or cats.
That leaves you Greece and Scotland. I’m suggesting you organize a team of angels in either country to look after the basics for you and then you divide your time between the two headquarters – Scotland in the Summer, Greece in the winter.
Now, Russia. Oh dear. When did you pick up that one? Russia’s too big for one Saint, Andy. So there’s only one solution – franchise. Train up some of the younger saints in your particular style, use the saltire logos and brandings, and let them do the work. You sit back and count the royalties.
I’m thinking put the rest of your portfolio on Ebay.
I promise you. Under my plan, you’re life will be one hundred per cent easier.
So that’s my side of the bargain.
If you could just send Gavin up, right now, we’ll be all square.
Veronica’s phone beeps. Veronica squeals.
Oh thanks Andy. Thank you so much. I won’t let you down on this I promise.
What’s he saying.
‘Still with boys at the nineteenth hole. Don’t wait up.’
Three years I’ve been with Gavin.
Three years of him going on about his car. Three years of him spending satruday night with the boys. Three years of the Dunhill Cup. ‘St Andrews, Vernonica, I haver to go. It’s my Mecca. It’s my Jerusalem’ Three years of driving every autumn to a wee hotel down the cowal peninsula and me saying that the autumn colours give me a melty feeling, a feeling as though I’m part of some great one-ness. Some great living breathing ancient one-ness that’s as old as the hills and doesn’t he think we ought to have a baby. And three years of him laughing and saying – what are you on Veronica. Prozac?
Well in fact I am on Prozac, Andy, although he doesn’t know that. He’d only laugh at me.
Three years and the thing that’s dawning on me Andy as I write this email to you is that
I love Gavin but I don’t like him.
I don’t like Gavin.
I don’t want to have a baby who’s half Gavin.
Is that possible?
If I google it – will you provide the answer?
Is that a deal.
‘Do I love Gavin?’
She is about to press enter when she stops.
I don’t need to google it do I?
You’ve given me the answer already haven’t you?
A knock at the door.
That’s him isn’t it. Knocking.
A knock again.
‘Veronica’ He’s drunk.
A knock again.
‘Norwich’ he’s saying.
There’s no talking to him when he’s in that condition.
She takes out her phone.
‘I’m with Andy. You can sleep in the car. Don’t wait up.’