Here we go again. Scene 10 takes place on a soft and golden autumn afternoon in Miss Underscore's sitting room. The room has more than a little dust, a Miss Marple sprinkling of cosy chintz, a scattering of children's exercise books and a couple of snoring hounds.
Madam N: (settling back into sofa with cup of tea) I've just driven past Senor Boldon. He was running. Well, I think it was him.
Miss U: (interested) Really?
Madam N: I think so, although he looked more like 'dead man walking' than 'bald man jogging'. He staggered into a bus stop. He was turning blue; I think he was in the midst of a heart attack. I didn't stop. I saw him last week too. He's invested in a personalised number plate for his latest Lexus.
Miss U: Eughh, how crass. Let me guess. . . what could the number plate read? I bet it's just made up of dots, ellipses, to symbolise the infinity of his torturous silences?
Madam N: It's just some amalgam of his name. Sadly. Should have been 24 CT CUNT really.
Miss U: (smiling) Oh, don't. He's not so bad.
Madam N: Anyway, you know why I'm here. Your text said that you'd confessed to Rochester about the whole brother-shagging thing? Well . . .?
Miss U: Oh God. He didn't know. (shaking her head in disbelief). HE DID NOT KNOW. All this time I thought he must have known. He is shocked. He gave me the perfect opportunity to come clean though. He emailed me a story about how Senor Boldon didn't speak to him for 4 years. Senor had gone to visit Rochester in Bristol for the weekend. On Saturday morning Rochester wanted to go to the shops to buy things for breakfast. His car wouldn't start, so he borrowed Senor's cherished Lexus. Without asking. Rochester arrived home with the bacon, eggs and newspaper to discovered a furious Senor Boldon scowling on the doorstep. Bags packed. That was it. For 4 years. Not a word.
Madam N: Fucking hell!
Miss U: So, I replied, feigning innocence and hysteria, 'Oh my God. A Lexus- owning misanthrope from South Shields? I think I KNOW your brother.' The KNOW was in capitals and bold red type, to emphasise the horrifying Biblical context of the word.
Madam N: (wryly) Yes, I believe it appears that way in the Old Testament too. Fuck. What happened?
Miss U: I got a text. 'So you're THAT Miss Underscore Cunting hell. I need a drink.'
Madam N: And then?
Miss U: Silence. Then another text. 'Senor Boldon says hi.'
Madam N: Oh God!
Miss U: Then more silence. Which was excruciating, as I imagined they were forensically deconstructing me.
Madam N: And. . .
Miss U: (sighing) Rochester and I have now moved into rather protracted discussions via email about what to do. What is the etiquette in such situations? If we were French, of course, the three of us would cycle along the Seine randomly quoting Rimbaud to each other. We'd enjoy a threesome in a sun-dappled, floral meadow. I'd have a fringe, smudged black eyeliner and wear wide legged tweed trousers and silk scarves. I'd carry bunches of dahlias and piles of antique poetry books in my bicycle basket. We'd all live together in a shabby but grand Parisian apartment: all high ceilings, polished floorboards and sunshine. One of us would eventually commit suicide, leaving the others to live out a hollow existence of abject misery and unreconcilable guilt. (sighs) It could be so gorgeously romantic. If we were French.
Madam N: Hmmm, yes, but you are a miner's daughter from Sunderland.
Miss U: Very true. So I advocate drinking endless cups of hot, sweet tea and living a life of repressed, tight-lipped denial.
Madam N: Rochester must have said something?
Miss U: That he is furious with it all. That he really likes me. He said I was 'wry, witty, sensitive and macabre'. We're still going to meet up and see how we feel.
Madam N: Good.
Miss U: He can't be too traumatised by the whole thing. On mismatch.com you can post a questionnaire for potential datees to complete. How ghastly is that? Rochester has now posted a question 'During our first date it becomes apparent that you have slept with my big brother. Do you tell me?'
Madam N: And Senor Boldon's feelings on the whole thing?
Miss U: Apparently he is fine. He's married now. He's asking a lot of questions about where/ when Rochester and I will meet. He's not said anything bad about me. Said he thought I was lovely. Senor Boldon's the least of my worries though. What the fuck will Aunty Margaret say about this? She'll be rummaging through her wardrobe for Uncle Bert's WW2 pistol again.
Madam N: And the date?
Miss U: Next week. Christ. All this drama and we've not even met yet.