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Ritual | Episode 1"Fresh Meat" - scene 2


Scene 2 - The Sinclair mansion

Characters in this Scene

For full characters and synopsis, click here (WARNING spoilers, as this contains the plot outline)

 

It's just before noon in Beverly Hills. In a three-storey Georgian style mansion a handsome middle-aged man is shaving his face in the mirror of an opulent, white bathroom. He is blue-eyed and dark-haired, a trace of silver at the temples. This is Damien Sinclair, producer, Hollywood power broker and an extremely wealthy man. He hums a tune to himself as he gets ready, the Stones' Sympathy for the Devil. He slips on crisp, white underwear and walks to a massive walk-in-robe to select his clothes. As he is standing in the mirror buttoning up a silk shirt, a perfectly manicured hand with scarlet finger nails slides across his chest and towards his waist line. His wife Veronica places her chin over his shoulder, blonde curls falling about her face, and meets his gaze in the mirror. Her brown eyes are wanton and longing. Her hand slides further down his body and he grabs her wrist suddenly, squeezing it.


"I thought we could have a little afternoon delight," she breathes into his ear.


"Not now darling, I have an important client to meet," he squeezes her wrist tighter, and she wrenches free. "You know, Veronica," he says, continuing to dress, "I have never denied you of any pleasures that you might seek. Don't I always give you everything?" His voice is smooth and velvety but his eyes are like flint.


"I'm tired of always having the entrée, I want more of the main course," she says petulantly. It is clear that the Sinclair's have an open marriage. Veronica lounges sensuously across their marital bed, she is barefoot and wearing a chiffon halter-neck playsuit. She swirls her drink around the glass making the ice cubes chink lazily. Her husband is oblivious as he collects his wallet, watch and jewellery off the vanity. He gives himself a narcissistic once over in the mirror, and pecks his wife chastely on the cheek before leaving.


Veronica watches her husband out the window from the upstairs bedroom as a he heads towards his Porsche parked in the driveway. Their daughter Debbie, pretty, blonde and eighteen, runs to him on her way to the pool and they embrace warmly. Veronica screams with rage, and hurls her drink at the vanity mirror, the glass shatters into pieces as scotch drips slowly down the wall. Her chest rises and falls with an anxiety she can't control and her hands ball into fists.


"Munnalit-aaa!" screeches Veronica. "Clean it up!" she says to the maid who appears dour-faced in the doorway. Shaking her head, Munnalita returns with a brush, pan, and cleaning cloths.


Veronica continues to stare out the window, watching as a garden maintenance crew consisting of six men riding in the back of a utility truck pulls up to the drive. She appraises them all as they climb out of the truck, her eyes finally settling on a man she has not seen before. Tall and muscular, with tousled black hair and just the right amount of five-o'clock-shadow. "Mmm-mmm, what have we here? It looks like fresh meat," she purrs.


"Munnalita! Get me another drink, I think I'll go down by the pool," Veronica disappears into the walk-in-robe to get changed, only for the third time that day.


The maid, still on her knees, curses in her own tongue. "Ai sto dialo," go to hell she says and spits on the floor after her.


A short while later, Veronica sashays around the pool balancing on chunky platform heels, wearing a high-cut one piece bathing suit in electric turquoise blue. She plonks herself down on a lounger next to her daughter Debbie who is reading from a thick text book. They don't speak to each other at first. Debbie continues to read as Veronica observes her, a palpable tension filling the air.


Two men from the maintenance crew hover around the pool area, trying to avoid looking at the women. Isaiah Holmes, young with fresh-faced good looks, begins to clean the pool. His swarthy and over-muscled co-worker, Guido, starts to clip the tall hedge around the perimeter.


Munnalita pads around the pool in her sensible shoes balancing a fresh Scotch-on-the-rocks on top of a silver tray. She procures a pack of Virginia Slims from her apron pocket for her mistress. Veronica takes the drink ungraciously and lights up a cigarette. She puffs smoke in Debbie's direction, but does not succeed in getting the rise she is after. Bored with the conversational stand-off with her daughter she breaks the silence. "You know, you'll never get a boyfriend if you don't get your nose out of those books for a change".


"I thought you wanted me to stay away from boys, you said that they were only after one thing," Debbie bristles, not looking up from her book.


"True, but you can't always be Daddy's Little Girl forever you know," says Veronica snidely.


"I'm not a Daddy's Girl!" Debbie snaps, the pain and anger apparent in her voice. "At least, maybe I wouldn't have to be if you spent a bit more time with me. I swear, it's like I don't even exist for you! "


"Oh sure, sure, you really think I'm such a bad mother?" Veronica feigns surprise. When Debbie fumes by way of reply, she concedes. "Ok, maybe I guess I could spend a little more time with you." She swigs her drink and runs her fingers through her hair. "I know! Hows about you come with me and your Auntie Cathy this afternoon, shopping down Rodeo Drive."


"You mean that for real?" Debbie asks, full of suspicion.


"Hell yeah, it'll be fun, we'll have a girly afternoon." Veronica eyes off Guido's muscular form over the rim of her sunglasses. His arms ripple from the action of using the hedge clipper. He stares back at her smiling, revealing strong white teeth.


"Ok, great, then I'll go get changed!"


Debbie goes to get up when Veronica holds up a finger, "Just hold that thought right there honey, can you give Momma an hour or so and I will be right back, I promise." Debbie follows Veronica's gaze to Guido who is putting down his tools. Veronica gets up from her lounger and sidles next to him grabbing a handful of his firm butt encased in tight blue denim. They disappear into the house together.


Debbie groans, flops herself back on the lounger and continues to read her book. Isaiah, who has just witnessed this exchange, moves around the side of the pool to get closer to Debbie.


"Wow. Your Mom is kind of a first class bitch," he comments casually.


Debbie supresses a smile, her eyes still focused on the book she is reading. "She is unique, I will give her that."


Isaiah drops the pool scoop, bolder now. "Your dad though, he's pretty cool. He's some kind of a hot-shot producer isn't he?" When he gets no response from Debbie he says, "You know I'm an actor myself."


"Isn't everyone in this town?"


"Yeah, but I'm special."


"So is that your angle then, get a labouring job at the hot-shot producer's house and try and sweet talk his daughter into asking Daddy to give you a leg-up. Please!" Debbie snorts.


"No! Maybe the part about getting the job here, but I wasn't trying to sweet talk you, honest. I'm not like that."


"So why are you talking to me then?"


"You just seem so miserable, lonely...and...afraid." Debbie lifts her head in surprise to gaze at Isaiah then drops her eyes hurriedly. "I'm right, aren't I?" He continues, "That's exactly how you feel. See, I told you I was special. I can read people, tap into their feelings." He thumps his chest for emphasis. "That's why I think I will make such a great actor, even better than Ric Richards."


"Yeah, well, good luck with that." They both glance up at the master bedroom of the house. The sounds of Veronica and Guido's sexual union can be heard clearly and loudly through the open window. Debbie shudders with disgust.


"You know, she tried to get it on with me too once," Isaiah says matter-of-factly," Debbie reddens as Isaiah continues. "Don't get me wrong, I was tempted, she is a very attractive woman and she was coming on pretty strong. She's just not my type."


"What is your type then?"


"I like blonde girls. Smart and sassy girls, and preferably around my own age." Debbie realises he is genuinely flirting with her now. A car horn honks loudly. "Well, I gotta go," he says bowing mock-gallantly as he picks up his equipment and walks toward the other side of the pool.


"Hey!" she calls out to him. "So how did you manage to escape the seductive clutches of my mother?"


"Easy, I just told her I had a really bad case of jock-itch!" He does a comic mime of scratching his crotch. Debbie bursts out laughing and Isaiah grins. "You know, you're so pretty when you laugh like that. You should do it more often," he says before disappearing behind the hedge.


Debbie touches her cheek gently and smiles. She hadn't even asked his name.


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