Dredging the Fish Pond

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Dredging the Fish Pond was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2001. In this extract, the pregnant Crystal Maguire has just been beaten up by her boyfriend and staggers into the garden carrying his baby boy in her arms…

Woman: It was quiet in the garden.

Crystal: So, so quiet.

Woman: You stood there with Alex.

Crystal: I stood there at the edge of the fish pond. In the moonlight the water was cloudy. You could see a little way into it but you couldn’t see the bottom. The fish came and went in and out of the fog. In their place. I was in my place. The pain in my stomach was getting worse, shooting cramps like a line of pain being drawn around my middle, jangling every nerve and jolting every muscle. Each one bigger than the last. The fish seemed to be looking up at me. Alex opened his eyes and looked up at me. Then the cramps came again, so bad, so, so bad…

Woman: Your whole body convulsed…

Crystal: I screamed. My body twisted with the pain, and Alex…

Woman: You let go.

Crystal: I let go of him. I was right on the edge of the pond and I let go of him…

Woman: …and he fell…

Crystal: …into the water. He fell into the water. He hardly made a sound. Hardly a splash. Then… then another convulsion hit me and I screamed again… the pain, the pain was so bad, so bad… so bad… I looked down at my skirt… there was blood, blood on my skirt…

Woman: You looked into the pond…

Crystal: …and through the fog I saw Alex, just a glimpse, and he was looking up at me, and then the fog rolled in and then the worst pain of them all and then…

Woman: …you passed out.

Crystal: There was just too much pain. I passed out. Fainted. Everything went white in front of my eyes but… I can still remember…

Woman: What?

Crystal: One phrase. As clear as moonlight.

Woman: Four words.

Crystal: Just before I fainted, as if someone whispered in my ear.

Woman: Go on.

Crystal: Just as Alex was lost in the fog, just as I fainted, just one phrase, just whispered…

Woman: Four short words.

Crystal: In the right place. … The words were ‘in the right place’.

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