by: Walter Wykes

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Copyright © 1997 by Walter Wykes

CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that The Salmon Tribunal is subject to a royalty. It is fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America, and of all countries covered by the International Copyright Union (including the Dominion of Canada and the rest of the British Commonwealth), and of all countries covered by the Pan-American Copyright convention and the Universal Copyright Convention, and of all countries with which the United States has reciprocal copyright relations. All rights, including professional and amateur stage performing, motion picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, video or sound taping, all other forms of mechanical or electronic reproduction, such as information storage and retrieval systems and photocopying, and the rights of translation into foreign languages, are strictly reserved.

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JUNE: 50's, well-groomed, elegant.
NORMA: 30's, very attractive
The Fisherman's Wharf--a nice restaurant.
The present.

[The Fisherman's Wharf--an upscale restaurant in the middle of a busy downtown metropolitan area. JUNE sits at a small table, looking over a menu. She is an older woman--well-groomed and elegantly dressed. She checks her watch, looks about, and returns to the menu. After a long moment, NORMA enters and joins her. NORMA does not have JUNE's sense of style, but she is younger and more attractive. JUNE ignores her, takes a sip of wine, and continues to peruse the menu.]

NORMA: All right, I'm here. [Pause.] I'm here. [Pause.] I don't know why I've come, but I have. I've flown here. Dropped everything and come running. Not out of fear, mind you. Not in the least. I want to make that clear. I'm not afraid of you. In fact, that's why I've come. To make it clear. Now ... what is it you have to say? [Pause.] I've just asked you a question. [Pause.] Are you going to sit there and ignore me now that I've driven all the way out here? Now that I've dropped everything and stood up to you? [Pause.] Have you lost your nerve? Is that it?


JUNE: Would you recommend the salmon?

NORMA: What's that?

JUNE: The salmon. [Pause.] I'm not familiar with the salmon. I thought you might help me out.

NORMA: Help you out?

JUNE: That's right. [Pause.] I'm partial to salmon, but only if it's prepared just so. I'm sure you understand. Bad salmon, you know, it's difficult to stomach. [Pause.] I'd appreciate any insight you might care to offer.

NORMA: I don't go in for salmon.

JUNE: Is that right? [Pause.] Well, even so, you might offer some general insight into the care with which this particular establishment prepares its food. You have eaten here before ... haven't you?



JUNE: I thought you might have. It's such a convenient spot. For a quick lunch perhaps. [Pause.] And you've never tried the salmon?


JUNE: That's a shame. It's really very good. I have tried it, actually, I've only just remembered. Several times, in fact. [Pause.] I enjoyed it very much. [Pause.] That's what I'll have. The salmon.

NORMA: You didn't call me here to talk about fish.

JUNE: Fish? No ... no, I suppose not.


JUNE: Not exactly. [Pause.] Although Murray does like his fish. He still goes in for fish now and then, doesn't he? Salmon, in fact, if I remember correctly. I'm surprised you haven't had a bite. [Pause.] Perhaps you have, and you've forgotten.

NORMA: He tells me you've taken to calling the office.

JUNE: Yes. [Pause.] He was probably worried you'd find out from one of the girls. Cynthia perhaps. We used to get along quite well. Although she never warned me. Never a word. Always that guilty silence. [Pause.] Have you noticed ... he has quite a talent for masking his indiscretions behind little bits of truth. I'm sure you remember. I mean, I'm sure you were party to it in the past. He's quite conscious of it, I know. In fact, he's probably bragged about it from time to time. Take, for instance, my calling the office. Now ... why tell you? What might motivate him to keep you informed? He certainly knows it won't please you. Why not keep it to himself? Hmmm? Well ... let's think about that for a moment. Perhaps my calls are an annoyance, and he wants you to be aware of them, you know, as a measure of his honesty--as proof that he has nothing to hide. How does that sound? He wouldn't tell you about my calls, for instance, if we'd taken to seeing each other on occasion for a quick lunch. Now ... would he? [Pause.] Would he? [Pause.] A quick poke in the afternoon? Don't you think he'd keep the evidence to himself? [Pause.] I don't know if salmon sounds quite right after all. Perhaps just a salad.

NORMA: What are you saying?

JUNE: I'm not saying anything. I'm only talking. It's conversation. [Pause.] I'm sure you'd notice if there was something, you know, going on. An affair, if that's what you want to call it. After all, you've been on the other side. You know what it's like. [Pause.] You wouldn't be fooled as easily as I was.


JUNE: No. Certainly not. [Pause.] Would you like some wine? A dry white wine to go with your salmon. I assume you'll want salmon. That's what I'm having.

NORMA: I don't drink.


NORMA: Not at the moment.

JUNE: How unfortunate.

NORMA: I have certain ... considerations.


JUNE: Considerations?

NORMA: That's right.

[JUNE laughs.]

JUNE: You know, I ... I almost feel sorry for you! Almost.

NORMA: Stay away from my husband.

JUNE: There! You've said it! Now it's all out in the open. All laid out, nice and easy.

NORMA: I'll have the secretaries instructed not to put you through.

JUNE: Don't you feel a bit hypocritical? Hmmm? Just a twinge? I can't help it if he needs a good poke every now and then. I'm only accommodating him, really. I don't go out of my way. I don't have to anymore. Not that I wouldn't--don't get me wrong. I have certain considerations of my own. Not that kind. Don't be ridiculous. At my age? No ... it's much more urgent, really. [Pause.] I've thought about this for some time. I suspected he might be receptive. After all, it worked against me--why not the other way around? But I just didn't have the impetus until now, you know? I needed a little push. And there's nothing like a deadline to get the old blood flowing. All the juices, really. It doesn't follow, if you think about it. You'd assume certain things ... certain activities ... would become unimportant. Certain betrayals would become unbearable. But they don't really. In fact, quite the opposite. Everything takes on a new light. The impossible becomes possible, desirable even. It's quite remarkable. [Pause.] That's what I called for, really. To let you know. I thought it might expedite matters. [NORMA rises.] I have nothing to lose and little time to do it. The salmon swimming upstream, you know.

NORMA: He left for a reason.

JUNE: He was lured away.


JUNE: You played to his weakness. I can do the same.

NORMA: It's not a game.

JUNE: Oh, but it is! It is a game. Cat and mouse. Only I didn't know it before. You had an unfair advantage. By the time I knew the game was being played, we were already in the thick of it. You'd already won.

NORMA: He left for a reason. He'll remember that.

JUNE: Oh, honey ... they always leave for a reason.

NORMA: You'll remind him one way or another. [Pause.] Goodbye.

JUNE: Will you tell him we met today?


NORMA: Will you?

[Pause. As the two women glare at one another, the lights fade to black.]



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