It Takes A Nation Of Norwegians To Hold Us Back!

by Mike Mariano

On the Internet at: http://mikemariano.com/norwegians/

Lights up on a secluded courtyard at The Baths, a spa and health resort in a small coastal town. At rise, a bikini-clad young woman, Lina, lies, reclined in a chair. On her face is a green peel-away mask, while on her eyes are two cucumber slices. After a moment, another woman, Kirsten, enters. She reclines next to Lina, waits a moment, then vomits into a bucket next to her chair.

Lina

Don’t hold back, Kirsten. Tell me how you really feel.

Kirsten

Awful.

Lina

There we go.

Kirsten

This is the worst vacation I’ve ever been on.

Lina

Kirsten, please. For some of us, this is work.

Kirsten

Work. I can’t believe you, Lina. This is what a water inspector does?

Lina

Peeling off the mask:

One of my many duties, yes. One day I crawl into a sewer. The next I’m here. It balances out about even.

Kirsten

Good for you.

Lina

Thank you.

Kirsten

I wish I had even.

Lina

I am confined to strict professionalism on this trip. I’m a government official. On very official business. But you, Kirsten: have some fun!

Kirsten

I’d have fun in the emergency room—

Lina

You aren’t going to meet any guys carrying around that bucket.

Kirsten

A doctor, maybe.

Lina

Stop that! Have some confidence. We are enjoying one of the most exclusive, most modern spa resorts in the area, and I’d like to hear more positive things from you about it.

Kirsten

Noncommittal:

The weather’s nice.

Lina

There you go! Best thing they ever did here was to build The Baths. It made people a lot of money. It put this town on the map. And it gave me a very work-related reason to pull out this two-piece.

Kirsten

Pulling at her mid-section:

How much of this is fat and how much of this will be throw-up?

Lina

Kirsten, it’s time to lie down. Do it.

Kirsten

Lina! Oh....

She does so.

Lina

Relax, let go of the bucket. You are in a very calm place.

Lina turns to the remainder of her cucumber and begins slicing. Kirsten stares straight ahead, unreassured.

Now, I want you to take these, recline, and forget about your gastrointestinal roller coaster ride.

Lina puts down the knife and turns around. Kirsten, meanwhile, absentmindedly eats both cucumber slices.

Kirsten

You know, you’re some friend. I want chicken soup and a big fluffy bathrobe, not a spa trip.

Lina

They have bathrobes here.

Kirsten

Not the right kind. These are all white, terrycloth, spa robes. I’m talking about big, plaid, grandpa robes. Really heavy. And slippers.

Lina

You ate the cucumbers.

Kirsten

Yeah?

Lina

Cutting again:

You put them on your eyes.

Kirsten

Complying:

Whatever.

Lina

Thank God you don’t have a bag of chips. You’d scrape my avocado mask from my face.

Kirsten

Avocado mask? You’re so gullible.

Lina

I’m not gullible; you know nothing—

Kirsten

“Oh, let me go to the supermarket, smear guacamole on my face....”

Lina

...It’s not guacamole....

Kirsten

“...Let me pay ninety dollars to wear my groceries.”

Lina

Oh, don’t worry. The government’s buying.

Kirsten

I figured.

The pair recline. A moment passes.

I think it’s the water. Something’s wrong.

Lina

The water.

Kirsten

You would know.

Lina

I would. There’s nothing wrong with the water.

Kirsten

Sitting up:

How do you know that?

Lina

I inspect it.

Kirsten

Yeah, but how do you know? This place, it advertises “fresh mountain streams” or whatever. I’m soaking in water from nature: how healthy is that? I don’t think the water’s that fresh.

Lina

You’re paranoid.

Kirsten

I’m not!

Lina

Eat some more cucumber.

Kirsten

I can’t eat anything! I hope you shut this place down.

Lina

What?

Kirsten

Rat trap! It’s a rat trap here!

Lina

Kirsten, if anything you have brought a disease here. Some ebola/hanta cocktail that’s going to spread from—not to you. That is, if it isn’t all just psychosomatic.

Kirsten

What? So now I’m like psychic?

Lina

You’re certainly unique.

Kirsten

Lina, I really hope that as a professional water inspecting public official, you realize that you’re the line between people like me and people who want to make me sick.

Lina

I walk the line.

Kirsten

Yes.

Lina

The thin blue line. Blue like water.

Kirsten

Lina, I’m serious.

Lina

Water’s my job; I take it seriously. If I shut the place down, I’ll do it over Andreas.

Kirsten

Andreas?

Lina

My masseur.

Kirsten

You did something.

Lina

He did something. After my massage this morning.

Kirsten

Tell me!

Lina

First of all, the massage was incredible. To the point of hallucination. It was as if he was molding me, sculpting me a new back.

Kirsten

This was a good thing?

Lina

I’m not doing it justice. It was the best thing. And we talked. Endlessly. We really had a connection. But it ended too soon. Andreas was called away for some emergency before we got to the heated rocks. As he’s packing up, I see him—OK, this is unforgivable, what he did to me.

Kirsten

What?

Lina

I turn around and I see him putting his wedding ring back on.

Kirsten

Ohhh...he’s married.

Lina

Married! And leading me on like that, by being good at his job. Shameful.

Kirsten

I think masseurs have to be married. Otherwise we wouldn’t let them stop.

Lina

Yours was married?

Kirsten

Yeah. And I puked on him.

Lina

I hope he washed his hands.

Kirsten

Lina, I really don’t feel good. I think it’s the cucumbers now.

Lina

Getting up:

Can you keep a secret?

Kirsten

You know I can’t.

Lina rummages through a bag and retrieves an anonymous vial of pills.

Lina

Swallow.

Kirsten

I don’t want more drugs. I took so many—

Lina

You didn’t take these; come on.

Kirsten

All right....

She swallows the pills.

What is it?

Lina

Rat poison.

Kirsten

Smiles:

You’re my best friend.

Lina

Would I lie to you?

Kirsten

Retrieving a stack of towels:

Now that I’m drugged up, I am going to cover myself in towels and try to fall asleep.

Lina

Towels.

Kirsten

There’s no bathrobe, but whatever. I will wrap myself up. A mummy. Pack me in salt, dehydrate me. Because I do not trust the water. I don’t want it in my body.

At this point, Kirsten has covered herself from the neck down with towels. She has wriggled her arms underneath.

Lina

Happy?

Kirsten

Do my head.

Lina

And smother you?

Kirsten

You’ve been dreaming of it, I’m sure.

Lina drops a towel onto Kirsten’s head.

Lina

Don’t stain the towel.

Kirsten

From underneath the towel:

It’s a resort towel. Anything I don’t ralph in I’m stealing.

Lina

Well...back to work.

Lina lies back. Doctor Thomas Stockmann enters. He is dressed in a full suit and carries a messy folder of papers and newspaper clippings. He also carried a large box. Stockmann is quietly excited.

Stockmann

Inspector?

Lina

Hmmm....

Stockmann

Inspector Selland?

Lina

Inspector? Oh, I’m not called that.

Stockmann

But that’s you, isn’t it? I’m Doctor Thomas Stockmann. We’ve been in correspondence.

Lina

That’s right; Tom.... It’s good to meet you.

Stockmann

I am more than happy to meet with you, Inspector. I’m sorry to interrupt you if you’re—

Lina

Oh, no. That’s fine. I’m as on-duty as I need to be.

Stockmann

I brought extra copies of what I sent to you. Notes, a map of the waterways, independently verified data. Everything you need to know about the water.

Kirsten

From the towels:

Water?

Lina

To Stockmann:

That’s Kirsten.

Kirsten

Sitting up:

The water is bad!

Stockmann

It is, isn’t it? The fools who run this place, even the tourists are catching on.

Kirsten

I’m Kirsten.

Stockmann

Doctor Thomas Stockmann; a pleasure to meet you.

Kirsten

You’re a doctor?

Stockmann

Yes.

Kirsten

A medical doctor?

Stockmann

Among other things, yes.

Kirsten

Because I’m feeling awful.

Stockmann

Are you?

Kirsten

It’s as if I was foaming. Like I was filled with foam. Foam packed into my brain, in my lungs, and then as big as a pile of mush in my stomach.

Stockmann

Foam?

Kirsten

Painful foam!

Stockmann

I see the Inspector has been taking care of you.

Kirsten

That’s what she’d tell you....

Stockmann

Kirsten, I’d love to help, but I don’t know if I can diagnose foam.

Kirsten

Well, there’s a whole digestive system flume ride to go with that; I guess that’s a little more traditional.

Stockmann

It is. It’s too traditional around here.

Kirsten

Should I go to a hospital?

Stockmann

I’d recommend it. You’re young and healthy; you should recover.

Kirsten

Oh, a chance of survival.

Stockmann

If you were a child it might be very serious. If you have what I suspect, you’re not alone, not by far.

Kirsten

This is bad! So I have the plague?

Stockmann

Oh, not the plague. Trace amounts of plague, if anything. Typhoid, probably.

Kirsten

Terrific!

Stockmann

To Lina:

I have this all in my notes. Everything you need to know.

Lina

Extending a hand:

Please.

Stockmann hands her a few pages.

Stockmann

This is a comparison of the water two weeks ago with my analysis eight months earlier. This is directly what goes into The Baths. It hasn’t gotten any better.

Kirsten

Ohhh....

Stockmann

The people at this resort swim in this, bathe in it, relax in it. Everyone gets infected. Not everyone can fight off the disease.

Lina

What’s in the box?

Stockmann

Hesitant:

I brought evidence. Direct evidence.

Lina

Ooh...you’re very intriguing, Doctor. Let’s see it.

Stockmann

It’s better if we go over these reports; get a background

Lina

Doctor—Tom—I have a background. If this evidence is special, I’d like to be aware of it.

Stockmann

It’s special, no doubt about that, but...it’s sensitive. I don’t know, in a place like this...well, all right.

Stockmann sets down his papers and prepares to open the box.

Kirsten

I don’t like that smell.

Stockmann

Oh, no one does. But in the name of science, this is a triumph!

Stockmann opens the box and retrieves a sopping wet mass of fur.

Lina

What is that?

Stockmann

Checking a tag on the object:

Muffin.

Lina

That’s a dog?

Kirsten

Oh, God!

Lina

You wanted me to see a dead dog?!

Kirsten

I’m—

Gags:

I need to go.

She runs off.

Stockmann

Replacing Muffin:

I’m sorry; it’s shocking, yes, but this is an important link. You need to know this.

Lina

I’m sure.

Kirsten enters, retrieving her bucket. She begins to exit again.

Kirsten

To Stockmann:

Nice meeting you.

Exits.

Stockmann

To Lina:

Have her see a doctor. Just to be safe.

Lina

She’s a hypochondriac.

Stockmann

They get sick, too.

Lina

You’ve got my attention, Tom. A dead dog. This is our fate if we wade in The Baths.

Stockmann

Not exactly, no. Muffin drowned. She must have paddled out to the wrong part of the river and was sucked into an intake. One of the same pipes feeding The Baths. In that pipe, what Muffin got was a concentrated dose of the same tainted water that surrounds us right now.

Lina

An intake?

Stockmann

That’s problem number one; what I’ve been saying from the beginning: if your water is coming in from close enough to the riverbank where a dog can swim to it, it’s too close. We’re sucking in the worst that the river can offer. Plus, sucking in a dog: that means that a grating or bars are missing on the intake. That should be something for you, Inspector. Something to inspect.

Lina

I’ll look into it.

Stockmann

Good, good.

Lina

This is fascinating, Tom, really. But how did you acquire Muffin? You went diving for—[doggies]?

Stockmann

Oh, no. She wound up with a vet I know. I took the body and ran my own tests—I’ll send them to you in time—though I wanted you to have the direct evidence for yourself.

Lina

Tom, you’re the only man who’s ever given me a puppy.

Stockmann

Oh, well...Inspector....

Lina

You know, you have a reputation, Tom. You’ve been against these Baths since the beginning.

Stockmann

No, in the beginning I was for them; I was the strongest proponent. Done right, a place like this would be a boon for tourism and a genuine benefit to the health of the people. But mistakes were made from the beginning. Then the cover-ups—a small town acting in concert against their own best interests. And now The Baths are open for business. It’s started.

Lina

So far business seems just fine.

Stockmann

So far. It’s still a honeymoon period. Making the sick sicker shouldn’t make the Board of Directors optimistic about repeat business. But you know what I’ve discovered? You know my objections.

Lina

I’m sure I haven’t heard your version of the story.

Stockmann

Few have. Or rather, more than a few. No one listens.

Lina

I’m listening, Tom.

Stockmann

I’m surprised you haven’t turned up anything independently. Your river’s the same as mine.

Lina

My inspections have turned up questions, but nothing conclusive.

Stockmann

I wish my own results were as optimistic.

Lina

Oh, there’s something wrong; but we’re not ready to point fingers just yet.

Stockmann

Oh, there’s plenty of blame to go around. You have a number of options and the authority to carry them out. Tell the Board to dig a new set of pipes. Tell the factories upstream to stop polluting. At the very least, tell the people about this very real danger to the public health! These can be real solutions if you make the effort.

Lina

Tom, I appreciate your suggestions; I’ll consider them. But I want you to know, I have my own solutions. And my own timetable. Not all the facts are in. More study is needed about our effect on the river and what it means for The Baths.

Stockmann

I’ll give you more study.

Lina

You’ve given me Muffin. Considering your reputation I’m not sure if you should give me anything more.

Stockmann

Oh, damn my reputation. Facts are facts!

Lina

Facts have sources. I have to consider them. Tom, Tom, I’m not prejudiced against you. That’s why you wrote me, right?

Stockmann

An out-of-towner. I lost everyone closer.

Lina

Then be patient, Tom. I’ll need evidence—my own evidence—and the time to weigh it. Maybe next season I’ll have some recommendations—

Stockmann

Next season? Inspector, we have an epidemic right now. You’ve seen it with your own eyes. Kirsten.

Lina

What about her?

Stockmann

I would hope she’d inspire you to move more quickly. She’s a friend.

Lina

I’m a bureaucrat. I can count the number of things we’d budge for on one hand. If you want quick results, Tom, I don’t think I’m your woman.

Stockmann

You come close. You’re still speaking with me.

Lina

If you really want to put the pressure on The Baths, forget about algae growth and water tables and give the people something more compelling: Muffin.

Stockmann

Muffin?

Lina

Grandma gets cramps—big deal; she’s getting old. But here’s somebody’s puppy dog, treated like a lemon seed in a straw! Crushed in the gears of the machine. The dark side of the sunny place we call The Baths. Tell them: your spa vacation kills puppies.

Stockmann

Muffin’s death is hardly a coherent argument. People will want to see the data.

Lina

Forget about the science; you’ve got a corpse! Did you see Kirsten squeal on her way out of here? Multiply that by a thousand—ten thousand—and no one will want to come to The Baths again!

Stockmann

Inspector, those aren’t the tactics I want to use. Or the results. We need a temporary close of The Baths. We need a directorship that will look beyond their bank accounts and make the necessary renovations. I don’t want a scandal.

Lina

Tom, you are a scandal. Why not share the wealth? What difference does it make if The Baths shape up or if they close for good? Either way people stop getting sick. That’s what you want.

Stockmann

I’d like to do it without making this a ghost town. If I’d have any effect at all. I’ve been painted as a raving maniac. The locals see me waving around my research and call it nonsense. They see me waving around a dog carcass and who knows what they’d think. I wouldn’t blame them.

Lina

Oh, Tom, you’re not a maniac. You have been abused for so long. You deserve revenge!

Stockmann

No, I’m not going to sacrifice Muffin’s dignity in exchange for my own. Shrewd thinking, though. I didn’t expect that in you.

Lina

Overly clever. It’s on my resume.

Stockmann

I’ve heard too much cleverness. No offense. Starting out, I had dozens of close allies, people falling over each other to use my research like a shiv. Foil somebody’s reelection. Humiliate a rival business. Those weren’t my motives. I wanted the truth for the truth. You can’t sharpen the truth—reality—and shape it to your whim and still call it the truth. My allies tried. I stood against them. I lost them all.

Lina

Who needs friends when you have pages of data?

Stockmann

Turn that around: my pages of data showed me who I could really consider a friend. I went dredging riverbeds and discovered a scummy side of human nature. A primitive selfishness that tied these townspeople to the algae on their shores. Algae does that: with no fish around, it multiplies on the top of the water, blocking out sun and suffocating everything below, taking an entire ecosystem for itself. I asked the people to look beyond this pre-animal instinct. Instead they rioted.

Lina

You’ve got more than algae now, Tom. You have a dog. A dead dog. Muffin is a fact.

Stockmann

Inspector, out of anyone here Muffin has suffered the least from disease. My reforms won’t make things much safer for drowning dogs.

Lina

Well.

Stockmann

What?

Lina

Tom, I don’t know. It sounds like you really don’t want to win.

Stockmann

Inspector, I am a certified Public Enemy. With nothing to lose, I’ll win on my own terms.

Lina

An Enemy of the People. You’ve grown awfully comfortable calling yourself that.

Stockmann

What do you want, Inspector? You have the truth right in front of you. You don’t seem to care much about my town or The Baths. I assume you want clean water.

Lina

Or something like it. That’s good enough.

Stockmann

No it’s not! Where’s your conviction? Inspector, bureaucracy doesn’t breed champions. I know that. But I need you to be a champion. Look at the data. Study Muffin. Make the right choice.

Lina

You’re such a lonely man, Tom. Your show of strength, it looks like loneliness to me. I know about your wife.

Stockmann

Most do.

Lina

Oh, Tom, it’s horrible that they would print that. I have no business knowing, but anyone who picked up a newspaper—

Stockmann

Newspapers; the medium has failed.

Lina

She shouldn’t have done that.

Stockmann

It’s all right.

Lina

She took the boys and ran off with a sea captain.

Stockmann

I don’t blame her for that.

Lina

Oh, of course not.

Stockmann

Katrine showed me patience. Incredible patience. She was my last ally.

Lina

That’s sad.

Stockmann

Yes.

Lina

I’m sorry.

Stockmann

Inspector, I still want to believe that you can make that “sorry” mean something.

Lina

Tom? Call me “Lina”.

Stockmann

Lina.

Lina

Not “Inspector.” Not “Miss Selland.” I call you “Tom.”

Stockmann

Lina. It’s a pretty name.

Lina

I robbed it from my grandmother. She’s pretty.

Stockmann

When you leave here, you’ll bring Muffin with you.

Lina

I will, Tom. I’ll contact the lab when I’m done.

Stockmann

You will?

Lina

You’ve convinced me, Tom. It’s worth a closer look. And you’re worth a second chance.

Stockmann

Flustered:

Lina....

Lina

Tom.

Stockmann

Sorry; I’m being unusual. But—you’re a public servant. I’m a public enemy. And you’re taking me seriously. It’s been so long.

Lina

It’s the least I can do.

Stockmann

Thank you.

Lina

I’d like you to do something for me, though.

Stockmann

What?

Lina

Stop talking about dead dogs.

Stockmann

Smiles:

I’ll keep myself in line.

Lina

And another thing, Tom: my back. I didn’t get my full massage this afternoon.

Stockmann

You want a massage?

Lina

Are the rocks hot?

Stockmann

Rocks?

Lina

Andreas was heating them for the massage. They should still be warm.

Stockmann locates the rocks.

Stockmann

Do I need a mitt?

Lina

My back won’t.

Stockmann

Of course. I assume this is self-explanatory?

Lina

Assume nothing.

Stockmann

Lie back.

Lina does. Stockmann picks up a rock.

Now, if I have this right, I press.....

He places the rock against Lina’s back. She shudders.

Hold...then rub....

Stockmann begins to rub in circles on her back. Lina reacts. Stockmann retrieves another rock and continues.

Like this?

Lina

Mmmm....

Stockmann

It wasn’t so long ago that rocks like this were coming through my window. By people who wanted The Baths, no matter how flawed.

Lina

Not a response, just pleasure:

Uhhh....

Stockmann

Who would even think it was flawed? The two of us, like this, nearly make this Eden. You can almost ignore the poison.

Lina

Bad poison....

Stockmann

Be careful; you’ve been swimming in it.

Lina

No, don’t worry.

Stockmann

Don’t worry?

Lina

I haven’t been swimming.

Stockmann

Really?

Lina

Really.

Stockmann

No sauna or steam baths?

Lina

Nuh-uh....

Stockmann

Lina, how long have you been here?

Lina

This is my first full day. So far I’ve exercised. I got a massage. I ate.

Stockmann

Frowns:

But you haven’t gone near the water....

Lina

Can you untie me?

Stockmann

Can I?

Lina

The string’s in the way of the rocks.

Stockmann

Of course.

Gently, he pulls the string of her bikini top until the knot comes loose. The strings fall to the side. Stockmann continues his massage.

You didn’t think anything was wrong with the water.

Lina

Mostly OK; yes...

Stockmann

No preconceptions.

Lina

None at all.

Stockmann

Yet once you came here, began your inspection, you did everything but go in the water.

Lina

One thing at a time, Tom. You sound suspicious.

Stockmann

It is suspicious. You told you you don’t know if my theories are correct. But you act like they are, and that you’ve known all along.

Lina

Sitting up:

No, no...Tom, no....

Stockmann

I can’t trust you.

Lina

You can’t trust anybody, Tom! It’s been too long. Everyone’s your enemy. Everyone has held you back. I won’t do that to you.

Stockmann

What’s your angle...?

Lina

Tom!

Stockmann

I wonder. You’re not working for The Baths; I know that.

Lina

You’re above this, Tom.

Stockmann

Are you?

Lina huffs, turning to fasten her top.

Lina! Lina, I’m sorry.

Lina

Don’t be. Why should I have the same noble motives as the good doctor?

Stockmann

I would love that; I’m a fool to consider anything else. But I’ve seen so much self-interest, self-interest that overwhelms the greater good. It’s instinct. I look at you and ask: what’s your angle?

Lina

My angle.

Silently, gently, Lina kisses Stockmann on the lips. She pulls away. They share a look.

Stockmann

Should I believe that?

Lina

I don’t know. Ask me again.

Stockmann lifts Lina, embraces her, and kisses her passionately. She kisses back, ripping off his jacket. They continue; Stockmann begins kissing Lina’s body as she breathes deeply.

Stockmann

Lina....

Lina

Tom....

Stockmann

Between kisses:

Let’s go in the water.

Lina

The water? No....

Stockmann

Yes....

Lina

But Tom...Tom...you’ll get sick.

Stockmann

Between kisses:

We’ll get sick. Together. We’ll get well together. A baptism....

Lina

Baptism.... No, Tom; that’s not true.

Stockmann

Oh?

Lina

You see—

Kirsten reenters.

Kirsten

With disdain:

You were right about the pills, so gloat awa—Oh!

She spies the embrace and turns from the pair.

Wow. That’s some massage.

Lina

Kirsten, this man is a doctor.

Kirsten

My plan doesn’t cover that....

She waves her hands.

I took a walk, I sat down, and you’re right, Lina. Your rat poison pills. Whatever. They did the trick. I’m not foamy anymore.

Stockmann

You should still see a doctor.

Kirsten

I don’t know how I should take that comment.

She turns to Lina.

I’ll leave you alone. Thanks for the pills. What are they called?

Lina

I’ll tell you later.

Kirsten

Oh, we’ll talk.

Kirsten waves and exits.

Lina

You can start again, Tom. And it was Kirsten; you didn’t even need to stop.

No response.

Tom?

Stockmann

I’m following the river.

Lina

Tom.

Stockmann

In my mind, I’m following the river. Right up to the edge of your jurisdiction. Where at least two pharmaceutical plants reside.

Lina

OK, Tom.

Stockmann

Pills! You’re selling pills!

Lina

A clinical trial, Tom.

Stockmann

You leave the water contaminated!

Lina

The contamination is taken care of, in one way or another. Tom, this is simple.

Stockmann

All too simple.

Lina

I...misled you. I know what’s in the water. And I have come to an agreement with local pharmaceutical firms that allow them to develop a treatment.

Stockmann

You’re letting people die!

Lina

I hardly think so. I have more faith in this pill than randomized water samples.

Stockmann

You were never going to test Muffin....

Lina

You can’t give medicine to a dead dog. Now if we’re done talking, Tom, you might as well work on my neck.

Lina lies down. Purple with rage, Stockmann comes up behind her, grabs the strings of her bikini top, and begins to strangle her. Lina struggles, her eyes wide. Stockmann grunts, pulling tighter, when—SNAP—the bikini string breaks. Lina, free, collapses. She looks at the panting Stockmann.

Stockmann

It broke.

Lina

About time I had a man rip my clothes off me.

Stockmann

Here....

He covers Lina with his jacket. They catch their breaths.

Attempted murderer....

Lina

No.

Stockmann

Yes.

Lina

No; Tom, you just got a little upset. This is what you wanted. Not in this way, but the results are the same. These people—tourists, your former patients—get cured.

Stockmann

They don’t need to be sick to begin with.

Lina

Tom, we’re making medicine. Disease, contamination, happens all over the world. Stopping it here doesn’t affect the waterways anywhere else. But this pill can go worldwide.

Stockmann

Poison is poison.

Lina

And cures are cures. One makes a much better investment.

Stockmann

Investment. Better for you, not better for the people who fall ill, people who die bargaining, begging for a pill—for the health that you helped take away. Don’t tell me about the greater good; I hear the words that really matter. Stock prices. Investments. It’s always small. You lecture me about medicine with one eye on your portfolio. It’s not right.

Lina

It’s a solution. The one we’ve got. I’m sorry you don’t want to see it work.

She stands and smooths the front of her jacket.

Mind if I hold onto this?

Stockmann

You’re leaving?

Lina

Tennis with Kirsten. I have to get dressed.

Half-beat.

You’re not going to change my mind. I certainly didn’t expect to change yours.

Lina gathers her things.

Stockmann

Softly:

It’s so long. I’ve been fighting this for so long. And I’ve never advanced once.

Lina

Then don’t fight. Stop worrying. Love The Baths.

Stockmann

I’m not the one who won’t go in the water.

Lina

Maybe some other time. It might be fun to see you in a swimsuit.

She begins to exit, then turns.

You were quoted, Tom. A long time ago. Something about how you were a stronger man for standing alone. Are you feeling stronger now?

Lina exits. Stockmann grabs Muffin’s container.

Stockmann

Half-calling out to Lina:

Strong enough...!

Beat.

Strong enough.... At least strong enough, to bury this dog....

Stockmann begins to exit. The lights fade.