Grey Grows the Amoeba




NARRATOR
It is now years before, in the time of Helen's youth, a few months before the outbreak of the war. A great cultural arts festival is being held to celebrate the eternal peace all nations had vowed to uphold. Helen is exhibiting some oil paintings and trying to see some. Willie and Mitch come into the gallery.



HELEN
This is a painting of France.



MITCH
That's nice. It's very colorful. But the people look too young.



HELEN
No, you don't understand. You have to get the right perspective. This stone bridge with the little arches goes straight back through the middle of the river. it doesn't matter what size the people on the other side are.
(They look at the painting of France for a long time.)




NARRATOR
France was the country where long ago knights rode in adventures searching for the Laws of Love. There were certain caves in which the secrets of these laws were to be found. The entrance lay on the banks of a river. Inside the grottoes were many wonders. Mysterious signs were carved on the secret rocks.

Some say that these caves still exist and that one can find their secrets. For in the great grotto lies the imperishable pear and whiskers grow.

There are the signs of the quaternary: a rock, a bee, a pear, a tree.

Some ask, is it against the laws of physics? But there is no reason why this should be so. Why cannot a pear be preserved forever in a cave beneath the ground? Why should not whisker-like crystals grow from the walls of the grotto?



MITCH
I will give you thirteen dollars for that painting.



HELEN
(Aside)
I have no idea whether that's a reasonable amount. It seems awfully little. I will go ask my sister if I ought to sell it to him for that.



(Goes to her sister.)
Ethyl, how much do you think the painting of France is worth? Is thirteen dollars enough?



ETHYL
(After some thought)
No, I think you should sell it for fourteen dollars, or fourteen-and-a-half.



HELEN
Okay.
(She goes back to Mitch.)
It's worth more than thirteen dollars. You must pay me fourteen-and-a-half.



MITCH
Oh, you're counting on the eighteen-to-forty.



HELEN
What? Do you mean the odds on the Daily Double? I didn't know you were a horseracing fan. Is this like gambling?



MITCH
I won't pay you fourteen-and-a-half.



HELEN
Oh, can't you afford it?
(Silence.)
Are you offended?



MITCH
Yes.
(They go to the next painting, a much larger canvas
depicting a great sailing ship, all in blue and white.)
I will give you seven dollars for this one.



HELEN
But it's much larger.



MITCH
It hasn't got any colours, though. It's all white and grey.



HELEN
I didn't put any black in it. It's white and blue, not grey.
(Mitch and Willie start to walk away. Helen goes after them.)
I was going to paint a portrait of you, a large one, from the chest up, of you wearing your robe.



MITCH
Oh.



HELEN
I have already painted a portrait of you, from memory. It's blue and white. Would you like to see it?
(She gets the painting out of a closet and takes Willie and Mitch into another room and shows it to them.)




MITCH
Oh God!



HELEN
Are you offended?



MITCH
Yes.
(He and Willie walk away quickly.)





TO BE CONTINUED




Bonnieland