At the Bottom

Year of writing: 2006
A family – father, mother, two sons, their lover and grandmother – are living in utter misery and poverty. Their home is a dark cellar, their usual meal is a soup of rotten vegetables and rat meat.
Total cast size: 8 (4 f, 4 m)
family, poverty

To make at least some money, they have gone to several extremes, such as one of the brothers selling his eye and father selling his arm to an organ dealer. But now they coin a new plan to get money: they kidnap Marko Kraljevič, the son of a rich owner of a chain of shopping malls, and they demand a huge ransom. To make their intentions sound really serious, they cut off Marko's little finger and include it in their ransom letter.

BROTHER: (from behind the door) Prickly pricky prick! Marie, Marie, girl! Here, here... Here, a sausage for you!

Something grey and fat shoots from the back room. A rat. Squealing, the rat scurries down the length of the wall and hides behind stacks of newspapers. Brother, brandishing an iron rod, comes running from the room behind the iron door.

BROTHER: Marie, Marie, girl! Here, here...

Brother swings the rod, trying to hit the rat, which keeps getting away from him, ducking behind heaps of newspapers.

MOTHER: You're so clumsy! They always get away from you.

YOUNGER BROTHER: (cheering) Hit it! Hit it hard!

Father barely looks away from Prince Arthur's photo on the wall.

FATHER: I've read that rats learn fast...

BROTHER: Marie, Marie, girl... Here, here... A sausage for you!

FATHER: They're intelligent. Extremely intelligent.

MOTHER: (yelling) Her head, smash her head in!

FATHER: They even get used to cyanide, let alone iron rods.

MOTHER: If you whack her over her back, we'll make stew.

YOUNGER BROTHER: Let me, give it to me...

The rat darts to the alcove where Grandmother rests... Brother and Younger Brother rush behind her. They yell and keep trying, but they fail to hit her. When the rat, with obnoxious ear-splitting squeals, dashes behind the crates, Grandmother lifts herself swiftly, holding a big rusty pan, and smites the rat with it. Everything calms down. Grandmother turns towards the wall and sleeps on.

MOTHER: Some men you are, always forcing Grandmother to kill them instead of you!

BROTHER: I only missed her by a whisker. I swear!

YOUNGER BROTHER: I hit her! I flattened her tail. Here, look, Mother! Mother leans down behind the crates, picks up the dead rat by the tail and throws it onto a piece of newspaper.

MOTHER: Some hunters! Amateurs, that's what you are! (to Father) Daddy, you 23 taught them nothing! Father keeps staring at Prince Arthur's photo.

FATHER: I know. My fault. I spoiled them.

Borut Praper

At the bottom

Language of translation: English

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