Season 2, Episode 2: Kathy

Kathy in the house, looking out the window. It’s raining and a train is passing the house.

KATHY VO: Dreary outside. Dreary inside. I have got to get out of the house. I have got to get out of the house. It is the strangest thing to look back in time. Do you know what I used to do? Do you know the places I’ve been? How did I end up here? I used to work at a bat hospital in Australia for goodness sake! That was a long time ago. Sense of purpose is a funny thing. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love my daughter and my life. I am so grateful, but my sense of purpose isn’t what it used to be and now I’m floundering around all googly eyed no sense of direction. Have you seen a flounder up close? 

I am sitting at my vanity. I do that sometimes. Mirrors reflecting into other mirrors. I had mixed feelings when Martin got his job at ABI. On one hand, it gave me the freedom to be home and really enjoy Rebecca as she grew up. A baby, a house, a husband, you could look at my life and think, hey she’s got everything. Everything but the sense of purpose I had in my youth. I’m just not the woman I thought I’d be.  

Oh gosh! Just listen to me. I sound so dismal. It’s just, despite a full life, I feel so empty sometimes.

For now, I sit in our bedroom and listen to the rain on the window panes. I don’t know if I’ll make it outside today. I just need something bright in my life.

Husk theme song

NARRATOR: You’re listening to Husk

Kathy clicks on the TV.

SHOP AT HOME NARRATOR, RON: Oh wow, Becky. Those. Are. Astounding. I can’t wait to show our viewers at home what else we have in store for them this evening. They are going to go wild when they hear about these new synthetic emeralds. Perfectly clear, and more affordable than you’d think. And up at 2 am we will have professional diamond buyer Bob O’Meara in the studio to share his expertise to help you select your own diamonds out in the field. Don’t miss Bob’s Four C’s to Diamond Selection coming up in just a few hours. Can you guess them all?

KATHY VO: I’ve installed one of those spinning platforms on my vanity, just like they have on TV. I know it’s a little frivolous, but the platform really enhances the glimmer of my jewels. Besides, what’s the point of having them if you don’t show them off, right? 

KATHY: (Mimicking RON’s voice) Joining us on the line is Kathy from Portland. Kathy, we are so excited to have you on the show!

(Answering as KATHY)

Oh, thank you Ron, Becky, my pleasure, really. Looks like we have quite the line up today.

(Mimicking RON)

You know Kathy, over the years you’ve been one of our top vendors. An astounding gem ambassador. I know our viewers at home can’t wait to hear what you have in store for us!

(Answering as KATHY)

Oh, Ron, stop. Now you’re just trying to flatter me.

(Mimicking RON)

Well, it’s true.

KATHY VO: I look back up into the mirror of my humble vanity. The TV emeralds catch the light and cast rays of green all around the room. I really do love how they shine. How did I get here?

Rebecca wasn’t the easiest baby. I can’t say she was difficult, but she’d wake up four times a night, just crying and crying. Martin was always away, so I was always on duty. I’d sit in the lazyboy downstairs with her and rock back and forth to the excited voices and spinning jewels. We were both mesmerized and the sales pitches were soothing, almost hypnotic. It wasn’t Ron and Becky back then. It was Steve and Darla, the king and queen of the rotating platform. Gosh, I’m more familiar with that program than this new stuff. 

Every night, charming men and women smiling and selling, trying on all these gorgeous things. I decided I was going to save up a few bucks and get myself something nice. That must have been ‘95 or ‘95. Rebecca was just a baby and that store had the nicest clerk…

Kathy flashes back to 1995. She is pushing a cart down the aisles. We hear items being placed into the cart. She gets in line.

GENE, THE CLERK: Oh, Hi Mrs. Dale. How are you today?

KATHY: Oh Gene, it’s been a crazy week! Did you see the ads in the new Purple Plum?

GENE: You know how I feel about that waste of paper.

KATHY: Waste? Oh Gene, look! That plus the ads in the Nickel Saver and the Oregonian. 58 and they’re stackable! They aren’t on to me yet!

GENE: And you actually want all this stuff? You’re not building a bomb shelter, are you? 

KATHY: Of course I want it all! We’ll go through this cereal in a week flat! Plus, I love passing things on to my neighbor. She’s the nicest lady and everyone could use a free box of Cheerios every now and then! You know how it is!

GENE: Huh. Well, we better get scanning. Did you remember your bags?

KATHY: Oh you know I did.

Fade back into the present day, where it is still raining and a train continues to pass through by their house.   

KATHY: No, it wasn’t really that money was so tight. Do you even know how much you can save with the right coupons? Exciting. I know. Believe me.

I saved on yogurt, baby food, jugs of milk. You would not believe the deals that are out there. I am a lioness and I am hunting my prey! Oh, not to mention the rebates. Or when you write to a company and tell them how much you like their products and they send all sorts of coupons and maybe even a sample of something they’re just putting out. 

Soon after I started couponing, I finally had saved up enough for a premium order. It was late at night, the prices are better then. 14k gold. Diamond. Necklace. I’d never had a diamond before, well except my engagement ring. 

I remember waiting for it. 3 days later I had in my hands this beautiful thing. I had transformed grocery savings into gold and jewels. The feeling was intoxicating.

And, I could do it all from the comfort of my own home.

Kathy flashes back to 1995. Martin walks up to the house and unlocks the door. 

MARTIN: Ding dong! Guess who’s back! 

KATHY: Oh honey! Right on time! Olga was just heading out. 

OLGA: Yes yes, thank you for having me Kathy. You always make us feel so at home. 

MARTIN: You know, Olga, you don’t have to leave on my account. You’re welcome to stay as long as you’d like.

OLGA: No you have been gone for two weeks, it’s really OK. I don’t know if I want to be around. 

Goodbye Dale family! See you soon! Wave bye bye, Dmitri.

OLGA leaves.

MARTIN: (Sweetly) How’re you doing, honey? 

KATHY: Good actually. A lot better.

MARTIN: Yeah?

KATHY: Yeah. So... Notice anything?

MARTIN: Notice any… You know I’m terrible at this… 

KATHY: I’ll give you a clue… 

MARTIN: Your hair is uh… browner? 

KATHY: No… try again… 

MARTIN: Um… stop spinning for a sec. Let me get a good look at ya. 

KATHY spins around and shows her neck obviously. MARTIN is at a loss.

KATHY: The necklace. The necklace, Martin.

MARTIN: Oh wow! Yeah, wow that, that looks nice. Did you… Where did you get it?

KATHY: I got it from the Shop at Home network…

MARTIN: Kathy, we talked about this.

KATHY: … AND I bought it with money I clipped right out of the paper! Look at me! I am a modern-day prospector, Martin! I’m like, oh, what’s-his-face? That old 49er. I am the gold rush queen! 

MARTIN: Really? That is… impressive, if not a bit concerning, I mean, wow. Really, you bought that with coupon savings?

KATHY: Sure did.

MARTIN: Well it looks lovely on you.

KATHY: Thank you. I think so too. 

Kathy is back in the present time.

KATHY: Let’s face it. Martin is terrible at giving gifts. He tries. Well, tried. For the first few years. One year, he went down to the old Meyer and Frank downtown… the one with clock. The girls at the jewelry counter took him for a ride and he came home with this gaudy necklace. I told him, “Honey, I love you, but you’ve got lousy taste.” So I guess I can’t blame him completely for the lack of presents these days. He just doesn’t know how to buy a woman jewelry. He’d probably even fall for that whole chocolate diamond scam. 

He’s full of practical sense, practical science, practical people skills even, but he’s severely lacking in the applied romance department. This is something I can do for myself, and I don’t mind. Hell, I even bought most of my own Christmas presents last year. Wrapped them, put them under the tree. It didn’t even occur to him that he was supposed to do that. Maybe he’s just too busy.

This though. Wow, look at that gold glimmer in the mirror. And the setting makes this half karat look even bigger! Enchanting.

I scrimp. I save. I get the deals. The ladies and their spinning demo stands, mounds of loose gemstones, they call to me.  And I always answer. 

Back at the grocery store in 1995. Cart sounds. Items in the cart. Faster this time. 

CLERK GENE: Cleanup on aisle 16. Jerry. Cleanup on aisle 16. You’re gonna need a mop.

KATHY: GENE! 

GENE: Hi Mrs. Dale. You’ve really gotta be more careful.

KATHY: So sorry about the spaghetti sauce! I’ll pay for it. I got lucky this time. Could have broken the whole stack. Here, hold on a minute.

OK, one from the Purple Plum, one from Save-a-zine and one from the Oregonian. They stack, don’t worry, I checked. I owe you… 12 cents for the jar I broke. 

GENE: Mrs. Dale, it’s really fine. Just the cost of-- 

KATHY: (Cutting him off). It won’t happen again. I was just in such a hurry trying to get Rebecca home, get dinner going, you know.

GENE: Mrs. Dale, don’t worry about it. Just slow down a little. You don’t have to pay for the broken jar. Let’s just ring everything else up.

KATHY: Oh Gene, you are too sweet. Actually, can you have someone run and grab me a few more jars? 12 cents a piece is just too good!

GENE: Sure thing. Going for a new record are you?

KATHY: Not today. Last week’s $13.55 for a whole cart is going to be hard to beat.

GENE: Well if anyone can do it it’s you! Don’t let us down now.

Back to the present day.

KATHY: 24 years later, here I am. Best shopper this side of the Mississippi. The Keeno’s I used to go to on 33rd has long since closed. It was torn down in 2006 and they built a big, shiny chain store in its place. Some monstrous apartment complex went up across the street, and next to that, the old Gordon’s Fireplace building has become an unofficial homeless shelter littered with needles and feces. Martin’s gone off to fix the mess he made and find our daughter. And I am up at 2 am. I feel helpless. After all this time, there’s still only one thing that can calm my nerves. 

KATHY clicks on the TV.

QVC NARRATOR RON: Oh wow, Becky. Those. Are. Wondrous. I can’t wait to show our viewers at home the amazing gems we have in store for them this evening. I sure hope everyone at home is sitting down when they hear about these new synthetic sapphires. Clearer, and brighter than ever! Worried about the ethical implications of your jewelry purchase? Choose lab-grown sapphires and enjoy the same quality of stone without any of the guilt. Yours for the low, low price of $299.95 plus shipping and handling. That’s better than you’ll find in any store. Limited time offer, folks. They’re already flying off the shelves. Our switchboards are lighting up as I speak. 

The phone rings.

KATHY: Hello?

OLGA: Kathy, it’s me.

KATHY: Oh hi Olga. Gosh you startled me.

OLGA: Are you up?

KATHY: Well, yes it would seem I am.

OLGA: Yes yes, I know you are up but are you up enough to talk?

KATHY: In person? Do you want to come over.

OLGA: No, that’s okay. It’s cold outside. I want to know what’s going on. I saw Martin leave with a suitcase. He looked distraught and very much in a hurry.  Is something going on that I should know about? 

KATHY: Oh he got called out on some urgent business. You know, scientist emergency. I think it was some big discovery or something like that? No matter how many years go by, they can’t seem to stop pulling him in from time to time. 

OLGA: Mhmm. Right. OK, Kathy. If you say so. Maybe you sleep on it and give me a call in the morning. 

KATHY: He seemed just so excited. I am sure he’ll be back by the end of the week. I can’t wait to hear what it was all about, can you? Oh my gosh, what a day. How are you? How was your day?

OLGA: (Not having any of it) Mmm, yes. Okay, I see, okay. Goodnight, Kathy. Sorry to disturb you.

Fade out of Kathy’s house and into the police station.

GINA: Alright everyone, let’s break for lunch and get back to this afterwards. Hey, Bob, I need that report on the Waters case by noon. 

BOB: You got it, Gina.

GINA: (clears her throat to correct him)

BOB: Sorry, Officer Sorensen. 

Phone rings.

GINA: Officer Sorensen speaking.

OLGA: Oh, hello, I am glad they put me through.

GINA: Mrs. Ivanovic. Did you mean to get me or Warren?

OLGA: No, I wanted to talk to you, officer. I called Kathy last night.

GINA: Ok, is something wrong Mrs. Ivano--

OLGA: She’s hiding something. I know it. We have been friends for over 25 years. When you know someone like that, it’s pointless trying to pull the wool over their eyes.

GINA: I’m going to need more than that vague description.

OLGA: Last night, I saw Martin take his suitcase, all in a hurry, and drive off. He hasn’t been back since. I know he’s gone off. For what? I can only guess he’s gone--

          OLGA                         GINA

… looking for Rebecca.       … looking for Rebecca.

OLGA: Yes! One person in your life on the run, maybe you have no idea where they are. But two!? You’ve got to know something. Kathy isn’t as dim as she pretends to be. 

GINA: Okay, we are well aware of Ms. Dale’s disappearance, and have an APB out on her. We’ve got officers working on that as we speak. Just sit tight and we’ll get back to you as soon as we know anything.

OLGA: APB? Find Martin! He will do your APB faster than your officers can.

GINA: Okay, thank you for calling in Mrs. Ivanovic, this is useful information. Say, are you going to be home tomorrow afternoon? I wanted to send Warren by with some papers for you.

OLGA: I don’t need him to come over and I definitely don’t need any more papers… but yes. I will be around. Unless I am out at the--

GINA: Great, he’ll be by around 2:30 tomorrow. Thanks again for calling, and you let us know if there’s anything else you need. We’ll be in touch as soon as possible.

They hang up.

GINA: (Clears her throat to get Warren’s attention).

WARREN: Oh, Gina, good morning. 

GINA: Good morning. You’ve got a couple extra hours tomorrow, right?

WARREN: I do. Yes.

GINA: I need you to do a welfare check on Mrs. Ivanovic.

WARREN: Olga? Well she was fine a couple of days ago. I don’t want to invade her privacy. You know we all have our own ways of dealing with things. 

GINA: I’m just worried she’s spending too much time at home spinning her wheels and blaming herself for what happened. I get the feeling that the conspiracy theories are starting to sink their claws in. 

WARREN: Oh no, what makes you say that, she’s not in any sort of trouble is she?

GINA: Look, I just think someone should get over there to see how she’s doing.

WARREN: (Eager). Oh absolutely. Yes I have the time. I can go right now.

GINA: I told her you’d be stopping by around 2:30 tomorrow. You can handle that by yourself or do you want me to send someone with you?

WARREN: No, I’ve got this one. No problem. 2:30 tomorrow. Yes Ma’am. 

Back to Kathy’s house.

KATHY VO: The best place to spend time in the middle of the night at my house is in the kitchen. I can drink a cup of tea and let the aloneness of the dark outside sink in without worrying about waking anyone up. I’ve always enjoyed those quiet moments in the middle of the night. Nobody to bug you… of course, I can’t sleep tonight and these aren’t the most relaxing circumstances, but this is actually the first time I’ve been alone since Dmitri disappeared. The first chance to really think about what happened. 

Kathy throws down a dish in the sink.

GODDAMMIT MARTIN. I’m sick and tired of cleaning up after you and pretending everything is fine. 

I swear sometimes… sometimes… you… you… don’t even get what it was like to lie to everyone around me. Maybe I should have left before Rebecca was born. Moved to a small town… I don’t know. I don’t know anything anymore. 

TV turns on

RON: Wow. Those are spectacular. Look at the cut on those beauties. We have a total of 344 of them in stock, oh wait, calls are coming in fast, make that 338! Folks, if you’re seeing these, you know it’s time to call in. Time to do something. Something nice for yourself before it’s too late. Isn’t that right Kathy?

KATHY: What?

RON: I said isn’t that right, Kathy?

KATHY: No, wait what?

RON: Oh, put down the clicker, Kathy. We’ve been friends for years. You can tell me anything. You know that. 

KATHY: R-Ron? Is this all in my head?

RON: Well Kathy, Isn’t everything in our heads?

KATHY VO: I rub my eyes, but Ron is still looking right at me. He’s always been a voice in my head. A trusted advisor, not just for all the latest shopping trends, but a consistent source of comfort, almost a friend. I don’t have many of those. But this… his voice… that is a lot even for me. 

KATHY: Um, I, uh. Ron.

RON: Yes, Kathy?

KATHY: I’m just tired of lying for him all the time! Always pretending I don’t know about his precious science projects. All for the company. Pretending to be blind to the work he and Deborah were doing all those years. And now I have to lie to my own friend?

RON: That’s right, let it out. Oh! Down to 285 of these rare, natural Burmese rubies. So tell me Kathy, are you going to just sit there? 

KATHY: What am I supposed to tell her?

RON: It’s time to stand up for yourself, Kathy. You know exactly what you need to do. 

KATHY: I think I do, Ron. I think I do. 

Fade out to more Shop@Home Network, but this time it’s gone back to normal stuff.