Fabergé Egg

by robhayeswritesplays

Peter stands with his young son Jake in a viewing room. On the table between them is an open deposit box containing Fabergé’s 15th Anniversary egg.

Jake leans in to get a close look at the egg. He reaches out to touch it.

PETER Don’t touch it. Jake don’t touch it.

Peter gently moves Jake’s arm away.

PETER It’s very valuable. It’s probably the most valuable thing you’ve ever seen in real life.

JAKE How much does it cost?

PETER Many thousands of pounds. That’s why we’re here. Daddy’s come to sell it.

JAKE Is it yours?

PETER I don’t own it. It’s my job to sell it on my boss’ behalf.

JAKE Behalf.

PETER That means doing something for someone else.

JAKE Oscar has an egg.

PETER I don’t think it’s an egg like this though is it?

JAKE Yeah. His dad’s got one.

PETER I’m telling you it’s not an egg like this one. This is a very rare egg.

Jake reaches out to touch it.

PETER You mustn’t grab at it. You’ve touched it once already. That’s enough. It’s very delicate. This is a real privilege now. Only a few people will ever get as close as you are to an object like this.

JAKE Privilege.

PETER That’s when a good thing happens to you that doesn’t happen to everyone else. Your daddy trusts you and loves you very much. That’s why I wanted to bring you along.

JAKE Mum said we were going skiing.

PETER Well unfortunately we can’t today.

JAKE It’s my birthday.

PETER We can go skiing another time.

Jake loses interest. He slips of his seat and hops around the room.

PETER It won’t take long. Then afterwards we can go to McDonalds. I’m sorry we never made it to the ski slope but this lady’s travelled a long long way to come and buy this egg. So it’s important I was ready for her when she arrived.

JAKE Is she here yet?

PETER She will be very shortly.

JAKE I want to go.

PETER We can go soon.

JAKE I want to go skiing.

PETER We can’t go skiing today. But you’ve got to see a very precious work of art. In a way that’s a much better present. You’ll be talking about this birthday for many years. Jake are you listening?

Jake hops back over to his seat and stares intently at the egg.

JAKE Can I touch it?

PETER No you mustn’t touch it. It doesn’t belong to us.

JAKE Then afterwards we can go to McDonalds.

PETER Yes. Just a few more minutes now.

Jake slumps onto the table, fidgety.

An intercom buzzes.

PETER That’s her. Okay sunshine. I’m putting this away now. You just sit very still for a moment and then we can go. Okay?

Peter closes the deposit box.

PETER Okay?

JAKE Okay.

PETER Good boy.

The intercom buzzes again. Peter exits to an adjacent room where Ms. Poltava is waiting.

Peter greets Ms. Poltava.

PETER Lovely to meet you.

MS. POLTAVA Yes, very much. Thank you for last minute arrangements.

PETER That’s absolutely no problem. Obviously this has been in the offing for several weeks. We’re absolutely thrilled to seal the deal. So to speak.

MS. POLTAVA I am also. My family are very much looking forward to my return.

Meanwhile in the other room. Jake leans in and opens the box. He stares at the egg.

PETER As discussed, it’s the Fifteenth Anniversary Egg that’s become available.

MS. POLTAVA Yes. We are very happy with this.

PETER It’s a beautiful piece.

MS. POLTAVA Yes. We like very much. Is our favourite.

In the other room, Jake very cautiously places his fingers on the egg.

PETER It’s gold construction, inlaid with translucent green and opalescent oyster enamel leafage. Finished with diamonds and rock crystal. The miniature scenes and portaits are watercolour on ivory.

MS. POLTAVA The photographs may not do it justice I feel.

PETER That is so true Ms. Poltova. The thing itself will take your breath away.

Jake holds the egg. After a moment he lifts it out of the box with all the reverence his father instilled in it.

PETER It’s divided into eighteen panels, each containing a miniature by court painter Vasili Zuiev. And each framed by diamond-set green enamel ribbons over 24 carat red gold.

Jake holds the egg very close to his face. He smells it. Gently licks it. Presses it against his cheek.

PETER Seven oval portraits depict members of the imperial family, whilst nine larger panels offer scenes from the life of Tsar Nicholas II. The top of the egg is inscribed with the imperial monogram of Alexandra Fyodorovna, below a table diamond with a crystal border.

Jake launches the egg against the wall. It shatters. He freezes. Unsure what to do next.

PETER The portaits are exquisitely detailed, and set against a pearl and guilloche background. Of course they’re added an extra poignancy by the tragic events that were to follow just two years later. It really has become a sacred historical relic in its own right. A living document as well as an awe-inspiring piece of jewellery.

MS. POLTAVA Yes. We go see?

PETER Of course you’ve read all this I’m sure.

MS. POLTAVA Please. My time is not. Uh. Available much.

PETER Yes. Indeed. Do accept my apologies. I won’t keep you any longer.

MS. POLTOVA We go through now?

PETER No you take a seat. I’ll bring it to you. Do sit down.

MS. POLTOVA Yes. Okay.

She sits.

Meanwhile Jake panics. He sweeps the shattered egg into the corner of the room with his foot.

PETER I trust Mr. Lardes clarified the terms of transaction with your.

MS. POLTOVA Yes all is clear. Please.

PETER Very well. Then without further ado.

Peter enters the room with Jake and the broken egg.

He moves over to the box and sees it’s empty.

PETER Where is it? Jake where’s the egg?

He looks at his son, who stands rigid.

PETER Jake what have you done with the egg?

Pause.

PETER If you’re playing a game, it stops now. Where is the egg?

Jake shakes his head slightly.

PETER I won’t ask you again. You’re to return daddy’s item immediately. This is not funny. I told you it was very precious and it’s not to be played with. You return it this instant or you’ll find yourself in some very serious trouble. Do you understand?

Jake just stares.

PETER Please Jake. Don’t make me ask you again.

Ms. Poltova enters.

MS. POLTOVA Everything is okay? I hear noises and you delay in bringing the egg.

Peter and Jake stare at each other. Jake has tears streaming down his face.

MS. POLTOVA You never mention there is a boy. Why do you have a boy here? Please is there a problem?

Jake ever so slightly shakes his head at his father.

Beat.

PETER I’m dreadfully sorry, Ms. Poltova. There seems to have been some terrible. Error. A misommunication. See, my assistant was supposed to leave me the keys to the box before she left for the weekend. Unfortunately she appears to have fogotten.

MS. POLTOVA You do not have keys to box?

PETER I really am awfully sorry for the inconvenience.

MS. POLTOVA I cannot take egg?

PETER Not today, regretfully.

MS. POLTOVA Then we call Mr. Lardes?

PETER Mr. Lardes is in Switzerland. At a wedding. I’m afraid there’s nothing we can do. My assistant Lucy. She’s having a rather hard time of it at the moment. She has a lot on her mind. With everything going on she must’ve clean forgot to leave me the keys.

MS. POLTOVA This is not good. I travel a long way to secure for my family.

PETER What time does your flight leave tomorrow?

MS. POLTOVA I think 4pm.

PETER I can assure you I’ll have the whole thing ironed out by then. We’ll call you at the hotel when the piece is ready for collection.

MS. POLTOVA This is not what I expect from Mr. Lardes.

Peter turns to Ms. Poltova for the first time.

PETER Again I apologise. Why don’t you wait in the lounge and we’ll call for a driver?

MS. POLTOVA It seems I don’t have the choice.

Ms. Poltova exits, shaking her head.

Beat.

Peter holds his arms open. Jake runs in for a hug.

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