Jane I've Lost My Marbles (Treatment for Script)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
An Elderly woman has lost her marbles and can't find them, Her family is showing concern, but why? There is more to this story than first meets the eye.

Submitted: May 22, 2008

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Submitted: May 22, 2008



Location - Elderly Residence, Council Estate, the Living Room of a terraced house with 60’s décor and varying Edwardian/Victorian style furniture

Spring, a sunny April day. Inside one of many council owned terraced houses on an elderly estate, a small solitary lonesome woman in her 70’s, clad with grey cardigan and adorned with an outdated multi-flowered, blue cleaning apron, browned glasses with her aging silver white locks, and mosaic frail features opens the large top draw of her Edwardian walnut side cabinet. The raw bulk of draw that is opened by a heave from the woman’s bony forearm leaves an extravagant dark void from the plentiful emptiness inside for a draw of its size. Her stature in comparison to the cabinet delays her ability to see what’s inside as she almost rears up on tiptoes to reach up within it. Ushering her veinsome hand into the draw she retrieves two opened brown envelopes of little importance, casting them aside and an extravagant silk, violet bag with a little lilac purple string tie.

A glint enters her eye with a smile to match, the contents concealed obviously were of some importance to her. With her attention fixed solely on the mysterious, luscious bag, she takes a whiff of its intoxicating scent, as though it bought back many a memory. With a delicate, but excited tug of the thread that releases the ties grip she meaningfully tips the open bag on its side making sure its contents doesn’t fall out. Carefully a many variety of glass marbles of all colours and designs appear, rolling out delicately into an old, worn wooden tray placed on the woman’s coffee table. A wearful grimace appears on the old woman’s face, every time one of bags precious cargo clashes with the unforgiving wooden surface, as though expectant that any one could blow into a million shards at any moment.

With the last ball slowly rolling out the silk bag (making it a total of eight in the tray), the woman places the supposed empty bag right up to her eye, peering into the darkness as if a kaleidoscope, lowering it back down again, she offers the forefingers of her right hand to withdraw two badly creased, heavily used pieces of paper. Caressing the paper carefully with every fingers touch, she gradually opens them, uncreasing the papers to disclose the image of the marble set and a general set of rules that appear to be original to the dated bag. Then, routinely she carefully matches each marble in the photo to the one she picks up from the table, identifying it through its individual colouring. Taking her favourite ball from the tray, the one that gives her a blissful, uncontrollable smile due to its unusual orange design, her favourite colour, she starts dusting each ball off, paying extensive, extra attention to her orange gem, cleaning them thoroughly, using a yellow leather shammy and giving it a quick, gentle blow with the whisper of breath from her lips.

Continuing the routine she depicts each ball from the photo, a sense of shock overwhelms her as she realises that two balls are missing, a small marble and the main target ball. Amazed, a sudden shock enters her body triggering a lump to appear in her throat , as the thought of them being lost disheartens her. Looking worried the woman makes a tragic, pleading gesture towards the clock sitting on her mantelpiece, which reads as 10:35am, creating a bizarre, frantic moment in which she starts scurrying through the cushions and pillows nesting neatly on the nearby settee, making mayhem in an otherwise pristine room, deprived of dust, dirt or any other clutter. Continuing her search she opens every cupboard door going through every nook and crannie, chucking out the once chronologically arranged photo albums, the bank statements etc. creating a drunken whirlpool of mess in the middle of her spotless carpet.

Venturing into her dilapidated stainless, whitewashed, sixties kitchen, she starts throwing open all the storage units, even her new dishwasher, the woman looks in all the cups and mugs for any sign, anywhere of the missing balls, but has no luck. In resignation she looks up at the clock face nearest to her, located above the somewhat empty calendar next to the kitchen door. Freezing suddenly a disgusted look appears upon her face, cramming up her wrinkly exterior, she looks on at the calendar, where all the days leading up to today (which happens to be a Wednesday) is crossed off with a big thick red marker pen. Within the notes and appointments sections of each day there is very little detail, the occasional doctors appointment and weekly hairdo appointment, but other than that there was very little planned in this woman’s life anymore. But, under today’s date (the 17th) there is an event taking place, Scribed in big capital letters, detailing the significance of the planned arrangement:


Starring on at the notice with a vacant look consoling her eyes she daydreams, reconciling for a moment, remembering Patricia and Sarah her old friends, whom hadn’t been out of her life since their school days, some 65 odd years ago. Struggling with her every suffering memory she also remembers that a game of marbles between them occurs monthly and refreshes her need to find the marbles, she was going to find some arrangement for her friends someway. In the 60 years they had organised a meeting it had always happened, they had always played a game as well and failure to keep this tradition was unacceptable, at least not on her watch.

Attached next to the calendar, on a yellow post-it note, in a different style of writing, a notice is made aware to the woman that someone else is detailing the importance of remembering her friends visit:




Looking up at the clock once more, noticing the time getting on her attention’s set back on finding the missing marbles again. Finishing her search she starts combing through her possessions now aimlessly scattered everywhere. Failing to find anything still, the woman becomes increasingly stressed and frustrated with the task. Eventually, taking a time out, exhausted and utterly baffled as to where they could be, she collapses into her large, leather furnished armchair, giving her aching back a break. Gurning and wailing through her ailments, she decides that she must defy her stubbornness and submit a little, though she did hate doing so she thought there would be little point in her friends coming over for a game, when they couldn’t play. In hope of reaching them, they may be able to bring over a couple of spare balls, Readying herself for some very apologetic turn of phrases the woman reaches underneath her coffee table and studies her phonebook.

Turning to W her thumb measures the page down passed a number of names, to Patricia Whitfield. Ruefully picking up the phone receiver she carefully dials the corresponding number, taking care as to match each number she presses, to the figure scribed in the book. She hated getting the wrong number. Waiting for the numbers to formulate to the normal humble ringing on the ear, she waits. But the ringing doesn’t come, the line goes dead, and the voice of the operator comes on as the number isn’t recognised. Putting the receiver down a confused expression hit the woman. She knew there was no doubt the number she rang was correct, still considering possibilities why there was no line, she flicked through to B in the Phonebook, hoping that maybe there was a problem with Patricia’s phone line. Looking up Sarah Biggins she picked up the receiver once more and dialled her just as carefully and waited for a response. There wasn’t one, again the line went dead and the familiar voice of the operator was apparent once more. Thinking this was getting stupid and a little worried that her friends would be leaving for her soon, she wanted to make sure that it wasn’t her line that had the problems. She held down five on her dial, using the speed dial function her son had introduced to her a few months ago and was just becoming accustomed to. It rang…

“Hello?” a familiar voice welcomed

“Hello?, Jane?…Jane? Is that you dear?” said the woman in her posher phone voice, but obviously a bit stirred

“Yes? Gran?…Is that you?…Are you alright? You sound a bit upset?

“Oh Jane thank god” she laughed, relieved it definitely was her granddaughter “I’m fine…just a little wound up. Jane, I’ve lost my marbles…and Pat and Sarah are meant to be coming, I don’t know what to do…and I can’t get through to them? What can I do?”

A sigh enters the other side of the receiver and Jane returns in a completely different tone, sounding resigned and upset but her Gran doesn’t question it.

“Um…don’t worry Gran, I’ll sort something, I’ve probably got a couple lying round the house somewhere” delaying her response and sounding increasingly upset “Um… you just relax, Er… Make a cup of tea or something, I’ll be over as soon as I can, alright?”

“Ok thank you darling, I’ll need one smasher and the target ball if you’ve got it, see you soon then” she said unperturbed by the tone from her Granddaughter.

“Right…Bye” Jane ended the call abruptly.

Relaxing a little, the woman puffs the cushion behind her back and slinks back into it, turning the telly onto the snooker and snuggles up and unwearyingly doses off…

…She awakens by what she believes was a knock on the door, startled she sits up and stares in the direction of the front door, before realising that she had just fallen asleep. Almost instantaneously her head swivelled to the clock on the mantelpiece and was in awe of the time it showed…2.30pm “How could that be” she thought, looking at the prospect had been and gone while she was asleep in the armchair. Then the thought they may have peered in and seen the mess that was still evident everywhere throughout the house. In embarrassment and anger at herself she slumped back into the armchair in an attempt to hide from it all. However, she was interrupted by another knock on the door. In her self pity she had forgotten someone was still there. But who was it? There was a third knock, this time more of a thump from a fist.

“Gran??? Gran??? You in there??? You Alright???“ came the voice of Jane through the letterbox.

While the twenty something starts reaching for her key to get in, the door opens. Without showing her granddaughter in the woman moves back into the living room without even looking at the situation of Jane. Following in Jane stands in the living room Doorway with her head down. She looks really upset without looking at her, finally the woman sensed it

“Jane???” there was no response

“Jane?…What an earth’s wrong love???”

Jane looks up with tears in her eyes

“I’m so sorry Gran” Bursting into tears she turns and runs out the house. Concerned the woman leaves her armchair and quests outside to see what was wrong, she soon found out.

Two men in white coats and a wheelchair where waiting just outside her front door accompanied by a woman with dark features, long straight hair, red lips and in her mid 40’s comforting Jane.

Confused The woman questioned the situation, why where there so many people outside her house?

“Emily?” The woman questioned an accepting but upset 40 something from her front doorway

“Yes Mum” She replied bluntly

“What is this? Who are these men?” Sounding angry, confused and upset all in one

“I’m sorry mum” replying and for the first time showing some sign of dispair. Her mother could see it in her eyes.

“No…No…Emily…No…” She started pleading realising what the situation was implying.

Without bearing words and a quivering lip being bitten tightly, Emily signalled to the two men to do their business. Moving in from the driveway the “whitecoats” who were beasts for men moved in and without any physical fight at all, the woman got ushered into the wheelchair and was started to be removed from the houses doorway. For the first time seeing and institutional van round the corner from her drive, the situation really dawned on the poor feeble woman. She started pleading again, screaming in a less than desperate way.

“No…NOOO!!! Why? Why?” “Emily…JANE!…please” all the two girls do is embrace each other tightly and distance themselves from the situation by almost making a cocoon of each other. They enter the house and close to door to shield themselves from the helpless condition the person they loved was in.

Jane slumped onto the floor in disbelieve while her Mother almost in some kind of trance wipes the tears built up in her eyes and walks slowly, precariously over to the coffee table holding the tray full of marbles beside her mothers armchair. She nods in disapproval relenting her concentration not on the marbles but the two brown envelopes that where pulled out from the draw with the balls. She notices the documents are pulled half way out of each envelope and takes them. She opens the documents simultaneously reading the letter enclosed first:


I sense you have retrieved this letter in the collection of your beloved marbles. I also sense that it is Wednesday and you are preparing for Pat and Sarah to come over at one o’clock. Unfortunately, the won’t be and they haven’t been able to come for a while now. If you can remember, a year and a half has passed since you’re friends passed away, but unfortunately we still can’t get it through to you. It’s really hurting us Mum, seeing you like this. Every phone call, every message hits us hard, as it means we’failed to get through to you again. Please mum, for your own sake, as well as ours, do try to remember. Its hard to write, let alone say that we have come to a point where we may have to get you some help, for your own safety, so please try. I have left some documents with this letter, that will hopefully clear this up for you, but if that isn’t enough I have left a reminder in the kitchen and you will realise if you try contacting either Pat or Sarah, that unfortunately, their lines are disconnected. Please though Mum, we want to say we’ve helped you, but we cant do any more than this.

We do love you and we’ll be there for you no matter what happens.


Emily & Jane


Swapping the documents over two copies of adjacent death certificates were within the second envelope. Those of Patricia Whitfield and Sarah Biggins. Emily tore the whole lot up and in a fix of rage smashed a fist onto the tray holding the marbles, the balls fly off in all directions.

“She never saw them, She never even saw them” she said to herself in a regretful manor. A hand grabs her shoulder from behind, It’s Jane, Slowly they turn looking each other directly in the eye in disgust of the situation, but remembering why it had come to this. Giving each other there solitary support Emily tightens her grip on Jane, embracing her head into her shoulder as they both shed a tear.

“I know its hard Janey love, but Nana…Nana lost her marbles” with that Jane and Emily simultaneously let out all the emotion that had stayed inside them throughout the ordeal. Wiping the tear from her eyes Jane glimpses a shiny object beneath her. Looking down on the floor she notices the iridescent orange of a marble, her Gran’s favourite marble. Releasing herself from her mum’s grip she slowly bends down, fixated on it and picks it up off the carpet. Holding it between her quivering thumb and forefinger of her right hand she delicately places the ball to her lips kissing it, then places it in her jean pocket. Escorted my her mother, the two of them leave the house, Jane with her head down, succumbed to the loved one she has just lost and the meaning of it all.


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