IF ONLY MAGNAN WERE OPEN ON SUNDAYS
by Ange-Thérèse Akono
[In the collective kitchen. Dirty plates are lying on the first table along with spice pots, pans and other kitchen utensils. Two students, Anna and Pedro, are discussing something a round the first table. On the second table is a hotplate with a pot with its lid on on it.]
Estelle enters the room.
ESTELLE: Hi, What’s up?
She draws up a chair and sits.
PEDRO: I’ve been tortured this morning by Cauchy, Salençon and Le Tallec
ANNE (laughing): That’s you! Always complaining. It can’t be that difficult!
PEDRO (imitating Anne’s voice): It is not AT ALL difficult. All you have to do is attend all the classes, learn the book by heart and study all the past examinations papers.
Well, I started reading my notes only a few days ago!
ESTELLE: Yeah! Quite challenging. Good luck! By the way, what are we going to cook?
ANNE: Whatever we find, I guess. The cupboards are empty.
ESTELLE: Are they? I thought Sylvain had ordered groceries. He told me he would.
PEDRO: He’s certainly forgotten, otherwise they would have been delivered by now. He might have been busy studying.
ANNE: Just like all of us. I mean, we all are to sit exams next week.
ESTELLE: Instead of complaining, you could have sent him a reminder, Anne.
PEDRO: Ok girls, don’t fight! Having a row will lead us nowhere. We’d better think of a solution.
ESTELE: What’s left?
ANNE (pointing at the potatoes lying on the first table): I had some potatoes left.
ESTELLE: I brought some bacon cubes.
PETER: I have got nothing but spices. Here they are!
ESTELLE: (approaching the second table) What’s that?
She opens the pot to check inside.
ANNE: Some rice, not ours.
ESTELLE: (She nods): Let’s start by cooking these potatoes.
Anna stands up, put the potatoes into a pot, pours water and hands the pot to Estelle.
PEDRO: Don’t you skin the potatoes? My mother always does.
ESTELLE: Pedro, we are not cooking a Spanish omelet. Besides, we‘ve got to save time.
ANNA: Trust me. It tastes better.
PEDRO: Nothing can be better than a home-made tortilla de patatas.
ESTELLE: Oh, oh! I think the fuse just blew ! The burner is off now.
ANNA: Pedro, could you go and turn it back on?
PEDRO: Young lady, I am exhausted and so sleepy!
ESTELLE: Por favor?
PEDRO: I can’t resist such a sweet request coming from such a beautiful lady.
ESTELLE: Such things always annoy me. Why can’t this burner just work normally? We should take action at the student accommodation office…
ANNE: Yes, they could for example, make sure Magnan is open on Mondays, or open a fast-food place next to the student buildings, or…
Pedro comes back.
PEDRO: I’ve just flipped it back on. Does it work?
ESTELLE: No, it still doesn’t.
ANNA: The trouble is, the hotplate can’t heat two pots at the same time, I think. We could wait until the rice is cooked, or take it off the other burner.
PEDRO: That’s not legal. (pointing at the rice) This student came first,
ESTELLE: That’s not enough. He should have stayed to watch his food. My mother used to tell me a good cook never leaves his food unwatched.
ANNA: Pedro, we are tired, cansadas, hungry, and we have to go back to studying soon.
PEDRO: Si, pero, that’s NO excuse.
Anna takes a potato out of the pan and gives it to Pedro.
ANNA: Here is your potato. Just wait until we have finished cooking ours and until the other student has finished cooking his rice, and then you can cook yours. This way you will not be taking part in our crime.
Anna and Estelle exchange conniving smiles.
PEDRO: I am going to wait in my room.
And he leaves.
ESTELLE: He is really angry!
ANNA: he’s too touchy, Pedro!
They put the pot of potatoes on the burner where the rice had been. The door opens and another student comes in.
STUDENT: Hi, excuse me. I forgot my rice on the burner, I hope it didn’t burn.
ANNA: We took it off before it got burnt.
STUDENT: Thanks! Actually, I no longer want it, so if you are interested, help yourself.
ANNA and ESTELLE: Thank you.
STUDENT: You’re welcome! Enjoy!
ANNA (tasting the rice): It’s cooked! We are lucky!
ESTELLE: Yes, let’s just cook the bacon cubes. I’ll call Pedro.
(She gets out her cell phone)
Pedro, you can come back, dinner is ready.
What?... I see, Well, we don’t want to wait too long, ok.
(Talking to Anna) he is coming.
ESTELLE: Bacon cubes with rice. That’s not at all healthy. There should be some vegetables.
ANNA: Yeah! If only Magnan were open on Sundays!