Rob Hayes Writes Plays

Free Plays From Rob Hayes.

Month: September, 2012

The Consultant

A Consultant’s office.

A Woman stands in the middle of the room. She has a bum for a face.

The Consultant examines her closely. 

He touches her face with his pen. Leans in. Steps back for some perspective.

He goes to his desk and leafs though a medical journal. 

He goes back in for another look.

CONSULTANT Hmm. Yes.

He nods.

CONSULTANT You have a bum for a face. 

He sits behind his desk and starts writing out a form.

CONSULTANT Who shall I send this invoice to?

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Christmas Day

Christmas Dinner. An emormous turkey takes pride of place in the centre of the table, attended by plates of trimmings and condiments.

The Father, the Mother, and four young women sit around the table, ready to eat.

Stood amongst them, clad in army fatigues and holding half a bottle of vodka, is Duncan.

Duncan breathes heavily. The diners watch him.

FATHER It’s great to see you again Duncan.

Beat.

FATHER We’ve missed you around the house. Haven’t we girls?

Beat.

FATHER Why don’t you take a seat?

DUNCAN Piss off.

FATHER Eat with us. You must’ve had a long journey. Girls, make space at the table for your brother.

DUNCAN I’m not their brother.

FATHER You seem upset.

DUNCAN I’m fine.

FATHER Whatever it is, we can help you.

DUNCAN I don’t need your help.

FATHER Duncan. Whatever your problems, no matter how big or small, your family will always be there to help you.

DUNCAN You’re not a family!

FATHER Aren’t we? We certainly look like a family. We feel like a family, don’t we girls?

Beat.

FATHER Why don’t you tell me what family means to you? Your colleagues in the army, are they your family? What about the men you were forced to kill?

Duncan kicks a chair away. It clatters against the wall.

FATHER We’re very proud of you. Serving your country like that. When we found out where you were we were all very proud. Weren’t we girls?

Beat.

FATHER I just wish you’d told us when you were leaving. We could’ve thrown you a little party.

DUNCAN That’s bollocks. That is complete.

FATHER I promise you Duncan.

DUNCAN And you know it.

FATHER You never gave us the chance to show you how much we loved you.

DUNCAN Your love is poison. It’s.

Duncan cries.

DUNCAN It’s poison!

FATHER Sit down, son. You must be exhausted.

Father goes to help him to a seat. Duncan swipes wildly with the vodka bottle.

DUNCAN I’m not your fucking son! You know why I left. Don’t pretend you don’t just cos your little. Congregation is watching. We both know why I left. The question you should be asking yourself. Daddy. Is why I came back.

CASSANDRA Why did you come back Dunc? Why did you just go away and then come back?

Duncan cries again. He strokes Cassandra’s face.

DUNCAN I came back for you girls. I came to save you.

CASSANDRA Why are you crying?

DUNCAN I’m ashamed Cass. I’m ashamed I wasn’t brave enough to come sooner.

FATHER Duncan you must sit down and eat. We can talk this all through after dinner. Right now we’re all very hungry, and you must be absolutely famished. Sit down. Eat with your family. Then afterwards we can have a drop of sherry in the study, eh? Just you and me. Talk things through.

Duncan breathes. Looks at the family. He looks at the food on the table.

DUNCAN You’ve done a beautiful spread Mother.

MOTHER Thank you.

DUNCAN Do you mind if I start?

FATHER Please, go ahead.

Duncan pours the vodka over the turkey from his standing height.

He takes a match from his pocket and strikes it.

DUNCAN Merry Fucking Christmas.

He drops the match onto the turkey. It goes up in a ball of flame.

Stick Up

A young woman, Amanda, is waiting by a bus stop. A middle-aged man, Brian approaches from behind and puts his hand over her mouth.

BRIAN Don’t move. Don’t scream. Understand? Nod for yes.

Amanda nods.

BRIAN Feel that knife in your back?

Amanda nods.

BRIAN That’s a knife. Open your bag.

Amanda opens her bag. Brian rifles through it over her shoulder.

AMANDA Please, just take anything. Take the bag it has my purse in it just please don’t hurt me please.

BRIAN Shut up.

He takes out her lipstick.

BRIAN What’s this?

AMANDA Uh. Lipstick?

BRIAN I know that. What shade is it?

AMANDA Uh. Um. Autumn Bronze. I.

BRIAN Would that go with a peach dress?

AMANDA What?

BRIAN A peach dress. Would it go?

AMANDA I. I.  What do you want from me?

BRIAN Come on it ain’t rocket science. It’s just a question.

AMANDA It depends on the dress. I don’t.

BRIAN It’s peach.

AMANDA Wha. Wh.

BRIAN As in the fruit.

AMANDA What shape?

BRIAN Shape?

AMANDA The dress. What shape is the.

BRIAN: Oh fuck. Erm. Above the knee. Kind of droops down at the front. Like that.

Brian demonstrates on her, leaning over her shoulder.

AMANDA: What um. What material is it?

BRIAN: It’s backless. What?

AMANDA: The material?

BRIAN: Oh. It’s silky.

AMANDA: Silk?

BRIAN: Yeah it’s like that silky kind of. You know.

AMANDA: Chiffon?

BRIAN: Yeah yeah chiffon. Well?

AMANDA I don’t know. I’d need to see it.

BRIAN You can’t see it she’s in the car.

AMANDA I don’t know then. I’m Sorry. I.

BRIAN Just have a guess.

AMANDA Please let me go. Please.

BRIAN Look. It’s our anniversary. Restaurant’s double booked us. Sposed to see a fuckin show in an hour. That ain’t gonna happen. She’s in tears cos she’s come out without her make up. Whole thing’s a fucking shambles. Now I’m asking you a simple question. This lipstick. Her dress. Will it go?

AMANDA It’ll look great.

BRIAN Yeah?

AMANDA Yes. Now please.

BRIAN You’re not just saying that?

AMANDA She will look iridescent.

BRIAN Good. Cheers.

AMANDA Now please let me go.

He puts the lipstick in his pocket.

BRIAN One more thing. What’s this smell like?

He takes out a bottle of perfume from her bag.

AMANDA Just take it. Take it and go.

BRIAN I’m not gonna just take it. Who do you think I am?

AMANDA Oh for god’s. Okay. It smells like a spring glade. Um. Quite light. Heathery. Fruity with a touch of honey blossom. But there’s a smokiness to it as well. Like. Like burnt candles.

BRIAN Right.

Beat. Brian looks at the bottle.

BRIAN Only she usually wears that Chanel stuff. You know.

AMANDA Chanel number 5.

BRIAN Yeah.

AMANDA It’s a very popular fragrance.

BRIAN Does it smell like that?

AMANDA Not really.

BRIAN Are you.

He sniffs her.

AMANDA Yes.

He sniffs her again.

BRIAN That’s alright. Yeah, quite fruity innit?

AMANDA Fruity yes.

BRIAN But with a kind of.

AMANDA Smokiness. Burnt candles.

BRIAN Sophisticated.

He pockets the perfume.

Amanda spins out of his clutch and produces a can of pepper spray.

AMANDA Stay away. Stay away from me.

Brian takes out a pair of glasses and puts them on.

Amanda falters with the spray. Brian brandishes the knife and takes the pepper spray from her.

He reads the label, sniffs the nozzle, winces, puts it in his pocket. He keeps her in place with the knife.

AMANDA Listen. Just. I live right around the corner. I know a lot of people in this neighbourhood and my boyfriend is at home so don’t think you can hurt me and get away with it, alright? Do you understand me?

BRIAN You live around here do you?

AMANDA Literally just down the road. I can run there in less than a minute and my boyfriend’s home.

BRIAN What’s it like then round here? We looked at a place on Talbot road. I quite liked it but the wife says this is a bit of a dodgy area.

AMANDA A dodgy? Ha. Well believe it or not I’ve had no problems up until now.

BRIAN Got two kids you see so gotta be careful really. Where they grow up and that. Nice park though apparently. Ever been?

He gestures with the knife to the park down the road.

BRIAN: Just down there on the right.

As his back is turned Amanda takes out her phone and starts dialling.

Brian turns back, sees her phone, moves in close.

AMANDA Stay away from me. Don’t come near me.

BRIAN Is that a Blackberry? Only I was thinking of getting an iPhone. Pick up my emails when I’m out and about, you know. She says they’re for kids. Reckons I should one of them instead. I told her. I said professionals use them and all. But she says those things are better. How is it, any good?

AMANDA Oh my god. Are you serious?

BRIAN Fairly serious, yeah. I’ve still got a few weeks left on my old contract.

AMANDA Listen, I’m going to call the police right now. I’m going to tell them I’m being held up by the shittiest mugger ever. And I’ll show them this picture.

BRIAN What picture?

Amanda take a picture of the Brian with her phone.

AMANDA That picture.

BRIAN That come out alright?

AMANDA Perfect.

BRIAN Impressive in this light.

AMANDA Are you listening to me?

BRIAN What is that, 2 Megapixel?

AMANDA I’m calling the police right now.

She puts the phone to her ear.

BRIAN Don’t do that please.

AMANDA I have a positive ID so.

BRIAN It’s my anniversary.

AMANDA I don’t give a fuck. You’re threatening me.

BRIAN We’ve got a show booked in.

AMANDA Do you think I’m just gonna.

BRIAN Now I’m actually quite serious about this.

She moves away, phone to her ear, he follows.

AMANDA I can even see your car from here. Is that your wife? I take it back, no amount of lipstick can make that look. Hello? Yes, hello, I need the police.

Brian steps in close to her. Amanda stops talking.

Brian pulls the blade from her stomach and she crumples.

He helps her on the way down until she is lying flat. Her breathing is fast and shallow.

BRIAN I did say

AMANDA Huh. Huh. Help. Me.

BRIAN Shhh.

AMANDA Help.

BRIAN Just.

AMANDA Help muh. Me.

BRIAN: Shhh. Shhh it’s okay. Just. Shhh, Listen listen listen. Do you know any good local restaurants? She likes Italian, I’m more of a Thai man myself.

Brian holds her. She dies.

Brian looks at his hands, covered in blood. He turns back to her handbag, rummages through it.

BRIAN Babywipes. What kind of woman doesn’t keep fucking babywipes?

He gives up, wipes his hands on her jacket and exits.

You Wouldn’t Believe What Mother Said Today

A Patio.

An old lady is sat in an armchair crocheting a tablecloth. Her adult son sits reading the financial section of a newspaper. He has an empty espresso cup on the arm of his chair.

Pause.

MOTHER Did I say that out loud?

SON Say what out loud?

MOTHER That just then. About Georgia’s school uniform.

SON No. You didn’t say anything.

MOTHER Hnn.

Beat.

MOTHER Must’ve said it in my head.

SON I think you did.

She continues to crochet. Her son returns his attention to the newspaper.

MOTHER Did I say that out loud?

SON What?

MOTHER About asking you about the other thing?

SON We just had a brief conversation mother yes.

MOTHER So I did?

SON Yes you did.

MOTHER Hnn.

She returns to her crocheting. Her son observes her for a moment.

William And His Body

A doctor’s surgery.

Dr. Passwater sits on one side of the desk, a file full of notes in front of her.

William sits on the opposite side of the desk, nervous.

DR. PASSWATER It’s grown.

WILLIAM Grown?

DR. PASSWATER It’s now the size of a grape.

WILLIAM What was it last time?

DR. PASSWATER Cherry.

William takes this in.

WILLIAM Why does it always have to be fruit?

DR. PASSWATER Looks good on the charts. For the kids.

WILLIAM Can you operate?

DR. PASSWATER Me? No. I’m a consultant.

WILLIAM I mean. Can they operate?

Dr. Passwater grimaces.

DR. PASSWATER I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking ‘can they operate?’ As if it’s as easy as that. Easy peasy.

WILLIAM Well no. I just.

DR. PASSWATER I mean, it’s not rocket science! But it is brain surgery.

WILLIAM I wouldn’t. Suggest.

DR. PASSWATER Thing is, you cut out a chunk of someone’s brain and something tends to stop working.

WILLIAM How do you mean?

DR. PASSWATER We start digging around in your cerebral cortex and all of a sudden you’ve forgotten how to read. Hack off a frontal lobe and you can’t recognise your own wife. That kind of thing. It’ll be like us spilling coffee on your laptop.

WILLIAM Jesus.

DR. PASSWATER Truth is we won’t know until it gets to clementine. Whether it’s safe I mean. Chances are it’s not.

WILLIAM Clementine.

DR. PASSWATER It’s after lycee. On the chart.

William rubs his face.

WILLIAM God.

Dr. Passwater checks her watch.

WILLIAM So, what? Am I going to die?

DR. PASSWATER Absolutely.

WILLIAM From the tumour?

DR. PASSWATER Oh!

Dr. Passwater laughs at her mistake, shakes her head.

DR. PASSWATER Probably.

WILLIAM Is there anything we can do?

DR. PASSWATER At this stage? Absolutely nothing.

WILLIAM What about chemotherapy?

DR. PASSWATER Apart from chemotherapy.

WILLIAM So that’s a possibility?

DR. PASSWATER Yes and no. Mainly no. We have one machine, and there’s a priority list in place.

WILLIAM Priority list? What are you saving it for? Mangoes?

DR. PASSWATER No need to be facetious.

WILLIAM Bloody watermelons?

DR. PASSWATER Celebrities actually.

WILLIAM I’m sorry I don’t quite.

DR. PASSWATER People of fame or repute. Or particular wealth.

WILLIAM Famous people? You save the chemotherapy machine for famous people?

DR. PASSWATER It’s a PR thing. For the clinic. We’ve got that guy from Emmerdale in this afternoon. You know the one with cancer. He’s bringing a reality TV crew with him.

WILLIAM This is insane.

DR. PASSWATER We might’ve been able to squeeze you in tomorrow morning, but Dale Winton’s found a lump. Then Thursday we’ve got Gale Porter.

WILLIAM Gale Porter has alopecia.

Beat. Dr. Passwater consults her file.

DR. PASSWATER Hmmm.

WILLIAM Can I have her slot?

Dr. Passwater thinks for a second. She sighs and takes out a questionnaire.

She clicks her pen.

DR. PASSWATER Age?

WILLIAM 32.

DR. PASSWATER Sex?

WILLIAM Uh. Male.

DR. PASSWATER Life insurance?

WILLIAM Nope.

DR. PASSWATER Blood type?

WILLIAM O Negative.

DR. PASSWATER Nice. Ever suffered from arthritis?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Palsy?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Polio?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Gout?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Heart failure?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Angina, chronic, acute or otherwise?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Asthma?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Eczema?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Appendicitis?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Brittle bone disease grades 2-7?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Rickets?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Lazy eye?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Wandering eye?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Eye of the Tiger?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Parkinson’s disease?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Wogan’s syndrome?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Norton’s Infection.

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Tennis elbow?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Dancer’s ankle?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Rambler’s hip?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Fencer’s shoulder?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Jogger’s nipple?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Housewife’s jaw?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Plasterer’s radio?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Sub-cutaneal lipo-disfigurement?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Acute nervous retinal detachment?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Advanced seasonal cognitive misappropriation?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Extreme spontaneous dental hydroplosion?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Di-nitrotoxic plasmo-psychosis?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Cyrrosis of the liver?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Osmosis of the kidneys?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Inertia of the colon?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Protrusion of the rectum?

WILLIAM What?

DR. PASSWATER Answer the question.

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Gall stones?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Kidney stones?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Flint stones?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Overactive mucus gland?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Underactive prostate gland?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Hepatitis A-G?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Erectile dysfunction?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Projectile misfunction?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Premature emasculation?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Heart murmur?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Kidney whisper?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Stomach growl?

WILLIAM Occasionally.

She looks at him. Ticks the form.

DR. PASSWATER Syphilis?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Hysteria?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Phantom pregnancy?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER M.E.?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER M.S.?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER T.B.?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Any S.T.I.s?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER P.M.T.?

WILLIAM No?

DR. PASSWATER S.A.D.?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER R.S.I.?

WILLIAM No.

DR.PASSWATER R.E.S.P.E.C.T.?

WILLIAM Pardon?

DR. PASSWATER It’s a very serious condition.

WILLIAM Oh. No.

DR. PASSWATER Cancer of the liver, lungs, colon, pancreas, bone, blood, heart, testes, prostate or throat?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER And finally, any brain tumours?

Dr. Passwater ticks the form.

DR. PASSWATER Yes.

She writes.

DR. PASSWATER Brackets, grape.

She takes out a calculator.

DR. PASSWATER Bear with me a moment. She consults the questionnaire and starts making calculations.

WILLIAM How long can I expect the treatment period to last?

Beat. She calculates.

WILLIAM Just thinking whether I need to apply for sick leave. I hear the effects of chemo can be. Pretty.

Dr. Passwater finishes her calculations. She writes down two figures on a piece of paper and puts them in front of William.

WILLIAM What are these?

DR. PASSWATER The one on the left is how much you’re costing the state as a sick person. That’s tax losses when you leave work, incapacity benefits, the cost of consultations, cancer drugs, chemotherapy and, in later weeks, hospitality.

WILLIAM Oh my goodness. And what about the one on the right?

DR. PASSWATER Well, that figure is.

WILLIAM Yes?

DR. PASSWATER No don’t be alarmed, it’s not as macabre as it seems.

WILLIAM What isn’t? What does it mean?

DR. PASSWATER Just take a deep breath.

WILLIAM It’s bigger than the other one. What is it?

DR. PASSWATER Please try and see things from a.

WILLIAM For god’s sake just tell me what it is.

DR. PASSWATER The figure on the right is how much you’re worth. Dead.

WILLIAM Dead?

DR. PASSWATER As you can see, it’s nearly four times higher.

WILLIAM Dead? I don’t. I don’t.

DR. PASSWATER Organs can be sold to independent research clinics around the world. Hair can be sold to wig makers. Blood to the Red Cross. Eyeballs to specialist surgeons in China. Teeth to gypsies for jewellery. I could go on. Your testicles are a delicacy in.

WILLIAM I get it. Thank you.

DR. PASSWATER You have a young family, is that correct?

WILLIAM A. A little girl.

DR. PASSWATER That’s nearly half a million your next of kin stand to inherit. Minus our fee.

WILLIAM This is. Ridiculous. I mean.

DR. PASSWATER Give it some thought.

WILLIAM You’re saying I should. What, kill myself?

DR. PASSWATER Not kill yourself, no. We have a team of. It’s all on the leaflet.

She takes out a leaflet and puts it on the table.

WILLIAM This. This is. I’m sorry, is this a joke?

DR. PASSWATER No.

WILLIAM Because I find this in very bad taste. I don’t know who you’re trying to amuse here.

DR. PASSWATER I want you to think long and hard about what difference it would make if you were dead. Financial implications aside.

WILLIAM What difference? Well it would make a pretty bloody big difference to me!

DR. PASSWATER I had one of my assistants compile a report just in case. It makes for interesting reading.

WILLIAM What do you mean, report? What report?

She opens another file.

DR. PASSWATER Your supervisor rates your productivity at around 54% and your value to the company at 46%.

WILLIAM What is this?

DR. PASSWATER Your earning power is below average for your age group.

WILLIAM You have got to be kidding me.

DR. PASSWATER Your current contribution to charitable organisations is zero.

WILLIAM No. I’m sorry, no.

DR. PASSWATER It’ll take Victoria an estimated 38 weeks to find a new partner. And another 55 weeks to remarry. Furthermore, you’ll leave behind no direct descendents.

WILLIAM What? Direct. What about Isabelle?

DR. PASSWATER Isabelle.

WILLIAM Yes my daughter Isabelle.

DR. PASSWATER Your daughter?

Dr. Passwater consults the file.

DR. PASSWATER I have the DNA results in front of me right now and they don’t. You’re not.

WILLIAM No. No.

DR. PASSWATER Isabelle was conceived in the last week of May three years ago, whilst, according to this, you were on a business trip in.

WILLIAM Saddleworth.

DR. PASSWATER And your wife was staying with.

WILLIAM Steve. Oh my god.

Beat.

DR. PASSWATER Try not to think of it as losing a daughter, so much as gaining a niece.

Pause. Dr. Passwater nudges the leaflet closer.

DR. PASSWATER Have a long think about your next move. You have just over a month before it reaches lemon. By which I mean terminal.

Beat.

WILLIAM Thank you for your help, doctor.

DR. PASSWATER That’s what I’m here for.

WILLIAM Do you. Take care.

DR. PASSWATER Everything. We take care of everything.

WILLIAM I think I know what to do now.

DR. PASSWATER Good. Feel free to make an appointment at reception on your way out.

Beat. He doesn’t move.

DR. PASSWATER On your way out.

WILLIAM Am I really as useless as all that?

DR. PASSWATER You’re a very valuable human being.

William stands up, slowly moves to exit. Turns, picks up the leaflet, exits.

Dr. Passwater presses her intercom.

DR. PASSWATER  Sandra, can we confirm Dale for tomorrow morning please? Has he actually found a tumour this time, or is it another lump of Brylcreem?

Isla’s Problem

A desert.

 A jeep. Stationary. Steaming. The hood is popped. The wheels are half submerged in the white sand.

 The sun burns. An enormous bottle of water lies empty on its side.

 Dirk is stood by the jeep at one end of two long planks of wood. Each haphazardly dropped onto the ground. He has a towel draped over his head and an unlit cigar in his teeth.

He’s looking at Isla, who is on her knees, doubled over at the other end of the planks. She coughs. Dry heaves. Finally vomits up some yellow liquid.

 She breathes. Gags. Vomits again. Coughs some more. 

 Dirk watches.

 DIRK You know what your problem is? Not enough protein.

 He waits for a reaction. 

 Isla coughs and gags without looking at him. He watches her as she slumps into a sitting position and stares out in the opposite direction.

A Wake

The smoking area outside a pub.

Pete, is stood by himself wearing black, sipping from a pint of beer and smoking a cigarette.

A shorter man, Trevor, also wearing black and holding a bottle, ambles near him. He puts a cigarette in his mouth, then pats himself down for a lighter.

Pete offers his. Trevor takes it with a nod. Lights his cigarette, hands it back.

TREVOR Very sad isn’t it?

PETE Hm? Oh, yes. Tragic.

TREVOR Tragic, that’s the word for it. Yeah. Tragic. All those sad faces in there. I really felt for them. They all looked so sad, didn’t they?

TREVOR pulls a sad face.

TREVOR Like that. God bless ’em.

Pete nods.

TREVOR I feel sorry for the children.

PETE hmmn.

TREVOR Grandkids growing up without a granddaddy. Having to make do with a grandmother who ain’t a barrel of laughs. Let’s face it. Even with all this going on. Give us a smile love, we’ve come all the way out here.

Pause. They smoke.

TREVOR And they said there’d be a buffet.

PETE Did they?

TREVOR Yeah. On the invitation. Said there’d be a buffet.

PETE Hm.

TREVOR Probably forgot, with everything else going on.

PETE Probably grieving.

TREVOR Yeah. Too busy weeping their little hearts out to get it sorted.

PETE It happens, time like this. People forget things.

TREVOR Still, doesn’t take much to chop up a few sarnies. Couple of scotch eggs.

PETE Well.

TREVOR: Know what I mean though? They’ve had the morning to get some cheese and pineapple chunks on the go. That’s all we’re asking for really.

PETE Usually be a caterer sorted all that out.

TREVOR Exactly, it’s only a phone call. I know a couple of lads would’ve done the job no problem. Appreciated a pay day and all.

PETE Probably the grief. Slipped through the net.

TREVOR Aye that’s one way of looking at it.

PETE How do you mean?

TREVOR All’s I’m saying is. He wasn’t exactly the Duke of Westminster was he? Judging by this place. Fucking hell. Reminds me of being back in borstal. Kind of suits the mood though, you know? Welcome to the most depressing pub in England. Most people would still be crying even if they weren’t at a fucking wake.

PETE Never liked funerals. They’re so morbid.

TREVOR Give them a break now. You just chucked your husband into a furnace, you don’t wanna go on to a cocktail party at bloody TGI Fridays.

PETE No. Just saying it always seems like a bit of a waste of money.

TREVOR I’d be inclined to agree with you. I just think a buffet is a minimum requirement. Bring people out here.

Pause. Pete finishes his cigarette.

TREVOR I’ll be alright. I found some dry roasted peanuts in the glove box. But people will be thinking about supper soon enough. She’s doing herself a disservice. You watch. ‘Oh, I’d love to stay, but I’d better get a casserole in the oven.’ This place will be completely dead by half seven.

PETE Sooner the better. I reckon.

TREVOR Ah, you really want these things to go on past ten. She’d have booked this room out for the night so it really is a false economy to deprive your guests.

PETE It’s a formality. You have to have one because everyone else does.

TREVOR And I suppose we’d all be slung in a ditch if it was up to you.

PETE By all means make a big song and dance about it. So long as you’ve done something worth celebrating. You heard the er. The guy.

TREVOR The priest.

PETE Thirty four years as a plumber, then he gets knocked off his bike. End of. Oh, and he enjoyed the odd round of golf. We’re not talking Nelson Mandela here are we?

TREVOR Yeah. He weren’t exactly Mother Theresa.

PETE He wasn’t. You know. Nelson Mandela.

Trevor shrugs.

TREVOR Excuse to have a few beers and share some memories. Get all your old pals together in one place.

PETE You know people here then do you?

TREVOR No. You?

PETE Nope.

TREVOR Not a soul. It’s all quite awkward really.

PETE Spent most of it out here.

TREVOR Ah now, I’ve done the rounds. Just wanted to find out what the bloody hell’s going on with this buffet. Given up now though. Whole thing’s a shambles.

Beat.

TREVOR And the bar’s out of pork scratchings. Absolutely no communication between the various parties.

PETE Look at the minibus debacle.

TREVOR Exactly. Half the guests stood out in the pissing rain, just to get carted off to some dreary little back room without so much as a disc of salami for sustenance. I mean come on. Bit of thought. We’re missing a meal being here. Twenty minutes around Iceland would’ve done it.

PETE If you’re going to Iceland you’ve got to factor in defrosting time. And that can vary. Particularly if things need heating up as well.

TREVOR I’m not asking for high tea at the Ritz you know. Just a few nibbles. Keep the wolves from the door.

PETE You can’t take a chicken tikka skewer straight from the fridge. Even mini sausage rolls have to be warmed through once. That’s a caterer’s job.

TREVOR I should give her my number. Could’ve sorted something no problem.

PETE Your area is it?

TREVOR I’ve got my fingers in a few different pies.

PETE Right. You a baker then?

TREVOR No. I mean the nature of my work is multi-faceted.

Trevor hands Pete his card from his back pocket.

TREVOR I oversee a variety of city-wide operations. Facilitating the transportation of commercial and industrial units from a geographical perspective.

PETE ‘Man with van’.

TREVOR That’s the industry term for it, yeah.

PETE ‘Trevor’.

TREVOR That’s my van right there.

Trevor points.

PETE What, the one that says Trevor’s Van on it?

TREVOR No the other one. The blue one. Not sure who’s that one is. Do you need anything moving?

PETE Not that I can think of, no.

TREVOR Oh. Can I have that back then? I’ve only got a few left.

Pete hands Trevor his card back.

TREVOR Business is a bit slow. Seems that everyone’s happy with where their stuff is at the moment. As soon as everyone wants their stuff put somewhere else, well that’s boom time as far as I’m concerned.

PETER I can imagine.

TREVOR Do you know anyone who might need something moving?

PETE Not of the top of my head

TREVOR Don’t be put off by the size of the van. I do small stuff as well. I once drove a teapot to Cardiff.

PETE Really can’t think of anything.

TREVOR Hm. You’re not alone there.

PETE We have our own vans for that stuff.

TREVOR I see. What’s your line of work then?

PETE I’m a utilities supply manager.

TREVOR Oh. Do you mind if we talk about something else?

PETE Fair enough. Boring, isn’t it?

TREVOR I wouldn’t know. Don’t really fancy finding out though.

PETE No point in pushing a conversation where it doesn’t want to go.

TREVOR You’re pissing into the wind if you do.

PETE People always try and force it, don’t they?

TREVOR Do you remember growing up. Anyone could approach you in the street and just start chatting away to you, even if you were a complete stranger?

PETE Yeah.

TREVOR Fucking glad those days are over.

PETE Waste of time if you ask me.

TREVOR All that effort just to end up dead in a box. Alone. Two dozen stragglers standing around a grim little boozer, talking about their holidays and moaning about the lack of canapes.

PETE Only thing worse than funerals. Weddings.

TREVOR You don’t like weddings?

PETE They’re arrogant. It’s an arrogant thing to do.

TREVOR I tell you one thing, you’re guaranteed a proper three course meal at a wedding. Free bar if there’s a bit of this going round.

Trevor rubs his fingers together.

TREVOR Nice piece of cake. I always feel guilty not knowing people at a wedding. Like I have to earn my place. A funeral’s different, it’s like a surprise party. You want it to be as busy as possible and don’t care who turns up. Sometimes I think I’m doing them a favour. Making up the numbers a bit, you know. That’s why I had no qualms about coming here, even though I never met the guy.

PETE How’s that then?

TREVOR Funny really. I got one of his kidneys.

PETE Piss off.

TREVOR Swear on my life mate.

PETE I got his other one.

TREVOR Shut up now.

Pete lifts up his shirt and shows his scar.

TREVOR Well fuck me sideways. Ha ha! So you’re AB negative as well?

PETE That I am. That I am.

TREVOR It’s been the bane of my life this blood type.

PETE Tell me about it.

TREVOR We’re resilient fuckers, aren’t we! There was this one lad. Stabbed outside his house. Fell into a coma and I got the phone call. Well, I was rubbing my hands. Bought a bottle of champagne and everything. Two weeks later, he wakes up. Two fucking weeks. I was livid. I said ‘I thought the cut off point was ten days’, they were like ‘oh, he was showing positive signs’. I just said ‘rules are rules’, and walked out. Bloody livid I was.

PETE I had to cancel a holiday to Corfu twice last year. So when I heard another fella had come off his bike.

TREVOR You were dubious.

PETE To say the least.

TREVOR But then they told you that his head was under the wheel of a bendy bus.

PETE But his organs were intact.

Trevor laughs.

TREVOR Well, cheers.

Trevor and Pete clink their beer bottles together.

TREVOR What did you do to your old ones then?

PETE “Chronic interstitial nephritis.”

Trevor pulls an involuntary grimace.

PETE Got it in my twenties. Been on the list for nine years. How about you?

TREVOR It’s the booze that done it to me. I should probably lay off this actually.

Trevor waves his beer bottle.

TREVOR But it’s the only thing they were giving away for free.

PETE There’s free beer?

TREVOR Few bottles near the front as you came in. Reckon they’ll be long gone now though.

Pete tuts and glances vainly into the doorway of the pub. 

TREVOR It’s only cheep German shit anyway. In keeping with the theme. No expense spent. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful, like. But come on. We drove past a Tesco Express to get here.

PETE Now you mention it I could eat.

Trevor checks his watch.

TREVOR Here, I know a pub round the corner. It’s got proper ales and it does fish and chips till 9 on weekdays. What do you reckon?

PETE I hate funerals anyway. Bloody depressing if you ask me.

TREVOR I’m with you there pal.

Pete looks around to check no one is looking. Trevor grins and leads the way.

Mother (Second Variation)

Jack. She holds my face. Holds it tight, pushing my cheeks in like this.

Jack pushes his cheeks in.

‘Look at that face’, she says. Obviously I can’t. My mother is a particularly stupid beast, right? She is not smart whichever way you look at it. She was attractive once, I’ve seen the pictures. But mostly she’s unintelligent. And this is a case in point because she’s stood holding my head like a. Like a clamp. And telling me to look at my own face. Behind me my driver’s side door’s open and all my worldy possessions are in the back seat, and round here’s the kind of place you lose a fight before you know you’re in one, if you get me. So she starts on about how young I am and I’m having to stare back at her because she’s not giving me any choice. And then she says ‘don’t waste it’.

And I say, waste what?

And she holds my face tighter, and says ‘What you’ve got’.

I’m just like, what the fuck? ‘I won’t’, I say.

‘Not like me’, she says. And then she starts to cry a bit, and says ‘if I had it all back, I’d probably just waste it again.’ 

Pool Thoughts

Trevor and Carrie are in a basement playing pool.

Carrie stares at the arrangement of balls. She pouts in concentration

Trevor. And I just think. There’s too much. There’s. Like. There’s a chair. In. In, like, India. And it’s one of millions of chairs in India. Billions probably. And I’ll never see it. And I’ll never know it exists. But it’s there and someone uses it every day. And it was built by someone. And in the factory where it was built the guy who made it uses another chair. And that chair was built by someone. And when he goes home there’s a chair in his living room. And in his sister’s living room. And in the living room of everyone he knows and everyone he doesn’t know. And it’s not even about chairs. Because for every chair there’s a lamp. And a. A table and. I don’t know, a doorhandle that had to be made. Each time someone has spent part of their life with this object. That we know nothing about and never will because our remit of existence is so inconceivably tiny. And why do these objects get to outlast us? Because they will. Most of them will. And we die and they just carry on existing. And we keep adding stuff to the world that’ll just keep on. And the millions of people who just die, and are mourned, and who leave behind all kinds of mess, and. But then I think maybe that’s the point. Maybe humans, people, are the cheapest commodity. Maybe that’s just the way it’s supposed to be. But then I think so why, like, imbue us with so much passion. And curiosity. And. And. And fear. Fear of death, which is like fear of blinking. Why not just make us little blobs with impulses that make us do whatever we’re supposed to do? And fear of death might just be fear of not being around anymore. But then we’re hardly around anywhere anyway, even when we’re alive. Our life is like a tiny pin of light in a vast vast massive black hall. And all we ever see and experience is the tiny minute thin sliver of light directly in front of us. And I look around at the people I love, like you, and I just think. We’re all on this sinking ship and we’re definitely definitely going to die. And that beautiful face of yours and your beautiful skull is definitely going to become dust or sediment in some rock. That is absolutely going to happen and no one can care because no one will know. I can’t bear it. And there’s so many roads. Roads leading to every tiny little place. And it scares me. It terrifies me. You know?

Carrie bends down. Takes a shot.

Carrie. Fuck. Fuck’s sake.

She offers Trevor the cue.

Carrie. Two shots.

Terrorists

An office. Scotland Yard. Carver is sat at her desk.

Jennings knocks, enters.

CARVER Jennings.

JENNINGS Ma’am.

CARVER Well?

JENNINGS Very well, thank you ma’am.

CARVER I mean well, I’m waiting.

JENNINGS Waiting for what, ma’am?

CARVER For you to explain what the hell happened. This morning.

JENNINGS This morning? Ah, yes ma’am, This morning.

CARVER Well go on then.

JENNINGS Ah, well ma’am, the printer said that there was a paper jam. But there was no paper in the machine, you see ma’am. So I gave it a helpful nudge and it toppled over. Upon impact with the floor this large piece of plastic fell off.

CARVER Whatever you’re talking about Jennings, that’s not what I’m referring to.

JENNINGS What would it be that you’re referring to then, ma’am?

CARVER That would be the other thing that happened. The one that’s sent my superior home with a panic attack. The one that will be on the front page of every newspaper in Great Britain tomorrow morning.

JENNINGS Ah yes. The tube train incident, ma’am.

CARVER The tube train incident.

JENNINGS Well ma’am, we were doing our usual surveillance checks. Fairly routine. During the proceedings we noticed a man in possession of a suspicious package on the train platform.

CARVER What package?

JENNINGS A rucksack ma’am. So we apprehended it from the man in question.

CARVER And in what manner did you apprehend it?

JENNINGS We took it from him, ma’am. With due force.

CARVER Right off his back?

JENNINGS That’s correct ma’am. Wrestled might be an appropriate word ma’am.

CARVER So you wrestled it off his back? In public?

JENNINGS Yes ma’am. A certain degree of panic was induced in the fellow passengers. But we felt immediate action was necessary in this instance, ma’am.

CARVER And what gave you that impression? 

JENNINGS The man in question was acting suspicious ma’am.

CARVER In what way?

JENNINGS Well he was looking suspicious ma’am.

CARVER He was acting suspicious by looking suspicious?

JENNINGS Yes ma’am.

CARVER So how did he look?

JENNINGS He looked. He looked dusky ma’am.

CARVER Dusky?

JENNINGS And he had a beard.

CARVER Dusky with a beard.

JENNINGS Well certainly hair. There was a hairy. Presence around his jaw area.

CARVER I beg your pardon?

JENNINGS He was unshaven at the very least, ma’am. Or may have just been particularly dusky around the lower face region.

CARVER And you felt that this dusky lower face region was enough to merit hijacking a man’s rucksack and blowing it up?

JENNINGS It was a controlled explosion, ma’am.

CARVER And how did that go?

JENNINGS Three fatalities ma’am.

CARVER In a controlled explosion?

JENNINGS And twelve injured.

CARVER How did three people die in a controlled explosion?

JENNINGS And twelve injured. Well ma’am, they were in the vicinity of the explosion when it. Uh. Exploded. Ma’am.

CARVER Why were there so many people in the area for a controlled explosion?

JENNINGS It was rush hour ma’am.

CARVER I’m sorry?

JENNINGS Rush hour. Where public transport gets particularly busy during certain times of the.

CARVER Yes thank you Jennings.

JENNINGS So the platform was busy.

CARVER And that’s where you conducted the controlled explosion? On a train platform? During rush hour?

JENNINGS Time was of the essence ma’am.

CARVER Oh my word.

JENNINGS We had to act quickly ma’am. We were concerned that the package would.

CARVER Would what, exactly?

JENNINGS Explode ma’am.

CARVER Causing fatalities and injuries. Good job you avoided that then.

JENNINGS We didn’t ma’am. Oh I see. Sarcasm. Right.

CARVER Three dead, twelve injured. Do you know how much paperwork that’ll be?

JENNINGS Approximately 521 pages ma’am.

CARVER Looks like you’ll be pulling in a late shift Jennings.

JENNINGS Not tonight ma’am.

CARVER Yes tonight.

JENNINGS Printer’s broken. We’re getting someone to have a look at it Tuesday ma’am.

CARVER You do appreciate the gravity of this situation, don’t you Jennings?

JENNINGS Ma’am if it makes any difference, one of the fatalities was the original suspicious looking man. And the other two were also.

CARVER Also what?

JENNINGS Of dusky persuasion. In some way we’ve removed a threat.

CARVER Removed a threat?

JENNINGS A potential threat. To the safety and security of the British public and the British way of life ma’am. You could argue.

CARVER Could you?

JENNINGS I believe you could ma’am.

CARVER Well don’t.

JENNINGS Very well Ma’am.

CARVER Who was he?

JENNINGS Who was who ma’am?

CARVER The suspicious looking man. I assume you’ve identified him.

JENNINGS Funny you should ask that ma’am.

CARVER I doubt it.

JENNINGS He was an MI5 operative. Ma’am.

CARVER Oh. Perfect. And in the rucksack?

JENNINGS A dossier ma’am. Intelligence information. On.

CARVER Yes?

JENNINGS Terrorist suspects.

CARVER Of course. Of course it was.

JENNINGS The irony is not lost on myself or the boys ma’am. And that would also explain why he was looking suspicious ma’am.

CARVER What the hell’s that got to do with anything?

JENNINGS In terms of us identifying suspicious looking people, ma’am. Credit where it’s due, perhaps.

CARVE: Credit where. Credit where it’s due!?

JENNINGS If I may speak ma’am.

CARVER What could you possibly have to say for yourself?

JENNINGS Terrorism is a scourge on the British public and the British way of life and we must exercise every vigilance in controlling it, preventing it, and stamping it out.

CARVER And I suppose that includes murdering innocent commuters.

JENNINGS Hindsight is a wonderful thing, ma’am.

CARVER So is common sense Jennings.

JENNINGS Of course ma’am.

CARVER Take tomorrow off. Next week will be a difficult one.

JENNINGS Certainly ma’am.

CARVER What are you supposed to be doing tomorrow?

JENNINGS Suspect interrogation ma’am.

CARVER Anyone in particular?

JENNINGS A gentleman we took in last night.

CARVER:What for?

JENNINGS He looked tired ma’am. Tired, puffy eyes. We think he may have been planning terrorist plots at night rather than sleeping ma’am.

CARVER You took him in as a suspect because he looked tired.

JENNINGS And shifty, ma’am. But that may be due to the tiredness.

CARVER Is he dusky?

JENNINGS Very dusky ma’am.

CARVER Thought so.

JENNINGS:Should I let him go?

CARVER No, keep him in. We’ll need something to throw to the press.

JENNINGS I understand that the decision on my future with the force lies with you ma’am.

CARVER You know it does Jennings.

JENNINGS I was wondering whether you’ve come to a decision with regards to my continued employment in light of recent activities ma’am.

CARVER Were you indeed?

JENNINGS Because obviously that decision would have repercussions elsewhere.

CARVER I’m aware of the consequences thank you. You can keep your job. You’ll survive the inquiry but you’ll be changing units.

JENNINGS Very well. One more thing ma’am.

CARVER Hurry.

JENNINGS Julie’s asked me to confirm that you’ll be attending our barbecue on Saturday.

CARVER I said I’d be there. She knows that.

JENNINGS Excellent Ma’am. She’s also requested you bring some of those mini lamb koftas you used to make when she was a child.

CARVER I sent her the recipe last week.

JENNINGS She hasn’t quite got the knack of them yet ma’am. THey keep falling apart on the stick.

CARVER I’ll bring some.

JENNINGS Lovely. She’ll be very happy. Is that all ma’am?

CARVER That’s all Jennings.