Rob Hayes Writes Plays

Free Plays From Rob Hayes.

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.

Mother (First Variation)

Jack. My mum’s not really a mum. She’s more like a woman that had a kid. And I think it was a mistake, because she only had one. And she’s a smart woman, and smart people don’t make mistakes more than once. I think she found looking after a mistake quite difficult. I lived with dad for a while. Except it turns out he wasn’t my dad he was my uncle. One of those uncles that aren’t actually your uncle, they’re just a man with a beard who knows your name.

And I sometimes wonder if it was all my fault, everything that happened. But then I think, no I didn’t have a choice in being born. The matter was out of my hands. It was her choice, and she chose to have me rather than, you know, get me put in a sandwich bag and flushed down the toilet. Or whatever. So maybe it was a good thing for her. At the time maybe. I don’t know.

Sometimes I wish I could climb back inside her. Just sit there listening to her breathing. Heart beating in her chest cavity. And you don’t feel that about just any old woman, do you?

Yeah, I love her I think.

Somewhen Else

Mike and Hannah stood in a makeshift lab. Mike is holding a box with a button on it.

MIKE Yeah.

HANNAH Yeah.

MIKE Yeah.

HANNAH Yeah.

MIKE Yeah?

HANNAH Yeah!

MIKE Yeah yeah yeah.

HANNAH Yep.

MIKE Yes.

HANNAH Yep. Yeah.

MIKE Yussss.

HANNAH Uhuh.

MIKE Yeah.

HANNAH Uhuh.

MIKE Yeah.

HANNAH Uhuh.

MIKE Yep.

HANNAH Uhuh.

MIKE Yes.

HANNAH Uhuh.

MIKE Uhuh.

HANNAH Yeah.

MIKE Yes.

HANNAH Yes?

MIKE Yes.

HANNAH Yah!

MIKE Yep yep yep.

HANNAH Yes!

MIKE Yes!

Mike moves to press the button.

HANNAH No!

MIKE What?

HANNAH I’m not so sure!

MIKE I thought we agreed.

HANNAH We did agree, but now I’m not so sure.

MIKE You said yes quite a lot.

HANNAH There’s no dial.

MIKE We’ve been through. It doesn’t need a dial. It’s brainwaves.

HANNAH I don’t understand.

MIKE Remember what we said? Just close your eyes, think of the moment, and take a big deep breath. Okay?

HANNAH Okay.

MIKE Good, excellent.

HANNAH What if I die?

MIKE Pardon?

HANNAH I don’t want to die.

MIKE Why would you die?

HANNAH I don’t know.

MIKE You won’t die.

HANNAH How do you know?

MIKE Death is forwards. We’re going backwards.

HANNAH I’m scared.

MIKE I showed you the equation.

HANNAH Yes you did.

MIKE Remember?

HANNAH I didn’t understand it.

MIKE You didn’t.

HANNAH I didn’t really get it.

MIKE Which bit?

HANNAH The equation.

MIKE The whole thing was an equation.

HANNAH Yeah.

MIKE In what way did you not get it?

HANNAH In the normal way of not understanding a nine and a half page equation with no numbers in it.

MIKE What about the mix tape, didn’t that help?

Beat.

HANNAH Did you listen to the mix tape?

Hannah shakes her head.

MIKE Hannah.

HANNAH Sorry.

MIKE That took me like 6 hours.

HANNAH You’ll get all that time back though, right? When we.

MIKE Don’t use my theory against me.

HANNAH Sorry. I just don’t know if I can do this.

MIKE You said you wanted to try it.

HANNAH That’s when I thought it was a sex position.

MIKE A sex position?

HANNAH You said ‘would you like to try time travel?’

MIKE Yeah.

HANNAH That was directly after I’d said ‘would you like to try reverse cowgirl.’

MIKE I didn’t know what that meant. I was changing the subject. Listen, I’m trying to do something interesting here Hannah. I’m doing this for you.

HANNAH I appreciate the gesture.

MIKE After what you said.

HANNAH I didn’t mean ‘boring’, it was taken out of context.

MIKE What about ‘safe’?

HANNAH I didn’t mean it like that!

MIKE Now you’re worried about dying. You don’t want safe, you don’t want death. I mean make your mind up.

HANNAH I like safe, I’ve changed my mind. Safe is good.

MIKE I’m trying to be more interesting for you.

HANNAH You are more interesting for me!

MIKE More like Josh.

HANNAH Oh god.

MIKE I bet he was fascinating.

HANNAH Please don’t do this.

MIKE With his motorbike and his tattoo of a mermaid fighting a scorpion.

HANNAH Seriously Mike.

MIKE He may have had a motorbike but he didn’t have a time travel box, did he?

Mike waves the box.

HANNAH I don’t think so, no.

MIKE Who’s safe now then? Eh? Because it isn’t me!

HANNAH I like you being safe.

MIKE No, you were right. We’re very different people. We need to make an effort to.

HANNAH But I’m learning to accept you.

MIKE We said we’d try and change, adapt.

HANNAH I know.

MIKE I can be a bit safe according to you, whereas you can be a bit.

HANNAH I know.

MIKE Whiny and shallow.

HANNAH What?

MIKE I love you.

HANNAH Whiny and.

MIKE I think you’re amazing.

HANNAH Did you just call me.

MIKE But we’re trying to change, aren’t we? That’s the.

He gestures to the box.

MIKE Point of all.

HANNAH Shallow? How am I shallow?

MIKE Wait. No. Let’s just. We’re about to go to a time when I haven’t just called you whiny and shallow. Things were better then. So let’s.

He brings focus back to the box.

HANNAH And it definitely doesn’t need a dial, or.

MIKE Definitely not.

HANNAH Some sort of clock, so we can.

MIKE Just your brainwaves. All you have to do is think.

HANNAH What if I think about the sixties?

MIKE What reason would you have to do that?

HANNAH Because it was cool. You know, free love.

MIKE Free love?

HANNAH Woodstock, the Beatles.

MIKE Why do you want free love?

HANNAH I just mean the whole vibe, you know. The attitude, the clothes, the music.

MIKE Am I not enough for you.

HANNAH What if I think about a time before I was even born? Before my mum was even born? And then I don’t get born because my mum never meets my dad? What if I think myself out of existence? I’d feel awful.

MIKE You wouldn’t feel awful.

HANNAH I’d feel pretty bad.

MIKE You wouldn’t feel anything. You wouldn’t even know that you weren’t feeling anything. You’d have no concept of anything because you wouldn’t be a thing Hannah!

HANNAH But I like being a thing! See, this is what you don’t seem to understand about women.

MIKE No, I get it!

HANNAH I’m not sure you do.

MIKE You like existing, I understand. We all like being a thing. I’m just saying.

HANNAH Always saying, never listening are you?

MIKE Don’t think about a time before you were born, okay? There. Think about a more recent time, preferably when monogamy was in fashion.

HANNAH Okay.

MIKE Okay?

HANNAH Sorry.

MIKE Don’t apologise. I just. You said you wanted to do this.

HANNAH I do.

MIKE Then let’s do it.

HANNAH What if I think of a time when I was still with Josh?

Beat.

MIKE Why would you say that?

HANNAH Sorry.

MIKE We agreed on a time anyway. We said we’d think of that time.

HANNAH We did, I know.

MIKE With the big oak tree and the sunset.

HANNAH Yes. Yeah.

MIKE And the two squirrels were.

HANNAH I remember now. I remember.

MIKE Honestly Hannah.

HANNAH I’m sorry. Okay.

MIKE Right. Look at me. Just think about that moment. Don’t think about the sixties or anything else, just.

HANNAH Think about it.

MIKE Using your brain.

HANNAH Don’t patronise me Michael.

MIKE Sorry, just. Put your hands.

She lays her hands on the box. He’s about to press it when she removes her hands.

HANNAH I need to think about this.

MIKE You do, yes. Now you’re getting it.

HANNAH No I mean think it through.

MIKE We have thought it through.

HANNAH No I mean really. Sleep on it or something.

MIKE Listen I don’t want to freak you out or anything but we actually don’t have much time.

HANNAH I thought we have all the time in the world. I thought time is on our side.

MIKE Ah, so you did listen to the mixtape.

HANNAH I read the track list.

MIKE Anyway I mean right now. Right in this. I don’t know, dimension. We have to leave.

HANNAH Why? What’s the rush?

MIKE Okay. When I finished building the box, I got a bit, um, psyched.

HANNAH Psyched?

MIKE Yeah. You know, psyched. Like, wooo!

HANNAH I don’t think I’ve ever seen you get psyched.

MIKE Well I was pretty psyched anyway.

HANNAH Really? Are you sure it was psyched?

MIKE Listen, I was psyched okay? I know what psyched is.

HANNAH If you say so.

MIKE And you know when you get really psyched about something.

HANNAH Right.

MIKE And you just have an overwhelming urge to.

HANNAH Yeah.

MIKE Trash a motorcycle.

Beat.

HANNAH You didn’t.

MIKE As a kind of catharsis.

HANNAH Oh Michael.

MIKE I was psyched. I can’t be blamed.

HANNAH You trashed his Flamer. I can’t believe it.

MIKE His Flamer?

HANNAH That’s his entire life.

MIKE Bit Freudian, Flamer.

HANNAH It has flames on the side.

MIKE Not anymore.

HANNAH How did you do it? I mean how did you physically.

MIKE With a brick. Half a brick. Yeah.

HANNAH What, and you just.

MIKE Went for it. Don’t know if I broke anything. You know, important. Or valuable. Paintwork’s completely.

HANNAH He will kill you.

MIKE Not if we do this now.

HANNAH You’re crazy.

Mike grins.

MIKE I know.

HANNAH He’s a big guy.

Mike drops the grin.

MIKE I know.

HANNAH I mean he’s really big.

MIKE I thought you weren’t into really big guys.

HANNAH No I love your shape. I’m just saying. He’s really big. Really big.

MIKE I get it, thanks. He’s bigger than me.

Beat.

MIKE Wait, is he. Bigger than me?

HANNAH Oh for god’s sake Michael.

MIKE Nothing, no. Forget I said. Let’s just.

He nods to the box.

HANNAH He’ll come for you. He’ll be after you.

MIKE Exactly, so we should.

HANNAH That was a silly thing to do, wasn’t it?

MIKE Well perhaps it wasn’t the most.

HANNAH It was really silly.

MIKE I think I’ve made up for it by placing myself at the forefront of human scientific endeavour.

He holds up the box.

HANNAH Still. Bit childish.

MIKE We’re going back to a time before it happened. His motorbike will be fine. He’ll still be living with his mum, and he’ll still have three GCSEs.

HANNAH Now you are being childish.

MIKE One of which was a C in dance.

HANNAH He has a very kind heart.

MIKE Great. That’ll get him out of the Morrisons deli counter.

Beat.

MIKE I love you. I’m sorry.

HANNAH I love you too.

MIKE I just, I really want us to do this.

HANNAH Me too.

MIKE I’m excited for our future. By which I mean the past. And once we know it works we can go to any time we want.

HANNAH Once we know it works!?

MIKE It does work. It definitely works. Ignore that. Just think, okay?

HANNAH Of the moment.

MIKE Picture the big squirrel and the little squirrel fighting over the.

HANNAH Yeah.

MIKE And the big oak tree.

HANNAH I’m worried I’ll overshoot.

MIKE Don’t overshoot.

HANNAH I’m worried I’ll go too far back in time.

MIKE Don’t go too far back, just think. Breathe.

She closes her eyes. Places her hands on the box.

HANNAH Okay.

MIKE Good, here goes. Hannah?

HANNAH Yeah?

MIKE This is the start of an amazing adventure.

With great ceremony, he presses the box. They appear to momentarily pass out on their feet. They come round and blink at their surroundings, taking everything in. Their eyes settle on each other.

After a moment.

MIKE So you’re absolutely sure you’re prepared to do this?

HANNAH Positive.

MIKE Definitely?

HANNAH Yeah.

MIKE Yeah?

HANNAH Yep.

MIKE Yeah.

HANNAH Yes.

MIKE Yeah!

HANNAH Uhuh.