Rob Hayes Writes Plays

Free Plays From Rob Hayes.

Month: September, 2012

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.

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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.

Sweaters

Hannah is stood on the edge of a very tall building. Her intention is clear. Michael approaches from behind.

MICHAEL Don’t do it.

Beat.

MICHAEL Don’t do it.

HANNAH Hah?

MICHAEL Don’t jump.

HANNAH Go away.

MICHAEL I’m planning to.

HANNAH Leave me alone.

MICHAEL Don’t do it.

HANNAH Why not? Why shouldn’t I?

MICHAEL Because it’s my turn.

HANNAH What?

Michael approaches properly.

MICHAEL This is a massive breach of protocol.

HANNAH Just leave me alone, okay? Stay away!

MICHAEL You don’t seem to understand. It’s my night.

HANNAH What do you mean your night?

MICHAEL There’s a system.

HANNAH Just go away.

MICHAEL This is a very popular building. Queue jumping’s frowned upon.

HANNAH What queue? What are you on about?

MICHAEL I think there’s an opening a week Tuesday.

HANNAH An opening?

MICHAEL Marcus won big at the tables. New lease of life.

HANNAH What do you mean an opening?

MICHAEL You could try and take his slot. Visit the forum.

HANNAH I can’t wait!

MICHAEL Might already be taken anyway.

HANNAH I can’t wait till next week.

MICHAEL Shouldn’t really be an impulse thing.

HANNAH And you have no right to dictate.

MICHAEL Some proper consideration might.

HANNAH You don’t know me. You have no idea.

MICHAEL Tie up loose ends. Plus you want to make an impact.

HANNAH This is none of your business.

MICHAEL Excuse the pun. But you do have to consider.

HANNAH Look, if you want to jump you can go after me, but I would like a moment to myself first so can you please.

MICHAEL That’s not really how it works.

HANNAH Piss. Off.

MICHAEL Can’t really do more than one a week. Two tops.

HANNAH What are you talking about? Just jump if you want to.

MICHAEL They’ll put barriers up if they get too frequent.

HANNAH I don’t care, I’ll be already.

MICHAEL Plus we’ll steal each other’s thunder.

HANNAH Long gone. Thunder?

MICHAEL I’ve sent letters. It’ll be really awkward if I’m still around tomorrow.

HANNAH Just go after me.

MICHAEL I’ve said some really really.

HANNAH I don’t care about thunder.

MICHAEL Deeply unpleasant.

HANNAH I don’t care about anything.

MICHAEL You really should spare a thought for those who’ve booked ahead. It’s a very popular building.

HANNAH I don’t care! They can find another building.

MICHAEL With 24 hour public access? Sheltered by hard winds.

HANNAH Or find a bridge, or.

MICHAEL Overlooking a side road, minimise traffic disruption.

HANNAH Hang themselves, or.

MICHAEL Perfect height to maintain bodily integrity after death. Which is immediate.

HANNAH Drown themselves, I don’t know.

MICHAEL I don’t mean to be rude but this is very selfish of you.

HANNAH You don’t know me! Who are you? Why do you have such a right to jump?

MICHAEL I told you. I booked.

HANNAH Well I can’t wait another day. You don’t seem too bothered if I’m honest.

MICHAEL I’m trying to stay calm.

HANNAH Why do you want to do it then?

MICHAEL I’m not playing this game.

HANNAH Why do you deserve it more than me?

MICHAEL That’s irrelevant.

HANNAH I don’t think so.

MICHAEL I’m not about to play top trumps with.

HANNAH How do I know there’s a waiting list? You might be making it up.

MICHAEL Go online. Check the forum.

HANNAH You want to jump tonight? Earn it. What’s your reason?

MICHAEL What’s your reason?

HANNAH I asked you first.

MICHAEL You’ve got it all to prove.

HANNAH You care so much about protocol, I asked you first. Why are you jumping?

MICHAEL General disillusionment. Some loneliness. You?

HANNAH I owe my brother and his wife a lot of money which I don’t have. They’re about to have their house repossessed and now none of my family will talk to me, so I have to live with my ex-boyfriend who.

She cracks.

HANNAH Drinks. And hits me.

Beat.

MICHAEL That’s pretty good. Still rules are rules.

HANNAH I don’t care about the fucking rules!

MICHAEL As I said, try for a week Tuesday. You might be in luck.

HANNAH This is ridiculous! I’m doing it now! I’m jumping.

MICHAEL No!

He grabs her.

MICHAEL This may not mean much to you, but it’s all I have. Those guys have been nothing but supportive to me.

HANNAH What guys? Who.

MICHAEL And if I allow us both to jump they’ll take it as a personal insult. My name will be mud.

HANNAH Get off me!

MICHAEL Here. Take my keys. My flat’s empty. I don’t need it.

He takes out his keys.

HANNAH What? Why?

MICHAEL Till Tuesday, so you’re not having to live with.

HANNAH Tuesday? Listen, I’m.

MICHAEL Ex-boyfriend chap. There’s milk in the fridge.

HANNAH This is insane.

MICHAEL Some sausages I think. Need defrosting. I’ll draw you a map.

HANNAH No. I’m not going back. Is this a come on?

MICHAEL A come on? No. I’ll be.

He gestures off the edge of the building.

MICHAEL Just so you’ll be safe till it’s your turn.

HANNAH What do you care?

MICHAEL I don’t. But this is all I have. Please don’t ruin my night.

HANNAH I don’t want to ruin your night. But tomorrow I’ve. I’ll have to talk to them. I don’t want to deal with them anymore.

MICHAEL It’s only a week or so. Maybe two depending.

HANNAH I can’t!

MICHAEL On the schedule.

HANNAH I can’t be around anyone. I can’t talk to anyone.

MICHAEL I know your thing sounds urgent. All that money, and. It always seems so serious, money. Doesn’t it?

HANNAH It is serious.

MICHAEL But there’s a hole inside me where someone used to be. And if you’d ever felt that.

Beat.

MICHAEL Six weeks I’ve waited. That’s long enough.

Beat.

HANNAH I’m terrible with directions. I can’t.

Michael takes out his keys.

MICHAEL It’s easy. It’s like a ten minute walk.

HANNAH I don’t really know the area. I’ll get lost.

MICHAEL The door’s a bit sticky, you really have to.

Gestures with the keys.

MICHAEL Really wiggle it.

HANNAH You could show me, maybe?

MICHAEL No, I’ve. I’ll draw you a map. It’s easy.

HANNAH Honestly I’m not that good. You’ve booked this spot for the whole night, right? You could be back in a couple of hours.

MICHAEL I could.

HANNAH You could show me the website. To book.

Pause.

MICHAEL Are you sweating?

HANNAH Yeah.

MICHAEL Didn’t expect to sweat this much.

HANNAH Me neither.

MICHAEL Could do with a shower.

HANNAH Me too.

They both look down.

MICHAEL You hungry?

HANNAH A bit.

MICHAEL Be a shame to waste those sausages.

Weekend Retreat

A bar. William and Clive are sat swirling whisky tumblers.

Clive. Please don’t mention any of this to Sandra.

William. Oh, never.

Clive. I’m desperate William. As you can probably tell.

William. Hmn.

Clive. Really anything you can. I just don’t know what to do.

William. Yes yes that is. Tricky.

Clive. So can we. Perhaps this weekend? Over a. Spot of golf? Or.

William Ah. Can’t this weekend I’m afraid.

Clive. Oh?

William. Got this…thing.

Clive. Thing?

William. Yeah it’s just a…

Clive. A what?

William. Well it’s a. Conference.

Clive. All weekend?

William. Uhuh. Yeah.

Clive. Oh! The neurological.

William. You know about it?

Clive. Of course. Sandra’s going.

William. Oh yes. Is she? Gosh I hadn’t.

Clive. Surely you knew.

William. Two and two together.

Clive. You share an office. What, you hadn’t?

William. Well we’re both busy.

Clive. She said she was going alone.

William. Well there’s been some. Shuffling around. I think at one point she was. And then. Well.

Clive. So you’re going together?

William. Well, together’s a bit strong.

Clive. Just the two of you.

William. I suppose we’ll be. Travelling partners.

Clive. Okay.

Beat.

Clive. Well enjoy yourselves.

An Expert In Human Nature

Barney is sat on the couch, texting.

Dan stands in front of him. He reads from a print out. We get the impression he’s been at it a while.

Dan. ‘Hear her voice, shake my window. Sweet seducing thighs.’ Hang on. Da da da da Human Nature. Ah. Right. Okay. ‘Reaching out to touch a stranger, electric eyes are everywhere,’ that’s CCTV, right. He’s being watched. Doesn’t like it. ‘See that girl, she knows I’m watching. She likes the way I stare.’ Now the chorus, listen carefully okay. ‘If they say why? Why? Tell them that it’s human nature. Why, why, does he do me that way? I like living this way. I like loving this way’. This goes on. I could go on. I mean.

Beat.

Dan. I’m right, right? I’m not making this up.

Barney. What?

Dan. It’s about fucking kids. He’s written about fucking kids. Tell them that it’s human nature. Why does he do me this way? I like living this way. I like loving this way.

Barney. Yeah I heard it.

Dan. Yeah. It’s about having sex with children. Is what I’m saying. And how he thinks it’s normal.

Barney. So what if it is?

DanWell. Wait. What do you mean?

BarneySo what if it is about fucking kids?

Dan. You mean if he wrote a song saying ‘I like having sex with children’?

Barney. Yeah. So what?

Dan. Are you. That’s a big deal. I mean it’s a serious.

Barney. Daniel, the man was tried in court and found not guilty. And now he’s dead.

Dan. Yeah.

Barney stops texting.

Barney. I don’t think they’re likely to re-open the case due to your interpretation of the lyrics to Human fucking Nature.

Dan. So you think it’s completely irrelevant? That he’s written a song about.

Barney. We don’t know what it’s about do we?

Dan. Oh come on, ‘hear her voice, shakes my window.’

Barney. I heard it the first time. I just find it a little hard to swallow, Dan, that in the midst of the very long, expensive, and very public criminal trial that took place, no one, not one person. Not the prosecution. Not the judge. Not the media. Brought to attention the fact that the man had written a song about how much he loves to have sex with children, and then decided to put it on the single biggest selling album of all time. And that it’s taken you, seven years since the initial verdict and nearly 30 years after it was written, to deduce that a song taken from an album which has sold 110 million copies, and was released as a single in its own right, would’ve actually had the entire thing sewn up if anyone had bothered to listen to the lyrics.

Beat.

Barney. And besides it was written by Steve Procaro.

Beat.

Dan. How come you know so much about Human Nature?

Barney. Did you use my printer to print out those lyrics?

DanYeah.

Barney. Dick. Are you bored?

Dan. Massively bored.

Barney. Do you wanna have a wrestle?

Dan. Yeah. 

Barney stands up. Clears the floor of furniture. They wrestle.