by robhayeswritesplays

Rob Hayes playwright An office. Admin sits behind a desk, working at a computer. There is a phone, a file and a mini hi-fi on the desk. Josh enters. Admin does not look up from the computer. ADMIN: Are you my three o’clock? JOSH: I don’t know. ADMIN: You are. Come in. Josh enters and sits down. ADMIN: Have a seat. Josh immediately stands back up. Admin looks at him, nods to the seat. He sits down as if for the first time. ADMIN: What can I do you for? JOSH: I’d like to make a complaint. ADMIN: You’d like to make a complaint? JOSH: Yes please. ADMIN: Don’t know many people who like making complaints. JOSH: Well, no I…no I don’t like to…I feel it’s necessary– ADMIN: Are you a member? JOSH: Yes. ADMIN: Account details. JOSH: Account details? ADMIN: Please. JOSH: Yes…my email address– ADMIN: Just your username and password is fine. JOSH: My username is Joshie_78. That’s J O S H I E, underscore — ADMIN: 78. JOSH: Yes. ADMIN: And password? JOSH: Do you…really need my password? ADMIN: Can’t access your account without it, chicken. JOSH: I could give you my bank details. ADMIN: I don’t need your bank details I need your password. JOSH: Surprising. ADMIN: Yes it is. Password. JOSH: It’s Rebecca. ADMIN: Rebecca? I won’t ask. Admin types it in. ADMIN: Right, what can I do for you Joshie underscore 78? JOSH: I like the novel. ADMIN: Beg your pardon? JOSH: I like the novel. It’s not a girl’s name. ADMIN: Yes it is. JOSH: Yes but it’s not just a girl’s name. It’s also a bestselling novel by Daphne Du Maurier. And a film by Alfred Hitchcock, and he’s the greatest director of all time bar none so that’s….that’s…that’s… ADMIN: What do you want Josh? JOSH: I wish to make a complaint. ADMIN: Your wish may be granted. JOSH: What? ADMIN: I’ll have to order up a complaints form. Might take a few minutes. JOSH: I don’t mind. ADMIN: Would you like some soothing music while you wait? Admin presses the hi-fi. Music plays, preferably ‘Kung-Fu Fighting’. They sit for a moment listening to the music. Finally, Admin takes a complaint form from the file. The music stops. Admin clicks a pen. ADMIN: Okay, question one. Do you wish to make a complaint? Admin looks to Josh expectantly. JOSH: …Yes. Admin ticks. ADMIN: Question two. What is the nature of your complaint? JOSH: It’s about another member. ADMIN: Is it about another member… JOSH: Yes. ADMIN: An employee of… JOSH: No it’s another member. ADMIN: An associate of… JOSH: No, it’s… ADMIN: A subsidiary of, A member of the public, or none of the above? JOSH: It’s the first one. Admin ticks. ADMIN: Right, question three. What is the nature of your complaint — hang on, that’s…that’s the same as question two. Pause as Admin reads. ADMIN: They’ve gone and put 2 and 3 as the same. Why’ve they done that? Admin picks up the phone and presses speed dial. ADMIN: Carl, you know on the complaints form, do you know we’ve got question two and three as the same? It’s the same question. Yeah. Question two is ‘What is the nature of your complaint?’ It’s the same. No it’s literally exactly the same. ‘What is the nature of your complaint?’ No that’s question three. That’s what I’m saying! Literally, literally the same. We don’t need the same information twice do we? No, because it’ll be the same. Whatever the answer is for question two, it’ll be the same for question three, because…exactly. Who typed this up anyway? Dorothy, the dozy old bitch! Unbelievable. Oh well, she’s dead now. Swings and roundabouts I suppose. Okay, cheers. Admin hangs up and looks back to the form. ADMIN: I’m going to skip question three because it seems there’s been some sort of typographical error. Question 4. What is the nature of your complaint — oh no that’s question 3. I’m getting confused now! Admin laughs. Josh forces a smile. ADMIN: Bloody hell. Okay question 4. Please give details. That’s not really a question is it? Excuse me. Sorry go on. Give details. Josh clears his throat. JOSH: Details? ADMIN: Yes, of your complaint yes. JOSH: What. What kind of details? ADMIN: About what happened, about the complaint. JOSH: What do you need to know? ADMIN: If I knew that I wouldn’t need to know it would I? Christ on a bike. JOSH: It’s about another member. ADMIN: Yes we’ve established that. That was question 2. And 3. Which member? JOSh: Yes. It’s with Sandy123. Admin types. ADMIN: Sandy123…oh she’s lovely. JOSH: That’s what I thought. Except, that’s not an accurate reflection of…Sandy123 is withholding…. Josh puts his hand over his mouth, shakes his head. He composes himself. ADMIN: Let’ start from the start. When did you meet? JOSH: Three nights ago. ADMIN: Where? JOSH: In a restaurant. ADMIN: What type of restaurant? JOSH: Is it important? ADMIN: The form’s asking for details Joshie. JOSH: Vietnamese. ADMIN: Very nice. What did you have? JOSH: Gosh, I…seafood chow mein I think. Admin gags. ADMIN: No thanks. Can’t stand fish. Beat. ADMIN: Sorry JOSH: It was very strange, very dark. I thought it was a really odd choice. I felt very uncomfortable there. I wasn’t enjoying myself at all in fact. ADMIN: Why’s that? JOSH: I felt like I was being lied to. Everything about it was just…a little bit odd. ADMIN: So you had a bad date, that’s the game I’m afraid Joshie. Can’t lodge a formal complaint over a lack of chemistry and a poor venue choice. JOSH: No that’s not…look I’m just going to say it okay? ADMIN: Say what? JOSH: What I’m here to complain about. ADMIN: What are you here to complain about? JOSH: I’m going to tell you now. ADMIN: Well go on then. JOSH: I am going on then! Let me say it. ADMIN: I’m not stopping you. JOSH: Just let me — ADMIN: I’m letting you. You’re not letting yourself if anything. JOSH: Sandy123 is a man. She’s not a girl she’s a man with a, with a penis. He lied to me, then he….he….(inaudible) he raped me. ADMIN: Pardon? JOSH: He raped me. Long pause. ADMIN: So you want a refund then? JOSH: What? No — ADMIN: Because we have a strict no refund policy I’m afraid. JOSH: I’m not asking for a refund. ADMIN: We don’t do them anyway. JOSH: I don’t want a refund. I was sexually assaulted by another man, I think it’s a bit more serious than a refund– ADMIN: You’re sure she was a man? JOSH: Of course I’m sure. ADMIN: And you know this because she raped you. JOSH: He. He raped me. ADMIN: Well we don’t know she’s a he yet. JOSH: He had a penis. ADMIN: Are you sure it was a penis? JOSH: Of course I’m sure! I know what a penis is. ADMIN: Hold on. Admin takes out another form. JOSH: What’s that? ADMIN: Rape claim form. Question one. Were you raped, yes or no? JOSH: Yes, I just told you I was. Admin ticks. ADMIN: Question two. Was your attacker A: Male, B: Female, C: Don’t know. JOSH: Male! He was male! ADMIN: Well we don’t know that do we? JOSH: Yes we do. He was a man. ADMIN: Yeah but look at her. JOSH: He was a man. ADMIN: I’ll tick ‘don’t know’. Admin ticks. JOSH: I’m telling you he was a man. ADMIN: The only proof you seem to have is that she had a penis. When in fact it could have been an appendage. Did you see it? JOSH: I felt it. ADMIN: Did you see it? JOSH: I felt it! I know what a penis feels like! Pause. ADMIN: I won’t ask… JOSH: I’m sorry, do you think you could be a bit more sensitive about this please? I don’t want a refund — ADMIN: We don’t do refunds I’m afraid. JOSH: I don’t want a refund! I need this to be taken seriously. ADMIN: I’ll need more details then. JOSH: I gave you details. ADMIN: You gave me details of the complaint. This is a different form. JOSH: I don’t know what you want me to say. ADMIN: Well at the moment we’ve gone from seafood to sodomy. What happened in between? Josh thinks. Swallows. JOSH: We ended up back at mine after dinner. He insisted on walking me home, I just wanted to get away. Then when we were on my doorstep — ADMIN: You invited her in? JOSH: He asked to use my phone to call a cab. I was nervous, I couldn’t say no. I was nervous. ADMIN: Did you know at this point that she was a man? JOSH: I knew there was something different about her – him. I knew something. ADMIN: Okay, so then what? JOSH: The taxi firm was engaged. I made him a cup of tea because he was just sat there. I didn’t want to seem rude. And that’s when he… Josh holds back tears. ADMIN: Would you like a tissue? JOSH: No I’m fine. Admin ticks the form. ADMIN: No tissue… JOSH: He wrapped a piece of rubber round my neck and held it there. He used both hands so it must’ve been… ADMIN: A penis. JOSH: I felt it! ADMIN: Okay. JOSH: I felt it. He held me there for a long time. ADMIN: After he’d forced you onto the bed. JOSH: Yes. ADMIN: And taken your trousers down. JOSH: Y…yes. ADMIN: And presumably lubricated…whatever it may have been… JOSH: …Yes. ADMIN: Okay. Good. Did you enjoy it? JOSH: I’m sorry? ADMIN: Did you enjoy it? JOSH: What? Who the hell do you…? I’m the victim of a brutal attack and you have the— ADMIN: I need you to answer the question. JOSH: I’m not answering that. ADMIN: Then I can’t process the complaint. JOSH: That’s not on your form though is it? It’s not on your fucking form. Josh snatches the form from the desk and reads. Admin waits. Slowly, Josh hands the form back. ADMIN: I’ll ask again, did you enjoy it? Pause. Josh shrugs, shakes his head. ADMIN: Joshie… JOSH: I don’t know. ADMIN: I’m going to ask you that one more time. Did. You. Enjoy it? JOSH: A little bit. ADMIN: A little bit. JOSH: That doesn’t change anything. It was traumatic, it was… ADMIN: I don’t doubt. JOSH: I didn’t know what was happening, it was all so… ADMIN: Different. JOSH: Aren’t I allowed to feel that? Aren’t I allowed to experience something different? ADMIN: Of course you are. Of course you are. Josh is closer than ever to tears. ADMIN: Doesn’t that feel better? Get it all out in the open? JOSH: Can we continue with the complaint please? ADMIN: Slight problem there Joshie. See, if you enjoyed it, then technically it wasn’t rape. JOSH: Beg your pardon? ADMIN: If you enjoy it, it’s not rape. According to the… Admin gestures to the form. JOSH: I needed stitches. ADMIN: Some people would consider you quite lucky. JOSH: Who’s in charge here? ADMIN: I mean looking at this, looking at it on paper, it actually looks like you led her on. JOSH: I want to speak to the person in charge. ADMIN: ‘Ooh, come in. Have a cup of tea. Look at my lovely bed spread, isn’t it soft. Oh dear, my trousers seem to have fallen down…’ JOSH: Who is in charge here! ADMIN: I’m in charge, Joshie. I’m asking the questions, I’m in charge. JOSH: I could take this to court. ADMIN: Court? JOSH: Yes. This is a crime. I could report it. ADMIN: That’s a very dangerous game. You put a man and a woman in a bedroom and shout ‘rape’, who do you think is gonna get blamed? JOSH: What are you implying? ADMIN: I’m not implying anything. JOSH: Are you saying you think I’m to blame here? ADMIN: I don’t have to say anything. I’m just looking at the facts as they are. On paper. JOSH: What, you think I raped him? Is that… Josh has cracked, he starts to weep. ADMIN: Oh, here come the waterworks. What’s the matter, is it traumatic? You want traumatic, try sitting behind this desk eight hours a day. See some of the freaks I have to deal with. No offence. JOSH: Have you ever been in a situation where you’re so scared, you can’t even breathe? Where you’re too scared to even open your eyes? ADMIN: Well I did Judo for eight years, so… JOSH: It was the worst experience of my life. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. And it was because of your organisation. ADMIN: Arguably you brought it on yourself– JOSH: I wake up every night soaked in urine. Wetting myself like a child. ADMIN: And that’s exactly the kind of thing they’ll bring up in court– JOSH: And you sit there and judge me? You try to tell me how it happened? You have no idea. Who the hell are you anyway? Who are you to make a mockery of what I’ve been through? ADMIN: Who am I? Who are you Joshie? You come in here, you’ve not even got your story straight. God knows why you’re going through all this in the first place. I mean, Rebecca, rape, Vietnamese seafood, says here table tennis… Admin gestures vaguely at the computer screen. ADMIN: ‘Oh, she was a man, she was a woman, she was a man, she was a woman!’ Make your mind up. JOSH: He was a man! ADMIN: Doesn’t make for a very coherent story does it? So before you come in here throwing accusations around, you should take a long hard look at yourself. Who are you? JOSH: I am a human being, and I’m entitled to a bit of basic human fucking dignity. I will not have my very existence called into question when you refuse to even acknowledge that fucking Sandy fucking 123 might just be a psychopathic gender-bending sexual predator. ADMIN: Or just a kinky, big boned girl with a strap-on. I think you’re just a bit confused at the moment. Aren’t you? A bit stressed. JOSH: I’m very stressed. ADMIN: Stress can do awful things to a young man. Make him do all sorts of strange behaviour. I don’t think you meant to rape that girl. JOSH: I didn’t rape her and she wasn’t a girl. ADMIN: You put all this in front of a judge and they’d lock you up. JOSH: I’m the victim here, do you understand? I am a victim. ADMIN: At the very least I should see what Sandy123 has to say on the matter. JOSH: No. Don’t do that. ADMIN: The fact that she hasn’t come forward to report the rape is an absolute blessing as far as you’re concerned. JOSH: I can show you the bruising. ADMIN: I’m sure she didn’t take it lying down. JOSH: Please don’t contact him. ADMIN: I wouldn’t anyway, not until we’ve got your story straight. That’s not likely though is it? You’re all over the place at the moment. You’re vision’s all blurred. I mean, Christ, you probably think I’m a man. JOSH: You are a man. ADMIN: Oh, give me strength. Look again, Josh. Look very closely. JOSH: I can see you quite clearly thank you– ADMIN: Come here. Come here and look at me. Admin takes Josh by the face and pulls him close. Beat as Josh stares at Admin. JOSH: You’re a woman. ADMIN: You sound surprised. Admin lets him go, but he continues to stare. JOSH: How…how is that? ADMIN: You made a mistake, that’s all. Happens every day. JOSH: I made a mistake… ADMIN: Happens all the time. Josh continues inspecting Admin. JOSH: You really are quite beautiful. ADMIN: Thanks, I know. JOSH: I know this isn’t really the time or the place, but do you think…if perhaps you weren’t behind that desk, and I…I mean if we weren’t, you know…do you think it would ever be possible for us….I don’t know, I just thought it would be nice to…I don’t know. ADMIN: I don’t want you to get charged with rape. That is not what I want. Let me throw this in the bin and we can start again fresh, alright? Put all that nastiness behind us. Admin scrunches up the forms and throws them towards the bin. ADMIN: Here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m going to set you up on another date, get you back out there okay? Joshie? JOSH: But what about the complaint? What about the rape? ADMIN: Let me deal with that. I’ll make sure it’s all swept under the carpet. JOSH: Okay. ADMIN: I won’t tell anyone that you came in here today so don’t worry about that. Just try and move past all this. Go out there and embrace it. I’ve had a lovely new member join this week who I think you’ll love. You’re really perfect for each other. Admin starts typing at the computer. JOSH: Thank you. ADMIN: I’ll set you two up for Wednesday. JOSH: Lovely. What’s her name? ADMIN: Patrick. Fade to black.