Rob Hayes Writes Plays

Free Plays From Rob Hayes.

Category: Free Play

Fabergé Egg

Peter stands with his young son Jake in a viewing room. On the table between them is an open deposit box containing Fabergé’s 15th Anniversary egg.

Jake leans in to get a close look at the egg. He reaches out to touch it.

PETER Don’t touch it. Jake don’t touch it.

Peter gently moves Jake’s arm away.

PETER It’s very valuable. It’s probably the most valuable thing you’ve ever seen in real life.

JAKE How much does it cost?

PETER Many thousands of pounds. That’s why we’re here. Daddy’s come to sell it.

JAKE Is it yours?

PETER I don’t own it. It’s my job to sell it on my boss’ behalf.

JAKE Behalf.

PETER That means doing something for someone else.

JAKE Oscar has an egg.

PETER I don’t think it’s an egg like this though is it?

JAKE Yeah. His dad’s got one.

PETER I’m telling you it’s not an egg like this one. This is a very rare egg.

Jake reaches out to touch it.

PETER You mustn’t grab at it. You’ve touched it once already. That’s enough. It’s very delicate. This is a real privilege now. Only a few people will ever get as close as you are to an object like this.

JAKE Privilege.

PETER That’s when a good thing happens to you that doesn’t happen to everyone else. Your daddy trusts you and loves you very much. That’s why I wanted to bring you along.

JAKE Mum said we were going skiing.

PETER Well unfortunately we can’t today.

JAKE It’s my birthday.

PETER We can go skiing another time.

Jake loses interest. He slips of his seat and hops around the room.

PETER It won’t take long. Then afterwards we can go to McDonalds. I’m sorry we never made it to the ski slope but this lady’s travelled a long long way to come and buy this egg. So it’s important I was ready for her when she arrived.

JAKE Is she here yet?

PETER She will be very shortly.

JAKE I want to go.

PETER We can go soon.

JAKE I want to go skiing.

PETER We can’t go skiing today. But you’ve got to see a very precious work of art. In a way that’s a much better present. You’ll be talking about this birthday for many years. Jake are you listening?

Jake hops back over to his seat and stares intently at the egg.

JAKE Can I touch it?

PETER No you mustn’t touch it. It doesn’t belong to us.

JAKE Then afterwards we can go to McDonalds.

PETER Yes. Just a few more minutes now.

Jake slumps onto the table, fidgety.

An intercom buzzes.

PETER That’s her. Okay sunshine. I’m putting this away now. You just sit very still for a moment and then we can go. Okay?

Peter closes the deposit box.

PETER Okay?

JAKE Okay.

PETER Good boy.

The intercom buzzes again. Peter exits to an adjacent room where Ms. Poltava is waiting.

Peter greets Ms. Poltava.

PETER Lovely to meet you.

MS. POLTAVA Yes, very much. Thank you for last minute arrangements.

PETER That’s absolutely no problem. Obviously this has been in the offing for several weeks. We’re absolutely thrilled to seal the deal. So to speak.

MS. POLTAVA I am also. My family are very much looking forward to my return.

Meanwhile in the other room. Jake leans in and opens the box. He stares at the egg.

PETER As discussed, it’s the Fifteenth Anniversary Egg that’s become available.

MS. POLTAVA Yes. We are very happy with this.

PETER It’s a beautiful piece.

MS. POLTAVA Yes. We like very much. Is our favourite.

In the other room, Jake very cautiously places his fingers on the egg.

PETER It’s gold construction, inlaid with translucent green and opalescent oyster enamel leafage. Finished with diamonds and rock crystal. The miniature scenes and portaits are watercolour on ivory.

MS. POLTAVA The photographs may not do it justice I feel.

PETER That is so true Ms. Poltova. The thing itself will take your breath away.

Jake holds the egg. After a moment he lifts it out of the box with all the reverence his father instilled in it.

PETER It’s divided into eighteen panels, each containing a miniature by court painter Vasili Zuiev. And each framed by diamond-set green enamel ribbons over 24 carat red gold.

Jake holds the egg very close to his face. He smells it. Gently licks it. Presses it against his cheek.

PETER Seven oval portraits depict members of the imperial family, whilst nine larger panels offer scenes from the life of Tsar Nicholas II. The top of the egg is inscribed with the imperial monogram of Alexandra Fyodorovna, below a table diamond with a crystal border.

Jake launches the egg against the wall. It shatters. He freezes. Unsure what to do next.

PETER The portaits are exquisitely detailed, and set against a pearl and guilloche background. Of course they’re added an extra poignancy by the tragic events that were to follow just two years later. It really has become a sacred historical relic in its own right. A living document as well as an awe-inspiring piece of jewellery.

MS. POLTAVA Yes. We go see?

PETER Of course you’ve read all this I’m sure.

MS. POLTAVA Please. My time is not. Uh. Available much.

PETER Yes. Indeed. Do accept my apologies. I won’t keep you any longer.

MS. POLTOVA We go through now?

PETER No you take a seat. I’ll bring it to you. Do sit down.

MS. POLTOVA Yes. Okay.

She sits.

Meanwhile Jake panics. He sweeps the shattered egg into the corner of the room with his foot.

PETER I trust Mr. Lardes clarified the terms of transaction with your.

MS. POLTOVA Yes all is clear. Please.

PETER Very well. Then without further ado.

Peter enters the room with Jake and the broken egg.

He moves over to the box and sees it’s empty.

PETER Where is it? Jake where’s the egg?

He looks at his son, who stands rigid.

PETER Jake what have you done with the egg?

Pause.

PETER If you’re playing a game, it stops now. Where is the egg?

Jake shakes his head slightly.

PETER I won’t ask you again. You’re to return daddy’s item immediately. This is not funny. I told you it was very precious and it’s not to be played with. You return it this instant or you’ll find yourself in some very serious trouble. Do you understand?

Jake just stares.

PETER Please Jake. Don’t make me ask you again.

Ms. Poltova enters.

MS. POLTOVA Everything is okay? I hear noises and you delay in bringing the egg.

Peter and Jake stare at each other. Jake has tears streaming down his face.

MS. POLTOVA You never mention there is a boy. Why do you have a boy here? Please is there a problem?

Jake ever so slightly shakes his head at his father.

Beat.

PETER I’m dreadfully sorry, Ms. Poltova. There seems to have been some terrible. Error. A misommunication. See, my assistant was supposed to leave me the keys to the box before she left for the weekend. Unfortunately she appears to have fogotten.

MS. POLTOVA You do not have keys to box?

PETER I really am awfully sorry for the inconvenience.

MS. POLTOVA I cannot take egg?

PETER Not today, regretfully.

MS. POLTOVA Then we call Mr. Lardes?

PETER Mr. Lardes is in Switzerland. At a wedding. I’m afraid there’s nothing we can do. My assistant Lucy. She’s having a rather hard time of it at the moment. She has a lot on her mind. With everything going on she must’ve clean forgot to leave me the keys.

MS. POLTOVA This is not good. I travel a long way to secure for my family.

PETER What time does your flight leave tomorrow?

MS. POLTOVA I think 4pm.

PETER I can assure you I’ll have the whole thing ironed out by then. We’ll call you at the hotel when the piece is ready for collection.

MS. POLTOVA This is not what I expect from Mr. Lardes.

Peter turns to Ms. Poltova for the first time.

PETER Again I apologise. Why don’t you wait in the lounge and we’ll call for a driver?

MS. POLTOVA It seems I don’t have the choice.

Ms. Poltova exits, shaking her head.

Beat.

Peter holds his arms open. Jake runs in for a hug.

Le Diable

A train carriage.

Agent Marshall sits opposite Emerald. They are alone.

EMERALD What did you do when you arrived?

MARSHALL I went for a walk around the town.

EMERALD Where?

MARSHALL Down the main street.

EMERALD The main street?

MARSHALL Le Rue St. Vincent

EMERALD How far did you walk?

MARSHALL As far as the local aquatics museum.

EMERALD Good.

MARSHALL Unfortunately the main exhibition was closed due to maintenance so I went and had a coffee in the neighbouring cafe. Espresso.

EMERALD Excellent. Then what?

MARSHALL I wandered over to a local market. I’d heard they take place every Thursday and Saturday.

EMERALD Did you buy anything?

MARSHALL Yes. A cheese.

EMERALD Which one?

MARSHALL It was a Gloucester.

EMERALD In northern France?

MARSHAL It was a Gruyere.

EMERALD Better.

MARSHALL It came wrapped in wax paper by hand and sealed with the customary wax stamp of the cheesemonger.

EMERALD What was the stamp?

MARSHALL Two lions. Eating cheese?

EMERALD Marshall.

MARSHALL It was two lions climbing a pear tree. The town is renowned for having two fortified naval ports and for its succulent juicy pears. The lions wore crowns to indicate that the local grocers collective was once hired by Royal Appointment under King Charles II.

EMERALD Good. Very good. Did you meet anyone in town?

MARSHALL Yes. A girl. 21. She was German. A student on holiday. We shared a taxi back from town. It was late afternoon and there weren’t many taxis. Plus it looked like it might rain.

EMERALD Did it?

MARSHALL No, it hasn’t rained in the region for 61 days. She said she was travelling to get over a relationship. Her ex boyfriend is studying furniture design in Dusseldorf. They’d been together for three years but he chose to call an end to it in order to concentrate on his studies. She was an English student and had recently decided to move to London for her final year. She has a cousin who lives in Tufnell Park. They’re not that close but the cousin owes her family a favour after his mother had a nervous breakdown when he was young and he was taken in by Elise’s family along with his two sisters.

Beat.

MARSHALL Elise. That’s her name. They stayed with Elise’s family for six months before social services could relocate them. Now he’s a London resident and has extended an invite of hospitality to her. She plans to live there for three months, or until she secures work teaching English and can afford her own rent. But not before her Interrailing pass has expired, which it does in five weeks. She was staying at the Place De Lise Hotel about twenty minutes’ drive out of town.

EMERALD Did you stay there with her?

MARSHALL I was tempted but unfortunately she’s not real.

Emerald raises her eyebrows.

MARSHALL When I arrived back at my own hotel I ordered room service. Seared calf’s liver with dauphinoise potatoes and a fennel jus. Followed by fruit salad. Plus a large glass of 2008 Sancerre and a bottle of sparkling mineral water. I studied maps of the local area and read the newspaper. I watched a current affairs programme, much of which I didn’t understand, checked my emails and went to bed. I was asleep by 11.20 and spoke to no-one save the hotel staff all evening.

EMERALD And in the morning?

MARSHALL Are you serious?

EMERALD Deadly.

MARSHALL Continental breakfast.

EMERALD Consisting of?

MARSHALL One croissant with apricot jam. Two cups of coffee.

EMERALD That’s it?

MARSHALL And a cigarette. I wasn’t hungry. I finished at 8.10am. Returned to my room. Packed. Checked out 8.30. Took a taxi to the train station. Passed the old town hall on the way. Driver told me it had been decommissioned six years ago and all departments had been moved to a new building by a local architect who’d recently enjoyed international success. His name escapes me. There was a petition to keep the old building in use but the change went ahead nonetheless.

EMERALD And you understood all that?

MARSHALL I’d already read the story in a tourism pamphlet the previous day. Certain keywords tipped me off that he was offering the same anecdote.

Beat.

EMERALD Okay.

MARSHALL I pissed several times and passed solids just once.

EMERALD Grow up Marshall.

MARSHALL Due respect Em. I’ve been doing this longer than you.

EMERALD Long enough to skip prep?

MARSHALL Long enough to know what I’m doing.

EMERALD You’ve never dealt with him.

MARSHALL I’ve dealt with similar.

EMERALD No you haven’t.

MARSHALL He’s a warlord. They’re all the same.

EMERALD No. They don’t all have Asperger’s. And before you ask, yes, it makes a difference.

MARSHALL They’re all crazy.

EMERALD You think this is ridiculous? This is nothing. We’ve barely started. You know who we sent in before you?

MARSHALL Heaver.

EMERALD Agent Heaver. Yes. Word is he claimed to have taken a local bus route that had stopped running the month prior to his arrival.

MARSHALL I thought you lost comms with him?

EMERALD We did, right then. Two days later we received his hands in the post.

Beat.

EMERALD It’s prudent to assume he knows everything about you before you walk into the room.

MARSHALL That I’m an agent?

EMERALD Preferably everything but that.

Emerald hands Marshall a bulky newspaper.

EMERALD You’ll be armed with this and this only.

Marshall takes a peek.

MARSHALL Point four five Beretta.

EMERALD Which you will volunteer. Volunteer, Marshall, to one of the men stood at the entrance.

MARSHALL Okay.

EMERALD Little tip. Keep your hands where the room can see them. Look at him but don’t maintain eye contact for too long. When you’re not talking, which should be most of the time, roll your tongue like this.

Emerald sticks her tongue out and rolls it.

EMERALD And place it against the roof of your mouth. It’ll give you something to focus on. If he asks for anything you’ve not rehearsed, make a conscious effort to move your eyes to the left. You’ll do it naturally when remembering details.

MARSHALL Even if they are made up.

EMERALD Exactly. If you claim you can’t remember something more than twice, everyone in the room will get nervous. Including you.

MARSHALL Hence the travelogue.

EMERALD He’s a unique individual. And ruthless.

Emerald looks out the window.

EMERALD We’re almost here. I’ll leave first by the far exit. My pick up is over the other side of the station. Wait for  thirty seconds, then gather your things and leave. Oh, and Marshall.

MARSHALL Yes Emerald?

EMERALD If he grins or licks his teeth. Get out any way you can.

MARSHALL Bear that in mind. Thanks.

EMERALD Best of luck.

MARSHALL Won’t need it. See you in eight months.

EMERALD I hope so.

Zeno’s Paradox And Other Problems

A kitchen.

Kevin is sat rigid in a chair. He stares at a large glass of water on the table before him.

Seb enters and puts the kettle on. He fetches a mug.

SEB Want a drink?

KEVIN I’m so thirsty.

Seb turns.

SEB Hah?

KEVIN I am so thirsty.

Seb observes the scene.

SEB There’s a glass of water directly in front of you.

Kevin whimpers.

SEB Are you okay? Kev?

KEVIN I can’t move.

SEB Are you. What have you hurt yourself? What’s wrong?

KEVIN No.

SEB Did you pull a hernia?

KEVIN I didn’t pull a hernia.

SEB So what is it? What’s wrong?

KEVIN I can’t move.

SEB Do you need me to call someone, or.

KEVIN I’m fine. I’m not hurt.

SEB So. What’s up?

KEVIN I’m so thirsty and I can’t move.

SEB If you’re thirsty just drink the water. Are you sure you’re okay? Dude.

KEVIN If I drink the water I’ll have to reach out and take it.

SEB Yeah that’s usually. How it works.

KEVIN So I’ll have to move my arm over to the glass on the table.

SEB Are you high?

KEVIN To move it all the way over there I’ll first have to move it half way there.

Beat.

KEVIN Right?

SEB Well yeah. That’s.

KEVIN Okay. Now. To move it half way there I’ll have to first move it half way to half way there.

SEB I. I’m sorry. Kev I have no idea what.

KEVIN I’ll first have to arrive at a point that’s half way between where my hand rests now and where it’ll be half way towards the glass. Is there something that isn’t clear about that?

SEB No. I mean technically it all makes.

KEVIN Good. Thank you. But to move it a quarter of the way there, I’ll first have to move it half of that distance.

SEB Oh Jesus.

KEVIN An eighth of the way there.

SEB Is this some kind of joke? Are trying to waste my time for some reason?

KEVIN And before that I’ll have to move it a sixteenth of the way there and before that a thirty-second and before that a sixty-forth.

SEB Look at me. What the hell are you talking about?

KEVIN And on and on and on into infinity. There are infinity points in space I’ll have to hit in between here and that glass of water. And infinity movements I’ll have to make to hit those points.

SEB O. Kay.

KEVIN Don’t you see?

SEB See what?

KEVIN How the hell am I supposed to make infinity movements?! That’s impossible! It’ll take an infinite amount of time!

SEB No it takes like two seconds.

KEVIN YOU’RE NOT GETTING IT.

SEB Okay okay. Just. Chill out. Fuck.

KEVIN No human being can ever perform infinity movements no matter how small, or hit infinity points in space no matter how close together. Because it’s infinite. That’s the point. It’ll go on forever.

SEB I think there may be some holes in your logic.

KEVIN And I don’t want to spend eternity reaching for a glass of water.

SEB No one does. But that’s not what’ll happen.

KEVIN I’ve just proved that it will Seb. With science!

SEB Well how about I bring the water over to you.

Seb reaches for the glass of water.

KEVIN DON’T TOUCH IT! DO NOT TOUCH IT! This is my problem, understand? It’s my problem.

Seb backs away.

Pause.

SEB Just pick up the glass, man. It’s just a glass. 

Seb notices that Kevin is crying.

SEB Are you okay? Hey is everything. Are you.

Beat.

Seb sits down at the table. He looks at the glass of water.

SEB Do you want to tell me what’s up?

KEVIN I looked at the snowflakes today.

SEB The snowflakes?

KEVIN Uh huh.

SEB It’s not snowing.

KEVIN No the snowflakes. The big. The giant ones.

SEB The giant snowflakes.

KEVIN Some guy. Some scientist. Took pictures of these snowflakes. But they’re like really close up. Like 50 times. 100 times magnified or something. So they look.

SEB Giant. Right. Giant snowflakes. So, what. They look cool? I bet they look cool.

Kevin cries again.

KEVIN It’s scary Seb.

SEB Scary?

KEVIN It’s terrifying.

SEB Why. What’s. What’s so scary about the snowflakes?

KEVIN There’s. Temples.

SEB Temples? On snowflakes.

KEVIN Aquaducts. Gorges. Laylines. Frescoes. Arches. Ridges. Tessellation. Patterns. Beautiful intricate patterns. Pillars. Promontories. Fucking cities on these. Tiny cities on these miniscule little.

SEB Wow.

KEVIN And they say it’s nature? Fucking nature?!

SEB It is nature man. It’s a beautiful thing.

KEVIN Some of them have stars on them. Like the way people draw them. With the five.

SEB Five points yeah.

KEVIN Yeah with the five points all evenly spaced.

SEB That’s pretty cool.

KEVIN How the fuck would nature know how human beings draw stars Sebastian? How could nature possibly know that?

SEB Okay. I get it. And that’s made you scared of snowflakes.

KEVIN And the way they’re built. They’re structured so they can like. Take their own weight. And not collapse in on themselves. But then they just drop anyway. Just fall and.

Beat.

KEVIN I just wanna know. Who makes them? Who or what is engineering these snowflakes that are so specifically designed and so exquisitely executed. And every single one completely unique. And then letting them just fall to the ground and disappear. Completely unnoticed. By anyone.

SEB Yeah I don’t. I don’t know.

KEVIN Because there is a hand at work. And that hand is witty and intelligent. And has an eye for beauty. And is a master of every science and art. To be able to create these little. But it’s a hand that’s hell bent on futility. And destruction. Creating a perfect little system then. Throwing it down into chaos.

Beat.

SEB Well. Maybe it’s a message.

KEVIN What kind of message?

SEB Like one of those enjoy the ride kinds of message. Like you fall. And you die. And the whole time you’re not really in control of anything. But when you’re falling. It’s fun, and you get to see some awesome things along the way. And also you’re this crazily constructed perfect ecosystem with some incredible design touches. It won’t last forever, and maybe no one’ll notice. But that’s what you are whilst you exist. That’s a pretty fucking sweet thing to be.

KEVIN You think. You think that’s what the hand is saying?

SEB It’s like the glass of water. You spend your entire existence reaching for a single glass of water. That’s all you’ll ever do, because it takes infinity to do it. And maybe you won’t even make it. But if you can be cool with that. And just, you know, enjoy reaching for the water whilst it’s going on. Then it’s not all so bad.

KEVIN I. I never. No that’s a good. I suppose it kind of.

SEB Why don’t you go grab the water Kev? Then maybe we can go outside for a while. Get some fresh air. Here I’ll even help you.

Seb moves the glass to the edge of the table.

SEB There, I just saved you half an eternity.

Beat.

SEB Why don’t you grab the glass Kev? Have a drink. Then we’ll go outside.

Beat. Kevin his breathing heavily.

SEB Have a drink Kev.

KEVIN nods. He takes a deep breath.

Mother (Third Variation)

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

He pushes his cheeks in.

‘Look at that face’, she says. Obviously I can only see hers. She is pretty, if the light’s right. But this feels really quite weird. I don’t know if it’s because I’m leaving or because she’s a bit pissed, but she’s really making things quite uncomfortable.

Then she says ‘don’t waste it’.

He shrugs.

‘Waste what?’ She holds my face tighter, ‘what you’ve got, right here’. I’m lost. I just kind of raise one eyebrow and try to smile, but I can’t because of the.

He squeezes his cheeks.

Her eyes are glistening, just along the rim, and then she says, ‘if I had it back, I’d probably just waste it all over again.’

And I say.

I say.

Nothing. I don’t say anything. I want to, but I can’t. Then she lets me go.

But just because I never said it doesn’t mean she didn’t know. She knew I loved her. She must’ve known.

Because I did. I loved her.

And she knew that, even though. Even though I never said it. 

Power Lunch

A mid-range French restaurant.

Hannah (32) and Michael (44) are sat together at a table.

MICHAEL Been here before?

HANNAH couple of times. Yeah.

Michael scans the decor.

MICHAEL Nice, isn’t it?

Beat.

MICHAEL Can you recommend.

He nods to the menu.

HANNAH Oh. I’m vegetarian, so.

MICHAEL More of a meat man myself.

HANNAH The lamb’s supposed to be nice.

MICHAEL This is great, by the way. I’m really.

HANNAH I hope you didn’t mind me asking like that. In front of everyone.

MICHAEL Mind? Pfff! I was about to ask you actually, only I thought I’d give it. Couple of.

HANNAH Couldn’t seem to get you alone.

MICHAEL I mean you’ve been with us, what. Two weeks? Three weeks?

HANNAH Little longer.

MICHAEL And you seem to be a bit. You know, not quite fitting.

HANNAH Oh. Well I suppose.

MICHAEL No sorry. I didn’t mean to be.

HANNAH No it’s fine.

MICHAEL Only you notice things. Pretty new girl sat alone.

HANNAH I think people are wary of me.

MICHAEL Yeah. Newbie.

HANNAH To the branch. I’ve been with the company for ages.

MICHAEL Because I don’t know if you know, but they’re firing people all over the place right now. Workforce something-or-other.

HANNAH Oh. Yes, I’m.

MICHAEL And so bringing you in and then. You know, getting rid of. People who’ve been with us.

HANNAH Keep expecting someone to. I don’t know. Stab me in the neck or something.

MICHAEL Right. Really? Seems a bit extreme.

HANNAH No I’m being silly.

MICHAEL I mean it’s not your fault.

HANNAH Paranoid really.

MICHAEL I don’t think anyone’s going to stab you in the neck.

HANNAH Hope not.

MICHAEL It’s not really that sort of place.

HANNAH No.

MICHAEL Stab you in the back maybe!

He laughs. Hannah tries to laugh along.

MICHAEL That’s certainly a possibility. But in the neck. Less likely.

Beat.

HANNAH Everyone seems lovely.

MICHAEL I can give you the er. The lowdown. On everyone. If you.

HANNAH Right.

MICHAEL Eight years, I’ve been.

HANNAH Really? That’s.

MICHAEL Moved over from Sandhurst and Webb. Never looked back.

HANNAH Hmmn.

MICHAEL I know some of those guys better than they know themselves.

HANNAH What, your colleagues?

 MICHAEL Only a slight exaggeration, that. I mean it.

HANNAH Impressive.

MICHAEL I’ve got files on them all. Actual files. At home.

HANNAH Is that.

MICHAEL Because you can never know.

HANNAH Legal? I’m not sure if that’s.

MICHAEL I mean they’re my friends, but.

HANNAH Legal.

MICHAEL And they are my friends. I mean genuine like. You know because there’s colleagues and then theres. Real you know. Always come to me first. You ask anyone, they come to me first. Every day, Michael this, Michael that.

HANNAH They all seem very fond of you.

MICHAEL Michael, my computer’s crashed!

HANNAH I thought you were in accounts.

MICHAEL Michael, I don’t know my tax code!

HANNAH That’s an HR thing really.

MICHAEL But who do they come to? It’s not HR. Well it is eventually, but only because I point them there.

HANNAH When I worked in the Lichfield branch someone poured paint all over my laptop.

MICHAEL Oh, that is.

HANNAH It was covered by the insurance.

MICHAEL Still though.

HANNAH But I lost everything. Everything.

MICHAEL People get jealous. Beautiful young girl. Smart, go-getting.

HANNAH Well I think. Maybe there was a bit more to it.

MICHAEL Stick with me. You’ll be untouchable. And if there’s whisperings of any. Workplace recalibrating.

HANNAH Workforce restructuring.

MICHAEL Whatever they’re calling it, I’ll have words. I’m not saying you should be worried. But last in, first out and all that.

HANNAH Well no. I don’t think.

MICHAEL It happens. Beautiful girl. Jealous people. Stick with me, that’s my advice.

He leans over and touches her hand. She pulls away.

HANNAH I’m sure if I get on with the job at hand I can expect to stay fairly safe.

MICHAEL Eight years. You don’t do that kind of time without learning how the whole thing works.

HANNAH Oh god. Okay, there’s something we need to discuss.

MICHAEL I’ll let them know you’re my girl. Not to be messed with. He winks at her.

HANNAH It’s not that I don’t appreciate the gesture.

MICHAEL Don’t assume you’re safe. No one should assume they’re safe.

HANNAH I never think I’m safe. There are some angry, angry people out there.

MICHAEL But if you were seen to be. You know, connected. To me in some way.

HANNAH Very dangerous environment, the workplace.

MICHAEL My esteem is such that.

HANNAH I just want to make a good impression.

MICHAEL Well I have my files. You could come back. Tonight. We could go through them. Together, if.

HANNAH It’s so hard for me to make friends.

MICHAEL I’m your friend. I’ll be your friend. Why don’t you come back? Then we can.

HANNAH It’s so horrible.

MICHAEL Strategise.

HANNAH Even now, sat here. I know I have to do it but.

MICHAEL Do what?

HANNAH And it’s horrible, awful.

MICHAEL Do what, darling?

HANNAH You’re a lovely man.

MICHAEL Thank you. You’re a lovely woman.

HANNAH And you’ve been with us for eight years.

MICHAEL Yeah that’s what I’m saying.

HANNAH You’re a good person and a good worker.

MICHAEL I know that. I can help you.

HANNAH And whatever happens from here, whatever happens in the future.

MICHAEL We could skip dinner, if. Go straight to.

HANNAH I know you’ll thrive in a new environment.

MICHAEL I’ve got pizzas. Back at.

HANNAH You’ve done some great work with the company. Honestly, we’re really grateful for.

MICHAEL Yeah. What do you mean?

HANNAH You’re a valued member of the team.

MICHAEL What are you.

HANNAH This is horrible. Jeremy was right.

MICHAEL Jeremy? Who’s.

HANNAH He’s always right. I should’ve listened.

MICHAEL Who’s Jeremy?

 HANNAH My fiance.

MICHAEL Fiance?

HANNAH I should have just stood my ground.

MICHAEL Sorry have I. Fiance?

HANNAH I’m better than this. I deserve better.

MICHAEL Does he know about.

HANNAH Michael. I would like to thank you for the years of hard work and commitment you’ve given to the organisation.

MICHAEL Pardon? I don’t know what.

HANNAH But now we feel it’s time.

MICHAEL We feel? Who’s we?

HANNAH That you moved on to new experiences and explored other avenues.

MICHAEL Wait. Wait. I don’t really know what’s.

HANNAH You’re very capable and obviously we’ll support you in any way we can.

MICHAEL No. No hang on.

HANNAH As you know, we’re undergoing a restructuring of the workforce.

MICHAEL You’re. No. No.

HANNAH I’ve been brought in to assess the productivity of the team.

MICHAEL Brought in.

HANNAH And we feel there’s no longer a viable position for you at. At.

MICHAEL What? What are you saying?

HANNAH As you know we’ve had a very difficult year. And we’ve been forced to make some very difficult.

MICHAEL That’s why you’ve.

HANNAH Please don’t hurt me.

MICHAEL You asked me. In front of all my.

HANNAH Please don’t stab me.

MICHAEL You’ve been here two fucking weeks. And then.

HANNAH Please don’t stab me.

MICHAEL And all this.

He gestures at the restaurant.

MICHAEL This was all to.

HANNAH We felt we owed you a. Eight years is a long. Time.

Beat.

MICHAEL No. Don’t. Just don’t.

HANNAH Please I.

MICHAEL I’ll take a cut. I’ll take a pay cut. And my office. I’ll.

HANNAH It’s done. It wasn’t my decision. I’m sorry.

Beat.

MICHAEL This is what I’m worth is it? Skip the starter.

HANNAH I’ll have to tell them about the files. Sounds like it could be a breach of.

MICHAEL And just to clarify. There was never anything. More. Between. I mean the reason. When you spoke to me. Was always.

HANNAH I’m getting married.

MICHAEL Okay. I see.

HANNAH I understand if you don’t want to stay here.

MICHAEL I’ll sue. I will sue you. I just want you to know that.

HANNAH Okay. What for, exactly? Never mind. Don’t.

Beat.

HANNAH Listen I’m sorry. You must be. I do understand if you’d rather just go home. Perhaps that’s the best. Option. Considering.

Micheal stares at Hannah. He opens his menu and reads.

MICHAEL So you said the lamb’s good?

 

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?

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?