Rob Hayes Writes Plays

Free Plays From Rob Hayes.

Tag: Comedy

The Consultant

A Consultant’s office.

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

The Consultant examines her closely. 

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

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

He goes back in for another look.

CONSULTANT Hmm. Yes.

He nods.

CONSULTANT You have a bum for a face. 

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

CONSULTANT Who shall I send this invoice to?

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You Wouldn’t Believe What Mother Said Today

A Patio.

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

Pause.

MOTHER Did I say that out loud?

SON Say what out loud?

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

SON No. You didn’t say anything.

MOTHER Hnn.

Beat.

MOTHER Must’ve said it in my head.

SON I think you did.

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

MOTHER Did I say that out loud?

SON What?

MOTHER About asking you about the other thing?

SON We just had a brief conversation mother yes.

MOTHER So I did?

SON Yes you did.

MOTHER Hnn.

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

William And His Body

A doctor’s surgery.

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

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

DR. PASSWATER It’s grown.

WILLIAM Grown?

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

WILLIAM What was it last time?

DR. PASSWATER Cherry.

William takes this in.

WILLIAM Why does it always have to be fruit?

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

WILLIAM Can you operate?

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

WILLIAM I mean. Can they operate?

Dr. Passwater grimaces.

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

WILLIAM Well no. I just.

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

WILLIAM I wouldn’t. Suggest.

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

WILLIAM How do you mean?

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

WILLIAM Jesus.

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

WILLIAM Clementine.

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

William rubs his face.

WILLIAM God.

Dr. Passwater checks her watch.

WILLIAM So, what? Am I going to die?

DR. PASSWATER Absolutely.

WILLIAM From the tumour?

DR. PASSWATER Oh!

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

DR. PASSWATER Probably.

WILLIAM Is there anything we can do?

DR. PASSWATER At this stage? Absolutely nothing.

WILLIAM What about chemotherapy?

DR. PASSWATER Apart from chemotherapy.

WILLIAM So that’s a possibility?

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

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

DR. PASSWATER No need to be facetious.

WILLIAM Bloody watermelons?

DR. PASSWATER Celebrities actually.

WILLIAM I’m sorry I don’t quite.

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

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

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

WILLIAM This is insane.

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

WILLIAM Gale Porter has alopecia.

Beat. Dr. Passwater consults her file.

DR. PASSWATER Hmmm.

WILLIAM Can I have her slot?

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

She clicks her pen.

DR. PASSWATER Age?

WILLIAM 32.

DR. PASSWATER Sex?

WILLIAM Uh. Male.

DR. PASSWATER Life insurance?

WILLIAM Nope.

DR. PASSWATER Blood type?

WILLIAM O Negative.

DR. PASSWATER Nice. Ever suffered from arthritis?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Palsy?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Polio?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Gout?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Heart failure?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Angina, chronic, acute or otherwise?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Asthma?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Eczema?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Appendicitis?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Brittle bone disease grades 2-7?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Rickets?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Lazy eye?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Wandering eye?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Eye of the Tiger?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Parkinson’s disease?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Wogan’s syndrome?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Norton’s Infection.

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Tennis elbow?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Dancer’s ankle?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Rambler’s hip?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Fencer’s shoulder?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Jogger’s nipple?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Housewife’s jaw?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Plasterer’s radio?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Sub-cutaneal lipo-disfigurement?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Acute nervous retinal detachment?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Advanced seasonal cognitive misappropriation?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Extreme spontaneous dental hydroplosion?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Di-nitrotoxic plasmo-psychosis?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Cyrrosis of the liver?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Osmosis of the kidneys?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Inertia of the colon?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Protrusion of the rectum?

WILLIAM What?

DR. PASSWATER Answer the question.

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Gall stones?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Kidney stones?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Flint stones?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Overactive mucus gland?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Underactive prostate gland?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Hepatitis A-G?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Erectile dysfunction?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Projectile misfunction?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Premature emasculation?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Heart murmur?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Kidney whisper?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Stomach growl?

WILLIAM Occasionally.

She looks at him. Ticks the form.

DR. PASSWATER Syphilis?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Hysteria?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER Phantom pregnancy?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER M.E.?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER M.S.?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER T.B.?

WILLIAM No.

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

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER P.M.T.?

WILLIAM No?

DR. PASSWATER S.A.D.?

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER R.S.I.?

WILLIAM No.

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

WILLIAM Pardon?

DR. PASSWATER It’s a very serious condition.

WILLIAM Oh. No.

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

WILLIAM No.

DR. PASSWATER And finally, any brain tumours?

Dr. Passwater ticks the form.

DR. PASSWATER Yes.

She writes.

DR. PASSWATER Brackets, grape.

She takes out a calculator.

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

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

Beat. She calculates.

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

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

WILLIAM What are these?

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

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

DR. PASSWATER Well, that figure is.

WILLIAM Yes?

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

WILLIAM What isn’t? What does it mean?

DR. PASSWATER Just take a deep breath.

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

DR. PASSWATER Please try and see things from a.

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

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

WILLIAM Dead?

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

WILLIAM Dead? I don’t. I don’t.

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

WILLIAM I get it. Thank you.

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

WILLIAM A. A little girl.

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

WILLIAM This is. Ridiculous. I mean.

DR. PASSWATER Give it some thought.

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

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

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

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

DR. PASSWATER No.

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

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

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

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

WILLIAM What do you mean, report? What report?

She opens another file.

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

WILLIAM What is this?

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

WILLIAM You have got to be kidding me.

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

WILLIAM No. I’m sorry, no.

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

WILLIAM What? Direct. What about Isabelle?

DR. PASSWATER Isabelle.

WILLIAM Yes my daughter Isabelle.

DR. PASSWATER Your daughter?

Dr. Passwater consults the file.

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

WILLIAM No. No.

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

WILLIAM Saddleworth.

DR. PASSWATER And your wife was staying with.

WILLIAM Steve. Oh my god.

Beat.

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

Pause. Dr. Passwater nudges the leaflet closer.

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

Beat.

WILLIAM Thank you for your help, doctor.

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

WILLIAM Do you. Take care.

DR. PASSWATER Everything. We take care of everything.

WILLIAM I think I know what to do now.

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

Beat. He doesn’t move.

DR. PASSWATER On your way out.

WILLIAM Am I really as useless as all that?

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

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

Dr. Passwater presses her intercom.

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

Isla’s Problem

A desert.

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

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

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

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

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

 Dirk watches.

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

 He waits for a reaction. 

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

A Wake

The smoking area outside a pub.

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

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

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

TREVOR Very sad isn’t it?

PETE Hm? Oh, yes. Tragic.

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

TREVOR pulls a sad face.

TREVOR Like that. God bless ’em.

Pete nods.

TREVOR I feel sorry for the children.

PETE hmmn.

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

Pause. They smoke.

TREVOR And they said there’d be a buffet.

PETE Did they?

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

PETE Hm.

TREVOR Probably forgot, with everything else going on.

PETE Probably grieving.

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

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

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

PETE Well.

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

PETE Usually be a caterer sorted all that out.

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

PETE Probably the grief. Slipped through the net.

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

PETE How do you mean?

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

PETE Never liked funerals. They’re so morbid.

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

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

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

Pause. Pete finishes his cigarette.

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

PETE Sooner the better. I reckon.

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

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

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

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

TREVOR The priest.

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

TREVOR Yeah. He weren’t exactly Mother Theresa.

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

Trevor shrugs.

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

PETE You know people here then do you?

TREVOR No. You?

PETE Nope.

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

PETE Spent most of it out here.

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

Beat.

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

PETE Look at the minibus debacle.

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

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

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

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

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

PETE Your area is it?

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

PETE Right. You a baker then?

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

Trevor hands Pete his card from his back pocket.

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

PETE ‘Man with van’.

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

PETE ‘Trevor’.

TREVOR That’s my van right there.

Trevor points.

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

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

PETE Not that I can think of, no.

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

Pete hands Trevor his card back.

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

PETER I can imagine.

TREVOR Do you know anyone who might need something moving?

PETE Not of the top of my head

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

PETE Really can’t think of anything.

TREVOR Hm. You’re not alone there.

PETE We have our own vans for that stuff.

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

PETE I’m a utilities supply manager.

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

PETE Fair enough. Boring, isn’t it?

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

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

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

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

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

PETE Yeah.

TREVOR Fucking glad those days are over.

PETE Waste of time if you ask me.

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

PETE Only thing worse than funerals. Weddings.

TREVOR You don’t like weddings?

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

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

Trevor rubs his fingers together.

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

PETE How’s that then?

TREVOR Funny really. I got one of his kidneys.

PETE Piss off.

TREVOR Swear on my life mate.

PETE I got his other one.

TREVOR Shut up now.

Pete lifts up his shirt and shows his scar.

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

PETE That I am. That I am.

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

PETE Tell me about it.

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

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

TREVOR You were dubious.

PETE To say the least.

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

PETE But his organs were intact.

Trevor laughs.

TREVOR Well, cheers.

Trevor and Pete clink their beer bottles together.

TREVOR What did you do to your old ones then?

PETE “Chronic interstitial nephritis.”

Trevor pulls an involuntary grimace.

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

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

Trevor waves his beer bottle.

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

PETE There’s free beer?

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

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

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

PETE Now you mention it I could eat.

Trevor checks his watch.

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

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

TREVOR I’m with you there pal.

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

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.

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.