Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Youth of Australia Bamboozled!

As I mentioned earlier, I once attempted to write a bottle episode for The Youth of Australia, the idea being it would follow the formula of a Bottom stage play being set in one location in more or less real time. I managed to finish half and the first act of the "Special-End-Of-Season-Insanity Special… Um, Extravaganza!!" is reprinted here. Exclusively. No one else has this. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

Act. 1

[Lights up on the open-top of a Sydney Touring Bus. In the background, a set pattern of landscapes glides from right to left and there is the background noise of an engine running. There is no one present. Then, the sound of someone running up some stairs is heard. Then a cry and a crash. A few seconds later, Dave scrambles into view, rubbing his face.]

Dave: Oh, my head!

[He looks around, left and right, then runs to the end of the bus and dives in front of the chairs and lands heavily. He winces and clutches his head.]

Dave: Argh! Note to self: stealth and subtlety is overrated. Man, I can hardly see. Wait a minute! [peers over the chairs] Hah! I’ve lost them! Free! Free at last! Free from the stink and stupid comments! I can think at last! I can think... and I think I am in pain!!

[He clutches his head and rocks back and forth for a moment. Gritting his teeth, he bangs his fist against the railings in frustration. He gasps in horror and stares at his fist.]

Dave: Why did I do that? WHY? Am I some kind of masochist? Oh, no, I’ve been around Nigel too long! My God, is this my future? Am I destined to spend the rest of my life in leather and chains? Will I ever be able to watch a serious drama about corporate punishment without getting turned on? Oh, the humanity! Oh, the humility! [smacks his forehead] Oh, the PAIN!

[He blows on his hand, wincing. He stops and looks around, suspicious. He gets up, looks around, starts to duck down, then rises and looks around again. Nothing. He sits down on his chair, looking very tired.]

Dave: Still, at least I’ve lost them. No more strange, wandering conversations. No more occasional beatings. No more ‘prove you killed JFK games’ after meals. Freedom to do whatever I want to do. And what I want to do is... um, er. No, come on, Dave, you’ve got your freedom, don’t waste it. What to do first? Um, I know! I’ll try and spot license plates.

[He leans over the railing and stares at unseen traffic.]

Dave: Hmm. There’s one. There’s another. Oh, and another! Fair dinkum, that’s three of them in one go! And two more there. [points] A couple parked there. My God – a street full of them! If I didn’t know better, I’d say that EVERY car has a license plate! [looks pleased with himself, then his face falls] Maybe I’ll try and see what’s on them. Ah, SDP 250... TDK 397... OHM 201... Look! LOOK! ANO 218! Hah! This is definitely got to be the most, the most... BORING pass time there is! I mean, what’s the point? [in a nasal voice] ‘Look, a serial number! Look, another serial number with absolutely nothing in common except it’s a serial number! I shall write that down!’ GET A LIFE! [sighs] God, I’m bored. And it’ll be ages before we even get close to home, knowing my luck.

[Dave gets to his feet and starts to pace, irritably.]

Dave: Luck? Luck! Don’t talk to me about luck. I’m the unluckiest person I know, so how unlucky is that! I had any luck, I’d at least know someone who sucked more than I do. Well, now you come to mention it, two names leap to mind. But they’re still luckier than I am. Luck! Hah! It doesn’t rhyme with another four letter word for nothing, you know. Luck... Only I could do the HSC and come out with the grand total of 11 per cent. I mean, how? I’m not stupid, am I? [points to audience] Now, shut up, you lot. [sighs] I wrote pages and pages and pages. I used up all of those stinking yellow booklets they gave me. I wrote my student number so many times, it’s locked in my nervous system. I have to be careful if I’m writing because, I get distracted, I suddenly write it out again. Oh, [starts to mime writing] Hey! Stop that! Bad hand! [smacks hand] Not that it was exactly difficult to remember! I mean, 123 456 789! What were the odds of getting that student number?

[He heads back to the front of the bus.]

Dave: What did I do wrong? I wore the uniform, I got there early, I revised right up to the minute they said, ‘Oi! You! Put that HSC textbook down and start the damn exam!’ ‘But,’ said I, ‘it’s the reading time!’ ‘Yes,’ reply they, ‘you’re supposed to read the question booklet, not a textbook!’ [sighs] Thank god I had the trials. Half the English exam I stared at the answer booklet. It was blank! Every single page! Even the multiple choice! I should have sued them. But I still did great in the trials. Not a single mark below 80. Well, EVERY mark below 80, but dammit I still passed. Yes, like the three other people at school, I passed the trials. Why did I screw up so badly at the real thing, though? I went to my chair...

[Dave goes to a seat.]

Dave: I sat down... [sits down] Picked up the paper and the pen, [mimes doing this] read the question... now, what happened next? I’m sitting at that horrible little table, on a creaking chair – and my nose starts to run. Some invisible goblin is shoving boiling, ice-cold gunge up my nostrils and then blowing gently on my nose hair. Odd how I could live with that. Hah! No problem. Three hours with that, I could take it all and laugh. But then, the goblin takes out my brain, soaks it in warm shampoo, wraps it cotton wool and slides it back in! My skin went icy cold and my ears... What happened to my ears? I could here this noise... It was so loud... Boom-boom, boom-boom. And I turn around and snatch a glance at everyone else – they’re all having fun, writing away merrily. That bastard goblin doesn’t hate them, does he? Damn my luck! Stuck in that frozen gymnasium, staring at blank piece of paper, my body rebelling... And that noise, boom-boom, boom-boom, getting louder and louder... Like the heartbeat of the undead victim of an axe-murding psychopathic serial killer! [calmer] Not that I speak from experience, of course, but smeg that’s what it sounded like! Boom-boom-bam-boom, boom-boom-bam-boom, boom-ba-da-ba-da-boom... And then, I heard a voice... So far away...

[Dave stares into the distance, as though trying to hear it.]

Dave: It was old, tired, brittle... It was so sad... And somehow, I was the only one who could hear it. It was whispering in my ear, but I knew that the whole gym was as silent as the grave. Well, as silent as a particularly silent grave. And the voice was speaking to me. And I tried to shut it out, I swear to god, I tried, but it was no good. I HAD to listen to what the voice was saying... And do YOU know what it was saying?

[He clears his throat and sings.]

Dave: I lost my shirt
I pawned my rings
I’ve done all the dumb things...
[bitterly] I’ve melted wax to fix my wings
I’ve done all the dumb things!

[He shakes his fist at the sky.]

Dave: Damn you, Paul Kelly! Damn you! Why did you pick on me, your most faithful of disciples! How could you? Oh, that first question was a bitch. It was all about Big Yellow Taxi – the original version, not the crappy remake. Oh, why did they choose it for the exam? Within hours, every so-called trendy radio station was playing it! And not even the good version! God, who even knows what DDT stands for nowadays, anyway? And I couldn’t even concentrate on the lyrics – all that stuff about apples and parking lots for the people... Every time I ran through the words in my head, it just warped and twisted and suddenly I was hearing
I threw my hat into the ring
I’ve done all the dumb things
I thought that I just had to sing
I’ve done all the dumb things!
The question says, ‘what does the composer suggest about ‘cutting down all the trees and charging people to view them?’ Easy, I think. She means, uh, er... She means
I lost my shirt
I pawned my rings
I’ve done all the dumb things!

[He groans and pulls at his hair in frustration, then whimpers.]

Dave: God, I was so screwed. Every time I tried to peer through the fog at my paper, I found myself singing along mentally while my hand just wrote out my student number again and again and again! Oh, why didn’t I follow Andrew’ example and just drink an entire keg of beer before going into the exam hall? At least he didn’t have Paul bloody Kelly crooning in HIS ears! [scowls] No, the bastard was humming the theme tune to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy at the top of his voice, wasn’t he? I mean, the moment, the second I got a little bit of lucidity, and that bastard Kelly leaves me alone, what do I hear?
Dah, doo-da-dar,
Dah-dar, dah-da-dah-dad-da-da-dar
Dud-dar, dud-da-darrr!
Bastard! [brightens] Look on the bright side, though, Dave! He’s gone now. You’re free of him and his odd smells, those jokes that only make sense to him, that stupid way he always has a quote or a quip for every occasion... [sighs] Oh, I shall miss him. He was my only friend, you know. Apart from Jadi. And Maurice. And Mitchell. And Katy. And Phoebe. And... Oh, dammit, I suck! I have NO friends! I am sad and lonely...

[He rubs his eyes, sadly.]

Dave: No, no, no. Be positive, man. Never give up. If you don’t have friends, you can just make some up. Do the whole Drop Dead Fred thing. Er, OK. Ah, [looks at seat next to him] Hello. I’m Dave. [mimes shaking hand] Oh, yes, hello. My name’s Dave. What’s yours? Go To Hell Herman, eh? Interesting name. Are you Hungarian, by any chance? No? Oh. Well, there goes that conversation. Oh, no, it’s just I’ve never met anyone from Hungary before, I hoped you could tell me about it. Oh, nothing in particular, just what is it like to live there? ‘Starving’. Uh, yeah. Very funny. No, I’m not being sarcastic, why? Well, excuse me! I was just saying I thought you were being funny, so I said so! Get off my case! Honestly, you think you’d be civil to me, at least. Because I created you, Herman! You are a figment of my imagination. What do you mean, ‘prove it’? You’re not real. There. Hah! I’ve got you there.

[He folds his arms, happy. Then, he frowns, and slowly he turns and looks at the empty chair next to him.]

Dave: Don’t be cheeky, Herman. Yes, you are! I’M a product of YOUR imagination? Get real. Get real! Yes, I’m the real one on this bus and you’re the imaginary friend, so get real? What’s that, Herman? You’re just repeating everything I say! Oh, it’s for dramatic effect. Sorry. Do go on. Uh, huh. Uh-huh. Uh? Huh. Uh... Can I get a word in edgeways here? What a load of utter crap! I’M a figment of MY OWN imagination? What are you on, Go To Hell Herman? I’m the real one. How can I imagine myself to exist? ‘With difficulty’, oh, yes, very funny, Herman. But if I don’t exist, how can I imagine? Look, I don’t exist, right? I am a figment of imagination, right? So, if I don’t exist, how can I imagine myself? It’s a Catch 44, man. No, I did not make a mistake. No, Catch 44 is LIKE Catch 22, only much, much worse. Oh, now you’re being reasonable. Yes, YOU are the imagined one. What are you saying? You’re playing ‘devil’s advocate’? Don’t be stupid. Why would I imagine you? Because I’m lonely and bored and stuck on top of this bus with no one in the entire multiverse to talk do. Yes, I AM pathetic, you don’t have to rub it in!!

[Dave looks up, then ‘watches’ something moving towards the stairs.]

Dave: No, Herman, don’t go! Please, stay! I enjoyed our little chats. Yes, I know it was just one round of verbal abuse after another, but what relationship doesn’t have it’s ups and downs? What is this? It’s an up, of course! [panicked] No, don’t! Wait up! Wait for me! Herman!!

[He runs up to the stairs and mimes grabbing someone.]

Dave: You can’t just up and leave me. Well, I only created you because you WOULDN’T do that. Yes, I know I need to get a life, but, in the meantime, you can stay here and keep me company. I never insulted your mother! You don’t have one! No, no, that wasn’t an insult either, don’t go! Where are you going to go, anyway? You’re not even a physical presence, what are you going to do for your life, eh? Oh, good answer. Yes, you are perfect as Simon Creen’s personality stunt double, but, you could be more! Yes, you could stay with me on the bus, have some conversations, go home and watch TV... It’s not ALL repeats, Herman. Herman! You can’t get off the bus, we’re moving. You’ll just have to stay with me and keep me company. HERMAN!!

[Dave suddenly runs over to the rails and peers over the edge. He wails in anguish, and slumps into a seat, sobbing.]

Dave: Oh, why, Herman, why?? You had everything to live for! Who’s going to tell your parents? Oh, Herman, you threw it all away. You fool. And worst of all, worst of all, [swallows] worst is... is... I’m STILL bored! Oh, what I wouldn’t give to hear another human voice.

Andrew: [offstage] Da-ave? Dave?

Dave: ...apart from Andrew’s. What I wouldn’t give to hear another human voice APART from Andrew’s. [to sky] Pay attention, dumbo! Oh, shit, he’s coming up here. What to do, what to do?

Andrew: [offstage] Dave? Daviekins? Hello? Dave?

[Dave jumps up, runs left, right, and realizes there is nowhere to go. Footsteps are heard ascending the stairs. Dave swallows, panicked, and runs to the seat up against the stairwell and hides underneath. Andrew emerges, blinking, into daylight and looks around. Dave is hidden from his view.]

Andrew: Dave? Hello? That’s funny – I’m sure he ran up here. It was odd just how fast he was running, though. Nearly lost him twice, and the way he jumped onto this bus while it was still moving... Dave? Dave, it’s me! It’s me, it’s... damn, I’m forgotten. Uh, come on, come on, I know this.

[He closes his eyes and rubs his temples.]

Andrew: [sings softly] Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday dear Andrew...
Andrew! That’s it! [calls] Dave! It’s me, Andrew! Hellooooo?

[He moves up and down the aisle, missing Dave completely.]

Andrew: Come on, Dave – don’t make me count to one hundred again! This is so childish! What to do, what to do? Uh, best sit down. All this excitement is rushing all the blood to my head. I don’t want a balance problem.

[He sits down on the chair beneath which Dave is hiding.]

Andrew: Now, what to do? Dave came up here before me. There’s no way he could have left without me noticing. Did he jump off, maybe? No, I would have heard the noise. So – he came here, and he hasn’t left, so, logically, he must be...

[He grins at the audience, and fakes a ‘disappointed’ expression.]

Andrew: SPACKING HELL, THIS IS DIFFICULT! Where in Zarquon’s name is Jonathon Creek when you need him?!? What shall I do without Dave to banter with? Well, I guess I might as well – sing! Yes, sing Dave’s favorite song!

[Dave, beneath the seat, stiffens in horror. Andrew stands up.]

Andrew: So, how does it go? ‘Shapes of things before my eyes...’ No, that’s not it. Uh, ‘what costume shall the poor boy wear’? No. More anthemic. Uh, ‘There’s a distant star in a distant sky...’ No, that’s wrong...

[Dave slowly, silently, creeps out from behind Andrew and creeps slowly but surely across the floor towards the stairwell. Andrew is too busy to notice.]

Andrew: Uh, - Ah-hah! [clears throat]
Welcome strangers
To the show
I’m the one who should
Be running low

[Dave, on the floor, tenses and grits his teeth.]

Andrew: Saw the knives out
Turned my back
Heard the train coming
Stayed out
On the track
In the middle, in the middle
In the middle of a dream...

[Dave, out of control leaps to his feet and starts to sing.]

Dave: I lost my shirt
I pawned my rings
I’ve done all the dumb things!
Caught the fever
Heard the tune
Thought I loved her
Howled my heart out at the moon
Started howling
Made no sense
Thought my friends
Would rush to my defense
In the middle, in the middle
In the middle of a dream...
I lost my shirt
I pawned my rings
I’ve done all the -

[He stops and turns to face Andrew – who has been sitting on a chair, arms folded, and smiling throughout.]

Dave: Oh, er, hello, Andrew.

Andrew: Afternoon, Dave.

Dave: Er, hi.

Andrew: Nice to know you’ve finally noticed me.

Dave: Oh, ah, what?

Andrew: [smiles] I called for you for quite a while.

Dave: No, you didn’t!

Andrew: I have.

Dave: [rubs ear] Well, I didn’t hear you, that’s for sure.

Andrew: Yes, I’m sure the insulation in these chairs would make it very difficult to hear anything, wouldn’t it?

Dave: Yes, actu – wait a minute! What are you saying?

Andrew: Just that you seemed to be hiding under this chair when I came up here. Have you lost something? Your house keys? Your marbles? Your mind, maybe?

Dave: I was just feeling a bit ill, that’s all.

[He sits in the seats in front of Andrew. Andrew leans behind him.]

Andrew: Yeah.

Dave: It’s true!

Andrew: Of course. You must be knackered after running all that way. Naught to sixty in seven seconds – a pretty good speed. Tell me, David, just why did you put on that massive burst of speed?

Dave: The bus. Ah, we were going to miss it.

Andrew: Yes. But then, it was two blocks away from us at the time. Going in the wrong direction. It was as though you had, dare I say it, some extra-sensory perception – to sense a bus leaving its stop two blocks away, and then run there in all of twelve seconds and leap aboard. You left Nigel and me for dead.

Dave: [awkward] Um, yes. Sorry about that, Andy. I though you two were keeping up with me.

Andrew: At the speed you were going, I doubt Sonic the Hedgehog could keep up with you. I can still smell most of the shoe leather you burnt getting here. I’m surprised you didn’t tell us to follow you.

Dave: I did! Honestly!

Andrew: Oh, yes, you did shout something over your shoulder, now you come to mention it.

Dave: You see.

Andrew: What was it, now? Oh, right. [remembering] ‘Oh god, I can’t stand it anymore. Wait for me, for the love of god.’ [frowns] That was what you said, wasn’t it, Dave?

Dave: [wipes forward] It probably sounded LIKE that, but...

Andrew: And the way you jumped inside and shouted at the driver.

Dave: I was telling him to stop for you.

Andrew: And how would the words, ‘put the pedal to the metal, bitch’ help you out in that regard, Dave? I suppose you ran up here to try and talk to us and tell us just what the hell you thought you were doing, maybe?

Dave: Yes. But, a, I felt really ill and had to lie down. How exactly did you manage to get aboard the bus, Andrew?

Andrew: Oh, I’m an old hand at running.

Dave: Running away, more like.

Andrew: Ah, such is the human condition, Dave. Every Olympic athlete is spurred by the racial memory of the first caveman to walk upright – because he was running away from a hideous arse-biting monster. You want a reason to run? To save your own arse. It’s amazing how fast you can move.

Dave: But how did you get on board? The bus hasn’t stopped anywhere.

Andrew: I know. I managed to grab the bumper bar and climb through the back window. I wanted to see if you were OK. After all, from these wandering clues, I thought you were trying to avoid me.

Dave: Well, er, I needed some personal space.

Andrew: How much? Because you seemed to think that half a kilometer is the minimum. Would you like me to sit further away from you. Seriously now, come on, Dave. Something’s troubling you, isn’t it?

Dave: [sighs] Yes.

Andrew: Well, you can tell me, can’t you?

Dave: Yeah. Andrew, how long have we known each other?

Andrew: Uh, does this include reincarnation?

Dave: [thinks about it] Uh, yeah.

Andrew: Since 97.

Dave: So, nearly ten years now, eh? I must have told you a lot of stuff over the decade, I expect.

Andrew: This and that.

Dave: So, I guess you’d respect me if I was completely straight with you, right?

Andrew: Of course.

Dave: It’s just, we’ve known each other a long time and, you know, I well, I know we’ve had our little spats... Oh, oh this is stupid! Look, I guess all I’m really trying to say is... is, well...

Andrew: Go on.

Dave: Yeah, you see...

Andrew: Yes?

Dave: I just wanted to say...

Andrew: Yes?


Andrew: Yes?

Dave: Are you deaf as well as stupid?

Andrew: No, I just thought that there was more, that’s all.

Dave: Don’t you care?

Andrew: Oh, of course I do. I’m shocked you have to ask.

Dave: Then why are you still here!

Andrew: [blows out cheeks] What am I supposed to do?


Andrew: It’s moving.


Andrew: Uh, yeah, I know that.

Dave: Do you hate me?

Andrew: No.

Dave: Well, I hate you, so get out of my life!

Andrew: That’s a bit difficult. I live in the same house as you. I cook your meals. I make sure your favorite TV shows are recorded. And I wake you up when you have to go to work!

Dave: Well, you only wake me up for me to go to work because YOU’RE too slack to go to your own job.

Andrew: I work part-time.

Dave: Yeah, and to do that, you need to work at some point! And you tape things for me that I want to watch – and then tape over them again before I can watch any of it.

Andrew: Ah, but I tape over your shows with other shows you like.

Dave: Yeah, I guess so. OK, I’ll call that even. But your cooking...

Andrew: What’s wrong with my cooking?!?

Dave: Oh, thanks to your ‘nouveau cuisine’ I spent ten hours stuck on the toilet, screaming in agony. Bloody food experiments. I told you that putting all that, that, that ‘fibre’ in that stew was a terrible idea.

Andrew: When was that?

Dave: Friday afternoon!

Andrew: I didn’t do the cooking on Friday!

Dave: Yeah! The Mince Pies from Hell!! I thought about selling it to the building industry to use it instead of bricks. ‘Fibre enriched’! It was smegging sandpaper!

Andrew: I didn’t do the cooking on Friday!! It was Nigel!

Dave: What? Then what was that stew you were making?

Andrew: That wasn’t stew!

Dave: Wasn’t it?

Andrew: I was mixing cement.

Dave: And anyway, if you didn’t cook it, you must have eaten it.

Andrew: Probably.

Dave: Why didn’t you complain about that muck Nigel served up, then?

Andrew: I must have been drunk.

Dave: You’re ALWAYS drunk.

Andrew: [nods] That’s true.

Dave: Look, this is getting boring. I’ll just do a quick summary. One, I hate you. Two, I don’t want you here. Three, GET OFF THIS DAM BUS BEFORE I GRAB YOUR HEAD AND SHOVE IT UP YOUR ARSE YOU MASSIVE, SHRUNKEN TESTICLE, YOU!

[Andrew calmly produces a sucker-tipped dart from a dart gun, licks the sucker and them presses it against Dave’s forehead. It sticks there.]

Andrew: There. That’s better.

Dave: [thunderous rage] WHAT is this?!?

Andrew: A sobriety patch.

Dave: A... sobriety patch.

Andrew: Yes. When it is attached, it drains all the panic and confusion and anger out of you, leaving a calm, well-balanced and sober individual. It never fails.


Andrew: Apart from now, I guess.


[Andrew delves into his pocket and takes out a pamphlet.]

Andrew: [reading] ‘So, The Sobriety Patch Isn’t Working?’


Andrew: [reading pamphlet] Uh-huh. Good. OK. Right.

[He puts away the pamphlet, makes a ‘Peace’ sign and strides towards Dave.]


[Andrew jabs his two fingers into Dave’s throat. Dave gurgles, spasms, and then freezes in mid-rant. Andrew smiles.]

Andrew: According to that handy pamphlet, it triggers a sensitive nerve cluster, jams the motive units. [Dave gurgles] With the adrenaline shut off, the individual calms down rapidly. Are you calm now, Dave? [Dave gurgles] OK, we’ll just stay like this for a few more minutes. Heh. Haha. [laughs] Did you know, Dave, that, if I keep my fingers in your throat [more laughter] ha, you’ll be completely paralyzed! [cackles, then wipes eye] Uh, anyway. Are you calm now, Dave?

[Dave gurgles even more frantically. Andrew nods and removes his fingers. Dave clutches at his throat, then collapses, screaming.]

Andrew: [irritated] Now what?


[Dave continues to writhe and scream incoherently.]

Andrew: Oh, yeah. Forgot about that. [pulls out a second pamphlet] ‘So, The Venusian Akido Has Screwed Up?’ [scans page for a moment, nodding] Uh, huh. Uh-huh. Oh, that’s clever. Yes. Ah-hah. Right.

[He pockets the pamphlet, crosses to the writhing Dave, and smacks him about the face seven times. Andrew stops and Dave twitches and flinches afterwards.]

Andrew: Now that I’ve got your attention...


[Andrew jabs his fingers into Dave’s throat, then wrenches them away. Dave howls and Andrew slaps him seven times.]

Dave: [dazed] Huh, uh, ligh, wha...

Andrew: Are you calm now? Because, I would like to – if I may – tell you about some of the things YOU do that drives me... ABSOLUTELY... bananas... [imitates Dave] ‘Oh, my dad is so disappointed, I hate my life!’. ‘Oh, a girl I lusted after for all of five seconds doesn’t want a long term relationship, kill me now!’. ‘Oh, Andrew, I want my house back!’. ‘Oh, Andrew, I want Nigel to drive me to work!’. ‘Oh, Andrew, I want dinner!’. ‘Oh, Andrew, I hate you and want you die!’.

Dave: You’re weird and a freak!

[He grabs Dave’s head – for the first time ever, seriously angry.]

Andrew: NOT AN ALIBI, RESTAL!!! [calmer] YOU wanted me to join you in your little housing scheme. YOU’RE the one who came to me when you flunked the HSC. So don’t pretend I’m some leech on your life because YOU RUINED MINE! I could have quite happily stayed at home with my faithful dog, Pussy-Eater Jones. But thanks to you, I’m stuck with you and Mr. Charisma and every single BLOODY TIME I want to do something, YOU interrupt!

Dave: Look, I –

Andrew: SHUT UP! I want to learn how to juggle, you interrupt. I try and paint my room, you interrupt. I decide to make a bonfire in the living room and YOU interrupt!! Not that I mind but it is NEVER with anything important. No ‘Andrew, the house is underwater,’; no ‘Andrew, there’s a bomb to diffuse’; no ‘Andrew, there’s a hell dimension I need you to crack open like a walnut, do you have any goat’s blood handy?’. You want to know the meaning of life, look in a dictionary because I’ve got my own life – get your own!

Dave: [whimpers] How?

Andrew: [after a long pause] Good question. You must have one buried beneath your neurosis and your drives. Time for our first session.

[He helps Dave up and then lies him down on two seats, then sits in the seat behind him, so he is leaning over a reclining Dave.]

Andrew: Now, [pulls out pamphlet] ‘So, You Need To Be A Psychiatrist? This happens to nearly all of us at certain points in time...’

Dave: Uh, Andrew, have you any idea what you’re doing?

Andrew: [reading pamphlet] Not the foggiest.

Dave: [anguished] Oh, noooooooooooooo.

Andrew: [puts pamphlet away] Right, that seems pretty straightforward. [clears throat] Right, Bruce, let’s begin.

Dave: Dave.

Andrew: Sorry, Bruce, what was that?

Dave: My name is Dave, not Bruce.

Andrew: AH-hah! Our first clue. Your trouble is that you are too steadfast, too stuck in your ways. You immediately reject any new concepts or ideas, you’re too closed in your attitude. We must expand your horizons.

Dave: [cautiously] Um, all right. OK.

Andrew: So, Bruce, the first thing to do is to determine the boundaries of our discussions. Now... Bruce, I want you to answer a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when I ask you this question: Are You Relaxed? Understand?

Dave: Yeah, well, I guess so.

Andrew: Yes or no.

Dave: Oh. Yes.

Andrew: Good. Now, Bruce, I want you to imagine you are lying on a warm, sandy beach under a clear blue sky. The sun is just far away so it isn’t burning you, but heating your body. It never gets too hot because the cool breeze from the crashing waves wafts over you regularly. Now: Are You Relaxed?

Dave: Yes.

Andrew: OK. Now, Bruce, as you lie in the sand, you slowly begin to sink into the white grains. Your eyelids are very heavy. All you can hear is the air going into your lungs and the carbon dioxide emerging to replace it. You are breathing in and out. You will continue to do this until you die, all right? Now, as you begin to doze off, the warm sand wrapping itself around your slumbering form, I ask you: Are You Relaxed?

Dave: [eyes closed] Yes.

Andrew: You’re gently sliding down into a warm, peaceful darkness. You’re beginning to drift away from your body. Everything is so peaceful. There is no interruption, no trouble, nothing. Just sleep. Deep, peaceful sleep. Are You Relaxed?

Dave: [sleepy] Yes.

Andrew: Good, Bruce, good.

[He leans over until his mouth is just beside Dave’s ear.]


[Dave sits bolt upright, and screams in utter horror.]

Andrew: Now. Are You Relaxed?

Dave: [flinches] N-no.

Andrew: Hmmm. Interesting. Falling asleep on a beach is relaxing, but a shouted death threat into your ear ISN’T relaxing. This quite clearly a deep-rooted psychosis. Now, tell me about your dreams.

Dave: My dreams.

Andrew: Yes, your dreams. You have one dream that repeats itself in particular, don’t you? One that is always there, in the darkness whenever you close your eyes. Isn’t there?

Dave: [nods sadly] Yes.

Andrew: Tell me about it.

Dave: All right. I’m standing on a cliff, you see.

Andrew: I see.

Dave: And I’m walking along the edge. And, er, I realize I’ve accidentally trodden on this huge brown egg. It shatters around my foot and there’s this horrible stinking smell.

Andrew: The egg was rotten. Interesting.

Dave: And, as I step on it, I hear this horrible squeaking noise. Like the one Nigel made when that mousetrap got attached to his genitalia. And, look up and I see this alligator crawling towards me through a thick clump of reeds. And it roars at me and then it and the reeds just fade away. Poof! Gone in a puff of smoke.

Andrew: I see. Well, I don’t, but just pretend I do, all right?

Dave: All right. So, I’m a bit freaked out and I overbalance and, well, the next thing you know, I’m falling off the edge of this cliff. And believe you me, it is an awful long way down.

Andrew: And this when a golden lion appears out of nowhere, breathes out slowly and you are swept away through the land, the sky, the seas, before landing outside Cair Paravel in Narnia?

Dave: Um, no, this is when I grab out for the plants growing on the edge of the cliff and hang on for my very life.

Andrew: Oh. Well, that is significant, too, I suppose.

Dave: And then, I’m happy, because I’m holding onto an outcrop of Dolphin reeds, the strongest vegetable matter known to man and perfect for hanging onto when you’re falling off a cliff.

Andrew: Oh, lucky break.

Dave: That’s what I’m thinking. Then, I realize it isn’t Delphon reeds at all, but instead loose-rooted Terudan grass, that look exactly like Dolphin reeds but couldn’t support the weight of a dusty feather. So, they begin to slide out of the rock, and it’s just happening so slowly.

Andrew: So time is slowing down.

Dave: Maybe. The point is, the grass comes almost totally out of the rock – and do you know what happens then? It suddenly stops. Its rock hard and totally supporting my weight! I’m safe after all.

Andrew: Ooh. Good move.

Dave: Yeah, I’m really happy. Then, Leonardo steps up into view above me and he just –

Andrew: Bruce! Leonardo de Vinci was watching you?

Dave: No, Leonardo the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. And he’s wearing this samurai armor and helmet and stuff. He’s got these weird symbols on his breastplates: a yellow circle with three black dots, like a triangle, in the middle of them.

Andrew: And is that significant, do you think?

Dave: No, not at all, if I’m honest with you. And he just looks at me, and he’s totally amazed to see me. He looks at me, he looks at the grass, he looks at me again, then he shakes his head.

Andrew: Were the other Turtles there?

Dave: Nope – not even Slash or that bitch Venus de Milo. And then, Leonardo opens his mouth and I hear that noise again, like the one the egg made when I stepped on it. Only much, much louder. He takes out his sword – just one of them – and I know, I just KNOW he’s going to cut the grass with his sword. And I shout ‘NO!’ at him. So he just makes that noise even louder and he cuts the grass in one go. And I just fall down the cliff and hit the bottom.

Andrew: And then you wake up?

Dave: No, I’m lying on these jagged rocks, totally numb, and unable to move. And I notice that the cliff I’ve fallen down is actually being used by Bungee jumpers. Two of them jump down to my level and get off there. They run over to me.

Andrew: And who are these Bungee jumpers?

Dave: Amazingly, they’re exact doubles of Alysson Hannigan, stripped totally naked and sweating like pigs. And they bend over me, totally in unison and begin to take my clothes off.

Andrew: And then you wake up?

Dave: [smiles craftily] Hell, no.

Nigel: [offstage] Dave? Andrew?

Andrew & Dave: Oh, shit.

Nigel: [offstage] Dave? Andrew? Are you up here?

[Andrew and Dave exchange looks, then run for opposite ends of the bus and hide under the chairs. Nigel’s head appears at the steps, looking around, then ducks out of sight again.]

Nigel: Dave? Where are you? Da – what?

[Andrew and Dave peer from their hiding places.]

Nigel: [offstage] Look, duckface, I’m busy! Rack off! Look, are you stupid or something, I need to go up top. Leave me alone! Get off, get off, get off! Andrew! I’m a bit inconvenienced here, can you come and – get your hands off my arse! Just try and control yourself, woman! Look, I’ve paid, all right? Now, piss off before I give you the back of my hand, IF you’ve done whining like a bitch?? Right, you’ve asked for it!!

[A loud fight is heard: some scuffles, grunt of pain, some sickening thuds, a girl scream, some shattered glass and some dogs barking angrily. Then, three gunshots. Nigel shouts in pain and there is a clang.]

Nigel: [offstage] Let that be a lesson to you, you bitch-whore!

[Nigel stumbles up the steps, wiping some indefinable mess off his shirt.]

Nigel: Stupid cow. Oh, hi Andrew. [waves] And Dave, too! Cool!

[Andrew, shamefacedly, gets to his feet and dusts himself down.]

Andrew: Afternoon, Nigel. How are you?

Nigel: Fine.

Andrew: [snaps fingers in annoyance] Damn. What happened?

Nigel: A slight difference of opinion I had with the bus driver.

[Dave rises and shakes his head.]

Dave: You didn’t try and chat her up, did you, Nige?

Nigel: Don’t make me laugh. Did you see her face? Face full of clavicles and more facial hair than the last Village People tour at the YMCA! Jesus, she reminded me of Great Aunt Patricia.

[They all shudder at the thought.]

Andrew: So, why did she go after you?

Nigel: [smirks] I’m an attractive guy, Andy.

Andrew: No you’re not.

Nigel: I tell you, she is screaming for my underwear. She sensed my utter and total testosterone wafting from my, er, glands. She lost control of herself and just threw herself at me.

Dave: [fingers the mess on Nigel’s shirt] Fists first?

Nigel: She was overcome with passion.

Andrew: And you’re overcome with bullshit. What happened?

[Nigel sighs and slumps down in a chair. The guys sit around him.]

Nigel: The randy hag said I didn’t pay my bus fair.

Dave: Did you?

Nigel: Of course not, I have my bus pass from school, remember? [he produces a card and shows it off] Unlimited access to public transport, I think you’ll find.

Andrew: [takes card] Uh, I think you’ll find that access is, in fact, VERY limited, if you read the back, Nigel.

Dave: Yeah, it only works on busses.

Andrew: During certain hours.

Dave: On weekdays.

Andrew: On particular busses.

Dave: That go from the home address on this card...

Andrew: the school address on this card.

Nigel: Yeah, well, that isn’t such a big deal, anyway.

Andrew: No?

Nigel: Look, when you realize it’s two years out of date, all those other objections just become nothing, you know. [sighs] Still, I should be all right as long as we stay up here. [beat] Why did you two run away from me?

Dave: [rolls eyes] Oh, like we need a REASON these days!

Andrew: I’m more interested in how you actually got on board the bus.

Nigel: Well, I was walking along when suddenly Dave screams something about God and runs around the corner. You and me followed him and we saw him get on the bus. The bus drove off into the distance, and you ran after them.

Andrew: And you stayed behind?

Nigel: No, I just went parallel to you. It wasn’t long before I reached the next stop while you were turning corners this way and that. Well, then I noticed this gorgeous woman – ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS WOMAN! – get onto the bus when it arrived and I just had to follow her, didn’t I?

Dave: And then you had the fight with the bus driver.

Nigel: There was a degree of disagreement, yes.

Andrew: Why didn’t you pay your fair?

Nigel: I had a buss pass! Anyway, did you?

Andrew: No, but then I was too busy searching for Dave to go to the front of the bus, attract the driver’s attention and pay for the trouble. [to Dave] Did you pay?

Dave: Yeah.

[Andrew and Nigel laugh.]

Dave: Oh, this sucks!

Nigel: To be frank, Dave –

Andrew: [chuckles] Frank, eh?

Dave: [laughs] Yeah, that was a bit of a fiasco, wasn’t it?

Nigel: [embarrassed] Let’s not get into that again.

Andrew: That’s what you said at the time, if I recall!

[Nigel leaps to his feet, scandalized.]

Nigel: Look, it is a FIGURE of SPEECH!

Dave: Figure of speech?

Andrew: Figure of speech?

Dave: Figure of speech?

Andrew: Figure of speech?

Dave: Figure of speech?

Andrew: Figure of speech?


Andrew: Figure of speech?

Dave: Figure of speech?

Andrew: Figure of speech? It wasn’t a figure of speech when you phoned him up, though, was it? A bit more than just a figure of speech.

Nigel: Oh, shut up! At least I didn’t break into the chemist the moment when I found out, did I?

Dave: Let’s just forget it, shall we?

Nigel: Oh, no, we’ve started talking about Andrew! I’m not going to stop! Stealing all those antihistamines, opening them, and keeping the boxes but throwing all the drugs back into the shop. YOU WANT AN EMBARRASSING ANECDOTE? AT LEAST I DIDN’T END UP AS THE ‘DEFENDANT’, DID I? I WASN’T THE ONE WHO ENDED UP ON THE 7:30 REPORT AND KERRY O’BRIEN TRIED TO STRANGLE ME ON-AIR, WAS I? I’M NOT THE ONE – Ga!

[Andrew jabs Nigel in the neck. He freezes.]

Andrew: I could listen to him going on like all night, couldn’t you?

Dave: Easily. What were we talking about?

Andrew: Your dreams.

Dave: Oh yeah, well, the Alyssons take out these salad sandwiches, you see, and then they start looking around and saying ‘Where’s Davey Boy, then?’ And they get the salad sauce and –

Andrew: All right, all right, ALL RIGHT!

[He lets go of Nigel and turns on Dave. Nigel collapses, screaming.]

Andrew: This is only the first session, OK!

Dave: [depressed] But I wanted to talk about that dream.

Andrew: So do I. But not today. Maybe, later tonight. With a bottle of wine beside a roaring fire. Maybe then, then, we can discuss this later but – [notices Nigel screaming in the background] Shall we?

Dave: Let’s.

[They turn and smack Nigel alternately until he stops screaming.]

Nigel: [dazed] Spank me, bitch! SPANK ME!

[Dave and Andrew leap back, rubbing themselves clean of invisible filth.]

Dave: Oh, that is just SO wrong.

Andrew: I feel dirty. The BAD kind of dirty.

Dave: Only one thing for it.

Andrew: Too right.

[Andrew takes out a sucker dart and sticks it on Nigel’s forehead. He sighs and relaxes immediately.]

Nigel: Ahhhhhh.

Andrew: Thank God that’s all over.

Dave: [looks up] Just in time.

Andrew: Nah, we should have done it to him years ago.

Dave: No, it looks like it’s going to rain.

Andrew: [looks up] Does it? What makes you say that?

Dave: The clouds. And that lightning in the distance.

[Thunder rumbles loudly.]

Andrew: All right. You’ve talked me into it. We better go back downstairs.

[Dave wanders down the steps and out of sight. Andrew rips the sucker off Nigel’s forehead. He screams and clutches his head.]

Nigel: Oh, my beautiful serenity!

Andrew: [loudly and clearly] Come on, Nigel! Time to move!

Nigel: [ditto] I’m not subnormal!

[Andrew replaces the sucker.]

Nigel: Ahhhhhhhhhh.

Andrew: You are now. Come on.

[He leads them down the steps and out of sight. Blackout.]

End of Act 1.

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