[The bell rings. All the students start shuffling between classes. Nigel cheerfully bounces down a stairwell, humming a Celtic tune.]
Nigel: Once it whispered in the black night of reflection deep in wooded lands!
[He heads for a doorway, but stops as he sees Phoebe heading for the front office. She pushes the door open and enters the office. Amused, Nigel approaches the office. Inside, Phoebe is chatting to the tired lady on the front desk, and then turns to head off past the desk further into the admin section. Dave is sitting in one of the chairs, looking exhausted. Phoebe spots her.]
Phoebe: Oh. Hey, Dave.
Dave: [knackered] Hey. You OK?
Phoebe: [smiles sadly] Don’t worry about me, Dave.
[She waddles off. Dave sighs.]
Dave: I like worrying about you.
Admin Lady: Got another dispatch.
[Wearily, Dave climbs to his feet and takes a clipboard from the desk.]
Dave: The twenty-first century and we still rely on getting kids to run from A to B. Progress my ass.
Admin Lady: Look, if all the teachers were actually at work today, we could do all this at the meeting before school.
Dave: What? Stop work meeting or something?
Admin Lady: [deadpan] Or something.
[In the pub across the road, we see all the teachers are sitting around a table, drinking and looking at menus. We pan across to see Andrew leaning against the bar, looking at notepad.]
Andrew: So that’s a chicken schnitzel, two steak sandwiches, one Moroccan Dory with salad, a hamburger, three mini pizzas and a bowl of wedges.
[Andrew hands the notepad to the barman.]
Andrew: And I’ll have the mushroom penne with Parmesan cheese, thanks.
Teacher: You know, Maddog, we should really take this truancy up with your legal guardian.
[Andrew takes a schooner of VB and hands the teacher a glass of white wine.]
Andrew: Yeah, you should also really be actually working at the school.
Teacher: Good point, well made.
[They clink glasses.]
[Back at the front office, Dave takes the clipboard and is about to leave as Nigel steps through the doors and strides past the desk like he owns the place.]
Nigel: [singing] A floating mist that circles shadows – a legendary tale of times gone by!
[Nigel heads down a curving corridor and sees a door marked SICK BAY shut. Grinning, he skips to the door and politely knocks four times.]
Phoebe: [VO] Yeah?
[Nigel opens the door. The sick bay’s a tiny room filled with a single couch and a chair. Phoebe is rubbing her arched back looking tired and sore.]
Nigel: Just the Big N, no need to faint in awe of my magnificence...
Phoebe: [groans] Not now, Verkoff.
Nigel: What’s wrong with you, red? Bit late in the day for morning sickness, isn’t it?
Phoebe: My back’s aching too much to sit in school seats.
Nigel: I feel for you, Phe, I really do. [beat] How are you holding out?
Phoebe: Fine, considering my belly’s taking up so much space in here I can hardly turn around. What do you want?
Nigel: Just wondered if you’d reconsidered my offer.
Nigel: Ms. Richards...
Phoebe: Mrs. Styles. Ronaldo and I got married four months ago.
Nigel: You didn’t invite me.
Phoebe: That’s because I didn’t want you there.
Nigel: I must have been in good company. With your parents for example?
Phoebe: Oh, I definitely didn’t want them there either. What do you want?
Nigel: Phe, I want you. I want your oversized fleshy body right here, right now as Fatboy Slim might say.
Phoebe: What? You think I’m desperate now I’m the size of a whale?
Nigel: Kinda... Come on, Phe. With all those hormones in you reaching boiling point any second, you got to be wanting a little nudge-wink-say-no-more-Monty-Python-euphemisms. That bed at home must sure be lonely, even if you can only fit yourself on it.
Phoebe: Aren’t I bit... big for you?
Phoebe: Gigantic then?
Nigel: Phe, you resemble an overlarge baby wearing an ill-fitting pregnant-teen-shaped wet suit. On the plus side your boobs are the largest in the school belonging to an actual woman.
Phoebe: [almost crying] This is just you messing with my mind. You don’t think my life sucks enough at the moment? I can barely take a deep breath nowadays! I need a mirror to see my feet in the bath, which I no longer fit in by the way! I feel like I’ve swallowed two bags of cement and my back is trying to kill me! I have enough blue veins to look like a vampire victim, I broke my last set of scales, I need a season ticket bathroom pass, and I’m going to have to look after a brand new person while the rest of you are at Schoolie’s Week!
[Nigel folds his arms.]
Nigel: So get some pleasure now while you can enjoy it!
[Phoebe lowers herself onto the bed.]
Phoebe: Do I have to put a restraining order on you or something?
Nigel: Well, if I’m wrong and you don’t miss sex then fair enough. But what about the medical benefits?
[Phoebe gives him a long suffering look. Nigel hands some photo copies.]
Nigel: Don’t believe me? Some thoroughly respectable medical journals reprinted.
[Phoebe flicks through them.]
Nigel: Surprised your doctor didn’t tell you about it? But then the father has done a runner, so I guess your sex life didn’t really come up in conversation...
Phoebe: [surprised] Is this for real?
Nigel: Fair dinkum. Check it out. Best way for you pregnant girls to practice for contractions is for a nice, strong orgasm. Very helpful in your condition, makes giving birth a lot easier. Sex reduces hypertension, regulates fluid levels, it slices, it dices, it buggers off to Majorca with all the pensioner’s trust funds and an oxygen mask.
Phoebe: [cautiously] You’ve convinced me. I just have to find someone I’d want to sleep with.
[Flashback to the library.]
Betty: Even IF you convince her she should have sex with anyone, what’s to stop her having a threesome with Dave and Jadi or something?
Nigel: [grimaces] Because that would be borderline incest, maybe?
Gabby: You’d know all about that.
Gabby: But, seriously, why should she want to get squelchy with YOU?
Nigel: Because I know the way to her heart. [shrugs] Or at least her ovaries.
Nigel: [impressively] Pre-Enya Clannad!
[A dramatic pause.]
Nigel: [beams] You’d be amazed the crazy shit her dad would accuse me of over the phone. Some of it’s turned out to be... heh... incredibly useful.
[Back at the sick bay. Phoebe is heading for the exit.]
Nigel: Oh, come on, red, you didn’t even hear the band’s next cover!
Phoebe: Surprise me.
[Eyes fixed on the girl, Nigel starts singing in a soft and unconvincing Oirish accent.]
Nigel: I came upon an ancient forest, a guiding power had led me there!
[Phoebe freezes. Sways. Eyelids flutter. Nigel steps closer.]
Nigel: Walking through the mystic forest, the legendary tale of times gone by!
Phoebe: [dazedly] Giant trees are falling night and day for many years and ages past
Will they ever share the answer? Of legend, tales, and times gone by?
[Nigel gives a shark-like grin.]
Nigel: I’m walking through the mystic for---
[Suddenly she kisses him on the mouth, moaning as she does so. Finally she comes up for air.]
Nigel: [smug] Good, aren’t I?
Phoebe: [breathless] I have absolutely no interest in you, you know that?
Nigel: Red, I’m insulted you think me so naive.
Phoebe: I’m just doing this for medical reasons, the best interests of my baby, right?
Nigel: [unbuttoning her jacket] What caring mother could do more?
Phoebe: And I’d hate cheating on my lover with a guy I actually respected.
Nigel: Your candor does you credit.
Phoebe: You can’t be half as good as Ronaldo.
Nigel: [genuinely hurt] Shut up already, baby mountain!
[He pulls off her jacket and lifts her top. His eyes widen in amazement.]
Nigel: Mighty Zarquon, you are a freaking fertility goddess... [frowns] Wow. It’s like a rock... thought it would be soft, like a pillow. Of course, I guess it has to be like that to protect the...
[Phoebe wraps her arms around him, pushing him down onto the couch and landing VERY heavily atop Nigel. All the air is forced out of his lungs and he mouths in agony.]
[A tired Dave trudges along a walkway, heading back to the front office.]
[Nigel and Phoebe are kissing and making out.]
Nigel: [between kisses] Phe, you are absolutely the biggest, sexiest, most beautiful girl I have ever laid eyes on. I am the luckiest man in the world. You are wonderful. Any of this sounding convincing?
Phoebe: Not really.
Nigel: I’ll shut up then, and let you do all the babbling in ecstasy.
Phoebe: Good plan.
[Nigel jerks in pain.]
Nigel: Ow! What the...?
[He looks down at her bare stomach in surprise.]
Nigel: Did your gut just kick me?
Phoebe: Yeah, sorry. There’s not much room left for it to move around, is there?
Nigel: Oof! It did it again... does it want out or something?
Phoebe: [giggles] Maybe the baby thinks you’re an asshole.
Nigel: I should have seduced you earlier, before all its limbs were finished...
[Phoebe shuts him up with another snog. He cries out again.]
Nigel: [muffled by her kissing him] Stop kicking me you little bastard! Ow!
[Dave enters the front office. He glares at the Admin Lady, violently keyed up.]
Dave: You don’t think, do you, I might actually have better things to do than this, do you? I mean, we’ve only got another week or so left at this school, then the HS-friggen-C, so it’s obvious that my time will be best served running up and down corridors handing relief teachers ENTIRELY USELESS pieces of paper that THEY DON’T EVEN READ!
Admin Lady: If you’re so bothered, do some revision in between jobs.
Dave: Oh, because sitting outside THE PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE really puts me in the mood to absorb and retain complicated information I know I JUST KNOW will be completely useless for the rest of my LIFE!
[He’s practically screaming in her face now.]
[Moans of increasing volume are coming from the closed door to the sick bay. Phoebe cries out in pleasure. Nigel shouts in pain.]
Nigel: [VO] DAMN IT! What is in there, an octopus or a footie hooligan?!
[In the front office, the Admin Lady is showing next to no interest in the on-the-freaking-brink Dave, red faced, sweaty and shouting at her.]
Admin Lady: [bored] You’re not the first student to have a breakdown before exams. Either shut up or jump off the roof and end it all.
[Dave is stunned by her callousness.]
Dave: [amazed] You don’t even care, do you?
[The Admin Lady idly shakes her head, not even bothering to look at him.]
Dave: [getting angry] Oh, well, fine! Because complete and utter apathy is a plan that’s WORKED OH SO DAMN WELL for the ENTIRE HUMAN RACE over the last few millennia, hasn’t it? WHY THE HELL TRY SOMETHING NEW WHEN YOU CAN JUST SIT ON YOUR FAT ARSE AND LET OTHER PEOPLE SUFFER?
[He storms off towards the sick bay. He pauses as he hears voices from within.]
Phoebe: [groans] Oh... this, this just rules! I’m rising fast.
Nigel: OH, MY EYE! That cannot be natural!
[Inside, Phoebe is writhing on the couch, Nigel between her knees, Nigel is clutching his eye with one hand.]
Nigel: Your stupid shiny belly-button just turned inside out! IN MY EYE!
Phoebe: I’ll punch you in the other one if you don’t keep it down! [sighs] Oh, that feels so good...
Nigel: [grumbles] Glad SOMEONE’S enjoying this!
[He cries out in surprise as she wraps her legs around him.]
Phoebe: [grunts] Oh, sweet Zarathustra! I can feel it happening!
[Dave is standing outside, a lost expression on his face.]
Nigel: [VO] Bloody hell, you’re not in labor, are you?
Phoebe: [groaning] Can’t be... not fully... dilated...
Nigel: [VO] “Not fully dilated”? With the Big N? Oh, you know how to hurt a man, red!
[Inside, Nigel is trying to untangle Phoebe’s legs from around his shoulders.]
Nigel: Seriously, you still got two weeks to go, right?
Phoebe: [panting] Two weeks? I’m eleven days overdue!
Nigel: [eyes widen] ...gah what now?
Phoebe: Another two days... and I get on the cover of every medical journal in Australia...
Nigel: [horrified] You’re telling me this NOW?!?
Phoebe: It's so… so… Oh, oh my, oh god, hold me…
[In the front office, Dave wordlessly walks in, picks up his coat and walks out without looking at the Admin Lady. Distant sounds of Phoebe screaming repeatedly can be heard.]
[Outside the sickbay. Dave is long gone. The sound of Phoebe puffing and panting is heard.]
Phoebe: [VO] It won’t be long!
Nigel: [VO] Someone! ANYONE! We need a paramedic! STATTT!!!
Phoebe: [VO] Don’t stop!
Nigel: [VO] FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST!
[Dave walks up the steps, shrugging into his coat. Nothing matters any more.]
[In the sickbay, Phoebe arches her back off the bed with one last scream and then slumps backwards, limp. Her stomach visibly relaxes. Nigel has bruises on his face.]
Phoebe: [sleepy] Oh... that hurt so SWEETLY.
[She looks up at him, and grins. She is wide awake and fully compos mentis.]
[Nigel’s jaw drops.]
[Outside the sickbay. The door opens and Nigel tugs on a rather stained T-shirt.]
Nigel: Well. Next time I want to try a new experience, I must remind myself of this nightmare.
[He massages his jaw, as if checking it’s not broken. Phoebe leans in the doorway, pulling up her jeans and trying to zip them up over her gut.]
Phoebe: Well, thanks for the pelvic floor exercises, Big N. I’ll try and find someone I actually like to do them from now on.
[Nigel glares at her.]
Nigel: You’re welcome. Have a nice day, red.
Phoebe: [grins] Already have. And, I promise, the next time I need a fireball exploding in my belly so every part of me, every fingertip, every toe, every strand of hair, every cell in my body dances and sings for joy to leave me in a sea of ecstasy and happy girl noises...
Nigel: [impatient] ...yeah?
Phoebe: [waves] I’ve already got a boyfriend much better at it than you are.
Nigel: [winces] I wish him all the best luck in the resulting physiotherapy.
[He stalks off. Phoebe sighs, refreshed, and heads off in the opposite direction.]
Phoebe: I think it’s fixed my back and everything...
- to be continued...