Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sex, Lies and Verkoff (iii)

[Dave is walking calmly through the school.]

[In the boy’s toilets, Nigel is washing his face. Jason spots him through the open door and hurries in.]

Jason: I was wondering where you’d got to my liege.

Nigel: Just enjoying the memory of what me and a certain redhead got up to.

Jason: Not Debbie “Skull of Rust” Spillane from Live & Sweaty!

[Nigel rolls his eyes.]

Nigel: ...no. Not her. Phoebe Richards. No, Phoebe Styles, now.

Jason: Oh yeah. She got married a couple of months back.

Nigel: You knew about it?

Jason: Oh yes. I was the best man.

Nigel: A truly unique experience for you, Jason. I trust you appreciated it fully.

[Phoebe meets Katy in the queue for the canteen.]

Katy: Hey, Phe.

Phoebe: [cheerful] Hey!

Katy: You’ve cheered up. Something’s put some colour in your cheeks.

Phoebe: Yeah, well, I just got rid of a whole lot of tension.

Katy: Oh? How’d you manage that?

Phoebe: Well, would you believe there was this massive contraction that fixed my back in one go?

Katy: Nope. Did you say any special Latin incantations?

Phoebe: [frowns] Not unless babbling “Oh, oh… aaaiiieeeeeee…Nige, I…Oh, god…I'm coming…oh, so good…oh, oh, oh, oh, oh… Mmm…Oh, Nige, you’re... oh, oh, oh, ohhhhhh…” counts as magic nowadays.

[Katy stares at her.]

Katy: You’re kidding. [hisses] You just got your leg over?! Or, in your case, uterus? With NIGEL?

Phoebe: It’s all perfectly natural and healthy in my condition, I’ve got paperwork to prove it.

Katy: Oh yeah, I know all about that. But with NIGEL? Jeez, girl, I thought you had standards.

Phoebe: I do. Just not higher than any of the other women in our year.

Katy: [huffs] Apart from me because I don’t have any cleavage.

Phoebe: Well. Um. Yeah.

[An awkward pause. Phoebe pats Katy on the shoulder.]

Phoebe: I’m sure they’ll turn up eventually. You just haven’t had a growth spurt yet.

Katy: [folds arms] Don’t patronize me, preggo.

[A beat. They both laugh.]

[Nigel and Jason are heading for a bench under some trees.]

Nigel: ...then my vision went to ecstatic white light and, well, the inevitable happened.

[Jason nods sagely.]

Nigel: You have no idea what I’ve been talking about, have you?

[Jason shakes his head.]

Nigel: Oh, just unpack lunch. [hums] I’m walking through the misty forest...

[He notices the stains on his shirt and sniffs them. Jason looks up from taking out a lunchbox.]

Jason: What is that stuff?

[Nigel shrugs, sniffs the stains.]

Nigel: Breast milk. I hope. Oh, I think I might have lost a tooth...

Jason: What happened? Did she beat you up?

Nigel: Not exactly. Mind you, her girly parts overheated so much I might have third-degree burns.

Simone: [vo] ...awesome.

[Nigel and Jason turn in unison to see Simone leaning against the tree behind them. ]

[At the pub, empty plates are being collected from Andrew and the teachers. A long pause.]

Andrew: One more for the road?

[Another pause. All the teachers cheer.]

[Nigel, Jason, Betty and Simone are sitting under the trees. Nigel is eating sushi.]

Simone: So, mothershagger, did that work for you?

Nigel: [winces] Surprisingly, no.

Betty: Stretch marks put you off?

Nigel: More what was causing them.

Simone: Aw, did you get frightened of getting bitten by the baby?

Nigel: Bitten? The bastard was trying to kick me to death!

Betty: The baby kicked! Aw, that’s so cute.

Nigel: Cute? Betty, it was as cute as Alien: Resurrection Uncut.

Betty: Oh. Is that bad?

Others: YES!

Nigel: It was like the end of Stone, if the bikies had all been a single fetus. Admittedly, a single fetus with a mean right hook who took an instant dislike to me invading its territory. As far as the sex went, it was right up there with the restaurant bit in When Harry Met Sally.

Jason: Sally Who?

Nigel: Trouble is, I enjoyed it slightly less than beating that fat guy in Jekka Tatve.

Jason: I didn’t know Harry had a girlfriend.

Simone: Well, she enjoyed it, that’s something.

Nigel: [rolls eyes] As I seem to keep saying, this is beside the point!

[There is a commotion. Students are running past them.]

Betty: What’s going on?

[Tegan shouts at them as she runs past after the others.]

Tegan: It’s Dave! He’s going to jump off the roof!

[Simone, Betty and Jason rush after her. Nigel is left alone on the bench.]

Nigel: Oh.

[A long pause.]

Nigel: Dave who?

[Silhouetted against the blue sky, Dave is pacing along the roof, hands in his coat pockets, tears down his cheeks. He’s singing a sad song at the top of his voice, which regularly cracks with emotion. In the courtyard below, a crowd of students is watching on in amazement. Jadi runs to the front.]

Jadi: Dave! Dave, what are you doing?

[Dave doesn’t hear him, just keeps on singing.]

Jadi: DAVE!

Lucy: I don’t believe it! There’s a kid on the roof and not a single teacher to be seen! Where are they?

[In the pub across the road from the pub, Andrew and a dozen or so teachers are sharing beers, drunkenly singing along with the jukebox.]


Andrew: Oh what fun we had!


Andrew: All I learned at school...


[The English teacher falls off her stool. All the others laugh uncontrollably.]

Andrew: Baggy trousers! Daggy trousers! Baggy trousers! Hahn-nahn-narn-nunnn!

[Chewing on a cigarette, Andrew headbangs to the music.]

[Some of the kids are laughing as Dave paces up and down the sloping roof, at one point almost losing his balance entirely. Jadi is sprinting up a staircase as fast as he can. Jadi runs along a walkway, directly underneath where Dave is.]

Jadi: How the hell did you even GET up there, anyway?

[Jadi looks down at the crowd, a lot of whom are laughing and point.]


[The crowd falls silent. Some go “ooooh!” mockingly. Jadi looks at the pillar outside the walkway that he can use to climb onto the roof. It is completely smooth and it is a LONG way down to hard concrete.]

Jadi: Oh, Restal, I am never going to forgive you for this...

[Gritting his teeth, Jadi climbs over the railings and jumps onto the pillar, wrapping his arms around it. The crowd gasp in a non-sarcastic manner. Jadi, white as a sheet, tries to climb up the pillar. His sweaty hands smudge with the white paint. He can’t go up. If anything, he’s starting to slide downwards...]

Dave: Heard it through the grapevine... honey, honey, I know...

[Teeth gritted, knuckles white, Jadi manages to stop sliding down lower than the walkway. He tentatively releases one hand, grabs further up the pipe, and manages to inch up a little more. His hands are slippery. He can’t keep hold. Any second he’s going to fall. He can do nothing but hyperventilate.]

Jadi: Oh shit... shit shit shit...

[Jadi’s hand comes free... and instantly Dave’s hand clamps around it. Dave is now lying flat on the roof, on his stomach, calmly reaching over the side. Jadi instinctively grabs the arm with both hands and with no hint of anything bar physical exertion, hauls Jadi up onto the walkway roof. Jadi collapses onto the roof, shaking and sweating with shock. Dave immediately begins pacing again.]

Jadi: [trying to breathe] Dave... what are you...?

Dave: You shoulda climbed the tree behind the library and walked here.

Jadi: [twigs] Right. [sighs] Oh, I hate my life.

Dave: I hate mine more.

Jadi: Dave, what is it? What the hell are you doing up here?

Dave: [scarily angry] CHEWING THE BREEZE!

[The anger fades. Dave starts to cry again. He buries his head in his hands and strides towards the edge. Jadi is too terrified to move, and is frozen on the roof as he sometimes is in such situations.]

Jadi: NO! DON’T!

[Dave pauses.]

Jadi: Please. Dave. I am begging you. Honest to god begging you. Do not do that.

Dave: [in a small voice] Why? [sobs] I can’t cope with this any more! It’s just idiots marching in lines and lines and I’m SICK OF IT!

[The crowd below are silent.]


Jadi: Dude. Trying not to be selfish here but I nearly died trying to get to you.

Dave: There are so many ways to fail. To crash and burn. To see your dreams die.

Jadi: That’s not good enough, Dave. Not good enough to jump.


Jadi: You don’t KNOW that!

Dave: I DON’T CARE WHAT I KNOW! I’m an idiot! Even Callisto’s smarter than me. And she’s not even in high school yet. I don’t want to hurt any more, Jadi.

[Very, very uneasily, Jadi tries to move.]

Jadi: OK, Davey boy. You hurt. I get this. You know I get this. That’s the price, man. You can’t get hurt unless you can feel good. Unless you can feel the best in the whole wide world. Pleasure, man. You can’t have it without pain. That’s just a fact. You can’t enjoy food if you can’t starve. You can’t rest if you can’t get tired. It’s so utterly shit, I know. But it’s just the way things are.

Dave: I’m not going to feel good any more.

Jadi: Then give me a chance to prove you wrong.

Dave: No! I DON’T WANT IT! I don’t want to go to class, I don’t want to go home, I don’t want anything! I just want it to stop!

Jadi: Your mum and dad won’t want that! What about Doug and Cally, huh?

Dave: Quit while you’re ahead. Go out on a high. Always leave them wanting more.

[Jadi crawls on all fours towards Dave.]

Jadi: This isn’t just the HSC. It’s something else. Talk to me, man, take my mind off how fucking high off the ground we are up here.

Dave: Phe.

[Jadi looks at him.]

Jadi: Suicidal or not, Dave, kinda selfish to want a heavily pregnant girl to climb up thirty metres to talk you out of it...

Dave: She’s better off without me. She said so.

Jadi: [getting annoyed] That is total lie and you know it.

Dave: SHE SAID IT! And what about you? Are you happy climbing up here?

Jadi: [rolls eyes] THREE BLOODY GUESSES, DAVE!

Dave: [crying] See? I even screw your life up. What if you’d fallen, man? You’d be dead because of me. I’m no good. I don’t get anything right. I saw her, man. I never made her that happy. And I wanted her to be that happy. If I can’t do that, Jadi, can’t do one thing that important... what good am I?

[Jadi unsteadily gets to his feet.]

Jadi: Dude. You are stressed. That is effecting your brain. DAVE, LISTEN TO ME! When something bad happens, you get upset. Right? RIGHT? When you get upset, your brain reacts in a certain way. It’s like a light switch. And sometimes the switch gets pressed when nothing bad has happened... Listen. Your body thinks it’s the end of the world. But it isn’t. It SO isn’t. It’s a new millennium for Christ’s sake! That’s a thousand years of people who all felt like you do PROVED WRONG.

[Dave walks towards the edge.]

Jadi: [starting to panic] I’ll tell you this for nothing, Dave, you can hate yourself for not making Phe happy but I guarantee you that you can break her heart. I swear to you. You jump off there, and you wreck her life forever. Forever. She can take exams again, she can have a baby adopted, she can start over. But she can’t replace her best friend.

Dave: [emotionless] She’s got you.

Jadi: And I’m not enough. Dave, don’t make her sadder than she already is.

[Dave lets out a rather creepy laugh.]

Dave: That’s all you’ve got? Guilt? Stay alive so everyone ELSE feels better?

Jadi: I am not Robbie Coltrane, Dave! I don’t know how to manipulate people and trick them into not killing themselves. You’re my best friend, that’s all. I nearly killed myself getting up here and I’d do it again. Doesn’t matter how many times. You are worth it. I do not want a world without you in it.

Dave: [quietly] Things aren’t going to get better, Jadi.

Jadi: But we can stop them getting worse. You and me. Together. Come on, man.

[Phoebe hurries through the crowd to the front, a worried expression as she peers up at them. Dave gives her a small, sad wave.]

Dave: [sighs] I don’t want to be alive any more.

Jadi: That’s because you’re under a heap of stress, you’ve all but lost your mum and the girl you love is going to have another guy’s baby. Dude, no one is saying you don’t have a reason to be depressed.

Dave: She had sex with Nigel.

Jadi: And the... [stares] WHAT?!

Dave: This morning. In the sickbay.

Jadi: You are kidding me.

[Dave shakes his head.]

Jadi: [runs hands through hair] Um, OK, whoa... My original point still stands. [sotto] Trust me, dude, if we play this one right, we can get the rest of the day off – easy!

[Dave stares at him. Smirks. Jadi smiles back. They both start to laugh until they are doubled over. The crowd starts to relax. Suddenly, Jadi and Dave are laughing so much they lose their balance. They windmill their arms and scream as they fall out of sight. The crowd scream in terror. Phoebe sprints for the area, despite how uncomfortable it is. Others follow.]

[Phoebe runs around a corner and skids to a halt. Dave is clinging to the walkway railings above her and Jadi is hanging onto his legs. Both are laughing uncontrollably. Jadi drops the short distance to the ground and then helps the giggling Dave climb down to join him. They turn and see Phoebe, who is giddy with relief. The laughter fades, and suddenly they are awkward in silence. The other kids arrive, see Jadi and Dave are unharmed, and immediately burst into wild applause and cheers.]

[End of school day. Jadi, Phoebe and Dave are sitting beside the car park. Phoebe is hugging Dave tight, burying his head in her shoulder. She’s been crying a bit. Jadi stares at the ground, chin in his hands. A car pulls up, with the shaggy shape of Dave’s dad in the driver seat. Jadi rises, silently peels Dave out of Phoebe’s grasp and help him. He gives Phoebe a look. She sadly shakes her head. Jadi nods and then helps Dave into the car with his dad, joins him and then they drive off, leaving Phoebe alone.]

Nigel: [vo] You seriously need to get new friends.

[Nigel drops down to sit beside her.]

Nigel: Honestly, red, would those two last thirty seconds without you around to look after them. Forget that [indicates her belly] you been a single mum for years before now. [shakes his head] Honestly. I knew they were into Goth stuff, but I never thought they were Emos! Honestly. ‘Little girl I knew grows up and has sex I must end it all!’ Loser. Wish he had jumped.

[Without looking, Phoebe flings her fist backwards, smashing Nigel in the face.]

Nigel: [wincing] Oh, Phe, those hormones working overtime are they?

[She backhands him again. He falls over.]

Nigel: All you need is some more tension release. [groans] Oh no I can’t see properly... [charming again] How about you and me, back of Wynona? The Delorean type doors, perfect for a girl in your condition, plenty of room in the back and you’re going to hit me again, aren’t you? I can tell.

[She turns to look at him and gently strokes his lips with her fingers... then grabs his bottom lip and digs her thumbnail into it. Nigel makes tiny noises of pain but dare not make a move.]

Phoebe: [tranquil fury] Because of you and your stupid libido, I came way too close to losing my very, VERY best friends today. I don’t care if you think they’re pathetic. I don’t care what anyone thinks. But if you come near me again, or give Dave any shit about this in any way, shape or form... if you even so much as allow ANYONE ELSE to do so... then I will peel every last nerve ending out of your body, dip them in lemon juice and then feed them into a meat grinder.

[Nigel manages to pull his lip free.]

Nigel: [contemptuous] You’re going to make a wonderful mum, aren’t you?

Phoebe: You know what you THINK you feel about Bernice? Well, times that by a thousand and you’re still nowhere near about what I feel about Dave and Jadi.

[That shuts him up.]

Phoebe: So keep out of my way. Or else I will get you naked with a sharp knife and a water melon and share in minute detail the agony of childbirth. Only backwards.

Nigel: [smiles] You know, if you weren’t so utterly terrifying right now, you’d be raw sex appeal.

Phoebe: Like you said. I’m going to make a wonderful mum.

[She headbutts him to the ground, struggles to her feet and waddles off. A moment Nigel manages to climb to his feet and watches her go.]

Nigel: [completely unconcerned] Whatever.

[With a shrug, he heads off to Wynona.]


NIGEL: One hell of a final chapter, Bollyknickers!

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