Just finished 'The Fifth Column' the other day, by Ernest Hemingway. In the sense of travelling and adventuring, here's someone that truly lived, and a lot of his books are quite closely related to his wealth of personal experience. So when I am reading the abovementioned work (his only play, set in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War) I am feeling that a lot of the characters and circumstances are probably just thinly veiled literary transformations of real people and events that actually happened.
And so, in this vein (but of course not of the same literary standing), I present to you a scene from a play in which your correspondent has been a sometimes unwilling character for the past, I don't know, seven years!? It's a truly enthralling saga, based on the undying paradox that emotions are so high, and yet the stakes so low, the events taking place almost fatally boring...or maybe this could be a radio play, you know, found on some AM station between 2 and 3 on a Saturday afternoon while painting ceilings or something....
I proudly present to you:
Scene #6457 - In The Kitchen (again)
(Curtain opens. It is the kitchen, around 8AM. The kitchen is small, with cupboards at stage left, oven/range at stage right, and the sink beneath a large window at the rear. THAT GUY, our main protagonist, sits at a stool at the counter with his back to the audience, slumped over breakfast and some papers. Some light jazz is playing from a dodgy CD player close to his left. The small room is lit by a pallid English spring morning light.)
(Enter DJ, wearing black pants and white shirt with tie. The tie is part of his work ethic these days.)
That Guy: All right, geezer?
DJ: All right.
(DJ makes himself some toast and a coffee and quietly sits on another stool at the counter opposite to THAT GUY, facing the audience.)
DJ: What you got this kill-yourself music on for!?
That Guy: (amused but far too seriously as usual) I happen to like this album!
DJ: (laughs) No, it's all right (trails off).
(A moment in the quiet of breakfast time passes. Suddenly, ex housemate B, recently moved out, startles in.)
B: (to THAT GUY) Hello chicken!
(They exchange pleasantries. B goes to the sink to pour herself a glass of water. B and DJ's disdain for each other is obvious. The tension in the air is palpable, at least to THAT GUY.)
That Guy: I didn't know you were coming over this morning?
B: Well, neither did we. The delivery guy rang us, said, "Oh, I'll be over in twenty minutes." Stupid English.
(BING! there it is....A brief moment...DJ, ever the staunch patriot, cannot resist the cue.)
DJ: (turning in his stool to face B) What the fuck did you say that for?
B: (instantly) Well, it's true. Anyone knows that the morning is like, well, eleven to three, but this guy calls up at eight...it's like the whole country.
DJ: Yeah, but how the fuck can you say something like that? Don't say shit like that.
(THAT GUY, truly tired of seven years of putting up with this kind of thing, but ever the diplomat, decides to pipe in with his two bobs worth.)
That Guy: Yeah, bloody English, what's the good of them, eh?
(The comment somehow disappears into the ether. B is staring daggers at DJ, who is returning her gaze.)
That Guy: And the French, what a joke.
B: Yeah, well it's this whole country, you know...everyone knows that morning is eleven till three...
That Guy: And while we're at it, I think we should all hack on the Swedish! They can't do food, they're all bloody gorgeous, and all that Ikea stuff is crap anyway (trails off).
(THAT GUY looks on amused, satisfied at his own dumb humour, marvelling at how morning now includes two hours of the afternoon.)
(B swiftly exits stage left in a flurry. Enter D-FUNK from stage right.)
D-Funk: All right?
That Guy: All right geezer!
(D-FUNK picks up the CD cover from the top of the player, has a look.)
That Guy: That's awesome.
(D-FUNK returns the cover. Gaze distant, stance affected, D-FUNK walks to the sink to pour himself a glass of water. Clearly there are other things on his mind.)
(As it always does with D-FUNK, a moment passes.)
That Guy: What you doing here this morning?
(Another moment passes.)
D-Funk (in patented quasi-American accent): Oh, you know, just shipping these boxes off to France.
That Guy: Right.
(DJ has just finished his breakfast, exits stage right. Yet another moment passes. THAT GUY sips his coffee.)
That Guy: Did you get the photos of it?
D-Funk: No, but we saw it...going back for the photos on Thursday....saw it kickin' around...it's gonna be a groover, that's for sure.
(Another moment. D-FUNK exits stage right. DJ reenters, sits back down at the counter. A moment passes.)
That Guy: I'll turn this off now (moves his hand to the CD player. Music off).
DJ: No, that one was all right!
(Lights out. Curtain.)
Watch out, West End, it's a hit in the making!