At this point there is a loud knocking on their door. Maddy goes to see who it is. She returns with MONA.
MONA: I couldn’t think where else to go. It’s so late…
MAD: (aside) You could have tried a hotel.
What’s going on, Mona? Roger got you burning
the midnight oil again?
MONA: We had a row. He threw me out.
MAD: Threw you out of where.
MONA: My gaffe.
MAD: Your own place? He can’t do that.
MONA: Yeah, well. He pays the rent, don’t he?
MONA: Oh, I see.
MONA: Do you? I doubt it. It’s alright for you, innit?
Miss high and mighty. A girl’s gotta look after
her own interests is what my mom always says.
MAD: Oh Yeah? (she looks searchingly at her)
Is that what your mum says?
You’re not doing a very good job at the moment,
are you? Why did he throw you out?
MONA: Some stupid message I was supposed
to leave on your ansaphone. I got it mixed up…
John, who has been giving a good impression of a man sleeping on the settee during the exchange so far, sits up.
JOHN: He said he phoned himself…left the message himself.
MONA: Nah…he asked me to do it…(she rubs her legs together)
Look, I gotta use the whatsit….
(she exits after Maddy indicates where to go)
MAD: The bastard knew all the time. What is he playing at?
(pause) Where did he find her?
JOHN: (laughs) There’s a factory in East London
churning them out by the hundred. Didn’t you see
the ’Made in Romford’ label on her back?
MAD: Pretty though, isn’t she? Wouldn’t you say she’s pretty?
JOHN: If you strip away the paint.
MAD: Behind every painted face beats a heart of gold
JOHN: Some mother reared her. She wasn’t always like that.
She must have been a little girl once.
MAD: Yes, she was. (pause)
Mona returns at this point
JOHN: This message, Mona, you said it got mixed up.
MONA: Yeah, I sent it to someone in Spain.
That’s why Roger is doing his nut. I mean,
a girl can make a mistake…
JOHN: Priestley, was that who you sent it to?
MONA: I think so.
JOHN: No wonder the fur is flying
How did you manage to get your knickers in such a twist?
MAD: (aside) Assuming you wear any.
MONA: I didn’t come here to be insulted. I think I better go…
JOHN: No…it’s alright. She didn’t mean anything,
did you, Mad? It’s a mistake anyone could
make. Like dialing a wrong number. We all do that.
Why don’t we all have a nice cup of tea?
(he chucks the empty champagne bottle in the bin)
…nothing else left, I’m afraid.
(he waits for Maddy to offer, but she doesn’t)
I’ll do the honors, shall I? (exits)
MONA: Your husband’s nice, ain’t he?
MAD: we’re not married
MONA: Oh, well…I thought… John said. I’m sorry, I didn’t…
MAD: It’s all right. Did you hear that, John? She thinks you’re nice
MONA: Oh, really…
MAD: Credit where credit’s due. (John returns) You forgot the biscuits.
JOHN: We don’t seem to have any.
They sip their teas in silence for a moment
MAD: What’s your opinion of the employer/employee
MONA: The what?
JOHN: Don’t mind her.
MAD: How far should the relationship go? Should the
employee go down on bended knee – or even both
knees – and pander to the whims of his superior?
MONA: ‘Ere…that’s what Roger expects you to do. He
does me, anyway. Bloody cheek! Expects you to
tend him hand and foot.
(pause) ‘Specially since she gave him the elbow.
MONA: Madame, who else? Denied him his conjugal rights,
MAD: He told you that?
MONA: I felt sorry for him. And then he showed me….
MAD: His bank account?
JOHN: Now, now…
MONA: He showed me a lot of kindness…
MAD: Kindness! Roger!
MONA: Yes. And I fell for it. At first it was great…You know,
night clubs, buying me little things…
MAD: Oh I know. John was like that at first too…weren’t you
dear? I was snowed under with stuff. You name it,
I was under it. And then he had his wicked way with
me and it all stopped. Just like that. But that’s men for you.
JOHN: Not all men.
MAD: Yes, all men. (sweetly) It’s a biological thing, dear. Remember? (beat) How long before a man loses interest in you?
MAD: As a general rule, I mean. Men. How long would
you say before they lose interest?
MONA: You mean totally? The…sex bit an’ all?
MAD: Yeah…the sex bit and all.
MONA: Well…see, I never came up against that problem…
MAD: It’s never happened to you?
MONA: Not really. Not like that. Maybe they won’t speak to
you, or whatever…or they tell you you’re as thick
as two six inch planks nailed together… but you still have to
beat them over the head with a baseball bat to stop them
getting into your knickers. (titters) Men are like that.
MAD: You find that, do you?
MONA: Yeah. Sometimes I think it’s all they want you for.
(beat) You’re lucky. Being…I mean in a settled relationship.
JOHN: Don’t mind me, ladies. Just pretend I’m not here.
MAD: Why bother pretending?
JOHN: Do I detect a level of dissatisfaction at the state of play?
MAD: What state of play? It’s been cancelled for
lack of interest. (to Mona) How would you describe Roger? Lovable? Sexy? What?
MONA: He’s a bastard.
MAD: At least we have something in common. (to John)
You hear that?
JOHN: I’ve met better, I suppose
MAD: You hate his guts – you’re just
too pathetic to do anything about it.
He treats him like shit
MONA: Why don’t you leave?
JOHN: I can’t.
MAD: You won’t, you mean. He feels duty bound by some
stupid boy scout promise he made years back.
JOHN: You know why I can’t!
MAD: Call his bluff. Tell him if you go down, he goes too.
He’s not exactly squeaky clean himself.
(John doesn’t reply and Maddy makes her disgust clear)
Look at him! God, I sometimes wish I….
It takes more than balls to make a man.
JOHN: Why are you so down on Roger? You hardly know him.
MAD: I know his type. He doesn’t treat women well.
Deep down he probably hates us all. Look at how he’s
behaved towards Mona…
JOHN: You hardly know her either! A little while ago you
were running her down…
MAD: We females have to stick together.
JOHN: What does Mona have to say?
MONA: It makes my blood boil, now that I think of the way
he treats me.
MAD: Don’t get mad, get even. (pause) I wonder if Liza
feels that way? The spurned wife?
MONA: Dunno. I never thought about her feelings before.
` Still, it isn’t like a real marriage, is it?
She goes her own way. And they haven’t …well
you know…not for years. (she laughs)
He likes to talk. Sometimes he rabbits so much I fall asleep.
JOHN: Sleeping on the job!
MAD: Better than going AWOL.
MONA: Terrible, ain’t I? Still, I don’t think he notices. (pause)
I know I shouldn’t say this, but I don’t think he’s
very good at it. I mean,if he was, I would stay awake, wouldn’t I? (another pause) He smokes. Those big…cigar things…
(she makes a face) Know what?
Sometimes I’m lying there, watching the smoke swirling
above me, and I’m thinking, ‘this ain’t right, this
ain’t the way it’s meant to be, girl’…
Before Mona finishes, there is a loud banging on the door.
ROGER (off) John…Johnny, open the facking door…
There is panic in the room, then Maddy and Mona retreat to the bedroom off. John lets Roger in. Roger is clearly the worse for drink.
ROGER: ‘S like trying to get into facking Stringfellows. (looks around)
You seen that slag Mona? She bin here ?
JOHN: Why? What’s up?
Roger becomes maudlin/friendly. He puts his arm round John’s shoulders.
ROGER: A right cock-up, Johnny boy, that’s what. That dippy tart
only went and left the message on Priestley’s effing machine.
Not yours. (he looks earnestly at John) What can I say,
old pal?…no hard feeling, eh?
JOHN: No…no, ‘course not.
ROGER: I knew you’d understand. We go back a long way, eh?
(he takes out a flask ) Got some glasses?
(John gets glasses) Try some of that. The best of gear
(they drink) Cheers. Best pals, eh…you and me?
Not like that long Welsh streak of piss.
JOHN: I always found him okay.
ROGER: Oh, did you? (beat) Then you only ever saw him from behind
the wheel of your latest souped-up shite-bucket. (laughs)
And your eyesight wasn’t always the best on occasions.
ROGER: You know what I facking mean. (beat) Anyway, you didn’t
know the cant.
JOHN: (slightly peeved) We had drinks together several times…
ROGER: You paid, I bet! Priestley never paid nothing
JOHN: I remember his sister came looking for him once…
ROGER: Sister? I remember no sister…
JOHN: You must do. You were there that night. Her name was…
ROGER: I remember her now. Must be all of fifteen years ago. (pause)
A typical Welsh trollop – all paint and no knickers.
She was dragging a runny-nosed,
scrawny kid around after her. A mini-version of herself.
She was on the scrounge…not that she’d get much from
that tight bastard.
JOHN: You put her up for a couple of days.
ROGER: Nah…I don’t remember that. (beat)
Maybe my old mum did.
JOHN: I could of sworn…
ROGER: Look! It never happened that way. Alright? (pause)
Never had much time for them as a race, you know.
Then, who has? Apart from Harry Secombe. He was alright.
He could warble a bit, and was good for a laugh. (beat)
Nah, only one place for the Welsh as far as I’m concerned.
JOHN: Where’s that?
ROGER: That facking leek farm they call Wales. They should all be
sent back there – as punishment. Cheers. (they both drink)
London for us Cockneys, eh? First it was the Paddies, then
it was the wogs and Indians. Now it’s the bloody spics and
Russians! Facking Ruskies, I ask you! (pause) Ever had
a Russian bint? No? Well I nearly did the other night. Kings
Cross…there she was…lovely little mover. Well, I fancied
a hand shandy or something, and then she opened her
mouth. ‘I am Natasha and I am giving you the good
time. You will please pay me thirty
pounds for the full performance, and twenty pounds for the
hand relief’. I thought she was Swedish, but when she said
Russia, well, I lost the urge. I mean, you don’t know where
they’ve been, do you?
JOHN: (dryly) Russia, I should imagine.
ROGER: Free enterprise is all very well, but how would they like it
if we sent our slags over there? Eh? I mean, fair is fair, but
since they knocked that bloody wall down in Berlin, every Tom
dick and Harry is over here.
JOHN: Harriot too.
ROGER: Harriot who? Ah, fack it, let’s have another drink. (they drink)
‘Ere, did I show you this?
(he removes his shirt to reveal a line of weals across his back)
JOHN: Now that’s what I call passion marks. Was it Mona or Liza? (realises what he has said and begins to sing)
Mona Liza, Mona Liza, you have maimed me
You’re so like the lady with the mystic smile
Are you warm, are you real, Mona Liza?…
ROGER: You cant. It was Miss Whiplash. Before we went
on holiday. She got a bit carried away.
JOHN: You got yourself whipped before going on holiday?
ROGER: Couldn’t resist it, could I? It was a special offer. Half price.
One of those poncey telephone-booth cards.
Mind you, it was a bit tricky on the beach.
Liza couldn’t understand why I kept my shirt on.
Thirty degrees it was – in the shade.
JOHN: How much did she charge?
ROGER: Only forty sovs. I got the full treatment for that.
JOHN: You were robbed. I know someone who would have
done it for nothing.
ROGER: There’s plenty candidates.
JOHN: I mean someone in particular.
ROGER: Mona? Nah. She’s pretty conservative, that gal.
No imagination at all. (laughs)
One time, when we were…you know…
Well, she just lay there eating a bag of chips.
JOHN: What did you do?
ROGER: Asked her if she fancied some mayonnaise on them.
Well, you gott’a laugh, ain’t ya?
During the time since Roger removed his shirt, Mona and Maddy have been peering through the bedroom door, making signs. John sees them, but Roger doesn’t. At Roger’s last remark, Maddy has to drag Mona back into the bedroom. Now she is signaling to John to get rid of him, and John is trying to interpret her signals.