MISS WHIPLASH REGRETS…contd

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.

ROGER:        Whas’a’matter?  Something wrong with your eye?

JOHN:            (rubbing)  Bit of grit, I think.

ROGER:        There I was, thinking me luck had changed (beat)

                        You never fancied it, then?

JOHN:            Fancied what?

ROGER:        The old Romford hornpipe. (laughs)  That’s what my old man

                        called it, whenever he saw a couple of shirt-lifters heading for the

marshes down Coppermill Lane; ’there they go again, off doing the   Romford hornpipe’.

JOHN:            I was never that way inclined.

ROGER:        Ooh!  Not that way inclined!   Now there’s conviction!  ‘Course

                        you never spent no five years banged up with head-cases

                        and psychopaths for company. Or spent time in chokey – where

                        the only company you have for twenty three hours of the day

                        is a hard chair and four brick walls.   Lemme tell you…

 a few weeks of that boyo… (he drinks)…and 

tall blonde boys named Jeremy or Alan suddenly look

awfully like Jemimas and Alanas from a distance.

Know what I mean?  (pause)

                        Tell me, how long, exactly, did you spend in nick?

JOHN:            None.  I never done time.  You know that.

ROGER:        Then don’t come all this better-than-thou shit with me. Any

                        port in a storm – when you’re desperate.  (he stands up)

                        See me, I’m no facking oil painting. They weren’t exactly

                        breaking down my cell door to keep me company.  When it

                        happened it was usually a quick hows-your-father in the Jacksey.

(pause) Kenny, now he never had no trouble.

 ‘Course he’s not your usual tubby Welsh runt, is he?

 Our Kenny was a popular lad, inside.  Oh yes.

(pause) Which brings me to my reason for being here.

JOHN:            I thought you were looking for Mona?

ROGER:        Yah…(he waves a hand) To hell with her.  I gotta

cut my losses there. There’s plenty of other bints in the  ocean, eh?  (pause) No, what it is… Kenny is back in the Smoke to do a job.

 A one-off on a security van.

JOHN:            He needs the money?

ROGER:        Yeah.  Or he did. He’s got my wedge now, ain’t he?

JOHN:            Maybe he won’t go ahead then.

ROGER:        He’d better.  (pause)  I want a facking return, don’t I?

                        I’m not a philant…frophant…fucking charity.

Silence.

JOHN:            You involved?

ROGER:        Not bloody likely!  I don’t want to be within a hundred miles

                        of that facking lunatic if I can help it.  I’m thinking of

                        booking a week in Benidorm.

JOHN:            You just come back.

ROGER:        I like Benidorm.  Anywhere that hasn’t Priestley near it, I like.

                         He asked me to bankroll him for ten G’s, and I agreed.

                        That was before I found out about this London heist.  Why

                        do you think I went doollaly?   Shitting on my own doorstep?                                                  No thanks.           

JOHN:            So where do I come in?

ROGER:        He wants a driver.

JOHN:            London is full of drivers.  Most of them lunatics too – so that

should suit him.

ROGER:        He wants you. And I want my investment back.

JOHN:            I haven’t driven since…

ROGER:        I know.  He still wants you.  (pally again)  You’d be doing

                        me a big favour, John.

JOHN:            Thanks a fucking million.  What about shitting on my doorstep?

ROGER:        What doorstep? You haven’t got any form.

JOHN:            I can’t do it.  I don’t have the bottle anymore  (sees Roger’s look)

                        I can’t…I honestly can’t sit behind a wheel…

Maddy has had enough.  She shoves Mona back into the bedroom and marches into view.

MAD:              You heard what he said. He’s finished toadying to you.

ROGER:        The dead arose and appeared to many. Been dreaming

                        of something pleasant?

MAD:              I was giving you the wax treatment.  You ever had the wax

                        treatment?

ROGER:        I don’t think I’ve had that pleasure…

MAD:              The pleasure would be all mine, believe me. (beat)

                        Why don’t you drive the fucking car?  It’s your money.

ROGER:        Can’t.  Never had any need to learn, did I?

MAD:              Your type never do.

ROGER:        Besides, the man specifically asked for Johnny boy

MAD:              (walking round him, looking at his back)

I’m looking for your spine.  But snakes don’t have any, do they?  (she fingers the weals.  There is something

almost sensuous in this, as if she can’t help herself)

I would have done that.  For nothing. Gladly.

(She takes a bamboo rod from one of the pot plants)

You ready for some more?

ROGER:        (moving away hurriedly and buttoning up his shirt)

                        Here, leave it out, girl! 

(gets some bravado back) Another time, another place, maybe.  (brisk) Now, to business…

MAD:              There is no fucking business.  Not with you, anyway.

                        You can tell that to…Kenny. 

John’s driving no getaway car for anybody.

ROGER:        I don’t think you understand.  See?  It’s not a request.

                        Johnny drives the car for Kenny, or the old Bill get

                        a name and a set of dabs they been looking for for twelve years.

Maddy loses control and begins beating Roger across the back with the rod.

MAD:              You bastard.  You no-good lousy rotten blackmailing…

                                                                                    end of scene

scene three. 

A few days later.

A sort of hen party at John and Maddy’s. Others present are Mona and Liza. Mona is in the bathroom, and Liza is arriving, bringing a ‘bottle’.

LIZA:              Just you and me?  What are we celebrating?

MAD:              How about being alive?

LIZA:              Sounds okay to me.  (she looks in the wall mirror) 

                        You know, since I moved out, I feel twenty years younger…

Mona emerges from the bathroom at this point.

LIZA:              Well, I did.  What’s she doing here

MONA:           Who’s she…the cat’s mother?

MAD:              I Invited her.  I thought…girls together.

LIZA:              I refuse to stay in the same room as that…

                        that home-wrecker.

MONA:           You’ve got a bloody cheek. Roger only turned

                        to me because you…

LIZA:              You and every other whore in the English-speaking

                        world…

MONA:           Who you calling a whore?

LIZA:              Who paid for that?…that?…and that? 

(she indicates Mona’s clothes and jewelry

And the bed you sleep in?

MONA:           And who paid for that?…that?…and that?

 (indicating Liza’s clothes and jewelry)

And the bed you used to sleep in?

MAD:              Oh come on, Liza.  Get off your high horse.  We all

                        know what Roger’s like.

LIZA:              Too bloody right I do.  More years than I care to think

 of knowing what he’s like. (laughing)  Maybe you’re right…

what’s that saying of yours?

MAD:              Life’s too short to dance with ugly men…

LIZA:              That’s it. Know what his mother called me when we first met?

                        The  whore from Kensington Gore.

MAD:              Lucky you didn’t come from Cheshunt, then!

                        (she looks at Liza’s bottle)   Dom Perignon!

LIZA:              Roger keeps a fridge-full of the stuff.

                        Thinks it’s gonna impress people. Who’s it gonna impress?

                         What the hell!  He won’t miss a bottle or two. 

                         You want to open it now – while it’s still cold.

MAD:              (making a face) I think we’ll save it till later.

                        I’ll put in the…fridge. (she exits)

MONA:           You definitely leaving him then?

LIZA:              I’ve already left him.  So you’re welcome  to him… dearie. 

But don’t get any ideas about his money…

                        .

MONA:           I don’t want his money

LIZA:              (as Maddy returns)

                        What else is there to want?  His body?  His good looks?

 His personality?  Do me a favour!  At least I’m honest;

 I married him for his money, and now I’m leaving him for it!

During this discussion plenty of drinking and eating should be taking place.  As Maddy is the hostess, she should occasionally replenish drinks and place plates of cocktail sausages, peanuts etc on the table.

MONA:           What’s wrong with love?

LIZA:              Nothing wrong with it, if you can afford it.

MAD:              You’re growing cynical in your old age.

LIZA:              Less of the old – if you don’t mind.  You’re as old

                        as the man you feel.  And I haven’t felt Roger for

                        a long time.  Have you seen the state of him lately?

                        Well, of course you have. (this to Mona)

                        I would rather grope Mr Blobby.

MONA:           It didn’t stop you going on holiday with him.

 LIZA:             No, my dear.   But it put a stop to the likes of you going with him.

(sweet smile) There’s appearances to be kept

                        up whatever the sordid reality. The windows of Willows

                        Walk  do enough squinting as it is, without me adding to

                        the enjoyment.  Bloody nosey snobs, the lot of them.

Not that I have much against snobbery.  We’d all still

be living like savages if it wasn’t for a bit of snobbery

MAD:              Did you see much of him on your last trip.

LIZA:              He hardly left the poolside for most of the time.

MAD:              Not even for a swim?

LIZA:              No – now that you mention it. Wouldn’t even take his top off.

                        He must have been under the weather.

MONA:           Not under the weather – under Miss Whiplash

Both Mona and Maddy cannot stop laughing at this.

MAD:              The reason he didn’t take off his top is because he

 has, well…acquired a liking for the

 cat-o-nine-tails. Particularly when it’s wielded  by

a six-foot amazon in high heels and a basque.

LIZA:              Miss Whiplash?   The  dirty bastard.

                        I thought he was past all that..

MAD:              There’s something satisfying in

                        dressing up in leathers and six inch stilettos…

                        (she grinds her foot on the floor) and seeing a

                        man grovel under your feet. Don’t you think?

LIZA:              Yeah.  Particularly Roger.

MAD:              Not him.

LIZA:              Why not him?  He deserves getting his face ground in

                        the dirt.  He’s rubbed mine in it often enough.

MAD:              He’d enjoy it too much. Too much pleasure

                        in it that way.  Pain without pleasure, that’s the way to fix him.

LIZA:              Did you ever do it…you know, that dominatrix stuff?

MAD:              What a question!  Where did you get that notion?

LiZA:              You. Just now. The way you talk about it.  You

 sound so…comfortable with the idea.

MAD:              (laughs)  Do I look like a…Miss Whiplash?

LIZA:              You might have been…once.  You’ve still got a good figure.

MAD:              Me!  In my youth!    A stripper?

LIZA:              Why not?  We’re none of us the people we used to be.

MAD:              Alright.  What did you do when you were young?

LIZA:              I…well, I was no angel – that’s for sure.

MAD:              But you don’t want to talk about it?

LIZA:              No.

MAD:              Neither do I.  (to Mona)  How about you?

MONA:           I thought we came here to talk about Roger.

MAD:              And so we shall.  You first.

MONA:           I don’t understand  why you ever married him.

LIZA:              I told you…for the money, dear. The same

                        reason why you sleep with him.

MONA:           That’s not true. I…

LIZA:              Now, don’t disappoint me and tell me it’s love!

                        How could anyone love that miserable rat?

MONA:           He was funny at first…

LIZA:              Funny ha-ha, or funny peculiar?  Oh yeah, life’s

                        been one big barrel of laughs with Roger. (beat)

                        I had more laughs when I visited visit my uncle

                        in the cancer ward .

MONA:           He said you never appreciated him…

LIZA:              He said that?… Well, of course he’s right. Let’s

                        see now… on average, there’s a new scrubber like you

                        every six months or so – and don’t flatter yourself you’ll

                        be the last – so, no, I don’t appreciate that. Then there’s

                         his drunken rages, and the violent outbursts

                        that usually follow…and, no, I don’t appreciate those

                        either.  But I was prepared to overlook most of these…

                        shortcomings because, well, financially, I was doing okay. But

                        now I find that the only thing that tied me to him

                        isn’t as plentiful as it used to be.

                        So, I’m off –  taking what I can while it’s still there

MAD:              John reckons he’s loaded.

LIZA:              Where is it, then?  You seen the state of his bank account lately?  (pauses)  Well, I wouldn’t have either,

                        only he left the statement lying around one morning. He

                        lost it completely over some cheque that had been cashed.

MAD:              The Priestley cheque.

LIZA:              The what?  (pause)  You know Kenny?

MAD:              His name came up the other day in a…discussion

                        Roger was having with John.  I happened to be there.

LIZA:              Why would he pay Kenny all that money?  He always

                        said Kenny was a….

 MAD:             It was a loan.  To tide him over.  I think he’s

                        planning some job here.

LIZA:              He’s here?  In London?

MAD:              I wouldn’t be surprised.  You know him?

LIZA:              Used to.  Long time ago, though.

MAD:              How well did you know him?

LIZA:              Well enough.

MAD               That well?

LIZA:              Yeah, that well. (laughs)  Well, you never know what

you’re missing.  (another laugh)  Not that I was missing a lot…

MAD:              Does Roger know?

LIZA:              I never told him. Maybe Kenny did.

                        We all lost touch. Then I met up with him again, after he…

MAD:              Got out of goal.

LIZA:              You know about that?

MAD:              Not until the other night, when John confessed his sordid past.

 And the part that Roger plays in his life.

LIZA:              He told you all that? (beat)  I’m surprised.

MAD:              It…came out. (beat)  You knew John back then?

LIZA:              Oh, we bumped into each other a few times.

Roger called him his go-for. I guessed they were up to no good.  (laughs)  Well, Roger couldn’t go straight if he was strapped to

 a rocket. He was surprised John was still around when he

                        got out.   ‘If it was me’, he used to say, ‘I wouldn’t

                        be facking here’.

MAD:              John’s fingerprints were all over the….

LIZA:              Roger a grass?  Not in a million years.  He knew John would fall

 for it though.

MONA:           You let him go through all that?

LIZA:              He wouldn’t have believed me.  Would he? 

MAD:              Probably not.  Not that I have your touching faith in Roger.

He’d sell his own mother.

LIZA:              She’d sell him first!  You don’t know Renee.  Correction,

                        you don’t want to know Renee.  If I was religious,

I’d bless myself.

MONA:           His mother is an old woman – living in a home!

LIZA:              But still alive!  (beat)  I don’t want to talk about her.

                        She brings me out in a rash.

There is silence for a moment. We see some eye contact between Maddy and Mona, which goes unnoticed by Liza.

MONA:           I know what he’s been doing with his money.

Pause

LIZA:              You!  Why should he confide in you?  A tart!

MONA:           I got eyes, ain’t I – and ears?

LIZA:              You got a big mouth too.  What do you use that for?

MONA:           What you used to use yours for – before your teeth

                        fell out…

LIZA:              Why, you little bitch…

 (she makes a grab for Mona, but she evades her)

MONA:           Roger says you can’t do it anymore…your dentures

                        keep slipping.  (imitates Roger)  Like getting a facking

gobble from  Dracula’s mother…

By now Liza is raging and chases Mona round the room.  Maddy

picks up a plate of sandwiches and offers them round.

MAD:              Anyone fancy a cucumber sandwich?

Liza sits down again, exhausted.

MONA:           He’s been converting his ready cash into diamonds. 

LIZA:              Why diamonds?

MAD:              Oh come on!  You’re not that stupid. They’re not

                        traceable.  Who is going to know he’s got them?  Or

                        how many? He can take them abroad – Amsterdam –

                        and sell them without prying eyes knowing. 

                        I’d say he was planning to dump you – or suspected

                        all along that you were going to dump him.

LIZA:              And you learned all this by keeping

                        your eyes and ears open?

MONA:           Among other things

LIZA:              I’ll bet.   And was that before or after his post-shag fag?

 Shag, fag, chin-wag, that’s still his routine I take it?

 Well, I’m not taking this lying down…

(sees the humour in this last remark)

…as the actress said to the Bishop.   

By Christ, Roger Stackpole, you’ll rue the day you

 ever made game of me.

.end of scene

 A week later. John lets Roger into the flat.  Roger is carrying a suitcase.

ROGER:        (putting the suitcase down)  My facking house is up for

                        sale. Would you adam-and-eve it! I look out the

                        bedroom window this morning and this snidey little

                        fucker in a pair of red overalls – red! – is hammering

                        a FOR SALE sign o the front wall. ‘Clear off, you

                        dyslexic bastard’, I told him, ‘you got the wrong gaff’.

                        ‘Course he checked his clipboard.  ‘No mistake, guv.

                        Number 35 Willows Walk.  Mrs Liza Stackpole’. Then

                        I remembered that the house was still in the bitch’s name.

                        (beat)  Remember?  That tax thing? I signed it over to her?

JOHN:           But that was over a year ago!

ROGER:        She was always busy whenever I tried to get her

                        down to the solicitors. Now I know why.  My own

                        facking house, paid for with my hard-earned.

                        (he pounds the table with his fist)

                         I’ll break one of her legs…that’s what I’ll do

He reaches into his pocket and hands John a bank statement

                        And then I opened this…

                        (he pounds the table again)

                        I’ll break both her facking legs.

JOHN:           Looks like the account is in the red.

ROGER:        In the red!  It’s facking scarlet.

JOHN:            I thought that’s what you wanted.

ROGER:        What I didn’t want was for her to clean the

                        facking thing out.  See that…(he jabs at the paper)

JOHN:           I know. Minus five thousand.

ROGER:        Five big ones.  She’s cleaned me out, the bitch.

JOHN:           Have you tried talking to her?

ROGER:        Talking to her!  I’d swing for her – if I could find her.

                        You ain’t heard anything?  Where she might be?

JOHN:           No.

ROGER:        Maybe she talked to Maddy?

JOHN:           Maybe she did. Why don’t you ask her?

ROGER:        I’m asking you.

JOHN:           She won’t tell me.

ROGER:        What’ya mean – won’t?

JOHN:           Like I said, she won’t tell me.

ROGER:        She’s giving you the big freeze?  What you done?

JOHN:            Our rows are usually about one thing.  Money.

ROGER:        Rob a bank, Johnny boy!  That’s the answer.

JOHN:           That’s what she suggested. Then she suggested I rob you.

ROGER:        She was joking, I trust? Relax, Johnny boy,

                         in a few days you and that Welsh

                        git will be opening up that tin can of a security

                        van, and your money troubles will be over.

                        A good holiday is what your Maddy needs.

                         Then a good seeing to…take it from me, I know the signs.

JOHN:           Who are you…Tonto? (imitates Tonto)

                        Ah, Kemo Sabey, me hear many footsteps.  One of them woman,

                        she walking very funny, she need good seeing to…

                         You know the fucking signs… (he flicks the bank statement)

                        What about this sign?

ROGER:        That facking cow won’t know what hit her when I get

                        started.  I tell you, Johnny boy, they’ll have to dig me off her.

JOHN:           She’s got the house.  Legally.  How you goin’ to

                        get it back off her?

ROGER:        Alright, don’t facking rub it in. It ain’t over till it’s

                        over, as the fat lady says.  I know a couple of geezers

                         who’d snuff their own granny for a oner.  Maybe I’ll give ‘em a call.

JOHN:           Anything for a quiet life.

ROGER:        No, you’re right. There must be another way round it.

JOHN:           She’s entitled to half, whichever way you look at it.  By law.

JOHN:           Not if she’s attached to a concrete block at the bottom

                        of the Thames.  (pause) My old mum loved that house..

                         It’ll break her heart to see it go…

We hear a phone ringing.  Roger takes a mobile from his inside pocket and speaks into it.

ROGER:        Yeah….where are you….what’s this, some kind of

                        wind-up?  (pause)    where the fack are you?  (pause)

                        Like hell it is…that’s my property you’re doing a moody

                        with.  (listens)  I’ll re-arrange your boat race when I do…

                        no…wait…wait…facking bitch.

He sits down heavily and looks around him wearily.

ROGER:        You got anything strong back there?

John goes off momentarily, and returns with a bottle

ROGER:        Smelling salts!  Something to drink, you berk!

JOHN:           ‘Fraid we’re out’a  everything, ‘till Maddy gets back. 

ROGER:        A cuppa rosie then – and a sandwich. If I don’t

                        get something down me soon, I’ll start eating myself. (John exits)

JOHN:           (off)  Bad news?

ROGER:        All that time and money I lavished on her. Not to

                        mention fixing up something for her to do in the

                        office.  Something that didn’t involve lying on her back.

JOHN:           Ah…Mona.  What’s she done?

ROGER:        Taken some of my insurance policies.

JOHN:           I didn’t know you had any.

ROGER:        The diamonds, you cant!

John returns with a mug of tea and a sandwich.

JOHN:           All of them?  No wonder…

ROGER:        Leave it out!  You think I’m stupid enough to leave

                        a wad like that lying around? Nah it was just

                        that last batch.  I hadn’t got round to stashing them

                        away with the others.  She must’a found them when

                        she was clearing out her gear….

                        (he chews on the sandwich for a moment)

                        ‘Ere, wot’s this?  (looks)  Spam…I hate bloody spam.

JOHN:           It’s all there is.  There’s a caff round the corner.

ROGER:        Salmonella Lil’s?  Give over!  Besides, that facking

                        hole-in-the-wall chewed up my card earlier on, so I’m

                        strapped for readies. (beat)  It’ll take me a few days to get

                        hold of some more. (beat) All right if I doss down here

                        in the meantime ?

JOHN:           Might be a bit difficult.

ROGER:        I’m not fussy. Anywhere will do.  Three’s up in the

                        bed if you like.  (laughs) Nah…only joking.

JOHN:           What’s wrong with your own gaff?

ROGER:        Wake up every morning with that ‘For Sale’ sign

                        staring me in the mush?  Nah.  Ain’t you got a spare room?

JOHN:           No…I mean Maddy might object.   You and she…

ROGER:        You leave Maddy to me. (beat) Alright if I use

                        your cawsey?  (He exits)

John tidies up, picks up cars etc.

ROGER:        (off)  You know, as I get older, I find there’s nothing

                        as satisfying as a good crap in the morning.  I wonder

                        why that is?  Even better than sex.

                         A crap and a smoke – you can’t beat it.

He emerges, smoking a cigar.

ROGER:        Now where were we?  Oh yes, you were telling me

                        why I couldn’t  stay here.

JOHN:           It’s not me…

ROGER:        I mean. it’s not unreasonable. I’m a law-abiding

                        citizen…(laughs)…a reformed character.  I pay my taxes….

                        I’m not a pervert…I don’t do drugs…Do I do drugs?

JOHN:           No…I….

ROGER:        I’m no pusher.  You know I don’t hold with drugs.

                        Pushers, junkies, they’re the dregs.  If I had my

                        way I’d dump them all on a deserted island and

                        drop a facking bomb on the lot of them.  Along

                        with the IRA, Yardies, Fundamentalists and all

                        the other scumbags around.  Pwaaah!  End of

                        problems.  (pause)  No, I’m  clean. Whereas you John…

                         you’ve still got this big dark cloud hanging over your head. 

                        (he sits down and puts his feet up, puffing on the cigar)

                        Oh, I think Maddy will come round to my way of thinking, don’t you?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s