MISS WHIPLASH REGRETS…contd

Roger more or less collapses onto his stool. Maddy walks around him, ‘inspecting’ him with the torch.

MADDY:        Not so funny now, is it?

LIZA:              You’re an obnoxious little man. I can’t stand

                        the sight of you.  I should have left you years ago.

ROGER:        Only one thing stopped you.  My mother.  Ha ha…

                        (he tries to laugh)….if she was here…

LIZA:              But she’s not. Look at you!  You’re revolting…

                        (she, too, walks round him, singing softly)

                                    If you go down to the woods today

                                    You’re in for a big surprise.

                                    ‘Cos Liza is sucking on Roger’s  wee…

ROGER:        I was only joking, for Christ’s sake. I didn’t mean nothing….

LIZA:              I’d rather suck poison ivy!  (beat)  How many times

                        in the past couple of years have we had sexual relations?

ROGER:        I don’t know.  Not many….three or four times, maybe….

LIZA:              (hitting the button)  How  many?

ROGER:        Aaah!…ooh!….none, none! We was separate.  Everything

                        was separate.  Separate beds, separate rooms… separate …

LIZA:              And why?

ROGER:        ‘Cos….Oh Christ, stop it… because you couldn’t

                        stand the sight of me.

LIZA:              (switches off)  Your witness, I think

ROGER:        Don’t, don’t!  No more.  I’ll tell you whatever you want to know .

MADDY:        Anything?

ROGER:        Yes, .Only no more facking torture. My nerves can’t take it.  

MADDY:        Where’s the diamonds?

Silence

ROGER:        What…..?  (pause)  Mona.  She took ‘em.

MADDY:        Yeah?

ROGER:        Yeah.  You’re too late. She’s taken them.  Scarpered.

Pause.

MADDY:        And the others? The ones you’ve been sitting on

                        like a hatching hen for the last few weeks?  (smiles)

                        What you might call your little nest-egg.

ROGER:        (after a pause) Oh, them diamonds.

MAD:              Yes, them diamonds.

ROGER:        I unloaded  them.  Geezer I know down the Conservative club.

                        Have the readies in a few days…

Maddy punches the button furiously, and turns the dial up. Roger jerks about like a puppet being manipulated fiendishly. She switches off after a few seconds.

MADDY:        There’s a lot more to come. Imagine how you’ll dance on full power.

ROGER:        (hoarsely)  alright. They’re in the cawsey. (beat)  Your jacks.

                        (beat)  The facking cistern.

MAD:              No wonder you wanted to cosy up here!  And there I was

                        thinking it was because of me…

She leaves  the room. There is no dialogue between Lisa and Roger, but we can see the pleading look on Roger’s face. Liza lights a cigarette and blows smoke in his face.  Maddy returns, turning up the lighting as she does so. She empties the contents of a small packet on the table.

LIZA:              Now there’s a sight to bring the smile back to a gal’s face.

MADDY:        That’s plural I hope.

Liza picks one  and up looks at it, then rests it on a  ring on her finger

LIZA               It gives me a funny feeling.  Cold.  It makes me feel cold…

                        (she hands it back)  Nah, give me a ruby any day.

MADDY:        I think I’ll have them made  into the biggest

                         pendant you ever saw and hang them right here…

                        (between her breasts)

LIZA:              Really?  You’ll need quite a long chain, won’t you?

MAD:              Now, now!  And we getting on so well and all. I’ll admit

                        my tits are nearer the ground than they used to be –

                        but then, so are your chins.

ROGER:        And your facking arse…aaww!  (Maddy has hit the button)

MAD:              Who asked you for your pennyworth?

                        (pause) How much do you think they’re worth?.

ROGER:        (hurriedly) Forty grand. You can get twenty big ones for

                        them easily.

MADDY:        Where?   Where can I get it? 

ROGER:        What I mean is…I can get it. You…I don’t know what you can get.

LIZA:              You can’t get anything – trussed up like a Christmas turkey

ROGER:        That’s the deal – see?  You let me go, I get you the money.

MADDY:        Why don’t I just turn up the juice and see how long it takes

                        for his eyeballs to pop out?

ROGER:        Alright!  The mobile.  In my jacket. You’ll find a number there.

Maddy get his jacket and locates the mobile.

MADDY:        What name?

ROGER:        Tom.  (sees he has to explain)   Jewellery…tom.

MADDY:        (shrugging)  Tom it is.  (she trawls through the list)

                        Binder….Liston…..Priestley….Robbo…(pause)

                        Priestley?  Would that be your friend Kenny?  Well,

                        why don’t we find out? 

                        (another pause as she waits for the call to go through)

                         Kenny?  I have an old friend here who wants a quick word…

                        (she holds out the phone at arms length)

                        Go on, say hello

ROGER:        Hello.  (louder) Hello.  It’s…it’s Roger.

MADDY:        (listening to the reply).  Well, that’s terrible language. Shocking.

                        No…no.  He’s…tied up at the moment. (listens)  I know.  Oh, I

                        know. I know. (to Roger)  He says you are a useless Cockney

                        bastard and should have been strangled at birth. (laughs)

                        Can he come round? he says…I don’t know, I’ll ask. (pause)

MADDY:        What was that, Roger?  (beat)  He says he’ll smash your

                        ugly Welsh puss to pulp if he ever sets eyes on it again…

                        Say again Roger?  Kenny’s mother was the biggest tramp ever

                        to come out of Merthyr Tydfyll…everybody knows she

                         opened her legs  for anything in trousers…‘cos

                        Kenny told everyone he met…And his sister was just as bad…

                        a right Welsh facking slag…

                        Hello?  Kenny, you still there?  (beat)  He hung up.

ROGER:        I’m dead, you bitch.  Dead. 

MADDY:        Can’t he can take a joke then?

ROGER:        A facking joke! His old lady has been blind for

                        more than thirty years.

MADDY:        Oh dear. And his sister…I suppose she’s a nun?

ROGER:        That’s it, have a giggle.  But don’t bank on it

                        being a  facking long one.

MADDY:        He who giggles last giggles longest.

LIZA:              Worrying about Kenny should be the least of your troubles.

MADDY:        I mean, chances are he won’t ever find you…

LIZA:              Or won’t recognize you when he does…

MADDY:        Your own mother mightn’t even recognize you…

LIZA:              How is your mother, by the way?

MADDY:        That’s the thing about mothers.  Everyone has one 

                        Good, bad or indifferent. Short ones, tall ones,

                        fat ones, small ones. Ugly, nasty, busty, trashy.

                        And short-sighted ones.  I’ve known mothers so

                        short-sighted they’ve actually mistaken their little

                        monsters for human beings. (pause)

                        My mother, now, no fear of her being short-sighted.

                         (pause)  Was your mother short-sighted? 

ROGER:        My old mum was a saint.  Is a saint.

LIZA:              So saintly that he packed her off to the wilds of Hastings

                        first chance he got.  Even he couldn’t stand her any longer.

ROGER:        She gets the best of care. I hope I’m as well looked-after in

                         my old age.

LIZA:              You loved her so much you stuck her in a

                        nursing home eighty miles away.

ROGER:        At least I have a mother who never killed her….aaagh..

Roger subsides screaming as Liza gives him the ‘treatment’, turning the power up further as she does so. She tries to prevent Maddy from switching off.

MADDY:        (struggling with her)  No…don’t!  Too much… it’s too much…

Maddy doesn’t manage to stop Liza, so she rushes to the wall and unplugs the lead.  By now Roger is slumped on the floor.

MADDY:        You’ve killed him!

LIZA:              I doubt it. Though I don’t suppose it will do his blood

                        pressure much good..

MADDY:        He’s not breathing.

LIZA:              He never was much of a heavy breather.

                        (She produces a mirror from her bag) 

                        Try this. It always works in films.

Maddy holds the mirror in front of his face, then looks at it.

MADDY:        I don’t know.  What d’you think?

LIZA:              It’s supposed to mist up.

Liza takes the mirror then rubs on it.

LIZA:              Look at that!  Sleeping like a baby.

She sits down, takes out her make-up, and begins to do her face. Maddy sits down also and lights a cigarette. She picks up the can of lager and takes a sip.

LIZA:              Have you ever done anything like this before?

MADDY:        No.

LIZA:              It’s a good feeling.

MADDY:        Is it?

LIZA:              Oh, come on! Don’t tell me it’s not fun.

                        Look at him!  Helpless.  And legless.

                        (she laughs)

                        I can’t help gloating.  The times I’ve

                        wanted to see him like that, you’ve no idea.

                        (beat)

                        His mother was the vilest woman I’ve ever come across. 

MADDY:        Like mother like son?

LIZA:              God forbid he should ever sink as low as that.

                        You should thank God you never knew her.  (pause)

                        She ran a loan business too.  Only with her it

                        was women only.  Mostly those on the breadline –

                        and on their own.  It didn’t seem much; mostly for

                        little things; new clothes for the kiddies, decorating

                        a room, new furniture, a new pram…things like

                        that. They were… you know…they couldn’t get credit,

                        so they turned to her as a last resort.  It was never

                        much; twenty, fifty, maybe a hundred pounds.  And

                        when they fell behind she was so understanding.  Next week

                        would do: she’d just add a tiny bit on for administration.

                        (pause)  Nice word ‘administration’.   It covers a

                        multitude.  Anyway, by the time they realized how

                        much the administration came to, it was too late.  Most

                        most of them couldn’t pay.  It didn’t worry  Renee though;

                        She had others strings to her bow.   Stealing to order.

                        Designer clothes, perfumes, jewelry, you ordered them

                        and Renee  got one of her girls to steal it for you.

                        She had a string of girls operating at all the big shopping

                        centres within a fifty mile radius of London.  Her hit

                        squads, she called them.  Teams of five or six would head

                        off in the morning, armed with a shopping list as long

                        as your arm. We daren’t return without at least half her order filled. 

MADDY:        We…?

LIZA:              Did I say we?  (beat)  Well, it’s no big deal anymore.

It’s all behind me now – as the cow said to the manure heap. (pause)

                         A long time ago I was…well, I had a daughter, Sophie,

                        and she was my whole world.  I wanted things for her…things

                         that I never had…but I never seemed to have the money

                         I was into all the usual petty stuff…(bitter laugh)

                        you name it, I did it. One day we rolled a guy…

                        you know, I was the bait that lured him up the alley…

                        only we picked the wrong guy.  Roger.

                        Of all the guys in London, we picked that bastard…

                        The others scarpered when he pulled a knife, but I had

                        to…well, you can imagine what he made me do. And

                        then he took me home to meet his mother. Dear, sweet

                        Renee.  The next day I was leading one of her gangs.

MADDY:        She forced you to work for her?

LIZA:              (laughs) If waving a bundle of notes under your nose

                        is forcing, yeah, she did. It was the money wasn’t it?

                        As much as I wanted – and easy payments to go with it!

                        At first it was great, and then, a few months down the line,

                        I got caught.  Well, the whole gang, really.

                        The police were waiting for us; watched us go about

                        our business, then picked us off one by one…

MADDY:        A tip off?

LIZA:              (shrugs) It was election time. Somebody always pays

                        at election time.  Anyway, I was saved from prison

                        by Renee’s promise to the judge to keep me on the

                        straight and narrow. One of  her finest  performances.

                        And the result was to leave me even deeper in her debt.

                        I suppose I must have seemed stupid, now looking

                        back on it, but at the time…

                        (pause)

                        When Roger got caught for the post office thing  I

                        became even more valuable to her.  He…she wanted

                        him to continue overseeing the gangs, but he had other

                        ideas. They argued all the time, he threatened to

                        leave, but he never did. He didn’t have the courage.

                         One person she never liked was Kenny.  She

                        tried to break up their partnership…

MAD:              What about John?

LIZA:              He never really mattered. But Kenny had plans – big plans

                         Then they got caught. Another tip-off…

MAD:              Renee?

LIZA:              Roger would never admit that it might be her.

                        But I wouldn’t put anything past the bitch.

                        Him going to goal changed everything. I was now the one

                        organizing  and coordinating. Doing his job.

                        Oh, I was doing alright, but it wasn’t right…if you know

                        what I mean. Some of the girls were…well, only girls. And

                        I was…forcing them…It was me…

MADDY:        You could have walked away.

LIZA:              Yeah.  I could have.

Silence.

MADDY:        Was it because of Sophie?

LIZA:              Sophie…

Roger emits a loud roar, a sort of strangled sound, and begins to twitch. After a few moments, he subsides again.

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