Up

 

SEX, LOVE & PROPERTY

Alan Dent 

SCENE ONE    SCENE TWO    SCENE THREE    SCENE FOUR    SCENE FIVE


 

SCENE ONE

Lights up on a living-room. Door extreme right. Large white leather sofa, right. A gold framed mirror above the mantelpiece, left. An atmosphere of material ease. Molly sits on a large suitcase to the left of the sofa facing Mark, standing, who is wearing his bankerís work clothes, including his overcoat.

 

Molly: I intended to leave a note.

Mark:   I donít get it.

Molly: Oh Mark. Donít try to pretend you didnít know. Look how our marriage has been for the lastÖthe last tenÖ..fifteen years.

Mark: How has it been ?

Molly: A joke.

Mark: Ha, ha.

Molly: Try to be serious.

Mark: Where you going ?

Molly: Town to meet Will. Then driving down to Brighton.

Mark: Will who ?

Molly: You must know.

Mark: Strickland ?

Molly: Yes.

Mark: Arrogant little loser.

She gets up. He sits on the sofa.

Molly: Okay. Youíre hurt.

Mark: How long ?

Molly: I donít know. Years.

Mark: Thirty years.

Molly: Donít be ridiculous.

Mark: Iím being ridiculous?

Molly: Yes. These things happen.

Mark: Like earthquakes. They just arenít supposed to happen here.

Molly: Maybe you didnít want to know you were living on a fault line.

Mark: What are you going to do when you get to Brighton, build sandcastles ?

Molly: Willís bought a house. Got a job.

Mark:  Serving fries ?

Molly: Psychotherapy.

Mark: The mad treating the mad.

Molly: Heís perfectly well-balanced.

Mark: Thatís what they said about Gaddafi.

Molly: Thatís a silly comparison.

Mark: Whatís wrong with a bit of silliness ? A man gets home from a hard week in the bank and finds his wife has packed all she needs in two suitcases and is about to leave a note. What were you going to write ? ďEnjoyed the last twenty-seven years. Will send a card at Christmas. You can keep the cat

Molly: Donít be facetious.

Mark: Silly, facetious, ridiculous. Whatís next ?

Molly: Letís behave like adults.

Mark: Letís behave like children and go and paddle in the sea at Brighton.

Molly: Nothing you can say will change my mind.

Mark gets up. She sits on the suitcase.

Mark: What makes you think I want to change your mind ?

Molly: I didnít expect you to be so surprised. I thought you knew.

Mark: I knew my wife has been shagging my old friend Will, the chaotic little fart whoís been trying to be Fulhamís Shakespeare for the last two decades and I said nothing. I did nothing. I accepted this as I might have accepted her joining the bridge club.

Molly: I canít believe youíve been happy.

Mark: Only happy people know theyíre happy.

Molly: Only unhappy people know theyíre unhappy.

Mark: Unhappy people are as easy to spot as sparrows.

Molly: You knew I was unhappy ?

Mark: No.

Molly: Iíve been unhappy for years.

Mark: Even though Will was putting his dick in your mouth ?

Molly: Donít be vulgar.

Mark: When did we last have sex ? You know I canít remember. It mustíve beenÖdid we do it in bed ? No ! It was in here. After that bloody awful film in the West End. When was that ? Saturday before last. Remember. You sucked my cock. Did you suck Willís on the same day.

Molly: Iím not talking to you.

Mark: Iím just interested.

Molly: Iím going.

Mark: Youíve had it pretty good for the lastÖhow many years ?

Molly: I didnít count.

Mark: But Will. If I have to share my wife, heís the last person Iíd want to share with.

Molly: Who was asking your permission ?

Mark: Is he the only one ?

Molly: Donít be puerile.

Mark: Because if there are more you should tell him.

Molly: He knows all he needs to know.

Mark: The last thing you want is for this to get off on the wrong foot.

Molly: I donít need your advice.

Mark: You wouldnít want twenty-seven years of opening your legs for the bastard if you find in the first fortnight you canít stand him.

Molly: It wasnít the first fortnight.

Mark: Thatís a relief. When was it ?

Molly:  Canít pin these things down.

Mark: You canít, Molly.One day you just get into bed with your husbandís mate and think, Christ, Iím married to the wrong man !

Molly: You donít even like him.

Mark: Do you ?

Molly: I think so, Mark.

Mark: You think so.

Molly: I like him.

Mark: He told me once he was having it off with this woman in Peckham who liked it up the arse.

Molly: Iím going.

 She gets up. He sits down.

Mark: Has heÖ.?

Molly: Mark, our relationship is over.

Mark: So we can talk frankly. Iíve been shagging you sister for the past six yearsÖ

Molly: What !

Mark: A joke.

Molly: Thatís sick.

Mark: I donít know. Debbie is half-way attractive in the right light.

Molly: I didnít imagine youíd take it so hard.

Mark : I thought you were going.

Molly: I am.

Mark: Are you taking the car ?

Molly:  Going to ring for a taxi.

Mark: Go ahead.

Molly: We should part amicably.

Mark: Why ?

Molly: Donít be awkward.

Mark: Show our feelings.

Molly: Of course.

Mark: Twenty-seven years. You must be seething.

Molly: No.

Mark: I would be.

Molly: Thatís one way weíre different.

Mark: What are the others ?

Molly: Iím tidy.

Mark: You are the most slovenly woman in Europe.

Molly: How can you say that ?

Mark: Iíve lived with you for twenty-seven years.

Molly: You leave your underpants and socks by the bed every day.

Mark: Not every day.

Molly. Every day. Itís a statement: wash those, you bitch !

Mark: Thatís paranoid.

Molly: I have picked up your underpants and socks and put them in the washing machine every day for twenty-seven years.

Mark: Who asked you to ?

Molly: You did.

Mark: I never asked.

Molly: Leaving them on the floor was asking.

Mark I would have washed them.

Molly: When ?

Mark: What do you mean, when ?

Molly: You never showed the least suspicion of washing your underwear.

Mark: Thatís because you did it.

Molly: Do you think I could tolerate your smelly clothes piling up in the bedroom ?

Mark: When did they ever pile up ?

Molly:  I washed them.

Mark: You wanted to.

Molly: Did I ?

Mark: Why else would you do it ?

Molly: I canít believe you.

She sits down. He gets up. 

Mark: I canít believe you think youíre tidy.

Molly: I am tidy.

Mark: Your shoes are tidy ?

Molly: My shoes ?

Mark: How many pairs are there in the bottom of the wardrobe ?

Molly: A dozen.

Mark: Thirty-four.

Molly: Donít be ridiculous.

Mark: I counted.

Molly: When ?

Mark: Recently.

Molly: I had a clear out.

Mark: Since your clear out.

Molly: I took a bagful to the recycling.

Mark: Thirty-four left.

Molly: You counted my shoes ?

Mark: Yes.

Molly: Why ?

Mark: To prove youíre out of touch with reality.

Molly: You count shoes and Iím out of touch ?

Mark: You think you have a dozen pairs.

Molly: About a dozen.

Mark: Youíre shoe delusional.

Molly: Is that a recognized condition ?

Mark: Thatís what Iíve had to put up with.

Molly: Put up with ?

Mark: Twenty-seven years.

Molly:  Put up with me ?

Mark:  Donít know youíre born.

Molly: Because I donít know exactly how many pairs of shoes I have ?

Mark: Shoes are just one example.

Molly: What else donít I know ?

Mark: Where would you be except for me ?

Molly: Happy.

Mark: I made you unhappy ?

Molly: You did.

Mark: How ?

Molly: You counted my shoes.

Mark: Who needs thirty-four pairs.

Molly: I donít have thirty-four pairs.

Mark: Go and count them.

Molly: Iíve better things to do.

Mark: Such as ?

Molly: Okay. Iíll count them. I guarantee there are fifteen pairs, tops.

Mark: You said a dozen.

Molly: I said about a dozen.

Mark: You didnít approximate. You were definitive.

Molly: Fifteen maximum.

Mark: Go and count.

She gets up. He sits down.

Molly: Why am I doing this ?

Mark: To prove youíre delusional.

Molly: Why am I still here ?

Mark: Go and count.

Molly: I will. I guarantee twenty at the outside.

Mark: You said a dozen.

Molly: I said fifteen.

Mark: Now itís twenty.

Molly: About twenty.

Mark: Go and count.

Molly: I will. If there are more than twenty-one you can keep the Mercedes.

Mark: Nice car.

Molly: Thatís why Iím having it.

Mark: Go and count.

Molly: I am.

She goes. He jumps up unzips the suitcase and rummages. Pulls out a basque, thong, extravagant vibrator and stockings. Holds them up in front of him one at a time, the basque first, then the thong,the vibrator, then each stocking. Sniffs the thong. Plunges his hand back into the suitcase. Pulls out an envelope. Feels it. Tears it open. Pulls out a wad of notes. Licks his finger and begins to count. Hears Molly. Stuffs the clothes and vibrator under the cushions of the sofa. Shoves the money and the envelope in his pockets. Zips the suitcase. Sits.

Molly enters. Stands. Wonít look at him.

Mark: Well ?

Molly: You were wrong.

Mark: How many.

Molly: Thirty.

Mark: You miscounted.

Molly: I did not miscount.

Mark: Iíll count.

Molly: Stay where you are.

Mark: I told you. Youíre delusional.

Molly: Itís shoes. Who cares ?

Mark: Itís symptomatic.

Molly: Of what ?

Mark: Mental confusion.

Molly: Youíre the one who had a nervous breakdown.

Mark: That was thirty years ago.

Molly: You couldnít stop crying.

Mark: I was young.

Molly: You complained about your wretchedness.

Mark: A phase.

Molly: You wrote a seven hundred page book on Schopenhauer.

Mark: I needed to keep busy

Molly: No publisher would touch it.

Mark: It wasnít written for the commercial market.

Molly:  You became obsessive about Elton John.

Mark: I was young.

Molly: Your bad taste is genetic.

Mark: And you liked Siouxie and The Banshees ?

Molly: I never liked Siouxie and The Banshees.

Mark: Bought all their LPs.

Molly: I bought one.

Mark: Why ?

Molly: I knew their  manager.

Mark: In what sense ?

Molly: Acquaintance.

Mark: Intimate acquaintance.

Molly: I was never intimate with Siouxie and the Bansheesí manager.

Mark: You liked the music.

Molly: I liked the drugs.

Mark: You spent three years in a cannabis induced stupor.

Molly: Never in a stupor.

Mark: Probably had sex with the manager without knowing.

Molly: I know everyone Iíve had sex with.

Mark: Their music was crap.

Molly: Never liked them.

Mark: Smoking dope and screwing with Siouxie and the Bansheesí manager is good taste ?

Molly: Never had sex with him.

Mark: Was he queer ?

Molly: Didnít fancy him.

Mark: Didnít he have a dick ?

Molly: He fancied me.

Mark: He was queer.

Molly: All the boys fancied me in those days.

Mark: Easy lay.

Molly: I was never easy.

Mark: Drugged up to the eyeballs.

Molly: I smoked for a year.

Mark: Three.

Molly: A phase.

Mark: I rescued you from that shit.

Molly: You rescued me ?

Mark: Siouxie and the Banshees. That was your level.

Molly: I was into Mozart by the time I was twenty.

Mark: I introduced you to Mozart.

Molly: You thought Mozart was a romantic.

Mark: I did not. 

Molly: I shouldíve known.

Mark: What ?

Molly: You were never going to be mentally stable.

Mark: Letís not forget whose mother is a manic depressive.

Molly: Who wouldnít be with a husband like hers ?

Mark: So I get the Mercedes.

Molly: You do not.

Mark: There are thirty pairs. Thatís more than twenty-one.

Molly: You planted them.

Mark: I did what ?

Molly: You set this up.

Mark: I set this up ?

Molly: To humiliate me.

Mark: You bung thirty pairs of shoes in the bottom of the wardrobe and Iím to blame?

Molly: I do not bung shoes in the wardrobe.

Mark: You bung.

Molly: I place.

Mark: Look at those shoes. Are they placed or bunged ?

Molly: Placed.

Mark: Like the Americans placed a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima.

Molly: You always go off at a tangent.

Mark: I am not going off at a tangent. You bung your shoes everywhere.

Molly: Oh, for Godís sake !

Mark: You are incapable of placing a shoe. For twenty-seven years Iíve watched you bung shoes and then say ďHave you seen my stilletos ?Ē As if you had one pair.

Molly: I do not bung shoes and I certainly donít bung them everywhere.

Mark: I once counted the pairs under the bed.

Molly: Do you work for a clandestine government agency?

Mark: Seventeen.

Molly: You should see a psychiatrist.

Mark: Of which three had one shoe missing.

Molly: If Iíd counted your underpants.

Mark: Youíd have stopped at one.

Molly: Thousands. Whatís three hundred and sixty five times twenty-seven ?

Mark: At least I donít bung my dirty underwear in the wardrobe.

Molly: My shoes arenít dirty.

Mark: You bung them in the wardrobe then you say Iím untidy.

Molly: I said Iím tidy.

Mark: Implying Iím not.

Molly: Youíre reading something into my words.

Mark: You said weíre different and youíre tidy.

Molly: Thatís right.

Mark: Meaning the difference is Iím untidy.

Molly: Not necessarily.

Mark: What else could it mean ?

Molly: Youíre not as tidy as me.

Mark: No, I donít bung my shoes in the wardrobe.

Molly: I donít bung. I never bung anything. I place. I store. I insert.

Mark: You open the door and you bung them in then you slam the door.

Molly: I have never slammed a door in my life.

Mark: You know how many times Iíve had to fix the hinges on the wardrobe door ?

Molly: Thatís because you buy substandard furniture.

Mark: You chose the wardrobe.

Molly: I wouldnít have had that junk anywhere near my house.

Mark: You bought it and as soon as it was delivered you were bunging your shoes in the bottom.

Molly: Weíve had that wardrobe twenty years.

Mark: Itís been hammered. Bung. Bung. Bung.

Molly: How many pairs of shoes do you think I had twenty years ago ?

Mark: Two dozen.

Molly: Do you remember how much you were earning twenty years ago.

Mark: Approximately.

Molly: Emily was three, remember? I was working part-time.

Mark: And bunging your shoes in the bottom of the wardrobe.

Molly: I could hardly afford two pairs of shoes on your lousy money.

Mark: My salary was never lousy.

Molly: It was lousy. We had to have holidays in Cornwall.

Mark: Whatís wrong with Cornwall ?

Molly: Itís attached to the rest of England and it rains in August.

Mark: We had one holiday in Cornwall.

Molly: Three.

Mark: Two at the most.

Molly: The Esplanade Hotel, the caravan park, and the cottage in St Ives. Three.

Mark: Wrong. The hotel and the caravan were the same holiday. A week in each.

Molly: Three times. A fortnight each. Because your salary was so lousy.

Mark: It was never lousy. We had two young kids, thatís all.

Molly: Kate and Den had three young kids. Where did they go ?

Mark: What do I care ?

Molly: Mexico. The Gambia. Australia.

Mark: The Gambia ! Fuck The Gambia.

Molly: Itís a bit more interesting than Padstow.

Mark: Kate and Den are holiday snobs. They may have been to The Gambia but theyíve never been to The Sweden or The Portugal or even The bloody Paris.

Molly: They like to explore.

Mark: We explore.

Molly: We explored. Thanks to my salary.

Mark: Your salary isnít that much more than mine.

Molly: Include my bonus.

Mark: Include your credit card debts.

Molly: We arenít talking about debts.

Mark: We are talking about affording holidays.

Molly: Weíve been all over the world. Thanks to my salary.

Mark: Our salaries.

Molly: The point is, Mark, in the early days you didnít earn enough for me to have thirty pairs of shoes. You donít know how I had to scrimp.

Mark: Scrimp ? You just rang your mother.

Molly: Donít start on my mother.

Mark: And how did she get her money ?

Molly: Fair and square.

Mark: The bastard was an arms dealer.

Molly: He was a businessman.

Mark: Arms dealers are businessmen.

Molly: It was legal.

Mark: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Molly: A perfectly bona fide business. Like banking.

Mark: He was a crook and you know it.

Molly: In any case, I did not call my mother. I scrimped.

Mark: On what ?

Molly: On what ? On everything. Thatís how much you notice whatís going on around you.

Mark: I never saw you scrimp. I saw you squander.

Molly: In the early days I scrimped.

Mark: Now you squander.

Molly: I donít squander any more.

Mark: Remind me how much you owe.

Molly:I canít remember.

Mark: You donít want to remember.

Molly: Whatís it to you. I pay.

Mark: Does Will know ?

Molly: We have no secrets.

Mark: A hundred grand of credit card debt. Heíd better get plenty of clients.

Molly: I have a good job.

Mark: You do. Iíll say that for you.

Molly: How gracious.

Mark: You work sixteen hours a day, but you bring home the bacon.

Molly: Thatís how the industry functions.

Mark: You drink like a Russian sailor but you make the dosh all right.

Molly: I do not drink like a Russian sailor. I enjoy a glass of wine with a meal.

Mark: A glass ?

Molly: Two glasses.

Mark: There were two bottles of Cava in the fridge last night. Did the fairies drink them ?

Molly: You had one.

Mark: I had a glass.

Molly: Two glasses.

Mark: You had the rest.

Molly: They arenít finished.

Mark: Go and look.

Molly: I donít need to.

Mark: You want me to get the bottles from the recycling ?

Molly: Iím going to phone for a taxi.

Takes out her mobile.

Mark: Donít forget this.

He pulls the basque from under the cushion.

Molly: Youíve no right.

She tries to grab the basque. He jumps up and runs round the back of the sofa.

Mark: Donít you think youíre getting a bit podgy ?

She jumps on the sofa and lunges..

Molly: Will doesnít think so.

He dodges. She pursues him.

Mark: Will suffers from solidified adolescence. Heís probably still pulling his plonker over pussy mags.

Molly: He has no need to.

Mark: It looks a bit small to me. Youíll damage your insides.

Molly: I donít have to squeeze and I am not podgy.

Mark: You weigh twelve stone.

Molly: Eleven and a half.

Mark: When we got married you weighed eight.

Molly: I was twenty-four.

Mark: Poor  Will. Maybe flab turns him on.

Molly: I am not flabby. I have a mature embonpoint.

Mark: A what ?

Molly (stops chasing) : Embonpoint. Itís French.

Mark: Really ? French for flabby.

Molly: That shows how ignorant you are.

Mark: So what does it mean ?

Molly: Having a good figure.

Mark: Podgy.

Molly: Give me that basque.

He throws it her.

Mark: Tell him to buy you a bigger size.

Molly: I bought it myself.

Mark: He needs sex games to get a hard-on.

Molly: He is perfectly virile. What else have you taken ?

She is looking in her suitcase.

Mark:  Under the sofa cushions.

She grabs them, holding the vibrator like a dagger in her right hand.

Molly: Youíve no right.

Mark: Does he know you use that ?

Molly (brandishing the vibrator close to his face): This is testimony to your inability to satisfy me.

Mark: A herd of elephants couldnít satisfy you.

Molly: Iím a responsive woman. I have to be handled with care.

Mark: You make yourself sound like something sent through the Royal Mail.

Molly: Iíd have a better chance of orgasm with the average postman than with you.

Mark: Youíd exhaust the entire membership of the Communication Workersí Union and still not come to satisfaction.

Molly: My erogenous zones are unknown territory to you.

Mark: Your erogenous zones are as hard to locate as Ai Weiwei.

Molly: You couldnít find my erogenous zones with a Satnav.

Mark: They are like the depths of the Arctic ocean, unfathomable and lifeless.

Molly: Youíre the only man whoís been unable to find my G spot.

Mark: Iím not bringing a Geiger counter into the bedroom.

Molly: If you found it you wouldnít know what to do.

Mark: If I found it theyíd give me the Nobel prize for biology.

Molly: Iíve endured your premature ejaculations for nearly thirty years.

Mark: Not premature. Iím wired for multiple impregnation.

Molly: Not so much three strikes and youíre out as three strokes and youíre finished.

Mark: Thatís because access takes so long. You have to camp out overnight to get inside you.

Molly: When I was young I thought it was because my body aroused you so much. Now I know itís simple inadequacy.

Mark:  You had a great figure when you were young.

Molly: Whereís my money ?

Mark: We were happy then.

Molly: Give me my money, Mark.

Mark: We were a happy couple in the early days. And you were certainly an attractive woman. Once.

Molly: Give it to me.

Mark: I havenít touched your money.

Molly: There was an envelope in here with two thousand pounds in twenties.

Mark: Do you want to get mugged ?

Molly: Give it back.

Mark: You mustíve forgotten to put it in there.

She goes for him. He dances away. She pursues him over the furniture and round the room.

Molly: Donít add theft to your misdemeanours.

Mark:  You added adultery to yours.

Molly: Donít pretend youíve been faithful.

Mark: When did I have time for shagging ?

Molly: You were screwing Linda Leach while I was pregnant with Jake.

Mark (stops): Linda Leach !

Molly plunges her hands in his pockets. Finds the envelope.

Molly: You bastard.

Mark: What evidence do you have ?

Molly: These. (She points to her eyes. Stuffs the envelope back in her suitcase.)

Mark: I never laid a finger on Linda.

Molly: I saw the way you looked at her.

Mark: When ?

Molly: When we went out with them. When they came to dinner.

Mark: Youíre crazy.

Molly: You always did prefer blondes.

Mark: What ?

Molly: Why did you marry a brunette ?

Mark: I didnít marry your hair.

Molly: You spent all evening looking at her tits.

Mark: When ?

Molly: When they came to dinner.

Mark: I donít even remember her tits.

Molly: You made a thorough study of them.

Mark: Did she have big tits ?

Molly: Donít pretend.

Mark: Big as yours ?

Molly: Nothing like as big as mine.

Mark: Why would I look at her tits. I could have looked at yours.

Molly: You were letting her know you wanted to shag her.

Mark: I was letting Brian know too.

Molly: He was too polite to say anything.

Mark: Too polite to object to me shagging his wife ?

Molly: So you admit it.

Mark: Oh yes, I shagged her all over the place.

Molly: You bastard.

Mark: I shagged her on the number 27 bus, in the Hogshead, in the back of taxis, on the runway at HeathrowÖ

Molly: She wasnít the only one.

Mark: No, I shagged hundreds.

Molly: You joined the tennis club because of Bron Park.

Mark: Bron Park ?

Molly: You ogled her every time she bent over.

Mark: Did she have a nice arse ?

Molly: You should know.

Mark: Shapely as yours ?

Molly: Nothing like a shapely as mine.

Mark: Seems Iíve spent my married life shagging blondes with little tits and fat arses because I didnít like the colour of your hair.

Molly: You always were louche.

Mark: Louche ?

Molly: Itís also French.

Mark: I know itís French. What does it mean ?

Molly: Lecherous.

Mark: No it doesnít.

Molly: So what does it mean ?

Mark: Disreputable.

Molly: Same difference.

Mark: I am not disreputable. Iím a banker.

Molly: Same difference.

Mark: Iíve been faithful to you for twenty-seven years.

Molly: Youíve been ogling women since you were twelve.

Mark: You didnít know me when I was twelve.

Molly: I can imagine.

She pushes the buttons on her mobile.

Mark: Have you eaten ?

She shakes her head.

Mark: Iíll make something.

She shakes her head.

Molly: Could I have a taxi right away please. 27 Kingsway. One. Into town. Okay.

She stands before the mirror putting on her make-up till the end of the scene.

Mark: Think about it, Molly.

Molly: About what ?

Mark: The old days.

Molly: The old days are gone.

Mark: The kids.

Molly: The kids are adults.

Mark: One day theyíll have children.

Molly: Jake is gay.

Mark: Emily will have children.

Molly: Not if I can stop her.

Mark: Sheíll grow out of it.

Molly: Sheís like you.

Mark: I am her father.

Molly: Itís inbred.

Mark: What is ?

Molly: Her mental instability.

Mark: All young people are unstable.

Molly: Not all young people run off with men thirty years older than them.

Mark: Especially boys.

Molloy: It was obviously a father figure.

Mark: Thank you Dr Freud.

Molloy: To compensate for her absentee actual father.

Mark: I was working.

Molly: Ha !

Mark: Have you noticed how banking functions these days ?

Molly: I know what working late at the office means.

Mark: A hundred  grand a year, thatís what it means.

Molly: Expense accounts at the lapdancing club, thatís what it means.

Mark: I do not go to lap dancing clubs.

She stares at him.

Mark: Once.

She continues to stare.

Mark: Twice.

She continues to stare.

Mark: Twice. To be sociable.

Molly: You had a daughter waiting for you.

Mark: At least I came home.

Molly: I always came home.

Mark: Eventually.

Molly: Itís the industry.

Mark: Exactly.

Molly: You work five miles from your front door.

Mark: You couldíve stayed at home.

Molly: You earned peanuts.

Mark: I earn a hundred grand a year.

Molly: Since when ?

Mark: Since years.

Molly: Months.

Mark: I couldíve got promoted sooner if youíd been at home.

Molly: Mark, youíre fifty-three.

Mark: I made it.

Molly: Men twenty years younger are earning ten times more.

Mark: Not Will.

Molly: Heís inherited.

Mark: From whom ?

Molly: His mother.

Mark: What was she, a school cleaner ?

Molly: She was married to a dentist who played the stock market.

Mark: How much ?

Molly: A couple of million.

Mark: This house is worth that much.

Molly: Donít exaggerate.

Mark: Have you seen how prices are rising in London ?

Molly: Have you seen how theyíre rising in Brighton ?

Mark: So youíll be a kept woman.

Molly: I will not.

Mark: Heíll never see you.

Molly: Heíll see me enough.

Mark: That job eats you up.

Molly: Iím committed.

Mark: China one week, Poland the next, Chile the one after that.

Molly: Thatís the industry.

Mark: Itís not a job itís a mental illness.

Molly: Youíre jealous.

Mark: Who wants to fly round the world showing people how to manufacture cheap cotton knickers ?

Molly: Fashion is a complex industry.

Mark: You ruined this marriage.

Molly: Itís finished.

Mark: It was finished long ago.

Molly: Iím glad you admit it.

Mark: You know why you got married ?

Molly: I donít want to hear you theories.

Mark: So youíd have a marriage to destroy.

Molly: Youíre crazy.

Mark: Youíre a modern woman.

Molly: Whatís that supposed to mean ?

Mark: You hate the idea of marriage.

Molly: Iíve hated the practice of it for fifteen years.

Mark: Is it any wonder Emily is screwed up.

Molly: Are you blaming me ?

Mark: Your example. Extreme selfishness.

A car horn sounds. She packs away her make-up. Struggles with the suitcases.

Molly: Can you give me a hand ?

Mark shakes his head. She heaves the suitcases to the door.

Mark: Youíll be sorry, Molly.

Exit Molly.

Mark: Molly !

Lights out

 

SCENE TWO

            The bank. Mark is at his computer, somewhat ruffled. His mobile sounds.

Mark: Hello.

We hear the voice of his interlocutor, Larry.

Larry: Hi Mark, Larry here.

Mark: Hi, Larry.

Larry: How are things ?

Mark: Fine.

Larry: Mark, Iím just looking at your piece about CDOs.

Mark: Yeah ?

Larry: Terrific.

Mark: Glad you like it.

Larry: Great  work, Mark.

Mark: Thanks.

Larry: This is really good for the bank.

Mark: Well, I hope so.

Larry: No doubt about it. Thereíll be money for you from this.

Mark:  Good to hear.

Larry: You know thereíve been doubts raised ?

Mark: Sure.

Larry: Faint hearts. And faint hearts never made billions.

Mark:  Nothing surer .

Larry: This does the trick for us.

Mark: Thatís what I was after.

Larry: Weíll pick up business.

Mark: You think so.

Larry: No question. This is key: ďThe old ways of doing banking are gone for good. The high street bank is no more a timid place for the careful depositor. It is a money generating factory and CDOs are fundamental to the dynamic of aggressive pursuit of profit.Ē

Mark: You like that ?

Larry: Itís beautifully expressed.

Mark: Thanks.

Larry: You are the poet of modern banking.

Mark laughs.

Larry: I seem to remember your wife had an interest in poetry.

Mark: Well, she has a friend who writes.

Larry: Thatís right. Didnít I meet him at your place ?

Mark: Not at our place.

Larry: Over dinner somewhere ? The Ivy ?

Mark: Maybe. Maybe.

Larry: You have a poetís way with words.

Mark: It was just an article.

Larry: Articles are ten a penny. This is a little bit of genius.

Mark: Oh, thatís setting it rather high.

Larry: What youíve got to think about is confidence.

Mark: Sure.

Larry: Confidence makes the world go round.

Mark: Youíre right.

Larry: People read this they believe in CDOs.

Mark: You think so ?

Larry: You have a convincing style.

Mark: Good to know.

Larry: You couldíve been a politician.

Mark: Not me.

Larry: No money in it but you couldíve.

Mark: I prefer to write.

Larry: I know you do. Youíve done a great job.

Mark: Any way I can help the bank.

Larry: Iíll make sure you get rewarded.

Mark: Thanks, Larry.

Larry: Investors are going to come running to us.

Mark: Thatís great.

Larry: Thatís democracy.

Mark: It is.

Larry: Give people the information, they make their choices.

Mark: Our system.

Larry: None better.

Mark: No alternative.

Larry: Weíre indispensable.

Mark: We are.

Larry: The guy who lives on the street, thanks to us he lives in a democracy.

Mark: He does.

Larry: Any other system what happens ?

Mark: Heís in prison.

Larry: Right. Or the gulag.

Mark: We give him his freedom.

Larry: Choice between people sleeping rough and taking away democracy is no choice.

Mark: None at all.

Larry: Point is the people need to know.

Mark: They do.

Larry: They need to be informed.

Mark: Essential.

Larry: By us.

Mark: Who else ?

Larry: We have the knowledge.

Mark: Thatís key.

Larry: What do most people know ?

Mark: Nothing.

Larry: Less than nothing.

Mark: Ignorant.

Larry: People are ignorant.

Mark: Thoroughly.

Larry: So how can they choose ?

Mark: Forget it.

Larry: They need to know what we know.

Mark: They need education.

Larry: In the ways of the economy.

Mark: Of money.

Larry: They listen to the wrong people what happens ?

Mark: Disaster.

Larry: Correct. The wrong people must not be heard.

Mark: Theyíre dangerous.

Larry: Listen to them the economy goes bang.

Mark: Weíre all screwed.

Larry: The point is, freedom of speech.

Mark: Canít do without it.

Larry: Let the masses have a voice what happens ?

Mark: Tower of Babel.

Larry: Nobody hears anybody.

Mark: Dialogue of the deaf.

Larry: A few voices speak, everybody hears.

Mark: The message is clear.

Larry: Clarity. What happens without it ?

Mark: Chaos.

Larry: Thatís  the role of a free media.

Mark: Youíre right.

Larry: Who gives them the information ?

Mark: We do.

Larry: Those in the know.

Mark: Who else ?

Larry: Who else precisely ? The masses have a voice.

Mark: They vote.

Larry: Thatís enough.

Mark: Itís more than enough.

Larry: They vote for those in the know.

Mark: Thatís the system.

Larry: It works.

Mark: Most of the time.

Larry: Youíre right. When does it break down ?

Mark: When people donít listen.

Larry: To us.

Mark: We run the country.

Larry: We own the country.

Mark: The facts are the facts.

Larry: Those who own decide. Is that fair ?

Mark: Nothing fairer.

Larry: We give the information to the people. They choose. Who could do more ?

Mark: Impossible.

Larry: We look after people.

Mark: Our task.

Larry: Without us theyíre swinging through the trees.

Mark: We are civilization.

Larry: Your article gives investors the information. Theyíll be as hungry for CDOs as young men for pussy.

Mark laughs.

Larry: Had any good pussy lately ?

Mark: I do okay.

Larry: Iím e-mailing you a couple of pictures.

Mark: Okay.

Turns to his computer.

Larry: First one is a whore I picked up in Singapore. Was she legal ? Who cares. But take a look at this pussy, Mark.

Mark: Computerís running slow.

Larry: Second one is the daughter of a guy I play golf with.

Mark: Yeah.

Larry: Sixteen.

Mark: Thatís nice.

Larry: Not done her GCSEs yet.

Mark: Nice and fresh, eh ?

Larry: Sucked my cock and took it up the arse.

Mark: Sounds great.

Larry: It is great, Mark. Like me to introduce you ?

Mark: I donít want to trespass on your property, Larry.

Larry: Five grand sheíll do what you like. Bank pays.

Mark: Got the pictures.

Larry: Look at that quim, Mark.

Mark: Yeah, amazing.

Larry: Donít ask how old she is thatís all.

Mark laughs.

Larry: Are you free tonight ?

Mark: Tonight ? No. Molly and me are entertaining.

Larry: Cosy dinner at home.

Mark: Thatís it.

Larry: Tomorrow ?

Mark: Yeah. Maybe. Iíll have to have a word with Molly.

Larry: Keeps a tight rein, eh ?

Mark: No, no. I mean, I do what I likeÖ

Larry: Thatís the way. We can go out and buy some young pussy.

Mark: Sure. Only my daughterís coming home for a few days.

Larry: How old is she ?

Mark: Twenty-two.

Larry: Single ?

Mark: She has a partner.

Larry: Thatís good. Nothing like family, eh Mark ?

Mark: Thatís it.

Larry: Family is the bedrock.

Mark: It is.

Larry: Did I tell you Samantha is studying medicine at Oxford ?

Mark: No. I didnít know. Thatís terrific.

Larry: It is terrific. Sheís a bright girl. 

Mark: Takes after her dad.

Larry (laughs): Yeah. Her mother has the scientific brain.

Mark: Really ?

Larry: She couldíve been a doctor herself, but you know, the opportunities didnít come to her.

Mark: Thatís a shame.

Larry: Itís all about opportunities.

Mark: Youíre right.

Larry: Youíve got to take your opportunities where they lie.

Mark: Thatís how you get on.

Larry: You got that second picture ?

Mark (He doesnít look at the screen): Yeah.

Larry: Randy little whore, eh ?

Mark laughs.

Larry: Iíve done some good deals for her father. He trusts me.

Mark: Thatís lucky.

Larry: Itís not lucky, Mark, itís skill.

Mark: I guess so.

Larry: The girl just wants money.

Mark: Donít they all ?

Larry: Donít they. She wants to live like a celebrity. What does it matter to her if I get my dick up her arse ?

Mark: She gets the money.

Larry: Thatís the point.

Mark: I know.

Larry: Everybody and everything has a price.

Mark: For sure.

Larry: And the bank pays.

Mark: Itís a perk.

Larry: The bank should pay.

Mark: Youíre right.

Larry: The bank pays for talent.

Mark: Youíve got the talent, Larry.

Larry: You too, Mark. Weíve made hundreds of millions for this bank.

Mark: We deserve our rewards.

Larry: But thatís nothing to what we will make.

Mark: We work hard.

Larry: We work very hard.

Mark: We do.

Larry: The country should be grateful to us.

Mark: Where would the country be without us ?

Larry: In the shit.

Mark: Youíre right.

Larry: We work hard and we need our leisure.

Mark: You canít work all the time.

Larry: Look at that sweet cunt, Mark.

Mark (Doesnít look at screen): Yeah.

Larry: Thatís our reward.

Mark: It is.

Larry: Snort a few lines and get her sucking on your dick and your ready for another tough day.

Mark: Absolutely.

Larry: So youíre busy tonight ?

Mark: Yeah. Pity.

Larry: Hank  asked me to go into town with him.

Mark: Thatís great.

Larry: Itís okay. But you know about Hank ?

Mark: Whatís that ?

Larry: He likes to snort and drink but when it comes to the girls, well heís of the other persuasion.

Mark: Takes all sorts.

Larry: I donít judge.

Mark: Thatís right.

Larry: He likes young boysí arses thatís his business.

Mark: Sure.

Larry: Just cramps my style.

Mark: I can understand that.

Larry: Itís his perk.

Mark: Of course.

Larry: Heís earned it just like we have.

Mark: Heís a hard worker.

Larry: Heís made tens of millions.

Mark: Heís a legend.

Larry: Have you met his wife ?

Mark: No.

Larry: Very attractive woman.

Mark: Yeah ?

Larry: I wonder if she knows.

Mark: Well, sheís married to him.

Larry: Marriages have many secrets, Mark.

Mark: I guess so.

Larry: Thatís how they survive.

Mark: Thereís something in that.

Larry: Imagine your wife knew everything.

Mark: Scary thought.

Larry: Works both ways.

Mark: Youíre right.

Larry: Between you and me, I know his wife better than I should.

Mark: Really ?

Larry: She threw herself at me.

Mark: Wow.

Larry: I earn more than him. Iím his superior. Those things influence a woman.

Mark: They do.

Larry: You take your opportunities.

Mark: Why not ?

Larry: Thatís business. Thatís life.

Mark: Youíre right.

Larry: Let me know when youíve got a night free.

Mark: I will.

Larry: Weíll get some young pussy, a few lines. Release the tension.

Mark: I need that.

Larry: This is a tense job.

Mark: Stressful.

Larry: Itís a high wire act.

Mark: Without a safety net.

Larry: We fall everybody falls.

Mark: Itís a big responsibility.

Larry: We run the economy.

Mark: Thatís right.

Larry: People think itís the politicians.

Mark: What do they know ?

Larry: What we tell them.

Mark: We call the tune.

Larry: We are the masters they are the puppets.

Mark: We keep Ďem dancing.

Larry: Thatís democracy.

Mark: It is.

Larry: Whatís democracy without us ?

Mark: Finished.

Larry: Spot on. Listen. That was a great article, Mark.

Mark: Thanks.

Larry: No. Thank you. You are going to make this bank a lot of money.

Mark: I hope so.

Larry: Youíll get your reward.

Mark: Iím grateful.

Larry: Youíve earned it, mate.

Mark: Thanks, Larry.

Larry: Take care. Love to Molly.

Mark: Sure

Larry: Speak soon.

Call ends. Mark sets down his mobile. Looks at screen. Enter Bill.

Bill: Got a minute ?

Mark: Sure.

Bill: What you looking at there ?

Mark: Something  popped up on the screen.

He gets rid of the pictures.

Bill: Yeah ?

Mark: I donít go in for that kind of thing.

Bill: Fair enough.

Mark: What can I do for you ?

Bill: I read your article.

Mark: Oh.

Bill: Ace.

Mark: Glad you liked it.

Bill: I wish I could write like that.

Mark: Youíve got time.

Bill: I havenít got the talent.

Mark: Practice.

Bill: You nailed it.

Mark: I do my best.

Bill: You were talking to Larry ?

Mark: I was.

Bill: Whatís he think ?

Mark: Heís happy.

Bill: He should be.

Mark: Investors will come running.

Bill: Bound to.

Mark: Weíve got a money-making machine here.

Bill: Itís a slick operation.

Mark: Itís fast.

Bill: Thatís key.

Mark: You invest, your return comes in years. You speculate it comes in months.

Bill: Weeks.

Mark: Days.

Bill: Finance has broken free.

Mark: Itís an autonomous realm.

Bill: Weíre way ahead.

Mark: No-one can catch us.

Bill: Weíre on a rising curve.

Mark: By the time it falls, our fortunes are made.

Bill: Thatís genius.

Mark: The trick is, new products.

Bill: Like your article says.

Mark: That way they never catch us.

Bill: Weíre always running down the fire escape while theyíre coming in the front door.

Mark: Well expressed. Youíve got a good attitude, Bill.

Bill: Thanks.

Mark: Thatís what counts.

Bill: Youíre right.

Mark: Oxbridge, Phd, all the qualifications in the world. Useless if you donít have  the right approach.

Bill: Nothing truer.

Mark: Itís rare.

Bill: Thatís why itís rewarded.

Mark: Thatís the point. Everyone thinks itís easy. Itís human nature. We all want money. It isnít easy. It isnít human nature. Itís a gift. Do most people get up in the morning and say ďHow much can I make today ?Ē ?

Bill: They donít.

Mark: Why not ?

Bill: They donít have the talent.

Mark: They donít have the attitude.

Bill: Theyíre lazy.

Mark: Theyíre losers.

Bill: Thatís life.

Mark: You canít change it.

Bill: Not a chance.

Mark: Larryís got it.

Bill: Heís got it in tons.

Mark: No day escapes him.

Bill: I admire that.

Mark: Has he ever let an opportunity go by ?

Bill: Never.

Mark: Some people would say he goes too far.

Bill: There are always nay-sayers.

Mark: His private life.

Bill: Sure.

Mark: He likes pussy.

Bill: Whatís wrong with that ?

Mark: Young pussy.

Bill: Who likes it old ?

Mark: Sometimes he crosses the line.

Bill: Heís a risk-taker.

Mark: Exactly. Namby-pambies donít make billions.

Bill: They play safe.

Mark: What happens to the world then ?

Bill: It goes nowhere.

Mark: It stagnates.

Bill: No progress.

Mark: Thatís it. No progress, no profit.

Bill: Back to the dark ages.

Mark: You know what safety is ?

Bill: What ?

Mark: Poverty.

Bill: Youíre right.

Mark: How did the world get rich ?

Bill: Taking risks.

Mark: And never saying no to an opportunity.

Bill: Never.

Mark: Is that human nature ?

Bill: Itís genius.

Mark: Itís rarer than a Higgs boson.

Bill: Physics, eh ?

Mark: Those guys are bright.

Bill: Very bright.

Mark: Are they brighter than us ?

Bill: They donít operate in the same field.

Mark: Exactly.

Bill: Ours is a different science.

Mark: But no simpler.

Bill: Itís a complex world.

Mark: Complex ? Whatís the value of this bankís CDOs ?

Bill: Iíd have to guess.

Mark: Weíd all have to guess.

Bill: No-one has the knowledge.

Mark: Weíve created something more complex than the universe.

Bill: Itís intricate.

Mark: Einstein couldnít unravel it.

Bill: Thatís something.

Mark: Something ? Itís a great achievement.

Bill: Weíve changed the world.

Mark: My thought precisely. The world will never be the same.

Bill: Weíve made history.

Mark: Theyíll read about us in centuries to come.

Bill: Theyíll study what weíve done.

Mark: As an example.

Bill: Naturally.

Mark: Weíve moved things on.

Bill: It takes energy.

Mark: Thatís the word.

Bill: Itís the few that matter.

Mark: Does history teach us anything else ?

Bill: Nope.

Mark: You know I studied history.

Bill: Not economics ?

Mark: No. Iím a historian by training. I learnt the economics on the fly.

Bill: Good strategy.

Mark: The only strategy.

Bill: I studied economics.

Mark: Nothing wrong with that.

Bill: Youíre right, you can learn it on the job.

Mark: You have to.

Bill: The theory helps.

Mark: It gives a grounding.

Bill: You know what to look for.

Mark: How the land lies.

Bill: Thatís right.

Mark: Youíre a bright young man.

Bill: Thanks.

Mark: Thereís a future for you.

Bill: I hope so.

Mark: Fancy a bite of lunch ?

Bill: Sure.

Mark: I go to this Italian place run by a guy I did a deal for.

Bill: Nice ?

Mark: The best. The waitresses know me.

Bill: Interesting.

Mark: They look after me. Especially Julia. Nice girl. Been there a few months.

Bill: Your type ?

Mark: Nothing like that. She looks after me. Father figure I guess.

Bill: Never know your luck.

Mark: I keep an open mind on everything.

Bill: Thatís business.

Mark: Thatís life.

Bill: Thatís how to be alert to opportunity.

Mark: It is. Meet you downstairs in five.

Bill: Okay.

Mark: On the bank.

Bill: Sure.

Mark: Anything big this afternoon ?

Bill: Nothing special.

Mark: Some great wine in this place.

Bill: Sounds fine.

Mark: Couple of bottles, set us up for a late night.

Bill: Five.

Mark: See you.

Exit Bill. Lights out.

 

 

SCENE THREE

Restaurant. Table for two centre stage. Mark and Bill face one another. They hold large menus. Bottle of champagne in ice bucket. An atmosphere of high-class dining.

 

Mark: What díyou think ?

Bill takes a sip from his glass.

Bill: Pretty good.

Mark: Never drink cheap wine.

Bill: Why should we ?

Mark: Is that what we break our balls for ?

Bill: Luxury drives production.

Mark: It creates aspiration.

Bill: Itís a requirement of dynamic economies.

Mark: Thatís nicely put.

Bill: Thanks.

Mark: Succinct and accurate.

Bill: Truth can always be expressed simply.

Mark: Thatís right. You should write a few pieces.

Bill: Iíll think about it.

Mark: Gets you noticed.

Bill: Thatís key.

Mark: Helped me get where I am.

Bill:  Got to pull every lever.

Mark: Listen. If youíre looking for a job elsewhere, you can rely on me to help.

Bill: Elsewhere ?

Mark: This is a big outfit but it isnít the biggest.

Bill: No.

Mark: Young man like you wants to get to the very top.

Bill: I do.

Mark: I can see it.

Bill: Yeah ?

Mark: You remind me of me at your age.

Bill (laughs): I do ?

Mark: In some ways. Youth.

Bill: Of course.

Mark: My age you notice.

Bill: I guess so.

Mark: One piece of advice.

Bill: Yeah.

Mark: Have nothing to regret.

Bill: Iíll try.

Mark: How long have I got ?

Bill: Sorry ?

Mark: Active life.

Bill: I donít know. Thirty years.

Mark: Twenty if Iím lucky.

Bill: You can do a lot.

Mark: But itís looking back.

Bill: You think so ?

Mark: Iím fifty-three.

Bill: You donít look it.

Mark: Am I going to see a hundred and six ?

Bill: Who knows.

Mark: Iím well into the second half.

Bill: Youíve done okay.

Mark: When you look back, no regrets.

Bill: Thatís good.

Mark: One piece of advice.

Bill: Yeah.

Mark: You want something, go for it.

Bill: I will.

Mark: I was like you.

Bill: Yeah.

Mark: Ambitious. Glint in my eye. I couldíve done better.

Bill: Youíve done pretty well.

Mark: Larryís done better.

Bill: Larry is exceptional.

Mark: Heís very able.

Bill: He takes control.

Mark: Nail on the head.

Bill: Heís unique.

Mark: We all are.

Bill: Sure.

Mark: You can make it.

Bill: I hope so.

Mark: Like Larry.

Bill: That would be great.

Mark: Better.

Bill: Thatís a big ambition.

Mark: Youíve got what matters.

Bill: Thanks.

Mark: Attitude.

Bill (laughs): You think so.

Mark: What kind of world are we in ?

Bill: Tough.

Mark: Cut-throat.

Bill: Youíre right.

Mark: Majority are losers.

Bill: They have to be.

Mark: Thatís it. How else can it work ?

Bill: No chance.

Mark: Jobs have to be done.

Bill: Fact of life.

Mark: Pay has to be low.

Bill: Economic necessity.

Mark: Losers.

Bill: Their choice.

Mark: Exactly.

Bill: No-one forces anyone to work.

Mark: Labour market is free.

Bill: Thatís the system.

Mark: You make your way.

Bill: Donít complain if you lose.

Mark: Donít expect a leg up.

Bill: This isnít charity.

Mark: Thatís what I mean. Attitude.

Bill: Thanks.

Mark: I made a mistake.

Bill: What was that ?

Mark: I married the wrong woman.

Bill: Really ?

Mark: Careerwise.

Bill: Yeah ?

Mark: You married ?

Bill: Not yet.

Mark: Attached ?

Bill: Yeah.

A young, attractive waitress enters left and approaches the table.

Waitress: Ready to order, guys ?

Mark: I think we are, Julia. By the way, this is Bill. Young colleague of mine.

Julia: Nice to meet you.

Bill: Delighted.

Mark: Julia is my favourite waitress.

She laughs.

Mark: She looks after me. Donít you, Julia ?

Julia: I do my best.

Mark: She has the attitude.

Bill: Thatís great.

Mark: I was just explaining to Bill about attitude.

Julia: I see.

Bill: Iíll have the tapenade tray to start.

Julia: Okay. And you, sir ?

Mark: No formality. Weíre relaxed. Call me, Mark.

Julia: Okay.

Mark: What did I have yesterday ?

Julia: I donít remember.

Mark: Maybe it was the soup.

Julia: Maybe.

Bill: Then Iíll have the sea bass, please.

Julia: Fine.

Mark: Iíll have the terrine.

Julia: Terrine.

Mark: Home-made, Bill. Sans pareil.

Bill: Yeah ?

Mark: Eh, Julia ?

Julia: Sorry ?

Mark: The terrine is exquisite.

Julia: Iím sure it is.

Mark: Pinch a bit of mine.

Julia: More than my jobís worth.

Mark: My permission.

Julia: Main course ?

Mark: You know I think Iíll have the smoked salmon pizza.

Julia: More wine.

Mark: Another of those.

Julia: Okay.

Mark: Weíre celebrating.

Julia: Thatís nice.

Mark: A small success.

Bill: Heís modest.

Mark: This young man is going far.

Julia: Thatís good.

Mark: Looks the part, eh ?

Julia: Sorry ?

Mark: Wouldnít you say he looks the type to make it ?

Julia: Iím not sure I can judge.

Bill: Thatís right.

Mark: I would say youíre  a shrewd judge of men, Julia.

Julia: Any side orders ?

Bill: Thatís fine.

Julia: Okay.

Exit Julia.

Mark: Lovely girl.

Bill: Very attractive.

Mark: Whatís she doing working here ?

Bill: Well, yeah.

Mark: Your girlfriend work ?

Bill: Barrister.

Mark: Thatís good.

Bill: She likes it.

Mark: One piece of advice.

Bill: Yeah.

Mark: Donít let it tear you apart.

Bill: What ?

Mark: You have a family, someoneís career will give.

Bill: Well, these daysÖ.

Mark: I know. Believe me. One will be ahead of the other.

Bill: Thatís fine.

Mark: Can be.

Bill: Doesnít bother me.

Mark: Woman brings home the bacon she gets ideas.

Bill: Ideas ?

Mark: This is not personal.

Bill: No.

Mark: Itís society.

Bill: I know.

Mark: Whoís going to collect the kids?

Bill: Iím not even married.

Mark: Think ahead.

Bill: Weíll pay someone.

Mark: Sure. Some things you canít pay for.

Bill: Really ?

Mark: Kid playing in a concert wants a parent in the audience.

Bill: Oh, yeah.

Mark: Whoís going ?

Bill: Thatís not impossible.

Mark: Two big careers, every day is a fight for supremacy.

Bill: Doesnít have to be.

Mark: Canít help it.

Bill: Iím not sure.

Mark: Wish you luck.

Bill: Thanks.

Mark: Youíve got the attitude to get ahead.

Bill: I hope so.

Mark: No disrespect, but you can be number one.

Bill: Think so.

Mark: Yeah. In the bank and at home.

Bill: In the bank is okay.

Mark: Take my word. You earn more, sheíll think twice.

Bill: About ?

Mark: Whatever.

Bill: Your wife earn heavy ?

Mark: Sure.

Bill: Whatís she in ?

Mark: Fashion.

Bill: Big money.

Mark: All over the world.

Bill: Good.

Mark: Consultant.

Bill: Great.

Mark: Blagues it.

Bill: Yeah ?

Mark: People will pay big for bullshit if youíre called a consultant.

Bill: Sure.

Mark:  Thatís the market.

Bill: They choose.

Mark: Sheís done well.

Bill: Thatís great.

Mark: But thereís pressure.

Bill: Thatís expected.

Mark: In a marriage.

Bill: Up and downs.

Mark: Got to ride Ďem.

Bill: Sure.

Mark: But you can count on me.

Bill: Sorry ?

Mark: You want to move on.

Bill: Yeah, thanks.

Mark: Now is a time of great opportunity.

Bill: I think so.

Mark: Weíre on the cusp.

Bill: Yeah.

Mark: The old world is buried.

Bill: Thank god.

Mark: Youíre right. Debt is the new solvency.

Bill: Whoís not in debt ?

Mark: My grandmother.

Bill: Different generation.

Mark: Felt guilty.

Bill: Ashamed.

Mark: Weíve killed all that.

Bill: Who made a billion by feeling guilty ?

Mark: Shame has no place in business.

Bill: Not any more.

Mark: My grandmotherís dead.

Bill: Iím sorry.

Mark: Twenty years ago.

Bill: I see.

Mark:  Paid off her mortgage by forty.

Bill: The old ways.

Mark: Felt virtuous.

Bill: I know.

Mark: Whatís virtue got to do with it ?

Bill: You canít measure it.

Mark: Thatís exactly right.

Bill: What you canít count doesnít count.

Mark: The more debt you have the richer you get.

Bill: Sell it on.

Mark: Exactly.

Bill: Finance is the new manufacturing.

Mark: The only thing worth making is money.

Bill: We are a money factory.

Mark: Weíve broken free.

Bill: Itís exhilarating.

Mark: The future belongs to those with the right attitude.

Bill: I know.

Mark: Youíve got it, Bill.

Bill: Thanks.

Mark: One piece of advice. Watch your back.

Bill: Sure.

Mark: Iím not a competitor.

Bill: Youíve got years ahead.

Mark: Iíll do all right. But you. You can go to the top.

Bill: I hope so.

Mark: And the top means billions.

Bill: Thatís the aim.

Mark: Whatís a millionaire today ?

Bill: Almost poverty.

Mark: My house is worth two million.

Bill: I know.

Mark: My house alone.

Bill: A million doesnít buy a shack.

Mark: How much am I worth ?

Bill: Ten million ?

Mark: I donít count.

Bill: No.

Mark: I donít need to.

Bill: Only losers need to.

Mark: My daughter gets married, Iíll spend a million.

Bill: Only do it once.

Mark: I hope.

Bill: Yeah.

Mark: Youíve got to watch your back.

Bill: Sure.

Mark: People smile at you in the morning, do the dirty on you in the afternoon.

Bill: Thatís life.

Mark: Thatís business.

Bill: Thatís banking.

Mark:   Gents. Two minutes.

Exit Mark. Bill take out his mobile. Checks. Taps a number.

Bill: Hello. Sorry I missed your call. No. No. Iím having lunch with old Cass. Yeah, heís brought me to this Italian place he uses. Trying to chat up the waitress. Iím not kidding. Iím not kidding. Trying to impress me. And her. This young waitress, very attractive. He says something about her being a good judge of men. I was nearly sick on the carpet. I donít know. He just asked me. Just said, You want to go out to lunch. On the bank. Heís had three glasses of champagne and heís pissed. He is. I tell you. He keeps saying, One piece of advice. He must have said it a hundred and seven times. He gives me the creeps. Well, heís doing the old, If you need a good reference routine. Yeah. Really. As if Iíd want a reference from him. I know. I know. He seems to think Iím moving on and he can help me. Christ, heís nearly sixty and earns about a hundred grand. Yeah. No, I mean it. Pissed. Slurring. Really. Three glasses. The guy is a joke. Why the bank hangs onto old farts like Cass beat me. (As this sentence ends Mark enters, visible to the audience but not Bill. He stops and makes sure he canít be seen.) I think his marriage is in trouble. You know. How you pick up on things. Keeps talking about the strains. Hey, you know what he thinks ? Weíll fight over who has the big career ! Yeah. I know. You will. Yeah, QC is great but look at bankersís bonuses. I know I have to get to the top. The point is it doesnít bother me. No. You earn more than me what do I care? But you wonít. Okay. Okay. Weíll see. Yeah, yeah. Thatís fine. Have I ever said I resent your career ? No. I donít. You go ahead. Itís fine by me. Itís absolutely fine. You have your career I have my mine. Well,one of us will. Yes. Yes. One of us will earn more. I know. One of us will go further. It doesnít. Okay. Okay. But heís talking about who picks the kids up from school and the pressure it puts you under. Bullshit. I think his marriage has had it. Sheís in fashion. Consultant. Heís says big money but thatís probably about a hundred and fifty grand. Hey, his house is worth two million. His house alone. He actually said that. Big stress on alone. Two million. Does he think Iím impressed by that. Weíre talking London. I donít know, Islington or somewhere. But he owns one house. Yeah. Oh, thirty years or something. If ever there was a loser. And he thinks Iím going to him for a reference!  No, we havenít even had the starter yet. Iíll never get him back to the bank. Heíll be flat out by dessert. Heíll probably start waving his dick at the waitress.

Mark coughs loudly.

Bill: Got to go.

Enter waitress right. Enter Mark left. Mark sits.

Julia: Terrine ?

Mark: Please.

Julia: And the tapenade for you, sir.

Bill: Perfect

Mark: Donít call him sir. Heís still office junior.

Bill laughs. Julia leaves.

Mark: Julia ?

She turns.

Mark: Forget the mains.

Julia: But the chef..

Mark: Weíll pay.

Exit Julia.

Bill: Lost your appetite ?

Mark: Time getting on.

Bill: Sure. Not a big lunch man anyway.

Mark: Lunch is business.

Bill: Sure.

Mark slowly eats the terrine till it is all gone as if Bill isnít there. Bill picks at the tapenade.They donít talk. Mark relishes the food. Licks his lips. Doesnít look at Bill.

Mark: Eat dinner with your partner ?

Bill: Usually ?

Mark: Whatís usually ?

Bill: Four a week.

Mark: Whatís her favourite ?

Bill: Curry.

Mark: Poor palate, eh ?

Bill: I wouldnít say so.

Mark: She likes it hot.

Bill: She does.

Mark: Not traditional ?

Bill: Sometimes.

Mark: She likes variety.

Bill: You might say so.

Mark: Howís the tapenade ?

Bill: Oh, yeah. Really good.

Mark: Donít forget youíve got to work this afternoon.

Bill: Iím okay.

Mark: Champagne go to your head ?

Bill: Not me.

Mark: Me neither.

Bill: Youíre used to it.

Mark: I could finish off that bottle and still do the business.

Bill: Youíre a pro.

Mark: One question.

Bill: Yeah ?

Mark: Could you explain to Julia what a CDS is ?

Bill: A waitress ?

Mark: Me ?

Bill: Yeah.

Mark: Go ahead.

Bill: A swap contract. The protection buyer pays spreads and gets a payoff if an instrument produces a credit event.

Mark: No-one understands that.

Bill: We do.

Mark: The high priests.

Bill: Right.

Mark: A challenge.

Bill: Okay.

Mark: Explain it so Julia can get it. In an article.

Bill: Okay.

Mark: Iíll get it published.

Bill: Terrific.

Mark: Deadline is the thirtieth.

Bill: No problem.

Mark: Thatís the best terrine in London.

Bill: Looks good.

Mark: Got to see a client.

Gets up.

Bill: Iím done.

Mark: See you later. Settle the tab.

Exit MarkLights out. 

 

SCENE FOUR

The bank. Mark at his computer. His mobile sounds.

Mark: Hello.

Larry: Mark ? Larry.

Mark: Hi, Larry.

Larry: Busy?

Mark: Always.

Larry: Free Saturday ?

Mark: Saturday ?

Larry: Yeah.

Mark: Taking a client out.

Larry: Pussy ?

Mark: No.

Larry: Shame. Tomorrow ?

Mark: Possibly.

Larry: Pussy hunt.

Mark: Yeah.

Larry: Nice and young.

Mark: Sure

Larry: Helps you forget youíre getting older.

Mark: I know.

Larry: When Iím ninety-nine Iíll pay some whore to suck my cock.

Mark: Why not ?

Larry: Iíve got the money.

Mark: Thatís power.

Larry: I buy what I like.

Mark: Itís your prerogative.

Larry: Itís a transaction.

Mark: Like any other.

Larry: I pay to get my dick up a fifteen year-oldís arse, whatís wrong with that ?

Mark: Itís her choice.

Larry: It is. Whatís the sticking point ?

Mark: The law.

Larry: Red tape.

Mark: Regulation.

Larry: Weíre regulated to death.

Mark: Tied in red tape.

Larry: The answer ?

Mark: Change the law.

Larry: Whoís going to do that ?

Mark: Up against it.

Larry: The point is. Why obey the law ?

Mark: Thatís right.

Larry: Who doesnít speed ?

Mark: The Pope speeds.

Larry: Whatís the difference ?

Mark: Principleís the same.

Larry: Exactly. Law stands in the way of freedom it must be changed or ignored.

Mark: Thatís rational.

Larry: Rational is the word. Weíre rational.

Mark: We are.

Larry: We make rational choices.

Mark: Naturally.

Larry: I choose what gives me pleasure.

Mark: Who wouldnít ?

Larry: Thatís rational.

Mark: Perfectly.

Larry: Think about it. I bring my desire to the market the whore brings her arse. I want to fuck her. What does she want ?

Mark: The money.

Larry: The money. Is she rational ?

Mark: Why else would she do it ?

Larry: The point exactly. Itís commercial.

Mark:  A deal.

Larry: I get what I want she gets what she wants. Is that perfect ?

Mark: Perfect as it gets.

Larry: Is Adam Smith right ?

Mark:  Proven.

Larry: So whatís the law doing ?

Mark: The law is misguided.

Larry: Protecting her innocence ?

Mark: Itís an argument.

Larry: Itís a non-argument.

Mark: Of course.

Larry: She wanted innocence sheíd be a nun.

Mark: She can choose.

Larry: Sheís free.

Mark: Thatís our system.

Larry: Except the law gets in the way.

Mark: It does.

Larry: In the way of a perfectly good deal between free individuals.

Mark: Crazy.

Larry: Is this the Soviet Union ?

Mark: It isnít.

Larry: Is this misguided morality ?

Mark: It is.

Larry: Whereís the morality in stopping a perfectly good transaction ?

Mark: Thatís sick.

Larry: Youíre right. Thatís pathological.

Mark: It is.

Larry: It has no place in the free market system.

Mark: None whatsoever.

Larry: Does virtue put your dinner on the table ?

Mark: Never.

Larry: What does ?

Mark: Self-interest.

Larry: I pursue my self interest the whore pursue hers. Sheís fifteen. So what ?

Mark: She can choose.

Larry: Is she a consumer ?

Mark: She is.

Larry: Can she choose what to buy ?

Mark: Thatís the market.

Larry: Can she buy a rampant rabbit ?

Mark: Her freedom.

Larry: Can she choose to have my dick up her arse ?

Mark: Why not ?

Larry: The law makes me angry, Mark.

Mark: It should.

Larry: Did the Suffragettes obey the law ?

Mark: They defied the law.

Larry: They did. And why ?

Mark: Because the law stood in their way.

Larry: Because the law stood in their way is exact. Is the law in my way ?

Mark: It is.

Larry: Is it in her way ?

Mark: It is.

Larry: So we should change the law.

Mark: Thatís the answer.

Larry: Fuck a girl whoís fifteen and eleven months youíre a paedophile. Fuck her friend whoís sixteen and one hour youíre a well-adjusted citizen. Is that nuts ?

Mark: Completely.

Larry: I know the argument about children.

Mark: We know it.

Larry: I donít want to fuck children.

Mark: Youíre not a pervert.

Larry: Precisely. I have appetites. Is that normal ?

Mark: Perfectly.

Larry: I do not fuck children.

Mark: Of course you donít.

Larry: I fuck fifteen year old whores.

Mark: Itís not the same.

Larry: Nothing like the same.

Mark: She gets paid.

Larry: Thatís the point.

Mark: Sure.

Larry: GCSE Economics.

Mark: The basics.

Larry: Sheís running a business.

Mark: Sheís making a profit.

Larry: A profit ? Do you know how much they charge ?

Mark: I can guess.

Larry: You want to find out ?

Mark: One day.

Larry: Why wait ?

Mark: Iím not in a hurry.

Larry: Try it.

Mark: I will.

Larry: Youíll get hooked.

Mark: You think so ?

Larry: Tell you why ?

Mark: Why ?

Larry: Youíre defying death.

Mark: Yeah ?

Larry: See that fifteen year old arse in the air and you think youíre sixteen again.

Mark: Thatís great.

Larry: You are sixteen again.

Mark: I guess so.

Larry: What lets us do that ?

Mark: Money.

Larry: And how do we make money ?

Mark: Business.

Larry: On the head. What stands in the way of business stands in the way of life.

Mark: Life itself.

Larry: What is life ?

Mark: Who can say ?

Larry: We can. Life is series of transactions to make money.

Mark: True.

Larry: Take marriage.

Mark: For example.

Larry: For example does your wife like shoes ?

Mark: She does.

Larry: Sheís a woman. She likes shoes.

Mark: Beyond question.

Larry: She wants a pair of shoes what will she do for them ?

Mark: Sheís well paid.

Larry: I know that. Suppose she wasnít.

Mark: She is, Larry.

Larry: I know she is. But my point is would she suck your cock for a nice pair of shoes ?

Mark: She buys her own.

Larry: Course she does. Suppose you bought her a Lamborghini.

Mark: She prefers a Mercedes.

Larry: You buy her a brand new Mercedes. Is she happy ?

Mark: Sheís pleased.

Larry: Pleased enough to take it up the arse ?

Mark: Thatís not our thing.

Larry: What is your thing ?

Mark: Thatís private, Larry.

Larry: Of course it is. My point is marriage is a transaction.

Mark: Of a certain kind.

Larry: Come divorce whatís the problem ?

Mark: Kids.

Larry: The primary problem.

Mark: Well, Iíd say it was the kids, Larry.

Larry: Property.

Mark: Thatís a problem.

Larry: Thatís the problem.

Mark: Itís significant.

Larry: You know what marriage is ? A way of confining sex within property relations.

Mark: Interesting idea.

Larry: You love your wife ?

Mark: Yeah.

Larry: Divorce her immediately.

Mark: You think so?

Larry: Donít let property sex and love get entwined.

Mark: Hard to keep apart.

Larry: Put property first.

Mark: Of course.

Larry: Sex second.

Mark: Sure.

Larry: Love a long way third.

Mark: Maybe.

Larry: Everybody manipulates everybody to get what they want.

Mark: Thatís a way of seeing things.

Larry:  The world, Mark.

Mark:  Part of things.

Larry: Itís business.

Mark: Sure.

Larry: So what happens to love ?

Mark: It has its place.

Larry: How many people you know are divorced ?

Mark: A few.

Larry: Many.

Mark: Okay.

Larry: How many of your parentsí generation were divorced ?

Mark: Not many.

Larry: Whatís happened ?

Mark: Hard to say.

Larry: Iíll tell you whatís happened.

Mark: What ?

Larry: Weíve won.

Mark: Who ?

Larry: Bankers.

Mark: Weíve done okay.

Larry: Weíve changed the world.

Mark: True.

Larry: Change the circumstances change the person.

Mark: Thatís right.

Larry: Thatís whatís happened.

Mark: Sure.

Larry: What kind of person makes it today ?

Mark: A banker.

Larry: The kind of person who doesnít fuck about with love.

Mark: I see your point.

Larry: You want to get ahead what dí you think about ?

Mark: Profit.

Larry: Sure. But fuck everyone else.

Mark: Itís a tough world.

Larry: You know whatís in my head when I get up every day ?

Mark: Exchange rate.

Larry: How can I make more money than every other fucker.

Mark: Thatís why youíre rich, Larry.

Larry:  Never stop thinking about it.

Mark: Youíre a pro.

Larry: I play golf Iím thinking about money.

Mark: Thatís normal.

Larry: Iím fucking a fifteen year old whore Iím thinking about money.

Mark: Twenty-four seven.

Larry: My wifeís sucking my cock whatís she thinking about ?

Mark: Tell me ?

Larry: Money. Thatís whatís happened.

Mark: I know.

Larry: We did that.

Mark: We did.

Larry: We changed human nature.

Mark: Thatís something.

Larry: Forever.

Mark: No going back.

Larry: Sometimes it scares me.

Mark: Responsibility.

Larry: But we did it.

Mark: We were way ahead.

Larry: We are way ahead.

Mark: Always.

Larry: Is money a thing ?

Mark: A thing ?

Larry: It is not, Mark.

Mark: What is it, Larry ?

Larry:  A relationship.

Mark: True.

Larry: Who controls ?

Mark: We do .

Larry: Love and power are enemies, Mark.

Mark: Right.

Larry: Make your choice.

Mark: Got to.

Larry: Why am I rich ?

Mark: You chose power.

Larry: Want me to sort out a whore for you ?

Mark: Sometime. Sure.

Larry: What about Bill ?

Mark: Bill ?

Larry: Whatís his kind of pussy ?

Mark: I donít know him well.

Larry: I like him.

Mark: Yeah ?

Larry: Heís got potential.

Mark: Maybe.

Larry: Not sure ?

Mark: Heís slick.

Larry: He is. I like that.

Mark: Not sure he can stay the course.

Larry: No ?

Mark: Have my doubts.

Larry: Why ?

Mark: Married to a high-flyer.

Larry: Who wants to fuck a loser ?

Mark: Not me.

Larry: He does good work.

Mark: Not bad.

Larry: Big money.

Mark: Not big enough.

Larry: You donít think so ?

Mark: Lazy.

Larry: Yeah ?

Mark: Too many long lunches.

Larry: Itís a perk, Mark.

Mark: Canít hold his booze.

Larry: I didnít have him down as a cissy.

Mark: Three glasses and heís slurring.

Larry: Should drink more.

Mark: Sheís got him leashed.

Larry: No kidding ?

Mark: The big career is hers.

Larry: Whatís she do ?

Mark: Barrister.

Larry: Heís fucking brains.

Mark: Sheís holding him back.

Larry: You think ?

Mark: Kids come along, whoís doing the school run ?

Larry: No.

Mark: I tell you.

Larry: They can pay.

Mark: Not the money, Larry.

Larry: Power ?

Mark:  Wonít let him get ahead.

Larry: The bitch.

Mark: Youíre right.

Larry: We should take him out. Put him straight.

Mark: Iíve tried.

Larry: Heís in love.

Mark: He is.

Larry:  Wanker.

Mark: Sheís got him.

Larry: Heís needs some new pussy.

Mark: No interest.

Larry: Gay ?

Mark: No.

Larry: I thought he was going to the top.

Mark: Me too.

Larry: Iíll talk to him.

Mark: I have.

Larry: Too late ?

Mark: Lost cause.

Larry: Heís young.

Mark: Wrong attitude.

Larry: Tragic.

Mark: Sheíll win.

Larry: He couldíve made billions.

Mark: Heíll make money.

Larry: Any twat can make money in a bank like this. I thought he could hit the heights.

Mark: I may be wrong.

Larry: You know him.

Mark: I do.

Larry: You work closely.

Mark: I see him in action.

Larry: I trust your judgement.

Mark: I expected better.

Larry: Whatís the matter with that bitch ?

Mark: You know the struggle, Larry.

Larry: I know youíve got to win that struggle.

Mark: Sure.

Larry: Whatís she going to make ? Quarter of a million a year ?

Mark: About.

Larry: Chicken feed.

Mark: I know.

Larry: Iím disappointed.

Mark: We did our best.

Larry: We gave him a chance.

Mark: A leg up.

Larry: In a world where people cut your legs off if you turn your back.

Mark: His choice.

Larry: He knows the game.

Mark: Iíve told him.

Larry: Straight ?

Mark: No chaser.

Larry: He doesnít get it ?

Larry: Okay. Got to go.

Mark: Speak soon.

Larry: Eye on the ball, Mark.

Mark: Sure.

Call ends. Lights out.  

 

SCENE FIVE

The restaurant. Night. Mark with his empty plate before him, glass of wine in his hand. Bottle of champagne in bucket. Enter Julia.

 

Julia: Shall I take that away ?

Mark: Thank you. That was delicious.

Julia: Glad you enjoyed it.

Mark: You been working all day ?

Julia: Since eight this morning.

Mark: Long hours.

Julia: Iím dead.

Mark: Like working here ?

Julia: Oh, itís okay.  Boss is a bastard.

Mark: Yeah ?

Julia: Things are tight.

Mark: Seems to do well.

Julia: The others. He owns seventeen.

Mark: I know.

Julia: Thinks heíll have to close some.

Mark: Shame.

Julia: People arenít spending.

Mark: Some people.

Julia: Yeah. We feel it.

Mark: You notice ?

Julia: Lunchtimes mostly. Office workers getting a sandwich instead.

Mark: Sure. But the higher end keep eating.

Julia: I suppose.

Mark: Economic cycle.

Julia: Donít understand that stuff.

Mark: Going to make a career of this ?

Julia: No. Iím a student.

Mark: I had you down as bright. What subject ?

Julia: Fine art.

Mark: Painting ?

Julia: Yeah. I sculpt.

Mark: I like painting.

Julia: Yeah. I can paint.

Mark: What díyou paint ?

Julia: Portraits. Studies of women.

Mark:  Like to see some.

Julia: Okay.

Mark:  Might be interested.

Julia: Fine.

Mark: What prices ?

Julia: My most recent, two, three grand. The older stuff, a grand.

Mark:  Could buy for the office.

Julia: Yeah.

Mark: Got a studio ?

Julia: Work at college.

Mark: Think youíll make it ?

Julia: Make it ?

Mark: Rich artist.

Julia: Competition is deadly.

Mark: Way of the world.

Julia: I guess so. Not for me though.

Mark: No ?

Julia: I donít think so.

Mark: Whatíll you do ?

Julia: Art therapy.

Mark: Whatís that ?

Julia: Disabled, mentally handicapped, mentally ill. Art as a way of helping.

Mark: Fine ambition.

Julia: I like helping .

Mark: Yeah ?

Julia: I do.

Mark: Thatís good. Thatís good.  Got to help yourself too.

Julia: Iíll be fine.

Mark: Money to be made from art.

Julia: Iíll have enough.

Mark: Thatís good. Time you finish ?

Julia: Fifteen minutes Iím done.

Mark: Out on the town ?

Julia: Bed.

Mark: Day off tomorrow ?

Julia: No. Two more.  Nine in a row.

Mark: You work hard.

Julia: For seven pounds an hour.

Mark: Market rate.

Julia: He makes a fortune.

Mark: The boss ?

Julia: The owner.

Mark: Gino ?

Julia: Yeah.

Mark: He runs a good business.

Julia: Heís worth millions.

Mark: I know him.

Julia: Yeah ?

Mark: Know how he got started ?

Julia: How ?

Mark: Came over from Milan with nothing. Borrowed to start a sandwich bar. Worked hard.

Julia: Thatís good.

Mark: Thatís very good.

Julia: Donít begrudge him.

Mark: The system.

Julia: We work hard too.

Mark: You do.

Julia: Seven quid is stingy.

Mark: The market.

Julia: Donít understand that stuff.

Mark: Trick is, right side of the line.

Julia: Yeah ?

Mark: Hereís the line. This side, money. This side, work. Got to be on the money side.

Julia: Guess Iíve had it.

Mark: Marry money.

Julia: Staying single.

Mark: Really ?

Julia: My parentsí marriage was a battleground.

Mark: Doesnít have to be.

Julia: I know.

Mark: How old are you ?

Julia: Twenty-one.

Mark: Nice age.

Julia: What they tell me.

Mark: Your age, I didnít have a care in the world.

Julia: Things have changed.

Mark: For the better ?

Julia: Donít know. Things feelÖoppressive.

Mark: Oppressive ?

Julia: You know. Debt and worry about a job and houses being so expensive.

Mark: Find your opportunities.

Julia: Sure.

Mark: Never miss one.

Julia: Iíll try.

Mark: Youíll do okay.

Julia: Hope so.

Mark: Youíre a hard worker.

Julia: I do my best.

Mark: I can see. Never forget someone is going to manipulate you.

Julia: Iím not so cynical.

Mark: Everybody manipulates everybody to get what they want.

Julia: I try not to.

Mark: Thatís good. But donít forget all people arenít like you.

Julia: I wonít.

Mark: End of the day, weíre all fighting one another for money.

Julia: Iím losing.

Mark: Just starting out. Your age I didnít have money.

Julia: Who does ?

Mark: Easy-going.

Julia: Best way.

Mark: Couldíve been like you.

Julia: A waiter ?

Mark: Arts. Played piano.

Julia: Classical ?

Mark: Jazz.

Julia: Cool.

Mark: Wrote poetry too.

Julia: Poetry inspires me.

Mark: Never made me a penny.

Julia: Play in a group ?

Mark: My own quartet.

Julia: Great.

Mark: Gigging six nights a week for peanuts.

Julia: But the music.

Mark: No good without money.

Julia: Still play ?

Mark: Not for years.

Julia: Write poetry ?

Mark: Never.  Read a lot ?

Julia: All the time.

Mark: Whatís your favourite ?

Julia: James Joyce.

          I heard their young hearts crying

          Loveward above the glancing oar

          And heard the prairie grasses sighing,

          No more, return no more.

         Oh hearts, oh sighing grasses

          Vainly your lovelorn bannerets mourn !

          No more will the wild wind that passes

          Return, no more return.

Mark: You learnt it.

Julia: Isnít it lovely ?

Mark: Beautiful.

Julia: If I could produce something as good as thatÖÖwell.

Mark: Young love.

Julia: He understood.

Mark: Itís just a poem.

Julia: Oh no ! He really feels it.

Mark: You think so ?

Julia: Oh yes !

Mark: Read Ulysses ?

Julia: No.

Mark: Not quite the same.

Julia: No ?

Mark: Lot of stuff about anal sex.

Julia: Can I get you anything else ?

Mark: No. I mean I might have a brandy. In a minute. But youíre tired.

Julia: Still have a few minutes to go.

Mark: Why donít you sit down.

Julia: Against the rules.

Mark: Who cares ?

Julia: Iíd get sacked.

Mark: I asked you.

Julia: Makes no difference. Iíll get you a brandy.

Mark: And a coffee. Filter.

Julia: Okay.

She goes. He gets out his mobile. Frowns. Calls.

Mark: Molly ?

We hear her.

Molly: I forgot something.

Mark: Tough.

Molly: Can you send it me ?

Mark: What is it ?

Molly: My gladiator sandals.

Mark: Your what ?

Molly: You know. With the little heel.

Mark: I do not know.

Molly: In the wardrobe.

Mark: Where you bunged them.

Molly: I do not bung.

Mark: They arenít there.

Molly: Howíd you know ?

Mark: I looked.

Molly: You looked for my gladiator sandals ?

Mark: I did.

Molly: Why ?

Mark: Iím trying transvestism.

Molly: Iíll give you the address.

Mark: Forget it.

Molly: Put them in a strong box.

Mark: Your sandals are gone.

Molly: What díyou mean gone ?

Mark: To the recycling.

Molly: Thatís not funny.

Mark: Iím not laughing.

Molly: They were Russell and Bromley.

Mark: Now theyíre Oxfam.

Molly: They cost me three hundred and seventy pounds.

Mark: Cheapskate.

Molly: Mark, send me my sandals.

Mark: Sandals are all gone, Molly.

Molly: You cruel bastard.

Mark: A pair of sandals.

Molly: I loved those shoes.

Mark: Fall in love with shoes thereís something wrong with your love life.

Molly: You were what was wrong with my love life.

Mark: Get Will to buy a pair.

Molly: They had sentimental value.

Mark: Youíll break my heart.

Molly: I wore those shoes in Rome.

Mark: Rome ?

Molly: Rome.

Mark: We never went to Rome.

Molly: Who said anything about you ?

Mark: You want me to send you shoes you wore to go shagging in Italy ?

Molly: You understand nothing about women.

Mark: I understand one thing.

Molly: What ?

Mark: Theyíre perfidious.

Molly: I am not perfidious.

Mark: You donít even know what it means.

Molly: I am not illiterate.

Mark: What does it mean ?

Molly: Unreliable.

Mark: It does not.

Molly: More or less.

Mark: More or less ?

Molly: More or less it means unreliable.

Mark: It means treacherous or deceitful.

Molly: I am not treacherous or deceitful.

Mark: Fucking Will behind my back for years isnít deceit ?

Molly: I was sparing your feelings.

Mark: Very nice.

Molly: My body is mine.

Mark: Entirely.

Molly: I didnít need your permission to have sex.

Mark: Then that should have been the arrangement.

Molly: Arrangement ?

Mark: Marriage is supposed to be exclusive.

Molly: Thatís such a sexist idea.

Mark: It applies equally to both parties.

Molly: Until the man wants to fuck his secretary.

Mark: I never fucked my secretary.

Molly: You didnít try hard enough.

Mark: I took marriage seriously.

Molly: Not seriously enough to keep your hands off Bron Parkís arse.

Mark: I never touched her arse.

Molly: Well she wanted you to.

Mark: How do you know ?

Molly: A woman has an instinct.

Mark: Paranoia.

Molly: I am not paranoid.

Mark: You imagined my infidelity.

Molly: Youíre a man. I didnít have to imagine.

Mark: I was faithful.

Molly: So youíre pissed off I got in first ?

Mark: I can attract women.

Molly: You couldnít attract mosquitoes.

Mark: Young women.

Molly: If you pay enough.

Mark: Everybody manipulates everybody to get what they want.

Molly: What ?

Mark: Your sandals are gone, Molly.

Enter waiter with brandy and coffee.

Waiter: Sir.

Mark: Julia was getting me that.

Waiter: Her shift has finished, sir.

Molly: Mark ! Who are you talking to ? Listen to me !

Mark: Has she gone ?

Waiter: Sheís getting her coat, sir.

Molly: Send me my sandals you bastard !

Mark (into phone): Fuck you, Molly. (To waiter) Thank you.

Waiter: Youíre welcome, sir.

Exit waiter. Mark puts phone away. Stands. Enter Julia in her coat.

Julia: Goodnight.

Mark: Goodnight, Julia. Julia !

She stops. He approaches her.

Mark: I just wanted to say..if you need a liftÖ.

Julia: No, Iím fine.

Mark: Iíve got a chauffeur. I mean I can call him. I can take you anywhere.

Julia: No, no. They pay for my taxi.

Mark: Julia ! I was thinkingÖ.

Julia: Sorry ?

Mark: I guess itís against the rules too.

Julia: What is ?

Mark: You and me.

Julia: What is it you want to say ?

Mark: Lovely young woman like you. You must get propositioned all the time.

Julia: Is that what you wanted to tell me ?

Mark: No. I could buy you a drink.

Julia: Thatís very nice but Iím exhausted and I have to go home.

Mark: I can take you home.

Julia: I told you. Iím getting a taxi.

Mark: Julia !

He grabs her arm.

Julia: Donít grab me like that !

Mark: Iím not grabbing you.

Julia: Please let go of my arm.

Mark: Julia ! We could go to a club orÖ

Julia: Can you please let me go ! Youíre hurting my arm.

Mark: Iím not hurting you, Julia.

Julia: Let me go !

Mark: Iím a lot older than you but we have things in common.

Julia: Just get off me !

Enter waiter.

Waiter: Are you okay ?

Julia: Can you tell him to get off me ?

Waiter: Can you let go of her please, sir ?

Mark: Donít tell me what to do, sonny.

Waiter: Let her go, please sir, or Iíll have to call the police.

Mark (letting go): The police ?

Waiter: You okay ?

Julia: Fine.

Exit Julia.

Waiter: Do you want to go back to your table, sir ?

Mark: Give me a minute.

He exists and pursues Julia. She enters, running.

Mark: Julia ! Look. Iím sorry for grabbing you like that. Only.

Julia: Only what ?

Mark: Iím not drunk.

Julia: Good.

Mark: Iím trying to be nice to you.

Julia: I donít want you to be nice to me.

Mark: We could get to know one another better. Thereís no reasonÖ

Julia: Iím going home. Goodnight.

As she turns he grabs her arm.

Mark: Julia, let me explain.

Julia: Donít touch me. Let go of my arm !

Mark: We could read poetry together.

Julia: Youíre hurting me.

Mark: Iím not hurting you, Julia. I love you.

Julia: Let go of me !

Mark: You wouldnít have to work. You could sculpt all day.

Julia: Let me go or Iíll scream.

Mark: Scream ? You donít need to scream. Iíll look after you.

Julia: I donít need looking after.

Mark: Yes you do. Yes you do. We all do, Julia. We all need someone to look after us, Julia. You and me, we couldÖ

Julia: Let go of my arm or Iíll cripple you.

Mark: What are you saying, Julia ? I want toÖ.

He tries to stop her pulling away. She kicks him in the groin. He doubles up on the floor. Exit Julia, running.Mark writhes and groans. His phone sounds. He finds it and puts it to his ear.

Molly: What the fuckís the matter with you, Mark ? Mark ? Grow up and send me my sandals. Do you hear me !

He cuts her off. Struggles to his feet. Phone again.

Mark: Hello.

Larry: Mark ?

Mark: What ?

Larry: You okay ?

Mark: Fine.

Larry: Where are you ?

Mark: Where am I ?

Larry: You okay ? Where are you, Mark ? Mark ? You want to met up ? Pussy hunt ? Where are you ?

Mark: Where am I ?

Larry: Yeah. Where are you ?

Mark: IímÖ..IímÖÖ..Iíve got absolutely no idea.

Lights out.

 

End.