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Vol. 4, No. 4

Billy and the Crab Lady
by Holly Phillips

Scene Five

FRED and KAT enter. It's late and they've been drinking. They're giggling and trying to be quiet.

KAT: Shushsshh.

FRED: Giz a snog.

KAT: Where's Bri?

FRED: Land of nod, don't worry 'bout him. Giz a snog.

KAT: Fred--

[He pulls her to him and they start kissing. He pulls her onto the sofa.]

FRED: I hope you're not looking for commitment or anything, coz, like, I'm no good at that commitment thing. Can't keep it in me trousers, if you know what I mean.

KAT: Fred what the--

FRED: It's just, like, girls, they just fall for me. You know, everything's cool and then there's this marriage stuff and I'm like, no way, and then there's tears and suicidal phone calls. I just want you to be warned, in advance, like, coz I'm no good like that. Don't go falling for me coz it won't be pretty.

KAT: Jesus, I've drunk too much.

FRED: Sure I can find something to perk you up.

KAT: Seriously, I feel sick.

FRED: Now we've got the commitment thing sorted I'll let you sample the Fred "lurrvvve" machine.

KAT: Fred, shut up. I can't believe I snogged you. Smacks of desperation.

[He starts to get his cock out.]

KAT: Fred, you're rank. What you doing?

[He starts to play with it, acting as though she's bound to be impressed.]

KAT: Oh, Jesus. This is too much.

[She bolts offstage with her hands over her mouth. FRED puts it away and looks rather confused. He then lights a ciggy and shrugs.]

Scene Six

BRI and FRED are in the pub, nursing pints, smoking.

FRED: Thing is, mate, you haven't sold out. You've stuck to your principles. I mean, you're skint and obviously the most unlucky bloke ever when it comes to women, but you've made a, like,

. . . moral decision. Respect due, mate, that's pretty cool. I mean you could have done media sales like me for a decent amount of cash but you decided, like . . . money's not important.

BRI: Are you taking the piss?

FRED: Nah, mate, nah. You know I respect you, mate, and if you're cool with sponging off me the whole time and never getting a shag, that's great. Beautiful.

BRI: I'm gonna sort myself out, earn more cash. Get a better job.

FRED: You're all right. Don't worry about it. I like paying for you. That's what the great and the good are here for, to look after the little people.

BRI: I told my counselor about you today, she said I should try and learn from you, to be more confident.

FRED: You've got principles, mate. I respect that.

BRI: She says I've got issues.

FRED: See, that's the problem with the world. That's why it's fucked up. Here you are, plodding along, getting free beer, with ya principles and she says you've got issues. I mean what is that supposed to mean?

BRI: It means no one wants to shag me.

FRED: Yeah, well, ya need to change ya tactics, mate. You never look at a woman and go "come and get it." You sort of go, "well I'm here in the corner if you want to come and say hi, but, I mean, you don't have to and I wouldn't want to put you out." Women don't want that anymore. They're bored of all this new-man wimpy shit. They don't want some sap too freaked to make a move. I mean Kat, she's a sorted bird. If she's in the mood she'll go for it.

BRI: What do you know?

FRED: Call it male intuition.

BRI: Have you and her?

FRED: Just the once, mate. I mean what could I say to the woman, all Wonderbra'd up and everything.

BRI: [whining] But I thought she liked me.

Scene Seven

2 a.m. BRI sits on the sofa, stroking Jumper and sniffing a little. KAT enters in her pajamas, looking sleepy. She sits next to him on the sofa.

KAT: So, how's Bri?

BRI: Inefficient, useless--

KAT: Don't want to go breaking the mold.

BRI: I've exceeded myself.

[Pause.]

KAT: What is it? Tell me . . .

BRI: I didn't think . . . want. [Beat.] What the fuck am I saying?

KAT: Very little.

BRI: I was on the tube, you know, getting home on the tube, Piccadilly line. Opposite me was this old bloke, looked like a bit of a drinker. [Pause.] We stopped. Covent Garden. There was only me and him on the tube. Until Covent Garden. A girl got on, sat down. He moved, this old bloke, next to her. He put his hand on her leg, quite high up. [Pause. KAT lights a ciggy.] She was calm, she moved his hand. There was no one else there. Just me. And she gave me a look, a look that said do something. Then she stood, waiting for the train to stop. The old bloke, he was sharp, he knew I was no knight in shining armor. He leaned over to where she was standing and shoved his hand right up her skirt. It was quick. He was practiced you could tell. We pulled into Leicester Square, she got off, looked at me as she got off, I could see there were tears in her eyes. Could see she was about to cry. [Pause.] I should have done something, Kat.

KAT: But you never do anything.

BRI: No.

KAT: No one does. Look at the floor and pretend it's not happening, that's the thing.

BRI: Useless, pointless, inefficient--

KAT: Stop feeling sorry for yourself and start feeling sorry for that girl who ended up with the tosser's hand up her skirt.

[KAT gets up and walks off.]

Scene Eight

FRED is on the cordless phone, walking round the stage, and BRI is on GameBoy. KAT enters home from work.

FRED: Look, don't get upset, sweetheart. Be fair . . . yeah, well, you were out of order first. What did you expect me to do?

BRI: [to KAT] Still hate me?

KAT: Yeah, Bri. I really hate you. You're such a git.

BRI: I am.

KAT: 'Course I don't hate you.

BRI: But I should have done something?

KAT: Maybe. [Pause.] Who's he talking to?

BRI: His ex.

KAT: What, one of the many? I thought that was bullshit.

BRI: It is. But there is one ex, Mel. Poor cow won't give up.

KAT: How long were they together?

BRI: 'Bout a year.

KAT: And he makes out he's such a tart.

BRI: It was pretty serious. It's one of the reasons we needed you to move in. She used to pay rent, she was here so much of the time.

FRED: Will you two fuck up? I'm trying to have a conversation here.

BRI and KAT: [only slightly quieter] Sorry.

KAT: So, why'd they split?

BRI: She shagged someone else.

KAT: And he found out?

BRI: She told him.

KAT: Durrr.

BRI: Well, she had to. She gave him crabs.

KAT: Jesus, fuck.

BRI: He wasn't happy.

KAT: Urrr, crabs. Thank God I didn't sleep with him.

BRI: He said you did.

KAT: What?

BRI: Shag him.

KAT: God, no.

FRED: I SAID, fuck UP.

BRI and KAT: Sorry.

[BRI goes back to his GameBoy.]

FRED: You've got to stop phoning, it doesn't make any difference. It's not that, I just don't wanna know. [Pause.] Look, to be honest, since we've split you've let yourself go to pot. You're fat, your clothes are shit, your makeup keeps running down ya face coz you're crying all the time. I've got standards, Mel.

MEL'S VOICE: [on the other end of the phone] Wanker.

[FRED puts the phone down.]

KAT: Was that necessary?

[FRED shrugs. KAT turns away from him.]

FRED: [to KAT] I'm not a cunt, she just won't leave it. I don't want you to think I'm a cunt, and she does look like shit nowadays. I mean, what you gonna do? [Beat.] She gave me crabs.

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