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Vol. 4, No. 4

Billy and the Crab Lady
by Holly Phillips

Scene Nine

Night, in a club. Loud, tacky disco music is playing. Lights spinning. KAT, BRI, and FRED are leaning against the bar, drinking. To their left is a cute-looking lad, standing on his own. Attempting to dance.

FRED: Now, see. This is what I mean. Girls prowling, look at them, it's sad, all of them on a husband-kick.

KAT: Arse, I don't see any girls prowling. You, Fred, want commitment but you don't want to admit it, so you reverse the roles. Pretend it's the women chasing you when it's clearly the other way round.

FRED: Dunno what ya mean, Kat.

KAT: C'mon Fred, you were with someone for a year. That doesn't strike me as commitment-phobic.

BRI: With me they're always heading sharpish for the door.

KAT: I need a shag. [BRI and FRED both look expectant.] It's been ages. I'm even starting to look at Jumper in a funny way. [Beat.] What do ya think of him? He looks okay, doesn't he? Maybe I'll take him home.

[BRI and FRED both slump miserably.]

FRED: Looks like a twat, if you ask me. You should be looking a little closer to home, if you know what I'm saying.

KAT: I quite like him. Promise I won't make too much noise.

[KAT walks over to JOE. Talks for about a second, then grabs him and snogs him.]

FRED: I can't believe she did that. She'll get a reputation.

BRI: If I did that I'd get done for sexual assault.

FRED: She's out of order.

BRI: She's gorgeous.

[KAT takes JOE's hand and leads him offstage.]

FRED: I hope this is a one-off, like, coz I don't want people thinking we run a brothel.

BRI: [upset] Fuck it.

FRED: I mean, what's happening to the world? It's sick.

Scene Ten

2 a.m. FRED is sitting on the sofa. The phone is ringing and ringing. KAT and JOE can be heard shagging. FRED paces, looking at the phone.

FRED: Shut up, shut right up.

[More ringing and shagging.]

FRED: I said, will you FUCKING SHUT UP.

[We hear KAT and JOE come, at the same time the phone stops. BRI enters.]

BRI: Kat sounded happy.

FRED: Three nights now, them two. It's rank, mate.

BRI: Don't get what she sees in him.

FRED: Nah, he's an ugly-looking fucker.

BRI: Makes a weird noise when he comes an' all.

Scene Eleven

Evening. FRED, BRI, KAT, and JOE are in the pub, drinking.

FRED: Thing is, right, if you, like, focus, you can achieve anything. I mean, if I really wanted to, I could, like, become a spaceman and live on the moon. If I really wanted to, that is.

KAT: No, you couldn't.

BRI: The word is astronaut.

FRED: I could, if I really wanted to, that's the thing, see. I've always quite fancied being a spaceman as long as there was someone to shag up there and Sky Sports for the football.

JOE: My dealer wants to be a DJ.

KAT: That's fascinating.

JOE: He did, my dealer. Want to be a DJ. But then his records got nicked.

FRED: Listen, mate, no one's interested.

JOE: But, he was really focused. Before his records got nicked.

FRED: What I'm saying is--

JOE: Billy told me it was the only thing he wanted, to be a DJ.

BRI: Billy? Psycho Billy?

JOE: Yeah. [Beat.]You know him?

BRI: Yeah.

FRED: What I'm saying is, you need motivation. That's the main ingredient--

BRI: Fred, you know Psycho Billy, friends with Mel.

FRED: So?

BRI: Did you know about his record collection?

FRED: No. Why? How the fuck would I know?

JOE: They were worth tons.

KAT: Why's he Psycho Billy?

BRI: He put a few people in the hospital.

KAT: What for?

BRI: [Shrugs.] They annoyed him.

FRED: Look, I don't see what's so interesting about Psycho Billy and his poxy records anyway.

JOE: Kat, can we talk?

FRED: Who wants to be a DJ anyway? Stupid thing to want to be.

BRI: Thought you wanted to be a astronaut.

JOE: Kat, can we? Please.

KAT: You can walk me home.

[JOE and KAT exit.]

FRED: That boy needs to change his tactics. Sharp, like. Before the whole world dumps on 'im. [Pause.] Fancy another?

BRI: Nah.

FRED: Go on, mate, have another. On me.

Scene Twelve

FRED is sitting on the sofa. MEL is standing next to the sofa. She's pretty and simply dressed.

MEL: Mum phoned last night. You should have heard her. "I told you about him, Melanie, I said it wouldn't last. Why didn't you marry that nice Robert? His dad's got a farm, six hundred acres." She just kept going on. Took me ages to get rid of her. Remember when we went to stay, she made you pluck that turkey? The look on your face.

FRED: We're not getting back together, Mel.

MEL: Couldn't you forgive me?

FRED: You gave me crabs.

MEL: I didn't mean to.

FRED: You screwed someone else.

MEL: I didn't mean that either.

FRED: You still did it.

MEL: Only coz you were so drunk that night, coz you were being such a git, only coz you said you were gonna find yourself a better model. And I was drunk too, drunk and upset. I've never done anything like that before, you know that. I'll never do anything like that again.

FRED: I don't care. It doesn't bother me. That's the past and I'm in the present.

MEL: Life's quiet without you.

FRED: Go out wiv ya mates.

MEL: Do you still like me?

FRED: You gave me crabs.

MEL: I'd better go.

FRED: Yeah, coz I got things to do, see.

[MEL starts to leave.]

MEL: I'll phone. Maybe when you're not so mad at me you'll . . . bye, Fred.

FRED: Don't phone, coz I don't need you anymore, see, I don't need any Crab Lady.

[She goes.]

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