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Vol. 4, No. 4

Billy and the Crab Lady
by Holly Phillips

Scene Thirteen

KAT and JOE. Early evening. She's flicking through the paper.

JOE: So . . . Kat . . . can we get together?

KAT: No.

JOE: But I thought . . . I think I love you . . . what am I meant to do?

KAT: It was nice. But I don't want to go out with you. Simple.

JOE: But . . . I spent ages planning . . . to tell you I love you.

KAT: We're mates. Mates is okay, isn't it?

JOE: You can't just go around shagging blokes and then dumping them. It's just not on, I've got feelings you know.

KAT: Joe, I never said--

JOE: I really hate you, you're a fucking cow, you are. You're a man-eating thingybob, you just spit them out when you get bored, and I fucking hate you.

KAT: So, you'll be round tomorrow, then?

JOE: S'pose.

Scene Fourteen

Early evening. KAT, FRED, and BRI are sitting on the sofa. Jumper is sleeping.

BRI: I can't believe they bloody laughed at me, bastards. I know I'm a lanky git but that's why I was there. They can't all have been born looking like Michelin men. Everyone has to start somewhere.

KAT: What possessed you to go to a bodybuilding class anyway?

BRI: Some old bloke on the underground.

FRED: You don't want to do bodybuilding, mate. That's what wankers do.

BRI: My counselor said I need to "develop a positive outlook." I wonder where she studied coz she seems to think, gosh, that'll work. Just tell people to be happier and they won't be depressed. Obviously it's that simple and there's no way it takes three years to learn to say someone's got "issues" rather than problems. Oh yeah, and I don't get pissed and stupid anymore--I have "episodes."

FRED: She didn't study though, mate. She was one of those who just put an ad in the yellow pages. You couldn't afford anyone with qualifications.

KAT: Why'd you see a counselor anyway?

BRI: Fred said I should. Said I was a mess and ought to sort it out.

FRED: Just being a mate. [The phone rings.] Leave it.

KAT: Why?

FRED: Coz it'll be Crab Lady and I don't want to talk to her.

KAT: Might not be, it might be for me.

[KAT goes to answer the phone.]

FRED: I SAID don't answer the PHONE, answer that phone and I'll . . .

KAT: Fine, Fred, I won't answer the phone. I didn't want to answer it anyway.

[Phone stops. A pause.]

FRED: Sorry, Kat. Didn't mean to shout. It just gets to me, see.

KAT: I'll consider forgiving you.

BRI: I'm gonna go again anyway. Even though they laughed. I don't always wanna be a lanky git.

[Phone starts to ring again. FRED looks jumpy. KAT goes to pick up the phone.]

KAT: [to FRED] Trust me. [She answers it.] I'm terribly sorry, he's in bed at the moment, a little exhausted if you know what I mean. God, no wonder you want him back, he's an animal. I don't think I'll be walking properly for a week.

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

[KAT puts the phone down.]

KAT: That should put her off for a bit.

FRED: I am, you know.

KAT: What?

FRED: An animal in bed. I bloody am. If you're lucky I might show you sometime.

KAT: Jesus, shut up, Fred.

FRED: That's why she can't get over me, see. Coz I'm soooo good.

Scene Fifteen

The club. BRI, FRED, and KAT are drinking.

FRED: [to KAT] So we're getting together then?

KAT: No.

FRED: But you said about me being an animal in bed.

KAT: To get rid of what's her name.

FRED: But . . .

BRI: Fred, stop, will you. [A mad dancing JOE comes bounding over.] What's he taken?

JOE: Nothing, mate, nothing. I'm full of the joys of spring.

BRI: [to KAT] Did you tell him you'd sleep with him again?

KAT: No . . . well, I said maybe.

BRI: You didn't.

KAT: He kind of wears you down after a while.

BRI: And I'm the fuckup.

KAT: Joe, what have you taken?

JOE: Just some stuff of Billy's. Got some extra for the weekend.

[He shows them a small package with some tabs in it.]

KAT: Joe, put it away, they'll chuck you out.

JOE: Billy says he's coming over in a sec, for a chat.

FRED: What's he want?

JOE: A chat.

FRED: I don't wanna chat wiv him.

BRI: Why not, Fred?

FRED: Just don't.

KAT: Joe, do you wanna go? I'm bored of this place.

JOE: Can I come to yours?

KAT: Yeah, I guess. [to FRED and BRI] See you later.

JOE: I really do love you, Kat.

[KAT and JOE exit.]

BRI: So you gonna tell me why you don't wanna chat with Psycho Billy?

FRED: I said, mate, I just don't. Forget about it. Shall we go?

BRI: I haven't finished my pint.

[Pause.]

FRED: What he don't know won't hurt him.

BRI: And what doesn't he know?

[Pause.]

FRED: All right. I'll tell ya a little story. But you gotta keep it stum right. Got it? [Beat.] The money for the deposit, on the house. I din't get it off me mum, like I said I did. I got it somewhere else. Used me initiative, saw an opportunity and grabbed it, if ya know what I'm saying.

BRI: It was you? You nicked Psycho Billy's records?

FRED: Now, I wouldn't say nicked. Borrowed. That's the word I'd use.

BRI: Borrowed???

FRED: Just haven't got around to giving 'em back yet.

BRI: You sold them?

FRED: Well, yeah.

BRI: So how are you gonna give them back if you sold them?

FRED: I did it for you, mate, for us. Did it so we got the house. That was before I got promoted, see. I did it as a gesture of friendship. See, that's the kind of mate ya got in me. You're a lucky man, Bri.

BRI: Fred, have you heard what he did to the last bloke who pissed him off?

FRED: See. I tell you something and you get yourself all wound up about it.

BRI: The bloke was in the hospital for a month.

FRED: But he doesn't know, does he? And he in't gonna know. End of story.

BRI: Fucking insane.

FRED: Now, like I said. I did it for you, mate.

Scene Sixteen

Sunday morning. The house. FRED gets up. On the sofa is JOE's coat. FRED opens his cigarette packet. It's empty. He picks up JOE's coat.

FRED: Got any ciggies for Fred? [He pulls out a packet of ciggies and the package containing JOE's drugs. He lights one of JOE's ciggies, smiles to himself, and puts the tabs in an old teapot. Puts the cigs back and sits. JOE enters.] Morning.

[JOE puts his coat on, takes the cigs out and lights one, then puts his hand back in the pocket.]

JOE: Bollocks.

FRED: What's the prob, mate?

JOE: My tabs, they were in here. You seen 'em Fred, I can't find them. You seen them?

FRED: Nah, mate, sorry. Shouldn't have got so fucked, mate. Ya lose things when ya fucked.

JOE: [looking around] I had them, in me pocket.

FRED: Ya know what you should do.

JOE: What?

FRED: You should retrace ya steps. From last night. Walk the way you came back here. You'll find them that way.

JOE: You reckon?

FRED: Yeah.

JOE: But if I dropped outside, someone'll have 'em by now. Someone will be dead chuffed.

FRED: Only one way to find out.

JOE: I'd better go look. Will you tell Kat where I've gone?

FRED: 'Course. [Beat.] And remember to look really carefully, they might've fallen down a drain or something.

[JOE exits. FRED opens a can of lager.]

Scene Seventeen

FRED is in a good mood, drinking, listening to "Never Can Say Goodbye." There's a knock on the door. He opens it.

FRED: Don't want to talk to you.

MEL: Fred, come on. You won't answer my calls.

FRED: That's coz I don't want to talk to you. Crab Lady.

MEL: Who was the girl? On the phone. Are you seeing her?

FRED: I will be. She says I'm an animal in bed.

MEL: So you are sleeping with her?

FRED: Might be. It's got nothing to do with you anymore, sweetheart, has it?

MEL: How much have you drunk?

FRED: She doesn't know it yet but she wants me.

MEL: I want you.

FRED: You're too late, you blew it. I don't want you anymore, you're fat.

MEL: Don't be like that.

FRED: You are. Fat and ugly.

MEL: Okay, I'm too fat and ugly for you. I'll go.

FRED: Sorry, Mel.

MEL: Is it coz I hurt you, that you keep saying stuff like that?

FRED: Yeah. Sorry.

MEL: So I'm not really fat?

FRED: No . . . you're not fat.

MEL: Do you mind if I give you a hug goodbye?

FRED: S'pose you can.

[MEL walks over and embraces FRED. They stay still holding each other for a moment. She lifts her head and kisses his neck, he doesn't move away. Then she kisses his lips. He kisses her back for a moment, then he lifts his hand back and thumps her across the face. She falls.]

FRED: No. Piss off. You gave me crabs, you won't stop phoning. Leave me alone. [She stands up.] Just fuck off, Crab Lady. Fuck off from me.

MEL: You shouldn't have hit me Fred, you hurt me.

FRED: You hurt me first.

MEL: Not like that.

FRED: So . . .

MEL: So I'll tell Billy who nicked his record collection. I could tell him where you drink, where you work, where you live.

FRED: Mel, don't. I din't mean to, you just, you got to me and--

MEL: Fuck off, Fred. Fuck off forever.

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