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Vol. 4, No. 4

Billy and the Crab Lady
by Holly Phillips

Scene Eighteen

FRED is on his own. He's got a knife on him. He is practicing using it, imagining someone is there. He's not very good. BRI arrives home. He quickly puts the knife away.

BRI: All right. Good day?

FRED: Yeah, mate, I had a great day.

BRI: Fancy popping out? I could do with a beer.

FRED: Have one here, saves money, Bri. There's loads in the fridge.

BRI: It's Sunday night--you don't have a beer at home on a Sunday night. What would we do? Watch Heartbeat?

FRED: That's a good program, mate. It's got all countryside and that Greengrass bloke and friendly coppers.

BRI: Fred, can we just go to the pub?

FRED: Ya always spending me money, Bri. Just piss off. [BRI exits. Blackout. Spotlight on FRED outside KAT's door.] Here kitty-cat-cat. Come on, little kitty. Come and have a cuddle, come on, kitty.

KAT'S VOICE: Fred, what are you doing?

FRED: I wanted to talk to Jumper.

KAT: He's asleep, so was I.

FRED: Can I come in and talk to Jumper?

KAT: Do you know what time it is?

FRED: But I just want to . . . Kat, please, I'm lonely. I can't sleep.

KAT: Fuck off.

FRED: But, but can I just . . . come in for a sec? [Pause.] I'll just sit here, Kat, while you think about it. I'll just wait here.

Scene Nineteen

Morning. KAT gets a Red Bull out of the fridge. BRI enters. She passes him a can. FRED enters. He's not dressed for work.

BRI: Won't you be late?

FRED: I'm not going. They'll have to learn to cope without me for a bit.

KAT: Something wrong?

FRED: No. Stay and have a drink with me.

KAT: I can't. I'd better get going.

FRED: Bri, stay and have a drink with me .

BRI: Sorry, Fred, gotta go.

[BRI and KAT exit. FRED picks up the phone, dials.]

FRED: Elaine, it's me. Sorry 'bout yesterday. Listen, I can't come to work again. I'm dying all right. So listen, meetings. You sort that I trust ya, just don't fuck it up . . . was a dodgy curry, me arse is not pretty, know what I'm saying . . . [Pause.] Look, I'll be back in the office when me arse is safer, see. He won't sack me, will he? I'm the best he's got. [Pause.] Listen, has anyone been asking for me? Nah, not from the office, anyone else? No one? You're sure? Nah, nothing's up, I in't in trouble. I've got to go.

[FRED puts the phone down and opens a can of lager. He thinks he hears something. He lies down on the floor and crawls over to the window. He peers out, furtively, then draws the curtain in a way only FRED would describe as subtle. He crawls along the floor, then sits under the table. Blackout.]

Scene Twenty

The pub. BILLY walks over with pints for himself and JOE. He sits.

BILLY: Right, so there I was at the club, having a little drink, having a little chat. Quite a happy chappy doing my thing, all smiles on a Saturday. And this geezer [Beat.] I say geezer but that's the wrong use of word coz he was not, most defiantly not, a geezer. He was more of a pathetic little man. [Beat.] And this pathetic little man, obviously in the mood to piss on my chips, he comes over, little bit tanked, little bit wasted, thinks he's gonna be a clever chappy. Points at my shoes. Pointing--you know how that fluffs my feathers, Joe. So he's pointing at my shoes. And he says, "you're wearing spakka shoes." Well, as you can imagine my happy-chappy-smiles-on-a-Saturday mood was gone. It was walking the walk right out of the club. So I nut the guy and he falls like a girl in a dress, a pink dress at that, and I was gonna kick him but I didn't want to fuck with my shoes. So I pick him up and nut him again. [Beat.] Then, and this came as a bit of a shock, Joe, experienced though I am. The pathetic little man, he starts crying for his mother. He's on the floor, I'm standing tall, and he's crying for his mother.

JOE: What did you do?

BILLY: Made on my matey way. Only thing I could do under the circumstances. Left the geezer to his tears an' that.

[Pause.]

JOE: What am I gonna do about Kat, Billy?

BILLY: She this bird you're into?

JOE: Yeah. She keeps giving me the brush-off and, I mean she's beautiful, Billy. Really beautiful.

BILLY: Now, that may be so, and I'm sure it is, mate. But if she's using you for your body you gotta learn to say no. That's hard to do, I'm aware of that. But it's in your best interests to move on.

JOE: S'pose you're right.

BILLY: I am right. Got to move on with your life.

JOE: Yeah. I'm gonna do that, move on with me life. After I try just one more time. Then I'll do it. [Beat.] Two more times. Give her two more chances. [Beat.] But then I always think three's a good number, don't you, Billy.

Scene Twenty-one

Night. KAT gets up, walks downstairs. BRI is on the sofa on his GameBoy. He puts it down when she enters.

KAT: You're awake too.

BRI: Yeah.

KAT: I couldn't sleep. [Beat.] Fred was outside my door again.

BRI: Asking to come in?

KAT: Something about being scared. [Beat.] Wish he wouldn't do it, he's really freaking me out. [Pause.] Bri . . . can I have a hug?

BRI: Yeah, sure, 'course you can.

[BRI puts his arm awkwardly round KAT. She curls up and leans against him. A slight pause.]

BRI: Well, urmm. This is nice. [She moves closer.] Yeah, it's great, you know to cuddle, and friends can do that, can't they? [talking quickly, nervously] Hug each other, like friends, but, but . . . It's a bit hard you know. A bit distracting. Coz you're my friend, but, well, you're pretty gorgeous and what if I get a hard-on? Physical contact, not something I've had in a while. And I know you just want a hug and I know nothing's gonna happen and that's fine. Oh fuck, now I am getting a hard-on.

KAT: Bri, is this your way of making a pass at me?

BRI: No, well, we're friends, aren't we?

KAT: Friends.

BRI: Besides you wouldn't fancy someone like me, that's stupid.

KAT: I wouldn't?

BRI: I'm just trying to say that I respect you and I'm--

KAT: Oh, for fuck's sake.

[She jumps on him and kisses him. Lights fade.]

Scene Twenty-two

Morning. BRI, FRED, and KAT onstage. Usual morning stuff. BRI and KAT are close, affectionate.

FRED: Is there something going on I should know about?

KAT: No.

FRED: I mean. Well, it's disgusting.

BRI: What are you on, mate?

FRED: It's dirty. I'm not having stuff like that going on under my roof, show some respect.

KAT: You need help.

FRED: Just so you know my views on the matter.

BRI: I'm worried about you.

FRED: Moi!! You've got nothing to worry about there, mate. I'm sussed, sorted, peachy. Worry about yourself and that fucked-up head of yours. No offense, mate, but Kat, you could do a lot better for yourself.

KAT: I'm going to the tube.

BRI: Me too.

FRED: Don't go yet.

KAT: I'll be late.

[BRI and KAT exit.]

FRED: But . . . I'm lonely and Billy's out there. [He paces about a bit. Takes the lid off the teapot and takes out the bag with the drugs in it.] Can't let them go to waste, now can I.

[He takes them.]

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