The New Generation of Classic Short Stories

Vol. 4, No. 4

Billy and the Crab Lady

by Holly Phillips

Scene One

Living room. Loud music is playing. FRED sits on the sofa, beer can in hand. There is a suitcase on the floor. BRI enters.

BRI: [shouting] Whose suitcase is this?

FRED: What?

BRI: Whose suitcase is--

FRED: Can't hear you, mate.

BRI: I wanted to know-- [Beat.] Will you turn the music off?

FRED: Just a mouth opening and closing, that's all I'm getting--

BRI: Well, if you turned the music off.

[Music stops abruptly.]

FRED: Thought I'd turn the music off. So I can hear you, like.

BRI: Great, thanks. I don't see why you need to inflict your--

FRED: You're such an old lady, Bri.

BRI: Whose suitcase is this?

FRED: Oh, that . . . That's Kat's.

BRI: What the--

FRED: Kat, our new housemate.

BRI: Our new? Fred, could you--

FRED: You said we need a new housemate, so I got us a new housemate. VoilĂ .

BRI: What'd you do, pick one up at Safeway?

FRED: I placed an advertisement in the newspaper. I interviewed potential candidates. I chose a suitable housemate slash tenant kind of thing, procured a deposit--shall I continue?

BRI: So where did you really find her?

FRED: I said--

BRI: Fred where?

FRED: Camden.

BRI: Camden. Wearing a cardboard necklace claiming she was hungry and homeless and you thought, out of the goodness of your heart, that you'd help.

FRED: I'm not soft . . . it was in the World's End if you have to know every bastard detail.

BRI: That's a good omen.

FRED: I was having a DRINK after WORK.

BRI: It didn't occur that I might want to meet the person I'm going to be living with?

FRED: She's fit mate, well fit. I gave her a tenner off per week.

BRI: Fred, Jesus. I can't afford to pay more rent just coz you want some bird to have the room.

FRED: Don't worry, mate, I'll sort it. I mean she's got this crappy job and she can't afford to pay any more.

BRI: I've got a crappy job. [He notices a white cat on the sofa.] And what the fuck is that?

FRED: I was getting to that.

BRI: Well, what--

FRED: Now Bri, remember biology . . . when you were studying mammals--

BRI: I know it's a bloody cat, but what is it doing on our sofa?

FRED: Having a little kip. It's probably a bit tired after the move an' all.

BRI: I'm allergic to cats, Fred.

FRED: Well, see, that's the thing I was about to tell you. This here is a special nonallergic cat. See, I said to our new housemate slash tenant slash potential shag-type person. I said, now you can't bring a cat into this house as Bri, poor soul, is allergic, and she said to me--

BRI: Fuck up, Fred.

FRED: You can't kick it out, look at it. Well cute.

BRI: I get a rash, I sneeze, me eyes go green. It's nasty.

FRED: It's not her fault. You see when she was living in this bedsit, right, one evening, curled up in bed, she heard this "mew, mew, mew." And right--

BRI: I don't care how she got the thing. I'm still allergic.

FRED: It's psychological anyhow, this allergy thing.

BRI: You didn't even ask me. You're such a cunt. We should discuss these things.

FRED: Honestly, mate, she's well fit.

Scene Two

KAT sits in the middle of the sofa, on one side of her is BRI, on the other, FRED.

BRI: So how long have you been there for?

[He sneezes.]

KAT: Only a month. I just make tea and stuff but it's better than tele-sales.

BRI: Yeah. I mean a film company is a film company even if you're just making tea. I thought you could only get those jobs through nepotism.

KAT: Well, I think shagging the boss's son was more beneficial career-wise than my film degree if that's what you mean.

FRED: See, Bri, you've got to go for stuff in your life. Make your decision and go for it. Do whatever it takes. You could learn something from this girl.

KAT: I wouldn't recommend it. He was no great shakes.

[BRI sneezes again.]

BRI: No one wants to shag me.

FRED: Is your room all right, nice an' that?

KAT: Fine . . . Bri, are you sure you're okay about Jumper? I didn't know you were allergic. Fred never--

BRI: It's fine. Totally fine.

[He tries to suppress another sneeze. Makes a weird snorting noise instead.]

BRI: It's a cold, that's all--

FRED: Coz my room is really spacious and if you ever, you know--

BRI: I think it's only certain cats I'm allergic to.

KAT: Good, I don't want to make you ill.

FRED: I've got an excellent stereo, Denon. If you want to listen to anything on it--

BRI: So he wasn't any good, then?

KAT: Who?

BRI: The boss's son, in bed?

KAT: Formulaic, to put it mildly.

FRED: Got me bed from Harrods, coz, when you're earning as much as me--

KAT: Must be hard.

FRED: What?

KAT: Having all that money and not knowing what to spend it on. Must be quite traumatic for you.

FRED: It is. It really is.

BRI: There should be a help line or something.

FRED: I like to spend it on people around me. I mean, it's no good having it if you can't help out the less fortunate.

KAT: So true. [Beat.] Anyway a pile of boxes and suitcases are awaiting me upstairs.

FRED: Have another beer first.

BRI: Unpacking can wait.

FRED: Cup of tea. Set you up nicely.

KAT: Nah, got to get it done.

[She exits. BRI and FRED look a little deserted.]

FRED: Lovely girl.

BRI: She's got a really nice personality.

FRED: You're such a sap, mate.

Scene Three

BRI sits at one end of the sofa, KAT at the other. FRED is passed out on the floor. There are beer cans around and they have been drinking.

BRI: I only met you yesterday.

KAT: So, perfect way to get to know each other.

BRI: I think if I tell you too much about myself I'll sound like a twat.

KAT: That's the point, find out each other's fuckups now so we'll be prepared later on. Did it in my first student house.

BRI: Did it work? Did you all feel "bonded"?

KAT: Well, Mike moved out once he realized Steve was gay and then Steve moved out as he'd only moved in to get a shag out of Mike, but other than that . . . [Beat.] Oh, there was the Sally and Tina thing but we don't talk about that.

BRI: So, basically, it was a complete disaster.

KAT: Go on . . .

BRI: No.

KAT: I'll go first.

BRI: Go on, then.

KAT: Urmmm, always jump into bed with people I shouldn't. Get bored easily. My friends think I have a male attitude to sex. Plan to stop jumping into bed with people I shouldn't, with particular reference to cocky little tossers who think they've done me a favor. [Beat.] Since graduating I've done bar work, tele-sales, waitressing. Had a job as a gardener once but was very bad. Got sacked when I blew up the lawn mower. It was a ciggy-petrol kinda thing. [Beat.] Plan to make new job big success. Want to become big film producer and make good films coz shit films are shit. Want to ban anything starring Kevin Costner, rid the world of films like Stepmom and disembowel Gwyneth Paltrow on account of her irritating me. [Beat.] Your turn.

BRI: Is that it?

KAT: It's enough.

BRI: Oh.

KAT: Disappointed?

BRI: Well . . .

KAT: Your turn.

BRI: Right, so I'm useless. Useless, pointless, inefficient, inarticulate, uncommunicative, undesirable. I'm a nonachiever, a no-hoper, a washed-out, used-up, sad excuse. I'm a bad night out, a two-second shag, a warm lager, I think you're getting the picture. [Beat.] But you know, I'm used to it that way. I've become quite comfortable existing on the edge of things. And I'm good at it. I have a particular talent for spending hours on end doing nothing and getting nowhere. It isn't easy you know, staying still. Most people progress automatically. But not me, I'm progressing nowhere, and I'm good at it.

KAT: But . . . there must be something you want? Something you want so much it virtually paralyzes you when you think about it. There has to be.

BRI: Maybe.

KAT: Tell.

BRI: I don't know yet. I don't know how badly I want it yet.

KAT: So, tell me anyway.

BRI: Leave a guy with a little dignity.

Scene Four

Morning. BRI, KAT, and FRED are drinking cans of Red Bull (a caffeinated energy drink).

KAT: So you've known each other how long?

BRI: Seems like forever.

FRED: He was the geeky one at uni, had to take him under me wing.

KAT: You're just so giving, Fred.

FRED: I know, but what ya gonna do, leave the poor chap to spend his weekends in the bastard library?

BRI: I'd read all the books.

KAT: Jesus, someone who actually studied for his degree.

BRI: That's how we became mates. Fred hadn't read a word and couldn't be arsed to. He figured if he brought me a beer I'd tell him what he needed to know. He was right; I'm easily brought. If I'd played harder to get I might've got some decent drugs out of the arrangement.

FRED: Well, books don't get you anywhere. It's life experience, that's what counts. The school of life, that's where I learnt what I needed to know.

KAT: It shows.

FRED: Man of the world, me.

KAT: [to BRI] Does he always talk like this?

BRI: Can't help himself.

FRED: Your problem, Bri, is ya insecurity, that's the thing. And ya have to take it out on me. Sad really. You know, I respect Bri, I do--

BRI: It's just that you think I'm a skint loser who wastes his time reading books.

FRED: Well, yeah, but like, opposites attract.

BRI: Fuck up, Fred.

FRED: [to KAT] He gets like this. [to BRI] Don't ya?

KAT: So, is it the sexual chemistry between you that causes all this bickering?

FRED: I told you you couldn't shag me arse, Bri, LEARN to LIVE with it.

BRI: Fred thinks everybody wants to sleep with him.

KAT: Oh, one of them.

FRED: What?

KAT: Nothing, Fred. Don't you worry your pretty head.

FRED: Well, you haven't experienced the Fred "lurrvvve" machine.

BRI: How is the Fred "love" machine now? Back in good health?

FRED: Fucking tops, mate. All sorted out. All ready to hit the road and distribute some pleasure.

KAT: What's all sorted out?

BRI: Long story.

KAT: Better tell me later. I'll be late for work.

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.


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.

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.


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.]

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.


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

BRI: And what doesn't he know?


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.

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.


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.]

Scene Twenty-three

FRED walks down from KAT's room, holding a pair of her underpants. He is totally off his tree. Jumper is watching him. He's dancing around holding the pants to his nose. He then puts the underpants on his head and starts talking to Jumper.

FRED: Now, Jumper, the thing is see, the thing is . . . I took these tabs and they're very nice. I know she wants me really, just playing hard to get. She's up for it I'm tellin' ya. Will you stop bloody staring at me? [Pause.] She wants me, she's just denying herself the pleasures in life, the pleasures of "moi." Kat wants to be with ME. That's funny, that is, that she's called Kat and you're a cat, that's funny. [Beat.] Well, I think it's funny. [Pause.] Hear that . . . that is the sound of a phone not ringing. Nice in't it. Sorted it, see. Fred sorted it, shut her up. Just Billy to sort now and I reckon he's out there. Just poxy records. He's been looking for me at work but he won't find me coz I've been hiding behind the sofa. Stop staring at me, cat. What the fuck do you know about it anyway, do you work for Billy or something? [Pause. He pulls a very nasty-looking knife out of his back pocket.] I had to get this see, for protection. I had to get it coz he wants to get me and he might see me if I go out. I reckon he's got spies. Are you a spy, Jumper, a spy cat? That's why you're staring, coz you're a fucking spy. [He stares intently at Jumper. He is very freaked.] Was Billy that put you here, wasn't it? It was fucking Billy. I'll have to sort it . . . stop staring or I'll have to sort you, Jumper. Got to protect myself . . . You're freaking me out. You're freaking . . . me . . . out. [He falls to his knees, lifts the knife up, then brings it down on Jumper's neck. It slices Jumper's head right off. FRED stares, unsure of what he has done. Then he picks up Jumper and his head and starts crying.] I'm sorry, mate. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt ya. You're all right though, aren't ya? You're all right, giz a little meow, go on. I didn't mean to hurt ya.

[He tries to put Jumper's head back on. BRI enters.]

BRI: Jesus, what . . . you've completely . . . you've . . . Jesus . . . fuck . . . shit. What the fuck? Fred.

FRED: It's all right, Jumper, it's all right. I'm just gonna put you back together again. I didn't mean it. I thought you worked for Billy. Bri, Bri, mate, we're gonna sort it, aren't we, Bri, it'll be sussed.

BRI: Jumper, shit. How? You fucking fuck-head Fred. What have you taken?

FRED: I dunno but you look purple Bri. Purple Bri. Giz a meow, Jumper. Go on. Giz a little meow.

BRI: Fuck. Acid. The cat's head.

FRED: I just thought you were a spy cat. I didn't mean.

BRI: You are seriously disturbed.

FRED: 'Course I am, I'm tripping. The head won't go back on, Bri. It doesn't, what's the word . . . tessellate. I'll get another, she'll never know the difference. Have we got any copydex?

BRI: A fucking lunatic.

FRED: There are white cats all over the place, I'll get her another. Mate, mate, it'll be sussed.

BRI: Great plan, fantastic. It's easy to see why you're the one with the flash job and all the money.

FRED: Don't get at me, Bri, I'm upset.

BRI: Alternatively we could nick next door's cat and paint it white. Have you ever tried painting a cat? Personally I haven't but I hear there's nothing to it. It's the texture that worries me. What do you think?

FRED: [crying again] I thought it was a spy, I thought, I was just talking to it, it was those eyes. It knows I'm a bastard and then . . . I got the knife for protection . . . need it.

BRI: Fred.

FRED: What?

BRI: Why have you got a pair of Kat's pants on your head?


Scene Twenty-four

BRI and FRED are sitting on the sofa. Jumper is gone and the blood has been cleared. FRED is a bit more together.

FRED: You're not gonna say anything, are you, mate?

BRI: Like, hi Kat, by the way Fred murdered Jumper, how was work?

FRED: Manslaughter, mate, manslaughter.

BRI: Just fuck up.

FRED: But you're not, are you? He just went missing, that's the party line.

BRI: If I lie it'll be for her sake, not yours.

[KAT enters.]

KAT: Hi, I'm shattered. Is there any beer around or has Fred drunk it all?

BRI: Fred's got to tell you something.

FRED: Thing is, see, right . . . Jumper was going off his nut. Really wanted to go outside. Like I think maybe he could smell a bird or a cat or something but he really wanted to go out and I was like not gonna let him out but then, by accident like, I opened the door. He darted off fuck knows where but he'll probably be back for his tea.

KAT: He never goes out. [Beat.] Have you tried calling him?

FRED: Urr, yeah.

KAT: What time did he go?

FRED: What time did he go, Bri?

BRI: I wouldn't know. I wasn't here.

KAT: Shit, I hope he's okay, he's not used to being out.

[She exits. We hear her calling from offstage.]

FRED: That went all right.

BRI: You haven't got a clue.

[KAT comes back on.]

KAT: I'm gonna go look down the road, see if anyone's seen him. Come with me, Bri?

[BRI gets his coat.]

BRI: You just sit and relax, Fred. Don't worry about it.

Scene Twenty-five

FRED is sitting on the sofa, drinking. JOE knocks at the door.

FRED: [shouting] Who is it? I'm not in.

JOE: It's me.

[FRED lets JOE in, quickly, trying not to be seen.]

FRED: Well, what do ya want, little Joe? Come to tell her you love her?

JOE: Well . . . yeah.

FRED: She's not here.

JOE: I'll go to her room, wait for her.

FRED: Right. You do that. Waste ya time. [JOE goes. FRED sits back down. BRI returns.] So where's Kat, mate?

BRI: Still looking. You cunt.

FRED: Right, sorry. Maybe she'll find another one.

BRI: I saw Mel on my way back. [Pause.] With a bruise, a nasty one, right across the side of her face.

FRED: What she say? Is he coming?

BRI: She's leaving, going back to her folks. Do you wanna tell me what happened, Fred?

FRED: Nothing, nada, zilch.

BRI: So why's she got a bruise and why's she leaving town?

FRED: Did she say, is he coming? Is Billy the bastard-kid coming?

[JOE comes back in. FRED and BRI don't notice him.]

BRI: Why would Billy be coming? [Beat.] Does Mel know it was you who nicked his records?

FRED: She might do.

BRI: If she tells him you can kiss your face goodbye. That's why you've been skiving work.

FRED: No. I'm not scared of him. I in't bothered. Just haven't been feeling too good.

JOE: Where's Kat?

BRI: What's he doing here?

JOE: Wanted to see Kat.

FRED: Poor little Joe doesn't get it. When it gonna sink in, mate? She don't wanna know, doesn't care. You're not her type.

JOE: [upset] That's not true.

FRED: Wake up and smell the Red Bull, Joe, stop being a twat. And get outta me house.

JOE: I'm going. Bastards. I hate you.

[JOE exits.]

FRED: Did Mel say? Is he coming?

BRI: Thought you weren't scared of him, Fred.

FRED: I in't, just wanna know what she said. Don't I?

BRI: She said you're a wanker. That's what she said.

Scene Twenty-six

Evening. BRI and KAT are curled up on the sofa.

KAT: I don't get it, I've looked everywhere.

BRI: Kat, I think, maybe . . . [Pause.] Do you think we should move out?

KAT: What?

BRI: Fred. He's not well.

KAT: I know. And he's getting worse.

BRI: So can we go?

KAT: I can't go. I've got to be here for when Jumper gets back.

BRI: 'Course.

KAT: When he comes back, we'll go.

BRI: Right, when he comes back.

Scene Twenty-seven

Morning. BRI is outside calling Jumper. FRED and KAT are getting Red Bulls out of the fridge.

FRED: Right Kat . . . are you and Bri going out or summat?

KAT: Sort of, dunno.

FRED: I really like you.

KAT: Give it up.

FRED: Kat . . . I think Psycho Billy's after me, Kat. I think he's gonna get me. I'm really shitting meself. Told Bri I wasn't bothered but I am. [FRED begins to cry. KAT gives him a hug.] Will you kiss me?

KAT: I said give it up.

[BRI enters. He stands back, watching, not saying anything. FRED is crying a lot now, KAT continues to hold him.]

BRI: I'm going out. You can call for your cat.

KAT: Bri.

BRI: I'm sure Fred will keep you company.

KAT: I don't want Fred to keep me company.

BRI: I don't give a fuck. I'm going out.

KAT: Don't.

[BRI exits.]

Scene Twenty-eight

FRED is sitting under the table again and we can hear KAT offstage, calling Jumper. FRED's been drinking.

FRED: Shut up. I'm sorry, I didn't mean it. Shut up all that "Jumper, Jumper, Jumper." On and on doing me head in. Like Mel, ring, ring, ring, Jumper, Jumper, Jumper. Just bloody leave me alone, will ya? Just leave me alone. [KAT enters.] Leave me alone.

KAT: Fine.

[She goes to walk out.]

FRED: No wait. Will you buy some more beer? I'd get it, see, but I've got to stay behind the sofa.

KAT: Fred, come on. No one is really after you.

FRED: You don't know anything.

KAT: I'm not getting you more beer anyhow.

FRED: [upset] Will ya come and sit next to me?

KAT: Okay.

[KAT sits.]

FRED: Kat, will ya giz a cuddle, go on giz a cuddle.

KAT: No, Fred. I'm sitting next to you, that's enough.

FRED: Go on, Kat. Giz a cuddle. You're not waiting for Bri, are you? You don't want Bri, do you? Nah, coz he went off coz he could see you wanted me, see. Giz a cuddle. No point denying it now Kat, no point.

KAT: Tosser.

FRED: If that's what turns you on. I can work with a little resistance. You're all right, you know. Not bad to look at. I wouldn't shag just anybody.

KAT: Go and shag Mel, she's the only one stupid enough.

FRED: Mel was asking for it and I had to sort her. But that doesn't affect us, does it? It's in the past, don't let her worry you. She's outta the picture.

KAT: Leave me alone.

FRED: Do you want to play with it? Do you wanna have a play with the lurrvve machine? Shall I get it out for you?

KAT: Don't even think about getting your bastard cock out.

FRED: Did you play hard to get with Bri? Is that what you do? Are you a bit of a bad girl? Do you like it rough?

[She gets up to go, but he grabs her shoulders and pushes her down again.]

KAT: Get off me, pervert.

FRED: Is this what gets you wet? [He forces her onto the sofa. She lifts her leg up and knees his groin.] You shouldn't have done that. [He raises his hand and thumps her. She crashes back to the sofa and he starts to lift her skirt up. He pulls it right up and then goes to get his cock out. She wakes.] You okay, sweetheart? I didn't mean to hurt you. Are you ready for me now?

KAT: Get away from me.

FRED: I was just going to--are you ready? [He goes to pull her underwear down. She thumps him in the side of the head. Then pushes him off and runs up to her room and locks the door.] Kat, where you going . . . Kat? [He runs up to her door.] Kat, talk to us. You were playing hard to get, right. That's what it was. Putting up a little resistance.

[KAT opens the door. She's got a bag full of clothes.]

KAT: Get out of my way, Fred.

[She pushes past him and exits.]

FRED: Kat, wait. Don't go.

Scene Twenty-nine

[BILLY and JOE are in the pub.]

BILLY: So what are we having today, my little chappy? Something to lift you up, something to make you dance your funky dance, something to make you chilled? I have many a selection of pills.

JOE: Something to cheer me up.

BILLY: Ahh, Joe. Someone taken your Saturday smile?

JOE: Yeah.

BILLY: So, do you wanna tell me, little chappy. Spit it out, spill it out, so I can be on my matey way.

JOE: Billy, have you ever been dumped?

BILLY: Now, I wouldn't want to lie to you so I can't say that is something I have personally experienced. But I'm a man of many qualities, and empathy is an asset I'm proud of.

JOE: Fred said Kat wasn't interested, he said she didn't care. Fred said I'm wasting my time.

BILLY: That's harsh. I can see that. And there are better ways of putting things.

JOE: And there's something else too. I don't know if I should tell you. But . . .

BILLY: Joe. Listen carefully. Billy boy doesn't like things being kept from him. Doesn't make him a happy chappy, doesn't help him relax in the way relaxing should be done.

JOE: But . . . you'll be mad.

BILLY: C'mon little chappy. Aren't I your matey-mate? Don't I give you words of wisdom and a perception you would otherwise be without?

JOE: S'pose.

BILLY: Well then . . .

JOE: I heard them talking. I did. And they were saying it was Fred. It was Fred, Billy.

BILLY: You're going round the countryside a bit now. Do you wanna tell me what was Fred?

JOE: Who took your records. Who took all your records so you couldn't be a DJ. Fred did that.

BILLY: You sure, Joe? My feathers are more than a little fluffed I'm telling you.

JOE: I'm sure, Billy. I heard 'em. Bri called him a fuck head.

BILLY: Those records, do you know how much they're worth, Joe?

JOE: No.

BILLY: A lot. But that is not the point, not the point at all. They had sentimental value, Joe, and that hurts me. That does more than a little damage.

JOE: What you gonna do?

BILLY: Have a little word.

JOE: You not gonna hurt Kat though are you? Coz she didn't do anything.

BILLY: Don't you worry, my little chappy. I'm not a man for blaming people who aren't to be blamed.

Scene Thirty

FRED is sitting on the sofa, acting really jumpy, when BRI walks in.

BRI: Killed any more cats in my absence?

FRED: What? No. Was anyone out there?

BRI: Where's Kat?

FRED: Dunno, mate.

BRI: She in her room? [FRED doesn't answer. BRI goes to KAT's room. Comes back.] All her stuff's gone.

FRED: Right, has it.

BRI: So where is she?

FRED: It's got nothing to do with me, honest. [There's a really loud banging on the door.] Don't answer it.

BRI: Where's Kat?

FRED: Don't answer the door.

BRI: Whoever it is is gonna break it down if I don't.

FRED: It wasn't my fault, all right.

[Banging continues.]

BRI: What wasn't your fault?

FRED: Nothing, mate, nothing. Don't worry about it. Don't open the door.

BILLY's voice: You gonna open this door or shall I just smash the window?

[BRI opens the door.]

BRI: Hello, Billy.

FRED: She was lying, making it up, to get back at me see. Coz I dumped her. It's not true, Billy. Mel made it up.

BILLY: Mel didn't tell me a thing, Fred. But as you chose to bring her into this conversation I might add that she is a very fit lady, is Mel. Very fit indeed and rather a fine fuck at that. [Beat.] I understand I passed some little crabbies on to you as a result of the encounter. It wasn't intentional, you understand. But you stealing all my records, now that was intentional, wasn't it, Fred?

FRED: It was Bri. Bri took your records. He did it.

BILLY: Now little chappy Fred is telling untruths.

FRED: No, I'm not. He took them.

BILLY: Those records meant a lot to me. Do you understand? Comprehend? Clear as crystal clear? You didn't just piss on my chips Fred, you pissed on my steak and I'm the kind of person to whom steak is a very important matter. I could go into detail about the number of heartfelt years spent collecting those records, but I haven't got all day. [Beat.] You could say we're even, because of the crabs, you might well say that. But you'd be wrong, wouldn't you. You'd be miscalculating the situation, because at this precise moment, I am not a happy chappy.

FRED: Don't hurt me.

BRI: Sorry to interrupt, but Fred, where is Kat and answer the question.

FRED: Bri, you're my mate. Tell him not to nut me.

BRI: Tell me what you did to Kat. [FRED starts to run off. BILLY grabs him by the shirt.] Billy, leave him.

BILLY: Now, Bri, you seem all right and I'd like to oblige but--

BRI: Billy, Kat has gone missing and Fred is the only one who might know what's happened to her. Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't reckon he'll be capable of speech once you've finished with him, do you?

BILLY: That may be the case, but as I explained, I'm not smiling my Saturday smile.

[BILLY goes to head butt FRED. BRI picks up the video player and smashes it on BILLY's head. BILLY falls to the floor.]

BRI: Say thank you, Bri.

FRED: [shaking like mad] Thank you, Bri.

BRI: Now where's Kat?

FRED: I think she went to her mum's.

BRI: Why?

FRED: She was up for it, she was. She was giving all the signals.

BRI: Did you hit her?

FRED: Mate, I'm not like that.

BRI: You cut a cat's head off.

FRED: Mate, you're my best mate. She was up for it, all Wonderbra'd up. She likes it rough. [BRI knees FRED in the balls and then thumps him across the side of his face.] What you do that for? [in between screams]

BRI: For hurting Kat.

FRED: I didn't.

BRI: And for being a shit friend.

[BRI turns to leave.]

FRED: You can't leave me, Bri. You're my mate, my best mate. Bri, please. I'll be nicer. I'll buy you a car. Bri, you're all I've got.

[BILLY wakes and stands up. He rubs his head.]

BRI: Sorry about your head.

BILLY: Did he tell you where she is?

BRI: Yeah.

BILLY: Can I nut him now?

BRI: Go ahead.

[BRI goes.]

FRED: Bri wait . . . Bri.

[BILLY head butts FRED. FRED falls to the floor.]

Scene Thirty-one

BRI and KAT are in the pub.

BRI: So, do I qualify as a knight in shining armor, now then?

KAT: You certainly bloody do.

BRI: No more ignoring girls on tubes.

KAT: I wouldn't have thought so.

BRI: It's coz of you.

KAT: I know.

BRI: See what falling for someone will do?

KAT: Don't.

BRI: I'm sorry I didn't tell you about Jumper.

KAT: It's all right. It's not a very nice thing to tell someone.

BRI: Can I ask you?

KAT: You know I do.

BRI: But you're still leaving me?

KAT: A knight in shining armor isn't what I need right now.

BRI: What do you need?

KAT: I need to stop being frightened. Fred scared me . . . I . . . don't want to be scared.

BRI: I can protect you.

KAT: I don't want protecting. I want to be okay on my own first.

BRI: No changing your mind?

KAT: Maybe when . . .

BRI: When?

KAT: When I can look at you without thinking about Fred.


BRI: I'll miss you.

[KAT just nods.]

Scene Thirty-two

FRED and JOE are in the pub. FRED walks over with the beers. JOE passes FRED a form across the table.

JOE: Billy says to just sign it. He'll sort out the rest.

[FRED looks at the piece of paper and signs. Passes it back to JOE.]

FRED: Three hundred a month. They were only his poxy records.

JOE: Yeah, he's letting you pay him back in installments though. I mean he din't have to do that, did he. [FRED shrugs.] And it's gonna take him ages to buy all them records back.

FRED: So do ya want the room? It's nice, spacious, an' that.

JOE: Dunno. You said Kat didn't care about me.

FRED: Coz I'm ya friend, see. That's what friends do for each other, tell 'em the hard facts.

JOE: You might nick my CDs.

FRED: I'm a nice bloke, Joe. I always get the beers in. That's the sort of bloke I am, giving. I'll give ya a tenner off per week.

JOE: I dunno, Fred. I dunno if I like you. If I liked you, I wouldn't have told Billy it was you who nicked his records.

FRED: You were upset, mate. I understand that. [Beat.] I can see ya mean well, just need to keep it stum in future.

JOE: You've forgiven me, then?

FRED: 'Course I have Joe but, about Bri's old room, ya want it then? [Beat.] Tell ya what, have another while you think about it.

JOE: I haven't finished this one yet.

FRED: Stella, in't it?

JOE: No, Fred. I gotta go. Told Billy I'd take this straight back to him.

FRED: Look, don't worry about paying me back. That's what the great and the good are here for. To look after the little people. [Beat.] Move in wiv me and I'll look out for ya, Joe.

JOE: I think I'll stay at me mum's for a bit longer. She does great chips.

FRED: Move in wiv me.

JOE: Nah.

FRED: Stay for another at least.

JOE: [putting his coat on] You'll be all right on your own, won't you?

[JOE leaves. "I Will Survive" comes on the jukebox. FRED sings along to himself.]