Iris Lavell

This is the beginning of a play I will write - don't quite know what it will be about yet. Maybe the poem will stay or go. Watch this space. When it is done I am happy for anyone to use it with acknowledgement of the source.

Estranged

Appears in doorways casting shadows

Mark in mind

Poor-done-by embittered

Thinks self and desire freed

If certain people would only

Cease to exist

Perpetually suspended in

Ceasing to exist

Restore imbalance

His favour

Makes worlds in imagination

Others must suffer

As he has

More

If he could hunt inside heads

Destroy thoughts as well as actions

Press and withhold

Mercy

Hard-on

Here thinking stops advancing line

Reveals itself orbital

Circles drunkenly

Shouting obscenities

It is turning to night. Griff stumbles over the tracks, bottle in hand. He smashes it on the tracks just before the train thunders past. He is seen shouting something in the flashing lights of the passing train. His voice is lost in the sound of the train. He settles. The train passes and all becomes quiet again.

Griff: Fuck it, it's cold.

A young woman appears.

Griff: What? Hello darlin’. Come over here. Come on. I’m not going to hurt you. Come on. Come on.

She hesitates, then moves towards him.

Griff: What’s your name?

Sandra: Sandra. What’s yours?

Griff: Never you mind about that. Have you got a cigarette? No? Any money. I need to catch that train. Keep warm see.

Sandra: I’ve got money. I’ll catch it with you.

Griff: Yeah? Why?

Sandra: I’ll buy you a nice hot meal in Perth.

Griff: Will you? That’d be nice. What’s your name?

Sandra: Sandra.

Griff: Hello Sandra. I’ll call you Sandy ok? I’m Mick. Mick from the nick. Ha! Not any more. Not any more darlin’, I done me time. Goin’ straight-edged now, straight down the line. Ha! No pun intended little lady, no pun intended. What did you say?

Sandra: Coming? The station’s just up here.

Griff: Have you got a cigarette?

Sandra: I don’t smoke.

Griff: Course you don’t. I should give up. He laughs. If I don’t get a smoke soon might have to. Laughs into a cough.

Sandra: Here we are. I’ll get us a ticket. Do you have a concession? No? Let’s see, standard, two stages, that’s alright. Here. She hands him the ticket. Don’t lose it or they won’t let you out. You wouldn't want that would you?

They stand, facing the track.

Griff: See that poster there, there, the one about getting hit by a train, what do you think of that? See, what I think is that it’s likely to encourage you as much as anything. It’s like a reminder.

Sandra: What do you mean?

Griff: What do you mean what do I mean. Where’s that fuckin’ train? Hey, maybe I should get down on the track and have a look if I can see anything. Eh? Ha, just kiddin’ around. Just messin’ with you. They stand quiet for a moment, each staring down at the track. You seem like a nice person.

Sandra: Yes, I suppose so.

Griff: You got a mum and dad, brothers and sisters?

Sandra: I’ve got a dog.

Griff: A dog eh? I used to have a dog, when I was a little tacker. It got hit. Griff thinks about his dog getting hit. Decides not to allow himself the indulgence. What’s his name, your dog? Girl or boy?

Sandra: It’s a boy. Fighter.

Griff: Yeah? What’s its name?

Sandra: Fighter. Its name is Fighter.

Griff: You called your dog Fighter? Ha! I like that. I wish I called my dog that.

Sandra: What was yours?

Griff: What?

Sandra: What was your dog’s name?

Griff: Useless. That’s what my old man used to call him anyway. Anyway, I’d rather not say.

Sandra: Give a dog a bad name.

Griff: What?

Sandra: Nothing. Here it comes.

The train arrives. The get in, settle themselves. Lights cross fade to new scene.

A penthouse apartment. Leo and Tanika dressed for a date and sipping drinks.

Tanika: It’s fantastic Leo. How can you afford this?

Leo: Want to come out and see the view?

Tanika: Sure. Ooh makes me feel dizzy. You’re so high up.

Leo: I always wanted something like this. My own Penthouse suite. I always knew I’d get there some day. Now it’s perfect with you here. You always seemed so untouchable in school.

Tanika: Who me? No. Really?

Leo: Like a princess, you know.

Tanika: I like to keep to myself a bit. I’m shy really. Well not shy so much as introverted.

Leo: It’s what I like about you. I can’t stand girls who are up themselves. She shivers. Are you cold? Let’s go in. I’m taking you out to dinner at a place I found just last week. They’ve got live music, dancing if you want. Old-time. They put on a bit of a show. The food’s good.

Tanika: Vegetarian?

Leo: Yeah. Some of it.

Tanika: You know Leo, you always interested me at school. Like a puzzle. You’re different to most guys. You’re your own person. Like even when we were adolescents you weren’t one to go with the crowd if you thought they were being dickheads.

Leo: You noticed.

Tanika: It’s a bit of a hobby with me. People watching, you know.

Leo: Right back at you. Gee you look good tonight.

Tanika: Oh, thanks. She is discomforted by that. I never know how to act when someone compliments me. You look nice too.

Leo: Do you like this coat? It’s new. I’m trying to grow a bit of an image. You have to in my line of work. Learn to speak like you went to a good private school. You know the sort of thing.

Tanika: Yes, but you want to be yourself too. That’s why they hired you.

Leo: I’ll still be myself, but with a different kind of way of talking. And dressing. I consulted a stylist. It’s like an investment, that’s the way I think of it.

Tanika: I never would have thought of that.

Leo: You have to think of these sorts of things. Planning. Image is everything you know.

Tanika: I guess.

They fall into silence, lost in their own thoughts.

Leo: I suppose we’d better be getting on. It’s not far. I just want to be there for the start of the show.

Tanika: Ok. I just need to visit the little girl’s room first. Looking around. Where is it? Oh, I see.

Leo: I’ll order the taxi. He picks up the phone. Lights cross-fade to scene with Griff and Sandra.

Griff and Sandra in the train in a seat facing another in which a man sits reading a newspaper.

Sandra: What ‘s your name? The man looks up, studies them, goes back to his paper.

Griff: What’s it to you?

Sandra: Curious I suppose. Go on.

Griff: Rumplestiltskin. Ha, there you go. Now you don’t have to give me your first-born son.

Sandra: Why is it always a first-born son?

Griff: How should I know?

Sandra: Sorry. Why won’t you tell me your name?

Griff: It’s Griff, if you must know. I mean, I doubt this will be a long-term relationship. Still, I spose you want something for your investment.

Sandra: Investment?

Griff: You gonna buy me a feed or what?

Sandra: Of course I am. Just making conversation anyway. They sit in silence for a while rocking to the motion of the train. You’re not the only one with problems in the world you know. You didn’t corner the market.

Griff: Who says I’ve got problems?

Sandra: I don’t care anyway. Just trying to do something nice. It’s a cold night. Going to be a cold night. Do you have a home?

Griff: Course I do! He laughs. Haven’t been home for a couple of years though. The Olds could be dead for all I know. I doubt it but. My home’s under the bridge. Nah! My home’s right here in this backpack. Yeah. Anyway, what’s wrong with that? What’s your carbon footprint anyway?

Sandra: My what?

Griff: It’s when you…

Sandra: I know what a carbon footprint is. I’m just surprised you do.

Griff: Why? What do you think I am anyway?

Sandra: You mean, who do I think you are.

Griff: No. I mean, what do you think I am.