Living In Hope
*These roles should be played by the same,
very versatile, actor in disguises that do
not verge on parody.
The action takes place in the wine bar/breakfast
room of GIUSEPPE’s hotel in North London.
A C T O N E
MID-MORNING. A COUPLE OF TABLES ARE LAID WITH PLATES, BUTTER, CONSERVES FOR BREAKFAST. THE OTHER TABLES SHOW THAT SEVERAL BREAKFASTS HAVE ALREADY BEEN EATEN. AN OPERATIC ARIA IS PLAYING ON THE SOUND SYSTEM.
TOM IS SITTING AT A TABLE, SIPPING FROM A GLASSS OF FRESH ORANGE JUICE. HE IS, AS EVER, LOOKING VERY PLEASED WITH HIMSELF. HE IS HANDSOME, ATHLETIC AND IMMACULATELY DRESSED. HOWEVER, HIS SMUG SELF-CONFIDENT GENIALITY COVERS A POTENTIALLY DISTURBING AND SADISTIC BITTERNESS.
STRANGER 1, AS A DEPARTING GUEST, IS STANDING AT THE COUNTER, WRITING A CHEQUE.
GIUSEPPE, THE PROPRIETOR, ENTERS WITH A BASKET OF BREAD ROLLS. HE IS A GOOD-NATURED, MIDDLE-AGED ITALIAN, A GENIAL BUT FIRM HOST AND A CONFIDENT AND PERCEPTIVE BUSINESSMAN.
GIUSEPPE; Straight from the oven. Good morning, maestro. It looks like a nice day at last. What’s left of it. It’ll soon be time for lunch.
TOM SIGNALS TO GIUSEPPE THAT HE NEEDS A COFFEE BEFORE HE CAN SPEAK, AND THAT HE IS EXPECTING A TELEPHONE CALL.
STRANGER; There we go. Thank you very much.
GIUSEPPE; Thank you very much, my friend. Same two days next week?
STRANGER; That’s it. This is home from home.
GIUSEPPE; Glad to hear it. We do our best.
GIUSEPPE BRINGS TOM’S CAPPUCINO FROM THE BAR.
STRANGER; See you.
GIUSEPPE; Safe journey!
AS STRANGER 1 EXITS, THE TELEPHONE RINGS. TOM MOVES INSTINCTIVELY AS IF TO ANSWER IT.
GIUSEPPE; I will answer the telephone in my establishment. Besides, you have no voice, remember. So let us hope it’s not for you.
HE PICKS UP THE RECEIVER.
Good morning. Giuseppe.
DAVID STAGGERS IN. HE IS STURDY, WITH AN APPEALING VULNERABILITY, AND HIS SOMEWHAT RAVAGED GOOD LOOKS ARE QUITE STRIKING. HE IS UNPLEASANTLY SURPRISED AT THE BRIGHTNESS OF THE LIGHT AND AT THE VOLUME OF THE NOISE.
Yes, that Nicola is a friend of mine…
DAVID; [BRUSQUELY, TO TOM] ‘Morning.
GIUSEPPE; …But he isn’t here at the moment.
GIUSEPPE COVERS THE MOUTHPIECE AND ADDRESSES DAVID.
I’ll be with you directly.
DAVID; Does he have to shout?
TOM SPREADS HIS NAPKIN LIKE AN ARISTOCRAT AND CREAMS AND SUGARS HIS COFFEE FASTIDIOUSLY.
GIUSEPPE; You are lucky, my friend. I have just one room free… He gave you the address? Yes, we have the one room… For a fortnight?… Va bene. Chi vediamo. A presto… No, no. Your English is very good, my friend. See you shortly.
HE REPLACES THE RECEIVER, SMILING TO HIMSELF, AND GOES BEHIND THE COUNTER.
DAVID; Strong and black, please, Giuseppe.
GIUSEPPE; Feeling rough, eh?
DAVID; Don’t ask. My head’s killing me.
DAVID BRINGS OUT A PACKET OF CIGARETTES.
TOM; Ah! Pardon me, but what brand of cigarette are they? I normally roll my own, but I do so like to sample a new brand. Would you object terribly if I tried one?
DAVID ACQUIESCES SILENTLY, AS HE HELPS HIMSELF.
Good for you. [INTRODUCING HIMSELF] Tom Lepage.
DAVID NODS AND TURNS AWAY TO LIGHT HIS CIGARETTE AS GIUSEPPE BRINGS HIS COFFEE.
Maestro, some more coffee for yours truly, per favor.
GIUSEPPE; Ehey! You have found the voice!
DAVID; [TAKING THE COFFEE] Thanks, Giuseppe.
TOM; My dear fellow, the old vocal chords never work until I’ve had a coffee and a cigarette. Back in my apartment in Montreal, for me the best part of the day is waking up, drinking good coffee and listening to classical music. [TO DAVID] Wouldn’t you agree? [HE MOVES TO DAVID’S TABLE] And where would you be from, sir?
TOM; A country of immeasurable beauty. Have you seen the film Ryan’s Daughter?
TOM; Strange. You don’t know what you’ve missed… The scenes on the beach, the crippled English officer… I fell madly in love with your country and just simply had to visit it. I hired myself a car and toured Erin from top to bottom. One of the highlights of my life. Dublin! What a city! The pubs were incredible; beyond belief…
DAVID; Bully for you. I live in Paris, these days.
GIUSEPPE BRINGS THEIR COFFEES.
TOM; Ah, Paris!
DAVID; Yes. Now I’d prefer to have my breakfast without conversation, if you don’t mind. I’m feeling a bit fragile, all right?
GIUSEPPE; Feeling rough, eh? Che miseria!
STRANGER 2, A VERY SMART GERMAN BUSINESSMAN APPEARS.
GERMAN; Good morning. I wish to check out, please.
TOM; [LOOKING AT A NEWSPAPER] Wonderful! Good news at last!
FOR A MOMENT, THE GERMAN THINKS THE REMARK IS FOR HIS BENEFIT.
GIUSEPPE; I have your bill ready, sir. Everything to your satisfaction?
GERMAN; Excellent. The food was delicious.
TOM; You don’t seem to be over-enthusiastic about your native land.
DAVID; Nursing a hangover.
GERMAN; I appreciate very much the London night-life.
TOM; Tut tut! Been a trifle naughty, have we?
AGAIN, THE GERMAN LOOKS ROUND COLDLY.
GERMAN; This hotel is very pleasing.
GIUSEPPE; Your receipt.
TOM; Tell me, my friend; was she worth it, at least?
GERMAN; Next time, I bring my wife.
TOM; A good-looking “broad”, as we say? Blonde, brunette, red-head?
DAVID; What’s it got to do with you?
TOM; Just being sociable.
GERMAN; Probably in August.
GIUSEPPE; Ah, here’s your taxi.
GERMAN; I shall fax you.
TOM; I take it you didn’t score?
DAVID; For God’s sake!
GERMAN; Goodbye for the present.
TOM; Auf’weidersehen, mein Herr! Gesundheit!
THE GERMAN NODS COLDLY AT TOM AND EXITS.
GIUSEPPE; [CALLING AFTER THE GERMAN] Have a safe journey! Thank you.
TOM; I myself, on the other hand, never seem to have any problem attracting female company. I suppose it’s a gift.
DAVID; Giuseppe! A glass of water, please.
TOM; Still thirsty, eh? In Greece, they always give water with coffee. It’s so refreshing. Maestro, a glass for me too.
GIUSEPPE, HAVING BROUGHT DAVID’S GLASS OF WATER, NOW HANDS TOM AN EMPTY GLASS.
GIUSEPPE; You asked for a glass.
TOM; This guy is a comedian. What do I do with an empty glass?
GIUSEPPE; You are open to suggestion?
TOM; Aqua minerale, per favor. [TO DAVID] They like it when you attempt their lingo.
DAVID; That was two lingos. Italian and Spanish.
TOM; I’m pretty eclectic. Classical music! The violin… like an eagle
GIUSEPPE; [MAKING A LOUD RASPBERRY] The trombone. Like the elephant farting.
TOM; And as for the piano…I just wish you had one here and I’d show you… Profuse apologies, I didn’t hear your name.
DAVID; You heard quite right.
TOM; Pardon me, I didn’t hear it.
DAVID; That’s just maybe because I didn’t say it.
TOM; Ah. Moody.
DAVID; I just want a bit of peace.
TOM; Peace? Ah, everybody wants peace. Those guys in Lebanon, Iraq,
Iran, Afghanistan….Peace! Do they get it?
DAVID; [RISING] I’m going. I’m expecting a phone call, Giuseppe…
TOM; Nice meeting you anyway, friend. The name’s Tom. Yours?
DAVID; [RESIGNEDLY] David. [ASIDE TO GIUSEPPE] Nosey parker this one, isn’t he?
TOM; Not very sociable, our Irishman, is he? Just arrived?
GIUSEPPE; He’s been here for over a week. He just doesn’t normally surface until early afternoon.
TOM; A night-owl, eh? I love it.
THE TELEPHONE RINGS, THIS HAS A DRAMATIC EFFECT ON TOM, AND DAVID HURRIEDLY REAPPEARS IN THE DOORWAY. GIUSEPPE NONCHALANTLY PICKS UP THE RECEIVER.
GIUSEPPE; Good morning. Giuseppe [HE HOLDS THE RECEIVER OUT TO TOM] For
DAVID EXITS IN DESPAIR.
TOM; That ass-hole’s got a bit of a cheek.
GIUSEPPE; Just a bit of a hang-over.
TOM; He should stay in his bedroom, then, not come imposing…[HAVING TAKEN THE RECEIVER, HIS MANNER CHANGES ABRUPTLY] Hi there! Yours truly. Your own Monsieur Lepage….Sorry about yesterday. That bloody Rupert! But now I’ve slept like a log and I’m raring to go, baby. Your place, fifteen minutes?… Of all the… Oh yes? I’ll be here. Waiting.
HE SLAMS THE PHONE DOWN AND GOES BACK TO THE TABLE.
GIUSEPPE; [NOT REALLY INTERESTED] Problems?
TOM; You come half-way across the goddamned world-
GIUSEPPE; Not worth it?
GIUSEPPE GOES ABOUT HIS CHORES, ONLY HALF-LISTENING TO TOM.
TOM; You perform like a goddamned Ferrari a hundred times, then once, just once, on one solitary occasion you just can’t get it together and you’re bloody obsolete! Can you believe it? What’s a guy supposed to do?
GIUSEPPE; Change to a Lamborghini?
TOM; It was Rupert that caused it, yesterday. That bloody Rupert.
GIUSEPPE; Think Ferrari.
GIUSEPPE; It’s got the acceleration.
TOM; Non-stop. Scratching away at the bedroom door. How the hell are you supposed to summon up the passion?
GIUSEPPE; Wouldn’t advise it if your car’s a Ferrari. No room.
TOM; The bugger was growling at me the minute I arrived. Tried to use my goddamned leg as a tree-trunk! Shut the door. Strip for action. On the bed… Nothing. Rupert, scratching, howling. Could any guy…? In such circumstances…?
GIUSEPPE; We all have our crosses to bear.
TOM; I can’t help thinking that goddamned dog wanted a piece of
TOM; Rupert. Now I’m getting excuses, if you please.
DAVID RE-ENTERS. HE GLANCES SHARPLY AT TOM.
TOM GETS UP FROM THE TABLE, UPSETTING HIS CUP AND SAUCER.
GIUSEPPE; Oh hell!
GIUSEPPE; What are you trying to do?
TOM; I just wanted a refill.
DAVID; Giuseppe, I’m after-
GIUSEPPE; [TO TOM] Are you trying to make me redundant?
DAVID; I’m after knowing whether-
TOM; [GENIALLY] And what would you do without your goddamned job?
GIUSEPPE; You’d like to know, eh?
TOM; [AFFECTEDLY] Oo, yes, darling.
GIUSEPPE; I’m a married man.
GIUSEPPE; Happily married.
DAVID; Count yourself lucky. Is there anywhere more private to take a phone call?
THE TELEPHONE RINGS. DAVID AND TOM ARE INSTANTLY ALERT. BOTH WAIT FOR GIUSEPPE TO LIFT THE RECEIVER. HE IS PICKING UP THE FALLEN CROCKERY WITH ALMOST WILFUL LACK OF HASTE.
TOM; Take your sweet time.
DAVID; Do you want me to answer it?
TOM; It could be important.
GIUSEPPE; Let’s find out. [HE PICKS UP THE RECEIVER] Hello. Giuseppe…Yes.
TOM; It’s for me.
GIUSEPPE; Let me see…we have your booking. Just three nights, isn’t it?…Thank you, madam…We’ll be expecting you this evening.
TOM; Who was she? Did she give her name?
GIUSEPPE; Put a sock in it.
HE CHANGES THE MUSIC TAPE, THEN COLLECTS THE USED CROCKERY AND GOES INTO THE KITCHEN.
TOM; You know, you’re not such a bad guy after all. For this music, I’d forgive anybody. Do you know whose music this is?
DAVID; Do you know?
DAVID; Is it fuck!
STRANGER 3 APPEARS AS A DELIVERY MAN WITH A CASE OF WINE.
GIUSEPPE; Eh, ciao, Andrea! Una birra?
STRANGER; Non grazie. questa mattina ho molto da fare.
GIUSEPPE; Una grappa ?!
TOM; I’ll tell you something interesting.
DAVID; Giuseppe, if there should be a call….
HE HANDS THE STRANGER A SMALL GLASS OF GRAPPA. AS GIUSEPPE SIGNS THE RECEIPT FOR THE DELIVERY, THE STRANGER SIPS HIS GRAPPA AND LISTENS TO TOM’S POMPOSITY WITH SOME DISDAIN.
TOM; At first, I never liked his music. Didn’t appeal. But then when I visited Finland….ah. Snow everywhere in semi-darkness, trains slithering like snakes in the immense Whiteness… That made me understand his music. Snow in Finland is so evocative. Covers everything like a blanket. Just snow as far as the eye can see. Yes, it’s cold. In Helsinki, there’s a bust of Sibelius, only it’s made of metal- or some other material, I don’t know- and when the wind blows, it seems untrue, but if you’re musical that’s the place to be. Those cords play music. I think it’s the leitmotif from Fingal’s Cave. Just the wind in the cords.
STRANGER; Chords? All music is chords.
TOM; [TURNING TO HIM] No, the bust, the metal or whatever it’s made of. Tell you what; give me a cigarette, I concentrate better.
STRANGER; I don’t smoke.
TOM TURNS BACK TO DAVID.
DAVID I’ve left them upstairs. Anyway, Fingal’s Cave’s got fuck-all to do with Finland.
TOM; Says you.
DAVID; Yes I do, you berk.
THE STRANGER LAUGHS AND DOWNS THE LAST OF HIS GRAPPA.
STRANGER; Ciao. Grazie tanto.
GIUSEPPE; Ciao, Andrea.
THE STRANGER EXITS.
TOM; I seem to have hit a nerve.
DAVID; You’re getting on every one of my nerves.
TOM; Any cigarettes lying around, maestro?
GIUSEPPE; Why don’t you buy a packet?
TOM; I only want one.
DAVID; Preferably not his own.
THE FRONT DOOR OPENS AND GIANNI ENTERS, CARRYING TWO SUITCASES. HE LOOKS AROUND WARILY.
GIANNI; Buon giorno.
GIUSEPPE; Heh, buon giorno, signore.
GIANNI; Sono l’amico di Nicola; Gianni.
GIUSEPPE; Benvenuto. Giuseppe.
TOM; Oh, italiano! Bono giorno. Fica stretta a cazzo duro, eh?
GIANNI; [TO GIUSEPPE] Chi e’ questo tipo?
TOM; That’s the sum of my Italian, I’m afraid.
GIANNI; [WITHOUT ENTHUSIASM] Very nice.
GIUSEPPE; Learn no more. [TO GIANNI] Two weeks you said?
HE GIVES GIANNI THE VISITORS’ BOOK TO SIGN.
TOM; What did I say?
DAVID; Anything to get in on the act.
GIUSEPPE; You’re lucky. That’s my last room.
GIANNI; I lucky? I hope so here.
GIANNI BRINGS OUT A PACKET OF CIGARETTES ALONG WITH HIS IDENTITY CARD.
TOM; Ah, the cigarettes…Italian?
DAVID; He’d like to try one.
TOM; One or two maybe.
GIANNI; [OFFERING A CIGARETTE] These mild. I have others stronger
if you like.
TOM; One of each, perhaps. For comparison.
ALL SMILE AT EACH OTHER FOR DIFFERENT REASONS AS TOM LIGHTS UP. GIANNI SIGNS THE BOOK.
GIUSEPPE; You have a deposit?
GIUSEPPE; I’ve had my fingers burned twice this month. Guests sneaking off without paying. If it happens again, my wife will divorce me. This is a business.
GIANNI; Ah, yes. I arrange later.
GIUSEPPE; I’ll hang on to the identity card.
TOM; I always felt it was a great pity in the film Carmen Jones that they changed her work location from a cigarette factory to a sausage factory…
DAVID; A sausage factory that made parachutes, eh?
TOM; [INHALING] Hm. Very unusual. Marvellous.
DAVID; Now he’ll want to try the stronger ones.
TOM; Have you got the other kind with you?
DAVID; True to form.
GIANNI; Here. Too strong for me in the morning.
TOM; Grazie, amigo. Maybe I take two; one for now…
DAVID; One for later.
GIANNI; Later. Be my guest. [TO DAVID] You want to try?
TOM; [TO DAVID] They’re very different from yours, I dare say.
DAVID; Later maybe we’ll try some of yours.
THE TELEPHONE RINGS. GIANNI NOTICES TOM AND DAVID’S SUDDEN ALERTNESS. GIUSEPPE LIFTS THE RECEIVER.
GIUSEPPE; Hello…Yes, he’s here.
TOM; Is it for me?
GIUSEPPE; One moment…
TOM; It’s her! [HE GRABS THE ‘PHONE EAGERLY] Look, darling, we’ve got to get together and sort this thing out. If your husband- if, you know-…It’s Tom…Who’s David?
GIUSEPPE; [TO DAVID] It’s for you. [TO TOM] Leave that ‘phone alone, will you!
TOM; I’m waiting for a very important call.
GIUSEPPE; Then wait till you get it.
GIUSEPPE HANDS THE TELEPHONE TO DAVID, WHO IS FULL OF APPREHENSION.
GIANNI; La chiave? The key?
GIUSEPPE; [CALLING TO OFF-STAGE] Linda! Room three is finished?
DAVID; Maggie…. Listen, Maggie. I’m not taking this lying down…
GIUSEPPE; [TO GIANNI] Camera tre.
GIUSEPPE HANDS GIANNI HIS KEY AND GIANNI MOVES TO PICK UP HIS LUGGAGE.
TOM; Eih, amigo, I’ll give you a hand.
DAVID TURNS HIS BACK, PROTECTING THE PRIVACY OF HIS CALL. GIUSEPPE GLANCES AT HIM AND GOES ABOUT HIS CHORES. SUDDENLY, DAVID EXPLODES.
DAVID; All right, then! Have it your own way, Maggie!… But I know what you’re up to… Maggie?… Maggie?
HE SLAMS DOWN THE RECEIVER AND TRIES TO REGAIN HIS COMPOSURE.
Giuseppe, be a sport, give me a couple of aspirins.
GIUSEPPE; I don’t think a couple of aspirins will solve love problems.
DAVID TALKS NOW REALLY TO HIMSELF. GIUSEPPE’S INTERJECTIONS ARE, AS BEFORE WITH TOM, DISINVOLVED AND MATTER-OF-FACT.
DAVID; Love! That’s the word that does more hurt than any other. For every moment of pleasure, there’s ten times more bitterness to follow.
GIUSEPPE; Not a good start to the day all round.
DAVID; Yes, I’m the “guilty party”! But, my God! Retribution comes in swarms! It never stops.
GIUSEPPE; You’re a dead cert for canonisation.
DAVID; All right, on the face of it, I abandoned her and the children out of love, lust, whatever. I confess. But where does my retribution end and where did her revenge begin? That’s the question. Is any of it worth this?
HE SLUMPS DOWN AT A CORNER TABLE, HEAD IN HANDS.
GIUSEPPE; [SINGING] “Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, save it for a rainy day.”
STRANGER 4, A YOUNG PRIEST, ENTERS FROM OUTSIDE AND GOES STRAIGHT TO GIUSEPPE AT THE BAR.
Oh, good morning, Father. How can I help you?
THE PRIEST SPEAKS VERY QUIETLY TO GIUSEPPE, WHO LOOKS SURPRISED, AND INDICATES
WHERE DAVID IS SITTING.
David, you have a visitor.
DAVID; [WITHOUT ENTHUSIASM] Oh it’s you. I might have known you’d turn up.
PRIEST; You look terrible.
DAVID; I look terrible. I feel terrible. I am terrible. What do you expect?
GIUSEPPE; Can I get you something, Father? A coffee, or…
PRIEST; [GLANCING AT HIS WATCH] I think, a glass of red wine would be most welcome. [TO DAVID] You ask me what I expect?
DAVID; A rhetorical question, Brian.
PRIEST; What I expected was this. Sadly true to form. What I’d really have liked-
DAVID; We none of us get what we’d really like. You’ve been talking to Maggie, I take it?
PRIEST; And the children.
DAVID; Lucky you. I can’t get near ‘em.
GIUSEPPE; [BRINGING A GLASS OF RED WINE] Here we are, Father.
PRIEST; Ah, splendid. How much do I- ?
GIUSEPPE; [WITH A DISMISSIVE GESTURE] No, no. On the house, Father. On the house.
PRIEST; God bless you.
GIUSEPPE; In this business, I can’t get to church as often as I should like, so here’s a little something… For the collection box.
PRIEST; I think you should give your money to your local parish…
GIUSEPPE; As I say, I don’t…
PRIEST; Then I accept. Thank you, my son. Could we… ? [HE INDICATES PRIVACY]
GIUSEPPE; Certainly. I’ve to clear up in the kitchen. [GOING] Two staff off sick, and the other hasn’t shown up yet. Che miseria!
DAVID; Brian, before you start: Not all the blame’s at my door. But… any good intentions, forget ’em. They’re finished before they start. Maggie; I can’t even talk to her any more. Not now. She’s just been on the phone. With this, this latest… I don’t know what to do, except do away with myself. Once it happens, it’s like quick-sand; the more you struggle to get out, the deeper you sink in it.
DAVID; If only I could be more of a selfish bastard…
PRIEST; Selfish!! More selfish than the game you played with your wife? Your treatment of your two children? Your God-given family.
DAVID; They weren’t enough…
PRIEST; You weren’t enough! Those children needed you.
DAVID; Past tense, I note.
PRIEST; And you see now-
DAVID; She’s turned them against me. How’s it me, and only me to blame? Do you know what she’s up to?
PRIEST; I know. But you were meant to be their rock. He’s your son. She’s your daughter. Who was it introduced them to their drugs?
DAVID; That again! Not the heroin, for God’s sake! I needed a joint now and then to relax myself.
PRIEST; To put up with being with them when you wanted to be elsewhere. That’s what showed. That’s what you taught. Did you have to let them see you? You managed to conceal everything else. A simple, chemical way to ease life’s burdens. Like your drinking to relax yourself before you could stomach having sex with your wife?
DAVID; Thinking of…someone else. It was hell.
PRIEST; A hell of your own making, David. Your neglect, your irresponsibility-
DAVID; My ineptitude, go on.
PRIEST; The forgotten birthdays, that fateful wedding anniversary-
DAVID; I couldn’t be in two places at the same time.
PRIEST; You couldn’t keep two beds warm at the same time.
DAVID; I know. One bed got colder and colder, each time I got into it. Could I help that?
PRIEST; Where was your honesty?
DAVID; I was honest to myself. My own feelings.
PRIEST; Packing your bags when it all got too much of a strain? Skulking off to France, leaving them with no support? So cowardly.
DAVID; Didn’t seem cowardly at the time. It seemed…romant-… heroic even. Following…
DAVID; Following my heart.
PRIEST; Your heart?
DAVID; My prick, then. My bloody prick. God gave it to me, and, don’t tell me, now He wants me to cut it off. What about my arse, eh?
PRIEST; Giving your body over to sodomy. With an older man who flatters you into-
DAVID; Who gave me the satisfaction I’d always, always dreamed of. And thought I couldn’t have.
PRIEST; I always knew in my heart, as we were growing up that the temptation was there.
DAVID; Then why were you so keen for me to marry Maggie?
PRIEST; I thought marriage would save you.
DAVID; [LAUGHS SARDONICALLY] It’s ironic, that’s what we were all hoping. Me included. You. Mother. The whole family in a desperate charade. Save me? From my true self? It’s just fucked me up totally.
TOM STROLLS IN, UN-NOTICED. HE GOES TO THE BAR.
You’ll no doubt be glad to know that things aren’t working out too rosy with Robert either.
PRIEST; You thought being a rich man’s plaything would be some fairy-tale?
DAVID; I work for my living.
PRIEST; Doing what?
DAVID; I paint.
PRIEST; You always had a flair. Any exhibitions?
DAVID; I paint people’s houses.
PRIEST; To other people’s specifications? What happened to- ?
DAVID; Not painting and decorating. I do pictures of people’s houses, and they buy them. I’ve just done a three-week stint in Sicily. And, of course, while I’m away from Paris… While the cat’s away…
PRIEST; Robert’s found someone else?
DAVID; There’s this young lad. Jean-Luc. I thought he was wanting to be my friend. But all the time, it was Robert he was trying to get closer
to. I can see-
THE PRIEST INDICATES TOM, WHO IS TAKING A BEMUSED INTEREST.
GIUSEPPE; [OFF-STAGE] Momento! I’ll be out in two minutes.
TOM; I’ll come back then. [TO DAVID AND THE PRIEST] Sorry to interrupt the confessional.
DAVID; This is my brother.
TOM; [RAISING A QUIZZICAL EYEBROW] Sure.
HE SMIRKS AND EXITS.
PRIEST; So you’re anxious to get back.
DAVID; Every time I come over, now, the kids snub me, Maggie attacks me physically; I’ve thirteen stitches in the back of my head from last time… There’s duty, family responsibilities and there’s passion, desire, longing.
PRIEST; And there’s desertion.
DAVID; I’ve come back again, haven’t I?
PRIEST; To find your children are junkies, your wife’s selling herself.
DAVID; I knew it! By God! Listen, are you willing to testify to that?
PRIEST; [SHAKING HIS HEAD SADLY] David.
DAVID; I’m going to catch her out. You watch. Fit mother! I’ll find a way. The cow!
GIANNI IS HEARD SINGING THE BRINDISI FROM LA TRAVIATA. HE DOES NOT SING PARTICULARLY WELL, BUT WITH GREAT JOY AND GUSTO.
GIUSEPPE, REAPPEARING AND BUSYING HIMSELF BEHIND THE BAR, SMILES AND JOINS IN.
GIANNI; [GAILY] The sun has come out!
DAVID; [MOROSELY] Yup.
GIANNI; A beautiful day.
PRIEST; Beautiful. [TO DAVID] Look, I’m going to talk to them this afternoon. We’ll arrange to all meet together this evening. This bitterness…
DAVID; Ring me.
PRIEST; [RISING] I’ll ring you. [TO GIUSEPPE, PLACING HIS EMPTY WINE GLASS ON THE BAR COUNTER] Thank you for the refreshment and the donation.
GIUSEPPE; Good day, Father.
GIANNI; God bless you, Father.
PRIEST; God bless you. And you, David. I’ll ring.
THE PRIEST EXITS.
GIUSEPPE; You call the father by his Christian name?
DAVID; He’s been my brother longer than he’s been a priest.
GIANNI SINGS THE OPENING WORDS OF THE BRINDISI AGAIN, AND SMILES AT DAVID, FEELING THAT HE HAS EXPRESSED, AND WANTS TO SHARE, HIS DELIGHT IN EXISTENCE. DAVID STARES BACK AT HIM WANLY.
DAVID; Giuseppe, black coffee and a couple of aspirins, please.
GIUSEPPE; Which do you want first?
DAVID; Giuseppe, please.
GIANNI; Would you like…?
HE OFFERS DAVID A CIGARETTE. DAVID DECLINES. IMMEDIATELY, TOM APPEARS AND TAKES A CIGARETTE FROM THE PROFERRED PACKET, SMILING HIS THANKS. GIUSEPPE PUTS ON SOME CLASSICAL MUSIC. TOM ACKNOWLEDGES THIS WITH A GRACIOUS, KNOWING NOD.
GIUSEPPE BRINGS THE ASPIRIN TABLETS AND A GLASS OF WATER TO DAVID.
GIUSEPPE; Don’t overdo it. You don’t want to reactivate the Ouzo.
GIANNI; Nuclear reactor.
DAVID; Is that what I was on last night? Anyway, whatever I drink, why should it bother you?
GIUSEPPE; It’s just that your bill’s overdue, yet every morning you have the hang-over.
TOM RATTLES HIS EMPTY CUP AND GIUSEPPE GOES FOR THE COFFEE POT.
Here it comes, gentlemen. Couldn’t be fresher.
DAVID; You’re a good sort, Giuseppe. There’s a saying in Ireland-
GIUSEPPE; “Pay the piper, call the tune”?
DAVID; Tomorrow, without fail.
TOM SIPS HIS COFFEE NOISILY.
DAVID; [GROANING] Like a pig-farm!
GIANNI; [GENTLY] Ugly.
TOM; Giuseppe- or should I say Figaro- ?
GIUSEPPE; [BURSTING INTO SONG] Figaro qua, Figaro la! Son’ un barbiere di qualità.
GIANNI; [JOINING IN WITH GIUSEPPE’S REPETITION OF THE FINAL TWO WORDS] …di qualità!
DAVID; Have mercy!
GIANNI; [REFERRING TO GIUSEPPE] He could make money.
GIUSEPPE; Ah, money. That’s what I’m here for.
TOM; Bravissimo, maestro. [TAKING OUT HIS WALLET]
GIUSEPPE; [SINGING TO THE “FIGARO” MELODY] Pay the piper, choose the tune. Eleven o’clock is collecting time.
GIANNI; [INNOCENTLY] What you collect?
DAVID; Am I not welcome here?
TOM; [HANDING SOME BANK NOTES TO GIUSEPPE] Before lunch, I must listen to my Vivaldi.
GIUSEPPE; [TO DAVID] Anybody who pays, I welcome.
GIANNI; Soldi, soldi! La rovina dell’uomo!
DAVID; I told you I’ll pay tomorrow.
TOM; Who’s got a cigarette?
DAVID; I never said I couldn’t pay.
GIUSEPPE; Then we have no problem.
TOM; An excellent cup of coffee!
GIANNI; Each man has his faults.
DAVID; You can say that again!
TOM; [PROVOCATIVELY] Each man has his faults.
DAVID GLARES FIERCELY AT TOM, WHO TURNS TO ADDRESS GIANNI.
We’ve all got our own hang-ups, eh, amigo?
GIANNI; [INNOCENTLY PUZZLED] Hang….ups?
GIUSEPPE. [TO GIANNI] Fissazioni. [TO TOM AND DAVID] And the less you do, the more hang-ups you have.
TOM; Bravo! Giuseppe, the psychological saviour! Giuseppe has revealed the antidote for all our hang-ups; activity!
DAVID; If only that were true!
GIUSEPPE; It’s that simple.
TOM; [FOR DAVID’S BENEFIT] Of course it depends what the activity is. Some activities men get up to, I personally wouldn’t touch with a barge pole. There’s quite an amusing drag act I saw back in Canada. Called himself Lola. Well, it seems a popular sobriquet among those guys who’re a trifle uncertain about their gender. He sang this number… How did it go?… [SINGING TO THE TUNE OF ICH BIN DIE FESCHE LOLA]
They call him naughty Lola, the biggest slag on earth;
At home, his pianola gets worked for all its worth…
GIANNI; Go on. Is good.
TOM; The boys all love his music; he can’t keep them away
[PATTING HIS POSTERIOR]
So his little pianola keeps working night and day.
DAVID; Has anybody ever given you your own teeth for breakfast?
GIANNI; Teeth…for breakfast?
GIUSEPPE; Not on the menu in this establishment.
TOM; A few people have tried it. They only ever tried it once.
GIANNI; Only once, each person?
TOM; Then I became a steward.
GIANNI; On the aeroplanes?
TOM; I served them their own teeth instead. On a plate.
GIUSEPPE; Only a part-time job then?
GIANNI; Me, I’m looking for the part-time job.
DAVID; [TO TOM] That simple!
GIUSEPPE; [TO GIANNI] I’d better keep an eye on you.
GIANNI; Any job. I’m not proud. I need the money. Don’t worry, I find the job.
STRANGER 5 ENTERS, A POSTMAN WITH SIX OR SEVEN LETTERS. GIUSEPPE GIVES HIM A BOTTLE OF BEER.
TOM; [SINGING] “Some day I’ll find you…”
DAVID; [TO TOM] Are you ready to shut up?
POSTMAN; [TO GIUSEPPE] This weather, mate! A bit nippy earlier on. Now the sun’s out, it’s bleeding scorching.
GIUSEPPE; Not before time. [SORTING THROUGH THE ENVELOPES] Bills, bills…
POSTMAN; [PICKING UP THE DRINK] Cheers. [HE SWIGS FROM THE BOTTLE, WIPING HIS BROW] I’m sweating like a pig.
HE STARTS TO REMOVE HIS TROUSERS. DAVID LOOKS UP IN SURPRISE. THE POSTMAN CATCHES HIS LOOK.
Don’t worry, mate. I’ve come prepared.
TOM NOTICES THAT DAVID IS EYEING THE POSTMAN AND SMIRKS.
Yeah, they said on the telly it’d warm up, so I put my shorts on underneath. Be prepared, eh?
GIANNI; When you go away from home, the money seems to evaporate; It vanish into thin air.
GIUSEPPE; [TO THE POSTMAN] Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
THE POSTMAN GIVES A KNOWING LOOK. HE SITS ON A STOOL AT THE BAR AND DRINKS FROM THE BOTTLE.
POSTMAN; Actually, Giuseppe, I’ve got a mate coming down from Liverpool at the week-end. Got a room? Friday to Monday?
GIUSEPPE; Sorry. All the rooms are taken. Gianni here’s just booked into the last one.
GIANNI; At present, I go through a bad patch.
GIUSEPPE; But don’t try to make me an accomplice.
POSTMAN; [TO GIUSEPPE] I’d watch it, if I were you, pal. Remember that long-haired git that scarpered last month. How much did he owe you?
GIUSEPPE; [ROLLS HIS EYES AND SHAKES HIS HEAD] The bastard even took-
POSTMAN; Musician, wasn’t he? A dodgy bunch, musicians.
GIANNI; I’m no musician. I am friend of Nicola.
GIUSEPPE; Not paying the bill is still fraud.
POSTMAN; [TO GIANNI] Who’s Nicola, then? Your girlfriend? [TO GIUSEPPE] Why doesn’t he move in with her?
TOM; Maybe I should take up music again.
GIUSEPPE; In Italy, Nicola’s a boy’s name.
POSTMAN; Get away!
TOM; You ought to get a piano in here, Giuseppe.
POSTMAN; [LAUGHING] Now there’s an idea, mate. Friday night knees-ups, eh?
GIANNI; I can pay some money on account. [HE GETS OUT HIS WALLET]
GIUSEPPE; [ACCEPTING GIANNI’S MONEY] That’s a start.
TOM; My fingers are itching to tickle the old ivories again.
POSTMAN; [SINGING] Knees up. Mother Brown!
STILL SITTING HE RAISES HIS KNEES RHYTHMICALLY AS IN THE COCKNEY DANCE. AMUSED
Knees up, Mother Brown!
Under the table you must go!
Ee-ay, ee-ay, ee-ay-o.
HE NOTICES DAVID EYEING HIS LEGS.
Yeah, footballer’s legs these, mate.
HE JUMPS OFF THE STOOL AND DOES THE DANCE, GIUSEPPE BEATING TIME WITH A SPOON ON A PLATE.
If I catch you bending, you will surely know-
DAVID IS EMBARRASSED. TOM BURSTS OUT LAUGHING.
Knees up, knees up! Don’t get the breeze up!
Knees up, Mother Brown!
GIANNI; [APPLAUDING] Bravo! Bravo!
DAVID; [RISING] I must make a move.
GIUSEPPE; I’d appreciate it if you could do something about the
little matter under discussion. Five days now…
DAVID GIVES AN ENIGMATIC GESTURE AND EXITS. GIUSEPPE GOES AFTER HIM HASTILY.
TOM; Your mood seems to have changed. Earlier on you were singing happily.
GIANNI; Last night I meet nice lady. Nice time. My first night in England.
POSTMAN; Good for you, mate. Nothing like a spot of slap and tickle. [HAVING FINISHED HIS BEER, HE STUFFS HIS TROUSERS INTO HIS BAG.] Well, I’m on my way.
GIANNI; Now my problems, they come back to haunt me.
POSTMAN; [CALLING] I’m off, Giuseppe! Thanks for the beer!
THE POSTMAN EXITS, AS GIUSEPPE REAPPEARS.
GIUSEPPE; [CALLING AFTER HIM] Ciao! See you tomorrow. But no more bills, uh!
TOM; What made you come to England, my friend?
GIANNI; I need…I needed change of air.
TOM; Have you got any family? Back in Italy. I take it you have …famiglia in Italia?
GIANNI; [WARILY] It’s the long story.
GIUSEPPE PICKS UP HIS POST AND DISAPPEARS BEHIND THE BAR.
TOM; Well, friend, if you give me one of your delightful Italian cigarettes, I’ll listen. If it’s a very long story, I’ll smoke all your cigarettes.
GIANNI; Mmm…[HE INDICATES NOT WANTING TO BORE TOM]
TOM; Try me.
GIANNI; Problems. If you could solve them, I’d give you all the cigarettes you want.
TOM; [TAKING THE PACKET] This’ll do for a start.
GIANNI; Marriage! It should put a stop to chasing the girls! You hope. Everyone hopes. Some hope! For a while, okay, it seems to work. Then, what happens? Ah, the old itch; the old lust to find gold in brass, it takes possession of you. Repossession.
TOM; That’s quite profound.
GIANNI; You start chasing rainbows.
TOM; So graphic!
GIANNI; I had everything; comfortable home, forgiving wife, two handsome kids doing well at school, job-security…
TOM; Don’t tell me; all thrown away?
GIANNI; Scappatella! How do you say? You stray from the straight and narrow a first time. Okay. You get away with it. So, a second time. Fine. A pattern. Then, a third…
TOM; Such stamina!
GIANNI; It has become your modus vivendi.
TOM; You Latins!
GIANNI; A part of your character, way of life. You shrug off the hurt, the frustration, any consequences, any dangers. What have you become? A compulsive liar to the very people you should be closest to. Your home, that holy sanctuary, becomes…what? A ring!
TOM; Ring? Like Wagner?
GIANNI; A boxing ring. Non-stop shadow-boxing! Impossible to relax there any more. Then, one day- boom!- out of the blue, Judgement Day arrives.
TOM; [GENUINELY INTERESTED NOW] Keep talking.
GIANNI; [TAKING OUT A PHOTOGRAPH] When I met Lisa she was a bundle of sheer fun. So young. Just twenty.
GIANNI; She was. The figure, the eyes, the grace…
TOM; Twenty, you say?
GIANNI; Maybe nineteen.
TOM; Just how I like them.
GIANNI; We hit it off from the start, in spite of the difference in ages…
TOM; Some girls…You like ’em young too, eh?
GIANNI; You’d think a girl of nineteen, everything going for her, wouldn’t take a fling with a man my age very seriously. Lisa, she did.
TOM; Son of a gun!
GIANNI; Like me she was fan of The Rolling Stones. Compatability. We… Then, she wanted me night and day.
TOM; Lucky you.
GIANNI; She got possessive, demanding. Aiai! Her father, let me tell you, her father had kept her in a golden cage!
TOM; [SINGING] “Only a bird in a gilded-”
GIANNI; Me, I was the first man in her life!.
TOM; That explains it, amigo. When they get their first taste-
GIANNI; She developed such an appetite!
GIANNI; The dream turned into the nightmare… She was used to getting her own way in everything. She followed me home.
TOM; She followed you home?
GIANNI; She followed me home.
TOM; You’d told her you were married?
GIANNI; Of course. She knew that. What kind of swine am I do you think? But…I had suggested my wife was frigid, ugly… that I’d only married her because she was the boss’s daughter…As you do. When Lisa saw different, all hell broke loose.
TOM; How, different?
GIANNI; [ANGUISHING] My wife is one hell of a beautiful woman! A loving, caring mother! A home-maker! Always there, always available. I tell you something…What’s your name?
TOM; Tom. Tom Le-
GIANNI; I tell you something, Tom; the more I went astray, the more I loved my wife. And the more I love her, the more I show it…you know; jig-a-jig.
TOM; Tell me… What’s your name again?
TOM; Tell me, Gianni, wasn’t there any time, just once, when you couldn’t, you know, rise to the occasion?
GIANNI; [LAUGHING IN SURPRISE] No.
TOM; [DEPRESSED] I need another cigarette.
GIANNI; Help yourself.
TOM; Thanks. So…what did this Lena-
TOM; Lisa. What did she do?
TOM USES GIANNI’S SELF-ABSORPTION TO SMUGGLE A COUPLE OF HIS CIGARETTES INTO HIS POCKET. GIANNI AGONISES BEFORE CONTINUING.
HE AGONISES AGAIN AND TOM PINCHES ANOTHER CIGARETTE.
She telephoned my wife!
GIANNI; She told Sara everything and-
GIANNI; My wife. Lisa told my wife everything on the telephone. Everything and more. Sara- my wife- she refused to believe her. She called her a street-walker-
GIANNI; Yes. Sara-
TOM; Your wife.
GIANNI; Yes. She called Lisa-
GIANNI; Yes. Sara called Lisa a street-walker, a common whore. She hung up the ‘phone on her. Aiaiai! Petrol to the flames! Lisa rang Umberto!
GIANNI; Umberto!!! Umberto, he’s my father-in-law. And Umberto, he knew exactly who Lisa was!!
GIANNI; No, no, no! Who she was! He came down on me like a ton of stones. He knew who she was!
TOM; I may not be grasping this too clearly, but who exactly was she?
GIANNI; I didn’t know. You understand, I’d no idea. John-
GIANNI; Tom, I only found out who Lisa was when Umberto-
TOM; Your father-in-law.
GIANNI; My father-in-law.
GIANNI; Umberto. I only found out who Lisa was when Umberto-
TOM; Sandra’s father.
TOM; Your wife.
GIANNI; I only found out who Lisa was when Umberto called me into the office. Aii!…
TOM; She was…?
GIANNI; My friend, Umberto-
TOM; Umberto was your friend?
GIANNI; My father-in-law!
TOM; I thought you said-
GIANNI; You are my friend. Umberto is my father-in-law.
TOM; Got it. Sara is your wife, Umberto is her father.
GIANNI; Excuse me. Umberto called me into his office, and…oh, disaster!
TOM; He told you who Lisa was.
GIANNI; [NODDING] Umberto, he had been at school with Lisa’s father. In the old days. And the two of them-
TOM; Umberto, your father-in-law and Lisa’s father?
GIANNI; Yes. They hate each other’s guts.
GIANNI; Che miseria! The mother of Lisa had been the sweetheart of Umberto, but Ugo- the father of Lisa- had snatched her away from him. Aiaia! From then on, they both went in different directions; Ugo, the father of Lisa and-
GIANNI; The father of my wife.
TOM; They hated each other.
GIANNI; Yes. But worse. Umberto took the whole thing as an effrontery to his honour. That same night our marriage bed was refused to me. My wife-
GIANNI; Sara. She became distant, cold. The kids, they avoided me, whenever. The sitting-room sofa, that became my bed.
TOM; At least, you had a roof over your head. Time-
GIANNI; At meal times I was no longer invited to the table. In effect, I was a guest who has stayed longer than his welcome. The atmosphere in the house was more astern than at a funeral.
GIANNI; Than at a funeral.
GIANNI; No telephone call was passed to me for so long. Then one day, one of my colics, Paolo-
TOM; You had colic?
GIANNI; Yes. At work.
GIANNI; He was nice man.
GIANNI; My colic.
TOM; Ah, your colleague!
TOM; Your colleague at work.
GIANNI; He telephoned me. He pleaded with my wife to speak to me. [DARKLY] Paolo told me to make myself scarce for a while.
TOM [KNOWINGLY] Ehe! Somebody after your arse?
GIANNI; Not only my arse, but my balls and gun as well as my head!
TOM; Cutting people’s cocks and balls off is against the law.
GIANNI; Not when your father-in-law is your boss.
TOM; Mind you, female circumcision in the Middle East-
TOM; I could tell you stories-
GIANNI; Che miseria!
TOM; It might take your mind of things. Travelling-
GIANNI; But the other!
TOM; [MISTAKING THE SENSE] Ah, the other! Yeah, that always works. Almost-
GIANNI; The other father.
TOM; The other father. Lisa’s father.
GIANNI; May God help me! My father-in-law-
TOM; So, you work for your father-in-law. He doesn’t own you.
GIANNI; He was one thing. Lisa’s father, Ugo, he turns out to be the bastard wanting blood.
TOM; Only one thing to do in cases like that, my friend.
TOM; Be a first-rate bastard back.
GIANNI; And end up in the mortuary.
TOM; Look, a guy’s got to stand up to anybody who tries to push him around. There’s a new film-
GIANNI; So little you know. Ugo…
TOM; Lisa’s father?
GIANNI; Ugo. The people, they stand to attention to him. You know what I mean?
TOM; Who the hell is this guy? The chief of police?
GIANNI; I wish! At least from the chief of police you know what to expect!
TOM; Have another cigarette. It’ll soothe your nerves.
GIANNI; The only thing that soothes my nerves is enough distance between me and the hitmen of Ugo.
GIANNI; Of Ugo. He is [VERY SIGNIFICANTLY, IN HUSHED TONES]Family man.
TOM; Yes, you said. Lisa’s his daughter.
GIANNI; No , no. Not that family. Family. Mafiosa.
GIANNI; Shh! Big man in his [MOUTHING] Mafia.
TOM; You’re telling me there’s more than one person gunning for you?
GIANNI; Yes. I don’t know what to expect. He could send anyone.
TOM; Does he know you’re here?
GIANNI; They have ways of finding out. You become wise when it’s too late. A good family, secure job, a home…fantastic. All gone. Now, hiding like a common criminal! Why didn’t I leave Lisa alone?
TOM; You’ll survive. And I’m talking from experience.
GIANNI; Survive? I’m in a foreign country. What can I do? I was at the top of my profession. I had-
THE TELEPHONE RINGS. TOM LEAPS TO HIS FEET TO ANSWER THE CALL, KNOCKING OVER A CHAIR, JUST AS GIUSEPPE REAPPEARS. THEY BUMP INTO EACH OTHER.
GIUSEPPE; What’s the rush?
TOM; No rush.
GIUSEPPE; And wrecking the place?
TOM; It’s my woman I’m waiting for. Come on, answer it!
GIUSEPPE STARES AT HIM AND PICKS UP THE RECEIVER.
GIUSEPPE; Hello. Giuseppe… Good morning to you as well!…
TOM; Is it for me?
GIUSEPPE; Yes…I understand…If you want…
TOM; [GESTICULATING] For me?
GIUSEPPE; Will do. [REPLACING THE RECEIVER] Calm yourself.
GIANNI; Come and sit down.
GIUSEPPE; It’s common decency not to harass people when they are on the telephone.
TOM; Getting on our high horse, are we now?
GIANNI; Want a cigarette?
TOM; [TAKING A CIGARETTE, WITH A FORCED SMILE] What a pal!
GIUSEPPE; That was Karen.
TOM; Now he tells me!
GIUSEPPE; I was told to give you a message. She wasn’t keen to talk to you personally. She can’t see you today.
TOM; I don’t believe this.
GIUSEPPE; Gospel truth.
GIANNI; [LIGHTING TOM’S CIGARETTE] It will calm the nerves.
TOM; I want to know what she said exactly.
GIUSEPPE; She seemed, well, afraid to talk and in a hurry. Her husband was in the next room.
TOM; The goddamned truth!
GIUSEPPE; That is the goddamned-
GIANNI; I’m reliving the nightmare!
GIUSEPPE; [TO TOM STILL] I can always invent something else, but I don’t have the time.
GIANNI; This Cara-
TOM; It’s her goddamned husband! He has come back!
GIUSEPPE; Last night.
TOM; I thought she was making an excuse.
GIUSEPPE; Because of the dog business.
TOM; This is going to be tricky.
GIUSEPPE; She says she’ll ring as soon as she gets the chance.
GIANNI; This Cara-
TOM; Karen. Her name’s Karen.
TOM; [TO GIUSEPPE] I wish I could trust you.
GIANNI; This lady…married, eh?
GIUSEPPE; The feeling is mutual.
TOM; You’ve seen the colour of my money. Some bloody war! Why couldn’t he get shot?
TOM; Her husband. He’s a soldier. Back last night, in one piece. Those goddamned adolescents couldn’t even shoot his dick off!
GIUSEPPE; That’s a terrible thing to say. Just because he’s spoiling your adulterous fun.
GIANNI; You have the gun?
TOM; Wish I had. No, if it’s a gun you’re after you’d better speak to that other guy; David. He’s Irish. They all carry an Armalite and half a ton of Semtex in their luggage.
GIANNI; [AGHAST] You don’t think…
TOM; I’m not in the mood for joking. The minute I get back in with her, her bloody husband comes back!
GIANNI; Sit down, my friend. This David, when did he… ?
TOM; So you’re not the only one with troubles, you see.
GIUSEPPE GOES ABOUT HIS WORK.
You’re not the only stray Lothario in this joint.
GIANNI; [GLUMLY] Ah, Casanova!
TOM; [EQUALLY GLUMLY] Casanova. Casanova!
TOM; He got away with it. Time after time. But that was then.
TOM; Nowadays, huh!
GIANNI; You and me, we friends, yes? We look out for each other. I think we are…you say; minority?
TOM; That David’s the minority, if you grasp my meaning. He’s an oddball.
GIANNI; Odd… ?
TOM; You watch yourself with him. I reckon he bats for the other side. Just watch out, that’s all.
GIANNI; We watch out for each other, yes?
TOM; What was I saying? Yes, regular guys are the same the world over, married or not.
GIUSEPPE EMERGES BEHIND THE BAR WITH A COUPLE OF LETTERS, AND ENTERS BOOKINGS IN HIS LEDGER.
The sexual instinct of the hunter, it’s still going strong in every one of us. Sooner or later we all have a go, you know. The ones that don’t just lack the guts, that’s all. And, of course, because they’ve not got what it takes to make that first pass, they cover up their basic cowardice with the fine cloak of respectability. Take the politicians…
STRANGER 6 ENTERS BREATHLESSLY, WEARING CYCLING HELMET AND CYCLING SHORTS, A SMALL RUCKSACK ON HIS BACK. HE IS THE KITCHEN-HAND.
GIUSEPPE; Hey, Besim! At last! I was going to send a wreath.
BESIM; [SHRUGGING OFF HIS BACK-PACK] I’m sorry. Giuseppe, I’m sorry. The baby…
GIANNI; [DUBIOUSLY] My friend, some men…the saints, popes…
BESIM; Up all night. Again.
TOM; Popes! Ah! Saints…Frustrated devils. Any man needs a sexual outlet.
GIUSEPPE; Here, have a coffee and get your breath back.
BESIM; Never again! No more babies, please God!
GIUSEPPE; Hm. You say that now.
DAVID; No phone call yet?
GIUSEPPE SHAKES HIS HEAD.
A large vodka, please.
GIUSEPPE; Hair of the dog, eh? You’re the customer.
TOM; It’s your lucky day, David.
DAVID LOOKS AT HIM, PUZZLED. TOM INDICATES THE LYCRA SHORTS.
We were just talking about sexual frustration. I was saying all men need a sexual outlet. Of one kind or another.
DAVID; [BRUSQUELY TURNING HIS BACK] I’ll take my drink upstairs.
HE PICKS UP HIS VODKA AND EXITS.
GIANNI; St. Francis, he was frustrated?
TOM; Yes, well he reckoned he got his kicks from the birds of the feathered variety, but there was still that blonde in the background. What’s her name? Sylvia? Celia? Did you see the film “Brother Sun, Sister Moon”?
GIUSEPPE Saint Clare.
TOM; [SCORNFULLY] Saint Clare…
GIANNI; You think…Saint Clare, she…?
TOM; I know, my friend. Throughout history, they’ve all been at it. That film was a cover-up job. All pretty-pretty scenery and music. But any fool could read between the lines. And the actors, the directors, producers, they’d be bonking away the minute the cameras stopped turning. Believe me.
TOM; Bonk. Bonking, the lot of them. Jig-a-jig.
GIANNI; [WHO IS GENUINELY SHOCKED AT TOM’S ATTITUDE, BUT DOES NOT WISH TO BE IMPOLITE] In Italy, my friend, not like that, outside the film world. In Italy-
TOM; The film world? Read any newspaper. Look at the divorce rate, for God’s sake. Show business! If they stay married for two years it’s a miracle. Chop and change. You want a list? Liz Taylor, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Madonna-
GIANNI; [FIRMLY] Sophia Loren.
GIANNI; [TRIUMPHANTLY] She is Italian!
GIUSEPPE; Tell me, why did you choose a married woman?
TOM; Or did she choose me?
GIANNI; Ah, but-
TOM; Or did we choose each other? Or did Fate choose us? It’s basic sex, my friend. [TO BESIM] Are you married?
BESIM; I have a child.
TOM; That means nothing these days.
BESIM; I am married. To English wife.
TOM; [KNOWINGLY] Ah, I get it! ‘Nough said.
BESIM; It is not as you think, because I am refugee. We love each other. We have a baby together.
TOM; Yeah, yeah. But if a fit young piece were to come sashaying in, tits and arse waggling-
BESIM; [DISAPPROVING OF TOM’S MORAL BANKRUPTCY] I get to work now.
HE EXITS WITH HIS COFFEE.
GIANNI; You say…
TOM; Can’t be denied. The goddess Aphrodite!
GIANNI; In Italy…outside the film world…where I come from… it is duty to think of the family, to think of the husband, the wife.
TOM; Crap! Who thought of me? My wife and that muscle-bound jerk of a driving instructor; did they think of me?
HE BECOMES AWARE THAT GIUSEPPE IS HEARING THE CONVERSATION,
Yes, okay, I was cuckolded.
GIUSEPPE; I thought there was something wrong with your head.
TOM; That’s life! Isn’t it?
GIUSEPPE; Not my life. Cuckoo! Cuckoo! [HE MOVES AWAY]
TOM; [TO GIANNI] Me, I’ve got two beautiful, lovely daughters. Had.
GIANNI; The saddest thing that can happen to a man.
TOM; My wife, Mirella, I just got this gut feeling she was having an affair. I just knew. So I set a trap. I set a trap and I caught the goddamned fornicators in the act!
GIUSEPPE; Cuckoo! Cuckoo!…
GIUSEPPE DISAPPEARS AND TOM, NOW QUITE INTENSE, CARRIES ON.
TOM; The bitch!
TOM; Don’t speak her name!
TOM; Don’t ever speak her name. Not to me.
GIANNI; I’m sorry.
TOM; Just don’t let me hear the bitch’s name, okay? D’accordo?
GIANNI; You set the trap.
TOM; And I caught them. In the act. Flagrante delicto. Bonk, bonk. Hah! She-
TOM; Don’t mention her name! She’s history.
GIANNI; I’m sorry.
TOM; Michel; that’s the bastard driving instructor she was bonking with. He jumped out of the window. In his birth-day suit. Naked as the day he was born. Hah! Leapt straight into his car, his bloody driving instructor’s car. Not a stitch on him. A cold, rainy day.
GIUSEPPE; [SINGING AS HE REAPPEARS, CARRYING ON WITH HIS CHORES]
Vendetta! Tremenda vendetta!…taaa…taaa…
TOM; Fuck your Puccini!
GIANNI; A cold day?
TOM; Yeah, and the great thing was, the street was crowded. It was interesting. People quickly make way for a naked man. First, after he’d jumped down, he was rubbing his shoulders; then, when he saw them looking, he was shielding his banana, what was left of it in that weather. He was hiding its shrinking, not displaying its growth for a change!
GIANNI; And Mir- your wife?
TOM; Great! The best part. She turned to me, just as she was, and do you
know what she said?
GIANNI; I don’t know what she said.
TOM; She said; “Make love to me…now!” Can you believe that?
GIANNI; Your wife, Mi- [HE STOPS HIMSELF FROM COMPLETING HER NAME] Your wife, she said that? Impossible.
TOM; Bare-faced audacity, huh? I love it. She was turned on by it all.
TOM; What do you think I did?
GIANNI; When she said that?
TOM; “Make love to me…now!” That’s what she said.
GIANNI; I think you just stood and stared at her, cold, icy.
TOM; I did. Savouring the situation.
GIANNI; Who could make love in that…? In cases like that, the first thing that goes is your pride and joy. It is like castration.
GIUSEPPE; [POINTEDLY] The perfect punishment for adulterers, some say.
BESIM, NOW WEARING THE WHITE JACKET AND CHECKED TROUSERS OF KITCHEN STAFF APPEARS WITH A CHALK-BOARD WITH THE LUNCH MENU. HE PLACES IT NEAR THE BAR.
HE AND GIUSEPPE LOOK AT EACH OTHER & BOTH LISTEN AS TOM CONTINUES HIS TALE.
TOM; Like I say, she looked at me. She spoke again, draping herself over the bed. A beautiful woman. Smooth skin, firm breasts, rounded thighs…”Come to me now, Tom, come to me…” I looked at those lips, those breasts, that waist, the thighs and long legs open, inviting… Her hair spread out over the pillow… “Come to me”, she said again. “Take me now.” Wanting. I knew exactly what she wanted. Inevitable. So I went to her…and I kicked her fucking head in!
She…was…in…pain! Bitch! You know, I never knew I could be so vicious. It took Mirella to teach me. And did I enjoy it! Black both her eyes, broke her nose. There was blood all over the place. She was begging, begging. I got the scissors from her dressing table and I just cut off all her hair, like the cheating whore she was. Then I made her suck me off. It was a turn-on, I tell you. Oh, I taught her the folly of messing with the likes of me. I slapped her about a bit more and left her unconscious- if she was unconscious, the devious cow!- and left for good.
Just packed my bags, ‘phoned the school to tell the kids to go to granny and took the first coach east. Good-bye, Vancouver. Good-bye to her!
GIUSEPPE; [HORRIFIED] Nice way to solve a problem. When was this?
TOM; Ten days ago.
GIANNI; In Italy-
TOM; In Italy you’d have shot her, I know.
TOM; Come on! But, no offence, I just feel more civilised. I’d made my point.
GIUSEPPE; So you’re on the run from the police?
TOM; [CHANGING TACK] No. Perhaps I exaggerated the damage. She’ll be right as rain by now. Anyway, it so happened that my father died a couple of months ago and left me quite a bit of money, so the timing was perfect. Here I am, a free man. So don’t speak to me about the morality of doing to some other guy what was done to me. OK, Karen’s married. Who cares? OK, so the husband’s a commando. I can look after myself. Black belt in karate.
HE EXITS TOWARDS THE TOILETS.
GIANNI; He is hard man, yes?
GIUSEPPE; He’d have been harder if he’d beaten the driving instructor and left his wife alone. Could be bullshit. Like a lot of what he says.
BESIM; [NODDING GRIMLY] The customer, he is always right, eh?
GIUSEPPE; But it’d better not be bullshit about the money.
GIANNI; The food, it smells good.
BESIM; The food, it is good.
BESIM EXITS TO THE KITCHEN AS DAVID ENTERS WITH SOME BANK-NOTES AT THE READY.
GIUSEPPE; Half an hour to lunch-time.
DAVID; The best I can do for the moment. But, if the worst comes to the worst, I’m a first-class painter and decorator…
GIUSEPPE; [TAKING AND COUNTING THE MONEY] We’ll see. I’m just going to make some fresh coffee.
DAVID SITS AT THE TABLE WITH GIANNI, WHO IS INSTANTLY UNCOMFORTABLE.
GIANNI; [TO DAVID] The nice weather.
DAVID; Nice. Pity. What I’ve got to do today isn’t very nice.
DAVID; Today’s poisoned.
DAVID; I’m just waiting for a phone call, then…
THERE IS A MOMENT OF SILENCE, THEN THE PHONE RINGS. GIANNI FREEZES.
This could be it.
THE PHONE RINGS THREE TIMES, THEN IS SILENT. GIUSEPPE REAPPEARS.
GIUSEPPE; Did somebody answer my phone.
DAVID; You said not to.
GIANNI; It ring for three times, then stop. Like a code.
GIUSEPPE; If it’s important, they’ll ring back.
GIANNI; [TO TOM] Welcome back, my friend.
TOM; [IRONICALLY] It’s simply great to be back.
GIANNI; I just said; good weather today.
THE PHONE RINGS AGAIN. GIUSEPPE ANSWERS IT.
GIUSEPPE; Hello. Giuseppe… Mi dispiace, signora… I’m sorry all my rooms are taken… I’m so sorry.
HE REPLACES THE RECEIVER AND GOES OUT.
GIANNI; [MOROSELY] The food it smells good.
CLASSICAL MUSIC FROM THE SOUND SYSTEM.
TOM; [LISTENING TO THE MUSIC] Ah, you can’t beat Tchaikovsky.
DAVID; [WITH A SCORNFUL SNORT] Tchaikovsky!?
TOM; Peter Tchaikovsky’s Concerto Number One.
GIANNI; [RIGHTLY DUBIOUS] Concerto…?
TOM; Yes. Shh! Coffee!
GIUSEPPE; More coffee, gentlemen? [HE POURS]
TOM; Ah, Tchaikovsky! He spent a lot of time in Venice, you know.
DAVID; And now he’s spending a hell of a lot longer somewhere else.
GIANNI; In Venice?
TOM; Oh yes. Actually he’s still there.
GIANNI; [WARILY] You’ve seen him?
DAVID; Smoked a few of his cigarettes, no doubt.
TOM; He didn’t smoke.
GIANNI LOOKS AT THE OTHERS SURREPTITIOUSLY.
GIUSEPPE; [AMUSED] He must be quite an age now.
DAVID; Still composing, is he?
GIUSEPPE; [ASIDE TO DAVID] More likely decomposing.
DAVID; I suppose he wrote you a tune or two?
GIUSEPPE; Mind you, they do say that if you sit in the Piazza San Marco long enough, everyone you’ve ever known will pass by.
DAVID; Not if they’re dead. Bumped into Elvis as well, did you?
TOM; [SIGHING SMUGLY] No, no.
GIANNI; [WANTING TO STAND BY HIS NEW FRIEND AS THE OTHERS LAUGH] I think maybe you mean the poet Ezra Pound. [TO THE OTHERS] There is the resemblance with Tchaikovsky. Ezra Pound?
TOM; Ezra Pound is dead.
DAVID; I’ve got some bad news for you. Your mate Tchaikovsky’s not exactly alive and kicking.
GIANNI; A ghost, maybe? You saw the ghost?
TOM; I don’t believe in ghosts. You’re all very stupid. You clearly never go to the cinema.
GIANNI; It was on the pictures you saw him in Venice, yes?
TOM; Not in Venice. In Montreal and several times on t.v. For your information, folks, Peter Tchaikovsky’s remains, are buried in Venice. That’s why I say he is still there. There is a very beautiful film called Death in Venice. That’s how I know that Tchaikovsky didn’t smoke. He committed suicide there. Deliberately drank contaminated water. Can one believe a film, I hear you cry. Yes, I reply. If the film is made by a maestro the likes of Pier-Paolo Pasolini. Or Federico Antonioni…
GIANNI; Death in Venice was Lucino Visconti.
TOM; Of course. Lucino Visconti. I knew that.
DAVID; [ANGRILY] But what’s Death in bleeding Venice got to do with Tchaikovsky?
TOM; Only everything. The music was sublime. That closing shot as he dies from the contamination. The music was-
DAVID; The music was Mahler. “Death in Venice” is based on a novella by Thomas Mann. It’s about a writer, not a composer and, for sure, the whole thing’s got bugger all to do with Peter Tchaikovsky.
TOM; Have you never heard of symbolism? Sure, symbolism is the essential prerequisite for any half-way decent work of art.
DAVID; [AFTER A SLIGHT PAUSE] OK, what’s symbolic about the Venus de Milo?
TOM; [AGAIN AFTER A SLIGHT PAUSE] Her arms are missing for a start. What does that tell us?
DAVID; You’re full of shit, you know that?
GIUSEPPE; Gentlemen, gentlemen. I think all this hanging about for telephone calls is taking its toll. Why don’t I sit down and join you in a glass of vino? My treat.
TOM; There’s an offer not to be refused.
GIUSEPPE; If you two shake hands and agree to differ.
TOM; OK by me. I’m not the one who was losing his temper.
HE OFFERS HIS HAND TO DAVID. THEY SHAKE PERFUNCTORILY. GIUSEPPE GOES FOR WINE.
DAVID; By this time tomorrow, I’ll have done what I’ve got to do, and I’ll be out of here.
DAVID OFFERS A CIGARETTE TO GIANNI, WHO NERVOUSLY DECLINES. TOM HELPS HIMSELF.
TOM; Don’t mind if I do, old fruit. And maybe I’ll take another one for
DAVID; [TAKING BACK THE PACKET AND POCKETING IT] I’m thinking maybe you won’t. You can buy them in any corner shop, newsagent’s or supermarket. If your so inclined.
TOM; I fear I might get addicted if I started buying whole packets.
DAVID; You’ll just stay addicted to cadging them, then?
TOM; Spot on! You have to be careful about your addictions. I’ll tell you a story. More coffee, please, maestro. Back in Canada, I have a friend.
DAVID; Just the one? Runs a tobacco factory, does he?
TOM; His name is Luke.
DAVID; Look where? I don’t see a thing.
TOM; It’s a cautionary tale. You’ll appreciate it, Gino.
TOM; Gianni. You’ll appreciate it. Luke, this friend of mine; tall, handsome hunk. Sexy, but really. Well-hung, charm as well, the bastard. [TO DAVID] I see I have your attention.
GIUSEPPE RETURNS WITH THE POURED GLASSES OF WINE. HE OFFERS THEM ROUND.
DAVID; Just tell your story. If you have to.
TOM; Luke, wherever he went, eyes were on him. And not just eyes. His success with the women was phenomenal. One day, he said to me; “Tom” he said, “Me, sexually, I’ve tried everything once.” I took this in, then… “Everything?”, I said. Luke, he just sort of smiled at me for a moment, then he said; “Everything except one thing…I’ve never sex with another guy.” I said; “Don’t look at me, buster. No dice!” He sort of laughed and said; “Don’t be an ass-hole!” -Which, when you think about it… Anyhow, what he said next… He said; “You wanna know why I’ve never had sex with another guy? I’ve had plenty of offers, but you wanna know why I’ve always shied away? I was scared stiff I might like it!”
GIUSEPPE; [LAUGHING] Scared stiff! [HE LAUGHS, TOM GROANS.]
DAVID; [VERY SULLEN] What’s that got to do with smoking other people’s cigarettes?
GIANNI; Sex with another man…
TOM; I thought that was interesting.
GIUSEPPE; [TO TOM] Have you ever tried it?
TOM; GUYING EFFEMINACY] Oo, Giuseppe, you beast! I’m sorry, sweetie, but you’re not my type.
GIUSEPPE; That’s a relief!
TOM; So I’ll settle my bill the normal way.
GIUSEPPE; That’s even more of a relief.
DAVID IS STRANGELY DISTRESSED BY THE STORY AND THE REMARKS.
TOM; [TO GIANNI] Ehey, amigo! Tell us about your adventure last night.
GIANNI; [BRIGHTENING] Last night; all right.
TOM; You mentioned meeting a lady. Your first night in England. Did you get lucky.
GIANNI; Lucky? No, no. I did not go to the casino.
TOM; Who cares where you went. Did you find a bit of skirt, a willing young wench? Another nineteen-year-old nymphette? If so, has she got a friend?…Did you meet anyone of the female gender?
GIANNI; Oh, yes. Very nice lady.
TOM; Mm. Did you score?
GIANNI; Score? Football? No.
TOM; I like it! I like it!
DAVID; [STONILY TO GIANNI] Score is…with a woman.
DAVID; Bonk. The thing that Canadian hunks are terrified of trying with men. Sheep, dogs, bears presumably…okay.
TOM; You’re getting quite waspish. You’re in danger of showing your hand.
GIANNI; [TO TOM] Bonk, last night? You ask me?
TOM; Did you or didn’t you?
GIANNI; I meet this lady. I take her to a restaurant, and then… We go dancing. And after… I, well, I take her home.
GIANNI; Of course.
GIUSEPPE; That’s where the money goes!
GIANNI; Today I find part-time job.
TOM; The nitty-gritty! Tell.
GIANNI; A nice night. She was very nice lady.
TOM; How nice was the night?
GIANNI; Very nice. She and I, we… [HE SEARCHES FOR WORDS] Well,we find, you know, mutual.. compatibility. Why do you laugh? The English I use is maybe rusty-
TOM; Your English vernacular is perfect. It’s just the way you say it. So angelically above the mud. You bonked?
GIANNI; But why do you want to know?
TOM; It’d give me satisfaction to know that one of us did. That sex is still going on. Though I suspect our friend here, who knows so much about Tchaikovsky and Visconti and the hero of Death in Venice…
DAVID; Leave me out of this.
TOM; Perhaps that might be preferable. [TO GIANNI] Did you or didn’t you, my friend? Did you kiss her?
GIANNI; I did. Naturally. We Italians, we have the reputation to consider.
DAVID; Cock in fourth gear, brain in neutral.
GIANNI; I am not the animal. A kiss. Then… You hint, yes? The next move… If it doesn’t come off, you postpone to the next time.
TOM; So you didn’t get your leg over?
GIANNI SHRUGS PHILOSOPHICALLY.
DAVID; As casual as that?
GIANNI; Last night, no. But next time, we see.
TOM; You know what you should’ve done? Shared a joint. Given her some grass.
GIANNI; Grass? Now in Italy that is for the animals!
TOM AND GIUSEPPE LAUGH. DAVID IS INCREASINGLY SERIOUS.
TOM; Where does he spring from?
TOM; You don’t know what grass is? I’d better introduce you.
DAVID; Why don’t you just leave him alone? What’s any of our private lives to do with you? Just stop trying to be clever, will you!
TOM; Who’s trying to be clever? I’m talking to my friend here about the facts of life. Every guy knows that grass is available-
DAVID; Are you a dealer or something?
TOM; [TAKEN ABACK] Am I- ?
DAVID; [VEHEMENTLY] Are you a supplier?
TOM; Look, friend, I see you’ve got problems, but don’t lay them on me, okay? You just keep your space and I’ll keep mine.
DAVID; I want to know. A direct answer. Are you a supplier or are you not?
TOM; [WARNINGLY] You’re getting offensive. You’re getting way out of order.
DAVID; And what are you going to do about it?
TOM; I’m telling you to button it. You goddamned weirdo!
TOM; Go and get your fix.
DAVID; You’re a poser. A fucking dilettante!
TOM; A dilettante, me!!
DAVID; He couldn’t tell Mozart from Mantovani! He wouldn’t recognise the Mona Lisa if she came and sucked him off!
TOM; Do you want your teeth kicked in? You’re going that way.
DAVID; And you reckon you’re the fellow to do it?
TOM; Could be.
DAVID; [TAKING HIS JACKET OFF] You’ll get your head kicked in first.
TOM; [BRACING HIMSELF] Just try. Just try.
SUDDENLY DAVID AND TOM GO FOR EACH OTHER. GIANNI FRANTICALLY TRIES TO SEPARATE THEM.
GIUSEPPE; [WITH GREAT AUTHORITY] Here! Here, you two!
DAVID AND TOM STEP BACK, EYEING EACH OTHER MENACINGLY.
GIANNI; Mamma mia! Calma!
GIUSEPPE; Hey! Pull yourselves together! Apart! Differences don’t get settled that way. Not here on my premises. If that’s the way you feel, outside, the pair of you! Fuck off out! This is a hotel, not the Coliseum. And neither of you is Spartacus.
GIANNI; Jesu, Maria! I thought Italians only were so short-tempered!
TOM; [ATTEMPTING HIS FAMILIAR LAUGH AND COMPOSING HIMSELF] Sorry, maestro. Just tell that ass-hole to watch his verbiage.
DAVID; His verbal diarrhoea never stops.
TOM; Spoken like a true Irishman!
DAVID; I’m Irish and I’m proud of what I am!
TOM; Oho, yes?
DAVID; Yes. Too fucking true! We’ve been dominated and repressed for a sight too many decades.
TOM; The Irish you’re talking about?
DAVID; Yes. We’ve had a bellyful of you patronising, domineering sods-
TOM; He’s not talking about the Irish.
DAVID; -saying “Do this! Do that! Live life the way we say and we’ll put up with you.” We’re up to here with it!
TOM; Keep talking.
DAVID; Up to here with people who impose classical music, just because it’s what they prefer. What about other people’s preferences? Mine? Don’t my preferences count?
TOM; You’re showing your hand.
DAVID; I’ve a right! People like me have a right! A right not to be fucking patronised and subjected to your fucking macho shit! I…I’ve had enough of it! Right? God Himself knows I’ve had enough… Just leave me be…
DAVID BREAKS DOWN. TOM SIGNALS TO GIUSEPPE AND GIANNI TO MAKE THEMSELVES SCARCE. THEY GO OUT, WARILY.
TOM; Listen, buddy, I know what your problem is. Deal with it. But without all this bullshit. Honesty, that’s what’s wanted.
DAVID; Honesty, from you?
TOM; Honesty from me doesn’t matter. I can cope. You’re the one with the problem.
DAVID; Is that right?
TOM; The problem is honesty with yourself.
DAVID; Explain what you mean.
TOM; Explain myself? Me, I don’t need explaining. What you see is what you get. A self-opinionated, self-centred, wealthy, cock-driven normal bastard. Without the “wealthy” that’s most of the guys around. You included, but without the “normal”. I think it’s as simple as that.
DAVID; You, you’re like a school-master, asking prying questions and making jumped-up judgements. Have you lot got a divine right for that? Every morning, classical music and question time! Pontificating about things you only half-know. You never ask us if we like classical music. I’m a Radio One fan. Which is pretty bloody normal! Country and western’s what I like. Normal enough? I like country and western; but do I impose it on you? I like listening to LBC. I like to be informed what’s going on in this putrid world. Do you know why? Because I live in it. I’m actually a member of the human race!
TOM; Now listen here, buddy-
DAVID; I’m not your buddy and I’m sick of listening!
GIUSEPPE AND GIANNI HAVE REAPPEARED AT THE RENEWED RAISING OF VOICES.
TOM; It’s okay, maestro.
GIUSEPPE; Ite misa est. Thank God for small mercies!
DAVID; I’ll just say this to the three of you-
THE TELEPHONE RINGS. THE USUAL ALERT. GIUSEPPE TAKES HIS TIME BEFORE PICKING UP THE RECEIVER.
TOM; Giuseppe, for Christ’s sake!
GIUSEPPE; No hurry. Who’s going to be the lucky one this time, I wonder. Funny, isn’t it; three people here, each waiting for this blasted ‘phone. Me for business. Are you waiting for a call too, Gianni?
GIANNI; She said she would phone me here. The lady I saw last night. Maggie.
GIANNI; Yes. Her name, it is called Maggie. Very nice. She likes the Rolling Stones.
DAVID; [ASIDE] My God!
GIUSEPPE; Let’s see…
HE PICKS UP THE RECEIVER.
HE REPLACES THE RECEIVER.
Too late. They hung up.
TOM; Giuseppe, that could have been a very important call for any one of us.
GIUSEPPE; If it’s that important, they’ll ring back. You know, I should get a pack of cards and we’ll just play poker right next to the telephone. Money up front, I’d-
TOM; [TO GIANNI] Could have been that call you’re waiting for as well. That Maggie…
GIANNI; Maggie. Very nice lady. Lovely red hair.
DAVID; [ASIDE] Christ!
THE TELEPHONE RINGS AGAIN. RENEWED AGITATION.
GIUSEPPE; What did I tell you, gentlemen?
HE LIFTS THE RECEIVER.
Hello. Giuseppe… Ah, I’m very sorry, Mr. Hammond, all the rooms are taken… Maybe the Imperial… Yes, so very sorry.
NO SOONER DOES HE PUT DOWN THE RECEIVER, THAN THE PHONE RINGS AGAIN. HE ANSWERS.
Hello. Giuseppe-… Yes… Yes, he’s here at the moment… No!… Terrible!… Do you want to speak to-… I see… I see… Yes… I see… He’s here.
TOM; For me?
GIUSEPPE; No. David, it’s for you.
DAVID; [TAKING THE RECEIVER] Robert?… Oh… Brian. I thought you said- …My God! When?… So… Yes… Do I have any choice?
TOM IS LOOKING AT GIUSEPPE QUESTIONINGLY.
GIUSEPPE; Something serious he has to do. The family.
GIANNI NEARLY FAINTS.
DAVID; Look, I know what I’ve got to do…
GIANNI; The Family!
DAVID; Yes, the same hotel.
GIANNI; My God!
DAVID; I’ll go and get it over with… I’ll see to it.
GIUSEPPE; Bad news for somebody, I think. More wine, Gianni?
GIANNI; A Grappa.
DAVID; Look, I’ll do what I have to do.
DAVID; Be sure of that.
TOM; Intriguing, isn’t it; hearing one end of a ‘phone conversation;
DAVID; I’ll deal with it, all right?
TOM; Did you see that film “The Conversation”? Planning a murder…
DAVID; Just ring me back and I’ll be ready.
TOM; Gene Hackman. Excellent suspense. He knows there’s been a murder. He knows who the victim is, but there’s no trace of the body…
DAVID; I’ll just go and get the necessary. It’ll take a few hours there and back. Then I’ll wait for your call. Between five and half-past? OK. So be it.
DAVID REPLACES THE RECEIVER. GIANNI IS NOW PARANOID.
GIUSEPPE; [TO GIANNI] Your Grappa.
DAVID; I’ll have an Irish whiskey. Double.
GIUSEPPE; Not good news, I take it?
DAVID; For somebody else more than for me.
GIANNI; Another Grappa!
DAVID; We all hope to die peacefully in our beds from old age.
GIANNI; Ideally. Yes.
DAVID; Life’s not like that, though, is it?
GIUSEPPE; Bad news?
DAVID; Very bad.
GIANNI; For somebody else?
DAVID; When somebody’s taken before their time… God! I need a cigarette.
GIANNI; Have them all.
GIUSEPPE; [BRINGING HIS WHISKEY AND GIANNI’S SECOND GRAPPA] What’s the
DAVID; [SLOWLY] That ‘phone call. Thanks. [HE GULPS A MOUTHFUL]
There’s something unpleasant I have to do. Very much unpleasant.
GIANNI; Oh, don’t do it.
DAVID; No choice.
GIANNI; There’s always the choice.
DAVID; Not where the family’s concerned.
GIANNI; The Family!
DAVID; That’s it. I’m just waiting for another ‘phone call. Later this afternoon. [HE DOWNS THE REST OF THE WHISKEY] I needed that. I’m just going up to my room for a moment. I need a bag. I’ve got to go and pick something up. [TO GIANNI] And then I’d like a word with you, just the two of us.
DAVID; It’s a private matter. A word in your ear. It’ll only take a minute. I’ll be back.
GIANNI; In my ear?
DAVID; [TO TOM] Just don’t let me hear you talking about drugs again.
TOM; I was just pointing out that grass is no way addictive.
GIUSEPPE; No illegal substances in my establishment.
GIANNI; A word in my ear? [TO GIUSEPPE] What is the meaning?
TOM; A goddamned sight less harmful than alcohol and nicotine.
GIUSEPPE; Idiomatical phrase. Like pig in a poke.
TOM; Smoking a joint, it’s not like loading a gun.
GIANNI; What has he gone to get from his room?
TOM; His handbag? Who cares?
GIANNI; [TO GIUSEPPE] Che cosa a successo? [TO TOM] Don’t you see?
TOM; See what? The azaleas are out. What I don’t hear is my classical music…
GIANNI; It’s him!
TOM; A bit of Berlioz would be nice.
GIANNI; I’m done for. E finito.
TOM; And since everyone’s having early aperitifs, an aqua minerale, per favor, with just a dash of Cinzano.
GIANNI; [TO HIMSELF] Devo fugire.
TOM; And ice, naturally. [TO GIANNI] What were you saying, my friend?
GIANNI; I check out. [TO GIUSEPPE] I check out now.
GIUSEPPE; What’s the matter?
GIANNI; That man. That David.
GIUSEPPE; He has problems.
GIANNI; His problems, my problems!
TOM; [WRILY] Somehow I very much doubt that.
GIUSEPPE; Well, that’s how it is. The family must always come first. The family always has first call. And sometimes we all have do things we don’t want to.
GIUSEPPE; Things that aren’t too pleasant. But that’s the family! The family rules all of us in the end. [HE GOES OUT BACK, CALLING] Hey, Besim!
GIANNI; [URGENTLY TO TOM, IN A LOW VOICE] Giuseppe, he is Family?
TOM; So he says.
GIANNI; Mamma mia!
TOM; Not me, buster.
GIANNI; My friend! You are black belt. You are my true friend… ?
TOM; True friendships don’t come about quite so quickly, amigo. Maybe one day in the future-
GIANNI; I think I don’t have the one day in the future!
GIUSEPPE; [REAPPEARING] For me, the family is supreme. For David too. When they call, it’s often a problem.
GIANNI; I am his problem. I check out.
GIUSEPPE; You have ready cash? For the rest of your bill? You book in for a week, then change your mind? I’ve turned down three customers because you’d booked the room. [POINTING TO NOTICE] See. Cancellation fee is half the set rate.
GIANNI; I am friend of Nicola. I send the cash.
GIUSEPPE; I’ve heard that before. The hotel rooms are my main source of income. All these parking restrictions, they kill the restaurant trade. You book, suddenly you don’t like; you want to leave. What if customers arrived, and I said; “Sorry, I know you booked, but I don’t like your faces; go away!” Huh??
GIANNI; My friend, you help me?
TOM; Sorry. Don’t borrow, don’t lend. Especially not to strangers. There’s a film I’ve often thought about writing myself… Something like “Strangers on a Train”. Alfred Hitchcock? Farley Granger and… who was it? Robert…
GIANNI; How can I get my bags?
TOM; I can see his face… Now what else was he in?
GIUSEPPE; You just walk up to your room and collect them.
GIANNI; I daren’t go!
TOM; No, not De Niro.
GIANNI; He is up there!
TOM; Way before his time.
GIANNI; Way before whose time?
TOM; Look, I’m talking nineteen- forty….two?
GIANNI; What happened then?
TOM; What else did he…
GIANNI; The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre?
TOM; You could be right. Missed that.
TOM; That was Jimmy Cagney though, I think. This chap, his first name was definitely Robert…
GIUSEPPE; [FIRMLY TO GIANNI] Pull yourself together.
TOM; Never heard of it. Must be a B-movie. I only watch the classics.
GIANNI; O dio mio!… Robert!
TOM; It’s irritating, isn’t it? Not remembering…
GIANNI; That was the name he used on the telefono. Robert!
GIANNI; Questo tipo-
TOM; No, he definitely wasn’t Italian.
GIANNI; [TO TOM] Who is this Robert?
TOM; That’s what I’m trying to remember. I just can’t…
GIANNI; Who do you think he was, this Robert?
TOM; All I know is they met on a train and this Robert Whoever suggested they murder these people. You must know how it goes.
GIANNI; [FORLORNLY] I know how it goes.
TOM; Well then, Farley Granger is-
GIANNI; Far…? Farley…?
HE LOOKS AT GIUSEPPE. GIUSEPPE SHRUGS.
TOM; He went to Italy, didn’t he? Worked with the big boys there… Senso.
GIANNI; [TO GIUSEPPE] Senso?
GIUSEPPE; [SHRUGGING AGAIN] A doppio senso? Double meaning.
TOM; No, that’s Barbara Stanwyck. But “Strangers on a Train”-
TOM; That’s the point. You’ve got to beware of strangers.
GIANNI; I must beware of strangers?
TOM; That’s the point, the meaning… the excitement. You get it?
GIANNI; Get it? I could be killed!
TOM; [NONCHOLANTLY] Any of us. Crossing a road…meeting a mad axeman… Take the Greek tragedies…Sophocles, Alcibiades… Wonderful!
GIANNI; I must go. Giuseppe, I beg you. My identity card.
TOM; Where are you going? You couldn’t get me some stamps, could you? The post office is just down the High Street.
TOM; It’d only take two minutes. And I have to wait for this ‘phone-call.
GIANNI; I go for good, otherwise… I go for good.
TOM; Where are you off to?
GIANNI; Anywhere. But my bags…
GIUSEPPE; You just walk upstairs and collect them. I’ll put them in the back here. But you don’t get back the bags or your identity card till I get payment in full.
DAVID REAPPEARS, DRESSED FOR OUTDOORS AND CARRYING A BAG.
DAVID; Payment in full? That’s something we’ve all got coming to us.
THE TELEPHONE RINGS, AND THEY ALL FREEZE.
AFTER TWO RINGS, THE TELEPHONE IS SILENT.
E N D O F A C T O N E
A C T T W O
THE PRIEST IS SITTING AT A TABLE WITH A GLASS OF RED WINE. GIUSEPPE IS ON THE PHONE.
GIUSEPPE; Perhaps I can get back to you on that. If you give me your number…
TOM ENTERS FROM THE CORRIDOR.
TOM; Is it for- ?
GIUSEPPE SHAKES HIS HEAD.
DAVID; Why me? What the hell’s going on in my life?
GIUSEPPE; [SINGING] Volare…
DAVID; [TO TOM] You…
TOM; Don’t talk to me. I’m a self-centred dilettante, remember?
DAVID; [TO GIANNI] You…
GIANNI; Don’t do it!
DAVID; I have to do it.
HE RUNS TOWARDS THE TOILETS. HE LINGERS IN THE DOORWAY, LOOKING BACK.
GIUSEPPE; That’s me. You have the rest of the money?
DAVID; Not yet. I told you. Look… [CONFIDENTIALLY] My son has over-dosed. He’s in hospital. I have to go. [MORE LOUDLY] I’ve got to see him right away to give him…[HE INDICATES THE BAG] His present.
HEARING THIS, GIANNI GROANS AND DISAPPEARS THROUGH THE DOORWAY. DAVID LOOKS ROUND, ADDRESSES TOM.
That woman your Italian pal was canoodling with last night; do you know who she was?
TOM; [WITH A DISMISSIVE EXHALATION] Lisa, Sara, Ugo, Umberto… It’s not easy to keep track of all these dago characters he goes on about.
DAVID; Maggie. I’m talking about Maggie.
TOM; Haven’t a clue. Some tart taking him for a sucker, no doubt.
DAVID; Hah! [TO GIUSEPPE] That Maggie he met last night, she’s my wife! I know it!
TOM; [AMUSED] Well, aren’t you the boyo!
GIUSEPPE; How do you know?
DAVID; The Rolling Stones, that’s how!
GIUSEPPE; So, there are plenty of fans of the Rolling Stones who are called Maggie.
DAVID; I need to talk to him. To find out.
GIUSEPPE; And I need to find out when you’ll be in a position to pay the rest of your bill. You said this morning that you were leaving tomorrow.
GIANNI APPEARS, OVER-HEARING THE CONVERSATION FROM THE NEXT REMARK.
DAVID; Giuseppe, I just want to get this over and done with.
The day after tomorrow, the money will be here.
GIUSEPPE; Family things first. OK. Here’s Gianni now.
TOM; I think I’ll take a breath of fresh air.
GIANNI; I’ll come with you.
TOM; Bring your cigarettes. [TO GIUSEPPE] If my ‘phone call comes, I’ll just be outside.
GIUSEPPE; Gianni, there’s last night’s Standard here, if you’re looking
for a job.
GIANNI; Ah, later. I go now.
DAVID; Don’t go, Gianni.
DAVID; I want a word with you.
GIANNI; A word…with me?
DAVID; Yes. Gianni. Sit down.
TOM; See you later, amigo. Keep your back to the wall. [HE EXITS]
THE STRANGER APPEARS AS BESIM FROM THE KITCHEN.
COOK; Giuseppe! Giuseppe! Vieni! La signorina…
GIUSEPPE; Excuse me for a moment… [HE EXITS WITH THE COOK]
DAVID; Sit down, Gianni.
GIANNI; [OBEYING] Anything.
DAVID; Tell me about her.
DAVID; Don’t pretend you don’t know who I’m talking about.
GIANNI; Please, I tell you the truth.
DAVID; That’s what I want.
GIANNI; The truth is; she has ruined my life. I never intended…
DAVID; Ruined your life? In such a short time?
GIANNI; She is crazy about me! Crazy, I mean crazy!
DAVID; Is she indeed?
GIANNI; She would not leave me alone.
DAVID; Go on.
GIANNI; I tried to resist. To hang on to what I had.
DAVID; She robbed you, eh?
GIANNI; Of everything that was precious.
DAVID; [RELISHING THIS NUGGET OF INFORMATION] Hah!
GIANNI; Because of her immense desire for me.
DAVID; She’s a nymphomaniac! That’s her all right. And a bloody mercenary one!
GIANNI; Mercy, yes! Mercy is all I ask.
DAVID; I pity you, mate.
GIANNI; Yes, pity me! Pity me! I told her I was married.
DAVID; That wouldn’t bother her.
GIANNI; Now I have nothing.
DAVID; What a bitch!
GIANNI; No bitch. I never say “bitch”! You tell her father-
DAVID; Tell her father?
GIANNI; I am wrong, but I am innocent. Innocent. Yes, I was
wrong to get mixed up with her. Someone so young.
DAVID; She’s not that young.
GIANNI; No, that I find out. Too late. In her manner, yes; but in her mind, very mature. And determined. She was determined to have me. To have her own way.
DAVID; She’s spoilt all right.
GIANNI; Spoilt. You understand.
DAVID; But you, you’re a bit naive, aren’t you?
GIANNI; I am. I am. I was. Not now.
DAVID; How old did she tell you she was?
GIANNI; Nineteen, twenty.
DAVID; [SNORTING IN DISBELIEF] My God! And you believed her? The lighting must have been something else again!
GIANNI; How old is she?
DAVID; She’s forty, for God’s sake! Jesus! [HE TURNS AWAY TO GET A CIGARETTE]
GIANNI; [HOWLING IN HORROR, ASIDE] Fourteen! Fourteen! I am a criminal! I am a pervert! [TURNING TO DAVID] Tell me, the police, do they know?
DAVID; Oh, they’re on to her all right. You’re not the first.
GIANNI; I not the first?
DAVID; She’s really led you on, hasn’t she?
GIANNI; She told me she was a virgin.
DAVID; I don’t believe it! And you fell for that?!
GIANNI; She lied to me; about her age, about everything.
DAVID; Oh, she’s powerful good at lying. Lying in one way and in the other way, too: Lying with her tingue and lying on her back, eh? Was she good at that, as well?
GIANNI; She was very good. Very, very good at that.
DAVID; The cow! A virgin!! She’s had two children and two abortions!
DAVID; I’m telling you. I should know.
GIANNI; It’s not possible.
DAVID; Are you calling me a liar?
GIANNI; No, no! No, no no! I was deceived. I am a fool. I am an idiot. Poor me!
DAVID; Tell me, how did she go about it?
GIANNI; You want to know…?
DAVID; Everything. I want to hear about her methods, her mode of practice. Every detail.
GIANNI; Detail? You mean… ?
DAVID; It’s important. For the future.
GIANNI; [HOPEFULLY] You mean, there could be a future?
DAVID; From the beginning.
GIANNI; If I tell you details, this will help?
DAVID; Enormously. It’ll help me decide what to do.
GIANNI; It was a night-club…
DAVID; The name?
GIANNI; [OPENS HIS MOUTH, THINKS FOR A MOMENT, THEN THUMPS HIS FOREHEAD] Aargh! I don’t remember. I looked, she smiled. She ask me for a light. Seeing her with a cigarette, it was like a girl from the convent school, tasting life for the first time…
DAVID; Jesus! You plonker!
GIANNI; And in her eyes, the fire to experience life to the full. I don’t remember what we talked about.
DAVID; You talked about pop music.
DAVID; Don’t lie to me, Gianni. I heard you.
GIANNI; [AMAZED] You heard?
DAVID; I heard every bloody word you said. [POINTING TO WHERE HE WAS STANDING DURING THE MAGGIE CONVERSATION IN ACT ONE] I was there.
GIANNI; [NOT SEEING THE GESTURE] My God! You were there?!
DAVID; The Rolling Stones ring a bell?
GIANNI; The Rolling Stones, I like. But she is opera.
GIANNI; Verdi, Bizet, even Wagner-
DAVID; Since when?
GIANNI; La Bohème, La Forza del Destino, Madama-
DAVID; I know about opera, but I’ll be buggered if she does.
GIANNI; But yes.
DAVID; You’re a lying bastard, aren’t you? Trying to put me off the scent.
GIANNI; I speak true. Me, Rolling Stones, yes; her, Puccini.
DAVID; Don’t give me that crap! Or was she feeding me the crap? She’d say anything to chat up a trick.
GIANNI; I no trick, I swear it.
DAVID; Not you; her.
GIANNI; I was tricked? Yes, yes!
DAVID; Well and truly.
GIANNI; Then you understand? Oh, thank you, thank you!
DAVID; A poor mug like you. She saw you coming.
GIANNI; Yes, like I said. We see each other…
DAVID; Puccini, my arse!
GIANNI; I am innocent party, so why should I suffer?
DAVID; That’s always the way, my friend. And, my God are you innocent!
GIANNI; I like the women. Is that a crime? I love the women.
DAVID; Wagner!! Mind you, The Ride of the Valkyries could have been written for the cow.
GIANNI; One likes the Rolling Stones, another likes Pavarotti. I like just…
the women! not the schoolgirls, no, no. I am not pervert. I have been bamboozled. She said she was-
DAVID; Nineteen. What a bozo you are!
GIANNI; I was tricked, like you said. Lisa, she was-
DAVID; Who the hell’s Lisa?
GIANNI; The girl we talk about. Lisa, at the first-
DAVID; You devious sod! Do you take me for an idiot? We’re talking about Maggie.
DAVID; You said Maggie earlier on. Red-headed Maggie! You had sex with her last night, remember? Couldn’t keep her hands off your dick or your wallet. You devious little sod! Don’t ever try to pull the wool over my eyes…
GIANNI; Maggie is nice to me.
DAVID; I get it; you’re on her side now, you lying bastard!
GIANNI; Maggie… ?
DAVID; [VERY MENACINGLY] Do you know who I am?
GIANNI; [WEAKLY] Yes.
DAVID; [SURPRISED] Who am I?
GIANNI; You are killer.
DAVID; [CRYING OUT IN AGONY, CLUTCHING HIS HEAD] Killer! Killer of my own flesh and blood! Those damned voices again! I know what they’re driving me to do… Get away from me, damn you!… [HE SHAKES HIS HEAD VIOLENTLY TO RID IT OF THE VOICES] Get away!
GIANNI; [MOVING TO DASH OUT] I go.
DAVID; [THE VOICES NOW GONE] Not you. Get back here! [HE DRAGS GIANNI BACK] Who told you? Who told you about who I am?
GIANNI; I guessed.
DAVID; Written all over my bloody face, is it? Well, get this; there’s nobody dead yet. Do you see that bag?
GIANNI; [TERRIFIED] Yes.
DAVID; You know what’s in it?
GIANNI; [COMING BETWEEN DAVID AND THE BAG] Please…
DAVID; You do know what’s in it! Maggie told you, eh?
GIANNI; [CONVINCED DAVID IS UNHINGED] How could she?
DAVID; That’s right. How could she? I only got that phone call today…
What the fuck’s going on here?
GIANNI; I think you need a drink. I get you a whisky. [HE MOVES TO THE BAR]
DAVID; I don’t want a whisky. [HE PICKS UP THE BAG] You know who I am. You know what’s in this bag.
GIANNI; [TURNING AND SEEING THE BAG IN HIS HANDS] Aiuee!
DAVID; I’ll bet you know what it’s for.
GIANNI; Yes. Don’t do it. Holy Mary, Mother of God…
DAVID; That bitch you screwed last night is behind this somehow.
DAVID; Yes, Maggie the whore!
GIANNI; Maggie? No, no. I stayed pure, Maggie stayed pure.
DAVID; [INCREDULOUSLY SCORNFUL] Maggie stayed pure?
GIANNI; I swear-
DAVID; She’s only a fucking hooker, for Christ’s sake!
GIANNI; Maggie was friend. For one night. Only friend.
DAVID; [DROPPING THE BAG] Dont- give- me- that- shit!
GIANNI; Before, I thought you talk of Lisa. I’m sorry. I’m very, very sorry. It is entirely my fault. You talk about Maggie now?
DAVID; Don’t you know who she is?
GIANNI; [WEAKLY] No.
DAVID; That painted, lying, two-faced tart who likes the Rolling Stones-
GIANNI; Maggie? She is in…this?
DAVID; She’s very much in this.
GIANNI; Maggie is… connected?
GIANNI; Dio mio! Maggie is… she is… Family?
DAVID; At last, you’ve cottoned on. She’s “family” all right! She didn’t tell you that?
DAVID; And you’re waiting for her to telephone?
GIANNI; Not now. I want to go. It was a ploy to keep me here. I see that.
I get lost now. You never see me again, I promise.
DAVID; Hah, nice one! You’ve not told me a bloody thing yet.
GIANNI; There is nothing to tell. Two spaghetti puttanesca and a good night kiss. On the cheek. Then I sleep on the couch. Let me go, please.
DAVID; Not so fast. Not so simple.
GIANNI; I want no more trouble with the Family. They never hear of me again. Believe me, I will be good boy now. That Maggie… I can’t believe… What is she?
DAVID; How many times do I have to tell you, you stupid turd?
GIANNI; I know. I’m sorry. I have been very stupid. But innocent.
DAVID; You’re not innocent; you’re out to lunch.
GIANNI; Lunch? No, never! If she ring now, I hang up. I wish to God I never hear of the Rolling Stones!
DAVID; You’re at it again. Trying to fudge the issue. All this crap about the Rolling Stones-
GIANNI; That is how we started to talk.
GIANNI; You mean… it was a set-up?
DAVID; I’ll bet you don’t even know a single Rolling Stones number, do you?
GIANNI; [THINKING WILDLY] Satisfaction.
DAVID; Huh. Everybody’s heard of that one. But can you sing it? If you’re so bloody fond of it, you’d be able to sing the words. I’m waiting.
GIANNI; [SINGING NERVOUSLY] “I can’t get no satisfaction… I can’t get no…” [HE STRUGGLES TO THINK OF THE NEXT WORDS]
DAVID; I knew it!
GIANNI; [SUDDENLY & MORE CONFIDENTLY] “…girl reaction. Well, I’ve tried and I’ve tried and I’ve tried and I’ve tried. I can’t get no-”
DAVID; But you got it last night, you bastard, with that two-timing slut!
GIANNI; [A SUDDEN, TERRIBLE REALISATION DAWNING ON HIM] David, I think this Maggie… she is… your woman?
DAVID; Was. Now… [HE GESTURES CUTTING THROAT] …finito!
DAVID; D’you know how long we were together? Fifteen years.
GIANNI; And yet, you dispense with her like that?
DAVID; It had to be done. “Dispense” is not the right word. We say “get rid of”.
GIANNI; “Get rid of”… How did you… get rid of her?
DAVID; The usual way. How does anybody do it? Messy. But then, it always is.
GIANNI; What did you do to her?
DAVID; What did I do? What kind of a question’s that? What did she do to me? That’s more to the bloody point. She’s made me a nut-case. A fucking nut-case!
GIANNI; I feel sick.
GIANNI; Aiaiai! Miseria!
DAVID; I thought you Mediterraneans were all for the family.
GIANNI; Not me. But it is everywhere!
DAVID; There’s no getting away from it, that’s for sure.
GIANNI; [SHAKING HIS HEAD] Ugo. [APPEALING TO THE HEAVENS] How does he do it?
DAVID; [INTERPRETING THE “HE”, FROM THE GESTURE, AS REFERING TO GOD] He moves in a mysterious way.
GIANNI; How does he get people everywhere…?
DAVID; It’s the whole network of society in on it. Writers, journalists, teachers, priests…
DAVID; Look, it doesn’t matter what religion you are; Jewish, Muslim, Hindu… Think about it. All the different branches, the different sects… Everywhere; family. Me, I’m sick of it!
GIANNI; [SUDDENLY HOPEFUL] You don’t like the Family anymore?
DAVID; I tell you, the pressures… They get to you. When the family works, it’s magic. But what did Tolstoy say… ?
GIANNI; Tolstoy, he was Family?
DAVID; He was a family man all right. But not happy. Like me. What did he say, in Anna Karenina…? “All happy families are alike, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own special way.” Something like that.
GIANNI; There are many different families?
DAVID; Of course there are. And more and more every day. Depressing.
GIANNI; With yours, with this Family, you’re not happy?
DAVID; Do I look it, for God’s sake? It’s the pressures they put on you. What I’ve got to do now, do you think I want to do it? It’s the family, so I have to.
GIANNI; No, you don’t have to. Don’t do this, please.
DAVID; I’ve no choice.
GIANNI; [THROWING HIMSELF AT DAVID’S FEET] On my knees, I beg you-
DAVID; Look, just don’t get all emotional on me!
GIANNI; What do you expect?
DAVID; You I-ties! [GLANCING AT HIS WATCH] Right, I’m going to get it over and done with. [HE RISES] This minute.
GIANNI; No! [HE GRABS DAVID’S LEG]
DAVID; [KICKING GIANNI AWAY] Geroff!
HE MOVES FOR HIS BAG, BUT GIANNI LEAPS AND GRABS IT FIRST.
You’re a fucking nutter!
GIANNI; Listen to me.
DAVID; Give me that bag!
GIANNI; No! Not till you have listened to me!
DAVID; I – want – that – bag!
GIANNI; My friend, I have done you no harm.
DAVID; We’ve been through all that.
GIANNI; You say you are unhappy with this Family?
DAVID; Look at the state of me! But there’s still something I’ve got to do.
GIANNI; My friend, I have a brainwave.
DAVID; You’ll have brain damage if you don’t give me that bag.
GIANNI; It come to me; whoosh! Magnificent solution! So simple… Change the Family!!
DAVID; You can’t change people, how they are.
GIANNI; No, no, I mean; find a new Family.
GIANNI; Listen to me. Look, I put the bag down over here, yes? You don’t pick it up till you have heard me, yes? There are thousands of Families, like you say.
DAVID; And I’m stuck with the family I’ve got.
GIANNI; But no! Not necessary to be. You are not happy; you do the things you do not want to do. Now, right now you have something to do for the Family… You don’t really want to.
DAVID; That’s for sure.
GIANNI; Why do it?
DAVID; That’s life.
GIANNI; Life! That is what I want. I want to live! David, I have the idea. It come to me. Listen, please. I put the bag down, see? Listen to my idea… You and me, David, we start a Family of our own. You and me.
DAVID; [TOTALLY NONPLUSSED] Huh? Start a family?
GIANNI; But yes!
DAVID; I’m not sure I understand what you’re driving at.
GIANNI; You are not happy. I am not happy. This way, we make each other happy. We start a Family of our own. I see, I know my proposal has taken you by surprise. We meet only yesterday. But please, consider-
DAVID; Your proposal??
GIANNI; It is sudden, I know. But it can be our way out from this misery. For both of us. You are good man, I can see. And I am worker. I will work very hard. For the two of us. I have muscle, see? Feel.I will do anything, David. We have met in circumstances of extreme. But the important is; we both want the same thing. What do you say?
DAVID; [AMAZED] I don’t know what to bloody say.
GIANNI; Say yes!
DAVID; I hardly know you.
GIANNI; Get to know me. You will like, I promise. Give me the chance. Don’t, I beg you, do what you are told to do. For God’s sake, forget what you were going to do!
DAVID; How can I?
GIANNI; You can. Anything is possible now. You want a drink? I get you a drink…
DAVID; I don’t think I want a drink. Perhaps I do.
GIANNI; What do you want? Anything. Ask me. Just ask.
DAVID; You’re taking the piss. I don’t like that.
GIANNI; Do not reject my proposal out of hand. Do not kill me.
DAVID; Kill you?
GIANNI; That’s what you would do. David, think… I am a man in his prime. I am fit, healthy, see!
DAVID; I happen to be in a relationship already.
GIANNI; Forget everything. I too forget everything. We make new beginning.
Start a new Family with me, and we will sort everything out.
DAVID; I’d heard about passionate Italians…
GIANNI; Yes, passionate, but sincero.
DAVID; Look, I just wasn’t expecting this. And I don’t know that I trust you. You’re suddenly saying all these things…
GIANNI; From my heart. Let me live! Do not destroy me! [HE BEGINS TO WEEP]
DAVID; Look here, mate-
GIANNI; I will show my gratitude…
GIANNI; Any way you want.
DAVID; I don’t get this.
GIANNI; [GOING DOWN ON HIS KNEES IN FRONT OF DAVID] You say, I do, o.k.?
DAVID; [DISCONCERTED] This is a public place!
GIANNI; Don’t destroy me, please!
DAVID; [ATTEMPTING TO DISTANCE HIMSELF] Jesus!
GIANNI; I will love you forever. Honour you.
DAVID; [LOOKING AROUND IN CASE THEY ARE BEING OBSERVED] This is wild. I don’t know you from Adam.
GIANNI; Trust me. I kiss your feet, David.
DAVID; Get up! [PULLING GIANNI UP BY THE SHOULDERS, FACE TO FACE] I’m not into that.
GIANNI; Then let me go!
DAVID; Let you go!! [RELEASING HIS HOLD ON GIANNI’S SHOULDERS] A minute ago you couldn’t keep your hands off me! [HE TURNS AWAY]
GIANNI; I say, I do anything! [HUGGING DAVID FROM BEHIND] I want live!
DAVID; You’re a fucking weirdo! [HE TURNS AROUND, HOLDING GIANNI AT ARM’S LENGTH]
GIANNI; [TAKING DAVID’S HANDS AND KISSING THEM] Don’t do this! Don’t cast me aside!
DAVID; I hardly know you.
TOM ENTERS, UNNOTICED.
GIANNI; Know me! [FLINGING HIS ARMS AROUND DAVID] I want you to know me! Now! [HE KISSES HIM ON BOTH CHEEKS] Please…
DAVID; [SEEING TOM & STRUGGLING TO DISENGAGE HIMSELF] Gianni, control yourself.
GIANNI; [PERSISTING IN THE EMBRACE & THE KISSES] Now, before it is too late!
TOM; Am I interrupting anything?
GIANNI; [TURNING & MOVING TO TOM] Tom, my friend-
TOM; [RETREATING WITH A HANDS-OFF GESTURE] We-hay! So you’re still here then?
GIANNI; [DELIGHTEDLY] I am still here! For how long depends on David.
DAVID; I don’t believe this.
GIANNI; Think of my proposal.
DAVID; I’ll think about it.
GIANNI; So I am safe for the moment?
DAVID; [mystified] As far as I know.
GIANNI; You do not know all?
DAVID; I wish I did.
GIANNI; But from you I am safe?
DAVID; Safe from me? You were the one coming on. You were the one who started mauling-
TOM; Girls, girls!
DAVID; What’s going on? Talk about blowing hot and cold! [ADVANCING ANGRILY ON GIANNI] You’re taking the piss…
GIANNI; [TERRIFIED] Don’t touch me! [DODGING BEHIND TOM] Don’t let him touch me!
DAVID; You were the one touching me up!
THE TELEPHONE RINGS. ALL THREE LOOK AT IT EXPECTANTLY.
GIUSEPPE APPEARS AND PICKS UP THE RECEIVER.
TOM; This could be her.
GIUSEPPE; Good morning.
DAVID; [TO GIANNI] Or Maggie?
GIANNI; [BEWILDERED] Maggie is dead. [HE CLAPS HIS HAND OVER HIS MOUTH] David, I’m sorry.
GIUSEPPE; [TO DAVID] It’s for you.
GIANNI; [FOLLOWING DAVID TO THE TELEPHONE] Remember the proposal. You and me.
DAVID; [INTO THE RECEIVER] Hello… Robert?
GIANNI; Roberto! Aiaiai!
DAVID; C’est toi enfin… Tres bien, merci… Je ne m’amuse pas tellement, tu sais…
GIANNI, NOT UNDERSTANDING FRENCH, WATCHES DAVID’S REACTIONS AVIDLY.
GIUSEPPE; Coffee, anybody?
DAVID; Tu blagues! Il ne manque que ça; ta jalousie!
TOM; Another Cinzano, I think.
DAVID; On ne peut pas raisonner avec toi…
GIUSEPPE; Coming up.
DAVID; J’en ai marre, enfin, t’entends?
TOM, WHO UNDERSTANDS FRENCH, COCKS AN EAR WITH MILD BEMUSEMENT.
GIUSEPPE; [TO GIANNI] Gianni?
DAVID; Jean-Luc? Lui?… Vas-y, alors! Vas-y à lui!…Oh, va te faire enculer! Cette fois, c’est fini! T’entends? C’est fini! [HE SLAMS DOWN THE RECEIVER]
TOM; Trouble in Paradise, eh? [TO GIANNI] You speak French?
GIANNI; [SHAKES HIS HEAD] Fini? Finished?
DAVID SUDDENLY HOWLS. THE OTHERS ARE AGHAST. HE QUICKLY RECOVERS HIMSELF.
TOM; [WICKEDLY, STILL TO GIANNI, BUT FOR DAVID’S BENEFIT] Ton petit ami, il le parle drôlement bien.
GIANNI MOVES TO TOUCH DAVID, WHO TURNS ABRUPTLY.
DAVID; [STARING VACANTLY] What’s got to be done, it’s got to be done. I need the loo.
DAVID EXITS. TOM WATCHES AS GIANNI SEIZES THE OPPORTUNITY TO HIDE DAVID’S BAG. GIUSEPPE BRINGS THE CINZANO.
GIANNI; Who is this Robert?
TOM; Utilise your intelligence.
TOM LAUGHS, GIUSEPPE SHAKES HIS HEAD.
GIANNI; What did he say?
TOM; A lovers’ tiff.
GIUSEPPE; He told him to get stuffed. It’s finito with Robert.
GIANNI; [RAPTUROUSLY] Merviglioso! Gioia!
TOM; [TO GIUSEPPE] Gloria here’s showing her hand.
GIANNI; I owe him my life! David!
GIUSEPPE, MYSTIFIED, TURNS TO GO.
TOM; It’s perfectly nauseating.
GIANNI; But he say; “It’s got to be done.” What he mean?
GIUSEPPE; He has to go and see his son.
TOM; I thought you were supposed to be straight, for God’s sake.
GIUSEPPE; In hospital.
GIANNI; He has a son in the hospital?
TOM; If it is his son.
GIUSEPPE; He has a son and a daughter. He showed me the pictures.
TOM; So, he has kids. Fruit comes in all shapes and sizes.
GIANNI; I must go with him.
GIUSEPPE; I must press for the money he still owes me. He’s been drunk every night.
TOM; That and the…[MIMES SNORTING COCAINE] Talk about mood swings!
GIANNI; You must forgive him, Giuseppe. It is the remorse before the crime.
GIANNI; The crime he will not now commit. Olé!
GIUSEPPE; If you go with him, be sure he comes back. I have his luggage, but-
GIANNI; David and me, we are Family together now. I leave you my watch, as guarantee. [HE REMOVES HIS WATCH & HANDS IT TO A SUPICIOUS GIUSEPPE] Rolex. The cloud has past! The future is bright! [SINGING] O sole mio.. [HE DANCES WITH JOY]
TOM; Come back, Julie Andrews!
DAVID REAPPEARS. GIANNI RUSHES TO HIM AND KISSES HIM.
GIANNI; Thank you, thank you, thank you!
TOM; This is sickening.
DAVID; Hold on, hold on! There are things you and me have got to sort out.
GIANNI; But yes! Many, many things. [SECRETIVELY] We talk in private now, yes?
TOM; That would be infinitely preferable. Some of us-
DAVID; I have to go and see-
GIANNI; Your son, yes. I come with you. We talk on the way. [EMBRACING DAVID, HE TURNS TO THE OTHERS] I love this man… like a brother! [HE KISSES HIM AGAIN ON BOTH CHEEKS] I get my coat.
DAVID; [EMBARRASSED AND CONFUSED] Is that one all there?
TOM WHISTLES AIRILY. THE TELEPHONE RINGS. GIUSEPPE GOES TO ANSWER IT.
GIUSEPPE; Hello? Giusepp-
DAVID; [LOOKING AROUND] Where’s my bag?
TOM INDICATES WHERE GIANNI HID IT. DAVID TAKES IT AND LEAVES.
GIUSEPPE; Yes, en suite. T.V in all rooms… Mr. and Mrs…? Ah, yes, I remember…
GIANNI, NOW WEARING A COAT, DASHES IN, LOOKING AROUND FOR DAVID.
GIANNI; David. Where is he?
TOM; Your little bird has flown, I’m afraid.
GIUSEPPE; No problem.
TOM; Quite the drama queen, aren’t you?
GIANNI LOOKS WHERE HE HID THE BAG AND FINDS IT GONE.
GIUSEPPE; We look forward to seeing you again. Bye bye. [HE REPLACES THE RECEIVER]
GIANNI; Which hospital he go to? Where?
GIUSEPPE; The Royal Free.
THE TELEPHONE RINGS AGAIN, AND GIUSEPPE ANSWERS IT.
GIANNI; [TO TOM] Royal Free? Where is that?
GIUSEPPE; Mr. Lepage? Certainly. [TO TOM] It’s for you.
TOM; At last! Some normal sex, eh what?
GIANNI; This hospital? How do I get there?
GIUSEPPE; Royal Free.
TOM; [SITTING SMUGLY TO TAKE THE CALL] Tom Lepage here.
GIANNI; [REPEATING] Royal Free.
TOM; What’s the matter, sweetheart?
GIUSEPPE; Out the door, to the left; then right at the traffic lights.
GIANNI; Left, then right…
TOM; What!?! You stupid-
GIUSEPPE; If you hurry you’ll catch him up.
TOM; Jesus Christ!
GIANNI; [GOING] Royal Free. Royal Free.
GIANNI EXITS. TOM LEAPS TO HIS FEET.
TOM; Too fucking true! I’m out of here!
GIUSEPPE PRICKS UP HIS EARS AND GOES TO THE COUNTER.
Thanks a bunch! [HE REPLACES THE RECEIVER IN A PANIC] I’ve got to scarper. Giuseppe, you wouldn’t believe it. The silly cow’s only talked in her sleep! Her bastard SAS husband’s made her tell everything. He’ll be here any minute!
GIUSEPPE; So what? You’re a karate expert, aren’t you? Black belt?
TOM; Sod that! He’s a commando; a trained killer!
GIUSEPPE; You’ll be wanting this. Your bill.
TOM; [TAKING THE BILL] Jesus! What’s this part?
GIUSEPPE; Extras. Drinks, phone…
TOM; What’s this? You’ve charged for a packet of cigarettes. I only had three.
GIUSEPPE; We don’t sell them singly. You’re welcome to take the rest of the packet. You’d better hurry. There’s a taxi just drawn up and a man in an army jacket-
TOM; Fuck! Where’s your back door? This way?
GIUSEPPE; That’s for staff only.
TOM; This is an emergency, for Christ’s sake. Lock the front door. [TAKING OUT HIS WALLET] I’ll make it worth your while. Ten quid?
GIUSEPPE; Done. [GOES TO LOCK THE DOOR]
TOM; You must say I’ve moved out. I was here, but I’ve left.
GIUSEPPE; The money.
TOM; [HANDING IT OVER] Twelve. I need the key to my room… [MOVING TO GET IT]
GIUSEPPE; [BRINGING THE KEY OUT OF HIS POCKET] It’s here. And you don’t get any of your stuff till the bill’s been settled.
THERE IS A SUDDEN HAMMERING ON THE DOOR.
GIANNI; [OFF] Let me in! Let me in!
GIUSEPPE; It’s Gianni. [HE MOVES TO THE DOOR]
TOM; Don’t open that door!
GIUSEPPE; I can’t lock my customers out.
TOM; For God’s sake!
GIUSEPPE OPENS THE DOOR. GIANNI DASHES IN, MOANING. TOM SCREAMS AND EXITS BACK.
GIANNI; What’s the matter with him?
GIUSEPPE; [LAUGHING] He thinks there’s a man out there, come to get him.
GIANNI; There is a man out there; all in black. Watching. Not for Tom. For David and me. Family. Come to kill us both!
HE TURNS IN DISMAY AS A SINISTER FIGURE IN BLACK LEATHER AND BLACK BANDANA SLOWLY AND PURPOSEFULLY SWAGGERS IN.
GIUSEPPE; Good afternoon.
MAN; You the proprietor?
GIUSEPPE; I am. Giuseppe. What can I get you?
MAN; [ADVANCING ON GIANNI] This’ll do very nicely for starters.
GIANNI TREMBLES AS THE MAN STROKES HIS CHEEK WITH A GLOVED HAND.
GIUSEPPE; This gentleman is not on the menu.
GIANNI; EXPLANATION OF NEW FAMILY…
MAN; [STILL TOYING WITH GIANNI] I had a meal here, ten days ago. Left a book behind.
GIUSEPPE; A book.
MAN; Wrapped in brown paper, yes? [TURNS TO GIUSEPPE] Perhaps you’d get it for me?
GIUSEPPE; I don’t think… I’ll have a look.
GIUSEPPE EXITS. THE MAN INTERCEPTS GIANNI, WHO IS EDGING AWAY, AND CORNERS HIM AGAINST A TABLE.
MAN; [SEDUCTIVELY] You weren’t thinking of leaving, were you, chicken? I hope you’re not going to play hard to get. You’re cute. First things first. Tom Lepage. Where is he?
GIANNI INDICATES THE BACK EXIT. THE MAN SIGNALS THIS TO SOMEONE OUT FRONT.
GIANNI; You’re welcome.
MAN; That’s what I like, a bit of co-operation. Have you ever had a man before?
GIANNI SHAKES HIS HEAD.
Lovely. I’ve got a treat in store for you.
GIANNI ATTEMPTS TO ESCAPE HIS HOLD. THE MAN YANKS HIM BACK.
Going to put up a bit of a struggle are we? Nice. I like a bit of spirit. You wouldn’t be trying to warn Mr. Lepage, would you?
GIANNI; I need the toilet.
MAN; That way, are they? I’ll come with you. Don’t worry. I’m just going to go straight in and straight out.
THERE IS A YELL OFF-STAGE. TOM COMES HURTLING IN, FOLLOWED BY A SECOND MAN, ALSO DRESSED IN BLACK; A BLACK BALACLAVA MASK HIDING HIS FEATURES. GIUSEPPE RUSHES OUT.
FIRST MAN BLOCKS TOM’S ESCAPE WITH A PUNCH IN THE STOMACH. HE SPINS TOM ROUND, DRAGGING HIS JACKET OFF, AND THE SECOND MAN NUTS HIM IN THE FACE. TOM SLUMPS TO THE FLOOR GROANING IN AGONY. SECOND MAN HAULS TOM TO HIS FEET FOR SOME MORE MANHANDLING. FIRST MAN UNDOES TOM’S TROUSERS AND DRAGS THEM DOWN. HE IS FLUNG ONTO A TABLE, FACE DOWN.
GIUSEPPE DASHES TO RESCUE HIS CROCKERY. HE EXITS WITH IT. GIANNI IS ROOTED TO THE SPOT.
TOM IS HELD DOWN BY FIRST MAN, WHILE SECOND MAN BRINGS OUT A KNIFE. TOM STRUGGLES WILDLY AS HE FEELS THE KNIFE PRESSED AGAINST HIS BACKSIDE.
MAN 2; Turn him over!
TOM IS MANHANDLED FACE UP, SCREAMING AS HE NOW FEELS THE KNIFE STROKING HIS
TOM; Not that! Mercy! Please!
GIANNI SEIZES HIS OPPORTUNITY TO GRAB HIS SUITCASE AND EXIT.
MAN 1; [SEEING GIANNI GO] Hey you!
MAN 2; [HOLDING TOM BY THE THROAT AND STILL THREATENING HIS GROIN WITH KNIFE]
This is your one and only warning, scumbag! If I ever catch you anywhere near Karen again, I’ll cut these balls off and shove ‘em down your throat! Got it?
TOM; Got it. Thank you.
MAN 1; And us and our mates’ll take turns to use you like the eunuch you’ll be… If you think of getting the police involved…
TOM; No. No police.
MAN 1; [TO GIUSEPPE] You heard the man.
MAN 2; Let’s get going, babe.
MAN 1; I think he’s got the message.
TOM; [SITTING UP] I’m leaving London tonight.
HEARING THIS, GIUSEPPE HURRIES OFF TO GET TOM’S BILL.
MAN 1; Then here’s a goodbye kiss.
HE SHOVES TOM DOWN AGAIN KISSES HIM HARD ON THE LIPS, THEN GRABS HIS TROUSERS.
We’ll keep these as a souvenir.
MAN 2; Good idea.
MAN 1; And Italian shoes. Nice. Just my size.
HE WRAPS THE SHOES IN THE TROUSERS.
MAN 1; And here’s a souvenir from me.
HE PUNCHES TOM ON THE JAW. TOM LIES MOANING.
You’re a fucking lousy kisser, you know.
MAN 2; [REMOVING THE WALLET FROM TOM’S JACKET] Let’s scarper.
MAN 1; Let’s go up the Heath. I’ve worked up an appetite for a bit of a gang-bang.
THEY GO OUT, ARMS ROUND EACH OTHER’S SHOULDERS, AS GIUSEPPE RE-EMERGES.
TOM; The bastards!
GIUSEPPE; Will you look at that! The two of them are kissing in the street!
What sort of reputation is this place going to get? You and your philandering.
TOM; I think I need dental reconstruction…
GIUSEPPE; I think you need to get dressed.
TOM; I tell you, it’s a good job I didn’t lose my temper.
GIUSEPPE; Just your trousers.
TOM; They took me by surprise. Two onto one.
GIUSEPPE; He who lives by the sword… You’ll get no sympathy from me. Just retribution for beating up your wife. Next time, maybe, you think twice.
HE SUDDENLY NOTICES GIANNI’S ABSENCE.
Where’s Gianni…? He’s taken his suitcase! Done a moonlight, without paying his bill! And I’ll bet this Rolex is a fake! Filio di putana!
TOM; Giuseppe, I need your pass key. The key to my room was in those trousers.
GIUSEPPE; So another addition to your bill. [HE MARKS IT DOWN] Did I hear you say you’re leaving London tonight?
TOM; I have to. Let me just get another pair of trousers and shoes from my room.
GIUSEPPE; First settle the bill, then the pass key.
TOM LIMPS TO PICK UP HIS JACKET. HE FEELS FOR HIS WALLET.
Payment in full.
TOM; Christ almighty! They’ve taken my wallet!
GIUSEPPE; That does it! Right, you can make one phone call to get money sent. Till then you’re going to work your passage. Starting right now.
HE HANDS TOM A KEY.
TOM; This isn’t the pass key.
GIUSEPPE; No, it’s the key to the cleaning cupboard. You can start with the toilets.
GIUSEPPE; No trousers and no shoes, I can be sure you won’t take French leave like Gianni. There’s an apron in there to cover your modesty. When the toilets are sparkling, you can make your phone call. You may have come to London to screw another man’s wife, but your not going to screw me. Get started.
TOM LIMPS FORLORNLY OFF, AS THE PHONE RINGS.
GIUSEPPE; [INTO THE RECEIVER] Hello. Giuseppe… For two weeks?… Yes. The best? The name of the guest?… Ah, Mr. Oliver Reed? Yes, I can assure you that Mr. Reed will feel very much at home here.
E N D O F P L A Y