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This is the script of a radio play I wrote a few years back for submission to the BBC (in the UK). They get so many submissions, and I guess this script is 'lacking' in so many ways, that I wasn't at all surprised that it wasn't accepted. It was the first and only radio script I've ever done.

The problem with radio scripts - as with screenplays and scripts for the stage - is that if they're not accepted, they are essentially useless and worthless. There is nothing you can do with them. It reminds me of the old days of book publishing when, if you couldn't get your typescript accepted by a publisher or an agent, you had essentially wasted a lot of your time producing something that you could do nothing with and which really had no value. Of course you could let yourself be tricked by vanity publishers into allowing them to produce a few 'hard' (paper) copies of your written work for you for an extortionate price, but you only ended up giving those copies away to unappreciative friends and family, or hiding them away shame-facedly in the attic.

Now, with the marvelous internet, anyone can find websites where they can publish their work. Yes, that work will probably not be read by many, if any, people, and almost certainly no money will ever be made from it, but at least some occasional person may stumble upon it and find it of some fleeting interest.

So here is the script of a radio play 'wot I dun', as we say in England. Unfortunately on a Wiki page the standard formatting disappears (or if it is possible to reproduce the formatting, I don't know how to do it), so please put up with it being displayed in the following way.

MISS

A 45 Minute Radio Play

Characters

Jez (the ex-wife)

Bill (the ex-husband)

Alex (their six-year-old son)

Anna (Jez's Polish friend)

Rodg (Bill's friend)


SCENE 1. INT. JEZ'S HOUSE. MORNING

SOUND OF FRONT DOOR CLOSING

ALEX: (DISTANT, AS FROM TOP OF STAIRS) Mum, who was that?

JEZ: No one.

ALEX: I saw a man going out.

JEZ: He'd got the wrong address.

ALEX: I thought I heard someone here last night.

JEZ: Yes, you did … me!

ALEX: No. A man.

JEZ: Alex, my angel, you're the only man in this house.

ALEX: There should be another man here, mummy. Daddy should be here. I miss him. Teddy misses him too.

JEZ: I know you do. And I'm sure teddy does. But mummy and daddy sort of fell out of love and it was impossible for us to live together any more. Talking of daddy, he'll be here any minute. You know he's taking you out today, so get a move on! I want you washed and dressed and down here in two minutes.

ALEX: (SOUND OF HIM RUNNING OFF) I'm getting dressed now, mummy. And teddy is too.

SOUND OF DOORBELL AND JEZ OPENING FRONT DOOR

ANNA: Hi, Jez! I just saw that man from last night driving off. Was he any good?

SOUND OF FRONT DOOR CLOSING

JEZ: Hi, Anna! No, he was rubbish. He was all over me like a rash, and then he was just all over, full stop. I made him sleep on the sofa. If he hadn't been too drunk to drive I'd have kicked him out last night.

ANNA: Never mind. Maybe the next one will be better.

JEZ: Everything OK with you?

ANNA: Yes. I've left my husband looking after the children.

JEZ: Thanks for looking after Alex till I got back last night, Anna. Like I said, I'll treat you to some nice things when we go shopping today.

SOUND OF DOORBELL

Oh God! That'll be my ex. You let him in, Anna. I don't want to spend any more time talking to Bill than I have to. I'll go upstairs and chivvy Alex up. The sooner I get the pair of them out the house, the sooner we can go shopping.

SOUND OF JEZ RUNNING UP THE STAIRS

SOUND OF FRONT DOOR OPENING

ANNA: Hello, Bill. Come on in. Jez is just getting Alex ready.

BILL: Thanks, Anna. Amazing thing about women, isn't it?

ANNA: What's that?

BILL: When you fix a time with them for something.

ANNA: What do you mean?

BILL: Well, a stupid person, like a man for example, would think that that was the time something was going to happen, whereas really it's just the time when the woman is going to start getting ready for the thing to happen.

ANNA: Yes, men are stupid, aren't they?

BILL: Yes. How's the family?

ANNA: Mine or yours?

BILL: I don’t have a family any more, do I, Anna? Not since madam decided she had an itch that needed scratching. I meant your family of course.

ANNA: They're fine. The kids are good. My husband works hard. He's a great husband.

BILL: And I’m sure he thinks you’re a great wife too. (PAUSE) Do you fancy running off and leaving him, Anna? For no reason at all? Just to annoy him? Just to ruin your kids' lives?

ANNA: No. Why would I want to do that? Are you being funny, Bill? Is this your British humor? Remember that only British people like British humor. The rest of us like normal humor.

BILL: I don't know what it is with you Polish people. You seem so reluctant to pick up our quaint Anglo-Saxon ways.

ANNA: I miss my country so much, Bill. People there are normal.

BILL: Why don't you return there? I'm not trying to get rid of you. It's just ….

ANNA: We're thinking about it. Your country is getting worse. It was bad before. It used to be like a toilet. Now it's like a broken toilet. And what happened to the money? Where has it gone?

BILL: Don't look at me. I never saw it even when it was here. Perhaps your lot sent it all back to Poland.

ANNA: Maybe. Things are better there now than they are here. You know, I think we might go back.

BILL: I might come with you. There's nothing much here for me.

SOUND OF JEZ AND ALEX COMING DOWN HE STAIRS

ALEX: Hello, Daddy! Pick me up!

SOUND OF BILL PICKING ALEX UP

BILL: Your wish, fruit of my loins, is my command.

ALEX: You do say strange things sometimes, Daddy. Why don't you talk like all the other men?

JEZ: Come on, you two! I can't listen to the pair of you talking nonsense all day. Anna and I have got some serious shopping to do.

SOUND OF FRONT DOOR OPENING

JEZ: Out! Both of you! What time are you bringing him back, Bill?

BILL: Six o'clock, as we agreed. Or maybe I won't bring him back at all. Maybe I'll just keep him.

JEZ: What? In that poky little flat of yours?

BILL: I've got a poky little flat because the court gave you this house. My house. That I paid for.

JEZ: I don't make the rules, darling. Anyway, you wouldn't last a week looking after Alex on your own. You can hardly look after yourself, let alone a kid as well.

BILL: I looked after myself well enough until I met you.

JEZ: And I'm sure you're looking after yourself perfectly well now, in your poky little flat, but Alex lives here, so make sure he's back by six or I'll call the police. I'll have you done for … abductible molestation or something.

SOUND OF FRONT DOOR BEING SLAMMED

PAUSE

BILL: (OUTSIDE) Well, Alex, let's go and enjoy our day out together.

ALEX: Okay, daddy. Let me climb on your back and then I'll follow you to the car.


SCENE 2. INT. BILL'S CAR (MOVING). MORNING

BILL: Well, Alex, what’s mummy been up to?

SILENCE

BILL: Ah, I’d forgotten. You’re under strict instructions not to grass on mummy. Well OK then, what have you been up to?

SILENCE

BILL: You are allowed to tell me about the normal stuff, Alex. You’re still going to school, I hope?

ALEX: Of course I am.

BILL: Still enjoying it?

ALEX: Yes:

BILL: Have you got lots of friends?

SILENCE

BILL: I see. A question too far. I shall be annoyed if I find out you’re more talkative with your mother’s boyfriends than you are with me.

ALEX: Bill. I mean daddy. Where are we going today? Can we buy some toys? Can we go to that place in the shopping centre where they do those nice chips with chicken bits? And mummy says you have to buy me some clothes today.

BILL: Does she indeed? Well I suppose I have to obey a woman I don’t live with and that I have no real connection with any more. What clothes am I supposed to get you?

ALEX: Mummy gave me a list. It’s in my pocket.

BILL: Very efficient. We’ll get some clothes that are like the way I feel … nicely stitched up.

ALEX: And can we get them in the colors I want?

BILL: Yes, we can. Now let’s go and have a bite to eat first, and then we’ll do some shopping.


SCENE 3. INT. KID’S RESTAURANT. LUNCHTIME.

ALEX: Have a chip, daddy.

BILL: Thanks, Alex. You know, you’re a nice lad.

ALEX: I know. (GIGGLES)

BILL: Just make sure you don’t grow up to be a mummy’s boy.

ALEX: But I am mummy’s boy.

BILL: And daddy’s boy.

ALEX: Yes, but mostly mummy’s boy.

BILL: Can I have another chip?

ALEX: Yes, this one.

BILL: Thanks. Are you ready to do some clothes shopping? Or shall we get toys instead?

ALEX: Both. Let’s get clothes and toys. Let’s get everything we want.

BILL: Yes, and then daddy can live on bread and water for the rest of the month. Come along then. Lets go shopping.


SCENE 4. INT. SHOPPING CENTRE. AFTERNOON.

BILL: Did we get everything on mummy’s list?

ALEX: Yes, everything.

BILL: Good. She’ll be pleased. (PAUSE) I guess mummy's trying to find you a new daddy, is she?

ALEX: (PAUSE) She says she doesn’t want to make a mistake again. She’s not going to rush into things. And this morning she said I'm the only man she wants in the house. I said if she has another man, it has to be you.

BILL: And what did she say?

ALEX: I don't know. I had to go and get teddy and me ready for going out with you. (PAUSE) Daddy, I've forgotten teddy. I've left him at home. Can we go back and fetch him? He'll be missing me.

BILL: If we went back, we wouldn't be able to get in. Your mum and Anna are out shopping or something, and mummy changed the locks so daddy’s old key doesn’t work.

ALEX: How do you know? We could go back and try it.

BILL: Tried it already. Went round there at three in the morning one night when I was drunk. Key wouldn't even fit in the lock. But don't worry, Alex, teddy will be waiting for you when you get back this evening.

ALEX: Poor teddy. He'll be so lonely. He might be angry with me. Let's buy him some chocolate to show him that we thought of him.

BILL: Do teddies eat chocolate?

ALEX: Mine does. Lots. Come on, daddy, let's buy some. Teddy will be so grateful.

BILL: Well, we want to keep teddy in a good mood, so yes, let's get some chocolate for him. Then we'll head back to the car and go to my poky little flat. We can see how good these toys are that we've bought.

ALEX: Your flat’s horrible, daddy.

BILL: True, but I’m looking round for a better place. It's just that everywhere is so expensive. I don’t have much money left by the time I’ve paid mummy.

ALEX: I think mummy’s got enough money. Why don’t you keep your money for yourself and then you could afford a nice place to live?

BILL: Maybe I’ll do that. I’m sure mummy wouldn’t mind. Anyway, come on! Let's go get teddy his chocolate.


SCENE 5. INT. BILL’S FLAT. AFTERNOON.

BILL: Are you alright, Alex? You’re being very quiet.

ALEX: I’m pretending.

BILL: Oh! And I thought you were just playing with that Action Man.

ALEX: I’m not playing. I’m pretending. This is me. I’ve got an invisible mummy and daddy. They’re keeping an eye on me. But they’re letting me do what I want. Me and teddy. He’s my best friend. But he’s invisible too. Actually he’s at home on my bed, but you and mummy don’t know that. You and mummy don't know anything.

BILL: Do you miss mummy and daddy not being together any more, Alex?

ALEX: I want to have me and teddy and a mummy and a daddy all living together. In my house. In teddy's house. Like a proper family.

BILL: I used to have a house and a wife and a son. Probably had a teddy at one time.

ALEX: Why don’t you come back and live with us, daddy? You could share teddy with me.

BILL: Sounds like a good idea. I'll put it to your mother. See what she says.

ALEX: I don't think mummy loves you any more. She still loves me, and I suppose that's the most important thing. And she loves our house.

BILL: My house.

ALEX: It's mummy’s house now. And mine too, I suppose.

BILL: Mummy's house, your home. I'm glad I worked all those years to buy it.

ALEX: What if mummy finds me a new daddy, daddy? I don't want a new daddy. Do I have to have one even if I don't want one?

BILL: These days, mummies do what mummies want. We men just have to go along with it.

ALEX: Do we?

BILL: No, of course not. We can always choose to walk out and get ourselves a hovel like this one.

ALEX: You didn't walk out, daddy. Mummy threw you out.

BILL: Nonsense, Alex. She asked me to leave, and in my usual civilized way, I agreed. That's how adults behave, you see - like nice gentlefolk.

ALEX: I thought mummy threw all your things in the garden and told you to f ….

BILL: Mummy was just helping me on my way, that's all. She's nice that way, your mother. (PAUSE) I shall be forever grateful to her (PAUSE) for letting me have a son by her, if for nothing else.

ALEX: I always thought you were OK as a daddy, daddy.

BILL: Just OK?

ALEX: Well, you didn't always let me do what I wanted, so I guess that's why you were only OK.

BILL: Does mummy always let you do what you want?

ALEX: No.

BILL: There you go. That means mummy's only OK, and I’m no worse than mummy.

ALEX: But mummy feeds teddy and me and tucks us up in bed at night. You never did that.

BILL: That's because I was too busy working, and when I was at home I was knackered from working. I …

SOUND OF DOORBELL

BILL: I wonder who that is.

ALEX: I know a way to find out.

SOUND OF ALEX RUNNING TO DOOR AND OPENING IT

ALEX: Daddy, it's Rodg.

RODG: Hello, little one. What are you doing here?

ALEX: It's my day with daddy.

BILL: Alright, Rodg. How are you?

RODG: Fine. I was just passing and I saw your car outside. I've got those tools you lent me in the car. I'll go down and fetch them up.

BILL: OK. Do you want some tea or something? I'll put the kettle on.

RODG: Tea will be fine. I'll be back in a minute.

SOUND OF RODG LEAVING FLAT AND GOING DOWNSTAIRS

ALEX: I haven't seen Rodg for ages, daddy. He used to be round our house all the time when you lived with us.

SOUND OF BILL PUTTING KETTLE ON. SOUND OF TEA BEING MADE

BILL: These days he's round here most of the time. Goodness knows what his wife thinks. Mind you, perhaps she's glad to get rid of him. I always wonder about their relationship. Seems very open, if you know what I mean.

ALEX: Open what?

BILL: Open in the sense of being able to do what you want. His wife does what she wants. Rodg does what he wants.

ALEX: I like doing what I want. I think I'll live like that.

BILL: That's the way me and mummy should have lived (PAUSE), instead of just splitting up.

ALEX: Mummy does what she wants anyway. That's good, isn't it? And you can do anything you want as well, so …

BILL: … we should all be happy. Perhaps divorce is the most open relationship you can have.

ALEX: I feel sorry for teddy, daddy. I shouldn't have left him At home. He might think I've run off and I'm not coming back.

BILL: In that case he'll be very pleasantly surprised to see you when you get back this evening.

SOUND OF RODG COMING UP THE STAIRS

RODG: Here they are. Shall I just put them down on the floor over here?

BILL: Yes, that's fine.

SOUND OF RODG PUTTING TOOLS DOWN

BILL: There's a mug of tea on the table.

RODG: Thanks. How are things with you, young Alex? Getting on alright at that school of yours?

ALEX: Yes.

RODG: Lots of friends.

ALEX: Euromillions.

RODG: That many? That is good.

ALEX: (GIGGLES)

RODG: Are you coming out tonight, Bill? Len and Dave should be there. We can play them at pool. Play doubles.

BILL: Sounds good. I could do with letting my hair down.

RODG: You haven't got any hair these days.BILL: It's the stress that did that.

RODG: What? The stress of divorce?

BILL: No, the stress of marriage. The great thing about being divorced is I haven't got anything to lose any more, including hair, so I've got nothing to worry about.

RODG: True. Actually I think I can see your hair starting to grow back … in patches.

BILL: Just call me Tufty. How are you and the missus getting on these days?

RODG: She tolerates me. I tolerate her. Mostly we do it by avoiding being together. I give her a poke every now and then to see if there are any signs of life.

BILL: And are there any?

RODG: Can't tell. (PAUSE) I think she might have got a new boyfriend. She's always out. Tells me she's busy. Keeps her off my back, that's the good thing.

BILL: You're taking it well. That's very philosophical.

RODG: You've no idea what a relief it is when you've been married a long time and your wife gets a new man to play with. Works wonders. Cuts down the nagging by more than half. She's always out, so I don't have her taking up my time and space. I get to watch what I want on TV. It's great.

BILL: Recipe for marital bliss.

PHONE RINGS

BILL: That's probably Alex's mum checking I haven't lost him or sold him into slavery. (ANSWERS PHONE) Hello. (PAUSE) Sorry to hear that. Let's hope he gets well soon. (PAUSE) I can't help out. I've got my son over today. I only get him at the weekend. (PAUSE) No, really…. (PAUSE) Well, if you put it like that. Hold on. (To RODG) Rodg, they need me in at work. One of the other supervisors has gone down with some bug. I'll get double pay, but they also reminded me that my contract's up for renewal at the end of this month.

RODG: In other words, if you don't go in today, you won't be going in next month?

BILL: That's the gist of it. I was just wondering …

RODG: … if I could look after Alex and then run him back home later on? Of course. Leave it to me. Are you still going to be able to make it for a drink tonight?

BILL: Should be finished by ten, so yes, a quick one, or two. (INTO PHONE) Hello? Yes, I'll be right in. Give me half an hour. OK. Bye. (PHONE DOWN) Sorry about this, Alex. Poverty and blackmail are irresistible. I've got to go to work. Alright if Rodg looks after you and takes you back?

ALEX: OK.

BILL: (VOICE FADING AS HE GOES INTO BEDROOM) I bet I'll get some stick off your mother for this. Not that she'd know what it's like to have to go to work.

RODG: I always fancied seeing your ex on the job. I mean, in a job.

BILL: Hey, there's a kid present.

ALEX: Mummy does work.

RODG: Does she?

BILL: We were only joking. And yes, she's got that cash-in-hand job looking after that old lady round the corner.

RODG: Oh well, it helps her look after Alex, I suppose.

BILL: (COMING BACK IN ROOM) Anyway, I've got to dash.

RODG: Don't worry. I'll look after Alex and get him home.

BILL: Thanks Rodg. You're a pal. I couldn't wish for a better mate than you. I'll see you later.

SOUND OF FRONT DOOR CLOSING

RODG: Alright Alex? You don't mind being with me, do you?

ALEX: Did daddy have to go?

RODG: Yes, afraid so. Money first, everything else second. That's the rule in life. (PAUSE) You're a smashing lad, Alex. I'm sorry to see you in this situation. You know, I sometimes wish I'd had kids.

ALEX: Why didn't you?

RODG: Turned out Janie, the missus, wasn't able. Caused a few arguments in the early days of our marriage, I can tell you. People ought to check on these things before they settle down together, but of course they don't. Anyway eventually I accepted it. Must admit I did think about going off with someone else for a while, but that passed. (PAUSE) You happy down there, playing?

ALEX: Yes.

RODG: Good. We've got plenty of time. Actually I've got an idea for somewhere we can go a bit later. Stop off there for an hour or two on the way back to your mum's place.

ALEX: Where?

RODG: Wait and see. It'll be a surprise.


SCENE 6. EXT. FUN FAIR. AFTERNOON.

RODG: Enjoying yourself, Alex?

ALEX: Yes, it's great.

RODG: Let's see a smile on your face then! Fun fairs are supposed to be fun.

ALEX: I miss my dad.

RODG: I know. But he had to go to work. His boss has got him by the short and curlies.

ALEX: What?

RODG: I mean if your dad didn't go to work today, he wouldn't have any work to go to at all. That's the thing with working on a fixed term contract. If you don't keep the bosses happy, they chuck you out and get someone else.

ALEX: I meant I miss daddy all the time.

RODG: I bet you do, Alex. But that's just the way things go these days. Everyone's splitting up, and kids are ending up with no dad, or a new dad, or a whole string of new dads.

ALEX: You haven't split from your wife.

RODG: True, but … we just couldn't be bothered. We do our own thing. We just happen to live under the same roof.

ALEX: Why couldn't my mummy and daddy do that?

RODG: It doesn't suit everyone. Some people want to have the house to themselves, get their freedom.

ALEX: Freedom to do what?

RODG: Well … to see who they want to see, live how they want to live.

ALEX: But you and your wife Janie are free, but you're still together.

RODG: We're us. Your dad's your dad, and your mum's your mum. That's the way it is. I think that's what they call philosophy. Anyway, look Alex, do you fancy some horrible, sticky pink candy floss? There's a stall over there. I'll buy you one.

ALEX: OK! Race you!


SCENE 7. INT. RODG'S CAR (MOVING).

AFTERNOON.

RODG: We should just get back for six. We don't want to be late otherwise your mum will have something to say about it. Actually I'm sure she's going to have something to say anyway about your dad going off to work.

ALEX: He had to go.

RODG: I know that and you know that, but it won't make any difference to your mum. She'll still have something to say about it.

ALEX: Mum's never satisfied.

RODG: You're right. Mums are never satisfied. There's no pleasing them, Alex. You'll find that out for yourself when you're older.

ALEX: When I'm older I think there's just going to be me and teddy.

RODG: Wise decision. You stick with teddy and leave the women alone. It'll save you a whole load of trouble and heartache. And expense. Anyway, here we are. I'll just park up. Look, there's your mum at the door, waiting for you. Why's she giving me a dirty look? I'm the good guy in all of this.

ALEX: It should be daddy bringing me back, not you.

RODG: You're right. Still, you lead the way. I'll hide behind you and bring the bags.

SOUND OF CAR DOORS OPENING AND CLOSING, AND RODG'S AND ALEX'S FOOTSTEPS GOING UP THE PATH


SCENE 8. EXT. DOORSTEP OF JEZ'S HOUSE. EARLY EVENING.

JEZ: Where's Bill?

RODG: He had to go into work.

JEZ: He did, did he? So he'd rather be at work than with his son?

RODG: No, Jez, it's not like that. His boss gave him no choice.

ALEX: Where's teddy, mummy? Did he miss me?

JEZ: He's where you left him, on your bed. Come here, my little angel. Give mummy a kiss. I don't know if teddy missed you, but mummy certainly did. Did you have a good day? Did daddy buy you lots of toys and clothes before he deserted you?

ALEX: Yes, Rodg has got them in those bags there. Put me down, mummy. I want to go and find teddy. Come with me. He might be angry with me. You can tell him I'm sorry.

JEZ: You go up by yourself. I'll follow. I want a word with Rodg.

ALEX: No. Come with me.

ANNA: Hello, Alex.

ALEX: Hello, Anna. Can't stop. I've got to say sorry to teddy. He's been on his own all day. Bet he's missed me. Tell mummy to come up.

SOUND OF ALEX RUNNING UPSTAIRS

ANNA: Hello Rodg. Where's Bill?

JEZ: The rat preferred to work instead of being with his son.

RODG: Now Jez ….

JEZ: Can you just hang on a minute, Anna? I'll go upstairs with Alex. I'll be down in two ticks.

ANNA: Yes, of course. Then I really must go.

ALEX: (FROM TOP OF STAIRS) Bring the bags up, mummy. I want to show teddy all the stuff I got today. There's something in there for him.

JEZ: Alright, monster, I'm coming.

SOUND OF ALEX AND JEZ GOING INTO THE HOUSE AND UPSTAIRS

ANNA: Looks as though Alex and his dad did almost as much shopping as Jez and me.

RODG: That's Bill for you. He likes to spoil his boy.

ANNA: I know. He really loves him. It's a shame that (PAUSE) Anyway, how are you, Rodg?

RODG: All the better for seeing you, my polished Polish piece of perfection.

ANNA: And how's your wife?

RODG: She's very understanding, as always. Lets me out on a long leash. I do the same for her.

ANNA: So you're like dogs?

RODG: On heat.

ANNA: We had our dog done. He still barks sometimes, but that's all he does.

RODG: I've still got all my dangly bits.

ANNA: I take your word for it.

RODG: How's hubby?

ANNA: Like a husband should be.

RODG: And the kids.

ANNA: Like normal Polish kids.

SILENCE

RODG: No chance of a leg-over then, Anna?

ANNA: Ask your wife. God, how I miss my country. I think next year we'll go back. I can't bring my kids up here.

SOUND OF JEZ COMING DOWNSTAIRS

RODG: You can't beat being British, Anna. Most civilized country in the world. Other people envy us.

JEZ: I can't believe that lousy father of his preferred to go to work rather than be with his own son.

RODG: I told you, Jez …

JEZ: … he had no choice. Yes, I know. Well maybe I'll have no choice but not to let him have Alex next Saturday.

RODG: Oh come on, Jez, don't be mean. Bill's having a tough time as it is already.

JEZ: Please don't! You'll make me cry.

ANNA: I'd better be off. Thanks for a wonderful day, Jez, and for those clothes. Any time you want me to look after Alex again, just say.

JEZ: Actually I might need you tomorrow night, Anna. That bloke from last night sent me a message a short while ago asking if I'd give him a second chance. I'm thinking about it.

ANNA: Well, let me know. I'm free tomorrow if you need me.

JEZ: OK. I'll be in touch.

ANNA: Alright. Bye!

SOUND OF ANNA WALKING DOWN THE PATH

JEZ: So, how are you, you old rogue?

RODG: Less of the old! I'm in my prime.

JEZ: Your prime was years ago … if I remember.

RODG: You must have a good memory. Who's the lucky guy that you're giving a second chance to tomorrow?

JEZ: You wouldn't know him. I just went out on a date with him last night. Bit of a plonker, but he's got a nice car and a good job.

RODG: If you're looking to give people second chances ….

JEZ: Putting your name forward for consideration, are you?

RODG: Dodgy Rodg volunteering, ma'am. Anyway, it wasn't that bad, was it, Jez? And now you're single you can do what you like. It's not as though we'd be doing anything behind Bill's back. Not this time.

JEZ: True. I can do what I like now, with who I like. (PAUSE) Do you want to come in?

RODG: I'd love to, but I'm meeting a couple of the lads down the pub at seven and your Bill's coming along when he finishes work at ten. We're going to play a bit of pool. I could get away by eleven. Half past. Say the wife is badgering me to go home and bonk her. Then I could …

JEZ: … come here? Why not? I stay up late. Alex will be fast asleep. So long as you're … fit for action. Yes, OK. Come over when you've finished with Bill and the lads. Talking about your wife, she won't mind?

RODG: I'll tell her I'm staying at Bill's. Tell her he needs a bit of moral support, bit of company. Going through a bad time and all that.

JEZ: Bill certainly found a good friend when he found you.

RODG: I'll take that as if you meant it. Come here!

SOUND OF KISSING

JEZ: Oh, Rodg! There's something I want to tell you.

ALEX: (DISTANT, AS FROM TOP OF STAIRS) Mummy, what are you doing to Rodg?

SOUND OF ALEX COMING DOWNSTAIRS

JEZ: I was just about to whisper something to him.

ALEX: He won't be able to hear it if you whisper into his mouth. Even teddy and I know that.

JEZ: Silly mummy.

RODG: Anyway, you can tell me later. I mean, some other time. You had a good day, didn't you, Alex?

ALEX: Yes, it was good. Shame daddy couldn't have spent more time with us though.

RODG: That's the thing with being grown up, Alex. Men are just always on the job.

ALEX: Work before …

RODG: …pleasure. That's right. Anyway, I must go. I'll be seeing your dad later on when he's finished work. I'll tell him how much you miss him.

ALEX: He can come round here if he likes and I'll tell him myself. He can tuck me up in bed.

JEZ: I don't think so. Now you get upstairs and put your jim jams on. I'll do us something to eat.

ALEX: Feed me! Feed me! (SOUND OF ALEX RUNNING UPSTAIRS) See you Rodg. Thanks for taking me to the fair. Tell daddy I love him.

RODG: Yes, I'll do that. (PAUSE) See you tonight then, Jez.

JEZ: Yes, I'll be waiting.

SOUND OF KISSING

RODG: Bye!

JEZ: Bye!


SCENE 9. INT. BAR (NOISY). NIGHT.

RODG: Here he is, the man himself!

BILL: Alright, Rodg? I hope you haven't had anything to drink before I got here.

RODG: What sort of friend would I be if I did that? Not a drop has passed my lips. Oh no, actually, I think I might have snuck in a quick one. But I tell you what, I'll make it up to you. I'll buy you a drink, then we'll be evens. What are you having?

BILL: The usual. Did you get Alex home alright?

RODG: No problem. Even managed to take him to the fun fair for a couple of hours before we went back. He loved it.

BILL: That's great. I'd thought of doing that if I hadn't had to go to work. Was Jez alright?

RODG: Seemed OK. But that was probably due to my sweet talk and charm. Although now I think of it, she did say something about not letting you have Alex next Saturday.

BILL: What?

RODG: Only kidding. I think. Obviously she was a bit annoyed about you disappearing off to work, but I explained you had no choice. She was alright about it when she'd simmered down.

BILL: Who would have thought that having a family would be such a nightmare? If you can call it a family. One son I hardly ever see, and an ex-wife.

RODG: Look on the bright side. Alex is a smashing lad. You've got a great son.

BILL: Yes, except I'm not really involved in bringing him up. (PAUSE) Any sign of Jez having any boyfriends on the horizon?

RODG: I don't think so. But then she probably wouldn't tell me anyway. Couldn't see any sign of there being other blokes.

BILL: It wouldn't be any of my business anyway, or yours. And I couldn't do anything about it even if she was seeing someone. I shouldn't even waste my time thinking about it. She's free now and she can do what she wants. It's just Alex I worry about. I hate the idea of him having a new daddy.

RODG: Or daddies.

BILL: Thanks, Rodg!

RODG: That's the way it goes these days, Bill. You know that. Women aren't always in a rush to settle down again when they get their first taste of freedom after being in a long marriage.

BILL: It was eight years!

RODG: That's a long marriage by today's standards. You ought to feel proud of that.

BILL: I thought a long marriage was forty years, like my parents. I wish people would at least stay together long enough to bring up their kids.

RODG: Dream on, Bill!

BILL: Yes, I'm living in a fantasy world. Still, whatever Jez gets up to with other men, I hope she keeps it well hidden from Alex.

RODG: Oh, I'm sure she will. Jez might be a lot of things, but she's not stupid.

BILL: No, and she's got the house to prove it. And a large chunk of my pension. And fifteen percent of my take-home pay.

RODG: Now, now, Bill! You have to pay for your pleasures.

BILL: Pleasure, did you say? I must have blinked and missed that bit. Anyway, it looks as though Len and Dave have finished their game of pool. Shall we give them a game of doubles.

RODG: Yes. Let's show them how to get those balls in the hole.


SCENE 10. INT. JEZ'S HOUSE. NIGHT.

JEZ: Come on, Alex, it's time for bed.

ALEX: Do I have to?

JEZ: Yes, teddy wants to sleep. He's waiting for you upstairs.

ALEX: I'll go and fetch him. Teddy told me he wanted to stay up late tonight.

JEZ: Did he now? What for?

ALEX: I can't remember. But he said it's very important he stays up late tonight. And me too.

JEZ: That's funny, my little angel, because I spoke to him half an hour ago and he said he was feeling very tired. He could hardly keep his eyes open. He said he wanted you to tell him a story to help him to go off to sleep.

ALEX: What story?

JEZ: I tell you what. I'll read you a story. We'll get teddy to cover his ears. Then when I've finished, you can tell the story to him. He'll like that, and it'll send him off to sleep.

ALEX: OK.

JEZ: Go on then. You go upstairs. I'll be up in two minutes. By the way, did teddy eat all that chocolate you bought him today?

ALEX: Most of it, but he's kept some for tomorrow. I'm looking after it for him.

JEZ: That's very good of you. Get upstairs Go on now!

ALEX: OK. Teddy and I will be waiting for you.

SOUND OF ALEX RUNNING UPSTAIRS. SOUND OF NUMBER BEING DIALED ON PHONE


SCENE 11. INT. BAR (NOISY). NIGHT.

SOUND OF MOBILE PHONE RINGING. IT STOPS

RODG: Hello! (PAUSE) Hello darling. Yes, I'll be round … I'll be home shortly. (PAUSE) Yes, I'm in the pub. Yes, with Bill, and Len and Dave as well. Playing pool. (PAUSE) No, Bill's terrible. Can't see what's going on under his nose, let alone get his balls where they're supposed to go. (PAUSE) No, I'm stone cold sober. Not a drop has passed my lips. Well, two pints actually, if you must know. (PAUSE) Oh I'm fit alright. You wait and see. (PAUSE) If it turns you on. You won't be keeping them on for very long anyway. (PAUSE) You what? Your impersonation of a lift? (PAUSE). Going down! Doors open! Sounds good to me. I'll take a ride in that one. (PAUSE). You can say that to my trousers when I get there. Anyway, can't talk all night. I'll be with you in half an hour. See you soon.

SOUND OF PHONE BEING SWITCHED OFF.

BILL: Who was that?

RODG: My lovely lady wife.

BILL: I thought she couldn't stand you these days. I thought she was screwing someone else.

RODG: A bit on the side often makes them frisky, Bill, and then they'll take it where they can. When they're in that mood, they can't get enough of it. They do all the interesting stuff with the boyfriend and then come and practice it a bit more with the hubby. It's not so bad once you get used to it. Anyway, who am I to deny her her pleasure?

BILL: Very noble of you. Well, at least you've got someone to go home to. That's more than I've got.

RODG: Tolerance, always saying “yes”, that's the secret, Bill.

BILL: You know, sometimes I think I'm not all there, a bit stupid. I shouldn't have let my marriage end. If you can keep yours going with what your wife's up to, why couldn't I keep mine going? I never cheated on Jez. She never cheated on me, as far as I know. And the worse thing is that it's my poor boy that's suffering most of all because of his mum and I splitting up.

RODG: It's too late to be wise, Bill. It's all water under the bridge now. Move on. Find yourself another woman. Try again.

BILL: Good advice, I suppose. But that's not going to help poor Alex.

RODG: You can't do anything about that. All you can do is keep up your weekly visits and be as nice to the kid as possible. Anyway, I'm just popping to the loo. Then I'll have to make a move. Back in a tick.

SOUND OF RODG MOVING AWAY FROM THE NOISE. SOUND OF NUMBER BEING DIALED ON MOBILE PHONE.

RODG: Is that you? Listen, Janie, I won't be back tonight. I'm staying round at Bill's place. (PAUSE) Do what you bloody like. I don't care where you sleep. (PAUSE) Glad to hear it. You can tell him I only ever found one way to keep you quiet, and if he does that to you I hope you bloody choke on it.

SOUND OF PHONE GOING OFF AND RODG HEADING BACK INTO THE NOISE.

RODG: That's better. I'd better make a move, Bill. The missus will go off the boil if I don't get back quick enough.

BILL: Can't you just stay for one more? I feel I need someone to talk to.

RODG: Afraid not, Bill. My trouser-brain is in control now, and I must obey it. Anyway, Len and Dave are here. Talk to them.

BILL: I miss my son, Rodg.

RODG: Oh, oh! That's the drink talking. Don't get all miserable, Bill. It won't help.

BILL: I wish I hadn't gone in to work today. I should have stayed with Alex. And I bet Jez is seeing someone. Wouldn't surprise me if she's with someone now.

RODG: No, I'm sure she isn't, Bill.

BILL: How would you know?

RODG: I'm just guessing.

BILL: I should be in that house, Rodg. The only man who should be in that house with Alex is me, his dad. I don't think women realize how much men miss their kids.

RODG: And how much kids miss their dad's. Unfortunately someone's missing me, so I've got to make a move. I must go and see them. So, sorry mate. Have yourself another drink and have another game of pool with Len and Dave, then get yourself home.

BILL: Home alone.

RODG: That's right, it's home alone for you. But just think, you'll have peace and quiet. No one to disturb you. No one to give you grief. You're a lucky man, Bill. You're well out of it. No woman. No kid. I wish I was in your shoes. But I've got to go. I'll give you a buzz tomorrow and see if you're feeling any better.

BILL: Alright. I'll hear from you tomorrow then. Have a good night. Give her a poke from me.

RODG: Will do. I'll give her an extra long one so she knows who it's from.

SOUND OF RODG MOVING AWAY AND THE NOISE FADING


SCENE 12. INT. JEZ'S HOUSE. NIGHT.

KNOCK AT THE FRONT DOOR. SOUND OF JEZ OPENING THE DOOR.

JEZ: Hello Rodg. Have you squared things with the wife?

RODG: I told her I was giving her the night off. She practically burst into tears with gratitude.

JEZ: Well if she doesn't want you, I'll have you.

SOUND OF KISSING

ALEX: (DISTANT, AS FROM TOP OF STAIRS) Mummy what are you doing?

JEZ: (SHOUTING) What are you doing, Alex? What are you doing out of bed?

ALEX: I heard a noise. Is that Rodg?

JEZ: It's the neighbor.

ALEX: What does he want?

JEZ: Just get back into bed, Alex, or you'll be in trouble. (QUIETLY TO RODG) Stay out here a minute, Rodg. I'll get Alex out of the way.

RODG: OK.

ALEX: What does he want?

JEZ: Nothing! Now get back into bed, Alex, or I'm coming up, there. I'm really angry with you, being up at this time of night.

ALEX: I just want to know what's happening.

JEZ: Right! That's it!

SOUND OF JEZ RUNNING UP STAIRS

ALEX: I'm going back to bed.

SOUND OF HIS BEDROOM DOOR CLOSING. SOUND OF JEZ COMING SLOWLY BACK DOWNSTAIRS

JEZ: Sorry about that, Rodg. It's unusual for him to be awake at this time of night.

RODG: That's OK. Shall I come in?

JEZ: Yes.

SOUND OF FRONT DOOR CLOSING

JEZ: Let's go in the sitting room. Do you want anything to drink?

RODG: No. All I want is you.

SOUND OF KISSING

RODG: You know, Jez, I've missed you so much.

JEZ: I've missed you too.

SOUND OF KISSING

JEZ: We were so lucky that Bill never found out.

RODG: It was a long time ago, and Bill never had a clue at the time. Still hasn't for that matter. But then, let's be honest, he was never the sharpest knife in the cutlery drawer.

JEZ: No. A nice guy, but always one step behind somehow.

SOUND OF KISSING

JEZ: Now I'm divorced, I thought I'd go back to using my maiden name.

RODG: Gleeson?

JEZ: Miss Jessica Gleeson to you.

RODG: And what about Alex? Are you changing his name? That would really break Bill's heart.

JEZ: No. Not because I'm bothered about Bill. I just don't want to mess Alex about more than necessary, that's all. (PAUSE) Of course if I got married again, then I suppose both Alex and I would change our names.

RODG: You wouldn't want to get married again, would you, Jez?. Once bitten, twice shy, and all that.

JEZ: I'd only do it if it was with someone special. Like Alex's father, for example.

RODG: You've lost me there. You want to get married to Bill again?

JEZ: No.

RODG: Then who?

SOUND OF KISSING

JEZ: Haven't you ever noticed, as Alex gets older, that he looks less and less like Bill? If he ever did look like him.

RODG: What are you saying?

JEZ: Sometimes I think men aren't very bright.

RODG: We're not the smartest out of all the sexes, I must admit.

JEZ: How old is Alex now, Rodg?

RODG: He was six two or three months ago, wasn't he?

JEZ: And how long ago did we have our little fling?

RODG: I don't know. Maybe …

JEZ: … about seven years ago.

RODG: Are you saying …?

JEZ: Yes, Rodg, that's exactly what I'm saying.

RODG: But can you be certain it's not Bill's?

JEZ: I'm a woman, Rodg, and not a stupid one. I'm know what I'm doing, when I'm doing it and who I'm doing it with?

RODG: So I'm Alex's …?

JEZ: Yes. But if you want to check, we can do that. I don't mind. In fact I want you to know for certain.

RODG: I don't know what to say. I need time to take all this in. Think it over. We need to talk things through. Do we need to talk things through? What are we going to do? What do you want? And what about poor Bill? And what will Alex say if we tell him?

JEZ: Shhhh, Rodg, all in good time. I've got my own ideas. Alex will just be glad he's got a father.

SOUND OF KISSING

JEZ: We can sleep on it. Although don't expect too much sleep. Come on, let's go to bed.

RODG: Yes, lets …

SOUND OF KISSING

RODG: Let's sleep on it.

JEZ: We can make love, and we can make plans. Lets go, daddy!

SOUND OF THEM GOING UPSTAIRS


SCENE 13. INT. ALEX'S ROOM. NIGHT.

SOUND OF LOVEMAKING IN NEXT ROOM

ALEX: Close your ears, teddy. Go to sleep. I finished telling you that story. You've eaten all the chocolate. What more do you want? You want a daddy? But I'm your daddy, teddy. (PAUSE) I think mummy's trying to find me a new daddy. But we don't want a new daddy, do we, teddy? We just want our real daddy. (PAUSE) I miss him so much, teddy. I miss my dad. (PAUSE) I wish he was here with us now, teddy. I wish he was here, and that he'd never go away again.

END


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