Mark Halliday & Martin Stannard The Visitors

(A humdrum big old house in a humdrum suburb. Brendie and Jock are at the kitchen table. The kitchen smells of eggs. Brendie and Jock are fifty-something.)

Brendie: Another egg?

Jock: I’m fine with just a bit of toast, now.

Brendie: I wonder if Percy will be down.

Jock: Sleeps later and later, doesn’t he?

Brendie: If it’s sleeping. When I pass his door . . .

Jock: Scoot me the jelly, love.

Brendie: He’s talking, sometimes. To himself. But in two voices, like.

Jock: A nervous sort of man. But he pays regular.

(Loud knock at the front door. Brendie is startled. She goes to answer it.)

Brendie: Gentlemen—what can I do for you?

(Enter Goldbuck and McCrum. They are large beefy men wearing dark suits. Their manner is casual and brusque.)

Goldbuck: It’s a bed and breakfast, isn’t it?

Brendie: Certainly it is. But–

McCrum: I adore breakfast. Favorite meal of the day.

Brendie: The thing is, gentlemen, I only have one room free, as it happens.

Goldbuck: Because you have lodgers.

Brendie: Two lodgers, yes. Miss Adelaide, and–

Goldbuck: And Mr. Percy.

Brendie: Oh, do you–

McCrum: We’re friends of old Percy, in a manner of speaking.

(Goldbuck and McCrum walk past Brendie and sit down in the kitchen, ignoring Jock who is uneasy, almost choking on his toast. Two hours pass, during which time Jock eats toast, Brendie making sure he has a constant supply of toast and jelly, and Goldbuck and McCrum sit silently.)

(Enter Percy, yawning and scratching his groin area. He is a small weasel of a man, around 45, wearing a teeshirt and boxers. He ignores everyone, although they are all watching him, and helps himself to coffee from the pot simmering on the counter. He stands sipping his coffee and staring out the kitchen window. Then he puts down the cup and exits up the stairs.)

Jock: He’s not very sociable, I’d have to say.

Brendie: I do wish he’d put more clothes on if he’s going to wander around the house.

McCrum: He’s changed.

Goldbuck: He’s lost a lot of weight.

McCrum: He doesn’t look like the same person.

Goldbuck: Can people shrink that much?

McCrum: Well, losing weight I don’t have an issue with. A man can lose weight over the years. But I never heard of a man getting six inches shorter before.

Goldbuck: So what you’re saying is–

McCrum: Wrong man.

Goldbuck: That’s bloody odd cheese.

Brendie: Is our Mr. Percy not your Mr. Percy, then?

McCrum: Not precisely.

Goldbuck: But he might do.

Brendie: Do? Do for what? All he cares about is the football scores and his pet hamsters. I can’t think what he could do for you.

Goldbuck: He can go to a certain office, and say he’s Percy, and deliver a certain bag, and collect a certain briefcase. That’s what he can do.

McCrum: You talk too much.

(Enter Miss Adelaide, a tall angular woman who believes she has supernatural intuition and visionary powers. She speaks to Goldbuck and McCrum.)

Miss Adelaide: If you want my advice you’ll abandon your dastardly plan and go straight, or it’s prison for both of you. I can see it as plain as plain can be.

Brendie: That’s right. Miss Adelaide is never wrong.

Miss Adelaide: I predicted Chernobyl. Months in advance. I could smell it, like.

(Goldbuck and McCrum glance at each other. They both pull large black guns from their jackets and place the guns on the table.)

Miss Adelaide: You won’t be using those. I’m not frightened at all!

Brendie: She’s never been wrong, our Adelaide.

Jock: Not once. I might enjoy a bit more toast, Brendie.

Goldbuck: You people don’t seem to get it.

McCrum: We represent something. We represent dark forces. Dark forces lurk behind the façade of middle-class culture, in a manner of speaking. Like nightmares.

Goldbuck: Rising up.

McCrum: From the depths of the repressed.

Goldbuck: We are overwhelmingly ominous.

Miss Adelaide: Not to me! Because I know who’s about to knock at the door!

(Two hours pass. Nobody moves.)

Miss Adelaide: I can’t think what’s happened. I was sure somebody was going to knock at the door.

Goldbuck: Now do you get it?

McCrum: If you don’t get it I can spell it out for you, but I think you get it.

Goldbuck: You must get it now. We don’t like having to explain it.

McCrum: Explaining it can get messy.

Goldbuck: And complicated.

McCrum: Very complicated.

Goldbuck: Words often seem inadequate when it comes to explaining it.

Brendie: It’s a bit chilly in here, I think. Jock, is it chilly? Where’s my shawl?

Miss Adelaide: Shhh. I’m listening for a knock.

(A loud gunshot is heard upstairs. Goldbuck and McCrum stand up and move a step toward the stairs with their guns. A second gunshot is heard.)

Goldbuck: First one went askew, it might be.

McCrum: Had to tidy up, he did.

Jock: A nervous sort of man.

(Goldbuck and McCrum move to the door.)

Goldbuck: Think you can forget us?

McCrum: Erased, so to say it. Wiped clean. Like Jock’s crumbs off the table.

Goldbuck: That’s the ticket.

(Goldbuck and McCrum suddenly exit.)

Miss Adelaide: Upstairs—upstairs–

Brendie: Hush now, Adelaide. Your show comes on in five minutes. The day went fast!

CURTAIN


Back to 50.1