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Andrew. 16. Boy with a sensitive edge.
Kate. 15. Girl with fiery edge.
Accent isn’t an issue between characters: people move. However, it must be clear that all four characters have grown up in Britain and spent their secondary school life here.
/ indicates an interruption.
– indicates character coming in quickly on cue.
The living room of Kate’s middle-class family. Everything in its place. There’s the smell of white musk. A family portrait on the wall.
Andrew enters in a dishevelled school uniform. He looks young: 16. He’s never been here before. He stands and stares for a while. He goes over to one of the photographs and stares. Picks it up and takes a photo of it on his phone. A noise offstage. He puts the photograph back. Waits some more. He sits.
Kate enters. Andrew stands up again.
Kate is 15. She’s been crying. She doesn’t look at Andrew. She’s wearing pyjama bottoms and a school shirt with the tie still perfectly in place. Her chin is red.
Andrew. Hello again.
Andrew sits again.
Andrew. Did you change the she/
Andrew. Do you think they’ll know?
Kate. They’ll have no idea.
He gestures to the portrait.
Andrew. Is that them there?
Andrew. They’re identical.
Kate. Charlie, the eldest.
Andrew. Who’s that next to him?
Kate. His husband – Charlie’s gay.
Who’s on top and who’s on bottom?
Andrew. (Pointing at the portrait) With the twins. Which one’s which?
Kate. Oh! James is at the top and Tommy’s at the bottom.
Andrew. And is that how they sleep?
Kate. Mostly, yeah.
Andrew. So it was probably Tommy’s/
Andrew. And you don’t think he’ll know.
He gets out a compact mirror from his pocket and looks at his eyebrow. Kate notices.
Andrew. Did it hurt?
Kate. I was bleeding, Andrew.
Andrew. So it did hurt?
Did it hurt you?
Andrew. No… well… no… Was weird though.
Looser than I thought it’d be.
Andrew. Not like…
Andrew. Not loose… just… stretchy.
Kate. Well, I guess it has to be stretchy.
Andrew. Yeah, I guess.
Andrew. I once watched a video where a woman had a watermelon in her pussy.
And then when she pushed it out, it was attached to a metal chain. And at the end of the metal chain was a little budgie.
Jamie Mitchell showed me it.
Kate. Jamie Mitchell’s an idiot.
Andrew. He’s cool.
Kate. Was it alive?
Kate. The budgie?
Andrew. I think so, yeah. It flapped a bit. As it was comin’ out of/
Kate. Of her flaps.
Kate. Would you have preferred to do me from behind?
Andrew. Not really.
Kate. Kelly Thompson’s boyfriend likes to do her from behind so he can see her hoop.
Andrew. Kelly Thompson’s a slag.
Kate. She’s just experimental. And insecure.
Andrew. Ahh yeah. Did you hear the rumour that Liam McDonagh did her up the bum and when he came out there was a bit of sweetcorn on his willy.
Kate. No way.
Kate. That’s impossible.
Andrew. Nah, it’s possible. Anything’s possible.
Kate. Is that why people call him The Green Giant?
Andrew. Yeah. Some people think it’s cos he smokes a lot of weed. But it’s definitely the corn.
Andrew. I’m glad I lost it to you Katie.
Andrew. Yeah, I am.
Andrew. ‘Cos it only happens once y’know. You can’t get it back. It’s formed now. Formed a memory. Here. Now. You. Me. That’s there forever.
Kate. I didn’t really think of that.
Andrew. Well, you should. We should think of these things.
Kate. What did you do with the thing?
Andrew. The condom?
Andrew. Flushed it down the toilet.
Kate. Are you joking?
Andrew. Yeah. No. I dunno. No I’m not.
Kate. You flushed it.
Kate. You’re not supposed to do that!
FOR FUCK’S SAKE, ANDREW.
Andrew. I thought…/
Kate. Now it’ll end up stuck to a whale’s back.
Andrew. Will it?
Kate. YES! I watched a documentary on it. The oceans awash with putrid condoms.
Kate. They can’t disintegrate in water. So we just have to wait until a turtle chokes on one.
Andrew. They choke?
Kate. Yeah. To death on used condoms.
They block up dolphins’ blow holes and everyth/
Andrew. Oh my god, I love dolphins.
Kate. Well next time think of that when you’re/
Andrew. I will. I will, yeah.
Kate. This is our responsibility.
Andrew takes out the mirror and looks at his eyebrow again.
Andrew. I don’t want to sound gay but do you have an eyebrow pencil?
Kate. That does sound quite gay, Andrew.
Andrew. Yeah, I know. It’s just, I have a hole in my eyebrow, and I need to…
Kate. You have a hole?
Andrew. Here, look.
Kate. (Pause.) Can I touch it?
Andrew. (Beat.) If you want to.
She strokes it.
Kate. It’s soft. Why do you have a hole in your eyebrow?
Andrew. Just, y’know.
This boy, Jif—
Andrew. Yeah. Few years above me, he wasn’t at school when you were. We used to go on camping trips with the scouts and shit. Spiky hair. He used to bleach it so everyone called him Jif, you know, like the bleach. Well, actually, everyone used to call him Jif, but then Jif changed its name to Cif, so then people knew him as Cif.
Anyway, one non-uniform day when I was in year seven, I was wearing this jumper with a picture of my guinea pig on it. Tibbles. Mum had got it printed for my birthday especially.
Anyway. They thought the guinea pig was gay, so he dragged me through shit to the football pitch and smacked me in the face. Took off half my eyebrow, the prick. And so this rumour went round that I was gay for a while all because of him and that fucking jumper with a picture of Tibbles on…
Which is kind of ironic, ‘cos now I have to wear make-up to cover the scar. Which is even gayer than a guinea pig jumper if you ask me.
You know Cif actually. He was in your brother’s year.
Kate. I dunno.
Andrew. Yeah. Anyway. Do you have an eyebrow pencil?
Kate. I think my mum has one.
Andrew. No rush – just before I leave.
Andrew. I feel really bad that we had sex in Tommy’s bed.
Like he’s still so young and innocent, y’know.
He’s a kid.
Kate. He’ll have no idea.
Andrew. No, but still. I feel like we’ve infected his space with sex, y’know? We’ve brought that upon him now. In his space.
Kate. Well, I didn’t expect to lose my virginity on my little brother’s bottom bunk, wrapped in his dinosaur sheets with the night light on. But shit just happens I guess.
Andrew. What did you expect?
Kate. Like how I’d lose my virginity?
Kate. I dunno.
I guess I’d always had this idea that I’d be in some stable or something. And the guy would come in wearing his soldiers’ uniform. Like he’d be back from the war. Then we’d get on his horse and go to a field, and then he’d sort of lay me down in the barley and/
Andrew. What’s barley?
Kate. Like a type of wheat.
And then we’d/
Andrew. So girls think wheat is sexy?
Kate. Well… not specifically wheat. But just any sort of long grass.
So yeah, anyway. We’d be lying in the barley and then you’d just sort of lift up my petticoat and that’d be it.
Andrew. But you weren’t wearing a petticoat.
And I’m not at war.
Kate. I know. That would just be in an ideal world.
Andrew. I guess things are never really how you expect them to be.
Is that why you cried?
Kate. No, not really. I wasn’t even upset or anything really.
Just feel a bit different. I just sort of cried without knowing.
Andrew. Did you notice his drawers?
Andrew. Tommy’s drawers.
Kate. His drawers?
Andrew. Yeah, his bedside drawers.
The third one down. It’s missing a knob.
Really bothered me.
Andrew. The third drawer/
Kate. Yeah, I get that. That’s what you were thinking about whilst you were having sex with me?
Andrew. Weird that. Isn’t it.
Andrew takes out the mirror again to check his eyebrow.
Andrew. Don’t let me forget that eyebrow pencil.
I’ve been meaning to say: your chin’s really red, Katie.
Andrew. Your chin. It’s red.
She touches her chin.
Kate. It’s sore.
Andrew. It’s red.
Kate. Yes, I gathered that.
She takes the mirror from him and has a look
Kate. Oh my god.
Andrew. Told you.
Kate. What the fuck.
Andrew. I know.
Kate. What the fuck have you done to my chin?
Andrew. I don’t think it was me.
Kate. It’s you and that stupid fucking chin hair you have.
Andrew. My beard?
Kate. I wouldn’t go that far Andrew.
Andrew. Not too far off though. I’m shaving twice a day at the moment. The more you shave the thicker it grows back.
Kate. You shave that twice a day?
Andrew. Once after breakfast and once before bed. Like cleaning your teeth.
Kate. You’ve only got like eight hairs.
Andrew. Well, I wouldn’t go that far Katie.
She stares at him.
He looks in the mirror.
Kate. It’s not your eyebrow, for fuck’s sake. Stop staring in the mirror. Nobody cares about your stupid fucking eyebrow!
Andrew. Then what is it?
Kate. IT’S YOU! YOU! I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS.
This is an absolute tragedy, isn’t it. Archetypal. Fuck-up. The mother of all fuck-ups.
My brief introduction to the futility of love.
Andrew. There’s no need to get poetic.
Kate. I’m sat here, Andrew, remembering all the films I’ve ever seen where it happened in long grass, but the truth of the matter is that I’m stewing in a hot stench of latex. My dreams are now stained with the reality of your lame penetration and sticky fingers fumbling through my blood and regret. And – to top it off – as I was surrendering my hymen, you were seemingly more interested in the furniture!
Andrew. I just thought you’d like to know/
We hear Charlie from offstage. He’s in the hallway.
Charlie. Everything OK?
Kate and Andrew speak over one another.
Kate. Just practising.
Andrew. Practising a speech.
Andrew. For school.
Andrew mouths ‘Who’s that?’
Andrew. Your brother?
Eddie enters with a bag full of groceries. During the following exchange Andrew stands.
Eddie drops the bag.
Charlie. (Off) Mum still out?
Kate. She’s at swimming with the twins.
Jesus Eddie! (She goes to pick up the groceries.)
Charlie. Mum’s asked us to make tea so I’m just gonna do pasta or somethin’/
Kate. This is Andrew. Andrew, this is…
Kate. Eddie, yeah.
Charlie. Would your friend like to stay for dinner?
Charlie. Great. OK, so. Pasta. Katie, where’s the pasta…
Kate. Beside the cereal cupboard.
Kate. The cereal cupboard!
Charlie. Where’s the cereal?!
She takes the bag of groceries and exits. Silence. Eddie and Andrew stand. They stare at each other.
Eddie. Orite mate.
Eddie. Haven’t seen you for years.
Eddie. Still got that guinea pig jumper?
Silence. Andrew shakes his head.
Eddie. You look different.
Andrew. I’ve grown up a lot.
Eddie. Still got the scar. (Gesturing to Andrew’s eyebrow.)
Andrew. Yeah. There forever.
Eddie. Shit man. I apologise.
Eddie. Boys will be boys and that.
Pause. They sit.
Andrew. So. Congratulations on the wedding. You’re gay now.
Eddie. That’s not funny.
Andrew. It really is.
Eddie. I’ve been meaning to say actually, not just about the eyebrow, about everything, I’m/
Andrew. Do you think about it?
Eddie. No. Never.
Andrew. I do.
Andrew. You were my age.
Eddie. Your age?
Andrew. You were sixteen and I was eleven.
Eddie. Yeah, I’m… Have you told anyone?
Andrew. Have you?
Andrew. Charlie doesn’t know?
Andrew. I thought couples told each other everything.
Eddie. They don’t.
You have… Told someone?
Eddie. You’ve told Katie?
Andrew. I haven’t told her yet. But. I might.
Eddie. Why would you do that?
Andrew. ‘Cos. We’re sort of together. We’re a couple. We tell each other everything.
Eddie. You and Kate.
Eddie. Are together?
Eddie. And you knew that Katie’s brother was married to m/
Eddie. And you knew I’d be here? Tonight?
Andrew. Not for definite.
Eddie. You’re still a shit liar.
Andrew. I’m not lying.
Eddie. No. You. You knew. You knew the twins go swimming Tuesdays so we come over to cook.
Eddie. You’re fucked up.
Andrew. Yeah, you’re probably right. I am a bit fucked up. But it was you who fucked me. Fucked me right up. Infected me. Your unfulfilled desires and sweaty betrayal stripped me of my adolescent innocence and left me as a fumbling kid in a world of unfair judgement. Which is a shame. I mean, the shame of it.
Eddie. It was a long time ago.
Andrew. Something was taken that day which neither of us can get back. In that time. In that place. It’s formed something that’ll be there forever now. And you have to take responsibility for that Eddie. We have to take responsibility.
‘Cos I get it. It’s quite clear. You know as well as I do what it is to grow into understanding. The guilt. That shame. While simultaneously attempting to unlearn yourself. It’s hard, right?
Kate. I found an eyebrow pencil!
She sits in between Eddie and Andrew, hands the pencil to him.
Kate. (To Eddie) Andrew has a scar in his eyebrow from when he was bullied at school.
Eddie. Oh yeah.
Kate. But he covers it up with make-up. You’d never know there’s a scar under there.
I think he might bat for your team now though, Eddie!
She looks to Andrew. Takes Andrew’s hand and smiles at him.
Kate. Just kiddin’.
For more about Cockamamy’s run at the Edinburgh Fringe, visit @Cockamamyplay on Twitter.
About Louise Coulthard
Louise is from the North West of England and trained as an actress at Rose Bruford in London where she discovered a love of writing for stage and screen. She is interested in domestic drama, specifically treading the fine line between heartbreak and hilarity. She is an Associate Artist of Chaskis Theatre Co who specialise in New Writing from the Americas. She is particularly influenced by the work of Caroline Aherne, Anna Jordan & Martin McDonagh.