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 Act 5 Scene 6: We're still your only Friends now.

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PostSubject: Act 5 Scene 6: We're still your only Friends now.   Tue Dec 26, 2017 5:28 pm

Steve is alone in his Brick Lane flat watching the news.

Newsreader: The riots broke out at some point in the early afternoon but as yet there is no explanation for the disturbances which have seen dozens of cars and shops set alight during the course of the day. The Police are advising against all travel to North London during these disturbances and advise residents that they remain inside their homes until the police have managed to secure the areas affected. The rioters are said to be extremely dangerous and the advice the police have given is to be especially vigilant around large groups of teenage girls. The police say it’s too early to draw any conclusions except that police camera footage seems to indicate that teenage girls seem to be orchestrating and directing the violence and arson attacks.

There is a knock at the door.

Steve gets up and cautiously peers through the spy hole. He sees a teenage girl and steps back from the door and hides in the kitchen looking out at the door.

There is another knock. He ignores it and backs away into the bathroom. He sits down. Meanwhile the doors knocks again. He hears a little girl’s voice saying ‘let us in!’.

Steve sits there in rising terror as suddenly his mobile phones rings.

He looks at the phone and sees ‘unknown caller’ on the screen.

Steve: eyes the phone they with resolution answers it Who is this?

Caller: It’s me, John Hampton, we’re outside your door and need your urgent assistance, where are you?

Steve: Sorry John. Jeez, I thought you were…..well, never mind. I’ll let you in.

Steve lets in John Hampton, Sarah and Vicky Clarke who waste no time in getting into the flat and seem to Steve’s mind, somewhat perturbed and anxious.

John Hampton: Have you got a spare room we can use? The girls are worn out and the best thing for them would be to get some rest.

Steve: You can use Crew’s room. I haven’t seen him for a while, we had a bit of falling out over Stookie Bill and he went out in a huff. Maybe he’s gone to see his parents or something.

John Hampton: You haven’t seen Crew? That’s bad. We all need to stick together, things are turning wild out there and if one of us breaks from the pack they’re easier to hunt down. We’ll have to track him down and bring him back into the fold. I’d say this is our number one priority.

Suddenly there is a strange scratching sound at the door.

John Hampton: I didn’t know you had a cat Steve.

The scratching sound at the door is repeated.

John Hampton: Aren’t you going to let him in?

Steve: No chance.

John Hampton: Why not?

Steve:  I don’t have a cat. I don’t know what the fuck that sound is.

The scratching is heard again.

John: uneasily Well, maybe it’s curious cat.

Steve: Well they do say they’re curious. Don’t know if they’re quite curious enough to scratch on stranger’s doors, especially in London.

John Hampton: There isn’t really any alternative to the curious cat theory. What else could conceivably scratch on people doors?

The scratching is repeated again, exactly as before.

Steve: I don’t think it’s a cat.

John Hampton: I don’t either.

Steve: turns and slowly looks at John So what the hell is it?

Vicky Clarke stands up suddenly and resolutely goes over and stands before the door.

She opens it.

Crew is standing there crouched down in the corner of the door, scratching at the door, with a strange vacant looking expression on his face.

He turns to look up and starts smiling broadly and unnaturally, as if someone else is smiling for him.

Crew: Hello there Jenny. Why did you run away?

Vicky Clarke: My name’s Vicki, my auntie says so. Who the hell are you?

Crew: I’m your friend Jenny. We’re still your only friends now.

Vicky is taken aback and Sarah puts her hand on her shoulder to reassure her.

Steve: Crew! It’s great to see you, where have you been?  We’ve been worried about you.

Crew looks puzzled for a moment and stares at Steve, then seems to realise something.

Crew: Oh yes, of course, I’m Crew. He pauses I’m fine.

Steve: somewhat alarmed Oh, well that’s great. Where’ve you been man?

Crew: doesn’t know how to answer Yes, I have been away. He doesn’t seem by any means willing to elaborate. Then concludes with finality but now…I am here.

Steve: That’s great. Momentarily at a loss. Well, er, it’s great to see you again buddy.

Crew: woodenly Yes, it is good to see you too.

Steve: John, I’m just going to make some tea, come and show me what you’d like.

John: Tea?

Steve makes a gesture with his head indicating that John should come with him quickly for a private conference.

John: Oh tea, of course, let’s have some ‘tea’. Come on girls, it’s tea-time.

They leave Crew standing there as he watches unblinkingly as they leave.

Steve: Crew, tea two sugars right?

Crew:  Repeating Two sugars, right?

Steve: No, I mean you, you take your tea with two sugars.

Crew: Right. Two sugars.

In the kitchen.

After a moment of silence, Steve peeps back into the living room to check Crew is still there. He is standing stock still staring at the wall.

Steve: Dramatically and with lowered voice Crew would never take sugar in his tea, whatever that scratching zombie thing with Crew’s body is in my living room isn’t the real Crew.

Vicky Clarke: He called me Jenny.

Steve: He’s stood in there now just staring at the –

Crew suddenly appears at the threshold of the kitchen.

Steve: shocked and surprised Crew! What are you doing here? Then checks himself I mean, hi Crew.

Crew: Hi! Looking around Are you making tea?

Steve: Yes Crew.

Crew: He walks over to the kettle and touches it The kettle is cold, matter of factly you need hot, preferably boiling water to make tea.

Steve: Ooops. Yes, of course. Steve reaches over and turns the kettle on.

Crew continues standing there in the kitchen staring at them unblinkingly.

Steve: with an attempt at breeziness Sooooo Crew? What are you doing buddy?

Crew: I’m just hanging out.

John: Crew?

Crew: Yes?

John: Do you want to play the tea game?

Crew: Yes of course because games are fun.

John: They are aren’t they. So  what happens is we make the tea and when we come out you have to guess which one is yours. But to play that you need to go into the room and leave us alone for a bit, otherwise you’ll know which ones is yours.

Crew: I could stay here and close my eyes. That would work fine.

John: No because you would hear the sounds the tea cup made and this would give you too much of a clue. We have to play properly.

Crew: straightening up and considering Ok, I will go into the room and wait for you so I can play the tea-game.

Steve: with enthusiasm Get ready to play ol’ buddy!

When Crew is gone Steve continues speaking with a lowered voice.

Steve: What the fuck? We can’t have that thing in the house.

John: It might still be Crew but he’s been drugged or brain damaged or something.

Steve: Can we cure him?

John: I don’t know, but we’ll have to try.

Steve: Why do these things always happen to Crew do you think?

John: Well, maybe let’s say he’s a bit too much of an ‘open-door’ to circumstance.

Steve: That’s a good way of putting it.

John: Your door Steve is closed pretty tight to most things, and that is a useful self-preservation strategy in these wild times, though we’ll have to see how all this ends before making value judgements about unfolding events and maybe Crew losing his mind and becoming a human zombie might not be all bad. The Zen parable of the non-committal farmer who never knew whether the series of unlucky and lucky events were objectively good or bad in themselves is a useful life guide I find. When his friends pitied his apparent misfortune or praised his luck he would always answer ‘we shall see’.  You can’t judge events until you know the whole picture. Everything that happens to us is a brushstroke on a great canvas the painting on which we don’t get to see until the very end.

Steve: That as maybe, but I miss the old Crew.

John: Well, I’m sure he’s still in there somewhere rattling around like a penny in a piggy bank. At least I hope so. We just have to figure out how to shake him out again. Anyway, the most important thing is Dr Kemble has produced a portable Spectavision.

Steve: A what? A Spectavision machine? Is that what you’re going to call it?

John: Well I did toy with a few other possibilities.

Steve: What were they?

John: Well, other options were the Ghoulatron, the Bogeybox, Phantomatic, Ghost-host, dial-a-demon, and hell-o-phone. Though I accept that not of all of the terminology is strictly technically appropriate. I do not believe we are actually contacting demons or telephoning hell.

Sarah Clarke: A bogey-box sounds like something a nasally fixated teenager might keep under the bed.

John: So Spectavision is clearly the best of a bad bunch.

Sarah Clarke: Clearly.

John Hampton: Anyway what even is a ghoul?

Crew: reappears at the threshold of the kitchen First mentioned in the Arabian Thousand and One Nights. Ghoul is an Arabic word related to the verb Ghala ‘to grab’. It describes a flesh eating monster that eats young children, drinks blood, eats the bodies of the dead and steals coins.

Steve: How do you know that?

Crew: Because I am fascinated by supernatural creatures.

John: Winks at Steve. I can hear a coin rattling.

Crew: Are we playing the cup of tea game now?

John: Only if you sit down and let us make the tea in secret. We can’t play if you’re standing there cheating. So Steve, where’s that tea?

Steve makes tea and puts Crew’s tea in Crew’s mug.

Steve: If it really is Crew he’ll know his own mug when he sees it.

John: Well, let’s see what happens when we play the cup of tea-game.

Steve: sarcastically Yeah, it’s utterly thrilling.

Steve puts out the cups of tea on the table in the living room and with almost tangible suspense invites Crew to ‘pick his cup of tea’.

Crew looks over the cups once, then a second time. He reaches tentatively for a red cup, then quickly withdraws his hand as if stung. After a few hesitations he reaches for the mug with the picture of the dinosaur on it.

Crew: This is my mug.

John: Are you sure Crew?

Steve: Ker-ching.

Crew: Yes. He sips the hot tea from the mug. Suddenly he cries out in disgust Urrghhh I hate sugar in tea.

Steve: I think we’ve nearly found that coin.

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Act 5 Scene 6: We're still your only Friends now.
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