Boys Club

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BOYS CLUB

 

FX   BIRMINGHAM NEW STREET RLY STN

 

Announcements of arrivals & departures & station noise grows intense as lights go up.  Background departure board.  Public telephones down right.

 

Announcer:            The train now standing on Platform five is the five fifteen to

Manchester PICCADILLY, stopping at….

 

The rest of the announcement is lost in the general hubbub

against which we hear the sound of coin box telephone being lifted

and coins inserted. The station noises then fade quickly to the volume

at recipients end

 

Ringing tone.  ‘Phone is picked up.

 

Gerry:                        Hello.

 

Tosho:                        (above station noise) Gerry, is that you?

 

Gerry:                        (VO to himself) I remember that voice!

 

Tosho:                        Is that you, Gerry?

 

Gerry:                        (guardedly) Speaking.

 

Tosho:                        It’s me, Tosho?

 

Gerry:                        Tosho?

 

Tosho:                        Braveheart?  Survival Course?

 

Gerry:            (VO to himself )  Tosho?  Christ, yes, Thought I recognised the voice.  (he is less than delighted) Of course I remember you, old boy.

 

Tosho:                        Oh, good.  Good  ol’ Gerry, eh.

 

(slight pause)

 

Gerry:                        Tosho?  (VO to himself) Tosho the tosser!

 

Tosho:                        Now, you’re catching on.

 

Gerry:                        How could I forget?  More like death than survival! Eh?

Tosho:                      Thought it was just me!  Everybody else seemed to enjoy it.  Cold showers and  early morning runs?

 

Gerry:                      Like being a marine. Still we did  survive, didn’t we?  That’s why the firm sent us.  Supposed to make us into better people!

 

Tosho:            Some chance!

 

Gerry:            Can’t remember why we called you Tosho, Tosho?

 

Tosho:            T O Shorham.  Abbreviated.  Nickname.  We all had nicknames.  You were the only one didn’t have a nickname Gerry?

 

Gerry:            …Of course .  Mind if I still call you Tosho, Tosho? (VO to himself –  Tosho! Dead losso Tosho!).   Tosho,             where are you             old chap?  Sounds like Grand Central Station.

 

Tosho:            It’s noisy alright!  I’m here, in Brum.  You said if ever I was in Birmingham to give you a call.

 

Gerry:            Birmingham!  What a surprise! What you doing up here?

 

Tosho:            Well, that’s it.  Just came up from London, didn’t I?

 

Gerry:            Came up?

 

Tosho:            Here.

 

Another bout of big station noises

 

Here I am.

 

Gerry:            I’ll be blowed,  Old  Tosho, eh?  Do you know how long ago that all was?

 

Tosho:            The course?

 

Gerry:            The course. Of course, the course

 

Tosho:            Well…. it’s a little while back.

 

Gerry:            A little while!  Seven years, Tosho!

 

Tosho:            Seven? No, no, it can’t be. Seven!  You sure?  As long ago as that?  It’s …. Well, let me think.

 

Gerry:            Seven years. Almost to the day.

 

Tosho:            Gosh, yes seven.  I’m amazed.  Didn’t think it was so long. But you said to keep in touch!

 

Gerry:            That’s it.  Every seven years!

 

(slight awkward pause)

 

Tosho:            Seems like only yesterday…  Bit of a cliché, what?

 

Gerry:            (VO )  What does the little toad want?

 

Tosho:             We exchanged numbers…..Remember?

Gerry:            (VO  to himself Damn fool thing to do!).  So we did!

 

Tosho:            Not just our group.  Everybody.

 

Gerry:            I remember now!    Definitely the longest month of my life

 

Tosho:            Month?  It was only two weeks

 

Gerry:            That’s what I mean!

 

Tosho:            Very funny Gerry  Ha Ha

 

Gerry:            Just seemed like a lifetime

 

Tosho:            Wasn’t that bad

 

Gerry:            Wrong Tosho.  It was.  That bad.

 

(Slight pause)

 

Gerry:            Er…Nice to hear from you – after all this time. Seven years eh? How are you, then, Tosso?

 

Tosho:            Tosho!            Tosho.

 

Gerry            Sorry, Tosso.

 

Tosho.             Me?   Never felt better  But never mind about me.  How are you  Gerry?  I’m the same old Tosho…You were the big cheese up there ..

 

Gerry:            Big cheese?

 

Tosho:            It’s what we all thought

 

Gerry:            Me?  Pretty much the same .  Ha-ha.  Reduced circumstances.

 

Tosho:            Always wondered how you’d got on..  Used to talk about it. How’s Gerry going to do?  He’s the one to keep in with. Whole subject of conversation after lights out.            In the huts.

 

Gerry:            Oh I remember that, alright. . Lights out!  Huts1 Bloody boys brigade!

 

Toho:            It was because everybody thought so much of you Gerry. We thought you’d end up as big boss of the Company.  Chairman, M.D. The lot

 

Gerry:            Hardly a big cheese though?  More like a piece of rotten old cheddar

 

Tosho:            Come on, don’t deny it Gerry.. Picked you out  from the start. Leadership material, what?

 

Gerry:            I wouldn’t have put it like that

 

Tosho:            Too modest Gerry! But everyone knew!.  Shines right out!. Head boy at Public School,  that sort of thing.  They knew what they were doing, the blokes on the course…Voted you leader… And you could solve all the brainy problems, like the three cadets getting their boat across a river…. You remember that one?

 

Gerry:            Boy scout stuff!

 

Tosho:            But you were the one who could do it..  The rest of us… floundered.

 

(slight pause)

 

Gerry:            Well, they sacked the big cheese two years later, didn’t they?.  I wasn’t so clever after all, was I?

 

Tosho is aghast

 

Tosho:            Sacked? You?  The great Gerry.  Don’t believe it. I’d have said you were fire-proof.  What did they sack you for Gerry; you must have fiddled the balance sheet.

 

Gerry:            No such luck.

 

Tosho:            Big time

 

Gerry;            Somebody did…that’s for sure.  The way it goes.  After Braveheart they sent a couple of us on the  managing directors’ course:  We got back, he got the job,  I got the sack .  Fired me as soon as he was appointed.

 

Tosho:            Bit sadistic!

 

Gerry:            Poetic Justice.  If it’d gone the other way I’d have fired him. It’s kill or be killed at that level

 

Tosho:            Couldn’t find anything else?

 

Gerry:            Didn’t try.  Spent the last seven years planning my revenge

 

Tosho:            Well you could knock me down , ha-ha (he’s actually very pleased)  I find that difficult to believe. I thought just the likes of me got fired

 

Gerry:            The way it goes, like I said.   So what you doing these days Tosho?

 

Pause

 

Tosho:            Oh, bit of this,  bit of that.  Try to keep busy. I’ve had a a bit of a project on.

 

Gerry:            Something to do with the course?

 

Tosho:            Not quite.  What do you know about that?

 

Gerry:            No nothing, nothing…Just….

 

Slight pause

 

Gerry:            Well….(trying to close) I must dash.  Been nice of you to call…

 

Tosho:            No! Not yet! (quickly)  Don’t go! To be honest Gerry, apart from a few close friendships – Like…us, you and me, and one or two of the rest – I didn’t… get a lot… from Braveheart.

 

Gerry:            Oh… I… er.. Friendships?

 

Tosho:            Can’t say it assisted my career…At all

 

Gerry:            Well if all it got you was the sack…

 

Tosho:            Sure. Career-wise – Everything came to a stop career-wise..  Taught me something  though -About myself.

 

Gerry:            Oh yes?

 

Tosho:            I’m useless!.

 

Gerry:            Useless?

 

Tosho:            That’s what it taught me. I’m  fuckin’ useless Gerry

 

Gerry:            Oh, I wouldn’t put it like that Tosho

 

Tosho:            No?  How would you have put it Gerry?

 

Gerry:            I’d have said: You’re  –

 

Tosho:            Fuckin’ useless?

 

Pause

 

Gerry:            (humorously)   Well you said it!  Maybe you’re right., Tosho.  Maybe we were all fuckin’ useless.

 

Tosho:            Better if I’d never been selected for the course. They’re useless these courses.  All it did was bugger my career. If I ever had one

 

(slight pause)

 

Gerry:            (pause) Sorry you should feel like that Tosho

 

Tosho:            Gotta face it

 

Gerry:            Psychology.  Don’t think they intended to do you harm

 

Tosho:            They!  I never really found out who ‘they’ were.

 

Gerry:            No you wouldn’t.  Men in grey suits.

 

Tosho:            It’s alright… Found my way out of it  now

 

Pause

 

Gerry:            But they gave us a chance.  For a while.

 

Tosho:                       Not me, Gerry.  My feet didn’t touch the ground. Soon as we got

back I got the bullet.  Just got the chance to make a fool

of myself. One of us must have been assessing everybody else.

A Judas.  Thirty pieces of silver

 

Gerry:                        Is that what you think?.

 

Long pause

 

Tosho:                       Thought about it ever since.

 

Gerry:                        Oh, I…er..

 

(pause)

 

Tosho:                       Wasn’t you… Was it Gerry?

 

Gerry:            Me?

 

Tosho:             Taking notes. Weighing up everybody. The rest of us thought you were too senior to be with us oiks.

 

Gerry:            I was just older

 

Tosho:            A sort of Trojan Horse

 

Gerry:            No such bloody luck.   And I didn’t survive either.  Did I?

I was doing the hard stuff with the rest.  Ice-cold swimming. Blisters from marching. Bloody torture! It was their method of bouncing us Tosho if they wanted.  You gotta see that.. Everything depended on  how well you did on the course. You couldn’t be sure whether they wanted to promote you or get rid of you.

 

Tosho:                        Well they knew alright in my case.

 

Gerry:                        Big firms,  Funny people.

 

Tosho:            Never  understood how it helped  sell office machinery

 

Gerry:            Dead right

 

Tosho:            Freezing our balls off in the Highlands

(slight pause)

 

Gerry:            Character building

 

Tosho:            Character!  Manipulating bastards:

 

Gerry:                        Man management!   That’s what they call it.

 

Tosho:            Load of old bollocks!

 

Slight pause

 

Gerry:            Went bankrupt soon after.  The firm. .

 

Tosho:            Did they?

 

Gerry:            Four years later

 

Tosho:            Never…That’s the best news I’ve heard! Bloody good job.

 

Gerry:            All that snow and ice!  Froze the assets!.

 

Tosho            Ha! Bankrupt, eh?  What a joke!

 

Gerry:            Small matter of a Billion pound deficiency.

 

Tosho:            Did they all disappear to Spain? The bosses? Off with

fat pensions?

 

Gerry:            Well they looked after themselves. Sure of that.  Surprised you didn’t hear about it.?  I was dead lucky.  I was bounced early on as deputy MD, so I got a fistful of compensation.

 

Tosho:            Thought you knew too much?

 

Gerry:            I’m living off it now?

 

Tosho:            You always were a lucky bugger, Gerry:            :

 

Gerry:            (VO to himself – And you were  a right dipstick, Tosho).  Anyway.  What  you doing in Birmingham?

 

Tosho:            Like I said.  Came up  to see a friend

 

Gerry:            Just  social?

 

Tosho:            Social.  Yeah, don’t get worried.  Sure

 

Gerry:            (VO – to himself – He’s up to something.  Crafty old bastard.  What’s he doing in Brum?) What sort of friend?

 

Tosho:            Someone I met a few years ago.

 

Gerry:            Not special then?

 

Tosho:            Oh yes, special!  I should say so. Needs a bit of help.

 

Gerry:            Man, woman?

 

Tosho:            Can’t tell the difference any more.  Ha ha.

 

Gerry:            I’m not sure what you mean

 

Tosho:            Mm.  A joke.  Really.

 

Gerry:            (worried) Someone up here?

 

Tosho:            Not quite…  (pause)  Surprised you didn’t it see it coming.  Very surprised.  The bankruptcy I mean

 

Gerry:            I was shocked as anybody…

 

(pause)

 

Tosho:            Who was the mole?  That’s what I’d like to know.

 

Gerry:            The mole?

 

Tosho:            On the course?

 

Gerry:            You still worried about that? Seven years on?

 

Tosho:            Yes, I’m still worried

 

Pause

 

Gerry jumps in to an awkward silence

 

Gerry:                        Sorry.

 

Pause

 

Gerry wants to end the call

 

Gerry:            Anyway, next time you’re in Brum call again. We’ll have a proper chat, OK?  Where did you say you were

 

Tosho:                        New Street station. I told you   Can’t you hear.?

 

More railway noises, train brakes hissing.

 

Announcer:            The train for Manchester Piccadilly is just about to depart.  Please

ensure your luggage stays with you…

 

Tosho:            Just got off that train as a matter of fact.

 

(slight pause)

 

Gerry:                        Well, it’s been great to hear from you, old chap.

More station FX.   The phone starts beeping,  running out of  CASH.

 

Gerry:            Must get on

 

Tosho:            No.  N-no.  Don’t go, don’t go

 

Pause            The phone goes dead

 

Tosho:            Fuck!

 

More station noises.   Tosho meantime is struggling to find change.

 

Tosho:            Oh bugger!

 

Tosho finally gets his coins into the slot            .

 

Tosho:            Got you back!

 

There’s a sudden crash.  A train has hit the buffers.  Bells ringing

Frenetic activity.

 

There’s things I’ve got to talk to you about

 

Gerry:            Can’t be now Tosho..  Just going out.  Anyway, too noisy.

 

Tosho:            Gotta be now… Can’t leave it

 

Gerry:            Not sure what you mean Tosho

 

pause

 

Tosho:            Are – Have you been in touch with the others?

 

Gerry:            Which others?

 

Tosho:            Braveheart. The group – From the group

 

Gerry:            Braveheart?

 

Tosho:            Yes

 

Gerry:            Are you?

 

Tosho:            …Not… at this moment.

 

Gerry:            But you have been in touch?

 

Tosho:            Well…yes

 

Gerry:            With all of them?

 

Tosho:            (hesitating)  Pretty well all of them

 

Gerry:            I’ve sort of kept in touch…Christmas cards

 

Tosho:            You never sent one to me…

 

Slight pause

 

Gerry:            There was Billy,

 

Tosho:            Billy Boyd from Wolverhampton, yes.

 

Gerry:            That’s it.  Wolverhampton.  Heard anything of Billy?

 

Tosho:            – I was in touch with Billy. Last year.

 

Gerry:            Oh.  (surprised) You mean more than a Christmas card?  How did that come about?

 

Tosho:            Well, I was up there.

 

Gerry:            In Wolverhampton?

 

Tosho:            Sure

 

Gerry:            Were you?

 

Tosho:            I was – Up there seeing a friend – So I gave Billy a buzz.  He’d said to give him a buzz if ever I was near Wolverhampton.

 

Gerry:            They don’t always mean it

 

Tosho:            Oh no, Billy meant it. Sincerely. Just like you Gerry.  That was Billy..  Looked me in the eye.  He said: ‘Tosho, give us a ring if ever you’re in Wolverhampton’

 

Voice over:            (Billy Boyd:            Well, good-bye Tosho. Give us a buzz, old chap, if you’re ever in Wolverhampton.,  Not that it’s likely.. Nobody ever comes to Wolverhampton)

 

Gerry:            Oh I see.

 

Tosho:            Nice guy Billy.  He’s in Oz now.

 

Gerry:            Oz?  Long way…

 

Tosho:            Very sudden.

 

Gerry:            Mm…

 

(slight pause)

 

Tosho:            Was… he the mole, do you think?

 

Gerry:            The Mole? Billy Boyd?  No never Billy…  I wrote to him Christmas. In Wolverhampton.  Well only a card.  And he sent me one back.  Didn’t mention about going to oz.

 

Tosho:            It was quite sudden. Whoosh he was gone.  Wizard of Oz. old Billy

 

Gerry:            Family, was it?

 

Tosho:            I dunno. Something just cropped up.

 

Gerry:            Must have been family then. Births deaths marriages

 

Tosho:            Didn’t mention them.  Just felt this sudden urge to get away… So off he went

 

Gerry:            You’d think he would’ve said something.

 

Tosho:            I suppose he felt …It wasn’t anyone else’s business.

 

Gerry:            No I mean to me, when he got my Christmas card.  I mean going toOz. . Long way.

 

Tosho:            Didn’t leave an address. Bit of a loner don’t you think?.  I suppose he’ll just turn up out of the blue. Funny chap Billy

 

Gerry:            Kept himself to himself?

 

Tosho:            Mm

 

Gerry:            We all did I suppose. It’s funny the way we were all quite close at Braveheart – Barely kept in touch since then

 

Pause

 

Tosho:            Oh,  I have

 

Gerry:            Good old Tosho

 

Tosho:            It’s true – I’ve kept in touch with all of them. Even you now Gerry, you’re were the last …

 

Gerry:            The last? You make me feel guilty.

 

Tosho:            Couldn’t put it all…out of my mind.   Could forget the course easily enough – but not the people, the friendships.  Wonderful thing friendship.  Don’t you think so Gerry?

 

Gerry            Oh friendship, yes.  Great.  Wonderful thing…

 

Tosho:            But who was the mole, Gerry?

 

Gerry:            I don’t know Tosho.  Just don’t know….

 

Pause

 

Gerry:            Were you pleased you’d been?  To Braveheart?

 

Tosho:            Afterwards I was. Not then.  I get pleased if I think about it now.  The way it’s all turned out

 

 

Gerry:            Anyrate.  You kept in touch.  But look Tosho, I really have to be on my way

 

Slight pause

 

Tosho:            Someone had to.

 

Gerry:            Someone had to what?

 

Tosho:            Stay in touch.

 

Gerry:            And when you saw them, what was their news?

 

Tosho:            You’re sure. No contact at all?

 

Gerry:            Of course I’m sure.  Kept meaning to.  You sort of…

 

Tosho:            Well, (carefully) they all send  regards. Specially to you . Billy Boyd, Bugsy Hamilton,  remember him? Spud Malone.  Hunter Mackintosh

 

Gerry:            Hunter.  Didn’t he live in some remote place, you know, miles and miles from anywhere.

 

Tosho:            Just outside Perth actually.  Seems a huge distance – but it’s not so far really… He sends regards.

 

Gerry:            Do they all know the firm’s gone up the Swannee

 

Tosho:            Well Hunter didn’t mention it. When I saw him

 

Gerry:            Hunter?  You actually saw him?  Where?  In Perth?

 

Tosho:            Umm.   Of course in Perth.  Yes, I saw him, Hunter.

 

Gerry:            I liked old Hunter, but wild horses wouldn’t have dragged me up to Perth.

 

Tosho:            Oh, it’s not far, Perth.

 

Gerry:            Always meant to give him a ring.

 

Tosho:            Bit cold up there.  Very healthy though.  Good for the circulation

 

Gerry:            So what did Hunter say?

 

Tosho:            Oh this and that. He’d like to have heard from you. You’d have enjoyed it too.  Winter sports and all that.  Plenty of fresh air up in Perth.  Fit as a fiddle, old Hunter.

 

Gerry:            97 pull-ups on the parallel bars, eh?.

 

Tosho:            Super-sport, that was old Hunter.

 

Gerry:            Yeah, brilliant.  Made the rest of us look like wimps

 

Tosho:             Of course he’s also gone. Old Hunter

 

Gerry:            Gone?  Hunter?  Moved from Perth?

 

Tosho:            He was quite anxious to get away.

 

(slight pause)

 

Gerry:            When did you see him?

 

Tosho:            Hunter? Oh, around two years ago.  He…wanted to be remembered.

 

Gerry:            Well, I’ll be blowed.  I’d have  thought it would take a bomb to shift old Hunter.

 

Tosho:            A bomb.  No nothing like that.  There one moment, gone the next

 

Gerry:            Was he indeed.?  I wonder why.?

 

Tosho:            Like Billy Boyd. sudden.   Hunter’s             gone to U.S.

 

Gerry:            The USA?

 

Tosho:            Something to do with risk management.  Seemed anxious to put some distance between himself and dear old blighty.  Another one, what?  I was with him only a short while…

 

Gerry:            Days?  Weeks?

 

Tosho:            Passes very quickly.

 

Gerry:            So how long?.

 

Tosho:            Oh, a few..

 

Gerry:            A few what?

 

Tosho:            You’ve not been in touch?

 

Gerry:            I told you  No. No. No. Surprised to hear about Billy.

 

Tosho:            They’d have stayed in touch if you still been…around.  They admired you.

 

 

Gerry:            But you haven’t answered my question Tosho.  How long were you with Hunter?

 

Pause

 

Tosho:            Was it Hunter? The mole?

 

Pause

 

Gerry:            Maybe it was you?

 

Tosho::            No.   I was odd man out, remember.  It was me given the instant boot.

 

Gerry:            Sure (slight pause)

 

Tosho:            Someone grassed me

 

Gerry;            Grassed?

 

Tosho:            Did a Judas

 

Gerry:            Well, we both…In the end

 

Tosho:            (bitterly) Yours was a bit different.  You went with a golden handshake  My feet didn’t touch the ground

 

Gerry:            Might’ve saved that company.

 

Tosho:            Maybe.

 

Gerry:            I had real ideas about reorganising the cash-flow…

 

Tosho:            They reorganised it themselves, what?

 

(slight pause)

 

Tosho:             Billy –  Was really anxious to get away.

 

Gerry:            I wonder why

 

Tosho:            Really anxious.

 

Gerry:            I’d better get off as well.  I told you.

 

Tosho:            (quickly)  You haven’t asked about Bugsy

 

Gerry:            Bugsy.  Didn’t he go to live in Spain, or something?

 

Tosho:            That was more than three years ago.  You have kept up.

 

Gerry:            I think Spud Malone told me.  He said you’d told him

 

Tosho:            Spud?  He was my first.  After the course. You have kept up.

 

Gerry:            Your first?  Spud, then Billy. then Hunter, Then Bugsy

 

Tosho:            I told him they hadn’t  taken me back.  He laughed

 

Gerry:            Where did he live, Spud?

 

Tosho:            Carlisle. Well near Carlisle,  Not difficult to get to.  Easier than Perth!.

 

Gerry:            You’ve actually been there?

 

Tosho:              Carlisle.  Of course.  I had to see Spud

 

Gerry:            That’s a long way too.

 

Tosho:              Oh I didn’t mind. The lengths and breadths of this almighty land.. He couldn’t stop laughing…  Couldn’t let an old friend down.  Could I?

 

Gerry:            Laughing?

 

Tosho:            About me being fired

 

Pause

 

Gerry:            He was always talked about Spain – even  on  the course

Spain, Spain, Spain. Once asked me about the extradition treaty

 

Tosho:              Doesn’t sound good?

 

Gerry:            I don’t think he was serious

 

Tosho:            No, I mean

 

Gerry:            I think he was joking

 

Tosho:            I forget who told me he’d gone. I don’t remember Spud telling me

 

Gerry:            So he was….Your first?

 

Tosho:            Bought a villa in Spain, Bugsy.. Nice place, right by the sea.

So that’s the last you heard?

 

Gerry:            Well, I only heard of that through Spud

 

 

 

Tosho:            They all ask to be remembered to you.  You were a big inspiration Gerry.  On everybody.

 

(Pause)

 

Look, how far are you away?

 

Gerry:            Away, I’m not away.

 

Tosho:            I mean, from here, from New Street.  Are you it actually in Brum?  I mean – like walking distance?

 

Gerry:            Walking distance?  Christ no! (then thinking to himself –  He’s not thinking of coming here is he?.)  No, no I’m  a long way out as a matter of fact. You couldn’t walk it.

 

Tosho:            How far?

 

Gerry:            At least six miles.

 

Tosho:            Oh that is a long way

 

Gerry breathes a sigh of relief

 

Tosho:            Is there a bus or something?

 

Gerry:            Well, there’s a bus to the village, but that’s three miles away

 

Tosho:            … So you’re still.  The same place?

 

Gerry:            Me?  Same as ever. . Haven’t budged and inch.

(Thinking – Oh Christ, I’ve let it out – My address –  Buggar!)

 

Tosho:            It’s just – Well, you’re the last one

 

Gerry:            What do you mean?

 

Tosho:            From our group.. I’ve seen all the others. Now there’s just you.

 

Gerry:            It’s a hell of a trek from the village.  Right off the beaten track.  .It’s

getting dark

 

Tosho:            You did say …

 

Gerry:            Be better in the summer

 

Tosho:            I don’t mind…the trek

 

Gerry:            Look Tosho. You’re not thinking of …

 

Tosho:            …There might not be another chance…

 

Gerry:            Tosho, I have to be straightforward with you: I’m afraid it’s…  (the phone begins to make bleeps again).

 

Tosho:            My money’s running out.

 

The phone goes dead.

 

Long pause.

 

After a while the is a sound of a man walking uphill.

Heavy breathing etc.

 

Knocking on a door.

 

Gerry:            (through the door)  Who’s is it?

 

Tosho:            It’s me, Tosho.

 

The sound of the door creaking as it is opened slightly then it’s opened more.

 

Gerry:            Tosho?

 

Tosho:            It’s a lot more than six miles, Gerry

 

Gerry:            (The door creaks wide)   I don’t believe it!

 

Tosho:            Tried to get you back on the phone  – line was always busy.

 

Gerry:            (Voice over to himself)  I took the bloody phone off, you daft bastard.

 

Tosho:            You said it was a long way. Dead right.  God, my feet are killing me.

 

Gerry:            How did you get here?

 

Tosho:            Well, I walked of course. Training came in handy.

 

Gerry:            Six miles?

 

Tosho:            No bus to the village Gerry.  You misled me there.  Finished five years ago.  Aren’t you going to let me in?

 

He leans against the doorpost

 

Gerry:            I didn’t say for sure

 

Tosho:            Bloody long way out, ennit?

.

Gerry:            You could have got a cab.

 

Tosho:            A cab?  Huh!

 

Gerry:            There’s always plenty  at New Street

 

Tosho            All right for some

 

Gerry:            How do you mean?

 

Tosho:            Well, to be perfectly honest, I’m a bit short of the old sponduliks at the moment.  Only temporary, of course.  Matter of fact – put my card in the cash machine to get cash and it swallowed it. The bank was closed of course.

 

He scrapes his feet.

 

Sod’s law

 

Gerry:            Well,  it’s bit of a surprise, don’t you think?

 

Tosho:            Thought you might say that

 

Gerry:            Don’t know what you mean

 

Tosho:            I mean – You haven’t changed. I could sense it on the ‘phone

 

Gerry:            Bit older and fatter. You wouldn’t have got that on the ‘phone.

 

Tosho:            No I don’t mean that.  I mean same old Gerry

 

Gerry:            Still dunno what you mean

 

Tosho:            Nothing to do with fatter or thinner.  It’s being on a different planet I suppose

 

Gerry:            Planet of the apes?

 

Tosho:            You know I don’t mean that.  I mean planet Gerry… You still haven’t asked me in

 

He scrapes his feet again

 

Gerry:            So say what you mean

 

Tosho:            Bit remote.  Difficult to make contact

 

Gerry:            Difficult?  Me?  Don’t think so.

 

Tosho:            Still doing your MD bit.

 

Gerry:            Sorry.

 

Tosho:            Don’t apologise.  I suppose it’s only natural.

 

Gerry:            Doesn’t sound like me, to me, Tosho.

 

Tosho:            Old  Habits. Die hard.  Perhaps I’m wrong

 

Gerry:            I don’t get it.  Why am I apologising?

 

Tosho:            You aren’t really pleased to see me?  I expected that

 

Gerry:             Well, it is a bit unexpected. But not your fault, is it?  You weren’t to know you’d be in Brum.

 

Tosho shuffles his feet

 

Tosho:            (very slight menace)  An old friend comes all this way to see you, and you keep him standing…Outside

 

Gerry:            Old friend?  Tosho, be honest, we hardly call ourselves old friends..  We just had those two weeks at Braveheart  – Hardly the place for deep friendship-making.

 

Tosho:            I thought we all were…

 

Gerry:            Personally, I’m doing my best to forget Braveheart.  Marching, swimming, climbing.  Sailing. Like training for the  bloody Olympics.  Six miles. Anyway, you said you’d come to see…

 

(slight pause)

 

Tosho:            I’ve got a confession to make

 

Gerry:            Oh?

 

Pause

 

Tosho:            You can’t make confessions on the step

 

Gerry:            Sorry Tosho. You caught me by surprise.  Didn’t mean to keep you standing.

 

Tosho enters,  Gerry makes way for him at the inside door.

 

Tosho:            Nice place

 

Gerry:            What’s the confession?

 

Tosho:            In a minute (pause) Like I said, nothing changes –  does it Gerry.?

 

Gerry:            Still don’t know what you mean?  .

 

Tosho:            I’ve always been the wrong side of the door with you Gerry.   Barriers.

 

Gerry:            It isn’t like that … It’s just …

 

Tosho:            (sharply) You don’t have to stand on fucking ceremony with me.

 

Gerry:            (slight pause) Your boots .  They’re muddy.

 

Tosho:            (changing tone) Oh, that’s OK.  I’ll just slip them off.  That all right?  God, they’re a bit stiff. I’ll give them a polish tomorrow.  They’ll shine up like new.  Got to take care of your boots

 

Gerry:            ‘Tisn’t something I think about a lot… They’re a bit like the old army boots they gave us, aren’t they? At Braveheart

 

Tosho:            That’s the ones. Seven years old.  Beautiful boots.

 

Gerry:            You been wearing them ever since.?

 

Tosho:            Well, on and off.  Be lost without my boots.

 

Gerry:            We’ll. You’d better take them off then

 

Tosho:            (He takes them off and sits down) Ooh, that’s a relief. Lovely boots

 

Gerry:            Alright, stand them there. By the grate

 

Tosho:            Better not  too close.  They pong a bit.

 

(He pushes the boots through the fender)

 

A bit mucky, that hill.  Can’t see the path in the dark. Think I trod in a cow pat.

 

Gerry:            What’s that on your feet?  Haven’t you got socks?

 

Tosho:            No, as a matter of fact. Stopped wearing them sometime ago.  Cheese cloth this

 

Gerry:            Cheese cloth?

 

Tosho:            It’s what the Russian army wears.  Better than socks. Cheese cloth.  Warm as toast. Few layers of cloth keeps out the wet. Terrific.  Doesn’t look smart but it does the job

 

Gerry:            I think it’s because they’re peasants.

 

Tosho:            Dunno what peasants got to do with it.  Never get holes, that’s the thing. Just right for Siberian winters.  And if the material gets thin you just bind them a different way.  (pause)  Do you mind if I sit down and unwrap my feet.

 

Gerry:            Well …

 

Tosho:            You’ll be interested to see how it’s done.

 

Gerry:            I er …

 

Tosho:            Anything wrong?  It’s like bandages.  Like a boxer.  Not just warmth.  Holds the foot together.  (Pause) God, this fire’s nice.

 

Gerry:            You were right about the pong.

 

Tosho:            I’ll let the  boots dry off for a minute then I’ll stand them outside –  Try to keep them in at night – keeps ‘em supple.   Got to look after your boots.  That’s one thing I learned on the course.

 

Gerry:            ‘Tisn’t just the boots that pong

 

Tosho:            Well it’s a long way, Gerry.  You should of told me about the ‘bus

I’ll just put the bandages over the fender. A teeny bit damp…Reminds you of the course, doesn’t it

 

Gerry:                        Like I said, I’m trying to forget it.

 

Tosho:            Didn’t you have a good time?  Not even you? Billy seemed to imply that.  Poor old Billy.

 

Gerry:            Poor old Billy!  Why poor old Billy?

 

Tosho:            Bit of  a loner, no?

 

Gerry:            I wouldn’t have said he was the loner.

 

Tosho:            And staying on his own, up there in Perth?

 

Gerry:            I suppose he was.  But we’re all on our own, really. When you think of it. That’s why they chose us for Braveheart.  We were meant to bond and then do amazing things for the company.

 

Tosho:            Not everybody

 

Gerry:            Marching about, playing soldiers.  Waste of time.

 

Tosho:            You shouldn’t be bitter.  You done okay

 

Gerry:            A right bunch of losers, eh.  Sacked the bloody lot .

 

(Long pause.)

 

Tosho:            What?  All of us?

 

Gerry:            Didn’t you know?

 

Tosho:            You said the firm went belly-up

 

Gerry:            Yeah, But they sacked everybody first

 

Tosho:            I thought I was only me

 

Gerry:            No everyone got dumped

 

Tosho:            Even Hunter?

 

Gerry:            Even the mighty Hunter.  He was next after you.

 

Tosho:            I thought he was going right to the top.  And you too Gerry

 

Gerry:            Well, he thought so as well – That’s why they bounced him.

 

Tosho:            How’d’you mean?

 

Gerry:            We were meant to be executives, not bosses, but grey suited executives.  He was too ambitious.

 

Tosho:            (pause) So did you put that in your report Gerry?

 

Gerry:            Report?  What d you know about a report?

 

Tosho:`            Well I thought everyone knew.  Billy told me.  He said ‘Careful what you say in front of Gerry.  It all goes straight back to the board.’  Didn’t you know that Gerry?

 

Gerry:            Um…I…er

 

Tosho:            In the end everybody was doing reports on everybody else.  They were all after the MD’s job, weren’t they?  That’s why they were concerned about you

 

.              (Pause)

 

Gerry:            Me?  There wasn’t any need to be worried about me

 

Tosho:            Come on Gerry.  You  had it made.

 

Gerry:            I…er… Stuff happens.  Don’t really want to talk about it.

 

Tosho:            Being mysterious.  Okay.

 

Gerry:            Feet all nice and dry  now?

 

Tosho:            Great.  Unexpected.  An open fire – A real open fire

 

Gerry:            This was my parent’s place, and when my dad died….

 

Tosho:            What about your mum?

 

Gerry:            Oh she died years ago. My wife didn’t want to come up here  from London.

 

Tosho:            So you’re on your own.  You’re a loner too

 

Gerry:            I don’t  think it will be for long

 

Tosho:            Lucky old Gerry.  Lady in waiting eh?

 

Gerry:            I wouldn’t put it quite like that.  And you?

 

Tosho:            Me?  No-no.  Oh no, no no.

 

(pause)

 

Gerry:            This friend you’ve come up to see?  Isn’t it getting a bit late?

 

Tosho:            Oh, yes, yes, yes.  Thanks for reminding me  No, oh no.  It isn’t late

 

Gerry:            He’s in Brum, eh?.

 

Tosho:            Well, no.  Not in.  Just outside as a matter of fact.

 

Gerry:            Hadn’t you better..?

 

Tosho            No, plenty of time Gerry, plenty of time

 

(pause)

 

Gerry:            Do you know the exact address?

 

Tosho:            Don’t worry about me Gerry – Plenty of time for all that.

 

Gerry:            It’s just that, you know, I do have other arrangements. and it is… getting a bit…

 

Tosho:            Don’t …let it bother your head

 

Gerry:            If you need a cab you’d have to book, round here.  They wont come out  without booking.

 

Tosho:            Oh, like I said. Don’t worry about me, Gerry.  You just carry on.  I won’t interfere with your… arrangements.

 

Gerry:            But you’ll be needing to –

 

Tosho:            It’s okay Gerry – I know how to…….

 

Gerry:            Well, if you’re sure

 

Tosho:            Of course I’m sure…. I’ll just take my coat off for a minute, if you don’t mind

 

Gerry:            No, of course

 

Tosho takes off coat and spreads it out by the fender

 

Gerry:            Isn’t that …?

 

Tosho:            The old great coat?  The ones at Braveheart.  You really do remember it all

 

Gerry:            It is, isn’t it?

 

Tosho:            Well, yes, as a matter-of-fact, it is..  But it’s not really mine.  Bit big for me as a matter of fact.  It’s  Hunter’s coat actually  He didn’t seem

to need it any more.

 

Gerry:            So he let you have it?

 

Tosho:            He insisted.  We did a swap as a matter-of-fact.  My old one for his – his new one.  Well, his was nearly new.  Mine was pretty worn out. Great piece of material.  I’ve nearly worn this one out now.  Have you still got yours.

 

Gerry:            As a matter of fact I have.  Mine’s nearly new as well – well hardly used.  Mine’d be more your size.  Would you like to try it?

 

Tosho:            Well, that’s very generous of you Gerry.  If you wouldn’t mind.

 

Gerry:            Mind? I’d be glad to see the back of it. Of course I wouldn’t mind.  I’ll get it.

 

Tosho.              Lovely (he beams at the fire).

 

Gerry goes to another room

 

 

 

 

Tosho:            (calling) Would you still have the boots as well?

 

Gerry returns with the coat.  Tosho tries it on

 

Gerry:            Sure it’s great

 

Tosho:            Great!  Those were the days, eh?

 

Gerry:            …I wouldn’t have said that.  Everything looks good from a long time ago. Doesn’t it? How was old Hunter?

 

Tosho:            Was?

 

Gerry:            I mean, how did you find him?

 

Tosho:            Bit quiet, actually. Same as ever. Older of course.  Not taking enough exercise.  Gone to fat a bit. When I first got there.

 

Gerry:            First got there?  I don’t know what you mean.

 

Tosho:            When I arrived.  Took a little while to get him back in shape.

 

Gerry:            Hunter?.  You mean, you stayed.?  With Hunter?

 

Tosho:            Wouldn’t let me go.  Cried when he saw me.  Cried when I left, old Hunter,  blubbing, bit embarrassing really  A big bloke like that…Thanks for the coat Gerry.  You’re right, Hunter’s was a bit big for me..

 

Gerry:            Could I ask you a question, Tosho?

 

Tosho:            Ask away.  Anything between friends.

 

Gerry:            Tosho.  How long were you there?

 

Tosho:            Where?

 

Gerry:            With Hunter.  Up there in Perth.  How long?

 

Tosho:            Oh, a little while.

 

Gerry:            You mean a few days?

 

Tosho:            A bit more than that

 

Gerry:            More?  What’re you telling me Tosho?

 

Tosho:            A bit more than a few days is all I mean.  You know what it’s like

 

Gerry:            No, I don’t.  I don’t know what you mean.

 

Tosho:            I don’t see that all this matters.

 

Gerry:            More than a few days?

 

Tosho:            Oh, certainly that.

 

Gerry:            You mean a lot more than that.?

 

Tosho:            A bit more

 

Gerry:            For Christ’s sake, tell me.  Weeks, a few weeks.

 

Tosho:            Look, I told you.  It took a while to get him back in shape.

 

Gerry:            Weeks or months?

 

Tosho:            I don’t know why you’re asking.

 

Gerry:            Was it months, Tosho?  Was it?

 

Tosho:            It was a year and a half actually.  He really blubbed when I left.  I thought I was letting him down.  I suppose I was

 

Gerry:            A year and a half?

 

Tosho:            You can’t let an old friend down, can you?

 

Gerry:            A year and a half – I don’t believe it

 

Tosho:            I can see that.  In retrospect it does seem a long time, but it wasn’t really like that.

 

Gerry:            He actually asked you to stay.

 

Tosho:            Didn’t just ask,  He begged me to stay.  Like I say, he blubbed when I left.

 

Gerry:            I’m not surprised.

 

Tosho:            It was him or me, there wasn’t room for both of us – So one of us had to go.  Bloody Hunter, eh?

 

Gerry:            One of you?            It was his home

 

Tosho:            Yes, I suppose it was

 

 

Gerry:            Look, Tosho.  Have you got Hunter’s ‘phone number?

 

Tosho:            You thinking of phoning him.

 

Gerry:            I’d just like to have his number

 

Tosho:            All  of a sudden>  You’ve never ‘phoned him before.

 

Gerry:            How do you know that?

 

Tosho:            He’d have told me

 

Gerry:            Are you going to give it to me?

 

Tosho:            I don’t know why you want it

 

Gerry:            There’s a question or two I’d like to ask

 

Tosho:            Well, ask away.  There isn’t much about old Hunter I couldn’t tell you

 

Gerry:            No, I don’t want to ask you.  I want to ask Hunter

 

Awkward pause

 

Gerry:            Look I might as well be straightforward with you, old chap…. You’re not thinking of…You know, perhaps

 

Tosho:            Staying?  Here?  Oh no, no, no.  No, no no, old chap.  No, no no.  I really don’t think.   Well, well you’ve really embarrassed me Gerry, has my face gone red.  It has I can see in the mirror over the fire  It feels flushed…My eyes are bulging like little ferrets.

 

He goes to the mirror

 

Tosho, you wicked sly old bastard, yes you, looking out from that mirror!  You know what Gerry thinks you wicked old sod?  He thinks you’ve wormed your way into his house and you’re going to… Oh it doesn’t bear thinking!  Tosho, you’re a crafty bugger there’s no doubt.  Crafty, underhand Tosho.  Wicked Tosho.  I don’t believe it.  Wicked, wicked Tosho

 

Pause

 

Gerry:            You haven’t answered my question

 

Tosho:                        Question.  What question?

 

Gerry:                        You’re trying to get round it aren’t you?

 

 

Tosho:                        No, no no, Gerry.  Sincerely.  You haven’t asked me any  question

Seems to me I’ve done all the talking

 

Gerry:                        Tosho.  Answer my question.  .

 

Tosho:                        Which question.  Ask again

 

Gerry:                        Have you got Hunter’s ‘phone number?

 

Tosho:                        Hunter?  Oh sorry Gerry, I forgot you’d asked me that

 

Gerry:                        Well, have you?

 

Tosho:                        What do you want it for?

 

Gerry:                        For Christ’s sake. We could ring him up

 

Tosho:                        What, now?

 

Gerry:            Why not?  He’d be interested to know that you’re here.  What’s his number, Tosho

 

Tosho:                        He’s not on the ‘phone

 

Gerry:                        But you said.  You phoned him.  When you got there

 

Tosho:            That’s true.  I did ring him up when I got there….But we had to have the phone cut off  –  The bills were getting excessive,  Long way Scotland.  I didn’t feel that Hunter could afford it

 

Gerry:                        You didn’t feel

 

Tosho:                        Bit of a problem,  cashwise.   I was trying to help him best I could.  He

Was…well, unemployed, not to put too fine a point on it.  Bit seasonal.

There’s not too much work up there.

 

Gerry:                        So – He’d lost his job.

 

Tosho:                        Lost it?  I don’t know that he ever had one after Braveheart.

 

Gerry:                        And you?  You didn’t have a job either.

 

Tosho:                        I don’t see what it has to do with you?

 

Gerry:                        No you’re right.  It’s none of my business.  I just wondered how you

managed, the two of you?

 

Tosho.              Oh that.  It was easy.  Hunter had a bit of land, which he let out – and we grew most of our stuff.  He needed me.

 

Gerry:            But did he ask you.  Did he ask you to stay

 

Tosho:            Well I was there wasn’t I?   Someone had to take a stand.  It’s what friends are for.,.. I’d  had the same trouble with Bugsy Ellington.

 

Gerry:                        Bugsy?  When was that.  You stayed there as well?

 

Tosho:                        Well, of course

 

Gerry:                        In Wolverhampton?

 

Tosho:            It’s where Bugsy was living. I couldn’t change that. Could I?

 

Gerry:            Change

 

Tosho:            Where he was living  Bit cramped actually, for the two of us – But I couldn’t expect him to move?

 

Gerry:                        No you could not

 

Tosho:            Trying to help him.

 

Gerry:            Um

 

Tosho:            Bit of friendly advice

 

Gerry:            Didn’t he say anything?

 

Tosho:            There wasn’t much to say.  What would you have said in the circumstances?

 

Gerry:            I meant about you…. just …hanging on there

 

Tosho:            He was grateful.  Everyone needs a friend

 

Gerry:            And who was paying all the …you, know, food and all that

 

Tosho:            Well, we grew  a lot of what we wanted.  Like with Hunter, only with Bugsy I had to show him how to do it.  He didn’t have green fingers, not Bugsy?  Know what I mean>

 

Gerry:            Not really.  No I can’t get the scene…But look, he’s got no telephone.. How do you know he’s gone to Australia

 

Tosho:            Why’re you so concerned?  I was the one who went to see him.  No-one else cared, poor sod.

 

Gerry:            We didn’t know.

 

Tosho:            Didn’t know.  That’s rich.  How’re you supposed to know if you didn’t keep in touch.

 

Gerry:            Well he didn’t keep in touch with me either

 

Tosho:            No.  I was the one who kept in touch with everybody..  Fat lot of thanks I got for that. Pretty much the same with Bugsy.  Off he goes to another country, just like that.  Lucky I was there to say good-bye; I was all he had,

 

Gerry:            I’m astonished.  What he went off and left you behind.  In his house and everything.

 

Tosho:            Well, he did ask – But I didn’t fancy Australia.  Anyway, I felt I’d done enough for him by then

 

Gerry:            I should say so… More than enough I should think…

 

(slightly disgruntled pause)

 

But what happened to the house.  He couldn’t just leave it all behind?

 

Tosho:            Oh that was fine.  Fine Gerry.  I looked after that.  We sold it

 

Gerry:            Christ

 

Tosho:            What?

 

Gerry:            I said.  Christ!

 

Tosho:            I think I looked after him very well

 

Gerry:            You bet you did..  Sold the house , eh?  Did he know?

 

Tosho:            (angry) Of course he knew.  There was a great big mortgage had to be paid off

 

Gerry:            What he went off and left it all to you?

 

Tosho:            To deal with.  I was looking after his interests.  It’s something you do for a friend.  There were a lot of bills.  Wasn’t much left over.

 

Gerry:            I bet there wasn’t

 

Tosho:            What? Oh Gerry, Gerry, Gerry.  What do you take me for, eh?  Some sort of Monster?  A bloody sneak thief?  You think I ran off with Bugsy’s dough?

 

(slight pause)

 

Gerry:            No I really didn’t mean that

 

Tosho:            Yes you did.  I can see the way your mind’s working.  Went to a lot of trouble for Bugsy.  It’s what I’m like.  See I’ll come on a long trek…to see an old friend.  Ask yourself.  How many people would do that eh?  Not many, I’ll tell you that

 

Gerry:            My head’s going round

 

Tosho:            I’m not surprised.  You’re discovering a different Tosho, aren’t you?  A new Tosho

 

Gerry:            I’ve forgotten

 

Tosho:            Life’s a funny thing

 

Gerry:            Mm.  What happened to Hunter’s place?

 

Tosho:            Hunters?  Oh I looked after that as well

 

Gerry:            I thought as much

 

Tosho:            Well somebody had to.  He just abandoned it.  I did what I could

 

Gerry:            What was that?

 

Tosho:            I found he didn’t own the place after all.  Couldn’t find the title deeds. In the end I discovered he only had it on lease. Twenty seven years.

 

Gerry:            It’s a fair time

 

Tosho:            Mm.  But you can’t find a buyer for a place like that in Perth.  So I had to rent it out

 

Gerry:            You had to rent it.  This is outrageous.  It wasn’t yours to rent.

 

Tosho:            Someone had to do it.  He was off

 

Gerry:            Weren’t there relatives

 

Tosho;            ‘SFunny.  In all the time he never spoke of them.  Neither did Bugsy.  Strange ennit?

 

Gerry:            Very strange

 

Pause

 

Tosho:            Anyway, I thought you said you had arrangements

 

Gerry            Just one or two things.  If you don’t mind

 

Tosho:            Mind?  Why should I mind?  You just carry on Gerry as though I wasn’t here.  Just nice to be in the warm.

 

Gerry:            No. No I – I just can’t go off and leave you here

 

Tosho:            It’s alright.  I don’t mind being on my own

 

Gerry:            That’s not what I meant.  What about the friends you had to see up here in Brum?

 

Tosho:            I’m afraid it’s a bit late for them now

 

Gerry:            You should have said before

 

Tosho:            Not everyone’s like you Gerry.  You can’t just bust in and expect them to expect you, kind of thing

 

Gerry:            I thought they were expecting you already

 

Tosho:             No I was just going to drop in.  Much as I did with..

 

Gerry:            With me, you mean?

 

Tosho:            Well, if you want to put it like that…

 

Gerry:            I’d just better get changed.  I can drop you somewhere.  I’ll only be a couple of minutes.  Will you still be here?

 

Tosho:            Oh, I’ll be here alright.  I’m not going to move.

 

Gerry            Okay then.

 

Pause

 

Tosho            Can I just make myself a cup of tea?  Then I can get ready.

 

Gerry:            Oh sorry. I should have offered

Tosho:            That’s okay –  Don’t apologise.  Make one for you Gerry?

 

Pause.

 

Tosho makes tea

 

Tosho:            So, nobody else around?

 

Gerry:            You mean the wife?  We weren’t married actually. Partners.  I wanted to but she didn’t..  She left.

 

 

Tosho:            Mm.  I heard about that through Spud.  You must have told him.

I’m sorry.

 

Gerry:            Well I’m not. See, Spud was her brother, that’s how we met. We didn’t get on too well after the job blew up.  She went to live with Spud

 

Tosho:            S’what happens  Same thing happened with Spud.  He’d had some woman for a time, but she’d gone

 

Gerry:            Well, Spud’s sister walked out on me.  I didn’t go after her

 

Tosho:            He told me ‘bout that in Carlisle

 

Gerry:            Spud.  You’ve stayed with Spud as well?

 

Tosho:            Only for a time

 

Gerry:            What does that mean?

 

Tosho            Bit of a shock.  Big fellah Spud.  S’funny – when  you see a big bloke like that break down.  Doesn’t seem right.  I tried to help him, but he’d got himself in a bit of a mess.  Emotionally wrung out ‘e was.  Drained. Like a marathon runner at the end of the race

 

Gerry:            Poor old sod.

 

Tosho:            I did my best.

 

(pause)

 

Gerry:                        You gonna tell me.How long were you with Spud?

 

Tosho:            He was just after Hunter.  It felt like a duty

 

Gerry:            Was it one year?  Two years?

 

(slight pause)

 

Tosho:            Two and a half, if you really want to know

 

Gerry:            Two and a half!  Strewth! Where’s he gone now?

 

Tosho:            How should I know?  When his woman left, he left.  I don’t know where he went

 

Gerry:            Poor old sod.

 

Tosho:            Poor old sod.  I’ll say.

 

Gerry:            I suppose I’m a bit of a poor old sod as well.  Rudderless.   It’s no good when if you don’t know whether you’re coming or going

 

Tosho:            You can say that again.  Me too.  Trouble is I’ve always been… going.

 

Gerry:            Don’t get maudlin.  Still chances y’know..

 

Tosho:            Only for some.  Things I gotta do. Then I can buck myself up. Start my life again.

 

Gerry:            What you got to do Tosho?

 

(pause)

 

Tosho:            Drink your tea Gerry,  while it’s hot.

 

Tosho starts to remove his shirt.

 

Gerry:            What’re you doing?

 

Tosho:            Jus’ taking my shirt off.  Only for a minute.  Sweaty coming up that hill.  Uncomfortable, these flannel shirts.  Okay though

 

Gerry:            Just a minute!  Isn’t that also from the course

 

Tosho:            Thought you’d never notice

 

Gerry:            It looked familiar

 

Tosho:            Mine wore out.  This was Spud’s.  I wore mine out, then Hunter’s.

Like the coats.

 

Gerry:            Christ, you’re training for Oxfam

 

Tosho:            Oxfam.  Know what they’d do?  Put ‘em through a shredder.  Paper that’s all they’d make.  They’d come back as your Daily Newspaper. Better that they get a proper use

 

Gerry:            Didn’t know that.  You’re dead right.  I thought they gave ‘em to asylum seekers. To go to Church in

 

Tosho:            Nothing like that.

 

Gerry:            You dry?

 

Tosho::            Not quite.  I’ll put it nearer the fender

 

Gerry:            Rather pongs as well

 

 

Tosho:            Sorry Gerry.

 

(slight pause)

 

You haven’t got a washing machine have you?

 

Gerry:            Washing machine? Of course I’ve got a washing machine.  But look it’s a bit much to come in here and expect to get your bloody laundry…

 

Tosho:            Gerry Gerry, Gerry.  Only ,my joke.  What can you be thinking of? That  I’d come in here out of the blue and sort of take over all your facilities.  Come on Gerry.  I may not be public school and all that but I do have standards. We weren’t working class oiks. My dad was a bank clerk

 

Gerry:            Sorry Tosho.  Me being mean again.  You got me bang to rights.  Look how long will it take?

 

Tosho:            Ten minutes that’s all.  Short spin. Then just in the dryer

j

Gerry:            …Well… all right.  Then you’ll go eh?

 

Tosho.             You’re a gent Gerry.  Gerry the gent.

 

Gerry:            If you’d told me on the course that I’d be here lending you my washing machine, I’d have said–

 

Tosho:            What?

 

Gerry:            I’d have said  – you were off your rocker

 

Tosho:            Dead right

 

Gerry:              I’d have Said you were off your beam ends

(slight pause)

 

Tosho:            No.  Tosho the tosser.  That’s what you’d have said.  That’s what you all said. Wasn’t it>

 

Gerry:            You thought that?

 

Tosho:            I heard it, Gerry.  Often.  All of you.   I was the strange little oik from nowhere.

 

Gerry:            Didn’t come much stranger:

 

Tosho:            I knew. S’funny, now.

 

Slight pause

 

Gerry:            So, how was Spud?  You didn’t say…

 

Tosho:            Depressed.  A bit off his head when I left.  Shame about Spud.  Wasn’t him, you know.  Certain of that.

 

Gerry:            Spud? Wasn’t Spud?

 

Tosho:            Spud wasn’t the mole……..

 

(slight pause)

 

Gerry:            Still on about that? .Washing Machine’s in there. (he points to the kitchen)

 

Tosho:            Thanks.

 

Tosho gathers up his stuff  He moves to the kitchen.

 

Better wash these bastards

 

Tosho disappears into the kitchen,. Gerry stands staring at the door. There is a clanging as Tosho drops something.  Gerry is startled and jumps

 

Tosho:            (calling) OK Gerry.  It’s okay

 

Gerry:            What was the noise?

 

Tosho:            I’ll show you in a minute. Soon.  You’ll be interested.

 

Gerry begins walking up and down very fast  Deeply agitated.

 

Gerry:            What’s going on?  I want to know now

 

Tosho:             You said.

 

Gerry:               I know I said.  But what are you doing?  You only had to

Press the Wash  button.

 

Tosho:              I put it on silks and woollens.

 

Gerry:               I don’t think it matters.

 

The door bursts open.  Tosho stands framed in his underpants.

He holds the greatcoat, carefully folded over his right arm

 

Tosho:               I put everything in except the greatcoat.  Thought that was too heavy

 

 

Gerry:               (completely unnerved)  I can see that.  The greatcoat.

Would’ve….Would’ve been too heavy yes.  Too heavy.

 

Gerry moves closer.  He is beginning to be frightened.

 

Tosho:               Just tryin’ to look after your machine Gerry

 

Gerry backs away

 

Gerry:                How long’s this going to take Tosho

 

Tosho:                Long as you like?

 

Gerry:                 It’s not what I mean.  I didn’t expect

 

Tosho:                England expects, Gerry.  Dear ol’ blighty expects

 

Gerry:                What you got under the coat Tosho?

 

Tosho:                Little thing

 

Gerry:                I asked what is it?

 

Tosho:               Souvenir from the war, Gerry. Souvenir from the war. My

Dad brought it back.

 

Gerry:                Your dad.

 

Tosho:               From the war Gerry.  From the war.

 

Tosho moves quickly, confronting Gerry.  Gerry moves as

quickly back.

 

Tosho holds up the coat

 

Tosho:                        You wanna see it Gerry?

 

Gerry:                       Yes, I want to see it

 

Tosho:                       In a minute Gerry.  I gotta sit down for a minute.

 

He sits at the table

 

Gerry:                      Need to make a ‘phone call, then.  Tell them – my friends….

They’re expecting me

 

Tosho shakes his head

 

Tosho:                      Yer not goin’, Gerry

 

Gerry:                      I must… I must make the phone call

 

Tosho shakes his head

 

Tosho:                     No.  Yer not callin’ either.  The oik says no… Poor ol’ Gerry, eh?

 

Gerry tried to assert his authority

 

Gerry:          Look Tosho look.  I’ve got to say this.  I want you to leave this house

At once.  Now. At once.  Do you hear?

 

Tosho:         Ooer!  That’s your MD’s voice.  Careful  Tosho, you’ll get a bad mark.

 

Gerry:         Tosho! I need to use the phone!

 

Tosho:         No don’t shout Gerry, don’t shout.  Stay cool.  Keep your hair on. Cool

as a cucumber.  Stay cool.  S’wat they say.  Gotta keep your nerve..

Makes things work the way they’ve never worked before.

Learn something! That’s it  ennit Gerry?

 

Gerry:          Sure Tosho, sure.

 

Tosho:         That’s it Gerry!  Everything’s gonna be alright.

He holds out his hands to Gerry who swoops to grab what’s under the

coat.  Tosho is too quick for him

 

Gerry:          SHOW ME!     Show me the souvenir

 

Tosho.         Don’t shout Gerry.  Rude to shout.

 

Gerry:         S-sorry Tosho, sorry.

 

Tosho:        Apology accepted.

 

Gerry:         Show me.

 

(slight pause)

 

Tosho:                   You gotta guess what it is first.

 

Tosho waves his right finger regularly from side to side, metronomically.

 

Tosho:    I’ll show you, when you’ve guessed.. Spud guessed.  I showed it to him.  He was like you Gerry.  He wasn’t scared.  Apprehensive, yes, but he wasn’t scared.

 

(slight pause)

 

Gerry:         Sorry for Spud.

 

Tosho:         Spud’s okay..  Spud’s at peace.

 

Gerry:          Peace… Not sure what that means

 

Tosho:          Spud’s got no worries.  Spud also wanted to see the souvenir

 

Gerry stands up, suddenly.

 

Gerry:          No!  Gotta stop.  Gotta make that ‘phone call.  NOW!

 

Tosho also stands up.  They confront each other across the table

Show me the souvenir Tosho

 

Tosho:                   In a minute!  Not yet!

 

Gerry:                   Is it a knife?

 

Tosho shakes his head.

 

Tosho:        Oh Gerry, c’mon.   Would I bring a knife to your house?  No, no, No!

A wicked instrument of death?  No, it’s not a knife

 

Gerry:        Show me Tosho.

 

Gerry is momentarily reassured.  He reaches out

 

Tosho:       Well if you insist

 

Tosho stands up.  He moves the coat.

 

My dad’s this was.  My dad’s

 

As the coat is drawn away we see that he is holding a bayonet; very tightly.

 

They all had them.  He gave it to me.

 

Gerry is very shocked.  For an instant he can hardly speak.

 

Gerry:       I wish… You’d let me take it from you Tosho.  It would help us.

 

Tosho:      Us?

 

Gerry:       You’d be free.  You’ve got a burden carrying that.  I could help you

Tosho – I really could.  Here, let me have it.

 

Tosho shakes his head

 

Gerry:      For old time’s sake

 

Tosho:     You’re saying that.

 

Gerry:      I meant it Tosho.

 

(pause)

 

Tosho:   ‘Mazing ennit?  The way things turn round?

 

Gerry nods.

 

Gerry:    Amazing.  Yes.

 

Tosho:   Can’t be helped.  Told Spud.  Some things have to happen.

 

Gerry:    Sure.  I understand.  What about Bugsy and Hunter?

 

Tosho:    They understood as well. It was simple really.  And quick!

 

Gerry:     Quick, eh?

 

Gerry launches himself across the table.  Tosho pulls back.  Gerry knows

By now that he is finished.

 

Tosho:    Braveheart, eh?.  You had to keep your nerve.

 

Gerry:    That’s right.  That’s it.

 

Tosho:    Braveheart.  Well you tried Gerry.

 

Gerry:     Had to try at least.

 

Tosho:     Now?

 

Gerry:     Now.

 

Tosho’s arm flashes up and down.  The bayonet goes straight throug Gerry’s back and into the table    .  Blood flows

 

TELEPHONE RINGS