Rock ' Roll Vagabond. Part six
Man: I’m not sleeping on the floor. I paid for this room and I am not going to sleep on the floor. That’s ridiculous. I’ll tell you what. You sleep on top of the bed and I’ll sleep under the blankets so we won’t touch each other, if that’s what you want. Will that be alright?
Girl: Maybe. But I’m not taking my clothes off and you neither. I’m not sleeping next to a naked, old man who could be my granddad and who smells.
Man: I don’t smell no worse than you. When was the last time you took a shower? It wasn’t yesterday. If I smell I’ve got a good reason. I worked my ass off last night on the stage. What have you done? You just sat around when I was lumping the gear and setting up the equipment. You just sat around while I was loading it out again and into the van. I was working. I was sweating. It’s honest sweat. Do you even know what honest sweat is?
Girl: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Man: I didn’t think you would. You worked in a factory for a couple weeks and that’s about it. Ever since then you’ve been on benefits. What do you know about work?
Girl: It was a stupid job. All I did was clean up after the others. I was the lowest of the low and the pay was rubbish. I got just as much on benefits. I’m not stupid. There was no point in working.
Man: That’s what I mean. When I was growing up you had to work or you starved. I got my first real job the day after I left school when I was fifteen. Before that I had a paper-round for a few years and I delivered groceries for the local shop.
Girl: What kind of job was it?
Man: It was washing dishes in a restaurant. I started eight o’clock in the morning, got a couple hours off in the afternoon, then went back and worked until midnight. That was six days a week. I was too knackered to do anything on my day off so I used to stay in bed or watch telly.
Girl: Well. That was the olden days. It’s not like that anymore.
Man: I used to get slapped around the head if I broke a plate or did something wrong. I got punched in the face once. That was normal. I just accepted it. That wouldn’t happen nowadays.
Girl: Thank god it don’t. That’s really cruel.
Man: That’s the way things were.
Girl: You don’t get hit nowadays but the jobs are just as bad. I had to sweep the floors and the women in the factory didn’t care about me. They used to throw things on the floor on purpose because they knew I would sweep up after them.
Man: And that’s the only job you ever had?
Girl: I did some baby-sitting.
Man: That’s not work.
Girl: Sometimes it is if you get a difficult baby or one that is teething.
Man: It’s still not real work, is it?
Girl: So what about you? What other jobs have you had?
Man: The restaurant was the last one. I stayed there about two months and then I joined a band.
Girl: You were in a band when you were fifteen?
Man: I started my first band when I was thirteen but we didn’t make much money. The new band already had ten jobs lined up but their singer quit. That’s when they asked me to join them. They didn’t have to ask me twice.
Girl: You were lucky.
Man: It wasn’t luck. It was hard work. I spent hours every day practicing guitar and writing songs and playing music with the others. It was seven days a week. It was work but it wasn’t a job. It was just what I did. How I lived my life. It’s done pretty good for me so far.
Girl: I still say you were lucky. You’re just like me, you’ve only ever had one proper job.
Man: Music’s a job but there’s no set hours. That’s the difference. A job for me is having to do something you don’t want to do. I only do what I really want to do.
Girl: That’s exactly the same as me. I only do what I really want to do.
Man: But you do nothing. I work.
Girl: But it’s not real work, is it?
Man: I call it work. Sometimes it’s bloody hard work. Now. I’m really tired and I want to go to bed and that’s what I’m going to do. You can do what you like. You can sit up all night if you want to but I am going to take my clothes off and go to bed. You can sleep in the bathroom if you don’t want to be near me.
Girl: If you take your clothes off I’m going to scream. I’ll say you were trying to rape me.
Man: Don’t be stupid. You’ll get us both in trouble. The guy downstairs is already suspicious about us.
Girl: I don’t care. You keep all your clothes on or I’ll scream. You’ve slept in your clothes lots of times since I met you. When you were too drunk to get undressed. It’ll be nothing new for you.
(He lays down, fully clothed, on the bed.)
Man: You’ll have to turn the light out. I can’t sleep when the light’s on.
Girl: I’m not going to sit here in the dark. What do you take me for?
Man: So go to bed and turn the bloody light out.
Girl: I’m not tired. I don’t feel in the slightest bit sleepy. I might not go to bed and just sit here until morning and read my magazine. I don’t need to sleep.
Man: But I do. I’ve got a big day coming up and I need all the sleep I can get.
Girl: You can sleep in the bathroom. You told me I could sleep there. You can turn off the light and be in darkness if that’s what you want. The toilet’s separate so I won’t bother you in the night.
Man: I’m not sleeping in the bathroom. Don’t be stupid. And, anyway, there’s not enough room to stretch out in there.
Girl: You thought it was good enough for me.
Man: I’m sleeping here.
Girl: Well, you’re going to have to sleep with the light on because I’m not turning it off. Try putting something over your head to shut out the light.
(He gets up, takes a T shirt from his bag, lays down again and puts it over his head. She picks up a magazine and looks at it.)
Man: (Mumbled, but audible.) Now I feel ridiculous and I can still see the light.
Girl: I’m sorry? What did you say? I couldn’t hear you proper.
(He takes T shirt off his head and sits up.)
Man: I said that it don’t work. I can still see the light.
Girl: I don’t know about you but I’m only just beginning to see the light. You just want someone you can control. (Mocks.) Turn on the light! Turn off the light! Go to bed! I’m tired of it and I’m not taking it anymore.
Man: I don’t tell you what to do. I might ask you to do something for me but I don’t tell you to do it.
Girl: That’s why you like young girls. Because they don’t know any better. They’ll do anything you tell them to do and that suits you.
Man: You can leave any time you like. Nobody’s stopping you.
Girl: OK. Give me a hundred quid and I’ll go. I don’t have any money.
Man: You never got any money. I pay for everything. What do you do with the money I give you?
Girl: I spend it on food, mostly...
Man: Food? I’ve never seen you cook a meal. When was the last time we had real food in the house? We live on takeaways and ready to eat meals. You just put it in the micro-wave. I could do that. I don’t call that cooking.
Girl: I never said that I would cook for you. I do all the shopping and all the cleaning. What more do you expect?
Man: Cleaning? I’ve never seen you clean. Sure, you tidy things up a bit but I’ve never seen you do proper cleaning.
Girl: It’s you that does most of the mess so you should do most of the cleaning but I’ve never even seen you wash a single plate.
Man: I’ve washed loads.
Girl: When there was no clean plates left I’ve seen you rinse one off and use it but that’s not exactly doing the washing-up, is it?
Man: It suits me. I can only eat off one plate at a time. I only really need one plate, one cup and a few bits of cutlery. That’ll do me.
Girl: That’s disgusting.
Man: That’s the way I choose to live my life and I’m not changing it for anyone. My real friends accept me for who I am and that’s good enough for me.
Girl: Friends? Real friends? You don’t have any friends. You got a few mates, that’s all. I don’t think you know what a friend is. If you did then maybe you wouldn’t have got married half a dozen times.
Man: It was four times. I told you the one in Fiji wasn’t proper. I did it just for a laugh.
Girl: Just for a laugh? I think all your marriages was ‘just for a laugh’. You don’t seem to have taken any of them seriously. If you had you would still be married to one of them instead of being a lonely old man who picks up young girls because nobody of his own age is interested in him or will put up with him.
Man: I’m not lonely. I like being by myself. And, anyway, I didn’t pick you up. You came on to me. I was happy as I was. I had a good life before you came along.
Girl: That’s not what I remember. Soon after you met me you told me that your life had been crap before I came along. You said that you had felt like you were going up a blind alley and you had no idea where your life was leading. That don’t sound like happy to me.
Man: I was happy in my own way. I don’t really believe in lasting happiness. If you feel happy just once a day, even if it is only for a moment, that should be enough. I was content as I was, that’s what I meant, and I don’t feel that anymore. I want to be free to live my life as I want.
Girl: Well, you’re free now. You’re as free as a bird because I don’t want no more to do with you. Now you can be ‘content’ again but just being satisfied wouldn’t suit me. I still dream of happiness. I’m going to meet someone someday...
Man: (Mocking.) And you’re going to live happy ever after. Dream on. It doesn’t happen. It’s a myth that we get rammed down our throats from the minute we’re born. My parents were miserable and all their married friends was miserable as well. You’re deluding yourself if you think it will be different for you.
Girl: If I thought that there’d be no point in carrying on. I’d just as well end it here and now. It’s only the dream of one day finding true love that keeps me going.
Man: True love? Love is just like happiness. It comes and goes. It don’t last.
Girl: But I’d rather have a little bit than none at all.
Man: Nah. It’s better to just live your life and not let anyone get too close. If you allow yourself to get too happy you just open yourself up to being really sad. You can’t have one without the other. Trust me. I’ve been there.
Girl: I’m not afraid of being sad sometimes if I’m happy most of the time. It seems like you only want the good bits. I may be very young but I’ve already learnt that that’s the way life is. You win some...you lose some but you don’t quit the game. You keep on playing and maybe one day you hit the jackpot.
Man: That’s crap. It’s more likely you lose everything including your peace of mind.
Girl: You’re sad. You know that? You’re really, really sad and I feel sorry for you. You’re all alone, you’re just about broke, you live in a small flat that you rent and you don’t have any real friends. And you say you like it like that? You say you have found the answer? I don’t think you have even found the question yet.
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