Sunday, November 24, 2013

Shepherdess Walk, by Mark Neal


A transgender sit-com based in Hoxton. 

Characters: 

SARAH. Early 30s. An aspiring writer. Attractive slim brunette. Exeter graduate. Met best mate KEN through a support group three years ago, where opposites obviously attracted. Urban, sophisticated. Lives in an apartment with KEN, on a platonic basis.

BOB. Same age as SARAH. In and out of work. Largely supported by SARAH, his best friend and flat-mate. Went to Preston Uni to do mechanical engineering, but dropped out. Laddish, football and curry loving, beardy man, who finds it difficult to pull. Prone to lying and fantasising.

DOREEN. Early forties, sex  mad, North London Jewish. Clever, fun-loving and flippant. Hides the her Cambridge education well, and makes a virtue of being shallow and sluttish.

KEN. Former female policeman with ten years in the force. Serious, sincere, but unpredictable. Good looking, with both men and women fancying him.

INT. SITTING ROOM IN HOXTON FLAT.

Attractive woman, SARAH sits staring at a laptop. Bearded man, BOB, lies on a couch reading the Biography of George Best.

SARAH SIGHS AND SITS BACK.

SARAH:
How about this, Bob? This is the main character in the play. . (IN CHARACTER). As long as I can remember, I wanted to be a girl. I loved pretty things, and longed to be a princess. But there I was in a boy’s body, off to school in blazer and tie. Later, after I hit puberty I felt even more imprisoned - horrified, as my body began to change into that of a man . .

BOB:
God, it sounds like Heaven.

SARAH:
Excuse me?

BOB:
All that balls dropping, first shaving, having erections stuff. Footy, farts and feeling up Fiona behind the bike shed. That’s what I wanted.

SARAH:
Why do I even talk to you . . .

SARAH CONTINUES TO TYPE. BOB RESUMES HIS BOOK.

BOB:
Anyway, that bit about wanting to be a princess is hackneyed.

SARAH:
Excuse me?

BOB:
Why a princess? Why not an aid worker in Somalia. It’s kind of obvious.

SARAH:
Well in my case it was true.

BOB:
Yes, but you’re the perfect media miss. Most of us aren’t like you.

SARAH SITS BACK AND SIGHS.

SARAH:
Oh it is difficult. It’s great that the Beeb is inviting plays on this theme, but it’s tricky. Obviously, I thought I could do this - but characterisation is complicated . . .

BOB:
People like us are complicated.

SARAH:
Yes, I guess we are. So the characterisation has to be  . . multivalent.

BOB:
Wow, sounds interesting. What does multivalent mean?

SARAH:
It means that our personalities are disjoined from our bodies.

BOB:
There’s no disjoining with mine. Once I got that cock op and a prescription for Cialis, I was ready to go. I think I’m univalent.

SARAH:
Actually, I think you are too. Like men generally.

BOB:
There is no higher praise, my dear. You can be multivalent all you like. My idea of heaven is Leyton Orient, and a night down the boozer with Sharon. A bag of chips and back to hers for a night au passionelle.

SARAH:
Only au passionelle gave you away there (Frowning at the screen). Actually, I think I’m going to work that into the script. How do you spell passionelle?

BOB:
Passion with an elle - as in Elle McPhereson.

SARAH:
Passion and elle. Two dreamy words.

BOB:
Elle McPherson has two dreamy tits.

SARAH TYPES.

SARAH:
Anyway, who is this Sharon, you meet at the pub, and go all passionelle with?

BOB:
One of my current fantasy women. I've got five at the moment. Tracy. Belinda. Paige. Susan . . and Mumu.

SARAH:
Mumu?

BOB:
Yes, she’s a Thai massage worker. Pure woman.

SARAH:
Sure she’s not a ladyboy?

BOB:
I don't understand the question. 

SARAH:
Good answer. (Frowns). I guess I’m a ladyboy.

BOB:
What a ridiculous term. That would make me a gentlemangirl.

SARAH:
There’s no gentleman about you. And no girl.

BOB:
There never was. No girl inside here. (CLUTCHES HIS GROIN). But here wanted to be inside a girl.

SARAH:
Nice. I’ll put that in somewhere

BOB:
That’s what I said when I first saw my cock.

Knock on the door. BOB rises and answers.

DOREEN eNTERS WITH SHOPPING.

BOB:
Hey, Doreen. How you doing, darling?

DOREEN kisses BOB.

DOREEN:
Very good, deary. And how’s the playwright?

SARAH Looks up and smiles.

SARAH:
Not good. It’s one thing being, you know . . But, writing about it is something else. And making it funny is . .

DOREEN:
Oh just put a lot of cock jokes in there. Cocks are always funny, aren’t they, Bob?

BOB:
Oh, yes, mine is the new Milton Jones.

DOREEN:
Who?

BOB:
Oh, I forgot. You don’t watch telly, do you?

DOREEN:
No, the laptop is my universe. All I need is Gmail, the Guardian and a Dating Site. My needs are few.

SARAH:
Talking of which, how’s the dating going? Any luck?

DOREEN:
Oh yes. Most married. All looking for a quick leg-over.

BOB:
Perfect then.

DOREEN:
Do I look like I’m not happy? I click. They come. I come. Bye bye. Lovely.

SARAH:
I can’t understand how you do that. Don’t you find it a little shallow?

DOREEN:
Oh no, the deeper the better. Mmmm.

BOB:
That’s the one problem with being a man. You’re geared up to shag everything in sight, and all these women want is, well . .

SARAH:
Well, yes, that is what we want.

DOREEN:
Speak for yourself, deary. I want cock.

BOB:
I could help you there, honey.

DOREEN:
You? Oh god, that would be weird. Like having sex with my former self.

BOB:
Oh, I do that all the time. I look quite cute in old photos.

DOREEN AND SARAH:
Eeeugh.

SARAH:
Well, I’m not putting any of this in the play. The BBC want affirming personalities – and neither of you are that.

DOREEN:
Cocks, dear. Affirming cocks.


INT. LOCAL PUB.

Later that evening. BOB at the bar, collecting three drinks. One beer, a wine and a G&T. BOB joins DOREEN and SARAH, and opens a packet of pork scratchings.

BOB: 
Want one?

DOREEN: 
Yuck. No, I’m Jewish.

BOB:
You never mentioned that. Why didn’t you tell us?

DOREEN:
It’s on a need to know basis. Like my past. Looks over at the bar, spots somebody. Oh God! Hide me.

SARAH:
What? Why? How?

DOREEN:
He’s the one from the dating site last night. Turns out he’s one of us.

SARAH:
What? Jewish?

DOREEN:
No, you idiot. Oh, the last thing I need is another one obsessing about their identity. This one disclosed the whole thing before we started.

BOB:
You still shagged him, though?

DOREEN:
No, I bloody didn’t. I want straightforward sex – not an existential wrestling match.

BOB:
I’d settle for one of those at the moment. What’s existential?

SARAH TURNS TO DOREEN.

SARAH:
Did you tell him?

DOREEN:
What about?

SARAH:
About you?

DOREEN:
No I bloody didn’t. What’s that got to do with anything?

BOB SITS WORKING SOMETHING OUT.

BOB:
Hang on – that means he thinks you’re a bigot. He thinks you scarpered because he’s like us.

DOREEN:
Well I did scarper because he’s like us!

BOB:
Well, then you are a bigot.

DOREEN:
How can I be a bigot when I’m like that myself?

BOB:
No, you’re right. That makes you more than a bigot.

SARAH:
Yes, you’re a kind of treasonal bigot. That’s pretty bad.

DOREEN:
Oh, shut up, you two. He’s getting closer. Watch out for me.

DOREEN creeps under the table.
KEN spotS her, and smiles. Comes over, and leans down under the table.

KEN:
Hello Stella. What you doing down there.

BOB and SARAH:
Stella!?

BOB:
What webs of deceit we wilfully weave . . . .

DOREEN looks up to KEN and smiles nervously.

DOREEN:
Oh, hello, Ken. I – I just dropped a pork scratching.

KEN:
But you said you were Jewish.

SARAH WHISPERS TO BOB

SARAH:
Oh she told him that much!

DOREEN EMERGES FROM BELOW THE TABLE.  SMOOTHS HER HAIR.

DOREEN:
I’m picking it up for a friend. Err . . these are my friends, Sarah and Bob . . .

KEN:  
Oh, I’m sorry. Hello, I’m, Ken. (Shakes hands.) I’m assuming you are Bob, and you are Sarah.

BOB:
Assumptions are dangerous things . . .

KEN:
Sorry?

BOB:
Oh, nothing. Please, Ken, take a seat. It’s nice to have a bit of male company.

KEN SITS DOWN.

KEN:
Oh, thank you.

SILENCE.

KEN:
It’s nice to see you again, Stella. I hope your brother’s alright.

DOREEN:
(CLIPPED VOICE). He’s fine now thank you.

KEN:
Falling off stage at the Royal Opera House must have been painful.

BOB:
(TO DOREEN). Err, what brother is that . . . Stella?

DOREEN (whispers and smiles):
Shut up.

SARAH:
So, Ken. How long have you known . . . Stella?

KEN:
Oh, we only met last night. Through a dating site. First time I’ve ever done it . . and, so far so good, I guess.

SARAH:
Oh, yes, Stella was just telling us . . .

DOREEN:
My name is not Stella.

KEN:
Excuse me?

DOREEN:
My name is not Stella – it’s Doreen.

KEN:
Oh. Oh. Umm . .

DOREEN:
Alias. Can’t be too careful.

BOB:
Yes, you can’t be too careful. Look at what happened to your brother . . .

DOREEN:
(Winces. To KEN). I haven’t got a brother.

KEN:
Oh. Right. So, who fell off stage then?

DOREEN:
Nobody.

KEN:
Aha . . . I see . . . An excuse . . Oh dear, this is a bit awkward. You are still Jewish, though?

BOB, SARAH and DOREEN:
Yes, still Jewish.

KEN:
Right, that all makes sense then . . . apart from the pork scratching and the table. Oh - now they make sense too. Right – I’ll head off. Err, nice to meet you all. Errm, Stella I mean Doreen.

KEN wanders off, hesitantly.

BOB SMILES AND LOOKS MISCHIEVOUS.

BOB:
You dirty little liar. You big porky pie telling, pork scratching picking, bigot.

SARAH:
Treasonal bigot. My God, you are evil. He was a lovely person. Look, he’s gone off now.

DOREEN:
Oh, I know. I’m sorry. But what are the chances of him walking into our local pub? You’d expect that in a sit com, but not in real life.

BOB:
You know, I rather liked him too. Poor fellah. First time on a date site. Lands up with a cracker like
Stella, I mean Doreen – and then this! He really didn’t deserve that. I’m going after him.

Ext. Out in the street.

KEN is walking determinedly.

BOB:  
Oi, Ken. Hang on, mate!

KEN continues to walk. BOB catches up with him.

BOB:
(OUT OF BREATH). Phew! Sorry – I just wanted to say, don’t take any notice of Doreen. She always does this kind of thing.

KEN:
(STOPS). Yes, well. I’m a bit new to all this. She was my first venture into the dating game. I wasn’t quite prepared for Baron Munchausen. I mean Baroness Munchausen.

BOB:
Either is fine . . .

KEN:
Sorry? Oh, perhaps I’m not ready for this stuff yet.

BOB:
Oh, I think you are, KEN. A good looking fellah like you. I mean, it should be easy for you.

KEN:
Well, I’m kind of getting used to things. I’ve been going through some changes recently, and . . .

THEY PASS ANOTHER PUB.

BOB:
Pint?

KEN:
Pardon?

BOB:
Pint? With another bloke? In a pub?

KEN:
OK. Perhaps, I will . . . .

Int. Back in the original local pub:

SARAH:
Well he was very good looking . . .

DOREEN:
Yes, that’s why I clicked into him in Uniform Dating.

SARAH:
Uniform dating?

DOREEN:
Yes, he’s a policeman. Or was. I mean a policewoman . .

SARAH:
Wow, you went on a date with ex female copper . . Lucky you didn’t produce your usual PCS.

DOREEN:
Post Coital Spliff. Wow – Yes, I would have too . . . had we reached post coital.

SARAH:
It’s all smoke and mirrors with us, isn’t it? Do you think we’ll ever lead normal lives?

DOREEN:
No, thank God.

SARAH:
That’s why this play is so difficult to write.

DOREEN:
Oh yes, the play.

SARAH:
It’s meant to portray wholesome, worthy, upstanding people – and the only ones I know are loopy nutters.

DOREEN:
Who wants worthy and upstanding. Unless it’s a cock.

SARAH:
I rest my case.

DOREEN: 
Actually, my dear. All is not lost. You are worthy and upstanding – an example to us all. You are sickeningly normal, well-adjusted, virtuous – all the things I despise. It’s amazing I like you really.

SARAH:
Oh, thank you very much.

DOREEN:
No, but my point is, you should write about yourself. Make yourself the centre of this fantasy – that way you can write about other the other characters as fuck ups, but they’re only supporting parts. Oh, supporting parts. Sounds rude.

SARAH:
Everything sounds rude to you. (Pause). Hey, I like that idea of making the play autobiographical, though. I’ll make it like Sex and the City.

DOREEN:
With you as that virtuous ragdoll princess.

SARAH:
I know that was meant as an insult, but I rather like that. But that would make you that ancient slut, wouldn’t it . . . ? Oh, that works too . . .

DOREEN:
Yes, there always has to be somebody like me in a sit com. For Doreen read Dorian. Why d’you think I chose the name?

SARAH:
(Takes a drink and looks wistful). Sex and the City . . Maybe, I’ll find love after all.

DOREEN:
A BAFTA would help.

SARAH:
Yes, but then, everybody would know.

DOREEN:
What’s wrong with that?

SARAH:
Actually (smiles) . . nothing at all. (Raises her glass). Cheers!

DOREEN:
We are what we are. Here’s to you meeting the man of your dreams, who knows you’re
the way you are, and prefers it that way.

SARAH:
Maybe my play will help in changing attitudes.

DOREEN:
Well, get writing then, love. Write your way to acceptance. No, bugger that. Write it so that the whole nation gets wants to have a sex change!

SARAH:
I'll drink to that. 

Int. Second pub.

BOB and KEN, worse for wear in the pub:

BOB:
(A little confused). So, you’re a policeman?

KEN:
Ex policeman, actually. I was in the force for ten years.

BOB:
Wow . . (Drifting off). You know, I always had a fantasy about women in uniform. Policewomen. There’s something so sexy about them. Did you have many in your unit?

KEN:
One or two . .

BOB:
Fit?

KEN:
One was. Not me . . . I mean, not my type though.

BOB:
(Coming to). Oh, yes. Of course, not your type at all.

KEN:
(Suddenly Alert). She told you, didn’t she?

BOB:
Told you what?

KEN:
That I’m different.

BOB:
Err . . Yes, she might have mentioned something . . .

KEN:
(Sighs). Honestly, my first venture out into mainstream sexuality . . My first date is a psycho, and I’m outed to all her mates.

BOB:
Oh, not all of them exactly . . (Pauses). Err, both of them.

KEN:
Well, I hope you’re OK with it . .

BOB:
Well, of course I am. Except that there’s one less policewoman in the world.

KEN:
Yes, I’m probably not your usual company.

BOB:
Oh, you’d be surprised . . . . Fancy another?

BARMAID:
Yes, love?

BOB:
Two pints of Tetley, please.

KEN:
And a pack of pork scratchings . . .

BOB:
I thought you might have had a bellyful of those . . .  

KEN:
Oh that. Yes, a bit embarrassing . . though there’s something about that Doreen.

BOB:
There certainly is. Women, eh? Can’t live with ‘em . . .

KEN:
Can’t live with being one . . .

BOB:
A policewoman, eh? What did you look like?

KEN:
Opens his wallet. Like this. It’s me on the beat.

BOB:
(Takes the picture). Oh, Ken, you were a sexy thing . . . 

BARMAID places pints on the bar and looks at KEN flirtatiously.

BARMAID: He still is. (Walks off).

BOB:
Ken. I think you’ve pulled.

KEN:
You think so?

BOB:
(Puts down the pint). Err . . . Can I keep the picture?


Int. Sarah and Ken’s apartment.

Later that evening. SARAH and DOREEN sit watching TV, drinking pinot grigio.

DOREEN:
Not bloody Pride and Prejudice again. Talk about flogging a dead horse. When was it made?

SARAH:
1995. I wanted to be Jennifer Ehle.

DOREEN:
Well, you achieved that, didn’t you? All rosy cheeks and fuck me Sir faux bashfulness.

SARAH:
AS ELIZABETH BENNETT. I’ll take that as a compliment, Ma’am.

DOREEN:
It is, you pretty, young virginal thing.

SARAH:
Who did you want to be, when you were a little girl?

DOREEN:
Oh, Madonna. Didn’t everyone want to be Madonna?

SARAH:
Not me. Manky old cow. Hey, when you star in my play, maybe Madonna will get in touch. She likes these kind of things.

DOREEN:
Yes, I’ll be famous. A star on the screen. A Trans Vision Vamp.

SARAH:
That was a pop group, wasn’t it?

DOREEN:
Yes, crap group – great name, though. Good name for the screenplay?

SARAH:
Too obvious.

Door opens. In walks BOB

BOB:
Evening all.

SARAH:
Bob, did you like Madonna?

BOB:
Madonna? To shag? Yes, why not?

SARAH:
Men. Yuck. Anyway, where have you been? Did you catch up with Ken?

BOB:
Indeed, I did. Top bloke, Ken.

DOREEN:
Is he very cut up about me?

BOB:
Couldn’t give a shit. I left him with the barmaid in the Red Cow. She couldn’t keep her hands off him.

DOREEN:
Well, that’s charming. He’s obviously a serial adulterer.

SARAH:
Excuse me? The way you treated the poor fellah, I think he’s entitled to what he can get.

DOREEN:
Makes me feel cheap. Used.

BOB: Well  . . . derrr.

SARAH:
What about yourself, Bob. Pull any birds?

DOREEN:
Oh Bob never pulls. It’s that horrible beard. You should shave it off.

BOB:
Well, as a matter of fact, I’ve got a date.

DOREEN:
What – with a woman?

BOB:
Of course, with a woman.

SARAH:
So, who is she?

BOB:
Met her at the pub. She’s a policewoman. Very tasty too.

SARAH:
You’ve got a thing about policewomen, haven’t you? This sounds like one of your fantasies, along with Thelma, Paige and Mu Mu.

BOB:
No, she’s real. Really real.

DOREEN:
Oh, sure. If you’ve managed to snag a policewoman in the Red Cow on a rainy Thursday, I’ll  . . . I’ll eat your underpants.

BOB:
Used?

DOREEN:
Yes, of course.

BOB:
(Reaches into his wallet. Hands over the photo.)
Look and weep, baby.

DOREEN:
What’s this? She gave you a photo – who is she? Is she a hooker?

BOB:
Nope. She’s real.

SARAH:
Hookers are real too. Wow – she’s not bad looking. When are you seeing her again?

BOB:
On Saturday. We’re meeting at the pub, after the Orient match.

SARAH:
You’re going to the match?

BOB:
Sort of. She’s policing it. Clocks off at six.

DOREEN:
Well, I never. I was lying about the underpants, by the way.

BOB: You can’t do that.

SARAH: No you can’t.

DOREEN:
Well, before I go pant crunching I want proof. I want to see her. I don’t believe a word of it.

BOB:
Not a problem, come along to the Red Cow on Saturday, and you can meet her. I won’t change my pants until then.

SARAH:
No change there, then.

Int. In the flat. The next evening.

SARAH:
(Sitting typing again). I know you better than that, Bob. You made that policewoman up.

BOB.
I didn’t.

SARAH:
What’s her name then?

BOB:
Cindy.

SARAH:
Cindy? A Police Constable called Cindy?

BOB:
Well, she likes to be called Sin.

SARAH:
Very likely. You really should shave that beard off. You’d have more chance pulling real women. Hey, you could join that date site, Uniform.com.

BOB:
I’m already on it. Been on it for six months.

SARAH:
No interest?

BOB:
Nah.

SARAH: (Does a shaving motion). 
Beard . . . Actually, a fascination with uniform is the one thing both you and Doreen have in common. (Thinks). No, actually, you’ve got two things in common with Doreen.

BOB:
Two’s quite enough.

Knock on the door.

BOB goes to answer the door.

BOB: Talking of the devil . . .

DOREEN BURSTS IN IN A STATE OF AGITATION.

DOREEN:
OMG, I think I’m in trouble.

SARAH:
(MOCKING.) OMG. You in trouble?

DOREEN:
No, really. I think I’ve done it this time. Anyway, I had a nuit blanc last night, and well . . one thing led to another . . and I ended up smoking my last PCS.

BOB:
Police Constable Smith?

DOREEN:
Post Coital Spliff. Anyway, this afternoon, I went to my usual friend who helps in these substantial matters. I handed over fifty quid, and as I walking up the street, noticed I was being followed.

SARAH:
Followed? By who?

DOREEN:
One man one woman. I think.

SARAH:
 . . .and then, what?

DOREEN:
Well, I wasn’t going to go home, was I? So I came here.

SARAH:
Here? With your fifty pound stash?

DOREEN:
Err, yes. Oh no – that wasn’t very bright was it?

BOB:
Not bright at all. What’s the opposite of bright. Not bright.

DOREEN:
Oh, well, I’m sure it’ll be alright. I’m just being paranoid . .

Three Loud Knocks on the Door.

SARAH:
Oh my God. Doreen, what have you done? Well, go on, Bob – answer it.

BOB:
Why always me?

SARAH:
Oh, I'll answer it then.

Opens door. Two Police Officers enter. One man, one woman.

DOREEN:
OMG. It's that fictitious girlfriend of Ken's. I can't be arrested by one of Ken's fantasies.

MALE PC:
Ms Doreen Polanski?

DOREEN:
Yes?

MALE PC:
Of 32, Grange St, Hoxton . . .

DOREEN:
Oh God, they know my address.

MALE PC:
I believe you know, a Mr Kenneth Jones?

DOREEN:
Yes, that's him? There! There! The beardy man over there.

KEN looks exasperated.

MALE PC:
Thank you, madam. You've been very helpful. Mr Kenneth Jones, I am arresting you on charges of theft. You do not have to say anything . . .

KEN:
Theft? Theft? What of?

MALE PC:
Can I see your wallet?

KEN quickly picks it from his pocket. FEMALE PC picks out the photo.

FEMALE PC:
This.

KEN:
Oh, God. Cindy? (Turns to DOREEN and SARAH.) See! See! I told you she was real.

KEN: 
My name was Mandy.

BOB:
Mandy! Yes.

KEN:
Now it's Ken.

BOB:
Yes, Ken, of course.

SARAH:
So you're having a date with Ken? That's not like you.

KEN:
No chance of that I'm afraid. I like women, like Doreen. Doreen, shall we?

They link arms. DOREEN feels Ken's bum.

DOREEN:
Damn right, you hot potato.

They kiss and leave. The MALE PC lingers.

BOB:
So . . You're a policeman.

MALE PC:
No, actually, I'm just a friend of Ken's. Sorry, when Ken told me about you going on a fantasy date his former self, it was difficult to resist.

BOB:
How did he know?  . . . Doreen!

MALE PC:
Yes, she rang Ken to apologise for the other night. She mentioned that you met a female PC in the pub, and were going on a hot date. Ken checked his wallet and the photo had gone. So he decided to brush off his old togs.

BOB:
Damn! (Looks leerily at MALE PC). Err . . you don't happen to be a woman, then?

Male PC:
No.

BOB:
Trans?

MALE PC:
No, gay.

BOB:
Transvestite gay? Women's Police uniforms?

MALE PC:
God, no. Anyway, dear. I don't like beards.

SARAH:
I told you! (Makes a shaving motion).

Knock on the door. BOB opens the door.

DOREEN enters with quickly changed Ken. She waves a reefer.

DOREEN:

Pre Coital Spliff anyone? 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.