Rock 'n Roll Vagabond. (A play in three acts.) Part one.
Rock ‘n Roll Vagabond
Opening scene: Hotel room of the Travelodge type. A suitcase lays open on the double bed and some clothes are strewn around. The door opens and a worn-looking man in his sixties enters carrying a guitar in a case. He is followed by a girl in her early twenties. She closes the door. The man leans the guitar up against the wall and sits down on the bed.
Girl: This room is crap.
Man: What are you talking about?
Girl: It’s the kind of place poor people stay. Couldn’t you find anything better than this?
Man: Don’t you start. It’s a room, innit? It’s clean. There’s a bed. What more do you want?
Girl: It’s alright, I suppose, but I thought you’d get better than this.
Man: Did you think we were going to stay at the Ritz? I used to stay at five star places but those days are over.
(Girl goes over to bed and feels the sheets.)
Girl: They’re made of plastic.
Man: No they’re not.
Girl: Well. Nylon, then.
Man: You don’t get Egyptian cotton for the price I paid.
Girl: I don’t like nylon sheets. They gives you electric shocks.
Man: They’re good enough for me. I can sleep anywhere when I’m tired and, right now, I’m tired.
Girl: It’s too early to go to bed. It’s only about midnight.
Man: It’s more like one in the morning and it’s been a long day. The gig tonight was hard work and we got another gig tomorrow. I need to sleep.
Girl: Where did all the others go?
Man: They’ve gone to bed.
Girl: Gone to bed? At midnight? I thought there would be a party. I was expecting something a little more exciting than sitting in a cheap hotel room with you. This is the pits.
Man: This is reality and you’re going to have to accept it.
Girl: Whatever happened to all the sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll? There’s supposed to be wild nights and trashing hotel rooms, throwing stuff out of windows and stuff like that.
Man: Sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll? It might have been like that once upon a time but it’s not like that anymore. Those days are gone. Nobody still does that.
Girl: But at least I thought we’d have a few drinks. A couple of drinks wouldn’t hurt anyone.
Man: They need to get their sleep. If they partied they’d be in no state to play tomorrow. They’re not stupid. They know they can’t burn the candle at both ends anymore.
Girl: It’s just for a couple quiet drinks.
Man: We used to burn the candle in the middle as well but we don’t do that now. We’re a bit more sensible.
Girl: I don’t call it sensible. I call it boring.
Man: We worked hard tonight. You got no idea what it’s like to be on stage for three hours. It really takes it out of you. I sweat buckets.
Girl: You don’t have to tell me. I can smell you from here. Why don’t you take a bath? I’ll run it for you if you like.
Man: I can’t be bothered right now. All I want is a couple of drinks and then go to bed. We gotta drive 200 miles tomorrow and the set up the gear ourselves. We can’t afford roadies to do it for us. There’s some whisky in the suitcase. I need a drink.
(Girl takes bottle from suitcase.)
Girl: There’s no mixer.
Man: There’s water in the tap.
Girl: And there’s no ice.
Man: Run the water for a while, it’ll be cold enough. I don’t care.
(Girl goes into bathroom and returns with two glasses.}
Girl: The water’s a bit warm. Do you want to drink it neat?
Man: Anything will do me.
(Girl pours some whisky into both glasses and gives one to the man. She drains her glass and pours some more.)
Man: You should take it easy. You know what you’re like after a few shots of scotch. You remember what happened at Sam’s party? You were lucky not to get arrested.
Girl: I want some fun.
Man: It’s too late. I just need to relax and then get a good night’s sleep. That’s all I ask.
Girl: Now you sound really boring. You never used to be like this when I first met you. We never got to bed before daylight and sometimes not even then. What’s happened to you? You used to be fun but now you’re really, really boring.
Man: I’m tired. I’m tired most of the time. I’m tired when I wake up and I’m tired all day long. The only time I don’t feel tired is when we’re on the stage.
Girl: Maybe you should go and see a doctor. Maybe you got something. You could be run down and he could give you something for it. It’s not normal to be so tired.
Man: I’m not run down. I’m sixty-two years old and I’m allowed to feel tired if I want to. Most fifty year olds couldn’t do what I do. It might seem easy to you, prancing about on the stage playing music but there’s more to it than that.
Girl: You look like you are enjoying yourself.
Man: It’s still hard work and then there’s the setting the gear up and loading it out after the gig. It’s bloody heavy equipment. I didn’t notice you helping out tonight. You could have carried some stuff.
Girl: You should have asked me.
Man: I shouldn’t have to ask. You saw what we were doing and you just sat there looking at us. There was lots of small stuff that had to go in. You could have carried some of that.
Girl: I’m not your roadie. I don’t get paid.
Man: Tonight nobody got paid. I’ve got to go round in the morning and get it. I bet you he’s got excuses for why he can’t pay us what we agreed on. He’s going to say that not enough people turned up. Well, that’s not my fault.
Girl: There weren’t many there. It was almost empty.
Man: That’s not my fault. He should have advertised better. A few years ago when we played here it was a full-house and there was lots of them outside wanting to get in. They couldn’t get tickets.
Girl: When was that?
Man: That was a few years back.
Girl: Maybe you’re not so popular anymore.
Man: We’re still popular. If people had known we were here they would have come.
Girl: There was some posters.
Man: Yeh. I saw one. It was tiny and cheap and it made us look tiny and cheap...like an advert for a band in the local pub. It didn’t look good.
Girl: It was better than nothing.
Man: Maybe it was worse. It might have put people off coming to see us.
Girl: I don’t think so.
Man: What do you know about it? Back in the sixties it might have been good enough but things are different nowadays. You gotta get word out on the local radio and there’s gotta be stuff in the newspapers.
Girl: Maybe there was but people just wasn’t interested. You’re still playing the same old stuff you used to play. You don’t play any new stuff.
Man: Why should we? The old songs are good. That’s what people want to hear.
Girl: Not many came to hear them tonight. Why don’t you write some new songs?
Man: It’s not that easy. I don’t know that I can anymore. God knows I try but nothing seems to work. All the new songs are just like the old songs but not as good. I don’t get excited about it like I used to. In the old days I would get an idea for a song and within an hour it was finished. A couple days later we’d be playing it on the stage but it don’t work like that anymore. I’ve run out of ideas.
Girl: If you could do it once then you can do it again.
Man: Let’s not get into that. There are lots of things I used to be able to do that I can’t do anymore. Writing songs is just one of them. I can get started and get a few lines down but I can’t get any further. Then I start another one but the same thing happens.
Girl: I think you’ve got writer’s block. I read about it in a magazine once. There was a famous writer who’d written about fifty books and then suddenly he couldn’t do it. Five years later he got swept away in an avalanche in Switzerland and he survived and started writing again. He’s just won a big prize worth fifty thousand quid or something like that and now they’re going to make it into a film.
Man: You want me to get swept away in an avalanche? I don’t think that would help.
Girl: I’m not saying that. What I am saying is that something needs to happen to make you think different.
Man: Like a car crash or something like that?
Girl: This writer said that when he came close to death he realised what was really important to him. When he was struggling for breath under the snow he didn’t think about his wife or his family or his friends. All he thought about was the books he had thought about writing but didn’t get round to.
Man: I bet his wife was overjoyed when she heard that.
Girl: Maybe all you need is a big change. You could be stuck in a rut.
Man: It’s not a rut. It’s a ditch and, anyway, there’s no point in writing any new songs.
Girl: What do you mean?
Man: I had to sell the copyright to all my songs to pay for the divorce from my fourth wife and she gets sixty percent of any new songs I might write which means that after expenses I get left with nothing.
Girl: She really screwed you.
Man: She screwed me real good and we was only married for two years and didn’t have any kids.
Girl: How many times you been married?
Man: Officially just four. I don’t think the one in Fiji was legal and, after the wedding night, I never saw her again. I can’t remember what she looked like. It was a spur of the moment thing. I don’t know what we were drinking but I wish I had some of it now.
Girl: There’s still more whisky.
Man: You want to take it easy. You haven’t had anything to eat since yesterday afternoon. You’re drinking on an empty stomach.
Published on writebuzz®:
> Stories & Scripts