Rock 'n Roll Vagabond. Part seven.
Man: That’s the way I like it.
Girl: I don’t think my mum would want to know you even if you was her dad.
Man: For the last time. I’m not her father and I’m not your grandfather.
Girl: She’s probably got a rosy idea of what her dad’s like and I bet you he’s not a bit like you. It would be a shame if she was disappointed. She told me lots of times what she imagined he was like and it would break her heart if she found out it was you.
Man: There’s nothing wrong with me. She’d have no reason to be ashamed of me. I’ve had top ten records, been on the telly, played in front of thousands and I’ve written some really good songs. I’ve been successful.
Girl: That’s it. You hit the nail on the head. You’ve been successful but you aren’t anymore. Now you’re a nobody who makes a bit of a living playing his old songs for other sad nobodies who can’t get out of the past. You’re all stuck in another time. Didn’t you notice who came to the gig last night? They was all really old. None of them was under forty.
Man: That’s not old.
Girl: It is to me. All the guys was old enough to be my father.
Man: Don’t start on that again.
Girl: Lots of them was old enough to be my grandfather. They was your age. In the interval a few of them tried it on with me. It was disgusting. They was almost drooling. Don’t it bother you that those old men were coming on to your granddaughter?
Man: For the last time. You’re not my granddaughter. What’s got into you? Suddenly you seem sure that we’re related.
Girl: I’m not really sure but something you said earlier made me think that it was really possible.
Man: What was that?
Girl: Well. I’ve only got a few photos of my gran when she was young but in all of them she was wearing her favourite tartan skirt. It wasn’t a kilt but it looked like one. You said the girl in Southend was wearing a kilt. It might have been my gran.
Man: What a load of rubbish.
Girl: I don’t think it’s rubbish. And another thing. You said she had really big eyes, well, my gran always said that she was proud of her big eyes. She said that men loved her eyes and they were her best feature.
Man: That’s just a coincidence.
Girl: And another thing. You said that she didn’t wear make-up. Well, my gran couldn’t put any on because her parents might notice the following morning. She said she didn’t really need it anyway because she was naturally pretty.
Man: Now I come to think about it I’m not sure it was the girl in Southend who had the kilt and the big eyes. Maybe it was a completely different town. There were so many girls back then that you can’t really expect me to remember all of them and where I met them.
Girl: You seemed sure enough earlier that it was Southend.
Man: Maybe it was Southampton where I met the girl with the kilt.
Girl: It wasn’t a kilt...it was a tartan skirt.
Man: Southend? Southampton? Southsea? It was somewhere that started with ‘South’.
Girl: Be honest with me. Don’t you want to know if I am your granddaughter and my mum is your daughter? Aren’t you interested in knowing who your family are?
Man: No. Not in the slightest. It wouldn’t make any difference. I already told you that I’m not interested in the relatives that I know about and they’re not interested in me. It suits me fine that way.
Girl: But if I really am your granddaughter are you saying that you wouldn’t be interested in me? You wouldn’t want to know how I was getting on? Like if I got married and had children? You wouldn’t want to know about that?
Ma: Why should I?
Girl: If ever I has kids I’ll want them to know about who their family is and I think they’ll want to know as well. That’s normal.
Man: I don’t give a damn about what’s so-called normal.
Girl: You don’t give a damn about anything, especially not people...not even yourself. You don’t even like yourself very much, do you? Maybe that’s your problem. You think everyone’s like you. Out for all they can get. But that’s not true. Most people are not like that.
Man: Oh yes they are. Nobody does anything for nothing.
Girl: They do when they love someone. When you love someone you want them to be happy and so you’ll do anything to help them. Have you ever been in love? I mean, really in love?
Man: I already told you I don’t believe in love. I don’t believe in happiness either. Or pixies, or angels or Father Christmas. I made my mind up long ago that there’s just one person who really cares about me and that is me. I can look after myself and I don’t need anybody else.
Girl: Everybody needs someone. We all need someone to love.
Man: That’s rubbish. I don’t.
Girl: We need someone to love more than we love ourselves. I think that’s the secret. I don’t think most people really like who they are and so if they find someone they can really love, in spite of all their faults, then they can start to love themselves with all their own faults. They learn to forgive themselves for not being perfect.
Man: What on earth are you talking about?
Girl: You can’t love other people unless you love yourself but maybe you can’t love yourself until you learn to love other people. Now. If you’ll let me have some money I’m going to leave. I can probably get an early morning train at the station. I’ll go back to my mum’s for a while. I need time to think.
(Man fumbles in his pocket and pulls out some banknotes. He counts some out.)
Man: Here. That’s fifty quid. It’s all I can afford. It’ll have to be enough.
Girl: Thanks. It’ll do.
(She takes the money, picks up her small, unopened bag, puts on her jacket and walks to the door.)
Girl: Oh. I nearly forgot.
(She walks to the table and writes something on a piece of paper.)
Man: What’s that?
Girl: It’s my mum’s address. You don’t know where she lives.
Man: I don’t need that. I’m not going to visit your mother.
Girl: I’m not asking you to. It’s just in case you need to get in touch with me.
Man: You walk out on me then you’re finished. I won’t be getting in touch with you. I don’t need you...there’s plenty of other women out there. I’ll be alright.
Girl: It’s just in case you need to get in touch with me for some reason.
Man: Why would I want to talk to you? It’s over. You’re history.
Girl: It’s not to talk...it’s just in case you need to tell me something.
Man: What would I need to tell you? I’ve said all I need to say.
Girl: Look. It’s just in case you find you’ve got something. If you have then I would like you to let me know so I can get checked out and do something about it.
Man: Are you talking about the clap? I don’t have it. I’m clean.
Girl: How do you know? Sometimes it takes months or even years before you know you’ve picked up something. If you find out that you have then I want you to let me know. That’s normal. On one-night stands I always leave my address behind but not because I wants anything more to do with them. It’s what everybody does nowadays. We learnt about it in school.
Man: Well. You can throw her address in the basket right now. I won’t be needing it. I’m clean. I don’t have anything.
Girl: You don’t know. That girl you were with before me...Amanda was it or something like that?
Man: Yeh. Amanda.
Girl: She might have had something. It was only a few months ago.
Man: I know for certain that she didn’t. She was a virgin. She’d never even kissed a man before me.
Girl: Well. One of the others then.
Man: There wasn’t any others for more than a year before Amanda came along.
Girl: But you led me to believe they was coming and going all the time...like your bed was still warm from one girl when another turned up.
Man: It used to be like that but it’s not anymore. Times have changed. I’m no longer the flavour of the month. Sure, there’s a strange young girl now and again who is trying to get revenge on her parents by sleeping with me or something like that...doing it for a bet...I don’t know, but that don’t happen much. For the past few years I’ve mostly slept alone and, to be honest with you, I kinda like it like that.
Girl: I don’t understand you. I really don’t.
Man: There’s nothing to understand. I don’t need a woman laying next to me when I sleep. She just takes up room, that’s all.
Girl: Is that what I’ve done? I’ve just taken up some room?
Man: Most of the time.
Girl: Well, I won’t take up any more of your precious room. You can have it all to yourself and I hope you’re happy with it. No. I don’t hope you’re happy with it, I hope you’re very sad with it and you come to realise how stupid you’ve been. You’re really, really stupid and you’ve got a lot to learn but maybe it’s too late. I know I’ve got a lot to learn but I’m still young and there’s time for me but you’re really old and your time is running out.
Man: Get out! I’ve had enough. You’re starting to get on my nerves.
Girl: Alright. I’m going but will you do me a favour?
Man: What’s that?
Girl: Will you play my favourite song just once more?
Man: What one is that?
Girl: You know. The one that starts ‘I knew I would love you before we first met.’
Man: Oh. That one. That’s a pretty song.
Girl: It’s really good. I love it but I don’t understand how a man who says he don’t believe in love could write something like that.
Man: It don’t have to be true. I just write what the punters want to hear. They want love songs so I write them. It’s as easy as that. They don’t mean anything.
Girl: I don’t believe you. Well? Will you play it or not?
Man: OK. If that’s what you want.
(He takes the guitar out of the bag, sits down on the bed and strums a chord. It is discordant.)
Man: Shit. It’s totally out of tune and a string is missing. No. I’m sorry. I can’t sing your song.
Girl: That’s funny.
Man: What is?
Girl: You’re a bit like the guitar. You’re out of tune and there’s something missing.
(He glares at her.)
Girl: I’m going now.
Girl: I’ll see you then?
Man: I don’t think so.
(Girl opens the door and goes out. Man stares after her. He starts to tune the guitar but then mutters something under his breath. He strikes a loud chord then stands up, places the guitar against the wall, goes to the door and switches off the light. The stage is left in darkness.) (to be continued.)
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