Excerpt from Number Six by Terry Jordan

An excerpt from Scene Two of Number Six.  

Setting: Somerset, England.

MOLLY stands at a table brushing COLIN’s police dress jacket and pants.

MOLLY

(to the audience) He was terrible funny with the limericks, Colin was. The scourge of the church, though that didn’t stop him. He’d make up new ones every day. New ways to embarrass me, reciting them to anyone, anywhere.  Some of them were lovely, though.

COLIN is in his armchair, now with a pencil and paper. He recites as he writes. The lighting in this scene should suggest his death.

COLIN

   “Oh Jesus, he died on the cross.

To the twelve t’were a veritable loss.

So the meek sit in pews,

To inherit the news

Of a will signed by the Son of the Boss.”

What do you think? A bit clunky isn’t it, Mol? ‘specially that last line. Too many syllables, what? How about this, then?

Oh, Jesus he died on the cross.

To the twelve t’were a veritable loss.

Now Jews sit in pews,

Awaiting news of . . .

The return of the Son of the Boss.”

Ah, that’s much better. The rhyme, the rhythm. I could play that on the bandstand down at . . .

COLIN pauses, turns to Molly.

What? What are you laughing at? Is that not proper all of a sudden?  For Christ’s sake, can’t we say anything anymore?

MOLLY

(giggling) No.

COLIN

  No?

MOLLY

 (laughing now) Yes, I mean yes!

COLIN

What?

MOLLY

No, it is proper enough. Yes, we can speak. It’s funny, Colin. You’re funny!

COLIN

Funny looking, maybe.

COLIN continues writing and reciting.

A man gave his wife quite a laugh.

And she thought he was handsome by half.

But if good-looking was cookin’,

There’s a chance he’d be fookin’

Starved by the. . .da-da-da-da. . .”

Mol, what do you think for a rhyme? How about staff, hmmm? Wheat and chaff? I don’t know. . . Riff and raff?

No. Listen, what about this? (beat) “If good looking was cooking, there’s a chance he’d be fookin’. . . starved by the physical math.” (beat) That’ll do, won’t it?

MOLLY

(giggles) (to the audience) He was lovely wicked, he was, my Colin.

(to COLIN) You could have a suit made up for it. For your bandstand.

COLIN

  There’s a day’s work of thinking in that. Gives a thirst; do you fancy a walk to the pub, Mol? It’s not too late.

MOLLY

(suddenly confused) It’s not?

(to the audience) I don’t drink. Never did, not even a sip. Tea, yes. Water. . . well, maybe a bit of punch. A cordial to be cordial, you know?

Sometimes, I swear. Myself, I do. Sometimes . . . on purpose to bring him back, when I miss my Colin the most.

MOLLY folds COLIN’s uniform jacket and places it carefully on the table.

(shouting) God damn it!

       (pause)

She quiets, looks up to heaven, nearly in tears.

Did you hear that, Colin?

COLIN

 Oh, aye, I heard you, Mol.

MOLLY

Did you hear my swear?

COLIN

  Yes, it weren’t much of one, but I did.

MOLLY

What? Didn’t you like it?

COLIN

Oh, no, but I did. It wouldn’t shiver a real big tree, but it was fearful, wonderful, lovely, Mol, no mistake. You’re formidable. (beat) Who was it used to say that on the telly?

Lights slowly down on COLIN.

MOLLY

What was that, Colin? Who used to say what on the telly?

(pause)

Colin?

(pause)

Oh. . .

(pause)

Colin!

Lights down on MOLLY.

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