By Ian Marchant and Rachel Francis
DAVE: a man in young middle age
CAROL: his wife, a little younger
EILEEN: a woman in her mid-seventies
GEORGE: her husband, a little older
SCAMPI: a hippy in his late fifties
RUTH: a woman in her mid-thirties
FRED: a seventeen year old youth
AIMEE: a fifteen year old girl
JETSAM: a woman in her sixties.
THE BUN MAN: a delivery guy with a fish head.
SCENE ONE: MORNING.
SFX: LAPPING WATER. QUACKING DUCKS
Scampi: It’s a great art … lighting a fire … you have to have everything proper . Some nice dry bits of moss, some little twigs, piled just so, bigger pieces waiting to hand and then you need … the spark … and she goes. Lovely. Time to make a brew.
Nobody else awake at this time in the morning … all the roof tops are quiet … although sometimes Dave snores. You could hear his snoring a mile away. Scares the ducks.
I like watching the ducks of a morning. Their little quacky sounds. The way they dive down … then pop up like corks with something nice to eat … they’re a bit like me really, always watching the water, looking for flotsam. Its surprising what floats along Broadleaf Avenue … all sorts of stuff. He begins to whistle the peer gynt suite.
SFX: MAN CLIMBING ONTO ROOF
Dave: Morning Scampi, you’re cheerful this morning.
Scampi: Am I? Well yes … been up since before dawn.
Dave: Watching the ducks again?
Scampi: They’re restless.
Dave: ‘Ow can you tell?
Scampi: I watch them all the time.
Dave: Not much else to watch is there really? Shame we haven’t found a telly…
Dave: Mind you, what would be on? Duck Watch with Bill Oddie.
SFX: MAN CLIMBING ONTO ROOF
One Man and his Duck. Strictly Come Dunking. Oh, Morning, George.
George: Morning Dave.
Dave: Lovely morning.
George: Oh yes. Lovely soft rain.
Dave: Yes, we’ve been lucky with the weather this year.
George: Can’t seem to light m’pipe…
Dave: Can’t light your pipe George?
George: It’s the blessed damp. Gets in my tin.
Dave: Scampi’s been duck watching, haven’t yer Scamps? Scanning the horizon for ducks he is.
George: New binoculars Scampi?
Scampi: No. Same as every morning.
Dave: How’s Eileen?
George: I don’t know. Eileen my wife?
Dave: Yes George. Eileen your wife.
George: I’ve seen her this morning, I‘m sure I have. Dear old thing. And (tries to light pipe) er…. how’s….. ahem…. your…. wife?
Dave: Carol. Worrying about her patio heater… hope the Flotsam Man has found some gas this week.
Dave: What is it?
Scampi: A box floating past. I can’t quite make out what it is yet…
Dave: Focus Scampi!
Scampi: Dave! Dave! I think it’s Mousetrap!
Dave: The game?
Dave: Sopping Heck! Haven’t seen that in…
Scampi: George! Grab it
Dave: Grab it George
Scampi: DAVE! Grab it!
SFX: DAVE GRABS BOX FROM WATER
Dave: Got it!
George: Hoorah! Well done! What is it?
Dave: Mousetrap George!
Scampi: Brilliant. Could be worth a few bob from the Flotsam Man in its box.
Dave: Shall we come over for a game later, Scampi?
Scampi: Dead right!
Dave: Yeah, Dead right Scamps
SFX: WOMAN CLIMBING ONTO ROOF.
Carol: Dave I can’t find Fluffy.
Dave: He’s growing up love … he’s bound to go off alone sometimes. I expect he’s hunting … up the chimney or along the guttering out the back ….
Carol: He’s not, I’ve looked everywhere… I’m worried Dave. He might’ve slipped and fell.
George: Fluffy? The Cat? He’ll be gone then….
Carol: What do you mean gone?
Dave: He means GONE Carol, swept away.
Carol: But he swims like a fish …
SFX: HELICOPTER FLYING OVER
Mayor: (voice can be heard over a megaphone) IT’S ALRIGHT! EVERYTHING’S UNDER CONTROL
Dave: (shouting at helicopter): Sopping mayor. Same message for weeks.
Carol: I wonder if he’s seen Fluffy.
George: (shouting at helicopter) He’s making matters worse, flying over all the time (tries to light pipe)
SFX: SOUND OF HELICOPTER FADING.
Scampi: That’s right … flying just causes loads more CO2 which means more climate change…
George: No, I didn’t mean that. It’s the ripples from the rotor blades… they’re what’s making it damp. I can’t light m’pipe if he keeps stirring up the water.
Carol: Poor Fluffy (sobs)
Dave: Cheer up love. It’s Bunday, isn’t it? We can all buy a nice cake in her memory, and pop over to Scampi’s for a game of Mousetrap.
George: Is it Bunday?
Carol: (sobs) She’s my baby …
George: Eileen! Eileen! It’s Bunday,
SFX: WOMAN CLIMBING ONTO ROOF
Eileen: Oh shut up George, I’ve just snagged m’tights on your sopping fishing rod … where am I going to buy a new pair now?
George: Maybe the Flotsam man …
Eileen: Oh shut up George. If it’s Bunday, I’ll need my purse. Where’s my purse George?
Dave: Here he comes.
Carol: What Fluffy? That’s a miracle.
Dave: No, the bun man.
Carol: Buns! Is that all you care about?
Dave: And he’s got passengers, look.
SFX: ICE CREAM VAN CHIMES PLAY ‘A LIFE ON THE OCEAN WAVE’ SOUND OF A SMALL OUTBOARD MOTOR, CUTS TO LAPPING WATER.
Bunman: (in fishy voice) Buns! shlurgle Overly moist bunsglurgle!
Ruth: Eileen! George! Hello!
George: Who is it dear?
Eileen: It’s Her.
George: Who is?
Eileen: She is. Your daughter in law. Ruth.
R: Fred! Amy; say hello to Grampypops and Nanny Eileen.
Fred: Hello Grampypops!
Amy: Hello Grampypops!
George: Hello my dearest darlings! Oh how lovely to see you!
Fred: Hello Nanny Eileen…
Amy: Hello Nanny Eileen…
Eileen: Nice to see you all. Now go away.
Ruth: We can’t! We’ve been inundated. Nothing left above the surface except the aerial. Hope you don’t mind. You were the nearest…
Fred: Come on Mum. She doesn’t want us.
George: Of course we want you, my darling. Climb up!
Eileen: There’s no room. The roof is crowded enough already with George and I.
Ruth: We’ve bought a tent. We can sling it between the chimney and the aerial.
Amy: Grampypops wants us, don’t you Grampypops?
Eileen: Oh, alright. For a few days; till it dries out a little.
R: Thank you. Thank you Eileen
SFX: RUTH, FRED AND AIMEE DISEMBARK FROM BUN BOAT.
SFX: DAVE PADDLES OVER TO GEORGE AND EILEEN’S ROOF.
Dave:: Morning Bunny. Four overly moist buns and a nice algae and walnut cake.
Bunman: Shlurgleurgle sir. Gluggurgleurgle madam?
Eileen: Just two buns, please, bunman.
George: Come on Eileen. We’ve got guests. Five buns today please bunman.
Dave: Hello kids. And is this your daughter, George?
George: I don’t think so. I don’t think we’ve got a daughter, have we Eileen?
Eileen: No George. We haven’t. We HAD a son. Until he married HER. And she drove him…
George: He’s gone, Dave.
Dave: Gone? Like Fluffy?
Dave: So, Ruth is it, all alone with two teenagers. That must be tough. You must let me buy you a cup of leaf beer at Scampi’s later.
Ruth: What is Scampi’s?
Dave: That’s Scampi’s. The treehouse. We usually pop over to Scampi’s on Bunday. Scampi’s made some leaf beer. ISNT THAT RIGHT SCAMPI?
Scampi: That’s right.
Dave: That’s right. And we can play Mousetrap. Keep our spirits up.
Ruth: Mousetrap! Gosh! Where did you get it?
Dave: Caught it this morning.
Carol: (calling over) My names Carol.
Ruth: HELLO! (to Dave). Is that your wife?
Dave: Well. More like a sister really…
Carol: I’m Dave’s wife.
Ruth: You’re lucky. My husband has…. Gone…..
Carol: Well we all get swept away eventually, love….
Dave: (lowered voice, to George) Like Fluffy…
Amy: Will you play Mousetrap with us Grampypops?
George: Of course I will my darling. Scampi might get my pipe to light….
Eileen: Come on then. Let’s get you settled in…
Dave: See you all later at Scampi’s then….
Ruth: See you later…
Eileen: Common little man…
SFX: Watery music
SCENE TWO: NIGHT.
SFX: ‘MOUSETRAP’ GAME IN PROGRESS.
Amy: That was fun
Fred: Was it? Glad you think so
Ruth: Fred, don’t be such a bad sport.
Dave: Well, I’m about ready for my bed
Eileen: Yes, bedtime, come along George.
George: Sorry dear? Oh is it bedtime? What a shame. I was just starting to enjoy myself.
Eileen: I’m afraid our boat is too small to offer anyone a lift.
Dave: You can come with us Ruth. Come on girls.
Ruth: Thank you Dave. Fred and Amy, can you manage the other boat?
Amy: Yes mum.
Scampi: Night all.
All: Night Scampi.
SFX: PEOPLE LEAVING TREEHOUSE
SFX: ROWING BOATS
1st boat: Dave Carol and Ruth
Ruth: That leaf beer of Scampi’s was quite strong wasn’t it?
Carol: I don’t like it myself
Dave: Scampi makes a good leaf beer, but it is a bit pokey. Carol and I usually have a nice cocoa afterwards to settle us down, don’t we love? Perhaps you’d like to join us, Ruth … cocoa at number 27?
Ruth: Oh, thanks .. yes … although I mustn’t stay for long. That’s your roof, is it, Number 27?
Dave: Number 27, Broadleaf Avenue … it’s a very nice avenue. Very quiet. We like a quiet life don’t we Carol?
Carol: Well, we haven’t had much choice…
Dave: Carol, Fluffy and I have lived a quiet life for a very long time
Carol: (on the verge of tears) Fluffy’s our cat. He’s…. he’s…Sobs)
Dave: (whispering to Ruth) … been swept away.
Ruth: Oh dear … perhaps I’d better not come for the cocoa.
Carol: No, perhaps not.
SFX: ROWING BOAT
SFX: OWL HOOTS
2nd Boat George and Eileen. George is rowing.
George: Ah, an Owl, Eileen, did you hear that owl? (he copies the owl) hoo hoo, hoo hoo
Eileen: You’ve drunk too much George
George: Have I? I don’t think I have.
Eileen: Well why does our boat keep turning round?
George: Er … that’s because I’m trying to light my pipe.
Eileen: Oh … give me the oars.
SFX: EILEEN AND GEORGE CHANGE PLACES IN BOAT
Eileen: That’s better. I can’t say I’m delighted about that woman turning up.
George: What woman Eileen?
Eileen: Ruth, of course.
George: Ah ha!
Eileen: What do you mean Ah Ha?
George: I’ve just lit my pipe. Oh, splendid … isn’t it lovely to see Fred & Amy?
SFX: ROWING BOAT
3rd boat. Amy and Fred
Fred: You were lucky.
Amy: I never was. You just landed on the wrong square at the wrong moment…and… MOUSETRAP!
Fred: You were lucky. You’re always lucky. And when you weren’t lucky, Dad always let you win.
Amy: He didn’t.
Fred: He sopping well did. What about the time we caught Kerplunk?
Amy: Rowlocks! I was five! I was a baby. Everyone lets babies win.
Fred: You were always Dad’s baby.
Amy: You’re still Mummy’s boy….
Amy: Where do you think people go, when they’re… gone?
Fred: When they get swept away? I don’t know. What do you think?
Amy: I think….
Eileen: Watch out!
SFX: OARS SPLASHING.
Eileen: You’re going the wrong way! Ruth! Fred and Amy are drunk … they’re going the wrong way … teenagers today …
George: Is it them going the wrong way dear or us?
Ruth: It’s your boat that’s heading the wrong way Eileen. (Aside to Dave) She’s the mother in law from hell.
Dave: You only say that because you’ve never met Carol’s Mother…. I’ll say one thing for Carol; she’s got much nicer in-laws than I have. (Dave and Ruth laugh)
Carol: Shut your sopping mouth you cow…..
Dave: Just having a laugh, love. You’ve got to laugh or you’d cry… hang on? What’s that! Look! Carol! What’s that in the water? (Dave shouts across to Scampi) Scampi … are you there?
Scampi: Still here Dave
Dave: Shine the torch … over here mate
Scampi: Hang on a minute Dave … there we go … what is it?
Dave: Something in the water … it might be …
Scampi: Dave! It’s … is it? …. Yes! It’s a 42 inch plasma screen TV!
Carol: Oh look Dave, it is! We could watch TV couldn’t we?
Dave: If we can haul it in, we can. Ay,Ay, Look lively … it’s floating towards old George’s boat
Carol: Fluffy would have loved watching TV.
Dave: Carol, Fluffy was a cat. SCAMPI! Shine the light over here … I can’t see where it’s gone.
Scampi: There it is Dave! It’s a miracle it floats, innit?
Eileen: George, get that TV … I shall watch Changing Roofs.
Fred: Amy, Amy, swing the boat round.
George: What a whopper!
All: (Simultaneously, as their boats converge upon the floating TV) GET IT!
Ruth: I’ll get it
Carol: Oh no you won’t … I’LL get it.
SFX: BOATS SCAPING AGAINST ONE ANOTHER, SPLASHING.
Eileen: Watch …
Fred: Look …
Carol: You …
SFX: BOATS OVERTURNING. PEOPLE FALLING IN THE WATER.
George: Well that’s that then
Dave: No it’s not, I’ve got it.
George: As I say, that’s that. My pipe’s definitely gone out.
SCENE THREE: EARLY NEXT MORNING.
SFX: LAPPING WATER. QUACKING DUCKS
Dave: Morning George.
George: Ah, good morning Dave.
Dave: Drying out alright?
George: Well … er … we’ve had to put up an extra washing line … and my pipe’s not so good … the water seems to have …
SFX: POURS WATER OUT OF HIS PIPE.
George: … got in. Blessed thing.
Dave: We’ve got the old patio heater running full blast. Marvellous. There’s my trousers, look … steaming away.
George: Oh yes. It’s a bit chilly isn’t it … in vest and underpants?
Dave: Yes it is George. Shame about the telly.
George: Yes. Oh yes.
Dave: Didn’t want to work.
George: Oh dear.
Dave: Haven’t seen the telly for years …. I might ask the Flotsam man to have a look at it; he’s a dab hand at fixing things.
SFX: RUTH EMERGES FROM BEHIND ROOF.
Dave: Good morning Ruth. You’re looking very lovely this morning.
Ruth: Thank you … I like your vest….
SFX: CAROL EMERGES FROM BEHIND ROOF.
Carol: Yes, I washed it myself…. .
SFX: EILEEN EMERGES FROM BEHIND ROOF.
Eileen: Not very well….
Carol: I’ve made a “Missing” poster. Perhaps someone will recognise poor Fluffy from the picture.
Eileen: I doubt it
Carol: I think I’ll put it here, on the chimney pot.
Eileen: Well who’s going to see it there?
Carol: You never know … the Flotsam man might’ve seen him …
SFX FRED AND AMY EMERGE FROM BEHIND ROOF
Dave: Morning you two, sleep well?
Fred: Yes thanks.
Amy: Yes me too.
Ruth: Is that a patio heater?
Dave: It’s Carols pride and Joy, isn’t it love?
Carol: Is it?
Dave: We’ll be dry before you can say….
Scampi: There Dave! Look!
Dave: Oh, I don’t like the look of …
Carol: Oh god … it must be … Is it … Fluffy?
Dave: …doesn’t look good, love.
Amy: It’s not a cat, it’s a woman… that’s her hair.
Dave: That’s a relief.
Fred: Has she been swept away?
George: She, er … that is, I think she’s gone.
Carol: We’d better pull her in. Give me a hand Dave.
SFX: CAROL AND DAVE PULL A BODY OUT OF THE WATER AND ONTO THEIR ROOF.
Dave: Not another one.
George: Oh dear.
Carol: Bring a blanket Dave.
Dave: Not much point in …
Carol: Bring a blanket Dave! She’s breathing.
SFX: DAVE WALKS ALONG ROOF.
Amy: We’re coming over … get the boat Fred.
SFX: FRED AND AMY ROW ACROSS. DAVE FETCHES BLANKET.
Scampi: (from tree house) What’s going on?
Carol: It’s a woman. She’s breathing.
Scampi: She’s a tough one then. Do you recognise her … it’s not old Mrs Foulkes from ‘Number 3’ is it?
Carol: No, I don’t recognise her at all. She’s not from Broadleaf Avenue.
Dave: Here’s a blanket
Carol: That’s right … we need to wrap her up … get her warm … her skin is so cold … this isn’t enough. Are there any more blankets Dave?
Dave: Are you sure she’s not …
Amy: (arriving with Fred) She’s opening her eyes
Carol: Are you alright love? Are you alright? What’s your name?
Jetsam: Where am I?
Dave: Broadleaf Avenue. Number 27
Jetsam: But no … that’s not right … no … I need to get to the higher ground.
Amy: Go where?
Jetsam: We have to find higher ground.
Dave: No good love. It’s all gone under. Been swept away..
Jetsam: We can’t just stay here forever. We need to get to … need to go … need to … Do you have boats?
Dave: Calm down love. Of course we have boats … we’ll take you over to Scampi’s when you feel a bit better. Scampi lives over there, in a tree house …. Scampi, wave so she can see you.
Dave: See? That’s old Scamps (to Jetsam) he’s an odd sort of lad, but he brews a smashing leaf beer … we’re all lucky to live here really.
Jetsam: But you can’t stay here! There is higher gr….
Carol: What Dave says is right, love. There’s nothing much higher than us.
Fred: Where have you come from?
Jetsam: Lower. Lower down.
Dave: Dibley Road?
Jetsam: I’ve come a long way … a long, long way.
Carol: She’s not from round here, Dave … can’t you tell?
Amy: This is higher ground. We just came here yesterday!
Jetsam: No! Higher than this; higher and higher. There is…. There is dry land….
Dave: No love. The bun man would know. The flotsam lads get everywhere. They’d tell us. They’ve not seen dry land in I don’t know how long.
Fred: How did you get here?
Jetsam: I drifted, I rowed… In my boat. Last night…. a few nights ago maybe…. my boat…. It hit something I think.
Carol: You’ve been in the water for days….
Scampi: There’s some tea on the go.
Carol: Good idea Scampi. Fred, would you be a love … go over to Scampi’s get some hot leaf tea?
SFX: FRED GETS INTO BOAT. PADDLES AWAY.
Carol: Come on sweetheart, we need to get you warmed up. Come under the patio heater!
Dave: But it’ll warm you up …
Amy: You’re shaking
Jetsam: It was very cold
Eileen: Tell her she can’t stay! There’s no room on Broadleaf Avenue. George, tell her she can’t stay!
George: But Eileen, I …er …
Carol: Take no notice of that old witch. Of course you can stay.
Jetsam: No, I can’t stay.
Eileen: She might have a disease.
Amy: What’s your name?
Jetsam: I left it behind. I’ve… I’ve forgotten, I think.
SFX: FRED RETURNING WITH TEA
Jetsam: But I’m remembering things now. I don’t come from around here. I come from… …
Fred: Here y’are. Some of Scampi’s leaf tea.
Jetsam: Thank you
Dave: You’re welcome love. Now, how are you feeling? To tell you the truth, Carol & I thought you were a goner.
Jetsam: I have drifted. I didn’t know where I was. Water all around me … how do you head for the right place when everything looks the same? But I know where we are going. Where we should be going. We must prepare for the journey. We need to check the boats are watertight …
Carol: Listen love, I think you need to rest for a while, then you’ll feel better. (to Dave); She’s not right in her mind, Dave.
Dave: (In loud clear voice to Jetsam) We’re not coming with you. We’re not going anywhere … we have a patio heater and a telly that doesn’t work yet and …
Jetsam: …and we will need to take food and clean water …
Carol: You can stay here. We’ll find you a place to sleep …
Eileen: She can’t stay here. This is getting ridiculous. Broadleaf Avenue has always been a select neighbourhood, not a refuge for waifs and strays and I don’t know what .George, it’s time you put your foot down. Tell them.
George: Er … er … oh look here young lady … blast, it’s that damned mayor again.
SFX: SOUND OF HELICOPTER APPROACHING
Scampi: Oh look, its emergency supplies.
Dave: Do you think there will be more blankets … pot noodles …
George: I hope it’s not those overly moist buns he dropped last month…
Eileen: I could do with some new tights …
Dave: … gas for the patio heater?
Scampi: Oh no… it’s…
SFX: BOTTLES SPLASHING INTO WATER.
SFX: Watery music
Scene four: Night.
SFX: A MEAL BEING FINISHED. SCRAPING PLATES.
Jetsam: That was very good.
Ruth: Yes, it was lovely. I don’t know how you do it Scampi. Where do you find your ingredients?
Scampi: Oh you know, leaves and stuff … little things that float past
Amy: What little …?
Eileen: … Don’t ask.
Jetsam: Do you remember a time when there were motorways? Six carriageways, all packed with cars. People going. People coming.
Fred: What are cars?
Amy: What are motorways?
George: Ah … now let me think (Eileen snorts derisively)… yes …I remember we got stuck in that traffic jam on the way home from holiday. Mum and dad were cross.
Eileen: He can remember his childhood, but he can’t remember our son…
Jetsam: Eileen, do you remember it all?
Eileen: Of course I do. I remember hot water, long baths, dry towels. I remember meat, and fruit. And decency. Decent carpets. Nice furniture, barbecues. We’d sit out in the garden with friends, and eat… meat… and fruit. You could see stars in those days, more than you can now, because there weren’t so many clouds. Daddy had a job … a very important job. He spoke to people on the telephone about insurance.
Amy: What’s insurance, Nanny Eileen?
Eileen: I’m not sure. We don’t seem to have it now.
Jetsam: I remember some of those things too.
George: I tell you what else I remember. Parsnips. I liked parsnips a great deal. At Christmas Mum and Dad would buy us all things, and we’d eat parsnips. And a big roast bird.
Fred: Like the swan Dad caught?.
George: Yes, I suppose it must have been.
Eileen: In those days, you had the ground all the time….
Jetsam: Yes! I remember it too.
Dave: Oh, but what can you do? The good old days are always better than now, aren’t they? But we manage fine. We splash along. We’ve got a lovely roof, which Carol has made so lovely, and Scampi knows how to make fires, and brew beer. We’ve got plenty of fish, and the bun man comes every week with cakes, and not overly moist buns. I remember my Dad talking about the good old days, and they didn’t sound that great to me….
Carol: They do to me.
Dave: YOU always were a sopping dreamer…
Carol: When you weren’t snoring.
Scampi: It was the CO2 and that.
Ruth: What was Scampi?
Scampi: It changed the weather, didn’t it? My old dad knew. He told everybody … he said, if you don’t stop driving around in cars and putting all your food in fridges, and flying on holiday everywhere, the tide will come in and never go out again….
Fred: What are fridges?
Amy: What’s a holiday?
Jetsam: Yes, some people talked. I remember all the talking. But nobody seemed to do anything … and the tide still came in.
Scampi: It wasn’t my Dad’s fault if no one listened
Dave: Of course it wasn’t mate.
Eileen: But why should people listen? I remember what people like your dad said. Tighten your belts. Make do and mend. Fly less, drive less, have less. Be cold, be hungry, and be happy about it. People are only people. Unless they’re big hairy hippies. They wanted what they saw in the shops and on the adverts. They wanted a better life.
Dave: That’s right Eileen. People are only people.
Scampi: But they didn’t get a better life did they?
Jetsam: No … but we still have a choice.
Carol: My Mam told me that they used to have a patio for the patio heater. My Mam lived IN her house, not on it.
Amy: What’s a patio?
Ruth: Roofs can be nice though … we had a lovely roof, didn’t we? Fred? Amy? Dad looked after it, didn’t he?
Fred: Dad was very clever. He designed a bridge which would take us across the road to Pete & Julie’s …
Amy: They were our friends
Fred: We were building the bridge … dredging for stuff … bits of metal and wood to make the bridge with … that was when it happened … he slipped and was swept away.
Amy: Fred was there.
Ruth: It wasn’t anybody’s fault
Eileen: He was your husband … you should have been looking out for him.
Fred: It wasn’t mum’s fault Nanny Eileen. Dad slipped.
Amy: I wonder what happens to people when they are swept away.
Eileen: I’m very tired George … I think we should go home to bed.
George: … shall we just stay a few minutes longer?
George: Oh … no … well … goodnight everybody. Thank you for the meal … er … I wonder where I put my …
Eileen: Come along George
Fred & Amy: Goodnight Grampypops.
SFX: GEORGE AND EILEEN LEAVING.
Dave: There you are. Your husband was daft, Ruth. Why bother building a bridge when you’ve got boats. Stick with what you’ve got, I say, for fear of making things worse.
Jetsam: Fear. That’s the problem isn’t it? Fear keeps us trapped. We can’t act because we are scared. But I’m not scared anymore. I know there’s higher ground, and I know we can find it.
Carol: I wish we could.
Jetsam: We can try!
Dave: Well I don’t know about you, but the only thing I want to search for is my bed. Come on Carol.
Carol: I’m not going yet Dave. Let’s have another beer Scampi.
Dave: I thought you didn’t like leaf beer.
SFX: GLASSES BEING FILLED.
Amy: How far is it, do you think … to higher ground?
Jetsam: I don’t know. Not so far, maybe. This is the highest I’ve come. If we keep heading west, I think we must come to the mountains.
Carol: Mountains. My Mam told me about mountains. She used to go on holiday in the mountains when she was a little girl.
SFX: Dave yawns
Scampi: Now, I might be able to remember the mountains … they were covered in… sort of… purple flowers. There was snow in the spring on the top.
Fred: What’s snow?
Jetsam: Yes, that’s it Scampi. I saw them once when I was a child. My school…. They took us from the city on a trip right up into the mountains. We went west. There were little white cottages on the hillsides.
Scampi: But they’re gone, it’s too late man.
Jetsam: They’re still there. I know they are.
Carol: Perhaps they are… Oh I’d love to go …
Dave: Don’t be daft love! Mountains! Higher ground! That’s a load of old Clarkson. We’re fine as we are. Fear has served us very well for all these years. And if we keep our heads buried in our sleeping bags, it will go away! Let’s get you home. You’re tired … You’ve been worrying about Fluffy. Remember how he swims with his little head poking out of the water and his little paws, hmmm? He’ll come back … he was such a good swimmer.
Carol: But you said Fluffy was …
Ruth: Dave’s right, Carol. Why waste your energy? You’ve got a lovely roof, and a lovely husband.
Dave: Come on then Carol, lets take you home.
Jetsam: Thank you Carol. You saved my life.
Dave: You can come with us too love, Carol’s made a bed up for you … in the food tent. Should be quite snug really.
Amy: (to Jetsam) Stay and talk to us. Fred and I want to talk some more.
Ruth: Its late Amy … I want to go to bed too. I expect Scampi is tired …
Scampi: Not me. I don’t sleep much at night …
Carol: I’m not tired either. I’m staying here Dave. You go.
Dave: Well, there’s room for one more in the boat then … Ruth?
Ruth: Oh yes, thanks, great.
Dave: Goodnight then. Carol, are you sure you won’t …?
Dave: Right. Thanks for the meal Scamps.
SFX: DAVE AND RUTH LEAVING. BOAT ROWING AWAY
Fred: My dad said people were clever. He thought we could make life better than it is at the moment.
Jetsam: People are very clever … sometimes.
Scampi: Oh yeah … they’re clever … they invented… things… to destroy each other. That’s clever.
Jetsam: People have invented other things ….
Fred: Dad had books. He read Grampypops old books about clever people who invented useful things …. Like … um … Isambard Kingdom Brunel: he designed bridges … I think …
Jetsam: When you get to the higher ground, what would you like to do?
Fred: I’d like to build something … on dry land … a house. I could design it, and build it with wood and stone. We could live in it.
Carol: I’d like to ride a horse.
Amy: I’d like to sit in a garden and write a book.
Jetsam: I’d like to smell the pine in the forests. I’m sick of the smell of damp and decay.
Scampi: My dad used to say “It’s too late, man. I’m telling you. It’s too late.”…But maybe…
Jetsam: It’s never too late for anything. Once, a long time ago, there were apes in trees. And some of them got down from the trees and walked. And that is us, humans, the ones who walked. Now look at us; back sitting in the trees.
Scampi: What d’you mean …?
Jetsam: Sorry Scampi … but … we can find higher ground, if we just start walking again….
Fred: Well, rowing, actually.
Jetsam: I think we head west. We don’t have to stay here, waiting for something to float by….
Carol: Or the Mayor to drop something off. Or call a meeting.
Jetsam: Of course you might not want to come with me … that’s fine … I can build a raft.
Scampi: You can have my boat, if I can come with you….
Jetsam: Of course you must come, Scampi. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have along…
Scampi: I think my Dad would have wanted me to.
Amy: I’d like to come too but…..
Fred: Mum. We don’t know if Mum wants to come.
Carol: Well I’m definitely coming with you.
Carol: After all, there’s nothing here.
Scampi: What about Dave? What about your lovely roof?
Carol: Look at him… (Imitates Dave’s voice)… stay with our heads in our bags till the fear goes away…. The only thing I want to search for is my bed … that’s Dave, in a nutshell … he didn’t even help me look for Fluffy did he?
Jetsam: Don’t come just to spite Dave.
Carol: It’s not that … I want to see if there are mountains.
Jetsam: There are! I KNOW there are…
Amy: I’ve made up my mind. I’m coming too.
Fred: But Amy; what about Mum?
Amy: Mummy’s boy!
Fred: I’m not! She’s our Mum. We can’t leave her…
Amy: Perhaps Dad made it the higher ground…. Perhaps that’s what happens when you swept away.
Jetsam: No Amy. Swept away; gone. It means dead. And when people die, they die. To know where they go; that’s not possible. But this place… the higher ground … that’s something real, something possible … something in this life.
Fred: Amy, you’re not going without me.
Amy: You’ll have to come too then, won’t you? Or are you scared?
Fred: I’m not scared.
Jetsam: Don’t come with us because of fear.
Fred: I’m not scared. I’m coming.
Carol: When shall we go? We’ll need to make plans. Contact the Mayor. We’ll need to check the boats, gather the food, make sure we’ve got the right clothes, the right equipment.
Fred: That could take weeks.
Jetsam: NO! We go NOW. No more talking. No more planning. I’ve stayed here too long already…. Get some food, get some water, put them in the boats, and we go….
Fred: Now? Without telling Mum?
Amy: I’ll tell her…. Mum!
Amy: Mum! We’re going…. West I think…. I hope….. Mum! Mum! Look for us on higher ground!
SFX: PROVISIONS BEING LOADED INTO BOAT.
Scampi: There are some bottles of fresh water to take … and some dry blankets.
Jetsam: Do we have any food?
Scampi: I’ll pack some up … and some leaf tea … and we might need my old tinder box, it belonged to my Dad.
Amy: Mum! We’re going….
Fred: Amy. Amy! We’re ready….
Amy: Do you think she heard?
Amy: Will she understand?
SFX: BOATS ROWING AWAY.
SCENE FIVE: NEXT MORNING.
Dave: Morning George
George: Ah! Good morning Dave.
Dave: Lovely weather.
George: Yes … much the same as usual I suppose.
Dave: How’s Eileen this morning?
George: Er … Eileen? Oh … Eileen my wife. Yes she’s very well thank you. Much the same as usual. A little testy at times, but never mind. And how’s your wife … er
SFX: WOMAN CLIMBING ON ROOF
George: Oh … Ruth, isn’t it? Are you married to Dave? Hmmm … (attempts to light pipe) I have a problem with my pipe this morning.
SFX: WOMAN CLIMBING ON ROOF
Eileen: Well! Ruth and the children must have stayed at Scampi’s last night …. Oh! … There you are Ruth … on Dave and Carol’s roof. You do get about don’t you?
Ruth: I had a very strange dream last night.
Eileen: Quite possibly, but where are the children?
Ruth: I … I don’t know … aren’t they with you?
Eileen: No. We have our roof back to ourselves, mercifully.
Ruth: Oh! It wasn’t a dream … it was Amy. I heard her shouting Goodbye! She was shouting goodbye to me.
Dave: Of course it was only a dream. They all stayed over at Scampi’s. Carol stayed there too, I expect. It’s about time they came back for breakfast. I’ll give them a call. SCAMPI!
SFX: LAPPING WATER.
Ruth: Amy! Fred!
George: Goodness me, do you think they’ve overslept?
Ruth: They haven’t overslept. They’ve gone, with that woman.
George: Oh … which woman have they gone with?
Ruth: The one we pulled out of the water. They’ve gone West, to the higher ground. Amy was telling me last night, but I thought it was a dream.
Eileen: They didn’t believe that nonsense, did they?
Dave: (to Ruth) No no love. They haven’t gone anywhere. They’ve just overslept, haven’t they? Scampi! Wakey wakey!
Ruth: The boats have gone … there are no boats moored at the tree house.
Dave: Well, old Carol won’t have gone. CAROL! She wouldn’t leave … her patio heater … it’s her pride and joy.
Eileen: George, row over to Scampi’s and see if there’s anybody there. Ruth appears to have lost her children now…
George: Pardon dear? Row over to Scampi’s? What, before breakfast?
Eileen: Yes George, now! Before breakfast … oh, and give me that wretched pipe. You don’t need to take that with you.
George: Very well dear … but be careful, it can be awfully temperamental when the damp gets in.
SFX: BOAT. PADDLES AWAY
Dave:(he has become slightly hysterical) It’s flotsam day today. The flotsam boat’s marvellous … you wouldn’t believe the bits and bobs they sell. Scampi! Carol! Wake up! IT’S FLOTSAM DAY!
Eileen: Oh do shut up Dave
SFX: Silence apart from rowing sounds.
George: Here we are then … er … well … I am …
Eileen: Is there any body there George?
George: Pardon dear?
Eileen: IS THERE ANYBODY THERE?
George: No dear, I don’t think there is. They must have gone for a row. (pause) Good gracious me!
Eileen: What is it George?
George: The most wonderful thing Eileen! I just saw a squirrel. A squirrel. Extraordinary. Haven’t seen one for years.
Dave: Oh. Only a squirrel. Oh. Well. You know this plasma screen TV … it could do with a bit of a polish. Yes that’s right. Bit of polishing should do the trick.
Ruth: They’ve gone to look for higher ground. I didn’t think they’d go just like that … I thought … I have to go too. I have to find Amy and Fred. Will you come with me Dave?
Dave: Not likely Ruth. I’m staying here … our things are here… Me and Carol’s things …Our patio heater, the kingsize duvet, my collection of fish floats … everything we own is here. I can’t leave. What happens if Fluffy comes back? (he calls across to tree house) Did they leave the Mousetrap, George?
Ruth: Nanny Eileen, will you come and help me find them …your grandchildren.
Eileen: No thank you. I’m staying right here. THIS is where we belong and NOTHING will persuade me to go off on some ridiculous wild goose chase. Higher ground? Idealistic nonsense.
SFX: BOAT PADDLES BACK.
George: I’m back dear
Eileen: Yes dear, you’re back.
George: Isn’t it exciting?
Eileen: Exciting George? What on earth is there to be excited about?
George: Well … First that memory last night … of the parsnips … and then a squirrel. You know I’m feeling rather optimistic. I sense something in the air. Hope! That’s what it is Eileen. Hope.
Ruth: Will you come and look for the others with me Grampypops?
George: Well… it might be rather jolly. What about Eileen? Eileen…. Shall we go too? Never too old. It would be nice to taste parsnips again…
Eileen: You took my son, you lost your children, and now you want to take my husband….
Dave: You could stay here Ruth. Become like Carol. There’s fish, and buns and flotsam. The mayor drops things off; he’s still looking out for us. We could take over Scampi’s tree house.
Ruth: No… No. I like you Dave…. I like it here… I like Scampi’s tree house…. But I must follow my children.
Dave: Suit yourself. They’ve probably all been swept away by now.
George: Nonsense Dave. Don’t you listen to him… er… my dear. There is hope in the air.
Eileen: George, stop this, you old fool. You’re too old to go off looking for parsnips.
George: And our grandchildren, Eileen.
Ruth: And higher ground, maybe.
Dave: Not you too! How many times! There is no higher ground. If there was higher ground, the mayor would see it. He’d call a meeting.
George: I’m coming to suspect the mayor is even more short sighted than…. Er….
Eileen: Stop telling George he should go! YOU go if you want! You’re not wanted. But George has to stay here with me….
Ruth: But I didn’t mean … you could come too…
George: Eileen, there is hope in the air… and a squirrel in the tree.
Ruth: Please Dave… Eileen….
Dave: No, you’re alright love. I’m going to take over Scampi’s and make the leaf beer. The mayor will see things right, I’m sure.
SFX: BOAT. ROCKING
Eileen: Go away. Leave me here. I don’t need you.
George: Don’t you need me, Eileen?
Eileen: No, George. Why would I need you? If you want to go off on some tom fool errand with that…. Woman… you go.
Ruth: Eileen! Please! I must follow my children.
George: I’ll miss you Eileen….
Eileen: I won’t miss you… I’ll stay here on my own… and don’t bother to come back!
Dave: You can always pop over for a leaf beer; or a game of Mousetrap. I’ll keep your spirits up Eileen.
Eileen: Shut up, you hateful little man!
George: Goodbye then Eileen. You take the oars … er … Ruth
SFX: BOAT. PADDLES AWAY
George: No wait! Turn around Ruth.
George: Hello old girl. Nearly forgot m’pipe.
SFX: HELICOPTER FLYING
Mayor: Good news everybody! Good news! Flotsam’s summer sale is now on, and patio heaters are half price!
Dave: That reminds me. Must get some gas from the flotsam man.
SFX: Fluffy and an owl sail past in pea green boat heading in westerly direction