RAIKES PARADE

A story about lunatics on one level and even greater lunatics on another.

The clackety-clack-clacking of typed white letters tapped-out onto Conquerer paper. The letters read:  Billy thought the revolver's nozzle tasted of liqourice. It even looked like liqourice too. Not that he could see the pistol from its position, positionedright under his nose. But that he remembered how it looked a moment ago resting in the palm of his hand. Seemingly asleep. Content not to be doing what it was designed to do.

Linda whips out the sheet from the typer. Folds it. Slots it into an envelope. Licks it. Seals it. She strides down the street; red-bricked houses either side, they all have small walled gardens. Cycling beside Linda is Chuck. “Somebody smashed up the Bennett house last night.” 

“Who?” 

“Don’t know.” 

“It’ll be one of his kids.” 

“Where you going?” 

“Post box. Where you going Chuck?” 

“For a shit.” 

Chuck shoots off. Hurtling along the pavement. Then skids into a front yard. Dropping the bike to the ground. He charges through the open front door and pounds up the stairs. His pounding steps reverberate throughout the house. 

 

Downstairs, in the front room, Sandy screams, “Oy! Slow down.“ She sits on the sofa, rolling a cigarette. “What’s that? Sat on an armchair opposite is Gaz. In his hands a pristine air rifle with silencer and telescopic sight. “It’s an air rifle.” Sandy ignites the roll-up. Exhaling. “What’s it for?” 

“Display purposes… That bell-end next door wanted one.” 

“How much was it?” 

“Twelve hundred quid.” 

“Where’d you get twelve hundred quid?” 

Gaz lifts the rifle, aiming it at the net curtains and the window. Through the scope he sees Linda swipe past the cross hairs. 

 

The envelope’s address begins: POETRY MONTHLY… Linda inserts it through the mouth of the Post Box. Then heads back up the street. Crossing the road. “Oy!” Linda stops. Looking up. Chuck is standing on the sill, yelling out of the gap in the upstairs window. “Do you know what it means?” 

“What does what mean?” 

“What somebody wrote on the Bennett’s wall.” 

“What did somebody write?” 

“I don’t know. I can’t say it.” 

“Why not?” 

“It’s weird words.” 

A red laser dot dances over Linda’s face. “Weird how?” Linda feels the laser. She glares at the window across the road. The red dot is coming through the net curtains. Linda gives the window the finger. Asshole! 

 

Gaz lowers the rifle. Sandy taps the ash off of the roll-up. “You either nicked the rifle or you nicked the money to buy the rifle. Either fuckin’ way I’m due that cash.” 

“Nope.” 

Sandy screws up her face. “What the heck has that kid been eating!” Then yells, “Chuck! Spray some fuckin’ air freshener!” Then back at Gaz. “That lad’s guts are rotten.” 

 

Chuck jumps down from the sill, runs across the landing and down the stairs and leaps out the front door. Up onto his bike. Pedalling furiously. Passing Linda. “Cabbages! Cabbages! Cabbages! Cabbages!” Chuck disappears ahead. Linda turns into a front yard. The front door is open. Linda waits on the step. “Hello?” Nothing. Linda tap tap taps on the door. Nothing. Slowly she enters the house… 

 

A shattered mirror. Torn wallpaper. Doors ripped off hinges. Linda stands at the entrance to the living room. The room is demolished. Sydney Bennett stands in front of the fireplace; his face screwed-up. Sprayed on the wall: ARMAGEDDON LOOMS. “You ok Sydney?” Sydney shifts his eyes over to Linda. “No.” 

“Which one did it?” 

He turns to look back at the words on the wall. “The fuckin’ one that’s deranged.” 

“Johnny.” 

“No. That other turd.” 

“Darren.” 

Sydney glares at Linda. “I agree Linda. The whole fuckin’ bunch of ‘em are deranged and twisted but the particular turd responsible for this fuckin’ turmoil is a wee twat called Arthur.” 

 

Arthur staggers out of the door of the Salvation Army; Tenants Super in hand. He hears the Renault Clio out in the car park.

 

Unph! Unph! Unph! Unph! Unph! Unph…! The music is loud. Inside: Dave, Rob, Bonehead and Titch all jabbing their chins in time to the pounding beat. Through the windscreen they can see Arthur shuffling towards them. The four doors of the Renault swing open. The four lads spring out; fists and elbows pumping to the beat. Their faces taut. Arthur stops. He sways. He’s apprehensive. Dave struts over to Arthur. Dave is wired. Unph! Unph! Unph! Unph! Unph! Unph…! Dave’s face is inches from Arthur’s, thrusting his chin to the beat. Arthur knows what’s coming… BIFF! Arthur staggers back. Blood leaks from his bust lip. The rest of the mob start chanting, “GIRO! GIRO! GIRO! GIRO! GIRO!…” Their fists all punching the air. 

 

Donna is speed-walking, she approaches passers-by, chewing her words. “Mister. Got a spare quid?” The passers-by blank Donna. “My man’s just been beaten up.” She's ignored. To another, “Just a few quid to get to the hospital…” Following is Arthur. His face swollen and bloody. Donna goes up to a woman at a bus stop. “To get a taxi to get to A&E.” The woman snaps, “I’m getting a bus so you can get a bus.” Donna carries on. The woman shouts after her, “Too good for a bus like you’re too good for a fuckin’ job!” Donna ignores the woman. Over her shoulder Donna calls back, “Keep up!” Arthur is lagging behind. They pass a newsagent. A headline board blurts: CRISIS TALKS IMPLODE. “Fuck’s sake. Slow down.” Donna homes in on another target. “Just a quid mate. Look at his fuckin’ face,” pointing back at Arthur. “Gotta get him stitches or he might bleed to death…" 

 

Jim is blind. He shuffles across the room with one arm outstretched in front of him. Heading toward a budgie cage. En route Jim chirps, tuts and chats like a budgie. In between he calls out the bird’s name, “Joeeey.” No response. Moving forward. “Jooooeeeeey boy!” Edging closer. He reaches the cage. Jim’s fumbling hand opens the grill. He rummages inside. Eventually he feels the dead bird, on its back. “Joey… Joey?” Carefully Jim retracts his arm, budgie in hand. Holding it before him in two hands. Lifting the bird to his face. Placing the dead bird next to his cheek. Jim cries. Edna, blind too, shuffles into the room; one arm outstretched, “Jim.” Edna hears Jim’s faint sobs. She tilts her head, “Jim?” She shuffles further toward Jim. Edna touches his shoulder. Moving closer. Wrapping her arms around him. Cuddling tightly. Jim speaks, “The motherfucker’s dead.” Through the wall: Unph! Unph! Unph! Unph! Unph! Unph…!  

 

UNPH! UNPH! UNPH! UNPH! UNPH! UNPH…! The music is LOUD. Dave, Rob, Bonehead and Titch topless swilling booze. All performing a spasmodic angular dance to the pummelling beat. Barely audible bangs on the wall from the infuriated neighbour… 

 

Tony bangs on the wall. He wears just Speedos. “Turn that shite DOWN!”  Tony walks into the workout room and closes the door behind him. Tony is built like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Stood at the bench press is Candy. A skimpy bikini allows the universe to see her glistening tangerine body. Ripped muscles from head to toe. Built like Rasa von Werder. Tony is simmering with rage. He loosens up. Candy guides her man, “Channel that anger.“ Tony sits down on the bench. Candy continues, “Anger is fuel. Fuel for the fire. Incinerate all fuckin’ weakness.” Tony lies down. His hands clench the bar. He puffs out his chest. Then raises his crotch. Candy’s eyes expand, “Jesus Tony, I’m dripping wet.” Tony lets out an agonising SCREAM“C’mon honey! Push it! My nipples are like fuckin’ torpedoes.” Tony ROARS! The bar eases off the support. He grits his teeth. Blood vessels bulge. His arms tremble. Up. Up. Up… Tony SCREEEEEEEEAAAAAMS! Candy shouts, “PUUUUUUUUSH!”

 

Sat on Stubsy’s front garden wall are Chuck’s mates, Ez and Zak. Chuck is leaning in, pushing hard at the wall. Ez pipes up, “It ain’t gonna go.”

“It will.” 

“It won’t.”

Chuck stops pushing. “Well if you got off and gave us a hand then it might.” Ez and Zak jump off the wall. All three boys push hard; grimacing and straining. Next door to Stubsy’s house is Chuck’s house. Gaz steps out the front and sparks up a cigarette. Exhaling coolly. “What are you chumps doing?”

“There’s a giant crack in the wall. I think we can push it over.”

Gaz walks round to inspect the crack. He looks at it. It’s small. The three boys relax and stand tall. Gaz inhales smoke. “Fuck. That’s a big crack.” then exhales smoke. “I’m gonna have to call the council. That’s dangerous that is. That wall could fall on any one of you and kill you.” Chuck leans in again and starts pushing at the wall. “That’s why we should push it over.” 

 

From inside Stubsy's house the rotund silhouette of Stubsy stands behind the net curtain watching Gaz, Chuck, Ez and Zak discuss his wall. He quietly mutters to himself and shakes his head.

 

Back outside Gaz has his mobile to his ear. “I’d like to report an extremely hazardous structure…” Gaz looks right at the net curtains, defiantly; there’s no visible sign of Stubsy but Gaz knows he’s there. “A wall. It’s gonna collapse any moment…"

 

Inside, Stubsy’s silhouette spits out more mutterings. The shape is trembling. Through the net curtains Gaz is pointing at the hairline fissure but looking straight in at Stubsy. 

 

“Number 26… Excellent.” Gaz curls his lips. Hangs up. Puts the phone in his pocket. “Can we still push it over?” asks Chuck. Gaz, eyes on the window, “Nah, best leave it to the council Chuck. Now piss off. Give us all some fuckin’ peace.” 

“Tosser.”

Chuck sprints away… Gaz darts after Chuck. “You little bastard…” Both run past an idling taxi. 

 

The taxi driver twists his head round. Arthur’s face has been cleaned up. He has a few plasters and scabs and swellings. “One sec, I’ll have to get the cash from me dad.” The taxi driver nods at Donna, “She stays here then.” 

“Fine by me chief. Can I smoke?” 

 

Arthur exits the taxi and walks up the path to Sydney’s house, through the front door and into the hallway. Sydney leaps out of the living room. “You’ve got a fuckin’ nerve!” 

“I just need twelve quid to pay for the bomber.”

Arthur suddenly notices the devastation. “Did a tornado rip through here?” Sydney grabs Arthur by the throat and slams him into the wall. “Is your brain that fuckin’ addled that you don’t remember.” Arthur struggles to wrest himself from Sydney’s grip. “Yours is the brain that’s fuckin’ addled mate.” 

“Get the fuck out of here…" 

Sydney slings Arthur out the front door. “You worthless piece of shit.” 

 

Arthur stumbles out of the house. The taxi driver glares at Arthur. “I’m just gonna have to knock on a few doors. The old man’s gone batshit.” From inside the cab Donna chimes in, “Try number 42. The blind folk are always good for a tenner.” 

 

The taxi driver follows Arthur scuttling down the street. Kghur! Kghur...! Donna’s cough is dry. “Big man! Can you open some fuckin’ windows back here I’m choking to death.” The taxi driver looks in his rear view. The cabin is filled with smoke. A cigarette dangles from Donna’s lips, the palms of her hands raised upwards, her shoulders shrugging: Well?

 

Linda’s eyes move left to right, reading. Cigarette dangling from her lips too. She yanks out the sheet. Crumples the page. Slings it in the bin. “Garbage.” Lyn, Linda’s mother, pops her head inside the door. “Is Arthur in hospital?” 

“No.” 

“Donny called saying the twat was diagnosed with lung cancer, bowel cancer and deep vein thrombosis.” 

Linda is not interested. Her fingers hover over the keys of the typewriter. “Go to the shops for me.” Linda keeps her eyes on the paper. “Can I keep the change?” 

“No.” 

“Then I can’t.” 

“You can and you fuckin’ will.” 

Lyn suddenly heaves the typewriter off the desk. “I’ll fuckin’ trash it.” Linda calmly looks at her mother. “Do it.” 

“I ain’t kidding.” 

“I said DO IT!” 

“I’ll fuckin’ set fire to it.” 

“Smash it up for all I care!” 

Lyn spins round and charges out of the room onto the landing and into another room. Entering the back bedroom she walks straight over to the open window. Lyn hurls the typewriter... The typewriter crashes to the ground, buckling and splintering. 

 

Down in the back alley Lisa is doing kick-ups, wearing a BFC kit plus football boots… Rewind; CRASH! and miss-kicks the football. She glowers back at where the crashing sound came from. From the bedroom window Lyn yells, “I wish you’d piss off with that ball…" Lisa bellows back, “I wish you’d just shit off!” 

“Shit off?”

Lisa runs and thwacks the ball. It shoots up into the sky… “Bugger.” 

 

Motes of dust hang in the air. Jim’s eyes seem to be searching but finding nothing. “This house seems dead without that demented bird.” Buzzzzzzzzzzz! Edna grimaces. BUZZZZZZZZZZ! The doorbell is insistent. The old couple stay sat in their seats. “A bird in a cage is wrong. I was never comfortable with that.” 

“Well it ain’t in it now Edna... Can you train a bird to shit in a pot? 

“I doubt it.” 

“If you could you could leave it out of the cage.” Buzzzzz! BuuuuZZZZZ BUZZZZZZZ! “The house is still a cage.” 

“What about a bird flap?”

Edna shakes her head. 

 

In the hallway the letter box flips open. Arthur’s eyes peer in then vanish to be replaced by his mouth. “Jim! Edna! It’s Arthur. Can you you lend us twenty pounds for the taxi.” 

 

Jim continues, “It ain’t so stupid.” 

“Ain’t it?” 

“A trained seal can juggle and it ain’t got no arms or hands.” 

“I s’pose.” 

“And chimps ride bicycles…" Jim’s eyes bulge. His face tightens. The blood drains. Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! Buuuuuuzzzzz! Edna finishes the thought, “And parrots ride ‘em too…Maybe it ain’t such a daft idea.” Jim does not move nor make a sound. Jim is dead. “And pigeons, they come home…” 

“Jim! Edna! C’mon. It’s Arthur. I’m desperate likes.” 

 

Scrubbing the paving slabs with a tough-bristled broom is Elaine. “That bastard’s trained those fuckers to jettison a load soon after take off.” Colin sups his coffee. “That right.” Elaine stops scrubbing. “Can you hear them?” Colin listens hard… The distant hum of a decrepit town. Elaine starts furiously scrubbing again. “He says pigeon guano is no more harmful than cat excrement.”

“The pigeon man?”

“The councillor… I said how would he like cat shit pelting down from the skies onto his fuckin’ patio…”

A novelty doorbell chimes - Viva Las Vegas. Elaine leans the brush against the wall and enters the house. 

 

Outside, a sign in a window: VACANCIES. Wayne waits on the doorstep. Two small eyes shading under the peak of his cap. A beard covers the bottom half of his face. Elaine opens the door. Wayne says, “I’m looking for a room for a week.” 

“We got one.” 

“How much?” 

“Twenty quid a night. Breakfast included.” 

“Do it for a hundred and twenty?” 

“I might… Depend’s on your profession?” 

“I teach ungrateful little bastards.”

 

Ez gives Chuck a peg-up. Zak keeps watch. Chuck crawls through the small window into the school. The three boys ransack the classroom then run amok in the corridors. 

 

The alley is littered with rubbish. A dog squats shitting on the cobbles… Then scurries off. A spray-painted slogan shouts: DESTROY POWER NOT PEOPLE. Distant sounds from afar. Musical sounds. Getting louder. Getting closer. Loud. Very LOUD. A booming musical cacophony marches around the corner. Chuck pumping on a trombone. Ez barking on a tuba. Zak banging on a snare drum.

 

Tony and Candy, up against a wall mirror, fucking. Candy’s hands flat on the glass. Tony works from behind. Both admire their glistening reflections. Candy moans, “Ooooh that’s goooood!”

“In. Out. In. Out…"

Tony tells it like it is in time with his movements. Mixing it up a bit. “Push. Push. Push…" 

“Mmmmm mmmm!… That rhythm has a river running through me…" 

Candy licks her moist lips. “You’re driving it daddy…" Tony bites his lips. Candy tweaks one of her nipples. “You’re driving it like a demon.” Clenching her teeth. “Here we go. Step it up. Shift gears. Time to pump this fucker good... Pedal to the goddamn METAL!” Tony obliges. “Push. Push. Push. Push…" 

“Yeah baby… Drive that rocket HOME!” 

Tony suddenly drops a gear… “Boom!Boom!Boom!Boom!Boom!Boom…!" 

“Oh man! Hit and run daddy! HIT AND FUCKIN’ RUN!” 

“BOOM!BOOM!BOOM!BOOM!BOOM!BOOM…!" 

Tony is a blur. Pounding like a jackhammer. Candy’s hands claw at the glass. Candy howls, “Chattanooga CHOO CHOO!” Tony is sweating buckets. “Open the fuckin’ gates baby… OPEN THE FUCKIN’ GATES!” 

"They’re open baby - WIDE OPEN!” 

“HONEY I’M HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMEE…”

 

A picture frame hangs on the wall. Wayne stares at it. A crocheted image of a quaint cottage. Underneath it the inscription: HOME SWEET HOME. From his breast pocket Wayne pulls out a thick black marker pen. On the glass above the E on HOME Wayne writes an O. He writes an O over the very last E in the second HOME. The wording now reads: HOMO SWEET HOMO. Wayne smiles. Tonight will be a night. The dance floor will be packed. A thousand men gyrating to a high energy beat and somewhere in the middle will be Wayne and on his face will be an expression that suggests he is the happiest man in the world.

 

Midnight. A portable B&W television silently emits 24hr NEWS; panicky politicians being interviewed by smug journalists. The scrolling text announces: UK FURIOUS OVER FOREIGN MINISTER EXPULSIONS. The room has no furniture and no carpets. Zero fixtures and fittings. Large slabs of plaster hang from the ceiling. The room is illuminated by the flickering light from the TV. Arthur is sat on a crushed cardboard box, staring at the TV. “Donna.” Donna is also sat on a crushed cardboard box. “Arthur.” 

“I’d like a place like this.” 

“Snap.” 

Donna finishes off her White Lightning. “Something’ll have to happen. Like the Earth being shunted off it’s fuckin’ axis.” 

“I know. And I’ve been thinking.” 

“Thinking?” 

“I’m thinking self-esteem.” 

“Self-esteem?” 

 “Get that back first…” 

“The booze gives me plenty of self-esteem. I don’t need to think about getting it from someplace else.” 

“Maybe not but I do... The wife-beater at number 73 has a baseball bat. Get that and batter fuck out of Dave. Leave the bat at the scene of the crime. Two balls one bat.” 

“Who nicks the bat?” 

“The little shits.” 

“Who batters Dave?” 

“Johnny.” 

“And that’ll get your self-esteem back?” 

 

Johnny is thuggish. Face-to-face with Sydney. “Can I see her?” 

“No. She’s sleeping.” Sydney holds Johnny’s stare. “But you knew she would be.” Johnny flicks his head at the graffiti. “When was Darren here?” 

“How’d you know it was him?” 

Johnny smiles. “One day you’ll fuckin’ pay attention to us lot.” Sydney doesn’t flinch. “Why?” SCREAMS and THWACKS and windows SMASHING coming from outside. Both men frown. Then head over to the window. Pulling back the curtains. Through the window up the street a woman stands on the roof of a sports car slamming a baseball bat into the windscreen. Sydney sighs, “Seems like the beaten wife is finally doing the beating.”

 

Despite the blood and the tears streaming down her face Alison is empowered. BAM!… BAM!… BAM!… “Arrrrrggggghhhh!” She hurls the baseball bat… It flies… The bat hits the road, it clatters and cartwheels and slides into the curb and comes to an abrupt halt. 

 

Flashing blue light swipes across the net curtains. Gene gawps out the window. “The pigs have handcuffed Alison.” Carrie shakes her head. “What about the piece of shit?” 

“I dunno. Paramedics jumped out of an ambulance.”
A radio plays smooth music. Carrie sits in a comfy chair. She pulls on a cigarette, “Fingers crossed eh.” Gene pulls back from the window and sits on the couch next to his twin brother Dean. Gene snarls, “Gene doesn’t like the pigs.” 

Dean backs him up, “Dean doesn’t like the pigs neither.” Carrie frowns at the twins. Then, both of them together, “No fuckin’ way.“ Both spit fresh air: Tuh! Tuh! “Why do you guys do that?” In unison, “Do what?” 

“He said…" Carrie nods at Gene, “Gene doesn’t like pigs.” 

“Well he doesn’t.” answers Gene. “And you said…” Carrie now nods at Dean, “Dean doesn’t like pigs neither.” 

“And, what’s your problem?” asks Dean. “Why not say, 'I don’t like pigs'?" 

“There’s no I in team baby. We’re a fuckin’ team. You know that.”

“Fair enough. So why not speak for the other and not for yourselves.” 

“Eh?”
Carrie points at Gene. “Why not say, ‘Dean…’” Carrie then points at Dean but stays looking at Gene, “Well he hates the pigs…” Carrie then looks at Dean as well as points at Dean, “And you say, ‘Gene…’" Carrie’s finger switches back to point at Gene but her eyes stay fixed on Dean, “My God, he hates the pigs too…” Again, in unison, “But that’s what we said!” 

“No, no, no, no, no…" Jabbing her finger at Gene, “Gene said, ‘Gene doesn’t like pigs.’” The twins are exasperated, “Exactly. ‘Cos he doesn’t like the pigs!” 

“And you said Dean…” Carrie jabbing her finger at Dean, “Dean doesn’t like the pigs neither.” 

“We know. We both hate the stinkin’ pigs!”

“NO! Gene saying Gene!” 

“Eh?” 

“Dean saying Dean!” 

“I’m DEAN!” says Gene. 

“I’m fuckin’ GENE!” says Dean. 

“Bullshit!”
“Fuckin’ hell! How long have you known us?” 

Sudden silence. All three trying to figure out what just happened. Eyes darting to and fro. Dumbfounded looks being thrown about. Brotherhood of Man’s Save All Your Kisses For Me plays quietly on the radio. Carrie turns up the volume then stands up in front of Gene and Dean who are still perplexed. Carrie starts moving to the jaunty beat; she has the dance routine nailed. With your cute little wave, will you promise that you’ll save… Carrie, feet together, elbows out, thumbs tucked into her belt starts bobbing along, left knee out, then right knee out… Your kisses for me save all your kisses for me… Hand waiving, knees bending… Bye bye baby bye bye, don’t cry honey don’t cry… Arms marching… Gonna walk out the door but I’ll soon be back for more… Left knee, right knee, left shoulder, right shoulder… Kisses for me, save all your kisses for me…

 

The police van radio is on as Alison sits handcuffed in the back. She is laughing/crying and laughing/crying and laughing/crying. So long honey so long. Hang on baby hang on… Black mascara streaks, bloody teeth grimace. Don’t you dare me to stay ‘cos you know I’ll have to say… 

 

Inside Alison’s house, in the living room, wife-beater lies in a pool of blood. That I’ve got to work each day and that’s why I go away… A policewoman exits the house carrying a small girl who’s chin rests on the policewoman’s shoulder. But I count the seconds ‘till I’m home with you…

 

A dark room. Stubsy sits topless. Ogling a computer screen. On the screen is a naked Japanese girl. “I love you.” Stubsy does not react. “It’s true.” Stubsy smiles. 

The room is dark. Light from a street lamp gives shape to Edna still sitting in the same spot. “You lied Jim.” Jim is fixed in the same position as earlier. Edna’s eyes stare at nothing; her face empty. “It ain’t the first time but it’s sure the last.” She takes a tissue from underneath her sleeve and blows her nose. Then puts the tissue back under her sleeve. “Filthy habit, I know…” Then mimicking her husband, “You’re not gonna use that again so bin it…" Edna falls silent. Staring at nothing. Then, through the wall: Unph! Unph! Unph! Unph! Unph! Unph...!

Lyn is walking up Raikes Parade. An unhurried ambulance drives past. Lyn approaches Dave’s house. Front door and windows wide open. UNPH! UNPH! UNPH! UNPH! UNPH! UNPH…! As Lyn passes a bare-chested Dave staggers out the door. Lyn stops. Dave chews his lips, “Alright Lyn.” 

“Alright Dave.” 

“Where’ve you been?” 

“All night garage.” 

“What for?” 

Lyn holds up a box. “Tampax.” Dave’s face is rubberised. His eyebrows lift. “Did you soil your panties?” Lyn looks intently at Dave. “I did Dave… Do you wanna see ‘em?” Tony busts out of his house. Naked except for leopard skin briefs and trainers. Dave blissfully unaware. Still chewing his gums, “I would Lyn, I really would…” Tony, ignoring Lyn, whips into his neighbour’s garden and wraps his giant arm around Dave’s neck and drags him forcefully back into his house. “Maybe next month Dave.” A little disappointed Lyn carries on up the road. The distant Unph! Unph! Unph! Unph! suddenly stops.

 

Steve drives the milk float. Turning onto Raikes Parade. A radio on: “Ministers were frantically scurrying about Whitehall trying to figure out where they went wrong. Sources say that internally disastrous mistakes have been made and fear there may be no turning back…” The float stops. Steve jumps out. Grabs two pints. Up the path. Bottles down on the doorstep. Picks up the empties. Turns. And back to the float… Lyn crosses his path. Steve winks, “Morning darlin’.” Lyn smiles coyly, “Morning Steve.” Steve places the empties in the crates. Jumps in the cabin. Foot on the electricity. Glides off... Whistling. 

 

Lyn enters the house and heads straight up the stairs. Linda is slouched on the sofa. Pen and paper in hand. Linda reads her new poem, “He plummeted and hit the water with a slap. Below the bridge, beneath the surface, Billy got his wish.” Linda scrunches the paper and throws it on the floor. The sound above of Lyn’s heavy footfall on the landing. Linda shouts at the ceiling, “Who the fuck’s my dad?” Lyn dropping her trousers stops abruptly. Shouting back down, “Eh?”

“Is he the fuckin’ milkman?”

Panicking Lyn pulls up her trousers, “Eh?” From below Linda’s voice is muffled, “It’d be nice to know who he is and where he is.” Lyn visibly relaxes, “Oh.” Lyn drops her trousers again. 

 

Lyn enters the living room. “You been writing?” Linda frowns. “Yeh.” Lyn slumps down in a chair. “You want to read it for me.” Linda is suspicious, she sits up. Eyes locked on her mother. Lyn avoids Linda’s gaze. “The fuckin’ milkman?” 

“No.” 

“The milkman?! Steve the fuckin’ milkman is my dad?!” 

Lyn gives in. “He is fit.”

 

The guest room is dark. In bed Colin is having an epileptic seizure. His body flips, snaps and cracks. His arms whip and his legs kick. Inching his way toward the edge of the bed… THUD! On the floor Colin writhes, his body jolting like a sprung mousetrap. His head, elbows, ankles all thumping the floor.

 

Down in the B&B’s lounge Wayne passionately kisses Stuart. Wayne is pinned to the wall as Stuart grabs his crotch. The banging from upstairs causes Stuart to pull back. “What is that?” 

“I don’t know.” 

Wayne grasps Stuart’s head; the two kiss chaotically. The din continues up above - ignored. Wayne thrusts his hand down Stuart’s pants. Stuart pulls back again, gasping, “Let’s go to your room this one’s killing the ketamine.” The lounge is kitsch. The racket from up above does not stop. Wayne, his eyes bulging, “Let’s go fuck till the sun comes up!”

 

Early morning. Walking up Raikes Parade is a furtive-looking Councillor Cosgrove. He turns into Stubsy’s garden and walks up to the door and pushes the doorbell - brrrrrrrrrrr! Councillor Cosgrove is restless. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Looking at his watch then looking up the street. Brrrrrrrrrr! Brrrrrrrrrrrrr! Brrrrrrrrrrrrr...! Onto his tip-toes - looking at a specific house. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! He goes to leave… The front door suddenly opens. A bleary-eyed Stubsy in his boxers scowls at Councillor Cosgrove. “Mister Stubbs?” 

“Yeh.” 

“I’m Councillor Cosgrove from the council.” 

“Is that so.” 

“We’ve had a complaint about the state of your front wall.” 

“Are you fuckin’ joking?” 

“No. This is a serious matter. That wall could fall at any time.”

"Have you seen the crack?"

"A complaint is a complaint Mister. Stubbs." 

“It’s six-fuckin’-thirty.” 

“Do you not have a phone?” 

“No.” 

“If you had a phone I assure you I wouldn’t be here.” 

“What about ten thirty or eleven thirty or twelve fuckin’ thirty…” 

 

Up the street Elaine bends down to pick up the crate of milk bottles. Coming up something catches her eye down the street. Her vision zooms in. Speedily placing down the crate, Elaine, curlers in hair, nightgown flowing behind her shuffles furiously onto Raikes Parade, her slippers flip-flopping as she goes... 

 

Stubsy is clearly agitated. “So his kids play on my wall…” 

“Your wall is a danger to his kids.” 

“But if they didn’t play on my fuckin’ wall…” 

“But they do Mister Stubbs.” 

“If it falls on them tough shit.” 

“Doesn’t work like that I’m afraid.” 

“Doesn’t it.” 

Councillor Cosgrove sees Elaine coming… “Got to go! Get it sorted…" He legs it out the garden and down the street. Stubsy hears Elaine, “Oi! Dipshit! Get back here!” Her fist jabbing the air. Councillor Cosgrove scurries round the corner like a rat. Elaine screams, “COWARDLY MOTHERFUCKER!” Stopping abruptly. Panting heavily. She looks over at Stubsy’s place - the door slams shut. Then back at the corner of the street. Suddenly a paper boy whizzes back round, his bicycle leaning into the bend. He rushes up the pavement. Elaine calls out, “Boy! Did you see the fuckin’ rat?” The paper boy scoots right on by giving Elaine the Vs. Elaine is stunned, “You little fuckin’ ass wipe.”

Up the street the paper boy pulls up outside the Bennett’s house. He jumps off and heads towards the door. The paper boy pushes the paper though the letterbox. From inside Sydney snatches the paper. Sydney enters the bedroom. “Look!” He holds up the front page: WORLD WAR THREE IMMINENT. In bed Sydney’s wife, Kathleen, screws up her face trying to focus on the headline. “Can you fuckin’ believe this.” 

“It’ll blow over.” 

“You think?” 

“I think we’ve got mice. Listen.” 

Pit-a-pat-a-pit-a-pat-pit-a... quickly followed by frantic scratching. Sydney’s eyes widen. “Get the hell out of my house!” Their granddaughter, Kerry-Anne, joins them in the bedroom. “Did I hear daddy last night?” 

“No. You heard a rodent. You can hear them now too. Listen.”

Pit-a-pat-a-pit-a-pat-pit-a... Sydney hunkers down, “You know mice can gnaw through bone.” 

“Eh?"  

“Meaning they would eat every inch of you…”

Sydney! Kerry-Anne jump in here.”

Kathleen pulls back the sheets. Kerry-Anne jumps in. Sydney grabs his walking stick. He starts stabbing the floorboards. Dunk! Dunk! Dunk! Dunk! Dunk! Dunk!… Pit-a-pat-a-pit-a-pat-pit-a… Sydney loses it. “Hoe Lee Shit!” 

 

Elaine is sat on the toilet, screwing up her face. Nothing doing. Knock! Knock! Knock!… “What?” From behind the door an agitated voice: “If you don’t want me to piss blood on this carpet right here and now you better let me in.” 

“What!” 

“I’m saying let me in NOW. ‘Cos I’m gonna stain this fuckin’ shagpile!” Elaine hoicks up her knickers and opens the door. Stuart pushes in and pushes out Elaine and pulls the door closed. “Who are you? Who were you staying with?” 

Stuart holds his dick. His face looks in agony. “What!” 

“You heard. Doubles are dearer than singles. You owe me eight quid!” Stuart grimaces, “You need to invest in fuckin’ en-suite facilities.” 

“Eight quid asshole!” 

“How’d you know my nickname?” 

“What?” 

AAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH...! 

Stuart’s piss is red. 

 

A coal fire burning. A framed painting of a pigeon hangs above the fireplace. 

 

Mr. Pigeon exits the pigeon loft. He wears a t-shirt emblazoned with a pigeon. Respectfully he holds a dead pigeon in his hands. He enters the back door. Mr. Pigeon walks through the kitchen into the living room. He stands before the fireplace, recollecting. Then throws the dead bird into the flames. Prrring prrring… Prrring prrring… The telephone startles Mr. Pigeon. He grabs the receiver: “‘Ello.” 

 

Councillor Cosgrove sits behind his desk. “It’s Cosgrove.” 

 

“‘Ello councillor.” Mr. Pigeon sees something through his window… “We need to organise an EGM. Plan A ain’t working.” Mr. Pigeon ignores the other end of the line, across the road Stubsy exits his house with a sledgehammer… “The nut-job’s gone AWOL.” 

 

Stubsy sizes up his wall. Then lifts the sledgehammer high and brings it down on the bricks - FUD! And again - FUD! Stubsy is knackered. He takes a breather. 

 

Sandy is stood behind the net curtains also watching Stubsy gather his strength. Over her shoulder she calls, “Gaz come and take a gander at this.” Stubsy lifts the sledgehammer - FUD! Gaz stands beside Sandy. FUD! “Look at him. He’s fucked. Five swings!” Sandy corrects him, “Four. Five coming up…”

 

Stubsy slams the sledgehammer into the wall - FUD! He plonks down on the wall. Catching his breath again, wiping his brow. 

 

Still watching Stubsy, Mr. Pigeon shakes his head in disbelief. Councillor Cosgrove jabbers on, “Did you hear what I said?” 

“I did Cosgrove. Revoke her fuckin’ B&B licence.”

 

Councillor Cosgrove fiddles with his tie; it’s decorated with pigeons. “Ain’t my jurisdiction.” 

“Funny that. Membership ain’t my jurisdiction but I’m pretty fuckin’ confident that I could get you booted out.” 

“Just send your birds out to the north.” 

“What did you say?” 

Councillor Cosgrove slams down the phone. “Prick.” He leans back in his chair. Then leans forward pressing the intercom: “Ewan.” 

“Yes boss.” 

“I’m starving. Would you mind grabbing me a bacon bap and a tea from The Galleon.” 

“Sure thing boss.” 

“And Ewan…” 

“Yeah…” 

“Don’t eat my fuckin’ bacon bap.”

Chuck is pointing at a black golf ball-sized piece of dog crap on the ground. “You can eat that.” Little Alex is not so sure, screwing up his nose, “Really?” 

“Yeh. Are you hungry?” 

Alex nods his head. Chuck suggests, “Eat it then. It’s tasty.” Alex shakes his head. “Honest. I’ll eat it if you don’t.” Alex eyeballs Chuck. Chuck points again at the poo. Alex looks down on the poo. “It’s a kind of gobstopper.” Alex bites his lip. “Chocolate?” 

“Yup. Chocolate.” 

Then, very slowly, Alex bends down to pick up the dog crap. Chuck’s eyes widen. Alex grasps the poo. Chuck explodes, “Dog shit! Dog shit! Dog shit!…” Chuck jumps up and down like a lunatic. “Dog shit! Dog shit! Dog shit!” Alex lets go of the poo and legs it. Chuck hoots and hollers at the disappearing boy... “That was cruel.” Chuck is startled. Behind him stands Lisa. “Eh?” Lisa leans in, and snarls, “I’m gonna batter you.” PHUT. Ping! A bottle on a wall smashes. Lisa and Chuck look about frantically. Further down the ally an air rifle and a skinhead peak over a back yard wall. PHUT... Back up the alley: Pang! A beer can does a back flip. Lisa and Chuck bolt it. Gaz pulls his eye from the air rifle’s scope, then climbs down from a step-ladder, grinning. “And now for the bone-idle bastard.”

Darren walks up Raikes Parade, he looks tense, psyched…

 

Sydney is pinned to the wall via an arm at his throat. Sydney, straining, “What is it with you.” Darren shouts in his face, “You don’t fuckin’ know?” Sydney struggles to shake his head. “You read the papers. I’ve been warning you for years. Build a fuckin’ bunker…” 

“A what?” 

“Stockpile food for at least two years. 400 hundred gallons of water per person…” 

“Eh?” 

“Just confirm that I warned you.” 

“Yeah, you fuckin’ warned me!” 

Darren eases his grip on Sydney’s throat. Stepping back. Sydney straightens himself out. “Your freak-of-nature buddy has his competition today.”

“Ewan?” 

“Yeah. Apparently he’s going to suck Bandalucci’s balls dry.”

Neither Darren nor Sydney is sure if that’s good or bad. 

 

Tony slams the sledgehammer into Stubsy’s wall: THWACK! Rubble shatters across the front yard. THWACK! Bricks disintegrate, shrapnel scatters. THWACK! Half the wall buckles and crumbles. THWACK!… Stood a few paces back from Tony is Stubsy. He has one eye on the demolition and one eye on the window of his neighbour… 

 

Gaz stands behind the net curtain glaring through at Stubsy. Gaz spits under his breath, “Feckless piece of shit…” He lifts the air rifle. Stubsy’s distorted head fills the frame of the scope. “Stinking wing-nutted lazy fuckwit…" The cross hairs hover right in the centre of Stubsy’s face. “Dog-shagging butt-fuckin’ sloth…” Stubsy’s one eye looks right down the barrel. “Toothless gormless bastardin…” Stubsy’s face softens, a tiny wry smile surfaces. “Brainless wanking maggot…” Stood behind Gaz is Sandy. “Are you gonna shoot him?” Gaz lowers the air rifle. “One day.”

 

A high-pitched buzzing. A drone scoots and shimmies up the long alleyway. It lifts up and swings over a back yard wall and halts, hovering right in front of Lyn’s bedroom window. 

 

Inside music is being played loud. Lyn is oblivious to the drone hovering outside her window. Lyn reaches for and straps on her bra then hooks up the bra. Then, turning, she sees it. The drone floating outside. She slowly saunters over to the window. The high-pitched buzzing pitches higher. Staring seductively down the lens of the drone, Linda breathes heavily on the glass, it condenses. She starts to write:   S          A          D          C          U          N          T

 

Round the corner bespectacled Spud stares down at the monitor; thumbs toggling the joysticks. Reading the message his body sags a little. 

 

The drone pulls back from the window and skates along over the back yards buzzing as it goes.

 

From inside another back bedroom the drone whizzes past the window. A nurse, Ellie, flicks a syringe. From elsewhere in the room a muffled voice, “I’m ready.” Lying face down in bed is Fred. Sheets pulled back, Fred’s pale arse beckons Ellie’s syringe. She jabs the needle into a buttock. Then retracts it. “Job’s a good ‘un.” Fred struggles to turn over, eventually a toothless grizzly miserable fucker looks up at Ellie. He snarls, “I’ll decide if the job’s a good ‘un. The only good ‘un is a fuckin’ hand job…” Ellie is packing up her stuff. “Is that right.” 

“‘Cos I prefer to see your pretty face. When I shoot my load I want to be looking right dead centre into your eyes.” 

“You got dementia.” 

“I know you nurses like an old man’s dick.” 

“There’s old and there’s fuckin’ cadaverous.” 

“That’s a big word. You’re making my dick hard with all that fancy talk.” Ellie leans into Fred. “I’m thinking Fred. Next time I’m here I might just put adrenalin in that there syringe. And then I’ll yank your sickly head back ‘cos I wanna look you right in the eyes as you fuckin’ croak.” 

“I’ve been praying you might do that. Look at my dick. It’s fuckin’ alive!” 

Ellie straightens and leaves the room. Fred shouts after her, “And tell her to come and scratch my balls!” 

 

Ellie enters the living room and plonks herself down next to Carrie. Carrie is sat on the couch watching 24hr News: “I s’pose it’s the electorate’s fault, they do the electing. The public trust that the people who put themselves in those positions have some kind of ability, some kind of gift for diplomacy, intuition, something… More fool them…” Ellie speaks, “How you haven’t put a pillow over his desperate face I’ll never know.” Carrie is locked on the TV. “I did. Once. He was asleep. I just didn’t have the guts to keep it there.” 

“He’s your dad and all that but he is one despicable human being.” Carrie nods. “You gonna pop in on Jim and Edna?”

“Yeh.” 

Ellie takes a bite out of her sandwich. 

 

In the same spot as the night before, on the sofa, Edna sleeps. Her breathing is rough and staggered. Gradually it begins to regulate… Slowly Edna lifts her head. Groggily she listens left and right. Trying to work out where she is. 

Edna shouts, “Jim!” Jim’s frozen corpse has not moved from the chair that it was sitting in. “JIM!” Her dead eyes are busy thinking. Then they stop. She looks in Jim’s direction. Behind Jim, the window: An articulated lorry passes by… 

 

A lorry without its trailer, cautiously makes its way up Raikes Parade. The driver, Eddie, hits the air-horn: La Cucaracha blasts out. The street seems to visibly tremble. 

 

Kerry-Anne leaps to her feet, excited, “The Cockroach!” and runs out of the room. Sydney, sat in his chair. “O what joy.”

 

The lorry stops right outside the Bennett house. La Cucaracha still entertains the street. Eddie waits. Kerry-Anne runs out the front door. Stops. Then dances oddly to the tune. Inside the cabin Eddie grins broadly watching Kerry-Anne move spasmodically.

 

In the back yard of the B&B the distant strains of La Cucaracha. Colin sits on the bench, his face bruised and swollen. “So seizures can happen while you’re asleep?” Colin sucks on his cigarette. “Yup.” Elaine is looking up at the sky. “Who’d have thought.” Colin taps his ash. “That thing in your hand..." Elaine looks at Colin. “Yes.” 

“Is that fuckin’ real?” 

Suddenly the sound of fifty pigeons taking flight. Elaine swings up the shotgun to point heavenward - KA-BOOM! Two dead pigeons hit the deck. Elaine looks back at Colin. “Yes Colin, it is.”

 

Ellie walking down the street - KA-BOOM!... Ellie stops still. Listening. Nothing. Then carries on. To Jim and Edna’s house. Ellie walks up the path. Taps a four digit code into the keyless lock. The nurse enters. Behind her, on the other side of the street, Mr. Pigeon busts out of his front door… 

 

Through the net curtain of Jim and Edna’s front window Mr. Pigeon can be seen pelting it up the street. Edna doesn’t see that, instead she is stood before Jim. Tentatively her arthritic fingers navigate Jim’s cold face. Like a daddy longlegs she cautiously moves across those familiar contours, visualising those first touches over sixty years ago. Tears start streaming down Edna’s cheeks. Standing in the doorway, Ellie, silently watches.

 

The B&B is open. Mr. Pigeon runs right on in. Runs right through to the kitchen. Through the kitchen to the back yard and out the back door… Mr. Pigeon skids to a halt. Colin is hyperventilating, he’s covered in blood. Blood has spattered the white-washed walls. Elaine is shell-shocked. Mr. Pigeon looks back at the bewildered Colin. Then looks down at the two dead pigeons. Then back up at Elaine. “You fuckin’ lunatic!”

 

The back gate opens. Stubsy wheels out a barrow. Trundles it down the alley and round the corner. Out of the alley and onto Raikes Parade. An ambulance, sirens blazing, rushes past Stubsy. Stubsy pushes the barrow up to his demolished wall. At the wall he picks up one brick. Drops it into the barrow. Lifts up the handles. Then sets off back round to the back yard. 

 

Peering out of the upstairs window, Gaz, frowning, cranes his neck to follow Stubsy round the corner. Stubsy disappears. Gaz runs out of the bedroom and along the landing and up to the window. Gaz spies Stubsy. Stubsy toddles up the alley then enters his back yard. He stops. Lifts up the handles and deposits the one brick onto the ground. Turning he leaves the back yard and heads off round to the front again. Gaz rushes out of the room and across the landing and up to the front window. Gaz follows Stubsy and the barrow all the way up to the pile of rubble. Stubsy stops. He bends down and picks up one brick and drops it into the barrow. Then straightens his back and outstretches his arms and takes a deep breath... Gaz erupts, “YOU’VE GOT TO BE FUCKIN’ JOKING ME! YOU GIANT LARD-ASSED FUCK! I’M GONNA RIP YOUR FUCKIN’ FAT HEAD OFF THAT FAT FUCKIN’ NECK. THEN I’M GONNA KICK THAT FAT FUCKIN’ HEAD TO KINGDOM FUCKIN’ COME…”

 

Stubsy wipes his brow. Somewhere in the ether, a vicious verbal tirade can be faintly heard colouring the air blue. Stubsy’s eyes sparkle. The daintiest of smiles surfaces. He lifts the barrow and heads off again to repeat the action. 

 

Carrie has a face like thunder. She sits in silence. From upstairs deafening canned laughter. Carrie looks at her wristwatch. Then looks at a red walkie- talkie on the coffee table. Her expression still thunderous. She folds her arms. Glowering at the communication device. The canned laughter suddenly jumps out of the walkie-talkie. Then the abrasive sound of Fred coughing up his guts. Carrie sparks up a fag and waits for the coughing to subside. Then: “Can you come up here now. And bring me a glass of soddin’ water.” The speaker goes quiet. Upstairs the noise continues. Inside the room the noise is cacophonous. Carrie, face screwed-up, hands Fred a glass of water. The canned laughter reverberates around the room. Fred shouts over the racket, “Have you seen this. It’s fuckin’ trash. It ain’t funny.” 

“No it ain’t.” 

“For once you and I agree.” 

Carrie mutes the TV. “You should watch the news, it’s hilarious. What do you want?” 

“I’m bursting for a crap. But I don’t think I’m gonna be able to clean my own arse. I’ve got no strength in my arms... And I want those wet wipes. None of that cheap abrasive stuff. My arse is fuckin’ sensitive.” 

“You taking the piss.” 

“No. I said I’m needing to take a shit.” 

“All the bullets in all the guns in all the world ain’t gonna get me to wipe your ass.” 

“Then you got a problem.” 

“I ain’t…” 

“You have.” 

Fred stares straight into Carrie’s eyes, his face tightens, hie eyes widen, he clenches his jaw.

 

Fred is bollock naked. The skeletal figure stands in the corner, underneath the steaming shower head. Carrie sits on the toilet looking glum, head in her hands. In the back yard Carrie grimly hangs up the white bed sheets. Puff! As if from nowhere the drone is hovering beside her: Zzzzzzzzz...! Carrie stares at the drone’s camera. A stand-off. Each watches the other. Carrie puts her clenched fist, little finger and thumb extended, to her ear - call me. Using fingers on both hands she spells out her phone number. With the eleven digits hanging in the air she relaxes her arms. The drone shoots off. 

 

The front door opens. A pair of well-worn cowboy boots step out onto the doorstep. Clint is dressed like the Man with no Name. He closes the door behind him and moseys down the path; his segs and spurs sound great. Out the gate and up Raikes Parade. 

 

Walking down Raikes Parade on the opposite side is Tracy. She spots Clint walking towards her on the other side. “Hey cowboy!” She crosses over to Clint. Tracy goes to draw an imaginary gun from an imaginary holster… 

Clint draws. BANG! The blank is deafening. The sound whips, and cracks, ricocheting of the houses. Tracy jumps/panics. “Fucking hell!” Clint re-holsters his .44 Colt. “Never draw your gun if you don’t intend to kill a man.” 

"What? What’s with the fuckin’ intensity man?” 

Clint eyeballs Tracy. “The rules of engagement.” 

“You need to learn how to assess your so-called enemy. Do I look like I’m from 18-fuckin’-65?” 

“You came at me. You went for your peacemaker…” 

“I’m an estate agent!” 

Clint shrugs nonchalantly. “You should fuckin’ sign up. The army needs wackos like you right now." Tracy walks off. Clint pulls a face. 

 

Sydney and Eddie sit at a small table. Between them is a chess board. Both study the game intently. The room is quiet. Suddenly Eddie flips a sunflower seed into his mouth. Sucks off the salt. Gerbil-like cracks open the shell. Spits out the shell onto the floor. Then nibbles on the seed. The room is quiet once again. Sydney lifts his gaze from the board to Eddie. The subtlest of acknowledgements hovers over Sydney’s face. Eddie remains focused on the board. Then - Eddie flips another seed into his mouth. Sucks off the salt. Gerbil-like cracks open the shell. Spits out the shell onto the floor. Then nibbles on the seed. Sydney nods his head ever-so-slightly, he twitches, irked. Another seed pops into Eddie’s mouth. “I know what you’re doing.” says Sydney. Eddie lifts his head up, “WHAT?”, he's still sucking on the salt. Sydney glares but looks back down at the game. Again the sounds of a sunflower shell cracking between teeth. The sound of it being spat out onto the floor. Thpuh!... Ting! Slowly Sydney lifts his head. “If you slip another of those awful fuckers into your mouth I swear to God I’ll kick seven shades of shit out of yer.” Eddie shouts, “WHAT’S YOUR PROBLEM? I’M CONCENTRATING. I’M PLAYING CHESS.” A high-pitched sound excretes from Eddie’s head. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee... Eddie oblivious. THWACK! Sydney slaps hard the side of Eddie’s face. Eddie rubs his ear. Face scrunched up. He pulls out his hearing aid. “ARE MY BATTERIES DEAD?” Sydney glares. La Cucaracha quietly jumps into the kitchen. 

 

Kerry-Anne is sat in the cabin of Eddie’s lorry grinning from ear-to-ear. La Cucaracha blaring. Chuck and Lisa, scrunched-up faces, look on, enviously.

 

Prrring… Prrring… Councillor Cosgrove picks up the phone, “Cosgrove.” On the other end is Tracey. “I’d like to report an infestation…” 

“This is Housing not Environmental Health. Wrong department.” 

“But the infestation has chosen my environment to house up in if you know what I mean?” 

“Fair enough. Rodents?” 

“Fuck yeah.” 

Tracy is stood outside a boarded-up house on Raikes Parade, phone to her ear. La Cucaracha in the distance. “Not sure how many but I can hear them scurrying about.” 

“Don’t worry we’ll lay down a load of poison.” 

“Excellent. The bastards changed the lock.” 

“Eh?” 

It’s dark. The front door is barricaded, criss-crossed planks of wood nailed into the frame. Listening are Arthur and Donna. “Well they’re human to a certain degree…” Arthur mimes pumping a shotgun and fires both barrels in Tracy’s direction behind the front door. “Yeah, squatters…” Donna goes further, miming grabbing someone by their hair and drawing a blade across their throat, blood gushing forth. “I know I’ve called the right department you gormless clown!”

  

Linda lies on her bed. Her face is painted clown-style. She listens to her own voice memo: “Sex… Billy had thought about it. Had thought about the bin bag and the bottle of butane to boot. Had thought about the distraction; the mind someplace else. But truth be told his thoughts took him no place, they always left him where he was at, a place dead dank, a place where his shoulders sank…” The message plays silence, then... La Cucaracha, La Cucaracha… Linda stops the message. 

 

Linda exits the house. Walks across the street. Up the path and bat-bat-bat-bats the door knocker. Moments later the door opens: Kaz is blacked-up. “What the hell?” 

“What?” asks Kaz. 

“What are you doing?” 

“I’m channelling Tina Turner.” 

1970s Tina Turner. Straight-ish hair, red jumpsuit. 

 

The two of them are in Kaz’s bedroom. Kaz is grooving Tina Turner style to a song inside her head. Linda watches, bemused. Kaz is snapping her body back and forth. Her hips grind. Her arms undulate like an ocean. Her legs spring and stamp and kick. “Isn’t that offensive?” Kaz, eyes closed, “Offensive to who?“

“Black people.” 

“But I worship Tina Turner. How can that be offensive?” 

“If slavery ain’t enough Kaz how about the fact that the white man debased the black man further by painting themselves as grotesque caricatures perpetuating a deeply damaging stereotype. That’s fuckin’ why!” 

Kaz is lost inside her own head; zero reaction to Linda. “And what is it specifically that you’re channelling?” Kaz stops moving, breathing heavily. Gathers herself. “We’ve all got shit to deal with Linda. Tina Turner’s shit was fuckin’ foul. Tina dealt with that shit. She levitated above it. Tina Turner is a Goddess, physically and spiritually… That’s what I’m channelling.” Kaz explodes, serpent-like, sensuously slithering Tina Turner style to another tune inside her head. Eyes shut.

 

Ellie has her eyes shut. “I don’t reckon I’d survive being blind Edna.” Ellie opens her eyes. She is sat next to Edna. Jim’s lifeless body still sits steadfast in the chair. Edna replies, “But I’m not sure I’d survive seeing the whole world. The whole world with all its horror.” 

“But seeing zilch.” 

Edna flicks her head sideways. “I see him sat there. I see that his body is thankful. I see that his skin is paper thin, that his muscles have evaporated. I see that his hair needs washing that his nails need cutting… But I also see his spirit Ellie. His spirit is standing right in front of me. He’s smiling Ellie, he’s looking at his wrist watch, he’s jabbing his thumb over his shoulder.” Ellie sees nothing but Edna. “He’s waiting impatiently. He knows the one thing I can’t survive without is him.” Buuuuuuzzzzz! 

 

Dr. Chatterjee pushes the doorbell again: Buuuuzzzzzzzz! Dave, on the other side of the garden wall, “Are you a doctor?” Dr. Chatterjee holds up her medical bag. “Yup.” Dave sucks on his cigarette and shuffles his balls. “I think I’ve got a sexually transmitted disease.” Ellie opens the front door. “Which one?” asks the doctor. Dave leers, “Why not take a peak and you tell me?” Dr. Chatterjee coolly looks at Ellie then looks coolly back at Dave. Dave can't wait, “I think it's crabs. Fuckin’ crabs ain’t it. What do you prescribe?” 

“Castration.” Dr. Chatterjee enters the house. Dave smiles and nods. Eddie’s truck glides past. La Cucaracha, La Cucaracha… Dave gesticulates that Eddie is a wanker. 

 

The lorry’s headlights clear the way in the darkness. Cars glide past. Eddie concentrates on the road and the CB radio. Eddie is down deep with Juggernaut Julie. “The Prime Minister?” Eddie engages the CB handset, “Damn right the Prime Minister.” 

“I ain’t stupid. I took that as given!” 

“Some folks don’t.” 

“I heard the other guy, he went nuts. He’s pumped. Genocide is his agenda.” 

“You think?” 

“Hell bent on annihilation. He don’t give two hoots about invasion and occupation and assimilation…" 

“Fuckin’ Etonians always had a thirst for blood.” 

“This is beyond blood. He wants ground dust. He’d grind them down to atomic level if he could…" 

“Some poor soldier sap would be doing the pestling. What’s-his-name would back off a fuckin’ mile from that duty.” 

“The filth! Going hands free…" 

Juggernaut Julie disappears from the airwaves. Eddie places the handset in its holder. A car suddenly pulls in front of the lorry. Staying close. Staying in the beam of the lorry’s headlights. Two girls in the back waving at Eddie. 

Eddie waves back, grinning. One of the girls turns round and somehow flashes her bare arse out the back window. The other girl whips up a placard: FUCK THIS. Eddie pulls on the air horn: UUUUUUUUUH! UUUUUUUUUUUH! Then pulls on another: La Cucaracha, La Cucaracha… Eddie screams and yells and howls with delight. 

 

Shhhhhh! orders Chuck. Ez and Zak shut up. Their necks are craned looking up at Chuck. Chuck is climbing a drainpipe. The lock-up is one storey high. Chuck gets onto the roof. Ez starts climbing the drainpipe. The skylight opens. Chuck sticks his head in: an ice-cream van. The skylight opens further. Chuck drops down onto the roof of the van, quickly followed by Ez and Zak. Inside the van Chuck pulls down on the ice-cream machine’s lever: ice-cream squirts out everywhere. Zak is giddy. “Make mine a triple ninety-nine with sprinkles Dutchy!” 

“You got it buddy!” says Chuck. 

 

Chuck, Ez and Zak are sat on Chuck’s wall. Each looks a bit peaky. Ice-cream lingers on their faces and hands. Gaz steps out of the house. “You two, fuck off, I want a word with my son.” 

“Stepson.” rectifies Chuck. Ez and Zak jump down and trudge off. 

Gaz shouts after Ez and Zak, “What’s in the bags boys?” Ez and Zak, now at a safe distance, both pull out a box, grasping each with both hands the boys shove the boxes toward Gaz, together they shout, “Flakes motherfucker!” Both thrilled turn and leg it. Gaz turns to Chuck. “Thieving scumbags.” 

“I feel sick.” 

“How would you like to earn twenty quid?” 

“Doing what?” 

“What you’re good at. Ten quid now and ten quid when you’ve done the assignment.” 

Chuck holds out the palm of his hand. A taxi goes past…

 

Mr. Pigeon sits next to Elaine. They sit in solemn silence. The taxi pulls up. The taxi driver looks in the rear view, “What is it with this street and that hospital?” Mr. Pigeon checks out the meter and hands over a twenty. “Ain’t it the same all over town?” The taxi driver hands back the change. “No. It ain’t.” Elaine and Mr. Pigeon step out of the taxi. The taxi drives off. Elaine and Mr. Pigeon face each other. “The cops are gonna come knocking right.” asks Elaine.

“I think so.” 

“I’m starving. You hungry?” 

“Yes.” 

“Can I make you something?” 

“That’d be nice.” 

 

Elaine and Mr. Pigeon have finished the food. Elaine sips her white wine. “He could be dead.” 

“He could.” 

“One eye is better than no eye.” 

“It is.” 

Elaine looks at Mr. Pigeon. “What are you thinking?” Mr. Pigeon looks at Elaine. “Those birds don’t mean that much to me.” 

“They don’t?” 

“They don’t.”

Fred, in bed, huge headphones grip his skull. The large flat-screened TV, hung on the wall, broadcasts brash imagery. Fred engages the walkie-talkie, shouting, “Supper time. I’d like six chips and two fish fingers and I don’t want that swill you call a soup that’s just OXO cubes and diced carrots... I ain’t a fuckin’ idiot!” Carrie busts into the room clutching a bowl of soup. “Sorry about that. I’ve already prepared it.”

“What?” 

Carrie positions the Overbed table. “You forgot spit. That’s the magic ingredient.” Fred unclasps the headphones from his sweaty ears. “Eh?” 

“Pepper! There is fuckin’ pepper in it too.”
Fred works himself into position. “Are you’re boyfriends coming round tonight?”

“They ain’t my boyfriends.” 

“To be fair they didn’t seem dim-witted.” 

FRED slurps the soup. Carrie glares. Vvvvvvvvvvv! Vvvvvvvvvvv!... Vvvvvvvvvvv! Vvvvvvvvvvv! Carrie reaches into her pocket and answers her mobile. “Hello.” Fred keeps slurping, eyes on Carrie. “Hello?” 

“It’s me.” 

“Who’s me?” 

“Spud.” 

Carrie looks at Fred, still slurping, still beady-eyed. Carrie leaves the room. Fred shakes his head, slapping the headphones back. Carrie rushes along the landing. Phone to her ear: “One sec…” Carrie enters her room. Shuts the door. Plonks down on the bed. “Hi.” 

 

Inside No.7 Kaz is flying. She's in amongst a room filled with partygoers all dressed as a hundred different characters. All moving to a vibrating groove and a thumping beat. Kaz, aka Tina Turner, is moving to a different groove and a different beat on a different astral plane. The room strobes, mirrorballs reflect, haze mystifies. The room sways and twirls and thrusts and bends and swings. Kaz’s world slows down. Her face contorts with ecstasy. She is on her own. In her own space. Moving like a siren, seductive and mythical. 

 

Clint strides up Raikes Parade. Walking straight past No.7 oblivious to the racket. “Clint! The party’s in here.” Clint stops. He does not turn instantly. It’s an unfamiliar voice. Slowly Clint’s hand goes to the Colt. Behind him Catweazle starts doing a little jig. “C’mon. It’s rocking!” Catweazle darts back inside the house. Clint eases round. No.7 is throbbing. Clint saunters over and carefully heads into the house. Inside the hallway - IN HIS FACE - Albert Einstein, “Wicked! Amazin’ fancy dress!” - BAM! The muzzle of Clint’s Colt is rammed up Albert Einstein’s nose. “This ain’t no fuckin’ fancy dress. If you think I’m fuckin’ joking say those words again. In fact if you’re the fuckin’ cocky little cunt that I think you are you will say those words again…" 

 

The kitchen is cramped. Linda stands opposite a pissed Jesus Christ wearing a crown of thorns, blood trickles down his forehead. From outside the kitchen, a seismic BANG!… Followed by raucous CHEERS followed by high-pitched SCREAMING. Jesus Christ holds his hands up in mock surrender; he checks out Linda. Linda is unimpressed. “Your stigmata’s smudged.” Jesus Christ nods thoughtfully. “How about I nail you.” Linda, aka The Clown, straightens her back and steps into Jesus Christ’s space. The orange painted lips smile but the eyes don’t. Linda starts riffing, “Butcher’s blade made the steelsmith’s grade. Twelve inch knife took away his life. Punctured heart, flat as a fart. He got no pain from the thick red stain. One more stab through his sallow flab. Retracting the dagger he started to stagger. The fucker frowned as he was downed. She got a kick from the crumbling prick. A two-footed stamp to the base of his neck, one dead man…” 

Linda pauses. A slight shrug of the shoulders - so what. Linda walks out of the kitchen. Jesus Christ holds his arms outstretched. “Jesus loves you Linda! JESUS LOVES YOU!” 

 

Linda moves down the hallway passing Clint. Clint turns into the living room and enters the vortex. The syncopated bodies move as one. The music is LOUD. Swathes of coloured light crisscross the room. The revellers are revelling in the jagged beat. Clint moves through the crowd -BAM! Clint is thunderstruck, he freezes, like a photograph. His vision shifts. The room bends and distorts. The dancing has slowed down, again. Like Kaz before, Clint is locked inside his own head. He hears a different tune: Adam & the Ants’ The Human Beings. Through the crowd a native American woman writhes and swivels sensuously, she is captivating; she wears full tribal dress. Blackfoot Pawnee Cheyenne Crow Apache Arapaho… Clint is stuck steadfast. Eyes agog. The native American slithers and slides. She spots Clint. She appears to levitate and gravitates towards him. Blackfoot Pawnee Cheyenne Crow Apache Arapaho… Clint fixed with thrilled fear. The partygoers inexplicably do not bump into or block or in anyway hamper native American’s path through the heaving, sweaty, joyful crowd. Her eyes lock on Clint’s. Clint’s eyes lock on hers. Her hands reach out clutching Clint’s face, she kisses him exquisitely and passionately. 

 

Donna shoves Arthur. “Get off!” The two of them squashed together on a crushed cardboard box. Through the wall the bedlam of No.7 reverberates. “You’d have thought our neighbours’d have invited us.” 

“We’d be king and queen of that bullshit…"
Darren enters the room and collapses on a cardboard box. “Living like cockroaches don’t mean you’ll survive end time.” Donna looks at Darren. “End time?!” 

“The apocalypse.” 

“Nothing gonna survive apocalypse.” 

Arthur agrees. “Your tin-pot shelter’ll disinter-fuckin-grate.” 

“I’ve reinforced it with two feet of concrete.” 

“Bullshit.” 

“I have… You two won’t be laughing when you’re dead.” 

“I don’t expects we’ll be doing much of anything.”

 

Candy is in hysterics. She is being pounded from behind. Tony’s buttocks push then pull in time to his singing, “We are the champions. WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS.” Tony holds aloft two trophies, one in each hand. “No time for losers ‘cos we are the champions… of Lan-ker-sheer!” Candy whips round onto her back. “You did good Bandalucci.” Tony kneels to attention; trophies held high. “So did you Candy darling.” 

“I say we buy the Winnebago. Hit the road.” 

“Conquer the world.” 

“We could win ‘em all.” 

“I don’t doubt that for a second.” 

“Gotta make the most of it while yer can.” 

“You gets one opportunity.” 

“I’m hearing opportunity banging on the fuckin’ door.” 

“Opportunity is kicking the fucker down…” 

“Tony.” 

“Yeah babe.” 

“Are we gonna get nuked?” 

“Nuked?” 

“Yeah. Nuked.” 

“This town won’t get nuked babe. Nothing of strategic value in this shit hole. I s’pose the only value is eradicating it’s goddamn gene pool.” 

“So we stay put?” 

“For now. But set the alarm.” 

 

Booop. Booop. Booop. Booop. Booop… The clock reads: 03.00. Chuck’s arm flops onto the clock turning the alarm off. Chuck tiptoes along the landing holding a carrier bag. Then creeps out of the back door. Up onto a bin, up onto the boundary wall. Chuck starts to shimmy up his neighbour's drainpipe.

 

Stubsy is in bed, eyes shut. On the rickety wooden chair by his bedside sits a 6” TV monitor. On the screen is Stubsy’s back yard. From the monitor noises of something scraping… Stubsy’s eyes ping open. Head still sideways on the pillow he focuses on the monitor: shuffling up the drainpipe is Chuck; his head gets extremely close to the lens of the unseen CCTV camera… 

Chuck, near the gutter, nervously reaches across and lifts up an open window. Grabbing the frame he shakily steps over onto the sill and starts to quickly pull himself through the ten inch gap… In the monitor Chuck’s legs disappear into the back room. Stubsy points at the monitor and presses a button, switching channels. Another camera inside the back room sees Chuck pulling himself through, head first… Chuck crawls down the window onto the floor and then quietly stands upright, listening, ears pricked… In the monitor Chuck listens, like a meerkat. Chuck then pulls out of his back pocket a pair of marigold gloves and begins to put one on. Stubsy looks puzzled. Reaching for his mobile. He presses: 9   9   9. In the monitor Chuck pulls on the second marigold. Stubsy whispers into the phone, “I’m being burgled… Yeah, right now.” 

A new day. The paper boy flies down Church Street. Springing off the pavement. Hopping up curbs. Dodging deadbeat dogs. Pulling a wheelie. Weaving in and out of parked cars. Back onto the pavement. Checking his reflection in shop windows. Approaching the corner of Raikes Parade. Leaning into the bend... Elaine leaps out; arms like snakes, face shrieking - a raving banshee! “WWWWWWAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!” The bike wobbles. Misses the corner. Goes straight on. Thumps down the curb and slams into a parked car; the paper boy somersaults over the bonnet. Elaine is laughing uncontrollably. Jumping up and down gleefully. 

Sandy is stood inside Chuck’s bedroom. The bed is empty. She yells, “Where the fuck’s Chuck?” Downstairs in the living room Gaz munches on his breakfast cereal - his jaws stop. From upstairs, “I bet you’ve got something to do with this.” His eyes think. Slowly Gaz starts crunching. Suddenly the Benny Hill theme tune... Gaz grabs his mobile. Unknown number. “Hello.” 

“Is that Gary Entwistle?” 

“It is.” 

“This is WPC Harvey down at Poulton police station. We’ve got your son.” 

“Stepson.” 

 

Inside the holding cell Chuck sits on the springless bed imperceptibly shaking his pissed-off head at Gaz. WPC Harvey and Gaz stand above him. “Anyway. The boy was caught brown-handed smearing excrement all over the victim’s fireplace wall…” Gaz screws up his face, disgusted. “Not literally." says the WPC, "He was wearing marigolds.” 

“Oh.” 

Chuck scowls at Gaz. “When questioned the boy said that the excrement wasn’t his.” 

“Really?” 

“We’ve taken a sample. We’ll get some solid DNA from that.” 

A glint in Chuck’s eyes. Gaz asks, “Is it worth all that effort?” 

“Of course it is. The boy has been groomed..."

"That's right. I've been groomed dad." interjects Chuck. "We’ll have to eliminate family first...” Gaz smiles on the outside. Chuck grins on the inside. 

 

Sydney’s two eyes sit restlessly behind a gas mask strapped to his head. His voice is muffled, “Can you read my expression?” Kathleen wears a gas mask too; she paints her toenails, uninterested in what Sydney is saying. Kerry-Anne runs into the room, gas mask on her face, her voice is also muffled, “I’m going out to play.” and runs back out the room. “What do you think today has in store for us?” Kathleen concentrates. “What?!” 

“Do you think it’s gonna rain?” 

“Fuck knows. Check out the weather.” 

“The newsagent said the paperboy’s in hospital. Fractured his fuckin’ spine.” 

Kathleen looks up from her feet. “I’ve only just got out of bed so I ain’t getting back in it.” 

“Eh?” 

“This banal chit-chat shit happens when you’re horny.” 

“Now that you mention it.” 

 

Mr. Pigeon, sat at a table in the kitsch lounge, waiting for his breakfast, mobile to his ear, whispering, “Forget what I said.” Councillor Cosgrove, exasperated, behind his desk. “But the cogs are greased and groaning as we speak…" 

“Fuck ‘em. Jam a spanner in the assholes.” 

Mr. Pigeon hangs up as Elaine walks in with his breakfast passing Wayne and Carl. “Pay your dues boy.” Carl gives a thumbs up. Elaine reaches Mr. Pigeon, she is bloated with happiness. “This has got to be one of the best mornings of my entire life!” 

 

Councillor Cosgrove leans into the intercom, “Ewan.” 

“Yes boss.” 

“So you lost to that dumb wazzock Bandalucci.” 

“Yes boss." 

“How the hell did that happen? I had a hundred quid you’d be crowned King fuckin’ Kong.” 

“Sorry about that boss.” 

The councillor pulls back from the intercom. Ewan is suddenly standing in the room. Ewan is colossal. Built like Lou Ferrigno. “Boss.” 

“What?” 

“Got any tips on how I can get a girlfriend?” 

Councillor Cosgrove looks at Ewan, then leans back into his chair and puts his feet up onto the desk, hands behind his head. “First things first, you need a good suit.”

 

Lyn poses naked in front of a tall mirror. Her figure is damn fine. Lyn, all sassy at her reflection, “What are you looking at?” Lyn’s reflection talks back. “I’m looking at you. With an ass like that where else would I be looking.” 

“Maybe you were looking at my tits.” 

“I’m looking at them tits too. Them tits have got me all hot and bothered. I’d die a thousand deaths to bury myself deep down in those babies…"

"And these legs...Yah!" she high-kicks at the mirror. "Oh my, you can wrap those legs around my neck any day of the week." KA-RASH! The bedroom window shatters. Lyn jumps. Glass sprays into the room. “FUCKIN’ NORA!” She leaps back away from the window. A football settles on the bed. 

 

Lisa bombs it down the alley; her football boots rapidly clack-clack-clack-clack-clack clacking all the way down. Running straight past Kerry-Anne, still wearing the gas mask. Kerry-Anne twists her head round to watch the disappearing Lisa… Turning back Kerry-Anne meanders up the alley, kicking stones, thudding off back gates. Kerry-Anne starts to run up the alley. Arms outstretched she banks left, banks right. Her aeroplane dives. Behind the mask she imitates the chugging of a machine gun letting loose on the enemy below. An air raid siren erupts: UUUUAAAAAwOOOOOOUUUUAAAAwOOOOOO… In an instant she is the man on the ground; rushing for cover, looking for the Luftwaffe high above. 

 

On Fred's TV WWII footage. Fred watches the TV. The headphones hug his head. Stukas, explosions, tank shells booming, buildings collapsing, soldiers marching, grenades, rat-a-tat-tat gunfire - the sounds of good old-fashioned warfare. Atop the din a narrator informs us that The Black Devil knew how to fly! Movement elsewhere catches Fred’s eye. Carrie is in the room. She is speaking but Fred cannot hear her. He releases the headphones. Carrie repeats, “What the fuck’s going on with that?” Pointing skyward. UUUUAAAAAwOOOOOOUUUUAAAAwOOOOOO… The air raid siren wails. Fred chuckles. “I thought that was on ‘ere.” nodding at the TV. 

 

Sandy and Chuck frown at the TV; the screen has gone blank. Chuck scoffs a burger. Both are oblivious to the UUUUAAAAAwOOOOOOUUUUAAAAwOOOOOO… Sandy shouts out back, “Oi! Asshole! Get in here and fix the fuckin’ TV.” Then at Chuck, gently, “Would you like some more chips?” Chuck nods, mouth full of food. Gaz enters. “Chuck would like more chips.” 

“What the fuck do you take me for?”

"The bastard butler that's what."

"This fuckin' breakfast ain't good for him you know."

"Make. The. Chips." 

 

Linda, all bleary-eyed and smeared clown face, slouches out of her bedroom, yawning. UUUUAAAAAwOOOOOOUUUUAAAAwOOOOOO… Lyn rushes out of her bedroom, pulling up her short shorts, nearly falling over, colliding with Linda. “What’s all the racket?” 

“That little shit kicked a ball through the window.” Lyn speedily hustles down the stairs. Linda shouts after her, “Can’t you hear it?” As Lyn bolts out the front door... The air raid siren is very LOUD: UUUUAAAAAwOOOOOO UUUUAAAAAwOOOOOO UUUUAAAAwOOOOOO… Lyn speed walks down Raikes Parade with great purpose. 

 

Stood at the window, Elaine holds the phone to her ear. She watches Linda on the other side of the road. “Cosgrove?” 

“Yeah.” 

“What’s with the fuckin’ siren? It’s bad for business.” 

Councillor Cosgrove rolls his eyes. Ewan is sat on a chair on the other side of the desk. “Business’ll have to take a back seat on this one.” 

“Bullshit! Turn it off.” 

“How?” 

“Who turned it on?” 

“Fuck knows.” 

Click. Duuuuuuuuuuuuh... 

Elaine turns from the phone. "That dipshit is useless." Mr. Pigeon stands behind her. “I’m gonna have to go see to my birds; they’ll be freaking out.” 

 

Councillor Cosgrove leans back into his chair and lifts his feet onto the desk, hands behind his head. “And buy some quality aftershave. I like Karate.” Ewan nods - this is good advice. 

 

Lyn is seen walking past Stubsy’s window... Stubsy is stood in front of the fireplace. Staring intently at the daubing on the wall: a smiley face, painted with shit. Stubsy is not smiling. His nose twitches with the stench. The sound of the siren is everywhere yet distant. Stubsy’s rage has pushed external noise way, way back. Stubsy erupts. A salvo of martial arts moves; chops, slices and kicks, swaying sideways, bending back, dodging punches - Stubsy is shadow karate-ing. In his head is he beating the crap out of Gaz... In reality his karate moves are pitiful and feeble and couldn't bruise an insect. 

 

Text on a TV screen reads: WHAT FOLLOWS IS AN URGENT ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER. Sydney and Kathleen look at each other. “This don’t look good.” 

“Let’s go get Kerry-Anne.” 

Both jump up and run out of the room and through the front door and out into the street. Kathleen hollers, “KERRY-ANNE!” The gas mask nullifies the shout. Sydney joins in. “KERRY-ANNE!” No one hears. 

 

Kerry-Anne cowers in a corner of someone’s back gate. UUUUAAAAAwOOOOOOUUUUAAAAwOOOOOO… Lyn appears before her. She shouts at Kerry-Anne, “Where’s that footballing freak?” Kerry-Anne points back down the alley. Lyn asks, “What are you doing?” 

“The Germans are coming!”

“Eh?”

“Germans!”

“Germans?” 

Kerry-Anne points to the sky. Lyn looks up. The drone shoots across her field of vision. Hastily the drone shimmies up the alleyway. Accompanied by the howling of the air raid siren. 

 

Carrie sits on the bed next to Fred. The Prime Minister defiantly addressing the nation, “Citizens of the United Kingdom; as of twenty-five minutes ago our country is at war…" Fred screws up his face, points a crooked finger at the PM. “Blood on your hands!” The drone hovers outside the window. Carrie spots it. She waves excitedly. “...ALL efforts to negotiate a peaceful conclusion were wrung dry…" 

 

Dug into the floor of Darren's back yard is a homemade “nuclear bunker” - corrugated iron sheets and planks of wood. Huddled inside around a radio are Darren, Arthur and Donna listening attentively, “I said NO, no compromise…" Darren interrupts, “Aren’t you two glad you’re in here.” Donna looks at Arthur, ”Your brother's a fuckin' loony!!” 

 

Ping! Edna takes out her porridge from the microwave oven. Jim’s spirit is sat at the table, ear to the radio. “A leader needs to fight for the best interests of their subjects…” Edna joins him. “As a consequence discussions have ceased…" Jim’s spirit rubs his hands gleefully. Edna smiles. 

 

Carrie smiles. She blows the drone a kiss. Fred, at Carrie, “Quit that goo-goo shit and listen to this lunatic!” 

“Our enemy launched roughly two hundred and eighty nuclear warheads…" 

“Christ almighty!” 

Carrie kisses the glass. The drone drops like a rock crashing onto the concrete slabs below. 

 

Lyn is slapping Spud about the head. Spud tries desperately to avoid the slaps. “Perverted little prick!” UUUUAAAAAwOOOOOO UUUUAAAAwOOOOOO…

 

Tony and Candy sit stunned staring at the TV, “Those two hundred and eighty warheads will hit this island in approximately two minutes’ time…" 

“Eh?”  

“Unfortunately, from the tip to the toe, we will be decimated…" 

“Oh-o!” says Tony. 

 

Sandy is spitting bile at the TV. “What a fuckin’ tosser!” On the screen Jeremy Kyle berates some poor young fella. “Can I get some arctic roll?” asks Chuck. Sandy shouts out back, “Get Chuck some arctic roll!” Gaz is in the kitchen, he sticks up two fingers on both hands mouthing fuck you at the other side of the wall. On the table, a portable TV, “But fear not. I have already given the instruction to retaliate…" 

“A lot of fuckin’ good that’ll do.” 

 

Linda is on her knees in front of the TV. “Trident was launched…" Linda is agitated, rocking back and forth. “I don’t wanna die... I don’t wanna die…" 

“A total of sixteen missiles were fired…" Prrring prrring... Prrring prrring... Linda snatches up the phone receiver. “HELLO!” 

“Hello.” 

Linda is hysterical. “Hurry up! Say what you‘ve gotta say. The world ends in two fuckin’ minutes!” 

“It’s Steve. Steve the milkman…" 

 

Outside the siren wails. Inside the pigeon loft Mr. Pigeon tries to calm his anxious birds. “Shhhhh...! It’s ok. Daddy’s here.” Stroking one of his beloved birds that's frightened and flustered. He switches on the radio for some soothing tones: “We estimate that we should kill three million people and decimate a thousand square miles of arable land…" 

“Fucking hell!” Mr. Pigeon switches stations quickly. Mahler’s fifth. He turns up the volume to drown out the air raid siren. 

 

Elaine, Wayne and Carl stare up at the TV high in the corner of the room. “We’re sending out a message, a message that says that this proud land is not to be messed with…" Phut... Doing! A text message. Wayne checks his mobile. Reads the message. Then dashes to the door. Along the hallway and out the front door onto the street, sprinting for his life down Raikes Parade. UUUUAAAAAwOOOOOOUUUUAAAAwOOOOOO… Elaine turns to Carl, “You’re going to owe me eight quid for eternity.” Carl shrugs. 

 

Running up Raikes Parade; Kathleen holding hands with Kerry-Anne who is holding hands with Sydney. “Let it be known that this great nation will not kowtow to nothing and no-one…" They run through the front door. Slamming the front door. 

 

Fred and his bare bones have shuffled over to the window. “Let it be said that the great British people stood up for their principles…" Fred pushes the window open and leans out, his white arse bent over the sill. UUUUAAAAAwOOOOOO UUUUAAAAwOOOOOO… Carrie is on her knees crying. The lifeless drone cracked on the slabs. Fred, from above, “It’s a fuckin’ drone. Like you’re fuckin’ sobbing is a fuckin’ drone…” Carrie, tears streaming down her 

cheeks, “He’s got a name. He’s called Spud!” 

“Spud?” 

 

Stubsy sits at his computer. The Japanese girl asks, “Why are you here?” 

“What other option do I have?”

“Look...” 

Another window pops-up on Stubsy’s screen. The PM: “Two minutes is not a long time. I suggest we all go and make peace with God...” he pauses, "Wherever the hell he might be." The Prime Minister departs the press room. The pop-up window vanishes. “Why not go find real girl. Real flesh so much nicer…" 

 

Thirty, forty, fifty men all dashing towards the Pink Flamingo… A sign on the door reads: OPEN NOW! DANCE YOUR LIFE AWAY! Inside: BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM...! The beat is insane. Hundreds of sweaty men dancing like it’s the last day on Earth. In amongst them all is Wayne. 

 

Tony and Candy leap up onto their feet. Tearing at their clothes. Stood in their undies… Both flexing their muscles and striking championship winning poses. Candy roars, “C’mahhhhhn!” 

 

Clint, in his back yard, firing both pistols into the air. Bang!Bang!  Bang!  Bang! Bang!Bang!Bang!  Bang...! “YEEEEHAAAW!”

 

Councillor Cosgrove, still feet on desk, hands behind his head, reclined in his chair. “Get yourself a good barber. You can’t put a price on a good haircut neither.” Ewan makes notes. UUUUAAAAAwOOOOOOUUUUAAAAwOOOOOO… 

 

Stubsy stands on his doorstep, inhales deeply, then steps out into his front yard. Rushing round the corner of the back alley comes Lyn, running out into the middle of the road. Stopping dead still. Lyn bellows, “WHO WANTS TO FUCK?” 

Stubsy looks left and right, then slowly raises his hand. 

 

The front door of Chuck’s house slams shut. Sandy, frowning, cranes her head to look out the window. Gaz can be seen walking out the front yard with his hand in the air. Chuck stands. “I’m going out on my bike.” Sandy, watching Gaz, “Ok.” UUUUAAAAAwOOOOOO UUUUAAAAAwOOOOOO UUUUAAAAwOOOOOO… Chuck wheels his bike out the back gate and into the alley. Mounting the bike he starts to pedal up the alley… cruising. Whistling if he could. Cool as fuck. KA-DOOM! A BLINDING WHITE FLASH. The world shudders. A sudden great force pushes Chuck forward. Sticking his legs out wide. The boy and his bike hit breathtaking speed. A great big grin on Chuck’s face… “Ooooooooooo EEEEEEEEEEE…!"