SO BAD: Extract One

Morning. A young man in a giraffe onesie slouches, head down on a dilapidated sofa, sleeping heavily. In front of him is a laptop, which is playing an episode from The Hunt. Footage of hunting dogs pursuing a wildebeest is projected on to a screen behind the armchair.

The young man, SID, is dishevelled, unshaven, pasty-faced… hungover. Littered around his chair are crisp packets, empty cans, old yoghurt tubs, dirty crockery, a half-empty bottle of gin. In one corner of the room is piled up a whole lot of junk, including sporting equipment, a crash helmet for a pizza-delivery moped and an old TV set.

 

SID snuffles and snorts in his sleep, snuggling down as David Attenborough’s commentary gets louder and louder. Just as his description of hunting dogs pursuing a wildebeest is getting unbearably loud, there’s a call—also amplified—on a mobile phone.

 

SID starts and stands up, turning off the sound on the laptop. David Attenborough falls silent.

 

SID:  Ah, man! Fuck me, Leo: you just saved my life— like, I was having this horrible dream and, like, there was all these—all these—you know—all these animals—predators—chasing me and shit… It was fuckin’ ‘orrible.

 

SID begins to yawn and stretch.

 

SID: [Taken aback.] Fuck no! Not a good time, brov. I only just got in… They had a free bar—all night—and then I had this dream, this nightmare. It was fuckin’ horrible.

 

SID scratches his balls through the big baggy onesie costume.

 

SID: [Offended.] All right. Keep your hair on. [Pause.] No need to get arsey about it. This isn’t a good time—I only just got in.

SID slumps down on the armchair. He reaches out for a bottle to see if there’s any gin left in the bottom. He shakes the bottle, then downs it in one—spitting it out, either in disgust or in outrage.

 

SID: I’ve not got to cover for you again, have I? I mean—fuck me—like, I’m in no kind of shape for any of this bollocks.

 

SID tries to light a cigarette, fumbling around for a lighter. Enter ROSE from behind the armchair. She listens, unobserved, to SID’s side of the telephone conversation.

SID: ‘Course I won’t let her in. Last thing I want is some crazy jealous bint hanging around giving me the third degree. Not when I’m in this state. There were all these things— like, big, dark, shadowy things— and they were, like, trackin’ me and they were—you know, like—they were runnin’ after me—all snapping and snarling with all these, like, fuckin’ massive sharp—ah, shit!

SID fumbles with the lighter, dropping it clattering at ROSE’s feet.

SID: All right, don’t go on. I know we’ve not always seen eye to eye. ‘Course I won’t let her in and ‘course I won’t let anyone touch your laptop. What do you—?

ROSE stoops down and hands SID the lighter.

SID: [To ROSE.] Thanks. [Into the phone.] --take me for? [Finally aware of  ROSE’s presence.] Look, I gotta go, man. [Pause. To ROSE.] How d’ you get in?

 

ROSE: You might try locking your door.

SID: Latch is broken.

ROSE: I’ve got this anyway. [ROSE holds up a latch-key.]

 

SID: So, you’re—err—you’re err—

 

ROSE: Yeah, I’m the ‘crazy jealous bint’.

 

SID: [Sulkily.] You could have knocked.

 

ROSE: I did knock. Knocked for ages. Nobody answered, so I came up. The door was open. [Taking in the squalor of the room.] Say, I just love what you’ve done with this place. It’s just so you—chic, yet informal.

 

SID: I only just got in.

ROSE: Cosy. That’s what it is—cosy.

 

SID makes an ineffectual attempt to tidy up, but he’s way too hungover to bend down.

ROSE: Nice outfit! Can I have a lend of that?

 

SID: Look, this really isn’t a good time. And none of this is any of my business. I was watching David Attenborough.

ROSE: And is that the laptop?

 

SID: What laptop?

 

ROSE: The one nobody’s supposed to touch.

SID: [Guilty.] No, this is a different laptop.

ROSE: It is, isn’t it?

SID: [Sullen.] No.

ROSE: Don’t worry. I won’t touch it.

SID: Telly’s on the blink. And I wanted iPlayer.

ROSE: For David Attenborough?

SID: He’s got wildebeest this week. [Pause.] Look, you can have the laptop, if you want it. Like I say, this is none of my business. I don’t even like the cunt.

ROSE: You don’t like David Attenborough?

SID: [Emphatic.] I don’t like that sorry excuse for a boyfriend you’ve got.

ROSE: Just tell me where he is—and I’ll leave you to your David Attenborough. [Noting the giraffe onesie.] Say, you really get into it, don’t you?

SID: Look, I’ve got no idea where he is. If you must know, I thought he was with you. The landlord wants his stuff out, by the way. He’s got to paint the room. You can tell him that when you see him.

 

ROSE: When I see him? That’s the point: he’s gone.

SID: How d’ you mean?

ROSE: Disappeared. Not a word. Just gone. Vanished.

SID: [Shrugging.] Well, you know Leo.

ROSE: Meaning?

SID: [Firmly.]  You know.

SID shrugs expansively, rewinding The Hunt to the beginning of the sequence.

ROSE: I don’t know. You tell me. [Pause.] And another thing: where does he go in the evenings? [Beat.] When he’s not at the pub, I mean.

SID: [Under his breath.] I’d have thought that was obvious.

ROSE: Meaning?

SID: To be entirely honest with you, I’m fed up of covering for the prick.

ROSE: But you were just speaking to him. A minute ago. On the phone.

SID: That doesn’t mean I know where he is. I’m not his wife. I’m not his girlfriend. [Pause. Then impatient.] You must know.

ROSE: Know what?

SID: About Leo. About your boyfriend. [Spelling it out. Staccato.] About the man you’re supposed to be living with. [Pause. Exasperated.] Christ almighty!

ROSE: [Pause.] So, is Leo… a bit of a… ladies’ man.

SID: That’s one way of putting it. Though I wouldn’t necessarily call them ladies. That’s one thing I’ll give you: you’re a cut above the slappers he normally brings home.

ROSE: [Archly.] I’m sorry. I think I should go now.

SID: I think that’s a good idea.

ROSE: You’re obviously not going to help me. [Beat.] You obviously don’t care. [SID determinedly watches The Hunt, albeit with the sound down.] I think I’ll just go home now. [Beat.] Wait for Leo. Catch up on David Attenborough. On my own.

SID: I think that’s an incredibly good idea.

ROSE: It’s not what you think, by the way. I’m not jealous. Or I wasn’t.

SID: Look, I really don’t care what you are. All I know is it’s none of my business. I don’t want to stick my nose into the sordid domestic affairs of my sleazy room-mate. Frankly, I don’t give a shit. So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to go to bed now. Had a big night. I’ve only just got in. They had a free bar.

ROSE: Well, that’s nice.

SID: All night.

ROSE: All night?

SID: Yeah. All night. Bound to get messy.

ROSE: I’ll bet.

SID: So, I’m a little tired.

ROSE: Not surprised.

SID: You woke me up.

ROSE: I’m sorry.

SID: Yeah. Then I just had this horrible fuckin’ nightmare.

ROSE: Okay, I said I’m sorry.

SID: About these beasts.

ROSE: Beasts?

SID: Yeah. Stalking me.

ROSE: Stalking you?

SID: All snapping and snarling and biting and shit.

ROSE: Sounds nasty.

SID: Yeah. [Gruff undertone.] It was. Fuckin’ ‘orrible.

SID stands up with as much dignity as he can muster, folding up the laptop to carry with him to bed.

SID: Look, I’m sorry. About Leo, I mean. Hope things work out for you.

ROSE: [Abruptly.] Who’s Craven?

SID stops in his tracks.

SID: What did you say?

ROSE: Who’s Craven? [Pause.] That’s what all this is about. Or I thought it was. Till you told me about all the other stuff. About the—ugh—slappers. [Pause.] Who’s Craven? His name keeps coming up on Leo’s mobile—and whenever he gets a call, it’s all, like, some big scary mystery. And Leo keeps deleting his messages—and he won’t talk to him when I’m around. And now he’s disappeared.

SID: So, Craven’s got his claws into Leo, has he?

ROSE: Who is this guy?

SID: [More to himself than to ROSE.] Well, I guess that makes sense: at least, it explains where all the money comes from.

 

ROSE: What money?

 

SID: Well, you must have wondered. He’s always loaded, but when have you ever seen Leo holding down a job?

 

ROSE: He works in a pub—behind the bar—I’ve seen him there.

 

SID: And working in a pub pays for all this, does it? [He holds up the laptop.] And all that fuck-off, top-of-the-range video-bollocks he’s got in his room?

ROSE: He told me he got all that stuff second hand. At car-boot sales.

SID: Car-boot sales, my arse! He must have spent a packet on all that kit. And look at this laptop—nothing too second-hand about that, is there? And how many other barmen do you know drive a Merc?

 

ROSE: Look, I’m worried. Who is this Craven-guy?

 

SID: You don’t want to know.

 

ROSE: Tell me.

 

SID: Who’s Craven? Believe me, you do not want to know.

 

ROSE: Tell me. [Pause.] I need to know.

 

SID stands up to his full height in his giraffe onesie.

 

SID: You’ve got no idea what you’ve walked into, have you? Or who you’re dealing with. You come barging in here—asking all these questions—and you really have no idea the kind of people you’re dealing with: the kind of man Craven is: the kind of man I am: the kind of shit you’re mixed up in.

 

ROSE: You’re scaring me.

 

SID: Talk about naïve! Talk about innocent. [Pause.] Look, I’m just one of the little guys. One of the foot soldiers, you might say. But even I know you do not want to fuck with Craven. That cunt’s way above my pay grade.

 

ROSE: I just wanted to help.

 

SID: Help who?

 

ROSE: Help Leo.

 

SID: You want to help Leo? Is that what you wanted? Well, let me give you some advice—like, from someone who knows: if you’ve got any sense—if you love yourself even a little bit—you’ll walk out that door and you’ll forget you ever met that creep.

 

ROSE: Look, I need to know.

 

SID: This isn’t a game. We’re not playing hide ‘n’ seek here. We’re not playing trick or fucking treat. This is serious stuff. Grown-up stuff. This is for real.

 

ROSE: [Faltering.] I’d got no—got no—I’d got no idea—

 

SID: That’s right: you got no idea—

ROSE: [Holding back tears.] I’d got no idea—

SID: [More to himself than ROSE.] Must be crazy.

ROSE: Please. I just wanted to know.

SID: You wanted to know? Christ almighty! You really have no fuckin’ clue.

 

ROSE bursts into tears, slumping down on to the armchair.

 

SID: [Irritable.] Oh don’t start! Do not start!

ROSE continues to weep softly, burying her head in her arms. SID huffs impatiently.

 

SID: [Sotto voce.] Oh, for fuck’s sake.

 

ROSE: I’m sorry.

 

SID: How’s crying going to help?

 

ROSE: I’m not crying. Not really.

SID: Crying’s no use, is it?

 

ROSE: Just got something—something in my eye. I just wanted to—I’d no idea—

 

SID hovers over her ineffectually, uncertain whether to scold or comfort. It is possible he’s checking her out or looking down her top. Anyway, something snaps within him and then he’s suddenly beside her, putting a comforting arm around ROSE’s shoulder.

 

SID: There, there. Come on. Don’t cry.

ROSE: I’m sorry. I can’t help it.

 

SID: Don’t cry. There, there. You’re safe here with me. He can’t find you here.

 

ROSE: Who can’t find me here?

 

SID: Craven… Leo. What does it matter?

 

ROSE: It matters a whole lot when you’re sitting at home—

 

SID: All that matters is you’re here with me and I won’t let anything happen to you.

 

ROSE: It’s just there was this… There was this one message.

 

SID: [Gently.] A message?

 

ROSE: Yeah. A text. On Leo’s mobile. I saw it. Before he could delete it. It said…

 

SID: What did it say?

 

SID wipes away ROSE’s tears.

ROSE: It was from him. From Craven. It said…

SID: Come on now. Tell me. What did it say?

ROSE: It was horrible.

SID: Tell me.

ROSE: It said… It said… ‘I’m going to hurt you so bad’.

SID: Is that what it said?

ROSE: And then there was a smiley face.

SID: Smiley face?

ROSE: Yeah. A smiley face. An emoticon. Like a little robot head. And the robot’s ears—his antennae—looked like little devil’s horns. And he was smiling.

SID: And this was from Craven?

ROSE: That was the name. That was the name on the screen.

SID: And you’re sure that’s what it said?

ROSE: Yes. I remember exactly. Because I thought… I thought to myself… Bad is not an adverb.

SID: What the fuck?

ROSE: Bad’s an adjective, not an adverb. People always get that wrong.

SID: Is that right?

ROSE: ‘Course. It’s an adverb. Not an adjective. It should be badly.

ROSE subsides into tears.

SID: Come on. Calm down. Calm down. Let’s get this out. [Indicating the laptop.] We can watch David Attenborough together. It’s on iPlayer.

ROSE: [Weeping.] It used to get my dad so angry—when people said that. He said it was American.

 

SID: I don’t think people like Craven care much about adverbs.

 

ROSE: But it’s bad grammar. It should be ‘I’m going to hurt you so bad-ly’.

 

SID: I know, I know. [Pause.] You said.

ROSE: There’s something else.

SID: What’s that?

ROSE: Thing is, I can’t be sure about it.

SID: You can still tell me.

ROSE: But it was more like a feeling.

SID: Come on. Tell me.

ROSE: Just now, when I was coming here, I kept on getting the feeling someone was following me.

SID: Following you?

ROSE: Yeah. But like I said, I can’t be sure.

SID: So what d’ he look like—this fellow you thought might be following you?

ROSE: He was tall. Dark skin. Maybe Asian. Maybe mixed-race.

SID: Well, that’s not Craven.

ROSE: But I only got the quickest of glances. I might be mistaken.

SID: You didn’t see him clearly?

ROSE: No—and it could’ve just been my imagination.

SID: Yeah. That’s right. It could’ve been. If you didn’t see him clearly.

ROSE: So, where do you think he is?

SID: Who? The bloke who was following you?

ROSE: No.

SID: Craven?

ROSE: No. Leo, silly.

SID: I don’t know and I don’t really care.

 

ROSE: You don’t?

SID: The guy’s a creep. Letting you get mixed up in all this shit.

ROSE: We shouldn’t be using his laptop.

SID: We’re not doing any harm.

ROSE: But he said he didn’t want anyone fiddling with his laptop.

SID: But he’s not here, is he?

ROSE: But he said not to.

SID: How will he know?

ROSE: He said not to touch.

SID: How will he know what we do?

ROSE: He said. On the phone.

SID: Well, we won’t tell him.

As The Hunt comes back on the laptop, and images of hunting dogs tearing at a wildebeest are projected on to the screen. SID pulls ROSE towards him and their eyes meet.

SID: We won’t tell him what we do.

A ringing tone interrupts David Attenborough’s urbane commentary. We see an icon indicating an incoming Skype call from a subscriber listed as Craven. They spring apart, with ROSE hastily jumping to her feet and SID following her.

 

SID: Fuck me!

ROSE: Oh my God!

SID: The cunt’s on Skype.

ROSE: Oh God! Oh God!

SID: He wants to speak to us!

ROSE: To Leo!

SID: He wants to hurt us!

ROSE: He wants to hurt Leo!

SID: He wants to hurt us so bad.

ROSE: Not us. Leo! He wants to hurt Leo.

SID: He wants to hurt us so bad.

ROSE: So badly!

SID: He wants to hurt us bad.

ROSE: Badly! It’s an adverb!

SID: I know it’s a fucking adverb!

ROSE: It’s Leo he wants to hurt! Not us!

SID: He wants to hurt us.

ROSE: He doesn’t care about us. It’s Leo he wants to hurt.

SID: He wants to hurt us so bad…

ROSE: Badly! Badly! He wants to hurt us so badly! How many times do I have to tell you?

The ringing tone ends, the Skype icon disappears from the screen, and all that’s left is footage of wild dogs tearing at a wildebeest and David Attenborough’s measured voice.