Friday, 20 December 2013

Friday Fish & Chips


A sitting room scene. Friday afternoon. There is a new addition to the family, Rimi, the longlost grand/daughter to the rest of the family. Dad sits on the pouffe we use now as a stool, Granny is on the sofa with hands folded on knees, and Grancha fumbles falling forwards whilst wiping his glasses perched on the armchair. Outside are gale-force winds.

In hushed tones the two of them talk

Dad: Did I tell you that I got another “one of those” before she came?

Granny: What? Speak up darling.

Dad: (Pointing at his finger) I got another “one of those” from the (nods to the wall)

Granny: Another one of what? What’s wrong with the wall?

Having had enough of the loud disruptive whispering across the sitting room

Rimi: What are you talking about?

Granny shrugs

Dad: We shouldn’t hide things from her; she’s old enough now to understand what happens when adults have accidents.

Rimi: If you say so

Dad: She’s been at school in the last 30 years so she’ll know about these things, chemistry lessons and experiments isn’t that right?

Rimi: (Blankly) Yes

Long pause

Dad: I got a 5 Amp shock

Rimi: That’s nothing

Dad: It is! It could kill someone!

Silence

Dad: It’s not the same as voltage, a point 5 Amp could electrocute someone half to death

Rimi: Were you knocked unconscious?

Dad: No, but I was damned hurt. Look at my finger.

All three move closer in to inspect Dad’s finger. There is a little black mark on his forefinger. It looks like a small bat bite.

Rimi: Were you wearing rubber shoes?

Dad: Yes. Luckily so

Rimi: What were you doing?

Dad: It doesn’t matter. It wasn’t anyone’s fault

Granny: It’s nobody’s fault darling

Rimi: But what were you doing?

Dad: I was trying to fix something behind the back of the piano, and my finger touched something unsafe and it gave me an electric shock that was all.

Seemingly satisfied everyone goes back to their tasks. Grancha who had been cleaning his glasses throughout has now folded them away and put them on the windowsill. He now laboriously gets up from his armchair

Grancha: Who wants fish for supper?

Granny: Ooh yes, yummy yummy

Rimi: What did you touch? What were you doing behind the piano?

Dad: It doesn’t matter

Granny: Who wants fish for supper?

Rimi: Me

Grancha: I’ll get my coat on

Granny: Hang on hang on you don’t know what people want yet!

Rimi: Yes, but if there’s something unsafe behind there then we should know –

Dad: It was all black and grotty so you should be glad I got it out

Rimi: I’m not saying I’m not glad but what was it?

Grancha: What would people like?

Dad: I’d like the usual fish supper plus the battered sausage

Granny: What would you like Rimi? Fish and chips or battered sausage or something else altogether? No pressure to eat fish and chips just because we are darling.

Rimi: No I’d love to Granny, but I’ll just have a fish I’m sort of full still

Granny: Just the fish for Rimi, Grancha!

Grancha: Right then we’ll have the usual but with one extra fish

Granny: (Reconfirming) The usual supper plus the one extra fish

Rimi: Well, what was it?

Dad: It’s unpleasant so I’d rather not say

Rimi: Oh for god’s sake what was it – is it unsavoury?

Granny: Oh! Do you want something sweet?

Rimi: No

Grancha: I’ll go put my coat on

Granny: Do you know what everyone wants?

Rimi: I’ll go with you Grancha there’s a hurricane out there. But Dad what was behind the piano?

Dad: I nearly got killed pulling it out

Rimi: But you didn’t so what was it?

Dad: (Resignedly) A plug socket that had had it’s bits cut off.

Silence

Rimi: What?

Dad: It was being used to block up a draught

Pause

Rimi: That was a bit stupid

Dad: Why do I feel like I’m the stupid one in this situation when I was just trying to help?

Rimi: I’m not saying you’re stupid. It’s the cut off plug that’s pretty stupid.

Dad: It could have killed me

Rimi: You could have died

Granny has now leant over the table to write some last minute Christmas cards. Grancha is slowly putting on his coat. She is carefully writing out a message when she remembers something.

Granny: Has Grancha gone?

Grancha: No. I’m still here!

Granny: Do you know what I want?

Grancha: Yes. The usual.

Dad: Don’t worry everyone, we’re having the usual plus one extra fish.

Grancha: That’s right

Granny: (Speaking to Rimi) Are you having just chips?

Dad: Don’t confuse Grancha! Don’t confuse Grancha! We need one extra fish.

Pause

Grancha: Is that four fish?

Granny: What’s Rimi having?

Rimi: I’m having a fish. Just having a fish.

Grancha: So two fish suppers with two extra fish

Dad: No, the usual with one extra fish!

Granny: Ooh hang on, I’m not concentrating on the card. How many fish in the usual?

Dad: There’s three fish in the usual, so we just want one extra fish

Granny: And what’s Rimi having – chips?

All in unison: No, fish!

Long silence. Rimi goes out of the sitting room to put on her coat

Granny: Oh dear, Grancha’s nearly fallen off the card

Grancha: Now where have I left my glasses…