Flat Out




Scene  12 months have elapsed.  Stan and Rosa are living together at the top of high rise block of Council flats in London.  Stan is sat in the lounge browsing his laptop, whilst Rosa appears agitated, and regularly nudges the curtain to look out of a window.

STAN Come away from that window Rosa.  You’ve been at it for half an hour.  What’s up with you today? Do you want a coffee?

ROSA Nothing’s up with me.  I’m just fed up that’s all.  This flat’s driving me mad. Six months we’ve been here, and I still can’t settle.  I do miss my own little house in Camberwell. No thanks to you.

STAN Oh don’t rub it in.  Don’t start again. We’re both paying for it.  Your help and support has been brilliant even if you were a little impulsive.  Mind you I’m really glad you’re here. But I made a mistake – alright?

ROSA A mistake?  Stan you lost your job for gross misconduct.  I resigned in protest, then couldn’t afford my mortgage.  They repossessed my lovely house. So 10 years after I left this high-rise block of flats, the Council has put us back in.  Some mistake.

STAN Look I didn’t know the woman was the new Manager.  She was leaning over the desk, and I, just…

ROSA Just what Stan?  What happened? You’ve never told me, but it must have been serious to get sacked.

STAN Innocent.  No offence intended.   I felt brainwashed, controlled, manipulated on auto-pilot.  It was harmless.

ROSA The only way you’ll ever be armless is if we cut them both off at the shoulder.  What do you mean brainwashed?

STAN 5 years of being a Moderator had its effect.  Looking at all those screens, scenes, and words.  Only now, am I realising the true impact on me. (Laughs)  The only consolation, is that I’ve gone up in the world.  We’re on the 11th floor, you can see the Thames, the London Eye, and the lift works……most of the time.  (Pause)  Rosa, haven’t you noticed any difference in your thinking or emotional well-being?  Or is it just me?

ROSA Course it’s affected me.  I’m even having dyslexic thoughts.  Not words. Thoughts! Do you know what?  This block was once, the only one on the estate.  Now we’re surrounded by other even bigger blocks, and other people looking in.  Snooping. It’s like the bloody United Nations up here now.

STAN Well what are you doing?  Right now? Isn’t it the same as a Moderator?  Nosing into other people’s business. Peering out from behind the net curtains instead of a screen?

ROSA At least we’ve got curtains.  Besides, I’m still doing my bit as a good citizen.  Remember, two months ago. Who spotted the phantom flasher?  He thought he was being clever, walking round the park in his beige raincoat, with the buttons undone.  Soon as he got near an old lady, the coat suddenly got caught in the breeze, and there was his zip open, with his willy on display.

STAN Yeah, but it was a phantom wasn’t it.  Bloke was doing it as a dare.  His mates in the Rugby club set him up.  Anyone could see his willy was only a pork sausage stuffed in the front.  Sorry, a string of pork sausages. It was so obviously a joke.

ROSA Not from up here.  I just thought he was well endowed.  Anyway, the police said I did the right thing.

STAN Oh you definitely did the right thing all right.  Although/

ROSA Although what?  Why are you laughing Stan?

STAN Well, if someone had asked me what you’d do, I’d have said Rosa would put her coat on, run down to the park, have a closer look, then kick him in the nuts.

ROSA Cheeky bugger.  Mind you, if Id known it was quality pork sausages, I’d have taken a pair of scissors with me.  They’re your favourite.

STAN You’re worse than me Rosa.  Your mind needs a good Jet Wash.  All Moderators need them. What are we going to be like in a couple of years?  Who’s checking out the impact on us? No one!

ROSA Hang on.  Look at that trollop in Flat 7.  Stark naked and wandering around without a care in the world.  No nets, curtains open. Stan sit down  She must know what’s going on.  Perhaps she’s one of those voyagers who likes people to look at her.

STAN You mean a voyeur.  A voyeur gets pleasure out of watching other people.  Just like Moderators. Not showing their own bums. That’s an exhibitionist.  Let me have a look and I’ll tell you for sure.

ROSA Sit down Stan.  I’m warning you.  I haven’t forgiven you yet, for that week in Tenerife, when you spent the whole time with your tongue hanging out, looking at those topless women round the pool.

STAN It wasn’t the topless bit so much.  It was the thongs. What a turn on. Mind you, they looked very uncomfortable.

ROSA Is that why you bought yourself one?  A middle-aged man wearing a posing pouch and prancing round the beach.  You looked ridiculous. Especially when you burnt your arse.

STAN I’m not middle-aged.  I just look it. Rosa, as for my arse, that’s cos you wouldn’t help me with the suntan lotion.

ROSA I knew exactly what you were up to Stan.  No way was I applying oil to your backside.

STAN What about them Germans?  They were starkers. Men and Women.  Some of them had pins and chains through delicate parts of their anatomy.  I thought they were on some punishment programme where the Judge had imposed it.  Perhaps a German version of an ASBO. “You vill have your villy pierced”.  Like we have tagging here.  But the daft buggers were doing it for fun.  Wonder how they get through airport security?

ROSA How do you know so much about it?

STAN Well, when we got home I went down to the Library and asked if they had any books on the practice.  Bloke gave me a funny look, then became friendly, and explained they had a special section in the library for special people.

ROSA What bloke Stan?

STAN Quentin the Senior Librarian.

ROSA Which one’s he?

STAN The tall one with the long delicate hands and the nice walk.

ROSA Oh him.  That explains it.  I suppose he suggested you buy those magazines I found in your wardrobe.

STAN What magazines?

ROSA The ones I threw over the balcony last night.

STAN So that’s why those kids were having such a laugh when I parked the car this morning.  Sniggering to themselves. We used to laugh at Viz. Anyway; they weren’t mine. They must have been in the wardrobe when I bought it at Auction.

ROSA Stan.  They didn’t publish them until 2 months after you bought the bloody thing.  So don’t try that one. Now look at her. That woman on the fifth floor has got another bloke on her doorstep.  She has more men in her flat in a day than the public toilets in the High Street.

STAN Perhaps they’re delivering things.  You never know. She might run one of those mail order catalogues.  Male order. Get it (Laughs at his pun)  Anyway, they could be relatives/

ROSA Stan.  Don’t be so navy.

STAN Naïve love.  Not navy. I see what you mean about mental dyslexia.  Mind you, she might even be one of these new-fangled alternative therapists.  It’s all the rage nowadays.

ROSA Stan.  She’s in the oldest game in the world.

STAN What flat number is it?  I could make a complaint to the Council.

ROSA Never you mind.  Now look at that bloke over there.  He’s stripping a motorcycle down in his front room.  How did he get it in the lift and up to the 7th floor?

STAN Well, perhaps he’s not stripping it down Rosa.  Maybe he’s bought all the parts up one by one, and he’s building it in the flat.  I used to do that. I was always keen on bikes.

ROSA You didn’t do it in your front room.  Presume you had a workshop in the backyard.  Oh Oh. Here he comes.

STAN Who Rosa?  You’re getting me worried now.

ROSA That black bloke with the funny hair.  The vegetarian. Why do they have to walk like that?  Why can’t they walk properly instead of loping along, swinging their hips?  (Imitates walk)  It must be that gungy they smoke.

STAN If he’s got funny long hair with ringlets he’s a Rastafarian not a vegetarian.  And it’s ganja they smoke. Gungy is what children get when they’ve got a head cold.  It’s yellow, thick, comes out their nose and usually ends up on someone else when they sneeze.

ROSA Oh shut up.  You know what I mean.  Watching all those texts and Emails that’s what’s done my head in.  My words get mixed up sometimes.

STAN It’s not just sometimes.  You can be hard going Rosa.  But I still fancy yah. Now come over here.  Come on. Sit next to me.

ROSA Stan, why weren’t you like this when we worked together?  

STAN Wasn’t sure if you were AC:DC and swung both ways.

ROSA Remember our picnic?  You had a chance then.  Now, you can’t stop at a cuddle and I’m getting bored.  Bored with everything. This flat, our life, everything.  Bored.

STAN There’s a bottle of wine in the fridge.  Why don’t we go in the next room Rosa, and then you can be in Bed & Board.  We can pretend we’re on holiday again in Tenerife. Come on. How about it? Let’s recreate some of those moments from our special video Moderator episodes.  The one’s we didn’t really delete and just put on a stick. Well, I did anyway.

ROSA Stan can I ask you a question?

STAN Yeah.  What is it?  Come on. Ask!

ROSA Will you wear that posing pouch like last time when we were on holiday?  I didn’t really throw it away.

STAN Oh good.  That’s nice to know.  Mind you, I bought a spare just in case.  So pouch it is, as long as you promise one thing.

ROSA What’s that?

STAN Don’t go topless.  I couldn’t cope with it.

ROSA Liar!  Now make sure you draw the curtains properly.  Remember that guy on the 13th floor.  He’s got a pair of those night storage glasses.  Apparently, takes them to the greyhounds.

STAN Night vision Rosa.  Night vision. And he goes dogging not greyhound racing.  Anyway, I did the curtains half an hour ago. My horoscope said I would get lucky today.

ROSA The paper hasn’t arrived yet.  That was yesterday’s forecast. I read it.

STAN Yeah but the clocks went back last night, so I’ve still got time on that forecast.

ROSA You cunning bastard!  Get in there. I will definitely punish you for that.

STAN Oh good.  Mind you, that wasn’t in my horoscope was it; Miss Moderator of the year 2019.  (Stands up and starts to close laptop down.  Then)  Hang on Rosa.  (Sits down again and looks intently at screen)  Something’s kicking off in New Zealand.  Live screening. (Watches as sound of gunfire and screaming emerge.  He shouts) You bastard.  (Pauses as further shots/screams are heard.  Angrily) You fucking bastard.  Oh shit. He’s killing kids, women, anyone and it’s live!!  Oh fucking hell Rosa. Fucking hell. Where’s the Moderators?  Slam dunk it for Christ’s sake. Where are you? Bastards! Where are you?  (Begins to sob as Rosa moves to comfort him.  She slams the laptop lid down)



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