C’est la vie.
Act 1 - No turning back.
Eric – Fly through a strange red sky, to a new foreign land.
Raymond – I live in a town that’s crushed a thousand dreams,
and ripped at the seams.
Carl – 1993, aged 5. The only thing on my mind was Batman. Not once did I think of Robin. It was all about the man who became a bat.
Eric – Anticipation high, my time here seems dangerously unplanned.
Raymond – That brand new pair of pants you shouldn’t have spent your rent on.
Carl – My mum bought me the costume for Christmas. I would jump off the bunk bed. My little sister was Spiderman.
Eric – The life of bohemia waits, leaving behind the life I hate.
Raymond – But six months later you were back.
Just like that, same old job, same old friends.
Carl – The present that holds my best childhood memories. I hold onto each one. A lot are received throughout the years, but only a few are remembered.
Eric – What to do…
Where to go, to the city? The only life I know.
Raymond – Struggling to make ends…
And who did you blame…? This town.
Carl – Batman was my hero. I wore his outfit with pride…and to bed at times. Someone out there may have needed my help…
Eric – Catch a train out to the coast, live a new life in years could boast.
Raymond – (Shout) But I am not this town!
Act 2 - listen
Carl – Eric, if you were Batman, you wouldn’t need to catch a train.
The dream of something different…
To be honest Eric, if you think this way about our life now then I am sure you would soon find a dullness in the bohemian lifestyle you wish for.
To hell with that… work on what you already have.
Eric – Places I’ve been, the things I’ve seen, and to the people I love the most.
Carl – Kiss them all good bye, they’re not worth it!
I mean… that’s the spirit. Take from every experience. Love is a lovely word… makes me feel warm.
Eric – Only time will tell, what in this path lies.
Carl – What in this path lies…? (Pause as Carl is thinking where his path could lead)
The doors are open, the question is, which doors are going to slam in that beautiful face of yours? Work in your own time. You’ll find your right path eventually.
Eric – Bohemian life is here, right before my very eyes,
To me that is the ultimate prize.
Raymond – A town that’s cultivated a thousand convicts, that fight between what conflicts, their need for the weed that holds them back.
Eric – Peace is a virtue. Why do you have to be so aggressive with your attitude and the way you speak? There is always going to be conflicts, but the beauty of love and peace should be looked for and cherished. There is not much of the love in the world… not just this town you know!
Smoking the herb of marijuana enlightens and brings out the happy thoughts which you are clearly missing. Holding me back? I think you are holding yourself back. Clearly you are uptight and need a bit of loosening. You look as if you’re going to explode all the time.
You see what they do not. You know you have us and your family. I’ll be there to pull you back when your switch is knocked.
Raymond – Unable to see that, their life has shattered into a thousand pieces, once a family of sisters, cousins, brothers and nieces.
They are all alone, at the end of the phone to their daughters.
And who will they blame for these choppy waters?
Eric – Let me guess…
Raymond – This town! But I am not this town.
Eric – No! You are Raymond. You make your own decisions. What this town has given us is a stretch of the mind. Who would you be without this town?
Carl – I’ll enjoy it while I can, this time next year I’ll form a plan.
Raymond – Form a plan. You better hurry with the forming, before it’s too late. You are a good man. You can make things of yourself I’m sure.
Carl – A plan to leave this life behind, for a life I believe is for the blind.
Raymond – You have been spending way too much time with Eric. The weed smoking dreams are not helping what is actually going on around you. Think of Batman, now I know he would never have got up and left. He had a duty that he always carried through.
Carl – Though I will always have this experience in mind.
Suburban shuttle to stop. “Day of bore”. Not today I’m asking for more.
Raymond – We run around nonchalant, dejected and restless, like “We can’t change anything though, so why should we try?” But we can change – we can rampage till we stand strange. We got our hands chained clutching at freedom. The freedom of say what you mean and say it with meaning. Change your own mind before you try change the sequence. Live through your energy, not through your reason.
This is the last day of my discontented season, no more will I tolerate this greed it’s demeaning.
Needing a breeze through the stifling heat of elitist descriptions of what we can reach. They want you to fear it, to not get too near it so they can continue pretending they’re smarter. Sit still though; receive it from self like Siddhartha. The past is just what we came after.
Act 3. – The hole.
(Eric, Carl and Raymond put forward a speech)
Carl - We have been brought together by our town. Contradictions score high. Thoughts are recognised before the tongues can move, practicing the art of reflection.
What we call ourselves could be titled as ‘cocky’ I suppose. I believe we are the town’s sturdy three wise men. Look not on thy church, but on the face of thyself.
Thank-you for listening.
Raymond – There is no one listening, other than the walls around. If they could speak they would tell you to shut that hole in your face.
Eric – (Clapping his hands) I liked it… very well put. I think you should mention the fact that Raymond here is the initial starter of the three of us wise men. Without Raymond I do not think we would be absorbed in the news of our town so much.
Carl – Okay, okay. Ladies and gentlemen, I would also like to add a thank-you. Not just to you, but to Raymond he was the founder of this group.
(Carl takes off his shoe and holds it up high as a toast to Raymond)
Eric – (Takes his shoe off also)
To Raymond. We love you very much.
Raymond – Cut this shit out. Look around, what do you see? I see four walls. Three men standing in the midst of their phobias, unwilling to realise it I’m sure. How can you act the way you do in a time like this?
Eric – What?! Don’t you put that grey dull horizon of yours into the minds of happiness.
I advise you to get a bit of imagination, or die in those grey choppy waters of yours.
The art work in this room is beautiful. Just look at the colours. My particular favourite is Zena Holloway’s work. The shark in a cage. The roles have been switched. Divers outside, ready to pounce on the cage with the Great White not able to do anything.
Carl – My Auntie went on holiday to South Africa and that’s what she did. They gave her DVD footage.
Eric – It’s a bit different when you’re the one in the cage. That was your Aunties decision and many other peoples, but this shark in the photo didn’t have that.
Pause. Looking at the wall.
Raymond – That shark has fear in its eyes. A baby shark! All creatures have regrets.
Pause. Still looking at the wall.
It takes more than fucking someone you don’t know to keep yourself warm!
Carl – (Laughs) where did that thought come from? One minute sharks, the next you mention fucking. Excuse me if I’m wrong, maybe I’m the sick one here, but to think of that while you see this picture is pretty hostile.
Raymond – (Laughs) says you and your poetic absurdness. It’s the three of us for a while now; I don’t want to fucking be here. The thought of seeing the room as it is would drive me nuts. May as well not prolong the madness eh? Its better this way, I can control it for now.
All three are looking at the wall.
You don’t really see anything there do you?
Eric – Man! The doubt is excessively rich right now. There is no need to answer that.
Carl – Essentially, art exists in the mind of the creator.
Raymond – Can you see in the dark? You won’t find love in a hole.
Eric- Love is river deep and mountain high. There’s a hole out there with the woman of your dreams. If you dig a little every day you’ll find her quicker. Try and do the digging all in a day and believe me you’ll be exhausted.
Raymond – Most probably turn out to be a black widow spider.
Eric – A black widow spider… now that’s some imagination. Deep down in the earth that you dig. What do you find?
Raymond – None of them, I find a beautiful, shapely, long legged creature, quite big. That’s how I like them. Fun is had for a few days, think they start to like me then they punch their way through to my heart and pull it out, ripping all the veins. Red blood stained shirt. They eat me in one.
Eric – Red is the colour for love.
Raymond – Well in that case, I don’t ever want to be in love again. Jessica was her name, evil was her game and she most definitely was not tame.
Carl – Well that is a tremendous shame. When I was nine years old I had a girl friend, my best friend. We went to school together. Her name was Tanya, a road away she lived. I was the little man, proud of it too. Down the alley we would go.
For kisses you know. Innocence…you would think. For a nine year old, that is me, not so innocent. My friends were envious of me. “How did you get a girl friend?” Made me feel as high as a kite.
Eric – Floating in the sky, light as a feather.
Raymond – How long did that feeling last? Was it more than a week?
Carl – Sarcasm I can take but I can tell that you haven’t experienced the floating.
Raymond – I don’t need to float, I need to learn how to balance myself first. Taken by surprise with the emotion of floating will not do me any justice. I need to know when it’s coming and prepare my balance.
The deflation did not take long…no?
Carl – I never saw her again, I moved closer to you two. And I continued to float in your presence.
Obviously a little deflated.
Eric – Door one, door two, door three.
Raymond – Is this the way to be?
Carl – Love Lane is only a dream.
Eric – Far away in my mind.
Raymond – What I’d love to find.
Carl – Tea and coffee all around
Eric – An open house is abounding.
Raymond – One day I shall have this,
Carl – not forgetting what I had to miss.
Eric – Promised beginnings, like the period of honeymoons.
Raymond – Cracks ever showing,
Carl – but still we are glowing.
Eric – Pride likes to hide, no one sees what we see.
Raymond – Gripping onto the key. We won’t move,
Carl – we have nothing to prove.
Eric – Days go by and the wind blows fine.
Raymond – Sitting chatting with a bottle of wine.
I mean beer. A bottle of Carlsberg.
Eric – Drink what you like. That’s not really relevant.
Today I thought the downstairs were up, I was that muddled I couldn’t string a sentence together. I couldn’t sentence a string together. I couldn’t together a together, together.
Raymond - You couldn’t string a tent.
Carl – I went up to the tent and tried to sting it, expecting it to recoil in pain. It just stood there and said you have…
Raymond –All over the place written all over your face.
Eric – I was that muddled I got into brain pain on the train because they couldn’t take the pre pay off my oyster card.
Something to do with. We only get two percent of your fare on here so we don’t do it. If you get a zone 3 4 5 travel card for an extra I don’t know, you could get a zone 5 extension, or a single from where you’re travelling. On the way back you can, but you can’t on the way there, it’s different.
Carl – Its London transport
Raymond – Its London transport
Eric – Its London transport, its London transport, its London transport.
Carl – It’s a wonder other commuters do not get muddled in the same way as you were muddled today.
Eric – I was that muddled, all I could think about was.
Crossed wires and radio interference.
Space and confusion.
Lumps and protrusions.
The tweed jacket of the man sitting next to me.
The Bakerloo line upholstery opposite me that I had mistaken for my fiancée.
The end of the line.
The friend of the fisherman.
The giant rat that tries to take over everybody’s lives and resides at Elephant and Castle.
Carl – Oh goodness, you were muddled.
Eric – I was alpha beta gamma delta epsilon zeta eta theta backwards. And now the giant rat is after me.
Carl – Run, run, as fast as you can you can’t catch me…
Raymond – (looking at Carl’s hair).
Your hair is quite ginger. Ginger is a famously rude biscuit… I would.
Pause (Eric is running)
I’d kill for a biscuit right now.
Eric falls to the floor huffing and puffing from running round the room.
Eric – Look if the rat can find its way out, so can we.
Raymond – No rat was here. I would have let you have that story but thinking about following the rat’s path is ridiculous. You need to get used to this dump, don’t get such thoughts in your head just yet.
Eric – I did just understand what you said but there’s no harm in giving it a go.
Raymond – Give it a go if you wish, just remember we’re not in a film. This is real life.
Carl – If it was a film, this would remind me of “The Shawshank Redemption”.
Eric – Although we are not innocent.
Carl – We’re not terribly bad though, not like half the people back home.
Raymond – We should not be compared to any one of them. They screwed up their lives. They are what make the town we live in. The business talk, alley speaking way. It has been tainted for the new generation.
Carl – It has been tainted all our life. I have some very vivid memories from my childhood. The time of our life, everything seemed to be wrapped up in cotton wool. We didn’t have the mentality to see the bad. As we grew we heard the hatred. I didn’t know what path to take, all I knew is that I wanted to get out of that town.
Eric – One day I will lie on a beach far away from that town. Sit under a palm tree, herb in one hand and feel stress free.
Raymond – My dreams are ruined, now I am here I’m just like one of them. My hopes and aspirations are crushed. I will start living as a bohemian when we leave. I shall turn my back on the town that made us.
Eric – Fly with us to that strange new land.
Raymond – I will, we are the three wise men, off on our journey to find the King.
Carl – Jesus? I don’t really fancy the idea of going to Jerusalem. Somewhere nobody has ever heard of before, we can make up our own town.
Eric – Away from big rats and pollution of the city. An island of our own so we can determine the peace.
Carl – Peace, love and harmony.
Raymond – I rejoice in the company of you two. I have not said this before, but I am grateful for the one thing that town brought me.
Eric and Carl you are my brothers.
The embarrassment I feel sharing this emotion with you is sky high. If they want to live the way they do, then let them be.
Eric – Let who be? Forgive and forget then move on. No more greed you said. Say your piece then leave.
Raymond – Okay what do I say to a town where the kids wonder, whether to plunder the books at school, or be cool cause dads alright, he’s no fool.
Hell he drinks all day and beats his wife, because his sons in bed and there’s no-one left to fight.
He’s arranging for his children to be short changed, it’s deranged and who’ll get the blame?
That town, but I am not that town.
A town full of small talk and no action, ten thousand empty promises with no interaction.
Stories of success with no reaction, people are lost, left feeling doubled crossed, and tossed in the rubbish trucks, screaming life sucks, with nothing to calm the influx of hate.
Wondering how that place, got into that state?
And who’ll be getting the blame?
That town, but I can now say I am definitely not that town.
Eric – Kick the negativity to the curb, it’s absurd that you’ve carried it this long.
Sing it the goodbye, lullaby song and set yourself free, when the people see you will not be alone.
You will be starting on that journey, to that place, taking that step, moving forward and proving to yourself you can make that difference!
The difference you dreamed about, the difference you schemed about, screamed about, the difference you said you’d never make!
Now there is no time for blame…
Because you are not that town.
Carl – You are not that town!
You are not that town!
You are you!
Act 4 - The Great Departure.
All three men are sat in separate areas of the room.
Raymond – You like to dream and I like to dream. The dreams are what keep us going. Why are dreams, dreams? Because they are imaginary, extraordinary and usually so crazy it is never likely to happen…ever!
Carl – All I dream about these days is life outside of here. A different life and escape from here.
Raymond – The outside is a real place.
Carl – Sure, I ride on an elephant through town. Everyone looking happy and cheering that I am back.
Raymond – That is a realistic dream. What I am trying to say is, where our dreams are usually unattainable…the ones we have been talking about for so long are possible.
Maybe not the elephant in town. That strange land, we talk about, but deep down I don’t think we ever think it will happen. We are keeping them as crazy dreams that could never happen, but they can, they are realistic dreams.
Eric – I love to dream and I know the difference. I have always said I wanted to leave our town.
I have…not at home here.
Raymond – Great, what a life this is. Good dream is it?
Eric – Yes actually, I’m on the beach having Rum and Coke. I think I’m going fishing soon with Tallest. You can come as well and we shall catch some dinner for tonight.
Carl – Tallest?
Eric – Yea Tallest is his name, although his real name is Aswan. We all call him Tallest now because he is very tall.
Thanks man, you didn’t have to.
Raymond – What?
Eric – Don’t worry me, my friend here Shaki has just brought me some fruit he picked. Complements the Rum you know?
Carl – Yea I’m sure. Well don’t eat too much; you don’t want to get cramp in the sea.
Eric – No, I’m a pro man, I know the way of the ocean. The ocean would never let me drown.
I take from the ocean, but I don’t give back…
I feel very bad now, I can’t just take, take, take.
Here you go. Eric raises his hand and performs a throwing action.
Raymond – What did you throw there?
Eric – An apple I threw in the sea.
Carl – An apple? That’s not very exotic. How about pineapple…got any mangoes over there?
Eric – Plenty thank-you very much.
Raymond – Someone’s living their dream already.
I can’t sit around here any longer. If the fat rat can find a way then we can.
Carl – The fat rat wasn’t real.
Raymond – Neither was the elephant, but it exists somewhere out there.
Carl – I think the best way to conquer this would be to think like a rat.
Did you use to watch The Turtles? There was Rat, the character who lived in the sewers.
Raymond – They must fit through tight gaps and they wouldn’t mind getting dirty.
Eric – She is very dirty!
Raymond and Carl look at each other and carry on.
Carl – The floor is mucky… and the toilet.
Raymond – Yea, very good.
Carl – I used to play Turtles when I was younger, we could pretend to be Rat instead of Michelangelo, Donatello or any of the others? That way we engage within the mind of the creature.
Raymond – Very well. I grace the floor with my hands and knees. I’m now on all fours, resting on my paws.
Carl – Rats have paws and very sharp claws. Worst of all, they crawl with disease.
Raymond – The Plague is here, a lot of us around, we begin to make people fall to the ground.
Scurrying along we are bound.
Carl – We work our way below human interaction, and meet others that gained satisfaction.
Pause. Raymond stands up.
Raymond – Right, I think that has helped us enough. I found a very tiny gap on the floor over there. I bet a rat could find a home down there.
Pause, Raymond and Carl go to the gap.
Eric – You found the gap then, I was waiting for one of you two to crack and found you both did.
Raymond – Thought you were fishing?
Eric – I was… just got back. The sea was rough but I still managed to catch this.
Eric holds up a real fish.
Carl – Where did that come from?
Eric – I told you, I went in the sea and caught it with my stick.
Look! Eric holds up his stick he caught the fish with.
Raymond – How odd, I haven’t seen fresh fish like that in a very long time.
Carl – No, neither have I.
Carl takes the fish.
It smells like a real fish, it feels like a real fish…and it tastes like a real fish.
Raymond – We were rats a minute ago trying to escape. I thought you had changed in a flash for the worst. Tallest and a fruit bowl…turns out we were more in denial than you.
Carl – Did you enjoy watching us crawl around like rats?
Eric – We must keep the peace. When I saw my dream I didn’t want to let go, I just kept moving forward. You both did that too. You wanted to get out of the hell hole you were in.
Laughs. Never thought I would see Raymond crawling.
Carl – So that place we were in. We were guilty of hating our town and everything bad that had gone wrong in our lives.
Raymond – My narrow minded ways!
Eric – Don’t dwell on it now. Appreciate the beauty that we didn’t see before.
Raymond – Open my eyes, hear the sound of the rhythm and the beat.
Eric – Stretch out and quickly jump to my feet.
Carl – First thing you gotta do is look outside.
Raymond – It’s not raining open up the window wide.
Eric – As I reach for my toothbrush the scent of BBQ jerk chicken floats through the window and upstairs.
Carl – First bite into that takes away all your cares.
Raymond – Turn up the volume on my Bob Marley cd.
Eric – Herb in one hand on the beach, this is what I need to teach.
Raymond – To the town where I belong…I will write my thoughts and sing along.
Carl – Back home for now to mix with old mates. Let’s see what path will be my fate.
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