Nowhere Town: Act ONE Scene II
Enter JACK and JOEY, stage-right, in a shoving match, working up to a fight. GUY enters behind them and tries to separate the two. JOEY shoves JACK and he staggers to the centre of the stage, falling and clearly too drunk to get up.
JOEY: Look at you. You can’t even fucking stand up.
JACK: Fuck you.
JOEY [turning away in disgust]: I’ve fucking had it. Fuck this shit. Just… fuck this. Every gig it's the fucking same. Every city it's the fucking same.
JACK: Fuck you. I’ll fucking have you right now. [He tries to stand up, slips back down, and collapses, lying on his back, arms spread out.] Bastard.
JOEY looks at him, shakes his head. GUY gives him a “give the guy a break look”, and steps between the two, beckoning JOEY back. He stands over JACK, his arms crossed.
GUY: Is that you finished then?
JACK [proud of himself]: Finished… Fucked!… and finished!
GUY: Can we please just all go back to the hotel, now? [looks over at JOEY, who shakes his head]
JACK [raising one fist, like a champion]: I am abso-fuckin-lutely fuckin finished!
JOEY: I’m not sharing the car with him.
JACK: [waving one arm in an impression of a Hollywood stereotype, the wounded comrade] Leave me here. Go on without me. Save yerselves. I’m done for. [starts laughing, an edge of despair to his hysteria]
In the background, enter CHORUS stage-left, bringing on a door frame with an “EXIT” sign above it which he places at the left-front corner of the platform, between him and the others. The other characters pay no attention to him as he exits.
GUY [looks wryly at JOEY]: We can’t leave him here.
JACK [carrying on the act]: Tha’s right. Never leave a man behind! [quietly, seriously] Never leave a man behind.
JOEY: Fuck this. He can go to hell. I’ve had it with him, Guy. This is just the last… five years of this shit, Guy. We've had five years of this bollocks waiting for him to fucking well get over it and... I'm done.
GUY: He was your friend before Fagsmoke, Joey. He -
JOEY: Yeah, and now he can fuckin well go to hell.
JACK [to himself]: I’m already there, mate. I’m already there.
GUY: Joey... please.
JOEY [reluctantly]: Ah… fucker. [goes to help GUY drag JACK upright]
JACK [pitiful]: You’re a true friend.
JOEY: And you’re a true fuck-up.
JACK: That I am. I’m sorry, Joey. Guy, I’m sorry. I’m an asshole, and I’m sorry.
JACK: I’m really sorry. Really. You’ve… been there for me, both of you. And I’ve been a fuckin prick. I'm such a fuckin prick.
Jack gets himself under control, shakes his head as if to shake off the drunkenness. He is still unsteady on his feet, but as he looks up at JOEY he speaks more clearly, more considered.
I’m fucked up, man. Sometimes… it’s just… sometimes it just... hits you… you know. Five years and it still feels like fucking yesterday.
JOEY: Yeah, well, do you need to fuck up every fucking gig?
JACK: I’m sorry, I’m sorry… man, it’s just, I’m sick of fucking wanking off a crowd of teenage tossers who think they’re fucking “anarchists, man”. I’m sick of the same old fucking bullshit. How long have we been playing that song? I mean, who really gives a fuck about the fucking Jubilee? It’s just adolescent fucking posturing.
GUY: So write something new. Give them something you do believe in. Jack. Just be yourself. You have a talent. Use it. Christ, the band’s big enough now; you could do anything you want and they’ll eat it up. You’ve got other songs in you, Jack. I know you do. There’s "Nowhere Town" -
JACK [shoving him away]: No! [pointing at him] Don't you fucking bring that up again. Don't you ever fucking... That's his song… that was our... it was his... ah, what’s the fucking point?
JOEY [turning away, sickened]: Let’s just get the fuck out of here.
JACK, JOEY and GUY walk to the doorway and step through – into the left half of the stage, the alley outside.
JOEY: Alright. So where’s the fucking car, then?
GUY: Damn it. I told them the side-exit -
Enter a group of YOBS from stage-left.
YOB: Check it out [laughs]. Who do you think you are, eh?
JACK [looks at the YOB derisively]: Nice togs, mate. Ramraid a sports shop, did ye?
YOB: Fucking big man, eh?
JACK [sneers]: Hung like a horse. Why, you looking for some action?
YOB: I’ll give you some fucking action, gayboy.
JOEY [laughing]: Are you for real?
JACK [moving towards the man, speaks in a nasal accent, mocking] You gonna have me then? You gonna take me? You wanna fuck with me, eh?
GUY: Come on. Leave it, Jack.
YOB: Fuckin queer.
JACK: That’s right, mate. And you look just like the arsehole that I fucked last night. [The YOB starts coming for him] Aye, come ahead.
YOB: I’ll fucking do you.
JACK: How hard are you? Bet you’re not as fucking hard as me [grabs his own crotch and leers]. I'm fuckin rock-solid for ya, baby.
The YOB lunges forward and - as far as the audience can see - punches JACK in the stomach. JACK grabs him, holding himself up, and kisses him on the mouth. The YOB pulls back and punches him again, several times, until JACK doubles over and falls to his knees. As JOEY starts for the YOB and GUY moves to help JACK, the YOB steps back, stops for a second as if in shock, then flees stage-left, the other YOBS with him. JOEY runs after them, offstage. A flick-knife drops to the stage, unnoticed by JACK or GUY.
JOEY [offstage]: Aye, run ya bastards! Run!
GUY: Jack. Jack.
JACK [on hands and knees]: Aw, fucking hell. Fucking hell.
GUY: Just stay there. Stay there for a bit. Don’t try to get up. [walks stage-left] Joey! [exits] Joey!
JACK crawls to the edge of the platform and slumps against it. He takes his hand from his stomach and looks at it; it's covered in blood.
JACK: Aw, fuckin hell. Man down. [laughs, coughs] Officer, we need assistance. We have a man down… Aaaaaaaah, FUCKERS!
The lighting begins to strobe, flashing blue and red. In the distance, there is the sound of a horn, getting gradually louder and louder. JACK clambers to his feet using the doorway for support.
JACK [swaying]: Fuuuuck. Is this moving, or is it me? [He picks the doorway up, turns 180 degrees and dumps it down behind him. The lighting suddenly stops strobing and the horn cuts off. The stage is lit blood-red now] Definitely me.
Exit JACK, staggering drunkenly, stage-right.
Enter CHORUS to rearrange the scenery. He picks up the flick-knife,wipes it on his top and uses it to clean under his fingernails. He walks over to pick the doorway up and place it far-left – pointedly stepping over the place where JACK was lying, closing and putting the knife in his pocket - then brings on a couple of chairs and a table(s), which he places in the empty left half of the stage. Meanwhile, a BARMAN enters with a mop, walks over to where JACK was lying and clears up an imaginery spill.
A handful of REGULARS enter and sit at the table(s) or stand at the counter. CHORUS clicks his fingers and the word “NO” lights up on the door sign, directly above the “EXIT”. The stage, reset, has become a bar.
CHORUS delves into his pockets and brings out a bottle and a glass, pours himself a drink and lights a cigarette.
CHORUS: So what’s the colour of night? The dull, volcanic glow of streetlights, halogen orange reflected, muted on cloud-cover overhead… or jarring, clashing, neon red? Nah, that ain’t true. [takes a drag from his cigarette] The colour of the night [and the stage-lighting changes as he speaks] is blue.