There is a loud knock at the door. Maggs places her copy of The Bell Jar on the table and answers the door to find a man in a suit holding a clipboard.
MAGGS: No thank you.
MAN: I’m not selling anything.
MAGGS: Thank heavens for that. The last thing I bought from a door to door salesman was a bobblehead of Eamonn Holmes. It lasted two days on top of Mabel’s twin tub before his head fell off, bounced to the floor and rolled under the trolley Mabel keeps the Teasmaid on. Took three days of trying to fish it out from under there before any of us remembered the trolley is on wheels.
MAN: Okay. Well, I’m carrying out a Brexit census to collate information on whether people will be voting in or out.
MAGGS: Brexit? Is that some kind of car?
MAN: No, Ma’am. Brexit – whether Britain stays in or leaves Europe.
MAGGS: Well that seems a pointless vote. I’m all for people power and standing up against the man, or the machine, but I don’t think democracy can stand against the mighty power of geography.
MAN: I’m sorry?
MAGGS: Well, it’s all good and well if the nation votes to leave Europe but what do we do once that’s decided? Do we take power tools to the tectonic plates until Blighty floats free on the ocean, then paddle for warmer waters?
MAN: I think you seem to have misunderstood. Have you not been following the news about the proposed exit from the European Union?
MAGGS: The news? I can’t be dealing with the news anymore; I have poetry in my life now.
MAGGS: Oh yes. I used to think it was a bit rubbish but I’m a convert now. Do you read much poetry?
MAN: I can’t say that I do.
MAGGS: Such a shame. Now, this Europe business, is it going to change the way poetry is written or read?
MAN: Well, I couldn’t really say.
MAGGS: Well who can then?
MAN: I don’t really know. I’m only employed to carry out surveys. Your local MP might have more information on how it will change poetry in your local area, or they might have to contact the culture secretary to find out about funding changes, I couldn’t really say.
MAGGS: The culture secretary, interesting. Are they very cultured?
MAN: I’m sorry?
MAGGS: How cultured is the culture secretary?
MAN: I think we’re getting a little off topic, Ma’am. I just need to know whether you plan to vote to stay in or leave the EU.
MAGGS: Yes, so you said. You know that voting is a private matter? I’m not discussing my voting choices with you or anyone else. Besides, I’m busy. I have to write to the culture secretary about Domestic Cherry 5.
MAN: I’ll just put you down as undecided.
MAGGS: You do that, dear.
after Kevin Williamson & Wes Craven
At Maggs' house. Smoke fills the kitchen as she tries to cook microwave popcorn on her stove. The Tefal(c) isn't looking too happy. Maggs abandons the growing fire hazard to answer the telephone.
MAGGS: Is this the fire brigade?
VOICE: What's your favourite scary movie?
MAGGS: Blazing Inferno.
VOICE: That's not a scary movie. What's your favourite scary movie?
MAGGS: You don't understand, the popcorn's on fire. if you're not the fire brigade could you ask them to ring me please? They might want to know about this. Goodbye.
VOICE: Don't hang up on me. I can be the fire brigade if you want me to.
MAGGS: Barry is that you?
BARRY: You've got to help me. Mabel's getting ready for a reading, she's practicing her vocal exercises. Not sure my ear drums can take it anymore.
MAGGS: My sympathies, but what am I meant to do with this popcorn?
BARRY: Never mind that, Mabel wants to know if you've re-launched Domestic Cherry yet.
Mabel can be heard shouting in the background.
MABEL: Has she relaunched Domestic Cherry yet?
BARRY: (To Mabel) I just asked her that. I honestly don't know why I bother.
MAGGS: It's on my to-do list. I was going to do it just after cooking popcorn and before eyebrow plucking, but it's going to have to wait now until I've put this fire out, then I'll have to go and buy some popcorn, I suppose.
BARRY: (To Mabel) No, she's not done it yet.
MABEL: I told you, Barry. Her memory's going. Is she still writing everything down? She's got to write everything down. Tell her.
BARRY: I feel like a ventriloquists dummy, why did I agree to make phone calls for her? Enjoy your popcorn, Maggs.
Domestic Cherry 5 is open to submissions. Check out our Submissions page for more information.
after Hitler: The Rise of Evil (2003) Movie Script
MABEL: Have you heard how Roy's gone Ukip?
BARRY: Does Ursula know?
MABEL: She locked him out of her bedroom. For going Ukip, he quoted something about Aids victims and immigrants and you know how Ursula reacts to that sort of a thing. Since the dog.
BARRY: When I was a boy, I heard the story...I heard the story of the Holy Grail...and how it could only be found by one who was pure of heart. Roy will never find the Holy Grail.
MABEL: Indeed, we have a history of Nationalism in this country. Especially when we fall on hard times. Our economy collapsing. But it's not poverty or weakness that's our problem...it's indifference.
BARRY: Is anyone listening? That's the problem nowadays, isn't it?
MABEL: No-one cares.
BARRY: No wonder we face extinction.
MABEL: Pride... pride is a weapon.
BARRY: A sword to be used against our enemies.But don't be deceived. They are strong.
Stronger than we are. And it's not Swindon or Chippenham I'm talking about.
MABEL: Our enemies... live among us.
BARRY: It's the Ukips and the Tories.
MABEL: Communists? Bankers?
BARRY: Roy would say foreign invaders who come to our country to destroy us and take over our lives! Swindonian democracy has given birth to dozens of political factions.But none is growing more rapidly than those Ukips whose fiery speaker... what's his name...Nigel...something...sits in the pub ...preaches against the influence of foreign invaders. Who alone are responsible for the moral decadence that now riddles our society.
MABEL: Roy says they call themselves English! but have always been unwelcome, unwanted, and they are everywhere. He says he is just being honest and has the guts to speak the truth.
BARRY: (In Roy's voice) Invading our government, stripping us of our savings, raping our families and our heritage.(Laughing)
MABEL: Isn't that the Tories?
MABEL: Oh, it's good to see you.
ROY: I've just come from the pub with Nigel.
BARRY: Shame on you. Here's Mabel, she was raised in Chippenham, but don't worry, she's bred from good Swindon stock... Her family's from Wootton Bassett.
MABEL: I apologise for the mess. I'll have it clean by morning.
ROY: They've asked me if I'd like to join. The Ukips. I haven't... accepted yet.
BARRY: You should we be concerned about them. That's all you need to know. It's club life of the lowest form, Roy.
ROY: But I like the underlying politics. "The Nationalist agenda must include elimination of the unwanted" he said over a beer, easy enough. You disagree?
BARRY: Oh yes! (In anger, shaking his fist) Just drive them out. Deport them if necessary.
ROY: Can you imagine a world without them?
BARRY: How pure!
MABEL: How holy!
ROY: Do you think...there are any blacks in Wootton Bassett yet?
MABEL: Oh, they wouldn't dare.
ROY: I might move there.
MABEL: (Throws her paddle agitator at Roy, hitting him between the eyes) Oops. Idiots are men like you with nothing to say! ... Shut up!
ROY: (Rubbing his head) When are you women going to learn that extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures?
MABEL: (Picks up her paddle agitator and raises it into the air) I'm prouder of this than of any Iron Cross (throws it again at Roy)
After Oscar Wilde
"Civilisation is not by any means an easy thing to attain to. There are only two ways by which man can reach it. One is by being cultured, the other by being corrupt."
URSULA: The poets are still discussing poor Barry's disappearance.
MABEL: I should have thought they'd have got tired of that by now.
URSULA: Poets! Tired! It's the poetry of the tired and the tired writing poems -
MABEL: May dear Ursula, they have only been talking about it for the last two weeks. Since he stormed out after his big performance - he could have been famous, he could have had it all!
URSULA: It's an odd thing, but everyone who disappears is said to be seen in The Harvey.
MABEL: It's a delightful pub, and possesses all the attractions of the Hard Rock Cafe.
URSULA: What do you think has happened to Barry?
MABEL: I have not the slightest idea! If Barry chooses to hide himself, it is no business of mine.
URSULA: If he is dead, I don't want to think about him. Death terrifies me - that's it.
MABEL: Death and vulgarity are the best two things one can look forward to in Swindon.
URSULA: Let's take a sherry together up at The Harvey. You can read your latest poem.
MABEL: OK. I shall get my coat (sighs) Poor Barry, I was very fond of him.
URSULA: This house is so lonely without him. Of course he is merely a habit, a bad habit. But then one regrets the loss of one's worst habits. Perhaps one regrets them the most.
MABEL: Ursula, has it occurred to you that Barry may have been murdered?
URSULA: Barry is very popular and always wears Hi-Viz. He'd be difficult to murder. Why should he have been murdered? He was not clever enough to have enemies.
URSULA: Roy doesn't count. He is really dull and not up to any murdering.
MABEL: He writes poems, he could also murder. He told me years ago, that he had a wild adoration for you, that you were the dominant motive of his poems.
URSULA: I am fond of Roy. But he is not clever, or civilised.
MABEL: I know there are dreadful places in Swindon, and Barry was the sort of person to go to them.
URSULA: Crime belongs exclusively to the lower orders. I don't blame them, but Roy is above that.
MABEL: I don't think Barry would have done much more good work any how. His poems were going off a bit.
URSULA: When you and he ceased to be great friends. He ceased to be a great poet. It's a habit bores have.
MABEL: Oh Barry was never boring,
"Like the painting of a sorrow,
A face without a heart"
URSULA: Yes, that is what it was like! (laughing) How grave you are. Don't be so serious.
Domestic Cherry's top ten cakes to dominate the sweet bread-like treat landscape over the next ten years. You can find all of these cakes at www.tesco.com/cakes/topten
Angel Cake: Mr Kipling
Bakewell Slice: Mr Kipling
Carrot Cake: Marks and Spencer's
Jamaica Ginger Cake: McVities
French Fancies: Mr Kipling
Viennese Whirls: Mr Kipling
Chocolate Mini Rolls: Cadburys
Banana Lunch Box Loaves: Soreen
Lemon Layer Slices: Mr Kipling
"It’s something useless, sudden, violent; something that costs a life; red, blue, purple; a spirit; a splash; like those hyacinths (she was passing a fine bed of them); free from taint, dependence, soilure of humanity or care for one’s kind; something rash, ridiculous... ecstasy..." Virginia Woolf
Summary of part one: Mabel asks Barry for a kiss. Barry refuses. Mabel won't take 'No' for an answer (she's the editor of the greatest Int. poetry magazine: Domestic Cherry). Barry still refuses, poetry is poetry, there are no queens. Mabel faints. Barry slaps Mabel and leaves her to pick up some skips. Mabel pretends to be Cynthia and orders a skip. Barry delivers the skip to Cynthia's house. Mabel chases Barry. Barry is run down by a truck. Barry is dead.
Mabel takes the hi-viz jerkin off Barry’s dead body and runs to Ursula’s house. She collapses on Ursula’s front porch, clutching Barry’s jerkin. Ursula finds Mabel and tucks her into bed. Time makes a crinkly shape in the sky, and a strange noise.
100 years later
She stretched herself. She rose. She stood upright in complete nakedness before us, and while the trumpets peeled Truth! Truth! Truth! we have no choice left but to confess − she was a man. She was Mr. Barry Dicks.
After Shakespeare (Venus and Adonis)
BARRY: I wish the sun would come out. It's looking rather purple out there. Makes me weep!
MABEL: You are late for collecting the skips today. I've already done three loads of washing.
BARRY: Why always compare us Mabel? I'll go when I'm ready. It was a late one up at the Harvey and those poets kept coming.
MABEL: I went home at 9pm Barry. You are so much better than myself, and I began to have unnecessary feelings for you during your recital of 'The Visible Man'. I wondered about you giving me a kiss!
BARRY: (Palms sweating) Now Mabel! Don't start this kissing thing again. I'm working ... and Ursula will object.
MABEL: Here! Come and sit ... I'll smother you with kisses. (Pulling Barry by the sweaty palm towards her)
BARRY: You are a lusty horse woman! Go and sit on your twin tub and think of Dickens!
MABEL: Oh you are a dull boy today Barry (Takes Barry under her arm, paddle agitator in the other). Come on, I'll be quick.
Mabel pushes Barry to the ground, strokes his cheek and purses her lips for kissing.
BARRY: (Pouting and frowning) You know the worst thing about this Mabel? The worst thing is that paddle agitator in my ribs.
MABEL: (Disappointed. Lips sulking) Why chide me like this Barry? (Crying)
BARRY: Ok Love. Come on. Let's kiss. (Offers up his lips)
As Mabel brings her lips to Barry. Barry takes his teeth out and grins.
MABEL: All I want is a bit of kissing. Why can't you oblige me just this once? Don't be coy. Touch my lips with those tough lips of yours. Look in my eye-balls, there your visibility lies.
BARRY: Look, no more of this love! The paddle agitator does break my ribs. I must remove.
MABEL: Your truck has more lust in it. You have taken my heart Barry.
BARRY: Now, this melancholic malcontent won't be helping anyone. And I need to be working, so let it drop Mabel. I've missed the bus now and it's your fault, keeping me with all your weird love stuff. I don't recognise you.
A war of looks is exchanged between them
MABEL: Why not stay then Barry? I'll make some tea.
BARRY: I know your kind of tea.
MABEL: Just imagine us naked in the bed - whiter than white! I don't know why you can't take advantage of this tea and lust I offer you.
BARRY: I just want to get to work Mabel, pick up a few skips, have a rummage. That's my love. You hurt my head with your whingeing; let us part, and leave this idle theme, this bootless chat: ope the door and let me get the bus.
MABEL: I have done my load , now it's press'd. How your looks and words kill me Barry (Mabel collapses in her lust and rejection)
Barry slaps Mabel's cheeks to revive her, believing she is dead. He wrings her nose, he strikes her on the cheeks, he bends her fingers, holds her pulses hard, he chafes her lips; a thousand ways he seeks to mend the hurt that his unkindness marr'd: he kisses her; and she, by her good will, will never rise, so he will kiss her still.
Suddenly she wakes and Barry and Mabel enjoy some loving.
Some hours later.
BARRY: Now I really must go. I have a skip to collect at 1pm and you have kept me far too long.
MABEL: And tomorrow? Tell me, Barry love, shall we meet to-morrow? Say, shall we? shall we?
BARRY: No; to-morrow I intends to collect more skips with certain of my friends.
MABEL: Those skips! I know you take Ursula with you (Going a sudden pale, trembles, throws her arms around his neck: sinks down, still hanging by his neck. Barry falls down upon Mabel's belly. Mabel covers him in more kisses)
BARRY: Now now! Let me go. You are crushing me.
MABEL: Oh do stay the night instead Barry. The skips can wait!
BARRY: I am going off you Mabel. I like you worse and worse. No, lady, no; my heart longs not to groan,
but soundly sleeps, while now it sleeps alone. (Exit Barry breaking out of Mabel's embrace)
Mabel's tedious woeful ditty:
How love makes young men thrall and old men dote;
How love is wise in folly, foolish-witty:
Her heavy anthem still concludes in woe,
And still the choir of echoes answer so.
Mabel takes a bus to Cynthia's house and uses her phone with a fake voice, the plastic mouth of it against her sore pale lips. She calls Barry, orders a skip, in a fake voice, to Cynthia's address, scowling. The world's poor people looking on from the street as Mabel stands and waits for Barry's skip.
MABEL: (Screaming in the street) Hard-favour'd tyrant, ugly, meagre, lean, hateful divorce of love,
grim-grinning ghost, earth's worm.
As the skip arrives with Barry at the wheel, he sees Mabel and flees from the truck into an on- coming car and is severely wounded.
MABEL: (Running towards the death scene) Alas, poor world, what treasure hast thou lost!
With this, she falleth in the place she stood,
And stains her face with his congealed blood.
BARRY: Well Mabel (in a windy manner). What's this I hear about Roy, refusing to be Mr. Tuttle's friend on Facebook, because he is friends with me?
MABEL: You know he is very sore Barry. And his book ... less said the better. He can be a pest, you are better off without him.
BARRY: I have reported him to the powers that be at Facebook management. He's a cyber bully!
MABEL: I wouldn't go that far. Just a bid sad.
BARRY: He has blackened my name to Mr. Tuttle. I didn't get my free bus pass last week, had to pay £2.45 to get to Lidl. Many cyberstalkers try to damage the reputation of their victim and turn other people against them.
MABEL: You should ask him to speak up for himself, like a man, since he is a man. Is he man?
BARRY: Ursula should know. There's history there.
MABEL: What kind of history?
BARRY: Just, history, his words not mine. I presume he means the history of some kind of sin. A wide-open comment. I am unsure, but he is certainly wary of me and lets the general public know. He is lowering my good name, or at least, that is his intent. Which is bullying in my book. He described me as a 'mischievous stranger' when I first met Ursula, this was on Twitter.
MABEL: He's just a mere specimen going in the wrong direction. Whereas you Barry. A man to be marvelled at. It can't be easy for Roy.
BARRY: His back-handed comments need to stop. He de-friended Murial Sparks when she wished me happy birthday on my wall and told her that anyone who wishes me happy birthday is no friend of his.
MABEL: Now that's something to complain of. Look how we live, and in what numbers, and by what chances, and with what sameness; and look how the twin-tub is always a going: death!
BARRY: Look how he considers us, and writes of us, and talks of us, and goes up with your deputations to the Poetry Society about us, and how he is always right, and how I is always wrong, and I never had a reason to sin, or write erotic Man-Lit! What planet is he on?
All the events, characters, and situations on this blog are a work of fiction. Any connection to real-life events is purely a coincidence and the writer takes no responsibility for the shame you might feel.
Mabel picks up a new poet, Swartz Metterklume, at a poetry reading. Jeremy Paxman critizes the poets with regard to their taste in poetry and orders an inquisition. Barry takes care of it by asking Schwartz Metterklume, poet, a few questions down at the Harvey. Mabel advises that poets are allowed to run completely wild. Eventually, Mabel decides to go along to the Harvey to see what would happen.
MABEL: How Provoking. These poetry super-prizes are so careless. Why have that Paxman fella as a judge? Does he even write poems Barry?
BARRY: Does he need to? I think he has a point. I've invited him to The Harvey tonight, for a bit of poet questioning. First up, that Swartz Metterklume, he makes no sense.
MABEL: But Roy has been disgusted by the nature of this charge thrust upon us all. He has learned that Ursula has an artistic temperament when he asked her to account for 'Father Samuel'.
BARRY: Why. What did Ursula do?
BARRY: Her Russian poem that no one can understand, not even Russians?
MABEL: She also used a colloquial expression, as in the poem by Swartz Metterklume. The general public dislike it a lot. Not a very illuminating experience!
BARRY: I've never met him but, the least show of unexpected resistance goes a long way towards rendering them cowed and apologetic.
MABEL: When the new editor of Poetry Revenue failed to express wonderment at Ursula's efforts in Russian, she spoke only French for three days.
BARRY: I trust you are exaggerating! He drinks like a fish and beats his wife!
MABEL: And he's quite the most irritating bridge player.
BARRY: Tiresome. We will talk of this some other time. let's get down the Harvey and question some poets with Paxman.
(Mabel strides out over the West Swindon horizon destined to have a trail of embarrassment in front of her)