Brand New Noise

Emerging from a darkened place
A brand new soul, a brand new face
Welcome to the human race

Fingers counted, then the toes
A dimpled chin, a runny nose
And all wrapped up in warming clothes

A gurgle, sigh, a friendly hiss
A cuddle here, a gentle kiss
This early life is full of bliss

But then a noise to breach a dam
A ripping sound, a thank you Ma’am
My son, indeed, you are a man

Author: Vince Poynter

A poem which first appeared on the vinceunlimited web site on 1 October 2019 also found at vinceunlimited.co.uk/poems.htm or in a more mobile friendly layout at vinceunlimited.co.uk/poemsm.htm

A Dream Come True

A short story by Vince, written 1982

The heat from the ground rose defiantly, shimmering above the winding road, the distortions playing havoc with the clear cut edge of the tarmac strip.

A feint roar could be heard from the distant horizon.  The noise grew louder and louder, now heard well above the relentless chanting of the birds and insects.  A glint of light was caught in the distance and as the rumble drew closer it could be observed that a motorcyclist, resplendent in his white leather jacket, was riding his mount rapidly towards the ancient monument half a mile away.

As the rider rode faster into the foreground it could be observed that this was no ordinary day tripper.  The open megaphone type exhausts echoed a note reminiscent of track racers, the rapid acceleration shattered only by the tortuously hard braking for his next corner belayed an experienced street racer.  Each gear change was just a flick from his right boot just a fraction of momentum lost.  At every corner the hot black rubber of the tyres scrabbled for grip, the footrests causing sparks to be flown from the tarmac.  Then again the rider pulled upright rapidly towards the next bend in an ecstasy of speed and tormented delight.

This frantic moment of riding soon came to a close.  The rider having pulled out of a sweeping right hander screwed open the throttle, laid on the tank and watched the long straight unfurl in front of him.  The speedometer needle indicated seventy, eighty, …ninety passed as his right foot forced the next gear into operation.  The black chromed exhausts bleated out in beautiful harmony as one-hundred and ten showed.  Ton-twenty and the motor screamed for more, the airstream battling with the rider for control of the machine.

The needle peaked at one-hundred and twenty-five as the next bend loomed into the distance. Within a split second the rider’s right hand was gripping the brake lever.  The motion abruptly spoiled as the black calipers grabbed the shining twin front discs.  The front end dropped as the weight fell on the front wheel, the forks diving in pain as ninety, seventy, fifty passed.  Then a quick gear change and the bike cruised gently round the next bend.

Now that the riding was more sedate the details of man and machine could be seen.  The rider wearing his black crash helmet, bearing the mark of a Greek God painted delicately in gold, faded blue jeans and studded leather boots was haunched over a mainly black bike.

The heart of the bike, a mighty V-twin motor, thumped it’s power through a huge chain and was converted to power by a massive oversize rear tyre.  The front end, braced by two powerful looking forks, boasted a huge tyre, twin discs and rather unsubstantial but neat looking mudguard.  Above, the double headlights were gripped in a small nose fairing suggesting night racing but were taped over as it was a sunny afternoon.

Above the unburstable black motor lay a shiny, glimmering petrol tank.  As with the rest of the machine it was gloss black and only the golden letters broke the monotony.  The name reminiscent of by-gone days where the engine once ruled the roads, now emblazoned on the most beautiful bike in the world, read…VINCENT.

vincentconcept
The Vincent motorcycle concept I envisaged for this story in the early eighties.  The café racer is influenced by the Vincent Black Shadow, the Moto-Martin CBX and Ogri

Vince was proud of his bike.  Very proud.  He had read how customers spend hundreds of pounds and thousands of hours churning out visually appealing machines, only to be torn to pieces and then re-built in time for the next custom show.  Also, like it as not, they don’t run, or can’t because they have sixty-nine carat gold plate on the rear sprocket or something.

But Vince’s bike ran, and it ran well.  He remembered how his old CX500 used to bounce and weave along this, his favourite stretch of road.  Even the Suzuki GS750 seemed to wallow above eighty on these curves.  But his Vincent, that he was riding now, seemed to eat potholes and white lines as though it were stood still on a bowling green.  Most bikes seemed like a roller-coaster on speed compared to this machine.

And what a machine it was.  A speed machine, an accelerating machine, an enthusiast’s machine, a reliable machine…?  Vince pondered on this for a while as the shining black beauty purred slowly into town, the passers-by admiring the immaculate lines and enviously noticing the smug look of it’s pleased rider.  The reliability, he thought, was probably the machine’s weakest point, although this would probably be complimenting it’s other features.  The speed was electrifying, the finish superb, the handling perfect.  Even the fuel consumption was favourable compared to the modern multis.

In reality, Vince thought, nothing should go wrong with his bike.  After all he had built the engine and bike from scratch, so he knew it inside out.  He remembered how his grandfather had nearly thrown out the old engine.  Now neatly restored, painted black and brightly polished it looked like it had been brought just yesterday.  It’s one-thousand cc’s of sheer muscle seemed to ooze character as it fired it’s cylinders in turn after every second lamppost on the pavement.  Beautiful, Vince thought.

Up ahead were traffic lights.  They were about forty yards away by now and Vince knew that if he opened the throttle the black sensation would roar easily through before the red, even if the amber showed up now, but he was in no hurry.  Vince used to scream along at fifty or sixty in town on the Suzuki thinking he was a king, but on this machine he knew he was and therefore had no need to prove it.  He casually glanced down at the large Smiths speedo and read twenty-seven miles an hour.

Sure enough the lights turned red and Vince pulled up resting his front wheel just short of the white line.  The traffic system was a slow one so Vince knew he would be able to look around, revelling in the fame this bike seemed to bring him.  When he stopped in the street it was almost as if every male over the age of fifty had owned one when they were young.  So strange that there was only one other Vincent in the country now.

He noticed his reflection in the mirrored glass of a shop front, the bike’s weight resting gently on his left boot.  Vince placed his right foot down and raised his left, seeing his reflection as though he were riding.  He crouched low over the tank and smiled as he imagined Brands Hatch wind around in front of him, the chequered flag waving as he passed the finishing line well ahead of the competition.

Today however, the only competition was the buzzing RD250 that had pulled up right next to him.

The Yamaha was the usual two-fifty seen around suburban streets.  Vince himself had owned something similar when he had started motorcycling just a few years ago.  This model, being about two years old now, and obviously thrashed, was naturally tatty.  The scratches, twisted footrests and bent handlebar levers seemed to compliment the Vincent perfectly.

The rider too was the standard eighteen-year old Vince had been three years back, with his painted polycarbonate hat and Foster-Grants.  A wry smile told the message Vince was expecting.  The rider rocked backwards and forwards revving his engine and grinning widely.  This guy wanted a race.

Vince casually clicked the gear-lever into first and gave a quick blat of the motor to show the competition that he meant business.  The revolutions died down to it’s normal thumping tick-over as he held in the clutch and watched the ominous red light.

The Yam owner was now sweating.  He loved racing cars and bikes away from the lights and considered himself good at the ‘sport’.  After all he had only been beaten once and that was because he had missed a gear.  A criminal act in the unwritten law of street racing.  And today he was challenging no ordinary Escort.  This black monster next to him seemed to ooze power, even stood still.  His eyes locked onto the lights, only blinking to remove the sweat gathering on his eyelids.

Suddenly the red light was joined by the amber.  The Yamaha owner dropped his clutch holding five-thousand revs.  The front wheel pawed the air, nearly sending the rider off the back.  Seven-thousand on the clock and the rider plucked his next gear from the box, the front wheel again falling to the ground.  Another seven-thousand was showing and again the front tyre was losing traction with the tarmac as the rider flicked a higher ratio into operation in a frantic dash for victory.

The red and amber had now dissolved and had been replaced by green and Vince knew he could now start.  He had not been tempted to jump the lights with his opponent, after all he did have the capacity advantage over the Yamaha.  He noticed that the other rider was across the other side of the junction and was only about fifty yards away from the narrowing gap, caused by the parked cars, which they were racing for.

The huge motor only showed two-and-a-half thousand on the tachometer when he slipped the light clutch away from the left handlebar.  He knew that he had over seventy miles an hour in this gear so it was now down to his right hand.  Vince preferred to release clutches gently and let the motor do the work rather than lose valuable forward motion trying to control senseless wheelies.

The tachometer was showing four thousand now and the scorching black rubber of the rear tyre was acting like a clutch as a plume of white smoke emitted from the back.  Vince leaned forward onto his forearms to prevent the aerobatics of the front end and watched as the little Yamaha appeared to be coming back towards him.

It was now only twenty yards to that gap and the Yam had the best line, with the rider obviously happy as he seemed well ahead.  Having jumped the lights and gained that extra twenty or thirty yards he was confident that it would take something pretty special to beat him past that red Cortina parked ahead.  The juggernaut approaching the other way prevented any alternative route and as his front wheel was way ahead of any competition, which was the only thing that mattered, he guessed that the other rider was braking fiercely.

The competition, however, was something pretty special and Vince wasn’t going to loose easily.  The gap may have been only fifteen yards away and they may have been travelling well above fifty by now but Vince knew that his bike only needed a gap of about nine feet to get through and saw that his front wheel was in line with the Yamaha’s rear and he was accelerating like he had never experienced before.

With the throttle against the stop and the motor now screaming in delight he was being physically stretched by the power.  His arms seemed to be pulling from their sockets and his eyes watered with the pain at the tremendous G-force, pushing him against the moulded seat hump.

The bikes were level now and the red Cortina seemed all too near.  With his acceleration Vince knew that if he were to back off now he would have no time to stop or swerve.  It was now or never.  His right hand forced the throttle harder against it’s stop causing the rubber to twist painfully, as the bikes edged closer together, the gap drawing nearer.  Now even the Vincent’s front end lifted as the two battled for first place.

Luckily for Vince his front wheel was now ahead, but the Cortina was very close, however, rules are rules and he decided to swerve towards the gap, just missing the car by a few inches.  The Yamaha rider sensed this and threw his right fist forward, shutting off the throttle and grabbing the brake lever.  The tiny black caliper clutched it’s shining disc and sent a thin black run of rubber down the tarmac.

Vince had won, but only just.

Further on down the road the mighty Vincent pulled up at another set of traffic lights.  It burbled away on tick-over as it’s last competitor silently drew up next to it.

Vince looked at the Yamaha’s owner and smiled confidently.  The rider gave a return nod.

“Nice Motor.”

“Thanks.”  Replied Vince.

“Quick…”  he continued “…isn’t it?”

“Quick enough.”  Confirmed Vince.

“What is it?”  Asked the Yam owner, as the lights turned to green.

“A dream come true.” Vince replied, dumping the clutch.  The mighty motor again responded and he roared off into the distance…

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Fiction section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 17 Aug 2018
Written in the early eighties but first published in Mar 2010
The first half written in 1982 for an article in Southampton and District Motorcycle Club magazine under the title The Ultimate Ride with the remaining penned to fit the requirements of Bike magazine, but sadly never published meaning the writer had to get a proper job
At the time of writing the Southampton and District Motorcycle Club was based in Woodside Avenue in Eastleigh.  It can now be found via sdmcc.net
The header photograph shows the author squatting next to an immaculate Vincent Rapide motorcycle.  The Rapide was produced between 1936 and 1955 and remains a collectable bike.  The more famous, faster Black Shadow model had black enamelled engine casings.  The photo was taken by the author’s wife in Skegness in April 1996
The sketch was drawn by the author to demonstrate the bike envisaged in the story.  It was influenced by the Vincent Black Shadow motorcycle’s V-twin motor sat in a frame similar to the eighties Moto-Martin CBX1000.  Also there is just a bit of Ogri in it.  Orgi was a cartoon character drawn by Paul Sample for Bike Magazine between 1972 and 2009.  Ogri actually rode a Norvin, a Vincent engined Norton café racer.  Actually he didn’t as he was just an ink drawn character.  Ogri continued in motorcycle magazine Back Street Heroes until 2012

Vision of Death

Vision of Death – An Explanation

The following story idea was commenced in the early eighties and then subsequently uploaded to the vinceunlimited website.  It is currently incomplete but if you wish to read the rest let me know and I’ll cut out some more words from my dictionary and thesarus.

Vision Of Death

A Novelette Fiction By Vince written in the early eighties

I can’t remember why we were there, but we were and that was all that mattered at this moment in time.  Across the table all I saw was his cold, calm face and crossed arms.  He looked so easy, so relaxed, although I figured this must be an act as I myself was trying to portray an air of calmness even though deep inside I trembled.

On the table were just three objects.  The candle lighting his sinister features, the Magnum and a lethal bronzed bullet, shining in the eerie flickering light.  Silent.  Deadly.

His hand moved slowly towards the gun and raised it pointing in my direction and with a quick and near professional flick of his wrist released the magazine chamber.  His other hand, now in view, picked up the bronzed cartridge and held it tantalisingly upright by the base for what seemed like several seconds.

I could now feel my collectiveness deteriorating as a bead of sweat trickled slowly down my forehead lodging itself neatly in my left eyebrow.  His eyes, however, showed no sign of detecting this as he stared singularly at the capsule of death in his left hand.  I longed for just one brief moment, just one millisecond of freedom from his icy presence to hide my fears.

Finally he looked up again into my eyes and slid the bullet gently into the cold steel chamber.  My eyes couldn’t be taken from that small dark hole, the daunting prospect that next time the chamber was emptying I could be at the receiving end.

He placed the weapon back on the table, this time with it’s carved wooden handle nearest to me.  He refolded his arms and cautiously smiled, although this revealed a weakness as I noticed the far corner of his lips quivering nervously.  This released a portion of my own anxiety as I relaxed back slightly into the chair.  Now it was my move.

I placed my hand gently over the gun’s handle and paused a moment.  I had the upper hand now and was determined to make the most of my time.  I discounted a smile though to ensure no lip tremble disturbed my lines.

I lifted the Magnum, suddenly realising it was no toy.  It’s metallic weight seemed reluctant to allow me to lift it from the table.  A strange sense of scalding seemed to burn my palms as I considered it’s deadliness, which made my fingers sticky with sweat.  I raised the gun, pointing the barrel at my adversary, my index finger resting gently on the cold trigger.  I felt so powerful.

To be continued…

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Fiction section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 14 Aug 2018
Written in the early eighties but first published in Mar 2010
 

Turnstile Girl

Fiction By Vince

The following article was originally written for the radio format.  However only your imagination prevents use elsewhere.  I, for instance, might use it to dam a leak in Venice.

The piece was written as a submission for a BBC radio writing request held during the 2006 football World Cup.  In all the BBC received over 1100 entries.  It is a speculative piece that presupposes England were playing Germany in the final, which didn’t actually happen.  No wonder it didn’t make the cut.  However, imagine that scenario and read on.  Just don’t blame the author if you cheer so loudly that your computer screen cracks.  It is only two to three minutes in length so it should not take you long to judge for yourself whether they were winners that time or out in the qualification round.

As the author, I, not the BBC, own the copyright to this entry and will defend my right to the ©  If you wish to distribute, perform or publish this article have the decency to contact me first.  However, if you wish to link others to this webpage then I shall feel honoured.

Also, look out for other submissions I made using the titles ‘The Ball’, ‘The Dog’ and ‘The Driver’.


I was there…  I was there…  I was there.

I keep on saying it, trying to ingrain it into my subconscious.  As if somehow I might forget that today I was there on one of the greatest days that the nation has ever witnessed.

O.K.  It may not rank up there with D-day, or the moon landings but for us today, my generation, this has got to rank as one of the best moments in history.  You cannot get better than your team winning in the World Cup Final.  And I can say – I was there.

Not for me the next forty years trying to recall where I was on this magnificent day.  I’ll always be able to remember – I was actually there.

Now you may think it strange that an English girl like me ended up here.  After all, a few weeks ago I was hardly a football fan.  Oh, I knew what most girls did, that David Beckham is reason enough to follow this sport, a real superstar, but I know of him through ‘O.K!’ and ‘Hello’ rather than his football team, whatever that is.  I don’t actually have a ‘team’ of my own and admit to being lost when my male friends try to impress me with their so called knowledge of the off-side rule.  But now I can tell them.  You can keep your side rules, I was there.  On the actual day.  At the actual ground.

I nearly wasn’t here.  If it hadn’t been for that au-pair job in Frankfurt falling through, or the chance meeting with Helga in that café that led me to staying here in Germany this summer.  Nor the fact that the ground needed additional English speaking staff for the final…  So many chances to have missed it, so many chances to have failed to be here.

Now it’s getting near the end my heart is thumping so loud I reckon that I can hear it above all the din.  The atmosphere here is terrific.  Drums are beating, the crowd is singing, everyone chanting.  We are three goals ahead and the opposition looks like it has given up.  No question about who is going to win this.  All you can hear are the supporters shouting out the goal-scorers names and that magical word – England.

Now it seems as if the stand above me is going to collapse, this part looks new to me I hope it stays up.  I’m sure I can see those beams bending.  Bending with Beckham, I reckon.  I am so glad I came here.  I’m so proud that I was there.

Mind you I wish I was up there.  Up with the actual crowd.  I’m at the World Cup final where England won and I’m all alone down here at my turnstile.  It wasn’t lonely earlier when all the late-comers were hurrying through but now there’s no-one.  Even Dieter has gone upstairs.  Mid-way through the second-half he asked if he could go up to see what was happening; noting how I was hardly a fan so wouldn’t mind covering.  I said yes, after all twenty minutes ago he wasn’t incorrect.  Plus he did say that he’d come back but so far he’s a no show.  I’m left alone here with no-one else to share this moment.  Tens of thousands of fans above and me, down here on my own.

Still. It doesn’t change the facts.

I was there.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Fiction section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 29 Jun 2018
First Published: Version 2.04 in Dec 2006

Written July 2006 and submitted to the BBC as part of a radio script submission request

Perpetually

Concept

Below is the the opening part of the script from my stage play Perpetually.

It was inspired after I performed in Bishops Waltham Little Theatre’s 1989 production of one of the J.B. Priestley’s time plays, Dangerous Corner [pictured].

As a keen member of the theatre and budding writer I wanted to pen a story that was designed to give an opportunity to all the various aged members of the cast, particularly those who were involved in the annual pantomimes and summer shows but felt that there was no chance to feature in the more serious plays staged in spring and autumn each year.

When I had written this piece and offered it as a reading to the theatre committee it was declined, without consideration or even a reading.  The reasons given were that previous member written pieces had received poor public reception.  Plus when the group performed the serious plays in the spring and autumn ticket sales were poor in comparison to the big winter pantomime and summer shows.

These mega shows pulled in paying public audiences of around a thousand people and the local halls charged the group accordingly.  Unfortunately this encouraged the halls to effectively overcharge for other performances which would only attract less than a quarter of these sales.  In fact it often cost the group money to stage the serious plays and without a publicly recognised author or known title ticket sales were considered too big a risk.

As a result the play has never been staged, or indeed read through in any formal or informal sense [to my knowledge].

Did the theatre group make the right call? What do you think?

Feedback would be much appreciated.  Does it work as a piece?  Do you understand what it is saying?  Is the dialogue compelling?  Is it interesting?  Would you want to see it staged?

Remember it is a completed piece of work.  It may take a little time to read through both acts.  As a result I have only included the opening part here.  You will need to visit my website to get the full transcript.

vinceunlimited.co.uk/perpetually.htm

Or if you are reading on a mobile device and want a smartphone formatted experience use vinceunlimited.co.uk/perpetuallym.htm


Perpetually

A Stage Play by Vince Poynter

Written around 1990

Act One

The curtains open on a bright country scene on a fine summer afternoon in England, present day.  A large barn dominates the left of stage, its position preventing any stage access from up left.  A small stone bridge is right of centre over a stream running downstage towards a tree, right downstage.  A pile of rocks centre upstage, with the theme continued onto the backcloth imply restricted access, a dry-stone wall perhaps, along the back.  The skyline is a clear blue over the hilly features.  Some discarded farm waste (old barrels, straw bales, bags etc.) is piled up carelessly against the barn.  The barn door hangs open on two of its four hinges.  The access hatch at high level is also open in front of which precariously hangs a bag of grain from the jib above.  Underfoot is grass.  Note that unseen access can be made from within the barn to the loft.

Sounds of birds singing and insects chattering are heard throughout.

As soon as the curtains open an irritating whine is heard.  The noise comes from a radio controlled car hurtling around centre stage.  The model car runs into the barn door, reverses, drives forward and over the bridge off stage right.  A moment’s pause and the car returns, crosses the bridge, spins round and round and careers into the mud at the edge of the stream, to a sudden halt.

Little girl: (Off)  “Oh no!”

Little boy: (Off)  “Ha Ha! Serves you right, my turn.”

Little girl: (Off)  “No, mine … mine.”

Little boy: (Off)  “Gimme that, it’s my turn, my turn now.”

The little girl and boy enter (upstage right) running.  They are of a similar age, about six to eight years old.  They are dressed in jeans and tee-shirts with soft shoes on their feet.  Mud stains are on their knees and elbows, perhaps also on the face.  They are happy, excitable.

The girl is first and she clutches the controller for the radio-controlled car.  They cross the bridge, still arguing.

Little girl: (Entering)  “You said that I could have a go.”

Little boy: (Following)  “Only ’til you crashed it though.  Now it’s my turn.  You’ve smashed it up.”

The little boy pushes past the girl as they cross the bridge causing her to miss her footing and stumble into the pile of debris by the barn.

Little girl: (Stumbling)  “Hey, watch out.”

The little boy laughs and gets to the model car first.  He picks it up and turns to the little girl.

Little boy: “Come on then.  Give it to me.  Gimme the box.”

Little girl: (Recovering)  “No I wont.  It’s still my go.  You’ve had your go.  Give me the car.”

Little boy: (Holding car)  “Well you can’t have it.  It’s my turn now.  You crashed it.”

Little girl: (Approaching boy)  “It isn’t fair.  Just five minutes, then it’s your go.  Go on, just five …”

Little boy: (Interrupts)  “No, my go, you smashed it up.  Now it’s my …”

The little girl has approached the little boy and she suddenly pushes him over onto the ground.  He falls awkwardly and after a moment’s pause starts to cry, deliberately audibly.  The remote-controlled car has fallen to the ground and is picked up by the little girl.  She takes it to centre stage, places it on the ground and starts to drive it around in circles.  The little boy, noticing how she is playing with the car and ignoring his cries, stops crying, jumps to his feet and grabs the car as it passes him.

Little boy: (Defiantly)  “I’ve got it now.  So there.”  (He sticks out his tongue).

Little girl:  “But I’ve got the control box though …”  (She runs toward the barn door then turns to face the little boy) “… and you can’t have it.”  (She sticks out her tongue).

Little boy:  “But it’s mine.  You’ve got to give it back to me.” (Pause) “Now!”

Little girl:  “Well I won’t, I won’t, I won’t.  You said I could have a go.”

The little boy, sensing a stalemate, puts the car back down onto the ground.  He starts to walk positively toward the little girl.  She reacts by driving the car again.  He turns back toward the car and stoops to pick it up.  Before he gets to it she drives the car around him fast (well downstage).  He grabs for the car but misses it.  The car continues past the little boy, past the little girl and into the open door of the barn, fast.  There is a crash.  Silence.  Brief pause.  The little boy then runs toward and into the barn, pushing past the little girl.  Pause.  She looks anxious.  The little boy returns holding the remains of the crashed and obviously broken car.  He is sad.

Little boy:  “Now look what you’ve done.”

Little girl:  “That was your fault. You made me do that.”

Little boy:  “My mum will kill me.  I’m telling on you.  It was you who did this.”  (He holds up the car)  “You broke my car.”

Little girl:  “You broke my green tricycle the other day.”

Little boy:  “No I didn’t.  You were on it as well.”

Little girl:  “You shouldn’t have been on it.  It was your fault.”

Little boy: (Hurries past the girl)  “Well I’m going back to tell her.  You’re going to be in trouble now.”  (He is starting to cry).

Little girl: (Following him)  “I’m going to tell her it was you.  You dropped it.  Yes you did, didn’t you.  I know.  Nah, nah, na-na, nah.”

Little boy: (Crying)  “You better hope it can be mended.”

Little girl: (Now also starting to cry)  “I only played with it because you wanted me to.”

They are crossing the bridge, stopping only to argue.  Then leaving upstage right.

Little girl:  “Could your dad fix it? He fixed the train set.”

Little boy:  “He’s away. Mummy said he’s in hospital.”

Little girl:  “Stupid car anyway.”  (They are leaving)

Little boy: (Now off)  “You didn’t have to play with it.”

Little girl: (Also off)  “You said you wanted someone to …”  (Trails off)

They have exited.  Silence, except the continuing bird-song and other background noises.  Pause.

Two adolescent teenagers stroll in, arm in arm, downstage right.  They are both of a similar age, about 15 to 16 years old.  Modern dress; jeans and tee-shirt on the boy, the girl with a simple green skirt and blouse, her shoes suitable for a relaxing walk in the country.  He has a boy scout type knife in a leather sheath on his belt.  They are intensely discussing a subject but are not arguing.  They seem carefree.

Boy: (Entering)  “… But that’s not the point.  I suppose I can see your side of the argument but that can’t possibly happen can it?  How can it?  Surely as many girls have to as boys do.”

Girl:  “Yes. I can see that.  But that doesn’t change my point of view.  And all my friends agree.”  (She stops and faces him direct)  “Tell me, how many of your friends have?”

Boy:  “They all have.  All my mates have.”

Girl: (Laughing)  “Even Danny?”

Boy:  “Yes … Well everyone except Danny.”  (He laughs along too).

Girl:  “They tell you that they have.”

Boy:  “I know they have.”

Girl: (Passing the boy onto the bridge)  “You think that they have because they say so.  You can’t really be sure.  You don’t really know do you?”  (Teasingly)  “Or have you seen  (She giggles)

Boy:  “Oh come on. Everyone has …”

Girl: (Interrupting)  “Except Danny.”

Boy:  “Except Danny … yes.  It’s a fact.  Oh come on …”

He has grabbed her by arm.  She turns away from him off the bridge.

Girl:  “No.  Not now.  Not here … Not yet …”  (She pulls away)  (Teasingly)  “Maybe never.”

She escapes from his grip and runs toward the barn.  He gives chase.  They are laughing, happy.

Girl:  “You won’t catch me! … You’ll never get me!”

Boy:  “Come here! … Come back … I’ll get you!”

Girl:  “Maybe never!”

The boy eventually traps the girl up against the barn.

Boy:  “Gotcha!”

They look at each other deeply.  He kisses her hard on the lips.  She resists after a brief moment then pushes him away.

Girl:  “No!”

She escapes under his arm and runs away, but only a few steps.  They are both facing away from each other.  He is left looking at the barn, she is centre stage looking right.

Boy: (Seriously)  “But we’ve known each other since we were kids.  We shared everything.”  (He turns toward the girl)  “It’s meant to be.”

Girl:  “Who says?”

Boy:  “That’s just the way it is.  Can’t you see that?  You, me … you know.”

Girl:  “You can’t even say it.  You can’t even bring yourself to say it.”

Boy:  (He steps one pace forward)  “Yes I can.”

Girl:  “Can’t.”

Boy:  “Can.”

Girl:  “No.”

Boy: (Stepping forward again. He is now quite close behind her)  “Yes.  I can.  You know that.”

Girl: (Turning sharply to him)  “Go on then.”

Boy:  “Well …”  (He looks around sheepishly, as if there are others around)  “You know …” (Positively)  “It!”  (He laughs).

Girl: (Annoyed)  “No!  Don’t!  Not it!  You had better ask me nicely and then I might say yes.”

Boy: (Eager)  “Yes.”

Girl:  “Might.”

Boy:  “Oh, alright.  If you insist …”

Girl:  “Yes I insist.  Or else is definitely ‘No’.”

Boy:  “Alright … Here goes … Will you? … Will you? … You know … with me?

Girl:  “Properly.  Or I definitely won’t.”  (She turns away again).

Boy: (Lunging forward and grabbing her arm, he pulls her to face him)  “Alright.  Alright … Will you sleep with me?”

A pause.  They stare at each other.  She is surprised, not at the suggestion, but his sudden confidence.  He looks increasingly expectant, his eyes widening.

Girl: (Breaking the moment)  “Sleep?”

(She turns away, slightly embarrassed, slightly amused).

Boy: (Hands dropping to his side)  “You know … You know what I mean.  Don’t you.”

Girl:  “Is that what your mates do, sleep?”  (She chuckles)

Boy:  “No, no … It’s just a phrase.”  (She laughs at him)  “Oh you’re impossible.”

The boy turns away.  He gets his knife out and stoops to pick up a piece of wood on the ground nearby.  He starts to whittle the wood.  The girl notices that she has upset him.

Girl:  “Hey, come on.  Don’t take it so bad.”

Boy:  “You’re rotten to me.  I don’t know why I go out with you anyway.”

Girl:  “Oh don’t be like that.  Hey …” (He stops whittling but still looks down) “… don’t take it like that.  It’s not that I don’t want to.  I do.  It’s just not good now.”

Boy: (Turning, knife in hand, almost menacingly)  “Not good now?”

Girl: (Explaining)  “No.  It’s my dad.  He’s ill.  I don’t feel like it at the moment.”

Boy:  “Oh, there’s always an excuse.  If it’s not one thing it’s another.”

Girl:  “You don’t understand.  Your dad was bad once.  And he died.”

Boy:  “That was a long time ago now … How is your dad?”  (He puts his knife away).

Girl:  “Oh, not too bad.  He’s just been off work today, that’s all.  A touch of flu perhaps?”

Boy:  “Oh, I am sorry.  I shouldn’t have pushed you.”

Girl:  “No, no.  That’s alright.  Quite alright.  He’s not too bad it’s just …”

Boy: (Interrupts)  “Yes, I understand.”

Girl:  “It’s not that I don’t want you.  I do.  I love you.”

Boy:  “I love you too.”

They are close.  They look deep into each other’s eyes.  Their heads move together and are about to kiss.

Girl: (Suddenly putting her hand over his mouth)  “What’s that?”

Boy: (Muffled)  “What?”  (She removes her hand)

Girl: (Looking upstage right)  “I think I heard a noise.  Did you hear anything?”

Boy: (Looking)  “No.  What was it?”

Girl:  “Over there, someone’s coming.  Let’s go.”

She runs past the boy and heads for an exit down left.  He follows and grabs her arm just before she exits.

Boy:  “Stop.  Quick.  In here.”  (He ushers her toward the barn).

Girl:  “In there?”

Boy: (Deliberately)  “Yes, come on.  It’ll be alright.”

There are voices heard offstage right.

Girl: (After a moment’s deliberation)  “Oh go on.  After you.  Let’s hide.”

They run into the barn together.

Boy: (In barn, not seen)  “Quick, up here.”

Girl: (In barn, not seen)  “You first.”

Boy:  “No you. Go on.”

Girl:  “Alright …”  (sounds of the two ascending a rickety wooden ladder)  “It’s not very safe.”

Boy: (Laughing)  “I can see right up your …”

Girl: (Laughing)  “Shhh!”

Boy:  “Hurry up … hey over there.  Come back.”

The girl appears at the high level access hatch in the barn.  She is looking out for the others which she heard.  The boy appears next to her and puts his arm around her waist.

Boy:  “Come on.  Come back in here.  Come and make love”

Girl: (Warmly holds his hand on her waist)  “O.K.”

He walks back into the barn.  She is led away.  They are both out of sight.

Girl: (Off)  “Over there.  That’s a good place.”

Laughter is heard from within the barn.  It tails off.

A woman enters (upstage right) walking quickly.  She is about 30 to 35 years old.  She wears a loose light jumper and skirt and is rowing with the man following her.  He is about the same age, wearing a short sleeved shirt and casual trousers.  Their argument is intense and passionate…

…To be continued…

You will have to go to the full script page on my website if you want to read the rest.

Author: Vince Poynter

From Perpetually, from the Stage Plays and Writing sections of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 11 Apr 2018 but first written around 1990 and first published on the website in Jul 2005
The photograph is a still image taken by the author’s wife of a performance of J.B. Priestley’s 1932 stage play Dangerous Corner.  One of his trilogy of ‘time plays’, originally premiered in 1932.  The photograph shows four of the characters dancing on the set of the stage as performed by the Bishops Waltham Little Theatre in their 1989 staging.  The author is the gentleman dancing on the right

De-smarting

The School Years from the autobiography of Vince Poynter

Image of Vince Poynter stood, wearing a small hat and large red nose, holding a gonk, with Lilian Poynter sat in the background
Clearly a genius, with his mother in the background

It is one of the most dramatic times of our lives.

In barely over a decade you start school, graduate to two completely different ones, learn about money, relationships, fighting and sex, get progressively smarter, meet hundreds of other people, decide on what floats your boat and suffer the indignation of a growing army of zits on your body.  And everyone tells you it’s the best time of your life.

I’d disagree but suggest that childhood might be the busiest.

You may have no money worries, because you haven’t got any, nor any concerns over time, because you haven’t any idea that it might stop one day.  And no clue what to do about anything.

But there is one overriding factor about childhood that dominates the time – children.

Unless you chose a career path that involves them such as a teacher or Scout Leader [those poor fools] you will never again associate yourself with so many of the little blighters.  Because by and large they are the most evil, deceitful, mean, bullying individuals you are ever likely to meet.

Alright, I might be being a bit harsh and by now all those little urchins have now probably grown up to be nice, rounded adults.  Rounded in more senses than one.

Children will constantly taunt, wind up and bully each other until someone bigger says stop.  And as a very young person I was in the thick of it.

My schooldays are not full of happy memories and although I [used to] fully list myself in friendsreunited [a now defunct, previously popular, Social Media gathering spot], complete with picture and 1600-word narrative, as that is the social thing to do, plus I felt I had a good story to tell, I have no real wish to meet up with most of the old characters again.

My first school, Shirley Warren Infants, has now been demolished.

In fact I own one of the apartments [read flats] there and rent it out.  It is now a lovely little oasis in the grime of the surrounding area and handy for the hospital and my letting aspirations.

It used to be a single story building filled with screaming youngsters.  I recall the basic layout but not much of the detail.  I cannot really remember the classrooms or any of the teachers even though I spent five years there.

I do actually recall one of my first days there and the pairing that kids do during the first break so we all ended up with a best mate.  I chose a similar looking friend to me called Kevin but he was soon shipped off to a strange remote location that he referred to as ‘Lester’.  Near to the moon I gathered at the time.  I had lost my first best friend. All the others had already paired up and I never again had such a [male] relationship.

Other memories from the Infants school include the attention I sometimes got from the ‘older’ girls.  I remember being cuddled a lot – it was a blond hair thing.  And I recall once pretending to be dead so I could peek up the skirt of a teacher.  I couldn’t get away with that now.

Other than that my only memories were the walks to school with my mum and strangely the bike shed.  No, let me re-phrase that, before everyone jumps to the conclusion that the pre-schooling preamble was in the company of a mother and some sort of strolling bike shed.  I recall walking to school with my mum and I recall the bike shed, which I duly tested the back of with a couple of volunteers.  The shed, not my mum.  Oh, sort it out yourselves!

The little Infants school was not too far away from the main school which brought together the Junior and Senior elements.  I duly graduated to the Junior side, the details of which are much clearer to me.  I could probably accurately trace the whole school layout with its several classroom, play areas, tin huts, assembly hall and car park.

School photograph of Dawn and Vince Poynter
Sister Dawn [no, not a nun] and Vince in School posed photograph

I returned to the site a few years ago and was saddened by its demise.

The boys playground had obviously not been used much and weeds had ripped through the surface of the tarmac.  In the early seventies they wouldn’t have stood a chance from the incessant pounding of football feet every couple of hours.

The football games were quite fun with teams of about 50-a-side fighting over whatever ball someone could smuggle into school.  It was never a proper leather ball, in fact often just a tennis variety but the game was always fought with passion.

I even recall days where a stone was used as no one had a ball. Of course, by the end of the playtime session I had ‘introduced’ several other stones to add to the pace, and cut shins.

Formal games held on the green near Lordshill were never such fun.  Although I often found plenty of space away from the massing defenders I would rarely be passed the ball as my team-mates would hardly involve the chap that was last to be picked for the team.  I was so distrusted in sport that if there was an uneven number they would argue about who would have to suffer the indignation of an extra player!

Can’t think why I bothered to do all their homework for them now.

I used to have to do the homework for several other boys.  I was gifted academically, which set me apart from the other kids.  Couple this to a timid personality [at the time] and I’d be bullied into assisting the lazy slobs.

I recall having to ‘grade’ the homework so that these unintelligent pond mammals would seem to have done the work themselves.

However, one thing I could never comprehend was how a teacher could think that some toad getting 35% when he normally got 15% was so good, when next to the toad was a smart little chap with [yawn, another] 95% score.  Even more surprising was later in the playground the idiots boasting of how well they did.

In my opinion teachers do not like clever children.  Perhaps they don’t like the competition, or losing their superiority.

Gifted though I was I had yet to understand the complexities of personality and was constantly derided for something I thought was good.  I would sit at the front of the class showing great keenness in their efforts but couldn’t understand why the teachers would be annoyed by me volunteering to answer any question they posed.  I’d be dismissed with comments like “Can anyone but Vincent answer this question?”

Another example was a lesson we had whereby the teacher would try to raise awareness about understanding with a word association game.  The teacher would say a word and ask the pupil to say whatever word came into their mind.  For example, the teacher might say ‘tree’ and expect the child to say ‘forest’.

As ever, I had to wait until near the end to have my say, despite my arm thrust up in the air so hard it had grown two inches longer than the other had.  Having waited [im]patiently for the other automatons to attempt to formulate a word it was finally my go.

“Alright, your turn Vincent, your word is rabbit.” Instantly I replied, “Rabbit”.

The teacher was aghast.  Perhaps I had misunderstood?  Was the blond boy human after all?

She re-explained the rules, then repeated “Rabbit.” And “Rabbit” was what she got in return.  She enquired why I had just repeated her.  I explained that “When you said rabbit the first thing to come into my mind was rabbit, the word you had just said.  What you meant to say was ‘What is the second word that springs to mind?’  In which case I would have replied carrot, or even warren.”

Smart-arses are never appreciated.

I couldn’t loose my skills so I had to start hiding them and did this in my next school.  Smart eh?  I graduated from Shirley Warren Juniors to the finest school in the vicinity.

King Edward VI Grammar School was my saviour from the certain ‘ducking’ I was promised on the first day of Senior School at Shirley Warren.

I comfortably passed the entrance examination and started life as a ‘Spud’ along with a hundred other smart-arses.

School Photo of Vince Poynter at King Edward VI
A Spud.  One of dozens of smart arses

One of my first actions was to stand up to the first bully.  It worked and I was no longer the weakest link, but I was also determined not to be the brightest as well.  I drifted toward the back of the class in lessons.  Until my eyesight weakened and I found myself drifting back to the front again.

I recall a lot about the characters there, and even a few teachers but cannot recall any good yarns.  There wasn’t many things funny about the school or having to travel half-way round the county to see your friends when I wasn’t allowed a bike and certainly nothing funny about not having any girls at the all-boys school.

I can’t even amuse you with stories about public school initiations because it didn’t happen.

In fact the only story worthy of mention is the skiing trip to the French Alps, where I got badly sunburnt.  Under the chin of all places, because snow reflects.  As a result I missed half the holiday but I was determined not to let that stop me attending the black run on the last day but was too inexperienced to handle the highest ice slope at the top.

So my friend and I [apologies for not recalling who] jumped off the ski lift one hundred metres from the top.  Into six foot of powdered snow.  It took us three hours to traverse the twenty metres back to the run.

King Edward VI supplied me with enough education to pass nine ‘O’-levels, my only failure being French.  I would have had half a dozen more had I stayed with the Warren as they didn’t restrict entries to ten, or more likely I would have been stabbed as did happen to someone during the time.

I didn’t have enough money for the independence I was seeking as a young man and my fantasies of becoming a Veterinarian were being dismissed from every angle.  My parents were concerned that failed Vets have nowhere to go and the school looked at my failed mock exams.

In fairness I had cruised all the way through King Edwards using minimum effort in an attempt not to look clever but knuckled down in the last month to pass the main exams.  This must really grate if you are the sort that tries hard to achieve your results.  Sorry, can’t help it.

As I had no need for Oxford or Cambridge University the school was disinterested.  I left the school under a cloud.  Only at a Grammar school could nine ‘O’-levels be seen as a cloud and they refused to acknowledge my status as an ‘Old Edwardian’.  That is, until they wanted some cash when they went private of course.

I left the year they brought in girls.  Just my luck.

But I had finally achieved my metamorphosis.  No longer a smart kid.

I left school, grew my hair and left behind the side parting.  I opted for a trendy centre parting style that nowadays they would call a mullet.  In fact they still do!

And to top it all the spots started getting worse.

I had become a teenager.

Author: Vince Poynter

From My Poynter View, from the Autobiography section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 31 Mar 2018 but first published in the website in Jul 2005
The first image shows the author being silly at a Christmas visit to relatives, around December 1966.  The author’s mother sits in the background
The second image is a formal photograph of the author with his sister Dawn, taken by Shirley Warren Junior School around 1970
The final image is a formal photograph of the author, taken by King Edward VI Grammar School around 1975
All images added in 2018

The Will

A Comic Stage Play by Vince Poynter

Concept

This is the first part of a stage play, a comedy set in a solicitor’s office.

A family is invited to the reading of the will of a deceased relative who died leaving a substantial income.

The will is read and certain requirements are requested to be made.

Firstly, a large chest is brought out which contains many fancy dress costumes which the potential beneficiaries must wear in order to lighten proceedings.

Secondly, a set of buzzers, lights and scoreboards are produced and a quiz is set up to award points on a pounds for points basis.

The intention is to find out just how far people will go for money?

Will they ultimately kill each other for greed?

Characters:

Solicitor: Randford, a pompous middle aged serious man. Thoughtful and calm.

Solicitor’s Assistant: Trisha, a lazy first year trainee, intelligent but without common sense. Excitable but clumsy.

Wife: Wendy White, a hypochondraic (with reason) in her late 30’s. Fussy and bitter.

Adopted Son: Griff White, a rebel without a cause. Just 20. Scruffy and greedy.

Secretary: Sonia Black, an attractive, mid-thirties woman. Single, principled and intelligent.

Dead man’s friend: Reg Franke, a mid-forties loudmouth who thinks he is funny. Conceals a secret past.

Strange Woman: Anna Daiken, a middle-aged, silent, poetic stranger. Dressed in black to match her character.

Sister: Caryl Sand, a practical and down to earth divorcee.

Dead man: Jack White, died at 40.


 

Act One

The scene is a Solicitor’s office in England, present day. It is a mid sized room of classic design, tastefully decorated and furnished. No wall area is left blank so where there are no full height bookshelves the imperial wallcovering is hardly noticed behind the original oil masters hanging from the wooden picture rail. The room is dominated by the Solicitor’s solid leather topped desk and overbearing leather chair. The desk is tidy, almost unused with an immaculate blotter. A telephone, brass lamp and brass calendar/pen holder are all deliberately laid out. In front of the desk are two simple low backed chairs. Behind this magnificent desk is a matching mahogany hat and coat stand, which with the ferociously posed full-sized stuffed upright brown bear frame the large bay area window cosseted with heavy velvet drawn curtains. The curtains conceal a generous padded matching seating area designed to discourage sitting on the low cast iron radiators behind the hat stand and bear.

A secondary desk is in the corner with a chair either side. This simple arrangement is for a secretary with computer, telephone, filing trays, pot plant and penholder. Many pens and pencils are stuffed into the holder. The filing tray is half full of papers. A jumper lays across the back of the chair. Opposite this desk is a grand leather well used two-seater Chesterfield in front of an ornate fireplace. Simple brass and porcelain ornaments adorn the mantelpiece. A small round, empty mahogany coffee table sits in front of the Chesterfield.

Entrance to the room is from one side behind the Chesterfield through imposing double sized solid wooden doors with chunky brass furniture and a heavy wood surround. On the opposite side is a simpler wooden single door with surround. Both doors are closed and the scene opens in darkness. It is silent.

Offstage a Grandfather clock strikes the Westminster Chimes followed by eight rings. On the eighth chime exactly the double doors swing open in unison and the Solicitor, Randford, enters. Backlit from the corridor behind he stands in the doorway and shakes off his wet umbrella. Without shutting the doors behind he strides over to his desk and fumbles to switch on the desk lamp.

The light reveals this balding, portly, pompous, routine man wearing an immaculate subtly pin-striped three piece suit and perfectly white shirt. His shoes are shiny black brogues and equally as in keeping as his matching tie and pocket handkerchief. Along with his umbrella he carries a neat copy of The Times, the classic sized, broadsheet version. He is finished in an open large brown overcoat and matching hat. This man is around 45 although his gravitas makes him seem older. He exudes experience, remaining calm in all situations and never hurried. He is both thoughtful and punctual with constant references to his Grandfather clock against the “fourth wall” which he compares to his own chained pocket watch whenever it chimes. He approaches the hat stand and places his umbrella carefully in the base. He removes his hat and hangs it on the hook after brushing it clean. He then removes his coat and brushes it off with one hand whilst holding it with the other, then hangs it carefully on the peg. A brush down of himself follows, a quick tie straightening and he crosses to close the door, with both halves being shut simultaneously. He brushes himself once more as if routine and turns to switch on the light.

Trisha enters hurriedly as the light comes on full. She is a clumsy teenager wearing under her sodden long opened sheepskin coat faded patched ripped jeans and a large baggy jumper bearing the words “Save Rhinos”. Underneath is a white blouse but this is as noticeable as the smart short black skirt she carries in the supermarket plastic bag. She is the epitome of modern youth, lazy but excitable, educated but lacking common sense and pretty but understated. The glossy magazine she carries and the personal headphones she wears round her wet hair are her only thoughts as she violently swings open the nearest door knocking Randford face down behind the Chesterfield.

Trisha (Out of breath, entering) “Sorry I’m late Mr. Randford but I…” (she thinks he may not be there) “Mr. Randford… Mr. Randford…” (no response) “Oh good.”

She hurries across the room and through the opposite door leaving both doors open wide. Randford appears from behind the Chesterfield and slowly rises to his feet. He brushes himself down and straightens his hair and tie. He moves to the double door and closes it, then walks over to the other door and looks through before shutting it. He turns and bends to get a brush from a low drawer in his desk which he uses to brush his suit down from top to bottom. As he strokes his trouser legs, bending to reach, Trisha enters suddenly and again knocks him over, this time behind his desk. Trisha has removed her coat, thrown on her skirt and is trying to do up the zip as she enters, throwing her magazine on her desk. Her stereo headphones hang limp round her neck, the player in her hands.

Trisha “Mr. Randford… Oh he’s late.”

She hasn’t noticed her employer and sits at her desk in the corner. She pulls the headphones into place and starts to read her magazine, placing the player on the desk. The door swings shut with a gentle clunk to reveal Randford looking angry but contained, now stood. He again meticulously brushes himself off.

Randford (Contained) “Good morning Trisha.”

There is no reply as Trisha is engrossed in her magazine and listening to her stereo.

Randford (Louder) “Good morning Trisha.”

There is still no response so Randford steps forward and coughs twice. This has no effect either so he reaches out to press the stop button on her machine. She reacts jumpily.

Trisha “Urgh… Oh, Mr. Randford.” (She pulls off her earphones and stuffs them and the magazine into her drawer) “You’re here.”

Randford “Yes. Funny that. I work here you see. Unlike some people I could mention. What are you saving them for?”

Trisha “Sorry Mr. Randford. What?”

Randford “The Rhinos. For what reason are you saving them.”

Trisha “Oh, my jumper. Oh, the black rhino…”

Randford (Interrupting) “Trisha.”

Trisha (Pulling off her jumper) “Sorry Mr. Randford. I’ll make the coffee.”

As she talks and removes the sweater she stands as if to leave. Randford steps back to avoid the flailing arms.

Randford “No time for coffee, not yet. Today is an important day. It is Wednesday the sixth and you know what that means don’t you.”

Trisha (Cheekily) “Thursday the seventh tomorrow Mr. Randford.”

Randford “Trisha, may I point out that you are here to assist me in these six heaven sent weeks which our Government has kindly sent us. To assist me. In work. Not as a Butlins Redcoat but as a Solicitor’s Assistant, with the general idea that you learn how adults conduct themselves whilst away from children. So please learn to keep control of your built in desire to attempt humour. I suggest that you file it untidily away with your glossy Beano magazine and Gutter Blaster in the drawer.”

Trisha “Ghetto Blaster, Mr. Randford.”

Randford “I know what I said dear.” (He sits down in his chair) “Wednesday the sixth. Five days since last Friday. A Friday in which you may recall that we had a visit from a pale looking woman dressed in black. This may have struck a chord with you because despite being dressed entirely in black she introduced herself as Mrs. White. She had had some bad news.”

Trisha “Was she the one who wanted a divorce on account of her husband’s week in Portugal with the Sailor from Portsmouth?” (She sits, her jumper on her lap)

Randford “No. No. If you can recall she came to notify me of her husband’s untimely death.”

Trisha “Why untimely?”

Randford (Rising) “Three reasons. Firstly, he was forty. Now that may seem like old to you but please take it from me that at forty a man is still in the prime of his youth. A sudden death we are advised, but painless.” (He moves around his desk) “Secondly, his business was on the brink of breaking into Europe and without him the deal was not likely to go through. And thirdly, I lent him fifty pence for the parking meter when he saw me three weeks ago.”

Trisha “So why is today so important?”

Randford (Sitting opposite Trisha) “Because today is exactly five days since his death. And his will, which he lodged with me, because people do that sort of thing with Solicitors, stated simply that exactly five days after his death, his wife, or whoever, should bring to this office his old oak chest which contains his last will and testament requests. To be unlocked by this key…” (He produces the key from his waistcoat pocket) “…in the presence of certain people he has named in a letter at precisely o-eight thirty hours.” (He checks his watch and the clock) “Which is why you made those telephone calls for me on Monday cancelling today’s appointments.”

Trisha “Oh yes that reminds me. I forgot to tell you that that man with the Greek accent, Mr. Davros, called back.”

Randford “Davis. Mr. Davis and he’s from Winchester.”

Trisha “Him, yes. He said he was a bit annoyed with the change and mentioned something about inserting a skewer in you from below and you being the biggest kebab in Hampshire.” (She is trying to find the message in her tray) “Well that’s what I think he meant”

The main door opens and a strange black clad woman enters. Anna is without expression and moves slowly. She wears a long black cape with the hood up. Under the cape is a simple long black dress. She carries nothing except the rain on her cape. Her accented voice is classy, deliberate and intense.

Anna (At door) “Mr. Randford?”

Randford (Rising to greet her) “Good morning. And you are?” (He extends a handshake)

Anna does not respond to his welcome handshake and proceeds straight to the Chesterfield where she sits.

Randford (Arriving at her side) “I am awfully sorry madam but I cannot take visitors today. I have an important meeting.”

Anna (With a steel cold look) “I am here for your meeting.”

Randford “I am so sorry but it is invited guests only today.”

Anna “I am Anna”

She turns away and stares distantly into nothing.

Randford “Ah. You are Anna.” (He is at a loss so looks at Trisha) “Anna.” (He points at Anna)

Trisha “Anna.”

Randford “Anna… Oh Anna. A. Daiken. The list. You must be Mrs. A. Daiken.”

Anna (Fizzing) “Ms.”

Randford “Sorry I was mistaken.”

Anna (Turning, annoyed) “No that is me. I am Ms. Daiken.”

Randford (Again holding out his hand) “Randford.” (No response, he withdraws his hand) “Could I offer you a coffee?” (Still no response) “I said would you like a coffee?”

Anna (Looking intently at Randford, she speaks poignantly) “A Brazilian dream, the coffee bean. The making of Empires and Land. For all that you see, I would rather have tea. Darjeeling, Ceylon or Assam.” (Randford is open mouthed, Anna turns to Trisha) “And make it two sugars young lady.”

Randford (Turning) “Trisha. And I’ll have a strong black coffee, please. I think I might need it.”

Trisha “Alright, Mr. Randford. Coming up.”

Trisha leaves the room. Randford pulls up one of the low backed chairs to sit near Anna.

Randford “I am awfully sorry about your loss, Ms. Daiken.”

Anna “Anna. Please call me Anna.”

Randford “Yes. Anna.”

Anna “Death. It affects us all. And each of us experiences a different response. Does the eagle miss his mate? Do the dolphins cry? Can a tiger mourn? When another dies?”

Randford “How poignant. You must have really cared for Jack.”

Anna “Jack?”

Randford “Jack White.”

Anna “Oh, yes. Jack. Jack White. No, not really we weren’t very close you see. We go back, that’s all.”

Randford “Are you local?”

Anna “Everyone is local to somewhere. To which point of reference do you mean?”

Randford “Well, I mean here I suppose. Are you from around here?”

Anna “Perception, scale and time, Randford. Perception is based on common points of reference. Local to you may not seem like local to a small child whose experiences only extend as far as his mother’s home. And if two small ants were both living in this room at either end, they may never meet and therefore not consider themselves local to each other. A matter of scale. And then there is time. If two people both lived in the same house they would be local unless they lived in different times.”

Randford “Time. Yes.” (He checks his watch and clock)

 

…To be continued…


 

Isn’t it just a pain when they end just like that!

No this isn’t the shortest play in the entire history of truncated stagings, it is just simply incomplete.

Has it given you a taste though? Do you want me to pen the next exciting installment? Then I shall, as soon as I get around to it. There are many draws on my time so if you want to get to the nub of this venture send me a message.

The more interest it receives the better chance of completion. It’s in your hands.

Vince

Author: Vince Poynter
From the comedy and stage plays section of vinceunlimited.co.uk dated 19 Jan 18 but first published on the website in Mar 2004
The image was chosen far too quickly by the art department to illustrate a will.  It is of a Jaguar XJ8 wheel and was added on 19 Jan 2018. It frankly has no relevance whatever. Or does it? Nope, nothing at all, just decoration

Company Policy Sketch

Type: 3-4 minute sketch with 2 main actors, plus extras set in an office reception.

The sketch is set in an office reception area.  A receptionist sits behind the desk.  A visitor enters.

Receptionist: “Good morning and welcome.”  The visitor acknowledges politely and turns to enter the office area.

Receptionist: “Would you sign the book, sir.”  The visitor mutters an apology and signs in.  He then makes for the office again.

Receptionist: “And the other book, sir.”  The visitor looks bemused and enquires why there are two books.

Receptionist: “Fire regulations, sir.  It is company policy.”  The visitor accepts and signs the second book, then tries to leave.

Receptionist: “Your bag, sir?”  The visitor again looks confused and enquires why.

Receptionist: “Security risk, sir.  We have sensitive data and equipment.  We wouldn’t want it getting out.”

Visitor: “I’m not here to steal things.”

Receptionist: “It is company policy, sir.  I’ll look after it here if you like.”

Visitor, reluctantly handing over his case:  “Very well.”  He attempts to leave.

Receptionist: “Are we forgetting something, sir?”

Visitor, getting slightly annoyed: “What?”

Receptionist: “Your mobile ‘phone, sir.  It may have a camera attachment.”

Visitor, annoyed: “It hasn’t.”

Receptionist: “I’m not to know that, sir.  I can’t be an expert on all things so Company Policy says…”

Visitor, interrupting: “Very well.  Here it is.”

Receptionist, taking the phone: “Thank you.  And your jacket sir.”

Visitor, bemused: “My what?”

Receptionist: “Your jacket.  I must insist that you leave your jacket.”

Visitor, guessing: “My pockets.  Are you concerned that I might slip something into it.”

Receptionist: “It’s company policy.  I was only reading a paper the other day.  Jacket lapels can conceal recording microphones.  Best leave it here with me.”

The Visitor removes his jacket and hands it to the receptionist.

Receptionist: “And your trousers sir?”

Visitor: “My trousers!  Why do you need these?”

Receptionist: “I was only reading on the internet, the other day.  It appears that some manufacturers are incorporating modern technology in their fabrics that can sense heat and light.  You must have seen those tee shirts that change colour dependant on mood.  I’m afraid it is our…”

Visitor, resigned: “…Company Policy?”  He dutifully removes his trousers.

Receptionist: “Open wide, sir.”

Visitor: “I beg your pardon.”

Receptionist, producing a large torch: “I need to look in your mouth.  Just to check.  Open wide.”

The visitor opens his mouth and the receptionist peers in.

Receptionist: “And if I might?”  The receptionist beckons toward the visitor’s underwear.

Visitor, pulling his underwear forward: “Very well.”  The receptionist reluctantly peers down, grimaces, then gently reaches in to move things to the side.  The visitor winces.

Visitor, now quite exhausted by the humiliation:  “Is that all?”

They are suddenly interrupted by a film crew who crash in through the door.  One person holds a camera, another a boom mike.  There are assistants with clipboards and cases.  The director struts forward.

Director: “Film crew for the office documentary.  Alright to go in love?”

Receptionist: “Just straight through guys.  I’ll sign you in.”

The visitor looks aghast: “What about Company Policy?”

The receptionist is unperturbed.  She reaches down behind the desk and emerges with a pair of rubber gloves.  “Bend over, sir.”  She puts another smaller torch in her mouth and snaps the gloves on.

End

You are welcome to use this sketch, on stage or video but credit and royalties must be given to Vince Poynter as the author.  An invite to see it performed would also be welcomed, along with requests for more sketches, which can be scripted on any subject.  Contact me at any time of the day or night for more information.  Although, if you contact me at night I won’t guarantee that I’ll open my inbox until the next morning.  Mummy always told me not to open the door when it gets dark.  Mind you, I’m not sure that email inboxes were thought of when she said that.

Vince.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the comedy and sketches section of vinceunlimited.co.uk dated 15 Jan 18 but first published on the website in Mar 2004

Site For Sore Eyes

A television situation comedy by Vince Poynter

This, the first Sitcom to emerge from the brainchild of vinceunlimited, is Site for Sore Eyes.

The concept is about the trials and trepidations of work on a building site. Without the colourful language and exposed butt cheeks.

Below is the beginning of the first, pilot, tv episode.

Note: This is a project commenced and ripe for development so if you want to help this see the light of pixels get in touch and we’ll talk.


Site For Sore Eyes

A Pilot Situation Comedy Script for Television by Vince Poynter

Photograph of a tipped construction lorry laying beside a tall crane on a building siteThe scene is set

Phase One – Pumped Up

Mess Hut – A site shed, with benches and table. Very untidy. Calendar and site safety notices on the walls. Tea making equipment, old tabloid newspapers and broken cups on the benches. Rubbish around on the floor.

Two pipe fitters are in the hut, drinking tea. One is reading a tabloid newspaper and eating his sandwiches, all that is seen are his hands grabbing the curled up sandwiches, his face hidden by the paper. The other is wearing a tatty Walkman listening to music with his eyes closed. His fingers drum out a beat on his thigh.

Bill Clark enters. He is a Pipe-fitting Foreman in his fifties. A know it all from the old school. He pushes past the reading fitter.

Bill: “Morning lads.”

The fitters grunt acknowledgement, without moving. Bill places his bag on the table, sits between the other two and starts to prepare tea. This is a well-rehearsed routine.

Bill: “Sugar.”

The fitter with the paper slides the sugar along the table without raising his head.

Bill: “Tea bag.”

The other fitter reaches down to the ground and flicks a tea bag in the air, straight into Bill’s cup.

Bill: “Milk.”

As he says this he extends his cup towards the reading fitter. The fitter’s hand appears with the milk bottle and pours straight into the cup.

Bill: “Kettle on?.”

The other fitter swings round, picks up the kettle from the floor and pours the hot water straight into the cup, all without looking. Bill stirs the tea and takes a sip.

Bill: “Ahh. Tea. Lifeblood. See the match last night lads?”

The fitters grunt.

Bill: “Did you see that second goal. I haven’t seen a ball hit as hard as that since my Aunt Deirdre swiped old uncle Bob with his own golf club. Nine iron I think. Painful.”

The fitters squeak.

Bill: “Our man was on top form yesterday. Still they need the points if they want to stay up this season. After all, top teams aren’t built in a day.”

The fitters grunt.

Bill: “I reckon if they stopped going for the classic four, four, two and used a sweeper, winger …”

Tim Peterson entering cuts Bill short. Tim is a sixteen-year-old first year pipefitting apprentice with natural fallibility. He is obviously late and knocks things about as he rushes to his seat.

Tim: “Morning Bill. Morning lads.”

The fitters and Bill grunt. Tim quickly looks about for a tea mug and can only find a chipped old one with a missing handle. Unlike Bill, he doesn’t receive the help in making his tea, in fact when he searches for the items they are moved away from his sight by the others. This slows down the process of preparing the drink and allows for some interplay and visual slapstick. When he finally pours out his drink, the others, in unison, stand up, clear their items away and leave the hut. Bill and Tim are the last to leave. Bill is sorting out a specification and Tim is trying hard to cool down his drink, by frantically waving an old newspaper over it, whilst sipping.

Bill: “Oh. Tim. Did you get that new bubble for my spirit level on your way home yesterday?”

Tim: “No, sorry Bill. They said the ones they had in stock were damaged. They said they were hoping for a delivery today and I was to go back.”

Bill: “Did they tell you that the new ones would come in bubble wrap?”

Tim: “Yeah. That’s just what they said.”

Bill: “I thought so.”

Tim: “So, what are we on today?”

Bill: “We’re in the plant room. We’ve got to modify those pumps Mike told us about before he went.”

Tim: “Mike eh. Who would believe it? Fourteen million quid. What would you do with your share of that, Bill?”

Bill: “Not waste time talking pumps with you. That’s for certain.”

Tim: “I reckon I’d buy this company and make the old man redundant. I can’t understand why Mike just disappeared like that. I mean, he didn’t even trash the computers in the office. How sad.”

Bill: “And get himself sued. With all that money you become a target and I bet the old man would’ve tried it on. No, Mike is best out of it. I would probably just leave too. Jobs like this always seem to go on forever. This one’s been going for ten months already and it will probably see out my retirement the way it’s going. The Colosseum wasn’t built in a day, you know. Come to think of it, if Mike was doing the Colosseum it would probably still be a pile of rubble now.”

Tim: “It is.”

Bill: “Don’t be facetious.”

Tim: “Will the new engineer be any good?”

Bill: “Probably not. Them suits are all the same. More interested in their company car and expense account than the job. And most couldn’t build a sand castle on Bournemouth Beach let alone a big job like this.”

Tim: “So you’ve known a few in your time then.”

Bill: “Just a few! I remember this suit once. Name of Rogers. Used to speak with a limp I recall. Drove a Cavalier. Didn’t know a thing. He thought six inch copper was what a policeman’s wife gets.”

They laugh.

Bill: “Anyway lad. Lets get a move on. These pipes won’t fit themselves and the new man will have enough to do without worrying about that.”

They leave the mess hut.

Click to continue reading the whole, completed script

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Situation Comedies section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 3 Jan 2018
First published in the vinceunlimited.co.uk website version 1.01 in Jan 2004
The image depicts a crashed lorry on a building site in Canary Wharf

Loch Ness

Monster Storytelling – A Screenplay Treatment

Please note that this is an incomplete fiction about the discovery of the Loch Ness monster.  It was written circa. 1995 after seeing what effects could be achieved with the film Jurassic Park which was released in 1993.

However, continuation of the story was sadly abandoned when the big screen movie, starring Ted Danson, called Loch Ness appeared in 1996.

At the time of writing the author has never seen the aforementioned film so any coincidences are purely that.  Coincidental.


Loch Ness

By Vince Poynter

The story is about a man, who after a bad argument with a long standing lover, treks off to get some peace and quiet.  He travels to Scotland and ends up near Loch Ness.

Whilst looking across the Loch he notices something move.  It turns out to be nothing but driftwood, until he turns away…

He books into a local hotel, recounts his story and is amused by the stories of Nessie and of the local’s stories in the bar.  The stories grow more absurd as the evening wears on and the drink flows.

He begins to notice an attractive American woman staying for a few weeks in the same hotel, as a great niece to the landlord, but the drink and his memories of his recent lover cause him to be more embarrassing than attractive.

To seek solitude he spends some time near the Loch and again spots something.  This time he is certain and decides to investigate further.

He tells the woman but she is less than impressed, dismissing his sightings as drunkenness.  Only an old man seems to agree with his thoughts.

The men agree to search for the monster.  Next morning they hire a set of diving gear from a local watersports centre and despite never having dived before set off, on a hire boat, to search the depths.

After several hours, suffering from cold and with faulty dive equipment they decide to abandon the search.  A storm blows up and they set back only to have their boat blown to a remote part of the Loch near an unusual landmark and capsize.

In the dark and severe weather the two struggle to grab driftwood to survive.  A darkened shape comes from the depths and the man tries to take a photograph or two but the old man is suffering and attempts to rescue him become a priority.

The attempts are fruitless and the old man is lost.  The man tries in vain to keep himself afloat but starts to sink.  He is just losing consciousness when he is accelerated at high speed through the water.

The next morning the woman is strolling across the beach and finds the man washed up on the shore.  As he recovers in her bed he recounts the story.

Whilst his story is too far fetched for her to believe she begins to fall for his charm and as they console themselves about the fate of the old man they embrace and begin to fall for each other.  They are rudely interrupted by the landlord who on hearing the story decides the police should be called.

In the Police Station the man is given a hard time about the loss of the old man and responsibilities given the huge depths of the Loch and the dangers of weather.

Whilst he is at the inquest, giving evidence about the circumstances, the woman receives the post, which contain the man’s photographs.  She rushes them to the inquest and presents the evidence.

A local reporter, an evil man, awakened by the thought of fame, causes a disturbance and steals the photos.  The next day the papers and news are full of the story and the reporter is given top publicity.

Within days the area around the Loch is totally transformed.

Multi-million pound projects are commenced with the thought of huge publicity rewards.  Major sponsors advertising boards are put up everywhere and the character of the place is wrecked.

The man and woman are horrified by the invasion of the world’s publicity and are hounded by reporters whatever they do, particularly the evil reporter.  They hear that the monster will be hunted at any cost and see explosives being off loaded and used to cause sonic shock waves.  A submarine is airlifted into the area and flotillas of the locals boats are used to trawl the Loch.

The man and woman decide that they need to find the monster before anyone else.  The problem is that they realise that they wouldn’t stand a chance given the searching power of the rest of the teams.  They need a head start and the man recalls the landmark he noticed just before capsizing.  They set off to find the landmark.

The landmark is at a far end of the Loch and when they discover it they find some wreckage of the boat.

They look into the water and see the monster, which appears to look back at them.  By moonlight the sight is wonderful but is interrupted by a helicopter with big searchlights, carrying the evil reporter, plus many approaching boats.

The man and woman disguise the find by quickly removing their clothes and going for a swim to distract the hunters.  The hunters leave the two in peace and head away to search another part.  Inevitably, the man and woman make love on the shore, the monster diving around in the background.

Next morning, over breakfast, the two plan to disrupt the search by discrediting his original story.

They realise that this could jeopardise the original claim of an accident but they figure that the risk is worthwhile.  They decide that the first thing to do is move the boat debris to another place.

They drive to the place where the accident happened, collect some debris and take it to another part of the Loch.  They return to collect more but whilst doing this they are spotted by the evil reporter who follows them to the site of the accident.

As he steps from his car he gets a gun out of the glove compartment.  He follows them to the shore where he confronts them.

An argument ensues about the morals of discovery and financial gain against destruction of the local environment.  A struggle occurs and the woman is shot in the head.

The man is about to be shot by the reporter when he dives in the water.  As he struggles to hold his breath underwater and swim to a safe place the bullets fly through the water around him.

He suddenly notices the monster nearby which when startled by a bullet dives off toward the edge of the Loch and disappears.  He follows, parting the underwater plants and discovers a large hidden underwater shaft.  He realises it is his only hope and swims down it.

Meanwhile the reporter, realising what has happened, cleans off his gun and throws it down near to the woman and drives off.

You will have to commission this story to see how it ends…..

Author: Vince Poynter
From the screenplays section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 2 Jan 2018
Written around 1995 and first published in the vinceunlimited.co.uk website version 1.01 in Jan 2004 and reproduced here in full, unedited
The image depicts a monster at Loch Ness, the monster being the author’s large Jaguar XJ8 photographed at Loch Ness in 2000

Short Novel

The shortest story of all time, written by Vince before Oct 2003

The most difficult thing when writing a novel is to start.

And now that I have I can finish.

The end.

Please note that due to the brevity, this story is not embedded in a downloadable file, saved in .pdf file format or zipped.  It is also not available in paperback or at any bookstore, whether good or not.  No translations have been made and copies are not available.  The author would not like to acknowledge or thank anyone for their assistance.  Frankly, he’s embarrased at even being mentioned.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the fiction section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 14 Dec 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003 and reproduced here in full, unedited
The image depicts a smart ForTwo car in a short stay parking bay. It was taken by the author in Mar 2016.  It was added on 14 Dec 2017.