WORK LOCATION PLAN
BY KAY RICHARDSON
1) Buy The Stage;
2) Attend all auditions listed in The Stage (apart from erotic dancing);
3) Ring all drama school colleagues (who will talk to me);
4) Ask all drama school colleagues (who will talk to me) for leads;
5) Investigate internet marketing;
6) Dismiss thoughts of selling property for a living.
I bought The Stage from Hello Matey. Other than erotic dancers, there was one (vaguely) interesting advertisement. The Cambridge Shakespeare Festival was looking for actors for a series of plays. I emailed them a photo and my CV. My CV was my actual CV. It wasn’t a fabricated CV. I doubted that I’d be called to audition – too little experience.
Scrolling through my phone’s contact list, I realised there were no drama school colleagues who would speak with me.
I considered creating another podcast. I consulted the listening statistics for the last episode. I decided against creating another podcast.
And whilst doing these things, and more, I could never fully dismiss the idea of selling property. If I succumbed to Colin’s cash, I could eat out every night and take women to the cinema and buy as much pick ‘n’ mix as I wanted. I loved those fizzy cola bottles. If I had money, I could buy shizzle-loads. Estate Agency could find me that cash.
I agreed to meet Pink Tom for a drink. Had I forgiven him for the Legion Deejaying fiasco? Had I flip. (No.) But there was nobody else I could think of drinking with:
People I could have a drink with:
Pink Tom – friend from sixth-form college. Owed me fifty pound from DJing;
Rosalind – told me not to contact her.
Jon (Janet’s husband) – Janet would have reminded him of me after our Starbucks meeting. He had a baby. And would probably try to convince me of the merits of the property game;
Julia – met in a nightclub six months ago. Had sex. Didn’t call her. Might think it weird to receive a call six months in future. I couldn’t remember her face;
Bert. An alcoholic teacher.
Pink Tom it was, then.
“I haven’t forgiven you for the night in Legion,” he said when I called him.
I told Tom that I hadn’t forgiven him. He agreed, however, that we should go for a drink. We arranged to meet at 1930 in The Railway in Blackheath. Tom moaned because he lived in Camden, the other side of town. I told him that it was my idea to drink, so I could demand location. He wasn’t keen until I lied about a party of sixth-form girls I knew to be visiting. The Railway was a pleasant place. It often played Belle & Sebastian on a Saturday night. Sweet.
The evening, however, was p-p-p-proper awful. Tom was forty minutes late. I sat with a newspaper and looked like a loner. When Tom finally arrived, he didn’t apologise, but said:
“Where are the eighteen-year-olds?” loudly to the empty pub.
He bought himself a pint of lager without offering me one. And when he finally sat at our table, he told me ‘not to bother asking about that fifty pounds’.
We sat in silence for twenty minutes. I reread the newspaper and Tom fiddled with his Blackberry.
“Oh,” he said at nine o’clock. “Did I tell you that the Royal Court are interested in a play what I wrote?”
My head darted up from an article about a dog that had destroyed Elvis Presley’s teddy bear.
Tom confirmed the horror. He’d sent a play to the Royal Court Theatre and somebody there wanted to arrange a meeting to discuss ‘options’. I nodded, grunting ‘well done’ into the newspaper that I continued to reread.
A muted half an hour passed until two Australian girls asked if they could sit at our table.
“What about all those?” I ask, swinging my arm across the bar to illustrate all the other empty tables. Pink Tom and I were the only other customers (apart from a middle-aged couple and an aged alcoholic). These Australians had no call to share our rectangular four-seating table.
“Ignore him,” said Tom. “Sure. Take a seat.”
He smiled, I hated him, and I continued to read the paper. One of the girls went to fetch drinks. Tom spoke to her friend. When the Aussie returned from the bar, she immediately addressed me.
“What yer doing reading a paper in the pub?” she asked. “You want a lager? I bought yer one.”
I sighed, folded the paper and returned it to the table. And then I drank. The woman was fairly interesting, I concede. She was studying Russian at university and she answered questions I had about Stalin. She was fairly attractive too - tall and black haired and diving neck line.
I was talking to her about the Second World War when she leant over and asked ‘do you and your mate wanna come back to my friend’s house for 'c and s'?’
I'd not heard of this term before, but knew not to let on. Words flew through my imagination - verily, there were many intriguing words that began with either 'c' or 's'.
I asked if she were joking. She laid a hand upon my thigh and said she never joked about 'c and s'. I gulped and said ‘alright’, knowing that if 'c and s' turned out to be unpleasant, I could always flee from the house, jumping from a window if need be. She told me to check with Tom because it was her friend’s house and they’d only met four hours earlier and she didn’t wanna be a gooseberry.
I leant over to Tom, smiling and forgiving, and I asked him and he laughed, then straightened his face when he realised I wasn't joking and so said ‘Not my scene’.
I walked home. Alone. Seething. Drunk.