Dialogue Extract (Birthday Suite)

by Robin Hawdon
BOB …I’m not… I mean, I don’t… I’m not used to this at all.
KATE I’m not sure I believe you.
BOB Why?
KATE Well – the champagne…
BOB Oh, that’s Geoff’s idea.
KATE Ah. And the bed?
BOB The bed?
BOB Er…what about it?
KATE I didn’t expect that.
BOB You didn’t?
KATE A bit obvious, don’t you think?
BOB (staring at it) I suppose it is.
KATE A bit unsubtle.
BOB Unsubtle? Oh, I see! You’d rather do without the bed?
KATE Well, at this stage.
BOB You must forgive me. I’m not up with all the modern trends. I’m a bit old-fashioned about these things.
KATE Hardly seems that way to me.
BOB True, I assure you. I’m a very staid, very ordinary, very unambitious man, who’s got involved in something a bit outside his scope. As a matter of fact I was about to skip off before you arrived. I didn’t think I could go through with it.
KATE Really?
BOB Yes.
KATE That’s funny. So was I.
BOB So were you what?
KATE About to skip off.
BOB Why?
KATE Same reason as you.
BOB I don’t quite follow.
KATE Well, why were you nervous about it.
BOB Because I’ve never done anything like this before.
KATE Neither have I.
BOB I mean, it’s my first time.
KATE It’s mine too.
  (Pause. BOB bursts into relieved laughter.)
BOB I see! I didn’t understand! It’s your first time!
BOB I thought you were a bit odd.
BOB Yes. I couldn’t make you out at all. (Looking at her in a new light) Good heavens – your first time!
KATE (annoyed) Well do I look as if I’m a regular at it?
BOB No, you don’t. That’s what threw me. I naturally assumed you were, you see. (Going to the drinks) Have another drink.
KATE Thank you. Vodka and tonic.
BOB (as he pours) Your first time – Good Lord!
KATE (awkward) Well, is it so surprising? Everyone has to start somewhere.
BOB I suppose so. It hadn’t really occurred to me. (Bringing her drink) Tell me, why er… what, er… what made you go in for this sort of thing?
KATE We all get lonely, don’t we?
BOB Well, yes, but er – rather a drastic method, isn’t it?
KATE Well, why have you done it?
BOB Oh, dreams, fantasies – the frustrations of staid middle age.
KATE Does it have to be a fantasy?
BOB Well…
KATE Don’t you think we might make a real relationship?
BOB (with a sad laugh) What an idealist you are. I don’t imagine you’ll stay that way for long.
KATE (angrily) Well, for heaven’s sake, what do you suppose is the whole purpose of this exercise? Shake hands, have a quick drink, and then into bed? Wham, bam, thank you ma’am, and then go our separate ways? Eh?
BOB Well… yes.
KATE Well, thank you!
  (Throws her drink in his face, and storms through to the other room, slamming the door.)