Shady Business

Published By Samuel French

(Note for directors:-  Please make the actors play this for REAL.  If they shout and pull faces and try to be funny, they will lose the essence of the play, as well as many of the laughs)

MANDYRight – who the hell is this?
TANIAIt’s your feller.
MANDYIt certainly is not my feller!
TANIA(TO TERRY)   Aren’t you her feller?
TERRY(SHAKING HIS HEAD)   I’m not her feller.
MANDY(INDICATING THE BATHROOM)   I told you to get rid of that one in there, not go out and get another one!
TANIAHe is that one in there.
MANDYHow can he be that one in there?
TANIAI saw him come out of there.   (TO TERRY)    Didn’t I see you come out of there?
TERRYNo, you saw me going in there.
TANIAWhat for?
TERRYTo see who else was in there.
TANIAI’m going out of my mind! Who else was in there?
TERRYDon’t ask me.  (INDICATES THE FRONT DOOR)   I came in there, and someone else was going in there.
TANIA(TO MANDY)   Who else could be in there?
MANDYThe one I told you was in there!
TANIAWell where is he now?
MANDYStill in there, I presume.
TANIA(GOING TO THE BATHROOM)   He can’t be!   (TRIES THE DOOR)   He is.
MANDY(PUSHING HER ASIDE AND WHISPERING THROUGH THE DOOR)  Gerry!
TANIAI thought she said Gerry.
MANDYWill you come out of there, for Christ’s sake!   (TURNS)  He must have climbed out the window.
TANIAFour stories up?
MANDYThis is ridiculous.  (INDICATING TERRY)   Who’s this then?
TERRYI’m Terry.
MANDYTerry?
TANIAI thought he was your guy. So I told Big Mack he was mine – like you said.
MANDYTerrific! Where’d he come from?
TANIAI don’t know.
TERRYI’m new. My boss runs the restaurant for Big Mack. He told me to deliver the week’s…  you know, dosh.
MANDYThat should have come last night.
TERRYI had a bit of bother.
MANDYBother?
TERRYI couldn’t come over then. So I came this morning. To try and explain.
MANDYExplain what?
 (HE TAKES AN ENVELOPE FROM HIS POCKET, AND GLANCES AT DOZER)
TERRY(WHISPERING)   This is it.  But it’s not all there.
MANDYNot all there!
TERRYShhh!  I lost some.
MANDYLost?
TERRYYeh.
MANDYWhere?
TERRYAt your club.
MANDYHow?
TERRYPlaying roulette.
MANDYWhat??
TERRYThere’s an illegal gaming room round the back.
MANDYI know that. What were you doing there?
TERRYI went there…. for a flutter.
MANDYHow much did you lose?
TERRYA grand.
MANDYA thousand quid!
TANIAFrom Luigi’s takings?
TERRYYeh.
MANDYBloody hell, Terry!  You went gambling at Big Mack’s club with Big Mack’s own money?
TERRYYeh.
MANDYHe’s cut off ears for less than that!
TERRYI know, but you see I had a bit of a crisis.
TANIAYou’ve got a bigger one now.
TERRYThe thing was, I owed some money, and it had to be paid back.
MANDYHow much?
TERRYA thousand quid.
TANIAAnother thousand?
TERRYYeh.
MANDYWho to?
TERRYEr…. Big Mack actually.
MANDY(PAUSE)   Can you start again?
TERRYIt was like this. A few weeks ago I wanted some cash to make up the price on this car a mate of mine was selling. Great little sports car. So I borrowed a grand from a loan shark – stupid, I know – who turned out to be one of Big Mack’s people.
TANIAName?
TERRYHarry the Spanner, they called him.
MANDYOh God!
TERRYThen I lost my job, and I couldn’t keep up the payments. I spent everything I had on the interest alone….
MANDYWhy didn’t you go to a bank? – they’ll give you interest in single figures.
TERRYI’m already over my limit there.
MANDYSilly question.
TERRYAnyway, this Harry character was coming on heavy for his thousand quid back – or Big Mack’s as it turns out.
TANIAThat’s why he’s called the Spanner. Twists your nuts.
TERRYYeh.  Well then by chance I got the job at Luigi’s, and found out that was one of Big Mack’s businesses too, and suddenly I had an idea.
MANDYOh dear.
TERRYI thought, if I used some of his cash to gamble at his own club, then I might win enough to pay him back his thousand, and if I didn’t, well it wouldn’t matter too much because he’d only be winning back his own money…. if you see what I mean.
MANDY(LONG PAUSE)  What?
TERRYWell, it seemed to make sense at the time.
TANIA(SLOWLY)   Let me get this straight. You gambled at Big Mack’s club, with Big Mack’s money, to try and win from Big Mack money you owed Big Mack, thinking that if you lost it to Big Mack it was Big Mack’s anyway, so Big Mack wouldn’t mind?
TERRY(PAUSE)   Yeh.
 (TANIA LOOKS SLOWLY ROUND AT DOZER.)
TANIAWhat do you think about that, Dozer?
DOZER(FROWNING)  Sounds all right to me.
TANIAI somehow don’t think it’ll sound all right to Big Mack.
MANDYIt’ll sound bloody unbelievable to Big Mack!  Big Mack will have Harry the Spanner tighten your nuts so tight you’ll never find them again….
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