Many a Slip
ANDY, GRAEME and PETER are England cricketers fielding in the slips. ANDY is younger than the other two. They are crouched down in preparation for a ball being bowled. After a moment they all stand.
GRAEME: So, where did you get to last night then?
ANDY: Me? Just back to the hotel.
GRAEME: Yeah, right.
ANDY: What’s wrong with that?
GRAEME: Hardly fits your rep does it.
ANDY: What rep?
GRAEME: Randy Andy, the EsSEX maniac. The County Champion.
ANDY: That’s all rubbish. The papers make it up.
GRAEME: Oh yeah? So how come the headline in today’s Sun is ‘I’m addicted to love’ says England’s new cricket star.
ANDY: Like I say, they just make it up. Besides, the selectors made it quite clear that if there was any monkey business I’d be on the first plane home.
GRAEME: Yeah. So there is something in it then. There’s no smoke without fire.
ANDY: Shouldn’t you be sledging the batsman rather than me?
GRAEME: All right mate. I believe you. You were tucked up in bed by 9 o’clock.
ANDY: That’s right. And I was back in my own room by midnight.
The three of them crouch down as another ball is delivered. They then stand.
GRAEME: I thought you were having us on. Who was it then? Not that barmaid?
ANDY: It would be ungallant of me to reveal the lady’s identity.
GRAEME: Ooh. What a gent!
ANDY: Besides. I don’t want to give myself any competition.
GRAEME: Not much chance of that. Me and Peter are both here with our wives arn’t we Peter?
ANDY: Is he always so quiet?
GRAEME: No. What’s up Pete?
PETER: I don’t want to talk about it.
The crouching business is repeated.
GRAEME: Come on mate. We’re all here for each other.
PETER: Is that so?
GRAEME: If you’ve got something on you mind mate…
PETER: Perhaps you had better ask Andy here.
PETER: Yeah. Our cocky new team mate. Cocky being the operative word.
GRAEME: What are you talking about Peter?
PETER: When we retired to the bar last night, and he went off. Ask him who’s room it was that he went to.
PETER: You will have noticed that my wife didn’t join us in the bar.
Suddenly ANDY and PETER dive towards each other as though to catch a ball that passes between them. They miss it. They stand again.
ANDY: Concentrate. Christ!
GRAEME: You put each other off then. Both going for it.
PETER: How apt.
GRAEME: I think it was Pete’s really Andy. Truth be told.
PETER: Well. He can’t keep his hands off can he?
ANDY: Look Peter. I’m sorry about the catch but I don’t know anything about your missus last night. Believe me.
GRAEME: Pete. Have you got any evidence?
PETER: Sandra said she’d got a headache. She never gets a headache.
GRAEME: That’s it? That’s you’re evidence.
PETER: Well, with his reputation what do you expect?
The crouching business is repeated.
ANDY: Look. This is ridiculous. You’ll believe anything. What if I was to tell you I was gay?
ANDY: All this womanising business is just a smokescreen. I don’t want to be known as England’s first gay cricketer.
PETER: Oh, come on. This is 2010. Nobody is bothered…
ANDY: Yeah, well. I’m not gay. But you believed me didn’t you? So gullible!
GRAEME: Er. Yeah. Pete mate; I think you went a bit over the top.
There is a beat.
PETER: Yeah. OK. I’m just a bit wound up you know. I might not last the tour if I don’t find some form. Sorry Andy, I was just being stupid.
ANDY: It’s all right Pete. And don’t worry about the tour, you’ll be fine. You’re a legend. My hero!
PETER: Really? Cheers mate!
GRAEME: And you’ve no worries about Sandra, Pete. You should know she has your name tattooed on her heart.
PETER: Yeah. You’re right.
UMPIRE: (Off.) Over.
ANDY: Except Sandra hasn’t got any tattoos.