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?

PETER: Yeah.

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.

GRAEME: Andy?

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.

GRAEME: Eh?

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.

PETER: Hell!

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?

PETER: Eh?

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.

They crouch.

UMPIRE: (Off.) Over.

ANDY: Except Sandra hasn’t got any tattoos.

They exit.