Shocked to Fame by Colin Mayo

This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author's PRIOR consent

ACT 1
Scene One

The curtain is closed, a woman walks across the stage. A figure bursts
out between the curtains, he is wearing a gimp suit which covers his
body and face. He scares the woman who runs off. Exit stage left.
David Bowie’s song “Fashion” starts playing. The figure calmly
walks to the edge of the stage and performs a dance to the music
whilst standing on the spot, moving from side to side. Then he too
runs off. Exit stage right.

The music fades.

The curtain opens

Thursday – midday.

AMY DICK’S office. This contains a desk with a chair behind it and a
chair in front of it (DR). There is a door (RC) near to the desk. At
this point the stage is partitioned by another curtain/lighting
closing off a portion of the back of the stage. There is a leather
sofa to the side of the desk (C), there is also a television with its
back to the audience by the desk – opposite the sofa. In the corner
(LC), there is a low cabinet by another door (UL). Littered around the
room are little numbered golf flags which indicate AMY has made her
office into a putting green. There is a golf trolley and clubs near
the door (UL). On the desk is a sign that reads: “Amy Dick –
Private Investigator”. When the curtain draws back, she is
practicing putting on the carpet, in front of the sofa, and standing
with a putter in a golf stance, facing the audience, a golf ball is at
her feet.

AMY (singing Fashion) We are the goon squad and we're coming to town,
Beep-beep.
(to self but out loud) They don’t write lyrics like that anymore.
there is a knock on the door.
Come in.
there is a knock on the door.
(louder): Come in!

RICK LITTLEWORTH walks in. He is nervous. He is wearing a black,
leather biker jacket and carrying a motorcycle helmet. He has a day
sack over his shoulder.

AMY does not even turn around; she is concentrating on her putt.

AMY Just put it down on the cabinet by the door.

RICK LITTLEWORTH (he coughs and moves awkwardly from foot to foot –
unsure of whether or not to walk further into the room). Sorry…

AMY turns and looks at RICK.

AMY: Apologies, I thought you were an Amazon delivery – I’m expecting
some golf club covers.

RICK Have I come to the right place? It’s hard to find being above a
shop and up all those stairs.

AMY Well, that depends what you’re looking for, if it’s fruit and
veg you’re after then you’d be better off at the Aldi around the
corner.

RICK, I mean, you’re a private eye, aren’t you?

AMY folds her club under her arm.

AMY: Indeed, I am, Amy Dick’s the name. I come from a long line of
Dicks.
RICK Oh good. I saw your advert on the internet and I thought you may
be able to…. I mean… I’ve not done this sort of thing before…
but I’m hoping you can help. I’m Rick… Rick Littleworth.

RICK offers his hand but AMY doesn’t take it.

AMY Well, take a seat, Rick, and I’ll see what I can do for you.

RICK takes off his leather motorcycle jacket and sits on the sofa. He
places his crash helmet and the day sack on the floor.
I meant on the chair…. Oh, never mind…

AMY is frustrated by the fact that she has not finished her putt –
she feels RICK is going to waste her time.

RICK I’ve taken a day off work… I’ve been meaning to come to see
you for ages… and I’ve finally plucked up the courage…. I think
my wife’s having an affair.

AMY, I see, and you want me to gather the evidence to help you file
for divorce…

AMY walks around to her side of the desk, she places the putter by her
chair, leaning it on the edge of her desk.

RICK I just want to know… it’s the not knowing that’s the worst
thing… it is eating me up inside.

AMY OK. Have you seen my charges? I charge £55 per hour and I need a
retainer, after that there are expenses and additional costs depending
on how involved the work is.
(mimicking Groucho Marx) Those are my prices and if you don’t like
them… well, I have others.

RICK Pardon me?

AMY Sorry, I’m a film buff, that’s what Groucho Marx said about
“principles”. “Those are my principles” …. Oh dear… never
mind… anyway, my prices are fixed.

RICK Yes, yes, I saw your website, I’m happy to pay anything…
I’ve come into quite a bit of money… (he stops abruptly). I just
need to know…

AMY gets an A4 notepad from the desk drawer and picks up a pen.

AMY We just have to go through some preliminaries and then we’ll get
started. Name?

RICK Rick… Rick Littleworth.

AMY Address?

RICK 14, Riverside, Knobsworth.

AMY Oh, those houses by the woods and the golf course?

RICK Yes, I’m not sure where the river is though.

AMY You probably won’t find out until it floods. When were you born?

RICK On my birthday.

AMY, I meant the date.

RICK Oh sorry, 6th June, 1975.

AMY Thirty-one years after D-Day. That makes you forty-four.
Nationality?

RICK Is that relevant?

AMY No, but everyone seems to ask it these days.

RICK Manx.

AMY Pardon me?

RICK I was born on the Isle of Man whilst my parents were on holiday
there. Father was mad keen on motorcycling and we went there every
year to watch the Isle of Man TT – one-time Mother gave birth to me
– I was premature - but I was raised in Bedfordshire...

AMY Let’s put you down as British, shall we? Married, how long?

RICK Fourteen years.

AMY That’s good, you’ve beaten the seven-year itch by a factor of
two. Children?

RICK No.

AMY Choice, impotence or incompetence?
RICK Well… er…. er

AMY It’s OK you don’t have to answer that, it’s sometimes a
factor that’s all…

RICK In what?

AMY Infidelity.

RICK, I see. Will it take long?

AMY Oh no, just a few more questions and then I’ll take some details
of your suspicions.

RICK No, I mean to find out.

AMY It shouldn’t take more than a week or so; these days, with
social media, nothing’s secret for long. Everyone leaves a carbon
footprint.

RICK Don’t you mean a data footprint?

AMY That too, but I drive an electric car. What about you?

RICK, I have a Honda motorbike – a CB 300R – which I use for work
and a 1975 Norton Commando 850cc Roadster (he tries to make a joke)
– it’s as old as me but in a lot better condition.

AMY That’s good – more of a thumb print than a footprint –
everyone should think of the environment. I take it your wife
partakes?

RICK In what?

AMY (frustrated) In social media, what do you think I meant?

RICK Oh yes. She’s on Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, WhatsApp,
Instagram...

AMY What about you?

RICK I’ve no friends. No one would be interested in my tweets.
People say I’m boring… useless…

AMY (ignoring his self-pity) I don’t do social media myself but then
I see the dark side of it – anyway, unlike the rest of the populous,
I like to keep my pubic life private.

RICK, I see… I bet you get a lot of people like me?

AMY If you mean divorces and infidelity – well yes – matrimonials
are my peaches and cream. Plus, a bit of internal company fraud where
the company doesn’t want police involvement due to reputational
damage. Missing persons, that’s always a good one and I.T’s on the
increase: investigating fraud on-line; email and phone forensics; also
trolling that sort of thing but unfortunately, I’m not great with
computers. Hark, that’s why you don’t see one here! I prefer a pen
and paper… or a quill and parchment if there’s any to hand… but
my brother helps me out where that’s concerned so I’m not
completely I.T deficient.

RICK But you think you can help me, do you?

AMY, I know so, if you want proof, or otherwise, of your wife’s
affair then I’m your man – only I’m a woman – women are a lot
better at this game then men – a lot better. They’re more subtle;
they can get people to open up; they can disguise themselves easier;
they’re more sensitive to their surroundings - so you’ll be
pleased you selected a female Private Investigator over a male one –
rest assured of that. A lot of women work in this area now –
probably more women than men – women are better at the whole secrecy
thing. The days of Humphrey Bogart, with a cigarette hanging out of
his mouth, wearing a trilby and a dirty Mac, are long gone.
RICK Great. I’m not sexist. I knew from your name you were a woman
– well Amy – that’s a woman’s name, right? And that didn’t
put me off, not at all.

AMY Good shout, Rick, good shout. Now, what do you do for a living?

RICK I’m an accountant… well, I say accountant… (laughs
nervously) that’s a bit posh … I’m a clerk who does the books in
small engineering company – I’m a bookkeeper really – I did
A.A.T qualifications - Levels 1, 2 and 3.

AMY A. A. T stands for?

RICK Association of Accounting Technicians.

AMY That’s good, so you have qualifications. Qualifications help in
life – although they can be a hinderance if you have the wrong ones.

RICK places his head in his hands, talks to the floor.

RICK It’s the not knowing that’s the worst thing – the
suspicion; the deceit, the lack of trust… it’s tearing me apart.
Lisa-Louise was my life, now I feel she’s slipping through my
fingers… I don’t want to confront her… that would be too much…
I just want to know… I’m making plans, I’ve got a plan.

AMY Tell me a bit about your wife then: age, job that sort of thing.

RICK Well, she’s forty-six – the same age as me – she works for
a family run estate agent firm – Delavero’s – you’ve probably
heard of them, they’re big in Knobsworth. She earns more than me –
a lot more – plus commission – she’s good at sales - she often
works late and weekends.

AMY A normal lot for an estate agent. What’s her date of birth?

RICK 12th October, 1975.

AMY OK – and what makes you think she’s playing away?

RICK She’s out a lot – she doesn’t tell me where she’s going.
She’s got high-priced jewellery…new clothes, new lingerie…
recently she had an expensive set of earrings and a necklace for her
birthday – she said the Delavero’s staff had had a collection and
bought them for her – but I’m not so sure.

AMY And how long has this been going on?

RICK I don’t know – at least six months I should think –
probably longer.

AMY Anything else?

RICK She takes calls on her mobile and speaks quietly – I hear her
say things like – I can’t speak now.

AMY Any other suspicions?

RICK Her manager, Clive, who owns Delavero’s - well she’s always
liked him – he’s divorced – she talks a lot about him – well,
I say that, she used to but now she clams up.

AMY OK, do you have a recent photograph of your wife?

RICK picks up his day sack – he takes out a magazine – Classic
Bike, he flicks through the pages and takes a large photograph from
inside and passes it to AMY.

AMY looks at it and then at RICK, she looks back at the photograph
and then back at RICK and then she hands the photograph back.
Where did you meet her?

RICK At a car boot sale in Rickmansworth – I was buying – she was
selling – her first husband, Darren, had recently died in a jet-ski
accident whilst they were holidaying in Fuerteventura - she was
selling off some of his old clothes and other bits and pieces as she
wanted to move on - too many ghosts I suppose. Well, the suits were
good quality and a perfect fit. She had only bought down a small
sample, but she gave me her phone number and asked me to call her. I
did. I cleared out the whole of Darren’s wardrobe – (he tugs at
the sleeve of his shirt) in fact, this is one of his Ben Sherman’s.

AMY (looking surprised) And you asked her out on a date?
RICK Well, to be honest, I didn’t, I thought she was well out of my
league – she made the first move. I was on my own too – never been
married – had my own place which I’d inherited from my mother –
she had dementia. I cared for her till she died. Only child, you see.

AMY So you started courting?

RICK Yes, Lisa-Louise wanted us to start again with a new property so
we bought another house together and then 14 Riverside – I wanted
somewhere quiet and, as we’ve got no children, a bungalow suited us
just fine.

AMY And you suspect she’s having an affair with Clive Delavero?

RICK No, not necessarily.

AMY (frustrated) Well, who then?

RICK It could be his son, Jarvis, he’s twenty-six and he works in
the same office – he stands to inherit. I know he’s always liked
her – she’s joked about it – how she attracts the younger men…

AMY My word.

RICK Also, there’s this accountant who pays visits to their office
– I don’t know his real name – only his nickname – Spud – I
know one night he and Lisa-Louise were at Delavero’s alone – she
didn’t get in until the early hours…

AMY So we have Clive Delavero, his son, Jarvis Delavero and the
accountant, Spud, as possible lovers…

(Pause)

RICK There’s also an electrician who comes around – Reg
“Sparky” Hughes – he’s always liked Lisa-Louise. We had to
have our house re-wired you see. The time he took – well, he could
have done the whole of Knobsworth.

AMY Blimey, it’s a good job the Tories reduced the British Army down
to six service personnel, an armoured carrier and a kit bag as we
might be looking for a needle in a wool pack.

RICK It’s not her fault – it’s me. I’ve never been good at
anything. Everything I do turns to rust – life’s just been one
long kick in the balls. I don’t blame her for having an affair.
I’m useless.

AMY (Surprised) Goodness.

RICK gets up and walks DC as he does so he steps over AMY’S
miniature golf flags.

RICK My Dad had low expectations of me – he thought I was hopeless
and expected nothing from me – unfortunately I didn’t disappoint him.

AMY, I see, and this is getting us where exactly?

RICK, I think you need to know a bit about me, Ms Dick – know why I
don’t blame Lisa-Louise for wanting someone else – I’ve always
known she could do a lot better than me. A lot better. I’ve always
thought she’d leave me. To be honest, I’m surprised she’s stayed
as long as she has. I’m just no good.

AMY Good Lord, you really do have some self-esteem issues, don’t
you?

RICK (annoyed, angry) What do you expect! Dad belittled me, put me
down, said I would amount to nothing. I know he wanted a daughter
because he was one of seven brothers.

AMY My, that sounds like the plot of a musical.

RICK Don’t try to be funny, Ms Dick, I’m not in the mood for
people being funny – I think you’ll find I’m an extremely
serious person. I’m telling you my life story and I expect respect.

AMY Goodness. OK. It’s very interesting.

RICK As I was saying Dad was the runt of the litter – as you can
imagine some of his brothers were almost old enough to be his father
– well, he was put down and bullied by them and then, when he became
a parent, he took it out on me.

AMY It’s usually the way. Adulthood is often just a postscript to childhood.

RICK You’re so right, Ms Dick.

AMY Sorry to interrupt but didn’t your Dad want a boy – rather
than a girl - to carry forward the Littleworth family name, I mean?

RICK Ms Dick, that’s so last century – now there’s all sorts of
partnerships and permutations between the sexes.

AMY But not when you were born.

RICK, I know and maybe it wouldn’t have mattered if I hadn’t been
an only child but Father became sterile a year after my birth. By all
accounts he contracted syphilis from a careless prostitute in Amsterdam.

AMY Blimey, you do like to open up! Talk about washing your family’s
dirty saucepans in public!

RICK I’ve got no one to talk to – no one understands me - you seem
to be the listening type. There’s something about you, Ms Dick –
something that makes people want to talk - but it’s only you
listening to me, isn’t it?

AMY Of course! Who the Hell else would want to listen to
this…this…this… tragic and compelling family saga?

RICK looks around. He goes to AMY’s desk, leans on it. He looks at
her. He looks out to the audience. He looks back at AMY.

RICK (whispers) Good, you’ve not got the place bugged then? You
being a private eye an’ all.

AMY The place isn’t bugged but if I wanted to record you, without
you knowing, I could do it very, very easily but I don’t.

RICK Why? Why ever not? Aren’t I interesting enough for you?
AMY No, it’s not that relevant to the case you’ve asked me to
investigate.

RICK Oh, so I am boring! I bet I’m the only person in Britain who
owns a smart TV which doesn’t send data back to China.

AMY Look, Rick, if you want to get it off your lungs be my guest. I
charge by the hour - £55 as I say. But I have to warn you I close in
four hours’ time…

RICK starts pacing the office – DC and DL.

RICK Thank you, Ms Dick.
I went to a bog standard comprehensive - the type everyone goes to
unless they’re clever, rich or lucky. I left with minimal Q’s. My
parents were a lot older than the other parents – and my Mother was
ten years older than my Father. At school I was picked on and bullied.
People used to say “is your grandmother collecting you from school
today?” when in fact it was my Mother.
I remember going up to my best mate, Aaron Avery, and asking him if I
could join in a game, do you know what he said?

AMY shakes her head – words have failed her.

“Fuck off, Littleworth.”

AMY How old were you?

RICK Seven, eight… maybe nine…
AMY And you still harbour a grudge because this chap Avery gave you
the bird?

RICK But it wasn’t just that – all my life I’ve been a loser,
I’ve been sacked from jobs; I’ve had disciplinary action taken
against me and women have rejected me. I’ve been in nightclubs and
bars and I’ve tried to chat up women but all I’ve ever got was the
cold shoulder: I’ve had more blow outs than the Michelin Man rolling
over a bed of nails.

AMY Gosh.

RICK After I left school, I did a number of boring jobs – mainly
office based. I lived at home. When I was twenty my Father died –
that syphilis certainly has a nasty sting in its tail. I was a nobody
in a sea of nobodies.

AMY So basically, you were like everyone else?

RICK It was just me and my Mother after that but her dementia came on
quickly after my Father’s death. I looked after her for eight years
until she died – Lisa-Louise always says I’ve no conversation but
when you’ve been with someone all day who says:
Have we had dinner?
Did we go shopping?
The populations getting older and toilets are getting less.
How old and am I?
How old are you?
Are you married?
Do you live here?
Have you been to work today?
What day is it?
What month are we in?
And ends with…the worst thing any parent can say to their
off-spring…
Who the Hell are you?
It’s a blooming nightmare. It’s constant and so, so repetitive.
It was a bit like living with Jeremy Paxman on speed. Around and
around, she went like a washing machine.
RICK stands at the front of the stage, facing the audience and moves
his head around as he talks.
Around and around like a washing machine.
Repeating and repeating and repeating.
(pause)
Around and around like a washing machine.
Repeating and repeating and repeating.
(pause)
Around and around like a washing machine.
Repeating and repeating and repeating.
until I could take no more.

AMY So what did you do?

RICK, I did the A.A.T Levels 1, 2 and 3 in bookkeeping. It was a
distance learning course - I studied whilst I listened to mother.

AMY Well, that’s good… an interest.

RICK Then Mother died, I inherited the house and then I met
Lisa-Louise, she was my dream, my life - I worshipped her. She was out
of my league – I knew that (tearful) – I couldn’t believe it
when she accepted my proposal of marriage but even that went wrong…
(pause) – why does life give you so much flipping opportunity to
fantasise about what might have been?

RICK sits back down on the sofa. He takes a handkerchief from his
trouser pocket and dabs his eyes.

AMY Where… where… where were you?

RICK When?

AMY When you proposed?

RICK On Camber Sands, down on one knee with the tide rolling in… my
trousers were wet right through, and I got house maid’s knee but I
didn’t care – I was happy.

AMY Romantic. I’m no expert but it sounds to me like you have an inferiority
complex, Rick.

RICK Yes, yes, I have.

Now AMY gets up, she picks up her putter and walks around her desk,
she is holding the putter under her arm like a Sergeant Major grasping
a baton, she walks up and down for the rest of the scene – neatly
stepping over her golf flags. RICK is now prostrate on the sofa.

AMY Have you tried self-help books? Every day, in every way I’m
getting better and better – that sort of thing.

RICK Yes, they don’t work.

AMY To be honest, I always thought that stuff was a load of bollocks.
If they worked everyone would be successful.

RICK, I try to put their words into action, they fail and I feel even
worse than I did at the start.

AMY You’re bound too. The authors are just preying on people’s
insecurities. Perhaps, rather than paying me to investigate your
wife’s possible infidelity, you need to seek out a counsellor?

RICK I’ve had more counsellors’ than a skip load of A Listers and
I’m still messed up.

AMY What about religion, that can help?

RICK Mother was a Catholic. Devout. I used to go to church with her on
a Wednesday and a Sunday. Then she forgot who Jesus and the Virgin
Mary were – she thought they were an item and that annoyed Father
Mulholland. He’d obviously missed the excellent dementia awareness
course run by the Roman Catholic church... I’m lapsed now because of it.

AMY That’s the trouble with religion – very unforgiving.

RICK, I did briefly join a small, but not insignificant charity,
called C.A.D.

AMY Computer Aided Design?

RICK No, Catholics Against Dementia. I used to collect on their behalf
but I became disillusioned.

AMY Why?

RICK People only give to charities to feel good about themselves - not
to help others.

AMY Profound and possibly true but surely, they’re doing both,
aren’t they?

RICK, I suppose so. But I didn’t see it like that and the people who
ran the charity seemed to pay themselves a lot of money out of the
donations us volunteers collected.

AMY Rule Number One for the people at the top is to make sure that the
people at the top have a comfortable life. It’s always the way.
Sorry, you were saying?

RICK is still laying on the sofa.

RICK Well, Mother died and left everything to me. Except this Dutch
charity that supported prostitutes – fallen women as Mother used to
call them – she felt guilty on Father’s behalf: being a Catholic
opens up an artic lorry load of opportunities to feel guilty about
everything and anything but doing it on some else’s behalf is about
as good as it gets.

AMY Yes, very true, Rick.

RICK They were called Working Women of Amsterdam Need Knowledge and
Skills.

AMY Isn’t the acronym W.W.A.N.K.S?

RICK Yes, W.W.A.N.K.S. it sounds better in Dutch. Anyway, she made
them a handy donation.
AMY God, this is a tale of woe. Are you sure you want a private investigator?

RICK Yes, Ms Dick, Yes, Yes. Why do you ask?

AMY Well, I think you need help in other areas - have you tried Delia Smith?

RICK She’s a sodding chef for Heaven’s Sake!

AMY Yes, but you are what you eat, so they say, maybe if you changed
your diet you would change your outlook on life. Just a thought. A
souffle would be a snowflake and a raw steak a red-blooded, confident
male – that sort of thing.

RICK (frustrated – sudden burst of anger – sits up) Look Ms Dick,
it wouldn’t work for God’s Sake. Now, are you going to help me or
not? If you want, I’ll take my business elsewhere!

AMY Yes, yes, of course I’ll help, just pay me the retainer which is
£100 and I’ll bill you for expenses and time - you can pay the rest
when my work is done. The only thing I need from you is your front
door key.

RICK Why?

AMY Because, Mr Littleworth, I may have to conduct some field work in
your house. I don’t like doing it, but I like to have all my hens in
a row before I start shafting them.

RICK Alright then.

RICK stands up, he goes to his trouser pocket and takes a key off a
key ring. He hands it to AMY who has returned to her desk.
I’ve a spare one in the garage. Lisa-Louise won’t suspect a thing.

AMY Good. I think I have all the essentials, but I do recommend that
you to do some work on your self-esteem.

RICK What sort of work?

AMY Inflation. It sounds to me that you’ve more hang-up’s than a
cave full of bats. I think you need to address it, Mr Littleworth, as
a matter of urgency. Low self-esteem is a very, very serious problem
which will continue to affect your future happiness.

RICK OK, thank you Ms Dick and I’m sorry I lost my temper earlier
– it’s all too much, you see, the strain. I feel really tense
right now. I know Lisa-Louise and I haven’t been getting on but the
thought of her with another man… well... it’s sending me around
the twist.

AMY, I hope I can assist.

RICK I really appreciate the fact you have heard me out and tried to
give me advice.

AMY Thanks for the compliments but the only ones that count come in
cash.

RICK puts his motorcycle jacket back on and takes a bulging wallet
from his inside pocket. He counts some notes out and places them on
AMY’S desk. She passes him a receipt. He picks up his day sack and
his crash helmet and he makes his way to the door (UL).

RICK Thank you again, Ms Dick. I do so hope you can help me.

Curtain

[End of Extract]

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