SCENE 1:

 

(At a bar in town, the bartender is cleaning glasses. A patron, Illya is drinking at the bar and barfly, narrator Mardie, staggers in drunk)

 

MARDIE

Ah! The gang is here, misfits all of them, except me (hiccup). In this sleepy old town there’s so much that goes down.

 

(Patriotic Russian song – ILLYA sings along with radio)

It was 1941 and the day was June 22.

The Germans came and attacked our beloved Soviet land So we moved,

blazing up the trail from Moscow to Leningrad

With the eyes of the enemy watching from every side

Our guns loaded and triggers at the ready

We in Red will soon be the masters of our land again

Mother Russia, the ice queen, can be the coldest lover

Will freeze the very breath out of the arrogant Germans.

Let the wind, the ice and the snow drive the vermin out

But first let it make them crazy with a chill

Then we will sent them under, under our great white land!

 

MARDIE

What’s that all about comrade?

 

ILLYA

It is an old song about za mighty Red Army Resistance zat led us to great victory in za battle for Moscow. It vos because of the Russian weather the German die a lot.

 

BACCHUS

Yes but of course Germany resumed their offensive again but then lost in the battle of Kursk in ’43 as I recall. This is what effectively ended Germany’s Wehrmacht’s offensive.

 

ILLYA

Sank you Bacchus, for making it so clear, Mr Professor Perfection. You make it sound like you ver zere. (sarcastically) As you know my fazer fought in za vor. He vos an engineer.(Pause) Unfortunately, zee vor drove him mad. He vos a good man too. He never really recovered.

 

BACCHUS

Well, yes so you’ve told me many times before, that is sad but we have our problems today. Im forever stuck here shining these glasses over and over, but no matter how much I shine them, they never seem clear to me. I wonder, could it be that there is a flaw in these glasses or indeed whither the flaw be within me?

 

ILLYA

Ya, zere’s a flaw vis you alright.

 

BACCHUS

Well yes maybe its a genetic problem, my father was a perfectionist, but then again I grew up in a strict boarding school so maybe its an environmental one. Nature versus nurture. That problem has been intriguing me and scientists since time dot!

 

ILLYA

I remember a girl called Dot. Needless to say, I vos dotty over her. (Chuckling to himself)

 

BACCHUS

Ha ha. Well you were talking about your father - again.

 

MARDIE

You two... Keep it going. Keep it going...

 

ILLYA

You alvays gasbag on about big ideas, but you don’t listen - and you’re a barkeeper? No vonder I need to see a shrink!

 

MARDIE

I like it! I’ll have one of those black Russiany things too. And some blue Danish and some caviar and a holiday in Spain.

 

ARGYLE

(Enter Argyle with Emmy Claire) What are you all gassing on about? You lot sound like cackling old witches. Been reading more Macbeth eh Bacchus? (teasing) You got blood on your hands. Look at that spot - maybe its poison?

 

BACCHUS

Steady on young Argyle. I know you are a bit stressed at the moment with your ma and all.

 

ARGYLE

Oh don’t mention her. Sorry. I need a drink. This is...

 

ILLYA

Ya you need to learn to relax a bit more Argyle.

 

ILLYA MARDIE

Even he gets it! Hey! What’s that supposed to mean? (They laugh it off)

 

ARGYLE

Yes I do... who are you to tell me to relax! – How about you and all your issues with your father and the war - you have your secrets!...

 

BACCHUS

Yes he was just telling us all about it - again!

 

ILLYA

Whoa whoa... vell yes zis is true but I told you before have been seeing someone about that lately... maybe you should too...

 

ARGYLE

Yes alright alright - what? Wait a minute, I haven’t introduced my new girl yet, This is Emmy Claire, whom I hope, one day...

 

EMMY-CLAIRE

Steady Argyle. (Then to Illya and Bacchus) - I’m the baker’s assistant. I just started. And we ah... bumped into each other at work.

 

BACCHUS/MARDIE/ILLYA

Charmed/Lovely/Vel pleased to meet you. Er Vot do you mean bumped? (Suspiciously)

 

Emmy-Claire

Yes... bumped! - I was at the Bakery carrying this box of custard tarts and he comes in through the backdoor, almost bumps me off my feet and knocks the box clean out of my hands, it goes flying through the air and them tarts come down and hit him right in the heart! I knew then and there it was something special.

 

MARDIE:

Like puppies in love, keen as mustard...

 

 

EMMY-CLAIRE

No custard!

 

ARGYLE

Oh yes er, custard tarts. Make it a beer for me, and one for the lady. (To himself very fast) Custard tarts... Custard tarts, Custard tarts ... I remember that day...

 

EMMY-CLAIRE

(To Argyle) Ahh.. What’s that about?

 

ARGYLE

Er nothing just talking to myself. (To himself again) That was another day all together...

 

BACCHUS (To Emmy-Claire whilst pouring) Did you know the first female telephone-operator was Emma Nutt,

1st September 1878, At the Edwin Holmes Telephone Despatch Company in Boston, USA.(gives Emma Claire a drink then Argyle)

 

EMMY-CLAIRE

Ah fascinating?! (Baffled)

 

ARGYLE

(Taking big sip and sighing) Ahh Im so stressed out about Ma and

the bakery and everything. Every day its,“Argyle do this Argyle

do that”... oh Id just love to get away...

 

ILLYA

Vel as I vos just saying. I’ve just started seeing this new doctor in town, I’ve actually got an appointment today. Maybe you should try talking to him. He is a little bit different but if you need someone to talk to... just an idea.

 

ARGYLE

Doctor? Ha! You know Ma hates doctors.

 

ILLYA

Vys zat?

 

ARGYLE

She just thinks they don’t know what there talking about. Especially the kind of doctors that go inside your head.

 

ILLYA

No zis one is very different, maybe a little strange but good to talk to about things you cant normally talk about. You never know he might help you.

 

MILLIE

(Storms in glares at Emmy Claire and Argyle and sings song: What

Oh my! What are you doing here?

I thought I made myself clear

There’s still the cleanin’ at the bakery.

But instead you’re here at midday drinkin’ beer.

 

Ma!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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