A DUMMY BIRD
A short play for radio
a married woman over forty with materialistic tendencies and a yearning for some romance in an otherwise rather dull life.
THEO: an equally ambivalent young man of about twenty eight with a strong dependency on his mother
and a neurotic affection for slightly painful experiences.
EVA'S HUSBAND: an older man with a fondness for drink and a quiet life.
NARRATOR This sneaky
looking guy was walking around the gardens with his hands in his pockets. He was not talking to himself. He was thinking.
It was one hour into the next day and the air was cold. He was in love and could hear a well cut tune in his ears. The sound
came from inside him.
He came round the bottom of the gardens for the third time, took a right turn and walked
up a back lane. He liked lanes. He felt safe between high walls and when he stumbled on the rough ground and twisted an ankle
or was momentarily thrown off balance he enjoyed the discomfort. It was like a punishment. He deserved a lot of punishment
but preferred it in small doses. Sometimes the prospect of a real blow, a swift bump on the head with a heavy wooden mallet,
administered through a gap in the wall, affected him so much he was almost paralyzed with fear and would lean against a wall
until his strength returned.
He was also afraid on these
occasions that strength wouldn't return. But it hadn't failed him yet. He knew the time for this would come, having
decided on his twenty fifth birthday that everything had got progressively worse each year of his life.
He turned left at the end of the lane, breathed in some evaporating petrol as he passed the
garage and proceeded up lane two.
How he'd met her wasn't important.
Meeting was opening your eyes
wide, narrowing them quickly to hide any reaction, turning your back, listening to your heart bumping thickly behind your
ears, holding your sweaty hands together and muttering to yourself.
That's how they'd met.
It was painful.
Pain was important.
leaning over the right side wall brushed the top of his head. His hair was thick. He had good hair genes, she had said.
Then he'd met her again. She was carrying a white iced birthday
cake to her car. He had stammered out an offer of help. She had refused. He had closed the car door for her and stood solid
at the edge of the pavement whilst she drove away. He'd wished the car had gone over the end of his shoe. He had needed
Now he was in the lane behind her house. He was hidden by a wall
and some branches. Her bedroom light was on. The curtains were closed. She was in bed with her husband.
He stood quite still for five minutes. He clenched his hands, lowered his head into his collar
and walked away.
On reaching his own front door he checked that his mother's light was on. He smiled and went