Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Scene 20: The scene with no name

In our last scene, which took place on a desolate and snowy midwinter night, Miss Underscore and Rochester were reunited after 2 long years apart.   It was a rather sweet and tender reunion, despite being blighted by IBS, UPVC and headlice.  So, it does appear rather inconceivable that Rochester should then spend the next 4/5 months ignobly ignoring Miss Underscore.  In the vernacular of the North East 'like, what a cunt'.   I am not going subject movie viewers to torpid scenes depicting the abject misery of that time. Maybe there could be some sort of fleeting montage showing Miss Underscore at her lowest: whole weekends lost in an orgy of elasticated waist leisure pants, buttered crumpets and misanthropy. Oh, and texting. Hours . . .days . . . weeks of futile texting.  A lot of texting.  And then, just when Miss Underscore's dignity was lower than a duck's instep, more texting. Yes, a montage is just the ticket, set to a suitably dark and emotionally intense soundtrack.  Possibly by Gracie Fields.

We move forward to Spring. A season of verdant hope and new beginnings.  Wobbly, licorice-legged lambs are in the fields, pastel pink ballet pumps are in M&S, Easter eggs as big as the Ritz are in Fenwicks Food Hall.  It should be a joyful time.  Miss Underscore is on holiday from the School of Hard Knocks. She is in the garden.  The phone rings.  It is the rogue.  The first contact in an eternity.

Rochester: So, petal,  as I was saying, I am in the kraut fanny wagon, just finished my peg-rounds. You're on hands free, so don't start getting uppity. I am cuff-linked.  I am bryl-creamed.  I look fucking great. Don's got me into pink silk ties, I wasn't sure at first (being from South Shields) but you know, they work.  I MAKE THEM WORK.  Anyway, I have just sold £18,000 of UPVC shit to a pair of cunting lezzas.  Two grand commission. Thirty minutes work.

Miss U: Errr. . .

Rochester: I tell you what flower, Don is going to be like a dog with two dicks after this.  He is talking of celebrating with cocaine and lapdancing.  Personally, I'm not even sure he'll be able to get up on that pole and I really dinnit want to see him in a thong.

Miss U: . .  .

Rochester: Are you still there? How's the IBS?

Miss U:  . . . .

Rochester:  So, how are you spending your Easter holidays?  Come on, you're quiet petal.  What have you been up to?

Miss U:  (incredulously)  Rochester . . . . .  You . . . . I don't. . .

Rochester:  Aye, it's me. Get a grip.  Howay,  you need to up your game with this conversation pet, this is worse than talking to Senor Boldon. And we both know what torture that is.  Your ex  is a Swami of silences: excruciating uncomfortable, socially gauche silences.  I expect better from you.  You're usually more sparkling: Dorothy Parker crossed with Bobby Thompson.  Christ, imagine Dorothy Parker crossed with Bobby Thompson!  That would be one ugly lass. (musing) I'd possibly still go for her like.  I'd never be out of fags.  I once dated a lass who wore a flat cap.  It was the 80s mind.

Miss U:  But . . . . I haven't heard from you since . . .

Rochester:  (brusquely cutting her off)  I know.  I know. Fucking hell, no need to bleat on and on about it.  You're giving me ear-ache. Howay, shall we have a bit of our Noel Coward-esque banter.  I've missed it you know. There are no birds down here you have your mixture of gentility and profanity.

Miss U:  You're such an arrogant, insensitive cunt.

Rochester:  See what I mean?  I knew you wouldn't let me down.  Howay, what have you been up to? How are you spending your holiday?  Napping no doubt. Owt else?

Miss U:  (imperiously)  No napping actually, I've been reading and critiquing all the Booker prize winning novels from the last 10 years.

Rochester:  OK.  Any good?

Miss U:  Bloody awful. None of them a patch on Miss Marple.  I've been visiting National Trust properties of course.  Dressed in a linen palazzo pants and a wide-brimmed sun hat.

Rochester:  Goes without saying.  What else?

Miss U: I've built a Victorian folly in the garden.  It is made entirely from empty Chappie tins. I've been whittling mini statues of Patricia Routledge from Coal Tar soap, to sell at the church jumble sale.

Rochester:  Interesting.

Miss U:  I've learnt how to play Symphony in Blue on the flugelhorn.  I've seen dozens of art house films at the Tyneside Cinema.

Rochester: Aye.

Miss U: Busy, you see, terribly busy.  And it would be crass of me to mention my tireless charity work, wouldn't it?

Rochester: Your selfless work on behalf of lesbians and lurchers will undoubtedly get you an OBE one day petal. Lesbian rehoming!  Fuck.  Imagine the TV ads. 'One day Veronica's partner ran off with a dental hygienist from Doncaster.  Now homeless, Veronica sleeps in a piss-stained underpass in a shack made from old Timberland shoe boxes and tattered Socialist Worker newspapers.   Can you give Veronica the loving home she deserves?  Remember, a lesbian is for life, not just for Christmas.'

Miss U: Hmmm.  .  . 

Rochester: How are you really though?  What are you doing right now?  Working on your Nobel prize application?  Howay, paint us a picture pet.  Where are you?  On the sofa?  Are you on YOUR CHAISE?  I LOVE that you have a chaise pet.  Even if it is always covered with cat hair and curry sauce.

Miss U: I am sitting in the garden with a M&S cherry bakewell trifle and a Swedish crime novel. I am watching one of the lurchers bury my last decent ballet pump under a dead hydrangea bush.  Glamour. I am all about glamour. . . . When did you get out of hospital?

Rochester:  (perplexed) Hospital pet?  I haven't been in hospital?

Miss U: Really?

Rochester:  Errr. . . . no.

Miss U: Oh, I just assumed.  Assumed there had been some awful, fanny-wagon death crash.  That you'd totally lost your memory.  That you were swathed in bandages and wired up to beeping and flashing machines. That every now and then, despite being in the shadowy, twilight world betwixtlife and death, you kept weakly muttering the words 'Miss Underscore'.  This would be much to the bewilderment of your family, obviously, who were keeping a candlelit vigil by your bedside. That you were being sponged down daily by some Nurse Gladys Emmanuel type, you know a bosomy matron with a saucy glint in her eye.  Anyway, what other plausible explanation could there be for almost FIVE months of silence?

Rochester: Aye, I know flower, I know.  I've been . . . . thinking. . . just thinking, you know?

Miss U: THINKING!  THINKING!  Who the fuck are you PROFESSOR STEPHEN HAWKING?  I've known you for years Rochester.  Never, EVER have you bothered with THINKING before.  Why start now?

Rochester:  I am thinking right now petal.  I am thinking about that hospital scenario you've just painted.  You know what. . .it's having quite an effect on me.

Miss U: Oh GOD!  Say no more Rochester.  I KNOW what you're thinking about.  You are so bloody predictable!

Rochester:  (laughing) You know what, it's a turn on, I'm deeply serious.

Miss U:  Nurse Gladys Emmanuel's bosom.

Rochester: Aye. And a soapy sponge. But,  I don't think I'd trust my family around my bedside if I was in a coma, you know.  Senor Boldon, for one, would probably switch my life support off just so he could plug in the telly to watch Top Gear.   .   .   .Have you really been visiting National Trust properties?

Miss U: (sighing)  No.  Just the tea rooms.  That counts doesn't it? 

Rochester: Of course that counts. They'd all close down tomorrow if it wasn't for the cream teas. But when you say art house films at the Tyneside Cinema you really just mean. . .

Miss U: (crossly)  Well, yes, yes, I mean I've had cheese on toast a few times at the cinema tea rooms. (sighing)  I just can't comfortably watch a film whilst surrounded by that many corduroy wearing liberals. The steam from their orange pekoe tea turns my hair to frizz. 

Rochester: I got your texts. They do make me smile.  How is school?  Are you fucking Pompous Pilate yet?  There is something between you, I just know it.

Miss U:  Eughh!  Me and the beetrooty buffoon?  Never. The thought is vomitrocious to me.

Rochester:   Have any School of Hard Knocks parents complained about your teaching of the Tudors yet?

Miss U: (indignantly)  No.  Not yet.  Why should they?

Rochester: Why, you know, not many 7 year olds get to make their own miniature Tudor torture devices.  

Miss U: They LOVED stretching those plasticine traitors on their mini racks.  There were some terribly sophisticated design and technology skills being honed there you know.

Rochester: I have missed you, you know.

Miss U: Oh? (long, long.................long pause). I am thinking of going blonde.

Rochester:  I like big-arsed blondes.

Miss U:  What, like Boris Johnson?

Rochester:  You know, the last time I saw you we spent the night together at your house.  Memorable for many reasons petal.  Astonishing in fact. It was the first time I've had a lurcher pounce on me whilst I was. . . you know. . .performing.

Miss U:  Ha!  Oh God, I know.  I was mortified.  It did put you off your stroke somewhat.

Rochester:  I think I coped with it quite manfully actually.

Miss U:  Well, it can't have been the first time you'd found yourself in bed with a dog.

Rochester:  Aye, very true flower,  but why does it always seem to happen in Sunderland (present company excepted, like, obviously)?  How have you been really pet? Truthfully.

Miss U: Truthfully? A wreck.  Lost. Devastated. Why did you do it, you swore you wouldn't?  Why were you such a twat?

Rochester:  I know.  I know.  I'm sorry.  I am.  Truly.  Truly petal.

Miss U: So. . . . why? Whatever it is, then I wish you'd just tell me.  Just say it.  It's the silence I can't bear. 

Rochester:  I know. . . . 

Miss U: If all you'd wanted was a fuck in a hotel room you really should have found someone else. 

Rochester: That's not what it was about.  Fucking hell.  How can you even think that?

Miss U: Five months Rochester.  

Rochester: Aye.

Miss U: There's something you're not saying.  I don't understand. 

Rochester: It was lovely seeing you.  

Miss U: But?

Rochester:  But. . . . yes, there is something.

Miss U:   I knew it.

Rochester:  When I got back home something happened. It was, well, it was unexpected.  It's all been a bit of a head-fuck.

Miss U:  Oh God.  Did your wife find out? I thought you had an 'understanding'?

Rochester:  We do. No, she didn't find out.  She doesn't know. 

Miss U:  So . . . 

Rochester:  I got back home, she asked me to sit down.  This was the day I left you.  It's all such a mess.

Miss U:  What is?

Rochester: Well, she's pregnant petal.  She's pregnant. Baby's due in August.

(Sorry for the delay in posting.  School is terribly hard and exhuasting at the moment and, well, some posts are more difficult than others.)


  1. Thank goodness you're back.

    Crumbs that was a good scene. I see it as split-screen, with brief sequences of ironic Routledge-whittling, plasticene Tudor traitors etc before slowing to close-ups of the speaker's faces as the final bombshell is dropped.

    Oh Miss U, you have spun true art from gut-wrenching misery and it's a beautiful thing.

  2. Oh, it's been worth the wait.

    As soon as I noticed your new post (although for some reason, Blogger told me about it 2 days ago, but wouldn't let me see it until today)I went and made some elegant Marmite and cucumber sandwiches (with the crusts cut off) and a pot of tea in a brown earthenware pot and only them sat down to read this instalment.

    Ohhh, what a bastard. Waited 5 months and then...wham! I didn't see that coming, but I just knew whatever he was going to do wouldn't be to your advantage.

    Listen flower, he's no good for you, you're too good for him.

    Pity his poor wife and bairns, because even if he does go back, he'll be sniffing around every available fanny in the North, and as a UPVC salesman, he'll have absolutely no conscience or even a minimal sense of ethics or morals, but multitudinous opportunities.

    Just look at the number of poor redundant steel workers and miners in the North who were persuaded by his ilk to squander all of their redundancy money on new windows and doors, and even, in the extreme, on a new conservatory.

    As ever, in tender appreciation.

  3. Yes it came up a bit late on my radar too but a bit of anticipation always sharpens the appetite.

    Not that I would need any tempting at all to look forward to another post. I revel in every turn of them, and am always left snagged in the gap in the Suspenders of Abyss twixt laughter and tear-inducing poignancy.

  4. Another Scottish Fan9 October 2011 at 20:51

    Oh lord. I'm so sorry school's awful, and this - well I can see why there's a gap. You're a truly astonishing writer, you know. As the first commenter says, true art from gut-wrenching misery. It's amazing.

  5. Oh, thank you for the lovely comments. xxx

    (Dear Twisted Scottish Bastard, I am beginning to suspect you are indeed my Aunty Margaret. )

  6. If it cheers you up at all I was innocently typing louche into google and it directed me to you and so I found a new blog post. Every cloud and all that.

  7. Gutting but enthralling. Rochester is a fool. You are wonderful.

  8. You do know how to tell a story. You're marvelous. He's a twat.

  9. I also loved it Miss U. Well worth the wait indeed. You're one of the few things I keep checking for.

    Just sorry such beautiful words come from such crappy times. He truly is a pillock you know.

    Hope all is well and school isn't too demoralising xxx

  10. Oh ma Flower, you say the nicest things. Ye'r a canny lass so y'are.

  11. Brilliant. Well worth waiting for.

  12. How the hell did I miss this post? He is the ultimate arsehole, he really is, and he's got you hook, line and bloody sinker, the stinker.

    I also note you've been very quiet again, as this post was nearly a month ago. I hope you're okay....

  13. I've been giving this a lot of thought and if there is any justice in the world, the baby will not be his. I suspect his missis has been getting her comforts away from home also.