CRADLE TO THE GRAVE
LAURA at the computer. QUILLER comes in.
LAURA Gillespie. I didn’t expect you so early. How was your sort of date?
QUILLER She didn’t turn up.
LAURA Swinging around. I’m sorry I thought you were – I don’t think you should be here.
QUILLER I don’t think you should be here.
LAURA Well I sometimes think that but this is my office and I don’t believe you have
QUILLER I don’t believe I do. I don’t believe a lot of things any more.
LAURA goes to pick up the telephone
QUILLER I don’t want you to do that. You’re supposed to be talking to me.
LAURA What do you want?
QUILLER I want a doctor.
LAURA Well you haven’t really come to the right place.
QUILLER Where do you suggest? The post office.
LAURA If you require treatment then I suggest -
QUILLER I form an orderly queue? Stretching several years. Unless of course I’m some useless old codger dieing of cancer then I should join a much shorter queue outside the morgue. No, I do not require any treatment, I require one doctor, possibly two, definitely two nurses and one porter. And a load of drugs.
LAURA I think I should call someone. Don’t you.
QUILLER You’ve got my order. And before you start messing it up. You should know that I’ve got Nye Bevan. Over there. In his hospital.
LAURA In his – looks out of the window. That hospital is closed. Now I really think -
QUILLER Then why has it got a patient in it then?
LAURA A patient?
QUILLER Who you should be looking after.
LAURA gets up and looks across to the hospital.
LAURA Is this Mister Bevan, by any chance, having a baby.
QUILLER No, he’s having a heart attack. Over there. In his hospital. The People’s Hospital. Remember it.
LAURA Yes, I do remember it. Very well .And I know that there is no one left in it. Not a soul. Or if there is they shouldn’t be-
QUILLER It’s his hospital, course he should be there. Nye Bevan, his foundation, said so himself on those steps.
LAURA Nye Bevan?
QUILLER Yeh. Heard of him?
LAURA Yes I believe I have.
QUILLER Well you’ll know then.You’ll know won’t you. You’ll know all about it. He told my father. On those steps. Do you know my father?
LAURA I’m sorry I don’t believe I do.
QUILLER I’m sorry I don’t believe you do. Now he thinks it’s a memorial. Our hospital. Probably because he’s dying. His head’s probably full of that stuff. Now if you don’t give me a doctor and a nurse and drugs he’s going to die anyway and I’ll give him a memorial.Flowers at midnight Right.
LAURA Right. Right Mister -
QUILLER Quiller.But it’s not mister.
LAURA Right. I don’t have to do this but I will. I will contact A and E for you. They will
investigate. If they discover that it is a fraudelent call you will be charged for the callout and possibly prosecuted. Now, if you don’t leave this office immediately I will have you removed. Picks up telephone Heart attack you say.
QUILLER That’s Nye Bevan, not my father.
LAURA Right. Dials. Hello, chief executive here – yes – Well I have an emergency for you - of sorts – Possible incident at the City Hospital – yes I am aware that is closed – so let’s call it an emergency transfer -
QUILLER cuts her off.
QUILLER. No. No. Not a transfer. Nobody is being transferred. Not any more. I want doctors,nurses, porters, medication. The works. Over there. Where it belongs. Now. Please.
LAURA Now, I’d like you to listen to me very carefully. I will deal with your request, in my own way. But if you don’t leave this office immediately I will have to call the
police and have you removed forcibly.
QUILLER You’re not listening to me at all are you. Now if you don’t give me what I want, I will leave this office and I will give you what you want. What you all want. Understood?
LAURA Understood. She picks up the telephone. I’m calling the police.
QUILLER wrenches it out of its’ socket.
LAURA That wasn’t very smart was it.
QUILLER I’m not very smart. I’m very angry.
LAURA You are in danger of doing something that you regret.
QUILLER Am I? Well you’ll have to advise me how to live with it then, cos you must be up to your neck in it.
LAURA I think you should know, I want you to know, that I abhor violence.
QUILLER Well I don’t. I fucking hate it.