Excerpt: 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
an appointment.
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.

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