4 EXT SCOTTISH TOWN STREET PAVEMENT SAME DAY
Sandy reaches his home street. He sees something lying on the road by the kerb. He approaches. It is a cat. He cautiously bends over it. His right foot nudges it. The cat is clearly dead. (Cont’d)
He uses his stick to turn the cat over. His bully classmate MALKY (13)approaches. Malky is taller and fatter than Sandy.
Sandy! Whit are ye daen?
Leave it alane. It’s deed…….Com’on.
Aye. It’s deed a’ right.
‘Suppose the bin man ‘ll get it.
Malky looks about the houses.
Guess who’ll be deed next?
Ah dinnae ken. (pause)
But ah suppose it micht be ma Dad.
Yir Dad? He’s nae auld.
Mair like tae be yer Mam.
She’s a drunk.
Ma Ma drinks ‘cos ma Dad’s in hospital.
Naw. Yir dad ‘ll be hame soon.
Whit aboot Mr Clark at number 36?
He’s nae git lang tae gae.
He still gaes tae football matches.
Malky points to a nearby house.
Thin whit aboot that auld lady at number 47?
I think she’s hawf deed onyways.
Ah don’t see much o’ her.
Malky puts his hands on his hips. He turns to Sandy.
Maybe she is deed!
Go an’ ring her bell,
thin we’ll ken.
Malky looks threateningly at Sandy.
I dinny want tae dae it.
Malky grabs Sandy by his collar. Their heads are inches apart.
I’ll beat ye up.
Ye gonna do it, or no?
Sandy is terrified.
Ok..Ok Malky, I’ll dae it.
Let me go.
Malky takes his hands off Sandy. He takes a pace back.
Cum’oon. Thirs nuthin’ tae it.
Ring her bell.
Thin rin round tae that hedge o’er there
Hir eyesight’s nae gud.
Onyway, at that age they canna see far.
Sandy walks along the pavement. He stops and looks back at Malky.
Go on. …..Remember?…..
Malky raises his fists as if to challenge.
Sandy starts off again and after a few more paces turns to see Malky enter a garden with a privet hedge to hide him. He looks around but no one is about. He walks more quickly to Number 47, he approaches the front door and places his finger on the doorbell.
5 INT GAIL’S SITTING ROOM SAME DAY
Weel, clase the front dair an’ cum away through.
Ah dinnae want tae dee o’ a chill…..
Com’on, Ah winnae bite!INT SITTING ROOM DAY
Sandy walks through the hall. He stops at the Sitting Room door and knocks twice on the wooden panel.
Weel, weel. So ye dae hiv some manners after a’!
In ye come. Come o’er here.
Let me see ye. Aha. Jist a wee tyke.
Sandy stands uneasily looking down. He places his left shoe on top of his right shoe. He looks at his feet.
Well sony, whit hiv ye tae say?
I’m sorry Miss.
Sorry? …..Whit fur?
There is a pause. He struggles for a moment to think what to say.
Sorry for……. ringing your bell.
Gail nods her head.
Thin ye must hiv wanted tae visit me?
Sandy looks at Gail briefly then looks back at his awkward stance. His hands are clasped behind his back. He does not speak.
Here, bring me twa tangerines fae the fruit bowl.
Sandy looks up and to the left, he sees the table on which the fruit bowl stands. He approaches it and takes two tangerines. He brings them to Gail.
Here, wane’s fur you and wane’s for me.
Sit down. Hae a seat.
They peel their tangerines and delicately eat each segment in silence. Gail throws her peel into the fire. Sandy copies her. Occasionally Sandy looks up to catch Gail’s eye. She smiles at him when he does.
So whit’s your name then?
Alexander Grant. That’s yer Sunday name.
A fine name too.
So d’yi want tae be a campanologist whin ye grow up?
Sandy draws a blank expression.
D’yi ken whit a campanologist does Sandy? (pause)
Naw?……Weel, he rings bells.
That’s whit a campanologist does. So he dis.
It disnae pay well!
But if ye want tae dae that, well, that’s ok.
Gail laughs to herself. Sandy does not laugh but a smile begins to appear on his face as he warms to this seemingly eccentric old woman.
Noo, I dinnae think a clever lad like you
waants tae ring bells a’ his life.
But let’s leave it there.
Ye said sorry and I ken you’ll nae dae that again.
‘Cos ye know, I’m no sae gid on my feet ye see.
Sandy looks concerned for her.
Hiv ye sair feet?
Aye Sandy, sair feet…a’ right,
(Pause) sair back, (pause)…sair leegs…
and sair eyes tae.
It’s no fun bein’ as auld as I am.
Sandy looks up at Gail.
Whin yer auld,
is it jist that ye git slow
or is it always sair as weel?
Noo Sandy. That’s a very interesting question.
Aye, sometimes aches an’ pains are uncomfortable.
An’ I canna move as quickly as I used tae,
but sometimes it’s ma heid that bothers me maist.
Ye mean, like a heedache?
Aye, in a way.
When I think o my life (pause)
Ah wis a skael cleaner, ye ken?
Then ah think o’ whit’s left o’ it……(pause)..ah..
Ye see that picture on the mantelpiece?
Sandy stands up and approaches the mantelpiece. (CLOSE ON)There is a picture of a soldier in the frame.
He wis ma brother, John.
..Ah’ll tell ye hin’ Sandy.
When we were your age,
John an’ I used to ring doorbells an’ run!
Gail laughs at the memory.
In those days whin we got caught,
oor father skelpt us!
Gail slaps her thigh hard.
Oh….. it was sair.
Sandy smiles at Gail’s self flagellation.
So yir bother’s deed?
Aye Sandy, my briher
wis killed in France
oan 4th September 1944.
He wis only nineteen years auld.
He wis very young tae dee, wis John.
Sandy looks reflective.
I dinnae want to die young.
Nae wan wants tae dee Sandy.
But it comes tae us a’.
That’s why wi need tae enjoy each day,
as it micht be oor last wan!
Sandy nods his head in agreement. His bottom lip curls and he is not far from tears. He stands up and heads towards the door.
I hiv tae be goin’.
Well, it has been a pleasure meetin’ you Sandy.
Oh an’, I do accept your apology.
Noo, hurry home. That’s a guid lad.
Yir tea‘ll be ready soon.
Sandy leaves, unable to show his face to Gail as he passes through the Sitting Room door, the hall and then the front door closes.
- INT HALLWAY TWO DAYS LATER NIGHT.
The front door bell rings. Gail answers the door to find Sandy on the step holding a white square letter.
Who hiv we here? Ah!
Master Sandy Grant! Come away in.
Ah winder whit yev been up tae
o’er the last twa days?
Sandy follows Gail’s slow progression with her stick back into the Sitting Room. Sandy does not reply.
- INT SITTING ROOM NIGHT
Sandy holds out the letter. He is very sad. He speaks with a cry in his voice.
This is fur you.
Gail takes it, retires to her fireside seat and opens the envelope, producing a card. Aware of his apparent sadness, she makes a joke.
A bit eerly fur ma Birthday!
Gail opens the card and reads it out.
‘Tae John. You sounded like good fun.
Sorry we never met. Love Sandy.’
(brief pause) That’s awfy sweet.
Whit a kind thought.
It’s his anniversary today,
Weel, I niver!
That’s richt, 24th September,
the day he deed, in 1944.
Sandy looks into the fireplace. (CLOSE ON) The flames lick around the logs.
I think we shud remember whin oor family dees,
as weel as whin we’ve oor birthdays.
Noo, that’s a very guid idea.
Sandy, a very guid idea indeed.
Gail lifts her purse from the table beside her chair. She opens her purse. She produces a £5 note. She notices Sandy’s grief. She gives Sandy £5.
Noo, noo, nae need tae get upset.
That’s jist a wee ‘thank you’ fae me.
Thank you …..(sobs) ….Thank you.
Sandy puts the £5 in his pocket. Gail bends to give Sandy a hug. Sandy puts his arms round Gail. They cling together for a few moments.
Miss Hanson, I hope you dinnae dee fur a very lang time.
I dinnae want you tae be going tae.
Tears are in his eyes. Sandy bites his lip. He sobs. He stutters out..
The Hospice phoned last nicht…
Ma Dad died at tea time.
He hud cancer.
Gail clings to him tighter. She rocks him gently.
Ye pair wee sowel. Ye pair wee sowl.
After a few more moments, Sandy breaks away from Gail to face her.
Go’ny come wi me tae the funeral oan Saturday?
Gail smiles at him. She nods her head.
‘Course I will, ma wee man. ‘Course I will.