Immunity, Teardrops, An Englishman Walks

Well hello there.

I’ll start with a quick bit of self promotion, and get it out of the way. In the past month or so, I’ve gone from co-running Improvised Comedy workshops and putting on the occasional show, to running a theatre company (B.I.G. – Barcelona Improv Group), organising regular shows, venues, promotion, weekends away, creating a website, AND running Improvised Comedy workshops.

The website is here: www.barcelonaimprovgroup.com , and it’s not finished… but it’s getting there. I’m making a little progress every day.

I spent the afternoon on a train to Sabadell to visit a friend (but let’s call her my financial advisor to make it sound more professional), so I got some bits of flash fiction done, and a haiku, and the themes of each one neatly flows into the next… sort of. So I’ll post them in the order of construction. Don’t be too critical – it’s the first time I’ve really gotten much done in all of hot, sweaty August. My brain doesn’t seem to cope well with the heat.

The first is heavily based on something I wrote once before – I apologise if I posted that, and am now repeating.

Immunity

He’d insisted: “When my son is born, we’re not feeding him that medication every day. What if he spits it up? It’s impractical. We’ll give him the injections – he won’t remember the pain.”
Twenty-four hours after the birth, when the nurse entered with the needle, he tried to leave, but his wife held his hand.
Five minutes later, the father emerged clasping his once-again quiet child. “Your first tears,” he whispered, “I caused your first tears in this world.” And he wept.

Teardrops

He stared at the train window; at the rivulets of rain that ran down the glass, gathering weight from the flecks as it fell. His grandmother slept in the opposite seat, her day smile washed off, leaving an exhausted sadness. Her reflection in the glass was half gone, and raindrop tears ran down her face.

a

An Englishman walks
with head held high in drizzle
and doesn’t get wet

Where I’ve been, and Some Jokes I did

Well hello Blog!
It’s been a long time. 4 and a half months.

When I last typed stuff here, it was still hot. Also, I still had a lot of free time, I was trying to get started on performing comedy, and my flat was cleaner.

What changed? Well, quite a lot. First, and most importantly, I started studying again. I’m doing a Masters in Applied Linguistics and Bilingual Acquisition in Multilingual Contexts, which is a big way of saying “ooh, look at me and my cleverness.” While I’m doing that, I’m also continuing to teach part time, and between all of that, I’ve been performing stand up comedy and pulling together a group of funny souls to perform improvised comedy too.

As a result, the writing kind of got…. pushed to the back. And it annoyed me. “I should write again”, I told myself every other day. But I wasn’t even finding time to read anything that wasn’t an empirical study, so I can see why that didn’t happen.

But now, a month’s reprieve. I only have 2 Masters classes for the next month, and instead of the stress-inducing 12 hours of classes (which obviously meant at least that again outside of class to study), I now have a measly 4.

I plan on using the time to stretch my writing muscles (at first) and then get some full on writing done (after that).

I also need to try and get our first Improvised Comedy performance arranged, and write some new material for a new stand up comedy set.

While I get that started, I thought I’d show you something I did over my long hiatus – one of my two stand up comedy sets! (with any luck, I’ll get a copy of the video of the other set soon)

Some forewarnings

– it comes with a long and glowing introduction from the MC – I just skip that bit.

– one of  comedians really is called Adolf. That’s not a joke.

– and it ends when the camera runs out of battery. The last minute BEFORE the battery died… I kind of lost my stride. It was very unpracticed, that bit. As in, written that afternoon, not really learnt. So feel free to stop before the end.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcwLTYaG8H0&feature=plcp&context=C3773470UDOEgsToPDskIAfXP7aaH2noCRebKOMRht

Stand Up Comedy!

After a LONG wait, here is my stand up comedy show in all it’s glory. I messed up a bit, got things a little out of order, and didn’t hit the delivery on a few, BUT I had a lot of fun.

Two last notes:

It IS rude.  Be forewarned of rudeness.

The first couple of lines that are missing are something like “HELLO!” (hello from audience) I’m Matt and I’m single.

Trying to Multi-Task; My Bench

I have a friend who is writing a novel, and he told me the other day that the way I’m going about things is all wrong. He just writes his novel, and he gets about 4 hours done a day. I’m trying to write short stories, I tell people, and poetry, and maybe soon, a novel or two. But at the same time, I’m trying to write comedy, to write stand up.

Now that he points it out, I see what he means. They are all different arts from one another. I have always held that the best stories are so well written that they contain bits that feel like poetry. I’ve always thought that the best novels have scenes that could be taken out and left on their own, as complete short stories (especially as so many short stories these days seem to start in the middle and finish somewhere later in the middle of events). I’ve even taken a scene from a short story I wrote and posted it on here as flash fiction, and since that time I’ve never felt inclined to post the whole story on here (mostly because it needs attention I haven’t given it). In this way, I could be said to be following a progression – from poetry to flash fiction to short stories to novels.

The comedy doesn’t fit into this. Partly because I’ve never really written comedy. I’ve written some comic scripts, once upon a time, but not for a long while. Stand up is still a new art for me, something I’ve only tried a handful of times, something I struggle to even start to write.

But the main reason that they don’t work together is that I draw on a different part of my brain when I write comedy. Whereas my fiction is inviting a reader to enter a world I create, comedy is about stepping into someone else’s world and making them laugh at the absurdities in it. They have similarities, in perception, in surrealism, in painting a picture… but they have more differences than similarities.

Writers often say you have to be in the right mood to write. I say that part of the great skill in writing is in training yourself to get into that mood, and the other part is bloody-minded persistence. I’m trying to get into lots of moods at the same time, and I’m not winning at the persistence – yet.

Anyway, I have two stand up comedy performances at the end of the month, so I need to spend a good bit of my writing time preparing for them. And maybe, after I’ve performed those gigs, I’ll have some more comedy in me, some more material, and I’ll write more and perform more. Including my old jokes (if I can find them), I’m probably nearly at the point of having three sets, which is wonderful.

But I miss the fiction, so for the rest of this month, I will try my darnedest to do two things – poetry and comedy. They may be totally different, but at least they are both about editting and cutting down and getting to the point as quickly as possible. And progression, and building on what went before. And over the summer, I’ll sit down and get some flash fiction and some big old short stories out of my brain.

Until then, some poetry!

My Bench

Come, sit. This is my bench.
I sit here, often,
staring out across the pond.
My stick rests just so.

Folks here know it’s mine.
I sat on it in the frozen cold
last year when my wife died,
stared out across the pond.

I sat here after I retired.
We moved here together,
all peaceful. She chose it.
I chose our bench.

I’ve had benches before, and others:
that ink-stained desk at school,
a bunk, a cabinet, a peg,
all mine once, all remembered,

all solid. Now they’ve all gone,
my memory stays… ’til my memory goes.
And this bench, too, you see?
But I’ve got a plan.

It’s not truly yours
’til it’s marked with your name.
So this bench is In My Memory.
Plaque’s made, missing a date.

Who knows where I’ll go next…
but I’ll be on this bench.

Throughout the month in 40 hours

Hellooooo!

It’s nearly exactly a yearsince I left Spain for Japan, so I suppose it’s only natural that at this time of year, while I’m living in Spain ago, I’m thinking of Japan.

Of course I’m loving Spain right now. And why shouldn’t I be? The improvised comedy AND stand up comedy groups are just taking off, the weather is amazing (it’s like a sunny English May right now), I’m working a full working week and only 3 hours of that week are really frustrating hard work. Well, it’ll become more briefly for the exam season, but I can hack it. I have a nice flat, I have an established network of crazy people I call friends… it’s all good.

But of course, Japan was a great time of my life too. I stayed quiet on the whole earthquake, tsunami and radiation crisis in Japan because it’s so close to the bone for me… I worked in Fukushima, 55km from the nuclear power plant, for 3 months last year, back when nobody had heard of it, even people living in Japan, and it took 2 minutes to describe where it was… now everyone knows. It was 5 days before I could hear from some friends to even find out that they were alive… others are close enough that they are worried about drinking the water. But despite all of the fears, all I felt was a desire to get out there again. The more I read of how the Japanese were dealing with the crisis, the more characteristics I recognised in people I know there. I miss them, and it. I want to move, to be there again.

My guess is that this feeling is coming as a result of feeling so settled down. The more I feel at home here, the more I feel an urge to travel. I see photos of friends in Japan, I itch to be there. I hear stories of fun times in Madrid, or Sevilla, or London, and I want to jump up and join in.

I often feel like what I really need is a teleporter. I know a lot of people can identify with this, so that they can have more time. But for me, I’d link it between my flat in Barcelona and my friend’s flat in Tokyo, so I could cut out all the stressful, exhausting, expensive flying and jetlag, and just be where I want to be, whenever I want to be there.

You’ll notice there’s no teleporter to England for me. Well, England is just a 3-hour flight away from Barcelona, and for me, that’s fine. I see more and more that, while England is beautiful in a way that really speaks to me… the 21 years I lived there are enough. I have great memories. I only need to visit it to see and spend time with all my friends and family.

SO clearly the only solution is to become a rich and famous writer who lives in both countries.

To that end, I’ve started my own personal writing challenge this month. Rather than the NaNoWriMo, which rewards a massive word output, I’m going for a “time spent” scheme. I have to write, in a non-work-related way, for 40 hours in 30 days. This started on the 24th. So that includes making a blog post. It’s obviously about poetry and short stories and flash fiction. But it also includes any writing I do in Spanish, and any Spanish homework I have. Because for a “permanent” Spanish resident, my Spanish has a LOT of holes, and a low level of grammar, and I need to push myself (and be pushed pretty hard by a private teacher) to get to a level where I can spend the whole evening in Spanish without feeling lost.

So far, so good, and I expect you’ll be seeing some of the (non-Spanish) results of this new project pretty soon.

Gràcia

Well hi there, Blog.

A lot of the graffitti here is thankfully more "art" than "marking your territory like a dog."

It’s been over a month, but you might be pleased to hear that good stuff is happening, and a lot of the stuff troubling me last month has disappeared, leaving much more minor problems to fix. First off, I found a flat. I signed a contract, I moved in, I bought a bed and some basic furniture, and I now live in Gràcia. For those of you who don’t know Barcelona, Gràcia is my favourite part – quiet in the day, fun at night, trees and narrow streets and sunlit plazas without the smells and petty theft of the old city centre. It’s also MUCH MUCH quicker to and from work, and I even sometimes have time to go home for lunch.

Also, I have more teaching time than I did, and can afford the rent on my new place. Which, by the way, is only mine. Sharing a flat is so much a part of life in Barcelona that when I tell friends I have a new place, they say, “What are your new flatmates like?”, and I get a little thrill when I get to tell them that I have privacy, independence, my own space…

Also, despite all the busy-ness with this, my writing hasn’t stopped. It hasn’t flourished... but I suspect that now I have a chair and a table (and no internet connection at home yet), I’ll be writing a lot more. In fact, watch this space, because I might instigate a personal NaNoWriMo as I have in the past – by which I mean, I give myself a month to write 50,000 words. Of anything.

So now the only problems are things like getting an internet connection working at home, and buying furniture, and getting a couple more private classes. And you know what? These problems are fun! So, life is good.

Here’s a pair of haiku for you to kick us off:

“Prolong this winter – ”
knowing you will leave in spring,
I thank the frosts.

Though time will not slow,
you watch clouds form from my sighs,
and make memories.

And second up. I had a little go at writing a Ferlinghetti style poem like I mentioned back in January.

When I’m old
aaaaaaI will cross the road just before
aaaaaathe light starts flashing green, then red
aaaaaaaaaaaaso the busy busy cars
aaaaaastop impatiently
aaaaaaaaaaaacaught between their self-inflicted stress
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand real,
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame-inflicted respect
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa(‘coz I’m old and slow)
aaaaaamaybe I’ll stumble
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafor kicks.

But I won’t do it now
aaaaaaaaaaaaaas they won’t wait yet.

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Hopefully I’ll see you all in a week or two, rather than the month-long wait you’ve had since the last post.

Groanworthy Jokes and 3 Minute Haikus.

Hello, Blog.

I looked back over the past couple of weeks and thought – Oh, I’ve not been very productive. But that’s not entirely true.

First off, I’ve been writing reports. In Spanish. And some reports in English. It’s been moderately time consuming. I’ve also been creating (and marking) my own exam papers. This term, more than previous ones, I made an effort to create a fair few of the questions myself, rather than just cutting and pasting them from teacher book exam papers, and I’m quite happy with the results.

Secondly, I’ve made the discovery that writing poetry on a whiteboard is actually a really good place to do it. I spend so much of my working day using the medium of whiteboards to express meaning, and shuffling things around and making it look understandable that when I taught haikus to my Advanced Class yesterday, I actually found it quite easy to cut and move words around and get what I wanted to say. I think I need to buy a little one for myself.

Here they are.

Continue reading “Groanworthy Jokes and 3 Minute Haikus.”

Too Much Poetry

I’m back, Blog.

And not just me. My computer’s back, and running smoothly once again. HUGE thanks and gratitude to Brenda and her lovely husband Damian.

What’s new?

Well, in brief summary:

  • I lost my camera while taking little Lily around Barcelona Zoo. Getting a new one…. sooner or later.
  • I’m planning a Road Trip straight after Easter, from Shropshire to Barcelona and back again, with my twin brother. I should be posting some of the photos from it here. Obviously, that’ll be after I get a new camera.
  • It’s starting to warm up in Barcelona. I can walk around without a jacket most days. Not today, though – it’s raining, an event that’s now so irregular, it actually affects my behaviour. If this continues, I’ll become truly Spanish and always stay home when it’s raining.
  • Stopped my Spanish classes, but still learning it a bit. Started teaching myself Japanese too. Feel my Spanish isn’t good enough, but want to get started on Japanese…. we’ll see how that goes.
  • Trying to come up with plans for after Japan, mid-August. Maybe I’ll come back to Barcelona?
  • Doing both Improvised Comedy and Stand Up Comedy. Hopefully performing as a warm up act for some professional comedians on the 12th of March.
  • Reading.

If you need more details on any of the above, well, you’ll have to email me or something.

I’m trying to get back into the flow of writing again, but it’s proving hard to kickstart myself. One of my eternal problems is self-censorship. If it’s of no standard at all, I don’t think it’s worth writing down. I need to train myself not to press the delete button for now, and to just type type type until I have enough to go back through.

Anyway, enough of that. Here’s a poem I was getting close to content with before my computer crashed… now lovingly restored.

Continue reading “Too Much Poetry”

TOAST Part 3 of 3

Well, you’ve not exactly been impatiently clamouring for the final part, which leaves me thinking maybe I’m talking to thin air. If that’s the case, then thank you, air, for being a wonderful audience. And also my mother, who I presume is still reading. If she isn’t, then it’s a sad day for my readership numbers… they’ll probably halve.

If you’ve not read the earlier parts, then start here.

So, here we are with the anti-climactic final part.

TOAST (continued, continued)

TOM: One of us should go and check. You went first last time, so it’s my turn.
MIKE: Right.
TOM: I’m just going upstairs, to get dressed, while I wait for the toast.
Mike sees him leaving, and realises he’s been tricked.
MIKE: W-! oh, never mind.
Tom exits.
GIRL: Come and have a bowl of cereal.
MIKE: Okay, but erm… just a small one.
He sits down.
GIRL: Well?
MIKE (cautious): Well what?
GIRL: Go and get a bowl.
MIKE: Oh. Right.
GIRL: I think you need to drink more of that coffee.
Mike looks at his cold cup of coffee.
MIKE: Maybe later.
He stands to get the bowl. She rises too, and goes over to him.
GIRL (smiling curiously again): You know, Mike, you’re acting very strangely. Are you sure you can remember happened last night?
MIKE: Yes! Of course I remember! Well… bits of it…
Short pause. She looks at him.
MIKE: I remember meeting you…
GIRL: (starting to catch on) Oh yeah.
MIKE: I was… with Tom…
GIRL: He’d just gone to the toilet.
MIKE: Yeah, he’d just gone to the toilet. Little details, I can’t remember, that’s all.
Pause.
MIKE: He never had good bladder control, Tom.
GIRL (laughing): I know.
This really unnerves Mike again.
GIRL: But I thought he was being sick.
MIKE: You’d remember better than me. You were sober.
GIRL (sidling really close to Mike): Come on, Mike. Tom’s upstairs. He can’t hear us. You don’t have to keep up the act…
MIKE: I don’t?
She puts her hand on his chest.
MIKE: You – you’re right, I don’t.
He leans in towards her for a kiss, and the toast pops up. They both pull back in surprise at the noise.
GIRL: Oh, it’s only the toast. Now where were we?
They move in close again, when Tom bursts into the room. They pull back quickly.
TOM: Was that the toast?
MIKE (straightening his shirt): Yes, it was. (bitter) You dressed quickly.
GIRL: And now I’d better dress, or I’ll be late. (looks seductively at Mike)
MIKE: Late? Late for – ?
TOM (interrupting): Yes, you’d better hurry.
Girl leaves. Mike starts to follow. Tom grabs him.
TOM: What are you doing? Don’t start asking questions now, you almost gave the game away!
MIKE (distracted, looking eagerly out of the door after her): Oh. Sorry. What did you find out?
TOM: It’s strange. I think I slept in my bed, and you in yours…
MIKE: Yeah, yeah.
TOM: But I’ve got no idea where she slept.
MIKE: I could guess.
TOM: What?
MIKE: Nothing.
TOM: Did you find anything out?
MIKE: That I met her when you were being sick, and that she said she “knows” you have bad bladder control.
TOM: That doesn’t help much.
MIKE: No.
TOM: But she said she knew I burnt the toast… so, I mean, it must have been me, really?
MIKE: Listen. Tom. It’s just that… well… you said she looked like your mother.
TOM: Yeah.
MIKE: Only with less of the –
TOM: Yeah, but what’s your point?
MIKE: Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? You can’t take a girl like that home to meet the parents. Oedipal complex and all that. SO embarrassing. Plus, your dad would probably –
TOM: Yeah, but who said anything about taking her home. I’m just talking about last night.
MIKE: Yeah, well, about that. I’m thinking about it logically now, and you know (looks out towards staircase like that)… a girl like that… she’s… she’s kind of out of your league.
TOM: What?
MIKE: No offence, mate, but… I don’t mean it like that, it’s just girls like that know what they want.
TOM: And what’s wrong with what I’ve got to offer!
MIKE: Well, you could stand to lose a few –
TOM: It’s all muscle! (Pause) Muscle weighs more than fat!
MIKE: And you’ve got a great personality, but girls can’t tell that from one night.
TOM: Great personality!?
MIKE (thinks he’s getting the idea. Eyes the door again) There you go mate. And you’re always telling jokes – like that drinking problem one. Very funny.
TOM: Girls like her leap at me every night! I’m beating them off with a stick!
MIKE: Look, I don’t want to hear about what you get up to in private!
TOM: Listen, she obviously came back with me. It’s about time you sat back and accepted –
MIKE (pointing casually): Oh, your toast’s ready!
TOM: Eh?
Tom looks at the toast, and starts to pick it out of the toaster. Mike sees his chance and sprints for the door.
TOM: What! You can’t go up now, she’s getting dressed!
Tom turns back to the toast, realising he’s burning his fingers off. He throws the toast down onto the side, and turns to chase Mike upstairs. The phone rings. Tom looks at the phone, then the toast, then upstairs, and moves to pick it up.
TOM: Hello? …… oh, hi Mum!…… Funny, we’ve just been talking about you!…. Oh, nothing… I’m fine, and you?………… is she? (he glances upstairs) …… no, not yet…… well, that’s good to know……yeah….. listen, this isn’t a great time. I’ll ring you up later and – ……. Yeah……. Okay, lunchtime……. Okay. Speak to you soon… bye.
He puts the phone down.
TOM: Mike? Could you come here for a minute?
The girl storms into the room, pulling her shoes on.
GIRL: What the hell does he think he’s doing?
TOM: You’ve grown a lot since I last saw you.
GIRL: Your friend – oh, (smiling) finally cottoned on, have you? I thought you’d get to it in your own time. You should have seen your faces first thing this morning when I walked in! I certainly confused Mike a bit earlier, for a laugh, but… perhaps I took it a little too far.
TOM: Oh, did he – and you –
GIRL: It’s my own fault really. I could’ve put him out of his misery, but… it was funny messing around with him first.
TOM: Maybe we could catch up sometime – go out for a drink?
She looks at him, grinning.
TOM: Okay, maybe not too much to drink.
GIRL: I’d love that, Tom.
She kisses him on the cheek, as Mike enters.
GIRL: Call me.
She leaves.
MIKE: What the hell do you –
TOM: Stop. After all, what’s a kiss between cousins?
MIKE: What?
TOM:  She’s my cousin.
MIKE: Oh, yeah, like I’d believe –
TOM: The phone rang just now. It was my mum, ringing to say Cousin Angela had just come into town and that I should meet up with her. And now I think about it, she’s got Uncle Henry’s –
MIKE: Hang on a minute – you said she –
TOM: Yeah, I haven’t seen her for 6 years. She’s grown a bit, that’s for sure.
MIKE: But she –
TOM: She figured us out. Probably right from the start, she could tell we couldn’t remember a thing. So she thought she’d joke around a bit. Mostly with you, it seems, although that toast thing had me flummoxed. (to himself) Hang on – 6 years ago – I had good bladder control. Cheeky minx.
MIKE: But where –?
TOM: Slept on the sofa, probably.
MIKE: Oh. Oh, well, it was fun while it lasted.
A short pause.
MIKE: Coffee?
TOM: Make it two.

TOAST Part 2 of 3

Wasn’t sure if I should post the second part in a Mid-Week post or not. See, with NaNoWriMo just round the corner, I should conserve what written material I have, as I’ll be busy writing crap all through November, and that might limit my posts.

But then I thought – what the hey? It’s nice to stick all three parts back to back, and it might make me write more new stuff to get this up.

For those of you who missed it, go back to Part 1 before reading this.

TOAST (continued)

They walk offstage hurriedly together. Throughout this scene she is eating breakfast half-dressed, and the audience can hear Tom and Mike off stage frantically whispering.
MIKE: She must have come back with you. I wouldn’t forget a woman like that. I don’t think.
TOM: Come on, we were both pretty hammered.
MIKE: Yes but – what’s her name? Where’s she from.
TOM: I’ve never seen her before. Not in a pub, or a club, or on the street. I think I’d remember a figure like that.
MIKE: Let’s have another look, now I’ve woken up.
TOM: No! She could see us!
MIKE: We’ll be quiet. Let’s see if we recognise her.
Silence. Slowly, the pair poke their head out past the curtain, watching her intently. They look at each other, and shake their heads. They look again. Following conversation is all in whispers.
TOM: Well… come to think of it, she does remind me of someone…
MIKE: Well?
TOM: I don’t know why though…
MIKE: Come on! Who?
TOM: I don’t want to say – (looks at Mike’s angry face) Oh, all right. My mother.
MIKE: Your MOTHER?!
She stops chewing, and turns around fairly slowly. They quickly pull back. She looks back to her breakfast. Faces re-emerge.
MIKE: No, I don’t see the resemblence.
TOM: Well, you have to trim a few years. In the older photos, she used to –
MIKE: Oh I see, and I suppose the –
TOM: Exactly. Just a few details.
MIKE (chuckling): And she’s got your –
TOM: Let’s not go into that.
Heads go out of view. Voices from off stage.
TOM: (shakes his head) Look. We’re going to have to go back in there.
MIKE: Why?
TOM: Well, we just have to! She could be there all day! She might want a ride home!
MIKE: I suppose we could try and get her to tell us, without asking.
TOM: Yeah. So what are we going to say?
GIRL: What are you two doing back there?
TOM (out loud): We’re just coming!
MIKE: Wait!
TOM: What?
MIKE: We can’t go out together!
TOM: Why not?
MIKE: It’ll make us look gay, or something. Attached at the hip.
TOM: Okay, then. You go in first.
MIKE: If I look like I’m getting stuck in the conversation, come in, and change the subject.
TOM: Okay.
MIKE: Okay.
TOM: GO!
He pushes Mike on. She turns around. He goes to get his coffee.
GIRL: Cold enough for you?
MIKE: Hmm?
GIRL: The coffee. Is it cold enough?
MIKE: What? Oh yes, the coffee. Yes. It’s just the way I like it.
She looks at her cereal as he drinks a sip. He grimaces in disgust, but manages to swallow it.
MIKE: So, I, urm… I can’t remember how we got back last night. Did we take a taxi?
Tom is poking his head out.
GIRL: You can’t remember? I drove us back.
TOM: (whisper): She was sober, and she came back with us! Or even – with me!
MIKE: Did you? I don’t remember… er… much… I mean… well, the early evening was clear – I mean, crystal, ha ha, every little detail, you know? Except, you know, by the end…
GIRL (almost to herself): Oh. That is a shame.
MIKE: Sorry?
GIRL (smiling curiously to herself): Oh nothing. (leaning forward) So, what was the last thing you remember?
Mike looks urgently at Tom. Tom comes in.
TOM: Oh. Hi. Is there any jam left, or did we finish it last night – er, I mean, yesterday morning?
MIKE (relieved): I can’t remember. Check in the cupboard.
TOM: Yeah. Okay.
Tom walks to the cupboard. Silence, which Tom feels he has to fill.
TOM: Urm… yeah, I can see the honey, and the Branston pickle… and…. Yeah, there’s some jam at the back.
MIKE: What flavour?
TOM: Er… apricot.
MIKE: Have we got any strawberry jam?
GIRL: I’ve got the marmalade out.
MIKE: Good. Don’t worry, Tom, I’ll have the marmalade.
TOM: Okay.
Tom brings out the apricot jam, and puts it on the table too.
TOM: I’ll make us some toast.
MIKE: No! Let me! You sit down, have a bowl of cereal. I’ll get the toast.
TOM: No, I’m fine.
MIKE: But you always burn it! (to the girl) He always burns it.
GIRL (grinning): I know.
TOM: Yes, but – you know?
GIRL (as if it was obvious): Of course I do.
MIKE: Of course she does.
TOM: Tell you what, we’ll both do our pieces together.
They walk to the toaster, and get out some bread.
TOM (frantic whisper): How does she know that?
MIKE: That settles it. She must have come back with you.
TOM: Yes, but if I’ve never seen her before, how does she know I burn the toast?
MIKE: You must have had some last night.
Together, they lean over the toaster, looking into it.
GIRL: What are you doing?
They jump.
MIKE: Er, I think that the far sides hotter.
TOM: One side’s always hotter.
GIRL: You both make a bit of a fuss over breakfast, don’t you?
MIKE: Yes, well –
TOM: Most important meal of the day.
Silence.
TOM: So…. Have you got any clean clothes? For today, I mean.
GIRL: No, but the ones in my room will be fine.
MIKE (whispering): Wait! Which room did she sleep in?
TOM: One of us should go and check. You went first last time, so it’s my turn.
MIKE: Right.
TOM: I’m just going upstairs, to get dressed, while I wait for the toast.
Mike sees him leaving, and realises he’s been tricked.
MIKE: W-! oh, never mind.
Tom exits.

toast

I hope this is building the tension. Don’t brace yourself too much, it’s not the most astounding ending.