Sweet Chestnuts, or, The Perils of a Sunday Morning Walk.

CHARACTERS

A HERD OF DEER

MR FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI

MRS FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI

MR MENACING FAT-BASTARD. A giant swaggering beer belly on thin legs who comes to a sort of apex at the top with his little pointy head.

MRS ARTEX FAT-BASTARD. Huge. Her fat back is busting out of her frilly nylon cap-sleeved top.

The action takes place in Richmond Park on a Sunday morning in October.

Scene 1

We are outside the grounds of  Pembroke Lodge, facing the road, which lies between us and the action. Over the road there are many people watching a herd of red deer. A photographer with a three foot lens has positioned himself in the middle of them.

It is rutting season, and a prime specimen of the largest native British mammal is having trouble controlling his dozen or so hinds. He might weigh about 450 lbs. 

Action

MR AND MRS FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI are watching from what they think is the safety of the other side of the road.

Stage left

A hind is on the move towards the road, away from the herd. The stag sees her, and runs after her. She stops. The people, who are far too close, move back.

Stage right

While the large stag is distracted a younger stag moves in  from the left and one of the hinds positions herself with him. The large stag lifts his head and bellows. This is scary.

The younger stag makes a small retreat.

MRS FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI  Look at those stupid people over there – far too close to those animals! And what does that photographer want? Photographs of tonsils?

The hind escapes and scarpers across the road towards the FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRIS

The other deer start to follow.

The large stag bellows as his hinds follow the first one across the road.  He then charges in pursuit in direction of the FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRIS

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Meanwhile the younger stag collects up two more hinds and walks off.

The FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRIS run for their lives. 

Scene 2

The FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRIS move to the higher ground, just outside a boundary which encloses trees to protect them from the deer. There are seven or eight mature chestnut trees. The ground is covered with a bountiful and glorious array of spiky green cases and little nuggets of glossy copper chestnuts. On the boundary fence is a large sign. 

The FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRIS don’t see it. 

MRS FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI No, I mean stuff like ….well all the pear trees on the verges round our way – I’ve picked up a few fallen fruit but most of them are left to rot. Hardly anyone goes black-berrying anymore. All this free food but it’s just going to waste. Meanwhile people aren’t eating well. It’s a shame. It’s just not joined up…..

They look at the chestnuts.

MR FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI But the squirrels will have these…….

MR AND MRS FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI both express a glimmer of disrespect for squirrels with a flicker of nose muscles.

They look at the chestnuts.

MRS FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI – I’ll have the oven on anyway later. Shall we take some home and bake them?

He nods assent and they start to pick them up and stuff their pockets.

Immediately MR AND MRS FAT-BASTARD walk by, slowly.

MR MENACING FAT-BASTARD.(aggressive, South London accent.) OI. PUT THEM DOWN. THEY’RE NOT YOURS.

MR AND MRS FAT-BASTARD carry on walking .During the following conversation they continue to walk, but turn round to shout the dialogue. The FZs are twenty paces behind them.

MRS FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI. Amazed What do you mean? They are chestnuts!

MRS ARTEX FAT-BASTARD. CAN’T YOU SEE THE SIGN, OR ARE YOU STUPID?

MRS FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI What sign? (looks up, sees sign, 3 feet behind her head.) OH!

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MRS FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI No I didn’t see the sign.

MRS ARTEX FAT-BASTARD turns her head and gives an evil grinning sneery glower.

The FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRIS let the chestnuts they have in their hands fall to the floor.

MRS ARTEX FAT-BASTARD. WELL IT’S BIG ENOUGH. BLIND ARE YA? NEXT TIME DON’T TAKE WHAT’S NOT YOURS.

MRS FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI (following on the path). HEY! I didn’t see that sign. It was an honest mistake.

MRS FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI to MR FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI. (indignant).They shouldn’t have spoken to us like that.

MR FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI quietly to MRS FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI No, but he’s a cunt. They can’t help it. Ignore them. Come on, let’s go this way. (starts to cut across grass)

MRS FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI (ignores him and follows the FBs. Mr FZ keeps pace with her but a little to the side.) There was no need to talk to us like that. You could have pointed the sign out and been polite about it.

MRS ARTEX FAT-BASTARD.(aggressive and sarcastic) BELIEVE ME, HE WAS POLITE. YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE HIM WHEN HE’S NOT BEING POLITE.

MRS FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI If that was polite, he’s got a problem.

MR FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI to MRS F-Z (quietly) Leave it. Come away.

MRS ARTEX FAT-BASTARD. Angry and sarcastic HE’S NOT THE ONE WITH THE PROBLEM. YOU WERE THE ONES PICKING STUFF UP FROM THE GROUND,  TAKING WHAT WASN’T YOURS.

MRS FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI Indignant THEY ARE CHESTNUTS FOR CHRIST’S SAKE. CHESTNUTS! And we put them back again!

MRS ARTEX FAT-BASTARD. (Very aggressive, baiting ) HE HASN’T GOT A PROBLEM EXCEPT WITH ARSEHOLES LIKE YOU.

MRS FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI  (surprised) Well now. You’ve got a problem too, talking to people like that! You’ve both got a problem.

MR MENACING FAT-BASTARD.  (Turns round, very aggressive and self righteous) YOU WERE STEALING FROM THE QUEEN!

Pause

MRS FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI   (laughs. Amused.). Stealing chestnuts from the Queen! Is she going to miss them?

MRS ARTEX FAT-BASTARD. STEALING FROM THE CROWN ESTATE. YOU ARE THIEVES!

MRS FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI You don’t think the Queen’s been stealing from you for years!

MRS ARTEX FAT-BASTARD. Pauses, indignant. Then waves arms, menacing, Shouts CUNTS LIKE YOU IS WHAT MAKES THIS WORLD A BAD PLACE.

MR FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI quietly but urgently For Christ sakes leave it! Come away. They are mad fuckers.

MRS FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI reluctantly follows him shaking her head I can’t work them out. But if I had a catapult I’d be shooting them with those bloody chestnuts.

MR FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI Shaking head The Queen! What do they think she wants with chestnuts?

They veer off away from the path onto the grass and away from the mad FAT-BASTARDs.

MR FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI I kept some in my pockets anyway.

MRS FOTHERINGTON-ZEQIRI So did I.

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 Later they come across more chestnut trees and another sign which they read  properly.

They empty their pockets.

Well, we kept a few.

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