Café

A sketch from A Bit of Fry & Laurie

Stephen enters a café. Hugh is behind the counter, wearing an apron and wiping the counter.

Stephen Morning.

Hugh Morning.

Stephen I'd like a tuna sandwich and a tea, please.

Hugh So would I, to be perfectly honest.

Stephen I beg your pardon?

Hugh Well I don't know about the tuna sandwich - maybe a doughnut - but I'd certainly like a tea. I'm dying of thirst.

Stephen Oh dear, well, can I have one as well?

Hugh What?

Stephen A tea.

Hugh You're asking me?

Stephen Yes.

Hugh Oh, ahaha. I think there's been a bit of a misunderstanding. I don't actually work here.

Stephen Don't you?

Hugh No.

Stephen Oh I'm so sorry. I thought ...

Hugh Oh, the apron and everything ... yes. No I don't work here. No no no. Haha. That's quite funny actually. They both look down the counter, as if to find the owner.

Stephen Well ... is it closed?

Hugh I don't think so. They'd have put the sign up.

Stephen Yes, I thought it said "open".

Hugh Yeah, I think it's open. Cor, I could murder a doughnut, couldn't you?

Stephen Actually yes, a doughnut would be nice.

Hugh I was thinking maybe I could just take one, and then leave the money on the side. What d'you reckon?

Stephen It's a possibility, I suppose.

Hugh 'Course, I don't know how much they are.

Stephen Errm ...

Hugh Yes?

Stephen Well, if you don't work here, why are you behind the counter?

Hugh Me?

Stephen Yes.

Hugh I'm an undercover policeman.

Stephen Are you?

Hugh Yeah.

Stephen I see.

Hugh Phwor. Those doughnuts are driving me potty. I'm going to have to put them away in a minute.

Stephen Right, yes. You're not very far undercover, are you?

Hugh How d'you mean?

Stephen Well, I mean what's the point of being undercover, if you're going to tell me that you're undercover?

Hugh (Quite a long pause) Actually, that's quite a good point.

Stephen Yes.

Hugh What you're saying is, I shouldn't have told you that I was an undercover policeman?

Stephen Precisely.

Hugh Yeah, that's a good point. Because basically, you now know that I'm a policeman.

Stephen Yes.

Hugh So the whole reason for me putting on this apron and standing here since eight o'clock this morning ... is, well, wasted really.

Stephen I'd have thought so. I mean, it's none of my business.

Hugh No no no. Don't ever say that. Don't ever say it's none of your business. No, we need the public to come forward. Believe me, we're very grateful.

Stephen Not at all.

Hugh Of course, we also need the public to shut up and not tell anyone else that I'm a policeman.

Stephen Well of course.

Hugh Good. That is a very good point, though. Don't say you're an undercover policeman. Yeah. Thanks.

Stephen So, are you waiting for some criminal or something?

Hugh That's right, funnily enough, yes. I'm waiting for a criminal, and when he enters the premises, let me put it this way, he can expect a warm reception.

Stephen I see. That should be exciting.

Hugh People often say that, but no, it's not exciting. It's ninety-nine per cent routine legwork.

Stephen Right.

Hugh You're not a criminal by any chance, are you?

Stephen Me?

Hugh Yes.

Stephen No.

Hugh Oh good. Because I'd have had to give you a warm reception if you were.

Stephen But then of course, I probably wouldn't tell you if I was.

Hugh Yeah. Right.

Stephen Now that I know you're a policeman.

Hugh Oh I get you. You wouldn't tell me, because you now know I'm a policeman.

Stephen Yes. That's if I was the criminal.

Hugh Right. Right. Are you the criminal?

Stephen No.

Hugh Oh good.

Stephen But the point is, I might be.

Hugh Oh hold up, you've gone all strange again. You just said you weren't.

Stephen I'm not.

Hugh Good.

Stephen But I might be.

Hugh This is getting stupid.

Stephen Not really. You see, if I was a criminal, I wouldn't tell you that I was. If I wasn't, I also wouldn't tell you that I was. So just because I say I'm not, doesn't mean I'm not. A criminal.

Hugh Slippery sod, aren't you?

Stephen I beg your pardon?

Hugh You read a lot of books, I suppose?

Stephen Well, you know ...

Hugh One of my regrets about the police force. No time for reading.

Stephen Mmm. Pity.

Hugh Do you want to share a doughnut with me?

Stephen Er, no thanks. Hugh breaks a doughnut in two, and gives one half to Stephen.

Hugh There you go.

Stephen No, really I won't thank you.

Hugh There you go.

Stephen No.

Hugh Take it.

Stephen No! Hugh pushes half the doughnut into Stephen's face. What are you doing?

Hugh Giving you half this doughnut.

Stephen I don't want it!

Hugh You think I'm stupid.

Stephen What?

Hugh Just because you've read books and I haven't, you think I'm stupid.

Stephen No I don't.

Hugh If you didn't want a doughnut, you'd say you wanted a doughnut. So just because you're a criminal doesn't mean that I don't have to give you a doughnut, because you've said you didn't want a doughnut in the first place which is actually what you'd say if this doughnut was a policeman.

Stephen You're mad.

Hugh Mad am I? Your first mistake. I never told you I was mad. I told you I was a policeman. But you've just said that I'm a mad policeman. How could you have known that, without me telling you? So I must have told you. Except that I didn't, so how do you know?

Stephen It's obvious.

Vox Pop

Hugh I've got nothing against where I live now. It's just a bit detached.

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