Combat Games

A sketch from A Bit of Fry & Laurie

Stephen rings the doorbell of a semi, dressed in an anorak and sensible hat. The door swings open, but there is no one there. Stephen enters hesitantly.

Stephen Hello? Hello? Yoo hoo? Anyone at ho ... Hugh springs out, hanging upside down, dressed in camouflage gear with a headband and khaki greasepaint all over his face: he is holding a gun. Oh good afternoon.

Hugh In a combat situation you would be dead meat, mister.

Stephen Sorry?

Hugh If you'd been some sort of gook, I would have burned you away and had your arse for breakfast.

Stephen Oh. Right.

Hugh You're not a gook, though, are you?

Stephen I hope not.

Hugh No. Gooks don't wear anoraks, as far as I can ascertain. Pass friend.

Stephen Thank you. Are you anything to do with Martin Wilson's Recreational Wargames Limited?

Hugh Indeed. I am he.

Stephen Who?

Hugh I am Colonel "Mad" Martin Wilson, and Recreational Wargames are very much my business.

Stephen Oh good. I'm interested in taking part in one of these combat games.

Hugh Well, you've come to the right place. This is what I call the game zone.

Stephen I see. This is where the combat games take place, is it?

Hugh That is correct, my friend. Trust no one and nothing. The game zone is full of surprises.

Stephen Yes. The first surprise is, it's your front room.

Hugh A front room equipped for war. This, for example, is an anti-personnel magazine rack.

Stephen Is it?

Hugh No. But you couldn't possibly have known that.

Stephen Is this what we're going to play with?

Hugh Please do not aim your weapon unless you intend to discharge it, and then only if in a full combat situation.

Stephen It's a water pistol.

Hugh Yes. Loaded with live water.

Stephen Righty ho.

Hugh I will count to ten, and you will secrete youself somewhere in the game zone, preferably in a potential ambush position. I will then come after you in what I choose to call a search and destroy mission.

Stephen Crikey.

Hugh And remember, the first rule of the game zone is, there are no rules. And the second rule is, don't go into the kitchen. It's out of bounds.

Stephen Understood.

Hugh Right, the game time begins ... A woman enters from the kitchen.

Woman Do you want some tea, Martin? Oh good afternoon.

Stephen Hello.

Woman I was just making some tea for my husband. Would you fancy a cup?

Stephen Oh that'd be very nice. Thank you.

Woman Won't be a minute. She goes back into the kitchen.

Stephen That's very kind of her.

Hugh Coo. You really are dead meat. Never trust civilians.

Stephen But she's your wife, isn't she.

Hugh She said she was my wife. But she could easily be a gook, for all you know.

Stephen Well surely gooks don't wear aprons, do they?

Hugh Never mind.

Stephen Cooks do.

Hugh All right. Game time begins. One. Two. Three. Four ... Stephen tiptoes out of the room. Five. Six. Seven. Eight, nine, ten seconds of game time have elapsed. Hugh opens his eyes and looks round the room: then he suddenly drops to the floor and starts to move around the room in a series of somersaults and ridiculous combat poses. Eventually he is forced to give up. (Calling out) Right. Congratulations, my friend. You are the first person ever to have outwitted Colonel "Mad" Martin Wilson in a game situation. Hello? Tscch. Honestly. That chap is dead meat. Mrs Wilson enters with a tray of tea things.

Woman There you are dear.

Hugh Thank you dear.

Woman Where's your friend?

Hugh Friend? He is the enemy, dear.

Woman Well doesn't he want his tea, then?

Hugh Well he might do.

Hugh is standing by the window: Stephen opens it from the outside and sticks his pistol through at Hugh's head.

Stephen We meet again, Colonel.

Woman Your tea's ready.

Stephen Oh thanks very much.

Hugh You went outside the game zone. You broke the rules.

Stephen In combat there are no rules. Except survival.

Hugh All right then. Hugh drops his water pistol.

Stephen That's better. Now then. Very slowly reach out and pass me my cup of tea. By the handle, Colonel.

Hugh Very well. Hugh makes as if to do so, but grabs his wife round the neck, holding a large knife to her neck. One false move and the woman gets it.

Stephen Oh come come, Colonel.

Hugh I mean it. Drop your weapon.

Stephen How do I know that she isn't a gook?

Hugh She's not a gook

Woman I'm not a gook.

Hugh There you are. So come on. Throw down your weapon.

Stephen No. I call your bluff, Colonel.

Hugh I'm serious.

Stephen Off you go then. Hugh suddenly cuts her throat: lots of blood: she falls to the floor. Er ... looks like you've killed your wife.

Hugh It's only a game. (Pause) Isn't it?

Vox Pop

Stephen I'm not really interested in clothes. Not really. As long as they get me from A to B.

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