Consent

A sketch from A Bit of Fry & Laurie

Robert and Jeanine are facing each other across a boardroom table. Hugh is at Jeanine's side, Stephen at Robert's. Stephen and Hugh are opening briefcases and setting up their stall.

Hugh Right, Richard, are you going to start?

Stephen Probably better if I start, Nick, yes. Thrash out the position in broad terms, so we all know where we stand.

Hugh That's got to be the right course, Richard. Got to be.

Stephen I think so, Nick, I really do.

Hugh Go you on ahead.

Stephen Position is that my client wishes, in very broad terms ...

Hugh Broad terms?

Stephen At this stage broad terms, yes, we can talk specifics later, my client wishes to engage in a protracted bout of sexual intercourse with your client.

Hugh Can I chip in here, Richard?

Stephen Chip in, chip in ...

Hugh Might save us a lot of time if I just say that my client is willing to consider your client's position in a favourable light, as long as we can thrash out some of the nitty-gritty.

Stephen Oh, that's good news.

Hugh So, shall we pencil a meeting, Richard, or ...

Stephen We could pencil a meeting, certainly, Nick, but I should say that my client is anxious to expedite matters and bring them to a speedy conclusion if at all possible.

Hugh How speedy, Richard? Stephen turns and mutters to Robert.

Stephen My client was thinking along the lines of the next half-hour, Nick. I don't know how that sounds ...

Hugh Ah. Hugh confers with Jeanine. My client, Richard, would like it clearly understood that she's not easy.

Stephen My client clearly understands that your client is not easy, Nick, in fact he wishes me to stress that he has an enormous respect for your client in a variety of personal, non-sexual ways.

Hugh My client is reassured by your client's position, and would like to know how your client intends to proceed. Stephen and Robert mutter.

Stephen My client was thinking in general terms of dinner at the Bombay Brasserie, after which, at some mutually agreeable time, he would place his tongue inside your client's mouth and move it around slightly. Hugh and Jeanine confer.

Hugh That is broadly acceptable to my client.

Stephen My client then suggests putting one of his hands up your client's skirt and having a bit of a feel.

Hugh Which hand, Richard?

Stephen My client hasn't yet decided which hand ...

Hugh Well perhaps you could fax us with that ...

Stephen Certainly, that's no bother ... He makes a note. "Fax Nick ... Which ... hand ... up ... skirt ..." Hugh and Jeanine have been conferring.

Hugh I should say that after your client has put his hand up my client's skirt, my client reserves the right to moan slightly.

Stephen I don't see a problem there ...? Robert shakes his head.

Stephen No, that's fine.

Hugh At this point, my client will suggest that your client drives my client back to your client's flat, where your client will play some James Taylor. Stephen and Robert mutter.

Stephen My client doesn't have any James Taylor at the moment, and wonders whether Art Garfunkel would be acceptable? Jeanine scribbles a note and pushes it across to Hugh.

Hugh Ah. My client insists that Art Garfunkel is definitely not acceptable, but would be prepared to consider Tom Waits. Robert nods.

Stephen Excellent. Moving on, my client would now like to insert ... Robert whispers something. Would now like to insert a clause allowing him to spill wine on your client's blouse and to mop it gently with a handkerchief, lightly brushing your client's breasts as he does so.

Hugh We feel, in the interests of both parties, that a white wine spritzer should be specified. Robert nods.

Stephen A white wine spritzer it is. Now my client is keen to know whether your client can accomodate ... (Robert whispers)

Hugh Yes?

Stephen My client is keen to know whether your client can accomodate a circular licking motion around the upper body area at this stage.

Hugh Perfectly acceptable. My client will be permitted to gaze at the ceiling and say the words "Oh God" and "Yes." Stephen writes down and mouths "Oh God" and "Yes" as Robert nods briskly.

Stephen A move to the bedroom is now indicated.

Hugh Indeed, I should point out, however, that my client is keen that this engagement should run along orthodox lines from hereonin.

Stephen Would that preclude the use of salad items? Firm nod from Jeanine.

Hugh I'm afraid so. Robert slightly disappointed.

Stephen My client believes in that case that things can be satisfactorily brought to a conclusion in three minutes, after which time ...

Hugh My client feels that this would be premature. Ten minutes is more acceptable. Robert looks aghast and swallows slightly.

Stephen Shall we compromise with six?

Hugh Six minutes then. I assume your client will then roll over and turn his back on my client?

Stephen My client will most certainly do so. Your client will attempt to hold him and he will behave coldly.

Hugh Quite so. My client will feel spurned and shamed as your client refuses to share the afterglow.

Stephen My client then plans to sneak into his clothes at five in the morning and go very early to work, leaving no note for your client.

Hugh My client will feel immensely rejected and angry at this.

Stephen Quite so. My client will pick up the phone once during the afternoon, but fail to go through with calling, after which time he will not be in touch again.

Hugh My client will from hereonin refer to your client as "that bastard".

Stephen My client will blush and look away if ever he sees your client at a party.

Hugh Precisely so. I think that's all satisfactory. Robert and Jeanine both nod. Robert looks guilty, Jeanine looks cross.

Stephen If your client will sign here ... Passes over contract.

Hugh And yours here ... They each sign. Excellent.

Stephen First-rate.

Robert and Jeanine stand. From across the table Jeanine slaps Robert in the face.

Jeanine Bastard.

She storms out. Robert shuffles out through the other door.

Hugh Marvellous.

Stephen Splendid.

Pause.

Hugh Fancy a quick shag?

Stephen Oh alright.

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