Dalliard: Models

A sketch from A Bit of Fry & Laurie

Stephen is there. Hugh enters.

Hugh Good morning.

Stephen I beg your pardon?

Hugh I said good morning.

Stephen stands back, ashen-faced.

Stephen At last ...

Hugh What?

Stephen After all these years ...

Hugh Sorry ...?

Stephen Welcome, comrade. Welcome. Sit down. Rest your weary elbows. You'll take a glass of vodka? (Calling.) Mr Dalliard! Break out the false passports and the rabbit-skin hats. We are going to Moscow.

Hugh Moscow?

Stephen What news? Comrade Stalin in rude health, I trust?

Hugh I'm sorry. I'm not with you. All I said was "good morning".

Stephen Precisely. The code.

Hugh Code?

Stephen It is now twenty-seven summers since Comrade Molenski stood slightly to the left of where you are now and told me that, one day, a man would come into this shop and give notice of his alliegance with the phrase "good morning". And that, on hearing these words, Mr Dalliard and I were to detonate our relatives and fly to Dover.

Hugh Fly to Dover?

Stephen Where a man called Smith would see us safely on to a goods train carrying livestock to Minsk.

Hugh Wait a minute. When I said "good morning", all I meant was ... good morning.

Stephen Oh.

Hugh I mean ... that's all I meant.

Stephen Ah. In that case, please accept my green felt apologies, and allow me to sing the fourth verse of "An English Country Garden" omitting the line "Where tom tits dwell" by way of recompense.

Hugh No, really, don't bother ...

Stephen Are you quite sure, sir? Mr Dalliard will be happy to accompany me on his knees.

Hugh Knees?

Stephen Yes, sir. One of the most accomplished knee-players in this shop, is Mr Dalliard.

Hugh No, that's alright. I just came in here to buy a model.

Stephen A model?

Hugh Yes.

Stephen A model?

Hugh Yes.

Stephen A model?

Hugh Yes.

Pause.

Stephen A model?

Hugh That's right. I want to buy a model.

Stephen With or without plastic struts?

Hugh Um ... I'm not really sure. I thought an aeroplane ...

Stephen Let me ask a different question in the same way. Who is this model for?

Hugh It's for my son.

Stephen Your son?

Hugh Yes.

Stephen Just your son?

Hugh Yes.

Stephen And when is this "birthday" of his?

Hugh Wednesday.

Stephen Yes, that's what I said. When's the day?

Hugh Wednesday.

Stephen Are you stupid or just plain deaf?

Hugh Wednesday.

Stephen (overcome with embarrassment) Oh, you are genuinely stupid. I'm so sorry. I thought you were just being deaf. Mr Dalliard, command the earth to swallow me up. I'm so sorry, life must be hard enough for stupid people without tactless old bastards like that lady over there rubbing it in with salt in your face widely. Mr Dalliard, I've gone peculiar.

Hugh looks round.

Hugh What lady?

Stephen So. In plain-flavoured English. When ... is ... your ... son's birthday?

Hugh W ... the day after Tuesday.

Stephen The day after Tuesday. Doctors are so specific these days, aren't they? And are you expecting him to be a boy or a girl?

Hugh It's my son. He's nine. It'll be his tenth birthday.

Stephen His tenth? Sir, you're spoiling him. I was only ever allowed one. On my birthday, usually. However. No doubt you know your own business best. Just don't come bleating to Mr Dalliard and me if this over-indulged child grows up to be one of those drug jockeys that you're always reading about on television. A glass of water?

Hugh No thank you.

Stephen A cup of water?

Hugh No.

Stephen A plate of water, then?

Hugh Thank you, no. Just a model aeroplane.

Stephen A model aeroplane of water?

Hugh No. Forget the water. I don't want any water. Just the model aeroplane kit. I thought perhaps that Messerschmitt 109E in the window.

Stephen The Messerschmitt 109E in the window.

Hugh Yes please.

Stephen (with his hand on his head) Fizzy or still?

Hugh What?

Stephen That doesn't count. I had my hand on my head. You must ignore anything I say with my hand on my head.

Hugh Oh.

Stephen So, the Messerschmitt 109E. Sir has a wonderful eye.

Hugh Thank you.

Stephen So blue. The ear is a disappointment. Not blue at all. I have a little tin of Humbrol paint in cobalt blue ... perhaps you would allow me to ...?

Hugh No thank you. Just the model and I suppose some glue.

Stephen Oh dear. Glue. So your son is already a drug jockey. Mr Dalliard and I warned you on bended legs, but would you listen? No. And now look at him.

Stephen gets from under the counter a beautifully finished and painted model of a Messerschmitt and a plastic bag with glue smeared inside it.

Hugh What's this?

Stephen A Messerschmitt 109E and a fix for your degenerate junkie of a son, sir.

Hugh But the model's done.

Stephen Sir?

Hugh It's ready assembled.

Stephen You can't expect us to do all the work ourselves, sir. The whole joy of modelling lies in carefully scraping off the paint, soaking off the transfers and taking the plane apart piece by piece, and putting each of the pieces into a little plastic bag which is then sealed and placed inside the box. Something to be proud of. An achievement. Strange words in these days of Supersonic Hedgehog brothers and ready-sliced golf-shots.

Hugh Alright. Forget it. Just forget it. I'll go somewhere else.

Stephen Mr Dalliard has a gun trained on you through the curtains. If you take so much as one step towards that door, sir, he will, at a word from me, shoot you clean through the head with as much pity as if you were a helpless seal-pup called Arnold.

Hugh WHAT?

Stephen indicates to show that his hand is on his head.

Stephen So sorry that we couldn't help you, sir. We try to accomodate our customers, but not being a hotel we find it almost impossible.

Hugh Yes. Well. This hasn't been a very good morning.

Stephen Good morning! Mr Dalliard! We have been activated. After all these years.

Vox Pop

Hugh You know that historian, David Irving? He doesn't exist. Completely made up.

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