Dammit 2

A sketch from A Bit of Fry & Laurie

Hugh and Stephen are in an office. Hugh is finishing a phone conversation.

Hugh Right. Much obliged for your time, Keith. Puts phone down. Dammit.

Stephen What?

Hugh It's pretty much as we feared, John.

Stephen Yeah?

Hugh Only a whole heap worse.

Stephen Suppose you start from the beginning.

Hugh Not much to say. Seems that twenty minutes ago, our time, Derwent Enterprises went into liquidation.

Stephen What?

Hugh Keith called a couple of hours ago from Helsinki.

Stephen But that was Keith just now, wasn't it?

Hugh Yeah, just now our time. But he called a couple of hours ago his time.

Stephen I see. And he called to say that Derwent has gone under?

Hugh That's right.

Stephen Damn!

Hugh Damn it to damnation!

Stephen Damn, blast, and two extra slices of buttered damn. Who else knows about this?

Hugh It'll be all round town before you can say "Hell and double-blast, dammit to Hades twice."

Stephen Hell and double-blast, dammit to Hades ... The phone rings. Hugh picks it up.

Hugh Yes. He hangs up. Derek knows.

Stephen Dammit.

Hugh If they pull on their options ... Christ it doesn't bear thinking about. This whole health club could go belly up.

Stephen Right. I want to know who's behind them, I want to know who's pulling the strings, I want to know WHAT IN HELL'S NAME IS GOING ON.

Hugh John, I do believe you're scared.

Stephen You're damn right I'm scared, Peter. I sense Marjorie's hand in this.

Hugh Marjorie?

Stephen I never told you this, Peter, but when Marjorie left me I settled a block of shares on her and the boy.

Hugh Shares in the health club? Were you out of your goddamned mind?

Stephen In the club, no. I knew I couldn't trust her there. But I gave her shares in D-Tec.

Hugh And you think ...

Stephen Think? I don't think anything. There isn't time to think. There's only time to act.

Hugh But is Marjorie really capable of pulling a scrimshaw trick like this?

Stephen (Bitter laugh) Marjorie? She would float her own grandmother as a holding corporation, and strip her clean of preference stock if she thought it would hurt me. Stephen picks up a framed photo of Marjorie and her son. Three pints of damn and a chaser of hellblast!!

Hugh What about the boy, John?

Stephen The boy's Dennis, Peter.

Hugh No. What about the boy.... John.

Stephen Leave the boy out of this, Peter. He's only a boy.

Hugh Something I've always wondered, John.

Stephen Yeah?

Hugh How come the boy has been living with Marjorie since the divorce?

Stephen Hih. The court ruled that I was violent and unstable, an unfit father.

Hugh You, John? That's a damned laugh. If they had seen the way you've parented this company ...

Stephen Well, Marjorie told this story ... one night I came home, I was tired, there was something about the way she looked at me, I sensed a mocking, a sneering ... I dunno, anyway I flipped ... emptied a bowl of trifle over her pretty little head.

Hugh And she got custody.

Stephen Very.

Hugh John, it must hurt, not being able to watch Dennis grow up.

Stephen Hurt? No. He's nothing to me now.

Hugh Oh yeah, John? So how come every year on his birthday you take him down to London to see Phantom of the Opera?

Stephen I do that because I hate him.

Hugh Fair enough.

Stephen But I give Marjorie due warning ... if she wants a fight, then by God she's going to get one!

Hugh And the prize, John?

Stephen As big as they get, Peter. The entire leisure market in the Uttoxeter catchment area goes to the winner. No strings attached. Picks up photo of Marjorie. Why can't you leave me alone?

Hugh John, what was it you once said to me about perspective?

Stephen Er ... I seem to remember asking you how it was spelt....

Hugh No, no, after that.

Stephen What are you saying to me, Peter?

Hugh I'm saying, John, I'm saying, I'm saying ... dammit I'm saying I'm here, Marjorie's a hundred and fifty miles away her time, if we can't fight this bastard son of a mongrel bitch then we aren't the team who weathered the Babylex crisis and came up smelling of roses. That's what I'm saying.

Stephen Peter, you're right. Call Ipswich now, your time and tell them Derwent Enterprises or no Derwent Enterprises this Health Club is in business and stays in busines.

Hugh And if Marjorie should call?

Stephen Marjorie? Never heard of her.

Hugh Dammit John, I love you when you're flying. Stephen speaks into an intercom.

Stephen Sarah, bring in a pot of hot strong coffee and a dozen memo pads. (Intercom off) Now, let's get the hell out of here before they arrive.

Vox Pop

Hugh I don't really believe in all this fuss about clouds of radioactive dust. It'll all blow over before long, I'm sure of it.

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