Special Squad

A sketch from A Bit of Fry & Laurie

Deborah is sitting on a sofa watching television. Suddenly there is some extremely violent hammering at the door. We hear Stephen and Hugh off.

Stephen (Off) Just turn the handle. More crashing. (Off) Turn the handle. What's the matter with you?

Hugh (Off) Nothing. More crashing.

Stephen (Off) All you've got to do is ...

Hugh (Off) Look, I've carried this bloody thing all the way from the car park, I'm not going to just turn the handle and walk in.

Stephen (Off) All right, well I'll turn the handle.

Hugh (Off) Do what you like. I'm smashing this bloody door in. The door opens. Stephen enters the room. (Off) Close the door, close the door. Hugh stays in the doorway and smashes the door to pieces with a sledgehammer.

Deborah (Scared) What do you want?

Stephen Mrs Catherine Popey?

Deborah Yes? What? Who are you?

Stephen Sorry to disturb you madam, my colleague and I are making some routine door-to-door enquiries in this area. D'you mind if we come in? The door is finally off its hinges.

Hugh Finished.

Deborah Well, why didn't you ring the bell?

Stephen You see, I knew this would happen. She's now asking why we didn't ring the bell.

Hugh We thought you were out.

Stephen No, that's the wrong answer. That's the wrong answer.

Hugh We didn't want to disturb you.

Stephen No. No no no.

Hugh If we had rung the bell, there would have been no point in my having carried a sledgehammer all the way from the car park.

Deborah I see.

Stephen (Pause) Yup. Looks like we may have got away with that one. Now Mrs Popey, is your husband at home?

Deborah What?

Stephen Your husband. Is he at home at the current time?

Deborah I haven't got a husband.

Stephen You haven't got a husband? I see. Right.

Hugh Well when do you expect him back?

Deborah What?

Stephen No. No. That's the wrong question.

Hugh Is it?

Stephen Yes it is. Now then ...

Hugh When do you expect her back?

Stephen Now then Mrs Popey, please excuse the incompleteness of our records. Computer trace indicates that you are currently the holder of a husband.

Deborah Well I'm not.

Stephen You're not. Well I'll have my colleagues amend the record accordingly. Now then Mrs Popey.

Deborah Yes?

Stephen Your husband's been a bit busy lately, hasn't he?

Deborah What?

Stephen Been giving us the proper runaround.

Hugh He's scum. That's what he is. He's a scumbag. A great big bag of scum, he is, scumming around in a big bag. That's what he is. And he always will be.

Deborah I haven't got a husband. I'm not married.

Hugh You can take the scum out of the bag, but you can't take the bag out of the scum.

Stephen Yeah ...

Hugh Boil in the bag scum, that's what he is.

Stephen Yeah, my colleague has perhaps adopted a rather more forthright tone than I would have chosen, but then I like to think that's why we work so well together. Because we compliment each other, you see.

Deborah Really?

Stephen Yes, we compliment each other beautifully. Watch this. You're looking very smart today.

Hugh Thank you. That's a very nice haircut.

Stephen You see? Teamwork. Now then. To business, Mrs Popey. Your husband has ...

Deborah For heaven's sake. How many times do I have to tell you? I haven't got a husband.

Stephen Well now ...

Hugh Twenty-five.

Stephen Excuse me for just a moment, would you, Mrs Popey? (To Hugh) What?

Hugh She's got to tell us twenty-five times that she hasn't got a husband.

Stephen Why?

Hugh Once for every day in the week.

Stephen Yeah, that doesn't quite work.

Hugh Doesn't it?

Stephen No.

Hugh Alright. Once for every year he's going to spend inside. The scumbag.

Deborah Look, I don't know who you are, or why you want to speak to a husband I haven't got, but I'm telling you ...

Stephen Oh, we don't want to speak to him.

Deborah Don't you?

Stephen No no no.

Hugh No no. Speak to him? No.

Stephen If I may say so, I think you've been watching too many films, Mrs Popey.

Deborah Well whatever. The point is, I haven't got a husband and therefore do you think it's possible that you might actually have the wrong house?

Stephen No no no.

Hugh No no no no no no no.

Stephen No.

Hugh No. You see, we've already been there.

Deborah Where?

Hugh To the wrong house. We've just come from the wrong house, just now.

Stephen My colleague is absolutely right, as it happens Mrs Popey. We have, just this minute, come from the wrong house. So that argument doesn't really stand up, I'm afraid.

Hugh No. That argument falls straight over.

Stephen Yeah.

Hugh And just lies there.

Stephen Now since you claim to be alone in the house, you won't mind us having a quick look around?

Deborah How quick?

Stephen Very quick.

Deborah Help yourself.

Stephen Thank you. Stephen and Hugh wave their heads about, stupidly. There. That didn't hurt, did it?

Hugh It did actually.

Deborah Just whatever you do, don't wake up my son.

Stephen I beg you pardon?

Hugh Yeah so do I. I beg it as well.

Deborah My son is asleep upstairs. I'd rather you didn't wake him.

Stephen Now wait a minute Mrs Popey. Wait just a minute.

Hugh Whoah there, boy! Whoah!

Stephen Hold on one second. You have a son?

Deborah Yes.

Stephen Well now Mrs Popey, we may be stupid, but we're not clever. How do you come to have a son without having a husband. That sounds mightily ingenious.

Deborah He was a sailor.

Stephen Mmm. In the Navy?

Deborah No, with the Nat West.

Stephen I see. Well, we'll leave that for the moment. This son of yours, he's upstairs, you say?

Deborah Yes, asleep.

Hugh What, tired, is he?

Stephen I'm not surprised he's tired after the merry dance he's been leading us.

Hugh Yes, a very merry dance indeed he's been a-leading us of. Highly merry. Ha, ha, ha, it's so merry.

Stephen I think we'd better have a word with this son of yours, Mrs Popey, if it's all the same to you.

Deborah Only if you promise to leave as soon as you've finished.

Stephen Of course Mrs Popey. We'll leave just as soon as we've finished being here. Deborah exits. What a charming woman.

Hugh Charming. Delightful. A really super woman.

Stephen She's taken it so well.

Hugh This is it, you see.

Stephen Too well, perhaps.

Hugh Well I didn't want to say, but yes, she may have taken it too well. Deborah reenters, carrying a cot containing a small baby.

Deborah This is my son William.

Stephen Aha. You've been a bit of a naughty boy, haven't you, William.

Hugh Ask him what he's done with the stuff.

Stephen Now then William, what have you done with the stuff? (To Hugh) What stuff?

Hugh I don't know. It was a trap.

Stephen He hasn't fallen for it.

Hugh (Pause) Scumbag.

Vox Pop

Hugh Who are the great hat-wearers of today? There aren't any, you see. No one for the kids to look up to.

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