A Bit of Fry & Laurie

A Word, Timothy

Stephen is in his study at home. There is a knock at the door.

Stephen Come in. Hugh enters.

Hugh Hello, father. Mother said you wanted to see me.

Stephen Yes, Timothy. A word. I want to ... (He is trying to open a drawer in his desk) Damn this drawer, I just cannot open it, would you mind, I wonder Timothy? Hugh goes round and easily opens the drawer. (Eyes rolling to heaven) Yes, yes. I knew it. I tried to go on fighting it, but I could not. It is true. Every word is true.

Hugh (Puzzled) Father?

Stephen Timothy, it is time you knew who you were.

Hugh But I know who I am, father.

Stephen No, child, you do not.

Hugh I am Timothy Forrest.

Stephen No. I wish it were true, but no. Sit. Twenty-four years ago a doctor told your mother and me that it was impossible that we could ever have children.

Hugh Oh. Why not?

Stephen I can't remember the precise reason. It was something to do with penises I think. We decided to adopt a child.

Hugh I see. And you chose me.

Stephen After a great deal of shopping around, yes. From a new edge-of-town orphanage that had just opened in Royston.

Hugh Did they tell you who my real parents were?

Stephen They told us that you were an orphan, that your real parents had died in a walking accident shortly after your birth. But that was a lie as we subsequently had cause to understand.

Hugh They're still alive?

Stephen Let me tell this in my own time, in my own way, in my own clothes, Timothy.

Hugh I'm sorry, father.

Stephen On your seventh birthday a man called round to this house. His name was Furlo Roth. He took out a silver multi-bladed knife and placed it in this drawer, the one you have just opened. (Stephen takes out the knife) He closed the drawer and said that only the Chosen One could open it. You, Timothy ... you are the Chosen One.

Hugh I am?

Stephen And this (indicating knife) is Berwhale. The avenger. The weapon of the Chosen One. Tomorrow is your twenty-fifth birthday and you must leave us to go in search of Pewnack, the Destroyer, the Dark One, the Beast.

Hugh Golly.

Stephen When the fourth moon of Trollack rises above the Cylinder of Eyelass then Pewnack will strike. His kingdom will be numberless and darkness will blight the land, all men shall be slaves and the time of weeping will begin. So it is written in the runes of Ollerman-Goth, so it must be. Only the Chosen One can stop him, and only Berwhale, the avenger, can pierce the armour of the beast.

Hugh I knew it! It sounds funny, father, but in my heart I knew there was something. I realise now that I have been waiting for this moment all my life.

Stephen Yes! Yes, it must be so.

Hugh Where do I find this beast, this Pewnack the destroyer?

Stephen He lives in Saffron Walden.

Hugh Saffron Walden, right.

Stephen You must go there. Surprise is the key. If he knew you were after him he would set the minions of Threek on you. Become a part of the community. Get a job in a canning factory. Bide your time.

Hugh Yes. How will I know this Beast?

Stephen Only Teece, the Wise One, can tell you.

Hugh Teece.

Stephen Teece. In six months, when you have been accepted by the Saffron Walden community Furlo Roth will come to you and tell you how you might find Teece and begin the battle to free us of Pewnack.

Hugh Yes! Yes! It shall be done.

Stephen Now take Berwhale, the avenger and go upstairs and wash your hands for lunch.

Hugh Right. Exit Hugh. Stephen looks sorrowfully after him. Enter woman.

Woman Well?

Stephen I think he swallowed it.

Woman Thank God.

Stephen We'll get that lazy sod out of the house and earning his living.

Vox Pop

Stephen Only one decent brothel left in this part of town now. I remember when it was built. I fainted halfway through the topping-out ceremony as a matter of fact.

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