A Bit of Fry & Laurie

Dammit Lavatories

Hugh is Peter, a lavatory attendant, inside a lavatory, making strange noises as he wrestles with some recalcitrant object or other.

Hugh (Off) Come on. Come on ... Gotcha. Lavatory flush sound. Stephen, as John, another attendant, crashes in and throws his coat onto a hook "baa-ing". (Off) That you, John?

Stephen Who else, Peter?

Hugh I was beginning to wonder where the hell ...

Stephen Traffic, Peter, plain and simple.

Hugh That's a bitch, John.

Stephen Took the switchback routes wherever I could, but the A47 is a car-park at the moment. Hugh comes out of the stall carring a plunger and wearing rubber gloves.

Hugh Damn that ballcock.

Stephen It's no good blaming the cistern, Peter. So fill me in. How's business this a.m.?

Hugh Quiet, John. Very quiet. Couple of noisy ones in stall three earlier on.

Stephen Really?

Hugh Yeah, but mostly it's been quiet.

Stephen Right. Calls?

Hugh Yeah, had one from the maintenance boys about fixing the towel rollers ...

Stephen And?

Hugh Can't make it till next Tuesday.

Stephen Dammit.

Hugh That's what I said, John.

Stephen Damn, blast, triple damn, with an extra side order of damn.

Hugh Yup. I said that as well.

Stephen How the hell do they expect us to run a public lavatory complex without maintenance back-up?

Hugh Beats me, John. They said they'd give it top priority ...

Stephen Top priority my arse! (Scrunches up a cup) That's just a lot of hot air, Peter.

Hugh I know John.

Stephen Our clients can't dry their hands with hot air.

Hugh Well actually ...

Stephen Peter, don't start on this electric hand-drier stuff again. I've read your report, and it's good work, but now is not the time.

Hugh Not the time? I wonder if you'd have said that when we were running the health club?

Stephen Forget the health club, Peter, God damn it! Marjorie won. Pure and simple. It wasn't a clean fight I grant you, but she won. That's it. Over.

Hugh You don't have to throw Marjorie in my face, John.

Stephen I'm sorry, Peter. But dammit we've got a chance here, a chance to build the finest damned personal relief centre Uttoxeter has ever known.

Hugh But when, John? What's the timeframe?

Stephen Hell, Peter, only a fool would try and answer that question. Six months, maybe.

Hugh Every morning when I leave the house, Sarah kisses me on the cheek ...

Stephen Sarah? But your wife is Nancy?

Hugh Sarah's the au pair, John. Helps out with a lot of Nancy's chores.

Stephen Right.

Hugh She kisses me and dammit if there aren't tears in her eyes.

Stephen Peter, I know it's hard ...

Hugh Kids have a hard time at school. "Haha, Sherman's dad is a lavatory attendant ..."

Stephen Don't ever say that, Peter. (Scrunches up a cup) The Peter I know is an equal partner in an enterprise that is going to alter the face of Uttoxeter's sanitation for ever.

Hugh But the shame, John.

Stephen Peter, you're doing this for Nancy and the kids. When you refill the soap dispensers, it's for them. When you pick the cigarette ends out of the urinal, it's for them. When you unclog a U-bend with your bare hands, you're doing it for them!

Hugh Dammit, John, you're right.

Stephen That's more like it. (Scrunches a full cup. It hurts.) Now let's get to it.

Hugh Shoot.

Stephen Paper in every stall?

Hugh Check.

Stephen Evacuation points cleaned?

Hugh Check.

Stephen Even under the rim?

Hugh Even under the rim.

Stephen Mirrors polished?

Hugh Till you could see your face in them.

Stephen Good work.

Hugh Had to close the urinal momentarily for cleaning purposes. And when something like that happens, as you know, the weak go to the wall.

Stephen Did you stop them?

Hugh No trouble. A drunk shuffles in coughing. Good morning, sir. Man coughs. This your first visit to our facility? Man coughs again. If you require our full relief service, the cubicles are to your left, otherwise you will find the quick service stall situated ahead of you. Man lurches awway and vomits into a corner. Dammit!

Stephen Dammit, Peter, we're still not attracting the right kind of customer.

Hugh I know, John. But a lot of the more desirable punters are going next door.

Stephen And why in hell aren't they coming here?

Hugh Because they're women, John.

Stephen Peter, I want you to get in next door, and find out who's running their operation.

Hugh I already know who's running it, John. It was quite a shock, I can tell you.

Stephen Don't say it, Peter. Don't tell me ...

Hugh That's right. Marjorie.


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