Sunday, September 18, 2011

It's not the way I planned it

Sunday, September 18, 2011
Monday morning. 8.33am. Stephen, a 31 year old man, lies snoring loudly on a hotel bed. He is wearing a shirt and dress trousers. A single shoe. We hear the sound of a phone playing Britney Spears' 'Baby, One More Time.' Stephen stirs but does not wake. The rings ceases on the words "My loneliness". There is a brief pause. The phone rings again. Now Stephen rolls over, reaches fumblingly for his jacket by the side of the bed. Still face down he extracts the phone from the pocket, just as the ring cuts out for a second time. He raises his head and glances at the phone. 

Stephen Shit.

He sits up quickly and instantly regrets it. We see now that he is trim and fit looking, though clearly very hungover. 

Oh shit.

Britney begins again. He answers immediately.

Christy. Mr Cooney. How're ye?...Ah grand. Fine. Not a bother...No, no, I'm up a while. Sorry I didn't get to talk to you last...Yeah...What, now? I mean...Of course, sure, no problem. I'll just...

He takes the phone away from his ear. Looks at it.

Fuck. Jesus.

He stands. Walks unsteadily to the bathroom, off. We hear him urinating. Then splashes of water. He emerges with a towel and glances around for his missing shoe.  He spots it at the end of the bed. As he bends to retrieve it, we hear four sharp knocks. 

Fucking hell.

He puts the shoe on and half stumbles towards the off stage door. The knocks come again before he reaches it. 

Just coming now.

Stephen re-enters, backing into the room, followed by Christy. Christy is a heavy, jowly man of about 60. He speaks with a pronounced Cork accent.

Christy Well now, Stephen.

Stephen How're ye, Mr Cooney?

Christy  Now don't be at that Stephen, it's Christy still.

Stephen Yeah, sure. Christy. How're ye?

Christy  I'm well now, Stephen, I'm well. Can't complain, says you. I'm more interested in how you are Stephen.

Stephen Oh, I'm grand. Little rough, you know. The night that was in it.

Christy Oh yes. Quite a night, I'd say. Quite a day.

Stephen Yeah. (Pause) I'm sorry I didn't get to talk to you last night, I was...

Christy  The hero of the hour eh? The big man.

Stephen Ah well now, it was the whole team...

Christy No reason for false modesty Stephen. A wonderful performance. "Ice in his veins" they said on the telly. The Iceman, huh? That's what they'll be calling you now. No more of that 'Clucko'.

Stephen shifts uncomfortably.

Christy  Sit down there, Stephen. Relax. A long night, I'd say. After that long day.

Stephen sits on the end of bed. He briefly puts his hands over his face, then quickly removes them, sits taller.

Stephen Mr Cooney. Christy.

Christy  They're calling it a classic already, did you know that? 

Stephen No.

Christy  A classic.

Stephen It was an accident, Mr Cooney.

Christy  One for the history books. Never before has a goalkeeper scored the winning point in an All Ireland. 

Stephen I wanted to make it close. 

Christy  Historic. (Pause) An accident was it? From 50 yards?

Stephen The wind...

Christy  The wind? The fucking wind? Listen to me you little jackeen fuck. You bisected the fucking uprights. Slap fucking bang in the middle. Do you know what you've cost us?

Stephen I...

Christy  Everyone else. All the rest of them. Perfect. 

Stephen I'm sorry...I...

Christy But you wanted it all for yourself. You fucking Norrie. How dare you? You little pup. How fucking dare you? Got carried  away. Pictured yourself on the front of all the papers. No thought for the Association, for the fans. For all my work. My life's work. 

Stephen Mr Cooney. Sir.

Christy  I should have expected no better from a fucking soccer player. Luton wasn't it? You should have stayed over there with the fucking Brits, cleaned their boots. You're good for nothing else. Did you know we were going to go for three this time? And you couldn't even let us have the second one. You little prick. MIllions. Millions you've cost us. 

Stephen I'm sorry.

Christy Oh you will be. You'll be very fucking sorry. And it won't just be you. Life is going to get very fucking tricky for every one of you Dublin fucks. Parnells too. And I'm not just talking about the money. I hope you enjoyed yourself last night. It's the last time anyone in that team will pat your filthy treacherous back. Things are going to change for you, Cluxton. I wouldn't get too comfortable with that cushy number in Vincents either. 

Stephen You can't...

Christy  Can't what? What can't I fucking do? I can do whatever the fuck I want.You know who I am. You know what I am. You don't fuck around with the Association, Cluxton. And I am the fucking Association.

He turns to leave.

Christy  And Stephen? 

Stephen Yes, Mr Cooney?

Christy  Watch yourself the next time you go up for a high ball.  

Stephen remains seated. He returns his head to his hands.
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