[In the portacabin.]
F/X: PORTACABIN DOOR OPENING AND CLOSING
HERC: Is it, can it possibly be? Captain Richardson, are you on time? Or do our clocks deceive us?
DOUGLAS: Oh, do spare us your lack of wit.
CAROLYN: What a dazzling ray of sunshine you bring to this dreary day, Douglas.
DOUGLAS: Yes, thank you, Carolyn. Where’s Arthur?
CAROLYN: Hoovering G-ERTI. Why, what did you need him for?
CAROLYN: Ah, well, I’m afraid you’ll have to struggle through on your own there. While you’re at it, I’ll take mine with milk, so sugar.
DOUGLAS: And why, exactly, do you expect yours not to be a likewise solitary struggle for refreshment?
CAROLYN: Because, as the person signing your paychecks, it is my privilege to delegate to you such tasks as I see fit.
DOUGLAS: Insofar as they involve the flying of airplanes, not the making of tea. Because, as it happens, I am neither your office boy, nor a member of your family you can make subject to your matriarchal reign.
CAROLYN: That’s more of an insult to Herc than to me.
DOUGLAS: I’m not picky.
CAROLYN: So I see. Might one enquire into the reasons behind your delightful mood?
CAROLYN: And yet…
DOUGLAS: You show no signs of relenting?
CAROLYN: I do not.
DOUGLAS: If you must know, it’s Helena.
CAROLYN: Your ex-wife? What about her?
DOUGLAS: She’s getting re-married.
CAROLYN: Ah. (PAUSE) That’s rather soon, isn’t it?
DOUGLAS: Not really.
CAROLYN: You’ve only been divorced two years.
DOUGLAS: Ah, but she and Fred have been very happy together for nearly three years now.
CAROLYN: I see.
CAROLYN: If it helps—
DOUGLAS: It doesn’t.
CAROLYN: No, I suppose not. Still—
DOUGLAS: Surely, Carolyn, you wouldn’t sink to offering platitudes.
CAROLYN: Certainly not.
CAROLYN: Though if you were to require them—
DOUGLAS: I don’t.
CAROLYN: Naturally. But if, hypothetically speaking, you were…
DOUGLAS: Thank you.
CAROLYN: …I’m sure you and Herc could come to some arrangement.
HERC: Why, certainly, my dear fellow. Just say the word.
DOUGLAS: Thank you.
CAROLYN: Now that that’s sorted, Arthur should be about finished hoovering G-ERTI by now. Douglas, go make sure he didn’t knock any crucial parts off.
DOUGLAS: I really don’t—
DOUGLAS: As you command.
F/X: PORTACABIN DOOR OPENING AND CLOSING
HERC: Arthur can’t be finished, he only started a few minutes ago.
CAROLYN: Well, then Douglas will just have to wait while he finishes.
HERC: And perhaps engage in conversation to pass the time?
HERC: With the quite possibly most cheerful person on the planet. Who just so happens to think the absolute world of him, and isn’t the least bit shy about showing it.
CAROLYN: I have no idea what you’re talking about.
HERC: Naturally. But, darling? Your delegation skills are rousing to behold.
CAROLYN: How kind of you to say. One milk, no sugar, please.
[In Carolyn and Herc’s bedroom.]
HERC: So you and Douglas—
HERC: You don’t know what I was going to ask.
CAROLYN: And yet I know what the answer is. Imagine that.
HERC: Still, as your husband, I feel I might at least finish the question. You and Douglas…
CAROLYN: Never happened.
CAROLYN: Absolutely not.
HERC: Not even—
HERC: Well then.
HERC: (BEAT) Douglas and I, on the other hand…
CAROLYN: You’re joking.
HERC: Yes. But only just.
CAROLYN: What, exactly, are you saying?
HERC: We never actually did anything. Or said anything. It was the Eighties, you know, and we were very young and very frightened. And I was married, at least for a while.
CAROLYN: But… you wanted to.
CAROLYN: Both of you.
CAROLYN: And now?
HERC: Now it’s thirty-odd years later and I’m talking to my dearly beloved wife in the bedroom of our home at the beginning of our life together.
CAROLYN: About our newly-crowned captain.
CAROLYN: That wasn’t really an answer.
HERC: That wasn’t really a question.
CAROLYN: Hercules Shipwright, are you… attracted to your captain?
HERC: Yes. Aren’t you?
CAROLYN: (BEAT) That’s beside the point.
HERC: Is it?
[On the flight deck.]
F/X: ENGINE HUM (CONTINUOUS)
HERC: Post-take-off checks complete. And my turn to pick a game, I think.
DOUGLAS: Oh good.
HERC: That certain of your defeat already?
DOUGLAS: If only. At least with defeat there would come an end. You do understand, don’t you, that the games are supposed to make the flight less boring?
HERC: And so they do. I always find myself immensely entertained.
DOUGLAS: Sadistically. I do know you’ve been calling Martin for ideas.
HERC: Surely you’re not suggesting I get my entertainment at your expense? What a hurtful thing to say. I happen to like Martin’s suggestions.
DOUGLAS: Guess the Age of the CAA Regulation.
HERC: And didn’t we have a great time guessing?
DOUGLAS: We certainly spent a great deal of time guessing.
HERC: Why, Douglas, are you saying you didn’t enjoy yourself?
DOUGLAS: I didn’t, and you know I didn’t, because that was, for so very many interminable hours, the precise source of your amusement.
HERC: You know, when you put it that way…
DOUGLAS: It becomes hard to deny? Go on, then, what cruel misuse of the word game do you have in store for me today?
HERC: Oh, something a lot more fun.
DOUGLAS: For you.
HERC: For both of us.
DOUGLAS: Somehow that does not strike me as probable.
HERC: How very cynical you are. I happen to think you and I could have a lot of fun together.
DOUGLAS: Really. And what sort of fun might that be?
HERC: The best possible kind.
DOUGLAS: I suspect you and I might have different ideas of what that is.
HERC: You might be surprised. Given a chance, I think I could get you to appreciate my point of view. Among other things.
DOUGLAS: What a lovely offer, but as it happens, I make a habit of not placing myself blindly in other people’s hands.
HERC: Oh, but I know how to use my hands very well, and to everyone’s advantage.
DOUGLAS: Why, Hercules, anyone would think you were propositioning me.
HERC: That would be because I am.
DOUGLAS: (BEAT) And what would your wife have to say about that, do you think?
HERC: Probably that I’m doing it rather badly and not nearly as smooth as I think I am.
DOUGLAS: That’s the part you think she’d object to. The ineptitude with which you are making a pass at your co-worker. Your male co-worker.
HERC: I wouldn’t call it ineptitude. You did, after all, grasp the essentials. Inelegance, I might admit to. But if anything, surely a tongue-tied suitor is the highest compliment? Your charms wreak havoc on my ordinarily unfailing eloquence.
DOUGLAS: Right. What is it, then?
HERC: What is what?
DOUGLAS: Whatever you’re this desperate to distract me from.
HERC: I’m not trying to distract you from anything. I am actually trying to draw your attention to something, namely the fact that I would quite like to go to bed with you. As would my wife.
F/X: RADIO STATIC
ATC: Golf Tango India, contact Bilbao at frequency one two seven decimal six.
DOUGLAS: Golf Tango India, roger Bilbao at one two seven decimal six.
F/X: RADIO STATIC
DOUGLAS: Bilbao, Golf Echo Romeo Tango India, level one five thousand.
BILBAO: Golf Tango India, roger.
F/X: RADIO STATIC
DOUGLAS: Your wife would…
DOUGLAS: Would like to sleep with me, or would like me to sleep with you?
HERC: Both. At the same time, if possible.
DOUGLAS: If that’s your idea of a joke—
HERC: It isn’t.
DOUGLAS: I see. Has your marriage gone this stale this quickly?
HERC: My marriage is not—
DOUGLAS: Yes, I’m sure. The thing is, whatever your previous four marriages may have led you to believe, the charm doesn’t actually lie in variety. And the fact that you’ve decided that you’re bored doesn’t even come close to giving you the right to look elsewhere for fun, whether or not you’ve managed to talk your wife into accepting it. And whatever you think of me, which clearly isn’t very much, I am not and will never be your plaything!
HERC: I apologize.
HERC: Though not the way you’re thinking. I apologize for giving you the wrong impression. And if it’s any consolation, Carolyn will have my head for this. We are absolutely not looking to use you as a trifle to add spice to our bedroom. Though I’m sure you would. Our intentions are far more old-fashioned.
DOUGLAS: Ah yes, the good old-fashioned ménage-à-trois. Such a valued tradition, such a cherished tenet of English culture.
HERC: So we’re not sticking strictly to the once-accepted number of players. Call it a modern interpretation of a timeless classic.
DOUGLAS: Because those aren’t at all guaranteed recipes for absolute disaster.
HERC: Quite the contrary. Peter Sellars’ production of Tristan und Isolde is sublime.
DOUGLAS: You’re no Peter Sellars.
HERC: And you’re no Wagner opera.
DOUGLAS: Good to get that settled.
HERC: Always. But what about Mozart?
DOUGLAS: You’re not him, either.
HERC: But do you like him? Or rather, his operas?
DOUGLAS: Of course I do.
HERC: Excellent. Douglas, would you like to come see Don Giovanni at the Bristol Hippodrome with Carolyn and me next Sunday?
DOUGLAS: As what, exactly?
HERC: Well, if you would do us the honour, our date.
DOUGLAS: Your date?
DOUGLAS: Surely you realize of how colossally ridiculous that sounds?
HERC: Is that a no?
DOUGLAS: (PAUSE) No.
HERC: So, yes?
DOUGLAS: (BEAT) Yes.
[In the kitchen.]
CAROLYN: Arthur, I need to talk to you.
ARTHUR: Should I make some tea? I can go make some tea!
CAROLYN: Tea? Why tea?
ARTHUR: Well, you said you needed to talk to me. And usually when you need to talk to me, it’s either because of something to do with the passengers, and me serving the passengers, or because you’re worried about something. Not that you don’t worry about the passengers! But when you’re worried about something, you’re usually also worried about me, and that’s worse than worrying about passengers, isn’t it? And tea makes everyone feel better when they’re worried. Or even when they’re not worried! Just in general, really. And so I thought— Would you like some tea?
CAROLYN: (PAUSE) Yes, I think I would. Thank you, Arthur.
F/X: TEAWARE CLINKING
ARTHUR: Here you go, one milk, no sugar.
CAROLYN: Thank you.
ARTHUR: You’re welcome!
CAROLYN: Look, what I want to talk to you about is— Well—
ARTHUR: Is it Douglas?
CAROLYN: How—Yes, in a way. Yes.
ARTHUR: Oh, good.
CAROLYN: Arthur, now would be a good time to let me in on what you’re thinking.
ARTHUR: Well, he hasn’t been very happy recently, has he? I mean, happy enough, because OJS is doing well and he’s the captain now and everything. But not really happy, not like the way he should be. Not the way everyone else got to be, you know, Martin with Theresa and you with Herc and me with all of you! Douglas is kind of like Miguel.
ARTHUR: Miguel, from The Road to El Dorado. He and Tulio pretend to be gods and there’s an evil priest who tries to stop them by turning into a magic jaguar but the Chief is good and he’s on their side even though he knows they’re not really gods and they have a really smart horse and an armadillo that pretends to be a ball—
CAROLYN: Arthur, Arthur, light of my life—
ARTHUR: Shut up?
CAROLYN: No, no. But if you could perhaps keep the number of active characters in this analogy to the bare minimum…
ARTHUR: Okay. Tulio, Miguel, and Chel get a lot of gold. But then Tulio and Chel fall in love and they decide to go back to Spain without Miguel.
CAROLYN: Ah. And that’s what you think Herc and I did?
ARTHUR: Yes. Sort of. Except for the Spain part. But that’s maybe a bit metaphysical.
CAROLYN: I see. But what if… What if the story didn’t end there?
ARTHUR: It doesn’t! That’s the great thing about it. Because then Cortés shows up with his army and—
CAROLYN: Hernán Cortés? The sixteenth century SpanishConquistador?
ARTHUR: (BEAT) He is Spanish. And he has an army! A really scary one.
CAROLYN: And he kills one of them so the other two can be happy together forever?
ARTHUR: What? No! Mum, that’s horrible!
CAROLYN: Sorry, sorry. So what is it Cortés and his scary army do, then?
ARTHUR: Nothing! Well, they try to get to El Dorado, but Tulio, Miguel, and Chel trick them! There’s a boat and a secret sort of underground river and some really huge pillars, but what’s important is that Miguel jumps on the boat at the very last second. And then they smash the pillars and block the entrance to the river so Cortés can’t find El Dorado, and he leaves! With his army.
CAROLYN: Well, that’s certainly more optimistic.
ARTHUR: And happier!
CAROLYN: But it’s not—Look, Arthur, I do really need to talk to you.
ARTHUR: About Douglas.
CAROLYN: Yes. I—Arthur, you know how Herc and I are married?
ARTHUR: Yeah. I was there!
CAROLYN: So you were. But what I mean is—You know how Herc and I live together, here, and how we do a lot of things – most things, even – together?
ARTHUR: Yes. Because you love each other.
CAROLYN: I wish you wouldn’t put it like that. But yes. And we’re going to keep doing all that. But… it’s not going to be just Herc and I anymore. Douglas is going to join us. For… for everything.
ARTHUR: Because you love him, too.
CAROLYN: I really wish you wouldn’t put it like that. But… yes.
CAROLYN: Arthur, do you understand? We’re going to be like a couple, like a married couple. Except with three of us.
ARTHUR: Yes. Because you love each other.
CAROLYN: As it happens. And you’re—you’re fine with that.
ARTHUR: Yes, of course! It’s brilliant!
CAROLYN: (BEAT) Arthur, did you, by any chance, know about this already?
ARTHUR: A little bit?
CAROLYN: How do you mean?
ARTHUR: Well, you’re already doing a lot of things with Douglas. And not just OJS things, other things, too. Like going to the opera. And anyway, it’s what’s supposed to happen! Just like with Tulio, Miguel, and Chel.
CAROLYN: Arthur, if this in any way involves defeating a Spanish army—
ARTHUR: Not that part. The part where it looked like Tulio and Chel were going to go to Spain together, and Miguel would be alone. But then in the end all three of them get to ride off on their horse together!
CAROLYN: To Spain.
ARTHUR: Yeah! Well, maybe. Or maybe America. I think that’s closer. And they don’t have a boat anymore. But anyway, they’re going to have more adventures! Together!
CAROLYN: That’s… surprisingly fitting. I think.
ARTHUR: Yeah, and you know what else? Their horse has hidden gold!
[On the phone.]
DOUGLAS: So, tell me, how are the Swiss treating you these days? Better than the disappointed yacht-shoppers and drunken multi-millionaires of old, one hopes?
MARTIN: I don’t want to sleep with you!
DOUGLAS: Always good to get that cleared up.
MARTIN: I’m sorry, I didn’t mean—Well, I mean, I did mean that, but I didn’t mean it like—I mean, to imply—
DOUGLAS: I take it you’ve spoken to Arthur.
MARTIN: Yes, he—he told me. About you and Carolyn and Herc, I mean. And I’m happy for you! I mean, I’m happy that you’re happy! If you’re happy. I’m sorry, of course you’re happy—Well, not of course, but I would imagine—not that I’m imagining anything! I just—Are you happy?
DOUGLAS: Yes, I am.
MARTIN: That’s good. That’s good, and… I’m happy for you.
DOUGLAS: But not entirely comfortable with the situation.
MARTIN: I’m not judging you! Oh God, that sounded really judgmental. But I really don’t have a problem with it! With you! With anyone! I just… need a bit of time to get used to it. I mean, it’s just… very different. It used to be just you and me and Carolyn and Arthur and we were just… us. And now you and Carolyn and Herc are… what you are, and Arthur’s family already, and I’m here in Switzerland. It’s all just… very different. Is all.
DOUGLAS: (BEAT) Martin, are you feeling left out?
MARTIN: No! I don’t want—Not that you would—
DOUGLAS: Yes, I believe you made that point already.
MARTIN: B—But maybe I am, a little bit. I mean, it’s like Arthur said, you’re all riding off and having adventures together and I’m— (PAUSE) I don’t know what I am.
DOUGLAS: Don’t make me say that again.
MARTIN: I—No. I won’t. But you mean it?
MARTIN: That’s—Thank you.
DOUGLAS: Thank you.
MARTIN: What fo—Oh. Er. Well. It’s all good then. Right?
DOUGLAS: Riding off together?
MARTIN: On a horse! With gold. To Spain. Well, maybe, or maybe to America. It’s—It made sense when Arthur explained it.
DOUGLAS: Ah. A lot of things do, don’t they?