A One Act Monologue

The 12:22 Brighton from London/Victoria

By G. L. Horton
copyright © 1999 Geralyn Horton

PAMELA-- English, very attractive but probably in her late thirties, speaks with a semi-posh accent liberally salted with working class idioms. She is stylishly dressed in London party clothes and cheerfully tipsy as she stumbles her way onto the Brighton-bound train accompanied (invisibly) by a casually dressed Younger Man--(George)

PAMELA: (grabbing a hand-hold to keep from falling)
Whoop! We made it! (laughs, flirting)
Now, I'm going to stand perfectly still here, love, till the world stops spinning. I'm going to shut my eyes and count to three, and when I open them: One. Two. Whoop!
Two and a half. Easy does it....four! (laughs)
No, lovey, I don't dare move just yet,-- but if I anchor myself here I'll be--

Whoop! (falls against Male Passenger #1's shoulder) (to #1) Sorry, love. Whoo--. The spinning's stopped, but now it's begun to effing lurch! (#1 points out that the train has set out from the station) (to #1, ) Oh, yes. The train's moving. Brilliant. (to Younger Man) The train has to move, has to effing lurch, back and forth, back and-! Else we won't ever get from London to our snug little flatty-poos, will we, love? Mine at Burgess Hill, or yours at-- Whoooo-- (nearly falls) Why don't you go find us a seat? Hmm? I'll be fine, love. Once you've found me a place to plop. Go on. Go. (waves Young Man away)

(answering Passenger #1's invitation to share his seat)
Kind of you to offer, sir, but once I've made my way up the aisle to sit with my handsome young friend there, I'll be all righty-tighty. Or as righty as a tighty CAN be. (laughs)
Aha! My clever young friend has found us seats. (staggers onward) Superlative seats-- considering that the ones near at hand are all taken up by blokes like you lot-- (commenting to Group of Male Passengers #2 as she makes. her way past) Every bloody one of you potted as I am, by the look of you.
(pause as PAMELA progresses, then a sudden lurch and--)

Whoop! (she is thrown onto Passenger # 3's lap.)
Sorry about this. Why is this train so crowded? S'not, usually. One can stagger on and plop right down in a seat by the door, usually. All you--!
(to passenger #3) You don't look familiar. What's your des-destin-..?

(answering the Young Man's call to join him)
Yes, love. Coming. (struggles to regain her feet) Be right with you!
(to Passenger #3, who invites PAMELA to stay on his lap)
Very hosp-pitable. A regular bleeding soul mate, you are. But p'rhaps you place too much 'portance on pro-pinquity? Properly, a girl should plop with the gent she came in with, don'tcha think? Ta, then!
(PAMELA walks with great care towards the Young Man's seat)
Never let it be said that Pamela Squires is too tiddly to toddle to her proper plop, beside the gentleman to whom I was ploperly 'troduced. (giggle, exaggerated whisper)
--If only I could remember his name! I'm a blank. Help. With your name, lovvey. George! Yes, of course, George. How could I forget, a royal George? A Georgie Porgy Pudding and Pie. King of all plops. How clever of you, Georgie, to commandeer all these seats!
Good job I made it to-- which? P'rhaps spread my assets over two or three? I'm game if you are, Georgie..
(singing) "Onward tipsy som-um-um-th-ings" All to you, Georgie. Plopped down, before I fall down!
Not there! (points to opposite seat)
Sit where you can look at me. That is, if I don't look too frazzled. I almost said, if I don't look as bad as I feel. But I feel wonderful, brilliant, absolutely top of the world. Just that my head is spinning and my tum is threatening to misbehave--- Must be all the mixing. Haven't mixed like that since I was a girl, sneaking little nips from the grown-ups. (laughs)
Oh, you must have done, Georgie. I started quite sensibly with a classic gin and tonic. But then some bloke insisted I try his nasty home-brew. Abominable stuff, did he force you to try it?
Brilliant! You're a better man than I am, Gunga Dinn. I had to wash it away with a tequila sunrise. After that I had a whole rainbow of things, all made with vodka- I love vodka, don't you? Vodka's brill!--The working girl's friend. Sometimes when our jolly crew staggers back from lunch-- totally pissed, but smelling innocent as the flowers of May-- I wonder if the office doesn't run on vodka. Might as well dash it directly into the coolers. Cheers! What was that, love?
No, go on, out with it! Even the lowliest of Nigel's employees is allowed his opinion. Fucking express it, even.
You're not? Not with Nigel? But I thought Avril said--- Are you in photography, then?
Then what DO you do? You WERE at Nigel's party, Georgie? I WAS introduced to you? This whole flirtation is not the product of delirium tremens, or premature senility, or--?
Righto. With Avril.
For you lot, p'rhaps. As these things go, I'd give it one and a half stars. Not up there with Nigel's legendary Boxing Day bash, but not a total ballsup, either.
Don't mind me. I've made so many command appearances at these things it's hard for me to believe that anyone goes voluntarily.
For the clients, love. To be nice to the clients. Ply them with Nigel's booze and overwhelm them with my charm.
You're goddam right I am, darling.
Paid plenty for it, too, I am.
But I ought to be sluffing most of that at Clapham Junction, And be almost human by Preston Park.
No, it's a good job, really. Nigel's a good sort. Proper considerate.
Like the company cars. We all have keys to the company Jags, use one any weekend we--
Fucking Christ!
Now, where did I leave it? In the bloody car park?
What did I tell Nigel? Did I tell him at all?
(rummages through her purse, finds ticket, reads ticket)
Hampstead garage, right.
Remind me, Georgie. When I get off I must ring up and leave this on Nigel's machine.
No, no. I had no intention of driving. Not after that 3rd vodka thing
The one we shared, with guava juice? Inspired you to reveal that your flattie-poo is in Preston Park,
Which being the very next station after mine at Burgess Hill,
Makes it oh so convenient for us to catch the 12:22 together!
Odd that I've never noticed you.
Did you?
P'rhaps I was working.
But then, I don't take this train often as I used to do.
Right after the divorce, my ex would take Amanda every week end. Great way to move up in the firm, being free on weekends. Go to all the do's, party with all the clients, make myself indish-pensable. Sleep in, skip breakfast, no patter of little slippers. I rose like a rocket. Back then.
Nowadays the dewy-eyed bitches from the redbricks are nipping at my heels. At my still round but not so fancy free heels.
Thanks-- I like what I can see of yours, too.
--which in those trousers, is just about everything.
My legs are not bad, it's true. But only my bum has ever been spectacular. Legs are last to go, y'know. Marlene Dietrich had great legs in her bloody coffin.
My twit of an ex used to say that if Amanda turned out to have her mother's bum and her father's brains she could run the BBC.
Good job Amanda did get my ex's brains, since that's all she's getting. The bloody twit.
Well, what would you know about it? You ever have kids?
Didn't think so.
Lovvey, nobody's old enough. But you can have one at fifteen anyway-- which no I did NOT do, thank you for the flattery.
It's all right. A sweet thing to say, really. You get points for sweetness, lovvey.
That's besides your points for being so utterly yum.
(leans into him, yielding, then pulls away from the embrace.)
However, a kid puts a crimp in your sex life, Georgie--
Unless you've got a nanny. Or a Mum.
My mum's in Burgess Hill right now, sleeping next to Amanda.
One eye open to see what the cat drags in. Give us a word or two of welcome, Mum would.
So what will I tell her?
That I'm "being nice" to one of Nigel's prospects? It's my job? Mum thinks my job is mother to Amanda. If I stay out all night she'll have my head.

(nodding vigorously in agreement with Young Man's reply)
It is! it's just like being a child again! Having somebody who-- can you blame me?
I forget!
Used to be I could leave Amanda overnight with Mum and Dad in Brockley. Carry on like a bachelor girl.
Can't do that any more. Can't leave Amanda-- The Brockley flat was burgled. S'not safe.
A fucking bloody burglar! The girl could have been killed.
And why not? The bastard might have done! I mean, if he's bloody going to break into flats that have people asleep in them, who knows what he might do? You can't tell, can you? What people are capable.
I ought to get Mum and Dad out of Brockley, that's what. Scramble up the ladder, win the sweepstakes, snag a duke.
Not fucking bloody likely, now, then, is it? Good legs and a passable bum do not suffice.
Yes, yes, you said that, love. You were properly appreciative. My bum is top of the line, my legs first rate. The question now, however, is-- can they walk? Can my smooth and shapely legs lift me off this seat and carry me out the door and across the platform. To say nothing of down the station stairs and up Burgess Hill.

You would? You think you could? I'm not little Amanda, or some anorexic model, And you aren't exactly the Gibraltar of sobriety.
Are you even certain you can walk yourself?
S'not so easy.
Getting off last week's 12:22 there was a young girl, couldn't have been more than seventeen, weaving along the platform-- so drunk she was walking and passing out at the same time.
She was only saved from falling onto the tracks by a quick witted passenger. If he hadn't been the one closest to her, if it had been you or me or one of this lot--
we would have let her fall.
Maybe fallen in with her.
That'd have been a nasty cock-up, wouldn't it? Train held in the station for God knows how long. Dozens, sleeping it off on a siding instead of in their own little Brighton beds at the end of the line. Very sad, that. Wouldn't it? For the kids and the Mums and the Dads, all waiting up?
Well, whoop!
My legs and I seem to be vertical. Nothing spinning, so far.
So-- good.
Now I proceed up the aisle, as sedately as possible. Wish me good luck.

What? We've passed Hassocks. Didn't you notice? Next is Burgess Hill. My station. After that, your place at Preston Park.
Did I say that? In those words?
Oh. Well, I must have sobered up some, since. I mean, it is quite sweet of you to offer, Georgie. And you really are most deliciously built, even in those awful pants. But I'm not drunk enough, now, not enough to go to bed with a stranger. At least, not with a stranger with whom I have... what? Three points in common? We like sex, we like vodka, we ride on the 12:22? Sorry, love. (waves) Ta! (exits.)



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