the works of Robert Calvert / annex

Street Theatre Police Brutality Read All Abaht It!

a short prose-text by Robert Calvert
[published in FRENDZ - ca. 1971/72]

Scene I: Tavistock Crescent, the corner of All Saint's Road.
Time: 8:55. Monday 15th May 1972.
Weather: Calm and mild (for this time of year, as they say).

Contestants: The Author. A gang of uniformed and plain clothed thugs. A bunch of spades. A Czechoslovakian mistress.

In a room overlooking the above mentioned street the Author, a tall, lean, red (long) haired type, is hunting for his favourite pencil among a pile of chaotically disordered things. A kettle is screaming, on the boil, off stage. He goes to the kitchen and deactivates the kettle. Burning his fingers and cursing aloud in the process.

Czech Mistress: Shut up, you cunt. And pick up that fucking whistle, the floor's filthy. Do you want to poison me?

Author: Yes, you bitch. In fact the Russian Government are going to give me twenty-five quid to do you in. I think that's very reasonable. I only asked for fifteen.

Czech Mistress: Just fucking watch it you miserable bastard. Or you'll get this fist up your face.

Author: O that's really charming. Where did you learn your English. In the national assistance waiting room?

Czech Mistress: Do you want this?

(She raises her fist. A menacing posture.)

Author: Don't make me laugh, that's the only time it hurts.

(The mad mistress advances, her fist twirling. face contorted. A Guy Fawkes mask might be useful here.)

Author: Come on baby. Smash me. Go on. I love it.

(Just then, from outside the window, below in the street, the sound of street gang-warfare. The Author goes to the window and looks down on the scene. He sees a gang of Police attempting to arrest one spade for possession of a walking stick. Two plain clothes thugs hold their (whom they always get) man. One each side holding his arms. The Author pulls hard on joint. He sees one of them put in the fast-shouldersmash to the face. The Author makes a dash for the street door. Three flights down. The sound of joint being flushed on the way out.)

Scene II: The Street

Author: Can't you keep this bloody noise down. I'm trying to work upstairs.

Police: Piss off.

Author: Now look here.

Police: Back down your hole you.

Author: If I had my way you lot would be out of uniform and in concentration camps. Where you could learn to concentrate.

Police: If we had our way, you'd be on the rack, pleading for mercy.

Author: Well, you're in a better position to appease your sadistic fantasies than I am.

Spade: They invent the walking stick, man. You... The white man. You invent the stick and now you bust us for carrying it. It don’t make sense.

Author: Listen to him, he's right.

Police: O fuck off you.

Chorus of Spades: You invent the stick and now you bust us for carrying it. It don't make sense.

Police: You're a troublemaker, mate.

Author: Who. Me?
(The Police take the offending spade down town in their van. The rest of his mates wish him luck as they haul him away.)

Scene III: The room.

Author: I'm going to dial Scotland Yard about this.

Czech Mistress: O no you're not.
(She sits with her head in her hands. Terrified of the knock on the door.)

Author: O yes I think I am.

Czech Mistress: Give me the telephone.
(They struggle.)

Author: Hello. Complaints department please. O hello. Is that the complaints department? Good. Well I have a complaint to make. I've just seen a gang of your thugs, I mean Police officers, attack a citizen in the street. Notting Hill Gate. About nine O'clock. The address is 78 Tavistock Crescent. That's near the Grove. Ladbroke Grove. About nine, OK then. (Turns to mistress.) They're going to send someone round tonight.

They wait in silence. No one comes. later a knock at the door. The Author goes to answer it wearily. It is a bunch of spades ready for high life party scene, there is another knock. It is the landlady.

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