Playella | Shelter by Anna Forsyth

A bus shelter. The light is low.

EDDIE (75, a far-away smile) sits on the bench in the shelter. He clutches a plastic bag to his chest. JACOB (17, dressed in school uniform, surly) arrives, scuffing his shoes on the pavement and leans against the bus shelter.

EDDIE: Hello, Jacob.

JACOB: You what?

EDDIE: Hello, Jacob, how are you lad?

JACOB: How did you know my name?

EDDIE: Oh I know all about you son. What you’ve been up to. What you did to that poor girl.

JACOB: You don’t know what you’re on about.

EDDIE gives him a look; ‘Don’t I?’

Nah, she’s a slag, that Kelly. She gives it to everyone and all of a sudden she looks at me like she’s the bloody Virgin sodding Mary. Nah, she deserved a slap. And more.

EDDIE: Jacob, Jacob…

JACOB: No, look, I don’t know who you are but you know nothing. You don’t get to sit there and judge me. It’s not me who… It weren’t even me that…

EDDIE: Jacob, if your mother knew…

JACOB: You’re not going to tell her. You hear me, old man?

JACOB marches to EDDIE and grabs his collar, moving very close to his face. EDDIE grabs his bag tighter.

You tell her and you are fucking dead, yeah?

JACOB snatches EDDIE’s bag from him and empties its contents (pieces of clothing) onto the floor. JACOB hovers, unsure, before fleeing.

Close to tears, EDDIE slowly gets to the floor and picks up his clothes and puts them in the bag, the effort takes quite a lot out of him.

As he is still knelt on the floor, CARRIE (27, suited) enters, chatting on her phone. She sees EDDIE and stops in her tracks.

CARRIE: (Into her phone) I’ll call you back babe.

CARRIE hangs up and goes to help EDDIE up.

Are you okay?

EDDIE beams at CARRIE as, with her help, he slowly gets to his feet. CARRIE hands him his bag and smiles sympathetically.

EDDIE: Hello, Jacob.

CARRIE freezes, unsure.

Hello, Jacob, how are you lad?

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