(Near the belltower. JACK calls and COPS enter.)

JACK:  Hey boys! What do you think
     of the new belltower?
     A bit of a prick
     with a bunch of bells —
     must have been exposed
     to radiation at a young age.

COP 1:  You know us Jack,
     we won't take this crap.
     Shut it while your luck's in.

JACK:  Now, now, I'm your friend.
     You like my girls, they
     keep their mouths shut
     and make you spend spend spend!

COP 2:  This guy's getting to me.
     He's full of it.

JACK:  Just shootin' off my mouth...

(They rough him up.)
     Fuck off! Keep the hands to yourself.
     I'm telling you, I've got friends.
     And some of your park-dwelling habits
     would be of great interest to them!

     COP 1:  Your friends in the press
     have had a sock put in it:
     one of ours
     is holding the reins now.
     And he's going to hang you high,
     Jack boy. A tongue-lashing
     with bite!
     Jack and the belltower.
     We should send him up there.

JACK:  And what? Chop it to the ground
     before I get down?

COP 2:  This sounds like blasphemy.
     The tower is a beacon for posterity.

JACK:  I sold a stereo
     and a car radio
     to a labourer
     who drank beer
     by the river
     after a hard day's work
     on the holy tower.
     He said that after a few
     it was true,
     as rumour has it,
     that no one could understand
     what the others were saying.

(JACK exits)
COP 2:  A holy place. Holy places
     do that to you.
(Sound of a phone ringing. Or, COPS 'vibrate' before taking mobile phones from pockets. The two COPS speak in turns, as if automated.)
COP 1:  And which street was it on?

COP 2:  And you were walking home from work.

COP 1:  Well yes Ma'am, I'm sorry to have to say this,

COP 2:  and I don't mean it as an insult,

COP 1:  but it's likely he took you for... (pause)

COP 2:  Just because you were in the area.

COPS (together, as if chanting):  If you ring our hotline, we can have someone out there
     within five minutes to remove him.

(COPS exit.)

Smith Street | Mudlark No. 19
Contents | Act 2, Scene Four