Theatre Space

Chat # 4

Sunniside

Beth and Chloe

Chloe hasn’t spoken to her best friend for weeks, and is excited to bump into her in town. Beth, however, has other priorities.

SCENE 4: CITY CENTRE (EXT. DAY) 

Chloe (female, late teens) and Beth (female, late teens) both sit on benches in town. From where she’s sitting, Chloe can see Beth, but Beth doesn’t know this (yet). Beth gets a notification on her phone. She picks it up, excited, but it’s a voice message from Chloe, which she plays on her speaker. Chloe watches this from where she’s sitting. 

CHLOE: (as a voice message) Hey, Beth. How you doing? I’m just in town and wondered if you fancied a catch-up? Maybe hang out in the park or something? I just needed to get out of the house, you know? Everything’s so, like… (a bit too loud) WAAAARGH all the time? Anyway, if you’re around, let us know. I’ll probably be in town for a while, so, yeah… hopefully seeya soon? 

Beth glances around, but can’t see Chloe. As she thinks about responding, she gets another notification, this time a text. 

BETH: (reading aloud as she types) Soz. Busy studying today. Greek mythology. Enjoy the park. Chloe reads this text (silently) as soon as she receives it. 

She thinks about walking away, but rings Beth instead. Reluctantly, Beth picks up. 

BETH: Hello? 

CHLOE: (forcing enthusiasm) Hey! What story are you studying? I might be able to help? Like, all those Percy Jackson books have got to be good for something, right? 

BETH: (coolly) Oh, hey, Chloe. It’s the one with the horse? With all the guys in it? 

CHLOE: The Trojan Horse! So, are you mainly looking at Achilles or Ulysses? 

BETH: (unsure) The first one? 

CHLOE: Achilles? So full of himself. His mam dipped him in magic invincibility potion when he was a baby, but she held him by his ankle, so that’s why we call it the Achilles tendon today, ‘cause that was his weak spot. But he was a huge drama queen. Kept refusing to fight until Hector killed his cousin or something– 

BETH: Right. What’s that got to do with the horse, though? 

CHLOE: Well, the horse came after? That was Ulysses’ idea, ‘cause Troy, where they were fighting, had really strong walls, and the Greeks had travelled on ships and didn’t have loads of supplies for a siege, so they hid all these guys in the horse, and the ships pretended to go home 

BETH: Okay, okay. That’s great. Listen, I’m kind of busy, so…? 

CHLOE: Um, are you outside right now? It sounds like you’re outside? 

BETH: (defensive) I’m in the garden. So, yeah, thanks for the chat, but I’ll seeya in a bit? Like, not today, though. 

CHLOE: Right. It’s just, it sounds like you’re in town?

BETH: (patronising, but looking around) Well, I’m not. I’m in my garden.

CHLOE: So that’s not you, then? Outside [wherever…]?

BETH: (standing up and looking for Chloe) What the hell?!? Are you stalking us now? 

CHLOE: No. I just came into town to get some space, like I said. But then I saw you, and it’s been so long since we last talked I didn’t feel like I could just approach you, and now you’re lying to me and I don’t know– (why). Beth spots 

Chloe and faces her for the rest of this exchange. 

BETH: (hushed angry) You don’t know why? How about because you never leave me alone? I can’t even come into town without you ‘appearing’. And voice messaging. And texting.

CHLOE: You’re my best friend! Am I not allowed to message my best friend?

BETH: Not all the time, no! And not when it’s just waaagh, waaagh, waaagh… isn’t my life so bad, isn’t everything so– CHLOE: I’m sorry! I just… I never see anyone from school. Mam and dad are fighting all the time, and I’m just left with Aaron, and– 

BETH: There we go again! It’s all you, you, you and your massive problems. You wanna know why you haven’t seen anyone? Because everyone thinks you’re weird. You’re weird and you’re a downer.

 CHLOE: That’s not fair. You don’t mean that. 

BETH: I’ll send you the WhatsApp messages, if you like. 

CHLOE: Can we not do this? Can we just talk, like we used to? Chloe starts to walk towards Beth. 

BETH: Don’t you dare! I didn’t want to have to say this, Chloe, but I don’t want to hear from you again. No more texts. No more voice messages. No more phone calls in the middle of the night. We’re done, all right? 11 Chloe stops in her tracks, unsure what to do now. 

CHLOE: No! Beth, no. Don’t say that! I’ll give you some space, okay? Whatever you want! Just don’t– 

BETH: I don’t wanna hear it. I’ve outgrown you, that’s all. I’m gonna hang up the phone now. And I swear down, if you come over here, I’ll fight you. I don’t even care. 

Beth hangs up, glaring at Chloe. Chloe looks at her, bereft, then runs off in the opposite direction. 

Satisfied with her self, Beth sits down. She gets another notification on her phone. 

BETH: God, take a hint, Chloe– Looking at her phone, Beth sees the notification isn’t from Chloe, but from her boyfriend, Sam. She plays the message on loud speaker, as before. 

SAM: Hey, Beth. Listen, erm, something’s come up and… um… I’m not gonna be able to make it into town today? And, like… actually, I think I want to just leave things there. Like, between us? Thought it was better you hear from me. Like, you hear my voice, I mean. There’s nowt dodgy going on! Just… I think we’ve gone as far as we’re going? Anyway. Yeah, inna bit. 

Beth’s almost drops her phone. She stands and starts to chase after Chloe. But then turns around and walks the other way