On Being Flattened

01 May

RTE, 2013


a radio play by Philip Davison


A busy city street. Car and lorry horns sound – sustained blasts, left to right, right to left. Passing shouts – somebody is in the way.

A gentle shushing that, nonetheless, is heard above the harsh sounds of the traffic.

MARIANNE(calling): Dad – get in off the road.

JAS: Can’t.

MARIANNE: Come on the pavement.

JAS: Shhhh.

More car horns. Marianne and her father now in close
perspective –

MARIANNE: What are you at?

JAS: Crossing the road.

MARIANNE: No you’re not. You’re just standing there,
staring up at the sky. Are you trying to get
yourself killed?

JAS: Shh. I have the chips.


JAS: With salt and vinegar.

MARIANNE: Oh well then. That’s everything sorted,
isn’t it?

He sits down with a weary sigh.

What do you think you’re doing?

JAS: I’ve been drinking.

MARIANNE: I know you’ve been drinking. Get up off
that curb.

JAS: Are we nearly home? We are, aren’t we?

MARIANNE: I’ve been looking for you everywhere.

JAS: You can rest now.

Change perspective – Jas moves along the pavement –
sonic waves of unintelligible conversations passing right to left, left to right.

Background traffic becomes foreground sound.

JAS(in the head): Shhhh.

Traffic sounds waver and recede. Jas’ footfalls become more distinct, then, he stops. Distant perspective –

MARIANNE: Are you all right, Dad?

JAS: Too much noise.

MARIANNE: Too much noise in you head?

JAS: Around my head. In my head. Too much.

MARIANNE: It’ll pass.

JAS: I look up. It goes away. Then – bang.

MARIANNE: Bang. Yes. You’ve told me. But what are you saying?

JAS: I see you brought that bloody tape recorder.

* * *


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