Two families, entirely dissimilar in cruelty,
In fair Europe and ‘Great’ Britain, we lay our scene,
From Post-War grudges break to new mutiny,
Where uncivilised blood make gloved hands obscene.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes,
A pair of star-crossed lovers take a life;
Whose ‘misadventured’ piteous overthrows
Do with their death burns not their parents’ strife.
The fearful passage of her death-mark’d revolt,
And their continuance of their family wide-rage,
Which their children’s end could not halt,
Is now the two year traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patients ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend…
“I guess,” he turned to face the central camera opposite his desk, “I have been David Dimblebee, thank you for watching Question Time and goodnight.”
ACT 1: MARRIAGE
Pig awoke to an empty bed. Her husband’s call started the day.
“Sorry babe, I had to take the car to work today.”
Without the car, there were no trips into town. Alone on the farm again, she thought. Still, hearing his voice was something. It was company in a foreign land. He relayed a story of her cousin Miliband and his squabble with Johnson, a common occurrence from her youth. Claude’s words warmed Pig though it had been a week since Pig and Claude Janko had been in the same room. Work had gotten in the way, as usual.
“Sorry babe, but I’ve got to go.”
Pig sighed. Claude teased her imagination with news of home. Pig had not been down the cobbled streets near Anfield Road in years. She had not seen the terrace houses, the broken windows from boys kicking a ball around or the spats between her family and House Etonanian. The blue and white collars were often stained by marks of blood in the squabbles. ‘Play fights’, as Pig’s father would say. Since days of pigtails and hopscotch, she had been called Pig. The Etonian children would tease and taunt, but the name stuck.
“Sorry babe, have I upset you?”
Dreams of grandeur were for people with their heads in the clouds, her father believed. He had reached the ceiling of common folk achievement, ownership. He owned a small business dwarfed by the Etonian’s international firms, but it was his. A commoner with a factory was as rare as a pig flying. Yet, she did. Pig always thought they were the luckiest people around and the day she met Claude was a gift from the Gods. He took her away from a cycle of hate, of resentment. All because her father decided to take trade abroad, love blossomed from a weekend trip away with her family to Europe. She had not left Germany since the couple wed. She believed she was free. Though, the last few months had felt different. Free to fly inside a cage. Claude had spent more time supporting the business efforts abroad, the charities and his work had left few tired hours for his wife.
Pig sat for around twenty minutes, looping the possibilities for the day without tending to her matted brown hair. ‘What to do, what to wear?’ she muttered as she moved towards her dressing table. Her trotters dragged across the wooden floor, yet this was the first sense of direction she had felt all day. Alone, her oval mirror sat eyeballing her. The reflection was stern and distinctly unfriendly, yet it was company. The stand-off softened as the ridiculousness of scowling prompted a smile. What was once a harsh gaze, had become a loose brow. Pig and her companion jested; for amusement Pig contorted her face and snorted on command. A true pig. Once a pink-faced Brit, always a Pink faced Brit. They giggled, but the girl in the mirror seemed happier than Pig. The giggling eventually subsided. Pig looked away and her friend was gone. She stared at her pink bare flesh in the mirror until her sentience was barely recognisable. All that was clear was the patter of rain on the open window chilled the room. Pig stood and shut the window. Though the window was shut, it did not stop the grey skies from darkening and the clouds thickening. Rain fell without pause. Pig sunk back under her duvet. Night drew before noon in the Janko household.
ACT ONE : THE NIGHT REFERENDUM
Awoken for the second time of the day, on this occasion by the jeep raring towards the farm. She did not leave her bed this time though she sat up. Pig’s headboard pressed tightly against red-brick making the walls of their bedroom. The room was sweet, quaint even. Claude tried to widen his horizons in the house. He often tried to cement his position as someone with culture, decorating his house with with trophies of wealth from across the globe. Of a particular focus was the bookshelf adjacent to the couple’s bed. In his many years dealing with financial and legal regulations across the globe, he had amassed a wide range of literature from Haruki Murakami to William Shakespeare. Much of which, Claude was yet to read. Often, he would place a book on the oak night stand though there was a mutual understanding that the texts would be unread. Pig rarely questioned her partner in matters of intellect, for she believed that improper for a lady with so much luck to question the hand she was dealt. Though, they would rarely talk from a pillow’s distance apart.
Much of the bed remained uncovered, which loudened the aching creaks of the oak frame under any pressure. In the early stages of their marriage, intimacy in the room induced cackling fits and snorts from a young pig. Now, the creaks were quieter. Claude became ‘busy with work’, he claimed as an explanation for his despondence. The years between them had not felt like much of an issue till recently, but Pig was not prepared to be a bored, unsatisfied housewife just yet, she thought. Pig was advised by her friend to take up a private solution. Despite her initial moral, and somewhat ‘prudish’ objection she conceded. Within a week, her purchase had arrived. She rarely left her room for weeks. Claude had not appeared to notice, she remained discrete burying the evidence deep within her sock draw. She had been entertained with toys long enough. Today, Pig admitted she was bored of being bored and deeply unsatisfied.
Hi Yvette, hope you are good. Can we doing something please? I am going out of my mind here. Love from Pig xxx
Pig leant over towards the drawer to check her phone, propped against Claude’s books. Five o’clock. Four texts and four missed calls from Yvette. Pig pondered how a nurse could have time to call in the middle of the day.
R you coming to the school reunion?
Sycomore Grove. Thurs Feb 18th. Starts at 10. Ur mum insists on it.
Bring Claude !
ACT TWO: A WEEK LATER
“Claude, really. You can’t make this one thing for me?”.
“Hunny, it’s work. I am at a conference in France.” A familiar excuse.
“This is my reunion, my chance to show how I’ve grown and what I have to be proud of. You’re going to let me go alone?”
“You are beautiful, caring, grown woman, you don’t need me.”
“Oh, I am a pretty piece of flesh to you, you boring old man?”. Claude noticed the crack in the audio, though chalked it up to a faulty connection.
“There is no point talking to you when you’re like this, babe.”
“Well I am flying back tomorrow, Claude. I will be staying with Yvette, doubt I will see you but you know where I will be.”
“Pig, you look beautiful. You really are one of a kind. Give me a twirl.” Pig huffed, but conceded. Yvette clapped, balancing her champagne flute between her wrists.
“Cab is outside. Shoes on pig!” Yvette urged.
“Alright, alright. Give me a second.”
Opening the door, Yvette tapped her watch. Pig grabbed her heels and trotted out to the car.
The journey from Yvette’s house and the Sycamore Grove was short, the traffic was light at this late hour. Pig’s eyes drifted from each dim bulb lining the route. The lamps lost shape after a few minutes. Yet, her eyes stayed in place with a vacant focus. Together, Yvette and Pig sat in silence till arriving at the bar.“Liven up, Pig. I know he isn’t here but you can still have a good time. It’s a free bar after all.”
The drinks began to appear with regularity as did the hugs, the introductions of husbands and wives from kids she once knew.
“Whiskey please, barman?”
“Another Whiskey please, barman?”
“Barman, hello. Can this Pig have another whiskey, please?”
Just like the playground, the boys would tease. Now, they were slightly more subtle.
“So, where is your husband then pig?”
“Claude, where is Claude?”
“Claude, I love Claude.”
Claude is not here, Pig persistently explained. Explantations exhausted Pig’s optimism. Her faded, pink cheeks hung loosely as if they could no longer hold themselves up.
Pig ears perked, there were two familiar voices on the other side of the bar.
“David, Pig is on her own. Go talk to her.” Nigel’s attempted whisper was far from discrete. ‘He was always loud with very little to say’, Pig had thought. Yet, David left his seat and walked towards her after finishing the remains of his drink.
“Hi, what are you drinking?” a loosely familiar voice pepped Pig’s ears. She turned her head and saw his slicked hair and pressed tie. David, Etonian David.
“Double -Vodka coke. Liquid Gold for you?” she jested.
“How’s your Mrs anyway David? It has been so long.”
“Call me Dave.” He chuckled. “Not here, much like Claude I am guessing.”
“You didn’t go to this school, your one was the big one down the road. Fancy doors, looked like a castle, remember?” Pig’s surprise was obvious.
“I own the pub chain, Little Piggy.”
The colour returned to her cheeks as David smiled. David ordered a drink every time the golden bubbles left the glass. Pig and David laughed away the night making the opposition of their youth feel ridiculous.
“Yvette, we are just going round the corner to buy some fags. We’ll be back in 5”.
“Yeah sure, see you in a bit hun,” Yvette’s response drowned in her rhythmic preoccupation.
Locked in their arms, David and Pig walked together. His double-breasted jacket hung loosely on her shoulders. Yet, her grip tightened as if for warmth. The walk exceeded the length of the corner shop and most certainly the thought of cigarettes had escaped both of their minds.
“Why did we get the shit partners? Feel like God’s playing puppet with me, David.”
“There are no strings on me.” They chuckled. Pig stopped on the corner of the cobbled street.
“David.” Pig stood tall and looked David directly in his eyes. Her lips pressed softly against his for a fleeting moment.
“We better get back anyway, David.”
Where r u?
U r Not with Dave r u
Not that cheating basTard!
ACT TWO: THE SUMMER INTERLUDE
Flights back home occurred more regularly for Pig. She saw more of Liverpool than Claude in the last few summer months. Pig was supposed to be the only one that got out, but she could not resist the chance to return. The city had become home once again and the feud had felt like a distant memory. Johnson and Miliband made sure to keep their distance. Father had softened in his old age, violence was no longer appropriate for a man with grey hair and aching bones, much to mother’s relief. Though, Pig saw little of her parents. Pig was busy. David scarcely left Pig’s side. They ate, they drank and spoke every night in the North. Claude rarely called except at weekends, working across Europe had left very little time for Pig. Busy with work, again.
David’s marriage had collapsed. Rosaline’s suspicious mind could not trust the cold half of her bed, especially in such late hours. The Osbornes offered him a bed in their ‘ivory tower’, Yvette mocked. Pig felt little guilt, Yvette little responsibility. Though, the Etonians were the ‘eternal enemy’, Pig was happy and her closest friend would not deny that.
“I’ll make sure Mummy and Daddy Pig don’t get wind off this, but please try and keep it down when you get back in the morning tonight please. I have work early this morning and I don’t wanna hear you squealing again. I get that enough with the patients”
“Sorry, Yvette. I really appreciate this. I’ve got to go now anyway, he’s outside.”
The blood-red suicide doors sprung high, Pig was in awe. She rarely drove her husband’s muddied truck and most certainly had never been in a car quite as impressive, or expensive. As she took her place in the vehicle, her friend in the mirror smiled, she could not help but smile back. The smile stuck all the way till they reached the restaurant on the hill.
“Dream big,” David enthused, “Japan, Australia, America. We’re dealing with the world! Forget Europe, they take and take. You know that better than anyone.” Pig froze in astonishment. David couldn’t possibly want this with me, she pondered, but the chance of a wider tomorrow thawed her open jaw.
“But what about our families, my husband? I am married for God’s sake.” His smile blinded other couples in the restaurant.
“Where for out thou’, bollocks. I have power. I have respect in the family,” his smile shortened, “and if not, we can do it in secret Juliet.”
The pair shared a giggle, Pig, snorted for the first time in what had felt like years. They continued laughing beyond the point of amusement.
“Pig, you really are one of a kind.”
ACT TWO: THE END OF SUMMER NIGHTS
Night fell on England. The stars burnt bright, lighting the clubbers path on the search for food to end the night. Clubbers buzzed around the glowing signs for fast food like flies on a carcass.
“Miliband, how you doing then? We haven’t seen you in a while. How have you been?” Miliband stopped begrudgingly.
“Yeah, not bad thanks Boris. How’s your cousin taking the divorce?”
“Couldn’t be happier, taken a real shine to Pig.” Miliband froze. George and Johnson chuckled.
“What? Why the fuck are you laughing?”
“He’s been shagging Pig, did you not know?” He clenched his fist as he stepped towards the pair.
“Easy fat boy, we know Claude’s the problem. He never talks to her.” George and Boris chuckled once more. Miliband swung his fist. George’s tooth fell.
“Am I tough enough? Hell yeah I’m tough enough.”
David bolted down the high street after seeing Osbourne wincing.
“What the fuck are you doing, Miliband?” David was incandescent with rage. He swung, much like Miliband. Though, Miliband fell. His head caught the curb and his eyes rolled back in his head.
“David, run. Now!”
ACT THREE: HIDING
“So, what’s happened to that twat, David Cameron, who called it on? Let’s be fair. How comes he can scuttle off? He called all this on. Yeah? Called it on. Where is he? He’s in Europe, in Nice, with his trotters up, yeah? Where is the geezer?” Pig’s father, Dyer, was incandescent with rage. He burned her ear across the phone for hours. She finally hung up.
Claude wrapped his arms tightly around Pig. They sat on the edge of their bed, she pondered what to do with her day. Her mother did not want to hear her voice again. David had fled the country, and his manslaughter charge. Claude’s gruff voice had softened.
“Ignore Dyer, this isn’t your fault you know. Those rumours were just rumours. Even if it was true, I wouldn’t blame you. I have been so busy with work.” ‘Blah blah blah,’ Pig had heard it all before. He was sincere, as always. Pig wondered why she resented a man so nice. A genuine person, who cared about the benefit of the people around him. A man who gave her the chance for a fresh start in a new life. A man who gave her everything but the opportunity to find it for herself.
Her face hung loose. She had a vacant focus on his words. She stood and walked towards the front door, grabbing her keys en route. Claude watched her leave. He saw her start the car and drive far away from the house.
Pig drove until the tank was nearly empty. She stopped. She cried.
A man sporting a large, unruly beard stood outside. His hair was untamed, his eyes bloodshot and the bags of sleeplessness hung below. His eyes though, a familiar sky blue. There was only one man she knew with eyes like that.
“Oh my God. What the fuck are you doing here, David? Get in.” David swung the door open and climbed in. Hurriedly, Pig pressed her hoof to the bottom of the car floor. Dusk drew darkness close.
“What’s your plan, David? For fucksake.”
“Plan? You think I have a plan?”
“For fucksake, fucksake.” Pig slapped her trotters against the steering wheel.
“I am going home now, I’ll drop you off at hostel at the edge of town. They won’t recognise you there. I will meet you there are two tomorrow.”
“Shit, David. You know what this means?” he was unaware the question was not rhetorical. She awaited his response.
“I am as guilty as you are now. You’ve thrown me under the bus, David.” David turned and locked eyes with pig. He did not blink.
“Yeah but, what are we going to do now? You’re in this now.” Pig placed her hands on her paling cheeks. David lent forward and placed his lips on her forehead.
“I’ll protect you.”
ACT THREE: POLITICAL SUICIDE
Pig returned home. Claude’s snoring shook the house. His sleep was deep. Pig grabbed her case and began to fill it with clothes and cash. Her hurried actions were loud, knocking books loose, glasses to the floor and creaking with every step. Claude snored louder still.
I HAVE a plan
I’ll do the special knock
It’s mad I know but they’ll leave us alone then, paxman said he has some passports for us
I will see you tomorrow xxx
Knock Knock Knock Knock
The chipped wooden door opened slowly. David’s eyes curled round the ajar door. He recognised the face. Pig. She was quickly ushered in with her duffel bag full to the point the zips could not reconnect.
“Did you bring the clothes?” his tattered quarter zip fleece began to bear the marks of a mauling. She opened the bag, Claude’s work attire fell to the floor. David gratefully lapped up the chance of freshness. He dropped his rags to the floor, standing naked next to the open window.
“Jesus, David. Have you lost all your dignity?”
“Yes. Yes I have,” he grunted. “Pig, what is the plan? We can’t run forever.”
Pig paused for thought. David paced in between the windows. He drew the curtains shut, locked the door and sat on the edge of the bed.
“No. No, we can’t.”
“Fake our deaths.” David could not believe the words that had fallen out of Pig’s mouth.
“How? Why? You and Claude could get a divorce?”
“A divorce? Christ! David, I am not made of money!”
“They wouldn’t be able to look for us if they thought we were dead. You could be a whole different person on the other side of the world. Remember Japan, Australia and America. How? We could leave a trail of blood, something to leave our DNA here, something to suggest we’re dead.”
Pig plucked a Swiss army knife from her bag. Before David could stand, she tore into her flesh. The cut was deep. Far deeper than she had intended. The blood would not stop.
“Jesus, Pig that was meant to be a small cut. What have you done?” Pig struggled for air with her hand pressed against the wound.
“Please, let me go and get you help, Pig. This is not what you wanted.” Her knees buckled beneath her. She collapsed onto the floor, gasping for air. David cradled her in his arms, with his greying eyes raining across her face.
“Pig. Stay with me.”
“Join me, David.”
Her pounding heart, no longer beat.
Her body lay still. Blood dripped against the wooden floor. David stood still, while a screeching silence reverberated through his skull.
“What the fuck? What the fuck? What the fuck?” David curled with his knees pressed against his chest. He lay face to face with Pig. Colour had faded.
“You were only supposed to take a little bit. You are fucking dead, what the fuck!” He rubbed his hand against her face, whipping the blood across her face. Her sticking to his hands. The blood would not dry. They lay together. Alone.
“How am I getting out of this?” David paced. ‘I am still alive, I am still alive and I can get out of this I am David Toriman’, David chuckled wiping his hands with her blood. ‘Pig really is one a kind isn’t she…’
“Roll up. Roll up, get your Sausages. Bacon. Get your sausages. Million a slice, the last real pig you’ll taste!”