Sun, air and water
By Parson Thru
Sun, air and water.
1st POLICEMAN: Male police sergeant on a mountain bike. Large and made bigger by stab vest etc.
KREVIN: A man, bearded, pony-tailed, greying hippie type.
CSO: Female Community Support Officer, also on a mountain bike, similarly attired to 1ST POLICEMAN.
A bench by the river, set back slightly from the cycle path and bathed in low winter sunlight. Sound of mechanical diggers working close by. A bicycle leans against the bench.
1ST POLICEMAN: Afternoon.
KREVIN (Looks up from folding a cigarette paper, squinting into the sun.) (Beat.) Morning, corporal.
1ST POLICEMAN: (Smiling at the CSO) Oh, I see. (Back to KREVIN) Do you know this cycle path is closed today?
KREVIN (Rolling the tobacco into the paper.) Yes. I read it somewhere.
1ST POLICEMAN (Swinging his head in a bovine gesture towards the way they’d come.) Maybe all those signs back there.
KREVIN: Maybe. I don’t remember.
CSO: Did you read there’s a lockdown as well?
KREVIN (Looking up.) Oh, hello. Morning constable, sorry. (Licking the paper.) Yes. I expect I read that, too.
CSO: You shouldn’t be outside unless it’s essential.
KREVIN (Squinting into the sun.) Essential?
1ST POLICEMAN: Yes.
KREVIN (Waves his rolled cigarette to take in the surroundings.) It doesn’t get more essential than this.
CSO: Are you travelling to shop for essentials? Or exercising? If you are, you shouldn’t stop here. Anyway, the cycle path is closed. There are works up ahead.
KREVIN (Lighting the cigarette.) I’m exercising.
1ST POLICEMAN: Sitting on a bench smoking is hardly exercise.
CSO: Why don’t you hop back on your bike and go back the way you came? The cycle path is closed today.
KREVIN: So I understand, thank you.
CSO: So why don’t you do as you’ve been asked?
KREVIN (Exhaling a plume of smoke.) I don’t know.
1ST POLICEMAN: OK fellah. Enough’s enough. On your bike. Now. (Jerks his head roughly in the desired direction.)
KREVIN (Looks at 1ST POLICEMAN and then at his handiwork, smoothing out a wrinkle.) (Beat.) (Reaches into the bag beside him and takes a book out.)
CSO: What are you doing?
KREVIN: Exercising. (Opens the book at a marked page.)
CSO: No you’re not. You’re reading. That’s not permitted. Put it away.
KREVIN (Looks up. Draws on the cigarette.) Please, officers. (Begins reading.)
1ST POLICEMAN: Have you no social responsibility?
KREVIN: I voted for Jeremy Corbyn.
1ST POLICEMAN: That’s your business. This is mine. Put the book away and get on your bike. People are losing their lives to COVID.
KREVIN (Relights the cigarette.) People will be losing their lives in December and over Christmas and New Year. Will you be out bothering then?
CSO: Just be reasonable. You’ve had your exercise. You’ve had your little protest. Why don’t you just go home?
KREVIN: Because that would be a long ride, and probably fruitless.
1ST POLICEMAN (To the CSO) I think we’ve got ourselves a philosopher.
KREVIN (Squints back into the sun.)
1ST POLICEMAN: You know there’s a fine for breaking lockdown. I expect you’ve read it.
KREVIN (Squints back into the sun.)
1ST POLICEMAN: What’s your name?
KREVIN: Are you booking me?
1ST POLICEMAN: Have I taken my notebook out? (Beat) What does your mother call you?
KREVIN: You don’t want to know.
1ST POLICEMAN: Are you local?
KREVIN: I have been.
1ST POLICEMAN: Do you live locally?
KREVIN: Fairly, yes.
1ST POLICEMAN: Look. It’ll be dark before long. It’s getting cold. We all just want to get on. We’ve explained the situation. Finish your cigarette. Put your book away, and do us all a favour, eh?
KREVIN (Squints back into the sun. Makes to speak. Changes his mind.)
1ST POLICEMAN: We’re riding down to the next bridge. Just don’t be here when we get back.
KREVIN: I admire your faith in providence.
CSO: Just remember there are penalties. You’ve been given a chance.
KREVIN (Nods in acknowledgement.)
1ST POLICEMAN (Pushes off back towards the cycle path.) Let’s go.
CSO (Follows suit, then looks over her shoulder.) Don’t be here when we come back.
KREVIN (Raises his hand.) (Beat.) (Folds his book closed, takes out his tobacco pouch and tin.)