Finding Audrey

Author: P Hana

Page 46

   

“Yes, but she can’t go out, can she?”

He doesn’t say it, but I know what he means. Because of you.

Because of me, Mum is hanging around at home, worrying and reading the Daily Mail. Because of me, Mum looks all tense and tired instead of shiny and happy.

“She should work. She likes work.”

Frank shrugs. “Well. I expect she will. You know…”

And again, the unspoken hangs in the air: When you get better.

“I’ll go and get the grapes,” he says, and ambles out of the kitchen. And I sit, staring at my blurry reflection in the stainless steel fridge. When I get better. Well then. It’s up to me to get better.

MY SERENE AND LOVING FAMILY—FILM TRANSCRIPT

INTERIOR. 5 ROSEWOOD CLOSE. DAY

Dad is making a call at his desk in the study.

DAD

(into phone)

Yes. Yup. I’ll check that. (He taps at the computer.) OK, I’ve got it up now.

Frank barges into the room without knocking.

FRANK

Dad, I need to look something up for my geography homework.

DAD

You’ll have to do it later.

Sorry, Mark—

FRANK

But I can’t do my homework till I look this up.

DAD

Frank, do it later.

Frank looks at him, wide-eyed.

FRANK

You always tell me to prioritize my homework. You always say, “Don’t put off your homework, Frank.” But now you’re telling me to put off my homework. I mean, isn’t that mixed messages? Aren’t parents supposed to be consistent?

DAD

(sighs)

Fine. Look it up. Mark, I’ll call you back.

He gives way to Frank at the computer. Frank taps a few times, looks at a website, and scribbles something down.

FRANK

Thanks.

As Frank leaves, Dad redials and summons up his document on the computer.

DAD

Sorry, Mark. So, as I was saying, these figures really don’t make sense—

He stops as Frank comes in again.

FRANK

I need to look up the population of Uruguay.

Dad puts his hand over the phone.

DAD

What?

FRANK

Uruguay. Population.

Dad stares at him, exasperated.

DAD

Is this really essential right now?

Frank looks hurt.

FRANK

It’s for my homework, Dad. You always say, what I do at school will affect my whole life. I mean I would do it on my own computer, but…well.

(He looks sombrely at the floor.)

That was Mum’s decision. We’ll never know why she did what she did.

DAD

Frank—

FRANK

No, it’s OK. If you want to put your phone call above my education then that’s your decision.

DAD

(snaps)

Fine. Look it up. (He gets up.) Mark, we’ll have to do this much later. Sorry.

FRANK

(at the computer)

It should be on histories…

He summons up a page entitled Financing Your Alfa Romeo.

FRANK

Wow, Dad. Are you buying an Alfa Romeo? Does Mum know?

DAD

(snaps)

That is private. That is nothing—

He breaks off as he sees Frank tapping at the keyboard.

DAD

Frank, what are you doing? What’s happened to my screen?

Dad’s bland, seaside wallpaper has been replaced by a leering graphic character from LOC.

FRANK

You needed a new wallpaper. Your one was rank. Now we need some new sound settings…

He clicks the mouse and Boomshakalaka blasts from the computer.

Dad completely loses it.

DAD

Stop that! That is my computer…(He gets up and stalks to the door.) Anne? Anne?

MY SERENE AND LOVING FAMILY—FILM TRANSCRIPT

INTERIOR. 5 ROSEWOOD CLOSE. DAY.

From the door of the kitchen, we can see Dad and Mum, having a low-pitched fight.

DAD

He needs his own computer. We can’t share anymore. I’ll end up murdering him.

MUM

He does not need a computer!

DAD

He needs it for his homework. All the kids do.

MUM

Rubbish.

DAD

It’s not! You know they take notes on laptops these days? They don’t even know what pens are for. They think they’re styluses which are somehow leaking a weird substance. I mean, they can’t write anymore. Forget writing.

MUM

What are you saying? That children need computers? That it’s physically impossible to learn anything without a computer? What about books? What about libraries?

DAD

When did you last go to a library? They’re full of computers. That’s how people learn these days.

MUM

(outraged)

Are you telling me that in the African scrubland, children can’t learn to read unless they have a computer? Are you telling me that?

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