VERSATILE – An Opening Scene.
Suburbs. Richmond. Early Evening. Autumn. Modern extension to an Edwardian house.
The Master and The Boy stand in front of a huge window that looks out onto the garden.
The garden has been illuminated with light.
MASTER When I built the extension I decided to integrate the garden.
MASTER I wasn’t planning to. If it was up to me I would have had the whole thing covered in concrete.
I do love concrete. But everybody expects a garden. Too much Alan Titmarsh on the Telly, running
around with that woman who liked it au naturel.
The whole country became obsessed with water features, didn’t it.
Were you a fan?
BOY Not really. I prefer box sets. Battlestar Gallactica. Madmen. The Sopranos. Doctor Who…
MASTER Ah, the Doctor…
BOY I’ve got the complete set. I’ve got every single episode. Chris Eccleston, obviously…
MASTER Jon Pertwee?
BOY Excuse me?
MASTER Jon Pertwee? The Sea Devils? Alpha Centauri? His assistant Sally whatever tottering about on six
inch stacks being chased by Daleks but he never broke sweat. A heart of steel in crushed velvet.
Before your time. Like the Renaissance. Like before Cher was born. Remind me how old are you?
BOY That’s okay, isn’t it?
MASTER Twenty-six? That’s marvelous.
HE TURNS BACK TO LOOK OUT OF THE WINDOW.
BOY So you built this place yourself?
MASTER I was the Architect.
BOY Wow! I couldn’t do anything like that.
MASTER Well you’re not trained to – not that it helps. I was my own worst client. Impossible to please.
But how often do you get to create something from scratch? Conceive of it, shape it, and develop
it fully according to your precise wishes. Make the vision real.
BOY Did you design the garden too?
MASTER I wanted it landscaped. Sculpted on several levels. I even commissioned a small folly. A touch of
BOY Let them eat cake.
BOY The tree at the end. Oak, isn’t it?
MASTER I wanted to get rid of it. The surveyor told me its roots went deep, right under the house. Chop
it down and the whole place could collapse.
BOY I used to climb a tree like that when I was a boy.
MASTER Blood sweat and tears. I practically lived down the Garden Centre for nine months. Dust and earth
under every nail.
BOY It was worth it.
MASTER Thank you. I’m glad you noticed. Not everyone does
Would you like something to drink? I usually offer. Tea? Coffee?
BOY Tea please.
MASTER Assam? Earl Grey? Builders?
BOY That one.
MASTER I have herbal too. Peppermint. Chamomile.
BOY Builder’s please. Milk no sugar.
THE MASTER GOES.
THE BOY LOOKS AWKWARDLY BEFORE CHOSING WHERE TO
SIT. HE SEES THE MIRROR ON THE WALL. HE GETS UP AND CHECKS HIMSELF.
HE SITS. HE SEES THE BONSAI TREE ON THE TABLE IN FRONT OF HIM.
CURIOUS, HE EXAMINES IT. HE PICKS IT UP TO LOOK AT MORE CLOSELY. THE
MASTER BACK IN, WITH TEA AND BISCUITS.
MASTER I picked that one up from the Garden Centre. It’s a cripple.
MASTER A reject. A runt. Failed the Bonsai test and was going to be thrown away. I rather like working
with imperfection, it excites me.
BOY How can you tell?
MASTER There are fifty-three Bonsai protocols. They are small miracles of horticultural engineering. All
the skill lies in the cultivation.
That’s the Japanese for you.
THE MASTER PUTS THE TEA DOWN IN FRONT OF THE BOY. THE BOY DRINKS,
MASTER And how was your journey?
BOY Fine. Crowded.
MASTER Exciting crowded or hot and sweaty crowded.
BOY I was on another planet. Nearly got off a stop earlier.
MASTER Where did you come from?
MASTER Quite a hike.
BOY I still got here twenty minutes early.
MASTER What did you do for twenty minutes?
BOY I lurked.
MASTER Why didn’t you ring?
BOY I didn’t think you’d want me early. I mean, if you said six thirty you’d mean on the dot, yes?
That’s what I thought anyway…
THE MASTER LOOKS AT THE BOY.
How is your tea?
MASTER Not too strong. Not too weak.
MASTER Just right, Goldilocks.
THE BOY IS SHAKING WITH NERVES. THE TEA CUP CLATTERS. THE MASTER
SEES THIS AND ENJOYS IT.
MASTER Mind the carpet. I usually ask people to take their shoes off.
BOY Oh –
MASTER Not now. Too late.
BUT THE BOY PULLS OFF HIS SHOES INELEGANTLY. STEADIES HIMSELF.
BOY How do we start?
MASTER I started the moment you walked in the door. When you didn’t take off your shoes.
Are you in good health?
MASTER Work out?
BOY I bench 95. Three times a week. And I started yoga.
MASTER Strength and flexibility.
BOY Bulking up.
MASTER Big shoulders, I can see, and the chest too. Any medical issues I should know about?
MASTER Panic attacks? Ever fainted?
MASTER Any allergies?
BOY You mean, apart from dealing with bumfuck IT call centres?
No. No allergies…
MASTER And your status?
MASTER Last test?
BOY Two months ago.
MASTER Any particular reason?
BOY Not of my making.
MASTER What’s that supposed to mean?
BOY I split up with my boyfriend.
MASTER You bare backed with him?
BOY Until he cheated on me, yes.
MASTER And since then? Lots of guys go crazy, throw caution to the winds. The darkrooms and saunas are
full of bug chasers punishing themselves for their bad choices.
BOY Not me. I mean I’m tempted –
MASTER Those damn cock goggles –
BOY But then I hear my Nan speaking, I mean it’s crazy.
MASTER Your Nan?
BOY In my head. My sensible voice. My Nan.
MASTER So you’re always safe?
BOY Never say never though.
MASTER One of my boys didn’t tell me he was positive. Half way through a session, he collapsed. ‘I’m
sorry, Sir, I haven’t been honest, Sir, please forgive me, Sir’
I thrashed him to an inch of his life. Only trouble is, he loved it. I had to stop.
No chems either, at least not without permission. I’m the one in control, not something that
comes from a pill or a powder or a bottle of graffiti remover.
BOY What about poppers? Fucking hate the headaches.
MASTER You take lots of chems?
MASTER Are you trying to please me?
BOY CAN’T ANSWER.
MASTER Listen, there are only two lies that are acceptable. Your age and cock size. You’re allowed to
take three years off the former and add two inches to the latter.
I know you’ve already lied about one.
BOY Alright. I’ve been a bit greedy recently, since Jonathan…since he left.
MASTER The K express?
MASTER You seen the T Shirt? Ketamine: just say neigh.
THE BOY SMILES. THE MASTER OBSERVES.
MASTER What do you look at first in a man?
BOY A sense of humour.
MASTER No, I mean if you see him on the street, walking his dog.
BOY Is it a big dog?
MASTER I don‘t know…
BOY A big butch hairy dog with bollocks like plums in a plastic bag?
MASTER You’re not shagging his dog.
BOY I look at his eyes.
MASTER Do you know what I look at? His arse. I’m most definitely what you’d call down the Pub an arse
BOY No, for me the eyes first. Then obviously: the dog.
MASTER Forget the bloody dog.
BOY I can’t. It’s the key to whether I’m going to really fancy him or not. Is it a poodle or a
Rottweiler? I need a man with a proper dog.
It tells me he knows how to take charge.
MASTER Why are you here?
BOY I thought about this. I really have.
I want to try some things. I want to explore pleasure. I want to test my boundaries. I want to go
on a journey, to find someone who’s willing to take me there, who really knows what he’s doing.
MASTER And what will you find when you get there?
BOY The truth.
MASTER The truth?
BOY I believe you always get to the truth of someone in the bedroom.
MASTER Do you now.
MASTER What do you want to explore?
MASTER You read my profile. You know what I offer.
BOY I’m curious. I’m eaten up with it. The whole leather scene. Playrooms. Dungeons. Bondage and
slings. Cock torture. Piss play. The art of handballing. It’s like my brain’s been turned into a
permanent bloody fantasy.
MASTER Sometimes that’s the best place a fantasy should be.
What experience do you have?
MASTER Ever been tied up?
BOY I tried it once.
MASTER You like it?
MASTER What happened?
BOY A couple of years ago, a guy I met in a club. Handcuffs on the bed, that sort of thing…
MASTER Anything more recent?
BOY I’ve been working up to it.
MASTER Playing the tourist?
MASTER I don’t fuck tourists.
BOY I’m not a tourist!
MASTER Then why are you here?
BOY Look, I’m single again. I don’t have to struggle with being faithful and walk around with a rocket
in my pocket.
MASTER How long were you with your boyfriend?
BOY Four and a half years.
MASTER How do you feel about it?
BOY Fucked over.
BOY A bit.
MASTER Did you deserve it?
MASTER High maintenance.
BOY I don’t think so.
MASTER I don’t do victims.
BOY I’m not a victim.
MASTER You want to explore. You want to go on a journey. Let me tell you, the first thing you have to
know on a journey is not just where you’re going too, but where you came from. You have to take
BOY I have taken responsibility.
MASTER I don’t think so.
BOY I fucking have!
MASTER Do you know what I think? I think you’ve never taken real responsibility for anything in your
life? I think you’ve fallen in love and had your little heart broken, and it hurts. So what? Cry
me a fucking river. That doesn’t mean you can play with the big boys. Look at you. No wonder your
boyfriend left you. No wonder he went off and fucked someone else. And just because it hurts
doesn’t mean anything to me. I’m not your fucking therapist.
You say you want to explore pleasure. But have you actually considered what real pleasure is about?
I don’t think you’re capable of that. You wouldn’t know where to start.
BOY I want to learn. Please let me learn.
BOY Teach me.
MASTER Actually I’m not sure this is going to work –
BOY No –
MASTER We’re not a match.
BOY I’m begging you…please! I’m begging!
THE BOY SUDDENLY THROWS HIMSELF ON THE GROUND IN FRONT OF THE
MASTER. HE REPEATS OVER AND OVER…’Please, I’m begging you…please’
FOR A WHILE, AS THE MASTER LOOKS ON.
MASTER What are you?
BOY I’m shit. I’m a piece of shit.
MASTER You’re worse than that. I’ll tell you what you are. You’re a piece of dog shit. You little faggot
shit for brains cunt…You’re worse than dog shit. You’re lower than the maggots that eat dog
shit. You’re the shit from the maggots that eat dog shit….
What are you?
BOY I’m a cunt. I’m dog shit.
MASTER What else?
BOY I’m a piece of meat. Fucking cunting dog shit! Rape me.
MASTER You can’t rape the willing.
BOY Use me. Beat me. Make me your boy. Hold me down and do what you like, do whatever the fuck you
SILENCE. THE BOY IS ALMOST CRYING NOW.
MASTER Get up.
Straight. Hands behind your back. Look at me.
Good boy. Obedient boy.
From this moment on you only ever call me Sir. Do you understand?
BOY Yes Sir.
MASTER Do you need a moment?
BOY No Sir.
MASTER Finish your tea.
That’s not a suggestion. Every last little drop.
THE BOY FINISHES HIS TEA. OFFERS THE CUP AND SAUCER.
BOY Thank you, Sir.
THE MASTER TAKES IT.
MASTER Good. Now this is what’s going to happen next. You’re going to walk out of here and up the stairs
on your left. At the top of the stairs is a bathroom which you may use to douche. Next to the
bathroom is some stairs to the attic. I want you to climb those. Go into the room at the top.
Don’t touch anything. I want you to strip to your underwear and wait for me there.
MASTER I want you to stand facing the wall opposite the door. Is that quite clear?
BOY Yes Sir.
MASTER At no point turn and look. Nose against the wall. Touching the wall.
BOY Yes Sir.
MASTER The code word is red. Anything else you say will be ignored. Do you understand what that means?
BOY Yes, Sir.
MASTER Tell me.
BOY The code word is red. Sir. It’s red.
MASTER What is it?
BOY Red, Sir. Boss. Sir. Sir. Red.
MASTER Go on then, Boy. Wait for me upstairs. Let’s find out if we can make this work.
THE BOY TURNS AND WALKS OUT AND UP THE STAIRS. THE MASTER STANDS AND
PLACES THE TEACUP ON THE TABLE. HE REPOSITIONS THE BONSAI BRIEFLY,
GLANCES AT HIMSELF IN THE MIRROR.
HE TURNS AND WALKS UP THE STAIRS.
Nicholas McInerny – Revised 08/10/2016