GIVE ME MY SPACE
A PLAY IN ONE ACT
A BUSY ROAD IN A CITY CENTRE DURING MORNING RUSH HOUR. TARQUIN, A YOUNG, SMARTLY-DRESSED MAN, WITH A BEARD, IS STEPPING OUT OF HIS BRAND-NEW, BMW.
AS HE DOES SO, A MOTORBIKE, RIDDEN BY DAVE PULLS UP ALONGSIDE HIS CAR AND DAVE OPENS HIS VISOR TO SPEAK.
DAVE: You can’t park there, mate, that’s a ‘Bikes only’ space
TARQUIN: It’s OK. I’m a biker.
TARQUIN REACHES BACK INTO THE CAR AND PRODUCES A CRASH-HELMET, WHICH HE HOLDS UP.
TARQUIN: See. I’m a biker.
DAVE: You might be a biker, but that [DAVE POINTS AT THE CAR] isn’t a bike.
TARQUIN: Don’t be like that!
DAVE: Like what?
TARQUIN: All angry with me. I thought us bikers were supposed to stick together.
DAVE: How is you taking my parking space “sticking together”?
TARQUIN: Oh, it’s your space now, is it? Nice way to be inclusive, man.
DAVE: It’s a space for bikes!
TARQUIN: And I’m a biker.
DAVE: Carrying a crash-helmet in your car…
TARQUIN [INTERRUPTING]: I sometimes wear it when I’m driving
DAVE: OK, wearing a crash-helmet in your car doesn’t make you a biker.
TARQUIN: And who put you in charge of deciding who is and is not a biker, eh?
DAVE: Bikers ride motorbikes, and that [DAVE POINTS AT THE CAR AGAIN] is not a motorbike.
ANOTHER BIKE ENTERS FROM STAGE LEFT AND PARKS UP, SOME DISTANCE FROM DAVE AND TARQUIN. COLIN GETS OFF THE BIKE, REMOVES HIS HELMET AND WALKS IN THE DIRECTION OF DAVE & TARQUIN
TARQUIN: Well, if you’re the ultimate arbiter of what is and isn’t a motorbike, how are you defining one, then?
DAVE: For a start, they’ve got two wheels and…
TARQUIN [INTERRUPTING]: What about bikes with sidecars? Or trikes? What about some bloke who lost a leg in a horrific bike accident and now has to ride a trike? Are you going to tell him he’s not a real biker?
COLIN REACHES THE PAIR AND TARQUIN BUTTONHOLES HIM
TARQUIN [POINTING AT DAVE]: That bloke reckons somebody who’s been paralysed for life in a bike accident doesn’t count as real biker!
DAVE: That isn’t wh…
COLIN [INTERRUPTING]: You ought to be ashamed of yourself, you judgemental twat!
DAVE: But this bloke’s taken my parking space!
COLIN: That gives you the right to decide who’s a real biker, does it?
DAVE: I wasn’t doing tha…
COLIN: My mate got his back broken in a bike accident, and he’s still twice the biker you’ll ever be! You should get yourself a bus-pass!
COLIN STORMS OFF TOWARDS STAGE RIGHT
TARQUIN: See. Other bikers are on my side. It’s just you who’s being a bigot.
DAVE: It’s not bigoted to say that bikes only have 2 wheels!
A CONVERTIBLE MERCEDES STARTS REVERSING IN FROM STAGE LEFT. IT IS DRIVEN BY ARCHIBALD, WHO IS YOUNG AND SMARTLY DRESSED, WITH A BEARD.
TARQUIN: Oh, we’re back to wheels again, are we? What are you, a wheel fetishist?
DAVE: Well…well, bikes are open to the elements as well
TARQUIN: Like that bike?
TARQUIN POINTS TO ARCHIBALD’S MERCEDES, WHICH SLOWLY BACKS INTO COLIN’S PARKED BIKE, KNOCKING IT OVER. ARCHIBALD GETS OUT, CARRYING A CRASH-HELMET, WALKS TO THE BACK OF THE CAR, CHECKS HIS OWN BUMPER AND THEN EXITS, STAGE LEFT.
TARQUIN: That was just an isolated incident. You can’t judge all of us 4-wheel bikers by that. Totally atypical.
DAVE: Look, I’m going to be late for work, and now the other bike bay is full of Mercedes. Are you going to move your car or what?
TARQUIN: No. I’m a biker. I’m entitled to park here. Making me move is just another way for arseholes like you to exclude me.
DAVE: Exclude you?
TARQUIN: Yes! I always wanted a bike, but my mum wouldn’t let me get one, but I can still be a biker! [HE WAVES HIS CRASH HELMET] But then bastards like you find every possible way to exclude me. [TARQUIN ADOPTS A MOCKING TONE] Oooo, let’s do some wheelies. Let’s have our own parking spaces. Let’s filter through traffic jams and leave the stupid 4-wheeled biker stuck in a queue.
DAVE: You want me to stop filtering through traffic…because it upsets you???
TARQUIN: Of course it upsets me! Why do you have to centre your mobility?
DAVE: Uh, you’re a grown man, you could just buy yourself a bike.
TARQUIN: You’re a grown man as well. Why won’t you just accept me as a biker, without me having to go through the stress of a huge financial operation like that?
TARQUIN [GROWING ANGRY]: You want to demand that I expose myself to the danger, to the angry car drivers, to the weather, to weekends in the garage, lubing and adjusting chains…all that, just so you’ll deign to believe that I’m a biker.
DAVE: Yes! That’s what being a biker is! It’s not driving around in a flash car, wearing a crash-helmet when you feel like it!
TARQUIN: No! Stop spreading lies like that! Being a biker is about how you feel, not how many wheels you happen to have, Mr Wheel-fanatic!
DAVE: I’M NOT A WHEEL…
TARQUIN [INTERRUPTING]: Anyway, do you think I’d have got to be a junior vice-president if I’d turned up looking like that every day?
DAVE: Look, screw you! I’m going to have to go and find somewhere else to park. I hope the police tow your CAR away and scrap it!
DAVE RIDES OFF, STAGE LEFT
TARQUIN PUTS HIS CRASH-HELMET BACK IN THE CAR AND LOCKS IT. THEN TAKES HIS PHONE OUT OF HIS POCKET AND DIALS A NUMBER
TARQUIN: Hello? Police? Yes, thank goodness, I’ve just had a motorcyclist behave very aggressively towards me and I’m worried about my safety…Yes, yes, I’ve got his number.
————-END OF PLAY————-