LON SMITH
               AUDREY SMITH           
               JAY SMITH                   
               WATER TAXI DRIVER       Doubled by actor playing JAY
               CHARITY AUCTIONEER   Doubled by actor playing JAY
               ESTATE AGENT                Doubled by actor playing JAY


               ACT 1

               Scene 1

               Night. The façade of a large two-storey house.

               The configuration of lit windows, door, and other features
               cause the façade to resemble a face. Windows for eyes, the
               door a nose..

               LON enters in dishevelled suit, pushing a shopping trolley
               containing numerous books, a bent golf club, a petrol can,
               and bottle of wine and glass.

               He limps, is sleep-deprived and has been drinking. Amongst
               other things. He downs a glass of wine. Stares at the house.

                         Are you looking at me? Are you
                         looking at me?

               He raises his arms above his head and bows - deeply,
               ritualistically - to the house.

               Before pouring himself another glass of wine, slugging it,
               and selecting a book..

                                   LON (CONT'D)

               ..from which he tears pages, scrunches them into balls and
               begins to build a paper pyre against the wall of the house.

                                   LON (CONT'D)

               He adds pages torn from other books in his collection.

                                   LON (CONT'D)

               Whole paperbacks.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Father. Son. Holy Ghost. B.F.
                         Skinner. R.D. Laing. Pavlov.
                         Bandura. Dr Moe. Dr Larry. Dr

               And other texts, deemed flammable as is.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Piaget. Rorschach. Kinsey. Sex
                         Therapy. Steady, Lon. Focus.
                         Gestalt Therapy. Cognitive
                         Behavioural Therapy. Electro
                         Convulsive Therapy.
                         Shove A Fork In The Toaster And
                         You'll Be Fine, Madam. The Identity
                         Crisis. The Midlife Crisis. The
                         Incontinent Old Goat Crisis. A
                         Bottle In Front Of Me or A Frontal
                         Lobotomy? Self Self Self. More Self
                         Self Self. Further Explorations in
                         Self Self Self. Self Self Self For
                         Dummies. Id, Ego, SuperEgo and The
                         Jetski Rider. Parenting Little
                         Shits. The Inferiority Complex. The
                         Oedipus Complex. The Electra
                         Complex. The Westfield Shopping
                         Complex. Parking Problems And
                         Incandescent Rage In The Mature
                         Adult Male. Road Rage. Two Wheeled
                         Bourgeois Twats In Lurid Lycra
                         Rage. Toenail Clipping On Public
                         Transport Rage.

               He douses the pyre in petrol.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Flat Pack Assembly Rage. Lost
                         Remote Rage. Call Centre Rage.
                         Mumbai Rage. Fucketty fucketty.
                         Facebook Rage. Twitter Rage. Selfie

               Searches his pockets and locates a disposable lighter.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Birth Rage. School Rage. Work Rage.
                         Marriage Rage. Divorce Rage.
                         Centrelink Rage. Meals On Wheels
                         Rage. Morphine Drip Rage. Flatline
                         Rage. Beep. Beep. Beeeeeeeep..

               Which refuses to function.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         The Wind Blew My Ashes Back In My
                         Children's Faces Rage.


                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Disposable fucking cigarette
                         lighter rage. Light, you shonkey
                         Chinese bastard! Light!

               He continues clicking the lighter. In vain.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Are you angry, Lon?

               By way of answer, he attacks the trolley with the golf club.

               AUDREY enters, returning home, in expensive dress, heels,
               jewellery and trimmings, bearing a monster bunch of flowers.

               She watches LON'S continuing tantrum.

               Abandoning the golf club, LON searches his pockets, locates a
               blister pack of pills and downs a couple with wine.

               Before noticing AUDREY. He resumes clicking the lighter.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Burning down the house.

                         Are you angry, Lon?

                         New gown. You look stunning.

                         For a good cause.

                         Pricks. Ungrateful pricks. I over
                         prescribed for every single bastard
                         on that committee. Who saved all
                         their marriages? Me. Who got all
                         their children off charges? Me. Who
                         helped them understand self-harming
                         was a cry for help? Who enlightened
                         them to the self-serving hypothesis
                         that there was no such thing as
                         normal? Or if there was, they were
                         it? Pricks. I'm uploading their
                         confidential files onto the net.

                         Lon, my sweet. You love them. And
                         they love you. Or they did love
                         you. Making house calls in a g
                         string with the centreboard of a
                         windsurfer tucked under your arm.
                         You were renowned for your

                         Did whatsisname - Fuckface The Slug
                         - give you the flowers?

               AUDREY enters the house.

               LON listens - with familiarity - as AUDREY, once inside,
               locks the door, severally.

               After which LON waits for the house interior to light up.

               Then locates a particularly weighty tome in the trolley.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Audrey!? Auds!?

               AUDREY opens an upper floor window. LON brandishes the book.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         "Sexual Behaviour In The Human
                         Male". Page turner.


                         Lend me some matches?

               AUDREY hurls out a bundle of clothes, which land on top of
               LON, before she slams the window shut.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Running out of Audreys, Unds.
                         Running out of undies, Auds.

               He resumes flicking the lighter, in vain.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         I miss them, Audrey. I miss them
                         all. Especially my poor depressos:
                         "Don't worry, be happy!" And my
                         schizos: "The voices are all in
                         your head, dear heart!" My
                         anorexos: "Just eat!" And/or "Not
                         in my toilet, you don't!" My
                         fatsos: "Just don't eat! And/or
                         "Yes, your arse does look big in
                         that." My aggressives: "Back off!".
                         Retentives: "Let go!" Passives: "Do
                         something." Obsessives: "Stop doing
                         it!" Manics: "Slow down!"
                         Hysterics: "Get a grip!" Phobics:
                         "Get down off that chair!"
                         Paranoids: "There's nothing behind
                         there, you fool!" Deviants: "Well,
                         what's wrong with that?" Fluffy-dog
                         wielding heiresses with canine
                         husband displacement disorder and
                         Sleeping Beauty issues. Cross
                         dressing Sydney to Hobart tycoons
                         with White Pants Anxiety and Hello
                         Sailor Syndrome. Botched
                         faceliftees who see their sad
                         stretched visage exploding in an
                         inkblot. I miss them all.
                         Post-liposuction depressives,
                         breast-implanted suicidals, triple
                         bypassed colon-blocked bead
                         kneading share-trading neurotics
                         trailing substance-abusing closet
                         vomiting face-stuffing stomach
                         banding self-harming offspring. I
                         miss their spectacular parties.

               The window opens again.

                         Did you say something?

                         You'll be pleased to know I'm
                         staying at the eleventh hole. In a
                         deep comfy bunker with north east
                         aspect and water views. Position
                         position position.

               He empties a pocket full of sand. As AUDREY goes.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         At night polo shirts striped like
                         licorice allsorts glide about the
                         clubhouse in complete denial of
                         clinical depression.

               AUDREY reappears in the window, with a golf bag and clubs.

                         You'll need these.

                         Audrey, my love - no! Just drop
                         them gently!

               AUDREY does not drop the bag and clubs gently.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Ah! Ah! Always put your clubs in
                         your wife's name or you'll lose

               As LON stows the golf gear in the trolley, he remembers a
               half-full bottle of vodka concealed in the bag. He drinks.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Oh, Mother Russia. I will love thee
                         till I die. Russians pray with
                         their eyes open. Did you know I
                         come here every night, Auds? Catch
                         the last train up, stay all night,
                         catch the first train back.
                         Circumstance has reduced me to the
                         status of commuter. I'm not
                         stalking you.
                         I'm stalking the house. Do
                         housefronts resemble the faces of
                         their owners? You know, like dogs -

               He topples over, unconscious.


               LON does not move.

                                   AUDREY (CONT'D)
                         You shit!

               AUDREY comes downstairs, exits the house, approaches LON.

                                   AUDREY (CONT'D)

               Wary, she directs a test kick at LON'S head, stopping just
               short of contact. LON does not flinch.

               AUDREY crouches beside LON as she dials her mobile.

                                   AUDREY (CONT'D)
                         Ambulance -

               LON seizes her wrist. AUDREY struggles. LON holds on.

                                   AUDREY (CONT'D)
                         I'll scream.

                         They've heard it before.

               AUDREY screams. Long and loud. To no response.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         They've heard it before.

               As LON continues to hang onto AUDREY'S wrist.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Any word from Jay?

                         Clean. Working on a farm.

                         Oh yes. What do they grow on this

                         That's the spirit.

                         Where is this farm?

                         They don't allow family. For
                         obvious reasons. Are you having an

                         Is what's-his-name - Fuckface The
                         Slug - moving in?

                         Please don't call David that.

               AUDREY manages to engage her mobile with her free hand.

                                   AUDREY (CONT'D)
                             (to mobile)
                         Please forget the ambulance. I want
                         the police - !

               LON seizes AUDREY'S other wrist, causing her to drop the
               mobile. LON kicks it away.

                                   AUDREY (CONT'D)
                         I have no idea why I married you.

                         A statistically significant
                         majority of teenage girls marry
                         their psychiatrist these days.

                         I was insane. I was. I was fucked

                         And I fixed you.

               She frees a hand and slaps him, hard.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Psychiatry 101. Never tell a woman
                         the truth.

                         You will get the house back over my
                         dead body.

               LON suddenly remembers something else: he hurls the
               malfunctioning lighter away. Unzips a pocket in the golf bag.
               Rummages. Extracts a gold lighter.

                         Yes! The 24 carat gold Zippo!

               The Zippo works. LON adjusts the plume of flame to maximum.
               He approaches the pyre..

                         Go on then. Burn it down. Burn down
                         the house, Lon. Burn it.

                         Smoke on the water, fire in the

               ..and activates a shrieking smoke alarm.

               LON hurriedly loads the clothing, golf bag, vodka, into the

               As AUDREY laughs, retrieves her mobile..

               ..and laughs even more when the smoke alarm is joined by the
               siren of a fire engine..

               ..followed by the siren of an approaching police car.

               LON scuttles off with the trolley.


               Scene 2

               The sound of waves crashing on rock.

               LON enters, with trolley. He moves downstage..

      the edge of an ocean-facing clifftop, The Gap. A
               traditional suicide locale.

               He looks over the edge, down, toward the base of the cliff.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Proximity to The Gap is important.
                         A vertiginous clifftop within
                         walking distance of the unfit is a
                         mandatory feature of any residence
                         worth its inflated price tag.

               He washes down another pill with vodka.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         I wiped a steamed-up peak hour bus
                         window in mid-winter and lo! There
                         it was. Atop a hill, on the far
                         side of a mist-shrouded valley, lit
                         up like Pope Liberace's wedding
                         cake. I dreamed of the house that
                         night. Ten years after graduation I
                         owned it.


                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         I saw people on that hill too.
                         People who didn't need to save.
                         People who dressed well. Who were
                         at ease with the finer things.
                         Whose parties made the papers.
                         Whose much selfied-and-posted
                         mouths were always wide open,
                         enjoying life! Ha! HA! I discovered
                         they were faking it. These people
                         were depressed! Further research -
                         covert - revealed depression to be
                         skyrocketing among the well-to-do!
                         The elite were more depressed than
                         the herd! I thought it through. And
                         it became crystal clear. How could
                         Winners not be depressed? Winners
                         are left with no excuse for
                         unhappiness. I told no-one. I saw
                         an opening. I went for it.
                         Positioned myself within the
                         milieu, worked like a dog, married
                         up, partied right, opened wide for
                         the camera, didn't sleep for a
                         decade and won my Dream House. With
                         every inclusion I ever wanted, one
                         of which was Audrey. Does that
                         answer your question?

               Scene 3

               Darkness. Outside the Dream House.

               LON enters, golf club in one hand, bottle in the other. He
               slowly makes his way down the side of the house, and

               The sound of breaking glass.

               The house façade/face ascends or otherwise disappears from

               LON is now inside. Inside where?

               In darkness, he trips over an object on the floor. He plunges
               forward. Cannons into a wall.

                                   LON (CONT'D)

               He locates a light switch. In the revealed room/s, something
               is not right. Skewiff perspective? A touch of de Chirico
               surrealism? Windows framing strange scenery?

               Together with the "face" exterior, the room indicates that if
               LON is inside a house, the house may be inside his head.

               A sofa. Two chairs. Several large flower arrangements in
               designer vases.

               The object over which he tripped is AUDREY'S dead body.

                                   LON (CONT'D)

               He drops the golf club.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         I didn't do it.

               He sits, befuddled, slugs at the liquor bottle..then falls
               unconscious once more.

               AUDREY rises from the dead.

               She shakes LON awake.

               Seeing AUDREY, LON screams and falls unconscious again.

               AUDREY waits.

               LON wakes, rises, washes his face, combs his hair,
               straightens and dusts off clothing, locates a new jacket..

               ..and so transforms into the approximation of a cleaner,
               tidier, pre-homeless LON.

               He sits opposite AUDREY. Or lies with AUDREY seated behind,
               in Freudian mode.

               In a form of psycho-analytic transference, Audrey has become
               Lon's psychiatrist. Or vice versa.


                         Are you angry, Lon?

                         Of course I'm fucking angry!

                         Would you like to tell me about

                         I feel unappreciated. Deeply
                         A terrible mistake has been made!
                         Shocking! Shocking! Shocking!

                         I see. Deeply unappreciated by

                         Everybody. Or everybody who is
                         anybody. Or anyone who is somebody.
                         Or whoever is whatever. They
                         dropped me immediately upon
                         erroneously detecting what they
                         took to be the Acrid Scent Of Loser
                         tingling in their hand-sculpted
                         nostrils. How could they not see it
                         was a simple cry for help?

                         I see. What was a simple cry for


               He laughs himself into deep-lunged wheezing.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         The atrocities. The atrocities! The
                         atrocities! Shocking! Shocking!

                         I see. Would you like to tell me
                         about 'the atrocities'?

                         No. Of course I want to tell you
                         about the fucking atrocities! I'm
                         proud of the atrocities! The
                         atrocities were magnificent! The
                         atrocities were breathtaking in
                         their offence! I was in awe of
                         myself for arousing such intense,
                         hissy-fitty-spitty social outrage.
                         The atrocity that finally and
                         permanently got me crossed off The
                         Lists was transcendental in its
                         abomination. Context: the portfolio
                         had become worthless overnight,
                         Audrey was screwing my broker, my
                         son was a junkie thief and I hadn't
                         slept for five days. Fortunately,
                         at that stage I still had a
                         prescription pad. On the sixth day,
                         I garnered a ponytail wig, strode
                         into the Armani Emporium, selected
                         an eight thousand dollar suit, two
                         thousand dollar shoes, assorted
                         gold and silken accessories, and
                         did a well-dressed runner.

               He dons a ponytail wig and designer sunglasses.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         D & G. Fell into a pocket of the
                         suit as I hastened past. I located
                         the Opera House at speed and
                         approached a resting water taxi.

               JAY enters, in the outward form of a WATER TAXI DRIVER.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Take me to Palm Beach.

                                   WATER TAXI DRIVER
                         Palm Beach?

                         Out the heads and turn left?

                                   WATER TAXI DRIVER
                         I'm afraid this craft is not
                         licenced to venture beyond the
                         heads, sir.

               LON pulls a knife.

                         This is an emergency. The Black and
                         White Ball Committee are holding a
                         Children's Hospital Fundraising
                         Auction. Drive. Sail. Whatever.

               The WATER TAXI DRIVER and LON head 'east'..

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         We motor into a stiff south
                         easterly on a rising swell. It is a
                         bumpy ride.

               ..before - bumpily - turning northward.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Beyond the heads, it becomes

                                   WATER TAXI DRIVER
                         I'm feeling seasick, sir.

                         However, with the gale now behind
                         us, we go like the clappers.

                                   WATER TAXI DRIVER
                         I am definitely feeling seasick,

                         Watch out for that whale! Give me
                         the wheel, you aquatic fool.

               LON laughs, wheezes, as the WATER TAXI DRIVER vomits over the

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         I beach the vessel in the dark,
                         occy-strap the driver to a heritage

               He octopus-straps the WATER TAXI DRIVER.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         ..slip past security while they're
                         preoccupied in frisking a babe, get
                         up to speed in the bathroom..

               He snorts a line of cocaine.

                                   LON (CONT'D (CONT'D)
                         ..emerge like Superman, up up and
                         away into the heavily fragrant
                         crowd and bid high, baby, high.
                         High. Higher. Highest.

               JAY becomes the CHARITY AUCTIONEER.

                                   CHARITY AUCTIONEER
                         Ladies and Gentlemen. Item number
                         one. Degustation for two at
                         Tetsuya's, plus a case of Bollinger
                         Blanc de Noirs. What am I bid?

                         Ten thousand! Twelve! Fifteen!

                                   CHARITY AUCTIONEER
                         Sold! The Bang and Olufsen home
                         theatre system.

                         Fifteen thousand! Twenty! Anything
                         for the children. Anything. Twenty

                                   CHARITY AUCTIONEER
                         Sold! Three weeks all expenses paid
                         villa holiday, with cruising yacht,
                         on the Amalfi coast.

                         Thirty thousand! Forty! Fifty! Go
                         on, bid against me, I dare you.
                         Don't you like children?

                                   CHARITY AUCTIONEER
                         And now, ladies and gentlemen, the
                         big ticket item: the BMW 909 Luxury
                         Sports with warranty, service, and
                         Premium 98 octane for a lifetime,
                         yours or that of the vehicle,
                         whichever terminates first.

                         The auctioneer is a clown. They're
                         all clowns. I am surrounded by
                         clowns in the guise of former
                         patients, or vice versa, all
                         cheering on the handsome pony
                         tailed stranger in the Armani suit
                         with bottomless philanthropic
                         pockets. Beware the wounded shrink,
                         ye neurotic quisling socialites!
                         Lon Smith is writing his memoirs:
                         "Struck Off. Professional
                         Confidentiality No Longer Applies".
                         Or possibly, "Adventures In The
                         Fruit Trade". Or "Me, Mad? What
                         About Them?" Or "Honey I Shrunk The
                         Rich And Famous"..

               He laughs/wheezes, almost fit-like, to point of sweating.

               When he calms, he stares, seems lost.



               He takes out his blister pack of pills, with intent.

                         I don't think that's a good idea.

                         One more won't hurt.

               He refrains.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         What was the question again?

                         Would you like to finish your
                         account of the atrocities?

                         I win all the big stuff. I win it
                         all and can't pay for any of it.
                         Well, that shows them, doesn't it?
                         I demonstrate I am far smarter than
                         they whilst simultaneously
                         enhancing my already shockingly
                         poor reputation. My photo is all
                         over both social and front pages of
                         every rag in town before the shelf
                         company cheque bounces. I am
                         brilliant. Quite quite brilliant.

                         How aware were you of what you were

                         I am hyper-aware at any particular
                         moment in time, but the moment has
                         no connection with the moments
                         which precede it, nor those which
                         follow. The thing is, I am  a
                         walking cocktail shaker replete
                         with every mood shifter and
                         painkiller I can possibly
                         prescribe, so I have numerous
                         personalities operating at the one
                         time, each following a different
                         imperative with obsessive
                         compulsive zeal.

                         Was that confusing for you?

                         Not at all. And I am pain free. So
                         pain free, doctor, I am truly in
                         the moment. Truly in the moment.
                         In. The. Moment. Oh, how often do
                         we not heed our own professional
                         advice? Stay in the moment, Lon. I
                         stay in the moment until Audrey
                         feels compelled in the moment to
                         introduce herself in the moment  
                         to the newest and brightest
                         ponytailed philanthropic star in
                         her gold-rattling over-cosmeticised

               AUDREY leaps up.

                         You!? You!? It's you!

               LON seizes AUDREY and places the knife to her throat.

                         Don't try anything silly,
                         thrillseekers. Continue designer
                         mortification, by all means, but
                         please, keep it impotent.

               He backs away with hostage AUDREY, frees the WATER TAXI
               DRIVER, and the three head 'north'.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         At high speed we head for the south
                         of Spain.


                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         The water police catch our taxi off
                         Caves Beach. On the Central Coast.
                         Just south of Newcastle. Beautiful
                         spot. Poor Auds.

               He releases AUDREY. She returns to the psychiatrist role.

                         Why do you say that?

                         Why do I say what?

                         Poor Auds.

                         I don't know.

                         Tell me about your ex wife.

                         She was my patient. When she was
                         fifteen. She was out of control.


               Scene 4

               AUDREY removes her designer glasses, changes her hairstyle,
               becomes teenage AUDREY. LON removes wig and sunglasses, to
               become thirty-something LON.

               Young AUDREY and thirty-something LON stare into each other's
               eyes. A mutual impulse takes hold. They kiss passionately,
               tear at each others clothes, manoeuvre to couple on the sofa.

                         I told my parents about us.

               Coupling is interrupted.

                         Jesus! Are you insane!?

                         What sort of question is that,

                         Jesus! Why? What did you tell them?

                         I told them we were in love.

                         Audrey. That's illegal.

                         I'm joking. I'm joking? Love is
                         crap. All I told them was, we were
                         having great sex on your desk. So
                         this time their money isn't going
                         to waste.

               She embraces him.

                                   AUDREY (CONT'D)
                         Aren't we? So having great sex on
                         your desk? Great psycho-sex.

                         Wait wait wait wait wait wait.

                         Why why why why why why?

                         Stop! Stop! Shit. Shit shit shit.
                         Do your parents know you're here

                         I think so. Elizabeth dropped me
                         off. Mother.

                         Shit. What's she up to? Is this a
                         set-up? Is this whole shrink thing
                         a setup? It is, isn't it? Christ.
                         You're in on it! Get out! Get out
                         now! Don't touch me!

                         Are you having an episode, Doctor?
                         How many of those pills of yours
                         did you take?

                         I want you to leave. I want you to
                         leave right now. Get out! Get out!

                         Don't be silly. Mother has gone
                         shopping. She's happy for me.
                         Father is happy for me too. They
                         think you're money well spent,
                         Doctor Smith. They are dying to
                         meet you.

                         It's a little early for that.

                         They admire you, Doctor Smith. You
                         fixed me. I'm not depressed any
                         more. But I will be if you don't
                         fuck me on your desk very soon.

               She embraces him, feels his groin.

                                   AUDREY (CONT'D)
                         Oh. Where's Mr Python gone?

                         He's in shock.

                         I know how to fix him.

                         No. Let's just talk today.

                         Do we have to? Talk?

                         There will be other times. Let's
                         just talk today.

                         What about?

                         Would you like to talk about your

                         What about it? I told you, I'm not
                         depressed any more.

               She sits, rolls a joint from a packet of Drum.

                feel the management regime
                         is working out, Audrey?

                         Oh yeah. I'm like so not depressed
                         I'm going back to school.
                         And I don't joyride or shoplift or
                         deal drugs any more.

                         Well that is terrific, Audrey. That
                         is progress.

               She lights up, draws deeply.

                         It was like you said. I was trying
                         to outrun the pain. Not assessing
                         the impulse before reacting. I now
                         know my thoughts and feelings are
                         not me. They are transient shards
                         deployed by the mind to haunt, cow,
                         and manipulate me. I now know my
                         mind is not my friend. My mind is a
                         dark prankster. My mind is a thug.
                         My mind lies. It criticises. It
                         blackmails. It flatters. It
                         seduces. My mind will so do
                         whatever it takes to so drive me
                         and it so round the bend. Yes, I'm
                         like so ticking all the boxes now,

               She offers him the rolled joint.

                                   AUDREY (CONT'D)
                         It'll relax you.

               LON demurs.

                                   AUDREY (CONT'D)
                         Did I tell you my charges were

                         No, you didn't. That is good news.

                         I would've so had his guts for
                         garters in court. I had fifty
                         hotties with big tits lined up to
                         say he was always finding an excuse
                         to bust into the gym and perve on
                         our boobs. I'll bash him again if
                         he keeps trying to confiscate my

               She offers the joint again.

                                   AUDREY (CONT'D)
                         Go on. It'll free your mind.

               LON warily accepts the offer. Inhales. Holds.

                                   AUDREY (CONT'D)
                         You're invited to dinner with my
                         parents on saturday night.

               LON exhales with a certain alarm.


               Scene 5

               Patient LON, psychiatrist AUDREY, in transference, again.

                         I'm being punished.

                         I see. What do you think you are
                         being punished for?

                         For dreaming. I'm being punished
                         for daring to dream.

                         I see. What do you dare to dream

                         The house. My house.

                         I see. Might the house be a

                         Ha! Excuse me? Freud? The house as
                         metaphor for the father? Really?
                         Freud!? Ha! When in doubt, fall
                         back on the Old Necromancer. Wrap
                         yourself in the woolly blather of
                         the Old Obscurantist. The Old
                         Obfuscator whose singular
                         achievement - to be simultaneously
                         opaque, prolix, and devoid of
                         genuine empirical evidence - allows
                         any charlatan with a framed
                         parchment to hide behind what the
                         Old Witchdoctor laughably called
                         analysis. Analysis? I laugh. Ha!
                         Surely, madame, surely you are not
                         a Freudian? And thus, a Charlatan?

                         The Old Misogynist did have some
                         useful insights. Mostly about men.

                         The house is not a metaphor for my
                         father, nor anything else. It's a

                         Would you like to talk about your

                         My father was a good man. He was a
                         panel beater.


                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         A dodgey panel beater. I loved him.
                         So did my revhead mates. He'd bog
                         up a billycart for rego. The RTA
                         caught up with him. He was never
                         the same. He drank himself to

                         Was that painful for you?

                         I'd left home by then. But yes, it
                         was painful for me. More painful
                         for him. And mum. I'm getting a
                         cramp. Do you mind if I walk about?
                         I have not been able to sit still
                         in the absence of barbiturates
                         since primary school. Why don't you
                         walk about with me?

                         When you think about your
                         upbringing, your family, what sort
                         of feelings arise?

                         Affection. Amusement. Pride. I wish
                         they hadn't named me after a
                         skiffle singer. Lonnie Donegan? "My
                         Old Man's A Dustman"? My parents
                         were good people trapped by
                         circumstance. Dad worked, mum fed
                         us and kept house. They wanted me
                         to have a better life. They
                         supported me. Even when I did
                         things they didn't understand. Like
                         become a shrink. Shrink was what
                         happened to clothes and income.

               LON is becoming physically agitated.

                         Is your mother still alive?

                         She lives with her sister in a
                         retirement village in Woollahra. I
                         lie. In St. George's Basin. I don't
                         know why I can't say Woollahra with
                         a straight face any more. When it
                         comes to pretence I have no staying
                         power. Am I a choker, doc? A
                         classic and chronic case of Chokeur
                         de Hauteur Syndrome? Or is it
                         Chokeur à Hauteur? What do you

                         What do you think?

                         Their generation didn't need
                         shrinks. They just got on with it.

                         Do you have a theory as to why that
                         is? Or was?

                         They didn't have time on their
                         hands. They didn't have idle minds.
                         And they didn't think they were

                         Do you think you're important?

                         If the house is a metaphor, it most
                         likely is a metaphor for me.

                         Tell me about the house.

                         What about the house?

                         You said you dream about it?

                         Constantly. I dreamt about it on
                         the night I first saw it. I dreamt
                         about it every night thereafter,
                         until I bought it. After which I
                         continued to dream about it, in its
                         evolving state of enlargement,
                         until I lost it.
                         In the wake of which I dream about
                         it more than ever, and will
                         continue to do so, even though my
                         ex-wife has tasked an interior
                         decorator with obliterating in the
                         Tuscan style any and all trace of
                         my occupancy, from fishpond
                         fountain to toilet seats.

                         Do you dream about any particular
                         aspect of the house?

                         I dream about every feature, from
                         atrium to attic, from tiles to
                         tapware, from garden to garages.
                         The Dream House Dream is chronic,

                         Is there anything more you'd like
                         to tell me about the house?

                         The house is beautiful. Beauty is
                         what we all seek. Don't you think?

                         What do you think?

                         As soon as the barbarian gets
                         inside the gates, he surrounds
                         himself with beautiful things. Once
                         inside the palace, Stalin didn't
                         shop at Bestsky & Lessky. He also
                         whacked in a monster picture window
                         so the less fortunate could peer
                         in. Live in envy, die in despair,
                         peasant! Status is all about
                         revenge, isn't it?

                         Is it?

                         Isn't it?

                         Prior to obtaining the house, did
                         you therefore see yourself as a

                         I was crap. Audrey taught me about
                         At the end of each day I speculate
                         on what might have transpired had
                         Audrey not been the over-indulged
                         daughter of wealthy parents, sought
                         professional help and so become my
                         patient, underage sexual partner,
                         and tutor in beauty. The furniture
                         would be crap and the neighbours
                         would look down their noses at me.
                         Trust me. I was crap.

               LON'S legs give way beneath him.


               Scene 6

               Outside the Dream House. The façade/face has reappeared.

               Off: the sound of a high-end automobile going through the
               gears. At high-end speed.

               AUDREY - visibly pregnant - waits outside, as an ESTATE AGENT
               (JAY) hovers nearby.

                         I'm sorry. My husband shouldn't be
                         long now.

               The ESTATE AGENT goes inside.

               Off: the sound of squealing tyres.


               Off: followed by a violent crash.


               LON enters, hurrying, but with difficulty: in pain from an
               injured back, limping. And somewhat manic.

                         So? Do you love it? I love it. Do
                         you? Love it?

               Pause. As AUDREY, impassive, stares at LON.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         I stacked the status symbol. A
                         humbling experience. Or is it an
                         humbling experience. Well? Do you
                         love it?


                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         I had a little brush with the law.
                         And I tried to outrun them.
                         DB is taking care of it. DB's good,
                         isn't he? Old boyfriend? He
                         recommends I garner myself a
                         portfolio. I was in a hurry, ok? Is
                         that ok, Audrey?

                         It's my fault, is it?

                         Not at all, sweetheart. You know I
                         love to hurry. I hurried from the
                         womb and have not stopped hurrying
                         since. Hurry is me. Shall we hurry

                         Are you having an episode?

                         In my hurry I buggered my back,
                         giving me no choice but to
                         hurriedly prescribe myself
                         painkillers, hurriedly seek out a
                         compliant chemist, and hurriedly
                         consume the product.

                         How many did you take?

                         I feel strangely un-hurried. So?
                         What do you think of the Dream
                         House? Do you love it?

                         How much is it?

                         Only three point two. Do you love
                         it? It'll be worth double in two
                         years. Triple in five, according to
                         DB. He said if we weren't close
                         friends, he'd buy it himself.

                         Three point two. We don't need a
                         big house, Lon.

                         You didn't grow up in a small
                         house. Auds. Auds. Auds. We worked
                         through this guilt thing of yours
                         when you were fifteen. Remember? We
                         concluded there is nothing
                         intrinsically evil in privilege.
                         Let's not fight over the size of a

               The ESTATE AGENT returns.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Lead on, McDuff. That's an
                         expression. McDuff was a famous
                         Shakespearean real estate agent.
                         McDuff sold Elsinore to Hamlet.
                         Love this front door. You'd need an
                         elephant to kick this in.

               The façade/face disappears.

               They enter the Dream House.

               LON's mood heightens - becomes more "up" - considerably so -
               as the inspection proceeds.

                                   ESTATE AGENT
                         Spacious entry and reception room.


                         It's huge, mate. Not spacious.
                         Huge. Say it. Huge.

                                   ESTATE AGENT
                         I agree. It is huge.

                         The old double-fronted fibro would
                         fit inside here. Why don't we do
                         just that, Auds? Plonk it in here
                         as an installation. Or an antique.
                         Or both. That'll show them.

                         Shut up, Lon.

                         I could sleep in the old joint
                         after we fight. Beats sleeping
                         upright in a repro Tutankhamen

                         Let the man do his job, Lon.

                                   ESTATE AGENT
                         Spacious - huge - living room.

                         Hand crafted marble tiling. With
                         sub-floor heating. Hot marble,
                         baby. Take off your shoes. Take off
                         your shoes.

               LON removes his shoes.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Where's the remote? Have you got
                         the remote? Where's the remote? Who
                         used it last?

               The REAL ESTATE AGENT indicates a control panel on a wall.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         This is Houston Control. Adjusting
                         floor temperature to maximum now.
                         You haven't taken off your shoes,

                         I'll take your word that it works.
                         Let's move on.

                         Who would think this wee panel
                         gives the user total environmental
                         control? Lighting!

               LON turns lights on and off, in a strobe-like display..

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Disco! Woo! Reach for the lasers!

               ..before running the gamut of environmental settings..

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Air conditioning! From equatorial
                arctic gale!

               ..climaxing in a loud freezing-cold gale-like effect.

                                   LON (CONT'D (CONT'D)
                         Activate high-speed drainage of
                         pool, high-pressure clean, and
                         saltwater refill, now!

               Off: a loud gurgling, rushing water sound.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Reset security alarm system to
                         latest local crime statistics!

               He activates the alarm system.

               AUDREY drags him away from the panel. The ESTATE AGENT -
               after effort - manages to bring the system under control.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Please take off your shoes.

               AUDREY removes her shoes.

                                   LON (CONT'D (CONT'D)
                         Feel it? Hot marble.

                         Yes. It feels wonderful. Let's move

                         No, wait. Take it all off.

                         My husband is a comedian. He can't
                         help himself.

                         Let's take it all off. Can we? All
                         three of us. Let's take off our
                         clothes and lie on the floor.
                         Audrey and I used to do that when
                         we were young. We'd stay stuck
                         together on the floor for hours.

                                   ESTATE AGENT
                         The living room opens onto a north
                         facing sunroom, gym, and expansive -
                         huge - deck and entertainment

                         Held in the glorious embrace of a
                         two hundred and seventy degree
                         harbour view which can never be
                         built out until the Chinese take
                         over and reclaim the harbour for a
                         McMissile base.

                                   ESTATE AGENT
                         Flanked by the soft-edged lap pool.

                         I am disappointed in the pool. The
                         pool is the wrong shape, mate. I
                         want a moat. Moat, mate? Moat: a
                         deep wide water-filled trench,
                         usually surrounding a castle or
                         similar fortification.

               He strides, at pace, around the house.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         A heated moat. A heated chlorinated
                         moat. A heated chlorinated lap
                         moat. Renovation project numero
                         uno! I have several depressed
                         swimming pool installers as
                         patients. A competitive tender
                         process should liven them up.
                         I intend to aquatically
                         circumnavigate my dream house every
                         day to the benefit of my health and
                         the envy of morbidly obese

                                   ESTATE AGENT
                         The master bedroom.

                         Those arches have got to go. Or get
                         bigger. In the Moorish style. The
                         ceiling is too low. Or the floor is
                         too high. Another renovation

                                   ESTATE AGENT
                         Ensuite master bathroom.

                         Gold, Audrey. Hand-crafted by Papal

               He strides through the house, at pace, visiting bathrooms.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         More gold bathrooms than
                         Versailles. Audrey's bathroom.
                         Audrey's other bathroom. Audrey's
                         girlfriend's bathroom. Audrey's
                         girlfriend's other bathroom. Trick
                         cycling 101: Women love bathrooms.
                         Women will kill for exclusive use
                         of a huge bathroom. Particularly a
                         huge gold bathroom with floor-to
                         ceiling glass and views of nature,
                         where they may attend to their
                         toilette in the knowledge that the
                         young gardener supposedly trimming
                         the topiary is observing Madame's
                         ablutions with binoculars. So, my
                         little property-bubbling friend,
                         where is my huge bathroom? Ah! Of
                         course! Renovation project! Design,
                         construct and occupy until wrinkly
                         a bathroom conducive to

                                   ESTATE AGENT
                         The kitchen.

               LON comes running.

                         Huge. A spectrum of functional
                         surfaces. Audrey doesn't cook.
                         Audrey barely eats. Audrey binge

               The ESTATE AGENT attempts to finish the tour as quickly as
               possible, as LON hounds him..

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         I love to cook. When I have time.
                         Who has time to cook?

                         I've seen enough.

               AUDREY exits and waits outside.

                                   ESTATE AGENT
                         Bedroom. Bedroom. Bedroom. Bedroom.

                         I love it. The house. I love it.
                         But it needs work. Is the price
                         negotiable? It's a huge project.
                         I'll need to draw on assistance
                         from an architect patient. And a
                         patient in the council planning

                                   ESTATE AGENT
                         Triple garage over wine cellar.

                         And a builder patient. And a
                         plumber patient. And an electrician
                         patient. And a bank manager
                         patient. And a solicitor patient.
                         They're all depressed. Employment
                         on a huge scale will boost their
                         self-esteem. Are you familiar with
                         Smith's Reno-Manic Syndrome? Are we

               The ESTATE AGENT thrust a brochure at LON..

                                   ESTATE AGENT
                         It's all in here. I'm on leave as
                         of tomorrow. My partner will be
                         happy to assist you further.

                         What is this? Where are we? Who are

               ..and scuttles off.

               LON rejoins AUDREY.

                         He was only doing his job. Why do
                         you need to torment?

                         Displacement. Unintended
                         consequence of medication. Nerves.
                         I shall call him and apologise to
                         point of abasement. I shall grovel
                         and explain I behaved abominably
                         because I love the house and I am
                         simply terrified of missing out.

                         Three point two million?

                         Daddy will bail us out if we get
                         into trouble.

               AUDREY slaps him.

                         My father doesn't like you that

                         What about his grandson?

                         How do you know it's a boy?

                         Whatever. I want my child to have
                         what I didn't. That's how it works.

                         It is a boy.

               LON embraces AUDREY.

                         Is he strong?

                         He is. I'm not. You know my

                         Colourful. And very public. You had
                         poor judgement in men. Then you met

                         Not funny. This is my last shot,
                         Lon. The tubes can't take any more.
                         Can we wait? For the house? I don't
                         want stress.

                         If we wait, we miss out. No-one
                         waits any more. We've talked about

                         I don't want to lose this baby.

                         You won't lose this baby. You
                         won't. Ergo, this baby needs
                         somewhere to live. Thus explaining
                         my selection of a residence so
                         patently a nipper's paradise.

                         Three point two million?

                         DB's sorted the loan. He's good,
                         isn't he? He's helping me put
                         together an investment portfolio.
                         Three point two is nothing.
                         Nothing. Trust me. Depression is a
                         boom market.

                         What if it's a bubble? And it

                         What? The population suddenly
                         attains peace of mind? Is suddenly
                         content with its lot? You can not
                         be serious. The numbers of the
                         morose swell even as we speak. I am
                         mounting a giant digital counter on
                         the clinic roof. Two million sad
                         sacks and counting!

               Pause. AUDREY is tearful.

                         I wanted a little girl. Just a
                         little girl. And a flower garden
                         for her to run in.

                         We'll get the lad a dress. If he
                         develops problems, he can talk to

               AUDREY stalks out. LON deploys his mobile.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         DB. She loves it. How much are they
                         asking? Offer them four.


               Scene 7

               Still inside the Dream House.

               Patient LON, psychiatrist AUDREY, in transference, again.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Before we start. As you know, I'm
                         in the fruitcake game myself and
                         having studied my own case over a
                         number of years, in complete albeit
                         painful honesty, have come to the
                         firm conclusion that I am not
                         depressed. I am simply stressed by
                         Audrey, you, and everyone else
                         telling me I'm depressed when I'm
                         not depressed.

               AUDREY smiles and hands LON a clipboard of diagnostic forms
               and a pen. LON riffles through the documents.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Ah. Yes. DASS. BD1. X10. LSAS.
                         Gibberish. I'm familiar with the
                         forms. Gibberish. I don't trust
                         these things for one minute but on
                         the other hand I do see a patient
                         every forty five minutes and thus
                         need every form I can get to
                         facilitate traffic flow so I
                         encourage my psychopunters to fill
                         out as many pages of gibberish as
                         they can in the waiting room which
                         also economises on magazines and
                         Condé Nast is not happy but I am.

               He tries to return the clipboard. AUDREY resists taking it.

                         For this relationship to work you
                         need to let me conduct our

                         Afraid I will trick-cycle you while
                         you're trick-cycling me? This isn't
                         going to work. I know the subtext
                         of every question.

                         What makes you think there is a

                         There is always a subtext. To
                         everything. There is a subtext to
                         life. Death. Nice try, but this
                         isn't going to work. I know how
                         many points I need to score to be
                         depressed. I know how many points I
                         need to go into remission. I know
                         how many points I need to be seen
                         to be living in perfect and
                         perpetual bliss. I find the
                         temptation to cheat overwhelming.

                         What would be the point of
                         cheating, as you call it?

                         Cheating is its own reward.
                         "During the last thirty days, how
                         often did you feel worthless? None
                         of the time, a little, some, most,
                         or all of the time?" None of the
                         time. "How often did you feel
                         depressed?" None of the time.
                         "Hopeless?" None of the time. "So
                         sad nothing could cheer you up?"
                         None of the time. "So restless you
                         could not sit still?" None. Of.
                         The. Time. I just need a holiday.
                         Write that down. A nice long
                         holiday in the psychotropics. I
                         find filling out diagnostic forms
                         highly stressful.

               He again tries to return the clipboard. Again AUDREY resists.

               LON then fills in the top form at high speed.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         I also know all the strategies.
                         CBT, REBT, MBCBT, ACT, EIEIO, POQ
                         and DCB. Turning off the tape,
                         challenging negative thought,
                         defusing automatic response, living
                         in the moment. All the spooky shit,
                         too. Primal screaming, past life
                         regression, hypnosis, acupuncture,
                         meditation, religion, sport and
                         getting a hobby.

               He rapidly adds up his "score".

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Voila. My card. Depression: par.
                         Anxiety: bogie. But only one over.
                         Within statistical margin for
                         error. Stress: eleven over par! Out
                         of bounds. Lost ball. Club in water
                         hazard. Assault on caddy.
                         Membership suspended. The numbers
                         don't lie. I'm only here because I
                         promised Audrey. Let's try another
                         tack. Ask me if I'm sleeping. Ha! I
                         don't sleep. I've never slept. Not
                         even in the cot. Whizzz! I was born
                         ON. I can't stand to miss a single
                         second of life. How can I sleep
                         while a world of mentally ill
                         people cries out for help?

                         What do you do when you don't

                         Stay awake. Boom boom. In a state
                         of agitated lethargy. Thinking.
                         Thinking. Thinking. Thinking.

                         What do you think about?

                         Thinking. I think about the house.
                         I think about renovations. I think
                         about extensions. I think about
                         alterations. I think about
                         additions. To stop thinking I
                         pester Audrey for sex. Not every
                         night. Routinely every six months.
                         It's the key to marriage. I've
                         never strayed. Not even with
                         attractive patients who are under
                         my spell. Except for Audrey
                         herself. And that was different. Is
                         there a statute of limitations on
                         professional misconduct? Sometimes
                         I check Jay's room to see if he's
                         accidentally come home. Before I
                         resume thinking about the house.

               He jumps to his feet.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         I have to go. I have an RA meeting
                         to attend. Home renovation is an
                         obsessive compulsive disorder.
                         My name is Lon Smith and I am
                         addicted to renovation, extension,
                         alteration, addition, inclusion,
                         accessorisation, featuredom,
                         aggrandisement, upgrading and more
                         garages and bathrooms than you can
                         poke a stick at. Anything to show
                         the bastards. Too much will never
                         be enough. Sorry?


                         Where were we?


                         I think about how happy I am now I
                         have everything I ever wanted. I
                         think about how, even if I am
                         depressed, which I am not, I am
                         still happy, which I am. Ergo, I am
                         not depressed. On the other hand,
                         depression and happiness are not
                         incompatible. In my professional
                         opinion. Not when facilitated by
                         the appropriate medication. And now
                         we're finally, finally getting
                         somewhere, Doc.

                         And where is that?

                         The crucial role played by
                         chemistry. I have an internal
                         chemical imbalance due to childhood
                         poisoning by exhaust fumes and
                         panelbeater's bog. All I require to
                         combat this imbalance is the
                         appropriate medication, which
                         hitherto I have been able to
                         prescribe myself, thus avoiding the
                         need to knock over a chemist, which
                         would not look good for one in my
                         professional position.

                         Would you like to tell me about
                         your medication?

                         In detail?

                         It might be useful.

                         Well! Lately I'm finding two or
                         even three Rohypnol insufficient to
                         shut out the cries for help. That
                         can only be good, don't you think?
                         For those crying out?

                         Are you taking any other

                         Assorted pick me ups when I need a
                         lift. One more won't hurt. That's
                         my motto. Morphine. For the back.
                         And the leg. Car crash. You'd think
                         a morphine and Roey cocktail would
                         finesse a little nap, wouldn't you?
                         Washed down with a booming 14.5 per
                         cent McLaren Vale shiraz? No way.

               LON'S mobile rings. Ringtone: "Don't Worry, Be Happy".

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         I have to take this. This is Dr

               LON listens. At length.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Fuck off.

               He hangs up.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Deregistration procedures have been
                         commenced against me.

                         Would you like to talk about that?


                         One more won't hurt.

               LON searches his pockets.

                         I'm sorry?

                         Sorry? What was the question again?

                         Would you like to talk about your

               LON locates a blister pack, extracts a pill.

                         What this is really about, is, I
                         showed the bastards and they didn't
                         like it. So they had to bring me
                         down. It all makes perfect sense.

                         I'm not sure I understand.

                         Jesus Mary and Joseph. If you don't
                         understand, how am I supposed to?
                         Fortunately, I do. Understand.

                         Would you like to elaborate on

                         The bastards - not those bastards
                         but the other bastards - or maybe
                         they are the same bastards - I
                         should look into that - they invent
                         new ways to fail every day. Every
                         day, a million new ways to fail.
                         Jesus wept. Are you driving that?
                         Are you wearing that? Are you
                         eating and drinking that? Are you
                         living in that? Who are you anyway?
                         Are you good enough? Show us you're
                         good enough. So I did. I showed the
                         bastards. And I kept showing them.
                         Can you imagine the pressure? I
                         kept on keeping on showing them
                         until I couldn't keep on keeping on
                         showing them any more. And I
                         choked. Choked. Dazzling young
                         clinician Lon Smith gave success a
                         good shot but in the end could not
                         dazzle when it mattered. Or perhaps
                         where. Or maybe both. I choked. I
                         failed. I lost. What's the Latin
                         for "One more won't hurt"? A family
                         coat of arms will boost the
                         credibility of a comeback attempt.

                         Would you like to tell me why you
                         promised Audrey you would consult a

                         No. I think the catalyst was when I
                         said I'd kill her. That'd do it,
                         wouldn't you think? She threatened
                         to divorce me. I said I was
                         comfortable with that as long as I
                         kept the house. To which she
                         replied: "Over her dead body."

               AUDREY falls, lies on the floor again.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         What did she expect?

               LON'S mobile rings: "Don't Worry, Be Happy".

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         My name is Lon Smith and I am
                         addicted to showing the bastards.

               He answers the mobile.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Fuck off.


               END of ACT 1

               ACT 2

               Scene 1

               Outside the Dream House. The house façade/face has
               reappeared. The interior lights are out.

               A loud, distorted "Smoke On The Water" plays, off.

               LON enters. Now the complete homeless derelict. Wild sticky
               hair, blotchy skin, dirty ill-fitting clothes, flapping
               runners. Gripping a bottle in a paper bag. Voice like gargled
               gravel, becoming, under duress, deep-lunged wheezing.

               He pushes a battered shopping trolley containing stuffed
               plastic bags, golf club, ricketty fold-out chair, tattered
               notebook, half loaf of white sliced bread..

               ..topped by an ancient outsized boom box blaring the
               distorted "Smoke On The Water".

               A tatty handwritten cardboard sign hangs from the trolley:
               "Psychiatry is an Evil".

               He parks the trolley in the shadows, turns off the boom box,
               with difficulty.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                             (to house)

               He raises his arms, bows deeply to the House Idol.

               Then ducks an imaginary creature, flying low overhead.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Argefugged! Gefugged! Gefugg -

               Wrestles open the foldout chair.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                             (to chair)
                         Gefugged! You! You! Gefugged!

               Positions it, in shadow, but with a view of the house.

               Retrieves the tattered notebook. Locates a pencil. Sits,
               stares at the house, shakily scribbles in the notebook.

               Waves the notebook at the house.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         'S allin 'ere. Haa! Yorallfugged,
                         you'ba'tards! 'S allin 'ere! 'S
                         allin 'ere - wha - ?

               He thinks he hears something. What? He listens. Silence.

                                   LON (CONT'D)

               He returns to scribbling in the notebook.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Gotcha ya bastar's. 'S allin 'ere!
                         Showyouse bastar's. Yourallfugged.

               Again hears something? Taking golf club from the trolley..

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Fug! Fug! Ge'ou'of't ya ba'tar's!

               ..he flays wildly at invisible creatures seemingly diving at
               him..before swigging at the bottle..which is now empty.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Argefugged. Yorallfugged   

               Scrabbling in the trolley, he finds only empty bottles.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Fug! Fug!

               He slumps in the chair, gazes at the house..

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                             (to house)

               ..swigs at the empty bottle..stares at the house..rises..

               ..staggers toward the house..vacillates..heads back to the
               chair..vacillates..staggers back to the house..finally
               disappears into the darkness down the side.

               Scene 2

               The sound of breaking glass.

               The house façade/face disappears. LON is now inside. In

               He trips over an object on the floor. Plunges forward. Hits a

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Fug! Argefugged!

               With difficulty..

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Fug! Fug!

               ..he locates a light switch.

               The object over which he tripped is JAY'S dead body. Thin,
               ratty dreadlocks..

               AUDREY'S body lies nearby.

                                   LON (CONT'D)

               LON sits. Befuddled. Before toppling over, unconscious.


               JAY rises from the dead.

               Unhurried, he peruses the contents of the house. Aware of -
               but giving scant notice to - the bodies of LON and AUDREY.

               JAY exits.


               JAY returns. Bearing a bulging backpack.

               He approaches AUDREY'S body.


               No response. JAY quickly searches AUDREY'S pockets. Finds a
               purse. Removes cash and cards. As he starts to go..

               ..LON seizes him by the ankle. JAY kicks, tries to free
               himself. LON hangs on.

                                   JAY (CONT'D)
                         It wasn't me! She was already dead!

                         Where've you been?

               LON has recovered the power of speech.

               Physical struggle continues, in fits and starts, as:

                         Did you kill her?

                         No, of course I didn't kill her!

                         You did, didn't you?

                         Just tell me where you've been.

                         Let me go, dad.

                         I want to know where you've been!
                         You've been gone for weeks!

                         I've been gone for eighteen months.

                         Why are you back?

               LON'S mobile rings. Ringtone: "Don't Worry, Be Happy".

                         That's yours.

               The mobile continues ringing.

                         I want to talk, son. We need to

               The mobile continues ringing.

                         What if it's a psychiatric

               The mobile continues ringing.

                                   JAY (CONT'D)
                         What if it's a cry for help? From
                         The Gap?

               The mobile stops ringing.

                                   JAY (CONT'D)
                         They jumped. They jumped, dad. And
                         it's your fault.

                         Have you been to school? At all?
                         What are you on?

               JAY struggles to release himself.

                         Did you kill her?

                         No. I don't think so. Did you?

                         I don't think so.

               The mobile rings again. "Don't Worry, Be Happy".

                                   JAY (CONT'D)
                         That'll be another cry for help.
                         There was always another cry for
                         help. There is always another cry
                         for help. There always will be
                         another cry for help. I know. I
                         know. I do understand, dad.

               The mobile continues to ring.

                                   JAY (CONT'D)
                         Someone's expensive car's been
                         scratched so they're in a locked
                         garage idling the disfigured Merc
                         with a hose jammed up its arse.

               The mobile continues to ring.

                         This is an emergency too. Us, Jay.
                         We're an emergency.

               The mobile continues to ring.

                         They're winding up the tinted
                         windows. They're breathing deeply.
                         They're dropping off to Pachelbel's
                         Canon streaming live from

                         I don't have patients any more. I'm

               The mobile stops ringing.

                         They're gone. Sad. What did you do?

                         We found the used needles under the
                         mattress, Jay.

                         Ancient history. That's all over
                         now. I'm clean.

                         Have you burgled the place again?
                         Couldn't you restrict yourself to
                         just friends and neighbours to fund
                         your habit?

                         They haven't got nearly as much
                         stuff as you. There's an awful lot
                         here to steal, dad.

                         I came off a low base.

                         Anyway, why shouldn't you continue
                         to fund my habit? I acquired my
                         habit at the best school your money
                         could buy.   

                         Shit! Shit shit shit. Did you kill
                         your mother for the inheritance?
                         For the house? Will you have to
                         kill me now?

                         I told you, I'm clean. I left home
                         to get clean. I couldn't get clean

                         What makes life with your mother
                         and father so bad?

                         You both make me sick. I'm an
                         anarchist. Property is theft. The
                         neighbours are grotesque. I thought
                         mum would've kicked you out by now.

                         Your mother is a very understanding

                         I'm living in a tree house. On a
                         detox farm beside a National Park.
                         I've got a girlfriend.

                         That's great, son. What's her name?
                         What's she like?

                         Her name's Madonna. She's cool.
                         She's sweet.

                         She makes you happy. I can see. I'm

                         She's having a baby. It's not mine.
                         But good as.

                         I'd like to meet her.

                         She's not meeting you, no way.

               The mobile rings again. "Don't Worry, Be Happy".

                         Jesus wept!

                         Answer it.

                         I want to keep talking to you. I
                         want us to keep talking.

                         So do I.

                         You do?

                         It's about time.

               The mobile keeps ringing.

                         You'll wait? You promise to wait?

                         I promise.

               LON slowly releases grip on JAY. Answers the mobile.

                         DB. What gives - ?

               JAY runs out.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Jay! You come back here! Jay! Shit.
                             (to DB)
                         What is it?..What? Since when?..
                         Fucking hell, David..That's your
                         job. Is there some reason you
                         didn't warn me?

               The sound of a car driving off at speed, outside.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Christ! The car! Audrey! The car!
                             (to DB)
                         You should've warned me sooner!

               LON checks the contents of the house as he and DB talk.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Christ! Audrey! Audrey!
                             (to DB)
                         My fucking son has stolen our
                         widescreen plasma tv. Audrey!
                             (to DB)
                         Just find the money..So go to
                         Russia! Do whatever it takes!..All
                         right, fuck it, sell the bloody
                         building. It's an eyesore anyway.
                         Sell it! Sell them all! Sell sell
                         sell, DB!..I don't care! Just do
                         your fucking job!

               He hangs up.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Audrey! Jay's stolen the

               He inspects more closely.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         The set top box and the dvd player
                         have gone too. My god, the entire
                         home theatre system has gone! Jesus
                         wept. Check your jewellery. All
                         right, I'll check your jewellery.

               He exits, to continue inspection.

                                   LON (OFF) (CONT'D)
                         Christ! No! No! He's gone through
                         the place like a locust! How much
                         stuff do kids need these days? He
                         always did consume like octuplets.
                         Jesus. I made my own stuff when I
                         was a kid. Then again, I had an
                         unhappy childhood.


                                   LON (OFF) (CONT'D)
                         He's taken the Clifford Possum!

               LON returns.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         He's taken the Clifford Possum!
                         I've had enough of this.

               He jabs his mobile keypad.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Police. Police!

               AUDREY rises. She wrestles LON for the phone.

                         Lon. No. Please.

                         He's crossed the line. Hello? I'd
                         like to report a robbery.

               AUDREY kicks LON in the shins..

                                   LON (CONT'D)

               ..seizes the phone and ends the call.

                         Jay needs help.

                         He took the fucking Clifford

                         He can't sell it. Not without

                         The Ching Chongs don't give a shit
                         about provenance.

               The mobile rings again. "Don't Worry, Be Happy". AUDREY notes
               the caller and answers whilst evading LON'S grasp.

                         Hello, David. I'm good. Yes, I am.
                         Looking forward to it. Yes, he is.
                             (to LON)

                         Tell him to fuck off and do his

                         Can I take a message, David?
                             (to LON)
                         It's matter of life and death.
                             (to DB)
                         Are you sure you can't tell me?

                         OK, I'll take it. I'll take it, ok?

               AUDREY holds the mobile to LON'S ear but does not release her
               grip on it.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         What?! It's not a good time...
                         You fucker! All of it? All of it?
                         You fucking fucker! All all of it?
                         Jesus wept!
                             (to Audrey)
                         Just give me the phone, will you!
                         DB! Call the cops for me - !

               AUDREY snatches the phone away. Ends the call.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         We're rooned. We're fucking rooned.
                         Rooned. Rooned.

               He locates a bottle of liquor hidden in another vase.

               AUDREY takes refuge in selecting flowers from other vases,
               with intent to arrange in a bouquet.

               LON squeezes pills from a blister pack, quietly..

               ..but not quietly enough.

                         Lon. No.  

               She tries to prevent him downing the pills. He dodges and
               weaves. She gives up, returns to assembling the flowers.

               He sits, flushes the pills down with liquor.

                         Thought you'd found them all, did
                             (re bouquet)
                         And how is the hobby?

                         It's not a hobby.

                         Raking it in, are we? From all your
                         girlfriends and their multiple

                         Every little bit helps right now.
                         It also gets me out of the house.
                         You need to get out too.

                         Someone has to guard what remains
                         of the inclusions.

                         Is that why you never go out?

                         I go out.

                         You never leave the house. Exercise
                         is good for depression.

                         A jog to the nearest high end
                         electronics outlet might now be in
                         order, thanks to Jay. Followed by
                         an aerobic trot around the gallery
                         circuit. Top up the inclusions,

               AUDREY displays the spectacular bouquet.


                         Fabulous. Marvellous. Stunning. A
                         triumph of the art. Did I tell you
                         I intend crashing the ball?

                         There will be security.

                         I know too much. I am The Keeper Of
                         The Secrets.

                         Will you please eat something?

                         I must imbibe quickly. Jay is hell
                         bent on hocking the contents of the
                         cellar. Will Fuckface The Slug be

                         Please don't call him that. You
                         liked David once.

                         Confidentially, Queen Audrey, in my
                         professional opinion, the Slug is a
                         violent paranoid schizophrenic with
                         erectile dysfunction.

                         Don't wait up.

                         I am accompanying you to the ball,
                         my dear. Give me your arm. Once I
                         have downed my fill of Bolly, I
                         shall proceed to murder The Slug
                         right in front of anyone who's

               His legs give way beneath him.

                                   LON (CONT'D)

               He struggles to rise. His legs give way again.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Damn this infernal gravity!

                         How many did you take?

               No response. LON is asleep.

               AUDREY exits.

               LON begins to hyperventilate. Heaves, shakes, thrashes about,
               in his sleep.

               AUDREY returns, sits, in analyst mode.

               LON wakes up screaming.

                         Recurring nightmare. I'm born. My
                         parents take me home to a rental
                         property. A fibro cottage on a main
                         traffic artery. The house is coated
                         in the black rubber sprinkles of
                         passing tyres. The concrete path is
                         cracked like an earthquake has hit.
                         Inside, my infant nostrils are
                         assaulted by the twin smells of
                         exhaust fumes and panel beaters
                         bog. Every surface is coated in
                         black rubber sprinkles resembling
                         three day growth. The lino is worn,
                         the walls are green, the lighting
                         is yellow. In the back yard,
                         rusting car bodies crouch like
                         monsters in thigh length grass. As
                         I grow, brown paper is pasted over
                         my lazy eye. The second hand bike I
                         receive for Christmas is
                         recognised, at school, with glee,
                         by its former owner. I am given
                         foul home haircuts via a succession
                         of spurious "As Seen On TV" home
                         hairdressing implements. I see
                         horror on the face of The Pretty
                         Girl Who Lives On The Hill when she
                         deduces my ill-fitting school
                         shorts are hand-sewn by my mother.
                         I realise I can never bring friends
                         home. Especially after I win the
                         scholarship and move in elevated
                         company. I rise above. I falter.
                         I plummet. I end my days conducting
                         psychiatric practice from my black
                         rubber-sprinkled childhood home and
                         wake up screaming. Dickens In A Log
                         Cabin On Parramatta Road. Class is
                         so old school. Don't you think? Am
                         I aspirational or ashamed?

               AUDREY stands, shrugs off "analyst" mode..and takes up her
               bouquet of flowers.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Is materialism a mental illness?

                         I'm off now. Please eat something.

               LON leaps to his feet, withdrawing a legal document from a

                         Just sign here.


                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         I need your signature.


                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         I'm in trouble. Big - huge trouble.

                         Knock me down with a feather.

                         I need to borrow against the house.
                         Just sign here.


                         That's one way of putting it.

                         To do what?

                         Make the payments on the portfolio.
                         For a start.

                         You fool. You promised me you would
                         sell everything! You promised!

                         I exaggerated.


                         I did sell the units in Vanuatu. At
                         a modest loss. Well, on the high
                         side of modest. Or the modest side
                         of high. But when the Queensland
                         and Russian ventures went belly up,
                         on DB's advice, I drew a line in
                         the sand. Hold on, DB said. Draw a
                         line in the sand. DB's good, isn't

                         He is indeed. And DB advised me not
                         to remortgage under any
                         circumstances. Throwing good money
                         after bad, he said.

                         DB advised you? Not to remortgage?
                         When? Ye gods and little fishes! My
                         God! It's a setup, isn't it? The
                         Slug has set me up. He set me up.
                         So he could slime onto you. Fucking
                         fat pasty-faced slug solicitor set
                         me up!

                         Not biting.          

                         He advised me to put the house in
                         your name in the first place. He
                         advised me on the property in the
                         portfolio. He knew it would come to
                         this. He made it come to this.

                         You're off with the pixies now.

                         I'm down the gurgler, Audrey. Just
                         give me the signature. I need the
                         signature. Just sign here.


                         Sign or you won't make it to the
                         ball. Not this ball. Not any other
                         ball, ever again. You need to take
                         me seriously, Audrey.

               He picks up the golf club.


               He drops the club.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Jesus wept! You think your
                         signature's so precious? Watch
                         this. Watch this. Watch. Are you

               He takes notebook and pencil. Writes.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         "Audrey Smith". See? Easy as peasy.

               AUDREY laughs at his attempt at forgery. He repeats the
               attempt. She laughs again. He hurls the notebook at her.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Shitfuck! I'm bankrupt. Bankrupt,
                         deregistered, and homeless. And
                         it's your fault.

               He takes up the golf club.

                         Lon -

               LON advances. AUDREY screams.

               LON stops, leans the club against a wall.

                         Not the end of the world. Don't
                         catastrophise. Evaluate. Challenge.
                         Affirm: bankruptcy and rehab are
                         proven career paths. Rags to riches
                         via rehab. Think positive. Act
                         positive. Fake it till you make it.
                         Knuckle down and buckle up. Stow
                         it, don't throw it. Fools with fire
                         soon become flaming idiots.

               He remembers the location of another bottle.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Party. Party! Celebrate. Rejoice.
                         Revel in bankruptcy, professional
                         disgrace and the poisonous
                         financial advice of your wife's

                         He's not my lover.

                         That's what you think. Party theme.
                         Party theme. French. French! Alors!
                         When the going gets tough, the
                         tough go French. Mais oui oui oui
                         oui oui. Of course. An Aristocrat
                         And Jacobin Ball! La Révolution!
                         Sans-culottes and noble finery!
                         Periwigs! Paint and powder!

               He sings a snatch of La Marseillaise.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         Madame La Guillotine, bloodsoaked,
                         hungers for heads by the barbecue.
                         I, a seemingly bankrupt alcoholic
                         aristocrat with a prescription pill
                         habit, in reality a peasant with
                         ideas above his station, make grand
                         entrance in a repro sustainable
                         hardwood tumbril. You knit
                         furiously. The mob of former
                         patients cheer as my severed head
                         is held aloft. Sign here.

               His legs give way again. He sinks into a torpor.

               JAY enters. Clean, spruced up.


                         I want to come home.

                         Oh, Jay.

               AUDREY and JAY embrace.

                         Can I come home?

                         Lon. Jay's back.

                         The prodigal returns!

               LON joins the tearful family embrace.

                         I'm sorry. For everything.

                         It doesn't matter.

                         I've worked it out now. You did it
                         all for me.

                         We spoilt you rotten.

                         Because we love you.

                         I love you too. I learned there are
                         far worse things than being spoilt

                         You forgive us?

                         Do you forgive me?

                         Oyez! Oyez! Spread the news!
                         Slaughter the fatted calf! The
                         prodigal has returned! The Smiths
                         are back! We are BACK!

               LON laughs through tears, again lovingly embraces AUDREY and
               JAY. They respond to his embrace.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         The Smiths are back. Believe it.
                         And I, I am the one in need of
                         forgiveness. I am the only one. My
                         priorities were totally totally
                         screwed. No more. No more! I swear
                         it, family. This fucking house!
                         It's this fucking house! I want
                         this fucking house out of our
                         lives! Raze the fucking thing! Burn
                         the fucker down to the ground!


                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         I think I've finally figured it
                         out. Love is the only thing that is
                         important. Love. Love. Love.

               MUSIC PLAYS: The Beatles' "All You Need Is Love".

                         Love. Love. Love..

               The house interior becomes a psychedelic environment:
               kaleidoscopic effects, Op-Art swirlings, rainbow-coloured oil
               patterns and shape-shifting mandalas.

               LON, AUDREY, JAY, moving to the music, gather flowers from
               the various vases.

               And, dancing downstage, distribute the blooms to the
               audience. Lovingly, extravagantly, for some time.

               Until, abruptly, AUDREY and JAY cease participation.

               And together, observe LON's trippy behaviour.

               As he continues to dance, and sing "All You Need Is Love",

               Before the music and psychedelic effects fall into a
               nightmarish chaos, and - with the sharp sound of a needle
               scratching across vinyl - suddenly terminate.

                         You look like shit, dad.

                         Your son's right. You look like
                         shit. Look at yourself!

                         You look like shit, dad.

                         Your father has opted to become a
                         derro, Jay. Smell. Professional
                         disgrace and bankruptcy were not
                         nearly enough. Oh no. Nothing is
                         ever enough for your father. He has
                         to become a complete derro. Even
                         that is not enough. He has to show
                         all the derros in town that he's a
                         bigger, better, more complete derro
                         than they are.

                         I am a derro, Jay, because your
                         mother and her lover sold me down
                         the river. I am homeless because
                         your mother's lover persuaded me,
                         for taxation purposes, to put the
                         house in her name.

                         DB is not my lover. I do not have a
                         lover. Your father has lost his

               She shakes LON, vigorously.

                                   AUDREY (CONT'D)
                         Snap out of it! You're dreaming,
                         Lon. You're dreaming!

                         Your mother is a very vindictive
                         woman. All I need is her signature
                         and everything will be fine, son.
                         Can you persuade your mother to
                         sign? Please persuade your mother
                         to sign.

                         I think it's time you left this
                         house. For good. Go.

                         Are you kicking me out? Don't you
                         try and kick me out of my own

                         Dad. Chill.

                         You may continue to live here if
                         you want, Jay.
                             (to Lon)
                         Go! Just go!

                         Don't you try and kick me out of my
                         own house.

               LON seizes the golf club, raises it threateningly.

                         Dad! Back off!

                         Just fucking well sign, will you!
                         For god's sake! Just sign the

               AUDREY takes the document.

               She pauses for effect.

               Then begins to tear up the document. In LON's face.

                                   LON (CONT'D)
                         This is MY house! It's MY house!
                         Don't you try and kick me out of my
                         own house.

               He advances on AUDREY, club raised.

               JAY positions himself between LON and AUDREY.

                         Dad! No! NO!

               Stand-off. LON is hyperventilative.

                                   JAY (CONT'D)
                         I think you better go, dad.

               JAY tries to usher AUDREY away.

               On the move, AUDREY continues to tear up the document.

                         This is MY house!

               LON - with golf club - pursues AUDREY.

                         Dad! Stop - !

               JAY interposes himself between LON and AUDREY, wrestles with
               his father.

                                   JAY (CONT'D)
                         Dad! Stop! STOP!

                         This is MY house!

               LON breaks away. He corners AUDREY. Golf club raised.

               AUDREY screams, loud and long.

               There is a loud knock at the door.

               AUDREY and JAY are both on the floor, dead, again.

               More loud knocks.

                         This is the police! Open up!


               Scene 4

               MUSIC PLAYS: The Beatles' "All You Need Is Love".

                         Love. Love. Love..


               The Dream House façade/face reappears. Interior lights out.

               The Beatles fade..replaced by the sound of a cricket or two.

               LON enters, clad only in underpants, which are the worse for
               wear, pushing a brand-new shopping trolley containing a
               single plastic milk crate.

               Handwritten cardboard signs on the trolley read: "Love".

               He raises his arms above his head and bows to the house.

                         Me again.

               He then takes the milk crate from the trolley and positions
               it - slowly, with precision - downstage centre.

               Before parking the trolley, fastidiously, to one side.

               Moving centre, he again raises his arms, bows to the house.

               Then sits cross-legged on the crate, his back to the house,
               closes his eyes, and meditates. Or seems to. For some time.

               Background: Crickets. A distant owl. A distant siren.

               He opens his eyes. Looks back over his shoulder. As if
               expecting the Dream House to be gone. Only to find his former
               residence still extant.

               He returns his gaze to the front.


               Suddenly remembering, he locates an object concealed within
               his underwear: the gold Zippo lighter.

               He flicks the lighter open, with evident pleasure. Clicks the
               flint. Adjusts the flame upward, to maximum.

               Stares, smiling, into the flame, through it, and beyond.
               Remains thus, concentrated, for a time.

               Then clicks the Zippo shut.

               Blackout. Pause.

               The Dream House appears to flicker, catch fire. As the fire

               A distant owl, a distant siren, The Beatles..fade into a
               distant 'Smoke On The Water'.

               THE END

               (c) Tim Gooding
                    June 2019