Paper Thin Ceiling (A Radio Play)

Upstairs-Downstairs_15001. EXT. SUBURBAN STREET – DAY

SFX – The sound of high stiletto heels on the pavement. Clip. Clop. Clip. Clop. Street sounds of builders working, pause, a whistle, Alright Darlin’? The stiletto heels continue.

BELINDA

Morning, Bert.

BERT

Miss Milano. When are you going to let a

strong man like me carry those bags for you?

BELINDA

Flirty giggle

Two gossipy women, outside the building.

MAUD

Oh my god. Did you see what she was wearing?

Like a high end prostitute.

SANDRA

Like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman?

MAUD

Yea but after Richard Gere threw all his

money at her. All dressed up like a lady,

but everyone knows she’s a tramp.

SANDRA

Tut, Maud, you’re so bad.

SFX – Giggling. The stiletto heels continue. Gate creaks. Heels click. Pause. Rustle of carrier bags. Key turns in the lock of the front door. Door closes.

JANE

To the young woman in apartment seven,

You don’t know me. My family and I live

in the apartment below yours. I appreciate

that you are oblivious to the problems you

are causing…

SFX – the sound of pen on paper, writing.

JANE

…and hope that by writing you this letter you

might be more considerate of your neighbours.

INT. APARTMENT BUILDING

SFX – Heels clicking on wooden stairs.

JERRY

Need a hand, Ms. Milano?

BELINDA

No, thanks, Jerry

TOMMY

Looking good, Ms. Milano

BELINDA

Aww, thanks, Tom

JANE (V.O)

If you wouldn’t mind wearing a longer skirt,

or even underwear, when carrying your shopping

bags up the stairs, that would be great.

Oliver!

SFX – JANE cuffs OLIVER round the back of his head.

OLIVER

Ouch!

JANE

My youngest son hasn’t started sex education at

school yet and it wouldn’t be fair to his

classmates to give him a head start.

SFX – two doors close, carrier bags rustle

JANE

Boys, how many times do I need to tell you?

No TV until your homework’s done.

OLIVER

Owwww!

TOMMY

But, Mum…

JANE

Help me out here, Jerry.

JERRY

Hmm, what? Yea, what your mother said. Have you

got my newspaper?

JANE sighs

SFX – carrier bags, JANE unpacks shopping, cupboard and fridge doors opening and closing

JANE

It’s Thursday, Jerry.

JERRY

Yes, love? Ahh here it is. Can’t believe

they’re knocking down the Imax after all

that fuss putting it up.

JANE

It’s date night, remember?

JERRY

Oh, right, is that really necessary? My mother

can’t be expected to have the boys every week.

It’s not fair on her.

JANE

It’s not fair on me that you try to wriggle out

of it every week. She likes having the boys. It’s

her own fault for giving them sugar before bedtime.

JERRY

Alright, alright, don’t start a fight on date night.

But let’s stay in, get a takeaway, and a movie.

JANE

You know you need to make more effort than that.

Anyway I don’t want to stay in.

JERRY

Why?

JANE

You know why.

Thursday night is our date night, so if you

wouldn’t mind keeping the noise down I would be

eternally grateful. For the last few months,

myself and Marvin Gaye have been desperately

trying to compete with your mating calls, without

success.

SFX – Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing plays softly, the noise of a woman dramatically orgasming can be heard through the ceiling

JANE

Here we go again.

JERRY

What’s wrong love?

JANE

Can’t you hear that?

SFX – the moaning gets louder, bed banging against the wall, mattress springs creaking

JERRY

It doesn’t bother me, does it bother you?

JANE

It’s not exactly… Oh, never mind.

My husband is more than happy to fall asleep to

your musical prowess every night of the week…

SFX – JERRY snores

JANE

But just one night in every seven I would like

to be the woman he thinks about as his head hits

the pillow. Gratefully yours, Mrs Huxtable Smith

(Apartment Four).

2. INT. HUXTABLE-SMITH HOME, EARLY MORNING

SFX – clattering of bowls, cereal poured from its box, newspaper rustles

JANE

Have you thought any more about universities,

Tommy?

TOMMY (mouth full)

No, I think I might take a gap year.

JANE

Whatever for?

SFX – muffled sound of a phone ringing from the apartment above

TOMMY

Experience

BELINDA

(muffled, from the apartment above)

Good morning, darling

JANE

What kind of experience?

BELINDA

(giggles)

You naughty boy

JANE

(Sighs, raises her voice to speak over BELINDA)

I said, what kind of experience, Tommy?

TOMMY

Ollie, pass the orange juice

OLIVER

Fuck’s sake, get it yourself

JANE

Oliver! Wherever did you hear that kind of

language? Jerry, is this your influence?

JERRY

Hmm, what? Sorry I missed that. God, it’s

terrible what they’re doing in the

Middle East (rustles newspaper).

JANE

It must be that school then. Not a day goes by

that I don’t regret getting you into the grammar

school like your brother. I’ll have to speak to

your teacher, Oliver. That language is unforgivable.

BELINDA

That’s right, baby, I want you to fuck me.

Hard.

SFX – spoon hits bowl, chair squeaks

JANE

That’s it. I’m going up there. Jerry, you’ll

have to sort the boys out.

JERRY

But, love, I haven’t finished the…

JANE

Jerry.

JERRY

Okay, okay.

SFX – door closes, heels on stairs, knock on a door

BELINDA

There’s someone at the door, I’ve got to go.

(Giggles) Yes, tomorrow, I promise.

SFX – door opens

BELINDA

Good morning, neighbour

JANE

(stutters) Good, good morning, I wrote you

a letter

BELINDA

Oh, you’re Mrs…

JANE

Huxtable-Smith. Apartment four.

BELINDA

Right. It’s so lovely to finally meet you.

Cup of tea?

JANE

Well… yes okay, we probably should sit down to

talk about this

BELINDA

Come in, come in, have a seat, I’ll put the kettle

on

SFX – heels on wooden floor, kettle clicks in its holster, cups taken out of a cupboard

BELINDA

I’m so sorry for the mess, it’s my cleaning day

JANE

It’s not messy, it’s… my god, what a gorgeous

place!

BELINDA

Well, if you must live in a tiny flat, you might

as well make it your own, am I right?

JANE

Yes, but, gosh, I didn’t imagine it would be so…

BELINDA

Oh, it’s just stuff, I’m sure yours looks much

the same

JANE

Not quite

SFX – kettle boils, pours water into cups, clatter of a spoon in the cups with a double tap on the rim

BELINDA

Now, tell me what did you want to talk about?

JANE

Well, umm, Ms. Milano, you got my letter?

BELINDA

Please, call me Belinda. Sugar?

JANE

Belinda. No. Thank you… I have two boys

downstairs

BELINDA

And what a handsome brood they are, I can see

where they get their looks from, Mrs… what was

it?

JANE

Thank you, it’s err, my name’s Jane. Anyway, I’m

not entirely sure what kind of lifestyle you lead

up here but it’s beginning to affect my family

life. Like I said in my letter.

BELINDA

Of course, your letter, yes. I could tell you’re

having problems with your husband and I actually

thought I might be able to help

JANE

By keeping the noise down

BELINDA

Of course, but also, umm, how do I put this?

You see, the ‘lifestyle’ you referred to actually

makes me a bit of an expert on the sex front

JANE

An expert?

BELINDA

I’m a phone sex operator

JANE

Oh. That explains the vulgar language, at this

ungodly hour.

BELINDA

I wouldn’t call it vulgar, it’s, spicy. It gets

them going, you know?

JANE

No I don’t know. (Laughs) I thought you were

one of those sex addicts you hear about on

panorama… Look, the point is…

BELINDA

The point is, I’m very good at what I do

(whispers) and I’m making a fortune doing it

(giggles). I’m sorry that it’s been bothering

you and I’ll try to keep the noise down, but

seeing as you’re here I might as well teach

you a thing or two…

SFX – pause, tea slurps

JANE

Like what, exactly?

BELINDA

Well, first of all…

JANE

Dear Belinda, I forgot to thank you for the

delicious apple cake on Tuesday, as well as

the sex tips. May I have the recipe? You are

quite fortunate to have such a well-paid job

that allows you to follow your real passion

for baking. I wish I had the confidence to do

what you do.

I am so grateful for the advice you gave me,

and the practice. Talking dirty to my husband

has definitely done the trick. I even whisper

naughty words in his ear when we’re having

dinner with the kids!

SFX – whispers, giggles

And the danger of getting caught by the boys

has ignited quite the frisky spark in him after

all these years.

Jerry! Stop it! (Giggles)

OLIVER

Mum?

JANE

(Coughs) Yes, dear?

OLIVER

What are you and Dad whispering about?

JANE

Your christmas presents.

If there’s anything I can do for you in return,

please don’t hesitate to ask and I look forward to

seeing you soon. Jane

2. EXT. SUBURBAN STREET – DAY

SFX – The sound of high stiletto heels on the pavement. Clip. Clop. Clip. Clop. Street sounds of builders working, pause, a whistle, Alright Missis? The stiletto heels continue.

JANE

Morning, Bert.

BERT

(low whistle) Mrs Huxtable-Smith! When are you

going to leave your husband for me?

JANE

Flirty giggle

Two gossipy women, outside the building.

MAUD

Oh my god. Did you see Jane? She looks like a

new woman

SANDRA

Wonder what’s got into her…

MAUD

Probably a new man, and a younger one at that

SANDRA

Tut, Maud, you’re so bad.

SFX – Giggling. The stiletto heels continue. Gate creaks. Heels click. Pause. Rustle of carrier bags. Key turns in the lock of the front door. Door closes.

JANE

Good day, love? (kisses Jerry)

JERRY

Oh you know, same old, Pete in accounting said…

Whoa there! Hubba hubba! Come sit on my knee

little lady

JANE

(Giggles) Get off, I need to make the dinner

JERRY

Who are you and what have you done with my

wife?

JANE

I take it you approve of my makeover then?

JERRY

Indeed I do. Forget dinner, I’ll ring Mum and

take you out. A woman like you needs to be seen

about town

JANE

But it’s a Monday!

JERRY

I don’t care what day it is, we’re going out

JANE

Belinda darling,

Please accept this bottle of ‘eau de parfum’ as

a thank you for your reference. I could not be

happier in my new job. It has given me an outlet

to practice my dirty talk, which Jerry is becoming

quite the fan of, as well as time to do the

housework, and the extra income we needed to pay

the redecorators.

Jerry doesn’t know I’ve quit my old job, so I

would appreciate your discretion. He hasn’t noticed

my new haircut so I don’t think there’s any danger

of being found out. I would have never imagined

such an easy life was possible in exchange for

lowering my moral standards to your level. Obviously,

the pastor isn’t pleased with my latest confessions,

but I’m a woman of the modern world now and the

church needs to keep up. We provide a service to

lonely men who otherwise might spiral into depression.

Pastor Jones suggested I preach to the troubled souls

when they call! I nearly wet myself right there in

the confession box. See you Friday, for our girls’

night out. Lots of love, Janey

3. Int. Apartment Building, Day

TOMMY

Hi, Ms. Milano

BELINDA

Please, Tommy, call me Belinda. Your mum and I

are great friends now

TOMMY

Are you?

BELINDA

Oh yes, she simply loves my apple cake.

Why don’t you come up and try some for yourself.

You’re a clever boy. Maybe you could teach me

about moral standards

SFX – heels on stairs, followed by TOMMY’s footsteps

TOMMY

Moral standards?

BELINDA

Yes. Apparently, mine are too low

SFX – key in the lock, door opens, BELINDA and TOMMY step inside, muffled voices and giggles

JANE

Dear Belinda,

I was not commenting on your morals, I was

commenting on my own. You did not need to

retaliate by seducing my eldest son, who now

claims to be in love with you. Such behaviour

only serves to prove your questionable morals.

Please end this ridiculous fiasco with Tommy.

TOMMY

But, Mum, I love her

BELINDA

He refuses to listen to my reasoning and now

plans to skip university altogether, which goes

against the wonderful education we struggled to

give him. Please think about the influence you

have over him and the damage this is causing. Jane.

Ps. If I see you in the hallway I won’t hesitate

to rip out your cheap polyester hair extensions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s