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Episode 2

"The Great Race"

 

Maurice Dibden - Episode Two - The Great Race.

 


Scene 1: Somewhere in a Solicitors Office, sit Maurice, Maureen and various other members of the Dibden family.


Solicitor: And finally, our client, The Late Lady Dowager Dibden, Gloucester branch, wishes to bequeath, to her nephew, Mr Maurice Dibden of Little Sodbury on the Wode, the sum of five thousand pounds sterling.

Maureen: Maurice, did you hear that? You're to receive five thousand pounds from your old Aunty Prudence.

Maurice: But what use is it now Maureen, answer me that? All I ever wanted from her was a ruffle of my hair when I was but a charcoal flannelled school-boy. That and the odd postal order for tuck and the purchase of a torch. I never wanted her money.

Maureen: Quite Maurice, quite. But she's remembered you at last. Perhaps you could spend that money on something frivolous. Something like, oh I don't know, like a holiday?

Maurice: A holiday eh? Yes, that does sound good. I could do with a holiday. But I couldn't leave you Maureen, not with that cad the Brigadier around!

Maureen: I was thinking that I could come too?

Maurice: What a capital idea Maureen. Yes, yes, you could come too. It would be like a holiday, but for both of us.

Maureen: Oh Maurice, you are full of the most wonderful ideas! I'll pick some brochures up shall I? But you must choose the destination. It is your money after all and you must do with it what you will.

Maurice: Yes Maureen, quite, I feel I shall.


Scene 2: At home with the Dibden's. Maureen is sitting in the living room reading Women's Realm. Maurice is nowhere to be seen. It is two weeks since the will reading of the Lady Dowager. Suddenly Maureen looks out of the window.


Maureen: Maurice! Maurice! Maurice, their appears to be a huge lorry outside of our house, and a crane for that matter. They're making a terrible din. Maurice?

Maurice: (popping his head around the door): What is it my sweet?

Maureen: That crane and that lorry Maurice, what are they doing?

Maurice: Nothing dear.

Maureen: Maurice, where are you going?

Maurice: What dear? Oh, just to see what all the fuss is about the lorry and crane. I'm sure it's nothing to worry about. You stay there and read your magazine.

Maureen: Tell them to keep the noise down and hurry along! (to herself) I don't know really, this is a quiet village. I do hope the council  haven't sent them down to randomly dig up the road. All those swarthy labourers, seeing my smalls on the line and wondering, wondering to themselves if I'm fully bushed or trimmed or shaven or waxed. Oh Maureen, regain control woman. Let us cross to the window and see what is afoot. What this? It's Maurice, he's, he's signing something. He definitely signed for something. They've given him a note. A delivery note perhaps? But what? It couldn't be, could it?

The vehicles leave. Maurice re-enters.

Maureen: Have they gone dear?

Maurice: Yes Maureen, it was nothing to worry about. They were merely in need of directions to Corinthian Thatch.

Maureen: But they're going the wrong way for Corinthian Thatch Maurice. Did you tell them wrong?

Maurice: (flustered) But, but, but ah yes! They are heavy goods vehicles, too bulky to cross the bridge at Sparrowmuck Fledgling, so I sent them round through Manpaste and Analdever.

Maureen: Oh. Well that explains it. Only I'd have sent them the other way, on the new road to Scrunt.

Maurice: All roads lead to home Maureen! That's what I say. But I cannot chat, I have some business to attend to.

Maureen: Right you are then. But just one thing before you go though Maurice?

Maurice: Yes dear?

Maureen: It's probably nothing, I just thought, well it's silly really, I just thought I saw you signing some paperwork of theirs, that's all.

Maurice: Signing dear? No.

Maureen: I clearly saw you take a copy. Perhaps of the very same document that is causing your trouser pocket to push outwards?

Maurice: Oh that (taps pocket) I can explain that Maureen. That's just caused by a bit of a lazy lob that I've got at the moment.

Maureen: Caused by hob-nobbing with delivery men?

Maurice: Very well. Is there anything in nature more persistent than a curious woman? Okay Maureen. Though bear in mind that I wanted it to be a surprise for you.

Maureen: What is it?

Maurice: Come out the back with me.

Maureen: Ooo Maurice, whatever is it? Oh I do love a bit of mystery. (to herself) He's got me a new car, I know he has. Well it's not a holiday, but a lovely new car, all my girlfriends will be insanely jealous!

Maurice: Well? What do you think? I know it's a lot to take in, but she's a beauty isn't she? Well worth every penny. Do you like her? I can see you do. By the way your mouth is hanging open in admiration, I can see you love her.

Maureen: But...

Maurice: Hush my dear. You don't have to say it. I know you had your heart set on a holiday and I thought about it I really did. I just felt this was more lasting, and we'd both get a lot of joy out of her.

Maureen: But it's a traction engine.

Maurice: Yes but imagine the possibilities! The hours we could spend working together, restoring her to her former glories. This could be the shared project we've always needed!

Maureen: The excuse you've always wanted you mean, to spend less time with me.

 (Maureen dashes into the house. Maurice calls after her)

Maurice: But sweetness! I was going to call her Maureen - the unfading flower!

(The Brigadier's face pops over the hedge)

Brigadier: What-ho Dibden, difficulties with the old trouble and strife?

Maurice: Nothing I can't handle Bristow, or should I say Fortesque-Smythe.

Brigadier: Now now Dibden, idle talk and all that. What seems to be the root of the trouble? I say, she's a magnificent beast.

Maurice: How dare you speak of my wife in that manner!

Brigadier: Dibden you blithering fool, I was referring to the vintage traction engine. An R-60 if I'm not very much mistaken - of course the flue is the great give away.

Maurice: You're a fellow enthusiast?

Brigadier: Naturally Dibden. Steam is in the family blood. In fact, why not indeed. Follow me over to the house, I've something in the barn that might be of interest to you.

Maurice: What manner of trickery is this? Am I am be gang raped by a tank of engorged baboons?

Brigadier: Dibden, Dibden, Dibden. Whilst I cannot fathom the depths and depravities of your galloping imagination, I can however offer my bond as an officer and a gentleman that you shall find the visit both informative and worthwhile.

Maurice: On the Regiment Brigadier?

Brigadier: The very same Dibden.


Scene 3 - Dibden and Brigadier Bristow stand inside the Brigadier's barn. The only sunlight streams in through a chink in the doors.


Brigadier: Right then Dibden, be a good fellow and grab the another end of that tarpaulin.

Maurice: This tarpaulin?

Brigadier: Not that one, the one that is currently obscuring this rather large object from view and, until it is removed, leaves you, or indeed anyone else who had a vested interest, quite unsure and excited as to what it might be hiding.

Maurice: Oh so you must mean this one?

Brigadier: Quite the very same Dibden, quite the very same. Now, be sure to take a handful and grip it rather tightly, that way we can pull it off with the minimum of fuss. Ready?

Maurice: Ready.

Brigadier: Now on my command pull. Now! Oh for goodness sake Dibden, you'll have to do better than that. Don't be afraid to give it a good yank, you won't hurt it. Let's give it a solid tug this time shall we?

(The tarpaulin falls to the floor)

Brigadier: Aha, that's it. As you can see, I've not pulled it off in a while, but tell me Dibden, I'm intrigued, what do you think?

Maurice: My word! It cannot be!

Brigadier: Cannot be what Dibden?

Maurice: I've only ever read about these. I've never seen one with my own eyes, in fact, I believed that they'd all been lost, that they'd all gone to that great scrap-yard in the sky.

Brigadier: How true that nearly was Dibden, how sadly true. Though you've not said it Dibden, I judge that your feelings are correct. You are indeed looking at a Bletchley-Watts Returner, or to give it its common name, the legendary BW1 Traction Engine.

Maurice: A Bletchley-Watts Returner! This is quite a moment.

Brigadier: We're not all that different Dibden, you and I. I imagine that your heart is beating ten to the dozen, crashing against your chest cavity much as mine did when I first laid eyes on her. I shall sate your curiosity. I was serving in Holland, what, thirty years ago? We were carrying out exercises on a rolling farmstead. The owner had died you see, and with no surviving heir, well you get the picture. My squad found themselves bivouacked down in an old rickety barn, much like this, but totally different. We had suppered and the first watch had been set up, so I took myself away from the men for a relaxing pipe.

Maurice: Was that when you saw her?

Brigadier: Not quite Didben. You see, as I ventured further into the barn, I notice that part of the wall had fallen. Through it I could see the full moon dappling on the water of a lake. I leant up against the tumbled debris, drawing deeply on my shag, when my eyes fell upon a shape protruding from the water, silhouetted against the bright white moon.

Maurice: Was it..?

Brigadier: No as it happens, it was two nocturnal horses making love, but once Dobbin had dismounted, leaving the overflow of his seed to crash against the water, like some frothy fall, they went back to their meadow and revealed the real bounty of that blessed night - my beloved BW1.

Maurice: So it was in a lake?

Brigadier: Partially Didben, just partially. Such is her craftsmanship that little damage was sustained.

Maurice: But how did you get it out?

Brigadier: Oh Dibden, are we really of the same cloth? Why I applied my keen military mind to the situation and come up with a stunningly simple solution.

Maurice: Which was?

Brigadier: I waited until daybreak and ordered my men to haul her out. Naturally there were casualties, Squiffy went west on the second pull, though I made sure he was posthumously decorated. But Dibden, look at her, I'll think you'll agree it was all worth it.

Maurice: Hmm.

Brigadier: Hmm Dibden? What manner of bally ignorant scoffery is this?

Maurice: Did I hmm Brigadier? Perhaps I did. Perhaps I was just weighing off the delights of owning a BW1 in a condition such as this, or being the proud custodian of a more or less mint R-60, such as is currently residing in my back garden.

Brigadier: Why you insolent cur! I should thrash you!

Maurice: My dear Bristow, why the histrionics? I was merely assessing the situation coolly, as any good military man would do. I mean, the question must be asked Bristow, does your machine even go?

Brigadier: Of course! The cursed nerve of you sir! Of course it goes!

Maurice: Then a demonstration perhaps?

Brigadier: Dibden, I will not even justify your scurrilous accusations with a demonstration. My Returner runs perfectly, which is more than I can say for your common R-60, I saw that being delivered by crane!

Maurice: I'll have you know that my R-60 is a fully functional model, with a top speed of 4mph!

Brigadier: 4? 4? Even you know the R-60 was never clocked at more than 3! Whereas this, this beauty, she was the speeding princess of the tractions.

Maurice: Just look at it though Bristow. Mine would definitely outstrip yours should the occasion ever arise.

Brigadier: Then why indeed should it not?

Maurice: What do you mean?

Brigadier: A race Dibden, I propose a race!

Maurice: Your BW against my R60?

Brigadier: Exactly. Listen, it is the village fayre one month from this very date. We shall race you and I, from one end of the long field to the other. Then we shall know who has the fastest traction engine around. Do you accept? Do you?

Maurice: I accept Bristow. I will wait for you at the finish line. Now good day sir, I have your humiliation to prepare for.

Brigadier: There is one more thing Dibden.


Maurice: What?

Brigadier: I have in mind a wager.

Maurice: A wager?

Brigadier: A wager.

Maurice: I see. A wager. Tell me, what are your terms?

Brigadier: You wish the terms to be, shall we say, exciting?

Maurice: I am not afraid Brigadier. Name them.

Brigadier: Should I win, should my BW cross the finishing line first, I would like a night with your wife, Maureen.

Maurice: Maureen?!

Brigadier: Maur-eeen.

Maurice: And should you lose?

Brigadier: Name it.

Maurice: Then should you lose, as you undoubtedly shall, then I want your word that, pending successful sale and onward chain, that you shall pack up and leave the village forever!

Brigadier: Leave the village?

Maurice: Those are my terms Bristow, or perhaps you are not man enough to accept them?

Brigadier: Very well. (The men shake hands) Our wager is struck. The clock ticks for us both.


Scene 4 - Interior of a Traction Engine supplies shop. The shop bell tinkles.


Old Bob: Ah, good morning Mr Dibden, welcome to Traction Action. Long time no see sir?

Maurice: Hello old Bob. Yes it's certainly a good while since I was in here.

Old Bob: Would you like to have a browse through the catalogue? You always did like a good browse.

Maurice: Not today Old Bob. For today I am buying.

Old Bob: Buying sir? Well saints be praised. So tell me Mr Dibden what can I be retailing to you this fine day, not three weeks from the village fayre?

Maurice: As you may know Old Bob, I have recently come into possession of a beautiful R-60 traction engine.

Old Bob: Really sir? No I had not heard. Well that really is a treat. I haven't laid eyes on an R-60 for nigh on a year.

Maurice: And you would not have laid eyes on a specimen such as mine for a good deal longer.

Old Bob: Is it then a specimen to take the breath away?

Maurice: Quite so Bob, quite so. But enough of this small talk. As I said, I am here to buy and this morning I require a thruppit return plate.

Old Bob: A thruppit return plate?

Maurice: Yes.

Old Bob: Straight or bevelled?

Maurice: Bevelled please.

Old Bob: Well let's have a look. A thruppit return plate, bevelled. Bevelled. Let me see now. Perhaps in this box. No. A-ha, I know, just a sec. Oh wait, hang on...how silly of me. I'm sorry Mr Dibden, I sold the very last thruppit return plate not one hour ago.

Maurice: What? Who to?

Old Bob: Oh, it would have been to the Brigadier.

Maurice: Bristow?

Old Bob: Yes, that's right, Brigadier Bristow.

Maurice: But that's absurd. He's got a BW-1. That doesn't use a bevelled thruppit return plate. Oh wait...Bristow!!!

Old Bob: Everything alright sir?

Maurice: So that's how it is to be. There is skulduggery afoot Old Bob, bally first rate skulbuggery-duggery.

Old Bob: Sir?

Maurice: Listen, how long would it take to order another plate in?

Old Bob: Six, maybe eight weeks Mr Dibden.

Maurice: But I haven't got that long!

Old Bob: Well you could always try The Steam Team, up by the church.

Maurice: I suppose...

Old Bob: Or even Traction Supplies over by the fish farm.

Maurice: Perhaps.

Old Bob: Or there's one other but...

Maurice: But what?

Old Bob: There's new shop, Hot & Steamy. Not my sort of place, but they say he's well stocked. The only problem is, well...

Maurice: What, man? Spit it out.

Old Bob: He's, how would you put it, rather pricey.


Scene 5 - Exterior of Hot & Steamy Traction Engine Supplies Shop.


Maurice: (to himself) Well the last traction engine shop in town. Imagine none of the others having the component I need, it really is a bally poor show. And Old Bob said this one was rather pricey. Oh well, if it helps to get that blasted Brigadier out of my hair once and for all... (a bell tinkles)

Cleetus: (emerging from the back) Now looky here Cleetus boy, a fly has wandered into the web, and a big fat juicy fly moreover. Now stay cool, stay cool - we could be on a big score.

Maurice: Hello? Hello?

Cleetus: No need to holler, Cleetus hears ya, Cleetus spies ya and Cleetus likes what he sees.

Maurice: Hello? Ah, there you are shopkeeper. I didn't see you in the shadows there. Please finish speaking to that other gentleman first.

Cleetus: Hush now. There ain't no other gentleman here sweet-sweets. It's just you and I. It's just you, I and all o those little ole traction engine supplies.

Maurice: But when I came in? I heard voices?

Cleetus: Them just be on the radio sir. I gone turned it off now so I can give you my full attention.
Maurice: Fine, well in that case, I'll be needing...

Cleetus: Whoa, whoa there my petulant friend. There ain't no need for a rushin. There's plenty of time for what a gentleman wants here at Hot & Steamy Traction Supplies. Listen to the clock tick by. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock. Sure as knows there ain't no need to hurry.

Maurice: I'm sorry, but I really must be getting on. My wife will be expecting me for lunch and I wanted to do some tinkering this afternoon.

Cleetus: We all like tinkering mister..?

Maurice: Dibden, Maurice Dibden.

Cleetus: Well we all like tinkering Mr Dibden. This is me a tinkering now. You see Mr Dibden, you know what all my customers have got in common with traction engines?

Maurice: I fail to see...

Cleetus: They're all different Maurice. I can call you Maurice can't I? That's mighty nice now ain't it? Calling you Maurice an all, sort of rolls off the tongue. That's good. I feel we're friends now. And you see Maurice, that's what you gotta be with your traction engine. You gotta be friends. You gotta be more than that, you gotta be one. So like the time I take to know you, you gotta take the time to know it. You understand me fella?

Maurice: I suppose, but all I wanted was...

Cleetus: Don't say it now! Don't spoil the moment. Things were starting to build nice and slow. Why must you rush me Maurice, why? Savour this time. Savour the surroundings, savour the nature of my stock. Now, tell me. Tell me what engine you got, and don't rush now, I wanna feel every syllable, every hard consonant. Now lay it on me baby, and do it right, or papa won't sell you nothing at all.

Maurice: I've got a, I got an R-60.

Cleetus: Oooh, mmmm, an R-60, now that's the stuff. Tell me now, and don't miss out anything, tell me how it feels to ride your throbbing R-60.

Maurice: Well that's just the problem...

Cleetus: Hush now Maurice, and you were doing so well. So, so well. There ain't no problems here, not amongst friends. There's only opportunities. Opportunities for exploration and customer satisfaction. So I take it your R-60 don't go?

Maurice: No, no at the moment.

Cleetus: I see. It sounds like a disaster I know, but there is worse things can happen to a man. You a military man Maurice? You have a bearing about you.

Maurice: Well yes. As it happens I am. Thirty-five years of service, got out a colonel as it goes.

Cleetus: Were you firm with your men?

Maurice: Firm but fair one hopes.

Cleetus: One can ask for no more, no, no more. But Maurice tell me, d'you know the number one reason for the mechanical failure of the R-60 Traction Engine?

Maurice: There could any number of contributory issues I suppose.

Cleetus: No! Just one above all. A worn or perished thruppit return plate. The one with the bevelled edge.

Maurice: Well that's precipitous, because that's just what I'm looking for! Would you happen to have one?

Cleetus: Now that would be telling sweetness. Ya, I think I got a couple. But not out here no. Not where the non-believers would find them. I keeps them in the stock room out back. You better come on through. Come on now, come on, don't be shy of old Cleetus.

(The men walk through to the back)

Cleetus: Now let me see, A bevelled thruppit return plate. Now looky here, I do declare I got some on my shelves.

Maurice: By jove! You've got five! In that case I'll take two. What are you asking?

Cleetus: Asking?

Maurice: Yes. The cost. How much money would it be to purchase two of those fine return plates?

Cleetus: Money my darling? You insult a man like me with money? I don't want your money honey pie.

Maurice: I don't understand.

Cleetus: There ain't nothing to understand sweet cheeks. I ain't selling you those plates. But you can earn em.

Maurice: I'm sorry? I...

Cleetus: Drop your trousers and get on your hands and knees.

Maurice: I beg your pardon?

Cleetus: You freakin heard me man, now lose the freakin pants and get on your hands and knees!

Maurice: I surely won't.

Cleetus: You see, you ain't my first customer today. Not my first by any means. No. But my first left me frustrated. He was a military man too. Wanted some parts for his BW1. Now wouldn't play ball with old Cleetus, so I nearly had to slice him ear to ear, but then, then he told me a story.

Maurice: A story?

Cleetus: Yes siree. A story bout a man who wagered his wife on the outcome of a traction race. Now what kind of despicable soul would do that? And let me tell you, if the only man in town who could help that guy to win wanted a bit of fun in return, who could blame him for trying?

Maurice: I, I...

Cleetus: No let's get down to business, and I'll make sure none of this terrible tale gets no further.

(Sound of sobbing and belt being unbuckled)

Cleetus: Now that's real nice. A virginal bullring. I'd better grease up the old ten bar to fit in there.
   

Scene 6 - Interior, Maurice and Maureen's bedroom.


Maureen: (popping her head around the door) Maurice, Maurice! Are you getting up you old sleepy head? Come on Maurice, this is not like you, it's nigh on ten o'clock!

Maurice: Hmm?

Maureen: What's wrong Maurice? Are you ill? You've been acting ever so strangely sine you came back from the shops yesterday. Come on, it's a fine day - I thought you'd be aching to get out and have a tinker.

Maurice: Maybe tomorrow.

Maureen: Oh Maurice, you must be ailing for something. Do you want me to call Doctor Carrington?

Maurice: (sharply) No doctors!

Maureen: Oh Maurice, please, there's no need to be beastly! Perhaps I could bring you a boiled egg and some soldiers? I know how much you like soldiers.

Maurice: No woman. Nothing, just leave me, please.

 

Maureen: Oh, I, I, I'm sorry Maurice. Listen, I'm putting a wash on, where are the clothes you were wearing yesterday?

Maurice: On the chair.

Maureen: Of course. Okay. One shirt, one pair slacks, one pair socks, one pair...underpants. (silence) Right I really am calling Doctor Carrington.

Maurice: I told you, no bally interfering doctors! I won't see him I tell you.

Maureen: But Maurice (tearfully), your underpants, they're full of blood, blood and what are these other stains? (sniffs)

Maurice: Blood?

Maureen: It smells like, it smells like...

Maurice: It's nothing Maureen, just bad piles.

Maureen: No wait, it smells like a mixture of blood (sniffs) battered stools (sniffs), semen (sniffs), semen and swarfega?

Maurice: (raising to a desperate shout) It isn't, it isn't, IT ISN'T!!!

Maureen: Maurice?

Maurice: (sobbing to himself) It isn't, it isn't, I wasn't.

Maureen: Maurice. Listen to me. I have to ask you a question, and God only knows, that in all our years of marriage, I never thought I'd have to ask it...but have you been sodomized?

Maurice: (to himself, quietly) Quick march, left-right, left-right, left-right...

Maureen: Maurice! Snap out of it! I asked you a simple question. Have you been sodomized?

Maurice: (continuing) All present and correct sir, permission to stand easy.

Maureen: (shouting) Maurice, have you been arse fucked?

Maurice: (now fully crying) Oh, woe is me!

Maureen: How could you! Have I not given you everything you ever wanted? The bukakke, the bagpiping, the Boston steamers? But wait, wait, wait, wait! You still blame me for the nascent death of our son. Being buggered is your way of getting back at me, isn't it, isn't it?

Maurice: (suddenly) But Maureen, I did it for you!

Maureen: For me? For me? You look me in the eye now Maurice Arthur Dibden and tell me how getting your despicable rectal jollys can ever, ever have been for me?

Maurice: Maureen, you must believe me. It was for you, I'm not a bender, you of all people must know that?

Maureen: But there is another man's baby gravy in your y-fronts. Hardly the pant contents of a red blooded man is it?

Maurice: Maureen, I can explain. I needed a piece for The Unfading Flower.

Maureen: The Unfading Flower?

Maurice: Our traction engine. I named her after you.

Maureen: You got bummed just to get a piece for that bloody traction engine? That blasted piece of junk?

Maurice: It wasn't like that, you don't understand.

Maureen: Then make me understand Maurice. Make me understand. Make me understand why my poofter husband would get his poop chute torn to shreads for a, for a, for a fucking traction engine.

Maurice: It's not about the traction engine. It's about you! It's always been about you. Maureen, you're my everything!

Maureen: So it's my fault you like to bounce on an engorged love pole?

Maurice: That's not what I said, you're twisting my words. I had to get the piece, I simply had to - the shop keeper forced me into the act in return for the part. I was an unwilling partner, but I simply had to do it for you!

Maureen: You keep saying that Maurice, but even I didn't think, even I, who has defended you to my mother, who has defended you to my sisters, even I didn't think you'd allow yourself to be bummed for a traction engine. What makes it so important to you to get that damnable thing going?

Maurice: Look, I'm so very, very sorry. You're right, you deserve an explanation, and an explanation my unfading flower shall get. It is the Village Fayre in less than two weeks time. As part of that fayre there will be a traction engine race. The two finest engines in the village will go head to head for the spoils. It will be my R-60 against the Brigadier's BW1.

Maureen: So that's it. You allowed this to happen just to continue your obsessional rivalry with that perfectly nice Brigadier Bristow. Not to mention his lovely young nephew. I'm sorry Maurice, but that explanation just doesn't wash.

Maurice: But Maureen, there's more. He made it personal. I had to go to these lengths to product your honour in the terms of the Brigadier's wager and to seize the chance for us to be free from him for once and for all!

Maureen: Wager? What wager?

Maurice: Maureen, it was at his suggestion, but I know I can do it! For if I win, when I win, the Brigadier has agreed to leave Little Sodbury on the Wode forever!

Maureen: And should he triumph? What then? Must we leave our home?

Maurice: No.

Maureen: Then what?

Maurice: He gets to spend a night with you.


Scene 7 - Interior of the Dibden Household - Maurice is standing at the foot of the stairs, calling up.


Maurice: Maureen, Maureen dearest, it is the day of the Village Fayre, would you care to accompany me to the showgrounds?

Maureen (coming to the top of the stair): You go ahead Maurice.

Maurice: But will you not ride with me on the Unfading Flower, the engine that I named after the woman I love, the engine on which I have be toiling so diligantly these last ten days?

Maureen: Sometimes Maurice, you have a funny way of showing your love.

Maurice: Do you doubt it?

Maureen: If a normal man would buy a traction engine in homage to his wife, then I would not doubt it. If a normal man would spend all his waking hours tinkering it with it to prove that love, then I would not doubt it. If a normal man, to keep his wife away from an enemy would risk her to an act of lovemaking, then I would not doubt it. And if a normal man would accept an arse rape to single-mindedly stick to his plan, then again, I would not doubt it, but...

Maurice: But don't you see Maureen, that's just it. I'm not normal. I stopped being normal the day I first laid eyes upon you. I go into battle today for you, and it would hearten me and really fill me with hope, if you should deign to ride to the field with me this day.

Maureen: I will not.

Maurice: But Maureen?

Maureen: I'm going to change into something befitting and I don't want to get dirty on our engine. You go on ahead.

Maurice: Our engine Maureen, you said our engine. Through my joy I beg the question why?

Maureen: Because we're Dibdens Maurice. And that's what Dibden's do.

Maurice: I knew I could rely on you Maureen! You truly are my unfading flower! I shall drive our engine up to the field this very minute!

Maureen: Oh, and Maurice?

Maurice: My wife?

Maureen: You had better win.


Scene 8 - The Village Fayre Showgrounds. Both engines are in situ. A small crowd has gathered.
 

Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls - we now come to one of the highlights of this afternoon. After the excitement of ‘Toss the Rabbit', we come onto the next item on our programme, a traditional vintage traction engine race. (Applause) Thank-you, thank-you. Our valiant racers this afternoon are, in his BW1, Brigadier Bristow. (Applause) And his opponent, our very own Colonel Maurice Dibden.

Maurice: (to himself) Where's Maureen, I can't see Maureen?

Announcer: Now ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the challenge facing our combatants is deceptively simple. Each will race the other for the length of the long field. The winner will be the man whose back wheel crosses the line in it's entirety first.

Bookie: 5/6 Dibden, 5/6 Bristow! How much vicar?

Vicar: £600 on Bristow.

Bookie: Six to a monkey, Bristow. That's ticket 782 vicar, good luck.

Vicar: Peace on you my child.

Announcer: I will now hand over to the marshall of proceedings, Mayor Badgerlick.

Mayor: Thank-you, thank-you everyone. Now Bristow, Dibden, the rules are simple. You must begin the procedure to release your handbrakes on my signal and on my signal only. Stay to you pre-assigned lanes, no wandering - not only will it cost you time, but a severe infraction will result in a disqualification. Understood?

Both: Understoood.

 

Mayor: Excellent. Gentlemen, I wish you luck. Now wish each other luck and mount you engines.

Brigadier: Well may the best man win Dibden.

Maurice: He will.

Announcer: Well this is it folks, the moment you have undoubtedly been waiting for. The two fearless racers are now mounting there engines, Dibden nearest to us and Bristow in the perhaps luckier abattoir side lane.

Maurice: Maureen, where are you Maureen?

Birgadier: Praying won't help you now Dibden - the last bastion of a rogue.

Maurice: Then what will be your next Bristow? I fear you have boxes to pack!

Brigadier: Nothing to pack Dibden old boy, just plenty to unload!

Maurice: Tish and pah! We shall see sir, we shall see!

Announcer: The mayor is climbing the rostrum...

Maurice: For you my love.

Announcer: The flag is raised...and they're off. The race is underway.

Maurice: Pull this lever, depress that one and a-ha movement!

Announcer: And Dibden is underway, but it's Bristow with the early advantage, the BW being traditionally quicker of the mark.

Brigadier: Ha! The lead is mine Dibden! Now I will stoke her up to full speed using this!

Dibden: My God! An extra big coal shovel! I going to have to shift the coal twice as fast! Bristow you cad! That's an illegal shovel and you know it is!

Brigadier: No agreement was made on the size of our tools sir! All's fair in love and war!

Dibden: Damn you Bristow!!!

Announcer: And it's Bristow keeping up the early advantage. But what's this? There's some furious shovelling activity taking place in the Dibden cab. He'll need to be careful, or he'll blow his load too soon!
The engines rumble on, literally eating up the turf. Just a few minutes in and both tractions have put clear daylight between them and the start line.

Brigadier: Slow down on that shovelling Dibden, you don't want to tire yourself out so early. I can see you wilting even now. If you can't stand the heat!

Announcer: And it's Dibden sitting chilly, but he's beginning make up ground. This race of course brought to you in association with Traction Action, the only place to buy traction supplies in Little Sodbury on the Wode. Other outlets are available.

Maurice: (to himself) Sweating. Shovelled too much. Body...shutting...down.

Brigadier: Are you crumbling Dibden? How about this for a super-sized shovel of coal. Mwahahahaha!

Announcer: This really is very exciting! Bristow is now re-establishing a lead.

Dibden: Bristow getting away. Can't respond.

Cleetus: (calling from sidelines) Hey Maurice, how's your return plate treating you lover?

Dibden: Aaaaarrghhhh!

Brigadier: Curses! That hillbilly has re-ignited Dibden's vigour! Another shovel and a cutting aside is called for methinks.

Announcer: But what's this ladies and gentlemen. Dibden has found a second wind! The gap is closing! This really is incredible!

Brigadier: What's the matter Dibden? Can you recall how he tore into your flesh? Is your rectum still bleeding. Did he make you do an ATM?

Dibden: Stick and stones may break my bones Bristow, but cocks will never hurt me! Tally-ho my unfading flower, let's take this to this finish line!

Announcer: Quite remarkable scenes here on the showgrounds ladies and gentlemen! There are quite frenetic scenes of effort from the engine of Colonel Dibden. The brigadier seems at a loss as to what to do!

Brigadier: Damn his eyes! He's getting away! But what's this, it cannot be! I'm losing pressure!

Announcer: And the BW1 seems the be toiling, there's steam escaping everywhere!

Brigadier: Damn!

Dibden: What? He's stopping, I'm going to win! I'm going to win! And wait, whose that at the finish waving a silken scarf. My lord, it's Maureen! Maureen! Hello! I'm going to win and uphold your honour!

Announcer: And nothing now seems to be able to stop Dibden now. The title is surely his...(LOUD BANG) But what's this? An explosion in the Dibden cab, and he's still in there!

Maureen: Maurice! Maurice! Jump Maurice!

Maurice: Must guide engine over line...

Cleetus: That sounds like a failing return plate, I'm off.

Announcer: And still ladies and gentlemen, Dibden continues with his race, not ten yards from the line. This really is valliance to the point of stupidity, he'll be steamed alive!

Maureen: Maurice!!!

Maurice: Pain increasing, passing out...

Announcer: And through the steam Dibden is slumped in the cab, the front wheel just yards from the line. What can save him now? But wait, a plucky woman has broken from the ranks of the crowd, she's rushing towards the engine! She's leapt on the side and is pulling Dibden to safety! He's free, he's free! They've tumbled to the ground, they appear the both be alive. (raptuous cheering)

Maureen: Speak to me Maurice, speak to me?

Maurice: My unfading flower?

Maureen: Yes it's me, it's me my brave soldier.

Brigadier: Is he alright?

Maureen: I think so, no thanks to you and your stupid bets.

Maurice: (coming round) Did I, did I win.

Maureen: Nobody won Maurice. It was a draw, but I'm so glad you're okay, you silly, silly man.

Maurice: Then I did win, urrghh.

Maureen: Maurice? Is he, is he dead?

Brigadier: No. He's just passed out again. He'll be fine. Listen Maureen I...

Maureen: Not now Brigadier. I have my husband to look after.


THE END