Beef and Onion. A One Act Play by Lady Garfield Hoadley of the Lake
The Scene: A run down office. Nicotine stained walls, decorated with long
lines of dried up condensation. A threadbare carpet, that once had a pattern.
Beneath the only window, a Royal Oak desk, sits waiting to be polished.
And from the flaking ceiling, hangs a yellow light bulb, ready to go pop!.
Mr Treadle, sits behind his desk. The two strands of hair, covering his
polished bald head, appear to be trying to escape, down the unwashed
neck, that is supporting, the round fat face, now turning red with rage…
“Look, I make, meat pies…My father, made meat pies…His father,
made meat pies…And his fathers father made meat pies, and you my lad,
are going to make meat pies”
Mr Treadle, is addressing his son, Treadle junior. The poor boy, stands,
like a man condemned, in front of the unpolished desk, trying to avoid the
sputum, that is being projected from his fathers ranting orifice.
“But father, I don’t…”
“Nay, lad, Treadles have been making pies for hundred years an more,
and you, my boy, will take up mantle, when I retire…”
“But I have other ideas father…More creative ambitions”
“More creative thar knows! An what, is more creative, than Treadles,
beef an onion meat pie feast? That crust, was created, with mothers bare
hands, when she were dying of Anthrax, during war”
“Grandmother died in her sleep, after consuming two bottles of gin, father”
“That’s as maybe, my lad, but without mothers recipe, treadles would not
be here today. And, you would not have attended best school in north of
England, Queen were going to send her Charlie to Black Coal Grammar,
but press got wind, and that were that…”
“I am adamant, I shall not make meat pies…”
“Oh!…Mr high an mighty, and what shall thee do? Be president of some
mamby pamby office in big city, clean up in financial markets, or will thee
take on might of conglomerate?…All ninny white wash dreams lad”
“Actually, father, with the money Grandmother left me, I intend to open
a small factory, making ladies underwear…”
At this point, Treadle senior, falls out of his office chair, landing on the worn out carpet, with a loud thud. He then gets to his feet, leaning over the unpolished desk.
“Bludy hell! Did I hear thee right?…Did you say making ladies unmentionables…”
“Yes father, and I intend to design a whole new range…”
“Hold on, only pansies and poofters make them sort of things…Are thee telling me,
that you have become light footed? Limp wristed, a florist?!”
“None of those father, and what is more, I intend to leave the confines of Crusty
Hall, and take an apartment in town, where I shall be free of your overbearing,
bigoted, self opinionated boring voice…”
“I see…So now you have a bit of brass, mother and I are not good enough for thee.
Not, posh enough, haven’t got huge plums in gob, and what next, I suppose thee
will be wearing long scarf round neck, and carrying leather case in hand like some
southern poofter from city of London…Well let me tell thee lad…”
The office door opens, and in walks Mrs Treadle. A rotund woman with a beetroot
red face, large hairdo, and an exaggerated limp…
“What’s to do?…I can here you shoutin odds from factory floor our Bernard”
“It’s him Aida, that lad there, he wants to be a Florist…”
“Is that right lad? And when did thee decide to become limp?”
“I am not becoming a Florist mother, I am opening a lingerie factory in Bolton”
“Not while father and me are on planet my boy! Treadles is meat pies and nowt
else…Eeee, you kids today, always wanting to be something different”
“That’s what I told him, Aida, meat pies is meat pies an always will be”
“He’s been reading Country Life again, Bernard…get doctor on phone”
“I don’t need a doctor, or read Country Life, I am going it alone, so there”.
The Treadle parents, stand open mouthed. What next?