The world maker

15 February 2017

At home.

JILL          Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Davey, happy birthday to you!

DAVEY         Happy birthday to me!

JILL          Six years old already, you’re such a big boy!

DAVEY         Do I have to go to school today?

JILL          Of course…

DAVEY         But mum…

JILL          But mum nothing – six year olds have to go to school, even on their birthday. But they do get a special breakfast – eggy bread with as much tomato ketchup as you like. Here you go.

DAVEY         Yay! Thank you.

JILL          Are you looking forward to your party at the weekend?

DAVEY         Yes.

JILL          Did your friends give you their invitation replies yesterday?

DAVEY         Just Helen.

JILL          I’m sure there will be more today. Remember to ask them.

DAVEY         Okay.

JILL          Is that nice?

DAVEY         It’s scrumptious.

JILL          Good. Now, when you’re finished…

DAVEY         Present! I’ll open it now…

JILL          Finish your breakfast first…

DAVEY         Okay… Finished!

JILL          Alright, on you go.

DAVEY         Wow, a World Maker! Thank you!

JILL          It’s from your Uncle Bill too. He’ll be popping round tonight so make sure you say thank you.

DAVEY         I will. Can I play with it now?

JILL          No, time to get washed and ready for school. You can play with it tonight.

DAVEY         But mu…

JILL          Davey…

DAVEY         Okay.

At school.

CHILDREN      Davey and Helen, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g.

DAVEY         Stop it, leave us alone!

HELEN         Ignore them Davey, let’s go and play by the bench.

DAVEY         I hate them all.

HELEN         They’re just silly.

DAVEY         They’re mean. And ugly.

HELEN         It’s mean to call people ugly.

DAVEY         They are. I don’t want them to come to my party anyway.

HELEN         It’s okay, we’ll have fun.

DAVEY         And lots of cake. All for us.

JAG           Davey?

DAVEY         What?

HELEN         Hi Jag.

JAG           Hi Helen. My mum and dad say I can come to your party Davey. They said I should give this to you for your mum.

HELEN         That’s good, isn’t it Davey? We’re going to have lots of fun.

DAVEY         Yes. You can come Jag.

JAG           Thank you for asking me. Can I play with you two?

HELEN         Of course.

At home.

JILL          Davey, come down, Uncle Bill is here.

BILL          How’s he getting on at school?

JILL          The teachers say he’s doing very well. But he’s having trouble making friends. Only Helen and a new boy are coming to his party on Saturday.

BILL          Poor kid. Glad those days are behind me. Never have things so unimportant seemed so monumental. And children can be the worst type of shits.

JILL          I don’t know, I quite enjoyed it.

BILL          Yes, but you were popular. I hated it.

DAVEY         Hi Uncle Bill!

BILL          Happy birthday big man!

DAVEY         Thank you for my present.

BILL          You’re welcome. Have you opened it yet?

DAVEY         That’s what I was doing upstairs. I’m just checking all the bits are there.

BILL          What are you going to make first?

DAVEY         I don’t know, I have to read the instructions.

BILL          Instructions! He really is his father’s child, isn’t he?

JILL          Hey! I can be organised.

BILL          But you choose not to be? You know, Davey, I had a World Maker when I was your age. I can help you if you like.

DAVEY         Thanks Uncle Bill, but I think I’ll be okay.

BILL          Okay, but you just shout if you need me.

DAVEY         I will. Can I go back upstairs mum?

JILL          Sure. Dinner will be ready in half an hour.

BILL          He seems happy enough.

JILL          Yes, I suppose so.

BILL          And he has us.

JILL          Yes. Thanks Bill.

At the party.

JILL          (off) Kids, lunch!

DAVEY         We’ll be down in a minute mum.

JAG           This is so cool.

HELEN         Can I look?

JAG           Just a minute…

DAVEY         Let Helen look Jag.

JAG           Okay.

HELEN         It’s all blurry.

DAVEY         You have to focus it, like this.

HELEN         Wow! What are they?

DAVEY         Sort of a cross between a zebra and a giraffe, but furrier.

HELEN         How did they grow so quickly?

DAVEY         That’s how it works. You have to leave it for two days after you’ve put all the bits together. Then you crack it and the world’s inside.

JAG           What else is in there?

DAVEY         Not much. Some grass and trees, something like a hippo. Nothing that swims or flies. It’s just a practice.

JAG           What are you going to do next?

DAVEY         I’m not sure. Maybe a water world.

JILL          (off) Kids!

DAVEY         Come on, we better go downstairs.

At home, 25 years later.

HELEN         Is everything sorted for the funeral now?

DAVEY         Yes, all arranged.

HELEN         Who will be there?

DAVEY         Bill, of course. A couple of cousins I met when I was a kid. And some friends.

HELEN         My mum too.

DAVEY         I’m not looking forward to it. I hate funerals.

HELEN         I don’t think anyone likes them. But we need them, as sort of a full stop.

DAVEY         I know people say that, but they don’t do anything for me other than make me feel, I don’t know, awkward.

HELEN         I’ll be there.

DAVEY         I know, thanks. Come on, we should get started. The loft?

HELEN         The loft.

In the loft.

HELEN         I’ve never seen such an organised loft!

DAVEY         I like to know where things are.

HELEN         What’s this, all your old toys?

DAVEY         Yes, we kept pretty much everything.

HELEN         Oh, I remember all these. They might be worth something, some of them, in this condition.

DAVEY         They might be, but they’re mine.

HELEN         Look, your World Maker! Do you remember?

DAVEY         Of course I do.

HELEN         The first time I saw those giraffe things! I don’t remember you using it much after that though.

DAVEY         No, it was too easy. I made a water world, an air world. I tried a fire world, but phoenixes turned out to be violently solitary.

HELEN         You made phoenixes?

DAVEY         Yes.

HELEN         Of course you did. Shall I pack these back up?

DAVEY         Yes, thanks. I’ll go down and you can pass them to me. But leave the world maker out.

HELEN         Why?

DAVEY         I just want to have a look at it. Do you know how those things work?

HELEN         Sort of, not really.

DAVEY         I’ll show you.

At home. Night. Davey sits at a table, the contents of the World Maker strewn across it. The telephone rings. He ignores it. Night turns to day. He makes himself a cup of coffee.

At home. Later that day.

HELEN         You look tired.

DAVEY         I’ve been up all night.

HELEN         Doing what?

DAVEY         Playing with the World Maker.

HELEN         Really?

DAVEY         Yeah, I had an idea.

HELEN         And?

DAVEY         You’ll have to wait.

HELEN         How long?

DAVEY         I think this one’s going to take a bit longer, a fortnight or so.

HELEN         How will you know when it’s ready?

DAVEY         The timer.

HELEN         Oh yes, of course.

DAVEY         Do you want a bacon sandwich?

HELEN         Mmmm, please.

At home. Two weeks later.

DAVEY         (On the phone.) Yes, in about five minutes. Okay, I’ll see you later tonight then.

Davey paces for five minutes. A timer sounds. Davey cracks open the World Maker crucible. He places the world under the magnifier.

DAVEY         Holy shit.

At home. Later that day.

DAVEY         (off) Hey, come in, come in.

HELEN         (off) Are you okay?

They enter.

DAVEY         Yes, yes, fine, excited!

HELEN         Why so excited?

DAVEY         The world’s finished.

HELEN         Yes, but why so excited? It’s still just a toy.

DAVEY         Just wait… look.

HELEN         Can I have a cup of…

DAVEY         No, just look!

HELEN         Okay! Right… what am I looking for?

DAVEY         You’ll know when… Let me have a look. No, I just need to rotate it a bit. There.

HELEN         Why don’t you just tell… Is that a city?

DAVEY         Yes!

HELEN         How did you grow a city?

DAVEY         I didn’t! Look again.

HELEN         That’s, they’re… people!

DAVEY         Yes!

HELEN         But, I thought it couldn’t make people?

DAVEY         Then you thought wrong! The instructions, all the adverts, said it wasn’t for making people. But it never said you couldn’t.

HELEN         But…

DAVEY         I just had to fiddle about, and remove a sort of built in barrier.

HELEN         Don’t you think that might have been there for a reason?

DAVEY         Oh, don’t be so boring! Of course it was there for a reason, but who cares, I’ve grown people! In two weeks, I’ve grown people, and those people have already built cities!

HELEN         Holy shit.

DAVEY         I know!

HELEN         But what, well, how, what are you going to do now?

DAVEY         What do you mean?

HELEN         Well, they look like people, they’re doing what people do. Does that mean they’re people, just like us?

DAVEY         I don’t know. Yet.

HELEN         Yet?

DAVEY         I’ve thought of a way of communicating with them. I’m going to go in.

HELEN         Go in?

DAVEY         Not literally, of course. But not figuratively either. And it might not work. But I think it will.

HELEN         Stop being so bloody cryptic!

DAVEY         I think I can make one of them pregnant. No, don’t be silly. I know they can reproduce – there’s a hospital. And I think I can implant sort of a bit of me in one of them, which should create a basic psychic link. Well, say something.

HELEN         I don’t know what to say.

DAVEY         I know, it’s cool isn’t it?

HELEN         I don’t know if cool is the word. There are so many questions, ethical dilemmas…

DAVEY         Oh don’t be so boring! What could possibly go wrong?


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