Monday, 31 January 2011
Overheard Conversations #25
Location: a restaurant in a busy much unloved shopping centre.
Characters: A Banshee, an Idle Boy, a Saintly Ma.
Banshee: What were you doing in that shop?
S. Ma: I was having a consultation.
Idle Boy: Consultation?
S. Ma: With a Chinese doctor. I've been ill for weeks.
Idle Boy: Have you?
S. Ma: Thank you for noticing. (BEAT) Where are our drinks?
Banshee: Did you buy anything?
S. Ma: Some tablets -
Banshee: You bought tablets from a Chinese doctor in a shopping centre?
S. Ma: Chinese medicine has a very reputable, um, reputation.
Banshee: In a shopping centre?
Idle Boy: Was his name Doctor Snake Oil?
S. Ma: He didn't tell me his name. (BEAT) He didn't speak English.
Idle Boy: I've got some magic beans here. Would you like to buy them while you're at it?
S. Ma (TO PASSING WAITER): Excuse me, we ordered drinks - Oh. He's very busy.
Banshee: Herbal Medicine! Real medicine has used up all the bits that work. The rest is just twigs.
Idle Boy: Don't! You'll ruin the placebo affect.
S. Ma: I really need that drink.
Banshee: What did you buy?
S. Ma: I don't know. (TAKES BOX OUT OF PLASTIC BAG). It says here -
Banshee: You don't know what you bought? You didn't research it before you bought it?
Idle Boy: How much was it?
S. Ma: Thirty pounds (HASTILY) but that's for two weeks' supply.
Banshee: Thirty pounds?
Idle Boy (REACHING FOR BOX): It's here on the side. Cordyceps.
S. Ma: Yes, that's a very therapeutic herb.
Banshee (SCROLLING THROUGH PHONE): How do you spell that?
Idle Boy: C.O.R.D.Y.C.E.P.S.
Banshee: Hang on ... (READS SCREEN). Herb?
S. Ma: Yes, it's been used in Chinese medicine for centuries.
Banshee: It's a dead caterpillar.
Idle Boy: Urghh!
Banshee (READING): A microbe colonises caterpillars and mummifies them from the inside out.
Idle Boy: Cool.
Banshee: And then when the caterpillar is dead, a fungus -
Idle Boy: Fungus!
Banshee: Sprouts from the skull of the dead caterpillar.
Idle Boy: Let me see. (HE GRABS PHONE) Hey, it's been tested on castrated rats!
S. Ma: You're making that up.
Banshee: No, he's not. Look.
(SAINTLY MA TURNS PALE)
Idle Boy: About those beans, Mum ...?