Or how I learnt to stop worrying and love the bubble

Act Two, Scene One

The Viaduct. BUTTERWOOD’s body and his papers on stage as left.

Melt enters, examining two whiskey bottles which he carries.

Melt: Doctor, I’m back. Sorry I’m a bit late, it’s rather busy out there – must be some sort of fancy dress: loads of guys running around in cloaks – but look, I’ve brought you a present: whiskey. Thought we could have a celebration, you know, for you finding your town. You have found it, haven’t you, because we need to get rid of this stuff fairly quick. Yeah, if a couple of guys knock, you’ve never heard of me. (He notices Butterwood is not answering and looks up). Doc, you all right? (Pause). Oh, Klute. Oh, piss-covered Klute, I’ve done it again.

MELT exits.

MARY enters.

Mary: Hey, Butterwood, sorry I’m late, hope I haven’t kept you and Melt waiting … (Pause). Oh, Klute. Melt? Melt, are you here? (MELT enters). Oh, Melt, thank Klute you’re all right.

Melt: I didn’t kill him.

Mary: What? Why would I think…?

Melt: I went out, I confess, I had a drink, but not many, I don’t think it was many, I think I remember it all, I don’t remember this, but I came back, and the Doctor was like this, and I don’t know, I wouldn’t kill him, I couldn’t.

Mary: Melt, slow down, you’re hysterical. Just take a deep breath, and exhale. Good, feeling better? (MARY examines BUTTERWOOD’s body). He’s been shot.

Melt: Ah, so it wasn’t me – don’t do guns, do I.

Mary: No, whoever it was was good, no amateur. This was a professional job: quick kill, firing squad.

Melt: Gangsters?

Mary: Could be, but why go for Butterwood? He’s just a harmless hermit, why kill him?

Melt: Maybe he’s not, maybe he’s a rival mafia boss, like at the end of The Godfather.

Mary: What?

Melt: It would explain why we had spaghetti and meatballs four times in a week that one time.

Mary: Melt?

Melt: Yes?

Mary: Shut up. No, there’s something we’re missing, it must be to do with his work, something he wasn’t telling us.

Dr Butler enters.

Dr Butler: Trevelyan, are you there? I… (DR BUTLER sees MARY and MELT). Oh, I’m sorry, I’m looking for… (DR BUTLER sees BUTTERWOOD). Trevelyan! (She rushes over to BUTTERWOOD). Oh, Klute, I’m too late. Oh, Trevelyan, what have they done to you?

Mary: Excuse me? Who the Klute are you?

Dr Butler: You must be Mary, and Melt? Trevelyan spoke highly of you both. We need to go now: they will be back. Has Trevelyan told you what he intended?

Mary: Butterwood has told us, but…

Dr Butler: Good, then grab your stuff; I’ll pack all this up, then we need to go.

Melt: Stop right there, lady. You’re touching nothing till you tell us who you are.

Dr Butler: Oh, sorry, has Trevelyan not mentioned me?

Melt: And who the Dunelm is Trevelyan?

Dr Butler: Dr Trevelyan Butterwood? Your housemate? My… I’m Dr Josephine Butler, I worked with Treve… Dr Butterwood.

Mary: He never mentioned you.

Dr Butler: I’m not surprised; he was a very private man.

Melt: (aside).With a name like Trevelyan, no wonder.

Dr Butler: Look, I don’t have time to prove anything, just trust me. I worked with Dr Butterwood, I know about Stock-town, I am the one he was going to entrust the expedition to once he’d gotten the proof. You have to believe me.

Melt: (to MARY). I say we tie her up and scram.

Mary: (to DR BUTLER). Say I do believe you, what did you mean when you said you were too late? What happened to Butterwood?

Dr Butler: Butterwood’s project here has attracted undue attention. I tried to keep it from the Board, but they must have found out and told the Council.

Mary: You mean the DSU did this?

Dr Butler: Yes. I heard the Trustees were on their way and rushed over, but I was too late. I knew the DSU thought Trevelyan a threat, but I never thought they’d go this far.

Mary: But why have they killed him?

Dr Butler: Isn’t it obvious? Stock-town. If Trevelyan could prove it existed, that life in the wastes was possible, it would mean the end of the Bubble, the end of DSU rule. People would be able to go anywhere. The DSU couldn’t risk it, so Trevelyan had to die. The DSU think they have succeeded; it’s our duty to make sure Trevelyan did not die in vain.

Melt: So, we’re still going?

Dr Butler: Yes. I just hope Trevelyan’s left us directions; otherwise we may have to stop and ask. (DR BUTLER crosses over to the table). Here it is – the location of Stock-town; the fools didn’t think to take his notes. Right, we need to go, now.

Mary: All right, we’ll trust you, because Butterwood deserves someone to take up his legacy, but there’s someone we need to get first.

Dr Butler: Who?

Mary: Cuthbert.

Melt: The ponce?

Dr Butler: Trevelyan’s student.

Melt: What use will he be?

Dr Butler: If anyone will have information on Stock-town, it’ll be him.

Mary: What? No, we just need to rescue him. He doesn’t know anything about Stock-town, he’s said so.

Dr Butler: Maybe not consciously, but who better for Trevelyan to plant key facts with? Good thinking, Mary.

Mary: Oh. Thanks?

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