© Alan Richardson 2017
Lucy is having a busy day at her property letting agency. Apart from finding a home for her new client Brian, who is struggling with the pros and cons of becoming a ghost, she also has to cope with an uninvited visit from Eleanor, a long standing client. Eleanor passionately believes that when you've got an eternity ahead of you, you need fun ways to pass the time.
ELEANOR Hello. I don’t believe we’ve met.
LUCY Brian, this is Eleanor, one of my longer-
ELEANOR (holding out her hand) Hello Brian.
BRIAN Hello. Nice to meet you. (He reaches for hand, then hesitates) Sorry… can people like us do things like shake hands and make contact?
ELEANOR We certainly can. And I do love contact. (As she demonstrates)
LUCY Eleanor… behave!
ELEANOR (reluctantly desisting) Sorry. Can’t blame a girl for trying.
LUCY Can’t think why, considering you lost your head over your last husband.
BRIAN Well, we all get a bit carried away at times.
ELEANOR No, I really did lose my head… literally.
BRIAN Because of your husband?
ELEANOR A fortune hunter who only married me for my inheritance and my lovely château in France. Not content with that, and seducing the maidservants, he was plotting to dispose of me by poison. But I managed to switch wine glasses on him. Much quicker than a divorce and no lawyer’s fees. I pleaded a crime of passion, alas, to no avail, and I faced Madame Guillotine. Not a nice way to go. But in the end, we all shuffle off our mortal coil.
BRIAN Shuffle off our mortal coil. I like that way of putting it. Isn’t that by Shakespeare?
ELEANOR Yes. Lovely boy. Would you like to meet him?
ELEANOR But I could introduce him around. After all, Brian, you’ve got an eternity ahead of you. I could show you so many fun ways to spend the time. Are you free tonight?
BRIAN I guess I am. My diary’s pretty blank.
ELEANOR Fancy joining a ghost tour?
BRIAN You mean the one that goes down dark alleyways and actors in costume jump out of doorways? But instead of actors, it would be… Oh, yes. Hear those tourists scream.
ELEANOR Oh, Brian, you really are a beginner. Let me explain. The first time I joined the tour, I gave them the full works. First, I detached my head and tucked it under my arm.
BRIAN Detached your head?
ELEANOR Yes. Like this… (She reaches up)
LUCY Eleanor! Brian’s not ready for that yet.
ELEANOR Sorry. So, head under my arm, I walked straight through the wall. Added a few groans and even rattled a chain. And were they impressed? Not one bit. They all thought I was some carefully arranged gimmick. All except the tour guides. They knew the difference.
LUCY No wonder the tour company are forever hiring new guides. Stop leading Brian astray. Not every new client wants to be an exhibitionist like you. (To Brian) Despite the impression Eleanor is giving you, ninety percent of the population on this side happily co-
BRIAN I can’t?
LUCY Not until you master the art of materialisation, which takes a bit of practice. Until then, trying to walk through a solid wall isn’t a good idea.
BRIAN Because I’d hurt myself?
ELEANOR No, darling. Because you’d look extremely silly.