Start of school day. Untidy front office. Sheila. 50's. Sitting at desk looking at Internet. Alice late 30's enters takes off dripping wet coat, wearing smart trousers an inappropriate 'party type' top. Picks up air freshener and sprays liberally.
ALICE: God, will that smell ever go?
SHEILA: They're children Alice, this is a school. (Looks at ALICE) Bit casual today.
ALICE: I'm off to the pub later.
JULIE, CHUBBY, ENTERS WEARING TIGHT JEANS. SHEILA LOOKS AT BOTH GIRLS.
SHEILA: Have I forgotten Mufti Day again? I've got some great new jeans I would've worn. Annoying.
JULIE: It's training day.
ALICE looks alarmed.
ALICE: There's parents and kids outside already.
SHEILA: They should have read the letter. Go and tell them to go home Alice.
ALICE: I'm not going out there it's pissing down. You go. When did the letter go out?
SHEILA: You did the letter.
ALICE: You did the letter.
JULIE: Take it no one did the letter.
ALICE: Bugger. Is Batman in yet?
JULIE: In her office.
ALICE: Bollocks! Now what?
SHEILA: We'll have to make sure she doesn't look out of the window.
JULIE: (Peeking through office blinds) They'll start getting angry in a minute. The kids are drenched.
ALICE: Where's Grim? Get him to lock the doors. All of them.
SHEILA PICKS UP WALKIE TALKIE
SHEILA: Office calling Grim.
(WALKIE TALKIE CRACKLES)
CONT: Office calling Grim. Come in Grim.
JULIE: (Still looking out of window) Christ there's dozens of them now.
ALICE: (Snatches walkie talkie) Grim for gods sake come in!
(WALKIE TALKIE CRACKLES)
GRAHAM: I'll come in when you stop calling me grim.
ALICE AND SHEILA LOOK AT EACH OTHER
ALICE: (Tone of voice calmer) Graham dear, GET YOUR ARSE TO THE OFFICE RED ALERT!
GRAHAM APPEARS. CLEAR WHY HIS NICKNAME IS GRIM - MISERABLE LOOKING BASTARD. ANNOYING VOICE AND PROPER JOBSWORTH. (URIAH HEAP)
GRAHAM: Yes ladies. How can I assist?
SHEILA: Go and make sure all the doors are locked. Now!
GRAHAM: Aren't we forgetting something?
ALICE: Yeah, the windows!
GRAHAM: (resigned) I meant our manners.
JULIE: (She shuts the blind quickly) Oh my god they're trying to look in the window.
SHEILA: And make sure Bat...Maggie's curtains are closed.
GRAHAM GOES. ALICE ADJUSTS BLINDS. AND TURNS LIGHTS OFF. OPENS A CUPBOARD AND IMPORTANT LOOKING FILES FALL OUT SHE PICKS THEM UP AND THROWS THEM BACK IN. TAKES OUT A SET OF WEIGHING SCALES
ALICE: Come on then Julie, might as well do it now.
JULIE: (TAKES OFF BOOTS AND JEANS) Three this week I think. (STEPS ON SCALES) No way. (TAKES OFF JUMPER. LOOKS AT SCALES. TAKES OFF SHIRT) One poxy pound.
ALICE: (MOCK SYMPATHETIC FACE) Ah well you look like you're losing and that's what counts.
SHEILA: Don't panic there's another fifteen months between now and your big day.
ALICE: Five pounds fifty then darling.
SHEILA: Here you go Julie. Have one of these, cheer yourself up. (SHEILA PRODUCES A PLATE OF CAKES. JULIE TAKES ONE)
JULIE: I've been so good this week. I might have two. Can I take two? I'm right fed up now.
SHEILA: Take three if you like love. (SHE DOES)
JULIE: (DRESSING) Who's next?
SHEILA GETS MOBILE FROM BAG AND DIALS. ONE OF OFFICE PHONES RINGS. ALICE ANSWERS. SHEILA DIALS AGAIN AND OTHER OFFICE PHONES RINGS. SHEILA ANSWERS IT. THEY BOTH HAVE PRETEND CONVERSATIONS.
ALICE: (GESTURING AND MOUTHING TO JULIE) We'll do ourselves in a bit. See you later.
JULIE GOES. THEY PUT DOWN PHONES. ALICE GETS MONEY BOX OUT OF DRAWER ADDS JULIES MONEY TO IT AND COUNTS.
ALICE: Two hundred and thirty five pounds. LOCKS BOX AND PUTS IN HER DRAWER.
SHEILA: Greenfields Primary. Good morning. PAUSE. No, love. It's training day. PAUSE. Well the letter went out last week. PAUSE. Yes, my colleague assures me they went out last Tuesday.
HOLDS PHONE AWAY FROM EAR. WE HEAR SHOUTING AND ABUSIVE LANGUAGE.
CONT.I'm very sorry you didn't receive it but there's absolutely 'f' all I can do about that now? PAUSE. I said (LOUDER) there's absolutely nothing I can do about that now, sorry, school's shut. See you Monday. And to you.
SHEILA: Don't answer it.
SWITCHES ON ANSWER MACHINE
VOICE: Hello. Hello. Pick up the phone. We know you're in the office. We just saw the lights go off. Pick up the bloody phone. There's two hundred dripping wet kids out here. Open the bloody doors; it's ten past nine. Some of us have got jobs to get to. HELLO!
END OF CALL.
ALICE: Batman! Duck!
THEY BOTH DIVE UNDER THE DESKS. THE HEADTEACHER 'BATMAN' SWOOSHES PAST IN HER CAPE. THEY CLOSE THE INTERNAL WINDOW CURTAINS.
ALICE: We need to make sure no one else goes in or out of the building. They'll get bored soon and go.
HELEN enters. 20's attractive. Slim.
HELEN: Maggie wants to know why there are so many people in the playground.
ALICE: What twat let her look out of the window?
HELEN: Her office is in the conservatory!
ALICE: Balls. Right.
( PAUSE ALICE THINKING ON HER FEET.)
CONT. Tell her that there's a play scheme for children whose parents couldn't take the time off work.
HELEN: Right. But why are there actually about two hundred and fifty people out there?
ALICE: The teachers obviously didn't hand out the letters they were given last...Tuesday I think wasn't it Sheila? (Not taking responsibility)
SHEILA: That's when you said you sent them, yes. (Not taking responsibility)
HELEN: You didn't do them did you?
ALICE: Look... we won't tell if you don't.
HELEN: What have I got to do with this?
ALICE: Does Batman know about your 'room'?
HELEN: (LOOKS HORRIFIED) You wouldn't.
SHEILA: We wouldn't under any normal circumstances no...
HELEN: Right. Play scheme yeah? OK.
SHEILA: Right, play scheme.
ALICE: I'm not looking after kids. I hate kids.
SHEILA: No choice. Do you want another warning? A final warning?
ALICE: The last one is being disputed.
SHEILA: You booked the whole of year six on a flight to Paris.
SHEILA: They spent ten hours on a flight. Sat in the airport for two hours and spent the next ten hours on a flight back to Heathrow, because they didn't have visas.
ALICE: Like I said at the time, I didn't know you needed a visa for France.
SHEILA: No Alice, but you do for America!
ALICE: And, as I said in my interview I'm not really one for detail.
SHEILA: (LOOKING AT CCTV) Christ, they're going round to fire exit.
ALICE GRABS WALKIE TALKIE.
ALICE: Office to Grim. Office to Gr...Graham. Come in.
GRAHAM: Graham to Office receiving.
ALICE: RED ALERT RED ALERT. Security. Proceed to South of building immediately, ensure no trespassers. Repeat ensure NO trespassers.
GRAHAM: (self important voice) Message received and understood. Wilco.
SHEILA AND ALICE: Wanker!
THEY WATCH ON CCTV HELEN. RETURNS WITH JULIE
JULIE: Right. The Head thinks there's a play scheme.
HELEN: So where are they all going to go?
ALICE: They can stay in the playground.
SHEILA: It's pissing down.
ALICE: Well they can't come in the school. They see batman and tell her they didn't get a letter or that there's no play scheme... Just ignore them, they'll bugger off soon.
SOMETHING CRASHES AGAINST THE WINDOW. JULIE WALKS TOWARD WINDOW TO INVESTIGATE.
SHEILA: (SHOUTS) Get down! For Christ sake Julie, they could see your silhouette through the Great Wall of China.
JULIE LOOKS AS THOUGH SHE'S ABOUT TO CRY
SHEILA: (CHANGES TONE OF VOICE) They could have a few months ago. Before you went on our diet.
JULIE PERKS UP
ALICE: Now keep away from the bloody window!
HELEN LOOKING AT CCTV. SHE GOES TO LEAVE OFFICE
SHEILA: Where are you going?
HELEN: (LYING) I told Maggie I'd go back and help set up. (SHE LEAVES)
SHEILA LOOKS AT CCTV
SHEILA: Oh Christ, Man on site. We've lost her for another hour. (STARTS A STOP CLOCK)
ALICE: What man? (LOOKS AT CCTV. REALISATION) Jesus! It's the milk - that's 250 cartons coming off our wages!
SHEILA: Your wages!
ALICE: Our wages.
SHEILA: I've got a family to support.
ALICE: Your kids are almost my age. OUR WAGES!
SHEILA: Why didn't you cancel the milk?
ALICE: I didn't know it was training day! Why would I just randomly cancel it?
SHEILA LIFTS UP HER MOBILE; SHE TAPED ALICE SAYING SHE DIDN'T KNOW IT WAS TRAINING DAY AND REPLAYS IT.
ALICE: Playing it that way are we? (PICKS UP OFFICE PHONE AND DIALS) Is that the Benefits Office?
SHEILA RUNS ROUND TO ALICE'S SIDE OF DESK AND CUTS OFF CALL.
ALICE: Claiming Housing Benefit for your mum
CONT: Who died last May? That's low!
THEY BOTH LOOK AT CCTV.
ALICE: What's that? There.
ALICE POINTS TO SCREEN. THEY BOTH TILT HEADS. REALISE IT'S HELEN SHAGGING SOMEONE. DISGUSTED FACES
SHEILA: Stop the clock!
ALICE BANGS HAND DOWN HARD ON A STOP CLOCK ON DESK. GETS NOTEBOOK OUT AND READS.
ALICE: Ooh, close but not quite. Recycling Man two minutes fifteen seconds and Milk Van Man (SHE LOOKS AT CLOCK) two minutes and forty-nine seconds. Are we giving a handicap for age though? (POINTS TO CCTV) He's a lot older than Recycling Man.
SHEILA: How can you tell from here?
BOTH GET UP CLOSE TO SCREEN AND ALICE POINTS AT SOMETHING. SHEILA RECOILS.
SHEILA: Who got the sweepstake?
ALICE GETS AN ERASER OUT AND RUBS SOMETHING OUT FROM NOTEBOOK THEN PENCILS SOMETHING IN.
ALICE: Us! We'll be able to go all inclusive at this rate.
SHEILA: Got some more protein shake for Julie yet?
ALICE PULLS SHAKE TIN FROM LARGE BOX OF TINS UNDER DESK
CONT: Just got to print off the 'Slim-quick' labels.
JULIE ENTERS. ALICE THROWS IT BACK IN BOX BUT IT DOESN'T CLOSE PROPERLY. JULIE SEES IT.
JULIE: Ah who's been poorly?
ALICE: My daughter, mumps, needs a bit of building up.
ALICE: Adopted. Africa.
JULIE: You adopted from Africa? (JULIE HUGS ALICE) Never read a book by it's cover, hey? How old is she?
ALICE: (SHRUGS) Two? Six?
JULIE: Ah, you should bring her in one day.
ALICE: It's a long way to come just for the day, Julie.
JULIE: But you adopted her.
ALICE: Yes, but we decided she should stay in Africa
ALICE: We had a long discussion, there were tears but it's where all her friends are, she'd started at her new school. You know what teenagers are like.
JULIE: You said she was two.
ALICE: Oh that daughter.
JULIE: Yes the one with mumps.
JULIE: The Protein shake?
ALICE: You're a bit dazed, Julie. Are you eating enough?
JULIE: (Confused) Well I have cut down a lot this week.
SHEILA GETS OUT CAKE PLATE AGAIN. JULIE TAKES ANOTHER ONE. SUDDENLY A LOUD CRASH. THEY ALL RUN TO CCTV.
ALICE: Christ! They're in! Where the bloody hell is Grim?
SHEILA PICKS UP WALKIE TALKIE.
SHEILA: Office to Graham (watching screen) Office to Graham. Graham for ...(THEY TUNE IN TO DIFFERENT AREAS AROUND THE SCHOOL AND SEE GRAHAM HAS BEEN TAPED TO A CHAIR).
JULIE: Oh my God! We're going to have to go and rescue him.
SHEILA: We'll keep guard in here, Julie. Confidential records etc.
JULIE: Right, yes, of course.
JULIE GOES NERVOUSLY. ALICE AND SHEILA USHERING HER OUT. BARRICADE THE DOOR BEHIND HER.THEY RUSH BACK TO SCREEN. THEY SEE HELEN AND DELIVERY MAN TAPED UP IN A COMPROMISING POSITION.
ALICE: Ooh, lock-jaw!
SHEILA GETS OUT A HOLIDAY BROCHURE. FLICKS THROUGH AND FINDS A CLEARLY BOOKMARKED PAGE. SHE POINTS TO A SECTION AND READS
SHEILA: Two adults, twin room, seven nights all-inclusive, June fourteenth grand total eight hundred and eighty five pounds.
ALICE: Once we get all the sponsor money..(WE HEAR A DISTANT FIRE ALARM BELL. LOOKS AT SCREEN) Shit, sprinklers.
SHEILA: You're off out later, What about your hair?
ALICE POINTS TO SPRINKLER IN OFFICE - IT HAS BEEN GAFFER TAPED. CARRY ON LOOKING AT BROCHURE. BANGING ON DOOR.
BARBARA: Sheila! Sheila! Let me in...for Christ sake...
SHEILA: Who is it?
SHEILA AND ALICE SHAKE THEIR HEADS AT EACH OTHER.
ALICE: How do we know it's you Barb? Have you got your ID?
BARBARA: Sheila! It's me for Christ sake, you've known me for sixteen years!
ALICE: You're going to have to get you're ID Barbara love. We're following the Emergency Security Procedure as laid down in staff handbook. Sorry.
BARBARA: It's in my classroom. For the love of God, let me in!
SHEILA: Sorry, Barb, procedure.
BARBARA: Fuck you then! (WE HEAR SCREAM AS SHE RUNS AWAY)
SHEILA: That's a private education for you!
ALICE: Potty mouth! Just no call for it.
ALARM CAN STILL BE HEARD AND VOICES, SOME SCARED SOME ANGRY FROM VARIOUS LOCATIONS. SHEILA SITS AT DESKS AND STARTS TO TYPE.
ALICE: What are you doing?
SHEILA: Training day letters.
ALICE SMILES.THE PRINTER STARTS PRINTING OUT LETTERS. ALICE TAKES THEM FROM PRINTER DROPS THEM ON FLOOR AND STANDS ON THEM, CRUMPLING THEM ETC.
ALICE: (looking over Sheila's shoulder at brochure) Do they have pitch and putt on-site? I love that.
SHEILA: They have an 18-hole golf course!
ALICE: Oh no, I don't like golf.
LOUD BANGING. SUDDENLY AIR VENT IN OFFICE CEILING IS OPENED AND GRAHAM STICKS HIS HEAD OUT. STILL HAS SOME TAPE AROUND HIM, AND RED MARKS WHERE IT'S BEEN PULLED OFF.
GRAHAM: They've all gone mad.
SHEILA: Did Julie find you?
GRAHAM: Yes, she's stuck in the vent about 10 metres back.
SHEILA GETS VASELINE OUT OF HER DRAWER.
SHEILA: Throw this back to her.
GRIM TAKES IT AND THROWS IT BACK. WE HEAR JULIE SHOUT AS IT HITS HER.
ALICE: Right Graham love, you need to listen carefully if we are all going to get out alive.
ALICE HANDS GRAHAM THE LETTERS
CONT: Put these in your pocket and if any parent sees you give them a letter as proof they have been written!
5 MINUTES LATER. DOOR HAS BEEN UN-BLOCKED. SHEILA AND ALICE BOUND AND GAGGED. GRAHAM'S LEGS DISAPPEARING BACK OUT THROUGH VENT. JULIE RETURNS COMPLETELY COVERED IN VASELINE AND A BIT DAZED. SHE QUICKLY REMOVES SHEILA AND ALICE'S GAGS.
ALICE: (DRAMATICALLY GASPS FOR BREATH - AND GESTURES TO VENT) Got stuck in the vent? You can buy three tins for the price of two and half this week Julie. You know, the shake I mentioned to you? The one Davina swears by?
JULIE: Shouldn't we get...
ALICE: (INTERRUPTS) I've got change if you want to get it now. I would, it's going up tomorrow, yeah?
JULIE: Oh, good point. yes OK. Thanks.
ALICE: Right. Twelve eighty-five then Julie love.
JULIE GETS TWENTY POUNDS OUT OF JEANS POCKET.
ALICE: Put it on the desk there, I'll sort out your change later. Fairplay, you can really see those pounds disappearing now. Eh, Sheila?
SHEILA: And don't forget those DVDs I've ordered for you, the specialist ones, on video, Jane Fonda never loses her touch does she? Will you be needing legwarmers?
JULIE UNTIES SHEILA AND ALICE. ALICE PICKS UP PHONE AND DIALS.
JULIE CONFUSED. SHEILA TAKES HER TO ONE SIDE.
SHEILA: Tragic really, this job is his life, but he's lost it this time.
ALICE: (ON PHONE) ...kept ranting about training days or something. Terrifying. Then he disappeared through the air vent. I think he might be living up there.
JULIE STILL NOT SURE WHAT'S GOING ON.
JULIE: Why are you calling the police?
ALICE: (Hand over mouthpiece) We have a 'situation' here Julie. For the safety of our children we need to make the building is secure. We have a lunatic crawling round in our air conditioning system.
JULIE: The kids have all gone to the church up the road, they put on an emergency playday.
SHEILA: Batman didn't see anything did she?
JULIE: (REALITY NOT REALLY HITTING HER) She was video-conferencing upstairs by they time they broke in.
ALICE: Thank fuck.
JULIE: It's just Graham in the air conditioning, maybe he got lost.
SHEILA: Straight lines Julie! You can't get lost, just stuck and you'd have to be pretty fat to get stuck up there. No offence. PAUSE No, Graham's creeping about like a trapped bear.
JULIE: They're quite big, he could be stuck. Maybe it's the fire service we need.
ALICE: Julie! Grim's gone mad - he hid the training day letters!
JULIE: You said you forgot it was training.
SHEILA: (IRRITATED) After we sent out the letters we forgot, resulting in me not wearing my new jeans! Annoying, they look lovely, but not the end of the world.
ALICE: Don't be hard on her Sheila, she's had a rough day haven't you? Tell you what. You leave that twenty pounds on my desk I'll keep the change and you can have another tin on the house, eh?
5 MINUTES LATER. POLICE PULLING GRAHAM OUT OF VENT IN OFFICE. INSET DAY LETTERS COME DOWN IN A SHOWER. JULIE PICKS ONE UP.
JULIE: Oh my god!
ALICE AND SHEILA LOOKING GRAHAM STRAIGHT IN THE FACE AND SHAKING THEIR HEADS.
ALICE: Yeah. (LOOKS STRAIGHT AT JULIE AND WITHOUT MISSING A BEAT) Julie. You busy?
ALICE: Could you just run those milk cartons down to the church?
JULIE: Oh yeah, lovely thought.
ALICE: Let's say twenty-five pence each.
JULIE: They're only nineteen usually.
ALICE: They're paying for your time.
JULIE: Oh, right, yes of course.
SHEILA: Which you would probably want to put in the tin. Eh?
SHE SHAKES A DODGY LOOKING CHARITY COLLECTION TIN
JULIE: Oh yes, right. Thanks. I'll be off then.
JULIE GOES. HELEN ENTERS STIFF NECK AND JAW FROM BEING TAPED UP.
HELEN: Maggie asked me to let you both know that after considering your application for leave during term time it has been refused.
ALICE: (ANGRY) What?
HELEN: You have both requested a week off in June.
HELEN: For a family funeral abroad.
HELEN: As we are only in January. It would seem an excessive amount of notice and a very precise date for a funeral.
ALICE: He's been given six months.
HELEN: To the day?
ALICE: You need to put this to her again.
HELEN: Out of my control.
SHEILA: Unlike Milk Van Man?
SHEILA REWINDS CCTV AND PLAYS BACK HELEN'S EARLIER EXPLOITS
HELEN LEAVES. ALICE GETS TIN OUT AND SHEILA LOOKS AT BROCHURE.
ALICE: Is there a poolside lunch buffet?