JOSH: Nineteen. Student.
SOL: Nineteen. Student.
A quiet day in a student house until Josh brings home a bunch of bananas from the supermarket. Trapped in the bananas is an extremely irritated and extremely poisonous spider.
(The present day. A room with two dining chairs and a table. There is a fruit bowl on the table. In the kitchen: a plastic bucket, magazine and long-handled brush.)
(JOSH walks in talking to SOL who is upstairs. He is wearing jeans, a hoodie and trainers and carrying a supermarket carrier bag.)
JOSH: No, no, It’s OK, Sol. You stay where you are. I can manage. You finish your essay or your FIFA tournament or whatever it is you’re doing that’s so important. I’m fine. I’ll go shopping. I’ll carry all the stuff home and I’ll put it all away. Don’t you worry yourself.
(He tips a bunch of bananas from the carrier bag into the fruit bowl and reaches for one. He
snatches his hand back.)
(He jumps onto a chair.)
(SOL wanders in, in bathrobe and slippers, carrying a toothbrush.)
SOL: What’s up?
JOSH: Fruit bowl! Bananas! Spider!!
SOL: Spider? You big girl.
(He looks into the fruit bowl.)
(He jumps onto the second chair.)
SOL: We had a dog smaller than that. It’s a monster! Shit.
JOSH: What is it?
SOL: It’s a spider!
JOSH: Yes. But what? Tarantula? Black Widow?
SOL: I don’t know, do I? (PAUSE) I’m going to have a look.
JOSH: Don’t annoy it.
(SOL gets down and goes to the table. He looks.)
SOL: I think it might be dead.
(JOSH gets down and stands behind SOL at the table.)
JOSH: Is it? Please, please let it be dead.
SOL: Or it might just be sleeping.
JOSH: Poke it.
SOL: You poke it.
JOSH: I’m not poking it.
SOL: You want it poking – you poke it.
JOSH: It’s trapped. See? Its leg’s stuck between two bananas.
SOL: Oh yeah.
(SOL pokes it with his toothbrush. Pause.)
(They scramble back onto the chairs.)
SOL: (PAUSE) Not dead then.
(They stare at the fruit bowl.)
JOSH: What’s it doing?
SOL: It’s going mad!
JOSH: It’s trying to get free.
JOSH: Did it just do what I think it did?
SOL: It did.
JOSH: It did, didn’t it?
SOL: It’s a beast.
SOL: Yep. You’ve got to be pretty hardcore to rip your own leg off.
(SOL takes his phone from his pocket.)
JOSH: Good thinking. Phone someone – fire brigade, International Rescue.
SOL: Hang on.
SOL: I want to find out what it is first. It might be harmless.
JOSH: It just tore its own leg off!
SOL: We don’t want to look stupid.
JOSH: We don’t want to look dead either.
JOSH: How are you going to identify it anyway?
SOL: I’m googling it.
JOSH: What are you googling? Banana…Spider?
SOL: Yes. Actually. (PAUSE) Here we are.
(He shows JOSH the screen.)
SOL: That’s it, isn’t it?
JOSH: I reckon. What is it? Tarantula?
SOL: Sadly, no.
JOSH: What then?
SOL: According to this, it’s a Brazilian Wandering Spider.
JOSH: That doesn’t sound too bad.
SOL: (READS) ‘Also known by its Greek name – phoneutria – which translates as…’murderess’.’
JOSH: I take it back.
(Silence. SOL reads.)
JOSH: What is it?
SOL: (READS) ‘The Brazilian Wandering Spider also known as The Banana Spider…’ See? ‘…is probably the most venomous spider in the world.’
SOL: (READS) ‘Its fangs inject a neurotoxin which causes intense pain, loss of muscle control leading to paralysis, breathing problems and death by asphyxiation.’ Shit. (READS) ‘In men, its bite can cause an erection that lasts for four hours.’
JOSH: (PAUSE) Four hours?
SOL: Four hours.
JOSH: (PAUSE) A four hour erection followed by death by asphyxiation.
SOL: Sounds like a Consevative MP’s dream, doesn’t it?
JOSH: (LAUGHING) They’d never get the coffin lid down.
SOL: (LAUGHING) Ahhh. Stop it.
(They force their laughter down. Thoughtful silence.)
JOSH: What’s it doing now?
(SOL leans forward to look. The chair topples and he lands on his knees by the table. He
cautiously brings his eyes up level with the fruit bowl. He freezes.)
(He grabs the chair, rights it and springs back up.)
JOSH: What? What?!
SOL: It reared up.
JOSH: What do you mean?
SOL: Reared up! Reared up! On its back legs! It reared up! Fangs…
SOL: Two…massive…fangs. Oh God. And it swayed. From side to side.
SOL: Yes! Yes! Swayed! Like this. (DEMONSTRATES) It stood on its hind legs and bared its fangs at me and…swayed. And it…it reached out its front legs…well…leg towards me. I feel sick.
JOSH: Then what?
SOL: It ran off.
JOSH: What? Where? Where did it go?
SOL: I don’t know, do I?! I was too busy escaping a four-hour erection and a hideously painful death!
JOSH: So, it could be anywhere.
JOSH: OK. (PAUSE) We should find it.
SOL: (AWESTRUCK) It’s as big as my hand…
(SOL demonstrates with two fingers.)
JOSH: It’s probably more scared of us than we are of…it.
SOL: Well, in that case, it must be bloody petrified. And that’s just what we need, isn’t it? A killer spider from Hell that’s feeling a bit hysterical!
JOSH: We should catch it.
SOL: (PAUSE) Google said…
SOL: It said that…when it bites, it doesn’t always use its venom. Sometimes…it just bites.
SOL: Only one bite in three is venomous.
JOSH: And this makes me feel better how?
SOL: I’m just saying. The odds – you know?
JOSH: Well, that’s a relief. Let’s get after it then and hope we’re not the unfortunate one-in-three. Ah! There’s two of us, so we could both get lucky!
SOL: (PAUSE) We’ve got to do this.
JOSH: Have we?
SOL: Can’t stand up here forever.
JOSH: (PAUSE) OK. After three; we’ll carefully get down, find it and catch it. One…
SOL: Or kill it.
JOSH: Won’t that just piss it off?
SOL: How can it be pissed off if it’s dead?
JOSH: But if we try to kill it and miss – it’ll be pissed off.
SOL: Actually, I would imagine it’s pretty pissed off already. I mean, you would be, wouldn’t you? One minute you’re wandering around Brazil deciding whether to give someone a playful nip or a four hour erection and an agonizing death. And next minute you wake up in a fruit bowl in a student house in Leeds with your leg stuck in a bunch of bananas. Pissed off? Yep. I reckon. (PAUSE) We need a plan.
(SOL looks around then gets down from the chair.)
SOL: Cover me.
SOL: Cover me! I’m going to the kitchen.
(JOSH gets down. He holds the chair in front of him as SOL backs out of the room. SOL returns
with a magazine, a plastic bucket and a brush. They get back on the chairs.)
(He hands JOSH the brush.)
SOL: Right. This is the plan. First we locate the creature then you use the brush to maneuver it onto the magazine then I slam the bucket over it.
JOSH: OK. Got it. (PAUSE) Just a minute. What if it runs up the handle? Sod that!
SOL: It’s only got seven…six…(CHECKS PHONE) seven legs. It’s disabled, isn’t it? Anyway, the cold will slow it down. It’s used to a hot climate.
JOSH: Didn’t look very slow to me.
SOL: No, it’ll be lethargic.
JOSH: Lethargic? It just ripped its own leg off!
SOL: Swap then. I’ll have the brush – you have the bucket and mag.
JOSH: We’ll stick to Plan A.
(They slowly dismount and search.)
JOSH: Where is it?
SOL: Must be here somewhere.
JOSH: (WHISPERS) Sol…Sol.
JOSH: Shhh! It’ll hear you.
SOL: Do they even have ears?
JOSH: Sh. Look.
(JOSH is staring at the corner of the room. SOL looks.)
SOL: (QUIET) Right.
(He places the magazine on the floor and holds the bucket ready.)
SOL: Go on then.
JOSH: I’m doing it!
(He slowly pokes the brush handle into the corner.)
SOL: Is it moving?
JOSH: Shut up, Sol. (POKES) Yaaaarrrgh!
JOSH: It’s got hold of the brush!
SOL: Shake it off.
(JOSH flails the brush around in the air.)
JOSH: Get off! Get off!
SOL: What are you doing?! On the magazine! On the magazine!
(JOSH swoops the brush down over the magazine and shakes.)
JOSH: Get off!
(SOL slams the bucket down. Pause.)
JOSH: Did you get it?
SOL: Most of it.
JOSH: What does that mean?
SOL: Well it’s got an even number of legs again.
(JOSH slumps into a chair.)
JOSH: Oh God. I think I’ve just had a heart attack.
(SOL carefully picks up the bucket and magazine.)
JOSH: What are you doing?
SOL: Throwing it out.
(He approaches the audience.)
SOL: Why not?
JOSH: It’s a Brazilian Wandering Spider. What if it decides to wander back in?!
SOL: Good point.
(He places the bucket and magazine back on the floor.)
SOL: So…What now? (PAUSE) I’ll call someone.
SOL: Could do. (PAUSE) Wait.
SOL: What if they think we pulled its legs off, you know, deliberately.
JOSH: Who, in their right minds, would do that?!
SOL: I’ll phone them.
SOL: Hello. Yes. We’ve caught a spider. No…I’m not taking the…Listen. Hang on! It’s venomous. It was in the bananas. Yes, I’m sure. We looked it up…
JOSH: The bucket!
JOSH: It moved!
(SOL puts his foot on top of the bucket.)
SOL: Sorry about that. It’s a Brazilian Wandering Spider. (PAUSE) Yes. That’s right. Four hours. What? Why not? Right. Thanks for nothing, pal!
(He ends the call.)
JOSH: What did they say?
SOL: Phone the police.
SOL: Police. Yes, it’s an emergency. Yes. We bought some bananas and there’s a venomous spider in them. Yes, I’m sure. We looked it up on Google. It’s a Brazilian Wandering Spider. (PAUSE) That’s the one – four hours. Yes. I know. That’s what we said. We trapped it under a bucket. Really? Brilliant! Thanks! 62 Claremont Street. OK. Cheers. (ENDS CALL) they’re on their way. With… ‘a team’.
JOSH: Oh thank God.
JOSH: (PAUSE) When did you kick the bucket over?
(Silence. He looks.)
(They run off. The front door slams. Silence. The spider is still in the room.)